WASHINGTON — President Trump implored Congress Tuesday to move past political gridlock in favor of bipartisan cooperation before he dug in on the border security fight that threatens to shut down the government yet again.
“We can make our communities safer, our families stronger, our culture richer, our faith deeper, and our middle class bigger and more prosperous than ever before,” Trump said during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.
“But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution — and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”
But while Trump opened his remarks to the now-divided Congress with a call for a new era of unity, he showed little willingness to compromise on some of his positions — including his stance on a border wall — that were central to fight that led to the last shutdown. Federal agencies could shutter yet again if lawmakers can’t reach a deal by their Feb. 15 deadline.
Democrats in North Carolina weren’t impressed by Trump’s speech. They accused the president of repeating rhetoric he’s used in the past and exacerbating the partisan divide that led to the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
Congressman David Price, who was joined in Washington by a federal worker impacted by the recent government shutdown, dismissed the speech as featuring a “hollow pledge of unity.” In a statement, Price stated that “In tonight’s State of the Union address, the nation heard President Trump, once again, deliver a hollow pledge for unity while employing lies, fear, and division to manufacture a political crisis. As we have repeatedly and unfortunately learned over the last two years, the President’s scripted remarks are often followed by unhinged twitter rants and a discriminatory agenda that undermines our collective values and further divides our nation.”
“While President Trump once again chose fear and division as his preferred path, House Democrats will continue to advance an agenda that moves our nation forward in a united way,” the statement concluded.
In Trump’s first address to Congress since Democrats clinched control of the House in the November elections, he called on lawmakers to choose “greatness” over “gridlock.” The speech, originally slated for late last month, was delayed as Trump sparred with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over the 35-day shutdown that ended in late January.
“Republicans and Democrats must join forces again to confront an urgent national crisis,” Trump said.“The Congress has 10 days left to pass a bill that will fund our Government, protect our homeland, and secure our southern border.”
Pelosi slammed the speech as more of what the nation has come to expect from the President. In a statement, the Speaker said that “It will take days to fact-check all the misrepresentations that the President made tonight. Instead of fear-mongering and manufacturing a crisis at the border, President Trump should commit to signing the bipartisan conference committee’s bill to keep government open and provide strong, smart border security solutions.”
Despite congressional Democrats’ insistence that they won’t provide the $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border, Trump doesn’t appear to be budging. Read more