This is a rush transcript of "Fox News Sunday" on August 15, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
More U.S. troops are sent to evacuate American diplomats and thousands of
Afghans as the Taliban enters the capital city of Kabul.
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: We're deeply concerned about the trends
and where it's going.
WALLACE (voice-over): Now, 4,000 troops are sent back to Afghanistan just
weeks before the U.S. plans to end its longest war -- as the situation on
the ground unravels and critics blast President Biden's execution of his
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We were going to get our soldiers
back and we were going to make sure that this kind of thing that you're
seeing happening today could not happen.
WALLACE: We'll ask former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo what it means for
American security and our standing in the world.
CROWD: No more masks!
WALLACE: Tempers flare over mask mandates in schools as the nation's
students had back to the classroom and COVID cases rise among kids.
And questions about the effectiveness of vaccines over time raise the
prospect of boosters. We'll talk with the director of the NIH, Dr. Francis
Collins, about the latest wave and how many of us will need a third shot.
And a U.N. report on climate change declares code red for humanity. We'll
ask our Sunday panel about the dire warnings and what's at stake if we
don't act quickly.
All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday."
WALLACE (voice-over): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news on two fronts. In Afghanistan, President Biden
boosting deployment from 3,000, now to 4,000 troops as Afghan government
and security forces collapse under a Taliban advance. Insurgents taking
control of more than 30 percent -- 30, rather, of the country's 34
provinces and a lightning offensive over the past ten days. Taliban
fighters now reaching the outskirts of Kabul, where the evacuation of U.S.
embassy staff has begun.
And in Haiti, a powerful magnitude 7.2 quake has killed hundreds of people
with the death toll rising just as a tropical storm closes in. In a moment,
we'll speak with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who oversaw the
Trump administration's peace agreement with the Taliban.
But, first, let's bring in Kevin Corke at the White House with the latest
on both Haiti and Afghanistan -- Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, with President Ghani set to
relinquish power in Afghanistan and the Taliban now on the march in Kabul,
the U.S.'s precarious presence in Afghanistan is facing the all too real
prospect of an ignominious end and a dangerous one as well.
CORKE (voice-over): President Biden huddled with his senior national
security advisors this week, mapping out an updated exit strategy from the
war-torn nation. This is the Taliban has continued its march him, seizing
increasingly large swaths of the countryside without much resistance,
finally reaching the streets of Kabul today.
Afghan officials say Taliban negotiators are headed to the palace today to
discuss transfer of the city, something Biden previously said was not a
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Afghan troops have 300,000
well-equipped, as well-equipped as any army in the world and an air force,
against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.
CORKE: Near the embassy in Kabul, Chinook helicopters landing to help
evacuate personnel as diplomats urgently destroy sensitive documents.
Afghan officials say troops have surrendered Bagram airbase to the Taliban,
which houses 5,000 inmates, increasingly Kabul international airport is the
only way in for U.S. troops and the only way out for anyone looking to
Meanwhile, half a world away, Haiti is once again in the throes of disaster
with desperate searches on going to find the living trapped in rubble
following a devastating 7.2 earthquake Saturday that is killed or than
CORKE (on camera): Chris, that impoverished country is still trying to
claw its way back from a similar powerful earthquake some 11 years ago and
is now doing so without a head of state as its president was assassinated
there last month -- Chris.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke reporting from the White House -- Kevin, thank you.
And joining us now, former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
Mr. Secretary, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday".
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Chris, thanks for having me on
WALLACE: How dire is the situation in Afghanistan as we talk today? Is a
full Taliban takeover of the country now inevitable?
POMPEO: Well, Chris, it certainly looks like it. It looks like the Biden
demonstration has just failed in its execution of its own plan. It looks
like they are now trying to get folks out.
This reminds me of when we have seen previous administrations allow
embassies to be overrun. It's starting to feel that way. It also looks like
there's a bit of panic having to reinsert soldiers to get them out. The
plan should have been, much like we had, was that we would have an orderly
conditions-based way to think about how to draw down our forces there. We
actually delivered on that promise.
I hope we get these folks out. I hope they will bring the airpower. They
should go crush these Taliban who are surrounding Kabul. We can do it with
We should put pressure on them. We should put -- inflict cost and pain on
them. We shouldn't be begging them to spare the lives of Americans. We
should be imposing costs on the Taliban until they allow us to execute our
plan in Afghanistan.
WALLACE: There are a lot of questions here. Let me start with the one that
I think is most important to the American homeland. If -- I guess we should
say when the Taliban takes over, what does it mean for U.S. national
security? Can we, as the Biden administration promises, from over the
horizon deal with a terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland from inside
POMPEO: Well, Chris, this is one of the most important questions, it
depends on a couple of things. The first is the context for American
security policy. So think about what's happening. The Taliban are
aggressive and they are fearless because we have an administration that has
refused to adopt a deterrence model, the one that President Trump and I
had, right (ph)?
We've had Iranian rockets landed in Israel. We've handed the pipeline back
to the Russians, right? We've allowed the Chinese to castigate our senior
leadership in Anchorage and now we're letting the Taliban to run free and
wild all around Afghanistan.
They have to understand that there's in an administration with a backbone
and a seriousness to execute on the things that matter and protect and
So this gets to the larger challenge, what -- what will the Taliban believe
that the Americans are prepared to do if they begin to play footsie with al
Qaeda or let ISIS begin to grow in Afghanistan? If it's like the Carter
administration and the Obama administration and now what appears to be the
first seven months of the Biden demonstration, the Taliban will feel free
to do this.
I can assure you. Were I still the secretary of state or the commander in
chief like President Trump, the Taliban would have understood that there
were real costs to pay if there were plots against the United States of
America from that place. Qassem Soleimani learned that lesson, and the
Taliban would have learned it as well.
WALLACE: President Biden released a statement yesterday in which in effect
he blamed President Trump and your administration for the deal that you
made with the Taliban back in 2020 which resulted in a promise at that time
that President Trump had stayed in office to pull all troops out by this
I want to read you some of what President Biden said in his statement.
When I became president, I faced a choice, follow through on the deal or
ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in
another country's civil conflict.
Mr. Secretary, what do you think of President Biden's attempt here to blame
-- to pain all the blame for what's transpired in these last few weeks on
the deal he says he, quote, inherited, from President Trump and from you?
POMPEO: If the risks weren't so serious, Chris, it would be pathetic. I
wouldn't have let my 10-year old son get away from this kind of pathetic
blame-shifting. He should be less focused on trying to blame this on
someone else than to solving the problem of making sure that we protect and
defend American security.
Chris, it's worth noting this did not happen on our watch. We reduced our
forces significantly and the Taliban didn't advance on capitals all across
Afghanistan. So it's just a plain old fact that this is happening under the
Biden administration's leadership now almost a quarter of our way into his
first term, this is -- this is not the way leaders lead by pointing
We had a bad deal. We inherited the JCPOA. We got out of it. We secured
America from the risk of Iran.
We inherited a horrible deal in Syria where ISIS controlled real estate the
size of Great Britain. We crushed them.
Every president confronts confer challenges. This president confronted a
challenge in Afghanistan. He has utterly failed to protect the American
people from this challenge.
WALLACE: But I have to say, it isn't just President Biden who says this.
When we announced that you are going to be a guest on this program, a
former top military commander in Afghanistan and a current top Republican
member of Congress, both talked about the deal that the Trump
administration and you negotiated back in 2020 with the Taliban to pull out
all U.S. forces.
Here was President Trump when he was in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Basically, we're policeman right now and
we're not supposed to be policeman. We've been there -- we've been there
for 19 years in Afghanistan. It's ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Critics say that for the U.S. to cut a deal with the Taliban
without the Afghan government even in the room was hugely demoralizing and
led inevitably to where we are today.
POMPEO: Yeah, Chris, that's just simple he not true. Go read the deal. Go
read the conditions that were built into the deal. I was in the room. I was
at the center of working to deliver that.
The Afghans were in the room. We had the Afghans all in the room for the
same time in 20 years we had Afghan leaders. Not just a corrupt leader,
Ghani. I mean, think about President Ghani, he's been all this time
lobbying Washington, D.C., Republicans and military leaders, the same folks
you probably just talked about.
If he had spent that time building up friends and coalitions and working
with the Taliban himself, we could have gotten to reconciliation. Instead
he took money for his own good and then came to Washington to lobby for
more American money, billions of dollars. He spent more time in Washington
than he did talking to his own people.
We negotiated a deal that performed a basis for the conditions-based
withdrawal for American soldiers. I'm proud of the work that we did there.
We brought a lot of young kids home. We saved a lot of American lives.
We were working diligently to deliver on the president's two missions, to
get our young people home, to reduce the risk of the United States from
having our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines there in Afghanistan, and
second, to create the conditions where we could make sure that a terror
attack on the United States did not happen from there.
We did it in the Philippines. We did it in Syria. We reduced terrorism risk
all around the world. We would have done it in Afghanistan as well.
WALLACE: I just want to ask you one more question about your record
though, sir. You were the first American secretary of state to ever meet
with the Taliban and you talked about how they had agreed to join us in the
fight against terrorism. Here you are, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: The gentleman I met with agreed that they would break that
relationship and that they would work alongside of us to destroy, deny
resources to, and to have al Qaeda depart from that place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret
pressing the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners, which they did,
some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban?
POMPEO: Chris, you make peace with your enemies, the statement that I made
that day was absolutely true. You can ask the military leaders on the
ground. We did good work to crush al Qaeda. When we left office, there were
fewer than 200 al Qaeda left and Afghanistan.
Chris, we never trusted the Taliban. You can ask them yourselves. We made
abundantly clear if they did not live up to that piece of paper, to the
words that they had put on the ground, we weren't going to allow them to
just walk away from any deal that they had struck, we were going to go
crush them. We were going to impose real costs on them. We were going to
let them take these provincial capitals.
They understood that American power was going to come to their village, to
their community, to their friends and family around him and we were going
to make sure that they understood America wasn't going to allow Americans
to be killed from this place.
We didn't take the word of the Taliban. We watched their actions on the
ground. When they did the right thing and they helped us against terror,
that was all good. And when they didn't, we crush them.
WALLACE: Finally, and I want -- I got about two minutes here, sir. You
graduated first in her class from West Point in 1986 and I'm sure you
vividly remember that it was just a decade earlier in 1975 when the U.S.
pulled out of Saigon and you saw U.S. diplomats, Vietnamese people who had
been sided with us, clamoring on to helicopters on the embassy roof, which
scarred our country and our military for years.
What you think the fall of Afghanistan is going to say to our allies and to
our enemies? And what you think it's going to mean for our image of
POMPEO: Chris, that's a very important question. I think weak American
leadership always harms American security. So this is in the context of the
Biden administration that has basically abandoned the global stage in favor
of climate change. They've been focused on critical race theory while the
embassy is at risk. That didn't happen during our four years.
I do think there's a real risk here. I think our soldiers sailors, our
junior enlisted soldiers have done amazing work along the way. But I think
the senior military leadership that had 20 years to build out these
coalition forces, the Afghan national security forces, has to fundamentally
rethink the training that they've provided them, the weapons they provided
them, how they were thinking strategically about handing this battle off to
the Afghan people, and we had a president in Afghanistan who wasn't
prepared to do the right thing for his own national security, for his own
I think that political failure and that military failure is something that
we're going to have to take a long, hard look at to make sure that we are
always securing American freedom.
WALLACE: Secretary Pompeo, thank you. Thanks for your time this Sunday.
Always good to talk with you, sir.
POMPEO: Yes, sir.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss Afghanistan
and the dire warning this week for the future of our planet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The jury is still out. But the likelihood there is going to be the
Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Biden just over a month ago expressing confidence in
the ability the Afghan military to stand up to the Taliban.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. Former RNC communications director
Doug Heye, Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief the "Associated Press" and
FOX News political analyst Juan Williams.
Julie, I guess the big question is how could President Biden have so badly
misjudged the strength and cohesion of the Afghan government and the Afghan
security forces? And I know that the polls show that most Americans want
the U.S. out of our longest war, but are they prepared at the White House
for a real blowback when we begin to see those images -- horrific images --
about the Taliban is going to do inside Afghanistan?
JULIE PACE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah, it's
really remarkable I think how this story is shifting and changing on the
Biden White House. You know, as late as Friday coming into this weekend,
even after we saw the Taliban taking over a pretty significant swath of
territory in Afghanistan, the Biden White House was really leaning into
this idea that the public was with them, that politics on the war and
shifted in the U.S. him and that was true.
I think what we are actually dealing with right now are going to be bigger
questions around, you know, was this intelligence failure? You know, how
did we miss that the Taliban had this strength, that the Afghan security
forces would fall so quickly, because as you said, this does not appear to
have been the assessment of anyone in the U.S. government, that the
withdrawal would lead to this kind of situation so quickly.
And I think there's real uncertainty about where the American people and
the politics on this will stand if we all get to the end of today -- you
know, not a point in the distant future, but the end of today and see that
the Taliban has taken over Kabul and the Afghan government has fully
WALLACE: Doug, you know, there's quite a split inside the Republican Party
about whether we should have stayed in Afghanistan or left buried. We need
to point out it wasn't just President Biden who wanted to pull out, it was
Donald Trump who set all of that in motion and wanted to pull out but as
you heard, Secretary Pompeo say come his policy would have been different,
wanted to pull out this last May.
But when you see what's happened over the last week, we had -- we'd spent
20 years and $80 billion building up the Afghan military and they collapse,
they just run away from the Taliban.
How can you justify investing more American blood and treasure?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think what most are
Republicans want to do -- and there is a real split -- part of the
leadership would seem from Liz Cheney is talking about we can't abandon
those people who have helped us on the ground at this very critical moment.
And if we do abandon them, essentially the Afghan translators and so forth,
we are condemning them to hell essentially.
And so the reality that we see on the ground here politically is -- you
know, we talk so often, Chris, about whether or not America is a great
nation and/or a good nation. Well, clearly, what we are seeing right now is
not great and the question with Afghan translators is whether or not we're
There's a lot of blame to go around. If you read Robert Draper's "To Start
a War," which I picked up again last night, this goes back with many
president now with follies. But this is now on Joe Biden, you can't just
look backwards and blame Donald Trump.
And one of the key messages in his campaign was Joe Biden had a team of
professionals versus Donald Trump's Adams family and they weren't going to
make these mistakes on the ground.
This is where we are now. We need to see leadership and we need to see Joe
WALLACE: Well, of course, the question, Juan, is how can he lead? Because
as we said at the beginning of the show, the Taliban is at the gates. They
may give us a little time to get out and maybe to get some Afghan
supporters out, but not the tens of thousands at this point, which gets to
the basic question.
As I mentioned to Secretary Pompeo, Joe Biden issued a statement yesterday
that basically said I inherited this mess, blame President Trump for the
deal he made.
But when you see the horrific scenes we're going to see in the next days
and weeks, there's no way around it, this is Joe Biden's defeat, isn't it?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think it's
happening under Biden's watch and he's going to have to bear that
responsibility and those horrific images are going to come from the media,
But I think this is less a matter of blame, Chris, then regret. I mean,
don't forget, this was the forever war, and as you pointed out, the
American people don't want to be there but also it was the forgotten war.
Why was it forgotten? Because the goal 20 years ago when we got involved
here was to stop the Taliban from allowing Afghanistan to be a base for
terrorist activity. And that goal was accomplished. That was shut down.
And then it became a matter of how do we maintain that, how do we keep the
Taliban at bay? Well, that then enters into the whole notion of nation-
building and, you know what? The United States has spent trillions of
dollars to prop up the Afghanistan government, to prop up their military,
their police, training and all the rest, American lives, and money.
And it hasn't worked. Why? Because of their -- you know, Ashraf Ghani, the
president's own corruption, lack of competence. That's their issue.
I don't think that's an American issue. The key for Biden is making sure
that there is no further terrorist base ever established in Afghanistan.
WALLACE: Let's turn to another big story that week, that was the report
from a panel of the United Nations, which talked about the weather extremes
in the world getting even more extreme, so bad that the secretary general
of the United Nations called it code red for humanity.
Here was the reaction on the U.S. Senate floor to the report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Oregon is burning, California is burning,
Greece is burning. There is a drought hitting virtually every country on
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): The Green New Deal is not about protecting the
environment. It's about making big government even bigger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Julie, the report says that the weather extremes are getting even
more extreme and we all see it. In our homes, on TV, terrible forest fires
broiling heat, storms, floods, and yet I think one of the things that's
remarkable to me is here we are at the week, the report came out I think
Monday, Washington, our leaders both on the right and left, basically moved
PACE: Absolutely. And, look, I think there's actually a linkage between
what we are talking about here on climate and what we're talking about the
Biden administration trying to do in Afghanistan. You know, when Biden
looks at the biggest national security challenges facing the United States,
facing the world, he looks at climate change as being top of that list.
And so, part of the rationale for trying to get out of Afghanistan is that
it's time to take U.S. attention away from a situation like that where, as
we see, there's really no good end in sight and put more attention and
things like climate change. Republicans will argue that is a mistake. But
for Biden, he really does see climate as a place where we need to be
focusing more sustained attention. But the challenge, as you saw over the
last couple of days, is that as president you don't always get to pick your
priorities, a lot of times they are really chosen for you.
WALLACE: And you have to deal with more than one crisis or catastrophe at
Panel, thank you. We'll take a break here. You'll see you all a little
Up next, parents around the country increasingly at odds with each other
and school boards over mask mandates. We'll discuss the truth about risks
in the classroom with Dr. Francis Collins, head of the NIH. That's next.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Coronavirus cases, fueled by the delta
variant, continue to surge, primarily among the unvaccinated as the FDA
authorizes booster shots for some people and more employers are requiring
vaccination as a condition for returning to work.
Joining us now to discuss the latest guidance, the director of the National
Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins.
Dr. Collins, let's start with the latest figures on this fourth wave of the
coronavirus. I want to put the stats up on the screen. The latest average
of new cases is more than 129,000 new cases a day. That's up more than 700
percent from the beginning of July.
Assuming current trends of the spread of the virus and assuming the current
level of vaccinations, how high could this wave get before it crests? How
many new cases could we be seeing a day?
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH DIRECTOR: Well, Chris,
we can't really predict that. All we can say is that this is going very
steeply upward with no signs of having peeked out. So I will be surprised
if we don't cross 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks.
And that's heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in
that space again. That was January, February. That shouldn't be August. But
here we are with delta variant, which is so contagious, and this
heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated who
are sitting ducks for this virus, and that's the mess we're in. We're in a
world of hurt and it's a critical juncture to try to do everything we can
to turn that around.
WALLACE: We are also seeing a sharp rise in the number of pediatric cases,
both unvaccinated kids and vaccinated kids who are getting COVID from this
new delta variant.
How bad could that spike in pediatric cases get?
COLLINS: That's very worrisome. I think traditionally people kind of
considered, well, you know, kids aren't going to get that sick with this.
It more than 400 children have died of COVID-19. And right now we have
almost 2,000 kids in the hospital, many of them in ICU, some of them under
the age of four. So anybody who tries to tell you, well, don't worry about
the kids, the virus won't really bother them, that's not the evidence. And
especially with delta being so contagious, kids are very seriously at risk.
And it's up to all of us to do everything we can to protect them, as well
as we're trying to protective everybody else at the same time.
WALLACE: You talk about protecting them. Seven states across the country
have bans in place, bans against mandates for school masks, mask for these
kids when they're in the schools, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is
leading the charge.
Here he was this week, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you're coming after the rights of parents in
Florida, I'm standing in your way. I'm not going to let you get away with
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: How strong is the case that children in school should wear masks
as a mitigation against delta?
COLLINS: Chris, it's very strong. Go to the CDC website. You'll see more
than a dozen publications showing that evidence. And already you can see in
this country the schools that have started to open without mask
requirements, outbreaks are happening. And what happens then? The kids are
sent home for virtual learning, which is what we were trying to avoid. It's
really unfortunate that politics and polarization have got in the way of a
simple public health measure.
This mask that I'm holding has somehow become a symbol that it never should
have been. This is basically just a life-saving medical device. And somehow
it's now being seen as an invasion of your personal liberty. We never
should have gone there. It's heartbreaking for me as a person who's not a
politician, I'm a scientist, I'm a public health person, I'm a doctor, to
see how masks have gotten into this very strange place with parents and
others shouting about it. We never should have allowed that to happen.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that because the board of education in
Williamson County, Tennessee, near Nashville, held a meeting this week on
the issue of mask mandates. And there were some parents in the group,
including some -- some doctors who had kids in the school who were urging
that everybody wear masks, that there be a mask mandate. And I want to play
the -- the reaction, the scene in the parking lot after the meeting of the
Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We -- we know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can leave freely, but we're going to find you and we
know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are! You -- you -- you will never be
allowed in public again! You will never be allowed -- you'll never be
allowed in public again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know who you are!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, sir --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: As the head of the National Institutes of Health, as a person
who's devoted your life to public health, what's your reaction, sir, when
you see that?
COLLINS: Well, it's devastating that we, in this country, the most advanced
technological society on the planet, has somehow slipped into a space where
the evidence and the basis for making decisions on facts has gotten pushed
aside by politics, by social media conspiracies and by this incredible
depth of anger and grievance that seems to be held by so many. Our future,
as a nation, has got to revolve around coming away from that kind of
approach to everything or I don't see how we're going to solve all of our
society's problems, which are looming in front of us.
If I have one thing I'm worried about, it's not just the epidemic of COVID-
19, it's the epidemic of misinformation, disinformation, distrust, that is
tearing us apart.
WALLACE: One of the big questions now, Dr. Collins, is whether or not all
of us who got the vaccines in the first place are going to need a third
shot, or a booster, whatever you want to call it, because of declining
protection from the vaccine over time.
Now, you and the CDC and all the top government scientists are saying,
well, maybe sometime later this fall, maybe early next year. But, in Israel
right now, they are giving the third shots to everybody over 60 and
starting this week they're going to be giving the shot to everybody over
50, which raises the question, do they know something we don't, sir?
COLLINS: Well, we're looking very closely at their data, as well as our
This is a tricky situation. First, let's point out that just on Friday
CDC's advisory group, and the CDC director accepted it, approved a third
shot for people who have immunocompromise, but that's a separate question.
What about the rest of us? Again, we are looking at this data almost daily.
Yet there is a concern that the vaccine may start to wane in its
effectiveness over months. And delta is a nasty one for us to try to deal
with. The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe
beginning first with health care providers, as well as people in nursing
homes, and then gradually moving forward.
We have not made that decision yet because right now the data we have from
the U.S. says people who are vaccinated are fully protected, even against
delta. When you're talking about severe disease, you're not going to end up
in the hospital if you have that vaccination.
And, of course, the big message right now this morning is, Chris, for the
people who aren't vaccinated, this is the moment to absolutely get off the
fence and take care of this because you are a sitting duck for this virus.
It's looking for you.
WALLACE: But you must know that there are people who did get vaccinated who
are seeing -- and there have been some studies, as you say, it doesn't
indicate people are going to get -- certainly be hospitalized or die, but
that the protection from the vaccine is waning. And -- and as you know,
some people have gone and gotten a third booster on their own in this
country, you know, either lied about it or whatever. And, you know, if
you're -- if you're looking at what's going on in Israel, which seems like
a pretty safe and careful country, why shouldn't you say, well, if they're
doing it, I'll do it?
COLLINS: Well, in -- in fact that is the question we're asking closely.
Remember, Israel had delta hit them sooner than it did us. So in a certain
way the timetable we're looking at is stepped back a bit because of the
spread of this virus. That's part of it.
But also, we're a different kind of country with different situations. We
are getting increasing amount of data from the U.S., especially the next
couple of weeks. We're going to see a lot since delta really started
hitting hard in July. And then we'll make a decision.
And, again, I don't think it's right for people to jump the gun until we
really have the evidence.
We're back to where we were a minute ago, Chris. We're a nation that's
supposed to make decisions based on evidence. Let's try to apply that here
WALLACE: Finally, Governor DeSantis blames President Trump for spreading
COVID by letting so many people with COVID into the country illegally. Here
was Governor DeSantis on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Whatever variants are around the world, they're
coming across that southern border. And so he's not shutting down the
virus, he's helping to facilitate it in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Your talk about dealing with the science, dealing with facts. I'm
going to ask you about that. In parts of Texas, the positivity rate for
COVID among some of the illegal migrants coming across the border is over
10 percent. How responsible are they for spreading -- for this wave of
COVID that is sweeping the country right now?
COLLINS: Well, it's certainly a cause of concern. They have very
significant masking requirements there but it is certainly possible.
But, you know, let nobody try to say that's why the U.S. is in trouble. The
rate of infection in Mexico is actually lower than it is right now in
places like Texas and Louisiana and Florida. I think that's a bit of a
distraction. We've got enough of a problem with her own citizens who have
refused to roll up their sleeves. So maybe that would be a better thing to
focus on if we're trying to end this. That -- that seemed like it was not
going to get us where we need to be. It's an issue, but it's certainly not
the cause of our current dilemma.
WALLACE: Dr. Collins, thank you. Thanks for sharing part of her weekend
with us. Always good to talk with you, sir. Please, come back.
COLLINS: OK, Chris, I will.
WALLACE: Coming up, we'll bring back our Sunday group to discuss the battle
against COVID and a growing divide among House Democrats over the path
forward for President Biden's domestic agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: To vaccinate everyone who can be
vaccinated, vaccinating family members, if children cannot yet be
vaccinated, and then to follow the mitigation strategies in our school,
guidance, including masking in schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, this week, with guidance on how to
keep schools safe in the new COVID wave as kids and teachers returned to
And we're back now with the panel.
Julie, there's been a lot of talk inside the White House about getting even
tougher about mandating vaccines, including the idea of cutting off federal
funds to institutions, like nursing homes, that get some federal funds
unless they make sure all of the people inside, at least the staff inside
the homes are vaccinated.
Where does that idea of using federal funds as a hammer, where does that
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS": It's certainly
still under discussion and I think that, you know, it -- it speaks to this
straddle that the White House is -- is trying to -- to make here, which is,
on the one hand they really believe that mandates -- that anything they can
do to really pressure people to get the vaccine actually is -- is -- is
working. If you look at the data, as more companies, as the federal
government has -- has put mandates in place, you actually are seeing the
number of vaccinations increase.
On the other hand, Biden knows that in -- in parts of the country, with
really low vaccination rates, which tend to be more Republican leaning, you
know, the idea of mandates in general, and the idea of anything being
pushed by the Biden administration might make people more resistant. So
it's a -- it's this really fine balance that they're trying to strike here
between using ever lever that they have, pulling every lever that they have
to try to force people to essentially get this vaccine without making it
seem like Biden himself is actually forcing people to get the vaccine.
WALLACE: Juan, I -- I want to pick up on that because President Biden's
poll numbers were doing very well in the spring when we were doing very
well against COVID. And as the COVID numbers have risen and, you know, we
just heard Dr. Collins say we could see more than 200,000 cases -- new
cases a day before this wave ends, his poll numbers have begun to go down.
How does he balance, on the one hand, the push for vaccines, the push to
try to get this COVID wave under control, with, on the other hand, the
fierce backlash we saw, for instance, in that Tennessee parking lot when
people start talking about mandating vaccines or even mandating masks?
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as the leader of the
American people, he's got to do what's right for the American people and
protect us, Chris. I think that's the paramount issue here.
You know, to me, if -- what's the basis for the backlash against Biden? The
backlash should be against people who are ignoring clear medical guidance,
clear medical facts about the dangers posed by coronavirus and somehow
they've made getting vaccinated into a political issue.
Again, there's lots of vaccine. You can go down to the drugstore right now
and get vaccinated. So you'd have to say that it's a matter of people who
have chosen to ignore this reality and instead made it a political issue or
an act of personal defiance or focused on what they want or don't want to
do or just indifferent.
So, to me, that's where the backlash belongs. Biden's going to have to deal
with it politically only by, again, asserting, you can get the vaccine.
It's up to you.
WALLACE: Doug, we have seen strong stands by some Republican governors,
especially DeSantis in Florida and Abbott in Texas, against even mask
mandates. Forget about vaccines. But now those are the states, two of the
states, Texas and Florida, that are seeing the -- the biggest spike in
So how did they balance, on the one hand, their calls for personal freedom
and their political stand on that with, on the other hand, the -- the
growing public health concern in their backyards?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes, I think that's what
former Director Collins was referring to as -- as to how this has all
become a bigger part of the culture war. I think, for Republicans, they'd
be best to focus on what are the incentives to get people to get vaccinated
so that we can all go back to normal, as opposed to more punishments.
But, Chris, this is also an opportunity for Congress to lead. And Congress
has failed here. You know, last year, in October, and -- and last month I
co-wrote two op-eds with Kendra Barkoff Lamy, who used to work for Joe
Biden, calling for Congress first to mandate testing for anybody who would
come in the Capitol. They failed to do that. Then last month, for vaccines
for anybody who was going to enter the Capitol. They have failed to do
I'm so proud that Mitch McConnell was putting his money where his mouth is
and running ads in Kentucky, urging people to get vaccinated. But if
Congress can't do the job that it needs to do for itself, it sends a bad
message for the rest of the country and leaves those incentives on the
table that need to be really implemented for -- for the American people.
WALLACE: You know, we've talked so far today about Afghanistan, climate
change, COVID. Pretty bleak stuff. But, in fact, we forget that this
started out as a pretty good week and a big week for President Biden when
the Senate passed his $1 trillion infrastructure package on a big, strong,
bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate.
Take a look at President Biden back a few days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After years and years of
infrastructure week, we're on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I
truly believe will transform America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Julie, now there's a sharp split among House Democrats -- the
bill has passed the Senate, it's in the House -- a sharp split among House
Democrats. You've got the moderates saying, look, this passed the Senate.
It's a trillion dollars. It's bipartisan. Let's pass it now and get it to
the president's desk. And then, on the other hand, the left wing of the
party in the House saying, no, no, we're not going to vote on this, we're
going to wait until we also get this $3 trillion plus spending bill. And
that could take months.
Where does that all stand now?
PACE: This is -- was a very brief moment of celebration for the White House
because this problem lingers now in the -- in the House where, you know,
Nancy Pelosi can't really pick which side of her party she is going to try
to appease here because she needs both. The Democrats' margin in the House
is so narrow that she needs to hold the entire party together in order to
get both of these pieces of legislation through. And so, you know, I -- I
think ultimately Democrats want both of these bills so badly that they will
find a way out of it, but getting there is really, really difficult. If the
moderates are really squeamish about the big price tag and the progressives
feel like this is their one chance to get something that big through and
they want commitments that that -- they're not going to walk away --
Democrats are not going to walk away from that bigger piece of legislation.
So Pelosi has a lot of navigating to do right now to keep this big tent
party together. But I -- I do think ultimately the -- the impetus for
Democrats to be able to get out of this year with both of these bills will
likely be so strong that they will find a way. But it's -- it's going to be
tense getting there.
WALLACE: Yes, well, let's talk about how tense it is, Juan. Who does Nancy
Pelosi, the speaker, need to worry about more at this point, the moderate
Democrats -- and there were nine of them who sent a letter to the
leadership this week who say, pass the infrastructure bill now, or the left
wing, people like "the squad," who are saying, no, no, you've got to wait
until the fall, you're going to have to get that whole reconciliation bill,
$3 trillion in social spending, and then we'll vote for both? Who does she
need to worry about more?
WILLIAMS: Well, she's -- clearly President Biden and Speaker Pelosi are on
the same page because they both say that they want to wait for the
reconciliation and they're going to do it together. But -- but I would just
advise you, Chris, to look back at Nancy Pelosi's track record here. After
the '08 recession, people said, oh, she's split between moderates and far
left on spending, on the stimulus. Then it came -- same issue about
Obamacare. Then, you know, cap and trade. In every case, Pelosi has had
success, a 100 batting average. One thousand batting average.
WALLACE: Yes, I was going to say, 100 gets you sent back to the minors.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." He made an iconic speech six
decades ago calling TV up vast wasteland. What does he think of it today?
WALLACE: It was 60 years ago this past May that the head of the Federal
Communications Commission made a speech that started a national debate. As
we first told you this spring, six decades later, he's still got strong
Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
NEWTON MINOW, FORMER CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION OF
U.S.: I thought that we were wasting this extraordinary gift of
technology, and we were not using it to its full potential.
WALLACE (voice over): Newton Minow, President Kennedy's FCC chair, on why
he challenged TV broadcasters in 1961.
MINOW (May 9, 1961): Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station
signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
WALLACE: The phrase "vast wasteland" made headlines and struck a nerve. The
producer of "Gillian's Island" even named the boat that wrecked on that
three hour cruise the SS Minnow.
WALLACE (on camera): Were you surprised at the reaction?
MINOW: I was shocked. I think it was because print media was jealous of
television and they made a big fuss about it.
WALLACE (voice over): It's just one of Minow's many brushes with history.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Adlai E. Stevenson.
WALLACE: Working for Democratic Candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956, Minow
came up with the idea for televised debates with President Eisenhower.
MINOW: Adlai's political advisers thought it would be perceived as a
gimmick and many of them thought Adlai would not do very well. So it was
rejected and never even proposed.
WALLACE: After Stevenson lost, Minow had some advice for a younger
politician about the next election.
MINOW: I said, Jack, I said, if you are still interested, you probably
could get the vice presidential nomination next time. And Jack Kennedy
looked at me and he said, vice president? Vice president? He said, I'm
going to run for president.
WALLACE: Kennedy won in no small part because of a televised debate with
MINOW: By a funny coincidence, my college roommate --
SANDER VANOCUR: I'm Sander Vanocur.
MINOW: Sandy (ph) Vanocur turned out to be one of the questioners, one of
WALLACE (on camera): You're kind of the Forest Gump of the second half of
the 20th century, aren't you?
MINOW: I pop up at very, very odd places.
WALLACE (voice over): In 1988, Minow got his law firm to hire an summer
intern from Harvard.
MINOW: Barack came to work (INAUDIBLE) and his supervisor was a young
woman, also a Harvard Law graduate, named Michelle Robinson. And one night
Joe and I went to the movies and we ran into Michelle and Barack. They were
out on their very first date.
This is my favorite.
WALLACE: Now, at age 95, Minow is still a TV enthusiast.
MINOW: What channel shall we watch or shall we just wallow in the vast
WALLACE: And still a critic.
WALLACE (on camera): Do you see a connection between having so many choices
of television and the polarization in the country?
MINOW: Yes, I do. And I particularly see it when we don't agree on facts.
You must know the difference between a fact and an opinion.
WALLACE: You have been at the center of so many key events and you have
dealt with so many major figures in this country.
As you look back on your life, what are your thoughts?
MINOW: I'm so devoted to this country and been so fortunate to have been
involved in so many important things and I -- I -- every day I say thank
God for America.
WALLACE: Minow says the goal for television should be to serve the public
interest. Back in that 1961 speech, he said history will decide whether
today's broadcasters employ their powerful voice to enrich the people or to
Now, a personal note.
Remember how at the start of school you had to write a paper about what you
did on your summer vacation? Well, I spent the last few weeks having
surgery and then recovering to remove a skin cancer from my nose. They
caught it early and I'm fine, but, trust me, it's no fun. Please,, please
take this seriously. When you go out, wear sunscreen, and be sure to get a
regular skin check.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS
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