Transcript: Rep. Tom Emmer on “Face the Nation,” Oct. 30, 2022

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The following is a transcript of an interview with Republican Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota that aired Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNAN: Now to the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer. Good morning. Good to have you here in person. 

REPRESENTATIVE TOM EMMER: Good morning. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I have to ask you about what we’ve just been talking about here. How concerned are you about the risk of political violence and how should it be minimized?

REP. EMMER: There’s no place for violence, period, in our society, physical violence or violence against someone’s property. I think you’ve already covered that here this morning, the incident in San Francisco, tragic as it is, I think we need some more information about it. But we should all be feeling for Paul Pelosi and his family. Hopefully there will be a 100% recovery.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And just to be abundantly clear, you denounce any kind of attack on the Pelosi family? 

REP. EMMER: Absolutely. There should be no attacks, period. There should be no violence in our society. Again, whether it’s political or otherwise, there’s no place for it in a civilized society.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I’m glad you said that, because I want to ask you about something in our CBS News poll that shows that even as Republicans are poised to lead this contest and- and take control of the House, we see suspicion specifically among Republicans about the voting process. A big majority of Republicans support the idea of private citizens challenging election officials as they process and report vote counts on election night. We’re seeing that on the screen now. Two thirds of Republicans support the idea of private citizens patrolling around ballot drop boxes and polling places. This is just Republicans. We don’t see this with Democrats. We do not see this with independents. Would you urge private citizens not to patrol polling places?

REP. EMMER: Well, you picked the words, Margaret. I would say that it is Republicans, Democrats, independents, all American citizens are very acutely aware, as your previous guest just mentioned, about our election process. I think this is going to be a very good election because people are awake. They’re paying attention. They should volunteer as poll watchers, it’s a state based system. Whatever your state requires and allows, you should definitely be involved. And I think it’s going to help the process.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And just to be abundantly clear, poll watching is different than voter intimidation, which is unlawful.

REP. EMMER: Nobody should be intimidated when they’re exercising their most precious right to vote.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So when you see video, as we have seen in a place like in Arizona, where you see individuals with tactical gear, well, you see individuals with weapons outside drop boxes, where how do you classify that?

REP. EMMER: Again, no one should feel intimidated when they’re exercising their right to vote– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that is intimidating?

REP. EMMER: You’ve got you’ve got stories on both sides of the aisle. You get stories in many different states about how people have felt as though their right was infringed on. I think cooler heads need to prevail. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. 

REP. EMMER: I really think we’re going to have a good election. I think you’ve got 50 million plus that have already participated in early voting across this country. I think you’re going to have a big turnout in nine days from now on the election. And I think, again, Republicans, Democrats and others are well aware of the issues that we had during COVID. People were stepping up and trying to do things to make sure we were protected and safe, but they were adjusting election laws on the fly. I think a lot of that has been resolved. I think you’re going to see a really good experience in nine days.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. So you would urge citizens not to patrol polling places.

REP. EMMER: Again, I urge everyone get involved–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. 

REP. EMMER: –whatever your state allows, get involved. Volunteer. Exactly what your previous guest said. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. I want to ask you, because in this bulletin, it also talks about a linkage in drawing and- and undermining confidence in elections because of 2020. And you are on this list that we have of 307 Republicans running for office who have raised doubts about the integrity of the election. I mean, they’re drawing a direct line here between sowing distrust then and what we are seeing right now. Do you regret sowing doubts yourself?

REP. EMMER: What you’re referring to, I’ve never sowed doubts about the election. I have definitely raised questions–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You signed onto this Texas amicus brief– 

REP. EMMER: Absolutely, let’s talk about it– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –that went to the Supreme Court to overturn it.

REP. EMMER: What it said was, Margaret, what that said, that amicus brief, is that a lot of people, governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state, took unilateral action during COVID changing–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah–

REP. EMMER: –changing the election laws themselves–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don’t regret these–  

REP. EMMER: Again, if I can finish, changing election laws themselves to try and make sure that we were safe while we exercised our right to vote. That particular amicus brief, all it said was that we need to reaffirm that state legislatures and legislatures alone make their election laws. So as we go forward, once we’re out of COVID, we have to–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So– 

REP. EMMER: –go back to that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So to be clear, you don’t consider yourself an election denier? 

REP. EMMER: Absolutely not. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Joe Biden is the legitimately-elected President of United States of America

REP. EMMER: He’s sworn, he’s serving. He is the President of the United States.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He is the president of the United States.

REP. EMMER: We’ve got an election in nine days. We’ve had an election in nine days that we’ve been working on for the last two years. You reported in the intro that eight out of ten Americans in that same poll that you’re referring to are concerned with where this country is. They say it’s out of control.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  You’re not undermining, you’re not meaning to undermine confidence in the 2020 election.

REP. EMMER: Eight out of ten Americans right now think we’re on the wrong track. That’s what they’re going to be voting on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know. And I would love to talk about something other than people being worried for their lives. But unfortunately, that’s where we are. I want to ask you about this when it comes to political violence. On your Twitter feed, you posted this video we’re going to show  – just a few days ago where you’re firing a gun and it says, “Enjoyed exercising my Second Amendment rights. Hashtag Fire Pelosi.” Why is there a gun in a political ad at all?

REP. EMMER: It wasn’t an ad. I was tweeting out –

MARGARET BRENNAN:  A tweet.  Hashtag Fire Pelosi with a weapon –

REP. EMMER – something I had just done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Wouldn’t a pink slip be more fitting if it’s about firing her? 

REP. EMMER: It’s interesting–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why a gun? 

REP. EMMER: And it’s interesting, Margaret, that we’re talking about this this morning when a couple of years back when a Bernie Sanders supporter shot Steve Scalise–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which was horrendous and horrific–

REP. EMMER: When a Bernie Sanders supporter–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Which is why we should not–

REP. EMMER: shot Steve Scalise–

MARGARET BRENNAN: be putting weapons– 

REP. EMMER: I never heard you or anyone else in the media trying to blame Democrats for what happened. We need to stay focused on what we’re all doing– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We did extensive coverage of what happened to Steve Scalise. 

REP. EMMER: Excuse me? 

MARGARET BRENNAN: There was extensive coverage, sir. 

REP. EMMER: Nobody tried to equate Democrats’ rhetoric- people–

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m not talking about your rhetoric. I’m talking about what you posted. You’re shooting a gun. Our viewers just saw it. 

REP. EMMER: Yeah, right. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hashtag fire Pelosi.

REP. EMMER: Exercising our Second Amendment rights, having fun– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s not a debate about the Second Amendment. 

REP. EMMER: –shooting a gun. Yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s not a debate about the Second Amendment. 

REP. EMMER: Yes it is. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Hashtag fire Pelosi. 

REP. EMMER: Yes it is. I- I’m running the campaign operation–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you not understand that that is suggestive to people who are in a bad state. And in this current environment, how risky it is as you’re talking about–

REP. EMMER: Well, I disagree, Margaret. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –these issues of lowering the rhetoric.

REP. EMMER: I disagree with you. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why can’t you leave that out?

REP. EMMER: Again, I never saw anyone after Steve Scalise was shot by a– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m talking about right now–

REP. EMMER: –Bernie Sanders supporter.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What just is happening right now. 

REP. EMMER: Trying to equate Democrat rhetoric with those actions. Please don’t do that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. Looking at your candidates, Republican candidates have spent more than 116 million on ads that mentioned Speaker Pelosi by name in their cycle. If this is about the issues, why shouldn’t make it about the issues? Why not depersonalize it?

REP. EMMER:  It is absolutely about the issues. It’s about the fact that we have double digit inflation exploding, exploding cost of living. We’ve got a crime wave across this country that is a direct result, direct result – 

MARGARET BRENNAN: In this moment, we are eight days out, don’t you think this needs to change? Why not pull some of these ads? Why not just delete your tweet?

REP. EMMER:  I’m sure people like to talk about anything but what the Democrats have done to this country, which quite frankly is exploding cost of living, a crime wave in our major cities that is the result of this “defund the police” nonsense and cashless bail.

I mean, you look at New York City where you put someone in jail at 9 p.m. for assaulting someone on the street and they’re back out on the street at 9 a.m. committing crimes. Again, you look at my state of Minnesota, Minneapolis, it’s has 6000 assaults since the beginning of the year. Margaret, Those are the issues that are top of mind for every voter in this country. That’s why they’re going to show up in – on the November 8th. And that’s why Republicans are going to win in the midterms.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  That’s what our projections are showing. But I would suggest more pink slips, fewer weapons in our ads in this environment. Sir, thank you for joining us on Face the Nation. We’ll be right back. Stay with us.

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