On CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke with host Jake Tapper about her reaction to the president’s racist tweets about Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and his Baltimore district, which Trump described as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
“I don’t want to project, but he very easily could have said those same things about Detroit, it seems to me,” Tapper prompted.
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Tlaib responded: “He continues to say things about American cities all across this country… Our president has a hate agenda. He doesn’t have a policy agenda, and that’s what he falls down on,” adding, “This hate agenda is now seeping into policymaking. You see the deregulation of the EPA. [And my constituents] tell me, ‘We have a right to breathe clean air. There’s something going on here. We don’t feel like our government is protecting us.'”
All Americans should have the right to breathe clean air, but our government has failed to make that happen, and, according to a recent study, nearly 30,000 Americans died in a single year as a result of air pollution at a time when Trump is dismantling the EPA.
“Look, our President has a hate agenda. He doesn’t have a policy agenda and that’s what he falls down on,” @RepRashida says in response to Pres. Trump’s attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/6Y4e9L3EUN
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 28, 2019
On a roll, Tlaib continued her breakdown of the Trump administration and its motivations: “And it’s because of the corporation is seeping in… This is a crooked CEO in the White House that is making decisions based on profits, based on where his friends and based on what his Trump Organization, his for-profit industry would benefit from, versus what is best for the American people.”
But, she added, her Detroit constituents are not fooled: “We’re not going to get played here, especially in the 13th Congressional District. We can see it from far away that he’s incompetent, that he hasn’t been able to follow through on the promises he made.”
Later the conversation shifted to Tlaib’s state of Michigan and its economy. Tapper cited positive economic numbers and credited Trump, but Tlaib fought back.
“When it comes to pitching voters here on his reelection, the economy is better in Michigan now than it was in 2016,” Tapper said.
To which Tlaib responded, “Really? Because GM is leaving.”
Tapper continued his questioning: “I’m sure you can point to individual cases, but the unemployment rate has dropped from 5.1 percent to 4.2 percent. The GDP of Michigan has increased by nearly 8 percent. Why should Michigan voters turn over control of the economy to Democrats, when it is doing better under President Trump?”
Tlaib replied, “The numbers that come out, that’s not what’s felt here, because, yes, there are low-end, low-wage jobs. Some have multiple jobs. Some are part-time jobs.”
And when Tapper interjected to say that wages are going up, Tlaib credited the Fight for 15 movement, not Trump: “Their wages are going up because the people are demanding it go up, not because Donald Trump wanted them to go up… Because the movement of Fight For 15 is growing. The movement to hold the corporations accountable is growing. And it’s because of movement work, not because of who is president of the United States.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib says President Trump doesn't deserve to take credit for Michigan's strong economic numbers: "It's because of the people demanding it … not because they’re relying on who’s President of the United States” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/hienU9n4nJ
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) July 28, 2019
Tlaib is right. Trump hasn’t done anything to increase wages. And, in fact, wages aren’t growing that much. As Vox’s Alexia Fernández Campbell wrote, factoring in for inflation and cost of living increases, “Real wages only grew 1.9 percent in 2018.” And, Campbell notes, wages still have not reached 2006 pre-recession levels, and places especially affected by the recession have not seen wage growth like the rest of the country. Soaring stock market prices that Trump loves to brag about do not benefit the working class; they benefit the wealthy. And, as Tlaib pointed out, decreasing unemployment does not equal quality employment.
“I talk to folks that are losing their jobs, not getting paid what they need. Their pay — they’re literally working three or four jobs just to make ends meet,” Tlaib said. “So many folks at the front line are really suffering.”
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