Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday with a 30-minute speech that meticulously picked apart what Trump got wrong and the things he felt the president had failed to mention.
“I hate to say this, but not everything Donald Trump said tonight was true or accurate,” Sanders said at the top of his speech after offering his congratulations to Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who delivered the Democratic rebuttal.
In his response, Sanders noted that Trump did not mention climate change, Medicare, voter suppression or Social Security ― issues that the senator said all Americans, not just Trump’s “billionaire friends,” face.
Sanders criticized the president for boasting about the booming economy, noting that only the wealthy were benefiting from the administration’s economic policies and tax cuts.
“For many of President Trump’s billionaire friends, the truth is, they have never, ever had it so good,” he said. “But for the middle class and the working families of our country, the truth is that the economy is not so great.”
Sanders pointed out that Trump did not mention in detail the challenges facing “ordinary Americans,” including health care costs, low wages and unaffordable rent.
“Trump said tonight, ‘We are born free, and we will stay free.’ Well, I say to President Trump: People are not truly free when they can’t afford to go to the doctor when they are sick. They are not truly free when they cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs they so desperately need. People are not truly free when they are exhausted because they are working longer and longer hours for lower wages.
“People are not truly free when they cannot afford a decent place in which to live. People certainly are not free when they cannot afford to feed their families.”
Sanders’ decision to deliver his own rebuttal was met with criticism from Democrats who saw his message as an opportunity to promote himself amid rumors of a 2020 presidential bid and upstage Abrams, a rising star in the Democratic Party and the first black woman to deliver a State of the Union response.
Still, Sanders used his speech as a chance to challenge Trump’s leadership.
“When you’re president, you bring our people together,” he said. “But in an unprecedented way, that is not what this president is doing. In fact, he is trying to divide us up; he is trying to have one group turn against another group. And that is certainly not what this country is supposed to be about.”
Watch Sanders’ full rebuttal in the video above.