Tonight Bernie Sanders gave his own response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech that’s already inspiring Progressives and Independents. Sanders’ speech wasn’t the official Democrat response — that honor went to Rep. Joe Kennedy III. But Sanders’ response drew a lot of excitement and interest, as more and more people seek for him to run in 2020. His response wasn’t broadcast on television. Rather, he broadcast his speech live on social media, where it’s already getting thousands upon thousands of views. He called out President Donald Trump on parts of his speech and called for real change that helps the working class. Sanders’ son, Levi, said that his father is considering a run in 2020. Many of Sanders’ supporters say that they hope he will make that move.
Here are highlights from Sanders’ State of the Union response.
Sanders began by saying that he would be addressing Trump’s lies from the campaign, promises broken, and a vision for where we should go as a nation, far different from Trump’s administration’s vision. First, Sanders acknowledged that Trump was right about the state of the economy, but said that Trump left out important details.
“When we talk about the economy, what’s most important is to understand what’s happening to the average worker. Here’s the story Trump failed to mention. Over the last year, after adjusting for inflation, the average worker in America saw a wage increase of — are you ready for this? — 4 cents an hour.”
He added that as a result of health care costs, that tiny increase decreases.
“The rich continue to get much richer while millions of American workers are working two or three jobs just to keep their heads above water.”
He said the three richest people in America saw their wealth increase by more than $68 billion since March of last year. But the average worker only saw an increase of four cents an hour. He then addressed the bonuses that Trump talked about. “What he forgot to mention si that only 2 percent of Americans reported receiving a raise or a bonus because of this tax bill… HE also failed to mention that some of the corporations that have given out bonuses, such as Walmart … are also laying off tens of thousands of their employees.”
Sanders reminded viewers that Trump had promised health insurance for everyone during his campaign, including much lower deductibles for everyone. “But as President, he did exactly the opposite. Last year, he supported legislation that would’ve thrown up to 32 million people off of the health care they have, while at the same time substantially raising premiums for older Americans.”
Then there was a break during the feed and the feed stopped for a few minutes, but then it resumed and Sanders continued.
“Trump promised not to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.” But as President, he supported a budget resolution that would have cut all of the above. During his campaign, he also talked about lowering prescription drugs and taking on the greed of the pharma industry. He talked about that again tonight, Sanders said.
“That’s what he talks about. But as President, Trump nominated Alex Ossoff, a former executive of the Eli Lilly company … to head up the Department of Health and Human Services.”
Sanders said Trump promised that the “rich would not be gaining at all” in taxes. “Well that was quite a whopper…” The new tax law provides 86 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, Sanders said, “and raises taxes on 92 million middle class families by the end of the decade.”
He continued, talking about how Trump promised to take on the greed fo Wall Street. “He’s appointed more Wall Street billionaires to his administration than any President in history.”
“But what’s also important to note is not just Trump’s dishonesty… Tonight he avoided … some of the most important issues facing our country and the world,” Sanders said. What were those issues that Trump didn’t address? Sanders said they included climate change, Citizens United, student debt, Social Security claims not processed in time, the retirement crisis, and Russia’s interference in the election. (Not everyone was happy about this part of his speech.)
“How can a President … in the year 2018 not discuss the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision? … How can he not talk about Republican governors’ efforts … to suppress the vote and make it harder for poor people or people of color to vote.”
Sanders then talked about Trump’s points during his speech. “Trump did not tell the American people that he precipitated this crisis…by repealing Obama’s executive order protecting the dreamers.” Sanders agreed that immigration needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of dividing families and reducing legal immigration. He then mentioned that Trump had originally promised Mexico would pay for the wall, which isn’t going to happen.
Protecting the dreamers is one of the great moral issues facing our country. It would be unspeakable…if we turned our backs on the 800,000 young people who were born and raised in this country and who know no other home than the United States of America.
But at this point, Sanders wasn’t done yet. He talked about rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and said that Trump’s approach was wrong. “Trump wants to encourage states to sell their infrastructure to Wall Street, to wealthy campaign contributors, and even to foreign governments… And how would (they) recoup their investments? … By imposing massive loopholes…paid by American commuters.”
He said Trump’s plan to privatize the infrastructure was an old idea that wouldn’t work. Next, Sanders discussed the opioid crisis. “You don’t help people suffering from opioid addiction by cutting Medicaid by $1 trillion dollars… We need to expand Medicaid, not cut it.
“The simple truth is, that according to virtually every poll, Donald Trump is the least popular president after one year in office of any president in modern day history. the American people do not want a president who is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-scientist, and who is trying to divide us up… ”
But then he said there was hope.
The truth is there is also a lot of good news out there… The vast majority of our people have a very different vision for the future of our country than what Trump and the Republican leadership are giving us… We are witnessing today a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back…”
Bernie continued: “We’re starting to see the beginning of a political revolution, something long overdue. These candidates from coast to coast are standing tall for a Progressive agenda…that works for the working classes of our country and not just the billionaire class.”
He talked about how healthcare needs to be guaranteed for everyone through Medicare for all. He talked about all the new candidates running for office who want to help the working class, not just the billionaire class.
Sanders talked about the environment, a $15/hour minimum wage, and free tuition. He also added that we need real criminal justice reform and immigration reform. Yes, Bernie said, the Koch brothers will be supporting Republicans.
Sanders concluded with a call for hope and for standing strong. Despite the money being spent by billionaires on future campaigns, we have the people, he said:
“When ordinary people stand up and fight for justice, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. That has been the history of America and that is our future.”
Do you want Sanders to run for President in 2020? Let us know in the comments below.