Lou Holtz: Improvements in COVID testing made it possible for Big Ten to play in 2020

This is a rush transcript from “The Story with Martha MacCallum” September 16, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MACCALLUM: All right, everybody, so tonight, we’re 48 days from the presidential election and now six months into the coronavirus. There’s a pitched battle over money for relief, vaccines and the divide over masks. The riots that have embroiled cities across this nation during racial strife and job loss due to the lockdown have now cost the country more than a billion dollars in those broken windows and buildings that we have seen burned over the course of the last few months, and that’s far from over. 

The country is fighting though to get back to normal as we await vaccines. 
The Big Ten announced today that they will reverse their earlier decision and they will play football after all at their colleges. Still, when asked if you would “roll things back if we had a spike”, the former Vice President Joe Biden answered “absolutely,” adding this today.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump.


MACCALLUM: So on all of this news tonight, we’re glad to bring in Vice President Mike Pence who joins us from Muskingum County Fairgrounds in Zanesville, Ohio. Welcome, vice president, good to have you with us tonight. Got an enthusiastic crowd behind you.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do. Great day here in Ohio, Martha. It’s good to be with you tonight. Thank you.

MACCALLUM: All right, hopefully we’ll be able to hear your answers. So if we could start with this, today the president came out and said this about a vaccine, and when it will be available. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We’re very close to that vaccine. As soon as the FDA approves the vaccine, and as you know we’re very close to that, we’ll be able to distribute at least 100 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020 and a large number much sooner than that.


MACCALLUM: So 100 million by 2020, that’s just a couple months away, and he said a large amount before that. So we’re now mid-September, toward the end of the year, but this is what the CDC Director, Dr. Redfield, said earlier today. Listen to this.


PREVENTION: When is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccines to get back to our regular life? I think we’re probably looking at third – late second quarter, third quarter 2021.


MACCALLUM: All right, so they have gone back and forth over this, and Dr. 
Redfield says that he was talking about when everybody would be able to get one. But I want to get specific on this in terms of how it’s going to work, because you ran the coronavirus task force. 

Once the vaccine is available and we all hope that is very soon, who exactly will get it first and how many doses will be available say within the first few weeks?

PENCE: Martha, first off, it is remarkable to think that, before the month of January was out, the president took unprecedented action to suspend all travel from China. He stood up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, but one week later, when we received the first genetic coding of the coronavirus, we started working on a vaccine. 

I mean, you know, Martha, usually it takes years to develop a vaccine. But because of the leadership President Trump has provided here, because of the incredible work of our pharmaceutical companies and all the dedicated men and women at the FDA and the NIH, we’re literally – we think we may well be within a month or so of having the first safe and effective coronavirus vaccine in America. 

MACCALLUM: OK, so that – so now we are at–

PENCE: –and for the wider world. So it really is extraordinary to think about it. But the other piece of Operation Warp Speed, if I may, is that the president’s leadership here also not only has made it possible for us to move forward on the development of a vaccine in record time, but also we’re manufacturing these vaccines as we speak. 

So the very moment that one of those companies that are already in Phase 3 clinical trial says it is safe, they submit it to the FDA. As soon as the FDA says it’s safe and effective, we will have tens of millions of doses available for the American people.

MACCALLUM: So there’s 330 million people in the country. You say that within, what, a month after that approval, you think you’ll have tens of millions. So who would be the lucky recipients of those first tens of millions that could potentially given the time frame that you are discussing be available say November-ish, maybe December-ish. Who are those tens of millions that would get it right away and how would that work?

PENCE: Well, what our team released this morning is a I think 57-page distribution plan, and we’re already beginning to work with every state in the country to be prepared for the moment that we have the FDA approval on a safe and effective vaccine. 

And let me be very clear on this. Because of the president’s leadership, Martha, we’re manufacturing these vaccines now so that the moment the FDA says that is a safe and effective vaccine, we’re going to have tens of millions of doses to be able to distribute immediately. 

Now, it will be up to an agency known as the ACIP that’s going to be going through the process with the very best science and counsel to determine the prioritization and the distribution of the vaccines. 

But you know, if you look at past practices as we were talking about at the task force yesterday, we’re going to focus on the most vulnerable, we are going to focus on doctors, nurses, first responders to make sure that the people who are potentially subject to the worst outcomes from the coronavirus have the vaccine first. 

But as the president said today, we expect to have – we’re on track to have one or more safe and effective coronavirus vaccines before the end of the year. We expect to have, if that’s the case, 100 million doses before December 31 and then hundreds of millions of doses as we go into 2021.

MACCALLUM: So hundred million doses before the end of this year would be–
PENCE: Sure.

MACCALLUM: –roughly less than a third of the country would have the opportunity to get that vaccine by December 31, you’re saying. So that would be great.

PENCE: Well, remember, the – and again I want to go back to – you look at the American innovation in vaccine development and you think about this–

MACCALLUM: Absolutely, nobody does that – I mean we all know that it’s been several years that have passed–

PENCE: –within seven or eight months–
MACCALLUM: I’m just asking to know, it’s that people want to know when they are going to get it at this point.

PENCE: –we literally are going to have a vaccine for the American people. 
Well, look, what’s going to happen is that we’re going to make the vaccine available, if past practice is an indicator, that’s what Dr. Fauci and others talked to us about yesterday at the task force. When the ACIP comes out with its recommendations, we expect they’ll focus on seniors with serious underlying health conditions, with any American that may have an immunodeficiency, anyone who’s vulnerable to a very serious outcome with the coronavirus, and then of course making sure our first responders, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers have access to the vaccine.

MACCALLUM: Yes, absolutely, that makes a lot of sense. All right–

PENCE: Literally tens of millions of doses. Remember, that’s not the only medicine here, Martha. Remember, we’re in the process – we’ve approved Remdesivir, we are just a couple of weeks away from confirming that the impact – positive impact of convalescent plasma. Our pharmaceutical companies have been doing miraculous work. I know Joe Biden said no miracle is coming, but in America, we’re in the miracle business and we believe we’re going to continue to have medicine to save lives–

MACCALLUM: All right, so let me ask you, if I may–

PENCE: –and we are going to have a safe and effective vaccine before the end of this year.

MACCALLUM: This whole dispute over masks, I know the White House just said that there was an earlier story that several staffers had tested positive. 
We all saw the very large gathering, which was for a wonderful reason yesterday on the historic Middle East peace agreement. 

But the early word was that several staffers had tested positive for COVID. 
And now, Kayleigh McEnany confirmed in the press conference just moments ago that it’s one staffer. So obviously that is good news. But with regard to the whole mask issue, here’s what Dr. Redfield said. And again, it seems like there’s a discrepancy between what he is saying and what the president is saying on this. So, let’s play that for everybody.


DR. REDFIELD: We have clear scientific evidence they work and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.


MACCALLUM: More – a mask is better than the vaccine, sir.

PENCE: Well, we think it’s always a good idea to wear a mask. But the American people can be confident, we’re going to continue to drive relentlessly toward having a safe and effective vaccine and we’re going to continue to drive toward having medicines. 

And it will be the vaccine ultimately that puts the coronavirus in the past. I have great respect for Dr. Redfield and he’s a great doctor, leads CDC with great distinction. But look, we really do believe the answer here, the antidote here is to have a vaccine. 

Because of President Trump’s leadership, we literally believe that we will have a safe and effective vaccine before the end of this year. And that’s what makes it so irresponsible for Joe Biden and his running mate and other Democrats to be talking about not trusting the vaccine, not trusting President Donald Trump. 

Look, our great pharmaceutical companies are cutting no corners. We’ve made it clear, we’ve made billions of dollars available to them to develop these vaccines in record time, but whether it’s the FDA, the NIH, the Advisory Board that oversees it, the American people can be confident despite the politics that are being played by Joe Biden and others–

MACCALLUM: Yes, let me ask you about that.

PENCE: –that when we have that vaccine available, it’s going to be safe and effective for the American people.

MACCALLUM: So, it does concern you that the numbers of people who say that they would be willing to take it according to some polls that we are looking at have dropped dramatically, down 20 points in one poll that we looked at. So I mean, that is disturbing, and you obviously are concerned about that as well.

PENCE: Well, I think it’s very irresponsible for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be calling in to question the incredible innovation of our scientists working around the clock to develop vaccines for the American people. 

I mean, look, they know that there are multiple safeguards in place. But President Trump has made it clear to all of our pharmaceutical companies since he brought them into the White House very early in this pandemic and said I want you to develop medicines, I want you to develop vaccines. 

But he said no shortcuts, we’re cutting no corners, and the American people can be very confident despite the politics being played by Joe Biden and his running mate that we are going to drive toward a safe and effective vaccine. President Donald Trump will always put the health of America first.

MACCALLUM: Good to hear. I just want to play one more sound bite from you, and this is from Ayanna Pressley, because obviously there’s been so much racial strife across the country, and we’ve seen the riots and the looting that have now amounted to a billion dollars in losses for cities across this country. But, she wants to get the CDC involved in solving this problem. I want to play that for you and I want to get your reaction on the other side, sir, if I may.


REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): Our bill will establish a law enforcement violence prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control. Police


MACCALLUM: Oh we lost the end of that. But she’s essentially saying that she thinks that the CDC, that there should be a bill where the CDC would oversee the negative health effects and impact on people’s lives of police brutality in this country.

PENCE: Martha, look, the American people know that men and women that serve in law enforcements are the best people in this country. They put their lives on the line every single day. And while there’s no excuse for what happened to George Floyd, and justice will be served, but there’s also no excuse for people playing politics and trying to blame dedicated law enforcement officers who are out fighting crime for crime that is happening on the streets of our city. 

I mean, it’s the reason why President Trump has taken such strong action from very early on. 4,000 law enforcement officers funded in our first 3 years through the COPS program. And the Operation Legend program that the president launched named after a little boy who was gunned down in his home has now deployed 1,000 federal officials to our cities and arrested more than 2,000 violent protesters who have burned businesses, threatened individuals and brought violence to our streets. 

Look, we got to reject the notion that we need to make a choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting our African American community or minority communities in our city. President Donald Trump has done both from day one and we’re going to continue to support law enforcement even while we work to improve the lives of our African American neighbors. More jobs, better public safety, better educational opportunities and choices. We’ve done it so far, we are going to do it for four more years.

MACCALLUM: All right, question, who you should be debating on October 7 since the Biden Harris team seems to keep flipping around the names of Harris Biden and Biden Harris? Are you sure how that’s going to work out?


PENCE: No, I know who I’m going to be debating and – look, I can’t wait to get to that debate stage in Salt Lake City, because the choice in this election has never been clearer, the stakes have never been higher–

MACCALLUM: We look forward to that.

PENCE: –and I’m looking forward to laying out our agenda, our vision with the radical left agenda of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on October 7.

MACCALLUM: We will see you there, Mr. Vice President. Thanks for your time tonight. Good to see you sir.


PENCE: Thank you, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So after President Trump enters the lion’s den of sorts to take on some pretty tough questions, he does it when he leaves the White House, does it at news conferences, he did it in a townhall last night. For the most part, Joe Biden sticks fairly close to home. 

He did open it up to reporters today and took some questions from reporters who were listed in front of him at that event. We are going to show you a little bit of that. As both candidates prepare to go head-to-head in those coming debates, they start less than two weeks from now with Chris Wallace in Cleveland, and we’re looking forward to that. 

We’re going to talk to Biden campaign surrogate and former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, coming up next.


MACCALLUM: So the next big point of contention will be the presidential debates, which are going to begin in 13 days from now. President Trump fielded questions from a room full of critics, essentially there were a couple of people who asked him positive questions there in the ABC town hall. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you believe it’s the president’s responsibility to protect America, why would you downplay a pandemic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you throw vulnerable people like me under the bus?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’ve counted the phrase Make America Great Again.

TRUMP: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When has America been great for African Americans in the ghetto of America?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should pre-existing conditions, which Obamacare brought into – brought to fruition be removed?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without – please stop and let me finish my question, sir.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: I interviewed you in June of last year. You said the healthcare plan would come in two weeks.


MACCALLUM: We are going to talk more about that last point there coming up, but it raises the question, how often as a candidate does the former Vice President Joe Biden really put himself in the line of tough questions like that, which both sides should probably do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why isn’t Joe Biden angrier about all of this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think the President of the United States is rooting for the violence because he thinks it helps him politically?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You think he’s actually rooting for violence, that he wants violence because it–

BIDEN: Absolutely.

COOPER: –it allows him to claim a law and order mantel?


MACCALLUM: So when it comes to being ready for the debate, the former vice president has said, “Get ready, Mr. President, here I come.” Before fielding some questions near home in Wilmington, Delaware after a covid-19 roundtable today, this is part of that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In polling, we see time and again that President Trump has an edge over you on the economy. Why do you think that is? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You previously called for a mask mandate. What steps would you take to put that in place and how would that work?


MACCALLUM: So that was some of the questions taken earlier today. Joining me now, Pete Buttigieg, Biden campaign surrogate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, former presidential candidate himself. Great to see you today, sir. Thank you very much for being here.


MACCALLUM: So, you saw what we talked about with the vice president with regard to the handling of COVID and when the actual vaccines will be ready. 
Your thoughts on all of that, I mean, your view on what he had to say.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I really hope that happens. Look, a vaccine, a safe effective vaccine can’t come soon enough. The sooner that happens, the better chance we have of being able to get this virus under control and just have our lives back, which I think we are ready to do. 

Plus, we’re never going to get the economy back on track without that vaccine. So it’s critically important that it happened. And my hope is that this will be an area free from political interference. Of course, I’m worried about that.

MACCALLUM: Why are you worried about that?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, because of this president’s track record of intervening politically in parts of the American government that are supposed to be free of politics, right. We heard the military would have to–

MACCALLUM: But we heard from the people working on the vaccines, they all signed a letter that they would never allow any political interference. And you know, we heard from the president and the vice president that the last thing they want to do – I mean, I would imagine that any leader would want to do is put something out there that’s going to be unsafe. 

There’s a process in place for that. And I think that we have seen Vice President Biden and Kamala Harris sort of punch some holes in that theory and create some doubt around that, and that’s certainly their right to do so. It’s a free country, they can say whatever they want, but it does make some people I think concerned and weary who might not go get it, who maybe really should. Does that concern you?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, what they’re expressing is concern about this president and his track record, and I think that concern is justified. Look, Donald Trump is not great when it comes to keeping a promise that something will be delivered on a certain date. Remember when he told us there would be a healthcare plan in two weeks? I mean he said that, I don’t know, six weeks ago. He also said that years ago.

MACCALLUM: That’s very true. Yes, we are going to talk about that, actually, coming up.


BUTTIGIEG: I wish it were true. Usually, when he says this thing is going to be ready by that date, usually doesn’t happen. 

MACCALLUM: Sometimes it doesn’t happen.

BUTTIGIEG: That’s where there’s a lack of confidence.

MACCALLUM: All right, with regard to the two different – very different paces and tones of these campaigns, we see the president, the rallies, we see Vice President Joe Biden with his mask mostly in Wilmington, Delaware, he’s gone to I think four or five states over the course of the last couple of weeks. 

This is from Naomi Lim, reporter – political reporter Naomi Lim. She says, while Trump has already notched up two multistate days in the week since Labor Day, Biden’s team sent his dedicated bunch of pool reporters three times before 10:30 in the morning because it hadn’t planned any public events for the two-term vice president. 

Do the American people sort of need to see that the former vice president can handle the very tough demanding schedule of what it takes to be the President of the United States?

BUTTIGIEG: The best way to see who can handle that demanding schedule is to see who can handle it on the campaign trail. 


BUTTIGIEG: Look, I’m in my 30s and the presidential campaign trail, when I was a candidate, I got to tell you, it beat me up too. I mean, it is tough. 
But I was competing with Joe Biden and Joe Biden beat me and every other contender that was there. So, I don’t think there’s a lot of question about his ability to do that. Now, I’m not surprised that–

MACCALLUM: But you didn’t put it a lid on – I mean, I followed you around New Hampshire and a couple of other states and you didn’t have a lid on at
10:30 in the morning.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, look, I’m not surprised that President Trump is frantically trying to get out of the hole that he’s in. He knows he’s behind.

MACCALLUM: That’s not the question.

BUTTIGIEG: He’s going to do everything he can to try to make up that advantage. But, look, we’ve seen the Vice President Biden campaigning across the country. There’s one key difference, which is he’s never going to stuff his supporters into a room without masks in an indoor space over the objections of local public health officials. 

When you do that, you show a level of fundamental disrespect for your own supporters. I mean, think about how low an opinion the Trump campaign must have of Trump supporters even back to Tulsa where they made people go into the event and sign a waiver–


MACCALLUM: Who made someone go in there? Who made someone? Those people went in of their own accord. I mean they were not made to go in there. I mean, you can criticize allowing it or hosting it, but to say that they were made to go in there and they were stuffed in there I don’t think is accurate. If you can find me some people who say that that’s what happened, I’d be more than happy to hear from them.

BUTTIGIEG: The point is there is respect for the health and safety of the people attending the event. You set a certain tone when you lead people to a certain place, and if you lead people to danger, you bear some responsibility for that. 

In Tulsa, and more recently in Nevada, he led people into danger and you know how you can tell what a dim view he has of the intelligence of his own supporters on something they were made to do? Will sign waivers saying they wouldn’t sue him if they got sick and died. Think about what that says for the respect that he has for the people–


MACCALLUM: No but that – I think we’re going to see a point in this country that you do that everywhere you go, any concert, any sporting event, all of those things. I think it’s probably going to be standard. And I’ll say

BUTTIGIEG: I’m pretty sure you don’t have to do that for Joe Biden.

MACCALLUM: –nobody was forced to go into any of those places, just like you are not going to be forced to go to a football game or a basketball game. It’s going to be something that you do of your own volition. But, people make choices and we’ll see how it works out. Pete Buttigieg, thank you. It’s good to have you with us tonight, and I appreciate you coming on.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Same here.

MACCALLUM: So, one highly regarded education expert argues in The Wall Street Journal that it is time to wake up about what he calls bad teaching in America that is failing our students, something many parents who’ve now become teachers at home are starting to seriously question themselves, as President Trump calls for a similar push, next.


TRUMP: The only path to unity is to rebuild a shared national identity focused on common American values and virtues, of which we have plenty. 
This includes restoring patriotic education in our nation’s schools where they’re trying to change everything that we’ve learned.



MACCALLUM:  Just horrible to watch that. Three rioters in Pittsburgh are now facing criminal charges after that hostile confrontation with diners at an outdoor restaurant. They were all caught on video, they were harassing the diners, they cursed at them, drank their beer as you saw there, and all of that went viral. 

They’re now charged with several misdemeanors for that Labor Day weekend attack. And we know that Attorney General Barr has said that he is serious about following through with prosecutions in these looting and rioting situations. So, look for more of that. 

So also, tonight, this got the attention of a lot of parents in America. 
Many of whom have been teaching their kids at home and in some cases, they have been disappointed in what they have learned from that experience about the curriculums that their kids are learning these days. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  We will stop the radical indoctrination of our students and restore patriotic education courses.


TRUMP:  We will teach our children to honor our country, honor our history, and always respect our great America flag. We will live by the timeless words of our national motto, in God we trust. And we’re going to keep it that way.


MACCALLUM:  So, on Saturday, the Washington Journal printed an excellent piece. And it was written about the education expert Professor E.D. Hirsch from UVA who warned that bad teaching is tearing America apart and diminishing national unity.

He told the Wall Street Journal, quote, “it’s fine for children to embrace their particular heritage but also vital to create an American ethnicity. 
The purpose of elementary schools is to make children into good citizens,” 
he says. 

Hirsch goes on to call elementary school a nonpartisan institution. A view that may seem quaint in an era when schools are adopting ideological curricula like the 1619 Project, for example, and teaches are displaying Black Lives Matters banners as their Zoom background, he says. 

So joining me now, Cynthia Garrett, author of “I Choose Victory:  Moving from Victim to Victor,” and Jason Nichols, professor of African-American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park. 

Welcome to both of you. Great to have you with us tonight.

And it’s worth pointing out which the article mentioned that Mr. Hirsch, the educator, you know, considers himself political liberal, a Democrat and always has. But he very much believes that every student in America should have in their knowledge bank a core section of knowledge that goes through thousands of details and specifics on important individuals, important wars, everything.

And he just says, you know, too many kids are graduating from school right now and they just don’t even aware of those things. Jason, what do you say to that? 



NICHOLS:  When you look at, for example, one of the things that has come out, is that most kids don’t know — high school kids don’t know the 13th Amendment. They don’t know the amendment that abolished slavery. So that’s definitely a problem. 

But what I would also say that him saying that he’s a leftist, I think he said he’s practically a socialist that doesn’t mean that he has multicultural awareness as a man who was raised in the 1930s in Tennessee. 
It doesn’t necessarily mean that he has that kind of cultural awareness. 

As far as bringing up the 1619 Project, I think that there’s a mistake that a lot of people are making. And that is, there is a political argument against the 1619 Project. And there is a historical argument. The historical argument basically says that, you know, it doesn’t sufficiently acknowledge the colonial anti-slavery movement. 

The political argument is one that says that it’s trying to change America. 
And all of the historians that opposed it all say that they love the idea of the 1619 Project. They love the idea of acknowledging the centrality of slavery in our nation and what we’ve become —

MACCALLUM:  Well, that —

NICHOLS:  — economically and socially. So that —


MACCALLUM:  That right there is the core of the debate over whether or not that is true. I want to get Cynthia in here. 

NICHOLS:  But that’s the debate.

MACCALLUM:  Cynthia, what’s your reaction to that, Cynthia? Then I’ll go back to Jason. 

CYNTHIA GARRETT AUTHOR, I CHOOSE VICTORY:  Well, you know, look, I raised a pretty awesome son. I’ve raised a lot of adopted sons and daughters, mostly African-American, some white. And what I would say is that in all honestly, yes, they should know history. We should know our history good and bad. 

I don’t think, however, making racism this dominating force in the way that we live our lives is ever going to ever help with the problem of racism. In fact, I think that there are many things that have happened to all of us good and bad. Right? A lot of things have happened to me that are not great. 

However, if I choose to define my life by the negative events in my life, I run the risk of becoming a bitter, angry person who lives their life as a victim. That’s not my choice. And I think that for me, I always believe that when you raise young people, I root it in a wonderful biblical verse that says for lack of vision that people perish. 

What kind of vision are we setting for young people? If you keep telling young people black and white people that racism and slavery is the essential theme of what it means to be America, when is the divide going to end? I mean, and then we get into these conversations about do we make up for this. You know, reparations. Well, what price can you pay me that’s worth my life? None of it really goes anywhere positive. 

And I think if I were — if my son were still school age and I have a lot of nieces and nephews who are, and the 1619 Project came across my desk as something to teach them, I would probably pull them out of school and go to a different school. I just — I think we got to educate them but I don’t think we should be indoctrinating them. 

MACCALLUM:  We got to leave it there.

GARRETT:  And that’s the problem that I see. 

MACCALLUM:  Thank you, Cynthia, and thank you, Jason. Good to have both of you with us tonight. 

GARRETT:  Thanks, Martha.

NICHOLS:  Thank you. 

MACCALLUM:  Coming up, the next round of stimulus relief caught up in a game of political ping-pong. 


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  All they want is to have the president’s name on a check going out, $300 and that’s all he really cares about. 

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Everyone wants to be — and D.C. seems to want make a deal except Nancy Pelosi. She wants to play politics.



MACCALLUM:  Speaker Pelosi resisting calls from her own party to consider a so-called skinny COVID relief package. Instead standing firm at this point behind a $2.2 trillion proposal. President Trump after calling Democrat heartless for stalling stimulus payments later sounding optimistic that both sides could find some common ground. 


TRUMP:  I’d like to see the larger number, yes. I would like to see it. 
There’s some things I disagree with. But I’m sure they could be negotiated. 
Now I heard Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t want to leave until we have an agreement. She’s come a long way. That’s great. If she said that, she’s come a long way. I agree with her. We should have an agreement. People should be helped. And they should be helped as rapidly as possible. And I think it’s going to happen.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  So, joining me now, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the judiciary committee. 
Congressman, good to have you back this evening. 

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA):  Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  So, does that mean that we’re going to see a deal and how soon? 

SWALWELL:  Let’s get a deal. We have passed the HEROES Act already. We’ve come down a trillion dollars from what we passed back in May. The president wants a higher number. The need, as you know, Martha, is great. People are in food lines. No — never in our history have more people been unemployed. 
And so, let’s go as big as the need is. And I think we’re ready to do a deal now. 

MACCALLUM:  So, he’s at, I think 1.5 trillion. Is that a starting point? Is that a place that do you think Democrats could get to? 

SWALWELL:  Well, what we want to make sure is that we extend unemployment until the end of the year. We also want hazard pay for the frontline workers the states, and these are red states and blue states like Florida and Georgia, and Tennessee and Texas who have deficit short falls, they need relief, too. So, we want a trillion dollars. And we’re willing to, I think play with that number for their relief.

MACCALLUM:  Yes. I mean —


SWALWELL:  So, I think we can do this, Martha. 

MACCALLUM:  You know that the state and local area has been a sticking point here. There’s already been —


SWALWELL:  But not for the — not for the Republican governors and Republican mayors. 

MACCALLUM:  — just under a trillion —

SWALWELL:  They want it. 

MACCALLUM:  — under a trillion that already went out and $300 billion of it, $300 billion of it is still unspent at that state and local level. So why would you release more money when $300 billion has not even been spent yet? And we did $3.6 trillion in the overall. 


SWALWELL:  Sure. My family and friends — my family and friends in Florida where the governor today has announced that no Floridian now will receive unemployment because they have run out of money. They sure could use the money. In Texas where they say it’s a $4.4 billion deficit, they sure could use the money. 

So, this is really seeing us all as Americans not as red states and blue state. 

MACCALLUM:  No, there’s the 300 billion in that pie that should be allocated to those places. 

SWALWELL:  I agree. 

MACCALLUM:  That’s where they need it. Because, you know, what we don’t want — it’s all taxpayer hard working earned money that goes to this. It’s not funny money. So, it has to be tracked and allocated and if there’s still money that is in the last tranche, I think a lot of people would ask why you would need to get more of that. 

This is the Wall Street Journal editorial board. Pelosi’s nervous majority. 
There’s also no reason for Mr. Trump to give a break to the swing state Democrats who are shouting at Mrs. Pelosi to do a deal. She’s putting a bail-out for progressive politicians in blue states ahead of genuine COVID relief. The voters ought to hear about it before they cast their ballots. 
What do you say to that that, sir? 

SWALWELL:  Again, Donald Trump is the president of every state and the need is in every state. And look, we have passed the HEROS Act. We have done our job, and the Congress were ready to negotiate. The only person who has really failed to negotiate is the guy who wrote a book called “The Art of the Deal.” This president so far has not been able to find a deal at a garage sale. But I’m excited that he has now express a willingness to go up and meet the need. What we should do is not meet in piecemeal —


MACCALLUM:  Well, I think a lot of people saw a lot of members of Congress


SWALWELL:  — or small.

MACCALLUM:  — who didn’t come back who were at home —

SWALWELL:  We should try and meet the need.

MACCALLUM:  — and not doing what they should be doing when there was a lot of common ground in the middle of this bill that could have been passed perhaps quite some time ago so that people wouldn’t still be in that situation suffering. So, I think there’s fault on all sides.


SWALWELL:  But there’s no time like the present, right, Martha? 

MACCALLUM:  Absolutely. 

SWALWELL:  So, let’s do it now.

MACCALLUM:  Get it done. I just want to play this for you because I know that this got you fired up and you were tweeting about it. This is Jim Cramer and Nancy Pelosi.


JIM CRAMER, HOST, CNBC:  What deal can we have, crazy Nancy? I’m sorry. 
That was the president. I have such reverence for the office. I would never use that term. But it is hard to — 


PELOSI:  But you just did. 

CRAMER:  Come on.

PELOSI:  You just did. 

CRAMER:  You know what I mean. You know what I mean. 

PELOSI:  I know.


MACCALLUM:  You know what I mean. My goodness. Your reaction to that? 

SWALWELL:  I don’t think you would say that to a woman. She responded with dignity. But he apologized. And I think we should accept his apology and move on. 

MACCALLUM:  I’m not sure you would say it too. He says he calls people lots of things. So, I don’t know if he would say to it a woman or man or not. 
But anyway, they made up. So that’s good. Good to see you, Congressman. 
Thank you very much. 

SWALWELL:  You, too. Thanks, Martha. 

MACCALLUM:  So coming up, President Trump cheering a reversal from the Big Tenconference now opting to play some football this fall for those colleges. And that now puts pressure on the remaining conference to follow suit. There’s a little bit of budging in that area it looks tonight. 

Legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz when we return. 


TRUMP:  I want to recommend PAC-12, you’re the only one now. Open up. Open up, PAC-12. Get going.




TRUMP:  I want to congratulate Big Ten football. It’s back. I called the commissioner a couple weeks ago. And we started really putting a lot of pressure on, frankly. Because there was no reason for it not to come back. 


MACCALLUM:  So, amid mounting pressure from players, families and even the president, as he says, the Big Ten announced that the teams will be back on the field October 23 after cancelling their seasons and breaking a lot of hearts across the country last summer.

So, several outbreaks have occurred among the teams over the summer but the unanimous vote stemmed from the resent availability of rapid testing programs. Big Tencommissioner Kevin Ward stating today, our goal has always been to return to competition, so all student athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love. 

Joining me now, legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Lou, great to see you as always. What was your reaction when you saw this news about the Big Ten today? 

LOU HOLTZ, FORMER COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH:  Well, I thought it was great. 
Talk to the White House. First of all, why did President Trump get involved? He got involved because the players and the families do not have a seat at the table. So, he felt that he should represent them because they wanted to play. 

They picketed, they boycotted, they did different things. And what he really did was he offered the Big Ten all the latest information on the rapid testing, all the different things they’ve done for contacting different people. And so, because of the improvement that they made on COVID testing, that made it possible for the Big Ten to feel comfortable moving forward. 

MACCALLUM:  Yes. Well I was at the Notre Dame game last weekend and they handled it really well. And I’m sure there was some pressure when they started to see all of these — excuse me — all these other teams playing in the NFL, playing — college teams playing. And it starts to put pressure on them no doubt. 

But I want to put up a map of the Big Ten teams. Because there is something that I think will be very clear to anyone following this election when you take a look at this map, which shows you where these games — where these teams in the Big Ten are that the president has pointed, he wants to get back to football, 

You’ve got Pennsylvania, you’ve got Ohio, you’ve got Michigan. You’ve got Wisconsin and you’ve got Minnesota. All battleground swing states, Lou. And do you think it will have any impact on the election? 

HOLTZ:  Well, they also have Pennsylvania in there with 10 state. I don’t know whether it will have any impact or not. But I do believe it’s in the best interests of the players, et cetera. When they play in high school football in Ohio and Ohio State is not playing, you say what in the world is going on? 

Now, is the PAC-10 going to follow? Normally, whatever the Big Ten does, the PAC-10 does. And ever since in 1946, when they sign the Rose Bowl agreement, they do it together. However, the PAC-10 could not be because the state of California and Oregon said you cannot play football at all. 
And there are six of those teams in the Big 12 or PAC-12 that can’t participate. 


HOLTZ:  And you (Inaudible) that, you have the (Inaudible) problem. But that’s the only thing that’s keeping the PAC-12 from joining the Big Ten and starting on the 24th in my personal opinion. 

MACCALLUM:  Well, we saw today that Oregon and California are — the teams are asking for clarification on the rules in those two states. So, you can sort of feel those wheels turning a little bit. We’ll see if indeed the way that you present it comes to fruition for those teams as well. We certainly hope that it does. 

Before I let you go, Presidential Medal of Freedom. What do you think about that? 

HOLTZ:  I am humbled. I tell you, I’m sorry my wife is not here. But somebody told me, he said this was in the works for about six months. I wasn’t aware of it. And my wife knew I was up for the award. But here’s what my wife told him. Please don’t tell Lou. I don’t want him be disappointed when he doesn’t get it. So. But anyway, my family will be and I’m humbled. Whenever you see breaking news, Martha, other people gave me the opportunity to do so, and that is certainly true in this case.

MACCALLUM:  It’s going to be a great moment. Everyone is going to be so proud. Lou, thank you so much. Always great to see you. Thank you for being here tonight. Lou Holtz.

HOLTZ:  Thank you. 

MACCALLUM:  More after this.


MACCALLUM:  That is THE STORY of this Wednesday, September the 16th, 2020 as we head into fall. As always though, THE STORY continues, so we’ll see you back here tomorrow night at seven. Thanks for being with us tonight, everybody. We look forward to seeing you again tomorrow when we will have Dr. Scott Atlas to continue our conversation about how exactly it’s going to work when this vaccine is ready to go. 

Up next, Tucker Carlson. Good night, guys.

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