Former New York Governor George Pataki joined me today to talk about the terrorism in Tennessee and the Iran “deal”:
HH: Two attacks at different military recruitment centers in Tennessee, four Marines are dead. I’m joined by former New York Governor George Pataki. Governor Pataki, your reaction to the terrorism by Mohammod Youssef Abdulazeez today?
GP: Yeah, it’s just awful, and our heart breaks for the Marines and their families. We’re praying for them. But I have to tell you, Hugh, this is something that you could see coming. I’ve said time and again we are at greater risk of an attack in America today than at any time since September 11th. And when you allow a group like ISIS to use social media, to hack into computer networks, when you allow people to proselytize violent jihad here in the United States, sadly, people are going to fall into this trap. So it’s tragic, obviously, for them, but it’s more importantly, it just shows the vulnerability we face under the hideously weak policies that Obama has put in place.
HH: Governor Pataki, we don’t know much about Abdulazeez, yet, but one would suspect it’s ISIS-inspired, and that he is a Sunni fanatic. And I realize that the Islamic Republic of Iran is Shiia fanatic fun. Nevertheless, fanatics are fanatics. How can we worry about the Islamic State drowning people in pools and burning pilots alive, and inspiring lone wolf attacks on the one hand, and then negotiate with Islamist fanatics of a different branch of Islam on the other hand?
GP: You know, it’s incredible to me, Hugh, and not just negotiate, but negotiate where we don’t set as a precondition their renouncing the fact that they’re the state of, the world’s number one state sponsor of terror, and without a precondition saying they’re going to release the four hostages they hold illegally in Iran. I mean, it’s one thing to negotiate. It’s another thing to allow them, and in fact, to acknowledge that they’re going to continue to use whatever relief they get from sanctions to expand their support for violent, radical, Islam terrorist activities around the world. It’s just inconceivable.
HH: Susan Rice said on Wolf Blitzer’s show yesterday that they expect most of the billions of dollars of unfrozen assets will go to help the people of Iran. The naiveté was off the charts, Governor Pataki.
GP: Yeah, I think it’s beyond naiveté. I think it’s beyond them just somehow having this absurd belief that the mullahs and the theocrats running that country all of a sudden are going to be more concerned about giving out a new food stamp program than supporting Assad or supporting the Islamic rebels who now control Yemen, or Hezbollah, or some of the other terrorist groups that they back. It’s almost like they’re consciously looking the other way, not just naïve, because of the desperate desire to have this deal done.
HH: What did you make of the President’s press conference yesterday?
GP: You know, I was really stunned by the weakness and the fact that he would just say things that in my mind are completely untrue. I mean, for example, he says we have headed off an arms race in the Middle East. What he has done is create an arms race in the Middle East. If you’re the Saudis, if you’re the Gulf states, if you’re Turkey sitting there knowing that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when Iran is going to have nuclear weapons, you immediately say I’ve got to have them as well. So I mean, that’s just one example of just a complete, I think, complete lack of candor, to be kind to this president, from that press conference. And you know, what he always does is the same thing. Well, there’s no choice except going to war or making this deal. And that’s just nonsense. The world knows it’s nonsense. I hope the American people realize it’s nonsense. But most importantly, Hugh, I hope that Congress understands this and rejects this deal.
HH: Let me ask you, Governor Pataki, does he not understand or is he lying?
GP: You know, I mean, it’s hard for me to conceive that he could not understand that when they rammed through Obamacare, millions of people would have to lose their coverage and change their coverage. You know, I just, I’m reluctant to go beyond the fact that this president time and again has misled the American people, and said things to them that if you look reasonably at what he was referring to, you couldn’t help but conclude the exact opposite.
HH: So what’s his agenda?
GP: You know, his agenda here clearly was to try to, for whatever reasons, create a stronger relationship between the United States and the Iranian theocrats, the number one sponsors of terror in the world. And why in God’s name anyone would think that somehow this is going to moderate their behavior is beyond me. And Hugh, I’ve got to tell you something, I was going through the agreement. There is actually a provision in there where the United States and the other Western countries agree to assist with providing best practices, training seminars, and support so Iran can physically guard its nuclear facilities, and not just physically guard them, but also protect them from sabotage. I mean, we are in the process here of saying that not only are you going to have these nuclear facilities that were illegal yesterday, but will be legal once this is ratified, not only will we have to give enormous notice if we suspect illegal activities before we’re allowed to inspect, but by the way, we’re going to help you guard those facilities, so if you are cheating, it’s going to be harder for us or the Israelis or anyone to actually attack them. This is just the height of absurdity.
HH: All right, last question, Governor Pataki, you’ve had a lot of meetings with Donald Trump over your years as governor of the Empire State. How do you judge his entry into this race and the rhetoric in which he has launched himself?
GP: Well, you know, he’s tapped into a never on illegal immigration and the criminal acts of illegal immigrants, and I understand that. And I think all the Republicans understand we have to secure the border, and we have to either jail or send back in a way where we’re confident they won’t return those who have committed a criminal act. But I have to tell you, when you really, really attack the integrity of millions of people from Mexico who I believe are here because they want to build a better economic future, I don’t think that’s in any way fair. I don’t think in any way it’s appropriate, and I would hope as the voters look beyond the emotion of the illegal immigrant issue, which is an important issue, that we understand that we’re not going to send ten million people in buses back where they came from. The vast majority have come to live here legally. No amnesty, we have to respect the rule of law, but we have to have a program that will deal with them in an intelligent way.
HH: Is Donald Trump helping the Republican brand?
GP: You know, in the short term, he is drawing enormous attention to himself. In the long run, I’ll leave it to the experts, Hugh. You know, I managed to run New York for 12 years. I’m now seeking to run the country, because I believe I can win the election and govern the country well. The political experts will tell you this is helping, this is hurting. All I know is what I believe.
HH: Governor George Pataki, great to talk to you again.
End of interview.