Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson says he would give President Donald Trump a “strong ‘A’” grade for his first few weeks in the White House.

“You’ve got to like somebody who says something and then does it,” Thompson said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Thompson said it’s a “huge learning curve” for someone who’s never been in politics and he would encourage Trump to “finesse it, be a little bit more political, be a little bit nicer.”

“He’s not as diplomatic or as political as you would like or I would like. You don’t like his tweeting, you don’t like his pronouncements, you don’t like the fact that he’s a bully. But we all knew that,” Thompson said.

Thompson also discussed Gov. Scott Walker’s plans for welfare reform. Thompson first made major reforms to welfare programs as governor in the 1990s.

Thompson said new reforms are needed because “different administrations took away the work provisions, made it less and less responsible.”

Walker is trying to restore the work component, Thompson said, with a plan to require that some low-income parents receiving food benefits work at least 80 hours a month.

“There’s no problem with somebody having some responsibility,” Thompson said. “It helps them, and it helps their family.”

Thompson also offered a passionate defense for the University of Wisconsin, which has been criticized by some state lawmakers and took a $250 million cut in the 2015-2017 state budget. Walker has proposed a boost in state aid for 2017-19.

“The university is a great engine,” Thompson said. “It is a great engine for accomplishment. It is a great engine for innovation. It is a great engine for jobs.”

“We should be investing in the University of Wisconsin, because it’s our future,” he said.

Also on the program, Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson discussed a resolution the county board passed, pushing back against Trump’s travel ban and his executive order on sanctuary cities.

Nicholson co-authored the resolution she described as “anti-discrimination” and declaring Milwaukee County a safe place for undocumented immigrants.

“What Milwaukee County is doing is setting a precedent,” she said. “It is saying that we are a democracy and not a dictatorship. We are crafting policies that reflect the true values of our residents here in Milwaukee County.”

See more from the show:
www.wisn.com/upfront

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