U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma moved flawlessly from one subject to another – from China to prescription drugs to impeachment – at Tuesday’s Mustang’s Positive Posse.
Lankford delayed his flight to Washington following Veterans Day to chat with the longstanding discussion group that meets at 8 a.m. Tuesdays at the Mustang Town Center.
The nation needs more dialogue like what occurs at Positive Posse, the senator said.
“We’re becoming very toxic and divisive,” he said.
“Nobody convinced me about anything by cussing me out online.”
While Lankford applauded President Donald Trump for his accomplishments on the economy and trade, he criticized Trump on contributing to contentiousness.
Lankford, a Republican, recalled being with the president as he prepared a tweet.
“Trump said, ‘You probably wouldn’t tweet that,’” Lankford said.
“I said, ‘I don’t think you should either.’”
Impeachment is sucking up all the oxygen in Washington, and Trump is making matters worse by “shooting himself in the foot,” Lankford said.
The discussion of impeachment has given little attention to one reality about Ukraine, said Lankford, who visited the country in May.
Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s new president, was an unknown quantity, having risen to the post from being the lead actor in a sitcom about a teacher who became president at the urging of his students, Lankford said.
Zelensky had appointed the oligarch who owns the television station to a key post and someone without military experience as defense chief, Lankford noted.
“No one knew what he was going to be like,” Lankford said. “Our state department was very nervous.
“There’s a reason defense funding was being withheld.”
Trump did a good job in renegotiating NAFTA, resulting in United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Langford said.
The president is working on a trade agreement with Japan with the goal of increasing exports of agricultural good and American-made autos, he said.
“Japan buys almost no cars from us,” he said.
The president is taking a strong position in negotiating a trade deal with China, using his leverage to seek improved protection of intellectual property and better human rights protections.
“What they do to enslave their own people is pretty atrocious,” Lankford said.
The U.S. economy has added one and a half million jobs under Trump, he said.
“It’s been really remarkable,” Lankford said.
He is working with Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire on a bill that would require Congress to stay in Washington, D.C., during a shutdown.
“We are really close on this, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is not quite onboard,” Lankford said.