Republicans' "number one" priority is taking control of the House from the Democrat majority, who are "radicalized, horrible people who hate our country," former President Donald Trump tells Newsmax.
"We have to take it back," Trump told Newsmax's John Bachman in an interview before his massive rally in Florence, Arizona Saturday. "What they're doing with the open borders, the judges, and all of the things they've been doing is so sad … we've got to win the House and I think we can win the Senate also. We should win the House, maybe handily, and I think we should win the Senate."
The withdrawal from Afghanistan under President Joe Biden was also a low point for the country last year, said Trump in the interview, which aired Monday on Newsmax.
"We were coming out strong, with dignity, and there's never been a lower point than what happened with Afghanistan," said Trump.
Meanwhile, there were some chants in Saturday's crowd about Dr. Anthony Fauci to "lock him up," and Trump told Bachman that the doctor, who is now Biden's chief medical adviser, has "done some pretty poor work."
He added that Fauci wanted him to keep the United States open to China and Europe in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and if that had happened, "we would have lost hundreds of thousands more people."
Trump further said that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and who served on his White House's Coronavirus Task Force, "wasn't a big factor in my administration."
"Biden has made him a big factor and they have done a horrible job on COVID, or the China virus, as I call it," said Trump. "They've done a horrible job."
Trump said that if he were in the White House, there would be "no mandates" on COVID, such as the ones Biden has enacted.
"The mandates are killing our economy," he said. "I'm convinced that when you have supply chain problems, you can't get paper, you can't get lumber, they can't build houses, they have no nails, they have nothing. I think to start off with, the mandates are a disaster."
People aren't working, said Trump, and "you can't get people to work because of the mandates."
He added that the first thing he would do would be to end COVID mandates because that would "help straighten the economy."
The former president also said he'd push to return the United States to energy independence.
"We were energy independent and now we're reliant on OPEC and Russia," he said. "We had energy independence and if you remember, it was $1.87 a gallon to fill up your car. Now it's up to $6-$7. In California, it's over $7."
The former president also claimed that "somebody got a lot of money" when Democrats and Biden rejected a call from Sen. Ted Cruz for legislation to sanction Russia over the Nord Stream II pipeline from Russia into Germany.
"We had it stopped," said Trump. "It's also very bad for Europe. If we get into fisticuffs it's going to be pretty bad, if they [the Russians] say, 'guess what, we're turning off your energy.' "
Trump further commented, before speaking to the crowd in Arizona, that the border remains the most important election issue for Arizona voters.
"The whole country is a border state, if you think about it," because immigrants are pouring in, said Trump. "They're pouring through the country but for Arizona and Texas in particular their borders are a terrible problem. We've got millions of people coming into our country and many are coming from prisons of other countries, over 129 countries they said last week … they're emptying out their prisons. The United States is a dumping ground for a lot of people who are not the people that we want."
Trump also commented on his party's congressional leadership, saying he works well with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., but has never been "a fan" of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"I helped him get elected," said Trump. "Without me, he would have lost his race. Then he goes and makes stupid statements after Jan. 6, which was not my situation."
He accused McConnell of giving Democrats "the power they should have never had, so I'm not a fan of him, and I think he's hurting the party very badly."
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