"For God's sakes, this is about life and death. And it is time for us and this Administration to come to grips with the reality that we are at war. I mean, anybody that has traveled lately knows how nonsensical some of the things that you have to go through are if we're fighting a war on terror. Why does somebody like Joan Rivers get thrown off a plane when we've got terrorists riding these planes looking to blow them up over our cities?"
House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Fox News' "Fox & Friends"
January 8, 2010
Steve Doocy: Here on the curvy couch, we've got Representative Eric Cantor, the House Minority Whip. He is a Republican from Virginia. Good morning to you sir.
Rep. Eric Cantor: Good morning.
Doocy: What did you think of the president yesterday? He said "the buck stops here" - Trumanesque. And then he also said "no finger pointing". We heard that earlier. But does it sound like any heads are going to roll or anybody is actually going to be held accountable for something that could have wound up ending 300 people's lives?
Rep. Cantor: Steve, we're in New York City, okay? For God's sakes, this is about life and death. And it is time for us and this Administration to come to grips with the reality that we are at war. I mean, anybody that has traveled lately knows how nonsensical some of the things that you have to go through are if we're fighting a war on terror. Why does somebody like Joan Rivers get thrown off a plane when we've got terrorists riding these planes looking to blow them up over our cities?
Doocy: Good point.
Gretchen Carlson: Or my 4-year-old getting a pat down coming home from an international trip, doesn't seem to make sense. Here is my question that I want to get answered today and so far, nobody will answer it. Should the President of the United States know on the first day after the Christmas bombing attempt that it's an act of terror?
Rep. Cantor: Gretchen, you better believe it. You better believe we ought to be as good as any or better than that in trying to secure this country. And there was a serious breakdown. There are some things that we can do. The president says we're going have smart, sensible screening at airports. You know what, I hope so. It's about time. But look, if anybody has flown El Al lately, look what they do.
Doocy: They've been doing it right for decades.
Rep. Cantor: There is not a passenger that boards those planes that they don't know everything possible about. That's what we've got to do. That's the scrutiny with which our safety and security folks need to be employing right now.
Doocy: Sure. The White House is probably watching right now that they'd like to know your perspective, if you could give them some point of view or some guidance, what would you like to see them do regarding this?
Rep. Cantor: First of all, it is about casting aside this politically correct attitude that we've got to go and pat down 75-year-old grandmothers or 4-year-olds boarding planes. Okay? We've got to understand just as most Americans do who is the problem here?
Doocy: You're talking profiling? Some form of profiling is okay with you?
Rep. Cantor: I am talking about knowing where the problem comes from and addressing it by focusing on the threat.
Carlson: Did you hear that yesterday?
Rep. Cantor: No. You know what, Gretchen? I have heard for the last ten or 11 months the unwillingness of this Administration to call a terrorist a terrorist, the unwillingness to even claim that we are at war with radical Islam, the state sponsors of terror. It is what it is.
Carlson: Do you find it ironic that one year into this administration, the war on terror is back front and center?
Rep. Cantor: Unfortunately, I don't find it ironic. What I do find, sitting here in New York City, is that people are all of a sudden reawakening to the fact that we're at war.
Doocy: They did get the message this past week and they are not going to not send anymore guys back to GITMO. That's a step in the right direction.
Carlson: To Yemen, you mean.
Doocy: From GITMO to Yemen.
Rep. Cantor: But it begs the question...
Doocy: And we're not going to send anybody to GITMO.
Rep. Cantor: You've got this city now poised to host this trial, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the security risk. For what? How does that increase the security of our country?
Carlson: A lot of questions still unanswered. Great to see you in person.
Rep. Cantor: Great to be here.