“The last cycle we ran and won in districts all over the country by highlighting exactly the policies that these guys, now with the stroke of a pen, have followed through on,” Rep. Tom Emmer said in an interview with Fox News, as he pointed to a flurry of executive orders signed by Biden in the week since the president’s inauguration.
Looking back to the 2020 elections, when House Republicans defied expectations and flipped around a dozen Democratic held seats, which dramatically shrank the Democrats’ majority in the chamber, the four-term GOP congressman from Minnesota highlighted that “the polling we did last cycle showed us in places like Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, just how devastating this job-killing, anti-energy agenda is. That’s why we won.”
Emmer, who’s staying at the helm of the NRCC – which is the House Republican reelection arm – for the 2022 election cycle, said Wednesday that “if we look at just what he [Biden] did in the first few days with his pen, he killed the Keystone XL Pipeline, which with it goes the 11,000 American jobs.”
Biden – as he signed executive actions on Wednesday to eliminate federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels, halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, and committing to double renewable energy production from wind by 2030 – stressed the jobs theme.
“Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs da at the White House,” Biden said before signing the executive actions.
“In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It’s time to act,” Biden said Wednesday, as he followed through on a campaign pledge. “Just like we need a unified national response to COVID-19, we desperately need a unified national response to the climate crisis, because there is a climate crisis.”
But Emmer, looking to the 2022 midterms and the six Democratic-held seats he needs to flip to regain the House majority for the first time since 2018, highlighted that the Biden administration has “already started giving us the information that we need.”
He said the NRCC’s job is to reach out to voters in “places where this is incredibly important that they understand what the choice is.”
Emmer listed six principles that he said are vital to retaking the House majority in next year’s elections.
“First and foremost, hold House Democrats accountable for their votes and what they do,” Emmer said. “We use simply their actions and their words.”
He also listed recruiting “talented and diverse candidates,” ensuring that “our campaigns are well funded,” making sure that “the redistricting that’s going to happen during this cycle is fair” and the NRCC knows its audience, and showcasing “a positive, conservative agenda.”
The Republican Party brand arguably took a big hit on Jan. 6, when right-wing extremists and other supporters of then-President Trump stormed the Capitol to try and derail congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
While Emmer stressed that “the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6 has absolutely no place in our democracy,” he questioned whether the insurrection would impact the 2022 midterms.
“At the end of the day…I think elections are decided by the issues that impact peoples’ wellbeing,” he noted. “And midterms are historically checks on the party in power, and that’s bad news for House Democrats. We’re going to ensure that voters have a clear understanding of the Democrats’ socialist agenda and the damaging impact it’s going to have on their daily lives.”
Trump’s political clout took a gut punch in the wake of the storming of the Capitol, which came soon after he urged a large crowd of supporters he addressed at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol and show strength in protesting the certification of an election he repeatedly and falsely claimed was “rigged.”
Trump was impeached by the House for inciting an insurrection and now faces a Senate trial next month. But the former president remains extremely popular with GOP voters.
Asked by Fox News if he would welcome Trump’s support in the midterms, Emmer said, “The president is a force in American politics, and I expect he’ll continue to remain a force.”
And he pointed to Trump’s policy successes during the past four years, saying, “I think Republicans do need to keep highlighting these policies that brought in new voters to our party. Democrats are promising to remove these policies and I think they’re going to run into some real trouble when they try to do it.”
Emmer was interviewed on the same day that House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California – on a private conference call with the Republican conference – pleaded with his GOP colleagues to stop publicly attacking each other. The 10 Republican House members who two weeks ago voted to impeach Trump have come under withering attacks from many of their colleagues.
Emmer said that he wasn’t concerned about the infighting, but did note that “a great team settles its issues internally.”
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