Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf on Trump administration's response to civil unrest

This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," June 7, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


More protests across the country, and a national debate over using active duty troops to keep the peace.


WALLACE: Protesters versus police in city after city as President Trump threatens to deploy the military.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country.

WALLACE: And a square just steps from the White House becomes the epicenter of the fight after security forces removed protesters for a presidential photo-op.

This hour, we'll discuss the president's push for law and order with Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.

And we'll ask former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen why so many military leaders are speaking out against the commander in chief. It's his first television interview during the controversy, only on "FOX News Sunday."

Then, a battle for the streets of Washington as tensions rise between the city's mayor and the president. We're joined by Mayor Muriel Bowser to talk about her request to remove the federal military presence from the nation's capital.

Plus --

TRUMP: Today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history but you -- it's not going to stop here.

WALLACE: President Trump celebrating shocking signs of economic recovery in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. We'll get analysis from Mohamed El-Erian, one of the world's most respected investors, then ask our Sunday panel about Mr. Trump's political standing after one of the most eventful weeks of his presidency.

All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".


WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

It has been a tough time for America. First, the coronavirus pandemic, which forced the country into lockdown. That caused a loss of millions of jobs.

And over the last two weeks, mass outrage over racial injustice sent tens of thousands into the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd. Now, a fierce national debate over what role the military should play in containing those protests.

In a moment, we'll speak with acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf.

But, first, let's bring in Mark Meredith at the White House with the latest on this weekend's protest -- Mark.

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, this weekend, demonstrations nationwide remained mostly peaceful as Americans once again came out to show their outrage over George Floyd's death.



MEREDITH: From outside the White House, to the heart of Philadelphia, and as far west as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, thousands of Americans on Saturday marched in solidarity against police brutality and in support of social justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers need to be held to a higher standard. You swore an oath. You studied the law.

MEREDITH: In Buffalo, New York, outrage is growing after officers were seen on camera shoving a 75-year-old protester. The man fell backwards, hit his head, and remains in the hospital. The two officers involved are facing assault charges. They pleaded not guilty.

President Trump continues to encourage peaceful protesting while also repeating his call for governors to keep law and order.

TRUMP: I hope they also use our National Guard. Call me, we'll be ready for them so fast, their heads will spin.

MEREDITH: This past week, as protesters gathered in D.C., the White House and nearby buildings were fortified, with officials installing new tall metal barriers around the people's house.


MEREDITH: Tomorrow, House and Senate Democrats will unveil a bill to address police reform. We expect many Democrats to support that effort, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- Chris.

WALLACE: Mark Meredith reporting from the White House -- Mark, thank you.

Joining us now, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.

Mr. Secretary, how would you characterize the situation on America's streets after last night? Is the violence finally over? Has peace been restored?

WOLF: Well, we have seen, over the last several days, Chris, that the violence, the violent protests and rioting that we have seen is diminishing, is subsiding, and so that's certainly an area that we want to see continue.

I think what we've seen over the past week is we've seen a number of violent protesters infiltrating and hijacking the peaceful protesters out there exercising their first amendment rights. And that's what we've been focused on, making sure that folks can protest and they can do that lawfully and peacefully. But when we see churches being burned, monuments defaced, businesses being looted, we've got to crack down on; we've got to address that. And the president's been very clear on that front.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on this idea of far-left extremists hijacking peaceful protests. Here's what Attorney General Barr had to say this week.


ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity.


WALLACE: But, Mr. Secretary, the Associated Press did an analysis of all the arrests over the last two weeks in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, and they found what they called, quote, "scant evidence of Antifa protesters or other outside agitators hijacking these protests."

WOLF: Well, I think there's two different things that you're talking about, Chris. These are the arrests that we make on site during the -- during the protests as they occur.

And so, as you indicated, you not only see Antifa; you see anarchists; and you also see what you call violent opportunists. These are individuals that perhaps don't have an ideology but are going to take advantage of that lawful or lawlessness to do that rioting, to do that looting.

But I think what you'll see over the coming weeks and months, in DOG, FBI and others, are, again, investigating. And you'll see some action and some activities coming out of those investigations. They may not be here today, but that -- that doesn't mean that they're not working on it. And that doesn't mean that we won't see action regarding some individuals that are at the -- at the forefront in leading these violent protests.

WALLACE: The decision to send 1,600 -- not National Guard but active-duty military troops to the Washington area this last week set off a storm of controversy. Here is how President Trump talked about it on Monday in a conversation -- a conference call with governors.


TRUMP: You have to dominate. If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time. They're going to run over you. You're going to look like a bunch of jerks.

WALLACE: Looking back, was that appropriate either as a way to keep the peace in these protests or as a proper use use of the military?

WOLF: Well, I think it's important to keep in mind, when the president made those comments, we were seeing cities burned; we were seeing looting and rioting that was out of control. And I think what we talked about earlier, over the last several days, we've seen that violent protest and that violent looting and rioting diminish.

It's not by happenstance and it's not by chance. It's because we took early action; we worked with state governors, local mayors, to make sure that they had the law enforcement necessary.

Can you imagine, if we had not done anything, if we had not increased our police presence in the D.C. area and in cities across the country, where that -- the rooting -- the rioting and looting would continue. And you would see a vast majority of more violent protesting occurring today, more churches being burned.

So I think we took the right action, and what we've seen is we've seen governors deploy the National Guard. We've seen governors and state mayors call the federal government asking for support. And that's what we've given them. And I'm happy to say it's worked, because we're in a place right now where we talked about a protest here in D.C. yesterday that was very peaceful. We had almost no arrests. And that's really how it should be going forward.

WALLACE: But -- but, respectfully, sir, I think you're setting up a straw man. Nobody said that we should simply leave the streets empty. And using police, using the National Guard are traditional. I think the issue was the idea of calling in active-duty military. And there are reports today that President Trump wanted 10,000 active-duty military.

A number of the nation's top retired military leaders spoke out against that, and we're going to have retired admiral Mike Mullen on right after we're done with you. And the president's own secretary of defense, Mark Esper -- you talk about, well, the protests got less violent. But here he was on Wednesday speaking out about the president's decision to call in active-duty military.

WOLF: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort. And only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.

WALLACE: Specifically, was calling in -- they weren't deployed. They were put to the outskirts of D.C., 1,600 of them. But, looking back, was calling in active-duty military, specifically -- was that overkill?

WOLF: So, again, from a law enforcement perspective, I would say making sure that we keep all our tools in the toolbox ready and available is very, very important. We don't want to take anything off the table.

Again, I would -- I would emphasize where we were five, six, seven days ago, when that protesting, the violent protesting and the looting and the rioting was out of control. We were taking measurable progress.

And I think what we've seen is that a number of states, a number of cities were able to control this with law enforcement resources, whether it's the National Guard, whether it's federal resources, DHS resources. We've seen that. We've seen it under control. And I -- I support that.

But this idea of let's start taking options off the table, I don't think is the right play. What we've seen is we haven't seen any active-duty military being used. I don't foresee that being the case because of where we're at today. So I think that's an important point to point out.

WALLACE: Let's turn the subject. I think most people would agree that the issue of the protests, the nonviolent protests about injustice in the black community and injustice in policing the black community is a real issue.

In Minneapolis, the stats are that the police use force against blacks at a rate seven times higher than they use it against whites. So there's all kinds of talk about reform. One of the ideas that's being mentioned on the left is to defund the police, to -- to restructure, start over with police departments. Does that make any sense to you?

WOLF: No, it doesn't. It's an absurd assertion, and I don't -- I don't understand it. So if you are concerned about the racial injustice, Chris, that you talked about; if you're concerned about needing to reform different police departments or law enforcement agencies, you want to make sure that you're giving them the right training, you're giving them the right oversight and the right leadership to do that so they can continue to protect the countries that they -- or the cities that they serve.

You don't do that by slashing budgets. It makes no sense to me. I think it's a very political statement to make, but it does not protect our communities at the end of the day.

WALLACE: Mr. Secretary, thank you. Thanks for joining us during this very busy time, sir.

Now let's turn to the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Retired Admiral Mike Mullen, for his first televised interview since speaking out on this controversy.

Admiral, a number of top retired military leaders like yourself have declined to speak out on the commander-in-chief for the past three plus years. That ended this week with General Mattis, you, others. Why now, sir?

ADMIRAL MIKE MULLEN (RET), FORMER JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Well, as I said in the piece that I wrote, Chris, I think we've reached an inflection point in the country, and specifically to address the issue of racism, which was obvious, the substantial protests that were out there, mostly peaceful, was a very strong message, and then the use of our mili -- the potential use of our military to fight our own people, to deploy in the streets and to use a phrase that the secretary of defense used, to dominate in the battlespace.

We have a military to fight our enemies, not our own people. And our mi -- and our military should never be called to fight our own people as enemies of the state. And that quite frankly for me really tipped it over.

WALLACE: Let's review the events of last Monday afternoon, which is the event that I think sparked you to finally write your piece, and to break your silence.

Shortly after 6:00 p.m., local and federal officers used force to move protesters back from Lafayette Park.

President Trump talked to reporters in the Rose Garden.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am your president of law and order, and an ally of all peaceful protesters. If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.


WALLACE: Then, the president and Defense Secretary Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Milley, walked from the White House, across the park and over to St. John's Church.

Why specifically was that so objectionable? And speak to what you just heard Secretary Wolf say, which is we didn't want to take options off the table. We didn't end up using active duty military, but we didn't know where we were going to be in terms of violence in the streets.

MULLEN: Well, specifically, Chris, the -- the active-duty troops that were brought to D.C. were part of the 82nd Airborne, which is a ready brigade. They're deployable on very short notice.

So, physically, did they really need to be in D.C. is one question? And when you move them not close, they are very much at the ready.

And in my own life, when I was about to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1968, the reflection back to Washington, D.C., in the spring of '68, when Martin Luther King had been killed. Bobby Kennedy was killed the night before -- the day I graduated from Annapolis.

And I see this reemerging and from a war, quite frankly, where the United States military lost the respect and the trust of the American people, we've regained that, and in very short order should we get into conflict in our own streets, there's a very significant chance we could lose that trust that it's taken us 50-plus years to restore.

That's what's in play right now, and we really don't need that kind of force, the American military to turn on the American people, particularly when they are -- they are executing their right to protest, you know, that is emblazoned in the Constitution of the United States.


As I noted with Secretary Wolf just now, Defense Secretary Mark Esper broke with the president on Wednesday about the idea of calling an active duty military.

But here is what he said on the conference call with governors on Monday. Take a listen.


MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think that evidence was clear on Saturday night and Sunday night. And so, at my urging I agree, we need to dominate the battle space.


WALLACE: Do think that Secretary Esper and the man who now has your former job, chairman of the joint chiefs, General Milley, do you think they should step down from their positions?

MULLEN: Stepping down from a position like that is really a personal decision. I don't (AUDIO GAP) Secretary Esper. I know Mark Milley pretty well.

I know Mark is working hard to represent the United States military in every single way. I know he has pushed back on the president with some of the federalization, if you will, of this mission, and I think he will work hard to do his duty every single day.

I think he's in a uniquely difficult position. That job is tough no matter when you're there, but he's in a uniquely difficult position because of this president.

WALLACE: I have a couple of questions I want to squeeze in, and we've got less than three minutes.

The U.S. military, I think you would agree, I think you're very proud of, is one of the great institutions in this country in terms of the way that it has handled the issue of race over the last more than half century.

Are there lessons from the military and how they handle race that you think are applicable to our nation's neighborhoods?

MULLEN: Well, I think what's in question right now, back to sort of the tipping point, is -- this is a moment, I think, of moral clarity and support of our values, which certainly is -- involves the equality for all, equal justice under the law. And we've been actually very, very good at making an awful lot of progress with respect to that.

That said, I've heard for minority members of the military right now who are in despair and in anguish and appreciated my comments, because it gives them some hope that leadership may be more courageous. So there is a lot to learn. And yet we are not perfect and the military, probably the single biggest thing we lack are black leaders at the four-star level, and we should do much more about that.


MULLEN: And that's on the current military leadership.

WALLACE: I want to pick up on a comment you made just before that when you said that General Milley is in a particularly difficult position given this president. In your essay for "The Atlantic", you had some very tough things to say about President Trump, I want to put them up on the screen.

He laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest. I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief. This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.

There was talk, Admiral Mullen, as you well know, back in 2016, that you might run on a ticket with Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. There was talk that you might run on a ticket with Howard Schultz against Donald Trump in 2020.

Some might call you -- perhaps today the president will call you a Trumpet hater. How do you plead, sir?

MULLEN: My -- my goal in both expressing myself recently and -- I was not involved in any of those discussions in 2016, as -- as you just described. My goal is to support what we need for the country.

This is a moment, as I said, of moral clarity. I think it's very clear in the future whether we want to unify the country in a political division -- in the political division that has existed now for years, or whether we want to continue to divide the country. That is a choice that the American people have in front of them in the very near future.

WALLACE: Admiral Mullen, thank you. Thanks for your time, sir. Always good to talk with you.

Up next, one of the largest demonstrations Saturday was in the nation's capital. Mayor Muriel Bowser joins us to discuss the city's embrace of the movement and her clash with President Trump.


WALLACE: After a week on edge, protesters turned out by the tens of thousands Saturday in the nation's capital. Multiple marches converging on 16th Street, one of the main roads to the White House, protesting police violence and racial injustice.

And D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser joins us now. Mayor, D.C., as we say --


WALLACE: -- had one of its biggest protests so far in these last two weeks, and there was very little violence. First of all, how many arrests were there? And is the violence over in the streets of Washington, D.C.?

BOWSER: Well, let me say this, Chris, all week we've had peaceful protests in Washington and you're quite right that yesterday we saw our largest crowds that met at various places throughout the District and converged on 16th Street at Black Lives Matter Plaza. And what we heard was people exercising their First Amendment rights and demanding justice and peace and a more fair system. And we, as I understand it, had no arrest last night.

WALLACE: You have been in a week long battle with President Trump. After this weekend -- this past weekend, when protestors surrounded the White House, you tweeted this -- I'm going to put it up, "just a scared man. Afraid/alone." And the president in the last couple of days has tweeted back at you, "grossly incompetent".

Question Mayor, why is it useful -- why is it constructive to get in a fight with the President of the United States?

BOWSER: We're not engaged in a fight but we are engaged in a defense of our city. You know, Chris, that Washington, D.C., we are the Nation's Capitol, we are -- we function as a city, county, and state. I act as the county executive, the mayor, and the governor for 700,000 tax paying Americans. And what we saw last week was basically an invasion of our city. Active duty Army troops moved from all points around the country to threaten our autonomy. And what you saw -- and I won't have it reduced to a spat, was how I have to defend our tax payers, and it's sad to say, that we would have to defend ourselves against federal forces.

WALLACE: Then on Friday you renamed the area just in front of Lafayette Park. You renamed it Black Lives Matter Plaza and you had this giant sign painted on 16th Street leading to the White House. Mayor, what's the point there?

BOWSER: Well, it's a mural, Chris, and as you know in D.C. we have a program called MuralsDC where we turn all types of expression into beautiful art around our city. And what we have -- what we commissioned was the Black Lives Matter mural and it's become a centering point, a place for healing, strategizing, talking, but also redress, which is a right in America where citizens from all over the country come to their nation's capitol to deliver grievances at the footstep of the people's house.

WALLACE: Interestingly enough, that started another fight, not with the president but with Black Lives Matter DC which said that your mural that you commissioned or approved was a distraction from real policy issues and they're calling you out, saying that you are increasing funding for policing at the same time that you are cutting funding in D.C. for community intervention programs.

BOWSER: Well, Chris, what I know is public safety in Washington, D.C. and what our needs are in Washington, D.C. And we have invested not a penny more and certainly not a penny less than what we need for safe neighborhoods in our communities. In the same budget proposal that I have front of my council now, an unprecedented (ph) revenue decline because of COVID-19, increases more than 3 percent in funding for our D.C. public schools.

What we also see is a very innovative policing program where we hire D.C. residents, send them to college while they're working for the Metropolitan Police Department. And what that does is it makes us have a force that is diverse, it has more women, it has more D.C. residents, and it will help us create a partnership between police and community.

WALLACE: Finally, I've got about a minute left for this Mayor. You're also getting criticized by conservatives for the fact that they claim you evicted 300 -- no, 200 members of the Utah National Guard from their hotel on Friday morning after they had just pulled an all-night shift protecting your city. Did you evict them? Because the fact is they did have to leave their hotel that day.

BOWSER: Well, Chris, I'm sure you're aware I have no ability to evict anybody from a private hotel and, certainly, I think the people of Utah should know this, that their governor and their senators at (ph) the United States Army were responsible for making the accommodations for the Utah National Guard and certainly paying the bills. And we did insist that D.C. residents don't pay the bills for troops that we didn't request. But we are certainly happy that the Guardsmen were comfortable in downtown hotels. And I understand that the Army has worked out all payment arrangements.

So I'm not sure that anybody left anywhere.

WALLACE: Mayor Bowser, thank you. Thanks for taking time out to --

BOWSER: Thank you.

WALLACE: -- talk with us. And I hope you have -- and the city has, a more peaceful week this coming week. Thank you, Mayor.

Up next, surprising signs over recovery as the country reopens and the unemployment rate drops. We'll ask an influential voice in the financial world, Mohamed El-Erian, what the numbers mean.


WALLACE: Coming up, President Trump takes a victory lap after a surprising jobs report shows signs of recovery.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As good as these numbers are, the best numbers are yet to come because so many areas are still closed or very partially closed.


WALLACE: We'll ask investment guru Mohamed El-Erian what's next for the economy.


WALLACE: Experts were bracing for the many jobs report Friday, expecting another sharp slide in the economy. But, instead, we got something we haven't seen much of the last few months, some good news. A welcome sign for -- and a country reeling from a pandemic and the shutdown.

Joining us to dive into the numbers, Mohamed El-Erian, who led Pimco for years and is now the chief economic advisor at Allianz.

Mohamed, instead of the economy losing 8 million jobs, we actually picked up two and a half million, instead of the unemployment rate soaring to close to 20 percent, it actually dropped to 13 percent.

Two questions, how surprised were you by the jobs report on Friday and what does it mean?

MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER AT ALLIANZ: Mohamed: Thanks for having me on, Chris.

I was very surprised. This will go down in history as the biggest, positive data shock for the markets and the economy. And you saw how surprised the markets were. They surged on Friday, capping a strong week and -- with the Nasdaq closing at a record high.

It was also very surprising to the economists. Not a single one thought that we would create jobs. Everybody expected that the unemployment rate would go up.

In terms of what it means, people are still scratching their head. It's some combination of an incredibly resilient economy that's bouncing back, the impact of government measures, including the Paycheck Protection Program, and, finally, maybe some data distortion. So we can't figure it out yet, but it certainly is good news.

WALLACE: Let me -- let me pick up on both sides of that. First of all, there is this talk about a phrase I had never used, that it might be a data head fake and that we're going to have to wait for next month, for the June numbers, to see if it's really that good.

What is that about, the -- the idea of something strange with the data?

EL-ERIAN: So a couple of things. There's a category in their which says staying at home for other reasons than unemployment. It is supposed to capture jury duty. That category has become really big. And if you adjust for it, that's an additional three percentage points on the unemployment rate.

But that's a he second element. Like everybody else, data gatherers are having challenges in these pandemic days. And in mid-May, most of the economy was still shut, so the surveys may be incomplete. So that's what people mean by it could be. I want to stress could. We don't know. It could be a data head fake.

WALLACE: But there are other signs besides the jobs reports that the economy is coming back. Reportedly 80 percent of small businesses have reopened. The TSA head count of people coming in to the airport, going through security, is four times what it was at the low a couple of months ago.

Here is a very happy President Trump in the Rose Garden on Friday.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've been talking about the "v." This is better than a "v." This is the rocket ship. This is far better than a "v."


WALLACE: So are we on a rocket ship that the economy is now headed straight back up?

EL-ERIAN: So all the data, the high-frequency data, you cited some of them, others include mobility, restaurant bookings, they all point to a pickup. What they don't point to, however, is a very sharp "v," more like a check mark, Chris. That's what they point to.

And that's really important because the worst thing we can do right now is to relax. Is to think the economy is coming back on its own, we don't have to worry about what it's going to look like in the next six months, 12 months. There's a lot we can do now to make sure that this recovery is sustainable and it's inclusive and strong.

WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on that because Republicans in Congress were already questioning the need for another stimulus package. And over the weekend, Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic advisor inside the White House, said that he doesn't think talks with the Senate, Senate Republicans, about another stimulus package will even start until after July 4th.

Do you think that this is the right time to take our foot off the gas pedal?

EL-ERIAN: I wouldn't take our foot off the gas pedal. I would evolve what we're doing. So rather than focus just on relief and very broad relief measures, sending everybody checks, let's have very focused relief measures that focus on the most vulnerable segments and importantly do this in a pro-work way.

Secondly, let's ensure that living with COVID encourages people to engage more.

And, finally, let's do things we know we need. Both parties know we need this. We need better infrastructure. We need better labor retooling and retraining. Let's take this opportunity to put in place the foundation for very strong growth.

WALLACE: While the overall unemployment rate went down, the unemployment rate for blacks actually went slightly up, 0.1 percent to 16.8 percent. And you say that -- that the coronavirus and the shutdown has only increased the inequality in income and wealth and opportunity in the minority and especially the black community.

So do you think that the economic problems that have been exacerbated by the -- the coronavirus and the shutdown have been part of the -- the -- the propellant that has sent so many people into the streets over the last couple of weeks?

EL-ERIAN: I think they have. But it's been mainly an issue of justice.

I think if you look at the numbers, what's very clear is that in its downturn, this economy was a very unequal opportunity unemployer. The unemployment rates for blacks shot up much faster than it did for whites. And on the way back, last Friday's data told us that while whites got a very sharp reduction in the unemployment rate, the rate for blacks went up, as you cited. So we also are an unequal opportunity employer.

So I think it's really important to focus on this. We have a problem of income and wealth inequality, but most importantly we have a problem of inequality of opportunity. And equal opportunity is what makes this country special. It's the American dream. And things can be done to make opportunities more equal. In fact, they must be done.

WALLACE: So, very briefly, 30 seconds, are you suggesting that as we come back, that the uneven -- the inequal economic situation between black and white in this country is likely to get even worse?

EL-ERIAN: I -- it's happening on income. It's happening on wealth. And I worry that it's going to happen in opportunity.

A quick example. If we -- our schools don't go back full-time, and people are at home online, that is going to distinguish between those who can afford good wi-fis and computers and those who cannot. And we don't want that to happen at such an early age for the next generation.

WALLACE: Mr. El-Erian, thank you. Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us. Always good to talk with you, sir.

Up next we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss one of the toughest weeks of the Trump presidency.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history. But you -- it's not going to stop here. It's going to keep going.


WALLACE: President Trump celebrating the resilience of the economy and perhaps his own political resilience ahead of the 2020 election.

And it's time now for a Sunday group.

Co-founder of "The Federalist," Ben Domenech, Marie Harf, executive director of the Serve America PAC, and Jason Riley of "The Wall Street Journal".

Ben, this was one of the toughest weeks, I think it's fair to say, of the Trump presidency, being called out by religious leaders for his walk across Lafayette Park to St. John's, then being called out by military leaders for his decision to at least call out, to -- to send active military, active- duty military to the D.C. area. And then, on Friday, we had these astonishing jobs numbers.

So, from a political point of view, did that erase all the bad news from earlier in the week?

BEN DOMENECH, CO-FOUNDER, "THE FEDERALIST": It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I think the president is a lot more comfortable talking about economic data, being a cheerleader for a thriving economy than he is dealing with the kind of cultural civil war that I think we see playing out across the country in so many different, terrible ways.

The president's response to this, I think, he seemed like his old self again. But we shouldn't expect that this is going to be the way things go for the next several months. The president's hopes for the fall really depend on having a sustained period of growth, having that kind of rocket ship that he's talking about. And I think it's far too early to say whether that's going to happen given the damage these lockdowns have done to the fundamentals of our economy.

WALLACE: Marie, Joe Biden had a tough time on Friday trying to find a black lining in this silver cloud on the economy.

Here's what he came up with.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president, who takes no responsibility for costing millions and millions of Americans their jobs, deserves no credit when a fraction of them return.


WALLACE: Marie, first of all, the president didn't cost millions of Americans their jobs, it was the -- the virus that did. And doesn't he risk, in a response like that, looking like a bad case of sour grapes?

MARIE HARF, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVE AMERICA PAC: I think that Joe Biden's message here is going to be that there's still a lot of people hurting out there in this country and that the recovery, this small recovery we've started to see, is only really, at this point, benefiting one section of Americans, and that's white Americans. So there are millions and millions of people still out of work at depression level eras -- depression era levels. And Joe Biden's theory of the case has always been, I feel your pain. He has empathy. That is in stark contrast to President Trump, who invoked George Floyd's name when talking about these unemployment numbers.

So I actually think that Joe Biden has a message here that will resonate with the millions of Americans still out of work. Things are still very bad for many people right now and we can't lose sight of that because of these small, good economic numbers.

WALLACE: Well, Jason, let me bring you in to break the tie here.

The economic numbers. The fact that -- that jobs increased. That the unemployment went down. Is that glass half-full or half-empty?

JASON: RILEY, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I think it's too early to tell, but it is good news and the Democrats are in a position to not be able to celebrate it for political reasons, and that's a tough position to be in. You know, we don't know whether this is a blip or whether the economy has hit rock bottom and is now on the mend. We all hope it's -- it's the latter.

But my -- my takeaway from this, Chris, is something you said earlier, which is about whether another big stimulus package is in order. And I think this news tells us to hold off on that, particularly on extending any sort of unemployment insurance that could discourage people from returning to their old jobs. I don't think we want to do that. We want to let this economy open up and let people return to work.

So I think the big takeaway here is that, for a Washington to take its foot off the petal right now.

WALLACE: Jason, let's turn to the -- the big story this week and over the last two weeks, the tremendous outpouring of -- of rage, of anger, of hurt about the racial inequities in this country.

Here was former President Barack Obama this week.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You have helped to make the entire country feel as if this is something that's got to change. You -- you've communicated a sense of urgency that is as powerful and as transformative as anything that I've seen in recent years.


WALLACE: Jason, we have seen this movie too often, undo police violence against individuals. Then anger, even violence in the streets, promises of reform and nothing much happens.

Is this -- is the story this time going to be any different?

RILEY: I hope not, Chris, but I fear that it will be. I -- partly because I don't think we're looking at this in the right context, or in some cases in any context. We can talk about, you know, reforming police tactics, we can talk about reforming police unions or doing a better job of rooting out bad cops and so forth. I'm all for that. But that's only going to get us so far because at the center of this problem is not police behavior, but criminal behavior.

You know, something like around 7,000 -- more than 7,000 black homicides take place each year. Police are involved in about two, three, 4 percent of them, Chris. So where -- where is the -- the outrage and the protest and the anger over the 95, 96, 97 percent of black homicides in this country that do not involve police in any way whatsoever? So even if the protesters are successful in -- in -- in -- in ending police violence against blacks, as they've put it, they've solved about 2 percent of the problem here.

So, again, I think we need to -- to put this into context and I don't see that being done in -- in the media or among our political leaders.

WALLACE: Marie, how do you respond to that? The argument that before the black community starts talking about the power structure or the police, not to say that there aren't problems there, they need to look at the problems inside their own community?

HARF: Well, I think we can look at a number of different problems in this country all at the same time and we shouldn't use problems within black communities to distract from the really important work or take away from the conversation, the really important work we have to do with policing in this country.

And if you look at the videos from the last week of police officers in red states and in blue states violently assaulting peaceful protesters in places like Buffalo, in places like Atlanta, across this country, caught on video. We know that this is a moment of reckoning in our country where we have to have a conversation about how our police departments behave, how they behave towards peaceful protesters using their First Amendment right. And there have been too many incidents this week caught on camera. We have to have that conversation and make it bigger about inequality and injustice on an economic level, on a health care level. We have to have this conversation as a country right now.

I hope this moment is different, Chris. I hope this change.

WALLACE: Look, I -- I would just push back, Marie, by saying that I'm sure -- we have seen some videos that were very disturbing of police violence this week. We have also seen many more videos of -- of protesters, rioters. And you've got to know that in a lot of those cases, where the police pushed back, that they had been taking unmitigated crap (ph) for a long period of time before they -- they finally lost their temper and struck back. Not an excuse.

We have about a minute left.

Ben, what do you take away from these two weeks?

DOMENECH: I think that the country was largely unified when they saw the terrible video of George Floyd. I think that ever since then we've been coming apart. This cultural civil war that I was talking about, it's been simmering and now it's boiling. And I think that you saw some really disturbing things happen this week, including the image of Tim Kaine kneeling on the ground like he's a hostage, the images from the Minneapolis mayor being shouted down for refusing to defund the police. It sets up a clash for the fall between the politics of radicalism and defunding the police and law and order.

WALLACE: Thank you, panel. Obviously this is a conversation that will continue and should continue. And we'll see you all next Sunday.

Up next, a preview of a special hour on Fox News Channel tonight, an inside look at the final moments before the U.S. dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima 75 years ago.


WALLACE: As you may know by now, my new book comes out this Tuesday, and is available online right now. It's called "Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World."

The book tells the inside story of President Truman's agonizing decision to drop the atom bomb that ended World War II.

Well, tonight on Fox News Channel, we have an hour-long documentary special about those 116 days.

Here's a look at the final seconds as mission commander Paul Tibbets nears Hiroshima and a young girl at ground zero years on the radio U.S. planes are overhead.


WALLACE (voice over): The engines moan their steady song as the Enola Gay cruised 5,500 feet in the air, just above the clouds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 8:15, a whether plane reports from Hiroshima that conditions are good.

WALLACE: Finally, Tibbets revealed the secret to his crew. Over the intercom, he said, we are carrying the world's first atomic bomb. Several men gasped. Others thought now it all makes sense.

WALLACE (on camera): So you had started reading a book?

HIDEKO TAMURA, HIROSHIMA SURVIVOR: Cousin (ph) Hidoki (ph) had given me a latest summarized duel (ph) story, so this (ph) I had to keep up with him (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 31,000 feet over Hiroshima, the Enola Gay begins the bomb run.

WALLACE (voice over): With Hiroshima in view, bombardier Thomas Ferebee confirmed, we're on target.

TAMURA: So I heard a radio on. And they said -- they said something about only one or two planes. And I said, oh, well, you know, usually hundreds come over. One or three (ph)? Oh, OK, that's different.

WALLACE: At 9:15 a.m., the bomb bay doors opened. Ferebee released "Little Boy" from its restraining hook. Bomb away, he shouted. The men waited. Nothing happened. Was "Little Boy" a dud?


WALLACE: Again, the book comes out this Tuesday, June 9th. And the "Countdown" documentary airs tonight on Fox News Channel at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

And that's it for today, have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

Content and Programming Copyright 2020 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.