JASON: I served in the 115th, in which Chairman Virginia Foxx was controlling the Ed. and Workforce Committee. We were doing great things on career and technical education, the Perkins Bill, trying to get higher ed. to get some skin in the game on these student loans. Why, my seatmate on that very committee could very well be the next chairwoman of the House Republican Conference — and especially, it could be a majority conference in the next Congress.
Joining me now from the great state of New York, the 21st Congressional District, Republican Elise Stefanik. She is here with us on the Rush Limbaugh Program. Elise, nice to have you here.
STEFANIK: Jason, it’s so great to hear your voice and great to be with you today.
JASON: Well, yeah, I miss bringing you coffee at the Ed. and Workforce committee hearing.
STEFANIK: Oh, you never did that. We worked very closely together and got a lot done.
JASON: You really did. If you look back at that in two short years, it’s very much like the first two the years of the Reagan era, in those first two Trump years all of the things we accomplished — and not everybody agrees on everything. I get that, but you take a look at what got done then versus what’s getting done in the 116th and 117th, and it is just a grotesque stalemate with a bunch of people with masks running around doing nothing in the House.
STEFANIK: It is. Congress has completely changed. It is being run by the far left, by AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Nancy Pelosi. This is the most progressive Congress in our nation’s history, which is why it’s so important that we are united to win back the majority, to be a check on Biden’s radical socialist agenda, including trillions of dollars of new taxes and trillions in new spending — and on the committee, we fight back every day against the far-left Democrats.
JASON: Well, that’s good to know. I think you came in two years before I got there. But as you point out and I pointed out yesterday on the program, leadership — and I think this goes on top of sometimes. You have to have an independent voice. But by the same token, there is truth here, you gotta be a team player if you want to get something done.
You can’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and you have to unite. Now, in this great debate between the current chairwoman, Liz Cheney, and it looks like your rising ascendancy (Is there any other kind of ascendancy?), the fact is, Liz isn’t being a team player. You’ve gotta unite around something, and there are always people that can look towards the negative. But at some point, we’ve got the majority; you have to get things done. Is that a fair assessment?
STEFANIK: I think it’s a fair assessment. And I listen to voters very closely in my district, and I know every member of Congress does across America. They want us to unify, and they believe President Trump is an important voice and an important role and the leading voice in the Republican Party and conservative movement.
We have to work with President Trump to win back the majority, and we’re going to, and that’s what the members of Congress want who are Republicans, and that’s what the voters want in this country so we can focus on talking about how dangerous and radical Nancy Pelosi’s policies are and our solutions to grow the economy, create jobs, stand up for the Constitution, counter China, et cetera.
JASON: And $6 trillion in new spending in three months won’t grow the economy? I’m shocked. Look.
STEFANIK: That’s one of the reasons we have bad jobs numbers today. They’re abysmal.
JASON: That’s right.
STEFANIK: Unemployment is up. Inflation is… You know, people are seeing rising cost of goods, and small businesses can’t hire workers because of the continued additional federal unemployment assistance.
JASON: Yeah, so much for MMT Modern Monetary Theory. This is nothing more than Keynesianism in drag. They’re gonna inflate their way out of the debt — and when you do that, you’re going to have asset bubbles and rising prices eventually and that’s exactly what’s happening, which is no good for anyone. Look, you mentioned something about President Trump and your vigorous defense of him in this unwarranted impeachment saga.
You were on the intel committee, but I went down when I was in the House and looked at the intelligence. This whole Russian hoax was… I don’t want to be too dramatic here, but it comes pretty darn close to a coup being perpetrated by people who knew better. And we’ve got to have some FISA reform so that they don’t become a rubber stamp to have an opposition out of power going after a newly elected president.
STEFANIK: You are exactly right. What we uncovered — and it really took the Republicans in the House to uncover this — was the abuse in the FBI, the abuse by Jim Comey. I was the first one to ask him why he didn’t follow the law to inform Congress when they wrongly and illegally opened up a counterintelligence investigation — and then when it came to the FISA, we now know that that was illegal.
So these reforms… If people want to protect our constitutional liberties and freedoms in this country and guard from significant government overreach, this is why we need to elect conservative Republicans. And I think, you know, what the Democrats accuse the Republicans of is actually what they did for four years. They treated President Trump like an illegitimate president and continued to perpetrate the Russia hoax.
JASON: I’ll go a step further. I can do this now that I’m a talk show host instead of a member of Congress — you see, there are liberties here, Elise. But what they did in trying to overthrow a duly elected president through the bowels of the DOJ and a corrupt FBI is far worse than what happened on January 6th. I’ll just say that flat-out. And this is where we’ve gotta quit at this time playing small ball and focus on the big picture.
And you just mentioned it. And that is, if you can… And now they’re going after Rudy Giuliani. A Third World, banana republic lets the victor put their opponents in jail. We are in danger of losing the republic here, and if we don’t look at the big picture, getting voting regularities or voting ballot integrity rights, making certain we have free speech from Big Tech, restoring law and order while at the same time having due-process rights for everyone.
Not to mention, not to mention not exploiting the pandemic for political gain so they can command-and-control America. We can talk about the minutia of, like, you and I on Ed. and Workforce or infrastructure or everything else, and it’s important. But the fact is, we are now at this point in our history where the very fabric of the republic is being threatened.
STEFANIK: These are big fights, and this is why we need strong, unified leadership. You’re exactly right about the fight with Big Tech. We see Big Tech censorship. Actually, this week they suspended my communications director, and the timing was just perfect from their perspective as we are working to run for House Republican conference chair. We see Big Tech censoring conservatives. They never seem to censor liberals, though.
JASON: Isn’t that amazing?
STEFANIK: It’s amazing. We also saw the blackout of the accurate Hunter Biden story from the New York Post, and Hunter Biden’s ties with the Chinese Communist Party. And all the tech companies colluded and completely blacked that story out before the election. That was a form of election meddling. So we need to break up these Big Tech corporations. We need to pursue antitrust policies. These are big, big fights, and this is why we need to step up and unite and work with President Trump to win next November.
JASON: It doesn’t us no… I mean, the idea of Big Tech now suppressing and censoring your communications director, I might understand it if they went after your legislative director, my old buddy Merrick.
JASON: I mean, I get that. But your communications director, that’s the last straw.
STEFANIK: Yeah, I have a great team. I have a great team, and some of them worked for you, Jason.
JASON: You know, you said something very important there, Elise, and that is you’re going to have to be unified going forward. I’m a little bit perplexed. When we face all of these challenges, and these are truly — to use that overused word — “existential.” When you look at that, why is anybody still dwelling on Donald Trump, who brought the workingman and woman back to the Republican Party?
STEFANIK: Because I think the Democrats can’t get over his win in 2016. I remember when we did polling in my district, the only unifying issue of Democrats was wanting to defeat President Trump. And we are seeing that, that they are obsessed. But what they don’t realize is Trump has grown the party. Just look at my district.
STEFANIK: My district voted for Obama twice, and President Trump won it overwhelmingly by double digits. He spoke to the hardworking families across this country who felt left behind. And he had a vision and the livered can results for economic opportunity, whether it was —
JASON: Well, why would Republicans…? I’ll be honest about this, the current chairwoman, Liz Cheney. Why are those sorts of Republicans or Lincoln Project Republicans so obsessed with Trump?
STEFANIK: You know, I think their corporate donors. I think their far-left donors. It is sad how they are now part of the deranged far left. But you know what? I represent 700,000 people in my district who are hardworking Americans. I care much more about what they think than the pedophiles at the Lincoln Project.
JASON: Well, that’s pretty tough. Yesterday I called them “political pedophiles,” but, I mean (chuckles) no modifier needed, I guess. I guess, you know, if in fact — and I think you will rise to the conference chairwoman and the great tradition of Cathy McMorris Rodgers. But if you take a look at that and you’re successful next week, and I think you will be, and the Republicans take back the House, what is on the agenda? Repealing Section 230, which we have done in the NDAA process this cycle? What is your agenda?
STEFANIK: Repealing Section 230 is absolutely on the agenda. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is actually leading the effort when it comes to countering and combating Big Tech. Countering China is going to be really, really important. We have the current president, President Biden, who is soft on China. And his family does business with the Chinese Communist Party. That’s an existential global threat, and the Republicans have the House China Task Force to lay out all of our policies. Growing the economy, cutting taxes, reducing regulations, investing in American energy independence — basically rolling back all of these very progressive policies Biden has put into place to provide economic opportunity and economic growth.
JASON: And certainly not federalizing state elections as H.R. 1 would do.
STEFANIK: Absolutely not.
JASON: It’s really an assault on our Constitution.
STEFANIK: And the opposite of that is making sure we have election security and election integrity and making sure that’s at the state level. I support the audit in Arizona.
STEFANIK: Transparency and answers for the American people are a good thing. But we need to fix our — our election systems and the unconstitutional overreach that we saw in certain states this past November.
JASON: Well, I think you’re gonna be the next conference chair, and it was fun serving with you, albeit a short time. But keep doing what you’re doing, and make sure certain that… You know, Trump transformed a lot of Republicans into opening their eyes and to what really, really is happening to the workingman and woman in America. And it really is giving people a lot of courage to say things and behave in ways they wouldn’t have done before, and I think we need to keep up with that and have an open mind towards that.
STEFANIK: We need fighters. President Trump is a fighter on behalf of the American people, and voters want fighters to stand up for them. And that’s what I’m committed to doing, to unify the message, to earn the support of our Republican colleagues and fight for hardworking American families.
JASON: Representative Elise Stefanik, thanks so much for stopping in on the Rush Limbaugh program today.
STEFANIK: Thank you, Jason.
JASON: You bet. Nice talking with you.
JASON: And our thanks once again to Representative Stefanik. She is a rising star and I think gonna be the next vice chairwoman of the Republican conference. It’s a very important role. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as I mentioned, was chairwoman when I got there. The leadership actually paved the way for Cheney to take that spot and then serve on the Rules Committee. They did everything they could for Cheney, but she’s not a team player. Again, I think this is deeper than just that.
I think there’s an internecine battle between the neoconservatives in the Republican Party, those ex-Democrats that are Big Government abroad, Big Government at home, they just didn’t like the Democrats going soft on the military in the seventies; so they switched, right?
I think that battle now with Trump coming in saying, wait a minute, we ought to think about these endless wars has really put them in a position that’s untenable. People forget. When the barracks were bombed in Beirut 1983, Reagan withdrew. When Reagan was pushed to put 25,000 troops in Managua in the eighties, he said, damn it, I’m not gonna do it. When Eisenhower left office, he said beware of these people at the military-industrial complex that will push us into these interventions. Ike fought intervention in the Suez Canal, wouldn’t do it. The Republican traditional theory has been a strong defense but be very, very discreet in foreign interventions. And that’s the battle that’s going on, I do believe.
Cobleskill, New York. Gene, you’re up on the Rush Limbaugh program with me, Jason Lewis. Hi.
CALLER: Yes, sir. Yes. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. First of all, like to commend you for the great work you did in Congress. And we have —
JASON: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: — taken note of it, and I think — I think you deserve recognition for that. But the main point of my call was about Representative Stefanik.
CALLER: I live in upstate New York. Boy, she jumped out at me I think it was during the first Trump impeachment, that ridiculous impeachment, and I said —
CALLER: — wow. Look at Elise Stefanik, she’s smart, she was well spoken. And I’ve been following her ever since. And shows like today when she spoke, I mean, I think she is a rising star. I think she might be part of the future of this party, of our party. And has anybody ever spoken about her ascending to higher office, vice president; so on and so forth? What’s your feelings on that? I think she’s terrific.
JASON: Well, Gene, she’s very well spoken, as I mentioned. I served with her on one committee, and was always impressed with Elise. You know, they’re — some of the critics on the right — and naturally CNN’s going after her now; so you know she’s on the right track.
CALLER: A-ha. A-ha. That’s a good sign.
JASON: But, you know, some of the critics on the hard right said, oh, gosh, she had a moderate voting record. Let me tell you what happened with Trump.
JASON: When Trump says that we ought to have American manufacturer for, say, for — oh, I don’t know. Copper-nickel mining, or precious metals, or for medical equipment, those manufacturers ought to come first. And if that means a tariff, then we ought to do that. After all, we don’t have a zero income tax. Why should we have zero tariffs? So Trump raised the tariffs. Guess what? A lot of these, quote, unquote, think tanks in Washington that tell you they’re conservative will give you a demerit for supporting Trump on that.
So be wary, folks, of the so-called conservative organizations going, oh, well this person is not conservative enough. They said the same thing about Trump. Trump has transformed the GOP. And I think Elise was smart enough — and I think it’s genuine — saw that and then the impeachment, when she’s sitting on intel, saw the total con job that was the Steele dossier and these illegal FISA warrants and wiretaps said, enough is enough. And I think that ability to recognize that and transform, if you will, is very, very good and very, very important.
CALLER: Where is the leadership of the GOP now, though? It seems like we’re just sitting on the sidelines and letting the Democrats have their way. And no one like Donald Trump is stepping up and saying “no.” No one — no one on the Republican leadership is taking a hard line. They seem so soft lately. I — we need that leadership that Donald Trump gave. It seems to be lacking right now in the Republican Party. I don’t know what you’re —
JASON: Well, for many, many years until Trump the Republican Party’s motto was there isn’t a problem that if you don’t just ignore it, it won’t if we. And Trump said, I’m not gonna ignore this stuff, and I’m bringing the party kicking and screaming into fights over the border, over China, over abortion, over — over all these things that heretofore the Republicans didn’t to want fight about. It was just too hot to handle. Part of the problem, too, is the consultancy class in Washington.
And, quite frankly, it sort of seeps into every campaign and that is, “You know, Elise, you know, Jason, you could get a hundred percent of the vote if you just don’t pick a fight with anybody, if you just don’t take a stand, you know, your fundraiser will have you go to two opposing views and try to raise money.” At some point you’ve gotta take a stand and say I’m writing this group off. They’re wrong. I don’t care about them any more. And that real — doesn’t mean you don’t listen to people and listen to all your constituents and represent them and their relations with the federal government, but we’re not elected to represent socialists or the people that don’t like the Constitution. We’re elected to fight those people. And that’s what Trump did.
CALLER: The defeat of Donald Trump, tragic as it was, I’m hoping this is a wake-up call for the GOP. I’m hoping they’re saying, look what happened. We let our guard down and this knucklehead is the president now. I hope this is a wake-up call for all the — all the right thinking Americans and never let something else happen again, to get out and vote and make sure that this doesn’t happen again. This is has the potential of destroying this democracy, destroying this country. It’s scary.
JASON: Gene, thank you so much.
JASON: Let’s move on out to South Bend, Indiana. Rhonda, thanks for waiting. You’re on the Rush Limbaugh program.
CALLER: Yes. I was just listening to your conversation with Ms. Stefanik, and it just reminded me that the radical left are such bullies. I’ve four boys, and they have had their brushes with bullies on the playground, and I know how they operate. They tell lies really loud. They use accusations. They use blaming, shaming, intimidation, and the whole thing is meant to silence their opponent.
JASON: That’s right.
CALLER: They cannot stand hearing the truth — and if you know the truth, then you stand your ground, and they tend to be cowards, and they —
JASON: It’s not even a matter of the truth, Rhonda. It’s not even a matter of the truth. They cannot stand to have a debate. They cannot stand to have someone disagree with them. I’m not saying we’re right on everything, but I’m saying we ought to have the opportunity to debate. And I will tell you where this crap started. It start it started with groups called Indivisible, which ought to be investigated. Indivisible Minnesota.
Indivisible Eagan, which was in my congressional district, made literally veiled threats at every town hall you’d try to hold. So naturally, you didn’t hold town halls. They would follow you out of the airport. They would trespass on your property. They would have invade your congressional office out of protocol. They’re rude, loud, juvenile brats, and they intimidated people. Now they’ve intimidated corporate America. Now they’ve got Big Tech and the media on their side, and what you’ve got is this cacophony of juvenile delinquency that’s running the country.
CALLER: Yes. Exactly. And if you stand your ground and look ’em in the face and refuse to be intimidated, they don’t know what to do, because that’s their main MO.
JASON: Well, let me tell you where this has reached it’s zenith, and that is with virtue signaling over masks.
JASON: The same people that were innovating Republican town hall meetings are the same idiots lecturing people that you’ve gotta wear four masks outside alone, and if we don’t start pushing back there… They’re telling you to cover your face! What are we? I mean, what ayatollah does this? There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever, with vaccinations approaching 60/70%, with herd immunity literally at our doorstep, that lockdowns, mandatory mask wearing, any of this Orwellian crap ought to be going forward. And it’s high time we have the guts, the guts to start pushing back on these people.