ICYMI—Hagerty Joins Mornings With Maria on Fox Business to Discuss Austin Hospitalization, Failed Immigration Policies, Border Negotiations

January 9, 2024

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations and Foreign Relations Committees and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today joined Mornings With Maria on Fox Business to discuss Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s secret hospitalization creating a national security threat, the failure of immigration policies from the Biden Administration that have precipitated an unprecedented crisis at the southern border, and the need for policy changes that force President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to secure the southern border.

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Partial Transcript

Hagerty on Austin’s hospitalization creating a major national security threat: “Accountability is a word that [President] Joe Biden can’t spell, Maria. I certainly don’t expect that coming from the White House, but here’s what happened; let’s talk about the severity of the situation: While Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin was incapacitated, I understand that there were eight attacks on Americans in the Middle East. He was incapacitated, out of business. When did [Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen] Hicks become available that she was the Deputy Secretary? When did she know that was happening? Evidently, she was on vacation in Puerto Rico when she became the acting Secretary of Defense. This is at a time when we have mounting pressures around the world. Here’s what needs to happen: Secretary Austin is a responsible four-star general; he should understand the chain of command. He did not take responsibility at the gravest mistake that I’ve seen our military undertaken—that’s the failure of Afghanistan—but here he ought to ask some very serious questions. What would happen to a subordinate who vacated his or her command and didn’t tell anybody? What should General Austin do in this case? I think he needs to take direct responsibility. I don’t expect the White House to do it, but I certainly think that General Austin ought to be thinking very hard about the responsibility that he takes for this dereliction.”

Hagerty on the Austin situation further exposing the incompetence of the Biden Administration: “I pray that he is okay, Maria; I’m glad to hear that he’s out of intensive care. But our nation needs to be okay at the same time. And whatever happened, whatever failure occurred at the Pentagon, I think it just underscores the fact that this Pentagon and this Administration are so unserious. They’re more worried about their pronouns that they’re fixing over there. They’re more worried about abortion policy than they are about the lethality and the effectiveness of this force. What Lloyd Austin needs to be worried about is our effectiveness and making certain that we’re ready at all times, and the notion that our troops were attacked eight times while he was incapacitated is absolutely shocking to the American public.”

Hagerty on repeated attacks on Americans due to Biden’s Iran appeasement strategy: “All of this goes back to Biden’s appeasement of Iran. Iran is behind everything that’s been happening in the Middle East. Do you think the Houthis built those weapons? Iran is using their technology, using their training, and certainly their funding to unleash this war in the Middle East. This wasn’t happening under President [Donald] Trump. The ‘Maximum Pressure Campaign’ was working. We had Iran’s reserves below $7 billion. As soon as Joe Biden came into office, he stopped enforcing sanctions on Iran, now they’re well over $100 billion by our estimates, and they’re using those funds to come in and disrupt the entirety of the Middle East. We’re losing control of the Red Sea—that’s 15 percent of all of our commerce that moves by sea—what we have right now is an unmitigated disaster. This White House needs to wake up, snap back the sanctions, put maximum pressure back on Iran, and stop the source where it lies.”

Hagerty on the Democrats’ open borders agenda and its impact on the nation: “With respect to our southern border, this is a crisis that has been unfolding ever since Joe Biden came into office. They’re continuing to allow it to mount. I think we all know what’s underlying this: This has to do with the electoral college and with votes. At the end of the day, the Democrat states were plus four about calculations I’ve seen in the 2016 race, in terms of electoral votes that were manipulated based on the over counting of illegal aliens that should not be counted in the system. That number is probably up to seven or eight electoral votes right now, given that seven to eight million people have come into this country illegally. They’re being attracted to sanctuary cities in blue states; that attraction will yield more congressional seats and more electoral votes as a result. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re willing to allow our southern border and our nation to suffer as a result of it […] Why don’t we ask the people in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco? [Illegal immigrants are] overwhelming the system. And what they’re doing is they’re pushing Americans out; we’re seeing people vote with their feet and leaving these states. Again, back to the original point, that’s why the Democrats want to backfill the loss of citizens that are moving to states like mine in Tennessee with these illegal migrants that are going to, again, bump up the count for the next census and give them votes that they don’t deserve in the electoral college.”

Hagerty on the need for policy changes that force President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to secure the southern border: “I think it’s going to be very bumpy here over the next several days, Maria. You’ve seen the Republicans speak en masse when [Senator] Chuck Schumer tried to bring a broken bill to the floor with respect to the supplemental that would include aid for the situation in Ukraine, aid for Israel, and some aid for the Indo-Pacific region. Republicans put that down completely because it did not deal with the border. All of us stood united, all 49 of us. We need to stay united and force this issue to the fore […] I think what we need to do is remain focused. I know that there’s been a good deal of work underway, but I’ve not heard yet sufficient progress to make me think that we’re going to get to where we need to be on the border. And back to where we started, Maria, the most significant crisis, the most significant national security crisis we face right now, is at our southern border. There’s been nobody better than you in reporting on this. Just since October, just since the attacks by Hamas on Israel, we’ve seen over 150 different nationalities apprehended at that southern border. And again, the Biden Administration is looking the other way. As [Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas admitted, they’re processing people in here more rapidly now than ever before and just letting them go. It has to come to an end; we are at a breaking point. The American public is speaking loud and clear. I certainly heard that at home in Tennessee.”