Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson was my guest today. He opened with a slam of Hillary:
HH: Joining me to talk about those stories and much more, United States Senator Ron Johnson, one of our favorite people, outspoken, candid and always a lot of fun. Senator Johnson, welcome back, good to talk to you.
RJ: Hey, Hugh, how are you doing?
HH: I’m great. You know, I’ve decided you’re kind of like the Smoking Man from the X-Files. Did you ever watch that?
RJ: Yeah, I did. I don’t smoke.
HH: No, but you’re always kind of standing around when train wrecks happen. And you were with Hillary when she gave her famous ‘what difference does it make’, and I wanted to get your reaction to what she had to say yesterday to Christiane Amanpour. Here’s the former Secretary of State on whether or not we know what we need to know about Benghazi.
HRC: There have been, as you know, a number of investigations, including the independent one, that the State Department commissioned, as well as many in Congress. There are answers, not all of them, not enough, frankly. I’m still looking for answers, because it was a confusing and difficult time.
HH: So Senator Johnson, why’d she get mad at you if she’s still looking for answers?
RJ: Well, I think she understands how culpable she is, and she understands exactly her dereliction of duty that really results in the death of four Americans. And you know, listen, she can provide an awful lot of the answers. Hugh, we don’t know what she was really doing that night. We don’t know at what level the State Department, they actually waived the security standards for that consulate. You know, we have to hold anybody accountable in the State Department for the dereliction of duty for not only not honoring the request for increased security, to actually ramp down requests. And Hugh, I think just a small contingent of armed Marines, that protest, that attack never would have happened, and those four Americans would still be alive today. And so Hillary Clinton understands exactly how culpable she is as secretary of State, because she’s the only one, according to the law, that could sign the waivers to basically waive the security standards that were present at that consulate.
HH: Do you think she’s disqualified from being commander-in-chief, Senator Johnson?
RJ: I certainly believe so. She had the famous ad there, you know, who’s going to respond to that 2AM in the morning moment. Well, both her and President Obama did not respond to the 3pm in the afternoon moment, and no, I don’t think she should be president of the United States. Here’s one example, Hugh. You know, if you were secretary of State, given the responsibility to go to Andrews Air Force Base, to welcome home the remains of those four Americans, would you do your duty and offer the condolences of a nation? Or would you seize that moment, that opportunity, to plant and perpetuate a cover up? I mean, that is a craven, political act, because that’s what she did with Tyrone Woods’ father, and basically saying we’re going to get that video producer, we’re going to make sure he’s arrested. Again, that’s just a craven, political act. I think that alone disqualifies her as president of the United States.
HH: She also said yesterday to Bret Baier that she cannot recall if she spoke with Secretary Panetta, and she’s a little foggy on where the President was and when she talked to him and when the press release went out. How in the world more than a year later, a year and a half later, can you still not know what happened here?
RJ: Especially when you’re going to go and interview, and be interviewed, and you know you’re going to be asked that question, not to have boned up on it, and not to have prepared. No, I mean, there is obviously a cover up here. You know, one thing that’s not really been taken, really looked at carefully is the fact that one thing we do know is that Secretary Clinton and President Obama spoke about 10:00pm in the evening. At 10:08, the State Department posted on their website basically the first information blaming that inflammatory material on the internet, basically the video, that’s, I think, when that excuse was planted, and is it just mere coincidence that President Obama and Hillary Clinton spoke just minutes before that? I mean, were they concerned about the American personnel in Benghazi? Or were they concerned about their own culpability and how they were going to cover it up? I’ll let the listeners be the judge of that.
HH: Now Senator Johnson, the suspected mastermind of those murders is on the USS New York. Should he be taken to Gitmo? Or should he be brought to the United States where he will be processed as an ordinary criminal as opposed to a terrorist unlawful combatant?
RJ: No, all these unlawful combatants should be detained in Guantanamo until we extract every ounce of intelligence we believe they may have. And you know, Hugh, I was down in Guantanamo. It’s a first-class facility. I mean, the shoreline is like Lahaina in Hawaii. It’s a beautiful place. These prisoners are treated humanely. They’re probably better treatment than they’ve ever received in their lives. And talking to the people that extract that information, you do it over a long period of time, ask, relentlessly asking the same question, the same question. That’s how you get intelligence. You can’t get intelligence, not all of it, in 12 or 36 hours, or two days, or three weeks. I mean, this takes years of interrogation. And you know, that’s exactly where those folks should go. We shouldn’t be Mirandizing these individuals, and you know, basically getting them to clam up, and we’ll never know what they have.
HH: Do you think the decision to bring him to the United States is part of the cover up by the Obama administration?
RJ: Well, it’s certainly part of President Obama’s stated goal of wanting to close Guantanamo. I mean, to me, that’s a crazy goal. I have no idea why you’d want to do that. You know, Hugh, I wish the War on Terror was over. It’s not. It’s not going to be over for a long time. And so our number, our first line of defense in defending against the War on Terror is literally in a robust intelligence gathering capability. And we’re giving that up. We’re not engaging that kind of intelligence gathering. And that’s what we need to do.
HH: Now I haven’t talked to you since your famous exchange with Senator Rockefeller. I’ve edited it down so people can remember the highlights of it. Here is that exchange from a couple of weeks ago:
JR: I’ll be able to dig up some emails that make, part of the Affordable Care Act, that doesn’t look good, especially from people who have made up their mind that they don’t want it to work, because they don’t like the President. Maybe he’s of the wrong color, something of that sort
RJ: It was regrettable, and I would say it was offensive. Seeing as I’m the only one in the room here really talking about opposition that you would play the race card, that you would say the opposition to Obamacare necessarily must stream from some inert, inherent racism.
RJ: So no, please, don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking, and what I would really support. You have no idea.
JR: I actually do, and I, you know, God help you.
RJ: No, no, Senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist because I oppose this health care…
JR: I did not imply that you were a racist.
RJ: Let’s play back the tape.
JR: Well, we can do that, but we’re not going to.
HH: So I’ve got to ask you, Senator Johnson, has he apologized to you since that exchange?
RJ: We’ve spoken, and everything’s fine between Senator Rockefeller and myself. And what was amazing about that, Hugh, is I was pretty well packing up from the hearing there, and I was the only guy left in the room. And I hear that and go what? What did he just say? And of course, I knew I had to respond to that. And you know, really, who, Senator Rockefeller, and quite honestly, Senator Harry Reid owe an apology to are the American public. That, those Americans that have been harmed by Obamacare, that are writing in heart-wrenching, just heart-wrenching letters about how they’re being harmed by Obamacare, and Harry Reid has called those people a liar, and of course, Jay Rockefeller called those folks racists. So they really owe the American people that have been harmed by Obamacare the apology.
HH: But when he said to you God help you, I mean, that is a condemning, that is the sort of thing one says to an individual about whom you’ve come to a conclusive moral judgment of condemnation.
RJ: Well, you know, I put him on the spot. And I called him on just his blatantly pulling the race card, and I probably flustered him maybe a little bit. I have no idea. But anyway, I’ve spoken to Senator Rockefeller. There’s really no excuse for what he said. He owes the American people an apology.
HH: Let’s look ahead. There’s a leadership race tomorrow in the House. It looks like Kevin McCarthy. I’m a Raul Labrador guy, because I actually think there’s some political advantages there. It looks like they’ll get a new team. Are we in a good position, Senator Johnson, and you’re one of the most aggressive campaigners out there, to go to the country and demand a repudiation of everything Obama and Obamacare and foreign policy, his numbers are at 37%, we’ve got about a minute left, are the Republicans prepared to make this a referendum on the failure of this President across every front, domestic and abroad?
RJ: Well, we need to be. And certainly, from our standpoint, we ought to be pointing out that even though Americans are craving for security, President Obama, his policies, the policies of the left, are reducing your job security, your income security, your retirement security, your health care security, and of course, we’re just seeing recently national security. And that is exactly the point we need to make. And listen, I’ve worked very well with Kevin McCarthy. I think he gets it. He understands that we also have to show the American people what we’re for, to have a pre-planned agenda, an agenda, a real strategy working with the Senate, if we’re so fortunate to get the majority. So listen, I’m looking forward to working with House leadership in the next Congress so that we can start reversing the damage, start limiting the damage, repairing the damage of Obama and his policies.
HH: Quick last question, Senator Johnson. Reince Priebus is a friend of yours. Are you lobbying the chairman to put the GOP 2016 convention in Cleveland?
RJ: I just want it somewhere where it’s a little bit cooler than Tampa.
HH: I’m telling you…
RJ: I’m a Norwegian from Wisconsin. I don’t like heat. I want a little bit, someplace a little bit cooler.
HH: Just Cleveland, on the shore, Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Indians baseball, we’ll be coming off of a Super Bowl win for the Browns. Everything’s going Cleveland, Senator. You can whisper to Reince. Thank you much, Ron Johnson from Wisconsin.
End of interview.