Depending on which Georgian you asked on Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address was either a sensation or rang hollow.
Democrats were wary about many of the commander-in-chief’s promises -- or rejected them outright -- while Republicans cheered the president for offering an optimistic view for the future and offering an olive branch to the other side.
For Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Trump’s speech showcased “another step in his maturing nature.”
“Don’t you think that this president is really settling into being the leader of our country and the leader of the free world?” Perdue said.
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, said he was particularly encouraged by Trump’s hopeful tune for the future.
“Our best days are ahead of us, and that’s what the American people have been looking for,” he said. Trump “delivered that tonight in a very strong way.”
Nearly every GOP official said they saw some of their pet political initiatives reflected in the commander-in-chief’s words.
Loudermilk said members of his staff were “jumping up and down” as Trump endorsed the concepts behind a civil service reform bill he sponsored.
State Sen. Michael Williams, who is running for governor on a pro-Trump platform, also tied a section of Trump’s speech to a policy he’d push in Georgia.
“Did you hear what President Trump just said? He asked Congress to empower cabinet members to remove federal employees who undermine public trust,” he tweeted. “When I am your governor, I will do the same in Georgia. No more bad actors!”
Local Democrats were much more skeptical.
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop of Albany, the only one of Georgia’s four House Democrats to attend Trump’s speech, said he was “truly hopeful” that the president’s talk of bipartisanship was genuine.
“However, actions speak louder than words, and the President’s actions thus far have been hurtful and divisive,” he said. “I hope his rhetoric tonight will be followed by a new spirit of bipartisan, bicameral cooperation that benefits all Americans.”
Chalis Montgomery, a Democrat challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Jody Hice in the conservative-leaning 10th Congressional District, live-tweeted criticism of Trump throughout the address. She was particularly vociferous about the tax bill, which she said “missed the mark with the middle class.”
“One time bonuses to employees are not real wage increases. I would have instead directed funds towards providing a living wage and healthcare for all,” she wrote. “Without a living wage and reliable care, the American dream starves.”
Former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, one of two top Democratic contenders for governor, participated in a live-tweet forum responding to Trump’s address. After Trump referred to a movement to take a knee during the national anthem, Abrams was asked whether Trump was a racist.
“The WH has shown a consistent and hardened racism, which he has coupled with his fear and loathing of the 1st Amendment,” she wrote.