This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," April 19, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
The coronavirus claims more than 39,000 lives and 22 million jobs here in the U.S.
Now, President Trump rolls out his road map to restart the economy.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time.
WALLACE: As protests spring up across the country, over some states' stay- at-home orders --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Open (ph) California now!
WALLACE: -- and some governors push back.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Is there any funding so I can do these things that you want us to do? That is passing the buck without passing the bucks.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDEN OF THE UNITED STATES: States today have enough tests to implement the criteria of phase one if they choose to do so.
WALLACE: We'll discuss the new federal guidelines with Vice President Mike Pence.
And with small businesses bearing the brunt of the economic shutdown, Congress negotiates the deal to save them. We'll ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi how close they are to a compromise.
Pence and Pelosi, only on "FOX News Sunday."
We'll ask our Sunday panel if the presidential election will end up being a referendum on how Mr. Trump handles the crisis.
Top chef Jose Andres on feeding families and first responders.
All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
The fight over the pace of reopening America is spurring protests across the country. President Trump, who laid out guidelines this week for restarting the economy, siding with some of those protesters and pushing back against governors calls for help with more testing, saying the responsibility lies with the states.
In a moment, we'll speak with the vice president, Mike Pence, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
But, first, let's bring in Mark Meredith with the latest on the debate over relaxing some of those restrictions -- Mark.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, Americans that are fed up with stay-at-home orders separatists in multiple states, urging their governors to let businesses reopen, but health officials worry reopening too soon could cost thousands of more lives.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just here for our freedom.
MEREDITH: Americans coast-to-coast are speaking out against orders to stay home.
CHARLES REX, PROTESTER: It's absolutely ridiculous. People need to get back to work.
MEREDITH: Maryland residents spent Saturday protesting from their cars, while in Texas, dozens chanted "fire Fauci."
Governors nationwide are trying to calm their constituents.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), MARYLAND: I'm as frustrated as anybody, I want to get business opened yesterday.
GOV. TIM WALZ (D), MINNESOTA: I'm frustrated, too. Like I said, I want this to be over as much as anybody.
MEREDITH: President Trump says some protests are legitimate.
TRUMP: I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away.
MEREDITH: In Jacksonville, Florida, hundreds of people were spotted walking the beach only hours after officials eased regulation.
In New York, it's a different story.
CUOMO: We're not of the point where we're going to be reopening anything immediately.
MEREDITH: New York is reporting a decrease in the number of new hospitalizations, but health experts warn until testing expands sharply, state officials will struggle to determine when it's truly safe for people to return to work.
MEREDITH: Meanwhile, a government program to help small businesses key people on payroll is out of money. The president is calling on Congress to refund the program immediately. Democrats say they are willing to do it but they also won additional for hospitals and states. Negotiations, Chris, they remain ongoing this weekend -- Chris.
WALLACE: Mark Meredith reporting from the White House -- Mark, thanks.
And joining us now live from his office in the West Wing, Vice President Mike Pence. Mr. Vice President, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday". MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Morning, Chris. WALLACE: I want to start with those growing protests across the country against the stay-at-home orders. Some of the protestors ignoring social distancing. What do you think, specifically, of their protests and how they're carrying them out? PENCE: Well, first let me say from the moment President Trump asked me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force two months ago he made it clear that we had one objective and that was to save lives. And in the intervening two months the American people have stepped forward, have embraced the social distancing, have done the mitigation efforts. And as we sit here this morning we continue to see encouraging results, declining cases, declining hospitalizations, because of what the American people have done, because of the president's leadership and what governors have done around the country. We are slowing the spread, we're hastening the day, when we can put the coronavirus in the past and re-open the American economy. Beyond the focus on lives, the president also made it clear that we wanted to ensure that our hospital workers, incredible men and women, had the resources and equipment that they needed. We've sent hundreds of millions of medical supplies to the critical areas around the country. And I must tell you the fact that no American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. It's a great testament to our national response at every level. And on the subject of testing, we're continuing to scale and expand testing and will do that because as the president laid out those guidelines this week -- no one wants to re-open America more than President Donald Trump. And what you see, I think, among millions of Americans who have been embracing those social distancing measures and making the sacrifices is they want their governors to find a way to responsibly and safely re-open their state economies. And what the president laid out last week is a framework -- a phased framework to re-open America, to do that, and we're going to work very closely with governors to implement that as soon as we can responsibly -- WALLACE: Vice President -- PENCE: -- do it around the country (ph). WALLACE: -- it -- but, Mr. Vice President, in a number of these cases these protestors, who are not social distancing, are saying they don't want to wait. In many cases they're protesting your own guidelines to stop the spread. On Friday the president tweeted this, and I want to put it up, "Liberate Minnesota!", "Liberate Michigan!", and "Liberate Virginia, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!" Washington Governor Inslee responded "The president is fomenting domestic rebellion and spreading lies even while his own administration says the virus is real and deadly." So what does the president mean -- because you've got guidelines that are calling for social distancing and staying at home. Even your new guidelines to re-open the country are very phased and gradual. What does the president mean when he says liberate these states? PENCE: The American people know that no one in America wants to re-open this country more than President Donald Trump. And on Thursday the president directed us to lay out guidelines for when and how states could responsibly do that. And in the president's tweets and public statements, I can assure you, he's going to continue to encourage governors to find ways to safely and responsibly let America go back to work. And the guidelines for opening up America again give a roadmap for doing just that, Chris. For states that have 14 days of consecutive declining cases, that have proper hospitalization capacity, we recommend that they -- WALLACE: Right. PENCE: -- can begin under phase one to ease the social distancing measures that have been put into effect, allow some people to begin to come back to work, allow some activities in the community to begin to happen. And when the president speaks about re-opening America it's all about encouraging governors, as soon as they determine as most proper and most appropriate to be able to do that and do that quickly. America works when America -- WALLACE: Mr. Vice President -- PENCE: -- is working and the president wants to see us put the coronavirus in the past by these strong measures the American people have embraced. But we want to get America working again, just as soon as we can. WALLACE: Understood, Mr. Vice President. I want to talk to you about your plan to re-open the country, because there are a number of health experts that say that we need triple the number of tests that are now being conducted and much more contact tracing in order to safely re-open the government. Can you tell us that -- how soon that you're going to have 500,000 tests a day, which is what they're calling for -- we're doing about 150,000 now. How soon are we going to have 500,000 tests a day? Or don't you think that's necessary? PENCE: Well under the guidelines for opening up America again, we create, in phase one, a specific criteria for testing that we believe is appropriate to be able to test people that have symptoms with (ph) coronavirus and be able to monitor people that are particularly vulnerable to serious outcomes, nursing homes and particular populations in our cities that have shown some vulnerability. That's -- we believe the testing that we have today, Chris, across the country, once we activate all of the labs that can do coronavirus testing, is sufficient for any state in America to move into phase one. We're doing about 150,000 tests a day. And you remember a month ago we had done 80,000 tests total. Now we've cleared 4 million overall. But at 150,000 tests a day -- we think we can double that number by working with governors to activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country that can do coronavirus testing, that would put us at roughly 300,000. But what we're going to make clear to governors, again tomorrow in our weekly conference call -- and I want to make clear to the American people, is that President Trump's direction -- we're going to continue to fully partner with governors around the country and health officials in increasing and scaling the amount of testing. And we have every confidence that we can have a sufficient amount of testing to be able to re-open America, not just in phase one, but continue in the weeks and months ahead to expand testing in ways that will give the American people the confidence and the tools to be able to go back to work. WALLACE: Mr. Vice President, I've got limited time with you so I'm going to try to squeeze a few more questions in. The $350 billion program to provide loans to small businesses has run out and you still don't have a deal on replenishing that with another $250 billion. How close are you to a deal with the Democrats? PENCE: The Paycheck Protection Program that the president signed into law has been an incredible success and literally has made it possible for small businesses around America to keep people on the payroll over a two month period of time while we weather the storm of the coronavirus. But as the president and I were literally on a phone call with Republicans and Democrats last week, we learned that the fund had run out and we are urging Democrats in the House and the Senate to step forward and approve an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Bill. We're close Chris -- WALLACE: So briefly -- PENCE: -- we're encouraged -- WALLACE: -- how close are you to it sir? PENCE: The negotiations are going on. We're very close but I think every American has seen the success of the president's program to provide payroll support and we're going to work to expand that so that no one working in a small business in America would have to worry about missing a paycheck during the trial and difficulty of the coronavirus epidemic. WALLACE: Several sources now say that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan and that the Chinese government covered it up for some period of time which allowed the virus to spread. Now Speaker Pelosi says while the president imposed his travel ban in January he didn't -- he minimized the threat from the virus. Here she is sir. (BEGIN CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Instead of calling it a hoax, instead of calling it a -- minimizing and say it (ph) was magically disappeared. We lost time in delaying and the denial caused deaths and that's just the way it is. (END CLIP) WALLACE: Mr. Vice President, I'm getting this question a lot, and again I've got to ask you for a brief answer. What specifically is this administration going to do to hold China accountable? PENCE: Well I appreciate you referencing the fact that by the end of January of this year, President Trump took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China. No American president had ever done that. And there's no question all of our health experts agree that that bought us an invaluable amount of time to -- it's enabled us to save lives and make sure healthcare workers have the resources that they need to meet this moment. But it is clear to us that not only was there a failure by the World Health Organization to communicate to America and the world what was happening in China, but also that China was not as forthcoming as they should have been with America or the world about what was happening -- WALLACE: So are we going -- (CROSSTALK) PENCE: Well the president's made it clear he's not happy. He -- we're going to make proper inquiries into this at the proper time. But, I have to tell you, the one mission that this president has given the White House Coronavirus Task Force is to save lives, to put this coronavirus in the past. We're going to stay focused on that mission. It's one mission and one team. We're going to work with governors across the country in both political parties. And I just want the American people to be encouraged by the fact that we are making progress. We really do see downward trends in cases and in -- WALLACE: Right. PENCE: -- hospitalizations and we really believe that because of what the American people have done, because of our incredible healthcare workers, that we are together as a nation hastening the day when we will put the coronavirus in the past and get America working again. WALLACE: Vice President Pence, thank you. Thanks for your time during a very busy period. Please come back, sir. PENCE: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: As we said, the relief program meant to support small businesses run dry and leaders in Congress and the White House can't agree on how to replenish it. We'll ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi what it will take to break the stalemate and provide more funds. That's next.
WALLACE: Talks continue this weekend as congressional Democrats and the White House try to strike a deal to provide more money for a program meant help small businesses shut down by the coronavirus.
Earlier, I talked with the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, about that and more.
WALLACE: Speaker Pelosi, good to talk to you again. The $350 billion fund to provide loans to small businesses has run out. President Trump says you and other Democrats are blocking a deal to provide another $250 billion. Here he is on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi, she's away on vacation or something and she should come back. She could come back and get this done. I don't know why she's not coming back. The fact is she's not doing her job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The president says he now supports your call for more money for hospitals but you're also calling for more money for first responders, for food assistance, for states and local governments.
How long are you prepared to hold out, Speaker?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Well, I think we're on a very good path. First of all, I support the CARES Act. We're very pleased to be able to turn it from a corporate, trickle down bill to a worker's first bubble up and support the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program in there.
And so as they have committed the money that is there, we want to add more money there. It is very urgent though that we support our -- our police and fire, our healthcare workers, our nurses, our teachers and that's what the state and local government is about is meeting the needs of the coronavirus. And everything that we're doing is about the corona virus, understand that. We're not going afield on any other thing.
And also to make sure that everyone has access to the -- the program. I'm very pleased at the progress that is being made. We've worked in a very bipartisan way all along. We continue to do so.
We all pay tribute to our small businesses which are the optimism, the entrepreneurial spirit of America and we don't want there to be any doubt that if they are participating in the program that they will be funded. And if they meet those standards of the program, that those loans will be forgiven.
WALLACE: So, is there going to be a deal and if so how soon? You know there are a lot of small businesses that are running out of money and are hanging on by their fingernails.
PELOSI: Yes and -- and we want all of them to get what their entitled to under the -- under the law and even more than we're -- some of these small businesses have other request in terms of the additional loan program in addition to this grant program and that's part of our request as well. The money has not all been distributed although it has all been committed and that's -- that means there's no more money. They will have more money as soon as we come to an agreement which will be soon and I think people will be very pleased. Because these small businesses must thrive in a community where they're, again, health is essential to them opening up and they have to open up in order to fly.
It's one thing to say to them today. It's another thing to have customers at the end of the day.
WALLACE: The president announced a plan this week to reopen the country and you immediately criticized it. I want to put up what you said.
The White House's vague and inconsistent document does nothing to make up for the president's failure to listen to the scientists and produce and distribute -- distribute national rapid testing.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci endorsed the plan, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If these things are done correctly, what I believe they can we will have and there will be enough tests to allow us to take this country safely through phase one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Don't you believe Dr. Fauci?
PELOSI: Yes, well, he said if this were done properly. Well, it hasn't been done.
On March 4th, we passed our first bill, bipartisan. Testing. Testing. Testing. It's over six weeks and it hasn't been done. So he's saying if it is done properly. We're already very late on that.
But he's right, it has to be testing. It has to be tracing, contact tracing. It has to be treatment and it has to be quarantine. It's part of something bigger as well to be done properly.
But we're way late on it and that is a failure. The president gets an F, a failure on the testing.
But Fauci -- Dr. Fauci's right. If it is done properly, it hasn't been, and I -- I think when he puts in the if it's done is admission that it hasn't been done.
WALLACE: You, as you are right now, have been very critical of President Trump especially for what you say is the time that he lost initially in January and February in responding to the virus. But I -- I want to point out that on February 24th, you went on a walking tour of Chinatown to try to promote tourism there and here is some of what you had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: That's what we're trying to do today is to say, everything is fine here. Come, because precautions have been taken.
We think it's very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: If the president underplayed the threat in the early days, Speaker Pelosi, didn't you as well?
PELOSI: No. What we're trying to do is to end the discrimination, the stigma, that was going out against the Asian-American community. In fact, if you will look the record will show that our Chinatown has been a model of containing and -- and preventing the virus.
So I'm confident in our folks there and thought it was necessary to offset some of the things that the president and others were saying about Asian- Americans and making them a target. A target of violence across the country -- hate crimes --
WALLACE: But -- but -- forgive me, don't you think -- don't you think that you -- you -- when you're about walking without any mask, I understand this is February not April when this happened and saying that there's no threat. It's perfectly safe there.
Weren't you also adding to this perception that there wasn't such a threat generally?
PELOSI: No. I was saying that you should not discriminate against -- discriminate against Chinese-Americans as some in our administration were doing by the way they were labeling the flu and that, no indeed. And again, I think you -- if you check the record and it's current you will see that our -- that Chinatown has been a model in all of this.
And so, what we're saying, look to them for answers, don't look to them to place blame.
WALLACE: As you know, protests against the stay-at-home orders are growing across the country. People are taking to the streets, pushing back against some of the more stringent restrictions in some states.
Can you understand why they're doing that?
PELOSI: No, not really. Because what we have to do is -- is -- is shelter- in- place. That is really the answer. Testing, tracing, treatment, shelter- in-place, and I do think that it's unfortunate -- but you know people will do what they do.
But the fact is we're all impatient. We all want out but what they're doing is really unfortunate because what is great though is the America -- are the American people. The American people know that the good health of themselves and their families and their loved ones is what is important and that's why you have seen such an overwhelming commitment to shelter-in- place, distancing -- people distancing.
Because really it is the key to how we will open up our economy. The health issue is the key to opening up the economy. Unfortunately, this -- what you see there is, you know, they're not (ph) respectful to whatever people think that they should say, but the fact is, this has to be science-based, evidence-based, data-based and evidence and the science and the data says shelter-in-place, testing, contact testing -- tracing, treatment, quarantine is the answer to opening up our economy sooner.
And I think, by the way, if I just may add. I do think --
PELSOI: -- is a major distraction from testing, testing, testing.
And so, does it serve as a distraction? Yes, but that's not what this is about. We're supposed to be focusing on getting over this so that we can open up our economy, the sooner the better. And I'm proud of the American people --
WALLACE: I've got a couple --
PELOSI: -- because by in large, they have embraced that.
WALLACE: A couple of questions I want to get in. Just this week, you called President Trump a weak person, a poor leader. Now, I understand that he goes after you, so this is fully a two-way street.
WALLACE: But you think those kinds of partisan attacks by -- in this case -- you, are constructive in the middle of a national crisis?
PELOSI: Well, I'll tell you why it came to that. I was so prayerful on Easter. It was one of the first days I didn't have to be working every minute and I could reflect and be prayerful.
And what I decided was that the president's made many mistakes, OK. Let's have an after action review of that. But if he continued to put forth proposals that were not science-based, continuing his, you know, what'd he say, it's a hoax. It's magically going to go away. OK, put that aside.
But to -- to proceed with policies which were not science-based, which are not evidence-based and to blame others -- blame anybody, blame the governors, blame me, blame the World Health Organization. Leaders, leaders take responsibility.
So I said he's a weak leader. He doesn't take responsibility. He places blames -- blame on others and that might have been OK before, but we cannot continue down a path that is again -- I'll come back to science, science, science, evidence, data on how we should go forward.
Finally, and I've got about a minute left here, Speaker Pelosi. When this crisis started, you opposed the idea of Congress voting remotely. Something it has never done before.
WALLACE: But in the last week you have said you could support remote voting under certain circumstances. What would you accept in that regard and why the change of mind?
PELOSI: Well it wasn't a change of mind, it was that I tasked our chairs of jurisdiction, Chairman Jim McGovern of Rules Committee, Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren of the House Administration Committee, to say what are the options we can give members? This was weeks ago. What are the options we can give members -- constitutionally, security-wise and technologically?
They came back this week with saying, proxy voting is probably something that passes muster on those scores in terms of just for this purpose, not for life in general, but for this purpose. And so that is -- I'm taking their recommendation. It wasn't a change -- my -- my attitude was always, if it's possible, let's see what the options are. This is what they have come back and said is possible. And we'll see -- and it has to be bipartisan. We'll see how our colleagues on the other side of the aisle -- I think there's some openness to it. You'd have to ask them. But we would want to do it in a -- in a Congress, House-wide, not just a determination of the Democrats, that that's the way we want to go forward. We want to do it in a bipartisan way, as we have done all of this.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX ANCHOR: Right.
PELOSI: Three bills in March. All partisan -- bipartisan, not partisan at all and as this interim package will be bipartisan and want to keep the faith on both sides and with the public that this is -- this is how we have to compromise. We -- we want to make improvements, but we have to compromise to get the job done.
And, I might say, I've worked with the Republicans to pass the -- keep government open until December, to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. We -- we don't get credit for where we do work together, and I want to point that out.
WALLACE: Speaker Pelosi --
PELOSI: Again --
WALLACE: Credit where credit is due. Criticism where criticism is due. Thank you so much for coming and talking with us. Please stay safe and please come back and talk to us.
PELOSI: Thank you.
And credit to the American people for their patriotism and their concerns for their families. Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss how and when to reopen the country.
WALLACE: President Trump backs off his suggestion he has the authority to reopen the country, even against the wishes of some states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty and we will help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel how restarting the economy will work now.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own states. Every state is very different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump announcing new federal guidelines Thursday for reopening the economy, saying it's governors who will take the lead.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. GOP strategist Karl Rove, executive director of the Serve America PAC, Marie Harf, and the anchor of "SPECIAL REPORT," Bret Baier.
Karl, what do you think of the president's plan, as announced this week, to reopen the economy and what about the concern that we don't have enough testing and contact tracing to do it?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, first of all, this fame -- it's not really a plan, it's a framework, a road map. I thought it was very well-crafted. It shows the president recognizing the differences between states and even the differences inside states. It recognizes the primacy of governors and mayors in executing this, making these decisions. It relies clearly upon health experts and being drafted.
Contrary to what Speaker Pelosi said, this is clearly got the fingerprints of Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx all over it. I'm glad that's the case. And it depends ultimately on three things, lots of testing, which unlike -- you know, Nancy Pelosi seems to think you can just click your fingers and there's going to be plenty of tests. It's difficult, having been in the White House when we were at SARS and MERS -- or, excuse me, in H5N1, the testing that has to be done for this are -- is difficult to organize, difficult to create, difficult to -- to validate, but it's being done.
It also requires that we continue our social distancing practices and it's going to require a lot of prudent common sense steps by businesses as they begin to bring back employees and customers. So I think it's a good, excellent road map. It's going to take some time. We're going to have to be -- we're going to have to be willing to accept that. Even if a state does - - meets all of these thresholds for all three phases --
ROVE: We're talking about six weeks before we can get areas of the country back to anything that looks sort of normal.
WALLACE: Marie, a number of Democratic officials are saying that the president is moving too fast, but to pick up on Karl's point, isn't that a hard case to make when this plan has been endorsed by Dr. Fauci, the kind of unchallenged expert on all this, and especially when you see growing restiveness and frustration with the stay-at-home orders and the economic consequences of that?
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: There are a number of independent medical experts who have been very clear publicly that we do not have enough testing yet. And that until we do, pushing to reopen to early will just result in more outbreaks in places we thought we had it contained. So when you see some of these protests that you talked to your previous guests about in places like Michigan, in places like Ohio, they're not social distancing. They are promoting reopening the economy while ignoring all of these national guidelines. And so each of these governors have huge responsibilities right now to -- to message to their citizens in a way that convinces them that these are in place for their own good, to help protect them and their families.
But the bottom line, Chris, is that there are very few indices in this country that can actually get the number of tests we need, that can bring together industry, that can use the Defense Production Act to get the tests we need, which right now have plateaued. And that's the federal government. So that's one place we actually do need a little more action, is getting more testing and getting industry around doing that.
WALLACE: President Trump got into fights with governors this week over everything from who has responsibility for more testing, to the question of who has responsibility for ending the lockdowns. And some of the governors fought back. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we came into this room today and said the battle is over, we have won, it's 100 percent gone, the Democrats would say the president has done a horrible job.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If he's sitting home watching TV, maybe he should get up and go to work, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Bret, the president often ended up in a less controversial place, like when he eventually said, it's up to governors to open up their own states at the pace they choose. But he sometimes took a circuitous route to get there.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR: Chris, you know, I covered and wrote about President Eisenhower, the 34th president, and he used to say, words matter and less is more. The 45th president takes a much different communication style. He thinks more is more, as evidenced by these press briefings. And his supporters will tell you that words matter less if -- I said last week, if President Obama had said that he had total authority to tell the states when to open that conservatives heads would have exploded. Well, two days later, when the president said the governors will make the call, if Obama had done that turnabout, conservatives' heads would have exploded too.
But the bottom line is that it's the actions and it's Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield up on that podium with the president signing off on this, not flicking the switch, but nuanced rollout of guidelines for states. So it's the actions, not the words, his supporters will tell you. But, clearly, the communications style frustrates a lot of people and maybe independents.
WALLACE: Karl, let me pick up on that because there's no question, when the president says he has the authority, total authority, to decide to open up states or when he talks about liberating Minnesota, it creates a controversy. But, in the end, to Bret's point, does that really matter, or is the -- is the real importance here going to be where we end up, both in a public health sense and in an economic sense?
ROVE: I think that's right. It's going to be what's the result of this? Do we think that, at the end of this, that the American people think, look, we came through this thing about as well as could be expected? Nobody's got a sense that everything has to be perfect. Nobody has the sense that, oh, you know, we -- we -- we don't have enough testing and we can solve that problem tomorrow by invoking the -- the Defense Production Act. There's no need to do that because every business, every pharmaceutical company, every testing company that wants to be involved and can be involved is involved in this.
But, you're right, at the end of the day it's going to be, what are the end results of this.
WALLACE: Yes. And, look, it's governed by these -- you know, the Stafford Act, the, you know, Public Health Emergency Act, the Disaster Act of 1974, and clearly every one of those acts, to some degree, looks for a balance in our federalist system between the president and the -- and the -- and the federal government and states and local governments. And some there are more authorities for states and -- and -- and some more for the federal government.
But we live in a federalist system and they got to -- they got to deal with that.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, President Trump and Joe Biden trade shots in the midst of the coronavirus over who's been too soft on China.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone knew they lied about the virus. China. President Trump gave China his trust.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Xi, I think they're doing a very good job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A global crisis. President Trump took action but Joe Biden attacked Trump after the China travel ban.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Xenophobia and fearmongering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Political ads for both Joe Biden and President Trump now focusing on the other's record on China in the midst of the global pandemic. The website attacking the former vice president called Beijing Biden.
And we're back now with the panel.
Bret, obviously things can change dramatically between now and November, but are the -- the health crisis and the economic crisis such an overwhelming event -- overwhelming substantive event and political event that this is likely, November, to be a political referendum on how President Trump is handled it?
BAIER: One hundred percent. I think it's the election. And I'll quote a -- a very well-known anchor who said just that about a week and a half ago, Chris Wallace. I think it comes down to how we get out of it and how the president handles this. But, you know, you put on the intro there the China part. And I think that's going to be a big part of the election, how China is used, not only -- and you can see this by the Biden campaign putting out a foreign policy advisor, Tony Blinken, pointing to President Trump's comments about China being positive.
But there are about 80 percent, according to the internal polls cited by "The New York Times," of the public who believe that China really covered up at the beginning. U.S. officials are convinced that's the case. It's not conclusive that it came from this lab accidentally or otherwise yet, but they are convinced that China really covered up at the beginning and that's going to be a big focus of this.
The fascinating part, Chris, was the question to Nancy Pelosi about her walk in Chinatown on February 24th. February 19th, there was a Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Three words weren't sad, "virus," "coronavirus," or "Covid-19." Never came up.
WALLACE: Well, to throw a bouquet back at you, obviously, China becoming a bigger issue after your reporting this week about, as some sources told you, the biggest political cover-up in history by China about its role in the virus.
Karl, let me switch subjects to you.
Joe Biden, there's asymmetric warfare here because Joe Biden is stuck in the basement TV studio in his home in Delaware. If you were advising him, how would you tell him to try to strike a higher profile, or would you say that's a mistake at this point. Look, everybody's focused on the virus, just let the stage to the president.
ROVE: Well, you've got to recognize there are limitations because, you're right, the president dominates this. This is a time where no matter what he does, he's going to -- Biden is not going to have the profile of the president.
I would say three things. First of all, don't pick a -- don't pick a fight over China. If the question of this election is, who's tougher on China, Donald Trump is the answer, not Joe Biden.
Second of all, I would not follow the practice of Nancy Pelosi, which Joe Biden is, unfortunately, following, and that is just to pick at the administration and say defense -- you're not using the Defense Production Act. Da, da, da. Da, da, da. Da, da, da. That's -- you know, look, he's quickly and she's quickly becoming what Bill Sapphire (ph) once called nattering nabobs of negativism.
To me, one of the things that would be important is for Joe Biden to -- if he wants to contrast with the president, to herald the actions of these Democratic governors, like Cuomo and Newsom and others, who are getting very high marks in their states for managing this well.
And, thirdly, the third piece is, I would be focused on what it is that would be necessary to convince people in the fall that Joe Biden ought to replace Donald Trump. And that's not the moment of the immediate controversy. It's sharing a broader and bigger vision as a traditional Democrat. And he ain't doing that. He is going -- continuing to go hard -- march hard to the left. And I think if he keeps doing that, by the time we get to August and September, those small group of swing voters are going to -- are going to be forced with the issue, do I want to keep Donald Trump in office after I voted Democrat for Congress in 2018, or do I want to go with a guy who seems to see -- seems to be like Bernie Sanders only not so much Bernie Sanders? I mean that's not a particularly good choice to -- for those independents to make if you're Joe Biden.
WALLACE: All right, let -- I've heard from the Republican strategist about what Joe Biden should do. Let's hear now from the Democratic strategist about what Joe Biden should do. He's -- he's obviously -- doesn't have the platform the president has. How critical should he be and how much should he try to struggle for a stage and attention he's just not going to get it at point?
HARF: President Trump's platform is a little bit of a double-edged sword though because he does have the power of the bully pulpit and the White House Briefing Room every single day. But some of the things he's said are literally writing their own attack ads. When President Trump stood up there and said, I take no responsibility, when he promised we would all be able to get a test if we wanted one. Donald Trump talks a lot, as Bret mentioned earlier, and -- and those are writing their own ads for the Democrats right now.
Joe Biden's whole theory of the case has been a return to normalcy and competence. That was before the crisis. That was his theory for why he should be the nominee and why he can beat Donald Trump. That is even more of his theory of the case now that he is running a someone who can bring normalcy back to this country and confidence back. And overwhelmingly polling shows that's what people want -- people want in this election. And, you know, he will continue doing cable, Chris. He will continue doing virtual fundraisers. But that fundamental question come November is where Joe Biden thinks he can bring Democrats and independents and some disaffected Republicans along with him.
WALLACE: Bret, to Marie's point, the White House Briefing Room can be a double-edged sword. As we've seen some cases it shows the president in charge. I -- I think it's fair to say that the rollout of the phases and the gating that was -- you know, the very gradual reopening of the country was well received on Thursday. But some of the things the president has said over the last couple of weeks have gotten him in trouble. And, in fact, you've seen a bit of a dip in public approval for the president, even with these long national briefings.
BAIER: Well, that's true. And there are all kinds of different, you know, questions that -- of all different flavors that come up and sometimes the president is out there longer than his supporters and aides would like him to be. But he's running this show. And it just -- how we get out of it -- most importantly how the economy recovers. Twenty-two million Americans filing for unemployment. Small businesses, one in four saying they're teetering on closing or closing. This is massive. It's a nuclear bomb in the U.S. economy.
So there's the health side, but the economic side is as important of how we crawl out of this.
WALLACE: And when you talk about people wanting those briefings to be shorter, as the anchor of "SPECIAL REPORT," which is usually on at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, when the briefings are happening, I suspect sometimes you're looking at your watch.
BAIER: We're -- we're ready either way. We're ready either way. Last -- yesterday -- or I -- the other day I had 22 minutes. So that was great.
WALLACE: Well, that's a very good answer, but I should say, because I know your staff is working hard to do an entire hour show, and they don't always get to put it on the air, you should put it somewhere so we can all see it.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next our "Power Player of the Week," top chef Jose Andres on another rescue mission. This time it's not a hurricane, but the coronavirus.
WALLACE: Chef Jose Andres has become the world's first responder for food. He's deployed his teams to disaster areas around the globe. It's that ongoing call to action that makes him our "Power Player of the Week."
JOSE ANDRES, CHEF: This is why this crisis is different. You don't see it, but it's happening as millions of Americans are losing their jobs, people are hungry and somebody has to feed them.
WALLACE (voice over): Top chef Jose Andres comparing the coronavirus disaster to others he's faced, such as hurricanes and tsunamis.
ANDRES: Take a look at the line of people we have here. This line ends in the horizon.
WALLACE: Right now his World Central Kitchen is serving one hot meal at a time to Americans hit by the virus. They're in more than 40 U.S. cities cooking more than 200,000 meals a day.
In New York City, getting food to health care workers and first responders, disturbing meals in California to families with students who aren't getting school lunches.
ANDRES: Nationals fans, they should be proud. This is like opening day.
WALLACE: And in D.C., taking over Nationals Park to cook for the elderly.
ANDRES: Sometime we deliver home by home. We have a lot of elderly that live alone, that nobody's taking care of them, and we give them protective gear to make sure that when they deliver, they never get in touch with the elderly so they can be fed and we are protecting them at the same time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another day, another mask.
WALLACE: Andres founded World Central Kitchen in 2010 after an earthquake devastated Haiti.
ANDRES: One million meals cooked by the men and women of Puerto Rico!
WALLACE: After Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, he went there and served almost four million meals.
We last spoke to Andres in the Florida panhandle cooking for thousands after Hurricane Michael.
WALLACE (on camera): Why are chefs good at stepping into these chaotic situations?
ANDRES: When an emergency happens and you need to take care of the sick, you send doctors and nurses. When you need to rebuild, use send architects. When you need to feed people, shouldn't be chefs like me be part of the solution and part of the action? That's what we're good.
WALLACE (voice over): With restaurants shut down, Andres gets them back in the game, hiring chefs to cook and sharing resources with hundreds of others to help their communities.
ANDRES: If we come together, everything is possible. We are -- we have the mind of the private sector with a good heart of the NGOs. Empathy and the private sector together is a very powerful equation.
WALLACE: Andres says his mission is to weaponize empathy.
ANDRES: We're sending the message that we care, that America loves you, and that hopefully tomorrow things will be better. That's the message that we send with each plate of food.
WALLACE: Over the last decade, Andres and World Central Kitchen have served more than 16 million meals to people hit by crises and natural disasters around the world.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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