Politics

Transcript: Senator Roy Blunt on

The following is a transcript of an interview with Missouri Senator Roy Blunt that aired Sunday, January 10, 2021, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go now to Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt, he is the head of the congressional committee overseeing the inauguration and the outgoing chairman of one of the two committees investigating what went wrong with security last Wednesday. Good morning to you, Senator.

SENATOR ROY BLUNT: Good morning, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Senator, we have received sad news this morning from Capitol Hill Police that another officer has died. It’s described as an off-duty death. Do you know if there’s any connection to the events of this week?

SEN. BLUNT: You know, I don’t know. Officer Sicknick, now Officer Liebengood, both the- their lives were end- ended this week. I’ll be interested in finding out if there was a connection with Officer Liebengood. But mostly I’m interested in reaching out to both of these families. These are people we saw every day, particularly Officer Liebengood, who was very much assigned to the Senate side of the building. And, you know, you have that loss. You have four other deaths of people who got involved in something that they absolutely should not have gotten involved in. And it was a tragedy, even if it had been limited just to that. But then when you see this all over the world, you- citizens of the United States storming the Capitol of the United States, certainly something I thought I would never see. And I’m glad we got back into the Capitol and got our work done that day where we were supposed to get it done to send that signal. But the signal around the world couldn’t have been more helpful to our adversaries than it was. It was a sad and terrible day in the history of the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I think we agree with you on that, sir. I appreciate your kind words about these particular officers. I have to ask you, though, about some of the images that have been projected around the world as well, which are of some of those officers appearing to remove barriers for rioters to allow them in. There are reports that some actually gave information on where to find certain congressional offices. Is there any indication of involvement or complicity from members of the Capitol Police?

SEN. BLUNT: No, no. And I resent any sense that the Capitol Police didn’t push back, fight back valiantly get out there and stand between first the building and then the people in the building that they’re there to protect. Now, Senator Klobuchar and I have announced we’re going to look into this, both the planning and whether the support was imminent. Certainly the support from the D.C. police was quick and incredibly helpful. I know the mayor’s coming on later today. They were here. They were here almost immediately when asked to be. I think we have to think about why the National Guard didn’t get here quicker, but the- the Capitol Police fought back. You can do anything with looking at film, not knowing what you’re talking about. I do know when you’re overwhelmed in law enforcement, one of the things you do is try to step back and regroup,–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. BLUNT:  –rather than just get- let yourself get surrounded. Senator Coons is on later. He and I formed the Law Enforcement Caucus–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. BLUNT: –when we came to the Senate 10 years ago. We- we see these officers often. We reach out more than most members do to them. They are- put their lives on the line every day,–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SEN. BLUNT: –particularly last Wednesday. And I deeply resent any suggestion that these officers didn’t do everything they could do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Two Republican senators have now called for the president to resign. Should he?

SEN. BLUNT: Well, it would be up to him, but my- my view would be what the president should do is now finish the last 10 days of his presidency.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So no?

SEN. BLUNT: No.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your fellow Republicans have been quite critical, including Liz Cheney, including Mitt Romney, who called this an insurrection and said that the president was directly involved. Justice Department affidavits have individuals saying they came here because the president told him- them to. Is the president a danger to the country?

SEN. BLUNT: Well, I think the president’s decisions and his actions that day and leading up to that day on this topic were clearly reckless. I said that very early in the evening on Wednesday, that this was a tragic day for the- the country and the president had some- had involvement in that. But–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are Republican leaders going to hold them accountable in any way for it?

SEN. BLUNT: Well, I think the country is the- the right way to hold presidents accountable. The president should be very careful over the next 10 days that his behavior is what you’d expect from the leader of the greatest country in the world. Now, my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again. And if that’s the case, I think- we- we get- every day, we get closer to the last day of his presidency. We should be thinking more about the first day of the next presidency than the last day of his presidency, in my view. And I’ll be there on that day as the chairman of that event seeing the new president sworn in. The- President Trump says he’s not coming.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

SEN. BLUNT: I hope Vice President Pence does, and I was proud to see the vice president step up as I was standing there right with him as one of the four members of Congress that count those electoral ballots and do what the law required us to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, but your fellow Missouri senator, Josh Hawley, was on the other side of that. Do you think that he was complicit, along with the five other senators who continued to propagate this lie, that there could be a change to the outcome of the election on Wednesday?

SEN. BLUNT: Well- well, I only have one vote in the Senate, which is my vote. Now I did- the day Senator Hawley announced he’d be contesting those electoral votes, announced that I would not be. When Senator Cruz said he had a plan to put in case- put back in- in place a commission like the one formed in 1877–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

SEN. BLUNT: –I said that wouldn’t happen. I’m not- I wasn’t interested then or now in spending a lot of time on things that can’t happen–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So no sanction?

SEN. BLUNT: –just like the impeachment- just like the impeachment of the president, to remove him from office clearly is not going to happen between now and the last day he’s in office. And that’s another thing–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don’t support- you don’t believe he has committed an impeachable offense?

SEN. BLUNT: I don’t think there’s any- that’s not really the question. The question is–

MARGARET BRENNN: Well, it’s my question.

SEN. BLUNT: –is there any- is there any- well, I’m giving you my answer. Is there any likelihood that he could possibly be removed between now and January the 20th? And if there’s no additional ensuing event my- my belief is there is no possibility of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.

SEN. BLUNT: And so, as Nancy Pelosi just said, and as Jim Clyburn said–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

SEN. BLUNT: –earlier today, this is more of a long term punishment of the president–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.

SEN. BLUNT: –than trying to remove him from office. That’s when–

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s right.

SEN. BLUNT: –the politics take over and the protecting the government is left behind.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. We’ll see if you have a different answer in the new Congress. Sir, thank you for your time this morning.

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