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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker On Day One of the RNC Convention and Previewing His Speech Tonight

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The audio:


The transcript:

HH: Talking now with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, whose team, Milwaukee Bucks, sadly not in contention to ever beat the Cavaliers, but nevertheless in the great city by the Lake. Governor Walker, I saw you on TV last night. Welcome to the jewel, the city by the Lake. It’s great to have you in town.

SW: It’s beautiful being…I raised my family on a great lake city like Milwaukee, I’m pleased to be here. What a spectacular view.

HH: Now you were very gracious and didn’t bring up the Packers vis-à-vis the Browns, so I’m glad you didn’t go there, Governor. Let me begin…

SW: I joked with somebody yesterday about that. I figured that was probably one too many.

HH: Yeah, you don’t want to bring up, I have to deal with Mark Murphy occasionally, so I just don’t, I don’t need to hear it from the Governor as well. Hey, you’ve got to tell people about Sheriff Clarke. He’s new to a lot of people. My guess is he goes back to your county executive days. I don’t know how long he’s been the sheriff of Milwaukee.

SW: He does. He and I came in, I was county executive starting in 2002. He was appointed sheriff at that same time. He’s a plain-spoken law enforcement professional, and spent most of his career in the Milwaukee Police Department. He was appointed sheriff back then, and obviously doesn’t mince any words. And America, you had a chance to hear him directly yesterday.

HH: And he was terrific, and I also thought you have to deal with the Wisconsin State Patrol. My buddies, the Smokies from Ohio who have been in my rear view mirror way too many times on the Ohio Turnpike are providing great security around here. And you know your troopers in Wisconsin. They do the same there. 900,000 state and local law enforcement people out there. How are they feeling? As a governor, what are you telling them about having their backs right now?

SW: Well, first off, I was actually, Hugh, we had a team of our folks supplementing, helping, as there are from other states, but we’ve got about 50 of our guys from the Wisconsin State Patrol. And everywhere I go, everywhere I go here and in the last week, everywhere I’ve been, whether it’s state patrol, whether it’s sheriff deputies, whether it’s police officers, we’re just telling them, going out of our way, I always tell them thanks. We go out of our way to tell them how much we appreciate them. This is already a difficult and sometimes thankless job. And now, you’ve got Baton Rouge, you’ve got Dallas. We actually had early Sunday morning, thankfully, most people don’t know about it because he wasn’t, it wasn’t fatal, but we had an officer in Milwaukee sitting in a squad car about 2AM who was targeted and shot as well.

HH: Oh, my gosh.

SW: And again, fortunately, the outcome wasn’t the same.

HH: I did not know that. That made no news. Isn’t that amazing that it’s because he wasn’t killed it isn’t a story given how many stories there are where officers are killed?

SW: Oh, it’s just sad. I remember last year in Harris County hearing about, speaking out about the officer that was targeted because he was a sheriff deputy. He was pumping gas, and you would have thought that that would have been an anomaly. Unfortunately, we’ve seen just in the last few weeks far too many examples of this. And it really makes you wonder, and granted, I know that the people that did this are outrageous in their own league and not reflective of everyone no matter where they stand on the issue. But it makes you wonder how much longer this is going to continue, and how much more will it take before families just say to loved ones, you know, you’ve got to choose. You can’t do this. It’s already frightening enough for most of the spouses and families I know, folks in law enforcement, who worry that their loved one’s not going to come home at the of the call. And that was tough enough before, but now you’ve got people specifically, explicitly targeting law enforcement not because of something that they did, because of something they thought someone else did. That’s just got to change.

HH: Now Governor Scott Walker, I was on Meet the Press on Sunday describing the Donald Trump ascendancy as a black swan event for the Republican Party, unanticipated, extraordinary, once in a lifetime, the kind of thing no one plans for. You actually, and a year ago when I was on Meet the Press for the first time, I said Scott Walker’s in the lead, he just won…but you recognized the black swan shadow before anyone else did, and you exited stage right. Did it play out as you saw and as you predicted after those first two debates when you decided this is not the year to be trying to change a media dynamic or a world dynamic which is unique unto the times?

SW: Well, that’s where we saw it head in September up to that second debate. And you know, you saw, you were there as well, and the bottom line is I felt that a plurality loses to a majority, because the majority was spread amongst many, that in the end, the majority was spread about among many different candidates. And Donald Trump was able to break through all that. We were blessed initially, because there were so many quality candidates, and you know, for those who supported someone else, I think, like a lot of us, like me, I got to the point where I said last year at this time, in August of 2015 at that first debate, in Cleveland, so just where we were at last night, I said that anyone on that stage is better than Hillary Clinton. And truth be told, I meant it then, and I mean it now. And even though he wasn’t my first pick, as I joked, I was my first pick, but even though I picked someone different in the primary in Wisconsin, the bottom line is there’s still a night and day difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And when I think about the Supreme Court alone, just watching the last few weeks, that should be three words that spark fear in the minds of any, in the hearts of any conservative out there, and that is Justice Elizabeth Warren. And whether it’s her or someone like her, that doesn’t just, that’s not something you just correct in four years. Justice Scalia was nominated by Ronald Reagan to be on the Supreme Court when I was in high school. Now that just puts some perspective on how long and how significant this change could be.

HH: Now Governor Walker, I believe the pick of Governor Pence, with whom you’ve worked for a long time, and like me, a former talk show host, and like me, a lawyer out of the Midwest, and like you, just a rock-ribbed conservative. I’ve known Mike for a long time. He telegraphs governing from the conservative side. What did the Pence pick say to Scott Walker about what to expect from Team Trump post-election in the White House taking over Washington?

SW: It gave me comfort on two levels. Certainly like many here, many in the base across America, it was a good signal that this future administration, the Trump-Pence administration, will be serious about governing from a strong common sense conservative point of view. But secondly, equally, if not more importantly, it just signaled in general that Donald Trump was serious about thinking ahead to governing, that the strengths of that pick is that this is someone who may, you know, we can all make the argument he may help with the industrial Midwest, he could help in Ohio, could help in Wisconsin, could help in Iowa, that’s all true. It could. But I think you and I both know that vice presidential picks still in the end have very little to do with the top of the ticket, the case and point being Mitt Romney still didn’t win Wisconsin even with Paul Ryan on the ticket. That wasn’t about Paul Ryan. That was just the difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and making the case to voters in my swing state. But what I do think it says is that this guy, Donald Trump, is serious about governing. He wants to get things done. He wants to shake up Washington for sure. But he wants to have a pathway to actually doing that. And anyone who knows Mike Pence knows not only is he just a rock solid conservative, he’s one of the most decent, honorable people whose well-respected not just by Republicans, but by just about anyone who’s ever worked with him.

HH: Now Governor Walker, you and Governor Pence, and like you, Governor Snyder in Michigan, Governor Kasich in Ohio, you tend not to raise your voices. You just tend to raise the standard of living in your state. You tend to raise productivity. You tend to raise employment, not your voices. Rudy raised his voice last night, gave a hell of a speech. What did you think of that speech?

SW: He did. In fact, the people sitting right around us said wow, he’s on fire. And no, he showed from real passion. And that’s, you know, at conventions like this, people are going to give speeches, a lot of great one-liners here and there. Rudy’s was more memorable for the passion from his own heart as opposed to a line here or there, and I think that’s really important, because here’s someone who can speak to Donald Trump the person. Here’s someone who wasn’t told he had to go out and say something nice, who can say it because as he said, he’s known Trump for almost three decades. He and his wife know Donald Trump and his wife. What I thought was particularly interesting were his points about Donald Trump being there, and being there anonymously when New York City needed them during the times of obviously when they were going through a lot in the past couple of decades. And I thought that was revealing. Again, that’s not something that you know, we all know Rudy Giuliani. He wouldn’t say it unless he believed it, and I thought it was powerful.

HH: Last thing, your friend, Paul Ryan, from Wisconsin, said to me last night, or he released an ad last night, do more. We’ve got to do more to protect Americans in Orlando and San Bernardino. We have to do more to protect Americans abroad and at home. Have you been working with him on this, on this development of a piece of rhetoric, because it’s consistent with everything we heard last night, Governor Walker.

SW: Well, there’s no doubt about it, and I’m going to talk tomorrow night when I speak, a group of us speak right before Mike Pence. There’ll be a few of us, and I think one of Trump family members will be speaking as well. And I’m going to talk about how American deserves better. They deserve better than this administration. They deserve better than Hillary Clinton. They deserve better just in general, and not only about what Donald Trump and Mike Pence can do to make that happen, but just about how Republicans. I mean, I think there is, if we don’t talk about this, we lose a unique opportunity to talk to the American public not just about who our nominee is, but about what Republicans stand for, the kind of country that we believe in. And to me, I think talking about opportunity, prosperity, certainly safety and putting power from Washington backs to the states and people, those are things we believe in, and those are the things we’re going to keep talking about.

HH: Governor Scott Walker, always good to talk to you. Thanks for joining me, Governor. I’ll talk to you again down the line. See you on the convention floor.

End of interview.


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