OTR Interviews

Gingrich: Lack of Border Security Has Been a Failure of Will and Resources

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich goes "On the Record." Mexican President Felipe Calderon went to the United States Capitol today and addressed Congress. And guess what? President Calderon very plainly told Congress he does not like the new Arizona law.

Speaker Gingrich joins us live. He's author of the book "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular Socialist Machine." Good evening, Mr. Speaker.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, a lot of people bent their nose out of joint about the president's speech -- President Calderon's speech on the floor. Your thoughts about it?

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's sad and unfortunate.

VAN SUSTEREN: That they have their nose out of joint or the speech?

GINGRICH: No, the attitude the president brought to the United States. Mexico's an extraordinarily important neighbor. And the fact is, their economy's not very strong. And the fact is, they're fighting a civil war with drug dealers. There are enough Mexican-Americans who have come north that they sent $21 billion back to Mexico last year, the second largest source of foreign exchange after petroleum. The United States is a good neighbor. The fact is, it would have been nice had the president come north and said, I'd like to help control the border.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think he did say, though -- because one of the things he did say -- and you know, I know this is a rotten position to be in tonight is defending President Calderon of Mexico. But he did say -- he thought that the statute in Arizona was racial profiling. I think he's wrong about it. And even President Obama said yesterday there's no racial profiling in the (INAUDIBLE) But he also said he wants comprehensive immigration reform.

GINGRICH: Wait, wait, wait. I didn't say comprehensive. I said it would be nice if they would help control the border, is Stage 1. Ronald Reagan wrote in his diary in June of 1981, almost 30 years ago, we need to control the border. If the Mexican government did its share and the American government did its share, we could have a very comprehensive control of the border, after which we could talk about other things.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we need their help on the border? Can't we just build a fence or do something else...


VAN SUSTEREN: Can't we do it ourselves?

GINGRICH: Yes, if we're prepared to be thorough enough, we can control the border. Every place on the border that we try to control, we succeed. It's been a failure of will. It's been a failure of resources. And frankly, there are a lot of people in the United States who want illegal immigration either because they want cheap workforces or because they think they're going to get future votes. But this has not been a failure just of incompetence. There are in many ways large interest groups who want to have illegal immigration.

But I must say, when you have four consecutive administration officials -- the attorney general, the secretary of Homeland Security, who was herself governor of Arizona, and two members of State Department each admit they had never read the law they opposed, you have to wonder -- this all started with a "New York Times" smear that was dishonest and inaccurate. As you yourself just said, this bill does not have racial profiling. Now, if the bill doesn't have racial profiling, what's the beef?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll take it -- I'll take it...

GINGRICH: What are people mad about?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll take it one step further because I thought that the president yesterday, when he said there was no racial profiling in the statute -- now, as an aside, I think it's unconstitutional because it is a state trying to do federal immigration policy, but that's a whole 'nother issue. But I don't think there's racial profiling. When he said there was no racial profiling, he then went on to say that it, quote, "has the potential or the possibility" to be racial profiling. Every single statute has that!


VAN SUSTEREN: You only say that if you're trying to keep some segment of the population or some voting bloc happy because every single statute has the possibility of some rogue person applying it incorrectly.

GINGRICH: What we've watched for the last two weeks is left-wing racism. This has been a deliberate, calculated, and I think really dishonorable attack on the state of Arizona. You know, I had a woman who wrote me today that the president of the United States is supposed to defend all 50 states, not just 49.

And I think the idea that the United States government would apologize to a Chinese dictatorship for a freely elected legislature, a freely elected governor in a state that has total freedom of speech. I mean, there's something profoundly wrong with the Obama administration's desperate need to go around the world, you know, apologizing for America, when the truth is, we have nothing to apologize for.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why -- every single president and every single member of Congress or senator I've ever spoke to -- everyone seems to agree on the same thing. We need immigration reform and we need to secure our borders. It's not -- it's not even, like, a close question. But for some reason -- and we get the promises during every single campaign, you know, I'm going to be tough on (INAUDIBLE) illegal immigration. Zero! Why -- I mean, why -- why...


GINGRICH: I think part of it is they come back and they say, Oh, but it has to be part of a comprehensive bill. The president, as commander-in- chief, has an obligation to defend the border. He shouldn't hold that obligation hostage to a larger bill. They could pass a border control bill tomorrow. They could effectively control this border in six months, if they wanted to. We have the resources. We have the assets. We know how to do it. But it has been totally bogged down in bureaucracy.

And ironically, as Senator Jon Kyl points out, every sector that they decide to control, they dramatically reduce the number of people who enter illegally. In one part of Arizona, they've reduced it by 92 percent. In the other part, it goes up because people are smart. They go, OK, let's got to the place that's uncontrolled now that we can't get through over here.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you know, even -- you say it -- they say it has to be comprehensive. Let's let it be comprehensive. I mean, they've...

GINGRICH: I don't...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... got the White House -- but I mean -- I mean, can't -- can't they get it -- there's no effort! I mean, at least try!

GINGRICH: The American people are going to rebel if they are told once again that in order to get something we want, we have to agree to something we don't want. Now, we didn't -- nobody...

VAN SUSTEREN: What's wrong with comprehensive, though?

GINGRICH: Nobody trusts this government enough to believe that it's going to keep its word. And I'm not -- I'm not talking here about Obama, I'm talking about the bureaucracy of the United States. And that's why when John McCain, in a very serious way, tried to create with George W. Bush comprehensive reform, it collapsed in five or six days because the American people are not going to agree to any substantial legalization of people who are here illegal in a period where the borders are uncontrolled and where they believe all it will do is bring in another wave of amnesty.

VAN SUSTEREN: Fine. Then why not -- why not make it comprehensive, secure the borders, step one.


VAN SUSTEREN: Step two, deal with the people who are here in this country. Why isn't that comprehensive?

GINGRICH: Well, if you agree to pass step one separately...

VAN SUSTEREN: Not even separately! Do it together! We'll just (INAUDIBLE)

GINGRICH: People don't believe it. Because people -- exactly what you just said. We did that, and I voted for it in 1986. We gave amnesty to three million people under Simpson-Mazzoli with the promise that we would control the border, have a guest worker program and enforce the law on American employers. All three promises were broken.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so do blame -- OK, if we can't trust our government -- and I'll give you that one. I'm not going to...


VAN SUSTEREN: Believe me, I'm not going to fight you on that one!


VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not going to fight -- if we can't trust our government, do you understand Arizona passing the statute that has set many on fire?

GINGRICH: Yes, because it hasn't set very many people on fire who are close to Arizona. I mean, the -- you know, if you're sitting in New York City writing a New York Times editorial, you can be very self -- sanctimonious about this. If you're in Arizona, knowing that Phoenix became the kidnapping capital of the United States, mostly Mexican drug dealers, knowing that a rancher had just been killed by people who are here illegally, knowing that two policemen had been killed, and you have a genuine fear about public safety -- 70 percent of the people of Arizona said, you know, This is the right thing to do, even after all the attacks on it.

And around the country, interestingly, people increasingly favor the Arizona law the more they talk about it. This is a dead loser for people on the left because, in the end, the American people don't want to be told they have to tolerate the federal government failing.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I read this morning in the paper that they found women mummified in plastic today on the border, which was horrible...

GINGRICH: It's horrible.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... in Mexico. I mean, I can understand people wanting to get out of Mexico. Then I read another report that I think 88 tons of a chemical used for methamphetamines from China landed in Mexico and was seized, which was going to make its way to the drug trade to the United States. I mean, this is so catastrophic, what is going on in Mexico. It's hard to understand why -- not everyone -- why everyone isn't standing up and screaming to -- you know, we need to do something.

GINGRICH: More people have been killed in Mexico in the last three years than were killed in Iraq. It is a serious problem. And we owe it to the people of Mexico to help them defeat the drug dealers, and we owe it to the Calderon government to try to help it in every way possible to be successful.

VAN SUSTEREN: He's a -- he's a tough guy. I mean, he has -- I mean...

GINGRICH: And he is risking his life.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, people...

GINGRICH: Nobody should kid themselves. This man, at the risk of his life, has taken on every cartel in Mexico in what is a very bitter civil war.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is why when people criticize him for two or three sentences in his speech on the floor, I'm surprised because he is tough and he is fighting the narcotic trade in Mexico. And we criticize our president when he goes abroad and apologizes, so I think this president can't very well come to Congress and apologize, right?

GINGRICH: Well, look, I think -- if you ask me who am I more offended by, I'm much more offended by President Obama criticizing his own country. I think the president of Mexico has a right to say what he believes. He's invited as our guest. But I think we do an awful lot of good things to help Mexico and it would have been nice to have had him put it in that context. And I believe he has very bad advice on the Arizona law.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think he's got the Arizona law very wrong. But he's got a very tough project with that -- horrible killings over there in Mexico.

Mr. Speaker, if you'll stand by. Next, Speaker Gingrich said something that is -- well, this one's lighting some people on fire. He says the secular socialist machine is as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany. Speaker Gingrich is going to explain that in two minutes.


VAN SUSTEREN: Continuing with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He has a brand-new book, "To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular Socialist Machine." Speaker Gingrich writes, in part, "The America in which we grew up is vastly different from the America the secular socialist left want to create, and that's why saving America is the fundamental challenge of our time. The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did."

Speaker Gingrich is here with us. All right, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Go a little far on that one?

GINGRICH: No. Because I'm not talking about moral equivalence of the people, I'm talking about the end result. If the Nazis had defeated us, then America as we know it would have disappeared. If the Soviet Union had defeated us, the America as we know it would have disappeared. I argue in this book -- and I think it's a pretty reasoned and compelling argument -- that the fact is, the values of a secular socialist movement are antithetical -- and you hear from President Obama all the time.

You know, we're a country that says we're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. The secular socialist left doesn't want God anywhere in public life and doesn't want to acknowledge God anywhere in public life, to such a degree that the Democratic candidate for the Senate of Massachusetts said maybe if you're Catholic, you shouldn't work in an emergency room, OK? That's a fairly radical statement.

Similarly, we believed historically you get to go out and work as hard as you want. You get to dream as big as you want. And then you get to keep it. Now you have a president who says openly, you know, some people make too much money, and maybe he should decide. Now, I mean, his idea of redistribution is that politicians decide how much you ought to get to keep of what you earn.


GINGRICH: I think that's a fundamentally different America.

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- in your -- in your thesis, what's worse, the secular or the socialist?

GINGRICH: Oh, I think they're intimately tied together. I think that you can't build a socialist country without being secular, although if you asked me to choose, I think the drive of the secularist to eliminate God from American life is a much greater long-term danger because freedom is built on faith. And the fact is, this country's deepest beliefs start with the idea that power comes from God to you personally, and then you loan power to the state. The state is not the center of power, you are.

And that's different than any other country in the world. It's different than all the European countries, which is why, frankly, having a European-style socialist movement in this country is so undermining of the American tradition.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you reconcile the different beliefs?

GINGRICH: Well, I don't think you're going to. I think, frankly, we're going to have to beat them. I think they're wrong. I think they represent a -- a...

VAN SUSTEREN: But take -- I mean -- I mean, in terms of, like, in sort of the socialist secular. I mean, I take it -- like Muslims. You have any...

GINGRICH: Oh, no, look, I think -- if you're talking about faith beliefs...

VAN SUSTEREN: Faith belief.

GINGRICH: We have historically been very good at having a very wide range of religious beliefs. Washington writes a letter as early as 1791 to a synagogue in Rhode Island. Jefferson writes the Baptists. There's no great threat in America of a theocracy. But there's a real threat in America of eliminating God from public life entirely, and I think that's important to understand that the historic America model was God matters, religion matters. You should practice in your own faith, but we are going to respect you.

I mean, for most of American history, we had prayer in school and nobody thought that it was a theocratic institution and people were allowed to approach God in their own way. For most of American history, we had prayers at valedictory addresses. We had -- we had prayers at graduations. Nobody -- in fact, we still today have prayers in the U.S. House and Senate, although we have a judge who Obama nominated who said that it was unconstitutional for the Indiana legislature to open with a prayer.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me switch to another -- there's breaking news here Washington, Dennis Blair out in terms of head of intelligence.

GINGRICH: That should worry the American people a great deal.


GINGRICH: The Obama administration since last October has allowed major gaps in our intelligence and has refused to go to the Congress to ask for the fixes necessary for us to be able to reopen certain capabilities that are very, very powerful and very important and that literally were closed down in October. It is very clear, if you've read anything that John Brenner (ph) has said recently, that the president's senior adviser on Homeland Security is totally wrong in his understanding of Islam and in his understanding of Hezbollah.

VAN SUSTEREN: How does Blair fit into this?

GINGRICH: Well, Blair is a true professional. I suspect Blair was telling the president stuff he didn't want to hear. I suspect that Blair was going in and was saying, You know, you ought to go and fix this particular problem that they have with their intelligence gathering. You ought to be aware how dangerous the radical wing of Islam is. You should not have these kind of fanciful ideas. And I suspect the president got tired of being told things he didn't want to hear.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, according to the news, it's being released tonight, it's that he was pushed out by the president. Of course, his statement in which he certainly does not thank the president...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... a very -- there's something -- there's something -- there's something there, but it's not -- doesn't seem like...

GINGRICH: Is it fair to say it wasn't a love note?

VAN SUSTEREN: I think it was not a love note.


VAN SUSTEREN: I think we'll learn a lot more in the next 24, 48 hours. Mr. Speaker, thank you, sir.

GINGRICH: Always good to be with you.

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