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This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on May 22, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Martha MacCallum.
As President Biden, elected as uniter, signals that he’s done trying to work with Republicans, and former President Trump tallies his wins and losses in the first big round of primaries, the gloves are off.
Pennsylvania still counting votes. And now, we are just two days from big races in Alabama and Georgia.
MACCALLUM (voice-over): It is the final stretch in Georgia’s pivotal Republican governor’s race where a former President Donald Trump’s pick —
DAVID PERDUE, GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Together, we can take back our state.
MACCALLUM: — faces an incumbent embraced by former Vice President Mike Pence.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: Georgians want a governor that’s going to be fighting for them today.
MACCALLUM: We’re on the road to the midterms behind the scenes with both campaigns.
And right now, Pennsylvania voters await the outcome of a tight GOP Senate contest.
We’ll speak with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about the influence of the MAGA movement and finding unity in November.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is focused on doing everything in his power to address the Putin price hike.
MACCALLUM: The White House points fingers elsewhere as the stock market dives, gas prices break records, and parents search for baby formula on empty shelves.
We’ll ask the president’s chief economic adviser Brian Deese about the plan to ease the pain.
Then — the Department of Homeland Security says it’s preparing for the threat of violence if the Supreme Court delivers a historic ruling on abortion in the coming weeks. We’ll ask our Sunday panel how the fight for Roe v. Wade is shaping midterms, and whether it could boost progressive’s hopes in Tuesday’s runoff in Texas.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
MACCALLUM (voice-over): And hello again from FOX News.
This morning, there is still no winner in Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate race, still too close to call, likely headed for a recount. Even as former President Trump pushes his pick to go ahead and declare victory. That as two southern states brace for their key primaries on Tuesday.
And right now, President Biden is on the ground in Asia. He’s on a six-day trip, shoring up U.S. Pacific relations and hoping to show that he’s working to break the supply chain backlog — this against the backdrop of an unpredictable economy here at home.
In a moment, we’ll speak live with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about these hard-fought Republican primaries across the nation, but first, we turn to Alex Hoff live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the Republican Senate race remains in limbo this Sunday morning.
ALEXANDRIA HOFF, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha.
Yeah, very much so. Right now, the margin between Dr. Oz and David McCormick is 0.1 percent. So unless that margin grows to half a percent either through mailing or provisional ballots, the Pennsylvania law requires a secretary of state to order a recount.
HOFF (voice-over): Friday, the Allegheny County Board of Election swore in a review board. They are now tasked with researching at least 1,900 provisional ballots cast on Tuesday. Oz and McCormick campaign representatives may then challenge ballots. Election officials are promising transparency.
DAVID VOYE, ALLEGHENY COUNTY ELECTIOONS DIVISION MANAGER: Every vote will be counted and this is probably the tightest statewide race I’ve been a part of.
HOFF: Campaign reps were also in sight at a warehouse in Pittsburgh, where voting data was reed from ten problematic precinct machines.
DAVID MCCORMICK (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: We can see victory ahead, and it’s all because of you.
DR. MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: When all the votes are tallied, I am confident we will win.
HOFF: While Oz called for party unity, the men who endorsed him, former president Trump, urged him to declare victory Wednesday without all the votes without all the votes cod. Trump also blamed a surprise contender, Kathy Barnette, saying she took votes he feels would have gone to Oz.
Like in 2020, mail-in ballots are once again a point of contention. On Friday, a Pennsylvania appeals court ruled in a different case that ballots lacking a written date on the envelope must still be counted. It’s unclear how this race will be impacted by the ruling, but McCormick’s campaign, which have been slightly favored by mail-in ballots, reached out to companies to make sure they were aware.
In response, Oz’s campaign released a statement saying his opponent’s lawyers are, quote, “following the Democrats playbook.”
On the Democratic side, another hotly contested race was called Friday. Progressive Summer Lee won the 12th congressional district primary.
HOFF (on camera): Now, Lee was endorsed by House squad members and Senator Bernie Sanders, but her opponents vocalized concern over past statements she made that they called anti-Israel — Martha.
MACCALLUM: Alex, thank you very much. Alex Hoff reporting from Pittsburgh.
Joining us now, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Chairwoman McDaniel, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”. Good to have you here this morning.
RONNA MCDANIEL, RNC CHAIRWOMAN: Great to be with you. Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: So, let’s talk first about Pennsylvania, the Senate race. It’s about 1,100 votes apart between Dave McCormick and Dr. Oz. And President Trump spoke out on his Truth Social social media site and he said: Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they, quote, just happened to find.
Do you think that Dr. Oz should go ahead and declare victory?
MCDANIEL: I’m not going to speak for Dr. Oz. What I will say is the Republican legislature in Pennsylvania put forward an election integrity bill that Governor Wolf vetoed earlier this year. If that bill had been passed, we would not be in this situation.
President Trump is right, and others, that we should not have no excuse absentee voting. This influx of mail-in voting is clearly showing that systems are not ready for that and Pennsylvania is a case of that right now. And I think a lot of this lies at the foot — the feet of Governor Wolf, why we are having this disaster in Pennsylvania right now.
MACCALLUM: But — so the former president is suggesting that another Republican who is supported by people who used to work in his administration is searching for votes or doing something that is — that is untoward?
MCDANIEL: Well, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled this year, and the RNC very much supports, that ballots should not be counted without a date. I think that’s the law in Pennsylvania. I think that should be followed.
And we certainly do not think that ballots without dates should be counted, because how do you know when they came in? I think that’s common sense and that is definitely where the RNC and the GOP is.
MACCALLUM: All right. So, if Dave McCormick were to win, will he be supported by President Trump, or is he going to keep saying, you know, that he won in a way that wasn’t — that wasn’t fair or that was fraudulent? It seems odd, doesn’t it?
MCDANIEL: I think every Republican is going to be supporting the Republican nominee in these states, including President Trump. The RNC will be supporting — we do not want Fetterman, a Democrat socialist, the nominee on the Pennsylvania ticket, to be the senator.
We know what’s at stake with the balance of power. We see the disaster that our country is going through under Joe Biden.
So we’re going to rally around. Primaries are difficult. They’re challenging, and then we come together afterwards and focus on who we really need to defeat, which is the Democrat.
MACCALLUM: So, “The Wall Street Journal” this week, looking at sort of the bigger picture of all of this, and reminding people of the situation that happened in the runoff in Georgia, in the Senate race there when the GOP lost those two key Senate seats and with it the majority in the Senate.
And this is what they write: Angry about his own loss, Mr. Trump told GOP voters not to trust the process. That paved the way for President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID package, the ensuing 8.5 percent inflation and a liberal Supreme Court justice in waiting.
Are they right about that, Ronna?
MCDANIEL: Yeah, I disagree. I mean, President Trump was in Georgia I think the day before the runoff in the Loeffler and Perdue races, down there to turn out the vote, to take back those two Senate seats. The president has sent out many, many emails, and I’ve seen him calling on people to vote, saying the only vote that won’t count is the one you don’t cast.
So he is absolute where proponent of people getting out of voting because we know what’s at stake. We need one seat to win back the Senate and five to win back the House, and the American people are suffering and we need Republicans to win in November.
MACCALLUM: But when you cast doubt on the process, we know from the polling that happened in Georgia that it made some people in certain districts very wary of participating in it. So whether or not he may have, you know, supported it in terms of robocalls and other things, and coming in the day be far, some of that was sort of baked in a cake with the voters. At least that’s what was revealed in the polling there.
MCDANIEL: Yeah, it’s still in the Republican Party concerns about election integrity. 2020 was a different election. There was more mail-in ballots than ever, many of the safeguards of voter ID were removed, and you’ve seen Georgia and Florida and Texas and other states passed comprehensive election reform that require voter ID for absentee ballots.
That’s just common sense. That’s where most Americans are. They agree that we should show our ID to vote, and Democrats don’t.
And get rid of ballot harvesting and get rid of drop boxes and have same- day voting. These are common sense measures that will ensure integrity in the election, and the problem is, Martha, Democrats want the delta to be longer than ever. They want to vote earlier and then count the ballots as late as possible. So it’s like a two-month delta.
When you have this type of delay in counting the ballots, it always creates concern with voters.
And that’s why Republicans have stepped up. The RNC has built the largest election integrity team across the country heading into 2022, in November, and this is something that’s necessary to ensure our voters that we’re watching and we’re going to make sure it’s transparent and fair.
MACCALLUM: So let’s take a look at Georgia, because a huge governor’s race happening there on Tuesday.
And we can take a look at the polls here. We know that there is a very interesting backdrop because you have President Trump endorsing and supporting David Perdue, and he’s at 28 percent right now. You can see that slide from 39 in March.
Brian Kemp, the incumbent governor, is at 60 percent. He’s being supported by President Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence.
So tell me what you think about the served here for Kemp given Trump’s endorsement?
MCDANIEL: You know, President Trump has endorsed in 84 races, he’s won 81. That’s like an A+.
Just a note, Joe Biden is not being asked to endorse in any race because no Democrat wants to be seen with him, including Stacey Abrams, who is running in Georgia.
I talked to people in Georgia who love President Trump and like Kemp. I think that’s what you’re seeing in some of the voters in Georgia, but we are going to see what happens on Tuesday.
The votes haven’t been counted, Kemp needs to pass a 50 percent threshold to win the nomination outright and we’ll see what happens then.
MACCALLUM: Do you think it was a mistake for the former president to kind of coax David Perdue to run for governor?
MCDANIEL: David Perdue is perfectly capable of making his own choices. And President Trump obviously has gotten involved.
And the power of his endorsement is astounding. You look at JD Vance, who was down in third place, and he catapulted to first. You look at Ted Budd. You look at these races where he’s probably the only person in either party whose endorsement can change the complexion of a race.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, I don’t doubt that at all. I would guess in most of these cases, the only person whose endorsement is something that most voters even have an awareness of is probably the former vice president.
But, you know, it’s interesting, because the RGA, the Republican Governors Association, is really putting their le behind the candidates who are not backed by President Trump, and they say that in that world, they are doing well.
They look at Idaho. They look at Nebraska, where the former president’s endorsement did not lead to success in those races. And they poured $5 million into this Georgia race.
Chris Christie saying that he thinks that the former president is on a personal vendetta tour. Doug Ducey of Arizona says the GOP should not spend one more moment talking about 2020.
So, they see this Kemp surge as proof that what they’re doing is working.
MCDANIEL: You know, I think the power of incumbency plays into that. The RGA supports incumbents.
I think we’re going to get this season and I’m going to be grateful when we do and we really focus on the Democrats.
I mean, we have rising inflation. We have a baby formula crisis. We have a border that’s surging. We have a drug crisis. We have what’s happening in Ukraine. We have gas prices going through the roof.
I think in the end, yes, we’re going to have some contention through primaries. That always happens. But when the dust settles, Republicans are going to unite, including President Trump, to make sure that we win back the House and the Senate.
We know what’s at stake for the American people and we know that if we’re fighting or disagreeing among each other, we’re hurting our message in talking about with the Democrats are doing and the failure that they’ve brought to the American people.
MACCALLUM: Let’s take a quick look at the Alabama Senate race —
MACCALLUM: — and what’s going on there.
Mo Brooks was originally endorsed by President Trump. Then, President Trump pulled that endorsement and Mo Brooks slid precipitously.
But now, you see something else happening. Now he is sort of thin spitting distance of Katie Britt, who is still ahead.
What’s your — what’s your take on what’s going to happen in this Alabama Senate race this week?
MCDANIEL: Yeah, I don’t think we’re going to get a final say on this Alabama race. You have to get over 50 percent to clinch the nomination. I don’t think any of the three candidates are going to get over 50 percent, so we’re going to go to a runoff and then we’ll fire out who the nominee is going to be in Alabama. I think we’re going to keep that seat.
We have a lot of Republican incumbents who left the Senate this cycle. Alabama is one of them. We need to make sure we hold all of the seats, North Carolina being others, Ohio.
And we have to unite as a party, that would be my one message. As these primaries are contentious and you fight so hard to get the nomination, remember what the real goal is and that is us uniting as a party to defeat the Democrats and take back the Senate and the House, because the American people are truly, truly suffering. And we have a vacuum in leadership.
MACCALLUM: Ronna, let me ask about that because some people say, well, you know, the former president shouldn’t have weighed in the primary process. He should have stayed on the sidelines. And the same could be said may be of these Republican governors as well. Let the people decide, and then get into this game.
Do you — are you concerned? I think you have said you’re concerned that some of this process might hurt your candidates in the general election.
MCDANIEL: Oh, I’m not surprised that he got involved. Listen, the RNC stays neutral for a reason. We legally have to stay neutral, but it is helpful because we didn’t put our thumb on the scale and we get to bring everybody together after the fact and have a kumbaya moment.
But President Trump is always going to get involved in primaries, as is other — as other candidates across the country. That’s just the nature of politics.
MACCALLUM: All right. I just want to put this on the screen. Madison Cawthorn, obviously, has gotten a lot of attention in this race. He lost his bid to retain his House seat. The president kind of supported him, the former president, last minute in that race.
But here’s what he just said, Madison Cawthorn: The time for genteel politics as usual has come to an end. It’s time for the rise of the new right. It’s time for Dark MAGA to truly take command.
We have an enemy to defeat, but we will never be able to defeat them until we defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party. Their days are numbered. We are coming.
What you think of that? And what is — what is “Dark MAGA”?
MCDANIEL: I don’t know what “Dark MAGA” is.
MACCALLUM: It sounds scary.
MCDANIEL: It sounds like the Star Wars thing, like the dark side of the force. I don’t know. I don’t know what that is.
Obviously, it was a very well fought primary. Madison had some issues that came out. He was a rising star in our party, and we need to make sure we retain that seat with Edwards, who defeated him. And Madison did the right thing by conceding.
MACCALLUM: You know, something (ph) —
MCDANIEL: We need to focus on the Democrats, and I would say this to every Republican. They are the ones in control. They are ones destroying our country, and Republicans who are fighting each other constantly, that is not helping us defeat Democrats in November, and that needs to be the focus.
MACCALLUM: Just a quick last question. Both “The New York Times” and Peggy Noonan this week said that from what they are seeing out there, that the president is sort of chasing his base and trying to solidify them, and they pointed to that last-minute endorsement of Cawthorn — rather than leading them.
Quick reaction to that before I let you go, Ronna?
MCDANIEL: Yeah, I disagree. I mean, you look at the rallies he has. You look at the phenomenal fundraising, the juggernaut of fundraising that he’s had. You look at his poll numbers.
I think the base is really looking to him on a lot of things, and he’s going to be critical to help us win in the midterms and help turn out Trump voters who take his lead.
MACCALLUM: Ronna McDaniel, thank you very much. Good to see you, Chairwoman.
MCDANIEL: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: Good to be with you. You bet.
So, coming up next, “FOX News Sunday” is on the road to the midterms as two Republican rivals try to close the deal in a governor’s race in Georgia.
And we’ll bring in our Sunday group on more of these key races that are fired up for this week when we come back.
MACCALLUM: “FOX News Sunday” on the Road to the Midterms.
In Georgia this week where the incumbent governor appears to be opening a very big lead ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary. As we showed you earlier, the latest FOX News poll has Governor Brian Kemp at 60 percent, a whopping 32 percent lead over former Senator David Perdue. In fact Kemp has tripled his advantage since March.
The race pits Kemp with backing from former Vice President Mike Pence against David Perdue, who is backed by former President Trump.
FOX News correspondent Mark Meredith spent time with both candidates, who hope to take on Democrats Stacey Abrams come November.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind all the smiles, hugs, and handshakes is one of the most bitter political primaries in Georgia’s history. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp facing a challenge from his former friend, David Perdue.
KEMP: It’s a tough business. If you want a friend in politics, get you a dog.
MEREDITH: Kemp, who leads Perdue in both polling and fundraising, is fending off repeated attacks from former President Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Brian Kemp is a turncoat, he’s a coward, and he’s a complete and total disaster.
MEREDITH: President Trump endorsed David Perdue in February.
PERDUE: Mr. President, thank you for coming to Georgia again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me David Perdue over Kemp any day.
MEREDITH: A primary challenge from an established Republican like Perdue was once unthinkable in Georgia, but then came the 2020 election. President Trump accused Kemp of betraying the party by certifying Georgia’s 16 electoral votes for President Biden. Before even leaving office, Trump vowed revenge.
TRUMP: I will be here in about a year and a half and painting against your governor, I guarantee you that.
MEREDITH: Soon after Georgia went blue in 2020, Perdue lost his seventh seat in a runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff.
PERDUE: Brian Kemp has let us down.
MEREDITH: Now, Perdue campaigns heavily on Trump’s claim of voter fraud.
Do you think relitigating 2020 will get you into the governors mansion?
PERDUE: That’s not why we’re doing this. I said when I announced, this is about truth.
MEREDITH: While Perdue insists his campaign is about more than election integrity, supporters like Richard Giles tell us it’s the only reason they are interested in Perdue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My vote probably didn’t count because of so much fraud.
MEREDITH: Some of Perdue’s former colleagues express shock of her his full embrace of the issue.
PERDUE: Somebody is quoting Romney about me? Seriously?
MEREDITH: Yes, sir.
PERDUE: Yeah. I would discount that totally. Talk to people who really know me. There’s nothing changed in my ethos.
MEREDITH: Since 2020, Kemp too is focused on election reforms but insists he had no choice but to certify Biden’s win.
Former Vice President Mike Pence is now coming to Kemp’s defense, campaigning with them tomorrow ahead of the primary.
BRANDON MOYE, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN PARTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: We are all fired up with this election coming up.
MEREDITH: We sat down with the executive director of Georgia’s Republican Party outside of headquarters. Brandon Moye says this party has learned since its mistakes in 2020, and is focused on building grassroots operations for November.
Do truly believe that everybody will get on the same page between now and November?
MOYE: I do believe everyone will get on the same page between now and November because again, our main goal is to keep Stacey Abrams out of the governors mansion.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Stacey Abrams.
MEREDITH: Stacey Abrams, who lost to Kemp in the gubernatorial race back in 2018, is running unopposed in this year’s Democratic primary. She is considered a rising star within her party and is already raising a lot of money to challenge Republicans this fall.
STACEY ABRAMS (D), GEORGIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I would be a better governor because I think about all of Georgia and I know how to get it done.
MEREDITH: But to win, Abrams will have to overcome challenges. She’s drawn flak for skipping out on a meeting with President Biden when he visited Georgia in January. And she faced widespread criticism for this photo, smiling while elementary students surrounding her remained masked.
KEMP: We are getting up every single day to make sure that we’re fighting as hard as we can so that Stacey Abrams will not be our governor.
MEREDITH: Kemp insists Abrams slip-ups and his own record create a winning combination.
KEMP: Despite going through a pandemic and where we are now has been incredible. We have the lowest employment rate in the history of our state.
MEREDITH: Perdue says if he loses the primary, he’ll still support Kemp over Abrams, but whether the former president would eventually play nice remains far less certain.
Are you worried at all that Trump will try to spoil your race?
KEMP: No, I’m not, because Georgia Republicans are scared to death of Stacey Abrams.
MACCALLUM: Mark Meredith reporting from Georgia.
And now it’s time for our Sunday group. Former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove, “Associated Press” executive editor Julie Pace, and Democratic strategist and co-host of “The Five,” Jessica Tarlov.
Great to have all of you with us.
Karl, let me start with you, what’s your outlook as you look at this very interesting Tuesday governors race, and what’s the best measure of how much juice in these races the former president still has?
ROVE: First of all, I’m a friend and a supporter of Brian Kemp. We’re both are wearing green ties but that is totally coincidence. But I think the polls point to a strong win by Kemp on Tuesday and it’s because his record as governor.
And what we’ve learned throughout these contests is if a candidate has a strong record and a strong message, even if they’re not endorsed by the former president, they have a chance to win. We saw it in Idaho with Governor Brad Little. We saw it in an open race for governor in Nebraska and elsewhere.
It really comes down to the quality of the candidate and the quality of their message, and in many instances, that’s a lot of people who didn’t have the president’s endorsement to succeed. Even when the president has endorsed, for example, you pointed out he carried JD Vance across the finish line — no ifs, ands, or buts about it — because the power of President Trump’s endorsement.
But even then, 68 percent of the Republican voters said I’m going with somebody else, and Vance won with 32 percent of the votes. It’s important, but it’s not always determinative.
MACCALLUM: Julie, you heard Ronna McDaniel moments ago say that President Trump — former President Trump — has an almost perfect record. She gave him an A+ for his endorsements.
Looking through the lens of the Pennsylvania Senate race, which is likely headed to a recount, what are your thoughts on that? And same question to you about how much juice we are learning the former president has in these races?
PACE: Well, I think to your point earlier in the show, Martha, you know, endorsements in general I don’t think carry as much weight as they used to, though I think there is one exception, which is I think former President Trump, who is looked at by many people in the Republican Party as a barometer, where should they go with some of these candidates.
So I think he can be value added, and certainly we’ve seen to Karl’s point, JD Vance I think being a very prominent example of that. But, you know, that endorsement that he made of Oz in the Pennsylvania primary was seen as pretty risky for many people in the party, and the closeness of that race I think verifies just how risky that was in terms of determining his power in these primaries.
I think, you know, he will continue to make these endorsements, and I think he’s going to have some success, and then he’s also going to have some failures here. I do think we are probably pretty early in the overall political process to say what that means for Trump himself though if he does move into 2024 as a candidate for president again.
MACCALLUM: Yeah. I would just say obviously the biggest test is going to be the general election and then there will be another look at all of this, right? In terms of will he back this person and then they lost in the general or they won in the general, and it is just such a unique environment where we’ve never witnessed this before where you have a former president who is essentially everyone that he’s going to run again, which just puts this into such unique environment.
But, Jessica, as Republicans deal with their own drama, Democrats also have some of their own, and we’re looking at this race in Pennsylvania, the house primary race, where Summer Lee was able to just barely beat Steve Irwin. She is considered a progressive. I think looking at this tweet, she kind of lays out where she stands.
She says: Instead of thanking black women, black voters, give us the investments we need and deserve, let’s redistribute wealth — she calls for in this and also says to abolish the carceral state and build Black- directed political power.
So your thoughts on what we’re learning from that race when you look at Summer Lee prevailing over her more moderate candidate?
TARLOV: Summer Lee’s victory is no doubt a big boon for the progressive wing of the party and I think we’re going to talk about the Texas runoff on Tuesday, because Jessica Cisneros and Henry Cuellar, which if she does pull this off — it’s a rematch of 2020 — will be another indication that there is some fire behind the progressive wing.
But net-net, last week’s primaries, were big wins for moderate candidates on the whole. John Fetterman, who beat Conor Lamb very decidedly was a Bernie Sanders supporter and tact way to the middle, sounding like Conor Lamb on a lot points, though obviously appearing quite differently and presentation in order to be successful in Pennsylvania.
But since 2016, this has been the narrative of what’s going on with Democrats. I think moderate candidates certainly have the best chance of winning a wider swath of population, but hats off to Summer Lee. It’s a terminus victory, and I think that is Democrats continue to argue that we are the big tent party, having her voice alongside other progressives is something that’s hugely valuable to us. So, a big congratulations there.
MACCALLUM: You know, Karl, Jessica brings up the Henry Cuellar race against Jessica Cisneros, who is more progressive, and he, obviously, is more moderate. He’s — he’s a pro-life Democrat, which almost doesn’t exist in the party anymore. And — and he’s running with this backdrop of fences going up around the Supreme Court and protests happening outside of their homes. Abortion, obviously, is becoming an issue that could — could work to the benefit of some of these Democrat candidates.
What do you think?
ROVE: Well, I think Henry Cuellar, who’s well respected, is in a very tough race and might go down on Tuesday. And with all due respect, Summer Lee is not the only progressive who won. A progressive knocked off an incumbent centrist Democrat congressman in Oregon and — and — and liberals for — you know, not liberals, traditional liberals, but far left members of the Democratic Party won primaries, two of them in North Carolina for safe Democratic seats, and two of them in competitive races in the — in the state of Oregon. So, this is not just — Summer Lee’s victory is not just an isolated incident. The — the Democrat left is on the ascendancy, particularly in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, and that caucus is going to get a lot more squad members and the Democrats in Texas may, on Tuesday, nominate two members who would associate themselves with the squad, one of them against an incumbent Democrat, namely Henry Cuellar. This is — the — the left of the Democratic Party is in ascendancy.
MACCALLUM: Hey, let’s look at this comment from Hakeem Jeffries, representative from New York, about this fascinating redistricting that happened in New York where Democrats thought they might be able to pick up some seats in New York. He is looking at the lines here and he says, now they’re trying to move the table, drawing a congressional map that robs us of power and takes a sledgehammer to black districts. It’s enough to make Jim Crow blush.
And, Jessica, what’s fascinating about this is some of the matchups that we’re going to see in New York now.
MACCALLUM: We’re going to see Jerry Nadler running against Carolyn Maloney. Some people in Manhattan saying it’s eastside versus westside between these two. And take a look at this one. Mondaire Jones is going to move his district. He’ll be running against Bill de Blasio, who’s going to, you know, rise from the ashes after his mayoral run, and — and he wants to have a seat in Congress.
What do you make of what’s going on here?
TARLOV: Well, I — I don’t think the Bill de Blasio is going to be making any major waves in terms of a congressional race. And Mondaire Jones is someone who is hugely popular. And I think it was smart of him to shift over to this new district rather than stay where he was originally.
I’m a native New Yorker. I grew up in a Jerry Nadler district, lived in Carolyn Maloney’s for a little while, and now I’m back in Nadler’s. And the sight of the two of them campaigning together — I don’t know if you saw it, but Jerry Nadler completely dejected, looking, sitting to the side as he listened to Carolyn Maloney discuss her support of Israel, which is an issue that’s incredibly important for New Yorkers, as put a lot of people in a very difficult position.
I know that all of my friends and colleagues are people who support both Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, who have been great for New York City, and this is going to be incredibly complicated.
And another important point about that is what happened in New York’s 11th on Staten Island, that the ruling — the new ruling kept Park Slope, which is a hugely liberal district where Bill de Blasio actually lives, out of New York 11th seat. So that may make Max Rose, who was trying to mount a comeback, sit out this race in the end.
Fascinating. Interesting take.
Thank you very much, panel. We’ll see you in a little bit.
We’ll take a break here.
Up next, Americans are feeling the pressure in stores and at the pump. We’re going to bring in the president’s chief economic advisor to talk about what they are planning to do to tackle all of this, next.
MACCALLUM: On this Sunday morning, the president is in Asia talking trade, semiconductors, supply chains, while trying to forge stronger ties with our allies in China’s backyard.
But back home it is the heavy burden of inflation, steep gas prices, and even an unthinkable baby formula shortage that Americans say concerns them most right now.
In a moment, we’ll ask the U.S. National Economic Council director, Brian Deese, about how soon we could see some relief.
But first, let’s turn to Jacqui Heinrich, live in Tokyo, traveling with the president with the latest.
Good morning, Jacqui.
JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Martha.
President Biden is just beginning the second stop of his Asia swing in Tokyo, where trade partnerships are in focus. But his first few days in South Korea showed security concerns are no longer just in the background.
HEINRICH: Before departing Seoul, a no-frills message from President Biden to North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.
REPORTER: Do you have a message for Kim Jong-un while you’re here?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello. Period.
HEINRICH: New plans to consider expanding joint military exercises on and around the Korean peninsula speaking for themselves. The announcement alongside South Korea’s newly elected president comes as Pyongyang plans a possible nuclear or ballistic missile test while Biden’s in the region.
BIDEN: I’m not concerned if that’s what you’re suggesting.
HEINRICH: Biden’s first trip to Asia as president showing favor for sticks over carrots to contain threats. Behind a response to Russia’s war in Ukraine, a thinly veiled message to China with regard to Taiwan, make a move and face global isolation.
BIDEN: Putin’s brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine has further spotlighted the need to secure our critical supply chains so that our economy, our economic and our national security are not dependent on countries that don’t share our values.
HEINRICH: The trip, billed as an effort to deepen economic ties in the Indo-Pacific shares a clear nexus with security worries. Japan also looking to the U.S. for reassurance over Chinese intrusions in territorial waters, now welcoming Biden to launch a new trade partnership widely seen as a counter to China. The major focus of the framework, reliable supply chains.
Most of Biden’s presidency has been marked by challenges originating from outside the U.S., but the baby formula shortage stems from problems at home. Biden signed a bill giving more flexibility to buyers using federal assistance programs from Seoul, along with a second bill funding aid for Ukraine. The urgency of both causes prompting the White House to fly the documents from Washington for the president’s signature.
HEINRICH: And, right now, palates from Germany are in route to Indiana. They’re expected to arrive just before 11:00 in the morning Eastern. The White House using the military to move those imports faster with domestic production still not up to speed.
MACCALLUM: Jacqui, thank you.
Jacqui Heinrich reporting from Tokyo.
MACCALLUM: Joining us now, Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council.
Brian, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY. Good to have you here this morning.
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Thank for having me.
MACCALLUM: So, I want to start with the “r” word, because we’re hearing a lot more about the possibility of the United States going into a recession. And this comment by David Sacks, who is a well-known investor, the founder of PayPal, he gets a lot of attention as a market analyst, really caught a lot of people’s eye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID SACKS, PAYPAL FOUNDING COO: From where I sit, the market is really semi-frozen. And this is, again, the worst downturn since the dot com crash. And it looks to me like we’re headed into a very serious recession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So what is your professional opinion as you look at this? Do you agree — and I could list a number of others who are saying this — that the United States is headed into a recession in the near term or even over the next six months or so?
DEESE: Well, here’s where I think we are. Our economy is in a period of transition. We’re moving from the strongest economic recovery in modern history to what can be a period of more stable and resilient growth. And while there are absolutely risks with inflation front — first and foremost, this is what’s most important, the United States is better positioned than any other major economy to bring inflation down and address these challenges without giving up all of the economic gains we’ve made, and that’s because of the strength of our recovery.
We have the strongest job market in modern history. Americans are getting back to work in jobs with higher pay. And that’s meant that Americans can increase their savings, pay down their debt. Businesses are investing. Entrepreneurs are creating new businesses at record rates. And manufacturing is coming back to the United States at record rates as well. All of that progress —
MACCALLUM: Well, obviously, those — those are all good things. But I just want to ask you my — my question, which is — and I know recession is — is a technical term — but, you know, Glenn Hubbard, who was a Bush economic advisor, says, you know, whether or not we hit that technical benchmark, Americans feel like they are in a recession. You have Janet Yellen saying that she’s very concerned about that higher prices are having stagflationary (ph) effects. You’ve got Jerome Powell saying that there’s going to be some pain. Unemployment may be up.
So I’m asking for your opinion, as the economic advisor at the White House, should people be prepared in the United States that we are or will be in several months heading into a recession?
DEESE: Well, what people should know is we are in his period of transition to more stable growth, but people should also take confidence that we are better positioned than any other country to navigate through this and keep our recovery going.
Just this week there was an analysis out that said that the United States economy may grow faster this year than China’s for the first time in decades. And, again, that’s because we have more strength and resilience in our economic recovery than almost anywhere in the world. What we need to do now —
MACCALLUM: I — I did see that. They said that the comparison, though, because — I’m — I’m sorry to interrupt you, but that — that they’re in the middle of the deepest locked they’ve had in Covid. And — and Bloomberg said that that is the reason that we may have a slightly higher growth than — than China.
And with all due respect, I think that Americans feel that they are having — they’re looking at the stock market and they’re seeing their savings dwindle and they’re making new decisions about whether or not they’re going to buy a home or whether or not the tuition payment is going to be a little bit more difficult this year.
You know, so I’m just asking, what — what do you recommend to them in terms of specifics and what they can do to try to whether this a little bit easier as we go through what you’re calling a transition?
DEESE: Absolutely. And for typical Americans who are driving up to the gas price — the gas pump or at the grocery store, these prices create real hardship and they also create uncertainty. We understand that. And that’s precisely what the president has made very clear that combating inflation is his top economic priority. And what people should know is that we can do this. We know how to do this. First, we need to give the Federal Reserve the independence to do what it does. It has the tools to combat inflation. Second, we need to reduce costs and make things more affordable for families during this period. So, steps that we can take to reduce the cost of the Internet bills that families pay, or the prescription drug prices that they pay a really important right now. And, third, we need to bring down the federal deficit. Because of the president’s policies, we’ve made a lot of progress on that front, the deficit down $1.5 trillion already this year. But we need to make more progress on that as well. That will help produce price pressures in the economy.
If we can do all of those things, than we can build on the historic strengths that we have here in the U.S. economy and we can navigate through to more stable growth that will generate better outcomes for families, because as your segment was just mentioning, we can’t go back to a pre- pandemic economy where our supply chains are so vulnerable that something happens overseas and prices go up and people don’t have access to things that they need. We need to build a more resilient recovery. We’re on the way. We’ve got to focus on tackling inflation right now, and that’s what this president’s doing.
MACCALLUM: All right, so — so the — the biggest factor for most families across the country is gas prices, which you mentioned. And there are — you know, actually, I just want to play this sound bite from the president because this just came in this morning in South Korea, and here’s — here’s what he had to say about the future of gas prices in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thanks to Hyundai, we are being part of this transformative automobile section and accelerating us on the road where we’re going to be handing to the United States an all-electric future. And that’s what we’re shooting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, what does that mean, and all electric future, and how soon? Because I think there are — there’s definitely a — a contingency in the country which would like to hear the president talk about perhaps doing some things to increase oil and gas supply in the country at least to signal to the markets that we’re opening up those spigots a bit, which generally has the impact of starting to lower global oil prices around the country. But that’s not what we’re hearing from the president right now.
DEESE: Well, what we’re hearing from the president is we need to distinguish between the short term and the long-term. In the short-term, this president has made clear that we need to increase the supply of oil on the market to blunt the impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine and Russian supply coming off the market. So, what the president has done has been to encourage the domestic industry to increase production right now. Not years in the future, but right now. They’ve committed to increase production by a million barrels a day by the fall. But this president didn’t wait and said, we’re going to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, a million barrels a day between now and then to create a bridge.
But, we also know that our car companies and our car industry is moving towards electric vehicles and moving toward an electric vehicle future. We want that transition to happen. We want people to have those choices. It’s better for the environment. These cars are — are fun to drive. People like them. We want more of those cars built in the United States with secure supply chain so that we’re not reliant on foreign countries and uncertain supplies.
DEESE: And we want to accelerate that process in a way that will be good for the American consumer.
MACCALLUM: All right, before I let you go, I just want to ask you one question about the baby formula story, which, obviously, has gotten a ton of attention.
So today we have arrivals of baby formula coming from Switzerland through Germany. And I think a lot of people look at this story and they say, that’s great, we’re really glad there’s going to be some relief on the shelves. But on the other hand, how did we get to a point where the United States of America is relying on Switzerland to feed our babies?
DEESE: It’s — it’s the right question. In the very immediate term, we need to do everything we can to get formula out to the families and the babies that need it. That’s why the president has taken this unprecedented step. And, as you mentioned, Operation Fly Formula will have its first flight landing in the U.S. in just a couple of hours. There’s about enough formula on that plane, specialty medical grade formula, for about a half a million bottles. That’s about 15 percent of the overall national volume this coming week. And we will see additional planes landing over the course of the next couple of days with more formula on it.
But you’re asking the right question, which is, how did we get to a situation where we have so much market concentration that 90 percent or more of the market is controlled by just three companies. And it goes to this question of supply chain resilience and competition. We need more competition in this market. We need more companies providing their services. And we need to make sure that we never put ourself in a situation where private-sector supply chains can create such risk for American families. So we have some hard questions —
MACCALLUM: Yes, but — but, Brian, I would just point out that that — that that situation has existed for a long time. We’ve known that it was concentrated in — in one or two companies for a long time. And we also knew, from October and then again in February, that this was coming down the pipeline. Then the president said he’s not a mind reader on this issue.
So, is there going to be some accountability? You know, who’s fault is it? I mean does the — does the head of the FDA need to resign from his position, because this is a big deal?
DEESE: Look, the short-term issues are important. And the FDA did what it was supposed to do, which was assessed safety and shutdown a facility in the United States. And that was a prudent thing to do because of safety. We’re dealing with infants and babies here. Safety has to be paramount.
But the broader question is important, which is — and this is why the president has put a spotlight on the need for more competition, more antitrust enforcement in the United States, because it’s not just in the formula industry. We see this in meat packing, for example, where we have too few companies controlling too much of the supply chain and that creates real risks for consumers.
So, you have a president now that is saying, we need to pursue competition across the economy in this sector and in others by creating more pathways for small businesses and entrepreneurs to get into these markets, break in, be disruptive, provide services, and create more resilience in that supply chain.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Understood.
DEESE: That’s an important priority. It’s one the president’s been on and will stay on.
MACCALLUM: Well, that — yes, and that’s the private sector. But then the public sector also had a responsibility here, which is to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen. There were whistle-blowers. So, we’ll look forward to see whether or not there is any actual accountability in the government for — for dropping the ball here. But everyone’s glad that those planes are on the way, and we appreciate you giving us an update on that this morning, Brian.
Thank you, Brian Deese, for joining us. I do appreciate it.
DEESE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, coming up next, our Sunday group is back. White House reaction as the judge lays down his ruling on Title 42 on the United States southern border.
And new revelations out from this trial with regards to Hillary Clinton’s inner circle and what she knew about the Russia collusion narrative.
MACCALLUM: Back now with our panel for a quick go around.
Julie, let’s start with you.
Much in the news this weekend. This Title 42 will stay in place according to a judge in Louisiana. Obviously, this has been weighing on the White House because there was discussion that as many as 18,000 migrants could cross the border if it was lifted.
PACE: Well, as much as the White House says that they are going to continue to fight to have this policy lifted, there are a lot of Democrats, and probably some in the White House, who are breathing a bit of a sigh of relief because on top of everything else that you were just talking about with Brian Deese, inflation, the baby formula crisis, so many other economic factors, the idea of having a search of the border right now as those midterms draw closer is not exactly what the White House is hoping for in the coming weeks.
Jessica, your thoughts on them keeping this in place. Is this probably a good thing and a sigh of relief as — as Julie says?
TARLOV: Julie was being very diplomatic, as it is her job. But I can tell you that Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief that this is at least being, you know, pushed down the proverbial road for a little while. And I — I don’t know how vociferously they’re going to be following up on this. This is something that progressives wanted to be lifted, but no one really in the middle. And Joe Biden himself was not someone who would look at this and say, oh, we need another few hundred more thousand migrants coming across the border.
MACCALLUM: Right. Right.
Karl, with regard to what Brian Deese had to say about inflation of the president’s handling of economy, your thoughts?
ROVE: Well, if you don’t know what the problem is, you can’t come up with a solution. And he, obviously, doesn’t know what the problem is. The problem was identified last year when the — when this administration proposed a $1.9 trillion unnecessary Covid stimulus bill. And Larry Summers, Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary, said you’re going to throw gasoline on the fire of inflation. And that’s exactly what happened.
And, since then, Brian Deese has been one of the most fervent advocates for making it worse. What you heard him say there, he sort of carefully camouflage it, was, Built Back Better. Let’s pass a new bill that supposedly lowers costs by spending lots of government money on free child care, for universal pre-k, pharmaceuticals, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Only make it worse. The administration is in bad shape on this issue. A 36 percent approval on the economy, 60 percent disapproval, and, inflation, 26 percent approve, 68 percent disapprove. And that’s why policies like the ones that Mr. Deese was talking about.
MACCALLUM: Karl, thank you.
Jessica and Julie, great to have you with us.
TARLOV: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Panel, we’ll see you next Sunday.
Up next, a final word on the week ahead.
MACCALLUM: And that is it for today on this Sunday. Thanks for joining us. I’m Martha MacCallum.
You can join me every day on “THE STORY” at 3:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News.
Have a great week, everyone. We’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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