World / Politics

Trump calls Democrats 'treasonous' for chilly State of the Union reception

Reuters, AP

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday accused Democrats of being “un-American” and “treasonous” for their lack of applause during his State of the Union address last week when he spoke of rising wages and historically low African-American unemployment.

“They would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well. That’s what it means,” Trump said during an address on tax reform at a manufacturing plant in Ohio. “It’s very selfish. It was bad energy.

“They were like death and un-American,” said Trump. “Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ I mean, eh. I guess, why not? Can we call that treason, why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” he said.

Democrats gave Trump a decidedly cool reaction during the State of the Union. While falling unemployment has begun to lift wages, business executives are mixed on how much to credit Trump.

“The freedom not to clap for ideas you disagree with is called the 1st Amendment,” Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon said on Twitter.

Over the past four years, the U.S. economy has added 10 million jobs and the overall unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2000. Wage growth, however, has been sluggish, although it has shown signs of picking up recently. During the address, the president touted his tax cuts and regulation rollbacks as the reason Americans are finally seeing more wages after “years and years” of stagnation.

Even as Trump celebrated the tax cuts and the economy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a wild ride during his nearly hourlong speech, falling roughly 1,000 points before erasing some of the losses. Trump has frequently commented on gains by the market during his first year in office, but he stayed silent on the day’s gyrations during his appearance at an Ohio company that makes cylinders.

At its close, the Dow had fallen more than 1,150 points, its largest single-day point drop, erasing its gains for the year.

During what turned into a wide-ranging speech, Trump most notably criticized House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for describing as “crumbs” the bonuses of $1,000 or more that some companies, including the one he spoke at, are giving their workers as a result of the tax cuts.

He called Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, “a rich woman who lives in a big beautiful house.” He said the “crumbs” talk was not a “good day” for Pelosi. He referred to her as the Republicans’ “secret weapon” and predicted his party will fare well in November’s congressional election.

Pelosi responded on Twitter, writing: “Every American should be alarmed by how @realDonaldTrump is working to make loyalty to him synonymous with loyalty to our country. That is not how democracy works.”

White House spokesman Raj Shah, asked during the flight about a steep market drop on Friday, told reporters traveling with Trump that despite recent fluctuations “the fundamentals of this economy are very strong and they’re headed in the right direction,” particularly for the middle class.

Shah cited wage growth, low unemployment and the number of companies doling out employee bonuses or investing in the U.S.

“We’re very excited about the strength of our economy,” Shah said.