Dan Crenshaw: Some just want to be in Congress to be social media influencers

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, discussed the pitfalls of the modern political arena, why he chose to serve in politics, and more on “The Trey Gowdy Podcast” on Fox News Audio.

REP. DAN CRENSHAW, R-TEXAS: Why should anybody go into politics and not the policy route, right?  Working behind the scenes, working on a particular subject, maybe for a think tank, maybe for a member, whatever it might be. And the reason is you get into politics to make an impact on a wide variety of issues. And maybe you disagree with this – and [I’m] curious what your answer would be. But I think it’s because you can tackle a wide variety of issues and push for a governing philosophy that I think is the right one, in this case being conservatism – because there’s no other benefits to being a politician.

GOP REPS. CRENSHAW, GREENE QUESTION EACH OTHER’S POLITICAL ALLEGIANCE DURING SOCIAL MEDIA TIRADE

You know, I think some people like the glitz and the glamour, and like, sort of people calling them “congressmen.” I personally don’t find that very appealing. I think there’s a lot more downsides to it. People are jerks; smeared and lied about every single day. America is in a very angry state right now. People who watch politics a lot – you know, are activists – or people are pissed off and are looking for fights, and it’s unhealthy. And I’m not sure I see the benefits in that. The only benefit I see is that I can impact things that are important to the country. And I just have to remind myself that there’s a lot of people who aren’t that angry, that are just trying to live their lives, and that’s who are serving.

TREY GOWDY: Yeah, boy, you raised a lot there. You typically do not hear from the people that are not angry. I guess that’s just human nature, the ones that are the angriest. And I used to never hear the word “fight.” I never heard it in the courtroom, no matter whether we were doing a death penalty case or a child sex assault. The word “fight” is used more in the political context than almost any other context. And I don’t know what they mean by that. I mean, fight with whom and about what? Because I wrote a book on persuasion. I mean, if you want to carry the day, persuade people. I mean, fighting just probably leaves both of you injured.

But I want to ask you this because I heard about you during [congressional] orientation. I heard about you from some of your fellow freshmen, and then I heard about you from Kevin McCarthy. I think everybody knows he’s the minority leader, and we were friends in the House. But fame was thrust upon you because a so-called comedian – and I use that term as loosely as it can be used –  thought it would be a good idea to make fun of a soldier injured while fighting for this country on “Saturday Night Live.”

So is it fair that fame has become the ultimate political virtue? And is it fair that, for some, it is thrust upon them, and others spend every minute of the day seeking it?

CRENSHAW: I don’t know. I don’t know whether it’s fair, but it’s certainly true that that does seem to be the ultimate political virtue, just get famous. And I guess, in a sense, I was lucky to do it without having to sell my soul. 

 Pete Davidson 

 Pete Davidson 
(Getty)

You know, I do feel fortunate that Pete Davidson made fun of me in some ways. I wish he was funnier. You know, I wish he was friendlier. And, you know, I thought we had a good moment. But then a year later, he did his Netflix special and he bashed me the whole time. So, you know, it’s just –  it’s people are who they are, [you] can’t change them. 

But it’s true, and it’s worrisome, and it’s gotten way worse since you left Congress, right? Like, there seems to me that there’s some candidates out there running right now – it’s really just they want social media presence. They want to be influencers. And they think [being] a congressman is the stepping-stone to be an influencer. Maybe they’re already kind of an influencer. “I want to be a bigger one.” You know, and it’s – we can’t reward performative behavior.

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You know, I got in a lot of trouble recently because people thought I was calling the Freedom Caucus performance artists. I actually was not. There’s some people in Congress, I think, are that. And they’re like, well, what about you, Dan? You do jumping out of airplanes in ads. What’s the difference between political theater and really fun campaign ads that are just fun? … The purpose of the fun campaign ad is to show people that we’re human beings, that it’s not all about this sort of fake fighting that you refer to. What does that mean?

And it’s fine to use the word, but at least we should define it and hope that the outcome of fighting is winning, and winning means persuading. There is no question about that, but some people on our side think that fighting and winning just means yelling and screaming a lot. 

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Trey Gowdy currently hosts FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy (Sundays, 7PM/ET) and The Trey Gowdy Podcast on FOX News Audio. Mr. Gowdy joined the network as a contributor in January 2019.

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