Last night, Leader McCarthy sat down with FOX News’s Greta van Susteren to discuss the growing threat of ISIL and the President’s strategy as outlined thus far.
Below is the full transcript.
KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: President is always good in delivering a speech, and this is something that not only at the House, but the American public is trying to push him to — develop a strategy for the entire Middle East. The difficulty I have with it, I never make a strategy and then let my enemies know what I will or will not do.
To me, it was not at all a complete strategy and that was concerns me, because this is a president, that his whole foreign policy about ending the war on terror, now he has to find a way of winning the war on terror.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, behind closed doors and I know there are classified briefings, do you get a different strategy if the whole idea is not to tip your hand to your enemies and lay out your strategy, so the enemy knows it? At least behind closed doors, do you have a better idea of the strategy?
MCCARTHY: You get a little more, but in the amazing classify in your hand, there’s not that much more that you hear. There are a lot of things that they shouldn’t tell to be able to go through, but can you win it just by the air? I would never tell my enemies when I’m coming, but I wouldn’t also say things I would not do. I mean, to me, it’s not about disarming. It’s about destroying. You just going to win, you’re going to find them wherever they are, and there will be no safe haven for them. That would be clear enough for me.
VAN SUSTEREN: Many people say you can’t win without going after ISIS in Syria with boots on the ground. You can’t do it from 35,000 feet. Do you agree with that?
MCCARTHY: You cannot win just by the air, but that’s part of what the president is asking right now, called Title 10 and DOD. Where as you can send some individual Americans over to train now those boots on the ground are going to become the rebels over there that will fight them, but are they sophisticated enough? Are they going to be able to do the job? I would not take something away. I would do whatever it takes to win.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is the military saying to you? Anything at all about this whether they’re satisfied with the president’s strategies he laid out, will you think it’s effective, whether to work, how long it will take?
MCCARTHY: Well, there are a few that have talked to us so far. We’ve had classified briefings with Joint Chief of Staff Dempsey and others. They’ve been planning a lot of these different strategies out. So, we’ll have to wait and see. It’s going to take some time. But the longer you wait, the stronger ISIL gets. And we all know what a sobering day we are today debating this, what happened 13 years ago, which is 19 people didn’t come from a country and did not have a great deal amount of money where they built their own state. We can’t take this lightly and we shouldn’t. That’s why all focus should be on it.
VAN SUSTEREN: When do you think there will be a vote on this?
MCCARTHY: Well, we’re hopeful next week. We were supposed to bring up the continuing resolution this week after speaking to the President knowing he was going. We postponed that, we had a classified briefing today for all. And I’ve shifted where we’re bringing congress back in earlier so we can get all our answers given to us and the questions we want to ask to be able to have the debate.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Tuesday can be tourney and trying to get votes, or figure out the votes, but I’m curious what the support is in the house for this?
MCCARTHY: I think you’ll find on both sides people would like to see a complete strategy, not a partial strategy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go forward with this. But it doesn’t solve the whole problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: What did we get out of a partial strategy?
MCCARTHY: We start to engage.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is that “Mission Creep”?
MCCARTHY: I have always felt that you got to have a clear definition of where you’re going to go. We know ISIL continues to grow. We know by, we have been pushing the president quite some team to act. They have not, he has not and what happened? They have grown. So, I don’t think we should wait around. We need to engage now. And that means Iraq, is also building and training individuals. And it also means we can bring in Syria, that’s also taking out some of their resources where they gain money. That will weaken them at the same time. And, but we have to continue in my view to get a complete strategy and not announce to them what we will and will not do.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, do you think the president did that last night? I think — I don’t think he gave a timetable. He didn’t say specifically. I mean, he was actually quite vague. There weren’t that many specifics.
MCCARTHY: It wasn’t that specific and he doesn’t have to be all the way, but I would be clear in it. I mean, it’s not to — to me, it’s destroy them. It’s straightforward of what you want to do. We win, they lose.
VAN SUSTEREN: You don’t think he did that last night?
MCCARTHY: Not completely, no.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why? Why not why do you think that? Why do you think he didn’t do that?
MCCARTHY: I just feel, I mean the president when he looks to his whole foreign policy he wants to end the war on terror. You have to win the war on terror to end it. And when you set up like an Afghanistan, the day a timetable when you going to depart, you’re telling your enemies what’s going to happen. I think you got to destroy them first, win it, and then you can walk away.