He spoke to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner in a wide-ranging interview that included Glenn's changing responses to presidential candidate Donald Trump's controversial video, his views on climate change and energy, the Iran nuclear deal, Obamacare and race relations.
- Related: The Colorado Voter's Guide To The 2016 Election
- More Interviews: Bennet | Glenn | Menconi | Williams
In a spirited speech at the state Republican convention in April, Glenn called himself an “unapologetic Christian, constitutional conservative, pro-life, Second-Amendment-loving American.” He's an El Paso County commissioner, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who served for more than two decades, and an attorney.
Early on, Glenn embraced the candidate at the top of his party's ticket, Donald Trump. But after the Friday release of a 2005 video showing Trump making sexually aggressive comments about women, Glenn's support of Trump has become a bit murky.
Saturday morning, Glenn said he was "extremely troubled by these comments and I'm still praying over my open support of his election." Less than six hours later, Glenn said in a press release, "Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being commander-in-chief" and joined several other Colorado Republican lawmakers in asking Trump to drop out of the race. In his Colorado Matters interview, he said it's now more of a wait-and-see situation and he hopes to meet with Trump this week.
"I would tell people check in with me after Thursday," Glenn told CPR News.
Here are excerpts from the conversation.
On the Affordable Care Act:
"When you start talking about the Affordable Care Act, we've got to bring in more competition because what's happening right now is, because of the way it's structured, you have the mandate that is, people are required to do that. I mean, there are things that people recognize: the pre-existing conditions, being able for parents to have 26 year olds on there. Those are good things. But we've got to be able to create a system that allows the market to help us bring down the cost of health insurance and you're only going to be able to do that by allowing it to grow and have market forces by competing across state lines, by having tort reform, by allowing people to create health savings accounts. Those things will actually help drive down the cost of health insurance."
On the Iran nuclear deal:
"The U.S. is less safe because under this current arrangement, we got out lawyer-ed and Iran can continue to pursue a ballistic missile when we do not have the ability to be able to go in there and do inspections, contrary to what everybody is saying. And when you think about threats to the United States, when you think about the destabilization and what we're doing, and not standing with our strong ally, Israel, and how we're destabilizing the entire region by what was going on with this deal, it is not in the best interest of this country. And now that they have access to money, billions of dollars that they're using to build up their military to be used as the number one world sponsor of terror potentially against our own men and women, how are we more safe because of that?"
On creating a "balanced energy portfolio":
"What we should be doing is looking at all forms of energy and allowing the market to get in there and dictate. And that's what is so important because there are clean forms of coal and we do need fracking. And a lot of people, that scares them and it shouldn't. What we need to be able to do is, Colorado is in a great position to lead and Colorado should be leading the nation when it comes to energy independence. And actually, we've done a great job in Colorado with implementing our own standards, so we don't need the federal government getting in here and creating things, making things worse."
On trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
"I'm against TPP. I absolutely support free trade. There is a couple provisions that I'm very concerned about as far as giving away U.S. sovereignty. I'm concerned about, I believe it's Article 27 and correct me if I'm wrong, but it deals with creating a commission of unelected bureaucrats that are going to be able to implement rules without really a strong check by the U.S. government. And that should scare people. We should never be in a position where we cannot have a strong veto, right? I will stand up and I want to make sure that we have free trade, but I want to make sure that the American worker has a level playing field and that they're in the best position to be able to compete."
On race relations:
"My plan is to bring community leaders, policymakers and law enforcement personnel together and have community-based discussions because, you know, part of the problem is, we need to get to know each other. There are cultural differences. You're talking to a black man that can absolutely state unequivocally that there are problems that must be addressed. I have been stopped simply because of my skin color. That's a reality that's there... If you can actually go out and recruit people within their own community to actually serve in a law enforcement capacity which gives a level of credibility there, when you're able to really get down and talk about criminal justice reform that must be addressed. And I'm holding my party accountable to that. My party does not do a strong enough job talking about criminal justice reform."
Web Extra: Glenn answers questions about public lands.
Editor's fact check: Glenn mentioned that how the federal government issues Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) is "arbitary." The PILT program is more complex than that. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, "the formula used to compute the payments is contained in the PILT Act and is based on population, receipt sharing payments, and the amount of Federal land within an affected county."
Click on the audio link to hear the full conversation with Glenn. And read the transcript below:
Ryan Warner: Darryl Glenn, welcome back to the program.
Darryl Glenn: It is great to be here.
RW: I'd like to talk about the top of the Republican ticket and the video of Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, from a decade ago describing what amounts to sexually assaulting women. Your initial reaction in Saturday was that you were "extremely troubled by these comments and I'm still praying over my open support of his election." Less than six hours later, you said in a press release, "Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being commander in chief." Will you vote for him?
DG: Donald Trump did something last night that a lot of us were waiting to hear.
RW: In the debates?
DG: Yes. You know, I'm a Christian, a strong man of faith and I have two daughters and a mother that is so instrumental in me being here, so you cannot objectify women. And he stood up and he took responsibility. Now, people are going to argue whether or not that was, you know, a strong enough apology, but he stood up as a man and he took responsibility for his action and he proceeded to prosecute the case why he would be a better person to serve in the oval office than Hillary Clinton. And we actually had a substantive policy discussion that's been lacking. So because of that, you know, I am personally going to try to get on his calendar and fly out to where he's at on Thursday and have a conversation with him about a lot of the work that, and people that I've been talking in to underserved communities, black and brown communities that have been struggling, and share with him that story. But then extend an invitation for him to come to Colorado in those communities and set up a forum so that he can talk and so he can listen to those things because he made a statement that he wants to be the President for everyone. And in order to do that, you have to be willing to also sit down and talk to people and share your vision. And if he's willing to do that then, you know, I'm going to try to facilitate that.
RW: What would you say to critics who think that this is backpedaling, that this is maybe going where the political wind is blowing? So, when there was momentum behind Dump Trump, you said Dump Trump. Now, after what you see as a good debate performance, you're back on the Trump bandwagon.
DG: Well, I guess I would respond that the political winds would be to run away. I mean, if you're paying attention to what's happening with going out in Washington and if you believe in polls, the polls would say that this would be over.
RW: Well, that was your first inclination. You said "Donald Trump is simply disqualified from being Commander in Chief." That seems unequivocal.
DG: Well, what's unequivocal if you cannot apologize and accept responsibility, and if you can then also not as a candidate for office, proceed to distinguish your platform versus somebody else's. And this was the first time that he clearly did that and that's what's critical in this race. This race is more than just an individual; we're having a battle of philosophies and he did that. So now it opens the door to be able to have substantive conversation and that's important for everyone because whoever is going to be president is going to have to unite this country.
RW: I wonder why you didn't wait and say, "I'm going to decide on Trump after the debate."
DG: I think it's important to take a position on what was happening with that particular video and get your attention immediately. You make something a statement that's that offensive, you need to be called on that immediately and that's what I did. But then, you also have to take a look at the fact that there's real work that needs to be done between now and Election Day. And then if somebody is going to do what they're supposed to do as a candidate, you shouldn't have to then wait. You need to act on that and start the discussion because regardless of what side you're on -- especially in Colorado, you know, Colorado is, you know, Republicans, Democrats and Unaffiliated and we have philosophical differences and I think that we have to have that discussion.
RW: So after the Trump video from 10 years ago came to light, you did say, through your spokesperson, that you would not be voting for Trump and that instead, you would write in Mr. Pence's name.
RW: Let me get back to that brass tacks question. Will you vote for Donald Trump?
DG: What I'm going to do...
RW: It depends on this meeting, I'm guessing.
DG: Well, because it's extremely important because in my opinion, Hillary Clinton clearly disqualified herself during this debate. Mr. Trump, you take him at his word, says that he is going to be able to bring this country together and he's going to be able to address those issues. So he, at the very least, deserves an opportunity to do that.
RW: So after saying that you are not going to vote for Trump, you're now saying that you're open to it based on this meeting?
DG: I think it's extremely important to provide somebody that humbles themselves an opportunity to see if they're willing to follow through with that and that's the responsible thing to do. And I would tell people check in with me after Thursday.
RW: You say that Trump humbled himself. I suppose there are some who would look at the pre-debate press conference and say, "That was anything but a humble act. That's not a man who is coming to the nation to apologize." How do you respond?
DG: Well, and then again, you know, we're getting into areas where people can have philosophical disagreements on the proper way to do that. My goal, again, from this point forward is let's get back to focusing on the serious policy debates that must occur.
RW: You said in your statement just after the Trump video surfaced that "I believe that we simply cannot tolerate a nominee who speaks this way about women," and there are some who would say he has spoken ill of other groups before this, be it Muslims, be it Mexicans, be it Gold Star families, be it veterans. Why was this the tipping point? Why was this the point at which you expressed deep reservations about Donald Trump?
DG: Well, it's a cumulative effect, and you have to be willing to see whether or not somebody will accept responsibility, be able to then articulate what the policy issues are and then there, if you then are willing to come back and have a discussion with these groups. And that's why I'm extending that invitation because that's leadership. I mean, people make mistakes. And if they're willing to then be able to sit across from people that you have potentially offended and be open to accepting criticism and have that discussion, that's a true mark of leadership and that's why I believe that he deserves that as an invitation to come back because we are a better country when we're able to work together in a very productive way and that's what I'm trying to get us to.
RW: You are a veteran. You served in the Air Force for 21 years. And I think particularly of Trump's remark about Arizona Sen. John McCain that he was not a war hero, Trump said, because he was captured. As a veteran, do you hear that comment and think that's leadership?
DG: I've listened to all of Mr. Trump's comments with regard to the military and he does show a great level of understanding and the importance and respect to the military. I think everyone of us can, every once in a while, say something that is probably could be phrased differently but I think you have to look at the entire body of work when somebody's talking about what they're going to do. And words are one thing, but action is actually equally as important because you can say whatever you want, but it's what policies are you going to enact to be able to stand up and support our men and women that voluntarily raise their hand to serve this country. And what I've heard with regard to what he's going to do is, he's going to make sure that our men and women have the necessary tools, training and equipment to do their job and he's going to do a better job taking care of them when they come home and he's continuing to emphasize the Veterans Administration and that's something that's near and dear to my heart.
On reaching across the aisle:
RW: At the State GOP Convention last April, you called yourself "unapologetic, Christian, constitutional, conservative, pro-life, second amendment-loving American." And that phrase has come up a lot in this campaign. You have since said that its purpose is to remind people of their right to free speech. But Darryl Glenn, what is something about you that you don't think has gotten as much coverage?
DG: Well, and I'm glad you brought that up and I'm actually glad that you're putting it in a proper context because I say that to remind people that they have the First Amendment right. I'm not saying that to tell people that you have to agree with me or that I'm trying to push a philosophy on you, I'm reminding you that we live in the greatest country in the face of this earth and each and every one of us have the ability to be able to stand up and be bold and brave. And I think the misconception that people have, they, Mr. Bennet loves to talk about the "reach across the aisle" statement and I want to properly address that. To me, it's about leadership. Both parties have basically put the other party on defense when they're trying to push a particular issue and...
RW: Let me say, just for context, that you said, early on in the campaign, that you would not reach across the aisle.
DG: Here's the proper context of that. When you're being dictated to that you have to reach across the aisle to do this to provide partisan cover for a particular issue, that's wrong and it's wrong for both parties to do that. What you need to do is put the country first. And I want to be very clear about the statement. If you are willing to put the country first, I will work with anybody, whether you're a Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated.
RW: I guess I don't know what that means, "put the country first." I think there's probably no member of Congress that wouldn't say they're putting the country first.
DG: There is a way because when you're trying to use procedural tricks to be able to get things passed instead of trying, and I support trying to have as many clean bills as possible, because the fact that people are always threatening to shut down the government is unacceptable. There are plenty of things that we should be able to agree on when you're putting the country first and dealing strictly with policy issues instead of trying to advance an agenda. Now there are issues that require a debate. When you start thinking about the Iran nuclear deal, when you start thinking about the Affordable Care Act, those are very contentious issues and that's where it's warranted a public debate.
RW: You talked about the ability to express yourself under the First Amendment and extol what you believe are the freedoms of this country. In a 2015 interview on the conservative radio program, The Craig Silverman Show, you said Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. is "on its face, sound." I just want to play a little bit from that conversation.
RW: How is it that Islam and the expression of that faith is in conflict with the constitution?
DG: And I think the full context of that is, there's a radical element of Islam that must be addressed.
RW: Is that what you say is in conflict with the constitution?
DG: Yeah, that's exactly what we're talking about. And that's why we're saying, you have to properly identify those particular threats. This isn't a war against a full religion. There's a radical element out there that the entire world needs to be able to properly recognize and come up with a strategy to address.
RW: So in that, when you say "Islam and the Constitution are in clear conflict," that was imprecise in that 2015 interview.
DG: And it's in reflection of a general statement of somebody else and in proper context and fully fleshed out, further discussion with that area talks about the radical element of Islam is what's in conflict.
On what he'd like to accomplish if elected:
RW: What would you most like to accomplish in the Senate if you're elected? You know, let's say that you become known for a signature piece of legislation, Darryl Glenn's law. What would that be do you think?
DG: Well, it's more than just one. It's, one, I think the best thing that you can do is be viewed as somebody that's a public servant and is actually standing up and serving the interest of Colorado. The biggest mistake that I've heard about Michael Bennet and why I spend so much time driving around this state is, they don't believe that he is standing up and representing the interest of Colorado, that he's a good solid vote for the Washington Insiders and he follows what the leadership wants him to do. But when you're talking about real concerns that are out there, when you think about the impacts of what's happening with the Affordable Care Act, and Michael Bennet has doubled down on his support in light of all the information that's out there and he still believes that that's something that we should just continue. You think about his support for the Iran nuclear deal, he doubles down on this particular support even with all the information out there that that's something that is causing more problems and I believe is exacerbating the threat to the United States of America.
RW: So would your key pieces of legislation then be to repeal the Affordable Care Act?
DG: And replace it with something.
RW: And to undo the Iran deal. Are you saying that's what you would want and going for?
DG: There are three things that are conflict. Number one, absolutely, we have to repeal the Iran deal. We must do that. That is not in our best interest as a country. It is dangerous and we can talk about that forever. When you start talking about the Affordable Care Act, we've got to bring in more competition because what's happening right now is, because of the way it's structured, you have the mandate that is, people are required to do that. I mean, there are things that people recognize: the pre-existing conditions, being able for parents to have twenty-six year olds on there. Those are good things. But we've got to be able to create a system that allows the market to help us bring down the cost of health insurance and you're only going to be able to do that by allowing it to grow and have market forces by competing across state lines, by having tort reform, by allowing people to create health savings accounts. Those things will actually help drive down the cost of health insurance.
RW: And what was the third issue because we'll get into the Affordable Care Act?
DG: Yeah. And the third issue is regulatory reform is crushing Coloradans. When you think about the "war on coal," it's something that's extremely important, and the EPA and the overreach there. There are certain areas and regulatory issues when you start thinking about what the National Labor Relations is doing with franchise owners. There are certain areas that are.
RW: The National Labor Relations Board?
DG: Yes, exactly. And when you start thinking about growing small businesses, these regulatory issues are having a tremendous impact on the ability of these businesses to be successful.
RW: The theme, in many ways, of what you want to be your signature pieces of legislation is to undo what Democrats have done?
RW: Would you say that's.
DG: The theme is to be able to actually listen to what's actually happening in the field. When your people are telling you that these things are actually causing more harm than good, that's why they send you to Washington to fix these things.
RW: You talk about the potential for buying insurance across state lines?
RW: This is something that Republicans have talked about for some time. Some states have tried this and it actually is currently allowed under the Affordable Care Act. But because of all the different state regulations, companies haven't exactly jumped on the bandwagon here. That is to say, if this were a possibility, wouldn't it have already been done?
DG: I don't think so because there's been always a constant push to essentially federalize healthcare and we really have to pay and look at markets. When you think about purchasing a good or a service, apply commonsense. Is it cheaper to be able, and do you receive a better quality of good or service, if there are more options that are out there? And that's a fundamental principle that people need to understand. I mean, I'm trying not to make it too simplistic, but this is the reality of what's happening.
RW: But insurance companies have not jumped on the let's sell across state lines bandwagon.
DG: Well, they've been given assurance that they're going to get bailed out and that's what's so offensive under the current system of the Affordable Care Act is that not only people are mandated to actually participate in this, they get fined but then they have a Safety Net program where the people that are actually being hurt by the very system. Taxpayer dollars are going to be used to bail these insurance organizations out. That's just offensive.
RW: To bail out the insurance company?
DG: That's exactly what's happening right now. There's been a commitment that's out there that these insurance industries are going to potentially get taxpayer dollars to help them out because the system's not working, because they're not making money. When talking to a family that's looking at a 20 to 40 percent premium increase, that's just unbelievable.
RW: And indeed, 20 percent is about the average premium increase announced this past year, though there will be federal help for many of those.
DG: Federal help? When you go out to the Western Slope, tell them about the federal help that's coming. You talk about federal help to add more people to the system, which in turn, the only way you pay for federal help is to have money and the system only works if there are people that are joining it. Young people are not joining and signing up for the Affordable Care Act. And the people that are actually out there paying for it, fewer and fewer of them are being able to actually pay for it, so you're cutting off your ability to fund the Affordable Care Act because of what's happening with the system. It's not going to work.
Editor's fact check: Glenn mentioned using taxpayer dollars to bail out insurance companies, echoing other Obamacare critics. It's not as simple as taxpayer money being shoveled directly into insurance company coffers, but more a question of shifting around funds. That happens through three programs in the health care law that help take some of the financial risk off of insurers. Republicans have called this "a massive $15 billion bailout" and "unlawful" to boot. Glenn also mentioned a 20 percent hike on insurance premiums in the next year. That's true for plans in the individual market, according to the state Division of Insurance. This could affect about 450,000 Coloradans.
RW: You appear to not like the individual mandate much which is the idea that you have to have health insurance and yet, I think proponents of the Affordable Care Act would say it's the only way to make the insurance pool diverse and healthy enough, you know, that costs actually come down. So.
DG: And they're always quick to infringe from people's freedoms and liberty. The government should not dictate to you that you should have to purchase anything and that's extremely important especially when you start talking about health insurance. And the whole philosophy behind health insurance is, you actually want a product that you can afford because when you think about the health insurance system, you want to be able to use it so that you can diagnose potentially some conditions that if you treat them early can extend your life, that you can actually participate in wellness programs, that you should have a health insurance system that allows you to be able to tailor it. I mean, if you're at a stage in your life when you're not going to have children anymore, why should you be mandated to have that particular coverage? I mean, these are commonsense things that people are saying, "Why are we doing that?"
Editor's fact check: Yes, a woman can be 55, 85 or 100 and still be required to be covered by what is referred to as "maternity care." The maternity care mandate was added to Obamacare in 2014 because there was a major gap in coverage: Before that, only a small percentage of insurance plans covered having babies, or a host of other women-specific medical procedures. Pregnancy was referred to in most insurance plans as a pre-existing condition on the same order as cancer or diabetes.
RW: What would you do, Darryl Glenn, for that kind of interstitial period? So, let's say there's a repeal of Obamacare under a Trump presidency. There's a moment presumably, right, where the provisions you like, for instance, letting up to 26 year olds stay on a plan and not being able to discriminate on a pre-existing condition. There would presumably a moment where those things would be legal again, you know, you could discriminate it. How do you deal with that interstitial period between repeal and something new?
DG: And this is where, you know, we can be smart as far as legislators to make sure that you don't have that traumatic shift and that's why it's so important to be able to not just repeal but having something ready to go. And I think that, you know, through and bipartisan process, you can make sure that that actually happens.
RW: Do you think it would be bipartisan?
DG: Well, I think if people actually realize and recognize that our current system is not going to work and it is going to fail. I think if you're being very open and honest, there are people that, in Colorado, you go out to the Western Slope and they're looking at a 40 percent [increase], there are Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliateds that are feeling that pain. It doesn't differentiate just because you're a part of the affiliation. So, I think that they would put pressure on you to be able to say "You need to get this done because it's having a tremendous impact on our quality of life. So I think that the voters are going to help put pressure on "we need some immediate relief now."
On the Iran nuclear deal:
RW: Let's talk about Iran and the nuclear deal because this was really one of the reasons you got in the race, wasn't it?
DG: There are a variety of them, but this is my signature issue as far as when you start thinking about the purpose of the federal government; this is something that's critical.
RW: You wrote on your website that Bennet's vote on this deal has "made America less safe." The president says, before this agreement, Iran's breakout time or the time it would have taken for Iran to gather enough physical material to build a weapon was only two to three months. And today, because of the Iran deal, the White House says it would take 12 months or more. Doesn't that mean that America is more safe?
DG: No. In fact, and you know, if you're listening to the president's statement, the president also said that we weren't wiring payments to Iran. And when you go back and you look at.
RW: As a function of the Iran deal he said.
DG: But he was caught. If you go back and you look at the records, he was not being factual and that's just a reality.
RW: But how is the U.S. less safe? I just want to know.
DG: The U.S. is less safe because under this current arrangement, we got out lawyer-ed and Iran can continue to pursue a ballistic missile when we do not have the ability to be able to go in there and do inspections, contrary to what everybody is saying. And when you think about threats to the United States, when you think about the destabilization and what we're doing, and not standing with our strong ally, Israel, and how we're destabilizing the entire region by what was going on with this deal, it is not in the best interest of this country. And now that they have access to money, billions of dollars that they're using to build up their military to be used as the number one world sponsor of terror potentially against our own men and women, how are we more safe because of that? Because Iran is working with Korea and what they're trying to do is get a ballistic missile to be able to shoot over the United States of America and create an electric magnetic pulse and put us out of business and that's.
RW: How do you know this? What do you base that on?
DG: Because they are aggressively trying to do that and that's precisely.
RW: And you know that how? I'm just trying to understand what is your source for that intelligence?
DG: It's not source of intelligence, it's looking at their actions and what they're trying to do. All you have to do is project that forward.
RW: So, that's a projection of what you're saying?
DG: And you need to do projections when you start thinking about providing for security of this country. You need to look at your vulnerabilities. And this deal puts us in this position where we're less safe.
RW: There are robust inspections as part of this.
DG: There are not robust inspections. I mean, I know people that like to try to spin it that way, but as far as being able to have unannounced inspections over the information that we need to see and whether or not they're complying with that program, that is completely false.
On climate change and energy:
RW: Let's talk about energy and where it comes from. I spoke to you in June after you won the GOP primary and I asked if you agree with the majority of climate scientists who say climate change has human causes. And your response was, "I'm a data guy. I want to see verifiable information of that." And it was around actually that same time that members of major scientific organizations wrote a letter to Congress urging them to take climate change seriously and I just want to read a few lines from that. "Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver." And these scientists went on to say, "Greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced. In addition, adaption is necessary to address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability and national security." Is that the confirmation you need?
DG: There are plenty of people that dispute this and the problem with this is we.
RW: So, that's not the confirmation you need? In other words, those scientists.
DG: Let me answer the question. The problem is, we talk in theory and with rhetoric instead of "the world is changing." The issue becomes being able to have a consensus over man's contribution to that.
RW: There is major scientific consensus on that point.
DG: The problem that we're having right now and what the other side won't even entertain is that we need to have a balancing test. We need to be able to show what we're doing to contribute that globally and what the United States' role in doing that and you need to balance that with the policies that we're enacting and the impacts on families' ability to be able to afford this new higher cost of energy. Because if you're trying to do something because you're trying to achieve a goal with regard to CO2 emissions and things like that, but then you're actually having a detrimental impact on your economy and you're actually putting people in a position to where they're not going to be able to put food on the table. You're trying to solve one problem, but you're creating another problem on that end. And that's why I'm saying the proper way to handle that and dial back the rhetoric is to make sure that when we're having these discussions that you're looking at both sides of the equation.
RW: What I'm hearing you saying is that you believe there is some human contribution to climate change, but that that should be balanced against the effect of the measures to mitigate it. Am I right about that?
DG: Well, that's what you're saying.
RW: That's what I'm hearing, so.
DG: I understand. And that's why instead of what you're hearing, let me tell you what I'm saying. What i'm saying is, that's what needs to be debated. When I was saying that you need data, that's the quantifiable data, that's where when you start talking and bringing in scientific analysis and everything, I think a lot of people rely on data that's verifiable. That's where the debate needs to occur and to be clearly fleshed out. When you have that portion of the equation, that's when you can balance that up against okay, if we're going to do something from a policy standpoint, we need to make sure that we're not having unintended consequences with that.
RW: So, do you agree that human beings are contributing to climate change?
DG: What I'm saying right now and I'll restate it again is, that's where the data needs to be able to show that.
RW: The data is very clear that there is human contributions. Do you agree with that data?
DG: Well, you say the data is very clear.
RW: I don't say that. The data is clear and most climate scientists say that. [Crosstalk]
DG: That's an overly generalized statement because like you're saying that, you can bring in other people that will absolutely dispute that and I'm saying instead of.
RW: But they're not in mainstream science nor are they the ones who are with the major scientific organizations.
DG: Well, I've answered your question on that.
RW: You have come out against the Paris climate change deal which now has enough global support to proceed. There is also the Clean Power Plan. That's the Obama administration's policy intended to combat climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions and you have already, here, called it a "war on coal." So, I want to ask you about what coal's role should be going forward?
DG: What we should be doing is looking at all forms of energy and allowing the market to get in there and dictate. And that's what is so important because there are clean forms of coal and we do need fracking. And a lot of people, that scares them and it shouldn't. What we need to be able to do is, Colorado is in a great position to lead and Colorado should be leading the nation when it comes to energy independence. And actually, we've done a great job in Colorado with implementing our own standards, so we don't need the federal government getting in here and creating things, making things worse.
RW: Renewable energy standards.
DG: But what we need to be able to.
RW: Is that what you mean?
DG: We have been able to deal with these issues, but what's missing is allowing then the market to take over. And you cannot indefinitely have subsidies to prop up one form of energy over another. There has to be a taper off period because we're never going to get there because number one, the market will never really dictate and come in there and do the right thing. And two, it's not appropriate to permanently fund things indefinitely from the federal government. We need to get to the point where it's self-sufficient.
RW: And so, would you remove subsidies for traditional fuel sources: coal, oil and gas, etcetera?
DG: What I'm saying is, all forms of energy if you're receiving a subsidy, there should be, I'm not picking winners or losers. What I'm saying, there eventually has to be a point to where you are not receiving a subsidy.
RW: What about health? Because there was a New York Times story about how Chinese and American researchers determined, I think in August, that burning coal has had the worst health impact in China of any source of air pollution. Are you concerned about the long-term effects of coal on American citizens' health?
DG: You know, I think that it's always important to have public discussions. I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV so I'm not going to give a clinical analysis of that. I think that that is a concern. And when you're also talking about forms of energy, when you're talking about that balancing test, that's something that should also be talked about in that same conversation. And what I'm trying to get people to do is, if you really want to bring both sides together and stop talking over each other, let's really break it down into realizing that we love our country but we also need to make sure that we're not creating unintended consequences. And I think that if we all take an opportunity to just be willing to listen and have some clear discussions, dialing back the hyper-partisan rhetoric, we might be able to actually get something done.
RW: To this idea of thinking about the economic impacts of say, the Clean Power Plan or a climate deal, some would say that's a false choice. In other words, if sea levels are rising and cities are being inundated, you're not going to be necessarily worrying about what kind of soup you buy that night. Do you understand what I'm saying? Like is it a little bit of a false choice to say we have to weigh, you know, the future of the planet against potential economic impacts if you steer clear of coal?
DG: Well, here's my response to the false choice. You need to come with me to Routt County or to Moffat County and talk about real impacts of people that their livelihood is being shut down and they're having to pay bills right now.
RW: This is where there's a lot of coal?
DG: Yeah. And tell them that's a false choice. It's not a false choice, it's a reality. There are areas that that's been their livelihood and it's shutting them down immediately. And when you're sitting there and you're talking to people and they're crying and they're asking for help, and their elected officials are not listening to them, and they're not providing alternatives with regard to, OK, look. Things are shutting down right now and all I'm trying to do is put food on the table. It's having a tremendous impact. So, a false choice would be extremely offensive to people that are struggling with that. On top of the fact of the Affordable Care Act when I know of a couple that has a child with special needs that is looking at insurance premiums that are going from $16,000 to $50,000. On top of looking at what's going on with the industry that they're in. Tell those people that that's a false choice.
RW: Then there's the question, obviously, of retraining. If coal starts to go the way of the dodo, what do you think that a U.S. Senator's role should be in helping those people find new lines of work?
DG: Well, and I believe that if you're actually allowing the market to take place, there will be more of a tapering off period. This is why it's so important to be a representative to go out there and talk to people about other opportunities that are there so then you can then go advocate for them at the federal level if that's appropriate. But what I'm saying right now, the slash and burn approach, which is what's happening right now, where you're just shutting things down and you're not looking at the unintended consequences out there in those communities and then you're also not looking at the additional burdens that these families have with regard to the Affordable Care Act. People are hurting.
RW: Is it a bit misleading to say that the reason coal is on the decline is because of regulation? I mean, isn't the relative inexpensive price of oil and gas actually doing more in terms of the price of coal and why it doesn't make as much sense to take it out of the ground?
DG: Well,and I would disagree with that premise because you're propping up the other ones through subsidies and you're not allowing the market to really dictate what's there.
RW: Well, it's more that fracking has made oil and gas so plentiful that coal doesn't make as much sense economically.
DG: Well, and again, it still falls back to the market is going to be able to help influence this and you cannot continue.
RW: I guess what I'm saying is, the market is and part of what the market is telling us is, oil and gas is cheaper than coal.
DG: Well, and part of the market is realizing that you have other sources of energy that we have to actually adhere to and that are receiving subsidies that are being unofficially propped up. You're comparing apples and oranges. So if you're really going to do it, level the playing field and then we can talk about it.
On Social Security
RW: I do want to talk about your view of the federal government for just a bit. So, you say that you're committed to improving Social Security for future generations. In a debate you did in September, you said, "A lot of people think that this is an entitlement, it's not, it's an earned benefit. And I want you to understand that if you've gone through that, and you've contributed to that, you have my commitment. I look at that as a contract I'm going to honor to you." Now, Social Security is not spelled out in the constitution and on your website, you say taxpayer money should be used to fund only services authorized in the U.S. Constitution. Square your support of Social Security which, you know, some could describe it as a big federal program with your view of the role of the federal government.
DG: When we're looking at all of these programs, when you're looking at the fact that we're $19 trillion in debt and growing, we do need to be able to, in my opinion, look at every single program and square it with the constitution and then we need to say, "Are they better properly aligned at the state level? Do they have a return on investment? Are they actually performing the intent as it was designed?" When we have programs that people were not essentially asked to participate in, like Social Security, we have an obligation to honor that and that's why say it's an earned benefit. We should not put that in question. But what we should be doing is creating a way for the next generation to be able to become more self-sufficient and encourage savings. You know, there are people that are right now in that window and they need that commitment that we're going to honor that obligation but there's a future generation that's coming forward that we can work with them and put them in a better position that they're able to actually have more control over their savings and that's where I'm saying.
RW: But my, you look at the U.S. saving rates. Well, it's kind of misleading.
DG: Well, that's because guess what? We're not actually growing our economy. If we're growing out economy, people had more their dollars and if they were able to be able to do that, people would save.
RW: Isn't the economy growing? Jobs are growing? And in fact, the economy is where Mitt Romney had hoped it would be when he was running for president four years ago.
DG: I would invite you to a couple of my town hall meetings. Go into the underserved communities. The Labor Participation Rate is what we would be looking at. It's a D. and I guess, you know, when I went to school.
RW: That's a grade you're assigning to is it?
DG: No, you go U.S. Labor of Statistics, it's a D and that's of great concern especially in our underserved areas. And when you start thinking about economic prosperity, people that love statistics loves to talk about the unemployment rate. You don't hear them talk about the labor participation rate because that's what really is important. And when it's a D, that does not show that it's healthy for our country and what we're trying to do.
Editor's fact check: Glenn said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gave labor participation a D grade. CPR News could find no such report card, and have a request in with the campaign for its source. Labor Force Participation -- how many people are working or are actively looking for jobs -- has been on the decline. But is not at a historic low, as some have claimed. Factcheck.org cites an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office: That the unusually low rate is attributable especially to the aging of the population; temporary weakness in employment prospects and wages; and the slow recovery of the labor market.
RW: To Trade. It's been a centerpiece in the presidential race as you know. particularly Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is in agreement to move away from trade tariffs between the U.S. and eleven other countries. According to the International Trade Administration, approximately 3,200 Colorado companies exported goods to those countries in 2014. You've said you support free trade. What's your position on TPP?
DG: I'm against TPP. I absolutely support free trade. There is a couple provisions that I'm very concerned about as far as giving away U.S. sovereignty. I'm concerned about, I believe it's Article 27 and correct me if I'm wrong, but it deals with creating a commission of unelected bureaucrats that are going to be able to implement rules without really a strong check by the U.S. government and that should scare people. We should never be in a position where we cannot have a strong veto, right? I will stand up and I want to make sure that we have free trade, but I want to make sure that the American worker has a level playing field and that they're in the best position to be able to compete.
On race relations:
RW: Let's wrap up with a conversation about race relations in the country and relations in particular, between communities and police. So, you spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer and focused on tensions between police and black communities and you said "blue lives matter" and place the blame on President Obama calling him "Divider in Chief." Give me an example of why you feel that way.
DG: I'm very glad you asked me that question. I would be disappointed if we didn't have that race relation discussion because, you know, one of the principal jobs as when you are blessed to be in that position is to create a state of calm. And President Obama has a history of picking and choosing when he's going to inject himself into particular conflicts within the community. Ferguson is a perfect example. Setting that aside, what are we going to do? Because we are more racially divided today than we were before he ran. That's a reality. It's not acceptable. My plan is to bring community leaders, policymakers and law enforcement personnel together and have community-based discussions because, you know, part of the problem is, we need to get to know each other. There are cultural differences. You're talking to a black man that can absolutely state unequivocally that there are problems that must be addressed. I have been stopped simply because of my skin color. That's a reality that's there. It's how you react to that as an issue. But it's amazing when you actually bring these communities together and you learn from one another and you breakdown those barriers and realize our cultural differences and that you can show that police are properly trained to do these things, that you can empower community leaders to be able to take ownership of their community and work with law enforcement in a productive way. If you can actually go out and recruit people within their own community to actually serve in a law enforcement capacity which gives a level of credibility there, when you're able to really get down and talk about criminal justice reform that must be addressed. And I'm holding my party accountable to that. My party does not do a strong enough job talking about criminal justice reform. We need to do that. We need to be talking.
RW: Give me an example. What do you mean?
DG: When you start thinking about the mandatory sentencing guidelines, when you start thinking about making sure that after somebody has served their time, how they're reintegrated back into the community so that you're setting them up to succeed. And there are some discrepancies with regard to, you know, if you're arrested for one substance versus another. What's unique about me is, I'm going to lead in doing that. And people are like, "What role does a senator play in that?" You have a tremendous role in the fact that it's not necessarily from a policymaker standpoint. You have the ability to command and be the pulpit and bring community leaders together and show leadership and help facilitate solutions that come from the ground up. And if there is a federal issue that needs to be addressed, you can do that and that's what's going to make our country stronger.
RW: Do you think that some of the opposition to the president has been racist?
DG: You know, there's, I think people automatically default to that but I would say, look at his policies. His policies, in my opinion, are out of step with what's in the best interest of this country. He has more of a globalist view and I don't think that that's healthy; it goes against the American spirit.
RW: But when you look at like the Birther Movement, you know, and Donald Trump's long-standing campaign to essentially say that the president was not born in this country like, do you think that's racist?
DG: To me, it's completely something that's inappropriate, but I think people say, "Look, I don't care what color he is. Look at the policies that he's supporting." And I think the vast majority of the people don't care what color or what sex the president is. What they care about is the policies. And if you have a globalist view and you're completely trying to transform America. That's where people are pushing back. And I'm telling you as a person that's been on a campaign trail, his race is not even a topic of discussion, it's the policies that he's supporting and Michael Bennet is in lockstep with those policy. That's where the rub is.
RW: Darryl Glenn, thanks so much for your time.
DG: It is an absolute privilege to be here. Thank you very much and go to electdarrylglenn.com.