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Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” July 23, 2023

Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” July 23, 2023

Temmuz 23, 2023 20:30
Full transcript of “Face the Nation,” July 23, 2023



On this “Face the Nation” broadcast, moderated by Margaret Brennan: 

  • Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego
  • U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, Republican of Texas 
  • Former New Jersey Gov. and 2024 hopeful Chris Christie 
  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy 
  • Dr. Marci Bowers, president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”    

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington.

And this week on Face the Nation: Extreme heat continues to smash records around the world, and tactics being taken by Texas officials at the border to deter migrants come under scrutiny.

As July slogs on, so do the miserable temperatures and brutal, severe weather episodes that are dominating the summer of 2023.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN (President of the United States): The idea that there’s not global warming, I think, can’t be denied by anybody anymore.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: There’s no denying it’s hot or that the high temperatures are raising concerns about the future of the planet. But what can be done at this point?

We will talk to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. Her city is one of the hottest spots in the country.

Then, the Justice Department orders the removal of floating barriers in the Rio Grande after reports of injuries to migrants trying to enter the U.S.

(Begin VT)

GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT (R-Texas): One of the goals is to slow down and deter as many of them as possible.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will ask Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales about some of the measures being used and his new immigration proposal.

Plus, the culture wars on the campaign trail intensify, as Vice President Kamala Harris blasts new Florida guidelines for teaching black history in schools that suggests some slaves develop useful skills in bondage.

(Begin VT)

KAMALA HARRIS (Vice President of the United States): They insult us in an attempt to gaslight us, and we will not have it. And we will not have it.


(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Florida Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis says he wasn’t involved, but:

(Begin VT)

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-Florida) (Presidential Candidate): That they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed being a blacksmith into — into doing things later in life.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will talk to former New Jersey Governor and Republican candidate Chris Christie about that and a possible third indictment facing President Trump.

Finally, the facts surrounding gender-affirming care with the head of the organization that sets the guidelines for treatment, Dr. Marci Bowers.

It’s all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

The excruciating heat and severe weather continues here in Washington, and more than 75 million Americans are under a hot weather watch today.

Here’s our Mark Strassmann.

(Begin VT)

MARK STRASSMANN (voice-over): Phoenix wilting in the valley of the sunstroke, dehydration, dizziness, delirium, no surprise, given today’s forecast, a record 24th straight day with temperatures hitting 110 degrees or more.

MAN: I have been sweating all over my body.

MARK STRASSMANN: People wither in weather this hot. And July’s poised to become Earth’s hottest month in at least the last 6,500 years.

Ask Palm Springs, California, and our Carter Evans.

CARTER EVANS: No kids on the playground today, and you can understand why. The temperature here on the slide is 171 degrees.

MARK STRASSMANN: Today’s forecast will be a continuing meditation on climate change, with more dangerous highs expected today, Phoenix 113, Las Vegas 113, Tucson 109.

In the U.S., more than 3,500 temperature records have been set this month alone. Keeping cool can be a matter of life and death. America’s leading weather-related killer, not hurricanes, not tornadoes, excessive heat.

DR. CHRISTOPHER TEDESCHI (Columbia University Medical Center): A heat wave that drives dozens of people or more to an emergency department is a mass casualty event.

MARK STRASSMANN: Officially, extreme heat kills roughly 700 people a year. But experts like Dr. Chris Tedeschi, a Columbia University emergency physician, believe the actual death toll is much higher.

DR. CHRISTOPHER TEDESCHI: This is a big stress.

MARK STRASSMANN: And there’s a limit.

DR. CHRISTOPHER TEDESCHI: At some point, your body’s not made to function in these temperatures. It just doesn’t work.

MARK STRASSMANN: Also strained, power grids in Southern California, Arizona and Texas. Some areas could see rolling blackouts.

Even the oceans feel heat stress, shocking oceanologists, temperatures throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean up to five degrees warmer than usual. That’s endangering coral reefs, critical because they both nourish sea life and provide a natural barrier against storms heading to shore.

Later this week, like heat itself, the heat waves and its misery could rise to the country’s midsection, more Americans about to sweat through the hottest days in modern history.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s Mark Strassmann in Atlanta.

We go now to the mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, who joins us from Scottsdale.

Good morning to you.

Mayor, every single day this month, it’s been 110 or above in your city. I know you’re used to hot weather in the desert, but the duration of this heat wave, what has been the impact?

KATE GALLEGO (D-Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona): The heat has been unrelenting in our community.

I am so thankful to our first responders who are out there taking care of people who are vulnerable. To anyone who has to work outdoors, we appreciate what they’re doing. And we’re urging them to be careful. We got a little bit of precipitation last night. So it was a little bit cooler this morning. And it was a real gift.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The public service, your power grid operator there in Arizona, told us they’re marking seven days in a row of the highest customer electricity use ever. So that’s a lot of strain, and we’re not even into August. Is this sustainable?

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO: We have to be innovative, and that is the Phoenix way.

We build for extreme temperatures in the summer, so that we’ve made infrastructure investments that help us get out of these challenges. But this summer has — has set some tough records.

I talk to a lot of mayors because I’m from a city that’s known for heat. And, sometimes, when they have what’s, for them, unusual heat, we can provide useful advice. We are looking at the building materials we choose so that we can maintain less heat and hopefully cool more at night. That’s a change that can help long term.

We’ve made some real changes with our fire department and other responders to be more sustainable. And then we’ve set up a permanent office in the city of Phoenix — I believe I was the first mayor to do so — that just focuses on heat response, so that, when we have good ideas, people know where to go.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you getting calls from other mayors asking you, how do I deal with this?

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO: I spoke a lot this summer with mayors from Texas, when we talked about some of the things that our first responders do that might be useful to them.

For example, we have mobile cooling units that can go to an emergency site like a fire, where our firefighters can go inside and cool down while they’re fighting a tough blaze. Residents have also used those. Sometimes, when there’s an intense fire, the electricity needs to go down for safety, if wires are down, and our residents can go into those mobile cooling units.

We even have tactics where we can go out with I.V.s that have been cooled, and that can cool people from the inside, which can save lives.

Another program we have that’s sort of popular is our cool pavement program. So we are really just looking at how we design the city.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I.V.s to cool people from the inside. Wow.

Can you tell me — you know, you have said that Phoenix has a 100-year water supply. You have to show that before you develop. But given these changes, and how extreme they are, can you actually say that you trust all the plans you have that the infrastructure you’re building is meant to withstand this?

Do you need to slow down your development because of this heat?

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO: I hold an environmental degree from Harvard, and I worked in water and utilities before running for office. So, this is something I believed I was hired to focus on.

We take long-term planning very seriously. That 100-year water supply you mentioned is pretty unusual for a planning timeframe. Some cities just plan on a matter of years or decades. We are a desert community, and we take that into account when we make any decisions about development.

My city council and I just unanimously passed sustainable desert guidelines, which will push so that we use our natural landscaping, much more resilient to the heat and lower water use. We’re really pushing on water recycling. We’re moving forward with a billion dollar plan in that area.

We know that it is going to get hotter and that we need to worry about long-term drought. So we plan ahead.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I ask you about development. I mean, Arizona and Phoenix are very much on the national stage because of the billions of taxpayer dollars that are being invested particularly in semiconductors, computer chips.

This is part of President Biden’s big plan to make America more sustainable. And a lot of those centers are going to be based out in Arizona. But then, this past week, the world’s biggest maker of those computer chips, Taiwan Semiconductor, said they can’t find enough skilled workers in your area and they’re going to have to slow everything down.

How concerned are you about that problem?

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO: We are very excited to be the future of semiconductors. It’s so important that we’re onshoring manufacturing of these essential devices in the United States.

And we’re going to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to make sure it is successful. President Biden has picked Phoenix as one of the innovation job hubs, and we will be able to partner with the U.S. Department of Commerce in particular, but across his administration, to do training for our residents.

We have a very successful project with our community college where people can get a six-week certificate in semiconductors.


MAYOR KATE GALLEGO: That’s produced hundreds of graduates so far, but we know we have to turn it up, so that we can deliver not just for Arizona but for the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will watch that developing story.

Mayor, thank you for your time today.

And we’re joined now by Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales, who’s in San Diego, California.

We’re joined now by Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales, who’s in San Diego, California, this morning.

Good morning to you.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES (R-Texas): Good morning, Margaret. Thank you for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: As you well know, the Justice Department has given Governor Abbott until 1:00 p.m. on Monday to remove this floating barrier in the Rio Grande, which he says is in place to expel migrants.

Do you think this is humane and acceptable?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I think the border crisis has been anything but humane.

I think you’re seeing the governor do everything he possibly can to secure the border. But you have this states versus — versus central government nonstop going back and forth. The buoys are — are one step. I think you’re seeing how desperate a situation is happening in Texas.

But what — what I’m seeing is people are getting injured along the border. People are drowning certainly in that river. I would much rather see not one person step foot in that river vice having to go — vice going through these obstacles and other — other areas.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But the administration says that, in one week alone, agents reported dozens of migrants with injuries including those broken limbs, you reference and drownings, including several children under the age of 1.

Should those buoys be removed now?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I don’t think the buoys are the problem.

Honestly, Margaret, this has been happening. Every single week, we’ve seen people drown. Last year, there were hundreds of migrants that are drowning. I’m glad it’s getting some attention. I would much rather see the attention get focused on something else.

The reality is, the buoy is only a very small, little portion of the river. So it continues to have these other obstacles. I am concerned, though, that I have seen reports that the DPS troopers, over a dozen, have filed complaints about what is happening.


The administration is looking at some of these claims being made by Texas troopers and Texas medics. One of them, Nicholas Wingate, had an e-mail that went public. I’m sure you’ve seen it.

He said troopers were ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the river, to deny water to migrants in this extreme heat. He said, a pregnant woman who was in the midst of a miscarriage had to be cut out of razor wire she was ensnared in.

This is your district. Is this acceptable, these tactics?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: It’s not acceptable. It’s not acceptable. And it hasn’t been acceptable for two years. If this was important to President Biden, I’m happy to host him in Eagle Pass and show him everything.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But these tactics specifically. This medic is saying they will take measures under the law, but not ones that are inhumane. Are these tactics, in your view, inhumane?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: All — everything that is happening along the border is — is — is just adding fuel to the fire.

The governor no doubt is doing everything he can to secure the border. But there is a disconnect between what is happening at the top and the person at the ground that is delivering — that is doing the actual function. I would be happy to host the president of the United States at Eagle Pass and walk through this situation.

To me, Congress has to solve this because we’ve been waiting on a president for decades to solve this, and it’s not going to be solved. That’s why I introduced the HIRE Act. What the HIRE Act does is, it focuses on legal immigration. I’m a proponent of legal immigration. Right now, nine out of 10 people that come over illegally do not qualify for asylum.

So, let’s — let’s stop sending them down this route. I’m excited. This HIRE Act has a dozen Republican co-sponsors and half-a-dozen Democrat co- sponsors.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: What it does, it takes work visas from one year to three years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you have any pledge from the speaker of the House that he will put your vote to a — to put your bill to a vote?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I have spoken with leaderships on both sides of the aisle. I think this bill has a long way to go.

In my eyes, in the 118th Congress, what can get done is something along these lines. We — you know, immigration reform has for so long been focused on the fringes, focus on border security or a pathway to citizenship.




REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: This focuses on work visas.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. It’s very, very, very narrow. And it’s very, very focused on seasonal workers and extending for a very short period of time, which — I understand your broader efforts.

But — but it’s chipping away at a problem. In the moment we are in, do you think, this immediate crisis at the border, do you have any doubts about the effectiveness of what the state is doing?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I — I do worry what’s happening at all levels, state, local, federal.

And what I see is a disconnect. I see distrust. I see Republicans blaming Democrats, Democrats blaming Republicans, and round — round and round we go, with nothing getting accomplished.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: The goal of the HIRE Act was one simple thing, create trust, and put one step forward.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In terms of the policies in place right now at the border, a California judge is poised to potentially throw out some of the Biden border policies that were put in place, because they are characterized as too restrictive, OK.

This would declare migrants ineligible for asylum if they enter illegally or fail to seek protection in another country. That’s the current policy. The court may throw that out. What do you think will happen? And do you think the administration deserves any credit for what they have put in place?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: The — the numbers are absolutely down.

But we’re still on track for 100,000 people coming over illegally a month. These are still historic numbers. They are down. I would much rather see the administration, instead of focusing on illegal immigration, because right now, nine out of 10 people that — that claim asylum aren’t going to get asylum. So, stop sending them down this dead-end road.

I would much rather partner with the administration or anyone on legal immigration. There’s no talk of legal immigration. There’s no talk of increasing legal pathways. It’s only what happens when people are here illegally.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So Homeland Security and the secretary deserve some credit for the numbers being down? But you’re just saying it’s insufficient.

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I mean, there’s a lot — they do deserve some credit for the numbers being down.

But there’s a lot of reasons for that. It’s also 115 degrees in Texas right now. So a lot of people are waiting until a cooler part of the year to come over. But, once again, I don’t want one person to step one foot in that river illegally.


REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: What if there’s a route where they didn’t have to be smuggled in the train? What if this, you know, the HIRE Act got passed, and people can come over and work legally, not having to live in the shadows, have to live — you know, could be able to — to live their lives?

Most people are coming here, for one reason, Margaret, and that’s economic purposes.


I also want to ask you about other bipartisan efforts you have undertaken for school safety and around guns. Uvalde is in your district. And you championed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was put in place after the Uvalde massacre.

So why is it that schools in your district are being denied grants that they were supposed to be given under this law?

REPRESENTATIVE TONY GONZALES: I had a discussion with the attorney general on this.

And — and, to his credit, you know, we’re working together on it. There’s a couple of things. One is, honestly, the money is just not going to the places it needs to go. That’s one. Another area is, a lot of times, these rural communities — I will give you a brief example.

Marfa, Texas, small West Texas community, they have four police officers. If they were to get this grant, it would take them from four to five. They were ecstatic about it. They stayed up until 11:00 filling out this grant the best they could. So, a large part of that is — is getting the help they need.


And thank you, Congressman, for your time today.

Face the Nation will be right back. Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to the 2024 Republican presidential primary and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who joins us now from Bay Head, New Jersey, this morning.

Good morning to you. I want to…

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-New Jersey) (Presidential Candidate): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to get to a number of issues with you, one of which right up top are these culture wars.

Vice President Kamala Harris, as you know, is taking aim at this Florida guideline, in terms of new educational standards, a component of which says — and I’m quoting — “Slaves developed skills which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Governor DeSantis, who signed a law requiring changes in how race be taught in schools, said this was all written by scholars. Here’s exactly what he said.

(Begin VT)

GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS (R-Florida) (Presidential Candidate): I didn’t do it, and I wasn’t involved in it, but I think — I think what they’re doing is, I think that they’re probably going to show some of the folks that eventually parlayed being a blacksmith into doing things later in life.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: I wonder what you think of this controversy and how it reflects on your party.


First of all, “I didn’t do it and I’m not involved in it” are not the words of leadership. Look, Governor DeSantis started this fire with the bill that he signed, and now he doesn’t want to take responsibility for whatever is done in the aftermath of it.

And, from listening and watching his comments, he’s obviously uncomfortable. The second part of this is, this is why — one of the reasons I’m running, Margaret. We’re arguing about these issues, these smaller issues, when we have got big issues in our country, like runaway inflation that continues to hurt families, like an educational system.

Instead of worrying about this, let’s talk about the falling test scores throughout this country that are making us less competitive with the rest of the world. We have enormous issues to deal with in this country and around the world, and we’re spending time — and I don’t blame you for asking, but we’re spending time on this as the first question to a presidential candidate on…



The fact is that Governor DeSantis starts these things for political advantage. He tries to take political advantage of them.


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: And then he says: I don’t know. I didn’t do it. I wasn’t involved.

I mean, that’s — that’s not leadership, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand the point you’re making, but just to be very clear, when you said focusing on smaller issues, the issue of race is incredibly divisive in this country. You’re not referring to that as one of the smaller issues?

FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: No, I’m talking about governors micromanaging curriculum in schools.

And the fact is that, you know, if this was such a big issue for Governor DeSantis, he had four years to do this.


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: He only started to focus on this when he decided he wanted to run for president and try to get to the right of Donald Trump.

And so I think people see this as politically. And I’m talking about, Margaret, we’re dividing our country into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces.


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: And politicians are pitting them against each other to create conflict. And that’s not going to make the country bigger, better, stronger, or freer.

And — but if we improve our entire educational system, so our kids’ test scores are not going down, but going up…


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: … and they could get great jobs and be more competitive with the rest of the world, that’s the kind of thing a president should be inspiring people to do.


On the issue, though, of parental rights, which has been a huge focus of so many Republican candidates, back when you were governor of New Jersey, you signed bills to protect transgender residents. Why do you think you’re one of the few Republicans not embracing these culture wars, when pretty much everyone else in the field is embracing them?

FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, listen, Margaret, I have very clear views on this, that parents should be making these decisions inside their families with their children, the same way parents should be deciding, in my view — and we’re going to be talking about this in the coming weeks — where their children should be going to school and how they should be educated, since our public education system in so many places are failing folks.

So I want to be very clear about this. I’m obviously, as a parent, concerned and aware of these issues. But parents should be making these decisions. Parents should be the ones who work with their children to work through some of these difficult problems.


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: And let’s remember something else on the transgender issue with minors, Margaret.

You’re talking about over the last three years less than 1,000 minors…


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: … who have been involved in this, in terms of transitioning, in a country of 330 million people.

That’s what I’m talking about in terms of small.


FORMER GOVERNOR FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: It’s not that the issues don’t matter. It’s that they don’t matter to the great, vast number of people in this country, who want to be helped.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Right. Understood.

I have to take a break, Governor. We’re going to come back with you in a minute and finish the conversation.

Stay with us.


MARGARET BRENNAN: If you miss an episode or any interviews on Face the Nation, you can find it on our Web site, or go to our YouTube page. Just search Face the Nation.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be right back with a lot more Face the Nation.

So, stay with us.



And we return now to our conversation with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is, of course, a presidential candidate, or vying for the Republican nomination.

Governor, I also want to tap into your expertise as a former prosecutor. There are so many legal issues in this campaign, and I want to ask you about one involving the president’s son, Hunter Biden, who’s going to appear in court this week to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and will enter into an agreement that could avert conviction on a gun- related charge. The deal has infuriated many congressional Republicans who are holding their own hearings. And I wonder, after this plea happens, if you would advise your party to move on?

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: No, I wouldn’t, Margaret, and here’s why. It’s — the conduct here by the U.S. attorney in Delaware, and by the Justice Department, is just — can’t be justified. It doesn’t take five years, Margaret. I — as you mentioned, I – I was the U.S. attorney in the fifth largest office in the country for seven years during the Bush administration. It does not take five years to investigate two misdemeanor tax counts and to dismiss a gun charge. And we need to know what they were investigating, and why these are the charges they concluded to.

This is not just any person. This is the son of the president of the United States. And while justice needs to be equal, it needs to be equal. And it doesn’t appear to me that this is the way to do it.

And I would say one thing on the gun charge. I mean, this is a case where Democrats yell and scream for more new gun laws in the country, yet you hear no Democrat yelling about the fact that Hunter Biden intentionally lied on his gun permit application, mishandled the gun after he received it with a false permit application and faces absolutely no penalty.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Guess what, the guy who sponsored that law was his father, Senator Joe Biden. And that’s — that charge carries a ten- year sentence, Margaret.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: We need to explain — they need to explain to the public why that was done. So, no, I don’t think it’s time to move on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you know that the U.S. attorney in Delaware was appointed by former President Trump.

On – on issues –

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Incompetent, Margaret. It doesn’t matter whether — Margaret, it doesn’t matter whether you’re appointed by a Republican or a Democrat. If your work appears to be incompetent and inexplicable, you need to explain it so we can have confidence in our justice system. And I don’t care whether Mr. Weiss is a Republican or a Democrat, he owes the American people an explanation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The former vice president, Mike Pence, was on another network this morning and said, while the former president’s actions on January 6th were reckless, he’s not convinced they’re criminal. Are you? And – and why do you think other Republicans are moving away from this traditional sort of law and order identity that they typically embraced in the past?

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Look, I think because they’re afraid of Donald Trump. And, look, the fact is, I don’t know, and I want to see any indictment that may come. And when I do, Margaret, then I’m happy to come back on and give you a complete evaluation of what I think of the effectiveness of the charges if they come.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: But what I will tell you is, I heard Tim Scott yesterday say that, like, well, it’s not really the president’s fault. Well, the president invited them there. He incited them by telling them that the election had been stolen. And then he requested that they march up to the Capitol and, of course, like Donald Trump, said that he would march with them, and then immediately marched right back to the safety of the White House and watched what went on.

Now, I – I want to see what evidence the – the special counsel has before I make that decision. I think that’s the wise thing to do. But, please, for folks — I’m disappointed in Tim that he would be sitting out there saying, it’s really not the president’s responsibility. The president invited them there.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: The president lied to them and told them the election was stolen. The president asked them to march up to Capitol Hill while the votes were to be counted. And the president sat there in the White House and did nothing while the attack went on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Should that – should that amount to insurrection or sedition charges, which we don’t know to be the case at this point?

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Well, Margaret, I – you know, I loved — when I was U.S. attorney I used to say, I love the job because only I know what I know. I want to see what all of the evidence is that the special counsel has put together to decide whether I would charge something like that or not.

But here’s one thing you know for sure, I will not dodge the question, Margaret.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: When the indictment is out, I will give a flat-out answer about whether I would have charged it or I wouldn’t of. And – and until that time I think it’s irresponsible on either side to – to do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. And, lastly, the Republican National Committee is urging the former president to appear on the debate stage. I know you will be there.

Do you think anything other than these legal issues could be discussed if Mr. Trump is on it.

FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Absolutely. We should – we should discuss, Margaret, why he said he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare and couldn’t get it done when he had a Republican Congress. We should discuss why he promised to build a wall across the entire border and completed 52 miles of new wall in four years. At that pace, Margaret, he’d need 110 more years as president to finish the wall. Why he said he was going to balance the budget and he added $6 trillion to the national debt in four years.


FORMER GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: Look, people want to have these debates on stage. Go to and donate to me. That means I’ll be on this stage for all of the debates. And I will hold Donald Trump personally responsible for failing us of what he promised us when I was on that stage with him in 2016.


Chris Christie, I think we’ll be seeing you back here. You’ve invited yourself a few times. We’re inviting you as well, Governor.

We now turn to the current governor of the state of New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy, who join us from Middletown.

Good morning to you, Mr. Governor.

I want – I want to pick up on some of the things we just discussed there, including when it comes to transgender care in your state because I know your administration has sued three New Jersey school districts for adopting policies to tell parents if their children are showing signs of changing their gender identity. Why is Mr. Christie wrong when he says parents are the ones who knows best — know best here and they should be involved?


Let me say, unequivocally, I will not be going to

Listen, we took these actions because it’s the right thing to do to protect these precious young people. This is a complete culture war. And, by the way, Chris Christie was really bad for the LGBTQIA+ community and the underfunded public education by $9 billion with a “b” dollars. So, with all due respect to the governor, I’m not sure he’s got much of a leg to stand on.

But parents are always involved. Certainly in our administration. They’re always at the table. And they always will be.

But let’s be smart about this. Let’s protect the rights of these precious kids. Let’s do things the right way, the American way. And – and I think if we do this in a spirit of respecting everyone’s rights –


PHIL MURPHY: Protecting the LGBTQIA+ community, we’ll land in a good place.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, one of the attorneys for your school board in Marlboro, one of these districts, said that this blocking of a school counselor or a staff member from telling a parent about this is a violation of a constitutional right for a parent to direct and control the upbringing of their children. Why isn’t that compelling?

PHIL MURPHY: Obviously (ph), parents are the existential reality in the upbringing of any child, without question. I don’t deny that for one second. But let’s not violate the constitutional and civil rights of precious young folks, in many cases, who are coming to grips with life and – as they — as they grow up and grow older. Let’s be respectful of that. Let’s be all in this together as opposed to this us versus them, this demonizing. And when that happens, invariably it’s the LGBT community that gets — particularly trans folks who get behind the eight ball.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about what’s happening in your state, but you were also a Biden surrogate and yet you decided this week to sue the Biden Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Association to stop something called “congestion pricing,” which is meant to cut back on pollution and traffic by charging drivers when they enter lower Manhattan. A lot of people in your state commute there.

If you are a green governor, how can you oppose this policy that was signed off on by the Biden administration?

PHIL MURPHY: First of all, I support Joe Biden unequivocally. We do so much together. On this one, we don’t see – see it the same way. And at the end of the day the buck stops with me for standing up for the residents of our state.

Secondly, this will worsen pollution in New Jersey. Congestion pricing, the MTA in New York City has admitted it, this is a financial fix more than it is an environmental fix. And the loser here, right now, are New Jersey commuters and New Jersey communities. And I will not let that stand.

We have, in fact, filed soon against the Federal Highway Administration. God-willing we can land in a good place. And it’s not like we don’t have good Bonafede’s, Margaret. We have the number one, since we got here, six years running, the number one environmental track record of any state in America. We care deeply about it. This is bad for the environment in New Jersey, not good for it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If it’s bad for the environment, then tell me why the MTA said that the 4,000 page environmental assessment was supervised at every stage and specifically approved by the Biden administration. The governor of NEW York says this thing is — is happening. Environmentalists have studied it.

PHIL MURPHY: Yes, not so fast, with all due respect. They took a short cut at the Federal Highway Administration. What they should have done with us at the table, given how this impacts New Jersey, and this is what we’re suing for, is to do what they call a full-blown environmental impact study. Now, it may take a while, but it’s worth it. And at the end of the day, listen, if we had had the two new rail tunnels built under the Hudson River, which, by the way, Chris Christie canceled, or if we had the shiny new Port Authority bus terminal, which again he dragged his feet on, would be in a different place. Our commuters would have alternatives. Those alternatives finally are coming to pass, but it will take a while longer. At the moment, those don’t exist.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was — that was an interesting turnback to Chris Christie on that. I’ll give you that.

On the politics front, since you’re there, I lived in New York a long time so I know this issue. But for those who are elsewhere in the country, let’s go national here.

Nikki Haley, in particular, has focused in on the vice president, Kamala Harris, in a lot of her rhetoric. And she’s done it as a way pointing to President Biden’s age. The RNC is posting frequently clips from her speeches, flubs. They are really taking aim at her.

Why do you think Republicans have calculated it is a good strategy and that the vice president makes Democrats vulnerable?

PHIL MURPHY: I mean, this is a classic us versus them playbook that they, unfortunately, the other party too often than not wheels out. And it’s, frankly, offensive. She is an icon. She is an icon in the south Asian community, in the African American community, among millions of women in this country. I, frankly, think it’s offensive and I think, at the end of the day, it’s a losing strategy.

Folks want to focus on the – the strength of our country. The Biden-Harris team has delivered 13 million jobs over 50 – 50 — it’s been over 50 years since unemployment has stayed this low, under 4 percent.


PHIL MURPHY: The investment in infrastructure. The investment in communities.


PHIL MURPHY: At the end of the day, the record will win out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right, Governor, thank you for sticking with us. And I know we’ve had audio issues, so I appreciate your patience.

We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re joined now by Doctor Marci Bowers. She is a surgeon and one of the nation’s leading experts on gender-affirming health care. Also the president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which sets global standards for care for doctors in the field.

Thank you for being here.

MARCI BOWERS, M.D. (President, World Professional Association for Transgender Health): Thank you, Margaret, for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve – you’ve heard our guest talk about transgender issues in the political sense.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve now seen 21 different states pass laws restricting access. And so, I want to understand a little bit more about what that access actually looks like. You know, the governor of Utah was here and said there’s an explosion in his state of interest. Are you seeing that as a doctor?

MARCI BOWERS: Yes. I mean there has been an increase in demand for services. But keep in mind, trans identities have been with us since the antiquities. I mean the time of the Bible. And in literature and art history. I mean there’s examples of people throughout. So, experts feel that the incidences actually never changed. And — but what we are seeing is more people feeling comfortable coming out. And so that explains the rise.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, there’s a spectrum here, though, from identity all the way to surgery. So, how common is it with surgery for someone under the age of 18 to be able to access it?

MARCI BOWERS: Surgery really is not done under the age of 18, except in severe cases, usually top surgery for trans masculine persons. And even that is rare. I think the estimates are something like 57 surgeries under the age of 18 were done for trans individuals.

So, the majority of people, though, that are – that do identify as THG, or transgender diverse, don’t access even medicine or surgery. It’s just a feeling of maleness and femaleness that – that differs from their birth- assigned gender. And gender identity being diverse has lots of inputs, not just hormones, not just chromosomes, not assigned gender, but a variety of inputs. And – and that reflects the – the – the numbers. But they’re – they’re low and they’ll always be low.

The current estimates are about 0.6 percent of the population, which is about 1.6 million people. It might be as high as 2 percent or 3 percent, but it will never be much more than that. The majority of people still identify and are very comfortable with their binary assignments and — but this is a vulnerable population that deserves health care.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, deserves health care. There are other treatments, as well. Hormone therapies and the like. A lot of these laws that are recently becoming — or taking hold are aimed at this young segment of the population.

How much research is there into the effects of puberty blockers and hormones treatments of people in this age group.

MARCI BOWERS: Right. Well, we have decades of experience with – with trans treatment overall. And – and that shows unequivocally that treatment is beneficial. But in this age group, really, we’ve only been treating, with hormone blockers, which is the point of real controversy that – that people are after, since the late 2000s. But, in that time, there has been research especially from groups in – in the Netherlands, but increasingly here as well, and experience with this. And the results are similar. We’re seeing certainly very high levels of satisfaction, improved self-esteem reduced suicidality.

So, so they seem similar to what we’ve – we’ve already witnessed in adult populations. But the controversy is that I think people feel like this number is increasing and it’s going to, like, envelop their children and – and – and spread like a contagion, which is just really a false narrative.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, there has been controversy regarding your particular group, with set some of these parameters, because they removed age guidelines from the surgery recommendations. Why did you take the age guidelines out?

MARCI BOWERS: Well, the point of that is that, first of all, that – that what was leaked apparently was the – the draft guidelines, which we were going to consider younger age groupings. But — but the important point is that care is individualized. And so age isn’t really the issue. Generally it’s adulthood. And — except in severe cases. And, you know, again, a draft guideline needs — gets input from around the world with available science that – that provides input and consensus. So, this is what WPATH standards of care is all about. They’re consensus and science-based guidelines.

And –


MARCI BOWERS: And I want to add, though, that – that, you know, some people say the science is settled. I never say the science is settled. I really feel like science is always evolving. Medicine is always looking for new input and new data. But what we see is – is promising. And, again, this very small subset of the population is – is worthy of that care, and it seems to be beneficial.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So one of the things that we heard on this program from the governor of Utah was that he felt that some of the organizations, like even the American Academy of Pediatrics were too political on this issue. What science are you looking at where you think the politics aren’t interfering?

MARCI BOWERS: Well, I mean, you know, what — what the critics are looking for is what they call level one evidence. Now, level one evidence would require a systematic review of all randomized, controlled studies in this area. And if you look anywhere else in medicine, about half of what we now accept as routine treatment in any field is not guided by level one evidence. Level one — take, for example, cancer treatment or cleft palate surgery, diabetes care, none of those have level one evidence because to do so you would have to induce — introduce a placebo.


MARCI BOWERS: In other words, a non-treatment of that group, but can you imagine offering someone who has cancer non-treatment? I mean it would be unethical.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re saying there are difference — there’s a different benchmark, you’re saying, is being applied here.

Doctor, thank you for your explanations. I appreciate it.

MARCI BOWERS: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Ukraine where the Russians have staged unrelenting attacks on the port city of Odessa. Our Charlie D’Agata filed this report from the region.


CHARLIE D’AGATA (voice over): Through the darkness and debris following the bombardment of Ukraine’s Black Sea port cities, rescuers shout out, is anybody here. Even in the daily reality of war, it’s still hard to see civilians bearing the brunt of it.

In rare access to recaptured territories, we pass through the ruins of Ramifka (ph). Pre-war population, 1,300. Now just 15 people. Including Viktor (ph) and Lubia (ph), who happily invited us in, amid the constant thump of artillery rounds.

D’AGATA (on camera): These explosions don’t bother you?

D’AGATA (voice over): No, those are far away, Lubia reassures us. For us, this is like silence.

D’AGATA (on camera): You call it silence? Wow.

D’AGATA (voice over): But Viktor says it wasn’t that far away that morning with helicopters hovering overhead in support of ground troops.

Lubia’s smile never disappeared, even as she cut flowers for her 92-year- old mother, who passed away over the winter. Soldiers helped bury her in the yard. The graveyard was too dangerous.

We eventually made our way to the neighborhoods recaptured by Ukrainian troops in recent days.

D’AGATA (on camera): Here, on the very edge of newly liberated territory, not a building has been left untouched. The Ukrainians have managed to push the Russian front line back, but the Russians keep attacking what’s left of this place.

D’AGATA (voice over): They call areas like this the zero line, front-line towns and villages under constant bombardment. Like Orachi (ph). We last went there in May when we met Deputy Mayor Svetlana Mondrige (ph) running a community center for residents who chose to stay despite the incredible risks.

D’AGATA (on camera): This is like a little village inside a village.

D’AGATA (voice over): It’s like civilization amid all the devastation, she said back then.

That’s until around two weeks ago when a direct hit from a guided Russian missile destroyed everything, killing seven and injuring 13. Svetlana had just left 20 minutes before the strike.

D’AGATA (on camera): I’m glad you’re OK.

D’AGATA (voice over): But she’s not OK. She’s only now found the strength to talk about it.

D’AGATA (on camera): When we last saw you, you were very positive, very optimistic, very proud of that center. Today you look broken.

D’AGATA (voice over): I’m not broken, she said, it’s just that my heart and my body have been shattered into lots of tiny pieces, but I am not broken.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s our Charlie D’Agata in Ukraine.

That’s going to do it for us today. Until next week, for FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.


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