HH: I am joined by United States Senator Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz, welcome to the program, always good to have you.
TC: Thank you, Hugh, it’s great to be with you.
HH: Let me play for you the first of the President’s two amazing cuts today, cut number 13:
BO: What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect people in the region who are getting killed, and protect our allies and people like France.
HH: So Senator Cruz, the President said he’s not interested in posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or American winning, dismissing them as slogans and posturing. What do you think of that?
TC: I think in that one sentence, President Obama has summed up the entirety of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. There is not a more stunning indictment of what has happened in the last seven years than his statement that he’s not interested in American leadership or America winning. And indeed, the next sentence that he said after that was I don’t have time for that. and I’ve got to day, my view is precisely to the opposite. What should our strategy be with respect to radical Islamic terrorism? Well, paraphrasing Ronald Reagan, with regard to the Cold War, I think our strategy should be very simple. We win, they lose. And the reason right now we’re not winning is the President doesn’t believe in American leadership and America winning, and that’s why the bad guys are on the rise, and the world’s getting more and more dangerous.
HH: Now Senator Cruz, Twitter is full of people saying that when we play that quote, we’re taking him out of context, that he was blasting the Donald Trumps and the Ted Cruz of the world, and he actually does believe in American leadership and America winning, even though he said he’s not interested in posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or whatever other slogan they come up with.
TC: Well look, it’s important to put this in context with what President Hollande said in France, which was in response to this terrorist attack, he said that he and the other leaders of Europe would act together and respond to it, and noticeably missing was the United States of America. And I don’t think that is an accident. The last terrorist attack that occurred in Paris, when world leaders came together to march in unison with our French friends, nowhere to be found was President Obama. Nowhere to be found was Hillary Clinton. Nowhere to be found was John Kerry. And we have seen for seven years what President Obama himself characterized as leading from behind, which is quite simply, America not leading and America not winning, and that is why every region on the face of the Earth has gotten worse. We have been abandoning our friends and allies. And we have been coddling and appeasing our enemies. And it is profoundly dangerous and profoundly foolish.
HH: Let me play for you the second most memorable quote of the day from the President, Senator Cruz. This is wherein he’s speaking about, I believe Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and maybe you, cut number 15:
BO: And when I hear folks say that well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person whose fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who’ve benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution? That’s shameful. That’s not American. It’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
HH: Senator Cruz, that’s shameful, that’s not America, that’s not who we are. What do you think?
TC: Well look, I appreciate Barack Obama calling me un-American, and that is reminiscent of the vitriol with which he treats conservatives. Indeed, just like Hillary Clinton said her enemy is Republicans, Barack Obama views anyone who stands with the American people, and for keeping the American people safe as apparently un-American. And listen, that comment, it embodies the consistent refusal of President Obama and Hillary Clinton and his entire administration to ever even utter the words radical Islamic terrorism. The President laughingly tried to characterize this attack in Paris as simply a manifestation of some sort of inchoate, violent extremism. It is a particular dangerous enemy we face. It is a theocratic and political philosophy of Islamism that the radical Islamic terrorists are driven to murder anyone who does not share their extreme faith. And a big part of the reason we are not effectively combating radical Islamic terrorism indeed as the President readily acknowledged he has no strategy to do so, is because he will not acknowledge the enemy we are fighting. And so President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s proposal to bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America is nothing short of lunacy. If you look at, at least one of these terrorists who attacked in Paris was a Syrian refugee. Of the Syrian refugees who have entered Europe, one estimate was that 77% of them are young men. That is a very unusual demographic for a refugee wave. And indeed, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has said it is clear that among those refugees are likely a significant number of ISIS terrorists entering Europe. It is inexplicable that President Obama would want to bring in refugees when this administration has no idea if the refugees they are bringing are ISIS terrorists. And ISIS wants to carry out the very same sort of political attack in America that they carried out in Paris. And it is really a sad and indeed, to use President Obama’s own terms, a shameful thing that our commander-in-chief puts his political correctness and his ideology ahead of his solemn obligation to be commander-in-chief, and to protect the lives of innocent men and women in this country.
HH: Senator Cruz, would you allow, say, three year old orphans in as refugees right now from the Syrian battle zone?
TC: Oh, sure, sure. Look, look, our refugee policy with regard to young children and orphans, now look, when it comes to being a refugee, we have always required that people be a legitimate victim of persecution. You know, one of my biggest concerns with the Gang of 8 bill is that it dramatically lessened the restrictions on refugee policies so it would have given President Obama the power to bring in a great many more refugees from the Middle East without properly screening them for whether they’re national security threats. But that’s also why, Hugh, I’ve said that a different standard should apply to the Middle Eastern Christians. Why? Because number one, the Christians are facing religious persecution and genocide. ISIS is crucifying them. ISIS is beheading them. And U.S. law has always recognized that when a religious minority like the Christians are being persecuted and facing genocide, that a different standard applies. That’s been true for decades, if not hundreds of years. And the President is engaged in sophistry when he ignores that, but he ignores the fact that ISIS consists of radical Islamic terrorists. Indeed, the President, astonishingly, argues the Islamic State is not Islamic. That is a level of Orwellian double speak that boggles the mind.
HH: Now over at pro-Obama websites like Talking Point Memos, TPM News, there are headlines. Ignore the freakout. Here’s what Obama really said about “America winning.” And they’re attempting to contextualize away his entire set of remarks today. But I’ll, if I had the time, I’d play the whole thing, Ted Cruz.
HH: It’s an indictment of his ideology.
TC: It is a profound indictment, and there’s a reason, Hugh. You know, a lot of people are confused. Why would a president not want America to lead? Why would a president not want America to win? And you have to understand the radical…
HH: Or mock those who say that, or who mock those…
HH: Even if that’s all he is doing, why would you mock people who said that?
TC: But the reason is you have to understand the radical that is President Obama. You know, Barack Obama was four years ahead of me at Harvard Law School. And I have described President Obama as the perfect Harvard Law School president. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. My wife jokes that eventually, they’re going to revoke my law degree. But the reason is as follows. Every view of the Obama administration is orthodox wisdom in the Harvard Law School faculty lounge, and the view of the elite academy. And Hugh, you know the elite academy very, very well. The view of the elite academy is that America’s leadership in the world is fundamentally illegitimate, that it is the product of oppression and hegemony, it is a remnant of an evil imperialism. That is what manifests it in Obama saying we should lead from behind. He believes the world is better off when America recedes from the world and doesn’t lead, because our leadership is illegitimate. And if you look at what President Obama has done for seven years, along with Hillary Clinton, it has been to abandon our friends and allies, whether the U.K., whether Canada, whether Israel, and to appease and to show weakness towards our enemies. The reason Obama was not marching with France is because he thinks America shouldn’t be leading and shouldn’t be winning. And it’s not a malevolent desire. It is an extreme ideological view that American leadership is illegitimate, and that is so contrary to the view of the American people.
HH: Then let me, Senator Cruz, in the two minutes we have left, an email surfaced from Huma Abedin from January of 2013 telling another State Department aide to be very careful to brief the Secretary of State who was taking a nap, because she is often confused. That’s a direct quote. She is often confused. If you watched the Saturday night debate, she was confused about the authorization of use of military force. She was very proud to come from the 60s. But I am curious what do you make of that email? What do you think of her allegiance to the Obama policies, however he states them, however coherently or incoherently? And is she part of the same ideology you just discussed?
TC: Look, I don’t know about her health or her state of confusion or lack thereof. But what I can say is that her foreign policy, her tenure as Secretary of State, was a manifest disaster. Every region on Earth has gotten worse. She presided over alienating and abusing the nation of Israel, alienating and abandoning our allies. She presided over the disaster that was Libya. That was her war. And it resulted in radical Islamic terrorists coming to the rise. She presided over throwing overboard our ally, Egypt, and through her leadership and Obama’s leadership, setting the stage for the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. The rise of radical Islamic terrorism is a direct consequence of the weakness and failures of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. And whether she is fully with it or not, that policy has been an absolute disaster.
HH: Last question with one minute, then, what would Ted Cruz’ policy be vis-à-vis the Islamic State right now? Would you go in, Desert Storm-style? Would you support France in massive bombings? What would Ted Cruz do if you were President Cruz?
TC: The commander-in-chief should set an objective. We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will destroy ISIS. We should use overwhelming air power. To put it in context, in the first Persian Gulf war, we were launching 1,100 air strikes a day. Right now, Obama’s launching between 15 and 30. It’s utterly ineffective. It’s photo op foreign policy. We need massive air power combined with arming the Kurds. The Kurds are our allies. They are fighting ISIS. They are our boots on the ground. And we should stand with France and Europe and utterly defeat ISIS through air power, arming the Kurds, and doing whatever it takes to destroy and defeat them.
HH: Senator Ted Cruz, always a pleasure. I will see you in Las Vegas, and I hope to talk to you before then, Senator.
TC: Thank you, Hugh, and I will say this. I hope in Las Vegas, you get an awful lot more questions. It would make for a much better debate.
HH: I’m sure we’re going to do it. I’m sure it’s going to be a national security debate, and I know it’s going to be, it’s going to be important, as opposed to the one we saw on Saturday night. Thank you, Senator.
End of interview.