President Trump threatens executive action as negotiations over COVID relief stall

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This is a rush transcript from “Special Report,” August 7, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Good evening, welcome to Washington. I’m Shannon bream in tonight for Brett Baier.

Breaking tonight, it is shaping up to be another weekend of despair and worry for millions of Americans out of work tonight. There’s still no agreement on a new coronavirus relief package, one week after the expiration of supplemental unemployment benefits.

The July jobs report shows the unemployment rate dropping from 11.1 percent to 10.2. The economy gained 1.8 million jobs but a sharp decrease from the almost five million in June.

President Trump has threatened to use an executive order to address the situation. Correspondent Kristin Fisher starts us off tonight from the White House. Good evening, Kristin.

KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Shannon. Well, these negotiations have been looking so bleak that the White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wondered if a final meeting today, deadline day, was even worth it. In the end, they went for it but this afternoon, both sides walked away with nothing.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It was a disappointing meeting.

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I am extremely disappointed.

FISHER: After two weeks of near daily negotiations, it appears the only thing the Democratic leadership in the White House could agree on is that their talks were a failure.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin accused Democrats of trying to overplay their hand by asking for too much.

MEADOWS: What they want is a $2.5 trillion blank check.

FISHER: But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say, the White House wanted to little.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I’ve told them come back when you — when you are ready to give us a higher number.

FISHER: Now the task of helping the millions of Americans who are facing eviction and feeling the pinch after losing federal unemployment benefits falls on President Trump.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: The chief and I will recommend to the president based upon our lack of activity today to move forward with some executive orders.

FISHER: Those orders will likely include extending the federal eviction moratorium for renters, continuing emergency federal unemployment benefits but at a lower rate and some kind of student loan relief.

This morning, the White House’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow also said that the legal drafting is complete on an executive order that would suspend payroll tax collection.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: There’s a whole variety of issues and federal powers that are at the president’s disposal and he will use them, you can bet on it.

FISHER: The White House walked away from the negotiations with Democrats bullied by the latest jobs report. The U. S. added 1.8 million jobs in the month of July and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2 percent.

KUDLOW: This is a self-sustaining recovery and the job numbers is stronger than anyone thought possible and we’re climbing our way back from the awful pandemic contraction.

FISHER: But there’s still a long way to go. According to Labor Department, the U. S. economy has only recovered about 42 percent of the 22 million jobs that lost to the pandemic induced recession.

SCHUMER: We saw the jobs report, and it’s clear the economy is losing steam. That means we need big, bold investments in America to help average folks.


FISHER: And President Trump tweeted a few moments ago that he’s ready to go in a different direction from what Democrats have been asking for. And you heard from Larry Kudlow who said that the legal drafting is complete on at least some of these possible executive orders.

So, Shannon, he really could sign them, the president could sign them very soon, Shannon.

BREAM: We’ll be standing by watching this weekend. Kristin Fisher at the White House, thank you.

So, President Trump broadly prohibiting unspecified transactions with the Chinese owners of TikTok and WeChat via executive order in 45 days. The president had threatened the deadline of September 15th to close down TikTok unless Microsoft or another company buys it.

In tonight’s Democracy 2020 report, Joe Biden on damage control. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is trying to recover from a comment that critics say is derogatory to African Americans.

Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest tonight from Wilmington Delaware.


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Joe Biden’s motorcade showed up unannounced at an advanced center in Wilmington today as party leaders try to figure out where in Delaware, he should accept the nomination. And as his campaign tries to clean up a comment about African Americans.

He says, quote, I want to clarify, in no way did I mean to suggest to the African American community is a monolith, not by identity, not on issues, not at all when he said this.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things.

DOOCY: President Trump now argues after yesterday’s statement, sleepy Joe Biden is no longer worthy of the black vote. And the Trump campaign points out something similar has happened before.

BIDEN: If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you aren’t black.

DOOCY: It’s unclear how Biden’s latest delicate explanation about race will impact his selection of a running mate and the last time he was asked if he’d commit to picking a black woman, he said this.

BIDEN: I am not committed to naming any but the people I’ve named and among them, there are four black women.

DOOCY: There’s also a brewing fight over faith, the president said this about Biden.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No religion, no anything. Hurt the bible, hurt God. He’s against God.

DOOCY: Biden called Trump’s remarks shameful. His campaign argues, Joe Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is. He’s lived it with dignity his entire life and it’s been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship.

And it’s worth noting, Biden used two closed unscripted events with a line about faith, back when he had unscripted events.

BIDEN: Every time I walk out of my Grandpa Finnegan’s house up in Scranton, he’d yell, Joey, keep the faith. And my grandmother yell, no Joey, spread the faith, spread it.


DOOCY: Joe Biden has a lot going on. Still hasn’t announced where he’s going to give his acceptance speech here in Delaware and still hasn’t announced a running mate. So, whatever he was doing today here at the Chase Center for 2.5 hours at this unannounced campaign stop that we just stumbled upon must have been really important, Shannon.

BREAM: All right, Peter Doocy and a very windy, rainy Wilmington, thank you.

The Intelligence Community is warning a potential election interference from China and Russia. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center says Moscow is trying to denigrate Joe Biden and what it sees as an anti- Russia establishment. The agency says it believes China does not want President Trump to win reelection.

Overseas, Russia is boasting it’s about to become the first country to approve a vaccine.

Hong Kong is offering free testing to its residents and here at home. A new model has an alarming prediction on coronavirus deaths even though infections in some problem areas are declining.

Correspondent Bryan Llenas has an update tonight from Miami.


BRYAN LLENAS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Long lines outside Hard Rock Stadium today as people with coronavirus symptoms in senior citizens waited to receive new rapid COVID-19 antigen tests which give results in just 15 minutes. It’s the latest effort by Florida to fight the coronavirus pandemic in Miami-Dade County, the state’s COVID-19 epicenter.

Florida has had over 518,000 cases and nearly 8,000 deaths. But numbers are beginning to decline from an apex two weeks ago. Other hotspots Texas, California, and Arizona are also stabilizing.

But the University of Washington warns, there are 11 you hotspots nationwide including Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, Missouri and Ohio.

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said on a call that she’s concerned about cities like Baltimore and Atlanta and states like Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee.

There are now nearly five million coronavirus cases and 160,000 COVID-19 deaths nationwide and it’ll get worse this winter.

The CDC projects up to 30,000 more deaths by the end of August. The University of Washington projects nearly 300,000 American COVID-19 deaths by December 1st.

Researchers say if 95 percent of the public wear masks, 66,000 lives could be saved.

Meanwhile, as the debate continues over opening schools, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis emphasize schools should not only reopen, but students’ sports should be allowed too.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, I think it’s critical that we have boys and girls sports available for our students. And again, if a parent chooses to not have their kids play in any of these endeavors, that is totally fine and that’s a parental choice.


LLENAS: Today, White House Coronavirus Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the eventual vaccine could only end up being 50 to 60 percent effective. Meaning, that the vaccine alone would not be enough to keep this pandemic under control, Shannon.

BREAM: All right, Bryan Llenas live for us in Miami. Thank you, Bryan.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will allow children to return to classrooms statewide. A 7-year old boy with COVID-19 has become the youngest known person to die in Georgia of the disease.

A Georgia high school student says her five-day suspension for sharing images of crowded school conditions with few students wearing masks has been lifted and the principal called to apologize.

In Alabama, an entire high school football team and the marching band are under quarantine after a rash of positive tests.

And in Louisiana, a school district is delaying the opening of its facilities after nearly 20 teachers were infected or exposed to the virus and other staff members quits.

The pandemic has apparently given rise to an expansion of homeschooling. Tonight, correspondent Doug McKelway shows us how it’s working.


JAMIE GADDY, EDITOR, : My oldest daughter was enrolled in a private school and was being bullied.

DOUG MCKELWAY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The bullying didn’t stop, so Jamie Gaddy began homeschooling her eldest child. 15 years later, she’s homeschooled all six of her children.

Now, as editor of , she’s being besieged with calls as stressed out parents seek alternatives to distance learning and hybrid models.

GADDY: You know, if it was me, I would just calmly say, that’s it, I’m out, I’m going to homeschool.

MCKELWAY: The Education Department reports that in 2016, 1.7 million American children were homeschooled.

J. ALLEN WESTON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HOME SCHOOL ASSOCIATION: We think there’s really closer to four maybe in 4.5 million before the pandemic and I’m pretty sure we’re looking at close to 10 million by the end of this year.

MCKELWAY: If true, that may portend a threat to public education as local public schools rely for some of their budget on state funding that is dictated in part by enrollment. Adding to public schools’ expenses are demands by teachers’ unions for safeguards that may be politically unattainable.

The American Federation of Teachers for example estimates that COVID mitigation efforts would cost $2,300 per student $116 billion total. And if they don’t get it:

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Nothing is off the table, not advocacy or protest, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits as a last resort safety strikes.

MCKELWAY: One measure of the intense resistance to homeschooling, a recent Harvard magazine article, in it, Harvard Law’s director of Child Advocacy calls for presumptive ban on homeschooling, calling it dangerous and essentially authoritarian.

For many homeschoolers, it’s a sentiment that echoes the deteriorating quality of public education.

WESTON: It’s really important right now in America for parents to take a serious look at what the public schools do to kids, a demand conformity.


MCKELWAY: This week, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced the SCHOOL Act. It would divert some federal public-school funding to individual families to spend on the education of their choice, Shannon.

BREAM: Doug McKelway, thank you.

Stocks were mixed today. The Dow gained 46.5, the S&P 500 finished ahead two. NASDAQ lost 97.

For the week, the Dow was up 3.8 percent, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ gained almost 2.5.

Well, National Football League players are preparing for what would be a very unusual season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic with dozens of other players are opting out, choosing not to risk it this year.

Senior correspondent Mike Tobin looks at a very tough call for some of the world’s best athletes.


MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The NFL on one hand, pure entertainment. On the other, massive revenue generator and indispensable pastime.

JIM GRAY, SPORTSCASTER: America loves the National Football League. Essential? No, it’s not essential but it’s very, very important and it brings a lot of joy to a lot of people.

TOBIN: The New England Patriots saw the most players opt out of the season, eight players. Super Bowl veterans Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung among them. Kansas City Chiefs Lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out because he’s a medical school grad assisting the coronavirus fight in Montreal.

In the end, it’s only two percent of the players in the league, teams can make do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, you want to keep do is — you know, adjust to the situation, adapt the best way you can.

TOBIN: The NBA put players in a bubble in Disney World. The National Hockey League did the same with players confined to Edmonton and Toronto as such a reporting zero cases.

It’s been different with Major League Baseball as teams travel from stadium to stadium. The Marlins had an outbreak and postponed seven games. The Cardinals had 13 positive cases with reports today of another positive test. The Friday night game has been postponed.

But the NFL players need to be on the road for only eight games. Virus prevention policy varies from team to team. Jacksonville Jaguars have players and staff wearing proximity tags that alert when they come closer than six feet. And can also provide contact tracing in the event of a positive test.

The Detroit Lions told season ticket holders, there will be limited capacity seating with no guarantees. Chicago Bears gave money back to season ticket holders.

GRAY: It’s a disaster. Players are going to have to get used to it and the loss of revenue is going to be huge and it’ll affect the ownership, it’ll affect the bottom line and then next year will come out from the player salaries.

TOBIN: Preseason is gone, that means a big chunk of revenues gone with it. Coaches lose a chance to see how their new talent sizes up in the pros. And new players lose a chance to prove they can hang with the big boys. Shannon, back to you.

BREAM: All right, Mike, thank you.

Well, pandemic or not, at least 100,000 people are expected to attend a 10- day Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

The event opens today, this year is the 88th anniversary of the gathering. In normal years, it brings in upward of a half-million motorcycle enthusiast. The rally injects $800 million into South Dakota’s economy.

Up next, the Democratic mayor of Portland condemns protesters who tried to burn police officers alive.

First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. FOX 6 in Milwaukee, as an oversight board demotes Police Chief Alfonso Morales. The panel questioned how he handled multiple incidents, including ordering officers to fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death.

FOX 10 in Phoenix, with the discovery of what authority say is the most sophisticated illicit tunnel in U.S. history. The incomplete tunnel intended for smuggling ran from San Luis, Arizona to a Mexican neighborhood.

Federal officials say it had a ventilation system, water lines, electrical wiring, a rail system, and extensive reinforcement.

And this is a live look at Orlando from FOX 35. One of the big stories there tonight, SpaceX successfully launches a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral early this morning. The rocket carried another batch of Starlink satellites into space, along with two microsatellites for a Seattle-based company.

That is tonight’s live look “OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY” from SPECIAL REPORT. We will be right back.


BREAM: “BREAKING TONIGHT”, the White House has just announced President Trump will hold a news conference at the top of the hour 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The president’s at a golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. Fox will carry that event live whenever it starts up after 7:00, where “THE STORY” is normally.

Well, Lebanon’s president says there are two possibilities behind Tuesday’s deadly warehouse blast, either negligence or external intervention by a missile or a bomb. Michel Aoun, says he has requested satellite imagery from France to determine if any planes were in the area.

The blast is believed to have been caused when a fire touched off 2,800 tons of ammonium nitrate. About 150 people have been killed and thousands injured.

A federal appeals court has revived the effort by House Democrats to force former White House Counsel Don McGahn to appear before a congressional committee. The judges voted 7-2 that the House Judiciary Committee can pursue its claims in court, reversing the judgment of a three-judge panel that would have ended the court fight.

The Justice Department, says it will continue to make its arguments before the proper panels.

Liberty University president and chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. has agreed to take an indefinite leave of absence. The school’s executive committee made the request after Falwell posted an Instagram photo, showing him posing with a young woman who is his wife’s assistant, while holding a glass of dark liquid and with his pants unzipped. Falwell later deleted the post.

North Carolina congressman and former Liberty University instructor Mark Falwell, says Falwell — Mark Walker, says Falwell should resign.

Portland’s mayor is condemning the actions of rioters in his city, saying, some of them were trying to commit murder, and are being used as props for the Trump re-election campaign.

Chief correspondent Jonathan Hunt, reports tonight from Los Angeles.


JONATHAN HUNT, FOX NEWS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: There have now been 70 consecutive nights of protest that began as a Black Lives Matter outcry over the killing of George Floyd. But of now, according to the mayor of Portland, completely lost sight of that cause.

TED WHEELER, MAYOR OF PORTLAND, OREGON: When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people that you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder.

HUNT: And the protesters again tried to set fires near the East Precinct of Portland’s police department last night as they had Wednesday. According to Portland police, the protesters also threw rocks, bottles, and other projectiles at officers.

Thursday’s protests had been promoted on social media by a group calling itself, the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, with the slogan, “No cops, no prisons, total abolition.


HUNT: There was less violence than the night before, police did not declare a riot, and did not deploy tear gas, as they had Wednesday. But Portland’s mayor, a Democrat, has had enough and warned the protesters that they are simply helping President Trump’s re-election effort.

WHEELER: You are creating the B-roll film that will be used in ads nationally to help Donald Trump during his campaign. If you don’t want to be part of that, then don’t show up.


HUNT: Mayor Wheeler had hoped that the violence might dissipate after federal agents whose presence he had decried as causing some of the most intense clashes were largely withdrawn from Portland streets last week. At this point, that seems to have been at best wishful thinking. Shannon?

BREAM: Jonathan Hunt, thank you.

Up next, our “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO” segment, this time on the Zika virus. First, “BEYOND OUR BORDERS” tonight. Iran’s foreign ministry expresses indifference to the change in the Trump administration’s top envoy for Iran. Brian Hook announced his departure yesterday. Iran, says a new U.S. official on the post would be no different from his predecessor.

A mudslide triggering — triggered by heavy monsoon rain and flooding kills at least 15 people and buried 20 homes of tea plantation workers in southern India. A police officer says 12 people have been rescued, while more than 50 are still missing.

Experts are closely monitoring a Mont Blanc glacier, a day after they evacuated 75 tourists and residents amid the fears that glacier could soon break apart and crash into a popular Italian Alpine valley.

The glacier size has been likened to that of a soccer field under a 265- foot high mass of ice.

Just some of the other stories “BEYOND OUR BORDERS” tonight, we’ll be right back.


BREAM: In tonight’s “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO” segment, the Zika virus while it never reached the pandemic stage, Zika was still a major health concern not so long ago, and its effects remain. Here is correspondent Steve Harrigan.

STEVE HARRIGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Five years ago, it was a different virus, Zika that made headlines. It was spread by tropical mosquitoes or sexual contact. For adults and children, the symptoms were mild; a rash, fever. 80 percent of those infected were asymptomatic, but it had a devastating effect on the brain of a growing fetus, causing microcephaly, abnormally small heads, and underdeveloped brains.

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, EMORY UNIVERSITY VACCINE CENTER: So, it was, you know, very much like COVID as now. It was a new virus that we had not been exposed to before. And as the virus came in, there was a lot of susceptible population.

HARRIGAN: By 2016, there were more than 650,000 cases worldwide. 3,700 birth defects. In the U.S. alone, there were more than 5,000 cases. South Florida began intensive mosquito fumigation. The CDC spent $85 million on preparedness and response, standing up Zika labs. They issued a warning for pregnant women to avoid travel to 22 countries.

Just as suddenly as it appeared, the number of Zika cases fell dramatically. Experts believe herd immunity developed, halting the spread before a vaccine was developed.

DEL RIO: Maybe enough of the susceptible population was infected that infection could no longer be continued.

HARRIGAN: The emergency status was lifted in 2016. By 2020, there was just a single case in the U.S. But scientists warn that zika is still smoldering in parts of South America, and that it or another novel virus will be back.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SPECIALIST: I can predict that with 100 percent assurance, but I can’t tell you when, where, or which virus. Which means that we need to keep a very strong public health infrastructure in place that can respond very, very quickly.


HARRIGAN: The zika babies that survived in Brazil are now five-years-old, most with health problems that require full-time care. Shannon?

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Steve Harrigan, thank you.

Tonight, a look at bias in the media. Most American say it is there despite protestations from the outlets themselves. Tonight, FOX News media analyst and host of FOX’s “Media Buzz” Howard Kurtz examines the issue.


HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: Everyone knows public confidence in the media is plunging, but a new study details just how bad it is — 79 percent of Americans say news outlets they distrust are trying to persuade people to adopt a certain viewpoint, 54 percent say reporters are misrepresenting the facts or, say 28 percent, just making them up, and eight percent say media they distrust are trying to ruin the country. That figure more than doubles among those who are very conservative.

The survey by Gallup and the Knight Foundation ran from November through mid-February, predating the pandemic that has probably strengthened the anti-media sentiment, especially with President Trump’s constant attacks on the press.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. has so many deaths —


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — so many countries around the world.

TRUMP: Fake news CNN, hold it.

KURTZ: Joe Biden rarely criticizes or engages the press, but there have been moments of friction.

BIDEN: Wait, wait, wait, you’re getting nervous, man. Calm down. It’s OK.

KURTZ: One glimmer of good news, 84 percent of Americans say the news media are critical or very important to democracy. But nearly three quarters now see media bias as a major problem, up eight points from three years ago.

And here’s a twist. Nearly seven in 10 tell Gallup they’re concerned about bias in the news other people get, a figure that drops by more than half when it comes to worrying about their own news.

Perhaps it’s no surprise in the Trump era that the partisan divide has become a chasm — 71 percent of Republicans have a very or somewhat unfavorable view of the media compared with 22 percent of Democrats, and just over half of independents.


KURTZ: These failing grades are partially due to mistakes, hype, and not so veiled agendas by news outlets themselves. But they also reflect our increasingly polarized politics, which will only intensify between now and November 3rd. Shannon?

BREAM: Right you are, Howie. Thank you.

So the panel is next, but as we go to break, Brent Scowcroft has died. Scowcroft played a prominent role in American foreign policy as national security advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. He was a Republican voice against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Scowcroft died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Falls Church, Virginia. Brent Scowcroft was 95.


BREAM: Breaking news. At the top of the hour the president has announced he will be holding a press conference. Here’s what he says in a tweet, “I’ll be doing a news conference on the Chinavirus, the just announced very good economic numbers, and the improving economy at 7:00 p.m. from Bedminster, New Jersey. Also, the subject of the Beirut, Lebanon, catastrophe will be discussed.”

So let’s bring in our panel and start there, “Washington Post” columnist Marc Thiessen, Julie Pace is the Washington Bureau Chief for the Associated Press, and Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics co-founder and president. I’ll get each of you to weigh in, and Marc, we’ll start with you on what we may here at 7:00.

MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Yes, I think what we might here is because the talks have broken down on Capitol Hill is that the president is going to take executive action. And this all relates back to the DACA case in the Supreme Court a few weeks ago where the Supreme Court basically ruled that the president of the United States has broad executive powers to enforce or not enforce laws as he sees fit, and that his successor can’t undo those things easily.

And so John Yoo, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, had a great piece in “National Review” where he pointing out that the president can apply that to lots of other things, including the tax code and all sorts of things. So I think what the president is going to do is he’s going to use the powers the Supreme Court granted him in basically making him a king and take executive action to do a lot of things that would have been done in the legislative if the Democrats had been willing to negotiate.

BREAM: Yes, and Julie, they’ve been and forth, pointing the fingers at each other for a couple weeks and really the last couple of days, the last couple of hours. So it comes to this, and the president has said all along if they can’t get a deal hammered out they will take executive action. Is that what you expect to hear tonight?

JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: I think that’s where this is heading. I think the reality, though, is that the president can’t do as much by executive action as Congress could’ve done if they were able to reach a deal, but it was very clear coming out of those negotiations today that the two sides remain incredibly far apart. It’s almost hard to find areas where they actually were in agreement. And so it appears that everybody has basically made the decision that it’s not worth going back and talking again only to keep banging their heads against the wall, and that from the White House side, the Republican side, that they see the only way forward here right now is through executive actions that could at least address some of what might’ve been in a final package.

BREAM: Tom, he’s going to talk, he says, about the economic numbers today. Again, we got the jobs numbers this morning. Depending on which outlet you read, there’s a hopeful sign or a terrible sign. I imagine, Tom, we know which way the president is going to go on that.

TOM BEVAN, REAL CLEAR POLITICS CO-FOUNDER: Absolutely, he’s going to take this opportunity to promote the job numbers and also to couple that with the idea that Congress is not getting the job done, and that he’s a man of action, he’s going to take action on behalf of the American people, because the unemployment benefits are expiring, the eviction protection is expiring, and so people are looking to Washington for solutions. And they aren’t coming, so the president is going to say, make the case that he’s the guy who can get the job done.

BREAM: He’s always made that case, that he’s the disrupter, so now the man who wants to disrupt him by taking his job, the former vice president Joe Biden, has been dealing with, over the last 24 to 48 hours, trying to clean up some comments he made that many people found offensive in some way. Let’s play a little bit of that, and then we’ll break down his attempt at clarification.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation and the full diversity of the Latino communities. When I mean full diversity, unlike African American community and many other communities, you are from everywhere.

Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredible different attitudes about different things.


BREAM: OK, so when that started to raise some eyebrows, and there were some tweets from him last night. One of them says “Earlier today I made comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith, not by identity, not on issues, not at all.” Julie, do you think he has sufficiently addressed the concerns of those who were not happy about the comments?

PACE: I think it’s a comment that’s going to keep coming up. Certainly the Trump campaign is pushing it pretty aggressively. And I think it’s just one more example of where people from a different race or ethnicity have to be really careful when you’re try to make broad, sweeping statements about any other race and ethnicity, and particularly to paint black voters, African American voters as a monolith, as a block without any diversity, because actually, when we look at polling, we see a pretty broad spectrum of opinions, particularly when you look at generational divides. And Biden does have quite a bit of work still to do with younger black voters, more progressive black voters, to try to convince them that he represents their interests.

BREAM: Tom, you look at a lot of polling, so let me talk about what the president tweeted and then get your reaction. He said “After yesterday’s statement, Sleepy Joe Biden is no longer worthy of the Black Vote!” But the conversation is that it’s not a monolithic vote. So Tom, does the president have any opportunity to gain a significant percentage of this voting block?

BEVAN: I don’t know. I wouldn’t use the word “significant,” but he doesn’t need to gain significant amounts to make a difference, especially if it’s a close race in some of these swing states where you’ve got urban centers like Milwaukee and Philadelphia and Detroit. Julie is exactly right. Younger African American voters are not sold on Joe Biden, and so a comment like this is extremely unhelpful. And it does open the window and opportunity for Trump to make his pitch. And again, I’m not sure how many folks he might win over, but he doesn’t need to win over a lot of the African American community to make a difference in a very close race.

BREAM: So let’s look, by the way, at the Real Clear Politics national average. We know state-by-state is very important, but this is some movement we’ve seen in the national averages over the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, Biden had an 8.7-point lead on average, then close to 7.8, the latest today is 6.4. Marc, not unusual, as we get closer to elections, we often see a narrowing. Would you read much into it if you’re the Trump campaign or Biden campaign?

THIESSEN: Yes, the race is tightening, and it’s tightening really before we’ve taken off. We haven’t had the conventions. We haven’t had the debates. It was inevitable that it was going to tighten. But I think Joe Biden, his big problem is he has an enthusiasm gap with the president of the United States. Trump’s base is very enthusiastic. They would walk over hot coals to go vote for Donald Trump. Joe Biden doesn’t have that same enthusiasm.

And going back to the point made by my colleagues here, he has a problem with enthusiasm with the African American vote. He needs black voters not to just support him but to come out for him in numbers that they did for Barack Obama. The Democrats chose him because he’s Barack Obama’s vice president, he could recreate the Obama coalition. African American voters, particularly younger African American voters, only 68 percent support Joe Biden, and that’s 17 points behind their support for Hillary Clinton in 2016. So he has an enthusiasm gap problem overall, but he has an enthusiasm gap with the African American community.

BREAM: OK, so let’s put some of the battleground states up. These again, are Real Clear Politics averages in key states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. In all of those there is a significant lead, or in most of them outside the margin. Some of them you’re closer in and within that margin of error. But in each of these situations, Julie, the former vice president had the edge, and these are critical states for either side to win.

PACE: Absolutely. And look, if you talk to Trump campaign officials privately, they will acknowledge that they are running from behind at this point in most of these key battleground states. You also when you talk to Biden campaign officials, they don’t think that their lead is quite as big as it looks in some of these public polls right now, and everybody does expect that the race is going to tighten.

I think the challenge that Trump has is that he has a pretty narrow path, he has to basically replicate his path from 2016. The Biden campaign is trying to play offense in some of these other states. One of the warnings always there when you’re talking about Democrats playing in Texas or Georgia or Atlanta is that you can sometimes take your eye off the ball of some of those other states like Michigan, Wisconsin, that of course were so crucial for Donald Trump in 2016.

BREAM: OK. Up next, the Friday Lightning Round. We’ve got a lot to get to, back to school, more Portland violence, plus Winners and Losers, next.


BREAM: And a reminder, we’re standing by for a live press conference from the president at the top of the hour, 7:00 p.m. eastern. It will be live here on FOX. So let’s bring back in the panel. We understand the president is going to talk about the negotiations over phase four of COVID relief. Part of that is fighting over funding for schools, and there’s been a big shift in conversations about schools and kids going back. I want to play a little bit of the homeschooling conversation. We’ll talk about that.


J. ALLEN WESTON, NATIONAL HOME SCHOOL ASSOCIATION: Within the last three weeks in particular we have seen just an explosive response, something unprecedented from what we’ve ever seen before. Literally our inbox gets filled up pretty much every day. The phone rarely stops ringing.

JAMIE GADDY, EDITOR: I feel like the parents who are panicking, if it was me and I was in the shoes of someone who’d been in the public, I would just calmly say that’s it. I’m out. I’m going to homeschool.


BREAM: Marc, do you think that this could actually fundamentally change the educational structure here in the U.S., this pandemic?

THIESSEN: Certainly, I’m a fan of homeschooling, particularly if it’s a choice, but it’s not a choice for working class parents who can’t afford to, who have to go to work. They depend on schools not just to educate their children, but to feed them, provide them health care, and take care of them during the day so they can go out and earn a living.

So there was a terrific article in “The Atlantic” this week by an intensive care nurse, and the headline was I’m a nurse in New York. Teachers do their jobs just like I did. I think that says it all. During the pandemic, doctors and nurses showed up for work, and not just doctors and nurses — grocery clerks, factory workers, food processors, truck drivers. Everybody showed up because their jobs are essential. Teachers are essential. Kids are the least likely to get COVID, the least likely to spread it. They need to show up and do their jobs and show us they’re essential.

BREAM: I want to get really quick comments from Tom and Julie so we can get to your Winners and Losers. Tom, you first.

BEVAN: I think Marc is right. This is an issue that is at top of mind. Parents are, quite frankly, starting to panic. And you saw Governor Cuomo mention that as he announced just a couple hours ago that New York’s schools are going to stay open or are allowed to have in-person teaching. It’s a huge issue and it’s really hitting home now as we approach the new school year.

BREAM: Julie?

PACE: And I do think that New York is where you’re going to see this clash potentially between state officials and the teachers really start to come to a head just because the governor has said that schools can open. I think it remains a question of what teachers do. There have been conversations about strikes, about deciding not to show up. And this would be the largest school district in the nation where we could see this fight play out.

BREAM: OK, really pithy. Julie, we’ll start with you, winners and losers.

PACE: So my winner is a coronavirus pandemic winner, Clarence Thomas. I learned this week through a great story for my colleague Mark Sherman that he owns an R.V., one of the hardest to come by items in the middle about pandemic. Definitely read the story.

My loser is Karen Bass, who has been really near the top of the list for Vice President Biden’s running mate, but she’s not as well-known nationally, and sometimes when you’re not well-known, that means there’s a lot of stuff in your background that starts to come out. She really took a lot of hits in the public eye this week.

BREAM: Marc, even pithier.


THIESSEN: My winner is a Dr. Moncef Slaoui who is leading Operation Warp Speed, the operation to get a coronavirus vaccine done. I interviewed him on my podcast this week. He told me that he is confident that by the end of the year we will have a vaccine that is highly effective, as much as 90 percent effective. That means people either will not get sick if they take it or will get very mild disease. That would change the world and we’re lucky to have him.

My loser are the Senate Democrats who voted down Senator Martha McSally’s bill to extend the $600 unemployment insurance subsidy while they were negotiating. They don’t care about people. They care about political points.

BREAM: Tom, pithiest?

BEVAN: Pithiest. Winner is Mitch McConnell, Kansas Senate seat is taken off the board with the primary this week. Loser, Joe Biden. Pretty bad week. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were discussions right now in the Biden campaign to move up his vice presidential pick to change the subject.

BREAM: OK, Julie, Marc, and Tom, great to have you all, thank you so much.

And when we come back, “Notable Quotables.”


BREAM: Breaking news, we are following at the top of the hour, the president will be holding a press conference. We will have that live here on FOX News.

In the meantime, “Notable Quotables.”


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know TikTok is fun, but it’s dangerous.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It’s probably easier to buy the whole thing then to buy 30 percent of it. The name is hot. The brand is hot.

There is no way you can go through a mail-in vote without massive cheating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your campaign puts out emails telling people to vote by mail.

TRUMP: Correct.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things.

TRUMP: Hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you see the video, it’s just devastating. Most because it was an accident as reported.

TRUMP: It looks like a terrible attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wind picked up, and it was just screaming. If this keeps up we’re not going to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There’s a six times greater likelihood of children dying from influenza than there is from this disease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have kept them protected for so long. Masks are allowed, but they are not mandatory, so you really have to rely on other people.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Democratic leaders have moved about one inch, one inch in eight days.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): And we all agree that we want to have an agreement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you coming back? We’ll go to dinner. I’ll buy you a drink. Come over, I’ll cook.


BREAM: What a week in news, and it is not over yet. This weekend on FOX News Sunday Chris Wallace will get the latest on the coronavirus relief bill negotiations and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin playing a key role for the White House. Check your local listings for showtimes.

Thank you so much for watching SPECIAL REPORT tonight. I’m Shannon Bream in for Bret in Washington. Please join me at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for FOX News at night. President Trump’s news conference is scheduled to start any minute. We’ll see what he has to say.

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