How Long is the State of the Union Tonight?



U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress in 2017.

President Donald Trump is giving his first State of the Union speech tonight. The speech is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern. But exactly how long will it last? Typically, most State of the Union speeches last about an hour or just a few minutes over an hour. That means that Trump’s State of the Union speech tonight should end around 10 or 10:30 p.m. Eastern. Presidents typically don’t begin exactly at the start time. They’ll spend a few minutes walking through Congress and shaking hands before they begin their speech. But even with that in mind, the speech should be wrapped up no later than 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

Trump has been known to have speeches that go longer than normal. His Republican National Convention speech was 75 minutes long, compared to Mitt Romney’s 40 minute speech in 2012 and John McCain’s 55 minute speech in 2008. Trump’s inauguration speech, however, was just 17 minutes long, which is fairly close to average.

Last year, during his address to Congress in February, Trump began his speech at 9:09 p.m. Eastern. The speech was over exactly one hour later at 10:09 p.m. Eastern. So it’s likely that Trump will stick with that format again this year and have an hour-long speech that ends around 10:10 p.m.

The longest State of the Union address on record goes to President Bill Clinton, whose 2000 address was one hour and 28 minutes long. The shortest address was Washington’s in 1790, just 833 words and about 10 minutes. Only one time has a State of the Union address ever been postponed. That was in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan had to postpone his because the Challenger space shuttle exploded on the same day.

Here’s a video of Clinton’s State of the Union address, the longest in history:

And here is Reagan’s State of the Union after the Challenger explosion:

After Trump speaks, Rep. Joe Kennedy will deliver the Democrats’ official response to the State of the Union. He will deliver his response from his home state rather than attending the speech in person, The Washington Post reported. Elizabeth Guzman, a member of the Virginia state legislature, will also deliver a Spanish-language response, officially sponsored by the Democrats. But Progressives will be delivering responses of their own, official or not. Sen. Bernie Sanders will also deliver a response to the State of the Union via social media. Rep. Maxine Waters from California will also give a response during a BET news special. And Donna F. Edwards, a former Maryland Congresswoman, will also give an address for the Working Families Party.

If you’d like to relive Trump’s speech to Congress last year and compare it to this year’s, you can watch it below:

How long do you think Trump’s speech will be tonight? Let us know in the comments below.