Jim Risch

Jim Risch

POCATELLO — Decisions made by President Donald Trump have led the nation into an “unprecedented time of prosperity,” Sen. Jim Risch argued during a brief Monday morning address to the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce.

Risch, R-Idaho, acknowledged people either love or hate Trump, with few people in the middle about his presidency. Risch also agreed Trump is a “different kind of president” who is “always doing battle with the national media.”

In Risch’s view, the narrative about Trump’s presidency has been skewed to omit some of his greatest accomplishments — particularly the strength of the U.S. economy — by a national media that “truly hates this guy.”

“There’s so much hate and vitriol against this president,” Risch said.

Risch predicted he won’t live to see another time of prosperity to compare with the current state of the economy. According to Risch, unemployment is at a half-century low, unemployment among Hispanics and black men is at a historical low and wages are rising on a near-record pace.

“This president has been a leader on the free market system on entrepreneurship — on the kinds of things that all of us that support businesses and the capitalist system are in tune with,” Risch said. “As a result of that, we are living in an unprecedented time of prosperity.”

A spokeswoman for the Idaho Democratic Party believes Risch’s position overstates the health of the U.S. economy. Lindsey Johnson, communications director for the Democrats, believes Trump’s policies have led to trade wars that have many Idaho farmers on the brink of bankruptcy. Furthermore, she said wages in the state are still too low, and many Idahoans are working multiple jobs.

“If Sen. Risch thinks this is really a time of unprecedented prosperity, we’d urge the people of Idaho to think hard about who they vote for next November,” Johnson said.

Risch believes Trump has contributed to prosperity by lowering taxes and rolling back Obama-era regulations. Risch also responded to criticism that the tax cut disproportionately benefited the wealthy, while increasing the budget deficit.

He said American corporations earned an extra $289 billion due to the tax cuts in 2017 and 2018, and working people have taken home an additional $1 trillion during that period, with the highest percentage increase going toward the lowest 10 percent of wage earners.

“What got us to where we are today is the capitalist system,” Risch said. “I have friends in the U.S. Senate who want to take us to a socialist country.”