Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech in Ohio on Monday, which Newt Gingrich hailed as “historic.”
“I think it was an important speech, certainly in the context of this campaign,” said Bolton. “Look, the problem that we’ve seen, over the past several months, is that the media are, as you were just saying, doing everything they can to avoid a serious debate on some of these issues. They want to find fault with the Trump campaign, with Trump, with conservatives, you name it – anything but debate the issues.”
“I think it was very important for Trump, on Monday night, to talk about national security, on Tuesday night to talk about domestic violence, and the importance of effective law enforcement. I thought both speeches were very well done. People can agree or disagree with this or that particular point, but these were two serious speeches, part of an effort he’s been making,” he said.
“I think if Trump and the campaign can get the debate on these key issues that concern the American people, he will win,” Bolton predicted. “If the Clinton campaign, and her media surrogates, can keep distracting people, then it’s a much more difficult proposition. So in that sense, I just think that the two speeches, Monday and Tuesday, are very important steps.”
“We’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, but this campaign is on, no doubt about it,” he pronounced.
Bolton said that on many subjects, prominently including the threat of radical Islam and the spread of sharia law, the international Left “just wants to shut off debate entirely” through political correctness.
“If you can’t talk about a subject, in their view, I think, they win,” he explained. “Britain has already made mistakes in this regard, in giving some credence to the idea that you can have parallel legal systems. I think our Constitution here is very clear: one law applies to all. One law applies to the average citizen, the same law applies to the President of the United States – and, by the way, should apply to Secretaries of State, while we’re on the subject.”
“When you start setting up separate systems, by definition, you’re creating the possibility for discrimination against the majority. Any system, not just sharia, that implies a fusing of Church and State at the top – in effect, an established church – is fundamentally contrary to the Constitution. And that’s what, I think, you get through the noise of the media about the speech on Monday, and what Trump’s said about the intersection between immigration and terrorism,” Bolton said.
“He’s simply repeating what’s already in U.S. statutes, namely, that people who want to become citizens have to be – this is the statutory language – ‘attached to the principles of the Constitution,’ which means religious freedom, and no established church,” Bolton pointed out. “If people want to take a different view, then let ‘em say so. Let’s have the debate on that. Let’s see where the overwhelming majority of the American people are on that point.”
Marlow noted that Trump received his first Top Secret intelligence briefing as a presidential candidate this week, and asked what such a briefing was like.
“In terms of briefing a candidate like this, I would think that in the first briefing, they would try to provide some background, but give him, and give Secretary Clinton, essentially the same kind of briefing they would give to the President, in what’s called the President’s daily brief” Bolton replied. “My former colleague Fred Fleitz has an important piece up on the National Review website this morning, talking about Leftist bias within the intelligence community, and his concerns about what, exactly, the intelligence community is doing to brief Donald Trump.”
Bolton thought it was noteworthy that “General Flynn, and perhaps some others, sat in that briefing,” because Trump advisers like retired Army General Mike Flynn can “provide a counterweight, if there is any bias creeping in there.”
Bolton said the fact that Trump and Clinton were receiving these intelligence briefings highlights what he sees as “the central issue of this campaign,” which is that “we’re electing the next Commander-in-Chief, in a time of grave threats to the United States around the world.”
“Let’s talk about those threats, and the failure of the Obama Administration, and his first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to deal with them effectively,” he urged.
He said Trump has “a lot of good people around him,” repeating his judgment that “a lot of the Republican foreign policy establishment has made a mistake signing these letters saying they wouldn’t work in a Trump Administration.”
“Well, they’re not gonna work in a Trump Administration anyway, if there is one, given that they signed the letter,” he quipped. “But I think it’s a misreading of where Trump is.”
He pointed back to Trump’s foreign policy speech on Monday, stating for the record that he had nothing to do with crafting it.
“It was a serious speech,” Bolton said. “And people have to remember, we’ve got a stark choice here. We’re not talking about our idealized candidate. 16 people ran against Trump. They all lost. I think people need to get over it, and realize that it is a binary choice. We’re going to elect a President in November. You can like that, or lump it, but we’re going to elect a President, and it’s only going to be one of two people: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Figure it out.”
Bolton professed no confidence that Clinton could be an effective Commander-in-Chief.
“She shares the same worldview as Barack Obama. So does John Kerry. So does Joe Biden. There is no national-security wing of the Democratic Party any more. She is going to be entirely comfortable with continuing the Obama Administration’s policies. I think that’s true on domestic policy, as well,” he warned.
Bolton joked he’s been “burdened” with the Clintons for “20 years longer than the rest of the country,” as they were just a year ahead of him in law school. “Back in law school, she was a radical then. Bill was not, I might say. But she was a radical then, and I think she’s a radical today. She’s smarter politically, in some senses, than Obama, and God knows she’s married to one of the consummate politicians of our time, and she’ll say whatever she needs to say to get elected.”
“But where her heart is, is exactly where Obama’s is. Nobody should operate under the illusion that suddenly she’s going to turn into somebody more capable of defending American interests around the world,” he advised.
In contrast, Bolton praised Trump for very clearly saying, in his speech this week, that “the threat we face from terrorism is an ideological threat, from radical Islamism.”
“That’s not fundamentally different from what people like King Abdullah of Jordan have been saying for years,” he noted. “Abdullah has been saying – who, of course, is a Muslim king of a Muslim country – that this is a civil war within Islam, and Muslims across the Middle East, around the world, have been victims of this radical terrorism, just as innocent civilians in the West have been. So if you understand we’re facing an ideology, you understand as well – Trump said this in the speech – you have to wage an ideological struggle against it, as well as the military and intelligence struggle.”
“It was a very well thought-out, and well laid-out, argument about how you deal with the threat,” Bolton applauded. “Obama doesn’t think we’re in a war. He thinks this is all a law-enforcement matter. He thinks you can deal with terrorism like you deal with knocking over the local grocery store, with criminal trials after the fact. I want to prevent terrorism. I don’t want to put people in jail after they commit it. I don’t want it to happen in the first place.”
“If you’re just pursuing an ad hoc whack-a-mole policy, which is a charitable description of the Obama-Clinton approach, you’re never going to be able to protect our country,” he declared.
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