MANCHESTER, Iowa -- After a tour of a Manchester factory this morning, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters that he hoped President Donald Trump would "lie low."
While congressional Democrats worked in Washington, D.C. to advance plans for a second impeachment of Trump, Grassley was touring several manufacturing operations. One of those was a Manchester facility of Henderson Products, which produces equipment for municipal snow and ice removal.
There, he was asked for his message to Trump, as President-elect Joe Biden plans to take his place in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
"Lie low for a long time," Grassley said, regarding Trump. "I say that for respect of his policies. The way he does things is quite a bit different than other people do them. But when I see a president run on a platform and try to carry that platform out, I have great respect for a president who does in office what he said he would do on the campaign. But with the situation since the election, lie low."
Just more than one hour earlier, Trump defended the speech he gave ahead of last week's storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, calling his remarks "totally appropriate." Grassley said this morning that he would not comment on Trump's statements since he had not yet heard them, and Grassley did not comment on last week's events.
Similarly, he said he would not comment on the U.S. House of Representatives' potential impeachment of the president since he had not yet seen the article of impeachment.
He said he was prepared to be an objective juror should the case come before the Senate.
"We're too much concentrated on something that won't be an issue," Grassley said, regarding concerns about what Trump might do or say before departing office. "I look forward to the next eight days being quiet, then moving forward with the agenda of the next president."
Grassley said he was optimistic that, as a member of the minority party, he could work well with Biden, citing decades of working together when both served in the Senate.
"I want to help him be a unifier," he said. "If he serves as president the way he did for 30 years in Congress, he is very easy to work with, reach bipartisan agreement with."
Specifically, Grassley said he hoped to finally see his bipartisan Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act become law. The bill passed out of the Senate Finance Committee in 2019 before stalling.
"I thought we were going to get it done even over (Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell’s opposition because President Trump was for my agreement," Grassley said. "But then (incoming Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck) Schumer said, ‘We’re not going to bring that up because it might help Trump get re-elected.’ Since President Biden said he wants to get drug prices down, just like President Trump said, we ought to be able to get it done now."
However, the longtime senator said he hoped Biden's inauguration is not immediately followed by his reversal of many Trump-era policies.
"I hope there are a lot of policies in the tax area and the deregulation area that Trump instituted that (Biden) won’t try to undo — even though, in the tax area, he’s said he wants to undo the tax decrease of 2017," he said. "I think that’d be bad for the economy. I hope those two or three things that got us to the best economy we had in 50 years, pre-pandemic, he doesn’t undo."
Grassley took five questions from the press after his tour and held a question-and-answer session with employees in Manchester.
In response to a question from a Henderson employee, Grassley said he doesn't think Congress should approve more direct payments to Americans in pandemic relief bills, saying he would have liked to have taken another direction.
“When you pay $600 to a person on top of their unemployment, you’re paying them more not to work than to work,” he said. “We won’t repeat that.”
Those payments were also a concern for Henderson President Todd Fierro.
"That truly had a negative impact on us and our ability to hire," he told the Telegraph Herald after today's event. "We are hiring. We are prepared to train, to do whatever we need to do to bring people in. So any kind of help we can get from the incoming Congress to motivate people to come to work, we are fully in support of."
Before his stop in Manchester, Grassley also toured Premier Tooling and Manufacturing in Peosta today and held another Q&A with employees, according to a social media post by Grassley. The Telegraph Herald was not aware of that event prior to it being held, and it is unclear if any other media was invited to attend.