OTR Interviews

Trey Gowdy: Why I'm endorsing Marco Rubio

Rep. Trey Gowdy goes 'On the Record' on why he's campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio and fear that 17 Gitmo detainees released this week are 'bad guys' and Al Qaeda followers


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," January 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Let's bring in South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Happy New Year to you. And 17 Gitmo detainees are going to be released. Do you have any information about them? Has Congress been briefed who they are and where they are going and what the deal is?

GOWDY: No ma'am; the answer would be no to all of those questions. I am not on House Armed Services and I am not on House Intel, so it may be that Mac [Thornberry] or defensive has been briefed. I doubt it. 

If you remember correctly, Greta, the last time Congress was supposed to be briefed was the Bergdahl swap and Mac Thornberry just released a report critical of this administration for misleading them on those five. I am skeptical that we received any information from this administration.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. If the 17 -- I know what your position is but I am going to assume for a second that you are not in favor of releasing the 17. We don't know much about them. What would you propose instead, that keep them at Gitmo or move them to the United States? What do you want to do with the 17 and apparently 90 more beyond those?

GOWDY: Leave them exactly where they are. Greta, I operate under the assumption that we detained them for a reason. Was it a case of mistaken identity? If it was a case of mistaken identity, then they should have been detained in the first place this long. So I assume that they were detained for a reason. And I further assume that there is no way the Secretary of Defense can certify that they are not a threat. Look at the folks who have been released in the past. Had they gone back to terror? Had they started bridge clubs? Are they volunteering in after school programs? I don't think they are doing the latter.

I think they are going back to terror. These are terrorists that were detained for a reason, and now we are supposed to believe that they have been rehabilitated and we're able to unleash them back on society. I -- other than just fulfilling a campaign promise that he never should have made, but he did. I don't know why you would do this.

VAN SUSTEREN: I read over the weekend the past couple days that you have now endorsed Senator Marco Rubio. Why Senator Marco Rubio and why now?

GOWDY: Well, Greta, I have known Senator Rubio for five years. Senator was introduced to us in 2010. The issues that I care most about, public safety, national security, and the responsibility of the executive to faithfully execute the laws. Marco is really good on all of those issues. He presents our message in a persuasive way which is important to me. We live in participatory democracy, and each of us has an obligation to investigate the candidates and issues most important to us. I have known you for five years. I would never ever tell you who I think you should vote for. I would tell to you research the candidates and determine what issues you think are important to you. On the issues important to me, Marco is really good.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you fear the criticism often made of President Obama coming into office as a first term senator with relatively little experience at all and certainly no executive experience?

GOWDY: Greta, I would say this. He has been in office seven years now. So other than President Clinton and President Bush, he is the most qualified person on the planet if you used that metric to be President. He has had seven years as President. He is worse now than he was when he started. So it's clearly not about experience in the White House. Yes, Marco was young, he can't do anything about that. I think he's the same age as Senator Cruz. So Obama is not wrong because of his youth. He was wrong because of his policies and that's been proven by the fact that he has gotten more wrong as he stayed in office.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you. Thank you for joining us, sir.

GOWDY: Yes, ma'am.