Exclusive: Bobby Jindal’s 2016 Campaign Decision to Come After Louisiana Legislative Session Ends in June

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Appearing on Breitbart News Sunday this weekend for the show’s Easter special, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that he will make a decision officially whether or not he will run for president after the upcoming Louisiana legislative session—which starts later this month and ends around the second week of June—is over.

What he’s been focused on while he mulls a run, Jindal said, is developing a deeply-thought policy framework rather than just trying to build a political machine.

“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.

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.

That means, assuming he does decide to run for president, Jindal will be getting a lot later than many of the other potential candidates. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) jumped in a few weeks ago, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is expected to announce his campaign this week. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is likely to go next in the following week, and several of the other potential candidates are expected to announce their campaigns over the coming weeks and months.

That doesn’t bother Jindal—since he’s more focused on building a core of well thought-out policy positions through America Next, his think tank. Jindal appeared on Breitbart News Sunday to discuss his views on religious liberty in the wake of bruising battles in Indiana and Arkansas on the matter—noting that it would be an “absolutely critical issue” for 2016 presidential candidates.

“When it comes to religious liberty, I think this is an absolutely critical issue not only for the election in 2016 but in terms of where does our country go from here?” Jindal said. “Look, this is an essential liberty right. Let’s understand what the debate is really about. I know the left likes to confuse us with a lot of distractions. What’s really happening here is they want to use the power of government to force Christians and small business owners to participate in gay marriage ceremonies that are antithetical, that are contradictory to their beliefs.”

Jindal added that this comes down to a fundamental question regarding whether government should be able to force Christians who own businesses to violate their religious beliefs.

“We’re talking florists, bakers and photographers having to choose between thousands of dollars in fines and whether they’re going to close their businesses, or whether they’re going to violate their own or their owners’ Christian beliefs when it comes to their definition of traditional marriage,” Jindal said.

It’s just amazing to me that we’re sitting here in 2015 having this debate, whether government should be doing that. Whether government should be using its power to do that. That’s what the religious liberty fight is all about. I happen to be a Christian. I happen to  believe in traditional marriage. But even for those listeners that aren’t Christians, that don’t share those views, I would hope they would say that in America we still believe in the freedom of self determination, of religious liberty, of self expression, of freedom of faith, and I would hope that even those who aren’t Christians or don’t share these beliefs would say it’s important for these individuals to have their religious liberty rights. That’s why this is going to be a very important issue. I don’t think we can leave a more secularized country to our children, where we remove God from the public square. I don’t think that’s an America anyone would recognize.

Jindal also said—like Sens. Cruz and Paul already have—that he would “absolutely” eliminate President Obama’s executive amnesty if he were elected president of the United States.

“Absolutely,” Jindal said when asked if he’d reverse Obama’s executive amnesty were he elected president.

“One of the most important oaths and one of the most important obligations a president commits to is to uphold the Constitution of the United States,” Jindal added.

The president of the United States cannot simply go around the Congress, go around the Constitution. He can’t simply grant amnesty. He is not the first president to disagree with Congress, however that doesn’t mean he just gets to do what he wants. To change a law, he should try to convince Congress and the American people. Think how this cynical this was. The reason they delayed this until after the election is because they knew it was going to be unpopular. They knew the American people didn’t want this. Then they lose the election in 2014 in blue, purple and red states. This is a president who used to say elections have consequences. Instead of observing those consequences, he does what he wants to do anyway. So absolutely, I think not only the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty order—and I’m proud to be part of a lawsuit against that with the state of Texas and these other states—but in addition there are many of these other overreaches that go around federal law and the Constitution that need to be undone immediately. This is just one of many where this president has tried to pick and choose which laws he wants to obey, but the president of the United States does not have that power. We don’t have dictators in this country. We purposefully have checks and balances on each branch of government.


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