Live from Washington, D.C. Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed former congressman and founder of Team America PAC, Tom Tancredo to the microphone to describe his new PAC and why he left the swamp.
Leahy: We are delighted to be joined again here by former Congressman Tom Tancredo, now the founder of Team America PAC from Colorado. Tom, thanks so much for joining us.
Tancredo: It’s a pleasure to see you again.
Leahy: Now Tom, having been out of Congress for some time, when you look at what your former colleagues are doing, do you think, I got out just in time?
Tancredo: Oh man. That and there are a number of other reasons, but I did exactly that. And I do feel that way. As a matter of fact, this event is the only thing I come back to Washington for.
The only thing. I don’t like this place. You may recall, I think we may have talked about this, but I got in a lot of trouble while I was here as a congressman because I was going around this country at the request of people.
I wasn’t just wandering around speaking from the back of a train or something. (Leahy chuckles) I’d go to all these groups that would invite me out to speak on immigration. I’d go all over the country.
Leahy: You would say things that all people say, oh, Tom Tancredo saying these crazy things about open borders. It’ll never happen.
Tancredo: That’s right. And a lot of them were all Republican groups. right. So I’d be talking. And inevitably they’d say, somebody, say, Well, How’s our guy? How’s Fred.
Leahy: You know, Congressman Fred.
Tancredo: Congressman Fred.
Leahy: He’s a nice guy.
Tancredo: He says he’s a nice guy for you on this issue. And I say, Fred? Fred’s crap. Are you kidding me? He hasn’t voted for. And of course, I wouldn’t get out of the building. And Fred is on the phone with Tom DeLay saying he’s in my district dissing me a Republican.
Leahy: Tom DeLay at the time was the majority whip.
Tancredo: That’s right.
Leahy: And whip I think was the operative word.
Tancredo: That’s exactly right. They also called him the hammer for the same reason. I’d get back here and he would just reem me out. And finally, the last time he says to me, he sticks his finger in my face and he says, I want to see you right now.
Fred called again. (Chuckles) So it’s one of those things where when he said it I thought I better call my wife and see if they’ve got our kids. (Chuckles) So I go in and see him. He just goes nuts.
The important thing to take away from this is what he told me. And it tells you everything you want to know about this place. He says to me, this is the worst thing he could think of, right?
He says I’m telling you, you little SOB and I’m about an inch taller than he is, by the way. (Leahy chuckles) And he says to me, if you keep this up, literally, he says, you’re going to ruin your career in this place.
Leahy: And you’re going?
Tancredo: I stared at him and I said, that’s it? I said, Tom, I don’t know how to break this to you, but I don’t want a career in this place. I don’t like this place. Do you understand?
Leahy: I’ve got a line here that said it’s not exactly accurate. But did he send you a Christmas card when he was put on trial?
Tancredo: (Laughs) No.
Leahy: Well, actually, it is accurate.
Tancredo: No, he did not.
Leahy: He did not.
Tancredo: He never sent me one.
Leahy: He got off on those on that issue, but it was a couple of years. Election-related stuff. He probably got off because he was such a hit on Dancing with the Stars. Do you remember?
Leahy: I do remember.
Tancredo: My God, it was the most embarrassing thing.
Leahy: So here’s the thing, Tom. You left here in 2008 was your last year here.
Leahy: And so you have spent 13 years doing something else. What is that something else?
Tancredo: I try. I keep my toe in the water as much as I can. I speak still in a lot of places. I write a column every week for something called the American Citizen Press.
And if I didn’t do that part, I’d explode. I’m positive because it’s cathartic. You can get it all out every week. You can opine. And I enjoy that. And then I’ve got the PAC that we support candidates.
Leahy: Team America PAC. What kind of candidates do you support?
Tancredo: Guess what kind? We only have one kind. The kind that is supporting us on immigration. It’s solely for that purpose. I don’t give in to just Republicans because they’re Republicans because a lot of them aren’t any better than the Democrats.
Leahy: This is one of the reasons why the Republican establishment here was so unhappy with you because you told the truth about their weakness on immigration.
Tancredo: Absolutely. It was always fascinating to me. Some of my Republican colleagues would come up to me and go, Tom, I agree with you. I mean, this is a serious problem. It’s bad. But on the other hand, I can’t help you with this. I can’t do it.
Leahy: No, I can’t help you because I want to get re-elected.
Tancredo: I want the money that can come through the leadership PAC from the Chambers of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce. Oh, my gosh. Where do I go about them? They are the devil incarnate when it comes to this issue.
Leahy: Stop the presses. Congressman Tom Tancredo has said the US Chamber of Commerce is the devil incarnate.
Tancredo: It is certainly when it comes to immigration because they want cheap labor.
Leahy: And, Tom, thanks so much for joining us today. You’re living well in Colorado?
Leahy: Great. Thanks so much, Tom. And we look forward to seeing you again next year.
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