WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) told PJM that he thinks the Democrats stayed seated when President Trump mentioned the record-low unemployment rate for African-Americans and near-lowest rate for Hispanics during his State of the Union address because “they dislike Trump more than they like their own constituents.”
Political reporters and commentators noted that most Democrats did not stand or applaud when President Trump mentioned the efforts to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs or his support for a “paid family leave” plan. Most Democrats also stayed seated when Trump said Americans are united under the motto “In God We Trust.”
“We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag,” Trump said. “Together, we are rediscovering the American way. In America, we know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of the American life. Our motto is ‘in God we trust.’”
Gingrich, a 2012 presidential candidate, offered his opinion of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump’s first State of the Union address.
“I think they dislike Trump more than they like their own constituents. I think the Democrats have concluded that they dislike Trump so much. I think they have never recovered from expecting Hillary [Clinton] to win and turning around with great shock between 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock discovering that Trump had won, and I think they never recovered. They’re almost like shell-shocked,” Gingrich said during an interview at the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting on Wednesday evening.
The Trump administration’s latest immigration proposal provides “legal status for DACA recipients and other DACA-eligible illegal immigrants, adjusting the timeframe to encompass a total population of approximately 1.8 million individuals.” About 800,000 undocumented immigrants have registered under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Trump’s plan also includes funding for a border wall system and ends “extended-family chain migration” as well as the visa lottery.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats have said they oppose Trump’s proposal, particularly over the elimination of the visa lottery and family reunification, which would be limited to spouses and minor children under the president’s plan.
“It’s pretty hard to understand why people who claim they want to help immigrants would turn down almost three times as many people as Obama proposed and I think, again, it tells you how desperate the Democrats are. They would rather block everything and hope that they can win an election than actually help the people they claim to favor,” Gingrich said.
“I think it’s also ideological,” he added. “They’re a very left-wing party and everything he’s doing from conservative judges to deregulation to tax cuts violates their ideology.”
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) recently told PJM that Republicans might support a smaller version of Trump’s initial immigration proposal that offers protections to the existing DACA recipients, along with some border security measures, and Congress could “build” on that with a separate bill in the future.
“They’ve talked about different-size packages, and you take that as a first step and make sure you get DACA done and get border security done, so it’s possible we can go that way and then come back and try to address some of the immigration reform issues,” Hoeven said.
Gingrich advised Trump to reject a smaller bill.
“I doubt if Trump would sign it,” Gingrich said. “I wouldn’t if I were him.”