tv After Words Ronald Kessler The Trump White House CSPAN July 6, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
means to the end and you say that 80% of the time the staff says he is a plan that he sticks with and a 20% he wakes up and goes all different direction so how could that be? >> guest: he's bobbing and weaving and punching and it's all an act. i interviewed his top aide for 26 years and when she joined the organization there were only seven other employees genuine better than anyone on both the business and social side and she said there are two donald trumps, one is the one you see on tv who makes these outrageous comments and it gets attention for his brand and even if it creates negative publicity he still becomes the center of attention every day and in conversation and for the media but then as the other donald trump, the one that insiders know who is the opposite. he's thoughtful and listens and
he's careful about making decisions and during the campaign they called for a boycott of his properties and his remarks about the border of mexico and a month or two later the head of it met with donald and he emerged and told them my god, he was double and he listened and i was so surprised and that sums up the difference. >> host: you say in your book this was a fascinating read, by the way, that sometimes he is generous and supportive and as you describe listens well and other times he's fairly angry and abusive with staff. >> guest: yeah, you know, he does have these tirades when he was at mar-a-lago and martha stewart showed up one day and his butler open the door and said can i take a tour and tony said sure we will target up for 3:00 o'clock the next day. donald came in and told them and
said great, take care of her but later in the day tony went to see if donald needed anything in his private quarters and donald blew up at him, screaming, you dumb ass, use should have scheduled it for noon when the club members would be here and they would see martha and she would see them and out of control and at that moment melania trump walked in and said to donald, i don't thank you should be talking to tommy in that tone and that gives you a clue about the relationship that she will respect your views and he does listen and the next day both tony and donald were in the living room at mar-a-lago and trump handed tony $2000 in 20-dollar bills and that was his apology. on one hand he was off the handle but on the other he won't hold a grudge and just a little snippet of melania's relationship and by the way,
melania trump one of the new items in the book is that she is a powerful aid and she was in on meetings and offer her views and summarize what others have said to come up with a new strategy and a quote on the record people like mr. rivas that her judgment is impeccable. they all agreed that she is a class act. >> host: i found that melania trump chapter fascinating, too. i was glad that you put that down for more people to absorb. you also talk and you went back in the church after two and she appeared on howard stern program and talked about wild sex every day and you talked about donald trump's quote about her proportion and her boobs so why do you put all that in one chapter if you're trying to say she is credible like that.
>> well she does have good boobs and that sells good books and the men, their side, appreciate her appearance -- >> host: women do, do. >> guest: missing her in a bikini and at the pool and mar-a-lago and she looks even more gorgeous in person. when you see them together you realize this is a marriage that will last. they are very involved with discussions and they laugh and these with each other and i recently saw them the night before new year's eve the party that we went to, my wife, pam and i who work is also a formal post reporter and they were having a very interesting discussion and just having a wonderful time with each other and that marriage will last. >> host: that is great. you have [inaudible] back when
watergate was the hot topic and talk about your trajectory of your career writing 21 books now and what do you think about the mainstream media and what you think about book writing? >> guest: i am having a ball writing books. i wrote "the washington post" for 15 years and i was at "the wall street journal" before that and started writing books and love exploring new areas that are secretive, whether the cia, secret service or the fbi that are all powerful and important and i did a book on palm beach and that is how i first met trump and i called it my midlife crisis because i had to drink more shipping go to more parties and trump and my wife flew down to mar-a-lago and on the way down the imitated the nasal constricted tones condemning his
club mar-a-lago because it admits blacks and jews and to this day some do not admit them. i want to be loved and i enjoy digging into them and that sums up everything about donald trump. he wants to be loved and he enjoys -- whatever might be in his way is the essence of the one donald trump. people see them on tv and i think they know everything about him but they know very little. there are details that never come out about him whether what he uses for hairspray or why he made decisions about having or not having people like mitt romney or giuliani and more recently he thought he was to [inaudible] on the first go-round and he doesn't let these details, and is only people to know that he was out
hundred dollar bills to soldiers and workmen and when i asked him about that the in the only interview he says he has given or will give for a book is that i asked him about the hundred dollar bills and he said who does that and told you that and he doesn't want that out. he wants those tough guy image and any personal details like that that might show he is a compassionate guy doesn't want that out but it is in this book. >> host: talk by your interview with the president because it seems like from the book there might be about 11 questions and what are you most glad you asked him about and what, looking back, do you wish you had asked? >> guest: there's always the question he wished you'd ask but i hit on the major points in the
book whether it's collusion allegations or what he thanks about mueller or the economy and the improvement and i say in the book that he will be seen as one of the greatest american presidents like reagan who was also reviled by the media but got rid of the soviet union and boosted the economy and the same thing is withdrawn. the accomplishments are clear if you look at them without a bias. on the economy with unemployment rate in recorded history and lowest on women rate in history and booming the stock market and on the foreign affairs side i'm totally getting devices and with the north korean leader and getting want to get after radical islamic ideology and
just a remarkable for any president but certainly for the first year and at the same time he has all these quirks and strange, bizarre tweets that make everyone cringe and every supporter cringes at these remarks he makes. >> host: he's not like any president we've ever had. you love him and you know him so long so talk about writing a book on a man that you know is a friend and who is the president and you are an independent journalist with their own credibility. how do you balance that? >> guest: i made up my mind when i wrote this book that i would be a journalist first as i already have been into care what he thanks. that's the only way to pursue a book honestly. anybody who reads the book will see that and there's plenty of juicy tidbits and at the same time overall it is a favorable
book to trump because it tells the truth. the book goes into a chapter called scam artist where the dishonest media words are just bias but dishonesty were in one case they are times in the story where he was that [inaudible] the model had just met trump and he asked her to change out of her close. welcome unbelievable. the headline was crossing the line with women but she had been invited to a pool party and mar-a-lago at the last minute and she did not have time to go back and change into a bathing suit so she went to the party and donald took a liking to her and offered to show around the estate and he offered a bathing suit and so she went in the bathroom and put on a bikini and came out and started going out with him for quite a few months.
guess where the fact that they went out together was in the story -- the 16th paragraph. the 16th paragraph. the story pretreated as a demeaning encounter and she said he was wonderful and a gentleman and to me this is like robbing a bank is so dishonest and when i was at "the washington post" in watergate i would've been fired. no question. that is how the media has changed and what i do is present specific examples whether about inclusion allegations or any other issue and on collusion "the washington post" iran a story august 14th of last year which quoted e-mails that have been turnover by the white house congressional committees on the various campaign aides including
manafort. this minor aid was trying to get them to go to russia and meet with russian leadership and manafort in the e-mail said no, we will not do this. as his deputy said no, we will not do this and manafort said the answer warned trump not to do it and manafort said i want this guy to make sure that nobody in the campaign has anything to do with russians. >> host: i never read that until. [inaudible conversations] have you seen that anywhere? >> guest: it's ignored by "the washington post" and even "the washington post" story had a headline that trump aid tried to get it to go to russia. the real story was trump does not want aides to have anything to do with russia. that was the bottom line on the collusion story. >> host: let's talk about the media because you put a lot of examples in the book as you just
described where they seem to have meltdowns for disguising narratives on donald trump and it's like a good do no wrong and he can do no right for donald trump. what is your sense of what is driving this in the mainstream media that you are a part of? >> guest: first of all, there's a bias against the publicans in general. he was betrayed as stupid or dangerous and the same thing with trump. his dangers according to the media and what they just can't break out of that. if they feel that if they did they would be ostracized by their colleague and for example within the white house correspondents that among themselves they laugh at him and mock him and that is the overriding theme. many people can't think independently and in fact that
is one reason i left college after two years like a few other people and i do not want to be told how to think or what to read but i wanted to get firsthand what actually happened and that is the way i operated and i don't have blinders on but i like to penetrate cigarettes and that is what i've done in this book with all these details about the real donald. >> host: excellent. it's a fun read. explain what happened with paul ryan and chris christie during the access hollywood important weekend for that campaign and what did they do and was there any repercussions for what they did later. >> guest: keep in mind that rience preibus went to the bait debate and still supported trump and he actually did not withdraw
support. >> host: but what did he say? >> guest: what did he say -- lexi. >> host: said you can get out of the race or lose in a huge landslide and but that didn't -- he was made chief of staff but at the same time trump never forgive him for saying that it is unfortunate because trump because rience preibus presided over the successes and it led ceos to expand and hire more workers and it will not be restricted and constructed and a lot of other achievements that occurred under reince priebus but at one point on the access hollywood tape is that hillary had said or it shows that trump is a coercive marauder that actually what he is saying and the tape is women are
[inaudible] and he takes advantage of that. when you are a star the money to do that so it's not nonconsensual activity but consensual activity that he describes. >> host: wow. you know, it wasn't anything that really happened in politics in my lifetime and in your lifetime but we saw something that doesn't usually happen and usually it would be the death now of a presidential campaign and paul ryan, the speaker, seem to act that way and looking back what is it that they did not understand whether it was reince priebus or paul ryan about the trump voter in the trump base about these things about donald trump? >> guest: i think reince priebus did understand but it's very hard for people in certain circles on the east and west to
understand the way the average voter thanks. my contractor working-class person said to me i don't care what trump says i just care about what he does and that sums up the way people in the so-called working-class think. they have to be judged by results and if a carpenter nails and nail into a strut and it is crooked he may be fired but a professor can spot off about all kinds of things and never held accountable and these people understand results and that is we see with someone trump. >> host: i see your point and that was great in your book. let's talk about palm beach. you write that behind the hedges in the games that palm beach
people play, their scams, murders, jealousies, pretenses, bigotry and occasionally generosity and it makes for tv shows that look like nursery tales. talk about how donald trump came into mar-a-lago and his old personality how he took the place and how it resulted today. >> guest: trump first heard about mar-a-lago in his limousine driver and this is typical that he will go around asking people opinions whether they are to mermaids or secret service agents and has his advisers but he also has a wide canvas of people who give opinions as well as about 12 friends that he gives out. i named them in the book and most of them are sitting here. that is the way he works. when i was at mar-a-lago he asked me what i thought about the israeli settlements and i know about as much as the middle east as he knows about [inaudible] but i give in my opinion. that is way he operates.
he was enthralled by mar-a-lago and he bought it at organ basement price and it was a white elephant in the first used as his home but then he decided to turn it into a club and that was the idea of his lawyer in florida who is jewish and said, you know, you could admit jews and blacks because the other clubs do not do that and it could be and sure enough now it is worth no $1 million. donald second wife was against turning it into a club. she wanted it for herself but he went ahead with it and the one thing she did was she said he should have a spot and so he created trump spot at mar-a-lago but it is paradise and as he says it's the closest thing to paradise you will ever get to.
it simply is unbelievable that it overlooks both sides of the island which is only about half-mile wide at the widest point. this culture is unique and it's the richest place in the world and it has these traditions, red cross ball, spent all the time and charities developing these walls and in the end they don't produce that much money and one club member was married to a very wealthy real estate guy from italy and eventually he died and left her about $300 million but she stored his body in a local funeral home for
40 days under ice because she said i wanted to enjoy the season, as they call it, and i was able to him and now i want to injure myself and go to the parties and party on the yacht with yvonne, trump and she said she would do the same thing for her second husband and if he dies, as well. this is palm beach. >> host: wow. i don't think many spouses would go for that but maybe in palm beach. it is incredible and talk us to us about the flag here to battle with palm beach battle with don there. >> guest: donald erected this huge flag just towering over mar-a-lago in the street and the town said this is against regulations. he went to battle and said it was a free-speech issue and he sued the town and they started
finding him a huge amount of money every day and eventually settled and he agreed to move the flagpole further away from the street and to reduce the length of the flagpole but guess what? he erected it on a mound that his workman created so that in the end it was just as high as it was before. this is typical donald trump. as he says he always went not quite but usually does and the way he finagled to get the club approved is typical of how he operates. on one hand his lawyer sent copies of a gentlemen's agreement and another similar movie to the town council members who were trying to prevent them from turning this into a club implying that they
are all bigots and that is why they were in the club. then he invited these council members to mar-a-lago and we said we have these glamorous girls and he up and play golf with them in tenets of them and used a carrot and stick and eventually it worked and mar-a-lago brings almost $40 million a year and everybody wants to go there now and that sums up the way trump operates. >> host: do you happen to know if there's any blacks or jewish members? >> guest: oh yeah, my wife and i have been there a lot of times when we go to parties we had dinner there and there are a large number of jews in the
spring clean of blacks as members. >> host: there must be repercussions from the way he boldly and brashly came into that place in yet, i guess, they enjoyed the party so much that they've gone over whatever hurt feelings? >> guest: well, in palm beach people like success and obviously he is successful. at first they sniff that he wouldn't wear the traditional blue blazer or have a traditional rolls-royce so he drives a lamborghini and he posts about his money and that is horrible so he was everything that palm beach hates but now they have come to see that the invitation to mar-a-lago is incredible. >> host: his wristband is gigantic in the sense that you saw so many working-class and ordinary citizens vote for him and maybe it was in contrast to hillary clinton and we may not
know that but some very wealthy people as a wealthy person himself has residents with ornatordinary americans and we k about that? >> guest: on one hand people feel very strongly about it. he is a patriot and the fact that he attacked colin kaepernick over the national anthem and kneeling there a lot of people but that is a very heartfelt feeling that most people have and at the same time he is likable. he's very candid and he makes these sorry remarks and for example with the chinese leader he would say i didn't get anything out of them so he is appealing and people like that, as well. it's quite different from hillary who, by the way, turner
secret secret agents with such disdain that those assigned to her considered it a form of punishment. that's for my first book where trump and his family treat agents with respect and i ask trump at mar-a-lago that how do you like being protected by the secret service and he said it is wonderful. i will have 20 agents and playing golf and they all look in different directions and if i miss a shot they don't see it. by the way, baron trump is also respectful of his agents and unlike jenna and barbara bush who try to lose their agents and baron trump is a very gregarious guy he will go around at mar-a-lago on the terrorist where breakfast and dinner are served and he will say enjoy your breakfast, have a great day, just like trump. he's a great maître d'.
for example, going back to when baron was two years old melania was beating him a bottle in the plane and mike donovan walked back into the cabin and the copilot was flying and baron was having the bottle and he took the bottle out of his mouth and said to mike donovan, want some, mike? [laughter] >> host: that's so moving. talk about the codenames that the secret service have for the first family. >> guest: the codenames for the secret service are generated by computer randomly and they go with some words that may be hard to understand or might be [inaudible] but in addition they can choose their own word or her own word and melania and trump have chosen their own word and trump is mogul and dick cheney
was i'm sorry, dick cheney's wife was author because she was an author and the purposes that when agents are speaking into their mouthpieces and earpieces that they don't want others to overhear who they're talking about and they don't want confusion over the names. if they have a particular name like eagle which was clinton which is a very clear-cut name. >> host: great. every white house has its whirring faction but this seems to have a lot of them and it reminds me of the parable about the elephant in the blind men that for someone trying to understand what is happening in any white house you have to have
confidence that you are testing all the parts of the elephant as a blind person coming in but do you feel confident that you are capturing and reporting on all the different warring factions and who are they? >> guest: they are all worrying and i believe that i was able to get right inside because as you say there many satellite people in the hear things in the gossip in the report and leak but when you are inside getting the people who are with trump all through the day that gives you the correct story and combine that with knowing trump for two decades and also knowing about the white house and the secret service and all that came together so that i was able to present an accurate portrayal
which says he will be seen as one of the greatest presidents but at the same time includes all of the words and tensions in the personal details that make you understand how he thanks and operates on things he doesn't want you to know because he will pull the curtain over himself to prevent anybody from knowing anything besides this task i image. >> host: what have we learned -- yes, we've learned from the people who left the team already whether staff or cabinet secretaries but what you think? >> guest: about -- >> host: why they left and what he's trying to clean up and the problems that he sees he does not want around him. >> guest: you know, when they talk now about him resetting the white house and changing the direction of aids there is something to that but in the
first go around he would go to recommendations -- for example, condoleezza rice recommended tillerson but now he's saying i want people that i feel compatible with that i am comfortable with who are smart and basically on my wavelength and obviously they're not always going to agree but that is what is going for and i think that will work out well. >> host: why did he reach out to mitch romney? you touch on that in the book but it was confusing to people who voted for trump after everything mitt romney said about. >> guest: steve bannon liked mitt romney's position on china and reince priebus thought it was it would be a good idea and trump said he looked the part. ...
>> we talk about who is supporting him and whose loyal. in the end giuliani he did not want to be attorney general. giuliani was not as big a supporter, sessions was there a big's supporter. even though trump had reservations he did it is attorney general. still make snide remarks about him and a terms of trump's agenda.
those were the insights. >> what about the insights between john kelly and the chiefs of staff so everyone was just doing the one thing and did not have to go through. he is supposedly reaching and at sometime trump is going around him as well. and he will go about any type of restriction carry puts on him. you go through me and that's not very good. >> you also talk about kellyanne conway who a number of us have known for years.
it was very negative. he said that her job as campaign manager the white house were in name only. and she was the number one maker of the press. how is that going. the people i am contact with don't see it that way. >> she obviously did not do anything in terms of the policy, but when i interviewed her at the white house and it was recorded she apparently had forgotten. she said with reince priebus it was obviously untrue. and also that they are leakers and they said it was not unfair.
except she is very likable. she is beautiful, and this is not come out before but she actually chose to cooperate with the person who wrote what i call a model. most of that is just fiction. you know who fed them some of that stuff. for example the book says that when the remarks that chart main at the new jersey golf club which were in charlottesville, steve bannon thought it could be removed under the 25th amendment because of mental impairment, i was interviewing bannon at that time and he said
that he talked to him twice on the phone and egg tomorrow. he said it was wonderful don't retract if you do the press will just retract. so a lot of those are just obviously untrue. he never wanted to be wrong. for the sake run happy they were working on the tv set and overjoyed how trump was. but some people want to spread these things are the can't figure out the difference between truth and falsehood. that's fine. even though the track record was that he liked these liberal publications, why would a conservative in the white house come up with an author like
that. >> you talk about how president trump talks to the mainstream journalists. from the new york times and washington post. there's a lot of reaching out to people who don't have the best interest in mind. what you think about that. on the one hand trump recognizes that these have great impacts then he would call in at the same time there's always some other message going on and he would attack those papers which is something like the base and so he uses a two track system. >> let's talk about the teflon aids. who are they
>> host: technically, look at the economic boycotts, they were trying to hurt him financially. even before the election and right after the election they were trying to feed boycotts by ivanka trump. as he said come in charlottesville after the comments there were a number of charities that pulled out of mar-a-lago. there are different tactics on the centerleft than what we have seen. i don't see them being used on the center-right but maybe i just don't see it. >> he gives you ammunition by looking at the outrageous comments. but that is the situation where they ignore. and then the left thinks one thing in is the greatest unemployment rate against blacks in recorded history.
you cannot account for people misunderstanding. i think over time they will. as was the case with reagan. reagan was the looked at as the number one greatest president. it's like he was going to ruin the world. i think the same change will occur with trump. >> talk about the trump tweets. >> if he had not been tweeting, he would not be president. it is a way of connecting with common people with his own vernacular. in the morning he will start tweeting on his own. he only sleeps four hours per night and then he will start tweeting a lot of these by
michael wolf will have the wall street journal or russians, he will have things printed out from other publications and internet and sleights like breitbart. >> host: how do you know this? >> guest: eyes ready to get heart of the hearing and find out what we need. of course, the most wonderful prime steaks are served a mar-a-lago. and he'll have it well done, and reagan did the same thing. >> fascinating. russian collusion. you say in your book that it
turns out in the thousands of stories against russia collusion's it went be this talking gun. >> yes they e-mailed the campaign aides including manafort. those e-mails were turned over to the white house to congressional committees. the washington post was not such a bad place because i used to work there and then on august 14 it quoted these e-mails. in them they said he wants the campaign to meet with russian leadership and manafort said absolutely not. and gate said absolutely not. they said that we have to make sure that trump never does that. they instructed another individual to make sure nobody was going through that.
so what more do you need to know about russia collusion. these are the people in charge of the campaign so we want nothing to do with russians. yet as the story has been told and the russian post had a headline, and eight to trump wanted to meet with russian leaders. the real story was that the campaign would not want to meet with any russian leaders. it is so unbelievable. >> host: how does that happen? i know there is biased. in the old days you would not have gotten away with these things. who is letting it happen? >> guest: i think first of all anything positive about trump is
a bad mark on them and they're going to look down on that. when i look at the mainstream reporters when i say anything positive they must be a fool for saying that. they think that it's fashionable some people cannot look at the facts. >> as i'm sitting here looks like the media has done everything they could and everyone was worried about what it would cause, something is
different, you can throw all of that in but the people must have their own minds and are discounting the media. >> this occurred more than ten years ago and i conclude from that that he has gotten further and wiser since then. early on in the relationship between trump and melania she had seen another former girlfriend and she was going to be going with him that day. she broke up with him on the spot. shooting care about the millions of dollars. she ordered -- in back to mar-a-lago and a week later they
went back in she said she sending her close back to mar-a-lago. a wonderful vignette about melania is they were filming in their apartment and donald was there and sipping champagne. the one of the contestants said, you're lucky. and she, melania motioned over to trump and said, and he is not lucky. , so she is sharp and has a great sense of humor. everybody who has an encounter with her is impressed. >> you have tremendous residence out there. i'm glad that you're doing your part of showing the side that doesn't get shown. it's a secret bunker on the north one. you say it's classified.
you talk about protecting the president. i wonder, is that making him at risk? are you saying too much? how do you make this judgment calls? >> guest: i would not reveal anything that's about to happen. but some of these things are just not going to cause any harm. the fact that there's a secret bunker under the north one, something that tv crews showed, even though it's classified as low classification. and the same with the secret service. i think it's important to expose the problems with the secret service in order to get an eventual revolution to change, it is so dangerous, the fact
that they are -- in fact to allow reagan assassination attempt. the reason to almost kill reagan was the white house staff looked at the secret service to allow bystanders as they came out of the hilton, so none of the secret service were looking at that. we never should a dodge that. some secrets are so important. blessing we want to do if there's an assassination to kill the person he's with. >> we have a couple minutes, what you think president trump would save he read your book, why would he great it, what you like and what would and he like. >> when i autograph the book for him, i start to page 276, said
you will be seen as one of the greatest presidents. i had heard that the white house communications people are saying that -- with the white house and there's problems of the book. even though it has some goods. i think donald trump -- regardless of the fact that if they're demonstrating -- it. >> i assume that he knows that he was not born in kenya but for political purposes he had a bigger pitcher. i'm an honest journalist, and
tell it like it is. that is what i tried to do. >> what is your next book? >> i think that will keep me busy for a long time. i'm not thinking about the next book yet. i'm looking for suggestions. >> host: great to be with you. >> thank you. >> president donald trump will announce his nominee for the supreme court, filling the vacancy left by retiring justice, anthony kennedy. watch the announcement my on monday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> you are watching the tv on c-span2, with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. book tv, television for serious
readers. >> up next on book tvs afterwards, barbara explores the science behind how the body ages. she is interviewed by a new york times science writer. afterwards is a weekly interview program with relevant guest hosts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> i'm here with barbara to discuss her wonderful new book, natural causes. it is perhaps her most straightforward look into what she started out being in life which is a scientist. she studied science at rockefeller university, got her doctorate and became a noted activist and social justice worrier. in this case, it is a wonderful change of pace