WASHINGTON - The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate predicted Monday that President Donald Trump’s address Tuesday to a joint session of Congress would contain past promises to help working-class Americans, but warned that his first orders of business have benefitted the wealthy instead.
“Populist platitudes will be a dime a dozen, but the focus should be on the president’s actions rather than his empty words,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, adding that he believes the prime-time speech will be the “usual bluster and blame.”
He said Trump has filled his Cabinet and high-level White House posts with Wall Street insiders who have hurt the working class by threatening mortgages, retirement savings and overtime pay.
Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at a news conference at the National Press Club sought to portray the Democratic Party as having the edge when it comes to preserving Obamacare and challenging Trump’s Cabinet nominations — despite GOP leadership of the White House and Congress.
“Who would have thought one month after the fight over the ACA, it’s the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are in disarray, on defense and pointing at one another like an Abbott and Costello show,” Schumer said of the Affordable Care Act.
The Democrats said that while Trump’s speech Tuesday may mirror his election night and inaugural addresses in providing hope to struggling Americans, he must be held accountable.
A senior White House official said Monday night that the president’s speech will begin with a list of promises made and kept. He said Trump will speak on economic opportunity and national security.
Pelosi charged that as of Tuesday, the Republican leadership “will have not lifted a finger to create jobs or raise wages for hardworking American families.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded, saying of Trump, “He’s created a lot of jobs. He’s continuing to work with Congress on both repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform and fundamentally, both of those two items alone, I think can help spur a lot of economic growth.”
Pelosi said Trump has sought to undermine democracy.
“He has instilled fear in communities across America,” she said, referencing the executive order on travel and the Department of Homeland Security’s beefed-up enforcement of immigration laws.
But she said such measures are used to “deflect attention away from his failure to advance a jobs agenda and deflect attention away from his Russian connection.”
Trump has said stories about his campaign’s or inner circle’s ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime are “fake news.”