Gingrich says refugee debate is a national security issue

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  Passes overwhelmingly in the House, a measure to stave off this Syrian refugee threat so that we can get a handle on it and understand who is coming in and whether they`re a security threat.

But now Harry Reid, at least in his capacity as minority leader in the Senate, won`t take it up.  I don`t know how that mucks up the process here, but I know this guy does, the former speaker of the House, author of the book "Duplicity."  It`s out now.

This guy is like Stephen King with political tones and others and a darn good writer at that.

Newt, good to have you.  Thanks for coming.


And there`s an amazing contrast between Paul Ryan in his new role as speaker, where in his first big test he crafted the legislation so that 47 Democrats could vote with him, basically a veto-override number, a bipartisan bill, as you just had a Democrat explain, well done.

And yet you have the same tired old partisan left-wing attitude from Harry Reid, and this is a national security issue.  This shouldn`t be a partisan issue.  It shouldn`t be even ideological.


CAVUTO:  So, can a minority leader -- educate me here -- stymie a bill and avoid it getting to the Senate floor?

GINGRICH:  I don`t think so.  I think that this is a real test for Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has an absolute obligation to exercise his power as majority leader.  Somehow, Reid was able to dominate the Senate when he was the majority leader and he`s trying to dominate the Senate as the minority leader.  Now, at some point, I think Mitch has got to stand up and say he can introduce the bill having filled the tree so there are no amendments, which is what Reid used to do all the time.

He can do lots of things to shove Reid around, but I think there`s a more important question here.  The number one job of the United States government is to protect us.  It`s not to protect refugees.  It`s not to protect foreigners.  It`s to protect Americans.

There`s more than enough reason to believe that there could be real danger from accepting people we haven`t vetted.  And, by the way, the president`s absurd, nasty comment the other day about pregnant women and children, somebody should remind him first a woman in the last 48 hours blew herself up trying to kill the police in Europe.

And the two Boston bombers came to the U.S. when they were respectively 9 and 16 years old.  So, there`s legitimate reason to say, let`s slow down, let`s understand what is going on.

CAVUTO:  Fair enough, fair enough.

We should say, in the case of the woman, now there are indications she might not have blown herself up.  She might have been killed when someone else did that.  But your point is well taken to say that this is something that crosses both sexes and obviously all countries.


CAVUTO:  But I do want to ask you about -- if this is never taken up in the Senate, and the president has said as much, that this is a waste of time, even though 47 Democrats have said it is not a waste of time, and we just heard from the former defense secretary, Robert Gates, that this shows we got to get serious how we deal with ISIS and the way we`re going is wrong or it has to be adjusted, it sounds like the president`s an island here on this.

GINGRICH:  Look, I think December 11, the continuing resolution runs out.  
The House is in a position to send over a continuing resolution that does contain a six-month suspension, and the Senate Republicans can bring that up because it only takes 51 votes.

It can go to the president.  For the president to veto that and risk closing the government in order to bring in Syrian refugees would strike me as politically one of the most dangerous things any president in my lifetime has done.  The country will not understand why Barack Obama has more passion for Syrian refugees than he has for protecting Americans, and that`s exactly what is at stake here.

CAVUTO:  Do you think -- obviously, John Kerry was called on the carpet for trying to compare or distinguish between terror events in Paris, back in January the Charlie Hebdo attacks and now, that the administration is bending over backwards too much to understand what happens in these attacks, not alienate the entire Muslim community?

The latter part, I can understand here, but at what expense?  Do you worry that they`re blind to other issues?

GINGRICH:  Look, the elites all over the Western world desperately try to avoid facing reality.

A couple of days ago, you had a Bosnian come down the street yelling Allahu Akbar shooting and killing two soldiers and then blowing himself up.  The Bosnian prime minister was asked whether this might have been a terrorist act or jihad.  He refused to answer the question.

Now, at some point, you had today people who were seizing hostages in Mali, and asking them to be able to quote the Koran and if they were Christians killing them.  At some point, you have got to get real about this.  This administration, the president and the secretary of state are desperately hiding from reality, and I frankly don`t understand it.

It is almost inconceivable that you could be living through the horrible things we`re seeing, and refusing to learn from any of them.

CAVUTO:  Do you think as well that the commonality and all of these attacks, including the ones in Mali and the ones that happened in Paris, lack of communication amongst authorities, unaware that, for example, terrorists in their midst were being cited by other officials who some had dropped the ball either that sharing information with them or refused calls or e-mails from them?

It`s a familiar theme, Speaker, and it`s been borne out again and again.

GINGRICH:  There`s been such a desperate effort to be politically correct that we have consistently refused to look at the obvious.

The Army psychiatrist who jumped up and yelled Allahu Akbar and began kill peopling at Fort Hood, killing 13 Americans, had clearly been in touch with a very, very radical imam in Yemen.  They knew that he was dangerous.  They knew that he had grave psychological problems.

But who wants to render judgment?  And so you have over and over -- the neighborhood in Brussels, which has been called the center of jihadism in Europe, people know it`s there.  Well, why is it still there?  Why isn`t it broken up?  Why isn`t the mosque closed down?

These are the kind of arguments we`re going to have over the next few years, as we are forced to defend ourselves from people who want to kill us.

CAVUTO:  Well said.  Very good seeing you, Speaker.  Good luck with the book.

GINGRICH:  Good to see you.

CAVUTO:  I don`t think you need it, but good luck just the same.

GINGRICH:  And, by the way, congratulations on the debate.  You were magnificent.  You did a great job.

CAVUTO:  Oh, get out of here.  No, thank you very much.  I appreciate that, Newt Gingrich.


CAVUTO:  All right.


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