tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 28, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
so i think there will be a vi victory on tax cut. >> we're going to have to leave it there. steven moore, thank you very much. thanks to all of you for joining us. i'm jim sciutto. our breaking news coverage continues right now with "ac 360." good evening. welcome to the end of president trump's america's hero's week. just when you thought it was safe to go into happy hour, there's more breaking news. chief of staff reince priebus is out as chief of staff. general john kelly is in. before we get into the details of how this all happened, let's just take a look at all the frankly bizarre things that have gone on this week. monday, jared kushner appeared before the senate intense committee admitting he had four meetings with russians. on the same day, the president gave a speech in front of thousands of cheering boy scouts, a speech the boy scouts
later had to apologize for. in the same vein, the suffolk county police department distanced itself from a speech the president gave. back to the timeline, tuesday the president said that he was disappointed in attorney general jeff sessions for recusing himself for the russian investigation. the president followed that up bright and early wednesday, announcing on twitter that transgender people are banned from serving in the military. and yesterday, we heard more than we ever thought we would hear about white house dysfunction from the white house of anthony scaramucci, which brings us to today. reince priebus out. it turns out he resigned yesterday, he says, after the name calling and allegations of leaking against him. we didn't find out about it until late today. here's part of what scaramucci said about reince priebus in a phone call to cnn yesterday, insisting they were bros. not tight bros like scaramucci says he and the president are. >> as you know from the italian
character, the fish stinks from the head down. two fish that don't stink, and that's me and the president. i don't like the activity that's going on in the white house. i don't like what they're doing to my friend and doing to the president of the united states or their fellow colleagues in the west wing. if you want to talk about the chief of staff, we have had odds and differences. when i said we were brothers from the podium, that's because we're rough on each other. some brothers are like cain and able. >> if you're not up on your bible stories, cain killed able. in the early morning hours of today, the senate voted against repealing parts of obamacare. t
president thought about that, and we talked about it yesterday and i resigned and he accepted my resignation. i think the president made a smart decision with general kelly and he's going to do a great job. >> but why did you resign? i understand that you told the president you wanted to resign, he accepted your resignation yesterday. but why? were there a series of issues? >> no, listen, i think the president wanted to go in a different direction. i support him in that. like i said a couple weeks ago, i said the president has a right
to change directions. the president has a right to hit a reset button. i think it's a good time to hit the reset button. i think he was right to hit the reset button, and it was something that i think the white house needs. i think it's healthy. and i support him in it. >> was he not happy with the direction you were setting? >> no, but look, i think bringing fresh people in is a good thing. so look, he has the best political instincts. he's -- hang on a second. he knows, i think intuitively when things need to change. i've seen it now for a year and a half on this wild ride with the president that i loved being a part of. but he intuitively determined that it was time to do something differently. and i think he's right. >> but it's only been six months, not very long. when you say he wanted to do
things differently, tell us precisely what he said to you, why he wants to do things differently, and you concluded that didn't include you. >> i'm not going to get into that personal stuff. the president is a professional. and i'm a professional. professional people don't discuss private conversations in public. >> what was the impact, the new white house communications director, anthony scaramucci, you saw the interview where he called you some awful things, including a paranoid schizophrenic. he said your days were numbered. he said you were about to leave. at one point he said, priebus -- reince priebus would resign soon. and that he expected priebus to launch a campaign against him. what was your reaction when you saw that interview? >> no reaction, because i'm not going to respond to it. i'm not going to get into the mud on those sorts of things. the president and i had an understanding. we've talked about this many times. and we ultimately decided that
yesterday was a good day and that we would work together. and i think general kelly is a great pick. i'm not going to get into the weeds on that. i support what the president did, and obviously i think it's a good thing for the white house. >> but why were you opposed to anthony scaramucci even getting a job in the white house? you saw how bitter he was, how angry he was at you in that interview. >> i'm not getting into that, wolf. it's over. i'm moving on. i support the president and i support john kelly and the president's agenda. that's all you're going get from me on that. i'm not going to get into the individual, personal stuff. >> he was also very angry at steve bannon, the white house chief strategist. i can't even read the words he uttered to ryan lizza about steve bannon. but you think he can stay in the white house with scaramucci, now the communications director? >> that's going to be up to john
kelly. but steve is doing a great job. he is a brilliant guy who only cares about the president's agenda. he thinks about it 24 hours a day. never quits. he's a great asset to this president and a dear friend. so my hat's off to steve bannon. >> can you just clear up the other charge? it was a very bitter charge that scaramucci leveled against you, that you're a leaker and that you're not that loyal to the president. you've got your own agenda. he made some bitter accusations against you, specifically the leaking. are you the leaker in the white house? >> that's ridiculous, wolf. give me a break. i'm not going to get into his accusations -- >> why not respond? >> because i'm not going to. because it doesn't honor the president. i'm going to honor the president every day. i'm going to honor his agenda and i'm going to honor our country and i'm not going to get into all this personal stuff. >> reince priebus a short time ago. new details what went on.
sarah, let's start with you. what are your sources saying about how everything went down? was this really a mutual decision? >> reporter: i don't think something like this can be mutual when we're talking about the president replacing his chief of staff. you heard reince priebus offer his version of events. he said he gave the president his resignation yesterday. but what we have been hearing is that the president and also people close to him have just been growing frustrated with reince priebus in the chief of staff role. they believed that priebus was no longer serving the best interests of the president, that he wasn't bringing order to the west wing, and he wasn't being very effective in shepherding the president's agenda on capitol hill. that's one of the reasons they brought priebus into the white house. trump was convinced that he needed an old washington hand, someone who knew washington to be able to guide him through the beginning of his administration. but people, including the
president's own family members, jared kushner, ivanka trump, became to believe that reince priebus wasn't filling that role. so it may have been an amicable split. we saw reince priebus handle it graciously. but it was a decision by the president he wanted to go a different direction and choose a general for that role. >> priebus didn't want to address scaramucci's comments for obvious reasons. do we know how much scaramucci and his -- not just his comments but stuff he's done since he's got there in his very arrival, how much that played into priebus' departure? >> reporter: it seems like it forced everyone's hands in terms of the timing of this. we do know that general kelly's names have been in the works for a while. there have been conversations about replacing the chief of staff that have extended for months and have grown more heated in recent weeks and recent days. one of the things that was telling about anthony scaramucci has said about reince priebus on our air for instance, just yesterday he said those comments were sanctioned by president trump, that he spoke with the
president before he went on cnn and essentially accused reince priebus of being a leaker and said the chief of staff could speak for himself. what we saw from anthony scaramucci forced these divisions into the public. remember, scaramucci and reince priebus had their own fraught history going into this. as soon as he was brought on, everyone was sort of waiting for these tensions to bubble over. i think people may have been surprised it all happened this quickly. >> sarah, thank you very much. let's go to jeff zeleny. so priebus was on air force one with the president today. any indication that priebus had already resigned at that point? >> anderson, there was no indication of that at all. throughout the day, you know, supporters and close allies of the chief of staff were saying that there is nothing to these mores. he's going to remain as chief of staff and there are reasons to believe that reince priebus thought that. he had not informed any allies, he did not tell speaker paul ryan, anyone that this was on the verge of happening.
so there is a sense of the moment that this was revealed about 5:00 or so, when the president announced this, suddenly then some allies of reince priebus who were telling us all day long nothing is happening, oh, he resigned last night. i've talked to several officials who are skeptical of that version of events. they believe that reince priebus was trying to hold on and trying to remain in this position. they thought he could weather this storm, but that was not to be. and now as they look back at it, they believe some of reince priebus's allies that anthony scaramucci was brought in to be sort of a hit man to put all of this in public, and he wanted him out. it's only been a week since anthony scaramucci has been here. so certainly a big change in seven days. >> that's fascinating, the idea that he was brought in to be a hit man, in your words. reince priebus, from all the reporting, tried to stop anthony
scaramucci from getting a job in the white house. he was supposed to have a role much earlier on, and i guess maybe that was some of the bad blood. but the idea that reince priebus was brought in to kind of clear the decks, it sounds like there may be more firings to come. >> reporter: staffers and others who reince priebus brought into this white house, there's always been a washington and a new york divide. it's actually a trump loyalist and rnc divide here. so you may see some other people leaving. but anderson, i was truck today just thinking back on all this, one of the reasons i think reince priebus had such a tough job, and you talk to former chiefs of staff, they'll agree he had a tough job, because the chief of staff's office is in the west wing corner, not far from the oval office. it's intended to be within about a ten second office to the oval office to keep an eye who goes in, to be the ultimate gate keeper. reince priebus could not be that gatekeeper. he learned that early on.
the president was talking to everyone on the phone. everyone had his ear and he had everyone else's ear. so he realized it was difficult to do that. and for months now, i'm told the president viewed the chief of staff as weak, someone he did not even want to be in the same room with him at times. so it became untenable. in many respects, it's kind of amazing it lasted this long. >> jeff zeleny, thanks. a lot to talk about. joining me now is my panel. gloria, i want to start with you. i understand you have some new reporting, news about steve bannon. what do you know? >> right. i've been told that becauand re
alliance, reince is gone, bannon remains. and the question remains about how scaramucci and bannon are going to make peace with each other. but for now, it seems that bannon will remain. >> david, reince priebus kept saying tonight to wolf that the president wants to go in a different direction but couldn't describe what that is. for all we know, there is no new direction, it's just simply a dissatisfaction with reince priebus. >> and it's at odds with the notion that the direction that they had been going for six months is as successful as reince or the president was trying to describe it.
that line stuck out to me too, anderson. we don't know what direction it is. you laid it out perfectly, what this week was all about. it was about exposing a white house that seems incapacitated. that totally is dysfunctional, not able to execute on an agenda, because of all the various items you mentioned, just in this week. and i think what we saw today in the culmination with the change in the white house chief of staff, that may go some distance when john kelly gets this there to calm some of the waters underneath. this is all about the person sitting in the oval office. he's proven himself to be impulsive. he's not likely to change his behavior, being on twitter, as jeff zeleny was just saying, taking tons of streams of information and talking to as many people as possible. that is going to be the biggest challenge for john kelly. not running the white house or bringing discipline there. but you're dealing with the very same person in the oval office who doesn't seem inclined to
change his behavior. >> david axelrod, anthony scaramucci said the fish stinks from the head down, but john kelly comes in, a marine general, a good organizer. but is that enough in this white house where the organization is disorganization? it's intentionally, all these kids of the president and inlaws have the direct ear of the president. it's unlike any organization of any white house in recent history. >> right. as has been pointed out, this was a catastrophic week that capped off a turbulent six months. and the problem is that the president is the author of a lot of that turbulence, through his tweets and statements. and you wonder how general -- it seems like a culture clash, because general kelly is coming from the military. he's used to a hierarchy, he's used to order. and it makes sense in certain
ways after all of this chaos and failure that they want to bring in someone who will bring some order to chaos. but can he if the president doesn't cooperate? you know, the president just this week, as i think you pointed out, issued a significant order relative to the military on transgender service people. and the military chiefs did not know about it. is that going to stop under general kelly? is he going to be aware of what the president is tweeting at 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning? or is it going to be more of the same? and how will he tolerate that? second, will he have absolute control over the white house staff? you know, scaramucci said that he didn't report to the chief of staff, that he reported only to the president. if that's the case, i think it's going to be very uncomfortable for general kelly. no white house works -- i had a
long standing relationship with barack obama before he became president to have united states. i had many conversations with him, but there was never any doubt that when i was there in those two years i was there, rahm emanuel was the chief of staff, and he was ultimately the authority in the white house. that is not the case here, and without that, it's very hard to bring order to chaos -- order to the kay use. >> david axelrod, how do you see scaramucci's role as -- is it -- is it as a hit man as was talked about earlier to clear pug they
shouse person out there. and on the things he cares about like leaks. but right now, it seems to me that he more than anybody has doped out what disturbs the president and he's decided to be the champion that the president feels he's liked. >> although ryan, also in this white house is people get -- people other than the president get too much attention, that is something the president doesn't like. >> that's true. but i think what we witnessed in the last 48 hours is, you had two people at war with each other. they've been at war with each
other for months, but now they're working in the white house. one went out and mowed down the other in public. and a day later, the guy that got mowed down in public in pretty crude ways has been fired. so what lessons does that teach you about working for president trump, about going public against your enemies, adopting a sort of trump-like style? if you're anthony scaramucci, you're feeling pretty good tonight. you just won -- you know, you've won the war without barely firing a shot. reince is on the way out, and you have a confidence that your job is secure. and by the way, it's being reported tonight that there's no change in his status. he'll continue to report to the president.
same thing with karl rove and george w. bush. presidents that have used this kind of ad hoc, multipower center style of staffing usually get into trouble. that probably put toos much blame on simple structural staffing issues. at the end of the day, the disfidi disfunction in the white house is about donald trump. color me skeptical, i'm a little skeptical, bringing in any single staffer can fix what's wrong over there.
>> you know, we don't know what the chain of command is going to be. but you have to assume that general kelly would have asked about it. and would have asked about who reports to whom, because after all, he is a general. and so you would think that he would. and if we have learned anything about donald trump, we've learned that he doesn't like people whom he considers to be weak. and jeff zeleny talked earlier that he thought reince priebus was weak. one of the reasons he's been so angry at jeff sessions is he recused himself, and he thought that recusal was weak. so he's looking at the general as kind of a strong person, and perhaps even, and this is what he hasn't had in the white house, perhaps even someone he regards as a peer, somebody that he might be able to go to for advice and take that advice, which perhaps he doesn't feel like he's had in this white
house. so will he listen to him? who knows. >> it's so interesting, david axelrod. the definition of what strength and weakness is in this white house is fascinating. the idea that being bombastic is strength, but a guy like reince priebus who is offered multiple opportunities to respond with fire or harsh words for anthony scaramucci, you know, just chooses not to do that, and tries to leave in an elegant way, that's viewed as weakness. one wonders if reince priebus had called in to cnn after anthony scaramucci had called in and bashed back, if the president viewed that as strength. >> it's interesting. the president brought in a general and reince left as a good soldier. i have to say, i think that we all know that president trump is a very narcissistic guy, and i think that strength is something that he sees in himself, and his
style is very much -- i call scaramucci "mini me." he's another version of president trump. and president trump probably likes that reflection. i just want to make one point on gloria's reporting. it would be very, very dangerous for the president, at a time when the right is very unhappy with him about his treatment of jeff sessions, to dispatch steve bannon. that would look like a total capitulation, in their minds, to the sort of wall street, new york republicans and over the populist republicans. i would think they would want to think twice about that. >> david chelian, i saw some people discussing earlier today, the idea of is this a chance for the president to move jeff sessions over to the department of homeland security and put in somebody else as attorney general? >> i think that is in the realm
of hypotheticals, but is it a way of getting rid of sessions from the doj without having to fire him? i do think that one of the reasons this week was so significant, anderson, is because i do think it was the first time we really saw some significant cracks emerge between the president and some of his base, some of his cohorts, some of the base of support. i don't mean necessarily in polling but the way that conservative media and conservatives on the hill pushed back on what he was doing with jeff sessions, in the way we saw some republicans break with him on health care. there were moments throughout this week where it was emerging that way. so to get rid of bannon in a time like that would be tough. and perhaps the opening at dhs, he can may a little chess game there, to me that seems almost too cute. we'll see if donald trump avails himself. there's going to be a cabinet meeting on monday. it will be interesting to see if
chief of staff kelly handled that cabinet meeting and if jeff sessions is sitting there. >> priebus said he offered his resignation yesterday. what we don't know is what time yesterday, if in fact it was yesterday. do you have any idea how much your reporting yesterday that scaramucci referred to priebus as an "f"-ing paranoid schizophrenic did or didn't play into this? >> i don't. when i learned it was yesterday, i was a little surprised. two reasons. one, yesterday, some people close to reince were telling me that frankly the political fallout from the scaramucci interview this week may have saved reince some time. one person said maybe it bought him six more months. that was incorrect. the second surprising thing is reince and people around reince were priding themselves on staying above the fray, not going public with these fights because they were trying to get
this health care bill passed through the senate. of course, that bill met its fate at 2:30 in the morning. so this means he resigned before he knew the outcome. it would make more sense to me that health care failing made reince decide okay, my big project failed, the president needs someone else. so i feel like we don't have the full story about the final events here. >> i was just going to say, i don't understand why there's all this sort of bewilderment as to why priebus resigned. you read that story that ryan wrote, and you hear that interview that scaramucci did with chris cuomo, and they might have as well just rolled up hand carts and the acme movers to reince priebus' office. you don't have to be a genius to read the hand writing on the wall. when the health care bill went down, that certainly sealed his
fate. >> yes, it may have sealed it, but this was obviously in the works for quite some time. you know, i think that when you look at what's happened here, you have sean spicer gone, katie walsh gone, who was the -- reince's deputy. and you have reince gone. so you have that whole wing of the, you know, as jeff zeleny calls it, the republican national committee wing, now pretty much depleted there. and what you have is scaramucci, who is mini me, and steve bannon left, who -- and i think the dynamic is going to be the bannon/scaramucci dynamic. and who really speaks on behalf of the president and who -- and how those two work it out or do they become competing power centers. and the family, of course, remains no matter what. >> just to give you a sense of
how divided and ugly this is, tonight at the trump hotel, people on team scaramucci, scaramucci himself was not in washington i believe, but people that supported scaramucci and on poz -- and opposed priebus will be celebrating priebus' demise at the trump hotel bar. that's how ugly and messy this has gotten. >> maybe kelly can fix that. that's something that shouldn't be tolerated if you're a chief of staff. david, you can talk about this more. remember, it wasn't long ago when the president said to jared kushner and steve bannon, boys, work it out. they were feuding publicly. and he told them to work it out. that is what a chief of staff needles to be doing in this white house. >> we've got to take a break. up next, what we know about the new white house chief of staff, retired marine corps general john kelly. the question tonight, can he
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on long island. >> i want to congratulate john kelly, who has done an incredible job of secretary of state of homeland security. incredible. one of our real stars. truly one of our stars. [ applause ] john kelly is one of our great stars. >> that was before it was announced that priebus was out. in fact, john kelly is a four star retired marine general. barbara starr has more on him. you reported on the pentagon for years and have a lot of experience with general kelly. explain his background. >> reporter: four-star marine, anderson. close for decades to defense secretary james mattis, and general doneford. so kelly knows national security, even before he went to homeland security. this is a guy who knows how to run a large organization. he served in iraq in combat out in western iraq in anbar, in
fallujah. so he's seen very tough times. you know, donald trump likes his generals, but will the generals like kelly be able to adapt to president trump's, shall we say, flexible management style certain days of the week. he's coming into an organization at the white house that may be very different than what he's used to. and he will have to adapt to that to a large extent. >> and beyond the loyalty that comes with being a cabinet secretary, is he a true believer in the president and the president's agenda? >> absolutely is. anyone you talk to, anyone who has watched him operate for the last several years, he's very tough and has been, even when he was in the military on border security, on his concerns about terrorists coming across the southern border. something the pentagon disagreed with him on. he was very much in favor of the laptop ban to protect aviation security. these are all mattersdeeply inv.
there is a very human side that's shaped a lot of general kelly in recent years. in 2010, his son, first lieutenant robert kelly, was killed in action in afghanistan. it was a tremendously difficult time, as one can only imagine, for the kelly family. many people who know him and have known him will tell you it was something, of course, when you lose a child, he's never gotten over, and it's something that has shaped him very much in recent years. anderson? >> barbara starr, very much. back with the panel. joining us now is retired general hurtling. let's start with you. what is kelly's leadership style like and how do you think he'll take to this role, which is probably anything like he's had before? >> he's very disciplined, anderson, he's straightforward.
he was in western iraq when i had northern iraq. he was in fallujah, i had my headquarters in tikrit. we had a seam between us, a border between us, so we would work combat operations together along that border to get after the enemy. so he's very meticulous in the way he approaches things. he's got a great sense of humor, and i found him to be fun to work with, because he's common sense and pragmatic. you know, i was listening to you earlier, half hour engagement with the rest of the panel, and it's interesting, because i think john's going to get in there, and he will not put up with some of the b.s. that's been going on in the white house. so he will exude a management style. he will help the president, i believe, and get some things under control that we all know have been completely out of control since the president took office. and he'll put a lot of discipline into the operation. he won't take the crap from some of the people that have been dishing it out.
i kind of see a picture of him and mr. scaramucci together. i think he will melt him with his eyes in any kind of a meeting when mr. scaramucci goes off the radar and gets kind of crazy. that's just the kind of guy he is. he's a marine! what can i say? he's a very good one, and he knows his business. and beyond all that, barbara said he's very loyal to president trump. he's also very patriopatriotic. he loves his country dearly. he's fought for it 45 years. and i think he will be a very good addition to the white house to get things under control. >> the job, also beyond organization, organizationally he's run the department of homeland security. obviously he was a top marine. the structure of those organizations, very different than the white house, which seems to have, in this white house, multiple power centers with people reporting directly to the president, having the president's ear. so a, there's the challenge of dealing with that. and there's the politics of the
job. it's not just an organizational job, but a very political job in figuring out the politics in washington. >> two things, anderson. first of all, we make a big deal out of john and combat and losing a son. but he was also the executive to the defense chief, mr. gates. so he learned politics in the pentagon under a pretty good tutor. the second thing, his last job in the army was the southern command commander. so he had responsibility for everything south of the american border. there's a lot of politics that go on there, briefing congress and the x number of governments that make up the governments of south america. he seems quiet at times, but i think he'll be able to get the job done. when you look across history, i'm a history buff, when you look at people who have held the job of white house chief of staff before, not many of them had experience moving in.
i would say john kelly has a lot of experience in government he can apply. i think he'll be a good fit, and he's very much needed, as we've all been talking about. >> david axelrod, axios is reporting kelly will be given full authority now and no one goes in and out of the oval office without him. a, do you think that will hold? and do you think the president will actually listen to him? >> i think that second question is the key one. it's a good rule, unless the president decides to violate it. and the president hasn't shown that kind of discipline in the past. you know, i heard the general. and by the way, anyone who served in the white house would say, generals who serve in the pentagon and serve at high levels in the military tend to be quite politically proficient. i have no doubts about that. the question is, not whether he's going to take b.s. from the staff.
it's what he's willing to take from the president. and whether the president is willing to listen to him. i think that is a very open question. and that's a frustration he may feel. and generals are used to responding to presidents. this president needs a general who is going to tell him the facts of life. >> that's the question. that's the question. will he speak truth to power? >> i want to briefly bring in josh green, who has just written the book "the devil's bargain." you spent a lot of time reporting on the inner workings of this white house. what do you make of priebus' resignation? >> i don't think priebus ever really had the trust of the president. but he served an important function for president trump at several key points during his rise as a candidate. priebus was the guy who came out after president trump on the indiana primary last may and kind of blew the whistle on the gop nomination. he sent out a tweet that functional ended the republican
movement to try to stop trump, which was important. then he became an emissary for trump with a republican establishment. when i interviewed president trump, he said he came up with a new nickname for priebus. he called him mr. switzerland, because president trump thought he was a neutral broker who could unify the party. but when he was -- when he was named as a chief of staff job, he was never granted the power that traditionally come wls a j -- comes with a job. steve bannon's name was listed above priebus', which was a clue that priebus wasn't going to have the kind of power you would ordinarily expect the chief of staff to have. >> gloria was reporting that president trump was considering pushing out steve bannon as well. what do you think the impact of that would be? >> it's not clear to me. i think president trump hasis always thinking about who he might push out and who he might
not push out. i haven't done a lot of reporting to suggest that bannon is in jeopardy. however, they have been allies. they've begun the administration as enemies. bannon thought that priebus was part of the d.c. swamp. but they wound up striking an alliance of convenience, because both of them were really under attack from other factions in the white house. and even as recently as last week, the two of them tried to team up to stop anthony scaramucci from becoming a white house communications director. but of course, they failed. >> gloria, david gergen was tweeting that the best chiefs of staff were not only good organizers but masters of politics. do you think he'll be successful in this job as a non-politician? >> you know, look, the president's a non-politician. so you have a bit of a different dynamic here. i think it depends, as david was saying, axelrod was saying
earlier, how much authority the president gives him and whether he listens to him. i mean, the president is a 71-year-old man who gets up in the morning and tweets multiple times every day, and sometimes changes the news flow as a result. generals don't like surprises. nobody does, to a degree. but the question is whether he's going to have any impact on the all pull sa impulsiveness of the president. i have no way to know the answer to that, and also how he's going to deal with the other power centers in the white house. whether he deal with mcmaster differently? will he deal with jared differently? jared kushner differently? and how will he deal with steve bannon? because i think steve bannon is there, and will remain. and so i think he's got to navigate this, and i think the president has to listen to him
sometimes. and i just can't answer whether the president will or won't do that. >> i would imagine, anderson, that the president feels less restrained than he ever has now with this move as well. remember, this was such an awkward marriage between donald trump and reince priebus. two years ago reince priebus came up as rnc chair with a loyalty ledge, all to try to box donald trump in from not running as an independent. and they went through that drama. then the whole issue during the general election, and telling him maybe he should drop out after the "access hollywood" tape. this is exactly the kind of person that president trump believes his candidacy was about rejeking. this was the jeb bush wing of the party. now being free, no spicer, no priebus, no people that the party put on me, that does not suggest that president trump may be heading down a road of a more disciplined approach. >> more on the relationship
between priebus and president trump coming up. and more on the white house shakeup as well, what president trump said about priebus after he tweeted that he was out. once upon a time a girl with golden locks broke into a house owned by three bears. she ate some porridge, broke the baby bear's chair, and stole some jewelry, a flat-screen tv, and a laptop. luckily the geico insurance agency had helped the bears with homeowners insurance. they were able to replace all their items... ...including a new chair from crate and barrel.
general kelley has been a star. done an incredible job thus far. respected by everybody. a great, great american. reince priebus, a gad man. thank you very much. >> priebus only lasted six months. his history with the president goes back further than that. randi kaye has more. >> reporter: their relationship was rocky from the start. during the republican primary donald trump insisting the vote was rigged. and that reince priebus should be ashamed of himself because he knew what was going on. after trump became the nominee, there was more friction. trump heard bragging that he could grope women without consent on this leaked access hollywood tape. >> grab them by the [ bleep ]. you can do anything. >> reporter: priebus had heard enough. pleading with the billionaire to drop out of the race. he then abruptly cancelled his
it was appearances. trump refused to step down. despite that, the two men seemed to find a way to mend fences. >> ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the united states, donald trump. >> reince is a star, and he's the hardest working guy. >> reporter: for months priebus had the president's back, like when questions were asked about a potential conflict of interest between president trump and his businesses. >> i can assure you and everyone else all these things will be followed and done properly. >> reporter: also fending off questions regularly about why the president still hadn't released his tax returns. >> president trump, the only people asking me this question are people like you. >> reporter: but trump's victory didn't end the drama. soon after taking office, priebus found himself unable to contain a laundry list of controversies. like the immigration ban rollout, the russia investigation, and the failure of the senate's plan to repeal and replace obamacare.
still, priebus kept up a brave face. >> i'm not in any trouble. i've got a great relationship with the president. we talk all the time. in fact, just before coming on the set, he gave me a call. >> reporter: reince priebus who was never an outside enand always a republican party guy lost an important ally when press secretary sean spicer resigned. and now just days later he, too, is out of the trump white house. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> joining me now is our panel. jeff, does this decision getting rid of priebus, and bringing in kelley, solve any of the dysfunction in the white house? >> i think it may. anderson, i don't want to do a news bulletin, but you may have heard i'm a fan of president reagan's? >> yes. i've heard that. >> i have to tell you, i was there in the iran contra situation in which president
reagan fired don leaguen at his chief of staff. i got to tell you, that was really ugly. do donald regan heard it in his office from cnn, and dictated immediately an angry one-sentence note that said mr. president, i hereby resign as chief of staff to the president of the united states. signed donald t. regan and left the building and never returned and was bitter forever about this. this is not what's happened here. president trump's situation is infinitely better than that. >> wait a minute. jeff, you have the director of the white house communications team go on cnn and call the chief of staff -- >> i understand. >> an f-ing socio-path schizophrenic. >> but you just has reince
priebus. in the day donald regan would never have been has classy as priebus. that was an ugly situation which carried forever. zblsh the point is regan is different than priebus. >> i'm just saying -- >> will having someone like secretary kelly who doesn't put up with infighting bring order to the administration? >> no. general kelly, it's terrific he's willing to serve this president, but that's the problem is this president. how many have we gone through? a chief of staff, a communications director, deputy chief of staff. deputy national security advisor. i say this every time, anderson. it's not the monkeys. it's the organ grinder. the president needs three people. the only three people who can
set his administration straight, the father, the son and the holy ghost. i admire general kelly, our president is autocratic, narcissistic, general kelly can't fix that with a better organizational chart. >> no matter how much organization to paul's point, and i'm not going to use the words he used, but no matter how well he organizes things, the president is still the president, and he's not going to change tweeting at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, surprises that kelly probably doesn't know about. >> right. i think that will be the big unknown moving forward. what we have seen is there's positive energy coming from those in the white house. they're encouraged by the changes with regard to the general coming in. they say he'll bring about respectability and discipline in the white house and create unity.
here's one thing moving forward. this is not just about changing the chess pieces on the board. another thing he must do moving forward, working with scaramucci and the team to not only define the message but help execute. that's not only just the general and the comm shop, but working with the president to try and do fewer tweets, stay on message and execute their game plan. that's been one of the biggest challenges with this administration, i feel, is that while they haven't been able to achieve any executive and legislative accomplishments, because they're so busy with distractions. hopefully they can execute their legislative achievements in. >> doug, do you believe that kelly, for all his talent, can do that with this white house? >> i think he's about as good a hire as trump can make. let me tell you about my last conversation with reince priebus six weeks ago. he asked me what am i hearing. i said it's not good. he said is that a staff thing. i said reince, no, there's one
problem, and there's only one problem, and no change in staff can change that one problem. we know trump people say the leader is amazing. every day is better than the day before. the reality is here on planet earth, we know that this trump administration is wrapped in a cocoon of armageddon of it's own creation. general kelly is great, but it doesn't change the one problem. >> which is the president, you're saying? >> absolutely. >> jeff, what about that? how do you respond to doug? >> to which i would respond to doug and say it's the opposite. we've listened,st, and i'm not picking on doug. to republican establishment members, some of whom still out there doing this, and they were wrong every single time. donald trump is the president of the united states, and he is the president of the united states in part precisely because he didn't listen to the republican establishment. >> do you think things are going well for him? >> no, i think there's a problem here. there's no question.
but again, as i said to you in the past, anderson, i looked, literally looked, and every administration going back from obama to reagan, there was chaos in the white house stories. >> i want to stick in modern times with this white house. >> obama was just six months ago. >> let's just stick with modern times. health care which the president ran on, repeal and replace was going to be so easy. other than gorsuch which was a victory for the president, he signed a lot of bills. >> in fairness of the president, i mean, the problem with the obamacare repeal lies in the hands of the republican congress. i am appalled. after seven years, donald trump wasn't anywhere close to the white house seven years ago when they said they were going to repeal and replace. they had nothing ready to go. >> i can give you chapter and verse from my experience of
working with gop where congress failed on repeal and replacement. obama worked to pass that bill. donald trump made a few phone calls, gave a speech or two, come of which wasn't great. he did not work this. we need the trump white house to work hand and glove with congress. that didn't happen this time. >> paul, we've seen spicer and priebus purnged from the white house. is there anybody left to fill the role with the president? >> there is mike pence. he's a highly regarded guy. he haven't seen him much. he was there late this morning in case they needed his vote. the problem is the president. let me give concrete suggestions to general kelly. the day before you take the job, it's your day of maximum leverage. he needs three real things. i would say, sir, honored to serve, but i need three commitments. first, everyone reports to me.
if i say they're hired, if i say they're fired, they're fired. i'm the chief of the staff. i don't care whether scaramucci has a problem with steve bannon tooting his own horn, or whatever he said about self-promotion. number two, you have to get off twitter, period. you're done. your twittering days are done. twitter goes through me or staff. and number three, you got to stop attacking a decorated combat marine named robert mueller. i don't believe a man like john kelly who lost his son in the marine corps is going to go for these attacks on robert mueller. >> shortly after the word came in that priebus is out, he spoke with cnn in his first interview with wolf blitzer. look the at what he said. >> why did you resign? i understand you told the president you wanted to resign. he accepted it yesterday. why? were there a series of issues or is there one thing that came up and youec