ORLANDO, Fla. — Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., on Friday said conservatives need to “get busy” and make their voices heard ahead of the 2022 midterm elections while pushing for a tougher stance on Chinese influence in the U.S.
Blackburn, who spoke to Fox News in an exclusive interview ahead of her address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), said the main challenge for conservatives is pushing back against the “Biden agenda.”
“This really is a different year because we have the radical left in charge of the White House, the House and Senate and they would love to get rid of our free speech…diminish our religious liberties, take away the Second Amendment and they’re being very aggressive, not through legislation alone, but also through these executive orders,” she said.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
In response, she said, conservatives must fight for their own liberties and freedoms, even as they find themselves without control of Congress or the executive branch and facing people who she says want to “radically change the country.”
“Conservatives want lower taxes, less regulation, a strong military, they want to have individual freedoms, they want everyone to have opportunity and prosperity, so this is important that conservatives show up, make their voices heard and say we value our rights and our freedoms,” she said.
She cited key issues like the Equality Act, COVID-related spending, election integrity, the push against China, and the effort by the Biden administration to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“People need to be paying close attention and they need to make their opinions known to their elected representatives,” she said.
Many conservatives are now beginning to look forward to the 2022 elections. Fox News reported this week that President Trump will map out the path to a Republican victory in the midterms.
Blackburn said a key issue for conservatives was ensuring there was election integrity ahead of the elections.
‘What we have to do is realize 2022 is right around the corner and they need to get busy,” she said. “We need to make certain that they are working in their communities, with their local election commission to clean up election rolls, they need to be working with their state legislature, supporting voter ID, supporting policies that are going to make certain that the votes are handled right on the front end with the ballots.”
She said Tennessee has worked hard to clean up voter rolls and expressed disappointment that other states hadn’t done the same.
“Everybody needs to say, ‘I’m going down to the election commission, I’m going to see if I can help, let’s clean these rolls up, let’s verify signatures, let’s work the polls and let’s be a participant in protecting our freedom,’” she said.
Blackburn has regularly focused on issues like border security as well as combating malign influence from geopolitical foes like China and Iran. She said there was “no reason” the administration should be negotiating with Iran — something the Biden administration said it is open to doing if it complies with the deal.
She warned that failing to secure the border would embolden traffickers: “You have to pay attention to securing that southern border.”
While noting that voter fraud was a state matter in many cases, she repeatedly referenced China in a list of what she believed conservatives could target on the federal level.
“On the federal level we need to fight all of this out-of-control federal spending, we need to make certain we are prohibiting some of these trade deals that are going to cost American jobs,” she said.
“And we need to be very specific with China that we know they’re our adversary, they are not our ally and we need to bring our manufacturing jobs back from China, we need to end these Confucius Institutes that are on our college campuses and we need to make sure China is held accountable for sending us COVID-19,” she said.