U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall called Saturday during a Salina town hall for Congress to move on following release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, said he is working to address the impact of tariffs on Kansas farmers, and explained his vote against the Violence Against Women Act.
During recent town halls in Salina held by local state legislators and Gov. Laura Kelly, audience members submitted written questions that were read by a moderator. Marshall instead took questions directly from an audience of about 35 people, many of whom were clearly critical of the congressman.
Marshall, a Great Bend doctor first elected to Congress in 2016, said he ran to make the United States more secure and to strengthen the U.S. economy, which he said President Donald Trump has done.
“I am standing beside the president,” Marshall said. “His policies are working.”
A woman in the audience referenced the special counsel's report and asked what role Marshall believed Congress should have in oversight of presidential abuse of power, and she specifically cited using foreign policy to further his own financial interests and taking trips to Mara Lago that are personally profitable to the president.
Marshall began to answer by claiming, “Everywhere I go, Kansans tell me they are ready to move on."
The woman replied, “I’m not.”
“I'm ready to move on. We’ve spent two years, 30 million dollars,” Marshall continued. “It’s time to move on. I can’t get any work done if all Nancy Pelosi wants to do is to create obstruction. After two years, the Mueller report said there was no obstruction.”
The Mueller report, which was released Thursday, stated Trump urged then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. The report stated Trump told Russian officials that great pressure from the Russia investigation had been taken off him because he fired FBI Director James Comey.
The report also stated Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn to tell a Department of Justice official that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out Trump’s order, and the next time they saw each other, Trump didn’t ask McGahn if he had.
When asked if Trump attempted to obstruct justice, even if he had been unsuccessful, Marshall replied that Trump did not.
“I think there was no obstruction, there was no collusion, and I am ready to move on,” Marshall said.
Trump placed tariffs on goods from China, Canada, and the European Union. In response, these governments placed their own tariffs on U.S. agricultural products.
Marshall said he understands these tariffs are hurting Kansas farmers.
“When I set down beside the president, and I was told we would have 10 minutes to talk about health care, the first thing he said was, ‘How are your farmers doing?” I said, ‘Mr. President they are not doing well, we are really struggling,’” Marshall said.
“And we talked for 20 minutes about agriculture, and he said, 'Thanks to the farmers who are being patriots for getting us through this.' He promised we were weeks away from a major announcement with China,” Marshall continued. “I feel the pain. I saw the price of sorghum drop a dollar a bushel overnight almost two years ago as the first retaliation on tariffs. I get it, agriculture is hurting, that's why I am working so hard to get NAFTA 2.0, the USMCA agreement, through, as well as pushing the president on China, the European Union, and Japan. I get it, and I am working at it.”
Marshall said he hasn’t decided whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open in 2020 due to Republican Sen. Pat Roberts' decision not to seek re-election.
“I am plenty busy right now,” Marshall said. “I want to stay focused on getting USMCA through, implementing the farm bill, an immigration reform policy, and a major infrastructure plan. I can’t run for Senate the same time I am doing those. I am certainly giving it very serious consideration and getting a nice, warm reception across the state.”
Violence Against Women Act
Marshall explained his vote against the Violence Against Women Act, which he said contained “poison pills” that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., included to embarrass Republicans.
The violence against women act funds and administers numerous programs assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The house version of the bill would have directed federal prison officials to consider on a case-by-case basis the heath and safety of a transgender prisoner as well as management and security concerns when deciding whether to assign the prisoner to a male or female facility.
“It would encourage the woman that was beaten up to have to face her perpetrator in court, face to face. I think that was a bad idea,” Marshall said. “It also allowed a guy who thought he was a girl to be in prison with other women. I think that is wrong.”
Marshall said he voted for an extension of the Violence of Women Act that didn't contain controversial provisions.
“Certainly as a obstetrician/gynecologist, I was on the front line of seeing women who suffered from violence,” he said. “For years, I have helped reach out to them, and help set up safe homes, so I certainly understand the problem.”