President Trump’s calls for harmony rang hollow Wednesday on Capitol Hill as a bitterly divided Washington returned to business as usual.
Supporters celebrated the toned-down Trump who delivered a relatively demure 80 minute State of the Union address as Democrats derided the speech as “completely devoid” of serious ideas.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle must now turn their sights on a Feb. 8 spending deadline and find an agreement on spending caps and the fate of nearly 700,000 “Dreamers” living in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who sat somber as Trump applauded his first year in office and shared his agenda for the future, ripped into the vague calls for bipartisan efforts on infrastructure, immigration and other issues.
The DACA fix put forth by the President is downright “dangerous,” according to Pelosi.
“It is instilled fear,” she said Wednesday. “What he is doing brings tears to the eyes of the Statue of Liberty, and instills fear in the hearts of the people who are concerned about our Dreamers.”
Trump reiterated his administration's offer to protect Dreamers — the young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents at the center of Washington’s immigration battles and the recent government shutdown — in exchange for wall funding and tightening of legal immigration laws.
Despite calls for unity, Trump drew a line in the sand and made clear where he stands on the issue with a not-so-subtle nod to his nativist base.
“Americans are dreamers too,” Trump said.
Gov. Cuomo, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential challenger, knocked Trump’s message of unity.
“I don’t think his intent of bipartisanship had an agenda or ideas or policies that were bipartisan,” Cuomo said Wednesday. “To now stand up after all this animosity and say, ‘it’s a new day, bipartisan.’ He would have at least had to have a message that was bipartisan.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders mocked Pelosi’s stone-faced reaction to Trump’s address on Wednesday.
“I think she should smile a lot more often,” Sanders said. “I think the country would be better for it. She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in the Democrat party right now.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill shot back on Twitter: “I think the WH Press Secretary should lie less often,” adding that “the country would be better for it.”
Republicans gave the President 75 standing ovations during his address, but many noted that Trump’s victory lap did little to lay a path forward.
“I enjoyed the fact that the President was measured and scripted, but everything we’re talking about here stays the same,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) a moderate conservative not seeking reelection told the Washington Post.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he observed a “tepid” response from his fellow Republicans during Trump’s immigration talk.
“I mean, basically, it’s our way or the highway. You know, here’s the compromise, do it our way,” he said.