Risch at Lincoln day dinner

U.S. Sen. James Risch answers questions at the Bannock County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner in the Pond Student Union ballroom at Idaho State University on Feb. 2.

POCATELLO — Sen. James Risch attended the Bannock County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner held Feb. 2 at Idaho State University and discussed President Donald Trump and the future of the Republican Party, which he believes is looking bright.

“It’s a good time to be a Republican,” he said.

Despite some tumultuous moments, Risch said he believes Trump has made significant accomplishments in his time as president and stands a very good chance of re-election in 2020.

“We’ve gotten a lot of things done,” he said. “Tax reform is the holy grail for Republicans. We’ve tried for 30 years to get that done, and we finally got it. We are remaking the judiciary. We’ve redone the Veterans Administration. We’ve really ratcheted back the regulatory structure of the Obama era.”

Risch added that he will be part of regulation negotiations as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position he has held since the beginning of the year.

“It’s a fortuitous time for me to be there because in 2024, the treaty we have with Canada regarding the regulation of water on the Columbia River expires,” he said. “So it’s got to be renegotiated, and I’ve been very active in that. We’re going to get a good deal out of that.”

Nationally, Risch said he feels America is in good hands with Trump, entering what he says will be a race between the top countries of the world.

“The 21st century is unfolding like a number of centuries before this,” Risch said. “It’s going to be a competitive race between big powers. We’re going to have to deal with China. We’re going to have to deal with Russia.”

And Trump, Risch said, is the right person for the job. It’s only a matter of getting the rest of the country to believe that.

With less than two weeks before the deadline when the president has said he will revisit shutting down the government yet again, Risch said he hopes the “hatred and vitriol” toward Trump won’t result in another shutdown.

“Nobody wants another shutdown,” he said. “I’ve been an outspoken opponent of shutdowns since I got there 10 years ago. I want smaller government. But we were elected to govern, not to not.”

According to Risch, the dislike and distrust of Trump by many in the government was a major factor in the longest shutdown in history.

“Hopefully people have a better view going into this,” he said. “This has got to be give and take. (People) hate this man so badly, they won’t give him one inch. It’s really, really unfortunate. It’s time people started thinking, ‘This isn’t about Donald Trump. This is about America.’”

But Risch said he doesn’t think Trump will have much trouble securing another four years of the presidency, particularly with the Democrats being “very much split” on a number of topics, including socialism.

“I never thought I’d live to see the day a socialist would be elected to the United States Congress, and here we are,” Risch said. “Socialism isn’t for this country, and Republicans are united against socialism. We can actually accomplish something.”

He added that if Trump could pull of a shocking win in 2016, he can do it again.

“He surprised everyone,” Risch said. “I was a Rubio guy, myself. But right now, our president is Donald Trump, and we’re making progress. We’ll see how it turns out.”

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