SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s lone Democrat in Congress criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for tearing up her copy of the President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address after he delivered it Tuesday.
“I think Speaker Pelosi was wrong to rip up the president’s speech and to do that in such a disrespectful way,” Rep. Ben McAdams said Wednesday.
“We deserve better than partisan games and partisan symbolism. That’s not how my parents brought me up to behave and the American people deserve better than that,” he said on KSL Newsradio. “I think that was very disappointing.”
McAdams, who is up for reelection in the heavily Republican 4th District, sat in the joint session of Congress with a group Democratic and GOP House members known as the Problem Solvers Caucus. Sitting between two Republicans, McAdams stood and applauded Trump at times during the 78-minute speech.
“I think the president has every opportunity to tout his successes and to tell people why the country is heading in a good direction, and I heard a lot of that. We have a lot of things to celebrate,” the freshman congressman said, noting Trump’s remarks on the economy and jobs.
Many of McAdams’ Democratic colleagues took issue with Trump’s address, including at least four who walked out before the president finished speaking.
McAdams said people can always hear what they want to hear in a speech.
“If you’re looking to be offended, to find criticism, you can find that in anything,” he said.
McAdams, who voted to impeach Trump, said he went into the speech looking for areas where he could agree and work with the president, citing bipartisan efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Neither party has a monopoly on good ideas; neither is one without bad ideas, he said.
“We are going to prioritize solutions over partisan purity and loyalty to a political party. We are going to get stuff done,” he said, adding the House passed his bills on suicide prevention and cracking down on financial fraud with bipartisan support.
The upcoming election can’t become an excuse to divide people, said McAdams, who endorsed Mike Bloomberg for president last week. When people are behaving in a way that is not bipartisan and constructive, “we need to be willing to call it out,” he said.
The National Republican Congressional Committee again blasted McAdams for voting to impeach Trump and receiving reelection support from House Democrats’ super PAC.
“Ben McAdams is a corrupt congressman whose vote to impeach President Trump was bought and paid for by Democrats who hate our president. These Democrats know they can’t win an election to remove President Trump, so they’re bribing Ben McAdams to do it for them,” said NRCC spokeswoman Torunn Sinclair.
Republicans looking to challenge McAdams include former Utah GOP communications adviser Kathleen Anderson, nurse practitioner Chris Biesinger, state Rep. Kim Coleman, former KSL Newsradio host Jay Mcfarland and former NFL player Burgess Owens. Democrats include Daniel Beckstrand and Jonathan Lopez. United Utah Party candidate Jonia Broderick also is in the race.