This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on August 1, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: I’m Dana Perino, in for Chris Wallace.
The Biden administration pushes back against critics of the latest mask
guidance based off new data from the CDC.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The CDC recommends you wear a
mask when you’re in public and indoors. That’s true for both the vaccinated
PERINO (voice-over): The CDC warning the delta variant spreads as easily
as chickenpox and more easily than the common cold.
Now, the debate over masks and vaccinations raging in cities, businesses,
and the halls of Congress.
REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Which is it? Vaccines or masks?
PERINO: We’ll ask the director of NIH, Dr. Francis Collins, about the
science behind decision and the push to get more people vaccinated.
Then, what does the new guidance mean for the nation’s return to school?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is wholly responsible to drop the mask made it at
this critical time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you re-implement mask mandates, we will not be
sending our students to school.
PERINO: States grapple with reinstating mask mandates indoors and in the
classroom. We’ll talk with South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, who is
at odds with educators in his state. It’s a “FOX News Sunday” exclusive.
And consumer spending on the rise, but high inflation also partly to blame.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We have gas prices that
haven’t been this high since the last time Biden was in office.
PERINO: We’ll ask Brian Deese, the top economic White House advisor, if
the delta variant could wreck the recovery.
BIDEN: It’s going to get better.
PERINO: President Biden visits blue-collar workers in political
battleground. We’ll ask our Sunday panel whether the president’s early
start can stave off midterm losses.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
PERINO (voice-over): And hello again from “FOX News Sunday.”
The CDC releasing new research behind its decision to recommend a return to
mask wearing indoors, even by the vaccinated in parts of the country where
the delta variant is fueling new infections. The findings potentially
changing public messaging about how the disease is spread and how the
nation fights it. And coming at a time when Americans are exhausted and
confused by the ever-changing measures.
In a moment, we’ll speak with the director of the National Institutes of
Health, Dr. Francis Collins, and with South Carolina Governor Henry
But, first, let’s turn to Mark Meredith at the White House with more on the
new mask rules across the nation.
Good morning, Mark.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Dana, the White House admits new
federal masking guidelines are not going to be popular but officials here
and at the CDC say they are necessary because of the delta variant of this
virus, causing a surge of cases nationwide.
MEREDITH (voice-over): President Biden says the pandemic is lasting longer
than expected because millions of Americans still aren’t vaccinated.
BIDEN: What is happening in America right now is a pandemic, a pandemic of
MEREDITH: But health officials say even vaccinated Americans can spread
the virus. The CDC now recommends people mask up it in areas where there
is, quote, significant or high spread, like Missouri, where the government
says no dice.
GOV. MICHAEL PARSON (R), MISSOURI: We never had a mandate in the state and
we’re not going to do a mandate.
MEREDITH: But many U.S. companies are now requiring customers and
employees wear masks again, some going even further, like Facebook and
Google, mandating employees get a vaccine. Soon, federal employees will be
require to undergo regular testing if they’re not vaccinated.
On Friday, FOX News asking the CDC director if a national mandate was
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: You know, that’s something that I
think the administration is looking into.
MEREDITH: The director later clarified her remarks insisting there will be
no federal mandate but her backtracking added to the week’s confusion.
MEREDITH (on camera): There is some good news, federal health officials
saying vaccinations are on the uptake right now.
But President Biden insists they are not looking at any sort of 2020 style
lockdowns but he hinted on Friday, Dana, that it’s possible we could see
more restrictions in the weeks ahead — Dana.
PERINO: All righty. Mark Meredith reporting from the White House — Mark,
Joining us now, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.
Dr. Collins, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.” It’s so good to have you
DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEATH: Great to be
with you, Dana. Good chance to talk about where we are with COVID.
PERINO: Well, let’s start with that. It has been a very confusing week for
Americans trying to understand just what is happening with COVID at this
state of the pandemic. We have the Delta variant. It’s spreading across
America. Could you give our viewers as clear an explanation as possible on
what we should know and what we should be doing right now?
COLLINS: I will very much like to do that. And let me try to sift (ph)
away all of the confusing information and try to hit the high points. And
they kind of come in two categories, the bad news and the good news. So let
me start with the bad news. Delta is spreading. We know it’s extremely
contagious. And certainly in some parts of the country like Missouri,
Arkansas, Louisiana, it is reaching very high levels. And we are now once
again seeing case levels per day closing in on 100,000, which we haven’t
seen since February.
So this is really a different virus than last year. And everything we’re
learned about COVID a year ago you’ve got to sort of hit the reset button
on now how we need to react to it. We also are learning, and this is not
particularly good news, that vaccinated people, if they get infected, which
is rare but it does happen, they have pretty high viral loads, which means
they could also be passing it on to other people. Even though they have a
very low risk of getting seriously ill themselves, they can be a vector.
That was the reason for CDC saying it’s time, in those places where the
virus is spreading, which is about 75 percent of our counties, to put the
masks back on when you’re in an indoor space where it — whether you’re
vaccinated or not. This is the best way to stop the transmission of this
very contagious virus.
So those are the bad things.
PERINO: Go ahead.
COLLINS: The good things, the vaccines work extremely well, including
against Delta. If you’re vaccinated right now, your chance of getting
infected by this goes down by at least three-and-a-half-fold. Your
likelihood of having symptoms goes down by eight-fold. Your likelihood of
getting really significantly ill, in the hospital, goes down by 25-fold.
That’s an extremely encouraging new set of data from the real world where
we’re tracking this. So vaccinations are still our best hope. And they are
working beautifully, but, of course, we need to be sure that all people
take advantage of that.
So the other part of the good news that I’m happy to see is I think we may,
Dana, have seen a tipping point now where vaccinations are going up every
week, 56 percent increase in vaccinations in the last couple of weeks,
especially in those areas hardest hit. Goodness (ph), Louisiana has tripled
their rate of vaccinations in the last couple of weeks. That means people
are finally sort of saying, OK, I waited long enough, let’s do this.
And I would like everybody listening to this, this morning, to think about
that. Don’t you want to be part of that tipping point? If you haven’t yet
gotten vaccinated, the evidence is now overwhelming. There are so many
things that are not going to be easy for you to do if you’re not
vaccinated. Companies are starting to require this. Just let’s get off the
fence, move forward, and be part of the winning team that gets this Delta
out of here.
PERINO: Think the vaccinated people are somewhat frustrated that they —
you know, they want to get back and go about their lives without masks. And
it’s frustrating to them when they feel like, you know, here we are, have
done the right thing, but now we’re going to be possibly having to go back
to this, including in our schools. And, you know, masks aren’t a magic
bullet. The vaccines aren’t a magic bullet. But the vaccines are working
very well. And I understand that there has been that uptick. Do you think
it’s necessary for children to have to be masked in schools as they start,
you know, in the next couple of weeks?
COLLINS: Well, if the goal here is to reduce transmission of this virus
amongst children who are not completely immune from getting seriously ill,
or having them pass it on to others in their households, the masks are the
best thing we’ve got right now to reduce that.
I know people are frustrated. And I know people are frustrated and it has
gotten very political and people are looking for someone to blame. Just put
all that aside and look at the facts. Delta is as contagious as we now know
it is, and we want to try to put an end to what is a very significant
uptick right now. Wearing masks, if you’re under 12 and can’t be
vaccinated, when you’re school is a really smart thing to do.
And I know it’s tiresome and kids and their parents are sick of it. But
let’s think about what we’re talking about, life and death here. We’ve lost
620,000 Americans already. If we could save even a few of those by putting
masks on ourselves and our kids, well, it seems like the right thing to do.
PERINO: And then at some point don’t we have to accept that there will be
COLLINS: Oh, there is risk in being alive right now, for sure, and risk in
going around your business which I think we’re all determined to try to do
and avoid lockdowns, which is something we don’t want to have to go back
But if we’re going to be able to continue, whether in business or in
school, to do things that we all really value, putting the mask on is the
best way to ensure that things don’t get worse. So it seems like a
sacrifice worth making.
PERINO: All right. I also wanted to ask you about this. So this is about
my mom, but I do think this is representative of a lot of people across
America. So for the last — she’s 74 years old. For the last 18 months she
has done all the right things. They’ve stayed home. She has on her bucket
list a road trip to New England. She lives in Denver. She’d love to see the
colors this fall. But she’s concerned.
I think that as she is fully vaccinated this is a trip she should take and
take the right precautions that she needs to in a crowded place.
But what’s say you about people getting back to living their lives and
learning to live with the virus?
COLLINS: I think she should definitely go. I think she should do all the
careful things. Obviously, wear a mask during public transportation,
because that’s still a very smart thing and required in most cases. And as
you say, wear a mask indoors and crowded places.
But actually, New England is doing a lot better than the rest of the
country. So, she’s going to a place where the infection rates are quite a
I would still urge her to do all these cautious things, but, yeah, go and
enjoy the colors. This is not a reason to stay at home at this point.
We’ve made a lot of progress here, compared to where we were a year ago. We
just don’t want to do silly things to cause the delta virus to come back
PERINO: All right. Dr. Francis Collins, a pleasure to have you this
morning. Thank you so much.
COLLINS: Thank you. Get vaccinated, people.
PERINO: And joining us now from Columbia, South Carolina, Governor Henry
Governor, welcome to “FOX News Sunday.”
I wanted to get your take on what’s going on there in South Carolina. You
have seen a 258 percent increase in the COVID cases, 129 percent in
hospitalizations, and a 17 percent increase in deaths.
What are you telling the citizens of South Carolina about the delta variant
and the risk for the unvaccinated?
GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, we’ve all been through this
before with — when it started out last year, and we are telling everybody
to get vaccinated if you want to get vaccinated.
Peggy and I have gotten vaccinated. We’ve both had the virus and we’ve
But we’re not going to have a statewide mask mandate like they have in some
other places. We’ll not require people to get vaccinated.
And I would say, listening to your previous guests and others on this
subject, I think that the tone and the — I think there’s some exaggeration
going on, some hyperbole. Those figures that you just mentioned — yes, the
rates are going up, but they’re way below what they were a year ago from
that — a year ago.
Now the rates are going up, but they’re not nearly as high as they were
last July. The hospital capacity is — had plenty — those rates are not
going up. There’s no danger there.
But we’re urging people to get vaccinated. But I really think we got to
stay calm. We have put the fire out. It’s smoldering in places and could
come back up, but the house is not on fire again. And that’s what a lot of
the epidemiologists and experts are telling the people and it’s frightening
But we’re not going to have a mandatory mask mandate. We’re not going —
we’re not going to allow our schools — we have a law in South Carolina we
passed last year that says that the schools cannot require masks.
This all will be up to the parents whether the children wear masks when
they go to school. That’s the parent decision now.
We have the information. We know the danger involved. Vaccinations are
available all over the state. Testing is available all over the states.
It’s all free.
And we’re going to trust the people to do the right thing. We’re giving
them the right information.
But I believe a lot of our national experts are — are engaging in
PERINO: Have you been frustrated with the continued poor and confusing
communications, even admittedly for the administration says they know that
it was confusing this week, that the CDC put out? And has that complicated
any of your efforts in getting people either back to work or back in
schools this fall?
MCMASTER: Oh, it has some. We’re not confused here. We know that — what
to do, but the — we have a saying in South Carolina, if you don’t like the
weather, wait a while, it will change in just a few minutes.
And that’s how the advice out of the national experts has been, just back-
and-forth, almost to the point where people have very little confidence in
We like the recommendations. We understand the recommendations. We have a
very fine Department of Health and Environmental Control here in South
But we like to give the information to the people. We don’t require them to
do things. Give them the right information, not exaggeration or hyperbole,
make all the choices available to them and then let them make the decision.
And it’s working.
And I’d point out that if we had followed the advice of the national
experts back when this thing began last year, the whole country would be
closed down. There are still some states, mostly Democratic leadership,
where they still have businesses closed and I think even some churches are
still closed, which I can’t understand due to the First Amendment.
But we didn’t take that course. We — instead of trying to close everything
down we could, we tried to keep everything open that we could.
As a result, our economy is going. Our people are working. They’re
prospering again. While other states are digging out, we’re taking off.
So I think that the exaggeration —
PERINO: Did you —
MCMASTER: — the almost scare tactics of — are not — are not justified,
PERINO: I know that you signed that executive order back on May 11th, but
for your state Department of Health, is there any flexibility within the
law if the health experts and say that they get new information that would
allow for them to ratchet up some of the protections of the people, or is
it just a blanket, no masks, we’re not going to do it?
MCMASTER: It’s a blanket no masks, we’re not going to do it, unless the
legislature comes in and passes a new law. This one lasts for one year and
that’s — there’s no exceptions to it. And that’s for schools as well.
PERINO: And then how will you try to — yeah, I wanted to ask you about
So, I know that in the South, kids will — at least in some counties — go
back and just a couple of weeks. How will you help basically deal with any
tensions between perhaps teachers and parents when it comes to getting back
into the classroom and this mask issue? Or do you think that won’t be a
problem in South Carolina?
MCMASTER: I think there’ll be some on the education side that will be
calling for masks, but that question has already been answered. I gave —
had an executive order when we were still in the state of emergency, that
the parents would decide whether the children would wear masks and then the
legislature followed with that recommendation and said there should be no
So, we’re going to let the parents decide and — but there is no confusion
among the parents. We have seen what happens when these children are
subjected to requiring masks so they can’t perform, they can’t learn. We’ve
had enough damage to the education system already by virtual learning,
which didn’t work at all. We’re really going to be digging out, all of us
across the country, in these K-12 for years.
But adding more fuel to the fire by requirements which are not necessary is
not a smart thing to do, and we’re not going to do it.
PERINO: I noticed that McKinsey study this week that said some kids that
did remote learning, that they were so far behind over the course of their
lifetime, they are already probably $60,000 behind on what they would earn
in their lifetime. So I take your point on that.
Last question to you: what is your best message or incentives there in
South Carolina to encourage people to get a vaccine?
MCMASTER: Use your common sense. You can go online or go most anyplace and
find out where you can get a vaccination for free. You can find out where
to get testing for free. We have sites all over the state. We have an ample
supply now thanks to President Trump.
And I would urge everyone to make your decision, the one that’s right to
you. Talk to your friends, talk to your — talk to your doctor, talk to
your preacher, talk to whomever you want to.
But we — we’ve had a good experience with the vaccine. We don’t have
people checking into the hospitals that are vaccinated. We know that 99
something percent of those that are coming — that do come in, which is
lower than it was a year ago, of course, are unvaccinated.
So we know the vaccine works, but it’s not for everybody. We’re not going
to make anybody —
PERINO: Got it.
MCMASTER: — do it, but we ask everybody to get the information from good
sources and make your decision.
For Peggy and me, that was the right decision, to get the vaccination.
PERINO: Well, I hope that even though the weather, as you say, changes
every few minutes, that you have a great day today. Thank you, Governor.
Thanks for joining us this morning.
MCMASTER: It’s beautiful. Thank you, ma’am.
PERINO: Yeah, I’m sure it is. Thank you.
Up next, how big a threat is the delta variant to the economic recovery?
We’ll ask a top White House economic advisor about that, and growing fears
of inflation, next.
PERINO: The White House is touting strong economic growth while working on
advancing trillions of dollars in spending through infrastructure and
social programs, while this weekend a federal moratorium on evictions has
expired, leaving millions at risk as cases of COVID surge.
Joining us now, Brian Deese, head of the president’s National Economic
Brian, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
I know that this has been a very busy weekend for you and we’ll get to all
of the topics that we can in this time that we have.
Regarding the delta variant and the concerns for people’s health and their
liberty, what — how concerned are you that this new guidance from the CDC
might make some people concerned about going out and keep them home and
maybe slow the economy a little bit?
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, we’re taking it
very seriously. From the beginning, the health and economic crisis have
been inextricably linked. And that will continue to be the case.
But I think the important part is, this is not 2020 or early 2021. We’re in
a very different position. Our economy is growing at a historic rate. Last
year we were in a historic economic free fall. We’re creating jobs at
record pace. Jobs are plentiful and wages are going up.
And nearly 70 percent of Americans have gotten the first vaccine. Vaccines
are free, widely available, anyone can get them, everyone should take them.
And the other thing that’s different is that because President Biden acted
early and aggressively, states, cities, schools, and others, they have the
resources to effectively surge capability where it needs. So states and
localities have the resources to make sure that their hospital systems are
not overwhelmed. Schools have the resources to open safely in September.
And you heard President Biden this week say schools should reopen.
So we are in a fundamentally different place. We have to stay vigilant. We
have to stay focused. But we — our economy and this recovery are strong
and there’s durable momentum in the economy, we just have to keep that
PERINO: So let me ask you about one of those issues, and that is coming
out of COVID, and that was that there was an eviction moratorium that was
put in place to help protect people from being kicked out of their homes
when they couldn’t work, when the government, you know, shut the economy
down. But now that has expired as of last night.
It’s a real mess. It’s been coming for months. Why wait until the last
minute to address it? This — I think, as I saw it, brought up on Thursday
by the speaker, and now it’s expired. Would the president like to see the
Senate act on this and expand the moratorium and extend it going forward?
DEESE: Well, the real issue here is how to get money out to renters who,
through no fault of their own, are behind on their rent and to help
landlords keep those renters in their home, which is a win-win.
President Biden has been on this issue since day one, secured an additional
$20 billion for states and localities for exactly this purpose and got all
of that money to the states and the localities this spring. That money is
there. The states have the tools. The localities have the tools. And
there’s no excuse. They need to move that money to those renters and those
The good news is, we know this can work. In June there was triple the
amount of resource that went than there was in May. In places like
Louisville and Harris County, Texas, they’re getting money out effectively
to help renters.
And at the federal government level, we’re going to continue to do what we
can. Now that that money is with the states and the locals, we’re going to
provide technical assistance. And we can extend eviction moratorium for
properties that are backed by government guarantees. So that’s for HUD and
USDA and the VA. But the key message here is that no landlord should evict
without seeking that rental assistance and states and localities need to
get that money out urgently. And they can — they can do that.
PERINO: It has been pretty shocking though. In New York they have all this
money sitting there and they haven’t dispersed it at all. And you’ll recall
that the unemployment benefits were really hard. Many of the states had a
hard time dealing with that.
Are you confident that the states are going to be able to get out this
money without causing a complete uproar for the administration?
DEESE: Well, we’re not going to rest until that money gets out and is
flowing effectively. The states and localities need to take those steps,
and we’re going to do what we can at the federal level to support them.
But I would just underscore that this is really a win-win. A lot of these
landlords are mom-and-pop landlords. They don’t benefit if they have to
evict tenants. And the individuals here that are affected, you know, face a
devastating choice between having to pay rent or put food on the table.
But those resources are there. They’re there and we can get this done. We
just need the states and localities to move quickly and effectively. And
the federal government, we’re going to continue to do everything that we
can to help support that effort.
PERINO: OK, just to be clear, you do think the moratorium should end at
some point, and is that soon?
DEESE: Well, the president made clear that he would support an extension
of the moratorium. He’d sign it into law if it came to his desk. And we’re
going to take steps that we can. We took the steps to extend a moratorium
for properties that have a government-backed guarantee, again, HUD, VA,
USDA. So those are the steps that we can take.
But right now the opportunity and the need and the necessity is to get that
money that is out there, that Congress passed and that we got to the states
and localities, get that money in the hands of landlords.
DEESE: And landlords should seek that money. Rather than seeking to evict,
they should seek that money. It’s in their interest as well.
PERINO: And the states should get it out to them, that’s for sure.
All right, I wanted to ask you about this as well because this is pretty
big news over the week. The Senate is poised to pass the bipartisan
infrastructure bill this coming week. And then, right after that, the
Democrats plan to start work on their next spending package that they have
Senator Sinema said last week that while she supports beginning the process
on the second package, the White House’s price tag is still too high. She
said this, “while I support beginning this process, I do not support a bill
that costs $3.5 trillion.”
Now Sinema’s statement, Brian, I’m sure you saw, provoked instant outrage
from progressive House Democrats. Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
tweeted this, “good luck taking your own party’s investment on child care,
climate action and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a three-
vote House margin.
Brian, how will you manage the progressives who want much more than $3.5
trillion in additional spending with moderates like Sinema and Joe Manchin,
who want much less?
DEESE: Well, this is a process. And the good news that we’ve seen over the
course of the last week is that this process is moving forward and moving
forward in a way that a lot of people said they didn’t think was possible
just a couple of weeks ago.
First, we saw a really promising vote on a bipartisan infrastructure
package that would invest in roads and bridges, would get high-speed
internet to all Americans, would replace lead water pipes and finally bring
clean water to our schools and our child care facilities and our homes.
These are badly needed investments in our economy and we’re moving that
forward and are hopeful that we’ll see a bipartisan vote in the Senate on
At the same time we’re moving forward and we’re going to advance what’s
called a budget resolution to start the process of writing a reconciliation
to invest in human infrastructure, in things like child care and early
education and things like caring for our seniors and people with
disabilities and also to do things like lower the cost of prescription
drugs and the amount that Medicare pays for those prescription drugs. These
are also critically needed things. Things that have had bipartisan support
in the past.
And we’re going to keep this process going. I mean this is the legislative
process in action. The president has an agenda. He cares about both of
these things. These are both his priority. And we’re going to keep making
progress and keep getting this done.
PERINO: All right, so that’s going to — we’ll see how that goes. There’s
some amendments that have to go through, so it’s a little bit precarious,
but there is momentum, I’ll give you that for sure.
Billionaire businessman Ken Langone said, however, that — and he’s not
alone. You know, people like Larry Summers, allies of the White House, are
concerned about inflation if the government puts way too much money into
Here’s what Ken Langone said. I think you’re going to take a white-hot fire
and throw a five-gallon gas can on top of it. You’re going to have flames
so high it’s going to be incredible.
Is the president concerned about the risk of inflation as we go forward
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: So I want to separate out
two very different things. Certainly the price increases that we’ve seen
over the last couple of months are real and we’ve seen them in areas like
cars and hotel prices, airlines, food. But they share one thing in common,
which is they’re all connected to the pandemic and they’re all connected to
the kinds of supply chain bottlenecks and issues that we have when we wake
up an economy that was dormant. And we, and almost every into independent
forecaster, look forward and see that those will dissipate as this economic
It’s a very different question from what the impact will be of long term
investments in our economy’s productive capacity and in our economy’s
workforce. And long-term investments like what we’re talking about in the
infrastructure package that will actually improve our ports and our
airports, our roads and our bridges, that will actually break bottlenecks
in our economy. It will make it easier to get goods and services flowing.
It will actually lower prices over the long term.
If we can get more people into the workforce by investing in things like
quality child care, some more parents and more women can work in the
workforce, that will increase labor supply. It will actually reduce price
pressures on our economy. And so those long-term investments, it’s a very
different thing. And that’s an economic strategy that I think you have
broad — you see broad support for. And, frankly, those are investments
that are long overdue and are the kinds of things that will sustain, not
only a strong recovery, but actually help to put downward pressure on
prices going forward.
PERINO: All right, Brian, thanks for your time and your views from the
White House. Obviously, that’s going to be a big debate coming up and we
will pay attention to it here on Fox News.
Always good to talk with you. Thank you so much.
DEESE: Thanks a lot.
PERINO: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group on the debate over mask
mandates, even for the vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don’t know, the gentleman over there is going
to run for the Senate. Maybe he wants to do that so he doesn’t have to wear
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): The top doctor for Congress asks us to put on masks
when we come to a chamber with 435 people.
And I just find it absolutely immature and appalling to somehow diminish it
to try to score cheap political points.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Debate erupts on the House floor over House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the mask requirement will return
to D.C. based on the CDC guidance.
And now it’s time for our Sunday group to talk about all of this.
Marc Thiessen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute,
Jacqueline Alemany of “The Washington Post,” and Mo Elleithee of Georgetown
University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.
Marc, I have to ask you, the CDC made a lot of news this week. They’ve been
roundly criticized. The White House got upset when reporters covered on
that confusion and said they were confusing it. This is a tweet in all caps
from the White House. Vaccinated people do not transmit the virus at the
same rate as unvaccinated people. And if you fail to include that context,
you’re doing it wrong.
Marc, I’ve been a little bit pulling my hair out as to why the White House
instead didn’t just hold a briefing to basically clear up any confusion,
answer all the questions, rather than having one off interviews or email
distribution of guidance come from the CDC.
MARC THIESSEN, RESIDENT FELLOW AT THE AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE,
“WASHINGTON POST” COLUMNIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Your 100 percent
correct. And, look, the message from the White House and from the — for
the federal government ought to be for, if you are vaccinated, for you the
pandemic is over. There have been 164 million Americans who have been fully
vaccinated and less than a thousand of those have died of COVID. You are
more likely to die from a lightning strike, a dog attack, drowning, a bee
sting, or even seasonal flu than you are to die of COVID-19 if you are
And the unvaccinated — and the unvaccinated pose no risk to the
vaccinated. So this — so the idea that we all have to run around wearing
masks and going back to COVID restrictions is absurd.
The — what the vaccines have done is that they have taken this mortal
threat and turned it into a threat no more dangerous than the common cold.
But our battle has never been against the common cold, it’s been against
mass death. And mass death is over.
PERINO: Jackie, were reporters just try to do their best to try to, you
know, cover this bouncing ball?
JACQUELINE ALEMANY, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Yes, Dana, look, I think a
document obtained by my colleagues this week from the CDC about previously
unpublished data was really revealing. And I think that what the
frustration has been is that some of this data, which has showed an
evolution in findings on the delta variant hasn’t been made — hasn’t been
communicated to the public before a change in these mask mandates and
You’ve had public health experts come out and criticize the administration.
It’s not just frustrations that you’re hearing from White House reporters
about the lack of information, but basically this argument from trusted
experts, like — people like Dr. Scott Gottlieb arguing that this public
health information is going to help save lives. And it allows this policy
to be made better and allows people to make decisions that, you know,
potentially, again, at the end of the day, are going to help mitigate these
But I think that some of the White House’s internal machinations are also
that so long as these vaccination rates have stalled, masks are a way to,
in the meantime, prevent the transmission of the delta variant. But, at the
end of the day, what Americans still need to prioritize first and foremost
is getting vaccinated. Again, though, that messaging is a very fine needle
to thread here.
PERINO: It is.
ALEMANY: And it was — it hasn’t been handled very clearly by White House
officials this week
PERINO: On the other issue, Mo, I wanted to ask you this, why do — why do
you think the Biden administration and congressional Democrats waited so
long to address the eviction moratorium when we’ve all known about the
deadline for weeks? They spoke about it Thursday. The expiration date was
Saturday. Who dropped the ball and what’s next?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, FORMER
DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it’s a good
question. And I do think there are a lot of people who are frustrated that
— that the extension issue really only started to surface this last week.
But — but listening to Brian Deese earlier as you talked with him, I do
think there’s a lot of importance in his point that there is money that is
out there to deal with this. And some states and localities are doing a
really good job of getting that money out to renters and landlords and some
states really are not. You mentioned earlier New York, Dana, but also
Florida. South Carolina, Arkansas have not been disturbing at the same rate
as some of the better ones. There is a — there — so there is a mechanism
in place — and this is the White House’s argument — there is a mechanism
in place to deal with the people who are in the biggest crunch right now
but they need to do a better job of disturbing those funds. And, at the
same time, because of the Supreme Court’s decision, there’s not much more
that can be done to extend this until Congress acts.
PERINO: Right, until Congress Acts.
And I have to —
ELLEITHEE: I think a lot of people wish that had — that had happened
PERINO: Yes. Yes.
ELLEITHEE: Yes, I think a lot of people wish that it happened a little
PERINO: Well, I’m sure. And a lot of the renters and the landlords.
ELLEITHEE: But the money is there to help them right now.
PERINO: Yes, not all the landlords are Warren Buffett.
PERINO: But, Marc, I have to — maybe this one last question to you on
this, which is, if they were to extend this moratorium for another four to
five months, that puts us right in the middle of the holidays. Does anyone
really believe that the administration is going to want eviction notices
going out over Christmas? And then how long does this moratorium get
THIESSEN: Well, it shouldn’t be extended. I mean, look, it’s time to stop
paying people not to work and it’s stop — time to stop letting people live
in other people’s properties rent free, which is what these policies are
The — the — when the moratorium was created, it was in the time when
people — when the government was shutting down the economy and pushing
people out of their jobs and we wanted to make people that people weren’t
pushed out of their homes at the same time. Today there are a record 9.3
million unfilled jobs in America and 48 percent of employers say that they
have jobs that they want to fill that they can’t fill. So anyone who wants
a job can get a job in this — in this country. And, at the same time, if
you want people to take advantage of the rental assistance, which is a good
program, the Biden administration has only pushed out 7 percent of the $47
billion that have been offered for this, having an eviction moratorium
means that there’s no incentive to do it. If you can’t be kicked — if you
can’t be evicted from their home, you have no incentive to pay your back
rent and to — and to — and to do this. So lifting the eviction
moratorium, while more effectively help putting the rental assistance, it
helps everybody. The homeowners don’t want to evict people because they
want to get their back rent and the people who are living there don’t want
to be evicted either.
THIESSEN: So what we need to do is lift the moratorium and push this aide
out so that people can get the back rent and be made whole and we can get –
– and get the money out.
PERINO: And get the money out. Absolutely. The taxpayers have given the
money. They were generous. And that money then just has to get out to the
Panel, we have to take a quick break.
Up next, Kamala Harris’ bad poll numbers trigger some Democrats’ concerns
for next year’s midterms. We’ll discuss, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): The word in this town and all across this
country from the naysayers is that bipartisanship is dead, that it doesn’t
work anymore and that government is broken. And we are here to say, no, it
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERINO: Moderate Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema tripling down a
bipartisanship but not necessarily on the progressive agenda many in her
party want enacted.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Jackie, apparently this morning Susan Collins is saying, she’s a senator
from Maine, that she thinks there will be more than ten Republican senators
supporting the bill. How do you see it on The Hill, as I understand, Senate
staffers worked through the night to try and get some legislative language
that Senator Manchin says should be available today?
ALEMANY: That’s exactly right, Dana. Senate staffers have been working
overnight thumbing through this 2,700 page infrastructure deal. But, look,
getting ten Republican senators on board to get this through is only the
first challenge I think you’re going to see in actually passing a
bipartisan info structure package as soon as this gets — makes its way to
the House is going to be really where a lot of the work has to be done.
As you’ve seen members, more progressive members, already applying lots of
pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to buckle to the pressure of
moderate Democratic senators who are already rebuffing the $3.5 trillion
reconciliation bill that Pelosi has promised to pass in tandem with this
bipartisan infrastructure bill, whether or not Pelosi actually ultimately
is going to — how long she’s going to wait for this $3.5 trillion bill to
make its way from the Senate to the House to then move forward is unclear.
But this is a very fine balancing act that she’s going to have to play with
an increasingly growing 100-member progressive caucus that has increasing
influence with every day.
PERINO: Marc, it seems like knives are out a little bit for the moderate
senators on the Democratic side, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. But they
seem to not be bothered by that. They continue to push. What do you see —
how do you see it?
THIESSEN: Yes, I think this was a story of two images for me. The first
image that I saw was the image of Kyrsten Sinema standing at — arm in arm
with Rob Portman at the press conference announcing this bipartisan deal,
which is showing not just cooperation, not just compromise, but genuine
affection for each other. These people work together to craft something
that is truly bipartisan. And that’s what the American people want.
And then you contrast that with the image of the squad numbers going on
Twitter and accusing Kyrsten Sinema of being a racist and the — and the —
and the bipartisan deal people being racist and say — because she
wouldn’t go — because she wants to reach out to Republicans and
I think Sinema understands what to many Democrats in Washington don’t
understand. The American people did not give Democrats a mandate for
socialism. They gave him a 50/50 Senate, a three vote margin in the House.
That is a mandate for compromise. And Kyrsten Sinema is trying to lead her
party to — off the — off the edge and towards compromise and
bipartisanship and they don’t want to follow.
PERINO: Yes, it’s interesting to watch her. I think she’s one of the most
interesting legislators in our country right now.
Mo, I also wanted to talk to you about this. I noticed in “The Hill” this
week, that’s “The Hill” newspaper, I should say, an ally of Vice President
Harris expressed skepticism on how effective she can be in helping
Democrats keep its majorities in the upcoming midterm elections. This is a
quote, no one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job because
the first question would be on what? She’s made a bunch of mistakes and
she’s made herself a story for good and bad.
Now, in that article, a spokesperson for Harris declined to comment.
What do you think her office is going to try to do to reassure her allies?
ELLEITHEE: Well, with friends like those, right? I mean, look, I — I don’t
think people — you know, the question is, how does this all play out
heading into the midterms. I — I don’t — two points. One, I don’t think
anybody votes — chooses in midterm elections their congressional votes on
who the vice president is. They — they — they vote in the midterms on
whether or not those individual members are part or — part of or against
progress that is or isn’t happening, right? If the Biden administration is
successful heading into the midterms, that’s going to be tremendously
helpful to down ballot Democrats. If it is not, it will be harmful.
So the best thing the vice president can do is just do everything she can
to help push that agenda forward, to help make sure that the president’s
agenda is as successful as possible. I think she’s doing it. I think she’s
working on. She’s got some tough assignments but we’re living in an era
where just about every assignment is tough. So I think as long as she puts
her head down, goes out there, helps pass the administration’s agenda, and
does a good job of communicating that, then I think this conversation goes
But I think she is being — I think Republicans are eager to sort of put a
spotlight on her because most of what they have tried to do to the
president hasn’t stuck. And so I think you’re just going to see her name
elevated for better and for worse over the next year. She just needs to
keep her head down and do the job.
PERINO: And as you pointed out, it was one of her allies that said that.
Jackie, just very quickly, there are 14 investigations underway about the
January 6th Capitol insurrection. What’s the next step for Speaker Pelosi’s
committee? Will that committee actually start to call Republican witnesses
and when would that be?
ALEMANY: That’s the plan right now, Dana, according to Chairman Thompson,
who we spoke with on Friday before the House, you know, left for the
weekend. But basically what they’re doing now is they’re figuring out what
evidentiary gaps there are, what witnesses they want to call. And if they
do call those witnesses and subpoena them, how exactly they’re going to get
those witnesses to comply with those subpoenas. That is going to be really
crucial to this investigation, especially as Democrats have made it clear
that they want this to play out in public view in order for the American
public to see.
But I think if Democrats want to garner any new information, they’re going
to have to get people like Congressman Jim Jordan, Kevin McCarthy to
actually talk about their discussions with former President Trump that
played out on the days of January 6th.
Jackie, Marc and Mo, always a pleasure to see you. Thank you so much,
panel. We will see you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” Emily Harrington, on embracing her
fears and her record-breaking climb.
PERINO: Well, she’s one of the top-ranked competitors in a sport that’s as
fascinating as it is frightening. And as Chris Wallace first told you last
winter, she made headlines setting a new record on a classic course. Here’s
our “Power Player of the Week.”
EMILY HARRINGTON, PROFESSIONAL ROCK CLIMBER: I was drawn to the challenge.
I was drawn to the exposure. I was drawn to the fear.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Emily Harrington faces fear in a way few
others have, free climbing rock walls, using just her hands and feet, with
a rope only in case she falls.
WALLACE (on camera): You talk about the — the — the place of fear and
discomfort. I think most people would say they — they spend their life
trying to avoid that. You spend your life seeking it.
HARRINGTON: I think we, as humans, spend too much time avoiding those —
those harder feelings. Those are very normal, natural human emotions that
nobody can ever escape.
WALLACE (voice over): Last fall, Emily became the first woman to free climb
the Golden Gate Route up Yosemite’s famed El Capitan in less than 24 hours.
It’s a punishing 3,200 foot assent that usually takes days.
HARRINGTON: It is one of the most difficult, massive and beautiful walls in
the world. And it’s sort of a bucket list thing on every climber’s list.
WALLACE (on camera): What is so special about the Golden Gate Route in 24
HARRINGTON: Yes, it was just this massive challenge of having everything
that I have worked my entire life on just all rolled into 24 hours.
WALLACE (voice over): It didn’t come easy.
HARRINGTON: The second attempt, I was really close. I failed about 300 feet
from the top. I was to tired. Essentially like my arms were just giving out
HARRINGTON: I just thought I could do it and —
WALLACE (on camera): You did 2,900 feet, you’re 300 feet from the summit,
and you can’t go any further.
WALLACE: How frustrating was that?
HARRINGTON: And there were a lot of tear. There’s a little bit of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is today the day?
HARRINGTON: Today’s the day.
WALLACE (voice over): But this November, she was back.
WALLACE (on camera): What is it like starting out to climb El Capitan at
1:30 in the morning?
HARRINGTON: It’s really peaceful. It’s a really cool experience. You have
your head lamp and it’s just you and your little circle of light.
WALLACE (voice over): Emily was doing well, until —
HARRINGTON: And I started up this one pitch and I slipped and I fell. And
then the next thing I knew I saw black and I just felt like the wetness of
blood pouring down my face.
WALLACE (on camera): And how close did you come to giving up at that
HARRINGTON: I really did want to quit and I told myself, OK, I’m going to
try one more time and I’m going to focus just on what’s in front of me.
WALLACE (voice over): Emily kept climbing. And this time she made it.
HARRINGTON: It was now 10:00 at night. I was very, very tired. And I just
cried. And kind of a little bit sad that it was over, honestly.
WALLACE (on camera): How long had you been climbing that day?
HARRINGTON: Twenty-one hours, 13 minutes and 51 seconds.
WALLACE (voice over): Emily Harrington has been the first woman to make 14
assents, each one a chance to face fear and beat it.
HARRINGTON: I have tons of projects out there that I haven’t yet succeeded
on. And every once in a while, when you succeed, it really is like a gift
PERINO: What a remarkable young woman she is indeed.
Filmmaker John Glassberg (ph) shot much of that remarkable footage.
Well, that is it for today. Please join me and Bill Hemmer every weekday at
9:00 a.m. Eastern on “AMERICA’S NEWSROOM” on Fox News Channel and I’ll see
you again for “The Five.”
Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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