President Donald Trump’s inaugural address sends a clear signal that business in Washington is about to change and his vow of action has an eager Congress ready to work, according to Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
Yoho, who gained headlines two years ago by challenging sitting Republican House Speaker John Boehner, says the shift from President Obama to President Trump is huge and needed.
“It is a new day in America and I think Donald Trump did a good job just talking about making America great again at the end of his speech. It’s goodbye to the old and hello to the new,” said Yoho.
Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming his presidency served as the moment the power in the United States returned to its rightful owners.
“Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” said Trump.
What does that look like? Yoho says it means a government who remembers who it works for.
“The way I took that is you’re going to see a government that’s much more responsive to the people,” he said.
In his speech, Trump also slammed the business as usual approach of Washington.
“In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it,” said Trump. “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”
Yoho says that’s the message the American people have been sending for years.
“If you look at the progression of the tea party from 2009 forward, the people being elected now – me being one of them – are from people who were fed up with the status quo and they wanted people outside of the Beltway. Donald Trump is the epitome of that,” said Yoho.
But one message emerged strongest of all from the Trump speech.
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” said Trump.
Trump’s “America First” approach to the presidency is drawing a wide variety of reactions. Yoho is encouraged by it.
“Whatever we do from government, we need to do what’s best for America. If we do that, that’s bringing power back to the people. Let’s treat this country first and foremost,” said Yoho.
One of Yoho’s greatest frustrations is how important legislation, such as appropriations bills, are often derailed or delayed by unrelated issues. He expects that to stop now that the GOP has the power in Washington.
“Two years ago we got that whole process stopped on the confederate flag issue. This last year, in 2016, it got stopped over the LGBT issue. I’m not saying they’re not important issues, but they should not be a distraction to getting our legislative work done,” said Yoho.
Trump has made it clear to Congress he expects them to be very productive in the early days of this administration. Yoho says Vice President Mike Pence put lawmakers on notice.
“Mike Pence came into our conference twice now and he goes, ‘I hope you guys are holding on because Mr. Trump is ready to get going. He has boundless energy and he doesn’t accept failure. He’ll be pushing the cart rather than waiting for somebody else to lead. He’s going to lead,” said Yoho.
And Yoho says Republicans on Capitol Hill are eager to get to work on much of the Trump agenda.
“The optimism that we see, not just in America but up here in the legislative body, there’s just a whole new atmosphere up here and it’s all positive,” said Yoho.
The top of the legislative agenda is clear.
“In the first 100 days, I think you’re going to see a push for the replacement of Obamacare. Following that you’ll see a push for tax reform. We’ve already got a good product teed up for tax reform,” said Yoho.
While Trump assumed the presidency Friday, scores of protesters were arrested for violence ranging from vandalism to arson. Yoho says the demonstrators fail to appreciate the source of their right to protest.
“The American dream comes from opportunity. The opportunity comes from our founding principles, our core values that’s held together and protected by the Constitution. Those ideas are neither Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, white or black. Those are American ideologies,” said Yoho.
“Even these lackluster protesters should have the common sense to say, ‘We have something bigger than a party or a political belief. We better all work together to preserve what made this country great,” said Yoho.
While Yoho hopes the protesters eventually realize the unique opportunities they have in America, he says America itself has some excellent opportunities in the coming days.
“Seems like we were always running away from President Obama or trying to undo what he’s done. We’ve got a president now in the White House who will be leading the charge and I think it’ll be a lot easier to get things done in a positive direction for this country,” said Yoho.