Newt on Fox News Sunday: GOP Health Care Bill, French Election, and the Left’s Mania
May 7, 2017
WALLACE: President Trump in his weekly address calling on the Senate to follow the House and pass Republican health care reform.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group. Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, back from Florida.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.
WALLACE: Columnist for The Hill, Juan Williams, former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Well, we asked you for questions for the panel and it’s clear Democrats are already making headway in this argument that the House bill is going to hit older Americans. Susan Lloyd Farrell sent this on FaceBook. “These are the years when the elderly need medical coverage and many live on Social Security. What will happen to us under this new plan?” Now, Speaker Gingrich, folks obviously over 65 are still protected by Medicare, but if you’re 55-64, aren’t you going to pay more under this new House plan?
NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You — you may pay somewhat more. But the fact is, the — the ObamaCare system’s collapsing. They just announced in Maryland a 50 percent rate increase next year. There are no plans left in Knoxville, Kentucky. In 94 of the 99 counties of Iowa, there are no plans left. I mean people can yell about pre-existing conditions. If you can’t get any insurance, you have no coverage for any condition. This is an effort to try to get the program to be — to survive, to make sure we can offer insurance for everybody.
WALLACE: Let me bring you in Congresswoman Harman.
First of all, your reaction to what Speaker Gingrich said, and, secondly, what’s your biggest concern about this House bill?
JANE HARMAN, R-CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I was in the House when ObamaCare past. I voted for it. It passed on a — in a totally party line vote as this version did and we’re just trading bad for bad. Why don’t we think about American health care, not Republican health care or ObamaCare? And my reaction is, that this got Reince Priebus, who did a very good job on your show, and Paul Ryan over the goal line, but we need — it’s going to be a do over in the Senate and it’s not going to look anything like the House bill if it even passes the Senate.
WALLACE: But do you agree with the speaker that ObamaCare is — is collapsing?
HARMAN: I agree that there are issues with ObamaCare and they — part of that is it — the bill that passed the House — the Congress doesn’t — didn’t resemble what we did in committee on a bipartisan basis. And we just repeated the same movie by having a bill that didn’t go through committee, that isn’t scored by CBO, and that came out just as the leadership (INAUDIBLE) my view press release.
WALLACE: OK. Let’s — let’s switch — pivot a little bit to the politics of all this.
There was a good deal of pushback to the optics — take a look at this picture — of the president’s victory celebration with House Republicans in the Rose Garden. And if that wasn’t enough, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced his working group on health care reform. And if you notice something all of those people have in common, it’s 13 white men.
Brit, first of all, what do you think of the pushback and the concern about that? And, secondly, what about this argument that this is going to be as big a political burden for Republicans in 2018 as it was for Democrats who lost more than 60 seats in the House in 2010?
HUME: First of all, I’d say that this whole health insurance issue is not a racial issue. The second thing I’d say about that is that all of this — these claims about the political damage that will be incurred by the Republicans because of this are ridiculously premature. We are not half way to enactment of this. We’re about a quarter of the way. After all, the Senate will now have to pass a bill. Then the differences between them will have to be composed. And then the final product will have to go back to both the House and the Senate. You can make an argument that we’re a fifth of the way. And what we ultimately see is likely to be quite different from what we see now.
WALLACE: But you’ve got to judge what you’ve got in front of you.
HUME: I understand that, but you can’t act as if it’s already passed and start lining up and making estimates of the number of people that are going to be, quote, “hurt” by it, particularly when people’s grasp of what’s actually in the bill seems so — seems to tenuous at best. So this is all way too soon.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: You remember, next year, 2018, key midterm elections, nobody is going to act really once you get past the end of this year on such a controversial bill. Just think about the advertisements. The advertisements are going to say, congressman y, a Republican, voted to take 24 million people often of health insurance and to increase your — remember, seniors are more likely to turn on in midterms — to increase your premiums and cost for health care, including prescription drugs. These are devastating ads. So, yes, it’s a little bit early in the process, but, nonetheless, they voted for this bill. It’s right in front of us for all to see.
WALLACE: I want to switch to another political subject, Speaker Gingrich, and that is, we’ve got a French election. As we’re sitting here right now, they are still voting in France. But you’ve got the far right wing candidate, Marine Le Pen, against the establishment more moderate candidate, Emmanuel Macron. For those of us who haven’t been following the — the primaries in Lyon (ph) or Marseille (ph), what’s at stake for the United States in this election?
GINGRICH: Well, I mean, it’s a very big election. My guess is Macron is going to survive. But Le Pen will be bigger than she ever has been before and she may well win the next election. I do think there’s a real — there’s a pattern building here.
Remember, if — if Europe —
WALLACE: But let’s assume Macron wins or Le Pen wins, what does that mean for Americans?
GINGRICH: Well, if Macron wins, you have — you have decay as unusual, politics as usual, unemployment as usual, explanations of violence as usual and people just get more disaffected. But for the short run, the European Union survives, the euro survives, et cetera. If Le Pen wins, you have a break that is at least as big as Brexit and you have suddenly a France that is cutting loose from its relationship with Germany and cutting lose from its ties with Brussels. I don’t think she will win, but I think she’ll probably get over 40 percent of the vote. Her — her father got 12 percent the first time he was on the ballot. So it keeps growing and there’s a very single fact, if you are a French young person, you are three times as likely to be unemployed as if you’re a German young person. Right at that border. Germans are figuring out a way to have the economies work. French socialism is collapsing. That ain’t going to change under Macron and that’s why, in the long run, it’s a vote for decay to vote for Macron.
HARMAN: Guess what, I agree with Newt. I’m saying it here, fair and balanced. But also a couple — a couple of more points. Unemployment in France is 10 percent. Unemployment in French youth is 23 percent. It’s staggering. And whatever happens in this election, it’s going to further isolate Angela Merkel, who, in my mind, is the moderate —
WALLACE: The chancellor of Germany.
HARMAN: Stable voice in Europe.
And one other point, Chris, and that is this huge data dump, nine gigabytes of data on an alt-right —
WALLACE: Yes, but you point (ph) that Macron’s files were hacked on Friday, just two days before the election.
HARMAN: Right. And it was released just an hour before the blackout in terms of their election coverage. I mean they — we don’t know who did this. Circumstantially it could be the Russians, and the Russians are probably playing in Germany, too. And this is really scary for the U.S. to have this kind of meltdown in European politics that does affect us.
WALLACE: All right, we have to take a break here, but when we come back, Hillary Clinton and James Comey, round three. And late night talk shows are experiencing a Trump bump, but are the hosts crossing the line with their commentary?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubt in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: This was terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Hillary Clinton and FBI Director James Comey on the role the FBI investigation of Clinton’s private e-mail server played in the 2016 presidential race.
And we’re back now with the panel.
So, Brit, how much responsibility do you think Jim — James Comey really bears for Clinton’s defeat, especially his announcement that he was reopening the investigation 11 days before the election?
HUME: Well, you can argue that flat or argue it round, Chris. I think he — it had a limited effect. I don’t think it was a main factor. But look at it — you can look at it this way as well, the case he laid out that he said was not the basis for a prosecution could very well have been, as numerous legal authorities have argued about that. So it’s possible that he could have recommended an indictment, which was — obviously would have been devastating. He didn’t do that. A lot of people think he let her off the hook. So you can argue it that way as well.
Obviously, his whole involvement didn’t help. This whole investigation did not help. But whose fault was that? It was the person who had the unauthorized system for the use of her e-mails. That was the original sin of this matter and — and that was what — in the end, this was all about.
WALLACE: In his congressional testimony, Comey said that he faced two terrible alternatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days. Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing, in my view, would be catastrophic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, the argument that Comey makes is that if they had not revealed this, she had been elected president, and then it comes out that there is an investigation going on, let alone that she had broken the law, that that would have badly damaged the FBI.
HARMAN: Well, Comey had a great chapter in John Ashcroft’s hospital room during the Bush administration when he blocked the signing of an order that he thought was illegal. And I applaud them for that. I think he was wrong three times last year. Every single thing he did was wrong. And the right thing to do as FBI director was keep his mouth shut and — conceal? No way. What we’re talking about was this stash of e-mails, I think, on Anthony Weiner’s hard drive, which no one had looked at. And to imply, which his announcement did imply that there might be something bad there, when it turned out there wasn’t, I think was unprofessional.
WALLACE: All right, we got both sides of that argument.
Let’s turn to the politics of late night comedy. Here was Stephen Colbert with this astonishingly prude attack on Donald Trump this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW”: You’re the presidunce (ph), but you’re turning into a real pricktator (ph). The only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) holster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Wow. And here was Jimmy Kimmel talking about the — the terrible news about his newborn son in the context of the debate this week over ObamaCare repeal and replace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”: Billy was born with a heart disease. Something called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It — it just shouldn’t happen. Now here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We should point out that Billy, the doctors at Cedars-Sinai were able to fix his heart and he’s going to be a healthy little boy.
Your thoughts about both of those, Mr. Speaker?
GINGRICH: The second one is part of the left’s whole mythology. I mean if you show up at a hospital with a brand-new baby on the brand-new baby has a heart problem, the doctors of that hospital do everything they can to save the baby. They don’t — they don’t say, we’ll take care of the baby right after you write a check. They try to save the baby’s life. And that’s true across the board in this country. So that is just part of the mythology of the left.
The problem you have with humor in American today is that Hollywood is so enraged at Donald Trump that they can’t be funny. All they’ve got is pure anger. And that’s what’s coming out in this stuff. And then they think it must be funny because they’re called comedians, so they — they — they exhibit their anger as almost a pathology on late-night television and you’re supposed to laugh because, after all, they’re comedians. They ain’t funny because they’re too angry to be funny.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think in the case of Jimmy Kimmel, I don’t think there’s any question, if you’re poor in this country, if you don’t have health insurance, your children are at greater risk. And, yes, if they’re — if you rush your child to the hospital, Mr. Speaker, yes, in the moment, but what we’re talking about his long-term care and maintenance of that child’s well-being. And I think there’s no question, you don’t want to be poor and dealing with this health issue system. President Trump said this week, Australia has a better system, Scotland, Canada and he’s — he’s changed and said, well, I didn’t mean single payer, but I think it’s pretty clear that in this argument, the American people clearly believe that a child like Jimmy Kimmel’s should be able to be guaranteed a healthy life without the parents worrying about insufficient funds.
WALLACE: All right, before we get —
WILLIAMS: Let — let me —
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait, before we get to the other one, though, your reaction to that?
GINGRICH: (INAUDIBLE) just — two things. There are 8,000 federal community health centers. If you’re genuinely poor, you’re on Medicaid everywhere in the country. And I think it’s just, again, part of the left’s mythology. We do an enormous amount in this country to try to save people. And, by the way, most of the people who didn’t buy ObamaCare insurance are young people who preferred to pay a tax to buy the insurance so that ObamaCare was not able to coerce them enough to make them buy the insurance. That’s the largest, single block of people who didn’t buy insurance.
WILLIAMS: That’s true, that they’re the largest, single block. But don’t — don’t forget, Mr. Speaker, that, in fact, ObamaCare was performing better than had been predicted, even with that. But you have Republicans who intentionally sabotaged, removed subsidies to create the system — a collapse of the system, to make it implode. And now you say, oh, but the system’s not working so we need a replacement. I find this not right.
GINGRICH: So Comey — Comey beat Clinton in the public (INAUDIBLE) ObamaCare (ph). That’s what I just heard (ph).
WILLIAMS: No, I just want to say, I think that Republicans should have been, from the start, working to create a system that works for the American people rather than simply engaging in a system of trying to destroy ObamaCare and obstruct improvements. And now I think Democrats should rise above it and do something to improve the current system, that this really is the original sin, to my mind as, Republicans saying, we’re going to stop this no matter what. This is big government. Now everybody says you should have a right, as Jimmy — Jimmy Kimmel’s kid, should survive.
Let me just finish up on — go back to Stephen Colbert for a second. Colbert —
WALLACE: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Go ahead.
WILLIAMS: Colbert spoke in crude terms. But the suggestion that the FCC should get involved here is ridiculous. When should government suddenly be a sensor of late night comics?
WALLACE: It’s over the air.
WILLIAMS: It’s over the air, but —
WALLACE: The FCC — the FCC controls it.
WILLIAMS: No. You know what, CBS should fire him if that’s — if they feel that there is a problem, let CBS act.
HUME: Chris —
WILLIAMS: They government and big government should not be involved (INAUDIBLE).
HUME: I don’t —
HUME: I — I think what Colbert said was disgusting.
HUME: And if — and if — and if he had said something — he or any other comedian had said something like that with regard to Barack Obama, you can bet the guy would be on the — or the woman would be on the unemployment (INAUDIBLE) chain. Having said that, I don’t think he should be fired for having set it. I don’t think that the FCC should get involved. And I suspect, in the end, it won’t. What I think should happen is, that people should be repelled by it and tune him out and that will take care of the matter. That’s how it should be.
HARMAN: The important subject on this show is health care, and both parties are blaming the other party and gaming the 2018 and 2020 election. What about American health care? Why don’t we think about how to build up a system that would serve everybody?
WALLACE: But — but — I — I — it’s a nice thought, but we’re so far away from that in this country today. I mean — I’m mean I’m serious. Look, as you said, ObamaCare passed without a single Republican vote and this bill passed without a single Democratic vote.
GINGRICH: You have — you have a chance in the Senate, which is a much more open institution.
HARMAN: Hey, if Newt and I can get along, why can’t we do this?
GINGRICH: I would love to see any Democrat willing to stand up tomorrow morning and say, I’m willing to work with Mitch McConnell to produce a better bill than a House bill. Any —
HUME: (INAUDIBLE), Chris, think of this one with one thing.
HUME: It’s being said that Republicans are now in dire political straits because they voted for this bill. Juan made the case for that just a few minutes ago.
HUME: Think what would have happened had they failed again. So what we now have is a situation in the media and in the body of politics to some extent where they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. (INAUDIBLE).
WILLIAMS: But it was seven years —
WALLACE: All right.
WILLIAMS: Sixty votes and they still don’t have a good plan.
WALLACE: And — and I thought Rogue (ph) and Gruber (ph) were going to be tough to control.
Thank you panel. See you next Sunday.