Carly Fiorina joined me on today’s show to discuss the Iran deal:
HH: Joining me now is Carly Fiorina, candidate for president. You can follow her on Twitter, @CarlyFiorina. Carly Fiorina, welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to speak with you.
CF: Thanks for having me, Hugh, always a pleasure to speak with you.
HH: What is your reaction to the outlines of the deal? We obviously don’t have all 100 plus pages, yet.
CF: It’s a bad deal. I mean, that’s not a surprise. We knew it was going to be a bad deal. And when you have the state of Israel and Saudi Arabia agreeing that it’s a bad deal, you know it’s a bad deal. I mean, the Iranians get to determine what are military facilities and what are nuclear facilities. They get 20 plus days warning before anyone goes into a military facility. They will immediately get lots and lots and lots of money to fund Hamas and Hezbollah and the rest of their proxies to continue to do more damage. And of course, we’ve rewarded bad behavior, because all through this negotiation, the bad behavior continued. The Americans are still in jail. The destabilization of the region continues. So Iran was never punished for anything. They got every concession they really wanted, clearly, and the world is a more dangerous place today.
HH: So as the Republicans in the Senate go about trying to persuade their Democratic colleagues to vote against this, they have to have an elevator speech. And you’ve done a lot of those in your days, I’m sure, when you’re talking to quarterly analysts and all that sort of thing. What’s the elevator speech against this deal?
CF: Iran has demonstrated over years that they cheat on every deal. Iran will use the money they gain from sanctions being lifted to continue to fund enemies in the region. Iran has enough flexibility in this deal with the monitoring as opposed to anytime, anywhere inspections that they can continue to build weapon systems and to include nuclear weapons, potentially, and we will not know until it is too late.
HH: Are you surprised that Hillary Clinton endorsed the deal sight unseen?
CF: Well, I don’t know what else she could do, because as Secretary of State, she claimed that it was a good thing to be negotiating. She hasn’t said a single word against this negotiation all along. What else could she do? But I think it’s a demonstration of the fact that she is prepared to live with a more dangerous world. I mean, she certainly was prepared in the way she handled Benghazi, and I think she’s prepared to live with a more dangerous deal with Iran as well. So I’m not surprised.
HH: I’m talking with Carly Fiorina, candidate for president, www.carlyforamerica.com. Carly, do you believe that the United States Senate ought to waive its vacation? They’re supposed to go on vacation on August 10th and return on September 7th. But if this is truly a Munich moment, is that what you do when you’re facing the most critical foreign policy choice of the next two decades?
CF: Well, I agree with you. I think that’s a terrific idea. You only have 60 days. The President has already started rattling around that he’s going to veto any legislation. You’d better get your act together in that 60 days and really understand this deal and make the case to the American people about why you’re voting against this deal.
HH: That would mean every day on the Senate floor, Monday through Friday, making the argument. And I know it’s a pain in the neck, but if it’s that important, did you work in August when you were running HP or Lucent?
CF: Yeah, most of us don’t, you know, honestly, I mean, how many jobs do you get that much time off? Now granted, to be fair to these people, they’re going home and seeing their constituents and all the rest. But this is a very important moment in the world. And it is not partisan to say that those people in the region, other than Iran, whether it is the Saudi Arabians or the Emiratis, or the Kuwaitis or the Jordanians or the Israelis or the Egyptians, what they have all said is that we are now starting a nuclear arms race in the region, not ending one. And so I think we ought to listen to them.
HH: Now we have to sell a no vote in this country, and we have to do it within 60 days. You’ve sold a lot of stuff in your life as a CEO, and you know what it takes to sell into a complicated messaging environment. We need a plan. I don’t know that the Republicans have a plan, yet, to articulate the five reasons or the ten reasons why this is a horrible deal, and then to do it every day. But when you want to sell, that’s what you do, isn’t it?
CF: Yes, but I will say in fairness, every single Republican presidential candidate, myself included, is out there talking about why this is a bad deal. I think that’s important. I think it needs to continue. I think as well there are friends of ours like Bibi Netanyahu, but he’s not the only one, who is selling it. And I think, of course, the thing we have to sell against is President Obama saying well, what’s the alternative, the alternative is worse. Actually, the alternative isn’t worse, because the current state before we signed this deal, we knew Iran was already cheating on the agreements that they had put in place. The reason this new deal is worse than what we had two days ago is because Iran will suddenly get a flood of money. It’s because you can’t snap sanctions back. What’s worse about this deal is we have no reason to trust Iran. We have no real way to verify what they’re doing. But what they get is a lot of money to wreak more havoc, and so more disruption in a region that is already on edge.
HH: Do you think this will, assume for a moment if it’s turned down, it will be highly unlikely and an apocalyptic moment for the Obama presidency if we persuade 17 Democrats to go along with 54 or whatever number of Democrats it requires to go along with 54 Republicans. I guess it will take 13 Democrats to override a veto. Assume that even happens, and there are enough votes in the House, does the deal remain an issue in 2016 with Hillary? Is it something that resonates when you talk to voters? Are they worried about Iran?
CF: Well, yes, it remains an issue, because let’s be realistic about this. If the U.S. fails to pass this, if the Congress says no, the rest of the world is moving ahead. I mean, China and Russia are moving ahead. The European Union is moving ahead. All that the U.S. is doing is saying we’re not going to be part of this deal. And so this is a moment where the world has become more dangerous, with or without the U.S.’ agreement. That’s the reality of this deal, which is why no matter what the Congress does in the next 60 days, what I have said is on day one in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls. The first will be to Bibi Netanyahu to reassure him we will stand with the state of Israel, but also to reassure every other ally in that part of the region. The second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. And while he may not take the phone call, he will get the message. And the message is I don’t care what the deal is. New deal. Here is the new deal. Unless we can inspect every nuclear and every military facility anytime, anywhere with no notice, we will cut off your ability to move money around the global financial system. The United States can do that. We don’t need collaboration from our allies. We don’t need anybody else’s permission. We have to stop the money flow. Realistically, whether Congress acts or not, the world is a more dangerous place today than it was yesterday, which is why a new president must act.
HH: Go back to the money flow for a second, and explain for the benefit of the Steelers fans what that means.
CF: Well, for example, no matter how many other nations are participating in prying open Iran’s economy, and China and Russia have wanted to do this for a long time, Iran to take advantage of all that has to be able to receive money, spend money, move money through the global financial system. The United States has the ability, for example, to make it very difficult for Iran to access what’s called the SWIFT system. The SWIFT system is a financial system that processes payments. We can do that. We would be doing it unilaterally. A lot of people in the world wouldn’t like it. But it would be a way of slowing the money flow and putting pressure on the Iranian regime to open up for inspections. And it’s, I believe, what has to happen, no matter what Congress does in the next 60 days, although I hope very much they will succeed in voting no.
HH: Carly Fiorina, one unrelated political question. Donald Trump has made a lot of news. I saw him earlier today denouncing Lindsey Graham as someone who always wants to bomb something. What do you make of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and profile over the last two weeks?
CF: Well, on the one hand, I think Donald Trump is tapping into an anger that people feel when they see unacceptable situations go on. How long has the border been insecure? 25 years? How long have we had sanctuary cities? 15 years? It’s why people are sick of professional politicians and say you know what, enough of the talk, let’s get some action, let’s get some results, let’s get some decisions. That’s the anger that Donald Trump taps into. It’s the same energy that I feel when I go out and talk to voters as well. I do think that when Donald Trump criticizes absolutely everybody as you know, a loser or something else, that he’s not helping the dialogue. And by the way, I would say the same thing to Hillary Clinton, who paints every Republican as somebody who either is indifferent to immigrants or hostile to immigrants. That’s the same kind of overheated rhetoric, broad brush attack on everybody. And I don’t think it gets us any closer to problem solving. And frankly, I think the American people are sick of it.
HH: Carly Fiorina, follow her on Twitter, @CarlyFiorina, www.carlyforamerica.com, thank you for joining me.
End of interview.