Editor’s note: Below is the video and transcript of Congressman Louie Gohmert’s speech at the Freedom Center’s 2013 Restoration Weekend. The event was held November 14th-17th at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Louie Gohmert: Oh, it’s so good to be here. Thank you, Michael. Thanks for all those insights.
And actually, I’ve got some good ideas. And our friend, Arthur Laffer, one of the smartest and funniest guys around — he told me awhile back — he said, Louie, you can’t be discouraged. You’re a big-idea guy. And no big idea ever gets latched onto immediately. It takes people awhile to kind of think — you know, that might be a good idea.
But yes, Michael is right. I was a chief justice. And before that, I was a district court judge, handled major felonies, including capital murder cases; and I handled major civil litigation. And in fact, the biggest, nastiest civil litigation — gone on for 11 years, and I took charge.
And when people say — well, do you miss being a judge since you’re in Congress, I go — only when I want people to sit down and shut up. You know.
I miss having a bailiff. And only one time did I have to actually have somebody’s mouth duct-taped.
And I was anticipating it going across here. But it was a criminal defendant charged with a felony. And I knew from the preliminary hearing he’d stand up and yell out and cuss. And I’d tell him to sit down and shut up. But I told the sheriff — we’re going to probably have to gag him at his trial. Some judges, if somebody’s out of hand, will order them put in a separate room and watch by video. He was going to be there for his trial.
And so I warned the sheriff’s office — look, check with the feds, you know. There’s bound to be a preferred method of gagging. And they came back later and said — the feds say duct tape. And I went — really? I got duct tape in my desk. And I went and got out a roll and gave it to my bailiff. I said — keep it on your desk there, as he’s in front of the bar right by the defendant.
So anyway, I didn’t know, but they’d actually practiced. And so when the guy yelled out, I warned him each time. Because you got to make your record that you were trying to use less restrictive methods of restraint. But finally, when he yelled out, cussed; I said — that’s your final time, Mr. Jones. That was his name, Mr. Jones. Gag him. And two deputies stepped up, grabbed his arm. And they had gotten a special chair that worked good. They handcuffed his arms to the chair, two others slapped handcuffs on his ankles. And I didn’t think about it. But yeah, it’d be too easy to take off the gag.
And then, this guy had long, stringy brown hair and a beard and a moustache.
And they went around his head six or seven times.
And so, you know, they said later — well, judge, if we’d only had it right across here, you know, he could’ve got down, maybe gotten it. And so I went — oh, okay.
So anyway, we’d hear him time to time over there, going — mm-mm-mmm! But otherwise, not really a bother, not a problem.
But then, after the prosecution rested — well, I have to send the jury out. Every judge has to do that. Then you have to, on the record, advise them of their rights to remain silent, and have a right to consult your attorney. He has a right to give you advice, but you are the one that has to make that decision. It’s a long liturgy you go through.
And I said — so, your attorney can advise you, it’s your decision. I’m going to have the gag removed so you can tell me whether you wish to waive your Fifth Amendment rights and testify, or whether you wish to remain silent. And so, what we heard, as they came off with strips of hair, and all this — anyway, they finally got that last strip off. And I said — now, would you care to testify? He says — you can go to — an unpleasant place.
And I said thank you very much, we’ve heard all we will hear from you in this case. Put the gag back. And later they came back.
Well, fast-forward seven years. I have the chief deputy come before me. Said — judge, one of the hearings you’ve got this morning — this guy is — he’s maybe nuts. But he may come over the bench at you. I said — I’m not worried about it. Judge, we know you like have just the lawyers and the defendant. But we’d really like to have a deputy on either side of us. You really feel that strongly, all right. But I’m not worried. But for everybody else, okay.
And I have a big gavel. And I was good with it, you know.
But anyway, so the guy was — he didn’t say “your honor,” but he said yes sir and no sir, very pleasant. So afterwards, I called the chief deputy. I said — why were you worried about this guy? He was a prince, didn’t have a problem. He said — let me tell you what I couldn’t tell you before his hearing, Judge. When we went to dress him out for court this morning, he was butt-naked, and he had messed himself, and he would get it on people. We had to send two of our deputies to the hospital. He was hurting people. We had to get a fire hose and force him into the corner before we could get him cleaned up. We didn’t know what he was going to — I said — well, what changed? And he said — that’s what I had to go find out before I came to your office.
They bring people on a chain, literally a chain, where they handcuff them to the chain, bring them through the tunnel from the jail across the courthouse. And they bring several people across that are going to be in different courtrooms. And he said the jailer, bringing him across, overheard one of the other guys coming to a different court say — look, I know you want to play this crazy stuff. But I was in this judge’s courtroom several years ago when another guy was doing that. And he basically had him mummified with duct tape.
So you may play that crazy stuff in somebody else’s court, fine. But I’m telling you, I wouldn’t do it there. It was yes sir, no sir. We didn’t have a problem. But I don’t get to do that in Congress.
But let me tell you — one of the — I’m supposed to tell you — update on Washington. I have heard people that I not only respect but I like — including Bill O’Reilly, Bernie Goldberg, a lot of people talking about — I don’t think the Republicans should have shut down the government. If you don’t get anything else, I want you to understand and correct people, if somebody you know, smart as they may be, says the Republicans shouldn’t have shut down the government or should’ve shut down the government like they did — either way, you correct them, and say — the Republicans did not shut down the government. We did not.
And people need to understand that. And for those that don’t understand that or that are actually watching – part of the 37,000 that watch CNN or, you know —
— MSNBC is a little better than that — but anyway, tell them to go to Congressional Record. It’s online. And what you will find before the shutdown was the Republicans in the House passed a bill to defund Obamacare. Some of my conservative friends are now saying — you know what, maybe we — well, they were saying it before the last couple of days – we probably shouldn’t of had that vote. I knew it. We said we should have gone straight to just voting on a one-year suspension.
And it amazes me. You know, I’ve negotiated multimillion-dollar deals before I was a judge. Let me tell you, folks — you’re probably here, because you’ve negotiated some things and done a decent job. You don’t come in where you want to end up, do you? How we get so many brilliant people – some lawyers, some businesspeople — negotiated great deals, and they come in. And when they get to be a Republican in the House, the first thing they do is – here’s where we want to end up, so let’s offer that first.
Are you kidding me? Harry Reid doesn’t do that. Well, he does now — basically, he just says our way or the highway. But this goes back to 2011, after Democrats lost the majority in the House. The conventional wisdom was — if there is a shutdown, no matter what the Democrats have to do to cause it, Republicans will be blamed. America will believe it’s the Republicans’ fault. And Democrats will therefore take the House back in the next election. That was what everybody believed back in 2011.
So in spring of 2011 – you can go back and check – we had a deadline coming up in the spring. And it was midnight on a Friday. And at 10:30 that night, our Speaker calls us together, Republicans, and says — we got a deal worked out. We can’t allow a shutdown under any circumstances. But we’re saving 30-something billion dollars. Well, it turned out it wasn’t even 30. We had promised we’d cut 100 billion. And then, as soon as we got in place, our leaders started saying — well, when you do the — it’s not a full year, so it’s more like 60 billion. And then this was 32 billion. Turns out it may have cost more, and we didn’t save anything.
But the reason there was not a shutdown then, as Harry Reid wanted in the spring of 2011, was Republicans totally capitulated. That’s why there wasn’t one then. They wanted it then. So the only way there was going to be an avoidance of a shutdown would be total capitulation every time we got up to that midnight witching hour.
So we passed – yes. Why wouldn’t we pass what we believe in? Defund Obamacare. We know how it hurts people. We’re already hearing it and seeing it.
I got an email this week from somebody in my district that said their 80-year-old mom had broken her hip. And the doctor – it had caused a lot of complications. The doctor gave her a 50-50 chance of living. And she barely made it. And the doctor said — thank goodness it happened now. Because the new Obamacare rules would not allow me to do what I did for your mom to save her life. And so thank goodness it happened now.
You know, one of my staff members had a father who was told after the first of the year he couldn’t get a pacemaker. And he’s going to need one. And you know, this is doing major damage to people. And if you know that – I know some people said — well, you ought to just let it roll in, let everybody see how bad it is. And if you guys hadn’t caused the shutdown, that would’ve been all the focus.
No, it would not. Our own leaders had already told us last summer we get to September-October, we’re basically going to have an amnesty bill, and that’s what we’d talked about. And that would’ve given the administration and the mainstream media something else to talk about, and they would have ignored Obamacare. I don’t care what anybody says, we would’ve given them that. But since the government shut down, and everybody wants to know why I did it, and people said Obamacare – well, you had to kind of talk about it.
So say what you will about the shutdown. The truth is we didn’t do it. And after we voted for what we believe in, total defund, then we voted to suspend the whole thing for a year. Old Chinese proverb, you know, about give your adversary a graceful exit, way out. And that was that for them.
But Harry Reid was so focused on causing a shutdown — because he thought that would get them back the House — that he didn’t look at anything else objective. He just zeroed in — we’re not going to agree to anything. A one-year suspension could’ve said — you know, those darn Republicans forced us into this. We didn’t want it. And then they would’ve had a year to try to get their act together. I don’t think it would’ve been enough. But that would’ve given them a graceful exit.
I thought we should not go one more time and bid against ourselves. You’re not supposed to do that. We did it again. And we said — okay. Well, you have unconstitutionally, Mr. President, given big business a one-year reprieve; you’re not going to enforce the business mandate. So we will legally give a one-year reprieve to individuals and suspend the individual mandate. They should’ve grabbed that. I didn’t think we should of bid against ourselves at that point.
And then, when they wouldn’t even give that a vote, we came back yet again. And this vote was at 1:11 a.m. on October 11th. And I thought this was total capitulation. But Reid will surely agree to this. We appointed conferees, the legal name for the negotiators. Constitution law and rules provide for this. And we should of — in a legitimate Senate leader, we should have had conferees brought forward and probably had a deal worked out before 8:00 a.m. He would not even allow negotiators to negotiate a deal. He wanted a shutdown.
So I hope you’ll correct people on that.
Now, after the government shut down, people also got a chance – and I think this was a gift. I know a lot of people here believe in the power of prayer. You talk about overplaying your hand? You know, this President has not been afraid of letting people suffer if they disagree with him. I mean, it’s hard to believe – and most of us just wouldn’t believe – that any President or anybody in Congress – particularly a majority in the Senate – would want people to suffer by not having the insurance policy they had. They had cancer, and it’s giving them what they need.
I mean, you would have to be so heartless that you would say – this is purely hypothetical – you would have to be so heartless you’d be willing to send State Department people into a hostile area and when they got attacked, just let them die, without even sending help.
You know, there’s just nobody that cruel that would do that, right? Nobody would do that.
But anyway, it did. And wow, what an admission against interests when Harry Reid said — and I’ve got this quote down – what right do they in the House have to pick and choose what part of the government is going to be funded? It’s called Article 1 of the Constitution. Hello! And if nothing else came out of all of this debacle over Obamacare, one thing that should is a class-action lawsuit against the University of Chicago Law School for people that had Obama as their constitutional law professor.
Didn’t get their money’s worth. They got a lawsuit.
Now, I want to briefly touch on Benghazi. There’s a lot I know I can’t tell you. But I don’t know of another case where we’ve intentionally left people, knowing there was help available.
I was talking to a general who was the commander of an Air Force base in Germany. And he’s been appointed by the President to his current position. I said — just curious, how long does it take to get from your base in Germany to Benghazi, Libya? He said three and a half hours, and you make it there easy. And I said — three and a half hours? And then he realized what I’m thinking about. He said — oh, but listen, we had planes, and their ordinance wasn’t set up. And it takes a long time to get our planes set up. We had people on the Mediterranean, we had special forces, we had people that could’ve been there. They didn’t send them.
And I did talk to a survivor of Benghazi back in February. And I didn’t go public with it. And friends at Fox wanted to talk to him. He is a wonderful young man, army ranger. His name has now come out, but not through me — David Ubben. He was on the roof with Ty Woods and Glen Dougherty when they were giving cover for other employees.
And David — since some of this has come out, and I was asked by Catherine Herridge some questions; I emailed David, and I said — you mind if I answer? I’ll follow your wishes. And he said — use your own discretion.
Well, I asked David about the mortars that came in that killed Ty and Glen and took most of David’s right leg; they’ve been reconstructing for a year. And he said — well, there were three rounds that came in. For those of you that are been in the military, you know, they teach you if you’re using mortars or artillery shells, you fire three rounds. Then it’s a very basic triangulation question. But the fourth round, mortar or artillery round, should be right on top of the person that you’re trying to hit.
Course, when you’re in the infantry, they tell you if you have three rounds go off around you, you better get the heck out of Dodge, because the next one’s in your lap. And so when David said that, I said — oh, they bracketed you. And he said no no no, no. They didn’t need to bracket us; they knew exactly where they were firing those rounds. They knew. They were prepared. They knew exactly where they were firing them.
And I’m trying to get people to come forward publicly who will say what they have been disclosing privately about what Chris Stevens was doing before he became ambassador to Libya. There’s rumors that al-Bibi, that you saw arrested — and both parties’ folks, including intelligence, said — this is great, he was such a high person in al-Qaeda.
We knew al-Qaeda was in Libya; they were part of the rebels. The thing we didn’t know was how extensive they were, when this President was helping them. And we were saying this isn’t a good idea. And he didn’t care what Congress thought, because the 57 states –
All right. The United States either has 57 or 50 states, and the OIC has whatever the US doesn’t have. But one of them has 57, one of them has 50.
But anyway, they wanted us in Libya, and we went. And Khadafi had become an ally after the invasion of Iraq. He said — take my nukes, do whatever you want. And I was visiting in September with friends, allies, in the Middle East; Arab allies. And they said, you know — we’re wondering which one of us you’re going to throw under bus next. You know, you keep turning on your allies and helping your enemies. How do you not know you’re helping the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria?
Now, we’ve sent weapons in despite most of Congress being against it. I have a feeling that they’re getting Republicans of some parts to say okay. But this one sure isn’t. It’s a mistake. When you got a tyrannical leader, and the Muslim Brotherhood Shia versus Sunni — neither one of them are friendly, neither one of them are moral, decent — why would you get in the middle of that? I mean, it makes no sense.
But I know there have been Republicans and Democrats saying — I hope they grill al-Bibi and get everything out of him. Well, just say, hypothetically, what if he were helping get guns to the rebels that we were sending in? I’m just saying, hypothetically, what if he were doing that? Does the government’s refusal to allow him to talk to anybody take on a little different context? Just throwing it out there for you to think about.
Now, we do need a select committee. Not the Intelligence Committee. I saw a replay last night of our Intel Committee chair on with Megyn Kelly. Megyn does a great job. But the intel Committee should not be the one doing that. Most of their hearings have to be classified America-needs-to-know, and intel is not going to let that out. We’re not going to get – the IRS – gosh, if Richard Nixon had ever dreamed that he could weaponize the IRS, like this President has, like this administration has — wow. He would’ve been smiling, you’d never seen a frown on that man’s — he wouldn’t have just struck that smile; he’d have been grinning ear-to-ear all the time. But nobody knew you could weaponize agencies, particularly the IRS.
But this President, you need to know — he signed an executive order prior to the weaponization of the IRS that ordered that directors of things like the IRS had to consult with the union heads before they made any policy decisions. And in order to effectuate the most open discussions, it had to be totally off the record. No reporting, no record of the meeting or what was discussed. That’s the stuff going on.
Now, just want to very briefly touch on one more thing, because it is near and dear to my heart. May 28th of 2010, this administration voted in the UN on a preliminary vote with all of Israel’s enemies to require that Israel disclose the nuclear weapons leading to their having to get rid of them. We had never voted with all of Israel’s enemies before.
If you study history – and I did, because [out of the] army four years, I loved history; majored in it at A&M — but you study history, you know — when a nation’s enemies see their strongest ally pulling away, it’s provocative. That’s when movements against that nation occur.
So I haven’t heard anybody else make a connection; maybe there isn’t any. But two days after we voted with all of Israel’s enemies against Israel, something called a flotilla left and moved to challenge the blockade, the lawful blockade, at the Gaza Strip. I don’t think it’s an accident. People notice when distance comes between a strong ally and the nation they’re against. That’s why we got to be so careful with what we’re doing.
And I’ve got this article, and I’ll just quote briefly. This is from February 2012, from the Washington Post; not one of my biggest fans — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has a lot on his mind these days, from cutting the defense budget to managing drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan. But his biggest worry is the growing possibility that Israel will attack Iran over the next few months. Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike in April, May or June.
Folks, that is a betrayal of your ally. It was intentional, and they had been putting pressure on Israel not to defend themselves. I’m told by people in Israel, friends there, that you wouldn’t believe the pressure that this administration has brought to bear on Israel not to defend itself. And that’s a betrayal.
Now, some of you believe what is said in Genesis 12 about when God was telling Abraham – I will bless – I’ll make you a strong nation, I’ll bless those who bless you; I’ll curse those who — I’ve been looking for a verse that says — I will bless those who betray you, and I have not found that. So I’m a little worried right now about what we’re doing.
Because another thing we did – we don’t know who, we know Panetta did that in the Washington Post. But the story came out in March of 2012. And this is from ABC News, also not one of my biggest fans — Israelis suspect Obama media leaks to prevent strike on Iran. And then it talks about — reports today about Iran’s nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli strike. And what they did was they outed that Israel was going to use Azerbaijan in order to attack. Why in the world would an ally do that to another ally? That is a betrayal of incredible proportions, and Israel knew it.
And again this fall, we have betrayed them yet again, when the United States leaked that it was Israel that had an attack in Syria. If any of what is — there are some that believe that the negotiations with Iran were stepped up by this administration because they know — Israel knows they’ve got to defend themselves. And as I told Prime Minister Netanyahu two years ago – I’m really sorry we’ve put you in a position of not only defending yourself but defending us. You shouldn’t have to do that. We ought to be defending ourselves, not you.
But this administration, I believe, knew that they would jam Israel so badly if they were negotiating with Iran, as Iran moved very close, or perhaps developed their nuclear bombs. How could Israel attack while the United States is negotiating for peace?
Because Iran says — look, we’re not going to let you come into our facilities. But we’ll agree not to be developing nuclear weapons, you know.
Now, if that sounds familiar – I knew it sounded familiar to me. And as Steve King and Scott Garrett tell me — you’ve got a phenomenal memory for minutia. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s not.
This is from the New York Times. Now, they love me.
UN Agency Doubtful on Deal — under the agreement reached earlier this week – wasn’t Iran — North Korea – this is October 21st, 1994 – North Korea agreed to in-place storage the fuel it removed last spring from a five-megawatt graphite reactor containing enough plutonium for four or five nuclear bombs. And the article goes on and talks about how Clinton and Madeleine Albright – you remember them?
Yeah, they’re giving a lot of good advice these days. They felt like – and so they cut this tough deal with North Korea that we will give them nuclear power plants if they’ll promise not to use them to develop nukes. It reminded me of when Jeff Foxworthy said, you know, he had no money. And the guy comes to the door and says — I got to repossess your car. And he says — I’m sorry, could you just give me another month? He said — I’m told to either leave with the car, or cash, or a check. He said — a check? You’ll take a check? Oh, I got a check.
That’s where North Korea and Iran are. Oh, you’ll take an agreement? Okay. This says in exchange North Korea will abandon its existing nuclear facilities and renounce any plans to build nuclear weapons. Only once the nuclear installations are substantially completed, however, will North Korea allow agency experts to inspect its sites. That could be five years or more, according to agencies in Vienna. That deal allowed North Korea to develop nukes. And they’re working with Iran.
Folks, elections do have consequences, and we’re living with some. But it doesn’t mean we have to multiply those. It is true what is said in Washington – no matter how cynical you get, it’s never enough to catch up.
Keep the faith. We can make a difference.
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