ICYMI—Hagerty joins The Evening Edit to discuss Ukraine, Russia Crisis

January 25, 2022

“If you look at what’s happened at our Southern border— we won’t defend our own border— how do you think the Ukrainians expect us to help them defend theirs? It’d be a hard sell to the American public, I can tell you that.”

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) on Monday joined Liz MacDonald on The Evening Edit to discuss the crisis in Ukraine and the Biden Administration’s failure to stand up to Russia.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on State Department beginning evacuation in Ukraine: “Liz, it takes America back to the Afghanistan debacle. They don’t even know how many Americans are there. I can assure you it’s far more Americans in Ukraine than were in Afghanistan. Again, we’re found not prepared for this. It’s going to be a very, very difficult situation. I know that the State Department has already made the call to begin to move certain people out of the embassy already. It’s one of the last calls that an ambassador would do. It’s going to set a new wave of concern off among the people of Ukraine. It’s going to send a pretty strong signal to Vladimir Putin as well.”

Hagerty on the need for America to speak through strength: “Every one of the things that you mentioned, Liz, you know, we’ve got a tremendous number of tools at our disposal. We can sanction them. We should have been doing this already, though. The Biden Administration again holds back. They send signals that I think just are very difficult for anyone to interpret other than weakness as Congressman [Darrell] Issa said. If you look at what’s happened at our Southern border, we won’t defend our own border. How do you think the Ukrainians expect us to help them defend theirs? It’d be a hard sell to the American public, I can tell you that. If you think about the entire posture of the Biden Administration, it has been one of capitulation, appeasement, and weakness. We need to be speaking from strength, just like President Trump did. There’s a reason that Putin never tried this type of thing when President Trump was in office. Because we were talking about America first then, we were speaking through strength. And now what we’ve seen is a reversion back to a place even worse than the Obama Administration. Putin is reading the cards, I think very carefully. He saw what happened when the [New] START Treaty came up. He got an extension in exactly what he wanted and had to give nothing in return. They were barely touched for the Colonial Pipeline, and then President Biden shows up with a list of 16 industries that Putin should not touch. I guess that leaves the rest of America completely vulnerable. Nord Stream 2, there are mandatory congressional sanctions that this Administration refuses to enforce them. And as oil prices go up, in fact, Putin’s helping that happen, he’s becoming richer by the day. Everything’s moving his way. Why not step up and take advantage of this situation too?”

Hagerty on resolve over rhetoric: “I think it sends exactly the wrong message, as you know, Liz. I mean, I think that’s implied in your statement, and I think Xi Jinping is watching this very carefully. The words minor incursion, when that came from President Biden last week in the press conference, I’m sure Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un, the Ayatollah in Iran, all of them cracked open their dictionary to find out exactly what that meant they could get away with. This is exactly the wrong type of signal to send. We should be stepping up now. I would go a step further, actually. I think the Congressman is right in terms of the posture that we need to adopt, but I think we need to begin imposing sanctions right now to give President Putin not only a taste of the pain, but of our resolve. That’s what we need to see right now. Not rhetoric. We’ve got plenty of rhetoric. We need to show our resolve right now. We need to demonstrate that with deeds.”