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Senator Lindsey Graham On The President Comapring The “Republican Caucus” To The Iranian “Death To America” Gang

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Senator Lindsey Graham, who is seeking the GOP nomination and who served 30+ years in the military reserves, joined me to discuss the president’s astonishing slander on the “GOP caucus” today and tomorrow night’s debate:

Audio:

08-05hhs-graham

Transcript:

HH: I’m so pleased to welcome back to the program United States Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham, I hope you’re in Cleveland by now.

LG: I am in Cleveland by now.

HH: Okay, now Senator, I am from Northeastern Ohio, so I have prepared for you a little primer. You’ve been very good to the show, so I want to be good to you.

LG: Okay.

HH: Are you ready?

LG: I am ready. I can always learn.

HH: Ohio is the 17th state in the Union. It is the home to the Wright Brothers, John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong, so basically Ohio invented space. Neil grew up in Warren, by the way, which is the capital of the Western Reserve. Roger Ailes is from Warren, Ohio. Did you know that?

LG: I did not know that.

HH: All right, Bill Hemmer, who is going to run your forum tomorrow, he went to Miami University. He’s a Red Hawk, so you’ll want to know that. What you don’t want to bring up is the fact that the Browns have not won the Super Bowl ever, they’ve never been in it. The Indians haven’t won since 1948, and the Cavaliers have never won. So you don’t want to bring up any of that stuff.

LG: Check, check, check. So Miami of Ohio is the cradle of college coaches. Is that true?

HH: That is true. That would be very good to mention with Bill Hemmer. And the last two things, whatever happens, do not bring up the name of a man named Art (blank) who moved the Browns, and don’t bring up Bill Belichick.

LG: Done.

HH: All right, now Senator Graham, I’ve got to play for you the President earlier today.

LG: Right.

HH: …in one of the most astonishing statements I have ever heard from a president of the United States.

BO: It’s those hardliners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.

HH: Senator, how long have you served in the uniform of the United States?

LG: I retired last month after 33 years.

HH: So you’ve just been compared to the Iranians chanting death to America by the president of the United States. What do you think about that?

LG: It just shows you how delusional, naïve and uninformed our president is about the world. This is the man who tells you Iran, the deal with Iran is good. This is the man who withdrew all of our troops from Iraq when told not to do so by our military commanders. This is the man who did not impose a no-fly zone and help the Free Syrian Army when everybody advised him to do so three years ago. This is the man who said ISIL’s the jayvee team. You don’t have to worry about these guys. This is the guy who says I killed bin Laden, al Qaeda is decimated. At what point in time will we all realize he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? There are no hardliners and moderate division inside of Iran’s government. The moderates were killed in the street in 2009 while Obama sat on the sidelines and did nothing.

HH: Well, this is, the President is acting like the guy who goes to Vegas, loses everything, calls his wife, and says he’s made a great investment, trust him. And I’m curious, is this what your objective is tomorrow night, to talk about the Iranian deal?

LG: My objective is to make the case that if you continue this foreign policy, we’re going to get hit here at home. If you ratify this deal and you don’t change it over time, Iran’s going to have a nuclear weapon, a missile to deliver it, and money to pay for it, that President Obama has grossly mishandled the Mid-East from ISIL down to Iran, and we need a commander-in-chief who can straighten this mess out, and that President Obama’s track record when it comes to Mid-East decisions is horrible. And the worst is yet to come, which is this Iranian deal. There are no hardliner moderate divisions inside of the Iranian government. The Ayatollah runs everything. You know why they call him the Supreme Leader?

HH: Why?

LG: Because he is.

HH: Because he is. I want to play it again. If people missed it, because I want to ask it in reference to another couple of your colleagues, this is the President earlier today.

BO: It’s those hardliners chanting death to America who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.

HH: Now you know, Senator Graham, I think of Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst and Dan Sullivan, who walked the mean streets of Iraq when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were trying to kill them. I just, doesn’t he owe every Republican an apology?

LG: I think he owes every Republican, well, he doesn’t need to apologize. And the three people you named are true war heroes. I was a military lawyer. I did a small part, but they really do deserve praise for doing long tours of duty over there. The bottom line is that the president of the United States can’t sell this bad deal to the American people. They’re rejecting it two to one. So he’s having to use demagoguery. He’s having to create straw men – this deal or war. No, Mr. President, it’s not a choice between a bad deal and war. It’s the choice between a bad deal and a better deal. You know why the deal is so bad? The Iranians understand that Barack Obama would never use the military option. In their wildest dreams, they don’t worry about Obama hitting them after Assad. Nobody believes he’s going to use military force to stop the Iranians. And when it came to the negotiator, John Kerry, they knew that he would never walk away. That’s why it’s such a bad deal. And you can get a better deal.

HH: Now let me ask you about a couple of other things. The Planned Parenthood videos are gruesome, horrific, they verge on, if not indeed have crossed over into infanticide. And a lot of Republicans, including me, want to shut the government down over the defunding of Planned Parenthood. I would pass a CR with the Defense Appropriations, everything the way it is except the plus up, except the Planned Parenthood, and stand down that line all day. What’s Lindsey Graham say?

LG: If I were president of the United States, I would never submit a budget with one penny of money for Planned Parenthood. I would take the money and put it truly in programs that help women without harvesting unborn baby organs. But I am not going to agree to shut the government down, because I’ve never seen so many threats to our homeland as I do today. We need the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and all other vital intelligence services up and running.

HH: Can’t you pass all of that and put it on the President, or take it to the Senate and say it’s all here except Planned Parenthood, pass it?

LG: Yeah, you can take a vote. We’ll give it a whirl. But I don’t think it passes. I’ll be glad to try.

HH: If it requires breaking the filibuster rule, would you pass it over the filibuster rule?

LG: Absolutely not.

HH: You and I have…

LG: No way in hell.

HH: Lindsey Graham, sometimes you drive me crazy. Here I am, I’m giving you a cheat sheet.

LG: Well, too bad. I mean, I think that’s a really, a guy who I admire a lot, I think that’s the worst idea you’ve come up with in a while. One, he’s going to veto it. You need to get 67 votes. You’re taking off the table a tool that I think has been good for the country as a whole. So no, I don’t agree with you.

HH: All right, let me move on to another political dynamic. I got that. I got that. We’ll work on it later.

LG: Okay.

HH: Are you upset at all at doing the first debate over the second debate tomorrow?

LG: Yeah, I think it’s a bad decision by the RNC. At this point in time, you’re discriminating based on polling with a five to six point margin of error. You’re rewarding people who have run before, large states versus small, celebrity versus somebody who’s trying to make a name for themselves. I think it’s a bad start to a very promising cycle.

HH: And what about Donald Trump’s extraordinary break from the gate?

LG: You know, we’ll see if he can sustain it. All I can say if he’s the nominate, I’ll hold my nose and vote for him. I think she’ll beat him like a drum, but I’m going to support the nominee.

HH: She being Hillary Clinton.

LG: Yeah.

HH: The FBI is allegedly opened an investigation into her server. Are you surprised by that? Do you find it to be a credible report?

LG: I don’t know if it’s credible, but I do speak Clinton. I understand Clinton speak. And when she says that she has turned over all of the emails relevant to her job, translated that means she has not.

HH: Of course, not. But do you trust this Department of Justice to actually investigate?

LG: I hope the FBI will do their job apart from politics. Time will tell, but I can tell you this. This story is not going away, that nobody in their right mind should trust Hillary Clinton’s team to sanitize her server in the best interests of the country, not in her own best interests. I can only imagine if Dick Cheney were in this spot, what people would be saying.

HH: Last question, the only two veterans in the race, you and Rick Perry, are in the first debate. The only woman in the race, Carly Fiorina, is in the first debate. And a four term governor of Texas is in the first debate as opposed to some people who have never run for office. This is not right, Senator Graham.

LG: It is not right. It makes no sense. You’re taking people off the main stage who have a lot to offer the country and the party. And I just don’t understand why we went down this road. You can blame Fox and CNN, but I’m going to blame the RNC. It is our party. At this early stage, I think all of us deserve to be heard. I think I have a credible voice on foreign policy. I think Rick Perry, Carly, the entire group has something to say, and let the voters decide and not some national pollster. They’re nationalizing the race, and I think it’s going to hurt our party to pick the best nominee, and I just don’t understand why we’re doing this.

HH: Now I want to totally geek out on Defense to close. I asked Donald Trump repeatedly if we could afford the triad. Some people don’t think he knew what I was talking about, and I really can’t say I didn’t. I kind of assume he did, so I’d have to go back and read it.

LG: We can’t afford not to have it.

HH: Well, that’s it. But really, can we afford to have all three legs anymore?

LG: Well, what’s the point of a nuclear deterrent if you don’t? You want to have submarines that you can’t detect? Do you want to have bombers in the air that can take off and stay in the air? And you want to have a land-based ICBM punch? You want to make sure that no rational enemy ever attacks us, because the outcome for them would be devastating and overwhelming, that mutual assured destruction still has a viable position in the 21st Century given China and Russia, and potentially North Korea.

HH: But can we get along with just two out of the three systems? Would that be enough of a deterrent?

LG: You mean do away with the land ICBM’s?

HH: Yeah.

LG: No, they’re the biggest, that’s a big bat. Now you’ve got submarines that have a big punch, and you have manned bombers, but the real big punch is the land-based ICBM program. When it comes to defending America, whatever it takes, as long as it takes. I don’t want to do away with the triad at a time when threats to our country are growing. Russia is becoming increasingly more erratic. It’s just a matter of time if you allow the Iranians this nuclear deal, that they’re going to develop a bomb and a missile one day to deliver it.

HH: All right, Lindsey Graham, good luck. Remember Miami of Ohio, cradle of coaches, do not mention Art Blank.

LG: Okay.

HH: Lindsey Graham, good luck tomorrow. We’ll be watching.

End of interview.

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