This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on September 19, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
New FOX polls on President Biden’s handling of the pandemic, as confusion
spreads over the rollout of vaccine boosters.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our objective is to be prepared
should all of this process move forward.
WALLACE (voice-over): The Biden administration saying it’s ready to go
once a federal health officials sign off.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We will follow that evaluation and
WALLACE: We’ll ask NIH director, Dr. Francis Collins, whether a third shot
is needed and safe.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The decisions we’re about to
make can change — literally change the trajectory of our nation.
WALLACE: The White House sounding the alarm on raising the nation’s debt
limit warning Medicaid, food stamps, and disaster relief are all at stake.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: They are eager to jump
through yet another massive multibillion-dollar reckless tax spending spree
in an effort to move our country to the left.
WALLACE: While Democrats remain split over a $3.5 trillion social spending
We’ll talk with House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth about the
deadlines and the split among Democrats.
Plus, Joint Chiefs chair, General Mark Milley, under fire for his phone
calls to ease China’s fears of an attack in the final days of the Trump
administration. We’ll ask our Sunday panel whether his actions were
responsible or over the line.
And our “Power Player of the Week,” FOX Sports insider Jay Glazer tells the
biggest stories in football and now he’s sharing his own.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news. If you’re wondering what happened at that
rally yesterday supporting people arrested in a January 6th capitol riot,
police mobilized for the possibility of another disturbance, but a small
crowd of only a few hundred people showed up, and they protested
peacefully. No violence, just four arrests.
Meanwhile, President Biden suffered a setback in his fight against COVID,
an FDA advisory panel rejected his plan to offer booster shots to all
adults, saying only seniors and those most at risk should get them.
And we have new FOX polls on the issue. When it comes to teachers, 61
percent favor mandatory vaccinations. 58 percent favor a mandate for all
government workers and 56 percent agree with President Biden for businesses
with more than 100 workers to mandate vaccines. Overall, 55 percent now
approve of President Biden’s handling of the pandemic, 11 points more than
those who disapprove.
But in June, his approval margin was 30 points. We’ll have more FOX polls
throughout the hour and we’ll discuss the controversy over vaccine boosters
with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
But first, let’s get the latest from Mark Meredith traveling with the
president in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware — Mark.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, for months, the Biden
administration has been making plans to distribute millions of COVID
booster shots. The rollout was even set to begin this week. But now those
plans, they are in limbo, as after a key group of scientists determine most
Americans don’t need the shot.
MEREDITH (voice-over): With a 16-2 vote, an FDA advisory committee decided
against recommending most Americans get a third dose of Pfizer’s
DR. OFER LEVY, FDA ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER: I just don’t think we’re there
yet in terms of the data or more needs to be known about the correlates of
MEREDITH: In August, President Biden strongly endorsed booster shots will
also warning the data was still under view.
BIDEN: It will make you safer, and for longer. And it will help us end the
MEREDITH: While the advisory panel is rejecting boosters for most people,
their recommendation is nonbinding, meaning the CDC and FDA will make a
final call later this week.
MURTHY: We have always said that this initial plan would be contingent on
the FDA and the CDC’s independent evaluation. But we will follow that
evaluation and their recommendations.
MEREDITH: Advisors are recommending Americans 65 and older and those at
high risk for disease be eligible for a third shot. The Biden
administration says, quote, we stand ready to provide booster shots to
eligible Americans want the process concludes.
MEREDITH (on camera): This week the president is going to be making his way
up to New York to address the U.N. General Assembly for the first time
since taking office. He’s also can be convening a virtual COVID summit
calling on world leaders to unite behind a common vision for ending the
pandemic — Chris.
WALLACE: Mark Meredith reporting from Delaware, thank you.
And joining us now, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr.
Doctor, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.”
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Glad to be
with you, Chris. There’s a lot to talk about this morning.
WALLACE: There is indeed. Let’s get to it.
Let’s start with the FDA advisory panel, which as we said supported the
idea of booster shots for people 65 and older, and those most at risk, but
rejected the idea of booster shots for the general population.
Here is what President Biden said last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The plan is for every adult to
get a booster shot eight months after you got your second shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Dr. Collins, is the advisory panel right? Do you now agree with
them on this limited booster program over what the president was proposing
last month, the general population getting boosters, which he said was
based on advice from his medical experts, including you?
COLLINS: You know, Chris, I think there’s less difference between where we
were in the middle of August and what the advisory committee said this past
Friday. They did encourage and vote for the administration of boosters to
people over 65 and those at high risk of exposure. Those are the people who
would be most likely to reach that eight-month period, because that’s how
we prioritized initial immunizations back in January. So, I don’t think
there’s huge differences here.
I think the big news is that they actually did approve the initiation of
boosters, and remember, they are taking a snapshot of right now. We’re
going to see what happens in the coming weeks. It would surprise me if it
does not become clear over the next few weeks that that administration of
boosters may need to be enlarged.
Based upon the data that was already seen both in the U.S. and in Israel,
it’s clear the waning of the effectiveness of those vaccines is a reality,
and we need to respond to it, but they looked at where we were on Friday
and said here’s where the data is convincing to start now and we’ll see
what CDC says later this week.
WALLACE: But just to be clear, what you’re saying is you still think and I
understand that people furthered on the list, younger people, help your
people, didn’t get their vaccines as early in the process. You still think
we are going to near booster program for everyone?
COLLINS: I’m not sure about absolutely everyone. We’ll have to see what
they say ultimately about the youngest individuals because of concerns
about benefits and risks, but I will be surprised if boosters are not
recommended for people under 65 going forward in the next few weeks, but
we’ll wait and see.
You know, Chris, what you’re seeing here is science playing out in a very
transparent way. This is the way it ought to be. I’m a little troubled that
people are complaining that the process isn’t working for them. The process
is to look at the data, have the experts consider it and then make their
best judgments — at that point, recognizing that the judgments may change.
If people want an absolutely authoritative statement about here’s the right
answer — well, that’s not what our country is all about. Move to China,
you’ll get it there.
WALLACE: Yeah, but let — let me ask you about that, Dr. Collins, because
President Biden said — he announced in August 18th that they were going to
start (ph) — yes, he did have a line about pending approval of the FDA and
the CDC, but he talked about starting a booster program on September 20th.
That’s tomorrow. And he talked about giving it to all people, not just a
Now, back during the campaign, he talked a lot about “follow the science”.
Isn’t announcing a specific date and a specific plan for the general
population before any of the regulators, the FDA, the CDC, have approved
it, isn’t that the exact opposite of “follow the science”?
COLLINS: Well, he was basically responding to a statement made by eight
physician scientists including me, including the head of the FDA and the
head of the CDC, saying we had looked at the data and it looked as if
boosters were going to be a good thing for Americans to start to utilize,
recognizing in that speech, he did say CDC and FDA’s advisory process has
to kick in first.
You know, I guess I’m a little troubled, Chris, about all of the buzz
that’s happening right now about whether the process was perfect — of
course, it’s not perfect. No process ever is.
But have we lost track of the goals? The goals here are to try to protect
Americans from dying from this disease — 670,000 have already.
It does look from the review of the data, by people by myself, that we are
going to need to provide boosters for people at risk in order to keep this
surge from beginning to affect even those who are fully vaccinated.
We’re trying to do the right thing, trying to look at the data as it
evolves, recognize things are changing day by day. Maybe we ought to be
talking more about that than about whether the president said this a month
ago and FDA said this on Friday. Let’s try to get the science right and do
it transparently and openly so everybody sees what the process looks like.
WALLACE: Let’s talk about another aspect of this. President Biden is
convening a COVID summit for the world this week in New York as part of the
U.N. General Assembly. The latest statistics are that 57 percent of the
world’s population have not received a single dose of the vaccine.
Is it moral for the president to be pushing a third booster dose for
Americans when most of the world hasn’t received a single first dose?
COLLINS: Well, I think this is a false choice that’s being put forward.
We have, of all the countries in the world, done the most to try to get
doses to people in low and middle income countries across the world. We’ve
already sent out 140 million doses, committed to another 500 million that
are coming — contributed $4 billion to COVAX. So we are very invested in
And watch and see what happens this week when the president meets with
other countries, there may be more information there as well.
The most that we might be talking about as far as boosters between now and
the end of this year might be 100 million doses. It’s a pretty small,
modest number compared to what we are already sending out to the rest of
the world or have committed to do so.
And again, let’s be clear, the United States, of all the countries in the
world, has been the hardest hit with this. And if we were to step away from
the need to actually protect people for whom the vaccine protection is
waning and say, well, we just can’t help them because we got to send all
those doses overseas, that wouldn’t be responsible either.
WALLACE: OSHA is currently writing a rule, it’s probably going to take a
couple more weeks, to mandate that businesses over — with more than 100
employees, mandate vaccines for them or at least if not, then they have to
get a mandatory test every week.
Meanwhile, 24 state attorneys general, all of them Republican, say that
they plan to sue to block this mandate to private businesses saying that,
one, it’s government overreach and, two, that it is simply fostering
Don’t they have a point, Doctor?
COLLINS: Well, I’m not a politician and I’m not a lawyer. I do know that
the law that Congress passed requires OSHA to take action when there is
grave danger in the workplace of harm to employees. COVID-19 represents a
grave danger. So a reasonable person would say they are not just supposed
to act, they have to act in that space, and that is a justification for
And I would just hope that those attorneys generals who are protesting
against this would step back and ask themselves what is really going to be
the best to save lives and are they on the right side of history or the
wrong side of history by trying to resist this?
WALLACE: If the president wants to mandate vaccinations for basically all
Americans, or as many as he can, why is there no mandate for people coming
across the border illegally? The numbers are really bad. That people —
illegal immigrants have come across the border, when they leave federal
custody, one in five test positive for COVID.
The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about that. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: More people are vaccinated,
whether they are migrants or whether they are workers, protects more people
in the United States.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: But it’s a requirement
for people at a business with more than 100 people, it’s not a requirement
for migrants at the southern border. Why?
PSAKI: That’s correct. Go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, we didn’t get much of an answer from her. So let me ask
you, Dr. Collins. No mandate for illegal immigrants crossing the border who
have a really high incidence.
COLLINS: I can’t answer the question, Chris. I’m not in those
conversations. I know that vaccines are being offered to people in that
situation. I guess you’re asking, why is it not mandated? That would have
to be a question for someone else.
WALLACE: Would — from a public health point of view, would that be
healthier for the country to make sure that every person coming across the
border illegally gets a vaccine?
COLLINS: Well, I would say whether they are coming across the border or
they are somewhere else in the world, yes. As a public health person, I
want everybody to be vaccinated and if a mandate would help with that,
let’s do it.
WALLACE: Finally, pediatric COVID cases are rising. At one point, I saw
that it was one in five of all the pediatric cases in the country. Where do
we stand on getting approval to vaccinate children 5 to 11, the next group
in line to be vaccinated? Where does that stand? How soon do you think it’s
going to happen?
COLLINS: Well, first of all, kids 12 to 17 can be vaccinated.
Unfortunately, only about half of them have been in. So, there’s an area
where we have an opportunity to make progress, especially with schools
The data submitted by Pfizer to FDA for kids 5 to 11 is supposed to arrive
in FDA’s hands later this month. I know they will work 24/7 to go through
it and try to assess whether it’s time to grant an approval and that will
happen in weeks and not months, but exactly giving a precise date, I don’t
think it would be a smart idea.
But it will be coming, certainly, and I know many parents are worried about
And I’m glad we’re talking about this as well, because the best way to
protect those kids right now is to have the people around them vaccinated.
So, Chris, before we left off — before we leave off your, could we one
more time appeal to those 75 million unvaccinated people who still have not
gotten their first dose. I know you’ve been very positive about the need
for that, let’s not miss the chance one more time to say that’s the most
important thing we should be doing about COVID-19 right now today, Sunday,
WALLACE: Dr. Collins, thank you. Thanks for your time, and we’ll be
tracking what happens next with those booster shots. Thank you, sir.
COLLINS: Thanks, Chris. Good to talk to you.
WALLACE: Up next, a logjam of work on Capitol Hill as Democrats raced to
meet deadlines to fund the government, raise the debt ceiling, and also, to
pass President Biden’s domestic agenda. We’ll ask Congressman John Yarmuth,
chair of the House Budget Committee, what they will and won’t get done.
WALLACE: Congress has a lengthy to-do list by the end of the month.
Failure to act could lead to a government shutdown and to defaulting on our
debt obligations for the first time in history.
Meanwhile, the fate of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic agenda is
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman and chair of the House Budget
Committee, John Yarmuth.
Mr. Chairman, welcome.
REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: Democratic leaders say that the House will consider this week a
bill to fund the government and money for the government runs out a week
from — rather ten days, September 30th, and also to raise the debt limit,
and that’s going to be reached sometime about a month from now.
Will the houseboat vote to link the two, to combine them, so that they vote
both to fund the government and to raise the debt limit at the same time?
YARMUTH: Actually, Chris, I don’t think that decision’s been made yet. We
have several options for raising the debt ceiling, which is absolutely
mandatory. As you mentioned, we’ve never defaulted on our debt in history.
This is really kind of a ridiculous position to be in. We’re the only
country in the world that has a debt ceiling that works like this. We’ve
raised it close to 100 times over the 104 years it’s been in existence. We
ought to do away with it.
But the position that Republicans, primarily Senator Mitch McConnell, have
taken is totally irresponsible and I hope that they come to their senses
because, you know, Mitch has been running around Kentucky taking credit for
a lot of the spending that is now requiring us to raise the debt limit. And
— but Mitch doesn’t really care about seeming inconsistent or
hypocritical. He says whatever is expedient. But basically —
WALLACE: Let me — let me — let me interrupt, if I can, just for a
moment, Chairman —
WALLACE: Because I — if people hadn’t gathered already, you and the
Republican senator from your state of Kentucky, Mitch McConnell, are old
political adversaries. He has taken a clear stand on the debt limit.
And let’s hear from him. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Let me be crystal clear about this,
Republicans are united in opposition to raising the debt ceiling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So I guess here’s the question. If you separate them, then
McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate are going to vote to fund the
government, but not for the debt limit. If you combine them, then wouldn’t
that make it harder for Republicans to vote against it because if they vote
against the debt limit, they’re voting to shut down the government as well?
YARMUTH: Right. You know, I’m not sure which is worse. Since I’ve been in
Congress, the Republicans have shut the government down once, the last time
being in 2013. They — they were paying a pretty heavy political price for
doing that until some things went wrong with the — the ACA implementation.
But, yes, I think people really need to focus on what Mitch just said.
Mitch just said that every Republican in the United States Senate was
prepared to vote to have the federal government default. That’s what he
said. And that’s — I think that’s a violation of the constitutional oath.
It would be financial havoc if — if we actually defaulted. The last time
we threatened to, the — our credit rating as a country was lowered a
little bit, financial markets did not appreciate that. So there are a lot
of things at stake here.
But — but you’re right. And I — you know, I don’t know what the political
calculation one way or the other is. I personally would like to see a clean
vote on a debt ceiling so that Republicans actually have to go on the
record on that vote only and not mix it with a funding measure, but
ultimately, the most important thing is to get both of them done.
Let me ask you about an issue that involves Democrats in the House.
Democratic leaders say that the House will — and I thought the word choice
was interesting — consider the bipartisan infrastructure deal a week from
tomorrow, September 27th, which is what Speaker Pelosi promised the
moderates in the Democratic caucus.
WALLACE: I guess two questions. One, does “consider” mean “vote” on the —
on the bipartisan bill? And — and the reason I ask, and you will know, is
because some people in the left wing of your party say, hey, look if you
put up the bipartisan bill in September and you don’t get to the $3.5
trillion spending bill, which we’ll get to in a moment, we’re going to vote
against the bipartisan bill.
So are you saying — is — is Speaker Pelosi saying they’re going to vote
on the bipartisan bill next week and separate it from the big spending
YARMUTH: The only answer I can give you is that that is the current plan,
to vote on the infrastructure bill in September 27. Now, there’s some other
kind of qualifications to that under the — under the rules that the
speaker does not have to actually advance the bill to the — if we pass it
in the House, does not actually have to send it to the president for
signature. She can hold onto that bill for a while. So there are — there’s
some flexibility in terms of how we mesh the two — the two mandates.
YARMUTH: One of them is the vote on that on the 27th. The second one is to
not pass one without the other.
WALLACE: Let’s talk about the big tax and spending bill, $3.5 trillion.
You’re going to pass it with just — if you can pass it — with just
Democratic votes. And there are some serious splits between the House and
Senate Democrats, among House Democrats.
First of all the size, $3.5 trillion. You’ve got Joe Manchin and some other
Senate Democrats saying they won’t go for any more than half that. How do
you resolve that issue?
YARMUTH: Well, first of all, we — we’re not really focused on the top
line of spending. I know a lot of people are. Because what we ought to be
focused on is what the net investment in the — in the people of the United
States will be. And as — as has been mentioned, the Ways and Means
Committee has voted about $2 trillion worth of tax increases exclusively on
wealthiest Americans and corporations during the ten years. So the net
investment, if no other revenues are created, then that would be about a
trillion and a half dollars if the total spending stayed at that $3.5
But, most important, what we’re focused on is the fact that these are
things that we absolutely have to do as country. These are not frivolous
matters. We have a desperate deficiency in the social infrastructure in
this country, access to affordable child care, the absence of early
childhood education, the — the infrastructure for senior care. I mean we –
– we — we have lots of seniors, increasing every day, and — and living
longer, and we want to do what we can to make sure they have a comfortable
WALLACE: Chairman —
YARMUTH: So there are a lot of — that — that — that’s what I think we
need to focus on, not the — not the money.
WALLACE: Well, a lot of people say money matters too.
YARMUTH: Well, look —
WALLACE: Your — your budget committee is going to have to try to put all
of the different parts of the spending package together.
WALLACE: I want to ask you briefly about one other big split among
Democrats, and that is whether or not to allow Medicare to negotiate lower
prices so you can expand Medicare benefits.
You had a — a number of the more moderate members of your carcass vote
against that. How are you going to resolve that?
YARMUTH: Right. Right. Well, I know that at least two of them have said
they actually want negotiation with Medicare to take place, they just
didn’t like the mechanism that was in the energy and commerce legislation.
So there are ideas, I know, coming out of the Senate on this. I’m not sure
there are very many in — in the Democratic caucus and I — on either side
of the building that actually are opposed to negotiation on prices of
prescription drugs. I just think it’s the methodology we use.
WALLACE: Finally, I want to put up another Fox News poll, which has some
President Biden’s overall job approval is now 50 percent approved to 49
percent disapproved, or plus 1. In June, it was 56 percent to 43, or plus
13. And other polls have the president’s job approval considerably lower,
in the low 40s.
Won’t Joe Biden’s diminished standing with the American people make it
harder for Congress, Democrats in Congress, to pass his agenda when, as I
say, there’s less support for him generally. And this is a tough votes
that’s going to — you’re going to have here for a lot of Democrats.
YARMUTH: I don’t think it’s going to make it more difficult at all because
what we’ve seen in polling on what we’re trying to accomplish, the American
people are overwhelmingly in favor of the elements of the Build Back Better
agenda. They want childcare, they want early childhood education, they want
to do something about climate change, they want paid family leave, they
want better senior care.
So we feel that we’re on very, very strong, political ground in — in
pushing for these kind of investments and benefits to the American people.
WALLACE: Real quick, what — when do you think the House will pass the big
tax and spending bill, and what do you think the top line number will be?
YARMUTH: OK. Well, I’m not going to — I’m not going to deal with the top
line number. I suspect it will be somewhat less than 3.5 trillion.
Remember, that’s over ten years and this is basically about 5 percent more
than we’re going to spend anyway. That’s the — that’s what it means in
But in answer to your question, I would say we’re probably going to slip
past the September 27th date, sometime into — into early October would be
my best guess.
WALLACE: Chairman Yarmuth, thank you. Thanks for coming in today.
WALLACE: And we’ll track how things go in the House this week, sir.
YARMUTH: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the critical,
unfinished work facing Congress as the clock ticks down.
WALLACE: Coming up, the Pentagon admits a tragic error saying a U.S. drone
killed civilians, not terrorists, in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, CENTCOM COMMANDER: I offer my profound condolences
to the family and friends of those who were killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel what it says about U.S.
capturabilities with no boots on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I’m asking is you pay your
fair share. Pay your fair share.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It’s the very last thing American workers
need. It’s the last thing American families can afford.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Biden making the case for his massive tax and spending
plan, while Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pushes back, saying
that $3.5 trillion price tag will crater the economy.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group.
Former chief of staff to Mike Pence, Marc Short. Julie Pace, making her
first appearance here in her big new job as executive editor for the entire
whole worldwide “Associated Press,” and Mo Elleithee of Georgetown
University’s Institute of Politics and Politics Service.
Julie, congratulations. We’re delighted that you still are deigning to
speak with us.
JULIE PACE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, “ASSOCIATED PRESS”: I appreciate it. Always
happy to be her, Chris.
President Biden and congressional Democrats face, as we were talking about
with Chairman Yarmuth, a brutal few weeks. They’ve got a vote to fund the
government. They have to address the issue of raising the debt limit.
They’ve got to decide whether they’re going to pass that bipartisan
infrastructure plan. And then there’s that, by the way, $3.5 trillion tax
and spending plan.
Where are they?
PACE: The scope of what is ahead for the Biden administration and for
Democrats in Congress right now is really enormous. So much of Biden’s
overall agenda as president is going to be tied up in what happens over the
next couple weeks. And then, as you mentioned, there’s also that small
matter of keeping the government actually funded.
I think when it comes to passing the Biden priorities, Democrats want to
get to yes. They have divisions to work through within the party, they have
questions about the top line price tag. I think Democrats, though, are
going to try to push to get to a place where they can pass something that
may look a little different than what — where that package stands right
But I think there’s a really big question on this idea of raising the debt
limit and funding the government. That is always a really difficult hill
for Washington to climb. It sounds like it’s something that should be
pretty basic, but it is really difficult. And Mitch McConnell is holding a
pretty firm line right now and Democrats are going to have to try to figure
out how they can pull on the Senate side, in particular a few Republicans
over, to try to get that debt limit increased and that government funded.
WALLACE: Marc, I’m sure that you and your Republican colleagues are
thoroughly enjoying watching all the infighting going on among Democrats,
but isn’t Julie right, don’t Democrats have to get to yes, because if they
don’t, if they don’t pass the Biden domestic agenda, and I know you don’t
agree with it in policy, but Democrats do, wouldn’t that be disastrous for
them in the 2022 midterms?
MARC SORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO MIKE PENCE: Well, it may be disastrous
for them if they fail, but I think it’s also going to be disastrous for
them if they actually pass these massive tax increase, Chris. I mean I
think it’s quite analogous to, if you recall when President Obama had
control of both the House and the Senate, Nancy Pelosi and her friends
passed through Obamacare. They passed a giant stimulus bill and they
finally ran into a train wreck with cap and trade because she didn’t have
the Senate votes.
What you see right now is a similar play. She’s asking all of her members
to come forth on a $3.5 trillion tax and spend plan, but there’s no
evidence that there’s actually Senate votes for something that massive. And
so these members that are in — that are in middle districts are going to
have to kind of question is, what is their future and is this really what
their constituents want, because her margin back in 2009 was quite big and
yet it led to 63 Republicans coming in, in 2010. Right now her margin’s
only four votes, only four votes, and there’s a lot of members in middle
battleground districts who are going to be forced to walk the plank and say
we’re going to do what Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden want us to do or we’re
going to do what our constituents in our own district want us to do.
So I think there’s a lot of peril for them on either path.
WALLACE: I want to turn to the other big, domestic story this week, and it
happened Friday afternoon when that — that FDA advisory panel voted
against the president’s plan to offer boosters to all Americans and, in
fact, made it a select group, people over 65, people at risk.
Here’s Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on this. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): My sense would be, if Donald Trump was president,
it would be the least tory. But you had two high-ranking FDA people
resigned in protest over the push for these boosters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mo, as — as we’ve pointed out, back in mid-August, about a month
ago, President Biden, yes, he said, well, it depends on FDA and CDC
approval. But then he proceeded to announce a specific start date, which is
tomorrow, and that was going to go out to the entire general population.
How big an embarrassment, the fact that the FDA — this guys — the
president has had follow the scientists. Well, here’s the FDA advisory
panel saying we don’t agree.
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Yes,
look, I think — I think people are confused. And I don’t think there’s any
way around that. I think there’s some — I think it’s understandable
though. I think we keep seeing that we’re trying to figure all of this out
in real time, that they’re looking at the data in real time, the delta is
evolving at a pace they didn’t expect it to and so they have to react to
that in real time. And I think people are willing to give the benefit of
the doubt up to a certain point.
At the end of the day, I don’t think this will be the breaking point for
them. I do think people get that the guidance is going to evolve a bit. I –
– the administration, I think, so long as it continues to focus its
energies on the economic recovery from COVID, and on getting as many people
vaccinated as possible and making that the primary focus, then I think, you
know, they will continue to — to hold on to a majority of the public
ELLEITHEE: And beyond that, people are going to give them the benefit of
WALLACE: Marc, you were deeply involved in the White House COVID task force
under your then boss, Vice President Pence and President Trump, and you
guys learned the hard way that the voters don’t like it if they think that
decisions on COVID and dealing with the virus are being made because of
politics rather than because of science.
SHORT: Chris, I — I think that’s well said. I think the reality is that
what I think the Biden administration is suffering from is the promise that
they were going to follow the science and yet it seems that once again
they’re getting ahead of the science and they’re making promises that even
their own FDA doesn’t agree with.
I also think last week it’s gotten less attention but the whole statement
that we need to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. I mean what
the heck is that? If your — if your trust in the vaccine, then why is it
that your need to — need to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated?
And I think there’s a — I do still think there’s a lot of resistance to
the federal government forcing mandates on people in — in businesses and
saying we’re going to come in and mandate the — the employers and
employee, at least 100 people require their employees get vaccinated when
often you’re going to find that that’s going to create a competitive
advantage for people who have less than a hundred employees because that’s
where those people are going to go to. And I think there’s a lot of concern
about the — the overreach of the federal government here.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, step aside for a
When we come back, it’s been a tough week for the Pentagon as the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs faces calls to resign and the U.S. admits a terrible
mistake in Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have what’s called over the
horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets
without American boots on the ground, or very few if needed.
GENERAL FRANK MCKENZIE, COMMANDER OF U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: I am now
convinced that as many as ten civilians, including up to seven children,
were tragically killed in that strike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Biden arguing last month the military can fight
terrorists from outside Afghanistan, and the head of U.S. Central Command,
General Frank McKenzie, acknowledging Friday a drone strike, just as
American troops were leaving, hit the wrong people.
This comes as new numbers from our Fox poll show approval of President
Biden’s handling of Afghanistan is now upside down. Sixty percent
disapprove, while 36 percent approve.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Julie, President Biden was, as we say, already in trouble with the American
people and the way he’s handled Afghanistan. This tragic mistake with this
drone strike is not going to increase public confidence in his handling.
PACE: No, it’s certainly not and it is just a really horrific tragedy that
this strike killed civilians in Afghanistan, including people who had
worked closely with Americans during the course of the war. In some ways
it’s almost a fitting end to the — the real — the real mess that we’ve
seen in Afghanistan in the closing weeks of the U.S. presence there. And I
think one of the things that the White House, you know, has kind of
struggled to get their — their hands around here is the idea that actually
the public has largely been supportive of the notion of getting American
troops out of Afghanistan, but they have increasingly become frustrated and
angry with the way that that drawdown has happened.
And so the — the ultimate decision to leave may be seen as the right one
by many people. The way it was handled continues to, I think, really — to
frustrate, again, and anger a lot of Americans. And I think the question
going forward is, what’s the situation on Afghanistan — in — on the
ground in Afghanistan look like in a few months, in a few years? Because we
now are increasingly hearing from military leaders that this could be a
situation where al Qaeda or other extremist groups are able to reconstitute
and pose a threat not just within Afghanistan, but to the western — to the
WALLACE: Mo, to back up what Julie just said, I want to put up another
result from our Fox News poll. People approve of the policy decision to
remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan, 55 percent to 40 percent. But as you
see there on the rights, they disapprove of the way the president handled
the withdrawal, 59 percent to 37 percent.
And you’ve got to think, Mo, that a drone strike that kills ten innocent
civilians, including seven children, isn’t going to boost confidence in the
president’s competence in Afghanistan.
ELLEITHEE: No. Everything Julie said was right, this was an unmitigated
disaster and a tragic loss of — of life of civilians. Look, the — the —
the — the decision he’s on to withdraw, he’s on solid, political ground.
We can have a robust discussion I think and debate about how it — how it
occurred. There’s — there could be an argument to be made that, you know,
this kind — and — and many Democrats are making the argument that this
was always going to be chaotic, that there was nothing we could do that was
going to avoid chaos. That’s a debate that I suspect we’ll be having for
quite some time.
But this? This incident? I — I find it hard to find words to defend what
happened with this tragic mistake. And I expect you will see quite a bit of
— you’ll see the — the oversight committees in Congress start to gear
into — into overdrive pretty quick.
WALLACE: Well, speaking of oversight, I want to turn to the controversy
over the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and
reporting in a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that Milley called
that top Chinese general to the right there two days after the Capitol riot
to reassure him the U.S. had no intentions to attack.
Here was reaction to that revelation this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): If General Milley had these communications with
the Communist Party of China, he’s a smoked turkey, and he ought to be.
GEN. JACK KEANE, RETIRED FOUR-STAR GENERAL: I don’t see anything that’s
undermining civilian control of the military.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marc, Milley reportedly felt he had to reassure the Chinese
because he was worried about Donald Trump’s instability and what he might
SHORT: Well, Chris, it’s hard to think of any active military leader who’s
participated in more of these biographies of Donald Trump than Mark Milley.
He certainly seems to be very concerned about what his public image is and
perhaps that’s one of our problems. Instead, the focus should have been
more on what we’re doing in Afghanistan and other foreign policy areas.
I think that — I think that we need to wait for General Milley’s testimony
before the Senate Armed Services’ Committee. I’m a little bit reluctant
just to assume at face value and accept that comes out of Bob Woodward’s
book. But I do think there — that if this is true, then I do think he
needs to step aside. But I think we have to hold judgment till he actually
has testimony and clarifies this for the American people.
WALLACE: Marc, while I have you here, I’m going to ask you about something
you probably knew about directly because there is an account in the Bob
Woodward book that late December, last year, when Vice President Pence was
still in office, that he called former Vice President Dan Quayle to ask him
to discuss whether or not he had the power, the ability, during — on
January 6th, the certification day, to throw the election to Trump in the
What do you know about that story?
SHORT: Well, my recollection was that Dan Quayle called the vice president
to offer his advice. And the reality is that the vice president, Pence, you
know, always told President Trump he’d be happy to look at anything that
was sent his way to review this, but he was pretty certain and confidence
that there was no constitutional authority that would have ever given any
one person some massive authority to overturn the results of the election,
that — that we, as conservatives, believe that an election should be
certified at the state level, and that’s exactly what happened in 2020,
there were not a separate set of slates, a different set of certifications.
And it think it’s rather un-American to think that any one person would
have had the authority to have that much authority to overturn an election.
I think the vice present was clear from day one, that’s what he thought his
role was and I don’t think he ever wavered in that.
WALLACE: Julie, let’s go back to the — to the Milley story.
What have you found in your reporting? How chaotic was the Trump White
House in the final days, and how much concern was there in the White House,
in the government rite large, about the president’s stability?
PACE: Marc knows this firsthand. I mean there — it is hard to overstate
how on edge Washington was during that period of time, both the days after
the election, and then certainly around January 6th. And that was a
bipartisan concern. There — there were high-level Republicans who were
really on edge about what the president’s next steps might be there. And
Milley is just one of the people, now a very powerful person, but one of
the people who was trying to mitigate a potential disaster there.
Milley had said that he believes that his calls to his Chinese counterparts
were within the bounds of his role as Joint Chiefs chairman. He is going to
testify, I think in more detail, about this later in September. It will be
fascinating to see him explain why he felt the need to take those steps.
But, again, I think it’s important for people to remember that in those
days in January, it was not just Mark Milley who was concerned about
President Trump actions. That was a concern that was shared broadly across
WALLACE: Let me just ask you quickly, because in the book, Woodward and
Costa describe his call to the Chinese as a secret call. Milley, or his
people, are telling reporters, hey, look, he made two calls, one in October
with the express approval of then Defense Secretary Esper, and the second
call he made on January 8th, two days after the riot, there were 15 people
in the room. I mean was it secret or was this very much within channels?
PACE: Milley is — is trying to argue that this was within proper channels.
Now, it doesn’t appear as though these were calls — they certainly weren’t
briefed out to the media at the time. They certainly weren’t calls, at
least based on our current understanding, that President Trump and others
at the top levels of the White House were aware of. But I think that’s one
of the things that will be really interesting about his testimony later in
September, exactly who within the administration knew that he was making
those calls and where people essentially approving of him taking these
WALLACE: Mo, I’ve got about a minute left here. Whether what Milley did was
right or wrong, I want to pick up on Marc Short’s comment. He seems to be
in every one of these books, either talking directly or talking to somebody
who talked to the authors, talk about how worried he was about Donald Trump
and separating himself.
Two political, too out front for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
ELLEITHEE: I — look, I don’t think so. I think Mark Milley — it’s
interesting to see sort of the attacks on him right now. And — and — and
I’m with everyone else. Let’s see what — what the testimony brings.
It’s interesting to see people throwing around words like treasonous and,
you know, calling on him to resign. Remember, this was in the wake of a —
of an insurrection and he was trying to tamp down foreign concern. So we’ll
see what happens, but I think he’ll be OK.
WALLACE: Well, we will see. And that will be must-see TV September 28th.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week.” Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer on
how he gets all those big scoops and his new focus off the field.
WALLACE: This time of year, Sunday’s mean doing this program, and then
getting home in time to watch NFL football on Fox. A key member of the Fox
Sports team is known for breaking big stories, and now for his important
work off the field.
Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.”
JAY GLAZER, FOX SPORTS ANALYST AND NFL INSIDER: Football is one of the only
places where somebody could spill a beer on you in the first quarter and
you’re hugging them in the second quarter. It just brings people together.
With all of our family members here.
WALLACE (voice over): Bringing people together is a passion for Fox Sports
insider Jay Glazer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NFL is back.
WALLACE: Especially now that with COVID vaccines, stadiums will be filled
GLAZER: Right before the start of the season, I went on a 35 NFL day
training camp tour. And the fans were back. And it was so great to feel
that again. You really don’t know what you have until you miss it.
WALLACE: Glazer is part of the team at Fox Sports pregame show “FOX NFL
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What’s the latest with him?
GLAZER: Well, Deshaun Watson, they’re at a standstill because —
WALLACE: His job, getting fans the inside track on the league’s big
GLAZER: I don’t know where they’re getting that from!
WALLACE (on camera): Can Tom Brady do it again? Can he go to and win his
eighth Super Bowl?
GLAZER: We’ve seen what Tom can do. I’ve got no idea what he can’t do.
This is starting to sound personal.
WALLACE (voice over): Glazer lives up to his insider rep, guest starring on
GLAZER: That is exactly what teams want to see.
WALLACE: And breaking major stories like Spy-gate, when the New England
Patriots secretly taped what other teams were doing.
GLAZER: When I first came in the NFL in 1993, I said, man, how can I be
different from everybody else. And I was going to start relationships in
WALLACE: Glazer says the relationships have evolved, from looking for news,
to sharing his struggle with depression and anxiety.
GLAZER: Because I’ve been so open about mental health, I’m having head
coaches and general managers and players and guys I used to, you know, rely
on for — for scoops and information, now calling for help on their end.
WALLACE (on camera): What does living in the gray mean?
GLAZER: First of all, it sucks. It’s a pain behind my rib cage, I guess, if
you will. It’s kind of in my soul. So you see me all laughy and joking on
TV. A lot of it is to find some laughter to overcome it.
WALLACE (voice over): Using his background in mixed martial arts, Glazer
open a high-caliber gym called Unbreakable Performance Center, where he now
brings in therapists to focus on mental health.
GLAZER: Just like you can go and get body worked on, a massage, on one side
of the gym, you can go get some work on your soul on the other side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are —
WALLACE: He also created Merging Vets and Players, or MVP, a charity where
veterans and athletes talk about their shared struggle.
GLAZER: Once the uniform comes off, a lot of times they feel like their
identity is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who’s got my back!
CROWD: I’ve got your back.
GLAZER: Our results have really — they’ve really been beautiful. It’s
incredible. And the bonds that they’ve had. The biggest thing is when you
lose your team, it’s a scary world out there. And so I’m just trying to
give them a team again.
WALLACE: Glazer says the gray is a daily battle, one he will continue to
speak up about so others can too.
GLAZER: My friends like Michael Strahan and Howie Long and them would just
say, oh, Jay’s crazy. And now we’re talking about mental health and we’re
able to shine a light on it. So the more I can speak out about it, to show
people they’re not alone, it’s almost build a team with all of us together,
I say all of us, anybody and everybody, you don’t have to go through
depression or anxiety. We’ve got to walk this walk together.
WALLACE: This January, Glazer will be out with a new book called
“Unbreakable: How I Turned my Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and
You Can Too.”
Speaking of books, my new one, “Countdown Bin Laden,” is number two on the
latest “New York Times” bestseller list. Thank you for your support and for
all the notes you’ve sent me about this history thriller.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS
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