With Donald Trump as president, South Carolina is “going to have prosperity like we’ve never seen before,” Gov. Henry McMaster told some 200 Republicans at the Spartanburg Marriott on Monday, the one-year anniversary of Trump’s primary victory here.
“Here we have a president who speaks a language everybody understands and says exactly what he’s thinking. Isn’t that refreshing?” the Republican governor asked.
McMaster was keynote speaker at a Presidents’ Day celebration hosted by the Spartanburg County Republican Women at the Spartanburg Marriott. That’s where Trump declared victory Feb. 20, 2016, in this state’s Republican presidential primary.
Other speakers Monday included Attorney General Alan Wilson, Secretary of State Mark Hammond and Spartanburg County Auditor Sharon West, all of whom are Republicans.
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MaryAnn Riley, president of the Spartanburg GOP Women, introduced McMaster, pointing out that as lieutenant governor, he was the first public official of stature to officially endorse Trump ahead of the S.C. primary.
McMaster later succeeded Nikki Haley as governor when she resigned to become Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The former state attorney general and S.C. GOP chairman said he studied all the Republican candidates “carefully” before deciding to back Trump when no one else dared to.
“The election of Mr. Trump spells a new direction across the country that’s needed,” McMaster said. “He explains things in a way people can understand.”
He said under former President Barack Obama, “We were leading from behind. We were headed in a death spiral. Fortunately, those days are gone. I think we’ve turned the corner.”
As for the president’s detractors, “People will come around when they see what he can do,” McMaster said. “If Mrs. Clinton was elected, I think the country would have been in a bad time.”
McMaster said Trump’s pro-business platform will be good for South Carolina, a state that is blessed with “strong people, friendly people,” and a good climate with an ocean on its coast and mountains in the Upstate.
“We are going to have progress,” he said. “All we have to do is not mess it up. Don’t tax the people. Don’t strangle businesses with regulation, and we’re going to have prosperity like we’ve never seen it before.”
Former Spartanburg GOP Chairman Rick Beltram, who helped organized Monday’s event, said he joined the Trump bandwagon after the real estate mogul and reality television won in South Carolina.
“Once he won the primary, it was pretty clear he was going to win the nomination,” Beltram said. “It’s a glorious time for the Republican Party.”
State Rep. Rita Allison, R-Lyman, said that like Haley, she didn’t support Trump until “toward the very end,” weeks before the general election. But she said she’s glad he won.
“I like what he stands for,” she said. “I just want us to move forward in the country and state. We need to work together to get things done, and I like him that way.”
Wilson said he remained neutral last year because he helped organize the GOP primaries. Once it became clear Trump was the presumptive nominee, he said he supported Trump.
Both Wilson and Hammond said they will do all they can in their offices to help make South Carolina become even more of a business-friendly state.
“I want this to be the quickest, easiest state to incorporate in the United States,” Hammond said.