He didn’t say the word “Texas” – but the Lone Star State was woven throughout President Donald Trump’s first address to Congress. From a hint at a shift in immigration policy to a border wall to increased military spending and beyond.
Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with two Texas congressmen: Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) to gauge their reactions to Tuesday’s speech.
On the president’s remarks about deporting undocumented immigrants:
Sessions: “As long as he focuses on those that have violated the law, meaning not by being in this country, but by some criminal act – as long as he stays within those boundaries, I think we’re good. People who are immigrants in this country need to follow the law. And if they do not, it will be time for them to give up that right that they had possessed.”
Castro: “I was glad to see that he talked about extending a hand to the Congress and working on the issue of immigration. But right now, that’s just talk. In order for him to have accomplished any kind of compromise, he’s going to have to be willing to stand up to the hardliners like Steve King and those in the Freedom Caucus who want to deport just about everybody. Unless he can show that he’s gonna stand up to those guys, then it’s probably gonna be a non-starter.”
On Trump’s plan to build infrastructure and create jobs:
Sessions: “President [Barack] Obama and his administration did not engage the country the way we felt it should be done for infrastructure. I think we’re still within some margins of safety within what our Republican Party stands for and we’re going to build an infrastructure that works.”
Castro: “[Trump] seemed to be in another world when it comes to understanding the kind of country that President Obama left him. President Obama created millions and millions of jobs and left an unemployment rate that was below 5 percent. But still, President Trump has painted a very dark picture of where we are as a country. In that way, I thought that he was both divisive and misleading.”
On the overall success of Trump’s speech:
Sessions: “I think there was anticipation that the president would acknowledge Congress and the American people on really his visions and his ideas. He made it about our country. He acknowledged we’re all Americans. I think he challenged us. I think he gave specific information about what his priorities are.”
Castro: “This is a president who, during the campaign and as a candidate, had flip-flopped positions on different things and we’re waiting to see what he actually proposes. Right now, all of this is rhetoric until you see actual legislation come forward, and then you can assess it and critique it, and then you can agree or disagree.”