Earlier this afternoon Fox News Radio's Guy Benson sat down with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to discuss a variety of topics including her overall view of the Iranian threat, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's comment on calling the southern border detention centers concentration camps & her reaction on the breaking news that the House of Representatives has approved a combination spending bill which would automatically renewed the Hyde Amendment, barring the use of federal dollars for abortion services.
Guy Benson [00:00:00] We're back. Thanks for being here. Joining me on the line for the first time on the show is Senator Marsha Blackburn Republican of Tennessee. She serves on a slew of committees she was elected to the upper chamber in 2018 senator is great to have you here. Thanks for joining me.
Sen. Blackburn [00:00:16] Listen it is so good to be with you and thanks on a great show that's doing so well.
Guy Benson [00:00:22] I appreciate.
Sen. Blackburn [00:00:23] You're doing a great job. Guy Benson [00:00:25] Thank you very much.
Guy Benson [00:00:26] I have to ask you just to get going here. You were in a briefing earlier today was classified on intelligence regarding Iran. Clearly I'm not going to ask you to divulge anything that you can't. But now that you've had that information presented to you what is your overall view of the Iranian threat and what the U.S. government ought to be doing.
Sen. Blackburn [00:00:47] Guy I you know I'm one of those that has believed that Iran is a part of the new axis of evil with Russia and China and North Korea. And I will just say that there is compelling evidence to show why we would hold Iran in that position and there they're continuing to be a bad actor.
Guy Benson [00:01:12] OK. We'll leave it at that. I think that makes sense do you think that the president just one follow up The president says and the secretary of state said they do not want war with Iran. Are there options on the table that would be short of war that would still send maybe a stronger message to that regime and what do you make of comments from people like Bernie Sanders and others who say they don't believe the intelligence that Iran for example was attacking these oil tankers recently.
Sen. Blackburn [00:01:39] I do believe that there are other options. And I I put a good bit of stock in what Secretary Pompei says. Mike Pompeo brings not only a diplomatic skill but he also has a military background. And to know that he is looking at these issues that are of tremendous concern to not only us but our allies. That is something that I am encouraged to know that there is a certain insightfullness and thoughtfulness and stability to his choice of words and his choice of how he pursues and moves forward with situations like we have with Iran.
Guy Benson [00:02:29] Senator you gave a list of some countries that pose challenges to the U.S. including Russia including China. There was a dust up on the Senate floor recently where Mark Warner a Democrat from Virginia came out and said I would like unanimous consent we should pass a bill that requires any U.S. politician federal politician who gets approached by a foreign government would help for their campaign or dirt on the campaign the foreign interference question. We should make that illegal. You objected. You were the Republican sort of in the chamber you objected at the time you've gotten a lot of heat for that. I'm wondering if you just explain to us why you decided to object because at least in theory on the surface it seems like a pretty unobjectionable idea.
Sen. Blackburn [00:03:14] And on the floor. I made the point that we all are opposed to foreign interference and I commended my Democrat colleagues for finally realizing that bad actors do not wish us well whether they're Russia or China or others that have tried to interfere in U.S. policy. And I actually told a story of when I was a Four H club member back in the 60s and was hearing about what the Communists and the Russians wanted to do to our U.S. way of life how they wanted to undermine us and for decades we have seen many from the left push back on this when we would heighten our concerns. And indeed you had Barack Obama publicly chastise Mitt Romney in a presidential debate because Romney pointed out the threat that he felt that Russia was to us and yet our nation's sovereignty. And so I recalled all of that and then also highlighted some of the things that had been done by the Democrats. They wanted an insurance policy against Donald Trump. You had Obama say in Medvedev tell Putin that I'm going to have more flexibility after the election. The list goes on and the point is this these are bad actors you don't want them to interfere. What Mark Warner was seeking to do that day after the last vote had been called and a substantial amount of time had passed and most people had headed to the airport to go home and work for the weekend. He went to the floor to seek unanimous consent on a bill that. Was hastily and poorly written so much so that every vendor who would work for a campaign would have to go through any contact with a foreign national that was employed with them. It would have to be given to the FBI every participation would have to be listed. Anytime you knocked on the door you would have to identify yourself as working on a campaign and ask the person in the door. Are you a foreign national.
Guy Benson [00:05:30] So it sounds like you were concerned about the process of how they tried to introduce this sort of with a lot of people not even there to read it. And then some of the substance in the bill. You're not opposed to the underlying idea of preventing and taking tougher measures against foreign interference.
Sen. Blackburn [00:05:47] Guy This was so beneath the dignity of the chamber and it was not. This is an issue making certain that our elections are safe and secure is an issue that should be thoughtfully discussed and measures should be taken in a thoughtful manner it should not be something that is hastily written taken to the floor demanding unanimous consent turning around and using it to raise money off of and to say look at this Republicans don't want to have this that or the other done that is disrespectful of the offices that people hold the office of the Senate and disrespectful and beneath the decorum and conduct of the Senate.
Sen. Blackburn [00:06:37] Senator. Speaking of flippancy and partisanship I want to play for you the latest comment from Alexandra Ocasio Cortez. She two days ago basically accused the Trump administration of running concentration camps who used the term never again which of course is a Holocaust reference she was asked about this. Liz Cheney a Republican in the House really fired at her AOC to TMZ earlier in cut 28 said.
AOC AUDIOCLIP [00:07:02] This is surprising to me that of all people it's Elizabeth Cheney that's coming to the defense of separating children. From their parents at the border. The academic definition of concentration camps. Are. Targeting a community. Putting them. In detention camps. Without a trial. And that's what the government is doing. That's what the Trump administration is doing.
Guy Benson [00:07:29] So she is doubling and tripling down on concentration camps she gave that really wrong definition of what a concentration camp entails. What do you make of that kind of rhetoric Senator when we're dealing with a crisis at the border and we have members of Congress saying that it's invoking the Holocaust.
Sen. Blackburn [00:07:47] I think this is probably a young lady who should finish her education on what concentration camps were. And I would think also that she probably has not talked with someone who actually experienced a concentration camp. And she may want to circle back and have conversations with some of those precious individuals who were a part of that who were in a concentration camp. Those stories are so heartbreaking and just gut wrenching. And I think that she Miss Ocasio Cortez may want to show some respect to those individuals and have those conversations. Another thing I I think I had I heard today that she most likely has not yet visited the border and visited one of these facilities and she may want to do that and actually talk with some of these border patrol agents who are on the frontline every single day and are spending a lot of their time and effort and the Border Patrol's operational budget to meet the needs of those that are breaking the law and coming into the country illegally. I was on the border last weekend at El Paso and one of the facilities built to house 85 people holding twelve hundred. Another built to house 123 holding 12 hundred. You've got one facility spending twenty six thousand dollars a day on food and another spending forty eight thousand dollars a day on food and housing. This is to the extent that the U.S. government and the U.S. taxpayer is going to make certain that the needs of these individuals are are met. From what I've heard about concentration camps people went there knowing that at some point they were probably going to die and that freedom may not ever have been theirs. And I would just urge some caution and a little more understanding on that topic.
Guy Benson [00:10:21] Senator Blackburn It just came across breaking news out of the House the lower chamber which you served in for a number of years you're now a U.S. senator. They've passed a spending measure that includes the Hyde Amendment which means no taxpayer funding for most abortions. That's becoming again a major issue where it seems like it is now the official position of the Democratic Party to undo the Hyde Amendment and to force taxpayer funding of abortion. You've been one of the greatest champions on the life issue in my view in the United States Congress. I think that's really helpful especially as a woman. I wonder what you make of even seeing the moderates quote unquote in the Democratic field for the presidency abandoning something that was a bipartisan compromise for a long time on on taxpayer funding.
Sen. Blackburn [00:11:09] You know this has been the position of so of Congress to support the Hyde Amendment. Bear in mind also that the Democrats previously in decades previous and years previous they would say well abortion should be safe legal and rare and they have now abandoned that rhetoric and say instead that abortion should be available and on demand. And this is something that should receive taxpayer funds. Of course I disagree with their opinion, but I think most Americans will disagree with where they are on it thus allowing abortion in the third trimester allowing it to the day of delivery allowing a baby that survives a botched abortion to suffer that double jeopardy if you will and let the mother make the mind up of whether the baby survives or the life is taken. I mean this is inconceivable and. Guy I think that many women have changed their mind about being pro abortion or pro life and they've done it based on science. You know they see that ultrasound or a sonogram and the 3-D imaging in those ultrasound snaps they see that baby with the features taking shape. They hear that heartbeat and they're beginning to say oh wait a minute. Yes indeed. This is a life and I'm going to do what I can to protect that life. And when you have a gender reveal parties I had the opportunity of participating in one for my goddaughter and her husband just a few weeks back in the excitement that goes into that and knowing that that baby in this case is going to be a little boy and knowing that they are already choosing the name and making those plans. That's not a blob of tissue. It's not an option that is a life. And I think most women realize now that when you discuss the issue of abortion this day or two lives in two futures at stake and that is why more Americans especially the millennial generation are saying no you should never use taxpayer funds to pay for this.
Guy Benson [00:13:44] Senator last question we have about a minute left the president in Florida last night kicking off his re-election campaign. He was in Tennessee for you in 2018 as you went on to win that race. Brett Kavanaugh flashpoints certainly had a role in energizing a lot of Republican voters across the country. You know the people of Tennessee very well. What do you make of President Trump's re-election bid and how that's playing in your home state.
Sen. Blackburn [00:14:11] It is playing very well. Tennessee and I will tell you to a person is that the economy is better you know we're down to three point two percent unemployment. Everybody that wants a job can get one. I've talked to so many people who have picked up extra work on the weekends because it's fair and it's available and they feel like they're making up for lost time for a lost decade in their lives. Their attitudes are good. Their kids have great jobs. They like a deregulatory approach. They are so thrilled to see that we are finally funding fully and rebuilding the U.S. military and focusing on peace through strength. And these are policies they want to continue they want to see the southern border secure and they want us to continue doing what we're doing today which is confirming more federal judges to get them on the federal bench.
Guy Benson [00:15:08] Oh yeah.
Sen. Blackburn [00:15:08] And you know this is a this is a lot of the talk that we hear there are more on.
Guy Benson [00:15:13] I would just jump in I would just add you are now a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee a lot of the action going on there very important stuff from a conservative perspective. Senator we're out of time. Marsha Blackburn a freshman U.S. senator from Tennessee the great state the Volunteer State. Thank you very much Senator we'd love to have you back.
Sen. Blackburn [00:15:32] Thank you. Bye bye now.