This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," January 31, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: That is some serious change, Bill.
We're on top of that, on top of so many other developments, including Sunny Isles Beach in Florida, where they are preparing right now for a hurricane.
We're also on top of the storm over that virus, the coronavirus aid, and just exactly how much Democrats and Republicans will be able to make progress this weekend, word just in now that they do plan to meet -- that is, some of the premier players -- tomorrow morning at the Capitol. We will follow all of that.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto, and this is "Your World."
And a good deal of focus right now on a hurricane that is barreling in on Florida right now and may hug the Florida coast and the East Coast as well.
It's too soon to say for sure.
But we know Phil Keating has been following it closely. Phil joins us now from Florida.
PHIL KEATING, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.
Cat 1 Isaias is right now blowing, smashing through the Bahamas on its way to Florida. And hurricane hunters who flew through the storm system earlier say it is getting more organized.
Down in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, they're only expecting tropical storm impact down there, but strong winds and strong rain. However, other counties, like Palm Beach County, are in fact in a hurricane watch.
It will be impacting South Florida right around early tomorrow morning. And then Sunday morning early, the eye of the storm should be due east behind us up here on the Space Coast.
That's the situation right here in Cocoa Beach. Isaias is forecast to skim the entire Florida Peninsula and mostly remain in the Atlantic all the way until making landfall in North Carolina's Outer Banks next week.
Parts of Florida are now under a hurricane watch, like I mentioned. As of last night at 5:00 a.m., many state coronavirus testing sites broke down and packed up due to the storm threat.
Today, a fourth straight record-breaking day for COVID-19 fatalities.
Today's new case numbers show 257 deaths and about 9,000 new cases. That makes it the sixth straight day for Florida reporting fewer than 10,000 new cases, which is possible positive news, in that the state may now finally be plateauing.
As for the storm, Florida's governor addressed the state from the emergency operations center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Very fluid situation. We hope that it stays off our shores. But we have got to be prepared to have impacts in the state of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEATING: South Floridians have begun sandbagging to protect their homes and businesses. Everybody is encouraged to have a week's worth of food, water batteries and supplies, as always, during hurricane season.
And just in case this storm, as well, wobbles a little bit more westerly, coming closer to the coastline, that's when people will really see some increased impacts.
The beaches in Miami-Dade County today closed to the public. They will remain that way tomorrow as well. As for here in Cocoa Beach, the beach is open, a lot of people out enjoying the sun, sand and surf, but, tomorrow, likely, and Sunday, a lot of rain -- back to you.
CAVUTO: All right, Phil, thank you very much.
And Phil mentioned what the weather will be like certainly in the next couple of days, looking forward to Sunday. That's the day those two SpaceX astronauts are supposed to splash down to return to Earth, wouldn't you know it, just off the Florida coast.
We have gotten no word right now from NASA whether they will bump that back or move to another location, if they can pinpoint a new location that might be in calmer waters.
Rick Reichmuth might know. He's been following the hurricane very, very closely.
Rick, what are we looking at?
RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHIEF METEOROLOGIST: Well, I tell you, I can't -- those guys have a much higher and more important job than I do pinpointing where that thing is going to land, especially right when they're in the middle of a hurricane right off the Florida coast.
This is a storm right now, a 75 mile-an-hour storm. That's the threshold for it to be a hurricane vs. a tropical storm. And it's pulling off towards the northwest. We have a very interesting feature in the U.S. And that is, we have a coastline that kind of mimics the transit path of a lot of tropical storms and hurricanes, especially as they move off towards the north.
They generally deflect off towards the north and eventually towards the east because of the rotation of the Earth. We also have a coastline here that can have that exact same coastline where we see those storms take that path, obviously, a lot of times. And you see that when you look at all of our tropical models.
Now, it's going to be right offshore. That means we can't say exactly 10 miles one way or another which -- where this goes. And that means very different impacts, especially across the coast of Florida.
You see the center of the cone when you're in tomorrow right off the coast of Palm Beach. If it goes a little bit closer, we will have more impacts in the way very strong wind, maybe a little bit of storm surge, definitely some rough seas.
Now, the right side of that storm is always the worst side of the storm, where we see more of the rain, more of that storm surge. And, hopefully, if this verifies, we will see most of that stay offshore.
That said, just offshore is right where we have the area that saw Hurricane Dorian last year in the Bahamas and all of the problems here. Now, go forward into Monday we have got the storm somewhere off the South Carolina coast -- South Carolina coastline, and, into Tuesday, possibly making landfall somewhere around the Outer Banks.
Also very possible, it just hugs it a little bit farther towards the east and stays offshore. Nonetheless, we're going to see some conditions very unfavorable for being in the water and potentially some pretty strong storm surge, and also possibly some damage here.
So, because the storm is just tracking that exact coastline, we're going to watch it really closely. And anybody in the beach needs to be watching.
We do have the hurricane watch, as Phil was just saying, in across areas of Florida. The storm takes a little bit of a left turn there or a left path, I should say, and we will have much bigger impacts across Florida. It is too close to call. If you're in Florida, you need to be watching that this weekend.
If you're in South Carolina, North Carolina. Monday, into Tuesday, we will be having the storm on your shore -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Thank you my friend very much, Rick Reichmuth.
I want to go to Bill Johnson right now. Bill is the Palm Beach County Florida, emergency management director.
Bill, thank you for taking the time. I know you're quite a busy fellow right now.
What are you preparing for? What do you think things are looking like right now?
BILL JOHNSON, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR:
Well, we're keeping our fingers crossed.
Right now, we are under a hurricane watch, as well as tropical storm warning. Again, this sounds -- this is another Dorian, almost kind of Groundhog's Day, almost. We're hoping that the track stays as it is or goes a little bit further east.
But with that, we are opening -- we are planning for some shelters. We're getting them ready. We haven't pushed the button yet. But we are in anticipation and in caution. We are getting things ready, keeping an eye on the forecast, and maybe later this evening making a final decision in terms of exactly if we will open them up tomorrow or not.
But tomorrow is the go day. And, again, with the conditions deteriorating tomorrow afternoon, we anticipate that hopefully this -- the situation will improve for us a little bit, but that's our story right now.
CAVUTO: I don't envy your job, though, because you have got to juggle that with, if you have to shelter folks, you have got to keep to distancing in those shelters, with the coronavirus cases that certainly have spiked in Florida.
I believe the seven-day average has stabilized a tad, but what do you do?
JOHNSON: Well, we're -- first of all, our message is, is that we're trying to have -- we're continuing that message that we have said is safer at home.
So, we're lucky here in South Florida that we have a very strong building code, so -- and that the storm is not providing a lot of storm surge. So, we evacuate for storm surge, not so much for wind. So, in some ways, things are good along those lines.
But if we do have to open up shelters, we have made a lot of arrangements to try to accommodate social distancing. We have brought -- we will have people wear masks. We will do some screening. We will have hand sanitizing stations throughout the shelters. We have done other arrangements to minimize congestion -- or congregation, I should say, within the shelters.
So, a lot of strategies that we have done to really make the shelters as safe as possible. We really don't want to have people decide not to shelter if they're -- if we do have to evacuate areas of our county.
CAVUTO: All right, Bill, I wish you and your residents the best through this. I'm sure you will get through it. You're some great folks.
You have been dealing with a lot of stuff, Bill Johnson, the Palm Beach County, Florida, emergency management director.
Obviously, the president's keeping an eye on all of this. He will be headed to Florida today. He's got a busy schedule on tap, among the issues, looking into how that hurricane preparedness is going and what's happening right now in Washington when it comes to coronavirus relief.
Some news there, with talk of a meeting maybe tomorrow morning between the principal players.
John Roberts on all of that -- John.
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Neil, good afternoon to you.
Yes, in fact, there will be a meeting tomorrow between the principals. That would be the secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the House -- excuse me -- the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer.
And it'll be just the four of them up there on Capitol Hill to see if they can move the needle at all on some sort of coronavirus relief bill. There's not a lot of optimism on either side, though, that they will be able to do it.
Mark Meadows saying earlier today that he had Mnuchin yesterday floated four proposals to Pelosi and Schumer, including a one-week extension of the current $600 enhancement for unemployment insurance, and all of those were rejected.
As for the president, he touched down in Tampa, Florida, just a short time ago. He's got a number of events there. He has got a fund-raiser with sheriffs, and then he's got a fund-raiser with other supporters in the evening. That will be a dinner fund-raiser.
And then he's got a roundtable on coronavirus response and storm preparedness. Hurricane Isaias is not expected to make a direct hit on Florida, though it could plow into the Carolinas on Tuesday.
And the president doubling down on his warnings about the move to extend mail-in voting for the November election, saying, the move by states to mass-mailing ballots to any -- or to mass-mail ballots to anyone on the voter rolls could lead to inaccuracies and fraud.
Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absentee ballots are secure, and they're very good. But universal mail-in are a disaster. You're going to see an election that -- and we're going to do very well in the election.
Nobody wants that date more than me. I wish we could move it up, OK, move it up.
But you're not prepared for what they're doing. And they're using COVID.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The president points to the June 23 primary election in New York's 12th Congressional District -- that's Carolyn Maloney's -- as an example of what could happen nationally, because more than a month later, the ballot count is still far from over in that race.
And election officials say as many as 20 percent of ballots in that election may be thrown out. But Democrats say, this is simply an attempt by the president to disenfranchise voters.
Former President Barack Obama, in his eulogy to John Lewis yesterday, wading into politics, pointing out that President Trump is warning the U.S.
postal service may not be able to handle the volume generated by mass-mail- in voting. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting, even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that is going to be dependent on mail-in ballots, so people don't get sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The net effect of all of this would be to cast doubt on the results of the November election if President Trump were to not prevail.
And, remember, in that interview he did with our Chris Wallace a couple of weeks ago, the president did not rule out challenging the results of the election, if the early voting showed that he lost -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Congress can push an election, but not the president, right?
ROBERTS: Correct. Yes, it's up to the Congress to set the date.
And because there is a congressional election and a presidential election in this year, they have to both occur in 2020. So, even if you pushed it, you wouldn't push it much.
CAVUTO: Yes, got it, my friend. Thank you very, very much, John Roberts at the White House here.
We're wrapping up a very strong month for stocks, in case you didn't hear, in fact, one of the strongest we have seen in some time, with the Dow up about 2.5 percent for the month, Nasdaq surging close to 70 percent, the S&P 5.5 percent.
Now, a lot of that activity happened today, when Apple was soaring. It has the highest market value of any company on the planet, now well north of
$1.5 trillion, up 15 percent this month, in case you're counting, up close to 45 percent on the year, Amazon up 15 percent this month, up 71 percent on the year, and Facebook with an 11 percent advance on the month, up 23 percent.
Those issues are now, combined with the likes of Microsoft and Google, $5 trillion in combined market value that, for a while today, it hit $5.5 trillion.
We're on that. What sets the course for markets here on out? Well, right now, it could be a very different storm, a political storm over stimulus and what to do about those $600-a-week jobless benefits.
Markets are watching it. No doubt the people who receive those benefits are watching it too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It is politics as usual from Democrats.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Clearly...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, I apologize for that.
The president has arrived right now in Tampa, Florida. He is going to be having a roundtable with that state and the host of issues it's dealing with right now, including an approaching Category 1, maybe-soon-to-be Category 2 hurricane, of course, the COVID-19 cases that have spiked measurably there, although, over the last seven days, which is a pretty good way to sort of average it out, the numbers have been stabilizing somewhat, no doubt something that Governor DeSantis will be pounding with the president, as well as the president meeting with supporters.
Let's get an idea too of the other storm going on or potentially going on right now in Washington, D.C., where they're trying to carve out some sort of agreement on stimulants to deal with the coronavirus.
The only detail is what, like the price. Is it going to be a trillion dollars or $3.5 trillion? Is it going to include relief for those who are unemployed right now who will see an end as of today of those $600-a-week added federal jobless benefits, or something scaled down?
Chad Pergram following it all very closely from Capitol Hill.
CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Neil.
Well, there is a canyon of difference between the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill on what they want to do here. And what we have learned in the past hour is that there's going to be a big meeting here on Capitol Hill tomorrow between Speaker Pelosi, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, the secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, and also the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
You don't have a big meeting on Saturday morning at 9:00 unless you're trying to get down to brass tacks. That indicates kind of the urgency of the situation here, because the House of Representatives is done. They're out until some point later in August. The Senate doesn't come back until Monday.
Mark Meadows indicates that he was talking to the speaker late last night, and Democrats repeatedly have rejected a number of the White House proposals. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEADOWS: The president has sent us back not once, not twice, but three different times, to try to find some common ground. And what we have found from our Democrat negotiators is that they are bumping the price higher than the very bill that they passed out of the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERGRAM: Meadows proposed a weeklong extension of the extra unemployment aid, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected that. She says you can only agree on an interim package if a broader deal is within reach.
Democrats continue to insist on a big bill, but Pelosi won't tip her hand on what Democrats are willing to concede to get an agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: One is the person you're negotiating with has to want something.
You have to think they might want something for the American people. So far, so bad.
The second part is that the people you're negotiating with have to know that you will walk, you will walk if there -- if it isn't there, it isn't there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERGRAM: This is what's interesting.
Usually, on a bill, even a big bill, if negotiations were going this badly, and you were at an impasse, you would just call things off and everybody would retreat to their corners.
But this crisis is so big, this is why they have to at least -- to continue to talk at least for a couple of days. As I indicate, the House of Representatives is not here. And Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said he would recall members to Washington within 24 hours if they get a bill.
They're not going to be here for all of August unless there is a deal. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her press conference this morning, Neil, she did say that she thought that they would be able to get a bill. She said it with a twinkle in her eye. But there are some on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue who just don't think that they're going to be able to get there.
They need to get Democratic votes. And there's about 20 Republicans in the Senate, Neil, who just won't vote for any additional bill whatsoever. They think they're adding too much to the debt -- back to you.
CAVUTO: Yes. So, it's a little too late for that, but I guess it's better late than never.
Chad Pergram, thank you very, very much.
Let's go to John Hoeven, Republican North Dakota senator.
Senator, always good to have you. Thank you for taking the time.
SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R-ND): Good to be...
CAVUTO: I'm wondering, are you among those 20 -- are you among those 20 Republican senators who have your concerns?
HOEVEN: Well, I'm definitely concerned about the spending and the deficit.
And we have got to address it.
And that's why we're trying to -- trying to do this bill in a targeted way, and why we have really had trouble negotiating with Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, is because they seem stuck on their $3 trillion bill.
And we have got to use the funds that we appropriated under the CARES Act, and then, in a targeted way, address the additional needs. So, I'm willing to work on it. I am working on it. But they have got to start negotiating with us.
CAVUTO: I'm wondering.
On the $600-a-week unemployment benefit that expires today, Senator, what are you looking at? I'm told that some of your colleagues are kicking around the idea of a reduced benefit, maybe by $100, $200, and then, 30 days, look at that again. I believe that was a Mitt Romney plan. There are others that say, just automatically lower it, but don't end it.
Where are you?
HOEVEN: Well, what we're trying -- again, we're doing trying to come up with something targeted that provides assistance to people who are unemployed, but, at the same time, you don't create an incentive not to go to work.
And that's the challenge we have right now. And so Democrats want to continue the $600 a month and a whole lot of other things. We're willing to negotiate. We have put a bill on the floor that would be $200 a month, and then go to approximately two-thirds or 70 percent of the replacement wage, again, trying to make sure we help people, but don't create a disincentive for work.
And we just can't seem to get Democrats to engage with us on something like that, that, again, would meet the need, but do it in a way where we get people back to work and get the economy going.
CAVUTO: Senator, are you worried, though, because -- because so many states, many of them run by Republicans, have had to either slow down or actually reverse some of their reopening could be complicating this, that, given this, those unemployment benefits are probably more urgent than they once were?
What do you think?
HOEVEN: Yes. Yes.
And you saw second-quarter GDP 33 percent down on an annualized basis. You have seen unemployment claims continue, to 1.4 million this past week.
HOEVEN: And so, clearly, we need to do something, but it needs, again, to -
- we need to do in a way where we recognize the costs, we use the money under the CARES Act as well as we can, but that we do some things to address those needs, whether it's the unemployment insurance, whether it's helping those small businesses with more PPP assistance, the back to school.
We included funding to help with back to school, testing. So, again, let's do it, but let's be mindful of the cost, do the things we need to do, but do it in a way where we recognize that these are taxpayer dollars.
CAVUTO: Senator, the president raised again today the anxiety he has that the elections could be a mess in the fall.
He had talked earlier, as you know, 24 hours ago, a little bit more than that, tweeting about fears that they're going to be fraudulent, but that there's always a possibility things could be delayed.
How do you feel about that, a delayed Election Day?
HOEVEN: No, we need to go forward with the election. We should do that. We will do that.
At the same time, you know, we strongly believe that, even with proper precautions, voters need to be able to go and vote. And we will have absentee voting, as we always have.
But I truly believe that the American people want to be able to go to that ballot box and vote. And, yes, we will continue with the election, as planned.
CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very, very much.
We will monitor all of this, and, obviously, a lot to keep on top of here.
As the good senator was speaking here, the president is meeting right now with these Florida sheriffs, outlining, among other things, his response to what happened in Portland, Oregon, and wants to put an end to what have been 64 straight nights of protests, some of them that got very, very violent.
We are monitoring that.
We are also monitoring what he might have to say about these ongoing stimulus talks regarding the virus. As you just heard, we got some breaking news that the Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, they're all going to be speaking tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
It's a good thing we are live shortly thereafter, when they come out of those discussions, talk about what, if anything, they have agreed to, again, tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. on "Cavuto Live," the fallout from that, the political storm behind closed doors, and the very real storm out in Florida that's open for the whole world to see and, well, fear -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, Charlie Gasparino broke it, and now the world is responding to it, indications that Microsoft could be interested in buying TikTok, the big Chinese concern that's already in the president's sights.
What happens now?
CAVUTO: All right, it's a Chinese concern that's invited pretty much the world's wrath, particularly in this country.
I'm talking about the social media giant TikTok. Word now that Microsoft is in talks about buying the company.
Where did that word first start? With our own Charlie Gasparino, who broke it before anyone else on the planet, the best business reporter on the planet with us now, Charlie Gasparino.
Charlie, what are you hearing right now?
CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, these talks began about a month ago, from what I understand, sources are telling the FOX Business Network, when TikTok's parent company, the Chinese parent company that the Trump administration is worried receives user data, surveillance data from TikTok on its users, when that company approached, from what I understand, Microsoft, senior executives at Microsoft, for a potential deal.
It's unclear if this thing is going to happen. It is interesting that they approached Microsoft. If you notice, Microsoft was one of the companies that was new noticeably absent from the tech hearings this week.
CAVUTO: Yes. Yes.
GASPARINO: It is one company that could probably -- that would probably -- yes.
I mean, that's interesting, because it is probably the one company that is
-- would be regulatorily allowed to grow and buy TikTok. But, listen, this is -- I didn't know what TikTok was before this whole thing happened, other than my 11-year-old niece uses it to post and share videos, music videos.
GASPARINO: But the Trump administration -- and it's bipartisan -- both sides really believe that this app -- and it's spread like wildfire over the last couple years, its 80 million U.S. users, its 800 million -- U.S.
users -- that it gains a lot of traction on data for -- on its users.
And, as you know, every Chinese company -- TikTok may be located in the U.S. or has a U.S. subsidiary, but it answers to a Chinese parent. Every Chinese company is essentially owned and operated by the Chinese government.
And, again, bipartisan support for clipping its wings, because there's people on both sides of the aisle that believe the Chinese government is using this data essentially for surveillance purposes.
CAVUTO: But, Charlie, would that go away -- I'm sorry there -- but would that go away with Microsoft, let's say, potentially buying it?
CAVUTO: Because, unless there's a full and complete separation from China, it might have a tough time passing here, right?
And I will tell you that the Trump administration is keenly aware of these talks. It's -- I wouldn't say they're in the room, but they have been briefed.
And here's what I know. They're going to -- they will demand, even if Microsoft does buy TikTok -- and, by the way, it's unclear if they're going to buy the whole thing. I mean, it's hard to just buy the U.S. portion, because that's only 80 million users, as opposed to the 800 million users that are global.
Is it just the U.S. portion? But there's going to have to be -- whatever they buy, U.S. or the whole thing, it's going to have to be -- it's going to have to be like a clean break from the Chinese.
We should point out that, if you buy -- the whole thing is valued -- and this is loosely, just talking to bankers -- at something like $120 billion.
We should point out, if I just looked on Microsoft's balance sheet, they do have about $130 billion of cash and cash equivalents, short-term securities, which they can convert into cash, to make this purchase.
So, it's -- they could do it. They got the cash on the balance sheet. The real question is, for Microsoft, does ByteDance want to sell at all? Do they want to sell just the U.S.? It seems that they just want to sell the U.S.
If they just want to sell the U.S., is that enough for Microsoft to play in this space? Because ByteDance is still going to have 720 million users.
Facebook is getting into the game. They want to go global as well.
Does Microsoft want to invest in this business to go global as well? So there's a lot of questions to be answered, including the national security question.
I am telling you, the Trump administration -- if you listen to President Trump earlier today, he kind of talked around it. He says, we're talking about a number of options. This is like one of the options they're talking about.
This is going to have to pass serious muster with the Trump administration.
GASPARINO: And it's that Committee for Foreign Investment, CFIUS, that's going to have to sign off on it. And they're going to want to make sure everything is locked down, no Chinese involvement in this company, Neil.
CAVUTO: Easier said than done, my friend.
Great job again. I know some people think you mail it in, but I don't. I'm not -- I'm kidding.
CAVUTO: Great job again, Charlie Gasparino...
GASPARINO: One of these days, I'm going to mail it in.
CAVUTO: ... on top of this big story.
GASPARINO: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: Yes. Yes, I don't think you know the meaning of the word.
Thank you very much, Charlie Gasparino following that big story.
We're going to be pursuing that and the implications of that tomorrow, by the way, on "Cavuto Live" at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, lots of live stuff we're going to be pursuing.
Also want to update you on what got to be a very nasty exchange with Dr.
Fauci appearing with the president's coronavirus commission on the Hill.
But it wasn't coming from Democrats. It was coming from a particular Republican -- after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: I'm not going to opine on limiting anything. I'm just going to tell you...
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You've opined on a lot of things, Dr. Fauci.
FAUCI: Yes, I've never said to limit anything.
JORDAN: This is something that directly impacts the spread of the virus, and I'm asking your position on the protests.
FAUCI: Yes. Well, I'm not going to opine on limiting anything.
I'm telling you what it is, the danger, and you can make your own conclusion about that.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Any gathering, whether you're protesting or whether you're politicking, any gathering would be risky. And that's what the man has said.
JORDAN: Yes, but that's not -- that's not what's happening. That's my point.
CLYBURN: Oh, you're telling me that...
JORDAN: That's not what happening. There are limits. People can't go to church, can't go to work, can't go to school.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, that gentleman's out of order.
JORDAN: But they can protest all they want.
CLYBURN: That goes for the Democrats and Republicans. I will make the decision as to who is out of order.
I'm going to be as gentlemanly as you will allow me to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, the big dust-up there over large gatherings and how selective our impression of those gatherings can be.
I think what the congressman was getting at here, that is, Congressman Jordan, talking about the disproportionate interest in rallies and whether people are packed together, or beaches and whether they're packed together, but not much about protests and whether they're packed together.
And, of course, Dr. Fauci was trying not to distinguish. A crowd is a crowd is a crowd. But it did bring up a valid point that has come up many, many times, whether we kind of pick and choose the crowds that we deem to be dangerous.
Anyway, Mike Emanuel followed all of that drama on Capitol Hill.
I get a sense, when every time I see Dr. Fauci, that he runs into more of a buzz saw of criticism from Republicans than Democrats. And I saw a little bit of that today. What about you?
MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question about that, Neil. Good afternoon.
And there's also a forward-looking aspect to this hearing today, a focus on getting millions of American children back in the classroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: It's in the public health best interest of K-12 students to get back in face-to-face learning. There's really very significant public health consequences of the school closure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: A tense hearing at times. The panel's top Democrat, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, a former schoolteacher himself, says his focus is on saving lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLYBURN: I know what it is to represent the school district where thousands and thousands of children are not -- do not have the Internet and cannot receive online learning. I want them in the classroom. I want them to be educated, but I want them safe. And that's what this is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EMANUEL: Another huge topic, of course, the push for a COVID-19 vaccine.
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FAUCI: I believe, ultimately, over a period of time in 2021, if we have, and I think we will have, a safe and effective vaccine, that Americans will be able to get it.
I don't think that they will have everybody getting it immediately in the beginning. It probably will be phased in.
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EMANUEL: There are some definite tension between Democrats and Republicans, with this, of course, expected to be a huge topic in the campaign -- Neil.
CAVUTO: To put it mildly.
OK, thank you, Mike Emanuel, very, very much.
I want to go to Dr. Marty Makary on all of this, Johns Hopkins University professor of public health and physician, "The Price That We Pay," the author, bestseller, so much more.
Doctor, I saw this exchange back and forth, and I guess, stepping back from the heated politics of it, maybe, a crowd is a crowd is a crowd. And I'm wondering now if the crowds that people are worrying about, about returning to school, returning to work, whether those are justified concerns right now that all this could spark again.
What do you think?
DR. MARTIN MAKARY, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Yes, absolutely.
Dr. Fauci has navigated working for seven presidents for a reason. He sticks away -- stays away from the really touchy topics, but yet can give a strong warning.
I think right now the issue is that which crowd is an OK crowd to be in? Is it church? Is it bars? Is it schools? Is it protests? And I think that's -- it's not very productive for us to talk about selectively anointing crowds that are OK. We know that indoor is worse than outdoor -- worse than outdoors. We know that masks are better than not wearing masks.
And when you look back at the protests, even though Dr. Fauci didn't really answer the question, we saw protests nationally, but we didn't see the spike afterwards nationally. We only saw it in the Sunbelt, meaning that it was not from the protests.
Now, some might have been. In Minnesota, there might have been a slight increase from the protests, but it was a national protest, and we saw steady declines in the North in the two-and-a-half -- in the month-and-a- half following the protests.
CAVUTO: Well, we will never know, to your point, for sure, Doctor.
But I am wondering now, with the back-and-forth as to whether school will be in-person or even start on time, we know that there are going to be spikes when people come together. We have seen it with the return of baseball, with these Marlins players that were affected and tested positively for the virus.
We saw it on the Saint Louis Cardinals, where are a number of staff members were as well -- that, as soon as you resume something, this seems to come hand in hand with it. What do we do?
MAKARY: Well, first of all, we need to think about any time there's congregate settings.
For example, the schools, the schools may not be the dangerous place for the kids. It may be the bus ride to the school. And we need to really think about the high-risk individuals that show up. Vulnerable populations don't just live in nursing homes. They drive buses, and they teach sometimes, and those are the folks we need to shelter.
So there's a lot of factors to consider. I think right now we need to be thinking about the transmissibility, the uptick that we're seeing in the Midwest. Globally, right now, we're seeing a concerning uptick that may be a function of some recent reopenings, but it may be a snowflake before the blizzard, with a potential second wave.
Japan, Israel, Hong Kong, South Korea all seeing record numbers of cases reported in the last few days. So, that's concerning. We're watching this global potential for a second wave.
CAVUTO: All right, Doctor, thank you very, very much. Good catching up with you, Dr. Marty Makary.
We have a lot more we're following up on too. The president is addressing this with a number of officials from Florida, a sort of round-robin Donald's with whom he's going to be meeting, including that state's preparations for a Category 1, maybe soon to be a Category 2 hurricane, and the spike in cases in the Sunshine State.
We have Karl Rove here, how this could define not only the president's fortunes politically in that important battleground state, but in the nation as well -- after this.
CAVUTO: All right, the president in Florida right now meeting with sheriffs, first addressing what's going and how to tackle some of the violence we have seen in a number of cities, including in Portland, Oregon, the 64 straight days, nights of violence there, that he hopes is soon under control, and dealing with the coronavirus, which is spiking in that particular case.
Karl Rove says that both issues could dominate the campaign and the 90- some-odd days we have until the big election.
Karl, always good to have you.
I mean, ultimately ,the president, I would assume, is going to be judged on how this coronavirus thing is going. In the fall, we will have a lot of kids returning to school, those who will be in-person for classes, and a lot of people are returning to work.
And it seems, as I was raising with the doctor, Karl, that every time we do resume that sort of stuff, there are predictable spikes. I guess we have got to decide what's acceptable in the spike department.
But how do you think the president's faring through this?
KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I wish he did -- today and the last few days, has been talking about everybody's patriotic duty to wear a mask. And from a rhetorical standpoint, I wish that had been there two months ago and three months ago.
I did think, at the hearing today, it was very interesting. One of the Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee on COVID was pressing Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, on what more should we be doing now?
And it was very interesting, because they said we're doing everything we should be doing now. These are not easy situations. There's no simple formula. But we're doing everything. Everything that should be done is being done now, both of them.
I mean, that's a strong defense of the administration's perspective.
So, this is a difficult time for the president, but he's got to continue to say, here's what I have done, here's what I'm doing, here's what -- the challenges I have faced in all of this.
And -- but he's also got to, at the appropriate time, not every day, but at appropriate time, say, and here's the contrast with my opponent. And he's got two lines of attack on Biden. One is to say, here are the bad things they did. They got rid of the pandemic office. They left us the covered bare of PPE in the National Strategic Stockpile.
Their own director of the H1N1 response said they bungled it and it was good that they that it wasn't a more dangerous disease and wasn't more widespread, because they bungled the response to it and Ron Klain.
So there's that line of attack. And then, second of all, there's a line of attack that was made available to him by Biden himself. Last week, he was asked by Joy Reid on her new MSNBC program, inaugural guest. He trashes the president. She says, well, if you get elected, it may still be going on. So what would you do differently?
He lists six things, every one of which is being done by the administration already, everything from using the Defense Production Act, to appointing a commissioner to be in charge of production and distribution of vaccines.
All six items that he talked about were already being done. So he doesn't have a clue as to what additional he would do that isn't be done today.
CAVUTO: Karl Rove, thank you very much. I wish we had more time.
And to Karl's point, by the way, Dr. Fauci also said that where we are now vs. where we were a few months ago, we're doing a heck of a lot better.
Stay with us. More after this.
CAVUTO: All right, it was, by and large, peaceful in Portland, Oregon, last night.
Nevertheless, there were some dust-ups for a 64th night in a row, but I do stress, and today particularly, where they're planning another what they call peaceful, just come together rally. But the president wants to make sure it stays that way, and that if any federal buildings or structures are compromised, those agents or soldiers or Guardsmen, whatever you want to call them, will be brought in to calm the storm.
Now, the mayor of that city, the governor of that state not big fans of those moves, but we understand they have a quasi-agreement to handle this.
I believe -- and Andy McCarthy can help me out with this, a FOX News contributor and former assistant U.S. attorney -- they say, at least in the city, Andy, that their local authorities or police can handle it.
What do you make of all this?
ANDY MCCARTHY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's exactly what the attorney general said in his testimony when they let him speak the other day, Neil.
If the locals do their job, they'd rather not beef up the federal force that's there. But they're keeping the federal force there, at least in the area, so that they can respond if things get out of hand again.
CAVUTO: So, when they argued -- this is coming from them -- that it's those federal entities, those agents, whatever you want to call them, Andy, that precipitated this violence -- now, to my memory, they have only come within the last week or two.
These have been going on, as I said, for more than two months. So what did you make of that argument?
MCCARTHY: I guess, number one, they were committing the violence before the federal president got beefed up, but, number two, I will say the same thing I said to juries in terrorism cases. You were upset at the federal government, so you firebomb the courthouse? Really?
CAVUTO: So, I'm wondering where any of this goes.
If the president's sending a clear message, Andy, right now that, look, you can't keep the peace, I will, and it's a law and order argument that that is his ultimate responsibility, to protect the American people, depending on who the people are in these respective cities, some like that, some, particularly sympathetic to the protesters, do not like that.
But is he right on, that if the peace can't be maintained, the president has the authority to intervene and force it being maintained?
MCCARTHY: Yes, he is right, Neil, in particular when a federal installation is at risk. He has not only a constitutional obligation, but a statutory obligation.
Congress has enacted law that says the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to protect federal installations. So he's completely in the right in that regard.
CAVUTO: Where do you see all this going, Andy, I mean, every time there's a dust-up or it gets a little hot and heavy, that people are going to be fighting over protests?
Now, I think what they're fighting over is how far the protests go.
Peaceful demonstrations, fine. They get out of control, not so fine.
MCCARTHY: Yes, I think there's a political context to this, Neil, that we can't avoid.
We have an election that's going to be -- that's already very contentious, and that's coming up in less than 100 days. And I just think it'd be naive on our part to think that things are going to abate before then. If anything, I'm worried that they will get worse.
CAVUTO: All right, we will it very closely.
Andy McCarthy, thank you very much, the former assistant U.S. attorney.
We are monitoring a couple of other developments. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just released from the hospital, she is doing well. So, we will keep track of that for you, as they will in the next hour.
Also want to let you know we are monitoring these ongoing coronavirus stimulus talks. They are planned for tomorrow morning.
That's when we will be live with you at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time to get the fallout from that, and whether we're any closer to a deal, a trillion- dollar-plus deal, at that.
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