Local voters: Trump struck presidential tone in address to Congress

From left: University of Dayton student Danny Martin, 22; Jeff Porter, 61, of Centerville; and Thomas Caltabellotta, 23 and a Wright State University student discuss Trump’s first address to the joint Congress Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017.

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From left: University of Dayton student Danny Martin, 22; Jeff Porter, 61, of Centerville; and Thomas Caltabellotta, 23 and a Wright State University student discuss Trump’s first address to the joint Congress Tuesday Feb. 28, 2017.

President Donald Trump came off more “presidential” and focused than he has in other appearances during his first month in office, according to local residents, both Trump supporters and Democrats, who gathered to watch his first address to Congress with the Dayton Daily News and WHIO Tuesday night.

ExploreRELATED: Highlights of President Trump’s address

“It was better than I expected. I was glad to see that he talked more about the condition of the country and where he sees things going,” said Jeff Porter, 61, of Centerville, who voted for Trump. “A lot less talk about himself.”

The group liked Trump’s calls for unity, several times pointing to Democrats and Republicans in the joint assembly.

But there were lingering questions about how some of ideas Trump floated will be funded.

ExploreRELATED: Complete text of Trump’s address

“A litany of programs that he wants to implement, with no way to pay for them,” Porter said.

“He had a lot of ideas but didn’t really have any of the hows of how he was going to do it,” said Thomas Caltabellotta, 23, and president of the Wright State University College Democrats.

Much of Trump’s speech focused on immigration, both in terms of homeland security and the impact of illegal immigration on jobs and the economy.

“You can’t pick up the population of Ohio and move them out of the country,” Porter said. “Certainly focusing on dangerous immigrants, on immigrants that have committed crimes (is a good thing). Longer term there’s going to need to be an evolving thought on how we handle illegal immigration.”

ExploreRELATED: Ohio congressional leaders react

On the issue of health care reform, the local residents agreed the Affordable Care Act needs fixing but differed on the specifics of Trump’s proposals to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare.

“You have to remove the state barriers,” said Danny Martin, 22, a University of Dayton political science student and Trump supporter, in agreement with Trump’s proposal to allow the purchasing of health insurance across state lines. “Add more competition the cost is going to go down.”

Porter, who works for CareSource, said the issue isn’t that simple.

“This is going to be a long difficult process. There are no silver bullets. And he talked very little about costs. Obamacare expands coverage it does absolutely nothing to control costs,” Porter said.

Overall, the group said they’d like to see the President continue with the tone he set in Tuesday’s speech, more focused on policy and less on petty disputes and ranting asides.

“I think if he can continue with this tone, he can be the president that he was elected to be,” Martin said.

“I hope that he can come through on his promises on trade and be tough on trade,” said Thomas King, 38, of Kettering.

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