Bay State U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to bring an Iraqi refugee now living in Boston to President Trump’s first-ever address to the joint session of Congress tonight, amid growing indications that Democrats will try to use the event to embarrass the commander in chief.
Warren will be accompanied by Tiba Faraj, who first came to Lynn with her family in 2010, about four years after her father was shot and left permanently disabled while working in Iraq, according to Warren’s office.
Faraj became an American citizen last year and is currently an accounting major at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth after graduating from Lynn Classical in 2014. Efforts to reach her for comment last night were unsuccessful.
“Like many before her, Tiba came to America seeking a better life. Since arriving in Massachusetts, she has become a valued member of her community, through her commitment to volunteer work and academic excellence,” Warren said in a statement. “Tiba’s courage, resilience and optimism embody the very best of the American spirit. Our strength as a country is rooted in our diversity, and Tiba’s many contributions have made us that much stronger.”
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Observers will be watching to see if Trump reveals any details on the future of the controversial travel ban. He is expected to formally issue a new executive order during the “middle of this week,” according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer. It would replace the controversial proposal stopping foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as refugees from entering the United States that was put in place earlier this month.
The Trump administration has indicated the new order would be tailored to address the concerns laid out by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled against the ban.
Actress Meryl Streep was also invited to Trump’s speech, according to the website Heat Street, citing anonymous sources in one Democratic congressional office, though the site could not confirm whether the invitation was serious or even received.
Trump’s speech, set for 9 p.m. tonight, comes as he is hoping to build some momentum for a presidency that continues to divide the country. He faces historically low approval ratings for a new president, just 44 percent, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
This will be Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress, though technically not his first State of the Union address, which will take place next year.
Republicans are eager to see if Trump will reveal any details about his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Meanwhile, Trump’s proposed budget — another expected highlight of tonight’s speech — will focus largely on national security with the president planning to increase spending on the military by $54 billion, or 10 percent.
To pay for the new aircraft, ships and other expenses, Trump would cut the same amount from foreign aid and domestic programs, excluding veterans’ services, border control and other areas tied to his campaign agenda.
“We’re going to start spending on infrastructure big. It’s not like we have a choice. Our highways, our bridges are unsafe, our tunnels,” said Trump. “We’re going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable to the people.”
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, said, “It is clear from this budget blueprint that President Trump fully intends to break his promises to working families by taking a meat ax to programs that benefit the middle class. A cut this steep almost certainly means cuts to agencies that protect consumers from Wall Street excess and protect clean air and water.”
Herald wire services contributed to this report.
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