Washington (February 28, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after President Donald Trump gave an address to a joint session of Congress. Senator Markey was joined at tonight’s address by Said Ahmed. Mr. Ahmed came to Boston, Massachusetts at the age of twelve, fleeing violence in his home country of Somalia. During college, Mr. Ahmed was a four-time All-American and member of the U.S. National Team for track and field. Today, he is a proud teacher in the Boston Public Schools, founder of a non-profit aimed at developing young Somali refugees in Boston, United Somali Youth, and a respected member of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.
“I was honored to be joined by refugee, Muslim, athlete and Boston public school teacher Said Ahmed. Said fled violence in Somalia as a child and now dedicates every day of his life to helping students and others in his community maximize their abilities. Said is an inspiration, and I am proud to have had him join me at tonight’s presidential address.
“Tonight, instead of an address about the promise of a unified nation, President Trump gave the American people a list of misguided campaign promises. We cannot balance our budget on the backs of working families. We cannot undermine public education and repeal the Affordable Care Act and expect our nation to prosper. We cannot cut foreign aid and funding for diplomacy and ensure our national security. We cannot pursue peace while calling for a new nuclear arms race with Russia. We cannot rebuild our middle class with massive tax giveaways for the wealthy and special interests.
“President Trump said he wants to promote clean air and water, but he has ordered drastic budget cuts to the EPA and today ordered the roll back of the Clean Water Rule. We need the President to commit to a clean energy economy that creates jobs and ensures American climate leadership around the world.
“Building a wall is not comprehensive immigration reform. We need a national strategy to bring the millions of hard-working immigrants out of the shadows so that families don’t live in fear of raids and deportation. The President may have told us to ‘set free the dreams of our people”, but he should remember that our people includes immigrants, refugees, the LBGTQ community, and the working class.
“I agree with President Trump that we must put trivial fights behind us. I will seek consensus whenever possible – on infrastructure, on the opioid crisis, on prescription drug prices – but I will never compromise on our core democratic principles. I intend to hold the President accountable every day and fight to ensure that the United States is a place where all Americans can succeed.”