Members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation praise Trump’s speech
Written by: Frank Lockwood
Published by: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
WASHINGTON — Members of the all-Republican Arkansas congressional delegation gave high marks to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying his State of the Union address struck the right chords.
His talk of “cooperation, compromise and the common good” appealed to lawmakers.
“I thought the speech was really good. He talked about being more concerned about the country versus the parties. I think the American public wants to hear that,” said U.S. Sen. John Boozman.
The lawmaker from Rogers also liked Trump’s comments about “the greatness of America,” he said.
Trump “challenged us to have the same spirit and the same sacrifice as Americans that have preceded us,” Boozman added.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers also gave Trump’s message high marks.
“I thought it was one of the best State of the Union speeches I’ve heard. What a terrific message, one of hope and one of unification, encouraging both sides to work together,” Womack said.
U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock said the president “did a good job laying out the accomplishments of the first two years, in terms of talking about the economy, rebuilding our defense and tackling on a bipartisan basis some big issues like the opioid crisis, for example,” he said.
Hill said he liked Trump’s comments about “affordable health care. I think that’s a big challenge for our country.”
Trump made clear he wants to fix flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while also fighting to lower prescription drugs costs, Hill said, noting that the president’s vision includes coverage of pre-existing conditions.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs said he stood and applauded Trump’s speech so often that his legs were sore by the end.
“I thought it was an excellent speech. I thought he did a really good job of recapping the accomplishments in his administration that I think often get ignored because of all the other noise in the media,” Westerman said.
The president’s willingness to work with Democrats also stood out, Westerman said. “I think he also laid out a great vision for the future and he talked about a lot of things that we should be able to work on in a bipartisan manner,” he added.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle was glad to see the administration’s accomplishments emphasized.
“I thought the president delivered a very strong speech highlighting some of the accomplishments of the last two years, particularly a strong, growing economy … and repeal of the hated Obamacare mandate,” he said.
“I suspect his call to ban, once and for all, late-term abortion will resonate deeply with all Arkansans,” Cotton added.
Some people had begun to question the value of the annual speech before Congress, said U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro.
Crawford said that after hearing Trump’s address, he’s convinced the ritual is important.
“That’s why we have a State of the Union in the House of Representatives. The message that he gave tonight really reaffirmed why that’s done and why it’s so important,” Crawford added.
The lawmaker said he also appreciated Trump’s “rejection of socialism. I think it’s important that we remind the next generation the colossal failures of socialism, and the most glaring example of that is what’s taking place in Venezuela right before our eyes, and he made that abundantly clear.”