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Welcome back to Republicans defeating Trump. I'm your host, Ron Suslow. In our first episode, you heard from most of the Lincoln Project co-founders, with one notable exception. Jennifer, I'm excited that we'll get to hear from Jennifer today about her time as the chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party. We also talk about why she decided to help build the Lincoln Project about holding conservative values and deciding to vote against Donald Trump. And for Joe Biden being attacked by the president on Twitter and her personal experiences of dealing with the devastating consequences of Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Jennifer, thanks so much for taking the time today. I'm really happy to be here. Could you start by sharing with our listeners about your background and how you got into Republican politics and your long career in in this world?


You sound like you're trying to age me, Ron, such a long career. I to say some of the other founders of this project had much longer careers.


And you know what? It's interesting, because I actually did not get involved in politics until I was about 44 years old. I don't come from a political family. I didn't have any really real political background. I spent the first 12 or 15 years after I got married as a stay at home mom. I have, you know, my husband. I have five kids together. And it was, you know, after my kids kind of were all in school and all having, you know, leaving me with more and more time in my day.


I got back into writing, you know, my my college studies were in communications. And I was I had a column for the Nashua Telegraph. I had a weekly column there. Then I started into radio where I was hosting a talk, a local talk radio about, you know, politics and community and things like that.


And in 2008, I decided not exactly out of the blue, but certainly a huge like a giant leap out of my comfort zone. I decided to run for Congress, and it was because I had spent the last two years on the radio following current events, interviewing people from when the Democrats had taken over the House in 2006. And, you know, they saw this as their opportunity, which I, I have to say, I understand that world much better today than I did when I was kind of jumping into it then.


But they had this opportunity to kind of try to reshape the house. And I was in disagreement over a lot of it. But my bigger concern at the time was that we had kind of we were falling into this mentality of of, you know, politics as usual, like, oh, this is just the way it is. This is this is the Democrats are in charge. They're going to do their thing someday. The Republicans will beat them.


They're going to come back and do their thing. And and I just really had this strong sense at that moment that I wanted to make a difference that I want. And I really believe and I this is so important because the farther into politics you get, you kind of stop talking about what it is that brought you in to begin with sometimes. And I think it's important for all of us to kind of, you know, revisit that sometimes and remember what it was that I really believe that one person can make a difference.


That one voice being loud and clear and strong can not only change the trajectory of something, but also, you know, can inspire others to stand up and become involved and to add their voices to it and for them to, you know, join the join the group. And the group turns into a crowd, you know, in the crowd, turned into millions of people. And and so that was that was kind of my my goal at that time was I just wanted to add my voice to what was happening in the world.


I made a couple of promises to myself in 2008 when I made this decision. And the most important one was that whatever I did from that point forward, having anything to do with politics, I would never say or do anything that I could not come home to the dinner table and explain or defend to my children. And I don't think I ever have. I really been conscious of that, you know, in all the years since. And and so that was that's what got me involved.


Now, I became our party's nominee that year for the second congressional district in New Hampshire. Barack Obama won the White House that year.


I think you were when you're the first woman to ever receive the Republican nomination in New Hampshire, is that correct? I was I was the first Republican woman nominated to federal office and didn't really understand at the time know my focus was so much outside of anything to do with whether or not I was.


A man or a woman or anything else? Yeah, but as far as I have continued on in Republican politics, I have come to kind of understand and respect more how important that is. I do think I'm of two minds. I don't want a woman for the job any more than I want a man for the job. I want somebody who's qualified, intelligent, compassionate, understanding. You know, I can go through all the all the qualifications that I want for somebody in any given elected position.


But it is I do it is ridiculous. It's embarrassing.


I can't figure out why we have so few elected Republican women, because if you look at the House and Senate today, we have fewer today than we've had in the past. You know, it's not a it is a failure of our party that we that we lack diversity, whether it's women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, you know, kind of go through the whole long list.


And but we should be able to achieve greater diversity without going out out there and saying, OK, I want a black person, a woman and a gay person. You guys all get on line and run. Like we shouldn't have to say that we should naturally be open and embracing all of these all of all of the people that make up our community, that make up our country. It should be a natural process and it hasn't happened. And that is a failure on the part of our party.


Yeah. And one of the things that I talked with Tara Suttmeier about was the autopsy report in 2012 where exactly which you're familiar with, which which spoke to exactly what you are. Right. What you're talking about, which was the need for the party to reach out to minority groups and include them, which proactively and and maybe maybe that I'd like to pivot to why you helped create the Lincoln Project.


And I I assume that had something to do with it. Well, sure.


The you know, even before that, the the you know, the the document you're talking about, it came out of the RNC, right. The National Leadership Organization of the Republican Party came up with this evaluation of why things went so horribly wrong in 2012 when they were expecting that it to go in a different direction. That should be clear to. And so it had a lot to do with digital and, you know, messaging and all sorts of things.


But it really focused significantly on the homogenous nature of the party. And and Tara's right. You know, I'm sure in in her analysis of it. But what I found so interesting about that was that they went that that report went through and laid out very clearly step by step by step. Here's what we're doing wrong. Here's what we need to do to be successful. And this is what the American people are looking for in 2016. We did exactly the opposite on every single step.


I became chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party in 2013, and I served for four years, two terms until so it was January of 2013 through January of 2017.


So I was there through the whole Donald Trump thing and it was insane behind the scenes, the conversations that we were having at the RNC about what's happening, what are we doing, how do we get control of this? You know what? Just, you know, all these things.


And it was exactly the opposite of what we knew we needed to do or what we knew we needed to be in order to have any sort of longevity in our, you know, influence or effectiveness, because there was nobody at the RNC and some of them are still there today. I don't care what they say in front of the camera. They were you know, I was there. They said it to me. There is nobody at the RNC today who believes that Donald Trump is creating longevity of influence for the Republican Party right now in the way that he is conducting himself.


So and and is there a moment that stands out to you from that time? Can you take us behind the curtain? And is there you know what?


There are a couple. There are a couple for me. I spent that whole cycle speaking up against Donald Trump when I felt like I had to as chairman. I you know, you have an obligation to remain neutral in a primary.


But I also felt like my responsibility as chairman was to was to articulate and preserve the principles of Republicanism.


So any time and any time. And I did not take sides. I did. And I you know, I feel strongly about that. I didn't endorse anybody. I didn't say you should vote for this guy instead of this guy. But any time that I was confronted with having to choose between defending Donald Trump or. Defending the principles of my party, I chose the principles every time, which made me not a big not not one of Donald Trump's favorite people, but I would say there are two two moments that really kind of stand out for me from that.


One was when right to was RNC chair at the time Reince Priebus was in town. He and I were doing a bunch of stuff together and we were in the back seat of the car was in the fall of that of the general election. I don't remember exactly when it took place, but just talking between us about what an absolute horror this had all turned into and what the consequences would be for the party going forward and. Robin Wright did not believe that there was any chance at all that we would win the White House, and this was just a few weeks out from the election, from Election Day.


And I can remember him saying to me very, you know, very specifically his line was, you know, when this is all over, we need to bury it in the backyard and just walk away from it and never think of it and never think of it again. And I can remember at the time thinking, yeah, it'd be good if if we could.


But I don't think you get to do that, you know. And I just thought but but that's kind of to me like that just really speaks to that's how everyone at the RNC felt. No one believed it was going to happen in nobody. None of them really wanted it to happen. Like no one ever said. I want him to lose straight out. But nobody really wanted to have to take on the responsibility of Donald Trump winning as a Republican nominee.


And then the other and Priebus, just for so everyone remembers for the record, went on to become I think it was Donald Trump's first choice for chief of staff.


He went on to become his first chief of staff. And when that happened, I was actually encouraged because I knew rights to be a really good person.


I still know Reince to be a very good person, a sincere, compassionate man who wants good in the world. You know, no, I don't ascribe to this idea that everybody who went into the White House to try to help Donald Trump is automatically evil. I think you you know, I think rights and some of the people he brought with him what went in there and wanted to try to get things under control. They wanted to be part of, you know, making this as successful for our country as possible.


But the other moment that stands out that was even more impactful for me was I believe it was after the Billy Bush tape came out and there were some folks on Trump's New Hampshire team that I had been friends with and had worked with on many political effort over the past over the previous ten years. People that I respected, that I liked. And one of them was, you know, one of the top dogs on his team. And he called me.


I was in the car driving with my husband to some political something. I don't know if it was, you know, a rally or a phone bank or whatever it was. And he called he said, look, you know, I heard from your guys, you know, that you're going to say something. And I said, yeah, I'm going to say something of, you know, of course this I have to say something. And he's like, you don't have to say anything.


He said, like, our our teams are finally working well together because you can imagine there was some tension between the guys that worked for me and the guys that worked for Trump. And he said our teams are working really good together. We're almost done with this. You know, we're always going to be able to put it behind us and say, OK, just don't say anything.


And I said, I can't just not say anything. Like, think about that. Think about what that tape said and what that, you know, what was you know, how horrible that was. I said, I can't just not say anything. And I said to him, I promised myself a long time ago that I would never say or do anything I could not defend to my children. I have to say something. And his answer from this guy that I had liked and respected all these years and had worked with who had helped me get elected chairman in just the most derisive tone, saying, oh, come on, you're going to give me that line like it's about your kids.


And and for me, like for me, that was like, all right, done check.


Now I know, right? You know, that's that's all I need to know. So and that and so that has really, you know, that shaped that that promise to myself, shaped everything I ever said or did in politics.


It continues to today. And I have learned now that it also gave me a good filter to understand other people in politics for good or for bad.


Yeah. So let's talk about the Lincoln Project now, because. Sure, all all eight of us have our own stories, our own backgrounds, and we're all on different journeys. But those journeys have intersected this project and they may depart once this is over. We have a singular mission to defeat Donald Trump and Trump ism in November. So I wonder if you can talk about what brought you to the Lincoln project, what your reasons are for helping create it, given everything that you've been through in Republican politics.


Sure. The you know, it is interesting because when other people have asked me about this, I've given very similar answers to what you just laid out. We were all on these parallel paths. You know, we all we were all equally committed to making sure that Donald Trump does not get elected to president. Again, taking our own approach or, you know, it may be involved in different groups. Different efforts are up edge, all that sort of thing.


And the Lincoln Project is where we all came together. And, you know, we all kind of merged into one lane.


And and and all I can say is I look at what we've been able to accomplish in the last since since December, and it's astounding, you know, none of us are so egotistical that we look at to say, oh, yeah, we knew we were going to know.


We knew this was going to happen. I mean, surprised everyone, right.


But including ourselves, we have exceeded our own expectations. And so, you know, it was, you know, the first time, I guess for me, you know, why now? You know, how did we end up end up here? And what brought me here the first time that I ever publicly spoke against Donald Trump as a leader or an elected member of our party was actually in April of 2011, Donald Trump came to New Hampshire to test the waters for the 2012 cycle.


He came to New Hampshire for one event, one small, very controlled event. I think it was I don't know if he ever left the airport. It might have been over there.


And and I wrote an op ed to be that was published in the Union Leader the day that he was in town. And and I laid out the case for why not Donald Trump then?


That was before I was chairman, before anybody.


I mean, I had already run for Congress and been the nominee. And I was involved in other types of of activist activities. And I can remember one line in that very clearly saying if the Republicans Republican Party takes him seriously, they deserve what they get. And I go back and reread that now. And there is not a single every single line of that op ed has come to fruition has turned out to be true. I made no predictions there that were overblown or outrageous.


They've all happened. And and so that's how far back it goes for me specifically about Donald Trump. And I think for all of us, probably all eight of us, we've we've been part of and been watching for three and a half years, you know, every day asking ourselves what's going to take him down. Like what? What else could he possibly say or do that would be incompetent or horrible. And still, nobody seems to care his numbers or, you know, right where they you know, right where you wanted to be for re-election.


He you know, his his supporters are never going to leave him like, oh, my God, are we going to be, you know, stuck with this guy forever? And and so I think, you know, and I don't know if you realize this or not.


Briefly, last year, from about February until June in different capacities, I was also involved in Bill Weld's efforts.


Yes, I remember we tried to. Yeah, that's right. That's right. That's right. And and so so that's part of of you know, when when the guys from, you know, who were putting the Lincoln when John and Reid reached out to me, I had already been through that and left that. And so for me, I was it was, you know, sort of an understanding that nobody else is going to do it. Like, I keep waiting for somebody to do something.


Nobody else is going to do it. Nobody else is doing anything effective. Nobody else is going to you know, nobody else has figured this out. So, yeah, if you guys are doing something and you want me to be part of it, I'm in. Yeah.


What do you think is so significant about this moment that we're in in twenty. Twenty. That, that why, why do you think the Lincoln Project is so important now versus the you know the because you've been at this for quite a while. Right. And Well we've already established that right.


I'm very, very old. I know. Around forever. I mean, I mean this in terms of criticizing Donald Trump all the way back to 2011. Right. And so what is so significant about right now? Why the Lincoln project right now? Right.


Well, it's really interesting to me. You know, we launched in December of last year and at that time period, the whole you know, the whole impeachment thing was coming to a head.


And a lot of folks asked us at that time. So you guys want to get him impeached. Is this an effort to make sure he gets impeached? And our answer was always no. Do we think he should be impeached?


Yeah, but we're here to defeat him at the ballot box because, I mean, who knew who who really believed that the Republicans were going to defeat Donald Trump?


So we always said our mission is to defeat Donald Trump and Trump ism at the ballot box. And what has unfolded since that time, first with the pandemic and then with the racial unrest across the country?


I mean, who would ever have guessed in December of last year that anything could happen that would be that would show Donald Trump to be more incompetent or weak, more egotistical, more narcissistic, more dangerous, more ignorant, you know, and so I look at it in this moment right now and I and I and what I what I understand and what I hope desperately that. People across the country understand is that this election is going to shape the world that our grandchildren raise their families in.


It is that it is going to be that influential and for generations beyond that, that it is so critical that the American people send a loud, clear message that is just undeniable, irrefutable, that it is such an overwhelming defeat of Donald Trump that the world and more importantly, that history know that we came together and rejected the very idea of an American president building a re-election campaign on record on racism excuse me, that that they know that the American people came together and rejected the idea of an American president facing a re-election campaign on racism.


It has to happen now and people, you know, ask about it. They talk about it all the time. Do you really think it will happen? Do you think we can defeat him?


Had out of the top honors? Oh, yeah. Of course we can defeat him. Of course we can. But, Ron, only if everybody.


Yeah, yeah.


Puts aside their partisan differences, their social and community disagreements. You, you, you. This is just for this one moment. We all have to stand together. We have to understand that my voice makes a difference. Your voice makes a difference. CJ's voice makes a difference. Every voice has to be heard. And this is the moment when that has to happen for the preservation of the republic and to preserve the kind of world that you want future generations of your family to grow up in.


So, Jennifer, on May 5th of this year, which was shortly after the Lincoln Project released our Morning in America ad, which went viral and struck a nerve with a lot of Americans because it was true. There's one American whose nerves it struck who lives in the White House. And shortly after that and after he watched it, he lashed out at the Lincoln Project and several of our founders, including you. And and I wonder if you could talk about what it what it's like to be attacked, to be name checked by the president of the United States on Twitter.


Yeah, that was bizarre at best. You know, normally I was I'm in bed and asleep at that time. It was just completely coincidental that I was up and writing, you know, I was working on my computer. So when it happened, somebody I can't remember who somebody reached me right away to say, hey, do you see what the president just just said? So I kind of, you know, saw it in real time.


And it is at best bizarre. A lot of folks say, hey, it's a badge of honor.


You should print that tweet out and frame it on your wall and things like that. I really don't want I don't embrace it that way because I think when the president attacks, whether he's attacking me or you or anyone, he personally attacks somebody on Twitter other than maybe Vladimir Putin. We don't know what it's like for the president to attack Vladimir Putin. He doesn't do it right now on his list.


But when he's out there attacking average Americans by name on Twitter, that's incredibly bad for America.


That is so bad for our country. It is destructive. It's divisive. It eats away at the at the at the foundation of what the presidency is and what the president is the presidency is supposed to be. So while we all kind of joked about it amongst ourselves, I don't I really don't think it's funny and I don't think it's funny when he attacks women for their appearance. I don't think it's funny when he attacks Gold Star Families. I don't think it's funny when he attacks military heroes, especially after they have passed away.


You know, I can go through my whole list. It's not funny. And it's something that the American people should be really offended by and really worried about.


And it really is when the president, the president of the United States, I mean, just picture it, is he sitting up in bed with his covers up to his waist, watching Fox News or something with his his phone in his hand and his to, you know, pudgy little thumbs going to, you know, tapping away. And I'm just picturing what what does it mean that the president is tweeting at me at one o'clock in the morning saying, I mean, the thing that at that moment.


But, yeah, it's just so revealing of his mental instability is not a stable guy.


But but the thing that is keeping him awake at night is not the pandemic that is ravaging the country, but actually the fact that he saw an ad that was unflattering, that he that that resonated with a whole with millions of Americans as true. And his reflex was to lash out and attack the Lincoln Project, people who are standing up to.


Yeah, right. So that's why he was here.


He was in bed reading a brief on the best response to the global pandemic. He was not, you know, meeting with some of his folks about the the threat that Vladimir Putin and Russia pose to free and fair elections in America. He wasn't worried about the trade war with China that he is losing. You know, that we can go through the list. He wasn't sitting there going, OK, let's see. South Korea figured out how to how to how to get, you know, how to beat this virus.


What did they do that we can do? He went we can go through the list of the hundreds of ways that the president of the United States could have been using his time at one o'clock in the morning if he wasn't asleep and it was none of them.


It was a petty, adolescent, weak minded personal grievance that he was concerned about.


I want to talk a little bit about people with conservative values like yourself and how you might.


Advise American voters who are like you and and don't want to let go of those conservative values and are struggling to reconcile that with with voting for Donald Trump or not voting for Donald Trump this year, you said previously, I think, to the New Hampshire Journal, I haven't moved from my conservative principles. I'm still pro-life, pro Second Amendment, pro small government. And Trump isn't really any of those things. There are people listening right now who are genuinely on the fence.


Right. And and I asked Steve Schmidt this question. He said, I'm probably not the right guy.


Maybe you're the right person to ask to speak to that.


But Steve Schmidt, Steve Schmidt is a really smart guy.


And I, as you know, after being at the Cooper Union, eventually can project nobody wants to go on after me through there in hat is not cool.


Yeah, but they're just listening or genuinely wondering what to do. And they've never had to face this kind of choice before.


And so I have several thoughts about that. The first is I totally get that you're on the fence. I totally get that.


I spent 10 years building the Republican Party and getting Republicans elected and raising money for to four Republicans and, you know, running a a field operation and building a party around, getting Republicans elected. And never in my life have I ever voted for a Democrat as of this moment in my life. Obviously on in November of twenty twenty, I'll be voting for a Democrat. So the fact that you're on the fence in your. And you're hesitant. You're confused.


Of course you are. I totally understand that if your hesitance is based in the idea that you are a conservative and you how can I possibly vote for Joe Biden if I'm a conservative? I would I would think a little bit about what conservatism really is. Conservatism is not racist. It is not judgmental of people based on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their gender, their financial circumstances, the level of their education, whether or not they have served in the military, whether or not they like you, you know, think think about you.


When you compare Donald Trump as a human being to conservatism, as a philosophy, there is no overlap.


There's no overlap.


So, you know, let's take life as as an issue, as an as an example. But I'm pro-life. How can I vote for Joe Biden and I'm pro-life. Well, what is pro-life mean to you? Pro-life is not just about being opposed to women having an abortion, pro-life. It means that you believe that life is inherently value valuable.


So that must also mean that you believe that elderly people who are living in assisted living facilities should not be dying of a pandemic that only exists in our country in the in the destructive nature that it does. Because Donald Trump does not care about elderly people living in an assisted living facility. He only cares about what will make him look more electable. If you are pro-life, then you cannot possibly believe that putting children who were brought to America by their parents completely out of their own control into cages and take them away from their parents.


And to this day, many of them not be reunited with their parents. If you are pro-life, you cannot possibly believe that under any circumstance, children belong in cages.


And it doesn't matter if somebody else did it before or if somebody else did it, but not as much or worse than it does. That is not pro-life. So I think that when people who are looking at this election, thank God, but I'm a conservative. I've never voted for a Democrat before.


You need to think about each of those issues one at a time and which anybody I defy you to give me an example of where Donald Trump has ever expressed or acted in a manner that shows show value for life, that shows that he finds your life in some way sacred.


He doesn't. So he and the same would be true if you looked, you know, he's going to drain the swamp. Donald Trump is the biggest swamp monster in the history of our country. He was, you know, limited government. No, he has. Grown government and wants to get more into your into your personal life than ever before. Equal rights. Donald Trump's administration went to the Supreme Court to fight against equal rights for all Americans. What about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?


Donald Trump has fought against your right, not the press, not the big mean media that he's you know, that that he has convinced you is your enemy. He has fought against you, your right to free speech every day that he attacks on social media or the press or anything else. He's trying to silence individual Americans. So you're a conservative. So my I get it. Donald Trump is not a conservative and nothing that he's doing is going to make it easier for anybody in the future to make the argument for conservatism.


It is exactly the opposite. You mentioned the pandemic and. Elderly people who have been struggling not just to. Tease apart misinformation from truth throughout this catastrophe, but also access to testing, access to medical care, and you have your own story dealing with this, caring for elderly parents. And would you be willing to share a little bit about that?


Yes. And know there are two things in particular that happened that really that that I feel like really kind of highlight what so many you know, it's my story, but it's it's millions of American story.


And it's only one piece of how this pandemic has really hurt individual human beings. You know, my parents were both elderly and they spend a couple of months every winter in Florida. And for the past several years, my husband and I go with them. We both work from home and my parents need family. You know, we're in a condition. They need family near them. And so this year when we were down there, we happened to be in Florida when this whole thing hit and the lockdown started.


So we were locked down with my eighty three and eighty five year old mom and dad.


And very a lot of that was a joyful experience for us. You know, we we choose to be in Florida with them in the wintertime to to help them and to take care of them. But my mom was very, very frail and has been for a couple of years now and early on in all of this, developed some sort of a respiratory infection. And naturally, since, you know, a week before the shutdown, mom and I had been in Disney World together, you know, pushing her through the crowds in her wheelchair.


And so a week or two into it, she developed a respiratory disease of some sort. And I just wanted to take her to her regular PCP in Florida to find out, you know, what's wrong. My mom's having progressive, you know, progressively getting harder for her to breathe. She's got, you know, all these symptoms. And and over the course of three days, I spoke to her doctor's office repeatedly and I could not bring my sick mother to the doctor because they were worried she might be sick.


You know, think about that.


They said it sounds her symptoms sound too much like covid, so we can't have her in the office in order. And so they said, but so the best thing is if she gets really sick, if she gets to where she can't breathe, then bring her to the emergency room. But be careful about bringing her to the emergency room because she could catch covid there if she doesn't already have it. It was insane.


And I finally asked my mom over the course of a few days, got sicker and sicker. I finally realized the only way I'm going to get her treatment is if I can prove that she doesn't have the coronavirus. So I got online for the first drivethrough test that they had near where my parents live, got up to our turn, lied to them and said, yes, the doctor told us to come and get tested.


And so they tested my mom by the time it took, I believe, 15 or 17 days to get the results. So by the time we got the results and knew she didn't have the coronavirus, we were already past the critical part. But the next day we're at home testing her oxygen level because she's over in a chair. She's barely conscious. And it shows us something in the low 80s, which it's anything under 90 is critical, supposedly. So I've got the ambulance on the way.


The EMT is in the living room loading my poor mom who doesn't know what's going on onto this stretcher. We follow them to the emergency room. They won't let any of us go in near my mom. I had to find out. And the whole time I've seen they're saying she has dementia. She doesn't know where she is. She cannot speak for herself. I mean, it was just I had to fight to get back there with her. And the first thing the doctor, with all due respect, the idiot doctor said to me is, well, we you know, she's been back here for forty five minutes, you know, looking for you.


Where have you been? We can't you know, we don't even know why she's here. Like, I've been outside in your lobby trying to fight to get in here. It was insane. It was completely insane. My mom turned out my mom had acute bronchitis and recovered. Thank God.


All the while, Donald Trump was telling Americans, if anybody who wants a test can get a test, no problem. Fast forward to where we are today. And I is in the process of shutting down testing for all tests all around the country effective June 30th.


Exactly. If you want to test, you can get a test tester everywhere. No problem with test. And now he wants to define test, which, by the way and that's the thing for people to understand. I to you know, back to what I said earlier, you got to look at this and just be be clear with yourself. The purpose for shutting down tests is so that. Voters who are thinking about whether or not they want to vote for Donald Trump won't keep hearing how many people in America have actually caught the coronavirus.


That's the purpose still about the numbers for the.


We get to a point where it's clear the lockdown is going to continue much longer than anybody anticipated. Flights are getting canceled. Nobody can travel. My parents live in upstate New York.


Just being in lockdown made my mother worse. She was disconnected from the outside world. Her dementia was getting worse. She clearly was not feeling well. And we reached a point as a family where we decided we need to get them home. We booked flights. They got canceled. We booked another flight, cancelled. My husband and I ended up renting an RV, scrubbing it down, putting my parents in it and driving twelve hundred miles through the night to get them home.


And I am so grateful now in retrospect that I did that because about a month after we got home, my mom passed away. And had that happened while we were in Florida, away away from family and away from the familiar places and home and friends and everything, I don't know how how my dad would have survived it.


But the experience of going through a death and a funeral and the mourning while under the coronavirus was awful. You could not have a public funeral mass. My mother and father are lifelong Catholics, their faith is the fuel for their, you know, their lives. And the idea that we couldn't have their friends gather in a church was really awful for my dad.


He didn't understand. He just did not understand the degree to which all of this was impacting everything. You could not have a you could not have a wake. You can in where we were. You know, at that point, you can only have 20 people in the building at a time and a funeral home. And and as a family, we overcame it. You know, we all got to get our family. Our immediate family is nine children, seven, eight spouses and thirty seven grandchildren.


So we're a little bit of a crowd. We got together in Dad's backyard and we had a mass for my mom. And we all went to the funeral home and went in in small groups, you know, little by little, we kind of tailgated in the parking lot together in between as we were as we were waiting our turn to go inside. We made it work, you know, because we're a family. We came together and we took care of each other.


But the more I think back on that experience, the more I think about this is this is just a little thing in the big picture of how coronavirus has caused loss and heartache and burden for millions of Americans people. In the end of my mom's life, she was in the hospital for a week. We had to fight to get permission for one of us to be in the hospital, whether that whole time, because she cannot speak for herself. And the longer she is alone in away from her family, the worse the her condition got and the more frightened in and out of control she would become.


Like we had to fight to be able to be there next to her. So I think about all the family, all the people in our country whose loved ones died alone in a hospital, whose loved ones right now cannot get the cancer care treatment they need or the get into, you know, trials, experimental trials, because the coronavirus has limited access to that. You can go through the list. You you think like you think about one hundred and twenty thousand American lives lost to this disease in just a few months.


And your heart just aches. And then you go beyond that and realize the degree to which it is really hurting people, even beyond that, every day, minute by minute. It is not being it is not politicizing a tragedy to say Donald Trump is responsible for the heartache and the burden and the loss that the American people are feeling right now. It was his weakness, his incompetence and his narcissism that led him to make the decisions that has turned this into something that is much bigger and much heavier than it ever had to be for our country.


Donald Trump is responsible for that. That's not being political, that's being honest. If you had five minutes alone in a room with Donald Trump. What would you say to him? I have thought about that you asked me that a couple of days ago and I thought about that. And I think that the honest answer at this point in my life is that I would decline the opportunity. I've had the chance to talk to Donald Trump a few times during the election when I was chairman and the one time when it was just the two of us, one on one by phone.


The conversation went for two minutes and seven seconds, and he never stopped speaking. He called because I had been speaking out against him. One of his people said, you need to call in and make nice with this chairman. So she stopped criticizing you. And, you know, we connected on the phone. And at that time, I just wanted to talk to him about how the way he was campaigning was making it harder for Senator Kelly Ayotte to win re-election to the Senate, and that I thought there was a better path for both of them.


And I spent and my husband can attest to this. He was sitting right next to me. I spent the entire two minutes and seven seconds saying, but Kelly, a senator up.


But he I'm not kidding. He did not stop speaking. He didn't know. I'm sure that he didn't even bother registering in his head who he was talking to. He spent two minutes and seven seconds talking about the polls, how great he was doing in the polls. Look at me in the polls. I'm great. We're going to win Ronon poll all about the polls.


And when he finally got to the end and I and I thought, OK, this is my chance. And I started to jump in, he said, So you call me anytime you need something, you call me, you have my number and like essentially hung up.


So there is Donald Trump does not Donald Trump is not capable of hearing anything.


I have to say to him what I like to tell him the story about my mom. Absolutely. If I thought it would impact the way that he was thinking or acting or, you know, leading, you know what I like to share with him, you know, ideas that I have or thought that I have about a better way to to preserve America, my feelings about, you know, how great our country is and equality and opportunity and service.


Sure. But why why at this point would I waste five minutes of my time sitting in front of the weakest, most dangerous, most divisive person we've ever had in the White House?


He does not care. He doesn't want to hear from me. He would not listen to me if I was there. And that I don't mean that as me. Like, oh, Jennifer Horn, you should listen to me. That's me. As in every single American citizen, he does not care if you're not there telling him one that he's great or two, this is how you win. He does not care. I think that's the answer to to what would I say to Donald Trump?


Thanks to Jennifer for taking the time and sharing your story today. And thanks to all of you for listening. If you haven't yet, make sure you subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts and rate and reviews. This week, I'd like to challenge everyone listening to share this conversation or another one of our episodes with someone you know who needs to hear it. You can find more information about the Lincoln Project at Lincoln Project U.S.. I'm Ron Suslow.


I'll see you in the next episode.