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Palmer Discusses Speaker Changes with Alabama Republican Assembly

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

gary-palmerOn Monday, November 9, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) addressed the Alabama Republican Assembly at their annual membership recruitment meeting at Levee’s in Northport.

Congressman Palmer said that we have just witnessed, “Historic changes in the House.”  John Boehner was the first Speaker in the United States House to resign not for a health issue or a scandal.

Rep. Palmer was critical of conservative action groups that, “Have made a boatload of money taking credit for things they have had nothing to do with.”  Palmer said that some groups who fill up our email boxes asking for money are taking credit for toppling former Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and preventing Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) from becoming Speaker.  “They didn’t have squat to do with it.”

Palmer said, “It was never about John Boehner personally.  I actually like John.  He was a good man, but not a good leader.”

Congressman Palmer described Boehner as, “A whole lot more liberal than most of us (in the House Republican Caucus.).”  Palmer said that Boehner’s resignation, “Surprised me.  I knew he was going to resign but thought it would be the end of the year.”

Palmer said that he and the other members of the conservative Freedom Caucus were blamed for Boehner leaving and at the first closed door meeting of the House Republican Caucus, “Literally people got up and cussed us.”  They called us names you do not say in public.  They were mad because we had derailed their gravy train. Boehner had a network of donors in and around Washington DC that he used to reward those members who voted with him with and they, “Ran everything from the top down.”

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Rep. Palmer said “We are the people’s House.  We are the folks that are supposed to be making the laws.  The way things were being run we were reduced to bystanders.”

Palmer said that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was considered for Speaker.  Palmer works out with McCarthy in the Capital gym.  “Kevin called me on Sunday afternoon and asked me what he should do.”  I told him, “This is a suicide mission.”  Whoever the next speaker is, will last 14 months maybe two years.  Later that week he announced he had withdrawn from the race.  “It was not about a scandal.”  There are, “Groups saying they drove him out.  That is not true.”

Palmer complained of the old leadership, “They were making deals and bringing bills to us at midnight and told us too vote on it in two days, up or down.  We don’t even know who the negotiators were.  It all came to head on the trade bill.  34 of us made a commitment that we would vote against the rules.”  The leadership had to go across the aisle and get Democrats to vote for the rules to proceed.

Palmer said that the leadership, “Threatened us.  They removed one guy from a subcommittee chairmanship.”  “The rest of the caucus is mad at us.”  But 20 became 30, 30 became 40, 40 became 50, 50 became 60.  Boehner resigned.

Palmer said, “We had a two hour conference.  I don’t say a lot in conference,” but Palmer did this time.  Palmer said that he told his fellow Republican Congress members that he could see how discouraged everybody is.  They are not able to do their job.  They go home and get beat up.  “We have an Extraordinary opportunity to get this house in order.”  I don’t want to go home in ten years and have people say that I was in Congress for the last ten years.  I would like to go home and have people say I was in the greatest Congress this country has ever seen.  “Whether that happens or not is up to us.”  I still believe that this country is the smartest country in the world.  The 247 Republicans in the Congress are some of the smartest people in the country.  “We just haven’t marshalled them together to get things done.”  We need to have somebody who can communicate to the American people.  We need to create a narrative.”

Rep. Palmer said that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) spent an hour and a half with the Freedom Caucus and we laid out what needed to be done.  He agreed.  There will be no more retribution.  There will be no more secret negotiations with the White House and the Senate.  “That crap is going to stop.”  I believe Paul.  “I have a good relationship with Paul.  Paul lives in his office.  I live in my office.  Kevin lives in his office.  About 60 of us live in our offices.”

Palmer said, “Understand that we are going to win some and we are going to lose some, but we will all have input.”

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Palmer said however, “It will all be for naught if we don’t elect a Republican President.”


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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