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McCollum News: The State of the Union

February 4, 2020

Dear Fourth District Constituent,

Tonight the President of the United States will address the American people from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on the state of our nation.

I will be in attendance, along with my guest: advocate and former Minnesota First Lady Susan Shepard Carlson. Susan’s work to raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) has been instrumental in charting a path to success for treatment, care, and prevention of FASD.


In a perfect world, we’d be confronting health care conditions like FASD with policies that ensure protections for all people with pre-existing conditions. This should be a broad, bipartisan congressional priority that remains the law of the land.

Instead, the Trump administration is leading a federal lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Dismantling the ACA is disastrous, irresponsible, and an obsession of the Republican Party. In 2017, Mr. Trump pushed for the repeal of the ACA, which would have stripped protections for tens of millions of Americans. And last week, President Trump announced his intentions to upend Medicaid as we know it, leaving millions of vulnerable Americans potentially without heath care. The president may say he wants to expand health care, but his words are consistently contradicted by his actions.

There is no polite way to say it: It’s been documented that President Trump has explicitly lied more than 16,200 times over the course of his presidency, as compiled by the Washington Post.

The president’s chronic inability to tell the truth and be honest with the American people appears to be both a pre-existing and permanent condition.

Nearly 500 of Mr. Trump’s lies have been related to the environment, and since he took office, nearly 100 environmental protections—rules and regulations that keep our air and water clean—have been undone or are in the process of being rolled back.

He recently expanded his travel ban, restricting travel from six additional countries, including Nigeria, which is the most populous African country. The ban now affects nearly a quarter of the people on the African continent. This is racist and undermines U.S. interests.

The president continues to threaten reproductive rights, colluding with far-right groups and restricting the information doctors can share with patients. 

He won’t protect our right to live freely and safely in our communities by taking any meaningful action on gun violence.

He’s cutting nutrition assistance, hurting the most vulnerable among us who need help putting food on the table.

He won’t protect the security and integrity of our upcoming 2020 national elections – because he’s shown again and again that it’s unimportant to him.

And of course, he put our national security at risk when he used the power of the presidency for his own personal and political gain, rather than putting American interests first – leading to his impeachment.


Whatever President Trump says tonight, an old adage rings true: Actions speak louder than words.

And what we know is that this president’s words are dishonest and his actions are destructive.

We must hold him accountable. That’s my job as a Member of Congress and it’s your job as a citizen. That is how our democracy is supposed to work.
And as for tonight, consider finding something more honest – or at least more entertaining – to watch.
As always, thank you for being an engaged constituent.


Betty McCollum
Member of Congress