tv After Words Ronald Kessler The Trump White House CSPAN May 29, 2018 9:09pm-10:11pm EDT
>> host: ron kessler in your book you say president trumps controversial comments rather than being haphazard are a means to the end and 80% of the time the staff says he has a plan that he's fixed with. he wakes up and goes a whole different direction. talk about donald trump, the dealmaker. >> guest: it is all an act. i interviewed top aide when she joined the organization there were seven other employees and she knew him better than anybody on both the business end of the social side and said there are two donald trump's. one is the one you see on tv that makes these outrageous comments to get attention for
his brand. and even if it creates negative publicity, he still becomes the center of attention every day. day. both in the conversation and for the media. but then there's the other donald trump that the insiders know just the opposite. thoughtful, listen, very careful about making decisions. he's been a chamber of commerce during the campaign that called for a boycott of his properties in his remarks about the border of mexico and a month or two later he emerged and said he was thoughtful and listened, i was so surprised. it makes a difference. >> host: usa in your book and this is a fascinating read by the way that sometimes generous and supportive and other times, he's very angry and abusive with staff.
>> guest: his butler called up and said do you think i can take a tour and basically will set it up for 3:00 the next day. he came in and said great, take care of her later in the day he went to see if it means anything in the private quarters and he blew up screaming at him you should have scheduled it for new when the club members would be here and they would see martha, just out of control. at that point, melania walked in and said i don't think you should be talking to tony in that colony that gives you their relationship that she will express her views and he does listen. the next day both were in the living room and trump handed
tony $2,000 in 20-dollar bills, so that was his apology. on the one hand, he will fly off the handle and on the other hand, he won't have a grudge so that is just a little snippet of their relationship. she is a powerful aid that will sit in on meetings and offer her views and come up with a new strategy. people say that her judgment is impeccable and that is the one thing they all agree on that she is a class act. >> host: i found the chapter fascinating and i was glad you put that down for more people to absorb. you also talk about the went back in that short chapter to how she appeared on the program and talked about why old sex
every day in donald trump's quotes about her proportion. why did you put all that in one chapter if you are trying to say that she is credible like >> guest: furthermore it sls the on the male side at least they appreciate her appearance. >> host: when men do to. >> guest: i've seen her in a bikini at the pool and she looks even more gorgeous in person. also, when you see them together you realize that this is a marriage that is going to last a. they engage in discussions and laugh and tease each other. i saw them the night before new year's eve. my wife and i they were just
having a very impassioned discussion and a wonderful time with each other. that marriage is going to last. >> host: you were a writer at the "washington post" when watergate was a big topic. talk about your trajectory writing 21 books now what do you think about the mainstream media and book writing? >> guest: i am having a ball writing books. i started writing books and i loved exploring new areas that are secretive whether it is the cia that are powerful and important. i did a book on trump and i
called it my midlife crisis i had to drink more champagne and my wife and i flew down in on the way down he imitated the tones condemning because some clubs do not admit them and they say i want to be loved and i enjoy sticking it to them and that sums him up he wants to be loved and he enjoys sticking it to whomever might be in his way. that is the essence of one donald trump. people see on tv and think they know everything about him, but they have very little details that have never come out about him but he uses for hairspray,
making decisions about hiring or not hiring people like romney. he thought he was hawkish but he doesn't let these details come out. he doesn't want people to know that he has a 100-dollar bill to the senators and workmen as tips. when asked about that he said he had given or will give and this took place the night before new year's eve i asked him about the 100-dollar bills and he said food for you that. he's trying to obfuscate. he doesn't want that out. he doesn't want -- he wants this tough guy image and any personal details like that that might show that he is a very compassionate guy, he doesn't want that out, but it's in this book.
>> host: talkbout your interview with the president because it sounds like there might be about 11 questions. what were you glad you asked him about and what do you wish that you had asked? >> guest: there's always a question that you wish you had asked. i hit on the major points of the book. i say that he will be seen as one of the greatest presidents just like william. he boosted the economy and the same with trump and the accomplishments are clear if you look at them without a bias the lowest unemployment rate in
history, booming stock market and almost totally getting rid of isis, getting ready to go after the radical islamic ideology. just remarkable for any president but certainly for the first year and at the same time he has all of these bizarre messages that makes everyone cringe. every supporter cringes that some of these remarks. >> host: unlike any presidents we have had. you have known him for so long. talk about writing a book about a man that you know as a friend that is a president and you are an independent journalist with your own credibility. how do you balance that? >> guest: i made up my mind
when i wrote this book that i was going to be a journalist first no matter what and i don't care what he thinks and that is the only way to pursue a book honestly. anybody that reads the book seems that do the same time a overall itheoverall it is a favk and that is because it tells the truth where in one case "the new york times" had a story about a model had just met donald trump and he asked her to change out of her clothes. the headline was crossing the line with women. it turns out she had been invited to a pool party at the last minute and she didn't have time to go back and change into the dating suit so she went,
donald took a liking to her and offered to show her around the estate and offered a bathing suit so she put on the bikini, came out and started going out with him for quite a few months but guess where the fact they went out together was in that story, the 16th paragraph and the story is portrayed as a demeaning encounter. she said he was a wonderful gentleman and they started going together. that to me is like robbing a bank. bank. it's so dishonest. when i was at the "washington post" i would have been fired if i did anything like that, no question. that is how the media changed.
whether it is about the collusion allegations or any other issue, the "washington post" ran a story august 14 of last year that quoted e-mails turned over to the congressional committees among the various campaign aides. they were trying to get them to go to meet with the russian leadership and in the e-mails they said no we are not going to do this and they said no, we are not going to do this and he said we have to warn trump not to do this and he said i want him to make sure that nobody in the campaign has anything to do with russians. >> host: i never read that. have you seen that anywhere? >> guest: they had a story they got them to go to russia.
the story was they don't want anything to do with russia. that is the kind of lyin lightin the whole story. >> host: let's talk about the media because you do put a lot of examples in the book as you just described where they seem to have no bounds for driving the negative narratives on donald trump. it is as if he could do no wrong but for donald trump, he can do no right. what is your sense of what is driving this in the mainstream media that you are part of? >> guest: he was perjury as dangerous and the same thing with trump and you just can't break out of that. they feel that if they did they would be ostracized by their
colleagues. i know for example people within the white house correspondents kabul that among themselves they laugh and that is the overriding theme. many people just inherently cannot think independently and that is one reason i left after two years like a few other people. i didn't want to be told how to think or what to read. i wanted to get firsthand what actually happened and that is the way that i operated. i don't have blinders on. that's what i've done in this book with all these details. >> host: that is excellent. it's a fun read. explain what happened with paul ryan and chris christie during the access hollywood important weekend for the campaign.
what did they do and then were there any repercussions for what they did later plaques >> guest: keep in mind he went to the debate and still support with trump. >> host: but what did he say? >> guest: let's see. he did it come >> host: he said you can get out of the race or lose in a huge landslide. >> guest: at the same time he was never forgiven for saying that which is unfortunate because he really resided over so many of these successes including the deregulation with the ceos it's not going to be restructured and a lot of other achievements that occur both at
one point on the access hollywood tape, hillary said that he is coercive but actually what he's saying is when men are after him all the time and he takes advantage of that. when you are a star, they want you to do that. so it's not nonconsensual activity. it is consensual activity that he describes. >> host: well, you know, it wasn't really anything that had happened in politics in my lifetime or your lifetime your e sasoliswas something that doesnt usually happen. usually it would be the death knell of a presidential campaign. and paul ryan and the speaker seemed to act that way. looking back what is it that they didn't understand about the
trump voter and base about these things about donald trump >> guest: i think that he could understand, but it is hard for people in certain circles to the east and west to understand the way the average voter thin thinks. my contractor working class person said i don't care what trump says, i just care what he does and that is how they think. they have to be judged by results. if it is crooked, he may be fired. a hired professor came go off about all kinds of things and never held accountable.
these people understand results and that's what you see with donald trump. >> host: i see your point on that and it was great in the book. let's talk about palm beach. it was alien to me but behind the games there is intrigue, jealousy and occasional generosity that make make them m like nursery tales. talk about how they came in and his whole personality how he took their place and pellets resulted today. >> guest: he first heard about it from his limousine driver and this is typical he will go around asking people their opinions whether they are chambermaids were secret service agents. he has his advisers put also has a canvas of people that give opinions as well as about )-close-paren that he consults
and i named them in the book. most of them are millionaires but that's the way he works. when i was recently with him he asked about what i thought aboe settlement. i know as much about the middle east as he knows about [inaudible] but i gave my operate. first he used it as his home but then he decided to turn it into a club and that was the idea of his lawyer in florida. she was against turning it into a club and jt waed it for
herself. the one thing she did contribute is to say they should have a spa but it is paradise as he says it is the closest thing to paradise that he will ever get to as it overlooks both sides of the island which is about half a mile wide at the widest point. the disc culture is unique. it is the richest place in the world with traditions and they spend all that time and charities developing into than they actually don'thenthey actut much money. one club member was married to a very wealthy real estate guy
from italy and eventually he died and left her about $300 million. while, she stored his body at a local funeral home under ice because he wanted to enjoy the season as he called it. i was faithful to him and now i want to enjoy myself and go to the parties and she said she's going to do t sam tng to her second husband if he dies as well. this is palm beach. >> host: i don't think many spouses would go for that. talk about the flag that he had a battle with people about.
>> host: he has a flag towering over the street and they said it was against regulations but he went to battle and said it was a free speech issue. he sued the town and they start fining him a huge amount of money every day and eventually settled and he grew to move the flagpole further from the straits to reduce the length against what on the mound but his workmen created so that in the end it was as high as it was before. this was typical donald trump. the way that he managed to get the club approved is typical.
on the one hand, his lawyer send copies of the agreement and another similar movie to the town council members and that's why they work against approved in the club and they invited them to parties that there a lot and they played golf and tennis with them. they bring in 30 or $40 million a year and everybody wants to go there now. that sort of sums up the way that he operates. >> host: do you know if there's any black or jewish members click >> guest: my wife and i have
been there dozens of times. we go to parties, have dinner. there's a large number of members.there may be repercussions from the way that he came into the place and yet i guess they just enjoy the party so much that they've gotten over whatever hurt feelings there were? >> guest: palm beach people like success and he is successful. he drives a lamborghini and is everything palm beach hates but now they've come to see the
invitation is incredible. >> host: his wingspan is gigantic in the sense that you saw so many working class and citizens vote for him and maybe it was in contrast to hillary clinton. we may not know that. but some very wealthy people with ordinary americans, what do you think about that >> guest: he is a patriot and when the national anthem was played i think if designated what people thought was a heartfelt feeling that most americans have and at the same time, he is very candid and will make these remarks he will say i
didn't get anything out of them, so he is appealing and people like that as well and that is different from hillary with such disdain being assigned to detail was considered a form of punishment. the first family detail was that they treat them with respect. i asked trump how do you like being protected by the secret service and he said it's wonderful. 20 agents and i will be playing golf and they are all looking different directions and if i miss a shot, they don't see it. and it's also very respectful of his agents unlike the bush family who would try to lose their agents and was nasty to
them. he will go around and say enjoy your breakfast, have a good day. the pilot looked back into the cabin, the copilot was flying and their son was young and he took the bottle out of his mouth and said once i'm, like? -- want some mike? >> guest: at th the code names e generated by computer randomly
and they get rid of some that might be hard to understand. each perfect and can choose his or her own word. they've chosen their own words. the purpose is that when agents are speaking into their mouthpieces and earpieces, they don't want others to hear who they are talking about and also they don't want confusion over the names. so if they have a particular name is a very clear-cut name.
>> host: any white house has its war on faction and it reminds me about the parable of the elephant and a blind man trying to report what is happening in any white house you have to have confidence that you are touching all of the parts of the elephant as a blind person coming in i would say but do you feel confident that you are capturing and reporting on all of the different factions and who are they? >> guest: i believe i was able to get right inside because as you say, there are many people that hear things and the gossip but when you are actually inside and getting the people that met with him all through the day, that gives you the correct story
and combined that for knowing the two decades and also knowing about the white house and secret service and all that was able to present an accurate portrayal said he would be seen as one of the greatest presidents that the sambut atthe same time, it incll of words and tensions and personal details that make you understand how he thinks and how he operates and things he doesn't want you to know because he's hopeful the curtain over himself to prevent anybody fromm doing anything besides his tough guy image. >> host: what about the lessons learned from the people that have left the team already whether they are staff or cabinet secretaries what do you
think? about why they left or what it means? >> guest: when they talk about him resetting the white house, there is something to that in the first go-round he would listen to a lot of recommendations. that is what he's going for her and i think that will work out well. >> host: why did he reach out to mitt romney? it was confusing to people that voted after everything he said.
>> guest: he was pushed by steve who writes the position on china that it would be a good idea and he said he looks the part. he is very big o on experience s you might imagine and so he met with them and he completed he hasn't really prepared because he didn't think he would get the job and then the second time hee was prepared but in the end of, there's considerations about who supported him and who was loyal and in the end, the secretary of state, trump wanted him to be attorney general. he didn't want that. giuliani wasn't as big a supporter sessions. even though trump had
reservations he did appoint him as attorney general and he still makes remarks about him even though he's doing a fantastic job as the attorney general in the agenda. those are some of the inside they had been much more authority to be chief of staff and so trump goes around him as the chief of staff and will fret about any kind of restriction. he doesn't like it when he says
you can't see your daughter unless through me. that's not very good. >> host: talking about conway who we've kwn many years the job as campaign manager andhe whe house were in the then and only that there wasn't much substance and she was the number one leaking to the press. the people i'm in contact with don't see it that way. >> guest: i've always admired her and have known her long time as well. when i interviewed her at the white house she started splashing into these colleagues and hav had forgotten that she s on the record and said these
nasty things that were obviously untrue and also i didn't include exactly what she said because i felt that it would be unfair some people start to believe it. but there were text messages that she had sent to reporters that make disparaging remarks so it is a whole salesforce into colder the number one week in the white house. it's not that she's giving national security information, but it's hard for the white house to operate if everything is leaked.
>> host: you said she is a trump whisper but there are a lot of billionaires who asked to be set up with her and she refuses to do it. say more. >> guest: she is very likable and a supporter of trump. >> guest: she chose to cooperate with the person that wrote what i called a novel most of that is just fiction. the book says when the remarks trump made at the new jersey
golf club which were about charlottesville he thought he could be removed under the 25th amendment because of mental impairment. i interviewed him at that time and he said he talked to him twice on the phone and it was wonderful but he said don't retract it or the press will jump on you. things are untrue that he never wanted to run. they would look at the tv set and it was just silly. people want to believe these things or they can't figure out the difference between truth and
falsehood that they like to cooperate even though the track record. why would a conservative white house cooperate with an offer like that. >> host: in your book you talk about how he talks to the mainstream journalists, "new york times," "washington post." there is a lot of reaching out to people who don't have his best interest in mind. what do you think of that? >> host: >> guest:. at the same time in his usual fashion there is another message going on and it's something the base like that gets attention so
he uses a two track system. >> host: let's talk about the aid and you think some of them have done damage to the presidency. >> guest: they are well-intentioned and contribute some good things. she came up with the idea of going to saudi arabia first. they are both naïve and have been responsible for the most disastrous and foolish decisions of the presidency namely firing james comey a is the fbi directr and the appointment of james mueller as the special counsel. they thought this would be great if the democrats would like it and there's this political view that it would be a way to suck up to the democrats.
they decided on the best pr person and thought he would hurt their very image so they were responsible for bringing anthony down and that has to be the most hiring decision in the history of the white house but because they are familtheir family is no fire them. he has a hard time firing people anyway. people have somebody else do it or just make their lives miserable. eoes say to the then maybe you should go back to new york and he has sai maybe they are a problem, but they are not leaving and that's why i call them the tough teflon aids. >> host: in your book you said he has a knack of getting into the background of the woodwork.
>> guest: whenever there is a controversy he sort of phrases that would work but he comments tremendously on the legislative front and he doesn't attract attention and that is very important to donald trump. >> guest: they have a good relationship and he respects him. >> host: with all of the death threats and hatred from the left, talk about the implications about the 26-year-old who got in over defend and was down for quite a while. it wasn't revealed for a while. what is it about this culture that puts the president at greater risk? >> guest: it's a very
disastrous culture covering up problems and agents to report rt problems are essentially punished and they have this attitude that we nee make do wih less and don't spend money on the latest that you can imagine what kind of culture that might be in any law enforcement agency especially where the agents feel they can't report on the real problems so this has led to one fiasco after another even though they were not invited. obama never fired the secret service over that or other intrusions and then the secret service lied about that and said she wasn't there even though he was.
to imagine them lying like that publicly the newector is just clueless it was brought in thinking he would change the culture that he bought into it and diminishing the number of people who were protected. family members and white house staff they gave protection away. the whole budget a lot of it was for financial crimes investigations and what could be more important than protecting the life of the president. an assassination nullifies
democracy and they were serving money to take protection of a. he needs to be replaced before a tragedy occurs. >> host: i think you said president trump have someone else in mind. i can't remember how he ended up getting a job. >> guest: he had another individual was now the operating officer of the secret service. but it was the chiefs of staff who was absolutely insistent that he be appointed and a just a total disaster pretty much ignored by agents because now
they have to understand he doesn't know what he's doing. >> host: i've never seen anything like what is outside of these walls both culturally and politically. with all that is geared up against this man, what would have happened if the right had done this and developed a resistance across the culture and legal lanes across the political obstruction it's justt two different worlds that seem to be tolerated. are we losing the possibility of the duly elected president to govern? >> guest: they would all be called racists and by the way remember obama spent 20 years listening to reverend wright.
imagine if he went to a service like that and didn't walk out immediately he would be toast so a lot of it does have to do with the media and how they portray everything. a lot of that i think has to do with a lot of people go along with the people they know and friends and some people just feel very sanctimonious. they feel good about themselves if they announced someone like trump they think they look good if they do that and others legitimately have those political views and i try to keep far away from getting into any arguments with my liberal friends or family members. i think it is like an ego trip
to think you can or should convince someone of your own political views. of course i'm able to write books and present political views that i may or may not comport with somebody else that is the age we live now. >> guest: >> host: look at those economic boycotts. they were trying to hurt him financially even before the election and right after they were trying to see boycotts and anything. as you sit in charlottesville after those comments there were a number of charities that pulled out using different tactics than we have seen. i don't see them being used on the center-right. >> guest: he gives them
ammunition but it is a situation where they ignore the ant yet it is the lowest in recorded history you just can't account for people misunderstanding but i think over time they will. rated as the greatest president and remember the way he was portrayed in the media he is going to ruin the world and the same change will occur with trump. >> host: talk about the trump tweets. >> guest: if he were not tweeting, he wouldn't be president. it's a way of getting around the media and connecting with people
with his own vernacular which is often misspelled. he only sleeps for four hours a night an thehe will start tweeting. he will read a lot of the major papers. according to the novel by michael wolff she reads the "washington post" cover to cover "the new york times" cover to cover, wall street journal cover to cover and in addition the "the washington times" op-ed. he will have things printed out from other publications and things like breitbart. >> host: how do you know this? >> guest: i was able to find out what he eats on the plane
and of course the most wonderful steaks served he will have them well-done, and ronald reagan did the same thing. >> host: fascinating. on the inclusion you say in your pocket turns out in the thousands of stories about the russian collusion it was indeed a smoking gun in reverse. .. . >> register last august 14th, which quoted these e-mails. and in them the moderator is saying he wants the campaign to meet with russian leadership. and he said absolutely not in
the e-mails. absolutely not. we're not going to do this. his deputy said absolutely not. we're not going to do this. they said we have to make sure trump never does that and they instructed another individual in the campaign to make sure that nobody responds to any requests like this. so what more do you need to know about russian collusion? these are the people in charge of the campaign say we want nothing to do with russians. and yet the story has been totally ignored by the media, including by the washington post. and the washington post had a headline of aid to trump wanting meetings with russian leaders. no. the real story is the campaign did not want to meet with any russian leaders. it's so unbelievable. >> well, why does that happen? is it editors or is it -- i mean, i know there's bias. but in the old days, as you
said, you wouldn't have gotten away with this sort of thing. so who is letting it happen? >> guest: i think it's, first of all, reported and they feel thinking positive about trump is some kind of bad mark on them. and their colleagues are going to look down on them. you know, i've been interviewed by mainstream reporters who just sort of snicker. they don't say anything positive. in other words, i must be a fool for saying that. tone of voices is snarky. you know, it's like -- you know, it's like young women used to go around with belly buttons that were exposed. they thought that was fashionable, even though most of the time it looked terrible. i think it's that way that it's sort of a fad. and, you know, as silly as that sounds, some people just cannot or will not look at the facts
and make their own decision. >> host: well, as i was sitting here, it says since the media has thrown everything they could at this man. and yet even recently stormy daniels came out. and everyone was worried is this the next shoe that's going to cause a real problem. his poll numbers and approval rating is going up since this has happened. >> guest: that's right. >> host: something is different that you can throw all of that at him but yet as you're saying, the people must have their own mind or they must be discounting the media. >> guest: yeah. exactly. and i would say about that that these alleged activities occurred more than ten years ago. and i conclude from that that he has gotten older and wiser since then. so but early on in the relationship between trump and melania, she found out that he had seen another woman, his former girlfriend kari young. and she was going to be going
with him that day. she broke up with him on the spot. she didn't care about the billions of dollars. broke up with him. goodbye. ordered them to send her clothes back to her. but a week later he went back and she told tony she's sending her clothes back. wonderful little vignette about melania is on the apprentice they were filming in their apartment at trump tower. and donald was there and melania was there sipping champagne. and one of the contestants said to melania you're very lucky. and she -- melania motioned over to trump and said he's not lucky. so this is a really sharp woman with a great sense of humor. anybody who has any encounter with her is impressed.
>> host: she has a tremendous r resona out there. so let's talk about the secret service. the secret bunker that's on the north lawn. you said that it's classified and the things that you also talk about is that protecting the president. i wonder is that making him at risk? are you saying too much to expose some of what you do? how do you make those judgment calls, ron? >> guest: i certainly would not reveal anything that was about to happen that might undercut some operations. but some of these things are just not going to cause any harm. the fact that there's a secret bunker under the north lawn, something that tv crews pondered and showed. and there's even though it is classified, it's very low classification.
and the same with the secret service. i think it's important to expose the problems in the secret service, you know, as you get an eventual revolution to change this agency. to inform this agency. it is so dangerous the fact that they are laxed. and, in fact, going back to the ronald reagan assassination attempt. the reason hinkley was able to shoot reagan and almost kill him is that the white house staff pressured the secret service to allow bystanders to see reagan as he came out of the hilton unscreened. he was 15 feet away from him and able to shoot him because of the secret service. the secret service covered up their own laxness. they never should have dodged that pressure. the reason secret service are so important to know is because the last thing we want is an
assassination. i don't care what party the person is with. >> in the last couple of minutes, what do you think president trump would say if he read your book? how would he grade it? what would he like? what wouldn't he like? >> guest: well, when i autographed the book to him, i starred page 276. that's the last page which says he will be seen as one of the eatest presidents. i have heard that the white house communications people are saying that the book is viewed favorably by the white house as a positive book. even though it has so many criticisms and stumbles. so i think that's the way donald trump has regarded my writing all the way along. you know, he's liked my articles, regardless of the fact that, for example, i sent him one of my articles demonstrating
that donald wobama was, in factn the united states even though there was an announcement. he knows that he was not born in kenya. but it is for political purposes. at the same time he has a bigger picture and understands that i'm an honest journalist and tell it like it is. that's what i try to do. >> host: what's the next book? >> guest: i think this will keep me busy for a long time. the publicity of an analyst. and i'm not thinking about the next book yet. but always looking for tips and suggestions. >> host: great to be with you. >> guest: thank you. . >> cspan where history unfolds daily. in 1979, cspan was a public service.
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book he made. >> there's a huge psychological about wilson. i had a sense it just reduced him to things that i didn't feel like could deal with very on the strength of my own knowledge of the theory. it was his father, you know. so some people have said that his stubbornness in later life was a kind of reaction to his father's strictness. and they can point to one story where his father made him revise a little thing that he wrote a whole bunch of times. and the suppositions are that wilson put up with this. when you mention in every letter of his father, he never had a bad thing to say. >> presbyterian minister.
>> presbyterian minister. >> sunday night. >> the communication director for hillary clinton's 2016 presidential campaign has written a book "dear madam president" about the reaction to the election of donald trump and the future of women leadership. at a new york book store, she spoke with msnbc nicole wallace. this is an hour. . >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to barnes and nobles upper west side. jennifer was the director of communications for hillary clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. prior to that position, she