Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (Dem) on Wednesday took to the Senate floor to call on Americans to resist what he described as President Donald Trump’s dangerous tilt toward authoritarianism, and recommit to a vision of “We the People” government — a government of, by and for the people, not a government for the privileged, powerful and elite.
“Throughout his candidacy, and now within the walls of the White House, President Trump has viciously, repeatedly attacked the media. He has inflamed people’s anger toward immigrants, toward religious minorities, toward refugees. And he has undermined or attacked individuals who publicly stand up to him and the shortcomings of his policies,” Merkley said. “These are strategies of authoritarian leaders throughout history, and are incompatible with our government. We must call out these strategies, and we must resist these strategies.”
The speech was part of Merkley’s “We the People” series, in which the Senator regularly speaks on Senate floor about the need to restore a government that puts the needs and priorities of everyday Americans first. Issues Merkley has discussed include economic opportunity for the middle class, the fight against carbon pollution and climate change, and campaign finance reform.
In his speech Wednesday, Merkley denounced Trump’s embrace and perpetuation of untruths and conspiracy theories, and his public attacks on media, immigrants and refugees, and other targets. Merkley drew the line between Trump’s actions and rhetoric and the spate of hate crimes and bomb threats against various minority populations.
“All of these are reasons citizens are fired up, raising their voices to oppose the authoritarian tactics of this administration,” Merkley said. “And when the president seeks to dismiss the legitimacy of these voices, I stand here today to praise those Americans for standing up; for taking on their responsibility as citizens; for creating a powerful, courageous chorus — a public stand against the authoritarian strategy of President Trump.”
“It is right for us to fight for a free, open, democratic republic with a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Merkley said.