Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) sat down with Tucker Carlson for a little over two hours, where the two discussed a variety of topics, including the grip that lobbies such as AIPAC has have over legislative agendas, freedom of speech, government surveillance, and the influence of the media when it comes to the political polarization of American politics.

(If you click into the tweet below you can navigate to various sections)

Massie began by opining on the US National Debt, which currently stands at just under $35 trillion.

You know, it’s hard to comprehend 14 digits of debt. But when you see the last five digits are moving so fast, you can’t, you know, perceive them with your eyes, then you kind of understand. Whoa, we are problem here. I mean, it’s a $100,000 a second, roughly. So imagine we had this catapult and we were launching, cyber trucks once a second into the ocean. That’s how much debt we’re taking on, continuously.

He noted a troubling tendency by Congress to treat the debt as a mere abstraction vs. an urgent reality that requires immediate and decisive action, telling Carlson “I am trying to make people feel very uncomfortable” so a to raise awareness.

Lobbyists Rule DC

Massie then went into his views on lobbying and his stance on foreign aid – in particular, his consistent record of voting against funding for Israel. He explained that his opposition to these measures is not rooted in animosity towards Israel but stems from a broader philosophical and fiscal responsibility perspective against excessive foreign aid and involvement in overseas conflicts.

“Look, we haven’t named three post offices like in the last month. We voted like 15 or 16 times on issues related to Israel. And, you know, I’ve been hit because I voted no on all of them.

His repeated votes against funding Israel reflect his commitment to reducing U.S. expenditures overseas, which he views as contributing to the national debt and entangling the U.S. in foreign issues that do not directly serve American interests. Massie’s larger concern is the implications of US foreign policy decisions and the use of US taxpayer funds to achieve them.

He then delved deep into the workings and influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on the legislative processes of the United States Congress – and in particular, how the organization shapes the agenda in Washington DC, often overshadowing domestic priorities.

According to Massie, AIPAC effectively places “minders” on GOP members to monitor and influence their actions and voting – saying that each Republican seems to have an “AIPAC person” or babysitter.

“I have Republicans, you come to me on the floor and say, ‘I wish I could vote with you today. Yours is the right vote, but I would just take too much flak back home,” adding “And I have Republicans who come to me and say, ‘That’s wrong, what a PAC is doing to you. Let me talk to my AIPAC person.’ By the way, everybody but me has an AIPAC person.”

MASSIE: It’s like your babysitter. Your AIPAC babysitter who is always talking to you for AIPAC. They’re probably a constituent in your district, but they are, you know, firmly embedded in AIPAC.

CARLSON: And every member has something like this.

MASSIE: Every Re– I don’t know how it works on the Democrats’ side. But that’s how it works on the Republican side. And when they come to D.C., you go have lunch with them. And they’ve got your cell number and you have conversations with them. So I’ve had like–

CARLSON: That’s absolutely crazy.

MASSIE: I’ve had four members of Congress say, “I’ll talk to my AIPAC person.” And like that’s clearly what we call them, my AIPAC guy. I’ll talk to my AIPAC guy and see if I can get them to, you know, dial those ads back.

CARLSON: Why have I never heard this before?

MASSIE: It doesn’t benefit anybody. Why would they want to tell their constituents that they’ve basically got a buddy system with somebody who’s representing a foreign country? It doesn’t benefit the congressman for people to know that. So they’re not going to tell you that.

“They pay for trips for congressmen and their spouses to go to Israel,” Massie continued. “I’m not the only Republican who hasn’t taken the AIPAC trip to Israel, but I’m probably one of a dozen that hasn’t taken that trip and the other ones just haven’t got around to it.”

Censorship and Freedom of Speech

Massie also addressed concerns related to censorship, particularly focusing on legislation that impacts freedom of speech on university campuses. For example, he was critical of a bill that proposed to combat anti-Semitism in educational institutions but, according to him, used an overly broad and externally defined criterion that could potentially limit free speech, pointing out the problematic aspects of using an external definition of anti-Semitism from a website, which he felt could lead to censorship of legitimate academic discussions and expressions. He questioned the rationale behind not including the definition directly in the bill, which could lead to ambiguities and potential misuse:

“They brought a bill to Congress, and this was actually a binding bill, not a non-binding resolution… the problem with this bill is they use some international definition of anti-Semitism on a website somewhere. My first question is, why don’t you just put the definition in the bill?”

He then said that referencing an external source for defining what constitutes hate speech could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated censorship, particularly in educational settings where freedom of speech is crucial.

For instance, saying that, Jews kill Jesus, which is, you know, in the Bible, he was he was not welcome among his own people. Okay. And so that would be anti-Semitism. And if you engaged in that on campus or just offered that as a thought, let’s say in a classroom, you would be anti-Semitic and you would run afoul of the Department of Education and some federal laws.”

Out-of-control Government

Massie also discussed his concerns over government surveillance, privacy, and overreach, specifically focusing on legislative measures that would allow more intrusive government control. One of the main examples he brought up was related to automotive regulations that would permit remote deactivation of vehicles.

For example, a law that mandates new cars sold by 2026 must have the capability to be remotely turned off by authorities. Massie criticized this capability as a significant overreach, saying, “By 2026, every new automobile sold has to be able to turn itself off if it doesn’t like you’re driving… How do you appeal this conviction at the roadside?” This statement underscores his concerns about the potential for misuse and the erosion of individual freedoms and privacy.

Massie suggests a call to action for policymakers, technologists, and the public to consider the long-term implications of short-term safety measures.

His message is based in libertarian principles, and focuses on the trade-offs between security measures and personal freedoms. With the car example above, Massie slams  the lack of recourse or transparency in how these technologies are applied. For him, the principle of autonomy—being able to control one’s movement without unwarranted interference—is paramount.

This article was first published at ZeroHedge