The Iowa Standard joined Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill Report earlier this week. Here is what was discussed:
One the unrest in America due to the death of George Floyd: “First of all, the cause of the demonstrations is the sinful act of murder by a Minneapolis policeman who had plenty of opportunities to let that person up because even bystanders besides his colleagues in the police force were, it seemed to me like they were all questioning his judgment. And it should’ve been questioned. And then you have the death and then a lot of strains on our society are awakened as a result of that, and maybe awakened more for white people than it is minority people because they live with it all of the time. Sad commentary, but maybe some of us are oblivious to a lot of things that they think and that’s too bad that’s the situation.
So, they have peaceful demonstrations protected by the Constitution. And that ought to go on. But then you ask about the violence that has happened as a result of it. We spend all of our time about the murder of Floyd, we also ought to consider the murder of various people, and the one that crops up the most often, but he’s not the only one, is a 73-year-old former policeman that was guarding a small business in St. Louis just killed in cold blood. I guess they have arrested his murderers now. The looting and the stealing and damage and burning – that all distracts from what really competent, sincere people are trying to do through peaceful demonstration. I think it’s going to lead to a big discussion here in Congress. I’ll know more about a week from (Tuesday) when Sen. Graham has a hearing on this whole issue.”
On defunding police departments: “Cries to defund the police are very radical, very unworkable, but I think most importantly ignore how essential police officers are to protecting our communities and stopping crime. I don’t know whether they’re obviously not well thought through. They surely don’t think that we could be a society without a police force. If they did, they’d be encouraging vigilantes, more ownership of guns, individuals using guns for their own protection – and I can’t say much more. It’s just not very realistic.”
On Floyd protestors ignoring social distancing guidelines: “Just think of the governors who have shut down their state and don’t want to open it up. And I won’t mention names, but you probably can figure out who I’m talking about. She was marching with them. Not concerned about social distancing – the same as her edicts to the businesses in her state who want to open up but didn’t. So, I think you’ve got a lot of inconsistencies. There’s another inconsistency. The same public health people who have been warning us about social distancing and wearing masks are saying right now marching shoulder to shoulder is not a problem because social justice is more important than public health. Now, social justice is important, but you ought to be able to march and still wear a mask and keep your distance.”
On absentee voting: “I don’t have any opposition to voting by (mail). I do it more than I go to the polling place to vote most often because a lot of these votes take place while I’m in Washington D.C. Most general elections I’m in Iowa, but sometimes I even vote by absentee ballot during a general election. I’m not going to argue with what states want to do. And I wouldn’t want to discourage absentee ballot. I would even maybe vote for some money at the federal level. Well, we already have voted for some. Some people say there should be more, I don’t know about that at this point, but we’ve already done it to help states do more absentee voting if they want to. What I don’t like about the movement in Washington D.C. is to try to federalize federal elections either in part or in whole. And that’s why I want the states still to control elections as they have for 240 years.
On the Inspector General firing concerns: “We’re making progress. I’ve put a hold on two nominees to get the President’s attention and I think I got his attention and I think maybe in a short period of time I’ll be able to announce something here. It’s pretty simple. When you look at this whole issue, I’m doing what I’ve been doing for 40 years. I think Inspector Generals bring a great deal of accountability to government and Inspector Generals are supposed to do that in all administrations. I think, for the most part, they do. So, I’ve been working at things for 40 years, you ought to expect me to continue that work today. There’s no doubt that the President has the authority to manage executive branch staff. He can hire and fire anybody he wants to, but he’s got to do it according to the statute. In regards to IG statute, it says that he’s got to provide Congress detailed reasons why an IG was fired. They didn’t do that, so I’ve written a letter. I got a 4-page answer, but not much of an answer. If President Trump gives me reasons for the firing, which he hasn’t, then he’s met the condition of the law and you can’t go much beyond that.”