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Florida politicians react to President Trump’s State of the Union

Trump accepted no blame for his role in cultivating the rancorous atmosphere in the nation’s capital.

Face to face with emboldened Democrats, President Donald Trump called on Washington to cast aside “revenge, resistance and retribution” and end “ridiculous partisan investigations” in a State of the Union address delivered at a vulnerable moment for his presidency.

Trump appealed Tuesday night for bipartisanship but refused to yield on the hard-line immigration policies that have infuriated Democrats and forced the recent government shutdown. He renewed his call for a border wall and cast illegal immigration as a threat to Americans’ safety and economic security.

Here is a compilation of reactions from Florida politicians.

Gov. Ron DeSantis:

“A strong America is a united America. President Trump’s call for bipartisanship is not only the key to forging meaningful policies and legislation, it is also a call to our higher sense of patriotism. I support and applaud the President’s efforts to work with all sides in finding new solutions to our nation’s challenges in a spirit of compromise and cooperation. That is true leadership.”


U.S. Sen. Rick Scott:

“I was honored to join Andy Pollack tonight to hear the President’s vision for building a brighter future for our country. Since my first day as Governor, I fought to rebuild Florida’s economy so that every child could have the opportunity to succeed in our state. I was glad to see the President express his dedication to continuing to build on that economic progress.

“At a time when Washington is more dysfunctional than ever, we are reminded of what can be accomplished when we put the needs of American families above partisan politics. As a businessman, results are what matter to me, and I remain optimistic that we can work together to Make Washington Work more efficiently for the families in my state.”

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz spoke about the State of the Union with Lou Dobbs:

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn:

“Tonight, President Trump laid out a bold plan for the country. He called for unity and bipartisanship, for Democrats and Republicans to work together. The folks back home in North Florida want to see results and they want their elected officials to work with President Trump – not against him. I believe we can accomplish great things in 2019 – including Hurricane Michael relief, cracking down on the opioid epidemic, fixing our crumbling health care system, and continuing the strong pro-growth American agenda that is benefiting hardworking people across this country.

“Over the last two years we have seen record job growth and incomparable economic strides. Just last month, more than 304,000 jobs were created and we currently have the highest labor participation rate in six years. The state of our union is strong, but it is also fractured.

“I hope Democrats in Congress will take President Trump’s words to heart and work with us, instead of against us.”

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy:

“President Trump called for bipartisan cooperation, but to deliver on that promise, he must first abandon his divisive, partisan rhetoric and work across the aisle with Congress to find solutions that rebuild our infrastructure, lower health care costs, and keep our government open and our country safe. The history of America makes me confident that we have the capacity to forge a path forward; we just need the courage and conviction to do so.”

U.S. Rep. Val Demings:

“We all know that there is a teleprompter president and a real president, and letting Trump be Trump has meant years of division and discord. American citizens and immigrants alike have been persecuted for their ethnicities, and qualified Americans have been denied the opportunity to serve their country because of their gender identity. President Trump seems to have learned nothing from his huge mistake of shutting down the government, which hurt millions of American families and weakened our economy and security.

“We don’t need more promises, we need results. The middle class is still waiting for the president to live up to his previous broken promises. Facing gross economic inequality, this administration has given massive tax breaks to big businesses and the ultra-wealthy. Facing rising healthcare and prescription drug costs, this administration has worked to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and protections for Americans with preexisting conditions. Facing an epidemic of gun violence, this administration has worked to loosen gun regulations.

“Tonight we heard no new ideas and no indication that any change is coming. By contrast, the Democratic majority in the House has already started passing and debating major legislation to lower the cost of healthcare, stop the epidemics of opioids and gun violence, and finally deliver real results. The Democratic majority in the House will continue to do what we were elected to do: hold this administration accountable and fight to deliver equality, opportunity, and prosperity to all Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster:

“Tonight, President Trump shared that the State of our Union is more prosperous thanks to two years of his leadership and Republican policies that got government red-tape out of the way and put hard-working Americans first. The results are clear – American jobs and wages are on the rise!

“President Trump has delivered on multiple campaign promises – from investing in our military servicemen and women; rebuilding our military; reimposing sanctions on Iran and others; improving services and care for our veterans; streamlining critical water and environmental infrastructure projects; and removing unnecessary and burdensome regulations that hurt small businesses and community financial institutions to signing historic legislation that better equips law enforcement and community leaders to combat our opioid crisis.

“There is more work to be done. I welcomed hearing the President’s reiterate his commitment to tackling tough issues, fix broken systems and stand up for our most vulnerable. I hope my colleagues – Democrat and Republican alike – will put aside politics and work together to improve border security, invest in our country’s infrastructure, and protect American jobs and hardworking Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor:

“Tonight, we heard little vision from President Trump. He did not mention higher wages for Americans and gave only passing reference to tackling exorbitant health care and drug costs. There also was no mention of the most significant crisis of our lifetime – climate change. The President refuses to acknowledge the urgency and escalating costs of climate crisis on American families. The cost of doing nothing is very high.  Instead, the Trump Administration sides with dirty fossil fuel corporations and installs oil industry lobbyists at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior and other agencies that protect our health and economic wellbeing. Trump boasted of a ‘revolution in American Energy’ that included nothing revolutionary – just the same old embrace of fossil fuels.

“I invited Tampa’s Leon W. Russell, the Chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors, to be my special guest and help highlight the importance of tackling the climate crisis.  Taking on the climate crisis and attacking economic injustice go hand in hand.  We must work with our neighbors and empower working class communities across America as we build a clean energy economy and a just transition from fossil fuels.  A clean energy future with quality jobs can lift and protect the health of disproportionately affected communities – yet President Trump chose to focus on his policies that hurt working families and give special interests and big corporations a free pass.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch:

“Here’s the state of our union that the President glaringly overlooked: 40,000 gun deaths per year. A warming climate nearing a dangerous tipping point. A broken immigration system in desperate need of smart and humane reform, not an ineffective border wall. Growing challenges to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality. A world full of security challenges yet lacking American leadership. And a President apparently willing to meet with authoritarian despots while abandoning our allies.

“The President once again missed an opportunity to talk about the gun violence epidemic in our country and sensible ways to save lives. I invited my friend Manuel as my guest in honor of his son who was lost in the horrific attack at Stoneman Douglas High School and for his family’s remarkable work to keep his memory alive. After the President promised gun violence victims and their families to stand up to the NRA, we’ve seen little action by his Administration to reduce gun violence. As we near the one-year anniversary, I urge President Trump to support gun safety efforts that have near-unanimous support among Americans, including universal background checks.

“Americans want their government to improve the state of the union, and with last November’s results, they expect President Trump to work with the Democratic House to get things done.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell:

“President Trump had a unique opportunity in his address to put aside bitter politics and help heal our divisions. Instead of advocating for working families, he used the country’s most important platform to further fuel a hateful, and anti-immigrant agenda. Instead of proposing a strategy to combat climate change, the President lobbed xenophobic attacks anchored on his vain demand for a wasteful wall.

 “I hope the President is serious about tackling health care costs and investing in infrastructure because Democrats are ready to deliver meaningful results for hardworking Americans. If the President refuses to work with us, I hope Republicans in Congress will do what they were elected to do and rein in his recklessness.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney:

“Last evening’s State of the Union address by President Trump was, above all, a message of American freedom.

“Over these past two years, we have worked together to build a stronger military that will ensure America always remains the land of the free. We have created more freedom to open or expand a small business by eliminating scores of regulations imposed by unelected bureaucrats. We have passed historic tax cuts for hardworking Americans that will enable them to keep more of the money they earn. We have repealed the Obamacare individual mandate, so that we are all freer to choose the doctor and the healthcare plan that works best for us.

“We are also free from foreign oil driving up energy prices here in America. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world and is now a net exporter of energy – the first time in 65 years that this has occurred. This is further proof that we do not need to drill for oil in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, where the risk to Florida’s economy and ecology far outweighs any rewards. It is time to enact the bill that I sponsored to make permanent the current drilling moratorium there.

“As we look ahead to the rest of 2019, we also have opportunities for freedom in new ways. We can free our seniors from the high cost of prescription drugs – an issue that I have already sponsored legislation to fix. We can free our nation from illegal drugs, illegal border crossings and human trafficking on our southern border by building a wall where needed, as the president said, and securing the border.

Lastly, we can refocus our country on the individual rights and economic and personal freedoms upon which it was founded instead of indulging the radical socialist proposals which been advanced recently.”

U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala:

“The State of the Union is an opportunity for the President of the United States to deliver a message to Americans with the purpose of uniting us all and giving the people of this great Nation a sense of hope and optimism. It is unfortunate that the President tonight chose to heighten the anxiety and fears of Americans with his words, rather than promote unity and cooperation.

“While President Trump did deliver some promising updates on the increase of women in the workforce (and Congress) and other opportunities for bipartisanship, such as lowering prescription drug costs, passing an infrastructure bill, and paid family leave; I’m disappointed he offered little substance and did not offer bipartisan solutions to combat climate change and gun violence, nor provide permanent protections for Dreamers.

“I will always seek to work across the aisle and engage in civil discourse with this Administration and my Republican colleagues, for the betterment of our country, but the President must also hold himself to those standards.”

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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