Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a favorite of conservatives for his past leadership of the House Intelligence Committee, joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to share his perspective on the Biden administration so far.
For Nunes, “a big concern” is “this whole idea that we’re going to bring the country together.” He’s “never seen the country so divided” as it is now under President Joe Biden, the California Republican adds.
“You would think it would be in Biden’s best interest to try to bring the country together, try to find things that we agree on,” Nunes says. “But instead, what they’re doing is they have … the most extreme left-wing agenda in the history of the country.”
We also cover these stories:
- The House of Representatives votes to pass a hotly contested overhaul of elections known as HR 1, the For the People Act.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t resign over allegations by three women that he sexually harassed them.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken says America is going to avoid “costly military interventions” while showing the world the power of democracy.
“The Daily Signal Podcast” is available on Ricochet, Apple Podcasts, Pippa, Google Play, and Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You also can write to us at [email protected].
Rachel del Guidice: I’m joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Congressman Devin Nunes of California. Congressman Nunes, welcome back to “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
Rep. Devin Nunes: Hey, it’s great to be with you here at [the Conservative Political Action Conference].
Del Guidice: Well, thanks for being with us. We love having you.
[I] just want to start off talking about your thoughts on the President [Joe] Biden administration. We’re about three months in, and so, what’s your perspective of the administration so far and what concerns you most about the trajectory we’re seeing right now?
Nunes: Well, there’s been a big concern that this whole idea that we’re going to bring the country together—I’ve never seen the country so divided. And despite that they ended up taking control of the Senate, and they have all the power, but the margins are very, very close.
You would think it would be in Biden’s best interest to try to bring the country together, try to find things that we agree on. But instead, what they’re doing is they have a very, well, the most extreme left-wing agenda in the history of the country.
Just look at the legislation that just passed yesterday with this “Inequality Act,” the targeting of Newsmax and Fox News and [One America News Network]. Where is it going to stop?
I think that’s the challenge that we have moving forward as conservatives and Republicans is to not be obliterated from social media, from the entire fake news media complex. We’ve got major challenges ahead.
Anybody that comes to CPAC, it’s like the fake news makes it out like this is some strange event. You walk around here, and it’s all just normal people that love politics and love being involved in conservative ideas and talking about them.
Del Guidice: Yeah. Well, we’re going to come back to the aspect of cancel culture. But given we have the Democrat White House, obviously, and now the House and Senate, what would you say principled conservatives can do? I mean, there’s not a lot that can be done given the Democrat majorities, but where do you see room to work even in this time?
Nunes: You would start with national security. But that’s a problem because you don’t have any apologies or confession, so to speak, about what the Democrats did in 2015 and ’16 to the Republican Party, creating this Russia hoax that then turned into an impeachment hoax, and all based on the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes.
[China’s] threat continues to grow. … And we’ve been running an investigation into China, House Republicans have, for a decade. And the China threat every day gets more and more serious just with the growth of their economy, their unwillingness to come clean on this, on the Wuhan labs issue, and whether or not, what they were involved in with the virus and just their lack of transparency.
So you would think we could come together on that. I mean, there’s simple things like supply chains, for example, that every American should agree that we are way too reliant on China, and we found that out through this pandemic, basically, every sector of our economy.
We don’t want to have to be reliant on China for that supply chain. But unfortunately, right now, they’re the place where we get most of our technology, a lot of our medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are made in China. And that would be an area that we could focus on, but it’s going to be difficult because we haven’t seen really an olive branch at this point.
We’ve seen very extreme legislation that continues to move and wild accusations … that Republicans are white supremacists and we’re going to focus on domestic terrorists. And their definition of domestic terrorism is pretty much anybody that’s a Republican or a conservative, and that’s just not acceptable. It’s false. They know it’s false.
What they’re doing, they’re creating domestic extremism by putting these thoughts into people’s heads that somehow the Republicans, we’ve gone from being Russian sympathizers to Ukrainian sympathizers to, now, we’re all white extremists. … I mean, it’s just really incredible and quite disturbing.
And then, of course, the targeting of what’s left, whether it’s the cable news networks, very few, and the very few media outlets like you that are out there to actually be a place for us to go and express our ideas.
But it’s the challenge moving forward. I know we’re going to get to this, but I’m talking to you right now, this is going out to your podcast, and it goes to your subscribers. But your challenge is, just like my challenge is, if I can’t put that somewhere on a social media site, how am I going to get growth? How is Google going to suppress your podcast, my podcast?
So yeah, we can talk, and we can talk to each other, but how do you get your ideas out to the broader population if nobody can find you on the web?
Del Guidice: On that note, Congressman Nunes, something that has been a really big component of cancel culture that we’ve seen recently, and as you alluded to, is Big Tech censoring conservatives on social media.
We saw it really first happen big with former President Donald Trump, them removing his Twitter account. But more recently, we’ve seen it with organizations like the Job Creators Network, … they’re a pro-low tax, pro-jobs organization. And so, what’s perspective on what’s happening here and how do we hold Big Tech accountable?
Nunes: Well, it’s a good question. I’ve been warning about this for a couple of years, over a couple of years now, where I noticed that really slanderous, negative stories, defamatory stories were being promoted on Google.
When you would do a search, you couldn’t find videos that I was putting out on YouTube. I was being shadow-banned by Twitter. So these are all warnings that I gave to my Republican colleagues.
And now, when I even gave it to President Trump several times, I said, “Look, this is going to be a big problem moving forward.” And I don’t think he realized it seriously until the Hunter Biden laptop story from the New York Post, just if you posted it anywhere, it got eliminated.
And then, it looks like they were just waiting to kick Donald Trump off of these platforms and use the Jan. 6 riots to do it.
It’s quite concerning. … The courts have to step in here to do something here and reign this in. But so far, that hasn’t happened. But the more this goes on, the more people are going to push back.
You see this week, for example, Rumble is now streaming this live. That’s a YouTube alternative. I went to Rumble. I switched over to Rumble just a few months before the election.
And just to tell you the size and scope of the manipulation, and I tell this to all my colleagues, and this should be an eye-opener, I’ve been in the news quite a bit since 2016, since the Russia hoax. And not because I wanted to be in the news, but I was forced to be in the news and running these investigations.
But for years I had 9,000 followers on YouTube. Within three weeks on Rumble, I had already surpassed that. By Election Day, … so this was after only two or three months, I had 350,000 subscribers on Rumble. And today, I’m at closing in on 650,000 subscribers on Rumble.
So, how’s that possible? … Rumble’s a small, little company. And all it was was that it shows you I was sending out my YouTube videos to people, but somehow something was happening to where how could I only have 9,000 subscribers?
And my views started going way up on Rumble. So where on YouTube, I’d be lucky to get a few hundred views, now, it’s fairly usual for me to get a 10, 20, sometimes hundreds of thousands of views within just a few days.
Del Guidice: What is your thought too on the fact that very rarely—I mean, I’m not even sure I know of this happening, we don’t see people on the left being censored or taken off of Twitter or shadow-banned, but it’s consistently people on the right.
I know Sen. [Mike] Lee is someone who’s talked about this a lot, and he’s asked the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter. And they’re like, “Oh, well, we do the same to everyone.” But when you look at the actual results of who is shadow-banned or whose account is removed, it tells another story.
So what’s your perspective of this? Is there something here or not?
Nunes: We’re being systematically targeted as a party, as a movement. … The media tries to play that it’s just Donald Trump, but it’s really not because it’s been happening for a while.
So there’s a complete disinformation ecosystem out there that involves 95% of the media. And then, you put that, what I call the funnel, it goes through the disinformation funnel. And what comes out of that at the end are the people that you want to reach.
99.9% of the people are never going to hear your podcast or read anything from a conservative or even center, center-right news site, whether it’s Google searches or what have you. And that’s the challenge we have, breaking through to the people.
Now, what can be done about it? There’s talks about Section 230 being able to be overhauled, but that, obviously, is not going to happen right now.
I’ve been trying to make these cases in court with some small success. But most of it now is going to be at the appellate court level, this is why I said earlier that it’s really important that people who have been wronged by this, by the censorship and/or defamation, that we take these issues to the courts to try to get the courts to step in and protect our First Amendment rights as citizens of this country.
The other thing that people can do is that what’s happening here with the censorship is unacceptable, and we need more of my colleagues to understand that. … This has to be our No. 1, 2, and 3 issue. And I say that because we’re in a battle for ideas. You have to be able to sell those ideas.
You can’t win any battle, whether it’s a battle for ideas or all throughout military history, if you don’t have a communications architecture. And right now, we have no reliable communication system. We’re basically relegated to the ghettos of the web. And it’s going to be a struggle, but we need more Republicans to understand this.
I noticed that [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis, he spoke this morning here at CPAC, he now is raising this issue, at least, that you’re not going to be able to just ban people from your platform or you’re going to get fined. That’s a good move. I know other states are taking similar types of actions.
So for the person that’s out there that understands this, if you know a congressman, call that congressman, especially a Republican, because this should be their No. 1 issue.
But also at the state level, if you have a state representative or a governor or an attorney general, you need to raise it for them so that they prioritize this because at the end of the day, we’re in a battle for ideas that we have no chance to win if nobody knows what we’re saying.
Del Guidice: You’re exactly right. So you’re from California, and I want to hear about how the COVID shutdown has impacted, especially, the small businesses in your state.
Nunes: Even before COVID, we had a shortage in California of U-Haul trailers. And that’s not because there’s not places to rent U-Hauls in California, it’s because so many are leaving the state that U-Haul has no way to get those back to the state.
Because their business model involves moving, they rent them from one city to another, and that’s how it works. Well, if people are moving to Texas, moving to Florida, moving to Idaho from California, it makes it a little difficult.
So what’s happened in California, it’s tragic. It’s such a beautiful state. It’s got the best weather. It’s the most blessed land in the world, not just because of weather, but because of soil.
A lot of people don’t realize this, we’re the largest agricultural state, largest in the country. In my area, San Joaquin Valley, we grow over 300 different crops. Just about anything you can think of grows there, and not only grows there, but it grows in abundance and it grows in very high quality.
So that’s why you will see some of the finest fruits and vegetables come from that region, and a lot of specialty crops, not to mention just simple commodities like dairy, because we have very moderate temperatures. It’s an easy place for animals to thrive. But over time, that’s been targeted with kind of the radical environmental movement that’s put a lot of pressure on even the agriculture industry.
The other thing we have in California is we have an abundance of energy supplies. We have an abundance of oil, so much so that we don’t even know how much is out there.
Some of the last studies were done in the 1970s. So for sure, before you were born, and probably the last studies were done right around the time I was born. And today, with all the new technology that’s out there now, with fracking and everything else, California could be sitting on more oil than most countries have, but we’re not utilizing that.
Of course, when you have a shutdown, and when you shut down your entire tourism industry, you begin to wonder: Where the hell is the money coming from? And even in a Silicon Valley, we’ve seen many tech companies, including one of the most popular ones is Tesla, that just recently moved out of state. So those continue to pile up.
And if you haven’t been to California recently, there’s also what I only halfway jokingly refer to as the zombie apocalypse that’s occurring. There are homeless people everywhere, everywhere in every city across California. It’s not just what you see on television in Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s in every city in my district, and it’s growing, and they’re just everywhere.
A lot of these people are … probably coming from other states. They’re being let out of prison. It’s a sad situation because half of them probably have severe mental issues now, largely brought on by drug abuse. But we’re dealing with a real crisis. It’s a complete crisis in California. And I don’t put that lightly.
How are we going to fix it? And nobody, this governor can’t even get into first gear. He can’t even decide how he’s going to implement the COVID restrictions, where some counties are treated better than others.
The more prominent counties have been open for a while. My county has been closed, for example. They’re very slow to get the COVID money out, very slow to get the vaccines out.
So you start to look at all this, it’s completely a dysfunctional state, despite the real pillars of the economy and energy and tourism and defense and technology and agriculture, like we talked about. You wonder how long those pillars can stay without crumbling.
And clearly, people, losing our human capital, smart people that would love to be in California, when they’re leaving.
I’ve been to many places around the world that are Third World countries, and yet you wonder: How are these Third World countries because they have similarities to California? And they’ve just never been able to get out of poverty, and it’s largely because of the loss of human capital that leaves those countries. And you’re seeing the same thing in California.
Del Guidice: There’s a lot of work to do here and a lot to follow. Congressman Nunes, Thank you so much for joining us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.” It’s great having you with us.
Nunes: Thanks for having me.