Cpt. Pete Hegseth: ‘I Am Proud of the Army’ for Charging Bergdahl with Desertion
HEGSETH: "I'm proud of the Army. I am proud of them stepping up and living by a code, pertaining to a code. They were under either explicit or implicit pressure to take a different stance on this but when they looked at the facts, the facts of 2009, what the platoon mates understood is that Bowe Bergdahl walked off that base and deserted his unit. And the larger charge is not just desertion, Megyn, it's endangering the lives of his fellow soldiers. Men died searching for Bowe Bergdahl. So he has been charged. He will have his day in court. He hasn't yet been found guilty but the Army believes it has the evidence, had the courage to step forward despite the political pressure, despite political -- top level people saying he's served with honor and distinction, to bring this charge and really bring honor back to this situation because men died looking for Bowe Bergdahl when he went looking for the Taliban."
KELLY: "And they said that certainly Army resources were diverted when they were looking for him and so other soldiers did not have the cover that they would normally have had and men died in that process. That's been documented. But, Pete, the president has said all along, 'We leave no soldier behind.' And you heard him there, 'I stand by the decision.'"
HEGSETH: "Well, he has to stand by the decision at this point. Secretary Clinton said that it doesn't matter how he got there. It does. She's famously also said 'What difference does it make?' And what I would say is it makes a big difference how you become a prisoner of war. Ask a lot of people, ask John McCain who was shot down who was fighting and pursuing the enemy. In this case Bowe Bergdahl allegedly walked off the base and his platoon mates understood that. That is a critical factor especially, Megyn, when you are willing to break decades and centuries of what you are willing to say publicly about concessions to the enemy, negotiating with the enemy, and you are willing to turn over five, not just terrorists, terrorist all-stars, terrorist leaders, who were under house arrest for a year and will now likely go back to Afghanistan and seek to rejoin the fight, seek to join ISIS and kill more Americans. That trade was deadly. It will have deadly and historic consequences because the way they view Bowe Bergdahl they had to have known in 2009, Megyn, everyone knew that they are there. To sustain to say honor and distinction was to stand affront the facts."
KELLY: "And his platoon mates did not appreciate that characterization. Pete, good to see you."