Will Rick Perry run for President of the United States? He hasn’t announced, but he’s certainly talking like it’s a possibility. He joined Glenn on radio this morning to talk about some of the important issues facing the next president - including the border and illegal immigration. To illustrate just how bad things are, he shared a story of a disturbing meeting he had with President Obama.
When asked how he would secure the border, Perry explained the three steps that need to be taken - and revealed just how far off we are.
First, Perry said you need to put personnel in the right places to secure the border. Not only has President Obama failed to do this, he didn't know where his Border Patrol were even stationed.
"Let me tell you a side story here. Sitting on the ramp in Marine One, I told the president about his Border Patrol that was back 45 to 50 miles away from the border in an apprehension mode. He literally looked over to Valerie Jarrett and said,'is that right, Valerie?' I mean, the president himself did not know where his Border Patrol was stationed," Perry said.
Perry said personnel needed to be on the border and in the river where people are crossing.
"The second part of this is strategic fencing, which by and large is in place in the metropolitan areas," Perry said.
"But the third thing. And this is the most important one, I would suggest to you to finally secure the border. You know, put the personnel in the right places. But it's aviation assets. These are fixed wing, our drones. I mean, we have the technology. We have the ability to look now, 24/7, all kinds of weather. Fly from Tijuana to El Paso. El Paso to Brownsville, 1800 miles, looking down every inch of the border. Technology, when you see suspicious or clearly illegal activity, have quick response teams that go and address that at that particular point in time.
"Glenn, that will secure the border."
GLENN: There are like a million people now running for president of the United States on the G.O.P. side. But there's a few that actually have really good track records. One of them is Rick Perry. Welcome to the program.
RICK: Great to be with you. How is the family?
GLENN: Very good. Very good.
GLENN: How is life not being the governor of Texas?
RICK: Well, I'm not having to look for anything to do.
RICK: We're still very busy. Anita is overseeing the building of a house 70 miles east of Austin. Just outside of Round Top, Texas. Population, 90. So we've got a wonderful place over there on 70 acres with two of my best friends from college. A couple of marine veterans who live over there with us. So it's a -- I love my life. It's -- you know, we've got work to do in this country. But there's always a haven to come home to in the great state of Texas.
GLENN: I will tell you. One time -- I don't even know if you remember this. But we sat and chatted 45 minutes or so one day. And you just told me a little bit -- and I didn't know -- a little about your life growing up. That you grew up out in the middle of nowhere. Where they didn't even have electricity. So you -- I mean, you have seen it all in your life.
RICK: 15 miles from the closest place that had a Post Office. But, actually, we had electricity. Rural Electric had come out there two years before we moved into that house. We still had an old carbide (phonetic) plant that allowed for the lights to work at night prior to REA coming in.
Anyway, it was a wonderful life. I tell people, listen, we weren't poor. We didn't have indoor plumbing. We lived like nearly anybody else. But we were really rich in the sense of two fabulous parents. You know, a kid with a dog and a pony and lots of land to roam on. So I was incredibly rich to grow up in Paint Creek. Have some great people. Scoutmasters, coaches, and teachers who loved me and pointed me in the right direction in life. So I'm one of the most blessed people that I know.
GLENN: So you're not running for president of the United States at this point. But coincidentally, you were in Iowa last weekend.
RICK: We will make an announcement on the 4th of June of what our intentions will be. I thought you were talking about that I'm not running for president because I am a blessed man.
GLENN: No, no, no. You're not running -- you do have to move to Washington, DC, if you do win. Which is a bad thing.
RICK: Hey, listen there are things you have to give up. But this country is worth a lot of sacrifice. I was just with a young man over the course of the last 24 hours. He lost all four of his limbs in defense of freedom. And, you know, I look at that and I go, whatever I need to do. Whatever the people of this country need to do to defend the freedoms that he gave up so much for is the story of what a lot of us need to be about.
GLENN: I will tell you, we have a lot of mutual friends. A lot of SEAL friends and Special Forces friends. And you are the favorite of all of the people that I have met in Special Forces. Because you -- you do actively get involved. And a lot of it is behind the scenes. A lot of people don't know all the things that you have done. And how hard you have pushed. I would imagine, if you were president, one of the first things you would do is -- is gut the VA.
RICK: That's a conversation that I had today with a young Army man who actually he had lost three of his limbs. And Jack Zimmerman. Jack lives up in Minnesota. And I visited with Jack over the course of the last 24, 48 hours. And he and I were talking about that. That every day, every day, these young men and women deserve somebody who wakes up, goes to the White House, goes to the Oval Office, and picks up the phone and asks the secretary of the Veterans Administration, are you getting that place to where it needs to be? Cajoling the senior staff. Have we straightened out the Veterans Administration? Are they getting the benefits on a timely basis? Have we fired the people who are responsible for this debacle? And that's not happening today. Because if it were happening today, that place would be getting straightened up, and it's not. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any successes at the Veterans Administration from the standpoint of where our veterans -- whether it's the 90-year-old, as my father is, or whether it's a 19-year-old who deserves the treatment that we promised, Glenn. I mean, that's the tragedy here. These young men and women have come. They put their hand up. They swore their allegiance to take care of this country and to defend the Constitution and the freedoms. And then they come home, and they find that they're not being taken care of. That there's long lines. That -- we've got -- I don't know what the number is. How many suicides per day. The federal government says it's 22. But that's not all. I mean, that's -- I would suggest to you that it's more than that by a substantial margin. Because they don't even count California and Texas in those numbers. And we -- I mean, we ought to be incensed from the standpoint that the Veterans Administration all too often is handing a bag of pills to these kids and patting them on the back and sending them out the door. And people are wondering, you know, why can't they get a job? You know, why are they killing themselves? And it's because our federal government is not living up to its promise to take of these kids. And let me tell you, wherever I end up in life, you know, if I decide to run for the presidency, obviously my intention is to win it. And America will know one thing, they will have a president of the United States that gets up every day intent on making sure that the men and women who have served this country get the support and the services that we promised.
GLENN: Rick, we are -- we're looking at a country that is completely out of control right now. 188 trillion -- I'm sorry. $1.88 trillion now. Just what it costs because of federal regulations in the United States. The overreach by the federal government into everything. And the -- the lack of ability to accomplish anything, and it's -- it's only going to get worse. We have people now who are -- who are intent on is getting all of our streets on fire with the riots.
And you know and I know, the Al Sharptons and the Black Panthers, they're not going to sit down. They are going to try to set, you know, every city on fire with the police. With that happening, plus the militarization of our police, how do you balance that? How do you fix what's going on there?
RICK: Well, I think it starts at the very top. You start sending, you know, a powerful message out that we'll be number one, a rule of law. And these kinds of activities that are clearly illegal, clearly outside of the bounds of decency and the rule of law, they're not going to be accepted. And, you know, that's the first marker you put in place. And the second one is, I mean, I believe we can have a conversation in this country about how you address a lot of the -- what's perceived to be the -- the inequities in this country and, you know, my home state, for instance, I think did a great job of dealing with the issue of young men and women, individuals who nonviolent drug-related events that were being sent to prison for long periods of time. And we put drug courts into place in Texas. Drug courts into place. Actually we had prostitution courts and veterans courts on the back end of that. But in '07, we put into place drug courts, where we gave judges the opportunity, the flexibility, if you will, to deal with the nonviolent drug-related offenses, rather than throwing them in jail and throwing the key away, which was kind of the standard operating procedure back in the '90s. And people who gave up hope, we gave them options of treatment, shock probation. And instead of destroying young people's lives, they were given a second chance, if you will. And I would suggest to you that that's one of the conversations we need to have all across the country. Where those people who think -- and may have a righteous position, that these young people have been put in to bad positions. To give them their life back. We closed down three prison units over the last four years, saved $2 billion in taxpayer money. That's smart on crime, Glenn.
GLENN: You also have, however, a frightening thing happen that I've never seen in my lifetime. A growing distrust of the government from people who are usually waving the flag and very pro America and pro government. I don't know if we ever should have been pro government. But people that generally have trusted the government. We had operation Jade Helm. And you know, I mean, that took law-abiding normal citizens, a lot of people saying, wait a minute. What's going on? Is the government going to try to take over Texas? I mean, some crazy things are happening now because we don't trust each other.
RICK: Yes. Here's the interesting -- I think -- and if you put an individual, and I'll use myself. You know, I haven't announced for the presidency. But if I did. Let's say if I were to become the president of the United States, I think there will be a clearly change of attitude towards that office, what comes out of that office, the messaging that comes out of that office, that clearly puts America back on the course -- I hope people always question government. They should. Our Founding Fathers sent us that message that we ought to question government. But don't question your military. Don't question the men and women who have put their hands up and sworn this oath to our Constitution to defend this country. And to know that there is someone there who truly wants to get this country back on track to get America being America again, where our allies trust us, and they know this is a place that is going to be standing with us. That has the ability economically to get this country back on track, domestically strong from the standpoint of bringing manufacturing back. Lowering the corporate tax rate. Giving people the opportunity to have the dignity of a good job. But also, that allows the resources to come back into this country that can build our military back -- in fact, we have the smallest military -- excuse me -- the smallest army that we've had since 1940, Glenn.
GLENN: So let me play Judy Woodruff here for just a second. Are you telling me that you don't believe that Barack Obama wants to bring America's engine back and prosperity back?
RICK: Well, I look at his results in the last six and a half years, obviously that's not the case. If he did, he would have lowered the corporate tax rate. If he did, he would have opened the XL Pipeline. I mean, listen, your track record is what you're going to get graded on, buddy. And his track record is abysmal when it comes to economic development and bringing this country back economically. I mean, it's -- that is not even arguable. That's unquestionable.
GLENN: Tell me about the border. How do we fix this with the Republicans pushing for, you know, total -- basically amnesty and, quite honestly, Rick, that is the -- that is the last thing we need to do. There are four and a half million people right now waiting in line to become a citizen of the United States of America. And we're gifting it to everybody who came in the middle of the night.
GLENN: But more importantly, you know and I know, ISIS is either on our border or will be on our border in short order. How are we going to get control of that?
RICK: Listen, the security of the border is not rocket science. As a matter of fact last summer when the president came and I met with him and I told him, I said, Mr. President, you don't secure the border, Texas will. And after the meeting, Glenn, I knew he wasn't going to take any action. We deployed our National Guard there. We saw a 70 percent decrease in the apprehensions, just by what Texas had done.
You have a president of the United States who is committed to securing the border, and I would suggest in a relatively short period of time, the border would be secured. And you do it by three actions.
One is obviously personnel and putting the personnel on the border in the right places.
Let me tell you a side story here. Sitting on the ramp in Marine One, I told the president about his Border Patrol that was back 45 to 50 miles away from the border in an apprehension mode. He literally looked over to Valerie Jarrett and said, is that right, Valerie? I mean, the president himself did not know where his Border Patrol was stationed. And so there's this clear way to put personnel on the border, in the river, which is what we did with our Parks & Wildlife coordinates.
RICK: And then the second part of this is strategic fencing, which by and large is in place in the metropolitan areas. But the third thing. And this is the most important one, I would suggest to you to finally secure the border. You know, put the personnel in the right places. But it's aviation assets. These are fixed wing. Are drones. I mean, we have the technology. We have the ability to look now, 24/7, all kinds of weather. Fly from Tijuana to El Paso. El Paso to Brownsville, 1800 miles, looking down every inch of the border. Technology, when you see suspicious or clearly illegal activity, have quick response teams that go and address that at that particular point in time. Glenn, that will secure the border. And at that particular point in time, we know the border is secure.
GLENN: One last question, Scott Walker said that he -- because he's flip-flopped on the border. And he said he changed his mind when he was with several governors from the southern states. And they explained to him what was happening on the border and that's why he's changed his opinion on what happened on the border. Were you one of those governors, or have you talked to him at all about this?
RICK: If I've talked to him on the border, I don't know -- you know, I can't make a decision about what he took away from any conversation he had with me. I don't recall having one. But everyone knows my opinion on this border. You have to secure the border first. You can't have a conversation about any type of immigration reform until the border is secure. Americans do not trust Washington, DC, absolutely under any circumstance to have a conversation about immigration reform until the border is secure.
Now, I think this country was -- this country was created on immigrants. It was created on legal immigration. And a lot of the, you know, most successful companies in this country were started by legal immigrants. We need legal immigrants. We need people who are coming in this country who love this country, are coming for the right reason, high-skilled visa holders. When they're hired, interestingly -- and this is some Hoover Institute data --
GLENN: Rick, I hate to interrupt you. I'm up against a hard network break.
RICK: Well, you know, securing the border is the key. You don't get the border secure, and you can forget the immigration reform conversation. It's not going to happen.
PAT: Obviously, you're not running for president yet. But if you had been, I mean, is there a place where people could go to help out?
GLENN: Ten seconds.
RICK: Well, one of the --
RICK: RickPerry.org. Ride with Rick. We're going to have a ride up in Iowa on June the 6th, which will be a lot of fun. A lot of festivities there. RickPerry.org. Ride with Rick.
GLENN: You got it. Rick Perry, appreciate it.