Will Trump use Arizona rally to build on Afghanistan speech?

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This is a rush transcript from "The Fox News Specialists," August 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KATHERINE TIMPF, CO-HOST: I'm Kat Timpf along with Eboni K. Williams and Brian Kilmeade. This is "The Fox News Specialists."

President Trump arriving at a Marine Corps air station in Yuma, Arizona, just a short time ago. The president will be meeting with U.S. border officials where you can bet the border wall topic will come up. The presidents stop in Yuma is the opening act before a big campaign style rally with supporters at 10 p.m. Eastern in Phoenix tonight, where major protests are also expected to take place. The tensions over his visit have Phoenix's Democratic mayor renewing his calls for President Trump to postpone the rally.


MAYOR GREG STANTON, D-PHOENIX: When it was announced that the visit was going to come -- the president will come to visit Phoenix was that I did not feel it was the right time to do it. It's to close after Charlottesville. That was such a difficult situation not only for the people in Charlottesville but for all Americans. So campaign style rally so shortly thereafter, I did not think was appropriate. I thought at the time and I still do that delay -- we don't want to cancel the president overall, but a delay of the presidential visit was an appropriate request and would be the appropriate action by the White House. I'm under no illusion that the president will take my advice.


TIMPF: Clearly, President Trump is not budging. Big surprise there that he decided to not say, all right, I won't come.


BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST: I don't know if they know this or not, but it really wasn't -- they weren't riding the president -- he's just going to appear. He can't stop being president publicly because they had an incident two weeks ago. So I just think the mayor is out of control even requesting that he not show up.

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: Yeah. Look, I mean, you can have, obviously, strong feelings. I certainly did around Charlottesville and the president reaction. I think that has nothing to do with this request. I agree, Brian, I thought it was ridiculous. Like we're not doing things on timetables around politics at this point around what the president agenda is. He has every right to push that forward.

TIMPF: He even admitted he knew that President Trump will come anyway, so it was a political point thing really.

WILLIAMS: I think he got zero.

TIMPF: Yeah, in my book. All right. Let's meet today's specialists. She's on the board of directors for the Independent Women's Forum, she's the only female physician who's been a member of Congress, and she's fueled by chocolate, aren't we all, but she specializes in finding homes for pets in need, she's a mother of seven, including five cats, Nan Hayworth is here. It's a lot of cats, all right.

And she's a lawyer, author, and columnist, she's also a liberal political analyst who appears regularly on the Fox News Channel, and she's a native of New Zealand, who specializes in being mistaken for an Aussie, her words not mine, Danielle McLaughlin is here. Danielle, what's your take on this rally, appropriate, inappropriate, what are your thoughts?

DANIELLE MCLAUGHLIN, ATTORNEY AND POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with Eboni that this is something that the president has every right to do. I pray that protesters on both sides of this issue just tamp it down a little bit. We saw the drama and the terrible things that happen in Charlottesville. Let's not repeat that mistake. All the people there, every single individual has to take responsibility for what they say and what they do.

KILMEADE: Look, law enforcement had plenty of heads up. They can pick up their heads. They know how to separate them. Look what Boston did last week. As opposed to what Charlottesville did the week before. So they know how to do it. On the inside it'll be capacity, in the outside there'll be protest. And on the inside I'm very curious to see if the context is going to be tax reform, infrastructure, here's my Afghanistan policy. What do you think as opposed to, lock her up. I think we can do without that and see the president building on what he did last night which was an excellent speech.

TIMPF: Nan, your thoughts?

NAN HAYWORTH, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM BOARD OF DIRECTOR: I couldn't agree more with all of you, actually. The president did have a great speech last night. It was a unifying speech. And he used the theme last night of our nation's defense, and really a defensive freedom for the world, defense against terrorism, to remind us all of calming the waters. You know, that we're all unified in this. And together we can live in peace and in harmony and we will be a force for good there by. I think you're absolutely right, Brian, he has to promote his agenda on domestic reforms, on reviving the economy, and putting Americans back to work because that too is a very potent instrument for peace.

KILMEADE: You know what I love what you said? When you said, I'm absolutely right, Brian.


KILMEADE: Build on that.


WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, we actually practice that a few times preshow. And you got it right the first time.

HAYWORTH: Why, thank you.

WILLIAMS: In all seriousness, though, you have the president, the signature issue of immigration -- it's his home base, so to speak. It's a place for him to pivot too because then it bolsters and gets the energy of his base. And I don't mean that in a disparaging way. I think in this moment, it was a rough, rough week for the White House last week for a few things, Charlottesville and the exit of Steve Bannon. I think this will be an opportunity -- I credited the president multiple times of his ability to control the narrative. He gets that narrative going exactly the way he wants it to. I think the timing on that part makes a lot of sense. Look, Brian, I think many people have been doing that rallying cry. It makes all the sense of the world to me to go to tax reform, to go to infrastructure, I am hoping for the sake of our country he will listen.

KILMEADE: I think so too. Look, I'm looking right now. There's been no tweets about anything other than Afghanistan, and thanking everyone for coming out last night, a quiet day. Then off to talk about immigration, off to talk about this rally. I think the impact of this new chief of staff is finally taking root.

TIMPF: And I think this rally -- it will be a huge rally. It will say, hey, look, I know that a lot of people had an issue with the way I handle things last week. And as everyone knows I am one of those people. But when it comes to his core base of supporters, they support him no matter what. And they're going to be out there and they're going to be excited to be out there cheering. He's going to be talking about the wall. And he'll -- look, my supporters still have my back, the message that I say.

KILMEADE: I just hope he does not go after Jeff Flake or John McCain.

TIMPF: Yeah.

KILMEADE: Because even though that they've gone against his agenda.

WILLIAMS: Good luck with that, Brian.


KILMEADE: I just think for the most part you can't lose one vote. And if you look they agree on other things. John McCain came out over the weekend or yesterday and said good job in Afghanistan. So, Lindsey Graham, good job. I disagree with you on Charlottesville, like it here the -- I think the president can deal with that.

WILLIAMS: I think you're right. I think that -- look, for as much as people want to say, you know, McCain is a rhino, whatever about Flake has an agenda. You're right, every vote does matter. At some point, the legislative points on the board are going to have to come to pass for President Trump. Otherwise, I say, he runs the risk of kind of becoming a really, really good height man around some issues that resonates to the American people into their core. But if you can't legislate effectively, then 2018 becomes a different issue.

MCLAUGHLIN: Right. It helps the great example of that, right? Use the bully pulpit, but he didn't get into the issues, he didn't get into the weeds. He didn't sell a proposal to the American people. He didn't sell it to Republicans or Democrats.

KILMEADE: He was kind of asked not to.


KILMEADE: Mitch McConnell said, do me a favor. Let me handle this.


MCLAUGHLIN: And we had a jazz band in the Rose Garden after the house passed its bill and then everything sort of devolved from there. So I think he needs to get back on the issues and talk to all of Americans. I think one thing that was great about last night is that he did talk to all Americans. My concern is that this rally tonight just seems to -- just the base.

KILMEADE: Because there's no prompter?


KILMEADE: And he can hold an audience for an hour.

HAYWORTH: The Dow went way up today. I call that the prompter bump. Basically, the president.

KILMEADE: That's genius, by the way.

HAYWORTH: But I mean it in the best possible sense for the president. It shows that he's absolutely capable of crafting a message because he won't say anything that he wouldn't approve of. He crafted that message and he delivered it just right.

KILMEADE: Here's what I would do. I would insist going after Senator Jeff Flake, he'll say press your local senator to support me, great. And by the way, Senator McCaskill, Senator Jon Tester, and Senator Joe Manchin, what are you doing? You're in a blue/red state. You're on the wrong side. You're on the losing side. You guys got to come along with me. Start pressuring some of these Democrats up for reelection that really agree with him more than their base allows them to.

MCLAUGHLIN: Carrots not sticks, right? It would be nice to see the discourse around what you think you should achieve. Done in a way that's a little bit I guess less dramatic and little bit less negative, right, because he needs to model behavior that we're meant to talk about with our children. And that has been for a long time something that people are concern about. So use the carrot, use it well.

WILLIAMS: And you know what, I think, again, this is where your legislative advice becomes very handy, certain issues, immigration, health care, more divisive than others. If you go to that infrastructure, you go to that tax reform, you're right, he positions himself quite smartly to pressure those kind of purplish red state Democrats to say, if you don't buy in to this type of opportunity for your constituents, what does that make you? So then he can make that argument.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then you make the obstructionist agreement, right?

WILLIAMS: Exactly.

MCLAUGHLIN: Because Democrats have always been for infrastructure investment. And we have a Republican president who wants that too. You can't argue with him on that. And it's something with middle-class tax cuts. No one should be arguing with the president over that.

HAYWORTH: And he's going to need every vote at the margin in the senate.

TIMPF: But, of course, a rally like this is when he is most likely to go off topic.


TIMPF: But you can't really blame him for that. That's human. When you're surrounded by people who you know love you, you do act like a little more quirky. You feel a little more comfortable. You say some stuff like, ah, they'll be OK with it.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, definitely, that's true, and I think that temptation is. But I agree with you, Brian, you've got to resist the temptation to be baited by the moment.

KILMEADE: Right. Something else is going on, Sheriff Joe Arpaio getting a pardon is not going to happen.

WILLIAMS: Tonight.


KILMEADE: Huckabee Sanders evidently gave him a briefing. He's not on the roster. He's not on the program. They've already printed him up. They can't get their money back. So he will not be allowed to do it. The thing I would think is kind of interesting is that he did something yesterday that I thought was fascinating. He brought us into some introspection. He said, hey, wait a second, I came into office saying I'm pulling out of Afghanistan, but the more I thought about it, the more I looked at it, it didn't make any sense. I change my mind. He showed humility. And I wouldn't mind if he came out today and said, so, repeal and replace went really well. Let's see if we can do better with tax insurance. Get a laugh from people. And I think we will. And start understanding, start showing a little bit of vulnerability. He's great at punching you in the mouth, but what about backing up and showing some vulnerability.

HAYWORTH: And we know that this is a man who has deep compassion. I mean, there's so much good in that soul. Everybody who's ever worked with the president, and I know a lot of these folks personally, say he's a genuinely good and generous man.

WILLIAMS: Congresswoman, you're not the first person that has worked with him closely to say that, right? But for those of us who have not had that opportunity, what could you say to the president to have him show some of that side? Because I think -- I take you at your word, but some of us haven't seen it.

HAYWORTH: I think, honestly, emphasis is on the president being a moral leader. He's been a man of action throughout his life. And I think -- it that doesn't mean he has not been a moral leader, but now is the time as president. He understands that this is a different role and in fact he said that. And he said that as much in his speech last night. He said, look, I am learning. My mind is open. And I think he just.

KILMEADE: First time.

HAYWORTH: . have to keep emphasizing. My mind is open. My heart is open to you. And that positive side which we know he has, I think everybody -- he should be listening to everybody here and I think he'll take that advised.

TIMPF: I don't know if he'll make these self-deprecating Trumpcare joke in Arizona. I think he'll be much more tempted to bring John McCain into it, especially.


KILMEADE: A little bit of humor. I want to say one thing about the Donald Trump I know before he became president of the United States. I think the one axiom -- and I don't have many of them, buy you can judge somebody's character as how they treats people they needs nothing from. He treats people he needs nothing from great, whether it's the makeup artist of the key grip. I watched him with The Apprentice crew. I've seen him with the makeup artists when he came to do our studio. I've watched him actually do these shoots when Geraldo was on The Apprentice, buying a wedding dress and the money went to a good cause.

WILLIAMS: I actually saw you on that.


KILMEADE: I thought it was a good cause and Geraldo needs the money.

WILLIAMS: Yes, yes, yes.


KILMEADE: So I've just said this, that when I realized he's a good guy. Unlike what Jon Stuart said the other night and says in his defense, he's an evil person. He's not.

WILLIAMS: I think we heard this around Hillary Clinton to be, you know, kind of equal sided here. People that know her and worked with her say she's funny, say she's warm. I was one of those people that never really saw that. But it's almost unfortunate when candidates or elected officials can't translate those personal qualities.

MCLAUGHLIN: They become caricatures of themselves, right? It is the same thing last year with Clinton, she was -- anyone who knew her knew that she wasn't -- she was betrayed. And this is happening to Trump. It didn't happen to him in his business life, but now he's a very public life and people are doing that. And I think we should all be mindful when we look and we read the tweets, to not judge -- not fall into that trap because we're never going to be able to support him if we don't -- like he really is.

TIMPF: He makes that hard though, harder for himself that he needs to be with some of the things like he says. Again, I don't know personally, so I have no way to know what it would be like to know him personally, but I think he does make it harder on himself.


WILLIAMS: He needs more of you and people like you, seriously, that know him and understand those components of him to be out there conveying that side of him.

HAYWORTH: And I've been very happy to speak of his great qualities.

TIMPF: I also think he gets tempted by how much fun he has baiting the media. I think that he'll.


TIMPF: . think and his head, OK. If I say this -- Oh, if I said that the media will go nuts. And Should I? Before it even gets to Should I, it's already out of his mouth. Then everyone is cheering because it's at a -- somewhere like a rally. And then it's just a terrible week, because he felt like he had to say that. So, I mean, it's fun for him but it does make things a lot more difficult.


KILMEADE: They say the best closures in baseball have short-term memory, because you can be the best pitcher and then blow it all over the street, like Mariano Rivera did against -- in 2004, comes back and has the best year ever. I've never seen a guy get up and turn the page as quick as President Trump. This guy does not worry about yesterday. He's already on to the next day.

HAYWORTH: But he knows. The speech last night, just the tenor that he took, and the words he said -- that's right. There was a somewhat subtle difference but it was a material difference in the way he acknowledge certain things. And I think that -- he's demonstrating that he knows how to move forward.

WILLIAMS: Yes, he gets the narrative. He absolutely gets the narrative.

KILMEADE: Make it harder for MSNBC and CNN to come up with the format. Don't provide the fodder for them. Make them actually go into their archives.


TIMPF: Well, President Trump unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan. Did he make the sale to the American people? Be back in a moment.


WILLIAMS: President Trump debuting a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan last night. He didn't specify expected troop level increases or timelines, but he did made clear its ultimate goals.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: From now on, victory will have a clear definition, attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against American before they emerge.


WILLIAMS: Critics say that the president was too vague on the details. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushed back this afternoon, while also putting Pakistan on notice.


REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The only way we can defeat an enemy that is as nimble and as cagey, tactically, as this enemy, is we have to be as cagey and tactical as they are. And we've not been fighting that way. And we have put people on notice that if you're harboring and providing safe haven to terrorists, be warned, be forewarned. And we're going to engage with those who are providing safe haven and asked them to change what they're doing and help us help them, because in my view, the best -- the greatest benefactor other than the Afghan people themselves to achieving stability and peace in Afghanistan are the people of Pakistan.


WILLIAMS: OK. Congresswoman, you see the secretary of state there being very clear, very direct plea, but really almost I think stronger than that to Pakistan, your take on that?

HAYWORTH: Sure. Well, because Pakistan has had a lot of challenges in its friendship or frenemyship, if you will, some people said with the United States. After we left Afghanistan, after they helped us throughout the Taliban the first time, a couple of decades ago. It's been very difficult for them. But clearly, they've harbored malefactors including Osama Bin Laden. So I think it's very appropriate to offer the prospect as we're talking about before of both carrot and stick. We have to have a determined military advantage in Afghanistan. We're not directing our firepower toward Pakistan, but we're definitely expecting them to stand with us and to in line. And if they do, there're economic advantages for them. That's smart.

WILLIAMS: Danielle, let me ask you this. We've heard -- I was one of those people that was looking to last night speech to articulate a clear objective. Instead -- now some people said they felt that. He talked about killing terrorists and making sure that we had no more threats here in terms of terrorism. But he also said that we were fighting to win. I'm still unclear as to what winning looks like for us in Afghanistan, your take on that.

MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think you're the only one, and I have the same position. This is a 16 year war. What does winning look like, a government, fully functioning democracy. That could be decades off. So any president has to make the determination at what point do we leave and is Afghanistan the right place? Or do we stay for decades and decades and decades? And we'll say, you know, we still have troops station on the South Korea-North Korea border, right? We have troops station all over Europe. So the idea that we'll still have troops in 40 years isn't a crazy thought. But for a president who wants to make sure that he's fulfilling campaign promises and also sort of terrifying the American people, I think he dialed it back a little bit without talking about.

WILLIAMS: Now Kat, Brian talks about the vulnerability and humility of a moment where President Trump basically says, well, now that I'm in the oval, and I know understandably and expectedly more being briefed at a different level. I'm kind of reconsidering some of the things on the campaign trail. Does that sound like a logical evolution around the issue, or is that a flip-flop?

TIMPF: It's both. It seems that anybody, no matter how much of a dove they are on the trail becomes hawkish once they get to the oval office. They don't stand up to the military-industrial complex. Obviously, I've been very consistent. I did not appreciate it when Obama did it, and I'm not appreciating it now. Staying involved here when it's been such a mess. I think that we need to get out. However, I think it's hilarious to see Nancy Pelosi releasing a statement saying that we need to get out, a lot of other Democrats saying we need to get out, we've lost so much. You guys nominated Hillary Clinton, who was, by far, was the most hawkish person. She plays an instrument very well, first chair at any concert hall, called the wardroom constantly throughout her entire time in any office. So, you know, to say that -- to criticize him on -- to be specific enough is one thing, but to see Democrats criticizing him on not getting out is absolutely absurd because they had a chance to offer their answer to foreign policy issues and they offered a warmonger.

WILLIAMS: That's true.

KILMEADE: We never put 5 million -- you know, 2 million people into theater and fought for 16 years. We've put 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 80,000, 60,000, 40,000, 10,000, 4,000, now get it up to 6,000 or 12,000, but let's just focus on the thing. The problem is not the Afghanistan private army, the Taliban private army. The problem is the 20 different terror organizations there. You can't rationalize it if you're the president of the United States, leaving a place where 20 separate organizations have as their doctrine wipe out the west and the United States. So that's what they're going to be doing. The most important thing he said was I'm getting India involved and rules of engagement will change. Go win. I'm putting captains, lieutenants, and colonels in charge. Tell me how it goes. I'll wait here. That's what we needed.

WILLIAMS: But Brian, could that, to Danielle's point, also look like a 20, 30, 40 year occupation on some level?


KILMEADE: It's a vigilance. If you take a sniper off the roof if you know they're coming out of that building a terrorist. We're putting a sniper on the roof, and the guy can take him out.

TIMPF: The question that candidate Trump asked was why should that be our job? Why is that it has to be the United States problem, which is question I agree with.

KILMEADE: The Taliban, you're right. I don't necessarily want -- between the Taliban and the standing Afghan army, but al-Qaeda is our problem, ISIS is our problem, al-Shabaab our problem.

TIMPF: We haven't been very good at all so far.


WILLIAMS: We've killed a lot of them. We've got to still collectively, I think, work on the ideology component. We won't pick that in this moment. So when we return, Charlottesville city council meeting on this month's violent clashes that turned into absolute chaos. Stay with us.


KILMEADE: All right, the aftermath of the violence protest in Charlottesville boiling over into anger and chaos during a city council meeting last night. Watch.


UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You've been called to order. So you'll have to be removed. We're going to suspend the meeting.


UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: why did you think that you could walk in here and do a business as usual after what happened?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The resistance was the medics who saved lives.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: That girl, I knew that girl. You let her get murdered. KKK and neo-Nazis can come here and say whatever they want, but a citizen from here can't. That's ridiculous. You just dragged out three people because they were expressing their freedom of speech.


KILMEADE: So it was the city council's first meeting since the Charlottesville white nationalist rally ten days go. The city council also voted unanimously to soon shroud the two statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in black. The decision meant to help mourn Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old killed in the car attack by the alleged neo-Nazi sympathizer, who's in jail at this hour. Is that enough, Nan?

HAYWORTH: Charlottesville, the city of Charlottesville and the citizens of Charlottesville have the right to determine who can hold an event in their parks, how they deal with their public monuments.

I think it's entirely reasonable to shroud these symbols. Even Robert E. Lee himself, General Lee said after the war was over that they should not memorialize what, that cause, so to speak. I think he abhorred it in many ways. But unfortunately, you know, this city allowed this assembly to take place, did not adequately protect the public, did not, by all accounts...

KILMEADE: They were there. They just didn't do anything.

HAYWORTH: Right, the police was -- either through rules of engagement or because they did not plan properly, they exposed all the citizens, everybody who was a citizen of this community, and you know, they exposed them to violence.

KILMEADE: Danielle, do you think -- do you think the shroud, a temporary shroud, is the right move?

MCLAUGHLIN: I do. This particular statue was erected in 1924, so it was one of the Jim Crow statues. I think until the town, to your point, Nan, until the town decides what it wants to do, I think that's an appropriate way of sort of marking or signifying the fact that somebody died here. Somebody died here at the hands of...

KILMEADE: Don't blame the statue.

MCLAUGHLIN: No, sure, but the statues are -- people are talking about revisionist history, right? But the statues themselves are revisionist history, because they glorify and they glorify treasonous behavior, seditious behavior; but they also were erected, obviously, during Jim Crow, during the civil rights to suppress African-Americans as they were making gains.

WILLIAMS: Let me say -- let me say this. I think why this conversation becomes even more difficult, I think, than many of us can imagine is it's what we're really doing is conflating two issues.

There's two separate issues, right? There's the issue of the Confederate monuments in the statues and whether or not they should be torn down or moved to museums. And that needs to, I agree, at the local level be addressed and taken care of.

Then there's the issue of the complete and utter failure of the responsibilities of the municipalities to protect the people of this city. We knew that they knew far in advance that these permits were given. That is the constitutional right of even white nationalists. Even hate speech is protected in this country. You've got to be prepared for them...

KILMEADE: Just like the Westborough Baptist Church showing up at a soldier's funeral, which they did. They were put in a certain place, because they knew they were going to be trouble.

WILLIAMS: Yes. They need to be separate issues.

TIMPF: And they are. And it so -- it just blows my mind to see how many people, they say, "OK, we want no free speech for bigots, no free speech for this person or that person," or "This is offensive," and the Constitution says they do have it, and they should. Because the laws -- any laws that could be used to silence bigots could be used to silence you one day.

It's something I will never understand, how people on the far left will say they want the government to be able to control speech with more restrictions, but they also think that the current leader of our government is a fascist. How do those views make sense together? I really don't understand.

KILMEADE: Just keep in mind, you think covering up Stone -- that's a great point. If you think covering Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee is the ticket, it's not, because there were protests all through the night, defilement of major memorials.

And if you look at some of the raw footage of that four-hour hearing yesterday, they were screaming for the removal of Jefferson. They were screaming for the removal of Washington. This is the -- this is the beginning of chaos and politicians trying to make the most of it.

HAYWORTH: And mob rule we can't have.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no, we can't. I will say, I think there's a legitimate conversation, to Danielle's point, around where these statues need to be, what they mean for certain individuals in this country. That needs to take place. That needs to be separate and apart from an attack on constitutional rights.

KILMEADE: Eboni, would you also say don't do anything because the skinheads want you to?

WILLIAMS: I would say don't be reactionary.

KILMEADE: Don't be white -- don't worry about the white nationalists want. Do what the people of Charlottesville want.

WILLIAMS: And also, the answer to a speech that feels hateful or offensive, I think, is always more speech, not less.

KILMEADE: Right. And if you actually want an educated look at this, I would like people, black and white, but historians to talk about what went into it. They want to take down Christopher Columbus from Columbus Square in Manhattan, given to us by the Italian-Americans in 1890.

HAYWORTH: How about -- let's erect a new monument.

WILLIAMS: Exactly right.


WILLIAMS: Wait until we get to "Wait, What?" I have a very exciting update on a very new monument.

KILMEADE: I would not be surprised if one of us ended up with a monument in our memory.

WILLIAMS: All of us. Why not all of us?

KILMEADE: At least one. I don't want to overstate.

Let me tell you what's coming up over the next 25 minutes, or at least next. A petition to label Antifa a terrorist organization surges to a quarter million signatures. How will the Trump administration respond, because they have to? Don't go away.


TIMPF: Welcome back to "The Fox News Specialists." Our specialists today are Nan Hayworth and Danielle McLaughlin. Let's continue the conversation.

An online petition for the U.S. government to formally recognized Antifa as a terrorist organization is rapidly gaining support. A quarter million people have now signed the online petition against the radical far-left group. Under White House rules, any petition getting more than 100,000 signatures requires an official response. But how far can the Trump administration go?

OK. Well, so a lot of people, they've only just seen videos of them. As part of my man-on-the-street type of work that I've been doing for a few years, I've gone to these protests. I've talked to some of these people, and they will straight up tell me to my face -- they told me at a rally in D.C. recently, "Oh, I don't like this rally, because there has been" -- or in New York -- "I don't like this rally, because there's been no destruction of property, and we like to destroy property."

In D.C., they were laying in the streets. And I remember, there were these older black women who were desperately trying to get through in their car, and the meter was going up; and they were refusing to get up. They were hurling obscenities. They were saying horrible things about the police. They were saying similar things about -- these are not -- the ones that I've encountered are not these kind, social justice-y type of people. These are -- these are anarchists, exactly. Anarchists. They don't want government, period, whatsoever.

KILMEADE: When your -- when your uniform has a black stocking cap involved in it, in your dress like that and you do these things, if they show up in Phoenix and start creating havoc, is the president supposed to complement them? Is he supposed to ridicule them? Because those are -- this is the type of event they usually show up at.

TIMPF: And they call themselves antifascists, but their tactics are very fascist. I don't know if anyone has told them, "Hey, guys, you kind of look like fascists right now, with your techniques." But is that -- Congresswoman, is it calling a terrorist organization, is that too far?

HAYWORTH: I think they may fail to meet the legal definition of a terrorist organization. I think that's where the distinction will probably fall. It feels very dry and clinical to say that, because it's clear that these people are wannabe domestic terrorists, if not true domestic terrorists. Let's face it. Yes, their object is violence. They are -- they're probably not even organized enough in their minds to be anarchists. They just want to go out and cause trouble.

And their flag actually does resemble the Nazi flag, the flag that some of them adopted, with the black, and the red and the white field. It's frightening. It's fascist. It is not American. They have a right to express themselves, but the way they're doing it is wrong in many, many ways.

WILLIAMS: You have a right, absolutely, Congresswoman, to express any point of view in this country. That is one of the things that makes us such a beautiful free place, that you do not have a right to criminal behavior. You do not have a right to hurt people. As, for example, you're talking about, Kat, you do not have a right to destroy property that is not yours.

And I have to say, what really, really gets under my skin and probably why you're all seeing a little bit of emotion around my response to this is many people confuse this with social justice activism. They confuse these groups with representing people that really just want to have a conversation or a dialogue around addressing inequalities, if they feel they are suffering in this country, for a variety of different reasons. And I just want to make it very plain that that crap right there has nothing to do with social justice.

TIMPF: Absolutely, Eboni. And they often go to these rallies, but they're their own group; and they just -- they just want to destroy things.

MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely. And, you know, the definition of terrorism is an act of violence in furtherance of a political goal. So I think you can make -- you can make the argument that this is terrorist activity.

The U.S. government, the Department of State, only specifies terrorist organizations that are foreign. So even the KKK is not defined here as a terrorist organization. So practically speaking, it's not going to happen, but the list, particularly, needs to stand up and say, "Not on our watch. And not in pursuit or not in the name of our goals."

KILMEADE: I would just love for people, to -- some Democrats to respond to this organization and see how they feel about that. Demonstrating and acting like this and grabbing bike racks and throwing them through Starbucks windows. And, say, have Chuck Schumer or Harry Reid come out of retirement and say, "Hey, you know what? That doesn't represent me. I'm a little bit embarrassed."

WILLIAMS: What a beautiful thing. I think that Democrats and the actual social justice progressive left should do that, Brian. I think the actual conservatives, my Republican friends who are heartbroken to see their party being hijacked by Nazism and white supremacy, if both groups did that and took back control of their message, we would be in a better place.

HAYWORTH: We would, we would. And I'd like to see George Soros stop funding the organizations that flood Antifa, so-called, with resources.

KILMEADE: Yes, they need money to buy those outfits. Those black suits don't grow on trees.

HAYWORTH: There are all these feeder groups, and you know, it deserves attention because, you know, so many people on the left say...

KILMEADE: We're going to see them tonight.

TIMPF: Or someone can tell them that their little black costumes are actually the product of capitalism. That's how they were able to buy those.

OK. Straight ahead, last night's Cleveland Browns-New York Giants game becomes the scene of the NFL's largest national anthem protest yet. Stay tuned.


WILLIAMS: The NFL seeing its largest national anthem protest yet. In a preseason matchup last night, 12 Cleveland Browns players took a knee during the anthem. That included Browns tight end Seth DeValve, the first white NFL player to take a knee during "The Stars-Spangled Banner." Following the game, the players explained what sparked their protest.


JABRIL PEPPERS, NFL PLAYER, CLEVELAND BROWNS: There's a lot of racial and social injustice going on in the world right now. So we just decided to, you know, take a knee, you know, pray for the people who've been affected, and pray for the world in general.

SETH DEVALVE, NFL PLAYER, CLEVELAND BROWNS: I wanted to take the opportunity with my teammates to, during the anthem, to pray. For our country and also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do. And that's why I did what I did.


WILLIAMS: Brian, a couple things. Now, I know this is very dicey and very sensitive. Veterans, this riles up a lot of issues. Let me start with this.

Whether you are agree or disagree with the fact that some of these players are taking a knee or not standing for the anthem, in light of the previous segment where we saw complete anarchy and just complete, massive violence and that, the worst kind of expression of speech, is there at least something at all, in your opinion, to be said for a peaceful demonstration of one's point of view. They're taking a knee, some of these players in prayer at this point. I understand some people want them to stand, and I get that, but they are expressing themselves in a peaceful way.

KILMEADE: There's -- there's many ways to protest. You have a national anthem. We all should agree we're Americans. You're at work. You don't stand up in the middle of our workplace and start creating chaos, because we get fired.

WILLIAMS: But they're not creating chaos.

KILMEADE: That's chaos, believe me.

WILLIAMS: Taking a knee and praying?

KILMEADE: Here's why. Because you have 12 players saying when the national anthem is playing you're supposed to salute your country; it's OK to take a knee and ignore it.

WILLIAMS: Now, who says that? I'm just curious.

KILMEADE: And No. 2, here's the ramifications. Here's the ripple.

WILLIAMS: They ignored it? They're praying, though, Brian.

KILMEADE: They're ignoring it.

WILLIAMS: Because they're praying.

KILMEADE: You stand with your hand over your heart with the national anthem.

WILLIAMS: Brian, let me get you this -- no, no, no.

KILMEADE: Let me just finish the point. Here's the ripple effect.

WILLIAMS: Go ahead.

KILMEADE: The ripple effect is 9-year-old Pop Warner kids in Texas laying down during the national anthem because Colin Kaepernick thought his girlfriend thought it would be a good idea...

WILLIAMS: We're not talking about Colin Kaepernick. We're not talking about Colin Kaepernick right now.

KILMEADE: That's where it started. It all started with him.

WILLIAMS: Here's the thing. I've got to pivot to you on this, Nan. At what point are we so concerned with policing the way the protest looks, of it offends our sensibilities? And with respect, I understand. A lot of people are offended by the kneeling and the praying on the field and not standing. I respect their right to be offended by it. But really, are we really going to police to that degree, the way some people choose to peacefully express their view?

HAYWORTH: Well, Eboni, you're absolutely right about free speech, yes. However, the NFL is a private employer. And if they want -- if any team wants to require their players to stand, I think I'd favor the owners who do.

And let me suggest this for these players, because social justice is the quintessential American motivator. That's why this country was founded. So that government would treat its citizens justly. And we have striven, through generations, to do that. I would urge these players to do two things. One, visit a V.A. hospital. Visit the men and women who sacrificed health and came close to sacrificing their lives and those who...

KILMEADE: I think the military is a head fake. I think the military is a head fake.

HAYWORTH: ... for our freedom. And then -- ceremony.

KILMEADE: This is what the bottom line is. If you can't agree fundamentally. No one says we're a perfect country. If you can't agree fundamentally, we're on the same page as a country, there's the problem.

HAYWORTH: I agree with you. They should be standing.

KILMEADE: If you want to do that before the game or after the game, that's it. Attendance will drop, and ratings will drop. That happened last year.

WILLIAMS: OK, that's fine, but that has nothing to do -- and the NFL as a business, an organization, will bear the financial consequences. That's fine, Brian.

KILMEADE: So will those players. That would be a good call (ph).

WILLIAMS: And that's fine, as well. I simply, Kat, I have a serious problem when we start policing because we don't like the way a particular person is protesting. We say it's because of the substance of their argument, but I mean, at what point is that an attack on free speech, as well?

TIMPF: Well, they do have the freedom to do that, and then other people have the freedom to say, "I don't like it." They have the freedom.

And it's -- you know, the reason that they can do that is because we do have that freedom in this country. In other countries, you would literally get arrested, probably killed for doing something like that. So I think it's great that we do have that freedom.

WILLIAMS: Many of these players consult with veterans, to your point, to find out what is the -- I understand what you're saying. But I want to make a statement, Danielle, and so I want to consult with a veteran. And many vets have said the more respect thing to do is to take that knee and offer that prayer.

MCLAUGHLIN: I totally agree. I think what they're doing is deferential; they're taking a knee in prayer.

Our last segment, we talked about free speech and Antifa. So free speech is not without consequences. So if the NFL, as a private organization, wants to censure them, wants to fire them, who knows what will happen with that. That's up to them. But they have that right. And if Nazis can march on Charlottesville, then NFL players can take a knee in an NFL game.

KILMEADE: And our free speech says totally out of line, totally inappropriate. You're taking the lead off a guy that, on a whim, sat down during a game at a preseason game. And now they're protesting, because he doesn't have a job as a backup quarterback somewhere after he turned down a $900,000 a year job. This is all from Kaepernick.

WILLIAMS: No, no, no, that's unfair.

KILMEADE: If it wasn't for Kaepernick, they'd be standing up.

WILLIAMS: You are connecting a lot of dots.

KILMEADE: This is inexcusable. There are Americans. You stand during the national anthem.

WILLIAMS: They don't have to be American on your terms, Brian Kilmeade. They can be American on the terms that they want.

KILMEADE: If you -- we can't agree to stand during the national anthem?

WILLIAMS: We can't agree that we have a right to express our views?

MCLAUGHLIN: What about individual liberty? Aren't we founded on the notion that we -- we are...

TIMPF: I don't think anyone's denying that they have the right.

WILLIAMS: I think Brian is. Brian just said they don't have a right to stand.

KILMEADE: Yes. Is it the right?

HAYWORTH: I think it would be highly salutary if they all stood. I think it sends the right message, that we respect and cherish the sacrifices that our forebears made.


WILLIAMS: I also love -- I think -- I think it's a right -- it's a right message to show compassion and empathy for your fellow teammates.

KILMEADE: Before or after the game?

WILLIAMS: Whenever they feel that they want to express it.

KILMEADE: Play football. That's what you're paid for.

WILLIAMS: No, actually, you get to do what you want as a free American in this country. But we've got to now say good-bye to our specialists, Nan Hayworth and Danielle McLaughlin. Thank you both for joining us.

And up next, it's "Wait, What?" Don't go away.


KILMEADE: All right. Now, it's time for the last segment of the day, if our run-down is correct. And it's time for -- I guess we are calling it...




KILMEADE: ... "Wait, What?" Yes. And I'll kick things off.

Jeep is as American as apple pie and baseball, and Eboni and Kat. And guess what? They might be sold to China. It turns out the Great Wall Motor Company is interested in buying it from Chrysler Fiat. By the way, Fiat never should have had the opportunity to buy it; that's the Obama administration thing.

But now they're going to take their $20 billion and buy Jeep and make it somewhere else. That's 14,000 jobs. That -- a Jeep has to be born in America. It still supplies the military. The president has to step in and stop it.


TIMPF: Well, I've become very interested lately in the fashion choices that people make when they are committing crimes or when they know they're about to commit a crime. So I have this one from South Kansas. So we have a picture?

The guy wore a "I'm Broke, Baby" T-shirt. I've decided to start grading these people...

KILMEADE: Fantastic.

TIMPF: ... for their fashion choices. So this guy gets a "B" for funny points. He gets an "F" for practicality, because you're -- try to be more inconspicuous, instead of going viral when committing a crime. But he gets some extra credit for literally providing the motive on his shirt, because I always like to see people helping law enforcement. So "C minus."

WILLIAMS: OK, I love it. I like a merit-based system.

Very quickly, a good friend of mine, Doug Melville, he was at West Point over the weekend, where they were honoring the very first person of color to have a monument erected on the campus of West Point. That is Benjamin Davis. There's a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This is a very big, powerful moment where we talk about -- there's Doug right there -- when we talk about less free speech. This gives us more.

KILMEADE: All right, that is it for "The Specialists." Great point, guys. Great. Thanks for having me fill in. And as far as I know, "Special Report" is next. I hope Bret Baier is wearing a brand-new suit and a brand-new tie, because it's going to be a great brand-new show. Thanks for watching.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

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