tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN July 21, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
the president has said or tweeted something different. the president is the president, what he says is the rule of law at his white house. to anita's point, you can design jobs in different ways. president trump has every right to do that so you can change any job. the communications director can be your front man, provided that person then builds a staff of deputies who understand the complexities of the job and we're six months into the trump administration and i think it's a fair statement that they simply have not understood that. this was supposed to be made in america week. the president did some events at the white house. did harley davidson do an event in wisconsin? did government scott walker go in states that trump won, did they have echo chamber events across? when he tries to pass health care, did he go to the right districts and campaign. there's been no coordination, the traditional coordination you see between a white house, your own political party, here in washington and out in the states and with the constituent groups that want to help you, that actually want to help you. there's been none of that in this administration.
in part, that's the communications director's job and the political director's job and the chief of staff's job. six months in, what do we hear constantly? everybody is re-fitting themselves, retasking, panicking inside the white house because the president's mad at them. if you conduct an administration where your priority is every day to make sure the president still likes you, you're not going to get to the business of health care. you think health care's complicated for republicans? watch tax reform. every second we're having this conversation, we're closer to 2018. if the president's had a hard time getting anything big done in the first year in office, try getting it done in a midterm election year. is anthony scaramucci going to be the next person the president gets mad at is the big question. >> i think it's important to underscore something that you just said, that this is completely like nothing we have ever seen before and anita is right that anthony scaramucci has none of the experience in doing the job of a traditional communications director, but as a good friend of his pointed out
to me a short while ago, he doesn't need those skills when the president is the guy he's working for who will change that with a tweet or with a whim or with anything that we've seen over the past six months, that they, in a way, have a little bit more self-awareness of the guy that they're dealing with in the oval office. right or wrong, it's just the way he is. he ain't going to change. >> one of the other things that's interesting is that this is not the first spokesperson of the white house in the last 24 hours to resign. the spokesman for president trump's legal team, mark rollo, he has already stepped down, and if you read the politico piece about why he stepped down, it's pretty vicious in terms of what he thought about how dysfunctional it was within the white house. at some point, and i'll bring anita back on this because i know she has strong feelings. at some point, it's not a communications problem. >> right. it's the communications problem
of this president, right? i mean, he's the common denominator here and we know he likes to tweet. and he also promised that he would bring people around him, sort of the best people in the business, and there is always the thinking, at least from republicans, that those people could corral the president and really bring out the best in this president and whatever his worst instincts were, they could kind of curb those and you see, i think, with anthony scaramucci, it's not clear that he's going to be able to do that. it's not even clear that that's what this white house, this president wants him to do. he seems to be doubling down on trumpism in many ways, and i think there also is this concern, you've got sarah huckabee sanders right now who is in that deputy press secretary, no indication that she wants the press secretary job. are they going to be able to fill that slot. that's one of the problems. people don't want to necessarily go into this white house. they offered a lot of these jobs to other people. they haven't wanted to take them. take these jobs because of this chaos that the president likes,
that he feeds into as well. >> a source just texted me and said, don't be surprised if you see scaramucci at this -- appear at this briefing today. so we may actually be able to hear from him. we'll see. as a -- in his first job as a spokesman of sorts for the president and see what the president really likes about him. >> we should also point out, and again, i understand that president trump does things differently. normally, new press secretaries spend weeks, if not months, preparing for standing behind that podium. what you say could have an effect on the markets. it could have an effect on literally on lives, on war and peace. and so just because somebody's a killer on tv, on a fox business news hit, doesn't mean, okay, he's fine, he's ready for the job. john. >> i want to make the point this is a huge personnel shake-up at the white house and the world has come to know sean spicer as the spokesman for the president from day one t debate over crowd size to ask the president about fundamental questions like did
russia interfere in our elections. it has been a dysfunctional relationship for the news media and between the president and the media for some time. took sean spicer a lot longer than some of his friends recommended and advised him but he came to the conclusion, the president has lost confidence in me. what do you do if you're jeff sessions today. this is about the trump management style. the trump presidency. the chief of staff and the chief strategist were overruled on this one. that happens. that happens sometimes. that doesn't necessarily mean you can't serve the president because you disagreed on one big thing. you would hope there are big debates in every white house about big things but if you're the attorney general and the president just made clear to the "new york times" that i wouldn't have given you the job, you have the shake-up at the white house. there's a culture here where people in the trump white house walk on egg shells and think every day, i need to make sure the president is happy with me. that's a hard way to run a government. >> take a listen to anthony scaramucci on cnn in just the past month. >> it appears from the outside, at least for right now, is that
they are going to redesign the communications strategy and they'll probably maybe sean will go to another role inside the white house, put somebody else behind the podium. >> do you think that's likely, that they'll move him. >> i don't know. i mean, i've read some of the press speculation, some of the people that i've talked to inside the white house are saying that they're exploring a couple of different ideas. this is one of the things that i do like about the president. you know, he's an entrepreneur, and he'll experiment and do different things. i think he's very loyal to sean. i think sean is a very hard-working guy. he's got great communication experience, and he may be the communications director or maybe even an assistant to, you know, reince priebus or something like that. hard to really know from the outside, to be candid, but what i do like is that they're going to try to experiment and i think maybe that's why they're off camera for a short period of time. >> joining us right now tis jasn miller, former adviser for the trump campaign. what's your take on all this? from the outside, it looks
pretty dysfunctional. >> i don't think so at all, jake. keep in mind the communications director spot has been open for a while here and so anthony was coming in to fill it. i think sean took a look at the situation and said, you know what, i'm going to give anthony to opportunity to build this out but i will take a moment here to say that i am disappointed that sean is leaving. i think in a lot of ways, sean has been one of the rocks that's been helping to hold this administration together on the messaging side. sean is someone who's been doing this for 20 years. he's a very professional, very sharp operator, someone who definitely knows what he's doing. he's an absolute first class professional. i'm disappointed to see him go. i'm glad he's going to be staying around through august to help with the transition period. and you know, the good thing for sean, i'm sure he's going to be able to sleep in this weekend and making a lot more money in whatever he goes and does next. >> let's bring in rick wilson, a long-time republican strategist and he has been critical of president trump. rick, you were laughing during that little -- the remarks by jason miller.
>> there's absolutely no one on this planet who can, with a straight face, say that the white house communications shop is working well, and the chaos and the dissension and all the things that led sean to finally pull the ejection handle here have been with us from the beginning, and they really comes down to one thing. it's that donald trump doesn't have a communications staff that he will listen to. he doesn't have a chief of staff he will listen to. no matter who -- whether anthony scaramucci's good or bad on tv, as you said, if he's good on a fox business hit, it's different from being able to discipline the president in enormously consequential matters, things that are of national consequence, life and death, national security, the markets, the economy where a guy with an itchy twitter finger sense of self-regard that is so broad. like he didn't inform any of his other communications team that they were having "the new york times" in to give an interview that turns out to have blown up his administration, opened up a whole bunch of new areas of investigation. it's really quite stunning that anybody can defend trump's white
house when it's trump's the communications -- the core of the communications difficulties here and he always will be. he's not going to change. >> jason? >> so, here's where i think anthony scaramucci is going to do well is he has a very good sense of the president's style. he was with us in the campaign, with us in the transition. he understands how the president approaches these matters. he understands the policy. he's been active on tv. i mean, we've seen some of his interviews with cnn anchor chris cuomo, the epic 15, 20, 30-minute sitdowns where they go flu a through and get in depth into policy. scaramucci is a very smart guy and i think he's another additional voice that will be able to come into the white house and shape and mold the messaging structure of how they're going to get the president's message out and i think that's one of the things we need to keep in mind here is ultimately this is president trump's white house. he's the one who's going to dictate the direction that this is going to go and everyone there works for him to help try to implement his message. >> rick? >> but reinforcing all of donald
trump's impulsive, almost child like urges to be the center of attention every day and to say whatever comes out of his mind at that moment, like political tourettes is not something that is going to help this white house become more credible and more viable at communicating an agenda because it is still going to end up being donald trump talking about whatever his impulse is and the voices in his head drive him to talk about that day and i think scaramucci is a bit of a yes man. he's a bit of a family friend and so trump is going to expect him to be rah, rah boss, let's go have fun and do what you want. believe me, i'd love to eat fried chicken every day but i'd be 400 pounds if i do. you can't give into your impulses every day and i think anthony scaramucci will do that. >> let me bring in brian stelter right now. he has new report at this
eventful day at the white house. >> it's only 2:00 p.m., jake. i was saying last hour, this is the latest sign of dysfunction to have a press secretary resign after only six months. normally, press secretaries last a couple of years. i have a senior white house source saying, no, this is a sign the president is actually trying to eliminate the dysfunction. this source is saying, and take this for what it's ort, spin from the west wing saying that scaramucci will bring great energy, new perspective, he likes the press and the press likes him. hopefully this will take the temperature down a notch. i think that's very interesting because scaramucci's a happy warrior on tv. as you were saying, jake, he's a fighter on television. he likes defending the president on tv. but we'll see if scaramucci can actually take the temperature down and maybe improve relations between the president and the press. >> sara murray is in the briefing room right now as we await the on-camera, we're told, white house briefing, the first on-camera briefing in quite some time. sara, what about the theory that a senior white house official or administration official just told brian stelter that maybe
scaramucci will be a cure for the dysfunction and is not -- it's not fair to see him -- his coming in as an example of it. >> well i think that's easy to say before he takes the job. remember, a lot of people said that about sean spicer as he was coming into the white house. that he had a lot of good relationships with members of the press, he worked as a spokesperson for the rnc for a long time, and that he would also make the relationship a little bit less toxic. it is true that anthony scaramucci has great relationships with different television network, with different media reporters, all basically across the board, but i think what we saw with spicer is it's a lot harder once you get in the job. it's a lot harder once you show up at the podium and we'll see what the confines of this job look like for scaramucci. the white house has made clear that they don't necessarily view these roles in a traditional sense and we may see scaramucci on television a lot defending the president. we may see him doing strategy. it's possible we'll get more details on that from sarah huckabee sanders when she comes out to brief or even from
anthony scaramucci himself. i think they are trying to sort of send a sense of calm from the white house today, even though it's clearly anything but calm here. but i mean, just the fact that reince priebus is putting out statements saying that he's happy about this scaramucci hire, the fact that sean spicer got on the phone with dana and said he's just making way for scaramucci to sort of be able to build his own team, does say that everyone kind of wants to hold hands and sing kumbaya, at least for optics. obviously that's not what has been going on behind the scenes. you don't resign in protest if everything's going fine, jake. >> former communications director for the obama white house, it's easier for somebody like scaramucci who's kind of a -- who has been a voluntary talking head, a voluntary spokesperson to go out on his own terms when it's good for him, easier than it is day in, day out going to that podium, sitting in that office, for instance, today, were it not for
the spicer resignation, the top story would be that president trump has told aides, according to reporting in the "new york times" and "washington post" that he's interested in knowing what his pardoning powers are when it comes to pardoning his family or advisers or even himself that people in the white house are trying to dig up incriminating information about investigators with special counsel bob mueller's office. and on and on. those kind of day in, day out difficult questions to answer, that's going to be less fun than anthony scaramucci choosing when he wants to go on tv to make his point and defend the president. >> jake, there's no doubt that it's very different inside than outside. one of the things about being outside a white house is that it's always easy to sit there and say, they should have done this, they should have done that, why aren't they doing this. it's very different once you're inside the west wing and you're the person who's responsible for trying to make sure things run
smoothly. and that the white house is presenting a coherent message to the public in the face of so many things that you can't control happening every day. i want to agree with sara on a point that she made because i think it's very important. sean spicer went into this job with a lot of friends in the washington press corps and with a very good reputation and i think after leaving this job, he'll be able to rekinld a lot of those friendships and a lot of that reputation again. but at the end of the day, you're only as good in these jobs as the president you serve and the amount of trust that he gives you to be honest with him, to give your best, blunt advice, to actually go out there, design a strategy, and implement it, and so part of this -- part of what anthony scaramucci is probably going to learn is that it's a lot easier to be a friend on the outside than to be staff on the inside. >> gloria borger, anita dunn just expressing what a lot of us have said for a long time, that
before he joined the trump team, sean spicer had a very respected reputation in washington, d.c., good relations with people, good relations with reporters. and i'm not sure that he leaves the position he has with that reputation or with those relations. >> look, he's presided over a huge credibility gap that this white house has. between the press and that podium. and as a result, a large part of the american public, i think. and sean, in his previous incarnation, was somebody that we have all covered and we didn't feel that way. but from his first day on the job when he had to come out and he spoke about the crowd size, that became a problem for him and it didn't get any better. and so the question that i have is, as a journalist, is this credibility problem going to get any better now, or is scaramucci
there to channel donald trump in every way, shape, and form. because when that happens, then the credibility gap kind of, you know, can really increase, and i think there are lots of journalists who cover the white house every day, i'm not one of them, but there are lots of jumperis journalists who cover the white house every day who want a more responsive white house to their questions, and they want to be able to believe what is coming from that podium, and there have been many times that they don't. and i think that is something that needs to get resolved. >> that echos up on capitol hill as well. those senior republicans are mad at this white house, frustrated with this white house, pick your term for it, and if anthony scaramucci's job is to keep the president happy and that means saying what the president wants you to say, not shrugging with the president tweets that barack obama is wiretapping me, it might keep the president happy but what about the governing
challenge. that's the question on capitol hill where they weren't happy with everything sean spicer said but they could communicate to and with him about these things. so let's have an open mind about this and see what anthony scaramucci does, a, in his own work and b in the people he brings in for the people in this structure but he should know this happens after months of the white house going through this. i know two people who were reached out to by the highest level of the white house and asked if they were interested in the press secretary's job, told they could be part of shaping if new communications team. both of them said, no, thank you, sir, because they didn't want any part of this chaos but anthony scaramucci's not the first choice or at least not the only choice in the continued part of the shake-up which gets you back to the big question. is this a reset, a new approach or is anthony scaramucci the latest person who in a week or two we will hear the president's mad at. >> jason, i guess the big question is, if you listen to the panel here, will it serve anthony scaramucci and the country and the president better
if anthony scaramucci is somebody who is able to say, president trump, i am not going to go out there and argue that your crowd was bigger than president obama's because it was not. i am not going to go out there and defend this false charge that you've made, pick, x, y, z, because it's not true. and that will not help you. or is he going to do what sean spicer did? don't you agree that that's a big question, jason? >> well, jake, i love the two options that you gave me there. look, here's what i know about anthony scaramucci. >> because they're fact-based options. >> it's because anthony scaramucci is no shrinking violet. he will go and offer his opinions to the president. sometimes he's going to -- sometimes the president will agree with him. sometimes he won't. but anthony knows who's the president of the united states and who he works for and going back to the commentary about scaramucci just going out on the good days. look, i worked with anthony day in and day out on the campaign just like i did with sean and we had a lot of tough days on our
campaign, our winning campaign, i would remind folks and both of those men went out and fought hard every single time. neither one of them shied away from the tough days or the brutal news cycles that we had and anthony's not going to shy away. look, anthony very much, we've seen this from watching cnn, where he sits down and will have very substantive, in depth, policy-oriented conversations with hosts on this network where he can actually sit down and dive into those things and really have a unique way of communicating the president's message, and look, he's going to have his own style. i don't think it's really -- there's a way to compare when you go from, say, one person who might be a press secretary and another person who's a communications director. we still haven't heard from the white house what the exact structure is going to be, if there's going to be a promotion of sarah huckabee sanders or if they're going toods something else for the actual press secretary role but the one thing i know is that the approximate president goi
-- the president is going to listen to anthony scaramucci and anthony is not going to be shy about offering up his opinion. that's why they have him. >> rick? >> i come back to this again, jake. donald trump's impulsive nature and his short attention span, you know, he won't listen to his attorneys when they tell him to stop tweeting. he won't listen to communications staff when they tell him to stop obsessing about fake news. he won't listen to his legislative side guys who tell him, please stay on message about health care or whatever other issue we're talking about. this is the white house that is also at the whim of donald trump. and anthony scaramucci may be a familiar tribal figure to them, they may know him from the campaign, he may be a made guy on the campaign but he is still going to face the difficulty of having to chase the rabbit that is donald trump, who's running from idea to idea to idea every day, and i don't think anyone has demonstrate that had they can go in the oval office and make donald trump a better president. he's not very good at being president, and it stems from his own internal character flaws,
and i don't think anybody can really manage that. and scaramucci, like he could be a pit bull all day on tv, but when trump -- when the guy walks out of the room, we've heard this from many, many people, they say something to donald trump, they walk out of the room and he does the exact opposite. his attorneys say, don't tweet about this. they leave, he tweets. i don't think this guy is going to have a magical ability to change donald trump. >> i wouldn't describe anthony as a pit bull. anthony is a very effective communicator. he understands the way that president trump talks and communicates with the voters and the citizens of this country. he understands the president's message and what this goal of -- as we try to make america great again. he is bought in and he understands what this administration is all about. and so i think for -- since he understands it so well, he's going to be joining, i think, a lot of good folks who are already on board in this communications shop, and going back to what sara was saying a couple moments ago, there are a lot of good pieces already in place in this communications
shop, and anthony is going to be adding to that. i think he's somebody who's easy to get along with. we've seen positive comments from kelleyanne conway and reince priebus. he's going to integrate very seamlessly with the rest of the team and it's going to be a great addition. >> i got to interrupt. i'm sorry. here's sarah huckabee sanders. >> slow news day? quiet crowd. good afternoon. to mark the last day of made in america week this afternoon the president will welcome several living survivors of the attack on the uss arizona at pearl harbor and their families. other events this week have focused on products and goods bearing that made in america label but truly the most prized thing to have come out of our country have been approximathe and women who have risked their lives protecting the freedom of americans and our allies around the globe. the president signed an executive order that will ensure the men and women of the greatest military in the world have the ships, aircraft,
vehicles, and other supplies they will need to keep us safe in the years ahead. this order commissions the first ever whole government assessment of america's defense industrial base, marking the first time since president eisenhower that an american president is an investing personal attention into the health of the united states defense industrial base. president trump is committed to maintaining the secure supply chains and robust workforce that will support our nation's heroes for decades to come. next week, we'll be highlighting american heroes like the world war ii veterans, the first responders who keep our community safe every day and the boys and girls who will grow up to be the next generation of american leaders. while i'm on the topic of the men and women who protect us, i also wanted to note that the president commended the house yesterday for voting to reauthorize the department of homeland security for the first time. the homeland security authorization act also authorizes u.s. immigration and customs enforcement for the
first time. secretary kelly has already made tremendous progress in fulfilling the president's promise to end illegal immigration and fully enforce the laws of the united states. and this bill reflects the president's strong commitment to ensuring that progress continues. also on the hill, of course, senate republicans this week continue to work toward our shared goal of saving the american people from the disaster of obamacare. earlier this afternoon, vice president pence and secretary of health and human services dr. tom price hosts representatives from several grassroots organizations, calling on the senate to take action on health care legislation. as the president has said, inaction is simply not an option. these groups want lawmakers to know that their members want them to follow through on their promise to the american people. finally, i'd like to read a statement from the president on the resignation of press secretary sean spicer. i am grateful for sean's work on behalf of my administration and the american people.
i wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. just look at his great television ratings. sean will continue to serve the administration through august, and the president has also appointed anthony scaramucci as communications director and i have a statement on anthony's appointment as well. anthony is a person i have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this administration. he's been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team. we have accomplished so much and we are being given credit for so little. the good news is the people get it even if the media doesn't, and i'd like to bring anthony up to say a few words and take a few questions. as always, i'll be back after that to answer any follow-up questions. >> thank you. thank you very much. so, i'm going to be very brief. i'm going to make my remarks informal and then i'll take questions from everybody. first off, i'd like to announce,
formally, that sarah huckabee sanders is going to be the press -- can't hear me? i'm sorry. better? sarah huckabee sanders is going to be the press secretary. and so you can congratulate her after the session. you still can't hear me? no sound? okay. better? better now? better now? i'm going to start over. you guys heard me in the front, though, right? what'd i say, job? sarah's going to be the press secretary. so congratulations to you, sarah. and so i want to make a couple of statements. the first thing i want to say is i want to thank, personally, sean spicer, not only on behalf of myself, the president, the administration, but sean is a true american patriot. he's a military serviceman. he's got a great family. and he's done an amazing job. this is obviously a difficult situation to be in. and i applaud his efforts here and i love the guy and i wish him well. and i hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.
as it relates to me, in this position, i'm going to spend a couple of weeks getting to know the people here, and i'm going to be as coordinated as i can with the people inside the west wing. there's been some speculation in the press about me and reince, so i just wants to talk about that very quickly. reince and i have been personal friends for six years. we are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while, which is totally normal for brothers. there's a lot of people in here that have brothers so you get that. but he's a dear friend. he brought me into the political system. he brought me into the republican national committee network, he introduced me to governor walker. we've spent many times together socially. a lot of people are not aware about this, but after the romney campaign, i invited reince in to sky bridge. i think it reflects poorly on reince that he didn't take my offer to come in and be our chief operating officer. but i say that in jest,
obviously. and so what i want you guys to know is that he was my first call this morning. i met with him before we sat in the oval office. and we are committed, as true professionals, to the team and the process of getting the administration's message out. i think that's going to be one of the big goals for us. i said during the transition, and i'll say it up here, i think there's been, at times, a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way some of you perhaps see the president. i certainly see the american people probably see the president the way i do, but we want to get that message out there and to use a wall street expression, there might be an arbitrage spread between how well we are doing and how well some of you guys think we're doing and we're going to work hard to close that spread. so i'm done. i'll take questions. i'm going to get to as many people as i can. >> what we have seen from this administration so far is the president being his own messenger very frequently and that has caused some struggles for the communications staff.
how do you expect to get this white house back on track? >> well, i'm going to take a slight issue with the question because i think the white house is on track and we're actually, i think, doing a really good job. i actually do think from -- because we have a whole list of things and i didn't want to come out here with our list of accomplishments and start a whole advertisement infomercial right now. i wanted to talk about personnel movement and how we're thinking about things. but i think we're doing an amazing job. the president himself is always going to be the president. i was in the oval office with him earlier today, and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity. i think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history if you think about it, he started his political ascent two years and two months ago, and he's done a phenomenal job for the american people. and the people i grew up with, they so identify with the president and they love him and so we're going to get that message out. >> my second question for you too. >> i'm going to get to everybody. don't worry. >> if you can speak a little bit
about how you plan to -- obviously you're a business guy, a wall street guy, walk us through any conflicts of interest, how this offer was made to you, what the conversation's been like. >> i don't think it's fair to the president for me to go into the exact conversation because i want to keep those conversations between me and him private but we talked a little bit about the white house. we talked a little bit about our personal relationship and then when he extended the offer to me, i said i would do it because i want to serve the president. you know, one of the things i have a lot of family members that served in the american military. unfortunately my generation, born in 1964, i did not serve. i filled out the selective service. it's one of the regrets from my life so this is an opportunity for me to serve the country. i love the president. i obviously love the country. look at my life experience here in the country. and so it's an honor to be here. it's an honor to stand here. >> any conflicts? >> in terms of my personal business conflicts? i have worked with the office of governmental ethics to take care of all of my business conflicts. my start date is going to be in a couple of weeks so that's a
100% totally cleansed and clean. i mean, i don't see an issue wit. the office of government ethics doesn't see an issue, nor does the white house counsel. but here's one thing i want to say about this, though. when you're bringing american business people into the administration and they've had some level of success in the society, they have to unencumber themselves. it's a very interesting thing and it's somewhat ironic. you want to go serve the country so the first thing you have to do is take on this mega opportunity cost by getting rid of all your assets, but i'm willing to do that because i love the country. >> anthony, you've bret baieen g this white house from somewhat outside and i'm sure you have your own perspective on what you've seen. >> not quite as tan as you though. not quite outside. >> what is the first thing you're going to change to try to right this ship and put it on a course? >> again, i take issue with that. i think the ship is going to go -- the ship is going in the right direction. i think we've got to just radio signal the direction very, very
clearly. i like the team. let me rephrase that. i love the team. and so i'm an incrementalist. most entrepreneurs you will find are incrementalists, to say something overly bold or overly dramatic is unfair. what good entrepreneurs do is they start the day and they go through the process. the navy s.e.a.l.s will tell you that if you want to eat an eegant, you got to do it one bite at a time and sarah and i will do that together. >> anthony, did you have any hesitation taking this job knowing it might cause some friction and that it might lead to sean leaving, which is what's going to happen and the two are at least somewhat coincidental. and did you have any hesitation about how you would relate to the rest of the white house staff if you came in under those circumstances. >> okay, well, listen, you know, remember, i'm a business person, and so what happens in business a lot of the times is you have some rotation in personnel as you're making changes and you have lifestyle choices that people are also making. i would love to have sean here.
sean decided that he thought it would be better to go and for me, as it relates to sean, it speaks volumes to who he is as a human being, who he is as a team player, so his attitude is, if anthony's coming in, let me clear the slate for anthony and i do appreciate that about sean and i love him for it. but i don't have any friction with sean. i don't have any friction with reince. this is the white house of the united states of america and we're serving the president. i want to make sure that our cultural template is that we put the president's agenda first, which is perfect for the american people, and we serve his interests, and so if we have a little bit of friction inside the white house as a result of that, it's okay. we can all live with that. i'm a business person. i'm used to dealing with friction. >> you were a significant player during the transition. was it disappointing that you did not land a post here from the get-go. >> again, i would say as an entrepreneur, you have to be accustomed to setbacks. i've had a series of setbacks in my life, which i've written about. i wrote a best-selling book, and if you don't believe me, you can come into my basement and i'll show you every copy.
and so i'm very honest about mistakes that i've made and setbacks that i've had, and so was i disappointed? yes, i said that candidly that i was disappointed but i love the president and i'm very, very loyal to the president and i love the mission that the president has. since the early days of the campaign, when i went to these rallies and i saw the love that the people had for the president and a lot of -- and i grew up in the middle class and so there's a struggle out there. the president saw that before i did. i wish i could tell you i saw it before him, but he taught it to me, and i feel that struggle and i have empathy for that struggle and i want to be here to help make things better for the american people. so i'll take the hits. >> anthony -- >> i'll try to get to everybody. >> sean told the a.p. and others that the president needed a clean slate. how does that comport with a white house that's heading in the right direction and secondly, how badly does the president need a win on health care in order to make progress. >> so here's the one problem
with the way our society's working right now we are micromanaging the seconds of the news cycle. i predict that the president will get a win in health care. that's my honest prediction, just because i've seen him in operation over the last 20-plus years. the president has really good karma, okay? and the world turns back to him. he's genuinely a wonderful human being and i think as the members of congress get to know him better and get comfortable with him, they're going let him lead them to the right things for the american people so i think we're going get the health care done. i also think we're going to get tax reform done and whatever else is on the president's agenda, we're going to work very, very hard to make it happen. >> i see the cameras are back. will you commit now to holding regular on-camera briefings? >> if she supplies hair and make-up, i will consider it. but i need a lot of hair and make-up, john. i don't know. maybe. this is the press secretary. i'm up here today only because i think it's the first day we made a mutual decision that it would
make sense for me to come up here and answer as many questions as possible. but the answer is we may. i have to talk to the president about it. i like consulting with the president before i make decisions like that. >> and i know you've been one of the president's strongest supporters for a while now. but does he know what you said about him back in 2015 when you said he was a hack politician. >> he brings it up every 15 seconds, one of the biggest mistakes that i made because i was an unexperienced person in the world of politics. i was supporting another candidate. i should have never said that about him so mr. president, if you're listening, i personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that. here's the wonderful thing about the news socimedia. that was three minutes of my life but i hope that some day we'll forget it. >> there's been a question about credibility, some things that have been said in this room. let me ask you a variation of what i asked sean spicer in his first day. is it your commitment to the
best of your ability to give accurate information, the truth from the podium. >> i mean, i sort of feel like i don't even have to answer that question. i hope you can feel that from me, just from my body language, that's the kind of person i am. i'm going to do the best i can. i'm going to get to everybody. >> anthony, you mentioned your relationship with reince. was he involved in offering you this position? was he consulted by the president ahead of time? >> yes. he was consulted. he was involved in the thing. there's a lot of speculation in the press about the timing and so on and so forth, and so what i'm here to tell you is that we're a team. now, if you -- >> can you walk us through how the job is offered. >> some of this stuff, it's unnecessary to go into that granular detail because it's almost like the book, the circle, where where you're wearing a police camera on you when you're having conversations. i don't think that's fair to the president. but here's what i would tell you. i'm a team player. i've played team sports my whole life, at least as a kid.
and i believe that you have to subordinate yourself to the greater good of the team, and if teammates don't have disagreements about certain things, then they're not going to get to the championship. you've got to get together and, you know, mix it up a little bit from time to time. i have no problem mixing it up with these guys. i love these guys. i respect these guys. is it perfect every single day? tell me whose life is perfect every single day but here's the commitment i'm making to you and to the american skpeem to the president, that i'm here to serve him and i'm here to serve the people inside the west wing. >> are you committed, then, to regular televised briefings and having a transparent relationship with the press? >> again, i obviously am committed to being transparent because i'm standing here but i'd like to talk that over with the president and we have a new press secretary. i'd like to talk it over with her. and then we'll get back to you on that. but listen, i'm standing right here. i'm going to try to answer every
question. >> two quick questions. the first one, obviously we know the president has been feeling under seeiege with the russia investigation, both the department of justice but also on the hill. do you feel like he was feeling exposed, he didn't have people adequately coming to his defense? is that part of the reason that we are -- we have you here today? >> i don't think so. so, one of the things that i'm doing today is i sort of didn't have my white house counsel briefing before i'm having the press briefing so i want to limit my remarks related to the russia situation and things like that. but here's what i tell you about the president. he's the most competitive person i've ever met. i've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. i've seen him at madison square garden with a topcoat on, standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them. he sinks three-foot putts. i don't see this as a guy who's ever under siege. this is a very, very competitive person. obviously there's a lot of incoming that comes into the white house. but the president's a winner. and what we're going to do is we're going to do a lot of
winning. >> one other question. in terms of the relationship that this press operation has had with news outlets, they've made a habit of calling news outlets they don't like fake news, calling stories they don't like fake news, calling errors that were corrected, using that as an excuse to call it fake news. is that the kind of relationship you want with news outlets? >> i want to speak for myself right now because it's my first day on the job, i got to get familiar with everybody, get direction from the president but i had a personal incident with your news organization, and i thought i handled it well. you know, you guys said something about me that was totally unfair and untrue. you retracted it and issued me an apology and i accepted the apology immediately so for me, i've never been a journalist but i have played a journalist on television. i used to host "wall street week" and so i have empathy journalists in terms of sometimes they're going to get stories wrong but i don't like the fake news and if you said to me that there's some media bias
out there, you want me to be as candid as i would like to be with you guys, there feels like there's a little bit of media bias so what we hope we can do is deescalate that and turn that around and let the message from the president get out there to the american people. >> anthony -- >> how you doing, maggie. >> welcome. the president is known to see himself as his own best spokesperson, his own best messenger. that was clearly a challenge that sean had at this podium. how do you plan on navigating that differently than anybody else? >> here's what i would say. again, i thought sean did a very, very good job. he's a very articulate person. he's had 30 years in communications. i would imagine that there are people here that are going to be super excited when he lands in a job that he really likes and he'll be a very effective communicator for wherever he goes. as it relates to standing at the podium, i think everybody has their own individual personality. i do believe that the best messenger or the best media
person, the most savvy person in the white house is the president of the united states. and i'm frankly hoping to learn from him as well as learn from sarah and other people here. >> how would you characterize your relationship with the president? how long has it lasted? >> so he's probably not going to remember this but the first time i met the president and he was a name brand even back in the day, i was 31, michael facetelli is a close personal friend of mine, we were at goldman-sachs together. i met him a few more times. the president of the yankees introduced me to him a few times and then i would say that we got closer during the romney campaign where we did a couple of fundraisers at his magnificent apartment. and so i think -- listen, i don't think i would be standing here if i didn't have a good relationship with the president. i love the president. and i think a lot of you guys know in the media i've been very, very loyal to him and i'm going to do the best i can with my heart and soul on this job and try to serve him the best way that i can. >> one last question. do you plan on changes beyond
this? are there going to be other changes. >> there was some speculation. the things i can talk about specifically is dan and hope hicks are staying. i know there was speculation about that. i just spoke to both of them. i love the two of them. i go back a long ways with them. i think they're two phenomenal people. as it relates to the other people in the com shop, i've got to get to know them. sean was incredibly gracious a few hours ago where we sat in his office and he spoke to them on my behalf. reince was incredibly gracious. i spoke to them as well. i got to get to know the people. they got to get to know me. hopefully they'll like me and they'll want to stay and we'll' what happens but we're going to make it very -- a very fun place to work. >> are you going to a more discussion about the national security issues at this podium? >> that's a really good question but i think it's inappropriate for me to answer that question right now so i have to get -- unfortunately i have to get back to you on that because i got to
get some direction from general mcmaster and the president. i'm going to go this way. i'm going to do everything i can to get to every person in the room. >> would you encourage president trump to have a press conference with us in the near future? >> i'll talk to him, absolutely. i mean, listen, the president's phenomenal with the press, okay, and he's a great communicator. he won this election -- i used to know the math a lot better when i was in the campaign and during the transition, but i think we spent, like, i don't know, 60% of the money and we had one-third the personnel. we won the presidency because of druf donald j. trump. he's an unbelievable politician. i don't know at what point that's going to be because i have to talk to him. >> anthony, back here. >> blake, i'm going to get to everybody. i'm going to do my very best to get to everybody. let me go in a way that's some order. let me go here first. >> you seem like a very savvy
person and you said that the white house is a difficult place. how are you going to handle a couple things? >> when did i say that? >> at the beginning. >> no, i said it's a -- let me explain that. let me be specific. it's a difficult place because here's what happens. it's a little cramped in there. you've got a lot of reporters from international news agencies, and it's a difficult place because you're trying to get a job done but you're sitting inside of a fish bowl and so that's what i mean by it's a difficult place. i don't mean it's a difficult place to work in terms of the people. i think what you'd find is that there's a lot less palace intrigue than is getting reported about. and so, but that does create some tension and anxiety and i'm going to work alongside my peers here to reduce that tension and anxiety because we all genuinely like each other. >> my question. how are you going to handle when a crisis or a big thing comes up and you put a very sophisticated message out at night, and the president, in the morning,
tweets something very different. and are you willing to say you've made a mistake? so, two questions there. >> well, listen, i took trial advocacy at harvard law school. little name dropping there if you don't mind. and so i'm not going to answer that because that's a hypothetical and the first thing they teach you in trial advocacy is not to answer a hypothetical. but here's what i will tell you. i love the president. and the president is a very, very effective communicator, and he'll use social media. i think he's got -- if i get this wrong, i know i'm going to hear it from him. 113 million or 114 million. i know he's picking up about 300,000 followers a day, god bless him, so to me, i think it's been very effective use of reaching the american public directly, and so listen, i welcome him continuing to do that. i think it's very, very important for him to express his identity because what i have found when i travel around the country, people love him. i'm going to try to get to
everybody. >> what if his message is different than what you put out the night before. >> that's a hypothetical so it's totally unfair of me to even answer that. i don't know what the tweet is. i don't know what happened. that's unfair. you learn that early in law school, not to answer that question. >> has the president expressed any frustration to you at all that a lot of these briefings have been off camera and since he wants to get his message out, wouldn't he believe that putting them on camera would be beneficial. >> he hasn't expressed that to me so i can't answer that question. >> how involved in the day-to-day operations of the press department will he be going forward. >> as much or as little as he wants to be. he's the president of the united states. i'm here to serve him. i'm going to do my guest best to communicate what i think is the most effective strategy to get his message out to the american people and the global community. it will be as much as or as little as he wants to be. he did give me the orders today that i'm in charge and i report directly to him and i'm going to do my best to serve him as much or as little as he wants. >> your relationship with the chief of staff.
is he your boss? or do you report directly to the president? >> okay, so, i'm going to let reince answer that. i have no problem working for reince. i can only speak about my management style. i have been on wall street for 29 years. nobody has ever worked for me. people work with me. i believe in a lot of collaboration. i think if you do that, it's very, very empowering for people. i have no problem working for reince. the president said i report to him directly. but listen, you guys are going to be very, very surprised about the relationship that i have with reince and the closeness that we're going to have in terms of working to serve the president. and so he's the chief of staff. and so it would be foolish of me not to communicate with him, not to reelay to him every single thing that i'm doing. >> anthony, do you stand by some of the factual claims that have been contested, made by this administration, 3 million illegal votes cast. do you endorse all of those statements? >> so, it's a little bit of an
unfair question because i'm not up to speed on all of that. >> the president said 3 million people voted illegally. >> okay. so -- >> do you stand by that or not? >> if the president says it, let me do more research on it. my guess is that there's probably some level of truth to that. i think what we have found sometimes, the president says stuff, some of you guys in the media think it's not true, and it turns out it's closer to the truth than people think so let me do more homework on that and i'll get back to you. ais i'm feeling the hook here. is it okay to answer a few more questions? let me get to blake first. >> congrats on the new job. question for you. >> are you really congratulating me? >> it's a new job. congrats. you've gone through your past, law school, business, finance, but you've never held a communications type role. what would you say to your critics who say he's never done anything like this and this is the white house? secondly, if you can just lay
out kind of why you wanted the job and thirdly, before you go, why you chose immediately right off the bat sarah to be the press secretary. >> i want to start with sarah first. the president loves sarah. he thinks that she's doing a phenomenal job. i agree with him. i think reince priebus and other members of the staff agree. and i'm super proud to work with her and i think she's going to be phenomenal as a press secretary. as it relates to me, i think that you will find in my background and career, i have a lot of communications experience and i spent a lot of time on television. i spent a lot of time shaping the message for my old firm, my predecessor firm, and so time will tell. but here's somethingly te i will you about myself. there's a lot of stuff i don't know. i'm going to lean on people like sarah and other people to help me be the best that i can possibly be. i'm going to take one more question. i'm getting the hook. >> two questions. because of your legal background and the fact that you mentioned
the white house counsel, can you explain to us what role as someone who's been trained in the law you plan to play in communications, interacting with the president's legal team, dealing with the russia investigation. and then secondly, can i add on, most analysts who have ever looked at white house communications have, in academia or historians has said that when a president says he has communications problems, what he has is usually policy and political problems. you're arguing that we're not understanding in the united states how much the president should be appreciated and how much you love him. but can you describe to us how much you think that it goes beyond that concept and that the president has political and policy problems. >> okay. so, let's start with the first question. just repeat the first question. it was what again? >> so, legal, you're going to interact with the president's legal team in what way. >> that's a good question. i'm close personal friends with
jay. i have a relationship with john dowd and i'm going to work with him and other people to make shoo sure we're on message and handling ourselves in the most appropriate way possible. that's the best i can say about that. >> so -- >> i've not met todd. i don't know todd. >> so then, the follow-up was, communications problems versus policy and political problems and the way you see that in the context of this presidency. >> well, long ago, you know, teddy roosevelt said that the presidency is a bully pulpit and that the president has a great gift in that he's able to control the news cycle and able to control the messaging, and so i think if we get super coordinated around here with the president, and we go back to what he did, some of the great successes that he had in the campaign, and the transition, and even in the presidency, frankly, is delivering that message directly to the american people so to me, i think the policies are fantastic. i think he's done a phenomenal job. i think sarah read something that i totally believe is that
he's doing a phenomenal job and we just need to get it out there a little bit more aggressively and we're going to try to do that. i got to go. should i take another one? i can take one more. right there. >> thank you very much. you've talked several times about your relationship with reince priebus and hope hicks and some of the rest of the communications staff. can you talk about your relationship with steve bannon? he's said to have strong objections about you taking this job as well and then i have one other thing. >> all right, so i'm on the record. i've been interviewed about steve. i think he's one of the smartest people that i know. i think he was instrumental in helping us win the election. he's got a strong personality. i have a strong personality. we didn't really overlap at goldman sachs but we both worked there and there was something great about that culture back in yesteryear, maybe it's true today, although i've been out for 21, 22 years but there were two great things about that culture. the first thing was that you
subordinated yourself to the team even if you had disagreements and the second i think was that john weinberg once said, some people grow, other people swell and it's a great line to think about yourself so for me, i want to keep my head in the game, keep my ego low and work with steve bannon as best i can. >> and then the other thing was -- >> sarah says i can keep going. >> you said that the ship -- you said that you don't need to right the ship, that you guys are doing great work. but the president has a 38.8% approval rating in his second quarter. that's historically low. what are you going to do to change that? to better communicate with the american people. >> that's actually a really good question. and so these polls are moving targets, and we all know from statistics, which i've taken plenty of statistics courses, that sometimes the polls can be wrong. >> that's an average. that's gallup's average. >> but we were using averages during the campaign and people
said we were going to lose and we ended up winning so what i would say about polls is that they're a barometric pressure but the american people are playing a long game and when you look at the individual state by state polls, you can see the guy's doing phenomenally well. it's indicating to me that the president is really well loved. there seems to be a disconnect in terms of some of the things that are going on and we want to connect that, sarah and i, so people feel great about what he's doing. i feel great about what he's doing and maybe you're not going to feel great. i don't know you. but i want the american people in general to feel great about what he's doing. she says i can teep going, i'll keep going. >> thank you, anthony. there have been reports about general mcmaster having disagreements on policy over russia. can you say that there will be no other high-profile resignations or exits from the white house staff? >> so again, another hypothetical. i honestly cannot answer that
one way or the other, although i have an enormous amount of respect for general mcmaster. i just don't know the situation. i'm not going to answer because i don't know. >> you said you're going to work with the legal team and messaging as it relates to russia. where have they -- >> no, i specifically said that i haven't been briefed yet by the white house counsel about what is appropriate to talk about from this podium. so therefore, i don't want to take any questions related to russia. >> okay. so, well, i'd like to ask you, though, if -- is the strategy that seems to be coming from this white house now in going after robert mueller's credibility the right one? >> okay, so, i, again, that's sort of in that zip code of, like, the legal team. and not really in sarah or my zip code so i want to stay away from the question. >> it is a messaging question. >> it's actually very complicated. and i don't want to bore all the people here with the legal details related to it but i think it's important for me on my first day standing up here that i don't go in that
direction so i'm not going to answer the question, not because i'm not trying to be forthcoming. i just think there's legalities there that i don't want to touch. >> my question is really -- >> i'm going to take this question first and then i'll take you. >> thank you very much, sir. communications -- >> these are the last two questions. >> communications is the key eand president is a great communicator. how important is relations between the president and the press and do you think how he's going to change and how much he has faith and trust in the white house press and what is the future? >> i'm a super optimistic guy. i'm too short to see the glass anything other than half full so i'm a super optimistic guy and i think the president is going to have a phenomenal relationship with the press. we'll get there together. take this last question. >> my question is in your zip code. ry larry speaks said, don't tell us how to stage the news, we won't tell you how to report the news. do you think that's an accurate
reflection after of what your job is? don't tell us how to stage the news, we won't tell you how to report the news. do you think that's an accurate reflection of our relationship? >> i don't know. we're in a different world. i have an enormous amount of respect for press secretary speaks but when he was standing at this podium, it was a very, very different world. each one of us right now has a sound studio, recording studio, a movie studio, a television studio right in the palm of our hands and so we can stage things and it's going to be read certain ways, may not be read other ways but i know what sarah and i are going to work on is reaching as many people as we possibly can for today's era so maybe he was accurate in the 1980s, but sarah and i will think of something cute to say once we start working together. >> one more, anthony. >> yeah. >> the president tweeted that it's impossible for his communications team to know what's in his head at every moment. how are you going to make sure you're on the same page as this
president. what have you said to him about the need to know what he's thinking and where he stands as its relates to policy? >> listen, i know -- i'm not going to speak on behalf of the president. i just feel like i have a close relationship with him. sarah has a close relationship with him. and i think it's super important for us to let him express his personality. it has been a very successful life experience for president trump to be president trump. and so let's let him do that and let me just finish. and you know, let's see where the chips fall. and then when something happens that you don't like or you like, you'll talk to me or sarah and we'll address it. >> do you plan to meet with him every day and do you have oval office privileges? >> do i plan to meet with him every day and do i have oval office privileges? listen, i don't want to -- i don't want to -- i'm not one of these people that need to have unnecessary face time with the president but i do have oval office privileges if that's what you're talking about and i do have the opportunity to meet with him because i'm going to be his coms director and he told