Pocan Denounces Trump’s Attacks, Takes a Knee on the House Floor to Join Protesters in Solidarity
"Taking a knee is becoming a broader sign of patriotism and respect for our country, for a country that can be even greater for every one of its citizens."
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today spoke on the House Floor to condemn President Trump’s divisive rhetoric and insults, and instead draw attention to the nation’s most pressing issues, and show support for Americans who exercise their right to #TakeAKnee.
“Look, instead of being attacker-in-chief, as President, Donald Trump is supposed to unify the nation, but all he does is divide us. His job is to work for the American people, to deliver on the promises and actually help Americans,” said Pocan.
“Taking a knee is becoming a broader sign of patriotism and respect for our country, for a country that can be even greater for every one of its citizens. It respects the lives lost for those in this country to fight for its ideals, which includes non-violent protest,” continued Pocan. “It’s a sign of love of country, a country with a promise that has to be for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin. So I join so many now, in the NFL and elsewhere, in taking a knee for the America that we all aspire for it to be.”
Here are the remarks, as delivered:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Our nation has a lot of issues on its plate. We have to stabilize health care. We need an infrastructure plan that creates millions of good paying jobs. We need to deal with the hurricanes and the aftermath—not just Texas and Florida, but also Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. And we have a huge problem with North Korea and nuclear weapons. And that’s just for starters.
So what did President Trump spend his weekend doing? Fixing health care for tens of millions of people? No. Lobbying for a robust job-creating infrastructure plan? No. Send aid to Puerto Rico? Mmm, not that either. De-escalate the situation in North Korea? Well actually, quite the opposite.
No, President Trump spent his weekend doing one of his favorite things—attacking Americans and various groups on his favorite medium, Twitter. His most recent attack: NFL players who use their constitutional right to freedom of speech to protest. But they’re not the only ones, and the only group, being attacked.
Back in July, the New York Times found that President Trump was on track to insult 650 people, places, and things on Twitter by the end of his first term. Well two months later, he’s certainly still at it.
Instead of attacking our nation’s problems, he’s attacking us. Let’s take a quick look at just some of the people and groups he has attacked, both as a candidate and as president. On this board we have just a handful of the people, places, and things President Trump has insulted and if we’re going to list them all, we’d probably have to have dozens of poster boards. But, here’s a sampling:
- John McCain and Jeff Flake
- Barack Obama
- Hillary Clinton—even though the election happened a year ago
- The media—from the ‘failing’ New York Times and the Amazon Washington Post, to individual reporters like Katy Tur and Mika Brzezinski
- Hamilton—the Broadway musical
- Jeff Sessions—his own Attorney General
- The Emmys
- The Russia Investigation
- Rosie O’Donnell
- The Paris Climate Agreement
- Meryl Streep
- Fake News
- John Oliver
- Mark Cuban
- Snoop Dogg
- And this weekend, the NFL and its players
- And the list goes on and on and on
Well, it’s actually easier to name the people and things that President Trump has NOT attacked than all the ones that he has. I came up with a very small list of people or groups that he has not attacked, after several extensive Google searches.
First, I don’t think the President has attacked the barber shop quartet singing organization, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, also known as SPEBSQUA. To the best of my knowledge, he has never attacked them, so maybe he’s a fan of barbershop crooners.
Although it’s fairly recent: pumpkin spice lattes. I know they just came out, it’s a sign of fall, but so far there’s no Twitter traffic from Trump tackling these tasty treats.
And finally, these “very fine people” President Trump hasn’t attacked nearly enough: the Klan, neo-Nazis, and other white supremacists.
Look, instead of being attacker-in-chief, as President, Donald Trump is supposed to unify the nation, but all he does is divide us. His job is to work for the American people, to deliver on the promises and actually help Americans. Here are the issues we need help with:
- Stabilize the Affordable Care Act to ensure tens of millions of people keep their coverage and don’t just sabotage the marketplace;
- We need good paying jobs and better wages for the American people—we need a job and infrastructure plan like the President promised, but we’ve yet to see;
- We need trade agreements that work for American workers, again another promise we’ve had with no tangible results;
- And we need aid for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after last week’s devastating hurricanes—much of what has yet to materialize.
Mr. President, while you tweet, you’re so busy tweeting about the NFL, you attack a black man for non-violence more severely than white supremacists for violence. Look, taking a knee may have started as a protest about racial inequality, about behavior by some in law enforcement discriminating against others in this country, about unarmed people of color being killed simply for the color of their skin.
I think today, taking a knee is becoming a broader sign of patriotism and respect for our country, for a country that can be even greater for every one of its citizens. It respects the lives lost for those in this country to fight for its ideals, which includes non-violent protests. It’s a sign of love of country, a country with a promise that has to be for everyone, regardless of the color of their skin.
So I join so many now, in the NFL and elsewhere, in taking a knee for the America that we all aspire for it to be.
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