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Whitmer says 'it's time for action' in Dems' response to State of the Union

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- With a smile and an air of optimism, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the Democratic response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union Tuesday night by sidestepping his comments to emphasize the maxim that actions speak louder than words.

From East Lansing High School where her daughters attend, Whitmer said she'd need more than her 10 minutes to respond to the president's speech -- which focused largely on the U.S. economy -- and instead would highlight what Democrats are doing -- specifically, fighting against the Republicans to improve the country's infrastructure and healthcare system.

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"You can listen to what someone says, but to know the truth, watch what they do," she said.

The public may be weary of politics, she said, referring to Trump's ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate, but it must stay engaged and not forget amid the divisiveness and dishonesty "that together we have boundless potential."

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She said Democrats were building bridges, patching roads and expanding broadband Internet across the United States in response to their constituencies' frustration with incurring costs associated with the damage an aging infrastructure costs them, including car repairs and lost wages and health issues.

Everyone benefits from improved infrastructure, but the Republicans in the Senate, led by Trump, have stymied their proposals, she said.

"Bullying people on Twitter doesn't fix bridges -- it burns them," she said, referring to the president who is known for voicing his opinions and attacking his opponents on the social media platform.

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Healthcare is personal, not political, and all Democrats currently running in the party's primary to take on Trump for the presidency in November have a plan to expand coverage to all Americans and voted in favor of the affordable care act, which is another example of how Democrats are putting actions above words, she said.

In contrast, she said Trump is asking the courts to "rip" those protections away.

"It's pretty simple," she said, "Democrats are trying to make your health care better. Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away."

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In one of the few direct references of Trump's State of the Union, Whitmer said that his championing of the stock market matters little when millions of people are struggling under debt and low wages.

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"So when the president says the economy is strong my question is: Strong for whom?" she said, stating it should not be strong for the wealthy reaping tax benefits but for the struggling middle class.

She said Democrats are working to fix this by having sent nearly 300 bills to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell's desk where they have sat ever since.

She then called on the Kentucky senator directly to move them.

Her confidence in America's future comes from its youth who, through demanding action on climate change and school shootings, have felt at times to be "the adults in the room" but it shouldn't be their job to fix the problems the adults created, she said.

She concluded her speech by stating 2020 is an important year for America as it is amid its third impeachment trial in history and will be voting to either re-elect Trump or elect a yet-to-be-named Democratic candidate.

The state of the union, and the Democratic response, comes amid the final phase of Trump's impeachment trial that is expected to end this week with an acquittal after over a week of contentious debate.

Whitmer called on the public to pay more attention to what the senators do in the impeachment trial than to what they say as the truth matters and "no one should be above the law."

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"It's time for action," she said.

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