OTR Interviews

Sen. Jeff Sessions: Obama not taking Brussels attack seriously enough

Trump foreign policy adviser Sen Jeff Sessions goes 'On the Record' on political correctness and Pres. Obama and the left's refusal to say 'radical Islam,' Donald Trump's grasp of international policy and more


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 24, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The horrific Brussels attacks drawing on nearly every other topic in the campaign trail.


DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have radical Islamic terrorists all over the place. It's not going to be the end. We're going to have it over here, too.

SEN. TED CRUZ, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My focus is on stopping Islamism.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not about patrolling neighborhoods. It's not about shutting our borders down.

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What America needs is strong, smart, steady leadership to wage and win this struggle.

TRUMP: We have no paperwork. We have no idea who they are, where they are, where they come from.

CRUZ: We need a president who knows his first job is to be commander-in- chief and keep America safe.


VAN SUSTEREN: Alabama senator and Donald Trump's national security chair Senator Jeff Sessions goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, with all the terrorism that's just happened in Belgium, the president has not come home and he has not used the term radical Islam, which General Flynn last night on our show said was very important to identify the enemy and he used the term like that.

Tell me your thoughts on him, number one, not cutting his trip short and coming home and, two, not using that term?

SESSIONS: Well, it is a worldwide crisis. It's not as big as 9/11, of course, but it's very, very big to our friends and our neighbors, really in Belgium. So, I think it is a legitimate concern that the president is not seemingly taking this seriously enough.

This whole idea, refusal to address the reality of the threat we face does impact our ability to defend America and to help the whole world see the nature of the threat we face which is very real.

I guess it arises out of political correctness where you just don't want to say anything bad about anybody or raise any questions. But that kind of intimidation of free speech is dangerous, it makes it harder to reach accommodations and to understand differences and fix dangerous problems like we face today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he did say in Havana on the 22nd of March that we stand in solidarity and we condemn these outrageous attacks. He just doesn't use the term "radical Islam."

SESSIONS: Well, it should be used. I mean, it just -- yes, it's just there has always been a strain of this many times it's very quiet and not arising. But we are now seeing a long-term trend of rising radicalism and Islam.

It needs to be confronted first by our Islamic friends. They need to condemn it vigorously and the United States has to be on alert constantly. We have no obligation to place our country at greater risk than we ought to as a result of some massive refugee program. So I think the United States needs to help the world see with clarity the threat that we face and move away from denial.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Donald Trump has released a list of his foreign policy advisors and you're heading the list.

Have you been meeting with Donald Trump, number one? They are talking to him. And, number two, does he take your advice? Do you get the sense he is listening to you?

SESSIONS: Well, I have given advice, and he has taken that advice. And I have met with him and talked with him. And we are going to have within, you know, fairly short period of time another important meeting with the entire group with Mr. Trump that the dates and time are being firmed up right now. So, it's an important thing.

I think Donald Trump instinctively grasps international relations and power. And many of his insights, I think, are striking a chord with the American people. That when we have a direct enemy like ISIS, they need to be destroyed, but we don't need to be in meshed, drag ourselves in the long, prolonged wars in an area of the world that's not close to our home, where our interests aren't directly threatened.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you very much for joining us, sir.

SESSIONS: Thank you. Good to be with you.