Roe: Impeachment inquiry a 'dud' and 'major thud'

Hank Hayes • Nov 22, 2019 at 3:23 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe continues to stand by President Trump as the House impeachment inquiry goes on.

In a Thursday conference call with reporters, Roe called the inquiry a “dud” and a “major thud.”

“Everything I’ve been able to see, this is nothing but a political witch hunt,” Roe, R-Tennessee, said. “I think the sooner we get this over, the better it will be for the country. This is what’s frustrating for me: We’ve got veteran suicide ... the USMCA (U.S.-Mexico-Canada) trade agreement that’s not being done. It would create hundreds of thousands of jobs. It’s hurting our farmers. We’ve got a budget that hasn’t been done. We’ve got Surprise Medical Billing (legislation) that hadn’t been done. ... (The impeachment inquiry) is sucking all the air out of the room and making everything harder to do.”

When asked if he was concerned about the president’s actions, Roe said Trump made a phone call to Ukraine’s president on July 25.

“We know in the Ukrainian government, a lot of corruption,” Roe told reporters. “Sixty percent of the people there in a poll had to bribe a public official. So we knew that ... the (military aid) money had been withheld prior to that time so they could look into and investigate what the corruption was. (Ukraine President) Zelenskyy found out the money had been withheld. ... No investigation of the (former Vice President and Trump rival Joe) Biden family ever occurred. The money was released 11 September of this year. ... That’s all that’s happened and the rest of this is political nonsense.”

Roe, the ranking GOP member on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, also addressed these questions:

What’s happening with IMPROVE Act legislation to help prevent veteran suicide?

“It’s a grant program that goes outside the usual channels. Fourteen of the 20 veterans who commit suicide every day haven’t been to the VA (Veterans Administration) in the last two years. We know there are approximately 6,000 veterans a year commit suicide, an astonishing number.”

What’s going on with the initiative to prevent Major League Baseball from eliminating minor league baseball in our region?

Roe has joined an effort to convince Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred not to eliminate 42 minor league teams. “There are four teams in the Tri-Cities. A lot of these cities have stepped up and invested in their minor league parks. Greeneville has a phenomenal baseball facility. It’s like going into a major league park without the outfield seats. ... It’s a big deal where we are.”

What’s being done to make the Tri-Cities one Metropolitan Statistical Area again?

“We’re going to arrange a conference call ... with all the leaders, the regional leaders, the mayors, the economic development people, the chambers, get them on the same call with the OMB (Office of Management and Budget). ... I told them we just rebranded our region. We just had a huge merger of our hospital systems. ... We’re going to pursue that. 2020 is when the census is going to be taken.”