Opinion

Rep. David Price: President Trump’s speech divides, stokes fears

“The president failed to address the numerous challenges we face, and he failed to take any responsibility for creating many of these problems in the first place,” says U.S. Rep David Price (D-N.C.) of Chapel Hill.
“The president failed to address the numerous challenges we face, and he failed to take any responsibility for creating many of these problems in the first place,” says U.S. Rep David Price (D-N.C.) of Chapel Hill. AP

The State of the Union Address offers the president the unique opportunity to lay out a vision for our country and concrete proposals to chart our way forward. President Trump’s self-congratulatory speech was filled with platitudes about unity and inflated claims about what a difference he has made. But actions speak louder than words, and the president’s record after one year in office speaks for itself: He has stoked division and discrimination the likes of which we haven’t seen in this nation for many decades.

The president failed to address the numerous challenges we face, and he failed to take any responsibility for creating many of these problems in the first place. If you are still struggling to make ends meet in our increasingly unequal economy, if you’re worried about your kids getting a quality education, if you’re a Dreamer, a member of the LGBT community, or a first responder whose taxes are about to go up thanks to the Republican tax scam, or perhaps a university researcher who simply believes in sound science, the President made no attempt to speak to you Tuesday night – and the list goes on and on.

The speech also lacked any tangible ideas for how to address major policy issues like infrastructure – something that could at least in theory gain bipartisan support in Congress. As ranking member on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I know that our nation’s infrastructure requires more than vague and lofty promises. It needs a clear set of goals, and most of all it needs those goals to be backed by substantial federal investments. If the President’s address last night and his budget request are any harbinger of things to come, it seems he has no interest in providing either. He also made no mention of a path forward to solve our current budget logjam, with just eight days to go until our current short-term government funding agreement runs out. This utter lack of leadership I stunning, right up there with the lack of any mention of a hostile foreign power interfering in our elections and poised to do so again.

The president also did nothing to assuage the fears of hundreds of thousands of families facing deportation and uncertainty thanks to his administration’s reckless and extreme immigration policies. The president created this mess in the first place and his Republican colleagues preferred shutting down the government rather than negotiate with Democrats in good faith about a bipartisan solution. I continue to call on Speaker Ryan to put a clean DREAM Act on the floor today, where we all know it would pass with bipartisan support.

President Trump has spent his first year in office dividing Americans and abdicating the responsibilities entrusted to him. His hateful rhetoric and lack of leadership has left many Americans fearful for our nation’s future and doubtful that government can address the challenges facing hard-working families. As we look to the year ahead, I will continue to fight on behalf of my constituents for a better deal for all Americans and push back against the toxic politics of this administration.

David Price (D-N.C.) represents the Fourth Congressional District.

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