Weekly Democratic Address
February 17, 2017
The America that I know – that I spent 23 years serving in uniform – is a hopeful nation. It is a strong and proud nation.
We recognize that there are dark periods in our history, times when we could have made better choices or done things differently, but Americans are rightfully proud of our country and its history. And they should be.
Our country is a beacon of hope and freedom for people around the world because of the blood, sweat and tears of the brave men and women of all backgrounds who built this nation and fought to protect it.
But today, many Americans are concerned that our new President is not living up to the standards to which we should hold our leaders.
Let’s be honest, this is not the Presidency we were promised. Americans deserve a President whose words they can trust, but the number of broken promises are adding up quickly.
Before the election, Mr. Trump promised he’d fully remove himself from his business empire and his foreign business interests – something government ethics experts called for. He didn’t. It’s a broken promise that raises serious ethical questions about whether he’s putting the American people first or using the trappings of the Presidency to line his own family’s pockets.
The President told farmers in the Midwest and middle-class factory workers across the country that he’d fight for their jobs. That’s already proving to be another broken promise. Those farmers he promised to protect are now at risk of losing their livelihoods because of the President’s reckless threats towards Mexico. Those farmers in Illinois and across the Midwest will be the ones who lose their jobs, their homes and their farms if Mexico stops purchasing billions of dollars of corn each year from our country – as they threatened this week in response to the President’s careless rhetoric.
We can and must do better. Senate Democrats believe we need officials at every level of government capable of doing their jobs. Despite the President’s promise to “drain the swamp,” he has selected senior advisors and cabinet officials who are unqualified, poorly-vetted and ethically challenged – many are his old Wall Street friends.
For Treasury Secretary, he chose “foreclosure king” Steve Mnuchin, a man who made millions pioneering increasingly deceptive and predatory tactics to rob hardworking Americans of their savings and their homes while contributing to the 2008 financial crisis.
He wanted Andy Puzder to be his Labor Secretary. That’s the same Andrew Puzder whose fast-food businesses required employees to serve and prepare food even when they were sick – though I don’t know why he thought people would want to eat food prepared by sick workers.
And for his National Security Advisor, President Trump’s choice left himself exposed to blackmail, betrayed our country’s interests and – just 24 days into the job – lost the trust of the Commander-in-Chief and the American people.
Senate Democrats know the American people deserve an independent and transparent investigation into who at the White House knew about General Flynn’s contacts with the Russians and when they knew it.
We also know we need a National Security Advisor who can be trusted, a Treasury Secretary who wants to keep working families in their homes and a Labor Secretary who actually cares about workers.
This President has certainly made a lot of promises, but so far, he has an abysmal record of keeping them.
We can and should expect much more from our leaders, but the bare minimum the American people should accept in a President is truth and accountability.
Senate Democrats are here working to hold the President to his promises, to make Washington accountable to you and to protect middle-class jobs. We’re here to fight for you.