tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC December 6, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
globe. i have met our wounded warriors. and i've grieved with gold star families. i know better than most that it is because of your service and your sacrifice that we have been able during these eight years, to protect our homeland, to strike crippling blows against terrorist networks, and fortify our friends and our allies. and so today i'd like to reflect on that work and talk about the foundation that we will leave for the next administration. i came to this office with a set of core convictions that have guided me as commander in chief. and i believe that the united states military can achieve any mission, that we are and must remain the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.
[ applause ] i believe that we must never hesitate to act when necessary, including unilaterally when necessary, against any imminent threats to our people. but i've also insisted that it is unwise and unsustainable. to ask our military to build nations on the other side of the world or resolve their internal conflicts, particularly in places where our forces become a magnet for terrorists and insurgents. instead, it's been my conviction that even as we focus relentlessly on dismantling terrorist networks bilike al qaa
and isil, we should ask allies to do their share in the fight, and we should strengthen local partners who can provide lasting security. and these convictions guided the policies we pursued both in iraq and afghanistan. when i took office, the united states was focused overwhelmingly on iraq, where nearly 150,000 american troops had spent years fighting an insurgency and helping to build a democratic government. meanwhile, al qaeda had regrouped in the border region of afghanistan and pakistan, and was actively planning attacks against our homeland. so we brought nearly 150,000 troops home from iraq, consistent with the status of forces agreement negotiated by the previous administration, and
we surged our efforts, along with our allies in afghanistan, which allowsed us to focus on dismantling al qaeda and give the afghan government the opportunity to succeed. and this focus on al qaeda, the most dangerous threat to the united states at the time, paid dividends. today by any measure, core al qaeda, the organization that hit us on 9/11, is a shadow of its former self. [ applause ] plots -- plots directed from within afghanistan and pakistan have been consistently disrupted. its leadership has been decimated. dozens of terrorist leaders have been killed. osama bin laden is dead. [ cheers and applause ]
and importantly, we built a counterterrorism capability that can sustain this pressure against any terrorist network in south asia that might threaten the united states of america. there was because of the work of our outstanding service members. moreover, that early decision to strengthen our efforts in afghanistan, allowed us to build the capacity of afghans to secure and defend their own country. so today, there are less than -- less than 10,000 american troops in afghanistan. instead of being in the lead against the taliban, americans are now supporting 320,000 afghan security forces who are defending their communities, and supporting our counterterrorism efforts. now, i don't want to paint too
rosy a picture, the situation in afghanistan is still tough. war has been a part of life in afghanistan for over 30 years. and the united states cannot eliminate the taliban or end violence in that country. but what we can do is deny al qaeda a safe haven, and what we can do is support afghans who want a better future, which is why we have worked not only with their military, but we've backed a unity government in kabul, we've helped afghan girls go to school, we supported investments in health care and electricity and education. you have made a difference in afghanistan, and america is safer for it. [ applause ] of course the terrorist threat was never restricted to south asia or to afghanistan or
pakistan, even as al qaeda's been decimated in afghanistan and pakistan, the threat from terrorists, metastasized in other parts of the middle east and north africa. and most dangerously, we saw the emergence of isil, the successor to al qaeda in iraq. which fights as both a terrorist network and an insurgency. there's been a debate about isil that's focused on whether a continued u.s. troop presence in iraq back in 2011 could have stopped the threat of isil from growing. and as a practical matter, this was not an option. by 2011, iraqis wanted our military presence to end, and they were unwilling to sign a new status of forces agreement to protect our troops from prosecution if they were trying to defend themselves in iraq. in addition, maintaining american troops in iraq at the
time could not have reversed the forces that contributed to isil's rise. the government in baghdad that pursued a sectarian agenda, a brutal dictator in syria who lost control of large parts of the country, social media that reached a global pool of recruits and a hallowing out of iraq security forces which were ultimately overrun in mosul in 2014. in fact, american troops, had they stayed there, would have lacked legal protections and faced a choice between remaining on bases, or being drawn back into a sectarian conflict against the will of iraq's elected government, or iraq's local populations. but circumstances changed. when isil made substantial gains, first in mosul and then in other parts of the country,
then suddenly iraqis reached out once again for help. and in shaping our response, we refuse to repeat some of the mistakes of the 2003 invasion that have helped to give rise to the organization that became isil in the first place. we conditioned our help on the emergence of a new iraqi government and prime minister that was committed to national unity. and committed to working with us. we built an international coalition of nearly 70 nations, including some of iraq's neighbors. we surged our intelligence resources so that we could better understand the enemy. and then we took the fight to isil in both iraq and syria, not with american battalions, but with local forces, backed by our equipment and our advisers and importantly, our special forces.
in that campaign, we have now hit isil with over 16,000 air strikes. we have equipped and trained 10s of thousands of partners on the ground, and today the results are clear. isil has lost more than half its territory. isil has lost control of major population centers. its morale is plummeting. its recruitment is drying up. its commanders and external plotters are being taken out, and local populations are turning against it. [ applause ] as we speak, isil faces an offensive on mosul from iraqi troops and coalition support. that's the largest remaining city that it controls. meanwhile, in syria, isil's self-declared capital in raqqah is being squeezed.
we've attacked isil's financial life line, destroying hundreds of millions of dollars of oil and cash reserves. the bottom line is, we are breaking the back of isil. we are taking away its safe havens, and we have -- and we -- [ applause ] -- and we've accomplished all this at a cost of $10 billion over two years, which is the same amount that we used to spend in one month at the height of the iraq war. so the campaign -- [ applause ] so the campaign against isil has been relentless, it has been sustainable, it has been multilateral, and it demonstrates a shift in how we've taken the fight to terrorists everywhere, from south asia to the se hel. instead of pushing all the
burden onto american ground troops, we've built a network of partners. in libya, where u.s. air power has helped local militias dislodge a dangerous isil sell. in mali where u.s. logistics and intelligence support helped our french allies roll back al qaeda branches there. in somalia, where u.s. operations support an african-led union force and international peacekeepers. and in yemen, where years of targeted strikes have degraded al qaeda in the peninsula. these offensive efforts have buttressed a global effort to make it harder for terrorist networks to breach our defenses and spread their violent ideologies. working with european allies, who suffered terrible attacks, we've strengthened intelligence sharing and cut in half the flow of foreign fighters to isil. we've worked with our tech
sector to support efforts to push back on terrorist messages on social media that motivate people to kill. a recent study shows that isil's propaganda has been cut in half. we've launched a global engagement center to counter voices that are promoting isil's voices. this is your work. we should take great pride in the progress that we've made over the last eight years. that's the bottom line. no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland. [ applause ] and it's not because they didn't
try. plots have been disrupted, terrorists have been taken off the battlefield. and we've done this even as we drew down nearly 180,000 troops in harm's way in iraq and afghanistan. today there are just 15,000. new partnerships have been built. we've respected the rule of law. we've enlisted our values in this fight. and all of this progress is due to the service of millions of americans like you. in intelligence and in law enforcement, in homeland security, in diplomacy, in the armed services of the united states of america, it's thanks to you. [ applause ] thanks to you. now, to say that we've made progress is not to say that the
job is done. we know that a deadly threat persists. we know that in some form, this violent extremism will be with us for years to come. in too many parts of the world, especially in the middle east, there's been a breakdown of order that's been building for decades. and it's unleashed forces that are going to take a generation to resolve. long-term corruption has rotted too many nation states from within. governance is collapsing. sectarian conflicts rage. a change in climate is increasing competition for food and water. and false prophets are peddling a vision of islam that is ir rec an sileable with tolerance and modernity and basic science. and in fact, every one of these trends is at play inside of
syria today. and what complicates the challenge even more is the fact that for all of our necessary focus on fighting terrorists overseas, the most deadly attacks on the homeland over the last eight years have not been carried out by operatives with sophisticated networks or equipment, directed from abroad. they've been carried out by home-grown and largely isolated individuals who were radicalized online. these deranged killers can't inflict the sort of mass casualties that we saw on 9/11, but the pain of those who lost loved ones in boston, in san bernardino, in ft. hood and orlando, that pain continues to this day. and in some cases, it has stirred fear in our populations. and threatens to change how we
think about ourselves and our lives. so while we've made it much more difficult, you have made it much more difficult to carry out an attack approaching the scale of 9/11, the threat will endure. we will not achieve the kind of clearly defined victory comparable to those that we won in previous wars against nations. we won't have a scene of the emperor of japan and douglas mcarthur in a surrender. and the reason we won't have that is because technology makes it impossible to completely shield impressionable minds from violent ideologies. and somebody who's trying to kill and willing to be killed is dangerous, particularly when we live in a country where it's very easy for that person to buy a very powerful weapon.
so rather than offer false promises, that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs, or deploying more and more troops, or fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat. and we have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained. the time remaining, let me just suggest what i think should guide this approach. first of all, a sustainable counterterrorism strategy depends on keeping the threat in perspective. the terrorist threat is real and it is dangerous. but these terrorists want to cast themselves as the van gard of a new world order. they are not. they are thugs, and they are murderers and they should be treated that way. [ applause ]
now fascism threatened to overrun the entire world, and we had to wage total war in response. communism threatened not only to overturn a world order, but threatened nuclear holocaust, so we had to build arm amts to contain it. they can kill people, but they don't pose an existential threat to our nation. and we must not make the mistake of elevating them as if they do. that does their job for them. it makes them more important and helps them with recruitment. a second and related point is that we cannot follow the path of previous great powers who sometimes defeated themselves through overreach. by protecting our homeland while drawing down the number of troops serving in harm's way
overseas, we helped save resources, but more importantly, we saved lives. i can tell you, during the course of my eight years, that i have never shied away from sending men and women into danger where necessary. it's always the hardest decision i make, but it's one that i have made where the security of the american people is at stake. and i've seen the cost. i've held the hands of our wounded warriors at walter reed. i've met the caskets of the fallen at dover. and that's why i make no apologies for only sending our troops into harm's way when there is a clear mission, that is achievable and when it is absolutely necessary.
number three, we need the wisdom to see that upholding our values and adhering to the rule of law is not a weakness in the long-term, it is our greatest strength. [ applause ] the whole objective of these terrorists is to scare us into changing the nature of who we are and our democracy. and the fact is, people and nations do not make good decisions when they are driven by fear. these terrorists did never directly destroy our way of life. but we can do it for them, if we lose track of who we are and the values that this nation was founded upon. [ applause ] and i always remind myself that as commander in chief, i must protect our people, but i also
swore an oath to defend our constitution. and over these last eight years, we've demonstrated that staying true to our traditions as a nation of laws, advances our security as well as our values. we prohibited torture everywhere, at all times, and that includes tactics like water boarding, and at no time has anybody who has worked with me told me that doing so has cost us good intelligence. [ applause ] when we do capture terrorists, despite all the political rhetoric about the need to strip terrorists of their rights, our interrogation teams have obtained valuable information from terrorists without resorting to torture, without operating outside the law. our article 3 courts have
delivered justice faster than military trials. and our prisons have proven more than capable of holding the most dangerous terrorists. consider the terrorists who have been captured, lawfully interrogated and prosecuted in civilian courts. faisal shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in times square. tsarnaev, the boston marathon bomber. farouk, the underwear bomber. american judges and juries have determined none of these people will know freedom again, but we did it lawfully, and the wheels of justice are turning for others right now, including for the accused leader of the benghazi attacks. we can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are.
and in fact our success in dealing with terrorists through our justice system reinforces why it is past time to shut down the detention facility at guantanamo. [ applause ] this is not just my opinion, it's the opinion ofany military leaders. during my administration, we have responsibly transferred over 175 detainees to foreign governments with safe guards to reduce the risk of them returning to the battlefield. we've cut the population at git mo from 242, to 159. -- from being transferred to prisons in the united states upon ev. even though as we speak, we house dangerous terrorists in prisons across ourountry.
even though our allies often times will not turn over a terrorist if they think that terrorist could end up in gitmo. even though groups like isis use gitmo in their propaganda. so we're wasting hundreds of millions of dollars to keep fewer than 60 people in a detention facility in cuba. that's not strength. until congress changes course, it will be judged harshly by history, and i will continue to do all that i can to remove this blot on our national honor. [ applause ] number four, we have to fight terrorists in a way that does not create more terrorists. for example, in a dangerous world, terrorists seek out places where it's often impossible to capture them, or to count on local governments to do so. and that means the best option for us to get those terrorists becos a targeted strike.
so we have taken action under my command, including with drones, to remove terrorists from the battlefield, which protects our troops and has prevented real threats to the american people. [ applause ] under rules that i put in place and that i made public before any strike is taken outside of a war zone, there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured. and while nothing is certain in any strike, and we have acknowledged that there are tragic instances where innocents have been killed by our strikes, this is the highest standard that we can set. nevertheless, we still have critics who suggest that these
strikes are wrong. and i say to them, you have to weigh the alternatives. drone strikes allow us to deny terrorists a safe haven without air strikes, which are less precise, or invasions that are much more likely to kill innocent civilians, as well as american service members. so the actions that we've taken have saved lives at home and abroad. but the point is that we do have to be careful to make sure that when we take actions, we're not alienating local populations, because that will serve as recruitment for new terrorists. number five, transparency and accountability serve our national security, not just in times of peace, but more importantly in times of conflict. and that's why we've made public information about which terrorist organizations we're fighting and why we're fighting them. we've released assessments of
non-combatants killed in our operations. taken responsibility when mistakes are made. we declassified information about interrogation methods that were wrong. so we learned from past mistakes. and yesterday i directed our government for the first time to release a full description of the legal and policy frame works that guide our military operations around the world. this public information allows for a more informed public debate. and it provides a potential check on unfettered executive power. the power of the presidency is awesome, but it is supposed to be bound by you, our citizens. [ applause ] but here's the thing, that information doesn't mean anything. it doesn't work if the people's
representatives in congress don't do their jobs. [ applause ] if they're not paying attention. right now, we are waging war under authorities provided by congress over 15 years ago. 15 years ago. i had no gray hair 15 years ago. two years ago, i asked congress, let's update the authorization, provide us a new authorization for the war against isil, reflecting the changing nature of the threats. reflecting the lessons that we've learned from the last decade. so far, congress has refused to take a vote. democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war. that's not good for our
military -- [ applause ] -- it's not good for our democracy. and by the way, part of the reason that's dangerous is because today, with our outstanding, all volunteer force, only 1% of the population is actually fighting. [ applause ] which means that you are carrying the burden. which means that it is important for us to know what it is that we're doing and have to explain what we're doing to the public, because it becomes too easy to just send 1% of the population out to do things, even if they're not well thought through. if a threat is serious enough to require the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, then members of congress should at least have the courage to make clear where they stand, not on the sidelines, not on cable tv shows, but by fulfilling their constitutional duty and authorizing the use of force against the threats that we face
today. that's how democracies are supposed to work. number six, alongside our outstanding military work, we have to draw upon the strength of our diplomacy. terrorists would love to see us walk away from the type of work that builds international coalitions and ends conflicts and stops the spread of deadly weapons. it would make life easier for them, it would be a tragic mistake for us. just think about what we've done this last eight years without firing a shot. we'll rolled back iran's nuclear program. that's not just my assessment, that's the assessment of israeli intelligence even though they were opposed to the deal. we secured nuclear materiels around the globe, reducing the risk they fall into the hands of terrorists. all of these steps have helped keep us safe and helped keep our
troops safe. those are the result of diplomacy. and sustained diplomatic efforts, no matter how frustrating or difficult they sometimes appear, are going to be required to resolve the conflicts roiling in the middle east, from yemen, to syria, to israel and palestine. if we don't have strong efforts there, the more you will be called upon to clean up after the failure of diplomacy. similarly, any long-term strategy to reduce the threat of terrorism, depends on investments that strengthen some of these fragile societies. our generals, our commanders understand this. this is not charity. it's fundamental to our national security. a dollar spent on development is worth a lot more than a dollar spent fighting a war. this is -- [ applause ]
this is how we prevent conflicts from starting in the first place. this is how we can ensure that peace is lasting. after we've fought. it's how we stop people from falling prey to extremism, because children are going to school and they can think for themselves. and families can feed themselves and aren't desperate, and communities are not ravaged by diseases and countries are not devastated by climate changes. as americans, we have to see the value of empowering civil societies, so that they're outlets for people's frustrations. we have to invest in young people, because the areas that are generating terrorists are typically having a huge youth bulge, which makes them more dangerous. and there are times where we need to help refugees who have escaped the horrors of war, in search of a better life.
[ applause ] our military recognizes that these issues of governance and human dignity and development are vital to our security. it's central to our plans in places like afghanistan and iraq. let's make sure that this wisdom is reflected in our budgets as well. and finally, in this fight, we have to uphold the civil liberties that define us. terrorists want us to turn on one another. and while defeating them requires us to draw upon the enormous capabilities of all of our governments, we have to make sure changes in how we address terrorists are not abused. this is why, for example, we've made extensive reforms in how we
gather intelligence around the world. increasing oversight. placing new restrictions on the government's ability to retain and search and use certain communications, so that people trust us and that way, they cooperate and work with us. we don't use our power to indiscriminately read e-mails or listen to phone calls, just targeted at folks who might be trying to do us harm. we use it to save lives. and by doing so, by maintaining these civil libertie we sustain the confidence of the american people, and we gethe cooperation of our allies more readily. protecting liberty, that's something we do for all americans, and not just some. [ applause ] we are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of islam.
but they do not speak for over a billion muslims around the world. and they do not speak for american muslims, including many who wear the uniform of the united states of america's military. [ applause ] if we stigmatize good patriotic muslims, that just feeds the terrorist narrative. it fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill. if we act like this is a war between the united states and islam, we're not just going to lose more americans to terrorist attacks, but we'll also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend. so let me final words to you as your commander in chief, be a reminder of what it is you're fighting for, what it is that we are fighting for. the united states of america is not a country that imposes
religious tests as a price for freedom. we're a country that was founded so that people could practice their faiths as they choose. the united states of america is not a place where some citizens have to withstand greater scrutiny or carry a special i.d. card or prove that they're not an enemy from within. we're a country that has bled and struggled and sacrificed against that kind of discrimination and arbitrary rule, here in our own country and around the world. we're a nation that believes freedom can never be taken for granted, and that each of us has a responsibility to sustain it. the universal right to speak your mind and to protest against authority. to live in a society that's open and free. that can criticize a president without retribution. [ applause ]
a country where you're judged by the content of your character rather than what you look like, or how you worship, or what your last name is, or where your family came from. that's what separates us from tyrants and terrorists. we are a nation that stands for the rule of law and strengthen the laws of war. when the nazis were defeated, we put them on trial. some couldn't understand that. it had never happened before. but as one of the american lawyers who was at nuremberg says, i was trying to prove that the rule of law should govern human behavior. and by doing so, we broaden the scope and reach of justice around the world. held ourselves out as a beacon
and an example for others. we are a nation that won world wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. we helped them rebuild. we didn't hold on to territory, other than the cemeteries where we buried our dead. our greatest generation fought and bled and died toll build an international order of laws and institutions that could preserve the peace and extend prosperity and promote cooperation among nations. and for all of its imperfections, we depend on that international order to protect our own freedom. in other words, we are a nation that at our best has been defined by hope and not fear. a country that went through the crucible of a civil war to offer a new birth of freedom, that
stormed the beaches of normandy, climbed the hills of ewiwojima, that saw ordinary people mobilize to extend the meaning of civil rights. that's who we are. that's what makes us stronger than any act of terror. remember that history. remember what that flag stands for. for we depend on you. the heirs to that legacy, our men and women in uniform and the citizens who support you, to carry forward what is best in us. that commitment to a common creed, the confidence that right makes mite, not the other way around.
[ applause ] that's how we can sustain this long struggle. that's how we'll protect this country. that's how we'll protect our constitution against all threats, foreign and domestic. i trust that you will flip that mission. as you have fulfilled all others. it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your commander in chief. i thank you for all that you've done, and all that you will do in the future. may god bless you, may god bless our troops and may god bless the united states of america. [ applause ] >> all right, that was president obama finishing up, he is at mcdill air force base down there in tampa, florida. this was billeda as the final major national security address that barack obama would be delivering as president. those remarks running just over 40 minutes there. again, the president just wrapping up.
could split it into a couple different sections there. we started with a defense of his own record, his own decisions on issues ranging from iraq to afghanistan, al qaeda, isis. then also the second half of the speech, the last 20 minutes or so, focused on where he thinks -- things that he thinks the country should keep in mind after he steps down as president, january 20th, next year. much of that section of the speech certainly will be read very closely, watched very closely for messages he's trying to deliver to his successor, donald trump, who, again, is taking office just a few weeks from now. so president obama, wrapping up that speech, nbc pentagon correspondent hans nichols has been traveling with president obama. he is in the back of that room. hans nichols, there was sort of a mix there. we got a mix of the defense of withdrawal of troops from iraq a few years ago, some clear shots there, some people might even say, at donald trump. >> reporter: well, steve, you're
right. that was a clear rebuke to donald trump, especially on this issue of a religious test for muslims. a lot of strong language coming from the president. at the very end, we also heard a thank you from president obama to these troops who are here listening and cheering on their president. this was the first post presidential speech barack obama gave. he sounded like a historian, like a law professor, when he's laying out in six bullet points what we wants his counterterrorism strategy to be remembered for. and you're right in saying, it was remarkably defensive, not just to attacks on the right. napeltly was he responsible for the proliferation of isis during his presidency. but also drone attacks, and also guantanamo, saying, yes, he's transferred 175 troops, that base just a few hundred miles south of here in cube a remains open, there are 59 detainees still there.
so i thought it was a defensive president. at times, he was rousing the crowd, at times almost losing the crowd to what he thinks the approach to counterterrorism should be. >> you see the president working the room right there, hans, thanks for that. for more, let's turn to retired army colonel jack jacobs, also steve clemens, editor at large for "the atlantic." thank you to both of you for joining us. a lot to unpack here, but let's start at the back half of the speech, which i think a lot of people will read as a message to donald trump. and there were some real specific moments there that jumped out at me. the president talking about, saying we are not going to defeat terrorism by dropping more bombs or fencing ourselves off. of course donald trump campaigned on that theme of bombing the blank out of isis. obviously the wall. he also said -- the president said, when we win wars, we do it
without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. and donald trump made a point of emphasis in this campaign, saying we should have kept the oil. so a couple clear shots there, but colonel jack, what did you make of that? >> one thing to keep in mind is that dropping bombs on people is exactly the strategy this president's used. doesn't make it a bad thing. it's been very, very successful, as a matter of fact. targeted strikes on the infrastructure of isis has paid big dividends and he said so himself. what we're relying on is the training of indigenous forces to hold on to what we give them. that's a tougher thing to do, and i don't think we're going to be successful unless we stay there a long, long time. >> what were you hearing, steve? >> two speeches came to mind listening to this one. one was president obama's speech at the front of his administration in cairo in which he talked to the middle east about how we valued the lives in the region, how they needed to
sort of build society. that seemed to be missing entirely from this speech. so when you look at the book ends of the obama administration from where he started and where he just ended, it was a defensive lecture. the other is eisenhower's farewell address in which his concern was a jack kennedy coming into office, full of bluster, full of readiness to take on the soviets, and eisenhower trying to caution against a recklessness that was coming after him. and i think that's essentially what president obama's trying to do with donald trump. when you compare the two speeches, i think the president didn't quite hit the mark, this president, because i think that donald trump is not going to hear that lesson from here. i think he's going to hear a defensive man who went deeply into the weeds on the kinds of national security bets that obama did, and despite advocating strategic restraint and bombing in some places here and there, nonetheless, the package hasn't ended up as a
transformational change for the region. >> it's interesting. but those are the two things that come to mind. >> you mentioned eisenhower. kennedy didn't listen to eisenhower either. >> that's right. >> his inaugural address, was take note, the torture freedom has been passed to a new generation. [ all speak at once ] >> kennedy did come back to eisenhower and say, i wish i had listened to bay of pigs, on other things that -- >> this is a theme we see across presidencies, isn't it? the sort of idealism they come in with, or the agenda they come in, just serving in that position changes them, changes their view of the power that they have. i imagine that's the case with president obama after these eight years. >> no, i think that's exactly right. but i think there's some very, very important lessons in president obama's speech. i wish it hadn't been quite in the weeds, because people aren't going to hear them. when you talk about the power this country has to transform, what he was saying about strategic restraint, about not
going in to build nation, not going in to do certain things that won't resolve those conflicts is a very important lesson. it was good for him to outline those, because i think that's going to be donald trump's biggest weakness, people looking for muscle, when it's the restraint of muscle that may be more in our interest and called for in this situation. >> you know, i think what was interesting is what he didn't talk about. he talked about unconventional war. he talked about taking out isis. he talked about terrorism. but he didn't talk about large-scale nation states who are also strategic threats. president obama talked sometime ago about making a pivot towards asia. asia's a big problem at the moment. it's a fragmented area. everybody's worried. it's interesting that he didn't address any of the conventional threats, didn't address any of the economic problems that exist in europe and elsewhere. >> there was -- there was a heavy emphasis on terrorism. he said he wants to keep the
threat in perspective, also at least to my ears, what was noticeably absent, was any mention of russia. >> that's right. >> and we're on the verge here of donald trump potentially taking the u.s. relationship with russia in a very different direction. obviously the democrats, president obama, his party and this campaign, were warning against that. not a mention of it today, though. >> clearly the president is not challenging donald trump on russia, he must feel that's a red line that would inhibit trump's ability to hear the lessons that president obama's trying to convey here. the other piece was missing, though, he did say that congress needed to stand up and express its vote on these things. in previous speeches about drones, about quantity month, about this kind of new world of war that the united states continues to be in, the president has usually critiqued congress, saying you have oversight over me, the president, that was also missing from the speech and i'm surprised by that.
because the growing power of the executive over all of these issues has been something widely dwited both on the right and the left. so that was another segment i was surprised not to hear quite as much, because donald trump needs to hear that as well. >> the failure at the capitol hill end is not all their fault. there's a certain amount of leadership the president needs to exercise. he has to be able to get down to the other end of pennsylvania avenue and get them to do what he wants to do. there's been an isolation here for a wide variety of reasons and it's not all the congress's fault. >> thank you both for hanging out with us during the speech and offering thoughts after. appreciate it. going to squeeze in a quick break here. earlier this hour as president obama was starting those remarks down there in florida, donald trump's plane was taking off for north carolina. you see it right there, getting ready to leave laguardia airport here in new york city. donald trump continuing what he's calling his thank you tour, hitting up a lot of those states that voted for him on november 8th. this is one of multiple stops
trump is making this week. coming up, we'll go live to fayetteville, north carolina. we'll preview that speech donald trump is making tonight, and special guest who is apparently going to be joining him on stage. stay with us. [ sneezes ] i have a big meeting when we land, but i'm so stuffed up, i can't rest. nyquil cold and flu liquid gels don't unstuff your nose. they don't? alka-seltzer plus night liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms. plus, unstuffs your nose. oh, what a relief it is.
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reaction, congressman chris collins, republican from new york. he was one of the first republicans to support donald trump in his presidential bid. congressman, thanks for taking a few minutes. >> good to be with you, steve. >> i know you had some votes this hour. i'm not sure how much of that speech you were able to hear. but it was striking to us. at least the back half of the speech seemed to contain a number of messages that were aimed for donald trump. the president saying the war against terrorism wouldn't be won by dropping more bombs or fencing ourselves off from the world. of course donald trump has talked about bombing the blank out of isis, has obviously called for the construction of that border fence along the southern wall. he talked about, the president did, saying our country's tradition is we win wars without grabbing the resources of those we defeated. donald trump talked about wanting to take the oil from iraq. i guess my question is, if the president was trying to deliver a message here, about what his values are, when it comes to national security, the values he
wants donald trump to keep in mind as president, do you think he has a receptive audience in donald trump? >> no, steve, i would say most of those would be rejected out of hand. we have, you know, isis as it is now, didn't even exist when president obama came into office. so donald trump is going to deal with them from a position of strength. he's going to make sure our allies are involved, but that he's going to be calling the shots. he has pledged to defeat isis or certainly minimize what threat they are to america versus where we stand today. so, no, i would say with a certain level of assurance that those empty words from president obama did not resonate with president-elect trump. >> so in terms of national security, though, major decision facing the president-elect. no secret to anyone, the secretary of state. we've seen all sorts of names put out there in the last few days. we were told last week, they were down to a final four, now
apparently the list has expanded. but i'm wondering, when you look at that list, there's such a wide range of potential choices there. i've seen john bolton's name mentioned. he remains a champion of the iraq war. donald trump campaigned saying that was one of the biggest mistakes this country ever made. how much will this secretary of state pick tell us about donald trump and the direction he'll go when it comes to national security as president? >> i wouldn't read too much into who the person is that he picks, because this is going to be donald trump's vision, donald trump's strategy. others will be implementing that strategy, and taking their marching orders from president-elect trump, so i wouldn't read as much into who the person is, as you might think, because donald trump's going to be calling the shots. certainly not micro managing, but as there have been some other cabinet selections that people wondered about, you know, it is donald trump that's going to call the shots. the secretary of state is going to take the lead from that. so i'm not really too concerned
about someone that may have said something a year ago, five years ago, or had a position. the position today is the position of donald trump and certainly in the case of terrorism, it is defeating isis and minimizing the threat to america. >> very quickly, are you in this camp of trump supporters we've been hearing about? we said you were one of the first -- you were the first member of congress to endorse him. we've been hearing that people who were loyal to trump during this campaign, the most loyal, do not like the idea of mitt romney being picked for secretary of state because of all the things he said during the campaign. are you one of those trump loyalists who feels that way? >> yeah, obviously you didn't watch cnn when i spoke rather directly to mr. romney, governor romney. i still stand by those comments i made, but i've been clear, i will support governor romney, if he is chosen. but, yes, myself and newt gingrich and kellyanne conway are probably the three most forceful individuals saying we did not like that choice, but we will stand behind that choice if that's what president-elect
trump does. >> congressman chris collins from new york, thank you. >> good to be with you. meanwhile, that victory tour, that thank you tour, that plekt donald trump is taking will be heading to fayetteville, north carolina tonight, near ft. bragg, chris jansing is outside the crown coliseum there, where the event will take place. chris, set the scene for us. >> gratefully we've moved inside. it's been raining off and on. i think you'll see a different tone from president obama when he was in front of the military. this is the heart of the military. 53,000-plus. many have done multiple deployments in iraq and afghanistan. the man that president-elect trump is bringing with him, the defense secretary nominee, general mattis, very popular here, even in talking to democratic politicians, but he's very different in many ways than the president. he's been critical of this
administration's policies on isis. obviously many of the messages that we heard today from the president on things like torture, aimed squarely at donald trump. and also the crowd here, as they waited outside in this on and off again rain, they did seem to be very similar to ones that i saw, who waited in line for campaign events. couple of times breaking out into shouts of "lock her up," obviously a familiar refrain that we even heard on the first leg of this thank you tour when the president-elect was in cincinnati several days ago. here we're also looking to see what size crowd he gets. now of course people may be coming after work, this coliseum holds, steve, about 8500 people. i would get they're probably under a thousand at this point, but these are fervent trump supporters, many of them looking for a message about a strong military, something they feel they have not had, and putting
more money into the military, steve. >> chris jansing, down there in fayetteville, north carolina. again, donald trump's thank you tour will take him to that venue a short while from now. thank you for that. that is going to do it for this hour. i'm steve kornacki and "mtp daily" starts right now. ♪ >> if it's tuesday, president obama tries to secure his national security legacy. >> tonight, president obama touts his national security legacy. >> we can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are. >> and encourages the president-elect to follow his lead. plus, culture war confusion. did voters, in both north carolina, and all over the country on marijuana, signal the end of the culture wars? or is trump's election a new beginning? and boeing learns the power of the new presidency. how just a word or a tweet can mean a wallop or a windfall for corporations