State Politics

Burr says it’s been a challenging week, but there’s more to worry about in the world

Burr: 'Our partners around the world are hungry for American leadership'

Video: U.S. Senator Richard Burr says the previous administration wanted to 'rotate' world leadership as he speaks at a foreign policy forum in Raleigh Friday. He says that wasn't a good idea.
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Video: U.S. Senator Richard Burr says the previous administration wanted to 'rotate' world leadership as he speaks at a foreign policy forum in Raleigh Friday. He says that wasn't a good idea.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr underlined for a group of conservatives meeting on trade and global policies in the Trump era on Friday night the nation faces serious threats that must be confronted.

Burr’s appearance completed an unusually high-profile week for the veteran Republican North Carolina senator. Earlier he waded into the controversy over President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey by announcing he was “troubled by the timing and reasoning” of the action. He said the firing “confuses an already difficult investigation.”

Burr is co-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which along with the FBI is probing Russian meddling in the presidential election. On Friday, he only briefly referred to the intense week after former Ambassador to Denmark Jim Cain introduced him by saying the events had thrust him “upon this moment in history.”

“It’s been a little challenging week for me,” Burr said to an appreciative crowd. “This year every day is Monday. Monday is not the favorite day of the week for most. Every day of my life now is Monday.

“It’s safe to say that, with the events of the last week, it’s reminded me of the importance of what I do. It’s also reminded me that, with the hearing yesterday on global threats, that I can’t just focus my efforts on an investigation and Russia’s involvement in our elections, because the world is a very unstable place as it relates to security.”

Sharing the dinner billing at the event hosted by the Jesse Helms Center Foundation was former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton. On Thursday, Bolton commented on the Breitbart News Daily satellite radio station that the Trump administration should have fired Comey on Jan. 20.

“James Comey disgraced the FBI by his conduct of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and many, many other things that have never become public but that agents talk about in private conversations,” Bolton said on the radio.

The men were the dinner speakers at a one-day event with panel discussions and addresses on the topics of foreign policy and trade challenges in the era of Trump.

Most of Burr’s remarks focused on global security, and his comments on Comey notwithstanding, he ended with praise for the president, whom he has supported from early on.

Burr said the security briefings he receives every morning now reflect threats in every continent.

Creating jobs with an educated workforce, aggressive tax reform and a strategic plan to confront the threats are needed, along with getting the most out of technology, which could be the “secret sauce” to eliminate some of the dangers posed around the world, he said.

“I really worried as this year started with such a split of the American people, could we do big things?” Burr said. “I’m convinced today after hearing the president — who’s only focused on big things — we have no choice. We’re destined right now to do big things.”

The dinner was attended by many well-known Republicans, including former state health agency secretary Aldona Wos, who Trump appointed to a commission.

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO

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