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Opinions on Trump speech track party lines

The reaction to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address came down along party lines in New Mexico.

Members of the state’s all Democratic congressional delegation criticized the speech. State Republican Party leaders and candidates praised it, highlighting the economic gains made in the first three years of the Trump presidency.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall slammed the speech as “an affront to New Mexicans who have watched his administration stack the deck for the wealthy and the special interests while attacking the health care and economic security of working families.”

Udall criticized the president’s handling of health care and trade – both issues touted by the president during the speech.

“Instead of working across the aisle to protect people with preexisting conditions and lower the cost of prescription drugs, Trump and the Republican party are trying to rip health care away from millions of Americans,” the senator said.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján said the president’s speech “offered empty promises and a retread of policies that have failed New Mexican families.”

“Instead of putting forward a clear vision for how this country can succeed by uplifting working Americans, the president focused instead on divisiveness,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, who had the honor of escorting the president to the House chamber, said Trump painted a misleading picture.

“Trump’s policies are immoral and they hurt women and children in our communities while enriching himself and his friends,” she said, saying the president was trying to take health care away from women and children and restricting access to food assistance and attacking our public lands.

But Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce lauded the president for focusing “heavily on the economy, proclaiming that his administration and policies have created seven million jobs and strengthened the U.S. economic output.”

“He declared that his policies have led to historic low unemployment, a decline in crime, increased household income, a fall in poverty, a massive tax cut that has created tremendous economic growth and a record stock market boom that’s boosting the 401Ks of nearly every American,” he said. “The president pointed out that American oil and gas production has soared, making the U.S. the number one producer in the world. New Mexico, in particular, will benefit.”

INVITED TO THE SPEECH: The commander of the Air National Guard at Kirtland Air Force Base and a Socorro physician were among the guests of the New Mexico congressional delegation for the State of the Union address.

Kirtland Air National Guard commander Brig. Gen. Michele LaMontagne was Haaland’s guest for the speech. LaMontagne is the second woman and the first openly LGBTQ person to serve in this leadership position at the New Mexico Air National Guard, Haaland’s office said.

“As someone who grew up in a military family, I believe it is incredibly important to honor those who commit to serve our country, especially those who face adversity and still do their job to the best of their ability,” Haaland said. “General LaMontagne has spent her career serving our country and now that she is in a leadership position, she is working to ensure diversity is seen as a strength among the ranks.”

Steven Stewart, a family medicine practitioner at Socorro General Hospital, was the guest of U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small.

Torres Small invited Stewart to highlight their shared commitment to serving rural patients in New Mexico and to uplift the story of families and patients across New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, her office said.

Scott Turner:


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