tv Interview with Marc Short CSPAN June 3, 2018 7:36pm-8:00pm EDT
strictness. and if they can point to one story where his father made him revise a little thing he wrote a whole bunch of times. the substantive -- the subdivisions was wilson resented this. but he was a good boy. and he put up with us. mention,you read every every -- and wilson letters, of his father, they are worshipful. he never had an unkind word to say about his mother. -- father. >> presbyterian minister. announcer: tonight at 8:00 stern, on c-span's q&a. mark short, assistant to the president and white house legislative affairs director recently sat down with c-span for a profile interview. he talked about his early career with the young america's foundation, working on capitol hill for then congressman mike pence, and what it is like working for president trump. this is about 25 minutes. reporter: marc short, let's
begin with your mark -- your job title. legislative affairs. what does that mean? marc: my job is to make sure t president's agenda gets passed through congress. that's the most simple way to explain it. here in the thought president and then there are basically members in the congress, house, and senate that i work for and want to make sure we are advancing the needs of the can to joints. reporter: how do you manage all of that? marc: we have a talented team that i'm fortunate to work around. we are very pleased with the progress so far and our agenda. obviously, there is normal frustrations. i think the framers of our government intended to we have a great group of people who have served in a lot of different roles in congress as staffers before that are helping us with the agenda. reporter: can you walk us through a typical day? when does it begin, when does it end? marc: there is no typical day here. i think today's -- in today's
world, it is going all the time. her bubbly most of it begins with checking the president's twitter account, see what is on his mind. that thehat informs american people get to see and hear firsthand what is on his mind and what he is thinking. that does influence a lot of what is -- of what happens on capitol hill. we have morning meeting starting roughly at 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. with senior staff. togethergap -- we get with everyone. make sure everyone knows their assignments for the day. they know their portfolios and where the white house is going. what is percolating within congress. it is like an intel committee where you figure out, here's the information that we are hearing from staffers on the hill as to what legislative item becoming next month or next week. reporter: you hear from members of congress, democrats and republicans, the house and senate. how do you deal with their demands, questions, their concerns? marc: i think if we are true
public servants, we make sure we are being as responsive as possible. whether they are republican or democrat. in many cases, there are needs that democrats present to us and we make sure we are fulfilling those. i met with the people who preceded me in the obama administration, and i think they felt there was more they could utilize in the white house in chairing it. i think we've tried to take that to heart. we have had many different opportunities to bring democrats over here for meetings, ceremonial functions, and many democrats say we have been to the white house more times than in the whole eight years of the obama administration. reporter: what does that tell you about the previous administration? previoushink the administration had their run objectives. i think the sense is that president obama worked hard his first couple years in congress. the republicans took over, i think his focus became more executive and trying to work on the legislative side. continue tos, we work through the legislative
process throughout. reporter: what prepared you for this? marc: i'm not sure if anything prepares this -- repairs you for this. -- prepares you for this. congress who are upset. your job is to help make sure that you navigate the process and deliver on the president's agenda as best as possible. reporter: this is a town with a lot of egos. marc: there are a lot of egos in washington dc. a lot of people who look for their own intention. that can be frustrating sometimes. hopefully, the people on our team are here to do it to advance. -- advanced the president's agenda. make sure america is strong on the international stage. reporter: you mentioned the president's twitter account. does he give you a heads up that says, i'm going to focus on this topic? marc: yes, on many occasions he says, i have been thinking about tweeting on the subject. what would be most helpful? one of the biggest differences, when we came to office, members
of congress would say to the president, i understand how powerful that tool is on the campaign, please put it away now that you're here in the white house. today, when you're in, i can tell you how many members of congress call in and say, could you get the president to tweet this for me? tore there was an aversion it, a year plus ago, we have seen it is the leaders of congress saying, could you please help make sure you can do this on our behalf? i think there is a frustration that sometimes, what goes to the mainstream media is filtered and the president has an ability to bypass i with his social media. reporter: i'm wondering if you can take us through the process of one major piece of legislation. let's take a tax bill as an example. a lot of concerns among republicans that the bill would blow a hole in the deficit. a lot of concerns that it would not cut taxes enough. walk us through what you did last summer and fall that led to the legislation and how you worked through this political
minefields? marc: i think one of the greatest misconceptions is that is something that is done here inside the beltway. in many cases, one of the most successful -- when we are most successful as when we are communicating to the american people saying, here is why this will be beneficial to you. here is how it creates job. -- jobs. what theyeactive to are hearing from their constituents. in many cases, our strategy is less focus inside the town, and more focus externally to make sure people in america understand what we are trying to do. if we are successful in that first step, then often it makes the rest of the path more successful. we were able to build many coalitions with a different tax advocacy groups as well as business coalitions to talk about the benefits of tax relief. one of the benefits we have with taxes is that it -- you are working through two primary committees. in the house, it is ways and means. the senate, it is the finance committee. sometimes you have multiple
jurisdictions. having those too enables us to focus on the members we need to make sure we are aligned with them, they understand what the administration is trained to do. communication up until the bill is introduced. from there, if youave laid at the foundation, it should begin to move quickly. if you have laid the foundation, first, it will be a rocky process. reporter: what -- where their lessons from what ronald reagan did in 1986, and where they are applicable and what you did in 2017? marc: ink thihas changed lot in 30 years. i am not so sure how much of it was out google -- applicable. i think reagan took over two years to work it over and congress to we were able to move congress and a matter of a few months. the biggest lessons were the inability to complete health care. and the repeal of obamacare. because in that case, congress started on january 3. because they campaigned on
repeal and replace for so long. our administration did not come in -- did not get sworn in until the end of ary. by the time we came in, the effort to repeal and replace was taken over by conservatives. when we did taxes, we brought those conservatives into the white house early on to make sure they were part of the process with us. and it w a different process because as opposed to congress starting before we were involved, and having fractured messaging, we were on the same page on the tax plan. reporter: whether it is donald trump, barack obama, or george w. bush, when they are campaigning for a piece of legislation, these rallies, do they move the needle? marc: i think they do. i believe many of the members in very responsive to their constituents. they feel that their constituents are responding positively to the presidents messaging. they will want to get on board. reporter: when you go home at night, or you have a chance to kick back or are you already thinking about the next day?
arc: i am blessed to have very forgiving wife and three wonderful kids. i'm able to spend time with them. with communication today, it really is 20 47. -- 24-7. reporter: how did you meet your wife? marc: we met in washington, d.c. she was a student. i was there as well. that is where we were first introduced. reporter: i want to talk about that i have read you were in part responsible for the young american foundation purchasing the reagan ranch in california. i wasi don't know if responsible we were the first directors. ron robinson, the president is the one who had the concept and decided that after the federal government had failed to protect it and the state government of california did, conservatives felt that taxpayers should not be protecting this. a private charity came forth to say, let's preserve it and bring
college students to learn about reagan's legacy. when ron did that come he hired as to lead the projects. we were newlyweds be a we drove across the country and our green honda accord. santa barbara is a pretty amazing place. we launched a project and began building a project to bring costs -- college students there. it is successful today. reporter: when you went to the top of the mountain and saw the ranch for the first time, what did you think? marc: it is less than 15 hundred square feet with no central air, no central heat. the humility of president reagan is pretty amazing. that here was a guy who tried to get away from washington, he really got away. he'd spent most of his august there. pretty amazing place to get a perspective into the character of who he is. reporter: that stands for -- you have three children to what other ages? marc: 16, 14, 10.
boy, boy, girl. reporter: what do they think of what their data does? marc: i think our kids have become engaged in the political process and follow what is happening politically. reporter: you were from virginia. and native? marc: born and raised in virginia beach and went to school in washington. walk us through the archive your career. how did it start? what did you do in that campaign and how did that prepare you for subsequent political activities? marc: i was very fortunate to work on the campaign. i think as i have shared in some other places, i think he was someone who helped shape my character and my faith. had multiplewho purple heart, a marine, who iran in on some sort of crisis and emergency and he is in a prayer group with other men. it began to shape my future faith. i would say working -- looking on that career arc, a lot of us
in washington like to believe we are in charge. i think looking back, there is a higher power that has an idea of where we are going. i don't think i could have foreseen the chance to work for somebody like ali, then do the reagan ranch, go to graduate ahool, be blessed to work for chief of staff her. and then have a chance to be introduced to mike pence who at the time was working on ironically, a guest worker program. with him and then be part of the trump campaign, which the emphasis was immigration, is something that is not really plotted or planned. it is something that in prayer, you can say, i hope the lord opens doors for you and closes doors of where you don't want to go. marc: you have an understanding of what their needs are on capitol hill. being thei think senate chief of staff and house
chief of staff in understanding howheifrent cers work, certainly helps to prepare somebody for an opportunity to work in the white house and have a job and legislative affairs. that's true. reporter: when did you first meet congressman mike pence? i first met him under hutchinson's staff to we were working on a program in the bush for guestind a place workers to come into our country safely so they are competing to our economy. senator hutchinson was looking to go back to run for governor of texas. mike had -- he was in th process and the 2008 election cycle of reaching out and asking someone to come to serve at the leadership table. he had to find a new staff to run his leadership office. blessedely, i was very to have mike choose me for that job. that was a great couple years. i think it was a lot of fun who is aor somebody more dedicated public servant then mike pence. his commitment to serving his
constituents. it taught me a lot about him and how to do it. reporter: has the vice presidency changed him? marc: mike is the same committed fah -- committed, faithful, husband and father that he is a was been. he is somebody -- you can't be more fortunate to work for somebody like mike pence. reporter: you worked on the campaign for his reelection as governor of indiana. did you not? marc: i stayed close to the vice president throughout the years. obviously, i became full-time when the president asked mike to be his vice president. starting in june of 2016 is really when i joined the trump team and came along with the vice president. reporter: did it surprise you that john that -- that donna trump selected mike pence? marc: i think it made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. theink for the president at time, i think his concern was coming from some conservatives,
evangelicals at the top of the field. i think mike helped ring the compliment there. having served in leadership in the house, having relationships with speaker ryan, having been a governor, he had friendships and contacts with leadership. and also governors across america. i think with donald trump -- what donald trump tapped into was an ability to understand the frustration of the american people and wanting to see change. accompanying that with pence was a natural complement to take the best of both skill sets. reporter: having seen both the donald trump and mike pence up close, there has been a lot written about their relationship. how would you describe it? marc: over time, it has become incredibly close. i think when they started at that point, it was not that they had a long-standing relationship. spent athe president's couple days in indiana with him and the vice president was asked, what would you envision the role being? he said, to help me work through congress. time, they have
become trusted friends. i think the vice president cherishes his relationship with the president. and thinks we are helping to change america. marc: -- reporter: what was marc short like hike school -- like in high school? marc: i would say i was somebody i went to a school in taiwan are i enjoyed playing different sports. say more of my character development happened after i went off to college and had my first job. reporter: what about college and law school? it was a funege, school. i had a lot of good times there. i probably can't assure them on tv. school, it is a very trying environment where you have a case study program
adopted after the harvard business school in which they call out the weaker students and you are put in an environment where you have what is called cold calls. in which a professor comes in and taps a random student to lead the conversation on what you should be preparing for the think the to to do a lot of life lessons on how to be prepared, had to think quickly on your feet. and to be prepared to lead a class. reporter: can you use that today on capitol hill? marc: i think absolutely. people ask me, have you used your mba? no, in the sense of, do you look at discounted cash flows or do you study spreadsheets? no. i'm not. and i haven't been since i came out of school to i went to mba school in hopes of having a career switch. instead, i think the doors were closed there. the doors opened on capitol hill. senator hutchinson asked, why did you choose me with such limited expense on capitol hill? hereaid, everyone else up
was a lawyer, you had an mba, you stood out. i think it is something that is underappreciated on capitol hill. i think there's more mba beginning around washington dc to tap into. i think talent pull and capitol hill, young people who have graduated from the top schools in our country, who are looking for the next career step. reporter: you mentioned about your faith. why is it important to you, and how have you been tested by it? marc: i think we are tested in our faith every day. i think we fall short of the steps that christ laid out for us. hopefully we look for an opportunity to ask for forgiveness and look for god's direction in our life. in all of these roles, it tests you. but hopefully it is the fordation that is something our family to build upon, and for our family to understand who our savior is somebody
has sacrificed for us so we can have atonement with god. that is foundational for many of us. reporter: how do you instill that in your children? marc: i think for us and our kids, church is very important to us. we go to a church called the church anglican. it is where kristin and i came to faith as an adult's -- as adults. it is where we have had our children's baptized. it's where we were married. it's essential part of our life. our kids are active in their youth programs. it is fortunately something that we believe that they prioritize too. reporter: who is the good cop, bad cop between you and your wife? says thatink my wife i can be playing bad cop more often than i do. that is probably the way it is in a lot of marriages, right? it's a shared duty. reporter: any idea what is next for you? marc: i don't know that yet. i am hopeful that the right opportunity comes.
but right now, i feel blessed to work for this president. i feel fortunate to be part of his administration. i look at the agenda and believe we have made a significant impact on the economy. an 18 yeart is at low. lowest ever for hispanic americans. lowest ever for african-americans. the thing on the international front, what we are doing to make sure america is safe is important. i think you look at what we have done on the life agenda, the protection of the unborn from the mexico city policy to advances that we have made with a lot of our judicial picks, i think it is having a profound impact. if your: as you know, watch cable news, there is always this frenzy of activity and chaos and uncertainty and lakes in the administration. do you watch that? what is it like to be inside the white house? is it different than what is portrayed on cable news? marc: i think it is different. i think there is no doubt that working in the white house is always going to be a very high-pressure environment. i think there is probably a lot
of leaks. i think there is a different medium level of scrutiny of this particular white house. and their coveraf who was upcoming who is down, is a daily drama. we for our team, i think have had very littleurve we have a great te think they sp their heads down, and work on the president's agenda every day. reporter: what is the private donald trump like? the one you see in the oval office come in meetings? marc: he is very engaging with people. he loves to have members of congress over to talk to him about an item. i think you will see throughout this week and next week, continued roundtables and which he invites the media and and chose them interaction in conversations with people, whether or not it is on century cities, or particular legislation. one thing that has been most fun is when i bring our family and our children over to the president. he is incredibly engaging with young people.
he is incredibly receptive. he is very warm. reporter: when marc short time to himself with his family, what does he like to do? marc: we are big sports fans, the boys and i. we go to a lot of redskins games, we're big uva sports fans. we get up to the acc tournament this year and watch them when that. although, the basketball team had a big fall in the first round of the ncaa tournament. savanna, our daughter, she is a dancer. she is into ballet. she has a couple other sports activities. i try to support those activities as best i can to although i probably do not has -- have as much first round knowledge. reporter: it is quite a year for d.c. sports. marc: it is. the nets seem to be playing better. which is good. i think they are well-positioned to have another run. hopefully we will get to division champs for the last six years and hopefully we do better there. reporter: did you play ball in high school or college? marc: i was on the college
tennis team. that was kind of my drive in high school. i played a lot of tennis at that point. we played mostly division i schools. i don't do that much anymore. reporter: marc short, they give her being with us. we appreciate it. marc: my honor. announcer: here's a look at our live coverage monday. on c-span, u.s. marine corps officials discuss maritime security at the center for strategic and international studies. that is followed by a preview of the upcoming summit between the u.s. and north korea. on c-span2, we look at a new report purpose -- looking at technology being developed. that is followed by discussion of the online capabilities of crisis. -- of isis. with patricia"
o'toole talking about her latest book on woodrow wilson. then, former attorney general eric holder on redistricting. then, an interview with white house affairs director mark jude .- marc short ♪ "q&a," week on biographer patricia o'toole discusses her book "the moralist: woodrow wilson and the world he made." brian: patricia o'toole, your , theabout woodrow wilson review in the new york times leads with a paragraph, "instead of the moralist, woodrow wilson and the world he made, pata 'could