Battle for the Speakership: Yoho Says ‘American People’ Have ‘Handed Us the Baton’

Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In a special edition of The Palin Update with Kevin Scholla on Mama Grizzly Radio, Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) spoke on why he chose to challenge Speaker of the House John Boehner and about discontent with the job Boehner has been doing.

Yoho went on to give his perspective as a veterinarian on recent accusations from PETA over Sarah Palin’s son Trig interacting with the family’s service dog.

Yoho told Scholla, “We decided to enter the speakership race for the vote coming up on Tuesday midday, in the afternoon, because there was a lot of discontent for the present Speaker, Mr. Boehner, and a lot of members had been voicing, ‘we need a new Speaker, we need a new Speaker’ and there’s been this movement: ‘yes we do.’ People had said they were going to stand up, but nobody did, and I said, you know what, we need to give people an option and if nobody’s willing to stand up, I’ll stand up. And then of course Louie Gohmert stood up right after that, which is great and I applaud him for doing that.”

Scholla responded, “You issued a statement, you said, ‘this is not a personal attack against Mr. Boehner, however the people desire and deserve a choice. In November, they resoundingly rejected the status quo.’ That is certainly the case. The Republican Party tsunami victory there in November and then days after Boehner playing ball with President Obama with the 1.1 trillion dollar budget situation—I think that left an awful taste in people’s mouths immediately after a successful election.”

Yoho replied, “It did. I’ve got to come clean on that, I voted for that and there’s reasons I voted, but it wasn’t pressure from leadership.” He went on, “The American people… they’ve handed us the baton, and that baton is a moment in time of trust, and it’s not because we’ve done a great job—I’d like to think that it was because of our policies and everything we did. They know where we stand in principle. We have to show that we can lead and that’s something we’ve got to earn. I think the best way to start is with new leadership in the House of Representatives and with a new direction and vision for America. This is the time to rebuild this country, and it needs to start now.” Yoho told Scholla.

“What makes Ted Yoho the guy for the job?” Scholla asked.

Yoho replied, “When I decided to run, I still can remember very vividly, President-elect Obama, five days before the inauguration said, ‘We’re five days from fundamentally transforming America.’ What little hair I have on my head stood up, and I said America’s fine, we’ve got our faults, but it’s the greatest country that’s ever been developed in the world. What fundamentally needs to transform is not America but Washington D.C., and Washington lacks leadership, and I ran on that. It was because the career politicians either led us to where we’re at or they failed to prevent it.”

Yoho said there has been a tremendous response to the news that someone was challenging Boehner for Speaker. He then detailed the voting process: “We’ll have to stand up and vote. We’ll be there in front of God, Mr. Boehner, and CSPAN, and the whole American audience, and they’ll watch this vote and Representatives will either say, ‘I’m voting for the status quo, and we’ll reelect Mr Boehner,’ or ‘I’m voting against the status quo and changing leadership of the Republican Party and changing the direction of this country.’ We’ll go through a voice vote, will be the first vote. We need to have 29-30 people to vote against Mr. Boehner, and then it will go into conference, and then things will get hashed out, and then we’ll come out of that with somebody that we can vote for, and that will be the new Speaker of the House.

Scholla asked, “Are people feeling that you have the 29 votes at least here?”

Yoho: “I think we’re going to have more than that. What we see right now, we’ve got eight people, and there will a a ninth one tomorrow that have committed publicly to not supporting Mr. Boehner. This is huge. These are people that have publicly said they will not support him, and that’s going to empower other members to say, ‘we’re going to look at this seriously and we are going to change.’”

“The person that we were hoping would stand up didn’t—he hasn’t yet—and so we wanted to be the catalyst to say hey don’t give up hope, we can do this,” Yoho said.

Yoho confirmed to Scholla that he would rather have Gohmert as a Speaker than Boehner. Yoho reminded the audience that Boehner said in January of 2013 and in 2011 that “it’s immoral to pass this debt onto the backs of our kids and our grandchildren. Yet the debt’s gone up from 13 trillion dollars, now we’re at 18, and we’ll be looking at 20 to 24 trillion before this President gets out of office. We haven’t begun to address those issues. Those things need to be addressed. We need to start. We don’t have a game plan for that.”

Scholla asked how a Ted Yoho speakership will be different.

Yoho told Scholla, “We need to start with a vision of where we’re going. Right now we’re playing a football game and we’re playing from down to down to down, and we’re worried about the next play. We have to look up and see where the goal posts are so we know what we’re fighting for and what we’re heading towards, and it’s not to beat the Democrats. Our problems in this country are too big for just the Republicans to fix or the Democrats to fix. We’ve got to come together over common vision and be Americans to get this country back on track.”

Yoho continued, “We need to deal with tax reform, we need to deal with immigration, we need to deal with Obamacare, we need to deal with jobs, and the economy, our debt, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and we need to redirect foreign policy. Then have initiatives where the members buy in to that and say ‘who wants to work on immigration?’ and get 15, 20, 30 people to say ‘I want to work on this.’ Do that with each one of those categories and say, ‘alright, come back in a week and I want to hear what your plans are cause you’re going to own this, we’re going to own this as a conference, we’re going to own this as a Republican Party, and we’re going to get the Democrats on it. We’re going to get this passed through not because it’s my bill, it’s because it’s your bill’—and bring up bills because from member initiative instead of playing politics and saying, ‘no, we’re not going to bring that bill up.’”

Scholla then asked, “Is it an exaggeration to say that what happens on Tuesday will not only play a big role in the future of the Republican Party, will not only play a big role in perhaps the future of the White House and who will take it in 2016, but will this actually just lay the path down for where our country is going to go the next few years?” Yoho answered:

You can look at the Caddell Poll that came out today, and in my district, it’s reverberated every day, every meeting pretty much: we need to get rid of Mr. Boehner… We’re setting the stage for the direction of this country, for rebuilding America. We’re a nation in decline. We’ve fallen behind China in Gross Domestic Product, and they have 30 million people still living in caves. It’s not acceptable… Let’s put America first and make it stronger, more economically. We need to be competitive in the world, and by new leadership in the House… we can set the tone, and the American people have given us the baton to lead. We have a short window of opportunity to show them that we can do that. And if we do that, the American people will rally behind the Republican Party instead of looking to leave it. There’s 25-33% looking to leave the Republican Party, but if we can show them that we’ve earned their trust by getting a new Speaker, you’ll see the American people rally behind this party. With the support of the American people and doing what’s best for America—not for a political party or a group—but do what’s best for our country, for the future generations, the American people will stand up behind us and there’s nothing we can’t do with that kind of support.”

Scholla remarked he wasn’t surprised that Yoho stepped up, a guy who has been Palin-backed in the past.

Yoho responded saying he admires Palin and was “so excited when she got in” crediting that as part of the kickoff of the Tea Party movement. “It’s an ideology that was set afire by people willing to speak out against the status quo. Our problems are not going to be solved by Republicans or Democrats, they’re too big. They’ve got to be solved by Americans and putting America first.”

Scholla applauded Yoho for stepping up and asked Yoho one final question. Yoho is a veterinarian so Scholla said, “This past week Sarah Palin just got slammed for taking a picture of her son Trig—who’s six-years-old with Down syndrome—on their dog… who is a trained service therapy dog they got from the great Puppy Jake Therapy Foundation in Iowa, and I just want to ask, because we’ve talked to a lot of people who, like myself, think I’m a dog expert because I have a dog, but you who actually are a dog expert, you’re a veterinarian—is this animal abuse? Is this the worst thing in the world that a six-year-old child stood on his therapy dog in a moment of thinking out of the box, trying to do the dishes?”

Yoho, laughing, responded, “Kevin trust me, if a dog doesn’t like it, he’ll let you know. When you touch a dog in a wrong place, and they don’t like it, they will let you know. I’ve seen veterinarians who lose fingers, and if that dog is okay with her son on it, I’m okay with it, and PETA should be okay with it, and anybody else, and back off. The dog is better judge of what’s going on than any outside group, and they need to back off of that, and respect the rights of that family, and the rights of that dog.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.


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