tv Rep. Kinzinger Discussion on Republican Party CSPAN May 10, 2021 8:18pm-9:07pm EDT
journal. be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, next messages and tweets. while speaking to the national press club, illinois representative adam kinzinger shared his thoughts on the latest effort to remove wyoming representative liz cheney from their house leadership position. he also talked about the role of former president donald trump with the republican party and the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. congressman kinsinger was one of 10 house republicans who voted to impeach donald trump in the final days of his presidency for inciting the january 6 attack. >> good morning, welcome to the national press club, the place where news happens. i am emily wilson, membership secretary for the national press club and congressional reporter
for bloomberg government. thank you so much for joining us today for our virtual headliner with congressman adam kinsinger. we will get started in a moment. we are happy to accept your questions and will have time for it. to submit a question please email headliners pipe liners at press.org. adam kinzinger once the republican to divorce itself from donald trump, and is working to bridge the partisan divide in congress. neither task is easy, even for a veteran of five tours in the iraq and afghanistan wars. as a major in the international guard and a member of the house floor affairs committee, kinsinger is a leading voice on national security issues, he is also an advocate for working in a bipartisan manner when possible. if his name sounds familiar, it may be because he regularly dashers owns party. the conservative from illinois
was among 10 conservative lawmakers who voted to impeach president donald trump on january 13. in november of 2020 he had voted for the president's reelection, but trump lost the lawmakers support by spinning election conspiracy theories that fueled the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol by trump supporters. kinsinger tweeted at the time, it was a sobering moment in support of impeachment. to walk over to the u.s. capitol and were called a violent insurrection we witnessed one week ago. >> he told the atlantic he earned a registered letter telling a born-again christian that he was doing the devils work and was possessed by demons for turning against trump. kinsinger said the letter added
disturbing -- of evangelical christianity in what is used to determine whether someone is a true question -- christian. he backed person trumps border security policies. he defended his decisions and 2019 to declare a national security -- national emergency along the border. he cited drugs as a concern. he is closely watching president biden and has criticize the announced u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan as potentially dangerous. he and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are also urging biden to apply a congressionally approved sanctions against nordstream 2, the national pipeline that will give russians putin political leverage over europe. you're looking forward to a robust discussion of these issues, please join me in welcoming congressman kinsinger. >> good to be with you, appreciate it.
i just want to give some opening remarks. thank you everybody for being on board. i won't talk about too much because i want to spend some time on your questions. but let me say a couple of big things. this country, and particularly. speaking about the party. as a member of the party i am pretty qualified to speak on it, it's in a bad place. my long game is optimism. i think that america always comes out on top. through history, even through difficult times, we have never basically failed the next generation, we always found our way through. americans can be counted on to do the right thing after they've exhausted all of their options. but we have to be clear eyed about where we are. let me tell you where we are as a party. i was a weird kid that started paying attention to politics at six years old. i became a republican, my
parents were, i fell in love with republican politics. i appreciated and recognizing the optimism with ronald reagan and i consider it one of the better political leaders from this entry that came out of the republican party. so, i looked at all that, and the policies i believe in. i got elected in 2010. what i started to see was a party that stuck to its policies but begin to be infected by, in essence, grievance driven policy -- policies. the truth is, i'm way more of a conservative than probably some of my folks out there that think i am a rhino. which is ironic since i was a republican for donald trump was. but it's interesting because, what i think has happened in the republican party's policy has
been replaced by personal grievance. cultural war is motivating. when you get angry about cancel culture, about what they are teaching in schools and all this kind of stuff, all you want to do is just destroy the other side of the aisle. and that is what the problem is. leaders, for the last 10 years, have learned that fear and conspiracy drives profits and votes. fears -- fear is the most compelling human emotion. if you stand up and make people fear. if you say nancy pelosi will destroy the country or that the left will destroy your children, or if this happens with people on the left about the right, the problem is it destroys democracies. and that's what we saw on january 6. i'm a pilot in a stall is what happens when you fall out of the sky. on every aircraft, just before you stall there is a natural
airframe shake to let you know, unintentionally that you are about to fall out of the sky. that's what january 6 was, it was a buffet. i was disappointed when my parties leaders decided that winning the next election, or winning the majority was more important than what happened on january 6. what happened on january 6 was that a lie led to violence. if you look at the people that attacked the capital, if you believed the election was stolen -- for a moment, suspend everything you believe. think, i truly believe the election was stolen. if you believe it is pedophiles that run the government, then it's not that crazy being as how that's what you really believe. we have leaders in our party, donald trump, members of congress that have convinced their base because it's easier to do that than to tell the truth, which is that 74 million
people were not disenfranchised, they were outnumbered. it's easier to placate them in we have abused many americans and convince them the election was stolen. january 6 should not be a surprise. i said it before, but it's getting more attention now, i was on a phone call with kevin mccarthy and the republican conference prior to january 6. i have been on a few media outlets and i was concerned about violence. i looked at twitter and i saw the threats against me. i said, kevin, with all of this, basically bs we are saying, we can make sure the election is certified and it was stolen, i'm concerned about violence on january 6. the response i got was that cricket sound and then, ok, operator, next caller. i did as best as i could. but this party is in a bad place. we've got a lot of work to do. i'm committed to one thing,
telling people the truth. it's just about saying truth over conspiracy. that's why when people talk about unity in the republican party we cannot wash over what happened on january 6 in the election because truth and lies cannot coexist. they simply cannot coexist. so for some of my friends and colleagues, it's the public that makes the vote. it's the public that determines who will lead the republican party. so with that, thank you for having me. i'm happy to answer any questions. i just wanted to hit that briefly and be willing to answer any questions people bring up. emily: if you would like to submit a question, this email at headliners at press.org, congressman, thank you for being on with us. you touched on the first thing i wanted to ask you about, which was the tweet you sent out about an hour ago talking about
republican house leader kevin mccarthy's response when you brought up the question about january 6. why did you decide to tweet that today? who did you hope would read that tweet and what message do you hope they take away from that? >> i talked about this before in public, but i don't know if it's the timing or the form, or whatever, today it seems to be getting more attention probably because we are on the edge of kevin mccarthy trying to oppose liz cheney. i think what's important is, when we are out there, when liz cheney and people like me and others are out there saying, this is a real concern, if we just wash this over, we act like january 6 really was the antifa and blm, wink, wink. what we are predicting will happen now if we continue to lie to our voters in complete the
destruction of the republican party. i think it's important to get out. the interesting thing is is it's being chased out for one thing, not for going after the president -- she does not proactively go after the president, but she is responsible -- she has been over for one thing, her consistent theme -- consistency. she said the same exact thing kevin mccarthy said on january 6, which is donald trump is responsible. i think scilly's state dog quiet -- steve scalise state dog quiet. kevin mccarthy goes only on certain press elements that are never going to ask about this. when you talk about trying to win a broad coalition and a majority, and all you are doing is going on steve bannon's show, why aren't you out there on nontraditional republican areas? that is the people you are supposed to be reaching two. this because all they do is they
want to go stir up the base. so when it came to kevin, the only thing liz did was be consistent. she refused to change because two weeks after -- i consider kevin mccarthy a great friend -- two weeks after january 6 he goes down to mar-a-lago and it was like january 6 never happened. we cannot at the blm and antifa, it's not really our fault, less just move on, that was a whole four months ago, let's just move on. i think it's important for people to know the truth, which is, this was entirely predictable and it was disregarded. i don't know if kevin couldn't have done anything to stop it necessarily, i don't know, but i know that it was seeable by me. >> i do want to take a step back. i imagine most people who are watching this understand what it's -- what's about to happen
two days from now on wednesday. a recap, the house republican conference will meet and are expected to vote to remove congress member liz cheney, who is the number three republican in the house on her position. that is because, again and again, congresswoman cheney has come and pushed back against trump when trump said the 2020 election, that he should have one it. cheney has been very loud and pushing back against that and saying, no, that's not true. even though liz cheney is very conservative, she's likely to be replaced by -- who, voting wise, has a more moderate record, but has been a very vocal supporter of president trump. i want to loop back and ask you, there was a very similar vote on cheney that was taken back in february and she won that with two thirds of the support from the republican congress.
what has changed in those last two months? when you speak to your colleague, was the reason they give you for why they want to remove cheney from her current post? rep. kinzinger: because cheney is making it uncomfortable for them. if you want to hide because you don't want to tick off the base and tell them the truth about january 6 or admit that joe biden won the election, cheney makes it uncomfortable for you. because when she's asked about it could -- asked about it she does not dance around it. january 6 with a trump inspired insurrection. so that gins up your local media and she has made it uncomfortable. it is a really compelling argument to say as a party we , have to move on and unite. but this was four months ago, and it is not likely have a disagreement in policy. it is not like we are sitting here and one side is arguing.
we just need to move on. unite and move on. this is lies versus truth. the election was stolen and therefore, a third of america believes democracy failed. that leads to violence long-term. versus the truth. it is amazing how many of my colleagues claim to likewise be christians but somehow are ok with just accepting and supporting these lies. because i mean, when i went to sunday school, it was always about tell the truth. and i read nothing in the words in the new testament about you can lie as long as it's against abortion or the left. and so, look i think when it , comes down to it, what liz cheney is being removed for is being uncomfortable and consistent. god bless her for having the consistency to tell the truth because history will write very well about her. and people are going to have to stand up and do the right thing.
the last thing i will say is this. the one person continually bringing all of this back up is not liz cheney. it's donald trump. donald trump was out of power after january 6. and when kevin mccarthy went down probably with steve scalise and put the paddles on him and resurrected him, he is the one that tweeted something yesterday about horse doping. he is the that keeps talking one about the stolen election. he is the one that isn't unifying. but of course, he's out of power. he is the loser, but he's the one that a lot of people fear. emily: i want to know why you sort of think why that is. i was looking at a poll the other day i reuters. -- the other day by reuters. it showed that 81% of republicans still view president trump favorably. i know that there have been many other polls showing the comments within your party, but at the
end of the day, lawmakers are responding to their constituents. why do you think there are so many constituents that are so very loyal to trump? rep. kinzinger: it's a delicate dance. on the one hand, lawmakers respond to our constituents, but we also have to lead. otherwise if you are literally , just chasing public opinion and public opinion is following leaders who are chasing public opinion, you are literally a dog chasing your tail and you end up in traffic. to some extent you will look at , your tail and wonder where it is at, but you still have to walk your body to certain places. that is the role of leadership. i think part of the reason is -- first off, you see what's in those numbers with republicanism. there is a softening of hard-core support. there is a bit of a shift in people that support the party over donald trump. but a couple things. number one, it will take some time. i think it took a number of years for donald trump to get
this hold. it will take a number of years for him to lose his hold appeared leaders are not telling people the truth. they are not standing in front and saying, the republican party existed before trump. it will exist after trump cared we have great candidates that can be president. i had a revealing thing in vegas. i was there with the military and my wife and i were standing outside of a bar at like 2:00. we were off for the day. somebody came up to me and she recognized me and her husband, and she said -- this was right after the election and she said, i hope trump wins. i said, he obviously lost. and she said, at least he will run in 2024. i said, he won't. she said at least don jr. will. and i go, don jr. is not going to run in 2024. she was like, what? how will we win again? i think it's important for republicans to remind their constituents that we won before trump and trump is the reason we
lost of house, the senate and the presidency. but i think that's part of the reason. but at the end of the day, i just don't know. i know i can fight hard for the soul of the party. i know it's important for us to hear the voice of those who supported trump because they felt left behind but instead of inspiring them with fear we need , to inspire them with optimism. but ultimately, that decision will be made i will see what happens. emily: you talk about winning and the election. i want to go to one recently you were involved in. this was in the sixth district. there was a special election because a congressman died from coronavirus. there is a credit sealed -- 23 individuals, democrats and republicans. you backed the anti-trump candidate. congressman cheney backed him. he had ninth place in the
election with 3% of the vote. a number of people i talked to interpreted that to show that republican voters are more aligned with trump than ever. is that your take away from this special election? rep. kinzinger: my take away from that is certainly, republican voters are more aligned with trump now than not trump. i don't think there is any doubt about that. i do point out that donald trump endorsed the widow of ron wyatt, -- ron white. susan white. i am looking forward to serving her if she wins. i have nothing against her at all. he endorsed her five days before the election would have to votes were cast and she was ahead in the polls. that's not a courageous endorsement. in fact, anybody that knows trump knows he is scared to death. he is only taking safe endorsements because he is worried if you loses something, people will see him for what he is, a paper tiger.
i knew that was going to be a long shot. my view with country first, what i want to do and with who i support is not to sit back and just find races we know can win and support those people because all that becomes is me doing things to promote myself. and maybe people are just so cynical on politics, but i'm truly not doing this to promote adam kinzinger. it is actually something i care about. i dedicated my life to this country and this party, so for me it was important to show that , if you are willing to stand up and tell people the truth, there are people that will support you. it may not be enough to win, and it may not be enough to compete and maybe david and goliath fight, but there are people and that is what a movement grows from. lastly, michael wood, without his honest truth telling without , the involvement of country first, most people would not have heard of him, and he got a huge forum to talk to millions of people.
that to me was a win and a success. i hope he feels that way as well. emily: with country first, i know you are looking for other candidates to back. i know that we are still really early in the 2022 cycle. i know it's particularly difficult this year because we don't yet know what district lines are going to look like. as you talk with people, how easy is it to find potential candidates? is there a lot of interest in running or are people a little hesitant right now to run with an r next to their name? rep. kinzinger: i guess it depends on who you ask. i think there are a lot of people who feel compelled to save the party that they are willing to put it on the line. michael wood was a huge inspiration for a lot of people. he is a marine, wounded, came back. but there are also a number of people -- and this is where the
party has to take real inventory, that used to be republicans that now either consider themselves independent or democrats because they just believe the party will go on and on off the rails. it's interesting. everybody talks about the new base voter that trump gained over here. what they don't talk about is these voters lost. the suburbs. it's the reason i'm the last republican north of central illinois when it used to be republican all north of me because we lost suburban voters. i am hearing a lot of interest, we are still early in the process, but there are a number of people who are like, i will not fight this fight and that is a sad thing. emily: when you hear from people who say i will not fight this fight, what is there reason for not doing so? rep. kinzinger: i think it's the feeling. the only thing power is is what people perceive it to be. the only power anybody actually
has at their core is their physical strength. if you can beat somebody up, you have power over them. but any other power that society grants on you, or in politics, it is all what either people as a community agree you have or what they perceive you have. that is the case with donald trump. the perception is that donald trump is a very powerful person. and if you believe he is powerful, he is. the truth is, i think he is a paper tiger. i think he's never made a real decision in his life and he is scared to death of his own shadow. but i think that is part of the reason people are like, they just see donald trump as a powerful figure with a powerful movement. maybe they're right. i just don't think they are. emily: when it comes to individuals seeing trump as a powerful person, i'm wondering how your colleagues see it when you speak with them in the house. how many of them really believe that trump won the 2020 election
and that things were rigged against him, and how many are just going along with it because, as you mentioned, they might be worried about political consequences? rep. kinzinger: i truly, truly, emily, that maybe two of my fellow colleagues in the house believe that the election was stolen, maybe 10. and i say that because i'm putting room in there for people who are not really all that -- high iqish on some things i guess. i think a lot of members on my side that would go and play the election was stolen thing is because they know better, but they also know that's how they win. it's not an irrational thing to do. if you are passionate on health care policy and that is why you got into congress or, like mine is foreign policy. if i come out and say the election was legit, i will lose
my primary in some areas. you say, what good is that for the because i believe in to lose the primary on something i cannot make a difference on and taking myself out of the fight for the things i can? and so you make that decision, i'm going to at least go along with this. i get it and i understand it and i don't blame people that take that view. just for me, it has been enough. this is my 11th year. i have been in long enough and have watched us compromise like crazy every two years. all that becomes as the starting position for the next iteration of crazy and this party is a little off the rails now. emily: i want to go back. you said in the past that one of the reasons people believe the aggression -- the election was reg because republican leaders have upheld the lie. i also want to point out that a number of people including mitch mcconnell, former attorney
general william barr, have come out and said there was no fraud in the election. i am wondering what more might be needed to be done to really conquer this quote unquote big lie. rep. kinzinger: i would love to see the republican party actually commissioned -- i have not put much thought into this. maybe a dumb procedure but commission a study to say we are , going to determine whether the election was stolen or not. and we will have a report out with all of the evidence. obviously if it is an honest report, it will reveal it was not. emily: didn't they already do that? we already got a conclusion. rep. kinzinger: that is why i wish it would be the party with kevin and leadership. you can look at william barr and it is fine and tucker goes on at night and tries to discredit all that.
having been on -- i did one of tucker's very first shows where he tried to ridicule me that the russians had anything to do with the 2016 election. we now know they did. he changed his position. nobody remembers what he said the night before because he could say i think we should stay in gath -- in afghanistan. the next night he could say, i think we should leave afghanistan. he used to be a huge supporter. that is what happens on these kinds of things. it will be, what about this, 30,000 ballot dump that happened in michigan? now the truth comes out. that never existed and now it is on to the next conspiracy theory. i had one very sane person tell me who is on the county board in the county i am in right now that said i get all of your evidence, adam. i believe you believe it.
i am going to tell you what i believe there is no way with all of the people i know -- i don't know anybody that voted for biden and there is no way 74 million people were outnumbered. i just know that. ok. i can't argue with i just know that. i will tell you it ain't true even if you don't know any supporters. they are out there. emily: a couple good questions. i want to give you one from the washington post. a couple good ones here. i will start with the first one. can the republican party be saved as long as kevin mccarthy as the leader of the house republicans? rep. kinzinger: i think so. because he basically made the decision when he went to mar-a-lago that he was not going to be the leader of the republican party. he had the opportunity after january 6 with mitch mcconnell to basically take the reins.
he handed those reins over to trump. and revived him. i will consider what he does. certainly far more impactful than what i do, but i do not consider him to be speaking on behalf of the republican party anymore because he gave his proxy card to donald trump. do i think it can be saved? yeah, but i think that is going to happen by frankly me and my colleagues saying, kind of like from the grassroots, changing this. it is interesting because i actually thought the person that should have their leadership challenged was kevin mccarthy after january 6. because that is why this all happened. the freedom club and some of those folks went on offense. it was probably a brilliant strategic play because all of a sudden she is on the defense. to her credit and to others credit, i was considering having a vote of no-confidence against kevin. our feeling was, let's just move
on. we are going to vote to impeach the president. we need to move on. and it was ben that came after liz. not because she was any real threat to them. emily: that is really interesting. were there a number of your colleagues when you spoke about potentially challenging mccarthy's leadership? what was the response from the colleagues? rep. kinzinger: i did not go too far with it. i chatted with a close group of mine. the feeling in that close group, i won't reveal who it is, but the feeling in that group was, we are taking a big step. the president will be xyz. now it is time to heal as a party. i am not going to do it alone. i still believe kevin should at least have his leadership challenged and then, everybody went on the offense. that is what was brilliant. it was a brilliant strategic play because all of a sudden liz , is the one playing defense.
for what? what is she playing defense for? telling the truth and not ransacking the capital? if you think about it, it is ludicrous she is having to defend herself. that is insane. but that is where we are. emily: i want to make sure that i am using our time wisely. we have 15 minutes left. i want to be respectful of you while you are here. you were asked on face the nation yesterday, why you don't just leave the republican party, and you said you wanted to fight for it. i am wondering how much of a battle there is at this point. you have now been censured twice by republican groups in illinois. eight have now been censured by republicans. at this what does victory look point, like for you? you said you are fighting. what does victory look like? rep. kinzinger: i cannot answer that. obviously, a great victory would
be donald trump apologizes for everything he has done and liz is promoted to speaker but that will probably not happen anytime soon. i don't know. it is a day by day approach. i said initially that by this summer, we would have a good indication of where the party is going. we are not quite there yet but we are starting to see signs the party is going more and more trump. that could change. it may not. for me, it is a day by day battle. here's what i do know. donald trump became a republican probably while i was in iraq. i was one far before that. i am not in any easy way going to walk away and give this over to him without a fight. emily: what do you think the future of the republican party will be? if you had to predict now, you just mentioned that it seems to be moving more towards trump.
i think the vote on wednesday is a huge marker of that. spell that out. if the republican party moves more towards trump, then what? rep. kinzinger: in the near term -- we still may win the majority but i think that gets threatened. i think the crazies -- i don't mean the true believers. like marjorie taylor greene is doing it for fame and money. they will be emboldened. i think -- i would put all of my money on at some point in the future, the party will return to its roots because it has to or it is going to die. it will either return to its roots or die. parties have to represent half of the country. it will naturally kind of move around a little bit. i just do not know when that is going to be and i certainly hope
there is not a ton of damage done in the meantime. i do not agree with a lot of policies. obviously. i am voting against certain policies that come before us in the house. it is always funny -- i vote as a conservative and you see all the twitter comments about, we had hopes for him. he is just a conservative. yeah, i am a conservative i did not change what i believe. what i'm saying is the big issue is how we respect and talk to each other. we will see what happens with the party. i think eventually, has to correct and if it does not, it will be restrict ash it will be destroyed and something will place it sometime in the future. emily: do you think there is a message out there for republicans that can unite those who are strong supporters of trump as well as those who are college educated and in the suburbs and have conservative values but do not like trump at all? rep. kinzinger: we have to reckon with what happened on january 6. it was four months ago and it was so bad.
it is not the riots over the summer. i condemned the riots over the summer. that is far different from what happened on january 6. those riots over the summer were based on an issue. they did not threaten to topple democracy. this did. anything about how much we spend to secure the vice president and he was within striking distance of a mob that wanted to kill him, we want to whistle dixie and walk in a straight line? you are still talking about january 6? move on. i think what needs to happen is we need to come to a full reckoning with that. emily: what does a full reckoning look like? does it look like all the congressional republicans in a room taking a vote come out with a statement? in a sense, you are reckoning with it right now with this boat that is coming up with congresswoman cheney. what kind of reckoning are you looking for?
rep. kinzinger: i do not know what that looks like. except that we as a party and as people admit that it was our fault. here is how we will prevent that in the future. we will quit lying. stuff like that. and so that to me is number one. the other thing is, what do we believe? we argue about all these details. i believe that a kid born 30 miles north of where i am at right now -- a kid born on the southside side of chicago should have the same opportunities as a kid born in alexandria, virginia. that is what conservatism is. we want to fix that. that is how we can unite. we cannot unite with lies. somebody will use lies to gain power and then say let's have unity, it is incongruent. he cannot -- you cannot do it. emily: for all your colleagues out there, there is no point
having unity if it is not accurate. rep. kinzinger: need to remove liz cheney because she makes me have to answer questions i know are false. that is what they are saying. it is incredible, right? the only person bringing out the election over and over again is not liz. it is donald trump. they are not making any moves on him. emily: we could talk about the future of the republican party all day. i do want to talk about another couple topics i went to get your insights on. i wanted to ask you about one of the major headlines today, the continued shutdown of the colonial pipeline today which is responsible for carrying 45% of the east coast supply. it was shut down because it was the target of a cyber attack. are you surprised hackers were able to accomplish this? and what role if any might congress have in preventing future attacks let this one? rep. kinzinger: i am not
surprised. this is something that we have been talking about. real infrastructure being targeted. i am assuming russia is connected, which is zero surprised. emily: russia or eastern europe. rep. kinzinger: if it is, i will say a couple things. what is congress' role? we have to spend the money to get -- to protect critical infrastructure. we have to get better at sharing information. that is when the rand paul types get all stirred up and agitated. we talk about the federal government and private companies sharing information. the truth is that they need to. sometimes, private companies see threats before the government does. usually the government sees threats before private companies do. the other thing is we need a policy of lack of a better term, mutual assured destruction. it is what happened in the days of nuclear weapons. it is terrible. this idea of a russian exhaust,
we will give them. so it is not worth it. that is kind of what you are seeing in infrastructure and cyber issues. these devastating attacks happen like solar winds, we do not even begin to understand the impact on our country. i think we have to put these countries that are behind this at the same level of vulnerability and threat that they put us in. we have the ability to do it. the last thing i will say on that is is the right time for joe biden and the administration to do the congressionally mandated sanctions on nord stream 2 and end it once and for all. the democrats were good at attacking president trump for not admitting congressionally ended sanctions. there are congressionally mandated sanctions against nord stream 2 that for whatever reason, the state department is slow walking it. i have my theories. emily: we were mentioning infrastructure.
with the pipeline, the infrastructure package president biden has put forward. have you gotten the impression from your democratic colleagues they are interested in working with you to find some bipartisan solution on at least the package? do you have a sense from the republicans they would be interested in working with democrats on this going forward? rep. kinzinger: the first part, no. i have not gotten any indication democrats want to work with us. i have not had outreach from anybody in the administration on any of these issues. i get it. there are a number of us who would be willing to work with the administration. we are talking infrastructure. let's not do human infrastructure. all this fancy stuff. let's stick to infrastructure. if there is something that is hhs related, the honest about it. let's have a debate and have a separate bill on that.
i saw that mcconnell was open to 800 or 900 billion. the other thing i want to do is fix the system forever. better funding mechanisms that faces the gas tax. so we are not going through this every couple of years. we actually fix the system for the next generation. i will say i do have real concerns now after the last covid expenditure bill and what we are seeing on the inflation front that the time may not be right for infrastructure now because we have an extremely high cost of materials >> a question from reuters, without mentioning trump, what do you believe is a winning policy position for republicans heading into 2022? >> into 2022, the opposition party needs to be more of an opposition message.
it is pushing back against some of the creep of government programs. this on employment report was huge -- unemployment report was huge yesterday. benefits are actually -- everybody says i'm trying to call people back to work and they are not lazy, they just make less money if they come back to work. the same thing in 2012 after the great recession. i think talking about those issues. the number one kind of long-term focus for us as a party needs to be modernizing government for the 21st century. on the government side, the federal government looks exactly like it did in the 1900s, the 1800s. why is the department of health and human services in d.c.? maybe that can be somewhere
else. shouldn't the department of agriculture be in iowa or illinois? if we put real thoughts and message into that, it can be winning. >> we are coming up on 11:45. i want to take a moment to thank the organizers of today's event. also i would like to tell you very quickly about one upcoming event. this afternoon we are going to be hearing from don lemon, who will discuss his new book. that is at 2:00 p.m. and i hope you will be joining us for that. i'm going to ask some broad, wide-ranging questions. given your experiences and the military i would be remiss if i
did not ask you about afghanistan. we heard about the bombing outside afghanistan that killed 50. when you heard that news, do you think that is a result of the u.s. plan to withdraw troops? >> it is a result of very evil people with very evil intentions i think the u.s. plan to withdraw is encouraging it. the taliban always has the saying america has the watches, but we have the time. i have been really impressed at the american people's patience. for 20 years of this war. i have never once seen a protest against troops in afghanistan. there was this perception that we just have to leave in the political class. the rand paul and this war garbage he talked about. the truth is we are a come pushing what we set out to do.
it takes a long time. it is really difficult. what we said when we went there is we want the afghan people to defend themselves. the vast majority of fighting in afghanistan is by the afghan military. we are training and advising in direct counterterrorism action. it is the same thing with of the war against isis. you empower locals with a small footprint to fight isis themselves. and yet somehow -- i hope i am wrong. i hope i am incorrect, but it is going to be a tragic mistake and i am heartbroken about it. there are still about 2000 translators left that are waiting to come to the united states because we promised we must bring them here or at least to an intermediary place for processing or we will never win the local people to our side
again. all we have to do is look at what happened in afghanistan and vietnam and be like, no, we are not going to invest. >> thank you for taking the time. thank you everyone for watching. i wish we had more time. congressman, thank you for coming to the press club, and hopefully in the near future we will be able to welcome everyone in person into the building. >> you bet. thank you, take care. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪
>> next, u.s. capitol police inspector general michael bolton provides a threat assessment of the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol before the house administration committee. this is just over an hour. >> the committee on house administration will come to order. i would like to welcome our members. we have a quorum present. the ranking member, mr. raskin, mr. stiles, mr. aguilar, ms. scanlan, ms. hernandez, so we have a quorum and i would like to welcome everyone. i want to note we are holding this hearing in compliance