WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined John Roberts on America Reports to discuss the consequences of President Joe Biden’s so-called gaffe statement about Vladimir Putin, and his meeting this morning with nominee to the Supreme Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Hagerty on the dangers of Biden’s so-called gaffe: “I served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan before becoming United States Senator. Our words matter, particularly in a diplomatic setting, particularly overseas, and President [Joe] Biden needs to be very considerate and thoughtful about what he says, not to find ourselves in a situation like this. In fact, what he’s doing is also fueling the propaganda machine in Russia. This is pushing [Vladimir] Putin further into a corner. I don’t think this is safe. It’s dangerous.”
Hagerty on the ramifications of Biden’s negligence: “It’s just shocking to me to see this sort of behavior. May I go back to the press conference—the second press conference that President Biden had maybe five or six weeks ago. And there he, again, blurts out that maybe a minor incursion is something that we wouldn’t respond to, in essence inviting just such a thing to happen. So, there needs to—as you, go back to the words you originally used, John—to check himself, to realize that his statements matter. He’s the leader of the United States—the leader of the free world. These words have consequences.”
Hagerty on the need for America to speak from a position of strength: “I think speaking from a position of American strength is always where we need to be coming from, John. But as you say, not off the cuff, not offhand remarks, not slipping up and walking it back with statements that clearly could feed paranoia. Very dangerous.”
Hagerty on Russia-Ukraine peace talks: “I certainly understand Ukraine’s desire to do this. I think President [Volodymyr] Zelensky’s been very good about putting Ukraine’s interests first. He’s leading from a Ukraine first standpoint. After the Budapest agreement again, signed by the United States, the [United Kingdom], Russia, they have every reason to be concerned and want to broaden any type of agreement, any type of security guarantees they could get. This is aggressive. I don’t blame the president of Ukraine for asking for this at all. We’ll see how it goes.”
Hagerty on his meeting with Judge Jackson: “One of the things that I mentioned when I was running for this office is that one of the most significant decisions that a United States Senator can ever make is regarding a U.S. Supreme Court justice. So, I had a very pleasant meeting with [Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson] this morning. I had an opportunity to dig into her judicial philosophy, how she will apply the law. I’m still working through that. She answered some of my questions, and I’ve got more to go.”
Hagerty on the need for Judges to apply the law as written: “I really want to make certain that the law is applied as it’s written; that we don’t have judges that are stepping beyond the bounds of the law. I’m also concerned about judges’ desire to pack the court, for example, or change the dynamics of the Administration, of the system.”