Since they campaigned together in Duluth in 2018, it’s been evident Rep. Pete Stauber would be an avowed supporter of President Donald Trump, and it has carried out that way.
Not the most out-front and vocal defender of the president, Stauber has said a lot with his actions. He’s traveled to both Israel and the US-Mexico border to make the case for Trump policies. More recently, with the president under a cloud of impeachment hearings, Stauber has become an outspoken critic of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But in a 15-minute interview last week, the Hermantown Republican made it known Trump was not the only kind of president Stauber would support.
“I will support any president that supports our way of life,” Stauber said. “I will support any president that supports our way of life and our economic drivers and wants to help unleash our economic engine.”
Stauber had broken away from a transportation and infrastructure committee meeting to talk impeachment and his bipartisan work at the nation’s capital. He was responding to a question about how he could ever have bipartisan appeal in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District while supporting a divisive Trump.
The next day, Stauber would tweet “This is GREAT news for the nation!” about a November jobs report that showed rising wages, and a 50-year unemployment low.
This is GREAT news for the nation! The November jobs report shows that wages are rising, unemployment is at a 50-year low, and 266,000 jobs have been created! Let’s build on this momentum by passing the #USMCAnow! https://t.co/chCS4prHgU— Pete Stauber (@RepPeteStauber) December 6, 2019
In Stauber’s eyes, it’s impeachment proceedings, not the president, that are burdening the country. He referenced the trade agreement with U.S., Mexico and Canada that is popularly held up as a casualty of impeachment despite ongoing sticking points with the legislation itself.
“The way I look at it, we need to get back to work for the American people,” Stauber said. “I want people to understand USMCA has been on Speaker Pelosi’s desk for over a year now, and just a week ago she said we may not have time to get it passed (this year) — and that is because this impeachment is sucking the life out of our nation’s capital in terms of doing what we were sent here to do and taking care of the people’s business.”
Stauber said Pelosi has failed to deliver compelling, overwhelming and bipartisan support for impeachment. When asked about the public testimony from civil servants in November that brought ordinary Americans into an extraordinary fray and detailed foreign aid withheld for political purposes, Stauber avoided the question and pivoted to the House intelligence committee’s closed investigative hearings in October. He called those hearings secret, staged by Democrats and denying the president of due process.
“Speaker Pelosi put a self-imposed Christmas deadline on articles of impeachment instead of focusing on gaining the facts,” Stauber said.
Speaker Pelosi just claimed that we don't have enough time to pass the USMCA this year.— Pete Stauber (@RepPeteStauber) November 21, 2019
She should stop wasting our time with partisan impeachment proceedings and finally bring this critical trade agreement to the House Floor for a vote! https://t.co/aseoDZyVXQ
When asked if he believed a popular but unproven anti-impeachment theory that Ukraine and not Russia had interfered with the country’s elections in 2016, as Robert Mueller’s report outlined in detail, Stauber wouldn’t adopt the conspiracy but seemed to ignore the wave of arrests and convictions related to the report.
“I believe the Robert Mueller report came out and said no Americans were involved in trying to dismantle or affect our elections,” Stauber said. “I’m proud there were no Americans that tried to disrupt our elections in this country. And there were foreign governments we know that have tried to affect our elections for many years and they will try again.”
Game for the questions, Stauber is not as comfortable in controversy as others, such as fellow congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Instead, “I’ve always tried to live my life by example,” Stauber said, before turning to bipartisanship and describing conversations he has daily with Democrats.
“My job is to rise above the partisan gridlock here in D.C. and not only to reach across the aisle, but I’m actually building relationships across the aisle,” he said.
In November, MinnPost reported that Stauber voted against GOP positions 13% of the time, a high figure, and about how he has worked closely with Rep. Angie Craig, DFL-MN, and other Democrats on individual bills that would bolster funding for children with special needs, better alert aircraft pilots to hazards, and help small contractors make financial adjustments if there are changes to their federal contracts.
“My bipartisan work is paying off,” he said. “I’ve put two pieces of standalone legislation through the House. That’s more than any of my GOP freshmen and it’s more than any member of the Minnesota delegation at this point — and I’m in the minority.”
Heading into his second year in Congress, Stauber believes there is overlap on 80-85% of the issues. He also said he values learning about other people’s thought processes.
“We agree we have to reduce the drug pricing across this nation, and how do we get there? Those should be the primary hearings we should be seeing right now out of our nation’s capital," Stauber said. "We should be seeing transportation and infrastructure hearings on how we can move commerce more efficiently and safer. Those are non-partisan issues. We can do things when we just understand and build relations. The partisan gridlock? We as a nation and as elected officials can do better.”