tv Washington Journal Cliff Stearns CSPAN December 28, 2017 9:31pm-10:35pm EST
reporter is the author of "thank you for your service," the book was released as a motion picture last october. you can watch the conversation friday at 5:15 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by american's cable-television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> all this week "washington journal" has featured authors with new books in 2017. next we talk with cliff stearns. his book "life in the marble palace."
looks back on his 20 years in congress. served in thet house of representatives as a republican representative from florida, and he is the author of the book "life in the marble palace." this is cliff stearns. good morning. guest: thank you for having me. good morning. host: what was the goal of the book? guest: the goal of the book was to show some of the flaws of democracy, the positive things in democracy, and during the tumultuous times i served there was so much that occurred that showed the weakness of what we were doing. my book was talking about how can we improve democracy and also remind people of the great history of western civilization and what we have in this country, and try to move forward to a rebirth of democracy. host: i'm interested in your thoughts on the title. follybtitle "in praise of
," what are you trying to accomplish their? guest: a restless wrote a book in -- "in pursuit of folly," highly political, but it was moving toward the protestant reformation, and talking about how much reform was needed. i use that title as a backdrop to really show how important it is to reform and change the way we do things in d.c. host: if there were one major step congress could take to reform, what could it be? guest: i think obviously we should have a balanced budget every year. we saw recently we had a continuing resolution that moved to decemberember and now we have one that is only one month. now you're talking about the entire federal budget cannot be agreed upon, yet the country has a huge amount of debt, and as you know, if you have debt continually, it will bankrupt the country. host: why is it difficult for congress to set up budgets and pass them?
guest: a lot of the problem is there is too much unwillingness to compromise. we all know that the great compromise of 1776 created the constitution. without that compromise, we would not have a country today. when you look at the different members of congress taking positions that they will not change, will not compromise, in the end that means we stall the congress and its ability to move forward. host: did you ever find yourself in a position where compromise was not possible, and what was the end result of it. guest: there were times. i am pro-life, so that is an area that is difficult to compromise. also, there are areas, when you come to congress, you have strong feelings. i'm a conservative republican. obviously, if i am dealing with someone that is a strong liberal from new york city, it will be difficult to compromise. yet an african-american from new york city, a democrat from the bronx, from yonkers, we passed a
bill regarding rare diseases that could not get medicines from the fda. and we passed the bill that shortened the clinical trials. they didn't have to go to europe to get the medicine. there is a good example where he and i came together and he was a liberal from new york city, and i was a conservative from ocala, florida. host: our guest with us for the hour to talk about his experience. if you want to ask him questions about his time in congress host: you write in the book "from the first moment you get elected as a member of congress, you must decide what you want to do with that office. make money in your career, got the latter of responsibility in
the house of representatives, or seek higher office." can you expand on that? sure. if you stay in congress too long it is difficult to go to higher , office because you have such a strong record of people perceive you as part of the problem. if you decide early on you want to leave, you have a better chance of running for senate or governor. if you stay in congress, you get seniority, and chairmanship. if you are in the majority you get a chairmanship of a major committee i was chairman of the , oversight committee of energy and commerce, and consumer protection and trade. with that you have enormous power and the ability to bring great service to your constituents as well as this country. then, also, somebody like john mccain, when he was in the house and went to the senate, he was considered a maverick, so that is the type of strategy you have to decide, do you really not want to be part of congress and you want to continually be against congress, and that gives
you a certain reputation, too. there are different modes of operation you have to decide early on because the longer you stay the more you will be entrenched in one particular career. host: the ability to rise in congress -- how much of that is connected to the ability to raise money? guest: unfortunately, it is seriously flawed, the business of raising money, because as republicans or democrats, we have to raise money. that shouldn't be. some of the chairmanships are dependent upon how much you raise for your party. more importantly, if you receive large sums of money from one political action committee or some particular group, obviously they are going to influence you. you shouldn't be influenced, but oftentimes you are. so, the raising money, the amount of time it takes takes you away from actually doing your job. that is a serious problem. host: you tell a story in the
book about running for a chairmanship against roy blunt from missouri, and the factor of money. can you recount that story for us? guest: he was a majority leader and decided to run for senate from missouri. at this point, the chair of the energy and telecommunications subcommittee was in play. i was selected to be the --irman of the television telecommunications subcommittee. he wanted to be chair because it helped him to raise money to run for the senate. i was in a battle with him to see who was going to be chairman of that subcommittee for the republicans, and he was very skilled because he had lots of contacts, had given left of money, so i tried to realize what compromise could i provide so i can retain that chairmanship, and i worked with
the speaker. boehner said it would be very difficult for me. i worked with joe bartman, and the long and short of it is we had to come up with a compromise to provide him a special place and for me to retain the chairmanship. i also realized it would not look good for a person like -- hoistede wasted out of this position with my seniority. the compromise i realize was to give them vice chair and he will be able to go to all subcommittees as vice-chairman and have great jurisdiction, and i would continue to be chairman of the telecommunications. it was a great compromise. host: speaker boehner mentioned the amount of money you would be able to raise as well. guest: he said that i -- i gave him 150,000 dollars, and he indicated it would have to be double that, and i said that is not reasonable. i don't think i should have to
do that. that became a difficult spot. i had to give more money. i did give more money, but roy blunt, the majority leader, had much more access than i did. but in the end, the vote came down on the energy and commerce committee members, and i think i had a lot of influence there, so when it came finally to the decision, we offered senator blunt the opportunity to be vice-chairman of the whole committee, which he agreed to, and then i became chairman of the subcommittee. interestingly, when i was on the house floor in speaker boehner came up to me and said stearns, you are very, very lucky. and so, i think that was a great skill for being able to do that, because at that point i really wasn't sure i could win. host: that is one of the stories recounted in "life in the marble palace." a book by the honorable cliff stearns, who joins us now. the first call for you comes
from virginia, democrat line. jay, you're on with cliff stearns. go ahead. caller: mr. stearns, i was wondering about abortion. republicans got the senate, the house, supreme court, the president -- why don't they move on it? is it because a wedge issue? guest: so your question, john is, since republicans are the majority, why don't they do more on the pro-life issue? the life of a mother is protected and that pretty much made the issue moot, but at the same time we have to be careful
is not givingtes taxpayers money to mexico -- the united states is not giving taxpayers money to mexico for a -- for abortions. obviously it is a divisive issue. i think the trump administration has shown a strong predilection to be pro-life. host: california is next. republican line. david. go ahead. caller: i had a question about bipartisanship. host: david, go ahead, you are on. caller: why would republicans need to be bipartisan? if republicans feel they are right about an issue, the democrats are wrong about the issue. why the need to work together? why not do the job without bipartisanship? democrats passed obamacare without one republican vote. they did not care about bipartisanship, so why should republicans care about it?
guest: it is an interesting question, but the reality is in the senate has 52 senators that are republicans. and of course with john mccain now, his illness, that brings it down to 51. that is why vice president pence has to break ties. republicans passed the tax reform act. no democrat supported. but to answer your question in , the house, they have a majority, but they have a strong moderate group of individuals from michigan, pennsylvania, some of the highly industrialized urban areas, and they vote moderately. at the same time you have folks from the south and the freedom caucus that vote strong conservatively. you cannot get the majority at any one time. this is shown when they try to repeal obamacare. they passed it in the house, but in the senate, they could not
get the votes, and they lost enough senators that it failed. host: so, taking a look at the efforts on the tax bill. democrats say they did not have any input. were those legitimate concerns from democrats as far as that process was concerned? guest: i think it was. i think in a larger sense, when you have a bill, it should go through the regular procedure, from the house committee, to the floor, then to the senate -- then a conference committee. but what happens is it is so controversial in terms of different aspects of it, they will give it to the subcommittee chair they will have him look at it, and they might have a markup, and take it from the subcommittee to the full committee and not have a markup until it gets to the senate or house floor. but during the process, if the democrats really want to get involved, they could have offered a separate till -- haveate bill of their own
it voted on, and that would have for some republicans to vote against it. i think senator schumer of new york made a mistake, forced republicans to vote against it. i thought senator schumer of new york made a mistake. they should have come up with a bill that would have been voted down. likewise, when we had affordable -- the affordable care act, republicans never offered a health care bill. that was a mistake. republicans voted against obamacare, but where was the republican answer to health care? it wasn't there. i think it is a mistake by either party not to offer their version of tax reform or health care because then the american people have a clear choice. host: our guest served in congress. what you do now? guest: i work for a worldwide public medications and communication company with 32 locations around the world your it is founded by alison krauss. she has an exceptional job. and then i am also a member of
the international policy advisory committee with about 80 other people, men and women, who have great experience in government and we advise people in a way to help them understand how government works. between those two, i have a great opportunity to continue to provide policy, and at the same time, i am also president of the united states association of former members of congress. that has about 450 house members and about 150 senate members. i am honored to be the president. we have 11 employees. we do great work in terms of civic education identical high schools, colleges, and also a lot with the embassies in this country. so, i have a great career after congress, and i welcome that opportunity.
host: do any of those careers give you lobbying work in congress? guest: i do. i am registered. in many ways, lobbying work is a pleasant experience. people think it is not, but when you go back to see your colleagues you have known for many years, you are in a close friendship with them. it is almost like coming back to see old friends. so, it's not -- it is very low-key because as a former member i know high pressure is not the way you do it. you just go in you try to , educate the member in the senate or the house, and you say i understand what your situation is. i just want to tell you my side of it. it is very low-key. so it is a great opportunity to , talk to them, and listen to them. host: this is from maryland. howard is next. democrats line. caller: senator, i would like to know how the people that are voting for this law, voting for
building the military up, how can they come into existence when we are giving the people that can afford to pay for it the money back to them, and that means that people like me that work by the hour will be the ones that have to pay for it? i also would like to know is there a building in d.c. that could house every person we sent to work for us to come together and come up with a plan for anything besides you go your way taking one plan, and i go my way making my plan? guest: those are interesting questions. the first one obviously is we are spending more money on the military and we're getting a tax cut -- how is that going to benefit the average joe? the idea is if you can increase the economy from 2% gdp up to 3% or 4%, that will create more
incentive to invest capital, create more jobs, and create higher-paying jobs. so, the idea is under a free economy, if you increase the amount of revenue, it will help the person in the minimum wage and the person working in a job much like it sounds yourself is working in. the other interesting thought to bring the members of congress and make them live together, eat together, if they want to get out of washington they can only do it when they compromise. i think there is a certain logic to that, because i know lots of times members go right back to their district. they don't stay here in washington. they don't have an opportunity to meet fellow members of congress. they don't develop any rapport with them. they look at them antagonistic way and not as a fellow compatriot trying to do the right thing. i think coming together in a
way, i housing situation would be an interesting, practical way to think about it. host: philip is in orlando florida. independent line. caller: good morning. i have a quick question. number have you ever read the one, book "run in my shoes?" an honest attempt to understand beginnings of america. i really endorse it. you sound to me like an honest broker which attracted me to call, because you don't get that all of the time, especially in this era we are living with with the presidency. my question is, sir if you are , the historian that i believe you should be, if you are in the position you are, you look at the decline of the roman empire, the american empire, and the scientific issues we are facing like climate change, and in -- there is denial about that. i am asking you to give an honest answer -- look up in the
sky, maybe not today in washington, d.c., but in certain portions of the country, on a clear day you see all of the chem trails going on. why are they doing this? there are so many theories about it. what are they spraying us for, doing these patterns? caller: i am not sure what he is saying. when you see -- look in the sky, you see spraying and patterns? host: chemical trails. as they're known. down in florida i haven't seen that as an issue. that may be mormon issue in california or some of these areas where they are trying to eight i are -- fight fire? i think his concern would be if you are in california today and you had all that smoke and spraying of chemicals, obviously that makes you think of agent orange during the vietnam war
where they sprayed to stop the polish and a lot of our veterans were affected with cancer. even today they are starting to get cancer. the spreading the many chemicals in the atmosphere is not good and i understand his concern. host: there is a viewer off of twitter says to ask you specifically if you recognize the republican party and what it has become under the trump administration. guest: i do recognize it. "the national review" ran a huge issue saying that donald trump was not a conservative, but he has shown in the last year he has issued edicts from the white house. he has taken a philosophy which is conservative, and i think in many ways he has had a very successful year, in my opinion, and i think that a lot of the people -- his core supporters are still with him.
obviously the mainstream media is not with him, and i think a lot of his tweets are distracting, but in the end he has done a great number of things that are important. host: we saw republicans come together because of the tax bill, but do they support him as a whole? guest: i think they do. i think they do, because -- i mean some of the things he has done some republicans may not agree with. for example, the negotiation of nafta. 13 republicansly to vote against nafta. i voted against bush when they had the peso collapse. i took a lot of heat for that. the thought was that in the end, it was going to hurt america in terms of jobs to be exported. i think that is true in my opinion. i think trump was to be tppended for that and the
he got us out of. i think trump has shown certain aspects the republicans do not agree with, but i think the american people agree with him, and i think blue-collar democrats agree with him, and that was shown when he won pennsylvania and ohio. so, in the end i think he is representing a strain of republicanism that a lot of people think is conservative. host: from pennsylvania. democrats line. tony. you are on with cliff stearns. caller: good morning. i want to pick up on what the congressman said earlier regarding the need to have conversation and compromise with in the parties in congress. you have to have truth and facts to make the best decision possible, but in my view, the trump presidency has ignored the facts and deliberately lied on many occasions. i heard this morning that he claims to have signed more
legislation than any other president since truman, and that is an outright lie. i want to know what the congressman's observations are with discussions of truth in what the republican party is saying. guest: i think it is a good question. any republican asked to that question sort of really has to be thoughtful about it. because there are some good things about president trump. his accomplishment has really come from executive orders he has done. he has not been able to successfully pass a major piece of legislation except for the tax reform act. he lost health care. nothing has been done on infrastructure. nothing has been done on immigration. you can really say to your point that some of the major pieces of legislation he has talked about, he promised when he ran for the presidency, has not been passed, and has really not even gotten off the ground, but on the other hand, he has shown enormous leadership in terms of other things.
whether you believe it or not, he has relaxed the ability to mine for oil and gas in the western part of the united states through executive orders. he has also relaxed regulations on coal so that it can be used as an alternative source of energy. he has also gone ahead and talked about ways to help small business through linda mcmahon, now the secretary of small business administration. he has done so many things that have been helpful to the economy, not to mention the stock market is at an all-time high. we had 3% gdp for the first time in years. thick about the obama administration, we never had 3% gdp, and now we have it. that is the feeling americans have -- less regulation, the opportunity for more freedom, the opportunity to make more
money and ultimately take care of our families. i think the symbolic positions he has taken in the white house through executive orders has created this climate of we are going to change, improve, yet congress has lagged behind. guest: houston, texas. republican line. william, go ahead. caller: good morning. i have a question about the legislative process as it stands right now. a lot of times when i am listening to c-span radio, the this last time was on the short-term budget resolution. i see a lot of congressman get worked up on the floor, get pretty loud, and one of them does a pretty good martin luther i heard does a pretty good martin luther king impersonation, but how much of all of this you think is just a show, just trying to get attention from the public, and how much is actually productivity? guest: that is a good question.
when the constitution was being debated in 1776, there was no media. in fact they had guards not to , allow anyone in, and they had vigorous debate. they had people that disagreed. in the end, as i pointed out earlier, without the great gaveomise, which basically two senators from small states and two senators from large states so small states would not be bullied -- that together with representation from the house was the compromise that got things done. what you see on the house floor is some form of publicity. that is true. often times there is a huge amount of disagreement between, let's say a strong republican, and someone who is a strong liberal. and on those issues, they cannot even talk to each other because they just won't listen to each other. so, in the end, that is shown on the house floor.
in fact, there have been fights on the house floor. jim moran of virginia had an altercation with a republican. sometimes you see that fierce amount of rhetoric is actually true because that is how they feel. host: how difficult was it to keep a connection with your constituents back home, and what would you advise numbers of congress to do now that you are out of it? guest: i had 655 town meetings, and now members of congress did not have town meetings because of the feeling that they are putting themselves in jeopardy in terms of the violence that could occur, and because lots of times they cannot even speak because people speak out so loudly against them. what they do now is telephone town meetings, which are pretty effective. basically you can this -- you canvas your district, announcing
you can call in and ask questions to the congressman. he will be in his office or anywhere, and he can have two or 3000 people listen, and maybe only get 25 calls, but at the same time you get a it is not like a town meeting where anyone can answer --ask any questions. i think is much as possible, members should get out of their office, get down to their areas and listen to the people, causing it if the people don't agree with you, you get their side of the argument. host: on this program occasionally we will have people tell us they called the congressman's office and never heard back. did that happen to you? how did you make sure while you were in office that you make sure people calling your office is paired .guest: well the fact that i had so many town meetings made it easy to access me. i was a businessman before i came to congress. i had a strict procedure that within eight days we had to answer each and every mail or email and i would get every week
a list of all the emails that came in and the correspondence, and then it would be put into a matrix, and i could see how long each one was being held up or not answered. so, at the end of the week i can say to one of my staff, look, this was assigned to you, john, david --you have not gotten it done -- what is happening? i did not have that problem. a lot of members, if they are not careful, they can get behind. some are 10,000 behind. they did not run their office will. host: cliff stearns is joining us. former member of congress, and author of the book "life in the marble palace -- in praise of folly." sue is in fort myers, florida. our line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call. i could talk for two hours myself here. a couple of questions. number 1 -- i am 74. so i have been around for a while. i am concerned about the social
security and medicare that paul ryan is going to be attacking. i am not happy with either side, just so you know. i don't understand why social security and medicare cannot be dedicated funds, end of story. nobody should be able to touch it -- no president on either side. strictly for that. the other thing i would like to comment on an observed, and it is upsetting -- we have in okeechobee farm, and there have that have beenms committing torture to the cows. it is not being reported on. the department of agriculture. there has been no update.
if you solve these photos -- this live footage, i would be having nightmares about it. they are burning them with fire torches, beating them. they are throwing babies around. it is absolutely disgusting to watch. host: susan, appreciate the call. guest: i will take your second question first, because something like that is occurring in our horse industry, and that became such a problem that it became the attention of several members of congress from kentucky, where obviously horse racing is very important. i would say you should go to your congressman, send him a letter, and after you sent him a letter outlining what you think are the problems, and if you can find statistics or pictures you can confirm what you are talking about, include that with your correspondence. call him back, try to go to his town meeting, and see if your congressman will pick it up as
an issue because he can make a difference -- offer legislation, bring it to the forefront, get publicity. to answer your first question, you are right -- social security is paid for by citizens in this country, and is matched by the employer, so it should be a trust fund that is set aside, not touched. under lyndon johnson -- president lyndon johnson, he changed all of that and used the trust fund to help fund the vietnam war. that is a problem. it should be walled off, protected, and i think many people say we paid for it, we deserve to have it. if it was properly invested instead of putting it into just the treasury, or not invested in a proper way, it would have paid for itself, but now it is not paying for itself. but it really people growing old will find it will be more of a serious problem. i agree with you that social security should be walled off
and protect did. it is not an entitlement because it is paid for by american citizens. host: the numbers to call if you want to ask questions or give comments to cliff stearns. representative stearns, a recent headline from "the washington examiner," when it comes to 2018 agenda -- things they want to see, infrastructure, immigration, welfare reform. what is the likelihood of any of that getting forward in an election year? guest: i think immigration will be difficult. there is no agreement on the wall on the democrat side, and no agreement on any of the issues doing with immigration. republicans will have to pass it by themselves. in terms of infrastructure, i think there is bipartisan support for that. i think the trump administration should have taken that before the health care issue, because if they had gotten democrats to agree on an infrastructure bill,
what a bank for a book that would have been for the president to have that pass in the first 90 days of congress. i think president trump realizes he can go to chuck schumer and nancy pelosi and say we want if a structure for new york city, san francisco, -- infrastructure for new york city, san francisco, florida -- everywhere in the country because we have bridges collapsing. they can help pay for it with fees, by really doing something extraordinary and setting up a bond. just like we had savings bonds during world war ii. you could have savings bonds for infrastructure and sell it to the american people. take that money, go ahead and use it with infrastructure instruction. it is so needed, it would create jobs, and it would be a win-win situation. between the other things he talked about -- host: welfare reform. guest: welfare reform -- under the clinton administration we
passed welfare reform under speaker gingrich, but that has been, sort of, emasculated through the obama presidency. i think there are many ways the trump administration and republicans could wrap it up, but i think democrats in the very reluctant. host: a number of republican's retiring from congress this year into next year. what does that tell you not only about the retirements themselves, but for the potential for republicans to remain in power in the house in 2018? guest: i think the senate majority is in jeopardy because some senators have decided to leave because they did not want to go through a primary. trump himself has come out against two of those u.s. senators, and they decided to leave. there is a possibility in the senate we could lose the majority, but on the other hand it depends upon what the muslim
-- legislative agenda is fourth next year. that has many people realize that in six months politics could change dramatically. we have six months nine months before the next election. in the house, a lot of these districts have been gerrymandered. fun is another problem. a lot of members of congress play to the right or to the left and do not worry about a general election because if they have a general election they will win it in republican district that went for trump by 10%, you will win in the general easy. your big race will be in the primary. so, a lot of these congressional districts have been gerrymandered. i don't think the house could lose the majority unless there is a huge amount of, shall we say, dissatisfaction with trump as well as republican leadership of paul ryan. host: you, yourself, in a primary, were running against
three other people. what did you learn from that? i ran in 1988, my polls should be 50% behind, and i -- 15% behind, and i won. in this race, my polls showed me i had by 17%, and i lost my 842 votes. it was a case where there were too many people in the race, and generally you have a runoff. governor jeb bush did away with a runoff. i think in a runoff, i would have won. i think winning and losing is great character building or in the end, you accept the people and their vote. you say i've had this opportunity for 25 years. i cannot be dissatisfied. it is such a wonderful experience to represent your
people in congress, and it is a very high calling. a lot of people give so much negative publicity to congress. historically, going back to aristotle, david hume, or even the professional , nature of being a number of congress is a high profession. that is how i looked at it. i had this gift and i was so grateful. host: doug. medina, ohio. democrats line. caller: you mentioned about the country going broke because of the debt, and i seem to recall on three different occasions, mexico owed us a lot of money and they just default it, renegotiated the terms and got a
better interest rate. i don't see any reason --they american people own about a third of the debt and the rest of the debt is owned by foreign companies. i don't see why there is any reason if it gets that bad, they noticed a shouldn't say we will not pay you. you will have to renegotiate with us and we'll come up with other terms. host: caller, thanks. guest: it is a scenario. president trump indicated why don't we shut the government down -- he indicated. so members of congress want to shut the government down. the problem is the dollar is the national standard. if you cannot have confidence in the dollar, that would change economies around the world.
a default would cause disruption everywhere, not to mention the people we owe the money to, include china, japan, europe, it would be too calamitous to see the united states ask for renegotiated terms. what we try to do is improve the economy. if the government will just spend less than it brings in, ultimately the government could have a more solid finances situation. host: james from tennessee. republican line. caller: senator, first i would like to say i wish you were still in the congress, and you mentioned the town halls and how many you have done. what you think it says to the american people when congressman are afraid to talk to their constituents in person? thank you. guest: i don't think it is a good sign. i know they are concerned about their safety, but every town
meeting i had, i had a policeman, sometimes two. i have had people try to disrupt my town meeting, have people try to arrest me with their so-called writ of legislation that they wanted to do. i have had the same kinds of problems. i think the people should be able to have access to you and be able to talk to you one-on-one. none of the questions should be screened before they come in. they should be able to ask you anything and everything. you make about $174,000 a year, plus you get subsidized health care from the federal employee health benefit program, savings, a retirement -- it is a very good job, it is paid well, yet you go back to the city of ocala, back to jacksonville, gainesville -- the average salary there is 35,000, $40,000. you have a responsibility to talk to people and understand what kind of life they have, how
can you improve their life. take care if they have trouble with medicare, social security, with the military, veterans -- that is your job. i think they should have the courage to go back. i served as a captain of the united states air force during the vietnam war. if we're going to send our men and women over to fight to protect our freedom, at least members of congress should get out of the glass houses and go back to talk to the constituents, explain their positions and listen to them. host: we will hear next from marielle in washington, state. independent line. caller: good morning. i have been listening intently. i have to say, i am not sure which side of your mouth you are talking out of, sir. you never answer the question when he asked you was trump lying? he was clearly lying. he -- you never answer the question. you went on to whatever else you
were saying. i'm a black woman, and right now i am absolute terrified of our president. you talk about living in glass houses. you just explained everything you got. i see nothing you have done -- now you are selling a book. it is just madness. it is sickening. where is the line -- the moral line, where you are supporting the president who was going to put a pedophile in the senate. host: marielle, we will let him answer. guest: marielle, thank you for calling in. when i talk about town meetings, this is what people need to get out and listen to people like yourself, to empathize, say this woman is coming from this perspective, this is what she hears your this is her opinion.
as a member of congress you have to be approachable. to go to your question, i am not going to accuse the trump administration or the president of the notices of lying. i am not going to do that. if the president of the united states says something, the press will point out he is not telling the truth, and second come in some places, he might be exaggerating, hyperbole -- anything to use -- sell his point. he is a salesman in the end. yet been successful in the real estate business because he has been selling and create a perception that perhaps is not in any case fully accurate. in the end, it is helping with his negotiation. i think the trump administration has used his tweets and public utterance to push his agenda, and to tell you the truth up here, it is difficult to get through the main media get your point across. i complement president trump
forgetting his position across. host: you talk a lot in this book about scandals, things you saw in the house. talk about that through the lens of the last couple of months, particularly with sexual harassment being such a big topic on capitol hill. guest: when a number of congress comes to washington, he should realize there is a huge amount of temptations as well as opportunities for him to cross the line, which he would not get if he was back in his district. for example, when you hire staff, a lot of the female staff are quite enamored by a member of congress, and honestly, a lot of the female staff want to do well by the congressman. they are more apt to show a willingness to help, and it could be taken if only, and it could be sexual attraction particular to a younger staffer.
i think we are seeing that. the temptations are across the board in terms of getting gifts when you go overseas, using your campaign or congressional funds inappropriately, or also, in many cases, using your power as a congressman for things that are not appropriate, or at the same time you are doing it for a quid pro quo for a political action committee. the temptation is large. the scandals we are today goes to the fact that a lot of numbers of congress do not understand what sexual harassment is about. you cannot inappropriately touch a woman in a workplace, even flirt with a woman as it isn't -- is intimidating. it goes for men and women. end, that is an important
issue members of congress need to be educated on. sexual harassment in the workplace is there and it has to be stopped because both sexes have to feel comfortable going to work every day and not feeling the constant tension that the member is going to flirt with me, ask me out, and it will influence my position here and i cannot keep my job. host: on another front, "politico" published a story saying you use a campaign account to pay for personal expenses. guest: they filed a complaint, we had two lawyers answer it and that we did file all of the fcc complaints and they moved to dismiss it. host: the publication did? guest: no, the lawyers filed an answer to their objectives and moved to dismiss it because it
showed the campaign was following everything the fcc -- rules were. it was a bogus complaint. host: how does it allow the campaign account to continue if you are not in congress? guest: if you are a candidate. i am not a candidate, but a lot of times members of congress run again. some have been able to do it. second, if you have this money, you give it out every year in terms of charitable contributions. i have given it to my alma mater, george washington, to the college of central florida. i give it out to my colleagues in washington here, but ultimately it will all be given out as charity or move to a foundation. host: also, the "political" story says it is used for membership dues, things like that. is that the case? guest: i use it for the
organization of former members of congress, which is a 501(c). you can give money to a 501(c). i think these folks. that's all these things did not think were not 501(c)'s. i do not take any honorarium for speaking. at the same time, it is part of the political understanding of what the issues are and to be able to talk about it, i go to some of these not-for-profit and speak. host: that said, are you planning to run for congress against? guest: you never say never. congressional district has changed again. it is highly republican. if i ran i would have a good , chance. at the moment, i am not thinking about it, but i did not rule that out.
that is why my campaign front still active. host: is anyone encouraging you to run for congress currently? guest: people are always asking me to run, and sometimes they are asking me to run for the senate or some other higher positions, but i think after you serve 24 years and he said yourself that is a long time to be a public servant -- i used four years in the air force. i think 28 years is plenty. host: democrats line. fort worth, texas. james is next. hello. caller: thanks. i will congratulate you on being a great politician. you can turn a two word sentence into an eight paragraph soliloquy. ever since newt gingrich turned whitewater into monica lewinsky, , the kneeeagan did
capping a good, decent, honest person like barack obama -- the republican party's lust for power is so strong they are willing to accept someone as dishonest, as unstable as donald trump to do what they are trying to do, and that is take from the needy, give to the greedy. that is what is going on. i come from a family -- my grandfather was very active. he was a high level republican campaign operative in state politics, and i am afraid the republicans are trying to turn america into a neofascist authoritarian government and take away our democracy. host: thanks, caller. we will let our guest responded. guest: in the presidential election, hillary clinton won by 3 million votes in the popular vote, but the electoral college showed that donald trump won, but the founders of our country were wise to have electoral college so you do not have the tyranny of the majority and you
have the minority to have their piece. i think the electoral college represents that. president trump won the presidency fair and square. what the caller is saying from his perspective is under republican control we have tax cuts, and these tax cuts have hurt him and his fellow citizens -- hurt him and his fellow citizens because they are needy and they have not seen the effect of the tax cut. i would say to him the standard of living in this country has significantly improved over the years going back to george h.w. bush, and in fact under the clinton administration with republicans in control, we had welfare reform, tax increases, and at the same time a balanced budget, a surplus and the standard of living increased. i would say to the caller the united states is still the most powerful and economically powerful country in the world, and this is due in many respects
to the economy, and the economy comes from a strong ability to have an opportunity, and that comes from reducing government spending and increasing private sector spending. host: independent line. caller: i have a question and a comment, and i will make it quick. you keep saying democracy -- if we were a democracy, clinton would be president. we are not a democracy. i have a constitution read here. nowhere in it doesn't say the word democracy. if you don't know the difference between a republican and democracy, perhaps we ought to go back to school. pedro, quickly, my comment, for the people that have been talking all week, i cannot believe this country is arguing over whether or not jesus is black or white. it is the message -- we are all humanity. the color of his skin does not matter.
guest: that is true. if you look at our genetics, we are all the same genetically, 98% or 99%. to answer your question, you are right -- we are a republican, not a pure democracy where everybody would meet at the town square and have a vote. everybody had a responsibility to understand the issues, so everybody voted. in this case, you can elect people in your hometown to represent you in congress. it is a representative form of government. initially, senators worked elected by the state legislatures. both the state senate and house voted to elect the senators. the 17th amendment we change that so it is a popular vote for the senate should you are clearly on the mark when you say we are a republic. we are not a pure democracy. host: two that caller's point, one of your chapter titles is "where is god?"
guest: what happens is when you go on the house floor and they click on the voting mask, and all 435 votes, and it is the ballot versus the bullet -- what you have to say yourself when you're on the house floor with the most powerful country economically, militarily, and in terms of its attempts to provide freedom to all people -- we are the first nation in the world's history not trying to conquer, just trying to extend freedom and opportunity to countries around the world. that is our modus operandi. when you go to the house floor and you see these 400 35 members vote, and you realize the house is very powerful -- constitutional amendments for the women's right to vote, to do away with slavery, all happened in the house. lastly, oversight of the president happens in the house. it's a very powerful body. you say to yourself when you're getting ready to vote, is there
a right or wrong here? is god here in the house? am i voting the right way that spiritually i should be? this is a strong argument every commerce man has to face believes in god and the spirituality of this nation. so, when you go to vote it is a compromise sometimes. it is also a bright or wrong vote. it will affect this nation detrimentally. god in say to myself, is spirit in the house when i vote? host: one more call. caller: i heard a caller about six calls ago talk about the chem trails. i can't believe it's the first time i ever heard anybody talk about it. i can't believe you were in the air force and you don't seem to know much about it. i sit here and i watch air force planes fly back and forth. they go in one direction,
turnaround with a huge trail. after while they turn into clouds. and you listen to the news they report it as hazy. it is not anything to do with whether. it is the gift crime to humanity ever. host: ok caller. thank you. guest: i'm glad you brought that up. i have not seen it. i'm in the middle part of florida. i don't see the contrails. but your call in the previous call alerted me to a obviously serious problem and the military should address it. if those huge contrails continue, that is exhaust from these jets and these planes and that exhaust is detrimental to our atmosphere. in the end, it is detrimental to small trounce -- small towns that they are dispersing over. i have been educated on contrails this morning. host: the book is called "life
in the marble palace." thank you for the conversation. guest: pedro, thank you. host: what grade would you give president trump? hour what grade they would get president trump. what grade would you give him? >> i would say ab. done, i'vengs he has been on this committee for 23 years and one thing he allowed by executive order is that you can hire doctors in the veterans administration and you could not do that before. doctors have malpractice issues and yet they continued to remain there. i think the president has done a very good job in terms of ruling this country in -- with less regulation.
he says the military can decide. he's getting more of a free hand. i agree with him on his trade issues. >> this week, "washington journal" features authors of key books published this past year. join us for our live conversation with authors. on friday, the author of "digital world wars." saturday, the author of "nomad land." "thenday, the author of gatekeepers." journal's" author series all this week at 8:00 a.m. on c-span, c-span.org and
c-span radio app you would >> saturday night, an in-depth look at the situation in north korea as told by defectors, refugees and u.s. diplomats. we will get an inside view of the regime and its efforts to hold onto power, saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> c-span's cities tour takes you to springfield, missouri on january 6 and seventh. we are working with media, to explore the literacy and birthplace of route 66. tv,anuary 6 at noon on book and author talks about the conflict occurring along the kansas-missouri border and the struggle over slavery in his book "the 40 between them." >> john brown was coming back to the territory and he begins a series of raids into western
missouri, during which his men will liberate enslaved people from misery and help them escape to freedom. this will kill a number of slaveholders. the legend or notoriety of john this grows as part of struggle, that people locally understand it is the beginning of the civil war. 7 at 2:00 january p.m. on american history tv, we visit the nra national sporting arms museum. >> theodore roosevelt was probably our shootingest president. the first thing he did when he left office was organized and go on a very large hunting safari to africa. this particular rifle was prepared specifically for roosevelt. it has the presidential seal engraved on the bridge. roosevelt was famous for the
bull moose party, and there is a bull moose engraved on the side plate. >> watch c-span cities tour of springfield, missouri, january 6 and seventh on book tv and american history tv. working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. celebratedniversity c-span archives' 30th anniversary with a discussion on how television coverage has impacted politics through the years. c-span founder, brian lamb, moderated the panel discussion with two former u.s. representatives from indiana, steve buyer and tim roemer. they also talked about the role of social media and its impact on politics.