Brian Kilmeade on the Tripoli Pirates & Untold American Stories

Fox news host and author reveals how little the threats against America have changed at the West Coast Retreat.

Editor’s note: Below are the video and transcript to Brian Kilmeade’s talk at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 West Coast Retreat. The event was held April 8-10 at the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, CA.

Brian Kilmeade from DHFC on Vimeo.

Brian Kilmeade: But yeah, I was at the Beverly Hills Hotel last time.  I had a chance to address this crowd and it was fantastic. It was one of the highlights of the George Washington Secret Six Tour and this is it.  And this is the book. It’s now bendable and available.  It’s in paperback, and what I found most encouraging about that book is that I think I tapped into something that’s latent. And everybody in this room is patriotic.  Everyone understands where we came from and where we’re going and you have opinions on what we should be doing now, but I was as stunned to see the so-called average American, who wasn’t a history major, might even be a truck driver or a grocery store manager, they were patriotic.  They said, “I did not know about this.  I cannot believe we came from these people.”

Everyone knows about George Washington and the Founding Fathers, and they are hall-of-famers, but do you know this country was built on so-called ”everyday Americans” doing extraordinary things for a cause? Never gained any acclaim nor did they want it.  So I told everybody and had a chance to bring forward the story of a longshoreman, the story of a farmer, the story of a bartender, the story of a guy that ran a printing shop, who was more of journalist, and somebody else that ran a grocery store, who became a journalist, and found out that they were everyday Americans who put their lives on the line, literally. And they knew what would happen if they got caught. Nathan Hale was the perfect example. If you get caught, you die.  If you spy, you die. And they said, “Bring it on. We’ll do it anyway.  We believe in this idea of a country.” And that book, when you look the paperback, the online sales, as well as the hardback, sold close to 1 million copies.  And a lot of people don’t even know I was on Fox.

In the beginning you get a boost, but after a while it starts feeding on each other. And I think people got a sense of pride, almost like the team you were following wins a championships over a series of years, but then instead it’s a different pride. It’s more like a family.  Somebody in your family makes the major leagues.  ”I can’t believe I came from these people.” And they get more of an idea of how great this country is.

So after doing that book, I wanted to take a bow and call it quits. And they said, “We’ve got to go back and do something else,“ and I said, “Let’s find a story that’s not often told, rarely known, that’ll give people a sense of pride in our country.”  And then when President Obama comes out with these statements where he’s not sure that we’re an exceptional nation – yeah, we think we’re exceptional, but every other nation thinks they’re exceptional.  I said, “I’ve got to double down and prove to the so-called average American, who doesn’t live and breathe politics or history, to understand where we came from.“ Because I’m under the belief that we are an exceptional nation, and that isn’t Brian Kilmeade’s spin on the country he was born in.  If you look around, there’s a reason why people try to sneak in here.  There’s a reason why people of hundreds of years ago came here with nothing to start over again.  They’re not doing that in Bulgaria, they’re certainly not doing that in Germany, they’re not doing that in England. They’re coming here, and they still are, and they go through extraordinary means to do so. And a look back at our history reveals it.

So, when we first started “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” there was no ISIS.  There was the winning surge opportunity and all of a sudden the Iraq War that looked so bad after the invasion, people said, “Wow, this turned out pretty good.”  But, we pulled out, ISIS came in, and once again, this story took place.  And essentially, picture this: The year is 1783.  We win the war, but we’re buried in war debt, and we took out loans to win this war.  We’re 13 colonies, and the colonies, for the most part, said, “I’ll come together to fight, but once this fighting’s over, I really don’t want anything to do with you.“ So we had to convince these colonies to become a country and lace them together – without a president and without a constitution.  The last thing we needed was an enemy, but that’s exactly what we got.  By 1785 it became clear. Our hard efforts, our natural resources, we were going to trade out way and work out way out of it like Americans always do. But as we got to the Mediterranean, as we got to our best customers in Europe, we had a problem, and those problems were Islamic pirates in Algeria, Algiers then, Tunis, Tunisia then, and Baraka, and no nickname. And then you had Tripoli, which became Libya.

And as our ships started going through, starting with Maria and the Dauphin, they were not only taken hostage, not only was the cargo pillaged, not only were the ships taken, they were enslaved.  And they turned around and said, “Hey, I’m not really sure what you’re doing America, but if you want your guys back, it’s going to cost you a lot of money, and if you want to use this area of international waters, you’re going to have to pay us tribute,” which is extortion.

Got a bit of a problem.  We’re trying to get on our feet and we’re being terrorized by these Islamic pirates whose agenda we can’t figure out.  But we have an asset.  It’s called John Adams in England.  We have an asset.  It is called Thomas Jefferson in France.  So working off the Articles of Confederation, just the Congress, no president, we have a problem, and John Adams goes and seeks out and knocks on the door of the Tripoli ambassador.  The guy’s a nice guy.  He welcomes him in. They have a few days hanging out together.  He writes to Jefferson. He goes, “I think I can work this out.”  They’re kind of intrigued about our country, about our future.  Can you meet me over here?”  Jefferson goes, “This is fine.”

Now there was no text message, just Instagram back then.  So I’m talking weeks and months, but I’m giving you the short course because you guys want to go golf and party. I know you.  So Thomas Jefferson comes over and he does seem like a nice guy, and after a third and fourth day, they say, “Okay, let’s cut a deal.  We need our guys back. We need a way to use the Mediterranean.  Your problem – and all the Europeans are paying this tribute – is with them.  We’re brand new.  We have nothing against Islam, we certainly have nothing against you.” And they go, “That sounds good. Well, I’m going to need some money, and this is the amount of money you’re going to need in order to use the Mediterranean.“ It was three times as much as England, Spain and France were paying.  So, what are you talking about?  And they use this quote, “Well, if you’re going to use this area, international waters, you’re going to have to pay us because you’re not Muslim.”  And here’s the quote from the Ambassador:  ”All nations which have not acknowledged the prophet are sinners whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.”  Essentially, Christian sailors, plain and simple, are fair game.  That was the rationale.

Now John Adams is repulsed.  Thomas Jefferson had read and studied the Quran and stated, “Listen, I read that book, that’s not what it says.”  So they walk out and they go, essentially, “We’ve got to make a deal.”  So Adams says, “These guys scare me and we’re not going to fight them unless we’re going to choose to fight them forever.”  Jefferson says, “We’ve got to fight them.  The world’s watching.  We’ve got to stand up to them.”

Now Adams won this fight, essentially, because we had no Navy.  We had nothing.  We had no warships.  We used to have the protection of the British.  We didn’t have this problem.  Now we’ve got this problem.  So in the short-term, we pay.

So Jefferson said, “My price is going to go up. Our guys are not going to get out and it’s going to continue.” And, sure enough, we had to cut four deals, borrow money to get it.  We start paying the money and for a little while it was no problem, and then in come the kidnappings again.  In come the enslavement.  The letters of horror from behind the doors.  We’re going to write about it in the paperback, but what these guys went through for over 10 years, some of it, is beyond comprehension.  Because they were Christian, they were American and their main source of income was ransom.  It’s unbelievable.  But what we also found out later was the people that were paying the most, the biggest price, were the people of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Tripoli.  They were living horrendous lives, under horrific rulers, who only cared about themselves and their power.

Jefferson said this along the way: ”Weakness provokes insult and injury, a condition to punish it often prevents it.  I think it’s in our interest to punish the first insult because insult unpunished is the parent of many others.”  Put so much better than I ever could put it.  That’s why I read it.  And he’s saying, “If we don’t hit now, we’re going to pay the price in the future.”

Little by little, we get a constitution, then we get a President Washington.  Washington has a secretary of state. His name is Thomas Jefferson. And he said, “Thomas, write a report.  How do we get our guys back? How do we solve this problem?“  So Jefferson writes this dispassionate report, but it leads to the conclusion:  We’re going to have to fight for our guys back and we’re going to have to fight these guys.  Washington had this problem, no Navy, so he decides I’m going to cut deals, but we’re going to build a Navy, and if we can’t get a deal we want, we’re going to use that Navy.  After 2 years we get the deals. We still build the boats.  We have six frigates and we build these boats learning from England and learning from the pirate ships.

So Jefferson becomes president after Adams has a chance to use this Navy. He said, “These guys are crazy.  I don’t want to fight them ‘cause we’re going to fight them forever.  Little concerned about the French, so let’s not fight them.”  Jefferson takes over after 4 years. He goes, ”I’m not going to choose to fight them, but I’m going to choose to not pay them.“ So as soon as they realize there’s no more money coming, they chop down our flagpole, which is their way of declaring war, and we have our first foreign enemy, Tripoli.

So did Jefferson respond?  Sends the six frigates over.  But, again, we have problems with congressional approval.  It turns out they didn’t get along back then either.  They were split on how to handle this.  So Jefferson sends them over and they leave them there.  But without congressional approval, we have a little problem with rules of engagement.  So he goes, “I really can’t fight them. Even though I didn’t write the Constitution, kind of like it.  I’d rather not violate it within the first 10 years of its existence. So we’ll just blockade.”  Well that’s a mess.

Think about this: sitting in a ship for months, trying to get these sleek pirate ships as they weave in and out and almost taunt us.  So then Jefferson says, “Let’s get congressional approval.”  And then we have the wrong admiral.  Then we get the right admiral and then we start moving.  We start hunting them down, taking them out, chopping down their masts and sending them into the ocean, letting them know we’re going to stand up to them.  It’s costing us a ton of money, there’s no quick victory.

So then we get the right admiral in charge.  We get Bainbridge over there.  We get Steven Decatur over there.  We get some great guys, and they start moving in and they start pounding the shore.  We start blowing up this port city and we think it’s going to be a matter of time before we take them out and they’re going to quit.  But the problem is, like air power today, these people who run these cities only care, and these states, only care about themselves.  They didn’t care that their guys are getting killed.  Just like they don’t care about the drones taking out the people or the F16s taking out the village; because they only care about their power. Hence, Saddam Hussein, hence, Bin Laden hiding in a cave or a villa while his guys are getting killed wearing body bombs.  Same mindset back then.

I want to enter in a guy named William Eaton, and one of the best things about writing this book is introducing people. Not Thomas Jefferson and George Washington – there’s always going to be 90,000 people who know more about them, who wake up in the morning and they’re biographers and historical experts, and that’s fine.  There were tremendous resources.  But enter a guy named William Eaton.  At 15 years old he decides, I’m one of four boys. I’m seeing this fight go on. I’m joining the war.  His dad’s like, “You’re not going to join the war. You’re 15. You barely know how to use a gun.”  He goes, “I’m going.”  

He leaves home.  He gets sick, comes back, rejoins the war.  The war ends, he joins the military right afterwards.  Then he comes back, goes to Dartmouth, pays his own way.  He studies under General Matt Anthony and he learns how to fight.  He picks up three different Indian dialects. He learns how to deal with the American Indians of that day.  He sees how to fight.  He sees how to be relentless and ruthless, and this was written about William Eaton by General Wayne Anthony: ”Eaton is firm in constitution as in resolution, industrious, indefatigable, determined and persevering.  When in danger, he is in his element and never shows to so good advantage as when leading a charge.”  This guy’s badass and he’s smart.  So he’s impressed a lot of people.  So during this time, they decide, I have an idea, get the crazy guy, who’s half Mike Ditka, half General Patton, and send him over to be ambassador to Algeria.

So he goes over there and he’s going to break a few windows.  He starts talking to these guys, talking to the people. He realized the people don’t hate Americans. The leaders hate Americans.  He’s standing up to them.  He sees what we’re fighting against. He sees the ruthless nature. He sees these rulers that are in charge. He’s got respect for them and he lets them know it.  He almost gets captured and enslaved himself.  He finally fights his way out of there, they move him out because of the controversy, and he’s under the belief that we can take these guys out and the longer we wait, the worse it’s going to be.  The problem is, he comes back and the only guy that’s really listening to him is Jefferson.  So he says to Jefferson, once this war actually started, he said, “I got an idea. Give me about $10,000.00. Let me go find the deposed leader Hammed. He was a good guy.  This current leader threw him out of Tripoli.  I’ll get an Army. I’ll take these guys out.”  Jefferson goes, “Wait, wait, you want to start a land war?”  Yeah.  He goes, “Just give me 1,000 muskets, $20,000.00.”  He goes, “Okay, $10,000.00, $20,000.00, fine.”  So for 3 years after pounding them and winning, but not getting ultimate victory, it was called 1-800-William-Eaton.

He goes, “Eaton, I need to see you.”  They meet in an open park, an open display.  That’s when the presidents could walk amongst the people if there was a block party, and that’s essentially what it was.  Eaton said, “I hear you want to see me.”  He goes, “Yeah, we’re not having this conversation.  We’re going to send you over with Admiral Barron.  He’s going to drop you off in Alexandria.  Think you can find this guy and get an Army together?”  He goes, “Yeah.”  He didn’t know if he could do that.

So he goes over, gets a few Marines, 12 in all.  He lands in Egypt.  He hunts down Hammed, who’s hoping to find a guy with a deposed army ready to go.  He finds a guy who’s a weak leader with about a handful of guys who were just there because he had some money, enough to inspire Hammed.  He’s going to put together an army of Greeks.  He’s going to put together an army of Arabs, of Muslims and some Italians, because he needs a good cook with a sense of humor.  And he goes, “I got some money. Let’s go.”

He puts together this hodgepodge army, and they start in Alexandria, and they’ve got to get into Darnah, Libya.  There’s a problem: no GPS, no maps, no one’s ever done it before.  No problem.  We got the stars and I’m William Eaton. I can do anything.

He puts together these guys with his Marines, Presley O’Bannon, and you know the Marine hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli”? This is where it came from.  So you’ve got to read, if I could ask you to Google today after you’re done, in between swims in the pool with the spa, or the rubdown you promised yourself you’d have, go ahead and Google Presley O’Bannon.  Unbelievable guy.  He defines leadership. He worshipped William Eaton, who was an Army guy, which doesn’t happen today easily.  So they put together this army and when they get in the middle, it’s a series of mutinies. In the middle, these mercenaries say, “We’re not going any further unless you double our pay.”  Little problem, Eaton’s got no more money.  So what does he do?  He finds a way to call their bluff.  He goes, “Well, we’re marching straight ahead.  You want to march back by yourself, you can do it.  I’m keeping the provisions.”

It’s a series of leadership lessons that we don’t even know about today.  No one knows about William Eaton today.  Maybe David Horowitz does, but that’s somebody who’s extraordinary.  Maybe an historian, if you go to the Jefferson Library perhaps, but that’s somebody that wants to look past the Louisiana Purchase, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, everything else that he accomplished, that we’re going to focus on this guy.

He does it.  He goes 500 miles through the dessert, on to Darnah, to take on an army that outnumbers him three to one.  He had to inspire these Muslims.  He had to inspire these Arabs, these mercenaries.  Hammed’s hodgepodge of an army, who were deposed.  Hammed, without showing any leadership. And they’ve got to go take this city.  It is a lesson in leadership and it also shows what America is about; coming together with different nationalities, different ethnic backgrounds, for one common cause.  By the time they were done, they were on the same page.

I did take this quote out that I wanted to share with you.  He did say this along the way: ”We find it almost impossible to inspire these wild bigots” – he was talking about the Muslims and Arabs – ”with confidence in us or to persuade them that being Christians we can be otherwise than enemies to musselmen.“  The same thing we’re wrestling with today.  The Jewish community and the Christian community has no problem with the Muslims.  I’m sorry what happened in the 12th century. We don’t know any of them.  I’m pretty sure they passed away on natural causes, or got hit by rocks or got in some type of traffic jam accident, or overall stress problems. So we don’t know those people.

We have a problem with many in the Muslim community who don’t seem to be able to turn the page on that or live off that or give their reason to live because of that.  So that’s why I pulled that quote out.  But you know what he did?  He inspired them to fight to the death for him because they saw what type of person he was. And they were able to figure out in this journey who Americans are.

So he’s about to take on an army who’s a standing army. They got word that they’re coming.  They’re going to take them out, right?  Well it turns out, when Marines are outnumbered, they do this thing called charging.  They scaled the wall, they get these guys so freaked out, they abandon their cannons. We turn them on them.  Guess what happened in 2½ hours?  We took the City of Darnah.  We cut down their pole. We put up the American flag, and William Eaton – which even Jefferson didn’t think was possible – when the admiral dropped him off, he didn’t think it was close to it. He thought it was a folly. We took the city.

So Eaton goes, “Great. We need a few days and we’re taking Tripoli.  Sound good?”  The people come up to him and they say, ”Okay, what are you going to do?”  He goes, “Guys, live your life. We’re not going to hurt you. We’re here to inspire you.”  Then the people of Darnah start going, “I love these guys.”  These Arabs that were fighting with Eaton, go, “I can’t believe he’s doing what he said he was going to do.”  He’s going to leave, but he’s going to leave us in charge. And Hammed said, “I cannot believe this.  I’m going to take my rightful place on the throne in Tripoli because Jefferson commissioned it, Eaton pulled it off and Americans are true to their word.”  They fought because they didn’t want to conquer.  They fought to stop the attacks.  We’re well on our way.

Well in that short time, the word gets to Tripoli that we’ve taken Darnah.  They can’t figure us out.  They try to retake the city twice.  By the end of it, they don’t even need the Marines.  The people of Darnah repelled their own army.  So they want to take Tripoli.

Enter Tobias Lear.  Tobias Lear was an aide to Washington.  For some reason, Jefferson liked him, and there’s a lot to go into that, and we discuss it in the book. And Tobias Lear says, “I got a chance to be a hero.”  The guy’s quaking in his boots.  After being repelled over and over again about some type of peace plan, they go, “Oh, Tobias, come on board.  We’re going to give you 303 guys back, and there’s going to be no more payments, no more problems.”  Tobias Lear goes, “Great. Sounds good.” Cuts a deal.  Eaton’s ready. “I need to go to Tripoli.“  They come in and they go, “Oh, we don’t need you to go. We’re going to pull out. We got our deal.”  He was like, “Wait, I promised these guys they were going to have a shot at taking their country back.  I give these guys 2, 3 weeks of freedom.  We can’t leave now.”  ”We’re leaving.  You got a week to get – no you’ve got 2 days to get in the ship with your Marines or we’ll leave you here.”

We come back.  Eaton is beside himself, obviously.  Everyone else cheers.  The real story comes out.  He is greeted as a hero, and this is the story of William Eaton.  His biography was written in 1812, 1815, somewhere around there.  He passes away before the year, before he could actually see it published.  There’s about 1,000 in print.  I got his biography for $109.00 on eBay.  This should be $100,000.00.  It’s the true story.

When I’m reading and researching this, along with Don Yeager, I sense that this is just written by an American.  This is so unbelievable I can’t believe I don’t know this.  I need to get his book.  I get it online. I read the actual book.  It is actually even more extraordinary of a life.  To me, he died of PTSD.  He came back.  He had a series of mishaps, came back, never could reclaim – he thought it was his destiny to take Tripoli and establish an American presence, and when it didn’t happen, it sounds like what we experience now when we hear about our guys and women coming back and experience PTSD.

So we end up in 1815 and Madison finally cleans it up.  After the War of 1812, they started taking our guys again.  Madison sends back Steven Decatur and William Bainbridge and they go and they scoped Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Tripoli. And they say, “Not only do we want our guys back, we want you to pay us for the inconvenience.”  And at the end of this, Pope Pius VII says this about Steven Decatur: “And his men, the American commanders with a small force and in a short space of time, have done more for the cause of Christianity than the most powerful nations of Christendom have done for ages.”

Do you realize what kind of country we’re in?  We’re 20 years old and we’re still trying to do the right thing.  But what problems do we have?  Rules of engagement to begin with. Rogue generals in charge. Made the adjustment. Didn’t go for complete victory. Persian Gulf War in 1992.  Don’t go out and get the American support behind us.  That’s still happening.  Americans don’t have the stomach for a long war.  That’s still the case.  Do we fight fearlessly, relentlessly?  Do we always, when put in battle, come out victorious?  And in the end, do we take their oil?  Do we take their natural resources?  Do we dominate them and make them a colony?  No.  Unlike every nation, especially at that time, we do this thing called leaving.  And when people condemn the Iraq War – and that seems to be the en vogue thing – keep in mind, we gave these people of Iraq a chance at peace.  They didn’t capitalize on it.  We tried and went back again and again to do that.  They decided not to take advantage of it.  And when the story of the Iraq War and this year is done, including Afghanistan, it’s going to be the Americans came in not to dominant and take over, but to give you an opportunity not to be a little America, but a chance to reach your potential. And because you didn’t, don’t blame us.  Because we tried. Give us nothing but credit because that’s what kind of country we are.

It started back then, and we’re wrestling with the same things today.  What is our role in the world?  Should we pull back because America doesn’t want to insert itself arrogantly in other peoples’ affairs?  Well how’s that gone for the last 7 years?  The world is going to hell.  Yeah, take good care of your family first, your country first, but we have an opportunity here because we came to the best place in the world, to the best country on the plant, to do the best we can for mankind.

Do you just worry about your family?  Or do you also worry about the family down the block that just lost a parent and is going to have trouble making their ends meet?  I guarantee you the people in this room care about their family, but they also care about their neighborhood, their town, their county and their country.  Because it’s more than about us, it’s more than about your family, and I believe that’s the same principle we have with our country today.

So we have a leader that decides to give Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq, a chance at freedom. It’s not because we are arrogant America, it’s because we realize that human potential can only be reached without the oppressive government that exists, and these oppressive governments rattle other governments and they make the world a horrible place.  We’re trying to make it a little bit better, and every day I get up saying, not what the country’s done wrong, but man, what we’re doing right.  And when we get it wrong, it’s not because we tried. We had the wrong plan, we didn’t have the wrong effort. We had the right objective.  So I believe that this book is successful, not just because I’m cute, because I am, and not because it’s got a great cover and great publisher, because I do, but I think, fundamentally, the average American, who isn’t as politically involved as the people in your room, can’t be, because they’ve got two or three jobs. They’ve got so many things on their plate.  If you ask them on a daily basis, they’re patriotic.  We saw it after 911 when we were focused and we see it today.  If you could tap into them,, this is what you come up with, and that’s why I think the book did well.

I just hope I exposed other people to other people who lived and died in our country without getting any of the acclaim they deserve, from Steven Decatur to William Bainbridge to William Eaton.  So, at that point, that’s the story of the book.  I can’t thank David enough for having me back.  I loved coming back here and addressing when the book came out on Washington. And I’m definitely open to any of your questions whether it’s about this election, which is so typical, run-of-the-mill, I really don’t know what kind of questions you’d have. Or anything about the book and kind of feedback.

Audience Member: You mentioned that Thomas Jefferson disagreed with the Tripoli ambassador about what was in the Quran.  Could you please expand upon that, ‘cause we know that Thomas Jefferson read the Quran, but did he really disagree that the Quran orders the plundering and the killing of non-Muslims?

Brian Kilmeade: One of the things I researched in doing the book is there’s a little bit of disagreement about what Jefferson thought of the Quran, but I also read the book “Thomas Jefferson and the Quran” by Denise Spielberg, who took exact excerpts and did not think the book was – they felt like it should have been filed under fiction. However, he did see a lot of good things in the Quran and did see how, would actually go to bat to say a Muslim could be President of the United States.  So he did battle for that and he did think that they were bastardizing it.  So if I could encourage anybody to go to a resource to go back, they take actual excerpts from the Jefferson study of the Quran and what he came to believe.

Audience Member: Brian, after I heard you speak at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I bought your book and I thought it was a wonderful read, and easy read. It was just terrific.  It sounded like you wrote it yourself ’cause I’m certain you did.  My question is really regarding today. I mean, we do need that leadership. We do need the people.  Give us a couple of answers about what you see we need to do right now. Politically, what can we do?

Brian Kilmeade: Wow, okay, get your pens out, ‘cause I’m going to change the country.  All right, a couple things.  All right, locally, politically, this might not be the best thing you want to hear right now: The more I read about the past and the more vicious our struggles and debates were back then, I realized this is nothing new. We just didn’t have television and cable.  There were such bitter fights about policy and the direction of the country back when we first started.  In fact, one of the things I found extraordinary is that, when we weren’t fighting this war, there was a big debate on “has America lost their Spirit of ‘76?“ in 1805.  So I know, everyone was like, “Oh, my God, what would the Founders think?“  Well, the Founders know exactly what we’re going through.  Some deals have to be made.  I think the next president has got to be able to cut some deals.  That doesn’t mean you jack up taxes. It doesn’t mean you pull back all our troops. But there is a school of thought on the other side and they get votes.  Our country does not think the same way.  What you do is you work extremely hard and you try to micro-target and you try to convince people of your message. 

I think that when Congressman Ryan, now Speaker Ryan, is starting a plan to attack poverty – because this idea that Republicans don’t like minorities and don’t like poor people is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. But Republicans let it happen because they don’t fight it. They don’t even campaign there. And when Speaker Ryan says, “I’m going to spend 6 to 8 months just going to these minority communities, into the inner cities, and finding out what the problem is.  And now he’s putting together a plan to go forward.  There might be some commonality with Democrats on that, that writing checks to poor people might not be the best way to do it, nor can we afford to do it, but the real problem is the family.  Well, how do you deal with that in the short term and long term?  I believe that there’s some commonality to bring people together.  There’s also some commonality in the criminal justice system reform.  I think that you’ve got to start cutting deals.

The XL Pipeline; here’s a fundamental thing.  The XL Pipeline will be a big boon.  I didn’t think oil would drop so much. Neither, did you.  But they get it done.  So how much do Republicans want it done?  They want it done, okay?  It means a lot for various reasons.  China’s going to get that oil and we want it done.  Well, if Barack Obama was doing what almost every other president would do, he’d say, “Hey, listen, I got this guy Merrick Garland. Really want to get him forward.  You’ve got a 5050 chance of having Hillary Clinton president, and you’re getting a more liberal judge up here.  Before I even go public with my choice, who’s your choice that you might be able to deal with?  And what do you say I build that pipeline.”  That’s the way we used to do it.

Now that might be a no. You guys might be saying that’s not a good enough deal. Well, it’s fine. Just an example, but that’s the way it used to get done.  What do you need? What do we need? We’ve got to get it done.  Unless you get the 60 in the Senate and you have the majority in the House, you could be the most ideological person, you might be 100 percent correct, but in America, we can’t get it done unless you get a deal.  And I listen to the people. The conservatives come on and liberals come on. They’re not moving. They’re not talking to each other.  If you talk about doing a deal with a Democrat or if you’re Democrat, you talk about dealing with a Republican, you’re going to get challenged in your primary.

So I think there’s got to be spirit. We’ve got to get things done.  Pick the points on which you can get along.  That TPP that was put out.  I haven’t read it, but fundamentally, it’s a good idea to combat the rise of China.  What the hell is in it?  Can you explain that to us?  Can you get some Democrats and Republicans on board to explain it quickly, rather than having it vilified? Because in the big picture, the international experts say, the trade experts say it will be a benefit, but not the way it’s written now.  We haven’t seen it. They’re trying to hide it. They’re trying to jam it through.  So some transparency, some walking across party lines and I wouldn’t mind somebody saying, “Don’t reelect me. This is what I’m going to do for the country.  If you don’t like it, don’t reelect me.”  But they’re so scared about losing their seats, as if they’re going to end up in the soup kitchen, that they don’t stand for anything.  Internationally, I think it’s the biggest travesty I’ve ever seen in my adult life.  For 7 years, we told everybody else to run things.

Sarkozy covered our butt when they had the problems.  When he left, when they had problems in Libya and other areas, nobody stood up.  So there’s no one leading in Syria. There’s no one leading against Russia. NATO’s not leading anything. No one’s taking on China. We’re going to Cuba.  We’re making these ridiculous deals with Iran and no one seems to care.  Everyone seems to be scratching their head quietly, privately, but we’re watching a world in which America doesn’t exist. Just stays within its borders, cuts deals with its enemies, and I think this is the most dangerous period in our lifetime.

So I want an America that’s involved.  I know that’s not the most popular thing.  Doesn’t mean we have to call every shot.  Doesn’t mean we can’t cajole them to pay some of the freight.  Doesn’t mean that it’s okay that five of the 28 nations are actually spending as much on their military as they should.  That’s not acceptable.  But for the most part, if you have something that’s not acceptable, can you use this thing called leverage to make it acceptable?  Can you embarrass them publicly?  But don’t abandon NATO because only five nations are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.  Make it better.  Don’t tell me that you want to arm the rebels. You don’t want to arm the rebels. Well, let’s try with barely arming the rebels, pretending to train the rebels, and 250,000 to 350,000 people lose their lives over the last 4 years and have the President of the United States take a bow for it in a big interview in The Atlantic.  There has to be a president that understands we have to get involved in these areas.  Sadly it’s called earth.  We’re the only ones who really understand that and can give the people of this plant a chance at a decent life.  I don’t want to be involved in every country, but we have to do it ourselves to have some influence.  That’s my answer.