Raimondo responds to Trump tweet about RI

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Williams Arena in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo on Friday joined an ever-growing list of people referenced by Republican President Donald Trump on Twitter.

The president, who often shares his thoughts on Twitter each morning, took aim at a New York Times op-ed penned by Pulitzer Prize-winner Thomas Friedman, who criticized the president and lauded Raimondo for her leadership in Rhode Island.

“He called me a Racist, which I am not, and said Rhode Island went from economically bad to great in 5 years because the… Governor of the State did a good job. That may be true but she could not have done it without the tremendous economic success of our Country & the turnaround that my Administration has caused,” Trump tweeted.

Raimondo, who said it’s the first time she’s been referenced on Twitter by the president, responded during a morning radio show on WPRO.

“I’m pleased the president agrees I’m doing a pretty good job and that Rhode Island has had an economic turnaround because we have,” she said. “There’s no question the national economy is doing better. Rhode Island is doing even better.”

When pressed to answer whether she agreed with the president’s assessment that his policies and the national economy were crucial to the state’s recent economic success, Raimondo pushed back.

“If you’re me – you spend a lot of time protecting Rhode Islanders from his policies,” she said, referencing the Affordable Care Act, federal cuts to job training and lackluster aid for infrastructure.

“We have made huge progress in Rhode Island in the last five years because we have changed the way we do economic development and we need to stay on that path,” Raimondo added.

Democratic Congressman David Cicilline weighed in on the tweets during a Friday taping of WPRI’s Newsmakers, saying the national economy is only working well for the ultra-rich.

“The economy is improving but here are a number of people who are not feeling [it]. They are working two or three jobs just to get by,” he said.

Friedman’s op-ed, entitled “Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?” lamented progressive policies such as Medicare for all and decriminalizing illegal entry into the United States, which have been promoted early in the 2020 presidential election cycle by Democratic candidates.

“But please, spare me the revolution! It can wait,” he wrote, urging Democrats to elect a “decent, sane person,” and focus on creating sustainable wealth and good jobs.

The narrative eventually led to Raimondo, who he called “my kind of Democrat.”

Raimondo, who serves as the head of the national Democratic Governors Association, is no stranger to the national limelight. But when asked whether she would respond directly to the president on Twitter, she dismissed the idea.

“I’m going to leave here and do my day job,” she said on WPRO.   

 Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitterand on Facebook.

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