Joining me right now Democratic
presidential candidate John Delaney. He is the former congressman for Maryland. Good to see you.
– Great to be here. So, in step with what Amash is saying, just last
month you called the president “lawless,” you say he is committed impeachable
offenses, but you stopped short of calling for impeachment and say this
should be solved at the ballot box. -Is that still your point of view?
– Yes I think we should be focusing on 2020 and beating the president at the ballot box.
I think Speaker Pelosi has struck the the right chord on this issue and I
basically agree with what she’s saying. So if you and others say there are, you
know, impeachable offenses that the President appears to have committed, then
what does that say that you wouldn’t go further and say impeachment proceedings
need to get underway and what does that mean for members of Congress who say
they think there are impeachable offenses – but then they won’t take it a step further?
– Well first of all what Speaker Pelosi has said, which I agree with, is
there’s a lot of investigation to do. She’s gonna do that, the House is gonna
do that, and they’re gonna make sure they pursue their oversight responsibilities.
But people like myself we’re running for president, what I’m focused on, is talking
about what I want to do for the American people. How I want to take this terribly
divided nation and bring it back together. I have new ideas that can solve
some of the big issues that we’re facing right now, and lay out a positive
vision for the future. So I think the House is going to do its job in terms of
its oversight responsibilities, wherever that takes it it takes it I trust
Speaker Pelosi completely on this issue and I’m really focused on going out to
the American people and telling them what I want to do for them as president.
And kind of stopping some of this noise and actually focusing on some of the
common-sense solutions that we all know exist for some of the big important
issues we face as a country. What are, say, two of the things that you
really want to do that you think helps – bring a divided nation together?
– Well I want to call for national service, for example, not mandatory, but create a
really exciting program where every high school graduate would have an
opportunity to serve our country. Either in the military, or by doing community
service, or by becoming part of something I’m calling the Climate Corps which
young people to go around the country and help communities build sustainable
infrastructure or just a general kind of infrastructure program. I think that
would be transformative for this nation because it would really help that young
generation of Americans. They would be much more unified, they’d have a
commitment of service instilled in them which is really important, but I think
every American would benefit from it. So that’s one of the things, for example,
that I want to do as president that I think can be incredibly unifying. The
other thing I want to do in my first hundred days is I’m calling for my
administration to focus on five or six big things in climate, in infrastructure,
in criminal justice reform, in privacy, but have them all based on existing
bipartisan bills in the Congress. Wouldn’t be amazing of a president step
forward and said, “These are things we agree with each other on, and as a
responsible leader who cares about this notion of common purpose I want to lead
us towards getting these things done.” Because Democrats and Republicans have
found common ground on these things. So those are the some of the things I’m
talking about that I think could be transformative and totally change the
tone at the top from the president particularly compared to
what we have now, which is someone who basically wakes up
and tries to divide us every day. You’re one of 23 amongst the field of
Democratic contenders, and you know, one of the latest polls, Fox polls, shows that
former Vice President Joe Biden is far in the lead followed by Bernie Sanders
and then everyone else is either in single digits but far away from the
double digits. So are you concerned? You’re one of the first to have come out, you
know, about two years ago you’re now at 1%. – How do you gain traction?
– I think the debates are key. we’re in the debates, which is important,
and I think that’s really going to be an opportunity for all of us to introduce
ourselves to the American people. I think Vice President Biden’s in a
good position, everyone knows who he is, and so that obviously helps in this
early polling. But you have to remember the first vote’s not going to
be cast for about 10 months. I think it’s pretty clear the Democratic Party needs
to put up more of a moderate centrist candidate to win in 2020. I think that’s
pretty obvious. But I also think the Democratic Party is looking for
some new people with new ideas, you know, people haven’t been in politics their
whole career. People like myself who have been a successful entrepreneur, starting
two businesses, creating thousands of jobs before I served in the Congress, so
I think after the debates, and the American people get an opportunity to
see us all up on the stage, I think my vision for the country and, importantly,
how I plan on making it happen is really what’s going to set me apart from the
rest of the field, which in many cases are putting forth impossible promises.
Things that actually don’t make sense and can never happen and I think the
American people are tired of that. They’re looking for solutions. They’re
looking for someone who can actually get – things done.
– So what’s your strategy on convincing the American people that you know you
don’t have impossible ideas but achievable ideas particularly when we’re
talking about one of the most diverse – Democratic fields, you know, in political history?
– Well I think there’s a lot of issues that matter whether it be
climate, or what’s happening with workers pay, and I think the voters should say,
“Okay, what are you going to do about it?” So for climate, for example, I have,
by far, the best climate plan. In part because I can actually make it happen.
You know, the stuff I’m working on I introduced as bipartisan legislation in
the Congress. So I can show the voters how the things I’m proposing actually
can really happen and make a difference in their lives. A lot of these
people are putting forth things that are practically, you know, impossible in many
ways. And don’t make a lot of sense from a policy perspective. They may sound good,
but I think the American people and the Democratic Party know that to beat Trump,
which is the most important thing, and actually to govern we have to put forth
responsible solutions to the issues that we face and I think the American people
are at a point now where they’re just tired of all the fighting, tired of all
the noise, they want us to come back – together and actually start getting things done.
– So topping the list among those concerns that American voters have:
health care. And you have said that, you know, Medicare for all is really not
the answer, and I’m quoting you now saying, “Politicians supporting Medicare
for All are not being honest with you. As Democrats we need to be fact-based in
our thinking,” but right now one of the top candidates, you know, is pushing this
idea you know of Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders, and
he is second in the polls. So is he speaking the language that the american
voters on health care want to hear? I don’t think so because we’re gonna
have a real debate on health care, and I think what the the single-payer system
that Senator Sanders is putting forth is just bad policy.
It’ll make health care worse in this country, and I think if we actually run
on that, we’re gonna lose. Because if you go to the American people, many of which
like their private insurance, and say that we’re gonna take it away from you
and give you a government plan we’re not going to win a lot of elections. And I
also think the American people understand that we should have a form of
a mixed model like I’m proposing similar to what countries like Germany have
where we have a government plan that everyone gets as a right. I’m fully for
universal health care but also allow private insurance options. That’s the common sense, obvious way to move forward to improve our health care
system. And, you know, things like a single-payer health care system will
ultimately make health care more limited and lower quality in this country and I
don’t think the American people really want to vote to give up their health
care. Think about all the union workers out there, I mean my dad was a union
electrician, you know, my parents didn’t go to college and I saw how my dad’s
union and all these unions around the country fight so hard to get really good
health care for their workers. Do we really want to run as a party that wants
to take that away from them and give them some government only solution?
I mean, that’s a terrible idea we should stand for universal health care, we
should stand for everyone getting health care as a basic right, because I do think
it’s a human right, and I do think it’s smart economic policy, but this notion
that a government only solution is the way to solve health care, I mean, if you
go to any hospital in this country and you ask them how it would go for them, if
all of their bills were paid at Medicare reimbursement rates, every hospital in
this country will tell you that they would close. Just an example of how
misguided some of these policies are. Okay, John Delaney. So again, you threw
your hat into the race two years ago was – the impetus simply the election of Donald J. Trump?
– Yes. Yeah, the election of President Trump was
the punctuation of terrible decades in our politics.
Where we’ve had irresponsible leaders who have basically been trying
to divide the American people for their own self-interest, and the American
people have lost so much faith in their government that they elected someone
like him, who’s basically a human wrecking ball, and he lies to the
American people, and he’s irresponsible with the way he’s handling our country,
and I just think the American people are looking for something so much better at
this point they want to turn the page. They want a unifier, not a divider, they
want some new ideas, and they want someone who will actually get things
done and focus on some of the things we agree with each other on and I’m that candidate.