Sen. Jim Risch denies it’s his job to call out president

Politics

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(CNN) — Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch denied it’s his responsibility to call out President Donald Trump if he lies during a back-and-forth with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.

“When he lies about something and you know it’s a lie, shouldn’t you speak up?” Blitzer asked the senator.

“That’s your job,” Risch replied.

“But that’s your job,” Blitzer continued. “You’re a United States senator. You’re a co-equal branch of the United States government.”

But Risch persisted, telling Blitzer that if he were to criticize everything he didn’t like, it would take too much time.

“Wolf, if I went around criticizing a statement that was made by the President, or any one of my fellow senators, or any one of the congressmen up here, or people in Idaho who hold public office, and I stood up and talked every time they talked and said, ‘I don’t like this, I don’t like that,’ I’m criticizing — I’d be busy all day long,” Risch said.

Risch went on to say Trump has a “unique personality and a very strong character.”

“Look, I have had a number of disagreements with the President, both before he was President and now after he’s been President,” he said. “He’s treated me with nothing but respect and dignity, as we’ve discussed those,” Risch said, adding that he also does not “go on Twitter in the morning and start poking him.”

On Wednesday, Risch appeared on CNN’s “Newsroom” and elaborated that he believes the country will “get through” Trump’s presidency.

“I have seen the clashes, and we get through these things. Obviously, you wish they would come out better. It should be obvious to everybody by now that we have a President who has a very unique personality, very different than what we have ever seen in a President before, and he communicates and handles issues differently, and it causes some grief with some people,” he told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “But we are Americans, and we get through it.”

Risch also suggested that European leaders are uncomfortable with Trump’s administration, saying he tells them not to worry.

“I deal with Europeans all the time — and they are really wringing their hands over this, and I tell them, look, we are Americans, we have been through a civil war and two world wars and a depression, and we will be standing when this is over,” he said. “We’ll get through this. We were founded in revolution and in discord and it’s probably going to go on as long as the nation stands.”

Risch added he stands by his denouncement of Trump before the election when the “Access Hollywood” tape leaked.

“I stand by the remarks I made then, and it was after the revelations of the now infamous tape that was revealed by NBC, the talk that was the banter going back between the two gentlemen, I don’t think anybody had any use for that,” Risch said. “The man now is President of the United States, and I know there’s a lot of people that reject that fact, but he is the President of the United States. It’s in the interests of every single American to see that the President is successful.”

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