This is a rush transcript from "The Story," August 16, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Good evening, Jon. Thank you very much.
So, President Trump, like Harry Truman and Andrew Johnson before him, apparently has his eye on possibly purchasing the country of Greenland.
Good Evening, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum, and this is where “The Story” begins tonight.
Here is Greenland, rich in coal and uranium, and diamonds. And strategically located between North America and Europe in the Arctic Ocean. Has about 58,000 residents and it currently relies on Denmark for two- thirds of their budget revenue.
Not a new concept though. As I said, Harry Truman offered 100 million in gold to purchase Greenland back in 1946. And in 1867, Andrew Johnson had his state department check into the idea as well.
President Trump says he is always looking at things with a developer's eye. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: There is something about the real estate world that's -- it's incredible, you just love it, it's in your blood. It's in your blood. So, even as president, and that's why I tell you -- even as president, I ride down those streets and I say, "Wow, is that place nice? Wow, what could you do with that? Look at that site."
And then they said, wait a minute, I have to deal with China. Forget about this stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: But the idea not going over so well, as you might imagine with some folks in Greenland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't feel like he understands like -- the reality. And it's stupid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He could buy anything, I guess, or this is what he think he can, but you can't. Sorry. I mean, it's the people, it's the country, it's a -- it's a culture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, the foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger, has made her feelings on the matter perfectly clear. "We are open for business, but we are not for sale."
So, this all started with the Wall Street Journal report that the President of the United States is talking to aides and allies about the U.S. potentially making this venture. He's sort of feeling out what they think about it, brought it up several times, sort of with various levels of seriousness according to the report.
And it has asked White House staffers, look into the idea. See what it would -- see what it's all about.
So, the story quickly took off and tweets like this showing a gold Trump Towers sprouting up on the Greenland coastline, getting attention today.
So, here now to talk about it, Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire, host of the Michael Knowles Show. And Robin Biro, former campaign director for President Obama. Good to have both of you with us. Thank you for being here tonight.
So, Robin, it's been approached before, strategically. It's an interesting area for the United States. It's sort of the mirror kind of, of Alaska on the other side with channels and through the Arctic Ocean. Why is this a crazy idea?
ROBIN BIRO, FORMER CAMPAIGN REGIONAL FIELD DIRECTOR OF BARACK OBAMA: Look, geo-strategically, this could be a great idea if it were for sale. But they made it perfectly clear that it's not. Like you just said in the lead to this segment.
I think that honestly, this is a great distraction. And the president is just fantastic at doing this. There were -- here we saw a lot of tweets from him yesterday about the economy, reassuring us with that inverted yield curve, that everything is going smooth. And, you know, that we had that leaked executive order proposing to censor the Internet, I don't think that's going anywhere.
But I think this is a fantastic distraction, because look, it's our lead story tonight. We're talking about something that probably won't happen. If it did, I think it probably would be great for us like I said, geo- strategically, and especially with their uranium resources, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Yes, and that -- you know, it's interesting because, during this discussion in the report, it talks about how there was a discussion that Denmark was having some financial trouble over its assistance to Greenland. And that was sort of what prompted kind of this initial conversation and then there was the discussion that it had been tried before.
He -- here's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo back on May 6th in Finland. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. It houses 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, and an abundance of uranium, rare, earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, Michael, how serious do you think this idea it might be?
MICHAEL KNOWLES, HOST, MICHAEL KNOWLES SHOW, DAILY WIRE: It's quite serious actually. I mean, that's the thing about land is that God isn't making any more of it, so it's usually a good investment.
Real estate has paid off well for the United States. The Louisiana Purchase, the annexation of Texas, California, obviously Alaska. And another point that sector of state Pompeo pointed out is that if the diarist warnings about global warming do come true, then, you could be looking at new trading routes that are being opened up through the Arctic. And this could be in his words, the Suez or the Panama Canal of the 21st century.
So, I do think it's a serious thing to mention. Obviously, we tried to buy it in 1946 for $100 million the price might be going up. But I don't think it's totally off of the table. And from a geostrategic point of view, I think it's totally worth bringing up.
To the question of whether or not Donald Trump is merely distracting, it is true that Donald Trump is the king of controlling the media narrative. But he has this knack of bringing up actually serious concepts.
And because he is the one who's bringing it up, people dismiss it out of hand, I think it's a brilliant idea, and I think we should look forward to it. If Denmark says it's not for sale, that seems to me like the beginning of a real negotiation. Perhaps, we will actually see the art of the deal.
MACCALLUM: Well, I mean, it's possible. And it's interesting to note also that China wanted to build three airport facilities -- you know, there. And that was sort of shutdown by the United States.
So, there are definitely, Russia, China, the United States are all expressing some interest in this part of the world. And I think whenever that's happening, you have to sort of look at it, at least, with an analytic serious eye in terms of the strategic implications of it.
And it looks, you know if it's true that Denmark is having some financial difficulties with their commitment to Greenland, that also is an open question as well. But I also think that they are interested in -- I think this is good for Greenland, Robin. Because it's -- you know, today, and yesterday, everybody is Googling Greenland. And looking at it and looking at pictures of Greenland.
And it -- and it strikes me that everybody's been going to Iceland, right? I mean, Iceland is like the tourist capital of the world.
MACCALLUM: I mean, everywhere you go, you see people with these pictures of themselves in the blue lagoon, which I think we have a picture of more than 2 million tourists went to Iceland in the most recent tourism count, which I think is 2017, this is where everybody wants to go there.
And I think that Greenland looks at that, they've got only 84,000 people coming to Greenland. Like maybe this is all good for them, Biro. Robin.
BIRO: And it will be interesting, Martha to see exactly how this works with President Trump's visit to Denmark next month.
BIRO: To see if -- you know, how far he gets with these conversations. And yes, I think that it's probably good for their tourism. On one hand, you know, just to be and make light of the conversation, I almost push that he'd proposed to buy the Maldives. Because I sure could use a vacation.
But, you know, I don't think these are harmful discussions. It's definitely out of the left field. I just know that -- you know, if you look at our national debt, divided up per-capita, we're looking at over $65,000 per person.
MACCALLUM: That's true.
BIRO: I don't think it's necessarily the right time to be investing in this when we are saddled with debt.
MACCALLUM: We will see where it goes. Thank you very much. Michael Knowles, and Robin Biro. Good to see you both tonight.
KNOWLES: Good to see you.
BIRO: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Coming up next, President Trump keeps fanning the feud with the Squad, which is now extended to Israel. But one member is keeping her attacks really centered here at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, D-N.Y.: Trump relied on a coalition and a core part of that coalition were racists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: My next guest, says the divisive rhetoric has to stop. The Republican launching a congressional challenge against Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They are very anti-Jewish, and they're very anti-Israel. I think it's disgraceful the things they've said. You have lists of that this isn't just a one-line mistake. What they've said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing and they've become the face of the Democrat Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: President Trump continuing to stoke that fire keeping his feud against the so-called Squad, alive. Pushing them really front and center, telling Israel not to let them visit, and painting them and the controversies that surround them as the face of the Democratic Party, which they probably would rather not necessarily have these folks as the face of the party necessarily.
Nancy Pelosi has had their issues with them over time. Now, Congresswoman Alexander Ocasio-Cortez is playing right into it. She says that there's a section of the Trump base which is, in her words, racist. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Trump relied on a coalition and a core part of that coalition were racists.
JON FAVREAU, FORMER STAFFER, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yes.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Building a coalition with all sorts of other people that could be susceptible to racist views if they were blanketed and layered and made people feel good about it not being a racist thing.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And so, there are a lot of people who support Trump that genuinely don't believe that they are racist because we do not talk about or educate people on recognizing racism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Here now, Scherie Murray, Republican congressional candidate for New York-14. She will challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for that seat in 2020. Scherie, thank you very much for being here tonight.
SCHERIE MURRAY, R-N.Y., CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: It's a pleasure, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, what goes through your mind when you listen to how she is labeling people who supported and voted for President Trump?
MURRAY: We've heard this rhetoric before, right? We heard it from Hillary Clinton when she called Donald Trump supporters, deplorables. And we're hearing it again. And quite frankly, this type of rhetoric is divisive, it's deplorable, and it's an insult to people like myself who do support our president in this great nation.
MACCALLUM: So, you are to -- tell everybody a little bit about, about yourself, and your background, and what, you know, what you feel are your qualifications to take over for her.
MURRAY: So, yes, thank you. I migrated to this great nation when I was 9 years old. I certainly know what it takes to work hard. Caribbean families throughout this country know what it is to work hard.
I'm taking her on because of her detrimental policies. We see the $93 trillion Green New Deal. That's going to take money out of the pocketbooks of constituents in N.Y.-14, Queens and the Bronx.
The job-killing Amazon deal that she killed here in New York State. Taking away some 25,000 jobs. And then, we hear the rhetoric on the national stage, Martha. It is -- it's appalling.
Our kids are watching, the next generation is watching, and it's dangerous for us to continue this type of rhetoric on the national level.
MACCALLUM: So the president has been tweeting about this evening and he says, "Like it or not Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party. Cortez, AOC is fuming and not happy about this." What do you think about that?
MURRAY: The Interior Minister I think had a very good point also in terms of the grandstanding that we've seen in the back-and-forth of the invitation to Israel and declination of the invitation to Israel. And so seeing your grandmom is certainly heartfelt.
And what we see now, the declination seems to be surpassing the love for your grandma and your hate for Israel and your hate -- disdain for people who love this great nation and support the relationship that America has with Israel.
MACCALLUM: So how do you think -- you know, what do you think your chances are in your district? It's a very Democrat district. It has been I think since the 50s primarily, and her favorability numbers she's at 52 percent. That's the Siena College poll of New York, 14 registered voters in April of this year. So she doesn't seem like she's in too much trouble.
MURRAY: Well a recent poll also indicated that donors to her campaign spend a great number of ten, so local donations to her campaign were among some ten donors. So she's not very much liked in the district. She's not supported in the district. The rhetoric that she spewed is dangerous to the constituents of the district.
And it's time that we have someone that will unite the fight in Washington D.C., that will build bridges versus burning them down, Martha. It's important that we have people running for office that can speak to uniting the policies in Washington D.C. and working with our president.
MACCALLUM: Scherie, thank you very much, Scherie Murray, who will be running against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and as I said, in New York district that has been Democrat for a long time, so we'll be watching. Thank you very much on coming in tonight. Good to see you.
MURRAY: Thank you for having me.
MACCALLUM: So here with more on this topic Guy Benson, host of The Guy Benson Show on Fox News Radio and Donna Brazile former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Both are Fox News Contributors. Great to see you both tonight. The president is fired up tonight. He's tweeting a lot this evening on this Friday night from his vacation spot in New Jersey.
He says, Israel was very respectful and nice to Representative Rashida Tlaib allowing her permission to visit her grandmother as soon. As she was granted permission, she grandstands it and loudly proclaimed that she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup, he writes. Israel acted appropriately. Guy?
GUY BENSON, CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's making a good point, I think. Rashida Tlaib gave away the game, right. She and Omar -- Ilhan Omar came out and they said, we really want to go in this fact-finding trip to their itinerary said, Palestine. They were not interested in meeting with any members of the Netanyahu government or the opposition.
They were going to be feted and sponsored by a very radical organization that was bringing them. And of course, we know their background with BDS which is fundamentally anti-Semitic. So the Israelis said nope, you're not welcome here.
Tlaib then tried to make it about her grandmother. She's getting very old. I may never have a chance to see her again. Israel said, that's fine. Keep your BDS stuff at home. Come see your grandmother, permission granted. And she said, oh wait, never mind. Let me dump on Israel for a new reason.
It's very cynical. I think it's very transparent. And she used her own grandma and the love for her grandmother as a political pawn to attack the country that she hates, and I think that speaks for itself.
MACCALLUM: Not a great look. Donna, what do you think?
DONNA BRAZILE, CONTRIBUTOR: I think this entire conversation has really sad, sad for several reasons. One, as a strong supporter of Israel, I've been there several times, to hear leaders from AIPAC the American Israel Public Affairs Committee as well as the ADL say that you know, Israel is a democracy. They can you know, take on people who disagree with them. It's a mistake to target members of Congress because of their views or their viewpoints.
I think it was a mistake in initially for the president to even tweet that they should not be allowed to go to Israel. I have faith in Israel's ability to listen to two members of the United States Congress. So I think it's been a huge mistake. I hope we can end the tweets tonight and get back to something that is more healing and more relevant to all of us.
MACCALLUM: Well, you know, Tlaib, Guy, said you know, basically that she felt that she had been treated like a criminal, and Israel said that that they felt that the itinerary made it clear that they as you said, wanted to go to see -- to Palestine. They didn't reach out to meet with any members of the Israeli government or even the opposition in Israel.
You know, it seems to me like they could have struck some kind of deal and said you know, we see your itinerary. We're happy for you to come but we also want you to make sure that you make time to see this and this in Israel so that we can share our side of the story with you. That never happened.
BENSON: No, it didn't. And I made the case yesterday and again today. I felt like Israel was 100 percent within its rights to deny entry to these two ladies, but I felt like it was a strategic mistake on Israel's part. They could have projected more confidence and openness. After all the new information that we have, I actually still think it's a strategic mistake but maybe for a different reason.
They're the gang that can't shoot straight Omar and Tlaib. She has completely embarrassed herself with this grandmother episode. Imagine how much damage she would do to her own cause on Israeli soil with the bright lights on her. They might welcome them in and say do your very best. We'll push back with the facts and you'll humiliate yourself yet again.
MACCALLUM: Donna, I would ask you one question before I let you both go about this piece that just came out today that says that President Obama said something along the lines to Joe Biden of you know, you don't have to do this, Joe. I mean, what is your take on this story? It sounds an awful lot like President Obama was trying perhaps to discourage him not to run. What -- do you -- is that the way you see it?
BRAZILE: Well, I was trying to read in between the lines and I just had to read it out loud to myself a couple of times. I think what the President was trying to say to his vice president has said there are other leaders within the Democratic Party who can take on and defeat Donald Trump. You don't have to do this you know, out of trying to save the country which of course that is Vice President Biden's real desire.
He wants to help save and heal this country and I think the president was trying to say there are other people inside the party who can do the job. So that's how I read it.
MACCALLUM: Well, David Axelrod has not been very supportive of President of Vice President Biden's run and it sounds like this may sort of add to that pile of sentiment from the former administration. We'll see. Thank you very much, Donna. Good to see you tonight. Guy, always a pleasure.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
BENSON: Thanks, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So tonight, the autopsy results are complete, but the investigation to Jeffrey Epstein's death may be just beginning. Breaking details on this investigation tonight after this.
MACCALLUM: So the autopsy results are now in. New York City chief medical examiner concluding that Jeffrey Epstein died of suicide by hanging, but the question of how he was able to take his own life in that federal prison where he was supposed to be watched every 30 minutes remains unanswered tonight.
And now the work of the FBI, the DOJ's inspector general, and the Bureau of Prisons will be going forward to try to crack this case. Chief Breaking News Correspondent Trace Gallagher joins us tonight with the very latest in this case. Hi, Trace!
TRACE GALLAGHER, CHIEF BREAKING NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martha! Normally when we get autopsies, they have diagrams, descriptions, and definitions so non-medical people can decipher the findings and at some point, we may get that. But so far, all the medical examiner is saying is that Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide and that the cause was hanging.
Further, The Daily Beast is reporting that the marks on Epstein's neck looked like those from fabric which squares with the information that Epstein died or tied a bedsheet around his neck and then secured it to the top bunk which is about five-and-a-half feet off the ground.
There are reports that Epstein was found kneeling forward as if he lunged forward similar to the way that Robin Williams killed himself a few years ago in Tiburon, California. We don't know if Williams broke his hyoid bone near his Adam's apple but several medical examiners say lunging forward is as a rule not enough force to break the hyoid.
And they add that just because Epstein was found on his knees doesn't necessarily mean he did not throw himself off the top bump bunk or roll himself off. Needless to say, this report has not satisfied critics who call this the perfect suicidal storm.
Remember, he's placed on suicide watch, then surprisingly removed from the watch six days later. He's in a cell with no cameras but it's supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. Yet on the night of his death, the guards reportedly fall asleep and leave Epstein alone for three hours, and then try to falsify records to cover it up.
Finally, the injuries to Epstein's neck appear to be more severe than what normally happens in a suicide. As you said, the DOJ and congressional investigations may uncover more evidence but experts say they are unlikely to contradict the medical examiner.
And breaking right now from the New York Times they say three of Epstein's lawyers are planning to challenge the autopsy report going forward. Martha?
MACCALLUM: Yes. Trace, very interesting. Thank you so much. So just a short time ago, President Trump concluded a meeting with his national security team to discuss a path forward in Afghanistan discussing an eventual peace and reconciliation agreement with the Taliban.
Central to those discussions is a possible withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region in exchange for a promise from the Taliban that Afghanistan will never again become a safe haven for terrorists. The president's close confidant in the Senate Lindsey Graham warning this.
Mr. President, learn from President Obama's mistakes, he writes. A bad agreement puts the radical Islamist movement all over the world on steroids. Be smart, take your time, and listen to your national security team, says Senator Graham.
Joining me now Congressman Michael Waltz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and former Green Beret commander who knows all of this very intimately. Good to see you tonight, Congressman. Thank you so much.
REP. MICHAEL WALTZ, R-FLA.: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So this meeting just concluded a short time ago in New Jersey. It included Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, Defense Secretary Esper and also General Dunford was there, John Bolton, and Ambassador Khalilzad who is working on this agreement on the Afghanistan side. What do you think came out of this?
WALTZ: Well, Martha, here's -- here's the bottom line. I think the president has done a great job rebuilding the military. His frustration is understandable with 19 years of this effort. And we all want peace.
In fact, today is the 10th anniversary of Sergeant Brian Woods -- one of my Green Berets that I lost in Afghanistan. Here are my concerns and Senator Graham and others like Liz Cheney in the House.
Number one, half the world's terrorist organizations still exist there and can attack the United States. And if you believe the Taliban's promises which I don't, but if you believe them, how do they have the capability to keep a lid on these groups that the American army has struggled with in a 300,000 men Afghan army.
Number two, the first to pull out, my understanding, will be the advisors. The advisors with the Afghan army is our long-term strategy. We have been advising the Korean -- South Korean army, for example, for 70 years. And we -- I'd rather use their soldiers than our soldiers.
And then the final piece that a lot of people aren't talking about right next door to Afghanistan is Pakistan with seven times the population and the potential of loose nukes. And if Afghanistan devolves into chaos Pakistan will go with it.
So, I guess my message is, Mr. President please, look, do not be to Afghanistan, please, what President Obama was to Iraq. A no deal is better than a bad deal. Let's fight these wars in places like Kabul.
WALTZ: It will follow us home. I do not want to lose Americans fighting their way back in and the reason we haven't had another San Bernardino or Orlando attack here under his watch is because we've been on offense and not defense. And I pray that he does listen to his national security team with that message.
MACCALLUM: How many people would you leave there and then I've got to go. Congressman Waltz, how many people would you leave in place there?
WALTZ: Well, look, I think the current message, the current message right --
WALTZ: The current footprint right now is not doing peace-keeping, it's not doing policing, they are actually doing counter-terrorism and the advising. So, I think right now what we have is about right.
MACCALLUM: All right. I got to go.
WALTZ: That's our insurance policy to keep these groups at bay.
MACCALLUM: Thank you so much, Congressman Waltz. Good to see you tonight.
WALTZ: All right. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Fears of a global recession being overhyped by the left-wing media. The nest -- my next guest argues yes, she says. And she is here to tell us why the economic sky is not falling, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The obstacle to him running on the economy is not only his lack of self-discipline to talk about but that the economy may not be such a great talking point anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, the Dow rallied 300 points today after a really wild week on Wall Street. And as we told you yesterday, some analysts are now predicting that an economic recession could lead to President Trump's downfall in the election in 2020.
There are even reports that his own folks are concerned about that at this point. But my next guest argues the opposite. She says that despite what have you heard this week the economic sky is not falling. She also said this today. "Let us not let left wing media talk us into a recession. Make no mistake they are eager to do so," she writes.
Here now Liz Peek, former partner of Wall Street firm Wertheim and Company, now a Fox News contributor. Liz, great to have you on The Story. Thank you so much for being here tonight.
You know, we talked about this a bit last night on the show. And there were some critics, you know, saying that it's not true, that, you know, people out there are not giddy about the possibility that this could be kind of a ding in the armor for President Trump as he heads into 2020, what do you say about that?
LIZ PEEK, CONTRIBUTOR: I think the reporting has been very one- sided, Martha. Every bad thing that happens is exaggerated and you hear less and less about the good things that are happening. You don't hear about productivity increasing for the first time in a decade or wages rising at over 4, 4.5 percent. Those things are very encouraging.
But look, let's connect the dots here. President Trump was elected and immediately consumer and business sentiments went through the roof. Heights we had not seen in a decade. What does that mean? It means consumers start to spend and businesses start to invest.
The liberal media knows very well if they can shake consumer confidence. Make people begin to doubt this recovery has legs, people will begin to retrench. And the good news is we just had really excellent consumer spending numbers, and frankly, I was very cheered by Walmart.
Walmart had the best comp store sales in 10 years. So, whatever they are saying out there on the media, people just aren't buying it. Instead they are going to the stores and buying what they want.
MACCALLUM: So, you know, but do you point in the piece that you wrote to some potential weaknesses.
MACCALLUM: Manufacturing has slowed a little bit. Where would be the areas that you would be watching to, you know, for any concerns that there might be recession around the corner, eventually?
PEEK: Well, I think we have already seen a slowdown in manufacturing.
PEEK And that, I think, is attributable in part to the trade spat with China. Businesses are less confident. I mean, some of the confidence that the president encouraged via tax cuts and deregulation, we've seen a reversal of that because they really don't know what's going to happen in China.
I really hope for a trade truce because I think that kind of puts those issues behind us. And by the way, businesses are scurrying around repositioning their supply chains to avoid problems there. But that clearly has hurt the economy.
Another area though I think of interest is the whole home building sector which is not doing very well. But that's something that I think will start to come back. Maybe in the second half. But probably next year.
Mortgage rates are incredibly low and we need housing. The problem right now is that house prices are high and inventory is low. So, I have think if you begin to see that very large sector of the economy participating, you know, we might -- you might see a pretty surprising number next year on GDP.
MACCALLUM: Liz Peek, we always like to read your pieces and to see you on the business channel.
PEEK: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Good to see you here on The Story tonight. Thanks for being here.
PEEK: Thanks for having me.
MACCALLUM: So next up, what do you do when you are vegan and you can't eat corn dogs at the state fair and you are running for president? Our ladies night panel has the details on what Cory Booker found that what was good for him to eat at the Iowa State Fair.
MACCALLUM: So, you know presidential candidates are known for chowing down at the Iowa State Fair. They go there to eat the corps dogs. They eat the giant turkey leg. But what you do when you are a devout vegan like Senator Cory Booker.
So, he kind of scouted around -- so enthusiastic about this -- he found a small booth that offers fried peanut butter and jelly. He loved it so much. He said, give me another one right away. Even telling reporters "I would love to have a PB&J on a stick eating contest. In fact, I feel like I could take the field, actually. Gillibrand might give me a run for my money," he said. I'm not sure how she would respond to that.
Here for ladies night, Lisa Booth, Cheryl Casone making her first appearance on ladies night.
CHERYL CASONE, CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
MACCALLUM: So, we are thrilled to have her with us, and Jessica Tarlov. Jessica, let me start with you on that very enthusiastic picture of Cory Booker who got a lot of attention for eating fried e peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which I think -- I'm a huge peanut butter and jelly fan.
JESSICA TARLOV, CONTRIBUTOR: Me too.
MACCALLUM: Like, I don't -- to me, there is just nothing better.
TARLOV: I don't know there is fried --
MACCALLUM: But I don't really need it fried.
TARLOV: No, you don't, but because you also have a turkey leg option.
TARLOV: He has very little to work with. In Scotland they like to fry a lot of things like Mars bars and Oreos and things like that. So, I am an enthusiast as well. I think it's great. His campaign is not doing as well as maybe he would have liked. They are making a fun moment, a light moment getting to know the audience.
I'm actually just dead surprised that they have such a thing at the Iowa State Fair --
TARLOV: -- when Andrew Yang ate 18 turkey legs. He said --
MACCALLUM: He did?
TARLOV: He said, I like a lot of renaissance fairs. So that's where he warmed up.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's a whole lot of another question.
MACCALLUM: I got to a lot of renaissance fair which raise a lot of other questions. Cory Booker once said that eggs do not align with his spirit. He said, "Suddenly eating those eggs for me was something that did not align with my spirit. And I could feel it. I made the decision that I was going to become vegan." He looks very healthy, Cheryl.
LISA BOOTHE, CONTRIBUTOR: I think he is doing something right.
CASONE: I actually for the first six months of this year I went plant based to see what it felt like.
CASONE: And I actually felt great.
CASONE: But --
MACCALLUM: A lot of people --
CASONE: -- you end up eating a lot of French fries it could really go the other direction. Yes. But he should call up Tulsi Gabbard, she eats plant based and she actually isn't -- I don't think eating anything fried. I mean, she is actually eating vegetables and fruits and things like that.
But I have got to hand it to him. It is hard to stay vegan. And even here in New York City where there are a lot of healthy options, I found it very difficult.
MACCALLUM: I bet. I went to the Kentucky State Fair, I think it was last year and eight a bourbon -- wait, it was a glazed doughnut, bourbon glazed doughnut with a cheeseburger inside. And let me tell you --
CASONE: Is it good?
MACCALLUM: -- it was delicious.
TARLOV: How could that not be good.
MACCALLUM: It was delicious. Here is President Trump eating his pork on a stick, Lisa. He doesn't usually do this stuff. But I think he was like all right. What do you think? Give me the pork on a stick.
BOOTHE: Well, I'm sure it was delicious. But I mean, look, you can pretty much fry anything and it taste good, right? And they also fried Oreos which are phenomenon.
CASONE: Fried twinkies.
BOOTHE: Yes. You fry anything and it taste delicious. So, I don't care if is he vegan. I don't have an issue with that.
BOOTHE: But I do have an issue because he is taking aim at meat eaters though, in what was it, veg news and he said the earth cannot sustain meat so he can go ahead and be a vegan just don't, you know, don't tread on me if I want to eat my bacon and my steak.
MACCALLUM: Don't mess with Lisa --
BOOTHE: Yes, don't take away my bacon. Don't take away my bacon.
CASONE: Only about 5 percent of Americans are vegan FYI.
MACCALLUM: Because it's really hard.
BOOTHE: So, I mean --
CASONE: Now is possible burger -- there is beyond burger and impossible burger. We get that in meat section.
MACCALLUM: I like those. I like those.
CASONE: That's dessert.
MACCALLUM: I don't mind a fake burger.
TARLOV: Dagen McDowell is a vegan.
MACCALLUM: It's all those vegetables that like, you know, just kind of bum me out after a while.
CASONE: Yes, that's why we fry --
MACCALLUM: Exactly. All right. Totally different topic now that I want to get to you with you. There was a New York Post op-ed titled, it's masculinity to the rescue. And it looked at all of the instances that we have watched with horror over the last months, years, essentially.
But also, some of these recent shootings and talked about the men who swept in as heroes. And it sort of juxtaposes that whole idea with the toxic masculinity argument and sort of beating up on men in a number of ways in recent history too.
She writes "This is a noble side of masculinity that we once would perpetuate in folklore and stories passed down from father to son about what it means to be a real man. But in the new era of toxic masculinity young men are taught to ignore their heroic instincts and learned to be weak. They are instructed to always be on guard against the monster within." Lisa?
BOOTHE: Well, I don't like this societal animus against men. I have three brothers. I have an awesome dad. I have had so many awesome male mentors in the workplace. And sometimes women can be vicious.
So, I'm not sure -- I don't understand why there is this concept somehow that men aren't noble, that men aren't good and somehow women are more noble and you know, are better people, it just doesn't hold water. So, I don't understand that.
But I do appreciate the fact that we should be raising up good men and also talking about them. And particularly some of these individuals that she mentioned in her column. She talked about David Johnson in El Paso saved his granddaughter and his wife.
She also talked about Riley Howell who stopped -- or helped stop a class shooting --
MACCALLUM: His story is --
BOOTHE: -- and charged the shooter. So, we should be talking about these people and praising the heroes.
MACCALLUM: Absolutely. Yes.
TARLOV: Yes, but in her piece, she didn't mention the young mother who put herself in front of her 2-month-old baby and saved her baby's life. And she also didn't mention the fact that it is men that are perpetrating these terrible crimes. I thought that was a totally missing element here.
MACCALLUM: But to me, like the gender in both sides really is irrelevant. You know, heroism is heroism and you know, evil is evil. Whether men are carrying it out or women are carrying it out, I just like to see heroism recognized and it does feel sometimes like, you know, that is sort of stepped over a little bit in favor of more stories about the men who are pulling the trigger.
CASONE: Well, I will add what we are seeing in corporate America, especially since the Me Too movement over the last couple of years, is that men now are in the board room are afraid to interact with female counterparts. That can be a bad thing for female executives that are trying to climb the corporate ladder.
MACCALLUM: I think that's such a cop out.
CASONE: And that's because they are afraid. They don't want to invite the female colleague to lunch at the golf course --
MACCALLUM: I think that's an easy way out --
CASONE: -- because they are nervous.
MACCALLUM: -- and I think that they need to toughen up and know that if they are behaving correctly, they have nothing to fear. But we have got to go.
MACCALLUM: Ladies, thank you very much.
MACCALLUM: Great to see you all. Happy weekend. And coming up next here tonight an amazing story of World War II's forgotten invasion from one of the many unsung heroes who fought in Operation Dragoon.
MACCALLUM: So, this week marks the 75th anniversary of Operation Dragoon often called the forgotten invasion of World War II. The mission was intended to coincide with D-Day but it got delayed due to lack of resources.
About two months later, 350,000 French and American troops landed on the French Riviera, ultimately joining forces with Operation Overlord and helping to liberate most of Southern France in only four weeks.
My guest was part of that mission, flying into Nazi occupied land in a daring daylight jump in August of 1944. And he has an incredible story about making it out alive. World War II paratrooper Roland Barhyte joins me now. He also served in the Battle of the Bulge as a member of the 551st parachute infantry battalion.
Roland, thank you for being here with me tonight. Tell me a little bit about that mission and what it was like when you landed in the middle of the day there.
ROLAND BARHYTE, WORLD WAR II PARATROOPER: It was kind of surprising in that we were one of the few to make daylight jumps. Most paratroop drops were done in darkness before a dawn if possible. It was our actual jump and landing and assembling on the ground was rather uneventful because there were no enemy troops that are firing at us. Thank goodness.
MACCALLUM: Thank goodness. So, you know, you say that the first time you ever flew in an airplane you jumped out of it. Why did you volunteer to be a paratrooper?
BARHYTE: Because I was wondering if I could deal with jumping out of an airplane. But I had been afraid of heights before that. But it's different jumping out of an airplane.
When you are standing on something solid that is attached to the surface that you are headed for, it's different. Up in the air there is just space. It seems. And you go out and it's kind of great.
MACCALLUM: Well, that spirit definitely got you through a lot. So, tell me you had --
BARHYTE: So, I thought parachute troop, parachute warfare, or the use of parachutes to get troops into a strategic position was very clever. And I thought a great idea.
BARHYTE: And I wonder if I could do it.
MACCALLUM: And you could. And you did it well and you made your country very proud. Tell me about how you avoided -- you were in the Battle of the Bulge.
MACCALLUM: But it was -- it was so cold that your feet froze.
BARHYTE: That's right.
MACCALLUM: And how did that end up playing out for you?
BARHYTE: Well, that was a, we were at a stopping point during that battle. The first sergeant said, are there any of you who want to get some dry socks and warm yourselves? Get on this truck and it will take you back to a battalion aid station. And there were several of us who were in the same condition.
I was one of the volunteers that got on the truck. We went back to the battalion aid station. And the medical officer for the battalion got on the truck and he went down one side and up the other, asking what's your problem? And we were all talking about frozen feet. He said it was like walking on bowling balls.
MACCALLUM: My gosh.
BARHYTE: So, he didn't take any of us off that truck. He just directed the driver and the next thing we knew we were at a hospital in Verviers in Belgium. That was the -- so that was the last combat that I actually saw.
MACCALLUM: Yes. So just a few second left, sir. But what does it mean to you see this moment, the 75th anniversary all those years ago and to be alive to witness this?
BARHYTE: I'm thankful that I can be here. And among family and friends and a lot of good people. Like you.
MACCALLUM: Well, you as well, sir. Roland, thank you so much for sharing your story with us tonight. And we thank you for your incredible service to this country and for sharing your stories with us. We are grateful. Thank you so much. Be well. Thank you, Roland.
BARHYTE: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: That is The Story of Friday, August 16, 2019. But as always, The Story goes on. So, we will see you back here Monday at seven. Have a fantastic weekend, everybody. Good night.
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