Former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says U.S. President Donald Trump is not holding up his promise to help people "struggling to make ends meet," and that his commitment to national security is "being tested."
Beshear gave the customary Democratic response to Trump's joint address to Congress Tuesday night.
"President Trump is ignoring serious threats to our national security from Russia, who's not our friend, while alienating our allies, who've fought with us side-by-side and are our friends in a dangerous world."
Beshear said Trump's approach to security makes the United States less safe, and said he has "all but declared war on refugees and immigrants."
Trump drew sharp criticism and court challenges over his executive order that suspended the nation's refugee admittance program and banned entry to anyone from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.He plans to introduce a revised version of that order soon.He has directed federal authorities to increase enforcement against people who are in the U.S. illegally and have committed crimes.
"The president can and should enforce our immigration laws," Beshear said."But we can protect America without abandoning our principles and our moral obligation to help those fleeing war and terror, without tearing families apart, and without needlessly jeopardizing our military men and women fighting overseas."
Trump's orders have, so far, not affected the people who came to the United States illegally as children, and who were protected from immigration enforcement under an Obama order called the Dream Act.
Astrid Silva, an immigration activist and "Dreamer," said in another Democratic response that Trump's actions cannot be allowed to become normalized.
"This merits that those of us who understand the risks for women, for the LGBT community, for the environment, for workers, for immigrants, for youth and for refugees, come together to protect our communities from deportations, from violence and discrimination," she said.
Silva, who gave her address in Spanish, further said, "Immigrants and refugees are the soul and promise of this country and we are not alone."
Trump in his speech Tuesday called on Congress to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care program, which he has frequently called a costly "disaster."Democrats defend it as a program that brought insurance to 20 million people who previously lacked coverage.
Beshear said the system does need what he called "some repairs," but that so far Republican proposals would result in fewer people being covered and families having to pay more to get less coverage.
He also criticized Trump as failing to help the nation's poor, saying that so far the president has made it more difficult for families to get mortgages, rolled back necessary oversight rules for financial companies and filled his Cabinet with "billionaires and Wall Street insiders who want to eviscerate the protections that most Americans count on and that help level the playing field."
Trump has directed his own criticisms through Twitter and in public remarks at U.S. intelligence agencies, judges whose decisions he disagreed with and members of what he has described as an "unfair" media.Beshear said those statements are "reckless" and erode democracy.
"Real leaders don't spread derision and division," Beshear said."Real leaders strengthen, they unify, they partner, and they offer real solutions instead of ultimatums and blame."