On Friday’s broadcast of “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested President Donald Trump take an aggressive approach in responding to Iran’s saber-rattling in the Persian Gulf.
Among the actions the South Carolina Republican U.S. Senator included sinking the Iranian Navy and attacking one of Iran’s refineries, which he said would send a message to Iran not to interfere with the shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.
Partial transcript as follows:
HEWITT: Let’s turn to Iran. Earlier this morning, moments ago, the President of the United States said, “Iran did it;” the mine that didn’t explode “Had Iran written all over it.” He didn’t say what he is going to do, what do you think he ought to do about attacks on Gulf shipping Lindsey Graham?
GRAHAM: Make sure that the Iranians will never do it again because it hurt too much. If he doesn’t send a clear, unequivocal signal with pain attached, they will keep doing it. They are testing him. The president got out of the agreement. He’s put sanctions on Iran. He’s breaking the back of the Iranian government economically, they are pushing back, they are testing his will. One of the great minds of our time, General Keane, said there are a couple of options. One is, start sending naval escorts for commercial shipping in the Straights of Hormuz, that’s one thing to do —I don’t know how sustainable that is— the other thing is just basically sink their navy. Now, put them on notice, start escorting ships, and if there is another attack on commercial shipping in the Straights of Hormuz, just sink all these fast boats, just sink their navy.
HEWITT: That’s what President Reagan did in 1988, with Operation Praying Mantis. I’d like to hear Lindsey Graham’s assessment of this: They have a couple of major refinery complexes, maybe only two. They are attacking oil. Ought we to attack their refinery complexes because if you want to talk about bringing that country to a halt, that’s the way to do it.
GRAHAM: Well, this is why I like your show. You put options on the table that really hurt. The bottom line really here is that they are pushing back on multiple fronts now against President Trump —rocket man is still shooting rockets, Maduro is still in power, the Iranians are attacking ships in the Strait of Hormuz. I like the foreign policy of President Trump. He’s been the anti-Obama. But he’s got to get Iran put back in a box. This is a time of testing. They have hit four ships. They have attacked land-based pipelines, they haven’t felt anything yet, so if I were the president, attacking a refinery or sinking their navy would be an unequivocal signal: “I don’t want a war with Iran, but I don’t want Iran disrupting international navigation and freedom of the seas, and continue to be, you know, wrecking havoc, so, he’s got some options in the table.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor