tv CNN Town Hall John Mc Cain and Lindsey Graham CNN March 1, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
you would expect from a president. >> time now to hand it over to dana bash. we have a town hall. senator john mccain and lindsey grah grah graham. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com [ applause ] live from the george washington university in the nation's capital, this is a cnn town hall with senator john mccain and lindsey graham. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm dana bash. 24 hours ago, president trump stood before congress and made the case for his presidential priorities. now two leading senators will take this stage and take audience questions on issues facing the question. we have reviewed these questions to make sure that we cover a variety of issues and perspectives. there is no subject off limits.
now please welcome john mccain and lindsey graham. [ applause ] >> thank you, sir. and we're off. >> is this court-ordered community service? how did you get some of these people here? >> good to be on the most-hated channel on television. >> we just hope that you can keep that going. senators, thank you so much for doing this. i want to start with you, senator mccain, about the address -- >> we're doing it by age, right? >> age. he said we're doing it by age. >> i translate senator graham's remarks into english. >> senator mccain, in all seriousness, president trump went to congress. >> mm-hm. yep. >> and he laid out a really ambitious agenda that he'll need
you and other republicans to pass. what did you make of what he said? >> well, i think he laid out a positive agenda. frankly, i think it was different from his inaugural address, and i think it was well-received by the american people. i think that obviously his comments about our fallen hero were very moving to all of us. i would have liked to have heard about afghanistan. we have 8400 american troops in afghanistan who are fighting in what has been described to me as a quote stalemate. i would have liked to have heard a lot more about russia. russia is the country that tried to change the elections in the united states. i don't think they succeeded. right now they're affecting or trying to affect the elections in march. they've dismembered ukraine. they've invaded georgia. the list goes on and on. vladimir putin is hell-bent on
the destruction of the european union. so that i would have appreciated hearing the president's views on these pressing national security issues. >> and you mentioned the moving moment where the president paid tribute to navy s.e.a.l. ryan owens and his widow, karen. >> mm-hm. >> owens was killed in a raid in january and the president quoted james mattis who said that the raid generated large amounts of intelligence that will lead to future victories. senator graham, you said you thought the president needed to be careful not to oversell. what did you mean by that? >> well, number one, ryan's a hero, don't you think? [ applause ] so, but anybody who's willing to do that is a hero. the outcome of the mission doesn't make you a hero. the fact that you're willing to go in and fight these bastards over there makes you a hero. i can promise you, there have been a lot of raids in this war
that were dry holes, that the enemy left before we got there and the guys were killed. to me they're every bit the hero not because of the fact of what happened but because they would try. remember when we were told, it's just a few dead enders in iraq? remember when we were told, isil's the jv team? don't go down that road. i don't know if this was a game changer in the war on terrorism. in terms of ryan, it doesn't matter one bit. he's a hero, so i'm sure the president's watching. you did really a good job last night, we need more of that guy and less of the tweeting guy. don't oversell. we'll see if this changed the course of the war. but whether it did or not, this guy peace guy's a hero. >> there's a thing called fog of war, but those who serve and
sacrifice, that doesn't affect their courage and what they've done for our nation by putting themselves in harm's way. so somehow to equate a successor failure of a mission to the courage and sacrifice of those individuals who are involved in it, it's not a connection. it's not a connection. >> are you saying that the president made that connection? >> i'm saying that you do not -- i do not make that connection. i can't speak for the president. but i, i do not make that connection. let me just give you a best example i know. my friends know i was in a prison camp in north vietnam. and there was an attempt to raid on a camp in north vietnam. unfortunately, that camp had just been evacuated a couple days before, but it was an incredible act. and when we heard about it, what do you think it did for our morale, that they were willing to come get us. the mission failed. they were green berets, as we called them at that time.
what they were willing to risk for us was one of the most wonderful things that it happened. so you can't ever deny the fact are serving these incredible our country in uniform to keep the rest of us safe. >> i want to stress, it's not about the outcome. it's about the effort. sometimes missions don't work out. the enemy gets tipped off, on and on and on. the point i'm wanting to say, aren't you tired of hearing about wars that don't pan out. >> 5:00 in the afternoon they had what was called the afternoon follies, and they would talk about missions flown and body count and all the great things happening. we weren't winning. so along comes the tet offensive. and americans decided they had enough. >> i want to get to questions from the audience. >> no. no.
not this audience sgrfrmt wh. >> what do you want to do, cancel the show? >> i want to bring in jamil shaw. his 17-year-old son was shot and kimmed killed by an undocumented immigrant. >> my son was a high school football star that was murdered by an illegal alien. he had everything going for himself. he was doing good, getting recrueltied by stanford, rutgers. he is not here because of the sanctuary city that protected someone who doesn't deserve protection. what will you do, senators to make sure we end sanctuary cities. for example in l.a. where i am from, they won't comply with the plans to end sanctuary cities. what will you do to make them comply? what will you do to make this the law? >> senator mccain? >> obviously, i hope you'll accept the sympathy of all americans for the loss of your son, and i cannot imagine what it would be like as a father of
sons. so please accept our deep and profound sympathy. i happen to believe it's simple. and that is that when laws are passed, federal laws that apply to the united states of america, municipalities cannot exempt themselves. if we have a law and towns and cities across the country decide they aren't going to obey that law, that would be a break down of government. and so i would say that we ought to look at ways that would help convince these cities to observe federal law. and that may mean through how we use federal funds. >> sanctuary cities is a symptom of a greater problem. the best thing we could do to honor your son is to fix a broken immigration system. for ten years along with senator mccain, i've been trying as hard
as i know how to get it fixed rather than yelling about it. in our bill that got 68 votes in the senate that died in the house, you get increased penalties if you come back into the country once you're deported. if you're a felon, you can never come back into the country. all of us get it. nobody wants the bad guys. everybody wants to make sure that our laws are respected. there's a lady holed up in a church right now with two kids. do you want her deported? i don't. what i want to do is keep the people who killed your son from ever coming back to our country, identify them and kick their ass out, and give that lady a chance to stay here by learning our language, paying taxes and getting in the back of the line. that's what i'm for. >> we can secure our borders. we can do it through technology and drones and towers and more border patrol. so we have to have a secure border. but until we have genuine immigration reform, which means
that if you go to, and to work and you don't have verification that you're in the country legally, and that employer hires that individual, then that employer pays a huge penalty for doing so. >> senator -- >> secure the border, and we can have, i was glad last night that the president of the united states made reference to the need for immigration reform. we're all with him. >> senator mccain, senator graham mentioned deportation. i want to bring in another audience member, and it comes from angel garcia. his mother was deported in january after 21 years in the u.s. during a routine check in with immigration officials. she's now the center of a high-profile immigration case. in 2008, she was convicted of using a false social security number, but she had reported to ice every year since. they attended the speech last night and were guests of the arizona congresswoman.
angel? >> it's been four weeks since i watched my mother deported, and now trump is promising new agents to do that to other families. do you, individually, and does your party support the new policies at dhs, and if not, what are you doing to help keep families from being separated? >> well, first of all, i believe that we have to understand that there's a category of people in this country who were brought to this country as children. and that was not their doing. they were brought to this country, and i think that those young people ought to have a chance to become citizens. and i believe that we should deport anyone who's committed a serious crime in the united states, and i do believe that when someone is killed, as this individual's son was, then that's wrong.
so we have to have comprehensive immigration reform, which gives people a path to citizenship, but it's a long, hard, tough path, pay back taxes, fines. >> get in line behind everybody else, but have an opportunity to become citizens of this country. >> senator graham, youoth have talked about comprehensive immigration reform. the president told news anchors yesterday that he is now open to -- >> that's what i said. >> but not, but, but not path to citizenship, legal status. but can i just add one -- i want to add one thing. because today a white house official characterized the president's message as a misdirection play. >> is this the first time there's been mixed messages? i'm shocked. i'm shocked. >> he's going to be judged by whether or not he can solve this problem. i think donald trump has the ability to solve the problem
unlike anybody in recent times. we always pass the bill in the senate like 68 votes. it goes to the house. it always dies. i think trump has the ability to tell the right, this is a good deal, take it. here's what i think. most americans want the man who killed your son to be deported yesterday and never come back. i think most americans want your mother not to have been deported. i can tell the difference between your mother and the person who killed his son. don't you think most americans can see that difference? so what trump is doing is a good thing in terms of getting the bad ombres out. his mother is not a bad hombrett. the thing is to control the border, tell who gets a job, and tell the difference between a repeat offender, a drug dealer, a bad hombre and have you ever
wondered why we're not overrun by illegal canadians. >> hombrett? >> people come here from poor countries to work he. they come to myrtle beach, canadians do. they enjoy them selves and go home. nobody else swims in march. >> july 2005, lindsey graham, joe lieberman, our beloved third ac amigo were asked by david petraeus to participate in a ceremony in saddam hussein's old palace. there were 96 becoming citizens, because green cardholders who join the military can have an accelerated path to citizenship. in the front row are two empty seats with boots on them.
i said what is that? he said those two were killed in the last 24 minutes. my friends, they know what it means to be a citizen of the united states. >> so i want to stay on the subject. a little built it of variation, generally about the travel ban. i want to go to asal rabandi, an army veteran. a question for senator graham. >> senators, i was born in a muslim country. my family and i, along with my brother, we emigrated to the united states as refugees over two decades ago. i'm also a combat veteran of the united states army. my brother is a navy combat veteran of the united states. >> that's better. >> yes. >> maybe one day you'll have an air force person. >> probably. the refugee we banned from
coming to the united states today could potentially be tomorrow's service member, civil servant or an influential of our american society. how would you ensure that we do not hold america's potential pos hostage by banning certain individuals through new regulations. >> and senator graham, as you answer that question, i should say that we're waiting for a revised travel ban from the president any day now. >> and i'm told that iraq will not be one of those seven countries. that's vital, because the iraqis now, we have americans fighting in eeiraq against isis, and we need the cooperation of the iraqi government. >> but asal is iranian american. >> how about thanking you for your service, how about that? [ applause ] >> thank you. >> 3500 american muslims in uniform. and every time you talk disparagingly of the faith, not only do you denigrate those
fellow citizens who are trying to protect you, you make it impossible to have partners within the faith. you're never going to win this war by killing people. you need partners, and let me tell you who your partners are going to be. the vast majority of muslims who do not want to turn their daughters over to isil. i've been to iraq, afghanistan 40 times, mostly with john. most people in the faith are not buying what these nut jobs are selling. so refugees can be infill tralted by terrorists. i don't blame the president in wanting more vetting from countries that are failed states. but the executive order was a huge misstep, because it was rolled out and included everybody, including the girl who is a ph.d. student from iran at clemson, she was visiting her mother -- go tigers -- she was visiting her mother. they took her off the plane in
dubai, is working a start-up company. the iraq translator who braved the enemy to help our soldiers was detained 17 hours in an airport. here's what i hope the preside understands. when you do something like this, if it's perceived as declaring war on the faith, we're all going to lose. if it's perceived as making us more safe and not a muslim ban, we're all going to win. so i hope this new order understands the difference between threats abroad and the fact that muslims not only are great patriotic americans, they're the key to nguyeniwinni war. [ applause ] >> senator mccain? >> i thank you for your service, and i was especially interested in our interpreters. our interpreters, my friends, who literally put their lives on the line to help us in the vital mission of translating between iraqis and our members of the military, and, again, to lump
iraq and iran in the same category, i think, was a terrible mistake, and i'm glad the news seems to be that iraq is not going to be part of those countries that are listed. >> senators, thank you. hold those thoughts. everybody in the audience stand by. we're going to take a quick break. we'll be right back with more of cnn's town hall with senators john mccain and lindsey graham. [ applause ] network it's on. and verizon has been ranked number one for the 7th time in a row by rootmetrics. (man) hey, uh, what's rootmetrics? it's the nation's largest independent study and it ranked verizon #1 in call, text, data, speed and reliability. (woman) do they get a trophy? not that i know of. but you get unlimited done right. (man 2) why don't they get a trophy? (man 3) they should get something. (woman 2) how about a plaque? i have to drop this. my arm's getting really tired. unlimited on verizon. 4 lines, just $45 per line. e*trade's powerful trading tools, give you access to in-depth analysis, and a team of experienced traders
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[ applause ] welcome back to the cnn town hall with senators john mccain and lindsey graham. senators, thanks once again. i want to turn to an audience question. christopher harlig from scottsdale, arizona. >> senator mccain, as a constituent of your state, i want to know if you are doing everything in your power to investigate any claims of foreign interference in our electoral process or in our government itself. and if you are, what do you recommend to those of us who are very concerned about this issue? >> well, first of all, the areas of responsibility that iave as
chairman of the armed services committee, we're looking into certain military aspects of it. i have argued that because of the gravity, if, of the situation, if the russians had succeeded in determining the outcome of our election, that is a deathblow to democracy, and so i believe that we needed a select committee in order to investigate that. now, on the other allegations, the intelligence communities are looking at it, and i'd like to give them a chance to examine the facts and come up with some conclusions before i leap to the need for a whole new special committee. when you set up a special committee -- it's a long process. and so i'd like to give this a chance. but have no doubt, what the russians tried to do to our election could have destroyed democracy, and that's why we've got to pay a hell of a lot more
attention to the russians and the things that they're doing in europe, and right now they're trying to affect the outcome of the french election, which brings up cyber. we are way behind in cyber. >> that is one area that the intelligence agencies say that they're confident that russia tried to meddle in u.s. elections. >> we need to know how, the methods they used, how we can counter, there's a whole lot we need to learn about what they did. >> the second part of investigation is whether or not there was any discussion, collusion and so forth between the trump campaign and the russians. i want to tell you, senator graham, there's new reporting that jeff sessions, a campaign viser to donald trump spoke twice last year with russia's ambassador to the u.s., and counters that he did not
disclose during his confirmation hearing. if true, is a special prosecutor needed now? >> number one, don't worry about john and lindsey graham and others looking into russia. because russia's not our friend. trump, president trump i want to help as much as i can, because he's got a mess on his hands. he seems to get iran right, isil right, this nut job in north korea, he understands the threat. when it comes to russia, he has a blind spot. the bottom line is that putin is disrupting democracy everywhere. democracy's an enemy to every strong man in the world, including putin. if there were contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials, they may be legitimate, they may be okay. i want to know what happened between the trump campaign, the clinton campaign and the russians. because today is the russians. tomorrow it could be the iranians. and to my republican friends, we
should have no joy in our heart that the russian efforts hurt hillary clinton, even though they didn't change the outcome. i promise you, we could be next when it comes to the iranians and to the chinese. so i'm on the judiciary committee with senator whitehouse. i promise you, we're going to look at everything russia, if there were contacts between the russians and the trump campaign i want to know about them. >> you say you're on the judiciary committee. your committee supported jeff sessions. >> yeah. >> he's now the top law official in the country. if he didn't disclose what he apparently did during the campaign, what do you make of that? >> i don't know, it may be an innocent contact. i don't know that he has to disclose everybody he's ever talked to, a special prosecur. >> i think we have to know more about it before we can make a judgnt. >> special prosecutor. >> i don't know that there's anything between the trump campaign and the russians. i'm not going to base my
decision based on newspaper articles. the fbi, if they're looking into this, and they make a -- comey shouldn't decide whether or not to prosecute. i never understood why the fbi director in the clinton case made the decision not to prosecute. that should be the prosecutor's decision. if there is something there, and it goes up the chain of investigation, it is clear to me that jeff sessions, who is my dear friend, cannot make this decision about trump. so they may be not, there may be nothing there, but if there's something there, if the fbi believes is criminal in nature, then, for sure, you need a special prosecutor. if that day ever comes, i'll be the first one to say it needs to be somebody other than jeff. >> i want to ask a followup on a related issue. the "new york times" is also reporting that in the final days of the obama administration, some white house officials, obama white house officials scrambled to spread information across the government about rur russian efforts, including
possible contacts between russians and associates of donald trump. was that appropriate? >> from what you're telling me, and it's really kind of hard to make judgments -- >> i understand. >> that also deserves further scrutiny. but, again, it's hard for me to reach conclusions, when you're just quoting from the latest news -- >> communists by the way. >> understandable. on that note, let's go to another audience member. i want to bring in en enya lubiskaya. with a question for senator graham. >> for senator mccain as well. >> sure. >> good evening. as someone from the former soviet union whose family lived through the uncertainty of the cold war and the nuclear arms race, i would like to ask you, senator, to make the best case for us tonight to why the united states should consider russia a foe, especially in matters
concerning the war on terror and arms control. thank you. >> you can start, senator. >> vladimir putin wants to restore the old russian empire. he's invaded georgia. he's invaded ukraine. he is now attempting to affect the outcome of elections. he's putting enormous pressure on the baltics. one of the greatest men i've ever known, boris thwas killed. they killed him in the shadow of the kremlin. let's know what vladimir putin is. he's a thug, a kgb agent and a killer and treat him as such. what does he understand? strength. that's why we have to rebuild our military, and that's why, frankly, we are not doing enough to rebuild that military and its capability. so all i can say is peace through strength. and i think that that's one thing that vladimir putin would understand.
>> here's the case to the american people. if you let putin get away with this, then we're opening our severs up for endless attacks by foreign entities. let us make our own decisions about who we'd like to be president. putin hates democracy. two critics have died from plutonium poisoning, i don't know how many of you have friends who died from plutonium in their drink. he wants to break the back of nato. he hates coalitions of democracy. he dismembered the ukraine. he's affecting the baltics day in and day out. the democracies in his shadow are under threat. i just got back from france and germany. he went to syria, i went to france and germany, which shows i'm a lot smarter than he is. the french and germans are scared toeath about the russians playing into their elections, the elections are openly helping right wing countries who want to withdraw
from nato and the european union. vladimir putin is not a friend to democracy. he is a crook. i don't know what you make as president of russia, but he's estimated to be worth between $40 billion and $60 billion. either he's the best money manager or a crook. i think he's a crook. and i want our president to stand up and say an attack on one party in america is an attack on all of us. [ applause ] >> ronald reagan dealt with brezhnev and other men, soviet leaders, but he dealt from a position of strength, and for the last ten, eight years, we have let our defenses decline. we have cut spending on defense. we are not ready. we have one third of the aircraft, half the f-18s in the navy can't fly right now. marine corps pilots are flying fewer hours a month than their
russian and china eaese counterparts. they're stealing parts from museums in tucson, arizona. it's the result of eight years of obama and i'm grlad the president is committed to rebuilding our military. what he said last night is not true. that was only a 3% increase, we need a much larger increase in defense spending. >> george sallow from ohio owns a ukrainian restaurant that his father started after emigrating from ukraine. george. >> president trump said recently that he expects the russian government to de-escalate violence in ukraine and return crimea. the budapest agreement was to protect ukraine including crimea. >> and guaranteed crimea to be part of ukraine. >> corct. if my father were still alive, he would wonder, will our
government fail to keep its promises about our security to its citizens the same way it's failed to keep its promises with ukraine? and what is the united states' plan to help ukraine now? >> a couple months ago i went with president poroshenko and met with the front line troops. he gave out medals to some of these brave ukrainian marines and soldiers who are fighting and he gave a medal to a mother whose son had just been killed by a russian sniper. that's pretty moving, and we're not doing enough about it, and we need to help ukrainians, and the first thing that president trump could do is give ukrainians defensive weapons so they can defend themselves against superior russian equipment. they're slaughtering ukrainians with superior equipment, and the obama administration wouldn't give them lethal weapons to defend themselves. >> and your question is a good one. i hope people are following this. after the soviet fell apart, there was, all hell was breaking
out. we went to the ukraine where there are 1200 nuclear weapons stationed in the ukraine. and basically, we said, if you'll turn those nuclear weapons back over to russia at the time, sort of an ally, then we all, including the russians and the united states, will guarantee your territorial integrity. what did putin do? he stepped all over that. so why would anybody trust us in the future. and the last time somebody in europe reached out and grabbed territory by force not belonging to them it led to world war ii. so not only should we never forgive the sanctions, relieve sanctions that exist on the crimea, we should impose new sanctions. >> don't you want russia to pay a price for interfiring in our election in i want the russians to be sanctioned more for interfering in our election, and the last thing president trump should do is relieve sanctioning for taking crimea by force, and
putin will not stop until somebody makes him stop. >> we have another question over here. kelly bennett. her husband is in the army and works closely with the intelligence agencies. kelly? >> good evening, senators, thank you for your service. president trump's open disdain for the intelligence community, possible ties to russia and his off-the-cuff manner in dealing with foreign policy issues and leaders is troubling. my husband serves very proudly, but we worry that he and others may be needlessly sent into dangerous situations due to a combination of those factors. what will you do to help avoid that type of situation. >> first of all, i'd like to thank your husband for his service to our country. i would like to point out that the national security team that president trump has assembled, i couldn't have picked a better group of people. general mattis is revered by all who served under him.
general mcmasters is one of those who really was key in the iraqi conflict in the early days. general kelly is also great. and so we, he's assembled an outstanding national security team. and i'm hoping, i'm not positive, but i'm hoping that he will rely on them for the advice and counsel, because they have the respect of all of us who know anything about the military. so i'm not sure, and i can't look you in the eye and say that that's going to happen, but i am optimistic that president trump will listen to these really brave and seasoned individuals. >> and senator graham, as you respond, i think what kelly was getting at was that she's concerned about some of the statements that president trump has made that could potentially put her husband in harm's way. >> number one, the intelligence community, those in uniform and those who serve in the shadow are really brave. can you imagine what it's like to be a cia person on the
ground? somewhere over there? so the bottom line is, they don't get much credit, because we can't talk about what they do. so i would beg the president to recogni recognize them as the heroes they are. this team around president trump is outstanding. the guy i saw last night can govern this country. the guy i saw last night we can all do business with. but there's one thing that we haven't talked much about. this seems to be military night. i've been to iraq and afghanistan with john mccain, and 40 times. what have i learned? you're never going to win this war through military force alone. the budget the president's proposing cuts the state department by over 30%. that is soft power. and i will tell you, mr. president, obama made a mistake by leaving iraq too soon, we begged him to leave troops. when you draw a red line, you better enforce it. when you let assad get away with it, all hell has broken loose,
so, to president trump, if you destroy soft power, those diplomatic tools that lead to holding and building, we'll never win this war. if you take off the table building a small schoolhouse for a poor young girl in afghanistan, iraq or syria, to give her an education, we'll never win this war, because an education to a poor young girl is far more damaging to radical islam than any bomb. that's got to be on the table. >> after gaddafi -- [ applause ] >> after gaddafi was killed, we went to libya again, and we came back and said, look, the hard part begins. you got to clear the weapons. you've got to enforce the borders, you have to start building democracy. we walked away. look at libya today. that's the example of not using the soft power after the hard power has already been used. >> and i'd just follow that. in 2006 we went to president
bush, this is not working. i made mistakes. >> talking about iraq. >> iraq. i didn't appreciate iraq would be as hard as it was. blame me, but after about the fourth visit, the first time john and i went, we were in a suv. we went downtown and bought rugs and walked around. the second time we why ere in a convoy, the third time in a tank. this is not getting better, and senator mccain, to his credit, during the presidential campaign for our party was a lone voice for saying we need more troops in a war that everybody was tired of, because he understood you couldn't lose it and if we don't have more troops we're going to lose it. president bush, to his credit, adopted the surge, and the surge did work. to president trump, if you take soft power off the table, if you dismantle the state department and we don't have any tools other than military force, you'll be making the same mistake the pore two presidents -- >> we also told president bush he had to fire his secretary of
defense. >> on that note, we're going to have to take a quick break. stand by, everybody. we'll be back with more from cnn's town hall with senator john mccain and lindsey graham. [ applause ] say goodbye to extra taxes and fees on your wireless bill and hello to t-mobile one. right now, get 2 lines of unlimited data for $100 bucks taxes and fees included. 2 line $100 dollars. all in, all unlimited. switch today. on your phone and online.s a modern way to pay.
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[ applause ] welcome back to the cnn town hall with senators john mccain and lindsey graham. gentlemen, we have another audience question. this one comes from sunny adams of south carolina for you, senator graham. >> this is for senator graham. as a republican from my beloved state of south carolina, i fiee as many that you have done much to undermine the president, his administration as well as his calls to safety. i would like to know when and how you would answer to the nearly 60 million constituents who voted republican and want his protection and changes. >> that's really a good question. you know what i hear a lot from republicans? help the president more. i hear from democrats and independents, "save the
country." here's what you can expect from me. what you've gotten for the last20 years. i want to help president trump, but when i don't agree with him, i'm okay with saying i don't. i think his plan for immigration is becoming more realistic, i want to help him win a war we can't afford to lose. my biggest fear is not losing my job. my biggest fear is not not standing up and speaking up when i k it's right. [ applause ] >> lindsey graham and i have a record on national security policy, and i'll go all the way back to ronald reagan. i said don't put marines in beirut. they are bombing the barracks, and 134 marines died. when we saw the war go iraq going badly, we said you've got to fire the generals, the secretary of defense in you want to win this war in iraq. and we started the surge and it
succeeded. then when obama pulled the plug, we said don't do that, otherwise, iraq is going to go back to hell in a handbasket. and i could go on, example after example, where, with our experience and our knowledge and our background, we think we are qualified to make judgments. and for us to just go along to get along with any president, whether it be republican or democrat is an abrogation of our responsibilities to the men and women in uniform and the people we represent. >> and if i could just talk about the times -- [ applause ] -- to my republican friends, we have a unique opportunity, once in a hilifetime. we have both houses of congress and the white house. when i voted for sotomayor and kagan, i got the crap beat out of me at home. now that i'm going to support gorsuch, i'm a hero. here's the deal. i thought sotomayor and kagan
were qualified, even though i wouldn't have picked them. all of a sudden the people who were beating me up are going to say, why didn't you do what lindsey did as a democrat? republican party, i think, is to put the country ahead of everything else, and it all works out. >> my favorite story was when social security was about to go bankrupt, and two old irish men got together in the white house, and they came out in the rose garden together, tip o'neill and ronald reagan, and they said, we're going to save social security, and it's going to be tough and hard. that's because they had a relationship, those two old irish men. they used to get together and have drinks and tell old irish jokes, because ronald reagan established a relationship with republicans and democrats alike. don't you think the american people want us to work together? >> do you think president trump has that capacity? >> i think he has that capacity, i do. >> i think he's a deal maker's deal maker, and i'm going to
meet him soon. we're getting closer. i haven't given him my cell number yet. i've given him the area code, but not the whole number. >> the new one. we already know he ruined the old one. >> here's the deal. he beat me and 16 other people. he beat the former first lady and the secretary of state. what he did was an amazing thing. we should all honor his victory. i do. and i want to help him as much as i possibly can. but i am not going to change my view of the world. i'm not going to tell people in south carolina all of a sudden you can deport 11 million people. there's a difference between his mother and the man who killed his son. if the president sees that, he will have the best friend in john mccain and lindsey graham. let me tell you about john mccain. name one person who's suffered more for his country than john mccain. if you want to rebuild the
military, you're going to need his help. [ applause ] >> i want to bring in another questioner. >> he lies. go ahead. >> dr. dan dirkson from arizona, with a question about health care for senat mccain. >> >> senator mccain, arizona has done well, top five for job growth. almost halved uninsured and hoping for final four appearance for the wildcats. go cats. as family doctor, concerned about the talk about capping and cutting medicaid will just shift the risk from the federal government to states and rural hospitals and physicians and 70 million americans who currently depend on medicaid for coverage. how will you work to make sure we don't return to the days of uninsured in our country or punish states like arizona who
responsibly run their medicaid program through caps and cuts in medicaid. >> thank you doctor and for all you do. in case other audience members don't know here, we were probably hardest hit of any state in america. had premiums went up 150%. every one of our counties got down to one provider. for one, had one county with month providers. nobody was hit harder than our state was. when you look at payments in the thousands and copays in the thousands, and still unraveling, it's our job now to do what we promised the american people in the last election, repeal and replace. first priority is not to leave anyone without the opportunity to have health care. that has to be i think the underpinning of any reforms that we may make. and i would like to give states
that have experimented in a different way an opportunity to follow those experiments. what works in arizona may not work in massachusetts, which got a pretty good program, as you know. first nice thing i've said about massachusetts in years. the people's republic of massachusetts, apologize, just a joke. apologize. so let's give the states the funds and let's let them do some experimentation as to what is best for those states. but there has to be underlying principle. we're not going to throw anybody off of health care to not be able to have the opportunity to ge it. as long as that fundamental principle is there, we'll be fine. >> but dng that senator graham, as you come in here, has proven to be pretty hard. republicans as you said control everything and even deciding amongst yourselves, despite
promised to repeal obamacare for four election cycles, doesn't seem like you're close to getting there. >> we'll get there. if we don't, pay a heavy price. hope the democrats will help us. i remember voting against obamacare on christmas eve, day it passed, jammed down our throats. best we can do is try to get democrats to help us. obamacare, when we passed it, congress was excluded. i said i'll be noble and live like average person in south carolina. i went into the state program and whacked. 58 years old, short white guy, no kids. premiums tripled, deductible went up. this is not health care reform but taking money from one group of people and giving it free to another group. health care is outcomes.
want to change medicaid make sure they don't have to run to emergency room when sichlkt they have a doctor. if you smoke, you ought to pay a little bit more. i want to tie outcomes to own behavior, reward outcomes. medicaid and medicare by 2042 will consume all the money you send in taxes. we're expanding a program that's unsustainable. when you add up unfunded liability of medicare and social security, promises made that we don't have the money for, $72 trillion in next 40 years. if you want us out of debt we need to deal with entitlements. president trump, i hope you're watching, put something on the table. can't take entitlements off the table and run this country. 70% of the money we spend in washington is interest on the debt, medicare and social security. here's how you fix it, younger people have to work a little bit longer because we all live
longer. people in my age group -- >> hold that thought. more to discus. cnn's "town hall" will be right back. ♪ announcer: get on your feet for the nastiest bull in the state of texas. ♪ ♪ (crowd cheers) ♪ companies across the state are york sgrowing the economy,otion. with the help of the lowest taxes in decades, a talented workforce, and world-class innovations. like in plattsburgh,
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welcome back to cnn live at george washington university, senators john mccain and lindsey graham are our guests. thank you again for doing this. you earlier mentioned north korea, and i want to turn to the growing threat from north korea, saying closer than ever before being able to launch a nuclear missile at u.s. and just tested long-range ballistic missile. bring in mike lee, graduate of john hopkins university, family came to the united states from south korea as a child. >> good evening. i just wanted to ask is there a
red line past you would consider military intervention in north korea? >> that's a tough question obviously. and that's why it's tough to be president of the united states and commander in chief. i would argue if we have conclusive evidence that the nor north koreans have the ability for about to launch nuclear missile that would hit the united states of america, given the ruler of that regime, would have to seriously consider preventive strike. but before that, i believe that we should have air missile defense systems in south korea and move through that expeditiously. there's a lot of political turmoil now in south korea as you also know