Guy Benson: Very pleased to welcome to the show for the very first time. Congressman Will Hurd a Republican of Texas representing the 23rd Congressional District in the Lone Star State, also a former CIA officer. Congressman, great to have you. Thanks for doing this.
Rep. Hurd: Of course. Guy, a pleasure to be on. And Happy New Year.
Guy Benson: Happy New Year to you as well. Let's get down to business immediately, starting with Iran. You have an intelligence background, as I just mentioned to the audience. Your overall assessment of what happened with the strike on Seleimani and where we go from here.
Rep. Hurd: Sure. Taking someone like Soleimani off the battlefield is a good thing. He was the head of the top and most dangerous terrorists organization in the world. And you can't hide behind the uniform of your of your country to prevent you from being labeled terrorists. And this is what heads of terrorist organizations do. Where do we go from here? I hope the Iranians take the advice of the German foreign minister and decide to become part of the world community again. And, you know, guess what? The Iranians, if they want to do that, do something. A couple of simple things. Stop killing Americans. Stop killing our allies. Stop killing their own people. Back in November, they murdered fifteen hundred folks that were unarmed, peacefully protesting and in Tehran. And they just can't stop lying about their their nuclear program and stop trying to influence activities in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen. And Afghanistan towards their sick foreign policy goals. Do those things and Iran can be welcomed back into the international community. And I think one important thing to remember is in this case, Iran is not a victim. They are the culprit. They're the ones that have been escalating attacks on civilian maritime infrastructure. They've escalated attacks on civilian energy infrastructure. They've escalated attacks on our U.S. embassy. And, you know, we've seen in the past Iranian behavior and this was a army, army war college evaluation of of the war in Iraq when Iran suffered consequences for their negative behavior. They stopped that negative behavior when they didn't suffer consequences. They continued. And so now Soleimani is replacement, is looking over his shoulder. Other military folks in the Iranian government are rethinking some of their decisions. But it's this what where this goes from here is in the Iranians hands. And I hope that our allies in France, UK and Germany join us in providing a unified international front against this Iranian regime.
Guy Benson: Well, that's a hopeful note on deterrence. But you ran through some of the things that Iran could do to rejoin the international community and totally eliminate these tensions. And they sound simple. They sound great. But is it naive to believe that this regime will abandon all of the nefarious behavior that it seems like they know any. They know nothing else. Right. This is what they do.
Rep. Hurd: Look, 100 percent. And they've been doing this for 41 years. This this Iranian regime has been at war with us for 41 years. And if anybody thinks differently, they're wrong. And let's let's look at why were we seeing increased tensions in in Iraq. The current caretaker prime minister in Iraq. He's a caretaker. Is a is a is an Iranian puppet. And this Iranian puppet has been been lining his own pockets and not doing things to take care of his his Iraqi citizens. The Iraqi population rose up in protest against this, this, this. Their Iraqi prime minister, who's backed by the Iranian government and the Iraqi prime minister, said, okay, I'm stepping down. I'm going to stay in a caretaker role until we're able to have elections for him to be replaced. This is the person in that car that called for a special session of the Iraqi parliament. That special section of Iraqi. Of the Iraqi parliament barely had a quorum to pass a resolution which is nonbinding on foreign troops in those regions. Most of the Iraqi parliament boycotted that that vote because they've seen what the Iranian government has done. The Iranian government to change the ways, have to see that if they continue their ways, they will no longer be in power. And how you change that? I do not know. But one thing we should be doing is supporting the Iranian people. Our quarrel is with the Iranian government, not with the Iranian people, not with the Persian culture. And when the Iranian people rise up and demand their freedoms, the United States government and our allies should be there to support them. However, we can
Guy Benson: Yeah, there's a lot of. Lazy reporting about that non-binding vote in Baghdad from part of the National Assembly or Congress. As you mentioned, the Sunnis largely boycotted, the Kurds largely boycotted. And here we are with this terrible situation arguably improved. I know Joe Biden earlier today said that this was a strategic setback, taking out Soleimani He said that was an assertion. He said, make no mistake. It's very clear, Congressman, that you disagree with that. But you also made the point and I think it's so important, just underscore it over and over again that Iran is not the victim here. Iran is the enemy here. And yet so much of the coverage in the American press of this decision by the president of this action, by the military seems to glide past that fundamental point with barely a mention. And I wonder what you make of that.
Rep. Hurd: Guy. It's it's crazy, right? It's to me, it's absolutely outrageous. And what's even worse, I've seen some Western reporters interview Iranian government officials. And do they ask them, why did you support? Why did you kill fifteen hundred of your own unarmed citizens who were peacefully protest? Had they asked, those were on and government officials that question? No. Did they ask those Iranian government officials, you know, why did you support the Iraqi version of Hezbollah to overrun our embassy? Are you asking those questions? They're not. And to me, that's crazy. And then they're covering Soleimoni's funeral as if he was, you know, some head of state from a normal country. He's not. He was a terrorist. The Iranian government is not a normal a normal country. And and by doing this. Right. And here is my fear. By doing this, by not criticizing the regime, by not putting the responsibility on the Iranian regime. You're sending the wrong message to the Iranians and they're going to be able to take advantage of that in their information operations. And that's why I've been critical of our allies, France, UK and Germany. Why can be can be critical? Because they're friends, right? These these people, we need to have a strong transatlantic front against Iran. But at least when they came out, they criticized the Iranian government, say it's the Iranian government that has the chance to to de-escalate this. I wish many of my colleagues would take that similar line that we've seen coming out of Europe and especially the Germans. So it gives the wrong message. And again, this is something that we've seen, especially this. You know, Speaker Pelosi led House. We've sent wrong messages before. Earlier this summer, you know, Jamal Khashoggi, his killing it. And look, I'm I'm I'm I'm a supporter of our press. Right. I believe in a free and fair press. I think that's an important part of our democracy. And what happened to Jamal Khashoggi is outrageous and should never happen again. And reporters should never have to worry about, you know, being able to report the news but not being able to separate our collective Republican and Democrat. Outrage over Jamal Khashoggi from activities in Yemen sent the wrong message to the Iranian regime. Yemen is probably one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world right now. Why? Because of the Iranian support to the Hutus. Right. And and we instead of criticizing the Hutus and the Iranian activity there, what we were doing, criticizing our allies for providing a military support for for that issue. Right. And so you send these mixed messages and you're going to allow that Iranian regime who, you know, outside the Russians, the Russians when it comes to information operations is is number one. All right. The Iranians have gotten pretty good at that as well, too. And so you're giving them fodder to say, hey, you see, the even the American government is is separate on whether or not we're doing the right saying so. So that's a bad precedent. That is that is being set. And what what I find shocking is that I feel like the Western media has covered the Soleimoni funeral more than the people that we've been protesting back in November that result in the deaths of fifteen hundred people that were protesting like those are the things that we should be amplifying. We're not seeing the protesters in Iraq even today that are protesting this Iranian backed Iraqi government. We're not seeing the Western media covering that the way they're covering. a. The head of the world's most dangerous terrorist organization.
Guy Benson: And that kind of feels like, you know, I know these are these are strong words, but that kind of feels like stooge ism or propaganda. And it feels like it's all colored by Farnum at its core. A hatred for President Trump and. Now that you've been critical of him, I've certainly been critical of him. But when you're when you're allowing that template that. Calculation to drive the way that you cover events to the point that you're kind of going along with sympathetic coverage of a dead terrorist. I mean, there's something wrong there,.
Rep. Hurd: Guy. I can't say it any better than than than what you just said. And for me, you know, the way I've operated in my time in Congress, I agree. When I agree, I disagree when I disagree. I when President Obama was president, I didn't disagree with everything just because he was wearing a different color jersey. I don't agree with everything that President Trump does just because he wears the same jersey that I wear. And and unfortunately, I think this hyper partisanship is getting in the way when it when we really do need to have a unified front now. It's it's valid conversation to have. What is our strategy and goals in the Middle East? How do we how do we make sure we reduce our footprint in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria? It's OK. It's good to have those kinds of conversations. Should we be having a broader conversation on the authorized use of military force? All of these things are these that that competition of ideas are important and we should be making sure, are Sons and daughters, our spouses, our aunts and uncles that are that are going to be putting on a uniform and fighting. You know, it keeps the keep to protect our values. They should know that we are clear on what our objectives and in these areas are. That's that's important. But you don't just disagree because of your opinion on the person that's sitting right.
Guy Benson: That's the sort of reflexive partisan way which is not supposed to be the role of the media. But sometimes we know how they operate. Congressman, briefly, on impeachment, you, of course, played a significant role in the House Intelligence Committee in those hearings. It seems like Senator McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, has the votes to basically shut down the purpose of this stunt for Nancy Pelosi to hang onto the articles, to try to apply pressure, to have the rules be even more partisan, even in the Senate, where the Republicans have a majority, that's not going to fly. It seems some Democrats in the Senate have come out today saying, all right, perhaps it's time for the articles to be transmitted over to the Senate after all and get this ball rolling. Your thoughts on that?
Rep. Hurd: Well, I don't know what leverage Speaker Pelosi thinks she has. You made the argument that this process was rushed because it was so important, had to be handled right away. But then you got to put it in a drawer and wait for three weeks. All right. You know, that goes against that stated objective. And to me, I don't understand what the strategy is there. Senator McConnell is going to do what he. You know, what he thinks is best interests of that body and where that goes. I do not know. But but unfortunately, I don't think that Speaker Pelosi use all the tools to protect the House's ability to subpoena witnesses, things like that. And they should they should push for that. And but by not doing that and rushing this process, they made it they made it incredibly partisan. And to me, this this is this is the second most important vote a member of Congress could take. Number one, being sending our troops into harm's way. And this should be done. It should be clear. It should be unambiguous. And this kind of thing should be done in a bipartisan way. And it was none of those criteria were met.
Guy Benson: Will Hurt has been my guests, Republican congressman from Texas. We are up on a break. So I'll just commend to the audience a New York Times interview. The headline is Will Hurd Wants to Improve the Republican Brand. A very interesting discussion at times, I think a kind of hostile questions. But Congressman Hurd, handle them very well. The whole concept behind the interview and your messaging is actually very resonant with me. Would love to get you back another day to talk about that. But for now, Iran and impeachment on the front burner. Congressman, thank you very much for your time today,.
Rep. Hurd: Guy Pleasure. And look forward. Doing this again real soon.
Guy Benson: Excellent. Sounds good. We'll take a break. Come back with the homestretch right after this.