Amb. Bolton: Afghanistan will be won or lost in Pakistan
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," August 21, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity." This is a "Fox News Alert."
President Trump offers a new vision for American foreign policy during a national address at Ft. Myers (sic) in Virginia, where he outlined a new agenda for Afghanistan. I'll have my full "Opening Monologue" coming up later in the show. Also, Newt Gingrich will join us, and of course, we'll get analysis from our military leaders.
But first, it was the perfect setting at Ft. Myer in Arlington, Virginia, in front of his cabinet, and of course, the troops. Now, he stood there on hallowed ground, right near America's national cemetery, where thousands of brave men and women who fought and bled and died for our country are laid to rest.
Now, the speech was also delivered perfectly -- the right tone, the right cadence, the right pitch. The president's position on Afghanistan is based on what he calls principled realism. And the commander-in-chief also proved tonight that he's willing to listen to the advice of the men and women on the ground, the generals on the ground that really win wars. Watch this.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: My original instinct was to pull out, and historically, I like following my instincts. But all my life, I've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.
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HANNITY: Now, President Trump also outlined that America's number one goal right now is the safety and security of you, the American people, and not foreign nation-building. Watch this.
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TRUMP: We will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. Those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests. We are not asking others to change their way of life but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives. This principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward.
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HANNITY: Now, the president also declared the days of endless military spending in foreign conflicts are over. Take a look.
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TRUMP: America will work with the Afghan government as long as we see determination and progress. However, our commitment is not unlimited and our support is not a blank check.
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HANNITY: Not a blank check. President Trump then pressured the countries in the region near Afghanistan it's their time to step up. And they've got to pay their fair share! Take a look.
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TRUMP: We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. We are confident they will. Since taking office, I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense, and they have done so.
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HANNITY: And (INAUDIBLE) as the commander-in-chief, he's refusing to telegraph our military plans to America's enemies. This is refreshing. Take a look.
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TRUMP: Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.
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HANNITY: Now, after outlining his new plan for Afghanistan, President Trump made a powerful call for unity in America, and of course, he made his opening statement obviously geared at the tragedy in Charlottesville. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry and no tolerance for hate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: And we're going to have much more later on the program with Newt Gingrich tonight. Plus, tonight we saw the president in governing mode. Now, he has faced an onslaught, as we all know, of unprecedented attacks. And if I had any advice for the president, that, using the power of the pulpit to advance his agenda with a good cadence and tone, and obviously, a good plan that has been studied well -- well, this is now the time for the agenda, the agenda and the agenda. And tonight was at great first step.
The power of that presidential pulpit is beyond description. Now, take out a few missteps that have occurred, and of course, the unrelenting media attacks and Democratic attacks, when you really think about fixing America, the forgotten men and women and keeping us safe and secure, you know what? There are no boundaries to the incredible things that can be done for this country and for the world. What we saw tonight was the president's better self. Now it's time to get to work, especially after Labor Day. Let's not step on this win.
Joining us now is the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Fox News contributor John Bolton. Mr. Ambassador, let's start with you, your general impressions. I like a lot of things about that. I don't like nation building. I don't like an unlimited budget. I don't like others not stepping up and doing their part. I don't like the fact that other presidents have telegraphed even pulling out and then people just have to sit and wait, and then they know they're free to go back to their nefarious activities. Your thoughts generally.
JOHN BOLTON, FMR. U.S. AMB. TO U.N., FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think this is a dramatic change from the Obama administration. That's probably the most important thing, and I think that comes through clearly in a lot of respects. I think much of what the president said is exactly right. He's not going to have artificial time limits. He's not going to negotiate with the Taliban until, presumably, they have been sufficiently beaten back so that they negotiate on our terms. And he said to the troops that they'll have the necessary tools and the right rules of engagement.
Nonetheless, I still think there are a couple critical points here where, while the speech rhetorically was fine, we need to see how it plays out. Number one, Pakistan, which he correctly brought up as one of the -- changing that policy, one of the pillars of his new policy.
Look, I think Afghanistan will be won or lost in Pakistan. And I certainly think that more pressure on the government there because of its support for terrorist groups, giving them safe haven in Pakistan is welcome.
But let's be clear. Pakistan is a nuclear power. And to see them tip into terrorist control themselves would give us Iran or North Korea steroids now. And there was one word missing from the president's speech that I think should have been there, and that word is China. China made North -- both North Korea and Pakistan nuclear powers. Pakistan wouldn't have this capability without China. China has as part of its one belt (ph), one road initiative basically increasing its influence in Pakistan dramatically. They put a lot more money into the country than we do.
And I think it's time to say to China, if you want better relations with the United States, we have a lot of issues, but one of them is helping us convince Pakistan to give up the Taliban safe havens, give up ISIS and al Qaeda, get them out of the country and really seriously renounce terrorism. I'd love to see more of that.
HANNITY: Well, I agree with you. There is one good -- piece of good news as it relates to the issue of China, though, Ambassador, and that is when you really think about it -- remember what China has been doing with North Korea. They launch first. They will not be there for them. Remember, they canceled the coal shipment after the president of China met with President Trump.
So apparently, they have a good relationship. Apparently, 30-minute meetings went on for three hours. So there seems to be some hope there.
But I want to go over some of the president's words. You know, he talked about winning a war, obliterating the enemy, empowering generals that are on the ground and soldiers in the field, that you can't make these decisions from Washington. You're not going to telegraph what they do. These partners must contribute. And we're going to blow them away.
And one of my biggest complaints, and he addressed this tonight, is Vietnam, 58,000 of America's greatest die and we pull out because politics. You know, we begin to view war through the prism of politics. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan -- they both were equally politicized. You cannot politicize war, nor do we need to be involved in nation-building. But if we want to defeat radical Islam and we see all these attacks, we better take it seriously there to prevent it from here. I think it's a good strategy.
BOLTON: Yes. Remember, Barack Obama said in the war on terrorism, We're not going to have something like the end of World War II with the Japanese surrender signed on the bridge of the Missouri. Of course, actually, it was signed on the main deck of the Missouri, but...
HANNITY: ... and then he put handcuffs on our soldiers!
BOLTON: Yes. Victory is such -- such an old-fashioned concept. And I think Trump has reversed that. I do think, in his rhetoric tonight, though, maybe from his advisers, there's still the implicit argument that we're fighting in Afghanistan to defend Afghanistan.
That is incidental to the reason we're there. We're there to protect America from the terrorist threat. And that's why when you say there's no blank check for Afghanistan, certainly, in terms of nation-building, I absolutely agree with that. But we cannot believe that our defense ultimately rests on Afghanistan because if that's the case, we've got real trouble.
HANNITY: No, but it's a part of the war on terror. And he addressed that, too. He talked about secure borders. He talked about a policy here at home, which we'll get into all throughout the night.
Ambassador, good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
BOLTON: Thank you.
HANNITY: Joining us now with more reaction to the president's remarks, the host of "War Stories," Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North.
Colonel, you have a couple of Purple Hearts from Vietnam, and I know you lost a lot of friends in Vietnam and you know a lot of people that are buried there at Arlington. So I know this is a raw issue for you because I've watched you give speeches and tear up on the issue. And you're as tough a guy as I'll ever meet in my life and your heart breaks for these families and everybody.
The biggest thing I heard tonight is obliteration, winning, taking the handcuffs off, letting the generals and the guys on the ground decide, and no longer was it going to be about nation-building and no longer are we going to have these ridiculous rules of engagement.
OLIVER NORTH, "WAR STORIES" HOST: Well, for the very first time, we have a definition of victory, attacking the enemies and obliterating ISIS and AQ and preventing the Taliban from taking over and stopping terrorists from killing and attacking Americans, straightforward and good stuff and the right thing to say certainly in the aftermath of eight years of the previous administration.
He's going to shift from a time base to a condition-based decision on any withdrawal. He's going to integrate the military, diplomatic and the economic instruments of power. And he put -- as Ambassador Bolton just said, put Pakistan on notice. And the idea of not giving away instances of when the troops are coming, when they're going and what we're going to do to attack all very, very good, long overdue. And obviously, this is going to make a difference.
Here's the problem. We've now had 17 generals in 16 years running the war in Afghanistan. I've been there. You and I have been on the air more times than I care to count in my 59 embeds in both...
HANNITY: Colonel, I send you a -- every time you've been on the road in a war zone, you and I have a special code we send back and forth, which is totally mean on my part. We'll save it between us.
BOLTON: I'm going to have one of those steaks yet. Lookit, he talked about the rules of engagement for waging the battle. No place to hide for terrorists. That includes -- includes across the border in Pakistan. He talked beautifully about the courage and perseverance of those that I've been covering for the last 16 years in those embeds.
The idea, however, of following the same course of action on the ground that 17 generals, to include General Nicholson, who's there now, have pursued may not be the kind of thing that's going to give us the results that we would like to have.
I was pleased that he did not mention and did not talk about the idea of conducting clandestine operations, as you and I have heard about from a friend of mine. (INAUDIBLE) we got 2,258 Americans killed in Afghanistan. We've got over 20,000 of them wounded. I just spent some time with a number of them out in -- in the -- in the place that's got Old Faithful in it, good place for a Marine to visit, Semper fideles.
Look, we've spent almost a trillion dollars. We're going to spend almost $50 billion this year. And you've got to be able to say, We're going to look at some other tactics on the ground, maybe some kind of hybrid, if you would, between what was presented last weekend up at Camp David and what the president announced today that talked only about straightforward U.S. troops on the ground and the expectations you have for our allies to step up to the plate. I think it was very positive. I think it was totally unlike anything...
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. When the president talked about going against his own instinct based on what he learned and who he spoke to and the things that you can only know and learn as president -- some people would say, Oh, that's -- he's changing his position. I don't see it that way at all. I think it's the reality of what we're facing.
Then every one of my military friends was writing me ecstatic tonight, those that served, especially under Obama. You know, oh, we're not going to telegraph? We're going to take the handcuffs off? The rules of engagement are going to be on? You mean we can actually fight a war and not get accused of murdering the enemy when they're coming with an IED or some type of explosive device to kill us?
BOLTON: I remember the last president announcing he was going to do a troop surge, and the very next day, he went to U.S. military academy at West Point and announced when they were withdrawing. This president has said, it's a conditions-based withdrawal. He hasn't given a specific number of troops he's going to put in there. That's very important.
It sets our adversaries on notice that they can't simply fight us and wait us out. In other words, this is not a time-driven strategy. And that's a very positive thing. I think notwithstanding what the ambassador just said moments ago about Pakistan, it puts them on notice. And the rules of engagement are now changed, so that they're defined not in the corridors of power in Washington, they're defined out there on the battlefield. And I hope...
HANNITY: Hey, Colonel...
BOLTON: ... for success. Don't get me wrong, buddy...
HANNITY: Listen, I know your love of the military and I've been out on the road with you and in hospitals with you, so I know your commitment is beyond anybody I know. This I think is important, though. Why would any president, in the case of Obama, ever telegraph what we're going do? He's not saying how many troops. He's not saying what he's going do. He's just promised overwhelming use of military force, decisions made on the ground as necessary by the people that know best!
BOLTON: Absolutely the right thing to say. And not Obama, I'm talking about President Trump. What he said tonight...
HANNITY: Oh, I know that.
BOLTON: ... is spot on. I'm just hoping that the strategy allows room for some, if you will, new ideas, like the plan for putting non-U.S. advisers who actually live with the Afghan troops on the ground, who fight...
HANNITY: You mean paid.
BOLTON: ... under Afghan ROE. Yes. I just...
HANNITY: Yes, covert operations. Plausible deniability. Right.
BOLTON: Yes -- and don't -- and he didn't talk about it, which I consider to be a very good thing...
BOLTON: ... because I know some people were thinking, Well, he ought to reject it out of hand. Some of the folks who we've had on previous shows have said reject it out of hand. He didn't. And I consider that to be a very positive thing.
Lookit, this speech tonight needed to be given. It was the right thing to say. It pays enormous respect to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines that you and I have come to know and love, and it gives credence...
BOLTON: ... to their sacrifice and their perseverance.
HANNITY: There are people serving jail terms now. Clint Morantz (ph) is one name that comes to mind. And before he became a platoon leader, Clint Morantz was tasked with dealing with a platoon that had previously in the prior week or two lost people that were their brothers, literally right before, the same method that had been used, guys on motorcycles with explosive devices charging the troops, wouldn't listen, wouldn't stop. He has to make a split-second decision. Well, he's now spending time in jail, this guy, 20 years!
HANNITY: And that's the kind of guy I'd like to see get a pardon.
BOLTON: Well, the president has the power to do that, and that's the good thing. This is a commander-in-chief who loves those who serve in uniform. He loves those who put their lives on the line. He said that again tonight. I think his acknowledgement at the very beginning, when he says, You learn a lot more when you're sitting in the chair where these decisions have to be made, is a remarkable -- no previous president in my lifetime has said those kinds of things since Ronald Reagan!
HANNITY: Yes. You're right.
BOLTON: I look -- I look forward have great respect for a president who can do that.
HANNITY: All right, Colonel, good to see you. And safe home. And promise continues for this appearance, even though you're not in a war zone. Safe home, friend. Thank you.
BOLTON: Semper fi, buddy.
HANNITY: When we come back -- when we come back, Michael Waltz, Tony Shaffer, Tony Tata -- they all react to President Trump's Afghanistan strategy.
Then later tonight, Newt Gingrich is here. My opening monologue coming up straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: That was more from President Trump earlier tonight. Joining us now on the phone -- he's calling in to us -- the Afghanistan ambassador to the U.S., Hamdullah Mohib, is with us. Sir, I'm glad you're watching. And I'm dying to hear your thoughts. Tell us what you thought of the president's speech tonight.
HAMDULLAH MOHIB, AFGHAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. (via telephone): (INAUDIBLE) we welcome President Trump's decision (ph) for a strong Afghan- U.S. partnership in the fight against terrorism (INAUDIBLE)
HANNITY: Ambassador, that includes Afghanistan stepping up. That includes Pakistan stepping up. This is -- this is -- you know, we don't have endless patience here and money. To what extent will the region meet their own challenges, sir?
MOHIB: (INAUDIBLE) this is the first time a focus has been put on what Afghanistan needs to succeed, and we're grateful for this outcome. President Trump has embraced a strategy that gives Afghanistan what it is hoping for, specifically what you mentioned, an expanded authority for troops to target criminal networks and terrorists and a break away from (INAUDIBLE) or Pakistan sheltering the terrorists. It's also a shift away from talking about timetables, arbitrary timetables and numbers to letting conditions on the ground determine military strategy.
HANNITY: Mr. Ambassador...
MOHIB: Afghanistan also wants -- yes?
HANNITY: The president was very clear. The American people must see progress. It's not going to be unlimited. This is not a blank check, as he said, and you've got to carry the share of the burden. My question to you is, is Afghanistan and will Pakistan bear their fair share? Because the patience if the American people is rather thin right now.
MOHIB: Absolutely. Afghanistan wants an honorable and enduring outcome for our own sacrifices. (INAUDIBLE) we're thankful for the sacrifices of the American people, the Americans who have come here and worked with us shoulder to shoulder with us against our common enemy. But we have also made tremendous amount of sacrifices and continue to be determined to defeat terrorism on our soil and work with our partners in the United States and our NATO allies to ensure that those states that sponsor and shelter terrorists also understand that it's in their interests to work with us to defeat terrorism.
HANNITY: Sir, the only thing I'll say to you -- and I wish you best here with all -- with a humble heart -- that America will help you to build a better country, but this is not about nation-building or changing your way of life, and it's really going to be up to you to sort out a lot of evil that exists in that country.
The Taliban must be destroyed, and you're going to have to bear the burden of the bigger part of that sacrifice as it's your country, your region of the world. Do you understand that? Correct, sir?
MOHIB: Afghanistan is absolutely committed to reform in our security sector and throughout. We do understand and are working extremely hard to ensure that we take control of this war, and we have been doing so. We have a four-year plan that will be complimented by this American strategy in order to defeat terrorism and at the hands of the Afghans. We are committed to this war and are doing everything we can to ensure...
HANNITY: All right. Ambassador...
MOHIB: ... we play our part in defeating our common enemy.
HANNITY: As you know, we believe in America that we are endowed by our creator and all men are created equal. And we pray for your country that it gets to freedom, that people can then flourish to be the people that God intended them to be. We wish you all the best under very difficult circumstances, and yes, we've got to protect our country, and we will. Thank you, sir, for calling in.
Joining us now with reaction, former Green Beret, FOX News contributor Lieutenant Colonel Michael Waltz, former senior intelligence officer Lieutenant Colonel Tony Shaffer, and author of "Besieged," retired brigadier general Tony Tata.
General, what's your take on this?
TONY TATA, "BESIEGED" AUTHOR: Well, you know, relationships are everything in this part of the world, Sean, and so for the ambassador to call in to your show, you know, right after the speech speaks volumes to me. And I know that when I was on the ground in Afghanistan for 13 months, working side by side with the governors of provinces and the mayors of towns and our soldiers side by side with their soldiers and the law enforcement personnel working with the Afghan national police, it is a team effort. And I think that's what he said.
But I'll tell you, the one thing that I really appreciate about the president's speech was at the very beginning, he honored our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and he pivoted very nicely into every citizen's duty to come together and to honor them the way he did tonight in his speech, and then he pivoted very nicely into talking about an honorable outcome.
And those three pieces together set the stage talking about how divided we are as a nation right now and we need to really come together to support our troops overseas because...
HANNITY: Oh, as a country, we need to be together. And I thought that was a perfect beginning to his speech because he compared the military to -- clearly, he was referencing the events in Charlottesville and the country being divided in recent weeks.
If I can, Lieutenant Colonel Shaffer, what are your thoughts on all of this? And I really -- I want the people in Afghanistan to have what we have, but this is not endless support here. We're not going to try and change them or change their values, but they're going to have to fight for their freedom. We're trying to assist them as much as we can and we've sacrificed a lot for them.
TONY SHAFFER, FORMER SENIOR INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Right. And so that point, the enduring outcome we seek is to prevent terrorists from having Afghanistan as a safe haven, holding Pakistan accountable. And to your point, Sean, about nation-building -- look, I was there in '03. I wrote a book about the turning point when we decided to go from offensive counterterrorism operations to nation-building under David Barno (ph). We decided we're going to give them a Jeffersonian democracy.
Look, I agree with -- I love the ambassador calling in, but look, we don't have to necessarily believe that we have to support a central government. This is a land of warlords. We won Afghanistan in 2001 by working with the Afghan militia forces. So the idea here is, Sean, is we must preserve governed space. Ungoverned space is where terrorists go. We must go back to offensive operations. I love that point. I love the fact he's talking about leveraging India. And India, Sean, is not simply -- I saw John Bolton talk about this. It's not just about Pakistan, it's about China. Now India is now a big competitor against China. So he's playing the India card, which is very wise. The bottom line here is this. We must do those things to honor those who have sacrificed life, limb and power (ph). He's changed the ROE, great move. Got to get back...
HANNITY: All right...
SHAFFER: ... and it's a good move.
HANNITY: Lieutenant Colonel, I didn't have -- we took a little bit more time. We didn't know that the ambassador from Afghanistan was going to call in. What did you think of that exchange that I had with him?
MICHAEL WALTZ, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: With Ambassador Mohib, Sean?
HANNITY: Yes, with the ambassador.
WALTZ: Yes. Well, look, I -- the ambassador's a great representative. You know, he is thrilled to hear what he didn't hear under the Obama administration, which is that, We are with you. We're going to stand shoulder to shoulder, our soldiers with your soldiers, to defeat a common enemy.
And what he means by a common enemy is that whether it's the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS or the Haqqani network, they're all there to undermine Afghanistan so that they can attack America again. And under the Obama administration it was, Well, we're in, but we're going to be out in a few years. I was on the ground when he announced the surge but told the world and our enemies when they would withdraw.
And that, you know, the Taliban weren't really our enemies but these guys over there, the al Qaeda is. So he put all kinds of handcuffs on our troops. He wouldn't allow our pilots to drop when they should.
HANNITY: All right, I got to...
WALTZ: So I think the ambassador was thrilled to see us stepping up to the plate and calling Pakistan out for what they're doing.
HANNITY: All right. Well said. And thank you all for being with us. We appreciate it. We didn't know that the Afghan ambassador, well, he was going to be calling in.
When we come -- live television. When we come back, my monologue, which is important, about tonight and Newt Gingrich straight ahead.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." So peaceful protesters, they gathered in Boston this weekend to stand up against hatred and white supremacy and racism. Now, tonight enough is enough with the left pushing false narratives and divisiveness in this country. And as the president said, it's time to come together as a country. That's tonight's a little delayed opening monologue.
Earlier tonight President Trump, he issued a very powerful call for unity in America after the tragedy in Charlottesville. Was the liberal media watching? Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Now, this weekend in Boston we saw a massive demonstration to stand up to bigotry and hatred. According to the police, 40,000 people showed up. The vast majority of those people, they were peaceful. Very tiny little violence. The police in Boston, the mayor of the city and the governor of Massachusetts, they deserve a tremendous amount of credit and praise. It was clearly all hands on deck and they were there for the people in their city and state. Everyone involved did their very best to keep the peace and to respect people's First Amendment rights, which is so important to all of us.
And I also want to praise the protesters. Ninety-nine plus percent of those protesters you see right there, tens of thousands of people showing up, they were peaceful. Ninety-nine percent stood up for something that all conservatives that I know, all Republicans I know, and I know the president over the years, despise, find as evil and repugnant, and that's white supremacy.
Now, there was a small handful of bad actors. You're always going to have people like that looking for trouble and who are looking to start fights, and they went after the police. But the police and the people in the crowd, they didn't let those few agitators, less than one percent, create chaos. And this is what we should do now as a country.
But of course the exact opposite happened last week when the media used the tragedy in Charlottesville, why, to bludgeon the president politically and conservatives, and of course Republicans, and paint them all as racists and bigots. And here's what the destroy-Trump media, the establishment media doesn't want you to know. We've showed you video after video after video going back for decades, President Trump condemning hate, white supremacists, the Klan, David Duke. We even have tape now, 1991, denouncing Duke on "Larry King Live."
So it's time for the liberal media and the Democrats, stop playing the race card, stop using this for political advancement and dividing the country even further. This happens every two to four years. I've been playing the tapes over and over, over the years, and I will play them probably tomorrow night just to remind you. It happens every two to four years, the race card is played. Elect Republicans, black churches are going to burn. Elect Republicans, and it's like my father is killed all over again. And Al Gore, they don't even want to count you in the census if you're African-American.
It's time to stop spreading the false narrative against the president and conservatives because all it's doing is tearing the country apart every time it's done. And as we said at the top of the show, the president, he is now seemingly in governing mode tonight. And by the way, now is the time, now through December, agenda, agenda, agenda, to get the agenda accomplished, the promises fulfilled to the American people. I hope Congress was watching tonight, and I hope they understand that the American people expect them to do their job.
Here now, author of "The New York Times" bestseller 11 weeks in a row now, debuting at number one, "Understanding Trump," former Speaker of the House, FOX News contributor, Newt Gingrich. You know, I said at the beginning tonight the power of that presidential pulpit is so powerful. And as the president was speaking tonight I was thinking, especially in the beginning when he addressed how the military is and how at times the country is so divided and how much -- we can't even begin to measure the good that could be done if this country ever united.
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, I look at I think two very different things about tonight. One, you're exactly right. This is a moment, the tone he set tonight, speaking to the country as the president of the whole country, speaking to the country as the commander- in-chief. If he would take that tone tomorrow into Yuma, Arizona, and then if he would take that tone on to the I think Veterans of Foreign Affairs or American Legion Convention the following day, that's the tone that brings the Trump presidency up to historic proportions. And tonight he did it as close to perfectly as you could.
There's a second part I was really struck with where I'm really proud of him, and I think it's really hard to imagine how difficult it is. He's a very strong willed person. He admitted it early on. He said I normally historically do what is my first instinct. But he also said being president changes things. He had the courage to stop, to pick the right advisers, to listen to those advisers, and to ultimately go down a trail that was not the one he thought six or eight months ago he was going on, and to be honest with the American people about what he was doing.
This is one of the most honest national security speeches of my lifetime. And I think the president deserves enormous credit for the way he approached it, for the way he thought it through, for the precision of what he said. There are 10 or 12 key essentials in the speech that really are a fundamental break with the policies of the last few years in a way that will make us more powerful, more capable, and more likely to win.
HANNITY: Rules of engagement, not telegraphing, letting the generals and the troops on the ground make the decision, not D.C. I want to get into that whole list when we come back and also talk about what happens every two to four years as I was just explaining. We'll have more with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich right after the break as we continue this busy breaking news night tonight.
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity" as we continue with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. All right, I want to go over the changes. I actually took a lot of notes and bullet points here. He went against his instinct, you already addressed that issue. I like when he said let's bring the country together like our military is together because we don't have time. Then he talked about rules of engagement. Then he talked about they've got to pay their fair share, they've got to adapted, he learned. He also talked about we don't have unlimited budget here and we don't have unlimited patience and a blank check. He talked about the hallowed ground and those that died fighting this war and other wars. He talked about winning, obliterating them, and blowing them away and that there will be nowhere to hide. I just felt it was all so different. And we're not going to change them. We're not going to try and nation-build. Thoughts?
GINGRICH: I think first of all it's the most decisive national security speech since Ronald Reagan. It's much more direct and focused than any recent president. And it's establishing some ground rules, which knowing how President Trump operates, he intends to really enforce, and knowing how Secretary Mattis and General Kelly and General McMaster and Secretary Tillerson operate, they're going to implement it.
The first really big one is we're coming after you. He's saying that about the criminal gangs. He's saying that about the Taliban, ISIS and about Al Qaeda. He's also saying to Pakistan, do not believe that you can provide safety for any of these terrorist groups. He mentioned 20 by name, the president did in his speech. And he's really serving notice here. We reserve the right to come after them wherever they are, and if you don't clean up the northwest territories, we're going to clean up the northwest territories. He didn't say it quite that undiplomatically, but boy, that is the underlying meaning of that part of the speech.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this, and I also like the fact that he said the generals will decide, the troops will decide. They're the ones on the ground. They know better than anybody in Washington, D.C. Not telegraphing times or the amount of troops I think is so important. You don't give the enemy a timetable for leaving.
Then I want to ask you. I saw and he said a lot about the people in Boston, 99 percent were peaceful. There's a kid with a Trump hat and some guys knocked his hat off, and then the other group of people around him, the protest, no violence. Leave this kid alone. He has the right to his opinions too. And you did have a few agitators, but the overwhelming majority peaceful. And the president tweeted out that he was glad the people protested against bigotry and hatred. He said this all of his adult life. The media never gives him credit for it. And how many times last week, and every two to four years we see this card played by the Democratic Party. What does it do to the country? And do you agree with me, you've seen it in politics your whole career?
GINGRICH: This is what I think. If the president can stay disciplined and can stay focused and be as presidential as he was tonight, then it may turn out that Charlottesville is one of the great turning points because the president is now paying attention to communicating with 80 percent or 90 percent of the American people. You're exactly right, Sean. He's not going to get that last 10 percent that are hardline left wingers, but there are a lot liberal Americans who really want America to succeed, who really want to find a way to be positive.
I have people come up to me every day who are Democrats and they're liberals, but they really want to find a way to work together because they really love America. And I think to the degree that he emphasizes being the American president, and he has to think about this in terms of his speech, in terms of the tone of his speech tomorrow night, if he goes to a campaign rally style speech, he's going to undo a great deal of the extraordinarily positive impact of tonight, because tonight he was truly the president of the whole country, and he was truly a commander-in-chief for all the Americans.
HANNITY: I think the next three months, three-and-a-half months are crucial. This is do or die for the Republicans and the president. And I would just stay totally focused on agenda, right idea, wrong idea?
GINGRICH: Right. No, you're exactly right. And I would stay focused on being presidential. For example, when they write the tax bill, they should really be trying to get the Democrats to understand if you're a North Dakota Democrat or a West Virginia Democrat or an Indiana Democrat or a Missouri Democrat up for reelection next year, you may want to find an excuse to vote yes on a tax cut. So I think we ought to look at this thing as the president of the United States trying to move the American economy forward and offering Democrats a chance to help grow the American economy.
HANNITY: Mr. Speaker, always love having you. Thanks for staying up late for us. We appreciate it, very important commentary. When we come back, President Trump is going to hold a rally tomorrow night in Arizona. Will he pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Gregg Jarrett says he might. He's joins us next, Larry Elder as well, straight ahead.
HANNITY: Welcome back to "Hannity." Joining us now, Fox News anchor, attorney Gregg Jarrett, and Salem nationally radio syndicated talk show host Larry Elder. Gregg, you talked to the president and you wrote the first piece that when he goes to Arizona tomorrow night he may pardon Joe Arpaio, 85-years-old. Wasn't Arpaio obeying the law? Isn't that really the root cause of his troubles, where they began?
GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR AND ATTORNEY: He was, although he was convicted of a misdemeanor, criminal contempt for failing to fully follow the law of a judge's order to stop illegal immigration questioning and potential detaining of illegal immigrants. When I talked to the president a week ago he was incensed about the treatment of Joe Arpaio and said he was seriously considering pardoning him, and if he did it, he might do it in the next several days or sometime soon, which would seem, Sean, to coincide with tomorrow's rally in Phoenix.
HANNITY: And Larry, I've seen the left and their comments and social media. Listen, if the president cured cancer tonight, if the dog bites, the bee stings, and you're feeling sad, it's all Trump's fault in the world of wacky liberals and the left and the media.
LARRY ELDER, SALEM RADIO NATIONAL SYNDICATED HOST: That's right. I read an editorial in "USA Today." They're already blasting away at the possibility that Donald Trump might pardon Sheriff Joe. Sheriff Joe is a great guy. I've met him. We both gave a speech at the Nixon Library. He's been on my show many times. I recently asked about the pardon stuff, and he said he hasn't asked, but he would certainly accept it if it's given.
Look, Trump's critics are going to hate him no matter what he does. His base is going to love him if he does this. On the other hand, it's not a top agenda for the base. The top agenda for the base are things like tax reform, infrastructure, securing the border. So it seems to me --
HANNITY: Should he do it? I'm running out of time. Should he do it?
ELDER: I would say wait, it's on appeal, wait.
HANNITY: Gregg, wait or do it now?
JARRETT: No, I'd do it right now. There's ample justification for it.
HANNITY: All right, guys, thank you. Love you both. Sorry I cut you short. More "Hannity" after the break.
HANNITY: And welcome back to "Hannity." Before we go, quick programming note. Make sure to set your alarm, get up early, "Fox & Friends" Ainsley Earhardt will be interviewing the vice president, Mike Pence, tomorrow, 6:00 to 9:00.
But that's all the time we have left this evening. As always, we thank you for being with us. This show will always be fair and balanced. I like the role reversal. Guess what? Tonight, I get to throw to all of my friends on "The Five" because a special live edition is next. And we'll see you back here tomorrow night. Thanks for being with us.
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