Weekly Democratic Address
April 21, 2017
Hello, I’m Ben Ray Luján, and I serve the people of New Mexico’s Third Congressional District. In just a few days, President Trump will complete his first hundred days in office.
Historically, the hundred-day mark is an important opportunity for the nation to take stock of a new President – to evaluate his progress and measure the accomplishments – or lack thereof.
As we evaluate his first hundred days in office, it seems like President Trump has spent more time golfing than governing.
He has broken many of the promises made on the campaign trail, and has pushed policies that hurt, rather than help, middle-class families across the country.
My background and upbringing is very different from President Trump’s, and I see the world a bit differently. My mom retired from the local school district and my dad was a union ironworker – our family didn’t have material wealth, but we had something more valuable – honesty, integrity, a strong work ethic and respect for others.
Since President Trump was sworn in, he has disrespected the rule of law, dismissed the obligations of honesty and transparency that go hand-in-hand with public service, and has issued executive orders that deepen mistrust in government and tear at the fabric of our democracy.
He has been inconsistent on foreign policy – acting erratically with critical allies while showing deference to adversaries like Russia.
Using military force – without involving our allies, articulating a long-term strategy to the American people, or consulting Congress.
At home, he has broken his promise to focus on jobs and invest in areas that have seen jobs go overseas.
Instead of working with Democrats to strengthen the economy, he forced through a disastrous health care repeal bill that would have ripped away health coverage from 24 million Americans, increased out-of-pocket costs for hard-working families, and slapped an age tax on those over 50.
Now, after TrumpCare was rejected by the American people, President Trump and Speaker Ryan are desperately trying to revive their repeal plan – only this time, it will weaken if not eliminate protections for those with preexisting conditions.
Instead of focusing on jobs and improving the lives of struggling Americans, President Trump has been preoccupied with his unconstitutional ban on refugees based on religion – and after having his Muslim ban struck down by the Court on two separate occasions – his response was not to focus on bipartisan immigration reform; it was to ridicule judges and ignore the Constitution by doubling down on his misguided policy.
Potentially most troubling, is the dark cloud of suspicion and mistrust hanging over the Trump White House regarding ties between Russian intelligence operatives and the President’s closest advisors.
The President has done everything possible to distract and mislead the American people about his connection to Russia and his truly unprecedented web of conflicts.
He has refused to divest his business ties or release his tax returns to the American people so they can understand his conflicts of interest and get to the truth.
While American workers are forgotten and he strips away protections for those workers, President Trump has made it possible to profit from his overseas business interests at any time, and he has hired his daughter and son-in-law, who maintain Trump business ties, to work in the White House.
All the while, he’s tried to stifle a free press and confuse the truth with fake news and alternative facts.
Now, more than ever, we need an independent, bipartisan investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia and his shady business dealings.
What’s the President hiding? He needs to stop the stalling, stop the distractions and stop blocking an unbiased, impartial investigation.
He’s not putting our country first; he’s putting Donald Trump first.
The most recent Gallup poll shows that fewer than half of all Americans – just 45% – believe the President keeps his promises. This is not a measure of the President’s approval – this is something more fundamental – can we trust what the man says?
When the White House tells American families that a warship carrying their sons and daughters has been deployed to a hot zone like the Korean peninsula – and then we find out it was never in the region at all. What are we to think?
We must tell President Trump: enough is enough, and to stand up for the little guy.
All across the country, we are seeing a resurgence of citizens who are becoming more involved and more active in their public life and their communities and their country. Men and women of every stripe who are supporting the causes they believe in and opposing policies they don’t.
My message to the American people is simple: I hear you.
When I came to Congress, I swore an oath – on my family’s Bible – to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. My Democratic colleagues in Congress and I will do our duty and insist that President Trump and his Administration follow the Constitution and uphold the rights of all our citizens – no matter their race, creed or economic status – not just for the next 100 days, but for the rest of Donald Trump’s presidency and beyond.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you. May God bless you and may God bless America.