|Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 1989
|Preceded by||Dan Lungren|
|Constituency||42nd district (1989–1993)
45th district (1993–2003)
46th district (2003–2013)
48th district (2013–present)
|Born||Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher
June 21, 1947
Coronado, California, U.S.
|Education||University of Southern California
California State University, Long Beach
Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher // (born June 21, 1947) is a member of the U.S House of Representatives representing California's 48th congressional district. A Republican, he served as a speechwriter and Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1988.
In terms of his positions, Rohrabacher voted to repeal Obamacare, denies man-made global warming, is a staunch opponent of illegal immigration, and favors the legalization of marijuana. In foreign policy, he supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, called for Trump to punish Turkish President Erdoğan on embassy violence, sided with Russia in the Russia–Georgia war, gave a qualified defense of the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and supports cooperating with Russia in Syria. Although he later insisted he was joking, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was overheard saying, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and [Donald] Trump. Swear to God." He was warned in 2012 by the FBI that Russian spies may have been trying to recruit him to act on Russia's behalf, after he met with a member of the Russian foreign ministry privately in Moscow. Following the ISIS terrorist attacks in Tehran on June 7th, 2017, in which 17 innocent civilians were killed, he suggested that the attack could be viewed as ‘a good thing', and surmised that President Trump might have been behind the coordination of this terrorist attack. An article in The Atlantic suggested that there was serious concern in the State Department of ties between Rohrabacher and the Russian government.
Prior to working in the Reagan Administration, Rohrabacher served as assistant press secretary to Ronald Reagan during his 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns. During his tenure at the White House, Rohrabacher played a leading role in the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine. He also helped formulate President Reagan's Economic Bill of Rights, which was a series of policy proposals that Reagan introduced in a speech at the Jefferson Memorial.
- 1 Early life, education, and early political career
- 2 U.S. House of Representatives
- 3 Political positions
- 4 Foreign and security policy positions
- 4.1 Foreign policy
- 4.2 Terrorism
- 4.3 Defense of interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition
- 4.4 Afghanistan
- 4.5 Bosnia and Kosovo independence
- 4.6 Organ harvesting in China
- 4.7 Iraq War
- 4.8 Iran
- 4.9 Aid to Pakistan
- 4.10 Support for Mohiuddin Ahmed
- 4.11 Russia
- 4.12 Taiwan
- 4.13 Ukraine
- 4.14 Uzbekistan
- 4.15 Macedonia
- 4.16 Turkey
- 4.17 Eritrea
- 5 Paid by Putin comment
- 6 Personal life
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Early life, education, and early political career
Rohrabacher, who is of German and English descent, was born June 21, 1947, in Coronado, California, the son of Doris M. (née Haring) and Donald Tyler Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher has a long history in Orange County. He attended elementary school locally, and during his college years, he lived in Sunset Beach.
Rohrabacher graduated from Palos Verdes High School in Palos Verdes Estates, California, attended Los Angeles Harbor College, and earned a bachelor's degree in history at California State University, Long Beach in 1969. He received his master's degree in American Studies at the University of Southern California.
While in graduate school and during the early 1970s, he had a side activity as a folk singer. He was also a writer for the Orange County Register. During this time he was considered a free-market anarchist and libertarian activist after his previous membership in Young Americans for Freedom. Libertarian author Samuel Konkin recalled:
|“||The final step toward my libertarianism was provided by an anti-communist free-market anarchist named Dana Rohrabacher at the St. Louis YAF Convention. He was a charismatic campus activist, radicalized by Robert LeFevre who provided him with small funding to travel the country with his instrument and folk songs from campus to campus, converting YAF chapters into Libertarian Alliances and SIL chapters. Alas, later he fell into politics, but not the LP. The Libertarian billionaire Charles Koch supported him in two failed Republicans primary campaigns, and after Rohrabacher put in time as Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, he got his reward of a safe seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Orange County. He is still in office today, with growing seniority. There are few issues on which he is still Libertarian. But in 1969–71, Dana Rohrabacher was the most successful and most beloved Libertarian activist.[excessive quote]||”|
U.S. House of Representatives
Rohrabacher left the Reagan administration in 1988 to pursue the open House seat recently vacated by Dan Lungren. With the fundraising help of friend Oliver North, Rohrabacher was able to win the Republican primary with a plurality of 35%. He won the general election with 64%. He only had serious primary competition twice, in 1992 and 1998. After redistricting, he won a three candidate primary election in 1992 with a plurality of 48%. In 1998, he won an open primary with 54% of the vote. As far as general elections, he only dipped below 55.0% once (2008).
He defeated Democratic nominee Ken Arnold 62%–38%.
After redistricting, he announced that he would run in the newly redrawn California's 48th congressional district. He said "The new 48th District is a good fit and something that will enable me to serve my constituents and the country well." He won re-election in this Orange County district with 61% of the vote.
Rohrabacher won reelection with 64.1% of the vote.
Rohrabacher won reelection with 58.3% of the vote.
A friend and fellow White House aide, Christopher Cox, won a southern Orange County seat in the same election.
In 2011, Rohrabacher voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.
- 2011 Visit to Iraq
During a trip to Iraq in June 2011, he said that Iraq should pay back the U.S. for all the money it had spent since the invasion, when it becomes a wealthy country. Rohrabacher also commented he would be holding a hearing with the Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations into if Iraq committed "crimes against humanity" at Camp Ashraf when a massacre occurred last April. The incident left 34 residents killed and over 300 wounded. The delegation was denied access to the camp by Iraqi government, citing their sovereignty. Rohrabacher's delegation was subsequently asked to leave the country.
- Payment for 30-year-old screenplay
On November 4, 2005, the Los Angeles Times reported that Rohrabacher was paid 23,000 dollars for a thirty-year-old screen play of his. At issue was whether the producer paid him for the screenplay or for the introductions to congressional and federal officials. Rohrabacher said that the introductions were made in good faith, were nothing that was not done regularly for legitimate causes, and that the introductions have only become an issue because of Joseph Medawar's alleged misdeeds.
In May 2006, Rohrabacher announced through his press secretary that he would return the $23,000. The decision was made public shortly before Medawar took responsibility in a United States District Court for bilking $3.4 million from about 50 investors.
In a debate at Orange Coast College, he voiced his support for Proposition 8, which defines marriage in California as only between a man and a woman, and said that he "would suggest not changing the definition of marriage in our society to make a small number of people feel more comfortable."
In February 2017, Rohrabacher faced criticism for refusing to meet with constituents that showed up at his local Huntington Beach office. The constituents were upset with his support of President Donald Trump. Police were called to remove the constituents.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Committee on Science, Space and Technology
Rohrabacher chaired the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee of the House Science Committee from 1997 until January 2005; he received a two-year waiver to serve beyond the six-year term limit.
As a senior member of the International Relations Committee, Rohrabacher led the effort to deny Most Favored Nation trading status to the People's Republic of China, citing that nation's dismal human rights record and opposition to democracy. His subcommittee assignments are East Asia and Pacific, and Middle East and South Asia.
- Congressional Cannabis Caucus
- Congressional Human Rights Caucus
- International Conservation Caucus
- Congressional Taiwan Caucus
- Sportsmen's Caucus
- Freedom Caucus
Rohrabacher is an opponent of the America Invents Act, a bill that is attempting to change the current Patent System. Rohrabacher opposes changing from a "first to invent system" to a "first to file system" saying it "hurts the little guy." Rohrabacher commented "Make no mistake, 'first to file' weakens patent protection. It is likely to make vulnerable individual and small inventors, who don't have an army of lawyers on retainer. These 'little guys' have been the lifeblood of American progress and competitiveness for more than 200 years. Our system was designed to protect individual rights, and it has worked for all – not just the corporate elite." Rohrabacher went on to comment in a Politico op-ed, "We're told this is necessary to harmonize with Japanese and European patent law. But those systems were established by elitists and economic shoguns interested in corporate power, not individual rights."
Rohrabacher supports the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. He has spoken against the policy of cannabis prohibition as early as May 2013, calling it a "colossal failure" in an op-ed penned for the Orange County Register. He further outlined his views in a May 2014 op-ed in National Review, arguing that the prohibition of cannabis has incurred a number of undesirable costs upon free society, such as an increase in gang violence, soaring incarceration rates, unconstitutional seizure of private property through civil forfeiture, corruption and militarization of police forces, and negative impacts on minority communities and relationships with Latin-American countries. Rohrabacher has called on fellow Republicans to reconsider their stance towards cannabis, citing core conservative principles such as limited government, individual liberty, respect for the Tenth Amendment, and respect for the doctor–patient relationship that Rohrabacher says lend support to loosening current laws. He also notes conservative leaders such as Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley, and Grover Norquist that have espoused similar drug policy views. In April 2016, Rohrabacher announced his endorsement of California's Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
Rohrabacher is a strong proponent of states' rights when it comes to cannabis policy. He has introduced the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment for a number of years beginning in 2003, to prohibit the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. The amendment passed the House for the first time in May 2014, becoming law in December 2014 as part of an omnibus spending bill. Additional legislation that Rohrabacher has introduced includes the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act and the Veterans Equal Access Act. Rohrabacher has called on the DEA / DOJ to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule I drugs. In February 2017, Rohrabacher co-founded the Congressional Cannabis Caucus – along with Reps. Don Young (R–AK), Jared Polis (D–CO), and Earl Blumenauer (D–OR) – to help advance policy change regarding cannabis at the federal level.
Rohrabacher was an advocate for the state of California's Proposition 187, which prohibited illegal immigrants from acquiring government services. In 2004, he sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited federal reimbursement of hospital-provided emergency care and certain transportation services to undocumented aliens unless the hospital provided information about the aliens' citizenship, immigration status, financial data, and employer to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Aliens who were in the country illegally would receive reimbursement only after they were deported. The proposed bill was defeated, 331–88.
In early 2008, Rohrabacher endorsed Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary, citing his positions on stemming illegal immigration and criticizing John McCain. About McCain, he said, "He's been the enemy of those of us who have stemmed the flow of illegals into our country, whereas Romney has made some very tough commitments."
In 2011 Rohrabacher proposed the bill H.R. 787 known as the "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2011." The bill "Amends title II of the Social Security Act to exclude from creditable wages and self-employment income any wages earned for services by aliens performed in the United States, and self-employment income derived from a trade or business conducted in the United States, while the alien was not authorized to be so employed or to perform a function or service in such a trade or business."
In 2013, an 18-year-old student visited Rohrabacher's office to discuss immigration reform. At some point their conversation became disagreeable, and the student said the congressman yelled at her "I hate illegals," and threatened to deport her family, statements which Rohrabacher's spokesperson has disputed. The spokesperson said that it was the student who started the confrontation by yelling at her and telling her to "butt out."
Rohrabacher was chairman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics from 1997 to January 2005 and has been active on space-related issues. In 2000, Space.com described Rohrabacher as "a strident advocate for supremacy in space, a philosophy shaped along a winding road from libertarian activist to White House speech writer in the Reagan administration." In 2007, Rohrabacher introduced a bill that would direct NASA to develop a strategy "for deflecting and mitigating potentially hazardous near-Earth objects." Rohrabacher has applauded the Apollo astronauts, calling them unofficial ambassadors. Rohrabacher stated "I applaud their efforts and accomplishments over the past fifty years. And I encourage all Americans to join with me in thanking them for their accomplishments and for the international role they have played in serving as unofficial Ambassadors to the world on our behalf."
On July 18, 2017, Rohrabacher asked a panel of space experts testifying before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology if civilizations could have existed on Mars in the past. Kenneth Farley, a project scientist on NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 Project, said "I would say that is extremely unlikely".
Rohrabacher doubts that global warming is caused by humans. During a congressional hearing on climate change on February 8, 2007, Rohrabacher mused that previous warming cycles may have been caused by carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by "dinosaur flatulence." He stated, "In fact, it is assumed at best to be unproven and at worst a liberal claptrap, trendy, but soon to go out of style in our new Congress." Politico and the New York Times reported that on May 25, 2011, Rohrabacher expressed further skepticism regarding the existence of man-made global warming and suggested that, if global warming is an issue, a possible solution could be clear-cutting rain forests, and replanting. These reports sparked strong criticism by some scientists, including Oliver Phillips, a geography professor at the University of Leeds. They noted the consensus that intact forests act as net absorbers of carbon, reducing global warming. In response, Rohrabacher stated,
|“||Once again those with a global agenda have created a straw man by misrepresenting the position of their critics. I do not believe that CO2 is a cause of global warming, nor have I ever advocated the reduction of CO2 through the clearing of rainforests or cutting down older trees to prevent global warming. But that is how my question to a witness during my subcommittee hearing on May 25th is being reported. I simply asked the witness, Dr. Todd Stern, who is a supporter of a global climate treaty that would dramatically hurt the standard of living for millions of human beings, if he was considering a policy that would address naturally emitted carbon dioxide, which makes up over 90% of emissions. To suggest that I’m advocating such a radical approach instead of simply questioning the policy is a total misrepresentation of my position.||”|
Rohrabacher denies that global warming is a problem. At a town hall meeting with the Newport Mesa Tea Party in August 2013, Rohrabacher said "global warming is a total fraud" and part of a "game plan" by liberals to “create global government.”
Foreign and security policy positions
In February 2013, Rohrabacher gave a speech urging the right to self-determination for the Baloch people in Pakistan at a UNPO conference in London.
In March 2005, Rohrabacher introduced HR 1061, the American Property Claims Against Ethiopia Act, which would "prohibit United States assistance to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia until the Ethiopian government returns all property of United States citizens." The bill was introduced by Rohrabacher at the behest of Gebremedhin Berhane, a former Eritrean national and friend of the Rohrabacher family, after his business was expropriated by the Ethiopian government.
On March 7, 2006, Rohrabacher introduced HR 4895, an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, "to limit the provision of the United States military assistance and the sale, transfer, or licensing of United States military equipment or technology to Ethiopia."
During an appearance on MSNBC's The Ed Show, Rohrabacher accused Barack Obama of allowing violence in Iran to get out of hand because he did not speak forcefully enough against the country's leadership. He also said that Gorbachev tore down the Berlin Wall because Reagan told him to ("Tear down this wall").
In early 2010, he went to Honduras to commend the election of the new president. His entourage included a group of Californian property investors and businessmen, a dealer in rare coins, and CEOs from San Diego biofuels corporation (which is headed by a family friend).
In 2006, Rohrabacher chaired the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, which investigated whether the Oklahoma City bombers had assistance from foreign sources and determined there was no conclusive evidence of a foreign connection. In the 113th Congress, Rohrabacher is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
Rohrabacher has stated that he sees Islam as the source of a major terrorist threat to the U.S. Speaking about Islam he said during a hearing in April 2013, "I hope we all work together against a religion that will motivate people to murder children and other threats to us as a civilization."
We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.
Rohrabacher's statement was criticised in social media, by British political journalist Mehdi Hasan, Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Jim Murphy, journalist Negar Mortazavi and the National Iranian American Council, among others.
In a further statement to clarify his position, he stated that he "oppose the use of force against unarmed civilians no matter who is the victim or who is doing the killing" but he is also against "Iran’s vicious Mullah monarchy" and "when it comes to Sunni terrorists or Shiite terrorists, I prefer them to target each other rather than any other victims, especially innocent civilians and Americans." Also added that it will "require support for those proud Iranians who want to win their freedom and heritage from Mullahs and are willing to fight for it. That does not include Isis, but it may include a lot of Iranians who see blowing up Khomeini’s mausoleum as an expression of freedom from the yolk of Islamic terror."
Defense of interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition
On April 17, 2007, while defending the Bush administration's program of extraordinary rendition. During a House hearing on trans-atlantic relations, Rohrabacher stated that the unfair treatment of one innocent suspect is an acceptable "unfortunate consequence" of holding others who would otherwise be free to commit terror acts. After he received boos and groans from the gallery, Rohrabacher responded, "Well, I hope it's your families, I hope it's your families that suffer the consequences", and "I hope it's your family members that die". Rohrabacher was subsequently interrupted by protesters wearing orange jumpsuits who were removed from the gallery. For his comment that imprisoning and torturing one innocent person was a fair price to pay for locking up 50 terrorists who would "go out and plant a bomb and kill 20,000 people," Rohrabacher was named Countdown with Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" on April 25.
Rohrabacher's interest in Afghanistan extends back at least to the late 1980s, before his time in office, when he entered the country in the company of mujahedin fighters who were intent on confronting Soviet occupation forces. Reportedly, these fighters "actually engaged Soviet troops in combat near the city of Jalalabad during the two months Rohrabacher was with them." In 2003, he defended the new Afghan constitution against those who saw in it mainly empowerment of warlords, saying:
|“||I've heard a lot of negative posturing about ... these people who happened to have been the guys who sided with the United States ... Dostam, Atta, Khan ... these were the people who defeated the Taliban ... Just keep that in mind if you're an American. They came to help us defeat people who slaughtered our own people [September 11, 2001]. And I'm grateful for that. And I'm not about to label them in these pejorative terms [as warlords], especially when the Taliban are still on the border... I would admonish [you] not to go so quickly in getting rid of people who helped us defeat the Taliban.||”|
Rohrabacher has since become a proponent of withdrawing from Afghanistan. He protested against the troop build up to Afghanistan by President Obama saying "If the Taliban is going is be defeated, it's got to be by the Afghan people themselves, not by sending more U.S. troops, which could actually be counterproductive." When Congressman Jim McGovern offered an amendment earlier this year requiring the Pentagon to draw up an exit plan from Afghanistan, Rohrabacher was just one of six Republicans to sign on. Rohrabacher further voted for McGovern's Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, requiring an exit plan from Afghanistan. The bill failed by 204–215 margin.
Rohrabacher is against President Obama's gradual draw down of troops supporting a full withdrawal. Saying "If we're going to leave, we should leave." Rohrabacher has gone on to state "The centralized system of government foisted upon the Afghan people is not going to hold after we leave," continued Rohrabacher. "So let's quit prolonging the agony and inevitable. Karzai's regime is corrupt and non representative of Afghanistan's tribal culture. This failed strategy is not worth one more drop of American blood. Under the current strategy, our military presence alienates more Afghans that it pacifies. So if you're going to pull the plug, then we need to get the hell out now." Rohrabacher has repeatedly raised high-level concerns in the US Congress and Washington, D.C., about the significant corruption in Afghanistan, including the Kabul Bank scandal where hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars allegedly disappeared in a short period of time at the apparent hands of close Karzai family members, including brothers Mahmoud Karzai (a.k.a. Mahmood Karzai), Ahmed Wali Karzai and others. Rohrabacher worked to bring attention to the systemic corruption in the Karzai government and cut U.S. taxpayers' funding for these wasteful projects and programs, involving corruption within the Hamid Karzai government.
In April 2012, CNN reported that "A top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs committee was asked by the State Department not to go to Afghanistan because President Hamid Karzai objected to the visit. ... Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, told Security Clearance he was readying to travel with five other Republicans from Dubai to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, when the State Department requested he stay behind."
Bosnia and Kosovo independence
Rohrabacher was opposed to American ground troops in the Yugoslav Wars. He advocated for the direct bombing of the military on Yugoslav soil, criticizing the ineffectiveness of western forces against the Bosnian Serbs, NATO was limited to small fixed attacks, as these Serbs penetrated UN safe areas and attacked Bosniak forces. Rohrabacher said they "should bomb Serbia's military infrastructure, in Serbia – get that, in Serbia – rather than dropping a couple of duds on tents, which only proves the West's gutlessness, and emboldens Serbian cutthroats." Rohrabacher considered the events in Bosnia to constitute genocide. In 1995, Rohrabacher personally visited Sarajevo in Bosnia, criticizing the devastation Serb forces inflicted on the city, saying "This is a loss to all mankind, not just to the people of Sarajevo,". He also encountered vagabond children asking for money.
The leader of the Albanian American Civic League ethnic lobby group, Joseph J. DioGuardi, praised Rohrabacher for his support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), saying "He was the first member of Congress to insist that the United States arm the Kosova Liberation Army, and one of the few members who to this day publicly supports the independence of Kosova." Rohrabacher gave a speech in support of American equipping the KLA with weaponry, comparing it to French support of America in the Revolutionary War, saying "Based on our own experience, the Kosova Liberation Army should have been armed. ... If the U.S. had armed the KLA in 1998, we would not be where we are today. The 'freedom fighters' would have secured their freedom and Kosova would be independent."
Organ harvesting in China
In 2012 Rohrabacher stated,
|“||The CCP and its state security machine uses a wide range of repression techniques including, not only limited to, censorship, beatings, home imprisonment, forced labor camps, those labor camps called the Laogai of course. And the most ghoulish manifestation of this gangsterism is the forced harvesting of organs of the political prisoners and religious followers that it arrests, particularly of the Chinese religious movement known as the Falun Gong.||”|
|“||to rip open the body of someone who is simply involved in a religious or personal or political idea that is contrary to the wishes of the ruling elite, to rip a body open of someone like that especially if that person’s religious or political beliefs are pacifistic and not a physical threat to the regime, this is about the most monstrous crime that I can conceive of.||”|
Rohrabacher voted in support of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq in 2002, a position that he later admitted was "a mistake."
In August 2012, Rohrabacher noted on his official website that he had written a letter addressed to the U.S. State Department, noting his support of U.S. sponsorship of separatist movements in Iran. This elicited criticism from the Iranian-American community, which included challenging Rohrabacher's understanding of the historical background alluded to in his letter to the Department of State.
Aid to Pakistan
In May 2011, in the wake of Osama Bin Laden's death, Rohrabacher introduced a bill to stop aid to Pakistan, stating that members of the government and of Pakistan's security force, the ISI, were either sheltering Bin Laden or completely incompetent. "We can no longer afford this foolishness. ... The time has come for us to stop subsidizing those who actively oppose us. Pakistan has shown itself not to be America's ally." Rohrabacher also demanded the return of the US helicopter that crashed in the operation to kill Bin Laden, stating "If this is not done immediately, it is probable, given Pakistan’s history, that our technology has already found its way into the hands of the Communist Chinese military that is buying, building, and stealing the necessary military technology to challenge the United States." 
Support for Mohiuddin Ahmed
In 2007, Rohrabacher supported Mohiuddin Ahmed, a detainee in the U.S., who was said to be involved in an attempted coup in Bangladesh, during which several people were murdered. Bangladesh's extradition request was halted as Rohrabacher voiced concern about his legal rights, saying that he should be sent somewhere with no death penalty. His support was applauded by both Amnesty International and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
On September 8, 2008, at a House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, Rohrabacher argued that the Georgians had initiated the recent military confrontation in the ongoing Russia–Georgia war.
According to a 2015 article by Politico reporter Luke O'Brien, Rohrabacher is known for his long-time friendship with Russia's Vladimir Putin and his defense of "the Russian point of view." On June 15, 2016, Kevin McCarthy told a group of Republicans, "There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God." Paul Ryan ended the conversation, saying "No leaks. This is how we know we're a real family here."
It was not reported for another year that around that time, Rohrabacher had planned, in his capacity as chair of the Europe subcommittee, to hold a hearing on the Magnitsky Act, which bars certain Russian officials from entering the United States or holding any financial assets in American banks. At the hearing Bill Browder, the American-born investor who had lobbied for the act's passage after what he claims was the illegal appropriation of his hedge fund's assets and the subsequent murder of his Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky after he discovered this, was to testify. Rohrabacher planned to subject him to what was described as a "show trial", where in addition to questioning Browder closely and skeptically about his claims, a feature-length documentary film critical of the Magnitsky claims directed by Eduard Nekrasov was to be shown in its entirety. Among the other witnesses scheduled to testify were Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, a longtime lobbyist against the Magnitsky Act who had around the same time attended a meeting with Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Trump's then-campaign manager Paul Manafort at which the Russians purportedly offered to share negative information about Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent in that year's election.
When Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce learned of the plans, he canceled the hearing and forbade Rohrabacher from showing the film. In its stead, he held a full committee hearing on U.S.-Russia relations at which Rohrabacher was allowed to submit some of the pro-Russian claims into evidence. The film was ultimately shown at the Newseum, and an intern in Rohrabacher's office who later worked for the Trump transition team sent emails promoting the film from the subcommittee offices.
After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Rohrabacher defends his approach to improve the U.S.-Russia relations. He had previously met at least twice to discuss Russian sanctions with Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet spy, who was later revealed to be present at the June 2016 meeting.
In a May 2017 interview with CNN, Rohrabacher said, "We have a huge double standard with Russia when it comes to prisoners and other things," and further stated that interference by the Russian intelligence services' in the 2016 U.S. election was the same as the NSA bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.
After President-elect Donald Trump answered a congratulatory phone call from democratically elected President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen on December 2, 2016, Congressman Rohrabacher said Trump's phone call with Taiwan's president was "terrific" because of the diplomatic warning it sent to China. "He showed the dictators in Beijing that he's not a pushover." He emphasized, "China has had an enormously aggressive foreign policy and by him actually going to Taiwan, he's showing the people in Beijing that they cannot have this aggressive foreign policy and expect to be treated just the same by an American president."
Rohrabacher gave a "qualified defense" of the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014. On March 6, 2014, he was one of 23 members of the House of Representatives to vote against a $1 billion loan guarantee to support the new government of Ukraine. In the March 11, 2014, House of Representatives vote (402 voting yes; 7 opposed) to condemn Russia for violating Ukraine's sovereignty, Rohrabacher voted "present." Commenting on the issue, he stated, "Starting with our own American Revolution, groups of people have declared themselves, rightfully, to be under a different government or a government of their choosing. People forget that’s what our Declaration of Independence is all about." He also said, "The sanctions are an abomination of hypocrisy. This is ridiculous: What we were doing with the violence and military action we took to secure the Kosovars' right to self-determination was far more destructive and had far more loss of life than what Putin's done trying to ensure the people of Crimea are not cut off from what they would choose as their destiny with Russia."
During a US Congressional delegation's visit to Uzbekistan in February 2013, Rohrabacher made several controversial statements. The chief among those statements was that the United States should treat Uzbekistan like Saudi Arabia by disregarding the former's human rights abuses in achieving America's national interests, particularly in selling armaments and drones to Uzbekistan.
In 2017, in an interview for an Albanian TV channel Vizion Plus Rohrabacher suggested that the Republic of Macedonia "is not a country" and that the "Kosovars and Albanians from Macedonia should be part of Kosovo and the rest of Macedonia should be part of Bulgaria or any other country to which they believe they are related", which provoked a response from the Macedonian foreign ministry which accused him of inflaming "nationalistic rhetoric".
In the wake of the clashes at the Turkish Ambassador's Residence in May 2017, Rohrabacher called Donald Trump to never invite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan again to the United States, and to bar Americans from purchasing Turkish government debt.
In August 2017, Rohrabacher proposed amending the Department of Defense budget whereby the United States would establish military ties with Eritrea. Rohrabacher suggested that the two countries should cooperate in fighting the War on Terror, curbing Iranian influence in the Yemeni Civil War, and securing the Red Sea region. At the time of Rohrabacher's proposal, Eritrea was subject to international sanctions due to its alleged support of Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and to U.S. sanctions against the Eritrean Navy following an alleged shipment of North Korean military hardware to Eritrea.
Paid by Putin comment
On May 17, 2017, the Washington Post reported that a month before Donald Trump clinched the GOP nomination, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump. Swear to God.” Brendan Buck, Counselor to Speaker Ryan, initially denied these reports but later, after being informed that the Post would cite a recording as evidence, claimed that Congressman McCarthy was joking.
Dana Rohrabacher has been married to Rhonda Rohrabacher since 1997. In 2004, they became parents of triplets: Annika, Christian and Tristen.
Rohrabacher was described by the Los Angeles Times as "an avid surfer." He also sings, plays guitar and has written his own song about freedom and America
Rohrabacher revealed in May 2016 that he uses a cannabis-infused topical rub to treat the arthritis pain that he suffers from, allowing him to sleep through the night. The product is legal under California state law but remains a banned substance under U.S. federal law.
- Martinez, Gebe (1995-08-28). "Moving From the Fringe to the Forefront: Politics: O.C.'s Dana Rohrabacher is having fun with his newfound clout". Los Angeles Times.
- Gais, Hannah (April 14, 2015). "Dana Rohrabacher's No Good, Very Bad Weekend". The Eastern Project. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
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- Jonathan Weisman, March 28, 2014, The New York Times, Kremlin Finds a Defender in Congress, Retrieved August 1, 2017, "...There is some logic to Mr. Rohrabacher’s stalwart defense of the Kremlin’s actions. The people of Crimea..."
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'There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,' ... Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia...
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- Damien Sharkov, May 19, 2017, Newsweek, FBI WARNED REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN WHO ARM-WRESTLED PUTIN OF RUSSIAN SPY RECRUITMENT, Retrieved May 20, 2017
- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher suggested that the #ISIS attacks on #Iran could be viewed as ‘a good thing.’, , Retrieved June 9, 2017
- Rosie Gray, July 18, 2017, The Atlantic, Russian Anti-Sanctions Campaign Turned to California Congressman: U.S. diplomats were concerned about Russian outreach to House Republican Dana Rohrabacher while on a trip to Moscow last year., Retrieved July 18, 2017, "...Rohrabacher’s 2016 Moscow trip raised eyebrows among U.S. officials, particularly at the State Department...."
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Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a senior member of the House Science Committee, used a portion of his time at a town hall this week to launch into a rant about global warming, which he described as a plot by liberals to “create global government to control our lives.”
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Some current GOP members of Congress still deny that the problem exists, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who has called global warming "a total fraud" designed by "liberals who … want to create global government."
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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a longtime member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, recently brushed aside concern that the wildfires currently scorching across his state and causing millions of dollars of damage have anything to do with climate change. In fact, he told constituents at a town hall that “global warming is a total fraud,” employed by liberals to “create global government.”
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- See Luke O'Brien, "Putin's Washington" Politico Jan–Feb. 2015
- "GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher fiercely defends Russia, calls human rights violations 'baloney'". 8 December 2016.
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- Trump Spoke With Taiwan President in Break With Decades of U.S. Policy: Leaders ‘noted close’ economic, political and security ties, Trump transition team said, The Wall Street Journal, 2016-12-2
- President-elect Donald Trump's phone call to Taiwan's leader is a major breakthrough for U.S. relations with the nation, New York Daily News, 2016-12-2
- Why Trump was right to talk with Taiwan's president, Fox news, 2016-12-4
- Trump's Taiwan call wasn't a mistake. It was brilliant., Chicago Tribune, 2016-12-5
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- Planetary Defense, Baltimore Chronicle, March 15, 2007
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 42nd congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 45th congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 46th congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 48th congressional district
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