ICYMI—Hagerty talks Border Crisis, America’s Adversaries, Biden’s Weak Leadership at CPAC 2021

July 11, 2021

DALLAS, TX—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) yesterday joined Gordon Chang at CPAC 2021 to discuss threats facing the United States, including the border crisis, Communist China, Russia, Iran, and President Biden’s weak leadership.

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Partial Transcript:

Hagerty on the Biden Border Crisis:  “I warned about [the impending border crisis] at the outset of the Biden Administration. When they collapsed our border, what did they think was going to happen? They’re essentially turning our border into a turnstile right now. They’re not trying to secure our border. They’re trying to accelerate the processing of illegal immigrants coming into our nation. And the result of that is happening right in my home state of Tennessee. One of the first places this was discovered was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, they’re flying unaccompanied minors in the dark of night. […] Senator Marsha Blackburn and I have been very forceful about needing to know and to get to the bottom of this. But the root cause of this problem is the Biden Administration. It’s their knee jerk policy that’s aimed at undoing the very successful policies that President Trump put in place to secure our border. They’ve done this in an immediate and a knee jerk reaction. Some people say there’s no strategy. I’ll tell you, I think there is a strategy. I think the strategy is to flood our nation with these illegal immigrants. I think they’re bringing them to a town near you and me. That’s why I’ve said every town is becoming a border town. And what’s worse is this is bringing illegal drugs across the border. At record numbers. I talk with law enforcement officers, I talk with sheriffs across the state of Tennessee. They tell me they have never seen the likes of the fentanyl that is coming into our state, the overdoses, and the deaths. These are our children that are being killed by illicit drugs coming from China across this porous border that has been created now by the Biden Administration.”

Hagerty on Communist China’s activity in Mexico: “I went down across the border fully a month before President Biden sent Kamala Harris there. A month before I went down to meet with the president of Guatemala and his foreign minister, I went to meet with the foreign minister of Mexico and their cabinet members and business people there. What I learned is that there’s been a massive uptick in China’s activity in Mexico. They are shipping more and more fentanyl and its precursors illegally into Mexico. They’re working with the cartels every day. They’re using Chinese technicians to train the cartels how to do this. They are stamping out illegal drugs at a miraculous rate. And they’re shipping those illegal drugs from China across our border. Again, killing our kids, overdosing our kids, and creating mayhem in America. What we’re seeing happen is the Biden Administration took what was the greatest economy that we’ve seen in my lifetime. President Trump put in place, literally a blue collar revolution bringing about the best jobs environment that we’ve ever seen in the blue collar of America, regardless of demographic did better than ever before. What Biden is creating is blue collar mayhem, causing our kids to die at a more rapid race, more overdoses, people out of work, and people being subsidized to stay out of work. This has got to be brought to an end.”

Hagerty on who benefits from Biden’s weak leadership: “Think about it—coming into office and killing the Keystone XL pipeline and stopping drilling on all federal lands that makes America now less energy independent. It makes us vulnerable to guess who? China. Who do you think makes these solar panels? Who do you think makes the wind turbines? Who’s laughing all the way to the bank as the Biden Administration comes in and administers policies like allow Nord Stream pipeline to go through rejoining the START treaty and getting nothing for it. The Paris Climate Accord, getting nothing for putting us back into The WHO. I’ll tell you who’s enjoying the benefit of this. It’s China. It’s Communist China. It’s Vladimir Putin and Russia. It’s the Ayatollah in Iran that are benefiting from this. It’s the Mexican drug cartels that benefit. And yes, it’s the criminals in America that are benefiting from the Biden policies today.”

Hagerty on standing up to Russia: “[Our adversaries are] testing us at every level. You look at what they did with the colonial pipeline. Solar winds. You look at these things and you think Putin doesn’t know what’s going on. Are there any attacks happening to the Russian government? No, I think not, but we’re giving him a clean pass. We’re saying, oh, you know, we’re going to give Putin a pass on this. We’re going to give them a list of 16 things not to touch. We need to make it clear that America is a sovereign nation, that we’re going to protect this sovereign nation. And we will not tolerate this type of behavior ever.”

Hagerty on Biden’s failure to protect America: “It’s about incentives, Gordon. It’s all about incentives. And these are the incentives that this administration is putting in place. President Trump worked diligently to create the right set of incentives. When I served in his administration as the United States Ambassador to Japan, I worked my heart out to get the Japanese government to stop buying crude oil from Iran. These were hard fought sanctions put in place. It took me months to get that done. We had Iran at a place where they were about ready to actually come to the table and negotiate in a realistic posture. Today, Iran is the beneficiary of China buying millions of barrels of oil, a million barrels a day they’re up to. I read this is because the Biden Administration is not enforcing any of those sanctions. We’re walking away from some of the hardest fought sanctions ever put in place in America. We’re walking away from the migrant protection protocols, the stay in Mexico policy that was working. We’re handing money back over to the WHO. They’re the ones that work to actually propel Chinese propaganda, hide the original source, the original danger of the Coronavirus that’s devastated this world. You’ve seen the Biden Administration step up time and again, getting nothing for the hard effort that we put in place in handing back our leverage, handing back our sovereignty and making America more vulnerable at every turn. And when you look domestically and you hear the conversation about defunding the police, the criminal elements in America are thriving like never before. Look at the crime rates in our cities, it’s happening at every level board.”

Hagerty on Israel: “I made it a point to fly to Israel as soon as the 11 day war ended. You know, 4,000 rockets were launched by Hamas at our ally Israel. You know, who funds those rockets, you know who provides the technology? That’s Iran. I went there to show what Americans truly believe, not what we’re hearing from the minority in the Biden Administration and some of those in Congress, which is being amplified by the media. They actually make it look as though Americans support terror, that we want to be on the side of Iran, but that is not true. I assured our Israeli allies that in Tennessee, whether you’re a Democrat, an independent or Republican, we stand with Israel.”

Hagerty on the Abraham Accords: “When I was in Israel, I made it very clear what we want to see continued movement in this direction. When I met with business leaders in Israel, they want to see this happen too. And if you think about our economic security and prosperity, if we can have economic ties, we’ll see greater strategic ties, we’ll see greater opportunity for people in that region. And we’ll find a reason to have peace rather than war. This is the right direction. And the momentum that was created under the Trump Administration was outstanding. I’m fortunate to have people on my staff that were deeply involved in creating the Abraham Accords. This is the right direction. We want to see peace in the Middle East. (…) Yet we’ve got a team working with the Europeans, not with our Middle Eastern allies, but working with the Europeans right now and with China and Russia to come back into a failed deal with Iran that will put them on the path to have a nuclear weapon. The last thing that we need for peace in the Middle East. It will put tens of billions of dollars back in their pocket, again, to fund more terror in that region and make the entire world unsafe. Who would do this? The Biden Administration would. Who’s got to stand up against this? We do.”

Hagerty on the need for American strength: “I’m a business person. I’ve been a business person all my life. You do not give up leverage like that for nothing. What we’re doing is we’re turning the other way— we’re appeasing. This is the policies that we’ve seen failed before. It’s called leading from behind. We know where that got us. I can tell you where it got us in the region where I was ambassador. It brought North Korea to the fold. It’s allowed China to build up the largest Navy now in the world. We have got to come back and lead from strength. The world is thirsty for American strength, I can tell you that from personal experience. We have to be a strong nation. President Trump taught the world this. We need to step back up and be the nation that we’re capable of being. And that is the greatest nation on earth.”