HH: I am trying this week to spend as much time as I can with all of the would-be GOP presidential nominees to talk about the horrors of Paris and the aftermath. I’m joined now by former Arkansas Mike Huckabee. Governor Huckabee, welcome. First, just an open invitation, your reaction to the events of the last week?
MH: Well, it’s been a shocking week not just because of the carnage in France, but because we have seen a left-wing, politically-correct, socialist French president close the borders of France and declare war on ISIS. We’ve seen the American president try to open up our borders to more Syrian refugees and go to war with Republican governors. This is a president who I wish could get as angry, viscerally and visibly, against these monsters who want to kill everybody, as he does against Republicans that he blames for everything that’s going wrong on his absolutely incompetent stewardship of foreign policy.
HH: Now Governor Huckabee, I want you to reach back to your pastor days. I have students here at Colorado Christian University where I’m teaching this semester, and I’m telling them today Christians love these people. They want to help these people. I’m sure your church helped so many people abroad and people who come to this country. But they have to be safe. And this is not, this is not repudiating the American way of life to say slow down here, Hoss, this is not smart.
MH: Well, it’s not smart, Hugh, because we already know that some of the people posing as Syrian refugees are actually terrorists. We’ve had people that got into Paris, at least one we know for sure, and went through the circuitous route of going through Europe and pretending to be a Syrian refugee. Look, it’s all about trying to help people, but who says the best way to help them is to bring them 8,000 miles from their homeland and put them in a city and a culture and a language, even in a climate that they’re totally unprepared for? Building a refugee camp in the Middle East, the Saudis ought to host it, makes a whole lot more sense, because let’s remind ourselves. The reason a person is a refugee is because things in their country have gone so horribly wrong that they are under threat because of their religion or because they’re women and they’re vulnerable. Well, put them in a safe place in a refugee camp. Let Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse organization run the place, because they will do it better than the government. And then let’s go after these monstrous Islamic jihadists. Let’s kill them, destroy them, make those countries from which they’ve had to flee safe again, and then they can go home.
HH: Governor Huckabee, why are there targets left in Raqqa? I mean, if we gave a target list to the French, evidently, and I hope that’s not an urban myth that I’m reproducing, but I read that we gave a list of targets to the French, and the French hit them. Why are there targets left?
MH: Well, because when we had our rules of engagement, they were so very strict that it did not allow many of our air strikes to actually ever drop bombs and explosives. Once again, the President didn’t want to prosecute this war as a real war. And so we had, we flew 8,200 sorties, but not all of them ever dropped any weapons. And the result was that ISIS continued to get bigger, not smaller. They have now more economy than the GDP of the entire state of Florida. The President is out boasting that we’ve contained them. Nine hours later, something erupted, and their containment spilled over the edge of the pot and they’re killing 127 people in Paris, making him look like he’s totally uninformed about what’s really going on in the world.
HH: Now only that, let me play for you the President in the Philippines two days ago, Governor Huckabee, cut number 18:
BO: These are the same folks often times who suggest that they’re so tough that just talking to Putin or staring down ISIL or using some additional rhetoric somehow is going to solve the problems out there. But apparently, they’re scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America as part of our tradition of compassion. Now first, they were worried about the press being too tough on them during debates. Now, they’re worried about three year old orphans. That doesn’t sound very tough to me. They’ve been playing on fear in order to try to score political points, or to advance their campaigns. And it’s irresponsible. And it’s contrary to who we are. And it needs to stop, because the world is watching.
HH: Governor Huckabee, your reaction to that lecture?
MH: Well, the President has become the national scold. And he wants to tell us that he’s more interested in protecting the reputation of Islam than he is the American people. Look, I highly resent that he makes this straw man out of all Republicans, and makes it that we’re really not very strong because we actually want to protect the people in our homeland. If he’s so confident that his agencies can fully vet these refugees, let me ask, how many are going to sleep on the south lawn of the White House? Let me ask, how many are going to Martha’s Vineyard? How many to Silicon Valley? How many to Hollywood? How many to Georgetown? How many to Chappaqua or the Upper East Side of Manhattan? Please, Mr. Obama, come back and convince me that this is going to be just fine by giving me the numbers that are going to be in those places, because here’s what Obama is basically saying. Most of America is too little to worry about. We will live behind our gated communities surrounded by armed guards, but we’ll take these people that are fully unvetted and put them in your communities, and you’re supposed to like it and not say anything about it. Well, I think the President needs to have a real genuine dose of reality, which he clearly doesn’t have. And quite frankly, he’s talking about being afraid of widows and orphans? None of us are afraid of widows and orphans. I’ll tell you what I am afraid of, Hugh. I’m afraid that under Obama, we’re going to have a lot more widows and orphans in our country, and talking about being afraid of a three year old? I’m afraid that somebody will kill the three year old grandchildren that I have a whole lot more than I’m afraid of any three year old. But I have a right to worry about that. And if the President doesn’t understand it, then he’s not much of a commander-in-chief.
HH: Governor Huckabee, what does he, what’s happening to him? I mean, it’s, watching him flail around and lash out after Paris is disconcerting.
MH: The most dangerous person in the room, Hugh, is the person who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. This is a man who has such great confidence in his intellect and his superior ability to know everything. And what’s happened, even the left has been critical and condemning of the way he has completely botched and mishandled this. But he has a long record of missing every decision in the Middle East, whether it’s misunderstanding what was going on in Yemen, whether it was picking the wrong partner in Egypt, whether it was not helping the Green movement in Iran and then signing on to the most disastrous and dangerous deal in the history of the United States with the Iranians, whether it was misjudging what was happening in Libya. On and on, the list goes. The red line in Syria that never really existed except in his speeches, this is a president who has utterly failed. He has failed as a commander-in-chief. He’s failed as a leader. And he’s being now caught with it, and instead of admitting that he’s just not up for the job, he wants to blame those of us who believe that the first duty of the American president is protect the American people, not to protect the reputation and image of Islam.
HH: Governor Huckabee, we’ve got a minute to the break and I’ll come back and talk to you about more specifics about this. But Dr. Carson has been assailed by the New York Times this week as not being up to speed on foreign affairs. What did you make of that attack?
MH: Well, I’ll have to let him answer for what he knows or what he doesn’t know. But I do think that one thing we are seeing in this entire process is that the presidency is not an entry level job. People who are maybe first term senators with very little or no executive experience, it’s not necessarily a job that it’s a good idea. People who have never been elected anything, I would say that maybe we’re reminded that being elected to something, having experience in governing might be valuable to us.
HH: I’ll be right back with Governor Mike Huckabee, candidate for the presidency.
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HH: Governor Huckabee, again referring to your pastoral background, I don’t think I can quote, the FCC won’t let me quote Donald Trump saying we should bomb the blank out of them, but what do you make of Mr. Trump’s recipe?
MH: Well, let me say that as a long time governor, somebody that had to fight an incredible battle in a state where Democrats dominated 90%, you know, I appreciate anybody who is up for a fight. And I get it. Anybody that’s willing to say about terrorism, we’ve got to destroy it before it destroys us, I’m okay with that. In fact, I’ve been very clear that when you’re dealing with some monstrous evil like, not just ISIS, let’s broaden it out here. We’re talking about the inherent evil that is in all of Islamic jihadism. It’s a cancer, and it’s a malignant cancer. If it were benign, we could contain it. But this isn’t benign, and we have to eradicated it like one would a malignant tumor, and then radiate the area around it to make sure it doesn’t come back. And anything less than that is an inadequate response to what we’re facing, because this is not a threat by people who would like a little more real estate in the Middle East, or would like a great deal more respect at the U.N. These are people who are religiously and fanatically committed to killing all of us, all in the name of their religion, and all because they believe that it is the only way that they will ever see Heaven. And frankly, we need to help them to get to see their way to hell more quickly than for them to be able to get to their version of Heaven by killing all of us.
HH: Now Governor Huckabee, the objection to Donald Trump or anyone else, Vladimir Putin for that matter, who want to bomb the blank out of it, is that a lot of innocent people will die. How do you respond to that? A lot of innocent people will die with carpet bombing, for example.
MH: You don’t want to ever see innocent people as collateral damage in any war or conflict. But let’s remember that these are people that will put the most innocent among them, just like we saw Hamas doing down in Gaza. They will put babies in front of their tanks rather than put the tanks in front of their babies. And you’re simply not going to be able to completely protect and salvage everybody. The Israelis do the best job of anyone. They take more strides. I spent a day down in the southernmost part of Israel at their air base, and briefed with their pilots and saw what they do to try to protect innocent human life. But we’re dealing with crazy people, absolute nut cases who are willing to put babies right in the way of any bomb or device. I mean, these are people that will strap explosive devices to their own children in the name of their religion. And with every caution that we should and could take, and we should, we’re going to have to believe that at some point, the bigger purpose of saving Western civilization will have to be the highest priority.
HH: And so Governor Huckabee, that’s an important, and I think it will be an important issue going forward, rules of engagement. What level of civilian casualties is Mike Huckabee willing to see in order to eradicate the Islamic State?
MH: You know, you never say, Hugh, okay, here’s the percentage of civilians that we are willing to let die. I mean, the percentage we want to see die is zero. But will there be some civilian casualties? I’m sure there will be. But you know what we need to be thinking about? How many civilian casualties we’re already having. In Syria alone, 250,000 people have bene murdered by their own government. We saw what happened in Egypt. We’ve seen what’s happened in Libya. We see the beheadings in Iraq, and especially among the Christians and the Kurds. So you know, to say that gee, innocent people are going to get killed, Hugh, they already are. But they’re getting killed not unintentionally. They’re getting killed intentionally. So tell me which is worse – the unintentional killing of some civilians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is horrible and truly regrettable, or to stand back and continue to let women in Oklahoma City get beheaded, soldiers get shot up at Fort Hood, an innocent buck private getting shot in the front of a recruiting center in Little Rock, and countless hundreds of thousands being murdered and slaughtered in the Middle East for not bowing to the demands of radical Islam.
HH: Last question, Governor, President Hollande has suggested a grand alliance between the United States, France and Russia. Would you welcome an alliance with Russia? Or do you want that off the table?
MH: In this case, I would, and I know that a lot of Republicans say no, we don’t trust Putin. We don’t have to trust Putin. But if he’s willing to shoot at the same people we’re wanting to shoot at, good. We have a common target. Look, I learned in politics through the years of having to work with a 90% Democratic legislature that a person who may be my enemy today could be my friend tomorrow on a project that we mutually agree upon. Don’t opt to say it’s an all or nothing, now or never proposition, because if Putin is willing to help us eradicate radical Islam from the face of the Earth, then on that, he’s our friend. He may not be our friend on the invasion of Crimea, or the taking of Ukraine, or other desires to expand. But those are arguments for another time. Let him use his resources with us. Let’s invoke NATO. Let’s invoke the countries of Saudi Arabia, the Kuwaitis, the UAE. Let’s once and for all say it’s put up or shut up time. We’re going to get rid of this threat that we face globally through radical Islam. It’s got to go.
HH: Governor Mike Huckabee, thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.
End of interview.