Lincoln Day Dinner

Keynote speaker Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, talks to audience members during a past Region 7 Lincoln Day Dinner.

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NAMPA — If Democrats win the Senate and the presidency, they could make the current Republican Senate the last by making Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., states, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch warned Friday.

Risch spoke to the Idaho Republican Convention Friday afternoon, going over the Senate map for Republicans and noting several Republican incumbents who are facing tough re-election fights. Risch said he expects the Democrats to keep the U.S. House after the November elections, and while he thinks the GOP, which currently has a 53-47 majority, will keep the Senate, he said there is a possibility Democrats will gain control of the upper chamber. If that happens, he said he expects them to make Puerto Rico and D.C. states, which he said would be “really, really bad.”

“I will be the last Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee forever, because they will pick up four Democratic seats that will never flip over. … Republicans will never be in the majority in the United States Senate,” Risch told Republican crowd at the Ford Idaho Center.

Risch praised the filibuster, a Senate rule that requires 60 votes to move most legislation, noting that it blocked “card check,” which would have allowed unions to be certified by a majority of employees signing up without an additional secret ballot, in 2009. He pointed to the Democratic presidential candidates who discussed getting rid of the filibuster during the primaries, and said this should worry people.

“This is the firewall to keeping America America,” he said.

Risch sounded optimistic about President Donald Trump's re-election chances, and said he isn't worried if Trump might be going though a rough patch right now.

"The same people that are telling us right now that he is deeply in the hole in the polls and can't get re-elected are the exact same people who told us Hillary Clinton was going to be president of the United States," Risch said.

Risch praised Trump’s leadership and defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And he defended police, whose conduct nationwide has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the deaths of George Flloyd and others at the hands of police.

“There isn’t a person in this room, I don’t think, that doesn’t think what happened to George Floyd wasn’t a horrible, horrible, criminal act, unfortunately by a police officer,” Risch said. “But there are 800,000 police officers in America. … These are good people.”

Derek Chauvin, the officer who is accused of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, will go to prison, likely for life, Risch said. He condemned those who have rioted in response and accused the Democrats of wanting a nationalized police force, an idea the attendees booed.

“We are the party of law and order,” he said. “We have always been the party of law and order.”

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