California

Nunes makes campaign stop at Clovis diner amid criticism he spends too much time in DC

Congressman Devin Nunes, middle, talks to constituents at the Red Caboose Cafe in Clovis on Friday morning.
Congressman Devin Nunes, middle, talks to constituents at the Red Caboose Cafe in Clovis on Friday morning. mmays@fresnobee.com

Rep. Devin Nunes was welcomed by supporters during a brief visit at a diner east of Clovis on Friday morning while protestors held “Janz for Congress” signs outside the restaurant.

Nunes, the Tulare Republican who is head of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, declined to answer questions from a Bee reporter at the Red Caboose Cafe, where he had been invited by owner Richard Claborn.

Claborn also declined an interview, saying he doesn’t want to mix politics with his restaurant business, but pointed out that he keeps Fox News playing on the main TV above the diner bar.

Some diners at the small restaurant on Shaw and Academy avenues wore “Make America Great Again” hats and shook the congressman’s hand. While Nunes’ appearance was expected, the restaurant was not hosting a fundraising event.

Nunes’ local appearance comes amid criticism that he spends more time on White House issues than with his constituents, and does not attend town halls or debates outside of invitation-only events.

On Thursday, a federal judge denied his attempts to read secret depositions involving the Trump-Russia investigation, saying it overstepped congressional powers – the latest in his involvement with election meddling allegations.

Mike Miranda, who owns a Fresno trucking business, was inside Red Caboose on Friday and said he supports Nunes in part because of his attacks against the media.

“Everything you hear, there’s so much fake news. They make it up,” Miranda, 62, said, referencing CNN. “It seems like right now, people are trying to do whatever they can do to pin something evil on somebody that’s trying to get something done.”

Miranda said he supports Nunes and President Donald Trump because he doesn’t want people to “live off the welfare system” and that the two elected officials represent the working man.

“I’m not going to pay you to stay home and work,” he said. “Working class people are behind Trump because he’s given us tax breaks. It’s like he feels my pain.”

Mike’s brother, Donald Miranda, 56, said he supports Trump in part because of his strict policies on immigration.

“Who in their right mind thinks all those people coming here is a good thing?” he said. “You’ve got diseases. You’ve got polio, you’ve got whooping cough. How are we supposed to take care of that? We’re not the United States of the World.”

Outside of the restaurant, standing along Shaw Avenue, people held signs that said “Devin Nunes: come out, come out, wherever you are” and in support of Fresno Democrat Andrew Janz, who is vying for his congressional seat.

“We have a representative who doesn’t represent or listen to us,” said Terry Bavin, 66. “My thought is, we really need someone who will take care of us.”

Mackenzie Mays: 559-441-6412, @MackenzieMays
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