Many Americans have challenged President Donald Trump’s apocalyptic vision of the country. But few have the credibility of Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran who lost her legs in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her helicopter.
On Tuesday, Duckworth delivered her first speech from the Senate floor, offering a distinctively optimistic perspective on the United States’ past, present, and future.
While Duckworth never once mentioned Trump’s name, her remarks were a clear rebuke to the president and his nativist, “America first” view. It also criticizes Republican indifference to the destruction of American values under the Trump administration, highlighting Trump’s draconian health care policies and the GOP’s uneven record on civil rights.
Here is a key passage from her speech:
“America’s greatness has never depended on the strength of any individual person, but on all of us, working together towards a common goal. But when we’ve failed to stay true to our core values ― when we deny another person our nation’s promise of opportunity ― our national strength suffers.
“When a child can’t access the tools to succeed in school, when a woman can’t afford basic health care, when refugees fleeing terror see the door slammed in their face, when we deny civil rights on the basis of skin color or sexual orientation or religion, and when a working family can’t put food on the table, our whole nation suffers.”
Duckworth was elected to the Senate in November, defeating Republican Mark Kirk, 54 to 40 percent. She had served two terms as the congresswoman for Illinois’s 8th District, which includes Chicago’s northwestern suburbs.
Watch the whole speech in the video below: