If it’s Sunday, it’s Lindsey Graham distracting from Trump/Russia by warmongering with both Iran and North Korea. This is responsible Republican leadership?
MAJOR GARRETT, HOST, FACE THE NATION: We begin this morning with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He joins us from Clemson, South Carolina, where I suspect one or two residents have a rooting interest in tomorrow night’s Sugar Bowl. Senator, great to have you with us. Let’s get straight to–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-South Carolina/@LindseyGrahamSC): Thank you.
MAJOR GARRETT: –the situation in Iran. What is the import of these demonstrations on the street and what should President Trump do or say about them?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, it tells us that the Obama approach of relieving sanctions hoping the regime would moderate has failed. The people are not getting the benefit of sanction relief, they’re more upset with their oppressors than ever. The money from sanction relief has gone into rebuilding the Iranian military in their destabilizing the Mid East. So if I were President Trump, I would have a nationwide address pretty soon explaining why the Iranian nuclear deal is a bad deal for the world, what a better deal would look like and urge Congress and the European allies to get a better deal with Iran before it’s too late.
MAJOR GARRETT: And the purpose of that national address would be to take note of this moment and put the United States four square on behalf and behind those people protesting in the streets? Some have said that would be the wrong–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
MAJOR GARRETT: –thing to do because that would give the regime an enemy to point at, us again.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: That was the Obama approach. If I were Trump, I’d do the exact opposite of Obama. Obama said I don’t want to get involved, I don’t want to mess up the chance of getting a deal with Iran. Well the deal with Iran hasn’t worked. The money didn’t go to go benefit the people, it went to benefit Ayatollah and his henchmen. The Iranian people are not our enemy, the Ayatollah is the enemy of the world. Here’s what I would do if I were President Trump, I would explain what I– what a better deal would look like. It’s not enough to watch. President Trump is tweeting very sympathetically to the Iranian people but you just can’t tweet here. You have to lay out a plan and if I were President Trump, I would lay out a plan as to how I would engage the regime. I would tell the Europeans and the Congress and the world that America is going to withdraw from this agreement unless it’s a better deal. And I’d lay out what a be– better deal would look like, and I would stand with the Iranian people the entire time.
MAJOR GARRETT: Have you conveyed this personally to the President?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I just did.
MAJOR GARRETT: Okay. Very good. Sometimes you can do that by phone and I’m just curious about that.
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah.
MAJOR GARRETT: North Korea. Let’s talk about that. You’ve said recently that if there is another missile test or nuclear weapons test in North Korea. There’s a seventy percent probability–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
MAJOR GARRETT: –we will attack North Korea. Seventy percent. That’s a higher risk level than anyone I’ve talked to has placed–
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Right.
MAJOR GARRETT: –on that issue, why is it so high?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I said if there’s a nuclear weapons test, it goes from thirty percent to seventy percent is based on a lot of time with President Trump. He made a decision early on to deny the North Korean regime the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tip missile. There’s two things he could have done. He could have given them the capability to hit America and tell them if you ever use it, I’m going to blow you off the map, that’s called containment. He rejected that idea because you can’t contain North Korea. They will sale anything they make if they don’t use it. So, he’s in the camp of denial. He’s told the North Koreans, I will deny you the capability to hit America with a nuclear-tip missile if they test another bomb they’re closer to– to having that capability. And as the last resort, I will use military force to stop you. Now, the Iranians are watching us in North Korea. North Korea is watching us and Iran. 2018 will be a year of opportunity and extreme danger. The President has drawn a line in North Korea, telling the regime I’ll never let you hit America with a nuclear-tip missile. If I have to, I’ll use military force to stop you. Now, the Iranians are watching the way he engages with North Korea and vice versa. So we’ve got a chance here to deliver some fatal blows to really bad actors in 2018. But if we blink, God help us all.
MAJOR GARRETT: What I hear you saying Senator is 2018 is the year of preemptive strikes?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: 2018 is going to the year to deny North Korea the capability to hit the homeland. Sanctions will never work completely without the threat of credible military force. How do you change a man’s behavior who’s willing to kill his own family, torture his own people to stay in power? He’s living large and he could care less us about his people. The only way he will change his behavior if he beliefs Donald Trump would use military force to destroy his regime and the Iranians are watching how Trump deals with North Korea. You’ll ask me in a minute how my relationship has evolved with the President. It’s evolved because he is President of the United States, he beat me like a drum and I want to help him where I can because there’s a lot on this man’s plate. And we should all want to help him.
MAJOR GARRETT: What have you learned about him that makes him different and more– someone you want to work with and can work with than he was when you said he was unfit for office and quite possibly a cook?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Yeah. I said everything. I said he was a xenophobic, race betting religious bigot. I ran out of adjectives. Well, the American people spoke. They rejected my analysis and he is now my President. I worked with President Obama where I could, with President Bush even though I supported Senator McCain. The bottom line, he is President of the United States. I’ve got to know him better. He asks a lot of good questions. I think he’s made good foreign policy choices. He’s now arming the Ukraine, long overdue. He’s got the right policy to deny North Korea the ability to hit America with a nuclear-tip missile. And he is now on the side of the Iranian people. But he has to do more than watch. He actually has to act. And if I were him, I would withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran next year if it’s not made better by the Congress and our European allies.