OTR Interviews

Giuliani: Obama has a 'cavalier' attititude about Iran becoming a nuclear power, administration has its 'head in the sand' about Islamic extremists

Former NYC mayor sounds off on the puzzling choice to have Iran's president address the UN General Assembly on Yom Kippur, the president's snub of Netanyahu and more

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 24, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now the explosive situation at the U.N. General Assembly. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called for Israel to be wiped off the map, is set to speak on Wednesday. Now, why is that sparking outrage, even more outrage than usual? Because Wednesday is Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday of the year.

Now, we spoke with former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, about the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Mayor, nice to see you, sir.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: How are you, Greta? Nice to see you, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well. I want to start first with President Ahmadinejad, and sort of your overall view of him coming to the United States and addressing the General Assembly once again.

GIULIANI: Well, of course, I've always thought it was an outrage that he comes. We used to be successful keeping people out like him in the past. But you know, it happens.

And this guy is a -- I don't know what he is. I mean, he's obviously a killer, a murderer, I think a maniac, someone who has announced over and over again that he wants to see the destruction of the state of Israel. In many ways, he'd like to see the destruction of the United States of America.

And he's accorded, you know, the status of speaking as a head of state with a U.N. that at least large segments of which are very sympathetic to him. And something that has to be of great concern to us because this is a man who's determined to become a nuclear power.

And it seems like the President of the United States -- the President of the United States announced yesterday on "60 Minutes" that this is just "noise," this idea of Iran becoming nuclear, just noise that he blocks out. I mean, that is a frightening statement by the President of the United States!

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any way to have prevented him from coming to the United States, or is it by virtue of the fact that the United Nations is in New York that it's sort of a special enclave? Because many Americans probably are sitting out there thinking, Why in the world is he permitted to be here?

GIULIANI: Well, when we had a president that was a lot tougher, namely Ronald Reagan, who I -- who I worked for, we were successful keeping Arafat out. Now, this might be a little harder because he is a head of state.

But the reality is that isn't really what concerns me. What concerns me is that we're not preventing him from becoming a nuclear power, and the President of the United States takes a very cavalier attitude about it, which he describes as -- he deals with these claims of Iran being a nuclear power by saying it's noise that he blocks out.

And you know, Governor Romney makes a slight little statement that somebody can misinterpret, and it's all over the news for five days. Obama makes an astounding, irresponsible statement like this, and you know, it's ignored.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any thought on the fact that he's going to be speaking on Yom Kippur, which, of course, is the one -- is the holiest of days to Israelis, to Jews in America, and this is a man who wants to wipe Israel off the map? He has said they're like a tumor. I mean, he's done nothing but (INAUDIBLE) I mean, whose idea was it to have him speak that day? Why can't he at least speak today or on Thursday or some other day?

GIULIANI: Well, I don't know why, but it just shows the lack of sensitivity to -- to -- to what's going on and the total lack of concern about the state of Israel, which, frankly I don't think is very high on the president's agenda.

After all, the president is in New York today. He went on "The View," but he can't visit with Netanyahu or any other world leaders. He was there a couple days ago and he visited with Beyonce and Jay-Z and collected 40 grand a person and didn't have enough time to meet with Netanyahu, which gives us a sense of where Israel fits in his priority scheme, which is not very high. He announced -- he announced on "60 Minutes" that Israel is just one of our allies, as if it isn't our most important ally in the Middle East. And he treats them almost as if they're not an ally.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm trying to understand why -- why -- I'm trying to look at it, like, from his perspective. Why in the world would he go on "The View," not meet with Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel? He -- he -- he has these fundraisers, which they all -- which everybody does, but it just has such a bad appearance to it politically, like, a tin ear, referring to the Middle East with Ahmadinejad as noise. I mean, can you think of any possible explanation from his side?

GIULIANI: Yes. It displays, I think, his priorities. His priorities have been to be much more concerned about the Palestinian authority than the state of Israel, put a lot more pressure on Israel than the Palestinian authority, been much more concerned about trying to meet with and negotiate with Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah.

And a couple months back, he wrote a letter to the Ayatollah seeking to negotiate with him, as opposed to trying to create fear that there might be a massive military strike if, in fact, Iran does this totally irresponsible thing of trying to become a nuclear power.

The president seems to completely miss the real danger of a nuclear Iran, which is an Iran that can hand nuclear material off to the terrorists that they're presently sponsoring, the terrorists that they're presently giving arms to.

If they have nuclear material that they can hand to these 20 or 30 terrorist groups that they are presently sponsoring, we could very easily have a dirty bomb go off in London, New York, Los Angeles, Washington.

And then the Iranian government will do what they did about their plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador, which the president seems to have ignored also, at least in terms of any kind of definitive response. They'll just lie about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, last night on "60 Minutes," he referred to what has gone on in Libya, and I'm also trying to figure out what context or what he could possibly mean about it, but he refers to it with a very poor choice of words, as "bump in the road." At least, you know, I can't -- you know, it is far more profound than a bump in the road. But...

GIULIANI: I mean, can you imagine how that must -- how much -- how that affects the families of our now slaughtered ambassador, the other diplomat, and the two SEALs that died? Their death was a bump in the road? The killing of 20,000 people in Syria is a bump in the road? The killing of our soldiers in Afghanistan is a bump in the road?

This is an outrageous statement! But it's beyond just being a mistake. It indicates the fact that the president has a different priority for what's going on in the Middle East and what I think the priorities should be. And it may give us some understanding as to why -- as to why the proper security wasn't there.

I think when the president captured bin Laden, in addition to kind of organizing the administration to try to do Hollywood movies about what a superhero he is, I think what the President of the United States did was, I think he -- I think he thought he had defeated al Qaeda! And he said he was going to move on to Asia now.

Well, we can't move on. We can't move on because there are thousands and thousands of people in this part of the world that want to kill us, have now succeeded in doing it. Chris Stevens was the first American ambassador killed since Jimmy Carter. I mean, that should send a pretty powerful message as to there not being really the proper security and the proper understanding of how dangerous Islamic extremist terrorism is.

And when have you ever heard the president of the United States use the words "Islamic extremist terrorism"?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, he has said that he wants to talk with the Iranians, but he hasn't -- that hasn't even happened in three-and-half years! That has not been attempted. He has said that he -- you know, he wants to do something with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I don't see - - I mean, I don't even -- maybe there's some behind-the-scenes diplomatic work being done, but nothing has been done there!

We see Iran marching towards a nuclear weapon. Israel, our greatest ally in the region, obviously very concerned, you know, asking the United States for some sort of help, and we -- and things get leaked to The New York Times, which says that they can't do it themselves, and we don't seem -- we say they're our greatest ally, but we seem to be a little bit be throwing them under the bus!

GIULIANI: Well, I think we're not a little bit throwing them under the bus. I think we are throwing them under the bus. And the fact is that this is beyond politics or whether you like somebody or don't.

The prime minister of Israel has to make a very difficult decision. I would not want to be in his shoes. I wouldn't have to make -- want to make the decision, a very, very critical decision as to whether he takes action or he doesn't. He's entitled to a meeting with the president of the United States so they can sit down face to face and discuss this, with politics put aside, with posturing put aside.

It's the height of irresponsibility that a president that doesn't get all of his oral foreign security briefings anyway won't sit down with him and talk to him, but yet he's begging to try to talk to Ahmadinejad and the ayatollah.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you make of this video controversy the past couple weeks? It's a YouTube video that has -- you know, which has been used as - - I mean, the White House came out and said that that was the first the provocation behind Libya and Egypt. They've -- now they're dialing that back. But Ahmadinejad is saying that he's, you know, terribly insulted by the video and the United States is doing nothing, and he claims that insults are a crime, then he comes here and insults everybody and his brother. But what you think of this video?

GIULIANI: Well, I think the video was an excuse for a well-planned, well-executed attack. I mean, that -- that attack -- certainly, the one in Libya was planned for quite some time. This video goes back to June or July. There was plenty of time to act on this video if it was going to be, in the words of President Obama's administration, a spontaneous attack.

I mean, that -- I can't imagine how at any time they would have concluded this was a spontaneous attack since there were rocket-propelled hand grenades used and other massive weapons that were used in this attack. You don't spontaneously just acquire these weapons and start -- and start using them to kill an American ambassador.

So look, Greta, I have to come to the conclusion with his comments about this just being a -- you know, a bump in the road and his comments about it's just noise, and the comments about how this was a spontaneous attack, that this administration dangerously has its head in the sand about the continuing danger of Islamic extremist terrorism, which they seem to want to write off.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mayor, thank you. Always nice to talk to you. Thank you, sir.

GIULIANI: Thank you, Greta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)