ICYMI: McConnell on Meet The Press and Face The Nation

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Kristen Welker on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ and Margaret Brennan on CBS’ ‘Face The Nation’. See below for highlights or click here and here for the full interviews.

On supporting Ukraine:

“I think we need to stick with them. I think it is important to us. Look at all the good things that have happened to us as a result of this. Most of the money is being spent in the US in 38 different states. The Europeans have stepped up, we've got two new members of NATO. The Prime Minister of Japan, here a couple of weeks ago, spent a lot of time talking about Ukraine. And he had previously said, if you want to send President Xi a message beat Putin in Ukraine. This is a worldwide problem. It's not going to go away after one supplemental.

“I do think peace through strength which is the Reagan formula, which is the Eisenhower formula and not the Robert Taft isolationism back in the 40s, is recovering and I think in this episode, more of my members really focused on the facts. And it's hard to argue against the supplemental. It's in our interest. This is not charity for Ukraine. It's in our interest. And I think we've sort of refocused on the importance of playing the kind of role that we need to play in the world.

“The whole democratic world is in favor of what we did this week. That should get the attention of our members. Plus, all the jobs that are being created in their states with the money that we're spending retooling our industrial base for the big challenges ahead against China, against Russia, against Iran.

On anti-Semitism on college campuses:

“I think it’s a dangerous situation. You said pro-Palestinian, there’s also anti-Semitism which is completely unacceptable. I was shocked to see that in this country. The first responsibility is the administration for these colleges. That's the first responsibility. And so, the Speaker is correct and say, laying the blame on the administrators. When I was in college, and I bet when you were in college, there were plenty of debates. But we were not trying to shut people up and had aggressive civil discussions that's the responsibility of the college administrators and to do anything else makes them look like they're sympathetic with one side or the other. And I think restoring order and civility to have reasonable debates is what needs to happen.

“Well here’s the way I look at it: it’s that the First Amendment is important, but it doesn’t give you the ability to claim there’s a fire going on in the theater, because it threatens everyone else. What needs to happen, at least at the beginning, is for these university presidents need to get control of the situation, allow free speech, and push back against anti-Semitism. I felt that was largely gone in this country, but we’ve seen a number of young people who are actually anti-Semitic. Why don’t they all sit down and have a civil conversation rather than trying to dominate the talk? And I think the first line of defense is these university presidents… Let’s see if these university presidents can get control of the situation. They ought to be able to do that. Civil discussion is what college education is supposed to be about. I’d be interested in hearing the antisemitic people explain the justification for that kind of talk.

On continuing to invest in our own defense industrial base:

“I think there's a growing feeling in the Republican conference, in the Senate, that the isolationist path is not a good idea. And even moving past the current crisis in Ukraine, the Biden administration is not that great either. I mean, I thought the withdrawal from Afghanistan was a huge mistake. We were not in combat there any longer. The underfunding of defense, not a single submission, not a single submission by the Biden administration has kept up with inflation, in their requests for defense. So, we need to get serious about what we're up against. China, Russia, Iran, and terrorism. A more formidable combination of problems that we had even going into World War II.

“The [Biden] administration is still self-deterring themselves with some fear that the Russians would be deterred by our lack of action. So, my main complaint is let’s get the weapons [to Ukraine] as quickly as possible. I apologized for how long it took Congress to do its part, but we finally did, and he [Zelenskyy] was also impressed by the fact that Republican support grew in the Senate substantially. Substantially… And I’m going to be advocating increasing the defense budget, no matter who gets elected. And preparing ourselves for the long term, with China, Russia, and Iran. This administration’s budget requests for defense haven’t even kept up with inflation. That needs to change. And we need to change as well. Here in Congress, the Democrats have always insisted that we spend just as much on domestic as defense. That changed in the last appropriation process. Our spending needs to reflect the needs. And the needs now are on the defense side.”


Related Issues: Ukraine, Russia, National Security, America's Military