There are many different Donald Trumps. There is Tantrum Trump,who rages and fumes and fires off intemperate tweets about his foes.
There is Tactical Trump, the guileful politician who touts policies and ideas he knows will appeal to his base. And there is Teleprompt Trump ,who sticks to a broadly Republican script, doesn’t upset anyone and who projects reasonableness and compromise.
His more sober advisors hope it is the latter Trump who turns up for his inaugural State of the Union address here on Tuesday night.
It is a huge moment for a President under considerable pressure after government shutdowns and tell-all books and who’s beset by the lowest polling numbers of any President giving their first State of the Union speech.
But he also steps up to the podium in a position of some strength. He will doubtlessly make the most of the good economic news that keeps bolstering his presidency.
With the stock market hitting record highs, unemployment on the decrease and decent growth numbers he will claim the credit he partly deserves and will promote his tax reforms as yet more reason for celebration.
He will further put some flesh on the bones of his much-awaited infrastructure plan which involves spending of about a trillion dollars and which he hopes will further boost jobs and the economy in general.
The slight difficulty of how he plans to pay for it all ,with tax cuts as well, will presumably be circumvented.
He will talk trade, terrorism and global threats like he usually does and that much will be the easy bit.
Far harder will be how he negotiates the thorny issue of immigration which is dividing Congress as the clock ticks.
Is he able to unify Democrats and Republicans around a plan that genuinely protects the children of illegal immigrants for whom America is the only home they have ever known and at the same time provides the border security and safeguards on immigration demanded by right wing Republicans?
It’s a balancing act he will find difficult to strike.
And then there’s the elephant in the room. The Russian collusion investigation run by the former FBI Director, Robert Mueller, is closing in on this Presidency.
Reports that Trump ordered the firing of Mueller, only to be thwarted by a threat of resignation from his lawyer, have only served to turn up the heat.
There are two precedents for how Trump could deal with this. He could look back to 1974 and Watergate and ‘do a Nixon’.
That entails screaming his innocence, calling for an end to the investigation and insisting both it and he are going nowhere . The only problem with that route is that Nixon resigned seven months later.
The other option is to follow the Clinton strategy of the late nineties. Bill Clinton – faced with his own controversies and scandals – decided to ignore them altogether.
Instead he appeared consensual, Presidential and willing to compromise in a spirit of bi-partisanship and unity.
Tantrum Trump wouldn’t be able to do that. Teleprompt Trump may just pull it off.