WAUKESHA, Wisconsin — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pitched himself as a conservative who can win in his 2016 launch speech here on Monday evening.
“I love America,” he began his speech by saying, before laying out how he and his brother worked alongside veterans as Boy Scouts together.
“As kids, my brother David and I enjoyed going over to the home of a neighbor by the name of Claire Congdon. In our small town, Mr. Congdon was something of a legend. He served our country in both World War I and World War II,” Walker said. “Then, like so many other veterans, he returned home and continued to serve his community. Mr. Congdon helped out with the concession stand at Legion baseball, he was active in our church and he was one of the leaders of my Boy Scout troop. Each year before Memorial Day, he would organize all of us Scouts as we put flags on the graves of the fallen. He loved America. It was impossible to be around him and not share his love for God and Country. Thirty years ago, Mr. Congdon’s American Legion Post in our small town of Delavan, Wisconsin, helped me attend Badger Boys State. This is where I learned about state and local government. It was then my honor to be chosen to represent Wisconsin at a program called Boys Nation.”
There, he noted in his speech, he met another veteran who taught him about how bad Washington, D.C., and the federal government is.
“There I met a Vietnam veteran from Georgia by the name of Bob Turner,” Walker said. “Bob and the other veterans who helped run the program did more than teach us about the federal government and national elections, they shared their love for our country, and instilled within me the importance of public service as we seek to protect our freedom. These veterans remind me that America is a can-do kind of country. We just have a government in Washington that can’t seem to get the job done. Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality. The good news is that there is still time left to turn things around.”
To turn the country around, Walker said, America needs fresh leadership. He touted various successes he achieved as governor.
“To do this, we need new, fresh leadership; leadership with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington; the kind of leadership that can actually get things done – like we have here in Wisconsin,” Walker said. “Since I’ve been Governor, we took on the unions and won. We reduced taxes by $2 billion and lowered taxes on individuals, employers and property. In fact, property taxes are lower today than they were in 2010. How many Governors can say that? Since I’ve been Governor, we passed lawsuit reform and regulatory reform. We defunded Planned Parenthood and enacted pro-life legislation. We passed Castle Doctrine and concealed carry. And we now require a photo ID to vote in the State of Wisconsin.”
Walker said that the reforms he’s implemented in Wisconsin can work anywhere in the country.
“If our reforms can work in a blue state like Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in America,” Walker said. “Traveling the country, I’ve heard people say that they are tired of politicians who only tell them what they’re against and why they should vote against someone. Americans want to vote for something and for someone. So let me tell you what I’m for: I’m for Reform. Growth. Safety. I’m for transferring power from Washington to the hard-working taxpayers in states all across the country. That’s real reform. I’m for building a better economy where everyone can live their piece of the American Dream. That’s pro-growth. I’m for protecting our children and grandchildren from radical Islamic terrorism and other threats in the world. That’s true safety.
My record shows that I know how to fight and win. Now, more than ever, we need a President who will fight and win for America.”
Walker walked through several specific reforms he wants to push on the federal level, including repealing Obamacare, regulatory reform, tax reform, energy policies, education reforms, economic reforms and more. He also talked about how he wants to fight radical Islam on the world stage, and approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“First, we must repeal ObamaCare,” Walker said. “That’s right, repeal the so-called Affordable Care Act entirely and put patients and families back in charge of their health care decisions – not the federal government. As Governor, I approved Wisconsin joining the lawsuit against ObamaCare on my first day in office. We need a President who – on the first day in office – will call on Congress to pass a full repeal of ObamaCare. Next, we need to rein in the federal government’s out-of-control regulations that are like a wet blanket on the economy. Yes, enforce common sense rules – but don’t add more bureaucratic red tape. In Wisconsin, I called for an overhaul of Wisconsin’s regulatory process on my first day as Governor. We can do the same in Washington, then we can act to repeal Obama’s bad regulations.”
About energy, Walker called for an “all-of-the-above” policy “that uses the abundance of what God has given us here in America and on this continent.”
“We are now an energy-rich country and we can literally fuel our economic recovery,” Walker said. “We need a President who will approve the Keystone pipeline on the very first day in office and then seek to level the playing field for all sources of energy.”
On education, Walker lambasted Common Core and called for parents and teachers at the local level to set education policies with high standards.
“Next, we need to help people get the education and the skills they need to succeed. This will help people find careers that pay far more than the minimum wage,” Walker said. “In Wisconsin, we reformed our public schools and gave families as many quality choices as possible because I trust parents to make the right decision for their children. I believe that every child deserves access to a great education – be it in a traditional public, charter, choice, private, virtual or home school environment. We want high standards, but we want them set at the local level. No Common Core. No nation-wide school board.I will pu sh to take the power and money out of Washington and send it to our states and our schools, where it is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the people of America. Think about it: where would you rather spend your dollar – in Washington or at your child’s school?”
However, Walker did not at all in his speech say anything about securing the U.S. border with Mexico or stopping illegal immigration—despite having made it a focus of his campaign.
The bizarre omission, which campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski told Breitbart News shouldn’t be read into too much, means the governor and his campaign team actively decided to focus on other policy matters like tax and regulation reform, even though the country is burning up over illegal immigration.
“We have and will continue to address immigration because the governor has said repeatedly that it’s a very important issue for the safety of our nation,” Kukowski said in an email. She and at least six other Walker campaign staffers who have corresponded with Breitbart News before, during and after the speech refused to answer detailed questions about how the speech was crafted, and why immigration was left off of the table in it. They also won’t say who wrote the speech.
But since Walker has been strong on immigration throughout this cycle, even though he omitted it from his speech for some odd reason, was asked about Donald Trump’s stance during a radio interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity before his speech, it was no surprise Walker somewhat defended Trump.
“In terms of Donald Trump, like any of the other Republicans, he can speak for himself,” Walker said when asked about Trump’s accurate immigration comments. “So, I’m not going to put words in his mouth or say what he’s going to say… I’m going to tell people what I stand for and what I believe.”
“When it comes to immigration, this is an issue I’ve spent a lot of time on,” Walker continued in the Hannity radio interview—before echoing what he told Breitbart News earlier in the year. “As you know, we’ve talked about this before, I’ve gone to the border, I’ve been there with the governor of Texas, I’ve been with other local officials in other states, talked about this. I’ve been there on the ground, in the air, talking, seeing the videos. … I think Americans think securing the border is just about immigration, it is far bigger and greater. It’s about safety. It’s about security. It’s about sovereignty of our nation. If we had this kind of international criminal organizations penetrating our water ports in the east and west coast, we’d be sending the Navy or at least the Coast Guard. And yet we’re being overrun with cartels that are pushing drugs, firearms, and people. We’re not talking people just coming over to work. We’re talking about people that — human trafficking out there. So, first and foremost, we’ve got in place the resources needed to secure the border when it comes to, not just the physical border itself, but the technology and the personnel.”
He added that “as we go forward with legal immigration, we should put a priority on saying, ‘We’re going to look out for American working families, their wages, in a way that actually improves the American economy.’”
On ABC World News with David Muir on Monday night, Walker also somewhat defended Trump and then laid out his own tough position on immigration as well.
“I think Donald Trump can speak for himself,” Walker said. “I’m going to lay out for what I’m for.”
When asked in a follow-up what he’d say to Trump on the debate stage, Walker replied: “I respectfully disagree. I have a policy when it comes to immigration. Mine is simple. Secure the border, enforce the law. I don’t believe in amnesty.”
On Hannity’s television show later at night on Monday, Walker also hammered illegal immigration and laid out his plan to secure the border.