Third District U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03) told the Pachyderm Club at its meeting Monday that he visited former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago and told him he’d do “everything possible” to aid in his re-election as President.
“I am all in for Donald Trump,” Rep. Fleischmann said, and “I believe Donald Trump will be our nominee.”
“The President is in great spirits,” he said.
Rep. Fleischmann predicted that President Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, and that keeping Kamala Harris on his ticket would be “the best thing” for Republicans.
“He wanders around, he’s clueless, he’s controlled,” he said. “It’s a shame.” If Mr. Biden does not run again, he said, the Democratic Party will look to California and to Michigan for candidates.
He said the Democratic Party is well-organized and good at raising money as election season approaches. He said its strong resolve scares him.
“They will lie. They will cheat. They will steal, and they will worry about it later,” he said.
He said Republicans should win West Virginia and Montana in the Senate. Earning the swing states will solidify Supreme Court appointments, he said.
“We’ve got to make it even more conservative,” he said.
He said that Senator Marsha Blackburn should win “in a landslide” and that Tennessee’s eight incumbent Republicans in the House of Representatives should win easily.
“There’s a pathway for us to hold the House,” he said.
Hamilton County was the last Tennessee county to vote out use of Dominion Voting Systems machines, converting to Election Systems and Software this fall. Last year, Dominion machines were blamed nationwide for some inaccurate tallies. They are still used in other states, but Rep. Fleischmann said mail-in ballots are of more concern to him.
“We’re doing a better job,” he said, but that Republicans must watch swing states “like a hawk.”
“Tennessee is safe,” he said.
He said Congress and the debt commission announced by newly elected Speaker of the House Mike Johnson must deal with the federal government’s mandatory spending without “scaring seniors.”
“That’s the most important thing,” he said.
He blamed the federal government’s $33.6 trillion in debt on this mandatory spending which includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and interest on the national debt. He said half the debt is owned by China.
Rep. Fleischmann serves on the House Committee on Appropriations, which he said spends about 20 to 25 percent of the federal budget. This discretionary spending does not drive the deficit, he said, and includes defense, education and the Department of Energy spending.
Rep. Fleischmann said as chairman of the Energy and Water Development subcommittee, he continues to push for Department of Energy spending which funds all nuclear weapons in the Navy and Air Force. A fully funded defense is the only thing, he said, that solidifies the U.S. role as a superpower for Russia and China.
Rep. Fleischmann said he earmarked $237 million in the new $54-billion Energy and Water Development appropriations bill to finish the Chickamauga Locks restoration, which he said is 70 percent complete today. The project had been fully funded in a previous budget, he said, but the job was sold to a smaller company that “got overrun” through no fault of the Biden administration, he said.
“We will have that fully funded in the next budget,” he said.
Rep. Fleischmann said in all his tenure as a congressman he has never seen pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas demonstrations in the United States until now.
“That’s disgusting. That's wrong,” he said. He said 46 percent of Democrats support Hamas in Israel and he blames rhetoric in schools from elementary to college for the change.
He said he will continue to push to fund the Iron Dome air defense system in Israel while Democrats push to de-fund it.
He Middle East aid packages must continue to flow to manage the “tinderbox,” as Iran-backed Hezbollah fires on northern Israel and Hamas gains popularity in the West Bank Palestinian territory.
He said there have been 70 attacks on U.S. troops in Syria and in Iraq.
Rep. Fleischmann said he will vote with 40 percent of Republicans to send aid to Ukraine.
“We can’t let Putin win,” he said, and predicted that Mr. Putin would use tactical nuclear weapons if not controlled.
He tied the situation his belief that the U.S. should be energy independent.