First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Seven questions heading into tonight's Trump speech
With President Trump set to address a joint session of Congress around 9:00 pm ET tonight, we can state the obvious: His administration has gotten off to a slow start. Just 15 members of his cabinet and team have won Senate confirmation, compared with 29 for Barack Obama and 22 for George W. Bush at this same point in time, per data from the Partnership for Public Service. And on the legislative front, he's signed nothing substantial into law, even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. At this same point in time eight years ago, Democrats had already passed their stimulus, equal-pay legislation, and children's health-care expansion, while Bush 43 had sent his big tax-cut plan to Congress (though it wasn't passed into law until the summer). So given this slow start, we have seven questions heading into tonight's speech, which the White House has billed as a "renewal of the American spirit":
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A need to fill in the blanks
NBC's Benjy Sarlin has more on Trump's speech tonight: "More than a month after taking office, though, no one seems to know exactly what direction he means. On three critical parts of his agenda — health care, tax reform and infrastructure — Trump has given limited or contradictory directions about what he expects Congress to do. That puts pressure on the White House to fill in the blanks in his address to Congress Tuesday night, which is traditionally a platform for laying out the president's policy wish list."
The Yemen raid has yielded no significant intelligence
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that U.S. raid into Yemen last month "was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation. It obtained a lot of information that will help us keep safe." But the reporting here is different. "Last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News," per NBC's Cynthia McFadden, William Arkin, and Ken Dilanian.
Trump Cabinet watch: Ross wins confirmation
"Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., a former banker and investor who earned billions during decades of buying and selling industries and who President Trump has touted to lead his trade negotiations, was confirmed as secretary of commerce by the Senate in a 72-to-27 vote on Monday night," the Washington Post reports. That means 15 members of Trump's cabinet have won Senate confirmation.
Guess who Keith Ellison is taking to tonight's presidential address? Tom Perez
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is taking the man who defeated him in the DNC chair race —Tom Perez — as his guest to tonight's presidential address. It's a different tactic than Bernie Sanders took in 2016: accepting defeat immediately and with grace. And we wouldn't be surprised if this move increases Ellison's relevancy with Perez.
What were other presidents doing on February 28?
FIRST 100 DAYS: FEBRUARY 28
What were past presidents doing on this day?