OTR Interviews

Krauthammer: 'We need a president. It doesn't look like we have one'

Fox News political analyst/syndicated columnist attempts to explain president's handling of Putin and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and endless fundraising

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 25, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Charles Krauthammer calling President Obama's White House, the "vacant presidency." Now, what does he mean by that? Joining us, Charles Krauthammer, author of the New York Times bestselling "Things That Matter." It's still on the New York Times bestselling list. It's been 9 months, wow.

OK, Charles, "vacant presidency." Why?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST/"THINGS THAT MATTER" AUTHOR: Look, the world is going to hell in a hand basket. You got war in Ukraine. You got war in the Middle East. You've got ISIS on the move in the middle of the Middle East. You got Christians being expelled from parts of Iraq and we've got the crisis on the border. And where is the president? This isn't news. He's in the Hampton's, he's raising funds, he's playing golf, he's doing photo-ops. He's not involved.

Now, some people are saying he's checked-out, he's depressed, he's overwhelmed and he's withdrawing in some way. But that's not completely true because on domestic issues he's very engaged. He says I'll do stuff even without Congress. This is about mostly foreign affairs. And my theory is -- which I wrote in this column -- is he thinks in the end things like aggression won't pay so the U.S. does not have to be involved.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, listen, foreign affairs, a couple of things. One, as if they have insisted domestic -- I mean, while he certainly isn't interested in Chicago or the violence there or Detroit falling apart. And to the extent that the border is considered an international matter, it's now bleeding over into the country and it's a humanitarian crisis.

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I've read -- but he has his own agenda on stuff he wants to do. He wants to do changes in immigration. He wants to do some changes in tax laws. He's got a very ...

VAN SUSTEREN: He's got to work!

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I'm saying he's still interested in that. He can't work with Congress, part of the reason he's checked-out. But the place where he is shockingly passive is Ukraine, is Iraq, is the border, a lot of these other things, and to me, what I think what is behind this, is an ideology that says, for instance, let's take Ukraine, where he's essentially done nothing. This is the first time a country since the Second World War has chomped off a piece of another in Europe. This is new and we now have Russia firing into Ukraine as if it's preparing for an invasion, which just doesn't happen the last seven years.

I think he thinks and he says this, Putin is on the wrong side of history. He believes history with a capital H, punishes aggression, and in the end, all empires disappear, which is true, except that it could be 50 years or 100 years until it disappears. And the point of a super power -- the point of a president and the point of a leader is to make history react to what you want and not to wait for it to unfold.

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually think he's not interested in the job. He's not doing the job. Things are getting terrible and people are really dumping now all over him because now it's getting catastrophic. I don't think -- he's not picking up the phone to call Senator Harry Reid and say let's do these things, he's not calling Speaker Boehner down. He's not doing -- he has no interest in the job and now it is exploding all over him.

KRAUTHAMMER: You are tougher than I am. I commend you for that. I thought I was tough as you.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I wish he would do his job. I think these are real problems. I mean, I've actually -- I mean, I have -- I travel the nation. These are real problems. I've traveled the world. We need help. We need leadership. That's for real.

KRAUTHAMMER: We can agree on this. We need a president. It doesn't look like we have one.

VAN SUSTEREN: Charles, it's always nice to see you. Congratulations, nine months with that book on New York Times. It's a great book, by the way.

KRAUTHAMMER: Thank you.