This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 27, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
The death of Fidel Castro ignites a new debate over U.S. relations with Cuba.
WALLACE: Today, live reports on the celebration in Miami, the mourning in Havana, and whether Donald Trump will follow through on his campaign promise to undo efforts by President Obama to bring the two nations closer.
We'll discuss the breaking news with President-elect Trump's new White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. It's a "Fox News Sunday" exclusive.
Then, we'll ask our Sunday panel about the latest on the Trump transition, the battle over who he'll choose for secretary of state, dramatic flips on key issues, and his blueprint for the first 100 days.
Plus, House Democratic Nancy Pelosi faces a challenge to her leadership.
REP. TIM RYAN, D-OHIO: I’m pulling the fire alarm because the house is burning down.
WALLACE: We'll ask Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan why he's running against Pelosi.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., MINORITY LEADER: When someone challenges you, your supporters turn out.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
The death of Fidel Castro just as Donald Trump comes to power raises new questions about relations between the U.S. and Cuba. President Obama has tried to restore ties between the two countries, but now that is in doubt. In a few minutes, we'll have an exclusive interview with Mr. Trump's new White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
But we start with FOX team coverage. James Rosen looks back at Castro's life and legacy.
But, first, let's turn to Rick Leventhal reporting from the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami -- Rick.
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we're in the heart of Little Havana, outside of Versailles Restaurant, the unofficial capital of Miami’s thriving Cuban exile community and they’ve been gathering here for decades to discuss all things Castro. And when word finally broke that he had actually died at age 90, 8th Street here, Calle Ocho, erupted in celebration. Thousands of exiles poured into the streets outside the world's most famous Cuban restaurant, banging on pots and pans, singing, chanting, honking horns, waving Cuban flags and celebrating the death of a dictator widely hated for decades of oppression, jailing and killing thousands of dissidents, stealing their homes and silencing the opposition.
Millions feel forced to flee boarding small boats for the treacherous 900-mile ride to South Florida. Many did not survive and most never returned to Cuba. In fact, close to half of Miami-Dade’s 2.5 million residents are of Cuban descent and thousands more keep arriving every year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is bittersweet because we had been expecting this day to bring about liberty for Cuba, and it hasn't, and all the people that really wanted a real life for this day are gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means a lot because at least I think this is the beginning of the end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I’m allowed to see it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVENTHAL: The scene in Havana described as hushed. Publicly people mourned, privately some expressed hope that Castro's death would lead to a more open and prosperous future. The celebration here in Little Havana is expected to continue long after the Cuban dictator is buried December 4th in Santiago -- Chris.
WALLACE: Rick Leventhal, reporting from Miami -- Rick, thanks for that.
Castro's reign in Cuba started in 1959, and over more than half a century, 11 U.S. presidents had to contend with him, including one crisis that took the world to the brink of nuclear war.
Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen assesses Castro's complicated legacy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tyranny overthrown, liberty restored.
JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Seizing power in 1959, 32-year-old Fidel Castro was the very picture of a Latin revolutionary, a characteristic orator and swaggering military leader. Swiftly aligning with Soviet communism, Castro forged a brutal dictatorship in Havana, jailing and torturing dissidents. He would survive the U.S.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs and assassination plots hatched by the Central Intelligence Agency.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Cuban people have not yet spoken their final peace.
In October 1962, the Kennedy administration discovered the Soviets had installed nuclear missiles on Cuba, diffused after 13 days, the Cuban missile crisis saw JFK enforced a naval blockade around the island and mark the closest the world ever came to nuclear war.
A thorn in the side of 11 American presidents, Castro outlived the Soviet state that propped him up, and Cuba's economy shrank in half, as the western hemisphere sprouted more democracies, Fidel and Raul Castro, who assumed power when his brother feel ill a decade ago appeared increasing anachronistic.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Castro, the people of Cuba --
ROSEN: Still, the aged Castro scored a victory when President Obama ended a half century of estrangement and restored diplomatic relations. Fidel, by then rarely seen, remained defiant, writing that Cuba hardly needed the United States.
ROSEN: While his regime will go down in history as one of the most harshly repressive of modern times, Castro was not entirely without accomplishment under his rule. Cuba boasted literacy rates that were among Latin America’s highest, and infant mortality rates were among the lowest -- Chris.
WALLACE: James, thank you. And we’ll see you a little later on the panel.
Relations with Cuba will soon become an issue for President-elect Trump.
Joining me now from Mar-a-Lago, the Trump holiday retreat in Palm Beach is Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Mr. Priebus, during the campaign, Mr. Trump took a hard line about Barack Obama's efforts to restore relations with Cuba. Here he is in the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENT-ELECT: All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them, and that I will do unless the Castro regime meets our demands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But in a statement he issued yesterday about Castro's death did not repeat that pledge. So, the question, Mr. Priebus, is does Mr. Trump intend to follow through on his pledge to roll back Mr. Obama's opening of relations with Cuba?
REINCE PRIEBUS, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, he does, Chris. And good morning and thanks for having me.
I think President-elect Trump has been pretty clear that, you know, there is nothing wrong with talking to people. He's been willing to talk to anybody, but we've got to have a better deal. We're not going to have a unilateral deal coming from Cuba back to the United States without some changes in their government. Repression, open markets, freedom of religion, political prisoners -- these things need to change in order to have open and free relationships, and that's what President-elect Trump believes, and that's where he's going to head. Talking is fine, but action is something that will be required under President Trump.
WALLACE: So, let me make sure I have this clear, because he's calling basically for a revolution in Cuba, full political freedom, full religious freedom, releasing all the political prisoners. If he doesn't get that, he is going to reverse President Obama's executive orders?
PRIEBUS: No, I didn't say that, Chris. I said that those were -- that's the suffering that's happening now in Cuba.
But I do believe that in order for any sort of deal to take place, President-elect Trump is going to be looking for some movement in the right direction in order to have any sort of deal with Cuba. I mean, it can't just be nothing and then you get total and complete cooperation from the United States. There has to be something, and what that something is, Chris, is yet to be determined. But I can assure you that he's going to require some movement or some schedule of movement in order to then schedule some kind of relationship with Cuba.
But without knowing what those things are, there's nothing really more to talk about other than there isn't going to be a one-way relationship from the United States to Cuba without some action from the Castro administration.
WALLACE: But just to pin this down, if he doesn't get whatever it is that he wants, would he reverse President Obama's opening to Cuba?
PRIEBUS: Absolutely. I mean, he's already said that that would be the case. I mean -- and what that deal is, is yet to be determined, but there is going to have to be some movement from Cuba in order to have a relationship with the United States. And I think the president-elect has been very clear about that and I’m just restating that position.
WALLACE: While the president-elect is making progress on naming his team, it seems that something close to open warfare has broken out over his deliberations about choosing a secretary of state, especially when it comes down to consideration of Mitt Romney -- well, before you laugh, let me --
PRIEBUS: I don’t know about open warfare.
WALLACE: Well, let me make my case --
PRIEBUS: OK, go ahead, Chris.
WALLACE: If I will.
PRIEBUS: All right. Make your case.
WALLACE: OK. Then, you can make fun of me.
PRIEBUS: All right.
WALLACE: Particularly in the consideration of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Let me put this on the screen. Transition official Kellyanne Conway tweeted this on Thanksgiving: "Receiving deluge of social media and private communications re: Romney, about Romney. Some Trump loyalists warn against Romney as secretary of state."
And key supporter Mike Huckabee said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, R-FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: There is only one way that I think Mitt Romney could even be considered for a post like that, and that is that he goes to a microphone in a very public place, and repudiates everything he said in that famous Salt Lake City speech.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Mr. Priebus, does Mr. Trump consider that appropriate for top advisers to lobby him in public about people he's choosing? Is that the kind of White House as chief of staff that you're going to run? And must Romney apologize to get the job?
PRIEBUS: OK. So, let me cap a package just up for you. There are a lot of opinions as far as this topic and many other cabinet positions, but I think what President-elect Trump has said is that, as he said the entire campaign, he's going to hire the best people possible.
So, he's going through this process. He's interviewed and talked to Governor Romney. He's talked to the mayor. He's talked to others like General Kelly. He's going to be talking to others next week.
He's going to be making the best decision for the American people. It isn’t a matter of warfare. I mean, there’s a lot of opinions about this and, yes, it is sort of a "team of rivals" concept if you were to go towards the Governor Romney concept.
But I think that should tell all Americans about the president-elect's head at, which is a place that will put the best possible people together for all Americans, no matter who you are, what your religion -- whatever your opinion is, he wants to move forward looking through the windshield and not the rearview mirror, and that's where the president-elect's head is at and I think it's a great place for Americans.
WALLACE: Is Romney going to have to apologize for the very harsh things he said during the campaign in order to get the job?
PRIEBUS: Well, I’m not -- listen, I’m not going to do the play by play, Chris, on what's going to be required or where things are at. You know, I think things are moving forward. I think President-elect Trump is going to keep talking to the right people and get opinions on what the right decision would be, but ultimately it will be his decision.
And I can just assure the American people the fact that he's actually even flirting with the idea of choosing a rival should tell the American people where he's at, which is the best place for everyone in this country.
WALLACE: Let me ask you quickly about another name that's being mentioned for secretary of state, and that's General David Petraeus. Now, during the campaign, and you and I well remember this, Trump hammered Hillary Clinton for mishandling confidential information. General Petraeus was convicted for that same offense.
PRIEBUS: Well, listen, talking to people and choosing people and getting opinions and learning from really smart people as far as what the right decision-making process may be in choosing a secretary of state or any other position is something that smart people do. I don't think anyone could say that David Petraeus isn't a very bright, calculated, smart person, and these are the types of conversations that I think the American people would expect of an incoming president that's trying to make the best decisions possible for everyone out there across the country.
WALLACE: Let me turn to another subject. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has initiated a vote recount in Wisconsin, and she's talking about doing the same in Pennsylvania and Michigan, and now, we hear from the Clinton campaign's top lawyer that they are also going to participate in this recount. What is Mr. Trump's reaction to all of that, especially the Clinton campaign's participation in this recount?
PRIEBUS: Well, first of all, President-elect Trump won an historic electoral landslide. This is an electoral process. It's not a popular vote process. He had the best performance since Ronald Reagan in 1984 winning over 2,600 counties, nine of 13 battleground states. A historic margin that we haven't seen in our party in a long time. That's number one.
Number two, if it was the popular vote, he would have won the popular vote as well. But let’s get to the question.
WALLACE: I know. I’m just talking about the recount.
PRIEBUS: The question is -- I got it, and this is ridiculous. This is a fundraising, notoriety-driven fraud by someone who won 33,000 votes in Wisconsin to President-elect Trump who won 1.4 million. So, here, we have a person perpetrating a fundraising scheme that has lost over 1.35 million votes in Wisconsin attempting to undo a 28,000-vote lead. It's never going to happen. It's a total waste of everybody's time.
WALLACE: Let me just ask, what do you think --
PRIEBUS: And, in fact --
WALLACE: Let me just ask -- what do you think of the Hillary Clinton campaign now joining in on the effort?
PRIEBUS: Well, what I think -- let's just assume that's true. I wonder whether Elias is going to back off since on election night, Hillary Clinton was the one to say, it’s time to accept the results of the election and look to the future, and it was their team that cut a deal with our team that said when the A.P. called the race, they would call within 15 minutes and concede, which they did.
It is a total and complete hypocritical joke that the group of people that thought that they were nervous about President-elect Trump not conceding are the people that are conducting recounts in states where we won by over 68,000 votes. I think the American people know this is a waste of everyone's time and money, and it's only for -- to divide this country when we need to come together no matter who you are, Republican, Democrat, race, gender, whatever it is, and look forward to the future of rebuilding this country and getting us back on track.
That's what President Trump is going to do, that's what we want to do, and this is a total and complete distraction and a fraud and something that they should drop.
But, look, they will waste our time and we will staff up with thousands of people, we will sit there and look through Scantron ballots, we will win again for the second time and they will lose again for the second time. But our country doesn't need it.
WALLACE: OK. Let me -- I want to get into two more quick issues with you.
WALLACE: President Obama opened -- seemed to open the door to major flips on policy this week in an interview with the New York Times, and I want to put up several of the things he said. He backed off his pledge to a point of a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, says he now has, quote, "an open mind" about pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, and he said that General Mattis who he is considering for secretary of defense may have changed his mind on torture.
Here we go.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I said, what do you think of waterboarding? He said -- I was surprised. He said, "I’ve never found it to be useful."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: How flexible is Mr. Trump about the promises he made to the American people in the campaign?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, it's not a matter of flexibility. I think it's a matter of listening and declaring to the American people that, look, he’s not -- let me get -- if I can hit each one of them very quickly, I won't take up a lot of time. But on the issue in regard to Hillary Clinton, his point there is he's not seeking methods and ways to persecute and prosecute Hillary Clinton.
But I would also tell you that if the attorney general and the Congress find evidence that would indicate that something needs to happen and our attorney general, Jeff Sessions, at the DOJ says something needs to happen, I would suspect that President-elect Trump is going to be open to listening to what that is, but ultimately it's going to be the DOJ's call.
Number two, as far as this issue on climate change -- the only thing he was saying after being asked a few questions about it is, look, he'll have an open mind about it but he has his default position, which most of it is a bunch of bunk, but he'll have an open mind and listen to people. I think that’s what he’s saying.
And then the third thing, as far as General Mattis, a person he totally respects, one of the most decorated marines in our generation, and said, look, you would be better off with a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee than waterboarding, that was -- that was a very impactful statement from a guy that people ought to listen to. And I think that's what President Trump is saying.
All in all, this package of statement is something that should give Americans just a total peace and hope that we've got a person in the White House that is listening to people, that is listening to the smartest people in America and wants to lead our country for all Americans. In the meantime, we've got Hillary Clinton wanting to do a recount over 68,000 votes.
This is the contrast, a person who wants to look forward, not backwards. That's who you have in President-elect Trump.
WALLACE: Mr. Priebus, thank you. Thanks for your time.
PRIEBUS: You bet.
WALLACE: It's always good to talk to you, sir.
PRIEBUS: Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll ask our Sunday group what Castro's death and Donald Trump's presidency will mean for the future of U.S. relations with Cuba.
Plus, what do you think? Will Mr. Trump roll back President Obama's effort to restore ties with Havana? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and use the #fns.
WALLACE: You are looking at the scene in the Little Havana section of Miami last night where Cuban Americans celebrating the passing of Fidel Castro.
And it's time now for our Sunday group: Michael Needham, head of Heritage Action for America, The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau chief, Gerald Seib, Julie Pace, who covers the White House and the transition for "The Associated Press", and Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen, editor of a collection of William. F. Buckley's eulogies. It’s called "A Torch Kept Lit". And I can tell you it's a good read.
Well, Michael, as I discussed with Reince Priebus, Donald Trump took a real hard line during the campaign about reversing President Obama's executive orders, trying to restore relations with Cuba unless there were major changes made in what goes in Cuba. You heard me pursuing the issue with Reince Priebus today.
Were you satisfied with his answers? And how big, how important an issue is this for conservatives?
MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: I was satisfied with the answer. I think it's an important issue. It’s one where clearly President-elect Trump has come in and he’s shown there's going to be a different tone in American foreign policy from this naive foreign policy that we've had for the last eight years, which has made the world a far, far more dangerous place than it was.
And if you look at President-elect Trump’s statements yesterday, and the strong moral tone that he took, placing America firmly on the side of the Cuban opposition rather than the oppressors and compare that to the kind of degradation of the left from President Obama's antiseptic statement, to this absurd statement from Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, to Jill Stein's tweet, which was just offensive and something you would never imagine anybody in America with a moral compass saying -- you show a serious contrast between President-elect Trump and a moral seriousness about American foreign policy and what we've had under the Obama administration.
WALLACE: Julie, let's go back. Two years ago, President Obama announced he was going to make a number of efforts and two executive orders to restore diplomatic relations and some economic ties with the Castro regime. How locked in is that, or can President Trump simply reverse it with a stroke of a pen as he says he can?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Almost all of it can be reversed. It was implemented through executive orders. There have been regulatory changes that have been made, so most of it is able to be rolled back.
What I think will be most interesting, though, to see will be how Trump responds as a businessman. Because one thing that is happening is that you have enormous U.S. investment from airlines, cruise ship companies, hotel companies, telecom companies that are on the ground in Cuba right now. They have long-term investments that they've planned out.
Do they appeal to Trump as a businessman and say, you would want to get on the ground here as well? That is the one piece of this that is real, that is happening, that if he reversed, I think he would face some blowback for among the business community.
WALLACE: And apparently, as a private businessman, he had made some entreaties to the Cubans to see, well, what was possible there.
PACE: Right. And you have to wonder if the election have gone a different way, if we might be looking at a Trump Hotel getting set up in Havana.
WALLACE: James, you’ve been analyzing Castro and what he’s done in Cuba for years. From this vantage point and you did an interesting obituary piece for us at the top of the show. How do you assess his legacy?
ROSEN: I think historians will regard it almost uniformly as enormously destructive for the Cuban people and for the Western hemisphere. This is reflected in any number of metrics we might employ, such as GDP, or just the caliber of the air quality and the infrastructure in Cuba.
And even if Raul Castro were inclined to move swiftly toward liberalizing political freedoms and market freedoms and all the rest of it, which there’s no indication he is that ready to do, it would still take I think decades before Cuba could fully recover from the Castro legacy.
WALLACE: You know, I’ve learned this from talking to people over the last 24 hours, there are an awful lot of people. I don't know how old you were during the Cuban missile crisis or whether you were even born yet. I mean, take us back to the momentousness of that moment back in 1962.
ROSEN: Sure. What you had was President Kennedy fresh from this disaster at the Bay of Pigs confront --
WALLACE: Where he tried to overthrow Castro.
ROSEN: Yes. It’s a U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba that didn't work and it was poorly executed, confronted with the installation of nuclear missiles 90 miles from our shores, and a lot of debate in the Kennedy administration and the senior counsels at the National Security Council and so forth about what action he should take. And some were arguing for preemptive strikes on the Cubans and so forth. Kennedy, in the end, quietly used diplomacy and secretly agreed to withdraw some of our missiles from Turkey that were aimed at the Soviet Union in exchange for the withdrawal of these missiles from Cuba.
WALLACE: But for folks who weren’t alive then, they were too young, it was the closest we've ever come to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It was a very frightening moment, I’ve got to say, as somebody who has lived through it.
Gerry, no question that Castro was a brutal dictator. But I think it's also fair to say he was one of the giants, one of the really important figures of the 20th century. How do you think history will judge him?
GERALD F. SEIB, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think the first point is the one you just made. Whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit he is one of the biggest figures of the 20th century. He will be remembered as such.
You know, he was for years the answer to one of those dinner party questions, which is, who would you like to have dinner with? Fidel Castro was a pretty good answer for a long time because he was somewhat mysterious figure, but also a huge figure.
WALLACE: But you didn't necessarily want him to be running your country.
SEIB: No, a different issue, a different question, different dinner party question there.
But, no, I -- look, I think the historical question that will be debated for decades to come is whether he simply became the dictator that he supplanted because that's what he was, or was it really the result of American pressure he couldn't find a way around. I mean, that's really the classic liberal conservative debate about Castro, did he have to be this way or did we make him that way?
I think the reality is, we'll now find out about his brother. And I think that’s the missing element here. What is Raul Castro, he’s got a chance here to make some changes. It's not at all clear he wants to do that.
WALLACE: One of the things that -- clearly, he was in the very center of the stage in the Cuban missile crisis, but that was more than a half century ago. Why do you think he has continued to be such a source of fascination, certainly in the U.S., and for a large part of the world this half century?
SEIB: Well, I think for a couple reasons. One, he was the last holdout. You know, he was the last communist holdout, really, in many ways.
But I also think there was a fixation with Castro that took hold in the Cuban community here. They developed a political voice that was unmistakable and you couldn't really ignore entirely, and I think Castro didn’t give in. I mean, he could have easily figured out a way in the Jimmy Carter administration to create the rapprochement that happened in the Barack Obama administration. But he dug in his heels and that never really happen.
WALLACE: You talk about -- I covered a number of politicians, particularly Republicans running for president, would go down to south Florida, and I’m sure we have all done that, and they would pay their respects and sound the anti-Castro alarm to the Cuban-Americans.
SEIB: And over your shoulder there in Congress. There was a bipartisan "don't give in to Castro" constituency that developed, and that held firm for half a century.
WALLACE: All right, panel. We have to take a break here.
But coming up, President-elect Trump is filling out his competent. Will he choose one of the harshest critics during the campaign to be secretary of state?
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about Trump considering Mitt Romney for the job at State? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, infighting as President-elect Trump considers naming Mitt Romney to be secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: I’m still very unhappy that Mitt did everything he could to derail Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the uproar over who’s getting the top foreign policy job, next on "Fox News Sunday".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.
It's my prayer that on this Thanksgiving we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by shared purpose and very, very common resolve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Donald Trump talked about putting Hillary Clinton in jail during the campaign, but now he's calling for unity and focusing on his policy agenda.
And we're back now with the panel.
So, President-elect Trump has clearly reversed himself on his pledge. You heard there in the second debate, to name a special prosecutor and, as he also put it, to put Hillary Clinton in jail for her mishandling of classified information. He says she's suffered enough and he wants to move on.
Gerry, what does that tell you about Mr. Trump's campaign promises, and what does it also say, and I thought Reince Priebus was trying to clean it up a little bit today, about his understanding of the independence of the Justice Department?
SEIB: Well, look, I mean, the first thing it tells you is, I think, Trump supporters may be in for some disappointments here if they took things that were said in the campaign literally, they’re going to be disappointed because this is not the only one. There's been some move back on climate change -- the rhetoric about climate change, for example. Maybe on trade a little bit of softening as well. And I think that that’s kind of what happens in presidential transitions. And you and I were around long enough to remember that Bill Clinton promised a middle class tax cut and then in the transition decided he couldn’t pay for it and it went away magically. So, these things happen, but I think they’re going to be a fair number of those in -- in the Trump world.
I think the saving grace for Donald Trump may be that I’m not sure all the supporters of Donald Trump actually took literally all the things he said in the campaign, so they may not hold him to account letter for letter, but there are going to be some softening.
NEEDHAM: I thought The New York Times interview was actually very encouraging, though. I think when you go through it and you look at his answers, for a conservative politician to go into "The New York Times," I thought he got most of them exactly right. On climate change he said, look, we shouldn't accept this false, liberal consensus on climate change. We should have a real conversation about what’s going on in the climate, what is man's role in it and what are the right public policy responses and is the kind of damage done to the economy offset by any alleged benefit to climate change.
I thought on trade he gave a great answer. He said, look, I just got off the phone with Bill Gates. I got off the phone with Tim Cook. And I told Tim Cook the greatest moment of my presidency is to be when Apple opens a factory here because we're going to cut taxes and especially regulation to make it an environment that people want to build factories. And so I thought that as a conservative reading that "New York Times" interview, the headlines were absurd and the headlines were what you would expect "The New York Times" to put out there. The policies, I thought, were very, very encouraging and very good and shows the kind of growth of Donald Trump into a serious, conservative politician.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and we got a bunch about the issue of -- well, there it is, we don’t even have to take the time, about Trump considering Mitt Romney for secretary of state. James Dill tweeted this, "how can you consider Mitt Romney when he has called you ‘a phony, a fraud’ and doesn't agree with you on almost anything?"
James, as our State Department watcher, how do you answer Mr. Dill?
ROSEN: Well, if Mr. Trump were indeed committed to Governor Romney as his selection for secretary of state, and I think that's far from clear just yet, it would, I suppose, speak a certain magnanimity of character on the president-elect’s part and I think he’s already demonstrated that with his selection of Nikki Haley, Governor Haley, to be U.N. ambassador, when, after all, she was not exactly a Trump supporter throughout the campaign either.
PACE: But I think beyond the rhetoric that Romney had about Trump during the campaign, there’s a bigger question about what they believe on policy. If Romney decides that he wants to go forward with this and Trump selects him as the secretary of state, Romney will be carrying out the policies of the Trump administration. And I think Trump needs to make sure that Romney is on his page, not the reverse.
ROSEN: Yes, and -- and where that would be most clear would be Russia. During the 2012 campaign, Governor Romney famously said that Russia is the main geo-strategic threat to the United States and Donald Trump has sounded very different tones throughout this campaign on that. I would simply say also, these tweets by Kellyanne Conway about Governor Romney and this election process --
WALLACE: Well, this is the thing I made the -- the deal with Reince Priebus about. I mean consider me old-fashioned, but the idea that the -- a top transition adviser is tweeting out about all the conservative blowback about -- about Romney, that's kind of unprecedented.
ROSEN: And we would be ill-advised to imagine that it was simply Kellyanne Conway doing it all on her own.
WALLACE: So you think this was Trump kind of trying to put out any -- any support for -- for Romney?
ROSEN: I have heard from sources in the Trump transition that it was an effort to nudge Romney toward withdrawing his name.
WALLACE: Why’d they ask him in the first place?
ROSEN: Well, look, it did -- it didn't make Donald Trump look bad to have Governor Romney coming all the way to Bedminster, New Jersey, to -- to be seen with him.
SEIB: Well, look, I -- I think that this is one of the important things that happens in a transition. You can use personnel decisions both to reinforce your policy, but also to sort of broaden out the base. And this was an unusual campaign in which there was a narrow base of support within the Republican Party. It is a good opportunity to broaden that out, and I think using some picks, maybe not Mitt Romney necessarily, but using some picks to sort of show that there’s a broader base for the Trump presidency than the one that may have appeared within the party in the campaign is not a bad idea.
WALLACE: Michael, as a movement conservative with Mitt Romney as secretary of state, give you heartburn?
NEEDHAM: No. I -- look, I think Mitt Romney would be a fine secretary of state. This is a pretty personal decision for -- for President-elect Trump. I think one aspect, not just who is the secretary of state, but how do they work as a team will the rest of the national security apparatus is going to be an important consideration. I think those are valid concerns. I think John Bolton would be -- would be fantastic in that type of role.
WALLACE: I want -- I what to turn to another subject, which I think I have to say, frankly, I find astonishing, which is the recount. And here you had Donald Trump being asked, frankly by me in the third debate, about whether or not he would accept the results of the election and saying I'll keep you in suspense. Now we have the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, initiating a recount in Wisconsin, talking about doing the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania. You can kind of understand it from her point of view. She's trying to raise money and build up her name. But, Julie, now we have the Clinton campaign, the top lawyer for the Clinton campaign, saying they're going to participate. What do you make of that?
PACE: Well, there’s a -- a small legal aspect of this that I think is understandable, which is, if there is going to be a recount push by the Green Party, you want to have your -- your campaign represented. I think the Trump team will probably end up having a representative there as well to make sure that their interests are -- are being -- being monitored.
I do think, though, that it is incumbent on Hillary Clinton to come out in some way and -- and reiterate what she said the day after the election, which is that she accepted the results and that Donald Trump was our -- was going to be our next president. You're hearing that from the White House. I do not think that you are going to see a groundswell of Democratic support for this idea. But Hillary Clinton needs to do that. And if she doesn't, then I think we need to be as tough on her as we were on Donald Trump during the campaign when he questioned whether he would accept the results.
WALLACE: Yes, I want to -- let me, if I may, just to pick up on that, because the White House has been very definitive, both from the podium and also a paper statement in the last day or so saying, we accept the election results, we don't believe there was hacking, we think this is the -- the correct result. Not the right result, but the correct result. Are the -- and do they have any heartburn about -- about Clinton getting involved in this in some way?
PACE: I think if the Clinton campaign or other Democrats are looking for support from the White House for a recount, then they're looking in the wrong direction. This White House is fully focused on the transition to the Trump administration, and they know how dangerous it is, the same way it would have been if we were talking about Trump saying this, how dangerous it is to be openly questioning the results of the election, to be suggesting that there's hacking when both experts at the Clinton campaign has talked to and the White House and -- and intelligence agencies have said there is no evidence of that right now.
NEEDHAM: The whole thing is just -- it’s a lot to take. I mean the weeping and gnashing of the teeth from the left, if anything remotely similar had gone on from a Republican, especially Donald Trump, would just be endless. It would have been -- and when you want to look at why people across the country feel like cultural elites, like our media establishment, just don't get them. The notion that this is going on, the notion that Hillary Clinton is joining in, the notion that her campaign is -- it’s just, stop it. Donald Trump won the election. Donald Trump is going to be the president of the United States. The alt-left needs to move on from this nonsense.
WALLACE: Fifteen seconds.
SEIB: It's worth noting the -- the Clinton lawyer -- the legal team, even while jumping in, said we recognize that vote margins of this size have never been overturned in a recount. So I’m not sure how seriously they’re taking it.
WALLACE: I mean we're talking at the very least in Michigan about 10,000 votes.
WALLACE: And --
SEIB: Even more in the other states.
WALLACE: Yes, even more in the other states.
All right, thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, Nancy Pelosi has been the Democrats' top leader in the House for 14 years, but now she faces a challenge from a one-time supporter. Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio joins us next.
WALLACE: A look outside the beltway at Youngstown, Ohio, an old steel town that's in the congressional district of our next guest.
On Wednesday, House Democrats choose their leaders for the new Congress. And Nancy Pelosi, who has held the top job for 14 years, faces an unexpected challenge from a former supporter who says Democrats won't regain the majority with her in charge. Congressman Tim Ryan describes it as David versus Goliath.
And, congressman, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
REP. TIM RYAN, D-OHIO: Great to be with you.
WALLACE: Let's begin with the strength of your party in the House, and let's put up some numbers. Back in 2009, after Barack Obama was elected president, Democrats held 257 seats to 178 for Republicans. But look at the swing. Next year, Democrats will have 194 seats to 238 for the GOP with a couple of races still not called.
Congressman, how much is Nancy Pelosi to blame for that?
RYAN: Well, I want to talk more about moving forward, but we lost a significant amount of seats in 2010. Didn't really do well in '14, did -- lost again in -- or didn't do well in '12, lost again in '14 and we only picked up six seats last time. In 2010, the Republicans ran $65 million worth of 160,000 ads trying our candidate to our leader.
WALLACE: To Pelosi?
RYAN: To Pelosi. And that sank us. So the question is, how do we move forward? How do we --
WALLACE: No, but let me go back. What is it that you think makes her so unappetizing to voters?
RYAN: Well, $65,000 million in Republican ads. I think our failure as a caucus has been not to focus on economic issues. I think we -- and I’m supportive of all the issues that -- that we talk about, but you need an economic -- a robust, economic message that -- that covers everybody. And we failed to do that I think consistently in the last (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: OK, we’re going to -- we’re going to get to your platform in a minute, but I want to talk about the state of the party because I want to look at some other numbers about where House Democrats are from now in the country. And let's put this map up. More than one-third of the members in the new House, Democrats, come from just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts. Almost two-thirds are from either the West Coast or the East Coast. Are Democrats no longer a national party? And if two-thirds of them come from those two coasts, isn't a San Francisco liberal like Nancy Pelosi a shoo-in to get re-elected?
RYAN: Well, I don't think so, because I think even our members from the coastal areas recognize that we are not a national party right now. There’s -- you -- we can't claim to be. And I think they recognize, these are the smartest political figures coming out of their areas. They're the member of Congress. They've beaten mayors. They’ve beaten local elected officials to get this position. They're the most seasoned political figures in their region. They understand politics. And I think they understand that this is about having a new message and a new messenger and be able to reach those folks. And the numbers are big, but they know that if we don't get the middle of the country, that we’re never going to be back in the majority.
WALLACE: Here's how Pelosi explained the election results about ten days ago. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The problem is more with the communication than it was with our policy. So our lives are dedicated to those very people who didn't communicated the successes we had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Is it just a communication issue?
RYAN: It's a big part of it, but we can't keep saying it's a communication issue. I mean we've been saying it's a communication issue since 2010. So we've got to figure out how to have the robust economic message, and we're not communicating. These people left us in droves. They either went for Trump or they stayed at home. And without a good message that connects deeply with the, where we're talking about issues that they care about, that their family talks about when they’re sitting at the kitchen table, they're never going to come back. And we need a leader who can go into those congressional districts and be able to pull Trump voters back and energize those voters we need to show up at the polls.
WALLACE: OK, but let’s drill down into that now. You say that you are proposing a platform that could reach out to a lot of the congressional districts that went for Donald Trump in the south, in the rust belt, in rural areas. What is it?
RYAN: Well, one example, manufacturing. We -- we have not had a robust manufacturing platform. Steny Hoyer has a make it in America plan. I think we need to put that --
WALLACE: Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House.
RYAN: The number two guy. We need to put that front and center about how we necessitate manufacturing and we need to have the discussions about, what’s the tax code have to look like, what are the investments we have to make, what’s the next generation of advanced manufacturing look like, addative (ph) manufacturing, which is the three (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Well, I -- I want to get a little bit into that because I’ve -- I’ve been going out with politicians since 1980. Ronald Reagan went to steel factories in -- in Pittsburgh and said, we’re going to bring these back. We’re not going to bring them back and we haven't for 36 years.
RYAN: That’s not -- that’s not what I’m saying. I think that --
WALLACE: So what -- so what is -- what are you saying. What --
RYAN: I’m glad -- I’m glad you asked me. We’re -- the low end manufacturing, we're never going to get back. I think we're lying to our constituents if we say that everything that went to China somehow was going to automatically come back if we just wave a magic wand or just have the right policies.
But I’ll give you an example. We have a new million-dollar steel mill in Youngstown that’s making steel pipes, steel tubing. That's an opportunity for us with some more high-end advanced manufacturing, the stuff that really takes a lot, in aerospace. I think the -- the clean energy community is a boon, and I don't think Democrats ever quite talked about clean energy as a way to resuscitate manufacturing.
If you look at a windmill, Chris, 8,000 component parts, gear shifts, hydraulics. There’s a mile of concrete, a sidewalk mile of concrete in a wind turbine. These are things that we make in places like Youngstown, Gary, Indiana, Milwaukee. So if we're going to resuscitate manufacturing, a strong move to a clean economy is not just good for the environment, but it's good for places like the ones I represent to bring those jobs back.
WALLACE: But give Nancy Pelosi her due. She's a master fundraiser. She has been extraordinary in keeping the House Democratic caucus unified. Let's talk about Tim Ryan, because critics say that you've been in Congress 14 years and you haven't left much of a legislative mark. They say, in fact, that the two big issues you’ve pushed are, one, that you host meditation sessions every week on Capitol Hill, and that you got some federal money to teach, quote, "mindfulness" to students in your district. I mean it's not much of a legislative record for 14 years, sir.
RYAN: Well, I sit on the appropriations committee and let me say first and foremost I think that the capital could use a little mindfulness. I think we could all turn the dial down a little bit and start talking to each other like human beings. Maybe we would be able to get stuff done. And I think it's important that we have a mindset that keeps us aware and focused on the issues at hand, as opposed to getting tossed around.
WALLACE: But do you think that’s going to win Trump voters, he’s the meditation guy?
RYAN: Well, I think it’s a part of an innovation in -- in education. I mean if you look at social and emotional learning, which I got the money from, they’ve just did a meta-analysis a few months ago of 300,000 kids who are participating in social and emotional learning in the schools. Eleven percentile point increase in test scores, closes the achievement gap. Ten percent increase in good behavior, 10 percent decrease in anti-social behavior, 20 percent swing in the mood of the schools.
So we need to start approaching our education system in an innovative way. These are the kind of things I'm trying to push and promote because they work. And I think we can sit here and have the same old fights we've been having for 30 years, or we can take issues like social and emotional learning, for example, in our schools that are based on the latest brain science and close the achievement gap. That's where we should be talking.
But let me talk about my experience real quick. I've been in Congress 14 years. I've been on the Appropriations Committee in which we are in charge of trying to move legislation. I have -- I sit on the Defense Appropriations Committee. I’ve sat on the Armed Services Committee. I’ve sat on the Education Committee. I've sat on the Labor Health Committee, Transportation and Housing Committee. I've been involved in the appropriations process. I sat at the heels of Dave Oby (ph). I was quiet. I listened. I watched. We did the Affordable Care Act. We did -- we did the Recovery Act. We did the auto rescue. I learned a lot. And I'm ready to put that knowledge now to work for the entire caucus.
WALLACE: Now, the conventional wisdom is, maybe you're trying to build your profile, maybe you're going to run for governor in two years, but you don't have a chance on beating Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday. In fact, she says two-thirds of the caucus is already signed up to vote for her.
RYAN: Those aren't the numbers we have. There is a lot of consternation in our caucus right now and we're making a hell of a run at this thing and I think we have a shot to win. I've been making calls for the last three or four days. People have been home with their families over Thanksgiving. And people are saying, look, this has been a changed election. We want change. And there are a lot of members of Congress who now are understanding that we need to make a change.
We can't keep running the same place, Chris. We're not winning. And winners win and we need to put leaders in place that are going to give us an opportunity to win the House back. We're down 60-some seats since 2010. We have the smallest number in our caucus since 1929. We've got to do something differently.
WALLACE: Congressman Ryan, thank you. Thanks for coming in and we'll be watching how House Democrats vote on Wednesday.
RYAN: Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." Once again, I danced with the turkeys.
WALLACE: Here’s a holiday riddle we ask every Thanksgiving, who founded a huge tech company, created a successful cosmetic business and now raises turkeys like the Indians did? Here’s our "Power Player of the Week."
SANDY LERNER, AYRSHIRE FARM: Farm with the land. Farm with the seasons. Know your soil. Know your rainfall. Know -- your -- know your weather. Know your animals.
WALLACE (voice-over): Sandy Lerner is talking about sustainable farming, raising livestock and growing vegetables without the chemicals that are so common in what she calls factory farming. Just days before Thanksgiving, she took me out to see, and, yes, to dance, with her 1,300 turkeys. Heritage breeds that trace back to the Indians.
LERNER: Come on, raise your arms. Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble. Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble.
WALLACE: Lerner is mistress of Ayrshire Farm, 800 acres in Upperville, Virginia. But as interesting as her business is how she got here.
She grew up on a farm in California, making enough from raising cattle to send herself to college.
LERNER: What I learned was to love work. I'm really happiest when I'm engaged in -- in working and thinking and -- and -- and striving.
WALLACE: She got into computers. In 1984, she and her then husband started Cisco Systems, that found a way to link networks of computers, the foundation of the Internet. But six years later, venture capital people were running Cisco.
WALLACE (on camera): How do you get fired from a company that you started?
LERNER: We just basically got taken to the cleaners. And part of that was, if you don't have an employment contract -- I got fired by the same guy who fired Steve Jobs.
WALLACE: Lerner had a second act. She started a cosmetics company called Urban Decay, with edgy colors for women like her. And in 1996, she bought Ayrshire Farm.
LERNER: It’s historically been people who had disposable income who made strides in farming. Look at George Washington or look at Thomas Jefferson.
LERNER: You’re such a pretty girl. Pretty is as pretty does.
WALLACE: (voice-over): She raises shires, war horses that go back centuries, scotch highland cattle, and those turkeys which she says taste better because of the lives they lead.
WALLACE: How much is an Ayrshire turkey cost as compared to what I get in a grocery store?
LERNER: Well, our turkeys are expensive. They’re between -- I think they’re running this year about $160 to $200.
WALLACE: At those price, there are questions about how to make this kind of farming profitable. But while Lerner is determination to run a sound business, it's not just about the bottom line. There’s a 40-room mansion on the farm.
WALLACE (on camera): What's it like living there?
LERNER: I don't know.
WALLACE: What do you mean?
LERNER: I live in a little lob cabin, and I love it.
WALLACE: Do you think you're a bit eccentric?
LERNER: I am now that I’m rich. I used to just be weird.
WALLACE (voice-over): And so just days before Thanksgiving, Sandy Lerner and I dance with the turkeys. She grew up on a family farm and she wants to see those values live on.
LERNER: I'm a cowgirl. I can tell what cows are thinking. It's very much my success as a farmer, which is what George Washington was. He -- he wanted to be a really good farmer. And I think I've -- I’ve been a -- I've -- I’ve become a good farmer.
WALLACE: Sandy Lerner sold more than 800 turkeys this Thanksgiving, and she donated more than 200 to local charities.
And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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