Steve Wynn on the future of security in Las Vegas
Chief executive of Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas enhanced security at his properties after deciding a year ago that Las Vegas was a soft target.
This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," October 8, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Hurricane Nate hits the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
In a week after the Las Vegas massacre, we're still left a simple question: Why?
JOE LOMBARDO, LAS VEGAS POLICE SHERIFF: Anything that would indicate this individual trigger points and would cause him to do such harm, we haven't understood that.
WALLACE (voice-over): We'll have a live report from Las Vegas with the latest on the investigation. We'll talk with the owner of the town's biggest hotels and casinos, Steve Wynn, who decided a year ago, Las Vegas was a soft target.
STEVE WYNN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WYNN RESORTS: We profile or inspect or examine everybody that enters the building.
WALLACE: Steve Wynn, only on "Fox News Sunday."
And then, even gun rights advocates are calling to revoke bump stock, like the Las Vegas gunman used to make his automatic weapons fire faster.
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Fully automatic weapons have been outlawed for many, many years. This seems to be a way of going around that.
WALLACE (on camera): Is this the start of sweeping gun control? We'll ask Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association.
Plus, as President Trump decides to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, his, his secretary of state denies he is considered quitting.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The vice president has never had to persuade me to remain the secretary of state because I have never considered leaving this post.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must put an end to Iran's continued aggression and nuclear ambitions.
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the relationship between the president and Rex Tillerson as they weigh on a major policy change.
And our power player of the week, a professional football player goes out of this world to make a difference.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My perspective shifted, I wanted to come home and really help inspire that next generation.
WALLACE: All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
We'll get the latest from the investigation into the Las Vegas mass shooting in a moment with a live report, but we begin with breaking news. Hurricane Nate made landfall early this morning striking Biloxi, Mississippi, with rain and winds of 85 miles per hour, causing flooding and power outages. Nate has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.
Let's get the latest on Nate's path. Chief meteorologist Rick Reichmuth is in the Fox Weather Center in New York — Rick.
RICK REICHMUTH, FOX NEWS CHIEF METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Chris.
Yes, the fourth hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. this hurricane season, which is quite remarkable. Taking a look at the satellite picture, you can see it moved onshore. It still is moving very quickly, which is great news. It means it's not going to sit in any one spot, and allow it to rain for that long.
So, the flooding won't be as bad as it could have been. That said, over time, this is going to pull up in across parts of the Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, and eventually, across parts of the Northeast because it's interacting with a cold front coming in. It's going to bring a lot of moisture out.
So, this is the future radar. Throughout the day today, rain moving in the North Georgia mountains, Tennessee Valley, in toward the Central Appalachia, during the overnight hours. And by tomorrow, all of that moisture moves in across parts of the Northeast. So, a very wet start to the week and a wet commute to the day tomorrow as well.
But take a look at this — overall rainfall totals are going to be extreme. Some spots potentially up to 10 inches, far inland from the storm. That means flooding could be widespread especially across parts of the central and southern Appalachians — Chris.
WALLACE: Rick, thank you.
Now to Las Vegas where investigators are still looking for a motive into why Stephen Paddock open fire on a crowd last Sunday night, killing 58 people and wounding almost 500.
Will Carr is live in Las Vegas with the latest — Will.
WILL CARR, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, authorities say, as Stephen Paddock was perched on the 30-second floor of Mandalay Bay, he left a note on his nightstand. Now, "60 Minutes" reporting that note had calculations so he could maximize his accuracy as he fired down upon the crowd. And when that happened, thousands scattered, people raced over in this direction, they physically pushed down this fence and then they ran over unto airport property, trying to get to safety.
And while questions continue to swirl around motive, authorities are putting out billboards across town, asking for help. There are also reports that the FBI is starting to believe Paddock had severe mental illness that went undiagnosed.
Fifty-eight people were killed in the attacks, almost 500 injured before Paddock shot and killed himself. Investigators are continuing to question Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley. We've learned the couple traveled and went on at least a dozen cruises.
As the investigation continues, this community continues to try to heal. Vice President Mike Pence took part in a community prayer walk on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do more with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve, but we do not grieve like those who have no hope, because heroes give us hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARR: Along those lines, a carpenter drove into town from Chicago and he put up 58 wooden crosses, on each cross is a victim's picture and their name. Really a touching reminder of all the people's lives that were lost — Chris.
WALLACE: Will Carr reporting from Las Vegas — Will, thanks.
The Las Vegas massacre raises new questions about how to prevent these attacks.
Joining me now for an exclusive interview, one of the giants of Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, chief executive of Wynn Resorts, who's been thinking about this problem for a long time.
Steve, it was over a year ago when you said that Las Vegas was a target city and you were going to harden your hotels and casinos. What did you do?
WYNN: Actually, it was two years ago Thanksgiving, and I got every consultant and adviser I can think of to come through from a Ray Kelly to the people from Seal Team 6. It took us from Thanksgiving until May to develop and institute and recruit a program of counterterrorism and it will be two years this May.
WALLACE: And —
WYNN: It started in 2015.
WALLACE: And without going into great detail, what kind of things do you have on your facilities?
WYNN: Basically we had to recruit and expand security by tens of millions of dollars to cover every entrance, to retrain the entire workforce, from housekeeping and room service, and people are in the tower and observing people. We had to cover every exit and every aspect of the building to see if we could identify and preempt any kind of terroristic or violent action.
It is never perfect, of course, but what you can do to use local vernacular, you can change the odds, I guess.
WALLACE: So, given all of that — and I know that you had a hidden metal detectors and you had profilers in your casinos, watching the people walking in and out — would any of those measures have prevented Steven Paddock from checking in to one of your hotels instead of the Mandalay Bay to have brought in these suitcases carrying his arsenal, a couple of suitcases at that time, checking in to a room on a high floor, knocking out the window and raining terror down on people below?
WYNN: Well, I know that my friends at MGM are particularly fastidious about trying to protect their employees and their guests. Having said that, there are a couple of things in retrospect and it's always good to look over your shoulder on these things. But we have a routine with housekeeping, with room service, with audio visual, who anybody that goes in the room to do an inspection.
We also have rules about do not disturb. If a room goes on "do not disturb" for more than 12 hours, we investigate. We constantly — we don't allow guns in this building unless they're being carried by our employees and there's a lot of them. But if anybody's got a gun and we find them continually, we eject them from the hotel.
WALLACE: So, if he had suitcases carrying these automatic — or semi-automatic weapons, would you have been able to spot that if they were in the suitcases being carried up to his room?
WYNN: Well, we certainly wouldn't invade the privacy of a guest in a room. But let's put it this way, the scenario that we're aware of would have indicated that he didn't let anyone in the room for two or three days, that would have trigger a whole bunch of alarms here. And we would have — on behalf of the guests, of course, investigated for safety and it would have been provocative situation.
I'm sure that the same is true in other hotels but in this hotel, a 36-hour, a 24-hour, 36-hour "do not disturb" one of room is a predicate for investigation.
WALLACE: After the shooting last weekend, you started having security at the entrances to your hotels, wand people, wand — inspect bags being brought in, are you going to keep doing that? And with 20/20 hindsight the benefit there, have you thought of new measures that you're going to take to try to prevent another one of these massacres from happening using one of the Wynn Resorts as a perch to fire down on thousands of people on the street below?
WYNN: Well, if I can clear the record, we have been guarding the doors for two years every single day, 24 hours a day. We have magnetometers at any place, at every employee entrance, and at every place of human collection like the night clubs. We don't wand the people at the door. That's not necessary.
We profile or inspect or examine everybody that enters the building. And under most circumstances, it's unnecessary to wand people or to do any kind of invasive procedure. The things we're looking for that represent potential threats are much more obvious and allow us a great deal of freedom in allowing us to not interfere with the normal flow of people in and out of the building, which is close to 15,000 or 20,000 people a day.
WALLACE: I understand that Stephen Paddock had gambled and stayed at your properties along with a lot of other places along the Strip. I know you talked to your security team afterwards.
Looking back, after talking to all of them, how much of a profile did you have on him? And was there anything in that profile that should have raise a red flag?
WYNN: It's an interesting question. He's been staying in Las Vegas since '06. So, you know, we're talking about 11 years, with his girlfriend or at least in recent years. Frequent visitor, once or twice a month to this hotel and others.
The most vanilla profile one could possibly imagine. A modest gambler at least by our standards, you know, nothing serious, paid promptly, never owed any money anywhere in Las Vegas. He didn't fit the profile of a problem or a compulsive gambler.
What was — if there was anything interesting that we discovered in the years of service and we have butlers and waiters and masseuses and the people in the beauty shop that know this woman and this man completely. They talk about normal mundane things. But if there's anything interesting that stood out over the six years, nobody that's ever worked here have ever seen the gentleman or the lady take a drink of wine, beer or alcohol of any kind.
Now, a lot of people don't drink. But considering their frequency of all the restaurants, and their behavior as normal tourist taking advantage of everything that's available in our resort, they never ever imbibed in any liquor. Their behavior was conservative, private, understated in every way. You never ever would stop a man like this coming in, you know, in the building.
However, nobody in this company's history, no public person has ever walked in the service elevator unless they were accompanied by a security. That wouldn't happen. Secondly —
WALLACE: Did he go on a service elevator, Steve?
WYNN: I'm just saying anything like that. I'm not sure whether he did, but nobody ever goes in the back of the house unaccompanied by security.
But another thing, being in a room for three days in a "do not disturb" situation, that would have triggered an alarm here, and would have considered — what have been considered as a potentially dangerous thing from the guest's point of view that maybe the person was ill. And we would want to inspect and see that they were safe. We go into their room. We'd want to know more about anybody who was sequestered in a room for more than 12 hours. That would be — that would be something that would — our people have been trained too look out for.
So, Chris —
WALLACE: Steve, you and I have known each other for some years. You are very smart man who knows almost everything, has seen almost every aspect of human conduct, do you have a theory, do you have an instinct for the big question: why Steven Paddock did what he did?
WYNN: No. No. But I have this feeling, Chris. This is a man who behaves rationally, privately, a little introverted, liked to play video poker. But he was a rational man. And every historical review of his behavior indicates that he was a rational man, so was his girlfriend. And yet, he prepared over an extended period of time, a totally irrational act.
Now, this sounds like someone either totally demented — a behavior which he never evidenced — or someone who's sending a message. This is a plan. We don't know what that message is or if there is one, but this behavior, according to my employees, is as stunning as unexpected as anybody, any of them have ever met.
And that's the status, you know, that I hear from the sheriff, and watching television that seems to be the moment — the momentary analysis of this situation. I really don't have anything to add to that.
WALLACE: Steven Wynn, thank you. Thank for you time. And we'll be watching how you and the rest of Las Vegas respond to this terrible tragedy. Thanks again, sir.
WYNN: We'll be fine. We'll be fine. The president did a good job.
WALLACE: Up next, after still another mass shooting, the debate over gun control re-ignites. But this time, even the National Riffle Association is calling for more regulation. We'll talk with the NRA's executive director when we come right back.
WALLACE: In the wake of last Sunday's mass murder in Las Vegas, we all followed an all-too-familiar pattern: shocked, questions, and calls for more gun control. Most of us also learned about a device, bump stock, that allow rifles to fire faster. And now, even some of the strongest advocates of gun rights are calling for more regulation.
Joining me here is Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Cox, welcome to "Fox News Sunday."
CHRIS COX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: The NRA surprised a lot of people this week, calling for ATF to review bump stocks.
Here is part of your statement. Let's put it on the screen: The NRA believes devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
This regulation had been on the books for seven years, why is the NRA suddenly concerned, and what specifically would you like to see ATF do?
COX: Well, what we called for was ATF to review any device changes semiautomatics to function like fully automatics. As you probably know, it's illegal to convert a semiautomatic to fully automatic. ATF did approve this under Barack Obama.
And what the National Rifle Association has said is ATF needs to do their job, review these, and if there's a further regulation, then we'll work on further regulation. But, Chris, what we saw last week was pure evil, and we've seen evil existed in this country. We've seen box cutters in airplanes, cars, bombs, trucks full of explosives, and yes firearms.
So, as we have this conversation, we need to look at the broader picture. We need to have an honest discussion about what works and what doesn't work, and our concern is that all this focus on devices takes away the attention from the underlying behavior. And until we address that, these things are going to continue to happen.
WALLACE: Well, let's just talk about the underlying behavior. You're the NRA, so we're going to talk to you about the specific technique. Would you be OK with banning bump stocks?
COX: Well, we don't believe that bans have ever worked on anything. What we've said has been very clear, that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently. Fully automatics are regulated differently in this country. If something copies a semiautomatic into a fully automatic, then those should be related as well.
WALLACE: Did you get any blowback from some of your members? Because it's unusual for the NRA, after one of these incidents to call for more regulation of either guns or parts of guns.
COX: There were NRA members at that concert. There were NRA members that were shot at that concert, and NRA members that were murdered at that concert. So, what we're getting from NRA members is grief and fear, the same way Americans are grieving and scared that something like this might happen again.
So, will there be disagreement over policy discussions? Of course. There's an ongoing discussion of gun control in this country. We had it during the debates last year. We had it throughout the campaign when the most pro-gun control candidate was defeated by the most pro-Second Amendment candidate.
These conversations happened. What we are concerned about is that we're having a conversation when people are grieving, there used to be a common decency in this country where people pause from talking about policy.
Unfortunately, with Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg, they want to exploit a tragedy from day. It's shameful. But apparently, that's the new normal and that's why we're talking to you today.
WALLACE: Well, I want to pick up on that, because while the NRA is talking about bump stocks, there are number of gun control advocates, a number of them Democrats who are calling for more sweeping measures. Here's a few.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't believe one whole political party in the greatest country on earth is totally sold to the gun lobby.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALI., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: They're going to say, if you give them a bump stock, it's going to be a slippery slope — I certainly hope so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, I know that sets your teeth on edge.
You say common decency, let's wait. What's enough time? I mean, here where 58 people killed, almost 500 injured, is it common decency to wait a day, two days, a week, a month?
I mean, it is understandable. You can — I know you don't agree with their solution, but what's wrong with saying we need to address this issue?
COX: Well, let me talk about Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi both and get back to that point. You can see Pelosi has said, and I take her at her word, I take Dianne Feinstein at her word when she says that she had 51 votes in the Senate for Mr. and Ms. America to turn in all of your guns, they would do it.
Look, the talking points might change for Dianne Feinstein, but the underlying agenda never does.
And the truth is, Hillary Clinton ran as a most pro-gun control candidate in America and she lost. And — but she gets an award, she gets an award for hypocrisy, because she will never spend a moment, a breath, without armed security surrounding her for the rest of her life, she will never dial 911, she'll never lived in a high crime area, but her life is no more valuable than a single mom living in Chicago, working the late shift, who wants to own a gun and carry it to defend herself.
That's why we're calling on Congress to yes, look at firearms, but also —
WALLACE: I want to pick up on that and I'm going to throw a little monkey wrench at the control room because we're going to play an earlier bite, because you and I talked earlier this weekend and you said that you want to have a sensible conversation about gun control.
Wayne LaPierre, the head of NRA, talked this week and I want to play a clip from what he said. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: One thing the American public always knows, that the elites always protect themselves and they always protect themselves with guns, and they lecture the American public how you shouldn't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The reason I pick up on that is because you are in effect with saying the same thing about every Clinton. Is that a sensible way to have this conversation, to try to turn it into class warfare where you're for gun control, somehow you're part of an elite?
COX: It's not class warfare. Chris, it's what the American people want. The American people want to protect themselves. They want to be able to defend themselves. Yes, we're willing to have a conversation —
WALLACE: But, wait, no — that's actually — that's not actually true. I mean, yes, Second Amendment, but if you talk about background checks, if you talk about automatic weapon — well, let me just say that. There are a lot of people, in fact a majority of people, according to the polls, would like to see those gun controls.
I'm just — I have to say I'm put off at the argument that if you believe in gun control, you're an elite. I have to tell you, Mr. Cox, I know very few people outside of public officials — she was a former first lady, she was former secretary of state — who have armed bodyguards. One of the few people I know, private people, who has armed bodyguards is Wayne LaPierre.
COX: Chris, as a law-abiding gun owner, I am armed security. But I couldn't bring a gun into Washington, D.C., because my license gun, because they won't allow me to protect myself.
WALLACE: That's not my point, sir.
WALLACE: My point is — no, my point is you cannot have a gun and you can believe in gun control because you think it's dangerous. Now, we can argue about the merits of it, but I think to dismiss people and say, well, that's just the elite and they have armed guards is, it seems to me, does a disservice to your argument.
COX: It's the hypocrisy that bothers the American people, Chris. It's the hypocrisy coming out of Hollywood. It's the hypocrisy coming out of politicians, and it's the hypocrisy coming out of a lot of people in the media who refused to accept that law-abiding people in between New York and Los Angeles, and in between Washington, D.C., and Miami deserve the right to defend themselves. That's what the National Rifle Association exists for.
And, look, we can talk about background checks. This murderer in Las Vegas passed them. So did the gentleman or the murderer in Orlando, Tucson, Aurora, Fort Hood —
WALLACE: Let's talk about background checks and let's talk about specific issues, because you're certainly right, he did pass them and he brought all these guns legally. There is a 72-hour limit on background checks, and as a result, some people call that the Charleston loophole because Dylann Roof, the man who bought a gun through a background check and then killed nine people in a church, you can see his picture there, he got the gun because the background check wasn't complete in 72 hours even though he would have failed that background check.
Question for you, Mr. Cox, when it's a matter of life and death, and I understand, you don't want background checks to go on forever, that's not appropriate. But when it's a matter of life and death, couldn't it be four days or five days and not three days and he gets his gun?
COX: Sure, the National Rifle Association has worked to include every mental health record, every court adjudication, every criminal record to make sure that people don't fall through the cracks. The National Rifle Association —
WALLACE: That's not — that's not true, sir.
COX: That's absolutely true, Chris.
WALLACE: No, it isn't. Forgive me — in February, President Trump signed a measure that said that the Social Security Administration no longer has to provide information on mental disorders to the national background criminal check and the NRA supported that.
COX: That is a complete misrepresentation of our position, a complete misrepresentation of what President Trump did. What he said is you can't arbitrarily deny a senior citizen their Second Amendment rights based on no finding of dangerousness. The only finding was that they asked somebody to help them manage their financial affairs.
If you think that somebody needing help with a checkbook should eliminate them from exercising their Second Amendment, then you under —
WALLACE: Mental disorders — now, I agree, it wasn't everybody. It was some people with mental disorders and you backed that.
COX: Their definition of a mental disorder was someone who asked for help handling their finances. That is not a prohibitive category, Chris, and it shouldn't be a prohibitive category.
WALLACE: Let me ask you about another measure that has been talked about, and before I do, I want you to just watch this video. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You hear that gunfire. One reason that Stephen Paddock was able to fire so quickly, so many shots so quickly was because he had a high-capacity magazine, he had a bunch of them that held between 60 and 100 rounds.
Now, I understand Second Amendment, Supreme Court has ruled on it. Why do you need a magazine that holds 100 rounds?
COX: There's no one in America who watches that video that's not horrified. And NRA members that were at that concert I'm sure were more horrified than you and I were.
And so, the question, and it's a fair question and it's to ask, if banning me from owning these sorts of things would prevent a criminal for going out and misusing them, that is a fair question. And what you have to do is look at, what has Congress done? Congress banned semiautomatics and high-capacity magazines for 10 years, 10 years. And Bill Clinton's own Justice Department said it had no impact on crime.
California still bans those magazines, but it didn't prevent San Bernardino or Santa Barbara. In Europe, there's virtually entire bans on everything, but it didn't stop murderers using machine guns –
WALLACE: We're running out of time, sir. But even when you see that horrific video and he is firing this (ph) because of the bump stocks and it's because of the magazines that he is able to fire 100 rounds in a few seconds, less than a minute. No qualms about allowing people? Let me flip it around, why should, in 30 seconds if you will, why do shooters need people to hunt, to protect themselves, why do they need magazines with 100 rounds in them?
COX: People need — first of all, it's intentionally designed to scare people. People own magazines of different capacities for different reasons.
WALLACE: You know, 10 rounds would be enough?
COX: It depends on what you have it for. It depends on what you have it for. People can own things safely and responsibly and be a danger to no one. And that's the part of this conversation. It can't be a fair and balance conversation if you're not willing to discuss the broader problems that we have with the violent culture coming out of Hollywood, with video games that fundamentally change how military simulators work.
WALLACE: Mr. Cox, it's obviously — we didn't agree. We're going to settle this in this short period of time. Thank you so much for coming in today. Please come back and we'll continue the conversation.
COX: I'll look forward to it. Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Hopefully not as another one of these terrible tragedies.
Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to discuss where things stand in the debate over gun control.
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about chances for new gun laws in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. Just go to Facebook or Twitter @FoxNewsSunday and we may use your question on the air.
WALLACE: Coming up, Secretary of State Tillerson knocks down reports he considered quitting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I serve at the appointment of thee president and I am here for as long as the president feels I can be useful to achieving his objectives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We'll ask our Sunday panel about the relationship between President Trump and Rex Tillerson, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Apparently this allows you to take a semiautomatic, turn it into a fully automatic. So clearly that's something that we need to look into.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, D-CALIFORNIA: I hope senators will finally summon the political courage to stand up and say, enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Some rare bipartisan agreement this week from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Paul Ryan, at least on the issue of bump stocks.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
Former National Security Council staffer Gillian Turner, columnist for The Hill, Juan Williams, Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief for The Associated Press, and Tom Rogan of The Washington Examiner.
Julie, what do you make of Republicans like Paul Ryan saying that they want to take a look at bump stocks? Is this the beginning of a conversation, a broader conversation, of gun controls, or are they trying to limit it to this one device, which is so hard to defend?
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: I'm not sure we're going to see any broader conversation on gun control. I think the fact that Republicans and the NRA came out — the White House as well — came out and expressed an openness on bump stocks is certainly an interesting development because we rarely even see Republicans go after some of the low-hanging fruit on this gun control debate here.
I think that there's going to be a reluctance on the part of GOP lawmakers to go any further on that. Certainly the NRA would push back pretty aggressively if they started to do that. But I think on this issue, look, there's not a huge constituency for bump stocks. I think most people can agree that if you're going to take a device, put it on a semi — a legal semiautomatic weapon and turn it into a fully automatic weapon, that that's something that needs to be addressed. You have unanimity on that across the political spectrum.
WALLACE: We asked you for question for the panel, and on this issue of gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, Rick Reuss tweeted this, what conceivable gun legislation could have prevented the evil that occurred in Las Vegas?
Tom as Chris Cox of the NRA pointed out, Stephen Paddock bought all these guns legally, he passed all the background checks. So how do you answer Rick.
TOM ROGAN, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, I think the broader point here is that whether we're talking about this particular incident of gun violence or the broader issue of terrorism in the age of ISIS, and I'm not drawing connection between the two points, but the relevance of potential mass casualty events makes them similar in terms of issue. You could, for example, put in checkpoint at every major public event, at every major hotel. You could have personal inspections. But the ultimate problem comes down to what measure of freedom of movement, ease of movement, are you willing to give up in return for a greater measure of security? And, ultimately, that fixes right back to the Second Amendment debate.
I suspect what we will see here, if you look at the two most recent Supreme Court cases on the Second Amendment, Heller and McDonnell, there's actually quite a lot of wiggle room there for local governments, especially when it comes to the public carrying element to do things. So I think it's going to down (ph) fast.
WALLACE: Yes, we should point that out. I did an interview some years ago with Antonin Scalia, who wrote the Heller decision, and he specifically said there is an unfettered right to the Second Amendment, but that doesn't mean there can't be gun controls, reasonable, sensible ones that don't infringe.
All right, let's turn to another hot topic. The Trump administration, on Friday, announced broad, new exceptions to the Obamacare mandates on birth control. The insurance plans have to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Here was President Trump earlier talking about religious freedom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: WE are ending the attack son your religious liberty and we are proudly reaffirming America's leadership role as a nation that protects religious freedom for everyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Gillian, the religious right is delighted with this, the president's decision, and he's made several in this regard to say that employers, for reasons either of religion or moral beliefs are not to be forced to provide birth control, contraception, to their employees. On the other hand, women's groups are incensed by this decision.
GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: And groups on the right look at this as a victory, but I would caution the president and all Republicans that chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, executive order — one executive order at a time is going to be an awfully painful exercise over the next few years.
If we look at what Chuck Schumer said to the president last week over the phone, which was allegedly repeal and replace is now dead for the final time —
WALLACE: Well, let me back up — and just for folks who don't follow it like we do. the president and Schumer talked and the president talked about maybe we can do a deal with the Democrats and then Schumer said —
TURNER: And then Schumer said, Mr. President, repeal and replacing Obamacare is officially dead. It died its last death a couple of weeks ago. If we take him at his word, the president really has two paths forward. One is, reforming Obamacare through executive action, which is the option I refer to is going to be incredibly painful for everybody involved. You can also try and cut a deal with Dems.
I think the president is showing this week, this past week, that he's trying to pursue both those options at once. I mean maybe he'll forge a certain degree of success with congressional Democrats on this, but he's not going to get a deal that's going to replace — repeal and replace Obamacare. Whatever way we look at this going forward, because of the Republicans failure to get this done for the president, it's going to be painful for him.
WALLACE: Juan, I want to pick up on this because I'm curious about the politics of it. On the one hand, look, the president promised this on the campaign trail. He's keeping a promise that helped get him elected. On the other hand, if you look at the polls, most people support the idea of the provision of contraception. So, you know, he's pleasing his base but he's turning off a majority of voters.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, but he's pleasing his base. And it's an interesting political dynamic here, Chris, because he's not only pulling the contraception mandate, but he's also pulling money for the promotion of Obamacare and to enroll people at this point. So he's actively trying to undermine Obamacare, I think, to make the case to Schumer and the Democrats, this is imploding and you're going to come to me to want to make a deal to try to rescue it. I think that is his bargaining position is, with regard to the politics with the base, the base has no wall, they have no Obamacare repeal, they have a debt deal with Chuck and Nancy, if you'll recall. I think there's a little bit of anxiety inside that White House with Steve Bannon gone about making sure that you are always playing to the base.
But I worry that it's less catering at this point than pandering to people who are, I think, misinformed about the consequences. It's almost like Trump is now saying, you know what, yes, we didn't get done what we promised you, conservative base, but we are still actively here trying to drain the swamp or disrupt things. Well, has your life improved? That's what Ronald Reagan asked. Is your life better off today than it was when I — when —
WALLACE: Well, that's not a rhetorical question.
WALLACE: Some people would say the economy's doing pretty well.
WILLIAMS: Oh, yes. And we lost jobs for the first time because of a hurricane —
WALLACE: Yes, have you — have you heard of Harvey and Irma?
WILLIAMS: Yes, but have you heard, first time in seven years? Have you heard about a tax cut deal that benefits the rich disproportionately, not the blue collar worker? I think people will have to get that information at some point.
ROGAN: I think corporate tax reform. This is one of the things that I think the president deserves courage on and House Republican leaders. It is not fashionable in the age of Bernie Sanders to say, corporate tax reform. But if you speak to economists, investment productivity, that is the key.
WALLACE: I have to say, only on our panel do we go from birth control to corporate tax reform without missing a beat.
We have to take a break here.
Up next, will President Trump decertify the Iran nuclear deal this week? And what about his relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You guys know what this represents?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: I don't know, maybe it's the calm before the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What storm, Mr. President?
TRUMP: You'll find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump raising a lot of questions during a photo-op with his top military brass, and we're back now with the panel.
Well, one thought about a possible storm is that the president may, and in fact is expected, to announce this week that he will decertify the Iran deal, say that it's no longer in the national interest. But that doesn't end the deal. It then goes to Congress and the Congress has 60 days to decide whether or not they are going to re-impose the sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal. And if they don't do that, then, guess what, we're still in the deal, which raises the question, Gillian, what would that have (ph) step (ph)? He decertifies but the sanctions stay lifted. What would that accomplish?
TURNER: Well, it's a sort of middle ground for the president, which is why maybe he's going to go in this direction. It's a middle ground in that it doesn't kill the deal, but it passes the buck to Congress. So the first reason I think the president is not going to recertify is that he enjoys nothing more than passing the buck to Congress, making them make these hard decisions, like we saw with DACA. What will happen if he does not recertify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA on October 15th —
WALLACE: Which is the Iran deal.
TURNER: The Iran deal. It hands it to Congress and they have 60 days to debate and then make their own decision via a vote.
The second reason I don't think he's going to recertify is that the albatross around his neck at this moment is every 90 days he's got to very publicly sign an agreement that shows Iran has been complying with this deal. It is something that is a thorn in his side on the foreign policy spectrum like nothing else. It is an Obama — from President Trump's perspective, this is an Obama-era legacy he —
WALLACE: So once he decertifies, he's off that hook?
TURNER: He's just itching, itching to free himself from that.
PACE: This is exactly what we've heard, that it's the act of having to certify every 90 days, that Trump actually has to sign a certification that is driving him crazy. That that is one of the driving factors in this debate, which is pretty amazing, actually.
WALLACE: Defense Secretary Mattis testified before Congress this week and he was asked the key question on this matter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ANGUS KING, I-MAINE: Do you believe it's in our national security interest at the present time to remain in the JCPOA? That's a "yes" or "no" question.
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Yes, senator, I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You can tell how excited Secretary Mattis was to have to answer that question.
Juan, the president is apparently going against almost his entire senior national security team in making this decision to decertify. Why do you think that is?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think he's playing to the base. We were talking about this a moment ago. But I think that this is a very aggressive step to say, listen to the base. I promised you during the campaign that I would get rid of this Iran deal. I said it was the worst deal ever for the United States, it was a rip-off, and I am going to act on my campaign promise because it's not only his inner circle — and there's lots of reports this week that, you know, Tillerson called him a moron and all that, but also that Tillerson, Kelly, Mattis have some kind of suicide pact where they said, you know, if he fires any one of us, we're all going. But that they are there because, in the word of Bob Corker, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a Republican, they act as a buffer. They are stopping chaos in terms of our foreign policy from becoming imposed by the president. It's a very intriguing situation. But the president, I think in this instance, is playing to the base one more.
WALLACE: Yes, we should point out, those were the views of senator — or the statement of Senator Corker, not of the —
Speaking of splits between the president and top advisers, let's talk about this split with Rex Tillerson. There was a report this week that Tillerson had seriously considered quitting over the summer and that at one point, not to be president, but to some other people he called the president a moron. That led to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: It continues to be misreported. There has never been a consideration in my mind to leave.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a very good relationship. We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Other than that, I think, my (INAUDIBLE) —
PACE: I mean that point nearly is the kiss of death from (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: What's really going on here, and is Tillerson out or not?
PACE: So this has been a complicated relationship for a long time. Months ago I had a senior administration official tell me that Trump likes the idea of Tillerson, the businessman, the Texas swagger, more than he actually liked Tillerson himself. He really gets annoyed at the way Tillerson handles himself in meetings. He doesn't like the idea that Tillerson, especially on this North Korea issue, has been pushing this idea of diplomacy, which he is the nation's top diplomat. That is, in general, what he is supposed to do.
So this is highly complicated. Tillerson has been frustrated by being undermined by presidential tweets. He's been frustrated that Jared Kushner has picked up a large part of the foreign policy portfolio. And the big challenge for Tillerson right now — and I think the thing that I've heard that he is going to have to decide about in terms of his future here is, what kind of juice does he have left with foreign government? When he is traveling around the world, when he is meeting with foreign leaders and he says this is a position of the United States government, do they believe him anymore? And, frankly, talking to diplomats around town, they don't always believe him.
WALLACE: I want to pick up on exactly that point with you, Tom, because whether Tillerson stays or not, you would think that his effectiveness as secretary of state has been dramatically diminished. Leaders around the world are watching all this play out. And we've seen the president, in the case of North Korea, as soon as Tillerson said in China last week that we have avenues to talk to North Korea, the president tweeted, don't waste your time, Rex. I mean —
ROGAN: It's unity of message, stupid, would be the foreign policy equivalent of the famous line. And that is so critical here because, you know, as Julie suggests, when foreign diplomats hear from American diplomats — not just about Tillerson, right, it's about all the Foreign Service officers in every embassy around the world. If they are having those lunch meetings with foreign officials and journalists and they are not seen as credible, in line with the president, it's a huge problem. But it's also a huge problem for President Trump in the sense that if you talk about the Iran deal now, with that short window if he decertifies effectively to get the French crucially on board, who may come on board with him about reforming the deal, if they don't trust the only guy who's in the room in Paris with them, Secretary of State Tillerson, their willingness to say to all their domestic manufacturers who have those nice deals in Iran, hey, by the way, we're going to push on this, but those manufacturers say then, well, you're talking to Tillerson. Trump is tweeting, Tillerson's an idiot. That — that — that — that — that is very hard diplomacy.
WALLACE: You've got about 30 seconds.
TURNER: If I — if I may. I believe Secretary Tillerson's future hinges on whether or not he did call President Trump a moron. And I mean this in a very specific sense. If he did, it will ultimately be made known to the president. It is a fireball offense for any secretary of state throughout the course of U.S. history. I'm including people like Henry Kissinger here.
It is not something a secretary of state can survive. And so all of the policy issues, all of the disagreement will fall by the wayside and it will come down to whether or not there is proof that he spoke about the president (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: All right, I've got — I've got 10 seconds. Did he call him a moron or not?
PACE: I personally have not confirmed it, but I will say, I had someone point out, that he's an Eagle Scout and he did not specifically deny it in his press conference.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday. That's — Boy Scouts.
Up next, our "Power Player of the Week." From the football field to outer space, how a former astronaut is using his story to inspire others.
WALLACE: Only 362 Americans have had the chance to fly into space. But one astronaut is using his unique path there to inspire young people on their own journeys. Here's our "Power Player of the Week."
LELAND MELVIN, AUTHOR, "CHASING SPACE": No matter where you come from, no matter what zip code you're in, you know, with grit, with grace and perseverance and a lot of second chances, you can do anything you put your mind to.
WALLACE: Leland Melvin has gone to remarkable places, including 374 orbits of our planet. But it's his journey to get there that's the real story.
MELVIN: My mother gave me a chemistry set when I was probably seven or eight years old. It was a non-OSHA certified, age inappropriate chemistry set where I created the most incredible explosion in her living room.
WALLACE: Melvin was hooked. He played football and won at scholarship to the University of Richmond as a wide receiver. But that was never his passion.
MELVIN: I didn't watch, you know, Monday night football on the NFL. I was doing chemistry labs. So it wasn't something that was my favorite thing. But it was — it was something that got me to college.
WALLACE: Football did more than that. He was drafted to play in the NFL, but even trying out for the Dallas Cowboys was a balancing act.
MELVIN: By day I'm catching footballs for America's team with Danny White and all these people, Hershel Walker. And at night I'm watching material science engineering videotapes. And that was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
WALLACE: A hamstring injury ended his football career. Melvin went back to school, got his masters and became a research scientist at NASA. Then, in 1998, he applied to be an astronaut.
MELVIN: Only a few of us have been in the NFL and been engineers at NASA and scientists at NASA. And so I think that kind of differentiated me from some of the other candidates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, and liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis.
WALLACE: In 2008, Melvin went on the first of two shuttle missions. His role, operating the robotic arm to install a lab on the International Space Station. But he says orbiting the earth every 90 minutes made a more profound impression.
MELVIN: You're connected to everyone as you go around the planet. And so it's one of these things where my perspective shifted. I wanted to come home and really help inspire that next generation.
WALLACE: At a book fair in Washington this summer, Melvin shared his life lesson.
MELVIN: Opportunities come to you, but you have to be prepared for that opportunity. And having that one person in your life, all you need is one, that has your back and believes in you.
WALLACE: There's a big push these days for kids to study STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math. But Melvin talks about STEAM, adding thee Arts.
MELVIN: If you say that STEM is the most important thing, then you're leaving out the artists and the musicians and the creators that are — that are truly part of anything that you're designing or building.
WALLACE: Melvin's book is called "Chasing Space," featuring a photo that's gone viral at him and his two dogs. What he wants is for young people to chase blank, whatever their passion is.
MELVIN: When I share the story, I share the experiences, and a kid who was on a path of going maybe nowhere sees a spark and looks up in the night sky and one day I may watch them in my rocking chair heading off to Mars, that's what gets me so stoked.
WALLACE: Melvin made headlines recently writing an open letter to President Trump, calling his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem divisive.
Well, that's almost it for a packed program.
As you may know, we're the official Sunday show of the Washington Nationals. Last night the Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 to even the National League Division series at one game apiece. And someone was so excited, he showed up this morning. George Washington, one of the racing presidents from Nats Park to help urge on our team. George has delegated me to say, "go Nats!"
George, did I do that OK?
Chicago, we're not doing so well.
That's it for today. Have a great week. And we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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