GOP's Lee Zeldin: "We just need to keep on pressing forward" amid Trump tumult

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

WASHINGTON —  Rep. Lee Zeldin was rushing his way through another busy Thursday at the Capitol.

The House was in session, and Zeldin, 37, had votes to cast. The New York Republican had just been named to a new task force on the balance of power between federal, state and tribal governments. 

Plus there was that meet-and-greet with a group of visiting eighth graders from his native Long Island.

Over all the day's usual business, though, hung an entirely unusual storyline: the appointment of a special counsel to lead an investigation into possible links between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.

Speaking to a reporter in the Capitol's Statuary Hall, Zeldin seemed as unsurprised to field questions about the Trump-Russia probe as he was eager to talk about the legislation he's pushing.  

In that regard, Zeldin, an attorney who was elected to Congress in 2014 and an Army veteran who served in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division, isn't that much different than many of his peers. He's trying to do his job, but it's the president and the turmoil he's created that's sucking up all the oxygen.

Asked by Mic about the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head the investigation, Zeldin mainly played it down the middle.

"Whatever findings come forward, as a member of Congress, I look forward to reviewing. As a member of the American public, [I] will be interested and looking forward to seeing those documents and those findings," he said. "And then you form decisions based on those facts, wherever they may lead. I'm not someone who wants to rush to judgment on something that is this important."

That said, Zeldin segues into what he's doing on projects "closer to home on Long Island," such as advancing legislation to protect local waterways and secure more benefits for veterans.

"We just need to keep on pressing forward with the agenda every day," said Zeldin, who also co-chairs the House Republican Israel Caucus, and serves on the Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.  

"There are many issues that people identify as their top issue. One person might say it's the economy someone else might say it's health care. Someone else may say it's Russia," he said. "And you have to respect everyone's opinions and priorities and just press forward on all fronts."

Lee Zeldin, an attorney and Army veteran, was elected to Congress in 2016.
Source: 
Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

His advice to young people trying to make it through the fog of today's political war?

"When there's an issue you care about," he said, "do your homework. Ask questions. And don't just believe the first thing you come in contact with. You know, some anonymous blog on Facebook shouldn't be your source [for] all answers to what you're passionate about."

Correction: May 22, 2017
A previous version of this post misstated when Zeldin was first elected to Congress. It was in 2014.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Republican Sen. Johnson and Independent Sen. Sanders call for health bill delay on 'Meet the Press'

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.

President Trump responds to Obama's criticism of Senate health care plan

On 'Fox and Friends,' President Trump claims he actually agrees with Obama on something.

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."

Republican Sen. Johnson and Independent Sen. Sanders call for health bill delay on 'Meet the Press'

A call to postpone the vote on the Senate's health care bill till after the July 4 holiday recess has bipartisan support.

President Trump responds to Obama's criticism of Senate health care plan

On 'Fox and Friends,' President Trump claims he actually agrees with Obama on something.

Report: Rex Tillerson may drop Iraq, Myanmar from child soldiers list

Tillerson overruled his own staff, who said neither country has actually stopped using child soldiers.

Donald Trump is now blaming Obama for Russian election interference

Trump tweeted Obama "choked" on Russia, adding he thinks Obama was trying to protect Hillary Clinton.

Former Obama defense official: Russia hacks are "political equivalent of 9/11"

"I don't see much evidence of a response," Vickers added.

Groups spending millions to defeat Senate health care bill: "We win or lose over the next week"

"We've been hearing Republicans talk about repeal for seven years. It comes down to these next seven days."