LOWELL – Minutes after President Donald Trump wrapped up his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan expressed disappointment the commander and chief didn’t provide “more substance and more plans” during his address.
“Especially as it pertains to health care,” Trahan said. “Those are the issues I hear about every time I go home.”
Trahan, of Westford, the representative of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District, referenced constituents concerns passed her way regarding high prescription drug prices, and stated concerns about the possible loss of health care and Medicare.
“And then families who have lost loved ones to substance use disorder,” Trahan said. “Those are real issues we have to tackle.”
During Tuesday night’s address, Trump criticized Democrats who have endorsed Medicare-for-all, stating he would “never let socialism destroy American health care.”
Trump stated 130 lawmakers present for the address endorsed legislation “to impose a socialist takeover of our health-care system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans.”
Trahan called socialism a buzzword used by Republicans.
“I think they like to paint Democrats as socialists,” Trahan said. “That seems to be a tactic they use. Nothing could be farther from the truth.”
She referenced efforts among lawmakers to allow negotiations on the price of prescription drugs directly with pharmaceutical companies.
“We know the U.S. is paying five, six, sometimes eight times the price of other developed countries,” Trahan said. “That’s just wrong. That’s not socialism. That’s called making life-saving drugs available to people who need those medications.”
Trahan also commented on Trump steering clear of his impeachment trial during the State of the Union, with the Senate’s vote pending Wednesday. (He was acquitted Wednesday afternoon.) She added no one “feels good” about the impeachment process.
“I even try to put myself in the shoes of Republican senators who voted against having witnesses,” Trahan said. “That’s really hard to live with that vote. It’s not going to age well. I don’t think anybody believes you can have a fair trial without calling witnesses or having evidence.
“I think there was a lot of hooting and hollering over the typical buzzwords that have been used like ‘socialism,’ ‘criminal aliens’ and ‘government schools’ — I think I went to one of those, I think it’s called a public school — but it was all to deflect and distract the American people about what’s really at play, which is this president has abused his power,” she continued.
Trahan added while Trump has abused his power, “He hasn’t done a whole heck of a lot to help the American people.”
Trahan did take positives away from Tuesday night’s address, stating “it was really nice to hear him talk about infrastructure.”
“We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure,” Trump said, to a standing applause on both sides of the aisle on Tuesday night.
Trump called on the lawmakers to vote in favor of a bill from U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, that would include investments on new roads, bridges and tunnels across the U.S.
“We so desperately need to rebuild our bridges and our roads and invest in mass transit,” Trahan said.
“The president campaigned on this issue,” she added. “We’ve been dismayed that for the past three years he hasn’t put forth a proposal, so the fact he mentioned it tonight is something we can anchor onto and try to work with him on.”
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis