‘Fox News Sunday’ on September 24, 2023

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This is a rush transcript of ‘Fox News Sunday’ on September 24, 2023. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Bill Hemmer, in for Shannon Bream.

The chaos at the border grows by the day, as the pressure to take greater action builds yet again on the White House.


MAYOR ROLANDO SALINAS (D), EAGLE PASS, TEXAS: We need help. We need it now. We need people from the top. I’m talking from our president, our vice president.

HEMMER (voice-over): A border city mayor and Democrat declaring a state of emergency as thousands upon thousands of migrants flow into the country. The president pointing the finger across the aisle.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republicans in Congress and my predecessor spent four years gutting the immigration system — under my predecessor. They continue to undermine our border security today.

HEMMER: We’ll get reaction from border state Democrat, Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar.

Plus —


HEMMER: The nation’s autoworkers expanding their strike into 20 states. President Biden says he’ll join the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday, just a day before Donald Trump will be there, too.

Meanwhile, another presidential hopeful pushes back.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a president who says we are not going to subsidize unions, period.

HEMMER: We’ll discuss with a man whose eyes are on the White House, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

Then, the second Republican presidential debate only days away. We’ll ask Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel what voters can expect to see on stage Wednesday night.

And —

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): It’s a symbol of respect for the country when you dress respectfully when you’re doing this responsibility.

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): I think there are more important things we should be talking about rather if — if I dressed like a slob.

HEMMER: Our Sunday panel on the debate over the Senate ditching its own dress code.

All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.


HEMMER (on camera): And hello from FOX News in Washington.

The number of illegals crossing our border hit another new record. We want to show you our FOX News drone camera from Eagle Pass, Texas. We’ve been watching remarkable images today of a human flood that shows no sign of receding. And today, a new survey shows how displeased Americans are with the president’s border policies.

In a moment, we’ll speak with border state Democrat, Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar, on that.

But, first, to Griff Jenkins who has been in Eagle Pass for what seems like several years now.

Griff, hello to you. What’s the news today?


Well, there’s a humanitarian crisis playing out along our southern border in places like here in Eagle Pass, Texas, where migrants have traveled thousands of miles in hopes of reaching the U.S. in numbers far greater than what border officials are able to handle.


JENKINS (voice-over): Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visiting the border in McAllen, Texas, Saturday, saying the administration is taking more actions to stem the unprecedented flow of migrants, averaging more than 9,000 daily. Actions include sending active duty troops to the border, increasing deportations and granting temporary protective status to nearly half a million Venezuelans, making it easier for them to find work in cities like New York, where officials are struggling to find room for them.

Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott trying to deter the migrants from entering his state, with miles of dense razor wire, Humvees manning the riverbank and guardsmen in rafts attempting to turn them back.

But it’s not working. CBP says a record number arrived at the southern border last month, more than 230,000, the highest August on record. And more are on the way. Trains in Mexico show hundreds of migrants heading toward the U.S. with the humanitarian crisis on full display. In Eagle Pass, Texas, the migrants, mostly from Venezuela, struggle to climb through sharp barbs after crossing a dangerous river that’s claimed three lives in three days this week.

In temperatures so high, border agents cut through the wire, letting migrants escape scorching temperatures, some in need of medical attention.


JENKINS: And, Bill, Eagle Pass isn’t the only border community feeling the strain of this migrant surge. Over in El Paso, where there have been three confirmed cases of tuberculosis among the migrant population. The mayor there says due to overcapacity, they’ve reached, quote, a breaking point — Bill.

HEMMER: Wow. Griff Jenkins, thank you, Eagle Pass, Texas. Thank you for that.

Joining us now is Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar.

And, sir, thank you for your time on this Sunday.

REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D-TX): Thank you, Bill.

HEMMER: I want you to listen to a Democratic mayor in Eagle Pass, Texas — Rolando Salinas is his name — on President Biden’s policies.


MAYOR ROLANDO SALINAS (D), EAGLE PASS, TEXAS: I’ll be honest with you, I believe 100 percent he does bear some responsibility for this crisis. I haven’t heard from anybody in the administration. The president hasn’t put out a statement. The vice president, I haven’t heard from anybody.


HEMMER: Sir, you’re a Democrat. Why is that Democratic mayor such a lonely voice?

CUELLAR: You know, some of us along the border have been talking about what’s been happening on the border for many years.

Look, you know, what we need to do is do this — one, we need to have repercussions at the border. What does that mean? You got to deport people and you got to show those images of people being deported. When is the last time we saw people going the other day instead of just seeing people flow in?

And the second thing is, keep in mind what happened in 2015, what happened in 2019 under President Trump, President Obama and what I think happened a couple days ago, but now we’ve got to see enforcement.

We’ve got to get Mexico to do more like they did in 2019, like they did in 2015, and hopefully, the agreement they reached a couple days ago with the administration, and that is get the people on the Mexican side, deport them to their countries, do more to stop people in their — on their southern border with Guatemala, otherwise, we’re just going to continue seeing this flow.

It worked in 2015 under Obama. It worked under President Trump, and now this agreement reached a couple days ago, if they enforce it correctly, then we should see —


CUELLAR: — a slowing of a flow of people coming in.

HEMMER: All right. President Biden did set in motion the following things this week, a few of them. He granted work visa to 400,000 Venezuelans. He assigned 800 U.S. military members to work in border offices. Secretary Mayorkas met with the president of Honduras over the weekend at the border.

Does any of that, sir, change the current human tide?

CUELLAR: Well, again, it does provide some assistance. But if — look, if you talk about those work visas without doing anything else, I mean, the work permits without doing something at the border, then it becomes a magnet.

There’s — there are several things you need to do. I still say this and I’ve been saying this for years, we as Democrats and Republicans can continue playing defense on the one-yard line or we can play defense on their 20-yard lines and that is getting Mexico to do more like they did in 2015, when the numbers started slowing down, 2019, where numbers slowed down.

HEMMER: Uh-huh.

CUELLAR: And if we do it, then it’s going to happen.

We need to stop playing defense. You can send more National Guard. You can seed more active members. You can add more, but think about what they do. Think about images you saw there.

What happens when they get to the border? Once they touch the riverbank, they can claim asylum and we know that 89 to 90 percent of them don’t even qualify for asylum.

HEMMER: On an NFL Sunday perhaps, that is a proper metaphor.

Donald Trump tried to build a wall. President Biden said the root causes need to be addressed in Central America. Kamala Harris was put in charged with that as you know.

Just this morning, we have this, ABC/”Washington Post” poll out shows only 23 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of immigration. A brutal 62 percent disapprove.

We are almost three years into this administration, why did it get this bad?

CUELLAR: You know, the policies that you have in place, it doesn’t matter what administration, you’ve got to have policies that have repercussions. If you don’t have repercussions, then people will see the border as a speed bump and continue coming in.

So, again, I think Trump went too much to the right by doing the separation of families and kids, and then I think President Biden, the administration is not doing enough. So, we’ve got to find the right balance. You’ve got to listen to the community leaders like the mayor of Eagle Pass, the mayor of El Paso and other places, they got to listen to communities at the border.

And again, one, you have repercussions at the border. That is you deport people that are not supposed to be here.

Number two, you got to play defense on the other 20-yard line and it’s very important. You know, people give credit to President Trump. But if you look at it, it was Mexico doing a lot more just like they did in 2015. 2015, 2019 —


CUELLAR: — hopefully this year.

HEMMER: Congressman Cuellar, appreciate your time. Thank you, sir, for joining us on this Sunday.

CUELLAR: Thank you, so much, and good morning.

HEMMER: You bet.

Another crisis building for the White House is the striking autoworkers. President Biden is expected to join the picket line in Michigan on Tuesday.

That will be a first for a U.S. president, one day before his top political rival is also in Michigan, Donald Trump will be in Detroit.

David Spunt with the latest on the walkout live from the White House where there was news this weekend.

And, David, hello to you.


The president who spent the weekend here at the White House touts himself as pro-union. In just two days, he will meet with those picketers on the picket line. The steady picket line, Bill, continues outside the GM and Stellantis plants, also outside Ford, though, some progress has been made on the front with Ford.

The union president looks forward to seeing another president, that is the president of the United States.


SHAWN FAIN, UAW PRESIDENT: My invitation to anyone today, including the White House, to come and join our workers on the picket line, that’s open for anybody. We — you know, we — that is where you see support. Proof is in the action.


SPUNT: The White House originally had negotiators from the president’s planning to go to Detroit to try and hash things out, between the union and the auto giants, but recently pulled them back. Instead, the president will now go.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has been really clear about this. He believes the union built the middle class, something he’s said for years now and, of course, he is a union guy who will continue to fight for UAW and also union workers. So, that will not end.


SPUNT: In addition to 36 percent pay increase, union wants a cost of living raise, pension benefits and four-day work week. One day after President Biden meets with picketers, former President Donald Trump will do the same, instead of attending the FOX Business Republican debate at the Reagan Library in California.

And Anderson Economic Group, Bill, an independent economic agency based in Michigan, estimates the total loss since the beginning of the strike at $1.6 billion, a strike that is very much still alive — Bill.

HEMMER: David, thank you. David Spunt reports from the White House today. Thank you.

I asked Republican candidate for president, Senator Tim Scott out of South Carolina, about that strike, and much more this weekend.


HEMMER: Senator Scott, thank you for your time.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. Good to be with you, Bill.

HEMMER: We just heard priorities from both sides, and you’ve been outspoken about union demands. How would you solve this?

SCOTT: Yes. Well, listen, one of the things you cannot do is what we’re seeing Joe Biden do with the first bill coming out of Congress when he became president. He provided $86 billion to shore up the pension plans of the unions.

That leaves a false impression on the minds of the union workers and encourages the union bosses to continue to sell something that could never be, and that’s a major issue I have with what’s happening with the current UAW struggle.

Their bosses continue to make promises that they cannot keep. I sat, Bill, in a finance hearing and heard a widow — a union widow come before the committee because her monthly income cut from $4,000 down to $1,000. I want to make sure that we don’t see that situation ever again.

HEMMER: All right. And speaking of those workers, sir, in Iowa this week, you said the following, you said — I think Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike. He said, you strike, you’re fired, simple concept to me. To the extent we can use that again, absolutely.

That’s a quote from you. You’ve taken some heat for that comment.


HEMMER: The problem, Senator, is that these are not federal employees —


HEMMER: — and to win maybe ultimately, you might need some of their votes.

Was that a mistake?

SCOTT: No, it was not a mistake and if you heard the whole con — in context, you come to a different conclusion. I said without any question, the federal government does not fire private sector employees, without any question.

The question I was raising, which was a question, is, in fact, if we had a better president, one like Ronald Reagan, we would not have seen the $86 billion, and the first $1.9 trillion package. I mentioned that specifically after those comments were made.

I also mentioned the fact that any time you have a president who says he’s willing to go down a picket with workers during the day time, but he cuts a deal at night with the environmentalists that literally destroys those jobs, the union bosses and this president are working against the very workers who are out there picketing.

We need a president who tells people the truth. The contracts they are signing for a four-day workweek with more pay, more benefits but fewer hours is one that doesn’t work today. It’s certainly will not work in the future.

But instead of having a president on the picket line, we need this president on the border, the southern border, helping us close the southern border.

So, we have two fundamental challenges that we see today. The first one is a president who overpromises and underdelivers, leaving in peril the workers, whether they’re union or not.

And secondly, we have a president who doesn’t solve the looming issues of the day like our southern border that’s led to the deaths of 70,000 Americans because of fentanyl in the last 12 months.

As president of the United States, I will fix our southern border by closing it and finishing the wall, use $5 billion to use the military grid technology that’s available today on our borders.

HEMMER: OK, so —

SCOTT: This is simple for us to solve, but we need to have a president who gets the job.

HEMMER: Let me see if I can fire through a couple more topics you brought it up, just there at the border.

SCOTT: Sure.

HEMMER: This week, the President — some New York Democrats are blaming people like you. They’re blaming Republicans. Listen here.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: Unfortunately, the MAGA Republicans in Congress and my predecessor spent four years gutting the immigration system under my predecessor. They continue to undermine our border security today, blocking bipartisan reform.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL, (D) NEW YORK: What’s missing in this equation are Republicans who will get back to Washington, stop talking about shutting down the government, roll up their sleeves and work with the Biden administration.


HEMMER: So I know you disagree with that. You just ticked off a number of things that you would do to fix the border. Texas has tried to take action repeatedly and they’re often sued by Washington. Why do you think that is?

SCOTT: Because Washington is out of touch with the rest of the nation. One of the reasons why we need to have change in the nation’s capital is because Washington is so consistently broken that the American people don’t trust the people in Washington.

I understand that. As a guy who spends some time in Washington, but a whole lot of time in South Carolina, I can just say to the leaders of this nation today, bless your heart, which is a southern way of saying, you guys just don’t get it.

Here’s what the Governor — Governor Abbott is saying, sending the illegal immigrants to New York City where Mayor Adam says to the Biden administration, you guys don’t get it. They sound like the Governor of Texas.

When you see the kind of spats that are happening within the Democrat Party, it’s because President Biden refuses to fix a fixable problem on our southern border by not selling the construction material to finish the wall. That’s what he’s doing, using the construction material to complete the wall. We need a president who reinstates the remaining Mexico policy.

HEMMER: Yeah, so we — some of these topics may come up. The next debate is a few days away and you’re already in California. I want to take you back to last month. This is the first debate in Milwaukee when you had this moment.


SCOTT: The best thing to do is to bring our jobs home from China. If we create 10 million new jobs in my Made in America Plan, we will have a better economy and a better environment. Let me tell you why I say that, Bret. America —


SCOTT: America has cut — I’m a Southern boy, I talk slow. So, America —

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is another one.

SCOTT: That was quick.


HEMMER: It might have been a funny moment there. Question though, serious question.


HEMMER: Is that the Tim Scott we see on Wednesday night?

SCOTT: Yeah, I think what you just played is exactly what I hope to see. I hope you see on Wednesday night, is a guy being authentically who he is? I want to be myself. The goal is for us to be able to have a conversation about the most important issues facing this nation and frankly defend the next generation of kids who are losing hope that the American Dream will work for a kid in rural Iowa or inner-city Chicago.

I’m the defender for those who cannot find someone to stand up. I will be the voice for those who feel voiceless because I’ve been that kid. I felt like there was no hope for my future living in poverty and growing up in a single parent household but I will talk about the contrasts that exist on that stage because the American people deserve someone they can have confidence in because we’ve lived a similar journey that our obstacles became our opportunities and frankly, looking in the mirror, the problems revealed the promise because we are Americans.

HEMMER: Well —

SCOTT: You’re remarkable.

HEMMER: Yeah, and —


HEMMER: Yeah, here’s your challenge too, though. Since that last debate, President Trump hasn’t lost any ground. Here is our poll from Iowa this week. He’s steady at 46%. You dropped a few points. And in your home state of South Carolina, Trump’s also at 46%. Nikki Haley’s at 18% and you trail there at 9%. I think the last question for you is, do you need a breakout moment in this debate?

SCOTT: I don’t think so. What I need to do is to continue to do what I have been doing, showing up the more time I spend in Iowa, the better off I will be, the more time I spend in New Hampshire, the better off I will be. The good news is polls don’t vote, but people do. And so I need to make sure that I find myself in front of the most people as possible on a consistent basis. The more I do that, the better off we will be. The good news is this campaign is just getting ready to see the fourth quarter. I love football season. I love football. I like the fourth quarter.

HEMMER: Well, it kicks off on Wednesday night. We’re looking forward to it as well.

SCOTT: Yes, sir.

HEMMER: Sir, thank you for your time. Senator Tim Scott, thanks for being with us.

SCOTT: Thank you, Bill.


HEMMER: Also — also a reminder, the second Republican primary debate is this week at the Reagan Library, Simi Valley, California. You can see it all on Fox Business, Simulcast on Fox News Channel come Wednesday night. It should be a good one.

Days after he was charged with accepting bribes in exchange for the use of his influence, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez steps down as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Up next, we’ll ask our Sunday panel if he’ll be able to ignore the calls from the own members of his party to resign altogether.



BAIER: Do you think if you were to characterize it, are you close?

MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, SAUDI CROWN PRINCE: Every day we get closer. It seems it’s for the first time real one, serious.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER: When push comes to shove and we have a historic agreement that changes the Middle East. By the way, I think it changes the world. Then I think — I think everybody will be on board.


HEMMER: Now, there’s a Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, striking an optimistic tone about the potential for a peace deal. Wow.

Time for our Sunday group, Townhall.com Editor, Katie Pavlich. Fox News Senior Political Analyst Juan Williams. Guy Benson, host of the Guy Benson Show, and Reuters White House Correspondent, Jeff Mason.

Hello to all of you on this rainy weekend in Washington, D.C. Jeff, to you. Both leaders admit there are big issues in front of them. Mohammed bin Salman talked about the Palestinians. Did Bret’s interviews this week give you the sense that we could see a deal?

JEFF MASON, REUTERS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems from both leaders, including from the interview with Bret that they’re getting closer. And it would be a really big deal. It would be a big deal for the Middle East. It would be a big deal for those countries. And it would be a big deal for Israel’s position in that region. Keep in mind Saudi Arabia and many other Arab states do not recognize Israel at all. So if they were to make this kind of a deal, it could have a ripple effect on its — its relationships with other countries.

But the big question is what happens with the Palestinians? And what sort of concessions will be made for them in this kind of a pact?

HEMMER: We’ve been watching this story our entire lives, and that’s not an exaggeration.

MASON: Yeah.

HEMMER: It has the potential here, Guy, to be huge. I don’t think what Netanyahu said is an overstatement. It could change the world if they get this done.

GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM: It would be seismic, no question about that. The Abraham Accords under the previous administration were a very significant achievement, but Saudi Arabia is different in terms of just the emphasis on that country and the role that it plays in the region if they normalize relations with Israel, it would be enormous.

It’s hard to pick what the most newsworthy moment was in those interviews, from Bret this week. He did an incredible job over there. One of them probably had to be setting aside the Israel question was the nuclear question with Iran.

It is obviously understood that Saudi’s position recently has been, if Iran keeps pursuing nukes we are going to do it too. To see MBS say it out loud, to me, it was really striking.

HEMMER: OK Zelenskyy was here in Washington, just want to move to Ukraine on this, Katie, and keep it on foreign affairs. You are hearing more voices on the right that start to pull back and be more hesitant on the aid to Ukraine. Just give this a listen now.


BYRON DONALDS, (R) FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: To be blunt, we’re running a $2 trillion deficit. Any money we give to Ukraine we’re borrowing from our future. That’s the facts. Those are the truth.

MATT GAETZ, (R) FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Republican voters do not want to see us continue to send more and more money to Ukraine. They want to focus on our country.


HEMMER: Katie, where do you see this debate heading?

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the Senate got a classified briefing on this Ukrainian situation and the request from the White House for more aid as President Zelenskyy was visiting the White House this week and a number of senators came out including Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri, Senator J.D. Vance from Ohio saying that they were not convinced that there is an end goal here and the White House is doing a very poor job in convincing them that there is some kind of goal setting when it comes to ending this war.

You have also Congressman Michael Waltz who was a former U.S. Army Green Beret who has been very supportive of sending aid to Ukraine who’s bringing up new questions about accountability. You had the New York Times come out with a big story recently saying there’s a lot of corruption questions now that were, you know, a year plus into the situation and Zelenskyy did not address those concerns when he met with a number of people in Washington this week.

I also think that the White House not making President Zelenskyy and President Joe Biden available for a press conference to answer some of these questions when the American people are war weary and they have not been given some kind of ending to not just the funding but worries about what this means for the rest of the world and this spinning out of control.

One final point, you had the Polish President this week saying Ukraine is acting like a drowning person who could bring down the rescuer with them. That is a very significant statement considering how supportive Poland has been and they are much closer to this issue than the United States physically.

HEMMER: Yeah, to Katie’s point on the visit here at the White House, they did have that moment in the Oval Office where they spoke but it seemed like the day after Zelenskyy left Washington they get these attacks on missiles that can, some believe, they can be a game changer. They can travel up to 190 miles. But the theme seems the same. If you want Ukraine to win, why didn’t you do this some time ago?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first let me just say I had a different take on the visit. To me, it was disgraceful that the Republican House refused to allow the Ukrainian President to speak to the American people and speak to them to make his case. I mean, you wouldn’t need a press conference.

Here’s the man. He’s standing with you. He’s making his case for why it’s important to continue this effort and why if you really care about standing up to autocrats, including the Chinese, you cannot afford to back off of what’s going on in the Ukraine.

With regard to the missiles, the French, the British sent missiles of shorter range earlier this year. I think President Biden was reluctant to seem as if he was, you know, somehow about to make this a more — you know, a more of a threat to the Russians directly.

The Russians could perceive this as somehow an escalation of the affair on the United States, the world’s largest military power. But I think now the idea is, you know what, these are not going to have single warheads. It’s going to be more cluster. We sent cluster bombs recently despite complaints from some human rights folks. And now this is a similar weapon.

But look at what has been going on. The Ukrainians have been able to go after the Russian military, especially the Navy and the Sea of Crimea. And you look at Russia right now, the economy showing real signs of stress. You look at, they’re going to the North Koreans, they’re going to bargain basement for weapons, make no mistake, the Russians are losing.

HEMMER: And also an indication that the war is going to go on for some time. I want to get another story here in Washington, D.C. This was a stunner on Friday. The big news, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Robert Menendez, that is New Jersey. He and his wife were charged for taking bribes out of Egypt. This is Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York describing what they think they have.


DAMIAN WILLIAMS, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: Special agents with the FBI executed search warrants on the residents and safe deposit box of Senator Menendez. They discovered approximately $500,000 of cash stuffed into envelopes and closets. Some of the cash was stuffed in the senator’s jacket pockets. That’s not all, agents also discovered a lot of gold.


HEMMER: Wow. It sure sounds messy, and Menendez has been here before, Jeff.

MASON: He certainly has, and he’s facing this again. The facts were just laid out roughly $500,000 in cash found in his house, along with the gold bars. Those facts don’t look good, but he is innocent until proven guilty. Politically, it’s not great for Democrats. In a Senate that has a 51 to 49 majority, although if he were not to run for reelection and somebody else were, New Jersey has not elected a Republican in decades. But even so, it’s tricky for him, and it’s tricky for his party.

HEMMER: That last election, statewide election, in November of 2021 was close, a lot closer than a lot of people thought. Do you see him surviving this, Guy?

BENSON: Probably not. I’m from New Jersey, and I have a long memory, all the way back to Robert Torres-Selley (ph) in the early 2000s. New Jersey Democrats do what is required to win, and I think they now see him as more of a liability than an asset. There’s a Democratic governor sitting there in place. My guess is immense pressure pushes him out.

HEMMER: By the way, the Governor has said that he should resign.


WILLIAMS: And so, as most of the congressional delegation from New Jersey, Andy Kim, the congressman, says he might even run against him. But I’d say —

HEMMER: There might be more, too, quickly.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, but they’re not making excuses for the guy. Like some people make excuses for Trump and for Paxson. Oh, no. I don’t see Democrats doing this.

PAVLICH: Gold bars and DNA on the envelopes from both of them.

HEMMER: It is a unique matter, that’s right. Stand by, guys. Thanks, more to come with all you coming up in a moment here. But we want to turn, in a moment here, the Republican presidential hopefuls gear it up for debate number two. We’re going to talk with the RNC Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, for a preview and ask her about the dire warning President Biden issued just last night in Washington about her voters.



CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT stand up here.


BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Just one of the many moments during the First Republican debate last month in Milwaukee. So what fireworks can we expect to see this time?

With me now, the Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and thank you for being here today on Fox News Sunday. Thank you, Ronna.

Round two is Wednesday night. Before I get to that, just last night, President Biden speaking with the Congressional Black Caucus here in Washington, D.C. He said this about the voters in your party.


BIDEN: Let there be no question. Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are determined to spread anger, hate, and division. They seek power at all costs to determine and destroy this democracy. I cannot watch that happen, nor can you.


HEMMER: So anger and hate and division and more in that. Meanwhile, we have this today from the Washington Post and ABC in a hypothetical matchup. Donald Trump leads Joe Biden in that poll by 9 points, 51, 42. What do you think of that? What do you think of the President’s comments from last evening?

RONNA MCDANIEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: Well, the President, you know, came in as this unifier. I’m going to work across the aisle, and he’s been nothing like that at all. Our party, our country is more divided than it’s ever been. But we’re also failing as a country. And that Washington Post poll shows that three out of four Americans feel like they’re doing poorly or not as well under Joe Biden. Bidenomics is failing, crime is rising, our border is out of control, people are dying of fentanyl. Joe Biden is failing and his approval is at 37% with 63% of the country thinking we’re on the wrong track. So that is the record of Joe Biden and why Republicans are surging and have a good chance to take back the White House in 2024.

HEMMER: OK, let’s talk about Wednesday now. As of now, there are seven on stage. Is the field set? And what should viewers expect when they watch?

MCDANIEL: Yeah, the field will be set Monday night. Right now there are seven that have qualified. And I think you’re going to see more of what you saw in Milwaukee and these candidates trying to make their case to the American people.

The first vote is going to be in January of 2024, January 15th in Iowa. And I think they’re trying to get that momentum as they had and of course, President Trump’s going to be in Michigan. So we’ll be missing him from that debate.

HEMMER: Right — right and Donald Trump will be in Detroit. Those announced over the weekend. President Biden will be there on Tuesday. He’ll be there Wednesday. Will he attend any of your primary debates?

MCDANIEL: Well, you know, I want him to attend a debate and he knows that, everybody knows. I think the other candidates also want him to attend a debate. I hope that before January he comes to a debate and participates in that process. But everybody is doing their own strategy.

So the RNC’s role is to create a fair, transparent process and everyone can play their strategy as candidates as — as how they think they’re best going to garner that nomination.

HEMMER: OK, so nothing — nothing locked in right now with the former president?


HEMMER: OK. On the issue of abortion, you said that you wanted to see the candidates go after the issue head-on after this moment in Milwaukee in August.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available and can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion? Let’s treat this like the — like a respectful issue that it is and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation.


HEMMER: So that was quite a moment. You’ve also said we’re not going to win if we don’t talk about it. How do you want your candidates to talk about it?

MCDANIEL: Well, I’ll be very clear, Bill, the Democrats in 2022 spent $350 million lying to the American people about where Republicans stood on this issue. We have to put money behind our message and we have to put the Democrats on defense. So we can’t just say it in an interview like this. Our candidates have to go on TV and say we are for prices — pregnancy crisis centers. We are for easier adoption. We are for humane limitations. We believe that the rest of our country agrees that there should be limitations when a baby feels pain. That’s where most of the world is. That’s where Europe is. And that’s where we should be as a civilized country.

But where — where do the Democrats stand? What is an abortion there against? Nine-month, eight-month, seven-month, gender selection abortions where China is? So we have to define this issue and take it back for ourselves and push out the Democrats’ extremeness on this issue. And if we don’t do that, they’re going to spend another $350 million lying to the American people.

HEMMER: OK, this could come up again Wednesday night also. Now, the voting. This week, two major moves. Pennsylvania, I’m in a critical state, said it will automatically register voters when they get a driver’s license or a state I.D. And then the state of New York late in the week said it will mail a ballot to every registered voter. I know you’re challenging that ruling in New York, but some believe that Republicans don’t change their approach on voting. You’re going to lose again. What’s your strategy, Ronna?

MCDANIEL: Well, I’ve always been for — we’ve got to bank as many votes and vote early as much as possible. And the party did this in 2022. We turned out four million more Republicans, but we’ve got to continue to do that. Democrats go into the courts, they try and change the laws, they want ballot harvesting, they want to get rid of voter I.D. They’re passing laws to allow non-citizens to vote. This is just a fact. They are trying to erode our elections.

But if those laws are on the field, that’s what we have to play by. And that’s why we’ve launched the Bank Your Vote initiative, encouraging voters to vote early, bank your vote that first day of voting so that we can go chase those other swing voters, or independent voters, text bank to 80810, commit to do that.

We can’t — and I say this, Bill, all the time, you’re a football fan. We can’t win a game if we only start playing in the fourth quarter.

HEMMER: But you know, you’ve —

MCDANIEL: We can’t allow Democrats to get a huge head start.

HEMMER: Right. But you know —

MCDANIEL: We got to start voting early.

HEMMER: — your strategy, you don’t know if it’s going to be successful until the last month of next year?

MCDANIEL: Well, that’s why we’re pushing it now. It’s an education, it’s getting into different states. We’ve launched Bank Ohio, Bank Wisconsin, we just launched Bank California with Leader McCarthy. This is something we have to educate our voters on that they can’t hold their ballot until Election Day and think we’re going to just win elections. We have to do what the Democrats do and bank your vote as part of that.

HEMMER: Just want to get to one last topic here. There’s this ongoing dance between both parties on the primary calendar. The RNC just warned New Hampshire that if it moves up its primary, which is a possibility, depending on what Iowa does, it’s all very convoluted and deep and complex. You are threatening to take away their debate if that happens. The Republican Governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, did not hold back, he said this, “We will not be threatened, we will follow our law, and we WILL,’ in all caps, ‘go first. End of story.” So how’s this going to work out?

MCDANIEL: Well, there was no stride on going first. Listen, I think Chris and I are on the same page on this. And I think New Hampshire and Iowa should recognize the RNC, the Republican Party, actually through our members. We supported Iowa having the first in the nation caucus and New Hampshire having the first in the nation primary. It’s the Democrats that just walked away from those two states, not us. So we’re committed to that.

But the Democrats are trying to place shenanigans in Iowa. And I don’t think New Hampshire should fall for that. And I hope they don’t allow Democrats to mess with our primary process and our calendar, especially when they walked away from those two states. And so did Joe Biden, by the way.

HEMMER: We’ll see how it works out. Ronna McDaniel, thank you for your time. We’ll see you on Wednesday night, in California. Thank you for being with us today.

MCDANIEL: Thanks for having me.

HEMMER: The leaders of both houses of Congress under fire this week and for very different reasons. In a moment, we’ll ask the panel about House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struggled to sell some conservative members of his party on a budget deal. That’s sticky.

And Chuck Schumer’s Senate dress code shake up. That’s in the news and for a very interesting reason.


HEMMER: We are back now with a live look, Simi Valley, California. The day is breaking in a really beautiful way out there.

Home of this week’s second Republican presidential primary debate, the stakes are high for these candidates as they trail Donald Trump in a big way. Trying to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, not easy.

Back now with the panel here in Washington. You all look great, by the way. I say that for a reason because it’s our third topic coming up here.

Check this out, ABC/”Washington Post,” earlier today, we woke up to this poll, Trump at 54, DeSantis at 15, Nikki Haley, 7, Tim Scott, 4. Trump’s got a 39 point lead over DeSantis.

Let’s – let’s talk about the stakes for Wednesday night. Ladies first.


KATIE PAVLICH, EDITOR, TOWNHALL.COM: Well, it’s still a race for second place. Donald Trump is far ahead. The Ron DeSantis campaign, who I talked to this morning, says that they are confident they are gaining on him in places like Iowa. You did see Donald Trump’s campaign backtrack a little bit on his comments about the pro-life issue in Iowa, coming out in favor of Tommy Tuberville’s hold on nominees here in Washington, D.C., over the abortion issue.

But this week, you know, I’m expecting to see a number of Republicans drill down on policy. DeSantis issued an energy plan just this week. So, we’ll see what happens, but it’s certainly still a race for second place.


PAVLICH: And you’re looking at Iowa. Of course, New Hampshire’s, you were just discussing with the chairwoman. And then, of course, these candidates have to get to South Carolina, where Nikki Haley is going to have a better time than she’s having in New Hampshire.

HEMMER: Gotcha. Just want to go to the other Republican on the panel here. How do you see it? Does one candidate have more to win or lose on Wednesday night, do you believe?

BENSON: Well, the issue for everyone else in the field is that Donald Trump not only has a big lead in the primary, a huge lead in the primary, there are two polls out this morning, one from “Washington Post” that you put on the screen, big lead for Trump in a general over a Joe Biden hypothetically. NBC has a poll showing the race exactly tied. So, the argument that Trump is unelectable, at least at the moment, isn’t really gaining steam with Republican voters and their, you know, data that you can point to, to flesh that out.

So, if they want to make a splash for themselves, they need ultimately to consolidate the non-Trump people behind one person. I think for that reason Ron DeSantis probably has the most at stake this week because he needs to remind people that he is sort of the second guy there. And if someone is going to brings a lot of the support behind him, it’s going to be him, because he’s been fading a little bit in some of the polls.

HEMMER: OK. All right, let’s talk of this shutdown. It’s – it’s the talk of this town. America may not necessarily be paying attention to it, but everybody in D.C. does.

Here is the House speaker this week on the possibility and what the White House has to say about it. Check it out.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): There are still a few members that won’t vote for funding the government while we finish all the 12 bills.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The best plan is for there to not be a shutdown. This is something that can be avoided here. This is something that House Republicans know very well that they have to do their jobs. They’re the ones – they’re the ones to fix this problem.

TIM BURCHETT(R-TN): Dadgum it, pass the dadgum budget.


HEMMER: Dadgum twice there.

Jeff, if there is no deal at this hour next Sunday the government would shut down. Can they avert this?

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “REUTERS”: Well, first I think it’s important to talk about what happens if the government shutdown — shuts down. The military doesn’t get paid. Programs stop. Some things continue, but the non-essential quote/unquote things do not. And the political ramifications of that will almost certainly be blaming the Republicans. The White House will have a credible argument that this is a Republican shutdown and I can guarantee you that will be something that will be part of a Joe Biden campaign ad.

HEMMER: OK. In the past, Juan, we have seen the World War II Memorial being shut down and people thought, what’s the significance of that? I mean it’s unfortunate to see, but sometimes the – the hyperbolic nature of a shutdown is bigger than it actually is. How would you see it?

WILLIAMS: I think that you have to understand there are people who don’t get paid, people who don’t go to work. And if this is a significant portion of the American economy, at a time when we’re trying to keep the economy functional.

You know, the point here, politically, is that you see a lot of in-fighting on the Republican side in the House. And Kevin McCarthy, the speaker, is trying to hold on to his job. You know, he can be challenged by just one member of the Congress in terms of holding the speaker’s job. And he’s having a difficult time. He is in the storm and I think it’s all about that Republican fight in the House over power.

HEMMER: OK. Next week, is it open or closed? Care to wager?

WILLIAMS: I’d wager it’s going to close because I don’t see a solution.

HEMMER: We’ll see if Juan’s right. OK, replay the tape.

The other big story here is how the U.S. Senate will be required to dress. Chuck Schumer is suspending the jacket and tie rule, in large part to Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman. Peggy Noonan writes this, this week in “The Wall Street Journal.” She says the senator’s shorts and American decline. We want to be respected, but no longer think we need to be respectable.”

There has been pushback already on this, Katie, from Republicans and Democrats. Do you think this rule survives in a week?

PAVLICH: This – this is a reflection on Chuck Schumer’s sloppy leadership in the Senate as majority leader, whether it’s not being able to tie votes properly or whether it’s not talking to the entire Senate about whether they would approve of this rule. You have a number of Democratic senators coming out and saying, we wish we have just had a discussion about this and we could, you know, deny this – this rule for being changed for one man because it’s not reflective of respect for the job that we’re doing for the American people. So, I think it will probably be repealed and does not reflect well on his leadership.

HEMMER: Jeff, what do you think? What are you hearing?

MASON: I think that norms have changed. People are dressing more casually, for sure. Whether that means it should be more casual in the Senate is another —

PAVLICH: Come on.

MASON: Well, it’s true. But I think – but the point –

PAVLICH: Just – you can – you can look nice and dignified without wearing a suit.

MASON: Hold on, the point – the —

PAVLICH: And he – John Fetterman looks like a slob.

MASON: The point that I was going to take is, you know, what you look like does impact your work. It’s important to – to dress – I – I mean, I wear a tie when I go to the White House. I think – I think a lot of people dress conservatively. But I think the American people, at the end of the day, probably care more about what their senators are doing than what they’re wearing.

HEMMER: To this side of the table then, Guy and Juan, I’ve got a minute left. What happens?

BENSON: They say this is because it – it’s his condition. It’s easier for him to dress this way. John McCain was tortured and had painful war wounds. He managed to abide by the code. Mark Kirk had a massive stroke. He managed to abide by the code. Tammy Duckworth lost limbs in war. She manages to abide by the code. I think that excuse is pretty pitiful for Senator Fetterman.

HEMMER: Juan, wrap it up.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think it’s – I think most Democrats don’t want to change the rules. We don’t have to go back to powdered wigs and spats (ph). You know, not that far.

But I think if you’re on the floor or here in the gallery, you do expect some degree of decorum.

HEMMER: Thank you. As I said, you all look great on this Sunday.

MASON: Back at you, Bill.

HEMMER: Thanks for being here. Great to see you, panel.

WILLIAMS: You look marvelous.

HEMMER: Thank you.

Oh, man.

Taking another live look now, Simi Valley, home of Wednesday’s second Republican presidential debate. In a moment here I’ll speak with one of the co-moderators. And my “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM” co-host Dana Perino will join me live with a preview.


HEMMER: Here is a live look at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California. A stunning place to be. Republican presidential hopefuls take the debate stage on Wednesday night.

And Dana Perino, my co-anchor on “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM,” also co-anchor of “THE FIVE,” with me now.


HEMMER: One of the three moderators for this debate.

Great to see you.

As we like to say on “AMERICA`S NEWSROOM,” before we go.


HEMMER: And before we go, I want – I want to get your sense. You told me over the weekend, you said, this is where the rubber meets the road in this debate. What do you mean by that?

PERINO: So, I believe in the first debate all of the candidates in some ways were introducing themselves to GOP primary voters and the public more widely. A month later, this is, to me, where the rubber meets the road because the standards in order to get in were a little bit tougher, but still you have seven people on the stage. And you have President Trump with a commanding lead in this race. And so right now this is the moment where all of them realize, if I don’t have some sort of break-out moment to show that I could be the rival, the alternative to President Trump, their campaigns probably start to lose even more steam.

Now, you do see some uptick for DeSantis and Haley, a little for Vivek Ramaswamy, but not in that NBC poll or the ABC one that you showed this morning. So, you have all of these people saying they think they can be better than either President Trump or Joe Biden, and now they’re going to have to really show if that’s true.

HEMMER: Yes, as I mentioned earlier on our program here, Fox Business is the host, but you’re going to run the gamut on issues. And I – I just want to get a sense of that from you. And also, you know, this is – this is round two now. It – do you feel it’s better to go second? Would you have rather gone first in Milwaukee a month ago?

PERINO: This is my first time moderating, so I’m happy to go second. Frankly, I’m just happy to be here. I love this area. I think that the Reagans chose the most perfect place to have their library. The legacy lives on. It’s such a gorgeous place and I think that everyone will be just amazed by what Fox News Channel and Fox Business have been able to do with this set.

And so, yes, I’m really honored to be here.

HEMMER: So, with your co-moderators, one of the challenge in Milwaukee was keeping people reigned in. I just need kind of a quick answer, do you have a strategy for that?

PERINO: Well, I think that they should have a strategy. If they’re all talking over one another, no one is going to be — hear anything that they have to say. The audience, it will be made clear what the rules are and people like people following rules and standards, even dress codes. I liked your last panel.

HEMMER: Thank you.

Great to see you, partner. We’ll talk to you during the week. And best of luck out there in California.

Thank you.

Dana Perino, thanks.

PERINO: Thank you. Miss you.

HEMMER: Miss you, too. See you soon.

Stuart Varney and Univision’s Ilia Calderon will also co-moderate with Dana. So we’ll see that on Wednesday night.

We’ll see you tomorrow morning on “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM” on the Fox News Channel. So, check that out.

That is it for today here in Washington, D.C..

Thank you for being here. Shannon is back next week and she will see you on the next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.


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