Politics

President Calls for Bipartisanship Not ‘Partisan Investigations’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – President Donald J. Trump called for bipartisanship in his State of the Union speech last night, urging Congress to “reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise and the common good.”

The 82-minute speech, postponed during the 35-day partial government shutdown, came as a sharply divided Congress faces another deadline to reach a compromise on border security or face the threat of another shutdown.

Trump again described conditions at the nation’s southern border as “an urgent national crisis,” and called on Congress to fund construction of a wall.

But even as he extended an olive branch to Democrats as a prelude to compromise, and recited a litany of his administration’s accomplishments that he said produced a booming economy, the president warned his opponents that his patience is running out.

“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”

The president’s speech was inspiring, said U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio. “The American people heard the accomplishments of the last two years straight from the source – not through the filter of the national mainstream media,” Johnson said in a statement released shortly after the nationally televised speech.

“I agree with the President:  we should chose greatness over gridlock; and, we should govern not as two parties, but as one people,” he said.

Johnson noted Trump’s “commitment to securing America’s borders.” And he applauded the president’s statements “in support of the pro-life cause. We’ve heard some abhorrent and disgusting comments lately from elected officials across the country, advocating for abortion right up to the moment a child is born. I wholeheartedly support Congress taking up, and passing, legislation banning late-term abortion of children who can feel pain,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-3 Pennsylvania, said the president’s speech “once again affirmed his commitment to choosing greatness for our country. During his first two years in office, we have experienced unprecedented economic growth, and the quality of life for Americans has significantly improved. We now turn to the next chapter to build on those successes. The president outlined a bipartisan policy agenda and asked us to work together. This speech was an urgent call to action.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, whose guest at the State of the Union was GM Lordstown labor leader Dave Green, took aim at the sincerity of the president’s theme.

“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. But in reality, tonight’s display was anything but unifying and optimistic,” Ryan said.

“Unfortunately, the president’s obsession with a wall is preventing us from addressing some important issues in our country,” most significantly “the loss of good-paying, middle-class manufacturing jobs,” he continued.

“Two years ago, President Trump came to northeast Ohio and promised my constituents manufacturing jobs were coming back.  Yet so far, President Trump has ignored numerous calls from Dave [Green] and myself to honor his promise and help save GM Lordstown. We need more than tweets; we need action.”

The president of the United Auto Workers, Gary Jones, called the presence of Green and the leader of UAW Local 909 in Warren, Mich., at the speech “symbolic reminders of the failure of trade and industrial policies in our nation. The dignity of work — of a good job with living wages and benefits, is not a partisan issue,” he said.

“If there is hope for finding common ground in Washington let it be progress for the workers in Lordstown, Detroit and Baltimore and all over this nation who have watched their job hopes disappear into the great profit abyss of Wall Street. Wages for autoworkers have had a 25% pay cut in recent decades. This must change,” the UAW leader said.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, noted the president’s speech was long on boasts but lacking proposals to deal with the loss of manufacturing jobs.

“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 health care, housing and education,” Brown said. “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.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who invited Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown as his guest, issued a statement before the speech, which he described as “an opportunity to bring the country together, assess where we are, and look to the future.

“Despite the partisanship in Washington, we’ve made real progress on the economy with pro-growth tax reforms and regulatory relief that has helped to create millions of new jobs, boost wages and investment, and strengthen retirement savings,” Portman noted. “Friday’s jobs report was more evidence of this fact, with an impressive 304,000 jobs created in January and, after a decade or more of wage stagnation, real wage growth. In fact, over the last 12 months we’ve seen the strongest wage growth since the Great Recession a decade ago.”

READ President Trump’s State of the Union speech as prepared for delivery.

 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.