Sen. Ernst on Haspel critics: Hyper-partisanship at its best

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 9, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: We have Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst.

Without getting into the nomination battle -- it's assumed, I guess Senator-- and it's very good to have you -- that she will get in there one way or the other.


CAVUTO: But these battles are such Herculean ones.

And they're no longer like the votes they used to be. I mean, everything is a fight, even in the case of Mr. Pompeo at State and what have you. What is going on?

ERNST: Well, Neil, I think, it's hyper-partisanship at its best.

We know that had a number of these nominees, especially Ms. Haspel, is eminently qualified. And so I do think that we will take up her nomination. We will continue to take up other nominations in the future.

We will continue to see the pushback coming from our colleagues across the aisle. It shouldn't be this way. It shouldn't be this way. I do believe our president needs to have these positions filled.

And he is the president. And he should be able to have those in these levels of authority that he deems necessary.

CAVUTO: You know, there was some concern, Senator, talking about this president, and managing to help get these hostages released from North Korea -- they're en route now to the United States -- that that might not happen, that after turning away from the Iranian deal, that the North Koreans might say, well, we can't trust the Americans to stick to any agreement. Why should we stick to this one to release these hostages?

They didn't do that. What do you think of that?

ERNST: I think quite the opposite.

I do think that we are sending a very clear message to North Korea to keep itself straight, or we will come after them. So we see this with Iran as well.

And when the president pulled out of that agreement yesterday, we have to remember that this is not an agreement that was signed by United States Congress. This was an agreement that was a very bad deal from the beginning that was put into order by President Barack Obama.

He was the one that entered into the agreement with Iran and the other members of that JCPOA. So I think that our president had every authority to pull out of it. It was a bad deal. We can do better, and we should do better for the American people.

CAVUTO: Do you think, whatever the president comes up with or is able to cobble together should be handled as a treaty agreement, one that needs the muster and the approval of Congress?

ERNST: Well, I think it would be wise to do that, to get buy-in from Congress.

I think that Iran is -- it in a near peer adversary. It is an enabler for Hezbollah and Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

So, I think we need to take a very serious look at any agreement that's drawn up. And hopefully he does that with the authority of Congress.

CAVUTO: Very quickly, Senator.

John McCain, your colleague, is making some waves of late as he deals with brain cancer and everything else.


CAVUTO: And he has talked about even his funeral arrangements, down to not wanting to invite President Trump. What did you think of that?

ERNST: Well, it is, of course, entirely up to Senator McCain.

And I admire him very much. He is known as the maverick. And he will continue to be known as the maverick.

But I do appreciate the great service that he has given to our country, not just during his time in the service, armed services, but also as a senator. Of course, we didn't agree on absolutely every policy position. But, certainly, as a member of our Armed Services Committee and as the chair of that committee, he was fighting every day for our men and women in uniform.

I admire him greatly. I know he is struggling right now. And I just want to wish him the best.

CAVUTO: So, you feel he's free to invite who he wants and doesn't want at his funeral?

ERNST: Absolutely. Of course.


ERNST: Again, it's his arrangements. And he may do so at his own pleasure.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very, very much. Very good seeing you.

ERNST: Thank you. Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: Senator Joni Ernst.


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