tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC April 30, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. >> is there any place like a trump rally? >> president trump playing to his base. >> i could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from washington's swamp. >> as cheers -- and protests mark his 100th day in office. but after a failed health care bill, stalled travel ban, and border wall delay, can he deliver on his cornerstone promises? >> in just 100 days, president trump has turned america around. and he's just getting started. >> tough questions ahead for white house chief of staff reince priebus. and -- will democrats try to block trump's agenda or seek compromise? we'll ask house democratic leader nancy pelosi. plus --
[ chanting ] >> all: usa, usa! >> battle at berkeley. is free speech on campus being silenced? ann coulter and robert reich, both here live. from abc news, it's "this week." here now, chief white house correspondent jonathan karl. good morning. washington is a town obsessed with milestones. all week, it's been all about president trump's first 100 days. but for all the hype around that, as it turned out, day 100 of donald trump's presidency looked and sounded a lot like day one. there was the president delivering a hard-edged america first speech. his tone and his message as dark and foreboding as his inaugural address. >> if you tried to illegally enter the united states, you will be caught, detained,
deported, or put in prison. and it will happen. >> and just as they did on day one, protesters filled the streets of the capital. this time, demanding action on climate change. the 100-day marker has been an obsession of those in power and those writing about those in power since napoleon's days ended in waterloo precisely 100 days since he returned as emperor. for the americans, it's been a marker since fdr passed a blizzard of bills in his first 100 days during the depression. but let's face it. president trump is right when he calls 100 days a ridiculous standard to measure a presidency. of course, he elevated that ridiculous standard as a candidate by raising expectat n expectations for his first 100 days in a campaign speech at gettysburg, no less. the truth is, history will little note nor long remember
any 100-day judgments made in the midst of all that is happening right now. ten years before he was elected president, abraham lincoln eulogized another president saying quote, the presidency, even to the most experienced politicians, is no bed of roses. no human being can fill that station and escape censure. but the true judgment on a president's accomplishments doesn't come in the midst of political battle. it is not found in the polls. the true assessment comes in the calm light of history. so, in this show, today, we won't waste time with 100-day report cards. we will look to the next 100 days. or maybe the next 1,360 days until the next presidential inauguration. we begin with the biggest challenge facing president trump at this moment. north korea. continuing to test missiles despite repeated warnings. backstage in harrisburg, abc's katherine falders caught up with the president.
>> after the missile launch? >> you'll soon find out, won't you? >> does that mean military action? >> you'll soon find out. >> joining me now is reince priebus, white house chief of staff. welcome. >> thank you. >> what did the president mean by that, soon we'll find out? how is the u.s. going to respond to north korea? >> first of all, the administration and the country and the president always seeks peace. the other piece to this is, the president is someone who has made it very clear that he's not going to telegraph his next moves. not going to put out the plan for north korea in "the new york times" or "the washington post." he's working with general mattis. with rex tillerson. with general mcmaster and his team. in making determinations of how to move forward in a pretty
delicate, complicated matter. >> the president has interesting remarks about kim jong-un this week in his interview with reuters. is there any scenario where you could see him in direct talks with kim jong-un? >> i'm not sure about that. i don't want to get ahead of him or the foreign policy team on that matter. certainly, we have a situation where lots of administrations before us and many others have just watched this transpire. watched north korea build the capability it has today. watch them put missiles into mountainsides. and here we are today. we've got a president that means business. and he's used his, i think, negotiating skills very wisely. befriending and becoming very close to president xi in china a. working with china to put pressure on north korea. working with our allies. yesterday, he had a conversation with the president of the philippines. today, he'll talk to singapore and thailand. he keeps in close contact with the president in japan, president abe. this is a mission-driven president who spends a lot of time working with our allies and
talking to our experts on how the handle the situation wisely and do it right for the american people and the people around the world. >> i want to ask you about the call with the president of the philippines. rodrigo duterte. the white house put out an official readout of the call praising duterte for fighting very hard to rid his country of drugs. this is a president of the philippines that so many say has blood on his hands. just take a look at what human rights watch said last month. since the inauguration of president rodrigo duterte and his call for a war on drugs, philippine national police officers and unidentified vigilantes have killed over 7,000 people. his outspoken endorsement of the campaign implicates him and other senior officials in possible incitement of violence, instigation of murder and command responsibility of -- this is a man who said of
president obama a, he was the son of a whore. why is president trump honoring president duterte now with a visit to the white house? >> i'm not so sure it's a matter of honoring this president. it's a matter for potential of nuclear and massive destruction in asia and the potential, at least according to north korea, of developing an icbm that could, at some point down the line if we do nothing, could potentially reach the united states. this is a different level of a problem that we need cop ration among our partners in southeast asia. >> does that mean human rights don't matter? >> absolutely not. it doesn't mean that human rights don't matter. what it does mean is that the issues facing us, developing out of north korea, are so serious that we need cooperation at some level with as many partners in the area as we can get to make sure we have our ducks in a row, so if something does happen in north
korea, we have everyone in line backing up a plan of action that may need to be put together with our partners in the area. >> help me understand how the president sees this. when you're looking at the list of priorities when you're dealing with a foreign power. a foreign country like the philippines, where does human rights, promotion of democracy, all those things that reagan put center, george w. bush put front and center in foreign policy, where does that stand in the list of priorities? >> look, it stands high at the top of the list. >> was it even mentioned? >> when you have north korea, and you have them flagrantly talking about developing nuclear warheads, which they have already done, and wanting to -- putting up videos of how they're going to launch these things to the united states and across the globe, that has to remain at the highest level. when it comes to human rights, look what president trump and his team did in syria.
i mean, that was a matter of human rights. the president said enough was enough. he wanted to make a statement assad and the rest of the world that there are some lines you don't cross. the president's shown his willingness to stand up for human rights. >> let's to back to the official readout of the call with duterte. it praises him for working very hard to rid his country of drugs. this is somebody with an abysmal human rights record who has been accused of basically mass extrajudicial killings. did that not come up in the phone call? why is it not mentioned? >> i didn't sit through the entire call. this is something that the president in the philippines is claiming that he's working towards. obviously, we want to encourage him to do better. but this call, the purpose of the call is all about north korea. the purpose of all of these calls, as you have seen on the schedule. i know you watch every little move that happens, and you should, that's your job. he's been speaking a lot to all
of our partners in southeast asia. the issue on the table is north korea. and there is nothing right now facing this country and facing the region that is a bigger threat than what is going on in north korea. and if we don't have all of our folks together -- whether they're good folks, bad folks, people we wish would do better in their country, it doesn't matter. we have got to be on the same page. >> let's turn to a different matter. you unveiled the outline of the president's tax plan. you have heard critics say, this is a giveaway to the rich. i want to ask you, are you open to a compromise that would actually raise the top rate, raise the rate on the very wealthiest in the country to, say, 40%? is that something you would be willing to do as part of a final compromise? >> i'm not going to get ahead of where we're at. on the negotiation side. obviously, we have to work with our leadership on the hill in the house and the senate. we have to talk to people across
the country affected by whatever tax plan is signed into law. if you look where this tax plan is going, while the top rate is lowered to 35%, there's also a lot of deductions that have been taken off the table. a person like donald trump or a person like our -- some of our folks that -- like steve mnunchin and others are not going to see much of a reduction in their taxes because a lot of the deductions that they enjoy -- >> the president could see a big deduction. >> a lot of the deductions they enjoy are taken away. it's a massive tax deduction and what the president cares most about the is middle class. this is a targeted tax deduction for the middle class. it's also targeted at attracting business in the country and making sure businesses can pass on savings to their employees so people can put more money in their pocket. they can enjoy the american dream, put their kids through college, and retire like people used to do like back where i grew up, you could work 30 years
at american motors or chrysler and you could have a great life. that's the way things used to be. the president cares about the middle class, the american dream. that's what's in his heart. >> i remember quite well, many times over the course of the campaign, candidate donald trump talking about how he was going to raise taxes on the hedge fund guys. as he called them. he said the hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. now i want you to take a look at the way the tax plan was leaved when it was released this week. reuters, fist bumps at hedge funds over trump's tack plan. "new york times." tax plan silent on carried interest, boon for the very rich. axios -- trump plan would lower taxes on some hedge fund managers. so, i mean, itd it looks to me, at least initially here, that the hedge fund guys are still going to be getting away with murder? >> that balloon is going to get
popped pretty quick. stay tuned on that. carried interest is on the table. >> this is the loophole that allows the hedge fund managers to get a much more -- >> the president wants to get rid of carried interest. that balloon won't stay inflated very long. i can assure you of that. >> this brings me to the question that's been asked a lot. now we have some news. i want to ask you about the president's own taxes. secretary -- treasury secretary mnunchin speaking about whether or not the president would release his tax returns, said the president has no intention of releasing his taxes. was he speaking for the president there? because until then, i had been hearing you all say and the president saying that he needed to wait until the audit was done. first of all, audit? no audit. >> his position is the same. he's under routine audit. when the audit is done, he'll look at releasing his taxes. let's go back for a second. first of all, this was an issue
on the table for the american people. they didn't care. i hate -- >> polls suggest they would like to -- >> same polls said he would lose and he won. hang on. you care. other people apparently that are involved in -- in the news and journalists. >> i don't want -- i don't want to debate this. >> the one tax release that was released showed that our president paid $38 million. >> did the president release it? >> someone released it. that he paid $38 million in his taxes. no, the president didn't release it. someone obtained it illegally. he paid $38 million in taxes. that was supposed to be such a big night for msnbc. >> no, i remember well. i remember well. he paid a lot of taxes in 2005. >> spent $38 million in taxes. it was about a 25% rate. and everyone said, aw, shucks. you know what? he paid a ton in taxes. >> i want to clarify the president's position on this. i asked sean spicer two weeks
ago whether or not it was just now -- let's play it. you always talk about, under audit. the president says under audit. is it time to say once and for all, the president is never going to release his tax returns? >> um, we'll have to get back to you on that. >> you won't -- i mean, really? >> really. >> so he may? >> no, i said i would have to get back to you on that. >> i want to clarify. button this up. we never have to ask you again. is he never going to release his taxes, with or without audit, no audit. is it now the policy he won't release the taxes? >> what the president has said is he's under routine audit. when the audit is over, he'll look at releasing his taxes. here's my other point. nobody cares, jonathan. you care. nobody else cares. >> don't the american people have a right to know how the tax plan will affect the president personally? >> this issue is litigated before the american people. the american people issue a judgment in november. president trump won one of the most historic presidential victories in the history of our country.
the only people asking me this question are people like you. >> okay, so let's -- on let's -- i think you'll hear someone in congress ask you as well. >> like who? nancy pelosi? chuck schumer? >> the democrats are saying they would like to see you make this a condition of a tax plan. you need democratic support. >> and the democratic party is in the worst shape it's been since -- >> i want to move on. before you go. we have a segment coming up with ann coulter and robert reich. a big controversy at
berkeley over freedom of speech. i want to ask you about two things the president has said on related issues. first of all, there was what he said about opening up the libel laws. tweeting the failing "new york times" has disgraced the media world. gotten me wrong for two solid years. change the libel laws? that would require, as i understand it, a constitutional amendment. is he going to pursue that? >> i think it's something we have looked at. how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a
different story. but when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we're sitting here on 24/7 on cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with russia. >> you think the president should be able to sue "the new york times" for stories he doesn't like? >> i think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. i'm so tired. >> i don't think anybody would disagree with that. it's about whether or not the president should have a right to sue then. >> i already answered the question. the president is looking at it. as far as
how it gets executed. where we go with it. it's another issue. i think this is a frustration of unnamed sources of things that the fbi has told me personally is complete b.s., written in a newspaper article, in my office, one on one, this, here, is not true. and guess what? it's sitting there on the front page. so how is it possible?
and what do we have? 24/7 cable about a story about intelligence that the actual intelligence agency says is not true. but yet we deal with it every day. >> quickly. the other thing he talked about is flag burners should possibly go to jail or have their -- >> people need to stand up for our flag. >> is he going to pursue that? >> the one thing we have in common as americans is our american flag. it's something that is again probably going to get looked at. our flag should be protected. donald trump talks about that issue. it's a 70% issue in the country. he wins every day and twice on sunday on our flag. >> okay, white house chief of staff, reince priebus, thank you for spending part of your sunday with us. >> thank you, jonathan. up next, on college campuses around the country, there is a debate raging on freedom speech. we'll talk to the woman at the enter of the most recent flare up at the university of california berkeley. conservative fire brand ann coulter and berkeley professor robert reich.
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the university of california berkeley 1964. the birth of the free speech movement. left wing student activists asserting their right to free expression, leading to mass arrests. and a full year of protests. this year, berkeley once again is at the center of a national controversy of free expression. this time over the right of conservatives to express their views. it's the left now being accused of trying to suppress free speech. this month, berkeley canceled a speech by conservative firebrand ann coulter, citing fears her appearance could lead to a violent backlash. joining me now, ann coulter and berkeley professor and former clinton labor secretary robert reich. professor reich, let me start with you. you and ann coulter agree on basically nothing. but you said berkeley made a grave mistake by canceling her
speech. why do you believe that. >> jonathan, as you said, i don't ever remember agreeing with ann coulter on anything. maybe there is something ann and i have agreed on. but i do believe in the first amendment. i'll fight for her right to say what she wants to say. the first amendment is and freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our democracy. and, whether it's college campuses or somebody burning a flag or it's the -- newspapers having a right to say whatever they want, we cannot toy around with the first amendment. it's absolutely critical. >> ann? >> well, thank you, professor. for allowing me my constitutional rights. but, i mean, i must say, i think this debate has, first of all, has divided leftists in the country from those who believe in the constitution and those who don't. i think we have seen this thuggish violence at university after university after university, mario savio, who stood up in the '60s and yelled free speech at berkeley.
that was free speech for lefties. but, like they say about democracy in the third world, one man, one vote, one time. as soon as lefties took over the university, that's it. free speech is shut down. but any way, i think that hill, when we have obama, elizabeth warren, bernie sanders, and bill maher, among others, all saying of course you should let ann coulter speak. and not let violent thugs shut it down. okay, we're done with that hill. now, let's move on to the hill where it's considered -- i mean, some of these people, not you, professor. keep saying, well, of course, it's hateful. but hateful speech is allowed the exist. i'm sorry, i'm engaging in a public policy debate. that is not hateful speech. i think those are the lefties we need to discuss with next. these are important issues of public policy. >> but, ann -- the reaction of students at a place like berkeley can't surprise you given some of the things you have said. >> oh, please. >> let's take a look.
you have said that getting rid of women's right to vote is a personal fantasy. you said of one group of 9/11 widows and i quote, i've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much. and then there was the tweet that you put out just the day before the election saying, if only people with at least four grandparents born in america were voting, trump would win in a 50-state landslide. i mean, on that one, by the way, neither donald trump nor mike pence would be able to vote. >> um -- i -- okay. let's just take that one. we can go through all the greatest hits of much of my commentary. i watch roughly 24 hours a day, the hispanic vote. the hispanic vote. the hispanic vote. how the -- you know, the browning of america. and how are african-americans voting? how are women voting? i describe one demographic and say how it would come out. and that's hate speech? why isn't it hate speech to keep
telling me how hispanics are going to vote. what you're talking about are rhetorical flourishes. i don't know. maybe you guys think you are smarter than the founding fathers. they did not put an asterisk on the first amendment. no rhetorical flourishes. no jokes. >> well, we finally found something, after all these years, where i agree with ann coulter. that is there is no hate speech exemption for the first amendment. >> so, i want to ask you about the similar controversy that we saw at middlebury over charles murray's attempted speech, which, caused violent protests. he ultimately was unable to speak. a student at middlebury explained the situation to "the new york times" this way. for too long, a flawed notion of free speech has allowed individuals in positions of power to spread racist pseudoscience in academic institutions dehumanizing and subjugating people of color and gender minorities.
so you're there. you're a professor at berkeley. you spend a lot will have time with very smart millennials. are you concerned that there is a growing view among young activists that freedom of speech simply does not apply to offensive speech? there is that asterisk? >> jonathan, to the extent that there is that view at berkeley or any place else, i am concerned. because one of the purposes of a university education is to be provoked. to examine what the evidence is. and if somebody says something that is offensive, well, that is not, per se, you know, a violation of any kind of university norm. in fact, quite the opposite. i tell my students all the time, the best way to learn something is to talk to people who disagree with you. it forces -- that forces you to sharpen your views and test your views. you might even, might even come out in a different place. a university of all places is
the -- is the -- locus where we want to have provocative views. we want to have views that some people find to be offensive. >> ann, can we find another place where the two of you might agree? i want to ask you. i talked to reince priebus about this a short while ago, about what the president has said about opening up the libel laws. and we heard priebus say this is something they're still looking into. in other words, giving the president the ability to sue "the new york times" or other news organizations for coverage he doesn't like. can we agree that that is not a good idea? >> i can answer that very quickly. i have always thought there should be a pure truth falsity standard and a limit on damages. i do want to agree with the professor on universities ought to be places where i'm not the only conservative most institutes will hear in four years of college. what this shows, the whole incident shows this radical insulated left on the college
campuses. and the entire left wing, including president obama and bill maher on the other side and what useless institutions our universities are. the prices are up 3,000% since the '70s. is the education better? no. it's worse. the lefties are on the side of the thugs. they've taken over the universities. i don't think anyone learns anything about college anymore. it's a four-year vacation. and i think that's what people ought to be looking at because the taxpayers are supporting the universities. not just the university of california. but with federal grants every university in america. >> if i can just get to your question, jonathan, the libel laws should not be widened. we really do need a free press. one thing that concerns me about the present administration is the willingness of the administration to not only talk about widening the libel laws and also criminalize flag-burning, but, even the president of the united states last night, using an opportunity in harrisburg to summon his
supporters and to criticize the press once again. this is dangerous. if we believe in the first amendment, we believe in a free and independent press. >> all right, professor robert reich and ann coulter, in a debate you couldn't have seen at berkeley. thank you for joining us. on "this week." >> thank you. >> thank you. the first amendment was celebrated last night at the annual white house correspondents' dinner. coming up, the president of the white house correspondents' association, jeff mason of reuters downs us at "the roundtable." but first, our exclusive interview with nancy pelosi. we'll ask her why two-thirds of americans feel the democratic party is out of touch. that's why there's trintellix, a prescription medication for depression. trintellix may help you take a step forward in improving your depression. tell your healthcare professional right away if your depression worsens, or you have unusual changes in mood,
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muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president. and it's a sign to the rest of the world. it's this amazing tradition that shows the entire world that even the president is not beyond the reach of the first amendment. >> that was comedian hasan minhaj at the white house correspondents' dinner last night. legendary journalists woodward and bernstein were at the dinner and spoke, encouraging reporters to quote follow the money and follow the lies. more on that later with our "roundtable." we'll be right back with democratic leader nancy pelosi. ray's always been different. last year, he said he was going to dig a hole to china. at&t is working with farmers to improve irrigation techniques. remote moisture sensors use a reliable network to tell them when and where to water.
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whfight back fastts, with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums the grades are coming due for president trump after an historically dismal first 100 days. budget, "f." creating jobs, "f." draining the swamp, "f." health care, "f" minus. >> and there's house democratic leader nancy pelosi giving her grade of president
trump's first 100 days in office. she joins us now in the studio. leader pelosi, thank you for being here on "this week." >> thank you, thank you. >> we heard you give president trump an "f" minus. what is your grade for democrats during the first 100 days of the trump era? >> oh, my gosh, in terms of unity? 100% unified. that's how we were able to work with an outside mobilization
channeling the energy of the american people to defeat their drastic, horrible health care bill. >> if you look at our latest abc news/"washington post" poll, two-thirds of the american people say the democratic party is out of touch. that is more than say president trump is out of touch. more than say republicans are out of touch. isn't the democratic party a bit of a mess? >> no, it isn't. the democratic party is doing fine. i would say my own critique of the democrats. we have walked the walk. we haven't talked the talk. all we do is fight for america's working families. against special interests. that the republicans represent. but that has not come across. >> you've said you think the democrats can win back the house. >> yes. >> let's do the odds. what is the percentage chance that you are reelected speaker of the house? >> well, it's not about me. >> the democrats. >> it's about the democrats. better and better. history is on our side.
as you recall when clinton was president, the republicans won. when bush was president, the democrats won, when obama was president, the republicans won. it's nothing to be taken for granted. we feel again, history on our side. i have never, in my years in politics seen so much enthusiasm. >> let's imagine for a minute that you actually win. democrats retake the house. >> mm-hmm. >> how does a democratic house and you as a democratic speaker work with this president? i mean, you've been resistance. you look a lot like the party of no right now. >> i don't think that at all. what is he proposing? a bill that had 17% support in the public in his health care bill? he hasn't really proposed anything. we're looking for the infrastructure bill. we welcome them with here to work with the president on. we welcome some of his ideas about he said in the campaign about work and home balance in terms of child care, affordable child care. we look forward to working with him.
we said we would work on a tax reform for fairness and transparency. but, what did he put out but a wish list for billionaires. i see everything as an opportunity. and, i never have seen so much willingness to help win. and winning means winning for the american people. that either we win or whoever wins understands the priorities of the american people. and they are not what president bush -- excuse me. i'm so sorry, president bush. i never thought i would pray for the day that you were president again. but -- >> praying for the day that president bush is president again. >> so you asked the question, how would i work with a republican president? the way we worked with president bush. we got a great deal accomplished. we opposed him on the war in iraq vociferously. we opposed him on privatization of social security. but we worked with him on many other issues. the biggest energy bill in the history of our country.
a tax bill that helped low-income working families. what he wanted and we wanted to be big and we found our common ground. the list goes on and on. >> let me put one hypothetical out there. you have clearly opposed and will a pose the funding for the wall. >> yeah, yeah. >> no question. is there a possibility for a grand bargain on immigration, where democrats agree to support money for the president's wall, to support money for additional border security, more i.c.e. agents, and the president agrees to support a path to legal status? is there a possibility for the two sides, even on an issue like immigration, to come together? money for the wall but also a path to citizenship? >> no. >> no? >> no. >> you wouldn't even -- >> we had a bipartisan bill out of the united states senate. >> it failed. it's gone. >> no, it didn't fail. the house republicans failed to bring it up. it would have won had they brought it up.
it did not become law. >> did not become law. >> so there is a path -- we don't have to pay for us to do the right thing as a country. and overwhelmingly, the american people support a path to citizenship. for the people who are in our country. we have to protect our borders. that is our responsibility as a nation. no offense. >> why not a wall, which was his central campaign promise? >> he never said, did you ever hear him say i'm going to charge the american people tens of billions of dollars. ? no, he wanted mexico to pay for it. >> opportunity costs. the education of our children. of infrastructure throughout our country. investments in biomedical research, which he is cutting right now. so we can have this immoral, ineffective, expensive, unwise wall. no. >> president obama came back out on the public stage.
we also saw he accepted $400,000 for a speech at a wall street conference. are you uneasy with the idea of president obama taking $400,000 from wall street for a speech? >> here's the thing. president obama -- led the way on dodd-frank, which did more to curb the influence and greed beyond greed, almost some of it criminal, in terms of what they were doing on wall street. he has standing to go any place and say i've done -- i have done. >> and accept -- >> i'm not big on the honorary -- i don't speak to who gets what for what. what is important is what we do that affects the lives of american people. president obama is no longer president. president trump is. and he has surrounded himself with a cabinet of wall streeters. after he said, in the campaign, i'm going to fire wall street. fire wall street and then rehire
them in my cabinet. so, let's talk about what matters to the american people. in terms of policy if you want to talk about wall street. >> how often do you talk to the president? >> i have no complaint that i don't talk to him enough. >> so you hear from him with regularity? >> no, i wouldn't say -- i talk to him enough. i have spoken to him. i've spoken to his administration about issues. we have a courteous, cordial respectful conversation. but -- i always grant people their position. i respect what you believe in. what you have come to do. i'm not absolutely sure what he believes in yet. but if it's reflected in his budget, we'll fight that. but he knows that. and -- so i think we have -- i think we have a -- shall we say, an understanding. >> leader nancy pelosi, thank you very much for joining us. >> my pleasure. we'll be right back with
make it. vlad can't just make it on a saturday. it's a saturday. as for the other guy, i think he's in pennsylvania because he can't take a joke. >> comedian hasan minhaj's night. our "roundtable" joins us now. daily caller white house correspondent kaitlan collins. jeff mason. president of the white house correspondents' association. and perry bacon jr. let me start with you, jeff. the president became the first president since 1981 not to go to the dinner. that was ronald reagan. he had just been shot. so he had an excuse. but you just interviewed -- you had a big interview with the president. did you get the sense talking to him that he regrets this decision in any way? >> i didn't get the sense that he regretted the decision. i certainly got the sense he was still thinking about it and thinking about the issue. he talked about potentially coming the following year. he was following it closely. was interested in it. but he didn't say anything about
regretting his decision not to come. >> this was an extraordinary move not simply that he decided not to come. but the fact that there was essentially a boycott by the entire white house. none of the white house staff. >> it was unprecedented that the rest of the white house staff was -- i think essentially not allowed to come. they were said that they did that in solidarity with the president. i know that there are plenty of white house staff and others in the administration who would have liked to have attended the dinner. >> what was the message he was trying to send, the white house was trying to send? >> it's a little artificial. because he said he didn't want to come. there would be natural tension there and it was naive to think they could come and enjoy the dinner and not be hypocritical. but, he lambasted the press and last week, he was interviewing the president. so he's obviously cozy with him. >> a lot of interviews last week. >> exactly. in private, such a media-friendly president. he sat down with him and had an interview but refused to go to the dinner that he hosted.
it seems a little artificial to me that he didn't go because he didn't want to seem too cozy with the press. >> i disagree with the word cozy. i think they have a dichotomy and an irony. in how they deal with the press. particularly the president. he is is accessible. i talked about that last night at the dinner. the trump white house has been very accessible to the press. that is something that the correspondents' association wants and pushes for. then you have this other rhetoric about how the press is -- >> the opposition party. the enemy of the people. >> exactly. he regularly criticizes "the new york times" and "the washington post" but when his health care bill didn't have enough votes and they pulled it, those are the first two organizations he called. sow can you say they're not honest. but when you call and tell them what really happened. >> look, perry, i have been covering on and off donald trump for like, a couple of decades. since i was a reporter for "the new york post" in another era. he's always been accessible and media friendly.
he may criticize and lash out. essentially a media friendly figure. that's been the key to his success. you heard from reince priebus saying they're serious or looking into the idea still of changing the libel laws. >> that was a strange thing he said, to be honest. i was very surprised about that. you had asked him about the libel laws. he said, we're looking into it. i wasn't convinced he actually is looking into it. i took it more that they're not going to walk that back. donald trump tends not to apologize. it seemed like the staff is doing that as well. i did think last night into the campaign, in the sense of -- i'm not going to party with the swamp. i'm going to be out there with my people, not with the reporters in tuxedos. so i thought that fit with his message that from the beginning, he's going to be a president that had a different relationship with washington than previous presidents have had. >> i know you were out late. thank you very much for being here and looking rested.
>> pleasure. >> what was the president's main message last night? it sounded like a throwback speech to me. >> definitely. it was like we were on the campaign all over again. i would like to touch on reince's statement about the libel laws. it's misinformed. they can't do that. there's no federal statute about libel laws. it's a state thing. >> you would need a constitutional amendment, right? >> i don't know why he said that. it's misinformed. >> last night, he was -- this was hard edge. this was america first. this was vintage campaign donald trump. >> exactly. >> that's right. i think he wanted to go in that direction. it was a contrast he wanted. he listed. he also wanted to say, i've done some of the things that i said i would do. if you look at his immigration policy, i think he has. the number of border crossings is way down in the last few months. he said he didn't want people to come here anymore illegally. he wanted to list what has he done, how has he met his promises. the media has suggested he failed in a lot of ways. there are major setbacks on health care.
the travel ban. i think he wanted -- the message is, here are the things i'm doing. here are the checkmarks i'm hitting. ignore the media saying my first 100 days were not very good. >> i was struck by nancy pelosi saying point blank not interested in a compromise on immigration. the idea of the president getting money for his wall, which he'll get back later from mexico, in exchange for a path to citizenship even. my sense is within this white house, there are obviously different views on immigration. but there is, i think, a sense that a compromise like that is something that the president would be open to. maybe not citizenship. but comprehensive immigration reform in exchange for security. >> he's definitely open to it. he relented the other night and said he may not get funding for the border wall until september. he didn't get it in the c.r. that they passed. i think he's softened his stance on immigration a lot. as a candidate, he promised to get rid of daca and he said
barack obama defied federal law when he signed those. and he's softened his stance on both of those. he has said dreamers can rest easy. he's not going to come after them. i'm interested to see how the president's supporters will react to that when they see he's not cracking down on it like he said he would. >> you already see it. daca is in place. >> right. >> this was something he talked about doing away with on day one. it's still in place. >> exactly. >> is he getting blowback from the right on this? >> i don't think he's getting enough. i've asked him repeatedly. when he had the reception for conservative media last week, i was there. and a lot of people were asking him easy questions you could tell he wanted to answer. i raised my hand and said, do you still think daca is illegal? because i don't -- his supporters care about daca. that's why a lot of people voted for him. he said, his usual answer, which is that he has heart. and he's not going to deport children who came to the country with their parents. and he didn't really take the stance that he had at
multiple rallies. where he said he's going to get rid of it and they're not going to live here anymore. >> jeff, you gotta say that flexibility has been one of the defining characteristics of the trump presidency. >> absolutely. his openness and ability to shift on positions, very firm positions he had as a candidate. i think it's interesting to see how his supporters react. he seems to be unique, as a candidate and as a president, to be able to change his opinion without necessarily getting blowback from the people who put him in office. >> so far, the polling tells us no one has changed their mind about donald trump. his base is with him. the people that hated him on january 21st, they still hate him. on the immigration issue, i would say, the way they have enforced policy on trying to deport people at courthouses. the latino community is concerned that -- some on the right say he's not been aggressive enough. some on the left say he's been too aggressive. so he's in a place in immigration where the policies are complicated. he's moved on some issues. not on others. it's hard to figure out where he
stands and where he's going to go. in terms of immigration policy in the next 100 days. before you guys go. i have to ask you. we had the tax plan released. or at least the outline of the tax plan. >> 19 bullets. >> thank you. i didn't count. where does this go? do they have a chance of seeing something by the end of the year passed that incorporates most of those 19 bullet points? >> i think that's his dream. he wants to emulate ronald reagan and have something significant passed in the first year of his first term. >> the tax rate bigger than ronald reagan's. >> exactly. it's funny how it's the biggest one. it took them 20 minutes to brief reporters on the outline of it no specifics. i don't think we'll see this by the end of the year. >> i think you have to see how will republicans accept an increase in deficits? and why would democrats give support of this? or get behind something like this. >> let me play something quickly. nancy pelosi. i asked her about the corporate tax rate.
and if she would be open to a compromise. listen to this. >> i think we could probably split the difference between the 35 and the 15. we have always been for lowering the corporate rate. >> you would agree to a22, 23? >> somewhere there. >> you think there could be a deal on taxes. >> oh, absolutely. >> what do you think? >> i'm less optimistic than nancy pelosi. i think the gap, the proposal suggests a large decrease in taxes on the wealthy. i will be very surprised if elizabeth warren, bernie sanders feel like -- there's a lot of other elements that would be controversial. they can probably pass it and use reconciliation. >> though reince priebus made news with us. saying he's going to close the hedge fund loophole. that's all the time we have. we'll be right back.
before we go, i want to address a comment from the president this week that touched off an avalanche of criticism and mockery. in an interview with reuters, president trump said of his job, i thought it would be easier. commentators, journalists, the president's political foes pounced on those words. how could he have thought it would be easier? now, it's true that as a candidate, donald trump said over and over again that it would be easy to fix america's problems. but before you mock those words of president trump, consider the words of john f. kennedy. when dwight d. eisenhower visited him at camp david about 100 days into kennedy's presidency.
it's a story recounted by historian steven ambrose and a story nancy pelosi brought up to me at the end of our interview. kennedy told eisenhower, nobody knows how tough this job is until he's been in it for a few months. mr. president, eisenhower answered, if you'll forgive me, i think i mentioned that to you three months ago. kennedy responded, i certainly have learned a lot since then. if president trump has learned the same lesson, that may just be a 100-day accomplishment worth celebrating. that's all for today. thank you for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news" tonight. until next week, that's "this week."
up next, shots fired in francisco forced police to shut down part of the mission. investigation under way. killer whales showing up in the groves by the numbers in monahan bay. look at all the sunshine. temperatures near 60 degrees in our valleys right now. that's going to be 10 degrees above average for another afternoon of low 8 08s 0s on th. but wait, the extended outlook shows summer heat on the way. i'll have