Dems: Trump betrayed middle class
Before president’s address, lawmakers highlight divisions
President Trump, in his first 40 days in office, has achieved little other than divisive executive orders on transgender bathrooms and immigration policy while breaking his central campaign promise to put the welfare of working-class Americans above the interests of Wall Street. That’s according to Democratic leaders in Congress who offered a prebuttal to Trump’s first joint address to Congress on Tuesday.
“The president hasn’t done very much, but what he has done is forsake his promises to the working class,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a news conference with his House counterpart, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California. “The portions are small, the food is terrible.”
“President Trump engaged in a bait-and-switch agenda,” Pelosi said.
At the National Press Club in Washington, the Democrats dissected Trump’s first month in office, an attempt to contrast what the New York businessman promised on the campaign trail to struggling working-class Americans with what he’s done. They accused him of governing from “the far, far right.”
Democrats control neither chamber of Congress, so they have limited ability to make policy. That increases the stakes for them to present a compelling response to Trump’s agenda. The news conference is a preview of what Democrats are likely to say in their official response to his speech before Congress on Tuesday night.
Pelosi cited a “cruel deportation dragnet” and accused the president of handing his National Security Council to a “white su- premacist,” referring to chief strategist Steve Bannon.
She said Trump makes “authoritarian choices” including calling the media “the enemy of the people.”
What policy he has made — via a series of executive orders — benefited corporations over workers, they said. An executive order aiming to roll back capital requirements for Wall Street could return more than $100 billion to wealthy investors.
Trump has boasted about thwarting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a foreign trade deal that was “dead in the water” when he took office, Schumer said.
“When the president talks about a mess, he’s talking about his own first 40 days in office,” Pelosi said. She noted that President Obama achieved an $831 billion stimulus bill and legislation including the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in his first month in office.
Then there are the things Trump promised on his populist, economic platform: an infrastructure bill and pro-worker trade policy. He’s taken action on neither, the Democrats said.
Jobs continue to leave the USA despite Trump’s boasts, Schumer said, citing “one-half of one Carrier plant” that was spared because Trump pressured its corporate executives.
“On the big promises that could help working America,” Schumer said, “the Trump administration has not even presented a proposal to Congress.”
Trump will soon present his first annual budget to Congress, and he intends to propose a major increase in military spending that will be offset with spending cuts elsewhere, including at the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency.
The leaders said they were not sure Trump even understands the “ramifications of the cuts” that would be needed.
According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, even if the entire EPA and State Department were eliminated, that wouldn’t cover the cost of the estimated $54 billion military buildup.
If enacted, the cuts would mean Americans “breathe dirtier air and water” and would be less protected against financial agencies “that try to take advantage of them,” Schumer said.
“It’s hard to see what we could work with him on” because “he’s moved so far away from American values,” Schumer said.
“When the president talks about a mess, he’s talking about his own first 40 days in office.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi say Trump broke his vows.