This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday” October 4, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
The country in a state of uncertainty after President Trump contracts the coronavirus and ends up in the hospital.
WALLACE: This hour, we’re monitoring the health of the president after he, the first lady, and top advisors test positive.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I came here, wasn’t feeling so well. I feel much better now.
DR. SEAN PATRICK CONLEY, PHYSICIAN TO THE PRESIDENT: Everyday we are evaluating, does he need to be here? What does he need and where is he going?
WALLACE: We’ll address the president’s condition, the continuity of our government and the impact on the election with Trump campaign senior advisor Steve Cortes.
And we’ll ask Dr. Tom Inglesby, head of the Center for Health Security, about the president’s health and the nation’s.
Then, the diagnosis rocks the race for the White House.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sending my prayers for the health and safety of the first lady and president of the United States.
WALLACE: We’ll talk with a top Biden supporter, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
And we’ll ask our Sunday panel about yet another turbulent week in the 2020 race for the White House.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
We begin with the latest on President Trump’s health. He remains hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center just outside Washington, where he’s battling the coronavirus.
But there are conflicting reports on his status. The president’s doctors painted a rosy picture, reporting yesterday he was doing very well, but a senior official later identified as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters the president’s vital signs were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical to his care.
In a moment, we’ll try to clear this up with Steve Cortes, senior advisor for the Trump campaign.
But, first, let’s bring in Kristin Fisher at Walter Reed Medical Center with the latest on the president’s condition — Kristin.
KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
President Trump’s physician says the president continues to do well but he is not out of the woods just yet.
TRUMP: Over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test. So, we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.
FISHER: President Trump releasing a four-minute video Saturday night from inside Walter Reed Medical Center where he is fighting the same virus that is killed more than 200,000 Americans.
When the president was admitted, the White House said it was done out of an abundance of caution, but we now know the mild symptoms that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had said the president was experiencing were actually much more serious.
MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He’s made unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning when I know a number of us, the doctor and I were very concerned.
FISHER: On Saturday morning, Meadows said the president had gone through a very concerning period and was still not on a clear path to recovery, but mere minutes earlier and just steps away, the president’s physician gave a brighter assessment.
CONLEY: The team and I are extremely happy with the progress the president has made.
FISHER: It’s still unclear exactly where and when the president contracted a virus but the White House medical unit is looking at last Saturday’s Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. At least seven people who attended have now tested positive.
FISHER: Changes have now been made to the vice presidential debate, which is just three days away. Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris will now be seated 12 feet apart instead of seven, but it is still very unclear if the next presidential debate will even happen — Chris.
WALLACE: Kristin Fisher reporting from Walter Reed Medical Center — Kristin, thanks.
Joining us now, Trump campaign senior advisor Steve Cortes.
Steve, respectfully, I would like to be asking this of a White House official, but they’re not putting anyone out this morning for us to question, so I’ve got to ask you, how is the president doing? Because we had this briefing yesterday in which, on the record, the president’s doctors painted a very optimistic picture. Take a look.
STEVE CORTES, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Right.
COL. SEAN N. DOOLEY, PULMONARY CRITICAL CARE DOCTOR: He’s in exceptionally good spirits and, in fact, as we were completing our disciplinary rounds this morning, the quote he left us with was, I feel like take a walk out of here today.
WALLACE: But then, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on background, it later was reported that it was he who was speaking, that the vital signs were very concerning and that the next 48 hours would be critical. So which is it? Is he doing well or is it more touch and go?
CORTES: I can tell you, Chris, that he’s doing well and I’m not going to give any intrigue of what was on background or on the record or not.
What I know is this, we spoke to the president yesterday, we meaning senior campaign staff, via telephone. He was as upbeat and assertive as he’s ever been. And then we also know what the rest of the world saw, which was that terrific video of Donald Trump, the fighter, speaking directly to the American people extemporaneously for four minutes, looking good, sounding good and, of course most importantly of all, we know what his doctors said, which is that his progress has been incredible.
So this president is going to recover. We are highly confident of that and, again, he is a fighter in every sense of the word and he’s doing really well.
WALLACE: Well, we all hope that that’s what his condition is and that’s what the prognosis is, but forgive us, and I say the public in general, for being a little confused, because there were very mixed messages.
That’s the message to the doctors delivered, but again, Mark Meadows, on background, said the president is still not on a clear path to a full recovery. Don’t the American people deserve the truth about how our president is doing?
CORTES: Of course. Of course they deserve the truth and that’s what I’m giving you right now, Chris. And the truth is, we talk directly to the patient, in this case the President of the United States, who tells us things are going great. The whole world heard directly from the doctor who said things are going great. I mean to me, if the patient and the doctor say things are great and you hear from both of them and see both of them, to me, that is sort of case closed, really.
WALLACE: So just one more time to ask you about this, should we disregard the much more guarded message from the Chief of Staff?
CORTES: Again, look, that is allegedly on background — I’m not going to get into that intrigue and I’m certainly not going to take, by the way —
WALLACE: Well, it’s not intrigue. He did say it, Steve.
CORTES: Well, how do we know that? Do you have a tape of it?
WALLACE: In fact he was quoted directly by a reporter and there is tape that when he was having this background conversation —
WALLACE: — with reporters it was he who was talking on camera, so yes, we do have a tape of it.
CORTES: Well, no — I’ve seen that tape, but, look, again, I’m not going to get into that intrigue at all. I have no idea — I’m not Mark Meadows, I’m not part of White House staff.
As you well know, both the campaign and the White House staff, we both serve the president but we have very different tasks. And again, what I know is that we have it from the president himself that he’s doing well and he is on task, believe me.
There was not one even iota of the president feeling sorry for himself. He says, we are going to win this campaign. He is still governing actively as President of the United States even from the hospital.
We are fully confident that his recovery will be complete and that we — look, it’s the baseball playoffs right now, if I could use a sports analogy, he’s on the DL right now but very, very shortly he’s going to be back in the game throwing 95-mile-an-hour fast balls, you can count on that.
WALLACE: Well, we all hope that he’s got his high heat, as they say in baseball. Thank (ph) you on that, Steve.
I want to go back to the Rose Garden event last Saturday where the president announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
I want you to take a look at this picture that we have here. Seven people there, the president and first lady, Senators Lee and Tillis, Kellyanne Conway, Reverend John Jenkins, the President of Notre Dame, and Chris Christie. All of those seven people in that picture have since tested positive for COVID.
Question, Steve, people packed together, the vast majority not wearing masks, how does that make sense?
CORTES: Well, look, here’s what I’ll say. Tremendous precautions are taken to protect the president, as you well know. Anybody who goes to see the president must submit to a COVID test first and also there is significant distancing. People don’t physically get close to the president, at least people who don’t have to.
Of course his family members, some of the security detail, that’s a different story, but I think given these precautions and given that he is probably the most protected person on earth, the fact that he still got infected shows us that unfortunately this virus has that kind of power, that kind of communicable ability. And the president though, and he’s made this clear, he was unwilling to completely sequester himself to take no risk because leaders take risks and he is the servant of the people as well as the commander-in-chief so he said he must be around the people he serves.
And he knew that it was not riskless for him to do so. He could have been hermetically sealed in the residence and been practically guaranteed that he wouldn’t get the virus, but instead, he took reasonable risks, not reckless ones but reasonable risks. Unfortunately he got the virus and I think what this shows us for a policy perspective, I think this is important, Chris, is that we know that even the most severe of lockdowns cannot completely stop the virus. Therefore, we should take reasonable precautions, as a society, and we should not, as Joe Biden threatens, even think about shutting this economy and this society down again.
CORTES: To me, the most consequential divide from your debate that you moderated between the two was that issue of the president saying we are staying open, we will take precautions but we can manage —
WALLACE: Steve, let’s talk about reasonable risk because there was the debate on Tuesday night, as you say, that I moderated. The rules from the Cleveland Clinic could not have been more clear. Everyone, everyone in the audience, was to wear a mask. The president and the vice president — former vice president and I were the only ones exempt from that.
We’ve got a picture up on the screen after the first family came in, they all took off their masks, so did the White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. Do they think that the health and safety rules for everybody else do not apply to them?
CORTES: No, that’s not the reality. Look, everybody was tested before that event, as you well know. Those of us who went first were tested by Cleveland Clinic directly. Everybody who gets on Air Force One for any trip on Air Force One is tested before they get on.
WALLACE: Steve, it doesn’t matter. Everybody that was in that room was tested — Steve, everybody that was in that room was tested and the Cleveland Clinic’s regulation was it didn’t matter, everybody except for the three of us on the stage was to wear a mask and people from the Cleveland Clinic came over and offered the first family masks thinking maybe they didn’t have them, they were waved away and the commission on presidential debates has issued a statement saying from now on if you don’t wear a mask, you’re going to be escorted from the hall.
So forget this question of being tested before —
CORTES: Chris —
WALLACE: — everybody was tested beforehand — no, I’m going to finish my question. Everybody was told to wear a mask. Why did the first family and the chief of staff feel that the rules for everybody else didn’t apply to them?
CORTES: Chris, we believe that masks are very useful, the president has worn them on many occasions, including visiting the hospital where he is now a patient, when he was visiting as commander in chief as a guest to visit soldiers there he wore a masks. So we believe in masks.
We also believe in some element of individual choice, people were distanced and they had been tested. Both of those things were true in that —
WALLACE: No, Steve, they weren’t distanced and there were rules and there was no freedom of choice. They broke the rules. Why did they —
CORTES: Chris, I was there like you were —
CORTES: — and they were distanced. Those chairs were not close together.
WALLACE: Why did they break the rules?
CORTES: Look, those chairs were not close together and, again, we also believe that people —
WALLACE: It doesn’t matter, Steve, the rules from the Cleveland Clinic —
WALLACE: — were close together, Steve. And the rules —
WALLACE: — from the Cleveland Clinic were everybody wears a mask. Why didn’t they?
CORTES: Chris, the way you’re starting to harangue me now actually reminds me of what you did to the president during the debate on Tuesday night when he —
WALLACE: Oh yes, I outranked (ph) him —
CORTES: No, that he had to — he had to debate not just Joe Biden, but you as well. You were not a neutral moderator then. I don’t mind tough questions. I welcome —
WALLACE: You know how much (ph) —
CORTES: — reasonably tough questions. But what I don’t think is okay is for you to become the effective opposition to the president. Okay? And those —
CORTES: — everyone there was tested in the crowd, they were distanced from each other. People can make reasonable decisions —
WALLACE: Steve, that’s —
CORTES: — for themselves.
WALLACE: Steve — no, actually they can’t, there are the rules and they will be kicked out next time.
Steve, let me simply say the president interrupted me and the vice president 145 times, so I object to saying I harangued the president. I know it’s the talking point.
With the president in the hospital, there’s a concern about the continuity of government. Is the campaign giving any consideration given the fact that the vice president is the next in line to the president, about keeping him off the trail or delaying the vice presidential debate until we see the president is safe?
CORTES: Listen, we think it’s important that our campaign vigorously proceed and, look, the MAGA movement is bigger than just President Trump, he’s instrumental of course, but he is not the only key element of the MAGA movement. And so what we have said is that the other people, including of course vice president (INAUDIBLE), campaign people, millions of regular Americans need to step up and to some degree fill the void that is left because our champion, our main instrument, is not able at this moment to vigorously campaign and certainly not campaign physically right now at all.
But in terms of continuity of government, the government is functioning flawlessly right now, it will continue to. The United States, thankfully, has vigorous structures for chain of command and there will be no disruptions there.
WALLACE: And the vice president is going to go on with his schedule as planned to the debate, to rallies?
CORTES: Correct, he is going to continue to campaign of course with an abundance of caution. That was already in place but even more so now.
WALLACE: The president keeps saying that we’re rounding the corner of the pandemic. Here are some of his recent statements. Take a look.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, I have a mask right here. I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight, as an example, everybody has had a test. I don’t wear masks like him, every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it (ph) and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.
WALLACE: But, I want to put this graphic up on the screen. The seven day average of new cases is almost 44,000 new cases a day and 700 new deaths a day.
Steve, how is that rounding the corner?
CORTES: Well, I can’t see the graphic but I’ll tell you how we are rounding the corner. And it’s not my opinion, by the way, it’s from medical authorities.
So Admiral Giroir was on the air just two days ago, the chief — the testing czar of HHS and a physician, of course. And he pointed out that off of the July second spike highs, how much better we’re doing better nationally.
We’re down 50% in hospitalizations, down 60% in ICU patients, and down 34% in deaths. Now, nobody is signaling the all clear, but all of those statistics that I just noted tell us that we absolutely are rounding the corner as a country. And, by the way, not just on the virus, but also economically.
We are more than rounding the corner, we are actually exploding higher economically and they are very much related, those two phenomena, of course. And part of the reason why President Trump needs to and will recover quickly is because he needs to also get back to leading the greatest economic recovery in American history, and that is —
CORTES: — tied to our trend toward health.
WALLACE: Finally, and I’ve got about a minute left for you on this one, Steve, with the COVID outbreak not only in the White House and among people there, but also at least three Republican senators now have COVID, Democrats are calling for a delay in the confirmation hearing and the confirmation vote on Judge Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Any chance of that?
CORTES: No. Listen, there will be no delay and Leader McConnell has been very adamant on this. There’s already been quite a bit of remote technology used in these hearings, clearly those who don’t feel safe to be in a room can do so, but there is a constitutional mandate to do this. There’s also an electoral mandate from the American people to get this done. It can be done expeditiously.
Amy Coney Barrett is an amazing justice, she’s going to be a credit to the court.
WALLACE: Steve, thank you, thanks for joining us today. Sometimes it gets a little heated but you’re always a gentleman. I appreciate it, sir.
CORTES: Thank you.
WALLACE: Coming up, we’ll discuss the president’s treatment and prognosis with a top public health expert, and did the Trump White House let down its guard in dealing with COVID-19?
WALLACE: President Trump is hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center after testing positive for the coronavirus, as new cases emerge among his top advisors and allies.
Joining us once again from Baltimore, Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
Doctor, I always hesitate to ask about a specific case to a doctor who hasn’t seen the patient, but — from your expertise, knowing what we know about the treatment that the president is receiving and the fact that he’s been hospitalized, what does that tell you about his case, his condition?
DR. TOM INGLESBY, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Well, Chris, I think the news that we heard yesterday was largely encouraging, the fact that the president is not requiring oxygen, that a number of lab tests were reported to be normal and he was able to deliver that video yesterday.
But what we heard from the president’s chief of staff was concerning, the fact that he — at least Mr. Meadows said that his vital signs were concerning on Friday, that he was requiring oxygen. Those are — those are worrisome things. At least they suggest that the president does have pulmonary involvement from COVID, if those things are correct.
And there were a number of tests that I presume were done at Walter Reed, including a chest X-ray, a CT scan, white blood cell count, inflammatory — inflammatory markers. It would be useful to be able to judge his risk going forward to know what the results of those tests were.
But so far, the news that we’ve heard has been encouraging.
WALLACE: Well, that — that’s encouraging to hear.
But you anticipated where I want to take this. The president is a 74-year- old man who is technically obese.
How long before we have a sense whether he’s out of the woods, and in what one point, Mark Meadows was saying the next 48 hours, the doctors were saying seven to 10 days.
You know, when are we going to know whether he’s okay? And I guess part of the question is, what is the likelihood, being where he is right now, that he can participate in a presidential debate in 11 days?
INGLESBY: So, it’s always very difficult to make judgments about individuals, especially — unless you’re really involved in the care.
Overall in this age category, people the president’s age, there was a large study done by CDC in January to May timeframe that said that about a third of people his age were diagnosed with COVID would be hospitalized and that there is a significant mortality rate in that age group.
Now, the president is receiving extraordinary care and it looks like is doing well, but it’s certainly a serious disease for people of his age and with underlying condition. We do know that some people have symptoms that are mild and recover and do extraordinarily well in the first week, but there are others that in the five to 10-day time range can have a relatively quick deterioration and develop more severe symptoms.
And it’s very difficult to judge that at this time. Again, those additional test results would help us make some judgment about the likelihood of his disease getting better or the potential for worsening.
In terms of the debate, I think it’s too soon to say.
Oh, go ahead, Chris.
WALLACE: I was going to ask you though, because this does get to the bigger issue of the proper safety regulations. The rallies that the president held where thousands of people where there, often times with no separation, the vast majority of them not wearing masks and then as I discussed with Steve Cortes, the president’s family and advisors ignoring the requirement at the debate that they wear masks.
As a public health official, what do you think of that?
INGLESBY: Yeah, I think there is clear danger in having events where there are many people close together without wearing masks for a long period of time, especially where loud voices are used. We know virus is spread by loud voice more effectively.
So I really think large gatherings like rallies shouldn’t be happening at this point for any purpose during a pandemic, which is, in the last few weeks, actually been getting worse.
And I think when the commission sets rules for preventing transmission during debates, they should be followed. People shouldn’t be making their own decisions. They should be following the rules that are established by the public health experts who set up those debates.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on a question I asked Mr. Cortes. And that’s the continuity of government, because the president is in the hospital. As we say —
WALLACE: — his prognosis is uncertain in the course of this.
Your thoughts about president — Vice President Pence, the next in line to the presidency, going ahead with public rallies, going ahead with this debate. Is that a sensible action for him to take, or does it raise concerns on your part about the next person in line to the presidency?
INGLESBY: You know, my view at this point is that the rest of the debates, the vice presidential debate and if there are presidential debates should be virtual. I think at this point, we’ve seen from the first debate that there were unanticipated very large risks that developed around the debate and days afterwards.
And in fact, by public accounts, it looks like the vice president had a meeting with the president on Tuesday, period of time where he would be presumed to be contagious. And so, in my mind, it seems like the vice president should be in quarantine, even if he is getting tested on a daily basis.
And so, in any event, I don’t think it is a proper risk to take to have him gathering with Senator Harris in person and he could easily do this debate virtually as was done in the past four — at least in the case of Kennedy and Nixon, I know we did virtual debates. But for public health purposes, I think it would be safer to have these large gatherings at this point given the risks of the pandemic.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on something you just said, which is that in fact the pandemic is getting worse.
The president has been sending a consistently optimistic message about where we are with COVID-19 in recent days.
Here’s some clips from that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are rounding the turn. We are rounding the corner of the pandemic.
Tremendous progress is being made, and I say it and I’ll say it all the time, we’re rounding the corner.
I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Doctor, where are we really with COVID-19 at this point in this country?
INGLESBY: We are still in the middle of a dangerous pandemic in this country. If you look at the papers this morning and the data, you can see that something on the order of two-thirds of the states in the country have had increases in COVID numbers in the last week, and we are seeing, as you said earlier, in the 40,000 range of cases every day.
Hospitalization rate has just begun to take up again, if you look at the numbers across the country, and there are places in the country in the Midwest, particularly in Wisconsin, which are having extraordinary numbers, by highest numbers yet since this pandemic started, with places in Wisconsin having trouble accommodating all of the sick people that are coming sick with COVID.
So I think people need to really continue to take this very seriously, to avoid large gatherings, wear masks, physically distance as they have been overtime, and hopefully in the months ahead, we’ll begin to get vaccines coming online. But in the meantime, it’s important to take all the precautions we’ve been taking all along to prevent transmission.
WALLACE: So, I’ve got about a minute left and you’ve answered part of it, but what is the biggest lesson that people should take from the fact that even the president of the United States, who was in the most secure health bubble of anybody maybe in the world, can still get this? What’s the lesson people should take from that and specifically what they should and shouldn’t do?
INGLESBY: Yeah, I think the lesson is that this is still the same virus. The virus hasn’t changed. We heard earlier this week that most of us are still susceptible to this virus.
In this country, only a small percentage of us have been infected and recovered at this point, so people should take it very seriously. We — we do have to find a balance in terms of, you know, living our lives and trying to get the economy moving.
But everything that people can do as individuals in terms of masking, physically distancing, avoiding large gatherings, we should be doing that. And hopefully in the time ahead with more diagnostic testing and with the coming of new therapies and vaccines, the risk will continue to go down.
But for now, you need to take this virus very seriously.
WALLACE: Dr. Inglesby, thank you. Thanks for joining us. It’s always good to talk with you, sir.
INGLESBY: Thanks so much. Appreciate it.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll turn to one of Joe Biden’s key backers. Senator Amy Klobuchar joins us to discuss the president’s COVID diagnosis and what it means for the campaign.
WALLACE: Coming up, Joe Biden on the campaign trail talks about the president’s illness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask Senator Amy Klobuchar how the president’s diagnosis changes the race.
WALLACE: The narrative for the presidential campaign flipped on Friday after the president’s positive Covid test. Now the Trump campaign has shifted to virtual events while Joe Biden hits the trail.
Joining us now from Minneapolis, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a key backer of the former vice president.
Senator, what are your thoughts about the president’s illness? First of all, the fact that the president and first lady have contracted Covid, and, secondly, how he’s handled Covid over these last months?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, first, Chris, my prayers are with the president and the first lady and all of their staff and the Republican senators that we all — we know now are ill. And we wish them all a speedy recovery.
I think it was Joe Biden that said that this should be not about partisanship, not about politics, this is an American moment. And, to me, that means electing a president that has a plan instead of pandemonium. I think it means putting a strong leader in place that, number one, understands we listen to the experts, just like the doctor you just had on who was telling people, yes, where masks in public settings. By the way, it will save 100,000 lives in 100 days. You need a plan for having a national testing strategy, which would help us immensely with our economy, so businesses can reopen in a very consistent way. And then the third thing is transparency, with contact tracing the like.
And we just haven’t seen that. We’ve heard things like, oh, this will be done by Easter. Oh, this will go away with warm weather. Oh, this is a hoax. This is deeply personal to me, Chris. You know that my husband was very, very sick, had pneumonia, was in the hospital for nearly a week and it is deeply personal to so many Americans. It is now personal to the president. But it is deeply personal to so many people. And that’s why I think you see, in states like Florida now, you know, since the debate, where people didn’t like what they heard from the president. Joe Biden’s up five points in a poll yesterday or he’s up in Pennsylvania. Clearly, Democrats, Republicans and independents want someone that is following the facts and is going to help them out and their families and get us through this pandemic.
WALLACE: The — Senator, the Biden campaign has taken down all of its negative ads, but the president — some Republicans are saying the Democrats are still attacking the president while he is now in hospital.
Should discussions about Covid be off-limits at this particular point?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, that discussions about Covid, not when you have 7 million people get this virus, not when you have people in assisted living who have been isolated for this entire year and moms juggling their kids on their laps while they’re trying to do their work. No.
But I think Joe Biden has set the tone here because he’s a leader and he said, look, I want the president to be back — he wants to debate him more. He wants him to have a speedy recovery. And so this isn’t about politics or partisanship, but certainly the pandemic. The effect that it has had on people’s lives, how they have miscalculated this administration, of course that’s on the table because as Joe pointed out at the debate, we have 200,000 families right now that have a chair at the table that’s empty. So it is on the table, as well as the economy and how we can get through the day after tomorrow and the kind of leadership you’ll need to make sure we get there.
WALLACE: Right. Right.
The issue of how to campaign during a pandemic came up during Tuesday’s debate.
Take a look, Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I’ll have 25,000, 35,000 people show up at airports — we use airports and hangers and we have a lot of people —
WALLACE: Are you not worried about the disease issue, sir?
TRUMP: Well, so far we have had no problem whatsoever. It’s outside —
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He’s been totally responsible the way in which he has handled the social distancing and people wearing masks, basically encouraging them not to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: This race is the whole question of how to reopen the country, whether it’s reopening and how you conduct the campaign, whether it’s reopening the economy, whether it’s reopening schools. You just heard Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes say — and the president said in the debate – – that Joe Biden is being too cautious, too much of an alarmist and is too ready to shut down the government again — or rather shut down the economy again, excuse me.
KLOBUCHAR: Joe Biden has made really clear that he wants to build back better. And he wants to get this economy to a place where we’re actually expanding. And, in fact, I’d note that Moody’s, not exactly a liberal organization, just said the Joe Biden’s plan will at 7 million more jobs next year than Donald Trump’s plan. And so he wants to do that. But he believes you use science as a guide. That’s all. And you can see you shouldn’t just have testing for White House staff, we should be able to have grocery store clerks and nurses and first responders. They should be able to have more frequent testing too.
And there is a way to do this. But right now it’s just this idea that, oh, this is going to get better, we’ve turned the corner. As your first guest just said, 33 states, that’s the facts. The doctor said them, 33 states we’ve seen increases right now in the last few weeks. And so does that mean to me? We can — we can get through this. There’s so much promising work being done on vaccines. But to get to that point, we have to have a national testing strategy and then we also have to have an economic plan for what I call the day after tomorrow so we can get through this strong.
WALLACE: Senator — Senator, it turns out that two of your Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, have now tested positive for Covid.
Are Democrats going to try to use this as a way to delay the confirmation hearing and the confirmation vote on Judge Barrett?
KLOBUCHAR: It’s not a matter of using it, Chris, it happened. And the first thing we know is that if you look at the precedent that Mitch McConnell set, we should let the people decide. And that’s where the majority of people are when it comes to this. Decide who the president is after this election and let then pick the nominee.
Secondly, we’ve got the fact that now three senators have it. As you point out, two are on the Judiciary Committee. And Mitch McConnell has shut the Senate down for two weeks because of health concerns, because we don’t know how many other Republican senators had it. there were a number of other ones that were at the Rose Garden. They have a lunch together where they don’t have masks. We don’t do that on the Democratic side. They do.
And so it’s very possible we’re going to have more senators, more staff. So I don’t know why you would ram through this Supreme Court hearing, put people in danger because it would be within that two week period, but while you have checked on the whole Senate. I just think it’s wrong. We are suggesting that we wait.
WALLACE: Senator — but, Senator, the fact is that you can hold hearings in different ways. In fact, last May, when the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, held a virtual hearing, you very much praised him and thanked him for doing that. So you could hold a virtual hearing for — for Judge Barrett, which raises the question again, are you trying to use the fact that there has been this outbreak, at least three Republican senators, to try to block a nomination that you, frankly, oppose fiercely?
KLOBUCHAR: Absolutely not. This is for the highest court of the land. And, yes we have had virtual hearings. I helped to put them together. It’s important to give senators that option. But you want to be able to go back and forth with this nominee. Given her views on the Affordable Care Act, given that she has clearly criticized Justice Roberts, who again, not exactly a blazing liberal, for upholding the constitutional — the Affordable Care Act, which allows people to keep their insurance when they’ve got pre-existing conditions, and she has criticized that, yes, we want to be able to ask her —
WALLACE: Yes, but we’re doing — we’re doing this virtually — Senator, we’re doing this virtually —
WALLACE: So why can’t you question Judge Barrett virtually?
KLOBUCHAR: Again, we believe you should have an in person hearing. That doesn’t mean the virtual option wouldn’t be available, but why would you ram — I guess I turn the question around here, even though you get to ask the questions, why would you ram this through when we don’t even have a Covid package done to make sure that people have health care, that we have the testing I just talked about, that we have the funding for that.
KLOBUCHAR: The Senate Republicans have been resisting this while Nancy Pelosi has been valiantly working on it and the White House now claims they want a package. Why would we be doing this instead of actually be helping the American people? So that’s why I think it is so important that that’s what we do instead of ramming through a Supreme Court justice. Wait until after the election. Better for safety. Better for the country.
WALLACE: Senator Klobuchar, thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend. Please come back.
KLOBUCHAR: I will. And I did that all without interrupting you once, I would like to point out, Chris Wallace.
WALLACE: I interrupted you a couple of times. It’s a little hard on this Skype deal.
Senator, thank you.
Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss what’s at stake now that the president is off the trail and in a hospital, just 30 days from the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Going into crowds unmasked and all the rest was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump in a video message before heading to the hospital Friday and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying the president’s illness should be a learning experience for him.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group.
Steve Hayes, editor of “The Dispatch,” Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner, and Charles Lane from “The Washington Post.”
Steve, let’s talk as, you know, obviously our concern is with the health of the president, but there are political implications as we are just 30 days from the election. So let’s talk about that.
In the latest Fox News poll, when people were asked, who do you trust to do a better job on coronavirus, and this is before the events this week, 52 percent said Biden, 44 percent said President Trump.
To the degree, Steve, that this puts Covid back at the top of the political agenda, and that as we see in that poll, people already had concerns about the president’s handling of the coronavirus, how tough is this? How big an obstacle for the Trump campaign?
STEVE HAYES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND CEO, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF “THE DISPATCH”: I think it’s a very big obstacle. And there’s no question that Covid is at the top of the list of concerns of voters right now because of the attention that’s being paid to the president as he tries to work through this, as he tries to recover.
I think the challenge for the president is that he has been stricken with the virus after having been in cautious about it, to be generous. I mean reckless would be probably more appropriate descriptor. And I think that’s a challenge for the Trump campaign.
You know, it was interesting hearing Steve Cortes suggest that Vice President Pence would be operating with an abundance of caution going forward, even as he potentially does some campaign events and participates in the debate. The Trump team, including his family at the debate, has been operating in the absence of caution. And I think that will sort of put additional focus on the ways in which the Trump world, the Trump campaign, the White House, the president himself has not taken the kinds of precautions you’d expect him to be setting an example for the rest of the country.
WALLACE: Gillian, I want to pick up on this question of continuity of government, because we’ve got such dramatically different answers from the Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes and from the public health expert, Dr. Inglesby.
With the president in the hospital and, you know, the word coming out that whether it’s the next 48 hours are critical or days seven through 10, we don’t know. We hope, but we don’t know how the president is going to do here.
And I’m ask — I want to ask you what you’re hearing from your sources in the national security community. How concerned are they about the vice president’s intention, apparently, to go ahead, to go back on the campaign trail, to conduct this debate with Senator Harris, the vice presidential debate in Utah on Wednesday, given the fact that under the lines of presidential succession, he’s — he’s next in line to be president?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So, Chris, since the president’s diagnosis, his positive test results became publicly available a few days ago, I’ve pretty much spent the entire time speaking to national security officials in his administration, current and former and previous administrations. And to a person, every single source tells me that the number one priority now going forward is on what you just mentioned, continuity of government operations. In layman’s terms, that essentially means making sure that the government continues to function as normal now while President Trump is in the hospital, and then over the coming days should he become more ill, more gravely ill then he is now, making sure that there is a plan for that too. They are working on that behind the scenes hour by hour now. They’re not — the White House isn’t talking about this publicly yet aside from saying everything is fine, but that is going on behind the scenes. There’s a lot of machinations and internal calculations about how to prevent more spread inside the White House, moving people to different locations, varying hours of work, who is allowed to go over to Walter Reed and see the president, that kind of a thing.
WALLACE: But — but — but, Gillian, specifically, is there talk, either among current officials or just in the people in the — in the national security community, that perhaps the vice president should shelter himself, shouldn’t be going out in public and rallies and going out to this vice presidential debate?
TURNER: Well, I — Chris, it’s unsurprisingly the information I’m getting on that from sources is very split. People in Biden world say that of course Vice President Pence should be sheltering in place, he should be quarantining, not only because he was exposed to President Trump, but also because his health is now a matter of national concern, is a greater obligation to the American people than ever before to keep himself healthy.
The Trump campaign says, absolutely not. With President Trump sequestered away at Walter Reed, the vice president is now kind of taking center stage for the first time in five years. This week he’s going to be on the campaign trail. He’s going to host a rally on Thursday. He is really the face of the administration on the ground this week while President Trump is there.
WALLACE: I — Chuck, let’s talk about the Biden campaign.
Do they have to be sensitive in the way that they handle the president’s illness and Covid generally in this period while the president’s in the hospital? On the one hand, as Steve suggested, it’s a good issue for them. When Covid is the top issue, people tend to lean towards the vice president. On the other hand, you know, any kind of an attack that seems overly aggressive, it certainly seems to me has the risk of backfiring.
CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Yes, and they have so far played it accordingly. They’ve pulled their negative ads. Their — the candidate himself has expressed his best wishes to all concerned. You saw Amy Klobuchar just now repeating that as well.
And, frankly, I don’t think they need to campaign overtly on this because it is such — again, unfortunately we have to talk about it in political terms, it is a political benefit to them to remind the entire American people of the issue of the pandemic, which they have been trying to put front and center.
And I might add there’s another theme that this raises, the kind of — you know, in the rush of these incredible events of the last week, there’s a unifying theme from the president’s tax returns coming out, to that extraordinary performance at the debate, to the people not wearing their masks. The unifying theme is that you could argue this is a president who doesn’t believe the ordinary rules apply to him. And that theme is now out there in the public in all these different contexts. It’s very difficult —
LANE: For the administration to explain away, and it’s helping Biden.
WALLACE: You know, you mentioned the debate, and it seems like that was about two weeks ago. In fact, it was on Tuesday and there’s no question it was unusual.
Here’s a look back at some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: I think that the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I’m — I’m appealing to you, sir, to do that.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, and him too.
WALLACE: Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting than he has.
TRUMP: Well, that’s all right, but he does plenty.
WALLACE: Well, less than — sir, less than —
TRUMP: Yes, there’s plenty.
WALLACE: No, less than you have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Steve, what is your sense of the reaction to the — to the debate? And there are stories that Republicans are quite concerned that this is not only going to hurt the president, but may hurt other GOP candidates down ballot.
HAYES: Yes, I think we’re already seeing that. I mean it’s good to be sort of dismissive of the instant polls that we see on the night of the debate or maybe just the day after, but now we’ve had several days of polling. And I had conversations with Republican strategists who are working in swing states around the country and they are, to put it simply, they are alarmed. The numbers that they’ve seen since the debate suggests that exactly as you point out, it’s not just affecting President Trump. People look at the debate performance negatively. He was interrupting considerably more than – – than Joe Biden, as you point out, but it’s also starting to affect Republicans down ballot. And we’re seeing competitive races in states where you would not expect to see competitive races. And I — and I spoke with one Republican strategist who said, you know, we all have this group of — of Senate races that we’ve thought of as competitive to this point and if this current trajectory continues through November 3rd, we’re going to be talking about a lot more Republican senators at risk than we’re talking about right now.
WALLACE: Chuck, I’ve got less than 45 seconds for this.
The question of Judge Barrett and the outbreak of Covid in the Senate, do you think Democrats are going to be successful in trying to use this to delay and/or eventually block her confirmation by this Senate?
LANE: It doesn’t seem that way. You know, I’ve spoken with people in Mitch McConnell’s camp. They’re determined to go ahead with this. They may have to tweak the schedule here and there.
And, frankly, the recent events incentivize them more because this is a topic they want to be discussing in the last two weeks of the campaign instead of the pandemic. I expect the Republicans to do everything they possibly can to get it done.
WALLACE: And, Gillian, your thoughts? Any — any chance that this is going to stop the Republicans from confirming Amy Coney Barrett? You’ve got 10 seconds.
TURNER: I don’t think so. Senator Graham has said that he’s going to do whatever it takes, whether that’s virtual hearings, virtual votes even on the House floor. So rules are going to be changed in the next few weeks.
WALLACE: And as we’ve all learned, virtual works. Maybe not as well as in person, but it works.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
And we’ll be right back with a final word.
WALLACE: For the latest on President Trump’s health as he recovers from the coronavirus, please keep in here on your local Fox station and Fox News Channel.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
Content and Programming Copyright 2020 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.