How 9th Congressional District GOP candidates grade Trump

Updated 2/24/2018 5:38 PM

Republican candidates for the 9th Congressional District had mixed reviews of President Donald Trump's first year on the job.

While one candidate panned the president's rhetoric and parts of the Republican tax law passed late last year, three others were friendlier in their assessment of the administration's performance.


Four candidates are competing in the Republican primary for a chance to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The district takes in much of the North Shore and stretches to the Northwest suburbs through parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights and Rolling Meadows.

D. Vincent Thomas Jr., a DePaul University professor and retired Coast Guard member from Evanston, called Trump's tweets "absolutely horrible."

"The lack of political awareness and social awareness, the lack of even I would go so far to say empathy and sympathy is very problematic," Thomas said.

Thomas also criticized parts of the new tax law signed by Trump in December. Though he supports giving tax relief to the middle class, Thomas criticized a part of the new law that keeps most corporate tax cuts permanent while those for individuals will expire in 2025.

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John Elleson, a pastor at Lakewood Chapel in Arlington Heights, approves of Trump's job performance.

"He has trouble with tone, I guess, but from my perspective he's done a good job," Elleson said.

Elleson supports Trump's foreign policy, business agenda and the new tax law. He was critical of adding to the budget deficit, however, with annual deficits approaching $1 trillion and the debt topping $20 trillion.

"No one talks about that anymore, even the Republicans, and that's a bad thing," Elleson said.

Skokie resident Sargis Sangari, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and director of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement, said Trump is "heading in the right direction," particularly regarding foreign policy.

He highlighted Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a trade deal among 12 nations brokered by President Barack Obama. Sangari said he supports Trump's "America first" approach.


"There's nothing wrong with what he's saying. Even foreign governments understand this," Sangari said. "I can't understand why we have a hard time understanding this."

Sangari also supports the new tax law but said corporate tax cuts need to be paired with regulations that ensure a company's investments remain in the country.

Max Rice, a Glencoe resident, also supported Trump's foreign policy moves.

"Israel I thought was great. We're more respected," Rice said. "I love that we're cutting foreign aid. I love that we're kind of slowly pulling out of the (United Nations)."

The Trump administration has decided to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Israel claims the city as its capital while Palestinians consider it the capital of a future Palestinian state. In December, 128 nations voted to condemn the move and Trump threatened to cut U.S. foreign aid to those countries. But Trump's proposed budget does not follow through on these threats, according to The Washington Post.

Election Day is March 20.

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