Airforce One will descend on Orlando Friday afternoon, with President Donald Trump’s first visit to the City Beautiful in an official capacity.
While it may be protocol to invite a member of Congress to meet you at the airport, or attend your event in their district, I received no such invitation to be a part of the discussion with President Trump.
Earlier this week I attended the President’s address to Congress, and I listened to what the President had to say. Perhaps he was listening to me last month, when I said that he should visit Orlando.
I certainly hope that he will be listening to the people of Orlando while he is here.
In his speech, I heard the President claim “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed.” Mr. President, I hope that during your visit, you will listen to those Floridians that are telling me that they think your “fixes” threaten to be even more destructive.
In his speech, the President called the Affordable Care Act “a disaster.” Mr. President, I hope that, during your visit, you will have the opportunity to meet some of the 65,600 residents in my district that would not have health insurance without the ACA. I hope you visit a local community health center, already understaffed and operating on a shoestring budget, that is wondering how they will survive and continue to treat the most vulnerable in our community if the ACA is repealed.
In his speech the President said his enhanced immigration enforcement will make America safer. Mr. President, I hope that during your visit you will listen to teachers, administrators and parents that tell me about the impact that your policies are having. I hope you hear about the parents who are too scared to send their children to school, worried that before the school day is over they will be separated permanently from their family.
In his speech the President promised to invest billions into rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. Mr. President, I hope you will see how we are rebuilding our roadways in Orlando, and that we need to also invest in transportation of the future, such as building a high speed-rail system.
In his speech, the President claimed his vetting procedures will make our nation safer. Mr. President, I hope that during your visit you will stop by the sight of the Pulse shooting, 49 innocent people gunned down, many of them latino and gay, while out enjoying “late-night fellowship.” I hope you take the time to listen to Christine Leinonen, a mother who lost her only son in the deadliest mass shooting in America, or Angel Colon, who survived despite being shot multiple times. I hope you hear their concerns, and address the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, domestic abusers, and terrorists here at home.
Mr. President, what will your response be?
Welcome to Orlando, President Trump, a city made stronger because of its diversity.
Op-Ed submitted exclusively to the West Orlando News by Congresswoman Val Demings, who represents Central Florida’s 10th Congressional District.