JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN—Last night, Bryan Steil joined Spicer & Co. on Newsmax to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Wisconsin dairy farmers and Steil’s efforts to hold Iran accountable during the crisis. You can watch the full interview here. Below you will find transcript excerpts from the interview.
On Wisconsin dairy…
SEAN SPICER: We’ve heard from dairy producers in Wisconsin and throughout the country that some of them are having trouble getting milk to market because of [coronavirus]. They’re dumping milk. What can you tell me about what you’re seeing on the ground in Wisconsin in terms of that?
BRYAN STEIL: Our farmers were struggling before the coronavirus came and attacked this country. Now, our farmers are struggling even more. We’ve seen—and I’ve talked to farmers who have dumped milk. That is a heartbreaking experience for a dairy farmer here in the State of Wisconsin. The best thing we’ve done, and the president has led on this, is allowing the United States Department of Agriculture to purchase product and move it directly to America’s food banks. Let’s connect the farmers who have the food directly with people who are looking to receive food during these hard times. It is a terrific first step. But, our farmers are going to be struggling and we need to keep an eye on this.
SEAN SPICER: I’m glad, by the way. This is the first time that I’ve had someone really get in to [connecting farmers with communities that need products]. You’re absolutely right. We’ve got to get this milk to the people who actually need it. I am glad to see you focused on this. We keep hearing about how there is a disconnect and I understand that. Because this has hit us in such a way that it is not easy to turn something like that. So, just, I will say that it’s really reassuring to hear you actually addressing connecting these farmers with people in need, so thank you.
On efforts to hold Iran accountable during the coronavirus pandemic…
LYNDSAY KEITH: Congressman Steil, you recently wrote an op-ed, as we mentioned, in the Washington Examiner, saying “don’t take your eye off of Iran.” That’s what they hope that America does right now. That we take our eye off of the ball. They’re trying to avoid financial sanctions. Obviously, we do not agree with Iran’s leadership. But, we are in the middle of a health crisis—a global health crisis. Should we be concerned at all with the Iranian people and their well-being? Isn’t that what Europe is trying to do?
BRYAN STEIL: We definitely need to make sure that the people of Iran are receiving the medical things that they need. No problem with that. But what Iranian leadership is trying to do is to use the coronavirus as a move so that they can drive towards developing a nuclear weapon. President Trump made a spectacular move, pulled us out of the terrible Obama deal with Iran that was going to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. We’ve kept in place our sanctions, in particular our banking sanctions, to hold the regime accountable for their actions. We need to make sure we do not take our eye off the ball on these sanctions. We see [Iran] continue to move forward with harassing military moves against U.S. ships. The president is keeping an eye on this. I think it is so critical that we do not allow anyone to take an eye off the ball and in any way allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.