Democrats jeer Trump about 'treason' charge

Congressional Democrats are reacting with outrage to President Trump’s accusation they were “treasonous” and “un-American” for failing to applaud during his State of the Union speech.

“The president once again is making a simple but scary mistake here,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said on CNN on Tuesday morning. “He is not the state. Cheering for our president is not the same as being a patriotic and loyal American. In fact, there’s this thing called the First Amendment in the Constitution that protects the rights of all of us as citizens to either cheer or applaud the president when we agree with him or to not applaud when we have differing priorities. He simply doesn’t get that.”

“He’s not above the law,” Coons added. “And failure to cheer him when he thinks we should is not only not treasonous, some of us would argue it’s patriotic.”

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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
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President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address
US President Donald Trump listens to applause before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) looks on as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (R) , and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin look on before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Jared Kusner and Ivanka Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a glass of water before he delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) points after being acknowledged during U.S. President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump enters the House of Representatives chamber to deliver his first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by the president and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (C), backed by US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan claps as he arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller is pictured outside of the White House before President Donald Trump departs for Capitol Hill to deliver the 2018 State of the Union Address on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) confers with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) as they makes their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
(L-R) US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speak before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA) during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump waves as she arrives for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: (L-R) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Cory Booker (L, D-NJ) waves he awaits the start of the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Eric Trump (L) and his wife, Lara, arrive for the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan point as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House to deliver his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, U.S., January 30 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (C) jokes with other members of Congress on the floor of the House ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
House Oversight Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy (L) talks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise as they await U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C) arrives for his State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (L) talks with U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R) ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R) talks with Senator Ted Cruz (L) and other members of Congress prior to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump waves during the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump arrives for the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner (C-L) and Ivanka Trump clap before the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) point during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Rep Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) watch during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Robert Mickens, Elizabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 are acknowledged as US President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Trump attend the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Steven Daines (R-MT) take a selfie as they make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and his wife Marcelle make their way to the House of Representatives Chamber for President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: First lady Melania Trump looks on as Police officer Ryan Holets and his wife are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck is acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump, center, smiles while delivering a State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Trump sought to connect his presidency to the nation's prosperity in his first State of the Union address, arguing that the U.S. has arrived at a 'new American moment' of wealth and opportunity. Photographer: Win McNamee/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (C) watches during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacts as she sits with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) listens next to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) during U.S. President Donald Trump's his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump takes a sip of water as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. James Clyburn (L), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi react to U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump's relatives, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, watch during the president's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney talks with members of Congress during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch talk as they attend U.S. President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Elzabeth Alvarado, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas, parents of children who were murdered by MS-13 watch as U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., suggested, mockingly, that Trump was taking his views about patriotism from Kim Jong Un.

“Maybe he’s been watching too much North Korean television where everybody in the North Korean assembly stands up and claps together whenever the Dear Leader says something,” Whitehouse said on CNN.

During an event promoting tax reform in Blue Ash, Ohio, on Monday, Trump criticized Democrats who didn’t clap during his Jan. 30 speech to Congress.

“They would rather see Trump do badly, OK, than Trump do well,” Trump recalled. “You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy, wild, they loved everything, they want to do something great for our country, and you’ve got the other side — even on positive news, really positive news — they were like death. And un-American. Un-American.”

Trump then pointed to the back of the room of the Ohio factory where he was speaking.

“Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ Yeah, I guess, why not?” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “Can we call that treason? Why not?”

Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesperson, later told NBC News that Trump was being “tongue in cheek” when he accused the Democrats of “treason.”

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., didn’t find the humor in Trump’s comments.

“I didn’t serve 24 years in the uniform of this country to be called treasonous for simply disagreeing with your disastrous policies, Mr. President,” Walz tweeted.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a U.S. Army veteran who lost both legs in combat, came up with a nickname for President Trump — “Cadet Bone Spurs.” Trump received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, including one for bone spurs in his heels.

“We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy,” Duckworth tweeted. “I swore an oath — in the military and in the Senate — to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”

Duckworth then shared a quote from Republican President Theodore Roosevelt: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic or servile, but is morally treasonous to the American public.”

Roosevelt, Duckworth added, was a president “who earned the applause he received.”

“The great political issue now facing our country is not Democrat vs. Republican or progressive vs. conservative. It’s much deeper than that. It’s about democracy vs. authoritarianism,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in a statement.

“Every Member of Congress, indeed every American, who cares about our democracy should be profoundly concerned when @realDonaldTrump suggests those who don’t agree with him are ‘treasonous’ or ’unAmerican,’” Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., tweeted. “We take an oath to a constitution — not a man.”

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., urged fellow GOP members to “defend our colleagues from such a vile remark.”

“This conduct in an American president simply is not normal,” Flake said. “Treason is not a punchline, Mr. President.”

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