Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, called into Kilmeade & Friends to discuss the future of the border wall, President Trump's reaction to Syria using chemical weapons and the status of our relations with Russia. He also discussed why republicans should focus more on replacing Obamacare than worrying about the mid-term elections, Steve Bannon's possible demoted and republicans using the "nuclear option" to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Plus, Senator Johnson explained how he turned a prank into a good deed when the Cards Against Humanity shipping more than 2,000 potatoes to his office.
Senator Johnson on the future of the border wall
(JOHNSON) What we have from his administration is a commitment to secure the border and we are going to be using a combination of technology, manpower, better barriers where we need them, better constructed walls or fences and we are undergoing that study to see what exactly we need to do. The main point is we finally have an administration that is committed to securing the border which we have to do if we ever want to fix our immigration system, public health and safety, the drug flow and if I am concerned about ISIS operatives coming to this country, its though our poor southern border. The main thing is we finally have a president committed to securing our southern border and I think will do so.
Senator Johnson on whether Russia knew Syria was going to use chemical weapons
(JOHNSON) I agree with Secretary Tillerson when he said either Russia was complicit, which means they did know about it or they are completely incompetent in handling their client state. Remember they're the ones who brokered the deal to get rid of Syria's chemical weapons, they are sitting there with personal on the base from which that chemical strike was launched, how they could not know. They have an awful lot to answer for, they say they want an investigation yet they vetoed a U.N. resolution to accomplish exactly that so I really appreciate the fact that President Trump took swift and decisive action. I think the pressure from the international community is going to be brought to bear on Putin's regime.
Senator Johnson on the failure of the Obama administration in Syria compared to the Trump administrations response to Syria
(JOHNSON) When we first had documented evidence of a chemical strike back in 2013, Samantha Power, the former U.N. Ambassador called me up and made me aware of the situation and my council then was have President Obama strike now, don't wait, don't come to congress, you'll dither, assets will be scattered around Syria and you won't have an effective strike, you have to send a signal right now. President Obama chose not to do that, President Trump did it and I think he is getting basically praised for taking that swift and decisive action, he did exactly what he should have done.
Senator Johnson on why replacing Obamacare is more important than worrying about losing seats in the mid-term elections and whether he would have supported Speaker Ryan's replacement bill
(JOHNSON) We have a lot of time left on this but I am primarily concerned about collapsing insurance markets because of Obamacare, we do have governing authority and we need to get this right.
(Kilmeade) would you have signed that bill had it gotten to the Senate?
(JOHNSON) Probably not. There is an awful lot that needed to be done. Focusing primarily on bringing down premiums that have in Wisconsin doubled and tripled on the individual market. We need to focus on that. There were some good elements in there, starting to turn Medicaid management back over to the states where it will be managed more effectively and efficiently, there was some good and bad, we have a ways to go before we have an adequate replacement for Obamacare though.
Senator Johnson on republicans using the nuclear option to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
(JOHNSON) I still reject the fact that we did the nuclear option. That was Harry Reid who broke the rules to change the rules, he changed that precedent, all we did was use that same precedent established by Harry Reid to change the rules of the Senate as related to Supreme Court justices with 51 votes. By the way, re ran an election on this specific vacancy, we told the American people you decide what is the composition of the Supreme Court. They elected Donald Trump, they put republicans back in control of the Senate so e just carried out the wishes of the American voter. It was Harry Reid that engaged the nuclear option, not republicans.
Senator Johnson on Steve Bannon's role being reduced in the Trump administration and President Trump's cabinet picks.
(JOHNSON) That's completely up to President Trump. Across the board I have been incredibly impressed with the personal choices of President Trump, whether it's General Kelly for Homeland Security, General Mattis, H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson I think is doing a fantastic job, he showed some real strength and real metal dealing with Russia. I think that is President Trump's core competency, identifying high quality individuals and quite honestly if he is not satisfied with performance, like a good business manager he finds somebody who can actually perform the job, he did that three times during the campaign, he will probably do that through the administration as well.