CNBC Transcript: Representative James French Hill (R-Arkansas) speaks with CNBC’s Shepard Smith today about Trump‘s supporters storming the Capitol Building.
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WHEN: Today, Wednesday, January 6
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Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Representative James French Hill (R-Arkansas) and CNBC’s Shepard Smith today, Wednesday, January 6. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com:
Trump's Supporters Storm The Capitol Building: It’s An Embarrassing Day For Our Country, Says Congressman Hill
SHEPARD SMITH: Congressman, Congressman Hill republican of Arkansas with us. Where is the President. Is there anyone who can say to the President, we this is an enormous opportunity for, for President-elect Biden who is presumably going to speak momentarily. But for the President of the United States to see this and not and not have anything to say publicly congressman your thoughts on this.
REP. JAMES FRENCH HILL: Well Shep, I agree with you it's an embarrassing day for our country it's a shocking day for all Americans who are texting calling watching television watching your broadcast. And the President should not be in the White House, he should be on national television, asking these protesters to stand down, leave the Capitol Building, they're welcome to protest out on the plaza, they're welcome to have their first amendment right. But what we're witnessing today is outrage.
SMITH: Congressman French. Was the President is the President responsible for any of this, as he told people that he will not accept the results of the free and fair election and he will never concede is the President in any way responsible for this and if so, what should the president do now.
REP. HILL: I think the President bears responsibility along with others that have misled the American people that they think that the counting of the electoral college votes could lead to a change of the outcome of the November 3rd election. That's not a constitutional responsibility to Congress that wasn't going to happen. It isn't going to happen today and throw that rhetoric, if that's what people think is the possibility if that's what drove them to Washington, then that's misleading, and what the President can do in anyone else's encourage that sort of thought is get off publicly and correct the record, because that's not constructive that's not going to happen that's not the mission of the House and Senate and that's absolutely what the founders were fearful of that's why the founders in the 1787 convention designed our Constitution, so that the selection of the electors, the voting of the Electoral College. The design of our federal elections were all held in the state capitol, designed by the states, so that we wouldn't concentrate power in Washington, we wouldn't have the heat and format of the American people convened on the Congress for this exact reason. And so I would urge any of my colleagues on in the Capitol Building or certainly the President to be outspoken to ask these people to stand down and let us do our work. And let us get back to the people's business in the House of Representatives.
SMITH: Congressman Kayleigh Mcenany is now tweeting that that the National Guard and, and federal agents are in route to the Capitol federal police are in route to the Capitol, and at the same time we've not heard from the President if he won't stand up Congressman, should he stand down. Is it time for this president whom you've just said, brought this on our nation to step down and let us move forward. And if not, why not?
REP. HILL: The President bears part of the responsibility for the heated rhetoric that's caused this afternoon's outrageous public behavior, and he needs to take responsibility for that by, as I say –
SMITH: He has not, Congressman. With great respect, and I apologize for interrupting in the middle of a satellite delay, but he has not taken responsibility. For two hours the Capitol Building has been under siege and occupied by people and we have not heard from him. If he will not stand up and say stop, should he step down and let us move on? Yes or no, Congressman?
REP. HILL: Well he's going to be stepping down at noon on January 20 and he will bear this responsibility –
SMITH: I meant today. The day that the Capitol Building was taken under siege by the people and occupied and we have not heard from the President for two hours. If he can't stand up Congressman, should he stand down today? Yes or no?
REP. HILL: He needs to stand up and he needs to speak out now.
SMITH: But he has not, Congressman. As a Republican who had to leave those hallowed halls today, who is not being able to do work because our Capitol Building is under siege, do you have the courage and wherewithal to say, if the President will not stand up before this mob, should he stand down?
REP. HILL: Well Shep, that's not a decision I get to make. I agree with you that he bears this responsibility and I call on him to take action in that regard. Let's see what he does and whether it has been two hours or twenty minutes –
SMITH: Congressman, with respect, this has been the language of conservative Republicans throughout this administration. Through more than 25,000 documented lies by The Washington Post, the Republicans have said, this is not my responsibility. Some have said he should do this. Many have gone along with him. Well here we are today, Congressman, with great respect and thank you for taking the questions. Here we are today, as literally Capitol Hill has been overtaken by the people. The President has had many hours to say stop it. He has not. Would you like to have a President who would say stop it and why does he still deserve to be our President if he's allowing this without so much as lifting a finger?
REP. HILL: Well, he does bear that responsibility. He should speak out. I'm glad he's authorized the National Guard use. That's overdue, that should have been done immediately.
SMITH: I don't know that he's the one who authorized that. But be that as it may, it's just such a sad day Congressman. I'm not coming to this from a political point. I'm, I'm coming to it from the point of a journalist who is watched coups take place in, in Haiti, who has watched federal buildings overtaken in Haiti and the Middle East and elsewhere, and have thought how wonderful it will be to get back to the country where there is order, where there is a peaceful transfer of power, where I understand that democracy is not pretty. It is always messy, but it is the best system in all the world and to see it overtaken today is astounding and without precedent, but then to see us have no leader to step forward and even say please stop. It is beyond to the end to the exclusion of all reason if it's outside of anything I've ever thought possible. I've never even contemplated such a thing, have you sir.
REP. HILL: Well, I haven't seen it in my lifetime in America but I've certainly seen it in my travels. The last time I saw a parliament building stormed was in Sofia, Bulgaria back when the Berlin Wall fell. I never thought I would see it in the United States, whether in a state capitol or a US Capitol Building. So, for me, it's a heartbreaking day and it needs to stop and the president needs to be the first to help make it stop. So, I agree with you there. And as I say, I think I share the views of many Americans how heartbreaking, heartbroken they are over this, this day at the US Capitol Building.
SMITH: Should some, should some Republican come up and demand that the president say something or step down? Chip Roy, Congressman Chip Roy has just said, Mr. President, get to a microphone, call for calm now. You know, it is, it's understandable now that his closest followers who have stayed with him through thick and thin, hang on his every word. We know this from watching the rallies, this is without question 74 million people voted for him with some leadership, it's possible that this siege on America could end.
REP. HILL: Well, I would certainly urge the speaker and Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and Kevin McCarthy to deliver that message to the president if they haven't already. We certainly all as members of Congress in our media contacts over the last two hours made that view very clear from the members of the House and Senate and I would certainly call on the House and Senate leadership to urge the president to personally engage here live and on television.
SMITH: Congressman, thank you so much for the time. I know it's a difficult day especially as a sitting Republican in Congress.
REP. HILL: We’ll keep our country in our prayers, Shep.
SMITH: I hear you Congressman.