On Tuesday’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Gill and Leahy talked to recently elected Congressman from Tennessee, Mark Green about his recent rise to fame of Congress’s Freshman class, the transition, and how he’s leading the way in declining a paycheck while the government is in a shutdown.
During the course of the interview, Green gave his thoughts and opinions about the border wall’s national security and humanitarian crisis and his strategy to create a cultural change within the House.
Gill: Congressman Mark Green has kicked things off with a flurry of activity. He’s on what, CBS, Fox News every time you turn on the TV he’s making headlines and leading the way. He was one of the first, if not the first to say I’m not going to take my paycheck while the government is shutdown. So he’s the pro bono Congressman from Tennessee at this point. I’ve worked free for clients a lot of times. I didn’t intend to, they just didn’t pay. But in this case, Mark Green has continued to show up for work unlike some of the TSA employees who are apparently calling in sick. As we’ve said before I don’t think they have to bring a doctors note to prove their actually sick or get fired. Mark good to have you with us.
Green: Thanks Steve, good to be on the show.
Gill: You’ve worked free before but just not with such high visibility.
Green: (Chuckles) No I guess not.
Gill: What do you feel about those that are now suddenly following your way and saying, “Ok I’m not going to get paid either.” And then of course you’ve got Ocasio-Cortez the infamous Congresswoman who’s getting a lot of attention saying she wasn’t going to take a paycheck but apparently refuses to answer questions about whether or not she’s actually refusing hers.
Green: Yeah it’s a, for me you know, I can only make the decision for myself it was a no brainer. I mean, I would have felt horribly guilty getting a paycheck while we sit her and while the Democrats put personality over policy. They’re more worried about Trump getting a win then they are the national crisis that’s at the border. For me it was an easy decision.
Gill: Democrats keep claiming that a wall doesn’t work. And yet we try to keep pointing out that there’s a reason that the caravan. The Hoard of Hondurans, Glut of Guatemalans, Mob of Mexicans stopped in Tijuana. It’s not just because they got tired it’s because they came up against a wall and that kept them on the southern side of the wall rather than crossing on through into the United States. How can they with a straight face make the argument that a wall doesn’t work?
Green: Well it’s really kind of crazy because most of the data, really all of the data suggests that they do work. And it’s empiric, it’s just like a micro study it’s data. And you can’t really make the argument otherwise. But you know there’s a certain group of Democrats out there, and Nancy Pelosi is one of those and they’ve never allowed a fact to get in the way of what they want to do. So, I mean, it doesn’t matter to them.
Gill: Well and Ocasio-Cortez says that facts don’t matter if you’re morally superior. And Democrats do believe they’re morally superior. You know you’ve made the transition pretty quickly from State Senator into Congress. What are the big differences you’re seeing in the State Senate in Tennessee versus the US Congress in Washington?
Green went on to describe the difference of going from a body of thirty three people and a place where Republicans where in the super majority. In Washington, he stated, he’s in the minority and that logistically its on a much bigger scale. He went on to describe that in Washington he has more resources at his fingertips to get the information when needed and the size of his staff. Gill added that the Democrats have the same majority in the House that the Republicans had before the elections and questioned why there a battle between Republicans and Democrats who serve on committees. Green clarified that the House rules establish committees and the majority party makes all those kinds of decision. He pondered whether or not it was an efficiency issue or an operational issue. “I know we are waiting and we’d love to know. We are eager to get working,” said Green.
Gill: Well typically Republicans when they have a majority play fair the Democrats don’t and we never seem to be able to learn the lesson, that this is hardball politics. and playing nice when we’re in the majority doesn’t necessarily mean the Democrats will do the same when they take a majority as they’ve done in this case.
Green: Oh no, that’s absolutely the truth. But you know my perspective in this next two years is that we’re going to teach the Democrats how to be in minority because after these two years they’re going to be back in it. So, we’re just going to be noble, be honorable, do right, and fight for our constituents and hopefully they’ll learn from it. And when they’re in the minority here in about two years they’ll act appropriately.
Leahy: Mark, this is Michael Patrick Leahy, you were named the Fox News power player of the week and did a really good job.
Gill: Does that come with a trophy? (Laughter) T-shirt at least?
Leahy: But you did a really good job defending President Trump. Why is it do you think that you’ve been able to secure such high visibility in defense of the President in just, you know a week or so since you’ve been up there?
Green answered that he believed his background, experience and considerable body of work behind him compounded with military, business and legislative experience has enhanced his visibility. Gill added that Crenshaw is in this new class and asked if this helps us looking out for our troops and families while people are deployed and if it helps with that type of military experience. Green agreed that it does and that it goes beyond that because it’s about having a heart of service. Green urged that the veterans are stepping forward and want to put the “junk” aside and get things done. He believes that relationships are an important factor and that parties need to label the issues and not label the persons and to do that they would need to create a cultural change in the House. “I think we can make a difference if we approach it with that perspective,” stated Green.
Gill: When you have a Democrat freshman like Talib who’s calling the president an m-fer. I don’t think she’s getting the memo.
Green: No, that’s obviously true. I mean that was really, really in poor taste. You know, the wrong thing for her to say. You know, just a, pretty unprofessional.
Leahy: Representative Green, just between us, just between us, (Green chuckles), now…
Green: And our few friends.
Gill: Both our listeners.
Leahy: Has the President called you and said what are you going to do tonight? Will he, did he tell you if he’s going to declare a national emergency to build the wall?
Green: You know I’m not in that circle. (Leahy laughs). But I’m hearing from people who are, you know, he’s going down Thursday to make a visit and who knows what he’s got planned for that trip. So I’ll be watching and I’ll probably learn about it on the news as well as ya’ll. (Chuckles)
Gill: I’m hoping he’ll go to a portion of the border where there is no wall so all these Democrats who are claiming, “We already have a wall! We already have border security and it’s not working?” I think if he’ll go to a place where there is no wall it will kind of underline that we don’t have a wall and you can just walk across the border.
The gentlemen ended the segment discussing the border wall debate and how Green thinks it will end up. Green responded by saying that he didn’t want to put a time prediction on it and reinforced that it is really a national crisis. Green listed the evidence of a national crisis by stating the following statics from last year: Six thousand known gang members, one point seven million pounds of narcotics, seventy three percent increase in fentanyl, and sixty thousand unaccompanied kids all came across the United States southern border. He reiterated that this is a humanitarian, national security, law enforcement crisis. “We are going to get a deal here. Negotiation is going to have to happen,” confirmed Green.
Gill’s final comment quoted the words of Marsha Blackburn who in response to the Knoxville young man killed by an illegal immigrant said, “We are all border counties, we are all border cities, we are all border states because it’s not just happening at the border.”
Listen to the full segment here:
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