This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," June 23, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
President Trump orders but then calls back airstrikes on Iran for shooting down a U.S. drone. As tensions rise, what happens next?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: We have a tremendously powerful military force in that area. It's always on the table.
WALLACE: We'll talk with Republican Senator Tom Cotton about his calls for an aggressive response.
SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARK.: What Iran did last week warrants such retaliatory military strikes.
WALLACE: But is he telling the president?
JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We the people --
WALLACE: Then, 20 Democratic presidential candidates face off this week in the first debate. But what about a serious dark horse who didn't make the cut?
Montana Governor Steve Bullock joins us for a Sunday sit-down about where his campaign goes from here.
Plus, Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden under fire for touting his past work with segregationist senators.
REPORTER: Are you going to apologize, like Cory Booker has called for?
BIDEN: Apologize for what?
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel whether Biden is in for more heat at this week's debate.
And our power player of the week, always heard by never seen. The old guard's elite cannon team on the split second timing of the 21-gun salute.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
President Trump says nothing is off the table when it comes to how the U.S. will respond to Iran shoot down of an American surveillance drone.
The president is at Camp David, recalibrating his Iran policy after calling off airstrikes Thursday night. But national security adviser John Bolton says Iran should not, quote, mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness.
In a moment, we'll talk with Republican Senator Tom Cotton. But, first, let's bring in David Spunt with the latest from the White House -- David.
DAVID SPUNT, CORRESPONDENT: Chris, President Trump returns to the White House from Camp David later this afternoon. He spent the night there.
Before leaving for the camp yesterday on the South Lawn, he said that dialogue is his number one priority with Iran. And a few hours after getting to Camp David, he tweeted that major sanctions would take place tomorrow.
SPUNT: President Trump making it clear he wants to avoid war with Iran.
TRUMP: Everybody was saying I'm a warmonger. And now they say I'm a dove. And I think I'm neither.
SPUNT: The president says that's why he aborted airstrikes.
TRUMP: I don't want to kill 150 of anything or anybody, unless that's absolutely necessary. If the leadership of Iran behaves badly, then it's going to be a very, very bad day for them.
SPUNT: With few specifics, the president tweeted: Major additional sanctions will be imposed on the country. The president says he hopes Iran becomes a productive and prosperous nation again.
The president also holding off on arresting thousands of illegal immigrants Sunday morning. FOX News has confirmed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Trump to ask him to delay the planned ICE raids, a hint of bipartisanship, and the president obliged.
SPUNT: Now, President Trump basically said he is giving Congress only a couple of weeks. Congress on this hand has only a few more working days, Chris, before their July Fourth recess. Then, President Trump said those deportations would begin.
Now on another note, we can tell you that President Trump apparently sent a letter to Kim Jong-un in North Korea. This is being reported from the White House. Reportedly Chairman Kim from the North Korea News Agency said the letter was excellent. A senior national security advisor said that President Trump and Kim Jong-un would not be meeting for another summit anytime soon.
Chris, back to you from the White House.
WALLACE: David Spunt, reporting from the White House -- David, thanks for that.
We are joined now by Senator Tom Cotton. A member of both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, and author of the new book "Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour at Arlington National Cemetery".
Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday".
COTTON: Chris, thanks for having me on.
WALLACE: Last Sunday, you called for a military strike against Iran after it had attacked two foreign ships near the Strait of Hormuz.
Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COTTON: Unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant of retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Well, this week, as we all know, I ran went after and shot down a U.S. Navy and President Trump first ordered and then called off a retaliatory strike.
What do you think of the president's move?
COTTON: Chris, obviously, I think retaliatory strikes were warranted when we're talking about foreign vessels on the high seas. I think they're warranted against an American unmanned aircraft.
What I see is Iran steadily marching up the escalation chain. It started down with threats, it went into an attack on vessels in ports, went into attack on vessels at sea, now to unmanned American aircraft. I fear that if Iran doesn't have a firm set of boundaries drawn around this behavior, we are going to see an attack on a U.S. ship or U.S. manned aircraft.
This is exactly what we saw in the 1980s, where Iran for four years was allowed to attack ships on the high seas, over 190 attacks in the Iran-Iraq war. Ron Reagan finally lost his patients after one of those mines hit a U.S. Navy frigate and then he launched one of the largest naval engagements since World War II.
I hope that that's not the case. I hope it is not the case. I hope the president's statement on Friday and a statement yesterday that we will not tolerate any kind of attack on the American service member anywhere in the region gets through to the leaders in Tehran. I worry, though, that they have a long history of marching up this escalation ladder anytime they face a kind of strategic challenge they face right now, thanks to the administration's maximum pressure campaign.
WALLACE: You were very critical of President Obama's failure to enforce his redline against Syria after a chemical attack, saying that it raised questions about how strong U.S. security commitments and statements by the president were. President Trump has repeatedly gone after Mr. Obama on the same thing. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When he didn't cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world because it was a blank threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Does this run the risk of being President Trump's red line moment?
COTTON: No. Chris, I see some differences between the two situations. First, the President Obama's Syria policy was a mess. Second, he himself in his words drew that red line and then he failed to enforce it.
Here, President Trump's Iran policy is working. It's probably the first time in 40 years where we have the initiative against Iran. One reason they are lashing out is because of a maximum pressure campaign that has driven their economy to near depression levels of activity.
Second, he had not drawn any such red line in his own language. He didn't take military strikes last week and overt or conventional fashion but he has said very clearly that we will not tolerate -- Iran or its proxies making any type of attack on American service members or citizens in the region. And he's also said that major sanctions are going to be added tomorrow, which is only going to increase the sanctions they already face, which is one very positive results so far of the maximum pressure campaign.
WALLACE: Iran now says, I mean, I think it's fair to say, attacks on ships and drones, serious as they are, are kind of the sideshow. The big deal is the Iran nuclear deal and Iran now says that it is going to violate that deal this week, that it is going to exceed the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium and that perhaps it is going to violate the limit on uranium, go from 3-1/2 percent enriched, up to 20 percent, putting it closer to a nuclear weapon.
If it does that and gets closer to a nuclear weapon, what should the U.S. response be? And are you at all concerned that the president's back-and- forth this week where he ordered an attack and then called it back, may perhaps unrealistically, encourage the mullahs to think they can get away with that?
COTTON: Well, Chris, I'd say, about Iran's threat to enrich uranium to levels beyond what is permitted in the nuclear deal, it's really going to be a question for the Europeans whether they want to continue the charade of pretending that Iran may continue to obey those limits and they can engage in some kind of trade with Iran and bypass American sanctions. I would say to those European leaders that given the fact that the president exercised restraint in this last week, they should view that as an opening to double down with the United States on those sanctions if Iran bypasses those enrichment limits.
But just like an attack on an American ship or any harm to American service member or citizen in the region, the president has also been very clear he will not allow Iran to approach a nuclear weapon.
WALLACE: President Trump as you point out says that he's going to impose major sanctions on Iran starting tomorrow. But he also says that if Iran were to change its way of doing things, that it can turn into an economic powerhouse. Take a look at what the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again, become a prosperous nation, we'll call it, let's make Iran great again. Does that make sense? Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, that's the same offer he made to North Korea that if they gave up their nuclear weapons that he would turn them into an economic or help them become an economic powerhouse. Do you really think that repressive regimes like North Korea and Iran are going to give up their nuclear ambitions in return for the blessings of western capitalism?
COTTON: Chris, I'll probably adhere here to what Ronald Reagan once said about the Soviet Union, trust but verify. The president's policy as announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his 12-point speech last year was very clear, the administration is not going to renegotiate the Obama era nuclear deal. They are not going to put a few new provisions on it. They want Iran to change its campaign of terror throughout the region and drop its imperial ambitions.
So, that means things like stopping terrorist groups in rebel groups that are trying to overthrow legitimate governments supporting military proxy forces in Iraq. If they will adhere to those 12 points that Secretary Pompeo laid out on behalf of Donald Trump and negotiate a genuine and verifiable into their nuclear program, then we can have a different kind of relationship with Iran and that would be very much to the benefit of the Iranian people as the president laid out yesterday.
WALLACE: But it would seem to me in any case that the prospects that Iran -- you're basically talking about the Islamic regime completely changing its colors, completely changing the way it acts. You've got the Iran Revolutionary Guard, you've got hard-liners in Tehran. Do you think the prospect of American capitalism is going to change that?
COTTON: That's why I say a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted when you're dealing with regimes like the ayatollahs. But let's be clear, Chris, Secretary Pompeo didn't ask them to turn into a Western European style parliamentary democracy. He asked him to behave like a normal nation. To stop committing acts of terrorism and supporting terror groups, stop trying to overthrow governments in the region, stop attacking shipping on the high seas. Those are very reasonable request that we expect of any civilized and normal nation.
WALLACE: Speaking of North Korea, the regime there says that President Trump sent a letter to Chairman Kim that he has received over the weekend and that Kim, quote, will contemplate the interesting content of the letter. Really the same question. How optimistic are you that Iran will ever agree to denuclearize through diplomacy?
COTTON: Again, Chris, I think healthy skepticism is warranted here. What we should do with Iran is exactly what the president has done with North Korea since Kim Jong-un made unreasonable demands on the Hanoi Summit in February, and the president rightly walked away from that summit. We should keep the maximum pressure campaign on, give them no quarter, give them the opportunity to begin to act like a normal nation and try to seek relief in return for tangible and verifiable commitments, but healthy skepticism is warranted any time you deal someone like Kim Jong-un or the ayatollahs.
WALLACE: President Trump has also delayed a round up that was supposed to begin today of migrant families that have already been given their deportation orders. He says he is giving Congress two weeks to work out and reform the asylum system and otherwise, he will impose the round up.
I don't have to tell you, you have a little bit of a look on your face. You talk about healthy skepticism, Congress isn't going to reform the asylum system in two weeks, sir.
COTTON: So, Chris, I will just say, healthy skepticism is warranted for dealing with Democrats when it comes to immigration. Let's just think about the Democrats' position here, Chris. These are people who have claimed asylum in our country. They've had their day in court. They've had their plans rejected, and now, they face a valid and final order of removal.
If they can't deport people like that, who can they deport? That's when the Democrats' position ultimately comes back to, in essence, open borders.
WALLACE: So, what do you think of the president's decision to hold off on the roundup of these people who should be deported?
COTTON: Two weeks for a couple thousand families is not going to make a big difference, and if we could get a genuine law passed through Congress that would address the asylum reforms that we need to start the crisis at the border, that would be a good thing. But, again, I go back to this point, if you can't deport an illegal alien as a valid and final order of removal that's adjudicated by an immigration judge, who can you deport?
WALLACE: Finally, you have written, as we mentioned at the beginning, a new book called "Sacred Duty: A Soldier's Tour At Arlington National Cemetery". What did you learn about your tour of duty at Arlington guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns, dealing with Section 60 which, of course, is the area where the people who died in the global war on terrorism are buried? What did you learn from that experience?
COTTON: Well, it was a true honor to serve at Arlington National Cemetery when I did. And to be back at the cemetery last year with the young soldiers, some of whom you're profiling on your show later today, who were honoring our fallen heroes.
But given this fact that we're on a political show, I'll just say that one thing I say when I'm in Arlington is the reverence, the respect, the gratitude, even the love that everyone has, no matter their political views or partisan affiliation for our fallen heroes and for the young soldiers who honor. You know, Arlington was born in the ashes of the Civil War, the most divisive time in our country, and I think it's a good reminder that no matter how divided our time seems to be today, that they're still many things that we hold in common and hold dear as a country that unites us as Americans.
WALLACE: Senator Cotton, thank you. Thanks for your time. And as you point out, we have a terrific story about a power player at the end of the show, about a unit of the old guard and you're exactly right, the reverence they have for the fallen there at Arlington is quite extraordinary and quite inspiring. And as you say, a good message for all of us.
Thank you, sir.
COTTON: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we will bring in our Sunday group to discuss divisions inside the Trump administration over how to respond to the shoot-down of that surveillance drone.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran? Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday, and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: How will you respond?
TRUMP: You'll find out.
REPORTER: Are you willing to go to war with Iran?
TRUMP: You'll find out, you'll find out.
I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth. I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump this week sending mixed messages about how he would respond to Iran downing a U.S. drone before finally deciding to call off a retaliatory air strike.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service, Emily Jashinsky from "The Federalist," and host of "Media Buzz", Howard Kurtz.
Well, I talked with some top members of the president's national security team this week after the president's decision, and here's what I was told. They were unanimous, all of these people -- Pentagon, State Department, National Security Council, they were unanimous and recommending a strike.
The president was fully briefed early on Thursday on potential casualties. He gave the execute order and hours later, called it off and top advisors were, quote, "surprised and don't know what changed his mind."
Karl is the only one of us who has been in the Situation Room with decisions like this are made -- how unusual is what happened on Thursday and what you make of it?
KARL ROVE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is not unusual for the president to take the unified advice of his advisors and reject it. What's unusual is for us to this be played so prominently in the public. The president talking about "cocked and loaded" in 10 minutes before it was supposed to be and so forth.
The question is whether this leaves an impression of weakness. And, frankly, we don't know. Yes, on the surface, it might. It does.
On the other hand, the accuracy of the reports about the cyber assault on the Iranians on Thursday could be very important because it did knock out the control systems for their missile systems and basically take offline the groups that had organized the assault on the tankers, then the message inside Tehran might be we better not mess with these people.
But let's be honest. We as a country and the rest ought to be prepared for more attacks by the Iranians because the president sanctions are working. The economy as Tom Cotton, Senator Cotton, pointed out, is in freefall, and the Iranians will react to this by doing something to escalate this, probably by using proxies.
But we do have a moment now where the president could say, he said to them, we're going to put some additional sanctions on a Monday and then more sanctions were coming if things don't move. The Europeans are clearly moving towards a situation of freeze, freeze the sanctions, freeze the nuclear program and then talk. Whether that's successful or not, I don't know, but we ought to be prepared as a country for more assaults and maybe the loss of American lives.
WALLACE: We asked you for questions for the panel and we got this on Facebook from Cecil Leake. He writes: Are we going to do anything about the attack or are we going to get another red line scenario like Syria?
Mo, I don't have to tell you, and as I brought it up with Senator Cotton, Republicans, including President Trump, went after Barack Obama for failing to enforce his redline in Syria, saying it showed that, you know, he didn't keep his promises. He didn't keep his commitments. Do you see what Donald Trump did on Thursday, ordering and then deciding to call off the strike? Do you see that as an act of wisdom or an act of weakness?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: I think it's an act of confusion and I think this is an incredibly dangerous time to have at least a publicly confusing policy when it comes to Iran.
I agree with Karl that this could be a situation where the Iranians look at what we did and maybe you feel a little bit more emboldened because it was so publicly played out, particularly -- and it didn't need to be publicly played out this way. The president has the right to make a decision he's going to make but to play it out the way he did and using rhetoric that he did has potential to embolden the Iranians in a very, very delicate time in the relationship there.
I think that there's -- you know, look, Iran has never been an economic powerhouse. Iran -- these sanctions are hurting them, but I don't know if that's what's going to motivate them. When you have a repressive regime like the Iranians and if they're hell-bent on pursuing a nuclear program, this is actually provocations and bluster from the American government actually strengthens their case internally to continue to move forward.
So I worry that because of the presidents habits here, you know, I'm glad at the end he pulled back but because of his habits and how he talks about these things, I worry that he may have further poked the hornets nest.
WALLACE: If the president is reluctant to use force against Iran the past week, he also decided at the last minute to delay a planned round up this morning of migrant families. These are migrant families who have been given a court order for deportation and there was going to be around up in major cities across the country. Here is what the president said Saturday morning about what is called a family op -- a family operation to round up these people in the country illegally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everybody that came into the country illegally will be brought out of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Emily, late Saturday, as we say, the president decided to delay this for two weeks to give Congress time for asylum reform. What are your thoughts about the delay, what are your thoughts about the prospects that Congress is going to make some major action on asylum reform in two weeks?
EMILY JASHINSKY, TEH FEDERALIST: Yes, I mean, I think any major action on that would have had to have happen before the midterms. I mean, here we are sitting in June of 2019 and I think the likelihood of anything passing in Congress would have -- I mean, that's well past its date of having any potential of getting done.
So, this two week window is remarkably short. I don't think it's likely that anything gets done. I think Congress has punted time and again, and that's really the main thing that has prevented this president who has done things like declare a national emergency for the border wall, from enacting his full immigration agenda. I think that frustrates a small portion of his base, maybe not a significant portion of his base, but I do think there is a small section of that hard-core Trump base that things Democrats are winning on this, are beating him in the negotiations on immigration. This decision will fuel that perception.
WALLACE: Howie, I think it's safe to say reporters like us tend to dismiss threats like this. But on the other hand, I remember couple of weeks ago when the president suddenly threatened Mexico and said we are going to impose these tariffs and everybody went, oh, that's -- that could be very inflammatory, it's not going to get anything done. The fact is that Mexico is now as a result of the threats taking steps to guard its southern border with Guatemala and some of the Central American countries are doing things to stop their asylum-seekers from leaving their country and coming here.
So, sometimes the president's tactics do work.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST OF "MEDIA BUZZ": Threatening to begin the ICE raids today, calling it off in the last minute is sort of the classic Trumpian real estate developer, make outrageous demands, brinksmanship. That it actually does work. What happens is, he will do something and his political opponents and the media will say, has Donald Trump gone too far, and then there was chaos and confusion and then he hammers out some kind of compromise and declares victory. And there's connective tissue here between this decision and the decision not to go forward with the airstrikes against Iran.
I think the process was obviously messy but the president ended up where most or at least many Americans are, which is after Iraq and Afghanistan, tired of endless wars. He was conflicted because he ran against dumb foreign entanglements but also likes to take a tough line against Iran.
But I think the key thing, Chris, is this whole "he back down, he cave" narrative really reflects our pretty hawkish foreign policy establishment, including some of its charter members in the media which almost always favoring military action after every provocation, but then --
WALLACE: Let me pick on that.
WALLACE: Well, I was just going to say, I remember in the 1980s, I was covering Ronald Reagan and he suddenly announced they were going to re-flag Kuwaiti tankers and fly them under U.S. protection, and there were a lot of people in the media at that point who were saying, oh my gosh, he is going to get us into a war. In fact, he re-flagged them at a certain point, a frigate was hit a mine. He went out, as Cotton said, with a really aggressive attack on Iran, it didn't get us in the war. It got Iran to back down.
Sometimes a limited, targeted use of force works.
KURTZ: Sure. But we have learned from Iraq what everyone, what generals saying --
WALLACE: But that wasn't limited target use of force.
KURTZ: No, not at all. But I'm saying that, you know, things can escalate rapidly and the president ultimately decided he did not want to take the risk of doing that in this instance, despite his reluctance.
WALLACE: Real quick, real quickly.
ROVE: Yes, look, we saw this on Syria. The president -- President Obama was applauded by many, including people in the media saying, well, the red line, we don't want to get engaged in Syria. This is just going to bog us down.
And what happened with President Trump set across her redline with him and set 100 cruise missiles plunging in Syria and destroyed 24 percent of their airports like that. Nothing happened because the president demonstrated resolved.
I'm not saying the president is appearing weak in this situation. I'm saying in this situation, I'm glad you agreed with me but you've got to fully it agree with me.
WALLACE: You got to fully agree with him.
WALLACE: All right. We got to get out of this segment.
ROVE: You fully agree with me.
What really matters is how did the Iranians react to the cyber attack and they say, oh my god, we better not mess around with these people but look what they did to our communications --
WALLACE: I wonder if taking out a military battery, a radar, a missile battery might have been more effective. But in any case, to be debated.
We have to take a break here. We'll see you panel a little later.
When we come back, Montana governor and 2020 candidate Steve bullock, why didn't he make the first Democratic debate and what will he do now to raise his profile? We'll ask him.
WALLACE: Coming up, 2020 Democrats knock Joe Biden for comments about working with segregationists, while others stress his larger point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, D-CALIF., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They were misplaced and, frankly, misinformed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't walk away from those relationships over politics. You try to work around them, work through them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel how badly was Biden hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: He's the only Democratic presidential candidate out of 23 who won statewide office in a state Donald Trump one in 2016. But he won't get to make his case in the first Democratic debates this week because he didn't qualify.
Montana Governor Steve Bullock joins us now for a “Fox News Sunday” sit down.
GOV. STEVE BULLOCK, D-MONT., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, Chris. Great to be with you.
WALLACE: You, I don't have to tell you, are not going to be on the debate stage this week for the first Democratic debates. In the meantime, as the governor of Montana, you won't be there but a tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang will be there and self-help guru Marianne Williamson will be there.
How big a blow to your campaign, sir?
BULLOCK: Well, Chris, it certainly disappointed because missing from that stage will be somebody that actually won in a Trump state and we need to win back some of those places that we lost if we're going to win in 2020, someone that has bridge divides, my legislature is majority Republican, but we've gotten meaningful things done, someone from a rural state, which I think is important, and somebody from out of Washington, D.C.
But I don't think that it's a blow to my campaign in the slightest. I mean during that time I'll actually be in town halls in Iowa and in New Hampshire talking to people. And I think that's how both I've won here in Montana three times statewide. I've always put sort of people above sort of the politics or the political party rules and I think that's what people are going to want in a president.
WALLACE: OK. Let -- let's talk specifically about it because it is one of your main selling points that you have run and won in Montana three times, once as attorney general, twice as governor in a state that Donald Trump won in 2016 by 20 points.
The question I guess I have is, what's the practical effect of that, the fact that you won in a red state? How does -- in a practical way -- does that mean that you'd have a better chance than another Democratic candidate of beating President Trump in states that he won in 2016, like Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin?
BULLOCK: Yes, Chris, I was on the ballot in 2016. He took Montana by 20. I won by four. Twenty-five to 30 percent of my voters voted for Donald Trump. In a practical -- we both have to bring out our base and win back some of those places that we lost. And I can't win in Montana just by going to the pockets of blue. I get all across this state. And I think that we need to make sure that our Democratic nominee can be competitive not only on the coast but, as you know, places like Wisconsin, places like Pennsylvania and I believe I can be that candidate.
WALLACE: You talk about working with and getting bills through the Republican-controlled legislature in Montana, which -- which brings me to Joe Biden, who talked this week about how he used to work with segregationist senators to get legislation through.
That led to a controversy over whether Biden should apologize for those comments. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you going to apologize, like Cory Booker has called for?
BIDEN: Apologize for what?
QUESTION: Cory Booker has called for it. He's asking you to apologize.
BIDEN: Cory should apologize. He knows better. There's not a racist bone in my body. I've been involved in civil rights my whole career, period.
SEN. CORY BOOKER, D-N.J., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For his posture to be to me, I've done nothing wrong, you should apologize, I'm not a racist, is so insulting and -- and -- and -- and so missing the larger point that he should not have to have explained to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what do you think of what the former vice president, Joe Biden, said? And do you think some of your Democratic rivals in the field are too focused on ideological purity over practical politics?
BULLOCK: Well, Chris, I certainly work to maintain decent relationships in my state house, and I think that the vice president's illustration of the we need to work with other individuals and folks that we may not agree with all the time is a valid point. And that's what I do here in Montana. I might not have chosen those specific senators from a perspective of giving the shout out to who he's been able to work with.
WALLACE: Let's -- my guess is, most people don't know where you stand on issues, so let's do a lightning round and the point of a lightning round, let me explain to you, since it's our first time, quick answers, and I'll give quick questions to give a sense of where you stand on some issues.
Medicare for all.
BULLOCK: I think we ought to have access and affordability for everyone. You can do that by providing a public option, negotiating drug prices, ending surprise medical billing. But you don't need to disrupt about 156 million people that have health insurance on the private market right now. We should be driving down those costs.
WALLACE: The green new deal.
BULLOCK: We need to take action on climate. And it has to be immediate and durable. We can't wait another three decades by any means. The scientists say we have to be net zero by 2050. I think we can do it a lot sooner.
So that aspiration behind it, I agree with the specific policy proposals. I think needs a heck of a lot of work.
WALLACE: Immigration, you said last year that you would not send Montana National Guard to the southern border as part of President Trump's effort, but don't we need to secure our borders, sir?
BULLOCK: Look, yes, and Democrats certainly, and I believe in border security and keeping families safe and also growing our economy. But this 18th century solution, let's just build a wall to a 21st century problem, I don't think is the way to go. This is a humanitarian crisis and we're actually, in many respects, we're exacerbating that crisis. We're not actually helping it.
WALLACE: What limits, if any, on when a woman should have an abortion?
BULLOCK: Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court said that in Roe versus Wade that this ought to be a decision made by the woman in consultation with her doctor. If she so chooses -- also her family and faith.
I've stood behind that and I think that's where we need to go as a country.
WALLACE: But the Roe system -- the Roe decision did set up a system of trimesters. And, over time, the court has basically said there are, you know, there are more protections for women in the first trimester and perhaps in the second than there are in the third. Are you saying that a woman should have a right to an abortion right up until the moment of birth?
BULLOCK: No. What I'm saying, Chris, is we ought to follow Roe versus Wade. You're absolutely right, in the third trimester there's balancing and only in cases necessarily of a woman's -- when the health is endangered, and I think that's what most places have done.
WALLACE: All right, I want to delve into one last area with you because it's an area where some of your critics say that you have flipped as you've decided to run for president, and that is the area of guns.
Back in 2016, you opposed universal background checks and you said that you would expand Second Amendment rights in your state of Montana. But more recently you now support universal background checks, you support a limit on the size of gun magazines, and you oppose -- or rather you support a ban on some semiautomatic weapons.
Why the change of mind, sir?
BULLOCK: Yes, and, Chris, I have been both a supporter of the Second Amendment and I've also vetoed bills that I don't think makes sense.
You know, I've had to lower the flags five times just since Parkland. I think if we ever looked at this as a public health issue and not a political issue, we could make strides. Like even Republicans and NRA members believe that guns should be kept out of the wrong hands and universal background checks. We ought to move forward in that.
Red flag laws. When you look at being able to remove a gun where an order of protection is in place. Places like Walmart and Dick's have banned the selling of assault weapons, assault rifles, and it's about time we take a look at this as well.
You know, when I was growing up, the NRA was a gun safety organization and a hunting organization. Now it's nothing more than a political organization trying to divide us. We need to figure out, addressing it from a public health perspective could actually make a meaningful difference in keeping our families and our communities safe.
WALLACE: Governor Bullock, thank you. Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us. This is the first, but it won't be the last time we talk with you, sir. Safe travels on the campaign trail.
BULLOCK: It's great being with you this morning, Chris.
WALLACE: when we come back, Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden coming off a tough week after some of his rivals call him out of touting his past civility with segregationist. What can Biden expect from his opponents at this week's debate?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, D-MASS., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People across this nation understand, it is time for big, structural change in America.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will make it my priority not only to eliminate national economic disparities, but racial disparities once and for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Some of the Democratic presidential candidates making their pitches at this weekend's South Carolina state party convention.
And we're back now with the panel.
Well, Howie, this is the first big week in this race. How do you handicap the first set of Democratic debates this week and Joe Biden talking about working with segregationist senators? How damaging do you think it is for him to talk about how we did things in the good old days given where the Democratic Party is today?
KURTZ: On the debates 19 other people trying to break through, grab a viral moment on a very crowded stage is going to be tough.
On Biden, we all know what Joe Biden was trying to say about working with people of very different views, but his selection of stone cold racists, like James Eastland, a long dead Democrat, was just incredibly tone-deaf and even more so, Chris, because he's told these antidotes before and his staff had urged him to stop.
Joe Biden's problem right now is that elections are about the future and he sometimes seems stuck in these long ago battles about bussing and other issues back in the '70s. And it seems to me that he's given his liberal opponents an opening to say he's out of step with the party. But I think there's so much good will that Joe Biden enjoys among Democrats that this doesn't hurt him much outside the Washington bubble unless he keeps making these blunders.
WALLACE: Well, he's going to have an opportunity to make those blunders on the debate stage.
You know, Emily, Biden holds -- continues to hold a double-digit lead nationally and in most of the early primary states. How aggressively do you expect that -- well, it won't be those 19 other candidates. It will only be nine on the stage with him, but the nine other candidates on the sage with him on Thursday night to go after him.
EMILY JASHINSKY, "THE FEDERALIST": Yes, I think we've actually seen a preview of how that will play out just after these comments were made because every -- I mean Cory Booker has hit him hard for this. Kamala Harris has hit him hard for this. We've seen an energy over this among his rivals that clearly plan to use it against him. That said, you do note, he - he does enjoy a double-digit lead. I think he does enjoy, as Howie said, a lot of good will with the broader Democratic electorate, which is older than I think a lot of the -- the hard left online recognizes. And those hard left attacks have just not stuck to Biden so far. It's early, but, you know, as early as it is, we still haven't seen those hard left attacks really damage him yet. This is -- he's going to get hard over this, this week -- hit hard over this, this week, that's for sure.
WALLACE: Let's turn to President Trump who -- and I know it looks like and seems like he's been running ever since he was elected in 2016, but he officially announced this week in Orlando that he's going to be running for re-election in 2020. And let's take a look at a bit of that announcement speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy our you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.
They would shut down your free speech, use the power of the law to punish their opponents. They would strip Americans of their constitutional rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Other than that, he's very fond of the Democrats.
Karl, as someone who managed a successful re-election campaign for George W. Bush in 2004, what do you think of using the first 30 or 40 minutes of your announcement speech to re-litigate old grievances? And do you think he can sell that dire vision of Democrats in 2020?
KARL ROVE, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the -- to answer the first part of your question, I'm not certain that's the great way to start off, by re- litigating the past. Every election is about the future and it is important for him to say, here's what I've done to strengthen our economy. But it's even more important for him to say, here's what I want to do next.
Now, as to the second part of your -- your question, it is always useful to contrast yourself with your opponents. I'm not certain that that was the most effective contrast. It's better if it's -- if -- if it's -- if they use the substance in their comments. Jon Krakauer (ph) has an interesting piece today. Think about this. We've -- we've talked about Biden. And it could have been worse if it were not for civil rights icon John Lewis and - - and Jim Clyburn saying, this isn't a problem with us, it would have been worse for Biden.
But think about that, that covered up the fact Kamala Harris goes to South Carolina and says -- and defends the only member of the U.S. House to vote against the resolution calling for a U.S. response to al Qaeda in the aftermath of 9/11. Booker refuses to say that I won't meet with Louis Farrakhan. Elizabeth Warren stands up in South Carolina and says, free college, no tuition, no fees at any public university in America, and Bernie Sanders attacks centrist Democrats as representing of the corporate interest. There is plenty of material being given to the president and his re-election campaign and it's only going to get better, only going to get more juicy, only going to get more delicious. And that's what the president ought to be focused on.
WALLACE: Mo, this is why he's the best because I asked him a question about what Donald Trump said and he turned it into a full-fledged attack on the Democrats. That was very, very well (INAUDIBLE). It was a good pivot.
ROVE: Which the president -- I was -- I was sending a message, the president can do that too.
WALLACE: Well, now here's my question to you. What did you think of the president's announcement speech and in an interview this week he said he doesn't know that he's really going to have to go after swing voters because he said it's really just about, you know, turning out his base.
Is -- is that what this is going to be about, the president turning out his base, Democrats turning out their base, and nothing in the middle?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLICIES AND PUBLIC SERVICE: It doesn't have to be, but that's -- appears to be where he's headed at least, right? Look, two important things to note about the president's numbers. From the day he announced his candidacy through today, his unfavorable rating has hovered around 55 percent. That's pretty remarkable. His approval rating, job approval, which is different than favorably, but his job approval has always been sort of that 40 -- you know, 38 to 42 percent sweet spot. Might tick up a little, might tick down a little bit, but that's been the sweet spot.
He got 46 percent of the vote. He -- there are about 6 percent of the people out there who voted for him even though they did not like him. He is doubling down in this speech and in this campaign by saying, I don't need those people this time. I'm going to focus on my base and try to depress turnout for the other side. I think that is going to be his strategy. Democrats have an opportunity to go after those people in the middle.
ROVE: Neither party's base is big enough to win this election. The winner of this election is going to wake -- is the person who wakes up and realizes they've got to take their base and cemented it to a majority of the small number of truly independent, undecided, swing voter.
WALLACE: But -- but -- I think -- would you agree that Donald Trump hasn't done that yet?
ROVE: No, but, look, I -- campaigns are about phasing. And so he started out by saying, I'm -- I'm -- I'm appealing to my base. There was a brilliant column --
ELLEITHEE: It hasn't stopped.
ROVE: There was a brilliant column in "Wall Street Journal" Thursday morning. I'm surprised you didn't read. It that suggested that the president needed --
WALLACE: Was that by you?
ROVE: Yes, of course. It suggested that the president needed to mitigate the animosity of people towards him, that 50 some odd percent who say they'll never vote for him and he needed to focus his campaign on winning those -- on those swing voters.
WALLACE: And when does -- and we've got ten seconds, when does he need to do that?
ROVE: Well, he'll -- we've started this presidential campaign a lot earlier than we've ever started a re-election campaign, whether it was 2011-12 or 2003 and '04, this is really, really early. So he's got plenty of time to do that.
WALLACE: It's getting early late here. I think that's what Yogi Berra said.
Thank you panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week," it's one of the Army's proudest and loudest units that fires those 21 gun salutes for presidents. We'll take you behind the scenes. You won't want to miss it.
WALLACE: They're rarely seen, but you can hear their work from miles away, members of the artillery unit that honors presidents and other dignitaries with remarkable precision. And they are our "Power Players of the Week."
SFC. JOSHUA WOOD, U.S. ARMY: The Old Guard (ph) bases itself on perfection.
SGT. DANIEL STEWART, U.S. ARMY: If we mess up, people know. So I like the fact that we tend to not do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready, (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Sergeant Daniel Stewart and Sergeant First Class Joshua Wood are members of the Presidential Salute Battery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Standby. Fire.
WALLACE: That fires cannons at all the big events in Washington, presidential inaugurations and funerals, special concerts, and visits by distinguished guests, and burials at Arlington National Cemetery.
WOOD: When you are shooting for a president, like that's -- that's the biggest -- that's like the Super Bowl. There is no room for error. The whole world is watching you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready battery.
WALLACE (voice over): We got a rare look behind the scenes --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Settle down.
WALLACE: At the extraordinary precision in everything the PSB does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.
WALLACE: There's a five-man staff and two men on each canon. The watchmen orders each fire. But in the echo of the booms, they found yelling one, two, three got lost.
STEWART: Tap (ph).
(INAUDIBLE). Step (ph). Ready (ph). Cut (ph).
WALLACE (on camera): And you do that every three seconds?
STEWART: Every three seconds. Yes, sir.
WALLACE (voice over): What if the watchman loses his voice? The PSB has a plan for that.
STEWART: Top (ph).
WALLACE (on camera): He messes up, and now who does it?
WOOD: The chief next to him.
WALLACE: Because there's no room for error?
WOOD: There's not.
WALLACE (voice over): They guns are M-5 anti-tank canons from World War II, that saw action from North Africa to the Battle of the Bulge.
Three teams are usually assigned to a ceremony. But if there's a misfire, there's a backup unit just in case.
WOOD: My left hand is on my side. As soon as I lift it up, the back-up gunner, like you said, is looking at this hand. As soon as it moves, he pulls his lanyard (ph), which basically sets the gun off.
WALLACE: And if there's another misfire, the backup crew has to be ready to go again.
WOOD: As a loader, I'll load the rounds in three seconds, putting it inside the breach (ph). Close the breach (ph). And then re-fire. And the same process is done until the ceremony is complete.
TRUMP: So help me God.
WALLACE: If you think that's overkill, it happened at the Trump inauguration.
WOOD: There was actually two or three misfires during the inaugural honors that were being rendered. And I was loading fast enough that it didn't even skip a beat. It didn't sound like anything happen.
WALLACE: The PSB is part of the old guard, the longest-serving active infantry unit in the Army, that's also charged with standing watch at the Tomb of the Unknowns, which brings us to watch they see as their main mission.
WALLACE (on camera): With the military at war and some of your colleagues in actual combat, why is the Presidential Salute Battery important?
STEWART: Every family that is in that cemetery, they only get one funeral, so it needs to be the best ceremony you can give.
WOOD: You want to give them protection because their loved one served their country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by.
STEWART: I -- I just -- I love it. The firing canons. I love the honoring the fallen. And just paying my respects.
WALLACE: And in a week and a half you'll get to hear the battery's work when they fire their cannons for President Trump's Fourth of July event here on the National Mall.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
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