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Doug Collins says RNC illustrates ‘sunrise in America’

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia is one of President Trump’s strongest defenders in the House of Representatives. He is also challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler for her Senate seat this November. As the second night of the Republican National Convention continues, Collins joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the party’s message, peaceful protests and his relationship with Trump.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    But, right now, let's turn to another prominent Republican. He's one of the president's strongest defenders in the House of Representatives. He is Congressman Doug Collins of Georgia.

    He's also challenging a fellow Republican, Kelly Loeffler, for her U.S. Senate seat in Georgia's special election this November. He joins us now from Dublin, Georgia.

    Congressman Collins, thank you. It's very good to see you.

    You're paying attention to the convention. What does it look like the message is coming out of this convention to you?

  • Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.:

    Well, the message coming out is very clear.

    Last week, we saw what was — I would say is sunset in America. This week, we're seeing sunrise in America. We're actually talking about last week, where Joe Biden was talking about all the things wrong and all the things he did that are problematic, and all the things that government can fix, while, on this time, we're actually talking about a future.

    We're talking about what we have done, helping each and every person move forward, how we can go back.

    And I have just been listening to your panel just now. It's just sort of amazing that the panel forgets about the fact that it is this president who signed the bill of mine, the FIRST STEP Act, which actually dealt with the cycle of our criminal justice system, of being in the criminal justice of and out of the criminal justice system, and how we can help those communities.

    It's this president who actually signed Opportunity Zones, who worked to make sure that everybody has jobs and to make sure that our inner cities and those places that have been forgotten are no longer forgotten.

    So, I think, when we look at it, it's just a contrast of two visions for America, one in which we focused on the problems with no solutions, and, on this one, where we're focused on that we have our greatness of our country that can solve the problems that we face.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But I think part of that conversation we were just having about is the fact that there — is there a place in this country for peaceful protest?

    There are many Americans who feel they have been shut out of the conversation and shut out of equal treatment and fair treatment, and in so many regards. And that's what these mostly peaceful protests are about.

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Well, again, let's discuss these peaceful protests.

    No one is discussing stopping peaceful protests. I keep hearing this discussion that the peaceful protests are the ones that are being targeted. That's just nothing further from the truth.

    Peaceful protests happen every day. Peaceful protest is really the very First Amendment of our Constitution, which gives us the right to talk about things. Even if I disagree with them, the First Amendment gives us that right.

    As someone who served in the — serves in the military, I fight to defend that right for someone to say something that, to me, is inherently wrong. We're not talking about peaceful protests here.

    We're talking about the elements inside these peaceful protests that are now going out and creating criminal activity.

  • Judy Woodruff:


  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    And you have people like the Portland DA and others who will not prosecute those who do the criminal acts.

    It's not about peaceful protest, Judy. It's about criminal acts.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, there was also the couple, the McCloskeys, featured at last night's convention who had — each of them had a gun as people were peacefully protesting in front of their house.

    But I do want to get to…

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Well, let me respond.

    Did the Second Amendment actually get — their Second Amendment rights get taken away, when people were down a private drive in a place that they should not have been?

    I mean, let's — let's be honest about this and when we have these conversations. They have — I mean, this is the part that — we may not like. But people are fearful right now. And they're fearful for what they're seeing.

    So, we can't balance what we like and what we don't like. It's a balance of those peaceful protests or something that can happen, but they're not allowed on private property. They're not allowed on private streets. They're allowed in areas where they can protest. Let's at least — in the protest — of where they're protesting and what they're doing when they're there.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Let me quickly ask you, in the time we have, about your own race for the Senate.

    You are a conservative Republican. You are challenging another conservative Republican in Senator Kelly Loeffler.

    Who's the truer conservative of the two of you?

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Well, let me just ask a question.

    I'm the conservative who actually has a proven, trusted record. I'm a conservative who's never gave money through her basketball team to Planned Parenthood. I'm a conservative who has never worked with Michael Bloomberg on gun control. I'm a conservative who never hired Stacey Abrams to actually be my team's attorney.

    You see, there's a difference in why you're the conservative who used to be someone who had different views who's now, after being appointed senator, is saying something else just to please a conservative votership in Georgia, who, frankly, Judy, is not buying it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, let me ask you about President Trump.

    She has been endorsed by, as you know, President Trump. You are very loyal — you been very loyal.

  • Rep. Doug Collins:



  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Whoa. Whoa. Since when?

    She's not been endorsed by President Trump at all. That's a mistake. That needs to be corrected right now.

  • Judy Woodruff:


  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    President Trump told the governor of Georgia on three — at least three different occasions that he wanted me in this seat. She's not been endorsed by any — by the president at all. And that is just not true and should not be said.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, the party — all right, well, let me put it this with. The party structure has been behind her, as the incumbent.

  • Rep. Doug Collins:


  • Judy Woodruff:

    But you have been someone who has been loyal to President Trump in the House of Representatives.

    So, I mean, what kind of conversations are you having right now with President Trump about this?

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Well, President Trump, as I said before, he told the president — the governor of the state of Georgia to pick me. And we have had conversations about the race. He's proud of me. We continue these conversations.

    Now, look, she's an incumbent senator. So, yes, Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment have gathered around. That's part of their Republican senatorial conference — committee actually to back the incumbents.

    But what's happening is, in Georgia, the people of Georgia are not backing the incumbent. The people of Georgia are backing someone that they know is a fighter, some — they know that has been fighting for them, and has fought for this president.

    Everywhere I go, people come up to me and say, thank you for fighting for this president, thank you for fighting for our country, because you're the one who's actually out there on the tip of the spear.

    So, let's get it very clear. Her response is from other — from senatorial leadership, which is not the people of Georgia.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Very quickly, you have congratulated the winner of another congressional primary, a Republican primary in Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has complimented and espoused the so-called QAnon conspiracy theory.

    Among other things, she has talked about — she's made racist remarks, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic remarks. She's talked about black people being held slaves to the Democratic Party. She's likened the election of the first two Muslim women to Congress as an Islamic invasion.

    Is this someone you welcome into the Republican Party and into the Congress?

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    This is someone who won a Republican primary in the state of Georgia and probably will be the next congresswoman from that district, who also, which you failed to mention, went on the other day and did an interview in which she has — in which she has talked about her past comments and how they were placed.

    She has to answer for those comments, but she will be the next congresswoman from that district. And we will — that's the way we support her. She has to answer for her issues. We support a Republican who is going to win that district.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman Doug Collins, thank you very much.

  • Rep. Doug Collins:

    Thank you. Take care.

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