AIKEN — U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson praised President Trump’s courage during a speech Thursday night to Aiken County Republicans.
Trump hasn’t been afraid to take on Iran and North Korea and move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, something Congress approved in 1994 but no president ever followed through with until Trump, Wilson said.
Missiles are no longer flying over Japan or threatening Guam, Wilson noted, and he thinks Iran will eventually toe Trump’s line, too.
“Iran is still a sponsor of terrorism,” Wilson said. “How did the previous president not notice that they were shouting ‘Death to America?’ ”
Iran had no intent to curb its nuclear program “and the president realized it,” scrapped the deal and put sanctions back in place, he said.
Wilson lauded Trump’s economic policies, too, citing historically low levels of unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women. Trump’s tax cut and efforts to cut regulation are helping businesses hire more workers as they thrive and expand.
The Optimism Index put out by the National Federation of Independent Business is higher than it has ever been, he said.
There are 155 million people working in America and the number applying for unemployment benefits has dropped.
“That means they’re getting jobs,” Wilson said.
It all means good news for South Carolina Republicans in the midterms, he predicted.
Wilson said Democrats aren’t mounting serious US House challenges anywhere but District 1, where newcomer Katie Arrington beat former Gov. Mark Sanford in the primary.
“Once Katie is successful, they won’t come back,” he said.
Before Wilson spoke, two local Republicans who have opposition in November urged the party faithful to work hard between now and the election.
Bart Blackwell, who represents District 81 in the state House, noted that Democrats haven’t put up a challenger there in 25 years.
“We can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “The Dems are energized. They’ll be out in force and we need to make sure we don’t take anything for granted.”
Jason Crane, who hopes to unseat Levi Green in the District 2 school board race, asked his fellow Republicans to call their friends in the Jackson and Beech Island areas. He wants to put “fiscal conservative eyes” on the district’s budget and promote academics, discipline and school safety.
Answering questions from the audience, Wilson said he doesn’t support tariffs, but understands why Trump does.
“The president is negotiating. America has been in a trade war with other countries but we haven’t responded,” Wilson said, and even if there is some short-term economic pain, it would worse is “for us not to fight back.”
“I appreciate that the president is standing up for American jobs and American security.”
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