Members of the Florida delegation weighed in after President Donald Trump offered the State of the Union address on Tuesday night with reaction divided along party lines.
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., praised Trump for focusing on keeping the strong economy going.
“I was honored to join Andy Pollack tonight to hear the president’s vision for building a brighter future for our country,” Scott said. “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,” Scott added.
Now as part of the minority in the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., cheered Trump’s speech.
“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,” Webster said. “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,” Webster added. “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.”
“Tonight, President Trump laid out a bold plan for the country,” insisted U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla. “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,” Dunn added. “I hope Democrats in Congress will take President Trump’s words to heart and work with us, instead of against us.”
Democrats from the Sunshine State took aim at Trump after the speech.
"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,” Deutch said.
"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,” Deutch added.
"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," Deutch concluded.
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., jabbed Trump for ignoring the recently ended federal shutdown but he did find areas to praise.
“President Trump never mentioned the longest federal government shutdown in history during his State of the Union Address tonight. He also never apologized to the Americans he hurt, or provided a common border security plan to avoid another shutdown. This was a terrible missed opportunity to address the most pressing issue facing the Congress. This was a disappointment to our guest tonight, Doug Lowe, an aviation safety specialist working at Orlando International Airport during the shutdown without pay, and many other Americans across the nation,” Soto said. “I am pleased that other areas of common ground were mentioned. The President discussed a major infrastructure project, lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs. These are issues the Congress has already begun to work on this term.
“However, if this speech was meant to extend an olive branch to the new House Democratic majority in Congress, his attempts fell short. Chastising Congress for exercising its oversight powers, taunting us with demonizing immigrants, and threatening to build an unnecessary border wall, ensured his attempts at unity would fail,” Soto added. “The Democratic House majority will continue to pass critical legislation that meets some of these common ground goals, defend our values when threatened, and hold the Trump administration accountable for their actions when appropriate.”
Freshman U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., was far more blunt in her take on the speech.
“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,” she said.
“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,” Mucarsel-Powell added.