HH: I’m joined now by my friend, Congressman Tim Ryan, Democrats of Northeast Ohio, of Warren, Ohio, of John F. Kennedy High School. And my campaign to get him named the vice president on Hillary Clinton’s ticket did not succeed. Congressman Tim Ryan, you know, I was everywhere. I was spinning the Ryan as the vice presidential choice wherever I went. I’m sorry it didn’t work.
TR: I thought you had more influence in the Democratic Party, Hugh, but you know, I guess we’ll have to try again in four years.
HH: Yeah, now, but they kept telling me they need you for governor in Ohio, and I said I don’t want him to lose that race. I want him to stay and become the speaker.
TR: (laughing) Yeah, well…
HH: (laughing) I saw our friend, Sammy Cavelli, on the floor of the RNC, and we were talking about you, and we can’t believe you’ve gone so bad, Tim Ryan.
HH: We trained you so well at John F. Kennedy High School, and you’ve gone so wrong. Hey, how is Philadelphia working out for you? Logistically, I understand they can’t match Cleveland when it comes to putting on a convention.
TR: Well, you know, it’s going to be tough to match a great Ohio city like Cleveland, so you know, you’re going to come in second place regardless.
TR: But it’s good. And so far, it’s crowded. You know, I mean, obviously you were in Cleveland, too. Warren has many people. There’s not as many delegates, and it’s been crowded, but it’s been good. And I think it’s a great city, you know?
HH: Let me start with a high point. I was on MSNBC last night, and I said the First Lady gave a speech as memorable as her husband’s twelve years ago in the Fleet Center. It was a sparkling moment. I didn’t think, now Cory Booker did well, but up until Cory Booker and the First Lady, I didn’t think it was a particularly good night, and of course, Wikileaks was destroying your day. What did you make of the First Lady’s remarks?
TR: Unbelievable. I mean, I think she really elevated the conversation, you know, and reminded every one of us why we’re here, why you get into politics, and what it really means, you know, when it hits the ground. Who is that that’s going to be on TV that your kids are going to be listening to? What priorities are they going to push? How do they treat each other, kind of the intangibles, you know, outside of what the necessary policy arguments are going to be, but just your demeanor and how you conduct yourself. And I think she really, she laid it out there, and inspired not just the room, but I think the country. That’s really going to go down as one of the best convention speeches in a long, long time.
HH: All right, so I gave the props that were due. Let’s turn to the nightmare, the acid drop that was the Wikileaks.
HH: It’s corroding. You’re not part of that, but are you shocked at the goings on inside the DNC?
TR: You know, I think if you’d gotten into anybody’s email in any political organization, you are going to see, you know, a lot of negativity, a lot of snarky comments about different candidates. I think that’s natural, but I don’t think you’ve seen anything that really affected the election or the outcome of the election. You know, I mean, I’m sure there were people in the Republican and the RNC that were talking bad about maybe Donald Trump, even. I don’t know, is that out of the realm of possibility if we downloaded the emails from the RNC staff and committee, or, you know, other candidates who were running against Donald Trump? You sure would. And look, this is not the Rotary Club. This is full contact sports, and I wasn’t really surprised that a couple of staffers were saying this or that about Bernie Sanders. And clearly, they stepped over the line when you start talking about religion.
HH: There’s some homophobic comments as well.
TR: And using that…
HH: I mean, it’s full of, it’s full of, it’s dribbling out. It’s going to be a story all week long, Congressman Ryan.
TR: Yeah, and again, no one’s apologizing for that, and I hope, you know, those people, whoever participated or made those comments, are gone. They need to be cut. You need to get rid of them immediately. And it’s not making an excuse. They should leave. It’s inappropriate. But again, here we are. There’s much bigger issues to talk about.
HH: All right, let’s talk about the much bigger issue that was not talked about last night. There’s a terrorist attack this morning. A priest was beheaded. You and I are Roman Catholic. We know 86 year old priests. It’s a shocking horrifying thing in France. Two ISIS attackers behead a priest in a Catholic Church. Now over at Drudge is a story, and it begins this way. Over 60 speeches were made Monday night at the Democratic National Convention, yet one key topic was missing in action – the rise of ISIS. The Republican National Committee pointed it out, and Sean Spicer, their terrific coms director, tweeted 61 number of speeches at Dem Convention tonight, zero mentions of the global terrorist threat posed by ISIS. Zero, Congressman Ryan, what does that say?
TR: Well, first of all, this is our, the first day of the convention. We obviously had a lot of internal issues we were working through dealing with the delegates and the platform and trying to get people coming together, trying to unify the party. There’s, you know, it was Bernie Sanders’ day, for all intents and purposes, and letting his followers and supporters come back into the fold and supporting the party. So that was really the focus of the day. And there was a lot going on, you know, and that doesn’t mean that ISIS or terrorism or protecting the homeland or having an aggressive and assertive foreign policy is not part of the agenda here. It just didn’t come up yesterday.
HH: But zero mentions? I keep telling people the President’s six word summary is leading from behind, red line and jayvees. Do you think he will ever get over calling ISIS the jayvees?
TR: Well, it’s one of the comments I’m sure he wish he hasn’t said. And you know, many of us wish he didn’t say that. But at the end of the day, you know, the question is going to be who do you think will be more effective in dealing with terrorism, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And part of it, and as you know, Hugh, better than anybody, is how do we push back on Russia? You want to pull yourself out of NATO and give Vladimir Putin the opportunity to come into Eastern Europe even further than he already has, into Western Europe, continuing to assert himself? Do we really want to let all of the energy issues and oil and gas and all, and coal and all these things that are a part of the European economy get into the hands of Vladimir Putin, allow him to have more influence over there, because that’s really what Donald Trump’s plan is. So yeah, we can have these comments and discussions about what happened with Barack Obama and what he said or didn’t say, or what he did or should have done, or could have handled better. But the reality is do we want to give the keys to the car over to Donald Trump, especially now when intelligence is such an important component of combatting the war on terror, knowing who these people are, sharing information, and working with the European Union, working with NATO, and even elevating NATO and the United Nations to a bigger role, because we’ve got to share intelligence better and easier, and continue to work on that? And you want to destroy NATO? You want to pull out of NATO? You want to stick your thumb in their eye? You want to, you know, insult Muslims in Muslim countries when in fact we need their intelligence, because they’re probably better able to get it than we are? That’s the real question that’s being presented here.
HH: Well, Secretary Clinton did a very fine job of sharing intelligence via her server which has probably been hacked by the same Russians who dumped it. We’ll be seeing that on debate day, I think, if he really wants to favor [Trump]. This isn’t the DNC. I can’t let you get away. Donald Trump has called for 2% contributions, not the destruction of NATO. I want to be clear about that. Do you agree that the NATO allies ought to live up to their 2% contributions, Congressman Ryan?
TR: Yeah, no question about it.
HH: So you agree with Donald Trump?
TR: But…Of course, we want them to, and everybody, to pay their fair share. But the question is you have a recession in a NATO country, or an economic collapse in a NATO country, do you say you know, well, they’re not paying their fair share, so we’re out? And how does this work? I mean, these are…
HH: No, I’m just glad I’ve got Tim Ryan agreeing with Donald Trump. I mean, I’m very happy about that development.
TR: I think anybody, I think anybody would agree that you need to pay your fair share. I mean, this is, this is a global organization. But the reality of it is there’s going to be circumstances where countries get squeezed. And we can’t have the approach that oh, if they don’t pay, then therefore, our interests aren’t what our interests are, that we can just kind of remove ourselves from this situation. You know, I was in Persian Gulf countries two or three months ago. We were in Bahrain, we were in United Arab Emirates, went to Iraq, went to al-Anbar Province, met, you know, on and off of the USS Harry Truman. We are needed in these regions. We are, we have got to have a united front through the NATO alliance, but we also have to recognize we have a role in the world. And nature abhors a vacuum. And if we’re not there, if we’re not strong, if we’re not present, if we’re not helping our allies in these regions, then we are going to lose. There’s going to be more opportunity to cultivate terrorism, train people that can eventually, you know, make their way up the Manbij Passage into Turkey, now a destabilized Turkey. Do you disengage from all of this? And that’s the question. You have someone who is temperamentally unfit to hold the keys to the car, have the nuclear code, in charge of these things, Hugh. And that’s a dangerous proposition, especially for a guy like you. You know, you really should be for Hillary Clinton, because you’re the kind of guy that understands that we need stability in the world, and you understand that the United States needs to have a strong presence.
HH: Well, of course, I do, but Congressman Ryan, I’m Ron Carenbauer trained, as you are, so I have a mnemonic. It’s called Every Liberal Really Seems So So Sad. That stands for Egypt, which Secretary Clinton botched, Libya, which she destroyed, the Russian reset button is the really, and then Syria, the server and the Status of Forces Agreement. So on the one hand, you have a theoretical argument that Donald Trump is temperamentally unsuited, and then on the other hand, I have a practical record of disaster after disaster. So while Hillary Clinton has a lot of experience, all of it turned out bad.
TR: Well, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Look, if nothing happened in Libya, and Qaddafi went in and started slaughtering the opposition, the Republicans would be saying boy, look at Hillary Clinton, she’s ineffective, why didn’t we go in and try to stop this slaughter from happening. Look, we got a lot of changes that are happening in the world now. The communications, the technology, the ability for the Arab Spring to be communicated in real time around the world, we’re all trying to figure out, you know, how to deal with this. This is, you know, in some sense, is the equivalent of the early stages of the Cold War in these proxy wars that were going on all around the world post-World War II, and trying to figure out okay, what do we do? Do we go in? Do we not go in? Do we, you know, do we put advisors into Vietnam? Or do we send hundreds of thousands of troops? Some of, this is all figuring this stuff out as we go, and I think instead of us sitting around being super-critical of people, we need to sit down and try to actually have a united front. The best thing we could do for the terrorists is, and to inspire the terrorists, is to say you know, we’re not united in our foreign policy like we were for so many, many years. You know, for so many years throughout the Cold War, you know, we had fights behind the scenes, but we were a United States. We were a united front moving forward.
HH: You’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right. Congressman Tim Ryan, always a pleasure, but do me a pleasure, try to get your colleagues to mention ISIS at least once tonight. But I appreciate you coming on, always a good sport. Congressman Tim Ryan is my hometown Congressman from my hometown high school. He’s a good guy, even though he’s a Democrat. He’s not rotten. He’s just wrong.
End of interview.