Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is still in the mix of those said to be considering a 2020 presidential bid, fact-checked and criticized Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in a streamed video that started after 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Sanders had planned his own rebuttal to the State of the Union separate from and after the Democratic one, as The Hill reported. Many Democrats were upset that he would upstage the official party response from Stacey Abrams, who received wide praise from figures on the left and right for her effectiveness.
Sanders said the economy was booming as Trump claimed but only for “Trump’s billionaire friends.”
“The average American worker, adjusting for inflation, is earning less today than he or she did 46 years ago … despite huge increases in productivity,” Sanders said, while “hundreds of thousands of young people are unable to go to college because they can’t afford it.”
“This is not an economy we should be proud of,” Sanders continued, pointing to the U.S. having the highest rate of childhood poverty in the developed world and life expectancy that has dropped for three years in a row.
Sanders pointed to a $100 billion growth in the annual trade deficit since Trump took office, a loss of 185,000 additional jobs that went overseas, and the inability of many to afford health care.
Sanders also chided Trump for repeating “anti-woman” tropes and avoiding subjects as climate change, social safety net cuts, the war in Yemen, and comprehensive immigration reform.
“I know this is a radical idea, but I say to the President of the United States, why don’t you do what the American people want you to do rather than what wealthy campaign contributors want?” Sanders said.