Ed Koch Dismisses Obama’s Mideast Popularity: ‘Did They Stop Trying to Kill Us?’

Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto on FNC, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – known for being a relatively centrist Democrat – chided President Obama for being reluctant to use terms like "war on terrorism" or "Islamic extremists," and, when host Cavuto pointed out that Obama had managed to improve attitudes toward America in the Muslim world, Koch sarcastically shot back: "Isn`t that nice? Did they stop trying to kill us?"

Even while declaring himself to be a supporter of the Obama administration, the former New York mayor still voiced his frustrations about the "attitude" of the White House – citing an article by right-leaning columnist Charles Krauthammer – and came out in support of profiling Muslims at airports:

What bothers me is that the attitude of the administration ... is not that of a war. Charles Krauthammer had a magnificent article, tough as nails, when he attacks the administration as thinking of it as a police action. This is not a police action. We`re going to be at war for the next 30 years. We are afraid to call them "Muslim Islamist terrorists." We’ll call them anything but because we don`t want to alienate Muslim countries. That`s ridiculous.

Of course the vast majority of Muslims – there are 1,400,000,000 – are not terrorists, but there are hundreds of millions who are. They want to kill every Christian, every Jew, every Hindu who won`t convert. And we ought to put it on the table. And when we put people through the lines, what, do you want to take some little elderly woman who just came out of Saint Patrick`s and pat her down? Yeah, if you have time. ... All I care about is that, when I get on that plane, I want to have a reasonable assurance that I`m going to land safely.

He later added:

And there are no other people who are out there trying to kill us, other than Muslim fanatics. There`s nothing illegal, immoral to say that is the case. And you can also say the vast majority of Muslims are decent, law-abiding people. But that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t pat down specially if there are Muslims in line and we know that to be the case, boarding a plane. I don`t see anything wrong with profiling. What, are we crazy?

Below is a complete transcript of the interview with Koch from the Thursday, January 7, Your World with Neil Cavuto on FNC:

NEIL CAVUTO: Well, the President`s certainly got a lot riding on today`s remarks and making sure that there`s not another incident like this again. My next guest says he needs to start by calling this incident for what it is, part of an ongoing war. Former longtime New York City Mayor and Democrat Ed Koch joining me now. Mayor, good to have here.

FORMER ED KOCH (D-NEW YORK CITY): Always good to be here.

CAVUTO: What do you make of the fact that, as this young man was saying, it was pretty clear what this guy`s intentions were, and we dodged a bullet on it? But you say call it for what it is. ...

KOCH: Well, what bothers me is that the attitude of the administration – and I`m a supporter of the Obama administration – in fact, when I issued my statement, someone from the White House – not the President – called to say, you`re being too hard on him. I said, look-

CAVUTO: Who from the White House?

KOCH: It`s unimportant. It`s the same guy who sent me to Florida when I campaigned for then-Senator Obama.

CAVUTO: Oh, okay. Because I talked to the gardener. But you obviously-

(KOCH LAUGHS)

KOCH: But, in any event, the attitude is not that of a war. Charles Krauthammer had a magnificent article, tough as nails, when he attacks the administration as thinking of it as a police action. This is not a police action. We`re going to be at war for the next 30 years. We are afraid to call them "Muslim Islamist terrorists." We’ll call them anything but because we don`t want to alienate Muslim countries. That`s ridiculous. Of course the vast majority of Muslims – there are 1,400,000,000 – are not terrorists, but there are hundreds of millions who are. They want to kill every Christian, every Jew, every Hindu who won`t convert. And we ought to put it on the table. And when we put people through the lines, what, do you want to take some little elderly woman who just came out of Saint Patrick`s and pat her down? Yeah, if you have time.

CAVUTO: You`re okay with, in this case, profiling?

KOCH: Absolutely. All I care about is that, when I get on that plane, I want to have a reasonable assurance that I`m going to land safely. And I thought that the President missed the boat when he didn`t interrupt his Hawaii vacation.

CAVUTO: What would you have done?

KOCH: Well, it was very much like President Bush who was flying over New Orleans. You remember that picture of him in the plane, I mean, gee, instead of going down on the ground and talking to people? He should have flown home immediately. I believe, frankly, that the pending election could be a tsunami for Democrats.

CAVUTO: So you`re speaking about vacations. I was wondering about this Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, would not interrupt his ski vacation to come home.

KOCH: Terrible!

CAVUTO: Would you fire him?

KOCH: I would, I would. I would like to know why it is that we haven`t honored that Dutch citizen who – with gifts and whatever else would make him happy – for having saved 288 people who were on that plane. Why haven`t we honored, in a big way, those two cops – one a woman, one an African-American – who, in Alabama at Fort Hood who were willing to put down their lives? And they, in fact, saved American soldiers who might otherwise have been shot, in addition to those who were shot. I just don`t think our attitude is adequate. And that`s what I said in my commentary.

CAVUTO: And you also mentioned about the message we`re sending the world when we try to step back from calling this for what it is-

KOCH: Right.

CAVUTO: -a war. Now, the administration`s tried to avoid that to have better relations and to reach out-

KOCH: Has it helped?

CAVUTO: -to those 1.4 billion Muslims.

KOCH: Has it helped?

CAVUTO: Well, his approval and America`s regard has gone up in those countries. He says and they say-

KOCH: Isn`t that nice? Did they stop trying to kill us?

CAVUTO: So you say, just, he`s wasting his time doing that?

KOCH: I am saying speak the truth. And there are no other people who are out there trying to kill us, other than Muslim fanatics. There`s nothing illegal, immoral to say that is the case. And you can also say the vast majority of Muslims are decent, law-abiding people. But that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t pat down specially if there are Muslims in line and we know that to be the case, boarding a plane. I don`t see anything wrong with profiling. What, are we crazy?

CAVUTO: You haven`t lost your feistiness. So if we hear out of the President an acknowledgement of some of the things you say today – and reports are that he is going to take responsibility for this, first time we will have heard, you know, taking the full weight of a problem and saying it rests it on his shoulders. Is that a step in the right direction?

KOCH: Oh, yeah.

CAVUTO: Do you think he`s waking up to this and the severity of this?

KOCH: What he did on the third day, he should have done on the first day. He called it cataclysmic, systemic, the security failures. That was enough for him to fly home immediately.

I remember when the Japanese prime minister was coming to meet the President and they had a tsunami. He said, "I can`t come," and he went right back home. It`s comparable.

CAVUTO: That`s right. That`s right.

KOCH: We are facing a tsunami every day. Our tsunami is they want to kill us.

CAVUTO: So you don`t think any of that has eased? And all these incidents are reminders that it hasn`t eased. What do you think of the fact that it`s always airlines, Mayor, that they have got a thing with airlines?

KOCH: Well, they want to have the biggest bang for the buck. I`m not going to speculate on what else they should do. I want to stop them from doing what they`re doing, so I`m not going to give them any ideas.

CAVUTO: Okay. If, as we`re hearing, Mayor, and I know you said that in the case of Leiter, the national counterterrorism guy, he should go. But if the President doesn`t fire anyone

KOCH: He`s making a mistake. You know, I wouldn`t fire, for example, Napolitano.

CAVUTO: Napolitano? Why not?

KOCH: Because she didn`t do anything wrong. She just said some dumb things. And everybody says dumb things on occasion. But what their failure was, not to say it was dumb, what the President should have said and still could say is, "That`s the dumbest thing I have heard." He should do what Laguardia did. When Laguardia made a mistake, he called a press conference, and he said, when I make a mistake, it`s a beaut.

CAVUTO: It`s a beaut. It`s a beaut.

KOCH: Right.

CAVUTO: You did that once or twice.

KOCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: Mayor, thank you very much. Always good seeing you.

KOCH: Thank you.

CAVUTO: And I`m sure that that White House holiday party for next year is still on. Good seeing you very, very much.

KOCH: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Ed Koch, 12 years this city`s top, top official.