Kansas’ newest congressmen criticize the press, stress GOP loyalty during Trump’s rough week

U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, a Republican representing south-central Kansas, speaks Wednesday night on Fox News. (Screenshot)

As President Donald Trump seeks to move past the strife and scandals that at times have enveloped the first few months of his presidency, Kansas’ newest Republican congressmen have called for party unity and placed blame on the media.


In a statement Thursday, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall called investigations into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia “a witch hunt.”

“There’s been a clear slant that has permeated our national political coverage,” Marshall said. “Half-truths and innuendo have defined the conversation.”

Marshall, who was elected in November to represent central and western Kansas, urged the media to focus on “the many good things this president and Congress are doing,” such as a recent deal between the Trump administration and China to soften economic barriers on beef.

“This accomplishment from President Trump matters to Kansas — not empty accusations and absurd conjecture that have flooded the airwaves,” he said.

Marshall, who represents the most conservative swath of Kansas, was a guest at the White House two weeks ago and hasn’t shied away from closeness with the Trump administration, even as some congressional Republicans have.

U.S. Rep. Ron Estes was a guest Wednesday night on Fox News, where host Lou Dobbs said the White House “is under a full, 360-degree attack from all corners.”

“It’s kind of amazing,” Estes said in response. “When you take over the responsibility of the presidency the way he’s doing, you’ve got to give him some latitude to get his job done. And, you know, not everybody in the country voted for him — he recognized that — but we should be supporting and helping him work through some of these issues.”

Estes, who was elected in an April special election, was asked about comments from veteran U.S. Sens. John McCain and Bob Corker, who have said they are deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s “downward spiral.”

“I’m not sure what’s driving some of those comments,” Estes said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of work that has to be done at the White House, and we, as Republicans, I think we should be supporting the president and helping him work through those issues and helping address those.”

Dobbs ended the segment by lauding Estes’ patriotism and loyalty to the president.

Trump’s legislative efforts have taken a backseat in recent weeks to ceaseless investigations into Russian ties, the behavior of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI director James Comey. In addition to congressional investigations, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday that former FBI director Robert Mueller will oversee an investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“If a special counsel is what it will take for Washington to move on to do the people’s work — so be it,” Marshall said.

“I have confidence,” Estes said Thursday, “in former Director Mueller and the professionals at the U.S. Department of Justice to give us a full and fact-based account of any possible efforts to undermine our election process.”

Veteran Republican members of Kansas’ congressional delegation have been disinclined to defend the president when asked about investigations into Trump and some of the president’s more bellicose statements. The often cautious U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran has said Trump’s decision to share intelligence with Russia damages and distracts from other important work.