After serving as vp of america, Mike Pence created a brand new group devoted to selling and defending the insurance policies he championed throughout his 4 years in workplace.
To steer this new group, he tapped Paul Teller, a veteran of Capitol Hill who labored for Pence and President Donald Trump within the White Home. Teller is now govt director of Advancing American Freedom.
Right now, the group helps to form the agenda for conservatives, the brand new Congress, and our subsequent president. Teller joins “The Every day Sign Podcast” to speak in regards to the Freedom Agenda and extra. Learn a evenly edited transcript or hearken to the interview.
Rob Bluey: You’ve had some great experiences engaged on Capitol Hill for the Republican Research Committee, serving as Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief of employees, after which later going into the Trump administration within the middle of the motion on the White Home. Inform us about that journey.
Paul Teller: It’s a incredible privilege. I imply, I assume you may say I’ve been a conservative motion man my entire life, began in seventh grade as type of an activist troublemaker in public faculty and all the best way up, as you mentioned, to the Trump-Pence White Home. However I feel perhaps one of the vital thrilling occasions was working for Home conservatives, as you mentioned, for the Republican Research Committee again when the RSC was significantly sturdy in its fights and as soon as the chairman was Mike Pence. So we return to that.
Bluey: And naturally, Home conservatives are within the information so much recently, having simply staged this huge struggle for the Home speaker. So what was it like, having that data and that perspective that you simply had on the RSC, to observe that play out in actual time?
Teller: It was two issues. One was deeply satisfying as a result of a few of what we noticed play out clearly had constructed on a few of the successes of earlier Home conservative pushes and stuff. But additionally deeply irritating that I wasn’t on the within with the every day machinations happening and having the ability to immediately influence. Hopefully we impacted from the skin, however I do miss being on the within at occasions.
Bluey: Let’s discuss in regards to the work that you simply’re doing at Advancing American Freedom. You’ve the Freedom Agenda. It covers a spread of public coverage points, issues that you simply want to see conservatives embrace. Inform us about the way it was created and a few of the issues that our listeners can discover in it.
Teller: To start with, thanks to Heritage and [Heritage Foundation President] Kevin Roberts for internet hosting our founder, Mike Pence, just a few months in the past to speak in regards to the Freedom Agenda proper right here at Heritage. I’m very grateful for that.
We thought if we’ve got a gaggle known as Advancing American Freedom, we higher have an agenda for a way you advance American freedom. So we mainly went to the motion. We went to the conservative motion.
At the very least 50 or extra conservative leaders immediately have been requested, “Hey, what would you set right into a freedom agenda?” And plenty of extra, we simply bought concepts from simply by not directly listening and listening to what issues have been being mentioned and promoted.
We aggregated the concepts, as we mentioned, from Reagan to Trump, what’s labored, perhaps omitted what hasn’t labored or what’s a bit passé, and simply put all of it collectively in these three buckets of American tradition, American alternative, and American management as a highway map for how one can restore freedom in America.
Bluey: Within the curiosity of full disclosure, you talked to folks at The Heritage Basis. I do know Jessica Anderson is in your advisory board. She’s the chief director of Heritage Motion for America. One of many issues that separates this from so many different agendas which may exist is the truth that you had it crowdsourced and collaborative spirit that went into it.
Teller: We’re actually happy with that as a result of I feel you’re proper, many different agendas, this isn’t to insult another agenda, however simply to level out that ours was not one thing that we sat round three, 4 of us in a closed, darkish room. We actually requested all people, genuinely bought their opinions, and genuinely included issues that they instructed, after which put their names proper within the doc.
So you may go to advancingamericanfreedom.com, discover the Freedom Agenda, and you may even see on there the names of the principle contributors to it. And so we’re simply actually proud that it was type of an aggregated product that approach.
Bluey: You launched the Freedom Agenda when Democrats managed each homes of Congress and President Biden within the White Home. We’ve since had an election the place voters put Republicans again accountable for the U.S. Home of Representatives. How do you wish to see the Freedom Agenda enacted? What are a few of the motion steps that go into ensuring that the insurance policies you define are carried out?
Teller: Nice query. I respect it. Two issues. One, we’re going to advertise the Freedom Agenda in its entirety, type of renew the promotion of it, go across the Hill, remind people that it’s there, inform the brand new members that it’s there who might not be aware of it. We met with a few of them simply yesterday, handed every one in every of them personally a Freedom Agenda, informed them about it.
And two, we began this collection we’re calling “Way forward for Freedom,” which is mainly saying, “Sure, we’ve got a freedom agenda, which, in fact, is lots of detailed coverage prescriptions, however how will we put them into motion?” And so, this future freedom collection goes to type of be spinoffs of the Freedom Agenda by subject space.
The one we did [last] week was energy, simply launched it, and mainly saying, “Listed below are the payments that both exist already or that ought to exist that will put the Freedom Agenda, ideas of freedom into motion.”
Bluey: That’s nice. And also you talked in regards to the federal effort, however I additionally know that there’s a lot exercise taking place on the state stage. How can they take a few of the ideas that you simply’ve put collectively and perhaps apply them in their very own state?
Teller: That’s an incredible level. Simply actually in the present day we have been huddling within the employees workplace to speak about how will we get it higher understood within the states, higher seen within the states. It hasn’t been as uncovered there.
I feel what we’re going to be doing is, moreover a direct marketing campaign to our allies in numerous state legislatures and conservative assume tanks round city, across the states, we simply wish to make sure that people are conscious that the Freedom Agenda is written, to start with, in plain English. So in different phrases, you don’t need to be some Washington swamp creature to know it. We prevented any of that kind of language in order that common regular People can use it.
But additionally, we wrote it in a approach the place the ideas may apply to your particular state and your particular occasion, perhaps your particular legislative course of. It’s not written for Washington the place it solely applies to the U.S. Congress, that type of factor. So we’ll be speaking extra about that. However yeah, we very a lot wish to make sure that it’s used all through the 50 states.
Bluey: Let’s discuss a few of the particular insurance policies. Out of your vantage level, what do you see as the most important alternatives, each perhaps that align with the pursuits of Americans proper now, but additionally, the place there may be some momentum within the conservative motion?
Teller: It’s fascinating as a result of I feel what’s been upsetting, if you’ll, to lots of conservatives is to see what number of of our fellow People have been prepared to surrender their freedoms throughout COVID, for instance, that freedom shouldn’t be essentially within the bloodstream of lots of our fellow residents, sadly.
So we’ve taken it upon ourselves as a company and thru this Freedom Agenda to say, “Right here’s what freedom is. Right here’s why it’s necessary.” We began with the “why.” I feel that’s one other level of distinction. The agenda that we’ve put ahead doesn’t simply say, “Go these 10 payments.” And there’s agendas which will try this, and that’s advantageous. We discuss, “What’s freedom? Why does it matter? Why does it enrich the human soul and the human situation?” After which discuss how that interprets into every day life.
So I feel a few of the points that we get into, and actually get into nearly each main subject you may consider, however a few of the issues which might be most necessary, the border, which impacts so many different points like our economic system, like training. There’s a lot that ripples from, you get the border proper, a few of these different points will probably be improved as nicely.
However actually simply every thing—the economic system to American management and the world stage. Power is, once more, one thing we’ve been huge on. And naturally, simply signature points for us, as a result of we’re led by Mike Pence, can be the pro-life subject, the spiritual liberty subject, all of these issues we’ve got particular proposals for.
Bluey: And naturally, with the March for Life developing [this Friday], a signature occasion yearly that brings pro-lifers to Washington, D.C., and Vice President Pence, when he was serving in that position, clearly performed a major effort when it comes to getting President Trump extra lively and concerned in that group. Thanks to him for every thing he’s completed for the pro-life motion.
Teller: Actually respect it. It’s a nice honor, and he takes nice satisfaction in that. However once more, he additionally was all the time giving credit score to the president the place it was due as a result of, in the end, it was the president that was main the administration. However sure, I feel the power behind most of the pro-life initiatives, the spiritual liberty initiatives, different associated such gadgets, the power got here from Mike Pence.
Bluey: One of many different issues that you simply do at Advancing American Freedom is a superb venture known as the Biden Accountability Tracker. I feel it’s so distinctive as a result of I don’t see lots of different folks doing what you’re doing right here.
Teller: I respect it. And once more, with this and so many different issues we’re speaking about in the present day, advancingamericanfreedom.com is the web site. It’s all on there.
The Biden Accountability Tracker truly began simply at the start of our time proper after the White Home, early 2021. We simply mentioned, after we have been within the White Home, “We want we had had a greater operating listing of all of the successes that we’ve got had, all of the coverage prescriptions that we’re placing out, that we have been successful, that have been conservative and issues like that.”
And so we simply type of flipped that and mentioned, “Now that it’s Biden-Harris in cost, let’s begin a operating listing in actual time of all of the issues that they’re doing which might be undoing freedom, which might be undoing the coverage successes of the Trump-Pence years, and that I simply assume are dangerous for America.”
And so we simply began it type of informally in a Microsoft Phrase doc and somebody, perhaps just a few folks, mentioned, “You bought to place this on the market. Let or not it’s one thing that People can see in use.”
So once more, it’s on our web site, advancingamericanfreedom.com. And what makes it totally different is we don’t simply observe the massive issues that perhaps you’re seeing on a Fox Information breaking information alert, however even a few of the smaller issues, an govt order that’s issued, a steering letter that’s issued to the businesses. We dig down and say, “There’s lots of horrible stuff happening, and we’re going to publicize it and observe it for you.”
Bluey: It actually began on Day One of many Biden administration. We noticed, significantly, you talked about the border earlier, undoing lots of the profitable Trump-Pence initiatives that basically put the border disaster underneath management, and now it’s exploded. … Such as you say, it’s very detailed. It gives great data,
Teller: We wish it to be interactive, which means, in case your listeners have concepts, perhaps we missed one thing, perhaps there’s one thing, we addressed a sure doc, however we missed Part Three of it, and we must always actually spotlight that, tell us. Please inform us. Or they will let you know and you may tell us as a result of we wish to make it possible for we’re actually capturing every thing in that doc that we may probably put.
Bluey: Vice President Pence is so lively, touring the nation, delivering speeches, whether or not or not it’s on a university campus or one other venue, all the time on tv. He’s lively on social media. How are you working with him to make it possible for extra People hear in regards to the Freedom Agenda and different issues which might be happening in your universe?
Teller: That’s such a blessing, to have him as our founder, due to simply what a incredible amplifier he’s. I imply, something he does or says, it simply will get great information, will get great consideration. He’s getting great crowds at occasions, all the time type of forcing us so as to add seats within the again or create an overflow room at occasions. It’s simply actually incredible.
He’s based mostly in Indiana, he and his spouse, and simply is continually flying everywhere in the nation, frankly, everywhere in the world. He’s been in a foreign country as nicely. Simply sharing the message of freedom, speaking in regards to the Freedom Agenda particularly, a few of the concepts, however once more, speaking and touting these successes of the Trump-Pence years, these incredible coverage successes, so lots of which have, sadly, both already been undone or weakened or made secondary to the Biden-Harris radical liberal agenda. So he’s on the market telling the story, constructing alliances and collaborations wherever he can.
Bluey: Let’s discuss some present occasions. Having served within the White Home, there’s lots of information about these categorized paperwork that President Biden’s attorneys have lately found. Looks as if a double customary right here, Paul.
Teller: Certain is.
Bluey: What are you able to inform us about how the media treats this story, as a result of they’re not giving it almost the eye that they gave tales about President Trump, but additionally out of your perspective, having been on the within, what do you assume we have to do as conservatives to maintain the highlight on Biden?
Teller: It’s an incredible level. I feel what we’re making an attempt to say from Advancing American Freedom is we should be a rustic of legal guidelines, the rule of regulation. And that’s all through the Freedom Agenda.
And I feel that is but one different instance in our unlucky latest historical past of some folks being handled a technique, some folks being handled different methods. Extra particularly, conservatives or Republicans are given sure therapy that liberals and Democrats usually are not given, given perhaps a lighter therapy. That’s every thing from on Large Tech, when conservatives are shadow banned, frankly, it’s even the border.
Does anybody assume that if Democrats thought that the parents illegally pouring throughout the southern border have been all turning into Republicans, that they’d be in favor of this open border? I imply, let’s be actual.
So it’s that totally different therapy that I feel we are going to proceed to focus on. We clearly don’t know all of the details of what’s happening. It’s the creating story with Biden, however we are going to hold stating that this must as soon as once more be a nation of legal guidelines and other people must be handled equally underneath the regulation.
Bluey: To not choose on our mates within the media an excessive amount of, however one of many issues that lately irritated me was the commentary that you simply heard about Home conservatives, and never solely their principled opposition to [Speaker] Kevin McCarthy over some points, but additionally simply the truth that it was making a scene of chaos on the Home ground, when in truth, they achieved some reforms that basically simply undid the ability seize of Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi. Again whenever you have been serving within the Home, a few of these issues have been pretty customary. It was Pelosi who carried out them.
So going ahead, whether or not it pertains to the Freedom Agenda or simply generally on the subject of the appropriation course of or common order within the Home, what are you most looking forward to on this specific Republican-controlled Home?
Teller: I feel what the occasions, if you’ll, of the speaker’s race actually confirmed is that conservatives can use their leverage for good, for coverage wins, and much more importantly, for course of and structural wins. As a result of that’s what I feel the 20 actually bought out of this whole course of.
Right here’s the factor, it wasn’t that simply the 20 bought it. Actually, the entire Home bought it. That means, the rank and file have been empowered by way of this course of. So I feel it does present that if conservatives imagine in one thing and stand for it and demand on it, there’s a win available. And that win received’t simply come to the folks pushing it, but it surely involves the bigger physique or hopefully, even higher, all of America.
Bluey: You assume we’ll see a constructive step within the route of extra fiscal accountability on the subject of the Home now that we’ve got a few of these reforms in place?
Teller: I feel so. Depend me as perhaps barely cynical simply due to my historical past working within the Home and Senate. However luckily, it does sound like Speaker McCarthy has made guarantees that we are going to hold spending underneath management. And one such factor is even simply bringing separate appropriations payments to the Home ground, I feel, ought to assist with that within the sense that it’ll permit for extra alternatives to take away wasteful spending, to scale back spending. There’s extra targets to shoot at. Whereas when you have got that type of singular omnibus appropriations invoice fairly often involves the Home ground with out the power to even amend it, there’s simply fewer issues to shoot at.
Bluey: That’s proper. And one of many necessary agreements that he made was a vote on the Republican Research Committee funds, which, having beforehand served for the RSC, you already know about it. So why is that important? What does the RSC contribute, out of your perspective, that perhaps others in Congress don’t essentially take into perspective once they’re placing collectively a funds?
Teller: Traditionally, and has all the time been the RSC funds, type of the conservative highway map to a balanced funds, to a restored constitutional order in America. In different phrases, it wasn’t simply, “Hey, let’s lower spending on random stuff.” It was, “How will we weed out from federal spending, from the federal funds the issues that both usually are not constitutional or constitutionally questionable, or simply inappropriate for the federal authorities to be spending on? And even whether it is applicable to be spending on, perhaps we’re spending an excessive amount of on it, that we may dial it again.”
And so nobody higher than the RSC to place ahead that highway map. So getting a vote on it’s placing people on document saying, “Can we wish to transfer in a extra constitutional route in America? Can we wish to scale back spending? Can we wish to scale back the debt or will we not? And who particularly says ‘sure’ and ‘no’ to the totally different choices?” So it’s a worthwhile vote. I hope they get it.
Bluey: Paul, I wish to shut with a brief story after which simply get your tackle what it was prefer to be a member of the Trump-Pence workforce there throughout these outstanding 4 years.
Bluey: It was August of 2020, and the White Home press corps didn’t have anyone that was capable of go on a visit with Vice President Pence. They might usually have someone who was the pool reporter who would journey alongside the vp. And when no reporter volunteered for that position, they contacted me. They usually requested if I’d come alongside because the journey. I’d be the pool reporter and mainly ship a blow by blow of every thing that will occur from the time that we boarded Air Drive Two to the time we have been on the bottom in Tampa.
You have been alongside me on that journey. And also you’ll do not forget that a reporter from The New York Instances didn’t significantly [like] the truth that The Every day Sign had been given this accountability. But it surely was only one glimpse that I had into what a outstanding expertise it will need to have been to serve in a task like yours. What was it prefer to have that have all through your time within the White Home?
Teller: To start with, thanks. And it was an incredible honor to have you ever on Air Drive Two that day. It was an incredible day. The reality is, to correctly reply that query, we would wish one other 20 minutes, which we don’t have. However yeah, the wanting it’s only a great honor.
Each single day I’d be a type of guys strolling round simply type of tilting my head left and simply saying, “I can’t imagine I get to work right here. I can’t imagine I get to simply present my badge they usually open the gate for me. I imply, that is loopy. That is me. Do they know they’re letting me within the door right here? That is insane.”
However yeah, simply great honor, together with proper as much as my final day. I bear in mind I used to be actually packing my desk and the very last thing I did was I simply walked your entire White Home campus, wherever I used to be legally allowed to go. I simply went and simply stopped and appeared and considered various things that occurred, not even simply throughout our administration, however traditionally all through the 200 years or in order that the White Home had been the house of the president, and simply actually soaked all of it in as a result of it was an amazing honor.
Bluey: Paul Teller, thanks a lot for the work you’re doing at Advancing American Freedom. Give our greatest to Vice President Pence and thank him for championing so many necessary conservative points.
Teller: Completely. He’s grateful to your alliance each institutionally and personally, Rob, and we’ll be in good contact all the time.
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