Gretchen Whitmer goes after Trump on health care

Fact checking the president's speech

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WASHINGTON – Delivering the Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer described the difference between the two parties as “pretty simple.”

“Democrats are trying to make your health care better,” Whitmer said.“Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away.”

Her focus on policy issues came after an acrimonious State of the Union address that began with a refusal by Trump to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand and ended with the speaker ripping up the text of the president’s speech.

Whitmer ended her remarks by referencing the vote the Republican-led Senate is expected to take Wednesday to acquit Trump of the two articles of impeachment approved by the Democrat-controlled House. 

“The truth matters. Facts matter. And no one should be above the law,” she said. “It’s time for action. Generations of Americans are counting on us.  Let’s not let them down.”

But on the eve of the conclusion of Democrats’ effort to remove Trump through impeachment, Whitmer’s speech showed how the party is trying to pivot to issues like health care that helped them take back the House in 2018.

Lawmakers brought more than 80 patients, doctors and health care advocates from across the country to sit in the spectators’ gallery as Trump spoke.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivers the State of the State address at the State Capitol in Lansing, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

 “Health care. Health care. Health care,” Pelosi said before the speech. “The three most important issues for America’s working families.”

Freshman Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, who delivered the party’s Spanish language response, accused Republicans in her state of refusing to lift a finger to improve access to health care. Texas is one of the largest states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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