Michigan governor hits Trump’s economic message in Dem response

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hit back at President Donald Trump’s “blue collar boom” Tuesday night in her Democratic response to the president's third annual address before Congress.

The Democratic governor, who was selected by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deliver the Democrats' answer to Trump’s address, focused on economic issues to counter the president’s message of unprecedented economic growth.

"It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market," the governor said. "What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans, or prescription drugs."

Trump used his address to tout the U.S. economy and reinforce his stance on stricter border security. His speech reflected the policy portions of his campaign rallies, and he largely avoided the impeachment drama overshadowing his presidency. The House impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Dec. 18. The Senate is set to acquit Trump on Wednesday afternoon after a three week trial.

Pelosi attempts to shake Trump's hand

But the State of the Union address also had made for T.V. moments, such as when Trump awarded conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Trump appeared to engage in a dramatic tiff, with the president turning away from her outstretched hand at the beginning of his speech and Pelosi tearing up her copy of his prepared remarks at the conclusion.

Whitmer, who beat Republican Gov. Bill Schuette in 2018 only two years after the state voted for Trump in the 2016 election, pushed her party to focus on "dinner-table" issues in the lead up to her election, particularly reforming access to health care and other issues that impact the middle class. Speaking Tuesday night, Whitmer reflected those priorities, focusing on the need to look away from political infighting and toward health care and child care.

"Instead of talking about what he is saying, I'm going to highlight what Democrats are doing," she said.

She cited the policies of Democratic governors and lawmakers across the country focusing on infrastructure repairs and economic mobility. She also highlighted the fact that all the 2020 Democratic hopefuls have made health care reform a central part of their platforms, portraying them as a foil to Congressional Republicans and Trump.

"Bullying people on Twitter doesn't fix bridges. It burns them. Our energy should be used to solve problems," she said. "I lost my patience for people who play games instead of solve problems.”

Dems protest Trump by chanting 'HR 3'

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) offered the Spanish-language response and focused on similar themes. Escobar represents El Paso, a city shaken by a mass shooting in August that was targeted against the city's Latino community.

Escobar lamented the state of health care in Texas, but offered an optimistic message centered on Democrats' efforts to lower drug costs and shore-up protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Escobar also went after Trump for his treatment of immigrants who entered the country without documentation and recipients of DACA. It was a rebuke to Trump's on-brand, anti-immigrant moments during his address, where he characterized undocumented immigrants as a drain on American resources. Trump spent a number of minutes linking undocumented immigrants to violent crime.

"From attacks against Dreamers, family separation, the deaths of migrant children, to the Remain in Mexico policy that sends asylum seekers into dangerous situations," Escobar said. "These are policies none of us ever imagined would happen in America in our lifetime."

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The State of the Union’s designated survivor: Interior Secretary David Bernhardt

The White House tapped Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to be the designated survivor for President Donald Trump's third State of the Union address.

Bernhardt is waiting out the annual gathering of the nation‘s lawmakers and top officials in an undisclosed, secure location in the event of a catastrophe that kills the president and cabinet.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue played the role during Trump's last Congress-wide address in 2019. The tradition dates back to the Civil War and can be seen as an indicator of secretaries' standing within the administration.

Bernhardt has served in the role since January of last year and was confirmed in April. He previously worked as an oil industry lobbyist.

Trump is delivering his address as the Senate considers two articles of impeachment against him for abusing his office and obstructing Congress. The Senate is expected to acquit Trump Wednesday.

'Four more years' chant breaks out at SOTU

A number of House Democrats, including progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley plan to boycott the address. Others appeared dressed in white in honor of the suffrage movement.

Trump plans to steer clear of the impeachment proceedings and focus on his reelection bid for 2020.

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Next week in impeachment

President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is entering its third week Monday, and the Republican-controlled Senate is expected to acquit him by Wednesday.

After the Senate on Friday voted along party lines — with a couple of exceptions — to kill a motion to hear witnesses in the trial, the trial is all but certain to finish with Trump's acquittal.

Here are the details on when and where to watch.

Where to watch the Senate trial

A livestream of the trial will be available at politico.com.

How senators plan to vote on impeachment

Keep track of which senators support and are against ousting Trump from office with POLITICO's interactive.

This week's impeachment schedule


11 a.m.: Closing arguments will begin and last for four hours. Senators will have until Wednesday's vote to speak on the trial. The four senators running for president — Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — will have the chance after closing arguments to travel to Iowa for the state's caucus.


9 p.m.: Trump will address the House and Senate for the State of the Union.


4 p.m.: The Senate will vote on Trump's articles of impeachment.

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Romney not welcome at CPAC after impeachment witness vote

Sen. Mitt Romney will not be invited to this year's CPAC, the conservative conference's host chair announced Friday in the aftermath of senators voting not to hear additional witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

"BREAKING: The "extreme conservative" and Junior Senator from the great state of Utah, @SenatorRomney is formally NOT invited to #CPAC2020," tweeted Matt Schlapp, chair of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the conference.

The former party nominee and Sen. Susan Collins were the only Republicans to side with Democrats in voting to hear witnesses in the impeachment trial.

The vote failed, all but guaranteeing Trump's acquittal next week.

While CPAC has grown into a hotbed of Trumpian support, Romney has distanced himself from the president, garnering Trump's mockery and scorn.

Trump's antipathy toward Romney long predates his impeachment, and the president has run supercuts of Romney's defeat in the 2012 presidential election to mock the senator.

Romney called for more information as reports first circulated of Trump pushing Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

"If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out," Romney tweeted in September.

Trump was charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after pushing Ukrainian officials to publicly launch a corruption investigation into the son of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Romney has previously spoken at the annual conservative conference including his first public speech since losing the 2012 election. He also spoke at CPAC in 2012 calling himself a "severely conservative governor" in an effort to shore up more support from the party's right as he sought the nomination.

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