The Latest: Trump opens speech by condemning attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress Tuesday night (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is opening his address to a joint session of Congress by condemning the recent threats against Jewish community centers and a fatal shooting in Kansas being investigated as a hate crime.

Trump on Tuesday said that “while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

The president had received criticism from some civil rights groups who had accused him of being slow in denouncing the violent acts. He had yet to discuss the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, one of two Indian men shot in a bar outside Kansas City.

There have also been dozens of threats against Jewish community centers — and vandalism in Jewish cemeteries — across the nation in recent weeks.


9:17 p.m.

A few empty seats and no clapping from Democrats greeted President Donald Trump as he arrived in the House for his first address to a joint session of Congress.

Democrats who eagerly packed the aisle seats to shake hands with President Barack Obama the past two terms sent a message to the Republican president. They avoided the aisle seats and few shook the president’s hand.

Democratic women wore white to show solidarity with the suffrage movement.

As the president spoke, Republicans jumped up and applauded. Democrats sat.


9:08 p.m.

Democratic women in the House are wearing white in honor of women’s suffrage to President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress.

Some Democrats also are wearing blue ribbons for the American Civil Liberties Union, and blue buttons that say #protectourcare in support of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Trump and some Republicans are calling for a revamp of the policy.

The heads of the Democratic Women’s Working Group wrote a letter to their colleagues Monday reminding them to wear white to honor the suffrage movement and also to “stand in solidarity with the women of our nation.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was among those on the aisle wearing white.

Democrat Hillary Clinton wore all-white pantsuits during big moments in her presidential campaign.


8:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is set to declare that “the time for small thinking is over” in his address to Congress.

Trump is to say “the time for trivial fights is behind us” and that the nation needs “the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts” — in his speech Tuesday night, according to excerpts released by the White House.

The president, in what is his first speech to Congress, will also say that his administration will push forth a tax reform plan as well as call for “Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

In the excerpts, Trump also says that “by finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed,” and save billions of dollars.


8:30 p.m.

An activist giving a Democratic response in Spanish to President Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress says Trump is “taking us back to some of the darkest times in our history.”

In excerpts of her speech, Astrid Silva says she is speaking to represent the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Silva is a so-called Dreamer who was brought into the country illegally as a child.

She accuses Trump of “criminalizing anyone who is different, pitting us against each other, and sending the wrong message to the rest of the world, helping to breed anger and hate from terrorist groups to our country.”

Instead of repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, Silva says, Republicans should improve it so it can cover more people.


8:03 p.m.

The former governor of Kentucky says Republicans are trying to “rip affordable health insurance” away from the people who most need it.

Former Gov. Steve Beshear plans to give the Democratic Party’s formal response to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday night. In advance excerpts, Beshear says the more than 20 million Americans benefiting from former President Barack Obama’s health care law aren’t “aliens from a distant planet.” Beshear says they’re friends and neighbors who now face “life and death” decisions because of the GOP effort to kill that law.

Beshear says Trump’s attacks on intelligence agencies, the press, federal courts and others are “eroding our democracy” and reckless.

The 72-year-old Beshear is best known for expanding health coverage in his deep red state under Obama’s law.