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A Republican Donor On The State Of The GOP


Sixty-two percent of President Trump's supporters can't think of a thing he's done that they don't like. That's according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted over the last week and a half. That same survey found Mr. Trump's national job approval rating to be just 32 percent. But Republican donors have been disappointed in the Republican Congress, which has failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and now struggles with a tax overhaul bill.

One of those donors is Dan Eberhart. He's CEO of Canary, LLC, an energy company that provides oilfield services. He's been a major contributor to the Republican National Committee and supported past presidential campaigns. We spoke with him in October.

Mr. Eberhart, thanks for being back with us. We do appreciate you giving us the time. Thank you.

DAN EBERHART: Well, thank you for having me back, Scott.

SIMON: I gather you've been speaking in support of the tax bill. I've got to ask. I don't know of any assessment by an economist that thinks the Republican plans wouldn't increase the deficit - by over a trillion dollars, according to the Congressional Budget Office - and also hurt people in the middle and low incomes while benefiting the upper-income levels. Is this what you want your party to stand for?

EBERHART: Well, first of all, I do think that there's several economists that think it will provide tax relief for middle-class Americans. I think you're wrong on that, respectfully. But I do think it adds to the deficit. But I think the goal here is to create a tax plan that's going to provide tax relief for working families and provide for economic growth, which, in the long term, is going to lead to more revenue for the government, not less.

SIMON: Has that worked in the past? I don't know of studies that support that.

EBERHART: Well, I think it has worked in the past. And I think that it's also specifically designed to create economic growth. So that's what I think will happen as we pass the tax reform.

SIMON: We, inevitably, have to ask this question now. And I'll stipulate...


SIMON: ...That sexual harassment's been a problem in both parties and the media, for that matter. But, you know, Democrats can say they got John Conyers and Al Franken to resign. Roy Moore is still on the ballot in Alabama against the Democrat Doug Jones.

Mitt Romney, who you once supported for president, tweeted this week, quote, "Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity."

How do you feel about that?

EBERHART: Well, I mean, I have the utmost respect for Mitt Romney, and I'm a big Mitt Romney fan. But I think, at this point, it's just up to the voters of Alabama. I think, you know, all the information's out there. And I think that the voters are going to make a decision as to who they believe.

SIMON: I have to ask - the Pew study we've cited at the top, of course, says 62 percent of the president's supporters like him a lot. How do you feel, Mr. Eberhart, about your party bearing a brand that, right now, is liked by only 32 percent of the American people? I mean, is that a good brand? Is that a strategy for growth?

EBERHART: Well, I mean, I think that we need - or theoretically, at least - you know, 51 percent to win. And I think we've got - that means we've got more work to do. I think - you know, I've been very critical of the, particularly the Senate, not passing repeal-and-replace or something similar on Obamacare or some measure to fix it. And what my stance - and what I've been saying publicly - is we need to use the majority to produce economic growth, to better the education environment in this country and to provide for, you know, stronger national security. And I'm critical of the GOP for not using the majority to do more of these kind of things.

SIMON: But is that because there is opposition in the country and that's how democracy works?

EBERHART: Well, I mean, that is exactly how democracy works. And we've got the First Amendment. And you can, you know, advocate for what you want. You've got to convince people that your plan is the right plan and worth a shot. So I think that, you know, we've got work to do in the Republican Party. But I think that we've got the best ideas. And we're trying to implement them, but I think we've got a lot of work to do, as the study you cited indicates.

SIMON: Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary, LLC.

Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Eberhart.

EBERHART: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.