MOUNT AYR, Iowa -- “I don’t think Director Clapper or Senator Grassley, not being professionals in medicine, have any right of making that decision," said Senator Chuck Grassley, giving his reaction to comments made by former director of national intelligence on CNN Tuesday night in which Clapper called into questions Donald Trump's fitness to be president. Grassley continued: “I’m going to continue to do what a senator for the people of Iowa have to do and I’ll leave a determination on psychology and psychiatry and fitness for office to other people, that would make a judgement that would be very professional."
Grassley made the remarks on Wednesday afternoon following a town meeting he held at the Ringgold County Courthouse. From Russia to race to health care and tax reform, voters of all political persuasions asked Senator Grassley about the issues they care about most.
"So many things are happening right now, I am afraid Russia`s going to get swept under the rug and going to just not become as intense an issue as it should be," said Marcia Fulton of Creston, who pressed Senator Grassley to "stay on it."
"There are all kinds of things that we need for people who are in middle class families, and if you`re lowering taxes, how are you going to pay for all of this?" That was a concern raised by Todd Huffman of Creston
"Between self employment taxes and marginal tax rates, it`s a huge tax burden for a small business owner like myself, and so I`d like to see them (Congress) reduce some of the rates, make the tax burden lower on lower middle class folks," said Doug Daggett of Creston.
Senator Grassley told the folks in the room that despite the gridlock they see in Washington, D.C., partisanship is not as big of a problem as it looks like.
"I think sometimes people get the impression that Republicans don`t talk to Democrats," said Grassley. "There`s a lot of Democrats I get along with better than some Republicans."
After answering questions from voters, Senator Grassley answered questions from reporters.
WHO-TV's Mike DaSilva asked Senator Grassley about his thoughts on President Trump's strategy on Afghanistan, and if he thinks President Trump needs to be more transparent and specific about that strategy with Congress.
"I don`t think that there`s any doubt that we`ll know the number of troops that are going to go there, because that`s part of the appropriation process," said Senator Grassley. "...He better not make the same mistake that Obama did as Commander in Chief, and he hasn`t done that and he`s made clear that he isn`t going to do it, but you shouldn`t tell your enemy any plans you have, you should leave them in the dark completely..."
DaSilva asked how President Trump is going to accomplish anything legislatively if he continues to go after Republican lawmakers like Senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Jeff Flake?
Senator Grassley answered: "I think you get more flies with sugar and syrup than you do with vinegar."
Finally, DaSilva asked what Senator Grassley thinks of President Trump constantly going after journalists.
Senator Grassley replied: "I don`t believe that there`s such a thing as fake news."
Senator Grassley will hold five more town meetings in Western Iowa in the coming days. This is his 37th year of hitting all 99 counties in Iowa.