© 2023 WYPR
20th Anniversary Background
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Maryland's Democrats say president's speech fell short

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

While Republicans praised President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night, Democrats in Maryland’s Congressional delegation had little good to say about it.

"The first sentence was, 'let's come together as a country' and a lot of the rest of the speech was just poisonous divisive rhetoric,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen. “It was one of these speeches where we have to remind ourselves to watch what the President does, not what he says."

Republicans got quite a work-out repeatedly standing and showering the president with applause, but Van Hollen was among those Democrats who barely got out of their seats throughout the evening.

He recalled Democrats laid out a massive infrastructure plan when Trump first came into office and said they were eager to work with the president on it. But he said the $1.5 trillion road and bridge package Trump called for in his speech didn’t come with any details.

"Oh, look. I mean, he sprinkled his speech with a couple policy one-liners that Democrats have strongly supported,” Van Hollen said. “Modernizing our national infrastructure, reducing the cost of prescription drugs- the difference is that we've actually put real proposals on the table."

Maryland’s other senator, Ben Cardin, is the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and he said he was troubled by the president’s call for increasing the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

"Well, I must tell you, the idea of building a bigger nuclear arsenal is counter to what we're trying to do globally on non-proliferation,” Cardin said.

Meanwhile, Republicans hailed the president’s speech, especially his assessment of the strong and growing U-S economy.