Trump calls for veto of UN resolution on Israeli settlements

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," December 22, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


THEN-REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP: It's not up to the United Nations to really go with the solution. It's really the parties that must negotiate a resolution themselves. They have no choice. They have to do it themselves or it will never hold up anyway.

The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it must be -- and really that it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don't even really know what's happening to Israel, to anything in the area. It's so preposterous. We're not going to let that happen.


SHANNON BREAM, GUEST ANCHOR: That was the president-elect way back in March speaking at the AIPAC conference as part of being on the campaign trail. It sounded a lot like what he had to say today as well. So let's bring in our panel to talk about it: Steve Hayes, editor in chief of The Weekly Standard; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor at Real Clear Politics; Mercedes Schlapp, columnist for The Washington Times, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Charles, that sounded a lot like what we heard from him today as this U.N. vote was potentially looming on this resolution that was going to essentially slap the wrist of Israel.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It would be more than a slap on the wrist. I think it would have done permanent damage to Israel, which is why even Obama himself several years ago vetoed the resolution, because it sets conditions that takes away all of Israel's bargaining chips. In other words it gives everything over to the Palestinians in advance in return for nothing from the Palestinians, no recognition of a Jewish state, no concessions at all.

And I think what happened today was very important. The reason is that had Obama done what it looks like he was going to do, which is to have the U.S. abstain, the resolution then passes, and it will never be reversed, because in order to be reversed, you've got to get Security Council to vote to reverse it and the Chinese and the Russians would exercise a veto.

So this would have been one last shot at Israel, and particularly at Israel's prime minister, from Obama, an act of kind -- I don't know if it's ideological, but a lot of personal revenge. And what Trump did was unprecedented. For a president-elect to step in to publically oppose it and essentially to tell Egypt that introduced the resolution you better withdraw this or you're not going to have a friend in the White House at a time when Egypt needs a friend in the White House. So it was extremely effective and extremely daring. You don't normally get that from a president-elect.

BREAM: Mercedes, what do you make of that? Because, as Charles said, there was the public and the private with the president-elect reaching out to Egypt's president. They were the ones who were promoting this resolution and passing it around. He is not waiting to be sworn in.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: You know, I think it's the power of Trump's words. And I also -- speaking to someone who was close to the negotiations with the United Nations, they were basically surprised that Egypt took this forward and pushed forward this resolution, speaking so strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood that President Sisi is involved in and the fact that they would go against Israel in this critical time.

But I think it does show for the most part that Israel is still remaining very vigilant. They are concerned another resolution can come up before January 20. And here is the deal. It's a new political order. They want to make sure that we're seeing more of a strong bilateral alliance between Israel and the United States as opposed to the hostile relationship that we have seen between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

BREAM: A.B., had this moved forward, and the reports are, and we don't have this confirmed from the White House that the U.S. was going to abstain from this votes, those would have been seismic results that would have moved forward. You've got to wonder how it would have impacted our relationship with Israel, though there will soon be a new administration.

A.B. STODDARD, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Right, but obviously a lot of damage could have been done before he's sworn. I'm not speaking at all about the policy. I'm not weighing in on the merits of the policy, what he did. But he is choosing when he can be about to be president and when he can sit back and say there's just one president. When you ask his aides and his spokespeople about Aleppo, about Russia's role in war crimes in Syria, their complicity in what is going on with Bashar al Assad killing his people in this way, they say, there's just one president at a time, and they choose to step back from any kind of specifics about ISIS policy, the way to handle the conflict in Syria. He has mentioned safe zones in passing.

But then when it came to something like this, he felt he could flex his muscles, he went ahead and did it. I see how effective it is and, again, I'm not weighing in on the policy. But we have 30, however many days we have left, the guy still chooses when he can be president and when he can be president-elect.

BREAM: And something, Steve, that we got from him today, because he is very busy on Twitter. And he said "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes."

Now, we got a little follow up because there were a lot questions obviously after that tweet. From Jason Miller, part of the new White House communications team, he said, "President-elect Trump was referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it, particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes. He has also emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength"

Also this comes on the heels, Steve, of us hearing from Russian President Putin talking about coming up with systems to overcome deterrents systems and missile shield systems.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There's a real risk to making policy 140 characters at a time, and we're seeing it. We don't know what the president meant. Did he mean more warheads? Did he mean going back to 1980s style build up? There's so many different ways you can interpret what president-elect Trump said there. And the transition team is having to come out and explain again and again and again what he actually did mean.

My view is it's better to do it in the reverse. That may be an anachronistic view. It may be the case that people love this because Donald Trump is getting out and he's going around the media. There's no question if you take the totality of the kinds of things that Donald Trump has done, he is sending a message that he gets stuff done. If you think about the results here on Israel, if you think about Carrier, if you think about the meeting with Boeing in which a Boeing executive came out and said, we're going to lower the cost. Trump was out tweeting a short time ago about new fighter jets and lowering the cost on those. I think for the American people, they're not likely to be offended that Trump is not doing things the way people in Washington have wanted them to be done for a long time. That's a PR win.

But we have to be mindful of the fact that there are consequences to making policy this way, and what might seem like a short-term political gain could have real long-term political consequences, particularly if the president- elect is sowing confusion among our allies.

BREAM: I want to make sure that I read a little bit of what we heard from Putin today. He had a lot to say, Charles, in his speech today. But essentially the translation of what I was referring to, he said "We need to enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.

KRAUTHAMMER: The Russians have been obsessed with missile defense systems since Reagan invented the idea in 1981 because they know that we are technologically advanced. They are only a superpower because they have nukes. Their economy produces nothing but oil, gas, and vodka, which you --

BREAM: A lot of fans of all those different items.

KRAUTHAMMER: Not exactly advanced products. And that's what makes them at our level. And they have always been afraid that the missile shield -- that's why Reykjavik ended the way it did. Reagan would not accept a constraint on our missile defenses.

So what he is saying is we're going to reassert ourselves by finding ways to penetrate American defenses. Now that's why the Trump response is a little bit puzzling, because he is not talking about strengthening our defenses, which I think would make a lot more sense, but increasing our offensive capacity. You don't quite know why he said that. Nonetheless, I think it's salutary. What he is saying to the world and to our own foreign policy establishment is we are not going to adhere to all the beliefs and the myths of the last 50 years which is that more nukes are bad, less nukes are good. That is not always true and we're not going to be pursuing nuclear reduction agreements with the Russians in the hungry way Obama did and then end up with little and perhaps making us worse off.

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