Looking back at a year in Congress that began with a partial government shutdown – the longest government shutdown in U.S. history – and ended with the impeachment of President Donald Trump by the House of Representatives, Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), summed it up as “extraordinary” and a “political circus.”
The freshman 6th District representative who is seeking a second term said while he was proud of his record over the last year, the impeachment inquiry and subsequent impeachment of the president made it difficult to “get anything done.”
“There were a few months where people like me and other Republicans and Democrats really wanted to work together, and we got some things done on a bipartisan basis… but once this impeachment thing began, it so poisoned the well that it was hard to get anything done on a bipartisan basis,” Wright said.
The congressman laid the blame squarely at the feet of Democrats whom he said were mainly focused on opposing President Trump at every turn, cost what it may.
“This impeachment was absolutely one-sided and mean-spirited and totally unnecessary and they don’t seem to even care what it does to the country, which is very disturbing,” Wright said.
“You have a lot of petty politics at work here and that’s what we’ve been seeing all year, unfortunately,” he continued. “That’s why I call it a circus. There has been no real effort in the last half of the year to really get anything done that could pass into law and no matter how they want to frame it themselves, the defining truth of 2019 in the House of Representatives - the Democrats control the house, issued more subpoenas than they passed laws…”
Wright singled out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-California), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-N.Y.) for particular rebuke.
“Everything the speaker does is a political calculation and that’s why she’ll hold up these articles until she thinks it benefits the Democrats to release them,” the 66-year-old lawmaker said. “In the meantime, you’ve got a lot of noise and a lot of speculation.
“She and Schumer are working to set the stage so that once the trial does happen and he’s exonerated, which is almost certain, they are already trying to plant seeds of doubt in the public’s mind about the legitimacy of the Senate trial before it even started,” Wright added.
Pelosi has yet to hand over the articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate, where the fate of the president will be decided. She has asked Republicans to agree to a fair trial.
Wishing John Lewis well
Wright, who has maintained that the prognosis of his stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis is still "excellent" after more than a year, is wishing the same for Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“His diagnosis five years ago would have been a death sentence just like mine would have been a death sentence,” Wright said. “That’s no longer the case because of the immunotherapy drugs… He has every reason to be hopeful that he will live as long as he would have lived without the cancer.”
The Texas representative praised the senator and civil rights icon, who he said was in his prayers.
“I’ve had the chance to talk to him in the elevator and just when we run into each other. He’s a terrific guy,” Wright acknowledged. “There is no one in the House that has the personal prestige that John Lewis has because of his involvement in civil rights, so he is a man that commands respect from everybody and gets it.”
“We don’t vote alike. Our political philosophies are different but I recognize the tremendous contributions he has made and partisanship goes only so far. It should only go so far,” Wright admitted. “You should always put the country ahead of that. You should always put humanity ahead of that and he’s a great man.”
Proud of performance
The freshman congressman said he was most proud of the commitments he made and stood by throughout his year on Capitol Hill despite the political dramas that stood in the way.
“If you look at what I ran on in 2018, I’ve done exactly what I said I would do,” he affirmed. “I’m proud of my voting record. I’m proud that I have done exactly what I said I would do when I ran.”
Heading into the new year, Wright said he is hopeful the impeachment trial can move along as quickly as possible and that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground and compromise.
“We’ve got to learn how to work together again and that involves at least a little bit of trust and right now there’s not any, but we’ve got to get that back,” he expressed. “We’ve got to start working together again on a bipartisan basis.”