Join us this week as we delve into the heart of Iran’s turmoil with esteemed guest Elliott Abrams, former foreign policy advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Gain exclusive insights and expert analysis on the current state of affairs in Iran, exploring the underlying factors, potential ramifications, and possible solutions. Don’t miss this captivating episode as we unravel the complexities of one of the world’s most critical geopolitical hotspots.
We’re also joined by Andrew Hale, the Jay Van Andel Senior Trade Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation, who brings his extensive experience in international trade and defense intelligence. Together, we examine the alarming issue of China defaulting on $850 billion of debt, shedding light on the potential global consequences and exploring the economic and geopolitical landscape. Don’t miss this captivating episode as we unravel the complexities of Iran’s chaos and China’s financial challenges
Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House, and as Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela in the administration of Donald Trump.
Abrams was educated at Harvard College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School. After serving on the staffs of Senators Henry M. Jackson and Daniel P. Moynihan, he was an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration and received the secretary of state’s Distinguished Service Award from Secretary George P. Shultz. In 2012, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy gave him its Scholar-Statesman Award.
Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, from 1996 until joining the White House staff. He was a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001 and chairman of the commission in the latter year, and served a second term as a member of the Commission in 2012-2014. From 2009 to 2016, Abrams was a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which directs the activities of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a member of the board of the National Endowment for Democracy, and teaches U.S. foreign policy at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Abrams joined the Bush administration in June 2001 as special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for democracy, human rights, and international organizations. From December 2002 to February 2005, he served as special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council for Near East and North African affairs. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy from February 2005 to January 2009, and in that capacity supervised both the Near East and North African affairs and the democracy, human rights, and international organizations directorates of the National Security Council.
Abrams rejoined the State Department in January 2019 as Special Representative for Venezuela, and in August 2020 took on the additional position of Special Representative for Iran. He left the Department in January 2021.
Abrams is the author of five books: Undue Process, Security and Sacrifice, Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America, Tested by Zion: The Bush Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and most recently Realism and Democracy: American Foreign Policy After the Arab Spring. He is the editor of three more, Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense and “Just War” Today; Honor Among Nations: Intangible Interests and Foreign Policy; and The Influence of Faith: Religious Groups and U.S. Foreign Policy.
Andrew is the Jay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy in Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.
Andrew Hale is currently the Jay Van Andel Senior Trade Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. A dual citizen of the U.S. and the United Kingdom, he has previously worked for the UK Department for International Trade, in Defense Intelligence, and for Parliament. In the U.S. he has worked for the State Department and for a Member of Congress.
Chuck Warren: [00:00:27] Welcome to Breaking Battlegrounds. I’m your host, Chuck Warren, my co-host today, Michelle Ugenti-rita. Hello, Michelle. Hello. We are so fortunate today to have with us Elliott Abrams. He is a man who’s been responsible for a lot of the peace and prosperity in our world for the past several decades. Couple decades. He served as deputy assistant to president and National deputy National Security Advisor to the administration of George W Bush, where he supervised US policy in the Middle East for the White House and a Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela in the administration of Donald Trump. He is also a senior fellow for the Middle Eastern Studies for the Council of Foreign Relations. Mr. Abrams, thank you for joining us today.
Elliott Abrams: [00:01:09] Sure. Very glad to do it.
Chuck Warren: [00:01:10] All right. So let’s talk about Iran. Iran sees some tankers, sees a tanker last week. They seem to be causing chaos all the time, sort of unabated. Tell us what our listeners what we need to know about Iran and what do we need to do?
Elliott Abrams: [00:01:25] Well, the first thing is just what you said. That is they’re causing chaos. They’re causing chaos in the whole region. They’re basically an enemy to everybody there Yemen, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan. I mean, they’re supporting terrorist groups all over the Middle East and they’re targeting Americans and they’ve been targeting Americans since 1979, since the revolution there. And they’ve been killing Americans for decades. And frankly, we’re letting them get away with it. They’ve been killing Americans. We’re not killing Iranians. You know, we just sort of issue strong protests when these things happen. And the lesson that teaches them is, okay, we can get away with it. So at this point, they’re really a dangerous country for all of our friends in the region. And, you know, the they continue to use the same to slogans, Death to America, Death to Israel that they’ve been using since 1979. So what do we do about it? Well, one thing we shouldn’t do, maybe we should start with this. We should not get back into the nuclear deal that President Obama negotiated. It was a bad deal the day he did it.
Elliott Abrams: [00:02:47] And it’s a worse deal now because there were a lot of provisions of it that were going to disappear over time. And they’re disappearing because the years have gone by. That was a 2015 deal and it’s slowly disappearing. Another thing, here’s the thing we should do. If you look at the amount of oil they were exporting, mostly to China. During the Trump years, it was much, much less. Then they’re exporting now again, they’re getting away with it. In the Trump administration, we made it clear to everybody involved in oil that is, you know, the ship owners, the ship captains, the crews, the insurers, you name it, we’re going to go after you. They obviously don’t believe that anymore. And the amount of oil that’s going from Iran to China is way up and the amount of money they get is way up. They’re practically broke at the end of the Trump administration and they’ve got tens of billions of dollars now. So we need to those sanctions are all on the books. We need to enforce them if we’re going to have any impact.
Chuck Warren: [00:03:58] We don’t seem to enforce anything domestically. Gun laws don’t seem to get enforced. Every time you hear about a mass shooting, there’s some gun law. They. You know, they broke previously and it’s not enforced. We just had on before you, Andrew Hale, or after he discussed the $850 Billion in Debt. China has the United States that they’re defaulting on. We’re not holding them accountable. Why don’t we hold these folks to accountable to laws that are in the books?
Elliott Abrams: [00:04:26] Well, I agree with you. And I think in the case of Iran, you know, we can do it. We showed that we can do it by the time Trump left office, their whole national reserves that they could access were down to $4 billion. You know, there are there are a lot of individuals in this country now who’ve got more money than that, but they’re building it up again because we’re not enforcing it. Why don’t we do it? I think this administration, Biden administration came, came, you know, these are all Obama people. And they came in with the idea that Iran deal called the JCPoA in 2015. It was great. It was perfect. It was wonderful. We just have to restore it. And so, you know, they don’t want to make trouble. They don’t want to make the Iranians angry by enforcing the sanctions that are on the books, partly because they think, well, you know, we’re going to get back in this deal and the sanctions will go away. So why bother enforcing them? Well, we’re two and a half years into the Biden administration. There is no thank God, there is no deal with Iran. We should be enforcing those sanctions.
Chuck Warren: [00:05:36] If you were to sit down and let’s say you’re say you’re in Iowa and you’re sitting down in New Hampshire, you’re running for president, you’re sitting in the living rooms of people. The question it would seem to me that would be asked is why is Iran so hell bent on causing so much chaos and continually attacking Americans? I mean, it’s been for decades. I mean, what is the motivation to do? Continue to do this instead of saying, let’s just be normal, let our people have a decent life, we’ll have our rules. But, you know, we don’t need to be causing chaos. All the time. The ultimate disruptors of the Middle East.
Elliott Abrams: [00:06:10] They are they are. Well, you know, it’s it’s actually a very good question. I think the answer is, first of all, it’s not a democracy. You know, it’s a theocracy. It’s ruled by the ayatollahs. So no one cares what Iranians think. You know, they’re not voting for these policies. They didn’t vote for this government. So we can’t blame the Iranian people. We got to blame the ayatollahs who run the country. And, you know, it’s completely ideological for them. First of all, you know, there are Shiites and they believe that the fact that most of the Arab countries and most of the Muslim countries in the world are Sunnis is is evil and they want more power for their brand of Islam. The other thing is they want to be the most powerful country in the Middle East. They are the most powerful country in the Gulf. They have a much larger, more capable military than than the other countries. So what stops them from really dominating the whole region?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:07:12] You made a bold statement. You said Iran is killing Americans and we’re letting them get away with it. Yeah, I mean, that’s frightening. Why are we letting them get away with it? What’s the political motivation to continue to allow Americans get slaughtered like we have over the last several decades?
Elliott Abrams: [00:07:29] You know, it’s amazing. You know, you just said it. And when you say it, I think most Americans would hear that and say, this can’t be right. Right. But it is right. I mean, look, look at the Iraq Iran, look at the Iraq war. I mean. They were feeding all of those terrorists in Iraq. The Pentagon will tell you that Iran killed something north of 600 Americans and wounded and crippled thousands of Americans. But go back further. The Marine barracks in Beirut. Who did that? Iran and Hezbollah did that. Hundreds of Marines dead and we never really respond. And we have what’s known as escalation dominance. That is, people say, well, you know, if we strike back and then they’ll escalate and then we’re in a real war. No, we’re not. It’s a third rate power. It’s a country of 70 million people. They’re not insane. They do these things because they think rightly so far they can get away with them. And if they didn’t think that, they’d stop and by the way, you know, they kill more Americans than they kill Israelis. And why is that? They attack more Americans.
Elliott Abrams: [00:08:43] Why? Because they know the Israelis will hit them. They know every time they hit, they’ll get hit back. And we need to establish the same kind of deterrence with Iran or this is going to keep on happening. Another example, hostages. We’ve got hostages in Iran now. President Trump got several of them out. This was Under Secretary of State Pompeo for nothing. That is, we didn’t, you know, pay a ransom to get them out. We negotiated. We pressured and got them out. This administration is negotiating as it should, to get the hostages out, but it looks as if the deal is they’re going to be willing to pay something like 7 or $10 billion. So the Iranians learn from that. But this is a good business, right? You take American hostages, you make a lot of money. We’re we’re letting them get away with it. And I think every president says, well, not right now. You know, I don’t want to take this on right now or it’s going to get too complicated. But this has been going on since 1979.
Chuck Warren: [00:09:45] They sound like coyotes at the border here.
Elliott Abrams: [00:09:48] Well, they’re you know, look, they’re not crazy. They look at this the way any criminal gang would look at it. What can I get away with? What’s too dangerous for me? What’s the likely punishment? How likely is it that I get caught and punished? And they make their calculation. And unfortunately, we’ve taught the lesson over the years. They’re you know, you’re probably going to get away with it.
Chuck Warren: [00:10:09] Every teenager has weighed that decision with their parents on something, Right? Right. We all have kids here. They’ve all weighed that decision.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:10:15] All the time.
Chuck Warren: [00:10:16] I think a perfect example of this is when Trump ordered the assassination of I think it was General Soleimani back three years ago. You know, New York Times, oh, my gosh, World War three has started, you know, and they they toss some missiles at some of our bases. But you haven’t heard anything since. And. No, you know, look, you just sometimes got to you know, I remember years ago, Lee Atwater told me the way you handle a bully is you punch the bully. If you don’t, they’ll keep doing it.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:10:44] You have to stick up to them.
Elliott Abrams: [00:10:45] That is, you know, it’s right. I remember under Jimmy Carter, Secretary of State Vance resigned in protest after he tried to free the hostages in Desert One. And somebody made the comment that Vance was a guy who obviously had never been in a schoolyard and didn’t know how you behave with bullies. And I think I really do think that’s exactly right, that they respect power. What was their real response to our assassination of Soleimani? Nothing.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:11:20] Exactly. Nothing.
Chuck Warren: [00:11:21] Nothing. Nothing at all. Nothing at all. It’s just it’s crazy that we’re still talking about Iran since 1979 and hostages. Yeah. I mean, it’s absolutely boggles the mind that we’re still at that point, we have less less than a minute here for this segment here. When we come back, I definitely want to talk about the Cuban spy base that we’re putting down there. China. Yeah. And I want to talk a little bit about the Monroe Doctrine. Do we need to really re-up that in our hemisphere now? I feel like that’s something we need to do. We’ve neglected it quite a bit. Just briefly in 30s, what are 2 or 3 things you would do if you had control of US policy towards Iran?
Elliott Abrams: [00:12:01] First of all, I’d tell them that Obama’s nuclear deal is dead and we’re not going back to it. Secondly, I tell them that every time, every time they try to kill an American, whether they succeed or not. Oh, sometimes they miss. They only wound someone. They’re going to get hit, not their proxies in Syria or Iraq. They are going to get hit. They’d stop very fast.
Chuck Warren: [00:12:23] With Elliott Abrams. He is the senior fellow of Middle Eastern studies at the Council of Foreign Relations. He also served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national Security advisor to the administration of President George W Bush, and also served as special Envoy to Iran and Venezuela for Donald Trump. Mr. Abrams, where can people find you and your writings?
Elliott Abrams: [00:12:45] The Council on Foreign Relations website cfr.org, just, you know, on the search search for my name. And there’s a list there of everything I’ve done.
Chuck Warren: [00:12:57] Recently, bok tastic with Elliott Abrams. We’ll be right back.
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Chuck Warren: [00:13:50] Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds. I’m your host, Chuck Warren, and my co-host today is Michelle Ugenti-rita. Thank you, Michelle. I’m so glad you’re here. We are so lucky to have with us today Elliott Abrams. He is a man who has been involved in international politics for three decades plus. Mr. Abrams, thanks again for joining the show.
Elliott Abrams: [00:14:07] Glad to do.
Chuck Warren: [00:14:08] It. All right. So you recently wrote a piece on the Chinese spy base in Cuba. I mean, boy, history seems to repeat itself a lot. It wasn’t China, it was Russia. But it just seems it gone over and over and over. What do we need to do? And why should the United States, which Michelle and I both believe in this policy, we need to start focusing more on our hemisphere, right? South and Central America. I mean, everybody talks about a border crisis. Well, you can lessen the border crisis if you have thriving economies in Central and South America. I mean, there’s lots of ways to this. But talk about how dangerous this is. What should the United States do?
Elliott Abrams: [00:14:43] Well, first, it is dangerous. And we face something a little bit like this under President Reagan and I served in the Reagan administration, we had some of this in Central America. We had, for example, the communist guerrillas take over in Nicaragua, and they were on the verge of taking over in El Salvador. And then there was Grenada. Remember that? And Reagan invaded. What he did was he said, look, we’ve got to do something about these economies. We had a thing called the Caribbean Basin Initiative to help improve their economies, try to get more factories open there, give them some access to the US for things like garments. Much better to have them made there than in China or, you know, Vietnam or someplace. And it worked. And I do think that the we need something like that and the Biden administration does not, it seems to me, have really have a policy. And so everybody comes up to the border and the border has for many, many years been essentially open. I mean, not formally, but, you know, realistically, you you go on a cross. Now, the Chinese are making inroads all over Latin America, spending a lot of money and getting people in debt, which is their specialty. You know, we’ll build that bridge, we’ll build that road, we’ll build that airport, and then you’re in debt to them. And many of these countries can’t pay. So then the Chinese have real leverage over them. That’s happening all over, particularly South America. Now, in Cuba, you know, the Russians really don’t have the money they had once upon a time.
Elliott Abrams: [00:16:23] So the Chinese are offering them money and in exchange, they want the kind of spy base the Russians had. It’s at a place called Lourdes the Soviets had. And, of course, you know, 90 miles from Florida, I’m watching Florida, CentCom headquarters in Florida, Southcom headquarters in Florida. You know, one could go on Air Force bases in Florida. So it’s very useful to them. But one thing I think we’ve got to do, you mentioned the Monroe Doctrine is to make it clear that people are not going to be able to get weaponry that can reach the United States. We actually had this happen in the Trump administration. We had some intelligence that Iran was going to send missiles to Venezuela that could reach the United States. And we made it clear to them, we sent messages to all the right channels, including military Intel. No. That’s not acceptable. We will interdict those ships. And if we can’t interdict them for some reason or you fly this stuff in, we’ll take them out in Venezuela. That’s not going to be permitted. And they stopped. They never did it again. A real, you know, a real assertion of American willingness. And nobody will take us on because we’re stronger. I think we’ve got to keep that clear for Cuba, for Venezuela, for all of Latin America, that we are not going to permit it to be a base for attacks on the United States or for threats against the United States.
Chuck Warren: [00:18:01] Well, I’m going to take a little different question here than what we’ve been talking about. You have worked for Reagan, the Bushes and Trump. Tell us something that people don’t know about each president you work for. The press would never cover, but something that you found that was a certain quality about their leadership that our audience would like to understand.
Elliott Abrams: [00:18:22] Oh, boy. I’ll say one thing about Ronald Reagan. I think people know it, but in private, he was about the most charming man on the face of the earth. And he had a million stories. Many of them from his days in Hollywood. But he was just, you know, indomitable, I guess, is the word I’d use. You know, people would line up to try to get to spend a minute with him. There are some bosses, you know, who people you know, you go in there. No, you go in. Not with Ronald Reagan. People were just you know, when you had a minute with him, it was delightful. I would say something about George W Bush that I think people don’t remember. Think about 9/11. It happened. And he thought most Americans thought our intelligence community thought maybe this is only the start. Maybe there’s more coming. And the whole country turned to the president for our leadership. And you may remember his speech at the National Cathedral to be working for him in those days was to realize this is a man who is carrying the country on his shoulders, not only carrying just us in the staff. Big deal about that, but the whole government and carrying the country. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without his very deep religious faith, which he had and has. But I remember those days thinking, what is the strength of this man? He knows if he flinches, if he wobbles, if he shows that he’s uncertain, he’s depressed, the whole country is going to feel that way in a day or two. And he never did. He never flinched. I think those were in a in a way his his most his greatest days because he carried all of us in that in that terrible period in the fall of 2001.
Chuck Warren: [00:20:22] And Trump.
Elliott Abrams: [00:20:23] I didn’t get to spend as much time with Trump for for George W Bush. And I worked in the White House. You know, he was right there for state sorry for Trump. I was at the State Department and handling Venezuela and Iran and didn’t get to to spend as much time.
Chuck Warren: [00:20:42] Well, let me let me ask you this question about Trump, which I think we have this we have this segment of the Republican Party. I am not one. We have two minutes left here, by the way, on this segment. He’s not as isolationist as some of his ardent supporters are. I mean, you gave me an example of Iran. An isolationist is not going to go knock out an Iranian general. What do people misunderstand about his foreign policy?
Elliott Abrams: [00:21:05] Well, I think you’ve said it. I’ll give you another example of Venezuela. I mean, okay, so they have a dictator and it’s a horrible, horrible situation and people are fighting back democratically. Who cares, Right? What’s our business? That was not the Trump view. We actually spent an enormous amount of time and diplomatic effort supporting the opposition in Venezuela. He was not at all an isolationist. He you might call him a sort of realpolitik guy. That is, he wanted to weigh costs and benefits very, very carefully. He didn’t want to throw good money after bad. He didn’t want to invest in a losing situation. That’s very different from saying, I don’t care and I’m not interested. That was not the Trump administration view. And you remember, what did he say about NATO? He didn’t say I’m leaving NATO. He said, pay up. Right. He said, let’s make this work. So I think I think the isolationist idea is that’s not a description of Donald Trump.
Chuck Warren: [00:22:08] Yeah, he definitely wanted them to pay their 2%. And I’m telling.
Elliott Abrams: [00:22:13] You. Right. And he made a lot of progress, by the way.
Chuck Warren: [00:22:14] Absolutely.
Elliott Abrams: [00:22:15] More progress than any president had made before.
Chuck Warren: [00:22:18] And he would definitely and he would definitely demand that they put their fair share into Ukraine now, which they’re not doing. They’re all lip service right now. Let’s use Canada as an example where Michelle and I with Elliot Abrams. This is breaking battlegrounds vote. We’re going to come back with Elliot for one more segment and we’re going to talk about something interesting, why the US should promote democracy and human rights for the United States. And Michelle will take the lead on that with our guests. And we’ll be right back. Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds. I’m Chuck Warren, my co-host today, Michelle Ugenti-rita. We have with us Elliott Abrams, a man who’s worked for three presidents. And he has a lot of knowledge. I hope you will listen and share this on our podcast or go to breaking battlegrounds vote. Michelle, go ahead and let’s talk about democracy.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:23:05] Democracy. Well, something that we obviously care very much about here in the United States of America. But what is our role and what should be our role when it comes to promoting, protecting, spearheading growing democracy in other parts of the world? You would think this wouldn’t be such a divided debate, but it is. You have a lot of people that say it’s not our business, just concentrate on our home turf and territory. And then you’ve got the other side that says, look, we have a responsibility to to frankly, humanity and the entire world to make sure that representative government, democracy is promoted so that everyone can have the chance at prosperity. Because I think we could all agree when people do, that lessens the kind of violence that we see and plight that people are in. And but, but, but where? What’s our role and what should that be, if anything?
Elliott Abrams: [00:24:01] I think first, we’re always balancing various interests, right? A government is not an NGO. We have commercial interests, financial interests, national security interests, as well as the desire to see other countries be democratic. So we’re always balancing them. It’s false that sometimes people say, well, you can’t make that the center of your foreign policy. It never is. It’s one of the things in our foreign policy. But, you know, if you look around the world, democracies don’t go to war with each other. Democracies don’t fight each other. A world that’s more democratic is going to be a more peaceful world and it’s going to be better for us because those are natural allies of ours. You see it in the Pacific, the countries that are afraid of and opposing China, like South Korea, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, obviously you see it in Europe and the NATO countries. So it is in our interest. And if you look at at the say, the refugee flows, you know, you see all the Venezuelans coming to the United States. That’s because they have a vicious dictatorship that is destroying the has destroyed their economy and eliminated democracy in that country.
Elliott Abrams: [00:25:20] So people flee. 7 million of them have have fled Venezuela. That wouldn’t happen if they had a decent democratic government. So we have a we have a direct interest here in having more and better allies and in our own region having a more stable Central America, Caribbean area, Latin America more generally, I think would be like if we had if we didn’t have Canada. And instead we had, you know, choose your country. But we had a country like Venezuela on our northern border with a 3000 mile border. So it is in our interest to do this. It is not in our interest to make it the only thing we care about. We have you know, we. President Reagan always used to say trust but verify. He did negotiate with the Russians, with the Soviet Union. Soviet Union. Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t talk to them. Nobody’s saying we should forget about national security. But one of the elements of our national security, I would argue, is the expansion of the number of countries that are democratic countries and naturally look to the United States as a friend and ally.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:26:35] What do you do with the.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:26:36] Countries that push back on wanting to support and and become a democratic country? What do you do with them?
Elliott Abrams: [00:26:44] You know, in most cases, maybe even say all cases. You know, it’s it’s the corrupt leadership. It’s not the people. You look at Iran, I mean, which is an enemy. It’s not the Iranian people. You know, they never they never chose this death to America hostility. Same thing with Russia. I think if Putin fell, you might well see a less aggressive Russia. It’s in Putin’s interest to invade all these, you know, Georgia and Ukraine and all. So I think what we need to do in those cases is give at least moral support and maybe some material support. You know, for example, broadcasting, we did that throughout the Cold War. Radio Free Europe, Voice of America. That’s critically important. It’s not going to cause a war. It’s not all that expensive, but it’s a way of getting our message out to the people of those countries. They want to hear that message. They didn’t choose those governments.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:27:40] Now, and they need to know that they have someone in their corner rooting for them. And I can imagine that those in power are going to absolutely balk and push back on, you know, having a system that would probably take them out.
Elliott Abrams: [00:27:54] They do. And, you know, for broadcasting, for example, they tried jamming in the Cold War days, the Reagan days, you know, we used to ship in fax machines. Sounds like the Middle Ages now, but that was an advanced technology back then. Nowadays, obviously, it’s Internet and what we should be doing and are doing, for example, trying to help Iranians and Russians get their news on the Internet because they’re sure not going to get it from the regimes that just don’t get it from TikTok.
Chuck Warren: [00:28:22] Yeah, knowledge is power. Elliott Abrams, thank you so much for visiting with us today. I hope you’ll come on again soon. You’ve been fantastic and we appreciate appreciate your honesty and your experience.
Elliott Abrams: [00:28:32] It’s been my.
Chuck Warren: [00:28:33] Pleasure. Thank you. This is breaking battlegrounds. You can find us at breaking battlegrounds. Vote and we’ll be right back.
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Chuck Warren: [00:29:16] Welcome back to Breaking Battlegrounds on our segment. Now we have Andrew Hale. He is the senior policy analyst and trade policy and Heritage’s Thomas Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. Just a lot of speak out there, but it is he’s an economist and he talks about trade policy. And today we’re talking about China defaulting on their US debt. First, folks, are you concerned about your economic future? May I recommend that you go and invest in y refy y refi can guarantee an up to a 10.25% return and helping college students on their overdue college loans. So just log in to invest y refy.com. That’s right. Invest in y. Refy.com or call 888Y refy – 24. Tell him Chuck and Sam sent you. If you’re interested in having a continual source of income as you retire. Andrew, welcome to the show.
Andrew Hale: [00:30:16] Yes, hello. Thank you so much for having me.
Chuck Warren: [00:30:18] So first question, you have worked in the US State Department and for a member of Congress, which one did you enjoy the most and what were your big takeaways from working for both entities?
Andrew Hale: [00:30:31] Well, when I was the State Department, I was in a bureaucratic office, so I was dealing with a lot of paperwork and sitting behind a desk and computer monitor quite a lot. And it was not very forward facing, but that was just my particular job. So was not a reflection on the institution with regards to Congress. It was very, very active. I was working for a very dynamic member of Congress who is quite unique. He was a Holocaust survivor and he was the chairman of the international the Foreign Affairs Committee. So I have to say that my takeaway was I learned a great deal. And the congressman also encouraged his staff to take a lot of responsibility. So I have to say that I prefer the role in Congress.
Chuck Warren: [00:31:10] That’s fantastic. All right. So you wrote this fascinating article. That’s why we reached out to you. And it was in the Hill and it’s called China is in Default on $1 trillion in debt to the US bondholders. Will the US force repayment? You know, we pay approximately $850 billion a year in interest on our national debt. We actually spend more on interest on our national debt than we do programs for children in this country now, which is just insane. But China’s defaulting on their debt to the United States. What does this mean for the United States and what should they do about it?
Andrew Hale: [00:31:44] Well, that’s a very important question. I’m very glad you asked that, because you see, China’s in selective default because you see they’ve actually paid British bondholders because you see this this is debt that goes back to the debt of the imperial government of the Chinese emperor, who then, of course, abdicated in 1911. And then after they had the Republic of China up until 1949. And then, of course, the People’s Republic of China won the Civil War and they defaulted on the debt that was taken out by those two previous administrations. And they have real stuff that they still benefit from roads, bridges, railway, etcetera. And they’re the only country I can think of that gets away with violating international finance law, domestic U.S law and international law concerning successor government doctrine. And so but for whatever, I think largely because the United States does so much business with China, often we look the other way with regards to this and other matters. Well.
Chuck Warren: [00:32:41] Let me and let me stop you right there, Andrew. So, for example, and you can explain a little bit briefly to our folks. China loans a lot of money to third world countries. If those third world countries do not pay them back, what does China do?
Andrew Hale: [00:32:55] China holds them over a gun barrel. I mean, they basically they they they get them indebted and then they require property, deepwater, ports. They take stuff from them. They basically in some cases, if you look at the Solomon Islands, they’re effectively taking their sovereignty. So and they’re doing that right here in our hemisphere in and they’re doing that in South America, the Caribbean and Central America by getting these countries heavily in debt and building ports. And I think it’s time to chat a little bit more. Ronald Reagan in the Grenada invasion or JFK with regards to the Cuban Missile crisis and not let them interfere in our sphere of influence.
Chuck Warren: [00:33:30] So so China once was defaulting on sovereign debt to the United Kingdom. What did Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher do then in regards to the negotiations in Hong Kong and the debt?
Andrew Hale: [00:33:43] Yes. So for example, Margaret Thatcher, during the negotiations to return Hong Kong, Mrs. Thatcher was reluctant to give Hong Kong back and the Chinese responded that we could they could just turn off the water and Britain could would be very difficult for the United Kingdom to defend Hong Kong if China just wanted to take it, given they were halfway around the world. So but she still drove a very hard bargain and said that the People’s Republic of China must honor the defaulted sovereign debt held by British citizens in order for China to have access to UK capital markets. And so faced with that stark choice, the PRC agreed. But the US has never given China that stark choice.
Chuck Warren: [00:34:20] So should we do that?
Andrew Hale: [00:34:22] Yes, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other relevant government departments in Washington need to ensure that the PRC cannot issue new sovereign debt in the United States until such time that they have made at least some satisfactory settlement on their defaulted sovereign debt owed to American bondholders.
Chuck Warren: [00:34:39] How much are we talking about? I mean, it’s close to a trillion, but how much of that is interest and who’s this affecting? So I think what happens and we talk about national debt a lot on our show, but I think what’s happening is it’s monopoly money, right? It’s like you and I, Andrew, we get together and we just play Monopoly for four hours because the game never seems to end. And. You know, this money seems fake. So. So tell me who you know. Who is China affecting by not paying back these debts?
Andrew Hale: [00:35:08] Well, for example, I wouldn’t quite agree with you that it’s Monopoly money because these bonds were gold denominated bonds. Well, no, but what.
Chuck Warren: [00:35:14] I’m saying is people people view these big numbers as monopoly numbers. I agree with you. It’s real money. But people hear these numbers and their eyes sort of gloss over like, oh, my gosh, are you kidding me? What does that even mean?
Andrew Hale: [00:35:24] Well, exactly. So the United States pays interest on over 850 billion in debt held by the People’s Republic of China. And but like we’ve said that the PRC has defaulted on American bondholders. Now, that debt that they owe American bondholders is, in today’s terms, worth over a trillion. So quite literally, the president could order the treasury secretary to purchase these effectively for pennies on the dollar and put them on the Treasury books and use them for future negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. Or they could also use them to pay off the 850 billion debt held by the people of the Republic of China.
Chuck Warren: [00:36:03] Is there momentum in Congress for taking a tougher line on China paying back their debt? Because certainly China holds people accountable when they loan them money, as we discussed earlier. What is there is there bipartisan appetite to have this confrontation?
Andrew Hale: [00:36:21] Well, there actually has been for decades a number of resolutions that have come through both houses of Congress. Democrat and Republican senators and congressmen have supported resolutions in decades past. But they when they would go up to the White House, you know, the attitude was business is good. We don’t want to upset the apple cart. We don’t want to upset Wall Street or the major companies and people invested in China. So we’re going to just ignore that. We are now at a different place. We’re in a new Cold War with China. And now there’s even more support in both houses of Congress. And I think there’ll be pressure on the current administration and any future administration to address this matter.
Chuck Warren: [00:36:57] What if China continues to fail to meet these obligations and what type of legislation that we could pass that pressures them to do it? And what would be the result of that legislation that you feel that would sort of force China to pay their bills?
Andrew Hale: [00:37:14] Well, one one thing you could do, I mentioned a few things already, but one thing you could do as a first course of action is the three primary credit rating agencies need to incorporate this defaulted sovereign debt into their sovereign debt credit ratings. So I’m referring, of course, to S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, as the SEC could then compel they could actually compel the credit rating agencies if required by Congress. If Congress passed legislation, the SEC could compel the credit rating agencies to do this. And in my opinion, it’s absurd and it’s unfair that the People’s Republic of China has an A credit rating when they are in selective default. And what that would do, they certainly wouldn’t be issuing more of their own debt if their credit rating took a plunge.
Chuck Warren: [00:37:55] All right. Now you handle trade for Heritage Foundation. Okay. Let me I saw an article this week and actually it was on Axios is where I read it. And it was sort of funny, the spin. So Mexico now has supplanted China as the United States top trading partner. So they do 69 billion. China does 47 billion. How much? That’s how much they grew. Okay. Do you view that as a good thing or a bad thing?
Andrew Hale: [00:38:18] I think that we need to do I think it’s a bad thing. I think we need to do more friend shoring and near-shoring. And as I’ve said before on this call, I think we need to address the Monroe Doctrine. Why are we allowing China to effectively hoover up, you know, economic and even diplomatic and even security power in this hemisphere, North and South America. So I think we need to address this as a matter of urgency. It’s one thing to look at them to Hoover up Africa or Oceana, Oceana or Asia, but to have them actually right here in our backyard, I personally find that very, very threatening. I think it’s a huge security breach that we’ve allowed it to go this far. And I think that the current administration needs to take this much more seriously.
Chuck Warren: [00:38:59] I agree with you. I have discussed this for years with friends and policy folks that I feel the United States has simply performed malpractice by not focusing more on Central and South America, that this is our backyard. And so for our folks who because civics is horrible in high school now, explain to them what the Monroe Doctrine was and why we should reengage the Monroe Doctrine as a national security policy.
Andrew Hale: [00:39:28] Under President Monroe. What happened was, is that they told the European powers, which had colonies here, that they couldn’t acquire anymore, that that was enough, and that this was America’s sphere of influence. And so at the time, of course, you know, they were looking, of course, at, you know, the United Kingdom and Canada was the British Dominion and, you know, British British interests. And then, of course, there were Caribbean islands and all sorts of, you know, various colonies in South America as well. And so they said, no more, you can’t. Acquire any more and we will intervene if you do try. It was giving notice to other countries not to interfere any further in this hemisphere. And we’re not invoking that anymore. We’re just letting China walk in. If you look at, for example, Barbados, one small island, by getting that country so heavily in debt in these belt and road projects, building stadiums and all sorts of infrastructure that they can never, ever pay off adequately. So, again, it’s compromising those countries security. And of course, if they’re starting to build deepwater ports here and they can start actually docking naval ships here, this is a serious threat and we need to start taking it very seriously.
Chuck Warren: [00:40:36] What do you think? I mean, part of what Heritage does is they are a great resource for policy, especially for folks on the right of center. What do you think we can do to start getting Congress and as a result, constituents more educated? Why this is important for us to do as a policy matter and for national security?
Andrew Hale: [00:40:56] Well, I think, for example, a lot of members of Congress are addressing this matter. It is very topical. There’s bipartisan interest. I will say this, though. I think there’s also a lot of people who do a lot of saber rattling and they speak the the the good talk on this issue. But I think also at the end of the day, you know, look, where some congressmen and senators are having their coffers lined by, you know, you have to look at where the money is going. And I think one of the reasons why there’s been two reasons why we haven’t addressed this historically, There was a naive belief that China would embrace them with trade and business. And then they’ll obviously develop democracy and human rights and Western norms. And that has never happened. And that was naive, wishful thinking. But then, of course, there’s simply the cynicism and and the fact that a lot of people are getting rich and they don’t want to upset the apple cart. And I could think of a lot of people I could name, which I won’t, who basically have had very pro-China policies or don’t want to address the very serious issues of the human rights, the Uyghur slave labor in the textile industry or any of that, because they’re heavily invested there, companies and individuals heavily exposed to China.
Chuck Warren: [00:42:03] We have two minutes left. What are things that you think presidential candidates on the Republican side should be talking about regarding trade? Donald Trump seemed to sort of take us back to the tariff isolationist structure. I don’t know where you are on that, but if you were king of the day for US trade policy, what are 2 or 3 things that you think we should implement or double down on?
Andrew Hale: [00:42:28] I take the view that I come from a free trade background. Having said that, there is a sort of almost religious belief in free, universal free trade amongst some people, which I think needs to be checked. And I think President Trump checked that. I do not and I no longer believe in free trade with foreign adversaries. And of course, the top of that list would be China. I don’t believe if you look at the list of foreign adversaries, that’s U.S law. We’re talking about China, Belarus, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea. Et cetera. You’re looking at countries like that. We should not have free trade with China.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:08] That’s all I want to I’m going to have to cut you off this segment. I want folks to know where they can follow your work with Andrew Hale of the Heritage Foundation. He is a policy analyst for trade policy. Andrew, where can they follow you?
Andrew Hale: [00:43:21] Yes, Drew Hale, DC on Twitter.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:25] Folks, go there he is. Excellent. Andrew, we hope you’ll come back and visit us again. You’ve been fantastic today. Loved your article, folks, go visit the Hill. You can just Google it. And Andrew, thanks for visiting us. And he discusses China defaulting on $1 trillion to US bondholders. What will the US do? So Andrew, thanks for visiting us today.
Andrew Hale: [00:43:44] Thank you so much. Look forward to coming back.
Chuck Warren: [00:43:45] Appreciate it. Thank you. This is breaking battlegrounds dot vote. Stay tuned for our podcast portion with Michelle and I talking about some issues that are affecting America today. Have a good weekend.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:43:59] The 2022 political field was intense, so don’t get left behind in 2024. If you’re running for political office, the first thing on your to do list needs to be securing your name on the web with a your name Web domain from GoDaddy.com. Get yours now.
Chuck Warren: [00:44:21] Welcome back to the podcast. Only portion of breaking battlegrounds with my humble self, Chuck Warren and Michelle Ugenti-rita in the studio with us today. Kylie’s going to give us a little update here on some true crime saga, especially the missing boy in Houston with some updates and a correction.
Kiley Kipper: [00:44:39] Yeah, I made a mistake last week, but, you know, I’m not afraid to correct. Yeah, obviously, you.
Chuck Warren: [00:44:45] Obviously don’t work for The Washington Post, but continue.
Kiley Kipper: [00:44:47] Yeah. So last week I had said that it was from the state of Texas that if you have a child that’s missing for three years or more, then you get a payout. That was incorrect. What it was was he had a brother that had passed away about a year or two prior to him, in quotes going missing, and his life insurance was left to Rudy. This is the Rudy Farias case. I just jumped right into it, jumped right in. We talked about it last.
Chuck Warren: [00:45:15] Week down in Houston.
Kiley Kipper: [00:45:16] Yes. So the life insurance was going to Rudy. But in the case that Rudy was missing, or if he passed away, then that money after three years would then go to his mom. So now that’s a speculation of why she did it. Yes. Last week we had left off with Rudy and his mom were again, in quotes on the run. They are now separated. No one’s arrested. The mother is not being charged with anything. Rudy is with some other family members his mom is with. It looks like friends, family.
Chuck Warren: [00:45:48] We talked about this. And Michelle, you’ve worked on this. I think what it is, is the consent law in Texas is probably 16 or younger since she was 17. I think that’s why there’s been no.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:45:57] Charges.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:45:58] Consent for.
Kiley Kipper: [00:46:00] So a little update or a little like.
Chuck Warren: [00:46:02] A relationship with an adult.
Kiley Kipper: [00:46:04] Oh, so he went so Rudy went missing. Okay. I’m saying in quotes eight years ago because but really, they found that he was just his mom was holding him captive in the home and making him perform inappropriate actions with her and acting like the father of the home.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:46:20] Oh, wow.
Kiley Kipper: [00:46:20] So, yes, so a little like disturbing. But he was saying he had a form. So he did an interview with Fox this week and he had said that he feels like he had a form of Stockholm syndrome. Yes. And that, like, he wasn’t physically, like chained down and being held captive there. But she was very manipulative and saying, if you leave the house, the cops will arrest you and stuff like that. So just putting that in his mind that he couldn’t do anything but be hers.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:46:43] And the Stockholm Syndrome means to that you are sympathetic with your you become sympathetic. You start to feel bad for them and you don’t want.
Kiley Kipper: [00:46:50] Yes.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:46:50] So his hurt.
Kiley Kipper: [00:46:51] And his dad had committed suicide and then lost a brother in a motorcycle accident. So it was just them two. She reported him missing. And so but the mom’s response to his interview was he’s being rehearsed. And his lawyer even says or her lawyer said that that sounds very rehearsed and not like him and that she doesn’t believe that like he’s she’s saying is he now he’s 25 now. He went missing at 17. Yeah. And again, I say missing and.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:17] She sounds so incredibly manipulative. Yeah.
Kiley Kipper: [00:47:20] But Go-fund me has since banned her because she’s created so many GoFundMe armies under different names and everything. So she’s since been banned from that.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:27] And she is a character.
Kiley Kipper: [00:47:29] Yeah, but I think GoFundMe is going to make her pay back the money that she may have taken from that.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:33] If they can get it.
Kiley Kipper: [00:47:34] If they can.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:34] Yeah, they can. That money is not coming back. I mean, she doesn’t she doesn’t sound honest or sound mind enough to say I want to pay back and make up.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:47:42] But how is there.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:47:42] Not a law that has been broken here?
Chuck Warren: [00:47:45] Well, I’m just saying, if he’s saying he has he’s a consenting individual based on the consent laws of a state. Right. I mean, what is the consent law? Can you an adult here in Arizona, what is the consent law? I think that’s something you’ve worked on with marriage.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:47:56] Well, I did.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:47:57] But that was that was marriage.
Chuck Warren: [00:47:58] And what was the what was the age limit?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:48:01] It was 16.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:48:01] You could get married? No. And in fact, you could even get married younger with your parents.
Chuck Warren: [00:48:05] That’s my point. They may have a consent law because he’s 17. He’s of old enough.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:48:09] Right. But you’d have to get married.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:48:11] I don’t think they got married. Did he marry his mom?
Chuck Warren: [00:48:14] We’re just trying to figure out why she’s not arrested. And the only thing I can. Yeah, the only thing. The only thing. The only thing I can come up with is there’s a consent law.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:48:19] Well, there’s like, Romeo and Juliet laws where if there’s a three year differential, it’s considered okay. But I think this all changes with the fact that it’s his mother.
Chuck Warren: [00:48:29] Yeah, well, let’s let’s go to another depressing topic here. So wonderful. So monthly payments on a $400,000 home in the United States now is nearly $1,000 more expensive than they were two years ago. Michelle, you’re a recent home buyer. And we you and I talked about this last week. Now, Americans to feel financially secure, feel they need to make $233,000 a year. What? What has to happen? I don’t know what needs to happen here because no one’s going to there’s not a lot of people are going to make $230,000 a year. Right. I mean, it’s just for lots of reasons. Right. But this is a problem for people.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:12] I think there’s a couple of things. One, costs really have gone up.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:15] I mean, for example, you know, you’re a.
Chuck Warren: [00:49:17] Cook, you grocery shop. How much do you have? You noticed it visibly when you go to the cash register it.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:24] I throw up a little bit in my mouth when I go to the cash register because it’s it’s it’s so expensive. But you know what? Eating out is even more expensive. So then you just you go ahead and you go ahead and do it. But triple, triple the amount. I mean, you spend 100 bucks in the grocery store and you’re walking out with like one bag. Yeah, it’s I’ll.
Kiley Kipper: [00:49:43] Walk in just for breakfast stuff.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:45] I just have one bag of wine that I walk out with. I can’t.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:48] I can’t. Wow. This is.
Chuck Warren: [00:49:50] That’s a reusable bag.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:51] Though, right? Right. Exactly. It’s gotten a lot of use, But but there’s also.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:49:56] The entitlement component. So I think prices have gone up. But I think people’s expectation for what they should have and what they want, I mean, when they’re sitting there on on social media, it looks like everybody is on a yacht these days. And I don’t think that that perception is is reality. And so, I mean, because you’re asking, why do people think they need $250,000?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:17] 233 Yeah.
Chuck Warren: [00:50:18] No. Yeah. But the things like the mortgages, that’s a real thing.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:22] That’s real. I mean.
Chuck Warren: [00:50:23] When you go from 2 to 3% plus mortgage rates to 7% plus, I mean, that’s real money.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:29] Paper was, I mean, it was free, you know, not too long ago. So essentially with interest rates being so low, I mean, now and there doesn’t seem like there’s going to be any relief in sight. It’s the interest rates are incredibly high. I don’t know that they have reached pinnacle height. I mean, I think in the you would know in the 80s in the 70s, what were they like in the 80s?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:51] Okay. Well, the interest rates were 13%.
Chuck Warren: [00:50:52] Okay. Yeah, I remember my parents, they were double digits.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:55] Right.
Chuck Warren: [00:50:55] I remember my parents bought a home and it was 13% interest rate.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:50:58] Yeah.
Chuck Warren: [00:51:00] I mean, that’s just. I mean, can you imagine?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:51:02] No, I’m like.
Chuck Warren: [00:51:02] I mean, it just makes you boggle your mind. You’re never paying off that home because everything’s going to interest towards it. Michelle, what’s going on in Arizona that people should be paying attention to?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:51:14] Well, if you listen to the news media, you would think that we are all living in a volcano and we’re about to die of heat stroke. It is hot here right now in Arizona. But I think that’s just a liberal agenda pushing climate change. But anyway, outside of that, I think you’ve got the sessions still going, which is unusual here.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:51:33] Don’t end anymore. Now you know.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:51:35] What? It’s just like the song that never ends. It goes on and on, my friend. Some people that feels like session typically it’s it would have concluded they want to keep it open Chuck because we have a Democrat governor and that’s something that Arizona typically doesn’t have. And so they are keeping the legislative session open to hopefully provide some kind of check on her authority. Runaway executive orders, that kind of thing. I don’t know how well that strategy is working, but that’s kind of where we’re at.
Kiley Kipper: [00:52:09] How many bills has Katie Hobbs signed into law this year? Well, how.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:52:12] Many? It’s really the yeah, I mean, I want to know.
Kiley Kipper: [00:52:15] How many she signed, how she signed any.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:52:17] She has signed. Yes, she has. And but she she does hold the record now for most vetoed bills. I don’t know why we’re surprised. I served with Katie Hobbs. I mean, she’s very liberal. She’s very extreme. I mean, she’s certainly living up to the reputation, people who know her as a liberal. She’s doing I mean, she’s she’s exercising. And those philosophies as governor really tells you elections matter. And, you know.
Chuck Warren: [00:52:47] They really do. I mean, you’re just seeing the result of it. She’s no surprise what she’s doing. That’s what I’m.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:52:52] Saying. I mean, it’s not a surprise. It’s disappointing. It’s unfortunate. It’s it’s going to make Arizona have to climb out of a bigger hole. But we can do it. But she really is it’s not a surprise that she is governing so liberally.
Chuck Warren: [00:53:10] Last final comment. So Kamala Harris is always worthy of entertaining us for the week. This week, she and her word salad. She described I as. I. I mean, she just a fancy thing. The thing that’s hard about her for me is she’s the I czar, and I don’t think she knows what it is. Do you?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:53:31] What is her approval rating?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:53:32] It’s like the lowest of any vice president.
Chuck Warren: [00:53:34] And so we had Chris Wilson on last week and he’s a national pollster. And we just asked if she brings any benefit to Biden. And I want to know what the White House thinks she brings.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:53:43] I completely.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:53:44] Agree. Other than she’s like a ball and chain. She’s an anchor, too.
Chuck Warren: [00:53:48] Yeah. I mean, and it’s just, you know, and we’re going to play play here. Play here as we sign off just this mish mash that a compilation of all her various fun word clouds that she has.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:01] She rivals.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:02] Biden.
Chuck Warren: [00:54:03] No, I mean, it’s not.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:04] Even faux pas. But I think.
Chuck Warren: [00:54:05] With Biden, he gets the benefit of the doubt from some people that, look, I know he was once really, really smart. He’s old, right? We give our elders a little more flexibility, but people are hurt with her, just like really I mean, I just don’t know what she brings to the table for them. No.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:21] I agree. And I think that’s why you don’t see her very much. I don’t really.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:26] See them pushing.
Chuck Warren: [00:54:27] So let me ask you this. You’ve served for 12 years in the legislature here. And you obviously, I mean, it’s real. There is real sexism in the world. And I think there’s real sexism towards female elected officials and candidates. It’s real. It’s even if people don’t want to admit it. But do you think the criticisms of her are based on sexism or she just doesn’t meet the standard of what we want for a vice president?
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:54:52] No, I mean, the criticisms on her are based on her actions. Right. And the way that she communicates, the way that she talks about issues. And if you don’t believe it, you know, I think what you were going to do is show the compilation. I mean, it’s right there. She she doesn’t look like she has a grasp of the issues or that she can articulate a platform in any level of death depth. Excuse me. And that’s why people think that, you know, she’s.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:55:25] A bit of a clown.
Chuck Warren: [00:55:26] I just don’t think it’s a sexist issue. I think she just doesn’t meet what people expect from their vice president.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:55:31] No, no, I completely.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:55:34] Agree.
Chuck Warren: [00:55:35] Well, Michelle, thanks for joining us this week.
Michelle Ugenti- Rita: [00:55:36] This was a.
Chuck Warren: [00:55:37] Blast. Fantastic. Kiley, thank you for the update, of course, and for the sincere correction, which you would not find. What I’m here for. The Washington Post. This is breaking battlegrounds. You can find us at breaking battlegrounds, dot vote, sign up, listen to our podcast, share it with your friends. We’re going to leave with this compilation of Kamala Harris. Enjoy it and share. Have a great weekend and week, folks.