((AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite))

Democrats will take a "wait and see" approach to what Trump does after his unusually low-key speech

"Actions speak louder than words. He has not done anything to unite," says Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Matthew Rozsa
March 1, 2017 6:53PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress may be getting plastered with the adjective "presidential," but Democrats in Congress are decidedly wary about embracing the new, low-key Trump.

"Actions speak louder than words. He has not done anything to unite," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told CBS News Wednesday. "He's not calling us and saying, 'What do you think?' He's not making his proposals down the middle. He's making them the hard right, favoring special interests. You know, an hour after he gave his inaugural speech, he signed an executive order that helped the banks and raised the cost of mortgages over $500 for new homeowners. That's what's going on here and that's why he's had such trouble his first forty days, and why he's gonna keep having that kind of trouble."


Schumer didn't sound any more fond of Trump than he had in an interview with The Huffington Post shortly before Trump's speech.

"I worry that it seems, at least from the first month, he has less respect for the Constitution, less respect for the separation of powers, less respect for the diversity and beauty of America in its diversity, that I worry about what he could do," Schumer said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was similarly unfavorable about the president's speech.


"The President's speech was utterly disconnected from the cruel reality of his conduct," Pelosi announced in an official statement posted after the speech. "The President speaks like a populist, but he is selling working people down the river to Wall Street. He claims that he's making America safer, but he has jeopardized the security of our country and weakened our fight against terror with his Administration's dangerous, incompetent, and unconstitutional actions."

Pelosi went on to implicitly cite Trump's policies deregulating Wall Street and pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as well as claims that he is beholden to Russia. Less powerful congressional Democrats were similarly skeptical of Trump's intentions.

"It was more conciliatory, but it wasn’t very substantive," said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who recently lost a bid to become the new Democratic National Committee chairman, argued that while he is open to seeing Trump's infrastructure plan, "he can’t just say something to me and make me think, ‘oh, awesome!’ No, no, no, no, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, and I’m not tasting nothing so far."


"Yeah, this wasn’t one of his crazier speeches, but at some point he’s actually got to follow through and do the things he’s talking about," said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

"There was a lot of talk in the speech, but we still haven’t seen a plan for any of it," said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. "Not for any of it. If we knew it was so simple, all we could do is lower the price of health care and everyone gets it, we would have done that a long time ago."  


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Chuck Schumer Democratic Party Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi

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