Skip to main content

tv   Texas Book Festival  CSPAN  October 26, 2019 1:00pm-1:51pm EDT

1:00 pm
24th. to find more information ant upcoming book fairs and festivals and watch our previous festival coverage, click the book fairs tab on our website, booktv.org. [inaudible conversations] >> now welcome back to austin, up next new york times recent book on the trump administration's immigration policies. this is live coverage on book tv on c-span2. >> good afternoon, welcome to today's discussion of an important book called border wars, the president's assault on immigration. my name is carlos sánchez and i'm a senior editor with texas monthly magazine and i'm based
1:01 pm
along the word near the rio grande valley. before we dive into this topic, please remember to silence your cell phones and please share your experience on social media using the #tx book fest. also remember that after this conversation the authors will be signing books in the book-signing tents, two tents over, you can buy the book and get it signed to the next tent, a portion of every book spent supports mission and all courtesy of book people. joining me today are two of the authors of this book, i want to start with my far right, michael, white house correspondent in the washington bureau. police call correspondent before coming to the times in 2010, 18 years writing about local, state and national politics at the
1:02 pm
washington post, it was part of the pulitzer team that covered virginia tech shootings in 2007, to my immediate right, julia davis, congressional editor of "the new york times" and deputy times editor, covered policy in washington for 22 years, she joined the times in 2014 as white house correspondent after bloomberg news, associated press, baltimore sun and congressional quarterly, she won the 2009 mckinley award for distinguished reporting of congress, please join me in welcoming our two guests today. first off, i wanted to congratulate you all on fascinating book, i have to admit i finished reading it last night, but it was really insightful and i'm wondering how
1:03 pm
you all came decide to write this book. please. >> well, can everyone hear me, thanks, first of all thank you for the kind of introduction, exciting for us to be here, as carlos said, i think both of us -- [inaudible] >> particularly in the last several years the issue of immigration and when we saw the presidential campaign that donald trump ran, it became clear to us that this was a central element of his -- of his message, of his presidency if he were to win which none of us expected that he would but once he took office, once he won the election, we realized that this is going to be really the issue that really drove a lot of his focus in his first term. we both as white house correspondent covered a lot of the initial moves on
1:04 pm
immigration, starting transition when they quietly put in place a set of executive orders and potential legislative proposal that is they wanted to see move and i think it was very strike to go us from the very beginning how unusual his approach was, how unusual his rhetoric about the issue and then as the presidency got underway, what i think both of us noticed was that the things that made president trump approach immigration unusual, the things that made his -- his moves on the issue controversial were in many ways the same things that made his entire presidency so unsubstantial, the sort of shoot from the hip style that the president had, reaching for the most radical proposals he could possibly find, his disdain for professional career government people who are specialist in the
1:05 pm
area, chaotic way that west wing went on, all the feud that went on, all the things that came together in immigration policy and that's what got us interesting in a deeper look at how this is playing out. >> was there a sense going into this project that by focusing on one area of his presidency you were painting such a clear picture of leadership style. >> hello. hello, no it's not on. hello, hello. better, no? yeah, okay, sorry. yeah, i think as she said we, by the time we decided to work on the book at the beginning of 2018 there had already been a lot of reporting about the chaos inside the white house and the nature of presidency and we wanted a way to capture that in a way that wasn't just another book like that, in a way that dealt with the topic that was --
1:06 pm
that was important, that was central to the american experience and -- and we wanted to -- to use that topic to capture what the presidency was all about and our goal going into the book was, if we could talk to enough people and get behind the themes and enough of the meetings, figure out the motivations behind what the president was doing on immigration and how his aides were putting it together, that we would -- that we would have something important to say not only about immigration but the president and how he makes decisions more broadly and, you know, we sat down one evening over a couple of glasses of wine and looked at each other and i think we should write a book about this. >> one of the things that most appealing about this book is the vivid insider account that you are able to provide throughout the book, did you have difficulty getting people to talk about and share that --
1:07 pm
those inside reviews of what was going on? >> yes and no. how the policies came to be and the president came to be preoccupied with this issue of immigration was that there was a lot of resistance to being seen, nobody wanted to go on the record, the president himself ended up going on the record with us at the very end of the process but his aides current and former were very reluctant to do that. a pretty strong sense of wanting to get the story out, why things had gone down the way they had, there was a lot of feeling that, you know, their whole approach had been misunderstood, they had
1:08 pm
been pushed to do things that in many cases they didn't either feel were appropriate or practical, there was a lot of frustration among people inside the administration and outside who share president trump's views on immigration who believe in more enforcement and less legal immigration even that felt that he had squandered his opportunity to actually accomplish those things in hazard way in making policies, all of those things conspired so that that ultimately helped us find the people we need today really flush out the story, it wasn't pushing on an open door, it took a lot of investigating and a lot of long interviews to get to the point where people were willing to share with us the insights to really explain how this had all happened.
1:09 pm
you often find resistance from people who don't want the stories that they're telling you to be in the newspaper the next day and one of the things that the book does that this is our first book, both julie and i and what we discovered is that being able to talk to sit down over a long dinner with someone and say, this isn't going to appear until 7, 8, 9, 10 months from now, i'm mindful of the story, one of the stories in the book which you all may have heard about which is the idea that president trump had building along the border and filling with alligators and snakes and we got that initially from somebody who we talked to in one of these long interviews and we would have never gotten from the one person if they thought we would put it in the new york times the next day and it was, you know, it was those kinds of, kind of agreements and understandings of the people that we were going to put the
1:10 pm
stuff in context, it wasn't going to be just a headline but in the context of 400 page book that helped to explore those things and i think really made the difference in some people's willingness to talk. >> and there's an irony here, you point out that immigration as a focal point of trump's campaign wasn't necessarily his idea, can you explain kind of the evolution of how immigration became central component of his campaign? >> yeah, it's interesting because watching the campaign and then watching how president trump approaches the issue when he took office you would think that this is something that he had always been, you know, worked up about but the fact is that when he started to run for president long before -- 2 years before 2016 anyway, the wall was never really a focus for him, he would talk about illegal immigration, it was something that had weighed on his mind, he
1:11 pm
talked about it before as private citizen and as he started to make appearances, political events. >> don't worry about it. [laughter] china. russia. >> is that better? hello. >> go ahead. >> okay. so he obviously -- he thought about immigration and talked about immigration but wasn't so much about the wall, it was really about this real sense of us versus them, you know, what this is doing to our country and what his advisers realize that these were powerful things that people were responding to when donald trump would talk and they started looking for a way to remind him because this is not a president or at that point a potential candidate who likes to speak from scripted remarks ever or likes to take a briefing to
1:12 pm
remind him what the talking points that he should hit are. so they started looking for for a way how can we remind him to talk about the issue and always hit on this very powerful topic to really capture the emotions and the visceral sort of reactions of his crowd and they decided because he's a real estate guy and loves to talk about building something beautiful and he's the greatest builder that if it could make him remember that he's talked about a wall, then he would launch into discourse of immigration, immigrant that would really get him going and then he was off to the races, they mentioned it to him, he started talking about it and what he loved was the feedback that he would get, really strong response, lots of cheers from the crowd, they would start chanting and that's what he
1:13 pm
ultimately found irresistible and why he kept coming back and back to the topic to the point where he became president, fore gone conclusion that he would focus on the wall because he had been talking for a couple of years. >> one of the first events that he got sort of visceral feedback from the crowd was here in texas, one of the texas -- >> the texas patriots. a convention -- -- in 2015. >> julie characterized them as advisers recognizing the potential of immigration, but initially they weren't advisers, correct? this was an informal trio of people who recognized that one of their top priorities would sink well with president trump's priorities, can you tell us about jeff sessions, steve bannon and steve miller. >> right, so this is -- it's really actually amazing, we sort of start the book with this because we are back in 2013 and
1:14 pm
january 2013, it's right after president obama has won a second term and you have this trio of people, bannon, miller and sessions who were at the time on fringes to have republican party and they don't -- they don't have any chants of really wielding powers, sessions is in the senate, miller works for him, bannon is kind of working at bright bart and lobbying hand grenades at the republican party which at the time the republican party bound and determine today reach out to hispanic voters and broaden their appeal, they sort of thought that's why romney had lost to obama, again, so they meet at ban on the townhouse in washington, they meet for dinner, they eat for 5 hours and, you know, populist revolt as they are eating and sipping martinis and the whole dinner was about how do we find
1:15 pm
somebody, the term they used the chapter that we title the chapter, they needed to find a vessel, a vessel to take two major issues, immigration and trade and -- and essentially hijack the republican party to take what they viewed as a republican party that was, sort of in bed with the corporate interest and in bed with the democrats to the extent that they sort of were all kind of one side of the spectrum and kind of hijack that and take it away, they didn't think of donald trump then, they really just thought of other people, they thought of sarah palin and lou dobbs and even sessions himself maybe talked about running but the -- but they sort of plotted, it was the beginning of the takeover that at the time if you think that julie and i had known of the dinner at the time we would have thought absolutely no chance in hell that they're going to actually make this work and, of course, you know, a few months later bannon sees speech that trump
1:16 pm
gives saying all the things that the 3 had said, you know, a few months earlier and before you know it, they -- all 3 of them are part of the campaign and ultimately part of the administration that, you know, works beyond their wildest dreams. >> and the case that they are making in this dinner, this is right after some of you may have remembered the autopsy or as the republican party was doing to autopsy of why mitt romney lost in 2012 and general consensus that hispanic -- [inaudible] >> and the 3 of them, one of them had this article that conservative writer had written, called the case of the missing white-working class and the argument was mitt romney did not lose because he had not reached out broadly enough, he lost because he alienated, he was not popular, he could not get a consensus from the white-working class who saw him assault's as
1:17 pm
bad as democrats because he was out of touch, he didn't understand working people and he hadn't spoken directly enough to their concerns, that's what they thought he could do if they ran populist play and looking for someone who could do that rather than what the whole rest of the establishment was needed to happen. >> as you point out immigration was the third rail of politics, explain a little bit about why it was a third rail and why neither party really wanted to touch it? >> yeah, so the first -- my first exposure covering administration, george w. bush administration, he talked obviously about comprehensive immigration reform, he talked about being a compassionate conservative and there seemed a consensus among democrats and some republicans that there
1:18 pm
should be sort of a compromise over what to do with the at that time, i think the number was 12 million undocumented people that were in the country but reordering the system that it was more functional and efficient for the future, a big effort to try and do that and what both parties found was it was really hard, extremely divisive issue in both political parties because you had democrats who at the time were divided between labor unions that were skeptical of some immigration reforms that they thought could hurt american workers and another sort of strain of the democratic party that felt that this is a compromise that needed to happen, ted kennedy was the person who really carried that forward during the debate. then you had republicans, the bulk of the party was as mike was saying sort of chamber of commerce approach, really strong
1:19 pm
immigration who felt this is going to hurt and because such an emotional issue, you had a dangerous combination of divisions in both parties, republicans on one side would say, you know, amnesty, democrats on the other side would say, this is going to hurt workers and between the two of them they, you know, it became a very dangerous issue that people were afraid that their constituents were going to turn against them if they embraced a compromised like this, they confirmed all the fears and certainly once president trump comes on the scene, i think everyone sees the power of this
1:20 pm
issue to really motivate voters. >> right, he crosses lines like even intense and difficult fight over immigration over the last 10 or 15 years, he crossed line that is nobody was willing to cross before, from the moment he comes down and talks about, you know, mexicans as rapists on the elevator and he takes the debate to a police that, you know, if not nobody, only the people on the fringe had been willing to do. >> to be fair, president obama was famously deporter in chief, and it was -- when he was in office the initial family surge central american in 2014, is that why immigration became such a resinate issue 2 years later in 2016 or was it more because trump was willing to embrace that issue? >> i think it was both. i mean, i think that, you know, it's true that president obama got a lot of blowback from the
1:21 pm
way he handled the initial surge of central american migration, they didn't separate families but detained families for long periods of time and a lot of the immigration advocacy groups that have been the most critical of president trump's policies were also very critical of the obama administration during that time and he did in his own ways, obama did what the trump administration, the trump administration tried to do in much more aggressive ways to figure out ways to deter people and if you come you'll be sent back and obama got criticism for that but i do think that, you know, this idea of having candidate who was going to take a populist message national and having trump be that person that was what really drove the immigration issue to the core of the 2016 election and that's why i think it's been such a driver of his presidency because i think his advisers and president
1:22 pm
trump himself felt very strongly that he could never kind of lose faith with that message if he had a chance of being reelected. >> i was going to say, one to have people that we talked to during the course of the book told me at one point that there's -- that the way he distinguished what president obama did in terms of confronting the migration crisis and what president trump and his administration did was that the steps that the obama people took to try to as julie said deter folks toward them up inside, we talked to a lot of the obama -- both julie and i covered that period in the obama administration and they did things that really, you know, they thought were necessary but that tore them up inside whereas on the trump people, the trump advisers were much more eager to put in place the kind of policies that they -- that they
1:23 pm
ultimately did, i think there was a difference in motivation and a difference in the limits that the obama people kept trying to put limits on themselves whereas the trump people kept limits off. >> immigration hard liners were always cognizant of the criticism of xenophobia, racism, nativism, how did that change in 2016? >> it's interesting as we have book where one of -- one of then candidate trump's advisers goes to see roy who runs organization usa which has been working years and years to crack down on illegal immigration but also reduce legal immigration in the united states and they've been pushing this agenda that, you know, senator jeff sessions had been in the senate trying to push his as well for a long time and they had a sort of a scored card of things that they wanted,
1:24 pm
things they wanted candidates to embrace, they would grade whether they supported various elements on that, things like requiring employers to verify the immigration status of -- would-be employees before hiring them, things like stricter enforcement, things like border security and they have this meeting and beth says that trump campaign adviser, you know, i've got this whole list, i think they had given trump a c minus at the point, this was during the primaries and sam goes to him and says how can we get our grade up. we've got this list of ten things that we need to happen and calling mexicans rapists is not on here, you don't get any points for that. >> nor points for building a wall. >> his point really was not only you don't get credit for that
1:25 pm
but if the candidate is going the talk that way, you will make it harder for us to achieve these objectives and he's in some ways making himself in messenger for the restrictive policies and we can we bait and why groups support policies and a lot of people say the reason that they want to push is because they are inherently racist, leaving that aside for the moment, this is a person who recognized that if you're going to talk in the way that trump was talking about immigrants and immigration, you are going on the less likely to be able to achieve these goals. >> in fact, if you read the book, there's a lot in the book about the ways in which trump's rhetoric ends up sabotaging his own agenda, right, the shit hole comments which blows up a potential deal which he might have had on the wall and on daca, his other comments that sort of deepen and frustrate it is relationship that he might have had with democrats and even republicans on capitol hill the
1:26 pm
way he talked about immigration that just angered republican allies on capitol hill and might have been able to sort of fight for parts of his own agenda and so like again and again, we describe in the book the way in which his rhetoric not only, you know, is sort of kind of bad from a perspective that, you know, people look at it and say, that's not right thing to say from a moral perspective. it's what he might achieve if he didn't talk that way. >> rhetoric nonetheless was very appealing to the math and he wins the presidency, he has to continue with the issue of governance. >> yes, trump will not do a lot of work beforehand to sort of stand up a group of staff that had quickly hit the ground running once he won because many
1:27 pm
of his campaign will tell you he wasn't going to win but he was very surreptitious, he didn't want to plan and on day one he did not have -- a day one he was elected he did not have a group of ready to go, people who had security clearances and had been in government knew exactly what to do, what he had an inner circle, bannon and steven miller were two of them, there was another man by the name of jane hamilton who had worked for jeff sessions and essentially it falls to him with -- with, you know, participation by bannon and miller, of course, to put together a group of staffers who are essentially going to be able to after the president start putting this agenda that he talked about on immigration into practice. they did not trust the career professionals inside the government to be able to do any
1:28 pm
of this, they kept all of the usual people who might be helping in the process during presidential transition out because they were afraid that they were going to sabotage what their efforts, they were going to undermine what the president -- what president elect wanted to do and instead they meet secretly and some of them are staffers in capitol hill who have worked on issues for a long time, other people who had experience at the department of homeland security and they start putting together this kind of almost menu of like possible actions that could be taken from the get-go. they are in a position where they've been on the outside of these debates for a long time. hard right that nobody ever wanted in the meeting when meetings were happening on capitol hill. they were not about compromise, they were about blowing a compromise. now they get to ride whatever --
1:29 pm
the mandate is give me your most impressive, most effective immigration restriction and how they could be into place quickly but unleash and they do put together this menu of things but what becomes clear toward the end, one of the things on the menu is ending daca, one to have things on the menu is travel ban which is essentially an executive order version of what trump has talked about on the campaign trail as muslim ban -- [inaudible] >> menu of items to accomplish what he had been talking about and the way one of the people that we talked to described it, they thought he was going to order a few things off the menu and instead he ends up ordering the all you can eat buffet. and even they are shocked at the fact that not only did he do, you know, want to do things like
1:30 pm
3 and 5, but 1 through 25. >> it was the beginning to have war against the bureaucracy, right, the war with the bureaucracy within his own administration because they, they imposed the travel ban 5 days after the president takes office, no planning, none of the bureaucracy, none of the people at dhs are at state, conference room table at the department of homeland security where for the first time all of the top officials are going to see the travel ban that gene hamilton and his group had been working on in secret for months. there's a bunch of lawyers, a bunch of people who are border patrol and the folks that will have to stop folks tat ports of entry when they come in and they are flipping through it and starting to say how much time do
1:31 pm
we have to do an analysis on this and assessment on this, and kevin mcaleenan, later became homeland security secretary, he's on a remote monitor and he interrupts the meeting and he says, guys, he just signed this. i'm watching cnn, the president just signed this. [laughter] >> and literally their mouths dropped to the table and what you saw was the beginning of what would be 2 and a half year battle between steven miller and bannon and trump himself to push harder and faster and beyond all of the limits that the bureaucrats, some of whom were obama holdovers and his own people but recognize that there are practical, moral legal
1:32 pm
considerations to doing some of these things and when trump and miller are pushing really, really hard often times what they find is the bureaucracy is pushing back, so that's a lot, that start that first week. >> describe as it relates to zero tolerance, another major issue that changed on the trump administration? >> by the time you get to zero tolerance, i think miller, bannon is gone and miller has recognized the victims of shock and awe, it was deliberate in the beginning that they didn't want to leave time for anyone inside the government to sort of slow-roll or doing do what they consider to be things that would sabotage the president's agenda, but they did learn a valuable and painful lesson from the travel ban that they immediately
1:33 pm
got joined in court, got blocked, took them 2 more tries and year to get the travel ban executive order in place that actually the courts would allow and sanction and so miller learned the valuable lesson for him of if i want to try to short circuit the process, if i want to try to get around the people inside the federal government who may want to block these things, i have to at least have a process of some sort in place, at least have something to point to, at least have data and memos and meetings that i can say happened so that, you know, there's -- enough people are brought in so that we don't get tripped up like we did with the travel ban again, so what happens is and when he realizes, well, you need one powerful person inside the administration who is going to be water -- jeff sessions who as we said in background is immigration hard liner in congress, he's attorney general at this point and he is
1:34 pm
unapologetically an immigration hawk, he's the one person in all of our reporting who is always the least conflicted, the most willing to go out and say, yes, we are doing it, it might sound mean for or horrible but we are doing it because we have to do it, it's like president trump and sessions who are the two people who are most willing to make public says, so sessions goes and announces that there's going to be the zero tolerance policy of prosecuting everyone at the border and quietly inside the homeland security what is happening is that there's a memorandum that ultimately lands on kirstjen nielsen desk that essentially talks about -- if people presented the border and they are with a minor child, they are going to be separated from that child because they are going to be prosecuted as -- they will be prosecuted criminally and obviously you cannot have a child in a
1:35 pm
criminal detention setting. they asked a lot of time, she's stalling for time because kirstjen nielsen feels that this could be disastrous but ultimate ly she signs off on the memo that puts in place family separation. >> jeff sessions was the one that announced zero tolerance which led to family space station but it was kirstjen nielsen who took on the face of family separation, how did that happen? >> so i think to understand nielsen, to understand she was berated daily by trump, he never thought he -- she was tough enough and aggressive enough and so as julie said the memo sitting on her desk for almost a month and she's refuse to --
1:36 pm
refusing to sign it and every day people from the white house, miller and sessions and gene hamilton, hammering, you have to sign this, we can't implement zero tolerance unless you sign the memo and her objectives are not necessarily moral, she doesn't really say gee, this is going to be terrible for kids, what she says is i don't know that we will work, do we have the resources where we -- [inaudible] in the end she recognizes that if she's going to continue as homeland secretary she needs to buckle from the pressure of the with the to be tough, to be part of the team, to be a team player and she signs the memo.
1:37 pm
she becomes the face of it, yet over the course of the next year almost she remains the one person who is fighting against trump and more and more behind the scenes, no, sir, you shouldn't build the mote, she's the person that tells him -- if migrants throw rocks at the military that they should be shot, the military should shoot them in return and they, she's the one that tells them, no, mr. president, you can't do that, and he comes in the meeting a couple of days later, okay, i get it can we shoot to kill but can we shoot them in the legs to slow them down and she says, no, sir, we can't do
1:38 pm
that either. on the one hand she's the face of the policy, she becomes the person and again and again behind closed doors is resisting and ultimately she gets fired for that, ultimately he tries to close the border and we talked about that too and that's what ends up, he ends up firing for her. >> she's a vivid example of what happens to officials in this administration too which is as mike said, she resist this and she resist that, she has a sense early on that this could be disaster and her aids all telling her you don't want to be the face of this, don't be the face of this, but once she decides to do it she feels like she owns it and a in a lot of ways you may remember that she went out to white house briefing room and answered questions about this policy at the height and furor about it, she had been told by lots of her allies in inside the white house and department of homeland security not to do that, don't do it, you
1:39 pm
will look really bad, it's interesting phenomena that you see happen across the administration where people are not totally comfortable necessarily with what they are being asked to do but then they agree to do it and they feel like they are bought in and they have to see it through. >> let's take questions from the audience. >> if you have questions, please go to, one of two microphones back there and please questions quickly. >> in 2016 division within the party on immigration that you talked about very well, but if you look at it now today, a very high percentage of democrats support open immigration or more or less open and vice versa with the republicans and i'd like just your idea of what the dynamics have been, have shifted from one to the other or are we
1:40 pm
just as faction of divisiveness have we decided to change our minds so that we can fit into one of these perspectives or another and then just to add onto that, what you think that means for the future looking to maybe a post trump life, will that sift back -- shift back, some of us hope sooner than later, how would the dynamics play out, the change in dynamics that has occurred? >> i think to answer the second part, it's easier to say this, we don't know, we don't know how much of what happens post trump sort of snaps back into a pretrump reality, i do think that, you know, the -- one of the lasting impacts that we think on this -- in this area, this president has had is really changing the baseline for kind of, kind of where this issue --
1:41 pm
where the issue is, the -- you know, president trump moves the needle in terms of where -- the republican party as julie had described earlier was heading in a direction which -- which had trump not come along, you know, it's hard to knows 100%, it look ed like immigration was going to become less hot button issue and what trump has done obliterate consensus where you have the republican party, the trump party firmly, you know, kind of in that camp, in that more restrictionist hard line antiimmigrant camp where you're here on the border in texas, minneapolis, wherever you are, that has sort of become a central modern, trump-led
1:42 pm
republican party and i think that what's hard to know if trump were, i don't know, impeached and removed from office, right, tomorrow which by the way probably won't happen, but what would -- what would happen to the sort of the kind of constituency that he's built, would they suddenly say, he's not here so therefore we will not have that issue -- it's not going to be an important issue to me anymore or is that sort of based in now to where the republican party is now. i don't know, it didn't work so well in midterm election, he tried to whip up caravans and invasion and all of that and plenty of places where it didn't work, but a midterm election is somewhat different and you can certain what's going to happen in 2020 and beyond. >> just to quickly add on because i want to share more questions but i would say that one of the things that trump has succeeded in and in some ways deliberate in pushing the democrats further left on this issue and i think what you've seen in response to trump's rhetoric and some of his actions
1:43 pm
is you now democratic presidential field which is not unanimously but the bulk of the field is saying, maybe immigration should be decriminalized, talking about health benefits for undocumented people, this is a place where the democratic party wasn't necessarily before donald trump and the fact that he has gone so far to the right, has pushed democrats to the left. i do think no matter what happens in the next election that will be consensus that's harder to get because of that. >> the answer, i have two quick ones. >> where is a good source for the numbers, invasions, it's not a problem, i have no idea, i couldn't tell you if it's a hundred thousand, i have no idea where to find the information. >> texas monthly.
1:44 pm
>> there you go. [laughter] >> or "the new york times". [laughter] >> no. no, but actually one of the things that -- that the department of homeland security does on it track on a daily basis, that's one of the things that a very senior white house official when he was explaining to me me nielesn's firing he said, her down fall was there's a sheet of paper every single day where you can see how many people showed up at the border and if that number wasn't low enough, as long as the number was going up she was in trouble. if you're interested in seeing how many people -- you can compare it to past history and you see that, you know, there's no, you know, compared to historical patterns there's no crisis, there's a big flow of people but, you know, it's good to put it in context and you can get the numbers from the government. >> next question, please.
1:45 pm
[inaudible] >> i don't understand nielsen and everybody else, i know people are coming out and talk but such a destabilizing influence in trump and what he's doing that no matter what side you're on when you see the whole foundation starting to crack, to me it's terribly frightening and i don't understand the people who just buy in and hide and what -- what is it that keeps them, why is there not a bigger outcry, why are there not more people saying this is just really not -- >> that's a big question. we talked to 150 people in the book that the administration officials, hill people and others, a lot -- one of the things we asked a lot of the people who worked in the administration is, you know, why do you do this, you don't
1:46 pm
necessarily agree with the policy or the end goal and, you know, people had different reasons, people had obviously different experiences, some people did quit, some people didn't quit and stayed in but most of the people that we talked to were, you know, were -- were in that category of people who were trying to find a way, who were long-time government people who worked for democrats and republicans and who were trying desperately to find a way to take this president sort of chaotic gut instinct on immigration and find a way to make it work, right? and a lot of them were conflicted about that a lot of them told us that think didn't necessarily agree with the ultimate goal that the president, especially the extreme rhetoric and the extreme goals but they also felt like if
1:47 pm
they left, you know, the president was only going to put, to replace them with people that were more restrictive and more likely to be, to be yes, man, what you see and what the book documents is as people get pushed out, as kirstjen nielsen gets pushed out, was himself a pretty hard line guy, the head of the legal immigration part of dhs and he gets pushed out, they're all replaced by people who are far more willing to say yes to the president trump and so i think there's that element inside the government that was conflicted but sort of felt like staying was the best option. >> one final quick question from the gentleman. go ahead. >> talk today any senator cotton's big people and proponent of legal migration which i'm worried about, how effective has that been?
1:48 pm
>> yeah, we did and senator is quite close to president trump, they see eye to eye on a lot of things, particularly on immigration. there's actually quite quite a reduction, 50% reduction over the time period over the life of the legislation and they want president trump to endorse this, so they pitched it to him and he gets briefed on it and the day he's about to come to announce that he supports this, there's a meeting in the west wing and source that we talked to, talking at some folks at economic counsel, it's inconsistent that the president
1:49 pm
is for legal immigration and not illegal immigration. no, no, that the bill doesn't do that. [inaudible] >> the person who is at the meeting, no, no, it really does. i promise you that it does and basically they just -- okay, well agree to disagree and trump goes out there, he endorses the bill and this bill is great, it will cut drastically legal immigration and so kind of push, pull, we never actually could permit whether president trump knew at the time or understood at the time that that was what was happening but when we interviewed him at the very end of the process he did say, well, i didn't agree with that aspect. >> and i know that we are out of time, one of the things that has been well less documented about this administration is that miller, trump, trump, you don't
1:50 pm
know whether he believes it or not but people have put really hard in lots of way, focus is always on the border and illegal immigration, but we document a lot in the book of the changes that they've put in place to basically every dial that you can turn and turn it down, if not all the way than at least down in terms of the flow of people into the country whether legal or illegal and that's something that going forward, we will continue to write about too for the paper because it's less well understood than the sort of option of legal immigration. >> 12:50 which marks the end of the session. authors will be signing the box at the book signing tents which is 2 tents over and i was told to get tough about getting them over on the tent. >> thank you for coming. [applause]

24 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on