This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," August 30, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
With the conventions behind us, President Trump and Joe Biden dig in for a fall campaign like none before.
WALLACE: Fireworks and acquisitions that a vote for the other guy will lead the country to chaos.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The radical left will defund police departments all across America. No one will be safe in Biden's America.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The president takes no responsibility, cozies up to dictators and fans the flames of hate and division.
WALLACE: This hour, we'll discuss how the pandemic, the economy and violence in our cities will play out on the road to the White House.
Plus, whether the president's attempt to win back suburban women will work.
LARA TRUMP, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: But it didn't surprise me when President Donald Trump appointed so many women to senior level positions in his administration.
WALLACE: We'll talk with the president's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, a senior adviser to his campaign.
And we'll ask Joe Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, about his plans to go back on the campaign trail.
Then, we'll ask our Sunday panel where the race stands, one month ahead of the first debate.
And our power player of the week —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Texting is the next handshake.
WALLACE: Campaigning in the age of COVID.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
It's now just 65 days, nine weeks until Election Day, and the first debate between President Trump and Joe Biden is less than a month away. With the president officially accepting his renomination, this long campaign is finally entering the intense home stretch.
In a moment, we'll talk with top officials from both campaigns about where the race stands as we head into September, but we begin with Fox team coverage. David Spunt at the White House and Jacqui Heinrich in Wilmington, Delaware.
Let's start with the latest on the president's post-convention strategy — David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS: Chris, as we close in on the two- month mark until the election, the president is waging war and it's not just against Joe Biden.
TRUMP: Joe Biden is the puppet of the radical left movement that seeks to obliterate and destroy everything that you hold dear.
SPUNT: In 2020, the race for president is more than just a difference of opinion. Ask President Trump, and it's a fight between good versus evil.
TRUMP: We're not going to let our country be destroyed by a bunch of nut jobs.
SPUNT: The president back on the campaign trail less than 24 hours, after giving his acceptance speech on the south lawn of the White House.
At a Friday night rally in New Hampshire, the president blamed Democrats for the violence plaguing U.S. cities.
TRUMP: The puppet Biden wants you to cancel weddings, funeral and school but has not problem with thousands of so-called peaceful protesters cramming into your streets, mugging people, hurting people.
SPUNT: It's all about replicating a winning strategy from 2016 when the campaign portrayed the country at risk from immigrants flooding the border. This election, it's about dangerous cities.
The president drove that point yesterday during an official visit to Texas and Louisiana to tour the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
TRUMP: The people in Portland should protest because the mayor doesn't know what he's doing. He has no clue.
SPUNT: And happening overnight, more chaos in Portland, as a caravan of Black Lives Matter and supporters of the president clashed, one person shot and killed.
SPUNT: The president plans to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, another site of recent unrest — Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt, reporting from the White House — David, thanks.
Now, let's turn to Jacqui Heinrich who's covering the Biden campaign Jacqui.
JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS: Chris, resuming travel to swing states after Labor Day, the Biden campaign continues to make this election about coronavirus and how the Trump administration mishandled it. The simmering turmoil in Kenosha threatens to derail that strategy.
HEINRICH: Former Vice President Joe Biden is clear about where he stands on police brutality and protest over it.
BIDEN: Once again, a black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police on broad daylight, with the whole world watching.
HEINRICH: And his running mate stepped even further, following progressive criticism over her law enforcement record.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Based on what I've seen, it seems that the officers should be charged.
HEINRICH: But as Republicans repeat false claims Biden wants to defund police and warn violence and crime will spread —
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America.
HEINRICH: — Biden will need to speak to swing voters in the mostly white working class rural districts President Trump won in 2016, some of whom are in Kenosha, torn apart after protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Biden condemned the violence, accusing Republicans of using unrest for political gain.
BIDEN: To prove that you should be scared of Joe Biden, they're pointing to what's happening in Donald Trump's America?
HEINRICH: But he hasn't committed to visiting Kenosha, despite planned visits to four swing states, including Wisconsin.
Both Biden and Harris spoke to Blake's family.
JACOB BLAKE, SR, JACOB BLAKE'S FATHER: They were so comforting that you almost forgot how the situation was really playing out.
HEINRICH: Biden's campaign said upcoming travel will follow public health guidelines, meaning we should see small roundtable, certainly no rallies. Although the drive-in watch party from the DNC could become a model for bigger events — Chris.
WALLACE: Jacqui, thank you.
Joining us now, Trump campaign senior adviser and daughter-in-law of the president, Lara Trump.
Lara, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
LARA TRUMP, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Thanks, Chris. Great to be with you.
WALLACE: Let's start with the breaking news. As we've been reporting, the president will be traveling on Tuesday to Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of that police shooting and the violent protests since then. Why? What's the message he wants to deliver in Kenosha?
L. TRUMP: Well, I think the message is that he cares about each and every American. And, you know, this is a situation where you've seen, sadly, that throughout this country, in Democrat-run cities, there — the people that are in charge, the mayors of these cities have let their citizens down. They have not upheld the laws. They have not protected their citizens. They have not protected small businesses.
The president is going there because he cares about every single American in this country, he wants to make that known. And you saw that the National Guard was able to go in fortunately to Kenosha, they quelled the violence. In about 24 hours, everything was over there.
So, thank God no more people are getting killed and injured and there aren't any violent mobs roaming the streets. And that should be the model.
But I think all these mayors, the Democratic mayors that are playing politics instead of looking out for the safety of their citizens should look to this and say, hey, the president has offered all of us this opportunity and they should take it.
WALLACE: Lara, you say that the president cares about each and every American. While he's in Kenosha, will he meet with Jacob Blake, the man who was shot seven times by a policeman? Or will he meet with members of the Blake family?
L. TRUMP: Well, I know he's reached to the Blake family. I don't know if they were able to connect yet. And I don't know for sure if that's on the agenda. I'm sure, given the opportunity, he'll be more than happy to do that. But I haven't gotten that information just yet.
WALLACE: All right. Both you and the president talked at the convention about the violence, the surge of violence, whether it's protests or crime in our streets. And both of you blamed the violence on the continuing — what you said weak response by Democratic politicians.
Here was Joe Biden's response to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's rooting for more violence, not less, and it's clear about that. And what he's doing is start pouring gasoline on the fire. This happens to be Donald Trump's America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, obviously, nobody wants to see violence in American streets. But as a practical matter, does the president, does his campaign think that this violence in the streets plays to the president's political advantage in the campaign?
L. TRUMP: Well, that is never something that any of us would want to see happen. Absolutely not.
I think, unfortunately, what's really bad, specifically for Joe Biden and the Biden campaign because, Chris, you might remember that it took him about three months to finally come out and condemn this violence and say that people should stop doing it.
The president from day one has been saying this, and I'll reiterate what I just said in my last interview which is that the president has said I have federal resources available to every mayor and every city across this country. We don't want violence in our streets. We want to keep people safe.
If you don't have safety in your communities, what do you have? Nothing else matters.
And I would put the onus on Joe Biden and say, it took him a little bit too long to come out and say that this wasn't a problem, and I think it's probably because he knows that that is his base and he doesn't want to upset these people.
And so, you know what? I think it was a lot worse for him.
WALLACE: Well, let's talk about the political implications because here's what Kellyanne Conway had to say on this subject this week. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: There was a quote today from a restaurateur in Wisconsin saying, are you protesters trying to get Donald Trump reelected? He knows full stop and I guess Mayor Pete knows full stop that the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The better it is, she said, the more violence in the streets, the clearer the choice for voters on the issue of law and order.
L. TRUMP: Yeah, well, I think it certainly paints a very clear picture.
Look, what did we see after the convention wrapped the other night when people are leaving the White House, Chris? We saw that it was, you know, this anarchist mob that was attacking Trump's supporters, attacking Republicans.
Yet you didn't see that happening on the other side. There was an opportunity at the end of the Democrats' convention where we could have had people attacking their folks. But that would never happen. It only goes one way.
So, if there's one person in that crowd that for a second thought, you know what, maybe I'm going to vote for Joe Biden, maybe I'm going to vote for the Democrats, I bet their mind was changed very quickly.
The people that you see, by the way, getting accosted and harassed at restaurants around Washington, D.C., I understand that one of those women, you know, was marching in the previous weeks with the BLM protests. I wonder what she wants to do now as she heads towards November 3rd.
I think the point is that the more this happens to people, and the more they see that this is a mob that in effect has been supported and it really has monetarily been supported by bailing out, you know, these violent criminals from folks in the Biden campaign, people wonder, why would I vote for this? Why would I want to see this continue in America?
I don't they do, and I think they know President Donald Trump is the person that has been saying this has to stop from day one and he wants to see it stopped all around this country.
WALLACE: All right. Let's talk about the fall campaign because we're told that starting after Labor Day, although he's already started, the president is expected to go out a couple of times a week and hold rallies of some sort in key states around the country.
This last week on Thursday, as part of the Republican convention, the president gave his acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House. We're showing pictures of it now. More than 1,500 people packed in, very few masks, no social distancing.
Lara, is the president just going to ignore the public health guidelines?
L. TRUMP: Well, look, we always, whether at this event you saw at the White House or any campaign event, we always encourage people to follow the guidelines and to do what they think is best for themselves.
So, we always have masks available. We encourage people to use them. We always have hand sanitizer available. And we encourage people to spread themselves out.
But I think you know as it always works out, people always rush towards the front of the stage. They want to be around this president. They pack themselves in.
And, look, at a certain point in this country, I think we all have to recognize that people want to get back to normal. And you know what? Maybe it's going to a Trump rally that does that, but we are always following the guidelines.
We had — we had health professionals worked with our convention team the entire time. We've followed exactly what they said we should do and we'll continue to do that.
WALLACE: But some health officials say, you know, I mean, the fact is, you did stack the chairs right next to each other, some health officials say this has the potential to be a super spreader event.
L. TRUMP: Yeah, well, it was an outdoor venue, and I'll remind everybody that the folks that were spitting in the faces of our people leaving the convention that night were not social distancing. There was an absolutely disgusting display. The next day, there were, you know, thousands of people on the National Mall all packed together as well.
So, look we either have to say that everybody plays by the same rules, or we have to stop talking about it because whenever you're talking about the president's campaign, you know, and how people weren't specifically socially distanced, but the next day, thousands of people on the National Mall, and that's not a problem for anybody, it seems a little hypocritical.
WALLACE: Let's talk about your speech to the Democratic Convention, because you made a very specific appeal to women voters and there's a reason for that. Let me put up some numbers from the campaign.
In the last FOX News poll before the convention, the president is trailing Biden 51 percent to 39 percent among women, and trailing even worse 58 percent to 35 among suburban women.
Lara, why does the president have such a problem with women?
L. TRUMP: Well, I don't think is that he has a problem with women. I think it's the way that he gets portrayed by and large in the mainstream media. I think women specifically, you know, maybe don't like everything he tweets and they're more inclined to tune in to the 92 percent negative media coverage of this president.
But that is why, Chris, we have to campaign, are doing everything we can to remind women, look, don't think about what this president has said, or the way he delivers a message specifically, look at what he's actually done for this country.
So, we have bus tours going all across this country. We started about a month ago in our Women for Trump bus, bright pink, you can't miss it out there across the country, and we're out talking about the results produced by this president because at the end of the day, you know, women want to know specifically that the opportunities are available for them.
You saw that we are 65-year low in women's unemployment among this when — since this president took office. You've seen that, you know, the number of jobs created for women in 2019 alone, 70 percent of those new jobs created went specifically to women.
We have to remind people out there, you know what, tune out the distorted and biased commentary out there and look at what this president has done and that is our strategy.
WALLACE: Lara, thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend. Good to talk with you. Please come back.
L. TRUMP: Thank you. Will do.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll speak with the top Biden campaign official about the Democratic nominees fall campaign strategy.
WALLACE: After months of virtual campaigning, Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden appears ready to make a change.
Joining us now, Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield.
Kate, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thanks for having me, Chris, I appreciate it.
WALLACE: Now that we know that President Trump is going to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, there are reports that Vice President Biden will be making a campaign trip tomorrow. Can you tell us where he's going and what the message will be?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, I'll answer that question, Chris, but, first, I just want to go back quickly to a couple of things that Lara Trump just said.
First of all, she said that Vice President Biden had — did not quickly condemn the violence around these protests. That's absolutely not true. He came out right after George Floyd was killed back in May and said there's no place for violence. He said it forcefully again this week. So that's simply not true.
But the other thing we heard her say is, you know, don't listen to what Donald Trump has said. Well, a president's words matter. They matter. Part of the reason that we are in these state of chaos that we're in, in this country is because Donald Trump has failed to lead on the coronavirus, he failed to take it seriously from the outset, and he's failed to be a uniter, he's failed to lead, as we've been grappling with this moment of racial injustice in this country.
So I just — I wanted to address that from the outset because —
BEDINGFIELD: Neither of the — neither of those things were true.
But to your question.
So, yes, what I can say is, you will absolutely hear Joe Biden out this week addressing this moment in the country. We will have details to share on the location shortly. But what I can tell you is that he's going to do what he's been doing across the course of this summer, which is calling together people, uniting the country, leading, encouraging people to take on this moment with a sense of purpose.
BEDINGFIELD: He's been doing that. He's been leading. It's exactly the opposite of what we've seen seeing from Trump, who's been trying to incite violence this entire summer.
WALLACE: Well, just wait a second. Well, I'll get to violence in a second. No, I — I'm thinking in real time.
The president is inciting violence?
BEDINGFIELD: You saw Donald Trump go to New Hampshire on Friday and say, you know, protestors my ass. He's had every opportunity to speak as a leader to this nation that is hurting, to speak to people who are struggling, who are trying to rightly seek justice in this moment, but also who are looking around and who are afraid, who see chaos, who see an incredibly unsettled time. And —
WALLACE: OK, but answer my question, you said incite violence.
BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely. He has. He has encouraged his supporters to go out, to be aggressive. You heard — you were just discussing with Lara Trump, Kellyanne Conway said it unapologetically, it is better for this president if there is more anarchy, more violence, more chaos. He has, at every opportunity, tried to fan the flames here and we are — and that is the reason we are living in Donald Trump's America.
You know, he is trying to make this argument —
BEDINGFIELD: He is trying to make an argument —
BEDINGFIELD: About Joe Biden's America, pointing to things that are happening in Donald Trump's America.
WALLACE: All right. We're going to — we're going to get back to the violence in a minute, but I want to talk about this question of campaign trail traveling because just one week ago Joe Biden said that he was going to continue his very limited, in person campaigning.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: Can you win a presidential election from home?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will. We're going to follow the science. What the sciences tell us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But on Thursday, the president talked — the vice president, rather, talked about he's going to be out on the campaign trail, he's going to go to at least four swing states.
Has the science changed that dramatically in one week?
BEDINGFIELD: Those two things are not mutually exclusive, Chris. From the outset, we have followed the science, we have followed the public health guidelines, we have held social distant, responsible events with people wearing masks, with people taking the proper precarious. You know, obviously, it is a very clear contrast —
WALLACE: But — but — but answer my question, Kate, he — he said — he said — he said a week ago that he could win the election from home. He's – – he was asked that. He said, we will. We'll follow the science. Now he's going to go on a big campaign trip.
BEDINGFIELD: That's just — that just is disingenuous, Chris. He said, we will win by following the science. That's what we've done from the outset. That's what we'll continue to do. That means we can hold socially distant, responsible events. You're going to see him travel. You're going to see him in battleground states.
You know, people across this country have been sharing sacrifice since the virus spiraled out of control this spring. They have been not attending family events. They have, you know, not been attending weddings. The American people have really banded together and shared sacrifice to move us forward through this crisis. And we, as a campaign, have also chosen to behave responsibly.
BEDINGFIELD: You don't see that for — you don't see that from the Trump campaign.
WALLACE: OK, well, let me — let me ask —
BEDINGFIELD: You certainly didn't see it last week on the South Lawn of the White House.
WALLACE: Let — let me ask you about behaving responsibly.
The vice president was asked this week about how he was willing to respond to the coronavirus, especially if there's a spike. And here's what he had to say.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I would be prepared to do whatever it takes to save lives, because we cannot get the country moving until we control the virus.
DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: So if the scientists say, shut it down?
BIDEN: I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Biden's plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather it's a surrender to the virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: No, no leading scientist that I've seen is talking about shutting down the country again. So why would the vice president even raise that possibility?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, let's ask ourselves why we're in a situation where we would have to, Chris, because Donald Trump has failed to contain this virus.
From the outset, Trump could have put in place a coordinated, aggressive federal effort. He could have put in place a supply commander to make sure that nurses and people on the front lines were getting —
WALLACE: Kate, forgive me, and I'm — I'm not trying to — I'm not trying to —
BEDINGFIELD: Wait, no, you asked me —
WALLACE: I don't — I don't —
BEDINGFIELD: Wait, Chris, Chris, you asked me a question —
WALLACE: Wait, wait — no, I'm asking — the question I'm asking — the question I'm asking is a very specific one. It isn't about Trump's response, it's why is Joe Biden talking about shutting down the country again?
BEDINGFIELD: It — but it is about it. It —
WALLACE: That's the question I asked.
BEDINGFIELD: But it is about Trump's response, Chris, because why are we here? Why are we in a position where we — where we have to —
WALLACE: No, I — that isn't the question I'm asking.
WALLACE: I'm asking, why would he talk about — why would the — why could the vice president talk about shutting down the economy again?
BEDINGFIELD: Because Donald Trump has not successfully managed this crisis. We have over 180,000 Americans dead. We have a virus coursing unchecked throughout our country. We have people unable to live their lives normally. We have people unable to send their kids back to school. Families, parents all across the country are grappling with the fact that they can't send their kids back to school safely. This virus has turned our lives upside down. We are in the situation we are in because Donald Trump failed to contain it. He did not take it seriously from the outset. He did not put in place a plan.
BEDINGFIELD: He did not put in place a plan to get the virus under control. And as a result, this is the chaos that we're living with.
WALLACE: OK, let's talk about the — the violence issue. You make the point, and the vice president makes the point, that this is happening in Donald Trump's America. But the fact is that the — the president's attacks on Biden on this issue are gaining some traction.
I want to put up some numbers.
In a "Washington Post" poll this month, 42 percent of white suburban voters said Biden would make them less safe from crime, 22 percent said he would make them more safe from crime. That's a 22 — a 20 point deficit.
Is — how is the vice president going to deal with the fact that a lot of suburban voters, a lot of voters, are now hearing, at least, what the president is saying, which is that he's going to protect them, and maybe the vice president won't?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, I think suburban voters are looking around at what's going on in this country and they're looking at whose in the White House and they're seeing Donald Trump. They don't see Joe Biden, they see Donald Trump in the White House. This is Trump's America. The chaos that suburban voters are feeling and that voters all across this country are feeling is the result of Donald Trump's failed leadership.
What Joe Biden is going to do, he is going to continue to lead. He is going to continue to work to bring us together. He's going to put forward meaningful plans that address the underlying issues here. Think (ph) plans that tackle systemic economic inequality in our society —
BEDINGFIELD: Plans that will bring back jobs, plans that will create jobs, and plans that will get the virus under control, which is the single most important thing that we have to do in order to get our economy back on track.
So, you know, Joe Biden has consistently —
WALLACE: OK, I want to — let me — let me — I've got to — Kate, we're running out of time.
WALLACE: I just want to ask you one last question.
WALLACE: And it specifically goes to the plans.
The president is going after Joe Biden as a tool of the far left. Here's what the president has to say on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism. If Joe Biden doesn't have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals, then how is he ever going to stand up for you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: In fact, the — the Biden and Bernie Sanders campaign agreed on a detailed set of policies, and here's what Bernie Sanders had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I think we hammered out some agreements, which will make, in my view, Joe Biden a very progressive president if he, in fact, implements what has been written.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And former President Obama said this recently. If you look at Joe Biden's goals and Bernie Sanders' goals, they're not that defend from a 40,000 foot level.
So are Obama and Sanders wrong about where Joe Biden would take the country?
BEDINGFIELD: The proof is in Joe Biden's proposals. Look at what he's proposed. Look at proposals that are going to bring manufacturing jobs back to this country, that are going to build clean — clean energy infrastructure and create jobs that are going to create care-giving jobs in this country.
Look at — look at his proposals. The proof is in the proposals. And I think the proof is also in — in his career, in the way that he has worked over the course of his career across the aisle. He's worked successfully with Republicans. He's worked successfully with independents. He's worked successfully with progressive Democrats.
I mean when President Obama and Joe Biden came into the White House, Joe Biden got three Republican votes for the Recovery Act. The single biggest clean energy investment in this country, the single biggest investment in – – in bringing us back from the brink of nearly economic collapse in 2009. He did that by reaching across the aisle, by being able to get Republican votes. It's something he's been able to do his entire career. It's something he'll be able to do as president.
WALLACE: Kate, thank you. Thanks for joining us. And please come back.
BEDINGFIELD: Thank you for having me, Chris. I appreciate it.
WALLACE: Up next we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss where the presidential race stands now with both party conventions in the books. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Election will decide whether we save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny.
JOE BIDEN, (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy, they're all on the ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump and Joe Biden both describing the choice in this election in the starkest terms.
And it's time now for our Sunday group. Guy Benson of Fox News Radio, Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner, and Charles Lane of "The Washington Post."
Guy, presidential candidates always try to draw sharp distinctions with their opponents. This guy will take the country in the wrong direction. But I'm not sure I've heard both candidates describe the choice in this election in such apocalyptic terms.
Is this what we have to look forward to for the next 65 days?
GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS RADIO: We do. Isn't that exciting and fun? I think it's interesting to see both campaigns seemingly agree, vigorously, on the proposition that this election is not only the most important of our lifetimes, which we hear every two to four years, but the most important election in the history of the country. They agree on that.
And if you watched both conventions, and I had the great joy of watching every minute of both, they said repeatedly, both parties made the argument that basically America is on the ballot and if their side loses, America as we know it, America in general, will be badly damaged or could, in fact, slip away. And I wonder how many voters truly agree with that and I wonder if that's a healthy thing for our republic. Overall, I would imagine probably not. But that is exactly the argument being advanced. It's not by one side, it is by both sides. And it's going to be polarized and intense down the stretch.
WALLACE: Well, Chuck, let me begin by giving my opinion to the — the question that Guy just posed, which is that I think voters are just as polarized as the parties and the candidates. And — and the sense that I get is that — that most voters don't see this as a choice between right and left, but a choice between good and bad.
CHARLES LANE, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. The parties now are portraying each other as basically a threat to each other's existence. And there is a total evaporation of efforts at persuasion. This is a pure mobilization effort at this point. Get out your base by scaring your base about the threat posed by the other guy's base.
And I must say, there must surely be some voters out there, probably a lot, who are kind of bewildered by this choice, not excited by the — being forced to look at their country in these terms. But that is the way our two political parties are campaigning.
WALLACE: Gillian, the Trump campaign wanted to do a few things at this convention. They obviously wanted to point out the — President Trump's accomplishments, Joe Biden's failings, but — but here's where I would disagree a bit with — with Chuck. And — and we heard this from Lara Trump, which was that I think they did want to try to persuade some people who like the president's policies but don't like his tone.
Here — here's an example of that during the convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Gillian, how well do you think the convention made the case to try to persuade people who like what the president does but have real problems with the way the president does it to, in effect, almost give them — and this I guess is probably primarily women, to give them a permission structure despite their concerns about the president, to still vote for him.
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think that's really the key question that gets to the meat of the issue for probably most American voters. You know Chuck just said that sometimes it's a choice between good and evil. Sometimes it's a choice between, you know, hate and love, I guess, for lack of a better word. Chuck didn't use that word.
But then sometimes voters simply vote for whoever's message is coming across loudest and clearest. So you have the state of the polls as measured — the state of the races, excuse me, as measured by the polls which show coming out of these two weeks Biden still maintains a really strong lead ahead of President Trump, but it also shows you that coming out of the DNC, Biden didn't get the boost that Democrats had really hoped and expected he would get, which speaks, I think, to the messaging based on what the pollsters, people who do this for a living, tell us.
I also have to point out, Chris, that now in the 21st century, especially in this race, this 2020 campaign season, there's another entire metric here, which is social media. And if you look at social media coming out of these two weeks, the two people who far and away blew the competition out of the water in terms of social media responses and engagement was Melania Trump on the Republican side, Michelle Obama on the Democrat side. I believe Michelle Obama had nearly seven times as much engagement on Twitter and Instagram and FaceBook as Joe Biden. And Melania Trump had nearly five times the engagement of her husband. So I'll leave it to the political analysts to tell you what that means, but it is significant.
WALLACE: So, Guy, with the conventions behind us, where do you see this race as we are about to head into September?
BENSON: Well, I'd love to see some stronger polling, better polling in the next let's say three or four days. There are a few surveys that are dripping out that suggest there's maybe a small bounce for the Trump campaign. I think they really needed a bounce out of this week because the Democrats, as Gillian said, didn't get any bounce out of their convention, but that may not be because they put on a bad convention. It could be because Joe Biden was at or near his ceiling already. With the Trump campaign being, let's say, seven or eight points behind pretty consistently, if they put on a good convention, which I think overall they really did. I think it was an achievement. And then with everything else playing out in the streets of America, which we're going to talk about in the next segment, if that combination did not add up to some sort of bump in the polling for president Trump, I think it would be close to panic button time for the campaign.
So I think for now, if I had to guess, I think he'll get a couple points. I think that will pull things closer to a margin of error race, but still a Biden lead. And the debates are looming and could be potentially decisive.
WALLACE: Chuck, about a minute left in this segment. Where do you see the race post-convention on the cusp of September?
LANE: I guess I see it similarly to Guy. I'd say after all the conventions, a marginal advantage to Trump, surprisingly enough, because he was so far behind. And I think one little tell is that Joe Biden is not just leaving the basement of his house, he's going to Minnesota, where the polls have really tightened and in that particular Great Lakes state, which is usually a Democratic state, the fact that Joe Biden feels he has to campaign there I think suggests that they're concerned about that, you know, white, working class belt up there where they lost the election last time and even in a place like Minnesota.
WALLACE: Yes, that's interesting, Chuck, because, of course, as somebody who covered the Reagan campaign in 1984, that's the only state that the Democrats won and — but — but Trump almost won it. I think the margin was 1.5, 2 points in 2016. So if — if — I agree with you, if the Democrats are worried about Minnesota, that's not good.
LANE: Well, I think they have reason to be.
WALLACE: All right.
TURNER: So that's why they're sending Joe Biden there.
WALLACE: OK. Good. We've got — we — I'm sorry, say that again, Gillian.
TURNER: Oh, I just said, also the Democrats, after Labor Day, are sending Joe Biden to that state. That's one of the reasons.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, as Guy suggested, we'll discuss what may be the two biggest issues in this campaign, at least right now, the fallout from the pandemic and violence in American cities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Look what happens when — what's happened with his — his events. People die. People get together. They don't wear masks. The end up getting Covid. They end up dying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Joe Biden betting that voters will focus on the coronavirus and president Trump's response as they vote this fall.
And we're back now with the panel.
Gillian, it seems to me the two campaigns have two very different theories about how this race is going to run. That the — the Biden campaign is focused on the coronavirus and how it has been and should be handled. The Trump campaign focusing much more on violence in the cities and this question of far left social policy. We'll get to that second part in a moment.
But, Gillian, who do you think, at this point, is winning the argument over the coronavirus?
TURNER: Well, for months the conventional wisdom has been that if voters go to the poll focused on coronavirus, that's going to help former Vice President Joe Biden. If they go to the polls focused instead on law and order, that is going to help President Trump.
But the real problem the country faces, Chris, has now entirely transcended that dynamic because over the last two months we have really entered territory where domestic terrorism is becoming systemic. Whenever you have groups of American gunning down other Americans in the streets because of the color of their skin or because of what they believe, that is the very definition of domestic terrorism. It's not a problem that can be solved in one — with one vote or even in one election season. We now have a terrorism problem, not a politics problem. I don't know how you solve that quickly. I don't believe there's a country in history where it has been solved over the course of one election.
WALLACE: Guy, do you agree with that, that the question of disorder in the streets, and I — I guess what Gillian's talking about when she says domestic terrorism is some of the violence by protestors and some of the violence by counter protestors. Do you think that that has now eclipsed the virus as people's top concern?
BENSON: I'm not sure it's the top concern, but it's a growing concern and I think that's part of the reason why President Trump may have some momentum in this race. But I can't really envision a scenario where two months from now, in a few days, you know, so you've — you've said the number of days, roughly two months away from this election, where coronavirus will not be the biggest issue hanging over everything. And I would say, they're related, actually, in a number of ways.
The other big issues, if you will, are economic concerns that are tied almost exclusively to coronavirus. And I think some of this violence and anger and unrest in the streets is fueled by this environment that we've all lived through for the last number of months where people are kind of losing their minds. And I think that goes back to lockdowns and all of these other fears that have been simmering and stewing. So it's — it's a sort of toxic mix of issues, but looming over all of it is coronavirus. And I think how that is looking, how the facts on the ground are looking on the virus itself in let's say mid to late October, that could be a decision making event or situation for many, many voters. They're feeling better. They might give Donald Trump a second chance. If they're not feeling better or feeling worse, then I think it's almost impossible for the president to win re-election.
WALLACE: Relatively speaking, we didn't hear a lot about the coronavirus at the GOP convention, certainly not as much as we heard at the Democratic Convention. Instead, we heard messages like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMBERLEY GUILFOYLE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and thing.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It's a horror film, really. They'll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home and invite MS-13 to live next door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Chuck, do you think that the president and Republicans can change the focus — Gillian suggests maybe the focus has already been changed, but to the degree that it hasn't, can change the focus from the virus to the concern that far left Democrats are going to run your lives and not going to protect your — your safety?
LANE: Well, I think when people say they're concerned about the coronavirus, they are sometimes not necessarily saying the same concern that they have. I mean everybody, I guess, is afraid of getting sick. There are a lot of people, when you say, are you concerned about the coronavirus, they are the ones who are saying, well, I'm concerned because my freedom of movement is being taken away and my small business is suffering and the lockdowns are an overreaction. And on that length, I think, Trump wants to talk about the coronavirus. And you heard a little bit in — in those clips.
But I think what's interesting here is the coronavirus has kind of been in our system now since March. The urban violence, particularly in Kenosha where so much was destroyed, is kind of like a fresher, newer — fresher is a bad word, but is a newer element in the political system, in the political situation that is now newly being factored into a lot of people's thinking. And — and it has given the president an opportunity to kind of change the subject a little bit from the coronavirus because of that.
WALLACE: Gillian, you know, sometimes I look at a political situation and I say, I don't know how they should handle this. But this one seems so obvious to me, that — that the Democratic message early on, and certainly at the convention, should have been, look, we're against police brutality, we're against, you know, the — whether it's Kenosha, which hadn't happened yet, or George Floyd, which had happened. On the other hand, we're also against an overreaction by protestors and violence and chaos in the streets, like Portland.
Did the Democrats make a huge, unforced error in not making exactly that point at their convention?
TURNER: It's hard to say, honestly, because, you know, it — Biden has gotten a lot of criticism because it took him nearly three months to the day from the killing of George Floyd by police officers in broad daylight, in front of other Americans, to condemn the counter violence that has erupted after that. You have to always start with the point here that the killing of George Floyd by police officers was the original sin that ignited the summers round of rioting and protesting.
It's very hard to say that that was a mistake, however, because the second you start condemning the counter violence, it creates room for what we've seen, which is the abuses by law enforcement. My father and my husband, half my family comes from a country, South Africa, where black people have bene, for a period of time, several decades, were routinely killed for being unruly. That's not a country any of us Americans really want to live in. So I think Biden's trying to tow that line. It's very politically risky territory —
TURNER: But I don't think we can say it categorically is a mistake to not go hard on the — on the protestors.
WALLACE: Well, let me — I've got less than a minute for you, Guy, and I'm going to press my point, it doesn't seem to me it's that hard to say what happened to George Floyd was unacceptable, but when you start seeing looting, often times in — in African-American communities, that's accept – – unacceptable too. Am I wrong?
BENSON: No, you're right, it shouldn't be hard, and yet it was impossible for the Democrats to even make that distinction once over four nights. So respectfully I disagree with my friend Gillian, I think it's pretty clear cut. Democrats made a mistake. They decided not to address or even acknowledge that there were riots in the streets and now they're trying to clean up because it's becoming an issue that could hurt them. But it could be too little too late in some respects.
WALLACE: Gillian, unfortunately, Guy gets the last word, but you can — you can save it for the commercial.
TURNER: That's OK.
WALLACE: Thanks, panel, see you next Sunday.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." An inside look at the tech that campaigns are using now that we're all social distancing.
WALLACE: The coronavirus has blown up 2020 campaign plans, but those campaigns are still finding ways to make their pitch. Our "Power Player of the Week" explains how technology is taking over politics and the pandemic.
THOMAS PETERS, FOUNDER AND CEO, RUMBLEUP: Texting is the new handshake because handshakes are fundamental to the political process. And with Covid now, texting is the next best thing.
WALLACE (voice over): In 2020, with no glad-handing, and campaigns reluctant even to knock on doors —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meet RumbleUp.
WALLACE: A company like Thomas Peters' RumbleUp are helping political candidates connect through text.
Pioneered by the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, campaign texting has exploded.
PETERS: More people text every day than are on FaceBook every day.
WALLACE (on camera): Why is texting better than a phone back (ph)?
PETERS: Because so few people pick up the phones any more, but 90 percent of techs are opened and read within three minutes.
WALLACE (voice over): RumbleUp's software allows campaign volunteers to text one-on-one with potential voters. A single texter can reach out to and get feedback from hundreds of people in different chat threads.
The company gave us a demonstration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are responsive today.
PETERS: These text conversations are real, two-way conversations.
WALLACE (on camera): How many conversations can a volunteer engage in at the same time?
PETERS: About 500 per hour. It is the most scalable way of communicating.
WALLACE (voice over): Scalable, but still personal.
One volunteer unknowingly texted a voting reminder to a man facing a personal loss.
PETERS: His father had passed away that day. And the volunteer, you know, did a 180 and texted him back saying, I'm so sorry. I'll be praying for you. And later in the day he got a text message back from that gentlemen saying, I made it. I got — I went and I voted.
WALLACE: Peters says when the pandemic hit, campaigns using his software knew how to respond.
Before the 2018 midterms, Hurricane Michael tore through Florida. That state's GOP switched from campaign mode, testing people how to find resources. In the Covid era, Peters says his clients' text volume has doubled.
PETERS: We were averaging about 5 million a months and then we went up to about 10 million a month.
WALLACE: RumbleUp is now working with the Republican House and Senate campaign committees, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy. So, how big will this get?
PETERS: We'll probably end somewhere over 500 million texts sent by all of our campaigns combined.
WALLACE (on camera): This year, this campaign, 500 million texts.
PETERS: Yes. For me it's ultimately helping good candidates and causes get their message out and connect with people personally.
WALLACE: Peters says there are ways to avoid political texting. If you reply "stop" to one of his texts, he says the campaign will do just that.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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