As It Happens

'Suck It Up, Buttercup' lawmaker hangs up on As It Happens

We called up an Iowa lawmaker to discuss his bill, titled "Suck It Up, Buttercup." It targets college students who he thinks are overreacting with rallies, sit-ins and — apparently — therapy ponies after last week's election. But we must have really upset Bobby Kaufmann, because he hung up on us.
Before he hung up on us, Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann started to explain why he is proposing a "Suck It Up, Buttercup" bill to target anti-Trump protestors. (Laura Brolis/CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia/Charlie Neibergall/AP)

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When Donald Trump won the U.S. election last Tuesday, college campuses across the country reacted. There were rallies, marches and sit-ins. Campus counsellors offered meditation sessions. Professors cancelled classes and delayed exams.

To Bobby Kaufmann, this was nothing more than "post-election campus hysteria." Kaufmann is a Republican Iowa State Representative and he plans to table a bill that would target that "hysteria." He has given his proposal a title: the "Suck It Up, Buttercup" bill.

As It Happens host Carol Off spoke with Representative Kaufmann for a brief phone interview — brief because Kaufmann abruptly hung up early in their conversation. Here is a full transcription of the call.
Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Carol Off: Representative Kaufmann, why are you calling your proposed legislation, "Suck It Up, Buttercup?"

Bobby Kaufmann: Well, I believe the national conversation needs to take place with both sides coming to the table. Right now you've got the protestor side that want nothing to do with the people that won and you've got the people that won wanting nothing to do with the protestors. Let's be honest, and this isn't a criticism, this is more of an America thing, readership and interest from media really doesn't come from bland statements. So I've said something, that yes I understand it's something that people find a little bit offensive. But the impetus for my bill is that I believe that there are a lot of universities that are coddling a certain per cent of the population of college students. I'm not talking about mental services or victim services — none of that is anything I'm talking about. I'm talking about specific expenditures that are being spent by universities across this country specifically to coddle people that cannot handle the election results.

CO: Sorry — just a minute — who are the buttercups that need to suck it up?

BK: Well that would be people that are simply hysterical because an election was lost. That have never understood that life has winners and losers and in their adult life there are going to be times when they have wins and they have losses and there isn't always going to be someone there to coddle them.

"I’m not prepared to name names right now. I’m doing an investigation," said Iowa Representative Bobby Kaufmann, when asked what schools were using therapy ponies for students struggling to cope with the idea of a Trump presidency. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

CO: And where have you seen the coddling on campuses?

BK: I'm not ready to point fingers on specifics but I think we've all seen the reports across the entire country. We've seen them live on reports from reputable media sources. I have people reaching out to me from different states saying, hey, my kid, at this particular college today, the professor was actively discussing the possibility of bringing in a pony — a miniature pony so that people could use it to feel better about the election.

CO: Can I ask you where did that happen? Where was the discussion about bringing a pony to school?

BK: My job is to be finding this out. I'm not prepared to name names right now. I'm doing an investigation.

CO: I'm not asking you to name names — just where did it happen?

BK: Okay… [hangs up]

That was all the time we got with Iowa Representative Bobby Kaufmann, before he hung up on us. When we called him back, he said simply, "I don't speak to media outlets with an agenda."

Earlier on Wednesday, Representative Kaufmann did another interview that went more smoothly — and ended less abruptly — than ours did. He spoke with Fox's Pete Hegseth on the program Fox & Friends. They both joke about how they probably "triggered some kids."

For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Representative Bobby Kaufmann.


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