Sen. John McCain: Syrian refugee crisis is going to require American boots on the ground

Syrian refugees clash with police at Hungary border


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 16, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, we have been telling you all day about this border violence in Hungary and Serbia, and it`s extended throughout much of Europe, where a lot of these Syrian refugees are trying to find a safe haven.  

A lot of these European countries, especially Germany, that were open to it a little more than 48 hours ago, are now saying, whoa, whoa, whoa, not this many.  And they have effectively started building wire fences, and, in the case of this border situation here in Hungary, water cannons are being fired off, tear gas.  It’s a mass.  

It`s something that Senator John McCain predicted would happen.  And it is all coming to pass.

And, Senator, I was talking to Paul Wolfowitz earlier today, and he was saying, expect millions more to come and deal with the same problem.  What do we do?  

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN R-ARIZ.:  Well, we have to have a strategy, and we have to implement it.

And, very frankly, it’s going to require some more American boots on the ground, not like we did during the surge, but some forward air controllers, some intel, some special forces, some people like that.

We had a hearing today, Neil -- I don`t know if you have heard about it or not -- where we had the head of Central -- general in charge of Central Command and a witness from the White House in charge of this kind of activity.  

And, I mean, it was really bizarre.  Let me just give you a great example of that.  We have spent $43 million out of $500 million allocated, and, in the testimony, do you know how many fighters we have now?  Five.  Five.  
That means they are about $9 million each.  

And it is -- they simply want to do more of the same, which is nothing, which will then create millions more refugees.  And it`s -- we`re in some very difficult times because of this president`s failed leadership.  

CAVUTO:  You know, Senator, the candidates are not expected to advocate -- maybe with the exception of your friend Lindsey Graham -- for boots on the ground.  

Donald Trump has been vague on this particular issue.  He was on the -- board the USS Iowa yesterday.  Some thought he would spell out his military plans.  He did not.  He just said he would make us a great military feared by all again, did not offer specifics.  

Does that bother you?  

MCCAIN:  Well, I think it`s up to him and for people to judge.

But I think the American people deserve, from every one of those candidates, how are they going to get this situation turned around?  It`s a matter of time, Neil, before one of these people of ISIS comes to the United States and commits an act of terror.  

I mean, there`s too many of them that are being indoctrinated.  Two thousand a month are coming from Europe into Iraq and Syria.  I mean, it`s just a matter of time.  I`m sorry to say that.  

So, we have got to have a strategy to defeat them, and, by the way, also to defeat Bashar al-Assad, who is the godfather of ISIL.  And without that, there is going to be further catastrophe, not to mention the first one, which is what we`re seeing with this -- refugees.  

And, by the way, they`re not migrants.  They are refugees.  People are migrants who go places for economic purposes.  Refugees are victims of war.  

CAVUTO:  On Donald Trump, if you don`t mind my getting political...

MCCAIN:  Sure.  

CAVUTO:  ... are you getting along?  

I know you and Lindsey Graham were on Hugh Hewitt`s show.  He`s one of the moderators in tonight`s CNN debate.  And I got the impression from your little chitchat, even though you were kidding, that you`re not a fan.  

I mean, I just want to play a little here.  Well, we don`t have it.  

But I -- I`m sorry.  We do have it.  

Senator, if you can just listen to you.  


HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Thank you for joining me today.  

MCCAIN:  Well, thank you very much, Hugh, you loser, you jerk, you inappropriate questioner.


MCCAIN:  How dare you?


MCCAIN:  Listen, Hugh, if you ask any tough questions of Lindsey Graham or me, you are a loser.  


MCCAIN:  I want to lay that out before we have this interview.  



CAVUTO:  You were kidding there, right?  

MCCAIN:  Of course.  

You know, he had just -- that was a few days ago he had Donald Trump...

CAVUTO:  No, I know.

MCCAIN:  ... and just made the comments about him.  You know, one of the things about political campaigns -- and I have been in a lot of them -- let`s have some fun.  Let`s enjoy it as well.  And...

CAVUTO:  Then did you take any offense recently when Donald Trump earlier this month said of your daughter that she was terrible, angry, and obnoxious, referring to her performance on Fox?

MCCAIN:  Of course I took offense, and any father would.  

The question is, is, how do you respond to something like that?  And I talked to her about it, and -- my daughter Meghan, of whom I’m incredibly proud.  And we decided that the best thing for her to do is move on.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  

MCCAIN:  As you know, she has a radio show, and she`s now a consultant on Fox.


MCCAIN:  And I`m very proud of her.  

CAVUTO:  As you should be.  She`s a great, great kid.  And you’re a pretty good senator.  


MCCAIN:  Thank you, my friend.  

CAVUTO:  Thank you, Senator.  Good seeing you.  

MCCAIN:  Thanks.


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