Democrats On Donald Trump's Address To Congress: It Was 'Surreal'

"It actually felt a little bit like The Hunger Games at points."

WASHINGTON 鈥 Democrats left President Donald Trump鈥檚 first address to Congress feeling less like they鈥檇 watched a presidential speech and more like they鈥檇 wandered into an alternate universe.

Yes, they are still disappointed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was not standing before the assembled lawmakers. But they鈥檝e moved beyond the November loss and now find themselves wrestling with a reality that, to put it bluntly, they find bizarre, and even threatening.

鈥淚t was a surreal experience,鈥 Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post moments after Trump鈥檚 address. 鈥淲e have a reality show host in the White House masquerading as the president of the United States of America and half the country is still in complete shock.鈥

For freshman Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a constitutional law professor who won election in November, it was unlike anything he鈥檚 ever heard.

鈥淭o me, it actually felt a little bit like The Hunger Games at points. There was something kind of dystopian, science fiction about the experience,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 looked up and I saw [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich and suddenly I felt that I was transported to a different world.鈥

Raskin added that Trump鈥檚 remarks were 鈥渢oned down鈥 compared to the 鈥渂lood and gore and American carnage鈥 in the president鈥檚 inaugural address.

鈥淏ut the basic Steve Bannon program was still there,鈥 he said, referring to Trump鈥檚 controversial chief strategist.

Pressed on if there was anything they liked in Trump鈥檚 speech, several Democrats said his call for paid family leave but nothing else. And the lack of specifics didn鈥檛 surprise or sadden them.

鈥淒epressing? 鈥淚t wasn鈥檛. It was almost surreal,鈥 Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said. 鈥淭his is someone who came from the reality show environment. That鈥檚 his platform.鈥

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the House Democratic Caucus Chair, also felt the entire day was 鈥渟urreal.鈥

鈥淭his president gives me a raison d鈥櫭猼re to wake up every morning and say, 鈥榃hat has he said today and how can I go after him?鈥欌 Crowley said. 鈥淚鈥檝e got news for him this is not reality TV, this is the real deal.鈥

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) went into the chamber Tuesday night with little hope that Trump would strike a unifying tone.

鈥淥ne of the things we鈥檝e learned in the last 15 months 鈥 don鈥檛 be surprised by what Donald Trump does,鈥 Hoyer told HuffPost. 鈥淗e almost always does what you don鈥檛 expect, and does what you don鈥檛 think he ought to be doing.鈥

If anything, Democrats appeared energized. The address Trump gave Tuesday won鈥檛 quell the unrest that has sprouted up in their states across the country.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) emailed a one-word statement after the speech: 鈥淩esist.鈥

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted there were rough days after election, but he appeared eager for the fights that are ahead of Democrats under Trump鈥檚 presidency.

When Hillary first lost, I was shocked. And I taught my daughters 鈥 they were shocked too, one of them was working for Hillary 鈥 and I taught them the old Shirelles song, 鈥楳ama said there鈥檇 be days like this, there鈥檇 be days like this my mama said,鈥欌 Schumer said.

But then he said he had an epiphany-like moment during the first week of Trump鈥檚 presidency that had Clinton won the election, they鈥檇 have fun and 鈥済et more good things done.鈥 鈥But with Trump as president and with me as minority leader, my job was much more important because we were the backstop, just about the only one to Donald Trump,鈥 he added. 鈥淎nd that steeled me.鈥

Pointing to the debate raging over Trump鈥檚 plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act as one example, Schumer said, Democrats are succeeding. 鈥淲e鈥檙e on offense and my prediction is that odds are greater than half that we keep ACA,鈥 he said.

鈥淲e need to be strong in the Senate, and they need to be strong in the streets,鈥 Schumer said, 鈥渁nd if together, we鈥檙e working together, we can stop this guy and turn America back to where it should be going.鈥

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