Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy says President Donald Trump's administration "isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection."
Delivering the minority party's traditional response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night, Kennedy said millions of Americans have been left "anxious, angry, afraid" during the first year of the Trump administration. He said the president has created a Justice Department that is "rolling back civil rights by the day" for people of color and the gay, lesbian and transgender community, and is pitting Americans from coast to coast as "bitter rivals" against each other.
The audience at the Diman Regional Technical School in Fall River, Massachusetts, gave him a standing ovation when he said the Trump administration has launched an assault on "the American Promise"... "the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count."
Highlighting his party's new slogan, "A Better Deal," the 37-year-old grandson of late Senator Robert F. Kennedy and great-nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy said Democrats will fight for better wages for workers as well as child care and educational opportunities that are affordable, as well as "a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction." He also advocated for some of the same policies Trump highlighted in his own speech, including trade agreements "that are fair" and infrastructure improvements.
He received another standing ovation when he made a promise to the 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents at a young age known as "Dreamers": "You are part of our story, we will fight for you. We will not walk away."
Kennedy closed his speech with a call for Americans to "have faith...the State of the Union is hopeful, resilient, enduring."