Illinois leaders react to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union

SHARE Illinois leaders react to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union

President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — Reaction from Illinois elected officials and candidates to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union on Tuesday night fell along partisan lines – Republicans gave the address good reviews and Democrats did not.

Three Illinois House Democrats – Danny Davis, Bobby Rush and Jan Schakowsky boycotted the address.

Below, Illinois reaction…

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin D-Ill. released the following statement on President Trump’s first State of the Union address:

If the President chooses to follow through on his prepared remarks tonight, he will find Democrats ready to work with him on lowering prescription drug prices, making massive new investments in America’s crumbling roads and bridges, passing meaningful paid family leave legislation, and protecting Dreamers.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth D-Ill.:

With the world watching, I hoped Donald Trump would finally remember some of the promises he made to the American people and display the leadership needed to unify this nation. I hoped he would present a serious infrastructure plan that makes the investments we desperately need to rebuild our crumbling roads, tunnels and bridges. I hoped he would offer a plan to rebuild rural communities that have been left behind like Cairo, Illinois. And I hoped he would finally propose a realistic bipartisan proposal to lift the inhumane threat of deportation countless Dreamers face because of him. Instead, the President engaged in more of the reckless rhetoric that divides instead of unites—and that already caused countless diplomatic crises and brought us to the brink of nuclear war with north Korea.

Rep. Peter Roskam R-Ill.:

The past year has brought significant successes on a variety of issues. And while we’ve come far over the last year, there is still more work to be done. I am proud of what my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives have been able to accomplish throughout this past year – most significantly, creating and passing a transformational new tax system that modernizes an overly-complicated and out-of-date tax code, providing middle-income families real tax relief by letting them keep more of their money from every pay check and allowing businesses to prosper, grow and create more jobs across the country. There is a bipartisan, national consensus that our infrastructure needs to be updated and I believe that we can come together to make this happen in the interest of safety for American commuters across the nation. Working across the aisle, I believe that Congress can and will reach a bipartisan agreement on DACA that will protect Dreamers from deportation and provide much-needed increases in border security. Congress has worked with this Administration to strengthen and rebuild our military; bolster U.S. diplomacy to strengthen our alliances and isolate our enemies; and to support nations around the world seeking a democratic future. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and all branches of government to continue these efforts and help make our world a safer, more secure place. The opioid epidemic is on the rise and hitting Sixth District families hard. As Chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee I am focused on stopping the spread of opioid abuse. I have supported legislation to combat this crisis and am committed to working with my colleagues to find a solution to this heartbreaking addiction that has destroyed so many lives. As we move forward into the coming year, I am optimistic about the goals we can accomplish working together for the American people.

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL):

Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered. Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job. I am still hopeful, but I don’t see this Congress and this President coming to an agreement that prevents the deportation of the Dreamers. The White House agenda is to gut legal immigration in exchange for allowing some of the Dreamers to live here. For those of us who support legal immigration, and that’s most Democrats and many Republicans, it won’t fly. And the Dreamers themselves have said they do not want legal status if it comes at the expense of others who will suffer more as part of the bargain. The speech did nothing to bring the pro- and anti-immigrant sides closer together. I was hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto Rico, but I heard nothing. Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this President sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings. If you look at how the President has treated Puerto Rico, you have to conclude that he just doesn’t care and probably thinks of Puerto Rico as just another shithole country. I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land. I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President, but my luck ran out.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger R-Ill:

Tonight, we heard an energetic and forward-looking speech from the President. We have made some great strides this year and our economy is on the rise. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has already made an impact with businesses across the country sharing their tax relief with employees and investing in job growth. I’m proud to see the real-life benefits of these tax cuts helping hard-working American people across IL-16 and around the country.

Our national security and global leadership continue to be of paramount concern. I applaud the President for taking the threats we face seriously, especially with a nuclear and maniacal regime in North Korea. We must invest in our U.S. military, and support the men and women who sacrifice to serve this country while they serve and when they return home. As we look at the State of our Uniontonight, we have much to be proud of and several areas to work on. As the President mentioned, our battle to combat the opioid epidemic requires a community effort, and it’s a crisis we will continue to fight. I’m hopeful we can work with our Democratic colleagues on issues like this, as well as areas like infrastructure and cybersecurity. Bipartisanship is necessary, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to put this great nation on a stronger path for generations to come. We live in the greatest country on Earth, and it’s on each of us to keep the American Dream alive – with hard work, civility with each other and unwavering love of country.

Rep. Brad Schneider D-Ill.:

Ultimately, I will judge the President not by his words tonight, but by his actionstomorrowand in the months ahead. The President touched on many issues tonight, some of which I support like investing in infrastructure, and others that I strongly disagree with, such as ending family reunification. What is clear is that we face serious challenges – from creating economic opportunity for all Americans and educating the next generation to controlling our ballooning national debt and preserving America’s place in the world. For each of these problems, we will be more effective and successful as a nation if we find ways to work together to resolve them. Last year, we saw President Trump and Republican leadership decide to go it alone without bipartisan input on both tax and health care reform, and the resulting legislation suffered severely for it. To have any hope of clearing Congress’s long to-do list for 2018, including investing in infrastructure, funding the fight against the opioid crisis, protecting DREAMers and other critical priorities, we must work together in a bipartisan way. I remain willing to work across the aisle with anyone, including President Trump, to achieve these goals. In his first year in office, President Trump has also created his own crises, both through short-sighted decisions such as rescinding DACA and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, and through a disrespect for the responsibilities of the office he occupies, including his comments about immigrants, attacks on a free press, and bellicose handling of potential conflict with North Korea. I hope in the year ahead he proves more willing to put the national interest first. Where he falls short, I will continue to hold him and his Administration accountable.

Rep. Rodney Davis R-Ill.:

Tonight’s address echoed the growing optimism within our economy and many homes across America. Unemployment is at a 17-year low and optimism in the job market is the highest it’s beenin 17 years. The President spoke about building on the first tax reform in 31 years that has already led to increased wages, bonuses, and employee investments for more than 2 million Americans and next month, bigger paychecks for 90 percent of workers because of tax reform. Companies like Chrysler have announced that they will be bringing jobs back to America. I stand ready to work with the president and my colleagues on both sides of aisle to pass legislation that will continue this spirit of American optimism. As someone who serves on the House agriculture and transportation committees, I believe this means investing in rural America as well. This year, I invited Jayson Werth to be my guest to President Trump’s first State of the Union address to highlight the importance of agriculture. Jayson owns an organic farm in Macoupin County, IL and has become an advocate for the industry and farmers. Earlier this month, President Trump became the first sitting president in 26 years to address the American Farm Bureau. This sent a strong signal not just to our farmers, but every person living in rural America that they are once again a national priority. The President touched on some of the issues critical to rural communities tonight, including bringing back good-paying manufacturing jobs to our small towns and improving workforce training opportunities to fill the jobs being created by this 21st century economy. The President committed to working with Republican and Democrat members of Congress to fix our crumbling infrastructure, rebuild our military, address the opioid crisis, strengthen trade enforcement, and work towards reforms at home and abroad that will keep Americans safe. While we will always have policy disagreements, all of us will be tested on our willingness to set the next election aside, find areas where we can agree, and get things done for the American people. If we can do that, I am optimistic this Congress and this president will be able to accomplish many more great things.

Rep. Cheri Bustos D-Ill. :

While I was pleased to hear President Trump offering to work across the aisletonight, it doesn’t negate the fact that he’s pursued a highly partisan agenda in his first year rather than keeping his word to hardworking Americans across the Heartland. I hope that the President is sincere in his offer of a more bipartisan 2018 because we have a real opportunity to put millions of Americans to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and other crumbling infrastructure projects across our nation. I look forward to closely examining the President’s infrastructure proposal once it’s released because passing the buck to local taxpayers or expecting private businesses to foot the bill for roads in small town America isn’t going to cut it. While President Trump spent a significant portion oftonight’sspeech talking about his new tax law, he neglected to mention that his bill includes economic incentives for companies to ship good-paying American jobs overseas. While I strongly support tax cuts for middle-class Americans, we should have put hardworking families ahead of billionaires and corporate special interests. As I said on the night President Trump was elected – I’m willing to work with him if he’ll actually work toward a real bipartisan agenda, but if not, he’s going to continue to have a fight on his hands.

Rep. Randy Hultgren R-Ill. :

President Trump laid out a story of American success over the past year: a growing economy, more jobs for more Americans, higher wages and lower taxes for the middle class. Congress has worked hard to send legislation to the President’s desk that will benefit all Americans. My highlight of the evening was hosting a devoted American, Midshipman Alex Vandenberg of Sugar Grove, Illinois, who has excelled at the Naval Academy. I also enjoyed sitting with Rep. Brad Schneider, my colleague and a Democrat from Illinois. On issues like infrastructure, economic growth and more, I believe we can agree on many issues facing the nation. I am committed to working in a bipartisan way to create jobs, keep the economy growing, improve health care, build our infrastructure and protect Illinois families. And I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues in the House and Senate to get the job done.

Rep. Bill Foster D-Ill. :

I was disappointed in the President’s address tonight. Once again, President Trump has failed to unite the country and offer Congress tangible policy proposals that would actually grow our economy. I am ready and willing to work with my Republican colleagues to rebuild and repair our infrastructure, grow our economy, and combat the opioid epidemic. But I did not hear the President discuss how he would achieve these goals without burdening our children with future debt. I was also disappointed to hear the President discuss the construction of a wall on our southern border. That money would be a waste of resources that we could use to invest in education, scientific research, and an infrastructure plan.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi D-Ill. :

I wish President Trump governed with the same tone of promise and cooperation that he used at times during his speech tonight.

Democratic sixth congressional district candidate Carole Cheney:

Donald Trump’s State of the Union address illustrated his stark vision for our country. His vision is one that prioritizes special interests and corporations over the middle class. Donald Trump parroted the Republican line on a tax plan that rewards special interests by raising taxes on the middle class. This plan, which Peter Roskam cosponsored, hurts constituents in Illinois’ 6th District. It deters them from the dream of owning a home or starting a new business because their tax break has been taken away and handed to corporations and the top 1%. Although much of his address was off point and even unsettling, Donald Trump is correct in saying we need to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. But my faith in the President’s ability to accomplish this important task is limited, given his demonstrated inability to work with Congress in a productive manner. Donald Trump, like Peter Roskam and Congressional Republicans, has not done anything this year that helps the middle class. I’m running for Congress to get government back to working for people again. As Congressman Foster’s District Chief of Staff, I listened to and produced results for constituents. And that is exactly what I will do as the Representative for Illinois’ 6th District.

Democratic sixth congressional district candidate Kelly Mazeski

Since the beginning of his presidency, promises from Donald Trump have been empty. Until we see his work match his rhetoric, we won’t see him lower prescription drug prices, we won’t see a pathway to citizenship for our Dreamers and we won’t see Republicans fix our crumbling infrastructure. I am disappointed the President failed to address the skyrocketing costs of healthcare and instead, chose to voice his support of the GOP tax bill that will make healthcare more expensive and ultimately increase taxes on Illinois middle-class families, while giving tax cuts to the ultra-rich and giant corporations.

Rep. Mike Bost R-Ill. :

I appreciate President Trump using his address to highlight some of the work he and Congress are pursuing to empower America’s families and job creators. Particularly important to Southern Illinois has been the new tax reform law that will give hardworking families more money in their pockets to spend on a child’s education, growing a small business, or saving for the years ahead. But we still have plenty of work to do, starting with fixing our broken immigration system and bringing our crumbling infrastructure into the 21stCentury. I am committed to finding common ground with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to build a bright future for Southern Illinoisans.

Candidate f0r Governor Daniel Biss (D):

Tonight, as I watched Donald Trump give the State of the Union address, I couldn’t help but consider Bruce Rauner’s performance under this divisive, hateful presidency, and what he has — or more to the point, hasn’t — done to protect the working people of Illinois from Trump’s dangerous agenda. Here’s what we need to remember about Bruce Rauner after watchingtonight’sState of the Union:

  • Refused to stand up to Trump attacking our healthcare.When Trump sabotaged the health insurance markets in an effort to destabilize the Affordable Care Act, Bruce Rauner refused to take a stand for Illinoisans. Trump’s actions against things like subsidies are estimated to increase premiums by 20 percent.
  • Unable to call out Trump as a racist.From the Muslim ban, to sexism, to his attacks on immigrants, and the list goes horribly on, Bruce Rauner has been unable to call Donald Trump what he is: a xenophobic, misogynistic racist. This type of complicity shouldn’t be allowed anywhere.
  • Disappeared when Trump threatened to end DACA.42,000 young people benefit from the DACA program in Illinois. But Rauner has remained silent, even though he campaigned to protect immigrants as a candidate.
  • Stayed on the sidelines while Trump attacked our planet, water, and air.After Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would exit the Paris Climate Agreement and rolled back President Obama’s crucial efforts to curb climate change, Bruce Rauner refused to join a bipartisan group of governors who committed their states to taking action.
  • Remained silent when Trump passed massive tax cuts for the uber-wealthyat the expense of Illinois’ working people, only after-the-fact acknowledging the pain it will cause working families.

This is the kind of governor Bruce Rauner has been — and the kind of governor we should expect if he’s elected to another term.But together we can stop him.

It was a long speech.

President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address clocked in at one hour and 20 minutes.

According to the American Presidency Project, that makes Trump’s speech one of the longest State of the Union addresses in recent presidential history.

President Bill Clinton’s final State of the Union speech in January 2000 ran longer than Trump’s at just over an hour and 28 minutes.

Clinton delivered another lengthy State of the Union address — an hour and 24 minutes — in January 1995.

Trump spoke for exactly one hour last year when he addressed a joint session of Congress, but that was not a State of the Union address.

Democrat Rahm EmanuelMayor Rahm Emanuel didn’t wait for President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address before delivering his message to the president on Tuesday night: In a video released on Twitter Emanuel warned that Trump has “created uncertainty” and “divisiveness.”

Emanuel said he hoped the Trump’s speech would “most importantly gives us a vision and a hope that tomorrow can be better than today.”

But just before the speech, Emanuel said in a statement, “The Trump administration’s heartless decision to end vital aid to Puerto Rico while a third of the island remains without power is immoral and indefensible. We should be extending the lifeline to our fellow Americans trying to recover and rebuild, not cutting and running when there is still work to be done. Chicago remains committed to lending a hand and continues to welcome residents of Puerto Rico to our city. The federal government should follow our example rather than prematurely throwing in the towel and leaving Americans in crisis without the help they need and deserve.”


Tonight, President Trump delivers his first State of the Union address amid peril for our nation because of what is happening to us as a nation that is ruled by law. Having worked for Presidents Clinton and Obama I know the importance and the significance of the State of the Union. Let us hope that tonight in his State of the Union, President Trump departs from his past politics to embrace America’s future and create certainty where he has created uncertainty, unity where he has created divisiveness, but also most importantly gives us a vision and a hope that tomorrow can be better than today. Just yesterday the FBI deputy director resigned, becoming just the latest career official to leave or more accurately forced out of office after coming into conflict with the president. The attacks and politicization of our nation’s cherished and independent law enforcement agencies are corrosive and they undermine America’s faith in these institutions. It’s not just there, however. Last week when I was in Washington D.C. for the Conference of Mayors, we as a group stood up to Donald Trump who threatened all of us as mayors, 23 of us, for actually embracing immigrants who welcome and come to America and come to our cities. America is a nation of immigrants, I am the son and grandson of immigrants. Chicago is the most American of American cities. We’re always going to welcome those who believe in the promise of America and that promise for their children, that through sacrifice and struggle, the American dream that has always lit the way for generation after generation is still alive and well. We as a city will never turn our back on that and I hope the president today in that moment when he stands in front of the congress and the people’s house and stands in front of the nation uses the moral voice of the president to remove anxieties and uncertainties for our dreamers and our immigrants and pledges to bring the country together under a shared set of values that we all embrace.

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