The reaction to President Trump’s first State of the Union speech among elected Missourians in Washington was sharply divided on party lines with one notable exception.
Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, who is in a tough reelection fight, tried to find common ground with the Republican President who won Missouri by 19 points in 2016.
“While I disagree with some of what he said tonight, some of the goals he outlined are ones I’m eager to work with him on,” said McCaskill. “These include paid family leave, curbing the opioid epidemic, and tackling prescription drug prices – something on which I’m a willing partner, and where I believe my bipartisan work with Senator Susan Collins would be a strong starting point.”
GOP Senator Roy Blunt, who’s appeared on Sunday talk shows to promote White House initiatives such as the tax overhaul, cited what he thinks is progress early in President Trump’s term.
“America has come a long way in the first year of the Trump administration,” Blunt said. “As the president made clear tonight, our economy is finally giving Americans a reason to be optimistic about their future, and the future of their kids and grandkids.
Blunt also praised the President for his attention to the nations internal needs. “I was glad to hear the president focus on the need to improve our outdated infrastructure. I look forward to working with him to ensure Missouri maintains its competitive advantage as a hub for our nation’s highways, railways, and waterways. The president also addressed the opioid epidemic that is destroying lives in our state and across the nation.”
Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer had kind words for what he considers prosperity under Trump’s leadership.
“Building on the success of tax reform that has seen pay raises, better benefits, more opportunity, and massive investments in communities across the U.S., the President laid out his vision for more economic growth through smarter regulation and a bold infrastructure proposal,” Luetkemeyer said.
GOP Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler thought the President’s speech was an unusually accurate reflection of positive trends for the country.
“Unlike other State of the Union addresses where the rhetoric did not match reality, indicators across the board demonstrate that we are experiencing a growing economy, increasing employment, and significant advances in the war against ISIS,” said Hartzler.
“This past year we have seen businesses grow and hire new workers because of an unprecedented roll back of burdensome regulations, and this renewed confidence in the economy has led to a record setting stock market that benefits millions of Americans.”
Republican Congressman Jason Smith praised President Trump for keeping the country in good hands.
“President Trump has spent the past year putting America first and ensuring American families better off than they were just one year ago,” Smith said. “Together, we are building a safe and strong nation that puts the dreams of American families, farmers and the American worker above all else.”
Southwest Missouri Republican Congressman Billy Long thinks President Trump’s speech laid out a bold vision for the country.
“Tonight, President Trump made clear that 2018 will be a year of action,” said Long. “2018 will be the year of building up our infrastructure, protecting our borders, rebuilding our military and continuing to strengthen our economy. As always, President Trump highlighted his desire to tackle these issues in a bipartisan fashion that brings both sides together for the good of our nation.
Radtern Missouri Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner released a video statement prior to the President’s State of the Union address in which she touched on promises she and the administration had delivered on.
“We delivered a pro-family tax code that has only just begun to spur economic growth,” said Wagner. “We promised to rebuild our military and we delivered, modernizing our military equipment, restoring readiness and giving our troops a well-deserved pay raise.”
Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver called the President’s address, “one of the most frustrating speeches I’ve listened to in my life and I’ve been doing this stuff a long time”.
Cleaver joined other members of the Congressional Black Caucus in wearing Kent cloths in honor of African nations that Trump disparaged through a curse word.
“Look, my ancestors come from Cameroon,” Cleaver told the Washington Examiner. “This is not a political matter with me, this is my somebodiness, this is human pain when the president of your own country attacks your ancestors.”
Numerous Democratic Senators and Congress members boycotted the State of the Union in opposition to President Trump.