'This Week' Transcript 5-21-23: Rep. Jodey Arrington and Sen. Chris Van Hollen

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, May 21.

ByABC News
May 21, 2023, 9:18 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, May 21, 2023 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.





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now it’s time for the other side to move from their extreme positions.

RADDATZ: Breaking this morning, President Biden wraps up his Asia trip, now headed back to Washington, with the country nearing economic default.

BIDEN: Much of what they’ve already proposed is, quite frankly, unacceptable.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don’t think we’re going to be able to move forward until the president can get back in the country.

RADDATZ: Can they strike a deal before the Treasury runs out of money?

Our guests this morning, House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Enduring grief.

KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: There’s just a before and after. I don't know who I am anymore.

RADDATZ: One year since the horrific Uvalde school shooting, a community still morning, a nation reeling from endless gun violence.

GARNELL WHITFIELD JR., LOST MOTHER IN BUFFALO SHOOTING: We constantly have to be reminded of what happened.

RADDATZ: Our emotional conversation on the lasting toll of America's gun epidemic.

The presidential race expands.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We’ve got more to do. I have only begun to fight.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I'm serious about representing all America.

RADDATZ: Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott expected to announce their White House bids next week, but can they topple Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Our powerhouse roundtable covers all the week’s politics.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK. Here now, Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.

President Biden has just wrapped a press conference capping his trip to Japan for the G-7 summit. After four days of meetings with world leaders on global challenges, the president turned his focus back to the looming debt crisis. Intense negotiations in Washington that now seem further apart than ever. Talks with Republican leaders broke down over the weekend just 11 days until the Treasury runs out of money to pay its bills. As he prepares to talk to directly to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy this morning, Biden made clear that if Democrats are willing to cut spending, Republicans should also be prepared to compromise.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is times for Republicans to accept that there’s no bipartisan deal to be made solely -- solely on their partisan terms. America has never defaulted. Never defaulted on our debt. And it never will.


RADDATZ: Senior national correspondent Terry Moran was at the press conference and joins us now from Japan. And, Terry, that was quite a press conference.

TERRY MORAN, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It sure was, Martha. President Biden called this summit, quote, extremely significant and important, but there's no question that his time here was constantly shadowed by the debt limit crisis back home. And as those negotiations in Washington have hit the wall, the president really upped the ante here today in Japan. He declared, at his press conference, that since he’s compromised by agreeing to cut and cap some spending, now it is the Republicans' turn to move.

And it was definitely just a harder tone, much harder from President Biden on this. He said Republicans need to move from their, quote, extreme positions, and that what they’ve proposed is simply, frankly, unacceptable. He also said he does believe he has the authority under the 14th Amendment to follow that amendment's command that, quote, the national debt shall not be questioned, and borrow money without congressional approval, but he said he thought the country could still go into default while the issue was appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, where he’d likely lose. And he said ominously almost that he couldn’t guarantee that the country would default if the other side does something outrageous. All in all, it was quite a press conference and one that will probably rattle the markets a bit.

RADDATZ: Probably will, Terry.

And, Terry, the president also endorsing that plan for Ukraine to eventually get F-16 fighter jets. That’s really a sharp reversal from just a few months ago.

MORAN: It really is, Martha. Four months the president said that he didn’t believe and his military didn’t believe that the Ukrainians needed the F-16s. But several European allies came out publicly supporting the idea Zelenskyy has called for, and so the president has relented.

Although, there are strings attached here. What he agreed to is to allow Ukrainian pilots to be trained how to fight the F-16 at some point. He said that training could take months. And, in the end, the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said, the United States still has final approval on when those jets might be delivered and how many Ukraine would get.


RADDATZ: Thanks so much. Terry Moran in Japan.

And joining us now is Congressman Jodey Arrington of Texas, chair of the Budget Committee.

Good morning, Congressman.

You heard what the president said, that the proposal you have put forward is unacceptable, citing tax breaks for big oil, cuts in health care. Your reaction?

REP JODEY ARRINGTON, CHAIR, BUDGET COMMITTEE & (R) TEXAS: Well, my reaction is, the president’s had almost 100 days without engaging the process now. He’s – his back is against the wall. We have one proposal that has passed the House. Nobody else has put a proposal on the table. So, he needs to respond to that proposal and now he’s, I believe, just making more excuses not to negotiate a responsible debt ceiling deal that will raise the debt ceiling, pay our bills, protect the good faith and credit of the United States, but also deal with the spending problem that’s driving the inflation crisis and some of the economic woes that we’re experiencing, along with just this massive and unsustainable debt that we’re carrying as a country.

So, I hope he changes his tune and I hope in his conversation with Speaker McCarthy that it’s more productive and more focused, again, on the one proposal that has passed -- Republicans put forward and passed out of the House.

RADDATZ: Well, the president said he’s willing to cut spending by more than a trillion dollars. He said that this morning. But he also wants Republicans to consider raising revenue. That has been a non-starter for Republicans. But will you reconsider?

ARRINGTON: No, because you couldn’t get tax policies and tax revenues in the Senate bill. We certainly weren’t going to put it in the House bill. So, number one, it’s not on the table for discussion. Number two, taxes right now would only be passed onto consumers in higher prices. So, we would exacerbate inflation.

And our – our economy is growing now at just 1.1 percent GDP. That’s down over the last three quarters. We’re heading into recession. The last thing we want to do is add another tax. The president and Democrats passed out of the IRA, the Inflation Reduction Act, taxes on businesses, taxes on energy, taxes on investment. This is not the time to put a tax on our economy or on working families. The president, again, needs to deal with the proposal that passed the House.

And our country is spending at war-time levels, Martha. Almost 25 percent relative to GDP. We haven’t spent that much since we invaded Normandy. I think the American people understand that the cost of living crisis that they’re suffering with is as a result of spending, not because we have low taxes. The fact is, we have record taxes going into Covid and we had another record tax revenue year in 2021.

RADDATZ: The White House sources familiar with the negotiations are telling our Rachel Scott, the latest proposal would keep non-defense and defense discretionary spending flat from 2023 to 2024 and the Republicans want to increase defense spending. That’s despite 45 billion more than President Biden had proposed last time.

ARRINGTON: Well, let’s give some context to the discretionary budget. Our federal government is 40 percent bigger today than it was going into Covid. Secondly, the – the president was the lead negotiator in 2011 for a 10-year spending cap deal and he was doing that in the context of a debt ceiling negotiation. So, this isn’t unprecedented. Even the president’s own budget, if you look at his 10-year budget resolution proposal that he introduced about a month ago, he has $2.7 trillion in discretionary cuts. If you annualize that, that’s over $200 billion a year. We’re talking about going back to $130 billion. That’s what we were spending as a nation, discretionary, just six months ago.

So, this is more than reasonable, but we have to get back to pre-Covid, pre-inflationary spending. We’ve got to right size and reign in this bureaucratic bloat that we’ve pulled out of Covid and that – and we’ve got to deal with that legacy and efficiency.

RADDATZ: Congressman, the president said he can’t guarantee that Republicans won’t force a default. Could Republicans let that happen?

ARRINGTON: Martha, I would suggest that Republicans won’t let it happen because we passed a debt ceiling proposal that raises the debt ceiling, and it does it responsibly. And we are the only chamber, we are only -- the only part of this tri-part negotiation that’s actually done its job.

The president has to respond. He has not submitted a single proposal, and the fact is, he hasn’t engaged the process in over three months. And Chuck Schumer in the Senate hasn’t put a single dollar amount, not even an alternative proposal with alternative spending reduction.

RADDATZ: So, Congressman --

ARRINGTON: And he knows he can’t pass a clean debt ceiling.

RADDATZ: Congressman, obviously, they would disagree with you on that.

So, how confident are you that America will not default?

ARRINGTON: Well, we listened to Janet Yellen and her warning that we needed to move with urgency and purpose, and we did. And the House Republicans did it.

The question is, will President Biden listen to Janet Yellen, his own secretary, and with the window closing, on the X date, the default date, and respond?

We’ve done our job. The president and the Senate hasn’t put a single job or two (ph) on paper. Not a counteroffer. Not their own proposal.

So, I -- if there’s -- if we get close to the date, to the default date, and if there’s any impact on the markets, it’s because this president and Chuck Schumer have been more interested in posturing on the debt ceiling than rolling up their sleeves and working with Republicans to negotiate a final deal.

RADDATZ: Okay. Thanks very much for joining us this morning.

ARRINGTON: Thank you, Martha.

RADDATZ: We are joined by Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Welcome. Quite a morning, quite a press conference. You heard Congressman Arrington. What’s your reaction to what he said and what the president said?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Well, it’s good to be with you, Martha.

We’re in an insane situation right now. I’ve heard what Congressman Arrington said. What we have right now is Speaker McCarthy and MAGA House Republicans saying that they are going to push the default detonator and blow up our economy if they don't get their way on their budget proposals. That would destroy the American economy.

What President Biden has said is we’ll talk about reasonable budget proposals. He’s put a trillion dollars of cuts on the table already. It’s not true that the president hasn’t put forward his own proposal. He put forward a budget, a very detailed budget with $3 trillion in deficit reduction by closing tax breaks for a very, very rich people and big corporations.

And Republicans won't accept one penny in deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes.

The farce of this whole thing is that under Donald Trump, we raised the debt ceiling three times, 40 percent of our national debt actually was accumulated during the four years of the Trump administration. And now, and now, they are not willing to talk about any revenue from the very wealthy people as part of this effort.

RADDATZ: And, of course, the president did talk about this -- that this morning. It’s the most public I’ve heard him talk about tax revenue.

Does that have to go hand in hand with spending cuts or is he saying that’s just something you should consider? Are those tied together? Because it’s clearly a non-starter for Republicans.

VAN HOLLEN: Sure. And that is the important points.

So, Republicans are saying if they don't get things their way, they're going to blow up the economy. That’s a very different position than what President Biden is saying.

President Biden is saying, look, let's sit down and find a reasonable way to reduce the deficit and debt. He put a trillion dollars of cuts on the table. But he is not saying if you don't do it my way, if you don't close these tax breaks for very rich people, I’m going to blow up the economy. And that’s the difference here.

So, you know, I’m extremely worried about where we are now. I think the markets are going to get shaky.

I think we need to move to plan B, which is what’s called a discharge petition in the House, which is where you have Republicans, we only need five, work together with all 213 Democrats to put together the kind of proposal that even about 30 Republicans we’re talking about as recently as May, which had the number of elements including cuts, but a number of other ingredients.

It seems to me we're going to have to move in that direction pretty soon.

RADDATZ: Plan B, Plan C -- the 14th Amendment that the president talked about, is that something you would consider still?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, let me just say, Plan A needs to be our focus for the next 48 hours. Plan B, which is a reasonable proposal, if Speaker McCarthy would just let the House work its will, we can have a discharge petition, we could get a majority in the House for a reasonable proposal to prevent default. Plan c would be the 14th Amendment. Look, my – my view is, the president should use all legal options out there. I think that is a legal option. But it’s not the preferred option because there’s a lot of uncertainty around that approach. It will be litigated.

RADDATZ: The president said that this morning. And – and as – as Congressman Arrington brought up, Janet Yellen actually said – told George Stephanopoulos that it could cause a constitutional crisis, so why even consider that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, the difference is, it – a – that option would be better than a default. The United States has never defaulted in its history. It would create a – a catastrophe in the economy. So, the 14th Amendment is not the preferred alternative. A lot of people predict that even if you go the route of the 14th Amendment you go into a recession, but if – if you default, we’re talking about depression. We’re talking about 18 million people out of work. We’re talking about interest rates going up. We’re talking about everything getting much more expensive for the American people. That is what Speaker McCarthy and the MAGA Republicans and Donald Trump are threatening if they don’t get their way.

RADDATZ: What happened here? They seemed pretty close. You heard Kevin McCarthy talking last week and praising the negotiators. What happened? What was the breakdown?

Once again, we’re in a situation where you’re saying it’s their fault. They say – they’re saying it’s your fault. How did this happen?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Martha, I've always been skeptical about this. We have a very weak speaker in Kevin McCarthy. We saw how many rounds of votes it took him to be elected speaker. He does not control his caucus. So, he cannot take back a reasonable proposal to his caucus and expect it to get the votes, especially when you have Donald Trump egging them on and saying, don’t give an inch, default, don’t give an inch. So, that’s what we’re facing right now.

I, again, want to emphasize a really important difference. It’s not just both sides saying this or that. The Democrats, President Biden, is not saying that if he doesn’t get his way on how we reduce the deficit over a period of time that he’s going to blow up the economy. That’s the difference. Speaker McCarthy and the MAGA Republicans are threatening to blow up the economy if we don’t do things exactly their way.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks for joining us this morning.

VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you.

RADDATZ: We all have our fingers crossed for sure.

Coming up, one year after the Uvalde school shooting, my emotional conversation with four people whose lives were changed by gun violence. Plus, our correspondence who have covered the Uvalde shooting all year.

We’ll be right back.



BIDEN: Another massacre, Uvalde, Texas, beautiful, innocent, second, third and fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witness what happened, see their friends, as if they're in a battlefield, for God's sake.


RADDATZ: This week marks one year since that horrific shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 young children and two teachers dead. ABC News has devoted the last year to covering the aftermath, and we will talk to our correspondents who were there from the beginning in a moment. But Uvalde is sadly just one incident among a blur of tragedy and gun violence in this country.

We gathered a group of survivors and family members to discuss their enduring grief and the courage it's taken to move on.

Emma Riddle is only 19 years old, and she has already survived two mass shootings, the first in 2021 at her high school in Oxford, Michigan, the second this February, when a gunman opened fire at Michigan State University.

EMMA RIDDLE, MASS SHOOTING SURVIVOR: When you go through this the first time, they tell you that, like, it's never going to happen again. You get through this, and you're done. But then you go through it again, and it just -- I think it completely ruins your sense of safety.

RADDATZ: Garnell Whitfield, Jr.'s 86-year-old mother, Ruth, was the oldest victim in last-year's shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, a hate crime targeting black shoppers.

GARNELL WHITFIELD, JR., SON OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: She was dark-skinned, beautiful, again, proud, strong, smartest person I've ever met. And she did not deserve to die in the manner in which she died.

RADDATZ: Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath's 17-year-old son Jordan was killed in 2012 by a man who shot at a car full of teens in a parking lot because he didn't like the loud music they were playing.

REP. LUCY MCBATH, (D) GEORGIA, MOTHER OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: He had this big infectious grin and this really hearty laugh, and I just loved the fact that Jordan really cared about people outside of him. And it's just, you know, hard every day, because he never got to fulfill his purpose. And there's not a day that goes by that I don't wonder, who would he be?

RADDATZ: And this is Kimberly Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was killed in the Uvalde shooting, one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. The loss of Lexi is still so fresh even a year later, Rubio talks about her daughter in the present tense.

KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: Lexi is my youngest daughter. She's a fourth grader. She is-- she's intelligent, competitive, driven, just a sweetheart. On that day, she received the good citizen award. I had no doubt that she would make a difference in this world, and it's my responsibility to make sure she still does.

RADDATZ: But for all of these survivors, no matter how long ago, the grief, the fear, is just below the surface. Riddle escaped two mass shooters, but it was the first that most affected her.

When it happened the first time at Oxford, where were you? Tell us that story.

RIDDLE: So we, kind of, all got information that, like, something had been happening in the school. So we barricaded the door with our stands and, like, chairs. We decided to evacuate after, like, I want to say a couple minutes. So (inaudible) the door, and we saw other students running. So at that point we decided, we should evacuate, too.

RADDATZ: What was it like being in there? I mean, that must have been terrifying.

RIDDLE: I was really worried about my friends and my family, you know, like -- sorry -- in that situation, you don't know where they are. I'm so sorry.

RADDATZ: Don't apologize. I think everybody here understands.

Riddle would later hear the full story of that day and feel the pain of losing four of her fellow students. But it was Riddle's description of those first moments of the shooting in Oxford that were especially agonizing for Kim Rubio to hear.

Her daughter Lexi and the other children at Robb Elementary School were terrorized by the gunman for some 80 minutes before police finally ended it.

RUBIO: Every time I listen to a survivor, I picture Lexi, and I wonder what she would say, how she would tell her story if she had survived. It's hard.

I can imagine that Lexi wanted me, and I wish I would have been with her. I wish I would have been able to comfort her, attempt to protect her or just gone with her.

RADDATZ: One year later, what kind of evolution have you gone through? What is your coping mechanism?

RUBIO: I’m a runner and running from my problems has been what I’ve been doing. I have not accepted my new reality. I don't like to think about -- I don’t like to think about a one-year mark.

I’ve really thrown myself into this space for a reason, and I want to make change. I want people to remember her, but it also keeps me busy.

RADDATZ: But week after week, shooting after shooting, all are forced to relive their own trauma.

Garnell, tell me your reaction to what has happened in the country.

GARNELL WHITFIELD JR., LOST MOTHER IN BUFFALO SHOOTING: Almost daily, there's another shooting somewhere in the country, another, you know, mass shooting somewhere, and we constantly have to be reminded of what happened. You feel the pain of those who are yet going through this.

RADDATZ: For Whitfield, change does not just mean legislation. It means a change of heart.

WHITFIELD: I take change happens in the hearts and minds of people. And so, having these conversations, being able to talk to people I think exposes our humanity, and one with the other, and that’s where change happens.

RADDATZ: It’s been more than a decade since she lost her son, but Congresswoman McBath is still fighting for change at the federal level. What do you want to happen?

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Assault weapons ban, federal background checks for all guns sales, federal red flag laws, child access prevention legislation, keeping guns out of hands of domestic abusers. I want to be able to know that everyone across America feels safe, feels safe, and they can live their lives fully without the fear of everyday gun violence.

RADDATZ: A life, say all of these survivors, uninterrupted by gun violence, something they hope the next generation can make happen.

EMMA RIDDLE, SURVIVOR OF TWO MASS SHOOTINGS: I think my generation is sick of it, like we’ve grown up in this. We’ve been doing like the drills since elementary school, like why do drills make you stop the problem?

RADDATZ: So where does your hope come from?

RUBIO: This new generation coming up, they’ve had enough. They also shouldn’t just fall on their shoulders. So many people have lost their lives.

We can see it everywhere. You just see pain everywhere. And it hasn’t reached the politicians yet. Not of all of them, but it’s definitely reached the people of America.


RADDATZ: We’re joined now by ABC News correspondents John Quinones and Mireya Villarreal, two correspondents on the ABC News team that stayed behind in Uvalde for a year after the tragedy there.

Thanks for joining us this morning, both of you.

You know, journalists often move on from story to story, I know both of you and certainly I have covered many mass shootings but you stayed. You rotated in and out. ABC News stayed.

Why, John?

JOHN QUINONES, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: It is totally unprecedented, you know? Usually, journalists go in for a few weeks and a big story like this, and then we pull out. Well, not this time. We knew that the magnitude of what went wrong at Robb Elementary was so huge that we had to devote more time and resources to it.

And so, we decided to open up an office there. She went there, Mireya, Maria Elena Salinas and I, and producers and crews, and we got folks to trust us. And only by doing were -- did they eventually open up their homes to us and more importantly open up their hearts.

RADDATZ: And, Mireya, you’d been in Uvalde just a few days before covering politics, and you were one of the first people on the scene afterwards.

MIREYA VILLARREAL, ABC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was -- it was really -- there's no other word but weird, how this all worked itself out.

We were covering immigration. We are recovering politics, a Texas election.

So we happen to be in the San Antonio area when we heard how this had happened or what was going on. We didn’t know what we were rushing to. We just knew we had to get there.

And as we drove into Uvalde, we're getting more and more details. But there was a point where we were on the scene and parents are coming to us and asking us if we know where their children are. It was so chaotic that they didn’t even know who were first responders, who were teachers, administrators.

And so, having those first interactions with these families and then continuing that relationship with them was very special but also really hard not just on me but on the crews that are with us in the field every day.

RADDATZ: And, John, both of you --


RADDATZ: -- are from Texas when you look at Uvalde and you know your own backgrounds, both of you.


RADDATZ: How does that affect?

QUINONES: We're both Latino, we both grew up in neighborhoods very similar to the neighborhoods around Robb Elementary, we speak Spanish, they speak Spanish there. We understand the culture, the customs, we know that often these folks can be withdrawn and shy and don't want to open up to just anyone. And it takes time. And that's why we devoted that time, we knew that maybe we should stop asking questions in that moment, because we would be back tomorrow and there would be a tomorrow for an entire year.

RADDATZ: Mireya, I know we separate, we look at things through -- through a journalistic lens. And yet there you are at this elementary school, you have a little boy at home school aged child, a mom. How did that impact you?

VILLARREAL: It's interesting, the entire crew that I was with, there were four of us. And we just made this pact that we were not going to watch the content. As we were continuing to report over the days and then weeks, because if we stopped and took a moment to think about ourselves, to think about our children, our lives, we wouldn't have the strength, I think to report the way we needed to. But I will tell you, it was essential for me, especially the way John just described it to be in this community because it did remind me a lot of home for me, which was South Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. And I remember calling my mom that night. And I remember her telling me you have to get their names, right. You have to make sure that you pronounce their names the way they need to be pronounced correctly.

And so, I think with John, (INAUDIBLE), and I, we that was so important to us, but it to the entire Uvalde team to just pay homage and be respectful of that culture.

RADDATZ: I was in Uvalde very briefly long, long after the shooting, but everywhere you walk everywhere, the murals, everything, it just resonates that tragedy. So, John, how does this community move?

QUINONES: It's important that they have those murals. They're -- the -- they say tell us, the families tell us don't forget their names. So, they're there for a reason. And not only that, but there will be -- they want us to keep pushing for answers. And they cannot rest until they do. Because let's face it, they still don't have accountability. You know, there were almost 400 police officers on the scene and only a handful have received any kind of repercussions because of what happened, where they're still waiting on the Texas Department of Public Safety to give a report to the district attorney who will then bring it to a grand jury. In the meantime, these folks want answers.

RADDATZ: OK, thank you so much for joining us. I know you're going to go back to Uvalde. And the full two-hour documentary, It Happened Here, A Year In Uvalde, is now streaming on Hulu.

Coming up, Ron DeSantis is about to make his White House bid official. The roundtable weighs in next.



GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): For this great exodos of Americans, Florida has served as the most desired destination, the promised land of sanity in a world that has increasingly gone off its rocker. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents.

We’ve got more to do. I can tell you this, I have only begun to fight.


RADDATZ: After weeks of attacks from Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is poised to make his White House bid official this week, joining the growing Republican primary field.

Let’s bring in the roundtable.

Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile, former Justice Department Spokesperson Sarah Isgur, ABC News political director Rick Klein, and “Washington Post” congressional reporter Marianna Sotomayor.

Welcome to everybody. What a morning.

And, Marianna, I want to start with you, and I want to go back to the debt ceiling.

You heard Congressman Arrington, you heard President Biden this morning. You’re up there every single day covering this. How do you see this?

MARIANNA SOTOMAYOR, WASHINGTON POST CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Each party is very entrenched. And I think you have noticed both Republicans and Democrats, especially the Republicans who are in the room, their tone and tenor has changed. They are legitimate concerned, and it is a concerning point.

Where we are right now is they are trading just politics at this point with Republicans wanting to enact and tell the Senate to vote on this bill that the House passed. That’s never going to become law. Democrats really trying to appease their liberal base, also saying, look, we’re trying to put as -- we don't want to cut any more spending. We are really trying to negotiate here. Both parties are, at this moment, not speaking. So, it will be very significant in the next couple of hours. McCarthy and Biden are supposed to speak. Biden will be back in the U.S. We'll see how this week pans out.

But the more time that we spend with these two groups not meeting, it really does raise the stakes. And it could come to the question whether McCarthy, does he pull out to try and appease some of these conservatives in his -- in his conference, and the Senate has to step in?

Those are the questions that I think we maybe -- might have an answer to later this week. But we'll just be a week away from this potential default date.

RADDATZ: And -- and, Donna, the president is supposed to call Speaker McCarthy from Air Force One. How do you think that call will go? What -- are they negotiating on that call? Do we have any idea?

BRAZILE: Well, you know, I'm not one to write a script for the president, but I would say, first of all, "Kevin, I just called to say I love you" -- shout-out to Stevie Wonder...


... and then I would go farther and say, "Look, I'm -- I'm arriving back home later this afternoon, later this evening -- I'm sorry -- come on over to the White House. Let's have an after-meal cocktail, whatever you want to call it. I prefer a cocktail, but maybe those gentlemen just would like to have some green tea. The bottom line is negotiation is about give-and-take. President Biden put his fiscally responsible budget on the table back in March. The Republicans came back with their budget cuts at the end of April. They -- they have to give a little to get something out of this deal. But the last thing is to draw these bright red lines that nobody can cross.

RADDATZ: And -- and, Sarah, McCarthy's in a tough spot here, right?

ISGUR: Yes and no. I mean, I think Democrats are really counting on, sort of, the weakness of the McCarthy speakership, and in fact McCarthy is having probably the best few weeks he's had in his entire political life. The Biden administration had a chance to do this when they controlled both the House and the Senate; they didn't. Then he had 97 or so days that he could have been negotiating, said, "We're not going to negotiate on this." Now Biden comes to the table and says, "We're ready to negotiate."

This is a real -- I think we'll look back and see it as a huge political liability for the Biden administration that they kept saying no, and now they're up against the wall. And, by the way, it's not like the House can snap their fingers and this happens. You've got to actually draft the thing, even after they agree to it. You've got 72 hours notice.

RADDATZ: Yeah, what happened to that timeline of it has to be this weekend, right?

And, Rick, I know the latest ABC/Washington Post poll shows Americans divide about who they would blame if there is a default. But there's lots in that poll.

KLEIN: Yeah, and look, there's a lot of political fallout from a default. And you heard President Biden just this morning saying he thinks that there's MAGA Republicans who are rooting for the default because it would hurt the economy and hurt his presidency, hurt his own re-election chances.

And I think there's going to be -- I think that was a preview of some of the White House and some of the Democratic messaging we're going to see. To Sarah's point, McCarthy got a win by even having these negotiations. And he's put himself in a position now to have these very high-level talks that he's been seeking for a long time.

But the Democrats are hoping to flip the script a bit, because they're saying, "Look, we want those Republicans to own those cuts that they just put out there. Defend tax cuts for the rich. And potentially defend the idea of going into a default." There's a lot of political gamesmanship that I think we're still going to see play out, and there still isn't that urgency. We'll see if today's phone call changes that.

RADDATZ: It seemed urgent to me this morning, pretty darn urgent. And we've got 11 days to go.

Let me just ask you, Marianna, do you think either side will let this default?

SOTOMAYOR: I don't think so. I will give McCarthy credit that his leadership team, since the beginning of this year, has done a lot to try and tell Republicans and inform them what a default could mean, Democrats also understanding that. There have been some discussions before we hit this standstill where they were trying to trade notes where they could possibly reach a deal. When do we get back to that? When do they get back to trying to parse out those details? That's what we don't know.

RADDATZ: And, Donna, you've -- you've heard -- your heard Arrington there say, as well, Congressman Arrington, that negotiations didn't start soon enough, or they don't really have an offer on the table. Chris Van Hollen obviously came back with that. But should President Biden have started negotiations earlier? He did put it off. They said they refused to negotiate at first.

BRAZILE: Well, the president has been very clear about what he will negotiate. Look, if you want to negotiate on the spending side of this, the person has been out front in saying, "Here's what I'm willing to give." And $3 trillion over 10 years, $200 billion a year, that's a lot to start with.

So this notion that the president has said "I'm not negotiating," he said, "No, the default of this country, the fact that millions of Americans are depending on these -- their benefits at the end of this month, that should put -- that should bring everybody to the table."

My mother used to say, "You don't play with fire. Everyone gets burned." We all will get burned. The American economy will get burned. The world economy will get burned. But the vulnerable citizens in our society, including our seniors, our children, our veterans, they don't deserve this. They deserve to have the debt raised, because that's the bills we've already incurred, and then we can negotiate on the spending.

RADDATZ: OK, and I want to -- I want to turn to 2024, as urgent as these other problems are. Tim Scott this week, Ron DeSantis, officially announcing. Does this turn anything around for DeSantis? He's consistently polled behind Trump.

KLEIN: This is the most consequential week in the 2024 campaign, because you're going to have these two major candidacies. And we just don't know about DeSantis. He's had a rough ride of it in the pre-campaign, in the pre-season, maybe looking a little bit better with the trip to Iowa and to New Hampshire. His allies feel like he's poised to, kind of, start to surprise people with this. He's going to roll it out around a big donor summit that he has this week, which I think is its own message.

Similarly, Tim Scott's got a lot of money. These are two significant candidacies that are entering the race. To me, it's a reminder of how much still has to happen in this race, how much hasn't happened yet. We're still about three months away from the first debate. We still have major candidates, Mike Pence coming in, in the next couple of weeks. We may still get other news out of other contenders. All of these things still haven't happened. So we've been obsessed over the ups and downs over these things, and DeSantis...

RADDATZ: And will continue to be.


KLEIN: And will be. That's what we do. But DeSantis has stumbled, but there's still a core group of -- of donors, and even people answering polls, that want to see what this guy has got. The big question, to me, is who -- is he willing to take Trump on directly and right out of the gates? Because that's what everyone in the Republican Party's looking for.

RADDATZ: And, Sarah, to that point, on a call with donors earlier this week, DeSantis said about the state of the race, "You have basically three people at this point that are credible in this whole thing, Biden, Trump, and me. And I think, of those three, two have a chance to get elected president, Biden and me, based on all the data in the swing states, which is not great for the former president and probably insurmountable because people aren't going to change their view of him."

What about that pitch, and is that right?


ISGUR: Look, this is DeSantis' strategy. In the primary, he's not going to run a national campaign. He's focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire. Their theory is, the national polls can say what you want about Trump and DeSantis, but if he -- if DeSantis wins Iowa and New Hampshire, those national polls turn on a dime.

I think they're right about that. The question is, do we still have local races in Iowa and New Hampshire, or has this all become so nationalized?

In terms of the general election, again, certainly the case that DeSantis wants to make, that Donald Trump cannot win in a general election. The polling's a little bit more mixed on that. And I think that's also true even within the GOP primary electorate. There's been polls asking, "Would you rather have someone who fights for your issues or someone more likely to beat Joe Biden?"

"Fights for your issues" is actually beating the "Beat Joe Biden" option right now. DeSantis can't just win this with anti-Trump or non-Trump voters. He's going to have to win over Trump voters to get across the line. That's why this week is so important.

RADDATZ: And, Donna, DeSantis has been touting his record in Florida, calling it "the boldest and most far-reaching agenda the modern GOP has ever seen."

Part of that agenda has been going after our parent company, Disney. And this week Disney scrapped a billion-dollar project that could have meant 2,000 jobs in Florida. How does all that play out?

BRAZILE: He's punching above his weight. Look, the race is Donald Trump's to lose, and Mr. DeSantis is going to try to run as Donald Trump without the baggage, with a lot of money and maybe better hair -- I don't really know.

But here's -- here's what I'm going to be looking for. I'm going to look at Tim Scott, because he's a -- he's a little sunnier; he's a more of a compelling, compassionate conservative.

But back to Mr. DeSantis, I'm not a fan of Mr. DeSantis. I'm not a fan not only because of his attacks on Disney, his attack on history, his attack on race, his attack on banning books, his attack, basically, on real, clear American values, trans kids. So let Mr. DeSantis run -- let him try to run to the right of Donald Trump. Donald Trump is going to just smack him across the head.

But the bottom line is, can he sell himself in Iowa and New Hampshire? Can he sell himself to voters? Can he come across as authentic, as real, as somebody who can do retail politics, without just smiling his way through it? I still believe that Donald Trump is going to become the nominee of the Republican Party.

RADDATZ: Marianna, do you agree with that, about -- about Trump? And also, Tim Scott, it's true. He's, kind of, painting himself as more of a Ronald Reagan candidate?

SOTOMAYOR: Yeah, I mean, we have seen, time and time again, Trump just comes out on top. And I think that, right now, the polling is showing that. Of course, there's so many more weeks and news cycles to go until we really know what happens here.

But, Sarah, you made a very good point about DeSantis, on the fact that he doesn't want to back down. That's the name of his SuperPAC, right? And the fact that polls are showing "someone who fights for you" -- and I think DeSantis is really trying to be that fighter against Trump, saying, "Look, I'm not going to back down fighting against Disney." Will that work? We don't know.

And to your point about Tim Scott, he's trying to, kind of, be in the middle of that -- it doesn't mean he's a moderate -- but trying to, kind of, find a way, literally, away from that noise. But that could be complicated, too, in a primary. That might be better in a general election. But I don't know how those candidates were just trying to be traditional conservatives who have the backing of many people on Capitol Hill privately, if that's going to really be able to motivate voters.

RADDATZ: And Rick (ph)--

ISGUR: Tim Scott and Nikki Haley are running 2016 campaigns in 2024. I was in a 2016 campaign, the attack the guy who's a front runner other than Donald Trump, we've tried that. It results in Donald Trump being the nominee. That's, I think, a very frustrating part of those campaigns and not a winning strategy.

RADDATZ: And Rick, we have about 20 seconds. I want to go back to the polls, from earlier this month, they found Biden trailing DeSantis by seven points in a head-to-head matchup and the same in a Biden-Trump rematch.

KLEIN: Yes, that was -- that was the ABC News/Washington Post poll. It may be an outlier. But I think for Democrats, it should be ringing alarms because this is going to be a close election. This is not going to be a blowout, whether it's Trump or DeSantis or anyone else. It's going to be a closely contested race.

RADDATZ: It sure will be. Thanks very much to all of you.

Coming up, why President Biden and other world leaders felt the weight of history and lessons of the past at this year's G7 summit. We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: President Biden and other G7 leaders laying wreaths at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, the site commemorating the victims of the catastrophic U.S. atomic bomb attack in 1945 that led to the end of World War II.

As our foreign correspondent Britt Clennett reports, it was a sobering backdrop for the G7 summit and a reminder in a time of global tensions of the lingering nuclear threat today.


BRITT CLENNETT, ABC NEWS, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a place that understands the horrors of war, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, paying respects to the victims of the first nuclear attack in history, as nuclear tensions spike from the battlefields of Ukraine to the Korean peninsula, Hiroshima and its history stand as a testament to the ravages of nuclear war.

CLENNETT: There it is every morning at 8:15, exactly that sound rings out over Hiroshima at the exact time the bomb was dropped.

CLENNETT (voice-over): Detonated at 2,000 feet above the city, a single atomic bomb causing an explosion that rips through the town, destroying everything within a half mile radius and intense fire swallowing up the city and claiming at least 100,000 lives.

KEIKO OGURA, SURVIVOR OF HIROSHIMA ATOMIC BOMB ATTACK: When I recall those days, I can't help but -- I want to cry.

CLENNETT (voice-over): Keiko, a good I was just eight years old, but the memories of that day remain hauntingly vivid.

OGURA: First, there was bright flash, wind, like a typhoon or tornado, you know? When I opened I my eyes, I was surprised because everywhere was just dark.

CLENNETT (voice-over): Now 85, Ogura is dedicated to sharing her story, so others won't forget. Survivors now relive their experiences to a designated successor, like to Toshiko Okamoto. Toshiko is committing her life to taking on the tales of her survivor who's now passed.

TOSHIKO OKAMOTO, HIROSHIMA MEMORIAL MUSEUM, VOLUNTEER: He didn't cry at all in front of me. Just tell his story.

CLENNETT (voice-over): And that is how she shows her respect.

OKAMOTO: Just tell the fact. That's enough. Don't make people cry.

CLENNETT (voice-over): Near the center of the blast stands the iconic atomic dome, the ruins of a former exhibition hall. One of the few structures that survived the explosion.

CLENNETT: This is a shrine outside the atomic dome. You can see there are flowers, there are photos.

CLENNETT (voice-over): Reminders around Hiroshima to keep memories of the consequences of that day alive.

OGURA: I know that fear, a reality when the nuclear weapon was used, then I can't do stand evil existing. We need to think about the future generation.

CLENNETT (voice-over): For "This Week," Britt Clennett, ABC News, Hiroshima.


RADDATZ: And our thanks to Britt.

We'll be right back.


RADDATZ: That’s all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out “World News Tonight” and have a great day.