Local politicians turn deaf ears to bipartisan pleas from Trump

In Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address President Donald J. Trump called for my bipartisanship in hopes to unify the County – a message that local leaders did not receive.

“The first year of the Trump administration has been one of most significant tests of our democracy in our lifetime,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) about Trump’s State of the Union speech. “In tonight’s State of the Union address, President Trump was eager to take credit for things he had nothing to do with and ignore the harm he has imposed on the country over the last year.”

The State of the Union, an annual speech that most modern presidents have given to a joint session of Congress, has become a platform for presidents to speak to the nation directly and talk about their policy achievements and goals. During his speech, Trump highlighted a tax cut he signed in December, decreasing unemployment and increasing economic growth as his main accomplishment. In response Democrats have criticized the Trump’s touted accomplishments saying the majority of the new growth has gone to the nation’s wealthiest citizens.

While Trump called for bipartisanship, border security, end to chain migration and proper reverence for American symbols such as the flag, Democrats in attendance Tuesday night, watched mostly silent as Republicans gave standing  ovations, one after another, to Trump’s proposals and accomplishments.

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people,” Trumps said in his State of the Union address. “This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Trump’s speech missed an opportunity to unite Democrats and Republicans on a key issue – immigration.

“Very, very light on any policy substance and completely devoid of content when it comes to meaningful bipartisan action. We were told there was going to be some sort of big immigration breakthrough tonight,” Raskin said of Trump’s speech in a Facebook video message.

County Executive Ike Leggett said he liked the idea that Trump had in trying to unify the country, but the message fell flat to him because of the president’s previous actions and rhetoric.

“I liked the rhetoric of asking us to come together and work and to try to come together but just his rhetoric and his actions have been inconstant with that,” Leggett said.

Leggett said Trump’s rhetoric calling for the Department of Justice to investigate his former opponent Hillary Clinton, and what he perceived to be undermining of the justice system was divisive.

On Wednesday, the night after Trump’s speech, Gov. Larry Hogan delivered his State of the State address in Annapolis hitting on a similar tone as Trump’s speech bipartisanship. While Hogan did not comment on Trump or his speech, Hogan decried partisanship in Washington D.C.

“Instead of becoming more like Washington, let’s send a message to Washington by putting the politics aside and coming together for all Marylanders,” Hogan said in his state of the state speech.

Like the State of the Union, Hogan spoke to Maryland’s legislature in the annual speech for the state’s chief executive.



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