Democratic Senator and former Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth tweeted Tuesday she will not be lectured by U.S. President Donald Trump: "We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. 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 responded to Trump, who on Monday accused Democrats of being "un-American" and "treasonous" for their lack of applause during his State of the Union address last week when he spoke of rising wages and historically low African-American unemployment.
"Cadet Bone Spurs" is a reference Duckworth had made before in a Senate speech in late January, referring to Trump's five deferments, including for bone spurs, during the Vietnam War — a point Senator John McCain has also made.
"They would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well. That's what it means," Trump said during an address on tax reform at a manufacturing plant in Ohio. "It's very selfish. It was bad energy."
"They were like death and un-American," said Trump. "Somebody said 'treasonous.' I mean, eh. I guess, why not? Can we call that treason, why not? I mean they certainly didn't seem to love our country very much," he said.
Treason is a capital offense and punishable by death in the United States.
Democrats gave Trump a decidedly cool reaction during the State of the Union. While falling unemployment has begun to lift wages, business executives are mixed on how much to credit Trump.
"The freedom not to clap for ideas you disagree with is called the 1st Amendment," Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon said on Twitter.
The two top Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, declined to comment.
Over the past four years, the U.S. economy has added 10 million jobs and the overall unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2000. Wage growth, however, has been sluggish, although it has shown signs of picking up recently.
During last Tuesday's address, the president touted his tax cuts and regulation rollbacks as the reason Americans are finally seeing more wages after "years and years" of stagnation.
"Every American should be alarmed by how @realDonaldTrump is working to make loyalty to him synonymous with loyalty to our country," Representative Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives, said in a tweet. "That is not how democracy works."
Pelosi's counterpart in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, declined a request for comment.