Charlie Crist is one congressional Democrat who appears to be greeting the incoming Donald Trump administration with an open mind.
“Whatever it is that we come to help American workers get back to work and help the middle class and our country, we need to do it together and do it in a spirit of cooperation,” the St. Petersburg Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview broadcast on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
That spirit of cooperation includes embracing a Trump proposal to place a 35 percent tax of tariff on U.S. businesses wanting to take American jobs overseas.
“It’s all about jobs and making sure that we have American jobs protected, we protect the American worker, give them the opportunity to be able to provide for their families, get a college education,” Crist said.
Last month, Trump tweeted that he would impose such a tax on products sold inside the United States by any business that fired American workers and built a new factory or plant in another country.
Crist participated in a discussion with three other members of Congress speaking with Tapper about some of the proposals that Trump has made both during the campaign and in the transition period.
Trump officially takes office in 19 days.
Trump’s hardline stance on immigration helped galvanize his support with the GOP base, but he recently indicated a reappraisal of how to contend with so-called Dreamers, the children of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
In the interview naming him “Man of the Year” last month, Trump told Time Magazine that, “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” when it comes to dreamers, adding that “they got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
When asked by Tapper if that appeared to be a backing away from his earlier stance, Crist said yes, and he said he’s glad that’s the case.
“Being a nation of immigrants, I think it’s important we embrace that kind of hope,” Crist said. “I would say to the president-elect, I appreciate you showing your heart. And if it’s a little softer, what’s wrong with that? God would be pleased.”
The former Florida governor then made it personal by referring to his grandfather as an original dreamer.
“My grandfather Adam Christodoulos immigrated in 1914 when he was 12 and when he got here he very soon joined the army, and he fought World War I, he was honorably discharged, and as a result of that, he was able to gain his citizenship, that’s sort of a latter-day dreamer, if you will,” he said.
Crist said that “as a nation of immigrants” it was important for the country to continue to embrace that type of opportunity.
Crist defeated Republican incumbent David Jolly in November. He will be sworn into the 115th Congress on Tuesday.