This is a rush transcript from “Sunday Morning Futures,” December 5, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning, everyone. Welcome to “Sunday Morning Futures.” I’m Maria Bartiromo.
Today: Texas thrives in the face of challenge, the state a magnet for technology and innovation, with another major tech company opening shop, despite Joe Biden’s wide open borders. New data this morning on the hundreds of thousands of got-aways crossing the Southern border this year, as businesses invest tens of billions in the Lone Star State.
Coming up, Texas Governor Greg Abbott with breaking news on what Samsung and Tesla’s big investment in the state mean for Texas and America.
Plus: a brazen lawlessness, smash-and-grab robberies surging across the country, as President Biden’s government blows off anti-mandate rulings, and the White House blames the crime spike on COVID, instead of their own bad policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Does the president still think that crime is up because of the pandemic?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think many people have conveyed that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Yes, former HUD secretary and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is here on the crime spree and the Omicron hysteria.
Then, this: holding their feet to the fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Louisiana Senator John Kennedy brings the heat while questioning Joe Biden’s communist-loving nominees. Coming up, he takes us down to the wire, as Joe Biden and the Democrats look to put their massive spending and tax plan back on the front page this week, with just a few days left in the year on the legislative calendar.
And then moral courage and American pride. Boston Celtics star Enes Freedom on why he won’t back down from communist China and will stand tall for America.
All coming up right here, right now on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
And first this morning, more confusion and arrogance at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have seen more of Dr. Fauci than I have my wife. We kid each other, but…
BIDEN: They — look, who’s president? Fauci.
BIDEN: But all kidding aside, I sincerely mean it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Yes, who is President? Joe Biden joking this week that Dr. Anthony Fauci is the real president, as the commander in chief’s poll numbers plummet again to new lows, and red states like Florida and Texas show the lowest number of COVID infections and some of the highest investment dollars anywhere.
Joining me right now is the governor of the great state of Texas. Greg Abbott is here.
Governor, thanks very much for being here. Congrats to you on a lot of good news.
I want to get to your investments from Tesla and Samsung in a moment.
But, first, tell us about the Omicron variant. What has it meant for Texas? Where are you on the COVID infections?
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): So, for one, because — you talked about how we have a low rate of infections compared to so many other states. And one reason that we have been able to achieve that is because we have been open 100 percent. There are no vaccine mandates or mask mandates.
And so it shows that we can remain open and help livelihoods, while also making sure that we do a good job of protecting lives.
Now, as it concerns the new variant, we’re being very aggressive in trying to address it. The Department of State Health Services is working with local health care providers across the entire state to be able to test samples of COVID-positive cases to determine whether or not they do contain the new variant. We’re working to make sure that vaccines are available to anybody who wants a vaccine, and also working to make sure that we make it easier for people to get a test, so they can determine whether or not they may have the new variant or just have the Delta variant, whatever the case may be.
But, also, we — in anticipation of a potential increase in hospitalizations, we’re working to surge more nursing and medical personnel to make sure that our hospitals will be able to deal with it.
BARTIROMO: Well, it’s pretty extraordinary, when you look at what’s going on in Europe right now, Governor.
You have got lockdowns in Austria, Germany, locking down unvaccinated people. What are your thoughts? Because the White House has not ruled out a vaccine mandate for domestic travelers. We’re waiting to see where this Omicron story goes next.
ABBOTT: Well, I can tell you, in Texas, we are ruling out vaccine mandates. We’re ruling out lockdowns. There’s no need for things like that.
Texans know exactly what they need to do in order to protect themselves. And they don’t need government telling them what to do. And I think the same thing should apply from the White House.
BARTIROMO: So, Texas is open and thriving. And you have had a multiple number of victories, this week alone, a federal judge blocking Joe Biden from enforcing the two mandates requiring millions of workers to get vaccinated.
Your executive order banning mask mandates by government entities becomes law. Tell me about the economic story in Texas. I know that Tesla announced it’s officially moving its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin. What does that mean for Texas? And then there’s Samsung committing to a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Taylor, Texas.
This is going to be real impactful, not just for Texas, but for the country, as we battle this shortage of semiconductor chips.
ABBOTT: Well, it’s huge.
I will address both issues that you raise. And that is, first, Texas has been very aggressive about legally challenging all of these mandates that the Biden administration has put in place concerning COVID, whether it be vaccine mandates or mask mandates, whatever the case may be. And we have been winning them all in the courts.
And right now in Texas, there are no federal mandates that apply. The only mandate that applies is my executive order saying that nobody in the state of Texas can be mandated to take a vaccine shot. Obviously, they’re available for anybody who wants it, but there can be no mandates infringing upon individual liberty.
That is in part why I think there are so many businesses that are moving to the state of Texas. Maria, over just the first 11 months of this year, there have been 70 businesses and corporations that have relocated their headquarters to the state of Texas.
If you look, on average, that means there’s a new headquarters in Texas every five days. One of those, as you mentioned, is Tesla that first announced their Gigafactory here in the state, and then they announced their headquarter move.
You mentioned Samsung, semiconductors, a $17 billion investment in Taylor, Texas, which is just outside of Austin, where they will be building additional semiconductors. That is in addition to an announcement the week before where Texas Instruments announced a $30 billion investment for semiconductors.
Those semiconductors will help in the supply chain process. But the state of Texas economy is growing and thriving. And there are businesses that are moving here, that are growing here, because Texas is the land of economic opportunity and innovation.
BARTIROMO: Well, this is a huge story. And this is going to have impact throughout the country.
We know right now the dominance of Taiwan on semiconductors, one other reason that China wants to go in acquire Taiwan, so that they could be in charge of all semiconductors. This is going to alleviate the semiconductor problem and shortage that America is facing. So that’s just great news for Texas.
Do you expect more? What’s — what are you expecting in terms of more investment coming down the road? Any vision or runway for us?
ABBOTT: Sure. Well, we have got actually a lot of positive projects that are coming our way.
But, listen, you touched upon something that’s very important. And that is a lesson that Americans have learned — and, by God, the Biden administration should learn this also — and that is, the country made a mistake over the past one or two decades to a far amount manufacturing of all these essential supplies, whether it be now semiconductors or could be health care supplies that we needed during the time of COVID, whatever the case may be.
We need to not depend upon China or other countries for our essential needs for things like semiconductors. And that is exactly why Texas actually is leading the way of becoming the home for semiconductors that go into everything that people use. It’s not just your iPhone or your laptop or whatever the case may be.
It’s also in all of these vehicles where you have manufacturing going on. In fact, just this last week, we announced the rollout of the new Toyota Tundra. And they use these semiconductor chips in their trucks.
ABBOTT: And so Texas will be the home of semiconductor manufacturing going forward.
BARTIROMO: All the more impressive, given what you are facing in terms of the challenge at the border.
So, because of the Omicron variant, Joe Biden came out this week and put new mask restrictions — mask mandates, rather, in place until March of 2022. And he was asked about COVID testing, given the fact that now travelers coming into the United States are required to test for COVID within 24 hours.
Here’s Dr. Fauci answering the question from FOX News star Peter Doocy about testing COVID at the border. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Anybody and everybody who’s coming into the country needs to get a test within 24 hours of getting on the plane to come here.
DOOCY: But what about people who don’t take a plane and just these border crossers coming in, in huge numbers?
FAUCI: That’s a different issue.
For example, when you talk — we still have Title 42 with regard to protection at the border. So there are protections at the border, that you don’t have the capability, you know, of somebody on a plane, getting checked, looking at a passport. We don’t have that there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Governor, set the record straight for us. Who is not getting tested at the border?
And, also, we do have breaking news this morning. We have the latest unofficial border numbers from our border sources for the month of November. And it is getting worse. We had 168,000 apprehensions for the month and 52, 429 got-aways. In other words, those people came into the country, they were seen on surveillance cameras, they got away.
We are looking at 600,000 got-aways this fiscal year, up 40 percent. Your thoughts on testing for COVID and all of this impact of the wide open border in Texas?
ABBOTT: Maria, I’m unaware of whether or not Dr. Fauci has ever actually been to the border, certainly during the time of COVID.
I don’t think he has any personal firsthand knowledge whether or not people are being tested coming across the border. I, however, am on the border either every week or every other week. And I have been dealing with and talking to Border Patrol, as well as the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety, who are apprehending these people coming across the border.
And what I can tell you for a fact is, most of the people coming across the border, if not all of them, are not being tested. The point is this. The president and the Biden administration, they have two standards. If you’re going to pay money to come into the United States of America lawfully, you have to be tested.
However, if you come into the country illegally, you don’t have to be tested. And, as you know the numbers, there have been more than a million people who’ve come across the border illegally that we know of this year, most of whom have not been tested.
And so the Biden demonstration actually has no adequate information to determine the extent to which people are coming across the border by the millions to know whether or not they are bringing COVID or the Omicron variant, whatever the case may be, into the United States of America.
That is completely irresponsible and extremely dangerous.
ABBOTT: You talked about the got-aways.
ABBOTT: And the reason why we have got-aways is because the Biden administration has tied the hands of both the Border Patrol, as well as ICE. They have insufficient number of personnel on the border to secure the border.
That’s exactly why Texas has 10,000 National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety officers on the border. It’s why we are erecting these barriers on the border, and it’s exactly why Texas is building its own border wall.
BARTIROMO: Which — exactly.
And one of my sources told me about the lawlessness happening in Houston. He told me there were 400,000 new people in Houston right now because there are getaway cars picking them up from the border, driving them to Houston. In fact, I was told one of the biggest businesses in Houston right now is producing fake documents, that these companies that produce fake documents for these illegals are just soaring.
What’s going on in Houston? And, by the way, a federal judge is insisting that the Biden administration reimplement remain-in-Mexico. But my sources on the ground said: I will believe it when I see it.
They still think they’re going to blow off the law.
Your thoughts on what’s going on in Houston, as well as this remain-in- Mexico policy, real quick, sir?
ABBOTT: So, the remain-in-Mexico, that was a result of a lawsuit brought by Texas against the Biden administration, where a federal judge ruled in our favor, compelling the Biden administration to reinstate the remain-in- Mexico policy.
Of course, we are apprehensive about the extent to which the Biden administration will reimpose it. However, the news reports are that they are going to begin doing it. I think they have gotten agreement by the Mexican government to begin that process beginning this weekend and early next week. But, of course, as usual, we will believe it when we see it.
With regard to these crimes that you’re talking about taking place, listen, this is part of cartel activity. The cartels are advertising on TikTok to get drivers to assist, and then moving illegal immigrants around the state of Texas. It is an issue that the Texas Department of Public Safety is working to crack down upon.
But it shows the extent to which Texas law enforcement officers have to step up and deal with the challenges that are created by the Biden administration importing illegal activity into our country and into our state.
BARTIROMO: Yes. All right, we will leave it there.
Governor, thanks very much for your leadership. Good to talk with you this morning.
ABBOTT: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We have reported on the TikTok angle as well.
Thank you, sir. We will talk soon.
Quick break, and then Dr. Ben Carson on the Omicron variant threat.
Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Well, welcome back.
The Omicron variant of COVID has now been detected in at least 13 states, while several European countries, including Austria, Germany, Spain, have all imposed new lockdowns, mandates and restrictions as a result of this variant.
Joining me right now to react is retired neurosurgeon former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. He is the founder and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute.
And, Dr. Carson, it’s always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for being here.
BEN CARSON, FORMER U.S. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Thanks, Maria.
BARTIROMO: I’d like to get your reaction to the Omicron variant.
Well, first of all, viruses undergo variations. They mutate. It’s a natural thing. It’s sort of like if you go into a Xerox office and you start Xeroxing things. Some of the copies are not going to be perfect. And then, when those are replicated, they won’t be perfect either. That’s how mutations occurs, similar fashion.
It’s a natural phenomena for viruses to do that. So, the fact that we have discovered another variation is not cause for great alarm. Now, obviously, we need to be concerned about the coronavirus and its variations. And we need to continue to take appropriate precautions. But we don’t need to go crazy.
You just had Governor Abbott on. And Texas is a state that’s not locked down. Florida is a state that’s not locked down, even though those are two of the states to which many of the people who have come across the border illegally have been sent. And about 20 percent of those people have COVID.
And yet they’re not locking down, and they’re doing better than the vast majority of states. That should tell us something. There comes a time when logical people actually look at the data and make their policies based on what the data shows, rather than on ideology.
So, yes, we should continue to be careful. We should recognize that we have an excellent medical system in this country, and they can come up with the appropriate solutions. Let people work with their own health care providers.
We don’t need government mandating what needs to be done. That’s a slippery slope. It leads to terrible places. And the whole concept of demonizing people who are not vaccinated, isn’t that the same kind of thing that fascists do when they come in? They pick a group of people and they say, these are the ones who are causing all the problems. And then they begin to persecute them, to restrict them, to do various other things.
That’s not America. We don’t want that. People, we have got to wake up and understand that there are big things going on here. And they’re sometimes using this as subterfuge to get over some other ideologies that they want to get across.
This is America, the land of the free. And it’s about the people, not about the government.
So, I want to ask you about your thoughts on what’s going on in Europe right now, and Joe Biden’s new rules to shut down travel from South Africa.
Let me take a short break. And then, after this, we will talk about that, as well as the Democrats’ plan to use $400 million in taxpayer dollars to fund a federal vaccine database, more surveillance. Is this just more cash up in smoke?
We will talk about it with Dr. Carson when we come right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOOCY: So when a huge group of criminals organizes themselves, and they want to go loot a store, a CVS, a Nordstrom, a Home Depot, until the shelves are cleaned, you think that’s because of the pandemic?
PSAKI: I think a root cause in a lot of communities is the pandemic, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That was White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday this week blaming the spike in organized smash-and-grab retail crime across the country. She blamed it on COVID.
We’re back with Dr. Ben Carson. He is the founder and chairman of the American Cornerstone Institute.
Dr. Carson. your reaction to that?
CARSON: That is blatantly absurd. And I don’t — I don’t know how she can even say that with a straight face.
But, in a sense, we do have examples of lawlessness, because, when our federal government, the executive branch, decides to ignore what the judicial branch has said about mandates, and they act in a lawless fashion, why should they be surprised when the people act in a lawless fashion?
So maybe there is a correlation. Maybe that’s what she’s talking about.
BARTIROMO: That is exactly right.
And there’s no accountability. You had Anthony Fauci on the stand under oath tell Rand Paul they did not do gain-of-function research. Then the NIH comes out and says no, no, no, we did do and fund gain-of-function research.
Why is there no accountability? You have known Anthony Fauci for a long time. What are your thoughts on what’s going on there, as the president earlier this week said, we joke that he’s the real president.
CARSON: Well, it’s unfortunate when medicine begins to mix itself with political ideology. Things become very illogical at that point.
One of the things that we should be talking about are other things that can be effective. We should be looking at other vaccines. We shouldn’t be satisfied with what we have now. We should be looking at therapeutics. We should be emphasizing those. We should be looking at areas of the world where COVID is not prevalent, like on the western coast of Africa, and say, why is it not prevalent there?
Well, for one thing, they take antimalarials, like hydroxychloroquine. We should be finding out, why is that going on? Is that just a coincidence? Ivermectin, some of the other things that have been extremely effective. Let’s not have tunnel vision and say, just, everybody, get the vaccine, and stomp our feet and say, we’re going to do everything we can to make sure everybody gets a jab.
We’re smart people. We have a lot of different avenues that we can pursue. Let’s pursue those. And if Dr. Fauci and others would recognize that and use their intellect, because they’re smart guys, to look at everything, I think we’d make a lot faster progress.
BARTIROMO: So what are your thoughts on a booster? What should people be thinking about related to a booster shot?
CARSON: Well, a booster is nothing more than less than a full dose of the vaccine. So, it’s like take a half-dose and get it again.
And I guess the big question is, why do we keep needing boosters? First, it was going to be the one vaccine. Then it was going to be two, and then it’s a vaccine and a booster. And, probably, we’re going to need another booster later.
That’s one of the reasons that we need to be looking at some of the alternatives in a very serious fashion, as well as looking for other types of vaccines that won’t require repeated boosters.
CARSON: But the last thing in the world we need to be doing is villainizing the people who use their choice to take a different route.
BARTIROMO: Yes, especially since they completely ignore natural immunity. Those people who have had COVID are arguably more immune than those people who have taken the vaccine.
BARTIROMO: But, before you go, I have got to ask you about this new surveillance power that the CDC is getting, Dr. Carson.
Eighty House GOP voted with Texas, with — I’m sorry — Democrats on Tuesday to pass the Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act. This is $400 million in taxpayer dollars to fund a federal vaccine database.
So, now they want to have a database on everybody on what vaccines they have taken and where they are in that. Your thoughts on this surveillance power of the CDC?
CARSON: Well, I was very — very sad to see that.
Recognize that governments have a tendency to grow, to infiltrate, and to control. And those are governments that are controlled by Democrats or Republicans or independents or anybody. That’s what governments do. They’re like lions. Lions kill gazelles and eat them not because they’re bad animals, but because they’re lions.
And that’s why we have a Constitution. The Constitution was given to the people of this country, so that they could control the growth of government. And this is a prime example of what government growth would do, having this database, first of all, subjecting people to the COVID. But it’ll secondarily be used for other things as well.
We have got to be smart enough to recognize these signs when we see them and to stop them, to nip them in the bud before it becomes too late. It doesn’t take long to change a nation. You look at Venezuela, almost overnight, what happened there.
BARTIROMO: You’re right.
CARSON: Americans, we have got to wake up. We have got to be smart.
BARTIROMO: Especially when you have adversaries rising, like we do, in communist China.
Dr. Carson, it’s good to see you, as always. Thank you so much for weighing in on all of that.
CARSON: You too. Thank you.
BARTIROMO: All right, Dr. Ben Carson joining us.
Quick break, and then Senator John Kennedy is here, firing up the room while questioning Joe Biden’s radical nominees. The Louisiana senator will join me on the odds of Joe Biden’s $5 trillion spending and tax plan getting jammed through before Christmas.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If it fails in the Senate, it dies.
But if the Senate changes it, any of those changes has to come back to the House.
BARTIROMO: I see.
MCCARTHY: So, we have another bite at the apple here.
And more people who learn about this — that was my point. I want people to know what’s in the bill. I want people to know what they are doing, that this big government socialism isn’t working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: There was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on this program last month on the fate of Biden’s tax-and-spend plan.
Democrats are hoping to put the $4.9 trillion spending bill back in focus this upcoming week, now that the government has been funded until February 2022. They will also try to address the debt limit and the National Defense Authorization Act with China policy by year-end.
Louisiana Senator John Kennedy sits on the Senate Budget, Banking and Judiciary committees.
And, Senator, it’s wonderful to have you this morning. Thanks very much for being here.
Can you kick us off with the number of legislative days you have left? What are you expecting to get done before year-end?
KENNEDY: Well, Senator Schumer determines the number of days we have left, but, basically, we have until the end of the year.
If your question is, will Build Back Better be brought before the Senate, I think only Joe Manchin knows the answer to that, and perhaps Senator Sinema. I think Senator Manchin understands, Maria, in his heart that this is a bad bill, bad social policy, bad economic policy.
When I first heard about the Build Back Better bill, I thought to myself, this is satire, right? And then I took a look at it, and I was amazed beyond imagination. I mean, it’s breathtaking, trillions of dollars of new spending, new taxes, new debt, new welfare programs.
The only way I know how to improve that is with a shredder. It’s going to fuel inflation. When a Hot Pocket costs you $10, remember, we’re building back better.
KENNEDY: A new welfare program for illegal immigrants, amnesty for illegal immigrants, federal takeover of early childhood education and child care. Eventually, the federal government is going to want to control what they teach your kids.
At least in the short term, a dramatic rise in the cost of child care. For example, in 2022, if the bill passes, if a couple are making together $70,000 a year, you know what the cost for child care is going to be for them?; $29,000. That’s out of pocket.
KENNEDY: And that’s for one child.
BARTIROMO: You know…
KENNEDY: If you have two, who can afford that?
BARTIROMO: I mean, people don’t realize what’s in this bill.
I’m glad you just described it that way, a federal takeover of child care. You also have this element in it where Democrats’ spending bill puts three million illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship. And the costs — Maya MacGuineas told me from the Committee for a Responsible Budget that it’s actually $4.9 trillion, not the $1.75 trillion that they’re advertising.
So how is it possible that Treasury Secretary Yellen says it’s fully paid for and Joe Biden keeps saying that it pays — and that it costs nothing?
KENNEDY: Well, Secretary Yellen is wrong. And so is President Biden.
This bill is going to add billions of dollars in new debt. We haven’t talked much about the new taxes. President Biden, he whispers to the American people, pay your fair share.
But he never bothers to answer the question is — of, what is your fair share of what somebody else has worked for? We have never had that discussion.
The Build Back Better bill just takes Marxist class analysis and uses it to redistribute wealth in a way that I think is going to irreparably damage the American people.
BARTIROMO: Well, Senator, many people are upset with your Senate colleagues.
I mean, are we here at this place right now because of the 19 Republicans who went along with Democrats to vote for the infrastructure bill? Is that why we’re here right now talking about all of these high taxes to come to hit us in 2022?
KENNEDY: Well, Maria, I don’t generally tell my colleagues how to vote. If they ask me, I tell them. I will give them my opinion.
But I generally close with — by saying, follow your heart, but just make sure you take your brain with you. I didn’t vote for the infrastructure bill. I thought it would make it easier to pass this Build Back Better spending orgy.
I didn’t vote for the infrastructure bill because only 23 percent of it went to went to infrastructure. And I wasn’t going to spend taxpayer money to buy a car to get the cupholders.
But, in my judgment, there’s no question that the fake infrastructure bill has made it easier to pass the Build Back Better bill. But it’s — but the Build Back Better bill, which I think I have made pretty clear that I think is craptastic, hasn’t passed yet.
And whether it passes, I think, is going to be determined by Senator Manchin and, to some extent, Senator Sinema. Some of my colleagues think the other — my other Democratic friends in the Senate are going to object, but I don’t — I don’t think so. I think they have been — they have been hit with everything but a chair, and they have — they have given in.
BARTIROMO: Part of the issue here is that we don’t know who’s running things.
I mean, look at the approval ratings of Joe Biden and how he’s handling the job as president. They have plummeted. We have a new Trafalgar poll that says, only 18 percent of people strongly approve or approve. You Have got 52.2 percent of those people strongly disapproving of Joe Biden’s handling of being president.
And, of course, partly, it’s these nominees.
Let me roll a sound bite of you questioning one of his radical nominees. This Saule Omarova, his nominee for comptroller of the currency, which you were great with. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: In 2020, you wrote another paper called “The Climate Case for a National Investment Authority,” where you said: “What we need to do to the oil and gas industry is have the federal government bankrupt them, so we can tackle climate change.”
You have the right to believe every one of these things. You do. This is America. But I don’t mean any disrespect. I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Senator, your thoughts on who gets through, who passes Senate confirmation.
He has also, obviously, nominated Jay Powell and Lael Brainard for the chairman and vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.
KENNEDY: Well, I support Chairman Powell.
But, as to the president’s other nominees. I think they are one of the reasons that President Biden’s poll numbers are on a journey to the center of the Earth. Be yourself is the worst advice you can give some people. And so many President Biden’s nominees are just barking mad.
They’re crypto-socialists. They’re fanatical. I mean, if you ask them to consider another point of view, their neck veins bulge, and they call you a Nazi or a racist. We try to question them in committee. But they don’t answer the questions. They just refer you — excuse my language — they just refer you to bullshit.com.
KENNEDY: They don’t seem to — many of them don’t like America. They don’t seem to.
They feel contempt for America. They should feel gratitude.
BARTIROMO: Yes. Senator…
KENNEDY: And I think that — I’m sorry.
KENNEDY: Go ahead.
BARTIROMO: No, just real quick, before you go, I have got to get your take.
Do you believe Russia will invade Ukraine? A lot of worry bubbling up now that Russian troops have built up near the Ukraine border, raising the worry of an invasion in 2022. China is rising. Our adversaries are smelling weakness.
KENNEDY: Well, weakness invites the wolves.
Russia won’t invade and President Biden and the Congress make it clear that there will be serious consequences if Russia does. What the president needs to do tomorrow, tomorrow, is sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. If you do that, we will get China — or we will get Russia down, and then we can choke them.
BARTIROMO: Senator, it’s great to have you.
We will be watching whether or not there are sanctions coming, actually. Senator, thank you so much.
John Kennedy joining us this morning.
We will see you soon. Have a happy holiday, sir.
KENNEDY: You too.
BARTIROMO: We will talk more about China coming up.
Celtics Center Enes Freedom on why he will not back down against communist Beijing, as men’s tennis is now pressuring to join the WTA in a China boycott over player Peng Shuai.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL WALTZ (R-FL): I call on all Americans, when you see “Made in China,” put it down. If you care about social justice, well, let me tell you where slavery is happening. It’s happening right now, where women are being abused. They’re being imprisoned. They’re being forced to be sterilized.
It’s a genocide going on as we speak. But because everybody is drunk on Chinese money, including the Olympic sponsors that are happening in February, then everybody wants to turn a blind eye. Well, good on him for calling out the hypocrisy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARTIROMO: Yes, that was Florida Congressman Michael Waltz on this program back in October praising my next guest.
NBA star Enes Freedom has been showing moral courage in calling out China over its human rights abuses. Earlier this week, the Boston Celtics center became a U.S. citizen and changed his name from Enes Kanter to Enes Kanter Freedom to celebrate.
He joins me right now.
Good morning to you, Enes. And congratulations on becoming an American citizen.
Tell us, what does America mean to you?
ENES KANTER FREEDOM, BOSTON CELTICS: Thanks for having me, Maria.
I mean, it’s the greatest nation in the world. I remember first time coming to America in 2009. One of my teammate actually criticized the president. And I was very scared for him, because I told him, was like, dude, you are going to be in jail. Stop criticizing the president.
And he turned around and said: This is not Turkey, brother. You can relax. We have freedom here.
I think becoming an American citizen was my goal the first time I step in America, because you have freedom of speech, religion, expression, and freedom of press here. And there’s checks and balances, rules and laws.
So it was a dream come true. And I cannot be happier.
BARTIROMO: I just love what you’re saying.
Now men’s tennis is under fire this morning, the men’s tennis association under fire for not pulling business out of China, the way the Women’s Tennis Association did so.
You know that the WTA canceling tournaments in Beijing over concerns about tennis star Peng Shuai’s safety after she was disappeared for two weeks because she called out the former vice premier of the CCP.
Your thoughts on what’s going on in tennis right now?
KANTER FREEDOM: You know, I applaud the Women’s Tennis Association, their courage.
Every major association should take notes and take an example of what WTA is doing. They don’t care about money or business, but they care about morals, values and principles. And they care about their players.
About Peng Shuai, while we know she’s alive, we don’t know if she’s free, free to speak, free to travel. So, I feel like we should definitely hold this China — dictatorships like China’s Communist Party accountable.
BARTIROMO: Yes, I want to ask you about the NBA and what’s happening now that you have been so vocal against these bad abuses in the Chinese Communist Party.
And I have to believe, since you have been so patriotic and showing this love of America, American companies may — probably are getting behind you in a big way.
Let’s take a short break. I want to get your message for LeBron James, after the moral courage that you are showing, and what kind of endorsements you’re getting now.
We will also talk about the U.S. potentially boycotting the 2022 Beijing Olympics next with Enes Freedom right here.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
We’re back with Celtics center Enes Freedom.
Enes, you have been pushing back on China’s authoritarianism and their bad behavior with these sneakers, your sneakers that we’re going to show. You have also-called out LeBron James.
I have to expect that, since you have been so patriotic, you must have a lot of companies getting behind you and giving you endorsements. Tell me how many have gotten behind you, American companies, to support you.
KANTER FREEDOM: Well, unfortunately, zero.
It’s a shame that all these companies are scared, scared because they are doing too much business with the Chinese Communist Party in China. And they know that the moment that they give me any kind of deal, that all their business will — in China will be shut down.
But I never did this to get any kind of endorsement deals. I could care less. To me, the morals are way, way more important than anything they can offer me. But shame on all the companies out there.
BARTIROMO: That is absolutely extraordinary, that you have shown this loyalty to America and patriotism, and no American companies have gotten behind you and endorsed you. I am shocked.
Real quick on LeBron James. You called him out for the slave labor reports, reportedly, in Xinjiang, China. Have you heard back from him? Will you face off against LeBron this Tuesday?
KANTER FREEDOM: You know, I haven’t heard from him.
And I say this over and over again every time I do an interview, morals over money. These athletes and — should definitely educate themselves before they put their signature on a paper and signing big deals with these hypocrite companies like, obviously, Nike. It is modern-day slavery.
But, before everything, before athletes, we definitely need to call out these companies who call themselves social justice companies, but, when it comes to China, they remain silent because they do a lot of business with China.
So, I feel like someone had to do it. And it happened to be me. And I’m glad. And I’m happy that I did it.
BARTIROMO: Enes, real quick on the Olympics.
As an athlete, what do you want to say to other athletes who are headed to Beijing for the Olympics in February?
KANTER FREEDOM: Shame on them.
All the gold medals in the world that you can win is not more important than your values and principles. Come on. We have — I mean, while we’re speaking right now, there’s a genocide happening.
And shame on International Olympic Committee that they’re sleeping in the same bed with China. So, someone had to call them out.
Enes Freedom, great to have you, as always. Congratulations to you. You’re a proud American. And we are proud to have you.
Enes Freedom, thank you.
I will see you tomorrow on FOX Business, everybody. Have a great Sunday.
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