Nebraska Gov. Ricketts makes statement on political unity

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 8:34 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts took a moment during his news conference Friday morning to make a political comment on the impeachment of former President Trump, call on President Biden to stop the trial from moving forward, and restate his opinion that the 2020 election should be investigated.

Two days after he attended Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., Ricketts said he thought it was important to witness the peaceful transition of power, and that the new president “struck the right tone” in calling for unity.

Ricketts then pointed out that more Republican governors were in attendance than Democratic governors. Ballotpedia currently lists 27 sitting governors who are Republicans and 23 who are Democrats.

Ricketts said he hoped the president would use his influence over Congress “because they’re not going that direction with proceeding on the impeachment trial, or the impeachment charges, which I think just brings dis-unity.”

The governor said he didn’t agree with calls from Senate Democrats to investigate Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri for their perceived role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“This seems to me to create more divisiveness not healing or unity, and what the Congress oughtta be (sic) doing is looking at how they can assure the public of the integrity of the voter process,” Ricketts said.

Many Americans have questions about the voting process, he said, but reassured Nebraskans that “we did a very good job here.” The governor said he thought Congress could benefit from creating a commission that would look into the last election and its processes.

“So that everybody would know we had a free and fair election and have that assurance for the next elections going forward as well,” he said.

Ricketts defends Trump response to COVID-19

Asked for a comment on UNMC Dr. James Lawler’s recent criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ricketts said he disagreed and pivoted to controversial statements made by Dr. Andrew Fauci in the early days of the pandemic.

“The president took immediate steps,” Ricketts said.

The governor said Trump was the one who imposed the 10-person capacity rule right away in March, and that the decision demonstrated the president was taking the situation seriously.

“I think the president took quick action,” Ricketts said. “The president took quick steps on this.”

Ricketts also praised Trump’s decision to halt airline travel from countries reporting “high cases” of COVID-19 amid criticism that he was being xenophobic.

Keystone XL Pipeline ‘bad for Nebraska’

The governor also commented on Biden’s decision Thursday to halt the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“I think this is a terrible decision,” Ricketts said.

Nebraska will miss out on the creation of high-paying, highly specialized welding union jobs as well as any of the property taxes that would have been infused into some counties.

He also dismissed any concerns about environmental issues.

“This was going to be the safest pipeline ever,” he said.

The oil will still move, he said, but by other means that are not likely to be not as safe and will still generate greenhouse gases.

Or the production will move offshore to a country that doesn’t have the same environmental protections as the U.S. does.

“This is not going to help us with energy independence,” Ricketts said. “This is bad for Nebraska; it’s bad for our country.”

Ricketts said he would encourage the Biden administration to take another look at the decision, noting that the pipeline “is coming from one of our closest allies, Canada.”

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