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Area Leaders Respond To President Trump's SOTU Address

sotu response
Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

President Trump delivered his third State of the Union address Tuesday night, touting a strong economy, job creation and his immigration policies, but made no mention of the impeachment trial that is expected to come to a close today.

Even so, the evening was not without partisan drama - Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and others walked out of the address, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up the speech immediately after the president finished speaking. 

Following Trump's address, area leaders responded with their own thoughts on the president's speech and what he said. 

Here are a few highlights:

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

"For three years, Republicans in Congress have partnered with the President to keep America strong and safe and create record-setting prosperity for working families across the country.

"For three years, we’ve worked together to push pro-worker, pro-family policies to bring jobs, wage growth, and hope back to the places the Obama economy left behind.

"The results have been a truly all-American comeback. Unemployment has reached a 50-year low. Seven million more people are working. And wages have risen the fastest for the lowest-income workers.

"Republicans have focused on securing our borders, strengthening our military, reinforcing our allies, and facing down anyone who threatens our nation overseas. We are rebuilding and modernizing the world’s greatest Armed Forces, standing with Israel, and eliminating terrorist leaders who have the blood of our young men and women on their hands.

"I've been especially proud to partner with the President as we transform the federal courts for a generation, confirming historic numbers of well-qualified new judges who believe in the quaint notion that the job of a judge is actually to follow the law.

"I'm the only Congressional leader not from New York or California. So I'm especially proud to fight for Middle America and Kentucky most of all. And we are winning."

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)

"I was pleased that President Trump highlighted Cincinnati native Tony Rankins in his address this evening. I had the opportunity to visit with Tony this afternoon. He is truly an inspiration to us all. A veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, Tony struggled with addiction and homelessness. He's rebuilt his life and now works in an Opportunity Zone and has reunited with his family. I was proud to work with Senator Tim Scott to ensure that the Opportunity Zone tax incentive was included in tax reform. Opportunity Zones have already boosted investments and created jobs like Tony's in struggling communities throughout Ohio."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

"President Trump has betrayed workers at every turn. The hypocrisy of his remarks tonight about a 'blue collar boom,' after the layoffs at Lordstown, is astounding and shows just whose side he's on. Instead of fighting to save the jobs in Lordstown, he gave GM massive tax breaks to shut down American factories and ship jobs overseas. We need a President who will better honor the dignity of work in this country. If you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work."

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)

"Tonight I walked out of the State of the Union address. I had enough. It was like watching professional wrestling. it's all fake. Tonight's address clarified one thing: this President has no strategy for the future. While the stock market is trucking along for millionaires and billionaires, our economy is broken for every day, hardworking Americans. This President wants to point to the unemployment rate, but nothing will take away from the fact that wages have been stagnant for years, and it's harder than ever for families to make ends meet — even as they work two or three jobs. President Trump didn't say one word about how we are going to fix our broken pension system that’s swallowing money owed to hard-working people."

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH)

"I thought this was one of the President's best speeches to date. Its optimism is exactly what we need with so many shadows hanging over our heads. The bottom line is that Americans' lives are measurably improved. Thanks to efforts from congressional Republicans in the previous Congress and the President, new trade deals, tax cuts, and regulatory reform have reinvigorated our economy.

"The President also made it clear he expects a lot from Congress in the next few months and I agree that we need to act to address pressing issues like the exorbitant cost of healthcare and maintaining our border security. The President has kept up his end of the bargain and now it’s time for us in Congress to do the same."

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)

"I agree with President Trump that the state of our union is strong. In his first three years in office, President Trump has worked with Congress to enact criminal justice reform to help reintegrate non-violent offenders into society, to stop the importation of fentanyl into our country, and to help strengthen school security. Economically, he has reworked our trade relationships with Mexico and Canada, is in the process of negotiating more favorable terms with China and our allies in Europe, has worked with Congress to simplify the tax code, and tackled the out-of-control regulatory state. Those efforts have helped create a vibrant economy with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years and the lowest unemployment rate ever for African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans.

"And tonight he laid out an optimistic, forward-looking agenda that will build on these accomplishments and help America reach even greater heights. I applaud President Trump for calling on both parties to work together. We need to put aside our differences which have distracted us over the past year, and fix the problems that the American people elected us to address. That means we need to reinvest in America, help lower health care costs for hard-working families, give parents greater control over their children’s education, secure our southern border and revamp our nation’s infrastructure. We obviously have critical needs in Greater Cincinnati, starting with the Brent Spence Bridge, the Western Hills Viaduct, and the Route 63 improvements in Warren County, and we can’t allow partisan bickering in Washington to stall the progress of such important projects."

Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.