TRANSCRIPTS + FULL EPISODE: Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Chris Van Hollen on the SCOTUS vacancy debate

TRANSCRIPTS + FULL EPISODE: Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Chris Van Hollen on the SCOTUS vacancy debate
Overtime: Sen Rick Scott: ‘if you're going to use a mail-in ballot, do it as early as you can’

Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.) for Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, September 20, 2020.

Sen. Van Hollen said he would not meet with President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, called the president’s non-committal answer to whether there would be a peaceful transition of power a “scary thing,” and accused Mr. Trump of trying to undermine the credibility of the election with his comments on mail-in ballots.

Sen. Scott insisted there would be a peaceful transition of power. On the SCOTUS nomination controversy, Scott said: “I think who’s being dishonest and is hypocritical are people like Chuck Schumer who said in 2016, ‘We have to fill this.’” When asked about the lack of progress in COVID relief negotiations, Scott called D.C. “dysfunctional.”

“People don’t talk to each other. They don’t work together,” said Scott. “If they don’t get it their way they don’t want to do it. It’s all about winning elections.”

9/27/20 Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Chris Van Hollen on the SCOTUS vacancy debate

Interview excerpts are below.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen Highlights

SCOTUS appointment controversy:

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

I don’t think we should be considering any Supreme Court nominee at this point. After all, it was Senator Mitch McConnell who established the precedent under President Obama that when you’re in the middle of an election, a presidential election, we should let the people decide on the president and then let the president pick whoever it becomes rather than have the Senate push through. That’s a precedent.

Greta Van Susteren:

Are you willing to meet with the nominee and what would you ask the nominee?

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Look, my view, Greta, is that we should not be proceeding with this nomination.

Greta Van Susteren:

So is that a no? Is that a no, no matter who the-

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Yeah. No, that’s a no. And that’s based on the rule that was established by Senator McConnell himself, because you need some sense of fairness here. Now, am I very concerned about what the nominee will do? Look, President Trump pledged that his nominee would be somebody who overruled the Affordable Care Act, overruled Obamacare.

And President Trump also pledged to appoint somebody who would take away a woman’s right to choose. So the stakes are huge here

Transition of power:

Greta Van Susteren:

President Trump has said once, maybe twice, calling into question about whether there’d be a peaceful transition of power. And it’s obviously provoked a unanimous Senate resolution. Do you have any doubt in your mind that we will have a peaceful transition, should the electoral college go Vice President Biden’s way?

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Well, the scary thing is that we’re even having to ask ourselves this question in the United States of America in 2020. And so I do worry a lot when you have the President of the United States refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying things like the only way he can lose is if the election is rigged, which is nonsense, which is essentially saying he’s willing to take away the decisions made by a majority of the American people or by the electoral college. So this is really the kind of thing that we hear from authoritarian dictators overseas. I never imagined I’d hear this from the President of the United States. What it means is that we have to be especially vigilant in terms of making sure that every single vote counts.

COVID relief bill:

Greta Van Susteren:

I want to talk about the COVID relief bill. We still don’t have one right now. Americans are hurting.

Is there any way that you would consider looking at these different issues one by one? Like do a special bill for the airline industry, because if they go under, the nation’s in deep trouble, another one debate about local government, another one by school, rather than putting them together in one package? Because so far, as my mother would say, we’re getting nowhere fast.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Well, that’s exactly right. We were able to come together earlier this summer with the CARES Act, which was a comprehensive bill. And it’s important to remember that Senator McConnell put forward his little version of the CARES Act back then as well. It included not a penny for state and local governments. The Congressional Budget Office just came out with a report saying that that’s one of the most effective ways we can help boost the economy.

The big problem, and Senator McConnell has been very public about this, is that there are about 20 Republican senators who want to do nothing. Nothing. And Mitch McConnell himself said he wanted the state and local governments to go bankrupt. Those were his words. So let’s come together. We did it under the Cares Act. And let’s do something that’s meaningful for the American people.

Absentee ballot controversy:

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Well, let me first say that obviously, we will investigate this situation with nine ballots. But the reality is that if you look at the nine states that had pure mail-in voting systems even before the pandemic, there have been no examples of fraud. And the reality is President Trump himself casts an absentee ballot in the state of Florida. So while he talks about this on the campaign trail as if it’s not protected or without confidence, the reality is that’s how he did his own vote. So I think if you look at these voting systems, overwhelmingly, vote by mail has proven to be an effective way and a way of voting where there’s not fraud.

So what the president is trying to do is undermine the credibility of the election. I think he’s trying to suppress the vote. But in any event, I encourage every American, regardless of political party, to get out there and cast your ballots. And we need to make sure each of them are counted.

Upcoming presidential debate:

Greta Van Susteren:

If you had Vice President Biden’s ear, and maybe you do, what advice would you give him?

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

Well, I actually did the debate prep with Vice President Biden back in 2012 when he debated Paul Ryan. I played Paul Ryan in debate prep.

But all the rules are out the window with Donald Trump. He makes things up by the minute. It’s not going to be Joe Biden’s job to fact check every 30 seconds misstatements, false statements by Donald Trump. The moderators are going to have to play that role to some extent. And so what Joe Biden I think should do is lay out his vision for the country, what he plans to do to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, that he will listen to the scientists. He won’t undercut public health. And on the economy, he’s going to invest in working people, in education to provide everybody with the opportunity to get ahead.

Sen. Rick Scott Highlights

SCOTUS appointment controversy:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

This was a big issue back in 2016, and the voters made a choice. They voted for a Republican president. They voted for a Republican majority in the Senate, and they did the same thing in 2018. And everybody knew it was going to be a lot of choices, a lot of potential, there would be openings in the Supreme Court

So I think who’s being dishonest and is hypocritical are people like Chuck Schumer who said in 2016, “We have to fill this.” But now in 2020, he says, “We can’t fill this,” and Joe Biden, and you can name the Democrats they’ve not been consistent."

Transition of power:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

You’d have to ask the president, but I can just tell you, there will be a peaceful transition of power. I will do everything under my power to make sure there is.

Greta Van Susteren

I’m wondering to what extent this peaceful transition is going to scare Republican voters, or the undecideds with Florida being so close in terms of to vote for. Are you worried about that this is going to cause Republican voters, or independents, or undecideds to go into the Biden corner?

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

I think the major issue that people have is who’s going to be better for the economy? And Trump wins that.

COVID relief bill:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

D.C.'s dysfunctional. I’ve been up there about 20 months. It’s dysfunctional. People don’t talk to each other. They don’t work together. If they don’t get it their way they don’t want to do it. It’s all about winning elections."

Upcoming presidential debate:

Greta Van Susteren

All eyes will be on this debate, especially the undecideds. And people wondering whether or not they should even go to the polls, or the independents. What is your advice for your candidate, President Trump?

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

I think if I was President Trump, I’d talk about the economy. It’s still the biggest issue. I would talk about law enforcement, the fact that many Democrats want to defund the police. I would talk about how he’s held dictators around the world accountable, whether it’s the bad Iran deal, or whether it’s Castro, or Maduro, or The Communist Party of China, I would focus on those things."

Police reform and protests:

Greta Van Susteren

What do you think the impact it’s going to have on the election? And let me point to Florida, the unrest around the country.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fl.)

So I think it’s the biggest issue. I don’t think it’s just what shows up in the polls, but I think people, they do not like the police being treated badly. They want police being held accountable, but not being treated badly. And they do not like this civil unrest. It scares them."

---

About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

About “Full Court Press” and Gray Television:

“Full Court Press” is a Sunday political show broadcast on all Gray Television markets and syndicated in leading cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles covering 80% of the country. Gray Television currently owns and/or operates television stations and leading digital properties in 94 television markets, including the number-one-rated television station in 68 markets and the first or second highest-rated television station in 87 markets. Gray’s television stations cover approximately 24 percent of US television households and broadcast approximately 400 separate programming streams, including nearly 150 affiliates of the CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX networks. Gray Television also owns video program production, marketing, and digital businesses including Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Raycom, and RTM Studios, the producer of PowerNation programs and content. For further information, please visit www.gray.tv.

For media inquiries please contact:

Virginia Coyne

240-274-9365

Lisa Allen, Executive Producer “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” lisa.allen@gray.tv

202-713-6300