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State of the Union
Interview With Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY); Interview With Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD); Interview With U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg . Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 24, 2022 - 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): To be continued. The January 6 Committee wraps up their explosive hearings for now.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Doors have opened, and the dam has begun to break.
TAPPER: What more is coming, and what's next for the committee's powerful GOP vice chair?
I will speak to Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney next.
And two paths. Former President Trump and his vice president face off in Arizona, as the Republican Party wrestles over its future. But after another election denier wins his primary, this time in Maryland, has the GOP already made its choice?
The outgoing Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, joins me to discuss ahead.
Plus: feeling the heat. Halfway through his second year, President Biden still has a long to-do list, with pressure mounting to act on the climate crisis and turn around the economy. Can the Biden administration keep its promises? I will speak exclusively to Biden Cabinet Secretary Pete Buttigieg in moments.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is wondering whether some people actually are above the law.
This week, the January 6 committee presented a seasoned finale of sorts to the series of eight hearings they have held this summer. The committee laid out minute by minute how former President Trump sat and watched as rioters stormed the Capitol. For more than three hours, he sat there, refusing to call for the violence to end, refusing to reach out to law enforcement or the military to send help.
This weekend, two former presidents -- President Trump's favorite newspapers, both owned by Rupert Murdoch, ran a pair of damning editorials, "The New York Post" saying Trump's actions make him unworthy to lead the country again.
But, in an astonishing reality, Trump is taking very real action to run for president again, stumping at a rally for a fellow 2020 election denier in Arizona, building an inner circle, and leading nearly every early poll for the Republican nomination.
Perhaps the biggest threat to Trump's candidacy was on display Thursday in a remarkable visual. In this Democratic-led Congress, the person who led the committee's hearing Thursday was a Republican, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who has relentlessly called out former President Trump and those around him and put her own political career on the line to call out his actions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child.
Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And joining me now from her home state of Wyoming, the vice chair of the January 6 Committee, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
Thank you so much for joining us, Congresswoman. Really appreciate it.
CHENEY: Great to be with you.
TAPPER: After everything you have uncovered, after all the work of the committee, do you believe that your committee has successfully made the case that Donald Trump committed crimes? And, if so, which ones?
CHENEY: Well, I think that the committee has produced and provided and gathered a tremendous amount of information. We're not finished yet.
Certainly, it's clear, if you look at Judge Carter's opinion, that he believes that it's more likely than not that President Trump committed at least two federal crimes. I think we certainly have -- we have not decided yet as a committee whether we're going to make criminal referrals. But that's absolutely something we're looking at.
And there's no question that we have seen very serious misconduct and certainly supreme dereliction of duty. But you look at what we have laid out in these hearings in terms of the president's efforts to corrupt the Department of Justice, to corruptly pressure state and local officials, certainly what he did in terms of attempting to pressure the vice president to violate the law and the Constitution, and then what we saw last week in terms of, once he had sent the armed mob to the Capitol, to refuse to call them off and send them home for multiple hours, despite the fact that people, everyone, really, was pleading with him to do so.
TAPPER: So I know Judge Carter's opinion that it's likely crimes were committed.
Your fellow Republican on the committee, Adam Kinzinger, told CNN on Friday that he believes that the committee has proven Donald Trump broke the law. What's your personal opinion? Do you think Donald Trump broke the law?
CHENEY: I think that Donald Trump -- the violation of his oath of office, the violation of the Constitution that he engaged in is the most serious misconduct of any president in the history of our nation.
I think that, as I said, the committee has not decided yet whether or not we will make criminal referrals. That's something we take very seriously.
And I would also say that the Department of Justice certainly is very focused, based on what we see publicly, on what is the largest criminal investigation in American history.
But there's no doubt in my mind that the president of the United States is unfit for further office, any man who would conduct themselves -- or woman -- who would conduct themselves the way that he did in attempting to overturn an election and stay in power must never again be anywhere close to the Oval Office.
TAPPER: At the end of the hearing, you said -- quote -- "Doors have opened" and -- quote -- "new subpoenas have been issued."
It took public pressure from you before former White House counsel Pat Cipollone agreed to speak to the committee. Who's next on your wish list of witnesses you most want to hear from in the coming months?
CHENEY: Well, we have a number of many interviews scheduled that are coming up. We anticipate talking to additional members of the president's Cabinet. We anticipate talking to additional members of his campaign.
Certainly, we're very focused as well on the Secret Service and on interviewing additional members of the Secret Service and collecting additional information from them.
So, it's true. And I would say, in particular, after Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, we saw a number of people come forward. And, certainly, Pat Cipollone, the subpoena that we issued to him and his testimony was certainly -- he was encouraged, I would say, by Cassidy's testimony to come forward.
TAPPER: On the matter of the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general, as you know, says that that investigative arm, that investigative body, they're opening a criminal investigation into the disappearance of those January 6-related Secret Service text messages.
Do you think those messages were deliberately destroyed? Do you think a crime was committed? CHENEY: You know, I am really deeply troubled by these developments
at the Secret Service.
And I say that, Jake, you know, I'm someone who, for nearly eight years, was a protectee of the Secret Service. I have just tremendous respect and admiration and real affection for members of the Secret Service, particularly those who were with my family on 9/11 and the aftermath of 9/11.
It's a group of -- an organization with tremendous individuals in it. But I also know that what we saw, in terms of what's happened over the course -- what we have become aware of over the course of the last several weeks is deeply troubling.
We will get to the bottom of it. I also think anybody who watched our hearing last week and saw the radio traffic, listened to the radio traffic of the agents who are with Vice President Pence and saw the testimony about other radio traffic recognizes the really serious and grave threat the vice president was under. And the agents who were protecting him certainly did a tremendous service that day.
So, I do think, though, there are some very, very concerning things that we have got to get to the bottom of. And we have got to be able to get the information that we need about January 6.
TAPPER: Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly corresponded with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump lawyer John Eastman, who was pushing this deranged theory.
She was writing to them about efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, not to mention her correspondence with Arizona lawmakers pushing fake electors.
Is your committee planning on talking to Ginni Thomas, even though her lawyer has expressed a reluctance to cooperate?
CHENEY: We are. The committee is engaged with her counsel. We certainly hope that she will agree to come in voluntarily. But the committee is fully prepared to contemplate a subpoena if she does not.
I hope it doesn't get to that. I hope she will come in voluntarily. We have certainly spoken with numbers of people who are similarly situated in terms of the discussions that she was having that you mentioned. So it's very important for us to speak with her. And, as I said, I hope she will agree to do so voluntarily.
But I'm sure we will contemplate a subpoena if she won't.
TAPPER: You called it a victory for the rule of law when, on Friday, a jury convicted former Trump adviser Steve Bannon on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress by refusing to cooperate with subpoenas from your committee. Bannon indicates he plans to appeal the verdict.
I'm wondering as to why so many people think Bannon's testimony is so important. And I have heard it speculated by a former top Trump White House official that it might be because he could potentially establish ties between people directly talking to Trump and people who are a part of these far right militias that have been charged with seditious conspiracy.
Is that is that right?
CHENEY: Look, I think it's very clear that Steve Bannon has important information that the committee needs.
You can -- you can tell that in a number of ways, including by listening to his podcast, including by listening to some of the recordings that we played on Thursday, where he was explaining that, as early as October of 2020, Donald Trump was planning to declare victory no matter what the results actually were of the election.
And, of course, the committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon after engaging with him multiple times. And he simply refused to comply with the subpoena. So, he's been held in contempt, and he's now been convicted.
But he has an obligation, as does every American, to comply with the subpoena issued by the United States Congress. So, he does have information that we need. And I think, as I said very clearly when he was on the air on January 5 making the predictions about what would happen on January 6, and if you listen to what he has been saying publicly about those events, he obviously has information and knowledge that is -- that's very relevant.
TAPPER: Trump's aggressively teasing another run for president in 2024. Election deniers are running and winning Republican primary races across the country, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Dan Cox in Maryland, perhaps Kari Lake in Arizona.
How concerned are you that January 6 was just the beginning, and that, at some point in the future, someone will actually successfully steal an election?
CHENEY: Well, I think that we all have to be concerned about that.
I think, with respect to Donald Trump, as I said, he can never be anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again. His demonstrated willingness to blow through every guardrail of our democracy, his willingness to put himself above this nation, the extent to which he's still, to this day, betraying the fundamental patriotism of millions of Americans makes him unfit for office.
And I think those candidates who are running, and I would say, in particular, the candidates who know what they're saying is a lie do not deserve the support of their voters. And it's a dangerous moment. It's a moment when those of us who believe in our constitutional republic and who believe in the rule of law and who believe in a democratic process have to stand together across party lines to make sure that we're doing all we can to defend it.
TAPPER: Congresswoman, stay right there. We have a lot more to talk about, including your own political future.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: We've seen bravery and honor in these hearings, and Ms. Matthews and Mr. Pottinger, both of you will be remembered for that, as will Cassidy Hutchinson.
She knew all along that she would be attacked by President Trump and by the 50-, 60-, and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. She has courage, and she did it anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And I'm back with Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the January 6 Committee.
Congresswoman, we just heard you making a point at the last hearing, commending the bravery of the female witnesses who testified. You called them inspirations to American girls and women, suggested that they're braver than a lot of middle-aged men.
What middle-aged men are you specifically talking about? And why do you think these young women are so much braver?
CHENEY: Well, I think it has been tremendously moving and inspirational, not just for me, but for women especially, all across this country, men too, to see the -- just the awesome courage of someone like Cassidy Hutchinson, like Sarah Matthews, like Shaye Moss, and Ruby Freeman, and Caroline Edwards, these women who have come in front of the committee, Cassidy Hutchinson alone at that table swearing an oath and telling the truth, which is in such contrast, for example, to her boss, Mark Meadows.
And the extent to which not just the people that you have seen, but others that you haven't seen, people who understand -- and they do tend to be younger. Often, they tend to be women, who understand that what happened can never happen again and who've been willing to step forward and tell the truth and do their patriotic duty.
And it is -- it is a tremendous lesson for all of us. I have daughters who are the ages of these -- some of these young women who have come in front of the committee. And I hope my daughters would never be in the position that they have been in, but I also hope that they would conduct themselves with the kind of honor and patriotism and courage we have seen from people like Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews and others.
TAPPER: During Thursday's hearing, the House Republican Conference Twitter account attacked Sarah Matthews as a liar and a pawn for Pelosi. They never said one word about the other witness right next to her, Matthew Pottinger.
Why do you think that Trump MAGA forces are focusing their attacks more on the women testifying, like Matthews, like Cassidy Hutchinson?
CHENEY: Well, it certainly is the case that the attacks against some of the women witnesses have been particularly vicious.
I also think that the response that we have seen from the House Republicans is really disgraceful. And the fact that we have gotten to a point where we had an attack on the Capitol, we had a president who sent a mob he knew was armed to try to stop the counting of electoral votes, and who refused to tell the mob to go home for hours, and the response to that by my fellow Republicans in the House is to try to embrace Trump talking points and attack the people who want the country to understand what happened, I think is really disgraceful.
And I think, look, our country is at a moment where we really have to, all of us, take a big step back and all of us say, look, the normal sort of vitriolic, toxic partisanship has got to stop. And we -- we have to recognize what's at stake.
And individuals like those who are running the Republican Conference, who are the leadership of the Republicans in the House need to be held accountable for their actions. And they need to understand how serious the situation is.
TAPPER: Trump and a bunch of those House Republican leaders are trying to get you defeated in your primary, your Republican primary, in August.
I couldn't help but notice that two of the individuals whom we have heard from in these hearings privately expressing outrage at their former boss' lies and actions, former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and former Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, they're both currently fully engaged in trying to defeat you in the Wyoming primary, specifically because you're standing up to the very things that they expressed outrage about privately.
That must be really strange for you.
CHENEY: I mean, look, it is. It's a highly unusual moment certainly in American politics.
And I am working hard here in Wyoming to earn every vote. But I will also say this. I'm not going to lie. I'm not going to say things that aren't true about the election. My opponents are doing that, certainly simply for the purpose of getting elected.
And, Jake, if I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I'm going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day.
And so, as I said, I'm fighting hard. No matter what happens on August 16, I'm going to wake up on August 17 and continue to fight hard to ensure Donald Trump is never anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again.
TAPPER: If you end up losing your job in Congress because of your work on this committee, it will have been worth it to you?
CHENEY: There's no question.
I believe that my work on this committee is the single most important thing I have ever done professionally. It is an unbelievable honor to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress. And I know that all of us who are elected officials take an oath that we swear under God to the Constitution. And that oath has to mean something.
And that oath means that we cannot embrace and enable a president as dangerous as Donald Trump is. And my obligations and my responsibilities on this committee are to ensure that we understand exactly what happens, so that we can establish legislation and recommendations to help ensure it never happens again.
TAPPER: You have made it very clear you don't think Donald Trump should ever be trusted with the presidency again.
Are you willing to run for president to try to stop him, at least in part?
CHENEY: I haven't really -- at this point, I have not made a decision about 2024.
And I am really very focused on the substance of what we have to do on the Select Committee, very focused on the work that I have to do to represent the people of Wyoming. And I will make a decision about 2024 down the road.
But I do think, as we look towards the next presidential election, as I said, I believe that our nation stands on the edge of an abyss. And I do believe that we all have to really think very seriously about the dangers we face and the threats we face. And we have to elect serious candidates.
And we have got to let people who will take their obligations and their oaths seriously and who will deal with issues of substance with respect for people who have disagreements, and we have got to be able to come together and stop the very dangerous kind of politics that we have lived through over the last year-and-a-half certainly.
TAPPER: One issue about -- one question about a vote that you cast. You are one of 47 House Republicans who voted this week to codify same-sex marriage protections.
It's a culmination of a remarkable personal evolution for you. You used to oppose same-sex marriage. That infamously led to a public falling out with your own sister.
What's your message to any Senate Republican who's on the fence about voting for this bill? CHENEY: Freedom means freedom for everybody.
And I have said that my initial opposition 10 years ago to same-sex marriage was wrong. And I'm -- I love my sister very much and her family very much. And I believe that, given the decision that we saw from the Supreme Court and the suggestion that the additional rulings could be at risk, the suggestion in Justice Thomas' opinion about that, means that we have got to step up and make sure that we're providing protections.
And so, certainly, ensuring that we have provided that kind of protection for same-sex marriage is very important. And so I would urge my Republican colleagues in the Senate to follow suit and to do the same.
TAPPER: Congresswoman Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming joining us today from Wyoming, thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.
CHENEY: Thank you, Jake. Great to be with you.
TAPPER: We just talked about the battle for the future of the Republican Party. This week in Maryland, there was a clear winner.
I'm going to talk with Governor Larry Hogan about that next.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
The state of Maryland may return to Democratic control this fall, possibly, after outgoing Republican Governor Larry Hogan's chosen successor lost her primary this week to the new Republican nominee, Dan Cox.
He's a Maryland delegate and 2020 election denier who was backed by former President Trump.
Here with me to discuss is the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan.
So, let's talk about Mr. Cox. He embraced the QAnon insanity. He organized buses to the Stop the Steal rally on January 6. He even tweeted that Mike Pence was a traitor while the Capitol was under assault.
Do you think there's any chance he could win? And, if so, what might that mean for Maryland?
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): I don't think there's any chance that he can win. But there's no question this was a big win for the Democratic
Governors Association that I think spent over $3 million trying to promote this guy. And it was basically collusion between Trump and the national Democrats, who propped this guy up and got him elected.
But he really is not a serious candidate.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, I understand the DGA put in money to fund ads to promote Dan Cox, but then Republican voters, 142,000 of them, went out and voted, based on the messages that Democrats put out there...
TAPPER: ... which were accurate, about Dan Cox and who he was.
So it's really Republican voters that did this.
HOGAN: Yes, well, some of them.
I mean, it was -- we only have a little over 20 percent of the people in Maryland are Republican, and only 20 percent of them showed up at the polls. So it's about 2 percent of the people of our state that voted for the guy. And in the general election, I think it's going to be a different situation.
TAPPER: You have said you're not going to support him in November, so are you going to vote for the Democratic nominee, Wes Moore?
HOGAN: You know, I'm going to have to make a decision about that between now and November.
But I'm certainly not going to support this guy. I said I wouldn't. He doesn't -- he's not qualified to be governor.
TAPPER: So, you have previously told me you're fighting a battle for the future of the Republican Party, maybe even the soul of the Republican Party.
Given this election denier's win, plus the guy running for attorney general, who's also unhinged and...
Then there's a good chance that Congresswoman Liz Cheney is going to lose her primary in August.
Is it fair to say that you and Liz Cheney, you're fighting this battle, but you're losing it?
HOGAN: Well, there's no question that we lost a battle, and we're losing a few battles. But the fight is long. It's not -- it's long from being over. I mean, we have another couple of years before the next election. I
said in November, after -- in November of '20, I gave a speech at the Reagan Institute saying, there's going to be a long battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. And this is just the beginning.
I think, in November, we're going to have a different story, when a lot of these fringe candidates lose. And then we're going to have to start thinking about, between November's election and the election two years later, what kind of a party are we going to be? And can we get back to a more Reaganesque big tent party that appeals to more people?
Or are we going to double down on failure?
TAPPER: One of the things we heard during the January 6 hearing Thursday was the degree to which top Trump officials were chagrined that Donald Trump during the riot, during the insurrection for three hours and seven minutes would not take any action to stop it, including not calling the military or law enforcement or anyone to stop the violence of his supporters attacking the Capitol.
I want to play a little bit of that testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the president of the United States to the secretary of defense that day?
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Not that I am aware of, no.
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the president of the United States to the attorney general of the United States that day?
CHENEY: Are you aware of any phone call by the president of the United States to the secretary of homeland security that day?
CIPOLLONE: I am not aware of that, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, just to remind our viewers, at the time Donald Trump was not taking action, you were fielding panicked calls from congressional leaders.
You were trying to mobilize Maryland police, Maryland National Guard. And Donald Trump was just sitting there watching and, from some accounts, gleefully.
What's your reaction?
HOGAN: Well, I was aware of all of that. So it didn't come as a surprise to me to watch these hearings. But you're right. We -- I was taking action nonstop for three hours. I
was on the phone twice with the leaders of Congress. I was talking to the mayor of D.C. I sent in a couple of hundred riot-trained Maryland State Police almost immediately. I called up the Maryland National Guard.
And we were attempting for several hours to get approval of the secretary of defense, which we didn't get. And I finally several hours later got Ryan McCarthy, acting secretary of the Army, to say we could send the National Guard.
But, while he was doing nothing but watching television in the Dining Room, we were -- our entire team was mobilizing and acting and fielding calls and sending in help. We were trying to protect Mike Pence and the members of Congress.
TAPPER: But what was your -- I know that's what you were doing. But what's your reaction? What's your reaction to hearing that that's what Donald Trump -- I mean...
HOGAN: Well, it doesn't surprise me, because that's what I -- like, I knew that he wasn't taking action.
TAPPER: You knew it already. OK.
HOGAN: And I knew that we were getting stonewalled.
But it is pretty -- I mean, I think the testimony made it more riveting for a lot of people that were paying attention.
TAPPER: I'm a history buff, as you know. And I like to talk about your dad, Larry Hogan Sr., who was a congressman and the courage he showed as a Republican congressman on the House Judiciary Committee standing up against the abuses of Richard Nixon.
What do you make -- what do you think he would make of the fact that, even after this months-long, damning investigation -- plus, all of this really, honestly, unlike Watergate, this all played out in front of all of us. We all saw it happening.
TAPPER: What do you think your dad would make the fact that so few Republicans are willing to take a risk and stand up to this madness?
HOGAN: Well, I think he would be disgusted.
I learned a lot about integrity from my dad. And I have been one of the ones speaking out. There are more people now who are starting to stand up. But it's kind of too little too late. But people are starting to become aware.
I have said over and over again Donald Trump's influence is going to -- it is diminished and will continue to diminish over the -- between now and the next election. TAPPER: I want to ask you about a development. Obviously, you say
that you personally consider yourself pro-life, but you're not going to take any actions as governor of Maryland to stand in the way of a woman or girl's right to an abortion.
Do you think the rush of some of your fellow Republican governors to enact complete zero bans is a political mistake and a moral mistake? I mean, we literally are seeing stories about women who have miscarriages who are being forced into medical situations where they have pain, girls who are raped whose -- who politicians are saying, you need to carry that rapist's child to term.
What's your reaction?
HOGAN: Well, look, I think most people in America are not -- do not have an extreme position on abortion.
And even if they say they're pro-life, they still want some -- they still would agree with some reasonable restrictions. And people that are -- say that they're pro-life also believe in some exceptions.
TAPPER: You mean pro-choice and pro-life, yes.
HOGAN: Pro-choice and pro-life. Most of America is somewhere in the gray area.
They want some -- they're OK with reasonable restrictions, but not some of these actions that are being taken. And I think the extremes on both sides are not where America is. I also think this is not going to be the issue -- it's going to fire up people on the left and the right.
But most people are going to be making their decisions based on the economy and the troubles they're having buying groceries and filling up their gas and worried about crime and education.
TAPPER: Last time I interviewed you, you acknowledged that you're considering a presidential run in 2024.
Does what happened this week in Maryland make you more or less likely to run for president?
HOGAN: Well, it makes me more -- more concerned about the future of the party and more concerned about the future of the country.
So, I can tell you I'm not giving up. It just makes me want to double down and fight back against what I think is kind of a hostile takeover of the party that I love, that I have been involved in my whole life.
TAPPER: Governor Hogan, always good to see you. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.
Congratulations on the new grandchild.
HOGAN: Thank you so much.
TAPPER: Senate Republicans split over a bill to codify same-sex marriage, as some of them argue it's not necessary.
I'm going to ask Secretary Pete Buttigieg his view next.
TAPPER: And welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
We are less than three months from the midterm elections.
President Biden is trying to motivate Democratic voters, while he confronts challenges for everything from the economy to the climate crisis.
Joining us now, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Secretary Buttigieg, before we get to anything else, I do want to ask you about President Biden's health. And he was obviously diagnosed with COVID.
Have you spoken with him recently? How's he feeling?
PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I haven't spoken with him in the last few days, but we got a briefing during the COVID task force from people who've indicated that he's working.
I know he's working, actually, because, on Thursday, I got a call from the White House about something on transportation that he had asked me to follow up on. So, looking forward to being able to be back in a room with him, and obviously wishing him a speedy path back to 100 percent.
TAPPER: Obviously, all of us feel the same way.
I want to ask you. The airline industry received more than $50 billion in taxpayer money during the pandemic, and yet American airlines, U.S. airlines have canceled more than 100,000 flights so far this year. Travelers are dealing with price hikes and staffing shortages, widespread delays.
Senator Bernie Sanders says you need to start fining airlines for scheduling flights they can't staff, for flights delayed more than two hours, and requiring them to fully refund flights delayed more than an hour.
Why aren't you?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, we have been acting with our enforcement powers to hold airlines accountable. As a matter of fact, on my watch, we issued the stiffest fine in the
history of the consumer protection program for an airline that wasn't providing proper refunds. But, of course, what we most want to have happen is for the flights to go better in the first place.
We saw a lot of disruptions, really an unacceptable level of cancellations and delays over the Memorial Day weekend. After that, I pulled the airline leadership together to talk about what they were going to do to better service the tickets that they sell.
We have seen a lot of improvements since then. You look at cancellation rates for the last couple of travel weekends. They have been around 1.5 percent, which is getting closer to normal. It's, of course, never going to be zero with weather and things like that, but it should never be as high as it was during the Memorial Day travel weekend.
And we're going to continue to push them and, of course, prepared to work collaboratively whenever there's a chance to do things that smooth out operations in our national airspace.
It's a good thing that Americans have the income and the inclination to get back in the skies, that demand is so high after a couple of years of people putting off trips. But now that -- now that demand is back, the airlines have to be prepared to service those tickets that they're collecting revenue selling.
TAPPER: The World Health Organization just declared monkeypox a global health emergency. There are nearly 3,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. so far.
Are there any measures that you think airlines and trains and buses need to take to stop further spread, such as implementing enhanced screening for symptoms at airports and train stations? And what do you make of criticisms that the Biden administration is not doing enough to stop the spread of monkeypox?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, I know the administration is taking this very seriously.
And, of course, there's now been this global action to declare an emergency too. Any time you have a communicable disease, you need to follow the lead of public health experts, obviously transmits in a very different way compared to COVID.
And so, when you go from one possible pandemic or one outbreak to another, you need to have an approach that's specific to what public science and public health and medical experts tell us is going to make the biggest difference, but certainly thing -- something we're monitoring closely. And I know the administration has been working aggressively to enhance and accelerate things like the availability and use of vaccines and other measures that are going to make a difference to stop the spread.
TAPPER: President Biden's once-sweeping Build Back Better plan has been reduced to legislation that would extend health care subsidies and lower prescription drug costs.
Climate change measures, corporate tax hikes, universal pre-K, paid family leave, free college tuition, all of those provisions gone, gone, gone. A lot of Democrats are blaming this all on West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.
Do you think it's fair for them to put the blame on him?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, look, we're dealing with a Senate where not one Senate Republican is willing to join on any of those priorities either, but also where we have been able to get a lot done.
The effect of the American Rescue Plan being felt in communities across America right now, the bipartisan infrastructure law that's enabling me and my department and others to make improvements across the country on everything from transportation to Internet access to clean water, these are major, major achievements.
We haven't gotten everything that we want as an administration. The president's continuing to push on other priorities. But we shouldn't overlook what's been achieved. And we shouldn't ever relent in pushing for what still needs to be done.
I'm really looking forward to seeing where we're able to get on prescription drugs, something that would give a lot of breathing room for a lot of families. And there's obviously much more work to be done.
TAPPER: I don't know if you heard. Congresswoman Liz Cheney talked about -- spoke directly to Senate Republicans who are on the fence about the need, in her view, to codify protections for same-sex marriage.
It's still clear -- if there are 10 Senate Republicans willing to support it. Republican Senator Rubio told my colleague Manu Raju he's going to vote no. And he called the -- called the vote a -- quote -- "stupid waste of time."
What's your reaction that? What's your message to Senate Republicans?
BUTTIGIEG: If he's got time to fight against Disney, I don't know why he wouldn't have time to help safeguard marriages like mine.
Look, this is really, really important to a lot of people. It's certainly important to me. I started my day, as I try to do on weekends, I try to give Chasten a little bit of a break and do breakfast with both of our twins.
And that alone, that's no small thing, as every parent of small kids knows. It was one of those days where the tray table wasn't quite fitting into the highchair. And I'm trying to make sure that they're busy enough with their little cereal puffs to give me enough time to chop up the banana and get the formula ready. And it just -- I don't know. That half-hour of my morning had me
thinking about how much I depend on and count on my spouse every day. And our marriage deserves to be treated equally. And I don't know why this would be hard for a senator or a congressman.
I don't understand, because such a majority of House Republicans voted no on our marriage on as recently as Tuesday, hours after I was in a room with a lot of them talking about transportation policy, having what I thought were perfectly normal conversations with many of them on that subject, only for them to go around the corner and say that my marriage doesn't deserve to continue.
If they don't want to spend a lot of time on this, they can vote yes and move on. And that would be really reassuring for a lot of families around America, including mine.
TAPPER: Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you so much for your time, and our best to Chasten and your babies.
BUTTIGIEG: Thank you.
TAPPER: She's got lots of ideas about how Democrats can win more, so what does she think will happen to November?
Secretary Buttigieg's former top aide Lis Smith joins our panel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office.
And every American must consider this: Can a president who is willing to make the choices Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6 ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It's a big question.
Let's talk about it with our panel.
Scott Jennings, let me ask you, do you think that these -- that these hearings and all this testimony from all these Trump-supporting White House officials has had any impact on Republicans?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I do, actually.
I think he's weaker than he's ever been. I still think he's quite formidable for 2024. But we have a whole bunch of people that are going to run for president who can give you everything you want on policy, everything you want on fighting the media, everything you want from an attitude perspective that don't bring the stain of having violated your oath of office the way Donald Trump did on January the 6th.
And I would just say to Republicans -- and this is where I have come down. I voted for him twice. I wanted him to succeed, defended him, as you know. But the bottom line is, for all the Republicans who gave him their best effort, you have to watch this and ask yourself if he gave you his best effort.
And the clear answer is no. And so we got to get a different nominee. Otherwise, we're going to lose the Joe Biden or some other radical Democrat again in 2024.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we need more Republicans to say straight out, Donald Trump should be disqualified from the presidency, period, end of story.
Until other Republicans come out and say that forthrightly, including the ones that will run against him, because, if you do this, well, I'm just a little bit better than Trump, that's not going to do it. We have seen this movie before.
And I really don't think we have spent enough time taking in the fact that the vice president's life was in danger on January 6. Even Mike Pence, the person who was the target of that mob, will not talk to the January 6 Committee. Also, Kevin McCarthy, as the House Republican leader, is still defying a subpoena to talk about what he knows that day?
They're not ready to move on from Trump until they speak out about what they know.
LIS SMITH, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well...
TAPPER: I just want to -- I want to let you talk, Lis, but I just want to introduce and show your book. It's called "Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story," by Lis Smith.
TAPPER: So, go out and buy it. It's really -- it's really actually a very good read.
Go ahead. Sorry.
SMITH: Great. Thank you. Thank you.
Well, I'm glad you guys are talking out. And I also heard Governor Hogan speak out. But where are the other Republicans? Where are the Republican leaders? When McCarthy stepped over the line, Republicans shunned him. When Nixon and his cronies did Watergate, they made him resign.
When Donald Trump incites a violent insurrection, Republican leaders say, thank you, sir. May I have another?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean I -- this is actually pretty good.
The problem that nobody's acknowledging is that this is still Donald Trump's party.
SELLERS: And so you can have all of these candidates who run and give you the policy, who run and give you this and that, but none of them give you Donald Trump's base.
I mean, we just had Larry Hogan in here, but Larry Hogan's Republican nominee replacement is Dan Cox, who's a nut, right?
SELLERS: And so you still have -- you still have Donald Trump's base, which none of these people bring you.
And you voted for Donald Trump twice. I voted for him none. But I also want Donald Trump and his element to be indicted. I mean, I think that this now is on Merrick Garland. And while that is the shift from Republicans to Democrats, because Democrats now want Merrick Garland to take action, and whether or not Donald Trump is indicted, there are people around him who definitely should be.
TAPPER: Scott, I want you to weigh in, but, first, I want you to take a listen to what Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who's another member of the committee, had to say about that issue about criminal charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We've proven different components have a criminal case against Donald Trump or people around him in every hearing.
And I think, taken in totality, this represents the greatest effort to overturn the will of the people, to conspire against the will of the people and to conspire against American democracy that we have ever had. It's up to Justice now to make a decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JENNINGS: Yes, I don't know whether he will be indicted.
I have always thought the Georgia case actually was more dangerous for him, because they actually have him on tape down there. So, I don't know. And I also think there are political equities involved here. I mean, you have the administration that defeated somebody looking to indict him, and that person may be running again.
I mean, I think it has to be taken into consideration. So, I don't..
SELLERS: That's actually -- I mean, that's actually -- unfortunately, that is a very valid consideration.
But what we have here -- as a Democrat, we have a district attorney in New York who had no fortitude. He just got elected, and he dropped his investigation. You have Merrick Garland, who -- I love Merrick Garland, but I think people are waiting to see what he is going to do.
My love may be unfounded. But you actually have somebody who actually is doing the work in Atlanta. And that actually is a very strong case.
SMITH: But you know what? We don't need to indict Donald Trump. We need to defeat him at the polls, and we need to defeat Trumpism at the polls.
We need to defeat the Coxes of the world, the Mastrianos of the world. And until we do that, we will not rid the...
JENNINGS: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
SELLERS: And the Kari Lakes.
CARPENTER: I'm very concerned that the people that submitted the false electors to Congress are being overlooked.
That is something that's very serious, got to the deep rot within the Republican Party at a state level as coordinating with Trump. And I hope that doesn't go away.
JENNINGS: Let me just say, we have heard a lot of names here this morning, Cox. You brought up the Maryland guy, Lake, Arizona, Mastriano, Pennsylvania.
What do all these people have in common? Trump is for them and the Democrat Governors Association has spent millions of dollars to get them their nominations. It is the height of cynicism and hypocrisy.
CARPENTER: I agree with you, but Republican voters voted for them. I agree with you.
SMITH: It's the Republican base, Republican base.
JENNINGS: Cox had no chance, except for a $3 million spend by Democrats.
CARPENTER: Doug Mastriano was taking that on his own before Trump's endorsement.
SELLERS: And 42,000 people voted for Cox.
JENNINGS: If you're proud of Democrat donor money being spent to take -- to elect people that you say are destroying American, say it this morning.
CARPENTER: Do you think Republican voters are making the wrong decision?
CARPENTER: Do you think Donald Trump should not endorse...
TAPPER: But let me ask you. Let me -- is it not Democrats playing with fire?
SELLERS: Oh, no doubt.
TAPPER: Because polls in Pennsylvania...
SELLERS: But it's politics.
TAPPER: You are correct. Mastriano was winning even before Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee, started running ads about him.
But is it not playing with fire when the Democratic Governors Association boosts these election deniers?
SELLERS: No, there's no doubt we're playing with fire.
But, I mean, there -- but, also, I mean, to -- we're talking about the DGA, but what Scott didn't mention is Herschel Walker. What Scott didn't mention is all of these other people who are Trump acolytes who actually win primaries who are terrible candidates, and Democrats have nothing to do with propping them up.
TAPPER: What do you think? Is it playing with fire?
SMITH: I'm going to...
SELLERS: That's a yes-or-no question.
SMITH: Yes, it is.
OK, look, are they playing with fire? Sure. But it is a Republican base that is voting for people who deny the results of the last election, want to criminalize abortion, and will only make sure that the people they support for president win the next election. CARPENTER: Here's...
CARPENTER: ... politics.
If you believe that Trump represents some kind of crisis to democracy, you can't in good faith make those ads and then still ask center-right Republicans to believe you that you are...
JENNINGS: A hundred percent.
CARPENTER: ... 100 percent true on this.
TAPPER: Let me ask you this.
Within about an hour of each other on Friday, two newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch, "The Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Post,' both released scathing editorials, which is the position of the newspaper -- the difference between op-ed and op-ed as a contributor and editorial is, this is what the editorial board of this newspaper thinks.
"The New York Post": "Trump's silence on January 6, is damning."
"Wall Street Journal": "The president who stood still on January 6."
Scott, has something changed here, or no?
I mean, look at the polling. You have got DeSantis running neck and neck with Trump in Michigan. He led him in a poll in New Hampshire. He's creeping up in the national surveys. There's a whole bunch of Republicans that voted for him twice, but realize they don't want to do it again. They don't want to run the risk of losing again, and that we can't drag the country through this again.
Yes, things have changed.
TAPPER: Do you think so, Lis?
SMITH: I don't -- no, I don't think things have changed. I mean, that's great that the Murdoch papers have stood up to him.
But where are the Republican leaders standing up to him? Where are the Republican elites standing up to him?
SELLERS: Nothing. Nothing.
SMITH: I see you. I see you. I see Larry Hogan. But we all know that...
TAPPER: Liz Cheney also.
SMITH: And Liz Cheney. But we don't... SELLERS: She is about to get molly-whopped, though. She's going to get beat by...
SELLERS: She's going to get beat by 30 points.
SMITH: I know, but Liz Cheney and Larry Hogan do not speak for the Republican base anymore.
JENNINGS: If Republicans thought he was inevitable, you wouldn't see all these people planning presidential campaigns.
SMITH: What do you think?
CARPENTER: Everyone has fallen in line before. I think something has changed, but I don't know if it's permanent or temporary.
But only -- I know the only way to make it permanent is for Republicans to say, Donald Trump should be disqualified from the presidency. You are never getting my vote again. And until that happens, he owns the Republican Party.
SELLERS: Larry Hogan is retiring. Liz Cheney is going to get beat by 30.
This is Donald Trump's party. And it's Donald Trump's party until he says otherwise.
JENNINGS: We will look forward to the Democrat Committee spending money to get Trump the nomination in 2024, because that's the road we're on right now.
SELLERS: We did that in 2016.
TAPPER: All right, amazing.
TAPPER: God, I could go on for an hour-and-a-half listening to you guys.
Thank you so much for being here.
And thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.