Rep. McCaul: White House still downgrading threat from ISIS

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right.  We have got Congressman Michael McCaul joining us from the fine state of Texas.  He`s the Homeland Security Chairman.

And a lot of things have been popping up, including this latest attack we had in Indonesia and growing concerns that there`s a rapidity to this now.

What is going on here?  How often and how deeply involved do you think we are to be on top of this?  Because it doesn`t seem like we are.  What do you think?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS:  Well, I don`t think we`re on top of it.  I don`t think this administration has taken it seriously.

Even in the State of the Union, he attempted to downgrade ISIS as SUV pickup trucks working out of garages and that sort of thing.  Not to plug my book, Neil, but I just came out with a book called "Failures of Imagination," precisely talking about the real threats that we face as a nation, the threats that this president has downgraded consistently since he took office, because it doesn`t belong to his campaign narrative, and ISIS defies his narrative.

The threat is getting worse, not better, and it`s growing, not decreasing.  
And I think the candidates are going to have to answer the questions about, how would you deal with ISIS?  What`s your plan to defeat and destroy ISIS, so that they can`t destroy us here in the homeland?


CAVUTO:  But it seems what he was trying to say -- and maybe clumsily -- is you can`t liken this battle against ISIS to a World War II situation or going after Germany or Japan.  So, he is trying to say, it`s not the same old war.

How do you respond to that, that he is not putting it up at that level?

MCCAUL:  Well, again, I think he downgrades it, for whatever reason, because he hasn`t been able to defeat it.

I look back to my father`s generation, World War II, defeating fascism.  
Reagan defeated communism during the Cold War.  We have a new threat, and it`s a generational struggle, and it`s called radical Islamism.  And it`s a real threat not only to the United States, but very much to Europe and the rest of the world, as we saw in Indonesia, the tragedy that just took place there.

This is a global movement.  And it`s over the Internet as well, which makes it even more dangerous.  And, again, I don`t see this going away anytime soon.  And he didn`t even mention San Bernardino.  I talked to the police chief and sheriff that very day.

They were at the State of the Union, were not even recognized, because he wants to disregard that it`s a problem.  Well, you know what?  It is a threat.  As chairman of Homeland Security, I get these briefings and I see what the real threat is.  And I think it`s a disservice to the American people not to be truthful about what the threat is.

CAVUTO:  Who answers, for your liking, Chairman, this security need, this security issue?  Who of the candidates who will be on the stage in two waves tonight best addresses those concerns?

MCCAUL:  Well, I will tell you what I`m looking for in the candidates, is somebody who can be a commander in chief.

Whoever takes over the White House is going to inherit a whole host of problems, both from a foreign policy and national security standpoint, ranging not just from ISIS, but Al Qaeda, but also the threat from China on cyber-security, Mr. Putin`s naked aggression that`s taking place, to Iran, after they just took 10 of our sailors, the threat of a nuclear Iran as well, to all these hot spots that are around the world.

Who is best equipped to come in and lead it as a superpower?  This president has not led as a superpower, and that`s what I`m looking at in these candidates, or looking for.

CAVUTO:  Chairman, thank you very much.  I hope to talk to you again while we`re here.  Very good seeing you, sir.  Thank you.

MCCAUL:  Hey, thanks for having me.

CAVUTO:  All right.


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