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Reaction divided by party as Trump urges unity Tuesday night

Published: Wed, February 6, 2019 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: Trump: Govern ‘as one nation’




Republicans praised President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address while Democrat criticized the GOP president for talking about bipartisanship, but not practicing it.

“Unity and optimism, that’s how the White House described the tone of the president’s State of the Union address ahead of his speech,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th. “But in reality, [Tuesday’s] display was anything but unifying and optimistic. The devil is in the details, and it goes beyond reading a rehearsed speech in front of two teleprompters. The president is singing the same tune by calling again for an unnecessary, expensive wall across our entire southern border. The vast majority of Americans don’t want this wall, and we shouldn’t make taxpayers foot the bill for a vanity project that the president promised would be paid for by Mexico.”

“Two years ago, President Trump came to Northeast Ohio and promised my constituents manufacturing jobs were coming back,” Ryan added. “Yet so far, President Trump has ignored numerous calls from Dave [Green, United Auto Workers Local 1112 president] and myself to honor his promise and help save GM Lordstown. We need more than tweets; we need action. I am committed to working with President Trump, General Motors, the UAW, and anyone willing to fight for GM Lordstown and the hard-working people who have dedicated their lives to it.”

Green, who was Ryan’s guest at the address, said while Trump spoke of job creation, “we’re not seeing the same thing by us. It was a little frustrating to hear him. He said he wants to make more cars in the United States, but we’re not seeing that happen.”

Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown – a Democrat who was the guest of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican at the address – said the State of the Union was “quite an experience. But the speech was geared toward what he wants [Congress] to pass. I didn’t hear a lot about cities and local governments. He talked in passing about infrastructure. I hope it gets down to the local level.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, said: “President Trump has an excellent case to make – the state of our union is indeed strong. I was particularly eager to hear the president once again restate his commitment to securing America’s borders. He made it clear he will do what it takes to get it done and it must be done. Finally, we have a president who made this commitment and he plans to keep it.”

Johnson also said, “I look forward to continuing my work with the president and his team, and anyone else from either party, who is willing to advance solutions that move the ball forward. That’s what we were elected to do, no matter which person or party happens to be in charge at a certain moment. I agree with the president, we should chose greatness over gridlock, and, we should govern not as two parties, but as one people.”

Mahoning County Republican Party Chairman Mark Munroe said: “The president’s state of the union is a soaring economy, building a stronger military, easing tensions with North Korea, progress in new trade deals with friends and foes, appointing conservative judges, rolling back federal regulations, decimating ISIS, getting our NATO partners to pay their fair share and so much more. Even more important is his almost singular focus to get Congress to focus on boarder security and fixing our outdated immigration laws. Republicans and Democrats need to join with the president to finally fix this problem. Is [Speaker of the House] Nancy [Pelosi] listening?”

He added: “The most emotional moments came when President Trump reminded us of the many great things that American freedom has accomplished for good in the world. His call to Congress to work together for good was a powerful closing message.”

Mahoning Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said Trump didn’t address his tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and “gave General Motors a big check to open a plant in Mexico. The Lordstown plant is shutting down on his watch. The tax cut didn’t go to the middle class. I’m not going to give him a pass on him saying the tax cut is benefiting the middle class.”

Betras also said Trump said he is lowering healthcare costs when he actually worked to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said, “President Trump talked a lot about how well the economy is doing. But I don’t measure the economy by the stock market. I measure it by people’s paychecks, the cost of healthcare, housing and education. And the reality is that for far too many people in this country, hard work isn’t paying off like it should. President Trump doesn’t understand that, and he’s used the White House to enrich people like himself.”

He added: “Hard work should pay off for everyone, no matter who you are or what kind of work you do. We should be working together to raise wages and benefits, give people more power in their workplaces, fix our broken tax system and address the high cost of housing, healthcare and education.”

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