AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Congressman Rick Allen of Georgia’s 12th District sits down to help The Means Report dig behind the headlines and find out what is happening in the world of politics. He discusses the state of the GOP and the Democratic agenda, including what kind of input – if any – Republican lawmakers might have in that agenda. Also, he discusses legislation that is near and dear to his heart since he went to Washington, and that is helping farmers.
Brad Means: Congressman Allen, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule in Washington to be with us.
Rep. Rick Allen: Glad to be with you Brad, always a privilege.
Brad Means: Well, same here. Let me just start with the item that’s been in the news the most lately and that is this scathing letter that former president Donald Trump wrote regarding Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, calling him all sorts of names basically separating himself from McConnell and vowing to campaign against him and those who support him. Your thoughts on that kind of response from the former president?
Rep. Rick Allen: Well, the most of the questions that I’ve gotten is why did Mitch McConnell have to kind of do the speech that he did following the acquittal of President Trump when in fact he voted to acquit President Trump. And in fact, I think that what his point was, was that the president’s dereliction of duty and I don’t understand why the defense team didn’t bring up the fact that the president is not responsible for security at the Capitol. Now he was acquitted on inciting an insurgency. ‘Cause that was the charge he was acquitted. And then later McConnell gets up and talks about dereliction of duty. I mean, if there’s any dereliction of duty, it would be the speaker. The speaker is responsible for security and protection of the members of Congress. And I believe that the president offered additional security, the national guard two days prior to January 6th. So I’m looking forward to this commission that will do an in-depth investigation into what exactly happened and why it happened because the Sergeant of Arms did confess that the national guard was offered and that he turned it down because he didn’t think it would look right. The bottom line is, that should have never happened. The dereliction of duty was somewhere on our side. And like I said, that starts with the speaker of the house.
Brad Means: Who’s the bigger name or face of your party right now? Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump?
Rep. Rick Allen: Right now, President Trump is still highly popular. Obviously it’s terrible. what happened January 6th. And obviously, through the process of the election, it was terrible what happened during the election because frankly, I believe the reason we lost those two Senate races is because people did not believe their vote can.
Brad Means: Well, I do want to talk to you about the Georgia, the Georgia Senate results. But as we are talking about that January 6th incident, congressmen, the way the story is told is that, Trump supporters attended a rally and then stormed the Capitol. Is that what you think happened? That it was just a spur of the moment thing?
Rep. Rick Allen: Oh no, oh, no. No, the evidence proves that based on the Intel, that all of the agencies put together, that there was a lot of noise about what was going to happen weeks before January 6th. So this was in the planning. You might remember that the bombs were planted the night before the rally. So this was not some spur of the moment deal. It had been planned. These people that stormed the Capitol were not your– In fact I had people that I knew that attended the rally and they said, we don’t recognize some of these folks. I mean, they were in combat gear. I mean, I don’t know if you saw the guy repelling in the city chamber from the upstairs. I mean-
Brad Means: Let me ask you this.
Rep. Rick Allen: They were professionals. And so, yeah, this thing was planned and we need to get to the bottom of it.
Brad Means: Well, if the intelligence was there, and if some potentially explosive devices were laying around the Capitol after the fact, surely the president of the United States would have picked up on that Intel. And even if he didn’t, when he looked out into the crowd and saw people in full battle gear, why didn’t he say, look, y’all don’t really look like my typical rally goers. Please don’t do anything bad after this.
Rep. Rick Allen: Again, I think that it took everybody by surprise, everybody. For something like that to happen it’s very unusual. And in fact, the Capitol police had taken certain steps like some temporary barricades, things like that. These people knew that they were doing wrong. And like I said, the president could he have stopped this? That’s something that we could speculate on, but in fact, he condemned it and as well as everyone, including myself condemned it, it’s wrong. And these people are gonna pay a price. I mean, you’re talking probably minimum 10 years in a federal penitentiary.
Brad Means: Let me ask you this. I know that you and I texted on January 6th right after this happened. I got the sense that you were in good hands and that you were being protected in some sort of safe space. Other lawmakers have said they were afraid for their lives when they were in the same building that you work. Why weren’t you afraid for your life in the moments after the storming of the Capitol?
Rep. Rick Allen: My concern frankly was for the safety of my colleagues. My mind was on number one, following the instructions of the Capitol police. Where first they said, we gotta get these doors barricaded. And in fact, once the speaker was removed and escorted out and then Scully’s was escorted out and we continued to debate. And then all of a sudden, right behind me the doors started pounding. I mean obviously then the Capitol police descended on the door and they said, we need to barricade this door. And I just went into action. And so really never thought about. They said get your gas mask. I got that. Some of the members put their gas mask on, and then we had to get people evacuated safely. And that’s what we did. And there’s a whole row of us that sit, of course we have to separate, socially distance now. That in the back of the chamber, you’ve probably seen me where the president walks in and we just went into action. I mean, trying to protect everyone and following the instructions for the Capitol police.
Brad Means: Yeah, you are always one of the first people we see at the State of the Union and at other functions there in the chamber. Look, I’m glad you’re safe. And I’m sure everybody is. We don’t want anybody to be hurt in our world.
Rep. Rick Allen: But there was no gunfire. I didn’t even hear the one shot that was fired, although we were still in there and it was the front of the chamber and some distance away from us. So I didn’t even hear that shot. So there was no gunfire. All there was, was the pounding on the doors and they would try to get into the chamber.
Brad Means: Congressman Allen, do you ever wish that President Trump would have said less, just would have been quiet more? And if so, he would have been reelected. I hear that five times a week from my Republican friends. They say, man, if he’d just stay quiet, he’d still be in office. Do you agree?
Rep. Rick Allen: One of the things that I advised him of, sometime when he asked me, he said, “What did you learn?” Because he knew I came from the business world and I was now, I’m an outsider, still am an outsider. I didn’t come up through the political rights. And he said, what did you learn up here? And I said, well, it’s kind of like in business, there are just some battles that I’m of course fighting. I mean, you just ignore them and move on. And he just could not do that. They would bait the trap and he would take the bait every single time.
Brad Means: Wow.
Rep. Rick Allen: And of course, somehow, typically there was a crisis created and the Democrats never wasted prices. So there was this kind of constant turmoil. And I think the country was trying to
Brad Means: Congressman, do you think we will see president Trump run again down the road, is he coming back in 2024?
Rep. Rick Allen: My advice to the president would be, why would you put yourself through that? His brand has been damaged, I’m sure. I’m sure they are thinking about how to strengthen their brand. I don’t know that. I know that, I told Mike Lindell, the my pillar guy is a friend, I met him during the rallies and I asked him, I said, “Is this affecting your business?” He said, “My business has never been better.” So, I don’t know. I don’t know how the brand is. I don’t know how the business is doing, but obviously he is their target. I don’t think they’re going to leave him alone. I’ll be honest with you. But I just tell ya, I wouldn’t wish what he went through on anybody, Brad. For the sake of this country.
Brad Means: Yeah, I talked to Laura Trump, his daughter-in-law one time on this program. And I asked her about what he faced by way of criticism and social media attacks and things like that. She just said, “It makes the Trump family stronger.” So we’ll see what happens to them down the road.
Rep. Rick Allen: Well, he’s a fighter. There’s no question about that. And really, that’s what the country wanted. The country is split. The country is divided. But we know that what 74 million people want a fighter. They want somebody to fight. And of course we just lost, unfortunately, one of those fighters yesterday, Rush Limbaugh.
Brad Means: Congressman, we’re going to take a quick break here on The Means Report. When we come back, we’re going to continue to talk about the agenda in Washington, DC. Whose agenda is it? Will Congressman Allen and his friends on the GOP side, have any input in it and some legislation that he is pushing to help our farmers and to help the mental health of students. The Means Report back in a moment.
Brad Means: Welcome back to The Means Report. We’re talking to Georgia’s 12th District Congressman Rick Allen. Congressman Allen, I talked to your GOP colleague Congressman Jody Hice on this program a couple of weeks ago. He told me that the Democrats so far are not really soliciting much bi-partisan input here in the early going. In fact, he said they’re very aggressive with their agenda. Is that what you’re seeing up there that they’re sort of just ignoring you and doing what they want to do since they’re in control?
Rep. Rick Allen: Congressman Hice nailed it as usual. Let me tell you, we have seen- We had one meeting with the senator, Republican senators and President Biden. about this new legislation, COVID relief legislation. But what we seen, we’ve seen 52 executive orders that are highly unpopular with Republicans and conservatives to eliminate those jobs on the XL Pipeline at a time like this, when we got 10 million people out of work and the economy has been severely damaged because of COVID is ridiculous. And in fact, to lose our energy independence it makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, I’m all for sustainable fuels and the development of those fuels but let me tell you, what President Trump did, and what our Congress and members of Congress did during those first two years, to get this country energy independent has created a security and a power around the world that we’ve not enjoyed. In fact, the Carter Administration initiated the department, established the department of energy to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. We are exporting oil today and I hate to see another war on fossil fuel like we saw during the Obama Administration that increased our dependence on foreign oil. It makes no sense whatsoever. This business set the border. It makes no sense stopping for the wall.
Brad Means: Yeah. How frustrating is it though? At the end of the day when you look. Congressmen, you don’t have the numbers. So it doesn’t matter how frustrated you are or how much you wish things were the way they were. It doesn’t matter. You don’t have the numbers to do anything, do you?
Rep. Rick Allen: We have the states and we have the courts. And that’s the way we stopped President Obama. And that’s the way we’re going to stop President Biden. And you’re going to see injunction filed on all of these executive orders to stop this nonsense. We still got tools in the toolbox. And I believe that eventually these things are going to be so unpopular. You got to understand, there are about 50 of their members on the other side and senators who are going to be up for reelection in their states. And these people in their districts aren’t buying this nonsense that the hard left is selling. And so I think that somewhere they’re going to have to wake up. And I saw that in our markup. We had a markup in education, labor and agriculture last week. In education and labor we went from three o’clock in the afternoon to 4:30 AM the next morning just battling out these crazy agenda that they’re putting forth in this new COVID legislation, which is ridiculous. And they took terrible votes because they were told that they had to vote for it. And I’m telling you, I really believe that, frankly, as far as bringing the Republican Party together, our best friend right now is President Biden. Because I’ve told people, we get through this first a hundred days you’re going to see people come into our party overwhelmingly to defeat his pandering to the left during this first a hundred days.
Brad Means: Let me Jump in. We’re going to get to two more topics hopefully before our time runs out. But y’all need to stop fighting and give people their next checks. How soon is that going to happen?
Rep. Rick Allen: Well, again, you take the $15 minimum wage. And of course President Biden is kind of going back and forth on that.
Brad Means: Yeah, no, no, don’t do– No, listen Congressman, don’t do minimum wage on me. Just say, when’s my next. Tell me when’s my next stimulus check.
Rep. Rick Allen: You know frankly, supposedly we’re supposed to go through the weekend next week to pass this thing.
Brad Means: All right.
Rep. Rick Allen: But yeah, I hate to tell you, Brad that’s a little out of money. There’s obviously there’s some pushback. They don’t have the numbers to get this thing done. I think you’re going to see a Senate version and a house version. But when it’s going to get done, who knows.
Brad Means: All right, no, no, we’ll keep our eye on it. Okay, listen, the BARN Act. You are pushing the BARN Act, you sponsored this legislation. It is going to help our farmers. It is going to help them more easily bring in workers. How happy are you with this piece of legislation? And when can we see it enacted? And just take a moment if you will then I have one more question for you.
Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah, well obviously, immigration reform is critical. This is just part of the face of immigration reform that needs to be done. But our farmers need migrant workers. Right now, that’s under the jurisdiction of the department of labor. The sole purpose of department of labor is to employ domestic workers. And so that’s a bit of a conflict of interest as far as getting our farmers the migrant workers they need to pick the crop. So we need to put that under the department of agriculture because they understand the urgency of picking vegetables before they’re ripe in the fields.
Brad Means: Well, I know we have so many farmers here in the 12th District and they appreciate any efforts to help them get that tough job done. What about the mental health of our students? The pandemic has been tough on them. I know you’re concerned about that and you want to make sure that those young people have access to help.
Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah, well reopening schools I think is probably the national topic of the day and of the week and of the last few weeks. So let me tell you, just a quick shout out to our administrators and our teachers and the 12th District of Georgia. Our schools have been open. It has not easy since last September. Now some have opened, some have had to close because of the isolation of teachers during the COVID exposure. But the bottom line is, is we’re open. And I had an amendment in education and labor that basically stated, okay, we open our schools, we put a teacher in there and we have in-person learning or you don’t get federal funds. And so obviously it did not pass. But this is having a terrible impact on our young people and their mental health. Mental health is maybe the biggest problem we have with young people today. And a part of that is obviously COVID and the decisions that some of our leaders have made in some of these states to keep things closed down. And that’s just not good. It’s not good for mental health.
Brad Means: Well, we appreciate what you’re doing for the farmers, for the students and for the country. I say that to all of our lawmakers who are on this show Democrat and Republican. And I know you’re all very busy. Congressman Rick Allen, be safe up there. And we’ll see you back in Augusta real soon. I appreciate your time.
Rep. Rick Allen: Yeah, Brad, thank you so much. We’re in the fight. And I think you’re gonna see things change here very quick. I think you’re gonna see voter remorse like we’d never seen it. We are going to get the house back, get the Senate and we’re going to get the White House in less than four years.
Brad Means: Congressman Rick Allen, our special guest today on The Means Report.