Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address
2/2/2018, 7:24 a.m.
Editor’s note: Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Rep. Kennedy, the grandson of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and grandnephew of President John F. Kennedy, was at a technical school in Fall River, Mass. Below is a full transcript of his remarks:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.
We are here in Fall River, Mass., a proud American city built by immigrants.
From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.
The students with us this evening in the auto shop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy.
Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city.
It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.
This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.
We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.
A government that struggles to keep itself open.
Russia knee-deep in our democracy.
An all-out war on environmental protection.
A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.
Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.
Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts and congregations, targeting our safest, sacred places.
And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: This is not right. This is not who we are.
It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics.
But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us — they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.
For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure.
By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.
Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.
Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: The belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.
That is the American promise.
But today that promise is being broken, by an administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.
They are turning American life into a zero-sum game where, in order for one to win, another must lose.
Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net.
We can extend health care to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts.
We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow.