Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) applauded President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, saying the speech was “strong” and appealed to “our patriotism and common values as Americans.”
“The president’s speech was strong, well-delivered, and appealed to our patriotism and common values as Americans,” a statement from Romney reads, per Fox 13 Salt Lake City. “He highlighted several critical policy areas where there are opportunities for both parties to work together — including lowering health care costs, reforming trade policies to better protect American workers, and strengthening border security and immigration enforcement.”
The freshman senator then praised the Trump administration’s handling of the economy, which he noted has led to higher wages for the American worker. “The Trump Administration deserves credit for working to cut taxes and regulations, which have helped boost our economy and raise wages,” he said.
Further, Romney said he was “encouraged” by the president’s decision to “support the people of Venezuela” and its hardline stance against Iran. Citing “conditions on the ground,” the failed presidential candidate said he believes the U.S. should maintain a “sufficient” presence in Afghanistan and Syria to protect the country’s “national security interests” against Islamic terror groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Many who watched the speech agreed with Romney’s assessment, according to polls conducted by CNN and CBS News,
A CBS News poll showed 76 percent of watchers approved of the address, while 72 percent agreed with the immigration ideas that were presented. A snap CNN poll showed viewers found 59 percent believed the speech was very positive, while 17 percent said it was somewhat positive. 23 percent said it was negative.
President Trump’s address touched on a wide range of issues, including illegal immigration, the economy, negotiations with North Korea, and abortion. The president called for a bipartisan agreement to fulfill his chief campaign promise — the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border — which he called a “commonsense” proposal as part of a comprehensive border security plan. “It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry,” he said. “In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.”
Romney, who was soundly defeated by President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, has heavily criticized President Trump — most notably during the 2016 election, describing him as a “con man,” and a “fake.” However, in a show of unity, president-elect Trump put aside Romney’s criticism, and interviewed him for the position of Secretary of State, a job which ultimately went to former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. During the 2018 midterm election, President Trump supported Romney, an endorsement Romney gladly accepted. In a Washington Post opinion-editorial published two days before he was sworn into office, Romney said the president’s “conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”