Although President Donald Trump may have softened his tone when outlining his goals in his first speech to Congress, it is his actions, rather than his words, that concern two Democratic members of Congress the most.
Sean Patrick Maloney, who represents the 18th district, and Nita Lowey, who represents the 17th, reacted Wednesday to the Tuesday address.
Maloney said he was “all for it,” if Trump wants to work together to rebuild roads and bridges, fight the heroin epidemic, or create good-paying jobs for Hudson Valley residents.
“Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words,” he said.
The “clumsy and ill-conceived actions President Trump has taken so far” have undermined the Constitution and are making it “very difficult to work with him. But I'll stay at it,” Maloney said.
Political analysts seem to agree that the speech contained less ominous language than ones Trump made during the campaign. But it still failed to impress Lowey, whose district includes central and northwestern Westchester County and all of Rockland County.
Trump has “yet to demonstrate he understands the solemn responsibility of his job,” Lowey said.
Missing was a “positive, inclusive agenda” that would unite the nation, adding that the speech was also short on solutions to “America’s most pressing challenges," she said.
Among those challenges, Lowey said, is the current rise in anti-Semitic acts across the nation.
Last week, the president denounced the recent bomb threats against the Jewish community during a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Trump said anti-Semitism and racism are “horrible, and it’s gonna stop and it has to stop,” NBC News reported.
Tuesday, the president also referenced the shooting, threats, and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, saying “while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
Tarrytown, one of the communities in Lowey’s district, was the scene of one such threat this week. The JCC on the Hudson, which houses a pre-school center as well as programs for senior citizens, was evacuated Monday after receiving a bomb threat.
A similar incident occurred at JCC of Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale.
Swastikas were found Monday in a bathroom at John Jay High School in Lewisboro, which is in Maloney’s district.
In January, the hate symbol was found carved into a tree at the high school and drawn on seats in a school bus. Three people were charged with drawing swastikas at a playground.
To address concerns, the Katonah-Lewisboro School District has been holding community meetings and presentations, one of which was made by a Holocaust survivor.
Lowey said Trump had spoken out against the anti-Semitic attacks but he needs to do more.
Trump must, she said, “show a real commitment to protecting and defending the dignity and humanity of Americans of all faiths, backgrounds, and identities with swift and strong action.”
Trump has vowed to dramatically increase military spending, but he can’t protect “working families” if he jacks up the military budget at the “expense of programs working Americans rely on to survive and get ahead,” Lowey said.
While national defense is “paramount” and servicemen and women and men need to be supported, the country’s success also depends on access to education, health care, jobs and training, and a clean environment, Lowey said.
America’s security and economy relies on its “strong leadership in the international community” and Trump’s “unconstitutional Muslim ban” and “$21 billion dollar border wall,” are undermining this, she said.
Cutting foreign aid would decrease "stability around the world, and even military experts agree that’s a bad strategy,” Lowey said.
Trump, who owns the $19.5 million Seven Springs estate in Bedford, also owns TrumpNational Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville and Trump National Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. The Trump name also adorns Trump Tower At City Center in White Plains, Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, Trump Park Residences in Yorktown and the Donald J. Trump State Park on the Westchester/Putnam border.