WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump got a rousing welcome Tuesday from members of the all-Republican Arkansas congressional delegation. They stood and cheered repeatedly throughout the evening.
Afterward, they praised his State of the Union address and his stewardship of the nation thus far.
"I thought the speech was great. The best yet," said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle.
Trump has a first-term record that is worth celebrating, he said.
"We have an economy that's working for all Americans, that is paying dividends for the working class, blue-collar Arkansans, who for too long had fallen behind and not been able to get ahead. And in the last three years, they have," he said.
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro said the speech was a "positive, upbeat, really strong recounting of everything that's taken place the last three years."
Trump picked the right themes to highlight and the right topic to ignore, according to Crawford.
"I thought he did a fantastic job of not addressing this impeachment nonsense. I think he stayed above the fray. That was good," Crawford added.
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers also praised Trump's message.
"I've heard each of the president's State of the Union addresses and this was, in a large way, the best he's given," he said. "They just get better every year. ... He spoke to the issues that affect everyday Americans," Womack said.
"He never mentioned the impeachment proceedings, which I thought was great restraint on his part, and was able to deliver a message of hope and inspiration that any American, regardless of political stripes, should take pride in," he said.
The economic news, under Trump, is positive, and it was a good idea to emphasize that, U.S. Sen. Boozman of Rogers said.
Unemployment has fallen, wages have risen and the economy is expanding.
"The numbers are outstanding by any way you measure," he said.
Trump did more than provide positive economic data, however.
"I thought the human interest stories were just really outstanding. You can cite facts and figures and things like that. I think it's really great to show the American public real life illustrations," he said. "Overall, I thought he did an outstanding job."
U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock said Trump picked the right issues to highlight.
"I was pleased the president talked about his pro-growth, pro-worker, pro-family agenda for economic policy and that he took credit and walked through the strengthening of American foreign policy through rebuilding our military and getting us back into a better footing of readiness," he said. "I also was pleased that he pivoted and talked about the things we have yet to do. We have a broken immigration system, we have a broken health care system that need bipartisan solutions, so I was pleased that he talked about those, as well," he said.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs said he was pleased that the president mentioned the One Trillion Trees Initiative, which seeks to aid the environment by planting large numbers of trees.
Westerman, who has a graduate degree in forestry from Yale University, is working on legislation to address the issue and plans to introduce it, probably next week.
Backing from the White House would be helpful, he noted.
"It's a huge boost to have his support, and I think we'll get a lot of Republican support and Democrat support on it. It's something that's good for the environment, and I think it's something everybody will be able to get behind in the end," he said.
The speech contained plenty of good news that merited enthusiastic applause, Westerman said.
"I was getting tired standing up and down clapping," he said.
A Section on 02/05/2020
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