Dems: Trump be­trayed mid­dle class

Be­fore pres­i­dent’s ad­dress, law­mak­ers high­light di­vi­sions

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Heidi M. Przy­bla USA TO­DAY

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.

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