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President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address on February 4, 2020.

Statements on the State of the Union

By David Wildstein, February 04 2020 10:38 pm


“Tonight, President Trump had an opportunity to show the American people that he understands right from wrong, and he failed.  He failed to display any contrition for what even some Republicans have called “inappropriate” actions — soliciting foreign interference in our election, subverting our national security interests and undermining our democracy.  He failed to demonstrate that he’s learned anything about the rule of law, our system of checks and balances, and what it means to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

“Having sat through three of this president’s State of the Union addresses, I know that even the most divisive and dangerous President in American history can deliver a State of the Union address that talks about unity, bipartisanship, and problem-solving.

“More importantly, having lived through the last three years under this president, American families understand that the words Donald Trump reads from the teleprompter rarely reflect their reality. Instead, they’ve endured three long years of Twitter rages, broken promises, and all-out assault on their economic and health security.

“So, the President can pretend he’s fighting to make sure Americans have the ‘best’ health care, even as his administration does everything it can to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, argues in federal court to eliminate protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, pushes to gut Medicare and Medicaid, and cut funding to the CDC in the face of a coronavirus outbreak.

“President Trump can talk about a soaring stock market and massive tax breaks, even as working families struggle under the weight of rising housing, health care and child care costs, and crushing student loan debt.

“President Trump can say he wants to make strong investments in our aging infrastructure, even as he single-handedly stands in the way of completing the nation’s most critical transportation project—Gateway.

“President Trump can talk about putting America first, even as he emboldens our enemies and alienates our allies, sends farmers into bankruptcy with his trade war, and leaves us flat-footed in the face of unprecedented challenges like climate change.

“President Trump can talk about a great American comeback, yet it is up us — the American people – to bring our nation back from the damage he has wrought to our constitutional system of checks and balances and to secure a brighter future.”


“Tonight, President Trump said that “the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people.” I agree, and I hope the president is serious. He knows there is potential for common ground on initiatives that he ran on, that Democrats have advanced, but that have been blocked by the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

The House has passed landmark legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs, based on principles President Trump once embraced, including allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices. We could enact it tomorrow with his support.

The House is preparing a major bill to rebuild and modernize our nation’s roads, railroads, tunnels, bridges, ports and airports, something New Jersey desperately needs. Last year, the president said that he wanted to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure bill. We are ready to work with him, but he needs to signal to Congressional Republicans that this needs to be done, because they will not move without his permission. He did not do so tonight.

Last year, President Trump said he supported stronger background checks for gun purchases. He said nothing tonight about the epidemic of gun violence in our country. He said nothing about the rise in anti-Semitism and other forms of domestic extremism. My guest tonight, the daughter of a Jersey City police officer murdered by violent extremists, deserved to hear something about these issues, as did millions of other Americans.

Worst of all, the president doubled down on rhetoric designed to sow fear of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. His statement, following a long passage on immigration restrictions, that he is restoring the “culture” of American freedom, was a pure dog whistle to white supremacists. The president may hope that most Americans will miss the meaning of these words, but far right-wing extremists will understand them as a reference to their belief that immigration from non-white countries has changed the culture of America, and that this must be reversed. Such rhetoric is not only morally wrong; it is dangerous, badly undercutting efforts by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local law enforcement to protect us from extremist groups.

The House has proven that we can hold the president accountable while passing legislation that delivers for the American people – in fact, we are the only body of Congress that has done either of these things. I wish that the president had given a less divisive, partisan, and dishonest speech. But if he is willing to work with us on legislation that improves people’s lives, we remain ready to find that common ground.”


“The nation’s remarkable economic growth, the boom in employment — particularly for women and minorities — and the anticipation of a continued explosion in opportunities for working class Americans under this President is a testament to what can be accomplished with the right policies in Washington.
A rising economic tide truly can lift all boats. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s economic growth has been moored by our deeply partisan Governor and his pandering Democrat Congressional delegation to failed policies of more taxes, more government spending, more regulation and more sanctuary state rules to harbor illegal immigrants.
Let us agree to focus instead on making certain our national economic progress provides opportunities for working parents and unskilled laborers, ensuring prosperity for New Jersey’s families.

Let us put partisanship behind us and agree to focus instead on making certain our national economic progress brings aboard working parents, unskilled laborers and strugglingly families.
We are entering a new era of trade with China, this time on an even playing field, and we are on the threshold of realizing the promising potential of the newly ratified United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. I agree that continuing our economic ascension will improve opportunities for hard-working people and the communities that were marginalized in the past.
This is the time to tackle the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and the practice of surprise medical billing — and we can do it by demanding accountability, transparency and by expanding markets for research, development and insurance coverage. We will not protect the ability of families to choose their medical plans and doctors by giving Medicare to all. We won’t accomplish it by nationalizing our healthcare system or by restricting the health insurance market.  We will accomplish this with free, transparent, and open markets
We also have an opportunity here to improve the quality of education by expanding school choice, which has been under attack by special interests in New Jersey. I stand by the President’s declaration tonight that no American child should be forced to attend a failing schools and that we must relieve American families and their children of the crushing burden of unaffordable college loans and higher education costs.
Now is the time to take advantage of the unprecedented advances we have gained, to hold this high ground and finish what remains to be done for the people of this great nation. 
If we work together, we will never, ever go back.


“Nancy Pelosi’s behavior was an utter disgrace to the country last night and Josh Gottheimer must call on the leader of his Party to apologize. If he doesn’t, it means he can stomach the names of American heroes mentioned in the speech being quite literally torn apart in front of the whole country. This is a bridge too far, and Josh owes the people of the Fifth Congressional District an immediate explanation.”

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