Congressman Jim Banks (R-In) spoke to Fox News Radio's Guy Benson about the Census citizenship question, tensions between the United States & Iran, Presidential Candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg & whether this is the beginning of the end for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Guy Benson: Appreciate you being here. Joining me now on the line is Congressman Jim Banks he's a Republican of Indiana. He serves on the Armed Services Committee also the Veterans Affairs Committee. He himself. Is a veteran and we welcome him back. Congressman great to have you. Thanks for coming on.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Hey Guy, Good to be with you.
Guy Benson: Great to have you. I want to start with the news of the day involving the president we are expecting some comments from him. Let's see within the next hour or so although it may have been pushed back the schedule a little bit but we're expecting to hear something on this census question it seems like the Supreme Court dealt a setback to the administration to include the citizenship question a reincarnated I should say on the census. Sounds like the president might be pursuing some sort of executive action to get that information one way or another. What's your general take on this controversy and do you think an executive action is appropriate or even legal.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Well Guy you and I both come from Big Ten Country right. Yes. I like to think a Big Ten Country is the bastion of common sense in the Midwest and throughout the country it's a lot different than what I experienced when I come to Washington D.C. in the Beltway and the Beltway. you get the sense that a citizen's citizenship question on the census is unpopular. But when I go when I go home back in Big Ten Country almost everyone that I talked to Republican or Democrat anyone in between they scratch their heads. Look at me funny and wonder how in the world is it possible that assistantship question is already on a census. So that alone tells me that those in the Beltway that are that are caught up with this question are are off base. Who's your support the president. I understand that the back and forth the the court issues that are preventing the president from doing but putting the question on the census. But if he could find another way to do it I mean I'm unclear what that would look like for this administration to find a an executive order opportunity to do it. I fully support him and finding another way.
Guy Benson: Just to buttress the point that you made here about like the public opinion aspect of this not that public opinion polls should drive decisions or you know confer constitutionality on anything but 67 percent of the country's in favor of this question being asked according to a recent poll I think was a Harvard Harris poll 67 percent including clear majorities of Latinos and black voters as well as independents overwhelmingly supported even many many Democrats are in favor of it it just seems like basic common sense. Nancy Pelosi the House speaker said this was a disgraceful effort by the Trump administration to make America white again that might come as a surprise to the majorities of blacks and Hispanics who support it. The question but Congressman what we keep hearing over and over again is I understand the Supreme Court made this point in their recent decision. The administration has to give a valid reason for why they want to reinsert this question into the survey and that's all well and good and it seems like they've sort of bungled it a little bit so far. I just don't understand why a valid reason is just this simple. We are the government of a country and we want to count the citizens who live here.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Guy you think about another way that there is a valid reason to ask a citizenship question when you when you requester or file for a mortgage you're asked for your ask US citizenship question when you file for your passport. If it's justifiable for examples like that why would it not be justifiable as a as a basic part of the census. And that gets to the heart of the matter what what is the bottom line justification for those who oppose assistantship. Question when you unpack that and answer that question you get to you get to the motivations of the left and the reason that they're so heavily opposed to what is common sense to the rest of America.
Guy Benson: Congressman we mentioned at the top with your introduction that you served in the Armed Forces you were deployed to Afghanistan. You also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve you are decorated as a veteran. I want to ask your opinion on Iran. It's a very hot issue we've seen the regime engage in various provocations now for weeks and months. They've also now exceeded certain limits within the nuclear deal that they were threatening to exceed. Seems like they were able to do that pretty quickly after after making those threats and now there was another confrontation with the Brits in that neck of the woods involving an oil tanker. What is your assessment of the Iranian threat and the Trump administration's foreign policy visa vis Iran.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Well the the threat is real. And you know it's no surprise that now recently to the regime in Iran has announced that they are breaking the deal. I mean they've been they've been inching and moving toward that for for a long time. Heading into heading into this direction. So I give the president and his administration at this point very high marks for how they've handled the threat by ratcheting up the sanctions. The president has shown remarkable restraint in how he's dealt with the provocations to date. But this this moment that we're in right now is that that is the ultimate test for our European allies are they going to come to the table now and recognizing that the deal was that the JCP away was was flawed from the beginning and join us in ratcheting up sanctions or will they continue to turn a blind eye. And that's the that's that's the that's the million dollar question moving forward and will we have the support of our allies or will they stand on the sidelines. I have a feeling that with Secretary Pompeo's great work and and beating this drum and seeking out our allies to support our position that eventually they're going to come on board especially with the with the the British getting involved at this point and having their own justifications for doing so.
Guy Benson: Congressman I have to ask you a political question as you mentioned Big Ten country you represent districts in Indiana and now are you a Hoosier or a boilermaker or from the Fighting Irish.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): I'm a Hoosier through and through a graduate of Indiana University we used to be a basketball state but at a basketball school. Hopefully we'll get back to that here in the near future.
Guy Benson: You will. I mean it's there's too much there's too much legacy there that for you guys to be in the wilderness for that much longer. Look I'm a long suffering Northwestern basketball fan. We made the tournament once ever so the heart does not exactly bleed for the poor Indiana fan base that you know they've they've only what you've won how many national championships I don't want to talk about it. The point is you're from Indiana you're a young successful conservative politician there's another young Indiana politician getting a lot of national attention these days he's running for president. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend. I'm just wondering the extent to which your paths have crossed. Given the profile that you both have and what your impressions of him are as a leader at least in South Bend in your state.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Well I've known Pete for Mayor Pete for years over the past decade he and I have both as you said have been young political leaders in our state but we also have the unique distinction of having served in the U.S. Navy reserves. We both we both deployed to Afghanistan around the same time and had a very similar situation where we vacated the elected position that both of us held at the time I was a state senator and he was mayor of South Bend back then as well so there was a there was a lot of publicity about that too. Two young Indiana politicians that left their elected positions to go and and serve our country in Afghanistan and because of that I have a lot of I have a lot of respect for Mayor Pete's military service. He and I communicated a great deal during that period of time. He was he was personally helpful to me because he was ahead of me by a few months and going through the a lot of the experiences that I later went through. So while I appreciate that there's a there's a big difference guy between the mayor Pete that I know who operated as mayor of South Bend and his political activities with much more of a moderate tone and the Mayor Pete that we have as a presidential candidate today and what I mean by that is that the Mayor Pete that I see in the presidential contest raising his hand in support of of of of giving a universal health care to illegal immigrants for example positions and supportive of Medicare for all free college AP He didn't go as far toward free college tuition as some of his opponents did but many of the crazy progressive left wing positions that presidential candidate Pete is taking on the national stage today don't match the rhetoric of Mayor Pete who who served in elected office over the past eight years in the state of Indiana. I think that lack of of that lack of authenticity is gonna catch up with him in the presidential contest.
Guy Benson: So one of the fights that he has picked very publicly is with yet another Hoosier who is the vice president of the United States. And there's been this intimation one of the things that Mayor Pete has gone back to a lot is criticizing what he sees as hypocrisy among Christians and I think that there's some validity to part of the point that he makes. But a lot of it does seem to be kind of lecturing other questions about not being good Christians and almost questioning the faith and the good faith of the Vice President I wonder what you make of that.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Well it's it's disappointing. I mean I remember several times in the years that the four years that Mike Pence was governor of Indiana and South Bend isn't that far away from Columbia City or Fort Wayne and the heart the heart of the district that I represent and my my small hometown outside of Fort Wayne that's just an hour away from South Bend. So over the over those four years that Mike Pence served as governor it was that it was a regular occurrence for at the time Governor Pence to drive up to South Bend and appear with Mayor Pete and make major job announcements or major economic development announcements or address local local community issues and they would often do that they would they spoke very respectfully to each other. And those cases. And there was never a hint that Mike Pence in any way lack respect for Pete but a judge at the time. Yet you're getting a you're getting an entirely different story out of presidential candidate. People to judge on the national stage today again it's that lack of authenticity is completely disingenuous. Pete knows that that's not that's not the truth about Mike. Mike Pence is one of the most most likable most most gentlemanly respectable political figures I've ever met in my life. He treats everyone with sincerity and respect and Pete knows that that's what's disappointing about what you're hearing coming out of his mouth as he runs for president.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And look I also have a lot of respect for Mayor Pete. I love the fact that he's a trailblazer in some important ways I think he's very smart. I think he's deeply informed in a lot of ways. I think he's interesting. I've been a little disappointed by the predictability that he's fallen into a dislike going with the herd on all the left stuff. But his his lead up at least to this point he's had a very interesting pedigree. And I hope to get him on this show I think we could have a really interesting conversation. It does just strike me Congressman that, my guest here is Jim Banks Congressman Jim Banks a Republican of Indiana sort of up of the same generation of Mayor Pete in that state. It just strikes me as you know if you're going to come out and start throwing haymakers about the Christianity of politicians in the other party and you know the hypocrisy and they they shouldn't lay claim to this legacy and so on and so forth. When you're out there embracing unfettered late term abortion on demand paid for by taxpayers I mean that seems to me just that issue alone like quite a stretch Congressman.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Yeah it reminds me I'm as you say that there was a situation in South Bend where Mayor Pete vetoed a bill that came out of his city council by the way which was a Democrat city council. He vetoed a bill that would have allowed a crisis pregnancy center to operate in the city of of South Bend. We're not talking about a right to life pro-life advocacy group we're talking about a crisis predecessor that would serve women in times of need in the city of South Bend. He doesn't just have a radical position on the abortion issue it's one that he acted out on and circumvented groups from performing services to women in need from a pro-life perspective in his own city as an alternative does show you a flavor of his left wing ideology.
Guy Benson: Yes I guess there are certain things whether it's his true belief as a professing Christian that abortion is in some ways terrific or should be completely available and alternatives should be made more difficult at least in this case. Maybe that is something that he believes maybe it's something that he realizes with higher ambitions within the National Party he had to get on board with. But it sounds like that was at least one indication of the turn that you seem to think that Mayor Pete has taken recently now that he's running for president on the national stage and I just hope that when all this is is said and done you guys can maybe sit down and have a good conversation again as the old friends that you are. Because it's it does strike me as a shame when people in either party feel like they have to completely change themselves in some important ways in order to fit in with certain ideological requirements and in some ways it sounds like. Last question sounds like you kind of feel like he should be better than that. In some ways.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): I really think that he could be but it at the end of the day this is a sign of the times when at a prayer at a point in American politics I never thought I would ever say this but when. When Nancy Pelosi is a moderate figure in her party and by the way we're seeing the beginning of the end of her speakership as as the progressive wing takes her on in a significant way. And what you're seeing on the presidential stage with all the candidates moving to the far radical left left wing of the Democrat Party. Pete didn't have to take that path but he took he took the bait that the rest of the presidential candidates did as well and shifting far left to appease the Alexandra Ocasio Cortez wing of the Democrat Party. That's the sad reality. That's where we are and that's why I'm as optimistic and hopeful as than ever that President Trump to be re-elected in 2020 that Republicans would win back the House and Election Day in November 2020 is looking better and better every day.
Guy Benson: You are through the looking glass when Nancy Pelosi is being accused by fellow Democrats of being racially insensitive to women of color because of this stupid frankly ego driven fight that they're having but are Jim Banks has been our guest Congressman of Indiana a Republican lots of interesting insights across a range of topics. Congressman thank you so much for your time.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN): Hey great to be with you. Look forward to doing it again.
Guy Benson: Likewise and we will definitely have you back and we will be right back in a moment. The Guy Benson show.