Minnesota’s Pete Hegseth was in town earlier this week to deliver the keynote speech at the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom annual dinner. Hegseth co-hosts FOX & Friends weekends and is a well known political commentator. Alpha News contributor John Gilmore (full disclosure: and friend of Hegseth) spoke with him by phone after the event. The interview has been edited for clarity.
JG: What’s your reaction to the news that Hillary Clinton and the DNC were behind the fake Russia “dossier?”
PH: Count me as entirely unsurprised. From the beginning, this has felt like a manufactured scandal, which it has been, devoid of actual facts or information, even though the so called mainstream media–they’re not mainstream at all, they’re the Left wing media–has trafficked in it at every turn no matter what.
Every small scrap of nothing information–a new meeting, a new email, a new this–all leads them to go 24/7 on Russia. Wouldn’t the great irony be if Bob Mueller’s investigation–not Mueller but more likely the House or Senate investigation–instead of focusing on the Trump campaign ends up turning toward the Clinton’s campaign and the DNC and their collusion and funding of a dossier that frankly more or less started the collusion narrative for President Trump.
We’ve all sensed it from the beginning, whether it was the uranium deal, or the Clinton Foundation, or the “I’ll have more flexibility after the election,” that it was the Democrats that had the more sweetheart ties to the Russians than the Republicans. But now we have evidence.
It’s so typical of Leftists. As you know, the Alinsky playbook says deny, deny, deny and counter-accuse on the biggest things you’re facing, which is exactly what they’ve done. They tried to tie then candidate Trump, now President Trump, to Russia in order to discredit him, all part of the “resistance” movement. But all the evidence is pointing toward them.
It will be very interesting to see what else comes out, to include, I think, more information on unmasking, which we still don’t have answers about why Samantha Power did as much unmasking as she did.
This is the beginning, I believe, of an unraveling of the Left and all the narratives they tried to traffic in.
JG: As you know, Ambassador Power testified that not all the unmasking requests in her name were actually requested by her.
PH: (laughing) Yes!
JG: The imagination runs riot. Let me ask you, nationally with respect to the upcoming 2018 elections, how Republicans are doing on their own and vis-à-vis President Trump.
PH: Well, Congressional Republicans and their performance to date have been abysmal. They all ran as campaign conservatives, on an agenda of repealing and replacing Obamacare, getting rid of the Iran deal, cutting taxes, tax reform, all the things this President said he wanted to do and they get there and they can’t quite do it.
They’re more worried about special interests and the consequences of a particular vote, most especially in the Senate. I think President Trump is winning this. The so-called mainstream media still can’t wrap their arms around it. “Oh he hasn’t passed this and he hasn’t passed that.”
The reality is that he’s been resisted from the Left, of course, with every vote, but from the Right, at every moment from the establishment because they don’t want to see him succeed. Ultimately he’s winning because these establishment types, from Jeff Flake to John McCain to Bob Corker to other House members, they’re retiring rather than face a backlash of grassroots conservatives or Trump supporters who are not interested in the latest excuse, or the latest “decorum” speech they want to give on the Senate floor about how they won’t be complicit with this President.
Ultimately, they say we elected a fighter to fight for us, you won’t fight with him, so how about you leave and bring somebody in who will help him fight. It will be interesting to see how the actual electoral map changes.
President Trump has reshaped the Republican Party, woken it up to the fact that you ought to stand for something and believe in something and fight for something. In the combination of President Trump–a force of nature–and Steve Bannon’s challenges to a lot of establishment types, you’re going to see a lot of reshuffling.
The establishment press won’t get it until it smacks them in the face. I think you’ll see Republicans winning in states they should with more conservative candidates, and in Democratic states where they think they can win, you’ll see Republicans challenging and winning. You could see majorities increasing to advance the agenda of this President, which I think is more likely than the conventional wisdom, which is “oh Republicans are challenging themselves, they’re going to lose, they’re going to lose races they otherwise could win and Democrats have an advantage.” But Democrats can’t raise money let alone bring in candidates that make sense.
What President Trump is litigating is useful not only for our country and our culture but also for the Republican Party.
JG: To that point, are you surprised, and do you have any explanation because I haven’t been able to find one, why Democrats seem unable to learn any lessons whatsoever about their loss in 2016, which actually was more than just Trump winning, we were likely supposed to lose the Senate? It seems to me the Democrats have not been able to absorb that loss sufficiently to reflect on what they need to do to begin winning again.
PH: I’m not surprised only because the Democratic Party has ceased to be any sort of a centrist party, there is no “center-left,” it’s only the far Left. Once you go down the trail of identity politics, of racial politics or gender politics, you can’t extract yourself from it. You are beholden to it, you are beholden to the constituencies who now demand your scalp if you move away from the grievances that they’re invested in.
So if you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, or the feminist movement, or “white privilege,” or all the things you see on campuses, or the minimum wage, or shutting down free speech or Antifa, they can’t divorce themselves from it. Those groups are part and parcel of Democrats and what they represent. If you’re running in a Democratic primary today, you can’t disown or distance yourself from those groups.
As a result, they run further and further to the Left. You see it in the Democratic mayoral race in Minneapolis where it’s a race to the bottom of insanity. The incentives are all in the Left-leaning direction.
This is why I have confidence in what President Trump has unleashed: a rejection of political correctness, a rejection of racial and identity politics, the ability of people to center around Americanism and a belief in citizenship, our country and our flag. If you’re a conservative or a Republican, and all you have to run on is “I love my country and I think our Founders gave us a free Republic that we have to defend” you’re in a great place vis-à-vis “no, we should all teach our kids that if they’re white, they’re guilty; if they think they’re straight they’re actually ambivalent; and if they want to kneel for the anthem in second grade because they don’t understand what a great country they live in, then we should let them do that and choose their bathroom too.”
Those insanities now define what the Democratic Party is. In addition, they’re captured by socialism, they’re owned by government, want Medicare for all, in their heart of hearts believe in universal basic income and believe in universal redistribution. That insanity has infected them.
Who would they run in 2020? It’s hard to see anyone remotely palatable to a factory worker in Ohio or a miner in West Virginia or someone in northern Minnesota that would relate to them. It’s just not possible. They have decided to be an east coast/west coast elite party, an urban center party, making themselves more irrelevant and President Trump blew that open.
JG: Few people have interviewed a President. Can you take us through what that is like?
PH: As a patriot, as someone who loves their country, it’s always an honor. You’re kind of in awe of the fact that you get the opportunity as a private citizen to ask questions of the leader of the free world. President Trump is always very gracious before and after. The wonderful thing about this President is that he’s the same person when the camera is on as when the camera is off. There isn’t this “on/off” dynamic. It’s just “when are the cameras rolling?” and you get the real deal no matter what, which is all you can really for from anybody.
He doesn’t play the games that most politicians play. He’s like “Hey Pete!” We have a friendly conversation, are the cameras rolling, okay, when it’s done hey! And I take the same view as you do John [regarding interviews], I’m not there to play gotcha. I’m not there to get his words twisted, I’m not there to cut him off and say “No, no, but this, no, no, but that”
I’m there to say “Here are the questions that people care about right now, what do you think?” Frankly, you’re more likely to get a good interview or a good sound bite, by allowing him to talk as opposed to cutting him off or trying to play gotcha or play “here’s a one word answer.”
I’ve had the privilege now of interviewing him three times and maybe a fourth coming up, we’ll see. In real time, as you watch events happen, where he’s so mischaracterized by the fake news media, the so-called mainstream media, giving him a chance to speak his own words with honest questions is all you can really ask for.
Every president going forward is likely going to be boring compared to this one. A hundred percent boring.
JG: (laughing) Yes!
PH: I can’t listen to a conventional political speech anymore without being bored. President Trump sits down for an interview, he never asks what you’re asking in advance, the White House never says you can’t ask this question or you can’t ask that question, they say “You’ve got ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty with the President, whatever you want to ask.” You ask it and he answers it. Yet the Left still yells about transparency and access and all of this. Why would this President give interviews to CNN or MSNBC when they’re just going to accost him, when he realizes (a) he can give interviews to FOX where he’s treated fairly and (b) he has a Twitter account that they can’t control.
You can hear heads exploding every Saturday morning when I’m on the Fox & Friends show as he tweets about “the failing New York Times and the Washington Post.” They’re forced to report on what he tweets.
They can’t handle it. It sends them into a tizzy.
All freedom loving people should love that.
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In addition to Alpha News, John Gilmore is also a contributor to The Hill. He is the founder and executive director of Minnesota Media Monitor.™ He blogs at MinnesotaConservatives.org and is on Twitter under @Shabbosgoy. He can be reached at John@alphanewsmn.com
Photo credit: Haaretz