Trump's State of Union speech irks some Michigan Dems, pleases GOP

Keith Laing
The Detroit News

Washington — Impeachment hung over President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday and reaction afterward as Michigan House Republicans lauded the president and congressional Michigan Democrats mostly hit hard at the speech.

Trump played up economic growth and other administration accomplishments while trumpeting new proposals, such as $50 million more for neonatal research that might benefit Michigan medical school research.

While Trump played up health care initiatives and vowed to improve America's medical system, Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow rejected the argument.

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020.

“Contrary to the president’s remarks this evening, this administration has been relentless in its efforts to take health care away from Michigan families," said Stabenow, D-Lansing. "... Health care is a basic human right, and I remain focused on protecting care and lowering costs for Michigan families.”

But Republicans noted the economy and new Trump proposals.

“Under President Trump’s policies, the economy is growing, wages are rising and there are thousands of new manufacturing jobs in Michigan alone," said U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, referring to 12,100 new manufacturing jobs in Michigan since the president took office, while 5,300 factory jobs were lost in 2019.

"President Trump gave a strong speech that focused on the issues that matter most to Michigan families including infrastructure, lower prescription drug prices, caring for our veterans and expanding rural broadband."

Other Democrats had more visceral responses to the speech by Trump, who is expected Wednesday to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. Stabenow and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, plan to vote to convict Trump.

"This SOTU was demagoguery, defined," Bloomfield Township Democratic U.S. Rep. Andy Levin tweeted before storming out of the U.S. Capitol.

"I have watched stories told and visitors extolled at every #SOTU for decades. This, however, was manipulation on a grand scale. I feel like I need a shower."

Congressman Andy Levin addresses community members at a vigil to remember Jimmy Al-Daoud.

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, took umbrage at many of Trump's comments, including his description of public schools as "government school" when advocating giving students expanded choices, including for private schools.

"Mr. Impeached President, they aren't called government schools, they are called public schools, where we, the people, collectively support our children's futures," Tlaib tweeted. "Stop trying to erode our public education system."

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, lauded Trump's revamping of the North American Free Trade Agreement into the United State Mexico Canada Agreement as well as a modest new trade deal with China.

"Thanks to USMCA and other newly renegotiated trade deals, farmers and blue-collar workers can continue to benefit from even greater economic opportunities," Walberg said in a statement. "President Trump also offered many common sense solutions to strengthen skills-based education, lower prescription drug prices and make health care more affordable."

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, lauded that 60,000 Michiganians have been lifted out of poverty.

"By renegotiating trade deals to put Americans first and implementing pro-growth policies such as tax cuts, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have helped create new opportunities for hard-working Americans and delivered the strongest economy in decades,” Huizenga said in a statement.

Others tried to keep away from the frayed emotions of Tuesday night, which included Trump's refusal before delivering his speech to shake the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who led the effort to impeach him. She later tore up his speech after he finished it.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, focused on the proposed health care research, especially since he initiated a $6.3 billion medical cures bill that was signed into law by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2016. 

"“Tonight during the State of the Union, I wore a purple tie in unity with the Problem Solvers Caucus to highlight the fact that there are not red issues or blue issues," Upton said in a statement. "Rather, both parties need to come together to solve the issues that are facing all Americans. 

“...I was especially pleased with the president’s call for increased funding for health care research and his call for $50 million for childhood cancers. We will continue to prioritize Cures 2.0, an important idea to increase access to life-saving cures and a top priority in 2020."

Peters, who is running for re-election in what is currently a tight contest in the polls, also was restrained in his response.

“There is a lot more we can do to help working families in Michigan and across the country," he said in a statement. "I hope that we can find common ground and make progress on issues important to Michiganders: lowering prescription drug costs and expanding skills training and apprenticeship programs."