This is a rush transcript from “The Story,” July 23, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody. I’m Martha MacCallum in New York. And this is a fast-moving “Story” tonight. A lot of breaking news for you this evening.
And a rapidly changing landscape for the 2020 election. The President canceled the Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention when he came out to speak to the press today.
Also, we’ve got some brand new polling numbers for you from Fox polling that show that the President trails Joe Biden in the battleground states of Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, as we are about 100 days out from the election.
Mr. Trump was in a similar position, though, we should point out back in 2016, and after his very surprising victory that year there was a lot of talk in the country about who these voters in this silent majority in America could be? Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump voters were long-suffering; analysts say often silenced.
GREG MYTROSEVICH, OHIO TRUMP VOTER: A lot of people kept quiet about a lot of things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you don’t say it in the polls, you don’t say it to anybody else, but you show up and in the voting booth you go Trump.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They’re not answering the phone and telling people publicly they’re voting for Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Could some new numbers tonight from the libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute suggests that Americans are still, in fact even more so now, keeping their politics to themselves. Look at these numbers. 62 percent say that today’s climate prevents them from talking about what they believe with anybody. By a large margin, those who identify, though, as very liberal. This is the group who feels the most free to speak out among friends, family, whatever, about their politics.
So what exactly does this tell us about the state of the 2020 race? And what is America’s growing frustration with cancel culture as an adjunct to that tell us? Marc Thiessen and Marie Harf are here to debate tonight.
Also, as Bret mentioned, my exclusive interview this evening with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who just delivered a blistering message to China’s communist leadership, calling on the Chinese people to perhaps consider a different path than the communist government that leads them. We’re going to break that down and talk to him about exactly what he said about that.
That, as China says they are not going to leave the embassy in Houston. We will get for the first time the Secretary of State to respond to them, digging in their heels at that embassy in moments.
Then after that, K.T. McFarland is here with her analysis of the Pompeo interview. What’s – are we in a cold war with China now? Is China been a failed experiment since 1979? All that with Katie.
But we start tonight with Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Institute Scholar and Marie Harf, Executive Director of Serve America PAC. Both are Fox News Contributors. Great to have both of you here tonight, Marie and Marc.
It strikes me every time we have anyone on from the Trump campaign, we show them the latest numbers. Tonight we just showed everybody the latest numbers from Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. And they always say, look, we don’t care. The polls aren’t right. There’s a lot of secret Trump voters out there, which we saw in a Monmouth poll last week in Pennsylvania. But Marc, it makes it very difficult to gauge where the country is at right now.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Well, they probably overstated, especially these new Fox News polls show a big gap. It’s probably not as big a gap as the polls show. So I don’t think Democrats should get too excited about it.
But I think that – and questionably there are secret Trump voters. In fact, there was a poll – Monmouth poll in Pennsylvania, that 57 percent of the voters there were pretty sure that some of their neighbors were planning to vote for Trump, but weren’t saying it.
And there’s a reason for that. There’s the cancel culture as it has taken hold in a way it has in recent months. I mean, think about this. Is it more or less hospitable environment for a Trump supporter to express their support for the president now than it was four months ago? I think not. So, I think that – I think there are a lot of people who won’t tell a pollster that they’re supporting Trump and – but are really going to vote for him in the ballot box.
MACCALLUM: I think it’s fascinating. And when you look at that number, 62 percent say that they do not want to share their political feelings with anybody. And back in 2017, three years ago, that number was at 58 percent. So we’ve seen increase, Marie, in the people in the country who are just saying, I’m not going to talk about it. I’m keeping my decision to myself.
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Martha. And every Democrat, I know is running like Joe Biden is 10 points behind for this exact reason. People were very confident in 2016 that Hillary Clinton would win. We know there was a hidden Trump voter then in many of these swing states that the Fox News poll spoke to today like Michigan or Pennsylvania, where Donald Trump won by very little in 2016.
So Democrats are worried about this. They really want to act like they’re running from behind. I think these numbers do concern the Trump team, though. And I also think it’s a really polarized time in our country. I mean, there are people on the other side of the aisle who’ve told me that Democrats hate America, and they hate Christianity. And that kind of language, even four or five years ago wasn’t really out there. So our country is really deeply divided. We see that every day and it’s a real problem. I don’t know how to fix it. There’s no easy answer.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I want you to take a look at some of these other numbers, because they are disturbing. I mean, let’s pull up this one. 32 percent worry about their jobs, because if their political opinions become known, they’re concerned that they could lose their job.
Look at this next one. Do you think it’s OK to fire someone who supports Trump or Biden? In other words, if at your job it became known that you had given money to Joe Biden or who had given money to Trump, they support firing you. 50 percent of those who consider themselves very liberal, Marc – I mean, just think about this. So they support – they think that person should be fired from their company, that’s a very disturbing number.
THIESSEN: Well, it’s insane and the reality is–
MACCALLUM: I don’t know what country–
THIESSEN: –that it just show how polarized our country has become. But let’s keep in mind – that I agree with Marie that there are some Republicans who say things that are overwrought about Democrats like saying that they don’t love America. I condemn that.
But the reality is, if you look at that poll, Republicans are more worried – there are more Republicans who are worried about expressing their views than Democrats by 25-point margin. The only group that feels that it’s – that has – a majority feel confident about it, saying what they what they believe are staunch liberals.
And the reason for that is, because there really isn’t a penalty for being a liberal or for expressing staunch liberal views. You’re not going to get in trouble at work for saying Black Lives Matter. You will get in trouble for saying blue lives matter. There will be repercussions for that. So I think there is – this cancel culture is going after the Right in a way that it’s not over the Left. And we should condemn it whether it goes after conservatives or liberals.
MACCALLUM: Yes. I also thought that deeper in that number, the 62 percent, who say that they don’t feel comfortable talking about who they support politically, 59 percent of independents said that. So – I mean, these are the people who elect presidents and we don’t know, which side they’re on when you look at that number. But 59 percent of independents, Marie, said that they did not want to discuss who they will vote for or who they support.
HARF: Yes, these numbers are really interesting, and I agree, disturbing in many ways. And Donald Trump as an election strategy hasn’t gone after independents. He’s really tripled down on his base. We’ve seen that with his rhetoric and his policies. And so, I don’t know where those independents will break.
In the polling we’ve seen from Fox and others, they’re breaking towards Democrats and they certainly broke towards Democrats in 2018.
MACCALLUM: That’s interesting.
HARF: But cancel culture is on both sides. Right? Like I’m not on Twitter–
MACCALLUM: Is it?
HARF: –because I was bullied off of it by conservatives. So it’s on both sides and it’s not good wherever it is.
THIESSEN: Get back on Twitter, Marie, no one should believe you. I won’t stand for it.
MACCALLUM: It’s disgusting what happens these days there.
HARF: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, guys. Marie, Marc, great to have you. Lots more to talk to you about, but we’ll pick it up next time. Thank you for being here tonight.
So China digs in its heels now. This is a reflection of the burning of documents at that consulate in Houston. Now they say they’re not going to leave the United States. So we asked Secretary of State Pompeo what he plans to do about that? Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Securing our freedoms from the Chinese Communist Party is the mission of our time, and America is perfectly positioned to lead it because our founding principles give us that opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Are China and United States at a crossroads that could lead us into another Cold War? Perhaps even a Cold War decade. In a speech today at the Nixon Library, Secretary Pompeo said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: The CCP fears the Chinese people’s honest opinions more than any foe, and save for losing their own grip on power, they have reason – no reason to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: That as China’s General Consul in Houston tells POLITICO today in an interview that they do not plan to leave their Houston consulate.
Here now exclusively to respond to that and lots of other things today is Secretary of State. Mike Pompeo. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for speaking with us today.
POMPEO: Martha, it’s great to be with you. Thanks for having me on.
MACCALLUM: Thank you. So let’s start there. The consul in Houston says that they do not have plans to leave that consulate right now. What’s your response to that?
POMPEO: While everyone knows the rules for diplomats. You’re only permitted to be there in a diplomatic status with the consent of the host nation. And so, I’m confident, we’ve had private conversations as well.
I’m very confident that we’ll proceed in a way that makes clear that it’s not OK to use your diplomats to engage in industrial espionage. It’s not OK to steal intellectual property. It’s not OK to engage in those kind of behaviors. That’s the reason we did it. We did it to protect the American people. And we’re going to make sure that that happens.
MACCALLUM: I guess, the question – they say that you’re – that United States is abandoning the Vienna Convention and also violating the China- U.S. consular treaty. You, obviously, think that they’ve already violated both of those. But literally, physically, what if they say, we will not leave, what will the United States do?
POMPEO: Yes. Martha, I’m not going to speculate. We’re going to make sure that we protect the American people. President Trump began to talk about this threat back in 2015 in this campaign, and you’re seeing his administration begin to do the things that will lead to make sure that the American people are safe and secure.
And that the jobs that depend on American intellectual property aren’t lost to theft from Chinese diplomats that sit in a place in Houston, Texas with great access to American scientific knowhow and business value.
MACCALLUM: There is discussion that China may retaliate by asking us to leave one of the six embassies that we have in China. We also have one in Hong Kong. And it looks like Chengdu and potentially Wuhan are at the top of that list. Will we be vacating any of our embassies in China, Mr. Secretary?
POMPEO: Martha, let’s go back to first principles. The first principles are this, for 40 plus years now – and this is why I’m at the Nixon Library today. For 40 plus years, America has turned the other cheek while we’ve watched the Chinese Communist Party engage in activity that’s fundamentally not fair to the American people, it’s not reciprocal for the American people and it doesn’t have the transparency we need, so that we can engage with China in a way that’s fair for our people and provide security for people. That’s what we’re aiming to do.
And so this decision about the consulate that was made is consistent with all – whole bunch of other actions that we have already taken. A whole bunch more that we’re going to continue to do until we get the change.
I talked about President Nixon saying that the important thing was that we could induce change from China. That’s the mission set the President Trump has set our course on. So whether it is the indictments that have been handed down by the Department of Justice, or the decisions we’ve made with respect to Hong Kong.
All of those are aimed at inducing change inside the Chinese Communist Party for the simple purpose of protecting the American people. And so the Chinese government will get to make its decisions about our diplomats their inside of China. We will make sure that we do right by the American people.
MACCALLUM: So, I mean, it sounds like you’re saying that this is a very ruptured relationship. And, if I’m reading too much in to take from that, but it – we may, yes, we may pull out of embassies in China that might be part of this process.
POMPEO: Yes, Martha I talked today about actions, not words. I was in Honolulu, just a few weeks back. I met with Yang Jiechi. We had a wonderful discussion. But in the end, what matters are actions, the things that make sure that we protect the American people. President Trump’s trade deal was a good first effort. That the Phase 1 trade deal is important. If we get that right, that’d be the beginning of a basis for us to expand a fair and reciprocal set of trading relationships.
But look at our diplomatic relationship today. They have many more diplomats here in the United States than we have inside of China. And their diplomats here in the United States have much more freedom of movement, and much more access that our diplomats do in China – inside of China.
POMPEO: All we’re asking, Martha, all we’re asking is we want it to be fair and reciprocal. And that’s the aim of President Trump. It’s what we’re going to accomplish.
MACCALLUM: So you talked about the sanctions that we have, there’s military exercises that have also become somewhat more prominent in the region. We have two hackers that just received indictments. Are we in a Cold War right now with China? And if we’re not, it certainly looks like we are.
POMPEO: General Secretary Xi has clearly taken actions that are aggressive and broken promises that are central to how great power nations behave. Remember he made a promise back in 2015 in the Rose Garden with President Obama. He said he wouldn’t militarize the South China Sea. You can go look, there’s now significant military activity there by China.
He made a promise to the people of Britain, to the people of Hong Kong that they would have a 50-year deal of one country two systems. He busted it. He broke it. United States is simply demanding that if the Chinese Communist Party wants to be considered in the League of Nations that have great power and great roles and great importance, they’ve got to behave according to promises that they make and the rules that have been set out for sovereign nations to preserve freedom for their own people.
That’s what we’re seeking to see happen. Label it what you must. But President Trump understands that the previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat alike, turned the other cheek for an awfully long time.
POMPEO: And resulted in a real imbalance in the relationship between the United States and China. We aim to fix it.
MACCALLUM: I spoke to trade advisor Peter Navarro on this program several weeks back. And I said is the trade deal basically over? And he said, yes, it is. He walked that back a bit. But, it appears that it is. Is that fair to say at this point?
POMPEO: No, I’m hopeful that the Phase 1 trade deal we’ve complied with by both sides. The Chinese Communist Party tells us that they’re going to fulfill their commitments. We have every expectation that they will, and our task will be to verify that they’ve done so. We hope that they do. And if they do, perhaps there’ll be an opportunity to build on that.
And what we’re not going to let happen is what we’ve allowed to happen before, is that they make a set of promises, they make a commitment, like the Phase 1 trade deal and then they try and they do a little bit and America calls it good enough. President Trump is not going to permit that to happen. We’re going to hold them accountable for the promises that they make, Martha
MACCALLUM: President Trump just said moments ago, that that trade deal is not as important to him anymore as it once was.
POMPEO: I understand that. I completely understand it. When you see what the Chinese Communist Party has done to our country and to the world with their failure to live up to another set of promises they made to the world about their responsibility if a pandemic began to break out of their country, the cover up that took place. You can absolutely understand why a trade deal like the Phase 1 trade deal no longer ranks first among all the various issues we have with the Chinese Communist Party.
POMPEO: We’ve seen across the world, hundreds of thousands of deaths. Trillions of dollars in economic destruction wrought on this world, because the Chinese Communist Party failed to live up to some basic commitments to the world.
MACCALLUM: You made a very strong appeal to the Chinese people in this speech, basically calling on them to call for a new form of government in China. Are you encouraging them towards regime change? And you said that we would encourage and empower – engage and empower. How will we do that? What – how do we play that role? What will that look like?
POMPEO: Martha, I talked about several things. One of which is there are 1.4 billion Chinese people. And what I wanted to make clear in my remarks today is we want good things for them. They’ve raised hundreds of millions of people out of destitute, poverty, we think that’s a good thing. We’re not trying to contain the prosperity for the people of China. We’re simply trying to preserve freedom for the people of the United States of America. That is the American task.
President Trump, when he was sworn in, and I – when I was sworn in as Secretary of State, that’s the promise that we made. And so what we are concerned about is not holding China down, but making sure that we all get this right, so that we can have a prosperous economy here in the United States of America, and that we can hold them accountable in ways that preserve and secure freedom for the American people. That’s the mission.
So when I talk about the Chinese people, I’m talking about making sure that they have the opportunity to participate on a fair and reciprocal basis, in the same way that we expect the American people will.
MACCALLUM: I guess – but if I’m the government of China listening to what you’re saying, it sounds like you are encouraging the people of China to rise up, to create a different – to push for a different form of government. And we see what’s happening in Taiwan where they have a genuine fear that they might be invaded or attacked by the Mainland.
You look at what’s happening in Hong Kong, where they are experiencing a diminishment all the time of their independence. So those are very provocative words to the Chinese government to say we want your people to push for a new form of government.
MACCALLUM: Martha, that’s not what I said. Go back and reread what I talked about. This was a speech about the American perspective and the need for a global alliance of freedom loving nations. This is what we’re demanding.
We know that the Chinese Communist Party has a different system. They still have obligations to live up to promises, promises even that they make to their own people. Our task is to preserve freedom and security for our people. And we know we need partners to do that. We know we need friends.
I was in London and Copenhagen just the last two days, talking to them about this. The whole world is beginning to see that when you bend the knee to China, that bad things happen to your own country. So I have every expectation what the whole world, indeed freedom loving people all around the world must demand that the Chinese Communist Party live up to the commitments that it makes.
MACCALLUM: You talked a moment ago about – your obvious concerns about this virus and the origins of this virus. Today in the United States we passed 4 million cases, which is obviously a milestone that is difficult for everybody to hear. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House said that the President calls it the China virus. She said that she is calling it the Trump virus as a result of the President’s handling of this virus. What do you say to that, sir?
POMPEO: One ought not to make a virus that has had such devastation in United States a political matter. What one ought to do is to call out the people and places that resulted in this virus getting out of Wuhan, China. There’s no mistake. There’s lots to dispute about the precise origin of this virus. We’d love to know the answers to that. But sadly, the Chinese Communist Party has prevented that.
But we know it came from Wuhan. We know they closed down Hubei Province, but didn’t close down traveled to the rest of the world. That has caused enormous harm to the United States of America. So this is indeed a china virus. It emanated from there. Make no mistake about it. It is not political. It is factual.
MACCALLUM: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, thank you very much. Good to have you with us this evening. Thank you for your time, sir.
POMPEO: Martha. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland on where all of this is leading the United States and China. Next.
MACCALLUM: Strong word tonight from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He says essentially, Richard Nixon was right when he wrote in 1967 that the world cannot be safe until China changes. And now the United States faces that turning point once again, here he is moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: –talked about President Nixon saying that the important thing was that we could induce change from China. That’s the mission set the President Trump has set our course on. So whether it is the indictments that have been handed down by the Department of Justice, or the decisions we’ve made with respect to Hong Kong.
All of those are aimed at inducing change inside the Chinese Communist Party for the simple purpose of protecting the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Former deputy national security advisor for the Trump administration. K.T. McFarland joins me now. She’s the author of Revolution: Trump, Washington, and We, the People.” K.T., good to see you tonight. Your thoughts on with the secretary of state had to say there.
K.T. MCFARLAND, AUTHOR, “REVOLUTION”: You know, this is a really significant interview you just had with him and it’s a really significant event. And here’s why it’s important.
Forty-nine years ago this month, Richard Nixon, President Nixon directed his national security advisor to go to China and open up relations with China, to bring China into the world.
I was a young staff aide to Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger at that time. I remember this as if it was yesterday.
And that set American foreign policy with China in a certain direction for 50 years. And President Nixon was right. He said we will induce them to change. Our thoughts, Republican and Democrat alike was that as China modernizes, as China comes into the world, as they develop a middle class, they will be an open society, an open economy, an open society, but that’s not how it turned out.
The Chinese in fact have exploited that. And that’s why Pompeo was at the Nixon Library today, because he is indicating we now have a reverse. We are now — we are now acknowledging the fact that the Chinese have stolen intellectual property rights, have militarized the South China Sea, have unleashed a bio weapon onto the world, have practiced wolf diplomacy and so, we, the Trump administration with the United States we’re going to have a very different approach to China going forward and that’s exactly what he was telling you.
And, Martha, I also thought it was interesting when he mentioned to you that he was in Copenhagen, he was in London.
MCFARLAND: And he was talking to America’s allies about getting the coalition together so we together stand up to China.
MACCALLUM: And what does China’s coalition look like?
MCFARLAND: China has never had very many allies. I mean, their vision of the world and the world that they really want to impose on the rest of us is China is the superpower, China is going to be, they think, the world’s major economic political, military, diplomatic power. And then China will determine what everybody else does.
And you step out of line for a minute, you try to — you try to challenge China, you try to go against China and you get crushed. The Australians, for example, the Australians had the temerity to say let’s just investigate what happens with the pandemic, with the coronavirus and China turned around and tried to crush their exports, their barley and wheat exports to China. China has, they play with really elbows out sharp. There is President Trump says they are ruthless in their negotiations.
MACCALLUM: Yes. Well, I mean, they’ve essentially someone say they’ve been buying friends in Latin America, in Asia, in Africa, we know helping with aid and all of that. So, it will be interesting to see if there is a cold war period that we are entering how everything lines up.
Secretary Pompeo said we must engage and empower the Chinese people. And he was very careful to say that he is not calling for regime change in China, and yet, you can see these seeds of rebellion in Hong Kong wanting to stay independent, and in Taiwan saying to the rest the world, you know wake up.
MACCALLUM: You know, we could be invaded.
MCFARLAND: Yes. And I thought that was also really significant what he told you, because he was sort of talking about regime change but he really wasn’t talking about regime change.
I think that the pandemic, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, these has been a slap in the face in the world and I think it’s a wake-up call to the rest of the world. And so, we are not criticizing China, the Chinese people. We are criticizing the Chinese Communist Party which runs China right now which is accumulated more and more power and is a dictatorship, really of President Xi Jinping who is now going to be president for life of China.
MACCALLUM: It’s fascinating to watch. And it reminds me so much of the Cold War with Russia, we’re even in the space race.
MACCALLUM: This time it’s to Mars, the Chinese against the United States.
So, K.T., thank you very much.
MCFARLAND: There you have it.
MACCALLUM: Great to see you as always.
MCFARLAND: Thank you, Martha. Thank you.
MACCALLUM: So, the CDC has just released new guidance on how to reopen our schools saying that COVID-19 poses low risk to school age children echoing the sentiment of President Trump today. We are going to talk to a panel of educators with decades of teaching experience about what they think this should look like when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Fortunately, the data shows that children are at lower risk from the China virus very substantially. When children do contract the virus, they often have only very mild symptoms or none at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: Fox News alert tonight. The CDC has just released their guidance for reopening schools this fall. The headline according to the CDC, this virus poses, quote, “low risks to students and teachers,” therefore face masks and social distancing are the best defense.
Quote, “the best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that COVID-19 poses low risk to school age children. Reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being and future of one of America’s greatest assets, our children, while taking every precaution to protect students, teachers, staff, and all their families.”
Tonight, we are joined by three teachers, all with different opinions about whether students can safely return to the classroom. Leigha Phillips teaches high school English, Krista Herrin teaches kindergarten and first grade special education, and Phil Strunk teaches middle school social studies.
Great to have all of you with us today.
Krista, let me start with you, teaching kindergartners, how do you feel about the fact that, you know, they say some very young children don’t even need to do the mask part necessarily?
KRISTA HERRIN, KINDERGARTEN & FIRST GRADE TEACHER: I have a lot of concerns going into the school year. Kindergartners love to share, they love to share toys, they love to share hugs and they love to share germs. And I think it’s going to be really difficult for us to keep masks on kids and social distance in a small classroom. I don’t have any windows in my room, so I’m just pretty nervous about how things are going to go this school year.
MACCALLUM: So, how do you feel though about the statistics that show that it’s — you know, the transmission is very low among children and that the risk according to what we see in other countries appears to be very low in terms of — even studies that have been done that show that their transmission to other people appears to be very low, that doesn’t reassure you?
HERRIN: It’s reassuring but at the same time, here in the United States, we shut down before we had any chance to spread germs in the school. So that’s my big concern is, we don’t know. I mean, there are other countries that are showing that, but I just worry when we get closer to the fall and the winter with more illness, that we are going to see a lot more illness.
MACCALLUM: Phil, what do you think about those guidelines?
PHIL STRUNK, MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER: Regarding the guidelines whenever I look at them, I am, you know, it’s comforting to see that students under age 10 we’re not really seeing a high transmission but it’s the number for students over age 10.
The New York Times came out with an article that said we’re spreading it — or sorry — 10-year-olds are spreading it at about the same age as adults. We are working in schools now where like the state of Pennsylvania, that a nurse to student ratio is 1500 to one. That guideline was set back in the 40s. In my home state of Virginia, it’s over 800 to one. And the CDC guidelines are 750 to one.
STRUNK: We’re not exactly set right now to be able to combat this whole currently uncurable virus.
MACCALLUM: But Phil, let me ask you this. Because, you know, looking at a chart here that shows the flu deaths in the country. So right now, we’re at 30 children under 15. Thirty children under 15 have died, most of them had complicating factors and obviously no one wants to see any child die from any disease in this country.
MACCALLUM: If we can prevent it we of course want to do everything we can. However, the average over the past 10 years of children who died because of the flu every year is 511. And we do not shut schools down from, you know, November to January every year because of the flu.
STRUNK: Right. You’re absolutely right, we don’t shut it down during the flu. One of my big concerns right now is students passing it on to educators like myself. I’m coming home to a wife and we are expecting our first child this November.
The CDC has also pointed out that women that are in their third trimester of pregnancy are at huge risk and that’s where she’s going to be. I think of teachers that have taught with that are overcoming cancer and a lot of other illnesses. And for me, you know, I want the economy open just like everybody else, I want to eat meals with my friends. I want to be able to stand next to a student whenever they’re struggling with something.
I don’t think you’re going to find any teachers who are going to say I don’t want to be back in school. But for me, my value on human life is much higher than the need to currently open up the education system in an in-person format. Schools didn’t close last spring, you know, teachers continue to work tirelessly.
STRUNK: And we’ll continue to work tirelessly this fall.
MACCALLUM: Leigha, what do you think?
LEIGHA PHILLIPS, HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER: I mean, I agree with a lot of what they are saying especially if I were working with the young kids, I’d be concerned. I’ve got a nine, four, and 2-year-old, and I know that keeping their hands to themselves and keeping masks on can be hard so I really empathize especially with our elementary school teachers, middle schoolers aren’t much different in all honesty.
Just like Phil said, I am worried about my high school kids transmitting it whether it’s between themselves, giving it to me and me taking at home, me giving it to my elderly grandma. So, I would love to be in school and I would love to see a hybrid work but that takes a lot of work and a lot of resources that not all districts have and are able to do in such a short time.
MACCALLUM: I mean, we’ve had, you know, the whole summer, or really since March to be adapting to this, there’s been hundreds of millions of dollars that went out in the CARE Act to help schools get ready for this and prepare.
One of the things that President Trump said had to do with, you know, reallocating money if the schools choose not to open in the face of these guidelines, here’s what he said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If schools are not reopened, the funding should go to parents to send their child to public-private, charter, religious, or homeschool of their choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, Krista, some schools will open, should parents have the option to use the tax dollars that are allocated to their child to send them someplace else that is open if they want them in school?
HERRIN: I think that it’s a parent’s choice as to where they want their child to go and what they feel would be the best for their family. But I know that more public educators they want the best for what their student needs and they want them to be safe. And so, no matter what the outcome is, the community needs to come together and support the teachers that are trying to do their best.
MACCALLUM: What about remote learning, Phil? We’ve heard a lot that over all, especially for children in urban environments, in inner-city environments, that remote learning has been a failure.
STRUNK: Yes, remote learning is going to be challenging no matter what, and I think the other teachers on this panel would agree with me whenever I’d say none of us would suggest remote learning or anything like that because it’s easier or better for students, we all know being in a classroom with kids is what’s the best option.
STRUNK: But again, we’re facing an unprecedented time with this pandemic that’s killing thousands of people. At this point, I think in the interest of safety, that kind of has to take the top priority, that way we can bring more students back into the classroom in the safe format.
MACCALLUM: What about, Leigha, before I let you go, quickly if you can, you know, these studies that show that kids are actually they are in more danger in school than they are staying home. There’s instances of abuse, there’s difficulties at home, there are things that you don’t pick up on necessarily if you don’t get to see that child in school every day, does that danger outweigh the virus?
PHILLIPS: It’s a hard question —
STRUNK: I think, you know, they aren’t —
MACCALLUM: Leigha, if you can. Thanks.
PHILLIPS: I’m not sure you can weigh — I’m not sure you can weigh what’s more important, a life or a life filled with pain and abuse. I mean, it’s a valid point, and it’s a concerning point. I know my colleagues and I are all concerned with, but I think there gets to be a point when society and the community has placed too much of a burden on schools to be the police of what’s happening, to be the counselors, to do all of these different things.
I think that employers, I think the community, and I think all stakeholders need to have an impact on that and need to step up and kind of fill in the gaps where kids are going to struggle
PHILLIPS: — because their life isn’t worth it.
MACCALLUM: A lot of — a lot of people are very concerned, you know, if they stay home for another semester or God forbid to the whole school year, all of the loss of learning could be devastating, it could really set a lot of these kids back for a long time.
So, I thank you all for your dedication and for sharing your thoughts with us on this today. Leigha, Krista, and Phil, all the best to you as you head forward towards the school year.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: Thank you very much.
STRUNK: Thank you, Martha.
MACCALLUM: Thank you.
So, coming up, there has been a lot of talk about a violent crime surging in Chicago and New York, but the city of Detroit is also seeing a 29 percent increase in homicides this year. Detroit based Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charlie LeDuff on whether the feds need to protect his city, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I’m going to do something, that I can tell you. Because we’re not going to let New York, and Chicago, and Philadelphia, and Detroit, and Baltimore and all of these — all cleaned. It’s a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Chicago should be calling us and so should Philadelphia and Detroit and others, to go in and really help them. Because when you’re losing many people a weekend, many, many people, you see the same numbers as I do. When you’re losing these people, they should call us and they should say come on in.
And it’s incredible to me but they’re not doing it. At some point, they will. At some point we may have no other choice but to go in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: So, with violent crime on the rise now in Detroit as well, President Trump hinting that it could be among the cities that receive some help from federal officers under the new Operation Legend that was announced yesterday.
Homicides there are up 29 percent, and you know, good estimates. I think our next guests will tell us it’s higher than that. Nonfatal shootings are up 52 percent over the same period last year, and over the weekend, there were 33 shooting incidents leaving 26 people injured and seven dead.
Charlie LeDuff has covered Detroit extensively, he’s a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and says that the increase in crime is historical. He is the author of “S Show” there you go. “This Country is Collapsing but the Ratings Are Great.”
Charlie, always good to see you. Thank you very much for being here.
CHARLIE LEDUFF, AUTHOR, “SH*TSHOW”: The title is still true, Martha.
MACCALLUM: So, is the — what’s the answer here? Who needs to come in to help the situation in Detroit, what’s the mayor doing about it?
LEDUFF: What are they doing about it? First of all, we’ve had five mass shootings in two weeks, two quadruples, two quintuples, and a nine tuple. So, I don’t know what this package is that the president is sending. Are you sending 10 agents? A 100 agents? A thousand? Because our own chief of police says he needs another thousand cops at least.
So, we’ve entered into agreements with them — they haven’t really work what we have task force. ATF, FBI, DEA, the relationship between the Detroit police and the DEA is rotten, it’s done. The chief threw them out because of an informant in January who went on a rampage and killed six people. So, I’d like to see some specifics. They had a relationship, now they don’t and it’s a political year so, I don’t even — I’m not even buying this.
MACCALLUM: What’s life like now in Detroit for people who live there?
LEDUFF: What’s it’s like?
LEDUFF: They are scared and they are angry and they want help. And I don’t — nobody seriously thinks you should defund the police because as we talked about before, we’ve already done it and look what’s happening. And remember, in the next couple of days, those $600 super unemployment checks run out, then what happens?
MACCALLUM: So, you heard the president, you know, he talks about sending help. Right?
MACCALLUM: You say that the police aren’t doing their job because they are afraid of the ramifications, you talk about sending in state troopers. You know, what do you think having lived there and worked there and watched all of this, is there a solution that’s going to make people safer on the streets?
LEDUFF: I think we’re in for a slog here, I think you know it and I think the country knows it, the police do do their jobs, there’s not enough police to do it and some are afraid to do it. But just last week they pulled 106 guns off of 117 arrestees. Guns are everywhere, what could the governor do? She’s not even talking about it, right? She’s busy tweeting with the president.
Madam, put the state police on the major thoroughfares in the city, seven- mile, six-mile, McNichols, Finco (Ph), five-mile, Telegraph, let them patrol the main boulevards so the police can be in the neighborhoods. That’s one way to do it. We’ve got more state troopers than the president is sending federal agents.
MACCALLUM: So, she’s way ahead in job performance, she’s at 64 percent. President Trump is at 45 percent in Michigan, what do you say about that before we go?
LEDUFF: Well, we don’t have a very rabid media in this state. You, I think we’ll all notice she’s got a lot of softball questions. She doesn’t get good marks for the nursing homes, she hasn’t addressed that. The Senate today voted to take COVID positive people out of nursing homes and have their own facilities.
MACCALLUM: That’s a good idea.
LEDUFF: It’s bipartisan. And she’s threatening to veto it. And I got to go, Martha. That’s all the time I have.
MACCALLUM: All right, Charlie, thank you. Come back soon. Always good to talk to you. Best of luck.
LEDUFF: Thank you.
MACCALLUM: More of The Story coming up next.
MACCALLUM: You don’t want to miss this in the latest episode of the Untold Story podcast. I had a great discussion with Hall of Fame football coach Lou Holtz of Notre Dame. We had a fascinating candid take on leadership, on fear, on returning to sports and school in America, available at foxnewspodcast.com.
That’s “The Story” of July 23. As always, “The Story” continues. We’ll see you tomorrow, folks. Have a great night.
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