Published December 02, 2018
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," December 2, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
The nation mourns our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush, as President Trump calls a temporary truce in the trade war with China at a summit of world leaders in Argentina.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've made tremendous progress at the G20 with many nations.
WALLACE: We'll break down the summit and how the president dealt with challenges from China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia with two key senators, Republican Roy Blunt, a member of the GOP leadership, and Democrat Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Then, remembering a war hero turned statesman.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: I really believe it. I really believe there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.
WALLACE: We'll revisit some of our special moments with Bush 41.
Do you feel a tremendous sense of pride when you see not just your children but your grandchildren carrying on the family tradition?
BUSH: A total sense of pride and great happiness.
WALLACE: And we'll get reaction from former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as his secretary of defense, and James Baker, who served us as secretary of state, together, only on "FOX News Sunday."
Plus, we'll ask our Sunday panel about the legacy of President Bush.
BUSH: Made plenty of mistakes, got some things right. Bottom line, serve with honor.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".
WALLACE: You are looking live at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Air Force One, that carried our 40th president around the globe in pursuit of peace.
And welcome to a special hour of "FOX News Sunday" from the Sixth Annual Reagan National Defense Forum, a gathering of key figures in national security. It was here we learned of the death of former President Bush, who among his many roles served as Reagan's vice president.
We'll spend much of this hour reflecting on Bush's accomplishments, including a joint interview with Dick Cheney and James Baker.
But we begin with breaking news. President Trump has put the brakes on his trade dispute with Chinese President Xi.
Let's bring White House correspondent Kevin Corke live in Buenos Aires where President Trump met with world leaders -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Chris, by agreeing to effectively a 90-day cease-fire, President Trump and his Chinese counterpart sent a very strong message to a market rattled world that the ongoing trade dispute between the world's two largest economies could soon be entering a new phase.
TRUMP: This is a very important meeting. A lot of people are looking forward to it. I know that President Xi and myself are looking forward to it.
CORKE: For two and a half hours, the world watched and waited. That's along the high-stakes talks between President Trump and his Chinese counterpart lasted here at the G20 Summit in Argentina, a working dinner that proved long on process but somewhat short on specifics.
We did learn that Americans agreed to leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the New Year, agreeing not to raise them to 25 percent as previously threatened. In return, China agreed to buy a substantial but unspecified amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other products from the U.S. to reduce its trade balance.
Both countries agree they will try to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If it doesn't happen the Americans insist it will be raised to 25 percent. Meanwhile, after avoiding any public interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin for much of the summit, the White House confirmed that President Trump did in fact have an informal conversation with the Russian leader, speaking at a cultural event here that not coincidentally was closed to reporters.
A bit of housekeeping for you, Chris. We also learn from the president that his next meeting with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un will likely take place in early 2019, January or February, according to the president, who also told us we would strongly consider a two-week extension to avoid a government shutdown, a funding extension that is, as the nation mourns the death of President Bush -- Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from Buenos Aires -- Kevin, thanks for that.
Joining us now with reaction to the meeting with President Xi is one of the Senate's Republican leaders, Roy Blunt.
Senator, as Kevin just reported, President Trump has agreed to pause any inquiries and tariffs or new tariffs for 90 days while we negotiate with the Chinese about trade issues, trade architecture, issues like trade technology and also about their buying more U.S. goods. But isn't that the kind of vague, nonspecific offer from the Chinese that the Trump administration has rejected in the past?
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO), VICE CHAIR, REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE: Well, Chris, first, let me join all the Americans who express in such gratitude for President Bush in his life and his great example.
But on this topic, people like me who have really been concerned about the president's stated trade policy can take some encouragement about what happened in the last couple of days, the signing of the U.S., Canada, Mexico agreement. That's a big step that six months ago or even just a few weeks ago, we were concerned we would not be making that kind of progress. And on the Chinese front, you're exactly right.
But we need more specifics here. The ag products that come from my state, that come the middle of the country, I think the soybean exports to China have gone to virtually zero from about one out of every three rows of soybeans were being exported to China. So, whether it's those kinds of crops or pork or beef or chicken, we need to see some real specific figures here. This has hurt a lot of Missouri farm families and farm families all over the country.
But the president's goal to get China in a better and fairer place in trade is the right goal. I'm just hoping that what we've seen in the Canada, Mexico side of the ledger is now going to have the same kind of impact as we are negotiating seriously with China.
WALLACE: Do you worry -- and you kind of indicate you do, about the impact that the president's trade wars around the world, but especially with China, are having on the economy? We see the stock market jumping up and down. GM announced layoffs this week, that is going to close five plants and lay off 15,000 workers, do you worry that the president's trade policy is playing a role in all of that?
BLUNT: Well, I am concerned about it and the president knows that. He's been very open to talking with me about it but I think it's hard to win a trade war and I also think, though, that the facts on the table with China are stronger than any other country in terms of our legitimate concerns in the more other things that the president can move off the table, whether it's Canada, Mexico, the E.U., Japan, the more of those things he can move off the table, the more flexibility he has with China.
But I'd like to see China become the market that they should be for us, but I would also like to see China create the opportunities for American companies that invest there to do things besides just steal our intellectual property and violate the agreements that China has clearly made and doesn't stand up to.
WALLACE: Senator, President Trump also canceled his meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20. He said because of Russian aggression against Ukraine. But the Russians, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry suggested that the main reason, the real reason may be because of President Trump's domestic political problems, including new revelations from the special counsel.
Two questions about that, do you think that the special counsel's investigation has cast a cloud and made it more difficult for President Trump to do business on the world stage? And what you think of the fact -- because this is not the first time that Robert Mueller has announced some action just as the president was headed out on a foreign trip?
BLUNT: Well, you know, I haven't thought a lot about the Mueller thing here. I certainly do think that lying to the Intelligence Committee that I'm part of it is a big mistake for whoever does it and create lots of problems for the committee itself. You know, when you lie to a congressional committee, when you live to an investigation were hundreds and thousands of man-hours, people hours are being spent, the question you asked the next witness may be different, a witness you don't call may be somebody you would have called if you've gotten the right answer.
I'm glad to see the special prosecutor taking that particular crime seriously, but on the Russian front, I hope if the president did have any words to exchange with President Putin it was outrage about what the Russians are doing in Ukraine. It is totally unacceptable. The president I think announced that he wasn't going to have that meeting pretty quickly after what happened in Ukraine as were opposed to in response to anything else and if the president had a chance to talk to President Putin, I hope his talk was very frank and no holds barred that we are not going to accept the kind of activity that the Russians are looking at in Ukraine and Crimea and we better send a strong message about the rest of Eastern Europe.
WALLACE: Senator Blunt, thank you. Thanks for coming in.
BLUNT: Great to be with you.
WALLACE: Always good to talk with you, sir.
Joining us now, the number two Democrat on this Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin.
Senator, your reaction to the pause that has been announced in President Trump's trade war with China?
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Chris, first, it's good to be with you.
And, clearly, it is encouraging to see that we are talking with the Chinese on the trade front. China has created many problems with trade. They have many obstacles to free trade. My concern about the president's trade policy is that his first action was to take tariffs against our closest allies based upon national security exceptions.
We've lost the unity that we needed in dealing with China. So, now, as we go to a G20 meeting, the conversations take place we only two partners where we would have been stronger if we had our closest allies working with us in regards to a China solution (ph).
WALLACE: We talked with Senator Blunt about the GM layoff and you know about that personally because part of that layoff is the closing of a facility in Baltimore that employs more than 300 people. Do you think that the president's trade policy and the imposition of tariffs, not just on China but other countries around the world, has played a part in the GM layoffs, the added costs for steel and aluminum and for a lot of the economic instability that we are seeing right now?
CARDIN: I do. I do think that the way the president has gone about the trade policies imposing tariffs, there's a consequence, there's a domestic consequence. And clearly, General Motors decisions are in part based upon the tariffs issue. So, yes, it has an impact and it cost us jobs here in America.
WALLACE: Let's turn to Russia, and you heard my discussion with Senator Blunt about the canceling of the meeting. Varied reasons given, the White House says it was because of Russian aggression in Ukraine. The Russians suggested maybe it was because of President Trump's problems with the special counsel.
Do you worry at all but the special counsel is casting a cloud over this president and his ability to do business on the world stage? After all, Robert Mueller has been at this since May of 2017 and, yes, there have been some guilty pleas, including from Michael Cohen this week, but there still is no solid evidence of any collusion between President Trump and the Russians.
CARDIN: Chris, I worry more about this president interfering with an independent investigation, and what impact that has not only in America but for the rule of law around the world. Mr. Mueller needs to be able to complete his investigation without interference. He's already had too much interference from the Trump White House.
So, I think that America, which stands for the rule of law, the leading Democratic country in the world, our president needs to respect the independence of this investigation, and that's a clear message around the world. I don't think this investigation is affecting America's ability to deal with our problems around the world.
WALLACE: Finally, I got about a minute left.
President Trump says that we still don't have solid (AUDIO GAP) that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. First of all, do you think is wrong? And secondly, even if you believe that MBS is responsible, how do we balance our outraged over this horrific act with the fact that it may be in our national security interest to continue to have an alliance with Saudi Arabia?
CARDIN: Chris, I sort of compare this to President Trump's denial of Mr. Putin's involvement in our 2016 elections even though the evidence was very clear. There's no doubt in my mind that the crown prince understood what was happening in Turkey and was very much involved in that.
We cannot allow that type of conduct to go unchallenged. Our strength, American foreign policy, the values that we stand for, and what happened in Turkey just affects all of our core beliefs. The United States has to have a pretty strong position on it and we have to demand that there'd be accountability.
That does not mean that we can't continue to have a strategic relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They need America. It's more important for that relationship from the Saudi's point of view, and we must make it clear that it can't go unchallenged.
WALLACE: Senator Cardin, thank you. Thanks for your time. Always good to talk with you, sir.
CARDIN: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: up next we will have a live report on the plans to honor George H.W. Bush and we'll take a look at some of his memorable moments right here on this program as "FOX News Sunday" continues from the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
WALLACE: President Trump is designating Wednesday as a national day of mourning for George H.W. Bush. And plans are coming together for the nation's farewell to our 41st president.
Let's bring in senior correspondent Rick Leventhal live from Houston with the latest on what we'll see this week. Arrangements that George Bush, like all presidents approved, as his final message to the country he loved so dearly -- Rick.
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Chris, George H.W. Bush was surrounded by circle of family, friends and clergy during his final hours here Friday night inside his home in this gated community. And his final words were to his son George W. who told him on speakerphone he'd been a wonderful dad and he loved him. Bush 41 told his son, I love you too, and he passed not long after.
His body is now at a local funeral home. Tomorrow, the casket will be transported to Washington, D.C., thanks to a lift from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most of you know the process, the procedure. But we'll be sending Air Force One, which is a special tribute that he deserves. He'll be missed, he'll be greatly missed. Terrific person, terrific man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEVENTHAL: President Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for 38 hours until 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, declared a national day of mourning. Stock markets will be closed and Congress will hold off on votes, focusing instead on a funeral service at the National Cathedral where President Trump and First Lady Melania are expected, along with former presidents and scores of other dignitaries and heads of state.
Afterwards, George H.W. Bush will return home for a family funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church Thursday morning and that afternoon he'll be buried in College Station, home to the Bush Library, alongside his wife Barbara and daughter Robin, who died of leukemia as a child.
Today is expected to be quiet, reserved for family and close friends -- Chris.
WALLACE: Rick Leventhal reporting from Houston -- Rick, thank you.
I had the good fortune to sit down with George Bush twice after he left office and I think our talks give you a real insight into why so many people who knew this president, including me, loved the man. The first time was in his presidential library and museum at Texas A&M University.
I asked the president where he got his strong commitment to public service.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Some of it was from my parents. I watched my father at an early age, not realizing what he was up to, doing a lot of charitable works. My mother pounded into us early on, do something for others. It's always been a part of my life but I really believe it. I really believe there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.
WALLACE: Do you see a tremendous sense of pride when you see not just her children, but your grandchildren carrying on the family tradition?
BUSH: Total sense of pride and great happiness. I'm not trying to sit at the head table anymore, Chris. I've done that and I've enjoyed it and I've had a lot of challenges but I take an enormous pride his grandkids, all of them, and watching them come along.
The only thing about getting old is, you know, I just don't -- I want to be around to see the success in life.
WALLACE: I know you're not -- you're going to shudder when I say this, but aren't you a dynasty like the Kennedys? Aren't the Bushes?
BUSH: Two words I don't like, dynasty and legacy. We don't think of ourselves as a dynasty, onward it goes. I mean, that kind of thing. I really hope some of my grandkids will be actively involved in politics.
WALLACE: And why not legacy? Because I would think that you would like the legacy of public service and commitment.
BUSH: Well, if that's -- what I would like to do is have somebody else figure out that's what motivates me and motivates Barbara. And I just think let the historians do it.
WALLACE: You have led the most remarkable life -- war hero, successful businessman, ambassador to the U.N. liaison to China, CIA director, vice president, president, elder statesman. How do you explain it? How was George W. Bush able to accomplish so much?
BUSH: Oh, I guess some of it might be ambition, which is not particularly worthy way of describing it. When I was down, president comes along and gives me an interesting assignment. That's happened two or three times in my life. So, I don't -- I don't really find it that remarkable, looking back.
I find that I've had a very exciting and wonderful challenge of a life, but then I don't miss a lot of the things that I used to live -- I used to pick up that paper or turn on FOX and listen to the news and said listen to this, look at this, why is he saying that? I don't do that anymore. I'm kind of, calmer, quieter old guy.
WALLACE: Kinder, gentler.
BUSH: Kinder, gentler fellow (ph), I really am.
WALLACE: As we walked through the bush library we walked through the presidency. We started with the recreation of the oval office and I asked Mr. Bush if he ever lost his sense of awe for the room.
BUSH: I always feel a special place for the American people and for foreign visitors. Let them stand outside, an American citizen, I'm going to go in there and tell this guy off, you know, and you get in there and they start shaking and they don't tell you off. And it has a majesty to it.
WALLACE: It's been called the ultimate home-court advantage.
BUSH: It's true, and -- I hadn't heard that but that's very true. Every single day when I walked into this office from the store over here, you feel a sense of awe and a sense of respect and I tried to treat the office with respect.
But I have many happy memories. I looked down there and there was a secure phone in there, I remember Colin Powell coming in one day and they said it's time to end of the shooting in Kuwait and he picked up the secure phone right there and was on there to Schwarzkopf, in about 45 seconds, give me Schwarzkopf, they got him on that and they confirmed it was time to end the battle.
WALLACE: We then moved on to a version of the Situation Room were President Bush and his team handle crises.
BUSH: Now, I'm going to sit down and watch you at work.
WALLACE: You had to deal with choices the president faced during the First Gulf War, such as when to tell the American people in 1990 he was sending troops to Saudi Arabia to confront Saddam Hussein.
If it's known immediately, that wouldn't be prudent.
BUSH: No, it wouldn't be prudent, not going to do that.
WALLACE: I'll try three. Yes, congratulations.
BUSH: Amazing role you are on here.
WALLACE: Easy for you to make a decision or would you agonize about it a lot?
BUSH: Well, I've -- when they say we need a decision by 5:00 today because we want to move forces, I had no problem doing but you always kind of hope you are right.
WALLACE: We spoke with President Bush again in January of 2009 just as George W. Bush was about to leave the White House and we discussed that historic relationship between a father and son who were both presidents.
Do you know there's been a lot of pop psychology about you --
WALLACE: -- and 43, I will call them in your presence. And I know you hate these questions, but I'm going to ask, what's the relationship?
WALLACE: What's the relationship?
BUSH: Like any other father and son that have a loving relationship, total confidence in one another. I've tried to stay out of his way on the issues, but I'm in touch telephone, last -- yesterday evening, we get home to Houston. The telephone, it's the president, how's mom? How are you doing dad?
And like -- we are like any family and that's important I think, especially in times of real difficulty for our country.
WALLACE: Do you think there's ever been, and I say this quite frankly thinking of my father and me, ever been a sense of competition to him with you or you with him?
BUSH: You hear it, but there isn't any such competition. And it burns me up a little bit, when the president first came and I thought there's some people around him were trying to -- you have to establish her own persona and all.
He didn't have to establish anything. I've known who you are and he's known that we know that. But I don't think there's ever been in a competition of that nature than I'm aware of and I don't think he's ever felt it.
WALLACE: We also spoke about his son Jeb, who was then the former governor of Florida.
BUSH: I'd like to see him run. I'd like to see him be president someday.
BUSH: Or maybe senator, whatever. Yes, I would. I mean, right now is probably a bad time, but there's enough Bushes in there. But, no, I would. And I think he's as qualified and is able as anyone I know in the political scene.
Now, you've got to discount that, he's my son, he's my son that I love.
WALLACE: Would you really want after all you've gone through yourself and your son to have another son go through the way (ph) --
BUSH: Absolutely. It's a question -- it's about service. Service to the greatest country on the face of the Earth, and the honor that goes with it. But not just to be president, to be something, but to earn it and to do something that makes you worthy and I think Jeb fits that description.
WALLACE: When we talked about a year ago, I asked you if you planned to mark your 85th birthday the way you spend your 80th birthday, by jumping out of an airplane and you said yes at that time. Is that still your goal?
BUSH: Still on, still on. It will be right around June 12th. As you can see them hobbling down the hall with my cane. People are saying, look at this old idiot, he's going to make a parachute jump? I am.
Just because you are an old guy, you don't need to sit around sucking your thumb in the corner. Old guys can still do stuff. And it brings out the fact that old people can still do interesting things, scary things, exciting things.
WALLACE: But our lasting memory of this remarkable man and values was from an earlier interview his presidential library when we walked into the kind of tent where U.S. soldiers camped in the desert during the First Gulf War.
It's got to be the hardest thing for any president to send troops.
BUSH: Oh, it's the toughest decision the president make, no question. Nothing compares to it. When you send somebody else's kid, somebody else's son, somebody else's daughter, whatever it is, into harm's way.
WALLACE: On a personal level, how do you live with it?
BUSH: Well, you -- with all respect, you pray and you rely heavily on a team of experts, but in the final analysis, you live with the decision. And sometimes things worked out great and sometimes I was very worried they wouldn't. And your suit up to be president, that goes with the territory.
WALLACE: The library had a powerful film that took you back to that night in 1991 when the air war was launched.
BUSH: I will never forget that night.
WALLACE: You must be thinking is this is going on, you know, get home, everybody get home.
BUSH: Yes, bring 'em home.
WALLACE: The president remembered the courage and humanity of American soldiers and he grew emotional.
BUSH: My favorite picture, the picture of American soldiers surrounding a guy in a foxhole, Iraqi soldiers in the American guys says we are not going to harm you, we are American soldiers.
WALLACE: This really brings back the sacrifice, doesn't it, sir?
BUSH: It sure does. You see, that side of the war, the fact that he treated those people with respect in spite of the fact they were the enemy. It's really good.
WALLACE: For years, I have felt George H.W. Bush was the greatest living American. Now, we have lost him.
Up next, more recollections of President Bush from two men who knew him well -- former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State James Baker as "FOX News Sunday" reports from the Reagan Presidential Library in California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (March 6, 1991): As commander in chief, I can report to you, our armed forces fought with honor and valor. And as president, I can report to the nation, aggression is defeated, the war is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: President Bush announcing the end of the Gulf War.
And joining me now, two men who knew him well, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as Bush's secretary of defense during that war, and James Baker, who was the secretary of state.
Gentlemen, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
Secretary Baker, let me start with you. You have called George Bush one of our most underrated presidents. What is it that you think people failed to understand about George Bush, and why do you think so many people missed it?
JAMES BAKER, BUSH 41 SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I'm not sure why they missed it, Chris, except perhaps because he was not re-elected. He was a one term president. In my view, and I would bet this is true with Dick Cheney as well, he was the very best one term president this country's ever had and perhaps one of the very best presidents of all time.
But he didn't blow his own horn. He -- one of his wonderful character traits was to let other people take credit. That was something he was brought up with and that's the way he operated. But he was an extraordinarily -- if you think about it, you go back and you look at the record, he was an extraordinarily consequential president of the United States, particularly in the arena of foreign affairs.
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that with Vice President Cheney.
I think it's fair to say that clearly the centerpiece of the Bush presidency was the victory in the Gulf War over Saddam Hussein.
What stands out for you about the way that he led that fight, and what about the controversy that we continue to hear, his decision not to go on to Baghdad and topple Saddam?
DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND BUSH 41 DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, in terms of his leadership, the important thing to remember, Chris, is what we put together during those years, with Skocoft (ph) at NSC and Jim at State, me at Defense and then, of course, the president's commander in chief, we'd all worked together back during the Ford years. And it was, in my opinion, I'm probably biased, but about the most successful national security foreign affairs defense team that had been my experience to watch operate.
BAKER: No, you're absolutely accurate, Dick.
CHENEY: And it was -- well, the president, obviously, was a key part of it. And Jim and Brent and I would have breakfast every Wednesday morning. And most of the time we could solve our problems among us. Once in a while we'd have to take it to him and then he'd resolve it.
But he was a consequential leader, as you've said. His knowledge of foreign leaders, people he'd worked with over the years, his understanding of the military, his willingness to support the military, we gave him a very long list of things we wanted to have in the Gulf before we launched the offensive weapons. He didn't turn them down on anything. He approved all of them and said, all right, now show me how you're going to do it. He was a great leader.
WALLACE: Secretary Baker, one of the things that strikes me about George Bush is that he didn't take the easy path, he left Yale to volunteer and to become the youngest Navy pilot. He left Connecticut. He could have had a very comfortable life there, to strike out on his own and become an oil man in Texas. What do you think that was about?
BAKER: Well, I think it was about taking on the hard challenges. He was not afraid to take risks. No risks no reward kind of thing. But let me -- let me say a quick word, if I might, Chris, about the centerpiece, as you said, for his foreign policy presidency. The war -- the first Gulf war, which was, in my view, a textbook example of a way to fight a war. You tell the world what you're going to do. You get all world -- all the rest of the world behind you to do it. You do it, you do that and nothing more. You bring the troops home and then you get there countries to pay for it. We've never done that before. That is a textbook example of a way to fight a war. But that -- while that may be the centerpiece of his foreign policy accomplishments, it certainly wasn't the only one.
And you look at the fact that he was able to manage an end a peaceful end to the Cold War, that was a huge, huge accomplishment.
WALLACE: Mr. Vice President, in 2015, President Bush told a biographer that he worried that you had become too much of a hard-liner in his son's White House and he called your approach, excuse me, his quote, iron ass. And I -- I wonder, one, what you thought of the criticism, and, two, what did that due to your relationship with George Bush?
CHENEY: Well, first of all, I was more I guess of an iron ass when I was vice president. The thing that had intervened between my time at Defense for 41 and my time is vice president was 9/11. We'd had 3,000 of our people killed on 9/11. More people than we lost in Pearl Harbor, and we moved, I think legitimately, into a wartime sitting rather than simple law enforcement. I think it was important to do that.
Now, after he'd made those comments, he sent me a note. One of the notes are great to have. This one said, dear Dick, I did it. And then he went on at great length to tell me what a great American I was. But he also, that year, we went to the annual Alfalfa Club, he enjoyed those dinners, and he invited me to sit at the head table with him at the dinner, and that sort of dampened down any notion that there was a fundamental break between Bush and Cheney.
BAKER: Hey, Chris, that's the kind of person he was. You know --
WALLACE: Well, I'm glad -- I'm glad --
BAKER: Let me say, that's the kind of person George Bush was. There was a story early in his administration, in 1989, to the effect generally that, well, the National Security Council is running foreign policy. The State Department's out of it. They're not doing -- and I got a phone call from the president. He said -- he said, Bake, I want you and Susan to come up to Camp David with me this weekend. We did so and there was never another story like that for the entire four years. That's the kind of person he was.
WALLACE: Secretary Baker, George Bush was not just your colleague, not just your boss, he was your dear friend for more than 60 years. And we have learned in the last few hours that you were with him when he passed away on Friday night. To the degree you feel comfortable doing it, can you share with us his last moments?
BAKER: Yes, he had a very gentle and peaceful passing, Chris. Only one of his children was in -- living in Houston, Neil Bush. Neil and his wife Maria were there. My wife Susan and I, his rector from our church, St. Martin's Church in Houston, the doctors, some of the wonderful aides that took care of him in his later years. And it was a sweet -- it was a sweet situation.
They made arrangements for all of his children to call in to, in effect, tell him goodbye. And his last words, the last words George Bush ever said were, I love you. And he said those words to 43, George Bush -- President George Bush 43, who had called in to save, dad, I love you, I will see you on the other side. And President Bush said, I love you. And those were his last words.
Another tender moment about that, Chris, was that the Irish tenor Ronan Tinan (ph) was in town. He'd come to town just to pay a courtesy call on President Bush. And he happened to be there. And he saying a couple of songs for President Bush on that last evening. And he -- one of them was "Silent Night." And as he was singing, President Bush was mouthing the words of "Silent Night." He had a very gentle and easy passing, the kind we ought to all hope we have.
WALLACE: Secretary Baker, Mr. Vice President, we want to thank you both so much. Thank you for joining us today.
CHENEY: Thank you, Chris.
BAKER: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the legacy of President Bush. Oh how he hated that word. And how much Washington has changed since he was in office. When we come back, from the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I have no regrets in the sense of not being able to communicate better. But I know, if I'd have had the skills of Ronald Reagan, I probably would have had a fourth year -- another four years, because he was so good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Former President Bush discussing one of the big disappointments in his life, his failure to win re-election as president in 1992.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, incoming House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, and columnist for "The Hill," Juan Williams.
Karl, I think it's fair to say that President Bush was a classic moderate Republican. He negotiated bipartisan compromises, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 1990 he negotiated a budget deal which may have cost him his presidency because in order to cut the deficit he broke his pledge, no new taxes. How different is the Washington of George Bush in terms of the idea of legislating, compromising from the Washington of today?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's somewhat different but it -- in that respect. But I think it's really different in the tone that he set. I mean he was of that greatest generation and there was a humility and a respect and a decency about him that sometimes is not seen frequently in Washington today. His best friend in Congress was Lett (ph) Ashley (ph), a Democrat from Akron, Ohio. And he had friendships across the aisle based on, you know, shared background, shared experiences and the time that they were together and we don't see that much in Washington anymore.
WALLACE: You know, it's interesting, Liz, when I asked your dad the question about iron ass, I was a little nervous because -- about it but he gave such a great answer and it was so revealing about President Bush because, yes, he expressed his opinion, but on the other hand it wasn't personal and he reached out and also made a show of sitting together with your dad at the Alfalfa Club dinner.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), INCOMING REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIR: Well, let me just say that I am a proud member of team iron ass, Chris. And -- but it, you know, President Bush -- I was struck both by that story, but also by the piece were he was, you know, talking about the soldier in desert storm. And I think that the emotion that he showed in terms of how proud he was and how moved he was of America and of our military. And I think that's something that really helps when you're talking about bipartisanship is just getting back to remembering the fundamental goodness and greatness of somebody like George Bush, but also of our military, of our men and women in uniform. And that something we all should remember and be able to come around.
WALLACE: I want to get back, Juan, to the original question that I asked Karl. You and I had the great good fortune to cover Presidents Reagan and Bush back in the '80s. And to me now it seems like a different world in terms of government's ability, the leaders in government and the various different factions to come together, to compromise and to solve our problems.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: No question, Chris, we live in a polarized political age today, so divided. You know, I -- the way I think of it, Chris, is sort of optimism versus pessimism. Morning in America. A kind kinder, gentler America, versus American carnage as a message coming from the leader to the American people. So when I think of President Bush, I think of someone who crossed the aisle.
You know, I was really taken by what Karl just said about his best friend being a Democrat and -- while he served those two terms in Congress. And, of course, he followed Reagan's pronouncement, 11th commandment, speak no evil of another Republican. Versus Donald Trump, who has a polarizing relationship with Democrats, clearly fractured, but also attacks other Republicans who don't agree or embrace him. And, again, I think also of policy issues, like guns. You know, after Oklahoma City in '95, President Bush quit the NRA, quit his lifetime membership. After what happened in Parkland, Florida, you see President Trump not only saying that we should arm teachers, but continue to do business with the NRA.
WALLACE: I'm not sure, Liz, that I would go along with the attack on President Trump, because, frankly, not to say that he doesn't make mistakes and hasn't done somethings wrong, but I think there's culpability on all sides here.
And that's the question I have for you is, is the perception that Washington has become a zero-sum game were all sides, Democrats, Republicans, the White House, feel, I only win if the other side loses. Is that fair and is it fair to say that this polarization is preventing us from addressing our problems in dealing with it?
CHENEY: Well, I really missed Juan. I forgot how much (INAUDIBLE).
But, look, we -- we are very polarized. I mean one thing that's true, though, is that -- and I can speak for -- you know, on the floor of the House of Representatives, there isn't venom all the time. And -- and I've found that you can go sit down next to anybody from any party, they've got an interesting story and there are good people there for the right reasons.
Now, it is the truth, however, that we have big issues. You know, we have a lot of Democrats now coming in who are socialists. That's not an -- you know, I'm not -- I'm not exaggerating. They are socialists. And I think that it's very important that we actually do have very aggressive and clear policy debates. We've got to make sure that we understand the grave national security threat that's out there, as well as the threat that we're facing from the perspective of our debt. And -- and the socialist set of agendas instead issues, which I think Leader Pelosi is probably going to be compelled to have to push forward, are ones that would be disastrous for the nation. So I think we've got to fight and fight hard on those issues.
WALLACE: I think that Juan is going to say he missed you.
WILLIAMS: There's no question. We've known each other quite a while.
WALLACE: Let's try to end this on a more personal note.
Karl, you and I, before the show began, you were saying that George H.W. Bush changed the arc of your life. I mean what -- what did this man mean to you?
ROVE: Great, make me cry on national television, will you.
I went to work for him when I was in my early 20s and he -- and the rest of my life is a result of being associated with him. And, you know, he taught me what it was like to -- what the kind of person I would strive to be. Anybody who was around George Bush came to love him and admire him and to try and emulate him. He was a kind and gentle and decent person. He was also strong and principled with great convictions and character and integrity. And when you were around him, you wanted to emulate those things.
You know, look at what -- look at that incredible life that he had. And Jim Baker put his finger on a big part of it. The fearlessness of a kid who grows up in privilege in the east, and his father's a bigwig in a Wall Street firm, Brown Brothers Harriman, and he says, like so many Americans, I'm going to strike out for the west. And I'm going to learn the oil business from the bottom up. And I'm going to strike a new life.
If you go to Midland, Texas, to see the modest house, it's not bigger than the stage that we're sitting on here that he lived in, in midland. And he - - and he jumps into politics as a Republican when they hunted Republicans in Texas with dogs. And then he served our country so well in so many great positions and he did so every -- you talked to people who had a chance to work with him, whether it was the CIA or in China or his vice president or wherever, in the oil patch, and they admired him because he was a -- he was not only a very great man, he was a very good man.
WALLACE: And -- and let me just quickly, because we're running out of time, Liz, any personal remembrance of this man? Any dealing that you had with him either directly or with -- through your dad?
CHENEY: Well, I just remember election night in 2004 up in the residence of the White House when President Bush 41 saw my daughter, Kate, and walked over to her and he said, you're the youngest person here and I'm the oldest person and we need to sit together tonight. And he sat there, the two of them together, in an armchair, you know, deep in conversation.
WALLACE: And it must have meant a lot to him because that was the second term that he never got but his son did get.
CHENEY: He was -- he was a great and good man. And as Karl said, somebody whom we should all strive to (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Juan, 30 seconds.
WILLIAMS: Well, you know, I traveled with him, especially in '94 for the Reagan re-election. And one of the things that struck me, Chris, was, he wrote notes every day to lots of people, knew them as human beings, had a relationship. So if he's asking you for something, it wasn't that it was the first call. He was asking because he knew you and you knew him. And I've got to say, to reassert what Karl just said, one of the kindest, most loving people. Self-effacing.
WALLACE: Thank -- thank you, panel. And we'll see you all next week back in Washington.
Up next, how visitors here at the Reagan Presidential Library are getting the chance to meet the 40th president, Ronald Reagan, face to face as Fox News Sunday continues from Simi Valley, California.
WALLACE: One more look at the Reagan Presidential Library on a mountaintop here in California's Simi Valley.
President Reagan died in 2004, but this year his presidential library has found a way to bring him back to life. Here's a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Mr. President.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Hello.
WALLACE: Ronald Reagan now greets visitors to his library, or at least a three dimensional hologram of the 40th president does, using remarks he made on a whistle stop train tour during the 1984 campaign.
REAGAN: We see America's best days ahead.
WALLACE: In the Oval Office.
REAGAN: You don't just give speeches in the Oval Office, you also say prayers.
WALLACE: And at his California ranch.
REAGAN: It truly is America the beautiful.
WALLACE: It took 18 months for a visual effect studio to bring "The Gipper" back to life using computer-generated imagery, a silicone cast of Reagan's head was photographed by 300 cameras at various angles. His head was then digitally placed on the body of an actor playing the president, complete with costumes and backdrops.
REAGAN: We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom.
WALLACE: The $1.5 million exhibit is the first of its kind in a presidential library.
REAGAN: We think we've made a good beginning, but you ain't seen nothing yet.
WALLACE: And come see it, because it is pretty cool.
Before we go, a special thanks to the Reagan Library and The Reagan National Defense Forum for inviting us here once again.
And stay tuned to this station and Fox News Channel for continuing coverage of the nation's farewell to President Bush.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you back in Washington next "Fox News Sunday."
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