- Views & Opinions
President Donald Trump delivered on Feb. 28 a speech to Congress. Here’s reaction to Trump’s remarks from progressive voices:
“The theme of tonight’s joint address to Congress — the ‘renewal of American spirit’ — felt painfully hollow as the only renewal I’ve seen since President Trump took office is a pernicious wave of nationalism, racism, misogyny, and antisemitism. Rather than detailing a plan to quell the violence and vandalism perpetrated by those who feel emboldened by his actions, President Trump touted his own perceived success while feigning concern for bipartisanship and unity.
“Much like his campaign, President Trump’s speech emphasized flash over substance, failing to provide tangible policy proposals to match his boasts and taking credit for the success of President Barack Obama. I found the president’s words empty and indicative of a weak person’s idea of what strength looks like. Not only did he fail to mention the fate of critical social safety programs that will undoubtedly suffer in the face of the president’s military spending increase, but it was also clear that vital issues like gender-based violence simply weren’t a concern of his administration.
“I find it incredulous that President Trump could claim a commitment to national security while failing to even mention how we will protect our nation’s women and daughters, especially when an average of three women are killed by a current or former partner every day in our country. Fortunately, Deborah Parker was by my side tonight as my guest to help stress our shared moral imperative to safeguard our nation’s most vulnerable. Deborah was instrumental in helping me reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013 to include critical provisions for Native American women and girls. With VAWA grant funding in jeopardy of being eliminated by the Trump administration, Deborah’s unique voice and steadfast advocacy is needed now more than ever.”
— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee
“Donald Trump claims he will ‘invest in women’s health’ but what he and the anti-abortion majority in Congress have proposed is exactly the opposite. His plans to gut Obamacare, push abortion out of reach for even more women, take away our birth control coverage, and make the Hyde Amendment permanent all amount to the same thing: taking care away from those that need it. We’re also deeply disturbed by his escalation of harmful policies against immigrant women and families and troubling statements about communities of color. We need policies that treat women — and all people — with respect and dignity, not more politics of pain and punishment.”
— Destiny Lopez, co-director of All* Above All
“Donald Trump’s address to Congress vividly illustrates just how out of touch he is with the reality of people’s lives. In his world, everything he does is ‘great’, when the reality is that his policies are causing pain, suffering, and uncertainty for millions, and most often for the most vulnerable. In just 40 days, he has aggressively used his executive powers to demonize and dehumanize immigrants, Muslims, and trans youth — and he’s just getting started. One thing that is certain though is that every time he opens his mouth, more people want to join the resistance movement against his extremism.”
— Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force
“The type of widespread deregulation that President Trump advocates would be detrimental to small businesses and their communities on a number of levels. Small business owners benefit from regulations that level the playing field and protect communities and investments that foster growth on Main Street.”
— Amanda Ballantyne, national director of the Main Street Alliance
“We’re disturbed by Donald Trump’s speech last night. He spoke of uniting America, but almost every idea, every proposal promises to lead to more division.
“Rather than focusing on addressing our challenges, Mr. Trump called for more policing, more immigration enforcement, and boasted progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline even as he gutted regulations for clean water — a slap in the face to indigenous people everywhere.
“And playing politics with human lives, Donald Trump and his allies in Congress seemed casually enthused about robbing 30 million people of their health care coverage, including the 13 million people who have benefited from the expansion of Medicaid.
“What we needed to hear from Donald Trump was a comprehensive economic security agenda. One that includes all the issues that impact women’s ability to survive and thrive: immigration reform, racial justice, workers’ rights, caregiving, and reproductive health care. All critical issues for women and people of color.
“We applaud several women Members of Congress who wore the colors of suffragists in protest of Trump’s ghastly agenda. The Ms.Foundation for Women joins them and will continue to lead the fight for economic and health parity. We won’t go back. Millions of lives depend on it.”
— Ms. Foundation president and CEO Teresa C. Younger
“Last night, Mr. Trump tried to trick us into believing he cares about the needs of middle income and working families all across the country. But Trump’s economic team is shamefully comprised of corporate elites from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms who helped destroy our economy less than ten years ago. We will not allow these corporate bandits to loot the wealth of America’s families again.”
— Shannon Jackson, executive director, Our Revolution
“When he was elected, Donald Trump promised to be a president for all Americans, yet he continues to pursue policies that put the powerful above the people, and to attack the most vulnerable in our society. Tonight’s address, sadly, continues that trend.
“He touted his Task Force on Reducing Violent Crime, but his Justice Department has already pursued policies that fail to create a better criminal justice system. The recent decision to continue to rely on private prisons for federal inmates is neither humane nor budget-wise. We need a justice system that can work better for all people.
“His continued push for Neil Gorsuch to serve on the highest court in the land obscures the judge’s troubling record and Trump’s own denigration of judges who disagree with him. Gorsuch has consistently shown that he puts powerful corporate interests above the rights of workers and ordinary people. The Constitution demands an independent judiciary, and the American people deserve a Supreme Court justice who will be independent and not serve as a rubber stamp for the President who appointed him.
“We urge caution on Trump’s call for immigration reform but look forward to working with lawmakers to ensure that proposed changes uphold our legacy as a nation of immigrants. The continuing attacks on immigrants and refugees that we see from our chief executive undermines this laudable goal.
“His call to Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will not help protect the health and well-being of Americans, particularly the poor and underserved. Republican lawmakers know their constituents are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, and yet they want to take this vital program away.
“Given the philosophy of our Secretary of Education, it was not surprising that Trump called for Congress to divert public funding for schools in private school voucher programs. Such efforts are likely to undermine federal civil rights protections and open the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination. And just a week after his administration rescinded Title IX guidance to protect transgender students, Trump called education ‘the civil rights issue of our time.’ That’s not what standing up for civil rights looks like.
“As we continue to address the challenges facing all Americans, we must do so in a manner that does the most good, consistent with our Constitution and the rule of law.”
— Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights