Before President Donald Trump addressed the nation live on camera Tuesday night, Congressman Adam Kinzinger said such a method is a better way toward a solution than others.
“We’re getting sucked into this addiction of social media feedback,” Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said during a press conference leading up to the State of the Union address Tuesday night. “In person, people are pretty nice. On social media, they’re not.”
Kinzinger said the president is fun to chat with – in person. He said former President Barack Obama was equally to blame for inciting audiences on social media, but that Trump’s Twitter activity has been a bane to his administration.
“You can express you don’t agree, but you never attack,” Kinzinger said. “It does no good to go on Twitter and attack your intelligence committee. It’s airing dirty laundry.”
The most pressing issue facing the nation is Trump’s proposed border wall, whose funding prompted the
six-week-plus federal government shutdown as he pressed for the
$5.7 billion to build a steel wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The shutdown finally was lifted Jan. 25, when Trump signed a bill to reopen the government.
“I do believe in border security, and building a wall or barrier in areas that need it,” Kinzinger said. “But I was very clear that shutting down the government was dumb.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is working to keep the government open. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he remains hopeful Congress can resolve the dispute by Feb. 15, when funding for some government agencies runs out.
“Democrats can call it a fence, the president can call it a wall, and then we can call it a day, which I think is one way of skinning the cat,” said Cornyn, who is a close adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Kinzinger’s guest for the State of the Union address was Dixon High School resource officer Mark Dallas, who thwarted a shooting at the high school in May.
“What stands out to me the most is his humility,” Kinzinger said of Dallas.
Kinzinger urged cooperation, in the interest of every American citizen.
“We all saw how pointless [the shutdown] was,” he said. “It had an effect on the economy and federal workers whose lives were affected.”
Trump has overseen a surge in the national economy, including a
4.2 percent annual increase in the second quarter of 2018, but his approval rating has decreased from 42 percent to 39 percent since he reopened the federal government, according to the political analysis site, FiveThirtyEight.
Kinzinger also criticized Trump for his recent withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, where American soldiers have been fighting for 17 years.
“I disagree with what he’s doing [in Afghanistan],” Kinzinger said.
“... Showing a desire to leave does not give you strength at the bargaining table.”
Meanwhile, in Illinois, recently elected state Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, abstained from weighing in on federal issues, but said he’s seen on a state level what lack of cooperation does.
“We saw in Illinois over the past couple of years what two strong personalities in the Legislative branch can do to wreak havoc,” he said. “It’s important that we work together.”
He said he’s had conversations with fellow newcomer, Lauren Underwood, who won election in November over incumbent Randy Hultgren in the state’s 14th Congressional District.
“I look forward to seeing things like that occur,” Keicher said. “That dialogue and that open nature should be a part of government, no matter what level.”