BUCK: We’re joined now by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senator, good of you to stop by again.
SEN. HAWLEY: Thanks for having me. Great to be with you.
BUCK: So much to ask you about. We played a bit of your exchange with Energy Secretary Granholm before, and it seems like her talking points run right in line with what we hear from all of Biden top officials these days, which is some version of, “It’s not our fault, it’s Putin’s fault, and the Republicans are evil.” Why have the Democrats…? Explain to everybody listening ’cause I think you laid this out very well. Why have Biden policies really affected the price of energy and affected it not just for what you see right now, but in the way that could drive it up even going forward.
SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah. If you joy paying 4 and $5 a a gallon of gasoline, then congratulations. It’s going to be get a lot worse, because AAA was telling us just yesterday it could be $6 by August. And if you like that, then vote for Joe Biden and vote for Democrats in November ’cause they’re responsible. And here’s why. When Biden came into office, the first thing he did was to cancel oil and gas drilling leases.
It was to impose new regulations on American energy. It was to cancel the Keystone pipeline, to rejoin the Paris climate accords. He did all of that with the stroke of a pen, and then he wondered why gas prices started going up. You know, Missouri — when he took office, in Missouri our average price of gas was about two bucks.
By August of his first year, August of last year, it had gone up over 30%. And now Missouri, the average in our state is about $4.13 statewide and that’s actually a little bit below the national average. So that is because of Joe Biden and his policies, and he just won’t take any responsibility.
CLAY: Senator, appreciate you coming on with us. This news is only broken in the last hour or so, but you’re pretty familiar with the Russia-collusion hoax. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager just testified under oath there in D.C. that Hillary okayed the release to the media — the leak to the media — of this fake Russia collusion narrative that we’ve been talking about now for years. How significant do you think it is to finally have a campaign manager under oath in part of this trial directly implicate Hillary Clinton with beginning the Russia collusion lies?
SEN. HAWLEY: Very big deal, very, very big deal — and also because I think part of the testimony, Clay, was that they didn’t think it would necessarily true.
CLAY: That’s right.
SEN. HAWLEY: They weren’t sure about it, so this is, “Oh, let’s go ahead and get it out there anyway! It may be false,” which as we now know was all made up and her own… She was paying lawyers who lied to the FBI, who tried to leverage the FBI against Trump and succeeded. Tthat’s gotta be the only time in American history that a presidential campaign has been able to use the FBI against another candidate and succeed at it.
It’s extraordinary. To have Hillary now at the center of really this conspiracy is really, really something. So I think we’re gonna hear a lot more from the special prosecutor, and certainly we need to learn a lot more. I’d like to know who else in her campaign knew it. I mean, obviously she had a running mate, she had lots of other officials. Jake Sullivan, who is now the national security adviser to Joe Biden, he was involved in this. What did he know? I mean, I think we need to find out.
BUCK: Speaking to Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri right now. And, Senator, I asked you were about the energy price situation, which obviously anybody who’s filled up a gas tank recently is all too familiar with. But we’ve also been talking a lot about the baby formula shortage on shelves across America. CBS News just reported in the last 24 hours that in 43 states more than 40% of baby formula is out of stock.
It seems that the more we dig into this, the more there is an understanding that the Biden administration was slow to act on this, but also the federal regulators have made this situation worse. What can you tell us about where the responsibility lies here as you’ve got a lot of anxious parents that are listening?
SEN. HAWLEY: Yeah, you know, in Missouri it’s really, really bad. We’re over 50% out of stock in Missouri, one of the five hardest hit states. So you better believe that this is a problem, and you better believe that we need answers. And I’ll tell you what. The FDA — Biden’s FDA — shut down the biggest lab that produced baby formula back in February and kept it shut down for months and we still don’t know exactly why.
We know that there were health and safety inspection issues. That’s fine. But what did the FDA do to get those addressed and get this plant back online? Apparently, nothing, and so far we’re getting nothing from the FDA in terms of answers. So we need to find out, what was the FDA doing? What were they doing in February when they shut it down, why didn’t they get it fixed, what took ’em so long to get it back up and running, and what was the Biden administration doing this whole time?
It looks like the answer is what do they usually do? Sitting around. They’re not doing anything that helps Americans. They’re busy trying to police speech and trying to punish their political opponents, but they’re not doing anything that would actually help working people in this country — and, you know, that’s something else he’s gonna have to answer for. But we need answers on this ASAP.
CLAY: Senator, the stock market’s now gone negative. Lots of people’s 401(k)s down since Joe Biden took office. We’ve got a disaster at the southern border. We’ve got murder rates skyrocketing all over the country. We’ve got inflation at 40-year highs. Basically — the war in Europe — everything that Joe Biden has touched in the 17 months that he has been in office has gotten worse.
We knew it was gonna be bad. Did you ever believe it could be this bad? I mean, Buck just asked you about the baby formula shortage. Would you have ever believed…? If you had said, Senator… Think about this: If you’d come out and said, “Hey, you know, I’m really nervous about what the Biden administration is going to be like. I’m afraid that moms and dads are not gonna be able to find baby formula because he’s gonna be so incompetent,” you would have gotten absolutely castigated and destroyed for making that statement.
Yet here we are. Where do we go from here? Can you guys in the Senate hold the line? Can we stop Joe Biden from passing any more bills? ‘Cause, Senator, as you know, if he had gotten his Build Back Better bill through, we’d be in double-digital inflation right now. Not only has Biden made things worse, he’s been protected from making them even worse. I just… I’m incredibly frustrated about where we are.
SEN. HAWLEY: I mean, I am with you a hundred percent. And we’ve gotta turn the direction of the country around. And I can tell you I will have a chance to start doing that come November if we can get a majority in the Senate — I believe we can — a majority in the House, and we’ve gotta get Republicans who are gonna be tough. That’s the thing. You know, we’ve gotta get Republicans who are willing to stand up and to be tough and to say, “Listen, we’re not gonna go-along-to-get-along. We’re gonna say ‘no’ to this radical agenda.”
How about stagflation, just to throw something else on the list there? I mean, who would have thought in our lifetimes that we would Jimm`y Carter-style stagflation back, and now we’ve got the Treasury secretary Janet Yellen saying that we could see in the next year!
I mean, it is just unbelievable. But we’ve gotta change direction; there’s no doubt about it. And Republicans have gotta lead the way. And we can start by saying, “No more of this socialist spending. Let’s get American energy production opened back up — and let’s stop the nation building abroad to and let’s look to Americans’ critical interests and secure or border.”
BUCK: Want to ask you about that, Senator Hawley. You voted against the $40 billion package to Ukraine. This obviously is at a time when we have the high price of gas, we got the baby formula shortage, you got a stock market that’s really going in the wrong direction for people’s 401(k)s and pensions, et cetera. Sending $40 billion to Ukraine feels like a pretty big check to just put out there. You voted against it. Why?
SEN. HAWLEY: Because it’s really nation building and not national security, and that’s what really gets me about this thing. I mean, listen, Ukraine’s entire national budget a year or two ago was $40 billion. I mean, this also… This bill includes direct money — billions and billions of dollars in direct cash — to Ukraine’s government. So now we’re literal just writing them checks basically turning them into a client state.
We tried that in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as I recall, it didn’t end too well. So my view is this, is that we ought to be pursuing America’s national interests. I’m all for giving targeted military assistance to the Ukrainians, help them defend themselves. Sure, you bet. But nation building? Direct checks to their government? No. I mean, no, no, no!
I think it’s a huge mistake. I think we will regret it later. I regret it now. And I think in terms of when you look at our pressing priorities at home, the southern border? We could build a wall on the border twice over for $40 billion. We could give our own servicemen and women a raise that keeps pace with inflation for $40 billion, and we didn’t even talk about China, which our long-term — heck, short-term!
Our biggest foreign policy challenge is China, not Russia. So there’s all kinds of problems with 40 billion to Ukraine. And I’m worried guys it’s just the beginning. The administration says this isn’t done. They want to come back for more. They want there to be a reconstruction of the country, Marshall Plan style, which the United States they want to lead. So I think we’re at the beginning of this thing, and I think it’s the wrong direction.
CLAY: Senator, wrote a book on Big Tech and the power that all of these massive corporations have established for themselves. Right now, Elon Musk is trying to buy Twitter and there’s obviously been a lot of twists and turns in that potential acquisition. But one of the things he’s investigating is the idea that bots represent a much more substantial percentage of the overall Twitter landscape than was acknowledged by Twitter.
You’ve also got dirty, it appears, attacks now coming out against him in the wake of him saying that he’s didn’t go to vote Republican because of the direction of the Democrat Party, the FCC, the FTC. It seems like the Biden administration is trying to put as many roadblocks as he can in front of his potential acquisition. What do you think of this potential acquisition? What can and should the Senate’s role be in potentially helping, or at least keeping the process fair for Elon Musk going forward when it appears the Biden administration is trying to put as many different obstacles in front of him as possible?
SEN. HAWLEY: I’m all for the acquisition. I hope that Musk will do what he says he wants to do with Twitter is to make it a free-speech platform. I mean, quite a concept to have a social media platform that would actually be for speech as opposed to being a propaganda platform for the left, which is, of course, what it has been and what they want, which is why you see all these lefty influencers and media types just melting down at the idea that you might have a pro-free speech individual helming the company.
I mean, how about that? So I wouldn’t be surprised at anything the left tries to do, including the Biden administration. Can I just say, when Joe Biden was vice president, the Barack Obama government allowed Google to acquire all kinds of smaller companies to engage in all kinds of what I think is basically antitrust activity, and they did nothing about it. They signed off on it.
So it would be the ultimate iron for Biden and his people to now come in and say, “Oh, oh, we can’t allow Elon Musk to buy Twitter!” But I would say nothing is impossible. The left is hell-bent on keeping control of all of these platforms and hell-bent on trying to shut down free speech in this country, and I see this Twitter fight with Musk as part of that.
BUCK: Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri. Senator, great to have you as always. Thanks for coming by.
SEN. HAWLEY: Hey, thanks so much, guys.