The Hill newspaper reports that Tom Trento, who heads up a grassroots foreign policy group called United West and serves in a leadership role in a number of other Tea Party-related groups, has affixed the label “Tea Party defector” to several Tea Party-connected members of Congress who have come out in support of the Boehner debt plan (without a provision for a balanced budget amendment), including Florida Rep. Allen West.
The Daily Caller caught up with Trento to discuss his attack on West and his position on the debt ceiling debate.
What makes you a Tea Party leader? How many followers do you have?
The majority of my educational and activist work is in the national security sector dealing with issues like Shariah Islam, border vulnerability, nuclear Iran and the necessity for America to fully recognize and support Israel as a national security partner.
Over the past two years, I have spent a significant amount of time with the grassroots Tea Party community, most of whom are seeking information and direction on the issues upon which I focus. In this capacity, I began working with a small group of serious Tea Party activists to develop a comprehensive national security campaign that will be launched sometime early next year …
Though I’m not trying to be the leader of any movement, only an educator/activist, judging by the opinion of others, there are many thousands, if not millions of Tea Party “members” who are interested in the material I communicate. A comprehensive national security policy necessitates sound economic stability, thus my participation in this current debt debate.
Most economic experts and businessmen believe defaulting would be catastrophic. Do you agree with that? If not, what makes you sure enough in your position that you would be willing to risk plunging America into greater financial crisis?
Look, I’ve been running around Washington, D.C. for over thirty years and I’ve lost count of all the Chicken Little “plunging, devastating, end-of-the-world” scenarios that come into play in 11th hour politicking. I also find it interesting that those Tea Party candidates who just a few days ago were arguing my position, standing firm on the Cut Cap, Balance Act, are now — after “getting their asses in line” — arguing the opposite position.
I submit that their change of position had more to do with the politics of the moment, than the proposed devastating consequences. Moreover, if the Democrats were so concerned about this nightmare scenario, just deal with the CCB Act that is sitting on their table. We have competent economic analysts on both sides which usually means stick with your principles and do not blink!
Even conservative economic icons such as Thomas Sowell have come out in favor of the Boehner deal. Why do you continue to oppose it at the risk of America’s economic position?
We are living in historic moments where the voice of the millions of America voters, who made electoral history, are more concerned about the principle of serious and significant economic responsibility than the opinion of icons, pundits, or even the self-serving agenda of the President of the United States.
This current debate is not just another issue in D.C., it is an indicator of whether America moves in the direction of maintaining a democratic capitalistic system or heads toward a European system, where individual dependency is traded for governmental dependency, that is, citizens turn first to the state to solve their problems, whether large or small …