Congressman Raul Grijalva

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Arizona congressman Raul Grijalva says he will skip Donald Trump’s inauguration, instead choosing to spend the day working with constituents. Grijalva will talk about his decision to skip the inauguration.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS. ARIZONA CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA SAYS HE WILL SKIP PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP'S INAUGURATION FRIDAY, AND INSTEAD SPEND THE DAY WORKING ON CONSTITUENT SERVICES. WE SPOKE WITH CONGRESSMAN GRIJALVA EARLIER THIS AFTERNOON FROM THE KUAT-STUDIOS IN TUCSON.

TED SIMONS: CONGRESSMAN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

RAUL GRIJALVA: THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION. VERY KIND.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE NOT ATTENDING THE INAUGURAL FRIDAY, PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION. WHY?

TED SIMONS: HE WILL BE SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT, HE WILL BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. I'M NOT IN DENIAL ABOUT THAT. WHAT I'M CONCERNED ABOUT IS LEADING UP TO THE TRANSITION PERIOD WE ARE IN RIGHT NOW HAS BEEN CRITICAL REGARDLESS OF WHO THE PRESIDENT WAS AS AN EFFORT TO TRY TO TALK TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT YOU WILL LEND VOICE TO ALL OF THEIR CONCERNS, AND THE FACT THAT TRUMP DID NOT GET THE VOTES, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WITH A GREAT DEAL OF ANXIETY OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, OBAMA CARE, AND THEIR ABILITY TO GET MEDICAL CARE, YOU HAVE MILLIONS THAT DIDN'T VOTE AT ALL BECAUSE BOTH PARTIES WERE NOT LISTENING TO THEIR CONCERNS. THEN WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. IT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT MANTLE THAT ONE CAN CARRY FROM THIS DEMOCRACY FROM THE INFLUENCE IT HOLDS WORLDWIDE. THE PRESIDENCY SPEAKING FOR ALL AMERICANS IS CRITICAL. SO FAR, TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, AS WE GO FORWARD, I HAVE NOT SEEN SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE WAY THAT TRUMP COMPORTS HIMSELF NOT ONLY AS THE PRESIDENT TO BE, BUT IN TERMS OF HOW HE PICKS HIS FIGHTS, HOW HE INTERACTS WITH PEOPLE, MINIMIZING WITH A CAVALIER ATTITUDE THAT WE WERE CYBER HACKED BY RUSSIA, ALL 18 INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES TELL US THAT. HE DIMINISHES THE ISSUE AND NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY THERE. HIS TWEET ATTACK ON JOHN LEWIS, AN ICON IN THE CIVIL RIGHT'S MOVEMENT, THAT MANY PEOPLE REVERE HIM. THERE GOES THE ATTACK. THE DRAINING OF THE SWAMP, THE MURKINESS OF THAT TRYING TO RUSH APPOINTMENTS THROUGH THE SENATE WHEN NOT EVERYTHING IS DONE. THE CONTINUED ATTACKS ON IMMIGRANTS, THE BORDER, MEXICO, THE WALL, THE MIXED MESSAGES AND STRAIGHT OUT MESSAGES HE SENDS ON THAT TOPIC THAT HASN'T CHANGED FROM THE FIRST DAY OF HIS CANDIDACY. YOU ADD THAT TOGETHER AND HE HAS NOT RISEN TO THE LEVEL OF BEING PRESIDENTIAL. HE WILL BE PRESIDENT AND THAT OFFICE DESERVES SOMEONE THAT IS PRESIDENTIAL. AS WE GO FORWARD, ME BEING THERE, ACQUIESCING TO THAT OR LENDING SUPPORT TO THAT BEHAVIOR, I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE I REPRESENT. AND I WOULD RATHER BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE AND THAT'S MEETING WITH CONSTITUENTS, TALKING TO PEOPLE WITH ANXIETY AND FEAR ABOUT WHAT TRUMP IS GOING TO DO TO THEIR LIVES AND REASSURING THEM WE'LL PROTECT THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT.

TED SIMONS: YET, SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI SAYS IT'S HER JOB TO ATTEND.

RAUL GRIJALVA: IT IS.

TED SIMONS: FELLOW ARIZONA CONGRESSPERSON KYRSTEN SINEMA SAYS IT'S HER JOB AND RESPONSIBILITY TO ATTEND. IS IT YOUR JOB AND RESPONSIBILITY? WE UNDERSTAND THE CONCERNS AND FRUSTRATIONS AND CRITICISMS, BUT THIS IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IS IT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ATTEND AND REPRESENT?

RAUL GRIJALVA: IN THIS CEREMONY AND I HAVE BEEN TO -- TO -- TO INAUGURATIONS IN THE PAST LEADING UP TO IT THERE HAD BEEN AN EFFORT TO TRY TO COMMUNICATE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AS A WHOLE TO HEAL SOME OF THE ANGST, NOT TO FURTHER DIVIDE THIS COUNTRY. THE COUNTRY IS DEEPLY DIVIDED. THE ELECTION PROVED IT. THAT'S PART OF BEING PRESIDENT. IS IT MY RESPONSIBILITY, MY DUTY TO BE THERE? UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. THESE ARE NOT NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES. I FELT THAT IT WAS MY RESPONSIBILITY AND DUTY TO STATE UNEQUIVOCALLY THAT I DON'T SUPPORT THE DIRECTION DONALD TRUMP IS GOING OR THE BEHAVIOR LEADING TO THE INAUGURATION. FOR ME, THAT DUTY OVERWHELMED WHATEVER CEREMONIAL OR PROTOCOL RESPONSIBILITY I HAD.

TED SIMONS: YOU MENTIONED REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LEWIS CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER, THIS BEGAN WITH LEWIS QUESTIONING THE LEGITIMACY OF TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY BECAUSE HE BELIEVED THAT HE COULD NOT BE A LEGITIMATE COMMANDER AND CHIEF CONSIDERING THE CONNECTIONS TO RUSSIA. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT DONALD TRUMP IS A PRESIDENT AND LEGITIMATE COMMANDER IN CHIEF?

RAUL GRIJALVA: I THINK THE CATCH 22 OF THAT QUESTION I HAVE BEEN ASKED OFTEN, DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE LEGITIMACY OF TRUMP AS PRESIDENT. AS I SAID EARLIER WHEN YOU ASKED ME THE QUESTION. HE'S GOING TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, FIGURATIVELY OR LITERALLY. THE QUESTION JOHN LEWIS BROUGHT UP IS AN APPROPRIATE QUESTION. WHAT IS THE CONCLUSION IF ANY BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. IT IS THE GOVERNMENT. WHAT IS THE FULL TRANSPARENCY AND INVESTIGATION? ALL WE ASK, ALL THAT LEWIS WAS POINTING OUT, UNTIL THOSE QUESTIONS ARE SETTLED, THERE WILL CONTINUE TO BE DOUBT. IF THAT TRANSLATES TO LEGITIMACY, SO BE IT. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LEGITIMACY QUESTION, MY FRIEND, FALLS ON THE COMPORTMENT, DENIAL AND LEGITIMIZING THAT I BELIEVE AND JOHN LEWIS BELIEVES AN INTRUSION BY A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT INTO THE POLITICS OF THIS COUNTRY. PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL BE PRESIDENT TRUMP. I DON'T DENY THAT. I DON'T MINIMIZE THAT. WHAT I WANT TO STATE CLEARLY, THERE ARE SO MANY QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THAT THEY SHOULD BE, AND UNTIL THEY ARE, ANY DOUBTS JOHN LEWIS HAS OR AN AMERICAN HAS ARE LEGITIMATE TO HAVE.

TED SIMONS: REPUBLICANS WANT TO REPLACE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. THE PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL REPLACE IT WITH INSURANCE FOR EVERYBODY. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

RAUL GRIJALVA: GOVERNANCE BY TWEET, WE HAVE TO GET USED TO IN THIS COUNTRY. HERE'S THE CONTRADICTION. IF YOU HEAR PAUL RYAN, AND YOU HEAR THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT -- THEY HAVE MENTIONED IN THE PAST, PROPOSALS IN THE PAST, THAT THEY WANT TO PRIVATIZE PART OF MEDICARE AND THE SUBSIDY AND TAXES LEVEED IN ORDER TO GENERATE REVENUE FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. YOU DO ANY OF THOSE THINGS, YOU HAVE ENDED THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT. NOW TRUMP SAYS I WANT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR EVERY FAMILY, CHEAPER THAN IT IS NOW, EVERYONE WILL HAVE IT AND I'LL NEGOTIATE FOR MEDICAID AND MEDICARE IN BULK WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND LOWER THE PRICE OF MEDICINE. I AGREE WITH THAT. WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO THAT TEN YEARS. HAVEN'T GOTTEN ANYWHERE. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUE PICTURE OF THE REPLACEMENT. AT THIS POINT, I THINK THERE IS CONFUSION AMONG CONGRESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THE WHOLE MANTRA OF REPEAL IS SOMETHING GOING ON FOR EIGHT YEARS, 61 TIMES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES VOTED TO REPLACE IT. THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN CHASING -- THEY ARE LIKE THE DOG CHASING THE SCHOOL BUS. THEY CHASE IT AND CHASE IT. NOW THEY HAVE CAUGHT IT. WITH THAT COMES THE RESPONSIBILITY OF HOW DO YOU REPLACE IT? UNTIL THAT'S SETTLED, REPEAL TO ME IS THE ONLY DIRECTION THEY WERE GOING AND FROM SOME OF THE INITIAL PROPOSALS, IF THEY UNDO THE BASICS TENANTS, THE ACT WILL BE DONE. YOU CAN'T PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE MECHANISM OR MANDATE OR POWER OF THE LAW.

TED SIMONS: REPUBLICANS SAY THE BENCHMARK PREMIUMS ARE UP 116% OVER LAST YEAR, TWICE AS MUCH AS THE NEXT HIGHEST STATE TENNESSEE AND THE NUMBER OF INSURERS ARE NARROWED DOWN TO TWO WITH ONE THE OPTION IN MOST COUNTIES. THEY ARE SAYING, THAT'S NOT WORKING. DO THEY HAVE A POINT?

RAUL GRIJALVA: YOU HAVE A POINT THAT THE PRIVATE INSURANCE CARRIERS, I THINK, AND I BELIEVE FIRMLY THAT THE STRATEGY WAS TO GO ALONG WITH OBAMA CARE FOR A WHILE AND UP THE PREMIUMS AS TIME WENT ON. I THINK THAT WAS A MARKET BUSINESS DECISION ON THE PART OF PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND NOT A REFLECTION BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK AT IT, THE SUBSIDIES PROVIDED FOR THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT TAKE CARE OF 70% OF THE PEOPLE ENROLLED IN OBAMA CARE. THE JUMPS THAT ARE OCCURRING ARE OCCURRING AS A MARKET DRIVEN BUSINESS DECISION ON THE PART OF INSURANCE. THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE TO OBAMA CARE TO REFORM IT AND MAKE IT STRONGER AND EFFECTIVE COST-WISE AND DELIVERY WISE. THAT OPPORTUNITY HASN'T BEEN AFFORDED BECAUSE ALL WE HAVE HEARD FOR EIGHT YEARS IS REPEAL. CAN YOU MAKE THE MARKET MORE COMPETITIVE? CAN YOU LOWER THE AGE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR MEDICARE SO MORE PEOPLE CAN BE PART OF THAT? THE LIST GOES ON AND ON TO MAKE IT STRONGER, BETTER. THAT OPPORTUNITY HAS NOT BEEN AFFORDED.

TED SIMONS: THE MOOD ON CAPITOL HILL, WHAT'S IT LIKE? THESE ARE UNIQUE TIMES. WHAT'S IT LIKE ON CAPITOL HILL?

RAUL GRIJALVA: I THINK YOU SAID IT SO WELL. THEY ARE UNIQUE TIME AND CRITICAL TIMES AS WELL. I THINK THE OPPORTUNITY ON CAPITOL HILL RIGHT NOW, WE ARE STILL IN THE PANGS OF FOR THE MAJORITY, WE WON AND WE'LL DO WHAT WE WANT. YOU HAVE THE MINORITY PARTY, US, THE DEMOCRATS ATTEMPTING TO PROVIDE ALTERNATIVES AND BEING UNIFIED. WE HAVE FEW EXCEPTIONS ON THE VOTES IN WHICH MEMBERS VOTE WITH THE REPUBLICANS ON THIS POINT. THAT DIVISION IS PARTISAN. AT STAKE IS THE DIRECTION IN WHICH WE ARE GOING TO BE. THE NEXT SIX MONTHS AND THE UNIQUE SITUATION WILL DEFINE WHERE WE ARE AT AS A NATION AND THE NEXT MIDTERM ELECTION WILL DECIDE WHERE AMERICANS WANT TO GO FROM HERE. THE BENCHMARKS ARE GOING TO BE IMPORTANT. THE FIGHTS WE ARE HAVING ARE ABOUT VALUE, DEMOCRACY, TWO VISIONS OF WHERE AMERICA NEEDS TO BE. IN OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT, THAT'S ALLOWABLE AND ENCOURAGED. THOSE THAT FEEL WE HAVE THINGS TO PROTECT WILL DO SO AND RESIST EFFORTS BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO UNDO WHAT HAS BEEN ESSENTIAL VALUES, PROTECTIONS, AND PROGRAMS THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE SUPPORTED AND MORE IMPORTANTLY CONTINUE TO SUPPORT.

TED SIMONS: CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME. WE APPRECIATE IT.

RAUL GRIJALVA: THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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