Recap of Sunday Talk Shows on Fight Against ISIS

This week’s Sunday morning talk shows focused heavily on the U.S. military campaign against ISIS and the administration’s policy on Syria.

Donald Trump emphasized that he would do “something” and hit ISIS “very hard” without going into details “because I’m leading in the polls.” Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, argued against a no-fly zone or boots on the ground in Syria. Rand Paul went hard against his Republican rival Marco Rubio, faulting him for the rise of ISIS and comparing his views to the ones of Hillary Clinton. And Chris Christie said he’s lost trust in President Obama’s ability to negotiate future deals after he let American down with the Iran nuclear deal. Marco Rubio, fresh off a speech on national security issues, highlighted the three major threats the U.S. faces and the need of strong leadership to take on the challenges of the 21st century.

Read excerpts of the 2016 candidates’ comments below:

Donald Trump: We’re going to have to do ‘something’ to defeat ISIS: “We’re going to have to do something very strong over there. The world is really going to be cratering. You know, if you stop transportation, I mean you’re talking about the blood — the blood of the world. And we’re going to have to be very, very strong. We’re going to have to take away the energy, the fuel, the money from ISIS, because, in the case of ISIS — I’ve been saying this for years. We have to stop the source of money. And the source of money is oil. And we have to knock the hell out of the oil. And we’re going to have to do it, because ISIS is making a fortune. They have better access to internet than we do. I mean, they’re recruiting people form our country and who knows what they’re planning? So we’d better do something. We’d better be smart and we’d better do it right now … I’m all for Russia going in and knocking and dropping bombs on ISIS. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t have to have exclusivity on that. But we’re going to have to do something about ISIS and we’re going to have to do something about what’s going on over there… We’re going to have take some very, very serious action.” [ABC’s This Week]

— Hit the hard, really hard: :We have got to hit ISIS hard. Regardless, we have got to hit ISIS hard, and I mean really hard… I would hit ISIS very, very hard. I hate to say specifically, because, if I win — you know, I’m leading in the polls. And, if I win, I hate to give all of my information right up front, to be honest with you. But I would hit them at their source of wealth. I would hit them at their source of wealth, which is the oil. I would take the oil away. I would hit them so hard, their wealth would go away and it would dissipate. And unless you are going to take away their wealth, you’re not going to take away ISIS … There are many people that want ISIS gone. We’re not the only ones. But I would work on it very, very hard and very swiftly. And I would knock ISIS out. I would knock out their source of wealth.” [CNN’s State of the Union]

Bernie Sanders on U.S. military campaign against ISIS: “What the president is trying to do is to thread a very difficult needle. He’s trying to defeat ISIS. He’s trying to get rid of this horrendous dictator, Assad. But at the same time, he doesn’t want our troops stuck on the ground. And I agree with that. But I am maybe a little bit more conservative on this than he is. And I worry that once we get sucked into this, once some of our troops get killed and once maybe a plane gets shot down, that we send more in and more in. And this place is a quagmire in a quagmire in a quagmire and I see a very much perpetual U.S. warfare in that region. But I will say this. ISIS is a barbaric organization. It must be defeated. It must be defeated primarily by the Muslim nations in that region. America can’t do it all. And we need an international coalition. Russia should be part of it, U.K., France, the entire world supporting Muslim troops on the ground, fighting for the soul of Islam and defeating this terrible ISIS organization.” [ABC’s This Week]

Rand Paul: Hillary and Rubio are ‘same person’ on Foreign Policy: “I see [Hillary] and Rubio as being the same person. They both want a no-fly zone. They both have supported activity in Libya, the war in Libya that toppled Gadhafi, an intervention that made us less safe. They both have supported pouring arms into the Syrian civil war, a mistake that I think allowed ISIS to grow stronger. And they both have supported the Iraq War.. I think she’s also the most likely of all the candidates to get us back involved in another war in the Middle East …We are less safe because Gadhafi is gone. Libya is now a failed state.. I fault Hillary Clinton. I fault President Obama. But I also fault the neoconservatives within my party, like Rubio, who have been eager for war in Libya and Syria and Iraq. And they want a no-fly zone in an airspace where Russia is already flying. It’s a foolhardy notion.” [CNN’s State of the Union]

Chris Christie: Obama lost trust to negotiate deals after Iran deal: “I don’t trust this president to negotiate any deal after I saw the Iranian deal. And that’s what my answer was, that I don’t trust this president to negotiate any deal. I wouldn’t let this president buy me a car, that’s how bad a negotiator he is. So I will not support TPP as negotiated by this president, because I’m convinced it will be just as bad as the Iranian nuclear deal.” [Fox News Sunday]

Marco Rubio on the threats America is facing: “We face three major threats. One is rogue states like North Korea and Iran, who either have acquired or are on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability that could eventually reach the United States. The second is non-state actors like ISIS, terrorist groups who continue to spread their reach. They’re now very involved in Libya, that’s why news about a Russian jetliner should not be surprising to us because ISIS is very active in Libya and they use it as an operational ground in the Sinai into Egypt. And the third are state actors like China and Russia, who in different ways are trying to crowd America out and our influence. In the case of China in the Asia Pacific region, in the case of Russia in Europe and now in the Middle East. All are very significant threats. We need to confront all three of them. A strong national defense is critical to that.” [FOX News’ Sunday Morning Futures]

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Obama’s policy on Syria: “I don’t think it’s a strategy that will work long-term. I think ISIL is a grave threat to the region. It’s causing extraordinary instability. I think what we could be doing more of is dealing with the humanitarian crisis. I wish we were focused on how we could create relief for millions of families that are streaming out of Syria. I’ve seen our European partners really pick up the pace and take significant responsibility for these families. What Germany has done is outstanding. I think America should be doing more.” On no-fly zone: “No-fly zones require, if it’s a humanitarian no-fly zone, they require boots on the ground and that is not something that I support right now. It’s not something that I think the American people want to see – thousands of troops in Syria. But we need to do something about the humanitarian crisis. And so I think we should be stepping up. We should be receiving more families. We should be receiving before 2017. We should be doing it now. And we should be helping. I see pictures of children dying, crying, suffering and we should be doing more. [CBS’s Face the Nation]

Senator Dianne Feinstein on Syria policy: “If we’re really going to use special operations, quick in, quick out, you have to do it in a much more comprehensive way to get at ISIL. This just isn’t one facility. It’s not one building in Raqqa or somewhere else. It’s many different places..The other thing that seems to be emerging is the belief that bombing alone isn’t going to do it. We’ve had over 7,000 sorties, others have made sorties as well. We have made the majority of the sorties. And that hasn’t changed the dynamic. So I think we’ve got to look at those things which can be major in scope. And this means put together a strategy with Russia and move ahead.” [NBC’s Meet the Press]

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.