Pfluger speaks on Trevor Reed release, other topics at Early town hall

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
U.S. Rep. August Pfluger speaks at a town hall meeting Monday morning at the Early Visitors and Event Center.

EARLY -- U.S. Rep. August Pfluger of Texas' 11th Congressional District spoke about the recent release of Marine veteran Trevor Reed from a Russian prison, the border crisis and "the assault on energy" in a town hall meeting Monday morning in Early.

Pfluger, a Republican from San Angelo who is in his first term in Congress, spoke to an audience of about 40 people in the Early Visitors and Event center.

Pfluger spoke for several minutes about the release of Reed, whose hometown of Granbury is in Pluger's district. Pfluger said Reed was held for 985 days in the Russian prison as a political pawn.

Pfluger said his predecessor, then-Rep. Mike Conaway, introduced him to Reed's parents, Joey and Paula Reed, in 2020. Pfluger said he started "a meticulous campaign to make sure all of Congress knew about (Reed)."

Speaking of other Americans who are being held in Russia and other countries, Pfluger said, “this is why it just infuriates me to hear this narrative about our country and how unjust our  country is. If there is anything that we can do better, we are always looking for a way to do it better. I think that’s the great thing about America. And there are things that we can do in our society that are better. But you are innocent until proven guilty. That’s not the same in  Russia. He was guilty. On that second day he was guilty."

Pluger credited President Biden with putting "patriotism over politics" in agreeing to meet with Joey and Paula Reed and later agreeing to a prisoner swap that led to Reed's release.

"The president had to make a tough decision but I’m glad he brought (Reed) home to Texas," Pfluger said. “Last week we got word that Trevor was going to return to the United States. So on (Wednesday) afternoon I flew from Washington, D.C. , to San Antonio. I was able to be with the family and was there to watch Trevor Reed putting his foot on American soil for the first time in 985 days.”

Pfluger also credited Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas' 18th Congressional District with helping him in his campaign for Reed's release. "While we may have completely different views on 90 percent of the issues, we had the same view on this issue, and that was bring Trevor Reed home. And she helped me," Pfluger said.

Speaking about the border crisis, Pfluger asked, "how about we put patriotism over politics at the southern border?”

Pfluger, who is a member of Committee on Homeland Security, said the committee was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks "to make sure we protect our homeland."

Noting that it took 18 or 19 people to plan and carry out the 9-11 attacks, Pfluger said 27 people "popped on the terror watch list" after entering the United States between October and May. "These are people that are being flagged, that we know about," Pfluger said. 

Pfluger referred to recent testimony before Congress by Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “This was the most shameful testimony in a hearing that I’ve been a part of in Congress because he’s telling the American public that are border is secure," Pfluger said. "He told the American public that he has a six-pillar plan to keep our border safe.

"I said 'Mr. Secretary, we’re not buying it. The American public’s not buying it.' I told him that I think he should resign. I also told him that I hope he’s successful in securing our country because his success is our success." 

Pfluger said he's just credited the Biden administration for putting "patriotism over politics" in the Trevor Reed release.

"Now it’s time to do it with the security of our homeland," Pfluger said. "Have we already forgotten what happened on 9-11? “I didn't forget. We’re at a really critical point with regards to our border."

Referring to the Department of Homeland Security’s creation of a Disinformation Governance Board, Pfluger said, "I couldn’t think of a worse idea.  We don’t need the federal government to police information. I wonder if this has anything to do with Elon Musk buying Twitter?

"We have seen countries who have gone down this path and it always ends poorly. Always. I am going to introduce a piece of legislation to defund this disinformation ministry that Mayorkas has introduced because that is un-American."

In his final topic — which he described as “this assault that is happening on the energy industry" — Pfluger said, "we’re not in an energy transition, we are in an energy expansion. The world is needing more energy every single day and Texas is leading the charge. Our needs are expanding and we have a solution. It’s called the Permian Basin and that solution provides affordable, reliable energy, not just here, but it also provides it to our allies."

Pfluger said he spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in late January, before the Russian invasion began. He said he asked Zelenskyy  “what does the Nord Stream project that comes from Russia and circumvents eastern Europe, what does that mean to you? He said without Nord Stream, Russia would not have the impetus or the leverage to invade," Pfluger said.

"Think about that — a pipeline and energy were being weaponized in a way that gave Putin the impetus and the leverage to invade a sovereign country, and now 4 ½, 5 million people are refugees. How many thousands of needless deaths have there been — not just Ukrainians but also Russian soldiers? Needless. Completely needless."

 Pfluger referred to "failed energy policies" in the United States and Europe saying, "what we really should have been doing was taking care of our own energy security and making sure that our European allies had the product. If only the Europeans had followed the right policies instead of listening to what really amounted to a teenage perspective on this. And now here we are, where we have millions of deaths in the name of what I call the climate gods. Because it’s kind of like a religion."