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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 22, 2018 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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without shelter in sub—zero temperatures. the men were stuck on a one thousand metre peak in the scottish highlands until a coastguard rescue team managed to reach them. that's all from me now. a few technical problems, we are struggling with the images to show you. but check out the images on our website. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. the white house has never before seen a president like donald trump. he doesn't play by any conventional political rules. that much is obvious from his twitter feed, from his hiring and firing of staff, and his apparent relish for outrage. my guest today is anthony scaramucci, the white house director of communications for all of 11 days before he was fired in a media firestorm. but ‘the mooch‘ has stayed
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loyal to his former boss. why? anthony scaramucci, welcome to hardtalk. it's good to be back. do you believe that donald trump is a president that the american people can be proud of? yeah, i mean, listen, we're in a polarised country, so certainly 40—60% of the people are not going to like their president at any given time — i think that's been true unfortunately for the last 30 years.
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but, yeah, if you look at the diagnostics of what's going on in the last year in terms of the economic growth, the wage increases, the fact that he's tackling, or at least handling, our adversaries, and trying to build strong alliances with our allies, i think yes. i think there's a lot to be proud of there. well, we'll talk economy and foreign policy, but i want to begin with the style and tone of this presidency. arguably the most important job in the world. do you believe that he is handling it in the right way? well, you have to remember, go back to the campaign — the president, the candidate then was in front of 17 other potential candidates and the constant remark... i don't want you to go back to the campaign, what happens... no, but i think it's important. stephen, he would have never been president... this whole notion of acting presidential, tweeting presidential versus not acting presidential, he would have never been president if he didn't take his combative
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style into that campaign, knock out the 17 competitors, knock out secretary clinton, then arrive in the white house. but he is now in the white house. he is now the president. you call it combative style, but if we're going to be specific, we talk about the kind of behaviour which leads him in a meeting with congressional leaders on immigration to use a word that i'm not even going to use, that is so derogatory to so many people, so disgusting that it has caused a furore around the world. have you ever used that word before? i've never been president of the united states. ok, but have you used the word before? it's not a word i use, no. but even if i had, what has that got to do with it? here is the sanctimony with the whole thing for me, 0k, i grew up in a neighbourhood, we used tough language in the neighbourhood i grew up in. he grew up in a
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neighbourhood, in queens. he used tough language. he's used tough language his entire career. so now he's in a private setting, we're in this sort of crazy world now of social media and constant leaking. everybody is now their own media expert and their cellphone is effectively a recording studio. and so now, the president can't have a private conversation. he's speaking to the australian prime minister, there's three people in the room, it gets leaked to the washington post. so you're telling me that president obama never used a curse word? rahm emanuel never used a curse word. i think you're missing my point. it's not the fact that it's a curse word, it's the context in which it was used. he was basically saying, why do we have...? i'm not missing the point, i'm addressing the sanctimony and the righteousness, 0k? because what we're doing now in our society is we're tabulating every syllable and we're tabulating what people say. we've now decided that we want a portal into everybody‘s personal life and a portal into everybody‘s private discretionary conversations, and then when they say something
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that isn't discreet, we set our hairs on fire, we run around the world with our hair on fire. let us be clear. let me stop you. people do talk like that. i mean, you've got viewers that talk like that. let me stop you for a second. what you seem to be saying is that a comment which in context was seen to be racist — notjust by his democratic opponents, but by republicans, some of them in that room as well, by the united nations, by the african nations he appeared to be referring to — around the world, the feeling was this was racism. and you're telling me you can't call out racism when it comes from the president of the united states because it's sanctimonious? first of all, it's not racism. 0k, number one. i don't know if he said it or he didn't, because i wasn't in the room. there is mixed reports on whether or not he said it. senator cotton didn't hear it. senator durbin said that he heard it. let's just litigate and stipulate that he said it for the point of this conversation. the point is, he's not a racist.
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i've known the guy for 25 years. people in our community here in new york know he's not a racist. let's look at some of mr trump's words and actions in the course of his presidency. he characterised mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. he pardoned joe arpaio, the arizona sheriff who was convicted in federal court of using, in an unacceptable fashion, racial profiling. he responded to a neo—nazi rally in charlottesville by referring to "some fine people". then, when there was violence afterwards, he said there was blame on many sides. he retweeted anti—muslim propaganda videos from an extreme far right british organisation. this is a pattern. last week, he signed declarations to widen the ceremony of the martin luther king birthday, which we are celebrating today in the united states. he's got guys like pastor darrell scott and pastor mark burns on his side. the nfl football player jim brown said he would be the quarterback of urban renewal in the united states. he campaigned in the urban areas and said "give me a chance". and so what has happened now, which no—one wants to report about, is that african—american unemployment in the united states
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is at a 35—year low. when african—americans, like the former chief of the republican national committee michael steele, say, quote, "trump has captured the racist underbelly of american life and given voice to it", does that not give you pause? well, again, i — there is a question on the table about his style. there is 40—60% of the american people, michael steele could be one of them, doesn't like his style. now we've got to talk about substance and you have to look at the substance, as you said, actions over words. the guy does not act as a racist. the policies that he has put in place are not racist. as i said, african—american unemployment is at a 35—year low. he is doing something right in that community. so, listen. you don't like his style? most people, the american media
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don't like his style and i understand that but the style he has got him to the american presidency. i could be in the oval office with him, i was only there 11 days but they were pretty eventful, for me. i can tell you that you could talk to him about his tweeting and he would have a joke about it, asking, did it sound presidential? i'm an upfront guy, i am a new yorker like him and i said no, but he said, if it sounded presidential, i would not be the president. let's talk a little bit, as you have introduced the melodrama that came with your hiring and pretty rapid firing as director of communications... it was like a telenovela! it had a soap opera feel to it. yeah. no question! you have some distance now. you can look back on it. it seems that what happened
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with you embodies everything that michael wolff talks about in the book, fire and fury which is about a white house that was utterly dysfunctional, chaotic, and failing in its basic tasks of governance. ok, so first of all, that's a totally ridiculous book. i read the book. i would say that there was truth in it, but why would he let truth get in the way of a good story? i understand you wouldn't like it. he would regard you as probably the most preposterous hiring in the annals of the west wing. i know what he wrote about me, god bless him. the truth of the matter is i was in the west wing and he wasn't in the west wing. this guy is a terrible journalist. i give him credit that he wrote a salacious and fictionalised book that he characterised as non—fiction and he got himself to the top of the best—seller list.
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whatever your view... he made himself some money. let me tell you what he did. your view of michael wolff... he hurt you, stephen. he hurt me? yes, because you are a credible, honourable journalist and he is in your community. you went down in flames, having come into the office and indeed, you told a bbc colleague of mine that, you know, you were sick of the backstabbing. you said, "where i come from, i am a front stabber", implying that you would be straight, you would not indulge in the leaks, you saw those coming from priebus and bannon, all of those around you. and yet within days, you are making a late—night phone call to a new yorker reporter, and you were saying the most extraordinary things about your colleagues in the white house. let me stop you right there. you think i wouldn't say those things to those people directly? hold on a second. but that would be front stabbing. hold on a second. i said every single thing that i said to that reporter to reince priebus and steve bannon directly. so when i sad i was a front stabber, i went right after those guys.
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as you told the new yorker, i cannot use the phrase but it involves a contortion and a sex act... i used the words but they were off the record in a private conversation. exactly, you were backstabbing off the record. i was not backstabbing. i was front stabbing. you think i didn't tell those guys to their faces how i felt? you were the director of communications, you were meant to be putting a new and efficient face on the white house. stephen, i think it was pretty efficient. the president hired me to help him to remove several of the biggest leakers inside of the administration. let's go back to that time. you say we have the benefit of time. let's go back to that time. the intimidation and warfare taking place in the months of april, may, june, mid—july, they were ridiculous, unfair to the president. they were leaking every bit of information. the guy couldn't have a private phone conversation without it being leaked. but the first thing... you are trying to accuse me of doing something behind their back. i didn't do anything behind their back.
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i have met with them at 9:30am in the chief of staff's office and told them exactly how i felt. and what happened, the chief of staff, reince priebus, got fired... don't accuse me of backstabbing them when i'm hitting them right in the face and told them exactly how i feel. you were involved in the firing of reince priebus and he was replaced by generaljohn kelly. the very first thing he did, his number one priority when he walked into the west wing was to fire you. yeah, exactly right. what a humiliating episode in your life. yeah, it was humiliating in some ways. but you have to remember, i'm an american business person, not a politician. i went in, the president gave me a job, i handled it how a ceo and entrepreneur would. i didn't handle it as a deft political operative. the president told me to take control of the leakers. i went and did that.
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general kelly and i have very different personalities. general kelly is more of a military person and i am an entrepreneurial iconoclast. it wasn't going to work. he fired me quickly. i give him a lot of credit. you say, since then, the dysfunctionality... this is what is interesting about you. you call it humiliating, i call it a reality—based decision that someone made as they were trying to reorganise their staff and i took it like a man. people around the president, in the administration, the secretary of state, finance secretary, former senior staffers, they all say this guy is fundamentally not suited, not fit to be president. you are sourcing that outside of the michael wolff book? yes. because i know each of those people individually, i don't believe they have said that about the president. maybe they have, but i do not believe it. by the way, people do say things in conversation and it could be colloquial orjoking but here's what happens now, there
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is an open mike and a hot mike everywhere in our society. so every syllable is measured and every syllable becomes tattoo ink in yourforearm. i do think it is a bit ridiculous that we are doing that to each other at this point in our civilisation. in all honesty, now that you are away from the white house, do you think the president has the intellect and character, and the temperament, to be commander—in—chief and president of the united states? he obviously does... he obviously does? obviously! looking at the economic and national security and you picked the responsibilities that the president has... no, there is a vital point about the state of the economy. what about the national security situation? the north koreans are negotiating with the south koreans. for 25 years, we let that go. the former administration called it strategic patience, the president of the united states said, no more. he has the bomb, he has
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the capabilities to launch a large ballistic missile into the united states. when president trump... tweets out... saying that my nuclear button is bigger than yours and it works, he refers to the leader of north korea as "little rocket man", you are telling me this is part of a well thought out strategy? let me put your viewers at ease and the global community. when he is doing that, somebody like don junior or myself, we look at that and we laugh. we get the joke embedded inside of that and get the sarcasm laced inside of it. we do not micro analyse it like liberaljournalists. when he says it is a bigger button than the others, it is part of his personality.
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you might not like it but he is 71 years old and he believes, and i also believe, that he uses twitter to jump over mainstream media, to directly message the people who voted for him. he will continue to do that. you use that phrase about the mainstream media, it's fair to say that donald trump continues to fight a war against what he routinely calls "the fake news media". as director of communications for all of 11 days, if you were still in the job, would you say to donald trump, mr president, it isn't wise to dismiss the so—called mainstream media as nothing more than peddlers of fake news? let's offer a balanced perspective, in the first year of his presidency, about 73—74% of the mainstream media is negatively biased towards the president. that is an objective standard, not me saying it.
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it creates some soreness inside of the administration but still, despite that, if i was there and in the time that i was there i thought it was absolutely a bad strategy to declare war on the media. steve bannon declared war on the media. he made that statement earlier on and said that they were an opposition party... day after day, week after week... he describes the media as the fake news media. i do think that unfortunately, until you are a victim of fake news, you do not really totally understand it. you seem to suggest that donald trump's strategy right now isn't working for him and it is a mistake? i suggested inside and outside of the white house that the president does not need to declare
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war on the media. i was only there 11 days but one of the first things i did was turn the cameras back on, the lights on in the press room. the way the system is set up, we have a fourth estate known as the american media, the first amendment of the united states, the freedom of speech, to check people in power. the president is media savvy. you should take a step back from that, and say, i can have an adversarial relationship with the media without a war declaration. what i am worried about is good news for the president, he had roughly the same approval ratings as barack obama at the end of the year. you can dispute the polling but, let me finish, i will make the point even better than you would make it. this is what i worry about. barack obama lost 63 seats in the 2010 mid—term congressional elections. some of that as a supporter
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of the president, someone who is a lifelong republican, i would make the case that we had to reinvigorate the party and switch strategies right now, because of his popularity and if it does not improve going into those elections, they will be tough elections. you seem to say if the republicans do not find a strategy of distancing themselves from mr trump, they will be in trouble? i think the opposite, the candidates who have embraced him have done better. those distancing themselves have done worse. you have to start connecting now with the american people and what i am calling the dashboard of success for the trump administration and the republicans in congress. if you do not do that, history is up against you. if you look at ronald reagan, or barack obama, or george w bush, i will use an obama term, they were all in the mid—term elections. you said that you were a media
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circus when you needed to be and would be more involved in every election capability then from inside of the administration. why are you suggesting that with your record, and donald trump with his record, could he seriously expect to be re—elected ? it would be a landslide re—election. the way that the american political system works, it is nearly impossible to defeat a sitting president unless you have a calamitous situation like a depression or a historic rise... you are standing with the american public in the middle of historic lows! i said it's roughly the same approval rating that barack obama had... he may not even
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complete his first term. we live in the same universe, that's why i want him to fight back and when he wins we will pop champagne together. he will win the re—election because he has the right policies for the american people and, by the way, before the cameras were rolling we were talking about governor romney, who i supported. he was a great candidate for president but almost impossible to be an incumbent president in a rising economic situation. you can go back to 1880 and it doesn't happen. you are an extraordinary promoter of the trump cause but i will end with this quote... i am talking facts with you. this is a republican, senatorjeff flake, he has split with donald trump, he thinks that trump is very bad for america. he knows that he will not be renominated. he cannot get re—elected. because he has basically
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killed his own career by making a stand, he said that there are times when we must risk our careers in favour of principle, and when the next generation asks us, why didn't you do something? and he means, do something about trump, why didn't you speak up? what are you going to say? that i enabled this guy? again, you don't like his style. the senator does not like his style, i grew up with people like him, i get the difference between the brashness and style and capability and action. i predict that over the next three years, the capability and process and the action will overwhelm people. he is going to switzerland next week, he is embracing the global community and is at the intersection of globalism where he wants peace and prosperity for the world. he has an america first strategy for workers. you don't like his
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style, i get that. or his tweeting, i get that. senator flake does not like it but let's measure him on substance and when he wins re—election, you will invite me back. we can have and an i told you so moment, like when everyone said he would not win in the first place. come what may, we will invite you back. anthony scaramucci, we have to end. i'm talking fact promotion, not trump promotion. let's make that clear. thanks for being on hardtalk. god bless. thank you. tough son of a bitch. do you see why we call this break balls? bbc break balls? the transition began during some and there was snow down
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to the south—west. there was snow down to the south—west at muzza. skipper had to tuesday and all of us will be into that milder air, moving tuesday and all of us will be into that milderair, moving in tuesday and all of us will be into that milder air, moving in our direction on the south—westerly winds. this monday morning starts off as a milder note for most with icy stretches across parts of north—east england and eastern scotland. many places starting the day with significantly higher temperatures. one area of rain perilously close to parts of south—west england, along the south coast as well for it is clearing off quickly. through the day, we are looking at large areas of cloud and a sunny spells. one or two showers across parts of north—west england and still the potential for icy stretches across parts of these
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england. showers packing in across scotland but look at the temperatures, five and six degrees in edinburgh and glasgow. we didn't get anywhere near that even through the middle of the afternoon on sunday. northern ireland, starting dry, pretty cloudy, some sunny breaks. and also sunny breaks in wales and the west midlands. rain in the south will disappear into the near continent very quickly through the morning. we will keep some showers in scotland. generally speaking, not a bad day. the temperatures much higher than they were on sunday in many places at 6— 11 degrees. during monday night, things are pretty quiet. the south—westerly winds continuing to bring it milder air. 3— nine degrees, those are your starting temperatures for tuesday morning. really, on tuesday, it is all about us being in the thick of this milder air, pumping all the way up from the south—west. tuesday is the mildest day of the week for many of us and that
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won't mean it will be wall—to—wall sunshine by any means. some outbreaks of rain. best chance to the east of high ground, no rain, but windy. 10 degrees in glasgow. 13 to hire in london. a bit of a change on wednesday. a cold front southwards and eastwards. a band of heavy rain and strong winds. that will start to reintroduce some slightly cold air. i say slightly colder, yes. the end of the week will feel a little bit chillier but nothing quite as cold as it has been. welcome to newsday. the headlines...
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at least 18 people are now known to have died in saturday's attack on a hotel in kabul. witnesses describe the terror. the attackers were knocking on the door of each room, trying to reach their targets. they killed ordinary people and officials, they were also targeting foreigners. us senators hold a rare sunday session to try to end the budget stalemate that has closed down the federal government. i'm kasia madera in london. also in this programme... turkish troops advance into northern syria — targeting an area held by kurdish groups which have been fighting against islamic state. some pop diplomacy from north korea, as it sends a girl band singer
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