Missouri’s Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt was a guest on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper Sunday, where he defended President Trump and once again declined to call for Governor Eric Greitens to resign.
Blunt answered questions for six minutes in his first-ever appearance on the Sunday morning political interview program. Tapper spent about half of that time quizzing the two-term Senator about mischaracterizations and falsehoods uttered by President Trump.
Each time Blunt declined to criticize the President for making dishonest statements, although he acknowledged that Trump was at times less than truthful.
He said Trump had followed through on keeping promises made before being elected, although he was critical of the President’s agenda on trade.
“The more important thing I would suggest is doing what you say you’re going to do when you’re elected President,” said Blunt. “And most of that, you’re right, I’m supportive of. I don’t think the stated trade policy is the policy that’s very helpful to us, but we’ll see what we get at the end of the road on that.”
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. left the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade pact although the President has signaled he could reconsider the decision.
Tapper inquired about an inaccurate statement Thursday from Trump, who said, “the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail.” Two of the three hostages were detained after Trump took office.
Blunt responded that he would be bothered more about Trump’s falsehoods if the President’s policies hadn’t been successful.
He pointed to deregulation and the Congressional tax package as positive steps and praised the President for what he called a reversal of failures on foreign policy by the previous Democratic Obama administration. Blunt indicated he thought positive results may be achieved in the denuclearization of North Korea and preventing Iran from acquiring such weapons.
He said Trump may not be aware of all the facts when he speaks and gave the President credit for being available to make public statements. Blunt contended that in touring Missouri during the previous week he hadn’t once been asked about inaccurate statements made by the President.
Tapper stated that he himself thought it was important for the President to be truthful and suggested Blunt would take issue with Presidential misstatements if Oprah Winfrey were the head of state.
He eventually asked Blunt, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, what he could divulge about North Korea. The Senator declined to reveal information but said the country headed by supreme leader Kim Jong-un had become the panel’s main focus over the past two years because of its dangerous behavior and buildup of weapons.
A week after he refused to call for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to resign on Meet The Press, Blunt doubled down on his previous statements.
Tapper pointed out that both Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill and the front-runner to be her Republican opponent in this year’s election, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, had called for Greitens to step down.
Blunt contended his refusal to join other office holders in asking Greitens to resign was not an indication that he believed the governor’s claim of innocence.
“There’s no question that if the governor did the things that he’s alleged to have done involving this woman is reprehensible,” Blunt said. “But there’s a process where all the facts get to be laid on the table.”
He told Tapper it would be wrong to reverse the will of voters before the legal and legislative processes dealing with accusations against Greitens play out.
“When they elect somebody as governor who spent his whole time running for office talking about how bad the current politicians were in both parties, that you need to let the process work its way out before you reverse what the people have done,” said Blunt.
Greitens faces two felony charges in St. Louis Circuit Court. In one charge, he’s alleged to have taken a photo of a partially nude woman without consent and to have transmitted the image in a manner that allowed access to it through a computer.
In the other charge, he’s accused of using a donor list from his former charity without permission for campaign purposes. The governor faces a felony computer tampering charge related to that accusation.
Governor Greitens has denied any criminal wrongdoing.
The state legislature plans to hold a special session to consider whether Greitens should be impeached for his activities. The required signatures from lawmakers to hold such a gathering were collected and delivered to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office after a special House committee released two reports asserting Greitens broke the law in both instances in which he’s charged.