As alluded to in our previous post regarding the potential positive impact Final Five could have on Republican races, TBOR Action President John Pudner recently returned to the midwest from a tour of state capitols across the South to begin a new series of radio interviews on Fox News stations across our Republic dissecting the largest political news story of the year thus far - the indictment of former President Trump.
While these interviews did take place shortly after the indictments from a New York court were handed down, and so rapid preparation for these interviews took on a whole new meaning, what actually became the toughest part was alluded to at the outset of one such interview in Birmingham, Alabama...
"John, welcome back, and thanks for being here."
"Thank you, was just an Alabama for a week, so glad to be on."
"Well, I hope you grabbed some of that pollen on the way out of the state, because it's killing me this morning, just killing me."
"My voice has been terrible, I'm drinking tea to do this interview, so I definitely got it."
"You and me both, John..."
Despite this, however, I pressed on with my interview series, which started in WFRK in Florence, South Carolina, the home state of U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Tim Scott. After finishing another segment talking about former President Trump’s Ambassador to Germany and acting Director of National Intelligence, Ric Grenell. After host Ken Ard, former Lt. Governor of South Carolina, noted that Pudner was the only person in the history of America to defeat a Majority Leader in a Primary, Pudner added that the topic of his previous segment, Grenell, was also the first Communications Director of Take Back Our Republic before being appointed by Trump, highlighting how, even in politics, it's still a small, tight-knit world.
To learn more about TBOR Action's efforts on topics including election integrity, please click here.
The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Trump, Independents, jury pool, political rally, Joe Biden, Republican, indict, moral outrage
TBORA President John Pudner and Ken Ard.
Ken Ard 00:00
We have with us a special guest; John Pudner. John is the President of Take Back Our Republic Action, Bush 2000 aide, and the only person in US history to run a campaign defeating a majority leader in a primary. John, good morning. How are you?
John Pudner 00:16
Good morning! And I've got to add - you mentioned Ric Grenell, he was our first Communications Director, so he's gone way beyond me now, but Grinnell got us going at Take Back Our Republic Action.
Ken Ard 00:25
John, what do you make of yesterday?
John Pudner 00:29
Well, I think the key is that I'm always looking for what Americans think of something, and what I'd say is there's a small majority that thinks Trump actually did something wrong, and probably a broad majority thinks most business people do something wrong once, but 60% think these charges are based on politics, not a legal basis. That's what I think Trump really has going for him on this, and so from there, you'd expect what you saw last night; a political rally. You've got to convey moral outrage, obviously, that this is done, and the Democrats clearly have the calculus that this helps him become a nominee, so in that case, we're picking our opponent, but I think this hurts them in this general, I think everyone agrees on the first part, we just got to see if the second part plays out, or if this just doesn't actually help him win a general election.
Ken Ard 01:14
John, when does it stop becoming political and become something that fundamentally changes the framework of our nation?
John Pudner 01:21
Yeah, I certainly think we're already there, my gosh, and the average American is not going to think that there's going to be a fair jury pool, or anything else, coming out of New York regarding Trump. That's the problem - you're supposed to be judged by your peers and find the ones that are open-minded in the jury pool. I just don't see how you do that, so to go to this venue, I think we're past that point and the precedent has been set. I mean, the idea that there's no jury, no county out there that would like to indict Joe Biden when he's done...now, legally, depends on where things happen, but at the same time, I think we're way past the line right now.
Ken Ard 02:01
We've had a debate on this show, for a week or so knowing this was going to happen inevitably, that it's time to fight fire with fire, that Republicans have historically not played as dirty as Democrats in weaponizing government and going after certain individuals. Is it time to do that?
John Pudner 02:18
Well, I will be the one to say that, but I just can't believe the Democrats are thinking that through. If you're an elected official right now, and you see these kinds of hits happening at the state level all over the place, don't you, at some point, may say, "Gosh, if I'm gonna condone this, does that justify then someone coming after me if there's nothing I've done in my past that a Republican prosecutor might want to take a shot at?" Seems like a dangerous game, the threat it would seem, is implicit to me.
Ken Ard 02:45
I know we've got DeSantis out... my last question, if you would be....I mean, I've been very reluctant. I was on the 2020 Trump Steering Committee in South Carolina. I passed when I asked to sign-up again because I wanted to wait, and let some things play themselves out, but I am as closest I've been to signing back up to be a part of this. I mean, how do you think the general public treats Trump after the events of yesterday?
John Pudner 03:13
Coming back to the earlier figure you mentioned, that 60% think this is politically motivated, that obviously entails almost every Republican in the world, and I think, prior to this, Trump was probably dead politically. I just think he had a ceiling. Why throw a wildcard in? if I'm a Democrat strategist, why do something like this where you don't know what direction it will go? And even if you're just not sure, do you revive him when I thought he was gonna probably be a few points short of winning a general in the future? And now, who knows? You've created sympathy.
Ken Ard 03:49
Let me ask you this if you're down to game. What advice would you give to President Trump in seeking the support of Independents? He did seem to be...my daughter said he seemed to be more focused last night than normal. Is that the modus operandi moving forward to get independence back in his camp?
John Pudner 04:09
Yes. He's still got Independents who do not like to 'Stop the Steal' talk and they don't like January 6th, so those are two things, but the more he looks like the victim now, and a legitimate victim at that, the better, and the more he talks about this being the end of American justice, the better. Those are compelling things that can flip them back the other way. So, I think it's the first time he's had an issue that could overcome the two previous things, which is where he's not popular with Independents right now.
Ken Ard 04:39
Very well explained. John, thank you for your time. Appreciate you joining us, sir.