HH: This hour, I’m joined by former CEO of Hewlitt-Packard, Carly Fiorina, candidate for president. Carly Fiorina, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, always a pleasure to have you.
CF: Always a pleasure to be with you, Hugh. Thank you for having me.
HH: I want to begin with a story that I asked both Trump and Kasich because I’m in Denver, and last week the Denver city council voted to delay the awarding of a franchise opportunity to Chick-fil-A because of the alleged anti-gay views of the chain’s owner – and posted the Denver Post story on this, the talking point memo. What do you make of that, Carly Fiorina, and what that says about religious liberty in America?
CF: Well first, it’s underscores that we must invest as much time and energy and political capital as necessary to protect religious liberties. Second, what a terrible thing. Here we have the personal views of an owner of a restaurant – he is not anti-gay – he does not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision about gay marriage as many Americans do not. There is absolutely no record of discrimination in any Chick-fil-A hiring practice, serving practice, or in any other way. This is thought control. This is a set of ideologues on the Denver city council overstepping their bounds in a completely egregious way.
HH: It’s also unconstitutional, but no one in Denver – no one on that city council stood up – I don’t think the governor stood up. He’s a Democrat. I don’t think Democrat in the country has stood up to say the free exercise clause is implicated here, Carly Fiorina. Did you expect any of them even to be asked? It would be a great question if Hilary Clinton got asked about this because it would make her take a stand on religious liberty.
CF: Of course you won’t be asked – and by the way – if asked, she would answer in the wrong way. She would say some gobbledygook about “we can discriminate and we have to respect everyone. . .” (laughs). So she’s not going to be asked and the governor isn’t going to intervene. And what I find amazing is the arrogance of these ideologues. Clearly, these two city councilmen think it is within their purview to deny Chick-fil-A a license which would deny people walking through the Denver Airport – Chick-fil-A is an extremely popular restaurant, but somehow their personal views are more important than all the customers, not to mention the Constitution. It’s amazing to me.
HH: Now I try – when I have candidates back-to-back-to-back to stay in the question set, but I will mix up the order. I want to go to the end of what that Trump question was and I also followed up with Kasich – I mean, Donald Trump and John Kasich. I’m not being disrespectful to shorthand. I asked them about the anger in America, and I asked Donald Trump specifically about the authoritarian temptation which shows up in confused situations in republics in history where they want to get tough with everyone and they lurch toward authoritarianism. Are you worried about the mood in the country?
CF: Well, yes. People are angry. And they are frustrated. Because whatever issue or cause they have cared about. Whatever festering problem they hope would be resolved by now, no matter how hard they’ve worked to elect Republican majorities, the political class has failed – has failed to make real change. You see, I believe the answer to this is to channel this anger, this frustration, and this disappointment to actually challenge the status quo. That is what I intend to do as President of the United States. So what I mean by that is, the way to channel this anger and frustration and disappointment is talk directly with the American citizenry and ask them what they think needs to be on because actually they know what needs to be done. You know, I’ve talked about this with you before, Hugh. I woud go to the Oval Office on a regular basis. I would ask my fellow citizens to take out their smartphones. And I would ask them questions. Do you think you know where your money is being spent? Press “1” for yes, “two” for no. Do you think we ought to finally secure the border. Press “1” for yes, “two” for no. Do you think the VA really needs a top-to-bottom reform? Press “one” for yes, “two” for no. Why is that important? Because it puts tremendous pressure on the political class, and we know politicians will respond to pressure – where it has to be concerted, it has to be consistent over time, and it has to be focused. Technology in the hands of the right leader will focus citizens of this nation, and leadership and citizenship together can challenge the status quo and produce results, but that is what is needed. Just anger and frustration won’t change anything. And, stoking people’s anger and frustration and fear can make things far worse over time as your question suggests.
HH: Do you think Donald Trump is doing that?
CF: I do.
HH: And to where does that lead? Does that dissipate or does that build to a majority on his part?
CF: I don’t know. I don’t know. What I am focused on is talking to people about solutions because there are solutions to every one of these problems. Every problem we have can be solved and every wound is self-inflicted, but it will take real leadership that has proven track record of problem-solving, challenging the status quo, producing results – I have that track record. I think my track record is superior to anybody in the field and I am a real outsider, and it will take citizens to help the leader challenge the status quo. But we can’t just talk about problems. We also have to talk about solutions that actually can happen and that are practical and reasonable.
HH: Well let’s talk immigration, and CarlyforAmerica.Com. Did I get that right? I think CarlyforAmerica.Com – maybe that’s the Super PAC that’s supporting you, but that’s where you can go if you want to find out more about Carly Fiorina. Did you watch Jorge Ramos-Donald Trump exchange last night?
CF: I did not. I have read something about it, but I didn’t watch it. I was busy campaigning.
HH: Well (chuckles), that’s good for everyone. Well, the bottom-line was a lot of commentators on televison – I watched it twice, it was an amazing bit of television – and I asked Donald Trump if his reality television chops kicked in there because he played it very well for a Republican primary base election. But Jorge Ramos played it very well for a Univision audience. They both won that, but I wonder, is the Republican party losing any chance it has to talk constructively with the majority of Hispanic Americans?
CF: You know, one of the things that the Democrat Party has done is divide this nation. They have divided this nation by playing identity politics. Our nominee must unify the nation. Our nominee must speak to everyone in this nation equally. I believe no one of us is any better than any other one of us. Each of us has God-given gifts. This must be a nation where it truly doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like or what your circumstances. This has to be a nation in which everyone – and our diversity is a strength, not a weakness – but, we have to be one nation “under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” And so I worry about identity politics in all its forms. Ultimately, we must as diverse as the nation we hope to represent, not by playing identity politics as Democrats do, but by speaking to all Americans as Americans and delivering to each American the promise of this great nation.
HH: But even as my Irish-American ancestors would listen with a cocked ear for the anti-Irish sentiment – when they got here – I’m sure Latino-Americans listen for anti-Hispanic sentiment.
CF: Of course, Hugh.
HH: I don’t think the fence is anti-Latino. I think it’s basic national security. Is there a needle that can be threaded here?
CF: Oh yes, look – Hispanics understand that a nation that cannot protect its border cannot protect its serenity. I know many Hispanics who worked hard to earn citizenship. There are many, many Hispanics who are small business owners. Who are parents struggling to educate their children. Who want desperately to have an opportunity to live the American dream. That doesn’t mean that we cannot also a nation of laws. But when we insult people by calling them names – I don’t care what the names are and I don’t care who we’re insulting – that does not unify a nation. It does not solve problems. It does not lift us up, and ultimately, it will not win us election.
HH: Well, we have a minute to the break, but then we’ll come back. I’ll give it you to start. What is the proposal – Carly Fiorina – for the eleven to fifteen million people not in the country legally.
CF: Here’s my proposal, but let me say again, Hugh – we have to secure the border first. And we have to fix the legal immigration system first. Because if we don’t fix those problems first, we continue to contribute to the problem. But also, people don’t have any faith in the basic competence of their government. And when people lack faith in the competence of their government, it divides us as a nation because they are so angry and they are so frustrated. If you can’t do the basic thing like secure the border or fix the legal immigration – both of which have been broken for twenty-five years even though we talk about it every presidential cycle – then why do I think you can tackle a more complicated problem. My view, however, is those who have come here illegally and stayed here illegally – they do not earn a pathway to citizenship. We must be a nation of laws. Perhaps they can earn a pathway to legal status. Of course, we have to deport those who have committed crime. But this must be a nation of consequence as well.
HH: I’ll be right back with Carly Fiorina. During the break, you can visit CarlyforAmerica.Com. Stay tuned America. It’s the Hugh Hewitt Show.
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HH: Twenty-one minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt with Carly Fiorina. It is so useful to have a former CEO of a publically-traded company running for president because I can ask this question of someone who actually knows what it means. I begin by saying Carly – I always disclose to the audience – I own Apple stock and I love Apple stock, but this week, markets crashed in panic. In the middle of that, Apple CEO Tim Cook – who’s a visionary, he’s an extraordinary leader – sent a message off to Jim Cramer saying “Hey, we’re doing very well in China,” and Apple rallied. And immediately, someone said he should prosecuted by the SEC. What did you make of that episode and why would we purposely punish a CEO of a great company trying to protect his shareholders?
CF: Well, there is something called “regulation full-disclosure” – Reg. F.D. – which requires a CEO to communicate the same thing at the same time to everyone if it is information that will change the stock price which this clearly was. And so I think the argument being made is that he – in [an] exclusive fashion, provided Jim Cramer and his viewers with information that others did not have. Now the truth is, it became public very, very quickly, and then everyone had the benefit of it which is why the stock rallied. So in truth, I think “no harm, no foul,” but I think honestly, it was careless. It was careless of the CEO to communicate to one reporter and not others via personal email.
HH: Interesting. What’s interesting to me is that you actually could answer that question with that specificity, Carly Fiorina (laughs). I’m quite certain nobody else – well, maybe Governor Kasich because of Lehman brothers- but I don’t anyone else would know about regulation “F.D..” So, hat tip on that. Now let me ask the bigger question – China and its markets. Scott Walker this week called for President Obama to cancel the state visit of President Xi. Donald Trump said “No. Hold it, and negotiate it better.” What does Carly Fiorina say?
CF: Well look. First, I think we need to understand that China is undergoing a very difficult time. They’ve made a bargain with their people, and the bargain is we will grow this economy and lift millions of you out of poverty and in return, you’re going accept oppression, censorship, terrible safety standards, and killing pollution. And when that bargain begins to break down as it is when they can’t grow their economy, the government is under huge pressure. Now is the time for us to put pressure on them. And I would pressure on them in the follow way: I would be conducting big fly-overs right now in these disputed territories in the South China Sea. We cannot permit China to control those. I would be giving the Japanese and the Australians the technology they’ve asked for and make sure the Chinese know it. That the Australians and Japanese can join us in patrolling the South China Sea and that trade route to which five trillion dollars worth of goods and services flows every year. To guarantee that China cannot control that trade route. And I would keep the visit, and I would negotiate very hard on two issues: number one, you cannot our nation through cyberattacks with impunity. And number two, we will never permit you to control this trade route, and you need to stop building your military bases. Actually now is the time to put pressure on China when their economy is faltering.
HH: But you would keep the visit. Would you downgrade the visit from a state visit–
HH: . . . Which is an honor actually.
CF: Yes. Yes, I would. I would downgrade the visit. I would let the Chinese know that this going to be a very serious negotiation, not you know a bunch of pomp and circumstance to built the Chinese leader, but that this would be a very serious negotiation and if the Chinese leader did not want to accept those conditions, then the visit can go by the wayside. This is not an opportunity to build him. This is not an opportunity for a state dinner. This is not an opportunity for a bunch of photo opportunities. This is an opportunity for serious negotation as well as for serious action in the South China Sea.
HH: Now I want to talk to you about Hilary Clinton in serious action. John Schlindler, who tweets at @20Committee put out an extensive analysis today of why she violated 18 USC 1924 – which you and both know from having enjoy the privilege of sensivitive, compartmented information codeword access – is a very serious thing. The evidence is monumental she broke the law, Carly Fiorina. Do you agree or disagree with that?
CF: Yes. I agree and as you know Hugh, I have been one of the very few candidates who has been relentless in my criticism of Hilary Clinton and who has consistently said and taken criticism from the mainstream media – although I think even they can’t defend her anymore – I have consistently said she has lied. She has lied about Benghazi. She has lied about her emails. She has lied about her server.
HH: Alright, so that’s clear. Now that means Joe Biden is getting serious because I think the vice president sees what you and I see which is a torpedoed campaign that is sinking rather rapidly. Can you beat Joe Biden because he’s America’s favorite “crazy uncle?”
CF: Absolutely. Absolutely. Look, we should not be confused. Whoever their nominee is – crazy, gentle Joe Biden or Hilary Clinton – we have to have the nominee who’s going to fight. Who’s going to fight and throw every punch. I will. People are coming to learn that about me. It’s why it’s where I’ve been in the polls. Joe Biden is going to have to stand up and defend a terrible track record of the Obama administration. He is the heir to that legacy. He is the heir to every foreign policy failure. He is the heir to billions poor women and African-Americans falling into poverty. He is the heir to worsening income inequality. He is the heir to a terrible economic recovery – the worst ever. He is the legitimate heir to the Obama administration. Frankly, I look forward to that fight.
HH: Now I want to go back to South Korea because I discussed it with Donald Trump as well. He hints at withdrawing the twenty-eight thousand troops and reducing the military burden. I asked if South Korea and Japan ought to be encouraged to go nuclear to shoulder their burden. He didn’t really answer me. What do you think about that, Carly Fiorina?
CF: First of all, I disagree. We should not be withdrawing troops from South Korea. In fact, now is the time for us to be building up our military. We need to have the strongest military on the face of the planet. Everybody has to know it, so I actually would be leaving our forces in South Korea. I would be encouraging Japan – not to become a nuclear power – I don’t think we should be encouraging nuclear proliferation. It’s why the Iran deal is such a terrible deal as you and I have talked about and why we have to cut off the money flow to Iran which I will do. But, the point is, our Japanese and South Korean allies need to see leadership and support and resolve from us. We should not ever trust North Korea or the Chinese for that matter will not try and take advantage of the situation if we leave South Korea or Japan weakened. The truth is, there is a lot of technology that the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Filipinos, and the Australians are asking for from us to help them be more assertive in the region. To push back against China that is not a nuclear weapon. That that would be extremely helpful and I think we should be providing it.
HH: Last question, Carly Fiorina. Donald Trump has said that we cannot be the world’s policeman. Do you agree with that or disagree with that?
CF: We must be the world’s leader. We must the world’s leader. Only the United States of America can lead in this world. When we do not lead, the world is a very dangerous and a a very tragic place. When we do not lead, our allies lose courage. When we do not lead, our adversaries press forward. We need—
HH: Music is playing, so let me ask – are you going to catch and pass Donald Trump?
CF: (laughs) Well, that is my intent. My intent is to be the nominee.
HH: Carly Fiorina, always a pleasure. Thank you for joining me. I’ll be right back America.