Shea-Porter sees some good, some ‘chilling’ things in DC
LACONIA — Democratic U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter struck a positive tone in her talk to a few dozen constituents Tuesday evening, although she did express concerns over actions and comments of President Donald Trump, including his recent warning to North Korea.
Trump said that any more threats from that country will be met with “fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
Shea-Porter, who represents New Hampshire's First District, took issue with the president's approach.
“In my opinion, that's not the best way to respond to somebody who is clearly not stable,” she said.
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has made his own bellicose statements and is engaging in increasingly provocative missile tests.
The congresswoman elaborated Wednesday.
“Donald Trump's response is chilling,” she said. “This is a dangerous moment that requires skill, experience, and knowledge to deal with North Korea's threats and aggression. He needs to seek out people with those skills. Now.”
In her town hall meeting at Laconia Middle School, Shea-Porter told a supportive audience that she has detected a slight change in the political climate in Washington and has even seen fledgling attempts at bipartisanship after years of frozen, polarized views.
“We are seeing a little bit of melting, and so I'm excited,” she said. “I'm thinking there is some possibility of working together to get something done. We're actually doing a better job this time of talking to each other in the midst of a really, really difficult time.”
From Shea-Porter's perspective, positive steps include the Senate's failure to end the Affordable Care Act and the possibility that Democrats and Republicans may work to improve the health care system.
Another positive, she said, was bipartisan House passage of a bill to add $2 billion for the Veterans Choice Program, which is intended to improve medical treatment for veterans. She also praised bipartisan passage of juvenile justice legislation to aid in the fight against opioid addiction.
She also mentioned some bipartisan support for a study on the impact of climate change and for the defeat of an effort to deny transgender medical care.
“So, we're seeing some things that are hopeful,” she said. “We're actually talking to each other across the great divide, and there are things that are getting better.”
She said there were representatives on both sides of the aisle who spoke privately of their distaste for the political nature of a speech the president gave to the Boy Scouts.
Even on the subject of Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election, there are signs that some lawmakers from both parties want real answers, she said.
She praised Trump's naming of John Kelly as White House chief of staff and James Mattis as Defense secretary. Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, was serving as secretary of Homeland Security. Mattis is also a retired Marine Corps general. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is Trump's national security advisor.
Shea-Porter acknowledged the importance of civilian leadership in the U.S. government, but said in this case she was relieved that some knowledgeable people with military credentials are in the Trump administration.
“They have a better instinct that is honed by experience and by knowledge,” she said.
But she also feels that the president is isolated.
“I think he's in over his head and doesn't have people in the positions he needs,” she said.