Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said “there’s a lot of merit” to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s claim that the GOP Establishment is “trying to nullify the 2016 election” and undercut President Donald Trump, speaking during an interview Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Bannon, who gave an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in particular of stalling the president’s legislative agenda and failing to carry out the will of the people. When LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham asked DeSantis if he agreed with Bannon’s assertion that the GOP Establishment is undercutting Trump personally, he said, “I think there’s a lot of merit to it.”
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“I mean — the swamp includes career Republican politicians, and I think those folks look at Trump and they say, ‘He’ll be here four years, maybe eight years. But I’m going to be here another 20 or 30 years,'” DeSantis said. “So I think their allegiance is more to the status quo and to the D.C. Establishment than it is to the people who really rose up in these primaries and then in the general election.”
“I … think you see that time and time again,” he added. “And that’s been a major source of frustration for guys like me, who really want to put a lot of points on the board and start advancing this agenda.”
After the Senate’s repeated failure to follow the House’s lead and pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare this summer, the Republican Party and the Trump administration alike were in desperate need of a key legislative win. But with tax reform, a budget bill, and infrastructure reform proving to be elusive, DeSantis said, “We should have been in over August working on this” instead of taking the month-long break.
“We’ve lost valuable time. I think the House will pass tax reform. I think it will be a good package,” he said. “I can’t predict the Senate. I mean, they couldn’t even do Obamacare repeal and replace after promising it for seven years. You had some members who voted to repeal in the past switch their votes, who wouldn’t vote to repeal. So I think we’ll do it in the House.”
“All Republicans have to do is pass a bill,” DeSantis continued. “The president wants to sign legislation. He’s not going to get involved in and try to torpedo it. If you do what you said you would do, you have a willing partner in the White House.”
Noting that Republican members of Congress had no problem complaining about former President Obama for the eight years he was in office, the Florida congressman said that now is the time to “put these bills on [Trump’s] desk.”
But many GOP lawmakers instead air their repeated criticisms of Trump on national television and gain liberals’ admiration for doing so instead of focusing on passing the key legislative items for which Americans voted, DeSantis said.
“If you’re a Republican congressman or senator and you spin yourself into a tizzy over Trump’s latest tweet or what he does here or there when you’re not tending to your own business by passing legislation, I think Republicans look at that and they say, ‘You guys need to get stuff done. Stop worrying about undercutting the president,'” he said.
“There’s no secret in Washington — the easiest way for a Republican to get a microphone put in front of their face by CNN or NBC is to criticize other Republicans, but particularly to criticize Donald Trump. So there’s some folks who have made a cottage industry out of that,” DeSantis added. “The base is sick of that, and we can’t have that anymore if we want to do the American people’s business.”
(photo credit, homepage image: Mark Taylor, Flickr)