tv Texas Tribune Festival - Trump the Presidency CSPAN October 9, 2017 10:47am-11:48am EDT
billion more for texas, and $4 billion more funding for puerto rico. will take look now at present trump's friend months in office compared to his predecessors and what his action so far mean for the future of his presidency. was held and hosted by the texas tribune festival at the university of texas, austin. [applause] saying, on behalf of the texas tribune, i am happy to welcome you to the texas tribune festival and to trump and the presidency, a very rich panel, i believe. panelis a whole bunch of you all makehope this the first of a huge day
here at the festival. there is lunch on the main mall. the day will conclude with a reception at the at&t center. this panel is supported by pearson, and the sponsors and donors played no role in determining the content, panelists or my line of questioning. event will be 60 minutes. the last 15 to 20 minutes will be open to questions for the audience for the panel. after that, pearson will host all of us for a brief meet and texasnext-door in the union building, where we will all drain the swamp together. please it join us for that. if you will tweet during this event, use the #. while you're looking at your phone, please #-- please silence it. left is douglas brinkley. he is cnn's presidential historian and author of several books about the presidency, most
recently rightful heritage, franklin d roosevelt and the land of america. is a national political correspondent where she has covered every presidential election. >> you can hear on shows like all things considered and morning edition. she is also a contributor to fox news. brand, he is also an author of several books about the presidency, most recently the general versus the president, macarthur and truman at the brink of nuclear war. some of you have seen the written materials. we were supposed to be joined by dan rather today, but he was unable to come. the four of us will carry on in his absence today. let's start with an innocent time in history. december. , as one oflect trump
his guests for a lunch at mar-a-lago, and you talked about the presidency and the office he was about to inhabit what did donald trump talk about at that lunch? >> he was president-elect, and i am a historian for cnn. he was just starting to have his war with cnn. did notirst met him, he have nice things to say about my network. then i got to talk to him about the presidency. i asked him about presidents that he has met in his life and his personal relationship with them. he told me about how jimmy carter had given money to anybody to be jimmy carter in 1980 and he felt carter was a terrible presidents, and to his surprise, after the election, carter came to see him and made an appointment and wanted money
for term from his new carter center. he said, i really admire jimmy carter since he had the guts to call my ball to eyewall even though i didn't like him and ask for money. >> did he give him any money? >> no, he did not give him money. he said he became friendly with nixon because he was on the phil donahue show and pat nixon said, trump and she honey, that will be a president of the united states on the donahue show. from nixon,a letter ,hich he willingly shows people president trump from richard nixon, who said my wife said she never saw anyone as smart on tv and let's go out for a meal. out eatingd going together, trump and sent. reputation was's
he was living in northern new jersey and trying to get back into the game, and donald trump in the 1980's was on covers of magazines and it makes more sense white next and may have tried to reach out like that to him. stories like that, they talked about reagan and what they liked about reagan. it wasn't anything deeply illuminating, but we talked about inaugural speeches and he was not prepared and new nothing about them, and he just kept and i i want to be short told him about william henry harrison going long and dying, after only one month. kennedy and the like. it was an innocuous meeting. my take away was that he had almost zero understanding of american history and that he was a child of television and operates with gut instinct on what he sees. he is very visual. we know how much he watches
cable and all that. that is his intellectual source, cable news, but he may have a short attention span. the idea that he would read a book like h w brand's is not going to happen. was his surprise he won? >> he seemed surprised that he won because he cap speculating that there was voter -- he keptd speculating -- he speculating that there was fraud. there was a weird moment and a time in history where he knew whether not he was going to repeal and replace or do infrastructure. was he was money going to repeal and replace
obamacare. when general flynn got busted, really started him recognizing he was going to be under investigation that his instinct was to double down with his base. the pipe dream that maybe he was like a third wave and wasn't really a democrat or a republican and he might try to do bipartisan things, that is that it quickly and he just did read me for the so-called trump base which is 35% to 40% of the voting public. he double down all the way through last night in alabama when he was talking about the nfl and colin kaepernick. >> we are eight months into the trump administration, doesn't it feel like more? do you have a sense how trump regards the institution of the presidency? >> that is a really good
question. i think he views the institution of the presidency as definitely not a coequal branch of government. i think he sees it as an equal branch of government. he has been frustrated he did respect and it was not generated the way he liked. about wanting to have a pretty like they did in france and having leaders and authoritarian leaders and leaders he respects around the world tells you a little bit about how he views his role. as a journalist, when chuck came into office, a cap a couple questions in my mind. one was, is donald trump different in degree or kind from previous presidents? words, is a conservative republican or is he something new and different?
i started out thinking he is router and cruder, and i am coming to believe he is just different in kind. view of other democratic institutions like the judiciary and the press, and the things he the norms, i think is different in kind. testsee him as a stress for democratic institutions. that is something that is the big story of his presidency. will the judiciary said -- survive intact? those are things i am watching for. i think he sees the presidency in a different way than any other modern presidents, and i would love to hear what the presidential historians think about this. he will describe his inauguration as i took an oath to the american people and not to the constitution.
i don't think he thinks about the constitution and i don't think he feels any restraints. the things he has talked about with such glee is how when i'm president i can't do anything illegal. put it, but he something like the president can't have the conflict. a as so manyes things in his life have been as a get out of jail free card. i don't mean that literally. as a presidential historian and someone who has seen how mad regard the institution, how would you say trump regards it? >> i would say he looks on as a businessman. there is a reason donald trump is the only reason whose top line on the resume was businessman. the only really other successful business person to become president was herbert hoover,
who was not a good advertisement for being a great president. it is impatience with constrained institutions. it goes very much in line with impatience at a ceo that would have. the fundamental difference between business and politics is that in business you can fire the people who are causing your trouble. the president can't fire the senate majority leader. he can't fire the supreme court. he has to live with them. as someone who is brand-new to politics, he has not apparently accepted this. that at the age of 71 he is inclined to change his ways. he hopes he can change the institution rather than the institution change him. all been processing the flurry of news over the first eight months of this administration.
since you are paid to imagine the unimaginable, what has gone as you have expected and what is different? into theg neil gorsuch supreme court was expected. he picks among conservative, and that will have a lasting impact. that was the biggest success in 2017. i felt the twitter use might get toned it down. i had a fantasy that ivanka would be like the twitters czar, and she would have a deal where he would have to have her read it first and she would let some go out, but once in a while she would not. that as a -- obviously hasn't happened. keepetermination to dividing the country and inflaming the country, all
presidents come in and try to unite. john kennedy's first hundred days a stance of the were a bit of a failure -- i've sensibly were a bit of a failure. admitting admitting, he went ad said that i screwed up the bay of pigs, don't blame ike, i did it. he had a 77% approval rating after his first 100 days. 80% f. kennedy had an approval rating. as you mentioned last night, in alabama, wherever he goes he's polarizing. he feels he's winning in a divide and conquer way. worked on books on reagan before and he said you've got to have 50% of box office to get something done. bening your polls have to 50, 51 to push policy through.
trump is constantly operating with 35% to 40% and hence nothing is getting done, but he steals the headline news every day because of twitter and by playing this cultural war game, like we saw with shia labeouf and with football last night. i find it a bit reprehensible because it's pitting americans against americans in order to kind of the in charge. it all began with this birther movement on obama. making mexican americans, latinos, latinas, feel like lesser people. we are in a really serious, unprecedented, as we say at cnn overtime, moment, where we have a president that has gone rogue on us. gone rogue on the institutions.
he's trying every can to circumvent the law and he just knows he's got an occupation as long as he can keep about 40% of the population backing anything he does. short of being something so egregious that trump does 40%rrow, that 35 percent or , they will stay with him because they have signed on to the cult, the persona of donald trump. the people i have talked to, some of them probably here in the audience that are most frustrated with him are conservatives. god,are feeling like -- my we been working the conservative movement for decades and this is the result? this is what has been produced? the political currents right now are vicious and confused, but i think it all comes back to the 1960's and early 70's. reagan would say that he would try to roll back great society
and trump and his way would like to roll back the great society and the new deal, if he could. ? will -- >> how about you what is your view of these surprises? >> i guess what surprises me is that donald trump is exactly as he was during the campaign. in other words there was some's -- some weird magical thinking that this was all an act, that he used to be a democrat, that he would revert to this kind of theory. the alternative universe theory of donald trump suggests that because he was so unique that he could bust part of the boundaries and would do a big infrastructure deal with the democrats and he wasn't a conservative republican, but that totally went by the wayside and he did choose a straight base strategy and he did subcontract out his legislative agenda to the republican leadership in congress. much to his dismay over time
because they haven't delivered. they came in and said -- to worry, we will repeal and replace obamacare and have tax reform by august. that's why he's so angry. couple of thoughts, number one, he might have a 35% approval rating, but as we learned during the campaign, national approval rating doesn't mean that much, national poll numbers don't mean that much. but we want to know is what his approval rating is in the battleground states. people in the white house believe that his approval rating is not 35%. that he's still about where he elected.he got they think he's in the 40's and, quite frankly, he could be legislatively completely unsuccessful as a president and get nothing through except for the gorsuch and a bunch of regulations, which in and of itself to be fine, but he could win reelection is all you have to do to win elections in inrica is win by one vote
those battleground states. he could get a smaller percentage of the popular vote and still pull out and electoral college victory and that's why he pays such meticulous attention to the base. but in terms of conservatives looking with dismay on donald trump, what happened yesterday in alabama was interesting. not just the incredible 90 minute screed, which we probably should go back and i'll watch that for its very as detours that he took, but he was campaigning for a candidate, luther strange, that his base doesn't like. what that trip to alabama was was a test for whether the trump base's loyalty to trump -- he once famously said he could stand on fifth avenue and shoot anyone and he wouldn't lose voters. his base has been described as a cult of personality. say that it'sns not as big strong as they think it is.
they both come to the rally with trump, laugh and applaud at his applause lines, and they will go out and vote for roy moore, the guy he was ostensibly campaigning against. >> here's a quote from that rally. it happens to be about colin kaepernick, but it could be about a number of things with a president. this is him talking about -- we saw him tweeting about the emmy awards, this is him tweeting -- talking, excuse me, about an nfl owner kneeling during the national anthem. "get that son of a bench off the field right now -- get that son bitch off the field right now." what's his purpose in going there with that kind of language and venue? from the beginning of wonder what actions he takes that are calculated and to what extent they are simply impulsive.
the more i watch him, the more i think it's simply impulsive. i'm not sure he had a purpose or that he knew he was going to say that when he stepped up. that he just started in and wandered off. it's one of the reasons that people around him are so far unable to rein him in. they don't know what he's going to do or when he's going to do it. one of the remarkable things to me about president trump is that he is exactly like he was during the campaign. for everybody else there is kind of a candidate discount that you take into account when they change from candidates to be president. they realize this is two different roles. and the first signal is when you win, and then, you get the inaugural address. and everybody else before trump has followed the thomas
jefferson model after the very divisive election. he said we are all republicans. we are all federalists. he made no jester at all in that direction. one of the questions i would post tomorrow is if donald trump has to choose between getting something done, let's say, tax reforms, where he has to cut deals with the democrat, he has to choose between that and hanging onto his base. would he rather get me elected with essentially not -- would you rather get reelected? >> reelected, no doubt in my mind. at all. >> one of the questions that occurs to me is what does he want out of the presidency? nearly everybody else who gets elected president realizes first of all this is the biggest thing they have ever done because they have all been in public service before, and they at least had some idea of what they wanted to accomplish or how they wanted to be seen when they are out of office.
with president trump, i cannot figure that out. for all i know, his major goal is to make his net worth greater at the end of his time in office than it is now. >> he wants to get good headlines. he was to get good poll numbers, and he wants to be the greatest president america has ever seen, but i don't think he think that is dependent on something he doesn't office. he can just tell people that and they will believe him. [laughter] >> can i say one thing that has -- one thing maybe that we have been surprised that a little bit. the real concern of many people during the campaign was that he meant what he said when he said nato was obsolete and maybe we should pull back from our role in nato, the more kind of isolationist, pro-putin. that was a surprise. he was stopped from having the kind of relationship with russia
that i think he wanted. and even though he was dragged kicking and screaming, he did finally a firm article five of nato, that an attack on one is an attack on all. the committee to save america, tillerson, matus, mcmaster, and kelly, they have constrained him. in other words, at least in foreign policy, his bark is a lot worse than his bite. he says we will destroy north korea and the next day, more sanctions. >> one day being thursday. mara: literally the next day. sanctions. he is going to pull out of the iran deal, the most embarrassing thing ever. the next day, we are going to try to negotiate some addendum's to it. i think that has been reassuring to a lot of republicans who were on the ledge around donald
trump. as long as you have got the national security team, the committee to save america in touch, and secretary mattis calls and says it is a joke. i am the secretary of reassurance. [laughter] >> i don't want to make it like donald trump is just a lone ranger. he is not. he is representing america. he has taken the low hanging fruit to win. in 1992, 19% of the public voted for ross perot. 19%, anti-nafta. that has always been a swing vote crowd. george wallace, after lyndon johnson did the civil rights got powerful. in alabama, he won the south when he ran for presidency and picked up states on an overtly racist platform. he had the dixie crowd.
very goldwater, new them -- very goldwater, nuke them back to the stone age. nixon with his silent majority. some people who just wrote cannot stand democrats and liberals, so he traded a coalition. but with all these, his whole presidency is trying to keep that together for what they suggested. reelection. he plays to win. for him, it is about winning. he never left the campaign. keep running. he also gets the narcissist rick -- narcissistic feed from the crowd. when you read about people with malignant self-love and narcissistic disorder, they cannot penalty much negativity.
he is going to watch cable and get a boatload of negativity. he gets his high by going to alabama and saying just the thing that will bring the house down and basically brought racial politics in alabama in attacking the nfl players. that is donald trump. he is nativist, xenophobic, and that was old -- dog whistles. they stopped him from building projects and he has the typical thing about developers where they could have put it up two years sooner if it were not for the government red tape. >> after charlottesville, you want on npr and said he does not see his job as president as providing moral leadership to the country. this is very different from every other modern president when faced with a racial episode like this.
so can you be president of the united states and be a moral on amoral on a topic like charlottesville? mara: he is not providing moral leadership, so i guess the answer to that question is yes, but that was an amazing moment because the easiest thing for presidents -- it is almost like default on your keyboard what you say after a moment of racial tension. it is in the memory banks. you stand up and say words of inclusion and healing and even if you do not say them eloquently, every other president has said that. there is a standard thing for presidents to say after an incident of racial tension, and he chose not to do that. it turned out, it was about him. what happened was they had not written a statement like that
for him. he was mad and either did not like the way it was received or people accused him of waiting too long, so he let it rip, you know, when he was in trump tower. you saw the incredible images of john kelly looking like he wanted to think through the marvel -- sink through the marble floor. that is how -- he does not see the president as providing moral leadership but as a cheerleader for america, and he said that during the campaign. you can see when he goes down to the hurricane area, for which he got good remarks, good marks, and that is why his poll numbers went up a little bit. he goes and talks about how great everything is and the effort is that we only lost 33 people.
so he doesn't see it as the cheerleader and salesman. he is always talking about how many fighter planes for leaders decided to buy, so he sees his role that way as a booster. but the question i have for these two guys is do you think, after donald trump leaves office in four or seven years, there will be a move to constrain the presidency? one of the effects of donald trump will be a diminishment of the powers of the executive to make it a law that you have to release her tax returns, to actually enshrined in law that you cannot have conflicts of interest, things like that, because that is what happened after watergate. not everything is written into law. all these norms we hear about, i almost feel like there is a guy named norm who is being obliterated every day by trump. there is things presidents just
did, and now donald trump does not want to do any of them, so i am wondering if the upshot of this is that, you know -- >> after franklin roosevelt won in 1940 four, he had a constitutional amendment only have two terms. there will be a trump reflection, and we will have to see how that plays out, but we do not know at this point whether he is a one termer or two termer -- >> he has been a great disrupter of american history. he is turning it topsy-turvy. we cannot talk about anything else because everything is donald trump 20 47. -- 24/7. you have to unplug and take a walk because he can drive you insane because he is flipping this and that and keeping everybody off kilter. that not only plays into his hands, but they likely win reelection. democrats are going to find a relative unknown who is going to take on the guy and with him down? trump is a big brand and if you that rip him down?
-- rip him down? trump is a big brand and if you do not get something like the joe biden or somebody with the big brand to take him on, it is a hard season to build somebody else from a grassroots to go knock him out, so the democrats have to be careful. they are probably going to have about 15 candidates seeking the presidency. you have bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. and mitch landrieu, cory booker, tim ryan. i mean, the list goes on. on and on. not one right now. maybe you will come out of the woodwork and knocked trump off. i would be careful. i think he is a stronger political force than that. mara: one alternative theory to the idea that donald trump is so overwhelming, so outrageous that we have to react to everything
24 hours a day to trump. that is true, but there is a completely opposite reaction happening around the world, which is that they do not listen to him because whatever he says does not matter because he does not follow through. he does not do it. foreign leaders hear him say this and they go he is not going to pull out of nato, he is not going to pull out of the run nuclear deal. and in congress, i think that is happening a little bit. when he signed -- congress did something amazing. they passed the russia sanctions bill, 98-2. he did not want it. he issued a signing statement. he did not want more sanctions on russia. he wanted the opposite. he issued a statement about all the ways he disagreed with this bill. somebody asked "what do you think of the president signing statement?"
he said "whatever." for the chairman to say whatever about the president of the united states and the way that mitch mcconnell reacted to his making attention of deal on daca, he just said we look forward to seeing the president's legislative proposals. as much as we are a test with him, people are starting to tune him out also. that is the point i am making. >> great point. we had to go through all the nixon tapes. the media always picks on his persian language, inflammatory language. but the thing that stuck out from me was how people with disregard kissinger -- he was starting to unravel nixon of 1973 through the nixon tapes in 1973, kissinger was like [indiscernible] they would all just go "yes sir, right away." [laughter] >> if you are having worries about trump having his finger on the nuclear button, so to speak, and the north korea crisis, andy, the chief of staff that george w. bush told at the time
of 9/11, he went down in florida, and andy got to come on stage. bush was reading "my pet goat." and andy had to whisper in his ear. as soon as they got backstage, a cluster of government officials were there and bush said "we are going right now to d.c." they said we are not letting you go to washington. bush threw a tantrum. he said "i am the president. let's go." "we are not allowing you." you cannot going to washington. you're going to go to louisiana and then -- >> the deep state. [laughter] >> there are mechanisms. the idea that trump is going to -- he is want to tell kelly in an irrational moment "tell them we're going. i want the regular plan on north korea." -- red alert plan on north korea." it is not going to happen that way.
brakes before something largely irrational like that is done. >> something that mara said and i take issue with is i think it is important to keep in mind what president trump has accomplished. there are two things historians will read about 20 years from now regarding the trump presidency. we have the suspend judgment. the presidency is not completed. two things have happened already that are historic. one is the 49-year-old conservative who might very well be rendering conservative opinions 40 years from now. that is a big deal. i will take issue with what mara said, but also confirming what she said. the president has single-handedly undermined american leadership in the world, and this is something that goes back to franklin roosevelt. from world war ii until the obama presidency, every president of the united states
realized it is important for the united states to take world leadership. the president of the united states was the most important single figure in world affairs. that is not the case now. president trump has basically advocated that role -- abdicated that role. even if he grudgingly affirms that, the fact he has to do it grudgingly, angela merkel is the leader of nato now. if there is a leader. the world environment, the president of china is more progressive than the president of the united states. when president trump says one day he is going to pull out of the iran deal and the next day he is not. for the last 75 years, the word of the president of the united states was something pretty much everybody else around the world would take to the bank. the word of this president basically means nothing. you lose that, you lose the confidence of the world, and it is really hard to get that back. mara: i think a lot about this.
that's the question i have. the damage he is doing to america's standing in the world or the disruptions, depending on your point of view, is that permanent or reparable? it's -- i think it matters, but america is the world's greatest democratic superpower. we still have these democratic institutions that he hasn't succeeded in undermining yet. the next president, his whole message will be i'm not donald trump. mike pence or anybody, how much of that can be repaired? america is more than just one president. >> i think it can be repaired. our country, all of our allies will come back for having this
weird operation going on right now. they have their own problems. it is seen as a confusing time, but we can right the ship in four years. there may be permitted damage, but right now i think we have earned enough credibility in the that to be given a one-off our politics got out of control. particularly with the russia scandal, the internet. hillary clinton winning by 3 million votes more. it was the perfect storm of confusion that happens from time to time in world history. america will get a pass in a couple of years. mara: very optimistic. we separate the russian people from the russian leaders. the iranian people, we have no grief with them. now, the world has to do that with us, that america equals donald trump.
>> we were up in vancouver. nobody was angry at the united states. they were more laughing. "you guys now are not laughing at our politicians. america is the butt of the world." with our key allies, it is good-natured right now and they are hoping we fix our own house pretty soon. >> to follow this strand do we , think donald trump has fundamentally changed the institution of the presidency in eight months already? >> he has cheapened it. i think it used to be -- he made the white house seem tacky, like things are up for sale. the lack of transparency on taxes, constantly being in mar-a-lago and new jersey, eating up taxpayers money. he has diminished the role of
what the presidency means, and that is not a partisan thing. i think ronald reagan did a wonderful job as a republican and george herbert walker bush, keeping a kind of institutional lore, the tradition of america. we are a country of traditions. has not taken basic lessons of civility and civics and how good government works. he is trying to monkeywrench things, operating on paranoia, calling the press the enemy of the people. you know, writing every day weird, crazy emails about everything under the sun. >> tweets. i don't think he emails. >> tweets. he is making the presidency as an institution, he is giving it a black eye. >> because he has so personalized the presidency, when he leaves, that personal aspect goes away.
the institution remains. i agree with mara that the next president will be the anti-trump. so, the president will have every incentive to restore dignity to the office and do everything. mara: and release his tax returns. toot sweet. that will be a fundamental threshold thing. >> i want to ask you guys one more thing. "the new york times" this spring did a very short list feature called "say something nice about donald trump," which i believe was immediately abandoned due to lack of material. [laughter] >> let me ask you, the three of you. and i will give you an out. here is the fire escape i will build. something that has gone must badly perhaps then you feared -- -- less badly then you feared. [laughter] >> i will start with you. take your time. >> i have too many to choose from. no.
what donald trump demonstrated is that you can become president of the united states without being beholden to either party. and that has its upsides and downsides. the downside is that the party has no incentive to make sure you are a success. we are seeing that, trump's relationship with congress. it looked as though for a time that the parties had had sort of a headlock on who could win. and trump demonstrated you can basically parachute in from outside and if you are sufficiently charismatic -- in his case, i would say his charisma is mostly negative. but one could imagine a positive charisma. if you are sufficiently charismatic and know how to manipulate the media, then you can get elected. i think that is a positive thing. mara: i would say that if you are a conservative republican or just a republican, he would say neil gorsuch and all the obama era regulations that have been eliminated are a good thing, but that is a partisan criteria. i would say, you know, i had
they why generals and he liked them. that was a positive thing. imagine a world where we had a kind of general flynn and ever one of those positions instead of mattis, tillerson, mcmaster. >> that was my point. i'll also add. the last few weeks on the dreamers and daca and allowing these people that grew up in the united states. there are brothers and sisters to stay here and not be disrupted. he the ruling to work with schumer and pelosi and give a safety net, a guarantee that there are americans is a bright sign maybe he's not so riched in his thinking and operating just from a hard right perspective. >> we'll believe -- >> this week -- >> apparently he's going to go in a conservative direction on that. >> at this moment in time that would be one thing i thought was a good moment. couple e time for a questions. >> do you think his harvey relief, not the first trip here to corpus christi, but when he got beat up it wasn't good enough when he came back into houston and hugged with people and showed the kind of human side to couple questions. him. i thought also in florida, these got botched by tweets later. i think that he did right during those disasters and brought along a team of very solid job of trump the beneficiary of katrina because after michael brown at fema was a disaster, fema's reconstructed themselves. i think we found of degree of
activity out of fema that's better than during katrina. now puerto rico and what's happening there and the amount of funding they are going to need. we hope the trump administration continues to reach out to florida, puerto rico, and texas. >> that was pretty good. do we have any questions from the audience? please come down and use the microphones. right at the end of the aisle. why don't you start. >> can you hear me? i have a question for mr. brinkley. you said that reagan wanted to dismantle the great society which i totally -- yes. but trump wants to dismantle the new deal. doesn't that give him kind of an ideology that i don't see as warranted? you are giving him an intent to dismantle the new deal, but yet he plays all the time that you
can't touch entitlements, medicaid is mean. was very confused by that statement. say the last part of it. dismantling the new deal -- >> why do you think -- >> he's not going to dismantle social security. kind of a joke. but out of reagan's direries he writes people say i don't like f.d.r. that i don't like the federal government. i voted four times for say the . dismantling the new f.d.r. what i wanted to do is roll back the great society era. and i'm suggesting with donald trump now you are seeing he would like to do away with the civil rights acts of the 1960's. he would like to go back to a more states rights oriented future. he wants to stop the sort of roll of progress i havism which obamacare and
the affordable care act which i the affordable care act which is one of the great trophies of the progressive movement and try to roll back the clock. that's all i would suggest. >> you think it has -- >> i actually think you are making a really good point. oh, he has an ideology. we say he doesn't. you are making a good point. jeff sessions wants to roll back the new deal. it's not donald trump. donald trump does want to obliterate. obama. just anything obama did. but the conservative, far right conservative wing of the party that he's empowered and brought into his administration, they would like to roll back the new deal. so it's not so much him. he hasn't thought this through. he's allied himself with that wing of the party who has thought this through, thought this out very carefully and little by little at the department of justice, kneel gorsuch on the supreme court, those things night be chipped away. ideology. have an
he likes big government in many ways. he wants big infrastructure programs. he loves social security and medicare. and in that way he's at odds with his party. the obamacare bills he has been for, every single one of them, are completely the opposite of what he campaigned on. >> in florida, he would love big government for florida to help with the hurricanes. help him get re-elected there. >> democrats do not root for impeachment. >> light hearted question. for all of you. speaking of presidential traditions and new orleans in the white house. thanksgiving is coming up and the turkey. going to k he's pardon, fire it, or chop the head off? or is staff going to forget he has to do that? >> the question is will donald trump treat the thanksgiving turkey like an apprentice contestant or political opponent. who wants to take that one? >> he's going to treat it like
joe arpaio. going to pardon, fire it, or chop >> i think everybody gets a pardon from donald trump. >> we don't yet know how the investigation will shake out in the end. even under the best of circumstances when the white under special counsel investigation there is an inherent conflisket interest between the personal counsel to the president as a person, private citizen, as opposed to the counsel of the white house investigation there is. and on the one side we have mueller's team which i learned about these lawyers when i went to law school. they are the dream team essentially. then on the other side we have the clown show of attorneys talking about private privileged matters. in the earshot of the "new york times." there is going to be a lot of conflicts between those two. i get the sense from trump he own not mind picking his
personal interests over and against the laughing it has on the executive branch. what do you think in terms of what are the risks here? and how do you think that will play out depending on what happens with the mueller investigation? >> i just think at the beginning of his presidency he's had the -- kind of the heat of the law on him. people he's never been able to relapse because of the russia probe. it's a big part of the narrative of 2017. just when it seems like it's dying down, there is another leak. if which going to write the history of 2017, the amount of leaking going out of government is astounding. and trump's been having to fire people. figure it out. stop leaks. but they just keep coming out. which means he has a lot of enemies from within as much as he's picking on the press all the time because it's useful politically, he has great internal problems.
i don't know if he has the ability to know who to trust right now. he doesn't have an alter eagle eo like kennedy or sorenson, woodrow wilson, maybe general kelly can become that person. maybe he is. he's a president besieged. every day he's worried about lawsuits. i think one of the best comments made recently is that he's woodrow wilson, maybe general kelly can happy in the white house because the second he leaves he has so many lawsuits coming on him from so many things that it's beyond repair. i don't know how he lives his life like that where every minute you've got people that are about to sue you, are suing you, he seems to have lived his whole life in that kind of world and not been busted. he's not gone to jail. trump university didn't get him -- he gets penalized. he keeps on going. but there may be a bridge too far going on.
we'll find out when the mueller report gets released. >> any kind of investigation like this is a grinding process. you have people in the white house having to spend tremendous amounts of money they don't have on lawyers. you have people in the white house worried if one of their colleagues is wearing a wire. paranoid was a backbiting place, that kind of investigation makes it even more. in terms of the conflict between don, whose job is to represent the interconstitution of the presidency, versus ty cobb who is supposed to represent donald the individual, there is a conflict. if you are a law suent, don does not have attorney general cliff. that's significant. the other lawyers, personal lawyers the individual, there is a do. that's why bob mueller wants to talk to don and get all the documents he might have about how -- what donald trump was thinking when he fired domi. -- comby. i don't think donald trump himself thinks about the conflict between his personal
legal exposure and the damage to the institution of the presidency at all. >> i don't think he trusts his own lawyers, donald trump. i don't think he tells the lawyers, his own lawyers, the truth. we could see that with bill clinton during the lewinsky thing. started lying to his own attorneys because to let the trithe be known he was worried somehow it would leak because leaks are happening every hour around him. it's a grim situation. >> i think the key for the mueller report is the republican leadership in congress. annoyedare sufficiently with president trump by then they find something in the mueller report they can use against the president, then there is the possibility of impeachment. but trump himself will simply wave away the conclusions, these are my enemies. >> a republican congress will not impeach a republican president. >> let's squeeze in a couple
more. you answered -- further answered that. what would be the stomach turner? if you paralleled the arrogance of the german stair tock acy and the thoughts they could control hitler with the conservative republicans and the thought they could control trump, my question was, what would be the stomach urner that would create the -- >> what would separate -- 2018 they believe he was the cause, or in the run-up to 2018 they believe he's a huge drag on them. and also we don't know when the mueller report is coming out. before or after november, 2018. when republicans in congress see him as a liability, the problem right now is that the base of the republican party is with donald trump. they are not with the republican leadership. i did a piece this week before republican operative in north carolina said there are three parties in america, the trump party, the republican
congressional party, and the democrats. you saw that playing out in alabama. the republican voters who are for moore see mitch mcconnell and paul ryan as the enemy. they even excused trump administration with making a deal with schumer and pelosi because they feel that mcconnell and ryan drove him to it. in other words, everything is so tribal in american politics, not just between democrats and republicans, but even inside the republican family is so tribal if you are against mcconnell and ryan as moore is, then he must be a great guy. we have really gone down the rabbit hole. >> anything that can shake the support of the trump base? is there anything you can do -- >> i think that immigration is so fundamental for the trump base. he was the original big birther when he started birtherism, that's how he came into politics. immigration, he road down the escalator and called mexicans
rapists. that is such a throshe hold issue for his base that many conservatives that i talked to say if he does give something that they see as amnesty to the dreamers, even though they are ok with letting these young people stay, if they don't get the wall in exchange, some really big thing in exchange, there will be -- not that the base will totally leave him, but they'll be just unenthusiastic enough enough will stay home in 2018. the day that trump met with schumer and pelosi the next morning, ann cowl tour -- cowl tore, who would he saw tweeted out now i want him impeached. if he was sending a louder message that the hard right is not going to allow what are you suggesting, daca. on the impeachment of trump. it was the republicans that took nixon down. a gang the senators. when barry goldwater told one of his own, no, you lied to me. it's conceivable you could get a
gang of 10 u.s. senators if the mueller report is really egregious and it looks like donald trump somehow colluded with russia you would get a movement for impeachment with some republicans leading the charge. but in the end i don't know if ere will be more than just a censure that comes out of t they'll try to do something punitive. i don't know t depends. >> one more really quick question. >> i don't know how quick interests. one of the things trump has accomplished is that he's proven an independent can parachute in. if that independent can control the media, then when? is the media not inoculated to some extent now? i think that's relevant to 2020. is it inoculated to some extent against trump and his campaign?
will it still be the same if it goes forward? >> i was really hard to hear the question. was he inoculated? >> dr. brand suggested one of the things that president trump has done is proven that an independent can parachute in and break either party. so campaign? is the press -- press controlt is one of the things dr. brand suggested was critical to that success. is the press not now inoculated to being manipulated for that purpose? >> donald trump was master of the media in the 2016 campaign. now central to his success. so could -- i guess the question is could somebody else do the same thing? >> could he do it again? >> he could do it again. or has the media wised up. >> i see what you're saying. that's a really good question. there is no doubt that during the campaign he was such an object of fascination that the media was aided and abetted him.
he controlled the headlines. what cnn was famous lith having 45 minutes of an empty podium waiting for him to arrive. meanwhile hilltry clinton is holding a rally. that kind of thing. i think things will be different. i think they already changed. the chyrons they started fact checking him in real time. in other words, instead of waiting for him to say something then you have some separate fact checking piece, the chyron says donald trump says blah, blah, blah, not true. something like that. i think things have changed. look, the other thing you see is this whole soul-searching among the big giant social media companies, google, facebook, the roles that they played and how they can be different, how they can have more gate keepers and sort out fake news, russia-backed news from other hings. i think that it's always kind of a game of catch up. i think that donald trump's control of the media and his
ability to manipulate it and play up like a fiddle, that probably will not be exactly the same next time. however, the -- what h.w. said hich was really true is he did disrupt the i think that it's always kind of a game of catch two-party syste and that he has this group of voters who are beholden only to him. not necessarily to republicans in congress but only to him. nd one of the reasons that the republicans brought up yet another obamacare repeal effort is that when they went home over break all they heard was, why aren't you doing more to help donald trump? why aren't you doing more to fulfill your promises? that base of voters, however small it might be getting, it's still really, really strong. >> we'll take this group to the community hub and the texas union. thank you so much for joining us today. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]