Washington, D.C.—Congressman Eliot L. Engel issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s State of the Union address:
“There were points during tonight’s State of the Union speech when I sat in the House chamber wondering, ‘what reality is President Trump living in?’
“His description of how his first year went in office, and his claims about how his policies have created a roaring economy, were pure fantasy. And his ideas to fix the issues plaguing our country—which, once again, included his ridiculous border wall—were even more out of touch.
“The President’s belief that a soaring stock market is the direct result of his overzealous deregulation and disastrous tax bill is ludicrous. He’s also wrong to assume that the market alone is the best measure of how well our economy is doing for working families. Job growth was slower in 2017 than in any year since 2010. The trade deficit he swore to shrink actually grew. Many corporations, which enjoyed the bulk of the tax cuts given by this President and the GOP, used their tax savings to fund massive lay-offs instead of hiring new workers. Wages remain relatively stagnant and, despite what the President says, job growth in black and minority communities has slumped to its slowest pace in four years. These are hardly the markers of an economy working for everyone.
“I was also very disappointed by the President’s heated, xenophobic rhetoric regarding immigration. The President cannot claim that an immigration plan that separates families is in the best interest of America. And his insistence on building a massive, wasteful border wall will do nothing to help foster a deal between Democrats and Republicans in Congress before the March deadline for DACA.
“On health care, the President’s message completely fell flat. He touted a policy that will cause health insurance premiums to rise 10 percent on average. That amounts to an extra $1,990 in health care costs each year for a family of four. And though he did mention the opioid crisis, he has yet to put his money where his mouth his. The President again failed to call for the funding needed to combat this public health crisis, and instead of working to solve the issue, he and his Republican cohorts spent the past year trying to repeal the law that guarantees substance abuse treatment for Americans.
“Then there were the issues the President didn’t even bother to address adequately, like disaster relief assistance. On this President’s watch, four months after a devastating hurricane, nearly half a million American citizens in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. He also spent a great deal of time touting an end to his phony ‘war on energy’ without once mentioning the dire challenges we face with climate change. And let us not forget that two members of Trump’s campaign team are currently under criminal indictment, and two more – including his former national security advisor – already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
“What we heard tonight does not reflect our true, shared American values. Like most of this Presidency so far, tonight’s speech was filled with plenty of bad ideas and empty double-speak.”
Please note this press release was originally published on January 30, 2018 by Congressman Engel’s House of Representative’s office and posted to this website no sooner than 72 hours after initial publication.