PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Experts React to President Trump’s State of the Union Address
“The Heartland Institute has been advising many in the administration on climate and energy policy, so we were certainly encouraged and excited the president promoted his pro-energy, pro-America vision in his State of the Union Address.” - Tim Huelskamp
On Tuesday, January 30, President Trump delivered his first State of the Union Address. In his speech President Trump reflected on America’s booming economy, increased energy production, and national security concerns. President Trump urged Congress to pass immigration reform, an infrastructure package, and a bill allowing patients the ‘Right to Try’ in his eighty minute speech.
The following statements from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at firstname.lastname@example.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.
“The Heartland Institute has been advising many in the administration on climate and energy policy, so we were certainly encouraged and excited the president promoted his pro-energy, pro-America vision in his State of the Union Address.
“The White House reached out to The Heartland Institute a few weeks ago and asked if we had other suggestions for President Trump's State of the Union Address. We urged President Trump to address something outside the partisan box: giving millions of patients the ‘Right to Try’ life-saving, life-enhancing drugs they are denied by the antiquated drug approval process at the Food & Drug Administration.
“We were delighted to hear President Trump nail that issue right on the nose and put it in moral terms. Americans have a ‘Right to Try’ drugs that are safe and have a chance to cure them of crippling and fatal diseases. The Heartland Institute stands ready to help President Trump, Vice President Pence, Congress, and our allies to enact legislation that creates an America where we are Free to Choose Medicine.”
“On Tuesday evening President Donald Trump delivered the finest State of The Union speech of my lifetime. After watching it a second time, I could not find a single sentence I would have changed. The special guests President Trump honored were extraordinary, bringing real tears to my eyes over and over again. They were all uncomfortable in the spotlight but understood the importance of their stories. While we know the radical liberal media will find some faults, all NPR could muster this morning was a disagreement with his plan for 1.8 million people brought to America as children. My expectations for President Trump and the future of the country have never been higher.
“One of the most thrilling aspects of the speech was the total absence of climate change hysteria. President Trump’s delivery was flawless, allowing each and every point to be understood and absorbed. Unlike past State of the Union speeches, President Trump did not step on some of his lines or bore the audience with a slow delivery. I am simply in awe of what I saw and heard last night.”
“President Trump challenged Democrats yesterday to join him on bipartisan immigration and infrastructure deals. He has yet to hear any positive response from them. They could not even applaud the lowest unemployment rate for blacks in American history, or higher wages and more jobs for all American workers.”
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
Mr. Ferrara is the author of Power to the People: The New Road to Freedom and Prosperity for the Poor, Seniors, and Those Most in Need of the World’s Best Health Care (2015), and The Obamacare Disaster (2010).
“President Trump’s State of the Union Address was a five star performance last night across the board, and his energy comments were oxygen in the room after eight years of deficiency under President Obama. In Obama’s second term, he and the Democratic Party decided Americans would not be able to use fossil fuels at all after 2050. By doing so, they stifled an economy the Trump administration has turned loose, benefitting all Americans. President Trump is on the path to becoming a great president because he embraces the fulsome use of fossil fuels, including ‘beautiful, clean coal’. Thank you, Mr. President.”
“President Trump has done more to reduce the regulatory burden in one year than any president in history. Combined with the steps he has taken to enact his America First energy plan, these actions have contributed to the country's strong growth during the first year of the Trump administration. Based on recent business investment and consumer confidence polls, President Trump’s policies are reinvigorating the economy.
“During his first State of the Union speech, President Trump was more than justified in touting his accomplishments so far. Under President Trump, the United States has increased energy production, reduced regulations, and cut taxes. Because of this, the United States is once again exporting freedom and prosperity around the globe.
“Having said all this, there is still more to do. Unfortunately, most of the cities with major ports, including all those along the West Coast, are in blue states run by Democratic governors. These vital states remain stuck in the grips of radical environmental ideologies. The Trump administration, working with Congress, must get new coal, oil, and natural gas export terminals built as part of an infrastructure plan. State recalcitrance should not be allowed to interfere with interstate and international commerce that, constitutionally, is the domain of the federal government.”
“President Trump’s call for ‘great vocational schools’ and more job training are laudable. These goals would be best achieved through empowering parents with education choice and tax credits for companies training specifically for the job skills they need.”
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… Watching the State of the Union and the left and right sections of the Capital floor, it really was a tale of two countries.
“President Trump’s tone reminded me of the early 1980’s Reagan years. There is a growing confidence and optimism in our country. It would be nice if the bitter scales would fall from the eyes of the progressive left.
“It is easy to forget it has been just one year since President Trump took office. Already, the Trump administration has accomplished historic and meaningful tax reform, eliminated the individual mandate, reduced choking regulations, ended the war on coal, increased energy production, and fostered resurgence in manufacturing. President Trump has also nominated a record number of district court judges and rescinded the Paris climate scam.
“If last January someone had offered just half of what was accomplished in 2017, most Americans would have jumped at the offer. Much remains to be done, many priorities were not mentioned, the divide in our country is real, yet it has only been one year.”
“President Trump gave a great State of the Union speech pointing out the upbeat points of his first 12 months of presidency.”
Ms. Grande represented the 41st District in the North Dakota Legislature from 1996 to 2014.
“In his State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump said, ‘we have ended the war on clean coal.’ To fully end President Barack Obama’s devastating ‘war on coal,’ Trump is taking many critical steps, with his plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan among the most important.
“Next he needs to eliminate a 2015 Obama administration rule that limits carbon dioxide emissions on new coal-fired power stations. For as long as that rule exists, the United States cannot build modern, clean and efficient coal plants to replace older, dirtier stations as is happening in Europe, China and India. To ensure the longevity of these plans, the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding must also be repealed. It is only when there is no credible basis to label carbon dioxide a pollutant, that the war on coal will not be easily revived by a future administration.”
“As an engineer I am thrilled President Trump wants the United States to finally unleash the potential of its number one asset: abundant, inexpensive and geographically distributed coal, oil, and natural gas. President Trump has reversed the Obama administration fixation on replacing America’s fossil fuel assets with solar, wind, ethanol from corn, and other biofuels that are expensive, unreliable, and require vast land areas. On top of these liabilities, renewable energy sources require huge amounts of subsidies from taxpayers to entice their use.
“With President Trump's policies, the United States will become energy independent and energy dominant, which will give Americans great leverage in international affairs.”
“In his State of the Union Address, President Trump laudably threw a spotlight on the ‘Right to Try’, the progress of which could save thousands of lives. The ‘Right to Try’ is a genuine individual right, the old-fashioned kind that exists just because people are naturally free and capable of making the important decisions about their own medical treatment. If the ‘Right to Try’ movement is already gaining traction, then the president’s words carry the potential of fully turning the tide.”
Perhaps the most remarkable item in President Trump’s first State of the Union Address and its official rebuttal by Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.) was the failure to mention dire global warming/climate change, drastic sea level rise, and the many ills that have been prophesized if we continue to burn hydrocarbons and emit carbon dioxide. Is a new realization occurring that we will not overheat or drown in acidic waters? Probably not. The alarmists will continue to attack President Trump for his climate policies and gently criticize Kennedy for his oversight. After all, decades of propaganda cannot be overcome with a single speech.
“President Trump did an excellent job of highlighting his successes and the future goals he desires while facing every day the incredible partisanship in Washington. I would welcome the president taking up the mantle of Ronald Reagan and further restrain Washington by calling upon six remaining states to pass an Article V resolution for a convention to propose a balanced budget amendment. Bringing fiscal order to Washington and avoiding a certain economic collapse could indeed become the Trump administration's greatest legacy!”
“President Trump touched on most of what we all expected during tonight’s State of the Union: making America great again, trade, immigration, and tax cuts. But despite his focus on education reform during the election, Trump did not even mention federal funding reallocations or a federal tax-credit scholarship program enabling school choice all across the nation.
“What a relief.
“After all, because federal education dollars are public, government officials could decide that all voucher-accepting schools must do the same things public schools do. Regulated school choice programs could nudge otherwise independent private schools to essentially become public schools. And what would be the point of turning private schools into the same types of institutions that are failing these children in the first place?”
“I call last night's State of the Union 'the night the Democratic party died.' It's perfectly fine to be respectfully opposed to the politics of one party or president. That's politics. What happened last night was offensive and disrespectful.
“Democrats were outed as the party that’s rooting for America's failure. Rooting against a booming economy. Rooting for misery, instead of prosperity. Rooting against jobs. Angry about the lowest black unemployment rate ever. Angry about the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate ever. Angry at the lowest female unemployment rate in 18 years. Angry at the highest optimism by small business owners and manufacturers in history. Democrats are angry at patriotism and love of country. They sat stone-faced while Republicans stood for the flag and national anthem. Democrats walked out angrily over chants of ‘USA, USA, USA!'
“Last night was shocking. A sad reality check on what Democrats really stand for. Turn out the lights, there is no one left to support the Democratic Party we saw last night except for illegal aliens, radicals, Marxists, felons and welfare addicts. It's clear they are the party that wants to 'Make America Miserable Again.’”
Wayne Allyn Root is the host of “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show” on USA Radio Network and Newsmax TV.
“I found President Trump's State of the Union Address to be forward-looking and precise. I really enjoyed him touting low black unemployment as a hallmark. It was saddening to see members of the Congressional Black Caucus not celebrating black Americans getting back to work and improving our country. President Trump is currently delivering on a promise he made to black Americans when he said, ‘What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed... what the hell do you have to lose?’ Well done, Mr. President, well done!”
“The utter absence of climate change from President Trump’s State of the Union Address stands in stark contrast to its prominence in all of former President Obama’s speeches. Whether climate alarmists here and abroad like it or not, their pet topic has fallen off the agenda for the highest official in the world’s most powerful nation and its biggest economy. Just as the Department of Defense no longer includes climate change as a national security risk, Trump no longer includes it as a risk to America or the world. His boosting coal is a clear sign that the federal government’s love affair with diffuse, expensive, unreliable renewable energy sources like wind and solar is over. That’s good news for Americans, yes. But it’s especially good news for the poor in developing countries. Western environmentalist elites, dominating the United Nation’s Environment Program and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have bullied them for years against using coal to lift their people out of poverty. Trump’s policies give them cover to buck that bullying and put their people’s needs first.”
“President Trump celebrated the end of the Obamacare individual mandate as a huge tax relief measure for the less affluent. No longer can they be punished with a tax penalty for not being able to afford outrageously priced non-insurance ‘health plans’. I wish he had addressed the regulations that destroy a free market in medical insurance as well.
“President Trump mentioned the need to upgrade our aging (and untested for decades) nuclear deterrent. But what about revising our policy of deliberately leaving Americans unprotected against attack, despite technically feasible anti-missile defense, and basic civil defense measures that could potentially save millions?
“I don't know how much of our infrastructure is ‘crumbling,’ but the electric grid is extremely vulnerable to a paralyzing electromagnetic pulse, causing damage that at best could not be repaired for decades.
“I say bravo for helping to make America a leader in energy, but calling coal "clean" did not go far enough. How about reliable, abundant, affordable, and essential? Of course it is cleaner and less environmentally destructive than allegedly "clean" and "renewable" alternatives.
“In a speech so good Nancy Pelosi writhed in apparent pain, President Trump showed Tuesday night that he has had quite a successful first year. At his best in front of a crowd, the president heralded genuine and inspiring achievements of the nation and its people in an address the likes of which we have not seen since the days of President Ronald Reagan. Whether Democrats will heed the president’s call to work together in the coming years or instead continue to “resist” and obstruct remains to be seen, but President Trump laid down last night a powerful marker for his reelection bid in 2020.”
“The President was justified in taking credit for the benefits of lower taxes and a decreased regulatory burden. However, the continued bias toward economic nationalism and a mixed message on the dollar work at cross-purposes to this. Markets work when you let them, and this applies to global trade and investment as well as to domestic policies.”
“It is telling that when President Trump delivered good news about our country, many in the gallery pouted. It's as if these sad people valued their positions and power over American success.”
“President Trump demonstrated the ability necessary in all leaders, historically known as the “common touch.” It is the ability to talk to all people without talking down to them. It even worked on many of those adamantly pre-determined not to like or listen to his message.”
“As a mom and pop farming operation that relies on mineral rights and employment in the energy sector for income to help maintain and grow, it was so refreshing to hear President Trump declare in his State of the Union Address that we have ended the war on American energy. Farm commodity prices constantly fluctuate and farming operations today must have diversified income to survive. Having our nation’s leaders remove excessive regulations and road blocks to fossil fuel development is a tremendous boon to our entire country.”
“In his State of the Union Address, President Trump pledged to bring down the cost of prescription drugs but has not given specifics on how he will do that. The cause of irrationally inflated prescription drug prices is insurance coverage of prescription drugs. Eliminating insurance drug coverage would eventually bring down the price of drugs but would be extremely unpopular in the short run. I don’t see him doing this. I suspect he will try to arrange re-importation of drugs from Canada which will make for an even worse scenario to those who won’t have this option available to them.”
“The last year has seen an amazing improvement in our economic environment — employment is up substantially, unemployment claims are at a 45-year low, and minority unemployment is at historic lows. President Trump has a right to be proud of his first year in office.”
“Remember the crumbling infrastructure that the federal government is supposed to spend trillions to rescue? President Trump doesn't. Instead of repairing existing infrastructure, he proposed to spend $1.5 trillion on ‘gleaming new roads, roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways.’ In fact, for the most part we don’t need new infrastructure. We just need to better utilize and maintain the infrastructure we have.”
“For decades, conventional wisdom has been that America was in a state of decline. This drumbeat, repeated relentlessly, held that raw-material scarcity and resource consumption would doom America. Costs would inexorably rise and resources would become more scarce. Indeed costs did rise. But the truth is that the political class made it so. President Obama famously sought to reduce American access to natural resources, to massively raise gasoline prices and thereby reduce its use. Last night President Trump highlighted the folly of such thinking. One year of change has brought not only lower gas prices, but the president noted that the United States is now a net exporter of energy. Decades of poor policy tied up the American economic engine in reams of red tape. President Trump highlighted his efforts to free the people and unlock America’s awesome energy potential. The ultimate resource is a free people and we, the people, like it.”
The opinion expressed above is Mr. Wanliss' personal viewpoint, and does not represent the opinion of Presbyterian College.
“Great speech! President Trump’s first State of the Union Address was as good as the best of President Reagan. The president’s speech was an excellent summary of impressive economic achievements and clear guideline for the future. Not a single sentence to disagree with. President Trump chose outstanding guests, which included many real heroes of our time. It is sad that Democrats were in their permanent post-election PTSD. The ‘response’ by Joe Kennedy III was laughable. Full of empty slogans and bad acting, the bleeding heart multi-millionaire did not sound sincere or coherent, repeating old and empty slogans of the Left.”
“In many ways this was the most pitch-perfect speech President Trump has delivered. He laid out a splendid strategy on immigration reform and quite properly reveled in his success in economic growth, tax and regulatory policy, and judicial appointments. Taken all in all, he has more than fulfilled the hopes of those of us who supported him hoping that he would prove to be a solid conservative leader in the mold of Taft, Coolidge, or Reagan.”
Stephen B. Presser
Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History (emeritus)
Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
Mr. Presser is the author of Law Professors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law (West Academic Publishing, 2017), which calls on the American people to undertake Constitutional Amendment.
“I was delighted to hear President Trump endorse ‘Right to Try’ medicine. Terminally ill patients have been denied access to new drugs that have not yet gained approval by the Food and Drug Administration for far too long. Not only is this a violation of the freedom our nation was founded upon, but it’s a violation of medical ethics. Today’s terminally ill should not be sacrificed to bureaucratic box checking or the welfare of future patients.”
“Unemployment is dropping, individuals are seeing higher wages, and the vast majority of workers are about to see a noticeable bump in their take-home pay because of tax reform. For all of these reasons, President Trump had the opportunity to deliver an optimistic and upbeat State of the Union speech, and he certainly delivered.
“In short, the economic success story of the last year provided the Trump administration with an easy template for an uplifting speech. President Trump found himself in a position last night that most presidents would love to be in: being able to document an improving economy and a growing confidence among American workers, businesses and taxpayers.
“The president’s task now is to maintain the limited-government policy approach that has marked his first year, thus allowing the creative and innovative drive of the American people to write another success story for his next State of the Union.”
“President Trump gave the most conservative State of the Union speech since President Reagan's ‘Evil Empire’ address. President Reagan would have been proud as President Trump spoke clearly, strongly, and forcefully about American exceptionalism and the need to revisit our forgotten founding principles of individual governance and servant leadership on the part of our politicians. The only caution is that while it's necessary to provide adequate funding for a strong defense, we must be willing to cut wasteful spending in the Department of Defense that spends $900 on hammers.”
“Throughout his first State of the Union, President Trump instilled confidence that the United States is ‘open for business’. The rate of return on the change in business sentiment and profit expectations is difficult to isolate but easy to point to as the top achievement of his first year in office.”
Russ McCullough, Ph.D.
Wayne Angell Chair of Economics
Angell Snyder School of Business
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
“This was a very well-orchestrated address. It is difficult to find a better one by any President in memory. However, the proposed DACA immigration deal is a major disappointment that violates a key campaign promise. How can this be viewed in any other light? American Family Radio talk show host Sandy Rios offers one possibility. Trump has made a shrewd chess move. Sacrifice a pawn now – the short term wrath of his supporters – to gain the Queen in the mid-terms. Under no circumstances will the Democrats accept the deal. So it is withdrawn, but Trump has shown their unreasonableness to compromise and bring about a bi-partisan solution to the DACA problem. This will be worth many votes in the mid-terms.”