First reactions to Trump’s State of Union speech from Florida leaders

Updated Jan 30, 2018
U.S. President Donald J. Trump (C) stands at the podium as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) look on during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“The American people are sick and tired of the partisan politics that’s going on in Washington. We need leaders who are willing to put aside party politics and work together for the good of the country. We need a president who will not only call for more bipartisanship, but shows he’s willing to work in a bipartisan way.”

— U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida


“President Trump is right to reverse President Obama’s dangerous decision to release terrorists from U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and seek closure of this important facility. Far too many terrorists released from GTMO have returned to the fight and directly threaten the safety of American troops and our citizens at home and abroad. The United States must continue to use all lawful tools, including detention of enemy combatants at GTMO, in our ongoing armed conflict against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, including ISIS. Going forward, I urge the Administration to capture those former GTMO detainees who have been released and resumed hostilities against the United States, and bring them to justice.”

— U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida

“Tonight, I was glad to hear the President outline a bipartisan agenda to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, including our waterways. Decades of failures to fix water infrastructure issues in Florida have created an untenable situation resulting in massive discharges of toxic water directly into the heart of our community. Working together, I’m hopeful we can turn the President’s proposals into legislation that addresses these issues in a robust and bipartisan way because our community can’t afford to wait any longer.”

— U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City

“The most encouraging thing about America is how the strength of the nation has been able to weather the harm this leader has tried to do — to working families looking for a break, to women looking for equity and respect, to children looking to protect the environment they will inherit, and to every person looking for someone to champion their right to affordable health care. As President Trump used tonight to continue boasting about himself, the rest of us are looking to restore the American Dream where people have the freedom and opportunity to succeed — regardless of their gender, their race, their sexual orientation or their politics.”

— Philip Levine, Democratic candidate for Florida governor

“What we heard from President Trump was deeply dishonest and bigoted speech that ignored a simple truth: one-party rule isn’t working for regular middle-class families. Here’s the real state of our union: From Washington, D.C., to Tallahassee, Republican politicians would rather serve their special interest donors and party leaders than find real solutions to grow our economy. Floridians deserve better than to hear more empty speeches from politicians who are more loyal to their wealthy donors than to the people who elected them. It’s time for big ideas, new leadership and a governor of Florida who focuses tirelessly on creating quality jobs, raising wages, and lifting up Florida’s hardworking families.”

— Chris King, Democratic candidate for Florida governor

“The only thing this President has done during his first year in office is increase taxes on Florida’s working families to pay for tax cuts for the very wealthy, while continuing his hateful rhetoric against women, immigrants, and people of color. Tonight’s SOTU indicates more of the same. While Democrats work to create opportunity, an economy, and a country that works for all Americans, Trump and Republicans have made it clear that they’ll continue to reward the wealthy at the expense of hard working Americans.”

— Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo