Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

Undercover BO$$ (with Rep. Abigail Spanberger)

April 30, 2023
Notes
Transcript

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a favorite of Never Trumpers everywhere, joins Tim this week to talk appealing to the middle, the battle of the debt ceiling, her career in the CIA (as much as she’s allowed to say), what it’s like being a mom while in Congress and much more!

Note: This episode was recorded on April 24, 2023.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:09

    Hello and welcome to the next level Sunday show. I am Tim, and I’m gonna be here solo today with Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic congresswoman that is always on the tip of the tongue of Never Trumpers when asked to name a Democrat that they like. She represents the Richmond suburbs. It is a great talk about her career as a CIA operative. Do you know she had to be like undercover and have a cover story?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:33

    And Why do people Anyway, you’ll hear the details. Being a mom while being in Congress. We also get into a little more politics than usual for the Sunday show, but a decent amount of politics One thing was we taped this before the House Republicans voted on their debt ceiling package, whatever you wanna call it, to prove that they could unite to pass a bill that would increase the debt ceiling if they also repealed all the good things that Joe Biden did over the past two years. It’s dead on arrival, but it’s it’s the opening of a negotiation point. And so that is a news update since we taped this interview.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:07

    That you’re really gonna enjoy it Just really quick a few other plugs. Make sure to follow us on YouTube, if you haven’t, if you’re just getting this on the podcast apps. Like us, comment, Send this to a friend, you know, send it to somebody you’re gonna like. And if you’re anywhere near New York City, come on up and see us May eighteenth. It’ll be me and Charlie Sykes and then Sarah Longwell and Molly Young Fast.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:30

    Next, it is gonna be a great live show. Come on and check that out. Up next, representative Abigail’s hamburger, but first, our friends at acetone. I am here with congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. Never Trump favorites, Democrats, Virginia Seventh District, congresswoman.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:05

    Good to be here with you. Thanks for doing this. Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:07

    I’m excited to be with you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:09

    We gotta start out with a little bit of drama between us. I just I think I just think that it’s important to just get it all out on the table. Because I did bump into you last November for the circus. And off camera, you pulled me aside and you said you had a bone to pick. So let’s just hash it out here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:27

    Now we’re now we’re on camera ish on YouTube. The group that I founded back when I was Republican in good standing, America rising. You know, did some dark arts targeting you, and and it felt like it was a little below the belt. So let’s let’s hash it out. What happened for the listeners who don’t know?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:44

    Back in twenty eighteen. This goes back back in twenty eighteen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:47

    I was gone by then. Okay. I left in twenty sixteen, obviously. Over over the orange
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:52

    man. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:53

    So I was gone, but still many of my employees were probably guilty. So anyway, continue. Let’s start there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:00

    Okay. Well, so they got their hands on my SF eighty six. And for those who may not be aware, that’s the national security questionnaire. So if you are going through the background check process, you fill out that form and basically put sort of every single detail about your life on that form all the places you’ve lived, all of the things, and they pushed it out trying to shop various different stories about me. And then forever and a day had some of my information, including my Social Security number up on their website.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:30

    So it is true when I had my chance I did
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:34

    bring up to Tim. This is what I had on shit. How did they get it? Like, is that a normal docu? It just wasn’t redacted correctly?
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:41

    Like, what was It
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:42

    was not rejected at all. And what happened was there was a full investigation into how it happened. And so they had requested in fairness, I guess, she can request anything. Yeah. It was not supposed to go to them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:53

    They had no right to request it, and perhaps there could have been a wholly redacted information. Like, they had requested information related to all of my federal employment and incorrectly an employee who received that Freedom of Information Act request incorrectly mailed off a giant packet of all of my forms. They
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:15

    just published it. Which
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:17

    isn’t how it’s supposed to be. And so then they uploaded it and just started pushing it out to reporters and then put a bunch of
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:24

    it online. What I ever introduced is, what did they think? These little nerds days to hire? Like, What did they think was the hip there? They they thought it was damning that people would know that you were
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:34

    Oh, oh, this is the best part. I had been a substitute to teacher at the embassy school associated with, well, with a variety of different Middle Eastern countries, but with the embassy school for Saudi Arabia. You know, and we, the United States, we have embassy schools overseas where we’ll, you know, send our kids. And I had been a long term sub there teaching English for a stint in between graduate school and when I began my career in public service. And so they made all sorts of jumps in terms of trying to call me a terrorist and all sorts of you know, terrible things, imputing entire communities, as well as teachers, as well as all the things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:13

    So from your perspective, I think probably having your Social Security number out there, you know, your private info was probably really gets under your skin. As a practitioner of opposition research, the thing that offends me is just how weak that is. I mean, that would have I hope that I would’ve, you know, pocket vetoed that and one of the nerds come to me and said, hey, we’re gonna try to make this blonde lady from rich, rich into a terrorous adviser because she substitute Todd while working for the government at a Arizona school doesn’t really land for me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:44

    Yes. The lady he went on to Bulwark counter terrorism at
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:48

    CI. Not not the best hit. Well, that’s why you’re in Congress now. And, you know, they’re still toilin’ away on Lexus’ next okay. I wanna go back to your CIA career, but I wanted to make sure we’re we’re good on that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:59

    I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:59

    glad we got that out in the
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:00

    office. Yeah. We’re good on that now. It was kind of my fault. Because I probably hired the person that did it, but it wasn’t my fault because I I quit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:07

    So, you know, we’re
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:08

    we’re cool. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:09

    Alright. Let’s do a little politics and then I want we had the Sunday show where we you know, do more we get to know people. So I wanna do CIA stuff, you know, as much you’re allowed to tell me. I wanna do a little bit on on being a mom. We’ve got some rapid fire questions I think you’re gonna, you know, be you know, a little challenging, so I want you to brace for those.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:25

    But first, we have to do a little politics. The debt’s doing stuff. We’re taping this on Monday. So there might be a vote between now and when we — Yeah. — actually air this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:34

    So no sense, you know, doing monetary predicting, but I’m I’m curious McCarthy right now is trying to jam through, you know, this act that has no chance of passing the senate that has, you know, very severe cuts, but would raise the debt limit. In order to do a casket all two hundred eighteen or all but four of the two hundred eighteen. Doesn’t seem like any Democrats are gonna be on on board with this. And I guess his strategy is that they pass that, that means maybe Democrats come to the table. Like, what’s your sense for, like, what the Republican kind of strategy is right now as it relates to the debt ceiling?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:06

    As of right now, and and so this is Monday going into the week. Yeah. It’s a bit of frenzy. I wouldn’t call it a strategy. It’s more of a attempting to make good on a whole host of conflicting promises that presumably Speaker McCarthy made in order to become Speaker McCarthy The reality is is that we have the duty and the job of governing, and the focus needs to be how do we get a debt ceiling bill to the president’s desk.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:32

    Right? Pro formative politics when it comes to something as important and foundational as like, our economy really is, I think, problematic and and certainly doesn’t necessarily speak to a focus on governing. And right now, it seems as though July is the time frame where this becomes catastrophic. It could be as early as June. But it’s the end of April.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:55

    That means it’s right around the corner for us to hash out any differences with the senate for us to get a bill to the president’s desk. And, you know, headed into this week, it just looks like the efforts are gonna be to try and prove a point rather than actually address the the needs of the US economy. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:12

    you’ve been better than some of your colleagues at speaking Republican. So, you know, you get some Republicans that come to you and say, but, come or someone, but Abigail, like, shouldn’t you guys be negotiating, you know and that that might be a clown show over there, but didn’t there something to this? Like, at some point, like, this is the system Like, what’s your response to kind of that critique coming from the right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:34

    This is a challenge that I hear from constituents, and so it’s one that I know well and I’m happy to answer it. Which is there is a process in place for addressing how we spend our money looking to the future. That’s the budget process. It’s the appropriations process. And I welcome anyone anywhere to put forth real challenges to how we spend our money.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:55

    And if it’s something I think we should be spending taxpayer dollars on, I’ll argue it till the cows come home. The value of everything from conservation programs to food security programs to funding our military and our national security agencies. I mean, the list goes on and on, and I will justify the support that I give to those programs. What we spend our money on moving forward is very different from what we have already chosen to spend our money on and how we pay for the things we have already spent our money on. And that’s what we’re talking about when it comes to the depth ceiling.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:29

    And so when I have this conversation and I have had it on Capitol Hill. I’ve certainly had it across my district. My answer to this is, these are absolutely complementary discussions. What do we do about our debt? We need to pay our bills and what do we spend our money on moving into the future?
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:47

    They’re wholly complementary. But you can’t say, you know what? I’m not gonna pay my bills because I wanna argue about what we’re gonna spend money on next year. Right? You just you can’t do that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:00

    And even when my Republican colleagues will say, you know, you gotta pay your credit card bills. And, you know, you you gotta buckle down your budget and talk about what you’re spending money on a hundred percent. But nobody says, I’m not gonna pay my credit card bills while my wife and I sit down at the table and discuss all the things we’re gonna spend money on over the next year or two years into the future. Right? Because your credit card bill still comes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:25

    Right? And your credit score keeps going, like, in the wrong direction. And so essentially, that’s the conversation they’re trying to have. And so my point is let’s have all the conversations that we won about what we’re spending our money on, a hundred percent. But that happens through the budget and the appropriations process.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:43

    Right now, playing games with what we’ve already spent our money on in the full faith and credit of the United States that’s not how we do this. And that’s really, I think, the disconnect that is happening right now on Capitol Hill. And McCarthy’s plan to just do broad across the top cuts. You know, in principle, it doesn’t sound like it’s that much, but then he gives the caveat, I don’t want to impact defense spending, which I don’t wanna impact defense spending, so I’m fine with that. Except everything that he would be impacting that’s not defense spending means an actual twenty two percent cut on average and cross the board for everything else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:18

    Right. Right? And when you think a twenty two percent haircut across federal spending for anything that’s not defense, I mean, that’s substantial.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:27

    Yeah. That’s real. HondaOP is I think what the kids are saying these days when you got there saying hundred percent I don’t know if you’re if that’s if that’s a fit for your personal brand. So I don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:35

    think it works for me. I have a fourteen year old daughter who most likely would judge me severely.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:40

    It’s nice to have a teen in the house. I need a teen in the house to keep me in check on this stuff. We do fantasy politics here. This is the thing that pressed that I wonder about all this is there’s a lot of discussion about the closet normals in the Republican caucus. You’re going further than me these days.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:55

    I mean, you’re hanging out with Chip Rolle doing deals with Chip Rolle. At last convo I had with Chip Rolle was not that pleasant on his end, really. I I would thought I was pleasant. And the maybe he might tell a different story. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:08

    You could
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:08

    ask him. Now I now I have to ask him. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:10

    You’ll ask. You can report back. It was lengthy, though. The thing is though, like, on something like this, on the death ceiling, why aren’t there just this group of Republicans who could work with you guys and say, hey, here’s a reasonable other alternative. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:24

    Like, we’re gonna increase a dead ceiling, but you guys gotta work, you know, work with us and we gotta like, it it only takes six of them. Right? And you’re in this majority, and a lot of people say that to me. They’re like, oh, Where are the normal Republicans on this? Where are the, you know, the same names could always use.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:38

    Don, where’s Don Bacon? Where’s Nancy Mace? You know, what is the answer to that? Right. Like, why can’t you guys peel off a handful of the normal Republicans and put pressure on on the other side?
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:50

    To raise the debt ceiling?
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:52

    Well, I have a couple answers to that. The first is, I don’t know. I mean, for me, you know, I was fine voting against my party at various different times along the way. I was fine voting against, you know, there’s a piece of legislation that we Democrats put forward during the height of the pandemic that had no path in the Senate, and I voted against it, predominantly just on Prince people are hurting, people are dying, and I don’t think we should be wasting valuable floor time with performative politics. Certainly, this is it is not a global pandemic, but we are in a circumstance where we’re down to the wire as it relates to — Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:31

    — really making sure that we don’t hurt the US economy. And with it, your ability to get a mortgage, your ability to get a car loan, people’s retirements. Right? I I had a constituent come up to me over the weekend and say, you know, level with me, what should I be doing with my retirement accounts? I’m really worried.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:48

    You know, my answer for the record is I’m not a financial adviser, but I understand your worry. And what I can tell you is I’m trying everything possible to avoid economic catastrophes that impacts certainly the global economy, but also people. And so, you know, I would perhaps not necessarily in thinking that we should play games with something as serious as governing. I would maybe roll my eyes if we were back in February. And there was a kind of performative measure put on the floor, and, you know, many Republicans wanted to vote for it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:14

    And then they would say, well, this is our starting point. Now, that’s how have a conversation, you know, and then ultimately we came to some other path forward. Again, it’s the end of April, and then Congress’s in session. We’re not in session. The amount of workweeks and voting days between now and economic catastrophe is just not as many as I’d like it to be.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:36

    And so the kind of principle of what’s about to happen this week or by the time listeners listen to it has has happened this week. You know, I mean, it’s a little unnecessary, but at a point in time when we’re so far away from the actual, you know, crisis coming towards us, I would be willing to sort of shake my head at it. But right now, we need to be in the nuts and bolts of governing. So this is where I would turn my attention towards something else that got some amount of coverage. The problem solvers pocket of which I’m apart put forth a plan.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:08

    That’s a kind of a three step plan saying, yeah, let’s go ahead and address the debt ceiling. Let’s raise the debt ceiling. We gotta do that. And then let’s have Roan’s conversations kind of in these tiered ways looking towards the future about how we spend our money a little bit beyond and with greater long term strategic focus on debt and deficit issues, then as I mentioned earlier, the annual budget and appropriations process. And so, you know, many Republicans signed on to that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:35

    It was endorsed by Democrats and Republicans both. But I would love to see a bit more urgency with that being the path.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:41

    So so, yeah, why don’t you think those people, those Republicans assigned under that? Like, Why are they going along with the debt ceiling breaksmanship? Can you get inside their heads for me? Like, is there a path to work with them to solve this or not really? Because McCarthy wouldn’t bring it to the floor?
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:56

    I think that this you know, and I I can’t speak for any one particular person and sort of taking it outside of my my counterparts from problem solvers. I think If I’m thinking about some of my colleagues across the aisle that believe in governance and think the government needs to function that we shouldn’t default on our bills, I think there’s also an element where there are so many extreme voices within their conference that frankly doesn’t feel the need to fund the government, doesn’t necessarily worry about going towards this level of brinkmanship, that maybe half, like, appeasing them for a minute and a half. Might be necessary. It doesn’t fully make sense to me, which is why, you know, I’m like desperate to try and find a way to just get a debt ceiling vote. Because the bottom line is if we had a vote tomorrow to raise the debt ceiling, if speaker McCarthy would bring it, it would pass.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:44

    Yeah. Right? You got all the Democrats who would vote for it, and I believe and I think correctly, but you tell me maybe I’m naive or optimistic I think that there would be, you know, just a few more repocus.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:55

    Six? Do you need five? Or six?
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:57

    That would point us to to pass it. Just a a clean clean debt ceiling. Is
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:02

    your sense to his McCarthy does McCarthy reach out to Democrats? Have you guys heard from him? Or, I mean, he’s got his own issues on the right. But is he even trying that thinking down the road?
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:13

    On this issue, I can’t fully answer that. I mean, I I presume he’s talking to some people. He’s not talking me, which I don’t take personally. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:20

    should kind of take it personally though. I don’t know. It’s like it was like when I think it was tester got invited to the White House. When Biden was there, and he was like, this is my first time at the White House. And Biden was like, what?
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:31

    It was a hit at Trump, obviously. It was also kind of hit at Obama. Right? It’s like, you know, if you have these jobs, you’re supposed to be talking to people. And I again, maybe Kevin McCarthy has some good old boy relationships with some of the guys who’s been around for a while, but, like, you think he was gonna call somebody to cut a deal.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:49

    You know, you’d be on the shortlist. He’s probably not calling that many people. He’s not calling you. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:53

    Well, you know, I will say Trump invited me the White House a couple times. Yeah. This is by
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:58

    anyway. Okay. I wanna do one more thing on the on the these were hoping guys on the oversight stuff. We had Colin Allred on and and did went come deep on that since he’s on the committee. But I’m curious your take, is there anything that they’re doing that is at all legit?
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:15

    On the weaponization of government committee. Like, is there anything that you’ve looked at and heard about? You’re like, yeah. I mean, you’ve worked in the CA. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:22

    Like this, these questions about, like, oh —
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:25

    Yeah. — you
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:26

    know, the intelligent committees have gone woke and they’re they’re politicized and they’re acting, like, Have you heard a single Iota of evidence that has made you think? Yeah. We should look into that. Or is it just all bullshit?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:38

    It’s all bullshit. And I’ll say this. Right? We need significant oversight of the intelligence community. I say that as a former intelligence officer.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:46

    Right? The role of Congress is incredibly valuable. But we have an oversight committee for the intelligence community. We have an oversight committee for the justice Department for Homeland Security, for State Department. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:00

    We have for Department of Agriculture. We have committees that do oversight of federal agencies. The very title of this committee, the weaponization of the federal government, is in and of itself a weaponization of the very premise of what it is that they’re saying. You know, I I think that it’s really, really insulting, frankly, and to the men and women of the FBI or to the men and women of the intelligence community. People who work every single day to keep our country safe.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:31

    And in a very, very non partisan, like no politics. I never had any concept of people’s political leanings. And I served under Obama, and I served under Bush, and it just wasn’t part of it. You disagreed with certain things that the administrations did or certain directions that the agency went or you like certain things or maybe gripe about that, but it wasn’t even in the political lens. And I think that that’s just something the folks in that committee and particularly, you know, those who kind of want to find things wrong with these career public servants, like, they just don’t even have a notion of what it means to function in that non partisan focused mission driven frame.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:17

    So you
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:17

    didn’t feel like a lot of your colleagues at the CIA were woke, progressive, socialist, not a whole lot of that. They’re ideologically speaking, or what is your sense?
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:26

    Actually, I’ll I’ll tell you a funny story. One one of my college roommates was recounting a story to me. This is I was still at CIA. I was still undercover. I’m talking to one of my college roommates, and she’s recounting to me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:38

    She said, oh, you know, I was at this blah, blah, blah, and you came up and, you know, this other person, I don’t remember who it this other person, they said, oh, we think Abigail’s really with CIA. And my college roommate starts laughing. She’s like, I mean, can you believe that that she would think you were at CIA? I mean, and I just said to her, like, what are you talking about? Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:59

    And then went on to, like, I’m a I’m a Democrat, and I wear Bergenstocks. Like, that was —
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:04

    Right. —
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:04

    literally, my my friend’s reasoning for why there’s no world in which I could have been a CIA officer. And so I just the whole thing to me is comical because, you know, again, I was there functioning as as a nonpartisan person, but it takes all types. Right? And and so, you know, maybe if I had ever worn Birkenstocks to work, which PS, those are just not work appropriate when you work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:26

    Depends on where you’re going undercover. Antifa, and if you’re doing some antifa Bulwark out, or do they wear Virkin stocks. I’m not sure. I don’t I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:34

    And I don’t
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:35

    You would know better. These
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:36

    are not things I know about. But I
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:38

    need to go deeper on you being undercover, but I just have a couple more political things we we have to do. One is just you’re, I think, co sponsor on a on a fentanyl bill. And I feel like this is just another area where you are you’re kind of acting in a place that’s that’s kind of fraught. Right? And fentanyl is like such a serious serious issue in this country.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:59

    And, like, so many people have been affected by it. Yeah. And it has just become, like, a culture war flash point we’re like a lot of the Republicans engaging on it. You know, it’s just like a code for, oh, you need to be tougher on the border. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:12

    Like, versus Sounds like Kellyanne actually, you know, came up with solutions to the opioid crises. Yeah. When she was in there, it’s not the person you’d hire if you’re looking for a serious person. Right? On the flip side because of that, I think, or in somewhat because of that, like, a lot of Democrats, like, avoid talking about the issue.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:27

    Right? Because that they’re, like, they don’t wanna be coded as a maga or whatever, and so you’ve engaged on it. And so I’m just curious, like, are there low hanging fruit things that we can should be doing that we’re not doing? Like, what what’s your what’s your sense of the issue? Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:41

    And
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:41

    I think your your politics of it are exactly right. Right? Like, people will mention it and it’s kind of a rallying cry for folks on the right. And then conversely because it’s a rallying cry for folks on the right, sometimes folks on the left don’t know how to engage. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:54

    And so for me, I just take the, like, head on approach. Okay. Like, a hundred percent, this is a problem. Colleague x across the aisle. So what are we going to do about it?
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:05

    And so, Kinda, to answer your question, there’s a variety of things that I think could be considered low hanging fruit we actually got legislation signed into law at the very end of the year, put it through with the consolidated appropriations, requiring DHS kind of a review of the technologies that they use at the border and a real forward looking focus on interdiction capacity and capabilities. The fentanyl, of course, is very potent, smaller amounts can be far more deadly. And in the end, that means it’s drug trafficking organizations can move it across the border in new and inventive ways as opposed to marijuana or cocaine or other drugs that might be harder to move such a massively potent quantity so easily. And there’s still more to be done. I have legislation to increase penalties for the mere possession of the pill press because some of the problems that we see is that people are making counterfit what look like pharmaceutical drugs.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:01

    They’re lacing them with fentanyl and people are dying. So, you know, okay, you want to be tough on crime. Let’s go right after the folks that are making fake counterfeit drugs, lacing them with fentanyl and killing kids and adults and the like.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:15

    I do wonder about that. Is your sense is you’ve gone deeper on this than me? And it’s just on the instinct. Like, the people on the right have all have made this such a border issue, and obviously there’s a border element to it. Fennel’s getting seized at the border, but it’s so small and easy to make, like, is it it doesn’t feel like it’s only a border issue.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:30

    Right? I mean, like, even if we totally shut down the border and, you know, did Soviet Union in nineteen eighty, like like fentanyl would still be a problem. Right? Like, it’s easily the manufacturer here. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:40

    mean, if all of the challenges that we have at the border, fentanyl is one of them. I mean, drugs had or, you know, drugs, other types of drugs coming in, guns headed southbound. I mean, there’s a variety of issues that present themselves at the border. This is kind of a really scary one. And so, you know, it’s easy if your effort is to focus on getting people scared saying fentanyl gets people scared.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:02

    What the reality is, is that in the communities I represent, it’s also killing people. And so making sure that there are even access to test strips. So, you know, someone ideally, you’re not using drugs. But if you are, testing to make sure that your drugs are not laced with fentanyl matters. At another piece of legislation, it was called the Summer Barrel Prevention Treatment and Recovery Act, named after a constituent.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:26

    She had had an injury, was given opioids to contend with the pain via prescription that quickly devolved into a heroin addiction, and then she used other types of drugs. She was in recovery for a short period of time. She struggled to maintain that recovery. Relapsed and used fentanyl laced cocaine and died.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:47

    Mhmm. And
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:48

    her mother has been an extraordinary advocate telling this young woman story And so the legislation that we had signed at the law at the end of last year focuses on preventing drug use, treating drug use and then helping people in long term recovery because relapses can occur and frequently will invest in preventing and education invest in treatment on the spot, but then that long term journey for someone particularly with, you know, potent drugs like opioids in the way that they really change your brain chemistry, that long term support is so so necessary. So this gets back to, like, the larger conversation related to drug use and the impact that it has on our communities. And frankly, first responders, the number of police officers, and deputies and sheriffs themselves I talked to where you’re getting called again and again to the same homes because there’s an overdose. Right? And people just wanna see their neighbors in their community healed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:47

    They don’t want to, you know, be there every time that it’s like the lowest moment in that person’s life. And frankly, with fentanyl in the mix, far too often those overdoses are ultimately fatal and the hardship that even puts on the first person through the door that’s supposed to be there to help people and protect people. You know, that’s just an added stressor. And so I hear about it so frequently for first responders who want their neighbors to get help because it’s just such a challenging time in reality.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:14

    It’s a brutal one. I’m glad you’re engaging on it. Okay. We have to do a little pond to treat. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:18

    You’re in Virginia. Okay. Alright. Can we grade your governor? Your governor a lot of buzz around him.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:22

    A lot of buzz around him. He won that race. He was the great I guess, great white hope. The great vested white hope for the Republicans for a little while didn’t turn out as well in the midterm. So, you know, some people are turning their lonely eyes back to Glenn.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:33

    How do you think he’s been doing? Down there. Can
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:36

    I be able to sassy with my response and maybe give them an incomplete grade?
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:40

    Sassy or the better.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:41

    Okay. I’m gonna go with an eye for incomplete.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:44

    Why?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:45

    You know, I think that there’s been a lot of times where he’s turned his attention outside of Virginia. Or has kind of focused on some of the division efforts in Virginia leaning into just some of the rhetoric meant to divide or, you know, bully kids, bullying trans kids or, you know, focusing on on really trying to roll back women’s rights And so we’ll kind of take a step in that direction. Thankfully, we still have the state senate that’s been able to get in the way of real, real damage. Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:14

    What can Democrats learn for that? You are like I have to tell you. And never Trump circles. It’s always like, why can’t there be more Democrats like? And then before they say it, I’m like, aviguel’s pampers is what they’re gonna say in my head.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:24

    And they say, Abiguel’s pampers. Sometimes they say, let’s go lock in. But often, usually, you’re the first one they need. You know, Liz Cheney endorsed you. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:31

    And so An
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:32

    analyst is lacking.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:33

    Analysts says there’s something I like Jason Crow. I I I could name other Democrats I like in the house who are in the in the center, but you guys have some of that, the brand, they’re related to Liz Cheney. So is there what was your message? And and this continues to your fellow party Like, it’s like, oh, man, we lost this. This is a bluish state.
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:49

    A bluish state we lost. Like, like, what are some things that the doughnuts weren’t doing, you know, that created the environment for that? And and what do y’all do better, you know, in the future? Well,
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:58

    and I think even if you look at just how I did in our district and, you know, I really outperformed prior Democrats, particularly in rural and agricultural areas. And I think that it’s gonna sound oversimplified, but you talk to everybody. I think that at times, you know, Democrats might say, well, you know, they’re probably not gonna vote for me. Okay? But, like, I love walking into a room knowing that everybody in there is not gonna vote for me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:25

    Well, I don’t love it, to be clear. But to be able to say and I have had this conversation with voters. Oh, no. No. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:30

    I’m Republican. And, you know, I remember one time I was out in my first election. I had this delightful conversation with this man and his wife at the state fair or the county fair in Amelia County. And he was lovely. They were working the ticket booths and they said, Are you a Democrat?
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:47

    And I said, yes. And they said, Ugh. Well, we’re Republicans, but but we like you. And I said, well, that’s okay. Like, you can be a Republican who likes me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:55

    They said, well, can you be an pendant. I said, no, I’m a Democrat. We go back and back and forth. And the wife said, I like the things on your website, and I said, well, ma’am. Maybe you’re a Democrat.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:05

    Oh, no. No. And at one point in time, by the end of the conversation, they said to me, well, you know, you’re kind of funny for a democrat or we like you for a democrat or whatever. But the reality is, is that they probably just hadn’t you know, she’s reading my website saying she likes everything on my website. I’m not sure the last time she actually spoke to a Democrat.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:25

    Right? This woman might actually be a Democrat and not even know it. But also what I do tell my colleagues that, you know, if I think the policies that I’m pursuing are correct, then why wouldn’t I take the time to explain it to people regardless of what their political ideology is? And explain it in terms that mean something to them. You know, I mean, so frequently, Democrats speak Democratic language.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:50

    Health care is a human right and climate change is an existential threat. Right? Like, I don’t disagree with those notions, but what if I I’ve only preached to the choir there. We should all be talking about the that the US Navy says that rising sea levels are a national security threat. Okay.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:08

    Extreme weather events are decimating farmers and producers across the country. Look at the flooding we just had in California. Right? So regardless of how what brings you to the table. The reality is somebody somewhere, you know, every having a terrible time with allergies, like, let’s talk about what pollution does for those who struggle with allergies or with asthma.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:29

    Right? There are all of these reasons why I can bring more people to table. They don’t have to agree with the frame of climate change as an existential threat. But if they’re there on the fact that conservation practices are good for farmers, and really good for land management and good for lowering input costs and raising outputs, like translating things or speaking in broader terms where you’re not just preaching the choir. I think that’s frankly a challenge.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:57

    And, you know, I I think that we you always always need to say this same thing to anybody where you are. Right? Like I stand by what I stand by, but recognizing that people use different vocabulary to
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:08

    Talk like a human.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:10

    Yeah. Talk like a human. And talking to a roomful of parents about healthcare is different than talking to you know, a room full of veterans about the VA. Right? Like, you have different parameters of what your area of concern is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:25

    And I think that that’s a place where I’m a Democrat because I think our policies are good. And and I like frankly, when people sort of punch holes or attempt to punch holes in your idea because — Yeah. — frankly, might just make your legislation better. I wanna
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:40

    talk to you about being a parent. And this is related, I think, to schools issue. Right? And so I’ll just I wanna ask about life as a parent, but, like, transitioning just as a congresswoman is also a parent. I think that some of the complaints about schools from parents that that like Republicans tap into is literally just like they go in and and they’re listening to the principle, and it’s just all this pedagogical language.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:05

    Right? And it’s like, you go in there and you’re like, like, I I want my kid to learn — Yeah. — social studies and and calculus or what geometry whatever it is at that level. And, like, I I don’t I don’t need all of these Bulwark, but you get into these bubbles. Do you see that also in that kind of space?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:22

    Like education was like the key area where young can use I mean, some of this is the hateful anti gay stuff, but other of it is, like, Republicans trying to tee off on, you know, and Democrats feeling like they have to kind of use the teacher union. Language. Do you feel like that’s right? Or or am I am I being too touchy and is my former Republican showing?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:40

    I don’t think you’re wrong at all. I think that especially in Virginia, the thing that people often forget about twenty twenty one is that my youngest daughter was kindergarten when the school shut down. Right? Kindergarten. Yep.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:53

    School shutdown. And then my kids are three years apart in school. So you kind of So
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:57

    how old is they now? For let’s just
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:59

    turn nine. Just turn twelve and fourteen. So third sixth and ninth grade now. That’s great. They’re wonderful.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:06

    But but thinking back to twenty twenty one, Some schools had ebbed and flowed in how much they were open through the fall of twenty and the spring of twenty one, but all schools were opening up depending upon, you know, some kids had been home, there was mishmash, but fall of twenty twenty one, kids hadn’t yet been vaccinated if I’m remembering correctly. There was a surge of whatever it was. I think it was delta at the time. And so as a parent, I remember in August of twenty twenty one being incredibly nervous because this was supposed to be over. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:44

    The hardship of literally my kindergartener giving me a stack of ditto sheets — Yeah. Right. — that
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:51

    is
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:51

    she’s supposed to learn from but she can’t yet really read. So, like, you can’t do it. You know, and then and then it was virtual school. And so it was just all a mess And by twenty twenty one, like, that had been the time frame when they go back to school and, you know, in the fall. That’s when things are gonna be normal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:12

    And then there was another surge and it wasn’t normal and it was still masks and it was still uneasiness. Right? And I think that the feeling that I as a parent, the anxiety that I had putting my kids on the bus, knowing they’re going back to school, worried about their health. My youngest always had respiratory issues all through when she was a kid like worried worried worried I think that people forget that that was a foundation for just a disorienting level of stress. And then when you go, you know, a step further, and then you do have people who might be using the sort of lingo or the this or the that wait.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:52

    My god. My kid’s been home for a year. I just I I’m doing the Bulwark, and now I’m going into the school and the teacher. And, like, the principal is lecturing me about some like, inclusion thing. And I’m for inclusion, but just, like, teach the kit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:04

    Right? Like, that that is sort of like Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:07

    And I think, like, I have my children in their schools like I have had extraordinary experiences. The teachers are extraordinary. The principals are extraordinary. Again, when you start to get into the just even, like, this is, you know, my classroom approach. I don’t know what the alternative is.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:24

    Like, what’s a classroom approach? Right? Like, I don’t know. This is not my background, my field of study. And so I think that sometimes, you know, even as an engaged parent who I love my children deeply.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:38

    I want them to do well in school. I care about how they’re doing in school. You know, I frankly get like so many incredibly communicative emails that I can, like, barely get through them all in terms of the level of communication that I get. For my children’s school, which I’m greatly appreciative of. I just think that that there’s just been this kind of upheaval, and I think that For some parents, the takeaway from COVID, especially when kids were in virtual school, was holy smokes, how do these teachers do this?
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:12

    This is amazing. Right? Because to be very clear, my children do not want to learn to read from me. My middle daughter does not wanna learn math from me. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:22

    She does not want me to be her teacher. And I think for some parents, it was a little bit of well, you put this on me for a year. So now I’m in the game. And the bottom line is teachers are the first teachers I represent are the first to say we need, we want, we value parent education, but the way in political terms Some people tried to make it where it’s teachers against parents. I can’t do it alone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:49

    I I need to have an extraordinarily good relationship with my kids teachers particularly in areas where they face some challenges.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:56

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:57

    And, you know, I certainly know that teachers want, engage, parents from everything from classroom volunteers to PTA to really making sure that they can help our kids be successful
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:08

    for sure for sure. What’s that like for them? Like, having a mom that’s in congress and politics? I mean, it’s like such a politicized time. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:15

    I think back to my high school and like, kinda knew somebody is I I the governor’s daughter was close to my age and not you know, so I’d see around it. Like, you know, there’d be a little bit of who. That’s the governor’s side. Well, like, it wasn’t I couldn’t imagine any you know what I mean? I wonder now for them is, like, are there mega kids yelling at them or or squad, our kids don’t want or maybe the opposite, maybe super engaged lefty kids.
  • Speaker 1
    0:38:35

    We’re like, why isn’t your mom? Like, you know, you’re starting roughly or is that not part of their life at all? What’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:41

    No. It’s it’s definitely part of their life. My oldest does the debate and forensics team And she wanted me to come. And I said, okay. Well, I’m gonna I’m gonna be there as a mom.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:53

    And I said to her, if this gets weird, let me know, and I’ll just go to the car. Right? Because you may be surprised to women’s, but to meet forensics kids are also my, like, demographic. Right? Shocking.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:05

    So I am in there and my daughter recounts to me later that she saw this group of kids be like, oh my god. It’s Abigail’s hamburger. That’s Abigail’s hamburger. And my daughter looks from the house, yeah, that’s her. And they’re like, oh my god.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:19

    Did you talk to her? And she’s like, Yeah. It’s my mom. You need to go talk to her. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:23

    And so she will always say my oldest will always say, like, it’s so sweet. Feel like people wanna talk to you. They’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:30

    like the negative ads. And I don’t know. We’re just in such polarized time. Like, none of that stuff is like
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:34

    I mean, It impacts them a little bit. I mean, it it does. I think it impacts them a lot. When there were the ads running saying I was a terrorist, my middle daughter came home and was like, you know, whichever friend. So and so said they saw that you’re a terrorist.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:49

    Like and I told them you’re not a terrorist.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:52

    And I
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:53

    said, oh, oh, okay. So then what happened? Well, so they believe me. They know you’re not a terrorist. And she was like, okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:00

    Oh, man. See that America Rising hit didn’t even work on second graders or however old she was. I also think maybe it’s because you’re Apo book was that, like, maybe for other people, the ads, it’d be harder. I had a friend that is a Republican consultant who I’ll protect their anonymity, but they’re like, I saw the spamburger playbook and liked or more. After reading it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:17

    So maybe, you know, a for kids with a different parent, it might be able to harder. What is your what’s the TikTok policy in your house? It’s a burning question for me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:27

    You’re gonna make me you’re gonna make
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:28

    you into trouble? Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:29

    You’re gonna make me come clean on something. I am adamantly opposed to TikTok on government phones. And I do not have TikTok, and I do nothing to encourage people to do TikTok. But I do let my fourteen year old daughter have TikTok.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:45

    I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to have I’m I kind of agree. I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:48

    utterly conflicted over it. I’m very, very conflicted. It over it, but she gave me a very I’ll
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:53

    take talk on my phone.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:54

    Compelling argument about being engaged with her peers and having a normal high school experience, etcetera. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:01

    mean, honestly, I’m with her. I’m with your daughter. I I don’t I hope that that doesn’t get you into this doesn’t get you into trouble, but, like, this is life and we’re stuck with this. Right? It’s like this is part of a free country.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:10

    We’re not China. Right? Like — Yeah. — so we have social media that comes in. I think I have a lot of concerns about TikTok, but if TikTok has such a national security concern that it requires restricting it, then it is your job to do so about it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:23

    But as a congresswoman, not as a mom. Right? Like, it’s like the go like, it’s government’s job. I mean, there’s monitoring, making sure that the content that they’re getting is not
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:33

    Yeah. You
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:33

    know, inappropriate. There’s a big CNN piece on this, but like
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:37

    Green Time limits and all the rest as a parent, etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:40

    Time limits. Right. Yeah. Of course. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:42

    But I my child’s five. So I don’t have to deal with this yet, but I’m, like, freaked out about this. I don’t know. I think for girls particularly —
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:48

    Yeah. —
  • Speaker 1
    0:41:48

    it like it feels like it may there’s a little extra weight to the challenge. How to manage the social media stuff.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:53

    Well, and one of the other challenges, even for for kids, you know, my older daughter’s ages in particular, COVID struck right at those points in time when they started really, like, hanging out as opposed to having play dates. Right? And so a lot of their social engagements switched to FaceTime or playing games online together or you know, social media. So you have to monitor it monitor it closely because it really does. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:20

    You know, there’s a lot of risks of bullying and online bullying, etcetera. But it it also as some benefits. But How
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:25

    they engage? I worry about the algorithm, but that is sort of the monitoring and they’re the parent that comes in. I worry about what it’s feeding them. The data stuff It’s like there’s a funny I’m I’m on TikTok. So that’s all this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:35

    There’s a funny TikTok about TikTok, which is like the Chinese are getting my data, and then the next screen is a picture of them like, watching Fleetwood Mac singing, Silver Spring, over and over again. It’s like the Chinese got me. Like, I like Fleetwood Mac and I like Drag Race and I like Basketball stats. Like, you know, I I’m just kind of like, I don’t know. The data
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:52

    part A little bit the point that my daughter has made as well, like, where she tries to make the argument that she’s not so sure that she should be bothered if the Chinese government knows that she likes how to grow plants and the bread and Whatever
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:06

    the tailors plants. Or there was a cat or how to grow plants. Yeah. Bread. That’s so weird.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:12

    A cottage core. You have a cottage you’re great you’re like raising a cottage core daughter. K. Wait. We have to do CAA.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:16

    We’re running out of time. Yeah. Yeah. You’re undercover with your college roommate. Like, I know nothing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:20

    This is probably how the CIA likes it. I know nothing about this. Like, I don’t I I don’t have any CIA friends, so I don’t know
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:26

    Maybe you do and you just don’t know it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:28

    I’m maybe at that great point. So, like, you you were in college. I’m gonna fast forward through your biofuels. You went to Germany, And wanted to get into the CIA. You’re learning German.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:37

    Nine eleven happens. You’re like, so I’m gonna apply that. It takes you a while to get out to your mid twenties. I forget what happened in the early twenties. We can skip to talk about it in the green room.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:45

    But Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:45

    the federal agent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:46

    Okay. There you go. Federal agent, then you get into the CNA in your mid twenties. And so then you just keep Yeah. You gotta your wine club for it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:52

    You gotta tell them that you’re still a federal agent? Or what was your cover they told you that you became a yoga teacher? Like, what happens?
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:59

    Well, gotta be believable. Okay. So although my sister I have I have two sisters. One is a yoga instructor. She’s the infinitely — Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:07

    Kommer. Kommer.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:08

    She’s CIA. Yeah. We’re not allowed to know your cover story.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:12

    So legally, I I cannot confirm what I did for a cover. So I had affiliation with another government agency. I worked overseas. I worked at home. I worked on various different projects and so I had the whole scope of things that I was allowed to tell people, none of it which was true, which was very very interesting at at one point in time I was first married, my mother-in-law took me aside because she was convinced that my husband worked for CIA.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:40

    So she tells me, you know, he had gotten a job offer from NSA and he didn’t take the internship, and now he does this other thing. My husband has a he’s got a cool job. He’s an engineer, but he doesn’t work for CIA. And so she’s telling me this. I’m saying, oh, my goodness.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:53

    No way. Right? Meanwhile, at this very moment, I’m the one regularly lying in my mother-in-law that I work for CIA.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:00

    Does that mess with your brain? It kind of reminds me of being in the closet. I don’t you know, it kinda reminds me, like, being at the bar and somebody, like, oh, man, that girl’s hot and he having to be, like, yeah, sure. Totally. I love that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:11

    I don’t know. And that kind of messed with my brain. It’s a different thing that you’re choosing it. I I don’t know. There’s a less weight to it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:15

    But
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:16

    Yeah. I was choosing it. I thought it was for a good cause. Like, it’s it’s mission focus. So I think it was, you know, my own choice to put a little bit of compartmentation in my brain.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:26

    Yeah. So now if you use a ring true with me, but I’ll defer to you because that’s your lived experience. But you just endeavor to kind of be, you know, have people ask as few questions as possible about your job, because you know, at the end of the day. It’s nothing you’re saying is true. Was
  • Speaker 1
    0:45:41

    anybody mad at you when you came out of the closet, so to speak, when you’re like, hey, I’m not a, whatever this cover story was. I don’t actually like bread making. That was part of the deal. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:53

    No. You know, it was funny. I did have a couple different things what was a really big deal is, so when I first left the agency, I was going through this process of trying to get my employment declassified, and it’s a lengthy process. And it’s a hurdle of a process. And, you know, I had known some people have gone through it, so I was pretty optimistic that I would get my employment declassified but I have this really good friend who I’ve been friends with since we were kids.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:18

    And so he calls me one day to essentially kinda have a little bit of an intervention because he’s trying to set me up with all these folks because he what he knows is, you know, I decided to leave government service, he thought I was doing one job, decided to move back to Virginia, that was true. And what he didn’t know is that I was waiting for my employment to be declassified because I really didn’t want to I had a full, cleared, though, fictitious, resume, and I really didn’t wanna start my new life over. With a fake resume. Like, I didn’t wanna go in because that’s where I thought it would get weird. Going into an employer — Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:52

    — relying, essentially. I mean, you know, verifyly because I was legally obligated to do so. But but essentially going through the process of getting a job, not telling people my experience. And so this friend calls me one day, and he said, you know, something wrong. I just have to talk to you.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:09

    You’re normally such a go gettery. Like, you’re refusing to do these, like, meetings with these companies, and I’m trying to, like, help you. You know? And and I finally, I was, like, okay. I do think it’s gonna come through that I’m gonna get my complimentary classified.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:22

    And so I said, okay, I’ve gotta tell you something. It’s not that I have, like, all of a sudden, lost, like, all of my Go Gatori sort of spirit, but I am waiting for my employment to be declassified because I used to work at CIA. And I’m waiting for that to happen. And so, you know, his reaction was hysterical because he had actually visited are failing. We are overseas.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:43

    And he’s like, wait a second. I met your friends and I met these people. And What’s true? Yeah. Everything is right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:50

    You
  • Speaker 1
    0:47:50

    still even like Mumford and Sons? Was that part of the cover? I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:56

    So it was it was funny. I did have Even once I got my employment declassified, I still didn’t actually like, if it wasn’t relevant, I didn’t tell people. And so I had been a girl scout leader for a while And I was talking to one of the parents who I had a pretty good relationship with, and I was saying, oh, you know, I may not have mentioned this. This is actually what I used to do for a job and now I’m gonna be running for Congress. So I wanted to flag it for you because it’s gonna be very kind of front and center.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:21

    And somebody said to me like, This explains the ropes course.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:26

    You excel at the ropes course?
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:28

    I might have been a little bit hyper encouraged judging to some of the girls about, you know, leaving in themselves on the ropes courses and such. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:36

    Maybe a little bit better than than you might have expected for a Henrico County mom. Okay. Last thing on CNA, Havana syndrome.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:43

    Yes.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:44

    We can keep it short on this, but, like, I look at this and I think to myself, I have some friends who said that they have been exposed to it, so I I’m not judging anyone, but I look at them, like, I have all always thought I was allergic to mayonnaise, and then somebody informed me that Caesar dressing has the same ingredients as mayonnaise. And the next time I had Caesar dressing, I threw up. And I was like, this is psychosomatic. I’ve been needing Caesar dressing all my life. And when I hear about Havana syndrome, I think about my Caesar dressing experience.
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:10

    So you tell me whether that is wrong. And whether you think this is there’s something more to it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:15

    I’m gonna categorically say it’s wrong. Okay. And I’ll say this because I have friends who have woken up in hotel rooms, in places like Moscow and in other places, violently ill, the room is spinning. They can’t stand up. That
  • Speaker 1
    0:49:30

    didn’t happen to me on the Caesar’s salad. I have to admit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:33

    I would hope not. Yeah. That I would say you are a deed allergic. And their lives are nothing the same. Wow.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:38

    And there are multiple people. I mean, people who have had to leave careers that they loved, that they believed in, people who I mean, when you’re talking about, like, tough as nails, the things they have endured, terrorists spreads to themselves, to their families living in war zones for long term, you know, living in CIA bases, where there’s not a lot in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. Right? Like, people who would not simply kind of have their brains go to a place of suggestion Yeah. And so, you know, certainly, I do think that when we’re on high alert, okay, please report any circumstances I think it’s important that anyone report anything that might kind of seem concerning, and there’s been many, many people that say, like, I think it’s nothing but just want to report it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:30

    And so there are, you know, many, many potential cases that have been reported. But kind of some of the the central cases that really got the ball rolling on trying to dig into. You know, if there’s no other explanation for why someone would be suffering from traumatic brain injury, and why someone’s ability to function is just forever changed. It is too real in in people’s lives that, you know, they had faced some of the craziest hurdles and challenges before and just powered through. And this has been what has kind of disrupted and ended a lot of kind of their type of normalcy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:06

    You’re you’re so good. You’re getting saved on the on the hardest rapid fire questions. We are out of time. I could do a whole hour on Afghanistan, by the way, didn’t even get to Afghanistan. So maybe another time we can have you back, do another Bulwark thing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:17

    So you get two reps five questions, then we’re out. Okay? Ready? Number one, everyone gets it. Yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:20

    Something you change your mind about as an adult. And us never jumpers get very comfortable with with changes, with wisdom gathering. But I’ll let you think about it. I’m explaining why, you know, like, we
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:31

    Oh, gosh. Something as an adult I change my ad. Can you change
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:34

    your ad? Could be anything? Just naturally politics.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:36

    I really love strawberry jam, and I used to hate it when I was a kid.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:39

    It’s mushrooms for me though. It just happened. Vaded mushrooms my whole life. I just started eating oyster mushrooms. They’re fantastic.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:44

    What didn’t you like about strawberry jam?
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:47

    It was just kinda too clumpy. Too
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:48

    gloopy. Are you a picky eater?
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:50

    Not really. I just prefer grape jelly when I was
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:52

    a kid. Okay. You’re giving one a hard one then to finish because I’m not satisfied, strawberry jam answer. I was gonna ask you your your the favor of Republican new beer with, we’ve already done Chipotle even if that’s not him. So the question is, president Obama famously said, you have a drink with Mitch McConnell.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:07

    I’m not gonna do it. Who would you least like to have a drink with on the Republican side? Least like to. Lease. CIA torsher, at least.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:16

    I know. This goes against your nature. I know. I it was an easy question. You are prepared for most.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:21

    Because you work across the aisle unlike your colleagues. But there has to be one that you’re like, really, you’re gonna make me do this. You
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:30

    know what, though, I live by the mantra that even a broken clock is right twice a day. But
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:37

    Okay. So who is the broken clock?
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:39

    Yeah. I’ll yeah. I have no problem, Ken. I’ll I’ll go with Jim Jordan on this one.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:43

    Two for two. Jim Jordan is two for two Colin Alder and also Jim Jordan. He was a little less kind of, you know, pained about it because you’re a good person at heart and one avalanche. Hey,
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:53

    does that mean that you do have a beer with Colin Allred while we’re rejecting Jim Jordan.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:57

    You guys should have one together. I’ve kept you longer than I should have. Congestan, Spanberger. Thank you so much. So grateful for your time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:04

    I spared you the final rapid fire question about naming the favorite chapter of my book that you claimed to have read. I don’t wanna I’m not we’re not doing it. I’m not giving you a book report. We’re just I’m just gonna take it as a word that it happened. I’m
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:16

    gonna send you my finished on Kindle so you can see I actually read it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:19

    Yeah. It’s like it’s okay. I I believe it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:22

    I read it on Koda with a bunch of Republicans. I enjoy every minute of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:25

    Thank you very much. And I look forward to and I will be now bugging you about social media tips for my daughter. As as she gets older, you’re ahead of me. You’ve got three. I have a lot more questions for you, but we’ll keep that in the green room.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:39

    And for everybody else, we’ll be back on Wednesday for the normal next level, not the normal. The standard, the every Wednesday, your your favorite trio, Sarah Longwell JBL. And we’ll have another guest next Sunday who will not be as charming as Abigail’s hamburger, but probably will like multiple types of jam. We’ll see you then.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:57

    Bye.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:57

    Bye.
Want to listen without ads? Join Bulwark+ for an exclusive ad-free version of The Next Level Podcast! Learn more here. Already a Bulwark+ member? Access the premium version here.