Skip to main content

tv   Tim Alberta American Carnage  CSPAN  July 27, 2019 4:10pm-5:23pm EDT

4:10 pm
place else. you can read policy papers or can have a good book, a couple of hours there or more, usually more, so i do a lot of that and i try to read something every day or read at least book that i'm reading, knock 10, 20 pages at night when i get home but i don't travel without a book. >> find out what other members of congress are reading by visiting booktv.org and searching what are you reading. >> good evening, everybody, can everybody hear me okay? welcome to politics and pros. thanks for coming out tonight.
4:11 pm
if you haven't picked up a copy of monthly calendar, we have them for july and august, those are at the center of the store, you can go to website, politics politics/prose.com. if you can silence your cell phones so there will be no distractions, also c-span filming tonight and we are also filming for our youtube channel, so you don't want to be the person whose phone is going off in the middle of live television also so that you're questioned during q&a, so that questions are heard on the recording, we want you to come up to microphone, line up to
4:12 pm
microphone so everybody can hear your thoughtful questions and keep questions if that's okay. after talk, the line will go from where i'm standing back toward the register and we have a whole bunch of books behind the register, if you haven't purchased a copy, we recommend you pick up one, two, three, four, five, however many you want, for yourself, gifts, for everyone that you know, so, yes, buy as many as you feel and meet us up here and that's how we are able to support, again, thank you all for coming out. one of the most talked about books of the summer, if not all of 2019 so far, it's not a small number of books, so by this
4:13 pm
stage it speaks volumes about subject matter stands out from the pack and book clearly has to far and that's in part because it's far broader than covering that stone, within the epic book covering political terrain, you see the republican party bitterly grappled with nominee for 2016, but you also see fallout from division to stand behind him and the party's internal changes in the years running up to that election that eventually landed trump on their doorstep, opening with mitt romney overtaking john mccain as gop candidate in 2008 and closing in 2019 with romney once more, what lingers at the end of the book is recent personal encounter as he's reeling from the indictment of trump adviser
4:14 pm
roger stone and mueller investigation, one of themes like that in the book as alberta includes exclusive interviews, paul ryan, john boehner, mitch mcconnell and the president himself, joining alberta jonathan, fellow political reporter himself covering the nation for axios, you have might have seen him a few times on hbo as well and known for breaking news and insider report of current administration, please welcome both speakers to politics and prose tonight. [applause] >> hi, how are you doing? >> good. >> fired up.
4:15 pm
thank you for coming out to see jonathan, this is really excited. >> i have done interviews, i think this should become one of the indispensable books of the trump administration but more than trump administration tracing the origins of president trump and how the republican party came to be, what the republican party is today, and one word that comes to mind is meticulous, it's meticulously reported. i reached out as you do to some primary sources who were involved to check they are accurate. the response i got was jeez, too many people talk. you are not seeing a whole lot of denials, he went to the trouble to get firsthand primary sources.
4:16 pm
>> we -- there shouldn't be celebration that there's meticulous reporting but actually we do need to in this era where we have michael wolff publishing without making any efforts to back-check, fiction under the banner of nonfiction, when you see something that's the finest of what we do and what we care about we should hold it up and respect that because there's too much stuff out there that's not reliable that hasn't been fact-checked, congratulations on the book, tim. >> thank you. >> i thought i'd start, you are getting all the accolades. i want to remind people that i'm an author as well and i wanted to read you because it's germane to this theme, very germane, i want to read you a lead from a story i published today, okay, and it's very germane to what we
4:17 pm
are talking about, so this is direct quote from the load of jonathan swan, axios.com, president trump has directed his administration to work to have rapper asap rocky freed from custody in sweden after kim kardashian west contacted white house adviser jared kushner about the issue as first reported by tmz. [laughter] >> how did we get here? >> thank you for being here, how did we get here. i think it's important to note that donald trump did not materialize out of thin air, we are living in news environment that's moving so quickly that it is difficult to take a step back
4:18 pm
and take a deep breathe and contextualize what is happening and trace roots, there's argument to be made obviously that you could in talking about the modern republican party trace the roots back 50 or 60 years, you could certainly trace it to, you know, pat b, taking on bush. i believe you had this really phenomena events with the selection of sarah palin and the republican party, disconnect between the governing class and the base of the party and the angst and resentment out there simmering below the surface that not many people saw and then, of course, you had the financial collapse that fall with the bailout of the banks and a lot of americans even angrier feeling that washington and wall street were playing by one set
4:19 pm
of rules and everyday americans were playing by another and thought that the system had been rigged against them and obviously you have the election of barack obama, the nation's first african-american president and you have such socioeconomic disruption and dislocation, millions of manufacturing jobs disappearing virtually overnight in middle america, demographic transition sweeping the country in the likes which we have never seen before, incoming democratic president and super majority in congress that go about executing progressive agenda that certain elements to have country just were not ready for and when you layer the cultural and sock yes economic on top of political, this was building into something powder keg and became clear in early years of obama administration certainly and as it moved forward that this was building towards something.
4:20 pm
all of us covering politics, republican politics, 2010 campaign, romney's failed campaign in '12 and obviously the 14 campaign as well. we all had sense that this was coming for the party and it was already begin to go break down, battered down the gates and this wave was building and we weren't sure who was going ride it and obviously president trump round up riding it and it's important for us to reckon with the forces i was describing a minute ago because the presidency is office, donald trump is going to come and go, he won't be president forever but i think those forces at work will be here and a conversation that we need to be having.
4:21 pm
as you know, jonathan, you spent time with the president, he's not always a linear conversation i'm putting it generously. the president tends to respond to topics rather than questions. so i was asking him about populism or asking about nationalism or nativism and the one thing that struck me when we were touching on themes was that the president seemed less interested in talking about those forces at work than in talking about the republican party itself assort of proxy for those forces which is to say that donald trump gave money to mccain's campaign and bitterly disappointed to watch as he characterized john mccain
4:22 pm
vouching for barack obama's character during 2008 campaign, he felt as though john mccain need today get down in the mud and needed to run a nasty against obama and his chicago-style machine politics, if he was going to win, mccain had a very different outlook on how campaign should be run and in 2012 it was a similar story, romney define bid the obama reelection campaign successfully so and trump who famously came out and endorsed romney in one of the most awkward moments any of us had seen in politics, romney was telling campaign, they are slaughtering and romney never did fight back and romney showing and trump pulling the trigger and really running after
4:23 pm
threatening for doing in decades, the republican party was weak, it was spineless, that these standard bearers of the party were not willing to fight and intangible quality in politics but impossible to quantify for me or for your or for some of the colleagues who traveled the country and talked to republican voters, after 8 years of obama conservative voters across the country who felt that they had been trampled upon, they were under siege, they needed somebody to get in the arena and start trying hay makers on their behalf and trump was identifying the force specifically and tapping it into a way that nobody else was willing to. he look at 2016 primary field and he said, jeb bush, the guy can't stand up straight, he's a wimp, marco rubio, 5'8, sweeting on stage, ben carson, folding hands like this, you saw snl skit.
4:24 pm
the one person he took seriously, the one person he feared was ted cruz because he knew that cruz would go outside the lines, cruz was willing to do things and say things that most politicians weren't except cruz an elected official, he still had some barrier to entry there and he still had to worry about his constituents back home. cruz if he was bringing a knife to the fight as i say in the book, trump could bring a nuclear weapon, there's nothing that cruz could do that trump wasn't willing to go further with, identifying the weakness in the party was trump's greatest asset as he began his hostile takeover of the gop. >> one of the things that stuck out to me in is book, you spent time in the book with paul ryan, john boehner, every leading republican figure over the last 10 years, certainly a lot of the establishment figures and some of the tea party aligned figures, almost all of them you can tell, even if i don't they so explicitly recognize that they misunderstood the tea party
4:25 pm
movement, this was not really about fiscal conservative, feature of a lot of the voters, i thought one thing that was telling and you could tell the audience about it is you talked to newt gringrich who is probably as observer about how to sort of, you know, please and satisfy the republican primary voter, what did he learn in 2012, do you remember that? >> yeah i do, i do, newt gringrich was at cross roads in his primary campaign for the presidency in 2012 and tried just about everything to get the media's attention and gain traction in the polls and you may recall this, a long time ago in the political years but newt gringrich was heading into the south carolina primary, he had done very poorly in iowa and new hampshire and campaign was hanging by a thread, pulling in single digits in south carolina which, of course, votes third and excuse me, newt gringrich decided that in south carolina two debates before the primary
4:26 pm
was to be held and newt decided no more going after barack obama, no more going after mitt romney, no more going into any bag of tricks, newt gringrich was going to turn the fire on the media and it was devastatingly successful in back to back debates newt gringrich had the nuclear confrontations first with juan williams, fox news and then with john king of cnn and essentially rallied not just the crowd in those auditoriums behind him but entire national television audience and newt grinning gruch wound up winning the south carolina debate, winning south carolina primary going away and that was really what prolonged that campaign had romney won there it probably would have been quick and easy campaign. so gringrich tap intoed the other force. 3 primary reasons that trump won, i would say, first, and there's no particular order, first i would say is this incredible distrust of the plain
4:27 pm
stream media among the conservative base and i have written at that at lengths and hard to explain distrustful republicans are of mainstream and not always without reason i should ask, for gringrich to tap into that vein in 2012, he effectively created blueprint for donald trump 4 years later and trump turbo-charged it. i do think it's really important to recognize, folks, when you watch campaigns unfolding across the country in 2010 you had dozens of congressional candidates running under a banner conservative first and republican second, many criticizing george w. bush in campaign even more harshly than they were criticizing barack obama because they had been bush administration betrayal, no
4:28 pm
child left behind, two wars, this was a real revolution within the republican party and basing much opposition to obama and galvanizing force was fiscal issues that the country was going bankrupt, too much spending and we know that that was largely a farce because if you look at the voting records of almost all of the republican who is came to congress in 2010 as soon as barack obama left and donald trump came in they suddenly didn't care much about the debt and deficit and that's putting it very generously and i was asking republicans in course of conversations for the book, some who are still in office, well, what changed, what do -- how do we make sense of this and obviously there was some degree of resistance, if not a significant degree of resistance of barack obama because of skin color, there's no question about that but there was also this cultural that people felt as
4:29 pm
they did not recognize the country they were living in anymore and that has only accelerated in the years since and especially during obama presidency and when i talk with some of the leading conservative movement figures they said the same thing, look, candidly, knowing what we know, 2010 had nothing to do with debt and deficit and fiscal restraint, it had everything with people looking around and realizing that is not my country anymore and when donald trump came down that escalator and said make america great again and tapped in the vein in a way that nobody else could have. >> i want to get you to read one paragraph because it cuts into the heart of all of this, i've never seen this interview but you found it and i think it really narrows, read the paragraph there. >> yeah, good one. as u quick background, tom masse congressman, curly-haired, former mit robotic who has grin
4:30 pm
on his face and character in congress. says he was excluded from freedom caucus for being too crazy conservative, unquote, said it best in interview with washington examiner, quote, all this time i thought they were voting for libertarian republicans who backed rand paul in 2012 and paul 4 years later but after soul searching i realized when they voted for rand and me, they weren't voting for libertarian ideas, they were voting for the crazy son of a bitch in the class. [laughter] .. ..
4:31 pm
they thought there was an army of voters out there who wanted nothing more than that. turns out, they white the social security. there's an amazing thing in this book, which i want you to describe, you are having breakfast with john in the summer and you ask him whether the republican party will survive or outlive trump is him and what does he say? he stopped himself. >> he stops without hesitating and says, there is none. you were about to say there was no republican party. he said there is on paper but what does he mean? so many of his institutional this came up in an era which
4:32 pm
they were all symmetrical. there was a red team and a blue team. as ugly or us one double as it may have been, parties were strong. leaderships were strong. they have the ability to get into a room and smoke a cigarette and have a bourbon and cannot a deal. that reeks of this politics and i'm not here to suggest we need to bring that back, and that it will solve all of america's problems but the weakening of america is a huge reoccurring seen throughout the book. i would start, when you think about the institutions being weakened, hundreds organized religion, public education, the government itself, john mccain he's to say blood relatives. we think that the institutions
4:33 pm
that matter, political parties don't come up where they should. it is vitally important to have strong political parties. trump would not have been able to take over a strong republican party. he hijacked republican party ready to be hijacked. there's another scene where the rnc chairman, he's doing everything he can think of to appease donald trump because trump in 2015 was threatening to run as an independent. he thinks the republicans are done then. trump will peel off these votes and clinton look at the house. he will do anything he can to appease trump and convince him they will not hold it against him. he comes up with this idea and it's a loyalty pledge, they will have all the candidates sign a pledge, swearing allegiance to the nominee of the republican party.
4:34 pm
i will not run as an independent. trump gets on the phone and says, i'll sign your pledge but i'm too busy to come down to d.c. you need to come here. this is symbolic but important because when his advisers hear this, they say, don't do it. you are the party chairman, party boss. tell him to get down to d.c., we will march him in so the cannot see him, you'll find the document and you declare victory. that's not what happened. they just said it didn't matter. we got to get him to sign this. he goes up to new york, trump tower, trump signs and he shoves him out the back door and addresses the cameras by himself and declares victory. i'm not saying that's why he won but when you think about it in a
4:35 pm
nutshell, who were the two candidates energies there basis? what do they have in common? neither of them belonged to those parties. it's something we have to recognize here, the weakening of these two parties, it is getting worse and where that takes us as a political system i think is very scary. >> we misunderstand the tea party movement. you have the 2012 election and the results are misunderstood. they do an autopsy, they have this great plan, minority voters and trump does the opposite. he wins with an even greater portion of white voters. we can talk about the demographic destiny of that but much of this book is deeply reported inside the room
4:36 pm
documentation of the republican party doing everything they can to stop trump who's trashing all over there autopsy, doing everything they taught them they couldn't and this brings me to my favorite quote, mother is not going to like this. [laughter] >> please explain. >> i assume some of you read this last week. the excerpt in question is from chapter 16, i was able to do was reconstruct the "access hollywood" tape being released. friday october 7, trump and his trust were holed up in the 25th floor of trump tower and they were doing debate preparation. sunday night, he was set for the second presidential debate. trump is in the room, the
4:37 pm
moderator is sitting across from him and chris christie is impersonating hillary clinton. there were other family members in the room and they are going through this, they begin trickling out of the room 151. then they look up and realize it's the three of them. he knows something is wrong. long story short, they bring in this transcript that was sent over to the campaign saying this is the transcript of the audio we have of the president, of then candidate trump, making remarks ten years ago and we'd like to. trump sees the comments and he says, that doesn't sound like me. i wouldn't say that. then he's beginning to pull his hair out. he's very worried. the one person in the room was not beside himself krishna, if
4:38 pm
you haven't seen jonathan making her, he's not doing any discussion. >> is a master class in journalism. krishna said to the room, i don't think this is all that bad. everyone says, excuse me. he says what are you talking about? trump says again, i don't think this is me, this doesn't sound like me. then his advisor walks in, they sent over the audio and press play. here's his voice and says, well, that's me. where this gets thing, everyone is running around, there are calls coming in from across the country, for trump to quit the race.
4:39 pm
you have to get him out of the race. they're all saying the same thing. have to kick him off. the problem is, he's the former general counsel, top lawyer. there's no mechanism to kick him off. only way is persuading him to step aside. if you know anything about trump's relationship with the republican party, he will not be pushed aside by these people. the one person trump is worried about that day is mike pence. the two of them have a relationship that is misunderstood. i hope you will pick up the book and read about just their relationship. i hope you get a glimpse inside their unique relationship. mike pence once viewed trump as lonesome and repugnant.
4:40 pm
he thought this guy, he stands for nothing that we embody as republicans, like -- pence always called him in that order. he would never have identified as any of those three. yet, when trump began pursuing mike pence, pence begins to have a genuine change of heart. i tell you, mike pence likes to seek the good in people. as he gets to know trump, he convinced himself that this is not the same person everyone else sees. there's a character of trump portrayed by the media. i see somebody different. trump appreciates the fact that mike pence genuine seems to like him and seems to believe he's not a bad person, the villain everyone believes he is.
4:41 pm
on the date that drops, trump's mind goes to one person first, it's mike pence. he knows if mike pence drops off, then he's done. mike pence is his salvation at this time. you have christian conservative voters were not sure they can pull the lever for trump and mike pence is giving them the reassurance that they need. trump has gone very close with mike pence and his wife. they have a very different relationship than donald trump and bologna. mike pence does not go out to any functions in washington. unless his wife is with him. he was in congress, he never allowed female staffers to work past 6:00 p.m. because he didn't want to take any risk of appearances. they are constantly holding hands wherever they go. trump found it amusing.
4:42 pm
he would say look at those kids, they're holding hands, they are so in love. he had a nickname for his wife, mother. donald trump that was the funniest thing ever. hence was always calling his wife's mother, karen. donald trump gets a call from mike pence, pence is beside himself. he's very upset and agitated. he tells trump in a brief phone call, you need to apologize. it needs to be sincere. i'm going back to indiana, we need to pray and think, i will be off the campaign trail for a couple of days. donald trump hangs up and he says, oh boy, mother is not going to like this. [laughter] a long excavation, sorry.
4:43 pm
[laughter] >> it was worth it. >> i feel like with mike pence, you reserved, you said as a whole, i think the word you used was up seen. why did you view him so harshly? >> a couple of things. history would judge all of these individuals. i'm just one, small voice in a chorus that is coming. i think it's one thing to accommodate someone on policy grounds, it's one thing to recognize that your preferred candidate did not emerge. you have to make lemonade.
4:44 pm
we've seen a lot of republicans do that. mike pence, on a policy basis was a champion of immigration reform. mike pence was once the biggest trader in all of congress. he used to torment the bush administration over there spending. mike pence was so offended by the disney film, lawn, he wrote about it, warning that the film mulan would have dangerous repercussions. mike pence is a true believer. he has been for his entire time in politics. during the campaign, before he became trump's running mate, he spoke out a couple of occasions, namely when trump put out a statement saying that no more muslims to be allowed in america at all. a full ban on all muslims entering the u.s.
4:45 pm
that's not just insane but unconstitutional. mike pence called him out for that. he said it was offensive and unconstitutional. mike pence in private, told these feelings about donald trump. it's understandable when you join a ticket, is a certain degree owed to the party's nominee. and to your running mate and eventually the president. republicans on capitol hill who know mike pence and work with him for long. of time, know him personally and politically, they have been a guest watching him every inflection point at which the resident has gone so far out of the line, done something so blatantly unbecoming that pence
4:46 pm
has done nothing to voice his displeasure with it. beyond that, as you have probably seen in the video clips, in these cabinet meetings, pence has been asked to open proceedings. when i refer to the leaking in the book, mike pence has begun these meetings with essentially two to three minute worship service at the shrine of donald trump, is that unfair? people on capitol hill, supporters of the president conservative members of the republican conference, who have seen this video's have passed on meetings, they start to call him the bobble head because of his routine of standing behind trump
4:47 pm
and nodding solemnly. i think as george wrote in his column year ago, that there is a special status reserved for pence in the minds of so many because pence, more than probably any other republican in washington was the polar opposite of trump. he was somebody who was on repeatedly decent, true to his convictions, a man who lived out his faith, who spoke to the power, who when somebody would do something that was clearly racist or aimed at stoking fear and aggravating the darkest impulses in america, pence was one of the few people who you could count on to speak out about it. to see him receipt into this role that he has been in now, has upset a lot of people.
4:48 pm
they simply cannot believe this. >> the other way to look at it is, pence, you could also say has been vindicated. if you're a social conservative, trump is giving you everything you want. he's got some of the victories george w. bush couldn't deliver. he's filling top to bottom with conservative young judges who will be there shaping the country for many years to come. he cut taxes and the most republican way imaginable. aggressive deregulation. i understand the rhetoric and trade and immigration, but has he really changed the republican party that much?
4:49 pm
he rammed through an agenda. >> to the first point, that is right. it's in the book to explain, i quote a couple of people, some christians conservative leaders, who told me in their first four or five months, they were at the white house for four meetings than they were at the white house during all eight years of bush's presidency. when it's on religious liberty or abortion or any number of causes near and dear to conservatives, pence has been off idle voice nudging trump in that direction. without question, one can make the argument, that i have to
4:50 pm
remain quiet publicly to retain my influence over this man. if i were to begin feuding with him, i would lose my seat at the table. that is not an argument i am sympathetic to. paul rain ryan makes a similar argument. everyone asked, at what cost? you've got deregulation at what cost? to the second question, i think an important distinction has to be made. when you ask has trump transformed the party, the country? is important to recognize america is unique. for one reason, unlike so many other nations, the american presidency is both the head of government and head of state. the head of government, you are charged with overseeing
4:51 pm
lawmaking, signing things into. your charged with working with your code equals. you are assigned with the everyday business of running the country. the american presidency is also inexpensively important in setting the tone for the nation. projecting what our values are. i have three little boys under the age of five. my parents and wife are here tonight. i remember being a little kid and hearing from my parents, not only the difference between right and wrong which they would hammer into our heads, the difference between right and wrong but also that the president of the u.s. is supposed to be a world leader, a role model. someone we can all look up to. even when we disagree, they conduct themselves in a way that is worthy of the country and the
4:52 pm
office they hold. when you see an incident like last night at this rally, where you have many of the president's supporters, most of them white, chanting about a dark skinned duly elected federal member of congress who came here is a refugee from a war torn country in africa, they sent -- they chanted, send her back excavation.and he allows it to go on. it seems a couple of people approached the president, they came to him today and said you have to fix this. that was an ugly scene. i think despite a conservative agenda being executed in a way
4:53 pm
that would be the envy of republican voters, it is that failure as a head of state that is the elephant in the room, no pun intended. on paper, any incoming president with his delivery, should have a 55 -- 60 approval. why is the approval so low? the country is polarized, yes. media is hard on him, sure. there's a recognition we all have, i think. people who work in there, that something is not quite right about this. donald trump welcome and go but where do we go from here? i think that's something we all have to grapple with. >> we want to open up to audience questions. >> two questions.
4:54 pm
did trump court cases? the other, on election day, 2016, to happen here? >> first question, no. it was suggested to trump that he pursue john as his vice president but what i said earlier, trump did not view john key of the hoagie townhall as an ideal running mate. he was eventually convinced not to pick chris christie, he was convinced to pick mike pence because pence offset trump in a way that he would not have. your second question, he was asking whether they decided to hear, i don't think --
4:55 pm
[inaudible] >> i'm not sure i follow your question. >> [inaudible question] >> i am not in a position to sit up here and make any comparisons like that. only thing i'll say is, the story of the past five or six days in my view is not what trump did and said, it's what people in his party did not do or say. when this vote came to the floor a couple of days ago in the house to reprimand the president for his remarks, there were only
4:56 pm
four republicans who voted yes. one of them is a guy who i spent a lot of time. he's from texas and he's in one of the most competitive districts in america, in the 23rd district. he's firmly in the crosshairs of the democratic party because he's a black replicant representing a majority hispanic district. trumps approval rating there is 25 points below. despite the president's unfavorable ratings, his own ratings were up above 30 points. he's a professional, very competent lawmaker, exceedingly reasonable, pragmatic, will listen to both sides of every debate, this is somebody who i want representing me. i want people who will do the job and do it responsibly and be honest.
4:57 pm
guys like him don't come around very often. good news, he is here. that is, it's not just democratic party anymore, it is the white house. it's going to be very difficult for a guy like him to hold on to his seat because he has crossed the president. i would say the lack of push back from within the president's party is a much bigger story than what the president is doing and saying. >> how to trump use the judiciary as a -- were there any certain areas that you found galvanized conservatives? >> you have the decision that legalized same-sex sex marriage,
4:58 pm
any number of major court tapes during the obama that were making religious conservatives feel as though the heavy hand of government was pushing down upon them on top of the forces, the cultural left secularism in america. i think that lent an added sense of urgency to the 2016 election. i will mention some of the other final areas, that is mitch mcconnell. [laughter] let me say this, you are free to disagree but we would not have donald trump today, he would not have one had that supreme court not been dangled out in front of
4:59 pm
voters. by blocking hearings on garland, obama's nominee to fill that seat when scalia unexpectedly died, by blocking hearings and not allowing garland to be confirmed, mitch mcconnell helped trump mobilize untold numbers of voters who may not have been coming to vote for trump otherwise. mitch mcconnell was the first person to realize it. when you think about the fact that trump won by three states, michigan, wisconsin and pennsylvania by a margin of 77744 votes, when you look at the polling in those states and the issues most important to people somewhere between 18 -- 22% of republican voters said their number one issues was judges, do the math.
5:00 pm
mitch mcconnell absolutely delivered the white house to trump by holding open that vacancy. i think we can all recognize that conservatives traditionally are must more invested in the judiciary in our democrats. ... john mccain, mitt romney in 2008. in 2012 in a sense it when they level large of the same attacks against donald trump they sort of came off as the boy who
5:01 pm
cried wolf. >> that is an excellent question. and the answer is yes. look folks, mitt romney in 2012, jacob tannen said this to me once in it that it was perfectly part. at least through the prism of the mainstream media and the media perception of mitt romney, in 2012 he was the dog torturing baron and by choices that he was a white night of the republican party. and what changed, right? mitt romney like any candidate for high office should be held to a high standard. but the obsessive coverage of mitt romney sort of weirdness, his otherness, you know he irons his jeans, he said his wife owned a couple of cadillacs. look, we'll get it, as he said when he was wearing a tuxedo at
5:02 pm
one of these white tie dinners, he said finally, i get to wear something a public that we wear around the house. right? [laughter] and he got it! but it was almost to the point of absolute absurdity by the end of the 2012 campaign. as you may recall there was a presidential debate with obama limit runners asked about needed to diversify the workforce and why there aren't more women in high government positions. and romney offered an interesting, well thought answer about how when he was governor of massachusetts, he made that a typewriter and angered him whenever he was attempting to fill a top deposition that all the resumes on his desk were men. and so he went to his chief of staff who was a woman and said look, i want to get more qualified women into these positions and as is answering the question, romney then says, and she did and she went to bring these binders full of women. now, to any reasonable person who is listening to that, you would think man, good for him!
5:03 pm
it really thoughtful substantive answer. for the next 96 hours, all you heard was that romney is a misogynist, and mitt romney does know how to talk to women and mitt romney is weird and awkward. and look, folks and just sitting or tell you. i traveled to a lot of states and talk to a lot of voters. i will tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that the desensitization people have begun to feel, especially conservatives. they feel at the meeting is always beating up on their guys. when 2016 came round this criticism of donald trump, he's immoral, unethical, hypocrite, a womanizer, he does and says the disgusting vulgar things. they fell on deaf ears for a lot of voters. they tuned us out. and it is something also touched on in the book. i think it's really important to understand the role that the media and public perception plays in all of this and this book is not meant to hold up to just donald trump and the republican party. it is meant to hold up the
5:04 pm
mirror to all of us because i think ever in the room can do some soul-searching and how we may have played a role in this individually or collectively. >> i have two related questions. one is, to what degree did in terms of victory and moving forward, will voter suppression and gerrymandering be a factor in keeping the republican majority moving forward or not, not majority but being able to hold the white house and the senate? second, what accounts for the republican party which has been chronicled in books like chain reaction and mix in land, no maximizing racial resentment in dog whistle races and to the now bullhorn races that we have with trump. what accounts for that transition? >> boy, two good and complicate the questions per the simple answer can give to the first one is that obviously republicans were able to move
5:05 pm
right pretty systematically as a party after 2010. not just because of the takeover in congress but the takeover and state legislature across the country. and by regaining the ability to draw the maps in many of the states, they were able to structurally get a foothold and solidify their power. the 2020 census is coming and there will be an opportunity for republicans and democrats alike to fight for the ability to draw those maps. and that is a huge focus run obviously for democrats who feel as though they have been targeted systematically and very effectively by these republican jerry manders. i should remind everyone that political power, political parties exist to promote and protect their own power and the democrats have been known to do a little bit of gerrymandering themselves. and as high-minded as i would like to be about this process and these calls for reform, i will believe the democrats after winning back some of the statehouses will not abuse the gerrymandering power when i see
5:06 pm
it. because if you look at some state like maryland it's a bit of a picasso painting. if i were king for a day i would wave a magic wand and would have a nonpartisan redistricting commission in every state of america. we would redraw many of the lines as close to 50 as possible. not because it would give us a bunch of mushy moderates, but because we could actually have a debate of ideas. let me say this quickly because it shocks people when i say it. i get talks all the time at conquest. when i say this blows people away. democrats had 40 seats last november, that's a wave election by anyone's metrics. 40 seats is a big deal. a sweeping rebuke to the presence party and yet, how many voting members are in the house of representatives? 435. was 4435? about 8 and a half percent. okay? go back to 2010, biggest wave election we seen in our lifetime. and remember how many republican pickups there were in 2010?
5:07 pm
>> 63? >> 63. my man. in 2010 biggest wave election we seen in our lifetime. what is 63 or 435? about 14 percent i cheated, i'm not that good in math i've memorized this. the point in trying to make two is that the biggest wave election we've ever seen in our lifetime in 2010, 86 percent of the seats in the u.s. house of representatives remained loyally partisan, locked number one of the two parties. and in 2018, another big wave election, 92 percent roughly remained locked down by one of the other party. what does that tell you? it tells the overwhelming majority of the elected officials were sent to washington are not chosen in november, they are chosen in the primaries.and what do we know about primary turnout? well, in your average off your congressional primary election, turnout will be somewhere between seven and 14 percent. and who are the 7 to 14 percent attorney to vote in the primaries? other this reasonable persuadable moderates in the middle that just want competent
5:08 pm
governance? willing to listen to arguments on both sides. generally not. and to your uncle that says a word emails and colleagues that push the crazy stuff on facebook, right? and god blessed them because there engaged but why are the rest of us? we keep sending people back to congress and expecting a different result. congress has a huge personal problem and a big reason why is because so many of the people we send there, the overwhelming majority of people we send their are elected in primaries. and when you never face a general election threat in your district, was the only incentive you have? to protect yourself in a primary. and when you're oriented as a limiter toward protecting your flank in a primary every day you wake up, it's going to have some really bad results for the country.as worried as we are, you have been on a tangent here. as worried as we all may be about the executive branch and some of the unsteadiness right
5:09 pm
now, the legislative branch of my pain is much bigger concern because the presidency is a transient office. trump will come and go but the legislative branch of the federal government is structurally in deep, deep trouble and there is no one in sight four.the question about the racial dog whistling i just mentioned what happened last night. as you said, it's not dog whistle at this point is just not. and donald trump is obsessed with the base. jonathan, you know this better than anyone. if you talk to people around the president talks incessantly about the base. and when he talks to bases talking generally very narrowly about the court people in his -- who come to his rallies, where the maga hats, tend to be a blue-collar, more rural and x urban and working and middle-class urban, white, evangelical in many cases and the true believers, right? those with trump no matter what. if he shot someone on fifth avenue there was still be behind him as he said. with every one basic voter that
5:10 pm
he may be mobilizing is probably also alienating a suburban college educated, socially moderate republican who wants tax cuts and maybe more conservative judges but they are scared out of their mind by what they saw last night. there's an old saying in republican campaigns, why would republican ever adjust the naacp? republican president or candidate. why would you ever adjust the naacp? you will not pick up more black votes. the answer is not to pick up black votes to pick up the votes of white suburbanites that want to see you engage with the naacp. this is a collision business and presidency was won by donald trump not because of the base that we all love to read about in all of the stories from middle america about the auto mechanic in the diner in ohio somewhere.those people matter obviously and they are in a big supporters of the president but the president won his campaign because he had overwhelming support of these
5:11 pm
traditionally republican suburban moderates and what do we know? we know in 2016 they voted for him and we also know in 2018 by virtue of the democratic takeover at least a significant chunk of those traditionally suburban -- they flipped. all across the country so donald trump is playing with fire here it is not just because he's mobilizing the democratic base, is because he is potentially alienating the other half of his coalition that he needs to win in 2020. >> thank you so much. we are running out of time but i want to take these last three questions here. or the last two questions here if that's okay. >> sorry, i'm giving very long answers. >> hi, this may be beside the point at this point but during the campaign, i was thought that donald trump 's hope for an outcome would be to win the
5:12 pm
popular vote and lose the electoral vote and he could go back to his business and say he was cheated and you know, not be worried with the running of the government because he didn't obviously prepare anything for a transition and election night he looked pretty shocked and like he didn't want this. >> i would draw a distinction. only to weigh in on this also. i would draw a distinction between not wanting to win and not expecting to win. because i did an awful lot of reporting on this and i was never able to find anybody who could credibly tell me that he did not want to win. donald trump is a very competitive guy. and we had to listen for 18 months all of these talking heads on cable tell us of this adjuster to promote his hotel and get his name back in the news. the he just loves the reality t.v. glare. that donald trump would drop out before the caucus because he didn't actually want to be president. it all missed that he's a fiercely competitive individual
5:13 pm
and he loves the ground of competition. i don't think donald trump expected to win. matter fact all of my reporting tells me he did not expect to win. as i say in describing this in the book donald trump had to pretty quickly reread his election night speech as he did not have a victory speech prepared. when reince priebus whispered in his ear in one of their war rooms at think you're going to win, everybody in the room sort of stopped and time stood still and donald trump said okay we have to go upstairs. we have to go to the residence on will have a speech. so donald trump from everything i know, was certainly not expecting to win the presidency because he could see the same polling that we also and not just the public polling. anybody inside of his campaign because they thought donald trump was going to win is lying to you. i am telling it straight up and includes steve bannon. he said he knew it from day one, that's nonsense paid the one republican i did not interview a steve bannon and
5:14 pm
swan gave me a high five for that though day. there for crying out loud talk about an unreliable source. so that is the distinction i would draw. you tell me what you think about that. [inaudible] >> shout it out. >> i cover the campaign. he 100 percent wanted to win. i don't know what's going on there. he 100 percent wanted to win and you know i remember being in a barn in virginia unlike 1 am i think, and monday morning i guess, last few days the campaign and donald trump was doing his eighth rally of the day or something and he wanted to win. he really wanted to win.as much as anything he hates to be humiliated. people believe he did this as a promotional vehicle. one person told me he described as a worlds greatest infomercial. but i think one of his more revealing interviews early on
5:15 pm
he says, subsequently that he thought he gave himself a 20 percent chance of winning. as time went on, couple of things happen. he got addicted to the crowds and i don't the people in the audience have been to the trump rallies but i've been to a lot of them and the only thing i can explain, i've covered politics into countries. i've never seen a politician of such a visceral connection with a crowd and the only thing i can compare it to is like being at a rolling stones concert. they know the lyrics. they know the lyrics it is call in response he will say hillary and the crowd will immediately start chanting, lock her up. he was in the media, the crowd will merely start chanting, cnn sucks. it's a joke for him he was intoxicated and he loved it. as time went on he thought maybe i can win i guess i am
5:16 pm
down to last two teams, none thought they could win. steve bannon does like to remind me did send an email which i still have two weeks before the election when he did predict this. i think it was bluster with andy but he was saying he was going to win if it makes any difference. but other staff like pre-briefing us as reporter saying, here are all the reasons why he lost, this is before the election and here's the way you can spin it etc. so you know that would, that's the reality. >> to add a final really quick thought to that. i spent the final week of october, i spent that week on the campaign plan not vice president mike pence but then governor mike pence. i can tell you surely as i know that i'm sitting here with you, that nobody on that plane safe for maybe mike pence, believed they were going to win. it was really interesting because they were all beginning to spin me essentially on mike pence 2020. they were all attempting to
5:17 pm
sort of you know, polished mike pence is the guy who is the stable figure in the campaign and rejected the ugliness and the guy who is going to come out of this looking good. and something really interesting happened. and it happened the day after as you may recall, mike pence 's plane off the runway at laguardia. and i was on that planet was kind of a remarkable scene as the secret service jumped up with their pistols and hovered near mike pence is never quite knew what the hell to make of any of it. everyone on that plane that i was with for almost a week, all of his top staffer said the same thing. no way. you see all the numbers he cannot win. donald trump cannot win. on the last day i was with them, we had to get on a different plane that did not have wi-fi because of the earlier nights incident. and just as our plane is coming down into pennsylvania, dipping into cell phone range, every single persons plane on the phone blew up. with an alert that james comey
5:18 pm
had sent a letter to congress reopening the investigation into hillary clinton emails. and i will tell you, it is indelible in my mind, i can see it today. there were not many of us on the plane.there were five reporters i believe in 45 secret service in the vice president and five or six of his staff. all sitting there flustered and i'm telling you, a kid on christmas morning does not begin to describe the looks on the name of the pence people because for the first time an entire campaign there was a flicker of hope. however fleeting but a flicker of hope that my goodness, can you believe our luck? we might actually win. and i remember that until the day i die. yes, sir? >> is my recollection that they access hollywood tapes were released, the emails for john podesta release. so that was another factor in place. my question is, why is my conservative brother forgot his anti-communist or suspicious of russia?
5:19 pm
>> the russian thing is actually really fascinating. i hear a lot of republican defenders of the president say you know, focus on what the administration does, not what he says. and i think that by and large is nonsense. i think that as i explained a minute ago what the president says is of enormous importance. in most markets, it moves military personnel. the president is the most powerful person in the world. russia is actually a pretty interesting example of what they are talking about however, because if you are to examine on a policy basis, the administration approach to russia, not his personally, but the administrations and most republicans in congress, you would think that it is a pretty typical republican cookie-cutter republican approach to russian relations. in terms of sanctions, and terms of some help for allies in the region. the presidents relationship with vladimir putin is so
5:20 pm
bizarre that i'm not sure we will ever get to the bottom of it. and i'm not trying to be funny that is just the truth. i don't know that we will ever understand. look, it's not just putin. donald trump has this affinity for strongmen across the globe. we have seen it time and again it is vexing. not just us but people in the administration. i do not think it will ever be thoroughly explained but with russia in particular, there is a huge chasm between the president sort of playing 50s with vladimir putin and talking with him about election interference and how he locks of journalists. ha ha , is not hilarious? and the state department and the republican congress and how they have approached russia. it has been much more traditional. it's a little bit odd in that respect. >> thank you for coming out to everybody. thank you so much.
5:21 pm
[applause] if you have not already purchased copies of the book, i encourage you to do so. signing will begin in just a second. thank you so much. if you can help by folding up your chairs that would be wonderful. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. this week former george w. bush administration cybersecurity advisor, richard -- on "after words" to talk about how to make cyberspace less dangerous. advice columnist, discussing assault including an alleged assault by donald trump in the mid-1990s. and journalists argue that donald trump ready for present was not pulse appeared also watch for freedom fast. the annual libertarian conference in las vegas.
5:22 pm
a couple of authors you will hear from our former congressman bob barr. on presidential impeachment and freedom fast founder, market -- looks at politics of author, jack london. check your cable guide or visit booktv.org for more information. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. we are in new york city at the annual publishers convention. talking with authors who have books coming out and now we want to introduce you to anna wiener. who has a book coming out in january 2020, it is called "uncanny valley".a memoir anna wiener, would you do now for living and how did you get there? >> great question. [laughter] i am writing full-time. i am a writer for the new yorker website. i cover culture. i got there probably through

84 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on