Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
Source: AP, Gary Broome, File
Yesterday, on The Lisa Benson Show , I gave as an example of hope about defeating the Obama Iran nuclear executive order, the Sunday talk show comment by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who threw his hat in the ring last Monday when he declared his candidacy to enter the Republican nomination race for President. Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday talk show about his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, endorsed unanimously today by the UN Security Council, said he would toss it on his first day in office, if elected President. Further, he said, “It’s a bad deal for us, it’s a bad deal for Israel, it’s a bad deal for the world. It’s not just the starting gun; it will accelerate the nuclear arms race. . And it is empowering Iran to do what they’re going to do.”
Tehran US Embassy Hostages Barry Rosen and ex-Marine Kevin Hermening of Wausau, Wisconsin
New York, September 20, 2005
Source: AP Tina Fineberg, File
Last Monday during his Presidential Campaign announcement he pointed out Kevin Hermening in the audience saying:
My brother David and I used to tie ribbons around the tree in front of our house during the 444 days that Iran held 52 Americans hostage. One of them was Kevin Hermening who grew up down the road in Oak Creek. He was the youngest hostage – a Marine working at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Kevin Hermening is here today. He knows that Iran is not a place we should be doing business with. Iran hasn’t changed much since he and the other hostages were released on President Reagan’s first day in office.
Looking ahead, we need to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One, put in place crippling economic sanctions and convince our allies to do the same.
Hermening was one of the 52 US Hostages taken at the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. Hermening, a Marine guard at the time of the Embassy takeover, spent 43 days in solitary confinement. Hermening now 56 years old had befriended Walker back in the 1990s. It is through that relationship Gov Walker became well acquainted with the brutality and untrustworthiness of the Islamic regime. That relationship with Hermening enabled him to size up the Iran nuclear deal, touted by President Obama and Democratic allies, was bad for the US, Israel and other allies in the Middle East. The Embassy hostages had pressed claims for compensation in federal court despite the opposition from our State Department and won. However those claims have never been honored by Tehran. The least the Obama Administration could do is retain a portion of sanctioned funds in US possession to pay the claims of the 1979 Embassy Hostages like Hermening, Gov. Walker’s friend. Kevin Herminger was also emblematic of the 3 Americans imprisoned in Iran; a pastor, an Ex-Marine and Washington Post Journalist, as well as, an ex-FBI Agent missing for over seven years. President Obama was challenged by CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett as to why he should feel “content” over the Iran nuclear pact announcement while these Americans had not been freed by the same Iranain Islamic Republic that held the 52 American hostages in the 1979 Tehran Embassy seizure. President Obama called out Garrett for asking the question as the issue would take away from the principal task of cutting off Iran from a nuclear bomb. After all the US negotiatiors had frequently asked about the status of these latest hostages with Iranian counterparts. All while the US caved who to last minute demands to lift the 2006 sanctions barring purchases of conventional weapons and ICBMs.
The Washington Post reported on Governor Walker’s long relationship with Kevin Herminger, “Walker’s Iran view shaped by friendship with ex-US hostage:”
Neither his foreign policy adviser nor a member of his inner circle has shaped the Republican presidential candidate’s position. Walker’s deep distrust for Iran instead comes from his long friendship with one of the Americans held hostage for 444 days more than three decades ago.
Kevin Hermening was a 20-year-old Marine sergeant stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 when militant Iran students overran the building and captured him and 51 others. Thirty-five years after his release, Hermening has become the face of Walker’s foreign policy, as the two-term governor works to build credibility on a high-stakes issue heading into the 2016 presidential contest.
As foreign policy emerges as a leading issue in the 2016 election, Walker plans to keep featuring Hermening in the campaign — a role Hermening gladly accepts.
“I don’t think the governor needed to be in the cell with me in order to understand that that’s not how you treat people, and that you shouldn’t reward people with that behavior,” Hermening said, as he described opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran in an interview with The Associated Press.
He said months of coverage of negotiations between the U.S. and Iran have stirred up emotions for him and his fellow captives, and he criticized the deal as too soft on Iran and lacking much-needed reimbursement for the 52 hostages and their families.
Politics brought Walker and Hermening together a quarter century ago.
It was either 1990 or 1991 —Hermening can’t remember which year — when a fresh-out-of-college Walker helped his unsuccessful campaign for a seat in Wisconsin’s state assembly. Their roles soon reversed. As Walker began his political ascent, Hermening stayed involved in local party politics while running a financial planning firm.
Though he calls the governor a friend, the pair only sees each other once a year — if that — at party functions.
Those 444 days Hermening was held captive are still deeply personal to the 56-year-old from Wausau, Wisconsin. He’s upbeat now about even the worst parts of the experience. Even the 43 days he spent in solitary confinement “paled in comparison” to the experiences of some of the other hostages, still wrestling with their memories of their time in captivity, he said. At least one took his own life.
Before Walker’s national rise, Hermening most often shared his tale of captivity with church groups and high school history classes.
His audience may grow dramatically. Walker’s staff is still working out the details of Hermening’s involvement in the campaign, including whether he’ll be paid. But he is expected to be regularly featured.
Regardless of his role, Hermening’s story has clearly impressed Walker.
It is from such personal relationships that Gov. Walker has become aware of how dangerous the Iran nuclear deal is for America, Israel and the world. That also may have influenced his position on combating the threat of radical Islamic extremism. He views it as an important foreign policy issue in the 2016 Election race, should he get the nod to become his party’s standard bearer. That threat was all too real to Governor Walker and all Americans by the Islamic terror attack by a 24 year old ISIS-inspired naturalized Palestinian American citizen, the late Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez whose rampage took the lives of five valiant Marines and a Navy petty officer at a Chattanooga Naval/Marine Recruiting Center on July 17, 2015.