Sen. Rand Paul: It's a mistake to keep ramping things up in the Middle East
This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 18, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Thank you, Shepard. And you can bet the president will be crowing about that.
You're looking live at Joint Base Andrews, where the president and the first lady are set to depart moments from now for a big reelection rally in Orlando, Florida.
And in Orlando, where those people are gathering, many have been lining up for the better part of days. That's right, days.
Welcome, everybody. The race is on. And I'm Neil Cavuto.
In a moment, we're going to talk to Karl Rove about how the president is doing in key battleground states, including the state of Florida, and Kentucky Senator Republican Senator Rand Paul on what he thinks of the military's plan to send another 1,000 troops to the Middle East. All that in a moment.
First, Fox team coverage with Kevin Corke on how the president is preparing for that big rally, and Kristin Fisher in Orlando on what supporters are hoping to hear at that rally.
We begin with Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Always good to be with you, my friend.
And as you can well imagine, it's an interesting day here at the White House. In fact, we have some of our staffers. Sally Persons and others are actually out on the South Lawn awaiting the departure. So, if the president speaks, I promise to pass that along to you, Neil.
But this is also a chance for him not just to talk about 2020 and look ahead. It's a chance also to look back. He's going to talk a great deal about illegal immigration. You want to talk about a big crowd. Let me show you some of the pictures. Yes, we have seen rallies before, but can I just tell you, this is one of those circumstances?
Remember when people were saying back in 2016, Neil, the crowds don't matter? Well, maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you this. It certainly would seem to portend a great deal of enthusiasm. Certainly, the president feels that way as he looks forward to this evening.
Now, there are a number of issues that he's going to tackle. He will talk about why he wants to run and why he thinks things are going great in our country. But, in particular, Neil, I want to drill down on a couple. He's certainly expected to talk about illegal immigration. And we certainly expect him to talk at length about Iran.
What's happening overseas is crucial, not just from a business perspective, not just from a transport perspective, but we're talking about real national security issues that affect your bottom line and my bottom line, real pocketbook issues as it relates to the cost of gasoline.
So he will talk about that, and security, and certainly illegal immigration. That's going to be a very big topic. We have watched what he had to say on Twitter. He's talked about this at length, Neil, this idea that it's not about looking just at what migrants from other countries want and need. It's also about looking at what Americans want and need -- that and much more coming up tonight, but, for now, back to you.
And if I hear from the president, I promise I will pass it along, buddy.
CAVUTO: You always do, Kevin.
And we are hearing, just as you surmise, the president is taking some questions from reporters on the South Lawn, before he heads into Joint Base Andrews. We will pass out along to you when we get this so-called pool spray after the fact.
Meanwhile, to Kristin Fisher in Orlando, where those crowds are gathering.
And, Kristin, they have been gathering for quite some time, right?
KRISTIN FISHER, CORRESPONDENT: They have been gathering since -- depending on whose reporting you believe -- somewhere between 2:30 and 5:00 a.m. on Monday.
So the first wave, the first few hundred of the president's supporters are now inside the Amway Center, after waiting outside in the heat and the humidity and in the rain. Some of them waited for as long as 40 hours to get in here tonight.
This place, it only holds about 20,000 people. Sounds like a lot, but President Trump says that his campaign received about 100,000 requests for tickets to get in here tonight.
The president also tweeted a little bit earlier today, talking about all the crowds that he was seeing on TV and reading about. He said -- quote -- "The fake news doesn't report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all- time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now. People have never seen anything like it, unless you play a guitar. It's going to be wild."
And these big crowds are indeed a strong show of support as the president kicks off his campaign in a critical swing state. He won this state, he won Florida by a very small percentage back in 2016. And heading into 2020, the latest poll just out from Quinnipiac University on the state of play here in Florida has him trailing behind many of his Democratic rivals.
So he is likely going to hit some or all of those rivals very hard tonight. He's going to be talking about the good economy and immigration. So, Neil, it's pretty interesting. He really catapulted his campaign in 2016 at that kickoff rally by talking about immigration.
And here we go, four years later, and, once again, the dominant issue that he's likely going to be talking about tonight is immigration -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Kristin, thank you very much, Kristin Fisher in Florida.
Remember, it was in Florida too that he dispatched the two favored sons at the time -- you had Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio -- on his way to the Republican nomination.
Now this poll, of course, that you heard Kristin refer to is a Quinnipiac poll that has the former Vice President Joe Biden leading the president by about nine points. Now, it's still way, way early. But it does echo similar type of polls we have seen in a couple of battleground states, and leads that are shared by rivals of Joe Biden's, including Bernie Sanders.
What does Karl Rove think of all of this?
Karl, how do you handicap it right now?
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, look, it's very early.
And until -- the race is not going to solidify until the president actually faces an opponent. But these polls did point to the fact that they got to do some work. And my sense is, they understand that.
One of the hidden stories about today's rally is how they're going to use the data of those 100,000 people who signed up to come to the rally to, in essence, help build their Florida army. Each one of those people, unlike four years ago, is going to be carefully catalogued, so they know their name, their address, their e-mail number, their cell phone number, and they're going to then follow up with them, so that they draw them actively into their organization.
Tonight, there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands, of events around the country, watch parties, where some of the people who've attended previous rallies for the president have been drawn into watch parties in their communities in battleground states around the country, from New Hampshire, to Arizona, from Nevada to Florida.
CAVUTO: You know, it's still early. And we should always stress that. We go on what we have for the time being, these polls, and they're quick snapshots, as you and I have discussed, one snap, then shot.
But they are interesting, in that whether do you want to give the president credit for this economic boom or not, it only seems fair, since we blame presidents when it's -- when it's going south, that he's not benefiting more, especially in some of these states, Florida among them, is dealing with at or near record unemployment, Pennsylvania the same, Wisconsin the same, Michigan close to the same, and no follow-through for him.
What's going on?
ROVE: Well, the economy has what we call a nonlinear relationship in polling.
That is to say, if the economy's bad, you could bet the incumbent is going to get the blame for it.
ROVE: But if the economy is good, the economy slips down the list of important issues to people.
ROVE: And they don't give as much credit to the incumbent as they would give blame to the incumbent if the economy were going badly.
And this requires the president to spend more time talking about this strength. And it requires him to do three things. One, talk about what he's done. Two, talk about what he intends to do in the future. People don't vote for you simply because of what -- of your past performance. They want to know what you're going to keep doing in the future.
And, third, he's going to have to have a target so that he can say, this person represents a visible threat to what you and I have -- have wanted to do and have done to encourage prosperity spread all across the country.
So, three things that he's got to do. Right now, he's doing only one of those three, which is to talk about, isn't the economy good? He's got to be pivoting to number two and then be prepared to do number three, that is, say -- disqualify as opponent on the economy when that moment finally come.
CAVUTO: You know, incumbents are prone, especially if they see a market surge or an economic surge, to say, all right, if the other guy gets in, he's already promised, in the case of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, pretty much all the Democratic candidates, they're going to rescind all of those tax cuts, or most of them.
CAVUTO: They're going to put back regulations they think the president prematurely took out.
So he is going to frame it, if you like what you have been seeing and take it for granted, well, you won't like what you're going to be seeing. And don't take it for granted.
How does that play out?
Well, I think you put your finger on an important point. So many of the Democrats have been so vociferous in their opposition to what the president's done, whether it's a reforming the tax code, whether it's the regulatory relief, whether it's conservative judges. All of these things, they have been highly critical of.
So the president does have the opportunity to begin to say, you know what? No matter who out of that crowd ends up being my opponent, they all are in the same place, which is, they want to go just do just the opposite of what I have done in order to create prosperity.
So, in a way, of those three things that he's got to do, he can start doing all three right now. And he probably would be better served by doing all three. He doesn't need to attach a name to the final point of, these people represent a threat to the policies that I have put in place.
But he can just sort of say, they all do. But he's got to do all three of those things, not simply harp on how good things are, but here are the next wave of things that I want to do to keep this prosperity growing and spreading to even more places in America. And all of those people represent a threat to my policies.
CAVUTO: All right, Karl, thank you very, very much, Karl Rove on all of that.
By the way, as Karl and I were speaking here, the president is still talking to reporters on the South Lawn, presumably en route to Marine One to get to Air Force One to get to Joint Base Andrews for that kickoff in Orlando of his reelection campaign.
He was speaking at length about the acting defense secretary, Pat Shanahan, who is not going to go through the full confirmation for -- the become the next defense secretary.
And the president is saying that he's a wonderful person, he's going to take some time off for family matters. It's going to take some time to deal with that. It's a tough time for him, the president says. "I didn't ask him to withdraw."
There were allegations, of course, that came up in Mr. Shanahan's past that deal with family abuse and that sort of thing. It gets into the weeds here, a lot of people denying and then confirming, then denying again some allegations.
Mr. Shanahan taking himself out of the process, given that this was a distraction. The president wishing him well, and saying that, overall, his departure will not complicate things. No indications right now out of -- putting the secretary of the Army in that acting position, whether that secretary the Army will be the permanent replacement to become the next secretary of defense.
We just don't know.
Now to Wall Street right now, finished up about 353 points, a lot of this on hopes for a trade deal that now suddenly looks at least a little bit more likely than it did a little more than 24 hours ago.
Susan Li on top of all of that -- Susan.
SUSAN LI, CORRESPONDENT: Neil, we are on a two-day winning streak for U.S. markets, just 1 percent away from record highs once again for the broader indices.
And stocks were already on the way up this morning. But then the markets got a tweet that they were really hoping for, President Trump confirming that he had a very good phone conversation with President Xi of China: "We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to that."
And that lifted stocks to session highs, with the Dow rallying as much as 400 points.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: I think a lot of market investors think it's a good thing that talk is better than no talk. There are other things going on in the market. The economy's still pretty good. Interest rates seem to be coming down, et cetera, et cetera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LI: Well, China plays like Boeing, Apple, 3M, along with Goldman Sachs, accounting for half of the Dow's gains today.
Meantime, there's close attention being paid to the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank, which started its two-day policy meeting. Less than a quarter of the market predicts a rate cut this week, but 85 percent expect one next month, something President Trump has been calling for.
Meantime, we did have a Bloomberg reports suggesting that the White House had lost patience with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and even considered demoting him back in February. Larry Kudlow, though, saying that that is not the case today.
Finally, a vote of confidence for Boeing, the owner of British Airways, IAG, signing a deal, inking a deal to buy 200 737 MAX jets. And, Neil, that's despite the safety concerns -- back to you.
CAVUTO: You know, Susan, real quickly, interest rates were sliding today.
CAVUTO: And the only thing I can get from that is, they were expected to go down assuming we didn't have a trade deal. Now, all of a sudden, the prospects look better that we will.
CAVUTO: And they still slid down.
CAVUTO: It's weird.
LI: Well, it's a dovish world that we live in, right?
Not only are we expecting easing from the Central Bank here in the U.S. with the Federal Reserve, but also across the Atlantic as well, with the ECB signaling that they will also be helping out the markets and the economy as well.
CAVUTO: All right, we have a lot more coming up.
And, Susan, I appreciate that update on the markets and everything else.
They're obviously happy about what they're hearing on the trade front. And we could have some -- some details on that and some comments from the president of the United States. He is still speaking right now to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.
He's headed to Orlando today. It's a kickoff of what he hopes will be a second term. He's facing some problematic polls, but he's got a passionate crowd there, in fact, five times as many people who want to get in as they will fit in there. They have got JumboTrons and everything else to accommodate them, but some big crowds -- right after this.
CAVUTO: All right, we're very close to getting that pool spray from the president of the United States, in which he defended his outgoing acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who refused to get the confirmation process and reopen family wounds that still need healing and a past domestic incident, and many more.
The president commenting on all of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Mark Esper, who is a highly respected gentleman with a great career, West Point, Harvard, a tremendous talent, was just named acting secretary of defense. I think he'll do very well. He was secretary of the Army. I got to know him very well. And he's an outstanding guy.
Pat Shanahan, who is a wonderful person, is, as you know, going to take some time off for family matters. And I want to thank him for his service. He's a terrific person. And it's a difficult time for Pat, but he's going to take a little time off for family service and for working things out. And I think you know about it. You know very well about it.
But Mark Esper is going to be outstanding, and we look forward to working with him for a long period of time to come.
QUESTION: Did you ask Shanahan to withdraw, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Excuse me?
QUESTION: Did you ask Shanahan to withdraw?
TRUMP: No, I didn't. I didn't ask him to withdraw, but he walked in this morning and he said it's going to be a rough time for him because of, obviously, what happened.
But I did not ask him to withdraw. He presented me with a letter this morning. That was his -- that was his decision.
QUESTION: Did you know about these allegations before you said you wanted him to be the Defense secretary?
TRUMP: I had heard about it yesterday for the first time. I didn't know about it. I had heard about yesterday. And it's very unfortunate, very unfortunate.
QUESTION: Does that make you concerned then about the White House vetting process if you had just heard about it yesterday?
TRUMP: No, we have a very good vetting process.
And you take a look at our Cabinet and our secretaries, it's very good. But we have a great vetting process. But this is something that came up a little bit over the last short period of time.
And, as you know, Pat was acting. And so, acting gives you much greater flexibility, a lot easier to do things. So that's the way it is. Too bad.
QUESTION: Mr. President, will you apologize to the Central Park 5? They've been exonerated. There have been videos and movies shown about the case, and you came out with a full-page ad saying that they should die, that they should have the death penalty. Do you apologize?
TRUMP: Why would you bring that question up now? It's an interesting time to bring it up.
QUESTION: There's movies and everything about them.
TRUMP: You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt.
If you look at Linda Fairstein, and if you look at some of prosecutors, they think that the city should never have settled that case. So we'll leave it at that.
QUESTION: Does not having a permanent Defense secretary complicate your policy...
TRUMP: No, not at all.
TRUMP: I think, frankly, this could happen very quickly for Mark Esper. He's very experienced. He's...
QUESTION: But it's already been six months.
TRUMP: He's been around all of the things that we're talking about for a very long period of time.
QUESTION: Why should Americans trust your administration to tell the truth about what's going on with Iran? If we go to war, why should we believe you if you say why?
TRUMP: Well, we have Iran. We've been talking to various people on lots of different sides. And we'll see what happens with Iran. We're very well-set. We're very well-configured. We have a lot of things going on with Iran.
I spoke with President Xi this morning of China. We'll be meeting at the G20. And I think that is working out pretty much as I anticipated it would. China very much wants to discuss the future. And so do we.
So, the relationship with President Xi is a very good one. We had a long talk this morning.
QUESTION: Immigration officials we've been speaking with say they don't know anything...
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: Immigration officials say they don't know anything about a planned roundup of millions of people in the next few weeks.
TRUMP: Well, they know. They know. And they're going to start next week. And when people come into our country and they come in illegally, they have to go out. And everybody is seeing that.
And, as you know, Mexico has been doing a very good job the last four days. They haven't done that in 25 years. They're doing a very good job. I appreciate the job they're doing.
Guatemala, likewise, is much different than it was under past administrations. So we'll see how that works out.
With all of that being said, the Democrats should get together and solve the asylum problem, which is very easy to solve. And they should solve the loophole problem, also very easy to solve.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you have an acting defense secretary. You've had one for months. Why is it taking you so long to nominate someone permanently when you have so many hot spots in the world?
TRUMP: Well, this came up. This just came up. And I did the nomination...
QUESTION: The White House has known about it for a while.
TRUMP: This just came up, and I think we did it very quickly.
Pat Shanahan was acting. And we put Mark Esper in. Mark is highly experienced. I think he's going to fit in very easily.
QUESTION: Do you still want to demote Jay Powell? Is that something you're still interested in?
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: Do you want to demote Jay Powell? Are you interested in that, at the Fed, at the Federal Reserve?
TRUMP: Well, let's see what he does. I can tell you that Draghi, and the E.U., if you look at what's going on with the euro, they have a much different stance than our folks do.
As you know, he did something today that was very dramatic. And, frankly, it helped that part of the world. So we'll see what happens. They're going to be making an announcement pretty soon, so we'll see what happens.
But I want to be given a level playing field. And, so far, I haven't been.
TRUMP: Yes, I would be allowed to speak to him very easily. I speak to him anyway.
QUESTION: Mr. President, are you going to nominate Mark Esper for the permanent position, not just acting?
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: Are you going to nominate Esper for the permanent position?
TRUMP: Most likely. That's what I'm thinking about doing.
QUESTION: When are you going to decide?
TRUMP: Most likely. Pretty soon.
QUESTION: And what's the next step for Iran, Mr. President?
TRUMP: We're looking at Iran. We have a lot of things going with Iran.
We have -- we're very prepared for Iran. We'll see what happens. But let me just say this. We are very prepared. Regardless of what goes, we are very, very prepared.
If you look at what's taken place, if you look at what they've done, if you look at -- and I'm not just talking about over the last week. I'm talking about over a long period of years. They've been a nation of terror.
Now we'll see what happens. We'll see what happens. They are a much different country today than they were two-and-a-half years ago, when I came into office. When President Obama signed that horrible deal, they were screaming "Death to America."
I haven't been hearing that lately.
QUESTION: Mr. President, on the 9/11 Compensation Fund, do you want to see it approved, so that this never has to be revisited again -- through 2090?
TRUMP: I have a meeting on that, actually, this afternoon, before my speech.
I'm going down, as you know. It's a very big crowd down in Florida, Orlando. And before that, I'm having a meeting. So we'll -- we'll be letting you know.
QUESTION: Do you think you can reach a deal with President Xi at the G20, or are you basically starting over?
TRUMP: Well, I have a very good relationship with President Xi, and we'll see what happens.
I think we have a chance. I know that China wants to make a deal. They don't like the tariffs. A lot of companies are leaving China in order to avoid the tariffs. I have a very good relationship with President Xi. We'll see what happens.
QUESTION: If that meeting goes well, are you willing to hold off on the next round of tariffs?
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: If that meeting goes well, are you willing to delay that next round of tariffs?
TRUMP: Well, we'll see what happens. I think the meeting might very well go well.
And, frankly, our people are starting the deal as of tomorrow. The teams, they're starting to deal. So, we'll see. China would like to make the deal. We'd like to make the deal, but it has to be a good deal for everybody.
QUESTION: Have they given you an indication that they've changed their position on some of the sticking points that scuttled the last deal?
TRUMP: They did. They changed their position. So I said, we're not going to do that.
TRUMP: You're going to find out. You're going to find out.
Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, that was very interesting, a little bit of news there concerning the deal with China and whether one is forthcoming today.
We had a better-than-350-point surge on the Dow today, largely on optimism built around the president's prior comments that he talked to the Chinese president, expressing optimism a deal could had.
At the end of those comments, also talking about his acting defense secretary planning to step down, not go through the confirmation process to be the next secretary of defense. Instead, the president has tapped the secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, to handle that job, recognizes Shanahan, with some personal family issues that came up, and a lot of back and forth on, that the better part of valor was to step down, not go through that confirmation process.
The read on all of the above with the North Carolina Republican senator, a key member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Thom Tillis.
Senator, good to have you back.
SEN. THOM TILLIS, R-N.C.: Good afternoon, Neil.
CAVUTO: Thank you for your patience and on the president and the comments he had to make, particularly regarding the acting defense secretary, who opted not to go through this confirmation process, given these revelations.
What do you think?
TILLIS: Well, I think that it's new information.
The -- Shanahan decided to step aside. The president immediately identified somebody that I have had the opportunity to work with quite a bit. I think Esper will not miss a stride and will just continue to do to good work under this administration.
CAVUTO: So it comes at a time, as you know, sir, where the president is sort of upping the ante with Iran, hoping to bring an additional 1,000 troops to the region. What do you think of that and whether that's enough, too many, escalating the crisis?
How would you define it?
TILLIS: Well, based on the briefings that I have gotten, the president is responding to people who are on the ground that are thinking first and foremost about force protection.
We have thousands of people in the region. And we need to make sure that we keep them safe, first and foremost, but also be prepared for any other activities that Iran may be involved in.
So I think it's the right move. I think it's measured. And I think that putting assets in that region has a calming influence on what's otherwise an Iran that sometimes acts like they're not in check.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator, did you get any sense that maybe the markets overreacted to this phone call the president had with the president of China, that they hope to talk and maybe step aside and deal with a lot of trade issues at the upcoming G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan?
Obviously, the markets are leaping on that a sign maybe a deal can be scored, and quickly.
What do you think?
TILLIS: Well, I'm not sure that you come out of the G20 summit and a meeting with the president of China with a -- with a definitive deal.
Keep in mind that we thought we had a definitive deal. The reason we backslid is that China went away with baseline terms, and stepped away from them. And I think we have been very clear that we need to revisit those, and hopefully get them to a good agreement.
But I think you can read more into this than anything else that this administration is serious. Congress, members of my party, are here to support the president on using all the devices that he has to get China to recognize that their future is dependent upon a good economic relationship with the United States.
But it has to be fair. It has to take care of our farmers in North Carolina, our workers in North Carolina and across the country. And the president's fighting for that. And I don't think he will stop until he is satisfied that we have a deal like that.
CAVUTO: Do you get a sense that part of this deal, if it comes to pass, Senator, will be continuing to deal with Huawei, despite all the espionage issues that have come up on the firm over the years, that we will continue doing business with them?
TILLIS: Well, there may be.
But I think that the whole of government, a lot of our contractors see the writing on the wall. We cannot trust Huawei. It has basically got a direct line to the leadership of China. Their policies are that any business in China has to cooperate with their intelligence agencies.
And they're -- they're really intertwined. It's unlike anything we see in the United States. So, we have to view that as a threat to our own whole of government infrastructure. And I think state and local governments need to do the same and to their suppliers.
So I don't believe Huawei, in its current form, is going to be able to continue to cheat the way they have, steal technology. They may have a limited market opportunity in the United States, but, in the near term, I don't think it's going to be significant.
CAVUTO: Senator, best I can tell, the president didn't deny these Bloomberg stories that he was entertaining demoting Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, if he couldn't fire him, maybe demote him. He just said that, well, he hopes he does his job, or something to that effect.
How would you feel if he had done something like that, if he even could?
TILLIS: Well, I think, first, the president was frustrated, like a lot of us, with the Fed decisions back in December that I think now is universally viewed as having been a mistake.
So I think he was expressing his frustration, responsible for making sure economic growth continues. And that's dependent on the Fed moving in a direction that he believes is prudent.
I think, at the end of the day, though, I haven't -- I haven't heard a confirmation one way or the other. I do think it's within the president's authority to potentially have another chair. And Chair Powell could serve as a governor throughout his term.
But, right now, I think that that was more frustration over making sure that we -- through our Fed policy, we make the right decisions for the American economy.
CAVUTO: Senator, thank you very much good. Catching up with you.
TILLIS: You too, Neil.
CAVUTO: Senator Tillis.
So, the president's big kickoff to his 2020 reelection campaign. At the same time, ICE agents are proposing trying to kick out a million or more illegal immigrants in a state where that's a very big issue.
The former acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello on that after this.
CAVUTO: All right, the president getting set to leave for Orlando, Florida.
On the right of your screen, the crowds that are building and have in some cases for days, even through rain. These people have gotten soaked and dealt with the elements. They're there to see the president.
Tonight, they will.
CAVUTO: All right, live shot right now of the crowds. And they have been there for a long time now in Orlando, Florida.
They're waiting to hear from the president of the United States. This is his unofficial, some would say official, kickoff to the 2020 campaign.
This coming as the president, in something near and dear to that Florida audience, wants his Immigration and Customs Enforcement folks to start removing millions of illegal immigrants from the United States as early as next week.
Now, that could prove easier said than done. And then how do you go through that process?
With us on this issue and many more regarding immigration, the former acting ICE Director Ron Vitiello.
Ron, good to have you back.
RONALD VITIELLO, FORMER ACTING ICE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: That's, that's a tough task. How do you do it?
VITIELLO: Well, the professional men and women of ICE do targeted enforcement operations all the time. It's part and parcel of what those professionals are capable of doing.
When I was still in the agency, this was being talked about in March and before I retired. And this is something that they're certainly capable of doing.
CAVUTO: All right, now, the president termed millions.
We know, in the past, I think, the highest number that we have dealt with in the dealing of illegals who were here, I think about 185,000 in a two- month period. But how could this be done? What do you do? I mean, these are people who've exhausted all legal options and are not leaving, right?
VITIELLO: Yes, there's 900,000 people on the non-detained docket.
When I was still with the agency in September, we asked the Department of Justice to put together a rocket docket for families. We were looking for ways to reduce the flow at the border.
It's important to have consequences when people break the law. And so the Justice Department put that docket together. They have heard thousands of cases; 90 percent of the people who are in that cohort didn't go to their asylum hearing or to their immigration hearing. They were noticed by ICE to come into the office to try to get right with the process.
Many of them didn't. Thousands of them didn't. And now they're out there in the shadows. So the agency now has to close the loop. The president's trying to do everything he can to secure the border and bring integrity to the immigration system.
So we have got to close the loop on these families. They have all been offered a chance at due process. Many of them neglected to take it, and so now it's time for the enforcement and the integrity for the system to be in place.
CAVUTO: Well, there are many millions more who didn't even attempt due process, right? They're here outright illegally, and they did no process, right?
VITIELLO: That's correct. That's correct.
CAVUTO: So, what do you do? They're not part of this, I understand, right?
VITIELLO: I'm not sure exactly what the plans are at ICE...
VITIELLO: ... or what the president's talking about specifically.
But there are many people who have had their due process opportunity, thousands of them, who came to the border with their children, and were let go, because that's the way that law is operationalized.
Now there's an opportunity to put consequences with that illegal action. And that's what I believe he's talking about. It needs to be done.
CAVUTO: All right. We will watch closely.
Ron Vitiello, thank you, the former acting ICE director joining us out of Washington.
Well, you have probably already heard already, and Senator Tillis was talking about in North Carolina, that the president wants to ramp up our troop commitment in the Middle East by about 1,000 soldiers. He's sending a message to the Iranians.
Republican Senator Rand Paul is worried what that message might be -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, the president plans to send 1,000 more troops to the Middle East in an effort to put pressure on Iran. Now, not exactly sure what kind of pressure.
My next guest wants to make sure that Congress has to say on any military action against the country, doesn't want this to spiral out of control, of course, the Republican senator, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former presidential candidate Rand Paul.
Senator, very good to have you.
SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY: Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: What do you think of this 1,000-troop commitment?
PAUL: You know, I'm for less troops in the Middle East. I think it's a mistake to keep ramping things up.
One of the things I liked about President Trump is that he said the Iraq War was a mistake. I think an Iran war would be even a bigger mistake than the Iraq War. We lost over 4,000 soldiers over there. I don't think we need to get involved in another war.
Iran is really not someone that we depend on for oil. The Middle East, in fact, we don't depend on for oil anymore. And so, no, I think it'd be a mistake to get involved in another shooting war.
CAVUTO: You know, Senator, your colleague Tom Cotton, the Republican from Arkansas, a very close ally of the administration on this, had urged the president to just attack Iran outright, saying that he didn't need permission from Congress.
He went on to say that unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike. The president has the authorization, he says, to act to defend American interests.
What do you think of that?
PAUL: Well, it's -- that would be inconsistent with the Constitution.
The Constitution is very clear that we don't go to war unless it's voted on by Congress. A declaration of war is required to be voted on by Congress.
Now, if a ship is shooting at you, you can return fire, you can defend yourselves, but to go and retaliate and say, oh, we're going to blow up one of their naval ships, or we're going to drop a bomb on Tehran, or to say this somehow has to do with a 9/11 proclamation, no, those are completely wrongheaded and unconstitutional ideas.
But I think what's interesting about this is that, of all the people involved with the administration, I think, really, the president actually has the best handle on this, and is less likely to act in an irrational way to immediately blow something up.
I think he actually has pretty good sensibilities that most of the wars that we have fought in the Middle East really haven't been for our national interest.
CAVUTO: Nevertheless, I think -- and you can correct me on this, Senator - - he is open to military aid or agreements with the Saudis. You have concerns about that.
PAUL: I think people that would chop up a dissident with a bone saw may not be the most trustworthy of people.
If we're talking about giving them nuclear technology that they could actually use to break out and pursue nuclear weapons, huge mistake to give a government that actually chops up dissidents, beheads people, crucifies them. These aren't the kind of people that really should have nuclear weapons.
But, beyond that, even conventional weapons -- I'm not for arming them. They have had an acceleration of the bombing of civilians in Yemen, a total disregard for civilian life and for the humanitarian disaster that they're causing.
So, no, I think the Saudis don't deserve our weapons. I think that they -- if we are ever to have -- sell them weapons again, it should be conditioned on better behavior.
CAVUTO: The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, is not going to complete the confirmation process to be the permanent defense secretary. A number of allegations have come up, domestic violence and others.
The president spoke about this just a few moments ago, Senator. Then I want to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTNo, I didn't. I didn't ask him to withdrawal. But he walked in this morning. He said it's going to be a rough time for him because of obviously what happened. But I did not ask him to withdraw.
He presented me with a letter this morning. That was his -- that was his decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: What do you think of this whole thing? He has been replaced for the time being by the secretary of the Army, Mark Esper.
But it just hit everyone broadside.
PAUL: You know, I think it would be a good time to reexamine who we want at Department of Defense.
Number one, I think it should be someone who agrees with President Trump that the Iraq War was a mistake, that regime change has not worked and has many unintended consequences.
But I also think it would be a good idea to rethink whether or not we want somebody who spent their career in procurements and where profit has been very much motivated by more weapons to everyone.
I think we need someone a more -- a little more dispassionate, who maybe doesn't get confused with profit and national interest.
CAVUTO: Do you think we're getting in a little deep in the Middle East, this situation notwithstanding? And the secretary of the Army has had a more hawkish tone on these things. We will see what pans out.
But you're worried about getting a little deeper in a region that we have been deep in for decades now.
And I think what a lot of people don't get out of this, and don't examine this thoughtfully, is that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf allies around Saudi Arabia spend eight times more on the military than Iran does.
Saudi Arabia is the third biggest purchaser of weapons in the world. So I don't think Saudi Arabia is all of a sudden going to be overrun by Iran if we don't sell more weapons to them. Neither do I think Iran's going to be overrun by Saudi Arabia.
I think there's somewhat of a standoff between the two and a counterbalance. But I think just continuing to dump arms into this cauldron is fueling an arms race, and particularly nuclear technology. If Saudi Arabia should misuse nuclear technology, Iran will quickly follow, if they're not already headed in that way.
So if you had three regional powers all within about a couple hundred miles of each other with nuclear weapons, I think that would be the worst disaster we could -- any of us could imagine.
CAVUTO: Senator, switching gears a little bit, the president didn't outright deny a Bloomberg report that was out there that he wanted to demote Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
There had been talk earlier that he wanted to fire the guy. He's already spoken publicly about how he regrets choosing him in the first place. But, apparently, it didn't go anywhere.
Now he is saying that he just says, let's see what he does. What do you think of the whole back and forth, fire the guy, then you can't fire the guy, demote the guy, I couldn't demote the guy? What do you think?
PAUL: You know, I don't really have a comment directly towards any one person at the Fed.
But my general comment would be this. The price of money -- interest rates is the most important signal throughout the whole economy, and when the government fixes the price, you get the same distortions you get if you fix the price of bread. If you fix the price of bread, you only distort the bread market -- well, mostly the bread market and maybe their suppliers.
You fix the price of money, you distort all markets, and we put -- we don't get the feedback to know when we have overbuilt or overextended and are entering into a new phase in the -- in the business cycle. You can't really determine when the business cycle comes or goes without freely fluctuating interest rates.
So I would appoint somebody to the Fed who believes in letting the marketplace work more in the arena of interest rates.
CAVUTO: So don't lower interest rates?
PAUL: I would let the market decide.
It's sort of like asking me, would you rather have cheaper bread or more expensive bread? No, you want the market price of bread. And it's the same with interest rates and...
CAVUTO: Well, the market is kind of imitating what the Fed's doing these days, right?
PAUL: Well, and that's the point, is, is, that, for a long time, really probably almost for two decades, the Fed has sort of led the market, and we have been fixing interest rates.
CAVUTO: All right.
PAUL: But a lot of us -- a lot of us believe that the housing crisis was spurred because you kept interest rates below the market rate.
There was no feedback to say, we built too many houses, among other problems, but that was at least part of the reason we got this huge boom and bust in the housing market.
CAVUTO: Yes, and near zero percent interest rates after that.
Very good having you, Senator. Thank you very, very much.
PAUL: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: The senator was speaking about the Federal Reserve.
By the way, they are one day into a two-day meeting that wraps up tomorrow. Expectations are that they might not cut those rates at this particular meeting, but will set the stage to do so at the next one.
Stay with us. You're watching "Your World."
CAVUTO: All right, the president ready for the kickoff to his second term campaign.
This is a crowd that has been building. It has been building for a couple of days now. You know these people are camping out even in the rain today for an opportunity to get in there about -- I was being conservative about it, but five times as many more were showing up for this event as could fit in this arena.
So they have these large JumboTron screens outside, so they can catch a glimpse of the president of the United States, who we're told is likely going to pass along what a lot of them already know, the economy's booming, markets are doing more than OK.
And if a lot of the know the president, he is going to point to those Democratic challenges who want to take a lot of the impetus for that away, like the tax cuts. To a man or woman, most of the Democratic candidates there are for getting rid of them. And that is something few people really know in detail.
FOX News Contributor Deroy Murdock has been sort of crunching the numbers.
And the reality is that all the candidates in one way shape or form have talked about dramatically scaling them back, haven't they, Deroy?
DEROY MURDOCK, CONTRIBUTOR: They have.
Joe Biden said the first thing he would do as president is to ditch the Trump tax cuts. He didn't just say this once. He said this seven different times. So having said it so often, I think he really means it.
And this is something that is going to have a negative impact on something like 90 percent of wage earners who actually benefited from the Trump tax cuts, despite the rhetoric that it's just the top 1 percent. This would end up hitting a family of four making about $78,000, cost them about $2,000 in higher taxes.
Family of one parent, one child would be about $1,300 or something like that, and then far harder to measure is just the overall slowdown in the economy. If we lose the 21 percent corporate tax rate, that shoots up to 35 percent, that will make the U.S. less competitive, slow down the expansion of businesses, reduce the number of new jobs, not a good thing.
So it's very rare for people -- it used to be rare for people run for office to saying, I'm going to raise taxes, but Joe Biden is being very open and bragging about it. And, again, he said it seven different times.
CAVUTO: Well, one of the things he has been saying, Elizabeth Warren a variation of it, although I think she focuses on the corporate tax relief and the upper-income tax cuts, that you haven't benefited, it hasn't been good for you. So what we're going to do is look out for you.
What do you say?
MURDOCK: Yes, that's what she says.
But, no, it's something like 90 percent of wage earners, and I think something like 80 percent of wage earners have seen a higher take-home pay as a consequence of this. And, again, people are seeing this wonderful decrease in unemployment, 3.6 percent unemployment, record low unemployment for blacks, Hispanics, people who've only graduated high school.
People who are leaving prison are now getting out of jail and actually finding job opportunities. So, I think we have something like 1.5 million more job openings than we have job seekers. So, I think it's -- there's the highest gap between job seekers and job openings we have ever seen in American history.
This is the result of all of this tremendous boom in industry, new companies being started, older companies growing. And that will come to a -- if not a halt, certainly a slowdown, if we have Elizabeth Warren, President Warren, or President Biden, whoever it may be, come in and take away this tremendous feast of incentives for work-saving and investment.
CAVUTO: We shall see.
Deroy, always good catching up with you, Deroy Murdock.
MURDOCK: Great to see you.
And, of course, the big run-up that we had on the Dow today had a lot to do with that economy and a confidence that it will grow all the more if a China deal can be had. And that's the growing suspicion, that maybe one can be. At least, it was heavily teased.
More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, President Trump on his way to Orlando, Florida. He will be there very, very soon.
This is the kickoff, if you will, to the 2020 reelection campaign. Now, you might ask, why Florida? Of course, if you remember correctly, this is where he dispensed of two favorite sons, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, and then later on in the general election surprisingly picking up a victory there over Hillary Clinton, paving the way for what would be the election shocker and historic moments.
FBN's Kristina Partsinevelos with that Orlando crowd, as we speak -- Kristina.
KRISTINA PARTSINEVELOS, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Neil.
So, as you mentioned, there's been a lot of focus on Florida. This is a state where President Trump during his presidency has already visited 100 times. This is his 34th visit here tonight.
He's expected to speak at 8:00 p.m. There's a lot riding on this swing state. We know that President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 1.2 percent back in 2016. And now they're expanding their electoral map to include states that they lost. They're focusing on New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico.
And we know -- I know you focused in early on in the show about the polls, but the people here are starting to pile in. We're expecting at least 20,000 people if all the seats fill up. So I will throw it back to you.
I mean, and all those other people, they're just waiting outside, so they had more crowds than they knew what to deal with.
PARTSINEVELOS: Yes, it was raining like crazy. And people are still milling in.
But I'm still -- I'm wondering, will they be able to fill all of that behind me? We will wait and see.
CAVUTO: All right, Kristina, thank you very much, Kristina in the middle of all of that.
Remember, in the last campaign, people would look at the crowds and the energy of the crowds, unless Hillary Clinton had a rock star with her or Katy Perry, nothing like the crowds that Donald Trump would generate alone.
We should have seen in that maybe that was tipping something. That was then. What happens now?
We're going to be exploring all of that tomorrow, get a billionaire's read on this economy as well tomorrow.
Here comes "The Five."
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