Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

MSNBC "Hardball with Chris Matthews" - Transcript - National Defense Authorization Act


Location: Unknown


MATTHEWS: Thank you so much, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Thanks so much for coming on.

Fore more, we`re joined now by Congressman Steve Rigell, a Republican from Virginia. Thank you, Congressman, for coming on. You represent Virginia Beach and some other big places down in Virginia, not far.

REP. STEVE RIGELL (R), VIRGINIA: (INAUDIBLE) in uniform than any congressional (INAUDIBLE)

MATTHEWS: OK, so you`ve got -- you`ve got -- you`ve got skin in the game.

RIGELL: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: What do you think about this going to war with no vote? I`ve seen a -- they had a little vote over in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It went 15 to 3, but it`s never come to the floor. Apparently, it`s not coming to the floor.

RIGELL: Well, I applaud Senator Murphy. I thought the way he articulated is wise. I introduced and the House passed last week an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that really made clear that the precedent that`s being set by the administration -- and Chris, I think that what happened in Libya is instructive to us. We launched 221 Cruise missiles and over 700 JDAM munitions into Libya. And that didn`t rise to the level of triggering the War Powers Act? And what level of force must we exert before that should be in play?

MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, what do the people think? Are the people -- I mean, I look at this poll here, we`ve got here. It`s a Pew Research poll. It guess it leans a little left sometimes. We noticed that. But here it is, 20 -- this isn`t exactly a close call.

RIGELL: Well, look...

MATTHEWS: Twenty percent support -- favoring -- favor backing these so- called anti-government troop -- in other words, the rebels -- 70 percent oppose. So one in five are for us arming the rebels.

RIGELL: Right. There`s so little what appears to be common ground here in Washington, but there is common ground here. The American people are a good people. It`s a noble desire to stop the bloodshed in Syria. Over 93,000 have been killed. Look, that`s a burden on any person`s conscience, a thinking person`s conscience.

But this idea that we just have to go out and proactively engage in these things, it`s hurt us as a country. And what I`m asking for and what the amendment said was, basically, that from the framers to the current administration -- and look, it`s not partisan, but what happened in Libya is instructive. And I think that we`re kind of headed there on the slippery slope with where we`re going with Syria.

MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at the president`s chief of staff. This is what Denis McDonough had to say on this right now.


DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We have to be very discerning about what`s in our interest and what the outcome -- what outcome is best for us and the prices that we`re willing to pay to get to that place.


MCDONOUGH: We`ve rushed to war in this region in the past. We`re not going to do it here.


MATTHEWS: Well, there we go again and here we go again. There he is with analysis that bears (ph) up, like you said, this pattern of slippery slope. Everybody understood why we went to Afghanistan. We went there because that`s where the attack came from on 9/11. Iraq I never understood, but we did vote on that.

RIGELL: Well, look, Chris...

MATTHEWS: There was a real vote, which I have to go along with. That`s how we do things in this country. Then we slipped into Libya. No vote on that. And now we`re -- we`re already on the edge now of slipping into a war in Syria. No vote on that.

RIGELL: That`s correct.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what kind of vote we`re going to have on Iran. I don`t know what that kind of situation`s going to be.

RIGELL: Well, the people`s house, the House of Representatives, passed this amendment with the bipartisan support. And this is, I think, a good indication of the will of the American people. So as noble as the president -- his mission might be now and his desire to stop the bloodshed, I think we ought to limit our support to humanitarian support...


RIGELL: ... put pressure on Putin, put pressure on the new president of Iran to not send in those 4,000 Revolutionary Guards.

MATTHEWS: OK. Thank you so much, U.S. Congressman Scott Rigell of Virginia.


Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Thank You!

You are about to be redirected to a secure checkout page.

Please note:

The total order amount will read $0.01. This is a card processor fee. Please know that a recurring donation of the amount and frequency that you selected will be processed and initiated tomorrow. You may see a one-time charge of $0.01 on your statement.

Continue to secure page »

Back to top