Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger; Presidential Candidates Speak at AIPAC Conference; Donald Trump Addresses AIPAC. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 21, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Kasich, it's rare that we get to see a full speech like that from Kasich, one of the best speeches I think I have seen him give. It was coherent. It wasn't just about the issues that AIPAC cares about, but he hit some of his other campaign themes.
He talked about his long history on foreign policy, argued that he's the most credible foreign policy candidate in the race. Didn't attack Trump much but he did point out -- did use that word neutral, saying he will not be neutral in a dispute between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
That's something that Trump has said he will be, not a word that AIPAC likes to hear from a potential president. But he didn't go after Trump hard and he got a terrific reception. So, you have to -- any time you count John Kasich out, he comes back.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We did hear some news from Donald Trump in the course of today. He's going to be speaking before the same group in a little while -- when he suggested, he said it to me, you heard in the interview -- it's time for the U.S. to reduce its role, its involvement in NATO.
NATO was created after World War II in 1949. He says it's time for others to pick up the burden, the expense, and for the U.S. to reduce that burden.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, whereas Kasich is talking about using NATO to fight ISIS.
You have Donald Trump, who, by the way, knows his audience, and says, look, we're spending too much money on NATO. We're not getting anything in return. And it's clearly the audience that also says we spend too much money on foreign aid. Foreign aid is, what, 4 percent of the budget you were talking about.
So I think this is a refrain that you're going to hear from Trump because you're not getting your money's worth. What you hear from John Kasich is, I know better because I have had the experience. I have worked with Ronald Reagan and I spent my years on Capitol Hill. That's how Kasich got at Trump was the experience card. And this issue of how much do you spend on NATO and what do you get
out of it is a huge issue, particularly when suddenly our allies, not to mention Putin, will probably hear what Donald Trump said today and kind of raise a lot of eyebrows. And the questions will be asked, will be, well, would this be too pleasing to the Russians?
BLITZER: On this day, in addition to having this important speech he's about to deliver at the AIPAC meeting, Trump also convened a smaller meeting with some members of Congress to talk about presumably if he's going to be the nominee, how do you start unifying the Republican Party?
As you know, Kevin, the Republican Party right now not very unified.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No.
And I think when people say, what does a unified Republican Party look like with Donald Trump, I think it's unity on Donald Trump's terms. And the folks that were there today are a small universe of folks that have endorsed Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and maybe one or two other House members.
So we aren't seeing a widespread move by Republican Party leadership towards Donald Trump. I think many folks are worried that the Donald Trump campaign up until this point is about a lot of divisive rhetoric, that it's essentially been a substance-free campaign, and that there are worries of what would happen to down-ballot Republicans across the country if Donald Trump were to be the nominee.
Now, we're still in the middle of a nomination battle where I think a lot of that is still going to continue to be litigated. There are many folks who are -- when they look toward November are going to have to come to terms with the fact that Donald Trump may eventually be the nominee, but right now there are still great fractures within the party.
BLITZER: Does Trump, Rebecca, need the party to be united in order for him to emerge as the Republican presidential nominee?
REBECCA BERG, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Not necessarily, but it would sure help him, and especially if we're going into a contested convention scenario.
Obviously, if he's able to lock up the delegates he needs to be the nominee on his own, then that would be kind of a moot point and he would just be hoping for the party's support in a general election. But in a contested convention scenario, he'd absolutely need party support to be able to survive and move on as the nominee.
But so far, in spite of what Trump has been saying publicly, he talks about Republican leaders calling him, making appeals to him saying they will support him privately. He talks about people coalescing around him.
Well, we're not really seeing that happen yet. And I think it will probably be a little while more before we start to see that develop, if at all.
BORGER: Usually at this point in a campaign, where somebody is winning the way Donald Trump is winning, people do start coalescing and they do start saying, this is our horse and we're going to take him all the way to the White House. Right?
Well, that is not happening, and Donald Trump knows that, which is why he understands that he needs these kind of optics, right, him meeting with leaders, which didn't go to the meeting today, having phone calls with leaders, which he has had, because he wants to try and give the sort of semblance that the party is rallying around him, because that's important.
BERG: And an air of inevitably as well, that's also important for him at this stage.
LIZZA: If anything, resistance is hardening. Right?
But the anti-Trump, the never Trump contingent in the Republican Party is becoming more hardened in its opposition.
BLITZER: So, let me ask you Ana.
Ana, are Republicans, the establishment and others beginning to sense that Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and it's time to unite the party?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think so, Wolf.
I think the battle lines are very well drawn, and I think that, look, unless and until he get two 1,237 delegates, at that point, many of us who are against him will just have to put down our heads and resign ourselves to the reality.
But unless and until that happens, we have fight in us. We want alternatives. We want to know what's going to happen in the convention. So I don't think we are at the point yet of coalescing. And let me just tell you this.
That speech we just saw from John Kasich, wow. Just wow. This guy has been very awkward in the past. The speech he gave last Tuesday when he won Ohio was downright strange. It had references to covered wagons and a woman going out on a date for the first time in six months and wearing a dress. This was cohesive.
It had a solid message. It had people, you know, on their feet and really enthusiastic. I would say to my friends in the John Kasich campaign, hire the man or speechwriter and let him read a teleprompter more often. It was impressive.
BLITZER: I don't he was reading a teleprompter, but he did read a speech. He had his notes, the speech right in front of him. But I don't think -- I didn't see him looking back and forth reading from a teleprompter. It was a very impressive speech, though. NAVARRO: He was terrific.
BLITZER: Yes. I think, Ryan, you think that was the best speech he's given?
LIZZA: I thought it was a great speech.
And I think partly he hasn't been given as much an opportunity to be on TV with these speeches, so we haven't seen as much. But, Ana, I think you will agree with this. The more John Kasich is built up, the better the chances of Trump being the nominee is. I think most analysis conclude...
NAVARRO: I don't agree with that, Ryan.
NAVARRO: I will tell you why I don't.
LIZZA: Kasich and Cruz staying in the race is good for Donald Trump.
NAVARRO: ... that are better suited for Trump and some that are better suited for Kasich and some that are better suited for Cruz.
LIZZA: Well, I think it's just an example...
NAVARRO: I think Ted Cruz and John Kasich should sit together in a room and divvy up the map.
BORGER: Well, Cruz will be very well-received at AIPAC. He's been very, very pro-Israel. He's been very clear about, you know, moving the capital. So, as well as Kasich was received, I would really expect Cruz to be very well-received as well. I think the question mark is Donald Trump.
LIZZA: You're going to have two Tuesdays. We're going to have two important states. Arizona, Trump probably has won that. But tomorrow night in Utah, Ted Cruz needs to get over 50 percent to get all the delegates in that state.
If John Kasich prevents him from getting 50 percent, it may be game over. Next Tuesday, you have Wisconsin. Wisconsin may decide this whole thing. And if John Kasich is still in the race and he prevents Cruz from doing well enough in Wisconsin and Trump sweeps again...
BORGER: How do you get Kasich out?
(CROSSTALK) LIZZA: I think what we have learned in this race is there's no backroom where Republicans gather and come up with plots and conspiracies.
BLITZER: Kasich was really well-received at this crowd at the Verizon Center here in Washington just now. Hillary Clinton earlier this morning, she was very well-received as well.
With Donald Trump, he's going to be speaking. Ted Cruz will be speaking. Gloria thinks he is going to be well-received. How do you think Trump is going to be received over there?
MADDEN: Well, look, I think what was great about Kasich's approach was that it was a very -- while it was conventional in the sense that he ticked off a lot of important policy points to that particular crowd as well as national security conservatives around the country, this one was -- it was very substance-focused.
Donald Trump has really yet to show that he has a whole lot of substance. I think if these folks -- if he wants to show these folks he's taking issues seriously, he will be focused on the substance. But when Donald Trump is focused on the substance, he fails to be Donald Trump.
There's this fissure right now amongst his supporters, which is, are they tended to focus towards or move towards the brains of policy or the brawn of big muscular rhetoric? He's done very well when he's been focused on that very muscular rhetoric. And I expect that if he does do some of that, the crowd may respond.
LIZZA: Part of Trump's brand is he doesn't pander. If he just goes into AIPAC and pushes every button and panders, is that good for him or is that bad for him? I'm not sure.
BORGER: He is going to read his speech. I will tell you that.
BLITZER: We will see how he does. We will have coverage of that. We're standing by. Everyone, stand by for a moment, so our viewers here in the United States and around the world, they can join us.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM, where we're following the breaking news.
Four of the five presidential candidates in Washington today addressing the pro-Israel group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
In an interview with me only moments ago, Donald Trump making major headlines even before his AIPAC speech telling me the U.S. should rethink its involvement in NATO. And tonight we expect Donald Trump will call for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. [18:10:05]
Earlier today here in Washington, he met with Republican lawmakers, laid out who will advise him on national security and foreign policy. We're following all of that and much more.
But let's get to our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. She is over there at Verizon Center in Washington at the AIPAC conference.
Dana, very exciting day over there. And it's not over with by any means.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is not at all. If you can see behind me, House Speaker Paul Ryan is currently speaking.
As you were just talking about, John Kasich hit all of the right notes for this crowd. Lots of standing ovations, not just on what you mentioned Donald Trump will talk about, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, but a whole host of things that people here are skeptical of Donald Trump on, especially how his position would be as president vis-a-vis the U.S. and Palestinian negotiations if there are any.
But this particular speech which Donald Trump will give in just a little while is just one of many stops he did today in the belly of the beast.
BASH (voice-over): Donald Trump predicted something many others doubt, that he will win the nomination outright.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're going to maybe easily make that number of the 1,237. We should make it pretty easily, based on what I'm seeing. So we won't have to worry about fighting at a convention.
BASH: The unlikely front-runner trying to make Washington Republicans more comfortable with him as their nominee.
TRUMP: If people want to be smart, they should embrace this movement. If they don't want to be smart, they should do what they're doing now and the Republicans are going to go down to a massive loss.
BASH: Before meeting in public with reporters, the anti-Washington candidate went behind closed doors with Washington power brokers, a group of about two dozen members of Congress, lobbyists and establishment Republicans, a meeting organized by the lone GOP senator to endorse Trump, Jeff Sessions, and attended by a handful of rank and file House Republicans considering backing Trump and others who already do.
REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS (R), TENNESSEE: You watch what's happening across the country, watch what the voters are saying, and in my district in Tennessee, 48 percent went Trump. So it's pretty easy to listen to people that you represent. REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: It's obvious that Mr. Trump will be
our nominee. We need to take the fight to Hillary Clinton.
BASH: Anti-Trump forces showed up too, handing out Never Trump stickers and on the lookout for Republican lawmakers backing Trump in preparation to run TV ads against them.
Trump's attempt to woo the establishment he rails against will culminate with one of his most important speeches to date, an address to a meeting of the influential pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
TRUMP: It's probably the toughest negotiation of all time.
BASH: Trump has his work cut out for him, explaining his promise to be neutral in Israeli-Palestinian talks, which staunch supporters of Israel see as anti-Israel.
TRUMP: I would like to at least have the other side think I'm somewhat neutral as to them, so that we can maybe get a deal done.
BASH: Beyond the policy, Trump supporters say the AIPAC venue is a critical test of whether he can come off as presidential, especially important for team Trump after a weekend of more heated images from Trump rallies, including campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in the middle of a tussle.
RNC Chair Reince Priebus told CNN Trump staffers should not put themselves in such positions.
REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Getting involved is not the answer. I think you leave these things up to the professionals.
BASH: Now, ahead of Donald Trump's speech here at AIPAC tonight, Wolf, he revealed finally some of his foreign policy advisers.
This is something a lot of reporters had been asking him for. It included a counterterrorism expert, oil and gas consultant and a former Pentagon official. But I can't underscore enough how critical this venue is going to be for him, really a unique venue for him and his presidential campaign. It is packed to the gills here. This is the Verizon Center.
It's a very big arena where the Wizards usually play. And it goes all the way up to the nosebleed sections. And this is obviously, as we talked about, a very intense crowd wanting to hear very specific things from people who speak, especially candidates like Donald Trump, on issues that are important to them.
BLITZER: I'm told he's actually going to read a speech, as opposed to just sort of winging it, as he usually does. We will see how that goes. We will have live coverage of that coming up, Dana. Thanks very much.
Ted Cruz also scheduled to address the AIPAC conference tonight.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is covering the Cruz campaign for us.
Sunlen, Cruz has a big stage tonight. He's going to clearly, I assume, go after Donald Trump, as the other candidates have been doing. What are your sources telling you we should expect to hear from Cruz?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, expect a much more aggressive Ted Cruz tonight.
The Cruz campaign has been very clear from the start that he will use this speech to draw very clear contrasts with Donald Trump over Israel. Aides say to expect him to bring up this comment that Donald Trump made that he intends to remain neutral in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, something that Ted Cruz regularly brings up on the campaign trail.
Also, officials say that he intends to really draw a connection in policy between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It's interesting that Ted Cruz would not originally sign up for the speech. He only agreed to come to it after Donald Trump canceled the debate that was scheduled for tonight to speak at AIPAC.
So, very clear, the Cruz campaign officials say, although this is not a debate setting, he intends to bring the heat tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: But this in general say critical week in particular for Ted Cruz, right?
SERFATY: It absolutely is. Cruz campaign officials are not downplaying the importance of this week. An official told me over the weekend that this week, every week is important, they say, of course, but this week is especially important given the time-sensitive nature of conservatives rallying around Ted Cruz.
They feel that they have the momentum in doing this, pointing to Mitt Romney voting for Cruz in Utah and also the support of Senator Lindsey Graham. But so key in doing this is tomorrow's contest. In Arizona and Utah, if Ted Cruz is able to emerge with a strong showing, big wins potentially in one and/or both, that goes a long way to potentially reshaping the narrative going forward, especially as we go into the spring season where the contests are coming as fast and furious -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thanks very much, Sunlen Serfaty reporting.
Let's get some more on all of the dramatic developments unfolding today.
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger is joining us. He's a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: You bet, Wolf.
BLITZER: Donald Trump a little while ago told me that the U.S. should reassess its involvement in NATO, reduce its involvement, certainly its financial involvement right now, let the other NATO allies pick up the expense. The U.S. has trillions of dollars in debt. It's time for others to pay the bill.
KINZINGER: Yes, could you imagine Harry Truman saying something like this after World War II? America was tired and war-weary. We had spent a lot of money.
But we recognized our mission in the world was to be an example and to push back against an encroaching Soviet Union. For Donald Trump to say this blew me away. In fact, I was told he said that. I had to confirm it for myself because I couldn't believe it.
It's one thing to say the allies need to spend more on defense, and they do. But at a time when you have Russia tearing up Ukraine, occupying a third of Georgia, really in the Latvia, Estonia, Lithuanian countries tearing that apart and beginning to encroach there, this is not a time to send a message that we need to back out of NATO.
BLITZER: He says this. He says: "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore. NATO is costing us a fortune. And, yes, we're protecting Europe with NATO, but we're spending a lot of money."
He says, you know what? Let the Germans take care of Ukraine for the time being. They have got a lot of money over there.
KINZINGER: Well, I agree. I think Europe should step up for sure.
But to say America, because we have been spending money, needs to back away from Europe, this is repeating the lessons after World War I and various times in our history where we have gone to isolationism. It may feel good for a couple years, until we realize there's a really bad world out there that we are in a unique position to be involved in.
It doesn't mean take over every country, occupy every country. But it means NATO has prevented war in Europe for a very long time. To send this message now is devastating, especially as a Republican front- runner.
BLITZER: He also says it's time for the U.S. to stop engaging in what he calls nation-building, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere. He says, you want to build a nation, there's a lot of work to be done with infrastructure needs, bridges, highways, hospitals, schools here in the United States.
Spend the money and build some schools and highways and bridges here in the United States instead, for example, of Afghanistan, to which you say? And you served in the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq.
KINZINGER: Look, this is the old populism rhetoric. You have seen this throughout America's history, where this is we need to quit spending money over there and bring it back here at home.
Look, Afghanistan, we find out that there's ISIS growing there. We find out there's ISIS in Iraq. There' ISIS growing throughout the Middle East. Nobody is saying we should go build a new nation for every country. But there's a role for the United States to be involved in pushing back against this.
When you hear Donald Trump speak, you have to look past what he says that feels good, which is spend it all here at home. And you have to look beyond that and say what are the ramifications of that? Pulling out of Afghanistan and Iraq because you -- or pulling out of NATO has devastating long-term consequences.
BLITZER: I just read a report from the special inspector general for Afghanistan on reconstruction. The U.S. some five years ago committed to spending about $50 million to build a new defense ministry structure or building in Kabul, Afghanistan. Since then, it's gone up to about $150 million with no end in sight.
Why are U.S. taxpayers building a defense ministry building in Kabul, Afghanistan?
KINZINGER: Well, they shouldn't be a building that is going to three times what it was originally estimated. But you see that in domestic contracts too. Any time the government builds something, even here at home, it ends up sometimes two or three times the estimate.
I think we can reassess how much we're spending.
BLITZER: Is that a waste of money, though, for U.S. taxpayers to be building structures, buildings in Kabul, Afghanistan?
KINZINGER: Yes. As it overgoes, as it blows past its estimate, it's a total waste of money.
BLITZER: could you use $150 million in your district to build some -- to improve the infrastructure there?
KINZINGER: We absolutely could.
BLITZER: So, Donald Trump seems to have a point when he says don't spend the money there. Spend the money here.
KINZINGER: He doesn't have a point.
It's one thing to say we have to hold the money that's spent there accountable. We have to ensure that it's going to the military, going to governmental structures, which is what we're about in these other countries, building something that they can take over and begin to control themselves.
But when you say we're going to basically make everybody pay back their foreign, aid which is what I have heard him say, when you hear him say we're going to get out of NATO, when you hear him say leave the Middle East to the Russians, this is not a serious foreign policy and we have to look beyond what feels good on top lines and realize he's running for commander in chief and the most powerful man in the world, and the ramifications are unbelievable.
BLITZER: He didn't say get out of NATO. He said reduce the U.S. involvement in NATO.
KINZINGER: Even sending that message...
BLITZER: Stop spending so much money as part of the NATO commitment, that's what he said.
All right, stand by, Congressman. We have more to discuss. Adam Kinzinger is not going anywhere.
We're also standing by. Donald Trump is going to be speaking over at that AIPAC conference. Ted Cruz is speaking as well. Live coverage coming up right here on CNN.
BLITZER: The breaking news this hour, Donald Trump bringing his anti- establishment GOP presidential campaign right to the heart of the establishment.
The Republican front-runner here in Washington tonight addressing a top pro-Israel group after meeting with a handful of congressional lawmakers.
We're back with Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He's an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran.
You endorsed Marco Rubio. He's no longer in the contest. Who do you like now?
KINZINGER: Well, I'm going to stay out for a while. I'm going to let the next few things kind of play out. I have a hard time seeing how I could ever get to Trump.
Ted Cruz, I disagreed with some of his tactics, but I think when he talks, he makes some sense on some things. So, I'm going to just sit back for a while and watch it and let the voters have their voices heard for a while.
BLITZER: You did not attend the meeting that Trump had with some other lawmakers earlier in the day.
KINZINGER: No. No, shockingly, I wasn't invited, Wolf. Hurt me, just deep down.
BLITZER: But you don't like Donald Trump.
KINZINGER: Not a huge Trump fan.
BLITZER: You couldn't see yourself voting for him if he's the Republican nominee?
KINZINGER: It would be hard to see how I get there. I'm just watching.
BLITZER: Are you among those that would want a third-party candidate to emerge, someone that's not Hillary Clinton, shall we say, or Donald Trump that you could support?
KINZINGER: I would have to see who it is.
If it's somebody good, yes, I would be open to it. But, look, at this point, I would love to be able to get to where I can support whoever our nominee is. I have just heard too many things from Donald that make it hard to see how I can get there, because, look, the presidency is a big, important job. And the words have consequences.
Our foreign policy that follows has consequences. And I may be a Republican, but I'm a citizen and I have to make a decision on what's best for my country first before my party.
BLITZER: If he's the nominee, could that affect what they call the down ballot?
BLITZER: You're up for reelection. A third of the Senate is up for reelection, a lot of Republicans in Illinois and Ohio and various vulnerable states, shall we say.
BLITZER: If he's the nominee, how would that impact on the down ballot?
KINZINGER: I think it would have a big impact for a couple reasons.
Number one, I think Donald Trump on the ticket would motivate Democrats to turn out and vote for their nominee, for Hillary or Bernie, and obviously they'd vote for the Democrats down ballot.
And then, secondly, if Donald Trump is in fact turning Democrats out to the election, which I'm not sure if he is or isn't, but they would vote for Donald Trump and then vote for the Democrat senator or congressman.
This increased, I guess, turnout, this motivation that would support Hillary, I think, would be -- would definitely probably cost us some seats. But we're focused on preserving the House, preserving the Senate right now and putting our positive message forward, despite what's being said on the presidential race.
BLITZER: Congressman Kinzinger, thanks very much for joining us.
KINZINGER: You bet, Wolf.
BLITZER: Once again, we're standing by to hear from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. They are getting ready to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Live coverage coming up and a whole lot more right after this.
[18:30:37] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump is about to speak at the American-Israeli Public Affairs Conference in Verizon Center in Washington. Let's listen in.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening. Thank you very much.
I speak to you today as a life-long supporter and true friend of Israel.
I'm a newcomer to politics but not to backing the Jewish state.
In 2001, weeks after the attacks on New York City, and on Washington and, frankly, the attacks on all of us, a tax that perpetrated, and they were perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalists, Mayor Rudy Giuliani visited Israel to show solidarity with terror victims. I sent my plane because I backed the mission for Israel 100 percent.
In spring of 2004, at the height of the violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the grand marshal of the 40th salute to Israel parade, the largest single gathering in support of the Jewish state.
It was a very dangerous time for Israel and frankly for anyone supporting Israel. Many people turned down this honor. I did not. I took the risk, and I'm glad I did.
But I didn't come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That's what politicians do. All talk, no action. Believe me.
I came here to speak to you about where I stand on the future of American relations with our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel.
My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Thank you. Thank you.
I have been in business a long time. I know deal making. And let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole of the Middle East.
The problem here is fundamental. We've rewarded the world's leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion. And we received absolutely nothing in return.
I've studied this issue in great detail. I would say actually greater by far than anybody else. Believe me. Oh, believe me. And it's a bad deal.
The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it because already, you know, as you know, it has. The bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock. And, of course, they'll keep the billions and billions of dollars that we so stupidly and foolishly gave them.
The deal doesn't even require Iran to dismantle its military nuclear capability.
[18:35:01] Yes, it places limits on its military nuclear program for only a certain number of years. But when those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial size military nuclear capability ready to go and with zero provisions for delay, no matter how bad Iran's behavior is. Terrible, terrible situation that we are all placed in, and especially Israel.
When I'm president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran. First, we will stand up to Iran's aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region.
(APPLAUSE) Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be. But if I'm not elected president, I know how to deal with trouble. And, believe me, that's why I'm going to be elected president, folks.
And we are leading in every poll. Remember that, please. Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen. And will be a very, very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally, every day Iran provides more and better weapons to support their puppet states. Hezbollah, Lebanon, received and I'll tell you what, it has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons, and GPS systems and rockets like very few people anywhere in the world and certainly very few countries have.
Now they are in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic jihad. In the West Bank, they are openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist home that's been destroyed, a deplorable, deplorable situation.
Iran is financing military forces throughout the Middle East, and it's absolutely incredible that we handed them over $150 billion to do even more toward the many horrible acts of terror.
Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran's global terror network which is big and powerful but not powerful like us.
Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They've got terror cells everywhere, including in the western hemisphere, very close to home.
Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world and we will work to dismantle that reach. Believe me. Believe me.
Third, at the very least, we must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable, and we will enforce it like you've never seen a contract enforced before, folks. Believe me.
Iran has already, since the deal is in place, test fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles with a range of 1,250 miles were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away, but also intended to frighten Europe and some day maybe hit even the United States. And we're not going to let that happen. We're not letting it happen. And we're not letting it happen to Israel. Believe me.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Thank you. Thank you.
You want to hear something really shocking? As many of the great people in this room know, painted on those missiles in both Hebrew and Farsi were the words "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth."
[18:40:11] You can forget that.
What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew?
And here' another, you talk about twisted? Here's another twisted part. Testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we've made. The deal is silent on test missiles. But those tests do violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The problem is, no one has done anything about it. We will. We will. I promise we will.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Which brings me to my next point: the utter weakness and incompetence of the United Nations.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It's not a friend to freedom. It's not a friend even to the United States of America where, as you know, it has its home. And it surely is not a friend to Israel.
With President Obama in his final year -- yay!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
He may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me. Believe me. And you know it, and you know it better than anybody.
So with the president in his final year, discussions have been swirling about an attempt to bring a Security Council resolution on terms of an eventual agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Let me be clear: an agreement imposed by the United Nations would be a total and complete disaster.
(APPLAUSE) The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto which I will use as president 100 percent.
When people ask why, it's because that's not how you make a deal. Deals are made when parties come together. They come to a table, and they negotiate. Each side must give up something, its values. I mean, we have to do something where there's value in exchange for something that it requires. That's what a deal is.
A deal is really something that when we impose it on Israel and Palestine, we bring together a group of people that come up with something that's not going to happen with the United Nations. It will only further -- very importantly, it will only further delegitimatize Israel. It will be a catastrophe and a disaster for Israel. It's not going to happen, folks.
And further, it would reward Palestinian terrorism because every day they are stabbing Israelis and even Americans. Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad, phenomenal young person who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don't reward behavior like that. You cannot do it.
There's only one way you treat that kind of behavior. You have to confront it.
[18:45:00] So it's not up to the United Nations to really go with a solution. It's really the parties that must negotiate a resolution themselves. They have no choice. They have to do it themselves or it will never hold up anyway.
The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it must be -- and really, that it must abide by some agreement made by others, thousands of miles away, that don't even really know what's happening Israel, to anything in the area. It's so preposterous. We're not going to let that happen.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
When I'm president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.
You see, I know about deal making. That's what I do. I wrote "The Art of the Deal".
One of the best selling all-time, and I mean seriously -- I'm saying "one of" because I'll be criticized if I say "the". So I'm going to be very diplomatic. One of -- I'll be criticized. I think it is number one, but why take a chance?
One of the all-time best-selling books about deals and deal-making. To make a great deal, you need two willing participants. We know Israel is willing to deal. Israel has been trying. That's right.
Israel has been trying to sit down at the negotiating table without preconditions for years. You had Camp David in 2000 where Prime Minister Barak made an incredible offer, maybe too generous. Arafat rejected it.
In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert made an equally generous offer. The Palestinian Authority rejected it also.
Then, John Kerry tried to come up with the framework and Abbas didn't even respond. Not even to the secretary of state of the United States of America, they didn't even respond.
When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second class citizen will end on day one.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And when I say something, I mean it. I mean it.
I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and will be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.
Meanwhile, every single day you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews, it has to stop.
When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars.
In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can't let this continue. We can't let this happen any longer. You --
You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible, horrible way to think. It's a barrier that can't be broken. That will end, and it will end soon. Believe me.
(APPLAUSE) In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you've got a culture of hatred that's been fermenting there for years and if we want to achieve peace, they've got to go out and they've got to start this educational process. They have to end education of hatred.
[18:50:03] They have to end it and now.
There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
You see, what President Obama gets wrong about deal-making is that he constantly applies pressure to our friends and rewards our enemies.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And you see that happening all the time. That pattern practiced by the president and his administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who is a total disaster, by the way.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
She and President Obama have treated Israel very, very badly.
But it's repeated itself over and over again and it's done nothing to embolden those who hate America. We saw that releasing with the $150 billion to Iran in the hope that they would magically join the world community. It didn't happen.
President Obama thinks that applying Israel will force the issue, but it is precisely the opposite that happens. Already half of the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS and Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it's a very difficult situation that's never going to get solved unless you have great leadership right here in the United States.
We'll get it solved. One way or the other, we will get it solved.
But when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That's what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.
The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely totally unbreakable.
They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel. They must do that.
And they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will forever exist as a Jewish state.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
I love the people in this room. I love Israel. I love Israel. I've been with Israel so long in terms of -- I've received some of my greatest honors from Israel. My father before me, incredible. My daughter Ivanka is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
In fact, it could be happening right now, which would be very nice as far as I'm concerned.
So I want to thank you very much. This has been a truly great honor. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much.
[18:55:00] BLITZER: Donald Trump just wrapping up, what, about a 25- minute speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
He earlier suggested he would be neutral in trying to negotiate some sort of deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That speech was not neutral at all. It was a very, very specifically rousing pro- Israel speech.
Let's bring in our CNN national security commentator, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, also our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, our CNN political commentator, the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker", Ryan Lizza. Our CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Kevin Madden, and our CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro.
Mike Rogers, that was hardly neutral at all.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Yes, well, I saw a little bit of political maturity in his foreign policy position. Two things that were important. One, he read from a teleprompter, which tells you that he and his team sat down and realized, you stray away and get in trouble in that speech, you've got a lot of trouble ahead when it comes to a huge bloc of voters and hopefully finances for that candidate later on. That's what I found really fascinating about this. He's a little bit
all over the map, but in this case, he must have sat down with his team and decided reading that speech -- that was I think a huge step to political maturity. And if you listen carefully, a lot of the same points he covered that John Kasich covered earlier. Some of the language was almost except it was delivered in Trump style on the policy.
BLITZER: First time we saw him actually read from a teleprompter, read a speech, Gloria.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's how important it is to him. It's presidential also to do that.
There are -- one thing kind of confused me. One is that he said he would dismantle the nuclear deal with Iran, which I haven't heard before. But then later on in the speech he said he would enforce it in a tough way. I'm not sure what the nexus of those things is and I'm sure we'll be asking questions about that in the future.
Also an interesting thing that he said, is dismantle the global terror network related to Iran. Don't you think that's --
ROGERS: I think that's huge. It was the presidential candidate -- because that means --
ROGERS: -- if you're going to dismantle it, you're going to have to engage them with some force in other countries.
BLITZER: He also said no pressure on Israel, no imposed settlement from the U.N. Security Council -- those are words clearly the Israeli government wants to hear.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, at the top of the speech, he said I didn't come here tonight to pander and I don't think that that statement survived the rest of the speech.
He backed off from his view that the U.S. would be a neutral arbiter between the Palestinians and Israel. He went very hard against Hezbollah and Iranian terrorism, which contradicts his view that the United States should be more non-interventionist, as he sat here with you today, Wolf. And he was very forceful in the same way John Kasich and Hillary Clinton were about not accepting a U.N.-imposed peace plan.
BLITZER: Kevin, what did you think?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, before the speech, I asked, would a Donald Trump focus on substance and reading a speech, actually, you know, what he cease to be Donald Trump. I don't think he did.
I think it was an interesting blend of old Trump, what really appeals to people in a strong muscular rhetoric, with a blend of what we may be seeing as part of a new Trump, which is a focus on checking the boxes as it pertains to national security conservatives. Maybe down the line, we'll see more as it comes to social conservatives and economic conservatives with more of a focus on substance.
I mean, you know, to a point Gloria made, there was a lot of contradictions in there. I mean, but he's previously been so scatterbrained on policy. But it doesn't seem to pay a price on it. And I think for the folks that were Trump supporters out there, this speech, you know, hit all the right buttons for them.
BLITZER: Let's get Ana Navarro.
Ana, you're not great fan of Donald Trump to put it mildly. What did you think?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think I almost had the same reaction as with John Kasich in the sense that my expectations are so low that he surpassed them. I think that he learned his lesson from the Republican Jewish Congress speech that he gave a few months ago where he bombed. So, you know, now they had him read -- I think we should now start calling it the tele-Trumpter.
You know, he stuck to some solid lines and some solid positions. He's had more positions on Israel than he's had wives.
And I think that, you know, reading from the tele-Trumpter is a good way to if not cure, at least control his Tourette syndrome.
BLITZER: It was a disciplined speech though. You have -- compared to all his other speeches, Mike Rogers, he had specific points he wanted to make and he made that.
ROGERS: You know, this was the first time he's laid out specific policy markers and then backed it up with a factual outline of the kinds of things that were happening overseas.
BLITZER: All right, guys. Don't go too far away. Stay with CNN for a CNN presidential primetime event tonight, all the remaining Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. They will make their cases to the voters.
The final five candidates tonight 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN. Anderson Cooper and I will be back for that.
In the meantime, thanks for watching.
Up next, Erin Burnett live from Cuba, right now.