tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 19, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this evening with health care. president trump's ambition to repeal and replace the affordable care act was dealt a significant blow last night. in a surprising turn of events, mike lee of utah and jerry moran of kansas came out against the bill. their defection left gop leaders at least two votes short of those needed to begin debating the bill. earlier today, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell conceded that his party's efforts would need to take a new direction. senator mcconnell: we will have to see what happens. we will have demonstrated that
republicans by themselves are not prepared, at this particular point, to do a replacement. and that doesn't mean the problems all go away. you will have to look at our committee chairman and their ranking members. during then is hearings about the crisis that we have. we will have to see what happens. charlie: joining me is jerry seib and david leonhardt. he is a columnist at "the new york times." i'm pleased to have them both here. david, let me begin with you. where are we? what is likely to happen next? david: this is a huge defeat for the republicans. you never want to say never. it looked like the bill was in the house, but this is a really big defeat. mitch mcconnell cannot get 51 votes for a health care bill. so what that probably means is
the republican party is going to turn the page on health care in tok to a budget, and look tax reform and at least for the time being, the efforts to get rid of obamacare seem to be dead. charlie: if they do that, that means they go to the 2018 elections, the midterm elections, having failed at one of the things that they talked about doing for the last seven years. jerry: which is why one of the things mitch mcconnell was talking about, having a vote to repeal obamacare but that is a two edged sword. that would please the republican base, but it would also force some of his members to cast a vote that could come back to haunt them in 2018. there is not a good winning scenario here that i can you -- that i can see. but maybe this allows both the white house and republicans to move on to something they will find much more enjoyable. this increases the incentive in the urgency of them to succeed on that one because they have to have something to show in 2017.
that is the one they would really like to have. jerry,: in the end, what divided republicans in the house and the senate over health care? jerry: the fundamental problem was -- let's be honest. they did not expect to win the white house so they spent the 2016 campaign talking about repealing and replacing obamacare without having to come to terms with the tough nugget, which is figuring out which you can agree on. they came to power. but they never resolved the internal debate between movement conservatives, populists, mainstream conservatives, and moderates about what that means. whole efforthe fell apart because ideological conservatives wanted to pull out obamacare by the roots. populists were not happy with what that would do to the working-class voters. charlie: in the meantime, david, what was happening on the ground
in terms of people who are watching the changes that might be coming, and becoming alarmed? right.that is people became alarmed, including a lot of republicans. independents, and voters that saw that these bills were going to hurt them. this is a case of reality coming home to roost. as jerry was saying, when republicans were out of power, they were able to say a lot of things about obamacare that was not true. they would say it was socialism even though a combined conservative and liberal ideas. once they took over the government, they had to turn those talking points into legislation. they were not able to do so in a thethat kept 51 votes in senate because all of their plans would have done enormous damage. they never really tried to come up -- there are conservative approaches to health care. even more conservative approaches than obamacare, but they never came up with that. as a result, they were not left with any kind of -- all of the experts, none of them thought it was a good idea.
they had collapsed on them. charlie: it raises the question i never quite understood the answer to. is there something that democrats and republicans could have come to an said, look, obamacare is not perfect by a wide margin. yous try to fix it so republicans can try to gain some credit for changing it. democrats will maintain some of the support they had for things their constituency believed in. david: that is eminently possible. it is still possible. every legislation this country has passed needed fixes down the line. obamacare needs significant fixes as well. the problem is, the republicans demonized obamacare so much during the course of the campaign, they had to try to get rid of it. but on the substance, the idea that you go in and fix the flaws in this program and you do a bunch of things remains entirely possible today. charlie: do you agree with that? jerry: i do.
a radical thought here, charlie. there might actually be bipartisan conversation breaking out. there may be no other choice. do some modest things to stabilize the insurance act -- the insurance exchanges. don't throw out the popular things, trimming the edges on other ones. reporters spotted senators from both parties having conversations today on the floor of the senate about this very thing. mitch mcconnell has told his caucus for weeks that if we can 't do this on our own, you will have to bite really hard and have conversations with chuck schumer, the democratic leader senate. that is where we are. this is not going to repeal or replace obamacare, but maybe this takes you to a place where. some more modest steps can be made to incrementally improve the system. rahm emanuel used to be the chief of staff and said, people should stop trying to hit home runs in health care. hit some singles and doubles. stop trying to fix everything all at once. everybody who tries ends up feeling the pain. charlie: donald trump on the
other hand, has said, don't do anything and let obamacare collapse under its own weight. is that likely to happen? jerry: he also said if that happens, i won't own that problem. a lot of people don't think that will be true anymore. we are six months into the trump administration and if the collapse of obamacare produces a huge disruption in the inserts -- in the insurance market around the country, there is a good chance republicans now own that problem, not the republicans. we may have passed that inflection point. charlie: any winners? cliche,t might sound but i think the main winners of the 20 million people plus the would have lost health insurance. for them it was not a political spectacle. it was real life. you saw some number of them come out and say, if this passes, my disabled child will lose services. my relative who has cancer will lose services. that is what you saw this -- i
have never seen anything like this, charlie. you had the advocacy groups for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and the groups i mentioned before, come out against this bill. the reason is that it would have had damaging real-world consequences. and the fact that it failed, at least for now, means there are a lot of winners. you could even argue that the republican party in the long-term is a winner because passing this bill would have done so much damage to the country that it ultimately would have been damage to the republicans. charlie: is the idea of the expansion of medicaid a winner? david: i was one of many people who was surprised at how politically popular medicaid ended up being. democrats have been insecure about the popularity of medicaid forever. because it is a health insurance program for poor people, in part. and yet, it turned out that a lot of republicans in states like kansas and west virginia ended up being afraid. nevada, ended up being
afraid of cutting medicaid. obamacare has two main parts. the private insurance markets, that the trump administration wanted to collapse. the other part is this big expansion of medicaid, which is on safer ground. one of the lessons we heard about this is medicaid is more popular than supporters expected. when democrats next control government and they want to expand health insurance even further, they may look to medicaid rather than the private markets to do it. jerry: one of the hidden stories is the fact that there are out across the country, a whole list of republican governors who made the tough decision in their states to expand medicaid or obamacare. and they did not want to roll that back. i did not want to take back something that they had walked across the political hot coals to give to people in their state. those republican governors were a heavy influence of republican senators and in many ways, that is a big factor in the demise of
the repeal and replace effort because the replaced would have rolled back that expansion and there were republican governors who did not want to go there. charlie: this was becoming self-evident that you can't give people something and then try to take it back. jerry: that is true. having said that come it is also true obamacare has big problems. if you go back to the conversation in 2016, hillary clinton was acknowledging they were big problems. insurance markets were not working as expected and she had a plan to fix it. charlie: and premiums were going up. jerry: you can't say that we can ignore those problems. the democrats can't say that, and the republicans can't say that. that is why there is probably no choice, but some bipartisan conversation. charlie: i think even obama would have acknowledged that. would he not? david: medicaid is working better than the private market. there is a funny situation when the democrats, when passing obamacare, leaned heavily on the
private market, in part to get republican votes. they didn't get republican votes even though they included the private markets. and now the peace with private markets isn't working as well and arguably is not as politically popular. i think one lesson democrats will take from this is, the calculation where you would expand the private markets to win republicans is a losing bet. in the future you will say much more emphasis from them to expand medicare and medicaid, which are both popular and appear to be working better than these jerryrigged public-private markets. charlie: what kind of system does canada have? you will see someone talk about universal health care and single-payer seems to have more at least conversation then it has ever received before. jerry: we do. canada has a system well to the left of our system. it is a single-payer system. i have a hard time imagining we will move to a full single-payer system because it would mean in -- it would mean in or misenorms
disruption in which everyone that gets service through their employer has to change. all the people who work for private insurance companies go out of work. but you can imagine something that moves toward canada without actually going there in which you have a system with a bandit medicare and medicaid. so that you have government playing a bigger role as ap payer. it you still have private insurers playing a role in that market. i would insurance plays a substantial role in the medicare and medicaid programs. charlie: when you look at the future, in terms of the kinds of things -- what, beyond the medicaid expansion, was valuable about what president obama did with the affordable care act? jerry: i think david referred to this earlier, the insurance exchanges were originally a republican idea. a conservative idea. i think there is value in that, but the marketplace is very complicated. that will have resonance. the idea that you should be able
to stay on your parent's insurance poly until you are 26 has become universally accepted as a good idea. i think both parties will have to figure out which pieces to build on. i think the democrats are also at a point where they will have to make some tough decisions. the pressure at the base of the democratic party right now is in fact going to become a let's just move all the way to a single payer government run health care system. that is where the pressure as an democrats will have to ask themselves. will we resist that pressure and move more incrementally adjusting the current system? may be a single-payer plan is popular to the democratic base, but it will scare a lot of people, and do we want to go there? charlie: and the republican part of this, there is no agreement in terms of where they want to go? david: that is what we have learned in the last few months. there might be some people in the white house who hold out and hope this will come back to the senate and we will put this together and bank is happen.
i don't think very many people believe that. but maybe republicans do have to step back and figure out what it is they really can agree on and what they can't agree on. charlie: how quickly can they do tax reform? jerry: i think they will pivot as fast as humanly possible. although i also have to say this complicates tax reform. one of the ideas behind the tax reforms a good thing, which is to do health care reform later is you cleared out a lot of money way rolling back medicaid and changing the tax incentives under obamacare that could be used to pay for tax cuts, lowering the corporate tax rates and individual tax cuts. that is not on the table amount, so they have to figure how they do tax reform without having done health care first and that is complicated. charlie: you both have been influential journalists in washington at "the wall street journal" and "the new york times." give me a sense of what this looks like. not only the legislative failures, the failure to achieve
one of your primary victories -- we have not heard a lot about the wall. we know about tpp. but that was not going to pass anyway. and at the same time, the russian probe continues to have embarrassing revelations, now for the family. does this seem to be what? david: the president of the united states is an extremely powerful person in any circumstance. president trump has had victories. the confirmation of neil gorsuch in a very conservative supreme court justice. a bunch of consecutive actions to combat climate change. but you are right. when you put together the list, the legislative failures which stands in contrast to every other recent president that didn't make progress early on. even bill clinton got the really important budget deal that raised taxes and helped lead to the bond market rally.
and you look at the approval ratings. you have got welfare reform. late in his first term. you look at president trump's lack of legislative accomplishments. scandal, which seems to have real substance to it, even if we don't know yet how much. his approval rating, and the extent to which members of his own party are willing to buck him, as we have seen in the last couple days. he is coming up on the six month mark of his presidency and i don't think we have seen a first six months of the presidency in our lifetime that has been less successful than the six months. charlie: i guess i would add that republicans have to ask themselves, not the trump white house, but the republicans, do we know how to govern? are we capable of governing? some republicans will tell you, we are better off as an opposition party than as a governing party and we have to change that.
but that is on the congress and not the white house. i think the fall in this context becomes very crucial for the white house, and republicans in general. they have to get some things on board. maybe it is tax reform. they hope that is the case. but you do have to end the year with legislative accomplishments. and i think the white house is going to have to figure out the strategy for dealing with the russia probe in the midst of all that. i think they need to create a clear separation between the president and the governing part of the white house. and the russian investigation part of management control and move down both those tracks simultaneously. that is where we will be for a while and that has not been very effective. we will have to figure how to separate scandal management from governance and put some things on the board. charlie: do either of you know, speaking of the russian probe, an answer to why the president is so resistant to this probe, other than there is something that is damaging to him, whatever it is? jerry: at a minimum, there is a
trump style that says basically, you give no quarter when you are under attack or under siege. you give no ground. is that because there is something working in the shadows? or because he's afraid that not fighting everybody every step of the way is a symbol of weakness? i don't think we know which of those it is. david: it is either something is bad there or trump knows no style, other than the right style, the mccarthy style. charlie: david, this is what you said earlier in the paper. "my suggestion is, whatever your belief, you find ways to nourish her political soul during the current period. nourish her political soul. to do so, remind yourself that not every issue is straightforward. look for an issue you find difficult and nuanced. it can also be an economic issue, a social policy, or a matter of foreign affairs. whatever it is, don't just look for ideological ammunition. those searching for trade-off
and uncertainty. above all, consider changing your mind about something." what produced that? david: thank you for reading that. i think a lot of people feel exhausted by this current era. i find myself feeling exhausted. i am an opinion columnist. one of my jobs is to write my opinion. i have been lumped by this health care effort -- i have been alarmed by this health care effort, by the climate policy and so many things from this administration. i just realized, politics is not all about brute force, it is not all about fighting. i think it is an ported for people to remember. i thought it was an ported for myself to remember that democracy is about inquiry and debate. i thought i would spend the summer grappling with issues i found hard. i would look for ways in which my own views might be wrong. i would encourage readers to do
that as well and remember that everything is not one big fight. charlie: i think we are finding out something about the trump voters that we really did not know until some of these issues about health care came up. something that is not negative at all. something more about them. we have been doing some polling about these trump voters. one of the things you learn is some of those trump voters, a fair number, don't actually agree with the president's approach on health care or climate change. but they think two things, he is a change agent, and that is important to them. that's one of the reasons he is not succeeding in washington because it is a hard place to change. and they think he is tough. they think what he has done on going after thae. because ofe syrians their use of chemical weapons is effective. they see that as proof that he is going to washington and fighting for our jobs.
those are still very powerful things and they get lost in the washington debate about policy prescriptions and policy legislation. but the trump voters, they are still very much there. charlie: thank you so much, david. thank you very much, jerry. we will be right back. stay with us. ♪ charlie: steve bannon is one of
graduate with blue-collar roots and was the driving force behind the right wing breitbart news website when donald trump appointed him the head of his campaign. he was widely credited with crafting president trump's populist message and helping guide him to victory. joshua green tells the story of beeannon and trump's unlikely partnership in the new book, "devils bargain." welcome. this is a review in the new york review of books that i just saw. it says, it is a testament to your adroit intertwining of bannon and trump. we are not sold which of the two figures has sold the bigger part of himself to the other. in the broadest sense, they are co-authors. josh: i think that's exactly right. the point of the book is to go back and answer the question everybody still wants to know about donald trump. how is it that he managed to get elected an dd all of us, the
media and washington, we did not see it coming? i did not see it coming, but i covered bannon, breitbart, this populist uprising. on election morning, i spoke to bannon. looking back, it did come into focus, the whole story and how these two men are interwoven and lead this upset. charlie: tell us this story. josh: trump and bannon met in 2010. bannon has this wild background. he was born to a democratic navy family in richmond, virginia. went to the navy. he eventually went to hollywood and opened up a boutique investment bank, financing and cutting hollywood deals. and like so many people on the money side in hollywood, he wanted to go over to the creative side.
he had this deep, almost sublimated conservatism that he had not shown at harvard and goldman sachs. once he started making movies, he gave full flower to that. he made a venerating documentary about ronald reagan that brought him into the orbit of a group of los angeles conservatives led by andrew breitbart, the late conservative publisher and provocateur. bannon became infatuated. his ability and his power to control the media narrative to help shape stories and what kind of news was covered. and i think the thing bannon admired most about breitbart was that he was an apprentice with tha matt grudge. he seems to have an ability to see stories and shape them in the mainstream media. was enamored by the
fascist propaganda filmmakers in the 1930's and 1940's, was consumed with this idea that if i can learn these skills, if i can harness the power that and arrew breitbart has, i can shape the world in a direction that will advance my political goals. charlie: his political goals were? josh: they have always been the same. to push for a kind of hard right populist nationalism. very much distinct from orthodox movement conservatism. bannon's critique from that kind of conservatism is globalist, that it serves the interest of global, financial class that is more interested in making money and sort of erasing national borders, tearing down cultural identities than it is in serving the kind of ordinary, working-class blue-collar people that bannon thinks are the
backbone of the country and ought to be at the center of our politics. his prescription was to tear down the global free-trade system, to close america's borders, to deport people who are here illegally, and to curb legal immigration as a way of privileging american citizens and reasserting a kind of cultural identity. charlie: is this different from what pat buchanan argued way back when in the 1980's. josh: i talked to bannon about this six months to a year go. the forbearer? he said, yes and no. buchanan is a deeply traditional catholic. but he said the big difference is that buchanan isn't enough of a zionist. that is where he goes wrong.
i am a big zionist and therefore, we really don't see eye to eye on those kind of things. charlie: when does donald trump come into the picture? josh: trump comes into bannon's picture in 2010. that is about the same time -- that is when they met. through a longtime anti-clinton activist named david bossi who was very central to a lot of bill clinton scandals and investigations in the 1990's. he was formerly the chief investigator of dan burton's government oversight committee, who are the ones who pursued bill clinton more aggressively than any other republicans in congress. he knew bossi from conservative fringes. bossi had been pulled into trump's orbit. trump, at the time, was getting serious about running for politics. these are the two guys he surrounded himself with.
>> originally they were not close. they sued each other. this is the story a telling the book. they hired detectives. there was all sorts of and after, they became friends. shortly after they became friends, he was at a fundraiser with steve wynn, who he had gotten to know a little bit, and wynn calls over donald trump and says, i want you to meet my friend, dave aussie. you probably have heard of him because right at that time, bossy's group had just won a supreme court case, citizens united versus the fcc. his stock was trading at a high and trump was very impressed with that. trump is very impressed with status. he starts going to trump tower to tutor him on politics. one day, bossy said i went to
the come along and introduced him to donald trump. charlie: what reaction did they have to each other? josh: according to the people i talked to about trump's orbit, they immediately clicked. the reason they clicked because bannon is someone who knows money and wall street, but also somebody who has worked in entertainment, cares about it, and speak the lingo. bannon is a guy that is full of political ideas. trump really was getting serious about running for president. not just to boost the ratings of the apprentice, but he really wanted to be president. charlie: was he looking for a pass to the presidency? josh: he was. charlie: he was a democrat, a republican, everything. josh: what he wanted to do is get to a position of power. i tell the story of the
political career in 1988 when he first started talking about this and touting himself as a presidential candidate. the stream that runs through all of his political evolutions whether he's republican, democrat, or independent -- he has populist impulses. he talks about free trade, how america is getting ripped off by wily foreign competitors. in the 80's, it was japan. now it is china. he recognized, in bannon, someone who shared his general political out look. but had a very fully formed politics that mashed comfortably -- meshed comfortably with trump's own. what steve bannon added to donald trump's political persona was to convince him of the power of illegal immigration as a political weapon to wield in a republican primary.
to build a base and to take a base away. they weren't serving the needs and desires. charlie: using language that was more strident and going to a position further right than they were? josh: there was a documentary called "border wars" where he went down to the border and had a visceral sense for the emotions that illegal immigration stirs up. just the anger and the anxieties. bannon's dark talent as a political strategist is recognizing and exploiting that kind of thing.
that is something that he injected into trumps political persona. and trump, being the intuitive politician he is, started testing out this material at rallies. he started talking about the wall. you could see he was getting a reaction from these grassroots voters and he kept going with it. it wasn't immigration that got him started, it was obama. it was birtherism. josh: who gave him that idea -- charlie: who gave him that idea? josh: as far as i can tell, trump hit on this one on his own. for those that aren't familiar, it was the false claim that barack obama was not born in the united states. maybe he was born in kenya and was a secret muslim. it was one of these lunatic conspiracy theories that circulated. i don't think trump believes it. i think he's an opportunist. about most issues and especially about politics. looking back, knowing what we know now, it's pretty clear what
trump was doing. he was preparing to run against barack obama in 2012. the way we know this, trump's style when he wants to take someone on is to diminish them, belittle them, humiliate them. and what could be a more powerful weapon then to go after the race of the first black president of the united states? speaking to stone and some other people, trump really wanted to do it and he saw that when he started this birther to work on the view and would go around and keep saying this over and over, republican voters responded. trump was leading the polls in 2011 after going around and talking about this stuff. he understood the power this kind of animosity could give. i think he abandoned the effort in 2012 because he was
humiliated at the 2011 white house correspondents dinner. he had a head of steam, goes to the correspondents dinner in april of 2011 and gets absolutely ambushed. not just by the comedian seth meyers, but by the president of the united states himself. obama's remarks were devastating. he sat there in humiliated trump to his face on national television. and then the crowning as we find out that obama has managed to capture and kill osama bin laden. he at once destroyed whatever dignity -- charlie: found out when he got back that night, i think. josh: he destroyed any dignity that trump might have had.
he humiliated him and reminded the american people at the same time why he is an effective president. here is this clown, out making jokes. i'm going to put him down and humiliate him, and then i'm going to go get the job done and capture osama bin laden. i think the power of that humiliation really sent trump licking his wounds. he ultimately opted against the race in 2012 which is something he regretted even while it was still going on. charlie: he decided to run in 2016. josh: stone, his long-time adviser, he calls him up on new year's day, 2013. roger stone calls trump to say happy new year. trump tells him, i just went and trademarks the phrase "make america great again." he knew at that moment that
trump was going to go ahead. i covered what unfolded over the next few months. you can see over the course of those few months, trump morphing from a guy talking about birtherism to a guy that is the full-fledged anti-immigrant zealot that we soon came to know. anti-trade, anti-immigrant. it's about the time he came up with the border wall. his staff came up with the border wall. charlie: the question, why should we be protecting people? it was self-interest first. josh: and playing on the people he was trying to win. they were resentful of the establishment. yes, of the establishment.
the immigrants that were coming in and they thought giving benefits that rightly belonged to them, they were displacing them. they were intent on coddling foreigners more than they were their own citizens. the understand the power it could have. that's when trump flipped the switch and turned it on. ♪
charlie: most of us, during the campaign, when manafort was out, and steve bannon came in, most of us were surprised. you are saying he was always there. josh: he had always been an informal adviser. there were several key moments before steve ran and came aboard. when bannon played -- before steve bannon came aboard. when he played a pivotal role on behalf. the earliest one was when trump announced his candidacy. he came down the elevator and gave me speech calling mexican
immigrants drug dealers and rapists. and there was this uproar. paul ryan criticized him, jeb bush criticized him. the ordinary thing to do is to apologize or revise your remarks. to make some show of the basement. not only did he double down, steve bannon went and organized trump's trip to the laredo border. he knew a bunch of border guards down there. organized the trip, he was -- say exactly the same thing to mexico's face. not only was he not apologizing, he was walking up and cooking them in the chest and doubling down. that is the mindset. charlie: how powerful is he today? josh: not as powerful as he once was. that's for sure. charlie: what happened? josh bannon is a propagandist at : heart. he is good at messaging.
stoking the worries and fears of the electorate, galvanizing a certain kind of dispossessed voter who hasn't felt like they had a place in american politics. it is a real talent. i think that helped get donald trump elected, but you need an entirely different set of skills when you wind up in the white house. the problem they have is both of them have one speed. this need to dominate their opponents. to come in throwing haymakers and be aggressive. bannon told me a couple weeks into the transition that they were going to pursue a shock and that would blow up the washington establishment and impose trump's stamp on the american government the way he put his stamp on a trump building. the world doesn't work that way.
almost immediately you saw this , began to backfire. a protest in the streets, federal courts knocking down the travel ban. and pretty quickly, the trump administration kind of came off the rails. a lot of people in the white house were very unhappy and blamed steve bannon for that. i think with some justification. charlie: when people realized bannon had a great influence, they knew he was a nationalist. some thought he was a racist. some thought a whole range of things that was on the far right. is he any of those things? is he all of those things? what is he in terms of his core beliefs? josh: his core beliefs, i tell the story in the book of bannon's intellectual guru who was an early 20th century french intellectual that practiced colt
-- occultism and freemasonry. he later became a muslim. he is the godfather of a religious philosophy. known as primordial traditionalism. also known as perennial as of. -- perennial as him -- perennialism. all this huxley wrote a book about it. about the philosophy, it says that all of the ancient religions have a unified spiritual core that was delivered to mankind in the earliest ages of the world. in the enlightenment we, in the , west, lost our connection to transcendence to god. and what traditionalists want to do is to get that back. bannon, who is a very conservative catholic believes this. and this is what shapes his worldview. there was a lot of talk in the
campaign. trump and brandon moore gesture return to the more a's and ethics of the 1950's and 60's. theon wanted to go back to 1500s. he is deeply opposed to modernity. the thing to understand about traditionalists is that they think modernity has led to decline rather than progress. this has had a real influence on 20th-century politics. hitler's ideologists were influenced by the traditionalist theory. i don't think trump knows this or cares about this. certainly doesn't know anything about french metaphysics, but
bannon is trying to set this right-wing nationalism against the forces he sees encroaching on national identity, and thereby destroy free trade, break up the eu, undermine what he considers globalist politicians like angela merkel and reassert this american identity. he thinks that is the path back. charlie: it sounds like a bannon reads a lot and is someone that cares about books. trump doesn't read at all, to understand, what is written about him. he is a child of television. he says he gets everything he knows from television. another guy who tries to understand how using media but is essentially informed by books. josh: that is exactly right. i think that is part of bannon's appeal to trump. at his heart, trump is a deeply insecure man who wants the approval of powerful people.
what bannon did for trump is to take trump's impulses and give it a respectable intellectual framework. bannon used to say to trump, you are not a joke or a punchline. you are part of a global populist uprising we see sweeping across europe and great britain the same forces that led , to brexit are marshaling behind you. remember when trump was losing all the polls? who did he march out ahead of him? nigel farage. leader of ukip. trump said we will be brexit times five. charlie: he saw it as a movement, what happened there is exactly what i believe in. it is to ride the forces of populism and nationalism. josh: and who was whispering in
his ear about all that? steve bannon. charlie he praises the : leadership of brexit. josh: farage believes he is, in part, responsible for brexit. one of the things bannon did it breitbart, following the model of a traditionalist who believed the path back to enlightenment is to convert small pockets of important people. what we today would consider thought leaders. bannon to that model and started the breitbart in los angeles, rome to influence the vatican, and london. charlie: and found people within the church. josh: and in breitbart in london, he was a platform for nigel farage, ukip, for all those guys. he told me after the election, i don't think brexit would've happened without steve bannon and breitbart. charlie: where is he?
the conventional wisdom is he is back. josh: in trump's world, you are always rising or falling. he surrounds himself with various factions and fiefdoms. when one is in a clips the other is rising. bannon rose up after the election. he was cast out of the inner circle by kushner, by cohn, some of these people that disagreed with him when he proved not to be effective. but as you say the russia , scandal came along and all of a sudden, a lot of people in his inner circle and his own family are embroiled in very serious scandals. charlie: and a fight for survival. josh: a scandal that trump himself inflamed by firing james comey the fbi director. , charlie: advised by jared kushner to do that. josh: that is what my white house sources tell me. that steve bannon had warned against it.
warned against firing comey. what really brought bannon back is that just before trump left for his foreign trip in may, attorney general jeff sessions had recused himself. rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, decided that they needed to impose a special counsel and chose robert mueller. a very serious man. a real threat to the president. if he's done anything wrong -- it only happened because he fired comey. at that moment i think trump , awoke to the danger that the russia probe posed to him. he sent bannon back from saudi arabia to try to stand up some kind of outside legal war room to fight harder. charlie: is he in control of that? josh: i don't think he is. he knew that the lawyer from the
campaign, when they were fighting off these accusations from women who said that trump had groped them. bannon and the lawyer knew each other well. charlie: this is what is interesting to me. the person trump seems to admire the most is james mattis. general mattis. he has given him the most power. he can make decisions on the battlefield and getting praise from military strategists. it may say something about his admiration for people that he thinks are tough -- josh: i would go a step further and say, veneration. especially for military generals. one thing you noticed in the campaign is whenever trump was in trouble, he would surround
himself with generals. when he was finally forced to apologize for the birther slander, do you remember what he did? he calls the very strange press conference in his trump hotel, surrounds himself with all these generals. they wanted the visual of trump surrounded by x generals because it would project strength. he gave this rambling talk about how great trump was and at the very end, he said and i no longer believe obama was -- i accept obama was -- and trump hustled off the stage. trump loves general. -- less generals -- trump loves generals. charlie: at every stage in which trump was in trouble, he seems to go back to the base. is that the influence of bannon? josh: i understand why it was covered the way it was. the puppet master, as president -- that was the "saturday night live" for trail.
i think that got him slightly wrong. to do something that trump doesn't want to do, the kind of pitbull that will go out there and fight for him no matter what. that is what donald trump wants the staff to do. it seems like people fall out of trump's orbit, but never forever. roger stone was in and out, and trump still calls him. his lawyers don't want him to do it. one of the things that bannon did to prop up this legal team is to reach out and try to find a model for what trump should do. the model he landed on is the lenny davis model. what bill clinton had done to try to protect his administration from the whitewater probe. at every stage, exactly.
and was also a lawyer and very good at doing this on television. bannon thought that is what trump needs. it doesn't seem to be working out well. i talked to davis for the book. he said the number one thing trump needs to do is to tell everybody you need to get all of this out. reveal everything. it rip off the band-aid and know what it is we are dealing with. for whatever reason, trump and his family do not seem inclined to do that. nobody seems to know why and there is another story that pushes this further and further. meanwhile, robert mueller and his team of investigators are looking into this. charlie: and it changes every day because we learn more. "the devil's bargain, and the storming of the presidency." thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪
alisa: you're watching "bloomberg technology." let's start with a check of your first word news. after declaring tuesday to let obama care fail, president trump had a different message when he met with g.o.p. senators at the white house today. president trump: my pretty much day is really simple. we should stay here, not leave town and hammer this out to get it done. alisa: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says the gop will move forward to debate the bill next week to repeal obamacare. he spoke after meeting with the presidentnd members of the g.o.p. caucus telling the reporters the bill in its current form will be open for amendment.