McCain: Kerry has been the 'most inept' Secretary of State

Lawmaker responds to John Kerry's controversial comments on Paris attacks; Reaction on 'Your World'


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 18, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, I want to bring in one Arizona Republican Senator John McCain.

Talk about a smorgasbord of issues to raise with him, but first on that misstatement, if you want to call it that, concerning the secretary.

Chris Christie earlier today said maybe Kerry should get some sleep and shut up. What do you think?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: I agree with Chris Christie.

But it does reveal an underlying view of these things that is really harmful and damages the -- is damaging. But John Kerry has probably been the most inept secretary of state that is certainly in my lifetime.

A good example, the other day, there was the -- there's these terrible things going on, these Palestinians going around with knives and stabbing people. So Kerry hops on a plane, flies over. He's going to settle it, and then leaves. Nothing changes.

CAVUTO: Do you get a feeling now, with the latest developments, and talking about these Syrian nationals who were caught in Honduras, this Jewish teacher who was knifed repeatedly apparently by those young men who claimed they were ISIS, what's going on?

MCCAIN: I don't know. Neil, honestly, I didn't quite understand the question. I'm not familiar with that...


CAVUTO: OK. I apologize.

There were some Syrian nationals, Senator, who were picked up in Honduras. They traced their -- they had fake Greek passports. But, in other words, they could have come from Syria and that refugee swing.


CAVUTO: That's something you have been worried about. You have -- not so far as some of your colleagues to say just shut down everything.  But it does raise concerns, as we have 30-some-odd governors saying enough.

What do you think of that?


MCCAIN: Yes. It raises concerns.

And, obviously, our southern border is -- is a very important access point for them. But, frankly, the visa -- the visa-free situation in European countries is -- that is a lot easier than having to go to Honduras. They hop on an airplane, as you know.

So this whole process has to be reviewed. We have to make sure that there is sufficient safeguards that no one can come to this country.  That's why a pause is certainly agreeable. But I would also point out that there are children, there are people who are -- have fled the worst kinds of situations. And we need to act in a humanitarian fashion, but first review all of the procedures, make sure that it removes any remote -- any possibility that someone may come here.

But, also, as we focus on that, let's not forget why this all happened. It happened because you have a feckless foreign policy by a president who refuses to lead. And, by the way, I have a plan, along with Lindsey Graham, on what we need to do, which I would be glad to tell you about.

CAVUTO: Well, before I get to that plan, one of the things that's happening is the president's plan is unraveling, as you know, sir.

Italy is joining France with Russia in these attacks on ISIS positions, it believes to be ISIS positions, and seems to dismiss for now the need to immediately get Bashar al-Assad out of power in Syria. So, it could be that they are putting the ISIS focus first and maybe dealing with Assad later, which is the 180 from what the administration wants. But what do you make of that, these countries now working with Russia sooner than working with us?

MCCAIN: Well, I think it's shameful. I think it's shameful, because I'm sure that Bashar Assad is barrel-bombing his own people. He's already killed a quarter-of-a-million.

One of the reasons why we have these millions of refugees is because of Bashar Assad more, frankly, than ISIS. What we need is an international force, the United States providing about 10,000 troops with the Sunni Arabs.


CAVUTO: Where? Where would those 10,000 troops be?

MCCAIN: They would -- they would -- they would be -- assemble and they would go into Iraq and they would go into Syria and to Raqqa, and they would take them out. And they could do that.

CAVUTO: Ten thousand troops. You and -- you and Senator Graham support committing 10,000 American troops?

MCCAIN: Commit with an international coalition of Sunni Arab countries, with NATO countries, and other comprising about 100,000, is what it would take to go....

CAVUTO: Do you think they would pony up, Senator? Do you think they would pony up?

MCCAIN: I believe they would, if, in the case of Turkey, who would be enormously helpful, if we say we are going to replace Bashar Assad as well.  Some of these countries view Bashar Assad as a great -- as great a threat as ISIS is. So...

CAVUTO: But do you trust Turkey? Do you trust Turkey?

The only reason why I raise that, this morning, at a soccer -- we will get into this more. In this moment of silence for Paris, a game that was featuring the French and the Greeks, people just blew up and started yelling "Allahu akbar" in a stadium that was meant to be a moment of silence. These are the Turks, our friends.

MCCAIN: I think the -- what the Turks -- no matter what happened there, the Turks are scared to death of Bashar Assad, as well as the PKK.

So, look, thanks to all this mishandling all these years, this has become very complex. But for us to get in bed with the Russians would be - - while they dismember Ukraine -- what message is that to the Ukrainians?  The Russians have entirely different ambitions in the region than we do.

So, it would be a terrific mistake for us to join up with the Russians the way apparently the French and the Italians have. But we can do it. We have a plan. And we can go in and take out ISIS, but there still is Bashar Assad, who should not and cannot remain in power.

CAVUTO: Senator John McCain, thank you very, very much.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: I know I hit you with a lot today, but all this is breaking simultaneously, John McCain, of course, the former Republican presidential candidate as well. All right.

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