NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — In the heart of Cajun Country, Gov. Bobby Jindal is about to launch his bid for the White House.
Early Wednesday evening, around 5 p.m., the Louisiana Governor, nationally-known conservative and former Congressman, is expected to announce he’s running for president. Jindal will be making his announcement at Pontchartrain Center, and has been quietly preparing for this moment for months while the rest of the 2016 GOP field has been blustering publicly for some time either as declared candidates or about-to-declared candidates.
“A lot of folks have been thinking about fundraising and polling and consultants. I’ve been doing something completely different. I’ve spent my last year and a half creating a think tank called America Next,” Jindal said in a recent interview with Breitbart News for the Easter Sunday special of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot.
Our intent is to think about what the next president should do, not just how you get there. We need big changes in D.C. Of course, I did that speech at the Reagan Library about religious liberty but I also did longer papers through America Next on energy independence, on school choice, on how do you repeal and replace Obamacare. I’m the only potential candidate who’s put out a deep plan about how you actually get that done. I also actually put out a plan on foreign policy.
I would encourage everyone thinking about running for president to actually say what they would do, and think about what the next president needs to do. This president has done so much damage, bankrupting our country at home and abroad, that we need a radical change in direction. We need somebody outside of D.C. to make that change. We’ve got a legislative session that starts the second week of April, and ends the second week of June. I’ll make any decision after that. But in the meantime, I’ve been working hard to show the American people what the next president should actually do.
Well, that time is now.
Louisiana just wrapped its legislative session—one in which Jindal signed his eighth budget in a row with no tax increases, something he’s been nearly universally praised for—and Jindal is getting ready to rumble on the 2016 trail. He’s a cut throat, top notch conservative who’s often times found himself ahead of the entire party leading on various issues.
He was the first 2016 GOP presidential candidate to hammer Obamatrade—the massive monstrosity of which its Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) part just passed cloture in the U.S. Senate—and has been leading on religious liberty, healthcare, national security, education, immigration and more for years. A reliable conservative, Jindal has lots of fans throughout the national conservative movement and given the right opportunity—say, while the entire national GOP is distracted by the Democrats into talking about a dumb Confederate battle flag in South Carolina after just shepherding through one of the most unpopular and secretive pieces of America-changing legislation in the Obamatrade fiasco—Jindal could break out hard, fast and quick on the national stage.
It doesn’t hurt that Jindal is one of the final candidates getting into the very crowded field, because it’ll allow him the opportunity to appear fresh as several voters in early states have already heard a lot from many of the other guys already in.
If Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie don’t run in 2016—neither are certainly going to give it a go, but Kasich is much more likely to than Christie—then Jindal’s announcement here on Wednesday, would make him the second-to-last Republican on the dance floor. Only Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is left, as over the past few weeks Jeb Bush, businessman Donald Trump, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry have announced their candidacies.
They joined an already crowded field featuring Dr. Ben Carson, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Two other candidates, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and former New York Gov. George Pataki, are also in the race but both aren’t expected to go far.
Two top staffers for Jindal, Shannon Dirmann—his deputy communications director—and Kyle Plotkin—his chief of staff—left his official gubernatorial staff late last week to form an exploratory committee.
“If the Governor decides to run we want to have a top notch team ready to launch his campaign,” Timmy Teepell, a Jindal spokesman, told Breitbart News.
Jindal is likely to make stopping the establishment in both the Republican and Democratic parties a key focus of his campaign, and has had no qualms about calling out Republicans when they’re wrong. A son of Indian immigrants, Jindal—who was born in Baton Rouge—has consistently and frequently pushed for immigration policies that put Americans first and not illegal aliens or special interests.
Last fall, while in Baton Rouge for event to help rally the entire GOP around now Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) as he hit the home stretch of his race to defeat then Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jindal called President Barack Obama’s then-only-planned executive amnesty “absurd.”
“You’ve got a President who refuses to follow the law, refuses to follow the Constitution. He himself said his policies were on the ballot. The American people said loudly and clearly on election night that they were rejecting his policies,” Jindal said, adding:
He needs to secure the border, and he needs to work with Congress and get that done. He doesn’t need to talk about it; he just needs to go do it. This President needs to understand—he says he’s a constitutional scholar, yet he never follows the Tenth Amendment, and he doesn’t follow the separation of powers. He needs to obey the law and stop going around the Constitution and stop going around the laws.
Jindal has been unafraid to call out the problem of Muslim immigration—something most of the rest of the 2016 field just isn’t talking about—too. He has said the U.S. shouldn’t “blindly” follow Europe’s mistakes on immigration.
“Look, America’s built on religious liberty. We don’t discriminate against anybody of any religion and certainly there are many Muslims who are proud, patriotic Americans, and that’s great. But, Megyn, it’s also true that there are radical Muslims, there are Muslims that want to treat women as second class citizens, there are those who want to use our freedoms to undermine the freedoms of others. It makes no sense to let those types of folks come into our country,” Jindal said in an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly recently.
“In America we say you have the right to believe what you want as long as you’re not harming others,” Jindal added in that interview.
So, as long as you’re not trying to limit the freedoms of other people, we believe in the right of freedom of self-expression, religious liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of association. You don’t have the right to come here and say for example that you think women should be treated as second-class citizens…we’re talking about who do we let into our society, into our country. And if you want to see what — where this is happening, look to Europe.
We shouldn’t be blindly following Europe where you’ve got second and third generation immigrants that don’t assimilate, don’t integrate, don’t consider themselves parts of those [societies]. In America, we want people who want to be Americans. We want people who want to come here. We don’t say you have to adopt our creed or any particular creed, but we do say if you come here you need to believe in American Exceptionalism, I believe you need to learn English, and I believe you’ve got to respect the freedoms of other people.
He’s also been a staunch defender of religious liberty for Americans when so many others in the GOP just let the political class take Americans’ freedom away. In that Easter Sunday interview with Breitbart News—which came right after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence caved on his state’s religious liberty law—Jindal laid out how there is “an assault on religious liberty in our country.”
“It’s ironic that it happens to be occurring during Easter week of all weeks, one of the most holy times of the year for Christians including myself,” Jindal said.
Let’s step back and realize what’s really at stake here. You may remember I gave a speech at the Reagan library last year defining the assault on religious liberty, and making very, very clear that America did not create religious liberty. Religious liberty created America. What’s really at stake here if you cut through all the liberal media and all the distractions and what the left is trying to say, we need to really understand that the government should never step in to tell Christians they have to choose between making a living and their Christian values.
That’s really what’s at stake here in Indiana, Arkansas and across the country. But the Founding Fathers knew firsthand about government choking religious liberty. This is not a new conflict. They knew what they were doing. This is not just some things that have changed recently. It’s why a fundamental part of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution codifies that the government is protecting—not creating—our God-given rights including religious liberty rights. Without those religious liberty rights, there’s no freedom of speech and no freedom of association as well.
It’s unclear how things will go for Jindal, but he could be the sleeper candidate who’s waited until just the right time to get off to the races. Watch this guy. He might just do something incredible.