These first three weeks of Donald Trump's new administration produced a dizzying flood of executive orders, actions, tweets, protests.
Today brought a chance to dig into all of it with U.S. Senator Gary Peters. In a wide-ranging interview, Stateside spoke with the senator about the current climate in Washington, Russian sanctions, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Democratic resistance to the Trump administration's policies, and Peters' support of a missile defense base in Battle Creek.
Peters expressed concern over recent reports that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (then unconfirmed by the Senate) spoke to Russian officials about lifting sanctions. “I know from traveling last year to the Ukraine and Estonia, folks are petrified as to what the Russians may be up to,” Peters said. “The fact that you’ve got a United States President now who thinks Putin is a good guy is frightening.” Like most Democrats, Sen. Peters is troubled by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's conservative record, but thinks he deserves to go through Senate hearings. “When he goes before the committee, he’ll have to answer a number of questions and it’s important to go through the process,” he said. And as Democrats continue to create a strategy to challenge President Trump’s agenda, Peters stressed the need to hold the new administration accountable.
“Certainly you have to challenge things that you don’t agree with, especially attacks on core principles,” he said.
He was heartened by recent “spontaneous demonstrations" and said, "that kind of energy needs to be maintained" in order to chip away at a united Republican front.
Peters, who serves on the Senate Armed Services committee, said there is a “good shot” that a new ballistic missile defense base could be located in Battle Creek. He said that would bring more jobs and talent to the region.
The missile defense project has come under criticism for being unreliable, unproven, and expensive. Peters defended the project as a “spark” that could lead to future military technology.
For the full conversation, listen above.