This is a rush transcript of “Special Report with Bret Baier” on July 22, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: If you are unvaccinated, you need to be wearing a mask to protect yourself and others around you. And we need more people to get vaccinated to stop this pandemic. So overall the CDC’s recommendations haven’t changed. 

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There has been no decision to change our mask guidelines. Any decisions about public health would be driven by the CDC. But, of course, we are engaged with public health experts and the CDC about how to continue to attack the virus. 


BAIER: Well, there is resurgence, that’s clear. And now there are debates in different states about mask mandates coming back, not coming back, what happens with the vaccine. The president this afternoon repeating what he said at a townhall last night about the vaccine and going forward. Take a listen. 


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a pandemic among the non-vaccinated, folks who are not vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, you are safe. If you are vaccinated, you have over a 98 percent of never catching the virus at all. If you catch it, you are likely — the overwhelming proof so far is you are not going to be hospitalized. You are not going to be sick. You are going to probably have no signs that you’ve had it. 


BAIER: Well, the CDC has new numbers out about that. And these numbers actually from July 12th, so they are a little old. But there are break through COVID-19 cases, 5,189 Americans have been hospitalized from breakthrough cases. This means you’ve had vaccinations and you still got COVID and they went to the hospital, 1,063 Americans have died from breakthrough COVID-19 case, 75 percent of all those were hospitalized or died from the breakthrough case were age 65 years or older. And this is the Delta variant that everybody is talking about. 

So, with that, let’s bring in our panel, Ben Domenech, publisher of “The Federalist,” Juan Williams is a FOX News analyst, and Steve Hayes, editor of “The Dispatch.” Steve, there is this debate, and the president seems to be indicating that the CDC is going to change its guidelines soon. 

STEVE HAYES, EDITOR, “THE DISPATCH”: Yes, he has indicated that, and he’s also suggested that the CDC may allow children under 12 to be vaccinated, which I think would be a welcome development at this point. 

Look, I think it’s unfortunate that we are having a debate about going back to masks for a number of reasons, primarily because if you have a debate about going back to masks, it suggests to people who are vaccine hesitant that there is not the kind of upside that we have been promising all along to getting vaccinated. And I think that’s the kind of mixed messaging that we don’t want from the White House. 

Having said that, the only reason we are having this debate about potentially having to go back to masks is because you have irresponsible people who are pretending that there is no difference between being vaccinated and between being unvaccinated. Many of those are charlatans and hucksters on the right who are in just asking questions mode pretending that there is really not much to know about being unvaccinated versus being vaccinated, or that there’s not real scientific evidence that being vaccinated provides an advantage, a significant advantage to surviving, to avoiding getting in the first place, and to surviving any COVID infection that you have.

BAIER: About the masks and the vaccines, Peter Doocy had a little back and forth with Jen Psaki on this issue. 


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think a lot of people got the vaccine because they were hearing him say if you got the vaccine you don’t have to wear masks anymore. 

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And that continues to be CDC guidance. 

DOOCY: And you can say that that’s going to be the guidance forever. 

PSAKI: I am not the CDC director. 

DOOCY: I understand, but people don’t care who tells them to wear a mask. 

PSAKI: They should care. 

DOOCY: If it’s the White House —

PSAKI: Shouldn’t they care if it’s a doctor or a medical expert or a spokesperson? I think most Americans actually do care. 

DOOCY: It’s the government. 



BAIER: Ben? 

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, “THE FEDERALIST”: Well, I think that, first off, there is no basis to have any kind of masking for young children who are going back to school, which is obviously a major point of contention that we see playing out across the country and has a major role related to these mask mandates. You could potentially see an argument made that it would make teachers more comfortable or something like that. 

But circling back to Steve’s point, I would like to see the evidence that the driving element for people not getting vaccinated is, as he says, hucksters on the right. I don’t really see that. In fact, I see almost total unanimity on the right in terms of people recommending that people ought to be vaccinated, certainly among the political class. And if there are hucksters who are out there who are saying these types of things, I certainly don’t think they have the kind of pull in this country in order to have the type of effect. 

I think the far more reasonable and obviously, I think, data supported approach is to say that in every aspect of the promises related to that vaccination, we have seen the government pull the rug out from underneath people over and over again about whether they would be going to be able to go back to living a normal life, and that instead of having the ability to go back to that, they are being told, once again of the potential mandates, lockdowns, demands on their children, prevention of being able to go back to living the way that they thought they were going to be able to if you had a significant portion of Americans vaccinated. That’s a far bigger danger when it comes to discouraging vaccination than anything that I have heard from any huckster. 

BAIER: Quickly, Steve, you want to reply to that?

HAYES: Can I clarify. Yes, can I clarify? So I didn’t say that that was the cause. I said it was a problem. It is a problem. And if Ben doesn’t know where the problem exists, I suggest he pay more attention. Clearly there are people, particularly on the right, not exclusively on the right —

DOMENECH: I’m sorry, I pay a lot of attention. 

HAYES: — who are actually making that case. Yes, look, if you don’t think it’s a problem, that people are —


HAYES: — pretending that there’s no problem — if you don’t think it’s a problem that there are people on the right who are pretending in the manner of just asking questions that there is no difference between being vaccinated and unvaccinated, I do think you ought to pay closer attention. 

DOMENECH: I said it was a problem when Kamala Harris said that there was questions about vaccines under Donald Trump, and it’s a problem, obviously, with anybody questioning. I don’t see anybody of the stature of Kamala Harris on the right today saying that people ought not be vaccinated. 

BAIER: Juan is on this panel too. I can’t wait until you get back in studio so that the whole box thing and Brady Bunch thing goes by the wayside. 


BAIER: I want to play this soundbite about kids, masks, and schools. Ben mentioned it. Take a listen. 


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The CDC is going to say that what we should do is everyone every over the age — under the age of 12 should probably be wearing a mask in school. That’s probably what’s going to happen. 

LINDSEY BOHON, PARENT: I think that’s a scary thought that the president of the United States is making a forecast about what the CDC is probably going to do. For the federal government to make some kind of big decision for the whole nation is wrong. The local school boards make those decisions. 


BAIER: What about that, Juan? 

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it’s unlikely children under 12 is going to be vaccinated before school is started, so they are looking for precautions to protect children. I was with the governor of Maryland today, Republican Larry Hogan. He said he doesn’t know if they will start doing that before next year, vaccinating those kids. So the reality is that the best way to protect the kids right now is for everyone to get vaccinated. If everyone is vaccinated, then the kids are going to have almost no exposure to the virus. We have a solution that doesn’t involve anybody imposing anything on anyone, just saying, you know what, let’s act in the best interest of our health, our families, and our children in terms of getting the vaccination. There is no way for kids to get it if everyone is vaccinated. 

BAIER: Ben, last word here. 

DOMENECH: I just don’t think that we can set these kinds of rules at the federal level, I think to the point of the parent you were quoting there. 

These decisions ought to be made as close as possible to the localities to the people and to the people who are facing these challenges, which are widely different across America when it comes to the level of challenge. 

And I think that we do need to keep in mind, parents ought to be able to direct how their children live and how they are treated. That is not the role of the government ought to supersede in any respect. 

BAIER: All right, Steve. Do you want to agree with ben to wrap up the panel? 


HAYES: Yes, I think that’s right. It’s a general case. The principle of subsidiary suggests that people closest to the decision should be making the decision. I think when you have overwhelming evidence of the success of the vaccines, it’s fine to ask legitimate questions about the long-term implications, but it’s best to follow the science. 

BAIER: All right, guys, stand by. When we come back, tomorrow’s headlines with you. 


BAIER: Finally tonight, a look at tomorrow’s headlines with the panel. 


WILLIAMS: Bret, the NFL is telling players that if their team experiences a COVID outbreak, they will have to forfeit that game if the game is canceled. They are not requiring the vaccinations, but this move certainly put pressure on the players to get their vaccination. The pressure is going to come from their teammates. 

BAIER: Ben? 

DOMENECH: Nancy Pelosi’s list of favorite Republicans leaks, and it’s all the ones who are seeking to lose their primaries. The suggestion that Denver Riggleman brings any kind of bipartisan status to the 1/6 commission is not something that’s going to pass muster. 

BAIER: All right, Steve? 

HAYES: Milwaukee runs out of beer after the Bucks win the world championship. 


HAYES: It’s not actually going to happen. Milwaukee would never run out of beer. But I think it’s been a festive couple of days in my hometown after the Bucks triumphed over the Phoenix Suns. 

BAIER: That’s totally fake news. 

HAYES: Totally fake news. 

BAIER: All right, thanks, guys. Tomorrow on SPECIAL REPORT “Whatever Happened To” segment on Gitmo. Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That’s it for this SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and still unafraid. FOX NEWS PRIMETIME hosted by Brian Kilmeade — I tried, three seconds — starts right now. 

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