Schumer Floor Remarks On President Trump’s State Of The Union Address

February 5, 2020

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer briefly spoke today on the Senate floor regarding President Trump’s State of the Union address. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

This morning I’d like to briefly respond to President Trump’s third State of the Union address. It was a sad moment for democracy.

The president's speech last night was much more like a Trump rally than a speech a true leader would give. It was demagogic, it was undignified, it was highly partisan and in too many places, just untruthful. Instead of a dignified president, we had some combination of a pep rally leader, a reality show host, and a carnival barker. It’s not what presidents are.

President Trump took credit for inheriting an economy that’s been growing at about the same pace for the last ten years. The bottom line is, in the last three years of the Obama administration, more jobs were created than under these three years of the Trump administration. And yet, he can’t resist digging at the past president, even though the past president, on that economic number, is better than him.

He boasted about how many manufacturing jobs he created. Manufacturing has gone down—in part because the president’s trade policies—for five months late last year. A five-month long recession last year.

Farmers have struggled mightily. Bankruptcies are the highest they’ve been in eight years, crop prices are dwindling, and markets may never recover from the damage of the president’s trade war, as so many contracts for soy beans and other goods have gone to Argentina and Brazil, and these are not one-year contracts, these are long-term contracts.

President Trump talked at length about health care, claiming, amazingly at one point, he will fight to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. This president just lies, just lies. He’s in court, right now, trying to undo the protections for pre-existing conditions. And at the same time he says he wants to do it, and all the Republicans get up at cheer.

His administration is working as hard as it can to take down the law that guarantees protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The claim is not partly true, it is not half-true, it is not misleading, it is flatly, objectively, unequivocally, false.  Let’s call it for what it is: it’s a lie.

In three years, President Trump has done everything imaginable to undermine Americans’ health care. He is even hoping to drag out the resolution of the lawsuit past the next election. If President Trump were truly interested in shoring up protections for people with pre-existing conditions, he’d drop this lawsuit now. Then he’d be doing something, not just talking and having his actions totally contradict his words.

Until the president drops his lawsuit, when he says he cares about Americans’ health care, he is talking out of both sides of his mouth. And when he talks about being the blue-collar president, he doesn’t understand blue-collar families. It’s true, wages went up three percent. If you’re making $50,000 a year, that’s a good salary. That’s about, by my calculation, $30 a week. When you get a medical bill of $4,000 and your deductible is $5,000, when your car has an accident and it’s going to cost you $3,000 or $4,000 to fix it and you don’t have that money, the $30 a week doesn’t mean much.

When asked, “Is it easier for you to pay your bills today or the day Trump became president?” they say it’s harder to pay the bills today. That’s what working families care about: getting their costs down. Their college costs, their education costs, their healthcare costs, their automobile and infrastructure costs. Not these vaunted Wall Street statistics that the financial leaders look at and think, “Oh, we’re great.” Well they’re great. Their three percent increase in income—and it’s been greater—puts a lot of money in their pockets. Working people don’t feel any better, they feel worse because Donald Trump always sides with the special interests when it comes to things that affect working families, like healthcare, like drug costs, like college.

And in so many other areas the president’s claims were just not true.

He claims he’s gotten tough on China –  he sold out to China a month ago, everyone knows that. Because he had hurt the farmers so badly, the bulk of what happened in the Chinese agreement was them to purchase some soybeans. We don’t even know if that will happen. But it didn’t get at the real ways China hurts us.

He spoke about his desire for a bipartisan infrastructure bill. We Senate Democrats put together a trillion-dollar bill three years ago. The president hasn’t shown any interest in discussing it. In fact, when Speaker Pelosi and I went to visit him about infrastructure, he walked out. So this is typical of President Trump. Here in his speech, he brags about all these things he wants to do or is doing, but his actions bely his words.

Maybe his best metaphor was his claim to bring democracy to Venezuela. There’s a big policy there. It flopped. If the policy was working, Juan Guiado wouldn’t be in the balcony here. He’d be in Venezuela. He’d be sitting in the president’s palace, or at least waging a fight to win. He’s here and the president brags about his Venezuela policy? Give us a break. He hasn’t brought an end to the Maduro regime.

The Maduro regime is more powerful today and more entrenched today than it was when the president began his anti-Maduro. Same thing with North Korea, same thing with China, same thing with Russia. Same thing with Syria.

The matter of fact is, whenever President Trump gets over an hour to speak, the number of mistruths, mischaracterizations, exaggerations, contradictions is breathtaking. No other president comes close.

You know the old expression says, “Watch what I do, not what I say.” What the president does will be revealed Monday in his budget. That’s what he wants to do.

If past is prologue, almost everything in his budget will contradict what he said in his speech. In the past, he’s cut money for health care, cut money for medical research, cut money for infrastructure, cut money for education, cut money to help kids with college. In every one of those things.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have faith in the American people. They will not be fooled. They’re used to it. They can tell a little show here, a non-reality show, when they see one. They know it’s a show. It’s done for their amusement, their titillation. But it doesn’t improve America. Working people are not happy. The middle class is struggling to stay in the middle class. Those struggling to get to the middle class find it harder to get there, their path is steeper.

Far more than the president’s speech, the president’s budget is what truly reveals his priorities. The budget will be the truth serum. And in a few days the American people will see how many of the president’s words here are reality. I expect very few will be.

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