Congressman Guthrie Talks Immigration, Iran Tensions

Jul 22, 2019

Credit Becca Schimmel / WKYU

Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie spoke about immigration, diversity and military relations with Iran while in Bowling Green on Friday. He said the negative rhetoric about immigration needs to stop on both sides of the aisle. The Congressman sees it as an impediment to diversifying the Republican party.

Guthrie’s district includes Bowling Green, which is one of the largest refugee resettlement areas in the nation. He said that’s been a big advantage for the community. 

The Congressman pointed out that the Democratic party is a lot more diverse than the GOP, and the rhetoric around immigration isn’t helping his party attract people of color. 

“And I always tell this to my fellow Republicans and I really believe this, if people come here hoping for a better life so they can work hard and invest in their children’s future and we can’t sell our philosophy to them then we need to rethink what we’re doing,” he said.

Guthrie said his party has to reach out to a more diverse group of people, if it wants to be the "party of the future."

“And so I think we are for the future, but if you look at the Congress, if you’re sitting in the speaker’s chair and if you look out…from where the speaker views and you see the Democratic party, it is a lot more diverse than our party.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of racial and ethnic nonwhite members in Congress are Democrats. 

U.S. vs. Iran

The Bowling Green Republican also praised the Trump administration for its approach to the ongoing tensions with Iran.

Guthrie said the President showed restraint after Iran shot down an American drone last month. Iran claims the drone had entered Iranian airspace, which the United States denied. Guthrie said the Trump administration isn’t going to "coddle" Iran. 

“They’re still in Yemen, they’re still in Syria, they’re allied or working with the Russians, so they’re not our friend,” he said. “I think the previous administration thought we could be friendly to them, they’re going to be good world players. That’s not the case.” 

Guthrie said the U.S. needs to engage in diplomacy, but also be ready in case Iran strikes militarily. The Trump administration has since placed new economic sanctions on the country. 

President Trump said Thursday that the U.S. took down a drone belonging to Iran’s military using electronic measures. Iran disputes this claim, saying all of its drones are accounted for and suggesting the U.S. might have accidentally shot down one of its own unmanned aircraft.

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