Praise, criticism offered by officials following 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, Feb. 4, 2020, as. Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listen. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening touted the president’s accomplishments during his first three years in office and pledged to deliver on more of the same.

The address elicited responses from elected officials around the state, some negative and some positive.

Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement Tuesday evening lauding the speech and the policies it detailed.

“Tonight, President Trump laid out a clear and compelling vision for our nation—one where all Americans have access to even greater opportunity and shared prosperity,” Abbott wrote in the release. “Through the first three years of his presidency, President Trump has kept his promises to protect America’s national security, make our communities safer, and build an economy that lifts up every American.”

The governor went on to praise the president’s economic policies and their effects on Texas.

“From slashing taxes and regulations to securing trade deals like the USMCA, this administration continues to usher in incredible economic growth and opportunity for American workers. Nowhere is this success more apparent than in Texas where the President’s commonsense economic policies, combined with the Texas economic model, have elevated the Lone Star State to extraordinary new heights,” he wrote. “I thank the President for his leadership and look forward to working with his administration to continue to grow the economy and ensure a brighter future for every Texan.”

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, who attended the address with his wife, Sister Norma Pimentel and a few other South Texans, had a more nuanced view of the speech.

“It was clearly a great speech from a political point of view, because it was written by one of Ronald Reagan’s great speechwriters, and you can certainly see that difference in taste and flair that you hadn’t seen before from the president,” he said Tuesday. “It was kind of a pep rally for his base, he hit all the talking points, but if you start looking at it from the perspective of fact checking those issues, then you’re in a different position. When he talked about tax cuts that helped the American people, the fact is that most of those tax cuts didn’t help the average working American.”

Gonzalez specifically expressed doubt over the president’s claims on the impact of tax breaks passed under his administration.

“Under the new tax breaks for the ultra-rich, the small businesses have to make that deduction over 39 and a half years. So how does that help small business people? How does that help the average working class citizen in America? I don’t think he’s really touched on that,” he said. “They claim that they want to roll some other tax break for middle and working class in the next year or so. Well, I’ll have to see it, but certainly we need it and the working people of South Texas need it.”

Gonzalez also addressed the president’s description of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, a bipartisan piece of free trade legislation that was signed by the president last week.

“The changes between NAFTA and USMCA aren’t that drastic; in fact, they’re minor. They do improve the agreement, but it’s not that massive deal the way he tries to play it out to the American people,” he said.

Additionally, Gonzalez addressed the president’s continued crusade for a border wall, which he described as “long, tall, and very powerful” in the address.

“That’s been his campaign promise since the beginning, and he’s not going to let up on that, he wants to build a wall,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s just a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars. I’m certainly not for open borders, I’m for strict immigration laws and strict border security on our border, but we need to think about it. Imagine if we took just a fraction of that $25 billion and invested it in the three Central American countries where 75% of the undocumented migration is coming from, that would bring a real long-term solution in stopping migration.”