WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump appeared before a divided Congress for the first time on Tuesday to appeal to lawmakers’ sense of unity at a moment of deepening partisan spite.
His calls for conciliation were met with mostly stone-faced silence from Democrats, who bitterly oppose his agenda and accuse him of hastening the decline in cross-party cooperation. It was his first time addressing the Democratic-majority House, and his political nemesis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, offered applause only sparingly.
“We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution,” Trump told Congress near the beginning of his State of the Union address, claiming in his speech that he is putting forward “the agenda of the United States.”
Yet it didn’t take long for Trump’s irritation at Democrats to rise to the surface.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” the President said to only a smattering of applause. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”
Democrats have promised they will use new investigative powers to probe everything from Trump’s tax returns to his policy decisions to members of his Cabinet. The special counsel Robert Mueller is also continuing his look into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Members of Congress: the state of our union is strong,” Trump said to Republican applause and chants of “USA.”
“That sounds so good,” he said.
Despite the partisan jabs, Trump sought to portray his agenda — one frequently defined by deeply divisive policies — as a nonpartisan venture.
Sections on fairer drug pricing, criminal justice revisions and combating HIV/AIDS have been included in a nod to areas that have garnered bipartisan support. Yet immigration — which has divided Washington — remains a major focus of the speech.
Ahead of the address, Trump was sniping…