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Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Election Falsehoods 'A Recipe For Disaster' for GOP

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)
Greg Nash
Pool via AP
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Dec. 2, 2020. Gonzalez talks about what the Republican party should, and shouldn't do, in attempt to regain political power at the national level, during a virtual conversation at the City Club of Cleveland Friday.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) said his Republican Party shouldn’t spread falsehoods about the 2020 election if it wants to retake Congress and the White House in the coming years.

Gonzalez, who faces GOP calls for his resignation over his January vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, made the comments in a virtual conversation Friday at the City Club of Cleveland.

“We need to be on the side of truth. We need to be on the side of substance and that’s how we’re going to win back majorities both in the House and the Senate and hopefully the White House in 2024,” Gonzalez said. “Continuing to perpetuate falsehoods, especially ones that are dangerous that led to the violence on Jan. 6, is a recipe for disaster for the party, but it’s also horribly irresponsible.”

This week, Gonzalez joined Democrats and 34 House Republicans in voting for a special commission to investigate the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Gonzalez has blamed Trump for inciting the riot.

“The country was under attack, the Capitol was under attack, the Constitution was under attack,” he said of that day. “In every other instance where we’ve had a major attack on our country, we’ve had a commission, as non-partisan as it can be.”

The second-term congressman from Cleveland’s West Side suburbs also defended Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) who House Republicans ousted from party leadership this month. Cheney has rebuked Trump over his false claims that the election was stolen from him.

“The issue with Liz, and the reason why she was asked to leave, essentially, is because she tells the truth about the 2020 election and that can be uncomfortable for a lot of folks,” Gonzalez told City Club CEO Dan Moulthrop.

Gonzalez has faced a revolt of his own at home. This month, the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee voted to censure Gonzalez and called on him to resign. And Trump already endorsed former White House aide Max Miller, who is challenging Gonzalez in the 2022 primary.

Gonzalez said he doesn’t pay much attention to the internal party fights and dismissed the idea of creating a third party for voters who don’t identify as Democrats or Republicans. Expressing his support for most of the Trump administration’s policies, Gonzalez said there should be room within the GOP for Trump supporters and skeptics.

“Right now, my concern is we're trying to excommunicate our own voters, and when you're fully out of power, you need to be adding voters, not subtracting voters,” he said. “We are completely out of power at the federal government. We don't have the White House. We don't have the House, and we don't have the Senate. Sometimes when I hear us talk about the state of our party, we talk as if we somehow won an election. We lost all of them.”

The hour-long interview, which included questions submitted by a virtual audience, ranged from Republican Party politics to policy issues like climate change and the U.S-China relationship.

On infrastructure, Gonzalez said the country should invest in projects like highways, bridges, airports and broadband, suggesting a $600-to-$800-billion counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion plan.

The congressman also criticized the Chinese government’s human rights record and said the United States should move medical and defense industry supply chains to its own shores.

“We should make sure that we can, at all times, protect our country from whatever threats may come,” he said. “Because the threat is increasing, not decreasing, and we all need to take it very seriously. This is the battle of our time.”

Asked about combating climate change, Gonzalez said United States should find a way to reduce carbon emissions without hiking energy costs for consumers. Nuclear energy, carbon capture and investment in research should be a part of that approach, he said.
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