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Fox News "Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript Interview with Amy Klobuchar



SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Well, first, Chris, my prayers are with the president and the first lady and all of their staff and the Republican senators that we all -- we know now are ill. And we wish them all a speedy recovery.

I think it was Joe Biden that said that this should be not about partisanship, not about politics, this is an American moment. And, to me, that means electing a president that has a plan instead of pandemonium. I think it means putting a strong leader in place that, number one, understands we listen to the experts, just like the doctor you just had on who was telling people, yes, where masks in public settings. By the way, it will save 100,000 lives in 100 days. You need a plan for having a national testing strategy, which would help us immensely with our economy, so businesses can reopen in a very consistent way. And then the third thing is transparency, with contact tracing the like.

And we just haven't seen that. We've heard things like, oh, this will be done by Easter. Oh, this will go away with warm weather. Oh, this is a hoax. This is deeply personal to me, Chris. You know that my husband was very, very sick, had pneumonia, was in the hospital for nearly a week and it is deeply personal to so many Americans. It is now personal to the president. But it is deeply personal to so many people. And that's why I think you see, in states like Florida now, you know, since the debate, where people didn't like what they heard from the president. Joe Biden's up five points in a poll yesterday or he's up in Pennsylvania. Clearly, Democrats, Republicans and independents want someone that is following the facts and is going to help them out and their families and get us through this pandemic.

WALLACE: The -- Senator, the Biden campaign has taken down all of its negative ads, but the president -- some Republicans are saying the Democrats are still attacking the president while he is now in hospital.

Should discussions about Covid be off-limits at this particular point?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, that discussions about Covid, not when you have 7 million people get this virus, not when you have people in assisted living who have been isolated for this entire year and moms juggling their kids on their laps while they're trying to do their work. No.

But I think Joe Biden has set the tone here because he's a leader and he said, look, I want the president to be back -- he wants to debate him more. He wants him to have a speedy recovery. And so this isn't about politics or partisanship, but certainly the pandemic. The effect that it has had on people's lives, how they have miscalculated this administration, of course that's on the table because as Joe pointed out at the debate, we have 200,000 families right now that have a chair at the table that's empty. So it is on the table, as well as the economy and how we can get through the day after tomorrow and the kind of leadership you'll need to make sure we get there.

WALLACE: Right. Right.

The issue of how to campaign during a pandemic came up during Tuesday's debate.

Take a look, Senator.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I'll have 25,000, 35,000 people show up at airports -- we use airports and hangers and we have a lot of people --

WALLACE: Are you not worried about the disease issue, sir?

TRUMP: Well, so far we have had no problem whatsoever. It's outside --

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's been totally responsible the way in which he has handled the social distancing and people wearing masks, basically encouraging them not to.


WALLACE: This race is the whole question of how to reopen the country, whether it's reopening and how you conduct the campaign, whether it's reopening the economy, whether it's reopening schools. You just heard Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes say -- and the president said in the debate - - that Joe Biden is being too cautious, too much of an alarmist and is too ready to shut down the government again -- or rather shut down the economy again, excuse me.

KLOBUCHAR: Joe Biden has made really clear that he wants to build back better. And he wants to get this economy to a place where we're actually expanding. And, in fact, I'd note that Moody's, not exactly a liberal organization, just said the Joe Biden's plan will at 7 million more jobs next year than Donald Trump's plan. And so he wants to do that. But he believes you use science as a guide. That's all. And you can see you shouldn't just have testing for White House staff, we should be able to have grocery store clerks and nurses and first responders. They should be able to have more frequent testing too.

And there is a way to do this. But right now it's just this idea that, oh, this is going to get better, we've turned the corner. As your first guest just said, 33 states, that's the facts. The doctor said them, 33 states we've seen increases right now in the last few weeks. And so does that mean to me? We can -- we can get through this. There's so much promising work being done on vaccines. But to get to that point, we have to have a national testing strategy and then we also have to have an economic plan for what I call the day after tomorrow so we can get through this strong.

WALLACE: Senator -- Senator, it turns out that two of your Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis, have now tested positive for Covid.

Are Democrats going to try to use this as a way to delay the confirmation hearing and the confirmation vote on Judge Barrett?

KLOBUCHAR: It's not a matter of using it, Chris, it happened. And the first thing we know is that if you look at the precedent that Mitch McConnell set, we should let the people decide. And that's where the majority of people are when it comes to this. Decide who the president is after this election and let then pick the nominee.

Secondly, we've got the fact that now three senators have it. As you point out, two are on the Judiciary Committee. And Mitch McConnell has shut the Senate down for two weeks because of health concerns, because we don't know how many other Republican senators had it. there were a number of other ones that were at the Rose Garden. They have a lunch together where they don't have masks. We don't do that on the Democratic side. They do.

And so it's very possible we're going to have more senators, more staff. So I don't know why you would ram through this Supreme Court hearing, put people in danger because it would be within that two week period, but while you have checked on the whole Senate. I just think it's wrong. We are suggesting that we wait.

WALLACE: Senator -- but, Senator, the fact is that you can hold hearings in different ways. In fact, last May, when the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, held a virtual hearing, you very much praised him and thanked him for doing that. So you could hold a virtual hearing for -- for Judge Barrett, which raises the question again, are you trying to use the fact that there has been this outbreak, at least three Republican senators, to try to block a nomination that you, frankly, oppose fiercely?

KLOBUCHAR: Absolutely not. This is for the highest court of the land. And, yes we have had virtual hearings. I helped to put them together. It's important to give senators that option. But you want to be able to go back and forth with this nominee. Given her views on the Affordable Care Act, given that she has clearly criticized Justice Roberts, who again, not exactly a blazing liberal, for upholding the constitutional -- the Affordable Care Act, which allows people to keep their insurance when they've got pre-existing conditions, and she has criticized that, yes, we want to be able to ask her --

WALLACE: Yes, but we're doing -- we're doing this virtually -- Senator, we're doing this virtually --


WALLACE: So why can't you question Judge Barrett virtually?

KLOBUCHAR: Again, we believe you should have an in person hearing. That doesn't mean the virtual option wouldn't be available, but why would you ram -- I guess I turn the question around here, even though you get to ask the questions, why would you ram this through when we don't even have a Covid package done to make sure that people have health care, that we have the testing I just talked about, that we have the funding for that.


KLOBUCHAR: The Senate Republicans have been resisting this while Nancy Pelosi has been valiantly working on it and the White House now claims they want a package. Why would we be doing this instead of actually be helping the American people? So that's why I think it is so important that that's what we do instead of ramming through a Supreme Court justice. Wait until after the election. Better for safety. Better for the country.

WALLACE: Senator Klobuchar, thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend. Please come back.

KLOBUCHAR: I will. And I did that all without interrupting you once, I would like to point out, Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: I interrupted you a couple of times. It's a little hard on this Skype deal.

Senator, thank you.