UPDATE: After President Donald Trump called Democrats “treasonous” for not applauding him during his State of the Union speech, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he “would not have used the words.”
Portman, who attended the event, said in a statement on Tuesday that he shared “the disappointment that Democrats at the State of the Union speech did not respond favorably to excellent unemployment numbers.”
“Good economic news should be celebrated by everyone, and it is a sign of the partisan division in our country these days,” Portman said. ”But we have to be careful about the language we use so we don’t create even more partisanship.”
In a speech in which he touted tax cuts he said have already brought new prosperity to the country, President Donald Trump on Monday took dead aim at Democrats, who he called “treasonous” for not applauding him when he talked about the nation’s economic recovery during his State of the Union address.
“They were like death and un-American. Somebody says ‘treasonous.’ Trump said, “Can we call that treason? Why not?”
“They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” he added.
Trump rarely hesitates to criticize the opposite party, but his use of words like treason stood out.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, called Trump’s words “hate-filled.”
“(His) divisive politics are what’s truly un-American,” Pepper said.
Trump spoke to a friendly audience that included workers, elected officials and others at Sheffer Corp., a Blue Ash manufacturer of hydraulic and custom cylinders
“Your taxes are going way down and right now for the first time in a long time…factories are coming back, everything’s coming back,” said Trump. “They all want to be where the action is. America is once again open for business.”
He made no mention of the Dow Jones Industrial average, which has struggled in recent days and plunged more than 1,000 points Monday.
The speech had elements of the campaign trail, with Trump taking aim at his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.
“Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, they want to raise your taxes. They don’t want to give it to the military,” said Trump, urging people to vote against Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
He called Pelosi “our secret weapon.”
“I hope they don’t change her,” Trump said.
A Democratic National Committee official said Republicans will use tax cuts as “an excuse to slash funding for Social Security, education, Medicare and Medicaid, opioid treatment, and other critical programs families rely on.”
“Today in Cincinnati, Donald Trump will falsely claim his massive corporate tax breaks are benefiting working Ohioans. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Mandy McClure, Democratic National Committee Midwest regional press secretary. “In reality, the Trump tax is a complete rip-off for the 1.6 million Ohioans who will see their taxes go up over the next decade, while corporations win big.”
The visit came on a week when Congress faces another deadline for shutting down the federal government. Immigration is one of the sticking points between the two parties, and Trump accused Democrats of not wanting border security. He added: “We’re building a wall.”
As the president spoke, First Lady Melania Trump visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The First Lady spoke to doctors who treat babies born to opioid-addicted mothers.
During his speech the president said the nation will “prevail” in its battle against the opioid addiction crisis.
“We have to stop drugs from pouring across our border,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Jim Rennaci, R-Wadsworth, accompanied Trump to Ohio on Air Force One, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and they joined U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on the tour of Sheffer.
Several reporters shouted questions but Trump did not answer as he spoke to company employees about equipment and tools.
Fellow elected Republicans in the audience included Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running for governor; and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The White House did not provide a crowd estimate.
Renacci, who left the race for governor to run in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, has said he entered the race because Trump asked him too. Trump called Renacci “a terrific guy and a friend of mine from day one.”
He did not offer an outright endorsement, but at one point said of Renacci: “We want to get Jim in.’
Of Renacci’s possible opponent in November, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Trump said, “Senator Brown voted against us” on the tax cut. “Just remember that — he voted against you.”
Trump applauded Sheffer employees for their grit, pride and determination “to do the job right” and he brought several business leaders and two employees up to talk about the tax cuts
Matt Schron, general manager Cleveland-based Jergens Inc., said the tax cut allows his company to spend more money on employees and its facility and to hire more people.
Air Force One landed at Lunken Airport around 1:30 p.m.
Portman was waiting to meet the Trumps at the airport. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has been highly critcial of Trump since he ran against him for president, was not at the airport.
Staff writer Jack Torry contributed to this report.
Other stories by Lynn Hulsey