Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Breitbart News Daily Thursday that there was “a lot of excitement” in the new 115th Congress.
“I haven’t seen or felt this kind of excitement since my first term in 2005, when we had the presidency as Republicans did – the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate,” he told SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam. “There was so much optimism, and we were so excited. We were going to totally reform Social Security so it would be there for generations to come. No one would have to worry about it again. Bush was pushing, and we were totally going to revamp the tax code. We were going to make all these great changes. The Speaker was Hastert, the Majority Leader in the Senate was Bill Frist – heck of a nice guy.”
Despite Gohmert’s cheery tone, it quickly became clear he was telling a cautionary tale of political tragedy.
“After a year, nothing had been done, and it was, ‘You know what? It’s too big of a push. We’re not going to get any of that done,” he continued. “In January of ’06, our beginning planning retreat, it turned into a real retreat. We were told, look, there’s a chance we might lose the majority next November, so we’ve decided we’re not going to really do anything big this year because we don’t want to ruffle any feathers. We’re just going to try to get through the year, and then we’ll come back in January of ’07 and do all the big stuff.”
“That’s the first time I got up and really made myself known, and I said this was ridiculous. If you think there’s any chance of losing the majority, this has to be the year we try to do the big stuff,” he recalled. “That was not the opinion of our leadership, and it was a disaster. We lost the majority. And so some of us – there are two of us left – we’re trying to make sure people know we have got to keep our promises.”
“Just hearing you talk about some of the revamp Trump’s going to do – heck, he’s going to try to revamp the intelligence agencies,” Gohmert said.
He recounted a conversation with Trump that he said he has not previously discussed in interviews, in which he found the then-candidate for president receptive to the lessons of the 2006 Republican debacle: “Well, you know what? I haven’t really talked about this, but back in September, I wanted one more private conversation with Donald Trump. I’d been defending him from unfair attacks, but I hadn’t formally endorsed him. And I said, I gotta know, having been here in ’05, I wasn’t here in 2001, but President Bush, despite what people say, he was an incredibly nice guy. He came in and said, ‘You know what? Everything that’s gone on in the past, bygones. We’re starting fresh. It’s a new day. Everybody’s starting fresh now.’”
“There had been crimes being committed in the Clinton years that no one was held accountable for,” Gohmert pointed out. “There were nearly a thousand FBI files in the White House. There was stuff leaked right and left that was clearly illegal leaking, and nobody accountable during the Bush years, and he didn’t do anything about it – and during the Clinton years.”
“So I said, you gotta tell me that you are not going to just say ‘bygones’ and let everything go. We have got to clean house. There are problems in the intelligence agencies, State Department. And he said, ‘Well, don’t forget Justice,’ and I said, ‘Thank you. I’m glad you remembered; don’t forget Justice.’ It’s normally at the top of my list. I’m telling you, Raheem, already he’s just living up to his promises,” he said of his discussion with Trump.
Gohmert laughed at Kassam’s playful suggestion that he might have been the true author of Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” campaign slogan, but added, “As soon as he was saying ‘drain the swamp,’ I was warning, ‘Look, we’re Washington, D.C. You try to drain this swamp, all the lefties will be out saying you’re making endangered species of all the fat cats in Washington. You can’t do that. There’s snakes and fat cats up here that will be endangered. You can’t do that.’”
“I guarantee you, there will be plenty of pushback here in Washington when he tries to do that,” Gohmert warned.
He said he was “encouraged” by the congressional energy behind Obamacare repeal.
“I’m telling you, I’ve been so despondent for years now because our leadership, under John Boehner, just did not seem – we promised all kinds of good things people wanted to hear, but we didn’t follow up and do them,” Gohmert complained.
“My golly – in my private meetings, we’ve had a number of them already this week, working on the issue of repealing Obamacare. I’m going, ‘Wow, this is actually what we promised. This is incredible,’” he said, adding that he was “a little concerned” the Senate was going to “go first on the budget part of reconciliation.”
“That always concerns me because since I’ve been here, we were told repeatedly by Hastert, and then by John Boehner, it’s best to let the Senate go first. And then what he would say is, so that we can force this thing through. What that meant was ‘moderates’ and liberals in the Senate are going to get all their pork in there, and then it’s easier to force it down the throats of conservatives in the House than it is to force it down the throats of moderates and liberals in the Senate,” he recalled.
“That never worked out very well. It’s time that we started forcing things through the Senate,” Gohmert declared.
Asked if he had any parting advice for the departing President Obama, Gohmert said he would prefer to conduct himself as a proper Southern gentleman and offer to help the Obamas move.
“Can I give you one warning, though? I did hear something that concerned me,” he added. “We were going to repeal Obamacare. There was a massive amount of money raised, and the Supreme Court called it a tax. Well, there is resistance in the Senate to getting rid of all those taxes – because, gosh, that’s immediately like $500 billion that we could spend on all kinds of stuff, if we get rid of Obamacare but keep all that extra money. I’m a little concerned about that, so keep your eye on that issue.”
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