This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," May 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
EBONI WILLIAMS, CO- HOST: Hello everybody. I'm Eboni K. Williams along with Eric Bolling and Kat Timpf and this is "The Fox News Specialists."
Let's meet today's specialists. Before he started a legendary football career, he received offers from several major league baseball teams including the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, but instead he became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and a Super Bowl champion with the New York Jets. And he specializes in being, well, an all- around amazing human being. Joe Namath is here.
And he is known as the architect of George W. Bush's presidential campaign and also served as one of the president's top advisors. He is an author extraordinaire and Fox News contributor but his specialty is bird hunting. Karl Rove is here. I mean who knew, Karl Rove?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Who knew?
ERIC BOLLING, CO- HOST: Hey, I believe before we get into this --
BOLLING: You know what?
WILLIAMS: I know what you got to say.
BOLLING: 5:00 will never be the same.
WILLIAMS: It will never be the same. Never be the same. You named it brother. Yes, so wait --
ROVE: Particularly when we're finished with the hour.
WILLIAMS: So what types of birds do you hunt Karl, I have to know?
ROVE: Quail, dove, pheasant, partridge.
KAT TIMPF, CO- HOST: Pigeons lover?
BOLLING: Did you ever go hunting with Cheney?
ROVE: Many times.
BOLLING: OK. You didn't get shot or anything.
ROVE: I think he shot my lawyer.
WILLIAMS: OK, so let's get to today's top news story. President Trump's high-stakes phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The White House releasing a readout of the discussion a short time ago saying that both leaders agreed that all parties involved in Syria must do everything they can to end the violence there along with the need to eradicate terrorism all across the Middle East.
So, could relations between the U.S. and Russia be warming up after their deep freeze? Karl, I'm going to come to you on this because you have been in these White House rooms talking about these very, very important high- stakes negotiations. Before this phone call they left off, I think President Trump saying this was the lowest the relationship had been with Russia. Much, much, much progress today. I think we're all glad about it. My question is this, we know last I checked that Vladimir Putin was friendly with Assad, so my question is how does this relationship look moving forward?
ROVE: Well, let's be careful about reading too much into one telephone conversation. Tillerson has obviously been in touch with the Lavrov, his counterpart, the Russian foreign minister, and they set up this phone call and the president and Putin has said let's gets together.
But remember, you're right. He supports Assad and the United States has called for Assad to be removed. It's very hard to square that circle. Second of all, today following the phone call, Putin said it's really important to have a cease-fire. But we ought to take this with the grain of salt because he's also the guy who agreed in the Minsk agreement to a cease-fire in Eastern Ukraine, which he has never honored.
So look, Putin is a tough character. He's going to try and find some way to get what some of what he wants here, but it's going to be very important for both Tillerson and his conversations with Lavrov and Trump and his conversations with Putin not to give unnecessary ground.
BOLLING: You know, Karl, you know, if the guy can't do anything right, Trump, at first he was too close to Vladimir Putin and he had too close a relationship, too cozy. And then it goes the other way. Then he gets very close to China and say, you know Chine, I'm with you. Let's make sure we're working together on North Korea, and then it gets cold with Russia.
You know, a lot of people are saying it was too close to the point where may be Russia's trying to help Trump win, and then it got too cold with Russia. Now, he picks up the phone and says, hey, let's work on Syria together and we're saying, oh, let's not take this guy --
ROVE: No, I didn't say -- no, I didn't say that. I'm glad he made that -- I'm glad he made the phone call. I'm just saying lower your expectations. The expectation of one phone call is going cause this guy to change his opinion on Syria is --
BOLLING: I don't know. One dinner with President Xi of China certainly turned that relationship around.
TIMPF: Well, and I think when it comes to Syria --
ROVE: We'll see if it did when we finally get China to do something about North Korea.
TIMPF: When it comes to Syria, it is kind hard to know what to do, that's right. Not because of Trump or the perception of what you think about Trump, but because the area, it is so complicated. Assad, for that guy, obviously getting rid of him won't solve anything -- everything just the same of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. It didn't solve everything. So, a phone call indicates good, but I agree it's a phone call and because it's going so back and forth, we can't really know.
ROVE: And we're here on Tuesday, and on the weekend, Putin, whom I guess you have a fond place in your heart about.
BOLLING: I don't know. I just think it's better to be friendly with the foreign world power, especially nuclear power with what's going on in the Korean Peninsula, than to be angry with them --
ROVE: Oh, I'm not, but look, you got to look at them sober-eyed (ph). No need to be angry with them but realize this weekend, do you think he wants a good resolution with Syria? Then why did he veto the resolutions in the United Nations condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We got to be clear out about this.
WILLIAMS: Let's see what Joe -- I want to know what Joe Namath thinks about this. Does this make you feel better at least that the relationship with Russia is on the mend because it was really bad just a couple of weeks ago?
JOE NAMATH, NFL HALL FAMER: Absolutely it makes me feel better. I'm glad that we're going out and trying to get some communication going. I know it's going to be difficult. It has been difficult for a long time but I think progress will be made the more we keep trying to communicate with one another.
WILLIAMS: And I got to agree with you, Eric, because I do think that the point of -- ultimately we have the common goal of defeating ISIS, destroying them, depleting them. I don't think it's going to be easy but I agree this has to be part of that, right?
BOLLING: And just don't forget, Rex Tillerson left the meeting in Russia with Putin, came out and said this is the lowest relationship we've had with Russia in decades. And then Donald Trump reiterated the comment on one of his speeches. This is a good -- Karl, I just think this is a good turn of events.
ROVE: Listen to what I've said. I think it's a good thing that we are having this conversation but let's be clear eyed that one telephone conversation, one meeting is not going to put this in the right --
BOLLING: -- that press release was and they finally talked about, Trump asked for Putin's assistance with dealing with North Korea. That's great.
TIMPF: But I think what Carl is saying that that will never change the fact that Putin does support Assad and we don't.
ROVE: You touched on an important thing. Russia has a common border with North Korea. Just as the Chinese are afraid of having a refugee influx, in the last couple of weeks, the Russian have moved considerable military forces in the Far East to the border with North Korea. So yes, they have a common interest. They would like China to get involved in removing the nuclear threat from --
WILLIAMS: Speaking of North Korea, the tensions with North Korea have tightened even further today with its state-controlled media warning us the a U.S. bomber flights around the Korean Peninsula risk triggering a nuclear conflict, going right to what you're saying there. I mean, this is so delicate, right? And so, again, I'm going to go on your expertise and your specialty here Karl and talk about how far the president should be going with this tightrope around this nuclear threat from North Korea.
ROVE: Well, first of all, this is what they say every time we do something. You may remember we have every four years or five years of major exercises with the South Koreans. It was moved up this year to be one year earlier. We have the same kind of rhetoric a couple weeks ago.
So look, we shouldn't read too much into this and we shouldn't read too little. What really matters is they need to know that we are going to be strong and the CIA director's in South Korea now, good move. A B-1 bomber sent, good move. Vinson aircraft carrier group floating offshore, good move. THAAD going -- the missile defense system going active yesterday, good move.
But let's not kid ourselves. This is going to be -- this is three presidents in a row have found it difficult to deal with this guy. Ultimately, it's going to be the Chinese and it's going to take, I think with we've gotten to the point where it's no longer sanctions on North Korea. It's going to have to be sanctions on people doing business with North Korea or people who do business with people --
BOLLING: We only do that. You need China -- you're right, you need China to jump on board on that. I asked Trump about that and he did not only blame President Obama's failure to deal with North Korea, he blamed you guys too, Karl. He said George Bush's failure pointing all the way back to Clinton's days of failing with North Korea.
Can I bring Joe in? Joe, look at it this way, the Jets, right? You're about to go to the playoffs but those pesky Patriots are right on your heels. You need the Ravens to beat the Patriots. You don't love the Ravens but you want them to jump on board. We need China, we even need pesky Russia who we don't necessarily love, to jump on board and deal with things like North Korea and Syria.
NAMATH: Yes, we need them and you know, sports is a heck of a lot different than worrying about our 30,000 soldiers in South Korea and Seoul's population. This is a major problem and the leader of North Korea is a bit squirrely, you know, and so I don't know. Karl had mentioned getting on board with trying to big bring China on board and helping out here. It's going to take a combined effort of countries and I like the idea of what you said about embargo of other countries need to get involved other than just the United States.
ROVE: Yes, and it's going to be tough because look, the only people who do business today with the North Koreans are primarily the Chinese, and so what we're going to have to do is start to sanction companies that may be don't do business with North Korea but provide the financing and the raw materials or the support for doing business with North Korea. And the Chinese are not going to like that. Ultimately, this is only going to be -- China will only act when it sees that it's in its immediate interest to act, and we got to be focused on encouraging that.
BOLLING: Millions of refugees heading over that northern border of North Korea into China would be a pretty good, I don't know, motivator for China to get involved. They may be just holding back until they think this could really be go time.
ROVE: Yes, but we've got to be careful about how they react to that. Remember, they had one other instance where we got close to the border. They don't want a failed North Korea. If they have refugee flows, what they're worried about is less the refugees flows than a failed North Korea that it gets unified with the South. I think the president and Tillerson did something very smart last week just so that you feel better.
BOLLING: I do.
ROVE: I know you're really sensitive about any intimation --
BOLLING: Give the guy credit for something.
ROVE: I know you're sensitive about any intimation otherwise, but I thought it was a very smart move when Tillerson went out and said we are not in favor of a unified Korean Peninsula. The Chinese want to hear that. And they also said we've also believe in a nuclear free peninsula.
But again, the Chinese are scared to death of the Japanese and the South Koreans having nuclear weapons. But if North Korea gets an operational nuclear weapon that they can park on the top of a missile, they could hit the United States or hit Japan or hit South Korea. You can bet at least the Chinese, excuse me, the Japanese are going to be interested in nuclear weapons.
WILLIAMS: Right. So, a developing story right now -- Stephen Colbert currently under major fire for a lewd joke about President Trump. We'll show you this and more. Stay with us.
BOLLING: Building a wall on the Mexican border was one of the president's -- President Trump's most popular campaign promises. In my interview with the president, I made sure to ask him about the said wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: I have to ask you this. It's been a campaign promise. It's something we on this side of the camera --
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The wall.
BOLLING: The wall.
TRUMP: The wall is happening, OK. You didn't tell me -- the wall, OK. I will tell you. I said in the speech. And by the way, we've got a billion and a half dollars for security in the budget.
TRUMP: You know, we're keeping it going in fact. The wall is happening. They wall is happening.
BOLLING: So some people on the conservative right are saying, well, there is some funding for Planned Parenthood in this continuing resolution that's going to fund the government through September.
TRUMP: That's right because it was a continuance. I said I wouldn't fund Planned Parenthood and at the appropriate time, things will happen. Let me just talk about the wall first after that because it's important. So, the wall is going to get built, but we've had such success. General Kelly has been unbelievable, and now we have stopped 73 percent, the highest in the history since they've been recording this stuff, and now it's even better because people aren't trying to come up.
So we're saving a lot of lives because migration was dangerous and horrible, horrible for women, just so bad for women. The migration up to our border, it was so dangerous. Now, we've been so successful that the Democrats are saying, well, you don't need a wall anymore because look at the good job Trump is doing, and I understand what they're saying except for one thing, to stop drugs, to stop human trafficking which is the new big, you know, people don't talk about that.
They're just starting because of what I'm saying to talk about it. Human trafficking is a tremendous problem. But to stop all of these things, including illegals from coming into the country, we need the wall. We need it for the drugs. We needed it for the human trafficking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: And at today's White House briefing, Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's budget director came out swinging over the status of the border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: We haven't done the math yet on how many miles we can build and where it will be. What we do know is that we have several hundreds of million dollars to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: Alright, guys, Kat, your thoughts on this. Now, again, so it may not be the wall that he originally promised, but it is a wall nonetheless.
TIMPF: Yes, well maybe it's not in the budget. Again, not a fan of the wall. I think that a way better solution would be to remove the incentives for the illegal immigration like the welfare incentives and ending the drug war, which has been a big waste of time, trillion dollars and we still have overdose stuff that's going up and up and up. Looking for solutions where for example removing the welfare incentive, that would save us money twice rather than spending more money on the problem that could be solved a better way.
BOLLING: Joe, let me talk to you about a wall. They put a wall around the stadium so people don't just walk in for free, right.
NAMATH: Yes, but they know where they are going to build it. They know how much it's going to cost basically. When he just said they didn't know where it's going to be or how much it's going to cost, I find it a little bit mindboggling. TIMPF: Nobody pays to go see the wall either like a sports game. They might, I don't know. Some fans might. You might --
WILIAMS: People go see the wall in China --
TIMPF: You might pay for a tour, Eric.
WILLIAMS: -- it's like, you know, people to do that. But you know what I'm actually more forgiving to the president on this particular campaign promise because when you know that you do better -- so maybe it's easy to be on the campaign trail talking about a physical, very, very, expensive wall, right.
TIMPF: Beautiful wall.
WILLIAMS: For once, a big beautiful wall. But once you get in that White House, you understand the economics behind it all on a deeper level and you start thinking about what makes more sense. I'm OK with that.
ROVE: Well, Homeland Security Secretary Kelly went out in his testimony during his confirmation hearing and said we don't need a wall along the whole border. We have a 2,000-mile border, 1,264 miles of it is in Texas that's a river. Where exactly are you going to build the wall? In the middle of the Rio Grande River?
TIMPF: An underground wall.
BOLLING: Mick Mulvaney mentioned some levee systems to make the river deeper so he can't just walk across it.
ROVE: Well, and look, that may be fine but also we have a canyon, Santa Elena Canyon, about 150 miles in the Big Bend area of Texas where the U.S. border is about 1,500 feet up in the air and the Mexican border is about 1,700 feet up in the air. Do you really need to build a wall at the top of that rim? But you want a wall though, right. I want a wall where the wall is justified.
The wall has done wonders in San Diego. The wall has done wonders in Yuma. The wall is necessary in the lower Rio Grande Valley. The wall is necessary in Del Rio and Eagle Pass and El Paso. But the wall is not necessary on all 2,000 miles of the border. And you know what, Kelly believes that and I think Trump has come around to that view.
What they're going to do with this money they got is deploy technology which allows you to detect people coming, they're going to expand the infrastructure so you have roads, so you can get people to intercept them. They're also going to spend money to repair the wall and the fence that we've already got. The other missing part of it is we need air assets particularly in Texas to help (INAUDIBLE).
BOLLING: I'm sorry Karl, we want to get this in because this is an important story that's been developing and breaking all afternoon. Stephen Colbert is facing backlash for comments he made by President Trump last night on the Colbert program. In his opening monologue, the late night host went on a tirade against the president, following his heated interview with CBS's John Dickerson. Here's the comment many are calling homophobic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW"/CBS)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: You attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign language gorilla who got hit in the head. In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's (BLEEP) holster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: Alright, Kat, your thoughts on -- this is a provocative comment. Is it homophobic and should he be called out that way he is?
TIMPF: Not really. It's a dumb joke. I did standup comedy for years. You go into any open mic in the city, we have people who are just starting because their bros thought that they were funny and they will all tell some version of that joke. I'm offended that he makes that much money to tell a joke that dumb. That's where their real outrage lies. I mean really, that's just a stupid joke. That's exhausted, but the outrage seems a little manufactured to me also.
BOLLING: And your thoughts on this one Eboni.
WILLIAMS: Yes. I don't know if I'd call it homophobic, Eric, but I mean, first I don't like it. Joe and I were talking in the break. I think he forgot what network he's on. I think his ratings are so on into the roof. He's doing great on this platform. That seems more like a corny late-night pub, maybe low-budget digital, I don't know. Just kind of a low-budget and corny for a platform like CBS quite frankly.
BOLLING: What do you think of this one, Joe?
NAMATH: I think it was a real reach to be funny and he dropped the ball. That's not cool. I didn't like it at all.
TIMPF: It wasn't funny.
BOLLING: Not funny but also there are a lot of people who will parse words and parse jokes. Now, Kat, you're the expert at this table about it but when you're a comedian, do you get some -- do you get a little bit slack? Do you get a little more -- that line becomes a little bit grayer than for someone who may not be a comedian?
TIMPF: Yes, absolutely. That's obvious, right. You know that if you or I said that, we would be fired, as we should be because this is the news.
WILLIAMS: Actually, on the news (INAUDIBLE) you can say that in a way that Eric and I cannot.
BOLLING: I would tend to agree with that.
TIMPF: Well, I'm not going to say. Everybody can still relax.
BOLLING: Alright, Mr. Rove, your thoughts on the way, first of all on the joke and then the way he's being --
ROVE: Well, first of all I want to step back and take the whole set of comments. It ends on a lewd and obscene reference to the president which I found offensive but the whole thing shows they wrote this. This was not a rant that he came up with at the top of his head. They wrote that.
And so the writers -- he's on -- sure, they'll say that if you're like in some dark little bar two flights down in some dingy part of town. But He set it on a national network.
I thought that was obscene. I thought it was lewd. I thought it was inappropriate, and it shows how out of touch that part of the media is with the rest of America. There are very few people in America who are not Trump haters who would think that was --
TIMPF: I'm fine with lewd, you know, if it's funny. I think it would be funny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On television like that?
BOLLING: But doesn't Colbert have a responsibility to act and say things that don't offend the network? Joe can't say something that offends the Jets at the time.
NAMATH: No, you know, in this day and age, I'm not surprised with what we hear, whether it be on television, radio, whatever. I mean, it's far beyond I ever imagined it could get.
WILLIAMS: Yes, because of that so much talk and verify this as true. When we were talking about the story in the break, Joe said "he didn't really say that." I said oh, no, he really said that like that's how disbelief he was. It was amazing.
TIMPF: They're saying because he said this, that makes him a homophobe. That's a reach though. No, come on.
WILLIAMS: Yes, that is ridiculous.
BOLLING: A hundred percent, well, does anyone really think Stephen Colbert is a homophobe? No.
TIMPF: I don't know if he will face that.
BOLLING: No, but the comment, I mean. So, here's a good question. In order to push back on comments like this out of Colbert's mouth, do they need to suspend him or fine him or do something high profile?
TIMPF: I hope they don't but now the trend is that if someone says they're offended, they're always right, and people are always apologizing and that's a real problem.
WILLIAMS: I think that's setting a very dangerous precedent. So are we going to fire every single person that offends us at every turn? I think that's a very dangerous problem.
TIMPF: Especially in comedy. We have to be able to take risk to know what's funny. We shouldn't have to, you know, try that hard and know that wasn't funny. BOLLING: Rove, last word.
ROVE: I'm going to continue to do what I do with anything Colbert. I'm going to refuse to watch the SOB.
BOLLING: Joe, surely you will get. Ready to go?
NAMATH: I'm fine with what -- I'm going to follow you, Karl. I mean I believe in what he's saying. I'll follow you.
BOLLING: Alright, let's leave I right there.
ROVE: And I'll follow you.
BOLLING: Could the government shutdown be the key to advancing the Trump agenda? How a presidential tweet has the Democrats in a frenzy, up ahead.
TIMPF: President Trump laying down a big marker over a potential government shutdown amid the current budget fight. The president tweeting in part earlier today, "Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!" And this afternoon, Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, only amplified the president's sentiments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: If the Democrats aren't going to behave any better than they have in the last couple of days, it might be inevitable. But if we get to September and it's still business as usual, business as usual, business as usual and nothing changes, then it takes a shutdown to change it, I have no problem with that. This is a change agent president and he's going to change Washington, D.C. if it takes a shutdown, then that's what it takes."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIMPF: Would this be the right move to actually advance the president's agenda. Karl, I'm going to go to you first on this one. What do you think? Shutting down the government, good strategy or not?
ROVE: I think this is all premature. The president has enormous tools when you have 13 appropriations bills to dominate this process.
TIMPF: Then why is she going for the shutdown?
ROVE: Well, you don't need to shut down the government. What you do is you hold the bill they want, Labor HHS. This is where all the welfare and social spending is. And what you do is you go out there and roll out homeland security and national defense and the other elements of the budget. The appropriators hold that bill for the end. You get what you want on the earlier bills. You have to negotiate with them on that last one.
But then, if they say, "Well, we're not going to vote for your version of Labor-HHS," fine. Let them shut down part of the government. In the meantime, you've got homeland security, national defense, Justice Department, the rest of the government funded. And they're sitting there, looking like, "Hey, we want more social spending," which in this time and era, is not going to be necessarily a winning argument.
WILLIAMS: So if comes down to it, Karl, you are OK with a shutdown? Because I...
ROVE: I don't think you -- my point is you don't need to have a shutdown if you've got control of the process.
WILLIAMS: Right, but if all else fails?
ROVE: If all else fails, then you've really screwed it up, because you've got control of this. You can go get the -- look, they will -- you roll these bills out in the right order, which they will do, and you will end up having the fight all over the bills at the end that they want, and you've got...
TIMPF: This budget was still pretty big. And, you know, you only cut the EPA by 1 percent. You left Planned Parenthood in there. Democrats, Joe, are kind of bragging about it. Do you think this was coming from a place of anger? I mean, would you be mad?
NAMATH: I don't know what we mean, shutdown. I mean, come on. What is that exactly? You just want to say, "Time out. I'm going home for a while"? The whole government, part of it, a shutdown?
ROVE: We'll play the rest of the game in a day or two.
NAMATH: No, no. No.
TIMPF: They shut down some things. You still couldn't even park on the street without getting a ticket, if -- the shutdown. So...
BOLLING: So can we call this mantle what happened today, in the last couple of days? Trump got a deal. Trump got a deal to fund the government through September, which a lot of people -- Democrats didn't want him to get that. They were going to fight it. But at the end, they had to give; the Republicans had to give.
I mean, Democrats got $5 billion of fund -- continue to fund Planned Parenthood, and Puerto Rico funding. Trump got defense spending increases, $21 billion; border security, a billion and a half dollars; school choice, a billion additional dollars for school choice. Both sides got a lot of what they wanted, and at the end of the day, you have government continuing through September. And in the past -- Karl, you know -- these things have gone down to the last minute.
ROVE: You know, I think you're underplaying what a success this is for the Republicans. You're listening to the Democrats go out there and say, "We won, we won, we won." They didn't win.
First of all, he is the second president.
BOLLING: I'm not. I'm with you on this.
ROVE: Let me finish. Let me finish.
BOLLING: This is a win, a Republican win.
ROVE: In the -- he is the second president in history to have the ability to affect the budget of the government in his first quarter in office. This never happens. And it happened because Republicans passed a budget through March, just as the Democrats in 2008 passed a budget that only went through March in 2009. So he's got a unique ability to influence this.
And second of all, look; think about this. The increase in homeland security is nine times the rate of increase in social spending.
TIMPF: Eboni, but...
ROVE: And seven times -- the defense spending is seven times increased than domestic spending.
TIMPF: But overall, they didn't really cut spending, which is why a lot of people vote for Republicans. Do you think that's part of the issue?
WILLIAMS: I think that's the whole issue...
WILLIAMS: ... for why we're not hearing more, you know, bragging rights, so to speak, from the GOP around you. Because I agree: the president should be credited with cutting a deal. A deal was done. This is how business takes place in Washington.
I will say, it's not a conservative fiscal bill.
WILLIAMS: It's a very expensive bill by all measures.
Also, I think if you're someone that voted for Donald Trump because you want him to be the disruptor, the person that kind of blows it all up to build it all back up, then maybe you're not that happy around what this deal looks like.
But ultimately, a deal was done. Government goes on another day. Hopefully, it gets better. And that's what I heard the president saying in his interview with you, by the way, Eric. This is what's in place for now. We'll see what happens come September.
BOLLING: We've got a lot of good things in this bill.
BOLLING: We got defense spending increased by $21 billion.
ROVE: Well, actually, that understates it. That understates it.
TIMPF: That didn't really cut spending.
ROVE: I read -- I read it last night.
TIMPF: That's the thing.
ROVE: It strikes me that there's another $18 billion of defense spending that they're pulling out of past years of unspent money and adding it into current space.
BOLLING: Sounds like a win to me.
TIMPF: ... no skinny budget, I'll say that.
NAMATH: Unspent money. There's unspent money.
TIMPF: Another down-to-the-wire...
ROVE: Eighteen billion. Eighteen billion.
TIMPF: We've got to go. We've got to break here, guys.
Another down-to-the-wire finish for the GOP health care overhaul. Will President Trump and House Republicans score the votes they need to push ahead? Don't go away.
BOLLING: Will Republicans get their health care reform effort over the finish line? Mark Meadows, the House -- head of the House Freedom Caucus, was pressed by Fox's Peter Doocy earlier today about whether or not conservatives will finally get on board.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK MEADOWS, R-N.C., HEAD OF HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: Hopefully, we're just a handful. I think at this point, there's still a lot of undecideds. But you know, generally at this late stage in the game, the undecideds, you can address their concerns. So I think we're just a handful away.
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And do you want the White House more involved or less involved with the negotiations?
MEADOWS: You know, obviously, this is something that the leadership here in Congress has to address. And it's really in their court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLLING: All right, Eboni. Important, important issue for the Trump administration.
WILLIAMS: Hugely important. And actually, I'm going to toss it back to you, E., because what are going to be the political consequences of some of these conservative Republicans that refuse? And Trump at this point is calling some of them out by name, picking up the phone, calling them, asking, begging, pleading in some cases. They're still refusing. What are the political consequences going to be for them, if they don't meet him on this thing?
BOLLING: Let me throw it to Karl on that. Because -- because the way this went down is Mr. Paul Ryan offered Mr. Trump an opportunity to get his health care bill. He said, "I've got the votes." He didn't have the votes. So now they're -- they have to back channel, work it back.
ROVE: Yes, and interesting today the -- Paul Ryan's opponent for speaker of the House, Daniel Webster of Florida, announced he's opposing the bill. So this is -- this is a conflicting and confusing situation, and I don't think they have the votes yet. It's absolutely vital for the Republican Party and the president that they pass this bill and keep the process moving forward.
It was a big mistake for the Freedom Caucus to block the bill.
TIMPF: No, it wasn't.
ROVE: Yes, it was. Because...
TIMPF: It has the exact same problems as Obamacare did.
ROVE: No, no. Well, you know what? If it did, they've now -- their amendment solves not a single one of the objections they raised at this time. They said this is going to not remove Obamacare. This is going to allow premiums to rise for the next two years. This is going to -- this is going to -- if we charge people more for not being under coverage, that amounts to attacks. Every one of those provisions that they talked about is still in the bill.
BOLLING: This is Paul Ryan's bill, though, Karl. This is Paul Ryan put that bill there.
ROVE: No, this bill -- this is the bill... TIMPF: They have to do it right, because...
ROVE: This is the bill of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And every -- and every...
BOLLING: The leadership of that committee. Five or so people engaged.
ROVE: No, no, no, baloney. Baloney. Every single Freedom Caucus member on the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committee voted for the bill. Supported the bill.
BOLLING: Karl, I remember -- I remember walking on the halls trying to read the bill. They weren't even allowed to read the bill.
ROVE: Well, they should have gone to the committee hearings. They should've gone to the meetings last June, where they discussed the principles. They should have been there paying attention when the caucus endorsed those principles last June. And...
TIMPF: And they should have been allowed to read the bill at the time, if they really cared about their support, so they could get their import.
ROVE: They should have read the bill as they came out of the two committees.
BOLLING: Let's bring Broadway Joe into this. So we need health care, right, Joe?
NAMATH: Yes, I believe so, but I don't know how to get it settled. If anybody knew, I imagine it would have been settled by now.
WILLIAMS: An important idea, E., and maybe to your point, too, Karl. What about playing it the opposite way? Instead of putting forth bills that people either aren't reading, can't read, don't know what's in it, can't support, what if President -- the leadership, actually, rather, Paul Ryan and the leadership went to these holdouts, so to speak, and said, "What do you want? What would it take for this to get the votes needed to actually pass so we can deliver on our campaign promise of repealing and replace with a better policy?"
BOLLING: Yes, Karl, what about that?
ROVE: There's a tension there. Because look, Republicans from all parts of the party have been insisting on regular order: "Let's not have these dictated to us by leadership. Let's have this emerge through the committees in the regular order."
There were bills to be read. All you had to do was go read the Energy and Commerce, they passed out a bill; and Ways and Means passed a bill. What took them time, then, was to put those two bills together in what's called the Rules Committee. But if you wanted to see what was in the bill, just go read what Ways and Means passed out. You'll see what House Energy and Commerce. And every element of the bill was there.
TIMPF: That's not true. Paul Ryan was very "mean girls" about it. He was very "Mean Girls" about it.
ROVE: Not true. With all due respect, the Rules Committee cannot insert into a piece of legislation things that are not passed by the committees.
TIMPF: They knew the Freedom Caucus would not support the bill that they put out. They knew those -- they knew...
ROVE: The Freedom Caucus members on Ways and Means and Commerce who participated in writing the bill all supported it.
BOLLING: Karl, the Senate and the House...
ROVE: And what changed? What change did they make in the bill that they were talking about two weeks ago when the vote came up?
TIMPF: The pre-existing conditions.
ROVE: But it's still in there. It's still in there. States can only remove it if they have what the original bill called for. Let me finish.
BOLLING: But let's be honest, though. Be honest here. You're telling the people that...
ROVE: What the original bill called for was -- I'm being honest. Let me finish.
BOLLING: ... that everyone saw the bill or they were allowed?
ROVE: Everybody had a chance to see what's in the bill.
BOLLING: There is a videotape, and you can Google it, where Rand Paul is walking down the hallways of Congress...
ROVE: That was before they voted. Hey -- hey, that was before they passed the bill. That was when they're getting ready to lay it out in front of committees. It was weeks before.
TIMPF: Why not let him be involved?
ROVE: No, no. Yes, he's entitled to after the House members get a chance to consider the bill, take it up in committee, and pass it. He's a member of the Senate. He has no right to walk over to the House and say, "Oh, before you consider the bill, before you take it up, I'm a senator. I need to be able to read this bill."
BOLLING: Here's something crazy. How about we see the bill before any of our representative vote on it?
ROVE: All you have to do is go to the website or read the bill. I read the bill when it came out of Ways and Means and Commerce.
WILLIAMS: How about the...
ROVE: I'd be happy to send you the links, Eric. Takes a little bit of trouble. Maybe you can't turn it over. Get an intern to do it for you.
BOLLING: Maybe that's what it is, Karl. Maybe Senator Rand Paul couldn't see it, but it was just there for me to Google and read it myself?
ROVE: No, it wasn't there for you to Google and read it either until the committee actually took it up and considered the bill and passed it. When they passed it...
TIMPF: But why not let him be part of that process?
ROVE: Because he's a member of the Senate and not the House of Representatives.
TIMPF: Why in terms of, like, actually?
WILLIAMS: Question, Karl Rove: why not just build a bill that everybody puts in on, on the front and?
WILLIAMS: That's so simple.
BOLLING: Boom! Boom!
TIMPF: Exactly. That's like, instead of walking across the street, to walk all down this street and all over to this street and down the block and back.
ROVE: They've been doing the exact thing that you've been talking about for the last couple weeks, going to people to say, "What does it take that we can get you?" But again, there's a tension, because you're going to people who are not in the committees of jurisdiction, saying ignore the regular process. Tell us what you want, and we'll try to satisfy you. It happens all the time.
BOLLING: We're going to have to leave it there. We have a lot more show. Coming up, comedian Chelsea Handler declares that rooting for President Trump to fail is the right thing to do. Today's dose of liberal insanity when we return.
TIMPF: Time for more comedians who are mad news. Chelsea Handler has long been a critic of President Trump, but now her loathing of the president has hit a new low.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA HANDLER, COMEDIAN: I stand against everything he represents. You know? I don't want anything to happen for him. And then when -- when you see that nothing he's trying to make happen is coming to fruition, you're like, "Look, you can't even -- he can't even do that." And I'm like, yes, but you're happy that he can't do that.
All the things that it brings up are interesting. If you could watch yourself outside of yourself. You know, like the things you learn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rooting for this person to fail?
HANDLER: Rooting for somebody to fail, which doesn't feel great; but it's the right thing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIMPF: Very funny stuff. Very good.
So rooting for the president to fail on certain issues is one thing, but talking about rooting him to fail, aren't you kind of rooting for the country to fail? It seems a little weird when you live here.
ROVE: Every -- every president should have our best wishes, and we may disagree with them on specific issues. But the idea that you want them to fail is you want our government to fall short of the American people.
WILLIAMS: You know what? I disagree with President Trump on a lot of issues, to your point, Karl; and I pray for President Trump nightly. I do. Because I'm praying for America's success. I pray for the world's success.
And first of all, I'm not a Chelsea Handler fan, but I thought her comment was really silly, foolish, and undermines the success of our country. Because when you say, "I root for him to fail on every issue, on everything he's trying to do." What if he woke up and literally was trying to put an agenda for complete world peace? You're going to root for failure around that, too, because you hate and despise him that much? That is undermining the entire success of our country.
TIMPF: Well, right. Well, Joe, I notice she didn't say, "I want him to do something differently. I wish he would do something differently." She said she wanted him to fail.
NAMATH: Right. And that -- unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there feel the same way, which I disagree with entirely. We're in this together. I know we're different sides of the field, different, you know, parties and all, but we're in this collectively together, America. We've got to pull for this to be successful.
WILLIAMS: Final point from me on this. I did see some of the same thing in 2008 when Barack Obama took office from some Republicans that were just flat-out in opposition to everything President -- they said, "Our entire agenda is going to be based around making him a one-term president," which I thought was equally unproductive.
BOLLING: Absolutely. So this is -- this is what the Democrat Party has become, and Hollywood is wildly liberal and Democrat. They don't stand for anything. The only thing they stand for is anti-Trump.
Elizabeth Warren's No. 2 on The New York Times bestseller list right now with a book that doesn't talk about how to make life better, how to create more jobs, how to make the middle -- bring up the middle class or the lower class into the middle classes. Here's the name of the book. It's called, "This Fight Is Our Fight," and it -- it offers a program for Dem -- Democrat resistance to Trump. That...
TIMPF: The attitude is not just about his policies. I think that people hope Trump wakes up in the morning, and his eggs taste bad. They want every single thing -- like, this is very, very personal, and that's completely unproductive. We're talking about the future of the country. You've got to let the pettiness go.
ROVE: Well, we're now -- our third president in a row in which we've had derangement syndrome. I mean, it happened to Bush. It happened to Obama, and it happened to Trump. It's getting worse and worse. It's corrosive to the institution of government and our faith and confidence in it.
So everybody ought to wish -- they have our legitimate disagreements over policy, but as Joe said, we're all in this together. And the successful presidents have been the ones who have accentuated exactly that fact.
WILLIAMS: Yes. You can resist all you want, Kat, but if all the Demos have at the end of this all is a bunch of resistance and no policy and no message and no economic plan for prosperity in this country, they will fall up short again.
BOLLING: If you're a ballplayer and you're competing against other teams, when you go to the Olympics, you still want your country to win. Right?
TIMPF: Exactly. Go, America.
WILLIAMS: Even I root for Coach K, and that is saying a whole lot.
TIMPF: We've got to wrap.
Disaster in paradise. Lawsuits are flying after a high-priced music festival in the Bahamas ends in shambles. We'll be right back.
WILLIAMS: Supermodel celebrities, yachts, beachside villas and big-time music acts. So what could go wrong, right? Well, everything.
The story (ph) is growing fast, after this past weekend's botched Fyre Festival in the Bahamas. It was promoted as a luxury event, with people forking up to $250,000 to attend; but instead, they got what some of them compared to "The Hunger Games." A shortage of food and water supplies, disaster relief tents for accommodations, and worse. Now, a $100 million class action lawsuit has been filed against the festival's organizers.
Joe Namath, I'm coming to you on this. You had your name, Broadway Joe, on some other big-time events in the past. How have you avoided this type of absolute disaster? And is there any excuse for it?
NAMATH: Yes. Going to the Bahamas in the first place to put something on like this...
NAMATH: ... might be a bit of a reach, you know? I think we could do something like that in Woodstock or around America somewhere.
WILLIAMS: Yes, exactly right.
NAMATH: People paying that kind of money for the tickets have too much money. They ought to be donating it to charity. Excuse me.
TIMPF: Their reactions, yes, were unbelievable on Twitter. They were contacting the national embassy, because they were eating cheese sandwiches. They're being fed cheese sandwiches. I've eaten plenty of cheese sandwiches without contacting the embassy. I did not know that that was some sort of brave thing. "We were told we were going to be glamping, and it's just camping. You know, send in the National Guard."
Go to -- please shut up.
WILLIAMS: Let's break down the legal, right? Because Mark Geragos, high-profile, big-time criminal defense celebrity lawyer. Chris Brown's kept him plenty busy over the past few years here, right? A hundred million dollars he's asking for. Now, I get that people need their money back. The organizers have said they're going to give the refunds. They've issued an apology. Is this a reach, $100 million?
BOLLING: Let me ask you, Eboni. Attorney Eboni. On the back of those tickets, doesn't -- don't they have a disclaimer that kind of prohibits any sort of class action suit like this?
WILLIAMS: Almost all the time they do. But here's the thing about waivers, an everyone should know this. A waiver can be broken. And so that's going to be the argument I'm sure Geragos is going to make, that some of this was unforeseen. They should have known better.
BOLLING: Do they not -- so negligence? They have to prove negligence?
WILLIAMS: Really, and Geragos is claiming fraud, Eric, which is even worse. That they had knowledge, actual, or should have had knowledge of this type of danger coming afoot. To Joe's point, they're in the Bahamas. This much could go wrong. They knew it, or they should have known it, and they didn't know better.
BOLLING: Karl, did you get your tickets -- did you get money back from your tickets?
ROVE: Why am I not feeling sort of moved by the plight of these people spending a quarter of a million dollars to go to a stupid music festival in the Bahamas? I mean, I really -- please. Let us -- I'm with Joe. Find these -- find these people, round them up and...
TIMPF: And I had to sleep in a tent!
WILLIAMS: Oh, my goodness, y'all!
ROVE: ... just take their money and give it to charity, by God.
WILLIAMS: Geragos does not need you in his jury. Goodness gracious, Karl. That's exactly right. Because that's the point, right?
BOLLING: Karl, they can go to South by Southwest. Right?
ROVE: Oh, please, I leave town when the South by Southwest comes to town. The entire -- every good restaurant in town is taken over. My coffee shop is invaded by out-of-towners, and you can't get around the streets.
WILLIAMS: OK, so we'll take it around the table. Should -- in addition to the refund, do they get any money? Maybe not 100 million, but do they recover any money for damages? Karl Rove.
ROVE: Let them have this as a good lesson. Never go to...
WILLIAMS: Ice-cold, baby.
WILLIAMS: Any money for recovery? No?
TIMPF: I think they would probably already have plenty.
BOLLING: No, I don't think so. No one hurt, right?
WILLIAMS: I'd give them five bucks.
NAMATH: They made a mistake, man, you know? Just eat it. Forget about it. It's over.
WILLIAMS: All right. Said best.
We want to thank you guys, our "Fox News Specialists" today, Joe Namath and Karl Rove.
Thank you all for watching and please keep the conversation going on Twitter, using the hashtag #FoxNewsSpecialists. "Special Report" is up next.
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