Jake Sullivan on Joe Biden's response to COVID, unrest in America

This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday," September 13, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


Today, a new FOX poll. Where does the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand now? As the president tries to contain the fallout from saying different things about the pandemic in public and private.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He had the information. He knew how dangerous it was.

WALLACE: Joe Biden calling it a life-and-death betrayal of the American people.

BIDEN: It's beyond despicable. It's a dereliction of duty. It's a disgrace.

WALLACE: While President Trump calls the revelations in Bob Woodward's new book a political hit job.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't lie. What I said as we have to be calm, we can't be panicked.

WALLACE: We'll discuss the impact with Trump campaign senior advisor Steve Cortes and get reaction from Biden senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan.

Plus, we'll bring in our Sunday panel to analyze the state of the presidential race as millions of voters are already casting their ballots.

Then, the NFL returns. We'll ask FOX Sports lead announcer Joe Buck how the pandemic and racial protest will affect the season. Plus, Tom Brady's move to Tampa.

And our "Power Player of the Week," honoring Ike. A look at a brand-new presidential memorial here in the nation's capital.

All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday".


WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.

With 51 days until Election Day, and millions of Americans already voting, we begin with breaking news. The first FOX national poll since the convention and the first to survey likely voters.

In a head to head matchup, the Biden-Harris ticket leads the Trump-Pence ticket by five points, 51 percent to 46 percent. And it's not just who Americans are voting for, but how. Among those who plan to mail in their ballots, 71 percent support Joe Biden, while a majority of those planning to vote in-person, 58 percent, support President Trump.

For the latest on the state of the presidential race, let's bring in Mark Meredith, traveling with the president in a battleground state of Nevada -- Mark.

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, President Trump held a massive rally about 30 minutes south of Reno last night. His campaign is putting more time and energy into the Southwest, on an attempt to try to reach undecided Latino voters ahead of November.


MEREDITH: Thousands of President Trump's supporters crowded into an airport in Minden, Nevada, to hear the president make his case against Joe Biden.

TRUMP: Now he wants to surrender our country to the violent left-wing mob, you know that. If Biden wins, China wins.

MEREDITH: The president also made a direct appeal to Latino voters who could swing battleground states like Nevada and Arizona.

TRUMP: The Hispanics understand the border better than anybody else.

MEREDITH: Biden stayed off the campaign trail Saturday, but spent the last several days criticizing the president's pandemic response.

BIDEN: He knew how deadly it was. It was much more deadly than the flu. He knew and purposely played it down.

MEREDITH: Biden and congressional Democrats are outraged over comments the president made to journalist Bob Woodward. The president told Woodward in taped conversations how contagious coronavirus was back in February, while at the same time downplaying the threat publicly.

TRUMP: I want to show that our country is going to be fine way or the other.

MEREDITH: Meantime, negotiations on Capitol Hill for a new COVID economic relief package remain at a stalemate, likely leaving the issue unresolved before the election.


MEREDITH: Later today, President Trump will hold more campaign events in Las Vegas. He'll go to Arizona for more campaigning on Monday. Also on Monday, the White House says the president will visit California to get an in-person briefing on those devastating wildfires -- Chris.

WALLACE: Mark Meredith reporting from Reno, Nevada -- Mark, thank you.

Joining us now, Trump campaign senior advisor Steve Cortes.

Steve, as we just reported in the latest FOX poll in the overall horserace, Biden leads Trump by five points, 51 percent to 46 percent.

But I want to drill down on some of the eternals on key issues. Coronavirus, law and order, and race, more voters trust the vice president while Mr. Trump leads on the economy.

So far, the president has not broken through, Steve.

STEVE CORTES, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think he is breaking through on the most important issue, which is the economy. You know, there's a lot of crosscurrents, of course, in 2020, many things about this year are unique and singular, but I still believe that the ultimate driver of the electoral decision for most Americans is going to be what it typically is -- who can create prosperity for me, for my family, and for this country going forward. And on that score, the president has a compelling story to tell, particularly given the current economic renaissance that is unfolding in this country.

This country is coming with gusto right now. All of the recent economy data show that. This is the president who produced the first Trump boom and the American people I believe will smartly rehire him to continue to produce and compel the Trump boom 2.0.

WALLACE: What about the fact that he trails Biden by a substantial margin on the issue of who you trust more to handle the coronavirus?

CORTES: Look, regarding coronavirus, I think -- here's the reality: I think unfortunately, corporate media has been relatively successful at pushing out a myth that the president mishandled the virus. And I actually when I look at for instance these revelations from Woodward, I think if you look at them in the context of the totality of actions taken by this president, it actually reveals an exemplary record of crisis management.

And what I mean by that is it's very clear that the president early on during the fog of biological war, when the information coming in was disparate and at times even contradictory, he made two determinations: number one, that he was going to reassure the American people. That he was going to be the kind of leader who convinces the people that we can persevere through this epidemiological Pearl Harbor.

But then, secondly, he also took decisive action. He made the command decision to use -- to harness the full power of the federal government to do two things primarily. He did a lot of things, but that the two main drivers to protect the people -- were number one, he restricted travel, first from China, then from Europe, eventually, basically, effectively sealing the United States borders. Something that hadn't been done in this country since 9/11.

But then he also commenced the largest government-mandated manufacturing campaign in this country since World War II, and the swiftness and vastness with which the government produced PPE, medical devices and also overflow capacity for hospital systems around this country, that ultimately wasn't needed, thankfully, but was there nonetheless. That record I believe reveals a record of superb management actually of the virus.

WALLACE: But let's -- you brought up the Woodward book and let's talk about the president's, what you call, superb management. All of these polls were conducted at least in part before the public learned the revelations from Bob Woodward's book, which are essentially that the president was saying something very different and much more alarming to Bob Woodward in private than what he was telling the public.

Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You just breathe the air, that's how it's passed.

It's also more deadly than your, you know, your even your strenuous flus.

So, this is deadly stuff.

It's a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for.

When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done.


WALLACE: So, he's telling Bob Woodward that this is deadly stuff and much worse than the flu. In fact, he said five times worse than the flu, and in the public, he's saying we're going to be down to zero and it's no worse than the flu.

Why not level with the American people, Steve?

CORTES: Chris, here's what -- here's what's important. We have to look at the timeline there. And again, this was -- this was the fog war, of biological war, and the information was shifting. The medical experts and the scientists, their views --


WALLACE: Steve, I'm going to interrupt you right there, because it wasn't the fog of war.

On January 28th, the president got his presidential daily brief, the top intelligence in the Oval Office. And at that point, his national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said, this is the biggest challenge you are going to face and your entire presidency. And the deputy national security advisor, Matthew Pottinger, immediately compared it to the Spanish flu, the deadly Spanish flu of 100 years ago.

So, there was no fog of war there. If the word he was getting from his top intelligence and national security people was that this was a deadly pandemic. There was no fog here.

CORTES: That -- no, there was tremendous fog, and let me tell you why. That was their view, you're exactly right.

However, Dr. Fauci, somebody who was lionized by critics of President Trump, somebody who clearly is not looking to carry water for the MAGA movement or is not a Trump partisan, Dr. Fauci, as late as February 29th, he appeared on national television, on the "Today Show", and said that no American should change their customs of life.

OK, so, this was the fog of war. Opinions and views and analyses were shifting dramatically among the scientists, among the politicians this entire time, as we were trying to learn about the virus.

By the way, Dr. Fauci said that, and days later, literally, he was advocating for a national shutdown, something that that happened two weeks later in the middle of March.

So I think it's unfair for you to characterize things as if they were solid and unchanging. These were shifting facts, shifting analyses. And, by the way, part of why we knew so little is because the Chinese Communist Party, who was the ultimate culprit in all of this -- not Donald Trump, not the Democrats, no American -- the Chinese Communist Party lied to the world. They could have shared the scientific and health information with the world early on, and in all likelihood either contained this virus to Wuhan itself, or if it did get out of Wuhan, at least help the world to deal with it effectively.

Instead, we were searching largely in the darkness to try to figure out the scientific facts -- and again, the scientists themselves were shifting their views dramatically during this period.

WALLACE: Steve, your explanation is somewhat different from the president, because you're saying, well, the president didn't really know, it was the fog of war. But when he has described it, he said he didn't want to panic the country, he didn't want to jump up and down and panic the country.


WALLACE: And one of the reasons that there's a question about that is because of the fact that the president plays the panic card all the time, especially when he's talking about Joe Biden. Take a look.


TRUMP: If Biden wins, the mob wins. If Biden wins, the rioters, anarchists, arsonists, and flag burners win.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Peaceful protests, peaceful protests (ph).


WALLACE: Is that a president who is trying to keep the country calm?

CORTES: There's a -- there's key difference here. When the president is talking about legitimate fear of what can happen in America if Joe Biden were to win, and if disrespect for the police were continue to become the norm in this country, he's trying to exhort the American people to action, to say we can stop this, we can back the police, we can restore order, we can insist on the rule of law.

That is sensible to recognize that there is legitimate fear out there in the country.

What is not helpful is to tell the American people that this virus is out of control, because what would happen? Things like hoarding, which is happening anyway at that time. It was all ready commencing.

The president's job in a time of crisis is partly to be reassuring to the American people, to convince them that we can and will persevere through this epidemiological Pearl Harbor.

And that's what he did. He was reassuring to the American people, at the same time, he was taking decisive action. He didn't just offer flowery phrases and then sit back. No, he reassured the people and then he made (ph) decisions.


WALLACE: Well, OK -- Steve, I got it. I got your -- I got your point. The argument would be that there's -- it's a false choice you're making. He either plays the rosy scenario or he sets his hair on fire. There is something in the middle, which is just being honest with the American people.

And there's a question, Steve, as to whether or not the president is still being honest with the American people. I want to play what he and Dr. Fauci said this week about how long the coronavirus is going to be with us. Here they are.


TRUMP: We are rounding the turn. You see what's happening, you see the numbers are plunging.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you're talking about getting back to a degree of normality, which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it's going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021.


WALLACE: Those are very different messages. We're rounding the turn versus the end of 2021 about how long the virus is going to be with us.

CORTES: Sure. Listen, clearly, the president has a far more optimistic view right now than does Dr. Fauci. But let me also point out, even within the scientific community, there's tremendous debate. For example, there's people like Dr. Atlas from Stanford, Dr. Risch (ph) from Yale, a lot of folks within science who would disagree with Dr. Fauci.

The president is now making I think very properly a really optimistic case that we are nearing the end of this, that the trends are going aggressively towards health and regarding Fauci, by the way, because I think this is critical on this issue of supposed discrepancies.

Fauci on your network just a few days ago made it very clear that he doesn't believe the president was being dishonest. And let me be precise and quote him, he said, this is Dr. Fauci talking about the president. He said: I didn't see any discrepancies, what he told us, what we told him and what he came out and said publicly.

And again, nobody is going to accuse Dr. Fauci of being a Trump partisan. He said no discrepancies here.

WALLACE: On -- in an interview on MSNBC on Friday, he said something different. I find it interesting that sometimes you're citing him as an authority and sometimes you're saying he's wrong.

One last question, I've got only time for this on the campaign. As we said --


WALLACE: -- the people are --

CORTES: I just said the president had a more optimistic view.

I didn't say Fauci is wrong. I'm just saying the president has a more optimistic view about the virus right now.

WALLACE: Well, I mean, but -- but Dr. Fauci is the leading infectious disease expert in this country. Scott Atlas, who you referred to, wasn't even an infectious disease expert. He's a radiologist.

CORTES: There is a range of view within the scientific community, clearly.

And by the way, the president's job, though, is not to just rootly (ph) take the advice only of scientists as if that is the only input that matters. It's a critical input, absolutely, into making policy, but as are other considerations, for instance, not just physical health but also mental health, also the economic vitality of our country, national security. He has to synthesize a variety of inputs.


WALLACE: You're changing the subject, though. We were talking about the question of how long the virus is going to be with us.

One last question about the campaign, and that has to do with the issue of early mail-in voting, because at this point, you seem to be losing that race, and let me put up some numbers. In key swing states, Florida and North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats lead Republicans by hundreds of thousands of requests for mail ballots in two of those three states by more than 2:1.

Between the president talking down mail and voting, Steve, and the fact that you've gone largely dark in a lot of these states in terms of TV ads, aren't you just buying (ph) the Democrats a big early lead?

CORTES: Well, I don't think so. And first of all, too, we have not gone dark in overall advertising. We're doing a heck of a lot of digital advertising in those states.

But what I would say regarding mail-in is look, in 2016, we were losing the race until election day and then won it big on election day, at least big electorally. And I have the same view this time around.

I think in all probability, we don't know for certain by the way, a lot of those Democrats could be voting for President Trump just because Democrats request a ballot doesn't mean they're voting for Biden.

But regardless, I would concede that it's probably going to be a similar scenario, where -- when we look back retrospectively, we will probably see that the president was down into election day and then won election day itself by an incredibly wide margin. And I say that, by the way, largely because of the enthusiasm gap which is very real between our supporters and Joe Biden's.

WALLACE: Well, and it's certainly true, thousands of people showed up for that rally in the middle of basically nowhere in Nevada last night.

So, Steve, thank you. Thanks for joining us. Always good to talk with you.

Up next, we'll get reaction from the Biden campaign on the road to the White House.


WALLACE: Joe Biden's campaign seized the moment this week using the Woodward book to try to change the subject on the campaign trail from law and order to the pandemic.

Joining us now is Biden campaign senior policy adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Jake, Joe Biden has blistered President Trump's handling of the coronavirus, especially in the wake of Bob Woodward's new book and the revelations in that. But I want to focus first on Joe Biden's record in the early days of the pandemic.

On January 27th, Biden wrote this for "USA Today." I am concerned that the Trump administration's shortsighted policies have left us unprepared for a dangerous epidemic that will come sooner or later.

But the vice president was holding mass rallies as late as March 9th after the CDC had already warned against those kinds of gatherings.

How come?

JAKE SULLIVAN, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER, BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Well, first, Chris, you're right to point out that Joe Biden was warning that we were dangerously unprepared for a pandemic in January. And in February, he was warning that China was blocking the access for our CDC inspectors to get on the ground to be able to learn about the virus and protect the American people while Donald Trump was praising their transparency. And in March, he was laying out comprehensive plans for how he would deal with it as president.

WALLACE: Jake, I understand all this, but I want to --

SULLIVAN: But Joe Biden wasn't president in March -- Joe Biden --

WALLACE: Can you answer my question? Why was he holding mass rallies as late as March 9th?

SULLIVAN: Because he wasn't the president and he didn't get the information from government experts telling him this was deadly and airborne the way President Trump did. It wasn't being told by his national security advisor way that Donald Trump was, that this was going to be the worst crisis of his presidency. He didn't have access to the kind of information that Donald Trump had and Donald Trump got all that information, learns the virus was deadly, learned it was airborne, learned it was worse than the flu, and then lied to the American people and did nothing about it. That is the difference in the record between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in this regard.

WALLACE: Well, let's -- let's talk about another difference in their record.

On January 31st, President Trump announced travel restrictions on China. That same day, here is what Vice President Biden had to say.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria, xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia to -- and fearmongering, to lead the way instead of science.


WALLACE: Biden denies that he was talking that day about the travel restrictions that the president had just imposed. Are we to believe it was just a coincidence that he was talking about xenophobia the day that the president announced travel restrictions on China?

SULLIVAN: Well, first of all, Chris, independent fact-checkers, including "Politifact," have looked at the claim that Joe Biden was opposed to the China travel restrictions and they have deemed that claim false. It's not a coincidence Joe Biden was talking about Donald Trump's record from the beginning of demonizing Chinese-Americans, of giving names to this virus, of raising questions about whether we should trust Asian-Americans. This is something Donald Trump has been doing over the course of his four years, is using xenophobia and fearmongering in the moment of crisis rather than actually doing his job.

What Joe Biden said was that these travel bans can slow the virus, but they can't stop the virus. And that's what the record reflects. Despite the fact that there were restrictions put in place, both with respect to China and Europe, we have 200,000 people dead and 6 million cases. And the reason why is because Donald Trump didn't do his job with respect to testing, with respect to protective gear, with respect to guidance.

WALLACE: Well, but -- but I want to -- I want to focus again on this -- Jake, I want to focus on this because your campaign -- your campaign didn't say -- you say, well, the fact-checkers say he didn't oppose it. Your campaign didn't say that Biden approved of the travel restrictions until April.

Why did it take him so long? And would you agree that the president, moving so much faster, January 31st, to impose travel restrictions when Biden didn't formally come out in support of the travel restrictions on China until April 3rd, the Biden -- that Trump's actions saved thousands of lives?

SULLIVAN: First of all, Chris, the virus was already in the United States by the time that -- that Donald Trump imposed these restrictions. And, by the way, after he imposed the restrictions, tens of thousands of people came into this country from China.

WALLACE: I'm asking you a specific question. Why did it -- why -- I'm asking -- Jake, I'm asking you a specific question. Why did it take Biden two months to approve the -- to approve the travel restrictions?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, it didn't take him two months. In a speech on March 12th, Joe Biden said the travel restrictions can slow the virus, but they can't stop the virus. His whole point was, the only way long-term for us to get this virus under control is for the president to stand up and do his job here at home where the virus was circulating. That's what he was placing so much emphasis on the kinds of things other countries did to get the virus under control, testing, PPE, resources, all things Donald Trump didn't do so than on Friday of this week, more than a thousand Americans died. And in Canada, zero did. That is the difference in failed leadership in the United States and the kind of effective leadership that Joe Biden would have brought to bear had he been president throughout this entire crisis.

WALLACE: I want to talk about another subject because President Trump has been hitting Joe Biden hard on the issue of law and order. He says that that will be threatened if Joe Biden is elected president.

In Portland, Oregon, you see the videos here, there have been more than 100 days of protests, often violent.

Does the president think the mayor of that city and the governor of the state have handled the hundred days of protests and riots in Portland properly?

SULLIVAN: You said does the president believe that or do you mean Vice President Biden?

WALLACE: Does the vice -- if I -- if I said that, I meant Vice President Biden.

SULLIVAN: Vice President Biden believes that the -- the single biggest difference between success and failure with respect to safety in these communities has been Donald Trump, not the local leadership. It has been Donald Trump pouring gasoline on the fire and causing more damage, more wreckage, more division, more violence, inciting his supporters, for example, to drive convoys through the street, firing paintball and --


SULLIVAN: And spraying pepper spray on protesters. That's what Joe Biden wants to stop. He condemns violence on both the left and the right.

WALLACE: But -- but -- but, Jake, it's up -- it's up to the -- it's up to -- Jake, it's up to -- Jake, it -- it's up to the -- the -- the mayor to call out the police force. It's up to the governor to call out the National Guard.

Doesn't -- don't they bear some responsibility for the hundred days? Can you really say it's President Trump in Washington whose causing all the protests? Or, more importantly, failing to stop all the protests?

SULLIVAN: Of course. Of course -- of course -- of course responsibility lodges at every level of government, local, state, et cetera.

But, Chris, here's the important point. If there were Democratic mayors and a Democratic governor in Portland and in Oregon when Joe Biden was vice president and you didn't see this happening. Joe Biden and Donald -- and -- and Barack Obama protected federal property without having to send in militias. Joe Biden and Barack Obama cut the violent crime rate by 15 percent in this country --


SULLIVAN: Without inciting more lawlessness and more chaos and more violence on the streets.

So the real difference in what we're seeing today is a difference in leadership in the White House that chooses to inflame every situation rather than try to calm them down. And Biden has been out there consistently saying, wherever the violence comes from --

WALLACE: But don't you think the coronavirus, the fact that we've had six months of dislocation from that, don't you think the fact that we've had George Floyd and the reaction from that, don't you think that's played a role in it, that it -- again, I don't -- can you really blame all this on President Trump?

SULLIVAN: Of course. Of course. Of course. The point that I'm making is that, at a moment like this, at a crisis moment like this, the single most important thing that we need from the White House is an effort to reduce tension, to calm the situation down, to call out violence wherever it comes from. And, frankly, Donald Trump has simply been unwilling to call out violence from right wing militias.

Joe Biden has said, whether it's from the left or the right, violence is wrong. Donald Trump has been too scared to do that because he doesn't want to take on his own people. So I'm not sitting here saying that every last aspects of this falls at the feet of the White House. Of course not. But what I am saying is that one of the biggest differences between how things operated under the Obama-Biden administration and how they operate in Donald Trump's America is that we have leadership in the White House that is pouring gasoline on the fire rather than trying to bring a significant amount of progress towards greater safety in our communities.

WALLACE: Jake, thank you. Thanks for your time this Sunday. Please come back.

Up next, we're going to bring in our Sunday group to discuss that new FOX national poll as we count down the final seven weeks to Election Day.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Coming up, in the homestretch of the 2020 race, the mud keeps flying.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: President Trump has broken just about every promise he's ever made to the American worker.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Can you imagine if I lost him? I'd have to say I lost to the worst candidate ever put up.


WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel what those new Fox polls say about the race.


WALLACE: We've been telling you about the latest Fox News poll and here are some more findings.

Joe Biden is leading among women, suburban voters, seniors and minorities. President Trump's support comes from men, whites, rural voters and veterans.

To drill down on all of this, it's time now for our Sunday group.

Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, and former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, director of the Wilson Center.

Kristen, as the professional pollster in this group, I'm going to start with you.

When you look at the new Fox poll, and especially the internals, which groups support which candidates, what issues they trust them more on, where is this race right now?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, ECHELON INSIGHTS, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER" AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: If you're a Democrat, you have to be feeling and unsettling sense of deja vu, that ultimately you'd rather have your candidate be up than down, so Biden plus five is -- is not bad news for Democrats, but it certainly does feel like this is not a race that is over yet.

When I look at the internals, those numbers that you just showed on the screen, two really stick out to me. One is the numbers among seniors. This is a group that President Trump won by seven points four years ago, but it's clear that the virus has taken its toll on President Trump's standing with this group. Now, with Biden up by 9 among seniors, that's a really big swing.

But the other number that sticks out to me was Trump's standing among Hispanic voters. Now, that's certainly a group that is in Biden's camp. But in 2016, Trump only won 28 percent of Hispanic voters. So getting all the way up to 41 percent has certainly got to be making him feel a little more comfortable in states like Arizona and Florida, where you do have a large Hispanic population.

WALLACE: Let's go back to the internals in the polls on the -- on issues and where voters feel in their trust. Voters trust Biden to do a better job on the coronavirus and race by a wide margin. Despite the president's focus on law and order, the two candidates are basically tied there. The one big issue where trump leads is the economy.

Brit, what does that tell you about the state of the race at this point, 51 days before Election Day, to the degree that Election Day matters anymore?

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think the economy, of course, will be a major issue and one that the president, despite the fact that we're in this severe recession caused by the virus and the lockdowns, the fact that he still has a lead there shows that that's likely to endure to Election Day and will certainly help him.

I think, Chris, this is -- what this overall poll shows is the race overall nationally has tightened to some extent. That's good for Trump. But most of the other numbers in this poll are not good for him and suggest to me at least that he needs to campaign more effectively as he did in the closing days of the campaign in 2016 where he sharpened has focus, stopped the Twitter stuff, campaigned hard in the -- in the key battleground states and pulled out the election. This is another election where he'll need to pull it out.

WALLACE: The big story, I think we'd all agree, this week, and it -- we'll see how long it lasts and with the velocity with which we consume news, is Bob Woodward's new book and the revelation that in hours of a private, taped interviews that President Trump was talking much more pessimistically, a much greater sense of -- of urgency about the coronavirus and saying to Woodward that he was playing it down.

Here's part of that conversation between the president and Woodward and then how both candidates reacted after it became public.

Take a look.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.


TRUMP: Because I don't want to create a panic.

As the British government advised the British people in the face of World War II, keep calm and carry on. That's what I did.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: While this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose. It was a life-and- death betrayal of the American people.


WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, how damaging do you think the revelations in the Woodward book are to President Trump's chances?

JANE HARMAN, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN (D-CA) AND WILSON CENTER DIRECTOR: Well, as I recall, Winston Churchill told the truth to the British people and had a plan to resist and overcome the enormous onslaught of the Nazis. And, ultimately, was triumphant. Franklin Roosevelt had a plan too.

I think here the Woodward book is pretty devastating. There's a lead story in "The Washington Post" today that says the charm is wearing off. And I think if the virus infects as many people as it's predicted to infect in the next few months, that a lot of these folks who were showing up at potential spreader events, like the Trump rallies, are going to reconsider whether they have been led down a path that's hurting their families and ultimately hurting the economy.

WALLACE: Brit, we -- you and I have certainly seen this before with presidents where we find out that they're saying one thing in public and another thing in private. And to add to that, in this particular case, we have the president's own conversations on tape.

How big a deal?

HUME: Well, it's a pretty big deal for the moment. I'm not sure that it won't blow over in time. A lot will depend on the course of the coronavirus, it seems to me, the over -- you know, overall numbers are -- are trending down. That could change, as we all know.

But, Chris, just -- this whole episode is an illustration of what I think is a critical factor here, which is the president gets himself in political trouble continually, not so much by the actions he takes and doesn't take, but by the stuff he says. And if you look at the record on this, you know, while he's, you know, allegedly playing down the coronavirus and perhaps indeed he did, he did take quite a lot of actions.

You know, Steve Cortes outlined some of them earlier. There was a lot of things done. You know, you've got Governor Cuomo in New York complaining about this, but he did a lot for the state of New York and many other places as well. So while he was saying things that are easily criticized, he was doing a lot. And for -- you know, for Joe Biden and others to claim that, you know, he didn't do anything and all that is nonsense.

He -- but, once again, we have this situation where the stuff he says gets him into trouble and obscures the stuff he -- he does. A problem for him.

WALLACE: Kristen, I don't -- Kristen, I don't know if -- if you've got any polling so far on this incident, but I'm sure you've seen polling in the past where we find out that a candidate or an incumbent says one thing in public and then we find out they said another thing in private.

How -- how damaging is that? How seriously do voters take that?

ANDERSON: I'm normally skeptical that anecdotes from books that get read very widely within the beltway will ultimately move the minds of those key swing voters that this election will hinge on.

But in this particular case, I actually think there's a chance that this moment could have an effect because, as you noted, Trump is doing quite well in polls on the economy, but he's still not trusted by enough voters on his handling of the virus. And for the entire last six months, he's had the argument to say, look, I was operating off of the information that I had, the scientific consensus was changing, I was doing the best I can with the information I had. And this really undercuts that. It's him sort of saying, I did have information early on that this virus was very serious.

And, yet, nonetheless, it's not just about actions. In a situation like this, a president's words really do matter to inspire a nation to take personal and private action to help curb a virus as well. So it does matter that he was out downplaying the virus and not being completely forthright with the American people. I do think there's a chance that this will prevent him from being able to recover very much from those numbers on his -- the lack of trust in him to handle Covid unless miraculously we are able to see this virus disappear in the next couple of weeks.

WALLACE: Kristen, you heard Brit, who's basically saying stick -- be more disciplined, make the points that you need to make and don't yet into unnecessary and extraneous fights. What advice beyond that would you say -- give to President Trump if you were advising him? How does he turn this race around in the next seven weeks?

ANDERSON: I think he needs to be very clear about what another four years of a Trump presidency would look like. Initially, when he ran for president, it was very clear, he had a slogan, "make America great again," certain key policy proposals he wanted to advance could be boiled down to things like "build the wall." We don't really have that as much this time. We have a sense that he'll keep doing a lot of what he's already been doing. But when you have things like a right track/wrong track number were only three in ten Americans think we're on the right track, you do need to give a sense of what will the next four years look like. I don't think he's done that very clearly and I think he needs to do more.

WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, flipside of that, what does Joe Biden need to do to hold onto this race? And can he continue to maintain such a light campaign schedule? President Trump is all over the west and southwest over the next three days. The vice president is off the campaign trail and he's not really engaging much with reporters.

Your advice to the vice president?

HARMAN: Well, as I said earlier, going to events where people don't wear masks that could be spreader events is pretty dangerous at a time where wearing masks is the crucial way we're going to curb this virus, which is in Trump's interest before the election.

Back to Biden, I think he has a brilliant economic message. He hasn't made the sale yet, but the economic message is "build back better."

And he is traveling, consistent with appropriate health advice. I don't think it makes sense to send different messages in a -- in a rally with people with no masks and then through your health advisors. So I -- I applaud the way Biden's handling this. He's got to show energy, but I think on the economy, the message that he has is going to bridge from moderate to liberals. And that's the tent he has to build in order to win. And I think at the moment things are greatly in his favor.

WALLACE: All right, panel, thank you all, see you next Sunday.

Up next, football is back, but with some big changes. We'll talk with play- by-play legend who will be guiding fans through this one-of-a-kind season. We'll be right back with Fox Sports' Joe Buck.


WALLACE: This is opening Sunday of the NFL's 101st season, but you'll notice some big changes as the league tackles the pandemic and joins the growing national conversation about race.

Earlier I sat down with Fox Sports' lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck to discuss what fans can expect on the gridiron this fall.


WALLACE: Joe, it's great to talk to you and even greater to talk to you about football.

Let's start, however, with Covid, because 24 of the 32 teams are not going to allow fans in the stadiums, at least at the beginning of the season. What impact do you think that will have on the feel of the games and on how well they play the games?

JOE BUCK, FOX SPORTS LEAD PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER: Yes, I -- I think the -- you and I could do a seminar on this. I -- I think the feel of the game at home will be largely what people are used to, because we can sweeten the audio, we can add crowd, we can -- we can do it smartly to where it -- it makes sense. You can't just go crazy with crowd noise. It's got to be done well.

I -- I think the issue is on the field, you know, for a game that I'm doing later today, you've got a -- a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team with Tom Brady making his Buccaneers debut on the road in New Orleans, which is one of the toughest places to play. I mean it gets crazy down there. And for an offense trying to figure it out, if you can't hear, that -- that's a big factor. So I -- I think there's a competitive disadvantage, if you will, for the Saints because they don't have that. You know, they -- the NFL's allowing teams in their home stadiums to pump up the crowd noise level to 75 decibels, which is well below where these stadiums are when they're going crazy. So it's a bit of a break for Brady and the Bucs to go on the road and play the Saints. I think that's the only issue that -- that really is at -- is at play here because for you at home on TV, I think we will make it sound like you're used to hearing the NFL on Fox.

WALLACE: Well, you have put your -- your finger right on the big story line of the season, I think most people would agree, Tom Brady going for the Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You calling the game today against the Saints. How do you think Brady is going to do on a new team, and can he turn around a franchise, I checked it out, that has finished last in the NFC South seven of the last nine years?

BUCK: Yes, I mean they haven't been to the playoffs for -- for 12 seasons. I -- I think he's going to play great. We had a chance to talk to him on Friday. He sounds like a kid. And we've talked to him plenty over the years. I think it was just time for him, certainly not for Patriots fans, but time for him to move on. And to go to Tampa Bay -- the reason -- he -- he's smart. I mean the reason he picked the Buccaneers, which seemed at the time like this team that was off the board, how could he go to Tampa Bay? They're loaded. I mean they've got a good offensive line, they've got terrific pro bowl receivers, they've got terrific tight ends and he brought Rob Gronkowski back and he told us Gronk is -- is all in and -- and he's playing like a kid again. And I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers collectively, they will be a team that will get to the postseason this year and -- and really, I believe, be a threat to make it to the Super Bowl, which, by the way, is -- is going to be played in their home stadium, Super Bowl LV, down in Tampa Bay, Florida.

WALLACE: We're going to mark this tape, Joe. If you -- I mean if they end up, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the Super Bowl, I promise you we will play this tape next -- next February.

The other big storyline besides Covid, besides Tom Brady, is the issue of race. And the NFL has made a real about-face. They now say that players can protest peacefully, respectfully, during the playing of the national anthem. They will have anti-racist slogans in the end zone. People can put them on the back of their helmets.

Why do you think the NFL and the owners decided to make a pretty sizable change?

BUCK: Because it was time. I mean it was -- it's time before 2020 to make that change. But I think -- I think this has been something that has been brewing since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee. The league had the reaction that they had four years ago. And now I think the conversation's entirely different with what's going on during the calendar year of 2020. So I think it's a -- it's a necessary conversation for people within the NFL to have. It's the right thing to do. I think these players more and more are finding their voice to try to force change in society. And -- and so good for them.

You know, as we do these games, the question always becomes, how much time do you have in game to really cover what's going on? Let's say during the national anthem or before the game, you have to cover it, it should be covered, it should be talked about, and then you go back to the next play. It's going to be in the end zone. One of them being "end racism." It doesn't get much more simple than that. And it will be there on your television today and all season long and -- and, in my opinion, rightly so.

WALLACE: Finally, I've got about 15 seconds left.

I know this is an ABC slogan, but are you ready for some football, Joe?

BUCK: I'm ready, man. I -- I've been ready -- I've never been more excited to go back into a broadcast booth, cover a game and to start it -- I mean he's only going to make his debut once as a Buc and I'm glad this Buck is going to be standing there watching him later today in New Orleans.

WALLACE: Joe Buck, the big game of the week on Fox today, and a prediction for the Super Bowl. We'll hold you to it.

Joe, thanks so much.

BUCK: All right, thanks, Chris. Good to talk to you.


WALLACE: Up next, our "Power Player of the Week."

This week, the newest presidential memorial opens here in Washington. We'll give you a first look.


WALLACE: They are the crown jewels of the National Mall here in Washington, the presidential memorials.

Well, this week, a new one will be unveiled, and it's our "Power Player of the Week."


SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), EISENHOWER MEMORIAL COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: His is a story of being a general at the very crucial time in history and then being a president at a very special time, eight years of peace and prosperity.


WALLACE (voice over): Kansas Senator Pat Roberts on the legacy of president, general, and, yes, proud Kansan, Dwight Eisenhower, who will be honored this week with the opening of this memorial in Washington.

Roberts helped lead the effort. It's just the seventh monument or memorial to a president in the nation's capital, placing Ike alongside Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington.

The memorial celebrates Eisenhower's role of supreme allied commander, giving the order on D-Day.

ROBERTS: You have the president talking to the airborne heroes that went in, and that was the famous picture of saying, "let's go."

WALLACE: On the other side, a statue of Ike as president, a war hero determined to keep the peace.

EISENHOWER: The only answer to a regime that wages total cold war is to wage total peace.

ROBERTS: We had eight years in prosperity, but stop and think a minute, that's what everybody hopes that we can deceive. And very few presidents do that. And it takes very strong leadership to do it.

WALLACE: Congress approved the memorial back in 1999, but it took years for the Eisenhower family and famed architect, Frank Gary, to agree on a design. In congressional hearings, Eisenhower's granddaughter said, the focus on Ike's childhood missed the point.

SUSAN EISENHOWER, EISENHOWER FAMILY MEMBER (March 20, 2012): The Eisenhower our nation wants to celebrate is not a dreamy boy, but a real man who faced unthinkable choices, took personal responsibility, and did his duty with modesty and humility.

WALLACE: And they didn't like a huge metal tapestry, which was supposed to show the Kansas plains. Former Secretary of State James Baker helped negotiate a compromise.

ROBERTS: Jim called Susan and she said how about, you know, Normandy at peace?

WALLACE: The signature piece of the memorial now shows the cliff's U.S. soldiers took on D-Day. It's especially impressive at night.

WALLACE (on camera): Do you, honestly, do you like the memorial, or are you just happy that something was built while members of the greatest generation are still around?

ROBERTS: Both, probably. It's like legislation, you know, you -- you finally vote for a bill. It's not the best possible bill, it's the best bill possible.

WALLACE (voice over): The memorial is on prime real estate across from the Air and Space Museum. Roberts hopes that will draw schoolchildren to take in one of the key lessons from Eisenhower's life.

ROBERTS: From a small town America, a youngster from a great family and then West Point then then the rest is history. So it's just a tribute, really, to young people to really set their goals high and try to achieve them.


WALLACE: The Eisenhower Memorial will be dedicated on Thursday and it opens to the public Friday.

And that's it for today. Have a great week, and we'll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.

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