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tv   House GOP Veteran Members Hold News Conference on Speakers Election  CSPAN  January 4, 2023 5:01pm-5:34pm EST

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you think of your fellow new yorker, hakeem jeffries, as the leader of the house democrats? caller: i like hakeem jeffries the very first second i saw him on tv. i hadn't known anything about him and as it happens to be i graduated from the same school so i'm biased but i think he's doing a wonderful job. he's just being aside which is what we expect during a leadership selection. mr. aguilar gets up each time and says, i'm nominating hakeem jeffries, you know, there's no arguing. there's no demands. it's just, they're acting like adults. mr. jeffries and his, you know, little team there are acting like adults. host: that's eliott -- caller: what i like to see. host: that's eliott in new york city. jack is in california on our
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independent line. jack, can you say the name of your city, please? caller: i'm from tuome, california. host: thank you. what's your comment for tonight? caller: the thing is i don't think that any of these people represent the true -- [indiscernible] -- i think that -- [indiscernible] -- and the thing is that they don't represent -- [indiscernible] -- host: thank you, sir. we're going to have to leave it there. the republican news conference is starting. >> listen, hey, thank everyone for joining us today. we have here a group of combat veterans, all of whom have served this great nation overseas, in combat, in the various branches, and have decided to continue their
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service in the united states house of representatives. they all know what it means to be on a team. they know what it means to sacrifice. they know that there are more men and women overseas right now putting their lives on the line for this republic than the entire british, canadian and australian militaries combined. and they know what it means to be worthy and conduct themselves in a way that is worthy of the sacrifices for the men and women we couldn't bring home or who came home literally missing limbs. and forever altered upstairs. so i'm going to hand off in just a moment, but before i do, to get their perspective on what this all means to us, why they ran and what's gone on in the last few days, but before i do, i just want to take a minute to read what our adversaries are saying. in north korea, in iran, in
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venezuela, in cuba, authoritarian regimes all over the world are pointing to what's going on in the house of representatives and saying, look at the messiness of democracy, look at how it doesn't work, how it can't function. and in contrast to their authoritarian regimes. and just a couple of quotes from chinese state media, from the global times, the events are chaotic, phenomena of spread and aggravation of the disease of the u.s. political system. what happened in the highest halls of u.s. democracy is not a simple farce but a political thriller with huge destructiveness and a wide-ranging and far-reaching impact. faced with the political chaos in the u.s., there's a sharp question whether the political class of the country is able to govern. and whether the internal conflicts and contradictions of one of the major political parties contaminates the entire system. i think my colleagues would join
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me in that this is unacceptable. some points have been made, concessions have been made, and now it's time to move on, to move forward, and to govern as the -- the way the american people elected us to do. and i will hand off to one of our newest colleagues, former navy seal representative-elect van orden. mr. van orden: i'm not a member of congress yet. as a matter of fact, there is no congress right now because we're at an impass. so you're looking at 291 years of military service, myself included, everybody behind me. i'll say that again. 291 years of collective military service. combat deployments, we've spent years and years away from our homes serving our nation proudly. i'm 53 years old. i've had 50 of my friends killed in training and combat since 9/11.
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and we must absolutely understand the gravity of what we're talking about. we are here to serve the american people. we all put a uniform on before, well, this is my uniform now. and i plan on serving the people of the united states of america. the people standing behind me have regularly, consistently, over decades proven that they're willing to putting is greater than themselves above themselves. it's service over self. i'm incredibly proud to be a member of this august body. and i want to make sure that everybody out there understands what we're trying to accomplish. we're trying to make sure that we can do the people's will. and a minority of our party has decided that they want to continue with this obstructionism and it's actually becoming detrimental to our nation. and i will not stand for that. so with that, thank you very much. and i'll turn it over to representative dan crenshaw.
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mr. crenshaw: thank you all for being here. it's an honor to be joined by my fellow veterans, served abroad and served this country. and i suppose i would say a few things about service and why we serve. we all serve in different ways, but we mostly served for the same reasons, so we would take the fight to the enemy and the enemy would no longer take the fight to the american people. we had purpose, we had a mission. that was our mission. we have a mission up here. some people have different priorities. some people want to cut spending, some people want to fix our mandatory spending problems. some of us want to fix the border, deal with the mexican drug cartels that are murdering tens of thousands of americans a year by poisoning them with fentanyl. there's a lot of missions that we have up here. i don't think that the american people care about any of these so-called missions happening this week. rules changes, who gets more power, who gets on what committee. i can't think of one american
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who gives a damn about any of that. they care about the mission. and the conservative agenda is one that will accomplish the mission for the american people the best, but we can't start that agenda until we start governing. that's why we're up here. because we care about mission, we care about service and we care about the american people and we care about getting things done and i'm honored to be with this group to talk about just that. thank you very much. and -- i would like to introduce representative -- my colleague, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you, dan. mike bost. mr. bost: let me start off by saying iemg honored to stand up here with all of these combat veterans. i'm not a combat veteran. i'm a veteran, but i am a ranking member and my hope is to be chairman of the v.a. committee. without a speaker in place, let's put this in perspective. we cannot organize or conduct oversight. we cannot hold biden v.a.
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accountable. we cannot do our jobs to ensure veterans are getting the care and benefits that they are due. without a speaker, our committee can't conduct vital important oversight of the implementation of the pact act which we passed this last year. remember, this bill is the largest expansion of health care benefits to over 3.5 million veterans. and we must be watching closely to make sure veterans are getting the care and benefits they've earned. holding a hearing on mental health impacts on the failed afghan withdrawal, we can't do that through our veterans' affairs committees to help the families we need to help. overseeing billions of dollars penalty is on the electronic health care records and holding biden's feat to the fire on making sure that the rollout of that -- feet to the fire on making sure that the rollout of that is doing everything it can with veterans and not endangering their lives. and re-authorizing successful v.a. programs that help transitioning service members
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find jobs after they leave the military. we can't stop this administration and do our job of oversight which is given to us in the constitution until we have a speaker. so not only does it effect those men and women that are in uniform now, it effects every one of them that have served in the past. and with that, i'd like to turn it over to representative. >> one data point to emphasize that's already been said. right now john bacon and i were supposed to be meeting with the chairman of the joint chiefs to talk about matters in the indo pacific. but i'm informed by house security that technically i don't have a clearance. i'm a member of the intel committee, i'm on the armed services committee. mr. gallagher: and i can't meet in the scif to conduct essential business. my point is, we have work to do. that we can't do right now. we've seen what happens over the
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last two years when deterrence fails. when weakness invites aggression. it's up to this congress to restore deterrence, to restore peace through strength. but we aren't able to do that vital work until we actually get past the speaker vote, populate our committees and start getting to work. and with that, i will introduce my fellow midwerner, john james. mr. james: -- midwesterner, john james. mr. james: good afternoon. john james, michigan 10. it's an honor to be here and it's an honor to be standing with my brothers and sisters in arms and our next mission. we each stwor an oath to uphold the constitution of the united states of america and we're planning on doing that. and we are just an example of a generation who came before us who swore that oath as well. there are 80, 80 veterans in
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this congress, 62 g.o.p., and the rest are democrats. folks who i hope believe, like i do, that we need to prior tietz the needs and -- prior tietz the knee -- prioritize the needs and security of all americans. right now we're ham strung from doing that because we're bogged down in things that have taken our focus off the mission. right now every day we know that the number's been revised, the number of veterans who commit suicide. the highest proportion being vietnam veterans who we didn't welcome back properly and appropriately the very first time. we need to come together and recognize we need to put mission first and people always and i'm excited to get started. we have a common vision to put service before self. and we can't do that if there are people in our own conference who are putting self before service. we're the land of the free and the home of the brave. it occurs to me as i talked to my colleagues that there's a lot of governing on fear. i was taught by my commanders,
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as i was leading folks in my platoon into combat, into the bullets to protect american lives and our interests abroad in combat in iraq, that never to mistake hess tans for fear. there are folks among the 20 who are not voting with the nominee from our party, kevin mccarthy, because they're scared. the business of this nation cannot be conducted if we are scared. if we are fearful. we have to bridge the gap of trust by recognizing we have to serve the people and i'm excited because, frankly, with the lowest number of veterans that we've had in multiple generations, getting back to having more veterans serve in congress, who would bridge these gaps and move us forward without fear. thank you. forgive me. i'd like to introduce represent-elect scott frankel from florida.
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-- franklin from florida. mr. franklin: thank you. we want to get things done. that's why the american public has sent us here. ity hear stuff around the -- i hear stuff around these halls all the time, people invoking the founding fathers. we the people. if we think about that, if 10% of the overall number have been allowed to carry the day in the summer of 1776, we'd never have had a declaration of numbers. there would be no people's house. we would have never gotten a constitution passed through the constitutional convention had 10% of the people been allowed to hold out and allow the other 90% am to get things done. my favorite of the memorials here in d.c. is the vietnam memorial. i snuck out of the naval academy
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on the day that was unveiled in the early 1980's and it always had a special place for me. when i think of all the number of problems we have right now, one of those is fentanyl. we are losing more people every single year now to fentanyl crossing our mexican border than we lost in the entirety of the vietnam war. if you want to put that in perspective, go out again sometime and walk down that wall and look at those names. we have tens of thousands of americans every single year now dying of fentanyl. we have an administration that refuses to take on the problem. that's one of dozens we can talk about. we've got work to do. we're wasting time and the public deserves better. next up, general kelly. mr. kelly: thank you, guys. i'm trent kelly from mississippi. i've served for over 37 years in the military. we're here to accomplish a mission, but we have to do that. one of the things that frustrates me the most is i served in combat and i've led troops in combat. but when you have troops that question decisions of leaders without good basis for doing so, you have to either articulate that basis or get out of the
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way. so think about this. we need u.s. grant here unconditional vendor. you have 20 people demanding that 201 surrender to them unconditionally. well, i will not vendor unconditionally -- surreynolder unconditionally. if you have conditions, give them to us, we'll consider them. we've asked and we've asked what is it you want, what do you need, but you have 20 people demanding the unconditional surrender of, including this group of warriors, we will not unconditionally surreynolder, tell us what you -- surrender, tell us what you want. just so you know, we're in the strong position. there's 201 of us and 20 of them. with that, i yield back and i will be followed by mr. garcia. mr. garcia: thank you, general. mike garcia from california. it's an honor to be here. everyone on this stage at some pint in their life was willing -- point in their life was willing to give their life in defense of this precious gift called the united states of america. we would still do the same. so that our fellow americans
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don't lose their liberties, their freedoms and this very special experiment called america. it's a continuation of what our founding fathers did when they came out of constitution hall. they weren't all ecstatic. they all made compromises. they all gave in to certain concessions that maybe they didn't feel good about. but with that we were given a constitution of the united states. and the liberties that we now enjoy therein. so what matters to the american people right now is not the squabbling within the halls of congress. what matters to them is literally 200 people today will die of fentanyl. that three to -- 3,000 to 5,000 people will cross our southern border illegally. that the chinese government will steal about $1 billion of intellectual property from american companies. and that there are chinese communist intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at our heads in the united states while congress is fighting this internal battle. we've had the concessions, we've had the compromise, we've had our internal elections and the conversations that were a continuation of what our
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founding fathers have done. and we need to put all of that behind us, do our jobs as members of congress, legislate, elect a speaker of the house so we can actually be members of congress and move forward and once again protect this beautiful nation like we have all done in the past. many of us were very close to giving our lives in defense of this country. and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we can continue that. with that, i'll introduce my good friend, brad wenstrup. mr. wenstrup: bad wenstrup. since i've been here one of the things i noticed over time, and this is from both sides of the aisle, if you want to get things done, it helps when you have veterans involved. veterans and doctors, we come together, we get things done, there's a mission out there. that's not what we're seeing today. and you know, in the military, you know, when you get promoted, you have been promoted by your peerless -- peers. your peers have selected you for
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promotion and you live with that. some people may not agree with that promotion. but you live with it and you go out and accomplish the mission. these guys have all talked about the many missions that we have as members of congress. we want to get going on it. we want to get going on it. but we have some people that won't want to live with a decision of their peers. and that's where kevin -- that's for kevin mccarthy to be speaker of the house. we have to solve this because we have to go to work because you all deserve it. i yield back to mike waltz. thank you. mr. waltz: ok, questions? reporter: this question is for i guess anyone on intel or -- [indiscernible] -- are there any other security things that you don't have access to right now because of what's going on? mr. gallagher: we don't have -- normally there would be --
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[talking simultaneously] [indiscernible] >> the secure facility we work in every day, when we're here, we can't go in there right now. because we're not -- so as threats around the world, we would get daily briefs if we want them, we're in there all the time. right now we can't be in there at all. and we have the job of oversight over the intelligence community and the things that are taking place around the world. mr. wenstrup: and i think mr. gallagher touched on that very eloquently today where a meeting he was supposed to have on a very significant part of this world and what's going on there and how it can effect america and our national security, they can't have that meeting. >> in addition, representative gallagher, with the vote of the congress, was supposed to be or has been chosen to be the chair of the china select committee that we're not getting under way. i'm supposed to be sitting down and talking about the recruiting
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crisis. apparently the national guard has been informed by the department of army that the vaccine mandate that we put into law only applies to active duty, but not the national guard, the repeal of the vaccine mandate doesn't apply to the national guard. so there are all kinds of issues that only we can work out and work through on these national security committees and we're not doing it. reporter: given the stakes that you presented here, are all of you, kevin mccarthy and nobody else, or is it -- are there any conversations, tonight or maybe tomorrow, that it's time to start thinking about maybe mr. mccarthy might have to step aside and thinking about somebody else? >> no, i think the frustration has been these conversations have been going on for months and months. i'll speak for myself, anybody else feel free to step up, but mccarthy has given concession afrikaan session. many of them very good. i think -- concession
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after concession. many of them very good. i think this body does need to change, especially after the years under nancy pelosi. i thought it was moving in a right direction. but this group has now managed to kind of snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. mr. waltz: and the victory was this republican majority. i'm going to vote for kevin mccarthy as long as he's on the ballot. that is what we committed to do and i certainly share my colleagues' sentiment, representative kelly's sentiment, that there is negotiations and then there's holding the rest of us hostage and 20 don't get to do that to 201. i don't know if anyone else -- please. >> i'm just going to speak up. i'm not a combat veteran. i'm a 24-year veteran. and i'm a doctor. we don't question the hearts of our colleagues who are voting no. we know, like the majority of americans, that they feel the country is on the wrong track and that republicans were put in
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charge and in a majority to get the country on the right track. what we're asking is that they listen to their hearts but also start listening to their intellect and to their brain. mrs. miller-meeks: and i would implore people in our districts to give us the concession that because we are here and we're voting for kevin mccarthy, there are reasons that we do so. that we think he's the best person to be the speaker at this time. and for them to trust in us that we know that. and to start contacting all of the veterans in congress, both the incoming who have never been sworn in, and those of us waiting to be sworn in, waiting to be chairs of committees, to implore those members voting no to vote yes. to allow us to set up committees. to allow us to set up investigations. to allow us to pass a bill that would defund 87,000 i.r.s. agents who are going after small
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businesses and average americans. to allow us to put forward an energy independent agenda. to allow us to secure our border. i would implore them to ask them to use their intellect because this game is ending and it is ending soon. thank you. reporter: you guys talked about you're having this press conference. what are you doing on a member to member basis? what conversations are you having to convince -- mr. waltz: i asked a member, one of the no votes this morning, what is it? we went through everything in terms of rules changes and i don't even like to call it concession. i really think the vast majority of them are moving in a positive direction, but what is that thing? the answer i got back was, things have got to change. well, that's -- i mean, we need specifics. right? and what will you're hearing in
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our collective frustration is we're not getting anything specifically back, what gets us to that 218 with kevin mccarthy so that we can move forward. because we have just as many as you saw from vote after vote after vote, it's not as though momentum is shifting. each side's digging their trenches deeper and i think that's a disservice to those men and women that are overseas, depending on us, and the people who elected us. >> i think i talked to probably 15 different members who are voting for someone other than kevin mccarthy. and i've asked them, what do you want? what does it take? what can i do to help us get there? and i've not gotten be a articulate answer of exactly what's needed. i'm not mad at any of those people. i think they all have justifiable reasons where they are where they are. but that being said, we have to come to something that allows us to get there. i think those guys are meeting with kevin mccarthy now and other members of leadership. each person here, don bacon saw
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me last night. i've engaged with almost every single member who has voted for someone other than mccarthy. sen. kelly: in a good way. we have to -- mr. kelly: in a good way. we have to bring temperatures down. don't call names and be ugly to people. i think almost everyone is having one-on-one coverages -- conversations. >> i think it's important for everyone to recognize, i think you get this you about i don't know -- but i don't know if the average american understands this process, this didn't just start yesterday. this is on the back of two months of meetings. i think we've had something like 16 meetings as either a larger group, as a conference, or with these folks and leadership or other members within our conference. and we actually did make roughly 22 changes to the rules package that were a direct result of the conversations with some of these folks that are objecting to this. mr. garcia: so above all things, the folks on this stage, we don't put a human being on a pedestal, we put the
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constitution and law and order and the process and protocols and procedures that we abide by as americans on the pedestal. we have gone through those processes, those protocols with a vast majority ending up with an answer and now all we're asking for is to honor that and to close the deal and simply call for the final election. mr. waltz: we'll do two more. reporter: national journal. [indiscernible] -- standing committee spots, specifically -- [indiscernible] -- what do you think about that? [talking simultaneously] >> i think that's part of the problem. you get part of the answer. i think matt wants to be a subcommittee chair, not the chair of armed services. but he doesn't want to go through the regular process. and so although that's admirable for him, i want to emphasize that point one time. i want to be the chairman of sea power but i don't get to demand that.
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i have to earn that. mr. kelly: i think matt's earned that in a lot of ways. if he would depend on people doing the right thing, i think he can get there. but i think making deplanneds is not -- demands does not work. all of those things are taken a little bit out of context. i don't think he made a threat and i don't think -- i just don't think that's exactly the way it went down. >> from my perspective, we're the party of competition. we're the party of merit. we're not the party of quotas because of a group that you belong to. there are members of this stage who are competingritis now with their -- competing right now with their peers amongst their peers and making a case to their peers for chairmanships. mr. waltz: not holding 201 members who are duly elected hostage for their agenda. so i'm not -- i don't know about that specifically. but in general, again, there's moving the country forward, moving the party forward, and then when you start getting into personal agendas, that's where i think you're going to see us draw the line.
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anybody else want to get in on that? mr. mccormick: i'm dr. rich mccormick. i'm not a politician. spent 16 years in the marine corps as a pilot and air born. penalty is four years in the army as an e.r. doc. before to afghanistan and the persian gulf. this is not the military, obviously, this is congress. we're one body of many parts. you have some really -- i consider myself a very conservative person. we have some moderates. it's ok we reflect the 750,000 people that each one of us have as a district. and we all have differences of opinion. problem is that some people think that their way is the only way. and that's not collectively how we represent and this is the problem that we're having right now in congress. when you have 90% of a body say we want this and that's how it's been done for the last 100 years, how do we move forward? when we're trying to actually find representation of the people. it's ok to have differences and we shouldn't say that one person has a cornerstone on what defines a conservative.
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because i think most of us all feel like we're conservative people. and that respecting each other and what we have chosen as a body, as a caucus, is really important, but we're not doing that right now. i think one of the leadership importances about mccarthy is he allows people to be ultraconservative or more moderate based on their representation. and having that as leadership is what's respectively what's going to bring us to keep the majority. >> i want to be clear to everybody. absolutely we will imro mice. we will -- compromise. we will compromise. but we will not capitulate. there's a very serious difference. there's 222 republicans in our conference now. so if 20 people are able to drive this train however they want to, 202 of us might as well go home. mr. van orden: because that means they are the conference. that means those 20 people will be the majority. well, that is capitulation.
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and we will not do that. compromise, yes. we run through a whole bunch of stuff with these guys and gals that see things a little bit different. but 20 people are not going to be the majority of this house. 222 republicans will. including them when they come back home. reporter: it seems like -- [indiscernible] -- you already have bills. aside from the delay on speaker, is there anything that you want mccarthy right now or -- [indiscernible] -- how much do you think having mccarthy is going to impact -- [indiscernible] -- how do you think the american people care that it is only kevin mccarthy and not -- >> to your point, i don't think it's about kevin mccarthy or steve scalise or jim jordan or anybody else up on this stage. it's about the agenda. that's what we all campaigned on. it's not only our agenda, it's stopping an agenda that we believe is destructive for this country. mr. waltz: whether it's going
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from the abraham accords to total chaos and the worst withdrawal since saigon in afghanistan. open border, fentanyl deaths, inflation out of control, crime out of control. it's about the agenda. that's the frustration that you're hearing and we believe that kevin mccarthy laid out that agenda, helped many members, including some that are voting no to him, directly helped them get elected, and can govern a conference with a lot of different view points. >> you hear all these numbers being tossed out. 291 years of service, 246 years as a nation. 20 people are holding this up. 201 are voting this way. there's only one number i'm thinking about right now. we have 13 gold star families who because of the failed afghan withdrawal still don't have the closure they deserve. the american people, this is not political. they care about those 13 gold star members. they care about those who are sacrificing their lives for this
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nation. and if they think we should be getting ready to hold oversight and bring those in who are responsible for this, responsible for the thousands who are left behind, responsible for all the americans who have died from the fentanyl overdoses, this is something that should be important to all 334 million americans. it's not democrat or republican. this is not about one speaker or the other. this is about getting the answers, getting oversight and holding those accountable who are responsible for the deaths of real americans who have fought and served this country. with that, i yield back. thank you. mr. waltz: thank you, everyone. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2023] host: that was a live news conference with republican military veterans supporting kevin mccarthy, talking about


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