A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 26, 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.
ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Emerging from quarantine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're not out of the woods yet.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Some states start to reopen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We will allow gyms, bowling alleys to reopen their doors.
GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R-SC): People want to work. They need to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Others extend stay-at-home orders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): The overarching message today is still the same.
GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): I'm asking you to hold on for just a little while longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Amid crippling unemployment, more protests. Are some states moving too fast?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The game isn't over, which means the game could be just at halftime.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: What more must Congress do?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Congress must prepare another major bill.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Think about the amount of debt that we're adding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And President Trump steps back from press briefings after floating this dangerous idea:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.
And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Our guests this week, Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, plus White House senior adviser Kevin Hassett, and Senator Amy Klobuchar on the economic response, and our powerhouse roundtable.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
As we come on the air this week, the number of cases in America is closing in on a million. At least 53,000 Americans have died.
In the weeks since the first stay-at-home orders, more than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs, and officials across the country have been wrestling with the dilemma of our time, how to contain the public health emergency without crushing the economy.
This week, states like Georgia and Oklahoma began to reopen for business. More will follow starting Monday, as others, like North Carolina, Connecticut and Michigan, extend their restrictions into May and beyond.
Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer has faced down protests over her stay-at-home order.
She joins us this morning from Lansing.
Good morning, Governor Whitmer. How are you today?
WHITMER: Good morning. Glad to be with you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, you've decided to extend your stay-at-home order until May 15, but eased up on some things, like boating and golfing.
How long do you expect the broader order to be in place? And what will it take to lift it?
WHITMER: Well, I've extended my order through May 15, with the acknowledgment that there may be adjustments that are necessary in the interim or to extend it as well again.
What we know is that we have to have robust testing. We have to have community tracing.
We've got to have a plan for isolation for people that do get tested positive for COVID-19 in the future, and, as we think about reengaging sectors of our economy, really analyzing the risk associated with a particular sector, scoring that risk, determining what protocols needs to be in place, and being really smart about taking a step forward, measuring, understanding what it's meant, before we take another step forward, or sometimes might have to take a step backward.
We've got to be nimble, and we have to follow the science and be really smart about how we reengage, because no one, no one, even if you're a protester, or you're the sitting governor, or you're on another side of the issue, we know that no one wants a second wave.
It would be devastating for the health of our people and for our economy. And so we've got to be really smart as we reengage.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, your legislature has now set up an oversight committee to oversee your actions.
Any concern that you've gone too far in any way with the stay-at-home restrictions?
I know that what we have done, the vast majority of people in Michigan agree with and have done the right thing. Because of that, what was looking to be just an astronomical increase and predictions with regard to how many people would lose their lives from COVID-19, we have flattened that curve because people are doing the right thing.
And people recognize the value of the order that I've issued.
We also know that, at the time, Michigan had the third highest death rate, the third highest number of positive COVID cases, and we are the 10th most populous state.
So, we had a unique issue here in Michigan. It was hitting us incredibly hard. And that's why we had to have a unique solution. Even though it was more aggressive than other states, we have started to really push down that curve, and we've saved lives in the process.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Detroit Democrats have censured one of your state representatives who credited -- credited President Trump with advocating that drug hydroxychloroquine.
And this, of course, comes on the heels of the president’s comments suggesting injecting disinfectants could kill the virus, something that should be investigated.
Was this censure of your state representative appropriate? And what’s been the impact of those disinfectant comments from the president?
WHITMER: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not getting involved in those maneuverings of what’s happening there. I can just say this, that it’s really important we get this right. We need to listen to experts and to doctors. You know, I know this state rep. accredits hydroxychloroquine with her success with COVID-19, but I do also know that the medical professionals are saying that that’s not the case. We should not make that assumption.
All I know is this, when the person with the most powerful position on the planet is encouraging people to think about disinfectants, whether it was serious or not, people listen. And so we have seen an increase in numbers of people calling poison control and so I think it’s really important that everyone us with a platform disseminate medically accurate information. And I want to say, unequivocally no one should be using disinfectant -- to digest it to fight COVID-19. Please don’t do it. Just don’t do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The next battleground in Congress is going to be over aid to states. I know you have about -- you projected about a $3 billion hole in your state budget coming out of this crisis. You’ve heard Senator McConnell, the leader -- the Republican leader in the Senate, suggest that some states should consider bankruptcy. Is default an option for the state of Michigan?
WHITMER: No. And it’s outrageous for Senator McConnell to even suggest that. The fact of the matter is, our general fund budget when adjusted for the inflation is the same size it was during -- when Richard Nixon was our president. We have been incredibly smart stewards. We have not made some of the investments I think we should have as a state because of this artificially low number that we’ve been working with.
But the fact of the matter is that for Senator McConnell to suggest that is incredibly dangerous. And I don’t think that the vast majority of governors in this country, Republican and Democratic, would agree with him. He’s wrong. And we need Congress to step up and help states. Because this pandemic -- it’s because of this global pandemic that we are all having to make tough decisions. We need the federal government to have our backs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally Governor Whitmer, we’ve got an election, as you know, coming up in November. What steps are you taking in your state to ensure that voters can go to the polls in a safe manner?
WHITMER: Well we’re encouraging people to vote by mail. Michigan’s made great strides in terms of that ability just in the last couple of years. The people of our state said we want that right and so we amended our Constitution. We’re really going to encourage everyone who can vote by mail to do that.
We can’t put off an election because of a pandemic, but we can take the appropriate steps to keep people safe so that they can exercise their right in this country of ours and stay safe in doing it. We don’t want people to come out and congregate anywhere right now, much less for the foreseeable future, and so everything we can do to encourage vote by mail is absolutely the most important thing we can do and that’s what we’re doing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Whitmer thanks for your time this morning.
WHITMER: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get a Republican perspective now from the chair of the National Governor's Association Larry Hogan of Maryland. Governor Hogan, thank you for joining us this morning.
I know that yesterday was the deadliest day yet in Maryland, do you still expect to begin the first phase of reopening in early May?
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Well, I laid out a plan yesterday that was very well thought out. First of all, Wednesday we put out -- as chairman of the National Governor's Association, we put out a road map and a guideline for all the other governors across America about things that they ought to consider. Yesterday, I launched our kind of road map to recovery for the state of Maryland which incorporated some of those things that we put in the National Governors Association plan. It took the input from some really the top epidemiologists and scientists here in Maryland from Johns Hopkins and from Scott Gottlieb who is the former FDA commissioner from AEI report and from a Hopkins report.
It's a very well thought out. And we're watching certain metrics and looking at a pattern of numbers before we make any kind of decisions. Everything is going to be based on the numbers and the science. We're not going to do anything that's going to put anybody in more dangers.
I want to get our economy back opened just as soon as we can, but I want to do so in a safe way so we don't have a spike, we don't cause more deaths, or an overloading of our health care system.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As chair of the NGA, are you concerned that any of those others states we're seeing now open, like Georgia and Oklahoma, that they're moving too fast?
HOGAN: So the president made it clear that, you know, the governors were going to be making their own decisions based on the facts on the ground, in their own states, and that's exactly what they are doing. Certain states are in different points of the curve and they've got different situations on the ground, and I don't want to second guess my colleagues in different states. I’m not really that familiar with everything that's going on in every state because I’m so focused on what's going on here in my state and my region.
But I think, you know, various governors are making decisions based on what they think is best for their state.
I’m going to be very cautious. We're going to make decisions on science. We're going to do things together as a region here in the Washington Metropolitan Area where -- with Virginia and D.C., where quite frankly we’re -- while we have some encouraging numbers on hospitalizations and ICU, which are leveling off, we're still going up with respect to the number of cases and the number of deaths.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On Friday, your emergency management agency put out an alert to the citizens of Maryland making sure that they did not ingest or inject disinfectants after the president's comments and the president came out that day and had this to say about his comments.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside, but it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in the form of a sarcastic question to the reporters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Many of your citizens didn't see it as sarcasm. Is that how you took it?
HOGAN: Well, look, I have -- I think it's really important. This has been important to me from day one about communicating very clearly on the facts because people listen to these press conferences. They listen when the governor holds a press conference and they certainly pay attention when the president of the United States is standing there giving a press conference about something as serious as this worldwide pandemic.
And I think when misinformation comes out or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message. We had hundreds of calls come into our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it was -- if it was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol cleaning products, whether that was going to help them fight the virus. So, we had to put out that warning to make sure that people were not doing something like that which would kill people actually to do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you explain something like that?
HOGAN: You know, I can't really explain it, George. I just think -- look, I think there -- the president's got to focus on the message, stick to a message and make sure that these press conferences are fact-based. I think other people in the administration have been trying to make that clear to him as well.
We saw a different kind of a press conference yesterday which I think may be showing that there's going to be a different trend in the future.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also saw this week Senator McConnell make those comments about states considering bankruptcy. You heard what Governor Whitmer had to say about that. She considered it just a dangerous idea, completely rejected it off the table.
You said that Senator McConnell is going to reject it. Is it indeed off the table, this idea of states going into bankruptcy?
HOGAN: So, the National Governors Association for over a month has been pushing -- this is a very bipartisan effort to get money in the fourth stimulus package, to give $500 billion to the states.
So we're on the front lines. We've taken all these actions. We've got to provide these necessary services to help people get back on their feet. It's critical to the rebounding of our economy.
And we've talked with people in both Houses, both Republicans and Democrats. It was very close to happening in this 3.5. Senator McConnell blocked it.
We have a commitment from the president and the vice president and there's bipartisan legislation in the Senate to do something to help support the states. I just said, I thought Mitch McConnell probably would regret making those -- that comment the other day. I think it just slipped out, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to convince Senator McConnell to go along with the bipartisan bill in the Senate and the administration's commitment to help the states in that final stimulus package.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally -- finally, Governor, your state has put off the presidential primary voting until June 2nd and you're encouraging people to vote by mail in the primaries. Are you making (ph) -- giving that same guidance to the citizens of Maryland for the general election in November as well, vote by mail?
HOGAN: So we had an early -- we had an April primary and one of the first executive orders I signed was to postpone that until June and to make that a by mail primary. We have a couple of precincts open, one in each county to allow for special folks, for people that are disabled and blind voters, for example, and people that didn't have a fixed address, but almost completely by mail.
And our state board of elections is taking a look at that for the general election as well just to see -- well, we're going to see how this thing goes in June. And then we have several months to be able to prepare for that November election. But hopefully it will work out well. We want to make sure every single vote is countdown and we want to make sure that our citizens are safe while they're -- while they're exercising that right to vote.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Hogan, thanks for your time this morning.
HOGAN: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Up next, a closer look at the economic fallout and what it will take to contain it with the president's economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, and Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (AUDIO GAP) has identified a case of coronavirus in Washington state, the Wuhan strain of this. If you remember SARS, that affected GDP, travel-related effects. Do you -- have you been briefed by the CDC?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?
TRUMP: No, not at all. And we’re -- we have it under control. It's one person coming in from China. And we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump at the World Economic Forum back in January.
We're now joined by one of his senior economic advisers. Kevin Hassett joins us from the White House this morning.
Kevin, thank you for joining us this morning.
KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about where the economy is right now, taking such a deep hit, more than 26 million Americans filing for jobless claims.
The president this week was talking about a possible V-shaped recovery, short sharp recovery, as early as this summer. Is that what you're seeing right now?
HASSETT: I think a lot of it's going to depend on what happens next. You know, what we've done with the previous legislation is that we've built a bridge to sort of hopefully the other side of the disease, but then we have to make sure that we have what it takes to prosper. I think that, you know, Senator Klobuchar who's coming on I guess after me, she's got ideas about what should happen and Republicans have ideas.
And I’m sure that over the next three or four weeks, everybody's going to pull together and come up with a plan to give us the best chance possible for a V-shaped recovery.
HASSETT: But make no mistake: it's a really grave situation, George. This is the biggest negative shock that our economy, I think, has ever seen. We're going to be looking at an unemployment rate that approaches rates that we saw during the Great Depression.
During the Great Recession, remember that was a financial crisis around 2008, that we lost 8.7 million jobs and the whole thing. Right now, we're losing that many jobs about every ten days.
And so, the lift -- the economic lift for policymakers is an extraordinary one. And the last thing -- I promise not to filibuster -- I’ve been incredibly pleased to see how much -- you know, I know it's been a pretty nasty time in Washington, how much people have pulled together to get things to happen fast. When President Obama was elected, it was middle of December when they started to have the stimulus bill discussions with Congress and it was the middle of February when they passed it.
We just did a major, major bill in a week, and that's because basically people care more about their country than the sort of nastiness in Washington that's covered on the news every day.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- and you're right, an extraordinary unprecedented crisis, extraordinary, unprecedented response. But you're starting to see that -- that bipartisan or nonpartisanship kind of fray right now, especially with those comments last week from Senator McConnell talking about a blue state bailout and states considering bankruptcy.
You heard what both Governor Hogan and Governor Whitmer had to say about that this morning. They considered it a dangerous idea. They're not considering it. They're saying they need aid.
Are they going to get it?
HASSETT: Well, first, there's already been quite a bit of aid, about $150 billion in the -- you know, previous round. The thing I can say is that, you know, I’m just an economist, but it feels like the Constitution doesn't really allow states to declare bankruptcy and so what's going to have to happen is they're going to have to work things out and the federal government is going to probably have to help them, too.
I know President Trump is open to negotiating in a bipartisan way as he has been in the previous bills to see, you know, what -- hear from Democrats, see what they want and then, you know, present them with his own ideas. But, you know, I think the state going bankrupt is something that's not really been anticipated by the Founders. And so I’m not sure exactly -- I didn't see the clip from Senator McConnell but I’m not sure exactly what he was talking about.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're right, the president has said he's open to more aid to the states and localities. The president has also talked about more infrastructure spending as well.
But one of the things you're starting to see in the Senate among Republican senators is more concern now about the debt. They're saying, listen, we have to -- we have to go slow here right now before we approve another package because the debt is climbing so high. Is that a concern of yours?
HASSETT: Oh, for sure. You know, I think the debt level in the U.S. has climbed up to the point where in the economics literature, we see that it can be a sort of long run negative for growth. And so, for me, I think that as we go into the next phase of legislation, we need to think about long run things that we can do to try to get ahead of the curve on debt.
So, for sure we need to do still some short run things but I think looking at long run changes that we can make to things to improve the debt situation, you know, that should be something that should be on the table.
As an economist, I can advise that. I’m not announcing a White House policy right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But invest what it takes now?
HASSETT: Yes, I’m just saying that look at long run changes that we can make to help sort of improve the long run budget situation while we're providing short run stimulus.
Again, you have to understand that this is an unprecedented shock to the economy, that we're going to be looking at second-quarter negative GDP growth that's probably north of minus 15, minus 20 percent.
It's the biggest negative shock that we have seen since the Second World War. And with that kind of an emergency, the good news is that we have got this bipartisan action that's built a bridge to the other side, but there's still going to be a heck of a lot of other problems that pop up.
The thing that I think -- we were talking about this in the White House on Friday -- that's most interesting is that we have got this black swan of this event where we have actually had to shut everything down.
And the interesting thing is that more or less because of the legislation that's been passed on a bipartisan basis, we haven't seen 50 other black swans, that it's been kind of -- the markets have been relatively stable, and the people are getting their money, and the firms aren't declaring bankruptcy at a rate that you might expect.
And so I think that the we have so far kind of dodged a bullet with that. And it means that I think markets are hopeful that we could get the V-shaped recovery that the president is hoping for.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there does...
HASSETT: But I, again, don't think you get it if we don't have another round of really solid legislation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- but you mentioned the markets.
There does seem to be a bit of a disconnect between what we're hearing on the ground from people about the state of the economy right now -- and you just talked about it as well -- and the fact that the market doesn't appear to be all that far off of its all-time highs back in February.
Is it -- is it accurately gauging the damage out there? And should Americans expect that we're going to be any -- anywhere close to a new normal anytime soon?
Well, I think that's the hope. And that's why -- if you look at the data, the thing -- one of the things that really jumps out at me is that the economic harm from the shutdown is spread pretty much uniformly across the country.
Initial claims are actually the worst of any state in Hawaii. And it makes sense, because the travel industry is so important to that state.
But that damage to the economy is uniform, but the disease is sort of allocated across the country in pockets. And so what it means is that the decision by the president to sort of tell everybody to slow down at the state level and to shelter in place and so on had a really, really big collective effect, and now that the states are starting to open up, hopefully, following the guidelines of Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci, that we can maybe start to get back to normal.
And I think you're right that markets look like they expect that we will get back to normal quickly. And, God willing, that's what happens.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Kevin Hassett, thanks for your time this morning.
HASSETT: Thanks, George. Great to be here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's bring in Senator Amy Klobuchar now from Minnesota.
Senator Klobuchar, thank you for joining us this morning.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's start out there with the state of the economy right now.
What are you seeing in Minnesota? I know your governor has started to open the state over the last couple of days, relax some of the guidelines.
Number one, do you support that? And, number two, do you see Minnesota emerging from the damage relatively quickly?
KLOBUCHAR: I support what our governor is doing. He's been very careful and listened to the doctors and the scientists.
And we are still under a stay-at-home order. But what's been going on is that, for quite a while, he's had garden stores open and home -- home repair stores open, hunting and fishing. And that's been a positive thing for our state.
But, like every state in the country, George, we are suffering from one important thing, and that is a lack of national strategy. You know, we can tune out this president's rants about chugging bleach, but we can't tune out the fact that we have a lack of protective equipment, that we do not have enough testing, that there is an absence of national leadership.
And so I enjoyed hearing Kevin, in that he did acknowledge the seriousness of this, but what he didn't bring up was the testing. We need to be able to test people at double the rate, so that our meatpacking plants in Minnesota, the food processing plants in Minnesota and in the Midwest are able to reopen.
We're going to have trouble with our food supply chain, George. We're going to have trouble in rural America.
And when I walk around my neighborhood, just like everyone else, you see boarded-up businesses. Those are people's hopes and dreams. And that's why Democrats have pushed hard for the testing as a key element to opening up this economy. And it should have happened months ago.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it's pretty clear, though, Senator, that you are going to have a rougher road, that, at least in the -- at the front end of this, it doesn't look like you're going to have the same kind of bipartisanship as you all consider this next stimulus package, which would include state and local government funding.
Presumably, Democrats have been pushing for more testing funding as well. It looks like this has slowed down.
Do you still expect the kind of bipartisan cooperation we have seen in the first few packages?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, there has to be some.
But, in each package, you saw the Democratic Party pushing for the testing, pushing for hospitals, pushing at Mitch McConnell, and just refusing to agree to something that just helped certain people and not the rest of this country. I think you're going to see that again.
And then I also think you see this long term. I just keep focusing on this lack of leadership in the president, because of the fact that when you look back in history -- and you're a student of history. Out of the Great Depression, because of the leadership of Roosevelt, we got Social Security and a safety net and long-term changes. Out of the embarrassment of Russia and Sputnik, what happened when John F. Kennedy was president, he got America to rally and to get the education we needed to put a man on the moon.
Well, this is this moment. So, you need to put someone in the White House -- you know I've supported Vice President Biden and am excited about his candidacy -- you need to put someone in the White House that's going to have that long-term vision and isn't going to spend day after day dividing people.
So I look at the short term, let's get the money out there for state and local governments, and then let's look at the long term of how we're going to make a steady economy so we can once again lead in the world. And we're not going to do it with this president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: you mentioned Vice President Biden, he suggested this week that President Trump might try to some way hold back the election, delay the election. I know he's concerned about that. Do you know why he's concerned? Election day is set by congress, not the president.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think he's concerned because of what's been going on in some of the states and how the president pushes some of these governors. And he's concerned because of what just happened in Wisconsin.
So let's look at it, while President Trump was in the White House ordering a mail-in ballot to vote at home in the luxury of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in his slippers -- I don't know if he had on slippers, but that's my image -- people in Wisconsin are standing in garbage bags with masks on their face getting off of work at hospitals, standing in line having to choose between their health and their right to vote. And now nearly 20 of them are sick, including a poll, worker of the Coronavirus. We can't let that happen in November.
You heard Republican Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland just say he wants to go to vote by mail, so do a number of Republicans across the country. That's why Ron Wyden and I are pushing for our bill with the support of Michelle Obama, the civil rights groups, to keep pushing to make sure that we have both vote by mail and early voting as well as voting that day so we have a whole new generation of poll workers.
It's actually a really exciting thing to work on, George, it's about our very democracy. People can't lose their right to vote.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump's campaign manager said he thinks Minnesota could be in play and could go for the president in November. Is Minnesota in play?
KLOBUCHAR: I don't believe so, not if I have anything to do with it.
I look at the fact that Minnesotans are hard working, practical group, and this president, the way every day he rants and raves from the bully pulpit of that White House while we see hard working people going to work in our hospitals every day risking their lives, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
I was just as part of Vice President Biden's Soul of the Nation, we did public service yesterday, and I was at one of our food banks where you see people in line waiting for food and volunteers out there, young people.
No, I don't think Minnesota is in play because we want a real leader in the White House, and I am -- you know, the whole Midwest, when you look at what's happening with our biofuel plants, with our commodities, with what's happening with our poultry, this is not a good situation, and the president, in my mind, has never done enough when it comes to rural America, and now as they would say, the chickens coming home to roost and you have seen some real problems with people having to kill their chickens literally, because of what is going on right now with our rural economy.
And you're seeing Coronavirus come here, not enough ventilators, not enough hospitals, and we're going to have to really focus on rural America in the months to come.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Klobuchar, thanks for your time this morning.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, George. It was great to be on. And I'm glad you're feeling better and your wife is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Take care. Thanks very much. Glad John is feeling better as well. Roundtable is up next. We'll be right back.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Roundtable is standing by and ready to go.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you are going to test it. And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.
And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number in the lungs. It will be interesting to check that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Dr. Birx doing everything she could there to control her facial expressions, didn't say much after those comments from President Trump. We are going to talk about it now on our roundtable with our chief political analyst Matthew Dowd, Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Open Society Foundations who served as political director and ambassador to South Africa for Barack Obama, our chief congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, and our chief White House correspondent Jon Karl, out with a new bestseller three weeks in a row called, "Front Row at the Trump Show."
And, Jon, let me begin with you because you were front row at the Trump show at the press conferences all through this coronavirus crisis, and it did appear that those comments from the president on Thursday talking about injecting, investigating injecting disinfectant, ingesting disinfectant, seemed to be a tipping point in this crisis.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it did set the White House back on its heels. You saw it in the shifting explanations, what happened at first. Actually, later in that press conference, the president denied he said those words. The next day, the press secretary said he was taken out of context.
Then the president said that he was talking sarcastically and simply asking a sarcastic question of the reporters in the room. As you can see, all of those explanations were wrong. He did say it. He was not talking sarcastically and he was very clearly looking at his own experts off to the side when he said that.
That said, George, the president wasn't telling the public to go out and try injecting bleach or anything like that. He was throwing out possible ideas to investigations, but the remarks caught his team by surprise and convinced many of them that this really is time to scale back these briefings.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Matthew Dowd, to even suggest that this is something that needs investigation is, I think, what caught -- what took most people by surprise.
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this president, I think, has two fundamental flaws in regards to leadership in the time of crisis and this is just an example of this. Every time the president seems to do something thoughtful and reasonable, he scores an own goal on himself either in a tweet or something like last week that he said.
But, fundamentally, the president has mistaken that he thinks style is more than substance and leadership at this point you need more substance, and the second thing which I think the president should have done from the very beginning, the problem isn't the press conference. The problem is the president's conduct at the press conferences.
And he should know that if you highlight people and let them take the lead who know more than you, let them run the show, Dr. Birx or Dr. Fauci, introduce them and allow them to conduct these, he would be much better off politically and our country would be much better off through this health crisis.
And it's just a fundamental leadership problem. He is unwilling to give up that limelight, except now he seems willing to give up the limelight because he scored on himself.
PATRICK GASPARD, PRESIDENT, OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: But there are so many things that are --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mary Bruce, we didn't hear a lot -- go ahead, Patrick.
GASPARD: I was just saying, there are so many things that are happening there. This is not just a failing of President Trump.
Those of us who have worked in the White House understand that what is said at that podium really matters and the governor of Maryland reported that hundreds of calls flooded their lines about whether or not these disinfectants could work on COVID. But there's another utter (ph) defection of leadership there. While all of us are sheltering at home, Dr. Birx is sheltering in silence there in that moment.
I know Dr. Birx. I served with Dr. Birx, when I saw her speaking truth to power and saving lives in Africa and elsewhere in her leadership on HIV and AIDS. But she has to appreciate that her silence there is a damnable silence.
Matthew said that the president should reflect to his experts. Those experts have failed in this response. Not only do we have the silence of Dr. Birx in that moment, but, for the last many weeks now, Dr. Birx has given us charts not backed up with clear data that's shared.
There's no national strategy on testing. It's every state for themselves.
So, there's utter failure across the board. And GOP leadership is also failing in its silence here. They don't speak up when American lives are imperiled. They seem to speak up when the polling shows that their seats are Imperiled.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Mary Bruce, that's what I was going to bring to you.
You saw again silence from at least Republican senators on this -- on this question, not all the governors. And this is coming as we have this other struggle that we have just been talking about with the governors and Senator Klobuchar and Kevin Hassett earlier in the show.
It appears that the bipartisanship we have seen on these first few recovery packages is starting to fray at the edges, and you're starting to see a harder line from Senate Republicans against new spending right now.
MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of that bipartisanship that we have seen so far seems to be going out the window.
And we are seeing a real split right now, especially within the Republican Party itself, about what should come next here. So far, you are seeing some Republicans on the Hill and the Trump administration seeming to suggest they want more spending, that they know that you're going to have to have another massive spending bill sometime soon.
And yet you're hearing from Republican leaders, like Mitch McConnell, that it's time to hit the brakes.
Look, so far, a lot of concerns about the debt and the deficit have been put aside, as they have passed nearly $3 trillion worth of spending, because the need has simply been so great.
Now I think you're seeing a lot of Republicans concerned that, if they continue to spend at this pace, that it could hurt them with their base, that it could hurt them among fiscal conservatives come November.
And it's why you're going to see this question about aid to the states becoming such a huge flash point. I think it's likely part of the reason that you may have seen Mitch McConnell come out and suggest that states shouldn't get a federal bailout, that they should be getting -- instead looking into possibly declaring bankruptcy.
As we heard this morning, that got -- that got a lot of pushback from governors on both sides of the aisle. And it is getting some pushback on Capitol Hill as well. You have some Republican members who are saying they want to see near $500 billion provided to states. Democrats want up to $700 billion.
George, Republican leadership is resisting. We are going to now start to see another big fight on Capitol Hill.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- but, Jon Karl, this seems to be one of those places where President Trump is going to be at odds with at least his base in the Senate.
He sure seems to be on the path of, spend whatever it takes now.
KARL: He's never been particularly concerned about deficits, either in his career as a real estate developer or his career as a politician.
My sense is, his attitude is, let's get as much money out there. He wants to inject this economy with as much stimulus as it is can possibly -- as he can possibly do, because he knows that this is a big factor in his election.
And this has been the case all along, George. I think that what has driven largely the bipartisan agreement is that the president has made it very clear that he's willing to spend whatever needs to be spent -- whatever needs to be spent.
And, for now, Republicans have gone along with it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Patrick Gaspard, though, you have been especially concerned at the Open Societies Foundations with workers who are still falling through the cracks, despite this massive several trillion dollars in spending.
GASPARD: We have been, George.
It's been interesting -- it was interesting to see the president's economic adviser on earlier. And he said to you that the damage has been even, the economic damage has been even across the states.
That's absolutely not true. We know that women have been particularly vulnerable. We know that communities of color have been vulnerable. And if you're a worker in states like Florida, where the unemployment system has been gamed against you for many years, it's next to near impossible for you to get online, get benefits now.
So, at the Open Society Foundations, we have partnered with many in philanthropy, many cities, more than a dozen cities, where we have mayors and governors who are paying acute attention to those who are falling between the cracks, whether they're domestic workers, migrant workers, where the agricultural economy has been devastated, those who are working in factories, and many average Americans who have played by the rules, and now, when they need their government, they just can't get food.
They can't get protective equipment for their work, and they certainly can't get unemployment benefits. So we've managed to cede a bit some efforts of direct relief, but it's nowhere near what's needed from government.
And I just want to say that while it may be true that President Trump is not concerned about deficits, we all need to be concerned about where these resources are going. We're seeing now in this moment that over $170 billion in additional tax relief is going to the richest Americans now while young people are struggling to make ends meet and families are living not from paycheck to paycheck, but from paycheck to no paycheck. So tougher questions have to be asked about the administration of those benefits.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew Dowd, this has all happened so quickly, all over the course of about five or six weeks. And it does seem that the country is only beginning to come to grips with what this is going to mean for our government, for our society, for our politics, not only in the coming year, this election year, but for years to come.
DOWD: George, I think this is -- this is a long-term fundamental change in American life and in world life. I mean, think about where we were in two months ago, in February, long before we even were starting the spring. We're in a much different place.
I don't think as states begin to open up, we're going to go back to any sort of old normal, we're going to be in a whole different place. I think how people associate will change. I think what's important in people's lives will change. I think what's important in what people want in leaders will fundamentally change and the importance of truth and the importance of facts, which we've had a debate about for three or four years I think gets even more highlighted on this.
So I don't think it just changes what happens in the summer or what happens in this fall. We're going to have a fundamental election at this point that we've never had before in the midst of a continued pandemic. No one expects it to go away by election day, but I think for years to come this is a huge change.
Think about the generation of folks that have grown up here, George, they've grown up with two wars. They've grown up with the Great Recession. They've grown up with a president that's been impeached and now they've grown up with this immense pandemic that's killing thousands of people and making thousands of people sick in this country. This is a generational, fundamental change in our society.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Jon Karl, it does seem that the president and his team are only beginning to come to grips with what this does mean for his re-election prospects. They're dealing now with should the press briefings continue. That's one question, but basically the entire rationale he had two months ago has just been decimated by this Coronavirus.
KARL: Absolutely. He was running on the economy. And now what he's trying out is we've built the greatest economy in history, now we can build it again.
But George, they are looking at the polling and obviously it's early to be talking about general election polling, but it's pretty devastating. Fox News had a new polling out that showed the president down significantly in Pennsylvania, and even down in Florida other polling has shown him down in all those other key battleground states that he won last time around.
He watches that more closely than anybody and they're looking -- you saw some of the frustration come out earlier this week when he talked about how the other guy, meaning Joe Biden, the president said is in his basement not facing any questions. I think there's real frustration and real worry on the part of the Trump team about this campaign.
GASPARD: And Jon, to stick to your point...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Mary Bruce, For the first time over the last few weeks you've seen -- hold on one second, Patrick, let me bring this to Mary and then come to you. Because you're starting to see both Republicans and Democrats now on Capitol Hill talk about the possibility that the senate, that the Republican senate majority, may actually be something that can be challenged.
BRUCE: Yeah. There's certainly anxiety amongst Republicans that the president and the way that he is handling this is doing himself more harm than good and that that could trickle down and potentially put Republican candidates at a huge risk.
Look, I've talked to Republicans who fear that the two are intrinsically linked, that if you are a candidate who ties himself closely to the president that you could be in some danger here. And the party seems to be acutely aware of that. We have seen now reports of this memo going out to Republican candidates essentially encouraging them not to discuss the president's response to the virus. They are being told instead not to defend the president's response but essentially to pivot, to talk instead about China, to blame China, to say that China tried to cover this up, that that has hindered the president's ability to respond.
And you are hearing a lot of optimism from Democrats that I have talked with. You certainly are seeing a shift in some key states and a surge of cash going to a lot of Democrats in key states like Arizona, North Carolina, Maine, Colorado. So democrats are feeling optimistic.
But, George, so much, of course, depends on the state of the economy and the state of the recovery come November.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Patrick Gaspard.
PATRICK GASPARD, PRESIDENT. OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: So, Jon was making a really important point about the states that are shifting and the anxiety that we're seeing amongst Republicans. Think about this for a second. Right now Joe Biden is polling better amongst seniors than any Democrat has since Al Gore in 2000. That has real consequences, not just in Florida, but also in Arizona and Wisconsin as well.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won 20 states. Right now, Donald Trump is not positioned to take back any of the Hillary states whatsoever and he's down double digits in recent polling in Michigan and in Pennsylvania.
So all that Biden has to do, beyond Michigan and Pennsylvania, is take one of those other states. And right now he's -- not only is he positioned to do that, but Republicans are on their heels in the Senate and they can forget about making any gains in the House, where all their candidates are trailing in fundraising and running around trying to defend the disinfectant injection comments.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew --
MATT DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: George --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Matthew Dowd, of course you served in President George W. Bush's campaign. I don't know if you can do this, but I'm going to ask you to. Given what Patrick just said, what we just heard from Mary and Jon, if President Trump called you up for advice and said, what do I need to do to stay in this race and win re-election, what's the number one piece of advice you'd give him?
DOWD: I mean the first thing I'd say is handle this crisis well. Replace some of the people that are in -- that are doing -- making decisions. Change how you're adapting this because the way you handle this crisis, both economically and health-wise, is going to determine your re-election more than anything else. It's a long way to November. Much can change. But he has to handle this crisis in order to preserve his re-election chances.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all very much, with our new-fangled roundtable here during this pandemic.
We'll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT," and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."