South Dakota Congressional delegation reacts to Trump’s State of the Union address

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO/AP/NEXSTAR/CBS) — Standing before a Congress and nation sharply divided by impeachment, President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday to extol a “Great American Comeback” on his watch, three years after he took office decrying a land of “American carnage” under his predecessor.

The first president to run for reelection after being impeached, Trump received a raucous but divided response from Congress with Republicans in the House of Representatives chanting “Four More Years” while Democrats stood mute.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise and the America’s future is blazing bright,” Trump declared. “In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

Setting a yardstick for success and then contending he’d surpassed it, Trump has now gone from an inaugural address that decried “American carnage” to extolling the “Great American Comeback”, offering the nation’s economic success as a chief rationale for a second term.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and members of the Congressional delegation have released statements. We are putting those lower in the story.

Chart shows the rate of unemployment in the U.S. by race since 2008.;

Trump spent much of the speech highlighting the economy’s strength, including low unemployment, stressing how it has helped blue-collar workers and the middle class, though the period of growth began under his predecessor, Barack Obama. And what Trump calls an unprecedented boom is, by many measures, not all that different from the solid economy he inherited from President Barack Obama. Economic growth was 2.3% in 2019, matching the average pace since the Great Recession ended a decade ago in the first year of Obama’s eight-year presidency

Trump stressed the new trade agreements he has negotiated, including his phase-one deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement he signed last month.

The main suspense was whether he would address the charges against him.

Trump spoke from the House of Representatives, on the opposite side of the Capitol from where the Senate one day later was expected to acquit him largely along party lines. The first half of his nationally televised speech was largely optimistic, not mentioning the impeachment trial that has consumed Washington in favor of a recitation of accomplishments and promises.

Delivery time of televised State of the Union speeches since 1970.;

Yet the partisan divide within Washington was embodied by the woman over his left shoulder, visible in nearly every camera shot: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A frequent thorn in Trump’s side who authorized the impeachment proceedings that charged the president with abusing the power of his office to push Ukraine to investigate a political foe, Pelosi created a viral image with her seemingly sarcastic applause of the president a year ago.

Trump appeared no more cordial. When he climbed to the House rostrum, he did not take her outstretched hand but it was not clear he had seen her gesture. Later, as Republicans often cheered, she remained in her seat, at times shaking her head at Trump’s remarks.

Even for a Trump-era news cycle that seems permanently set to hyper-speed, the breakneck pace of events dominating the first week of February offered a singular backdrop for the president’s address.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who has presided in the Senate over only the third impeachment trial in the nation’s history, was on hand again Tuesday night — this time in his more customary seat in the audience. Trump stood before the very lawmakers who have voted to remove him from office — and those who are expected to acquit him when the Senate trial comes to a close.

The leading Senate Democrats hoping to unseat him in November were campaigning in New Hampshire.

  • President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, as. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Read More »
  • Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., arrive before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido waves as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • President Donald Trump turns after handing copies of his speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
  • President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and Vice President Mike Pence watch. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
  • Rush Limbaugh reacts after first Lady Melania Trump presented him with the the Presidential Medal of Freedom as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. Second lady Karen Pence is at left and Kathryn Limbaugh is partially hidden. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
  • President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, as. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

In advance of his address, Trump tweeted that the chaos in Iowa’s Monday leadoff caucuses showed Democrats were incompetent and should not be trusted to run the government.

Among Trump’s guests in the chamber: Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has been trying for months to win face time with Trump, his most important international ally.

The president offered Guaidó exactly the sort of endorsement he’s been looking for as he struggles to oust President Nicolás Maduro from power. Trump called Guaidó “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela.”

“Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland,” Trump said. “All Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom! Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.”

WATCH: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up a copy of President Trump’s speech after the president finished his State of the Union address.

No sooner did President Donald Trump finish his State of the Union address then House Speaker Pelosi ripped it in two.

Right there, on the dais behind him.

Trump was barely done, turning to greet the crowd of lawmakers Tuesday night, when Pelosi, without a moment’s delay, turned the papers in her hand.

Asked afterward in the halls of the Capitol why she did it, Pelosi responded: “It was the courteous thing to do.” She added: “It was the courteous thing to do considering the alternative.”

The White House and President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign are lashing out at Pelosi.

The president had appeared to snub the House speaker before his speech when she extended her hand to him, and he turned back around without acknowledging it.

Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s reelection team, responded: “She might as well rip up any plans for attracting independent voters. Pelosi and the Democrats sat on their hands through all of the good news for Americans in that speech. It’s a sad place to be when good news for America is bad news for Democrats.”

The White House accused Pelosi of disrespecting Trump’s guests of honor by ripping up the speech. “Speaker Pelosi just ripped up: One of our last surviving Tuskegee Airmen. The survival of a child born at 21 weeks. The mourning families of Rocky Jones and Kayla Mueller. A service member’s reunion with his family. That’s her legacy,” the White House tweeted.

Trump entered the night on a roll, with his impeachment acquittal imminent, his job approval numbers ticking upward and Wall Street looking strong.

In the closest historical comparison, Bill Clinton did not mention his recent impeachment when he delivered his State of the Union in 1999. In his address a year ago, Trump did remain on message, making no mention of how Pelosi had originally disinvited him from delivering the speech during the longest government shutdown in the nation’s history.

Trump spent much of the speech highlighting the economy’s strength, including low unemployment, stressing how it has helped blue-collar workers and the middle class, though the period of growth began under his predecessor, Barack Obama. And what Trump calls an unprecedented boom is, by many measures, not all that different from the solid economy he inherited from President Barack Obama. Economic growth was 2.3% in 2019, matching the average pace since the Great Recession ended a decade ago in the first year of Obama’s eight-year presidency

Trump stressed the new trade agreements he has negotiated, including his phase-one deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement he signed last month.

Graphic shows existing border fence and barriers built and apprehensions by border sector;

While the White House said the president would have a message of unity, he also spent time on issues that have created great division and resonated with his political base. He attacked Democrats’ health care proposals for being too intrusive and again highlighted his signature issue — immigration — trumpeting the miles of border wall that have been constructed.

He also dedicated a section to “American values,” discussing efforts to protect “religious liberties” and limit access to abortion as he continues to court the evangelical and conservative Christian voters who form a crucial part of his base.

Chart shows the growth in US healthcare spending since 2000;

The Democrats were supplying plenty of counter-programming, focusing on health care — the issue key to their takeover of the House last year. Trump, for his part, vowed to not allow a “socialist takeover of our health care system” a swipe at the Medicare For All proposal endorsed by some of his Democratic challengers.

Many female Democrats were wearing white as tribute to the suffragettes who helped win the vote for women, while a number in the party were wearing red, white and blue-striped lapel pins to highlight climate change, saying Trump has rolled back environmental safeguards and given free rein to polluters.

Several Democratic lawmakers, including California Rep. Maxine Waters and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, announced in advance of the speech that they would be skipping it, with the high-profile New York freshman tweeting that she would “not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was delivering the party’s official response and, in excerpts released ahead of the speech, was to draw a contrast between actions taken by Democrats and the president’s rhetoric.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has used Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to swivel from impeachment to working-class voters’ worries, saying her party is focusing on easing health care costs and other pocketbook concerns.

Whitmer mentioned Trump’s impeachment trial only briefly near the end of her nearly 11-minute speech Tuesday night. She sprinkled in passing references to his behavior, such as “Bullying people on Twitter doesn’t fix bridges — it burns them.”

But she spent the bulk of her address touting Democratic efforts on health care and people’s struggles to pay their bills, issued that helped her party win House control in 2018.

“It’s pretty simple. Democrats are trying to make your health care better. Republicans in Washington are trying to take it away,” Whitmer said from East Lansing High School.

Her remarks were overshadowed by an extraordinary gesture moments earlier by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Seated directly behind Trump in the House chamber, Pelosi marked the end of his address by theatrically tearing her copy of his remarks in half.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was delivering the party’s official response and, in excerpts released ahead of the speech, was to draw a contrast between actions taken by Democrats and the president’s rhetoric.

“It doesn’t matter what the president says about the stock market,” Whitmer says. “What matters is that millions of people struggle to get by or don’t have enough money at the end of the month after paying for transportation, student loans, or prescription drugs.”

REACTION

Chart shows monthly job gains in the U.S. economy since 1981.;

“I share the president’s optimism about the opportunities that lie ahead – that America’s brightest days are yet to come,” said Thune. “I look forward to working with the administration and with my colleagues in Congress to continue building on the pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-national security agenda the American people elected us to pursue. We will prioritize policies to help maintain America’s competitive edge in the 21st century and beyond. We will continue working to strengthen America’s families and small businesses, and that includes focusing on everything from education to health care to retirement. We must also do everything that we can to fully fund our national defense and ensure that the United States military remains the best-prepared, best-equipped fighting force on the planet. I am committed to putting in the hard work – with Republicans and Democrats – to prove that while there are times when Washington might seem broken beyond repair, that America’s brightest days areahead of us. The American people expect and deserve nothing less.”

-Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

“The American dream is alive and well thanks to the policies we’ve been able to enact during President Trump’s time in office. Tonight, the president took the opportunity to outline many of these successes: a booming economy, lower taxes, record-low unemployment, a strong military and new trade deals that will benefit our farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.

He also laid out a vision for the future that is pro-growth, pro-family, pro-life and pro-security. These values are South Dakota values. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump and my colleagues on these and other issues to keep our country free and make it stronger and more prosperous for generations to come.”

– Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Graphic shows wage growth for production and nonsupervisory workers since 1969.;

“The economy is hotter than a pistol. More than 35,000 South Dakotans have been lifted out of poverty in the last few years and manufacturing wages have increased 9 percent this year alone. We all know there’s more work to be done. Congress and the administration need to work together to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Americans and stop surprise medical billing, secure our border, and continue to establish robust trade agreements for South Dakota farmers and ranchers. I will continue to be a strong partner to ensure these goals are accomplished.”

-Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD)

“Tonight, President Trump delivered a strong and inspiring message to the American people. Our country is strong, and our President is laser-focused on creating a better future for businesses and families.

President Trump’s bold leadership has made a tremendous impact on South Dakota. Since he took office, 16,000 jobs have been created in our state and new business applications have risen by 24 percent. We’ve secured two international trade agreements that create more stability for farmers and ranchers. Taxes are lower, and families are reaping the benefits of expanded opportunity. This is progress that can only come when the state and federal governments work together and prioritize the next generation. I look forward to continuing to partner with President Trump as we work to make the American Dream a reality in South Dakota and across the country.”

-Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

UPDATES

Parkland dad backing gun control shouts at Trump

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 09:27 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A protester has interrupted President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech by shouting at him to do something about gun violence.

The protester appeared to be Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, was among 17 people killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.

Guttenberg is a well-known visitor to Capitol Hill advocating for gun violence prevention. He interrupted a section of Trump’s speech about support for the Second Amendment, and he was removed from the House visitors’ gallery.

Guttenberg was the guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s. He tweeted his thanks to her earlier Tuesday for the invitation and her “commitment”to “dealing with gun violence.”

Democrats chant at Trump during State of Union

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 09:11 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump called on Congress during his State of the Union speech to send him legislation to lower prescription drug prices, House Democrats had a ready response.

“H.R. 3! H.R. 3!” chanted Democrats, jumping to their feet Tuesday night, holding up three fingers.

Chart shows the median percent change for brand-name drug price increases in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.;

That was a reference to the House-passed bill that requires the federal government’s Medicare program to negotiate for lower prices on insulin and other must-have drugs Americans rely on.

The legislation is formally named the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, after the late House Oversight Committee chairman from Maryland.

Trump derided the ailing Cummings’ Baltimore-area district as a “rat and rodent infested mess” last summer, when the chairman was conducting oversight on the president’s immigration policies and child and family detentions at the border.

The drug price reduction bill was passed by the House in December on a largely party-line vote. It is one of many major bills sitting untouched in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Limbaugh awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:57 PM CST

Rush Linbaugh reacts as first Lady Melania Trump, and his wife Kathryn, applaud, as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

President Donald Trump announced the award during his State of the Union address Tuesday night. First lady Melania Trump presented the award to Limbaugh. The two sat next to each other in the House visitors’ gallery. A bearded Limbaugh stood and saluted President Trump as the award was announced.

Limbaugh, a staunch Trump supporter, announced Monday that he is battling advanced lung cancer.

Trump said the diagnosis was not good news, but added: “What is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.”

Trump thanked Limbaugh for “decades of tireless devotion to our country” and said the award recognized the millions of people a day Limbaugh speaks to and inspires, as well as his charity work.

Both parties applaud Guaidó at State of Union

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:46 PM CST

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido listens as President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó helped usher in a rare moment of unity at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.

Democrats and Republicans applauded Tuesday night as Guaidó stood as Trump called him the legitimate president of the South American nation.

Guaidó is the leader of the opposition-led National Assembly in Venezuela. He was a last-minute surprise invited guest of Trump’s.

The U.S. and more than 50 other nations believe the 2018 reelection of President Nicolás Maduro was illegitimate and say Guaidó should be considered president under the Venezuelan constitution. Trump in his speech called Maduro a “tyrant.”

Interior secretary is the designated survivor

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:32 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is the designated survivor for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union.

The designation refers to the practice of ensuring that one Cabinet secretary does not attend the annual speech in case of a national emergency or devastating tragedy.

The designated survivor would lead the government if other officials are killed or incapacitated.

Bernhardt was named interior secretary last year, replacing Ryan Zinke, who resigned.

Awkward moment between Trump, Pelosi at speech

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:25 PM CST

President Donald Trump turns after handing copies of his speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence as he delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Did President Donald Trump decline to shake Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand?

At the start of the State of the Union address Tuesday it appeared that Pelosi extended her hand to Trump, a gesture amid the divisive impeachment proceedings.

The president was presenting folios to Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence as he arrived for the evening speech when it appears she reached for the shake. At the same time, Trump turned away from her to face the audience of lawmakers gathered for the annual address.

Pelosi gave a look.

The speaker led House Democrats in impeaching Trump last month on charges he abused power and obstructed Congress in the Ukraine matter. The Senate is poised to acquit him Wednesday of the two articles of impeachment.

Limbaugh is guest of Trump’s for State of Union

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:19 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is an honored guest of President Donald Trump’s for his State of the Union address.

Limbaugh was seated next to first lady Melania Trump in the congressional gallery for Tuesday’s speech. He has been a steadfast supporter of President Trump and his policies over the years.

Limbaugh announced on his nationally televised radio program on Monday that he is battling advanced lung cancer.

According to multiple news reports, Trump informed news anchors earlier Tuesday that he will bestow Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the coming months. That is the highest civilian honor in the nation.

Venezuelan leader Guaidó a guest at Trump speech

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 08:13 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó is attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night on Capitol Hill.

The invitation comes as Guaidó has been trying to win face time with Trump, his most important international ally. Guaidó’s visit to Miami on Saturday rounded out a two-week world tour that took him first to Colombia, then across Europe and Canada, where he held meetings seeking more international help to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro from office.

Venezuela has been a top priority in Latin America for the Trump administration, which a year ago was the first among 60 governments to throw its weight behind Guaidó.

Democratic women wear white for Trump’s speech

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 07:58 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is lit for television ahead of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, and members of Congress are showing off their priorities.

Many Democratic women are wearing white Tuesday to align themselves with suffragettes a century after women won the right to vote. Some also are wearing green Equal Rights Amendment pins ahead of an expected House vote on the issue this month. Look, too, for red-white-and-blue-striped lapel pins to highlight climate change.

Many Republicans got to the chamber early to snag aisle seats. The coveted positions allow them to shake hands on camera with the president as he makes his way down the aisle. This year, Trump is speaking on the eve of his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress when dealing with Ukraine.

The acquittal vote will resolve impeachment in Congress, but voters will have the final say this election year. Every member of the House, a third of the Senate and Trump himself are up for reelection.

State of the Union set to begin at 8 p.m. (CT)

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 07:55 PM CST

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will tell the American people that the country has achieved a “Great American Comeback” in his State of the Union address.

That’s according to early excerpts released by the White House on Tuesday, shortly before the president was scheduled to travel across Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol for the address.

The speech comes after the president became the third in the nation’s history to be impeached and as his trial is still underway. But he will make the case that, despite the division, the country is better off now than four years ago and that he has kept his election promises as he makes his pitch to voters in an election year.

Trump says he will lay out a vision “where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success” and touch on issues including the economy, education, health care, trade and national defense.

He plans to say, “We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!”

South Dakota delegation on what they expect

Posted: Feb 4, 2020 / 06:37 PM CST

WASHINGTON D.C. (KELO) — Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is bringing his wife and former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer, hopes Trump will talk about helping to get farmers and ranchers back on their feet.

“I hope it’s an optimistic, strong speech, a speech that sort of focuses on the vision for the future,” Thune said.

South Dakota’s lone Congressman, Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) said he believes the President is ready to turn the page on impeachment and come together.

“I expect the president is going to talk about this American economy,” Johnson said. “The State of the Union is strong, we certainly feel it in South Dakota.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) expects an upbeat tone from the President, but part of the chamber may not have warm reception, especially given the impeachment trial.

“I think it will be a very cool reception from Democrats, and I’ll think he’ll have a very warm reception from Republicans as you can imagine, but that happens anyway,” Rounds said.

Several Democrats are expected to skip the address, including some presidential candidates and other liberal members of Congress.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was delivering the party’s official response. She previewed her address Tuesday by saying she would focus less on what Trump says and more on actions taken by Democrats, both in Democratic-led states and in Congress, particularly on infrastructure, health care and jobs.

“I’ll highlight the stark contrast between Democratic action and Republican inaction,” Whitmer said. “This is really about ensuring that the American people understand what Democrats stand for because I believe that American people deserve better. They deserve action.”

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