'This Week' Transcript 10-11-20: Rep. Cedric Richmond and Eric Trump

'This Week' Transcript 10-11-20

ByABC News
October 11, 2020, 9:52 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, October 11, 2020 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.





KARL: President Trump gathers a crowd just days after leaving the hospital amid a COVID outbreak at the White House.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: We had a super spreader event in the White House. People were crowded together and were not wearing masks.

KARL: The president set to return to the campaign trail.

TRUMP: We're starting very, very big with our rallies.

KARL: His doctor insists he is no longer contagious.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He didn't take the necessary precautions to protect himself or others. The longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets.

KARL: With just over three weeks to go in the campaign, COVID cases are on the rise. Millions in need of economic relief. Stimulus talks scrambled.

And a new report raises questions about pay for play at the White House. Special interest groups and foreign governments reportedly patronized Trump's properties. A windfall for the family business. We cover it all this morning with Eric Trump, the man now running the Trump Organization. A THIS WEEK exclusive.

The response from Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond.

Plus, our brand new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll. A closer look at independent voters in battleground Arizona.

And analysis from our powerhouse roundtable.



Here now, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.

KARL: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.

It's been ten days since the president announced he had been infected with coronavirus and six days since his doctors have answered any questions about his condition or his treatment. While his physician says the president is no longer contagious, the American public is still in the dark about basic questions, such as when the president last tested negative for COVID and whether he is now completely in the clear of the disease.

We do know that at least 34 people tied to the White House have tested positive. And despite that, hundreds of Trump supporters crowded together on the White House lawn just yesterday and tomorrow the president is scheduled to hit the campaign trail again in Florida.

The COVID outbreak isn't limited to the White House. The CDC forecasts up to 20,000 more Americans could die from COVID by the end of the month. Our brand new ABC News/"Washington Post" poll finds two third of voters say President Trump failed to take appropriate precautions against the virus. What's more, a whopping 62 percent of voters say they don't trust what he says about COVID-19.

We had hoped to talk to Dr. Fauci about both the outbreak at the White House and across the country. He was more than willing to join us, but the White House wouldn't allow you to hear from the nation's leading expert on coronavirus. In fact, they wouldn't allow any of the medical experts on the president's own Coronavirus Task Force to appear on this show.

But, this morning, we will be joined by Biden co-chair Cedric Richmond and Eric Trump on behalf of the Trump campaign.

All right, Eric, we start with you. Thank you for joining us.

I want to get you to response to that "New York Times" story. But let's start with the rally at the White House.

I've got to say, the president, your father, certainly looked to be himself. Are you -- any concern about him getting right back out on the campaign trail?

ERIC TRUMP, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Jon, my father's doing great. I mean I speak to him every single day. He sounds great and he's -- he's -- he's a true warrior. He's working incredibly hard.

You know, we should talk about that. I mean, first of all, everybody who attended the White House event yesterday, they had their temperatures checked. It was outdoor. They were wearing masks.

And now when we get that out of the way, I see hundreds -- I see hundreds of protests across this country that you guys, you know, unfortunately, don't cover oftentimes where people are literally burning down cities. They're burning down cities. No one's wearing masks. And they're -- and they're never condemned. Yet a beautiful protest by African-Americans, Latino-Americans who were going to the White House to support law enforcement in this country is criticized by ABC. It's really -- it's an incredible thing.

I mean they took every precaution. Again, temperature checks, masks, they were outside. It was a beautiful event.

KARL: Sure.

E. TRUMP: But why is it that it's only Trump events that are called out? Why -- why are these protests that we see all over the place -- I see them in New York. I see them in Portland. I see them in Seattle. I see them everywhere. Antifa is going wild. And no one ever talks about them wearing masks, but yet a beautiful protest by African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, in front of the White House to support our incredible men and women in law enforcement, becomes a subject of an ABC show at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I mean it -- it --

KARL: Well -- well, Eric -- Eric, to be clear, I'm not -- I'm --

E. TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) I've lost a lot of faith in the media, Jon, I really have.

KARL: Well, Eric, to be clear, I’m not criticizing and I’m reporting the fact. And actually I did notice something that I have not seen at the White House until yesterday and that is an event where most of the people were wearing masks.

Is that an acknowledgment or a recognition that it was a mistake to have activities at the White House including of course the Amy Coney Barrett event with people not wearing masks? I mean, I got to say people were wearing masks yesterday at the White House.

E. TRUMP: Yes, Jon, and you know everybody -- and you know this. You report from there every single day. Everybody that goes within 500 yards of the White House is tested every single day. And it's a little bit of a difficult apparatus in that machine.

But, again, I just find it -- I find the hypocrisy so crazy. I mean, you go out there and you see these massive riots and protests in these liberal run cities and no one is wearing masks and no one cares. No one cares. The media doesn't talk about them.

I mean, how many have we had in New York and how many have we had in Chicago and all these things? And the media never talks about that. But, again, when you have a peaceful Trump rally at the White House in support of law enforcement by African Americans, CNN cuts away. MSNBC cuts away for those --


E. TRUMP: -- events. They don't want to show it. They don’t want to show the support. It’s just -- it’s pretty mind-blowing to me.

KARL: I mean, we have covered the protests and I do see a lot of protesters wearing masks as well.

Let me ask you on your father's condition, when he spoke to Rush Limbaugh he suggested there was a moment where -- and time where he thought he might not make it. How bad did it get?

E. TRUMP: Yes. Listen, that first day he got hit hard, first day Friday. And I can tell you as son, it's never fun watching your father fly off to Walter Reed on Marine One, right? I mean, that’s something that -- it's a day that no son wants to, again, remember. It's -- that’s no fun to watch.

But I'm telling you I spoke to him three times that next Saturday. The guy sounded 100%. It was amazing. It actually probably goes to speak to how good some of these vaccines that are being created are and what my father’s done on the vaccine front, no one could have done. No one could have done.

I mean, literally, Biden was calling my father xenophobic for shutting down America from travel to China -- I mean, and the virus came from China. My father, literally, started day one creating this vaccine. He worked to push this vaccine. And now my father just took it. And you see how well he got over it --

KARL: Wait, wait. Can you --


E. TRUMP: -- an inspiration. I think -- as Americans, Jon, we should be very proud of that.

KARL: Can you clarify that? You said your father just took a vaccine?

E. TRUMP: Meaning when he was in Walter Reed, the medicines that he was taking.

KARL: The therapeutics?


E. TRUMP: -- he felt horrible. And on Saturday -- again, I spoke to the man three times on Saturday and he sounded tremendous. And I think it goes to show the power of medicine in this country and how far that we've come on COVID in the last six, seven months.

KARL: So it looks like the debate commission has said there will be a debate on October 22nd, an in-person debate. I want to ask you though, if you look at the first debate in Cleveland, you and other members of the Trump team were violating the rules that the commission had said in terms of wearing masks in the hall.

We even saw Karen Pence at the VP debate get on the stage without a mask. Given the concerns now, will you commit that the Trump team will abide by those safety precautions the commission put in place at the next debate? Will you be wearing masks?

E. TRUMP: I’m happy to -- Jon, I’m happy to wear a mask. I mean, I’m happy to wear a mask.

What's interesting is the real story should be how Biden backed out of the debate that's supposed to take place in Miami this Thursday. He didn't want to stand on the stage with my father and that should tell you everything you need to know about him. Literally, my father wants nothing more than to debate --

KARL: Well, I mean --


E. TRUMP: -- Thursday. And Biden -- Biden wouldn’t show up. I mean the only thing he would do is he would do a Zoom call and my father, maybe, he’s a traditional guy. He didn't want to do -- he didn’t want to do a glorified conference call for a presidential debate --


KARL: But, to be clear, it was --

E. TRUMP: I'm happy to wear a mask.

KARL: But, to be clear, it was your father that pulled out of the debate. The debate commission said it would be a virtual debate. It was your father that pulled out of the debate.

Are you ruling out -- is a virtual debate something that just simply you will not agree to at all? So this next debate absolutely has to be in person?

E. TRUMP: My father wants to stand on the stage with his opponent. That's how debates have been handled in America for the last 200 years. You stood there and you debated somebody. And my father doesn't want to do it over a glorified conference call.

He wants to stand on the stage, look somebody in the eyes, and Biden’s not willing to do that. Now, Biden’s willing to go to Pennsylvania or go to some state and do a town hall standing on stage with three or four people. But he won't stand on the same stage as my father. My father doesn't want to do a conference call debate. H wants to stand on the same stage as the person --

KARL: Got you. So --

E. TRUMP: That's how we’ve done it forever and -- by the way, my father is still willing to do it. He still wants to do the debate in Miami on Thursday. So if Joe wants to accept, he'll certainly be there.

KARL: So, Vice President Pence when he debated Kamala Harris said it was a privilege to be on the stage with her, recognized her history-making pick as Biden’s running mate. And then the next day your father said that she was a monster.

Why? How is Kamala Harris a monster? Why did he say that?

E. TRUMP: Well, you know, there are a lot of stances that she takes are just -- they’re mind-boggling to me.

I mean, she’s come out and she’s called to abolish law enforcement. She’s, you know, compared members of ICE to the KKK in a congressional hearing. She wants to take away 180 million private health care plans in this country.

Last week, she was coming out talking about how she literally -- she wanted to limit the amount of red meat Americans could eat. I mean --


KARL: But, Eric -- but, Eric -- Eric, Eric, Eric, political differences, and I think you mischaracterized her positions in that litany. But political differences are one thing. A monster? You’re calling the Democratic vice presidential nominee a monster, your father did, how is that -- I mean, I don't get it.

E. TRUMP: Jon, you know, you're also dealing with a person who is willing to lie every single day.

KARL: Who?

E. TRUMP: You know, it’s amazing. One day, they're calling for -- let’s -- Kamala Harris and, frankly, Joe Biden. But let's abolish all law enforcement. Let’s -- and then they get to Pennsylvania and they no longer want to abolish the law enforcement.


KARL: They -- I mean, Eric, I’m sorry. They haven't called for abolishing all law enforcement. It is something that they just haven’t done. So, let’s -- let's stick to the facts.

Let's move to this "New York Times" story. This -- a big story in “The New York Times” --

E. TRUMP: Let's go back to that. Let’s go back to that.

Biden has come out and said that he wanted to defund police. He wanted to reallocate the funding for police.


KARL: He's clearly stated lots of times he doesn't want to defund the police.

Let me ask you about "The New York Times" on -- their investigative series on the president's tax documents. They write in their latest investigation and I -- found, quote, over 200 companies, special interest groups and foreign governments patronized Mr. Trump's properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration.

And here are some of the specifics on this graphic. Five members of Mar-a-Lago offered ambassadorship. One company granted ten new federal contracts worth $1.3 billion, and that the president would go and ask what guests at his properties wanted from the government.

So, let me ask you -- lots of specifics in this story. You guys didn't respond to "The New York Times." Here's your chance. What's your response?

E. TRUMP: My response to that is we’ve lost a fortune. My father has lost a fortune running for president.

He doesn't care. He doesn’t care. He wanted to do what was right.

The last thing I can tell you Donald Trump needs in the world is this job. He wakes up in the morning and he has to fight you and he has to fight the entire media, and he has to fight the Democrats and he gets punched in the head every single day, and he wakes up and he fights for this country and he fights against the lunacy of the radical left.

And he created the greatest economy and he created the most jobs. And he rebuilt the military.

And we’re no longer getting ripped off by Mexico and China and every other (ph) country. And we're not longer getting ripped off in terms of health care. And he’s creating --


KARL: Eric, but back to the story -- but back to the story --

E. TRUMP: Jon, he doesn't need this job. And he lost -- my father has lost a fortune.


E. TRUMP: An absolute fortune doing what he does.

You compare that to Joe Biden --


KARL: But back - -but back to this story. How is it appropriate --

E. TRUMP: Let me finish.

KARL: OK. But answer the question, please. Please.

E. TRUMP: Go Google Biden's house right now, and tell me if you think that a person who’s been in government for 47 years, 47 years, can afford that mansion on the water in Wilmington, Delaware. They tell you they can't.

KARL: Eric --

E. TRUMP: I would ask you to go and look at (INAUDIBLE) --


KARL: Eric, but will you address -- will you address what "The New York Times" revealed in their investigation which is all these companies and individuals who have spent money, lots of money at Trump properties that have gone on to get big government contracts and other favors from the Trump administration? How is that not at the very least a huge appearance of a conflict of interest?

E. TRUMP: We have tens -- we're a hospitality company. We’ve got tens of millions of people staying at our properties every single year.

"The New York Times" is absolute fake news. All they want to do is take down my father.

And you know what's really interesting about "The New York Times" -- I’m glad you mentioned them. Every single day, every single day, starting literally the morning of the debate, they've dropped some story that they've been sitting on for literally the last six months or year or two years. They’re to influence the election. It's horrible.

I mean, you know, the media is gone in this country. The media is gone in this country. I mean, when I hear the tone of this conversation, it’s -- I mean, the media has become the activist arm for the Democratic Party. Nothing is fair.

KARL: Eric, Eric, we’re asking -- we're asking legitimate questions.

One last one, "The New York Times" report also said that the president owes some $400 million. Don't the American people have a right to know who he is indebted to? Who the president of the United States owes money to? Can you clarify that for us?

E. TRUMP: Jon, in his financial disclosures. You know exactly who the money is owed to. That's another Democratic talking point that you just -- you know exactly who the money is owed to. My father --

KARL: I don't --

E. TRUMP: -- is worth of billions of dollars. And on a proportion of his net worth, my father has very, very, very low leverage. In fact, "The New York Times", if you want to bring them into this --

KARL: Yes.

E. TRUMP: They came out and said that the other day. if you own -- if you own buildings, if you own real estate, you -- you carry some debt. That's -- that's what developers do. That's what business owners do, they carry some debt. Now, as a proportion of his net worth, it's incredibly low. We have a phenomenal company. But there's -- there's nothing new about that.


E. TRUMP: And, by the way, it's the same debt that he got elected on. And it's all fully disclosed in his financial disclosure forms with the United States government that you have access to.

KARL: All right, Eric -- Eric -- Eric, thank you for joining us. I appreciate your time on this Sunday morning.

Thank you.

E. TRUMP: Thank you.

KARL: Let's get a response from the co-chair of the Biden campaign, Congressman Cedric Richmond.

First of all, let -- let me begin with that discussion on the debates. We have -- the commission has said October 22nd for an in-person debate. Is there any doubt in your mind that that in-person debate will happen, that -- that Joe Biden will be there and that -- that the two of them will be on the same stage together?

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND, BIDEN CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR: Well, I know that Joe Biden wants to debate Donald Trump again. And the Americans saw the disaster that Donald Trump had in the first debate.

But I will tell you that we will do what we did from the beginning of this campaign, and the pandemic, we will listen to the American experts and scientists. So here it's the Cleveland Clinic. And they have set up the protocols. So if Donald Trump is COVID free and the protocols are set up to protect the health, not only of Joe Biden, but the health of the families that attend, the health of the camera men, the health of everyone, the janitors in the building.

See, Joe Biden cares so much more about American people. It is not about Joe Biden in his mind. It's about everybody else. And so he will not put Americans in harm's way of this great pandemic and dangerous virus simply for attention or political gain. And he won't do that. So he will listen to the Cleveland Clinic, which is who will control the debate protocols. And we will go from there.

KARL: And --

RICHMOND: But we would love to see it. And we want to see it in a town hall format.

KARL: And -- and will the -- will the vice president, will Vice President Biden, agree to a third debate on -- on the 29th of -- of October as the Trump campaign has proposed?

RICHMOND: Well, look, I don't know about a third debate. We need to get to the second debate.

But, let's be clear, look, we just heard Eric Trump in coherent, rambling, lies and babbling. And some of the things he said, I -- I believe that the American people deserve to know the truth.

And, look, Senator Harris, one, is not a monster. I would hope he was, you know, dignified enough to say that. But, two, we've never called -- never, ever called for abolishing the police. Our plan expands health care. They're in court right now trying to take health care away from 20 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic, to take away coverage for pre-existing conditions. Those are the things that, unfortunately, he would not get to.

But I will be the person to answer your questions. So I hope we get a chance to go over all of that, you know, nonsense that we just heard.

KARL: Well, let -- let me -- let me ask you about something that -- that's come up -- came up in the VP debate, something that the -- that the vice president -- Vice President Biden's been asked about a lot. It's where he actually stands on the issue of expanding the Supreme Court. I mean the -- he -- he said that this was an answer that he would give after the election. This is a big issue. And he -- so can you -- can you just clarify, first of all, what is the answer? Does he support expanding the Supreme Court?

RICHMOND: Well, one, you know, that's a better question for me. I'm in Congress. It would take legislation from the United States Congress and the United States Senate to do it. But I think that Joe Biden and Senator Harris are very clear, that it is a distraction. We should not be talking about a hypothetical court packing once this nominee is confirmed. What's -- when we're talking about packing, we're talking about all the judges that he is packing on the court right now. So right now he's urge --


RICHMOND: But give me a second.


RICHMOND: He's urging the Senate to go in and spend every waking moment to confirm this judge, as opposed to, with 23 days left before an election, as opposed to passing a corona economic relief bill for people who can't pay their bills right now. And he packed the applet court, the circuit court, with 50 judges. But I bet you he didn't mention that to black or brown people yesterday at his White House rally, that out of 50 circuit court judges, he couldn't find one qualified black person to sit on the circuit court. So when you talk about court packing, that's what they're doing. But to answer that question would be a distraction.

KARL: OK, so you just said, you're a member of Congress, we can ask you. You're the co-chair of the campaign. Where do you stand on the issue of expanding the Supreme Court? Are you in favor of it?

RICHMOND: Well, actually, I just want to spend my time now, one, making sure Donald Trump loses, but, two, making sure that we don't confirm this judge.

Women's reproductive rights are at stake. Civil rights are at stake. And I think that that's what we should focus on, not a hypothetical "Do we expand the Supreme Court?"

KARL: So you won't answer that question, either?

RICHMOND: It's a question...

KARL: You won't answer that question, either?

RICHMOND: It's a legitimate question for you to ask, but it is a distraction with 22 days before the election.

KARL: OK, let me also ask you about the -- the vice president's tax proposal. He has said that he will not raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year.

But the analysis put forward by the Tax Policy Center shows that in fact middle income earners between -- making between $50,000 and $90,000 a year will see an increase of $260. So is he wrong about this?

Is the -- I mean, it looks like there will be at least some increase for middle-income earners under his tax plan.

RICHMOND: I think they have a different interpretation. And the truth of the matter is the plan has been evaluated by several economic policy groups. And most of them say that no middle-class taxpayer will see a tax increase.

And so when you look at expanding the Affordable Care Act and all the other things that he wants to do, I think we're on very firm footing. I think the fact checkers will confirm that our plan, in fact, would not raise taxes on the middle class but those who make over $400,000 a year, so we can invest in American people.

KARL: But let me ask you, Kamala Harris, in the VP debate -- Senator Harris said that she wanted to repeal the Bush -- I mean the Trump tax cuts on day one, do away entirely with the law.

Now, obviously, the Trump tax cuts lowered -- significantly lowered the -- the tax rate for -- for lower-income earners. In fact, the Tax Policy Center found that middle-income workers, some middle-income workers saw $900 a year in tax savings.

So repealing the Trump tax cuts, full-on repeal, that does raise taxes on middle-income earners, doesn't it?

RICHMOND: No, look, I agree. And what -- I agree that that policy center would take that opinion. But what we have seen, and our goal is to not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000.

So when you see our legislation, that will come up day one or day two in the administration, it will not raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year.

KARL: OK, we are out of time. I just want to clarify one thing in terms of voting. You have gone out and encouraged people to vote in person if they at all can, vote early in person.

Is that now the message that we -- that Democrats are putting out there, if you have to, vote by mail, but if you at all can, vote in person?

RICHMOND: We're telling people to take advantage of early vote in person. And, remember, look, I'm on the ballot, and New Orleans and Louisiana started early voting yesterday. And I'm encouraging people to take advantage of the voting process. Early vote in person is a great way to do it. It reduces lines on Election Day.

But if you look at North Carolina, out of the ballots that were cast by mail, I think disproportionately African-American votes have been challenged or disqualified. And so we want to make sure that every vote counts. And that's what makes America the great democracy that it is, and which is why Joe Biden keeps pushing IWillVote.com, so that people can make a plan and figure out how to vote.

KARL: Congressman Richmond, thank you. Appreciate your time on this Sunday morning.

Coming up, as the president returns to the campaign trail, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight gives us the state of the race, with a look at a group of voters that could decide it all. We'll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To my favorite people in the world, the seniors -- I’m a senior. I know you don't know that. Nobody knows that. Maybe you don't have to tell them, but I’m a senior.

We are making tremendous progress with this horrible disease. We’re taking care of our seniors. You're not vulnerable, but they like to say they’re vulnerable. But you’re the least vulnerable.

For this one thing, you are vulnerable. So am I. But I want you to get the same care that I got.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS HOST: Older Americans helped Donald Trump win the presidency four years ago. But recent polls show the group that has been hit hardest by coronavirus is now trending Democratic.

So, is Donald Trump in trouble with seniors and could their votes put Joe Biden over the top on Election Day?

We asked “Five Thirty Eight’s” Nate Silver to weigh in.


NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: Donald Trump is rather explicitly going after the senior vote. It's a group that's voted Republican in every presidential election since 2004. But there are some signs this year that support may be shifting.

In 2016, national exit polls show that Trump won voters age 65 and older by 7 points. But this year, polls collected (ph) since the first presidential show Joe Biden winning among seniors by five points on average.

If you do the math, it works out to a 12-point swing for Democrats, and although Joe Biden is polling well with lots of groups right now, it's a bigger swing than among voters under 65 where the same poll shows the five-point swing to Biden.

So, what are the electoral implications? Well, let's look at which states have the highest proportion of the senior citizens.

The state with the highest share of seniors is actually Maine, and that’s a state where we're seeing a big swing toward Biden. He's now ahead by around 15 points in our polling average, even though Hillary Clinton won it by only three points in 2016.

The state with the second highest share of seniors is actually Maine, and that’s a state where we're seeing a big swing toward Biden. He's now ahead by around 15 points in our polling average, even though Hillary Clinton won it by only three points in 2016.

The state with the second highest share of seniors, as you probably guessed, is Florida. And that's another state where polls have begun to turn toward Biden. He now leads by four or five points in the polling average there after some polls have shown an essentially tied race in September.

So, I buy this one. But the biggest question is why is this happening and the most important factor might be COVID-19.

According to the CDC, the infection fatality rate for COVID for someone aged 70 or older is about 200 times higher than for a 42-year-old me. Seniors have to take COVID very seriously and they’re largely critical of President Trump’s response.


KARL: Our thanks to Nate.

The roundtable is coming up. But, first, our “Six for the Win” series, and a look at one of the hottest states up for grabs in this final stretch to the election.

Stay with us.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Who were the first and only presidential nominees to debate each other from separate locations?

John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New York, Senator John F. Kennedy, separated by 3,000 miles in a Los Angeles studio, Vice President Richard M. Nixon.


KARL: All right, the roundtable is standing by.



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We've paid too high a price already for Donald Trump's chaotic, divisive leadership. Nearly 6,000 Arizonians have been lost. And 122,000 jobs in Arizona still haven't come back.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Arizona and America need four more years of President Donald Trump. We are 26 days away from another great victory for the American people. And the road to victory runs right through Arizona.


KARL: Vice Presidents Pence and Biden both targeting Arizona this week where 3 million absentee ballots have already been sent to voters.

President Trump carried Arizona by 3.5 points in 2016, but rapidly changing demographics have put this once solidly red state into play. So can Donald Trump win it again or is Arizona poised to turn blue?

ABC's Alex Presha travelled to Maricopa County to speak with independent voters for the latest installment of our series "Six for the Win."


TOM ROLLS (ph): I'll put your chair down.

ALEX PRESHA, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even though the temperature still registers in the triple digits, every afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 Linda and Tom Rolls (ph) walk to the edge of their dirt driveway in Carefree, Arizona, and hold up their Joe Biden signs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Didn't we see you yesterday?

T. ROLLS: Yes.

LINDA ROLLS (ph): We're out here every day. Four hours a day.

PRESHA: They get honks, thumbs ups, the occasional middle finger, and they wave back at them all.

L. ROLLS: It's our therapy.

T. ROLLS: It's better than sitting on the couch watching the news, doing nothing.

PRESHA (voice over): Lifelong Republicans until 2016, the Rahls (ph) weren't fans of Donald Trump. So they voted for Gary Johnson. But this November they'll proudly vote Democrat.

(on camera): Is there anything in particular that -- that put you over the edge?

(UNKNOWN): So we were, sort of, already there. But, certainly, Charlottesville is the time when I said "Enough."

(UNKNOWN): Because, right now, in the Republican Party, if you're not a fan in the cult of Donald Trump, you're not welcome. And they will -- they will tell you that.

PRESHA: You don't feel welcome?

(UNKNOWN): Oh, no. No, no.

(UNKNOWN): Not at all.

(UNKNOWN): No, as a matter of fact, when we sit out there with our signs, one of the things we hear the most often is "Go home."

And we're trying to figure out, since we're at the end of our own driveway, where home is supposed to be.


PRESHA (voice over): Arizona State Public Affairs Professor Dr. Thom Reilly says independents have turned this formerly bright red state purple, and could help push it blue this time around.

As a third of the state's electorate, independents are trending towards Biden by a whopping 25 points in the latest New York Times/Sienna poll, 53 to 28.

DR. THOM REILLY, ARIZONA STATE: What we're seeing is, is general frustration to the divisiveness that is occurring in Washington and across the United States. And people are searching for a different way.

PRESHA: That's especially noticeable among Latino voters.

(UNKNOWN): They're just taking it for granted and thinking, "Oh, OK, well, they're Latinos and they're going to go ahead and lean Democrat. That's not the case."

PRESHA: Caroline Van Oosten (ph) doesn't like how the Latino voters have traditionally been taken for granted. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she came to the U.S. during her college years. She voted for Obama in '08 and has ping-ponged between parties ever since. Despite being disappointed in a lack of focus on the issues, she will vote for Biden.

(UNKNOWN): A lot of the Democratic Party has been neglecting to really address that issue of immigration. And they're really up for grabs. And they are having a hard time making a decision of which way to go because no one is addressing the issues that matter to them most.

PRESHA: Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, has by far the largest voting population in the state. And the county went for Trump by three points in 2016.

(UNKNOWN): He follows through on what he says.

PRESHA: Barbie Ruehn (ph) also voted for Gary Johnson in 2016, but now likes what she's seeing from President Trump.

(UNKNOWN): Since coronavirus has come out, our economy has stayed fairly stable. And that, to me, is astonishing, especially considering the number of people who are out of jobs because they can't go in. He's allowing the states to make the decisions for themselves, which is what it should be.

PRESHA: The one thing we found all the voters we talked to here want, to turn down the temperature a little bit.

(UNKNOWN): I pray to get back to a country where we can have conversations where we don't agree on every issue and we can still be friends. And I know that sounds rather cliche, but that's really my deepest prayer.

PRESHA: For "This Week," I'm Alex Presha in Carefree, Arizona.

KARL: The round table is up next. We're back in 60 seconds.



PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: I'm feeling great. I don't know about you. How is everyone feeling?


We're starting very, very big with our rallies and with our everything, because we cannot allow our country to become a socialist nation. We cannot let that happen.


We have had more enthusiasm right now -- right now, this year -- than we had four years ago, by a factor of three times.


And we had a lot.


KARL: President Trump, back at it yesterday.

Let's break it down with the roundtable, ABC News White House correspondent Rachel Scott; Associated Press Washington bureau chief Julie Pace; former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; and Lanhee Chen, policy director for the Romney 2012 campaign, now a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

So got to start with that Eric Trump interview. And I want to ask you, Lanhee -- we have a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out today. It shows a 12- point national lead for Joe Biden. It’s obviously only the latest in a series of polls that have shown the same thing. The battleground state polls also showing a significant edge for Biden.

Did Eric sound like somebody who thinks they're losing?

LANHEE CHEN, ROMNEY-RYAN 2012 CAMPAIGN POLICY DIRECTOR: No. He definitely did not sound like someone who thinks they're losing.

I think the big question is what is going to be the narrative this last 20 some odd days in this campaign that's going to help change the dynamic for the Trump campaign? If the public polling is to be believed nationally, as well as you noted in the battleground states, they’ve got a lot of ground to make up.

And I think every day that the Trump campaign is fighting about COVID and the COVID response and questions about the president's health status, those probably are not good days for that campaign.

If they're talking about fracking and they’re talking about whether the tax cuts that they passed are going to be repealed and whether that’s going to lead to a tax increase, those are probably better days.

This coming week with the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, I think those are opportunities for the Trump campaign.

But it's a question of what this campaign is going to be doing, what they're going to focus on. And the more that they’re talking about these issues relating to COVID, I think the more challenging of an environment’s going to be. And it is going to be hard for them to find the game changing opportunities I think they’re going to need to turn this campaign around.

KARL: Rahm, what did you make of that performance?

RAHM EMANUEL, (D) FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it’s a -- when (ph) I look at this, Jon, is that this is a referendum on Donald Trump. He has never changed the narrative.

There's two types of re-election. What Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton did, which is about mourning in America, about the 21st century bridge (ph), or what Barack Obama and George Bush 43 (ph) did, which is making (ph) a binary choice.

Trump has not done that. He's made it about himself. His entire four years have been about himself. And the American people have actually issued a judgment about the way he's handled COVID, the economy, bringing the country together rather than dividing it.

And so it is -- in my view, they still, with 27 days to go, don't have a vision for the future, don’t have an agenda for the future, and it's self-evident and that's why groups that used to vote Republican, groups -- voters that used to vote for Donald Trump are recoiling from his disruption and the disruptive character of his presidency. And they want change. And that change is a return to normalcy.

And that’s -- I'm basically -- it's a -- it was a microcosm that this is a referendum on Donald Trump. They have no message for the future and the voters have issued their judgment about that.

KARL: Julie, I thought it was interesting that Eric said his father had taken a vaccine, which is obviously not true. But, I mean, at this point with all the discussion -- I don't know. What did you make of that?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that caught my attention as well. Certainly there is no vaccine that's approved. It appears as though Eric was misspeaking and referring to some of the therapeutics and the treatments that the president had, which the president has really been touting over the last week or so. And, actually, trying to focus on those as opposed to a vaccine because it doesn't appear as though a vaccine will be approved before the election, which is one of those things that the president has been promising.

Now the conversation is focused on trying to get Americans the type of treatment he had but it’s important to note that that kind of treatment is not available to most Americans. We're sort of dealing with an apples and oranges situation when it comes to the president's treatment.

He is, of course, the President of the United States. You would expect him to get exceptional health care. But that's not the kind of health care that is available to most Americans who are suffering from this virus right now.

KARL: Well, in fact, the Regeneron treatment, only 10 people in the country have taken it. Or maybe the president’s number 11. A little unclear.

But, Rachel, they're clearly trying to do a reset for the campaign. And it looks like -- I mean, he's got a busy schedule of travel that we know about for the next few days. What do you see ahead for Trump?

RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND D.C. CORRESPONDENT: It is going to be a very busy and aggressive campaign schedule for the president.

Sources tell us that he plans to be back out on the campaign trail every single day this week. And the messaging that I’ve been hearing from campaign officials is a lot what we heard from Eric Trump today, that the president is a fighter, that he has beat the virus and now he’s going to go on to recover the nation’s economy.

But, the fact of the matter is, is that the president is returning back to the campaign trail at a time when he is down in the polls by double digits. When his handling of the pandemic is under fire, the majority of Americans disapproving of his handling of the pandemic, and when his campaign is strapped for cash.

The single best issue still for the president though is the economy, and even more so than the pandemic. Registered voters in our latest poll say that issue, the economy, is the most important issue to them. But, Jon, he certainly has a lot of ground to make up with just a few weeks to go.

KARL: And it was reported that he wanted to have a superman suit on, to rip out and reveal a superman shirt underneath. But --


KARL: Yes.

EMANUEL: I actually think the White House event became a super spreader -- actually became a metaphor for what's untangled and what’s unbound about this presidency. It actually undermined everything -- confidence that people have both in the president, the administration, the capacity to handle a national public health crisis, and also, therefore the economy.

And it became a metaphor where they realized and had given up on basically the president and his administration for handling -- whether it's the economy or not. The big issue for the American people is moving forward. And the fact they held an event that's being dubbed a super-spreader event to me underscores everything the American feel insecure about a second term for the Trump administration.

And that event will be the biggest footnote about his presidency and why he lost his reelection, if you look at the polls like we have today. You can say the economy is number one. But what is underpinning is, whether he has a steady hand on the till and that event and disregard for science will become what undermines his presidency.


EMANUEL: Continues to.

KARL: I mean, on that, you’ve got -- the president is going to be out at campaign events. These are going to be packed events I’m sure. We saw what we saw at the White House, although people were wearing masks.

Is there any chance that this debate on the 22nd doesn't happen? Do Biden and the commission really agree to an event in person if the president continues to -- to go the way he's been going?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS D.C. BUREAU CHIEF AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think based on the way the last couple weeks have gone, it's really hard to predict what happens a couple of weeks out from now because everything has been so tumultuous. But I do think that this is something that the Biden campaign is going to be watching carefully.

You know, if Trump is out having these large events, you know, what does that do in terms of staff, putting his staff at risk, other people who are around him who would then be at this event?

KARL: Yeah.

PACE: Joe Biden is also not a young man. And there are concerns about keeping him safe through the duration of this campaign.

So, I do think everything, when it comes to the debates and these two men being on stage together, we should probably consider very much up in the air until the moment when they step on to those debate stages.

KARL: So, Lanhee, how worried are Republicans? I mean, we saw Mitch McConnell come out and say that he hasn't been at the White House in more than two months. We saw Senator Cornyn say some critical things about the way the president has handled this.

And Martha McSally at a debate out in Arizona refusing to say whether or not she is proud of her support for Donald Trump.

Are you starting to get a sense that Republicans down ballot are getting -- not just nervous but thinking about distancing themselves from this president?

CHEN: Jon, this has always been the fundamental challenge for Republicans who are running in these very difficult, contested statewide races, is that, on one hand, you’ve got to be able to ensure that the Trump base, those who support the president, those who affiliate with the president, that they turn out to support you, because you're not going to win a campaign if you're Joni Ernst in Iowa, or Martha McSally in Arizona, you need that base to show up.

On the other hand, the more closely that you tie yourself to the president, the more challenging it's become, particularly over the last couple of weeks, to gain the support of undecided voters, swing voters, some of the voters that you all interviewed in Arizona who have gone between the parties. It becomes much more challenging for them.

So, you’ve got to make a decision at this point. Do you continue to tether very strongly to the president or do you not?

Now, in some districts, you're seeing people do that. You’re still seeing some who are tying themselves very closely to the president.

But in other places, you mentioned McSally, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, you’ve got a few other examples, Joni Ernst in Iowa, who are running very good campaigns otherwise, who are good candidates, who’ve got records for those states, I think they're making the decision, look, we're going to run to be a leader of a particular state. And they are trying to be much more independent from the president.

I think at this point, that probably is the right strategy given what they're seeing in the numbers, given some of the president's weakness, particularly on COVID, which does seem to be an overriding issue.

So, I do think you’re going to continue to see over these next 20 days as this campaign winds down, these candidates try to make an effort to say, look, don't worry about the president. Don't worry about the Republican Party. Think about whether you want me to continue as your incumbent.

And I think that is going to be compelling message for some of these candidates down the stretch here.

EMANUEL: Jon, can I bring up one point that I think relevant in our poll? You have one of the biggest gender gaps ever recorded for a presidential election. And then step and look at two events this week -- or three actually.

One is the president of the United States calls Kamala Harris a monster. Second, in that debate, Vice President Mike Pence continues to interrupt Senator Harris and not allow her to finish and also does that to the moderator. And third, when the governor of Michigan, her life is threatened, rather than reach out to her and see if she’s okay and thank the FBI for great work, the president of the United States also then attacks the governor of Michigan.

I think if you look at that, they not only have a massive gender problem, they are doubling down on that problem by continuing to attack women who have accomplished a great deal and make sure that they have a gender gap. But I think -- I’m surprised what they have done in the last week.

And you can see it in our poll here for ABC/“Washington Post”. You have the largest spread ever. And there's a hostility to women who are in elected office, or in business, or in any other (ph) life, by this administration and their exacerbating what is clearly a problem. And it's not just on the policies, it's a culture way and a stylistic way that have alienated women voters of all economic, educational or of any ethnic or racial background. And it's just self-evident.

KARL: Rachel, we have Supreme Court confirmation hearings beginning this week. Do you have any sense that the campaign's trying to make that more of a central issue, because we're not -- they haven't succeeded. You know, it's obvious the controversy over the decision to go forward. But we don't even hear the -- we don't hear the -- we don't hear much from them. What are they going to do to try to make that an issue instead of coronavirus?

SCOTT: Well, this is an issue that the campaign was trying to rally their base around. You remember those chants of fill that seat less than 24 hours after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. There were chants of that at the president's -- one of the president's rallies there.

And so, look, the -- the campaign wants this to be a central issue for the president's base. They want their supporters to believe that the president's pushing forward, trying to cement this conservative majority. But there are even still questions lingering about abortion and Roe versus Wade. We saw the vice president not committing on an answer on whether or not he would like to see Roe versus Wade overturned, even though that is something that he had said in the past. He said that in 2016 in a Fox News interview. And even some venerable Senate Republicans trying to create some distance with themselves on that from when -- and a lot of it has to do with public polling. When you look at a CBS News poll from June of 49 percent of Republicans say that they would like to see Roe versus Wade stay just the way it is.

But to your point, Jon, they want the focus to turn away from this pandemic and more towards issues like cementing the conservative majority on the court.

KARL: And -- and -- and, Rahm, I've got to ask you, I mean, what is with the non-answer on packing the Supreme Court?

EMANUEL: I think --

KARL: I -- I mean, why -- why doesn't he answer this question?


KARL: And -- and how is it OK to go out and say, I'm going to tell you the day after the election?

EMANUEL: Here's -- first of all, I think -- I mean I know the vice president as former chairman of the Judiciary Committee. I think he's very clear. What he's trying to do is actually restore the legitimacy of the court, unpack the court.

Remember, you have five members here, a majority of the Supreme Court, that was nominated by presidents that never won a majority in the vote. And, in my view, what the Democrats should be talking about is, one, we're going to expand the lower courts on the federal level, two, restrict what the Supreme Court does. When you look at what they did on Lilly Ledbetter, voting rights, they actually started legislating from the bench.

And, third, I actually think Democrats need to take a step back and look at the first bill President Obama signed, which is Lilly Ledbetter and it was a legislative reaction to the Supreme Court decision.

You have now a case, a situation --

CHEN: Jon, it's -- it's --

EMANUEL: Whether it was --

KARL: Go ahead, Lanhee. Lanhee -- Lanhee, jump in here because -- because --

EMANUEL: Well, no, wait -- no, I wanted to -- I want to finish this.

CHEN: Yes --

KARL: But you haven't answered my question, sir.

EMANUEL: (INAUDIBLE) -- actually legislate -- to start -- taking these battles to the legislative front.


EMANUEL: Because I think this court is going to put actually women back in alleys --

KARL: Lanhee -- Lanhee, we only have -- we only have 15 seconds. Take it.

EMANUEL: Gays back in the closet, and workers actually back in (INAUDIBLE). And I think we should take (ph) that out and take that to the -- voters.

CHEN: Look, it's --

KARL: Ten seconds, Lanhee. Final word.

CHEN: It's -- look, it's -- it's pretty clear what the Democratic strategy is here, they don't want to answer a difficult question. They'd rather play politics with the issue. I think the Barrett confirmation hearings are crucially important to Republicans this week.

KARL: All right. Thank you.

CHEN: By the way, to bring some Republicans --

KARL: Thank you to our roundtable. We are out of time. That is all for us. Remember to tune in on Thursday. George Stephanopoulos will anchor a town hall meeting with Vice President Biden and voters for a special edition of "20/20" that airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Have a great day.