The National Security Democrat: Beyond Party Politics with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)

Elissa Slotkin - Wikipedia

On this week’s episode, co-hosts A’ndre and Ryan speak about the events at the Capitol on January 6th with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. As the representative from Michigan’s 8th District, Congresswoman Slotkin discusses her role in working with the Biden administration to combat and deal with domestic terrorism and violence. During this episode, she addresses various topics such as Iran, the Department of Defense, and the 1st Amendment in relation to domestic threats. Congresswoman Slotkin then delves into the future of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy platform.

On the events at the Capitol:

“I think that it was the combustible mix of groups of folks who have been fed misinformation for years, whose leaders were really encouraging threatening behavior, violent behavior, and I mean obviously, the President that day, specifically inciting the crowd.”

“I think of January 6th as the end of the post 9/11 era, and the beginning of the new era where the division between us as Americans is a greater threat to our security than foreign terrorism, as it has been for the past 20 years.”

On the Biden administration and Congress combatting domestic violence:

“I think bipartisanship right now is strained, but still remains critical.”

“The partisanship is creating gridlock, literal constipation, in governing. And the average American looks at that and says, ‘My system’s not working; my government isn’t doing things for me; they’re not helping me; they are not changing my situation for me, for my kids;’ and that is a threat to democracy: when people stop believing in it.”

On the 1st Amendment in relation to domestic threats:

“We need to do a really clear-eyed review of our intelligence posture on domestic terrorism with complete respect for civil liberties but understanding that we need to be resourced against the threat. We need to listen to each other.”

On the Department of Defense:

“I know it doesn’t seem like it, but Washington can still work. I had concerns and he [Lloyd Austin] helped alleviate them, and so I voted for him. In a perfect world, we would be doing more of that: pushing our leaders to push on the others and then having comity once we have a conversation.”

On Iran:

“We can’t stop with just dealing with their nuclear program, so I support the idea of trying to find a way to get to negotiations. I just think it needs to now include that roadmap to deal with the ballistic missiles and the terrorism.”

“And frankly, Donald Trump had leverage that he could’ve exerted to get these negotiations. He was constantly threatening to pull out, threatening to pull out, threatening to pull out. And the Europeans and the Iranians would’ve probably done anything to keep him in. And so that would have been the moment to say, “Well let’s get in some additional negotiations.”

On Congress:

“I really believe in a strong American leadership role in the world. And while I am the first one to say we’ve made mistakes, I still put our leadership—principled leadership—ahead of China, Russia, and anyone else who would come and fill in the vacuum. There is, and will be a vacuum, if the United States doesn’t take that leadership role.”

“The fundamental responsibility is to protect Americans, is to protect us from harm, protect threats to our way of life. And that is not always sunshine and rainbows. We can’t just will ourselves into a safe country, it takes work by serious professionals who know how to do this. And no one would ever say we get everything right, but I am also not willing to accept foreign policy perspective that’s just based on pulling back from the world, on disengaging from the world, because one day that will come back to bite us, and one day soon.”

On being a Foreign Policy Democrat:

“I think foreign policy is definitely an issue of debate between the Democratic Party and I guess, for me, that it is important that when we’re thinking about major decisions on foreign policy or funding or defunding major things on foreign policy, that we spend some time with people who have actually had to do it, who actually know how to protect us.”

“I don’t know where we’ll end up, but I do know that I will be a strong voice for the practitioners, for the people who have actually been responsible for other people and their safety. And I think we’d be better served as a party if we were influenced by experience.”

On the biggest under-appreciated threats:

“I think that people are not absorbing what it means if the next generation doesn’t believe in democracy, that is such a dangerous thing. I think that’s being undervalued.”

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