Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker joined me on air today to discuss the Iran “deal” and what weapons systems he would make available to the Israelis in the aftermath of President Obama’s catastrophic “deal” with Iran:
HH: Beginning today’s show with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Governor Walker, welcome, it’s great to have you.
SW: Thank you, good to talk to you again. We had a good conversation in Denver.
HH: We did, and I’m looking forward to talking mostly about foreign affairs today.
HH: Did you happen to see the President’s press conference earlier today?
SW: You know, I got briefed with it. I just did a media gaggle outside an event I was at in Greenville, South Carolina. And I’ve got to tell you, it is more frustrating every day. I don’t know what the heck this guy’s thinking about. The only thing is I guess in a moment of true candor, he acknowledged that this deal isn’t going to essentially, isn’t going to change the actions of Iran, which makes you wonder why in the world are we doing this? This is a country that held Americans hostage for 444 days, and I don’t think you can argue that they’ve changed a whole lot since then. Why would we be giving them not only capacity to have a nuclear weapon, but why we be giving them the financial capacity to go out and spend money on state-sponsored terrorism, which they’re one of the premiere and said leaders of.
HH: Here are the two key quotes from the conference, Governor, cut number three:
BO: So this deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior. It’s not contingent on Iran suddenly operating like a liberal democracy.
HH: And cut number four:
BO: You know, there are only so many uranium mines in Iran. And if in fact we’re counting the amount of uranium that’s being mined, and suddenly some’s missing on the back end, they’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
HH: So Governor Walker, he’s not counting on them changing any behavior, they cheat, and then…
SW: Yeah, not contingent on changing behavior. Isn’t that remarkable? I mean, that is almost breathtakingly out of touch with reality. These are people that, Hugh, I know I don’t need to tell you this, and I know your listeners know this as well. Even set aside the nuclear capacity for a moment, which is very real and not just a threat to our ally, the state of Israel, but potential for ICBMs towards the capacity to attack us, but just say for a moment, so we’re lifting sanctions with a deal that’s not contingent on changing behavior for a country that directly is involved with supplying support arms to Hamas and Hezbollah, two direct threats to Israel, who is involved and directly linked to Assad in Syria, whose obviously involved with the Shiite-based militias in Iraq, who has assisted and linked to the Yemen rebels, or excuse me, the Houthi rebels in Yemen. What in the world are we thinking? This is just mind-boggling that we would be not only disregarding the grave, grave concerns of not just Benjamin Netanyahu, but the opposition there and others in Israel, but even our Persian Gulf allies who are gravely concerned about this proposal, and should be, because of not just the long-term nuclear capacity, but what it means in the short term in terms of terrorist-sponsored action there.
HH: Let me talk to you specifically about Israel, because they are truly threatened in, and it’s a cliché, but it’s real, is the existential threat. They, we have weapon systems that they want, for example, the F-35, the F-18 Growler, which you know, allows them to jam systems, even old B-52s which are in our boneyard, but which can serve a strategic purpose. If you’re the president, will you sell those weapon systems to Israel?
SW: Yeah, we should sell, I mean, Israel is an ally, and we should start treating them like an ally. There should be no daylight between our countries out there. And that means we need to provide them assistance not just because we want to protect Israel, but remember, it’s kind of like providing funding and assistance for the Iron Dome. Helping them stay safe from threats in a very threatening neighborhood makes is less likely that we get pulled into very serious conflict in that region out there. So to me, yeah, I mean, the sad part, though, is under this president, he’s had kind of an under the Obama-Clinton doctrine, they’ve hollowed out the Air Force. We may not have enough F-22s or the B-2s to sell them. To me, the Air Force right now has fewer than 200 of these types of fighters, and you know, we need to find ways to provide them the assistance to protect themselves and keep ourselves from being drawn into what could be a very prolonged conflict there.
HH: I was going to bring up, we’ve stopped producing the B-2s and the F-22s, the latter because of that terrible decision you just referenced. But we could sell Israel the technology that allows them to stealth up. Would you be in favor of doing that?
SW: Oh, yeah, and I think it’s all the more reason not just for Israel’s sake, but why we need to rebuild the military. I mentioned it the other night in my announcement on Monday when I talked about how, you know, listing a whole number of things, but we need to have the capacity to protect our national security interests here and abroad, and those of our allies. And that begins by rebuilding the Defense budget to at least, at a minimum, at a minimum level that Secretary Gates has talked about. That’s the Air Force, the Navy, it’s our overall military personnel. To me, I’d lift the sequester. I’m all for balanced budgets. I’ve done it four times in the last four years. I’m doing it for the next two years going forward. So I want to balance and deal with the debt and deficit issues, but you don’t do it by decimating your military. We want them to have the resources they need to keep us safe, and then when they come back, we want those same men and women to have the equality and the timely health care they deserve as well.
HH: One of the extraordinary things the President said today, he got into it with Major Garrett. Now you have been on the receiving end of quite a lot of tough questions. You never lost your cool. The President lost his cool today. Let me play for you the exchange with Major Garrett of CBS, who went old school and asked him a really tough question, cut number six:
MG: Mr. President, as you well know, there are four Americans in Iran, three held on trumped up charges, according to your administration, and one whereabouts unknown. Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation, unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans? And last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said under no circumstances should there be any relief for Iran in terms of ballistic missiles or conventional weapons. It is perceived that that was a last minute capitulation in these negotiations. Many in the Pentagon feel you’ve left the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hung out to dry. Could you comment?
BO: I’ve got to give you credit, Major, for how you craft those questions. The notion that I am content as I celebrate with American citizens languishing in Iranian jails? Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.
HH: That’s nonsense and you should know better, clearly under his skin and aggravated that anyone raises the issue that many of us have raised. How can he do this deal? Now there’s a good argument not to link hostage negotiations with nuclear negotiations, but a president that easily, I mean, if Major Garrett gets under his skin, no wonder the Iranians took him and left him standing in a barrel.
SW: Well, and the sad thing is, and this wouldn’t be so sad if it wasn’t so true, but I’ve often said watching these negotiations that I’d love to play cards with this president, but he seems to fold on everything. I mean, it’s reprehensible when you think about, I mean, think about all the things he said. Hey, we’re not going to allow them to be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. They’re still in violation of them. He talked about any number of other conditions about the capacity to have an underground, fortified facility, about that length of time being permanent when it ended up being specific to dates. I mean, again, I stress, people, many people who weren’t watching this closely think this is just about capacity to have nuclear weapons, which by the way, this isn’t just unique to this president. It goes back many presidents. That didn’t work out so well in North Korea, despite all the low intentions at the time there. Maybe we should have learned from that. But even the short term, when you start talking about lifting restrictions on arms sales, and you realize this Iran still, today, is one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism against not only Israel, but a threat to others like the Sunnis and the Persian Gulf states that are aligned with us that are working with us in that region. And ultimately, with intercontinental ballistic missiles having the capacity to strike American land over some time, that is, I mean, Americans should be very concerned about this. And hat tip to him for giving that kind of question to the President. And just as one other aside, I met with the family of Amir Hekmati, the Marine who served his country and then went back to see some distant relatives and is being held there.
SW: I mean, this is, just the mere fact it would be nice to actually hear not tie it into these negotiations, but to have the president of the United States actually mention this American’s name, someone who served his country in the United States Marine Corps. It would be nice to have a president actually talk about his cause. You mentioned others. You mentioned one in the reporting corps. You talked about one in the ministry. Here is someone who served the United States in the Marine Corps, and this is one of those cases.
HH: Last question, Governor Walker, does former Secretary of State Clinton own this Iran deal?
SW: Oh, yeah. I mean, this is, I mean, she owned it either way, but then to come out and double down on this to try and put pressure on to try and keep a number of members of Congress on the Democrat side of the aisle from jumping ship, which I think they should, and there’s growing dis-consent, I think, the more they look at how bad of a deal this is. But this is exactly why the Obama-Clinton doctrine is a lead from behind doctrine that ultimately is leading us towards disaster. And I hope that Hillary Clinton thinks that she can run and be successful based on her so-called foreign policy experience, because when you look at the world today, everywhere she’s played a hand in it, it is more messed up today than it was before she and the President took office.
HH: You know, Governor Walker, I have to ask you one more. In Annex 3, Part D-10, 1 to 2, the United States and the other parties commit to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage. This is called the sabotage section. It appears that the United States is agreeing to help Iran stop Israel from interdicting their nuclear capacity. Will you repudiate that the first day in office is that’s part of the deal?
SW: Oh, I mean, to me, not just that. I mean, clearly, we need to have narrow, there can be no daylight between the United States and Israel, but in a larger context, I would do everything in my power to try and terminate this bad deal with Iran, to reinstate the existing authority that we have under sanctions, to take it a step further by working with the Congress to put in place crippling economic sanctions as quickly as we can, and then to convince our allies to do the same. These are not people we should be doing business with.
HH: Governor Scott Walker, thank you, always a pleasure to talk to you, Governor.
SW: Thanks, Hugh, good to talk to you.
End of interview.