Interviews

Jindal: Critics need to explain why they're against vetting

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 31, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  You know, they were actually likening this to Richard Nixon's Saturday night massacre, when he went through attorney generals like tissue paper here, that when he let go of acting Attorney General Sally Yates, it wasn't that he was enforcing a travel order of his.  There had to be something sinister going on.  

Every lawyer I talk to said he had every right to do that, and that she wasn't following a directive, including some lawyers on the left.  

But with me now, former Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.  

Any time they bring out the Nixonian behavior, I know it's going to be a long day for President Trump.  But, Governor, what did you think of that and how he handled that?  Now, she was a carryover from the Obama administration.  She went to extra mile to not only say she was opposed to a measure, but warning all relevant agencies not to honor it, not to follow it.  That is a big deal, right?  

BOBBY JINDAL, R-FORMER LOUISIANA GOVERNOR:  Absolutely.  

Well, Neil, first of all, happy New Year.  It's great to be back on your show.  

CAVUTO:  To you as well.

JINDAL:  I think today is the last day where we can still say happy New Year.  We're still in January.  So, I think tomorrow we have to stop saying that.  

CAVUTO:  That's right.  I think you're right.

JINDAL:  And we got to start writing 2017 on the checks.

Look, I think he was exactly right to let her go.  The reality is, she was a caretaker.  She's being held up by the left as a principled martyr.  The reality is, this was just a political statement.  

I'm not an attorney.  But you listen to some of these legal experts and what they say is, the standard should have been, if she had clearly said there was no way to defend this, there is no way this is legally permissible, that's one thing.  

That's not what she said.  What she said was that she didn't support it. She said that she was looking at it in the context of statements he made outside of the executive order.  That's a political judgment.  

Look, the real solution here is for the Senate Democrats to return to work, do their job.  Let's go ahead and confirm Trump's appointees, including Senator Sessions.  He should have his own senior staff there at the Department of Justice, so that you don't have this situation.  

President Obama had 10 of his Cabinet appointees confirmed in the month of January, his first term.  Donald Trump has had three.  So, I think the Democrats need to get back to work.  Let's get these temporary folks out of these jobs.  Let's get Trump's advisers in place.  

CAVUTO:  Having said all of that, though, Governor, I think even the Department of Homeland Security secretary, John Kelly, had acknowledged in as many words -- I don't want to put words in his mouth -- that, yes, it probably could have been executed a little bit better, that is, the directive from President Trump.  

And maybe it could have.  But people have conflated that to think that the missive itself was wrong or illegal or unconstitutional.  I know you said you're not a lawyer, but you have dealt with these kind of issues when they crop up as a governor.  How far can you go?  

JINDAL:  Well, look, clearly, could it have been rolled out better?  Sure.  
And they will get better at it.

This is their second week in the job.  They don't have all their people in place.  Clearly, this is within the president's not only rights, but also I would argue responsibilities.  Neil, his first job is to keep us safe.  

I think we're seeing an example of what I call fake news.  We have heard a lot of allegations of fake news.  There's been a lot of misreporting, misunderstanding, probably intentional, of what this executive order did and didn't do.  

And I like when you were clarifying.  It's not a ban.  It's vetting.  And the reality is this.  Look, I have seen the chants from the protesters out there.  You have heard them as well.  Hey, ho, the Muslim ban has got to go.  It's great.  It rhymes.  It sounds like the '60s.  You talked about Nixon.  

But the reality is, there's no Muslim ban.  Another chant they have got there is, no hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.  Another great chant.  It rhymes.  Conservatives, we're not as good rhyming as liberals, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO:  But, Governor, you mentioned a key point here that I think we forget, because the president was kind of damned if he didn't, damned if he did.  

People who were quick to criticize this for being a Muslim target were just as quick to say, well, you should have included Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates or more countries, presumably the ones that are majority Muslim populations.  So, I don't know where you go with that one.  

JINDAL:  Well, but, see, this is why I think people need -- the folks out there that are intentionally misunderstanding this need to focus on the facts.  

If they're against vetting, that is fine.  What the executive order, the rationale was, here are seven countries where we don't have reliable information from these countries.  There's a significant amount of radical Islamic terrorism in those countries, sometimes in the governments.

And the point was, if we're not confident about who is coming into our country, if we don't know these people really are who they say they are, we don't know what social media sites they have been visiting, we don't know what kind of groups they have been supporting, it just makes sense to take a temporary pause and to vet them.  

And all those liberals out there chanting, all those Senate Democrats and House Democrats and all those Democrats across the country that oppose this, they should be honest with the American people and tell us why they're against vetting, why they think it doesn't make sense just to slow down and to see who is coming into our country.  

We have a right -- and I would again argue the president has a responsibility to protect us.  Nobody has -- is entitled to come into our country.  We have a right to define our borders and decide who we want to let in.

And, look, my parents are immigrants here.  This is a welcoming, generous, loving country.  That doesn't mean we need to let in people who want to undermine our way of life, that want to attack us.  Yes, we should continue to let people that want to follow the law, help build our country.

But this is simply a temporary pause to say, let's vet these folks.  And it's not a theoretical danger.  We have seen real life attacks in Europe.

CAVUTO:  It's a pause.  It's not a ban.  It's a pause, not a ban.  And words, to your point, Governor, matter.  And getting the right ones matter.

Governor, thank you very much.  Happy New Year, all right, last day.  

JINDAL:  Thank you, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  

JINDAL:  But you can't rhyme vetting as easily.  

(CROSSTALK)

JINDAL:  Thanks, Neil.  

CAVUTO:  Last day, away.  I give up.  

END

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