President Donald Trump delivered his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, and while Republicans are predictably singing its praises, some are even calling it his best political speech yet.
“That was the best speech he ever gave, it was Reaganesque,” Republican Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told reporters as he exited the House chamber.
“This was a real olive branch kind of speech. He reached out to the other side—look, there wasn’t a cheap shot, there wasn’t any name calling — this was an extraordinarily presidential speech. And I’m proud of the president for delivering it,” Cole added.
Prior to the president’s address, Republicans called on Trump to deliver a unifying speech to the nation, especially considering the speech was coming on the heels of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
I’m not really sure what side they’re on if they’re against defeating socialism.
“President Trump just gave a great speech that was very optimistic and he talked about American greatness,” Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) told IJR in an interview following the president’s remarks.
Scalise, in particular, praised the president for featuring “Americans who have made America great like those three World War II heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy. Buzz Algren, and the Holocaust survivor.”
“[Trump] also talked about the challenges we need to address to keep making America even greater. And clearly, with the crisis at the border, he did a great job highlighting those victims murdered by people who have come here illegally. He talked about the drugs and the gangs and what we need to do to keep making America even stronger … he challenged all of us in Congress. He said are we going to stick with the politics of the past or choose greatness, and I hope we choose the latter,” Scalise said.
In terms of the Democratic response, the second-ranking House Republican said he was disappointed by how some of his colleagues across the aisle reacted to the president’s more bipartisan points.
“[Trump] said that we all should reject socialism, the fact that a lot of Democrats sat down —I’m not really sure what side they’re on if they’re against defeating socialism,” the Louisiana lawmaker said.
“There were so many opportunities where everybody should have joined in but you can still see that some Democrats who supported things like a wall and physical barriers to secure our border before President Trump are against it now because President Trump is for it,” he said.
“Some people just want to oppose everything that Trump supports even if its good for the country. They’ve got to think bigger than that,” Scalise added.
Even some of the president’s toughest Republican critics in Congress seemed pleased with the president’s performance on Tuesday night.
“The president’s address to the nation at the annual state of the union tonight was, I felt, one that was designed to encourage, to be uplifting,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said after the State of the Union. “He began with a message to us in the Congress to come together, to collaborate, to corporate, to compromise. And I think it’s important to recognize that that’s an important message.”
On his way out of the Capitol, Sen Mitt Romney (R-Utah), one of the president’s most outspoken critics on the right, told IJR that he found Trump’s speech “incredibly patriotic, strong, well-delivered, and appealed to our patriotism and common values as Americans.”