tv Meet the Press MSNBC December 26, 2016 4:00am-5:01am PST
>> wow. what a christmas. you have to be exhausted. can i ask you a question? >> yes. >> seriously, i'm looking at your instagram and you're in nice on the 24th and with royalty on christmas morning. >> stop with the south of france stuff. >> you went to paris. had bags all over the place. how did you get back? didn't they get rid of the concord? >> you know they give you roses to sit in this seat.
>> special transportation. >> it's monday, december 26th. i hope you all had a wonderful holiday. >> i'm sick of getting hankerchiefs. >> also with us, former communications director for ted cruz's presidential campaign, rick tyler. >> good christmas? >> wonderful christmas. >> in washington, author and nbc news contributor. and also with us, white house correspondent for the associate press julie pace. all right. let's talk about the transition so far. not about my fake christmas. >> she had a wonderful christmas across the south of france. anyway, julie, how do we score? how are washington journalists, analysts, pundits scoring the
trump transition so far? >> i think it's been a bit of a mixed bag. on the one hand you have trump who really rolled pretty quickly through his cabinet appointments. picked people that have support from some pretty surprising corners of the republican party. rex tillerson in particular has drawn the bush world out to support him, which is something that didn't happen for trump during the campaign. so on one hand he's getting a lot of support from republicans who didn't back him when he was running. on the other hand, you're still seeing this continuation of some of the infighting and the rivalries that really dominated his campaign team. he's going to take those rivalries into the white house. this is something that trump doesn't necessarily mind when he was a candidate and businessman but i think there are a lot of open questions about how he'll shape the whoite house when he' moving through issues quickly that will wind up on his desk. >> there have been messy
transitions particularly of bill clinton's in '92, '93, where he just had a terrible start. and he really didn't recover for the first six months or so. people said he went ready for prime time. how important is a presidential transition in framing the first year? >> hugely important. clinton is a good example of that. he would say that today. he would say i spent much too much time worrying about my cabinet and didn't worry enough about my white house staff and other thing he would say and i would agree and you would, joe, he didn't give a lot of thought into how he would stage the first things he asked for from the american people and from congress. it began with gays in the military and several other things and as a result, it did look for the first couple months as if he wasn't ready for prime time. i think there was a "time" magazine cover called the
incredible shrinking president. if donald trump wants to look to history for an example, i would look at 1981 with ronald reagan where they very carefully said we're going to concentrate from the beginning on the economy. there are certain things we want to ask for from congress. we're going to do them in order and it was amazingly effective. he got that economic bill done in the middle of 1981 that set the stage f that whole successful presidency. >> rick tyler, who would have believed that -- trump has done something that surprised me and surprised most republicans. on his domestic picks, he's got people like erick erickson going devos. that's not bad. you look at other. epa picks and labor picks. i said it before. they look more like ted cruz's cabinet. very ideological. very rigid. and then on the foreign policy front, he actually has co-opted
the giants of gop foreign policy in bob gates, condy rice, steven hadley >> getting bushes to come out and support your secretary of state is a huhuge. there's a legislative lever there. but seems to be very smart. betsy devos is a champion of charter schools and choice. >> a legend among conservatives. >> that's a war with teachers union there. a war going on right there. he's got rick perry in energy and then you have rex tillerson, ceo. all of this to me, i think there's been a six decade war on jobs. i think so. this cabinet looks to me like someone who is going to try free market job creating wealth creating economic policies. >> i don't think you can glean
from this cabinet what's going to happen because one thing -- that is probably going into 2017 the only thing we know about donald trump is we have no idea what's going to happen. i'm not sure who to lob this question at. why is it that i feel he might actually work better with chuck schumer and democrats than the republicans who actually run the place and why is it that i'm concerned that the choice of elaine chao is a lever he can pull with mitch mcconnell knowing trump. does this make sense? >> it makes sense knowing trump that you would think that he -- i've said. he's more comfortable socially with chuck schumer than say paul ryan. the operative word is war here. picking devos at education, he declared war on the teachers unions and teachers unions will declare war on him. on his choice for epa, he has declared war on the democratic
party and the media with a guy who could be called a climate change denier. health and human services. he's got the fiercest critic of the affordable care act. you can talk about labor. he's got a guy that believes that the minimum wage should not be raised and that robots would be far more efficient than human beings in handling jobs. i mean, this is a strident conservative ideological domestic cabinet. >> there's no doubt about that. we can talk about the personalities of the cabinet secretaries endlessly. in the end, the final deal is going to come down to dr. beschloss' reference. it's going to come down to the president of the united states and his policies.
not personality. policies. what does he want to implement. if part of what he wants to implement, is it more to the liking of democrats? for instance, a big public works package. is paul ryan going to faint in disbelief? is mitch mcconnell going to faint in disbelief at the number donald trump might throw out there to rebuild this country? that's going to be interesting. >> i suspect he will. michael beschloss, it's been easy to predict what was going to happen over the last 30 years or so because everyone is lined up on their ideological sides. you have donald trump talking about a huge infrastructure package and huge tax cuts. and also telling republicans you're not going to repeal obamacare until you have a plan to replace it. >> well, that's exactly right. that's why this is going to be so fascinating to watch because we're watching one of the biggest experiments in the history of the american presidency and that is that we know with trump and this is so different from other presidents
that what he says at the beginning is often times intended to provoke a negotiation and you'll never know where he winds up. it's entirely possible, for instance, also with mike barnicle that some of these very intense conservative cabinet picks are intended to divert attention from just as you were saying earlier there may be the possibility that he does wind up cutting a lot of deals with chuck schumer and makes him look less radical to his own party. >> julie pace, some top republicans are struggling with this and privately expressing fear about the days ahead but the most open-minded about the transition has been president obama himsel what is the mood inside the outgoing white house? >> it depends on who you talk to. there are some people in the west wing right now who just cannot believe what happened. even more than a month out from the election just can't believe
they are handing over the west wing to donald trump. but then when you get up into the higher ranks and in particular the president himself, he, i think, has taken great pains to give trump space during this transition. he's talking to him privately. dennis met with reince priebus privately. they are trying to give them guidance without being too heavy handed. i think the president would be more than willing to continue talking to trump after he leaves the white house. i think he feels if trump can call on him as a resource, he can give him context for his decisions and some of his policies that trump may not get from his own advisers. that may be wishful thinking on the part of obama but how he thinks of the relationship going forward. >> michelle obama said something that drew negative headlines. in her interview with oprah, she said he is our president. if he succeeds, america succeeds.
if he fails, america fails. so there you have again barack obama leading the way and saying let's work together and you have the first lady as well saying i'm going to be cheering for this guy because if he succeeds, we all succeed. it's quite an example to a democratic party that's not quite there yet out of fear of normalizing what they consider to be deviant behavior. >> still ahead this hour, what will the first 100 days of trump's administration look like? we're going to read the tea leaves ahead. ♪ this holiday, the real gift isn't what's inside the box... it's what's inside the person who opens it. give your loved ones ancestrydna, the simple dna test that can tell them where they came from -by revealing their ethnic mix. it's a gift as original as they are.
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is the wall going up? >> i don't know if the wall is going up or not. i know the first 100 days is obviously very important. i remember back in 1995, our contract with america, we got everything zipping along the first 100 days. and then 101st day everybody stopped and stared at each other. maybe we should pace this out over a couple years. >> maybe. >> but michael beschloss, obviously the person to speak to here. historical examples. obviously fdr is the benchmark. talk about some presidents that had really successful launches that this administration should look to. >> well, lbj in 1965 who had the slight advantage of having something like two-thirds of the house democratic and a huge number of senators and one of the biggest presidential landslides in american history. you know, joe, even johnson said to his aides at the beginning of
'65, you may think that i can just get everything i want through congress. i can't because i'm going to be asking a lot of moderate and conservative democrats to vote for things that are going to make them uncomfortable. i better ask them for the important things at the beginning of my first year of this next four-year term. the result was if you look at most of the things that we think of as great society, voting rights and war on poverty and medicare and the rest of it, those things were passed in the first six months because just as johnson said after he came back from recess in september of '65, even democrats began rebelling against him. the warning is to any new president, including donald trump i think, that get the hard stuff passed at the beginning. >> what are those things? >> well, right now i don't see a lot of hard things. i see tax cuts. i see increased spending in defense. i see increased spending for transportation. i mean, if you're going to
actually have any cuts, if there's any hope of being able to pay for anything, being a conservative, you have to do that up front. reagan's classic mistake was he went for the tax cuts before he went for the spending cuts. >> we haven't heard about budget cuts. almost nothing during the campaign. >> you would have to hire a conservative to be president to do that. >> okay. granted. but, look, his answer is going to be grow the economy and it will take care of itself. conservatives want to know that government is too big and too intrusive and too inefficient and bureaucracies don't work and inappropriate for the information age. how are you going to reform them? almost nobody besides gingrich is talking about any of that. >> and, mike, this is big government republicanism. donald trump is not going in to do small things. he's not going for sort of the short play. he wants to do big things, big
infrastructure projects. he is actually talking about cutting the f-35 and some other defense programs but you don't really sense this is any driving force for him as far as looking at the deficit and looking at the debt. >> that's why i'm kind of off the playbook here i would think in terms of the first 100 days because i have an odd feeling, an instinct and often my instincts are wrong, the first day of his presidency is the most important day of his presidency in the near future and that is because what he does, what he tells the country in that inaugural address is going to go a long way toward pulling this country together. we are living in a very brittle nation. where a substantial percentage of people are pulling an all-nighter. got drunk waking up in the morning saying we did what? his rhetoric, his tone, his
behavior at that inauguration and what he tells the country to calm the country, to pull the country together, i think that's the core of the first year and perhaps of his entire four years of the presidency. >> and julie pace, i feel like that inaugural address could -- i'm not sure i can hontly say i hope it's going to happen, but i think it could really be a great reset moment that includes everybody in this country including those who perhaps voted for somebody else. >> it's his opportunity to do that reset if he wants to take the opportunity. if you look at the rallies that he's been having during the transition, he has been sticking to some of the same messages he had during the campaign. he will give a nod toward unity, toward healing divisions in the country but he rolls through the same messages he had as a candidate. when he actually is standing up there on the capitol steps looking out at the mall and crowds of people, what is his
message going to be? i think people around him understand that even though they won't say it publicly, they understand he's going into office as president that's not popular with majority of americans and didn't win the popular vote. a challenge in front of him. if he doesn't take that opportunity on inauguration day, there's not an obvious moment for him to have that reset going forward. >> michael beschloss, i guess when we're looking at inaugural speeches, obviously jfk's is again once again the benchmark. any other examples? >> jefferson did not do badly. franklin roosevelt in 1933 if we could bring them all back. one thing they all said and you would not disagree with this, what presidents do whether they were elected by no popular vote or huge landslide, they make it clear from the beginning, i'm president of all of the people.
that's one thing that surprised me about this transition. it would not have cost donald trump anything from the beginning of the moment that he was elected a month ago to say exactly that and say it's been a tough campaign. i know there are a lot of bruised feelings and people that did not vote for me who were actually terrified about this presidency. there's nothing to fear. i'm your president too. >> that gets to the point that you raised one morning last week about the rallies that he's held in alabama and florida and pennsylvania and elsewhere. how about going to a state that he didn't carry? >> exactly. >> again, he's doing those rallies as i said last week, he's doing those rallies because he wants to send a message to republicans that, hey, you need to follow my plan. we saw that again most starkly in wisnsin where he told paul ryan, i'm with you and told the crowd don't boo wisconsin in
paul's home state, if you're not with me, i'll cut you off at the knees. message received by paul ryan and all republicans. he needs to take it to the next step and needs to do what we've all been hoping he would do and that michael has talked about and you're talking about, and that is reach out to americans who are nervous. who were worried. that think a trump presidency is exclusionary and only for angry white men. that if you're a muslim american, you have a reason to be afraid. if you're a black american, you have reason to be afraid. if you're an immigrant to this country, you have a reason to be afraid. boy, you just aren't going to have a bigger platform than you will have at the inauguration to again deliver your message but at the same time, send out signals. >> i think that's right. first of all, the angry white men have been replaced by very happy white men.
but the thank me tour, the parts i don't like it really are the relitigating of the whole election and how hillary lost and press said this. that's fine. mike's right. his message in the inauguration is a huge opportunity for him to get people who aren't necessarily with him to say i got to give this guy a chance. that's his big opportunity. >> well, the incoming of donald trump of course marks the outgoing of barack obama. a look at the president's legacy ahead. ♪is it manwich night? ♪ put some manwich on the table... and give boring weeknight meals,
>> it's been a long time coming but tonight because of what we did on this day in this election this defining moment, change has come to america. >> boy, you can look on his face, it's been a long eight years. >> it's really amazing. remember that, mike? that was president obama just after midnight on election day in 2008 addressing thousands of
supporters in chicago's grant park. now, eight years later, what will his legacy be? >> what are your thoughts as you look at barack obama eight years ago. all the hope that was invested in him. how do you feel eight years later? >> i think a lot more has been done than some are giving credit at this point. i'm worried about the legacy of obamacare, which i think needs to be fixed but not removed. i think that he had surprisingly strong steps that he took on foreign policy. he's the president who took out osama bin laden and yet our foreign policy seems to be as shaky as ever in terms of our role around the world. i think it's mixed. i think that the history books on syria will be tragic. >> mike, what do you think? >> i think the passage of time will enhance obama's presidency much more so than obviously we're looking at his presidency
right now in the twilight of his presidency. one of the big things is just the president himself. his character. his family. his seemingly mobility in dealing with the count rife with racial divisions. a world rife with terrorist implications. and yet for eight years this president has been scandal free. he has been unbelievably articulate and comforting to the country when the country needed to be comforted after newtown, charleston, south carolina, and the big thing of the moment when he took office, the culmination of the former secretary of treasury under george h.w. bush and handing off baton to the incoming obama administration and saving the economy from a truly great and really deep depression, they did it. i think that's going to be a huge factor in measuring this presidency.
>> michael, can you think of another president whose accomplishments and correct me if i'm wrong, i could be terribly wrong here, but whose major accomplishments were crammed into the first two years of their presidency? it's hard to find many significant pieces of legislation that have been passed since 2011. >> that's exactly right. you know, you can look at it round or flat. you can say it's a sign of a fact that the democratic party has suffered such losses during this presidency beginning with the mid terms during that first term in 2010 or you can say it's evidence of obama's tactical brilliance in saying i better -- mika was right about health care. whatever happens to it, that's going to be near the start of a discussion of barack obama. people may say it was a good thing he got that done. whatever he did during those first two years because it
wasn't going to happen later on. >> i go back to hoover and if you look at what happened between the 70th congress and 72nd congress, republicans went from total dominance in 1928 to total -- they were just obsolete in 1932. can you think since hoover's republicans anyone that suffered as much at the ballot box as democrats have under barack obama where they went from a strong majority to being wiped out across the nation? >> no. it happened quickly. you can look at, for instance, 1946 truman lost congress. as you know, joe, in the next couple years, truman was able to do a number of deals especially at the beginning of the cold war in foreign policy. clinton, as you know better than any one of us this morning and better than anyone anywhere, in '94 could have said there's now
a republican congress for the first time in decades. i'm finished. instead he was able to do things like welfare and other deals with gingrich and bob dole people did not predict. you go to 2010, that did not happen. was that obama not being able to do it. he didn't have that talent as president, or was it a republican senate and house that was determined not to give him anything he wanted. >> you know, rick, i think for me personally, that's the great failure of barack obama. everybody is going to blame it on the republican party like they could have blamed bill clinton's failures on instead of the tea party, it was gingrich republicans, guys like me back then, despite what the press will tell you today, we were no better than the tea party. we were just as mean and nasty and driven in all of the right ways to balance the budget. but bill clinton in 1995 brought in dick morris and figured out how to beat our brains out while
working with us to get welfare reform, the first balanced budget in a generation. balanced it four years in a row for the first time since the 1920s. you could go down a long list of things that republicans and bill clinton did together and there was no reason to believe that that could ever happen without bill clinton willing to fight with us on our own turf and beat us. >> a couple things. one, i think it's worth mentioning how republicans got wiped out after watergate. that was bad for republicans. and i'm lacking context it's hard to know how obama's legacy will age. i do see it as a lot of loss potential. michael mentioned lbj who was a deal maker. working with congress all the time to get things done and get things passed. barack obama didn't do that. he didn't have a good relationship with the congress. certainly not republicans. and not even democrats. >> he didn't have a good relationship with the democrats. that's why when people who don't
understand what's been happening behind the scenes eight years, republicans just want to stop him. talk to senior democratic senators from day one who said the guy didn't have a relationship with us. >> many of them never in the white house. >> you mention bill clinton. bill clinton on his re-election nomination speech took credit for 13 actual republican initiatives mostly which were in the contract with america. >> what drove me so crazy, so many things drove me crazy about bill clinton but he fought on tooth and nail on balancing the budget and welfare reform. we were cold and heartless and throwing kids out in the street and saying balance budget was cruel. you open up my life, his 8,000-page bio, autobiography. the first couple pages he says my great accomplishments were welfare reform and balancing the budget. i don't look at that as something bad. that's genius of bill clinton to
have co-oped us that way. >> on the one hand, republicans have to show they are making progress toward repealing obamacare because that's one thing. obamacare does not have great numbers. with some subset it does. >> you can't take it away from people. >> that's the whole communications argument. i don't think you'll see a replacement plan. you'll see incremental legislative changes to get to where they want to go. not a massive comprehensive package. >> the fights are definitely here but again the question is what is his legacy going to be. i think, julie pace, there are things that will last in time. i wonder among the few might be the creation of the white house council on women and girls and the fact this is the first african-american president of the united states. >> that will be the first line in his legacy going forward. you can't take that piece of it away from him. i think that he's going to be
looked at as a consequential president in terms of actions he took and the range of issues that he's dealt with both in the u.s. and overseas if you look at everything from the economic crisis to the civil war in syria. i also think though that to mike's point, part of his legacy will just be the lack of scandal. the fact that he and his family were really beloved by many americans and respected by many other americans who may disagree with them on policy. so much of the presidency is not just what you do in terms of policy, but it's also the tone that you set. it's how you're viewed personally by the american public. i think that's something that trump will grapple with when he's in office as well. to one of the points you were making before about obama not having a relationship with lawmakers. one of the interesting parallels potentially between obama and trump is that they are both in many ways singular political
figures. obama was embraced more warmly by democrats than trump was by republicans as a candidate. they have operated really in their own world. they are not of the political parties. we saw the downside to that for obama and how trump grapples with that could define his presidency as well. >> there's one other aspect to measuring the obama presidency that people like michael beschloss will be looking at 10, 15, 20 years down the road and it is this. his administration, his presidency, was the first presidency to be subjected to the explosion of social media to the venom, to the hate that explodes on twitter and things like that. the whole country was let in on opinion making. his administration and a lot of other things but his administration was buffeted constantly by these things. that has an impact at some
level. >> which actually raises the question that i can't really quite understand. we've had for the first time since, what, early 1800s, we've had three presidents re-elected. with clinton, bush, obama. got re-elected under the harshest of political environments. you had bill clinton having to grapple with 24/7 cable news coverage for the first time and fox news. and you had george w. bush being called a nazi every night of on this network for eight years and bloggers coming out and sort of the blogosphere exploding and the hate and venom that he's endured. and again, accumulative effect and then stack twitter and facebook and fake news and social media on top of that
pyramid of hatred and now what do we find ourselves? we find president obama enduring this from all sides and yet why is it that under these harsh circumstances, these presidents all get re-elected? >> you know, it's amazing. somehow they're able to cope. in barack obama's case, you know, i know and i think you know this, privately he has talked a lot about the fact that he has to be a president at a time where the president's voice often times is drown out by all of these people. 1962, john kennedy wanted to go on tv. the networks gave him the time. there was three network road block where you didn't have analysts on afterwards saying this is what we tnk about the president said. this is an increasing part of what a president is faced with in these times. it's going to be fascinating to see what served donald trump so well as a candidate is going to enable him to brave this as he
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call today. comcast business. built for business. >> the only way any of us are going break out of this box is if we stand together. when second class citizens stand with each other and not against each other, that's when you change the world. when you help these women, denise, the person you free is yourself. >> that was a look at "good girls revolt" amazon series that chronicled the struggles of a group of young female researchers at a news magazine in the 1960s. >> the show was inspired by the nonfiction book "the good girls revolt how the women of "newsweek" sued their bosses and changed their workplace." earlier this fall i sat down
with lawyer that represented the women in that groundbreaking lawsuit. also actress joy bryant who portrayed the congresswoman on the show. talk about the show inspired by your work and the huge difference it made in the workplace, what you did with the women of "newsweek" including a good dear friend of ours norah efron. >> i never could have done anything without a bunch of talented women. four bright scholars came to me when i was a lawyer at the american civil liberties union and said i wonder if we have a case. we're all researchers and men who come in with the same background as ours are reporters. i said what?
this is terrific. this is slam dunk. what? they were very tentative. as routine as it seems now, bringing a class-action against a world-class journalistic enterprise was to put your life in your hands or at least your work life in your hands or so they thought. so my job was to convince them that there was strength in numbers. >> you know, joy, for me, i'm a good bit older than you are, it was always shocking to me reading norah efron's account of what happened inside "newsweek" where you had an extraordinary writer and talented women. it has to be as you're looking at this and reading the script and able to portray such a great woman, it does have to be sort of shocking to see how far women have come, first of all, in the past 40, 50 years, but how bad
things were not so long ago. >> i didn't know about this story as many didn't. as i dived into it, i was, like, wow, there's so much that i didn't know. it just really for me brought home the fact i was part of this legacy. we're all standing on the shoulders of giants. if it wasn't for women like the congresswoman and the women that fought this case, there's so many strides that would not have been made because of them. and so it was just an honor to be able to portray such an extraordinary woman and learn about our history because we're still having these conversations. >> you can see the complete interview at joe.msnbc.com and first season of "good girls revolt" is now available on amazon. an intimate look at pope francis based on interviews with people that knew him before he was pope. my business was built with passion...
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for the real pope francis." >> i know you're a devout catholic. >> yes. >> you spent years working on this book, going to argentina, trying to ascertain who pope francis really is. i wouldast you in a few words, two or three words, describe pope francis. what is he, who is he? >> you want me to describe the pope in two or three words? >> yeah, you know. >> i'll give you one. one is humble. >> that's the one i was going to give you. >> the other is merciful, the hallmark of his papacy, the hallmark when he was cardinal and bishop and through his life, and different from being nice to somebody or writing a bigger check to your favorite nonprofit. he wants you to dig in and have a relationship of intimacy with your neighbors and with god, and that changes the essence of who you are if you get that level of intimacy and mercy. >> in your search for pope francis, going to argentina,
talking to people who have know him for years when he was basically a parish priest, the head of the catholic church in argentina for a while, but what did you find out that surprised you about him? >> his setting there, first of all, his rise to power at the age of 36 when he ran the jesuits in arjgentina and paraguay, and then his fall and his two-year exile in which he really had a two-year dark night of the soul and came back as a different leader. the rise of the -- >> what happened? what caused him -- >> he was by himself. why did he get into an exile? because he was very authoritarian. that's where he used himself. he split the jesuit order in half, really half the group loved him and the other half really despised him. very traditional in his values, in the mid'70s, after there was
uncertainty, you had communists in the central and south america, so there was a law of confusion. he was very authoritarian, very strict. and that split the order in half. >> so he's there during a brutal period of arjgentinian history, perone has captured the government. they run the government. the dirty war that you refer to. thousands of people still to this day who wonder how their relatives disappeared. just disappeared. what was his interaction with the government at that time? >> well, he has said that there was great uncertainty. everybody i talked to down in argentina told me it was so unstable that the army didn't know what the navy was doing, nobody knew what the police force was doing. bottom line is he not one jesuit died when he was in charge of the jesuits. i talked to a couple guys who don't like him. who told me that -- >> why d't they like him? >> because he was really strict.
he wouldn't allow the jesuits to go in and live with the poor, and part of the jesuit community is that they ought to live in community, and a couple of the jesuit wanted to live amongst the poor by themselves and he wouldn't allow that to happen. the head of the jesuits wouldn't allow that to happen. they told me that pope francis took steps to save their lives. they didn't even know it when it happened, but 20 years later, they realize that the pope saved their lives. >> when did he change, or did he change, and why did he change if he has indeed changed? because he now gives the impression, more than an impression, it is who he is, that he is a man whose mission is to help those who need help the most. the poorest among us. the vulnerable among us. >> the jesuit ideal, he told his jesuits to go out to the fringes, to the frontier, and to accompany people on their life journey. i think his evolution, if you will, was gradual. i think that two-year period, as
he said, his own exile, where he clothes and bathed dying jesuits and he listened to confession, that was his only job. imagine being banished, if you will, to the interior of argentina from buenos airess where he's born and raised and loves, and two years without a job description. that made him look inward and realize he needed to be more consultant with people, kinder, more merciful. he has said that. and then i think after the great depression down in argentina in the early 2000s when the company had 25% unemployment also made him more sensitive to the needs of poor people. >> do you think he was surprised at his ascend nlsy to the papacy. >> the line was, when they asked him to be pope, he said i'm a sinner but i accept. yeah, he is. the cardinals who voted for him were looking for a more pastoral approach.
and they're surprised, too. i don't think anyone expected him, including his friends in arjgentin argentina, saying he didn't smile as much in public, but he was made for this job and the holy spirit got him right after he was made pope, and he's been joyful ever since. he's put on a lot of weight, and he was always committed to working with the poor, accompanying the poor on their journey, and that's what the book is about. it's a series of stories and interviews with people who aren't the big shots, who are the guys who collect the garbage, moms who lost their kids in disasters, people that are really local human beings in argentina. >> pope francis seems to be a part from several elements of the former papacy that he has succeeded. is there a schism, is there opposition to him within the vatican? i mean, it's a large church. it's not a universal church in the sense that everybody is agreeing on everything. >> no, and it represents africa,
central and south america and the united states. it's a 2000-year-old institution, and clearly, there are cardinals who have come out publicly and questioned his leadership style and what he's doing and saying. but i think there's always a lot of support for him, not only in the vatican, you know, hierarchy, you will, but i have talked to countless atheists, jews, other denominate protestants, that are really inspired by his message of mercy and trying to living humbly, the second word we talked about. and i think he's got a lot of support in that regard. look, he's doing some pretty radical in thes. he's talking about having women deacons. that means women will be on the alter preaching. >> not enough, a lot of catholics think. >> of course, but is he going fast enough on the women's is e issues, on the sex abuse scandals, no, not for me, but it's going to take time. >> that was mike barnicle's
conversation with mark shriver. that does it for this hour. msnbc live picks up your news coverage right now. good morning to you. i'm craig melvin. we start with the shocking loss. pop icon george michael dead at the age of 53. fans around the world paying tribute to the english singer/songwriter who ros to prominence as the frontman of the groupham and then went on to sell more than 100 million albums in his solo career. >> also, trump transition. his pick for communications director suddenly says no to the job. the president-elect making news on two fronts himself. his clash with the white house over israel, and announcing some big changes to his charity as well. and while many kids were dreaming of a white christmas, parents now bearing the