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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Conservative Perspectives on Foreign Policy Priorities

Cleveland, OH
July 21, 2016

Date: 07/21/2016 Location: Cleveland, OH Description: GOP Convention Surrogates Monica Crowley and Richard Grenell share their perspectives on foreign policy priorities. - State Dept Image

2:30 P.M. EDT


MODERATOR: -- the views expressed are the speakers’ and not of the United States government. After our briefers make opening remarks we will open up to Q&A. And then they’ve agreed to stay for one-on-ones. We have a hard close at 3:30, however.

We’re very fortunate today to have two foreign policy experts to provide insight into the foreign policy issues that have been discussed so far at the convention. Monica Crowley began her career as a foreign policy assistant to President Nixon and has gone on to become a widely published author, contributor, and news commentator. She is a Fox News analyst, a columnist, and editor at the Washington Times and is also a New York Times best-selling author. She holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in international affairs from Columbia University.

Richard Grenell is a commentator with Fox News and has widely contributed to the Wall Street Journal, CBS News, CNN, Politico and the Huffington Post. From 2001 to 2008, he served as the United States spokesman at the United Nations, during which time he was responsible for communication strategies on the war on terror, Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and global peacekeeping efforts. Mr. Grenell also briefly served as national security spokesman for Mitt Romney in his 2012 campaign for President of the United States.

I’d like to welcome Monica Crowley and Richard Grenell to the Foreign Press Center. Thank you.

MR GRENELL: Thanks so much for having us. It’s good to be back in front of the State Department logo. It’s been a while for me since that’s happened. So we’re excited about this.

The one thing that I just want to make clear is that we are not affiliated with the campaign, with the Trump campaign, and we are not speaking on behalf of the Republican National Committee in any way.

What we’re here to do is to answer questions from a conservative perspective as to what we believe are the world’s challenges and how conservative policies can solve some of our problems that we’re facing, whether they be in the Middle East or China or wherever they may be, there is a different perspective than what is currently happening. And what we want to be able to do is make sure that you hear directly another point of view from what I would call the traditional Republican view.

So with that, I think we’re eager to get right into questions and we’d just love to take up the rest of the time with questions. Again, feel free to ask on anything that you’re interested in doing and we’ll give you our best shot.

QUESTION: Hi. I’m Lauri Tankler with the Estonian Public Broadcasting TV and Radio News.

Obviously you’ve probably seen the New York Times interview where Mr. Trump talked about allies, supporting them with some preconditions. I’m just wondering as to what you have reported on, what you have been seeing. How in line is that with the conservative support across this country? Is this something that goes against the grain? Is it something that goes against the conservative thinking in general? Or is he tapping into something that actually is you know, like people in the Republican Party right now think that maybe they’re getting the short end of the stick and they shouldn’t be, you know, putting up this much militarily as they have until this time.

MR GRENELL: Great question.

I spent eight years inside the Security Council. I listened to debates and negotiations constantly on every imaginable issue. And I think if you go back and you look at the criticism of the Bush administration negotiation tactics at the time, it was that we very much had a too tough of a line. Some people called it “cowboy diplomacy,” some people said take it or leave it. But I can attest to the fact that for eight years the Bush administration was criticized for being too tough with foreign governments at the UN.

I think what we have seen over the last eight years is an acquiescence, and we are very uncomfortable with the foreign policies of the United States at the UN, for instance. We think they’re way too weak. You know, you just take the Iran negotiation and specifically on the Iran negotiation, we were puzzled as to why did the United States give in on anytime, anywhere inspections? If you go back to the history of why there were sanctions on Iran, the reason that we originally put sanctions on Iran is because the IAEA report was sent to the Security Council and the IAEA inspectors said we can’t get into certain sites, certain military sites inside Iran. We didn’t, the UN inspectors didn’t know what to do so they came to the Security Council, they threw up their hands and they said we can’t access these sites. We don’t know what else to do.

The Security Council met and decided to put sanctions on Iran. So we were on the sanctions policy because the inspectors couldn’t get access to certain military sites. That was the number one reason. I was part of these negotiations inside. That was what worked. The reason Russia signed on is because they absolutely could not get access to military sites.

I was puzzled to watch when that became a non-issue in this current administration.

My point in telling you the story is the conservatives want someone who’s going to be a tough negotiator, who’s going to defend the United States and not apologize for it.

If you look at what Mr. Trump did this morning, he was very clear when he said I think we’re going to be able to get a deal. I don’t think we’re going to have any problem. I think we’re going to be able to get a deal, but I’m willing to walk away if we don’t get the best deal. That directly contradicts Hillary Clinton’s position which is I’m going to give you whatever deal you want. We are never walking away.

Now for a former Secretary of State to literally say there is nothing you can do that will push me to walk away from giving you whatever Saudi Arabia wants, whatever Egypt wants. Conservatives have always wanted to see zero based budgeting when it comes to foreign aid. We want people to come to the United States State Department on an annual basis and tell us what the American tax dollars are going to be spent for. That’s not radical. That’s pretty practical.

I think what we have with foreign aid, what we have with negotiations right now is we have a whole bunch of countries who are our allies, friends, and some others, who have gotten very comfortable with taking U.S. tax dollars from hard-working American taxpayers. All Donald Trump is saying, I’m going to negotiate hard for a better deal, and I’m willing to walk away.

MS CROWLEY: I just want to add that the Republican nominee for president is totally unconventional and a lot of the American people are coming to grips with that as well, whether they voted for him in the primary season or not. And he is going to take an unconventional approach to the world’s problems, to dealing with America’s adversaries as well as their allies.

There is a theory in international relations called the rationality of irrationality. That is you want, everybody around the world, but in particular America’s enemies, to be held off balance by the Commander in Chief. Richard Nixon used this to great effect. Ronald Reagan used it to great effect. To some extent George W. Bush used it to great effect. And I think Donald Trump has learned from those previous presidents that you don’t telegraph necessarily what the United States will do, what they’re prepared not to do.

In dealing with our alliances, particularly in the Baltic states and so on, I am confident, and I know so many of my fellow conservatives, fellow conservative journalists are also confident that Mr. Trump understands the value of America’s relationships with our allies around the world, and he is not interested in imperiling those alliances in any way. He is interested in enhancing those relationships.

He is also running for president, playing to a domestic audience, so I would say that there is a strain among the American electorate right now which is essentially fed up with carrying a lot of these burdens. So some of his messaging is designed to address those concerns among the American people. That doesn’t mean he’s going to allow our alliances to lie fallow or to damage them in any way. I think he, I think to agree with Rick, that he’s interested in realignments, not in terms of the alliances, but in terms of how the burdens are shared for the United States and our friends around the world.

MR GRENELL: It’s definitely my style to give follow-up to anything that we said. I don’t want this to be a one-way conversation. So if you want to ask anything to clarify at all.

QUESTION: Yeah. Actually, the same question, the follow-up with the electorate or the part of the American people who are fed up with the United States putting up their like, who are they? And you know, is this a more common theme among conservative voters?

Because Mitch McConnell for example today said that he did not agree with Mr. Trump. He said you know, the U.S. securities are ironclad and they, so who’s that base?

MR GRENELL: That’s a good question.

Look, I don’t, again, we don’t speak for the campaign, but I would just say that I don’t think Donald Trump in any way suggested that he didn’t find value in these alliances. What he’s saying is, and I think it’s a pretty normal reaction, others need to pay more, and he’s a businessman. When you want others to pay more, you can’t say to them but, if you’re not willing to pay more, we’re going to do whatever we have to do. What do you think that, you know, look, I spent a long time at the UN again, and you look at the UN funding mechanism of assessed contributions? That original number of the GDP that’s used to calculate assessed funds for each country, that original number comes from those countries. There’s no check and balance on that.

So when China or Russia or Japan, anyone, tells the UN what their original GDP number is to start calculating that long formula, without having a civil society checking that number, that process is phony. And I think all Donald Trump is trying to say is I believe in these alliances, I want these alliances to work, but others have to pay more. And I actually think if you go back to his transcript and read every word of it, a lot of people would agree.

To answer your question, the people that support this concept are people that recognize that the United States national debt is $19 trillion. You think about that. We are spending more than what we are paying for. This is unsustainable. $19 trillion. It has been doubled, or almost doubled under the Obama administration. So the people who want to see zero based budgeting when it comes to foreign aid, who want others to pay more, are people not in Washington, DC, not traditional politicians, but people who are tired of the status quo and traditional politicians not listening to them.

MS CROWLEY: Can I just add, when you’re asking who are these American people who feel this way? I would say I don’t have an exact number obviously, but I think there are major realignments going on across the Western world politically. We saw it with the Brexit vote, choosing to leave and so on. It is certainly happening in the United States. So when you talk about voters who are frustrated with the costs and the burdens of American super power leadership, it’s not strictly Republican voters, it’s not strictly conservatives. There’s a huge cross-over. We have a lot of Democrats, a lot of moderates, a lot of pragmatists who are saying we’ve been shouldering this burden for a long time. We’re not willing to give up American leadership in the world. But how about disbursing the costs a little more fairly? I think that’s a pretty widespread view politically in the United States right now, cutting across all party lines.

MR GRENELL: And I will just admit that my party, the Republican Party, has not been good at reining in spending. We have to do a better job. Which is why I think Donald Trump has taken on the Republican Party as well.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks for doing this. I’m Andreas Ross with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Lots of questions on my mind. I’ll go for this one.

Outside but also inside the Republican Party a lot of people feel Donald Trump’s foreign policy is sort of incoherent or not realistic. Two small examples or big examples of many.

He says he has this super idea how to get rid of the Islamic State real quick. And he’s run it by a couple of generals and they agree. But if he was such a patriot as he says, he would have probably shared that information with the people who are actually trying to fight ISIS.

So that seems unrealistic and implausible.

In the New York Times article today, on the one hand he says --

MR GRENELL: Can we just take that question first so I don’t forget? We’ll give you a follow-up. I just want to start with that first question before I forget it.

I think you start from the premise, well, tell me again, you know, what, you had a couple of assumptions in there. Tell me what --

QUESTION: I was trying to give examples for what seems like incoherence and this was more implausible, that somebody says there is a super easy way to do this and we’ll do it real quick. So my question to you really is, not whether you agree with everything he puts out, but whether you think that Donald Trump who has not spent a tremendous time dealing with foreign policy like yourselves, that he has a realistic plausible comprehensive view that’s fact based as opposed to talking points for an election.

MR GRENELL: I actually do. But what I was trying to get at is the assumption in your question is that Donald Trump has this secret idea and the power to implement his secret idea. That’s where I think you’re wrong. You’re trying to say, you just said if he was a great patriot he would share that information. The assumption in your argument is that the secret information that is regardless of who’s in power.

I’ll tell you what the secret information is. The secret information is the 63-member coalition that we have fighting ISIS right now for the past five years that can’t find the ISIS command and control center means that we have a really bad strategy. And by the way, the American men and women fighting this will tell you that the rules of engagement are ridiculous and that they are not allowed to do what they want to do.

So the secret recipe is for Barack Obama to give up his rules of engagement. Okay? That’s the secret recipe. Donald Trump can’t control that.

So I do think that he’s got a very coherent policy, and I think Monica was getting at this idea that just because Donald Trump says “hey, I’m not going to tell you what my strategy is,” and the New York Times and the elites in America are mocking him and saying “oh, he doesn’t have one,” I think that you should be very careful in trying to assume that someone who is not sharing the entire plan with you somehow doesn’t have a plan. I think they’re a little bit smarter and they’re not giving our enemies the strategy.

MS CROWLEY: Yeah. And just to give you a quick historical analogy to this. President Nixon, for whom I worked during the last years of his life -- I was not born yet when he was elected president. I just want to make that really clear. He was criticized when he was running for president for saying that he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, and they said “what is it? Mr. Nixon, tell us what it is. We’re supposed to vote on sort of a, you know, an amorphous idea that you have some plan.” He actually did have a plan, just because he wasn’t willing to share it with the press or the American people at that moment didn’t mean he didn’t have a plan.

His plan in that case was the opening to China in 1972, using China as a counterweight against growing Soviet power, trying to enlist the Chinese in leaning on the North Vietnamese and so on. Now we can argue the historical point whether or not that worked or not. But I think Donald Trump has really learned from a lot of his predecessors in how to approach at least politically during a presidential campaign how to answer some of these questions. But I agree with Rick, I think it’s a huge mistake to assume he doesn’t have a plan. In fact, last summer I was sitting with a former Navy SEAL who was just out of the Special Ops service, and I said to him, if we had a Commander in Chief in the United States who was absolutely committed to smashing ISIS, how long would it take? He said about four weeks. And he laid out the whole --

I mean, if you had a committed Commander in Chief sitting in Washington, it might take longer than four weeks. It might be hyperbole, but the strategy of American ground troops working more closely with our NATO allies, air power. Sunni awakening, trying to get that going again. The Sunni tribes on the ground. Special Ops. Dealing with this enemy is not a big mystery here. The problem is you don’t have an American Commander in Chief right now who is willing to prosecute the case.

MR GRENELL: And let me just add one more thing to it. We are not suggesting that President Obama does not want to defeat ISIS. He does.

MS CROWLEY: Correct.

MR GRENELL: The problem is in 2008 in the cornfields of Iowa, he made a commitment to his base that he would end all wars and bring all U.S. troops home. That is a commitment -- by the way he hasn’t been able to keep but he still pretends that he is keeping. But he made that commitment in the cornfields of Iowa when he was Candidate Obama. And he wasn’t really getting great intelligence briefings when he made that commitment.

I don’t think that it’s good to make political commitments about national security. You don’t know what’s going to unfold. And what I think Trump is absolutely saying is “I’m not going to tell you what the plan is.”

When President Obama told the Taliban when we were leaving Afghanistan and told radical Islam groups inside Iraq when we were leaving Iraq, we knew what they were going to do. They were going to wait them out.

So there is a huge value in not announcing what your plan is, and I think Donald Trump learned that through years of being a businessman.

QUESTION: So this is almost philosophical now, but I was thinking about this. I’m coming from a country, Germany, where I think every time a new government is formed, the foreign policy chapter starts with the value of predictability of foreign policy. It’s like the cornerstone.

I wonder, since you are singing the praises of an unpredictable foreign policy as a super power, whether you would welcome all countries following that model? It seems that a lot of people want stability. I’m trying to come to grips with stability on the one hand and unpredictability on the other hand. If we have 195 unpredictable actors, do you think we’ll still have stability?

MR GRENELL: No, we’re not suggesting that. That’s silly. What you just intertwined is us articulating a strategy with foreign policy. We’re not suggesting unpredictable foreign policy. Of course we will honor our commitments to our allies. Of course we stand for democracy and human rights and freedom. That’s not what we’re saying. But what you just tried to say is that somehow sharing our plan on how to defeat ISIS with our enemies, or making a commitment to never start a war, or making a commitment to bring all troops home is somehow a predictable foreign policy plan. I would argue it’s not predictable. It’s actually a very naïve strategy of trying to implement a foreign policy plan.

MS CROWLEY: And I would just add, you know, when you suggested that perhaps Donald Trump if he did have this secret plan that he thinks would be so effective should share it with our allies who are trying to defeat ISIS on the ground in the neighborhood. The problem with that is there’s only so much they can do without a committed president. And again, he’s committed to the fight, but in order to defeat ISIS you need American resources and American leadership. So it doesn’t necessarily translate.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Karlijn, working for a newspaper in the Netherlands, AD. [Algemeen Dagblad].

I was just wondering what you expect of tonight. What should Donald Trump do after all we saw the last days. The Ted Cruz speech. What do you think?

MS CROWLEY: Great question. The question was about what we can expect from Donald Trump tonight.

Look, in terms of Senator Cruz’s speech, I’ll address that first, last night. The Trump campaign was shown Senator Cruz’s speech beforehand. They knew what he was going to say, and they also knew that there was going to be no endorsement, no formal endorsement anyway.

I think, and I don’t know, I’m speaking for myself here, that perhaps the Trump campaign knew this and gave him enough rope to hang himself. And I think he politically probably made an error in terms of his own political future, but he made a choice last night to stand on principles that he holds dear. And we will see how that shakes out. I think it was a big gamble for him. But I think, actually just politically speaking from my own perspective, the backlash against Senator Cruz actually helps Donald Trump. And as I said on television today, on Fox News, Ted Cruz last night did the impossible. He turned Donald Trump into a victim. And I think Donald Trump is going to reap the benefits of what happened last night with Senator Cruz’s speech. In fact, a lot of focus groups who were broadcast after the speech said that they believed that Donald Trump actually showed great security as a candidate, personal security, that he was secure enough to invite somebody to speak on the third night of his nominating convention who fundamentally disagreed with him, and who was going to give a barn burner of a speech in which he refused to endorse him. A lot of undecided voters said I’ve heard from over the last day or so since Senator Cruz gave the speech that I’m giving Donald Trump another look because anybody who’s secure enough in himself and his own candidacy to invite that on stage deserves another look.

Now in terms of what we can expect from Donald Trump tonight, I don’t know because I’m not privy to the speechwriting process, but I think the political red meat that we’ve see all week and the attacks on Mrs. Clinton, this is what you expect from a political convention. Certainly the Democrats are going to smash Donald Trump all week next week. I think tonight you’re not going to see that from Mr. Trump. You might see a line or two poking at Mrs. Clinton, but what I expect overall from Mr. Trump tonight is a much bigger picture speech. And by that I mean I think he’s going to draw the distinction between President Obama and Mrs. Clinton as big government America, and he’s going to put himself up as somebody who represents leadership for big America. And by big America I mean pro-growth economically, powerful militarily, strong economically, and culturally and politically, and adventurous from sea to space. Those are big Kennedy-esque, Reagan-esque themes, and I expect to hear those themes from him tonight because I believe he understands that tonight is about presenting himself to a much wider audience than the audience that is just in the arena. He’s presenting himself to the American people also, to all of you, to the rest of the world. And that he’s not simply representing himself anymore, or his campaign or his business, the Trump organization. He is standing there as somebody potentially to represent the United States of America. And I know for a fact he takes that responsibility very seriously.

MR GRENELL: And I would just add I think two things that he’s going to pound on is jobs. Americans vote on jobs. They want jobs. They want more jobs. And right now I think a lot of Americans are feeling unsafe. They’re watching what happened throughout Europe, but also Chattanooga. People forget about Chattanooga. People forget about San Bernardino, where I’m from. And of course the Orlando attack. ISIS is growing and it’s grown under this administration, and I think American people are very nervous about that. That’s just the reality.

QUESTION: Claudia Trevisan from the Brazilian newspaper Estado de Sao Paolo.

It seems that Hillary Clinton has been the main in fire of the Republican [inaudible]. Besides Hillary Clinton, what are the other factors that are [inaudible] that can [unify] the country before the elections? And how likely it will happen considering this speech of Ted Cruz yesterday, the absence of Governor Kasich, the absence of the whole Bush family.

MR GRENELL: It’s a great question. I think it’s really that, what you’re asking is going to determine the election, what I really believe.

But I want to give you a little bit of a perspective on this. Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and bashed George Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, all of the leaders of the Republican Party. And yet Donald Trump still won the nomination.

So you have to ask yourself, how did he win the nomination by running against establishment Republicans? And I think that the answer is at least two-fold. One is a lot of Americans are hungry for anti-Washington policies. The Bernie Sanders phenomenon is because he says Washington is broken and there’s a whole bunch of corrupt people that aren’t working for you. Okay? That’s Donald Trump’s message in many ways. They have a couple of different tactics, but they have relatively the same message that Washington is broken and it’s not working for you.

The American people really responded to that, and so I think it’s new people coming into the process and it’s frustrated Democrats, Independents and Republicans who joined into the primary to elect Trump.

MS CROWLEY: I would just add, earlier I was talking about realignments that are sweeping the Western world, and we saw the first result of that I think with the Brexit vote. There have been other local elections in Rome and some other places where you’ve had the quintessential outsider win an election without resources, without campaign infrastructure. Because I think what’s happening across the Western world, certainly here, is a regular citizens revolt against the global elite and against the status quo. People are just fed up. And Mrs. Clinton is the quintessential member of the global elite and she represents the status quo. So from my perspective, the Democrats have put up literally the worst possible candidate given this environment. It’s not a commentary on Mrs. Clinton’s qualifications or her abilities or anything else. It is a commentary on the overall context in which this election is taking place.

Donald Trump, a political novice, smashed, obliterated, eliminated 16 political professionals, one of whom had over $100 million to spend. That was Jeb Bush. Another, Senator Cruz, who we just spoke about, had $80 million to spend. Donald Trump did his entire primary I think on $23 million, maybe less, on all earned media.

So he didn’t do it, he’s an extremely charismatic personality, but he is riding a wave that is much bigger than he is. I think he understands that, and he’s harnessed that energy that people’s revolt against being dictated to by what Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, called the protected versus the unprotected.

The split now in the United States and it looks to me like this is part of what I’m talking about in terms of the Western world and the realignments. The split here in the U.S. is less left/right, although the media portrays the big split being Republican and Democrat or conservative and liberal, right/left. It’s less that in my mind, than it is the bipartisan ruling class, the elites, versus everybody else. And what you’re seeing now is this revolt against the elites. And again, the crossover is happening, it’s pretty widespread. I can’t tell you how many lifelong Democrats, union guys, will come up to me in my home city of New York City and say I voted Democrat my whole life, but I’m voting for Trump. There’s this sense that the global elites, and here in the U.S. the bipartisan ruling class, has not protected them, that they’ve only sought to enrich and empower themselves at the expense of regular folks, and the regular folks have had enough.

MR GRENELL: A lot of working class Dems switching over for Trump, and a lot of elites, Republican types are switching over to vote for Hillary. It’s really a great realignment.

MS CROWLEY: And I don’t think anybody quite has a handle on that yet. I don’t think David Cameron understands that even now. I don’t think Hillary Clinton understands it. I don’t think Donald Trump understands it. I think Donald Trump is riding this tiger, but I don’t think anybody has a firm grasp yet on what is actually happening.

QUESTION: Marcelo from Brazil, TV Sao Paolo.

Two questions. First, in what ways do you think that this convention make the campaign stronger in order to win Hillary Clinton?

And the second one, what do you think Trump should do to attract the young voters?

MR GRENELL: Well certainly in the first question, I’m a part of the California delegation. I’m a delegate from California. And two-thirds of our delegation has never been to a convention before. This is my seventh. Two-thirds of our delegation has never been involved and never been to a political convention. I think that’s remarkable. It’s just a testament across this convention floor are new people that have never been involved, that are energized by someone who talks simply, who is not using the Washington speak.

I’ll give you an example. I firmly believe this. If you look at the original statement after the coup in Turkey or the attempted coup. If you look at the original statements of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They both said the exact same thing except Hillary Clinton had like a four paragraph diplomatic speak and Donald Trump basically said we’re rooting for you guys, I hope you can get it right. That was the exact same thing. It was diplomatic speak versus plain talk. But Hillary just talked about meetings, more diplomacy, working with our allies, and hoping to encourage the Turks. It was really the exact same statement.

MS CROWLEY: And Mrs. Clinton who has been Secretary of State for four years, she’s deeply steeped in this world, and so she believes that this approach is very responsible and she may be correct in that assumption. But what she’s missing is that people are craving straight talk and she also handed Donald Trump some ammo when she said that because he can turn around, as he has and will continue to do, and say we tried it your way. You were President Obama’s steward of national security and foreign policy for four years. What were you doing? We tried your way and it’s obviously not working. We have escalating threats coming at us from across the globe and here at home, and we’re going to try a fundamentally new approach.

Donald Trump speaks like a guy from Queens, New York, despite his billions, because he is a guy from Queens, New York. And by that I mean the American people are absolutely parched for authenticity. They want authenticity. They want the United States to act authentically in the world. They want their president to speak to them in plain language. They want a real person as President of the United States who frankly, doesn’t need this job. That’s another big part of his appeal. The man is worth X number of billions of dollars, successful business, gorgeous wife, beautiful family, he doesn’t need this job. And the American people I think are ready to turn to somebody who they believe is running for the presidency out of a sheer love for America and wanting to bring America back to its foundational principles and to restore America to its former greatness.

MR GRENELL: I just want to add one thing on the attempted coup in Turkey. Those types of issues, whether it’s terrible terrorism or the attempted coup in Turkey, I think play into Donald Trump’s hands incredibly well. The conventional wisdom in the elites would say oh no, this is going to play into Hillary Clinton’s hands because people want to see stability. But as Trump has already pointed out and I think most people see, the fact that Erdogan, President Erdogan, was moving towards the Islamists over the last several years that should be a surprise to no one. We saw this happening. He was going down this path under Hillary Clinton when he sent the flotilla to Gaza to challenge the blockade. He was going against the U.S. policy and Israeli policy and he still did it and he really didn’t get called out very strongly for it.

Again, Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State when this was happening. So I think that it’s really difficult for her to say I have some ideas of how to stop this, when she had all of the power in her hands to stop it as it was growing, and not only was it not stopped, it continued to grow. You look at Boko Haram. It was not added to the terror list under Hillary Clinton’s leadership. It wasn’t just overlooked. Many people brought information to her. She considered it. She looked at the evidence of whether or not Boko Haram should be put on the terror list. She considered it and decided against it. That’s where I think Donald Trump is saying we have some issues with her judgment. That is totally plain and world events are going to totally play into Donald Trump’s hands.

MS CROWLEY: I would just add from a political standpoint that the American people are very generous people in every way and they are willing to give American leaders the benefit of the doubt for a really long time. But they also like being number one. And they’re not willing to see America’s preeminent position in the world slide. And I think the perception is given these escalating threats in the world, given the fact that American power under President Obama and Mrs. Clinton has been in retreat around the world. We know what the lessons of history are. We’ve seen them throughout the 20th century. That when the United States is weak, either in real terms or is perceived as weak, the bad guys advance, the good guys retreat, and the wheels come off the world, and that’s what we’re seeing now and that I think is instinctively what the American people see and understand.

QUESTION: [Estado de Sao Paolo, Brazil].

You said this is your seventh convention. I don’t know how many conventions there have been. If you guys could tell, what was different in this convention compared to previous ones? And there was a lot of talk that it was a more disorganized convention, that there was the mistake with the Melania speech. Like what are the main mistakes and what are the main things that were right?

MR GRENELL: I would turn it around a little bit and say this is the most exciting convention I’ve ever been to. Because what was planned didn’t happen. And the elites who tried to control every little thing failed to understand that so many new people were here, so many people were excited. I’m going to give you one example.

Last night I was on the floor and the California delegation, when Laura Ingraham was speaking, literally kept jumping up and screaming and hollering and the floor captains were coming over and saying you’ve got to sit down. Laura Ingraham loved it. She was playing into it. She stopped. She let people scream and holler. This convention is for them. They’ve worked a long time.

The downside of that is, we completely got off the time limit. It was pushed way over. Laura was probably given let’s say, I don’t know, I’m making this up. Like say she was given 5 to 6 minutes. She probably went 14 minutes because the applause and the energy and the screams. So I think that that’s actually a benefit. That it’s not so scripted. It’s not you know, get up and speak and get off the stage and we have one round of applause.

There is no question that is rattling the establishment and rattling the establishment press. But I think it’s really important to remember that we haven’t had this much news coverage of a convention before. It’s been pretty stale in the past. And I’ve never seen more reporters reporting on crazy things and talking about the convention. The American people are getting more information about this convention than any other convention, and I don’t think it’s bad. I think they sense an excitement, and they sense that the speakers are non-political and that they’re everyday people who are successful that know Donald Trump. So I find it to be refreshing.

MS CROWLEY: I’ve been to two previous conventions, and I will say this one is fundamentally different and I would say the main reason for that is because previous conventions have been a parade of elected officials, for the most part. And I think at this point, this gets to my earlier point about the revolt against the status quo and the revolt against the global elite. That average Americans have felt that they have not had a voice with this parade of elected officials. That they elect people to represent them, to serve the country, to make sure that the country is protected and our interests are advanced around the world, and time and again they have been let down. And I think this convention, this gets to Rick’s point about Laura’s speech and so many other speeches. Rudy Giuliani’s speech, New Gingrich’s speech last night, Chris Christy’s speech, that they finally feel like they’re being heard. They finally feel that they have a voice. Because the speakers, and I’m assuming that tonight in Donald Trump’s speech he will be the ultimate reflection of their views and their desires for themselves, their families and their country, that finally they have that representation and that that’s being reflected back to them. That’s important because they haven’t had that in a very long time, and it’s an incredibly powerful motivating force for voters.

MR GRENELL: I just want to add one quick one. I would be remiss in not pointing this out because it’s a very important issue to me. I’m gay. I’m a conservative. And we’ve never had a conservative GOP nominee that has been fantastic for gay rights like this one. We are excited about this nominee. And the LGBT community in the United States is under a major transformation because so many LGBT Americans are looking at this nominee and saying about time, I’m going to vote Republican for once. So we’re pretty excited.

MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Rick and Monica.

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