This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on December 4, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Shannon Bream.
Georgia prepares to vote again, and Democrats shake up the 2024 presidential calendar as President Biden weighs a second term.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I applaud President Biden’s commitment not only to diversity, but for embracing the values of who we are as Americans.
BREAM (voice-over): The move elevating two battlegrounds critical to Biden’s 2020 victory, recognizing South Carolina’s reliable Black voter base and moving Iowa out of its first in the nation slot.
We’ll discuss with Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Independent Senator Angus King of Maine.
Then, my sit-down with former Vice President Mike Pence on the fallout from the results of November’s midterms and whether he plans to cooperate with the investigation into former President Trump’s actions after the 2020 election.
There are reports now that the DOJ wants to talk to you, have they asked? Will you go?
BREAM: And the high court is once again squarely in the middle of the debate over religion and LGBTQ rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether your views are the same on marriage or different, I’m standing for the right for all of us to speak freely.
BREAM: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about a case that tests the balance between the business owner’s free speech and Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last on earth.
BREAM: How a Seminole speech by Ronald Reagan is prompting Republican stars to share their vision for the party’s future.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
BREAM (on camera): You’re looking live at the Air Force One Pavilion, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Welcome to a special hour of “FOX News Sunday” from the Reagan National Defense Forum. Each year, national security leaders meet here to discuss threats the U.S. faces around the world, and this year, it comes amid critical political developments at home.
President Biden sending his biggest signal yet that he is leaning towards a 2024 run, pressing the Democratic National Committee for a more favorable primary schedule.
Georgia is one of the states in line to move up the list and it’s the same state gearing up for a crucial Senate runoff in just two days.
We begin in team coverage. Aisha Hasnie live from Atlanta, Georgia, with the latest on the ground in the Warnock-Walker runoff. But first to Lucas Tomlinson at the White House.
Lucas, walk us through this potentially huge changes to the Democrats’ 2024 calendar.
LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, President Biden finished fourth at the Iowa caucus in 2020. His victory in South Carolina helped propelled him to the White House and the man many say the most responsible for that win explaining the need for this new change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): The person that has won the South Carolina primary has gone on to win — with one exception — the general election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOMLINSON: The new primary order which still needs to be voted on by the full Democratic National Committee early next year would make South Carolina the first primary in early February of 2024, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada, then Georgia, followed by Michigan at the end of the month.
President Biden made his case for the new calendar in a letter to the DNC rules committee, quote, we must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee. The Democratic Party has worked hard to reflect the diversity of America, but our nominating process does not. Many are noting the new order would potentially be advantageous to Biden himself if he runs again.
This week at White House Tribal Nation Summit, President Biden offered the following boast and gave a hint about 2024.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: No one has ever done as much as president as this administration is doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years!
BIDEN: Oh, I don’t know about that. Thanks. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOMLINSON: Friday’s jobs report beat expectation, but personal savings rates are lowest in over 15 years and sign high inflation continues to have across the country — Shannon.
BREAM: Lucas Tomlinson, reporting from the White House — Lucas, thank you very much.
Now, to Aishah Hasnie in Atlanta, Georgia.
All right. Aishah, what about there? What are voters saying about these possible changes to the DNC calendar?
AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you, Shannon.
Well, I can tell you that Democrats, Georgia Democrats are really grateful for the committee’s decision here. In fact, the group writing this, that the decision reflects the Democratic Party’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity and we are grateful for the committee’s recognition. Now, all of this comes, of course, as Democrats here on the ground are trying to reelect incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, who currently holds just a narrow lead, about four-point lead over Republican Herschel Walker in recent polling, despite a series of abortion and abuse allegations surrounding the football star.
Now, more than a million Georgians have already cast their ballots early, Shannon, as voters know the stakes are high in this race. So, if Warnock wins, Senate Democrats who already have the majority, as you know, gain some wiggle room here that diminishes leverage the leverage that centrist Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema hold right now and also opens up a pathway for the president’s agenda for the next two years.
Now, if Walker wins, the GOP then gets equal representation on Senate committees. That’s important to them. It also matters in the next election cycle when Democrats have nearly two dozen seats up for grabs as opposed to 10 Republican seats.
And, of course, Shannon, this could also be a referendum on former President Trump who hand-picked Herschel Walker — Shannon.
BREAM: So, Aishah, Walker missed out on 200,000 voters. They split their ticket in favor of Governor Kemp, but then also Senator Raphael Warnock. How does Walker try to appeal to those voters?
HASNIE: Great question, Shannon. You know, those split voters were the headline, the story in the general election. They’re incredibly important to both of these candidates who are courting those particular voters.
Herschel Walker is hoping that Governor Brian Kemp going to be able to help him woo those voters to vote for him at the polls on Tuesday because the governor is actually now campaigning for Walker.
But time will tell. Of course Tuesday’s results will tell if that strategy will in fact work. In the meantime, some Republicans, in fact, one conservative, as he was heading to go vote last week told FOX News that he didn’t think that Herschel Walker was the best Republican candidate, but he’d rather see a Republican take the seat so voted for him — Shannon.
BREAM: Aishah Hasnie from Georgia — Aishah, thank you very much.
Well, I got reaction to Democrats proposed calendar change and biggest foreign policy challenges facing our country. when I sat down with two key senators here in California.
BREAM: Senators Ernst and King, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday.” Good to have you.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): Thank you.
BREAM: We’ve got a lot of foreign policy to discuss, especially in this setting. But, first, some domestic — let’s talk about Iowa, long the first in the country for the political caucuses. President Biden now says the primary calendar needs to change to represent voters and Americans more broadly.
The Republican Party of Iowa says the DNC and Joe Biden have just kicked off utter chaos. The president says Democrats are going to get a better candidate who’s going to be more broadly interesting and somebody that is going to garner votes for them in the general.
Should Republicans consider changing from Iowa?
ERNST: Absolutely not, and I’m sorely —
SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): What do you think she’s going to say? Give me a break.
BREAM: She’s from the Iowa. I have to ask.
ERNST: So, I am sorely disappointed that Democrats chose not to have Iowa as their first in the nation caucus. So, we have seen a number of pushes in the past to change this, I’m glad that Republicans are staying the course.
And, you know, how I feel about this? I feel that Democrats have really given Middle America the middle finger.
BREAM: Senator King?
KING: I’m an independent. They can do what they want.
BREAM: You’re one of —
KING: I don’t have a dog in this fight.
BREAM: You do have a dog in the fight when it comes to cyber. You’ve been talking about that here at the Reagan Library. And there are a number of concerns on that front.
But, one of the things that people across the aisle, our intel agencies are all sounding the alarm over is an app that millions of Americans have downloaded voluntarily and happily onto their phones, TikTok. “Washington Post” has a piece that says this: it’s amassing compromising information on millions of Americans, which it can later use for national security or commercial espionage, and for strategic influence operations against our country.
It’s been banned in some places. India bans it. Should the U.S. consider that? How concerned are you?
KING: I think we definitely should consider it. It’s — the problem is with China, there’s no distinction between the government and private sector. Everybody works for the government one way or another. So, TikTok can say, well, we’re an independent country. Nonsense.
And the second piece, if the Chinese are really into stealing data and collecting data, and this is one huge way to do that and they’re going to have every keystroke, everything you enter, every comment, it is very dangerous. And it’s — if this were Austria or Australia, I don’t think we need to worry about it, but here’s a country that’s demonstrated propensity to intrude into our affairs and particularly to use cyber to do so.
BREAM: And China is top of mind in a conversation here this weekend. Senator, what do you make of the ongoing protest there? What is appropriate role for the U.S. at this inflection point?
ERNST: Well, I do think we should be encouraging those continuing protests in China. This is a country that because of such draconian measures, where they are welding people into their homes, not allowing them to come out. People are starving in their homes, their businesses.
We need to continue to encourage pushback against that government. We need to have a loud voice in the United States, as well, making sure we are supportive of the Chinese people that are protesting. We want their voices to be heard.
And then any number of ways that we can make sure that we are getting that message out through their own communities.
KING: But here’s one — here is one of the real problems, though, the 21st century technology of repression, you can have widespread dissent in China, Russia, Iran, whether they can get out from under the thumb of despotic government that has pervasive surveillance, tapping phones, you name it, they’re under total control.
So, the real question to me is, no matter how serious the unrest is, can they ever throw off the yoke of these — of these governments?
BREAM: Well, and part of that brings up this question about U.S. companies like Apple and accusations that they’re disabling some of the things that would allow iPhone users there in China to have communications about protest, about protecting themselves.
What do we say to these U.S. companies that do such a large amount of business there?
ERNST: Yeah. Let’s not enable that to happen. Let’s make sure that companies that are doing business in China can continue to do business in China. We want to make sure that they do have the opportunity to share word through their country.
But obviously the Chinese, they are limiting the ability of individuals in China to communicate freely.
BREAM: And it seems like in some cases, with the help of American companies. I know that’s a growing concern.
Let’s talk about Ukraine, as well, because obviously that’s another hot topic here. You will receive, I understand, a briefing on Wednesday that will update you on where we are. The president said he’d be willing to talk with Mr. Putin, that they would have to leave, Russia. Kremlin seems to say that’s a no-go, they can’t have that kind of conversation.
How does this end?
KING: Boy, if I had the answer to that, you know, I could accomplish all kinds of things.
I think Putin is extremely dangerous right now. The ironic situation that we’re in is that the better of the Ukrainians do, the more dangerous Putin becomes because he’s running out of options. And what we’re seeing now is actually his go-to option in Syria, in Grozny, where he’s just bombing the hell out of the civilian population.
And the problem is that that’s just below the level where he knows we’ll get into it in a more serious way. And so, we’re in a very difficult situation. I think what we’ve supplied to Ukrainians has been enormously important. I think we need to continue to do so.
Putin’s number one priority right now is to divide the West in terms of our support for Ukraine. We can’t fall for it.
BREAM: So, the White House has now asked for $37 billion, $38 billion in this next tranche of potential spending.
There are Republicans who are asking for more transparency. Over in the House side, especially, there’s talk about of a resolution there that would allow for tracking these dollars, they are taxpayer dollars. U.S. citizens who worked hard for this money want to know exactly where it’s going.
Congressman Kat Cammack of Florida says this: I liken it to the airline videos they do before you take off. You need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. I just don’t think as a legislator that I could, in good conscience, support billions and billions of funding going overseas when we have such dire needs here.
Does she have a point?
ERNST: We can do both, we truly can. And it is important that we as members of Congress are communicating why it is so important that we are enabling freedom in other countries, like Ukraine.
I would put it this way: do we want to live in a world that is dominated by Russia, China, and Iran, where they are controlling the direction of our globe?
I don’t want to live in that world. I don’t want to see what that looks like. I think it’s incredibly important that we continue to advance freedom in Ukraine.
KING: I think she has a point and it’s wrong. I would suggest she’d Google Rhineland, 1936, Sudetenland, 1938. Hitler could have been stopped at those two times when he began his aggression in Eastern Europe. He wasn’t, 55 million people died.
Despots want to expand. Putin has told us who he is. Maya Angelou says, if someone tells you who you they are, you should believe them.
He wants to reestablish the Soviet Empire. He said that. I have no doubt if he would have been able to sweep into Kyiv in a week, which is what he thought he could do, we’d now be talking about probes into the Baltic states or Poland.
He’s got to be stopped. It’s in the national interest to stop him. The only thing more expensive than helping Ukraine is a world war.
BREAM: Where do we draw the line financially?
KING: Where do we draw the line?
KING: Well, number one, accountability — I have no problem with accountability. We should —
BREAM: You support that kind of legislation?
KING: Absolutely, and that’s already happening, and there are a lot of inspector generals and all that kind of thing.
I think the president has drawn the line in the right place, which is, intelligence support, equipment support, material support, no troops, unless there’s an attack on a NATO ally.
And the Ukrainians are showing great ability to defend themselves and it reminds me of Churchill, give us — give us the arms and we’ll take the fight. And that’s what we’re doing.
BREAM: OK. Senators, thank you both very much for your time.
ERNST: Thank you. Thank you.
BREAM: Up next, my interview with former Vice President Mike Pence on the state of the Republican Party, his differences with President Trump and whether he’ll cooperate into an investigation into his former boss when “FOX News Sunday” returns from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
BREAM: Back now in Simi Valley.
It was Ronald Reagan who former Vice President Mike Pence says inspired him to leave the Democratic Party of his youth. In fact, on Inauguration Day in 2017, Pence took the oath of office on Ronald Reagan’s bible. The 100-year- old had been taken over from the Library to the U.S. Capitol for the ceremony.
Earlier this week, we sat down in Washington with the former vice president to discuss his thoughts on current state of the GOP and what his relationship is really like with his former boss.
BREAM: Mr. Vice President, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Shannon. Good to be here.
BREAM: OK. So you are among those who had high hopes for the midterms. There were a lot of predictions about a red wave — didn’t materialize. The RNC is now doing sort of a postmortem, looking into what happened and what they call, quote, underperformance.
What lessons do you take away, especially when it comes to independent voters, what can the Republican Party do moving forward?
PENCE: Sure. You know, I’ve traveled to 35 states over last year and a half and campaigned for a lot of great men and women running for the House, the Senate and governorships.
And there was one common denominator that I saw in the election results, and that was candidates that were focused on the future, candidates that were focused on the issues the American people are struggling with under the failed policies of the Biden administration, which are, you know crime in our streets, record inflation, gasoline prices through the roof, and, of course, the crisis at our southern border. Those candidates that focused on solutions and on the future actually did very well.
But candidates who were focused on the past, particularly those who were focused on relitigating the last election, did not do as well and it convinces me, as I said when I was campaigning for Governor Brian Kemp in his primary, which in many ways divided along those lines, I said the Republican Party must be the party of the future and I think the midterm elections confirm that.
We focus on the future, we’ll do quite well, not just winning elections, but we’ll win a balance future for the American people.
BREAM: OK. So, let’s — you mentioned 2020, so let’s go back and talk about some of that. In your new book, “So help me God,” you go into great detail about the events surrounding that, in the days and weeks afterwards.
One of the lines that you had that really struck me is you said of Election Day: It had never occurred to me that we could lose the election.
BREAM: Seems like a contrast to 2016, when nobody expected you to win and you did.
Were you really that confident in 2020?
PENCE: I have to tell you, I was. As I traveled around the country, even in the midst of COVID, I would come back to the White House and the president and I would always huddle and compare notes. And I told him that the enthusiasm was greater in 2020 than it even was in 2016.
And at end of the day, while we lost that election in 2020, we still got 74 million votes, 10 million more votes than we had gotten four years earlier. And so, in many ways, it confirmed what I witnessed, but clearly, we face real challenges and real headwinds in that campaign.
And I understood the frustration that people felt afterwards, the fact there were voting irregularities that took place in states around the country. Ultimately, there was no evidence of fraud to change the outcome in any of those states, but I think it set the table and set into motion what ultimately led to a tragic day on January 6.
BREAM: You talk — and I want to get to that — but you talk about in the book how — long before that, there were indications that the legal cases that were playing out weren’t going to be enough, that you would come to the conclusion that there wouldn’t be enough there.
BREAM: You mention specific attorneys advising the president, some of the in-fighting among them. Why didn’t you more publicly earlier say, I don’t think there’s a path here for us?
PENCE: You know, the president and I worked very closely over the four and a half years we were together, in the campaign and then throughout the Trump-Pence administration.
And I was always loyal to President Donald Trump. He was my president. He was my friend.
And I thought it was important as vice president that I share my opinions with the president in private, as way of ensuring the strength of that relationship. And in shortly after election day 2020, I had told the president that he should be prepared if the legal challenges that we had every right to bring didn’t play out, that he should simply be prepared to accept the outcome of the election, and if he wanted to run again and to run again. I told him that many times over the weeks that followed.
And when a theory emerged shortly before Christmas that I had some unilateral ability to determine the outcome of the election, of what votes to count and what votes not to count, I really do believe that a along the way, I had hoped the president would come around.
In fact, even just a few days, as I write in “So Help Me God”, few days before January 6, the president was at a rally in Georgia in which he eluded to me at the top of the rally, he said, our great vice president has to come through for us, and then he said, if he doesn’t, I won’t like him as much.
But then, Shannon, he caught himself and said, no, no. One thing you know about Mike is he always plays it straight.
You know, I had hoped by counseling with the president and giving him my perspective on the state of play and the outcome of the election, my determination to do my duty under the Constitution on January 6, that he would come around. But sadly, that was not to be.
BREAM: You had made very clear to him leading up to January 6, your position there, that you felt constitutionally, legally, you could not do anything to turn away those electoral votes on the floor of the House when you’re presiding there. And yet the night before, a “New York Times” piece came out that talked about the fact that you were at odds with the president about that.
The Trump campaign, in your book, you talk about — put out a statement calling that fake news, saying you and the president were basically in lock step, you knew that wasn’t true.
How did you feel at that moment? And why didn’t you say something then?
PENCE: Well, I had told the president that I intended to do my duty under Constitution. I had no right to overturn the election and no vice president in American history had ever asserted that right.
Shannon, the presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone, and in fact, there’s probably no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose who the winner of a presidential election is. I had made that clear to the president for weeks leading up to that day.
But frankly, at that point, when late at night on January 5th, I saw one more tweet go out, I simply thought it was important to state our case to the country and to the Congress the next day and that’s precisely what we did.
BREAM: So, leading up to that, the president wanted you to take action on the House floor to somehow turn away or make — to appear illegitimate the electoral count votes. You were not going to do that and you had been vey clear to him.
Here’s a little bit of what he said to you. The president said to you: you’re too honest. Hundreds of thousands are going to hate your guts. People are going to think you’re stupid, and if you wimp out, you’re just another somebody.
So, what’s your relationship like now? And how does that impact your considerations about potentially 2024 for yourself?
PENCE: Look, the president and I clashed in the days leading up to January 6. I’ll always believe that I did my duty that day by God’s grace under the Constitution and upheld the peaceful transfer of power.
But I was angry. I was angry about our difference that day and I was also angry at what I saw. You know, I was determined to stay at the Capitol, I wasn’t going to leave my post. It was important that I remain and do everything in my power to work with Republican and Democrat leaders to reconvene the Congress, which because of the courage of law enforcement, Capitol Hill Police and federal law enforcement, the violence was quelled, we reconvened the Congress in the very same day and completed our work. We literally turned a day of tragedy into triumph for freedom.
But in the aftermath of that, the president said the right things the next day. He committed to a peaceful transfer of power. He committed to an orderly transition and he condemned those that perpetrated violence at the Capitol building and we were back on track.
But honestly, I thought of that Bible verse that says: Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. But that was easier said than done because I was angry.
But five days later, the president asked if I would meet with him and I walked into that back room where he and I had spent so many hours together over four and a half years, four and a half years where we had rebuilt military, revived our economy, appointed conservatives to our federal courts, three Supreme Court justices, crushed the ISIS caliphate in the strength of armed forces, and made the world more peaceful and prosperous as a result.
I walked into that back room and the president looked up at me and I sensed he was deeply remorseful about what had happened. He immediately asked about Karen and Charlotte who had been with me all day and all night on January 6th and 7th. He asked how they were, and I responded sternly. I said, “They’re fine, Mr. President”. I said, “They wouldn’t leave.”
Then he said to me, “Were you scared?” And I said, “No, I was angry. I was angry about our differences and I was infuriated at what I saw that day, people ransacking the Capitol, assaulting police officers.” That moment, he seemed genuinely remorseful.
BREAM: I think he got what happened that day. Were you angry at protesters, or him or both for how that played out?
PENCE: I would say both. I was angry at what the president had said when – – when a tweet came across while rioters were ransacking the Capitol, and the president actually tweeted an attack on me and my character, it was clear he decided to be a part of the problem.
And I was determined to be a part of the solution and we worked the problem, and worked with leaders in both parties and quelled the violence.
But I must tell you, in that time that he and I spent together, five days after January 6th, I was very candid with him. I made it clear to him that I believe I had done my duty that day. And the president lamented what had happened. He said, what if we hadn’t had the rally. He said, it’s so terrible to end like this.
And I told him I was praying for him. And in that first meeting he didn’t respond. But when we were together a few days later, before the end of the administration, we were talking through some details, wrapping up the work of the American people, and I reminded him again that I was praying for him. And he was dismissive about it at first. But then, at the end of our meeting, as I was walking out, I looked at him and I said, I guess there’s two things we’ll probably never agree on. And he looked up from that small table in that back room just off the Oval Office and said, what? And I said, I referred to our differences over my role on January 6th. And then I said, Mr. President, I’m never going to stop praying for you. And he looked up at me with a faint smile and said, that’s right, don’t ever change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: More from the interview when the former vice president when we return to the Reagan National Defense Forum. Does he plan to cooperate with the DOJ investigation into president Trump and will he make a run for the White House himself?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: I’ve been traveling this country over the last two years and we’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY here in Simi Valley, California.
More now from our sit-down with former Vice President Pence. Has he been asked by the Justice Department to aid in the investigations into his former boss, and would he? Plus, what is their relationship like now?
BREAM: Your critics say that the book, they give you credit for acting admirably they say on January 6th, but they say that what led up to January 6th, you had a part in. Here’s part of what “The New York Times” says. You shouldn’t get the glory for pulling democracy back from the brink if you helped carry it up there in the first place. And, so help me God, Pence did just that.
So, what about the critique that you didn’t break with the president when he said something offensive or controversial or untrue or when he broke with the kind of conservative principles that you are committed to?
PENCE: Well, I – I will tell you that despite the differences that we had at the end, I will always be proud of the record of the Trump/Pence.
BREAM: But what about the negatives?
PENCE: And I’m not –
BREAM: What about the things that got him into trouble and that – and stirred people up?
PENCE: I’m not – I’m — I’m never surprised by – I’m never surprised by criticism in “The New York Times.”
BREAM: No. No, you wouldn’t be. No.
PENCE: But – but, look, under – in our administration, we — we endured a level of opposition by the Democrats and their allies in the media that was, in my judgement, unprecedented in my lifetime. And yet, in the midst of that —
BREAM: But did the president not bring some of that on himself in his tweets, in his comments and things that really offended people?
PENCE: Well, I don’t – well, look, the — the president and I have different styles in politics.
BREAM: That’s for sure.
PENCE: He comes from a much more combative style of politics. I’m somebody that’s always tried to put a high premium on civility in my public life as I write about in my book.
BREAM: So why not call him out?
PENCE: But I must tell you, as I write about in the book, literally on the day we were inaugurated in 2017, I recount how the president and I left the Oval Office during his first visits. And we were walking back the portico looking at the sight of the White House lit brightly against that dark night sky. But I noted that back on a stack of newspapers, just outside the Oval Office, was a copy of the January 20, 2017, “Washington Post,” the headline of which was, the quest to impeach Donald Trump begins today. And literally it never let up through two and a half years of a Russia hoax, through impeaching the president of the United States over a phone call, through Speaker Pelosi and Schumer’s efforts to distort the 25th Amendment in the aftermath of that tragic day in January of 2021. All throughout there was an effort by the Democrats to in effect overturn our election in 2016 and drive the president from office.
BREAM: OK, try to get to a little bit of lightning round so we can hit a number of issues.
About January 6th, you’ve very detailed in the book. There are reports now that DOJ wants to talk to you potentially in connection with a potential criminal investigation or indictment of President Trump. Have they asked? Will you go?
PENCE: You know, we’ve come to no resolution on that. And I’ll be speaking to my council about that.
BREAM: But there has been a formal request?
PENCE: But I’ll be — there has been some contacts. But what I – what I will tell you is that we will make that decision on the basis of the unique responsibilities that I have under the Constitution of the United States as a former vice president. It’s one of the reasons why I made it clear in recent weeks that the Congress has no right to my testimony before the January 6th committee.
I was always concerned about the fact that a committee was formed where every member was appointed by the Democratic speaker of the House. That was inconsistent with the Congress and the structure that I experienced when I was in Congress. But while we didn’t prevent any of our senior team from cooperating with the committee, I – I made it clear that as vice president I believe it would establish a terrible precedent to call a vice president before the Congress to testify about private deliberations with the president with whom they served. And I made it clear that we would not do that.
But – but we’ll – we’ll evaluate the DOJ’s request.
One of the things in the Trump/Pence administration, I know that you all were very proud of, was the support of Israel. I was there in Jerusalem. We talked there when you all were moving the embassy. The Abraham Accords. There’s been great support for Israel from the Trump/Pence administration and yet the president is now making a lot of headline for having a couple of people at Mar-a-Lago who’ve made anti-Semitic remarks. One of them is a Holocaust denier.
Joel Rosenberg writes over at “All Israel News” this headline, Trump’s terrible mistake, dining with two anti-Semites last week was an unmitigated disaster and tarnishes his otherwise stellar record as being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. The president’s made some statement about not knowing exactly who Nick Fuentes was or others there. Is that in itself disqualifying, this whole episode — Bibi Netanyahu has called him out – for somebody who is running to be the president again of this country?
PENCE: Well, I think that’s a question for the American people. Anti- Semitism is real and it’s rising in many parts of the world.
You know, as I write in my bonk, I had the privilege of co-founded the Anti-Semitism Caucus on Capitol Hill with the late Tom Lantos, who was the only Holocaust survivor ever to serve in the Congress of the United States. And I think it’s important for those who us who have had the opportunity to serve our country, or aspire to serve our country in high national office, to make it clear that there is no place in the American political debate for white nationalism, for Holocaust deniers or for anti-Semitism. I think I made it clear the president was wrong to give the anti-Semites a seat at the table. It was wrong for President Barack Obama to associate with Louis Farrakhan. I think now, more than ever, we need to make it clear that we reject anti-Semitism, left, right and center. Leaders in this country deserve to speak those words to the American people.
BREAM: This book feels very much sort of like your opening argument to the American people, about having a conversation with them about whether you may be the right person to become president of this country.
Where are you in that conversation with Karen, with your trusted advisors? When would you make a decision? And what would make you feel compelled to get in, especially knowing your former boss is in?
PENCE: Well, with – with you at the Reagan Library, Shannon, I can tell you, Ronald Reagan said one time, the American people have a funny way of letting you know if they want you to run for president. And I’ve been traveling this country over the last two years. And we’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from people.
I truly do believe that the American people want to get back to the policies of the Trump/Pence administration, of less taxes, less regulation, more American energy, secure borders, a strong military, standing tall in the world, standing with our allies, standing up to our enemies. They want to have – they want to have judges on our courts who will defend our liberties at a time when many of our liberties are under assault every day.
But I also hear from people that – that they long for leadership that could unite our country around our highest ideals, including civility and respect. You know, I – I believe that democracy depends on heavy doses of civility. And what Karen and I will try and give prayerful consideration to over the holidays, when all of our kids are home for the first time in three years, with two in the military, is whether we – whether we can play a role in that, in giving the American people a fresh start, back to conservative principles that were working, but maybe also lead us in a direction where – where we could have government that is as good to one another as the American people are to each other each and every day.
BREAM: Any scenario in which there would be a Pence/Trump ticket?
PENCE: Well –
BREAM: Anything can happen in politics?
PENCE: Almost anything can happen. But I will tell you, we’ll — we’ll sort out what our – what our role, what our calling is. But you know me well enough to know, we’re going to – we’re going to pray all the way through it and we’ll go where we’re called.
BREAM: Mr. Vice President, thank you very much for joining us.
PENCE: Thank you, Shannon.
BREAM: Up next from the Reagan Library, a Christian web designer, opposed to same-sex marriage, is at the center of a free speech case about to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. We’ll bring in our Sunday group on what a ruling could mean for protecting your right to free speech.
BREAM: Welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY, live from the Reagan Library.
Democrats are a step closer to dramatically overhauling the presidential nominating contest, making South Carolina first.
Time now for our Sunday group here in Simi Valley. Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, and Fox News chief national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin.
Great to have you both with us in person today.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
BREAM: OK, let’s start with this calendar change. “The New Republic” puts it this way, by frontloading the 2024 presidential contest in southern states, the president’s proposal would cement the Democrats as the center left party and make it harder for future insurgents.
Karl, a lot of folks think this is specifically crafted for a Biden run.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, absolutely. This is a clear indication that he wants to run for re-election. The old calendar started in Iowa, which gave him a fourth place finish and was followed by New Hampshire that gave him a fifth place finish and he wants to move South Carolina that gave him a first class finish to the front of the line. So it’s going to be interesting to watch.
There are problems, though. This is a notional effort. Changes in state law are required. He’s going to have to deal with a Republican legislature and governor in Georgia and in South Carolina and a Democrat legislature and a Republican governor in Nevada to make these changes all come about.
And there’s one state that he’s not going to be able to deal with. New Hampshire has in its state law a provision that it gets to be the first in the country and automatically the secretary of state can move the primary date to a week before any other state that wants to be first. And both Democrats and Republicans in New Hampshire are going to try and guard that jealously.
BREAM: Yes, it’s a proposal at this point. OK, so the backdrop here, obviously, is the Reagan Defense Forum. So, Jen, let’s talk about that.
China getting a lot of the headlines. “Bloomberg” puts it this way, Biden needs a Reagan-esque approach to China, says the upheaval there could be to America’s strategic advantage if President Joe Biden can navigate the dilemmas of dealing with a powerful but repressive regime. That’s one of the top topics there.
GRIFFIN: Well, I think what’s really interesting is, President Xi has been really taken aback both the fact that President – President Putin has had such a hard time in Ukraine, that has — his silent approach, he’s not supporting him with weapons. But then look at the domestic troubles that he has. These Covid protests. These protests where people are saying, enough already. That — those domestic protests — for the first time you’ve heard people call for President Xi to step down. That has never happened in China.
But the – the — the anti-vaccine movement there, it’s really his own making. It was vaccine nationalism. He didn’t want to bring in the mRNA foreign made vaccines and now he has an unvaccinated population. They’re vaccine hesitant. And now he’s having to lock them in their homes and drag them out to quarantine. The — the pictures are not good and he’s going to be facing more of this in the future.
BREAM: Karl, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, everything else on the table here, too.
ROVE: Yes, it was a very interesting discussion. It was — one of the – one of the thing I walked away from was the unanimity between Republican and Democrat legislatures who were here, members of Congress who were here, broadly on both Ukraine and China. There is a bipartisan consensus that Ukraine must be supported and that China must be confronted. And I — I was really taken aback by the strength of the conviction from Democrats and Republicans alike.
BREAM: Want to quickly touch on another domestic issue.
The Supreme Court, tomorrow, will hear a case about a web designer in Colorado. She’s a Christian. The state law there says if she’s going to design websites for same-sex — or for traditional weddings, that she has to do it for same-sex and other weddings that would come to her. She says it’s a free speech violation to make her make those websites.
Jen, the – the – you know, over in Congress, they just voted this week to codify and try to protect same-sex marriage nationally. Now you have this collision of rights. How does this get figured out?
GRIFFIN: Well, what’s interesting is, this is different from the last case that was brought about the wedding cake. That was about free exercise. This is going to be about free speech. And she’s arguing that it’s — her speech is being compelled, that she’s going to have to make the — design a website, that she’s an artist, and that she’s being compelled to do something she doesn’t want to do. That’s the argument.
I think it’s notable, and you mentioned the — what the Senate has done about same-sex marriage. If you look at Gallup polls from 1996, 27 percent of the country supported same-sex marriage. Now it’s up to 71 percent. So this is going to be another test for the court. It’s going to get political. It’s going to affect people’s view of the court.
BREAM: And, Karl, it’s about finding that balance. How do you find it?
ROVE: It is a balance and it’s going to be a test to the original decision of the Supreme Court. Writing for the court in – in that decision, Justice Kennedy said, it must be emphasized that religions and those who adhere to religious doctrines may continue to advocate with upmost sincere conviction that by divine precept same-sex marriage should not be condoned. And this web designer is being asked to violate her deeply held, sincere conviction that same-sex marriage should not be condoned by having her take an act that condones it.
And I saw a journalist who said, you know – who was gay and married and said, this treats me as a second-class citizen. Well, it also treats her as a second-class citizen whose religious convictions should not be honored. And it’s going to be difficult for the court to resolve this. And it’s going to be important for the country to accept whatever the resolution is.
BREAM: We’ll watch for that.
And I also want to touch on the World Cup.
Jen, there have been real ramification for what happened with some of the Iranian players, demonstrations. There is a real-world impact to what happened there.
GRIFFIN: Well, that’s the backdrop of what’s happening here at the World Cup and the protests in Iran. That USA/Iran game, you know, gave me chills. We’ve just learned that the female rock climber, Elnaz Rekabi, who was — took off her hijab and climbed in South Korea, when she came home, we just learned they destroyed — that the regime destroyed her home — it’s now rubble — when she came back.
We have just learned that there was that picture of Saeid Ezatolahi, who was the Iranian player on the ground, and Brenden Aaronson, the U.S. player, consoling him after the game, knowing what he was returning home to, and his friend, Mehran Samak, 27, was shot in the head after he celebrated the loss of Iran as a protest against the regime. These protests are not going away.
BREAM: They’re not.
All right, panel, thank you very much. We’ll see you next Sunday.
When we return from the Reagan Library, a look at what the leading Republican voices of today have to say about the future of their party, and they don’t all agree.
BREAM: When Ronald Reagan gave his now iconic “time for choosing” speech, he made the case for small government conservatism. In turn making himself the new party star. Now the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is hosting today’s Republican stars from across the spectrum to hash out their debates about where the party should go next.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
BREAM: It is the speech that would set a decades long chorus for American conservatism.
REAGAN: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite, in a far distant capital, can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
BREAM: That premise is at the heart of the Reagan Library’s Time for Choosing Speaker Series, which asks the nation’s most prominent conservatives where they believe the party should go.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Our fight is not merely about 2022 and 2024, but it’s about our future as a country and therefore the future of the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Ambassador Nikki Haley.
BREAM: Many shared how their personal stories illustrate American ideals.
NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: As a brown girl growing up in a small southern town, I saw the promise of America unfold before me.
BREAM: Others talked about the people they feel the party must champion.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): The Republican Party has assumed the mantel of this proud, patriotic and populist tradition. We are the party of the common man, the worker, the farmer, the cop on the beat
BREAM: And much of the focus has been on the currents state of the party, hinting at its recent leadership.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: We are also so long and overdue to stop wallowing in the past. We need to be the party that embraces the truth. The truth. Even when it is painful and unacceptable.
BREAM: Outgoing Congresswoman Liz Cheney called out that wing of the party by name.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We have to choose, because Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution. At this moment –
BREAM: Even she appeared surprised at the crowd’s response.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And God bless America.
BREAM: The events are hosted by the man who has done perhaps the most to preserve Ronald and Nancy Reagan legacy, John Heubusch. Nancy Reagan personally chose him to lead her husband’s foundation.
BREAM (on camera): What was the genesis of this idea for the speaker series Time for Choosing?
JOHN HEUBUSCH, REAGAN LIBRARY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: We are in a spot where we have to have really a new time for choosing, so it just fit perfectly.
BREAM: How important is that, that the party have those difficult, internal, maybe sometimes heated conversations about where they go from here?
HEUBUSCH: The party is not going to be able to move forward and succeed with it drifting apart as it is. And, unfortunately, I think it’s going to take a lot of commotion in the next two years to settle this out. But settle it out we must if we’re to be chosen by the American people to lead the nation.
REAGAN: Tear down this wall.
BREAM (voice over): Like Reagan, many of those invited spoke of strength, in confronting challenges abroad.
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: If America is not strong, the world will be at the mercy of tyrants and enter an era we dare not imagine.
BREAM: But it is the strength of the party’s commitments to its domestic principles that were the focus of some of the most poignant remarks.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The American people must know that our Republican Party will always keep our oath to the Constitution, even when it would be politically expedient to do otherwise.
BREAM: Many of you may remember John from our interview with him last year. At the time he told us he was stepping down after years of leading the Reagan Foundation. But, lucky for us, he’s still in charge as the search continues for his successor.
That is it for us today. Thank you for joining us. I’m Shannon Bream. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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