November 15th, 2015
11:42 AM ET

Bush: "Hillary Clinton last night said that it's not - it's not our fight. It is our fight."

SOTU

 

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, former Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R-FL), joined anchor, Jake Tapper to discuss the Paris attacks, ISIS, and the Democratic debate.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Bush reacts to the threat of ISIS and the situation in Syria: “The president has admitted he does not have a strategy as it relates to ISIS.  Hillary Clinton last night said that it's not - it's not our fight.  It is our fight.  And without our leadership in building a coalition to destroy ISIS, it won't happen. Creating a strategy means that we - we create a no-fly zone, create safe havens for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army to - to be built up.  We lead by getting our Arab allies and friends to be able to support one fighting force. This is made more complicated by the Iranian deal and Iran's and Russia's support of the brutal Assad regime.  Both of those - both ISIS and Assad need to be taken out, which means that we need to have a concerted effort by Europe, the United States, with our leadership, and the Arab world to create an alternative to the brutality that exists, so that there could be disability.”

 

Bush on Syrian refugees in the U.S: “I think we need to do thorough screening and take a limited number.  But, ultimately, the best way to deal with the refugee crisis is to create safe zones inside of Syria, so that people don't risk their lives and you don't have what will be a national security challenge both for our country and Europe of screening. In addition to that, Jake, I would say that there are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now.  They will be either executed or imprisoned either by Assad or by ISIS.  And I think we should have - we should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered… It takes almost a year for a refugee to be processed into the United States. I think we need to be obviously very, very cautious.  This also calls to mind the need to make sure we protect our borders, our southern border particularly.  We need to focus on counterintelligence capabilities that have been weakened when the Patriot Act was reauthorized.”

 

Bush responds to the possibility of invoking Article 5: [TAPPER]: “Should NATO invoke Article V, an attack one is an attack on all, and declare war on ISIS?” [BUSH]: “I think the president should convene the North American Council to discuss that. And I do think that it's worthy of consideration, for sure.  If that's what the French want, then - our longest and strongest and most loyal ally over our entire history, we should certainly consider it.  Our hearts go out to the people of Paris and to France.  This is the second time they have had an atrocious act of terror in their country. We need to show complete solidarity with them.”

 

Bush on Trump’s comments regarding ISIS: “I - I don't give Donald Trump credit.  He's been all over the map as it relates to this, whether we should engage or not engage, whether we should have the Russians do the work that a coalition needs to be done, whether Assad needs to be kept in. All of this is quite confusing because he's bouncing around as it relates to a policy.  What we need is a strategy to take out ISIS and to deal with Assad at the same time.  And part of that strategy is, correctly so, to take out their resources, both the ability to hold people hostage for kidnapping for ransom, as well as taking out their ability to garner revenue from oil. Those are - those are smart moves.  But I would love to see the president describe what the strategy is and then garner the support in the world to be able to execute on it.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER:  Now, with me is Republican for president Jeb Bush live in Miami.

Governor Bush, thanks for joining us.

We have breaking news this morning, as you heard from Christiane Amanpour, according to French authorities, at least one of the Islamist terrorists smuggled into Paris amongst refugees from Syria.

There are Syrian refugees coming into the United States right now.  Clearly, there is a heartbreaking humanitarian imperative at stake.  But what would you do as president, given this new information?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think we need to lead as it relates to taking action in Syria and Iraq to eradicate ISIS from the face of the Earth.  That should be our first and foremost responsibility.

As it relates to the refugees, I think we need to do thorough screening and take a limited number.  But, ultimately, the best way to deal with the refugee crisis is to create safe zones inside of Syria, so that people don't risk their lives and you don't have what will be a national security challenge both for our country and Europe of screening.

In addition to that, Jake, I would say that there are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now.  They will be either executed or imprisoned either by Assad or by ISIS.  And I think we should have - we should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered.

TAPPER:  How does the United States, how do screeners tell which refugees are Christian and which ones are not?

J. BUSH:  Well, we do that all the time.  We do that.  It takes almost a year for a refugee to be processed into the United States.

I think we need to be obviously very, very cautious.  This also calls to mind the need to make sure we protect our borders, our southern border particularly.  We need to focus on counterintelligence capabilities that have been weakened when the Patriot Act was reauthorized.

This is a - this is a warning for our country that this threat is not going to go away.  This is a threat against Western civilization.  And we need to lead.  The United States has pulled back.  And when we pull back, voids are filled.  And they're filled now by Islamic terrorism that threatens our country.

TAPPER:  What would you be doing differently that President Obama is not? There are currently special operation forces in Syria.  There are obviously bombing campaigns going on in Syria.  They killed Jihadi Johnny - Jihadi John just a few days ago.  What - what would President Bush be doing?

J. BUSH:  I would first have a strategy.

The president has admitted he does not have a strategy as it relates to ISIS.  Hillary Clinton last night said that it's not - it's not our fight.  It is our fight.  And without our leadership in building a coalition to destroy ISIS, it won't happen.

Creating a strategy means that we - we create a no-fly zone, create safe havens for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army to - to be built up.  We lead by getting our Arab allies and friends to be able to support one fighting force.

This is made more complicated by the Iranian deal and Iran's and Russia's support of the brutal Assad regime.  Both of those - both ISIS and Assad need to be taken out, which means that we need to have a concerted effort by Europe, the United States, with our leadership, and the Arab world to create an alternative to the brutality that exists, so that there could be disability.

TAPPER:  You mentioned Hillary Clinton.  The Democratic candidates gathered last night in Iowa for their second debate.

Take a listen to Hillary Clinton talking about ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network.  It cannot be contained.  It must be defeated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  How would your approach to ISIS differ from Hillary Clinton's?

J. BUSH:  Well, she says that, but then she says it's not - later in the debate, she said it wasn't our fight.

The difference would be that, as I gave - spoke two months ago at the Reagan Library, we need a strategy.  And American leadership is desperately needed there.

We need a no-fly zone.  We need to create safe havens.  We need to embed with the Iraqi military and provide direct support for the Kurdish forces and reengage with the Sunni tribal leaders.

A strategy requires listening to the commanders, not putting - tying their hands behind their backs, not having lawyers on top of every sortie that goes out.  This is a war.  And we should - we should act accordingly and draw our European allies...

TAPPER:  Does that mean we - does that mean you think we should - does that mean you think we should send more troops into Syria, more troops into Iraq?

J. BUSH:  I would listen to the military commanders and give them the mission, which is, how do we destroy ISIS?

It is Islamic terrorism.  It's not a law enforcement engagement.  And listen to them and then develop a clear strategy.  I can't tell you the force levels required to do this.  I do know that it has to be done in unison with our allies.  We can't do this alone, but we must lead.

TAPPER:  The pope called the Paris massacre part of World War III.  President of France Francois Hollande is - he's called it an act of war.

Should NATO invoke Article V, an attack one is an attack on all, and declare war on ISIS?

J. BUSH:  I think the president should convene the North American Council to discuss that.

And I do think that it's worthy of consideration, for sure.  If that's what the French want, then - our longest and strongest and most loyal ally over our entire history, we should certainly consider it.  Our hearts go out to the people of Paris and to France.  This is the second time they have had an atrocious act of terror in their country.

We need to show complete solidarity with them.

TAPPER:  You on Twitter last night tweaked Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates for being unwilling to use the phrase radical Islamic terrorism at the debate.

Hillary Clinton said she's following the example of your brother, George W. Bush, after 9/11.  Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The face of terror is not the truth faith of Islam.  That's not what Islam is all about.  Islam is peace.  These terrorists don't represent peace.  They represent evil and war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  Is Islam peace, Governor?

J. BUSH:  You know what?

I know what - I know what Islamic terrorism is.  And that's what we are fighting with ISIS, al Qaeda, all of the other groups.  And that's what our focus should be on.

This is not a question of religion.  This is a - this is a political ideology that has co-opted a religion.  And I think it's more than acceptable just to call it for what it is and then organize an effort to destroy it.

TAPPER:  I guess the question is, though, Hillary Clinton said she doesn't want to label it as Islamic terrorism.  And that seemed to be, at least in the first few years of the war on terror under President Bush, your brother, his - his blueprint as well.

J. BUSH:  Yes.

TAPPER:  And he said Islam is peace.  It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton saying Islam is peace and not being attacked by Republicans.

J. BUSH:  I don't - look, all I know is that she does not believe that this is our fight.  This is a fight for Western civilization.

We need to be all in on it.  And the simple fact is that these are Islamic terrorists that has have co-opted a faith that is peaceful.  But, nevertheless, this is something we need to fight.  And I don't think anybody would question that my brother was in that fight, that he viewed it as a national security fight and he led.  And that's what we need to do again.

TAPPER:  The Pentagon said Friday that it has disabled nearly three-quarters of the ISIS oil infrastructure.  It prompted Donald Trump to tweet the following - quote - "They laughed at me when I said to bomb the ISIS-controlled oil fields.  Now they are not laughing and doing what I said."

Do you give Donald Trump credit for this one?

J. BUSH:  I - I don't give Donald Trump credit.  He's been all over the map as it relates to this, whether we should engage or not engage, whether we should have the Russians do the work that a coalition needs to be done, whether Assad needs to be kept in.

All of this is quite confusing because he's bouncing around as it relates to a policy.  What we need is a strategy to take out ISIS and to deal with Assad at the same time.  And part of that strategy is, correctly so, to take out their resources, both the ability to hold people hostage for kidnapping for ransom, as well as taking out their ability to garner revenue from oil.

Those are - those are smart moves.  But I would love to see the president describe what the strategy is and then garner the support in the world to be able to execute on it.

TAPPER:  Governor Jeb Bush, thank you so much for joining us today.

J. BUSH:  Thank you, Jake.

 

 

 

 

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

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