U.S. Sen. Mark Warner stopped in Strasburg Saturday during Mayfest. Warner, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and former governor, answered a few questions from the The Northern Virginia Daily as he walked through the downtown.
NVDaily: One of your big issues lately has been trade. We are in an agricultural area. Can you talk to me about that?
Warner: Trade wars hurt consumers. These trade battles hurt a lot of Virginia farmers. I don’t think the White House has a plan. We need to be strong against China because China cheats and doesn’t play by the rules on a lot of issues. I think the president missed an opportunity to build an international coalition because a lot of countries have challenges with China. Instead, he’s picked this fight with Canada, with Mexico, and with our European allies. Yesterday I was with craft breweries and distilleries. Their business has gone down 20 percent in terms of their sales to Europe. The sooner we can end the trade war, the better.
NVDaily: What are you hearing from farmers, some of whom voted for Trump?
Warner: I am hearing folks who are rightfully upset. They have given him the benefit of the doubt for a while now but there does not look like, or seem to be, a plan on how we get ourselves out of this. It appears that Trump, who always claims to be a great deal maker, so far does not seem like he has been able to make that deal.
NVDaily: One thing you heard about from some of our residents today was about education. What would you like to see happen in education?
Warner: There is always a need for additional funding. There is always a need that our teachers get paid a fair salary because there is so much competition that teachers can do other things. Most of the funding for K-12 education comes from state and local but the federal contribution is important as well.
NVDaily: You sit on some powerful committees. Right now, there is a feeling among some that Washington is stagnant, they are stymied by the Trump administration and the attorney general who, some say, is defiant. How do you handle that?
Warner: One thing I am proud of, the committee I am vice chair of, the Intelligence Committee, is the last one that is still working together bipartisan. I get frustrated with the White House’s unwillingness to kind of deal with Congress at all. Now every White House gets mad at Congress; Obama got mad at Congress, Bush got mad at Congress. I don’t think, however, this idea that you can just ignore Congress makes sense. We are in this moment in particular, God willing, we don’t see conflict arise with Iran, but there is a lot of folks that, because the White House has not briefed people, that are worried that if some incident happens in the Middle East that puts Iran and America at each other, because there has not been that constitutional obligation to consult with Congress, that people are not going to trust the motives of how this came about. I don’t care which party you belong to, that is not good for our country.
NVDaily: With President Trump, would you support impeachment?
Warner: My focus is not on looking backward. It’s how you protect our elections in 2020. I think we need stronger election security rules. I think we need rules around social media so that Russia and others don’t manipulate us and I think that there should be an obligation that if a foreign government or a foreign power tries to interfere, that there should be an obligation to tell the FBI. I am more forward looking than backward looking on this.