President Trump said Tuesday he wants to work to unite the country, in which there has been “tremendous divisiveness” — though perhaps not as bad as during the days of former president Bill Clinton’s impeachment.
Trump’s comments came during a lunch in advance of his State of the Union address with network television anchors.
“There's been tremendous divisiveness,” Trump said, according to excerpts released by the White House. “Not in the last year, there's been tremendous divisiveness for many years. I would consider it a great achievement if we could make our country united.”
Trump said the divisiveness stretched back to the presidencies of George W. Bush as well as Clinton.
“You take a look at that impeachment of Bill Clinton,” Trump told the anchors. “I actually asked a longtime senator — happened to be a Democrat — ‘Is this the worst you've ever seen it?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not. During the impeachment of Bill Clinton was much worse than this.’”
Trump added many in the room were probably too young to remember the events that played out in late 1998.
“I feel too young to remember it, but I guess I’m not,” Trump said, prompting laughter in the room, according to the transcript.
Asked to share something he has learned during his first year in office, Trump said a president needs to govern with heart.
“Having a business background and a successful business background is great, but oftentimes you do things that you would never do in business because you have to also govern with heart,” said Trump, a former real estate developer and reality television star.
“You have to — you govern with all of the instincts of a business person, but you have to add much more heart and soul into your decisions than you would ever have even thought of before,” he said, citing immigration as an example.