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STATE OF THE UNION
Interview With U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir; Interview With Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD); Interview With Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA); Interview With Chicago, Illinois, Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Interview With National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 26, 2020 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Biggest fears. Four days of more than 1,000 deaths every day, day as the U.S. tries to navigate opening schools and helping struggling Americans. Are our leaders learning from their mistakes?
I will speak to a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Admiral Brett Giroir, and President Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, next.
And falling behind. Brand-new polls show voters unhappy with the president's handling of the virus. Are the swing states he won in 2016 slipping away?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will judge us on the economy that I created.
TAPPER: The woman Joe Biden might pick as his vice president, Congresswoman Karen Bass, and a top GOP critic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, both join me ahead.
Plus: federal forces. President Trump deploys federal officers to American cities.
LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), MAYOR OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: We are not going to have a bunch of secret federal agents without any coordination, cooperation.
TAPPER: Are the feds helping or inflaming tensions?
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot joins me to discuss next.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is sick and tired and facing a consequential choice.
Today marks exactly 100 days until the next presidential election, and the nation is deeply mired in crisis. There are currently more than 4.1 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 146,000 Americans dead.
More than a dozen states hit daily records this week. And the nation's daily death toll topped 1,000 multiple times, all this as millions of Americans are facing an increasingly urgent economic emergency, as the extra $600 in unemployment benefits runs out this week.
And the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, says more relief is two to three weeks away -- quote -- "hopefully."
This morning, we're getting fresh insight from CNN as to how voters are thinking about the election in three key battleground states that could decide the winner, Florida, Arizona, Michigan.
In all three, former Vice President Joe Biden is leading, 51 percent to 46 percent in Florida, 49 percent to 45 percent in Arizona, and 52 percent to 40 percent in Michigan.
We should note these are polls of registered voters, not likely voters. And the margin of error is 3.8 percent.
This morning, we are going to talk to leaders facing these crises from different perspectives, two members of the president's administration, the chair of the Republican Governors Association, a leading member of Congress and a potential vice presidential Biden running mate, and the mayor of one of America's largest cities.
But let's begin with a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, the man leading the U.S. testing effort, Admiral Brett Giroir, also a medical doctor.
Admiral Giroir, thank you so much for joining us.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wrote an opinion piece recently on coronavirus. And he said -- quote -- "I know it is unpopular to talk about in some Republican circles, but we still have a testing problem in this country. My son was tested recently. We had to wait five to seven days for results. My daughter wanted to get tested before visiting her grandparents, but was told she didn't qualify. That is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic" -- unquote.
Now, that's obviously the president's own former chief of staff.
Everyone agrees testing has improved, but it is not where it needs to be. Why not? Why is it not where yet it needs to be, sir?
ADM. BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: So, thanks for having me on.
And let me assure you that we are not going to stop our efforts until testing is exactly where we want it to be, with rapid turnaround times.
We have done over 54 million tests, 770,000 a day. That's not a 140 percent increase. That's a 140-fold increase. In terms of turnaround -- I know you are a numbers guy, so I want to
make sure we have this clear. About one-quarter of the tests in this country are done as point of care. That's a 15-minute turnaround. About another quarter are done at local hospitals and laboratories, which is generally within 24 hours.
The delays that most people talk about are at the large commercial labs that perform about half the testing in the country. Now, the data are, the average turnaround is 4.27 days. I follow that morning and evening. I know exactly when it's ordered and when it's resulted.
We are trying to bring that down. Just this week, pooling was authorized in both of the large labs Quest and LabCorp. That will improve efficiency. We're adding surge testing to a number of cities where there are outbreaks.
We're surging point of care to every single nursing home. And, finally, we will continue to invest. And you will see a large investment being announced later on today to improve the supply chain.
So, we are all working to improve testing. This is an unprecedented demand. And, again, I'm sorry Mick had that experience. We're all working to improve that.
TAPPER: Are you happy where testing is right now?
GIROIR: I'm never going to be happy until we have this under control.
And we're going to continue to push every single day to improve the testing, the type of testing that we have, and the rapidity of turnaround.
Where we see the growth here is in point of care. We will have about 50 million tests available in August, about 65 million in September.
TAPPER: Hold on one second, sir. I'm having audio problems.
But let me -- let me -- I'm while I'm fixing my audio, let me ask this to you. The Harvard Institute of Global Health says that the U.S. should be conducting three to five million tests per day, three to five million tests a day. We're doing, as you noted, less than 800,000.
Experts also note that the Trump administration has not fully activated all of the labs available, including hospital labs, commercial non-clinical labs, academic labs, veterinary labs.
I know that you're saying that things have improved a lot. And they have. But you also concede that they're not where they need to be. Why is the Trump administration not doing everything it can to get testing where it needs to be?
GIROIR: So, every one of those things examples that you said, we're -- we're absolutely doing. So, I'm not quite sure why you're saying we're not doing them.
Just this week, I had a call with over 500 university presidents, provosts and vice presidents, and we have been talking to governors for at least a month, maybe two months, about activating the university labs.
We have created the regulatory milieu to do that. In other words, we can do surveillance testing in a non-CLIA -- that's a CMS non-CLIA lab -- with tests that are not even authorized as long as they're valid. And we could do that in a pooled way.
And that's exactly what universities across the country are doing. We have several veterinary labs -- I believe it's five right now -- that have gotten their CLIA certification, so they can actually do human testing.
So, everything you have just talked about, we have been doing for at least six or eight weeks.
And in terms of the number of tests that we have available, look, we're able to achieve almost all our goals right now. I know people throw out numbers. They say we need 300,000 tests. When we get 300,000 tests, they say we need 900. We get 900, they say we need three million.
I actively work with academics, methodological people all across the country. We want to improve our testing. But we have enough tests right now, if we use them in the right way, to achieve the goals that we need to achieve.
TAPPER: Well, Harvard's been saying for months that you need to have millions of tests a day.
And having five veterinary labs OKed for this is not the same thing as having every single lab in the United States that is able to do this up and running and turning around the tests on a more quick basis, so that people can find out where the virus is, identify it and isolate it.
Here's a question. When I say you haven't done everything you can, this is what I mean.
Has the Trump administration forced federal labs to hire more workers, buy more equipment? Has President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to get every commercial lab up to speed? Has the Trump administration invoked the Defense Production Act to get contact tracing up to speed?
There are millions of unemployed Americans who could be working at labs and doing contract tracing. That's what I mean, a Manhattan Project-like effort.
GIROIR: I think that's exactly what we have been doing.
The Manhattan Project-like effort is being led by the vice president of the United States, with the top officials from multiple sectors meeting multiple times a week and literally 24/7 since this has started.
We have invoked the Defense Production Act numerous times. We have invested in multiple different technologies. Every single day, I have a working group looking on how we can invest. That's something that we do.
And you will see more investments coming later today. We improved the outcomes of testing like point-of-care testing, so we can improve that to get every 15 minutes. Really, everything that you're talking about -- there was a third point that you mentioned. I hope you repeat it, because I forgot that third point you mentioned.
But on the investment...
TAPPER: Contact tracing.
GIROIR: Contact tracing.
TAPPER: It was contact tracing.
GIROIR: Yes, thanks.
So, look, we sent to $10.25 billion to the states to support their state plans. Now, we have outlined all the requirements that -- have to put in the state plan. We assess them. We adjudicate them. That's $10.25 billion to hire contact tracing.
They have plenty enough money to do that. As of last week, of the $10.25 billion, there's only been $50 million drawn down from that $10.25 billion from the states. So there is money there for them to do it. We have sent coronavirus response assistance teams that will also help with that to 26 jurisdictions in the last two weeks, another six this week.
And we have CDC personnel in every single state. So, we are supplying the technical assistance. The money is there. The state plans have to meet requirements. So, I think we're checking all those boxes that you just said.
TAPPER: So, I will talk -- I will talk about contact tracing in a second...
TAPPER: ... because it's a good point that you just raised.
But here's the thing. With all due respect, it's July. It's almost August. We're months into this pandemic, and we're still hearing about testing problems.
In California, where the virus has been unrelenting for months, we have seen weeklong turnaround times, hours-long lines for access to tests. Officials in Oregon told ABC News they have gotten woefully insufficient support from the Trump administration on testing. In March, President Trump said, falsely, anyone who wants a test can
get a test.
At what point will it be true, sir, that anybody who wants a test will be able to get one with a quick turnaround, so as to be effective? When will that be true?
GIROIR: What is true now is that anyone who needs a test can get a test.
We are not in a situation -- and I want to be really clear, whether it's Mick Mulvaney or anyone else -- I feel like going somewhere, so I need a test. That is not where we are. We are in the middle of a serious pandemic that we're trying to control and we are starting to control all those hot spot states. You look at the data, the percent positivity has flattened or decreased.
We have a large increase in the numbers of people wearing masks. We have closed indoor bars at those local areas. So, we're starting to turn that. Hospitalizations are going down.
But let me be clear. We have to prioritize our testing. As I told you, in August, we will have 50 million tests available. If we have pooling, we will have a little bit more than that. But we're not going to have 300 million tests per day. And I want to level-set that.
Everyone who needs a test, we're prioritizing that. And they will get it. The two-week turnaround, again, I told you the data is 4.27 days for half of those tests that are done in the commercial labs. I am highly confident that turnaround will decrease this week, with all the steps we're doing, like surge testing, point-of-care testing, nursing home testing, the EUAs, the emergency use authorizations, for pooling.
Again, we are in the middle of a crisis. It's a pandemic. And we're working with every tool that we have, every authority we have. The president knows there's a way that we can open up safely and sensibly, based on the data. And that's what we're doing.
TAPPER: Well, nobody's calling for 300 million tests a day. Harvard is calling for 3.5 million or five million tests a day.
GIROIR: And, again, I have talked to Dr. -- I have talked to Dr. Jha. I have talked to modelers all over the place.
And they throw up these numbers, with very little -- with very little data support for it. And they change tenfold over a period of time. We are highly confident that we can meet...
TAPPER: Harvard has been saying this, for millions -- it's a straw -- sir, it's a straw man to say $300 million a day -- 300 million tests a day or that Harvard has been changing the numbers.
They have been pretty consistent for the last three or four months, 3.5 to four, five million.
But, listen, let me ask you a question, because you didn't specifically answer this.
TAPPER: The Trump administration has invoked the Defense Production Act. True. They have done so with to -- for swabs, to get N95 masks, to get ventilators. Accurate.
Has the Trump administration, has the president invoked the DPA to get labs up to speed, lab hiring and lab equipment? And you don't even need to do the DPA to do that for federal labs. That's what I'm talking about.
There seems to be this reluctance to push the president to do what he needs to do to get the testing up to speed. I know that he's under the misguided impression that more testing is bad and makes him look bad, which, as you know, is completely false.
And I'm wondering if you and others are just afraid to do this because you don't want to upset him, afraid to ask him to do what he needs to do, to invoke the DPA, to force the federal labs to get up to speed to where we need to be, so that we can isolate the virus.
As you know, when you say people who need a test can get a test, there's a huge percentage of people who have the coronavirus who are asymptomatic, and they -- quote, unquote -- "don't need to be tested," according to this standard.
But the point is, in order to identify and isolate the virus, it needs to be much more widespread, the testing, so we can see people who are carriers who don't have symptoms. That's the point.
Are you afraid to bring this up to President Trump because it will upset him?
GIROIR: So -- so, Jake, there was about six different things that you said in there, and let me unpack it a little bit.
But let me start with the first premise. Everyone in the administration understands the importance of testing. Nobody in the task force is afraid to bring up anything either -- either to the vice president or the president.
Every time I have met with the president, he's been listening to all the data. He assesses that. He understands it. I meet with the vice president almost every single day. No one is trying to stop testing in this country. No one has ever told me to do that. In fact, we want more, we want better, we want quicker.
So let me just put that to rest right there.
Secondly, we look for every opportunity to invoke the DPA. Now, the DPA isn't a magic tool. It doesn't violate the laws of physics. You can't create something out of nothing. Most companies do not need DPA on them, because, number one, they are highly motivated to stop the pandemic. Number two, they have the private capital investment in order to
expand their operations. So, if -- that is happening. And we still touch base with them.
TAPPER: But it's not enough.
GIROIR: Of course it's enough.
Tell me one thing that we should be doing with any of these private labs that we're not doing or they're not doing on their own, and I'm happy to do it.
I talk to hundreds of people each week, academics, the Rockefeller Foundation, really smart people that we're working with. We have a national implementation forum for testing that we're going to be getting together this week.
I talk to ACLA, APLU, universities, private labs, hospitals, you name it. We're getting input on a daily basis. If there's a stone that needs to be turned that is left unturned, you tell me what it is.
But, from my vantage point...
TAPPER: I just told you.
GIROIR: ... we have invoked all the authorities.
TAPPER: Get federal labs -- get federal labs to hire more people and get more equipment, so you can increase turnaround times. Invoke the DPA, so that commercial labs all over the country, ones that you're not using -- five veterinary labs is not impressive to me, sir.
GIROIR: No, no, no.
TAPPER: Get all of those labs up to speed.
GIROIR: I didn't say that. No, no, no. No, I said five veterinary labs have their CLIA certification to officially test human patients.
There are a lot of labs who are doing surveillance testing that don't need the CLIA certification. And maybe I will nuance this a little bit. Surveillance testing is a way that...
TAPPER: But no one thinks that testing is up to speed where it needs to be. No one -- no one thinks it's where it needs to be. And yet you have spent this entire interview talking about how great and perfect everything is.
GIROIR: No, I -- I...
TAPPER: But this is the weakest part of the response to this virus, is testing and where it is not... (CROSSTALK)
GIROIR: I started out -- I started out by saying that we are never going to be happy with testing until we get turnaround times within 24 hours.
And I would be happy with point-of-care testing everywhere. We are not there yet. We are doing everything we can to do that.
What can we do? We can test everybody in a hospital within 24 hours, so they can get the new treatments that we developed. We are point-of- care testing in nursing homes or prioritizing all nursing homes, because that's where 50 percent of the mortality are.
Where there's an outbreak, we're surge testing there. We're supplying the public health laboratories. I work with ACLA every single day. I call their CEOs. Those are the big labs, the Quests and the LabCorps. They have pooling that was just improved -- that was just certified last week for both big labs.
So, look, I said, we need to continually...
GIROIR: ... improve our ecosystem. We started from zero.
And that is the truth. There was not a swab in the stockpile. There was not a testing strategy in the stockpile. That's not this administration. That's multiple administrations. We have increased it 140-fold.
And I'm going to do everything I can every single day to improve that. If you have a specific suggestion -- and I have answered what you said -- we're happy to talk about it. There's no barrier here. The president wants this. The vice president wants this, everyone on the task force.
TAPPER: I just have two very -- I'm being told I have to end this interview because we have other guests, but I have two yes-or-no questions for you, just because I think that will make it -- I want to get your answers on it.
When it comes to contact tracing and the states not drawing down enough money that's there for them to do it, does the CDC need to improve its guidance to states as to how to do that, yes or no?
TAPPER: They don't? OK. It's the states...
GIROIR: I think the contact tracing guidance is pretty clear.
But more -- literally more important than contact tracing is to wear a mask, right? We have to assume that everyone who's on the street could be positive. And if you're positive, and you wear a mask...
GIROIR: ... you will not transmit it to others.
Would have loved to talk to you about the hairdressers, both hot with COVID, 139 clients. Both wore a mask, 139...
TAPPER: Right, wearing masks, nobody got COVID.
GIROIR: Not a single transmission of COVID.
GIROIR: That's why this is much more important than anything we do.
And last question, sir.
GIROIR: Yes, sir.
TAPPER: Should schools, no matter what, even if they have a positivity rate in that community of more than 5 percent, even if the virus is spreading in that community, should schools open in the fall?
GIROIR: We have always been clear that the presumption needs to be that we want our kids in school, for all the reasons you know, social, emotional...
But if the positivity -- if the positivity rate is high, and the virus is spreading in that community, should it open, yes or no?
GIROIR: There is -- there is no one size that fits all.
GIROIR: Obviously, if the virus is high in that community and spreading, you have to temper your opening or do alternative strategies. I think that's been clear. One size does not fit all.
I was in Massachusetts yesterday, 1.7 percent positivity.
GIROIR: Whole different idea than if you're in McAllen, with a 25 percent positivity.
TAPPER: Admiral Giroir, please come back. We'd love to talk to you more about this, so many other issues to discuss. And I thank you for your time today.
GIROIR: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: With the virus surging in dozens of states, there are new warning signs for the U.S. economy, and Congress could be weeks away from implementing a plan to help out-of-work Americans, who will lose that extra $600 in their unemployment checks this week.
Yesterday, Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin described a proposal to pay out-of-work Americans 70 percent of their previous wages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: In certain cases, people were paid more to stay home than they were to work. And I think that's something that the American public understands. We're not going to use taxpayer money to pay people more to stay home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Joining me now, the president's top economic adviser at the White House, Larry Kudlow.
Sir, good to see you, as always.
So, many of us have been making this point for months, as you know. You can't reopen the economy without the virus contained.
You, President Trump, others at the White House pushed for the economy to reopen. We did. And now cases have skyrocketed, and the economy appears to be taking yet another hit.
Isn't it clear that the country reopened too quickly, wiping away the progress that had been made, prolonging harm to the economy?
LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, Jake, I don't know.
I mean, there's a lot of generalizations there. First of all, I don't think the economy is going south. I think it's going north. And I think that there's a bunch of indicators.
Let me -- let me just -- let me focus on that. I know something about that.
You're in a housing boom right now. You're in a retail sales boom right now. You're in an auto car boom right now, manufacturing. Look at the ISM indexes. All are booming. New business applications are skyrocketing. Apple mobility index is very strong. And the jobs picture remains strong.
There was a number, unemployment claims, last week that slipped, but it was a seasonal adjustment problem. It was actually the lowest since early March. Continuing claims, which is going to predict the July jobs number out in a week or so, are the lowest they have been in almost three months.
So, I don't buy it.
Now, I will acknowledge that...
KUDLOW: ... in some of these spiking hot spots, yes, absolutely, you're going to see a moderation of this recovery, no question.
On the other hand, Jake...
TAPPER: But, sir...
KUDLOW: ... apart from Texas, Arizona, and Florida...
KUDLOW: ... and California, where, by the way, Deborah Birx says there's some signs of stabilization...
KUDLOW: ... the whole Northeast is over. Most of the West is -- I mean, the whole Northeast is open, and most of the Midwest, Jake.
TAPPER: Yes, apart from three of our biggest states...
KUDLOW: Well, OK, but you have got the entire Northeast section. You have got...
TAPPER: Apart from Florida, Texas, California. Those are some pretty states.
KUDLOW: They are big states.
And I don't deny that there's going to be some impact. I don't think it's a huge impact. I mean, what we're seeing in the data so far is that, in those areas, yes, those big four states -- not so much, by the way, Arizona, not so much Texas.
TAPPER: Yes, let me ask you about that data.
KUDLOW: But let me go...
TAPPER: Let me ask you about that data, because I want to say, the Census Bureau...
KUDLOW: Where there are -- let me just -- just one second. I won't be long. (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: Let me just ask you about this, because you want to talk about the data.
The Census Bureau's new weekly survey, the Census Bureau's new weekly survey during the pandemic suggests job numbers have taken a turn for the worse.
Our viewers can see. Let's put up the graphic in question, five. Our viewers can see, total unemployment is actually going down, suggesting the U.S. may have lost almost $7 million -- seven million jobs, rather, in the last month.
Is it possible that the employment picture in the U.S. will look worse in July than it did in June? Is that possible, do you think?
KUDLOW: No, No, I don't believe so.
I can't see your numbers, Jake, I'm sorry, sitting in this truck.
But I will say this. You said total unemployment is going down. That is correct. The continuing claims, which lead unemployment, is falling rapidly.
TAPPER: Total employment is going down. Total employment is going down. Total employment is going down.
KUDLOW: Well, I don't know. The Census Bureau...
TAPPER: If I misspoke, I apologize.
KUDLOW: You know, most -- I forgive you. It's OK.
Most people look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that print out the weekly claims and the monthly jobs numbers. All right, that's what -- I haven't seen those Census numbers. And I don't know that I would put a lot of stock in it, but whatever.
The fact remains, as I was saying before, in some places, job increase -- job declines or job increases have been affected. I don't deny it.
But it's being made up by people calling back employees, so that, actually, the joblessness rate is going to fall. I'm not going to suggest -- I don't know the July number. We will all learn it in about a week or so.
But I do think the odds favor a big increase in job creation and a big reduction in unemployment.
I just want to make the point, though, all these other signals, Jake, most economists, Wall Street, elsewhere, are suggesting we are in a self-sustaining recovery. Now, you can argue about the speed of it. I get that.
And you can -- and I don't deny that some of these hot spot states are going to moderate that recovery. But, on the whole, the picture is very positive. And I still think the V-shaped recovery is in place.
KUDLOW: And I still think, Jake, there is going to be 20 percent growth rate in the third and fourth quarters.
TAPPER: I just -- I guess the point is that the places in the world that didn't open up too early, their economies are bouncing back better than ours is right now, because, by all data and analysis, many parts of the country opened too quickly and without enough mitigating factors.
But let's talk about the negotiations on Capitol Hill right now for a new stimulus package.
KUDLOW: How about the...
TAPPER: Republicans want to...
KUDLOW: Just one point on the...
TAPPER: Yes, go.
KUDLOW: Just one point. I can't -- you may be right. In some places, you may not be right, Jake. I don't think that's proven. But we don't need to prove it. It is what it is.
I just want to say, for those people, like myself and the president, who do want reopening everywhere and job creation everywhere and a strong recovery, the four guidelines have to remain in place, masking, distancing...
TAPPER: Everybody wants that, though. Everybody -- everybody wants all of that. They just want it safely.
KUDLOW: Well, yes, safely is important.
And, again, jobs and kids are the themes of the recovery package that's coming up in the next week or two. And those four guidelines have to remain in place. I just want to say it publicly.
TAPPER: So, let's talk about that. I want to talk about the recovery package.
Republicans want to end the $600 per week in additional unemployment. They want to replace it with 70 percent of previous wages. That loss of income for millions of Americans could lead to evictions. It could lead to people not being able to pay for food or medicine or electricity.
Are you concerned that changing this -- the way that this unemployment compensation is given, that stopping this funding will actually end up causing further damage to the economy, with people not able to pay their bills, with people being evicted?
KUDLOW: It's not -- Jake, it won't stop. It won't stop the assistance. It's going to -- it's going to cap the assistance at a level that is consistent with people going back to work.
That's what we have said from day one. First of all, state unemployment benefits stay in place. Second of all, we will try to cap the benefits at about 70 percent of wages.
You know, a University of Chicago study showed virtually 70 percent, 68 percent of people actually have higher benefits than wages. We have had a flood of inquiries and phone calls and complaints that small stores and businesses, restaurants can't hire people back.
They went too far. Maybe last March, it was necessary for that. But, really, the consequences of people not returning to work -- Secretary Mnuchin said it right. We want to pay folks to go back to work.
And, incidentally, we are going to have, on top of the cap of wages, 70 percent, which is quite generous by any standard, on top of that, we will have a reemployment bonus and a retention tax credit bonus for going back to work.
So, that's going to more than offset any of this. I mean, the trick here is going back to work. We don't want people out.
KUDLOW: We want them in wherever possible.
The businesses are calling them back. That's why I'm optimistic on the economy. So far -- I could be wrong, Jake, lord knows -- but, so far, so far, this is...
KUDLOW: The iteration here, the dynamic here is very positive.
TAPPER: But people -- people want to go back to work.
The problem is that it's...
TAPPER: In many cases -- you talk about restaurants -- it's not safe for them to go back to work, because the administration and states have not been able to get the virus under control.
I mean, that's the reason. That's the problem why restaurants can't hire workers. It's not because waiters and servers and maitre d's and bartenders don't want to go back to work. It's because either they're not allowed to open their bars or have significant seating in their restaurants, or it's not safe to go there.
That's the whole problem. That's going to be the problem with schools in the fall. It's the problem with people reluctant to get on airplanes.
TAPPER: I mean, it's because you were not able to get the virus under control...
KUDLOW: That is part of it.
TAPPER: ... that the economy continues to struggle.
KUDLOW: That is -- that...
KUDLOW: I will say again, the economy is improving by leaps and bounds.
I will also say, there are more states that are reopening and doing very well. There are some key states, yes. California and Texas and Florida, right now that are having hot spot difficulties. But it's nothing like it was last winter.
I don't agree with your premise that people won't go back to work. I think safety matters, let me make that very clear, and the four guidelines, right, the masking and the distancing particularly. OK, you're right.
But I will say this. It's a more optimistic picture than the one you are painting. And I think that we have made great strides. I mean, federal government doesn't control this. We are leaders, hopefully, in encouraging people to be safe and secure and accept our guidelines.
The states are in charge of this. Each state has a different story. Most of the states are doing rather well in this. So, I just -- I'm not that pessimistic. Maybe I'm too optimistic.
I'm happy to report, Ambassador Deborah Birx, who is our leader on the health virus task force, she's reporting now that these bad hot spots states, the three or four of them, are actually showing early signs of plateauing. Let us hope and pray that that is the case.
We're doing everything we can. And we're working well with the state governments.
TAPPER: We have had four days of more than 1,000 deaths. Yes, I mean...
KUDLOW: Yes, the fatality rate is -- any death is a tragedy.
TAPPER: You -- I always hope -- I always hope...
KUDLOW: Any death is a tragedy, Jake, I agree.
But it is also true...
TAPPER: I have to go. All I will say...
KUDLOW: It is also true that the fatality rate is much slower than it was.
Don't forget, in the package, we're talking about a $1,200 assistance check.
TAPPER: Because, thank God, doctors and nurses and health officials -- yes, the doctors and nurses and health professionals have figured out good ways to treat the virus.
KUDLOW: I agree with that.
TAPPER: A lot of the people who are infected now are younger. And so it's not as high a mortality rate.
KUDLOW: God bless them. God bless them, absolutely.
But don't forget, on the recovery package...
TAPPER: But let me just say, sir, you paint a very rosy picture of what it looks like, what the virus looks.
KUDLOW: I just want to add, Jake, I just want to add -- we were talking about employment benefits and so forth.
Don't forget, there's a $1,200 check coming. That is going to be part of the new package. I would have preferred a payroll tax cut, on top of that check. But, be that as it may, politically, it doesn't work.
KUDLOW: But the check is there. The reemployment bonus is there. The retention bonus is there.
There will be breaks for small tax credits for small businesses and restaurants. That's all going to be there.
KUDLOW: It's a very well-rounded package.
KUDLOW: It's a very well-targeted package.
TAPPER: Thank you.
KUDLOW: And I think it's going to provide a great safety net, until we get strong recovery.
And try to be optimistic, Jake. It behooves all of us.
TAPPER: People -- people need that money as soon as possible. People are worried about being evicted...
KUDLOW: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: ... in days, literally in days.
TAPPER: Mr. Kudlow, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.
KUDLOW: And, by the way, we will -- we will lengthen the eviction. We will lengthen it.
All right, thanks, Jake. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: The eviction -- the eviction moratorium. OK. Well, that's good news.
Let's get straight to a leading House Democrat for a response.
Joining me now, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and a potential vice presidential pick for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California.
Congresswoman Bass, I want to give you a chance to react to what you just heard from either Mr. Kudlow or Admiral Giroir.
REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Well, I think both of them are so sad.
For the admiral, I know that he knows better. We are not testing where we should be. The virus is not being contained. The states that Kudlow ticked off, as though it was something small, is almost a third of the population of the United States.
We have over 140,000 people who are dead. Vice President Pence said a month ago that things were getting so much better; 40,000 people have died since then.
This is the United States of America. When will the administration develop a national strategy? This is just so tragic.
TAPPER: So, Congresswoman...
BASS: And Kudlow was speaking like a multimillionaire.
TAPPER: Well, he is a multimillionaire.
(LAUGHTER) TAPPER: I want to ask you about the coronavirus relief bill.
Democrats want to keep that additional $600...
TAPPER: ... in weekly unemployment benefits, on top of state unemployment benefits.
Kudlow is not 100 percent wrong when he says that there is an issue there. According to a May survey, nearly one in five small businesses had an employee decline a job offer in order to remain unemployed.
Now, look, again, obviously, most Americans want to get back to work. But there are some, according to this survey, who are, in the midst of this pandemic, perhaps understandably, opting to take the government money instead of going back to work.
Now, the Republican approach to get these folks back to work is to give them 70 percent of their previous income, capped at that. Do you agree that it's a problem? And what is your solution?
BASS: Well, I mean, it might be a problem in some places, but the idea that you would cut it across the board, I think, makes no sense at all.
There are some states where the cost of living is a heck of a lot higher, like my state in California. And, as you pointed out, there are a lot of people who are not going back to work because they know it's not safe. There's also an awful lot of people that don't have the jobs to go back to.
So, I think that this is all about, essentially, a state of denial, that we should just get the economy back and everything is going to go away. And, as you pointed out, the economy is not going to get better until we have control over this virus.
And so I want to know why you would let people suffer like this. The Republicans have had the HEROES Act for over two months sitting there in their chamber.
BASS: Why would you wait until people are to the point of running out of their benefits?
And they still haven't come up with a plan.
BASS: They're fighting between themselves.
TAPPER: So, let's talk about how to contain the virus, because, obviously, it's not just the responsibility of the Trump administration.
TAPPER: It's also states and county directors and mayors.
You represent part of Los Angeles County. Now, according to the L.A. County health director, coronavirus is set to become one of the leading causes of death in your county, one of the leading causes of death. L.A. County has more than 40 percent of the coronavirus- positive cases in the entire state of California. As of right now, L.A. County has no plans to shut down.
In addition to being a congresswoman, you're a former physician's assistant, you're a nurse.
BASS: That's right.
TAPPER: If it were up to you, would L.A. County reimplement stay-at- home orders?
BASS: Well, L.A. County is evaluating that. And that is very possible.
You know what? It's also very sad, because in California, and in L.A. County, you know we were very aggressive. Our county and our state did what they were supposed to do. But, in hindsight, I think that we opened a little too quickly. And that has been the problem.
Now, one thing that I have confidence in L.A. County and L.A. city is that our mayor and our Board of Supervisors, they are going to follow the science. That will be what determines whether or not we open or we close.
You really can't go anywhere in L.A. without seeing people with masks on. So, it just shows how challenging this virus is. But if you think about many other states, where the governor is saying one thing, the governors and the mayors are fighting people, you can understand why that's not under control.
But L.A. County has done what it should have done in the beginning, opened a little bit too fast. And I know we will follow the science. If the science says shut down, I know we will shut down.
TAPPER: Well, you know what the science is. I mean, I'm just asking you a hypothetical. If you were in charge of L.A. County, would you go back to stay-at-home orders in order to reduce the spread of this deadly virus, yes or no?
BASS: If I were -- if I were in charge of L.A. County, I would go back to that. And I would be very, very conservative about how we opened up.
And so you know that you need to show a certain amount before you open back up. There needs to be a time period, around three weeks. And I think that we didn't strictly adhere to that.
So, yes, I would go back, and I would reopen very, very conservatively.
TAPPER: The -- Vice President Joe Biden, who is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has said that his first criteria for picking a running mate is that that person be ready on day one to be president of the United States.
You are one of the finalists, a contender, to become Joe Biden's vice presidential nominee. Are you ready to be president on day one?
BASS: Well, first of all, you know I'm not going to get into -- into that specifically.
But let me just tell you that I want to do whatever the vice president needs. If he calls on me to do, if he wants me to go out and safely walk precincts, I would be happy to do that.
I am so concerned about where our country is at, at this point in time. We have had a president that has just torn us apart. And I'm willing to serve my country in whatever way I am called upon to serve my country.
TAPPER: Enthusiasm for Joe Biden is much less than it is for President Trump among -- among supporters, among people who are -- intend to vote for that person.
And criminal justice reform is a big, important issue for you and has been for years. How do you rally people in your district to support Joe Biden who backed the -- and wrote the 1994 crime bill, and has said a number of things that people in the black community, people in the progressive community find upsetting?
BASS: Oh, I don't have a problem with that at all.
I was very involved in the crime bill, from the opposite perspective, many, many years ago. And I understand very well why elected officials did what they did, because the masses of the people in these communities were demanding it. I thought there was another way to go.
I think people understand that now. And I'm confident in the direction that Joe Biden would pursue. I know what the policies are in terms of criminal justice reform that have been put forward by the Unity Task Force that just finished. There was the Biden-Sanders task force.
There is Joe Biden's policies that he had before the task force. So, I know that criminal justice reform is going to be a major part of his administration. And what I'm interested in, and going to be introducing legislation this week, is focusing on women in the criminal justice system.
TAPPER: Finally, Congresswoman, I want to turn to the death of your friend the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis; 55 years after Bloody Sunday, Congressman Lewis' body is crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the last time. Tomorrow, his body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. What will you be thinking about tomorrow, when you visit him?
BASS: Just the profound loss of such an incredible hero, the most respected member of Congress, from the House, the Senate, Democrats, Republicans.
And I think that we all need to honor him in the best way possible. And that means that we need to pass the Voting Rights Act, and we need to make sure that all Americans that are eligible to vote can vote in 100 days. And I think we need to take his memory into the polling places or hopefully voting from home to do that.
Such a giant, such a humble man, just a man that everybody loved.
And tomorrow is going to be a very, very somber day. But we have to not be so somber. We have to celebrate his life, too. I know that that's what he would want.
He would want us to not stop, to continue fighting, and to get in good trouble.
TAPPER: Get in good trouble, his famous phrase.
Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time today.
Thank you so much.
As voters -- President Trump is deploying federal agents to combat violence in several American cities, including in Chicago, where homicides are up 51 percent over last year.
And just this week, 15 people in Chicago were injured in a drive-by shooting at a funeral for a man himself who was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Joining me now to discuss safety in cities, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Mayor Lightfoot, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
Shootings in Chicago, as you know, are up 47 percent. Homicides are up 51 percent from last year.
You are accepting federal help from the Trump administration. Not everyone in Chicago is happy about that. A few nights ago, you had protesters outside your house unhappy with your decision to work with the Trump administration.
What's the help you're accepting from the Trump administration? And what is your message to those protesters?
LIGHTFOOT: Well, let me be clear. This is not about working with the Trump administration. For decades
now, in major cities across the country, FBI, DEA, ATF, those agents have been in our districts, and do work, and work in concert with local law enforcement to help support a number of efforts, not the least of which is violence in our cities.
And so the opportunity presented itself, under the management of the U.S. attorney here. And I stress that because that's unlike what we saw in Portland, where the Trump administration parachuted in these additional federal agents, without consulting anybody locally and ignoring the local U.S. attorney, very different circumstance here in Chicago.
I have drawn a very hard line. We will not allow federal troops in our city. We will not tolerate unnamed agents taking people off the street, violating their rights, and holding them in custody. That's not happening here in Chicago.
So, I have drawn a very, very bright line. I have made that very clear to every federal authority that I have spoken with. And they understand that, if they cross that line, we will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal to stop troops and unwanted agents in our city.
But, obviously, we have challenges regarding violence.
TAPPER: President Trump...
LIGHTFOOT: Go ahead.
Well, I was just going to say, President Trump said he had a great talk with you. He also suggested that, if he had his way, he would essentially flood the city of Chicago with federal law enforcement.
I want to play some sound from his -- from him and get your reaction. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we could solve it. If they invited us in, we'd go in with 50,000, 75,000 people.
We would be able to solve it, like you wouldn't believe, and quick. But they just don't want to ask, maybe for political reasons. But they don't want to ask. It's a disgrace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your response, Madam Mayor?
LIGHTFOOT: Well, I mean, that's classic Trump hyperbole. I sent him a letter on Monday outlining the very specific things that
the federal government is uniquely qualified to help with, starting with commonsense gun control.
The fact of the matter is, our gun problem is related to the fact that we have too many illegal guns on our street, 60 percent of which, 60 percent of which come from states outside of Illinois.
We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, no background checks, no ban on assault weapons. That is hurting cities like Chicago. That is the thing that, if the president really wanted to help, that and the other things I identified in my letter, he could do today, tomorrow.
But he's not really interested in helping in that way.
TAPPER: Well, he's obviously not going to support any restrictions on gun ownership.
Would you support an increased federal presence in Chicago, as long as they coordinated with local officials, local law enforcement and the U.S. attorney?
LIGHTFOOT: Well, I have said it before and I will say it again, no troops, no agents that are coming in outside of our knowledge, notification, and control that are violating people's constitutional rights. That's the -- that's the framework.
We can't just allow anyone to come into Chicago, play police in our streets, in our neighborhoods, when they don't know the first thing about our city. That's a recipe for disaster. And that's what you're seeing playing out in Portland on a nightly basis.
LIGHTFOOT: We don't need that here. That is not a value add, and it doesn't help enhance our public safety.
TAPPER: The president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police disagrees with you.
He says they need federal help -- quote -- "Mayor Lightfoot has proved to be a complete failure, who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here. These politicians are failing the good men and women of this city and the police department."
What's your response to that?
LIGHTFOOT: There's no polite response to that, so I will just say this.
We're in the middle of contract negotiations with the FOP. We know -- he knows that we're going to have a reckoning with them that imposes accountability measures that they adamantly resist. So, he's pandering to the crowd. He is completely out of touch with
reality. He wants to hold onto a status quo that has failed everyone, including his members.
We're not having that. So, I expect to hear more nonsensical things from him.
TAPPER: Cook County just passed a grim milestone, with more than 100,000 coronavirus cases.
Chicago Public Schools have released a draft plan that will reopen schools with a hybrid of remote learning and in-person classes in the fall. A Kaiser study finds that one in four teachers nationwide are at high risk of serious illness from coronavirus because of either age or underlying conditions.
Should those teachers come into work, or should they stay home?
LIGHTFOOT: Well, first of all, what we have released is a framework for a further engagement with all of the stakeholders in our school community, parents, teachers, staff, principals. And, obviously, we want to hear from our students as well. And those discussions are ongoing.
Whether we fully open up, whether we go with a hybrid is going to be dictated by the public health guidance at the time. That's critically important. Our public health guidance is at the forefront of what we're doing throughout our city government, but particularly in thinking about how our students will start their learning after Labor Day.
And, obviously, we're aware of the fact that there are challenges in our work force.
TAPPER: All right, Mayor Lightfoot, thank you so much for your time this morning. We appreciate it.
Please come back. We'd love to have you on again.
LIGHTFOOT: Thank you.
TAPPER: Thank you so much.
As voters sour on the president's handling of the pandemic, a prominent Republican governor is also calling out President Trump's leadership, or lack thereof.
Joining me now, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He's the chair of the National Governors Association. He's also the author of the new book "Still Standing."
Thank you so much for being here, Governor.
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: What's your reaction to what you heard from the administration this morning, either from Admiral Giroir or Larry Kudlow, when it came to their handling of the pandemic?
HOGAN: Well, I didn't get a chance to hear all of it, Jake.
But I think that Admiral Giroir -- I think he was saying -- I think one of the things they -- the president said was that every governor has every -- everything they need and there weren't any outstanding requests.
And I can tell you that that's not the case here in my state of Maryland, and it's not what I'm hearing from all of the other governors.
I know that they have been doing a good job in trying to get us more of the things that we need. But things like PPE, I think they have put out a list of 276 nursing homes in our state that they were going to be delivering PPE to. I think 20 of them have arrived, so maybe 10 percent of what we have been focused on.
But the real need right now is on ramping up a robust testing program, because we're starting to, with the spikes around the country, see waits of 10 days or more in some of these states that are actually affecting states like ours that aren't having a big problem, but it's slowing down the testing at these national labs.
And I think that's something that the federal government's really got to focus on. Instead, last week, the president was talking about cutting funding for testing programs, which I think is probably the most important thing we can do right now, is to identify where the virus is, and, together with contact tracing, try to identify the infections and stop it from spreading.
TAPPER: So, Admiral Giroir said that they were -- they were -- he seemed to be suggesting that he wouldn't -- he's not going to be happy with the testing until it's where it needs to be, but that they're doing everything they can. If there are any ideas, he would be happy to hear them.
I suggested a couple. Presumably, he might be listening right now. What should he be doing to ramp up testing, so it's not only more people can get tested, but that the wait time can be quickened significantly? What do you want him to do?
HOGAN: Well, most -- so, most of the testing is being done by large private sector labs, who are becoming overwhelmed because of the massive volume of tests across the country, particularly coming from those states.
So, on the one hand, we're doing a better job in doing more testing, but the processing time has slowed down.
And I think the federal government has to think about how they might, like they did on the production of ventilators, invest and help spur some investment by these private sector companies to get up to speed, because we're starting to -- it's starting to feel like it did back in March in April, where everybody was overwhelmed, although we started to make some progress. And now it's -- we're getting behind again. And talking with governors across the country, there's a big lack of
reagents, which is one of the kind of nine steps in the testing process. And we have got to get the federal government's help on that as well.
TAPPER: How concerned are you about the fall, when people go back to work, people go back to school, et cetera?
HOGAN: Well, it's critically important. We're very concerned about it.
And that's why we have ramped up testing here in Maryland. We just did over a million tests. I think we're about three-and-a-half times where we were 30 days ago. But, still -- and we're -- and our contact tracing is being increased dramatically, I think 450 percent.
But we're concerned about, as we get people trying to get back into the workplace, and we try to find a way to get some kids safely perhaps back into school, that we can't do it without -- without some additional progress in these areas.
Otherwise, we're not going to be able to keep this under control.
TAPPER: You say that, under President Trump, the U.S.' early inaction on the virus without a doubt cost American lives.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb now says that more than 300,000 people in the U.S. could die from the virus by the end of the year. Do you think President Trump is fit to lead the country through this crisis?
HOGAN: Well, I think that we -- look, when we were talking about at the beginning of the crisis the president's messaging was that there were just 15 cases, and soon it would be down to zero.
So, obviously, he was not taking it as seriously as he should have at the beginning. But some of the expert public health doctors were telling us we may have as many as two million deaths.
So, as tragic as we -- as it is right now, when we're at 140-some- thousand deaths, we have made some progress in flattening the curve and saving some lives. So, how many could we -- how many more can we save by actions we take right now? That's really the question. And how many could we have saved if we had started earlier?
But it could have been a lot worse, believe it or not.
TAPPER: Yes, the two million projection, by the way, that -- just for viewers, is if the U.S. did nothing in response and just sat back and let the virus ravage the country, which obviously wasn't going to happen.
Governor, let me ask you.
TAPPER: Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to come up with another coronavirus relief package, including some kind of replacement for that extra $600 in people's unemployment checks, which expires in -- this month.
Trump and his administration are proposing having these new payments replace 70 percent of a worker's prior income. What do you think of that? Is that feasible? Is that enough for the unemployment workers in Maryland?
HOGAN: Well, look, I think what's what's critical is that we get the Trump administration and both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress to reach some kind of agreement as quickly as possible.
Congress just came back from their Fourth of July recess. They're shortly going to leave for an August recess. We have about just a couple of weeks for them to address this fourth stimulus package.
And I just want to have both sides put aside all this partisan differences and get something done for the American people. We can argue about, should it be this percentage or that percentage, should we include this or we should include that, but now we're talking about maybe not even getting something passed, which would be a disaster for so many people that need the help.
We also, as governors, the Governors Association has been pleading to -- we -- we're on the front lines providing more services to more people that really need them. And there was a commitment of putting $500 billion in for state and local governments, which seems to be not even on the table anymore.
We have already lost 1.6 million state and local government workers, potential for four million more. So, there are many parts of this stimulus, this fourth package, that have to get resolved.
And rather than us arguing about the specific -- specifics that each side wants, we just got to get some bipartisan cooperation on both sides and sit down and hammer something out, because an awful lot of people need this help.
TAPPER: They sure do. There are a lot of people facing eviction and worried about basic bills, like groceries and medicine.
Let's turn to your book. In it, you write that -- quote -- "a couple of Trump administration Cabinet secretaries" urged you to run a primary challenge to President Trump.
You're referring to people who are still serving in the Cabinet?
HOGAN: Well, I don't want to get into specifics about exactly who they were or what the private conversations were.
It wasn't -- it wasn't really a serious effort. It was just passing conversations about, hey, we really -- you -- we can't tell you how much we appreciate the fact that you're saying the things you're saying. It's important to the party. It's important to the country. And maybe you should consider doing this.
This was back -- back when there was a lot of speculation and other people that were strongly encouraging me. But one of them is currently in administration, and one of them has since left the administration. But I don't want to get into the specifics of those conversations.
TAPPER: You didn't vote for President Trump in 2016. You have consistently criticized his approach to governing.
A few days ago, you told "The Dispatch" podcast you probably will not endorse him before the election.
Who do you think is a better person to lead the U.S. through this very difficult time, Joe Biden or Donald Trump?
HOGAN: Well, I think I'm just going to let the American people make that decision.
The election is 100 days away. I think early voting starts in 60 days or less. So, we're getting very close for the American people to make that decision. I think, quite frankly, a lot of people, like me, are frustrated with the divisiveness and dysfunction on both sides and don't feel like we have two great choices.
TAPPER: All right, Governor Larry Hogan, Republican of Maryland, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it, sir.
HOGAN: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: With a new round of interviews and his solo coronavirus briefings added to his schedule, President Trump has been talking quite a bit about many different topics this last week. Curiously bragging about passing a test to determine whether he has dementia, for example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Person, woman, man, camera, TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Lying once again about how he was booed at a charity event in 2015, an event he has not attended since 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, it's the first time in my life I was ever booed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Nowhere in the president's comments nor in the questions to him in these one-on-one interviews was there any mention of three U.S. Marines who are worth discussion. Staff Sergeant Christopher Slutman, Corporal Robert Hendriks, nor Sergeant Benjamin Hines; three Marines who enlisted after 9/11, arrived in Afghanistan in October of 2018, and who were killed by an IED in April 2019.
According to The New York Times, the Pentagon and others are investigating whether Slutman, Hendriks, and Hines were killed as a result of efforts by the Russian Military Intelligence, the GRU, to aid the Taliban and other terrorists, specifically about payments by the GRU.
Three officials told the paper that, quote, American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by the GRU to a Taliban-linked account. Evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.
That's right. Even in the wake of this news, interviewers posed questions about tweets, questions about whether the president is too mean to the interviewer. Nothing about the Russia bounty story or those three marines. Not one word.
The president spoke with Vladimir Putin this week. Did Mr. Trump raise the matter? White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who took time Friday to falsely claim that the children's cartoon PAW Patrol had been canceled because of cancel culture -- a lie -- would not comment on whether the president raised the issue with Putin and she ignored a question about whether the president had made a determination about the intelligence, which she called unverified, which is a relatively meaningless term when it comes to gathering intelligence.
But regardless of the so-called bounty story, which is a subject of disagreement in intelligence circles, what is clear in those same circles is that throughout the Trump presidency, Vladimir Putin's Russia has helped the terrorists in Afghanistan, the terrorists trying to kill American troops. The Russians have been giving those terrorists money and weaponry.
The president and the White House express outrage about any number of matters ranging from children's cartoons to female journalists of color, asking tough questions to people who don't like statues honoring dead, treasonous racists. Russia allegedly working to kill our troops in Afghanistan somehow does not rise to the level of comment.
Bush, Obama, now Trump, our presidents acting in our names, send men and women to dangerous places all over the world, including Afghanistan, where sometimes survival becomes their only mission.
The very least the president can do is to try to get to the bottom of what role Putin may have played in the deaths of Slutman, Hendriks, and Hines, for their families, for their friends, and for the other families and veterans who serve. And the very least interviewers can do is ask the president about those who serve and sacrifice for us. They deserve it. I don't know that we deserve them. Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. Fareed Zakaria GPS
starts right now.