In just 48 hours, conservatives around the country, including in Glenn’s audience, helped defeat the war bill that the Senate tried to pass off as a “border” bill. But while this win is massive on its own, it might pave the way for some other good news. The Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts joins Glenn to discuss how the bill was defeated and why it may signal that there is political “blood in the water” for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “I believe sometime this year, there will be an announcement that he is retiring.” Roberts also reviews his biggest takeaways from his visit to Davos, where he made plenty of elites uncomfortable with a fiery speech: “They were shocked that I came on so strong.”
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Kevin, what a fantastic job, at the world heritage -- or the World Economic Forum. Can you tell me what the reaction was in the room?
KEVIN: You know, Glenn, great to be with you.
So it was, of course, such a lion's den. But from the stage, I'm looking out obviously, at the room.
And the best reaction at least from my vantage point. It was -- when I talked about the problem of China.
And I said, look, you know, you guys not only don't recognize the Chinese Communist Party is the number one adversary to free people on the planet, you actually gave them a platform.
You had CCT officials talking here. There was one guy in the front row, Glenn. European dude with skinny jeans. Just had a melt down. I mean, he literally almost fell out of his chair.
And so it was almost so distracting I lost my train of thought. But then, this is the second of two great reactions. I moved on to my point about climate change.
And how they -- how climate alarmism has become the number one cause for mental health crisis around the world. Which, by the way, I kind of made up on the spot.
GLENN: Oh, I think it's true.
KEVIN: And especially among younger people.
KEVIN: And the back two-thirds of the room, every person in the seat, looked at me like I had landed from Mars.
And that's when I realized, oh, I'm doing what I told Glenn I would do, which is tell the truth.
GLENN: Yeah. It's amazing, that you got out of this. Good thing you weren't on any rooftop restaurants. But anyway -- when you were there, and this is something I thought of recently, that their goal was to rebuild trust.
And I think I'm seeing -- I'm seeing this differently. They don't care about our trust.
They care about the trust among the elites. Because some of the elites are starting to say. I don't know. Maybe we should start to slow down.
Maybe people are rising up against us. And it's a huge election year. Biggest in global history.
And they're saying, basically, I think, stick together, trust the plan, and it will all be fine.
Do you think that's out in space, or is that right?
KEVIN: No. I think you're entirely right. In fact, I wasn't exactly sure what they meant. Because I was going over there, about rebuilding trust, and knew what I was going to say. But after reflecting on it and having some conversations while on the ground, I realized, that's what they mean by rebuilding trust.
Trust the plan. And where that began to kind of crystallize in my mind. When Jamie Dimon did that interview on CNBC. And he said, look, we shouldn't talk so ill of MAGA people
And some people celebrated that. That's just part of the ruse, right?
It's an attempt to draw us in. And I know that that was their agenda in fighting me. Which was to say, you know, let's get this guy, who leads this conservative think tank, which is respected on the center right. Folks on the left, you know, don't like Heritage for good reason.
We disagree. Let's see if we can get him to come here. And say, let's work toward rebuilding trust.
Then they could twist that to say, Heritage is saying, let's trust the plan. Obviously, I succeeded this blowing that up. Let me go over that quick point.
GLENN: Yeah. I think you did.
KEVIN: They were -- they were shocked that I came on so strong. Because they expected me to sort of salute. Maybe make some mildly critical comments and move on.
GLENN: So yesterday we found out. Or a couple of days ago, we found out about the Amazon files. Where the White House was literally telling Amazon to ban books. And suppress books so people couldn't find them.
Today, the Post is reporting on a White House project, it's an AI project known as Track F.
And some of the emails that have now been exposed, it's scientists going back and forth on this project.
Funded by the White House. That say, Americans can't tell fact from fiction, online. And that conservatives and veterans are even more susceptible, to the public at large.
So I guess we know what this AI system will do, once it's developed by the White House. And then given to social media platforms.
KEVIN: Yeah. This is the mechanism to bring us fully into George Orwell's world, right?
You remember being in school and reading that book, 1984? And knowing my -- my teacher. I said, you know, this is laughable.
I mean, it's a good book. But this will never happen. Oh, my gosh, it's happening. It's even worse, actually. But to this point about AI.
It isn't just because I am a traditional conservative, and therefore, very not trusting of -- of new technological developments, that I've cautioned against AI. But particularly in the hands of government and especially in the hands of this administration.
We need to realize, this isn't some annoyance. This is something that is directly aimed at you and me and your audience.
Is we have to stop it in its tracks. Before it gets a wider implementation.
GLENN: Yeah. Why don't we wake more people up to this?
I mean, it is so clear.
If people would just look at the news, and divorce themselves from political parties.
It is so clear, what is coming our way.
How do we wake more people up?
KEVIN: Well, it sounds trite. Maybe even patronizing.
If we really include the importance of your show. But you know I mean that genuinely. Because I am just, you know, a working class dude who wears a suit in DC each day.
People listen to your show. Some of them follow Heritage.
There are many other great shows and organizations.
The point is, pointing to something that happened yesterday, we collectively. The big royal we, killed the border non-security part of that bill.
And what I have been saying for the last 24 hours, Glenn. To friends around the country. Is guys, this is an example of the good things that happen when we wake up. But what we have to avoid doing in this case, because it's so typical of conservatives. In rare times we get a policy win, we then pat ourselves on the back. But more importantly, we go back to important things to us like friends and family and business. We have to stay engaged.
KEVIN: And we have to have a great skepticism against this usage of AI by the government.
So we have a chance to get rid of McConnell. I don't know how you feel about McConnell, but I think he's got to go. And the power of the head of the Senate, to be able to have all the purse strings for G.O.P. senators is crazy.
But is there a chance that McConnell is gone because of this? And if so, who should replace him? Or who do you think will?
KEVIN: Yeah. There is a chance. And just so you and your audience know -- Mitch McConnell and I, I guess we're on professional speaking terms. But I've been saying publicly, it's time for him to go. I do wish him a long and health and relaxing retirement on the personal side. But politically, he's the icon of everything that's wrong in Washington. Because what's wrong in Washington.
And it's connected to the World Economic Forum, as you know.
Is that these people decide, just a handful of people. They will tell us what's best for us. And they'll demand that we eat it.
So I will tell you a quick story. A couple of Decembers ago, I was invited to the Senate steering lunch by our mutual friend, Senator Mike Lee.
And it was to explain why it was a bad idea, once again, to spend the people's money in one of these omnibus bills. Because there wasn't an accountability of the money. We're spending money that we don't have.
He gave me a death glare. After to his credit, he was willing to speak to me. He said, Kevin, I don't understand the disconnect between what we're trying to do and Heritage's opposition. And I said, Senator McConnell. It just shows -- I actually don't mean this as sarcastically this sounds, it just shows how much of a bubble you and your leadership live in. So I actually think this defeat yesterday of this bill shows that there is politically speaking, blood in the water.
That his leadership is really weakened.
And I believed some time this year, maybe sooner than later. There will be an announcement that he is retiring.
And thankfully, as you know, there are a number of good potential replacements that would fix the problem.
GLENN: It would be great. It would be great.
Let me -- let me talk to you, kind of in the same realm here of constantly come under attack.
You know, our freedom of speech. And everything else.
They have gone after this president.
And we've been saying, look, if they'll do it to the president. They'll do it to you. Then they go after Elon Musk.
I mean, they are bound and determined to get him out as well.
If they're doing it to the richest man in the world, they'll do it to you.
Now, yesterday, we were talking on the air about groups that were suing the effective attorneys general. All of them Republicans.
Filing ethics complaints against them. And then also, targeting any attorney that files anything to push back on this administration.
We are losing the -- the good attorneys, and I know I personally have lost the best firm on freedom of speech, because of who I am.
I had them for years. And now, no.
Because they have Google and everything else. And I think they received all kinds of heat.
We're losing the ability to have good attorneys. Is anyone thinking about -- a conservative firm, or a fund that we could fund to hire the best attorneys, that are free of the -- the WEF swamp kind of stuff.
KEVIN: Let me just underscore what a massive problem this is.
The example that you use, regarding yourself. The example of these people, attacking these effective attorneys general, because they're standing up to the administrative state. And we at Heritage encounter that same problem.
Especially, as we develop this presidential transition project we discuss. Project 2025.
On that point, we've had a difficult time, getting attorneys, to participate and also say that they can be named publicly.
So it speaks to the reality that there's been, not just a -- well, there's been a chilling effect on this.
But to the solution.
I would like to spend my time on the solution.
So there are a couple of newer boutique firms.
Smaller law firms, that are composed of conservatives. Here in DC.
Heritage and some other conservative groups are able to use them.
The key thing, Glenn. We also have to get control over at least a few of the law schools.
Because what concerns me, is not just the difficulty of the present situation. But the difficulty that the same kind of thing has happened in law schools. Where very bright objective, but conservatively minded law students have to remain silent.
And their ability to move up the ladder from law school to clerkships to professional work full-time is really endangered.
So like so many things in America, it goes back to institutions. We have to be able to either start or reclaim some of those law schools.
Otherwise, this is going to be a generation-long problem that only gets worse.
GLENN: Well, let us know, if you come across anything that can help. Because I think this audience understands what we're facing.
I mean, they are -- they are using the criminal -- whether they get a conviction or not, they're using the criminal justice system now.
And they are already using it against, the average -- the average person, if you're pro-life or whatever.
And if you can't get a good attorney, you're toast.
If you're -- God forbid, you're tried in the District of Columbia.
Or New York.
KEVIN: You're totally toast.
And I should have mentioned it here. This question, in addition to these problems we discussed. Sort of a legal defense fund, and we have started building that for people we have solicited to be a part of Project 2025. Because what we were hearing from them. To your point about lack of representation, is, Kevin, I'm willing to go into the next administration. Work in an area of competence. Professional competence.
But, you know, I'm likely to get sued. Including on the personal side. In addition to my professional duties. And so although it's in the preliminary stage. We've put this together, sometime in the near future.
I will send you a note, and let you know when we can share more details. I mentioned that today, even though it's preliminary, Glenn.
To give people hope, that the conservative movement isn't just asking people to pick up where they live for a couple years. Or four years, and come serve in the next administration. But we also have to remember, that we have to have one another's backs.
It's one of the big missing pieces of this movement. And I'm really gratified that smart people, you and I both know, are part of this effort to defend our friends.
GLENN: Kevin Roberts. Heritage Foundation. President.
Love to have you back to talk about project 2025. If we can help on that at all.
Because I think it's -- it's inspiring. It will give people hope. Thank you so much.
KEVIN: It should. God bless you, my friend.