President Donald Trump accused congressional Democrats on Monday of being “un-American” and perhaps even treasonous for refusing to cheer positive economic news during his State of the Union address. As he spoke, the stock market was plunging toward its largest single-day point drop ever, erasing its gains for the year.
Trump has frequently showcased the strong market as a barometer of his economic success and as a boon for everyday Americans and their retirement accounts. He did not mention the stock market during his speech, nor when reporters shouted questions as he returned to Washington after the markets had closed for the day.
At its close, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen more than 1,150 points.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders stressed that the nation’s long-term economic fundamentals “remain exceptionally strong,” adding that Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory reforms would “further enhance the U.S. economy and continue to increase prosperity for the American people.”
During his wide-ranging remarks, Trump took special aim at House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for describing as “crumbs” the bonuses of $1,000 or more that some companies, including the one where he was speaking, are giving their workers as a result of the tax cuts.
He also accused Democrats of being “un-American” for not clapping, even for positive news during his address to the nation last week, in contrast to fellow Republicans, who he said were “going totally crazy wild” over everything in the speech.
“They were like death. And un-American,” Trump said about the Democrats. “Somebody said treasonous. Can we call that treason? Why not?”
“They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” the president said. He said Democrats “would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well.“
Earlier Monday, Trump had gone after California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee that is investigating possible connections between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.
On Twitter, the president labeled Schiff “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.” He added that Schiff “must be stopped.”
Schiff retorted: “Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or … really anything else.”
As for Pelosi, Trump, who boasts that he is worth billions, said: “She’s 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 elections.
Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, 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.”
Trump’s wife, Melania, accompanied him to Ohio aboard Air Force One but peeled off to visit a children’s hospital. She was briefed on the state’s opioid epidemic while he pitched the tax cuts he signed into law just before Christmas.
The president’s political broadsides contrasted with the softer touch employed by his wife on her visit to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where executives briefed her on the opioid crisis in Ohio. She also visited some patients in an activity room, handing each child a Valentine’s Day card.
“Children will always be my top priority,” the first lady said in a written statement after the visit.
Mrs. Trump has accompanied her husband on numerous domestic trips, to introduce him at events or as they decamp to one of their own establishments for the weekend. Mrs. Trump also joined her husband on several trips to survey damage after hurricanes slammed parts of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, where she attended briefings by emergency management officials and helped console storm victims.
But Monday’s journey had a different twist in that it marked a less-typical instance in which she split from the president for a policy event separate from his.
The trip also followed a period of public speculation about the first couple’s relationship after The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s personal lawyer brokered a payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to keep her from publicly discussing an alleged years-old affair with Trump.
The attorney, Michael Cohen, has denied any relationship between Trump and Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen gave the Journal a statement from a person identified as Stormy Daniels denying she had received “hush money.” Daniels has also issued statements denying a relationship with the future president.
As they headed out on Monday, the president and first lady chatted as they walked from the Oval Office to the helicopter that would take them to Joint Base Andrews for the flight to Ohio. She patted her husband on the back at the top of the stairs to Air Force One.
At the hospital, Mrs. Trump took a toddler in her arms briefly before moving to tables where children were making crafts and playing games.
The first lady smiled as she watched two young boys playing the game “Sorry,” occasionally pulling cards for them. She also sat down with Maya Baughman as the little girl showed her a play castle where she was arranging small toy figures. Nodding approvingly, Mrs. Trump observed a little girl painting a watercolor.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich did not attend Trump’s event, not surprising given Kasich’s vocal opposition to Trump and his stances on health care, immigration and the Russia investigation.
Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell contributed to this report from Cincinnati. Superville reported from Washington.
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