FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The Flint doctor who helped bring that city’s lead-tainted water crisis to light has been invited to attend President Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
Iraqi immigrant, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who is now an American citizen, is one of several people invited by Democrats who are trying to put a face on those whom they say could be hurt by Trump’s policies.
Hanna-Attisha tweeted that if Trump was president in 1980 “my Iraqi family would be denied entry (into the U.S.).”
“I was 4 & we were welcomed,” she added, concluding with the hashtag #NoBanNoWall.
According to a news release, she will be the guest of U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint.
“Simply put, Dr. Mona is a hero. Her persistence helped to expose the Flint water crisis and she has been an incredible partner as we have fought to get federal aid for families still recovering from this crisis,” the congressman said. “Dr. Mona’s personal story of coming to America from Iraq also reminds us of the many important contributions immigrants make to our nation. Having Dr. Mona as my guest during the President’s address will help highlight her incredible contributions to our community and ensure that Flint families are not forgotten.”
Trump’s advisers say he will use his prime-time speech Tuesday to declare early progress on his campaign promises, including withdrawing the U.S. from a sweeping Pacific Rim trade pact, and to map a path ahead on thorny legislative priorities, including health care and infrastructure spending.
The speech comes two days after the White House presented an initial budget plan that would bump military spending by $54 billion.
While officials in Macomb County have said that could be an economic win for metro Detroit, Rep. Kildee isn’t big on the idea.
“The idea that his first buildup could be to increase military spending, with no real sense of what that means or why…I mean it’s not something that the generals are asking for, it’s something that he’s just decided he’s gong to,” he said.
Kildee said such an increase would likely mean cuts to education, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and infrastructure budgets.
“That has me very concerned,” he added. “A $54 billion increase in just the first year of his presidency, when it’s already been well documented that there’s a lot of waste within the Pentagon, it’s just, it’s hard for me to accept when we have so many domestic priorities.”
The White House said Trump has been gathering ideas for the address from the series of listening sessions he’s been holding with law enforcement officials, union representatives, coal miners and others. Aides said he was still tinkering with the speech Monday night.
His allies hope it will help him refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected and move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he has dealt with so far.
Hear it live at 9 p.m. on WWJ Newsradio 950 or streaming here at CBSDetroit.com.
© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.