Senator John Cornyn of Texas spoke with Fox News Radio's Guy Benson on a range of issues including the Senate's impeachment vote acquitting President Trump, Senator Mitt Romney's decision to vote to remove the President from Office and last night's State of the Union Address. Sen. Cornyn also offered his thoughts on LGBT inclusion as the Texas Republican Party Barred the Texas Log Cabin Republicans from official party recognition saying "I don't think we ought to shut the door to anyone who is willing to work with us in order to accomplish those those goals. We can all have our own private differences."
Guy Benson: We continue on the Guy Benson Show on this Wednesday, a consequential Wednesday, the president of the United States, acquitted by the U.S. Senate on two articles of impeachment, voted on by the House of Representatives last year. Joining me now is Senator John Cornyn, a Republican of Texas. He is up for reelection in the fall. Senator, great to have you back.
Sen Cornyn: Thank you, guy. Good to be with you.
Guy Benson: Great to have you here. And I wonder, on this day, obviously, you were in that chamber for a significant vote. Your thoughts on this entire process and your rationale behind your votes?
Sen Cornyn: Well, guy, this isn't just about this president. It's this is this is about the office of the presidency. And so that was weighed heavily on my mind. And I think if we make it easy for a House of Representatives, that's that has the majority in the House in opposition to a president of the other party. If we make it too easy to remove presidents that way by a vote of the House, it basically nullifies the vote of this, in this case, 63 or so million people who voted for President Trump in 2016. And I think one thing that most people probably don't know is that we would actually vote on disqualifying the president from the 2020 ballot, too. So this is what I consider to be the nuclear option in the Constitution. It's something to use as a last resort and something we should not use routinely to to cheapen the vote of the American people.
Guy Benson: And that point about the provision that the Democrats put in their articles banning Trump from the ballot and banning him from holding the office in the future really does take the entirety, the totality of this process out of the hands of voters, which is one of the problems that I've had with it all along. It's in fact, one of the issues cited by a number of moderate Republicans in some of their speeches arguing in favor of acquittal. Although just about two hours prior to today's vote, we saw a speech on the floor from Senator Romney of Utah, the lone Republican who will vote yes on Article 1, voting to convict, guilty and then not guilty on Article 2. He made a case. I wonder what you make of your colleagues comments and decision.
Sen Cornyn: Well, this is each of us take an individual oath. And I think each of the senators and my. My observation is they're trying to work through this and be true to their conscience and and to do their duty as they see it. Part of the problem, guy, is this is only the third time in 232 years in which the Senate has actually tried the president. So you saw a lot of disagreements or at least discussions about what is the standard of proof, what what is a high crime and misdemeanor? Is a crime required or some other violation of established law? A lot of what I would call rather esoteric arguments, but all of these constitutionally grounded. And so I you know, I respect the right of each senator to call it the way he or she sees it. But Nancy Pelosi knew in March of 2019 that partisan impeachments wouldn't work. She said as much, but yet she was stampeded into that by her by her caucus. And I think she knew we'd never get to the 67 votes that would be needed to convict and remove the president. But this is a really a situation of her own making.
Guy Benson: Yeah. And she did say repeatedly that it would not really work an impeachment process that was viewed as very partisan in nature. She said it would not hold the sort of weight and validity that would be necessary for it to be viewed as legitimate widely by the American public. And then she did an about face. And we have had almost a perfectly partisan process from start to finish with a tiny handful of exceptions. Joe Manchin, I want to just ask you, Joe Manchin, in his speech, the senator from West Virginia, Democrat, his floor speech on Monday, he floated this idea of a censure as an alternative that I had actually written that myself and proposed that weeks and weeks ago in the process. I think the ship has sailed. They had their bite at the apple in the house to make a decision. They went with the impeachment decision. And here we are today. I do wonder if it had been a censure, given the number of your colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle who have said what the president did was wrong, but not worthy of removal from office. Do you think the dynamic would have been significantly different if the remedy were significantly different?
Sen Cornyn: Well, certainly certainly impeachment is that weapon of last resort. And I agree with you that that the ship has sailed and we've moved so far down the impeachment path. It's really not highly unlikely we would ever go back and visit the. Resolution, but you may recall that Andrew Johnson, even though he was not removed, convicted and removed back in 1868, he was censured, but that later in our nation's history when when his party had control, they expunged that censure. So I think to me it demonstrates that this is this is in spite of its legal trappings and its constitutional significance is at bottom a includes a large element of a political process. So I don't think censure is going to work. I think its chairman, senator, the senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, is looking for a reason to vote to aquituit, but then also to express his displeasure at the underlying facts.
Guy Benson: You know, I did not know that detail about the vote being expunged beyond Andrew Johns, Andrew Jackson, that is a very interesting historical footnote. The expungement of the censure vote, that is, you learn something new every day. So thank you for coming on the program. If only for that. That's fascinating. Let's turn to last night in the State of the Union address. I think pretty high marks almost across the board. Aside from the usual quarters that hate everything for the president in his message, some of it was red meat for the base. Certainly some of it was reaching out a hand of bipartisanship and really talking about a record of accomplishment. Were you struck the way I was? And maybe the dynamics, maybe the vibe was different in the chamber, but watching most of the Democrats sitting stone faced while the president ran through all this unambiguously terrific economic news, it just struck me as weird.
Sen Cornyn: Well, they they the Democrats don't like this president. That's maybe an understatement. And so they don't like anything he does or anything he says. And they begrudge him, I believe, the incredible record of accomplishment over the last three years. You know, President Trump, given his sort of not as status as a public official. He really believes in keeping the campaign promises he's made. And you could almost see him like check the box every time he went through one of the things he promised to do. And then he's as he said, he delivered on those. But I thought it was a very good speech. I thought. I'm glad he didn't talk about impeachment. I'm glad it was a positive, forward looking speech.
Guy Benson: Were you surprised, by the way, Senator? I was surprised that he didn't even mention or even really allude to it.
Sen Cornyn: Yeah, well, there were a number of us who were hoping that he would he would exercise some self-discipline, which he ultimately did, and not get into that because we knew what the outcome was going to be on the impeachment. He could put that in the bag and just talk again about, OK, let's put all this other negative experience behind us. Let's look forward and let's appreciate this great America that we live in and and work together to make it even better.
Guy Benson: What did you make of Speaker Pelosi ostentatiously ripping up her copy of the speech with the president still standing there at the dais?
Sen Cornyn: Well, I think unfortunately she took the low road. And just what do you think? Things couldn't get any worse than they do in terms of the bitterness that she harbors for this president? I think, again, she's responding a lot to the caucus who have made her speaker and whose votes they she depends on to stay speaker. But I just thought it was a completely unnecessary gesture. And frankly, I think she undermined her own credibility by doing it. It really was a disgraceful.
Guy Benson: Senator, a very buzz worthy poll from Gallup, a national poll came out yesterday, we're getting more elements of it today. And the economy numbers are just. Just through the roof. President Trump has 63 percent approval on that issue. People are feeling good and comfortable and optimistic in their lives about their personal finances. We also saw the Republican Party approval. Overall, registered voter approval of your party went from 44 percent to 51 percent over the last few months, where the Democrats, on the other hand, have dropped by a couple points and now trail the GOP in overall voter I.D.. It's just one poll, but we've seen a number of trajectories in other polls that are at least similar. Do you think it's premature or accurate to talk about a backlash to what could be described as overreach on this whole impeachment process?
Sen Cornyn: Well, I think it is overreach, and I do think it is backlash. And at least that's. Well, I don't know how long this will endure. But I think there are some lessons to be learned there. One is to do what I said President Trump has done, and that is to keep his promises, including one hundred and eighty seven new federal judges, to the strongest economy we've seen in my lifetime, the lowest unemployment rate for minorities in the workforce in general, more people working and fewer on welfare. But it's also, I think, an indication of how unattractive the Democrats have made themselves by caving in to their more the most radical elements in their party. I think they've made themselves unattractive and hopefully Republicans have made ourselves more attractive by this record of accomplishment.
Guy Benson: And I'm glad that you brought up the judges. It's an issue that I raise all the time because the economy can be cyclical and sometimes out of the control of politicians, even if they're doing their best with good policy versus bad policy in policy, of course, matters and the stock market goes up and, you know, goes up and down. But a lasting impact for a generation will be the judicial confirmations that you just made mention of. You and Senator McConnell playing a very significant role on that front, Senator Grassley, Senator Graham and of course, the president. And that's, I think, one of the biggest, if not the very top of the promises made promises kept list for President Trump. I do want to ask you last subject, Senator. You are up for reelection in the state of Texas this year, 2020. Fabulous state. I did see and this has now happened for a number of years. And it's something that is personally very disappointing to me. And I also think politically a problem for the Republican Party of Texas at their state convention. They have yet again made the decision to bar the Log Cabin Republicans, LGBT right leaning folks, and many of them staunchly in favor of the president and certainly loyal Republicans. They are not allowed to participate. They are not allowed specifically to be represented in any formal way, including having a booth at the Republican state convention in Texas. I saw Dan Crenshaw, the congressman from the Houston area, had written a letter in support of the log cabins. And I just wonder if in 2020, with public opinion shifting and many, many Republicans now in favor, for example, of same sex marriage, including seemingly the president. Is it time for the Texas Republican Party to be a little bit more inclusive, especially if people are ideological allies? What do you make of that issue?
Sen Cornyn: Well, you know, politics and the privilege of governing is a is a matter of arithmetic. And you have to get more supporters than your opponents. Do you have to win elections in order to have the privilege of governing? So if we want conservative policies, if we want the right kind of policies, I don't think we ought to shut the door to anyone who is willing to work with us in order to accomplish those those goals. We can all have our own private differences. And I know many of those are very firmly held and a matter of firm conviction. But I think hopefully we would view politics as a as an arena in which we want to we want to we want to do the math in a way that makes more friends and supporters to enacts the sort of policy we want. If you're if you're a conservative, there is nothing probably more important than the federal judiciary because of the the role the judiciary plays. And so I would say anybody who agrees with me that we need a conservative judiciary I'm to consider to be an ally. And I think it's we should not exclude those people who are like minded on so many things because of some areas of which there may be some differences.
Guy Benson: I agree. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, we appreciate your time on an extremely busy and significant Newsday. Senator, thank you very much.
Sen Cornyn: Thanks, guy.
Guy Benson: We will take a break. We'll be right back on the Guy Benson Show with the homestretch. Coming up.