On the eve of President Donald Trump’s visit to Springfield to speak on tax reform, two groups sounded off on his policies and called for moral leadership.
Earlier Tuesday, it was the Missouri Democratic Party asking Trump to reverse course on attempts to dismantle Obamacare.
“We want to be clear that the people of Missouri are against his harmful and hurtful healthcare cuts,” said MDP Chair Stephen Webber, speaking on the front steps of Springfield City Hall.
Webber pointed out that during Trump’s campaign, he promised to protect Medicaid and expand healthcare for everyone. But he says the president broke that promise by pushing for a bill that “guts healthcare for millions.”
Webber was joined by democratic representatives Crystal Quade of Springfield, Sarah Unsicker of St. Louis County and Greg Razer of Kansas City.
On Tuesday night, moral leadership was the theme, led by representatives with Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri. They offered prayer for the president and asked him to exercise compassion on issues related to the environment, immigration, budgeting and civil rights.
“We do not know very much about the tax policies that President Trump will unveil tomorrow. But we do know quite a lot about what our faith traditions say about economic dignity,” said Rev. Phil Snider with Brentwood Christian Church.
He said the Bible tells leaders to care for the poor and the forgotten.
Roughly one dozen people spoke, many criticizing Trump for his policies in relation to LGBT persons, the environment, healthcare and even the president’s recent pardoning of former Arizona county Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Others spoke of a unified community where everyone is treated fairly regardless of their beliefs or practices.
Ella Jane Goeppinger, a Houston, Texas native, talked about the need for kind thoughts and actions in the wake of catastrophic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.
“I’m not normally someone who prays… But I’m called to prayer now ceaselessly and with every fiber of my being for my city and for every living being that makes up that gorgeous, ever-changing place.”
She continued, “To the people of Houston, the Texas Gulf, East Texas and Louisiana, I would say please be kind to each other. But I know those people and their kindness is beyond question.”
So instead, Goeppinger asked flood victims to be kind to themselves, and for those listening to her speak Tuesday “To keep the people of my city in your heart.”
Trump visited the Texas coast Tuesday to assess the damage there. At a fire station in Corpus Christi, he said he wants his administration's efforts at aiding those affected by the storm "to be looked at in five years — and 10 years — from now that 'this is the way to do it.'
In Springfield Wednesday, he is expected to arrive just before 1 pm. He’ll then travel to Loren Cook Company, which makes ventilation equipment, to deliver a speech on tax reform around 1:30 pm. The event is closed to the general public. A protest is planned near the manufacturing facility.
KSMU's Michele Skalicky contributed to this report.