Dem. lawmaker explains why he skipped Netanyahu address

Rep. Gutierrez: It was not a bipartisan invitation


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 3, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now, Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez wasn't at the presser, but he wasn't at the Netanyahu speech either.

Congressman, why didn't you go?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, D-ILL.: Look, Neil, I don't want to be backdrop for a campaign commercial and for partisan political politics.

My record on Israel and its strategic importance and its security, those things are clear. Look, think about it, Neil. Is there anything that Netanyahu said today that he couldn't have said in two weeks, after the election, so that he could have come back as the prime minister, right, with the credibility and with the backing of the Israeli people?

CAVUTO: In that event, then, Congressman, you would have gone?


GUTIERREZ: Oh, let me just say something.

Extending an invitation to the prime minister of Israel should always be an open invitation from the Congress of the United States, but it should be an open invitation. Neil, you know as well as I do that, when the speaker sent that invitation, it said, "On behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate" -- that's the first sentence in the invitation -- and that was a falsehood. It was not a bipartisan invitation.

CAVUTO: So, you're more offended by protocol that was violated and not being rude to a head of state?

GUTIERREZ: What I am trying to say is the following. What I am trying to say is the following.

I think protocol is very important. Let me just say, last week, the speaker of the House, Boehner, chastised the members of the House about protocol. Right? He said, hey, you guys have got to comb your hair, you got to shine your shoes, you have got to wear a tie.

Well, you know what? How about when we invite someone who is of strategic importance to the United States of America, that the invitation be truthful?

CAVUTO: All right. So you're still upset about the protocol was run around. And I might agree that maybe they didn't go through normal protocol challenge.

But I just -- what I am worried about here is everyone is getting their nose out of joint whether proper channels were pursued, when in fact here is a guy who has the most at stake in an Iran deal that might fall through or be a phony deal, because I believe he and his country are the first target.

GUTIERREZ: Here is what I have to say. Nothing he said today could not have waited two weeks, when the election would have -- look, Neil...


CAVUTO: We could be within a couple of weeks of a deal that he is already -- he is already dismissing, right?

GUTIERREZ: We are not -- we're not within a couple of weeks of the deal.

And the fact is that much of the intelligence services, of the Israeli intelligence service and our intelligence service, we are sharing it each and every day. And let me just suggest to you, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, one of the reasons I wrote to Speaker Boehner last year, and I said, you know what, you really need to set a time for all the members to get a briefing from the different intelligence agencies, so they can know what it is we know about the situation.

Look, Neil, here is my point of view. We don't know what the deal is, because we haven't seen it yet.

CAVUTO: But, Congressman, would you be of the same opinion if it was a liberal leader of Israel?

GUTIERREZ: Can I say this? Let me say this. I can only think of what shock it would have been if 2003, when Bush said we were going to -- was arguing for invading Iraq, was arguing for invading Iraq, if we had brought the prime minister of France to come and give a joint session to condemn -- to condemn...


CAVUTO: That's not what I asked you. If this were a liberal prime minister, if this were a liberal prime minister of Israel, would you be stepping out of that room?

GUTIERREZ: Let me tell you something. The last time Netanyahu came to speak before a joint session of Congress, I was there. I sat there. I listened and I appreciate what he had to say.

CAVUTO: Yes, but this is the first time he has -- has openly opposed a deal the administration is working on.

GUTIERREZ: I'm just trying to say, under similar...


CAVUTO: You sided with the president of the United States. That's fine. That's your wont. But you sided with the president.

GUTIERREZ: This is the third time -- if I could just, Neil...


GUTIERREZ: This is the third time -- is the third time he has come. I have been there the other two times.

I have a clear, unblemished record. And I don't think it is right to come and suggest that there are those of us who would not be steadfast supporters of our strategic relationship with Israel...

CAVUTO: All right.

GUTIERREZ: ... and our important historic relationship with them. We will defend them and defend that relationship. There will be no agreement that allows Iran to get nuclear weapons. That is our goal.

CAVUTO: Well, that's what his concern was.

But, Congressman, thank you very, very much.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

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