Hastings’ Reaction to President Trump’s First Address to a Joint Session of Congress

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Washington, D.C., February 28, 2017 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement in response to President Donald John Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress:

“When the President took office, I made it clear that I would work with his administration wherever possible. Even though we disagree on many issues, the role of the President is to facilitate national debates with the serious attention they deserve. To this end, I have been consistently disappointed by the first weeks of the President’s Administration.

“The United States is at its best when we draw strength from each other. President Trump has taken the opposite tact, surrounding himself with sycophants, lambasting the independent media, and censuring anyone who thinks differently. Ridiculing the minority is un-presidential, and the only thing tonight’s speech accomplished was to illustrate just how little the President understands about America.

“The President has been in office for just 40 days, yet he has already established himself as one of the most reckless in American history. President Trump continues to champion divisive policies that would decimate safety-net programs, while propping up his own wasteful pet projects like the border wall with Mexico. These proposals would be laughable if they weren’t so frighteningly ill-conceived.

“At this point during the Obama Administration, the President had already proposed and signed into law a plan that would create millions of jobs and jumpstart the American economy. President Obama, four weeks into his Administration, had already signed legislation to support fair pay for women and expand health insurance for children. When he came before Congress for his first joint session, he presented a vision of an America for all.

“Four weeks into his administration, President Trump has presented no jobs bill, no plan for healthcare, and has offered nothing to improve the lives of everyday Americans. Instead, he has elevated a white supremacist to the National Security Council and been caught pressuring the FBI to undermine an investigation of the Administration’s ties to Russian intelligence. This is, quite simply, unacceptable.

“Throughout the past week, concerned Americans attended town halls across the country. And for those who were actually able to meet with their Republican Representative in Congress, the conversations focused on protecting healthcare, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. They did not ask for fewer workplace protections, nor did they ask Congress to make it easier for people with severe mental illnesses to purchase guns. They did not ask Congress to undermine retirement security or ease disclosure requirements for oil companies making payments to foreign governments. Yet, these are the things that President Trump and the Republican Party have championed.

“These are policies of a cynical and callous government, and Democrats will not sit idly by while President Trump and his Republican allies continue their efforts to unravel this great nation.”

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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