WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, West Virginia — President Donald Trump used a speech before GOP lawmakers Thursday to pat fellow party members on the back and take digs at Democrats just days after calling for bipartisan unity.
Trump also urged the passage of an immigration framework that has been lambasted by Democrats and some members of his party, making clear that he sees no room for compromise.
Speaking to the House and Senate Republicans at their annual legislative retreat at the luxury Greenbrier Resort, Trump claimed his first year in office was “one of the greatest years in the history of politics, in the history of our country, for a party, what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished. I don’t think it’s been done.”
That’s despite a limited legislative record that includes a single, though sizable accomplishment: passage of the Republican tax bill.
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Still, he said the party was unified like never before and claimed he’d now fulfilled “far more promises than we promised,” dubbing his record: “promises plus.”
Days after calling on both parties to come together in his State of the Union speech, Trump criticized Democrats for the less than enthusiastic reception they’d given him on Capitol Hill.
“They sat there stone cold, no smile, no applause,” Trump said, suggesting that “perhaps they’d rather see us not do well than see our country do great. … We have to change that.”
Trump also urged those gathered to rally around a White House immigration proposal unveiled last week.
Trump said the plan, which would provide a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million young people living in the country illegally in exchange for money for his southern border wall and a major overhaul of the legal immigration system, represented the “center, mainstream view of the American people.”
Democrats have rejected the plan outright, accusing Trump of using the fight over “Dreamer” immigrants to push through a hyper-conservative immigration agenda, while some conservative Republicans have rejected it as “amnesty.”
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But Trump claimed that, if Democrats don’t agree to the plan he’s presented, it will be because they want the issue to animate voters in the 2018 midterm elections.
“It’s now an election issue that will go to our benefit, not their benefit,” he said.
Hours earlier, Trump lashed out at Democrats on Twitter, castigating them for failing to support his agenda.
“They Resist, Blame, Complain and Obstruct – and do nothing,” he wrote.
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.