Pelosi hammers Trump's speech: A 'manifesto of mistruths'

Pelosi hammers Trump's speech: A 'manifesto of mistruths'
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Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Trump says he'd sign bill funding USPS but won't seek changes to help mail voting On The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' MORE (D-Calif.) went after President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE's State of the Union speech late Tuesday, characterizing it as a long collection of lies designed to mislead voters about the administration's track record, particularly on the issue of health care.

In a statement issued shortly after the speech ended, Pelosi said Trump's message was not only deceitful, but exposed a president unfit to hold an office of public trust.

"The manifesto of mistruths presented in page after page of the address tonight should be a call to action for everyone who expects truth from the President and policies worthy of his office and the American people," Pelosi said in a statement. "The American people expect and deserve a President to have integrity and respect for the aspirations for their children."

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Trump, since taking office, has fought hard to repeal the Obama-era Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expanded health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and barred insurance companies from denying coverage — or charging higher costs — to those patients with pre-existing conditions. The administration is currently promoting a lawsuit to scrap the ACA in its entirely.

Yet Trump used his annual State of the Union speech to tout his health care policies, promoting "an ironclad pledge to American families" to "always protect patients with pre-existing conditions."

"That is a guarantee," he said.

The discrepancy was not lost on the Democratic lawmakers gathered on the House floor, who wasted no time afterward pointing out the contrast.

"This guy has no shame. I mean, he can't help but lie," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee. "He gets up there and starts talking about protecting people with pre-existing conditions. He spent the last three years trying to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions. He's in court right now trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act."

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Pelosi delivered a similar message.

"We had been told the President would have a positive message on health care," she said. “However, President Trump’s address tonight gave no comfort to the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions or the families struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need.  

"Once again, President Trump was not truthful about his actions in court to destroy pre-existing condition protections."

Even before releasing her statement, the Speaker made it no mystery that she was appalled by Trump's annual speech, ripping up her copy of the speech as Trump concluded his remarks and still stood on the dais.

Republicans were indignant, criticizing Pelosi for the public display of displeasure.

"We can have reasonable disagreements, but come on. ... We're celebrating our greatness as a country," said Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyRepublicans face worsening outlook in battle for House The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida Internal Democratic poll shows tight race in key Texas House district MORE (R-Texas). "I just found it extraordinary that there was so much negativity by my Democratic colleagues."

Yet Democrats were equally disgusted with Trump's speech, equating it to a campaign rally, and rushed quickly to Pelosi's defense.

"What do you do when you have a speech that was all about polarizing this country," said McGovern, "when you turn a State of the Union into a campaign rally."