NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three in four Americans who watched President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address approved of the speech, according to a CBS News poll.
About 80 percent of those surveyed felt the president’s speech tried to unite the country rather than divide it and 65 percent said the speech made them feel proud.
The speech garnered much reaction from lawmakers and others on Twitter:
Trump called for unity as he outlined his plans for the country. The president called on both parties to come together on immigration and infrastructure as he called for “our new American moment.”
“The state of our union is strong because our people are strong,” Trump said. “I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties.”
The president also touted his accomplishments, including recent tax cuts and reforms.
Trump used the speech as an opportunity to offer to work with both parties to get a deal on immigration, proposing a path to citizenship for Dreamers — the 1.8 million people brought to the U.S. illegally as children in exchange for billions for a border wall with Mexico.
“Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements and show good moral character will be able to become full citizens of the United States,” he said.
He also called for the closure of loopholes that have allowed the MS-13 gang to make their way into the U.S.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said while things can be negotiated, Dreamers should be protected.
“If somehow we just can’t get those things done, then we should have a plan B that basically focuses on border security and focuses on making sure that the people here under DACA now do not lose their status,” he said.
In the audience were the parents of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, the two teens killed by the MS-13 gang on Long Island in 2016. The president recognized the families during an emotional moment that received a standing ovation.
More than a dozen lawmakers boycotted the president’s speech. Some Democrats wore black as a nod to the movement against sexual harassment and many lawmakers, including Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi, invited Dreamers as their guests.
But some Democrats urged bipartisanship.
“Just to sit there and frown is not going to fix anything. So let’s embrace each other and try to make it work. When we disagree, we can work through that,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
The president called for both sides of the aisle to come together as he outlined his plan for the next year.
“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure,” Trump said, calling on Congress to produce a bill that generates $1.5 trillion for new infrastructure and improvements.
“We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land and we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit,” Trump said.
Manchin said deals can be made, particularly to rebuild the country.
“I’ve never seen a pothole that wasn’t belonging to the Democrat or the Republican. I thought the pothole was all of our responsibility,” he said.
Infrastructure would seem to be an issue with bipartisan support, but the details are a bit more complicated, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“In the old days when Eisenhower built the interstate highways, he was actually providing 90 percent of the money,” Erik Engquist, Crain’s New York Business managing editor, told Brennan. “Now, it looks like Trump wants to only offer 20 percent of the money from the federal government, and states and localities would have to make up the other 80 percent.”
Trump proposed a solution for that 80 percent.
“Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” he said.
Perhaps the most urgent infrastructure problem in the Tri-State Area are the Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT rail tracks under the Hudson River that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
Former President Barack Obama had pledged to pay half of the estimated $14 billion cost for the Gateway project, with New York and New Jersey splitting the rest. But now, the Trump administration says no deal – to the great frustration of the project developer.
“Failure is not an option. What country would allow a single point of failure to jeopardize on a daily basis 10 percent of its GDP?” said Interim Executive Director John Porcari.
A Trump infrastructure plan could go before Congress next week, Brennan reported. It’s not clear what kind of deals could be cut over the Gateway project.
“We don’t know why the Trump administration is doing this. It could be to gain leverage for votes on an infrastructure bill down the road, but it could also be that Trump doesn’t want to pay 50 percent or anywhere near 50 percent for what could be a $14 billion tunnel project,” Engquist said.
The ranking member of the House Transportation Committee says the Trump infrastructure plan will be dead on arrival without substantial federal funding. The committee worries private investors would only shift costs to drivers through fees and tolls.
On Tuesday, he signed a new executive order to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open — a reversal of an order by the Obama administration.