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OTR Interviews

McCain: I don't understand Trump's foreign policy, it varies day to day

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 28, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The terror attacks in Brussels and now in Pakistan on Easter Sunday forcing presidential candidates to lay out detailed plans for our national security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need protection. We need borders. We need on the southern border, we need the wall.

SEN. TED CRUZ, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, I will tell you who is in over their head and that's Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and the entire Obama administration.

GOV. JOHN KASICH, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to bring all the civilized people of the world together.

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Muslim troops have got to do the hard work. The United States should have Special Forces there.

KASICH: Let's start policing the neighborhoods of Muslims? How are we going to do that?

TRUMP: NATO is obsolete. We are spending too much money on NATO.

CRUZ: If and when we use military force, we will use it to win, to defeat our enemies with overwhelming force and then we will get the heck out.

SANDERS: I am opposed to the United States getting involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Arizona United States Senator John McCain joins us to go ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, what do you think of Donald Trump's foreign policy?

MCCAIN: Well, I don't understand it. So it's hard for me to think a lot about it. It seems to vary from day to day. The latest being that NATO is not important.

NATO is probably the most important alliance historically than any in recent history, because thanks to NATO, we won the Cold War and NATO continues to be a bulwark that maybe necessary in the future given Mr. Putin's behavior.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he hates trade deals. He says that all the time. He hates the Iran deal. He says that's a bad deal. He doesn't like the open door. He wants to secure the border.

Isn't that sort of -- I mean, you know, a lot of member of the Republican Party hold those same views. Maybe use very different language.

MCCAIN: Well, a lot of Americans are deeply concerned about further attacks on the United States of America which Lindsey Graham and I found predictable and predicted and there will be more attacks.

Latest we know that Raqqa is now a chemical weapons factory. We know that at least 400 have been dispatched by Baghdadi, that of ISIS, to come to Europe and the United States of America.

And by the way, all they need once they get to Europe and get a passport is to get on an airplane. They don't have to come across our southern border. All that certainly needs to be strengthened.

So, he has struck a responsive chord in his concern about the security of the United States of America. And it is because of Barack Obama's failed foreign policy and now continuing to say that somehow we are making good progress has ISIS metastasizes throughout the region.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there is no perfect candidate for any one of us, I'm sure at any given time.

But, given those concerns that you just stated, those foreign policy concerns or security concerns, you've got three choices in your party -- Cruz, Trump and Kasich. On those particular issues, who is the most solid?

MCCAIN: It's hard for me to make that judgment, Greta. I think that John Kasich has had a lot experience on the issue, but all I can say is that we need a coherent strategy, which we don't have. And we need to call the smart people together like David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker and a number of other really respected people. Bob gates.

Come up with a strategy and defeat ISIS. Otherwise, we are going to fight them here.

VAN SUSTEREN: But none of the people that you named is running. So for that coherent strategy, I mean, like who has that coherent strategy now? Because now would be a really good time to tell the American people, we are deep into this primary season and the GOP is down to three.

MCCAIN: Well, I would hope that as part of the Republican platform that we would, which I'm sure I will play a role in, that we will lay out a strategy to defeat ISIS. And, by the way, that will require some American involvement, boots on the ground about 10,000, not 100,000, not 200,000, but about 10,000. because we will either fight them there or we will fight them here.

And by the way, Palmyra was taken by, guess who, the Syrians and Russians. Not by anybody that we support. And did you see the mash note that Fidel Castro sent to Barack Obama after his visit to Cuba, while he was tangoing, while Brussels was in upheaval?

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, I did see the tango.

Anyway, senator, it's always nice to see you, sir. Thank you.

MCCAIN: You and I can tango together sometime, too, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would like to try that. Thank you, sir.