Alex Brandon / AP

What we'll be listening for at 9 p.m. ET:

  1. The real state of our Union is unsettled — on edge. Does the president acknowledge that, and do anything to alleviate it?
  2. If he tries to break the ice with humor about himself, what trait does he choose?
  3. What will Trump say that's tailored directly to lawmakers, to balance the bulk of his speech, which'll be aimed beyond the chamber?
  4. Can Trump convince Republicans that there's a clear path to success on his big-ticket agenda items: health care, taxes, infrastructure?
  5. Will Democrats have a "You lie!" moment?
  6. How will Trump handle it?
  7. What will he say about Russia?
  8. What will he say about the media?
  9. How closely does he stick to the prompter?
  10. Does he deliver on aides' promise of a sunny speech?

Go deeper

Stimulus outlook takes a hit even as coronavirus cases skyrocket

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic is getting worse, and the question is whether the economic recovery will go with it.

Why it matters: America adding 7.5 million jobs over the last two months pales in comparison to 20+ million lost over the two months prior.

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Texas governor mandates face masks in public spaces

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face covering in public in counties with 20 or more positive coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: It's a dramatic reversal by the Republican governor that underscores the severity of the outbreak in Texas, which set a single-day record on Wednesday with more than 8,000 confirmed new cases. On June 3, Abbott issued an executive order banning local governments from imposing fines on people who don't wear masks in public.

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Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.