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Rick Santorum On the President’s Failed ISIS/Syria Policy, And The European Path We’re On

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The audio:

11-19hhs-santorum

The transcript:

HH: Continuing as I have all week to talk with would-be Republican presidential nominees about the events in Paris and the aftermath, I’m joined now by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Senator Santorum, I just start by asking each of you your reaction to the slaughter in Paris last Friday.

RS: Well, I hate to say that I was not surprised by it. I mean, this is something ISIS has been planning, and planning not just in France, but planning throughout the West, including here in the United States. And you know, it’s horrific, it’s shocking, but it’s, we have been playing this game with ISIS, led by this president and his delusional policies that somehow ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, even though when he says the word ISIS, he’s saying Islamic State, that we have a policy of containment. The President enunciated that just hours before the attack. That policy of containment, when the principal objective of the Islamic State is to maintain their territorial integrity so they can prove the legitimacy of their caliphate, so they can recruit people to do what they just did in France, is a policy that is complicit with the aims of ISIS.

HH: Let me play for you, as I have for the other candidates, Rick Santorum, the President’s comments in the Philippines two days ago, cut number 18, please.

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: Rick Santorum, your reaction?

RS: I mean, it’s beneath the dignity of the presidency. I mean, this is despicable. It’s a lie, it’s a distortion, it’s setting up straw man after straw man, and then easily knocking them down. And presidents should not lower themselves to this type of rhetoric. And you know, the idea that anyone’s afraid of widows and orphans, please, Mr. President, this is really beneath the dignity of your office. If you can’t handle this heat anymore, then maybe it’s time to think about a different job. If you can’t take the heat on the fact that your policies are an abject failure, and that what you’ve done is continue to facilitate ISIS’ growth and support around the world, and the consequences of that are French, that people in France are dying, people in the Middle East are dying, and I suspect people in other Western countries are going to die because of your policies, not because of anybody’s afraid of an orphan.

HH: So I played this for Governor Kasich earlier today. He was genuinely angry, Rick Santorum. You sound the same way.

RS: Yeah, well, I’m genuinely angry, too. I mean, this is beneath a president. This is a president who doesn’t take criticism very well, who doesn’t take the fact that his policies are failures, and doesn’t like the fact that we want to protect our country. And he doesn’t seem particularly interested in it.

HH: Now the House passed today by a vote of 289-137 an overwhelming vote, one that’s veto-proof, new screening procedures mandate. What did you make of that vote? And will the message get through not just to the President, but to former Secretary of State Clinton who is with the President on this?

RS: You know, hopefully the vote in the Senate will be equally as strong. Obviously, they’re going to work that very, very hard so they do not have a veto-proof majority there. But you know, I’m hopeful that we finally see the Democrats beginning to recognize that this president’s policies of appeasement, this president’s policies of ignoring the reality that radical Muslims, that jihadists are the enemy, and that we have an obligation to keep America safe by protecting us from jihadists and identifying who they are, that we have an obligation to destroy the caliphate in order to delegitimize ISIS so they are not recruiting people in this country and in the West, that hopefully some sense will be brought to Democrats that the President’s policies are fomenting and increasing ISIS’ strength and power, and allowing and facilitating these types of attacks here in the United States. And bringing refugees into this country that ISIS guarantees us will have ISIS members in there that will do harm to America, is not a wise policy.

HH: I’ll be right back with former Senator Rick Santorum, candidate for the president. Don’t go anywhere, America.

— – — –

HH: First, I want to go back to the war which is raging. The FBI put out a warning on Rome today, Senator. I don’t know if you saw that. But the FBI director also said there’s no imminent threat in the United States despite this New York ISIS video. Do you have confidence in Director Comey?

RS: Well, I mean, we know that our intelligence capability has been degraded. We know that, because of actions in the Congress to reduce our ability to collect and analyze data. We also know that because of Edward Snowden, the enemy knows how we were able to detect their communications. And so they’re using alternative measures. So for the head of the FBI to say with any degree of confidence that we have knowledge that they’re not an immediate threat makes it, well, I’m not particularly encouraged that he has the wherewithal to make that call.

HH: Now I want to talk to you about rules of engagement, Senator, because one of the dividing lines among all the Republicans I’ve talked to this week, and I’ve talked to all of them except the two guys who are ahead, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, not surprisingly, the hardest to get ahold of this week. They are all split on whether or not we take up President Hollande’s invitation to ally with him and Russia against the Islamic State. What do you think about that?

RS: I think it would be a disaster to align with Iran and align with Russia, but particularly ally with Iran. We have, where there’s an issue in the Middle East, if we are going to take land away from ISIS, particularly in Iraq, they control Sunni territory. Aligning with Iran, which we have already done in the world, in the Sunni Islamic world by agreeing to allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon, that concession is seen by the Sunni world as the United States now aligning with the Shiites in order for the Shiites to gain dominance in the Islamic world. If we align with Iran, and Iraq, the Iraqi Shiite government to take on ISIS, it will be seen by the Sunnis in Iraq as another or more evidence that the United States is aligning with the Shiia world against the Sunni world. We have to align with the Kurds, we have to align with the Sunni militias within Iraq, and build a coalition of Sunnis to take the Sunni ISIS rebels out of Iraq, not align with people who want to do us harm, Iran, want to do Israel harm, and want to have Assad be maintained in Syria. All of those are against our own security interests. Having Shiia control, Iranian control of Iraq is against our security interests. Why would we be aligning with Iran to do something like that?

HH: When you see the pictures of the President sitting down with Vladimir Putin and negotiating, are you afraid for your wallet, your collective national wallet, because I don’t think he’s got the game to go with that guy.

RS: If he only would negotiate as tough with Putin as he does with John Boehner and Paul Ryan, we would have a much more effective president. But I don’t believe the President sees what Russia wants to accomplish as the other side of the table. I think the President wants Russia to have a greater role in making these decisions in the world. I think he wants other countries to be the leaders. He doesn’t want to lead. So I don’t think it’s a matter of just watching your wallet. It’s really watching the United States shrink in significance, and allowing a country led by a thug like Vladimir Putin be the lead dog in world affairs in America, in the world.

HH: Earlier today, I read the op-ed piece, Paris And the Fall Of Rome, which appeared in the Boston Globe today by Niall Ferguson, perhaps the world’s leading historian, in which he said we really turned a corner last week in Paris, that Europe is lost, in essence. He just said pity, poor, poor Paris, killed by complacency. Are you that pessimistic, Rick Santorum?

RS: Well, I mean we’ve seen Mark Steyn talking about America Alone, and Melanie Phillips talking about Londonistan, and the fact is that Europe for a long time has been dying. They are post-Christian, they are, every generation, the European population of Europe is cut roughly in half because they’re having one child for every two people. They are a continent that is going through self-extermination. And in order to meet the need, their economic needs in a socialist society which does not encourage either childbirth or work, they are importing people from their southern border. And unlike the United States, which is blessed to have Mexico on the southern border, they are not so blessed. They have a different, completely different culture, and that culture is moving in and is having a profound impact on, and is going to have a profound impact. As you know, the most popular male name in Great Britain of children today is Mohammed. This is, there is a fundamental change going in Europe, and that’s why you see Victor Orban and some others, the president of Hungary, standing up and saying I’ve seen this, what’s happening, and I don’t want this to continue. The rest of the Europeans, the European Union, are blind. They’re just like Obama. They’re delusional as to what is going on in their own country and their own world. And we’re seeing as a result of that them bringing in people from a fundamentally different culture that will not assimilate, and will change the face of Europe over time, no question about it.

HH: This is a paragraph from Ferguson’s piece. “I do know that 21st Century Europe has only itself to blame for the mess it is now in, for surely nowhere in the world has devoted more resources to the study of history than modern Europe. When I went up to Oxford more than 30 years ago, it was taken for granted in the first term of my first year I would study Gibbon. It did no good. We learned nothing that mattered. Indeed, we learned a lot of nonsense, to the effect that nationalism was a bad thing, nation-states worse, and empires the worst things of all. Romans, before the fall, wrote Ward Perkins, in his Fall of Rome, were as certain as we are today that their world would continue forever, substantially unchanged.”

RS: Yeah.

HH: “They were wrong.”

RS: Yeah.

HH: “We would be wise not to repeat.” Do you agree with that?

RS: I do agree with that. I mean, the rejection of, you know, you hear folks in Europe talk about our shared values. What shared values? There are no shared values anymore. This moral relativism that has come, this post-Christian worldview, there are no shared values. It’s, everyone is the same. There are not truths. There are not rights. There are no wrongs. All cultures are similar. That is a course towards suicide for a civilization, and Europe is on the path to it, advanced along the way, and we have a President who wants to lead America down this same path. And that’s why I’m running, one of the reasons I’m running for president, to turn that path around.

HH: Rick Santorum, stick around for one more quick segment. I’ll be right back with Senator Santorum. Don’t go anywhere, America.

— – — –

HH: Before I close up today’s show, though, I wanted to go back to former United States Senator Rick Santorum, candidate for president, and ask him, what you just said about President Obama and Europe, do you believe the prohibitive favorite to be the nominee of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, shares that worldview?

RS: I think it’s pretty clear that she has adopted the President’s foreign policy, and more importantly, and with respect to this worldview, she is very much in line with where the Democratic Party is. And I think the most telling question in the last several months was Chris Matthews asking Debbie Wasserman-Schultz what’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat, and she couldn’t answer the question. The fact is that the Democratic Party is now the European Socialist Party, which is a secular party, which is a party that doesn’t share the basic values that made this country great, and is very willing to go the way of Europe. And we see what happens, by the way, of Europe. We no longer have any common shared values by which we are willing to stand and fight for that unite us as a civilization. And we see what’s happened to Europe as a result of that.

HH: Are you afraid of being called nativist for saying that?

RS: This is not nativist. This is Western Civilization. There’s nothing nativist about Western Civilization, Hugh. I mean, these are the basic principles that have upheld Western Civilization for a couple thousand years, and we are abandoning them. We are saying that they are no longer, they’re no longer worth fighting for. They’re no longer worth articulating. They’re no longer worth, if you look at what’s happened to the Supreme Court and the fundamental disillusion of the American family, of the basic unit of society, is now considered to be, well, it’s whatever you want it to be, because there is no better way of doing things. There is no right way of doing, there is no natural law. All of these things which are embedded in civilization, they’re not property of the United States. They’re not property, they’re property of Western thought, and that’s what’s being abandoned.

HH: Is that recoverable? We’ve got a minute left, Rick Santorum, that’s a pretty bleak way to end my show.

RS: It’s not, of course, it’s recoverable. Of course, it is. I mean, I’m talking about what the Democratic Party is preaching and what Europe is headed down the road to. The problem with Europe is they are now being, you know, people who don’t share those values, completely separate values, are now becoming much more dominant within their societies. That’s not happening in the United States. We still have a tremendous opportunity in this country. I wouldn’t, I mean, I’m very hopeful about the future of this country. But we need new leadership, and we need politicians who are going to be honest with the American public about the struggles that we confront. But I am absolutely hopeful that we can regain and strengthen what America is all about in the future.

HH: Rick Santorum, always a pleasure, thank you for joining me, Senator, always well-stated.

End of interview.

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