S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said Tuesday he remains behind President Donald Trump despite recent controversies and the president’s low approval ratings in polls.
“I fully support him,” said McMaster, who has raised $1.7 million so far in his 2018 bid for a full four-year term. “He’s making this country stronger. He always tells the truth as he sees it, and that’s good for the country.”
McMaster was the keynote speaker at a Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Middle Tyger Area Council luncheon in Duncan. About 40 chamber members attended.
McMaster, the former lieutenant governor, became governor in January, when then-Gov. Nikki Haley resigned to become President Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Though he hasn’t formally announced yet, the Richland Republican reported raising $805,827 in the last quarter. Also, in May, he tapped Haley’s former political adviser, Tim Pearson, to be his top campaign strategist.
McMaster, an early Trump supporter during the 2016 primaries, said he still backs Trump’s agenda despite a lack of progress in Congress. McMaster cited the need to repeal and replace Obamacare as an example.
“We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do,” he said, referring to policies of the Obama administration.
McMaster also said despite the Legislature’s override of his veto of the 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike, he plans to keep a close eye on the Department of Transportation to make sure it spends its new money wisely. The DOT expects to receive $600 million a year in additional revenues to fix crumbling roads and bridges.
“I will see to it that we handle that money responsibly,” McMaster said. “We need good infrastructure.”
He repeated themes from previous lunches, such as promising to keep taxes as low as possible.
He also touted the state’s economic growth and the technical colleges that provide training for many of the new jobs.
“This is a great time for South Carolina,” he said. “We really do have great people in government and great business leaders. Don’t strangle our businesses with regulations and taxes.
“We used to have people looking for jobs,” he added. “Now we’ve got jobs looking for people, and they’re good jobs.”