| A Few Minutes With |

A Few Minutes with… Congressman Doug Lamborn

“We don’t have anyone who is able to take Trump’s place”

Congressman Doug Lamborn is an eight-term incumbent serving Colorado’s Fifth District, a House seat based in Colorado Springs that has long been considered a conservative bastion and that has never elected a Democrat. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a co-chair of the Israel Allies Caucus, and is an outspoken voice of the GOP’s right wing. Lamborn introduced the Taylor Force Act, which President Trump signed into law in 2018; the law cuts off aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken said at the House Foreign Affairs Committee that there is not going to be any concession to Iran. What were your thoughts about that?

I like the words, but the actions have to meet the words, and that’s the bottom line. The Iranians are master negotiators, and have been throughout history. It’s going to depend on the amount of backbone that the administration has. Do they have the backbone or not? And that’s what remains to be seen. I hope they do. I’m skeptical, but I would like to be proven wrong.

Republicans opposed the Iran deal under the Trump administration, but they never managed to negotiate a better one. Why?

Because Iran is dead set on producing nuclear weapons, and the deal with Obama lets them do that. A deal with Trump would not have let them do that. So that’s why Trump was never able to make a deal. But we were, I think, moving in the right direction — pushing Iran to come to the negotiating table, through the maximum pressure campaign.

What are acceptable parameters, in your view, when we’re trying to imagine a new deal with Iran?

Well, we should not give them any more money, number one. They should swear off the production of nuclear weapons, not just now, but even in the future. We shouldn’t say, oh, in five years or ten years, you can build all the weapons you want. They have to swear off nuclear weapons. That’s the bottom line. And that’s it.

And also the [ballistic] missiles to deliver them to Israel or Europe or even the United States, because they’re also working on missile technology. So those two things, missile technology and nuclear weapons, and that has to be a red line for the United States and the Biden administration, and it has to be a red line for the civilized world.

Do you see a way that the administration could restore ties with the Palestinians without touching the Taylor Force Act?

In theory, that’s possible. But once again, like with Iran, I’m skeptical. I would like to be proven wrong. I don’t see how you can do both at the same time. But I would like to be proven wrong.

I introduced the Taylor Force Act in the House and was its lead sponsor. It would be a big mistake if we started giving more money to the Palestinian Authority, because money is fungible. And although no one can complain about humanitarian aid, the more money we give them, the more easily they can divert some of that to paying to the “Pay for Slay” program.

President Trump gave a speech at CPAC two weeks ago. What did you think about the speech, and do you believe he’s the right person to lead the party moving forward?

I was at that speech. He is the dominant figure in Republican politics today. I have not agreed with everything he has said or done. And yet we don’t have anyone who is able to take his place at this point in time. So, as long as he wants to be a player in the party, he’s going to have that ability. It’s not like those who don’t like him can tell him to go away.

Are you afraid of a scenario in which the GOP splits into a Trump party and a rump Republican Party?

He was very clear that there should not be a third party. That’s a recipe for failure. If you split the Republican vote into two different parties, the Democrats will win every single time. And he made that very clear, and said that that would be a huge mistake. So we still have to work out our internal policies and personalities, which is a work in progress right now. But it needs to be done, and I believe will be done, internally, within the party.

What did you think about Greg Abbot’s decision to open up Texas?

Colorado’s kind of in-between. Jared Polis is our Democratic governor, and he’s not as restrictive as Cuomo or Newsom, but he’s certainly not as open as Ron DeSantis or Greg Abbott.

I feel that Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are doing exactly the right thing. And we should be opening up the economy, especially now that we’re vaccinating over a million people a day, and those have happened since even before Joe Biden took office.

So, Joe Biden is wrong. The way we bring back the economy is not by borrowing almost $2 trillion. The way we open up the economy is by letting people go back to work, letting businesses open. And those who are fearful that they will contract Covid are free to be as reclusive and as isolated as they want to be. No one’s telling anyone what to do. But those who want to be open and engaged in business should be able to do so. And the economy, which was roaring under Donald Trump all the way up until February of last year, will roar back and be stronger than ever.

You mentioned the stimulus bill. Why did you oppose it? And don’t you think it will hurt Republicans politically?

Because only 9 percent of the stimulus bill is for public health purposes — manufacturing the rest of the vaccines that we need, or manufacturing personal protective equipment, PPE. Only 9 percent of the $1.9 trillion was for that. And all the rest is for things like bailing out pension plans that are poorly managed, and bailing out states, many of which are poorly managed. In fact, the worse a state was with unemployment, the more money it got, which was not fair.

There was money earmarked for schools, even though there’s no requirement that the schools open up. So they’re not being required to move forward, get the kids back into the classroom where they can be taught and resume their progress as useful citizens of the future.

So, so much about the plan was wrong. Now, some people do need the unemployment assistance or the cash checks, but once again, it’s going to households making up to $150,000. For people who never missed a day of work. So it was not targeted. We’re borrowing so much money and dispersing it widely and not focusing it on where the needs are the greatest. And we just can’t keep piling on national debt like that.

During the Trump administration, Congress passed two rounds of checks, so what’s the difference?

Well, I voted against those, because they were not targeted. So that was a mistake then. Trump wanted to do $2,000 checks and never got it at the end of his term. I disagreed with that. I don’t agree with everything he said or did. And this is one of my disagreements.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 853)

Oops! We could not locate your form.