Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) gave a response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, laying out a progressive vision for the country.
Sanders said he wanted to "do more than just" respond to Trump’s speech, explaining that the U.S. needs to deal with "major crises."
Recent Stories in Politics
"I want to offer a vision of where we should go as a nation which is far different than the divisiveness, dishonesty, and racism coming from the Trump Administration over the past year," Sanders said.
His online video stream also cut out for several minutes, prompting him to say when he returned, "Well as they say, technology is great when it works, so if you’re still with us, we appreciate it very much."
Sanders also repeated the false claim that Republicans’ tax reform plan provides 83 percent of benefits to the top one percent.
"The tax reform legislation Trump signed into law a few weeks ago provides 83 percent of the benefits to the top one percent, drives up the deficit by $1.7 trillion, and raises taxes on 92 million middle-class families by the end of the decade," he said.
Factcheck.org called this stat "misleading" because it speaks to a point years in the future when tax cuts for the middle class are scheduled to expire.
Sanders, who has not said whether he will run for president in 2020, called for new government spending, such as a single-payer health care program. He said his progressive vision is shared by the grassroots in the country that is looking to fight Republicans in upcoming elections.
"In an unprecedented way, we are witnessing today a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back," Sanders said.
"Further, we are seeing the growth of grassroots organizations and people from every conceivable background starting to run for office—and they’re running for school board, city council, state legislature, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate," he added.
Sanders also expressed confidence that these people would help bring about the progressive goals he has for America.
"These candidates understand that the United States has got to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare for All, single-payer program," Sanders said.
Sanders also lambasted Trump for not mentioning various issues he seeks to prioritize, including climate change and the "disastrous" Citizens United Supreme Court decision. As he has frequently done in the past, Sanders focused on the supposedly malign influence of Charles and David Koch.
"How can a president of the United States not discuss the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision which allows billionaires like the Koch brothers to undermine American democracy by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who will represent the rich and the powerful?" he asked.
He finished with a call to action for progressives to turn out in this year’s elections, saying that the Koch brothers have money but "we have the people."
"Believe me, I understand that the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2018 midterm elections supporting the Trump agenda and right-wing Republicans," Sanders said. "They have the money, an unlimited amount of money. But we have the people, and when ordinary people stand up and fight for justice there is nothing that we cannot accomplish."