Gov. Huckabee blasts Obama's leadership amid ISIS crisis

GAO: Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap was illegal


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 22, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: The president's prisoner swap with the Taliban has just been deemed illegal. Meanwhile, his actions this week amid a brutal ISIS killing have been questionable.

To former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee, who says this is not leadership.

Make your case, Governor. Not leadership?

MIKE HUCKABEE, R-FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: It's not leadership when you break the law, and you're the president, you're the chief -- really the keeper of the law, the one...

VARNEY: Technicality, wasn't it?

HUCKABEE: You know, I think that's not fair to call it just a technicality.

Look, that's the law. Am I going to say the next time the IRS asks me the produce my documents, oh, just a technicality? You're going over the speed limit, just a technicality.

When you are the chief executive of the country, your job is to carry out the laws. If you don't even obey them, it's hard for you to enforce them upon others. And I think this is a serious issue, because it involved a deadly swap.

And I say deadly because we turned away the monstrous people out of Gitmo, in exchange for Bergdahl. It violated a 30-day rule that said you have to talk to members of Congress 30 days in advance of doing it, and the president did not do that.

VARNEY: Now, the president has been heavily criticized for his leadership in the Iraq-ISIS situation, but you could make the case no boots on the ground, the bombing has been successful thus far, the president is doing what the American people want him to do.

HUCKABEE: Well, are we?

Are we that pleased with it? And here's why I say that, Stuart. There are still Christians being slaughtered in Iraq. You still have the Kurds who are under siege. And they're not sure how long they can hold on. Yes, we had some airstrikes.

And I salute the president for having ordered those. But I don't think that we have fully yet understood that ISIS and the threat that it poses is not limited to Iraq. We looked at a map just today, and saw how many countries are pouring people in to join with ISIS, many of them Americans with American passports.


HUCKABEE: When they get finished with this battle, if they get finished, will they show up back here with their American passports, walk right into the country and wreak havoc on this nation and its people?

VARNEY: OK. You have just said that the president should obey the law, obey the Constitution.


VARNEY: Unequivocally, that's what he must do.

I want the president to drone that guy who executed James Foley. I don't want no trial, no lawyer. I don't want any of that. I want this -- I want him droned. I want him killed.

Now, arguably, that's unconstitutional, but I'm arguing for it. Would you?

HUCKABEE: I don't think it's unconstitutional, because I think we need to recognize we are in a war, not with a handful of militants.

This is the nonsense that we're hearing. Militants. These aren't militants. These are soldiers in an army, an army of declared opposition to all things Western, including the United States. When these people say, we will see you in New York, it will be the blood of the American people, when are we going to wake up and understand that if they are able to take over all of Iraq and Syria, if they wipe out Israel, they're not just going to wash their hands and say, OK, we're done, that's all we really wanted to do?

This is a group that is not about tribal conquest. It is about global conquest. When we wake up and understand that, we might have a fighting chance of defeating them.

VARNEY: Where to from here?

This president has not reversed course or changed his mind, I don't think, on any significant issue in the past. He's not likely to change course on this one, is he?

HUCKABEE: No, he's not. This is not in his DNA to recognize, maybe I need to back up and call a different play.

Good leaders, good executives understand that everything they planned may have to be shelved and, you may have to do a different thing because circumstances change. This is a not a president...

VARNEY: But there is a chorus of optimism, there is a chorus of criticism. Do you think that makes this president dig in his heels even more? Is that possible?

HUCKABEE: I think it does. The fact he continued to play golf, when all of the people, even the most liberal of critics, realized that this was just -- we hear this term bad optics. No, it wasn't bad optics, Stuart. It was bad leadership. He ought to be on the phone calling world leaders and pulling people together to say, we have got to unite against ISIS.

He needs to be calling leaders of Arab states. We have got to demand of the Saudis and the people of Qatar and the UAE, look, this is your part of the world, it's blown up in your face. We're not going to shed American blood for what you guys ought to be helping us to contain and eradicate. You either get in the game or we're done with you. That's the kind of leadership we need to be exercising.

VARNEY: American has gone through a long period of being war-weary, opposing entanglements overseas. Do you think that's coming to an end, that feeling that I think is abroad and in the United States, war-weary?

HUCKABEE: We're war-weary because I think we have seen these conflicts that are overfunded, underfought.

And I think what America would like to know is that, when someone is faced with the kind of situation we are, when you're beheading children, cutting Christians in half, and putting their bodies and their heads on stakes to let people know this is what happens to you if you don't convert, then I think at some point we have to say, we're all in. We're going to eradicate -- this is a cancer.

Let's just be honest. The doctor says, Stuart, you have got a tumor. You can just say, well, just take enough out that I can feel like I'm doing a little better. Or do you say, I want you to get it all? You say, get it all. I don't want it to metastasize and kill me.

ISIS is a cancer. We have got to get rid of it, all of it.

VARNEY: I watch you on Saturday and Sunday nights. Who am I going to see this week?

HUCKABEE: Well, one of the people you will see is Colonel Bill Cowan, who will be with us, and we will talk about ISIS and some of the challenges that we face militarily.

We also have the former chief of police of Seattle, who will talk about the fact that he regrets some of the tactics that he used when the World Trade Organization was in Seattle and some of the force was used. He will explain why. That will be worth watching.

VARNEY: There was a riot, wasn't it? They crashed the center of Seattle. He was in charge then.


HUCKABEE: Oh, yes. He was in charge, and he now has had time to reflect upon it, and has a perspective that I think will be very fascinating in light of what we have seen in Ferguson.

VARNEY: Governor Huckabee, thanks very much for joining us.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Stuart.

VARNEY: We will be watching.


VARNEY: Thank you, sir.

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