January 08, 2021

Mike Gallagher

Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher discusses the storming of the U.S. Capitol, President Trump’s role in inciting the insurrection, and where the country and the GOP goes from here.

Read Full Transcript EXPAND

> THIS WAS THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL UNDER SIEGE.
BY RIOTERS INCITED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP.

ALL OF US HERE TODAY DO NOT WANT TO SEE OUR ELECTION VICTORY STOLEN BY A BOLD AND RADICAL LEFT DEMOCRATS.
OUR COUNTRY HAS HAD ENOUGH.
WE WILL NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE.

FIGHT FOR TRUMP.

THEY TRIED TO STOP THE PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER.

THE UNITED STATES SENATE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY THUGS, MOBS OR THREATS.

ORDER WAS RESTORED.
BUT THE STAIN OF WHAT HAPPENED WILL LIVE ON.

WE DO NEED AN INVESTIGATION INTO IRREGULARITIES, FRAUD, SO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THEIR ELECTIONS.

THOSE WHO SUPPORT, IT’S A DANGEROUS GAMBIT.
THEY WILL BE SEEN AS BEING COMPLICIT IN AND UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK AGAINST OUR DEMOCRACY.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
THIS WEEK ON ‘FIRING LINE.’

‘FIRING LINE’ WITH MARGARET HOOVER IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE MARGARET AND DANIEL LOBE FOUNDATION, ROBERT GRENIERY, CHARLES R. SCHWAB, THE DAVID KEPRIC FOUNDATION, THE FA FAIRWEATHER FOUNDATION.
AND BY — CORPORATE FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY STEVENS INC.

WELCOME TO ‘FIRING LINE.’

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN AND A FORMER MARINE CAPTAIN FROM WISCONSIN ENTERING YOUR THIRD TERM.
YOU HAVE BEEN CLOSELY ALIGNED WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP.
ON WEDNESDAY, AS THE RIOTERS WERE STORMING THE CAPITOL, YOU SAID R SAID, QUOTE, THE PRESIDENT NEEDS TO CALL IT OFF, IT’S OVER, THE ELECTION IS OVER, END QUOTE.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED?

I WAS SITTING THERE IN MY OFFICE.
EARLY IN THE DAY, WE HAD GOTTEN REPORTS THAT THERE WERE PROTESTERS WHO HAD BREACHED THE SECURITY PERIMETER.
ANOTHER OFFICE BUILDING HAD BEEN EVACUATED.
THE SITUATION SEEMED TO ESCALATE OUT OF CONTROL VERY QUICKLY.
I COULD HEAR FLASH BANGS GOING OFF IN THE DISTANCE.
PRESUMABLY THAT WAS CAPITOL POLICE TRYING TO GET PROTESTERS TO BACK OFF.
THEY DID NOT.
SO IT KEPT ESCALATING.
ALL OF A SUDDEN, I MEAN, THIS GOT TO A POINT WHERE THE PROTESTERS BREACHED THE PERIMETER OF THE CAPITOL ITSELF.
THINGS GOT INCREDIBLY VIOLENT.
IT WAS CLEAR TO ME IN THAT MOMENT THAT, YOU KNOW, WITH HAD — A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, INCLUDING THE REPUBLICAN — THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF, HAD TOLD MILLIONS OF AMERICANS SOMETHING THAT WAS FUNDAMENTALLY NOT TRUE, WHICH IS THAT ON JANUARY 6, CONGRESS WAS SOMEHOW GOING TO OVERTURN THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION.
NOW I HAD OPPOSED THIS MANEUVER FOR A WHILE AS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL ONE.
BUT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, I DIDN’T REALIZE THE FLAW IN THE OBJECTORS’ ARGUMENT, WHICH THEY COULD SAY, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A DEBATE, WE’RE GOING TO SHINE LIGHT ON VOTER IRREGULARITY, VOTER FRAUD, IT WON’T BE A BIG DEAL, DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRECEDENT.
WE’RE TRYING TO SHOW WE CARE ABOUT THE CONCERNS OF A LOT OF VOTERS AROUND THE COUNTRY.
BUT I THINK THEY GAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE FALSE HOPE.
THE PRESIDENT IN HIS SPEECH PRIOR TO US CONVENING TOLD PEOPLE THAT MIKE PENCE WAS GOING TO OVERTURN THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION, THAT HE HAD THAT POWER, WHICH, OF COURSE, IS NOT TRUE.
MIKE PENCE DOES NOT HAVE THAT POWER.
SO I REALLY THINK IT WAS INCUMBENT UPON THE PRESIDENT TO CALL IT OFF.
IT SEEMS LIKE LAST NIGHT HE DID COMMIT SOMEWHAT TO A PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER.
I HOPE WE CAN BUILD OFF THAT.
I THINK THAT’S WHAT’S PARAMOUNT, LET’S COME TOGETHER AS A COUNTRY AND COMMIT TO THE PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF POWER.

JUST IN TERMS OF THE FACT THAT THERE WERE CONFEDERATE FLAGS AND THERE WAS A MAN WEARING A CAMP AUSCHWITZ T-SHIRT IN THE U.S. CAPITOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER MATT CONTINENTI OPINED.
THIS LOYALTY TO AN INDIVIDUAL, THIS DEVOTION THAT PLACES HIS INTEREST ABOVE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RULE OF LAW IS NOT CHARACTERISTIC OF DEMOCRACY, IT IS TYRANNY.

I THINK YESTERDAY WE SAW PURE CHAOS.
I CALLED THE ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION ON JANUARY 6th CONSTITUTIONAL AAL — IT WAS WA LIKE THE TEA PARTY, WHICH WAS AN EFFORT TO ADVANCE LIMITED GOVERNMENT AND FIGHT AGAINST EXCESS.
THE IRONY IS THAT WHAT THE OBJECTORS WAS OBJECTING WAS AN IDEA OF NEAR UNLIMITED POWER FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
IF CONGRESS HAS THE ABILITY TO OVERTURN THE STATES, THEN THERE’S NO POWER THEY DON’T HAVE.
I THINK THE MOP WAS JUST THAT, A LAWLESS MOB.
I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE UPSET WITH THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION, IF YOU LEGITIMATELY BELIEVE THAT FRAUD TOOK PLACE, YOU DON’T HAVE LICENSE TO BREAK THE LAW AND STORM THE CAPITOL AND ATTACK THE CAPITOL POLICE.
AND LOOK AT THE COST OF YESTERDAY.
FOUR PEOPLE ARE DEAD THAT DID NOT HAVE TO BE DEAD.
WAS IT WORTH IT?
DID WE ADVANCE A MEANINGFUL DISCUSSION ABOUT IRREGULARITIES IN THE LAST ELECTION?
OF COURSE, WE DIDN’T.
THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS, A TO-HOUR CONTESTED DEBATE ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT IS NOT A GOOD FORUM FOR HAVING THAT DISCUSSION.
THE OBJECTORS KNEW IT.
THEY KNEW IT WAS THEATER.
THE ONLY REASON THEY DID IT IS BECAUSE THEY KNEW IT WASN’T GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
RIGHT?
THERE’S NO WAY THEY WOULD HAVE PROCEEDED IF THEY ACTUALLY THOUGHT THEY HAD A CHANCE OF OVERTURNING THE ELECTION.
SO THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD STOKE THE OUTRAGE WITHOUT IT DESCENDING INTO CHAOS.
BUT GUESS WHAT?
IT DID DESCEND INTO CHAOS.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE WORD FOR IT IS.
BUT I THOUGHT THE ARGUMENT BEING MADE BY THE OBJECTORS WAS ANIANI — IT WAS LAWLESS.

YOU WROTE THAT THE OBJECTORS ARE GOING DOWN A DANGEROUS PATH OF VAST FEDERAL OVERREACH.
EVEN BY FORCING DEBATE, THEY ARE ENDORSING THE IDEA THAT CONGRESS, NOT THE STATES, IS THE RIGHT FORUM FOR LITIGATING OR WORSE RELITIGATING AN ELECTION.
HOW MUCH BLAME DO YOU PUT AT THEIR FEET FOR THE EVENTS OF YESTERDAY?

WELL, THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF HEATED PASSION.
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE QUICK TO POINT FINGERS AT SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES AND SAY, YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS.
I’M NOT THERE RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK EACH INDIVIDUAL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR.
IN OTHER WORDS, EVEN IF THE PRESIDENT IS TELLING PEOPLE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT TRUE AT A RALLY OR A COLLEAGUE OF MINE IS USING A VERY CYNICAL ARGUMENT IN ORDER TO GET TWITTER FAMOUS AND INCREASE THEIR LIKES ON SOCIAL MEDIA, I DON’T THINK SOMEHOW THAT THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE YOUNG LADY THAT WAS SHOT IN THE CAPITOL LAST NIGHT.
I THINK EACH INDIVIDUAL —
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?

I DON’T KNOW.
I THINK EACH PERSON THAT WAS THERE YESTERDAY HAS TO TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THEIR OWN ACTIONS.

HOW ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP?

LET ME SAY THIS.
I THINK FOR THE LAST TWO MONTHS, WE HAVE BEEN TELLING PEOPLE SOMETHING THAT WAS FUNDAMENTALLY NOT TRUE.
THAT SOMEHOW THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION WAS GOING TO CHANGE.

WHEN YOU SAY WE, CONGRESSMAN, I DON’T WANT TO CUT YOU OFF, BUT YOU SAY WE HAVE BEEN TELLING PEOPLE THAT.
YOU HAVE NOT BEEN.
YOU HAVE NOT BEEN TELLING PEOPLE THAT.
LET’S BE CLEAR.
ARE YOU SAYING WE AS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OR WE AS IN PRESIDENT TRUMP?

I THINK IT’S BOTH.

IT’S PRESIDENT TRUMP WHO HAS BEEN PROPAGATING THIS LIE AND MEMBERS OF YOUR CON FENCE.

IT IS BOTH.
THEY SAID PENCE HAD THE POWER TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION.
I THINK EARLY ON — I WAS IN THE CAMP OF, OKAY, THE CAMPAIGN IS WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS TO CHALLENGE THE RESULTS.
LET THE LEGAL PROCESS PLAY OUT.
THAT HAPPENS IN DIFFERENT ELECTIONS.
WHEN MULTIPLE COURT CHALLENGES WERE FILED TO NO AVAIL, WHEN TRUMP APPOINTED FEDERAL JUDGES TOOK A LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE AND SAID NOTHING TO SEE HERE, WHEN THE SUPREME COURT DISMISSED THE BASELESS TEXAS CASE, I DON’T THINK THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN COULD CLAIM ANY MORE THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT EVIDENCE IN COURT.
IN MY HOME STATE OF WISCONSIN, WHERE BIDEN WON BY 20,000 VOTES, THE FACT IS THAT MARGIN SURVIVED MULTIPLE COURT CHALLENGES.
I DON’T HOLD MYSELF BLAMELESS.
I THINK I COULD HAVE MORE FORCEFULLY MADE THIS ARGUMENT EARLY ON.
I WILL ADMIT TO YOU, I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM WITH THIS — I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO INVESTIGATE A LOT OF THE CLAIMS OF ELECTION FRAUD THAT THE PEOPLE I REPRESENT ARE CONCERNED ABOUT.
IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE NO ONE TRUSTS WHAT THEY READ IN THE NEWS ANYMORE OR WHAT THEY SEE ON TV — NO OFFENSE.
THEY ARE STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S TRUE AND WHAT ISN’T.
RIGHT?
IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE TRUST IN LEGACY MEDIA HAS COLLAPSED, PEOPLE ARE TWEETING UNVERIFIED TWITTER VIDEOS AS TRUTH BECAUSE IT’S CONFIRMING THEIR IDEOLOGICAL PRIOR.
PART OF WHAT WE STRUGGLE WITH IS, HOW DO WE HAVE A COMMON REALITY OR SET OF FACTS THAT WE CAN DEBATE IN SUCH A FRACTURED MEDIA ENVIRONMENT?

THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK THAT MITT ROMNEY SAID ON WEDNESDAY.

THE BEST WAY WE CAN SHOW RESPECT FOR THE VOTERS WHO ARE UPSET IS BY TELLING THEM THE TRUTH.
[ APPLAUSE ] THAT’S THE DUTY OF LEADERSHIP.

SO I COMMEND YOU FOR TAKING ON SOME RESPONSIBILITY.
BUT YOU DID TELL THE TRUTH.
YOU TOLD THE TRUTH PUBLICALLY BEFORE THE VOTE ON WEDNESDAY.
LISTEN, EVEN AFTER THE CAPITOL SIEGE, EIGHT SENATORS AND MORE THAN 100 MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONTINUED TO OBJECT.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

I THINK IT’S SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOR.
I WAS ACTUALLY ASTOUNDED WHEN THE CAPITOL POLICE FINALLY CLEARED THE SCENE, WHEN THERE WERE SOME SEMBLANCE OF STABILITY BROUGHT BACK TO THE CAPITOL, AND IN THE HOUSE — AT LEAST IN THE SENATE, THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT RELINQUISHED THEIR OBJECTIONS.
IN THE HOUSE, IT WAS ALMOST AS IF IT WAS BUSINESS AS USUAL.
WE CONTINUED THE DEBATE WE WERE HAVING BEFORE.
THEN WE OBJECTED AGAIN TO THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA.
THE OBJECTORS SEEMED ENTIRELY U U U UNREPENTANT FOR THE ARGUMENTS THEY WERE MAKING.
I’M NOT IN THE HABIT OF QUESTIONING THE MOTIVES OF MY COLLEAGUES.
I UNDERSTAND THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE AND A VERY DIFFICULT POLITICAL ISSUE.
BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I HEARD IN THE WEEK LEADING UP TO IT THAT KIND OF SET ME OFF A LITTLE BIT IS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, A LOT OF MY COLLEAGUES WOULD SAY, OKAY, I KNOW THIS IS THE WRONG THING TO DO.
CONSTITUTIONALLY, IT’S A TERRIBLE PRECEDENT AND IT HAS NO CHANCE OF SUCCEEDED.
BUT I HAVE TO DO IT.
I HAVE TO OBJECT.
BECAUSE I HAVE TO PRETEND THAT I’M FIGHTING, BECAUSE MY VOTERS ARE SO PISSED.
I DON’T WANT TO GET A PRIMARY CHALLENGER.
THESE WERE THE ARGUMENTS BEING MADE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS OF TO YOUR POINT ABOUT THE TRUTH, YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO TELL PEOPLE THE TRUTH, EVEN IF IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE AND EVEN IF IT HURTS YOU POLITICALLY.

EVEN IF YOU GET A PRIMARY CHALLENGE?

THAT’S RIGHT.
HOW LONG ARE WE PREPARED TO TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT WE DIDN’T ACTUALLY LOSE THE 2020 ELECTION?
BY THE WAY, I HAVE ALSO WORKED AT THE STATE LEVEL WITH MY COLLEAGUES TO LAY OUT A FRAMEWORK FOR HOW WE CAN IMPROVE OUR VOTING PROCESSES.
I WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERY INDIVIDUAL STATE TO DO A VERSION OF WHAT FLORIDA DID POST 2000.
A LOT OF STATES MADE CHANGES IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC.
MOST WAS WELL INTENTIONED.
THERE WERE FOOLISH THINGS THAT HAPPENED THAT SHOULDN’T HAPPEN.
WE SHOULD LOOK AT THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY.
THAT’S SEPARATE THAN SAYING, PRESIDENT TRUMP WON IN A LANDSLIDE.
BECAUSE HE DID NOT.

CONGRESSMAN, HOW MANY CONVERSATIONS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS DID YOU HAVE WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES?
OF THOSE 100 PEOPLE THAT VOTED, HOW MANY WERE SINCERE IN THEIR BELIEF OR CYNICAL AND NOT WILLING TO TELL THE TRUTH TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE?

I THINK IT WAS PROBABLY A MIX.
I THINK IF I HAD TO GUESS, THE TRUE BELIEVERS WHO BELIEVE THE ARGUMENTS THEY WERE MAKING WAS LESS THAN 10%. MOST PEOPLE WERE IN THE PRACTICAL, POLITICAL, I HAVE TO DO THIS, OTHERWISE I’M GOING TO GET CRUSHED, WHICH IS A SHAME.
ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS I TRIED TO MAKE WAS, OKAY, YOU HAVE — THIS WAS THE DAY BEFORE THE JANUARY 6th PROCEEDINGS.
I SAID, RIGHT NOW YOU HAVE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE COMING TO WASHINGTON, D.C., PRAYING, PRAYING THAT SOMEHOW WE ARE GOING TO OVERTURN THE ELECTION FOR DONALD TRUMP.
YOU ARE NOT JUST HAVING A DEBATE ABOUT ELECTION FRAUD.
YOU ARE GIVING THESE PEOPLE RELIGIOUS FAITH IN WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO DO.
AND THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BE SATISFIED AFTER A COUPLE HOURS OF DEBATE THAT FAIL ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.
YOU ALWAYS GET TO THIS POINT WHERE THE ARGUMENT, WHEN YOU STRIP EVERYTHING ELSE AWAY, IS THIS.
THE LEFT FIGHTS DIRTY.
THEY DON’T ABIDE BY THE RULES.
THE PROBLEM IS WE ALWAYS DO.
SO WE HAVE TO FIGHT DIRTY OR WE WILL NEVER WIN AN ELECTION AGAIN.
NO.
YOU WOULDN’T USE THAT LOGIC WITH YOUR CHILDREN.
RIGHT?
YOU WOULDN’T SAY, CELEBRITIES CHEAT TO GET THEIR KIDS INTO COLLEGE.
SO WE’RE GOING TO CHEAT TO GET YOU INTO AN IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL.
THAT DOESN’T WORK.
AT THE MINIMUM, I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF A PARTY THAT BELIEVES THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS, PARTICULARLY WHEN THE MEANS ARE AN END RUN AROUND THE CONSTITUTION.
I THINK IT’S A FEATURE, NOT A BUG, OF BEING A CONSERVATIVE, THAT WE ADHERE TO STANDARDS OF DECENCY AND HONESTY.
SO I THINK AMERICA CAN SURVIVE BAD PRESIDENTS.
THEY CAN SURVIVE BAD CONGRESSES.
IT HAS SURVIVED MANY IN THE PAST.
WE HAVE CHECKS AND BALANCES.
IT CAN’T SURVIVE TWO POLITICAL PARTIES THAT BELIEVE THE EXACT SAME THING.
WHICH IS THAT YOU NEED TO ACCRUE POWER AT ALL COSTS AND THEN WEAPONIZE THE POWER OF THE STATE AGAINST YOUR POLITICAL OPPONENT.
THAT LEADS US NOWHERE AS A COUNTRY.
WHAT I WORRY IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.
I WOULD BE LYING IF I SAID I KNEW HOW TO FIX IT.

ONE OF THE WAYS IS BY STARTING TO TELL THE TRUTH IN YOUR CONFERENCE, THE WAY YOU TOLD THE TRUTH TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS AND THE WAY YOU HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THE TRUTH.
DO YOU AGREE WITH SENATOR ROMNEY THIS WAS AN ACT OF INSURRECTION?

I HAVE LOATH TO USE THAT TERM.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE RIGHT WORD IS FOR A VIOLENT MOB THAT STORMS THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL.
I THINK IT BORDERS ON INSURRECTION, FOR SURE.
BUT IT WAS LESS COORDINATED THAN THAT IN THE MOMENT.
I CAN TELL YOU JUST AS SOMEONE THAT WITNESSED IT.
I THINK THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE, NO DOUBT, THAT WENT THERE THINKING THEY WERE JUST GOING TO HAVE A PEACEFUL PROTEST AND MAKE SOME POINTS ABOUT THE ELECTION AND DID NOT ANTICIPATE AT ALL THAT THIS WAS GOING TO ESCALATE INTO A VIOLENT CLASH.
I’M SURE THERE WERE A FEW BAD ACTORS THAT STARTED IT AND IT GOT COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL.
SO I DON’T THINK IT WAS A COORDINATED EFFORT, YOU KNOW, DESIGNED TO REBEL AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
BUT CERTAINLY, IT WAS NOT A PATRIOTIC EFFORT, IN MY MIND.

AS SOMEBODY WHO HAS FOUGHT FOR AMERICAN FREEDOM ABROAD AND FOR THE FREEDOM OF OTHERS ABROAD, WHAT — HOW DOES THIS LOOK TO AMERICA’S ENEMIES?

I DON’T THINK IT’S A GOOD LOOK.
I SAID THAT YESTERDAY.
YOU CAN JUST — YOU CAN BANK THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY WAS WATCHING US YESTERDAY AND LAUGHING.
IT ALSO — I THINK IT GETS TO YOUR EARLY QUESTION.
THIS DIDN’T OCCUR TO ME UNTIL NOW.
I THINK PART OF THE REASON THAT I AM NOT — THAT MY GUT IS TELLING ME WE DON’T WANT TO GO DOWN THIS PATH OF 25th AMENDMENT, IMPEACHMENT, WE’RE GOING TO TRY AND TAR AND FEATHER ALL THE BAD ACTORS THAT STORMED THE CAPITOL, IS BECAUSE I THINK WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS NOW MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IS RECONCILIATION RATHER THAN RECRIMINATION.

LET ME GET BACK TO YOUR COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
FOR THOSE THAT WERE PRETENDING, FOR THOSE THAT WERE PRETENDING, CAN YOU SUPPORT THEM?
CAN YOU UNDERSTAND WHERE THEY CAME FROM?

I’M IN A MAG —
AND FORGIVE THEM?

OF COURSE.
I DON’T WANT TO COME OFF AS HOLIER THAN THOU.
I DON’T WANT TO QUESTION ANYONE’S MOTIVE.

GIVE WHANN WHAT HAPPENED?

WE NEED TO BRING THE COUNTRY BACK TOGETHER.
I’M WILLING TO FORGIVE ANYBODY.
WE ARE HOLDING IT TOGETHER WITH DUCT TAPE.
WE HAVE TO GET THROUGH A PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER.
I DON’T THINK — THERE’S GOING TO BE THIS TENDENCY FOR, LET’S SAY, THE NEVER TRUMP REPUBLICANS TO SAY, WE TOLD YOU SO, WE MUST PURGE ALL THE TRUMP SUPPORTERS.
BUT I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD BE PURGING THE PARTY OF THIS OR THAT.
I PERSONALLY DON’T THINK THERE’S ROOM IN THE TENT FOR OUTRIGHT FALSEHOOD.
I DON’T THINK THERE’S ROOM IN THE TENT FOR THE IDEA THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLS ELECTIONS.
THERE IS STILL A LOT OF ROOM IN THE TENT FOR A LOT OF ODDBALL IDEAS AND RAUCOUS DEBATE.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT SECURITY AT THE CAPITOL.
THAT’S GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT’S UNDER REVIEW.
IT’S NO SECRET THERE WAS A PROTEST COMING.
DOES THERE NEED TO BE AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHY LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS NOT BETTER PREPARED?

YES.
I WAS STUNNED BY THAT.
WE ALL KNEW THIS WAS COMING.
THE PRESIDENT WAS TALKING ABOUT IT FOR THE WEEK LEADING UP TO IT.
I KNEW MANY PEOPLE FROM WISCONSIN THAT WERE FLYING OUT.
I WAS ABSOLUTELY STUNNED THAT THEY WERE ABLE TO BREACH THE SECURITY PERIMETER SO EASILY.
I DO THINK WE NEED A HARD LOOK AT WHAT WENT WRONG.
I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THE NATIONAL GUARD WASN’T MOBILIZED MORE QUICKLY OR MOBILIZED PROACTIVELY IN THE FACE OF THIS.
I WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE DECISION MAKING OR LACK THEREOF THAT LED TO THE ABSENCE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD.
I WILL SAY THIS THOUGH.
THERE WAS A MOMENT ON WEDNESDAY NIGHT WHEN AFTER I HAD BEEN BARRICADED IN MY OFFICE FOR ABOUT FIVE HOURS AND FINALLY THEY REGAINED CONTROL OF THE SECURITY SITUATION, I HAD TO GROW TO THE HOUSE FLOOR TO VOTE ON THE DECERTIFICATION OF THE ARIZONA ELECTORS.
I WALKED THROUGH THE CAFETERIA AND IT WAS JUST FILLED WITH CAPITOL POLICE OFFICERS IN RIOT GEAR THAT WERE JUST EXHAUSTED.
THEY WERE LAYING ON THE GROUND.
THEY WERE EATING FOOD.
YOU COULD TELL — I HAD THIS MOMENT WHERE I REALIZED, HERE I WAS SHUT IN MY OFFICE, NOT REALLY KNOWING WHAT WAS GOING ON, AND THESE GUYS WERE BASICALLY IN BATTLE FOR SIX HOURS IN ORDER TO PROTECT ME.
I’M NOT SAYING THEY DID A BAD JOB.
I’M SURE THEY DID THE BEST WITH WHAT RESOURCES THEY HAD AVAILABLE.
BUT WHATEVER THE PLAN WAS, IT WAS NOT ADEQUATE.
WHATEVER THE RESOURCES WERE, THEY WERE NOTE EADEQUATE.
I WANT TO SALUTE THEIR HEROIC EFFORTS.
I STARTED CRYING IN THAT MOMENT.
I GETTING TEARY THINKING ABOUT IT RIGHT NOW.
THESE GUYS — IT WAS INCREDIBLE.
IT WAS LAME, NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT.
I STARTED CLAPPING AND THANKING EVERYBODY.
IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT.

THEY MAY HAVE DONE THEIR BEST, BUT THE PLAN WASN’T IN PLACE.
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME PEOPLE POINTED OUT A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS OF THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE TRUMP RALLY VERSUS THE PREPARATIONS FOR OTHER RALLIES THAT HAVE BEEN ANTICIPATED IN THE CAPITOL.
PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN SAID THIS.
TAKE A LOOK.

NO ONE CAN TELL ME IF IT HAD BEEN A GROUP OF BLACK LIVES MATTERS PROTESTING YESTERDAY THERE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN — THEY WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN TREATED VERY, VERY DIFFERENTLY.
THAN THE MOB OF THUGS THAT STORMED THE CAPITOL.
WE ALL KNOW THAT’S TRUE.
AND IT IS UNACCEPTABLE.
TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE.

PEOPLE POINT TO THE IMAGE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS WHO WERE DEPLOYED TO THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL IN JUNE.

Announcer: T– IN THE WAKE O THE DEATH OVER GEORGE FLOYD.
DO YOU AGREE WITH THE CHARACTERIZATION?

I DON’T.
IT’S A VERY SERIOUS — LET ME SAY THIS.
THAT’S A VERY SERIOUS ACCUSATION.
YOU ARE ACCUSING MORE THAN JUST THE PRESIDENT OF RACISM.
YOU ARE ACCUSING A LOT OF PEOPLE.
YOU ARE ACCUSING A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE CAPITOL POLICE COMMAND STRUCTURE.
I’M NOT PREPARES TO MAKE THAT ACCUSATION WITHOUT MORE EVIDENCE.
IF EVIDENCE REVEALS I’M WRONG, THERE WAS A DOUBLE STANDARD THAT BECAUSE THIS WAS A MAGA CROWD, WE DIDN’T DEPLOY THE SAME RESOURCES, THAT WOULD BE WRONG.
I WOULD WANT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT.
WE SHOULD HAVE A CONSISTENT STANDARD ACROSS THE BOARD THAT POLITICAL VIOLENCE IS UNACCEPTABLE.
IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU ARE ANTIFA OR A PROUD BOY, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ATTACK COPS, TO CONDUCT VANDALISM.
YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DESTROY AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS.

AS YOU HAVE REFERENCED, THERE ARE CALLS FOR THE PRESIDENT TO BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE.
SOME OF YOUR FELLOW COLLEAGUES IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAVE URGED THE CABINET TO INVOKE THE 25th AMENDMENT OR THEY MAY PURSUE IMPEACHMENT.
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, JOHN KELLY, WENT ON THE RECORD, AS YOU KNOW, A FOUR STAR MARINE GENERAL, AND SAID IF HE WERE IN THE CABINET TODAY, HE WOULD INVOKE THE 25th AMENDMENT AND VOTE FOR IT.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

IT’S INCREDIBLY SERIOUS.
WE’RE SEEING RESIGNATIONS OF HIGH LEVEL CABINET OFFICIALS, THE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR.
SERIOUS PEOPLE THAT WOULD NOT RESIGN IF THEY WERE NOT PROFOUNDLY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON JANUARY 6th.
I’M NOT THERE YET.
I THINK WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE RIGHT NOW IS RECONCILIATION.
I THINK THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME IS FOR THE PRESIDENT TO COMMIT HIMSELF REPEATEDLY AND THOROUGHLY TO THE PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER.
VICE PRESIDENT PENCE HE SAYING HE WILL BE AT THE INAUGURATION IS A POSITIVE STEP FORWARD.
I WORRY THAT IF WE GO DOWN THE PATH OF IMPEACHMENT AND 25th AMENDMENT, THERE’S GOING TO BE A LOT OF REPUBLICANS THAT DIG IN JUST BECAUSE THEY VIEW IT AS A POLITICAL STUNT FROM THE LEFT.
WE’RE NOT ACTUALLY GOING TO HAVE THAT RECONCILIATION.
I’M OPEN TO THE ARGUMENT.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE SINCERE CONCERN ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND INAUGURATION DAY?
DOES IT STRIKE YOU THAT SOMETHING EVEN WORSE COULD HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND INAUGURATION DAY?

IT COULD.
I’M TALKING TO YOU AFTER SOMETHING HAPPENED IN THE CAPITOL THAT I NEVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED IN MY WILDEST DREAMS COULD HAVE HAPPENED.
WE’RE IN A COMBUSTIBLE SITUATION RIGHT NOW.
ALL IT TAKES IS A FEW BAD ACTORS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.
SO I AM PROFOUNDLY CONCERNED THAT SOMETHING ELSE COULD HAPPEN.
WE COULD SEE MORE VIOLENCE AROUND THE COUNTRY.
ALL THE MORE REASON IN MY MIND FOR CONGRESS TO STEP UP AND SET AN EXAMPLE OF BIPARTISANSHIP.
SEND THE MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT THERE ARE THINGS THAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY OF OUR POLITICAL CAREERS AND SUPPORTING THE PEACEFUL TRANSITION OF POWER IS AMONG THOSE THINGS.
I FUNDAMENTALLY BELIEVE, DESPITE MY CONCERNS ABOUT THE CURRENT MOMENT WE ARE IN AND THE IDEA THAT SOME OF OUR ADVERSARIES WOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DIVISIONS WE HAVE HERE DOMESTICALLY, THAT THE RESERVOIRS OF STRENGTH IN AMERICA ARE STILL VERY, VERY DEEP.
WE HAVE GOTTEN THROUGH FAR WORSE THAN THIS IN THE PAST.
I THINK WE WILL PREVAIL.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE LOOK TO OURSELVES AND DO BETTER GOING FORWARD.
RIGHT NOW, I THINK IN MY OWN PARTY THERE’S AN ATTEMPT TO SAY, THIS WAS THE MEDIA’S FAULT.
THE MEDIA DOESN’T CARE WHEN THERE IS RIOTS.
NOW IT LOSES ITS MIND WHEN THERE’S MAGA RIOTS.
NO.
YOU HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT ACROSS THE BOARD.
WE CONDEMNED ANTIFA RIOTS.
WE SHOULD CONDEMN THIS RIOT, TOO.
THERE’S AN ATTEMPT TO SAY THIS WAS ANTIFA A ACTIVISTS.
I HAVE SEEN NO EVIDENCE FOR THAT.
BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH WHAT HAPPENED WEDNESDAY, I THINK IT’S AN OUTLANDISH CLAIM.
I DON’T THINK WE CAN DO WHAT ABOUT.
WE NEED TO LOOK AT OURSELVES AND SAY, WE CAN DO BETTER.

YOU HAVE DONE PRETTY WELL.
THANK YOU FOR TELLING THE TRUTH TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS AND TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.
REPRESENTATIVE GALLAGHER, I HOPE YOU KEEP DOING IT.
BECAUSE WE NEED MORE VOICES THAT ARE HONEST.
ON THAT, THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME ON ‘FIRING LINE.’

THANK YOU.

‘FIRING LINE’ WITH MARGARET HOOVER.
CORPORATE FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY STEVENS INC.

YOU’RE WATCHING PBS.