TRANSCRIPT

David Bossie on a White House without Steve Bannon; Sen. Ben Cardin on threats from terrorism, North Korea

Foreign Relations Committee ranking member weighs in on 'Fox News Sunday'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," August 20, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL HEMMER, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" GUEST HOST: I’m Bill Hemmer, in for Chris Wallace.

Another major staff shake-up, the president’s key strategies leaving the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I like Mr. Bannon. He's a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late, you know that.

HEMMER: We’ll break down what's next for the Trump administration with his former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie.

Then, terror hitting an American ally yet again. At least 13 dead, including one American, in Barcelona.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Terrorists around the world should know -- that United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice.

HEMMER: We’ll discuss how the U.S. is fighting the war on terror with Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Plus, as Steve Bannon joins the list of ousted White House staffers, we will ask our Sunday panel how the shake-up will affect the president's agenda and those who put him in the White House.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: And hello from Fox News in Washington.

The president parting ways with his top strategist Steve Bannon after the week that saw the president get harsh criticism from both sides after the violence in Charlottesville. So, where does the White House go from here?

With me now, former Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie.

And, David, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."

BOSSIE: Thanks for having me.

HEMMER: First appearance as a guest, what took you so long?

DAVID BOSSIE, FORMER TRUMP DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The invitation lost in the mail.

HEMMER: Well, listen, it’s my first time, too. So, thank you for being here today.

How big of a loss is this for President Trump?

BOSSIE: Well, the president is his own agenda setter. He has been his own strategist for many, many years. And he lets everybody know that.

Don't get me wrong. Steve Bannon was an integral part of the White House, but this president understands how he got elected. He is the one who formulated really the agenda and the issues that we really ran on and Steve and I -- Steve called me in August of last year when he took over the campaign and I came and joined the campaign in late August.

So, again, I was somebody who came in late. But we help the president. It was the president's ideas. It has always been the president's agenda, 100 percent. For years and years, he's been talking about these issues.

HEMMER: OK, just the other day, the president said this about Steve Bannon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I like Mr. Bannon, he's a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on much later than that. And I like him, he's a good man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: That was -- that was Tuesday. What changed?

BOSSIE: I don't think anything has changed. I think every staff member serves at the pleasure of the president. There are different chapters in every presidency and staff changes do occur.

I do believe that Steve Bannon is going to be a very loyal soldier to the president as it relates to his agenda from the outside now. He is going to be --

HEMMER: You do -- you do believe that?

BOSSIE: I’ve talked to Steve many times. He’s going to be a very important voice for the president as it relates to leaning into Congress, specifically in trying to really get the failure of leadership in the House and in the Senate, to stand up and really take a hold of the president's agenda -- which is really if we’re looking at seven months on into this administration, one of the biggest challenges the president’s had. They wanted it all to be leaning on the president when in fact it's a failure of leadership in the House and Senate.

HEMMER: Let me get to that relationship in a moment, but who wanted Bannon out?

BOSSIE: Well, look, you know, there are a host and there has been, and we've all read about and seen about the different factions within the White House staff. There always is -- in every presidency, there are factions. There's no difference here.

And so, this is not -- it’s -- the one thing that I’ve learned from Steve in the last couple days is, in his opinion, for the future, this is not personal to him. This is about the president's agenda and the president succeeding on that winning agenda that got him elected last November.

HEMMER: The reason I ask is that, there are reports, it’s been said, Secretary Kelly, the new chief of staff, wanted people that only fit into the category that wanted to support President Trump. Did Steve Bannon fit in that category?

BOSSIE: Well, I -- 100 percent. I don't believe for a minute that Steve Bannon has gone against the president's agenda in any way, shape, or form.

HEMMER: So, anyone who would -- anyone who would suggest that he was working for himself as opposed to president would wrong?

BOSSIE: General Kelly, obviously, the new chief of staff coming in has broad authority to make changes as he sees fit and he's going to continue to do that. He wants to have and run a shop that he creates. This is something that -- the reason that Steve offered his resignation was to give that -- to give the general an opportunity to have a clean slate. I think much like -- much like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer before him.

HEMMER: OK, there is an interview late Friday night that Steve Bannon did with The Weekly Standard. In part, he said the following: The Trump presidency that we fought for and won is over. We still have a huge movement and we will make something of this Trump presidency, but that presidency is over.

What does he mean?

BOSSIE: I specifically believe that he means that Congress has failed. What I was mentioning before, that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have to step up, have to give us meaningful tax reform, have to get repeal and replace of ObamaCare done -- a host of legislative, you know, accomplishments that the president ran on and won on. And as a matter of fact, the reason that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are the leaders are because of the issues that President Trump won on. So --

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: OK, with regard to that, now, Bannon said the following also in that interview: The Republican establishment has no interest in Trump success on this. They’re not populists. They’re not nationalist. They have no interest in this program. Zero.

You agree with that?

BOSSIE: I agree that the House and Senate leadership has not bought into the president's agenda fully, and I think the record of the last seven months bears that out. We need to have House and Senate leaders come to the White House and work with the president on his agenda.

Tax reform -- let's just talk about the economy for a moment. Our economy is ready to roll. The president has added 1 million new jobs. No one else. The president with hope, growth and opportunity, an agenda and a belief that every American can have an opportunity in their future and their children's future.

That we have the lowest unemployment rate, 4.3 percent in over 16 years. The stock markets, the Dow is at an all-time high.

If we can get meaningful tax reform and tax relief for the American people, this economy is going to be growing at 2 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent very shortly. Last quarter, it was a 2.6 percent. That in the president's doing, that's the president bringing jobs home, getting corporations to want to hire again.

Stability, getting rid of these ridiculous over-burdensome regulatory issues that the Obama administration just burdened business with.

HEMMER: And Republicans in Congress may suggest that the White House has not given the leadership that’s necessary to push those issues over

BOSSIE: Sure.

HEMMER: -- the finish line. What Bannon argued in piece is that the effort on ObamaCare was half-hearted.

What is the responsibility of the White House to lead on these issues?

BOSSIE: You know, no one is saying the president is not leading. I think that there's a lack of leadership on one side of Pennsylvania Avenue. And so, look, we want everybody to work together. I do. I want -- I want the House and the Senate and the White House to work together to get these issues on the table and legislative accomplishments through the House and Senate that the president can be proud of and sign.

HEMMER: He also referred to West Wing Democrats. And as you sit here today, there are supporters all across the country -- maybe they are in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin. And they stood in long lines and they turned blue counties to red in support of Donald Trump.

How much assurance can you give them today that what they worked for will not be thrown away?

BOSSIE: Well, that's easy. The president of the United States is 100 percent committed to the agenda that he ran on and won on. The agenda of better education, better jobs, better job opportunities, and repeal and replace ObamaCare. To give the American people that hope, growth and opportunity that he promised during the campaign that we have to get done over the next year.

HEMMER: Remember candidate Trump said he was going to come to Washington, D.C., and he said he was going to drain the swamp. Did the swamp -- did the swamp win this week, David?

BOSSIE: No, no, no, no. He -- look, the president is fully committed to draining the swamp. He is in the throes of that fight right now. But the swamp -- as you drain the water, those creatures come out and that is really what this is about. The president is fighting every day. That broken status quo on both sides of the aisle, the broken status quo that has got us a $20 trillion debt that we’re going to have to increase the debt ceiling again next month.

This is -- this is something where we need to have meaningful reforms that the president ran on and won on. And I’m fully committed to helping them get there.

HEMMER: Thank you for being here today. David Bossie, thank you for your time and more to come.

In a moment here, we’ll bring in our Sunday group on how Steve Bannon's departure will affect the president’s relationship with his base. That’s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If you think you're getting your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. Every day, every day, it is going to be a fight.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is not a racist, I can tell you that. He's a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard. But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon, but he's a good person and I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: So, first, there’s Steve Bannon addressing CPAC February this past year, and then President Trump on Tuesday defending Steve Bannon, but stopping short of offering full confidence here in Washington.

It is time now for our Sunday group: Charles Hurt, opinion editor for The Washington Times, Juan Williams, columnist for The Hill, Bob Woodward from The Washington Post, and former National Security Council staffer Gillian Turner.

Good Sunday to all of your and thank you for being here today.

The president tweeted this yesterday on Steve Bannon. I want to thank Steve Bannon, he writes, for his service. He came to the campaign during my run against crooked Hillary Clinton -- it was great. Thanks S.

Bob Woodward, take us inside the West Wing. How does it change now without Bannon?

BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, remember, Bannon was the chief strategist. And as the chief strategist, he failed because there was no strategy. A strategy is you have to not just be a word person, you have to be somebody who comes out and says, OK, we’re going from here to here, it's going to take time and this is the plan.

And that's not the way Bannon thought, somebody who would make some very loud declarations to serve this purpose. It's very interesting and important, General Kelly, as a former four-star, is a strategic thinker. You have to be that in the military and you have to have a plan. Now, whether it's going to work, we’ll see, but that's the idea.

HEMMER: OK. Now, Charlie, there has been a lot of reaction.

Steve King, Republican from Iowa, conservative side, said the following at The Wall Street Journal: Who is going to defend the conservative Republican agenda?, he said. We are seeing Democrats and leftist team up with the never Trumpers. It denies the will of the people. It undermines the republic if election results are not honored.

Is he right?

CHARLIE HURT, OPINION EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: I think that -- I think he absolutely is right. And I think that there's a real concern across the country about just that.

But, you know, in terms of Steve Bannon leaving, you know -- and I think Bob is exactly right in a lot of ways. You know, Bannon is a disruptor. He's not an insider. He's an outsider. He's very good charging the gates from the outside.

And I think he will return to doing just that and that's why he was very valuable to Donald Trump in the election. I think he certainly helped get Donald Trump elected. That's not to say that he is somehow Trumps brain or anything like that.

Donald Trump and Steve Bannon arrived, you know, in agreement on so many of these issues independent of one another but they both believe them. And I think that in that respect, the Trump agenda is in good hands. The question is, will Republicans on Capitol Hill defend the conservative values?

HEMMER: So, just back to the main pointer, to his base, did they lose this week?

HURT: No, I don't think that they did. I think that -- because Trump is still in the White House, Trump still believes everything that he believed when he ran in the campaign. We have seen him hold fast on things like the environment, illegal immigration, international trade. He has not wavered on any of those things. So, no, I don't think that they lost. I think that if anything, they may have gained a very loud powerful voice on the outside who is now unrestrained from, you know, White House considerations.

HEMMER: You wonder if he was ever restrained. Steve Bannon would argue that no one is going to restrain him.

I thought it was interesting to hear -- Newt Gingrich with me on a Friday morning -- in a bigger picture, a bigger sense for this White House when he said this about President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: He's in a position right now where he is much more isolated than he realizes. On the Hill, he has far more people willing to sit to one side and not help him right now. That he needs to think about what has not worked. And you don’t get down to 35 percent range of approval and have people in your own party shooting at you and conclude that everything is going fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: Well, Newt Gingrich came on our program to deliver a message, Juan. Was that message received?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. I think that Newt is pretty close to the president. I think the president -- coming on FOX, I think the president might be watching. But this is an important message because there are people who are enablers, if you will, Bill, for the president, who tell him everything is going OK, you are still President Trump, you still have the energy, you still have the agenda.

But if you look at things like trade, if you look at immigration, if you look -- even Bannon wanted -- said, you know, we should have higher taxes on the rich, that's not in keeping with so much of the agenda that’s in the White House and it certainly hasn't been satisfied in terms of any legislative accomplishment on the part of this White House.

And that's why Newt says, you’re isolated on the Hill, you're fighting the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, you're having fights with Jeff Flake. You have Bob Corker, the senator from Tennessee, who has been a royal Trump supporter, coming out and say, this president not -- doesn't look stable, doesn’t look like he has the competence necessary going into the fall, going into fights over the size of the debt limit on the budget.

These are troubling signs inside the Republican Party for President Trump at this juncture.

HEMMER: There are very interesting pieces already out today about that very topic, Gillian. How do you think this goes from here?

GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, I think Speaker Gingrich sort of hit the nail on the head this week when he told you that if the president wants this kind of stability for his administration that Juan is talking about, meaning he's not hemorrhaging key advisors every week, what he needs to do is institute some message discipline. That was the first key thing.

The other key thing Speaker Gingrich said to you is that if somehow the president can get the Republican Congress to rally around him, to get in line behind him, everything going forward will be smooth sailing, you know, unicorns and rainbows and things like that.

But to me, what the key thing is, is actually right now first getting the White House in line behind the president, to get on board with his message. And I think with Steve Bannon out, the president really has a shot at that maybe for the first time during his presidency because to me, the hallmark, the calling card of Steve Bannon has been sort of this weaponization of leaked information. It's something that -- he certainly not the first person to bring to the White House, but he was able to bring it in an incredibly destructive way so that people felt that just the threat of leaked information was enough to deter them and stir them off course. So, if we get rid of that, at least for now, I think the president has a real shot at reining in the administration.

HEMMER: You know, Bob, you think about that. I mean, you were with President Bush during one of the lowest points of his presidency. And I’m not suggesting this is a low point for Donald Trump. We’re going to get to that a bit later. But you wrote the book "Bush’s War". I mean, these were heady times during the Iraq War.

When you listen to Newt Gingrich and talk about the approval rating, whether legitimate or not, how do presidents turned it around?

BOB WOODWARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, first of all, you have to get something that's a win as Trump frequently talks about. At the way you get a win is not executive orders, you’ve got to do something with Congress. And you can't work and get things done if you have a war between Trump and the Republican leaders.

Somebody has got to heal that breach. And if you don't, you’re not going to move forward, and that's where the strategic thinking, sorry, you've got to plan. And if they’re going to say, you know, you don't get everything you want, so they’re going to have to pick one or two of these things and try to get them. And it’s going to be a big --

HEMMER: Which one?

WOODWARD: Well --

HEMMER: Which one do they pick?

WOODWARD: Tax reform, infrastructure, phenomenally popular. We’ll see. But Trump is going to have to also restrain himself in these tweets, in these statements. He needs to be friendly with the Republicans.

HEMMER: I thought you were about to say presidential. You used a different word this time.

Go ahead, Charlie --

WOODWARD: No, no, but you need -- you know, this is about human relations as everything --

HEMMER: But they’re not going to take away the Twitter feed?

CHARLIE HURT, OPINION EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: No, no. And I don't think that that will solve everything either. And, certainly, the president deserves some bit of the blame, but listen to Juan run through the list of things that people in the Hill have said, it's kind of shocking to sit back and think about it. You know, talk about, you know, throwing rocks out of a glass house -- I mean, these are people who for seven years, these Republicans for seven years campaigned on repealing ObamaCare and then when they finally got an opportunity to do it, it turns out they have no plan. They have no ability to do it whatsoever.

So, while they are sitting there criticizing Donald Trump, I think in some cases unfairly, my goodness, why are they taking care of their own business? They’ve got a lot of problems up there.

HEMMER: Well, with regard to that, Steve Bannon said this in The Washington Post yesterday: If the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not there, it will be sweetness and light, be one big happy family. No administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction, about where it should go.

That is a loaded quote, Juan?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, that's why Steve Bannon said from his perspective, this presidency is over, which is a shocking thing to say -- I mean, coming from Steve Bannon, and the idea that Bannon now goes on the outside.

And I think Bannon will have a large megaphone. I think -- not only Breitbart, but I think he is going to have lots of allies in the conservative media who are echoing the idea that we’ve got to keep the pressure up on Donald Trump. So, right wing talk radio, the media. I don’t know, sometimes you look at Drudge, you think Drudge and some people are getting a little antsy about what's going on.

But the key for Bannon will be -- does he join, let’s say, with the Mercers, a very big, philanthropic conservative family, in trying to create an ever bigger megaphone to force Donald Trump to his agenda again?

HEMMER: Well, the other thing Speaker Gingrich said in the interview is the second book that Donald Trump wrote was called "The Art of the Comeback", and he suggested in that segment that he should reread it. That's from Speaker Gingrich, who I’ve referred to is likely trying to send a message.

Panel, hang on in a moment here. See you a little later in our broadcast today.

Next, though, after another deadly terror attack in Europe, questions about whether this kind of act can be prevented. The top Democrat in Foreign Relations, Senator Ben Cardin, will join us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Coming up, President Trump takes heat for his response to the attack in Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: We’ll ask our Sunday panel how he brings a voice of unity to a country looking for it, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: That is just a look at the gruesome scene on Thursday at the van, rather, mowed down many in Barcelona’s most popular district.

That attack leaving at least 13 dead, including one American. More than 120 injured.

Are we getting any better at detecting these attacks before they happen?

With me now, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Ben Cardin.

Senator Cardin, welcome back here to "Fox News Sunday."

SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MD, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Bill, it's good to be with you. Thank you.

HEMMER: I’ve got a number of things I want to go through in the next 10 minutes or so. Let's move through these as best we can.

First, on Spain, it is clear there was a well-established network operating around Barcelona. What can you tell our viewers about your level of confidence about being able to stop these networks before they kill, whether it's abroad or here at home?

CARDIN: First, our prayers go out to the family of the victims and we -- you hope those that are injured will make a full recovery.

What the Trump administration needs to do is articulate a strategy that uses all the tools in our military and diplomatic toolbox, working with our allies, and not just shrink this caliphate of ISIS and related groups, but to stop the exporting of terrorism in Europe and beyond. I think we need to have an articulated strategy that is well-understood, that uses all of the means as our intelligence community, our military, our diplomacy, working with our allies so that we can share information.

What happened in Spain looks like it was well-coordinated. We need to be better at tracking these things down before they occur.

HEMMER: Reports suggest the CIA told authorities in Barcelona two months ago to be on the lookout and nothing changed. A house blew up on Wednesday night and still, there was no action taken. So, what is the level of confidence again, whether it's in Europe or here at home that we’re making any progress on this, Senator?

CARDIN: Well, you know, when we stop terroristic activities from taking place, these are victories that we don’t always report about. When we are not successful, obviously, the tragedies that occur, we see them on the news. Clearly, something was missed here and we have to find out how that was missed.

The United States working with our allies need to make sure that we follow up on the information that we have. It's unacceptable to see the signs that we saw in Spain and still the tragedies took place.

HEMMER: What is still a developing story, and there will be developments throughout the day and the week to come.

Let's move to North Korea.

Twelve days ago the president got the world's attention when he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: And then a week later, in fact this past Tuesday, the North Korean regime said it would not take aim at Guam. The president followed on Wednesday with this tweet. Kim Jong-un of North Korea made a very wise and well-reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable.

Senator, did the president win this round?

CARDIN: No, not at all. In fact, I think he accelerated the point.

What we want to do is prevent North Korea from furthering its nuclear weapons program. Obviously if they take any aggressive actions against the United States or any of our allies, we will respond and protect our allies and our country.

What we want to do is have a diplomatic solution that will pull back North Korea's nuclear program. If we have seen no sign of that by what the president has done. We need the unity of international community. What the president did, I think, jeopardizes our relationship with China in trying to get China to put more pressure on North Korea. So, no, I don't think he advanced our objective.

HEMMER: Well, apparently that diplomacy is underway and more on that in the moment.

But just back to the question, the White House gets no credit for keeping this where it is right now?

CARDIN: The White House needs to articulate a North Korean strategy that we can work with the international community with the objective of ending a nuclear weapons program in North Korea. That's what our objective needs to be.

HEMMER: I want to call this comment from Steve Bannon's this past week. He said the following. There's no military solution to North Korea's nuclear threats, forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don't know what you're talking about, there's no military solution here, they got us.

Do we have to accept a nuclear North Korea?

CARDIN: No, I don't think we have to accept a nuclear North Korea. I do think -- and I rarely agree with Mr. Bannon -- I think, though, his point about the military is absolutely accurate. A military solution to North Korea will be catastrophic as far as the casualties involved.

What it means is, we have to have a different strategy with china. China can turn the screws on North Korea to a point where North Korea has no choice but to negotiate a change path in regards to their nuclear program. It starts with a freeze and then with pullback. North Korea wants to protect its regime. China can provide that type of protection without North Korea having a nuclear weapon. There are ways for this to move forward. Admittedly, it's extremely difficult, but it requires us to use diplomacy in a way that strengthens our ties with China.

HEMMER: I've heard you mention diplomacy several times. In 1995, Bill Clinton tried diplomacy. And we also offered North Korea $400 million in aid. In 2005, President Bush traded more aid to try and get a deal. We are 22 years later. Can't we admit that diplomacy, senator, has failed?

CARDIN: Well, we certainly have not been successful in a North Korean strategy. That is absolutely factually correct. What we do have, though, is a common agenda with China. China does not want a nuclear North Korea. But China does not want a unified Korean peninsula under South Korea.

So what China and North Korea have in common is the protection of the current North Korean regime. We can work with China because our objective is not to eliminate the regime in North Korea, our objective is to eliminate its nuclear weapons program. If we focus on that, working with China, there is a way forward. It is difficult, but what are the options? Where are the other options? Do we allowed North Korea to become a nuclear weapons state with unclear as to how they will use that to go against American values and interest? That's not acceptable. Do we use a military solution where literally hundreds of thousands of people could be killed? That's not a feasible solution. So we have to go down the path that gives us the best chance of a positive outcome.

HEMMER: OK. On Afghanistan, we may get a decision on this, this week. We know Vice President Mike Pence, H.R. McMaster favor putting more troops on the ground in Afghanistan. You've been pushing for fewer troops for about six years now. And I wonder if you have more in common with the president on that idea that you thought because he appears to be reluctant.

There's also this idea out there about putting a private security company to keep watch on the terrorists in Afghanistan today. My question is, 16 years down the road, $700 billion spent, is it time to be open to new ideas?

CARDIN: Well, I don't know if I'm in agreement with the president because I haven't heard what the president's plan is in Afghanistan. I haven't seen an articulated strategy.

We've invested a great deal in Afghanistan. Our objective needs to be that we have a regime in Afghanistan that can maintain some semblance of security so that we don't see growing terrorist organizations again within Afghanistan. That's our objective.

Should we use private contract troops? Absolutely not. There's no accountability there. That's not the purpose for private contractors. No, we should not do that.

Should we put more military in? Again, this is not the U.S. fight. I don't believe putting more American soldiers in Afghanistan is the answer. We really do need to work to fill the void so voids don't -- are created -- are not created so that there's opportunity for Afghanistan to have a stable central government.

HEMMER: Let's come back here in our country now and talk about this monument debate. It hit quite close to your home state of Maryland. This past week the president asked the following question about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This week it's Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you open -- you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: Your state of Maryland removed statues in Annapolis and in Baltimore in the middle of the night this past week. Do you think this is the best way to handle history?

CARDIN: Well, first of all, I think the president's gotten this all wrong as to how -- what we're trying to do. We're not changing history. We want to learn from history. There's no question about that. That's an important aspect.

You don't need a monument to learn history. Monuments are put up for different purposes. Some are more modern than others. Monuments should represent the contemporary needs of our society. And I think what Baltimore did and what Maryland is doing is appropriate. But we will not avoid history and we certainly want to learn from history.

HEMMER: All right, there is a prominent Democratic lawmaker in Maryland, a Democrat who leads the state senate. He was arguing in a letter to your governor, Larry Hogan, this past week that the addition of a statue is the appropriate way to go and he suggested the late Justice Thurgood Marshall. And he made the argument the following way. A very public and purposeful compromise to give balance to the state house grounds recognizing our state and our country have a flawed history. What's wrong with that argument when you consider learning about all of our complex American history, senator?

CARDIN: Well, I want our -- I want our young people to learn from all parts of our history. In Maryland we have Antietam Battlefield, which is a place where I hope people will go and visit and learn from it, the tragic history of our Civil War. We have the Harriet Tubman National Park where people can go and learn about the Underground Railroad. We have places in Maryland that I think are critically important to learn the good, bad and ugly about America's history and our path towards our democratic society. You don't need to have a monument that's offensive to certain parts of our history being glorified in order to fully appreciate the history of our country.

HEMMER: Mike Miller's making the case we need more monuments.

CARDIN: Well, you know, we have lots of monuments that people rarely visit. I think the important point is, let's find effective ways so people can understand the struggles of America. And, again, I point out the Harriet Tubman National Park.

HEMMER: Understood.

CARDIN: It's a wonderful place to visit, I'm going to be there later today.

HEMMER: All right, enjoy your visit there.

Senator, really appreciate your time today, thank you.

Ben Cardin, the Democrat from Maryland.

CARDIN: Thank you.

HEMMER: Thank you for being there.

In the moment, we'll bring back our panel to talk about the president after Virginia. What does he say now? Did he miss a chance to bring the country together? We'll get to all of that in a moment.

Plus, what would you like to talk to the panel about? Go to Facebook or Twitter, @foxnewssunday, and we just might use your question on the air.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

I think there's blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: So that was President Trump this past week, two different days, first on Monday, then on Tuesday, explaining his point of view after the attacks in Charlottesville and the violence we watched unfold there.

Back with the panel now.

Charlie, Bob, Gillian, Juan, happy Sunday.

There are those in this town who are saying this was the worst week yet for this president. Well, I remember the debate over John McCain and the gold star families and "Access Hollywood." I -- my question would be, is this week any different, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, it does seem like this presidency's been around for more than eight months, wouldn't you say? I'm just getting tired of all the winning. The winning is just driving me nuts.

But I -- but, you're right, I mean, it is a weak moment if you look at the poll numbers, which is what I would look at. I'd say this president's astonishingly low for a man who's just elected less than a year ago. But --

GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: It's an historical low, right, is it not?

WILLIAMS: It's a historical -- well you could -- well, it depends if you -- it's not a historical low versus all presidents, Gillian, but it's a historical low in terms of a man who's been in office for seven plus months. It's just -- we've never seen that. So that -- in that sense, low.

But, you're right, I mean it just seems to be like one thing after another. I feel like a fire hydrant's hitting me sometimes. You said he's a great quote giver and news maker. It's nonstop. And I -- you -- we talk about John Kelly, the chief of staff, trying to get control. Can he get control of the --

HEMMER: Well, we're going to see -- we're going to see about that as this issue moves forward. But I think this is the normal for Washington now. And we'll see whether or not that changes.

Bob is shaking his head in disagreement.

BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think this is different. I think President Trump's remarks post-Charlottesville really show and suggest that he does not understand what it's like to be black, Hispanic or a minority in America.

Now, he has said --

HEMMER: That's a strong -- that's a strong statement, Bob.

WOODWARD: Well, yes, but that's -- from the words it is provable.

Now, people who know him best and work with him say this is not Trump. This is not really what he believes. OK, the president -- having reported on these things, controversies, scandals, for 45 years, this is something that doesn't go away. It needs to be clarified. He needs to say in a very straightforward way, this is what I believe and this is why.

There is a role and we all know this for idealism in the American presidency. He needs to tap into that. His nature is to be a fighter, a combatant. This is something where he can, at least those who know him best will say, he is -- and he has set himself, he is not a racist. He is not an anti-Semite.

OK, those words are really shocking. When I heard those, I thought, this is the president of the United States talking? There's a way to clarify and tap into that idealism. To -- to walk away from it is not an (INAUDIBLE).

HEMMER: Let me come back -- let me come back to that.

Charlie, from Facebook Donna writes the following, how on earth can be expected to unite the country when the media, Democrats, liberals, never Trumpers, et cetera keep pounding away at every word he says and doesn't say?

That reflects exactly what his supporters think and feel.

CHARLES HURT, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Sure.

HEMMER: And like in the president.

HURT: And also for the previous eight years, it's not like we had a president who did a very good job of uniting the country after unfortunate incidents like this.

And the president has made very clear that he has denounced these evil groups with no -- in no uncertain terms. And so the idea that he hasn't done that is strange to me.

I grew up down in Virginia, not far from Charlottesville. Literally my entire life we have argued about these statues. And I can tell you that never in -- I cannot remember a single time when it was -- it ever became violent or -- you know, their tempers flare. People are very passionate about it. But there aren't racists and there aren't -- you know, it -- none -- these people that came from the outside to create this mayhem in Charlottesville, they're the only ones winning right now. And it's a very, very bad for our country.

And this notion -- and that we have an entire party that is built on the notion that America is a racist place, and it's not. And it's a very damaging thing to perpetuate.

When -- I cover Detroit Public Schools for five years. And when I think of a black kid in Detroit Public Schools being told -- given the message from day one that this is a racist country, you'll never survive because of the color of your skin, you are sentencing that child to a very bleak future.

The truth is that we have problems, we have disagreements, but we -- this is the freest, best country on earth with unlimited opportunities. And to tell a kid anything other than that I think is about as bad as racism.

HEMMER: Very well stated. Very well stated.

Juan, we talk about race a lot, you and I personally, and we have for a decade now. The Democrats and the left have offered a lot of criticism this past week. Where is the message of unity from Democrats coming now, other than throwing more daggers and more critiques at what they perceive is happening now?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think it has to be that you stand up and when you see something and -- that is morally wrong. And I think the president's words, when he came back and said, you know, that -- you know, both sides have some blame here, suggests that an equivalence that many people don't buy into. So yesterday in Boston you saw an incredible turnout for people saying, we stand against the message coming from the alt-right, from the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis.

When you see the CEOs of major companies pull away from the president, despite the arguments over tax reform that are coming, that's a pretty big sign. When you see the heads of the U.S. military units come out and say we are unified, we do not buy into any of these messages, don't confuse what the president said with what we're saying, I think that's a pretty strong message that they feel that -- if you look back to 9/11 with President Bush, or you look at after the Challenger disaster, Ronald Reagan, that somehow this moral moment was a failure for President Trump. He did not represent what Bob Woodward was calling our nation's ideals, that somehow that sense of common bond was a failure. So for Democrats, to call it out is energizing their base, Bill.

HEMMER: Gillian, I want you to respond to this. This takes us back to late fall, 2015, candidate Trump. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm going to unify. This country is totally divided. Barack Obama has divided this country unbelievably and it's all -- it's all hatred. What can I tell you? I've never seen anything like it.

Now, I'm going to unify the country.

I'll be unifier. I think I'll bring people together. And that includes blacks and whites and everything. I think people will come together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEMMER: So that was October and November of 2015. Two tweets late yesterday afternoon from the president. Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protests in order to heal, and we will heal and be stronger than ever before.

He went on with regard to Boston yesterday afternoon, I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one.

Gillian, what do you make of that now?

TURNER: So, the media largely accused the president this week of dithering in his response to what happened in Charlottesville last week. But I actually disagree with that analysis of the situation. I think President Trump made a calculated, strategic decision about how he was going to approach what had happened and what his response was going to be like.

Unfortunately, it is misguided. I think it was a miscalculation. But if you're the president of the United States and you're facing a nation that is internally divided, that is warning among itself, I think there's two options in front of you. One is, you can try and bring unity by -- and this is appropriate in certain situations, by saying, you know what, everybody shares a certain burden here, everybody factors into the blame. There is nobody who gets out of this scot-free without blood on their hands, without culpability.

The other -- the other approach you can take here is to try and bring unity by standing firmly with one side. And President Trump, this week, chose the former. And I think that was a huge, strategic mistake. But I don't think that analysts do a service to what happened by accusing him of not thinking through this, of dithering and equivocating. I think he just made a miscalculated move.

HEMMER: I'm trying to figure out -

TURNER: Perhaps (INAUDIBLE) of racists. Perhaps that's a racist (INAUDIBLE).

HEMMER: You know, and, Charlie, with regard to your comments from earlier, where the monument issue goes ultimately, Cindy writes on Facebook, Bob, the following, why not sit in the Oval Office and speak from the heart about this issue? All right, that goes back to your point. Is that something you would (INAUDIBLE)?

WOODWARD: Exactly, but this is not about monuments. This is about not just the words of the president, but his fundamental attitude. And you're absolutely right, this is a miscalculation and it's actually more than a miscalculation.

Now, the danger in this for critics of the president, people in the media, Democrats, and as is pointed out, many, many Republicans are not standing with the president on this. And some of his most severe critics are Republican.

But he tone cannot be self-righteousness. Oh, we get it. You don't get it. There can't be -- and, unfortunately, there often is, this kind of smugness. Oh, yes, I've got it right. I think we all need all step back from that and the president needs to seize that opportunity, whether you call it a mistake or a miscalculation.

HEMMER: We're going to leave it there.

Charlie, thank you.

Bob Woodward, Gillian, Juan Williams, thanks to all of you for being here on this Sunday.

In our moment, our "Power Player of the Week." Washington saying goodbye to one of its biggest celebrities.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HEMMER: Four years ago the National Zoo welcomed its miracle baby panda Bao Bao. But as we told you months ago, she's all grown up now. Here's Chris Wallace with our "Power Player of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: Here she comes.

WALLACE (voice over): We got some behind the scene times with Bao Bao as the National Zoo made final preparations to send her to a new life in China.

First stop, a scale.

BRANDY SMITH: The way to an panda's heart is a little bit of honey water.

WALLACE (on camera): That a girl.

SMITH: And that way she'll stand still voluntarily and we can get her weight on her.

WALLACE (voice over): Brandy Smith, who's a senior administrator at the zoo, took us through Bao Bao's paces. With the aid of honey water and hand signals, she put her paw out for a blood test.

SMITH: That's where the vein is in a panda's arm. And you can see the staff are pressing that vein so she's used to it.

WALLACE: They also trained her to cooperate when she becomes pregnant in China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you lay down.

SMITH: One keeper is always keeping her head busy and then now Shelly's training her for an ultrasound. So she's getting her used to having her stomach touched.

WALLACE: That's why thousands of people are coming to the zoo and millions more watching on panda cam to say goodbye to Bao Bao.

Since she was born, the arrangement has always been she would return to China before she turned four to reproduce. So these days have become a celebration of her life here. Her miracle birth after her mom had failed to produce a cub for almost a decade. Early training, playing in the snow and other adventures, and exploring the world around her.

WALLACE (on camera): Oh. I think that's the only reaction you can have.

SMITH: She's a little bit sleepy this morning.

WALLACE (voice over): We go back a long way with her. Well, three years anyway, when baby Bao Bao was just six months old. She weighed 25 pounds then, not 200. And I was one of the first outsiders who got to feed her.

SMITH: You can see if she wants some.

WALLACE (on camera): Oh, she's liking that a little bit.

SMITH: She looks very grown-up when she does this.

WALLACE: I, for one, am very proud of her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't put your hands to close. So --

WALLACE: I got that. That's not a problem.

WALLACE (voice over): Feeding Bao Bao now is a different proposition.

WALLACE (on camera): Three years ago, Bao Bao, remember? Here we come. Here we go. You like that? Huh? Huh? Wow. Bao Bao, you've grown up.

SMITH: So you've just made a panda very happy.

WALLACE (voice over): But Bao Bao's main task is to get used to the crate that will be her home for the 16 hour nonstop Federal Express flight to the Panda Center at Chengdu.

WALLACE (on camera): Why do you think her farewell is such a big deal?

SMITH: Sometimes people say that pandas receive too much attention, right? But this is what it takes to save an endangered species.

WALLACE (voice over): Bao Bao is part of that success story. The panda population has increased 17 percent over a decade. But for the folks who have taken care of her these last few years, her leaving is still emotional.

SMITH: Of course I am. She's my girl. But it -- I think of it like a child going off to college. She's going on to better things. She's going on to have cubs of her own. And I'm so happy for her, it's hard for me to be sad right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: And Bao Bao's trip to China went safe and smoothly. We're told she is happy and healthy to this day.

And that does it for us on this day. Chris is back next Sunday. Have a great week, everybody, and we will see you on the next "Fox News Sunday."

END

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