- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday he remains an “enthusiastic supporter” of President Donald Trump and has no concerns about the early days of his administration.

“I think he has the answer and attitude that will solve a lot of our problems,” McMaster said in his first sit-down interview with reporters as governor. “He’s pointing us in a good direction, and I support him.”

He offered no specifics.

As lieutenant governor, McMaster was the nation’s first statewide officeholder to endorse Trump. He ascended to the governor’s office three weeks ago after the U.S. Senate confirmed then-Gov. Nikki Haley as Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations.

Asked about Trump’s executive order limiting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, the state’s former attorney general replied, “As I say, I support him on his ideas and his approach. I think he’s going to change things dramatically in the course of our country. Things will get a lot better.”

The Texas attorney general defended Trump’s order in court documents filed Wednesday, calling it an assertion of presidential authority intended to protect the country from terrorists. Other states, including California and New York, denounced the order as an attack on religion.

Trump is expected to visit Boeing’s North Charleston plant on Friday for the rollout of the first 787-10 Dreamliner. McMaster said he’ll be there.

“I don’t know what he’ll say, but I know he’ll be happy to be there,” the governor said.

Nearly 3,000 production workers at the plant were deciding Wednesday whether they want to unionize. Haley frequently touted South Carolina’s low unionization numbers as an economic development tool.

In 2015, she recorded radio ads urging Boeing workers to reject efforts to establish a union. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers called off that election because of what the union called a toxic atmosphere and political interference.

McMaster told reporters Wednesday he hopes the effort again fails.

“My own hope for the employees at Boeing is that they understand that’s a remarkable company, and it’s a great economic engine for them, for us, for everybody in the state,” he said, adding that Boeing’s success brings other companies to South Carolina. “I think we’re doing just fine without a union presence.”

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