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Capitol Hill veterans give DMU politics students priceless insight into US elections

Two former congressmen who were at the heart of US politics for decades have given students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) crucial insights into how Donald Trump became President.

Texan Democrat Martin Frost, and Georgian Republican Phil Gingrey took questions from students on politics courses about the election and how America could develop under the Trump administration.

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They were appearing as part of the annual Congress to Campus event, which see former and current members of the US Congress visit DMU to discuss trending political topics.

Dr Gingrey served on numerous influential committees including those scrutinising education, health and the armed forces. Since leaving politics last year he has become a senior advisor to law firm Drinker Biddle.

He said that Trump’s celebrity had helped him win the election.

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He said: “The other candidates couldn’t scratch the surface because Donald Trump’s outlandish remarks kept him in front of the cameras.

“But the house majorities are going to hold his to the fire with regard to his campaign promises, that’s for sure.”

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Mr Frost, who represented Texas for 26 years until 2005, was a journalist and a lawyer who is now a commentator for FOX News, a columnist and a lobbyist. During the 2008 election Frost was president of America Votes, helping to turn out the vote in different states.

He said: “What happened, I believe, is that my party, the Democrats, ignored the concerns of a lot of blue collar workers in the heartland, about having lost of possibly losing their jobs.

“However, though both houses have a Republican majority, not everybody just stands up and salutes. He is a President, not a dictator.”

Both men said they were happy to be in Leicester, with Mr Frost saying that in the US, Leicester City’s Premier League success had been almost as big news as the race for the White House.

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They both agreed that outgoing President Barack Obama was a good man but differed in their estimation of his term in office.

Mr Frost said he thought Obama had done a ‘decent job’ with a mixed record on foreign policy but applauded his efforts to introduce the Affordable Care Act, known as ‘Obamacare’.

Dr Gingrey said: “I think he got frustrated early on with Congress and maybe his lack of experience showed up.”

Students also quizzed the two men on how they felt the change of administration – and the result of the EU Referendum – could change the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US but both agreed they thought it would continue.

Posted on Tuesday 24th January 2017

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