BUCK: Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York. Congresswoman, thanks for joining us.
REP. STEFANIK: Good to be with you.
BUCK: Tell us first what your thoughts are on the gun control bill that has 10 Republicans who have at least agreed in the Senate to vote with it.
REP. STEFANIK: Well, certainly there is no text out yet. So as we’ve seen, some of these negotiations end up falling apart when it gets to the details. My concern is that any type of gun safety legislation, immediately after these horrific tragedies, Democrats move to taking away law-abiding people’s guns. And that is not the right direction. I’ve introduced legislation that will provide incentives for safe gun storage, for gun safety training courses.
And the reality is — despite the fact the media refuses to cover it — it was Republicans who passed a Fix NICS bill that was voted for and supported by over 80 senators as well as signed into law by President Trump to make sure there was more adequate information sharing between agencies. In addition, we passed the school resource officers funding, a billion dollars. Where I believe we need to go is robust spending when it comes to investment in mental health resources, as well as making sure every school in network has a school resource officer.
I visited with schools in my district. They love their school resource officers. It’s good for the community, good for students, good for teachers — and, of course, good for local law enforcement to understand what’s happening. So, again, there’s no details of the legislation, and ultimately, I’m gonna wait to see any of the details. But I adamantly oppose any effort to strip law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights.
CLAY: Elise, thanks for coming on. I hundred percent agree with you. My kids go to public school, and we’ve had an armed security officer, and they absolutely love her in the school. And I don’t understand why this wouldn’t be standard operating procedure everywhere. I want to ask you about January 6th, the hearings that are going on right now. I believe may be still continuing as we speak.
It seems quite clear that this is effectively a third Donald Trump impeachment trial, and Buck and I were talking about earlier in the show that we feel as if the entire purpose of what is effectively a show trial is to put political pressure and demand that Donald Trump be charged with a crime by Merrick Garland. Does it feel that way to you in terms of your analysis? Where is this going? How much longer will it go on? Does anyone care? How would you assess January 6th hearings in general?
REP. STEFANIK: So my assessment is these hearings are very much a political circus, a partisan witch hunt — and this is, you know, impeachment part 3, impeachment hoax 3 — and look at the players you have. You have Adam Schiff on the panel. You have Jamie Raskin on the panel. You have Bennie Thompson. Jamie Raskin, by the way, and Benny Thompson voted to object to previous elections when it was Republicans.
So they objected in 2005 in Bennie Thompson’s case, and Jamie Raskin called on Congress to impeach President Trump before President Trump was even sworn into office. My sense is that when I go home to my district, which is all the time, people are talking about inflation, gas prices, the crime crisis in America, the border crisis. I didn’t have a single constituent ask me about January 6th during our last two-week district work period.
And I think Democrats understand they’re losing on every other issue that they’ve caused, all these crises. So they’re trying to change the narrative. But I’m a big believer that the American people are smart; they can see right through this. The other important part of these hearings that’s unprecedented is you don’t have any Republican-appointed members. That’s the first time in the history of the Congress — and Nancy Pelosi is shredding any precedent — that you don’t have members appointed by Kevin McCarthy, in this case, the Republicans.
So when I was part of the game, Round 1. There were Republicans in the room who were able to cross-examine the witnesses, who were able to point out when Democrats cherry-picked. We’re not able to do that because we’re not even in the room.
BUCK: Speaking to Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. Congresswoman, you are chair of the House Republican Conference, right, so you’re third-ranking member of the House in leadership right now. Clay and I are talking a lot about the upcoming midterms, and it’s looking good for Republicans to get back control in the House. But how good do you think it can look, as in, what are you hoping for in terms of pickup? What do you think the central message needs to be? What should people be expecting going into the midterms from a House perspective?
REP. STEFANIK: Well, first of all, I’ve been in this position for a year as the House Republican Conference chair, and unlike my predecessor who was focused on herself and Donald Trump, I made sure and worked with my colleagues every day to focus on the issues that matter. So really prosecuting the case against Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer for the inflation crisis, which is a result of the radical tax-and-spending agenda, for the energy crisis and the skyrocketing gas prices, which is a result of Joe Biden’s war on American energy.
The crime crisis, which is a direct result of Democrats’ rhetoric and policies to defund the police, in addition to making sure the American people understand that these policies caused what we’re going through right now, focusing on our commitment to America. So, our commitment to pass a balanced budget, our commitment to rein in this spending which has caused rampant inflation, our commitment to unleash American energy independence and be a check on Joe Biden.
You know, when it comes to foreign policy, holding China accountable and making sure that we have a strong national defense, which is a far cry from what we’re seeing with Joe Biden, whether it’s the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the weakness on the world stage, the war in Ukraine, et cetera. So, Republicans will offer that alternative. We will unveil our commitment to America in the coming weeks. And then additionally, Congress’ role is to have oversight over these agencies. So, for example, when it comes to the border crisis, making sure that we’re holding this administration accountable for their abject disaster that they caused on our southern border.
CLAY: Elise, last question for you, and appreciate the time with us here. Joe Biden, I’m sure you saw all the articles all weekend long where Democrats were coming after him. Some of your colleagues on the Democratic side in the House. Do you think Joe Biden’s gonna run again in ’24?
REP. STEFANIK: Well, certainly, you know, the White House has put out messaging that he will run again, and I believe that ultimately, he will run again as probably the most unpopular first-term president seeking reelection. And, boy, if the election were held today, Republicans would certainly win the White House. I think the midterms are going to be very telling. You previously asked how many seats.
You know, when my political team and myself are meeting with candidates across the country, we’re going pretty deep. We’re going into territories that Joe Biden won these districts by 12, 15 points, but he’s underwater there today because voters feel buyer’s remorse. So do I think he’s gonna run? Do I not think he’s gonna run? I think Democrats realize they have real problems. They’re about to have a shellacking this November and catastrophic losses.
That’s why you’re seeing over 30 Democrats already announce their retirement earlier this year, and they’re still heading for the hills in terms of not wanting to be on the ballot. So, I’m not gonna play guesswork in terms of the presidential. I do think he will be a very, very weak nominee just because he’s been a very weak president, very weak commander-in-chief, and the American people are smart. They know. Nearly 80% understand that we’re headed in the wrong direction.
CLAY: No doubt. She’s Congresswoman Elise Stefanik doing fantastic work for people in New York. We appreciate the time.
REP. STEFANIK: Thank you.