Delaware Public Media

Sen. Carper reacts to President Trump's State of the Union

Feb 6, 2019

Delaware’s senior Senator says President Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night was largely what he expected.

Sen. Tom Carper says most of what the President said was “what we’ve heard before,” but he did take issue with a number of things Trump discussed.

That includes the President’s foreign policy agenda, where he announced a second summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, while continuing to attack the Iran nuclear agreement he pulled the U.S. out of last year while re-imposing sanctions.

“I would not trust the leader of North Korea as far as I could throw him," said Carper.  "On the other hand, Iran – where we’ve had this five nation nuclear agreement with Iran that’s kept them from developing nuclear weapons and is highly enforced by independent agencies – for the President to continue to play attack Iran but play nice with North Korea, that just seems somewhat out of step."

Carper also noted Trump is taking credit for economic growth he inherited and continues to offer new initiatives without explaining how he intends to pay for them.

For many,one line in the speech stood out – when President Trump said "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”  That came as the President attacked what he called “ridiculous partisan investigations.”

Carper says that stuck a tone similar to President Nixon during investigations into Watergate.

“As I recall, he (Nixon) used occasions like a State of the Union address to try to fend off those investigations.  So, it’s a little bit of déjà vu," said Carper. "President Nixon used to say the folks at Washington Post were out to get him, and it was all untrue.  And as it turns out they had their facts straight."

Carper adds Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation must be alllowed to play out.

"If there's no collusion and the Presidnet has clean hands, that's fine. If not, then there are consequences that must be paid," Carper said.

Carper says he continues see potential to work with President Trump on infrastructure issues. But he notes the President needs to offer concrete ways to pay for improvements, beyond asking states to pay for most of it.

And Carper believes a common sense compromise on funding security on the nation’s southern border remains possible before the February 15th deadline to avoid another government shutdown.