What Democratic senators want to hear from the State of the Union

Trump: It's going to be a great speech
Trump: It's going to be a great speech


    Trump: It's going to be a great speech


Trump: It's going to be a great speech 01:02

(CNN)Senate Democrats say they hope President Donald Trump uses his first State of the Union address on Tuesday to bring Americans together rather than divide them further, despite their contentious relationship with him over the past year.

"I hope it's a message of reconciliation," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, echoing a point several of her colleagues made last week in the run-up to Trump's speech.
Democrats who spoke to CNN also wanted to hear about policy issues -- in particular, addressing those affected by the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, as well as looking for a plan on infrastructure -- but a common theme among their requests was highlighting the President's tone.
Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Democrats were hoping for a starkly different speech from Trump's inaugural address, which he called "very much divisive rather than unifying."
His colleague Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said he has "a lot of worries" about Trump's address, because, "His big speeches have often been filled with things that don't reflect our highest values or our common aspirations as a country."
    And Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware agreed that he would like to hear "something positive about bipartisanship and problem-solving."
    "Donald Trump lost by nearly 3 million votes," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. "I think the country would find it refreshing if he stopped bragging about himself and started talking about the country and bringing us all together."
    Leahy cited the example of President George W. Bush, who lost the popular vote to Al Gore and then used his first State of the Union to give a "really good speech trying to bring everybody together."
    In interviews at the Capitol, several Democratic senators said they saw repair of the nation's crumbling infrastructure as an area where Trump could find common ground between Democrats and Republicans.
    "We need to rebuild America, so that would be something positive," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. She said she was sure Trump would "tell us how great everything is," but that she hoped he offered a realistic and robust plan for fixing roads, bridges, airports and other public works. But, she said, it needs to be more than "just public-private partnerships that will create tolls," an approach she said would be ineffective in her state.
    "An infrastructure plan would bring the nation together," Feinstein said. "But it needs specifics -- how it would be funded, how it would be formed, what kind of projects, that kind of thing."
    Some Democrats said they hoped Trump will follow through with his most recent promises on immigration. The White House is set to unveil an immigration plan on Monday, just ahead of Tuesday's speech, after Trump proposed giving 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in exchange for $25 billion for a wall along the Mexican border and several other strict immigration reforms.
    "I'm more thinking about Monday night than Tuesday night," Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said, echoing several lawmakers. "I want to hear what he has to say about immigration."
    But among Democratic senators, a year's worth of skepticism and tensions with Trump were clear.
    Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware said, "I would like for him to promise that he is going to be more consistent, and change his mind less frequently," citing Trump's treatment of DACA recipients as an example of inconsistent stances.
    He added, "I'd like to hear him say that he was wrong on climate change, that it's real, that humans contribute to it. And that there is a great economic opportunity in addressing it now."
    Carper said he wants Trump to apologize for "denigrating other people whose views he doesn't agree with," and wants him to say: "I realize I don't build myself up by tearing other people down. I promise not to do that again."
    "I would stand and applaud for all of that stuff. Hopefully it'll happen," Carper said. "It's my wish list."
    "In 2016 he promised that Americans were going to get better, more affordable health care," Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said, and that he was going to fight to bring down prescription drug prices.
    Instead, Americans have been seeing the "politics of health care discrimination," Wyden said.
    Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also said he thought Trump needed to use the speech to make amends.
    "I want an apology from the President, who is trying to divide this country up based on race, national origin, gender and sexual orientation," he said.