Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Moving To Remove Mike Johnson as Speaker: “Their Strategy (Is) Quite Stupid Because It’s Not Based in Reality”

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a Republican member of the House of Representatives & author of FORTITUDE: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage, joined the Guy Benson Show today to discuss the divided House of Representatives and the potential movement to oust Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House. Crenshaw and Benson also discuss the support and funding of the war in Ukraine and the divide in the GOP over funding for the war.  Crenshaw makes the case for Ukraine, and you can listen to the full interview below!

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Rep. Crenshaw had this to say on the move to oust Rep. Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House:

“Of course it’s a problem…. there’s nothing patriotic or principled about this stance to remove Johnson. Remove Johnson for what? For engaging in the process of democracy?… That’s a pretty wild position to take and it’s a narcissistic one… it’s so often the case with these kind of antics that we see with the sort of burn the house down kind of antics; they never result in more conservative wins… so that makes their strategy quite stupid.”

Automated Transcript:

Guy Benson So what are we supposed to do about that? As Russia might be now winning that war with Ukraine needing more help, not boots on the ground, they’re willing to do the fighting themselves, but more military help. What about Israel and the myriad threats that they face? Of course, there’s Taiwan as well. How is the House going to deal with this? Let’s ask Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas, too. And he’s here with us. Congressman, welcome back to the show.

Rep. Crenshaw Thanks, Guy. Always good to be with you.

Guy Benson Well, let’s it’s another, sort of dysfunctional moment in the House of Representatives where it’s kind of unclear what the path forward is going to be. I saw that there’s another member of your conference that has signed on to this idea of a motion to vacate, meaning throwing Speaker Johnson out of the job. I know most of your colleagues disagree with that. We can maybe unpack the the Johnson drama in a second. But on foreign policy, Ukraine, Israel, etc. plus questions about the border. Where do you come down on this? How do you see this being resolved?

Rep. Crenshaw Well, it’s going to get resolved a certain way. May not have been my favorite way or my my favorite way was package it all together and use that as leverage for some serious reforms on border, specifically in the asylum process. And the reason I always advocated for that was because Trump becomes president and when his Achilles heel was always the asylum loopholes. And that’s exactly what we need to reform in law. There are liars out there on the right who say, we don’t need any new laws, who say that, you know, it’s just a matter of presidential discretion. They’re liars, and they have to answer for that. And that’s why we bother passing H.R. two. So that was my preferred method. That’s not the method that’s going to happen. What’s going to happen is we’re going to vote on each of these supplementals separately, and then it gets packaged into one thing that gets sent to the Senate. Now, if any one of those fails, and of course it doesn’t make it into the package, it’s always going to be Ukraine is going to be Taiwan is going to be Israel. And there’s going to be a fourth package that I don’t know, text for. But it’s, it’s it’s more of a Republican package. It’ll have pay for for instance, take Russian assets do that to pay for Ukraine. It’ll make Ukraine, aid a loan, which is President Trump’s idea, and frankly, quite a good one. And I believe, again, I haven’t seen it because it’s not out yet. I believe require, rights to, you know, mineral deposits in Ukraine, things like that. And so that’s the state of play. Well, all of those things have. I think there’s a pretty decent chance that they all part. As you just noted, the vast majority of Americans still think this is a good idea. So I think that we shouldn’t let, dictators take over and subjugate and enslave other countries around the world, take their resources, control their economies, and basically upend the world order that Americans have enjoyed for the past 80 years in a post-World War Two era. I think most people understand the strategic importance of that. And, your your children will have a lower, per capita income will have a whole other of a lesser quality of life if America is not in charge of the global economy the way we have been for the last 75 years. That’s that’s the why it matters to you. Answer. And to get there, you have to make Russia regret it. And you need this aid package to give enough bullets and enough equipment to Ukrainians who are willing to fight so that they can make Russia regret it. And when, you know, when Russia regrets it, when they’re actually coming to the table for a peace deal, they’re not there yet. Putin has zero interest in a peace deal right now because he thinks he can still keep going. And he has to change that dynamic. And it is a changeable dynamic. I just walked out of a briefing with senior intelligence and defense officials, and there is a change in the way we’re doing these aid packages. Better weapons, better strategy so that it doesn’t last forever so that Ukrainians can stand on their own two feet. Or is there is an end game to that? But it does not have to be forever. Stalemate.

Guy Benson So you have certain colleagues of yours that represent a certain element, certainly the Republican base, that say they don’t want another dime for Ukraine, that they demonize Ukraine in some ways that I always find a bit bizarre, as some of their arguments and critiques are more nuanced and thoughtful than that. But you have at least a certain friend saying if more Ukraine funding is passed or there’s something that we don’t like that comes out of this, well, then the next step is to dethrone Speaker Johnson and throw the House Republican Conference back into just total tumult. And we went through this already once that was not in a presidential election year. I cannot imagine that Donald Trump is interested in this happening in his election year. But you at least have a couple members saying that they’re willing to do it, and it only takes a few congressmen. Is this a real threat to a majority that’s already hanging by a thread?

Rep. Crenshaw Yeah. If you want to call it a majority. Oh, that’s not the way we.

Guy Benson Technical. Technical. Nominal. Yeah.

Rep. Crenshaw Yeah, but of course it’s a problem. And it’s, you know, it should be said that there’s nothing patriotic or principled about this stance to remove Johnson. Remove Johnson for what? For engaging in the process of democracy, where we get to vote on issues that the majority of Americans actually want. And that’s that’s a pretty that’s a pretty wild, position to take, you know, and it’s a narcissistic one. Let’s be clear on that. It’s a very narcissistic one, because it’s implying that that the will of everyone else is lesser than yours. Right? Like, they’re like their priorities mean less than yours somehow you have some secret access to water. So what is perfect? And what is the will of the people I get, I hear, I know I’ve always won an argument when somebody uses that against, well, you’re just against the will of the people. I’m sorry, but you don’t represent the will of the people. Nobody does. Nobody represents the entirety of the will of the people. They’ll kind of be important. The entire point of politics is to debate these things. And if you don’t have good arguments for your position, then just stop. But just stop debating me as well. And so that’s what that’s what those kind of antics tell me that they, that they’ve, that they’ve lost the ability to debate on the merits. And so they, they present these antics that frankly are and again, you just, you just did the polling before you had me on, that that are indeed are against the will of the people, which is ironic considering that their argument.

Guy Benson And yet, I mean, you could have whether it’s the will of the people or will of a person or two, if you get two or 3 or 4 of them who’ve decided that Mike Johnson has betrayed the cause or whatever, then what? Then who like, is there any plan?

Rep. Crenshaw Well, it’s just I mean, well then then Republicans just proved once and for all that we shouldn’t govern. I mean, that’s that’s the unfortunate, the political consequence of that. If you’re asking what the policy consequence of that is for Ukraine. The reality is what would likely happen is the discharge petition, from the Senate bill would just pass. Yeah.

Guy Benson So just to explain what that that’s.

Rep. Crenshaw That’s what would happen.

Guy Benson So the Democrats would basically say, hey, we want a vote on the Senate bill. There are enough Republicans who agree with them. They would say, yep, we agree. So they can then force that onto the floor and just totally defang Republican leadership entirely. The thing’s going to pass. I mean, what’s the answer? What’s the answer to Johnson’s critics and others saying, well, we can’t betray our voters with X, Y, and Z. And it’s like, well, here comes a discharge petition. If we don’t, is there a response to that?

Rep. Crenshaw Yeah, I mean, you outlined it pretty well. The reality is that despite their grandstanding about defending Republican principles, in reality their actions would result in a bill that Republicans didn’t like. That that is that is 100% what would happen. But so often the case, by the way, like let’s just remove it from this particular policy discussion. But it’s so often the case with these kind of antics that we see they sort of burn the house down kind of antics; they never result in more conservative wins. Never. Nobody can ever point to any situation where they’ve ever resulted in more conservative. When you get conservative wins by being smart and adhering to principles, and having a mature and reasonable understanding of the political reality that you live in. You have to accept reality for what it is. You have to know what your majorities are, how slim they are. You have to know who controls the Senate. You have to know who controls the white House. So these are simple issues of political reality. And there are those who refuse to believe them. So that makes their strategy quite stupid because it’s not based in reality. Even if we agree with their with their philosophy, sometimes that that philosophy has to be applied to reality.

Guy Benson Well, I mean, if the goal, though is to get attention and make sure that they’ll never be outflanked on their right in a crimson red district, in their own narrow sense, it might make sense for them. It does not make sense, I would say, for the broader movement or the party or governance or anything like that, which goes back to sort of the the selfish, narcissistic point that you were making. I do want to ask you about another topic, which is FISA and the reform on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I know that this is another one that has divided Republicans to some extent. You’ve made the case that the new bill with reforms is good, and that some safeguards are in place because a lot of conservatives are understandably upset about abuses in the past. And others say you can’t trust these people at all. We’ve seen certainly the progressive left coming out against the bill as well, some strange bedfellows there. Make your argument, if you would, to this audience about the FISA reform that you support.

Rep. Crenshaw Yeah. Of course. So first, it’s important for people to understand what Pfizer is. It’s our ability to spy on foreign adversaries. But I happened to be using our American, phone telecommunications. So it’s quite the tool. Of course, you have to be careful with that. And even if, you know, if you want to spy on foreigners in foreign land, you still need a warrant. And there’s a warrant process for that. It has been abused in the past, and maybe I don’t think Republican leadership did a great job simply. Simply publishing. For for for all news outlets, the 56 reforms that were put in there. These are reforms you got from a national security perspective, from a guy who tracked tariffs or did it in bad light. You might argue these reforms actually went too far. You, you could easily argue that there will be severely less analysis done. And, and connected because of these reforms. But my answer to that is also, hey, too bad FBI like you abused that you abused the program too many times. We have too many examples. It made people very angry. So? So there are 56 very serious reforms that were passed into this that doesn’t get talked about enough. It would, and there were a lot of them were directed exactly at the situation that President Trump on himself and with Crossfire Hurricane. Preventing that from ever happening again, making sure that people not just, you know, get a slap on the wrist when they screw this up, but that they go to jail. And these reforms are significant. It reduced the FBI’s access to the query, FISA query program by 90%. They’re really upset about that, trust me. So it’s not as if there was no reforms. The the main, arguments last week was over whether you should have a warrant to even search the database. And what I explain to people is what follows is basically a wiretap on on people who already have a warrant for one, before an adversary. You always know what the other side of that conversation is when you have a wiretap. Right? And, you know, we’ve done this for decades. You don’t pretend you don’t hear the other side of that wiretap. The only difference between that and Pfizer is finding a searchable database. And by the way, you can’t just search anyone for any reason. You can’t just search every U.S. citizen in there for any reason. You have to have very specific guards in place. And we put a ton of reforms in place to make sure that it’s actually quite difficult, to do that. And the reasoning has to be at a very high standard, and audited and transparent, all of it. And so that was the main route, because if you if you do require a warrant for the simple search, I promise you here’s what’s going to happen. You could still collect on foreigners and foreign lands, but you’ll never connect the dots when they’re trying to plan a terrorist attack inside the U.S.. What’s the point of terror? They want to plan a terrorist attack inside the U.S. I don’t really care what they’re doing in Syria. What I care about is who they’re talking to inside the United States and why. And so people that was that was the I think there was a massive misunderstanding of what FISA is. And that was the main. I also want to point out a few Republicans voted against my amendment, by the way, to include collection on cartels and again, cartels and foreign land cartels in Mexico and companies in China that make precursor chemicals. Knowingly sending them to fentanyl producers in Mexico. We cannot even apply for a warrant on them. My amendment simply changed that. Updated. Given the fentanyl crisis we find ourselves in. What will you pass, by the way? But it only passed because more Democrats voted for it than Republicans. I can’t even believe a Republicans voted to protect Chinese precursor producers and protect cartels from American surveillance. That’s what happened that week. People need to be very clear about that. And and I think and I think it stems from a massive misunderstanding about the Pfizer program is, in the end, I think we’re in a very good place with a lot of really good reforms. And I think that’s what the takeaway should be.

Guy Benson There’s a lot on the plate of the House of Representatives, and a lot of internal strife and maneuvering within the nominal Republican majority, and we’ll see where all of it goes playing out in the coming days, and certainly ahead of November as well, when the complexion and the power balance will likely shift one way or another when voters have their say. Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Republican of Texas, the second district down there is our guest on the Guy Benson Show. Congressman, thanks for your time. We’ll talk again soon.

Rep. Crenshaw Thank you.