Scott Horsley, White House discussed on Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Scott Horsley is our chief economics correspondent and of course was a long time White House correspondents so to help us understand how he's trying to frame these specific numbers wage wages have been rising faster than inflation that's good for workers there read real purchasing power's been going up but wage gains of actually moderate in recent months in the twelve months ending in December average wages rose just two point nine percent compared to three point four percent earlier in the year and that deceleration in pay hikes is a little surprising given the very low unemployment rate we have now is encouraging is the president says that wages for people at the bottom of the income ladder have been rising faster than those the top that's partly because a lot of states have raised their minimum wages the present also talked about the very large stock market gains that we've seen since the election of twenty sixteen it is way up not seventy percent as he said but the Dow's up fifty seven percent stock ownership are is heavily concentrated among the rich eighty four percent of those gains have gone to just the top ten percent of earners and forty five percent of Americans don't own any stock at all I want to pause for a second and go to Ron Elving because when you think about the last impeach president he was giving a seat at the union he's also the person we attribute this it's the economy stupid kind of sloganeering and so is this something that the president should lean hard into especially given what his democratic rivals are talking about why would he not why would he not take credit for weather caught a condom use today presidents have suffered when the economy was poor even if it wasn't their fault and even when it wasn't really that bad and even when it was recovering I'm thinking here by George HW bush in nineteen ninety two very short very shallow recession and yet he was pummeled with it and that has happened in other occasions and we've also seen presidents come in office riding on a long recovery such as the one from say about two thousand nine two thousand ten forward into two thousand seventeen and to back on a few more years with policies and there's no question that this president has cut regulations and cut taxes what particularly for a corporations and to some to be wealthy individuals which has juice the economy if you're further but he did come in riding on a long recovery which may be slowing down a little bit now but he basically takes credit for all of it and says that when he came into office it was a situation of American carnage I want to come back to Scott Horsley here because another issue one of factcheck health care promises the president spoke about also Michigan governor Gretchen Widmer who delivered the democratic response here is an example of something the president spoke about one hundred and thirty two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system wiping out the private health insurance plans of one hundred and eighty million very happy Americans to those watching at home tonight I want you to know we will never let socialism destroy American health care Somers we talk about the language is using their this is obviously divisive issue even within the Democratic Party some of the presidential candidates on the democratic side Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren have favored a single payer plan that would eliminate private insurance in warrants case over a period of time other Democrats though want to preserve a role for private insurance for those people who want it we should also point out the president did make what he called an iron clad pledged to protect patients with pre existing conditions did he explain how we do that he he did not in this this is surely the biggest Whopper in tonight's speech the president knows a protection for patients with pre existing conditions as popular so he pays lip service to it but if anything his administration has has whittled away at those protections and of course they're they're fighting to overturn the affordable Care Act which is where those protections come from I want to talk about another big issue border security the president talked about this will even before he you know what it was the nominee and hit that theme again tonight my administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the southern border of the United States this statement seems vague but it's got a a believe you've kind of dug into it what do you know the administration has made a series of sweeping changes to limit access to asylum seekers at the border I'd sent tens of thousands of migrants back to Mexico to wait for their day in immigration courts and administration credits those policies for a very sharp drop in the number of migrants who are being taken into custody the border in a last may we saw that number peek at a recent high about a hundred forty thousand last month the number was down to around twenty nine thousand so a drop of about eighty percent our allies in this gets at some of what we would call kind of red meat or culture were issues that we heard the president talking about he said he was calling upon members of Congress to pass legislation banning late term abortion of babies he talked about the idea of a sanctuary cities and kind of going after sanctuary states how did he balance this part of the speech with what we heard about the economy well I think those are the two parts of the president's campaign message one is to say you're better off now than you were four years ago the economy is great he said it's greater than ever before in American history but also the president is at heart a culture warrior and he believes that cultural issues are more powerful than economic ones and there is some evidence that might suggest he's right for instance the parts of the country that are reaping the most benefits from the trump economy are the ones where his approval ratings are the worst and the parts of the country that are not reaping the benefits that are doing badly record farm bankruptcy is a manufacturing recession those are the parts of the country where his numbers are the highest why I think because of the cultural issues he's pretty they the voters in those places think he's protecting them against criminal immigrants he talked about those he highlighted once again this is a staple for him a family whose family member has been killed by an undocumented immigrant so these are the two parts of his message one is you never had it so good and the other is you know the Democrats want to ruin your your way of life and that's the message to the public we want to talk about what it was like inside the capitol congressional correspondent kills the smell is there tonight moments ago she spoke with the second highest ranking Republican representative in the house that Steve Scalise we did see a pretty tepid response from Democrats on most things including things other were bye bye first things that should have been bipartisan that always have been bipartisan it almost is is like they have this personal hatred against the president and they're letting it see through where they're opposing good policies and you should always put your personal differences on the side you you should debate each issue on its merits you should support a good idea no matter who it's coming from when president Obama killed Osama bin laden we applaud it it was the right decision to make we disagreed with present a bomb on a number of issues but that was the right thing to do when we celebrate it of the fact that they can't even celebrate and applaud the killing of soul money who was one of the most bloody terrorists in the history of our country literally the blood of hundreds of men and women in uniform from the of Americans he was in Iraq plotting killing more Americans when we killed them and they can't celebrate that I think it just doesn't look good for them as a party if that's what they're gonna project to the country and that's Republican Steve Scalise speaking with our own congressional correspondent kills the smell I want to come back to two of our guests here need email show me who was a former chief of staff to the speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi can you give your final thoughts is this a speech that opens the door in any way forward or are we kind of where we started which is you know on the eve of a Senate impeachment vote not this is speech opens the door for the official reelection campaign of president trump and for Democrats protecting the house and for the presidential candidates on the democratic side to make the case we are the alternative to the to president trump and president trump play that his vision as philosophy a why he should be reelected and wide Republican shuffle forum in in twenty twenty amik Republic Democrats how the I have the opportunity down they've responded and in the race is on and Brendan Buck I want to go to you because in so many ways this party is not the party of your former boss house speaker Paul Ryan so what did you hear what does this mean for public and going forward yeah but it's a a party with the president in complete control of it you saw the reaction that you saw from the Republicans in the chamber was raucous that is a reflection of the constituents that they're representing the president is in complete control of them and into the as a matters and the way that he goes out there now and is able to talk about his accomplishments still play the populace I don't think you would be a Donald Trump speech without playing into a little fear and getting people are worried about the they know their their future he did that again tonight so I think he actually did a relatively good job if you are if the goal here was to set up a twenty twenty campaign where you're getting Republicans excited for what's to come and drawing a contrast with Democrats and and making people fear little bit about what would happen under a democratic president and again this is going to conclude our coverage this evening of president trump's state of the union address for twenty twenty we've got lots of news continuing you can hear more in the NPR politics podcast we also want to thank all of our public radio stations that are carrying this special tonight on Capitol Hill we had NPR congressional correspondence kills the smell and Susan Davis we had the chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley handled our fact checking things so much that also in the studio and peers national political correspondent my allies in an NPR senior Washington editor in correspondent.

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