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Trump boasts of economic gains on eve of impeachment verdict

Congressman Kinzinger agrees: 'Manufacturing is back'

Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger

Just before the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Congressman Adam Kinzinger shared rhetoric with President Donald Trump regarding the economy.

"Manufacturing is back," Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said in a teleconference with media. "To see it come back the way it is is inspiring."

On the eve of his impeachment verdict, Trump did not touch on the issue, instead focusing on economic successes during his first term. He is the first president to run for reelection after being impeached.

Kinzinger was not surprised by the tone, believing the president would "stay on script" and maintain an optimistic message. He thought perhaps there would be a mention of the impeachment "to some extent," but didn't know what to expect on the topic.

In his speech, Trump took credit for the nation's economic success as a chief rationale for a second term.

Specifically, Trump touted low unemployment, stressing how it has helped blue-collar workers and the middle class.

“We are restoring our nation’s manufacturing might, even though predictions were that this could never be done," Trump said. "After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my administration.”

According to an Associated Press fact check, manufacturing has slumped in the past year, after having advanced in the prior two years. The president’s tariffs regime and slower growth worldwide hurt the sector in ways that suggest that Trump’s policies robbed it of some of its previous strength.

Economic growth was 2.3% in 2019, matching the average pace since the Great Recession ended a decade ago, according to the Associated Press.

Democratic candidate Dani Brzozowski, who is Kinzinger's political opponent in November, said Trump's speech was based on a misconception.

"He spent 45 minutes talking about economic statistics," Brzozowski, D-La Salle, said. "You can use whatever statistics you want to create a narrative."

Brzozowski said statistics such as 44% of full-time workers earning incomes of $18,000 or less or the loss of 46,000 manufacturing jobs lost recently tell a different story.

Trump stressed the new trade agreements he has negotiated, including his phase-one deal with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement he signed last month Kinzinger also touted the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement as good for agriculture and manufacturing. Brzozowski said the trade agreement with China has hurt small farmers.

Trump was speaking from the House of Representatives, on the opposite side of the Capitol from where the Senate one day later was expected to acquit him largely along party lines. He was impeached on party lines, which was not lost on Kinzinger.

After following the Senate hearing on impeachment, the congressman said he had no regrets in voting against impeachment. He said Democrats rushed the process on a self-imposed timeline, held onto the charges and didn't make a strong enough case.

"I've always been concerned," Kinzinger said of the charges against the president.

The congressman said later the impeachment was Democrats' vendetta against the president.

"They didn't take the time to make a case," Kinzinger said. "Because there wasn't one."

Trump received a raucous but divided response from Congress with Republicans in the House of Representatives chanting “Four More Years” while Democrats stood mute.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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