WASHINGTON – Rallying Democratic activists to have a “Resistance Summer,” Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said the Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposal is “mean-spirited” and a “threat” to Earth.
“The budget is downright mean-spirited, it’s dangerous. In my estimation, what he’s proposing is a threat to the future of America and maybe the future of the planet – that’s why we must resist. We must resist,” Lewis said during a “Democrats Live” discussion on Wednesday evening about the party’s “Resistance Summer” campaign.
“We have a right to know what is in the food we eat. We have a right to know what is in water we drink. We have a right to know what is in the air we breathe and this administration wants to take us back to another time, to another place. We’ve come too far. We’ve made too much progress. We don’t want to go back. We want to go forward, and as Democrats we will go forward,” he added.
DNC Deputy Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) lamented the budget proposal for reducing the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget, the EPA by a third, the SNAP food assistance program and the Community Development Block Grant program, which funds a part of the Meals on Wheels program in some states.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently said that Meals on Wheels gets the majority of its funding from a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program that is not subject to cuts in the budget.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was recently appointed special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. Lewis and Ellison said Congress should form an “independent commission” to investigate potential connections.
“I’m not suggesting people be extraordinarily patient, but the truth will come out. You cannot hide the truth,” Lewis said.
“The only thing missing now, and maybe it’s not missing, I think there’s reason to believe it’s not missing, is whether there was direct evidence of collusion. And now we hear he’s pressuring people in the intelligence community to say there was no collusion,” Ellison said.
“We must save the Constitution and protect our democracy for the generation yet unborn. We must do it for our children and their children and ours,” Lewis said.
“This is bigger than party; it’s a patriotic moment,” Ellison said.
Ellison encouraged activists to record video of people’s stories and opinions about the potential effect of Trump’s budget with their smartphones.
“We don’t want just statistics,” he added. “We want stories because emotion drives choice – not statistics, because if you can make somebody feel something you can make someone take action, and that is what we’re all going to have to do. We’ve all got to become storytellers.”
The participants were asked via social media what advice they would like to share with President Trump if given the opportunity.
“I don’t think I’m the right person to – I’ve met every president since Kennedy. I met President Nixon when he was not in the White House and I’ve never seen anything like this, never,” Lewis replied.
Liberal activist Heather Booth said real people’s stories and “human misery” do not “seem to matter” to Trump.
“What I think our job really is – to engage with the American people,” she said.
Ellison said he would advise Trump to take time to volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program since his budget would reduce Community Development Block Grants.
“If the program didn’t exist, many of these people would have to be in a nursing home,” he said.