tv Rep. Matt Gaetz R-FL Firebrand - Dispatches from the Front Lines of the... CSPAN January 11, 2021 10:52pm-11:27pm EST
thank you so much it was a joy writing it, and is particularly a joy to participate in the vibrance movement i think in our politics today. whether one is on the political rights for the political left but we sees a lot of energy and passion and enthusiasm and then was glad to reflect my perspective. >> no congressman i don't know i think i read in the book you
like baseball. i was a kid is into baseball a lot and there is a book that came out was my picture for the yankees in the theme was jim belted in the book was called ball four. i don't know if you were familiar with it if you don't mind i want to read you an excerpt if you don't mind it when i saw this are many so much of him in the book that you have written. and it was a frank insiders look at professional sports teams including page jealousies, ask obscene jokes, drunken tom canning of the players, routine drug use including by vow to himself. upon this publication they called it detrimental to baseball and tried to force him to sign a statement saying everything was fictional but he refused. when i read your book i
thought this is so refreshing, here's a member of congress who puts himself out there and writes the truth. and what he's actually saying and like the usual stuff that were seen and i am encouraging you i don't think we see this kind of stuff very often. especially with younger members like yourself. >> will thank you for that i lay bare the experiences that i had a congress, and frankly washington remains a deeply correct place. where people have to pay for committee assignments, leadership opportunities, and to create a sense of upward mobility within the institution. and while i have great reference for this is that profession. my father was a public servant, my grandfather was a public servant, and i do find it noble to serve the neighbors of your community. and i feel the noblest profession is bearing a strict resemblance to the oldest profession, the way more and
more politicians are exchanging money for favors, and that's why i'm the only republican and that congress right now that the sworn off donations from all federal political committees. i don't know how a member of congress can take money from pacs and then tell their constituents that there aren't strings attached. of course there are, and far too many in congress and their calendar off to the lobbyists and they hand their voting cards to the leadership. and they're just sort of along for the ride. and i believe that president trump is so different in his approach to washington that he actually creates some oxygen, and create some space for nontraditional members for myself to treat choose a different way to serve. for me that means a lot of commentary in the media, it means a lot of work in the digital space, but maybe not so much in the normal gladhanding and elbow rubbing that you see from a different generation washington. >> yeah sure, have you ever
had any comparisons made to your congressman, kinda like new green gingrich back in the day. >> i like leonardo dicaprio more than newt gingrich is fars comparisons. i think that news did bring us to turn figure to the place, certain effort to reform. some of the practices that really lean into the pay to play for the rules in washington. when you write and tell all about congress, you're usually not still in congress that's what's a little different about my book is that i'm still there. and that these people are still my colleagues. but i think to address the generational challenges that we face. whether you're on the right or the left i do think that issues like immigration, how we deal with digital platforms, the environment, climate change, these are generational challenges that will require a bit of political realignment to solve them.
i don't think that retreating to her quarters republicans versus democrats is all about productive and that's why writing the book about some of my friendships people like andrea cust as an others. i think it's time that you need to listen one another and acknowledge you can disagree many things but there's some things that you can agree on and that we should put those on the front of the list. >> you know i think in them and under ask you about katie hill and you cover that in your book really well. are you a natural born politician? i know your dad was a terrific politician. i know you are you a natural born politician who has figured out how to achieve celebrity status in this social media age? or maybe it's the converse, you know, your natural born like ronald reagan. very great actor who was figured out how to make it work in politics. >> so i started in the state
legislature. they write about being idealistic 26 year-old two thought i could contribute to a new generation of republican leadership in the state of florida. i got to serve a number of capacities there so i think my first passion this policy purely ensuring that we actually put the policies in place that can lift up all americans. and they do believe that you have to animate those policies with this certain gnash. the service of showmanship. they convince members of congress to in the middle of the night go to the floor and give these roaring ovations to empty rooms. normal people think that that would be a sign of mental illness but that is actually how we tell people to move up in congress. rather than speaking to an empty room, i think you have to be able to go out to be on television, on the radio, on the internet, share your passions with people and invite people to a movement. and that's why i try to fire my brand and be of service.
>> do you think there is a mass gaetz formula for how much a minute of media equates to in terms of value of advertising. is it seems that you have figured that out. >> know there's a number of those out there. to try to break it down for me is the objective. i want to contribute to the discussion to the debate. it come the district and they're right about mike he connection to the military. and there's a certain fighting spirit that comes that acknowlee
times when you do put your self out there you can sometimes come away from some of those battles but i think america is all the better for it if we engage in that today. >> would you go so far as to say in congress today seniority's it's not the currency in power. in some part sameness is what drives power. would you agree? >> i think that creates
opportunity. when you say the people that get to run the place are those that have been around the longest, then it creates a hazard because a lot of the ambitious people that want to do something else leave so those that have been around are the ones for whom congress is the best they will ever do and the most excitement they will have and it slows the innovation and creativity that i think our country needs to meet these challenges. i write that only a fool would expect institutions have these areas that go and solve the major challenges that will impact the new generation of americans and i am encouraged by people wanting to serve on the right or the left and i think that we have the most socially interconnected generation and all of human history of millennial's coming into more political power and we should view that as a great opportunity
to work together because if we have and an environment that will affect us all equally if we have a country engaged in the war that is across any political spectrum and i think that a sense of common destiny creates unity even in a dynamic like you described that can lead to that type of online attention and thing. >> how has your book gone over with colleagues in congress it seems the frankness that you've had the courage to show might start trouble but i get the sense that that isn't the case anymore. >> i didn't start with many friends, so there are not many that i've lost. when you write a book about
congress, chapter one is you can get the attention of a few of your colleagues but it's not that either should be discriminated. i don't mind. i write about the senator that made a really bad mistake when choosing his own personal benefit and stock portfolio and truth with the american people. like katie hill and alexandria cortez. if i think that they are engaged in what we ought to do for america and i think that we need more of that in politics. more of an ability.
we can have different ideas but at the end of the day we've got to get the country in the end zone. >> the plan of the political spectrum is it fair to say that you both have read the same playbook and have similar operating styles and she is just as effective as you are on the right? >> not only do i recognize the star power but i write about how the president does as well. remember donald trump judged his own competitions and he knows a star when he sees one which is why he engages with her at times. i know she is a socialist but i also know she isn't a sellout. there are far too many who believe in nothing they are just vessels which the
special-interest operates and if someone is sincere in their beliefs even, i can usually find a way to work with someone on a policy issue that will help people. we worked together on veteran legislation and researched how they deal with ptsd. similarly there are people in my own the party i have a hard time supporting because they are more interested. you say i hope i'm meeting them at their best but i also represent them at their worst and i beg for forgiveness when i am at mine. it reminded me of a conclusion i
came to and that was if it is a perfect reflection of the american society then you have brilliant leaders and humanitarians. do you agree with that? >> i think that when we all recognize we become more acceptant of one another. to have the perfect family, perfect background, no scars on their record and now we have donald trump as president, someone who i think would acknowledge throughout his life there are times he's probably falling short of his own standard and i think when we get rid of that pretense it allows us to be more real and representative and connected.
there are people in florida who at times to do interesting and strange stuff. a similar line in the book i acknowledged george herbert walker bush. at times it is beyond who can do exceptional things and i think that we can celebrate that and be a little more gracious to one another about our personal shortfalls recognizing that we all have something to contribute to. >> you focused to some extent on the book and i was interested in that because she represented where the ronald reagan library ilibraryis and she seemed to mea
talented and tough operator. did she have to hit the road because of the democrats leadership and speaker pelosi or do you think she came to that conclusion? >> her husband released private photos that were deeply embarrassing and she did resign from congress. i encouraged her not to. i said acknowledge the photos but you are there to put the people first and she said to each and every day she was riddled with anxiety over what next photo or admission might come out and what surprised me so much is of all of the women in the congress there wasn't one who stepped up to defend her.
the sisterhood of the traveling pantsuit wasn't there for one of their own even though they were quite willing to demonize the president for his misdeeds. i thought it was a human thing to do to be there for my coworker who was being attacked and the surprise of this endeavor wasn't her actions as much as it was the unwillingness of her colleagues to have her back. >> do you see the attitude changing as time goes by and there's less of what you just described? >> the younger members of congress are more connected than the other members of congress are and i think that at times the environment allows these
long-standing grudges to paralyze progress in the country. somebody said something to somebody 12 years ago and now they won't work together on legislation or budgeting or appropriations. i think there's a willingnes ths to say we grew up sharing every halloween costume we were in, then there is this kind of ability to come back and reformulate. i do think we can tackle some of those challenges and i also think that the challenges are different for my generation. i don't think they had to tackle the omnipresence and how that impacts people's lives and the debate about climate change in my mind should show whether or not it is occurring because my generation is dealing with the
reality of the changing climate and how that impacts people so i think that we can get past and move forward in progress that is utilitarian. >> you have a chapter that is called two parties, one scam. from the republican perspective are there any in the house or the senate that gives a damn about the federal deficit because it just seems like the republicans have lost their way on spending. i'm startled having served in the administration like that and there's no distinguishing between the two parties. so am i wrong? >> our friend has a saying when the democrats are in power, the republicans are the conservative
party and when the republicans are in power, there is no conservative party because often times the things we can paint on become inconvenient when people are trying to govern and i think that is because of the influence the special interests have. there isn't a strong interest present to reduce the spending because then it is i would say there isn't a big special-interest effort against because they create a slush fund opportunities with little accountability and there isn't a big special-interest push to limit illegal immigration because democrats seem to benefit in terms of political power for them and a lot of big businesses who support republicans view it as an opportunity for them to keep wages down the four americans. so on a number of these issues,
it's not really republicans against democrats, it is the establishment both republicans and democrats are willing to adhere to so that the worst elements of washington, the elements that would impoverish our towns with bad trade deals and would spill the blood of our patriots without an understanding of what victory looks like and and establishment that would fundamentally change america with immigration and that is a lot to fight against as a part of the populist right in washington. >> you just mentioned the endless wars. of all the chapters of the book that one really pulled at the heartstrings. there's nothing more important than that and i know there are rules on when you should go to war versus when you shouldn't. >> i think that we have been
trading the same villages back and forth in afghanistan for 19 years and had a great cost to the country and to our people and again like i would say to the great patriots, there absolutely are times when we have to go. it's one of the reasons i am so grateful president reagan tried the notion of a strong capable military ready. i worry about the permanent police state. president trump knows how to deal with a bully. you punch him in the nose and he's done that by taking out the leader of al qaeda on the arabian peninsula. what you do not do is try to move into their home for 20 years with the hopes of realigning their view and i think that's what the obama bush
failed doctrines of the middle east have led to. >> we have a few more minutes. i want to turn to the elections on everybody's mind and yours as well. i talked about in some respects, congressman, do you see this upcoming election it's going to be a test of president trump's social media capability and strength and his ability to just reach out and touch individual americans versus the mainstream media which is just unified against him. >> i do but i also see it as a part of the political realignment. initially it was ignited by president reagan. when he ran, he believed that the party could get bigger by attracting disaffected democrats, independents and that there would be a new coalition in america that would be deeply patriotic and one that would assuredly win against the soviet
threat. in america now president trump is leading that alignment where we will not invade everywhere, invite everyone across the border with bad trade deal and i think in a way this represents how the political geographic map is changing and how some of the core principles of the party are different now than the neo- libertarian days of the republican party that followed after. >> i bet you believe that he's going to win this upcoming election. he would be off on his way to do something else. i can't imagine serving in any world where president trump
wasn't there to create this new path to try to bring ideas forward so i do view my service but the america first movement has to live beyond the presidency of donald trump, whether that is now or as i believe will be the case after he is reelected. in doing so i think it has to be about more than just the man for his charisma. it has to be about these ideas and how it would take the america first ideology and apply that to the environment to confront china to have the right sized foreign policy and make sure that we rescue the economy with rising wages for generations to come. the movement will be a failure if it passes with donald trump's passing presidency. i do think that there are people who are in politics and may be some who will enter politics and see this as some like that is
alarming and i count myself among that group. >> this recent revelation to respect to hunter biden's laptop and all that. do you get the sense that what's going to happen is the mainstream media -- it doesn't matter. we could have films, footage, evidence, they will ignore the story no matter what. what do you think? >> it is a problem when the media companies and the digital platforms don't want to present facts and allow the country to analyze and come to their own conclusions. they want to be the judge, jury and executioner on arbitrating the truth and that is problematic for us. i do believe the media should focus more on these international issues but i think voting is a bit of a selfish act. when most people go to the booth, they look at the candidates and say who is going to fight for me. what will make my life better and i think that in the closing
days of the election if they focus on the way that americans saw the rising wages and capital investment in the businesses they worked and more plans for expansion and growth and opportunity, he would win over the undecideds that disproportionately wrote for him in the 2016 election. i think folks saw hillary clinton as the defender of a corrupt status quo and donald trump whether they liked it or they didn't they saw something different. joe biden is someone who's been in washington for 47 years and still somebody working to change the way that it works. i hope if president trump is reelected we will not spend three years trying to delegitimize but we will work on issues where i do think we have a common cause with people across the political spectrum on
confronting and realigning trade, doing infrastructure for the people. those things could unite a divided government and if we get rid of the cancel culture just maybe we could animate these policies for the benefit of the country. >> speaking of china you covered in the book if trump were not reelected will china crush us because we are going to go back to the ways before donald trump? >> both parties have sold the american people in this notion of the dream but it's a nightmare as we have drawn china closer to us they haven't become more like us. they have prayed almost by stealing our intellectual property and i think by lying to the world about their intentions in the south china sea and the
way they try to nominate the region in a really repressive way so i think we have to see china with clear eyes and if we stop trying to build democracies out of blood and sand we would see china is building skyscrapers and carriers and again a very reagan approach is needed to see china as the type of a threat that can try to replace america in a world that they control. reagan saw how damaging that would be, the soviet union prevailed with that competing worldview and i think the way to compete is to stand up and see him not as the friendly workplace, you know, challenger they are but as an entity that would make the world a less safe and less hospitable place.
>> do you see your self as a firebrand at age 58 and at age 38? >> i'm hoping to make it to 58. i'm 38 now and it's an exciting time when a president that challenges his assumptions we have donald trump in the white house and we have a media landscape that does have a bias towards the interest. i think towards the political left but also to those that are able to talk about policies in the moments and investigations in a way that bring people in and tell the story effectively. in my four years in congress that's what i tried to do till the american people what's happening. i was the first in congress to call for the termination of robert mueller and now we sort of see how that turned out. i was one of the first to defend the president in the ukraine impeachment. i think i got a pretty good
record. a president that has been innocent and helpful to the american people in terms of the policy. >> this is such a honest, straightforward tail. with great beauty of the library thank you for what you do to preserve what i think was the last great transformational presidency that inspired so many americans we can see how it is