Congressman Kennedy: Trump should work to unify America

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) – Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy said Saturday he’s keeping a close eye on whether President-elect Donald Trump is able to keep his promise to bring Americans together after a particularly divisive election cycle.

“I think the president-elect was 100-percent right that the country needs to heal,” Kennedy, a Democrat who strongly backed Hillary Clinton, told Eyewitness News in an interview. “What I would love to see from him is proposals on how he intends to do that as the newly elected leader of our country.”

Kennedy said he believes Trump needs to propose policies that will have broad-based support, and thinks the incoming president should appoint cabinet members who can bridge deep political divides.

So far, Kennedy doesn’t believe Trump has achieved those goals.

“I’m not so sure … some of those appointments that he’s announced so far reflect some of those values that I’d like to see,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon, Kennedy met with constituents at the Seekonk Public Library, speaking with them one-on-one to hear their questions and concerns. At nearly the same time, Trump was meeting in New Jersey with a different Massachusetts politician: former Gov. Mitt Romney. Once one of Trump’s biggest critics, Romney is now reportedly being considered as a potential pick for secretary of state. Romney did not address whether or not he and Trump discussed the appointment during their meeting.

Kennedy said he has the utmost respect for Romney, despite sometimes having different political views.

“Some of his guidance to the president-elect, I think, would be helpful in terms of trying to bring the country back together,” Kennedy said. “And I hope he made that point clear.”

As far as Trump’s other cabinet picks, Kennedy said he’s worked personally with one of them in Washington: Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas, who has been tapped to lead the CIA.

“Very smart guy, dedicated to understanding the issues,” Kennedy said of Pompeo. “Very conservative guy … while I respect him personally, our politics don’t line up all that often.”

Ultimately, Kennedy said he will be watching to see if Trump can put forth concrete proposals and appoint the right people to help the country come together again.

“The issue that I hear most from Democrats, Republicans, whether you supported Mrs. Clinton or you supported Donald Trump, is that the country needs to come together,” he said. “And I think that the president-elect and his cabinet and people around him have probably the most important role of anybody to try and bring the country together. And I would hope that they would do that. I would urge the president-elect to do that in his language, in his appearances, and the people he chooses to surround himself.”

As for Kennedy himself, he laughed off a question on whether he would consider a presidential run in 2020. Kennedy won re-election earlier this month with 70 percent of the vote, and will start his third term in January.