The new commission to investigate the Capitol breach on Jan. 6 will be “one-sided” and ultimately a “witch hunt” against Trump supporters and conservatives, argues Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.).
In this episode, we sit down with Rep. Hice to discuss what he sees as some of the biggest challenges facing America today, from cancel culture to election integrity to the border crisis.
Jan Jekielek: Congressman Jody Hice, such a pleasure to have you back on American Thought Leaders.
Rep. Jody Hice: Great to be with you. It’s always an honor. Thanks.
Mr. Jekielek: Congressman Hice, I’m going to date this interview a little bit. Last night you were voting on the issue of the creation of this bipartisan commission surrounding the events of January 6th. You voted against it. I was looking through. There were 35 Republicans that voted for it. There’s a lot of questions about what happened there.
A 9/11 style commission might be exactly what the doctor ordered, right? And people do want to get to the bottom of this, presumably you do, too. I think there’s a lot of agreement around that. So why did you vote against it? What’s the issue?
Rep. Hice: First of all, to call this particular commission bipartisan is totally improper. It’s incorrect. The Democrats are not allowing our side to have any staff whatsoever. So they’re going to be able to hire all the staff, all the attorneys, all that, whatever is needed. How is that bipartisan? This is going to be a one sided commission.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “On this vote, the yeas are 252, the nays are 175. The bill is passed. Without objection a motion to reconsider is laid upon the table.”
Rep. Hice: The ones who are actually going to be doing the work and running the show are a hundred percent one-sided. That’s not bipartisan. And what this is going to turn into is a witch hunt to go after Trump and Trump supporters and conservatives as a whole, I believe, at least.
And the attempt ultimately is going to try to label all of us who are conservatives as potential domestic terrorists and insurrectionists and whatever else. We want answer as to what happened on January 6th, period. That is the issue, but I have zero confidence that that is really the intent of this commission.
Mr. Jekielek: So can this bill be reformed somehow or does it need to be scrapped and there’d be some other channel. How do you suggest this be done?
Rep. Hice: I mean, it’s too late now. It’s past and that train has left the track, but it should have been bipartisan to begin with, where both sides come to the table, work out agreements and negotiate and determine how this thing is going to operate. Another thing that’s very concerning to me is we’re not going to look at other events and riots that have taken place all over the country.
Why is that? I mean, why? Why is the scope of this only going to be on what happened here at the Capitol? When their narrative, their rhetoric has been that it’s a hundred percent Donald Trump’s fault and conservatives. Now they’re putting forward a commission where they are totally in control of the direction of the mission and those who are of the commission and those who will be running it.
We’ve had riots and real insurrections in other cities across this country. And quite frankly, we need answers to that as well. Who has been responsible for those riots and those insurrections and those seditious behaviors? Why are we not looking at the entire problem rather than just one issue that is going to then in turn be totally dominated by them?
Mr. Jekielek: What are your expectations with what will happen next with this?
Rep. Hice: We’ll see where this whole thing lands, but it’s disturbing to me. I mean, it really is. I don’t take away from the belief that Democrats want to find out what happened on January 6th as well. Right? Both sides of the aisle want that. But I have serious questions if this is a bipartisan commission. It is not. It is simply not. And so that tells me right away, this has political motivations, not investigative motivations.
And that’s concerning because with political motivations, when that is set in force, the outcome, to me, invariably, is going to be a lack of justice, and justice itself is taken away because the fabricated story and narrative is developed. From that, you try to get public opinion on your side, and then you get news media on your side, and before you know it, justice goes out the window and scapegoats begin to surface. That’s dangerous. Let’s get to the bottom of what happened and deal with it from there.
It’s interesting to me that we have hundreds of people to this point who have been charged in January 6th, not one has been charged with insurrection or sedition. And yet we were told this was an insurrection. So the whole narrative going into this is not accurate with reality. And yet they’re going to continue pushing this with them leading the charge. It just is concerning to me that at the end of the day, justice will not be the outcome.
Mr. Jekielek: And to finish up this topic, how would you choose to characterize this, what happened on January 6th?
Rep. Hice: There was no question, a riot. And I have a harshly condemned what happened on January 6th, and any comment or allegation otherwise is extremely offensive. It is in itself just something that is politically motivated. I oppose what happened as I opposed likewise, all acts of violence and all the riots that have taken place across the country over the last year or so. And we need answers to those issues as well. It was a riot; it was a mob. It was something that never should have happened. And we need answers as to why.
We had a hearing about this last week. Absent from the hearing was Mayor Bowser of DC. I had a letter with me in that hearing where she requested that the National Guard not be participated, not come on board, because they had everything under control. There was already intelligence that the National Guard was needed, that there was going to be potential crowds of people that potentially could get out of control.
Why did she refuse help? What did Speaker Pelosi know beforehand? I have no question she was given information as well, and yet she was absent from the hearing. Already going into this, we’re having hearings that are politically motivated, not hearings designed for truthful answers. It appears to me that the intent of the hearings thus far have been for the sole purpose of political theater and political advancement of a narrative that the Democrats are trying to create for the purpose of harming president Trump and conservatives.
Mr. Jekielek: Okay. Let’s move on to another topic that you’ve been very vocal about, which is election reform. So a while back, I think it was in early April, you co-wrote with a number of other congressional members, a letter to a major league baseball, basically criticizing their moving of the All-Star Game from Atlanta.
I guess I want to get you to tell me a little bit about your thinking around this. What did major league baseball do wrong here, but more importantly, what was the impact? Because that was a little while ago. What was actually the impact of that letter? Was there any response?
Rep. Hice: No. I mean the impact of the letter ended up being nothing. They have not come back to Atlanta obviously. And they’ve gone to Denver, which has less opportunity for early voting than Georgia does. So the hypocrisy of that move in itself shows that even that decision—look, the bill that was passed in Georgia is a good bill. All it restricts quite frankly, is cheating. Don’t we all want there to be no cheating when it comes to elections, that when a person casts a ballot, that their ballot counts, that it’s a legal ballot and it counts?
If we ever lose integrity in our ballot box in this country, then we as a country are in major trouble because the voice of the people, the consent of the governed goes out the door, and we can’t afford that. I am a hundred percent convinced that we had problems in that regard in Georgia this past year. And it is for that reason the General Assembly passed some good legislation to close some of the gaping holes that provided fraudulent elections in many instances in the state of Georgia.
They actually expanded days for early voting in that bill. And yet the rhetoric, the narrative, was that it was suppressing votes. I had an in-depth conversation with leaders of a major company that everyone would know of if I mentioned their name, and this issue came up. It’s one of the companies that have come out against the Georgia bill. I simply asked them to name me one thing in the bill that suppressed votes, they stumbled all over themselves and could not even remotely come to anything in the bill that suppresses votes. And yet that’s the accusation.
Again, if we’re going to discuss issues, there needs to be honesty. We not only have an issue of voter integrity, we have an issue in this country of media and news reporting integrity too. And it is time that we get to the honest truth when it comes to reporting in this country. What’s happened in Georgia, as it relates to the voting bill, is a highlighted example of how dishonest much of the reporting in this country has become.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s of course not just major league baseball, it’s a number of major companies that at least spoke out against the bill and so forth. Given what you’re saying, why do you think they’re doing this, if your experience with this one company is mirrored across the board?
Rep. Hice: I don’t have any evidence to back this up, all this is my opinion, but I believe the cancel culture movement has become so strong and so intimidating, they have CEOs and other leaders of various companies who don’t want to go there. They don’t want to put themselves or their company in a position that potentially would result in mass protest or boycotts or cancel culture environment that could be destructive to them.
And so the response that many of them are having is go along. It’s go along to get along. That’s improper. It’s wrong for America, it’s wrong for their business. At some point, we as Americans have to push back against this notion that if you do not agree with that radical left-wing socialist ideology, you’re going to be canceled. That is not American. Their approach to cancel people is un-American.
We freedom-loving individuals, and companies included, need to take a stand against this type of thing, otherwise we will be just bulldozed right over. But I believe really that’s behind many of the decisions here. They come out speaking, just going along with the narrative of the cancel movement for the purpose, they’re hopeful, I believe, of not being the beneficiaries of that kind of attack themselves.
Mr. Jekielek: The people that, I don’t know if I’d say they’re advocates of cancel culture, at least, I suppose that’s what I’m describing, will say this is actually just an accountability movement, right? Holding people to account for bad behavior and so forth.
Rep. Hice: So, what’s the bad behavior? I mean, that’s the question. What in the bill that Georgia passed is bad? In Georgia, we have not had voter identification required for absentee ballots. That’s pretty foolish when it comes down to it. And to be honest, really Georgia has not had a lot of absentee ballots. I think the most that we’ve ever had in the state of Georgia prior to this past election was in the ballpark of the 80,000 range.
It’s a lot of ballots, but that’s the most we’ve ever had. This last election was well in excess of a million. It was like 1.4 million absentee ballots with no voter ID of any significant measure associated with any of those ballots. That’s problematic.
And so the General Assembly came together and worked up a bill to have voter identification with absentee ballots. All right? That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. That decreases the possibility, the potential of fraud through the absentee ballot system. So, those are the issues involved here. What is wrong with that bill is the question. And I have yet to have any one give an honest answer.
Mr. Jekielek: And I’m thinking about this, where you describe it as cancel culture in sort of more in a broader way, because it’s not just happening with respect to this Georgia bill. This is something that’s become a kind of social phenomenon in the last few years, especially in the last couple. It was more broadly speaking. Well, for starters, define for me this cancel culture. What is it that you’re talking about exactly?
Rep. Hice: It basically says that if you do not go along with fully and embrace the radical, left-wing, socialist, Marxist agenda, whatever you want to name it or tag it, that you will be basically destroyed and incapacitated from functioning normally in our society.
I can tell you firsthand, all across the 10th district of Georgia, I run across people who are afraid now, literally, to speak very publicly about their opinions online, social media, or in whatever various avenues they had. They are fearful that it will cost their job or that they somehow will be threatened or their family will be threatened.
What kind of society are we creating when our first amendment—which is first for a very specific reason, the right for us to speak our opinions and express our religious views and so forth in the public square without fear of harassment or punishment for doing so—what kind of culture are we creating when we allow our first amendment rights to be trampled upon and removed from us? And yet that’s what this cancel culture movement actually is bringing forth for our country.
Mr. Jekielek: So let’s move on to one more topic. I know we have a very limited time today. So you recently visited the San Diego and Yuma borders. You mentioned that you had been to the border through three different presidential administrations now. Briefly speaking, what was your experience there?
Rep. Hice: Yes. If memory serves me, I think I’ve now been to all nine sectors on our southern border. And I’ll just be honest, every time I’ve gone, I’ve come back infuriated with what’s occurring in our borders, and it has increasingly become worse. And the situation now is worse than I’ve ever seen it. We started in San Diego, which has probably a tremendous wall system.
There are breaks, there are gaps in the wall, but for the most part, the wall has helped people come through the ports of entry. And so that’s probably one of the least problematic areas that we have on our border.
And even then, it’s just unbelievable what’s coming in. The human trafficking, the drug trafficking, the criminals that are still coming across our borders, the enormous lines of those who are illegally trying to come and go, sometimes having to wait, as we were told, as long as four and five hours to get across the border one way or the other. I mean, it’s just unbelievable.
Then we went from there to Yuma, Arizona. And what our border agents are facing there— we saw buildings that were facilities designed for about a 100 people. While I was there, there was well in excess over 400 in those facilities. And on Sunday before we got there, they said there was over 700.
This type of thing is across the board. We were told, in one of the sectors, one of the areas that we just came from, 80 percent of our border agents are processing illegal individuals, which leaves only 20 percent guarding our borders. It is impossible. We already have a shortage of border agents, but now of those we have in certain areas, only 20 percent are actually there doing their job, because the mass numbers of people who have to be processed.
But the unbelievable thing is while we were there the night before, four individuals from Iran were captured. We were told in one area they had already had over a 100 or in the ballpark of 160 different countries coming across that area of our southern border.
Who are these people? Why are they coming? What are their intentions? Why are they allowed basically to freely enter our country right now? And we are allowing this. It’s a frightful thing. It is a humanitarian crisis. It is a national security crisis. And of course, it’s impacting our economy on multiple fronts as well.
Mr. Jekielek: A lot of people, you said 160 different countries. I’m not necessarily that surprised that there’s a lot of interest in coming to America. From my parents’ escape from communist Poland in the ’70s. They came to north America to look for a better life, to get away from persecution and so forth. Presumably some of these people are going to be in that boat. Broadly speaking, maybe just for the record, what is your position on immigration in general?
Rep. Hice: Now look, we are a country that welcomes people from other parts of the world, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to come here. And right now, and this is exasperated by us having open borders and us as a country right now, not even abiding by our own immigration laws. What is the point of having laws if we’re not going to abide with those laws? Right now it’s coming direct from the White House, and this administration don’t abide by the laws. That’s very puzzling and concerning to me.
On the other hand, our immigration right now is bottlenecked. I personally know individuals that have taken up to 27 years to become a legal citizen of this country. It should never take that long. And the expense involved in that is enormous as well. Look, the problems are on both sides. We have got to simplify the process of coming into this country legally.
We’ve got to deal with the bottleneck issue that is here, the amount of time and the expense for people to come here legally. But at the same time, that does not provide an excuse for people to come here illegally, and for us as a country to be irresponsible in not even checking who these individuals are who are coming. The enormous amounts of fentanyl and the drugs, the cartels right now basically run every square inch of our southern border. We’ve got to get this thing under control.
Mr. Jekielek: One of the videos that I saw, you were there, I think with Congressman Perry, was this terrible canal or river with raw sewage.
Rep. Hice: The New River, how horrible.
Mr. Jekielek: And you were just describing that people actually swim through there to get across the border. I think it’s the most polluted river in America or something like this.
Rep. Scott Perry: “If you were standing here, you don’t want to smell this. This is raw sewage coming from Mexico directly into the United States. And believe it or not, in just a little while, we’re going to watch four nationals come illegally right down the middle of this river, right underneath these gates. They actually swim underneath the gates right into the United States of America in a river of sewage. Right here last night, they caught Iranian foreign nationals illegally coming into this country. This is the situation at the border happening today.”
Mr. Jekielek: Just looking at that on the face of it, those people are pretty serious about wanting to get away from something to do that, right? So there’s this kind of humanitarian question, right? Is this system just not able to handle all the people that really do need help and are willing to swim a river of sewage to get here?
Rep. Hice: Yes. I mean, there are multiple reasons involved, but that was in the Mexicali and Calexico area where the New River comes out. And it was the most polluted river in America. Why is the EPA not even involved in this? Why do we continue letting this raw sewage come into our country? That in itself is a whole other issue.
But there are people willing to do anything to come into America. Of course, this is America, it’s a land of opportunity and freedom and people want that from other places in the world. And we don’t want to deny the pursuit of those things. The human heart longs for liberty and freedom, and people want to come to America for that.
But as we are currently opening our borders to individuals like this, we are gradually changing the freedoms that we have in this country. As we are breaking down laws, we are allowing the criminals that are coming into this country, the drugs, the human smuggling, all these types of things. It’s just wide open.
It’s inexcusable. Any country that does not have borders, ultimately is not a country. It’s just a landmass. And we are frightfully moving down that direction. I really don’t understand why. What good for our country possibly can result from having open borders like we currently have?
Mr. Jekielek: You mentioned, there are certain laws that aren’t being basically enforced. Which laws specifically do you have in mind?
Rep. Hice: Well, number one, it’s illegal to come here if you don’t have all the right paperwork. These are undocumented individuals who are coming across our borders. We are not having the legal processes to get them tried early. Once a person comes, it can take two, three, four years for them to have a day in court. The vast majority of them, they never show up, and then we never go looking for them.
We have the capture and release type policies. That’s improper for us to have. We’re allowing right now under COVID. We have rules that they tighten up because of COVID reasons, that people have to be turned away. We’re not turning them back. There are a host of laws that we are just ignoring and allowing these individuals to come. Again, I see no positive outcome currently with us turning our heads to our own laws and immigration processes. Nothing good can come of this.
Mr. Jekielek: So what do you propose would be the right way to go now? Given, I think you did mention that there were record numbers in April, we all know that. I think it was 178,000 people they captured.
Rep. Hice: Yes, 178,000. Last April, it was 17,000. Why don’t we start with going back to the policies that worked? President Trump gave us some policies that were highly effective. We all know, during the Trump administration, the border became an issue. We had a number of illegals who were coming across the border under his administration, too, but he took action and he started, quite frankly, enforcing our laws. And they worked. He started building the wall, and it works.
And yet on day one, as President Biden came, he dropped all those, reversed all those policies on our southern border that were quite effective. To be honest, President Biden inherited a good situation, not a perfect situation, but he inherited a good situation on our southern border. And on day one, he reversed those policies. And now we have a bigger problem than we have ever had in the history of our country, and it’s less than five months. And so let’s start by just going back to the policies that worked.
Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts before we finish up?
Rep. Hice: I’m just very grateful for what you do. Thank you for having me.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, such a pleasure to have you on Congressman Hice.
Rep. Hice: Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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