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S.C. Republicans cheer, Democrats sneer at Trump's first State of the Union address

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State of Union (copy)

President Donald Trump pauses as he gives his first State of the Union address in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol to a joint session of Congress Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan applaud. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

South Carolina Republicans cheered the laundry list of conservative achievements in President Donald Trump's first year in office and hopped on board with the president's assertive road map for the year ahead.

"President Trump’s bold State of the Union address to Congress was an excellent display of leadership and vision," tweeted U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, after the president's address Tuesday.

"It's refreshing to have a President who has made the people’s priorities his own and who resonates with the goals and aspirations of the country."

Duncan also applauded Trump's vow to keep the terrorist detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay open, meaning the Navy Brig at Hanahan for sure will not be under consideration to hold enemy combatants as it was during the Obama administration.

"This was an issue I have long championed because like the President, I believe that no state should become a terrorist dumping ground," Duncan said.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, praised Trump for following through on his promise to cut taxes in his first year.

"After hearing President Trump’s words and vision tonight, I am encouraged and eager to get to work," Norman said.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., approved of the president's economic spin.

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"As we look for more ways to strengthen our economy, it was great to hear the president also talk about workforce development and trade policy tonight," he said.  

Republican candidates for office sought to channel Trump's message for their own campaigns. Catherine Templeton, a Mount Pleasant attorney challenging Gov. Henry McMaster in the 2018 GOP primary, said Trump is fullfilling his "Make America Great Again" agenda.

"It's time to elect a leader in SC that will lead a bold conservative revolution and Make it a Great Day in SC Again too!" Templeton tweeted.

Democrats, meanwhile, voiced the same antipathy towards Trump's agenda that they have articulated from the day he entered the White House.

“The President thinks that the values of America are about the flag, not the liberty that the flag represents," said South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson. "South Carolinians know the difference between self-righteous fools and honest people.”

The lone Democrat in the South Carolina delegation in Washington, Rep. Jim Clyburn of Columbia, sat stone-faced through much of the speech. Clyburn donned an African-themed tie that he said was intended to show solidarity with the countries that Trump allegedly denigrated in an Oval Office meeting earlier this month.

Some state Democrats tuned out the president altogether.

"I've already had enough this speech," tweeted state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, less than twenty minutes in. "Turning to Netflix."

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina Statehouse, congressional delegation and campaigns. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.

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