New Mexico’s congressional delegation and the state’s Republican Party reacted with a mix of praise and criticism to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
In his 82-minute address, Trump touted a strong economy and pushed for passage of a new trade deal, a ban on late-term abortion and for Congress to fund the construction of a wall along the southern border.
The speech comes a week before a short-term funding agreement expires that ended a 35-day partial government shutdown. Trump has not ruled out shutting down the government again unless Congress comes up with a funding agreement that he is willing to sign.
In a break from his battles with Democrats, Trump urged members of Congress to come together to advance the common good.
“We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction,” Trump said in his address.
Most of New Mexico’s all-Democratic congressional delegation though were not buying Trump’s call for cooperation.
“Unity isn’t a once-a-year effort,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, tweeted soon after the address. “The president’s call for bipartisanship fell flat the moment he doubled down on his fear-mongering and divisive politics.”
Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, hit the Trump administration for what he called “rhetoric demonizing immigrants and spreading misinformation about our border” and said that Trump’s calls for bipartisanship rang hollow.
“After he dragged our country through the longest government shutdown in American history, President Trump had an opportunity tonight to show people in New Mexico that he would change course. Unfortunately, the president seems committed to the same destructive tactics that caused 35 days of hardship, pain and fear for families across our state and country,” Udall said in a press release.
Rep. Deb Haaland, D-NM, also balked at Trump’s calls for unity.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Haaland said in a press release. “President Trump failed our middle class and has taken our country down a path of division and fear. Families are still recovering from the Trump shutdown, our trans troops are still getting discriminated against and our immigrant communities still live in fear.”
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, assistant speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, also criticized Trump.
“The American people deserve a leader who believes in the best of us and brings us together. @realdonaldtrump made it clear tonight that he would rather stoke divisions, vilify immigrants and tear us down,” Lujan tweeted.
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM — whose 2nd New Mexico Congressional district includes Chaves County — applauded the call for unity.
“I was encouraged by the President’s calls for bipartisanship, investing in America’s infrastructure, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and supporting paid family leave. To truly achieve a bipartisan agenda, we should focus on the issues like these which can unite us,” Torres Small said in a press release.
Torres Small also said in the press release that she wished Trump had touched on issues in his address that were top concerns for rural communities in southern New Mexico, issues such as health care accessibility, public education, access to broadband and cell phone service.
Steve Pearce, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, in a press release called Trump’s speech bold and positive and one of the best presidential addresses ever.
“New Mexico’s interests are being well served by the president’s work to make our border more secure, to continue the energy boom that is driving record surpluses in our state government, making trade fairer with other countries and projecting strength to our global adversaries. His administration is creating a growing and sustainable economy that brings prosperity to every person in the country, that decreases the cost of healthcare and provides a safety net for people with preexisting conditions that affect health,” Pearce continued.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.