CNN host Ashleigh Banfield put Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on the defensive in an interview on Wednesday over the congresswoman’s refusal to state whether she wanted U.S. ground troops to participate in the current offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.
“I want us to annihilate all of these terrorist organizations,” Blackburn said, before Banfield interjected again.
“We all want that,” Banfield said. “But how do you want that to happen?”
Blackburn again dodged the question, saying she wanted to hear what “the command team” said.
“No, no, I’m asking you,” Banfield pressed. “You’ve asked for more aggression than the current air strikes. I’m asking you. This is a very simple question for a congresswoman to answer: American forces with boots on the ground in Syria.”
“You should listen to yourself, Ashleigh,” Blackburn said. “You do not need 435 people playing commander-in-chief. What you need is members of Congress supporting the command team, and the president making the decisions that are going to annihilate these terrorist organizations.”
“So I can’t get you to agree, one way or the other, whether that’s a good idea,” Banfield said.
“Because I’m going to support my commanders that are in the field,” a smiling Blackburn responded.
At the same time, Blackburn complained that the coalition of nations helping American forces has not been defined.
“We’re yet to know who is part of this coalition,” Blackburn told Banfield. “We are yet to know what is going to transpire over this period of time. How long does [President Barack Obama] expect these airstrikes to continue?”
Banfield pointed out that five Arab nations — Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — have gone on record with their support for the U.S. strikes, with some joining in the air strikes against ISIS.
“This isn’t guesswork,” Banfield said. “This isn’t ‘sources say.’ This is, ‘We did this.’ So what do you mean, we don’t know who the coalition is?”
“We do not know who else is in the coalition,” Blackburn responded, before Banfield cut in.
“It’s in the map right in front of us,” Banfield said, referencing a graphic showing all five countries.
“Yes, we know that they were participating is,” Blackburn said, before insisting, “We don’t know who this broad coalition is that is being billed out, who is a part of that.”
Blackburn did not mention that on Sept. 5, the U.S. announced that a group of 10 nations, including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, and Turkey, among others would take part in the campaign against ISIS.
Watch the interview, as posted online on Wednesday, below.