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Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Democrats Claim VICTORY In Trump’s First Month, Vow More OBSTRUCTION
Stephen Dinan and David Sherfinski
Far from acclimating to President Trump, Democrats are growing even more resistant, claiming they won the first month under the administration and predicting a string of victories in coming months as they increase their level of obstruction.
Egged on by their political base, which has demanded that no Trump policy go unopposed, Democratic leaders said they erected historic roadblocks to the Cabinet and have thrown a wrench into Republican plans to repeal Obamacare.
“We Democrats are steeled for the fight, and it’s already paying dividends,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. “Frankly, we had a better first month than I think most would have imagined.”
As Mr. Trump prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, Democrats said their next battle is to put a human face on Mr. Trump’s immigration policies.
A number of Democrats have invited illegal immigrant Dreamers to be in the audience for Mr. Trump’s speech, while others are bringing immigrants or visitors from the seven countries that the president targeted with his extreme vetting executive order, which was blocked in the courts.
Democrats even tapped a Dreamer to deliver the Spanish-language response to Mr. Trump’s speech.
Mr. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Mr. Trump’s wildly inconsistent campaign will come back to haunt him — particularly the populist promises he hasn’t kept.
Mrs. Pelosi said that in the first 40 days under President Obama, with a Democrat-led Congress, her party passed the economic stimulus, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and boosts to a children’s medical insurance coverage program.
“Tomorrow, 40 days after his inauguration, President Trump and the Republican Congress will have not lifted a finger to create jobs or raise wages for hardworking American families,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Mr. Schumer said Democrats have maintained remarkable unity in opposition to the president, orchestrating a historic delay of his Cabinet picks and mounting a fierce defense of the Affordable Care Act.
“Who would have thought one month after the fight over the ACA, it’s the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are in disarray, on defense,” he said. “I predict the discord in their party will grow.”
Both Republicans and Democrats are gambling on what Mr. Trump will do.
Democrats believe that if they hold firm in their obstruction, Mr. Trump eventually will be so poisonous that congressional Republicans will have to turn on him, effectively kneecapping his presidency. Republican leaders, though, figure that if the president can score some wins and tone down his penchant for unforced errors, they can deliver on a host of promises.
“I predict the discord in their party will continue to grow,” Mr. Schumer said.
Republican leaders said they are waiting for Democrats’ “fever” to break.
“I haven’t given up the hope that at some point here we’ll get back to a more normal approach,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
He said upcoming tests for Democrats will be supplemental spending bills in April and Mr. Trump’s infrastructure package.
“There are some things coming along that I think, you know, once the fever breaks on the other side, that I think there will be an interest in doing the business of government that the American people expect us to do,” he said.
It’s unclear whether the party’s base will give Democrats the opportunity to do that.
A handful of groups are planning a protest outside the White House on Tuesday evening. Organizers include the American Civil Liberties Union, MoveOn.org, the DailyKos progressive website and the Our Revolution group of supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders.
Headlining the protest will be Rosie O’Donnell, an actress and television personality who has feuded for years with Mr. Trump.
The ACLU last week announced an online rallying tool, PeoplePower.org, which it said was to take its fight beyond the courtroom and “to the streets.”