HH: Lots going on around the world, including the President’s decision to send 450 more troops to Iraq. I’m joined by former Texas Governor Rick Perry to talk about that and many other issues. Governor Perry, welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to have you on the program.
RP: Hugh, it’s good to be with you, sir. How are things in your world?
HH: It’s great. I had on yesterday Alan Wilson, the very talented Attorney General from South Carolina. Since we cover South Carolina, you kown, Up Country and Myrtle Beach and Charleston, he tells me you’re going to visit South Carolina a lot. But you’re a Johnny Manziel backer, and he’s a Connor Shaw backer. And Manziel and Shaw are both wanting to play for the Browns. So I don’t know if you and Alan Wilson are going to be able to get along here, Rick.
RP: You know what? That’s why competition is so good. That’s why the 10th Amendment matters. Competition, whether it’s on the football field or whether it’s the states, or for that matter, whether it’s globally, that’s the message that we’re going to be talking about over the next 12-18 months.
HH: You had a great weekend in Iowa. I have got the reports that people went to Joni Ernst’s Ride & Roast. I think Marcus Luttrell, bunches of veterans were with you. How’d that go with the Iowa gang?
RP: Well, it was great. You know, Marcus and Morgan, his twin brother, and Pete Scobell, Paul Craig, Dan Moran, of course, Mike Thornton, who is a Medal of Honor recipient, they were all with us, as was Tea Kyle. Tea was with our, Chris Kyle’s widow, and I tell you what, having that group of legitimate American patriots standing on the stage with you, we were raising a little money for a foundation called the Puppy Jake Foundation, which supplies the service dogs for wounded vets. It’s just a treat to have those kind of people stand up with you and say listen, we don’t know anything about politics, but we know what’s right in this man’s life, we want him to be our leader, and we trust him. That’s a powerful message.
HH: Were you surprised that some of the lefty critics of you did not know who any of those people were in the pictures around you on the stand?
RP: Yeah, I was a little bit shocked by that. You know, one of the things that we need in this world today is to be really plugged in so that you know what’s going on with the things that are really important in this world. And keeping this country safe, I can’t think of anything more important than that, maybe with the one parallel, keeping a strong economy, because that’s financial security turns into military and diplomatic security. So I’m really a little bit stunned. I think it shows a lack of engagement on the left of what’s really going on. And they’re frankly being out of touch with mainstream Americans.
HH: Now Governor Perry, I just finished reading Stanley McChrystal’s new book, Team of Teams, because General McChrystal is coming in the studio on Friday with me. And it is clear to me having read that and his memoir to prepare for the interview that sending 450 more troops, no matter how able, no matter how Special Forces –oriented, is not going to stop the Islamic State.
HH: What did you make of the President’s move today?
RP: Well, listen, this is an individual who has been one step or even two steps behind through his entire presidency. When you think about Libya, when you think about how we missed it in Egypt, the way Israel’s been treated, we had the opportunity to stop ISIS in Syria with funding of the Syrian rebels, and frankly, I think as a side benefit of that, we’d have gotten rid of Assad. And even after that, Hugh, when we went into Northern Iraq, or I should say, ISIS went into Northern Iraq, we could have funded and delivered lethal weaponry to the Peshmerga, an extraordinary fighting force in that northern part of the Kurdistan region and stopped them there. This President always seems to be behind where he needs to be. So it doesn’t surprise me that he’s done this. He’s a reactionary president, not a president who has a vision and able to implement that vision and do it in a positive way.
HH: Has he entered his LBJ phase, Governor Perry, because he’s starting to feed in troops piecemeal, and there are more and more but without a mission.
RP: Well, I know that the young men and women that I talked to, listen, they’re going to take the orders. They do their thing, but I just find this to be real disconcerting to me as a man who’s worn the uniform of this country. I lived through that Vietnam era. I saw what happened with our young men lost faith with the civilian leadership, and it’s just an ugly sight. And we don’t need to look through that again.
HH: Do you have in your mind a number of troops you think are going to be necessary? I know you’ve been doing your homework at Hoover, you’ve been talking to people like McChrystal and Petraeus and all the other people who fought the war and actually had won the war when the President gave the war back and lost the peace. Do you have in your mind what America has to do to stop ISIS and at the same time contain Iran?
RP: I have a, I don’t think naming a number of troops publicly is a particularly thoughtful way to approach a war, and this is a war. And that’s what the President needs to, you know, needs to stand up in front of the American people and say we are at war, and we are declaring war against these individuals. But to do that, you must have a coalition. And the Gulf States, as far as I know, well, we saw this President tried to bring together some of those Gulf States leadership from Saudi Arabia, from Jordan, from Egypt, and a lot of the major decision makers didn’t even show up. So I’m afraid that we’ve totally lost our ability to lead a coalition at this particular point in time. I think these folks are just kind of biding their time and going you know what? Let’s wait until the next president of the United States comes along, somebody that we can trust, somebody that will send a clear message to our allies that we’re going to be with you, and a clear message to our adversaries if you cross that red line, there will be an extraordinary price to pay. And that would be one of the first things that I would do, day one, is start a conversation with those Gulf States countries to bring them together, to put a coalition together with some strong intelligence, obviously boots on the ground are going to be required, and a lot of those boots on the ground can be those Gulf States special operators. At that particular point in time, you go after ISIS with a vengeance, and you eliminate them from the face of the Earth.
HH: Now Governor Perry, if you are the Republicans’ nominee in Cleveland, and I hope you’re pulling for the Cavaliers, that’s…Chris Christie was at the game last night. You didn’t make to Cleveland for the game last night, Governor Perry.
RP: I was busy working.
HH: Okay, they’re back there on Thursday, just saying, just saying. You should be with the Cavs if you want Ohio. But if you’re on, accept the nomination, you’ll be opposite Hillary Clinton. She’s giving her reset speech on her campaign on Saturday. If she fails to mention the chaos in Libya, the second terror attack and this week in Egypt the complete collapse of their Middle East policy, is she ducking her own record?
RP: Well, absolutely, and I think, you know, what her reset, we just didn’t know she was going to reset us to previous, to 1989.
RP: I mean, this was a, she reset us all right, but it was back to when the Soviet Union was still threatening the world. And you know, because of some of the decisions that this administration, and her engagement in that, that we’ve seen, we’re seeing the Soviet Union again being a power that we’re going to have to deal with. And again, we had a great opportunity early on when they went into annex Crimea, when they went into Ukraine, that we could have supplied the Ukrainians’ military with lethal weapons. We could have flooded the European market with U.S. liquefied natural gas. We could have obviously sent troops into that Baltic region, and when I’m talking about troops, I’m talking about naval operations into that area as a show of force. I think those three things would have been a very powerful message to Putin that these types of adventurisms are not going to be accepted by the United States and our Western allies.
HH: Earlier today, Governor Perry, Breitbart reported that you had turned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and would urge Republicans to block the trade promotion authority. Paul Ryan will be on later this hour to urge Republicans to vote for that. Have you flip-flopped on this?
RP: Well, listen, as you find out information, I don’t mind, just like with the Ex-Im Bank, I believe that America has to be a competitor out there. I think that we have to do everything we can to sell our products around the world. But with the Ex-Im Bank, when it became abundantly clear of the fraud and the corruption that was going on there, I finally said listen, I can’t support you anymore. At this particular point in time, this thing needs to go away. And the TPP has now become that type of an animal, if you will. And when you will not tell a Congress, and when you will not tell the American people what is in a trade agreement, Washington has a real issue with trust as it is. And when you try to pull that on the American people and we start hearing some of the things that are in this, you, with this President’s record of pulling some of the things that he’s done, we had to pass the bill so we’ll know what’s in it type of rhetoric, if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, if you pass Obamacare, the costs are going to go down. Actually, the health care is going to go up. With that kind of record and not being honest and transparent with the American people, I think it’s just easier, well, I won’t say it’s easier, I think the wise thing to do is to say Mr. President, if you don’t trust the American people know what’s in this trade bill, we don’t trust you enough to pass it.
HH: 30 seconds, Governor, your Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is going to be on next hour celebrating the 5th Circuit upholding the law that you signed on the abortion clinics. You’ve got to be happy with that today.
RP: Well, this is a really fine young man. I’m a huge supporter of Ken Paxton. This is an Attorney General following right after Attorney General Abbott. I think Greg Abbott sued the federal government some 23 times, and Ken is following right in his footsteps. He is a strong believer in the 10th Amendment. And that’s the kind of leadership that we need all across this country, just like Wilson is in South Carolina.
HH: Rick Perry, great to talk to you as always.
End of interview.