Roe: Attack on Iran 'will be bad for the whole world'

Hank Hayes • Sep 16, 2019 at 5:45 PM

KINGSPORT — A U.S. attack on Iran in the aftermath of a drone strike on Saudi Arabian oil facilities "will be bad for the whole world," U.S. Rep. Phil Roe told a Kingsport Chamber luncheon on Monday.

"I think the Iranians were behind it. That's what Mike Pompeo, our secretary of state, believes," Roe, R-Tennessee, told more than 100 business leaders during the luncheon. "The sanctions are crippling them. We know that from a briefing I got last weekend. That's why they are doing this, they're trying to provoke a strike to gin up their own people. They've got big problems inside Iran, internal problems. I don't know how far you go and let them keep doing this before you do respond, but it won't be good. It will be bad for the whole world."

Iran’s hijacking of foreign oil tankers, Roe stressed, did nothing to fuel prices.

"The United States of America is now energy independent ... we are now a net exporter of energy," Roe pointed out.

The chamber luncheon was held so Roe could give an update on what's happening in Congress and for an annual presentation of the U.S. Chamber's Spirit of Enterprise Award to Roe for his pro-business votes in 2018.

Roe, now in his sixth term in office, said the national economy is so good there are 6.5 million jobs available right now.

"I'm not saying you're going to be the president of General Motors when you get out of college but you can find a good job," Roe noted.

Roe described President Trump's trade war with China as a "big problem" and "has not been fair" because of China stealing intellectual property.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal, meanwhile, needs to be passed by Congress, Roe said.

"I think it will pass overwhelmingly if it would just be brought up," he said of the trade deal. "There will be more manufacturing jobs created ... I was in Vietnam three, four years ago and they very much want to partner with the U.S. and not with the Chinese."

When asked about President Trump's impact on the Republican Party, Roe pointed out the large crowd Trump drew at Johnson City's Freedom Hall.

"The fire marshal's shorts catch on fire when there's about 7,500 people there (at Freedom Hall)," Roe responded. "They said you could have 50 VIP tickets. They would run me out of town on a rail if I only had 50 tickets. They ended up giving me a few more. What's amazed me about him is the absolute number of people everywhere he goes."