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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise

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The audio:

05-09hhs-scalise

The transcript:

HH: So pleased to welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show Representative Steve Scalise. He is, of course, the Whip, the number three Republican in the House of Representatives, and I have not had a chance to say welcome back since your shooting, Congressman. How is, congratulations, by the way, on just inspiring everyone. How’s your recovery progressing?

SS: Thanks so much, Hugh, and great to be back with you. And my recovery’s been going really, really well. I, look, the prayers from people, yourself, so many others, they meant so much. And I appreciate the prayers. God’s definitely performed miracles. But you know, I’ve been through my final surgery about two and a half weeks ago tied to putting everything back together. It was a real success. So hopefully, no more surgeries, I’ve had nine of them, but you know, they’ve worked.

HH: Wow.

SS: And I’m feeling great, great to be back at work. So you know, it’s an exciting time.

HH: I hope you hear every single day how inspiring you are to other victims of violence who have tough recoveries ahead of them. Do you?

SS: Well, I hear it, and it means a lot to me. And you know, more than anything, if I can help encourage and inspire other people, too, look, we all have adversities in life. Obviously, I had a pretty high profile near death experience. But you know, so much got me through it – prayer, God got me through it. My family, the strength of so many friends, and so for anybody who’s struggling to kind of get back from something that they had in their life, you know, it’s real what prayer does for people. But you’ve got to be resilient. You’ve got to be, you know, lean on your friends, lean on your faith. And God got me through a lot of tough times, and prayer did, too. So I appreciate all of it.

HH: Your family must be amazing. My heart goes out to your family. It’s so tough to go through that, and the President singled them out before, and I just, I wanted to add that. Let me ask you, Congressman…

SS: Thanks, Hugh.

HH: I asked the Speaker about this when he was on two weeks ago, security in this age of extremism. I tell everyone Scott Pruitt is my friend. My son works for the EPA. Now, I tell them that the law firm that I work for has matters before the EPA, though I don’t work on them, so correct for the break in the green if you want. But I honestly don’t understand how anyone can challenge any cabinet member’s security cost in this age of whackos.

SS: It’s a shame. You’ve got people out there that are, you know, mental instability, whatever it is. But you know, politics has gotten so divisive. And look, Hugh, one of the great things about our country is that we can disagree and we can express those disagreements. But you shouldn’t make them personal. And you shouldn’t try to attack somebody’s integrity because they have a different philosophy. And you know, it’s a shame when you see Ajit Pai, who’s doing a great job as FCC chairman…

HH: Yeah.

SS: You know, he and his own family got death threats because of just carrying out real policies that are important for this country. Scott Pruitt, the way they go after him personally, and so many other cabinet secretaries that I know who are doing a great job, and because of that, because, look, we might be a divided nation. But if somebody disagrees with you or has a different point of view, first of all, they might be right. But regardless of what that is, that’s what makes our country great. You shouldn’t try to make it personal and try to go after the person. This is, you know, this is unfortunately where we are right now, but it’s got to change.

HH: You know, I think you’re going to become a national spokesperson for temperance in commentary. But let’s go to politics. We had some elections last night. Great candidates for the Senate. You had one incumbent defeated. You have Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State Buckeye, coming to the Congress. I’m very excited about that. But let’s start with the bottom line. If you don’t hold the House, will the Democrats impeach President Trump?

SS: I think there’s no doubt they will, Hugh. They’ve telegraphed a lot of that. Their base is so far radical to the left. Look, Nancy Pelosi yesterday, first of all, she said she’s running for speaker again, so you’ve got to just close your eyes and go back to 2008 if you wonder whether or not you should vote for a Republican or a Democrat in November. Look at what Nancy Pelosi did in that short two year period with Obamacare, with the stimulus bill, with Dodd-Frank. They passed cap and trade out of the House. They wrecked our economy, Hugh. And we had less than 2% growth for eight years. And now under President Trump, in what President Trump has done to roll back regulation, to work with Congress to get this great tax cut bill passed, we have the lowest unemployment in almost 20 years. The right track/wrong track indicator, which tells you where people think the country’s going, we’re actually well above 50% for the first time since 2007. What that means is Barack Obama never, did the country think, we were heading on the right track when Barack Obama was president. Under President Trump now, in just a year and a half, 57% of the country feels we’re going the right way. Let’s not turn back the clock. Pelosi has said she actually wants to raise your taxes. Yesterday, she said she would raise taxes when we are seeing how cutting taxes is getting our economy moving again. So we know the direction they would take our country if they got the majority. We can’t let that happen.

HH: Now Whip Scalise, I am a big believer in following everything in politics, but I’m beginning to wonder whether I can trust anything. I do not believe in credentialing the press or withdrawing the press credentials as the President tweeted this morning. But I do believe that the MSM narrative sometime, they had Don Blankenship in the lead. He came in a distant third last night.

SS: Right.

HH: I don’t know what to believe about the generic ballot. I don’t know if pollsters have a clue what’s going on out there. How do you react to numbers?

SS: Well, you know, everybody does their polling differently. And it shouldn’t be, you know, this kind of, you shouldn’t put your finger on the scale. You, if you want to run a poll to get a different outcome, you can ask the question a certain way. When I do polling, I want to know what’s really happening. And so you’ve got to ask the objective, honest question. And I think most people thought that Blankenship was not going to be in the lead. But the mainstream media wanted him so bad. They wanted this confrontation with Trump. They wanted a candidate who was a fail…a weak candidate. Look at Pennsylvania-18. The candidates really do matter. And at least in West Virginia now, we’re going to have a strong candidate to beat Joe Manchin. We’ve got to flip that seat, because Joe Manchin tells the President all the right things, and then he votes no on everything that matters, including the tax cut bill. So you know, this is going to be an important election cycle. I thought yesterday turned out well for Republicans and for our strong chances in November to have candidates who can win.

HH: Do you think the media had the thumb on the scale yesterday?

SS: Absolutely. You know, they’ve had this narrative for so long, Hugh, that you know, the Republicans are facing this headwind that’s going to be a tsunami. And look, we know it’s going to be a tough election cycle, but there are so many differences from, between today and 2010. I mean, 2010, Democrats were running on Obamacare, which was incredibly unpopular with the country, because it was horrible policy and their rates were going up. Our tax cut bill, we’re actually running on an agenda that people really like. I mean, people love the fact that they’re getting more money in their pockets. It’s really working. The policies are working. And that’s what we’re going to be running on. And frankly, with the economy going so well, people thinking that we’re heading in the right direction, because they realize regulators aren’t waking up every day trying to figure out how to put you out of business. They’re waking up every day saying let’s keep the rules fair. And that’s what President Trump has done. He’s created an economy, and an attitude, that it’s time to actually get back to what made America great. And look what he’s doing on foreign policy. My goodness, the media will never give President Trump a fair shake for what he’s done on foreign policy. But he’s confronted Iran, finally. I thought what he did yesterday was a strong move, because the Iran deal was a horrible deal that lets Iran get a nuclear weapon. We should be going the opposite way. We should be wanting to make sure that Iran can’t get a nuclear weapon, that North Korea cannot move towards a nuclear weapon. And look at how the world…

HH: How about, Steve Scalise, how about your buddy, Mike Pompeo, on the Dulles-Pyongyang shuttle? What’s that tell you?

SS: I love what Mike Pompeo’s doing. I served on the Energy and Commerce Committee with him. I actually talked to him two days ago. It was a great choice by President Trump. He’s already obviously been to North Korea. He’s got the respect of world leaders, too. That’s so important as a secretary of State when people respect. And he did a great job as CIA director. It’s sad to see him leave there, but you know what? He’s in a bigger role now, and he’s going to serve our country incredibly well on the world stage. And we’re restoring the strength of America, American dominance. Our allies have wanted America to be a strong nation again instead of all this apology tour that we saw for eight years. And our enemies, by the way, when we were running around saying we don’t want to be strong, our enemies were running roughshod over all of our allies. What Putin was doing in Eastern Europe rebuilding the old Soviet Union, Iran getting a nuclear weapon, North Korea getting a nuclear weapon, how well did all of that appeasement strategy of Obama really work? You know, they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize for getting elected president. He accomplished nothing that strengthened America. And finally, President Trump is reestablishing that American freedom.

HH: Let me get one last question in, Steve Scalise, is that, I know you’re going to do the NDAA. But I’m wondering will you try a test case for the Congressional Review Act, this is really in the weeds, of someone, a regulation for which a report was not filed in a timely fashion going back maybe years to see whether or not CRA can reach back and repeal bad regulations for which appropriate reports were not filed. Can you do that?

SS: You know, we did one yesterday that went to a rule that kind of came in late. If there’s an opportunity to go and undo more bad policy from Barack Obama’s term, I want to do that. And we’ve done a lot of it already. We’ve passed 16 of them now that are going to get signed by President Trump. Before that happened, anybody that’s familiar with the Congressional Review Act, it was a neat tool, but it was never used. It was used one time in about 40 years. We’ve used it 16 times to reverse really bad regulations. And when you reverse them, it’s a permanent reversal.

HH: Yeah.

SS: That’s what’s so important about the CRA tool.

HH: Steve Scalise, keep coming back. Congratulations on your recovery, so inspiring to have you here. I appreciate you making the time. Follow him, @SteveScalise.

End of interview.

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