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Lindsey Graham: If We'd Listened To McCain, Paris Attacks Wouldn't Have Happened

And it's silly to think that ISIS isn't already here, Graham says.

Posted on November 25, 2015, at 2:07 p.m. ET

Jason Bahr / Getty Images

Presidential candidate South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says it would be naive to think ISIS does not already have terror cells in the United States.

Speaking in a joint interview on New Hampshire's Concord News Radio with Sen. John McCain, the South Carolina senator similarly said if people had listened to McCain the last five years the Paris attacks would not have happened.

"Well, rather than being self-serving, if we'd listened to Sen. McCain for the last four to five years, Paris would not have happened," Graham said. "ISIL wouldn't exist. The world would be safer, but we are where we are."

Graham said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a political move to distance herself from Obama to show "she's tougher than Obama," on ISIS but did not have a plan that could defeat ISIS.

Meanwhile, McCain, who is campaigning for Graham and also took part in the interview, said President Obama was acting like a child in regards to ISIS and Syrian refugees.

"This president is acting in a petulant, childish fashion unlike any president I have ever seen on this issue," said McCain. "Lindsey Graham stands in stark contrast to a president who is overwhelmed by this situation and can't handle it."

Meanwhile, Graham maintained that ISIS has already entered the United States.

"Well, rather than talk about classified information — which I won't — just look at the open sources available to you," Graham said when asked if ISIS was already in the United States. The senator pointed to statements from the F.B.I. director and director of National Intelligence saying ISIS cells already existed in the United States.

"The bottom line is to think that they're not would be silly," said Graham. "To believe that we're somehow different from the rest of the world. Of all the places that they want to attack we're on the top of their list."

Graham cited the Paris attacks as proof of ISIS' capabilities.

"So, yes, I believe that our homeland's exposed, that there are ISIL cells here," he said.

Still, Graham said, "a modern regional army" with western backing could destroy ISIS.

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