tv Washington Journal Guy Snodgrass CSPAN November 26, 2019 11:40am-12:02pm EST
here on c-span. shorttoday following a house session, we will take you to the white house where president trump and melania trump will continue the 30 of the turkey pardoning. today, to birds will be featured. you can watch that live right after house at about 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. campaign 2020 is with president trump live today at 7:00 p.m. eastern as he holds a campaign rally in sunrise, florida. his first changing his residency from new york to florida. c-span.org ornd listen on the go with the seat -- print radio app. >> host: guy snodgrass is the
author of holding the line. the about your role at pentagon specifically under jim mattis. guest: i was the chief speechwriter for secretary mattis. speechn charge of operations, writing memos and letters to world leaders. i was also his director of communications. that started to elevate that role to the communications and messaging coordination with the white house, state department and international organizations. host: did you know secretary mattis before you got the job? guest: i had met him once very , i had beenically interviewing for my first speechwriter job. for 20 years i was in f-18 fighter pilot. maybe a year to two years of a break.
i was interviewing for my first speechwriter role. here comes secretary mattis. had a chance to meet him very briefly. get the job? you host: i was contacted. forere stationed overseas two and a half years. when we moved back to the united states we had just taken a job in norfolk, virginia. i got a call saying my services were needed in d.c. host: what was the goal in writing the book? sometimes when you look at it through a narrow lens, you went secretary mattis so you could write a book. you realize that the pathway
forward for me in the navy was going to close. take a role that would be incompatible with my family. the commandingbe officer of an entire carrier air wing or you can be the commanding officer of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. we were asked to do the latter. honored by that selection. unable to accept. and thinkxit uniform about the lessons you were exposed to being able to see how those kinds of significant decisions are made and to be able to share with the american theic the context for importance they have domestically and abroad. be a runnings to theme in the book. secretary mattis said this.
when it comes to his management of the pentagon versus the white house saying there can be no daylight between us. people are getting tired of hearing one thing out of this administration. does that reflect the attitude of general mattis during his time in the pentagon? guest: 100%. he understood that he served at the pleasure of the president. he saw uncoordinated messages. say onee house might thing, the state department, the department of defense. that's one of the reasons to write the book was even just recently with the news that broke over the weekend about secretary esper having a breakdown with secretary spencer and firing him. at all happened because there was a misalignment in the messaging.
host: give us an example of having to be in line with the white house. when we would go to the nato minister in brussels. you have 28 other nations need to make sure that you are sticking to the president's talking points. a very vivid example. he needed to be aligned because everyone is parsing what he says. if there's a sliver of daylight that's not a good thing. the second one that really stands out to me is when you start thinking about the issues that did catch us by surprise. that's the danger is if you find yourself in a circumstance where you are inadvertently not aligned. that could be blown out of proportion in a way that was not intended. snodgrass will be with us until 10:00.
democrats.000 (202) 748-8001 republicans. (202) 748-8002 independents. if you are003 retired military. did secretary mattis agree with president trump over issues in running the pentagon? will let him answer for himself. thrilled. be very secretary mattis understood the importance of being aligned with the president of the united states. he needs to be backing the president's play. that worked well where you had a multi-month president would say this is my position. you had plenty of lead in time
to be able to coordinate that across the agency and enact that decision. you see the breakdown where a decision is made in haste. banlk about the transgender tweet that caught everyone by surprise. that can cause a lot more issues and concern. --t: the president shortly certainly had thoughts about organizing on efforts. did that go against secretary mattis and what he had to do at the pentagon? guest: i don't think it did. the number one thing he had to say is increase burden sharing. tot may donations need increase their gross to mystic product to so they can take their own side in a fight.
that's the message that every single time we went to brussels that secretary mattis would amplify. from peter in rhode island. you're on with amanda guy snodgrass. go ahead. -- commander guy snodgrass. go ahead. jr. officer in vietnam in the marine corps. is the united states always have to be involved somewhere, somehow in these wars? particularly in the middle east where they never end? i will give you the example of iraq. saddam hussein was an sop. there is no doubt about it. he stabilized the region there. now that he's gone, iraq is a complete powder keg and we created that vacuum.
guest: thanks for your question. you have to break it down into different zones. that's a vigorous debate right now within military circles. this concept of forever wars. the united states might become embroiled in conflicts in the middle east and find it incredibly difficult to pull out because our absence in the region might cause increased instability. that's one part of the equation. the other part is just the incredible return that america around military forces the world and overseas. it is something we have long enjoyed in the indo pacific. i myself served two tours of duty in japan and on board an aircraft carrier that patrolled the indo pacific.
return ist in magnified and amplified for our own security here. domestically it helps prevent terrorism. security and stability around the world. host: we will hear from valerie. guest: i'm so glad you are on this morning. i saw you on cnn this morning. you to speak to the fact that he pardoned -- i saw the documentary stephen seidenberg did. it's very fair. i'm not talking about whether he's guilty or not. the fact that he pardoned him. he was guilty of murder. i would also like to mention something about the eu. around.not law -- the europeans do not trust us
anymore and they have said this in the eu. thanks. have a good day. love c-span. host: i'm going to dial in on the concern about trust of america. that is something that has been amplified over the last two to three years. we wereback to what talking about at the top of the hour. we become very accustomed here in the united states, it's a very vigorous political debate going on right now. when you put yourself in the perspective of a nato ally or someone from south korea or japan this is not the way that their domestic politics normally play out so it appears to be more alarming to them. certainly from my tours of duty in japan and my time in the middle east and europe that is a
concern. it's not just can we trust america to be there for us. it also becomes a question of what does this mean for other nations in the region. america has long been the defender for democracy around the world. we have been there for our allies and partners and now it has the appearance that america is walking away from that and with that really means is that other nations like china and russia are seeking to take advantage of that perceived american weakness. host: you right this is a book about allies. receptive they seemed to the reassuring message. trump might be sowing uncertainty due to rapid changes in policy and spur of the moment but those were largely to appeal to his base. matus and tillerson are working
in concert to keep this thing on track. expand on that. could use the esperanza spencer from over the weekend. strong statements about eddie gallagher and others who have been accused of crimes to pardon them or to intercede directly to re-elevate eddie gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer and ensuring he can keep his trident pin during retirement. that's a microcosm of what i expressed in the book. communicating to voters and americans who support him. that gets conflated sometimes. it's very difficult to tell and that's where that prior coordination becomes incredibly important.
if the state department receives a heads up that this is largely for political consumption that's one thing. if it was to be acted on that needs to be corneille did as well. host: how frustrated did secretary mattis get? guest: one of the things i love the most about working for him is that he is a consummate professional. he is someone who does not believe -- the saying i have always used is the emotion is enemy of good judgment. kate -- came out it was, let's do the best we possibly can. from sylvester in baltimore, maryland. democrat line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i just heard basically monitoring the impeachment hearing and i hear a lot of people saying that obama did not give lethal weapons to ukraine.
-- point out something to the effect that the ukrainian for suchnot prepared advanced weapons. could you elaborate on what you found out? now i have a clear understanding of why obama did not send those lethal weapons. guest: during the time when president obama was considering whether or not to provide defensive lethal aid, i was in japan. during my time with secretary mattis in the fall of 2017 we traveled to kiev. that was something that was brought up continually by .mbassador volker
ukraine is on the front lines in a hot war with russia. there is the region where the active ongoing conflict exists. they've had 14,000 ukrainians killed in the years they have been fighting against the russians. when you think about the importance of that defensive lethal aid that was something that certainly president trump did feel incredibly was important to get to the ukrainians and that is something that did occur under secretary mattis. host: jeff from indiana. independent line. caller: you have touched on a couple points i want to bring up. my son is a seal and i am from a part of indiana where eddie gallagher is from and it is covered somewhat on the local news. i don't think he was ever a very well-liked person on the teams.
pardon reallyial has not that much to do with eddie. it is just a sort of convenient prop for the president because immediately i'm seeing reporting that the president expects to see him out on the campaign at the convention so basically it's what the president is getting out of this because actually he's hurting the special operations community by going in and making these willy-nilly decisions just for his purpose and i'm sorry to see this thing come down this way. i wish eddie gallagher could just fade off into the sunset but i think trump being who he is will not let that happen and that's my comment. it's basically all for the president as usual. thank you. guest: one thing that i would noteworthyote, it is to those men and women who wear
the cloth of our nation that you have an active duty member of the naval services who appealed directly to the president of the united states for clemency. noteworthy itself is . you are circumventing the military code of justice. professional organization, for the military it's all about discipline and that is something that the military normally can self regulate and take care of itself internally and hold itself to a very high standard. anytime you have a senior leader who selectively picks cases you start raising the issue of if you can catch a senior leader's maybe you have a different outcome. so that's the concern moving forward. impressionsere your
of the firing of richard spencer? sure what still not went on behind closed doors. spencer whoretary has said in his letter that it appears more like he resigned out of principal so i think it's going to be a while before we know exactly what happens. the danger of operating in an ad hoc environment where you are in serving america's interest abroad and you don't make sure decisions have been vetted wrote the system these kind of breakdowns occur. host: how would you characterize the president's level of interest when it comes to describing him and telling them about issues important to defense? guest: i recount the meetings he had with president trump when he came over to the pentagon. the first was on july 20 of 2017 and it was to walk him through
expert in newn have a president or leader who doesn't have knowledge and had never been in government were served in the military, you will like they would give credence to what you're saying and share an interest getting into the nuts and bolts. we are taking questions from you. guest: i am in north africa.