Former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams delivered the response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address in which she slammed the President’s call for a wall as well as his role in the government shutdown that lasted for a record 35 days.
“So even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems—I still don’t want him to fail. But we need him to tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America,” Abrams said in a short speech immediately following Trump’s address, as reported by Newsweek.
Abrams is the first ever black woman to deliver the formal response to a President’s State of the Union address.
During the State of the Union, Trump briefly discussed illegal immigration and renewed his call for a border wall, or a physical barrier, between the United States and Mexico. He also criticized Democrats for opposing the wall and claimed that many of them voted in favor of such a proposal in the past.
“Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe,” Trump said. He also praised the societal contributions of legal immigrants and said that he wants people to come into the country in “the largest numbers ever” as long as they enter lawfully.
In her response, Abrams criticized the President for his insistence on the border wall, claiming that the country is made “stronger by the presence of immigrants” than it is by the presence of walls.
“We know bipartisanship could craft a 21st Century immigration plan, but this administration chooses to cage children and tear families apart. Compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders,” she said. “America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.”
The Democrat slammed the President for his role in the shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history capping at 35 days, as she recalled volunteering on behalf of furloughed federal workers struggling without pay.
“Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace,” she said. “The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people—but our values.”