Tea party Rep. Trey Gowdy on ‘defund’ strategy: ‘We have absolutely nothing to show for it’

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy doesn’t think the GOP’s “defund Obamacare” strategy turned out to be such a smart plan.

“What did Republicans get for 16 days of a government shutdown with people being hurt? We have absolutely nothing to show for it, other than a damaged brand,” the tea party favorite told The Greenville News, noting that Republicans were ultimately forced to capitulate to the president.

Gowdy said that the GOP ended up worse off after the 16-day shutdown than the party had been beforehand.

“We had a government shutdown, we were at the precipice of hitting the debt ceiling and our strategy — or the strategy of some — has resulted arguably in (more of) a worst-case scenario than where we were on Oct. 1,” he said.

The failure of the strategy, which Gowdy voted along with, has prompted reflection by the congressman.

“I’m not one to cast stones,” he said. “I need to go home and work on being more persuasive myself, and hopefully my colleagues will have a period of self-reflection and evaluate why they’re in public service as well.”

While poll numbers for President Obama and Democrats in Congress dropped during the shutdown, the opinion of Republicans in Congress suffered the worst. The public generally pinned most the blame for the shutdown on the GOP, according to polls.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken during the shutdown even found President Obama’s health-care law shot up in the public’s estimation during the shutdown, despite the troubled launch of Obamacare’s online exchanges. Before the shutdown, just 31 percent of the public said Obamacare was a “good idea,” while during the shutdown 38 percent of the public indicated they thought the law was a “good idea.”

According to The Greenville News, Gowdy was also critical of President Obama’s reluctance to negotiate with Republicans over changes to Obamacare, suggesting that it would be more difficult now for the GOP to work with the president on an immigration reform bill.

“I think there is less trust now than in the three years I’ve been here,” he said. “So when I hear the president say immigration reform is coming next? No, it’s not.”

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