This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on April 23, 2023. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
This could be the week 2024 becomes official for Democrats.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My plan is to run again.
BREAM (voice-over): Within days, we expect President Biden to officially announce his reelection campaign despite lukewarm approval ratings. The goal: box out potential challengers from within his own party.
And former President Trump takes shots at Governor Ron DeSantis and runs up the endorsement scoreboard in their shared home state of Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DeSantis has done a great job as governor, but President Trump has shown to be a great president.
BREAM: Plus, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson prepares to make his White House primary bid official.
ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Well, you get in there and you make your case.
BREAM: He is our exclusive guest this morning as he prepares to take on Trump and a growing field.
Then, the Supreme Court dragged into the heated abortion debate once again, less than a year after overturning Roe v. Wade.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESSS SECRETARY: We are prepared also for a long legal battle.
BREAM: And an IRS whistleblower says President Biden’s son may be preferential treatment while under federal investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My client wants to come forward. He’s not coming here with a political agenda.
BREAM: The White House denies any interference. We’ll ask Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about the whistleblower, the Supreme Court, and what she thinks of President Biden’s chances in 2024.
Then another quiet regulation change that could add to mortgage costs for some buyers. Our Sunday panel debates whether it’s fair to raise fees on those with good credit.
Plus — Hurricane Katrina took her home, but not her home. Singer Pat Cohen on finding strength while singing the blues.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
BREAM (on camera): Hello from FOX News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news. Early this morning, U.S. Special Forces rushed to evacuate American embassy staff from Sudan’s capital. The Pentagon says the operation was fast and clean. Service members spent less than an hour on the ground.
The evacuation comes amid a week of bloody battles between Sudan’s army and a paramilitary group. This is video of an airstrike in Khartoum, Sudan, amid heavy fighting between the warring factions, violence continuing this weekend despite a declared truce. We will continue to bring you updates.
But back here in Washington, the “will he or won’t he” debate may finally be over for Democrats. President Biden expected to announce this week that he is going to run again. It clarifies the central question now for Democrats, do they want him for a second term, and it clarifies the stakes for Republicans, as they gear up to choose their nominee over the next year.
In a moment, Governor Asa Hutchinson joins me. He has said he will announce he’s running in the Republican Party going straight at former President Trump.
But, first, let’s turn to Lucas Tomlinson live at the White House for the new details on what Biden’s announcement could look like — Lucas.
LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, the president plans to make it official on Tuesday with the release of a pre-recorded video message announcing he is running for reelection. The planning ramped up in earnest after his return from Ireland, with the DNC launching a bevy of calls to top Democratic donors and a summit planned.
JEAN-PIERRE: We’re not going to talk about what 2024 is going to look like. I’m not going to talk about that from here.
TOMLINSON (voice-over): The White House is mum on the president’s plans, but his announcement has been months in the making.
BIDEN: Our intention is to run again.
TOMLINSON: However, a new poll from “The Associated Press” says 73 percent of Americans do not want him to run again, including a majority of Democrats.
The Democrats, by and large, say they’re likely to vote for him if he’s the nominee.
The president faces two declared Democrat challengers, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who announced last week and is polling at 14 percent.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It’s like running against somebody in your family. I think I’m in a better position to beat Donald Trump than Joe Biden.
TOMLINSON: Writer Marianne Williamson, who made it to the debate stage in 2020, is also challenging Biden.
The president’s announcement comes the same week his son Hunter’s lawyers are scheduled to meet with the Justice Department.
And on the Republican side, former President Trump continues to lead in the polls. A new “Wall Street Journal” Republican poll has him leading potential rival Ron DeSantis 51 percent to 38 percent. It’s a reversal from four months ago when DeSantis was ahead.
Trump has received endorsements from nearly a dozen Republican Florida congressmen.
TOMLINSON (on camera): If Governor DeSantis runs, he’s not likely to announce his candidacy until after the Florida legislative session ends, which is about two weeks away — Shannon.
BREAM: All right. Lucas Tomlinson reporting from the White House — Lucas, thank you very much.
Joining us now, former Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson.
Governor, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Thank you, Shannon. It is always good to be with you.
BREAM: Okay. So, Governor, you have said there’s no point in running unless you’re going straight at former President Trump. You right now, though, in the polling are at 1 percent or less in all the recent polls. So, you know going after him is like walking into a buzzsaw.
Why are you doing it?
HUTCHINSON: Well, because it’s important. What America does not want is another repeat of 2020 where we have Joe Biden and Donald Trump running against each other. That’s reflected in the polls certainly on the — on the Democrats side.
And so, we don’t want to repeat that. It takes alternatives. I’ve got a great record of consistent conservatism as Arkansas governor, experience at the federal level. And while I come from a small state, it’s a successful conservative state that has a booming economy, lower taxes.
And so, I’m running because I think that we need alternatives and we need new leadership and new direction in America.
BREAM: Okay. We’ll dig in to some of those policy issues in just a second. But, first, let me ask you this — President Trump has taken a lot of heat for hemming and hawing on whether he would pledge to actually support whomever the GOP nominee ends up being.
Will you support the nominee if it’s him?
HUTCHINSON: Well, you know, we’ve negotiated with the Republican National Committee on the terms of the debate. I expect to be on the debate stage. I don’t prefer party loyalty oaths, but it is important to have the competition. I want to participate in the debate.
So, I’ll see exactly what that pledge is, but I expect to be on the debate stage.
BREAM: Okay, we will see you there.
All right. You could be facing also on the debate stage, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. You’ve been critical about, as have others, him getting involved as a conservative in direct corporate affairs and business as he has with Disney there in Florida. But here’s how he explained his position and what went on there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Well, in reality, Disney was enjoying unprecedented privileges and subsidies. They control their own government in Central Florida. They were exempt from laws that virtually everybody else had to follow.
That’s not free enterprise, but it’s certainly even worse when a company takes all those privileges that have been bestowed over many, many decades and uses that to wage war on state policy regarding families and children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So, agree or disagree when a company has some of those special statuses within a state and then uses them to fight those state political battles that it’s fair to engage with them on that front?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I don’t believe whether you’re on the left or the right of the political spectrum that we ought — government should not be telling business what they can and cannot do in terms of speech. And however you describe it, it appears to me that the governor did not like what Disney was doing in terms of what they were saying and exercising speech so they’re being punished.
Now, you know, those special privileges go to different businesses in Florida. I let the legislature handle that.
But I think it is important that we make sure that we don’t become heavy- handed in government to punish those that are creating jobs for Americans and creating income and growing the private sector. That’s not what Republicanism is about. That’s not what a conservative is about.
And so, those are fine distinctions, but it is important, though, that we talk about freedom and the free enterprise system, and that’s what I’ve supported through my career and not government telling business what they can and cannot do.
BREAM: Do you agree then like President Trump that Ron DeSantis is getting it wrong on Disney?
HUTCHINSON: I think he’s getting it wrong on Disney. I think Disney got it wrong on themselves to begin with. I don’t agree how Disney has handled things. But you don’t use the heavy-handed government to punish a business.
And so, yes, I think that’s wrong, and I think that’s indicating of motivation to go after business because you disagree with their policies and what they’re saying. The left does that. I don’t want the right, the conservatives, to do that either.
BREAM: OK. Let’s talk about abortion. You signed what became one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, basically very few exceptions except for the risk of the life of the mother. You said in recent days that you think as we get into ’24, this is going to be less of a hot button issue, but you know in polling and election results, it has really motivated the left.
Are you being overly optimistic about how you think it’s going to play out in ’24? And what now happens to women in Arkansas who do wind up with an unplanned pregnancy?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I think it will obviously be an issue in 2024, but after the Dobbs decision, I expect that it will level out and I don’t think that it will be quite as hot of a hot button issue in the coming election. People are going to vote their conviction. They want to know what candidates to believe in.
And I think it’s important that we restrict abortions to save the lives of the unborn. I do think there has to be reasonable exceptions such as the life of the mother, and in cases of rape and incest. I think there’s broad agreement in America on that.
And we also have to make sure that we provide for the maternal care. We have to do better in our child birth care and adoption services. And so, that’s what we’ve done in Arkansas is investing in those, as well as we placed restrictions on abortion and limited that.
It’s up to the states to determine that right now. I think there’ll be continued debate about whether we need a national standard, and that will depend really upon whether you have a divided government, whether you have Democrats take control or Republicans take control.
And then you’re going to have two choices. Are you going to lift all of the restrictions on abortion or are you going to place reasonable restrictions that will save the lives of the unborn? And that’s the Republican and that’s my position.
BREAM: So, again, let’s talk about the idea of a federal ban because you have mentioned that mostly this should be about the state level at this point.
And Susan B. Anthony, a pro-life group, says that’s essentially not really a pro-life position. They say that saying the issue should be decided at the states is an endorsement of abortion up until the moment of birth, even brutal late term abortions in states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. They’re calling for a 15 minimum — 15-week minimum.
If you did have both houses of Congress, and were President Hutchinson, would you sign it?
HUTCHINSON: The answer is I’ve always signed pro-life bills. And if a pro- life bill comes to me that sets reasonable restrictions but also has the appropriate exceptions, yes, I would assign it. I would prefer that this is an issue that’s resolved by the states because that’s what the pro-life community fought for for 40 years, in reversing Roe versus Wade.
But what’s evident to me is that the Democrats are going to push for a national standard that overrules the states that allows a broad abortion access up until the time of birth. The Democrats are going to push for that. And so, obviously, there’s going to be more pressure on the Republican side and on the life side, to put in those reasonable restrictions.
And so, I do — would support that if those restrictions are in place and that if we can, through have a — have a national standard to help save the lives of the unborn.
BREAM: Okay. Let’s talk about another hot button issue. This is about transitioning, especially for patients and young people under the age of 18. Some conservatives argued that your position on this has not been truly conservative.
You’ve vetoed a bill in Arkansas that would have prohibited hormone treatment or puberty blockers for people under 18, saying that the government should not get in the middle of this conversation between patients and doctors and young patients and parents.
“The Federalist” wrote this. They say: Clearly, this is a fight that government should be involved in, in the same way that government involves itself in under age drinking or sex. There’s always room for Republicans to be court jesters in the left’s political correctness kingdom. He, meaning you, should not expect to be welcomed back by real conservatives with open arms.
So, you say it’s a private conversation between medical staff and patients, but that’s the same argument that pro-choice folks are going to make on the issue of abortion. Were you come down differently?
HUTCHINSON: Well, that’s what’s conservative about this is you actually debate and think about the role of government when it should step in. I would have signed a bill very quickly if it had been just prohibiting transition surgeries for minors, absolutely. But you have to debate it a little more when you’re interfering with the health care decisions that a parent makes.
And so, we don’t want the government telling parents when they can have vaccines for their children and not have vaccines, or have to have vaccines for children. We fight for the role of parents.
And so, these are good debates that conservatives have. You know, there’s bills that I would sign. There’s bills that go too far. When there was not a grandfather clause in that, I’d vetoed it. But there’s been other good bills in other states that have a better balance that accomplish the objectives.
And so, a conservative position, you always are debating and think about, is this the right role of government to interfere with parental decisions? I came down on a limited fashion and said parents have an important role to play here.
BREAM: All right. I want to quickly ask about the debt ceiling, something you’d have to manage as president. You voted for the debt ceiling back during your time in Congress. This week, and there are many Republicans who voted for it before but now, this time around are saying they’re “no” vote.
This week, the White House press secretary said, essentially the speaker is taking the American people ransom, holding them hostage.
So, if these same folks have voted for this before, why shouldn’t they this time around?
HUTCHINSON: Well, Speaker McCarthy is really doing a good job and outlining a framework to get federal spending under control. It is reasonable, it is a frame work. President Biden should sign off on that very quickly.
But you know, in the end, we’re going to have to make sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is maintained. But this is a very reasonable thing to say, we’ll extend the debt, which we need to do as a country, but please give us a framework for bringing out of control federal spending into a reasonable level.
And so, I fully support the arguments that Speaker McCarthy has laid out. And we need to reduce that federal spending.
BREAM: All right. Governor, we will see you out there on the campaign trail. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Shannon.
BREAM: Well, this week, you heard it — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working on now rounding up the Republican votes needed to pass this debt ceiling package he’s proposed. It includes a rooster of conservative priorities to cut spending.
Up next, we’ll ask Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about calls for the president to quit stalling and get to the negotiating table.
BREAM: Within a few days, President Biden is expected to officially announce a reelection campaign. He’s already facing two Democratic challengers and polls show there’s a relatively negative view of the job he’s done so far.
Joining me now to discuss, Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, Debbie Dingell.
Congresswoman, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Good morning, Shannon. Good to be with you.
BREAM: Okay. So, you know that — listen, we talk about approval ratings. By an average of 11 points, the president is underwater there.
We’ve got polling out of key early states like New Hampshire where half of the Democratic primary voters there say don’t run. “The A.P.”, 73 percent of people say they don’t want him to run again.
How worried are you about a potential lack of enthusiasm on the ’24 election for this president? And should he give someone else a chance?
DINGELL: I’m not worried at all. You will remember who you are talking to. I’m someone that does not believe in polls. They’re a snapshot in time.
I told all of you in 2016 that I thought Donald Trump could win, and that Donald Trump is going to win, and even on election night, I was debating whether he was going to win. And headline that night (ph), I was right.
So, you know, when I’m out there, I’m talking to people. And I’m in communities and they don’t — you don’t know who he’s going to be running against.
In the Midwest, people think Joe Biden understands their challenges. They think that he is someone that cares. And when we are in the midst of a campaign, I think you will see strong enthusiasm and passion for the outcome of the election next year.
BREAM: So, one of the things he’s got to deal with here domestically, we were just talking about, is the debt ceiling. And he had said absolutely no negotiations over that. And then there was a conversation about, well, we need to see the House GOP budget. He’s got the now from the speaker laying out a plan.
Senator Joe Manchin says it’s time to get moving.
Here’s what he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): You should be able to respectfully disagree and sit down and talk about your differences. My difference is this — I believe we have to get our finances in control and under control, our debt. You know, if you can’t manage your debt, you’re in serious problems, and ours is going out of control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: You have also said this has got to start progressing. What’s your message for the White House this morning?
DINGELL: So, I have two messages here. I want to be very clear that raising the debt ceiling is a separate discussion from spending. It is making sure that we pay our bills. We did it three times in the Trump administration.
And both President Trump and President Reagan said you should not play games with raising the debt ceiling, honoring our bills. It hurts us internationally with where we are now.
So, let me be clear — we need to pay our bills, we need to honor `em, and if we were to in any way, shape, or form default on our spending, our working men and women across the country would have immediate consequences of increased credit card bills, auto payments, mortgage payments, et cetera.
Do I think that people should sit down? Anybody who knows me, so let’s get the debt ceiling done. Let’s not play games. Let’s not — we shouldn’t be doing it and it’s already hurting our in — what’s going to happen in our economy, threatening it, et cetera?
Do I think that we should all be talking about how do we cut our spending? I’m always somebody that says sit down at the table, talk to each other, listen to each other. I think it’s very important.
I’m concerned about the budget that they put forward this week, and I’m not sure he’s got the votes for it or not because I don’t think there are some Republicans want a vote to cut education, reduce veterans spending by 22 percent.
That’s going to hurt veterans’ health care. It’s going to hurt Meals on Wheels. It’s going to hurt cancer research. It’s going to hurt law enforcement, first responders.
And I do think that we’ve got to look at who should be paying their fair share. I want to bring manufacturing back to this country. That budget is going to continue to support offshoring.
But I want to sit at the table. I want to have discussions, because Joe Manchin is right, President Biden is right, everybody is right. We got to work towards reducing our spending, but doing it in a right way that it doesn’t hurt working men and women in this country, and help the billionaires and corporations who aren’t paying taxes.
BREAM: Yeah. And just as we noted on the show before, back in 2006, President Biden said he was a “no” vote as a senator then on the debt ceiling, on raising it, because he said it was just rewarding reckless spending and it wasn’t an unexpected situation.
So the tables have turned. We’ll see how they do on that. But one of the things that the speaker’s proposed is getting people back to work who are able-bodied, do not have dependents at home.
President Biden himself said this in ’96 when voting for work requirement. He said: The culture of welfare must be replaced with a culture of work. The culture of dependence must be replaced with a culture of self- sufficiency and personal responsibility.
We’ve got 10 million job openings in this country. Recent survey shows about three quarters of Americans, they back work requirements.
So, why not as part of this proposal get people back to work again, if they’re able-bodied and there are no dependents at home?
DINGELL: So I do want to see people get back to work, if they can. We do have job openings, but I want to talk about the challenges that people are facing in the workforce. You just talked about it.
And, you know, women are the ones that left the workforce during COVID more than anybody.
Childcare isn’t available. It’s too expensive, 54 percent of people over 50 in this country are caring for someone that is older — is elderly. We have to have the support system in place so people can go back into the workplace.
BREAM: But just to be clear, on these — on these particular proposals, it wouldn’t apply to people that have dependents at home. It wouldn’t apply to pregnant women.
DINGELL: Look, we got to — there may be people — look, I think everything should be on the table. That’s why we go to the table to talk about it.
But I also want to say there are people that want to work that aren’t able to work either. So, let’s sit down, let’s talk about how you do it.
But I really want people to understand — I have talked to so many people who want to go back into the workplace, but for many different reasons cannot do it. And I think we’ve got to address that as well. Caregiving being I think the biggest issue. The president this week laid out addressing that issue.
But caregiving makes all other work possible and we have a crisis in this country.
BREAM: Let’s also talk about tax dollars when it comes to foreign policy because this week, the special investigator overlooking Afghanistan and what’s happening with money there, he testified before the House Oversight Committee and essentially said he’s being stonewalled by this administration in trying to tack — track the money that we are sending into Afghanistan.
Here is some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SOPKO, SPECIAL IG FOR AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION: Unfortunately, as I sit here today, I cannot assure this committee or the American taxpayer we are not currently funding the Taliban. Nor can I assure you that the Taliban are not diverting the money we are sending from the intended recipients, which are the poor Afghan people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: And that comes on the backs of this headline from “The Washington Post”. Afghanistan has become a terrorism staging ground again.
How do you reassure the people that our money is not flowing to terrorism?
DINGELL: Well, I sincerely hope that our money is not flowing to terrorism. I think Pentagon has got to do a better job showing us that that is not happening, but I am worried about — I spent so much of my career trying to help the women in Afghanistan and what is happening to them now makes me so devastated that we need to ensure that those dollars are going where they’re intended to do in a way that we can get them there, and I think we need to ask questions and get answers.
But I — we have a lot of people in Afghanistan that helped us as Americans when we were there and we need to be helping them.
BREAM: Yeah, and especially getting those out that were counting on that promise.
I want to ask about a whistle-blower that came forward this week to Democrats and Republicans in Congress, a long time supervisory agent in the IRS saying essentially they have information that there may be political problems going on with a potential case there. It’s believed to be about Hunter Biden.
Would you want to hear from that whistleblower?
DINGELL: So I have two different things that I want to say. One, I want to make it really clear that President Biden has made it clear since he went into office that there should be an independence of the Justice Department in any investigation. I think he has tried to make that clear.
I support whistleblowers. As a matter of fact, I think whistleblowers should be able to come forward, give us information, protect their identity, and I’ve led information to put protections around them.
I don’t know what the facts of this case are. I have to no details. And I’m not going to speculate on things that I don’t know.
But whistleblowers play an important part in our government if they believe that there is wrongdoing and they do need to be protected.
BREAM: Okay. And quickly, I want to ask you about the Supreme Court leaving mifepristone, the abortion pill, on the market while the legal fight about it plays out.
I want to read you something from a pro-life OB/GYN who wrote about this battle and the fact that she says the FDA has ignored safety issues with the pill.
She says this: it fast tracked the abortion pill using its accelerated drug approval authority, ludicrously designating pregnancy as a, quote, serious or life-threatening illness. She says as many as 7 percent of women who use abortion pills early in pregnancy need follow up surgery, up to 15 percent will experience hemorrhage and 2 percent will have an infection.
So, why shouldn’t that be part of the conversation, legal and otherwise? Shouldn’t the FDA’s number one priority be patient safety?
DINGELL: The number one priority of the FDA needs to be about patient safety. I don’t think the Supreme Court, and I think they made that clear this week, you had conservative justices joining with others that sent it back to the courts and have said, let the FDA do their job.
You know, I think a lot of people don’t understand that they wanted to ban a drug that also is used in Cushing syndrome. I was a woman that suffered from endometriosis and was trying to get pregnant. It helps fibroid urine endometriosis.
FDA is the scientific agency that is supposed to ensure that patients are safe and studied these drugs. I’m certainly not in a position to know, I’m not a medical expert, nor do I think the Supreme Court justices are, and we have agencies designed and set up to do the scientific process, and that’s where I think the responsibility belongs.
BREAM: We will watch that legal battle play out.
Congresswoman Dingell, thank you so much for your time.
DINGELL: Thank you.
BREAM: A new poll shows former President Trump stretching his lead over 2024 hopefuls. But up next, our Sunday panel joins us on the polling that shows one of those potential rivals with Mr. Trump has something that he doesn’t — an advantage over President Biden in the general election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): In D.C., big, conservative victories are few and far between. In Florida, we deliver big victories every single day. We reject the culture of losing that has infected the Republican Party in recent years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican of course, selling his approach as the way to win. And seemed to take a little swipe there at recent GOP election losses.
Time to discuss with our Sunday group. “Politico” congressional reporter Olivia Beavers, Fox News senior political analyst Juan Williams, former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, and former Senate candidate from Washington state, now chairman of rescuing the American dream, Tiffany Smiley.
Welcome, everybody. Good to see you this morning.
OK, so let’s start there.
Ron DeSantis was in town this week. He was gripping and grinning and yet people who met with him then went and endorsed President Trump, who is racking up the wins on congressional endorsements.
I want to play something from Congressman Steube on why he chose President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GREG STEUBE (R-FL): There’s been multiple opportunities where I have gone up to him, and talked to him, given him my cell phone number, asked him to reach out to me.
Not — not even a person from his staff called me back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Olivia, we heard that again and again this week.
OLIVIA BEAVERS, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, “POLITICO”: Yes. And I – you know, a couple of weeks ago I was asking — my colleague and I got both the senators from Florida and all of the House Republicans from Florida, and this was a problem that we kept hearing again and again was, he is not accessible.
Now, I think that after hearing this, Greg Steube bringing it up repeatedly in a very public fashion, maybe the — DeSantis will be much better about answering his phone call compared to Donald Trump, who they said would ring you right back as president and after he left the White House.
But DeSantis, I think, is also going to be — starting to see — be more aggressive. So, right now you have Donald Trump filling the void. You had (INAUDIBLE) walk out and sort of do that campaign gimmick of saying that he went to see Ron DeSantis talk, and then he goes, I’m endorsing Donald Trump with a press release that was already ready. And I think you’re going to see him pushing out mailers, you’re going to see him pushing out ads. They’re going to be signing up volunteers. And I think that they’re going to start being more of a stronger presence in the media than Donald Trump has been.
BREAM: Yes, and just a few days ago he was up in New Hampshire, one of the key early states, and they actually had this assessment of him in “Politico.” It said, DeSantis bucks his robot reputation. He worked the 500-person crowd at the Amos Tuck dinner in downtown Manchester for over an hour, a flurry of handshakes and photos that the state party chair said was unplanned and that defies the notion that he lacks retail skills.
And, Karl, in those early states, that’s all-important.
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It matters a lot. And – and, look, he’s got – he’s got rock star status right now. He came to Texas. The largest campaign fundraisers for the Republican Party in Houston and in Dallas in history, raising over a million dollars each. Biggest fundraiser in the history of the New Hampshire Republican Party this past week. And better to make mistakes and start correcting those mistakes earlier rather than later. And this idea of him going out there in New Hampshire and glad-handing people and selfies and residents sitting at the head table, wandering through the audience and greeting each table, smart move on his part. Bet to do it now. Obviously didn’t have a good, personal, warm and fuzzy relationship with Congressman Steube. But after a while, I think people are going to look at that and say, OK, fine, I get that, but – but what has he guy done and what’s he capable of doing?
BREAM: So, here’s the headline from “The Wall Street Journal” in recent polling. Donald Trump tops Ron DeSantis in test of GOP presidential field. Which is true, he continues to pull away. But tucked into that article says this, Mr. DeSantis leads Mr. Biden 48-45 in a hypothetical contest while Mr. Trump lags behind the Democratic president by three points.
TIFFANY SMILEY (R), “RESCUING THE AMERICAN DREAM” CHAIR AND FORMER WASHINGTON STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: Yes.
BREAM: And, Tiffany, when you look at some of the numbers in the polling there, it shows that people say they want a specific candidate. They don’t care as much about who can actually win the general. Will they change their minds during the primary?
BREAM: You’ve been through a primary and general election and fought your way through.
SMILEY: Yes, so, you know, look, this is also really, really early. And Ron DeSantis hasn’t even announced yet. But what I’m excited about is, we have an opportunity to have robust debate and discussion about issues that are affecting the American people. That’s good for our party. The Democrats won’t have that because their far left extreme policies, they’re already solidified. And that’s – which is why Joe Biden’s approval is in the 30s.
The American people are clear, they – they know the country is on the wrong track. I have – I have seen that theme played out in a survey I just did of 2,000 registered voters across the country with my new project, “Rescuing the American Dream.” The American people want to put politics aside and start to have discussions about solutions. I think the best candidate will emerge who is able to discuss the solutions that will help the American people.
BREAM: Well, it’s going to be a robust debate, I have a feeling.
BREAM: And, you know, you saw former Vice President Pence saying, like, if you’re serious, you’ve got to be in by June. So, we’ll see as we await more decisions and announcements.
We will probably get one from President Biden this week. And here’s the headline from “Washington Examiner,” most Democrats don’t want Biden to run, even as he readies an announcement, It says, the majority of them remain addiment that he shouldn’t run. And when it comes – and that’s Democrats. Then when it comes to all voters, only 26 percent say Biden should run.
Juan, we keep having this conversation. I mean if he’s the president, he’s got that power of incumbency and he’s running. He’s clearly – well, anything can happen these days. He could get the nomination. We would expect him to.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
BREAM: But if there’s this lack of enthusiasm and an outright adversarial feeling about him actually running, what happens next?
WILLIAMS: I don’t think it’s adversarial. You know, I just think there’s low disapproval. We live in an age of extreme polarized politics. So, imagine, just wipe off 50 percent, wipe off Republicans. They’re not going to approve of Joe Biden.
BREAM: But a majority of Democrats saying, no thank you.
WILLIAMS: No, they’re saying, I think, you know, look, first of all, he’s going to be the nominee. What you heard from Lucas Tomlinson earlier in the show, he’s going to announce on Tuesday in a video.
But I think the fact that Trump is running, and that Trump is doing so well, is the glue that’s holding lots of factions of the Democratic Party behind Joe Biden. I think that you have to understand that for people who disapprove of both President Trump and President Biden, it’s according to a “Wall Street Journal” poll this week, 54 to 15 percent, they prefer Joe Biden. They’d vote for Joe Biden if that’s the – that’s the — the alternative. So the age —
BREAM: Karl’s shaking his head.
WILLIAMS: Let me just finish here. I think age is a big factor for the people you have been talking about –
WILLIAMS: Who say, gee, this guy will be pretty old if he’s elected president.
But I just think back, because I’m a pretty old guy. I think back to Ronald Reagan and I think of people saying, oh, Ronald Reagan was the wise old man. It’s morning in America again. And what happened? He won in a landslide.
KARL: And he was in his 60s, not his 80s.
WILLIAMS: He was on his way (INAUDIBLE).
KARL: (INAUDIBLE). Come on, look, let’s be honest, there’s the deep concern about Joe Biden’s ability to handle another four years.
KARL: Twenty-seven percent of Democrats in the AP poll said they preferred him to run, 73 percent, not. Monmouth, prefer to see Biden run for a second term, 25 percent of Democrats prefer to see Biden step aside, 44 have no preference. So, those are the polite people who don’t want to tell a pollster, I don’t want him to run. Thirty – this is – the country can do better than an 82-year-old and a 78-year-old and needs to do better when we face the kind of charges we – we face.
KARL: I agree with the editors of that great newspaper, “The Wall Street Journal,” in their – in their weekend editorial. He would do the country a service by stepping aside and – and he would do his party a service because then somebody could rise up who could serve eight years more, rather than four, as he might be able to do.
WILLIAMS: Well, let me just — let me just – let me quote the great Joe Biden. Compare me not to the almighty, but to the alternative.
WILLIAMS: And here – here – and here —
BREAM: There’s the – there’s the (INAUDIBLE) –
ROVE: The choice is what the country needs, not the –
WILLIAMS: Well, I said – well, who’s here (ph)?
ROVE: I think he enjoys flying home on Air Force One and riding around on the helicopter –
WILLIAMS: I’m just telling – but Karl –
ROVE: But that — that was an embarrassing trip to Ireland, to watch –
WILLIAMS: Karl. Oh, come on.
ROVE: It was painful. It was painful to – it was pain —
WILLIAMS: Karl, are you kidding? This guy’s – he was with his family, wearing a rosary, giving tribute to the priest. Come on.
ROVE: No, did you watch the — did you see how confused he was meeting with the families.
WILLIAMS: No, look, I’ll tell you –
ROVE: Go to the videotape. It is painful.
WILLIAMS: I – I love it. Look –
ROVE: His son has to be at his elbow to tell him what to do.
WILLIAMS: Karl – Karl — I love you, Karl.
ROVE: Oh, dad, we’ve got to (INAUDIBLE).
BREAM: Oh, boy.
WILLIAMS: Karl, I love you, but –
BREAM: Oh, boy.
WILLIAMS: Let me tell you who had an embarrassing week is your alternative to Donald Trump, DeSantis. A midnight six-week ban on abortion. Saying that people can walk around with guns without a permit. This is – and nobody likes it. People in Florida don’t like it.
BREAM: All right.
WILLIAMS: This guy is slipping badly and he’s supposed to be the alternative.
BREAM: Well, I don’t know – let – let me just say, the American — the Floridians liked it to the tune of a 19 point win for DeSantis in November.
WILLIAMS: that’s way back.
BREAM: I’m not sure the – ancient history, November.
KARL: And let’s – let’s be – let’s be clear about one quick thing.
KARL: Polls at this point, Tiffany’s absolutely right, they don’t mean anything.
KARL: Jeb Bush was leading at this point in 2015. And think about this, 30 days before Iowa, in 2004, Howard Dean was leading. In 2008, Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Newt was leading in 2012, 30 days before the Iowa. We’re going to see the polls go up and go down.
BREAM: Yes. Yes.
KARL: And we’re going to have people like Juan write off Ron DeSantis and write off Asa Hutchinson, write off (INAUDIBLE), up and down many times.
WILLIAMS: I’m not writing –
BREAM: Oh, boy. OK. All right. All right.
WILLIAMS: All I’m saying is, he’s stumbling and Donald Trump is trolling (ph) him, has the man eating pudding with his fingers.
BREAM: OK. OK. Oh boy. OK, that will be happening during the commercial.
KARL: That was a stupid ad.
BREAM: There will be arm wrestling on this side of the table. That’s Pay Per View, though.
OK, panel, stick around. Lots more to discuss.
Up next, we’re going to debate the White House plan that could force home buyers with good celt to pay more for their mortgages to subsidize the riskier loans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Your job is to secure borders, air, land, and sea. And in my judgment, and it’s hard for me to say this, I’ve known you for quite some time, but you have failed in your job.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Mr. Secretary, Republicans are criticizing you for not achieving something that no secretary has ever achieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Republican Congressman Mike McCaul and Democrat Bennie Thompson at a hearing with Homeland Secretary Mayorkas. Republicans blasting the way he’s handling the border, but Democrats say they’re using a double standard.
So, we’re back now with our panel.
And we have this stat, in March, 192,000 foreigners encountered at the southwest border. That, Juan, make it the 25th month in a row that the counters have been above 150,000. Is the border under control?
WILLIAMS: Obviously not, but I would say that it hasn’t been under control for now decades. We haven’t had immigration reform really going back to President Reagan. It’s that long. And, again, the polarized politics make it very hard for either side in Congress to act. We’ve seen this under President Bush. We’ve seen it under President Obama. President Trump couldn’t get it done.
What we saw this week in those hearings, it looked to me like an endless repeat of the hearings we’ve seen before. Republicans make provocative, angry statements, you should be fired, but they don’t ask questions that could lead to some solutions, some resolution about, well, how do we deal with the border, with the fact that people are fleeing oppression and violence and wanting to come in here under our asylum rules. This is the rules we have. Those are our laws.
And they — it seems to me that there is no new idea about how we deal with the fact that we have 10 million plus illegal immigrants already in the country. So, it seems to me it’s a lot of fear, a lot of fireworks, but I don’t see any solutions.
BREAM: Well, and, Karl, former President Trump will argue that he had changed those numbers, that he was trying to institute policies that actually made a difference.
KARL: Give him credit. The number of encounters, which is basically people coming across the border illegally, was dramatically lower under his watch, on his watch, in part because he had policies like remain in Mexico. He worked it out with the Mexican government. Our laws say you have to apply for asylum in the country of origin or in some other nearby country. And these people are not applying for asylum until they cross the border into the United States. If President Biden simply said, we’re going to enforce the law and we will allow nobody to apply for asylum inside the United States, the number of people who would be making that dangerous trip are – would drop dramatically.
Yes, there are lots of good things we can do. Mayorkas refuses to do it. I live in a state where every single day we are negatively impacted by the failure of this administration to enforce the laws of the United States and provide the necessary resources to get it done.
BREAM: Well, Congress is not getting it done on that front, but they may have something else to talk about, which is this whistleblower who has come forward. You saw me talking to Congresswoman Dingell about she respects the protections for whistleblowers and wants to hear more about this.
Let me play something from the whistleblower’s attorney talking to our Bret Baier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK LYTLE, ATTORNEY FOR IRS WHISTLEBLOWER: A career law enforcement officer, who knows the right way to do an investigation, when he hears a senior politically appointed official at the Department of Justice, under sworn testimony, say something and in his mind it’s directly contradictory to what he knows is going on with the investigation –
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: And what he can prove with documents?
LYTLE: What he can prove with documents, he wants to come forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: OK. So, Olivia, this is about, we believe, the Hunter Biden investigation. How much of a headache is this for the administration as the president’s gets ready to roll out for re-election?
BEAVERS: I mean I think it – it’s going to be really tough for them. The lawyer was talking about his accolades, saying he’s not out there for attention. He doesn’t have a politic agenda. And he has documents. And we all know, as reporters, we love documents that can back up an argument. And he’s trying to push, and I think that this is the right tact, he’s trying to argue that he wants to testify in between a bipartisan panel so that he can make his argument in a way where it’s not being pulled by one side unfairly.
Now, I’m sure we’re going to both see narratives if that does happen and – and those conversations are beginning, but it will, I think, depending on what he shares, it might add new scrutiny to the Justice Department and – and the IRS investigation that they’re having into Hunter Biden and whether he’s receiving special treatment or not. The White House says that’s not true. There’s no interference. But we’re going to see as this unfolds.
BREAM: Yes, and the White House has deferred to the DOJ, to the IRS, to answer these questions and say they’re staying out of it, as you note.
Andy McCarthy (ph) had an interesting piece, talking about this and said, Tiffany, if it was any of us who had allegedly lied on a gun form –
BREAM: Had done some of these other things, five years later we wouldn’t still be waiting to find out whether or not we’re going to be charged. Joe Biden, but for Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice. Hunter Biden has been under investigation since 2018. And, you know, I think it speaks volumes to the whistleblower who’s willing to come out knowing they will face scrutiny for this. And their lawyer is alleging the failures of the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden, alleging, you know, that there’s potential perjury of a senior political appointee, clear and present conflicts of interest, and preferential treatment. So this could very well be Joe Biden’s Watergate. And the American people deserve transparency and accountability in this investigation.
BREAM: I see you huffing over here, Juan.
WILLIAMS: Well, look, I mean – look, they’re using Hunter Biden to go after President Biden. That’s why you said President Biden’s Watergate.
Look, I just think that it’s not – I don’t — I just think going after a relative and a child who was – is an addict and has serious problems, I just don’t see it.
BREAM: But should they get a pass? If they’ve done some of these things he’s alleged to do, should they get a pass as the child of a president?
WILLIAMS: No, I would – I would pose that question differently. I think, would you – and this is what — you have a difference among investigators in the process. That’s not unusual. But would you bring charges against this person if his last name was not Biden? And apparently that’s a real question.
BREAM: You read Andy McCarthy’s piece because he says all of us would be in jail basically.
ROVE: Yes, we – we would be. We would be. You lie on a gun registration form, a gun purchase form, purchase a 0.38 caliber pistol, lose it in a — while you’re on illegal drugs, but – which is a question on that, we would be charged with a gun crime.
ROVE: And then you lose the gun in a – in a — across the street from a schoolyard and then video emerges of you consorting (ph) with a prostitute waving around your 0.38. We would be charged. We would be charged.
WILLIAMS: OK, so – OK.
BREAM: Oh, boy. OK. OK. On that –
WILLIAMS: In other words he’s a troubled – he’s a troubled individual.
ROVE: And, look, we also have a whole series –
WILLIAMS: Is that — is that something to indicting the president or is it really this is a false attack on President Biden by people who have nothing else to say.
ROVE: No, no, no, he – oh, OK. So, Hunter gets a pass on getting payments –
WILLIAMS: Oh, get out of here.
ROVE: And not paying his taxes and taking money under the table from God knows who, and playing around with a gun because he’s the president’s son. We’ve got to be nice to Hunter Biden because otherwise Joe gets (INAUDIBLE).
WILLIAMS: Oh, why don’t we –
ROVE: Forget it, Juan.
WILLIAMS: Why don’t we have this discussion — let’s have this discussion instead of talking about $2 billion that we knew when to Jared Kushner and Ivanka under Trump. Oh, you don’t want to talk about that.
BREAM: OK, we’ve got to – no, we’ve got to leave it there. They can talk about it during the commercial.
By the way, you’re going to pay more for your mortgage if you have a good credit. We didn’t get to that, but I’m sure we’ll debate that too.
Panel, thank you very much.
Up next, she challenged Hurricane Katrina and devastating setbacks into her life-long passion of singing the blues. My conversation with Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen, next.
BREAM: In the early 2000s my next guest was working full-time in New Orleans but pressing toward a career singing full-time. When she finally made it in the clubs of the French Quarter, tragedy struck the city and forced her to pick up the pieces. But she found support and community with an organization that helps blues singers in need. And today she gigs around the country, sharing her strength and her story with the fans who know her as mother blues.
PAT COHEN, MUSICIAN: I always wanted to sing, but more than sing, I always wanted to entertain.
BREAM (voice over): Pat Cohen on the moment she made a leap from part-time singer to full-time entertainer.
COHEN (singing): Rock me, baby. Rock me all night long.
COHEN (on camera): I said to myself, I said self —
BREAM (on camera): As we have to do sometimes.
COHEN: Yes. Self, you wanted to come down. The reason you chose New Orleans because you wanted to come and you wanted to sing. So, either do it or get off the pot, you know what I’m saying?
COHEN (singing): (INAUDIBLE) me daddy.
BREAM (voice over): That drive helped her become the dominant but welcoming stage presence known today as Mother Blues.
COHEN (on camera): I started working on Bourbon Street then. And I built myself up to where there were a lot of people that were calling me the queen of bourbon street because I was pulling so many people into the club. I’d fill a house up every single time.
BREAM: And then Hurricane Katrina came and destroyed her city and her home.
BREAM (on camera): So, for you, Katrina was devastating in a lot of ways.
COHEN: In a lot of ways. It was – it was – it was more than losing your stuff.
BREAM (voice over): But Cohen says the aftermath made her resilient.
COHEN: Katrina taught me how to be really strong. Every single day I just cried. When I stopped crying, I stopped crying.
BREAM (on camera): And started fresh.
COHEN: You don’t accomplish anything by feeling sorry for yourself. You have to keep it moving.
COHEN (singing): But I’m a North Carolina woman.
BREAM (voice over): Cohen did move to North Carolina, where a chance meeting lead her to the Music Maker Foundation. It’s a non-profit that supports musicians who perform traditional American blues. Music Maker got Cohen gigging again.
COHEN (on camera): And when things would happen, they were always there.
BREAM: And things did happen. Cohen lost another home. This time to a fire.
BREAM (on camera): So, once again, you went through losing everything you had.
COHEN: I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to cry. I refused. I just decided I was cried out. Again, again, Music Maker was there.
COHEN (singing): You see the city was too high tech.
BREAM: You’ve been very determined to just keep moving forward. How does that infuse your singing?
COHEN (on camera): So, I try to do things that are fun. So, a lot of my songs are kind of happy.
BREAM: Happy blues.
COHEN: Happy blues.
COHEN (singing): Have nobody treating me bad.
COHEN (on camera): I wrote this song called “I Ain’t Gonna Have Nobody Treat Me Bad.”
COHEN (singing): Shut your mouth, get up out of my house.
COHEN (on camera): And I’m sure that somebody can identify with that. You know, we go through a whole lot. You have to be strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pat by the blues, y’all, give it up.
COHEN: Yes, thank you.
BREAM: And our thanks to J.B.’s Restaurant (ph) in Virginia for letting us stop by and see Pat sing.
Just a quick note, pastor and bestselling author Max Lucado joins me on the “Livin’ the Bream” podcast this week to talk about the power of friends willing to literally walk through the fire with you. We see that in the story of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, just one of the chapters of my new book, “Love Stories of the Bible Speak,” in stores now.
That is it for us today. Thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream. Have a great week and we’ll see you back here for next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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