Skip to main content

tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  November 16, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

12:00 am
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin with the consideration of donald trump, the president-elect's transition team and his appointment of steve hartman. we talked to michael shear, philip rucker, ken stern and joshua green. >> steve and breitbart are professionals and provocateurs around trade and government, anti-washington, anti-establishment, so he's sort of an extraordinarily outside figure to be mr. inside the white house. i don't think i've seen anything like it in my lifetime. >> rose: we conclude with michele norris of npr remembering her very good friend and our champion here at pbs, gwen ifill, who died at age 61. >> people know her for her toughness. but think about it, charlie, when you think of an image of gwen, what comes in your mind?
12:01 am
probably a smiling face. >> rose: a smile. yes, and yet she was tough, but she was accessible. >> rose: donald trump and the shaping of an administration, and remembering the great journalism and the great person, gwen ifill, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with a look into president-elect donald trump's transition team and specifically his appointment of chief strategist steve
12:02 am
bannon. bannon is executive chairman of breitbart news which he describes as the platform of the alt right. the announcement comes as trump promises to unit a deeply divided country. joining me from washington is ken stern, he profiled bannon in august for "vanity fair" magazine. also joshua green of "bloomberg businessweek" and philip rucker to have "the washington post" and michael shear of the "new york times." michael, i'll begin with you. tell me where do you think trump is and before we specifically focus on steve bannon, tell me where you think the principle appointment that might be coming out soon. >> well, i think where we are is in a much more chaotic place than you normally are a week out after an election. the reporting that we've done here at the "times" and phil and folks have done at "the washington post" and elsewhere
12:03 am
suggest that the transition has been very rocky, they had to change leadership in the first couple of days, ended up pushing out chris christie and an entire team. they brought in a new team. now they're frantically working on the 26th floor of the trump tower to try to put together the first big announcement after, of course, mr. bannon and the announcement of the chief of staff, we're waiting for rudy giuliani, the former mayor of new york, jeff sessions, senator from alabama, two names that have been bandied about for a couple of different jobs, probably secretary of state, defense department, attorney general, and we really don't have much of a sense of timing because there is no real communication from the transition team to reporters about kind of a timing that we might expect or aticular role. so we're just waiting to see what happens. >> rose: tell me about chris christie? what happened h to him? was it simply infighting or people who were jockeying for
12:04 am
power or was there some sense by donald trump that he did not think chris christie was what he expected and wanted in his administration? >> i think it was a combination of a series of things, but you mentioned a couple. one is infighting and power jockeying. there is reporting that suggests jared cus kushner, mr. trump's son-in-law was not eager to see him being part of the transition and administration. you had the bridgegate scandal in new jersey which in the last several weeks there were convictions in that case and there were some feelings inside the transition team that this was not a particularly good time to have a governor like chris christie who has these problems at home to be leading the
12:05 am
administration's decision of who to pick. but not only chris christie but a purge of all his people, people who were close to chris christie, chris christie brought in, mike rogers, former congressman leading national security effort, he's also out today. part of what's contributing to the chaos is a sense that, hey, we already had one team and now we have to build another one. >> rose: phil, what would you ad to this overview? >> mike's exactly right. there's another power center here and that's senator jeff sessions, one of donald trump's most earliest and enthusiastic endorsers during the primaries and general election and he's exerting a lot of influence. he was at trump tower. his chief of staff has taken over. he's having a lot of say over who gets other jobs and who's being vetted for some of the senior level positions in the administration and we just can't
12:06 am
underscore enough a role that the family is playing. jared kushner, husband of ivana trump, a real estate developer like donald trump, he's having a lot of say over every single staff position, as are the other adult children of donald trump. >> rose: let me add two names in the national security area. one is general flint who has been close to donald trump and is rumored as a national security possibility? >> that's right, and we're hearing he is sort of personally overseeing all of the national security selections right now. he's having a lot to do with who is considered for c.i.a., who'sd considered for d.n.i., who's considered at the state department, at the pentagon, all the way down. he is trump's most trusted national security advisor. he's considered sort of a shoe-in to be the national security advisor at the white house but he's exert ago lot of control in the transition.
12:07 am
>> rose: also john bolton. and he's under consideration for secretary of state. he's a controversial figure himself. he had to be appointed for a recess appointment in the bush administration to become the ambassador of the united nations. trump is considering him for secretary of state along with rudy giuliani, they're the top two candidates, as far as we know, at this point, and the important thing about all these candidates under consideration is loyalty. it's something we knew in the campaign that donald trump prized loyalty from people, he demands it from people, and they're really not giving a lot of consideration to people for top jobs in this administration who are not on board with the trump campaign during the general election and were not enthusiastically supporting him. so that's not only that the people in the never trump movement are not being considered, but even if you were a republican who was neutral and you weren't saying anything pro or con about donald trump in the campaign, that's a knock against you right now in this transition process. >> rose: i want to come to some general questions again but
12:08 am
that brings me to steve bannon. ken, tell me who steve bannon is and why is he so -- you know, when they made the announcement of the new chief of staff, reince priebus, it was steve bannon who led the list, and he's going to be principal strategist and senior advisor, someone most people don't know but enormously controversial. >> yeah, so steve is a fascinating character. he was an investment banker and, about five years ago, maybe after andrew breitbart died, he took over the reins of breitbart and really created a trump movement before there was trump, and donald trump really road the wave of the breitbart audience, the republican nomination, and then brought steve in, in
12:09 am
august, to be his campaign manager with the results that we all know. breitbart is, you know -- steve and breitb art are really professional provocateurs is what they are around issues and nationalism, trade, anti-government, anti-washington, i could say, i would say even more than that. i think without him, there would have been no political movement trump could ride to the nomination. you know, they called breitbart trump, but there is a synergy between the two because there is a movement that trump could develop and take forward. i don't think he would have been the nominee without breitbart driving that energy in alt right.
12:10 am
>> rose: joshua green, tell me what influence he has. what is it he believes in that he may have influenced donald trump to believe in? >> well, bannon is a hard-right populist who believes that the same pop list uprisings we've seen sweep against europe with the brexit vote is sweeping across the united states as well and that trump is essentially the figure that embodied that here in the u.s. so everything bannon was telling trump was to position himself as just such a figure and succeeded in getting trump elected president. >> rose: but more than that, i mean, the characterization of him as someone who sees politics as a disruptive force, as an ability to disrupt the way things are, he was the one that wanted to bring the women who had made accusations against bill clinton to the debate, has a sense of theater people talk about, he has a sense of wanting to push trump to go to mexico to see the mexican president, those
12:11 am
kinds of things. what i'm looking for is a sense of how his mind works. >> well, bannon fundamentally is a creature of the media. add goldman sachs he was a mergers and acquisitions banker who specialized in making deals with tv and movie studios. part of the way bannon got rich is negotiated a deal between castle rock and ted turner where in lieu of payment he took residual to the seinfeld tv show back in the first couple of seasons, as we know seinfeld has done well. he moved from that into actual moviemaking. he made documentaries about sarah palin, the tea party, about the financial crisis, so he is very sharply attuned to media, to theater, to drama. if you read breitbart news and the way they cover the news, it is kind of an all caps way of covering the news.
12:12 am
and bannon has essentially been the karl rove figure in trump's ears these last few months and even back going a couple of years, advising him, coaxing him, pushing him down that path to become the figure that trump is today. >> rose: okay, but michael shear, what about these questions of racism, what about the questions of misogyny, what about the questions of a much harder and a much tougher mindset about how politics is played and certainly reflected in the language of donald trump? >> right. well, look, i think there will be two very interesting things play out as we watch steve bannon come into the west wing and that will be, one, the way in which he is personally defined. you saw an unleashing on the left yesterday of accusations against him personally as
12:13 am
essentially -- not essentially -- as a racist, as a misogynist, as an anti-semite, a bigot. on twitter, statements from nancy pelosi on down, their effort was to characterize him in that way, in part to undercut any effectiveness he might have going forward. his friends and supporters pushed back and said, look, regardless of -- you know, you're trying to put all this stuff on him, articles that might have appeared on the breitbart news web site, that doesn't necessarily reflect him. i just want to say one other thing, though, that's going to be interesting to watch totally apart from his personal views. it is correct to say that the idea of somebody who is so incredibly anti-establishment being in that office, that sort of senior adviser office just a few steps down from the oval office, the way in which his inclination to blow this place up, to blow up washington, to attack the establishment clashes with the other person we know
12:14 am
who's going to be there who is reince priebus who is the ultimate staffer, the ultimate establishment figure who ran the r.n.c. since 2011 and by nature is wisconsin nice, a guy who believes in working with folks and coming together to get things done, i mean, those are two diametrically opposite forces, and as someone who covered the white house for the last eight years, that kind of nuclear confrontation at the very heart of the west wing is going to make this an incredibly interesting view to watch. >> rose: everybody weighed in on this. does it also suggest something about the way donald trump's mind works? >> it absolutely does. think it does. go ahead. well, i would say it absolutely does. bannon has been advising trump several years. he told me when last we spoke he informally began advising trump in 2012, 2013, that trump was a big breitbart reader, that that's one of the ways that
12:15 am
trump got locked into this idea of immigration that drove his candidacy, and i think trump is someone who feels comfortable having bannon in his ear. as we watch is chaos of trump's primary campaign unfold like paul man dopaul manafort being e settled on steve bannon, a guy he h wants in his ear and the white house the same way he did in the campaign. >> trump's leadership and management style, when he was running his businesses and working as a candidate in the last year, he seeks advice from a lot of people. he would spend days at his desk in trump tower calling people, dozens a day, getting the them to weigh in on a decision, taking their temperature, getting their advice. it's not the way a president normally operates but it's the way trump operates and he'll bring that style to the white house and i think that's one of the reasons he has two very different people with equal authority at the top levels of his west wing.
12:16 am
>> i think one thing i would say, i think just the point that michael made is incredibly important for breitbart, for bannon. public enemy number two is the clintons and the obamas, the democratic party. public enemy number one is the republican establishment. that's what they're created to fight. it's going to be an extraordinarily interesting conflict-ridden four years or two years or however long they co-exist between bannon and his clique and the republican establishment. >> rose: reince priebus was chairman of the republican national committee. he's good friends of speakerrer of the house paul ryan, they're from wisconsin. >> righter and i think what you will see develop over the first few months or weeks of the
12:17 am
administration, the two different kind of power that lives inside the white house. there is institutional power, and reince priebus comes in with more of that.e/+ the chief of staff have institutional inherent powers that give him the ability to run a lot of things, then you have the personal relationships. valerie jarrett doesn't have a particularly central institutional role and jet she has the ear of the president way more than a lot of the other people in the west wing do. so if steve bannon is that guy who whispers into donald trump's ear before he goes back into thd residence or flies back up to new york -- or flys back up to new york, he's going to be the one who has the bigger influence. >> rose: doesçó he obviously listen to steve bannon about things trump wanted to do or didn't do because steve bannon said don't do that, it's not the right thing to do at this moment, even though you might want, to even though your instinct might be to do that, don't do it? >> i mean, i think he did some of that and some of the opposite, right, which is to say, as eivedz else was
12:18 am
whispering or telling, weighing in to tell donald trump don't do this, you know, bannon was saying, no, do it, go ahead! be yourself! be big! be bold! i think the mexico trip was probably an example, but i think there is probably presen plentyf other examples. i think we'll get more of that in the administration where we'll shake our heads and say, wow, he did that? and it will be the result of bannon saying go ahead, do it. >> rose: he said there's to be a link of poppism in europe and what happened in great britain with the brexit vote, yes? >> yes, bannon has been close with nigel farage, the former champion of the brexit effort. farraj happened toñil at bannon's house a couple of years ago, the conservative political action conference, spotted a couple of days ago leaving trump tower, so farraj is someone bannon has made a particular effort to bring in
12:19 am
not just u.s. politics but into trump's world in particular and for me one of the weirdest scenes of the republican primaries was trump actually trotted farraj out on stage at a stadium rally in mississippi, of all places, this british aristocrat to talk about why donald trump ought to be the next u.s. president. so bannon is somebody who has a strange amalgamation of characters, many of whom i think will be roles in a trump administration. >> rose: one of the things that's interesting to me about all of this in terms of brexit, for example. after the brexit vote happened and trump identified with it so strongly, it was because he thought of it as aok movement ad he thought of what he was about as a movement, and he talked of it much more as a movement than the did about as a party. >> i think that's right, and one thing outer going to see bannon try to do is keep donald trump connected to the movement. so he will be here in washington
12:20 am
as president in the white house cutting deals, doing legislation and all that and bannon will have his ear to the ground and try to keep trump rooted in what got him here and i expect we'll see a lot of theatricali] displays. we may see trump making major announcements on the road, hold rallies, roll out a legislative agenda in front of 10,000 people in front of people in pensacola, florida, to keep himself rooted and that's going to be part of the bannon portfolio in the west wing. >> can i add to this point, i think one of the lessons presidents sometimes learn when they go into the white house is it becomes difficult to stay connected to the movement that you created during your campaign. i mean, barack obama clearly sort of 2007-2008, very different than the thing we have been talking about with bannon and breitbart, but one of the challengesúis you get into office, you start
12:21 am
having to do things your people don't necessarily like, you have to start cutting deals with the other party, you're sort of ensconced in washington, this swamp that everybody hates, and sometimes it can be difficult for presidents to keep that connection. i think breitbart and bannon will probably aim to make sure thatç' but, you know, that's going to be a challenge for him to make sure that he doesn't become a creature of the very thing hat he campaigned against. >> and to pick up on myel's point -- micle's point, i think it will be difficult forçó bannn who during his entire career has been delighted at standing outside the system and throwing rocks at people. the fact he wound up in a west wing office is mind blowing both because of, you know, his unfitness forñr the job by any traditional qualification and also because there was never really any sign this was the sort of job he wanted. i mean, in a way, bannon is like the dog who caught the bumper. i' what's going happen next.
12:22 am
>> rose: all right, but michael shear, back to you. i want to read the first paragraph of your piece today in the "new york times" written with maggie haberman and michael schmidt. a fierce chorus denounced donald trump for appointing stephen bannon a nationalist media mo ml to a top white house post-. even as president obama described mr. trump as pragmatic, not ideological and held out hope he would rise to the challenge of the presidency. i mean, do you see emerging with donald trump a praying c rather than a movement quality? >> i don't know that i see it. i mean, you know, we haven't had evidence of it. i think that was more hopeful with president obama from his perspective than a reality that we can see and get our hands
12:23 am
around. look, president obama's had this job eight years, he knows it better than any of us do, and perhaps he has a sense that the job, the institution, the office, sitting behind the resolute desk, will confer on donald trump a sense of pragmatism that we haven't seen a lot of. i think that, to theñi extent tt bannon has his ear, he will be pushing donald trump against that, away from that. but there are, you know, precious, certainly, that move a president in that direction. >> rose: women go back to ken. we just lost you for a moment. come back to this question. we talked about racism and antisemitism and m misogyny, all words and ideas thrown at steve bannon. also something he's proud of, hard right nationalist movement. what does that mean for him? >> so he'll say he's a
12:24 am
nationalist and deny he's a white nationalist. there is a difference, at least in his mind, between the two. for him nationalist means the people who are here have to come first, and this notion of all policies need to be focused on what he sees as the real americans, which is, for him, really, the american worker, and that might be a white or black worker but it's the american worker and he is rebelling against the notionxd that the establishment has sold out that american worker over a series of years and deals. that's what's nationalism for him h. so ehe looks at issues like trade as selling out the american worker. he looks at immigration as selling out the american worker. that's his platform, the race piece comes from -- because i think he's found whether he's a racist or not, he has found that a lot of dog whistle stuff works with his audience, and that's
12:25 am
where a lot of the energy and heat around him come, but his platform really is, you know, that anti-establishment, anti-globalism essence of nationalism. >> rose: you hear this, also, based on what you just said, ken, you hear this in what donald trump uses as self-description and even said to leslie stahl, i'm an american first, that's how i see the world. that's the same thing this, in part, is it not? >> yeah, i think it's an exact quote, that notion, and that's a notion most politicians would view themselves as caring about their communities before other communities, but rooted in that the notion is that there are real americans and others who are not real americans, and i think that's where the conflict comes about. it's that notion of, you know -- they object to the notion of the melting pot, of bringing in others before you take care of your own, and their view is you
12:26 am
haven't taken care of your own. and there are echoes on both sides to have the right and left, if you want to be fair about it. >> breitbart is different than anything you have on the left, and i think part of the problem so upsetting to a lot ofeitbart liberals and democrats and even some republicans is they take the "america first" idea not just as a notion that americans should come first but as the notion that americans are under assault from specific groups of people, whether they be illegal immigrants or muslims or black criminals. i mean, if you read the site, they speak in a particularly racially paranoid, inflammatory language that i think often does veer over into outright racism. and it's the idea that those views and that kind of a thinking would be represented in the west wing that is so upsetting to so many people right now. >> part of what's really
12:27 am
remarkable about a president so closely associating himself with a guy like bannon but with this web site which has just spilled out over all of the years all of this stuff is when you become president, your words have a different weight to not only america but to the world, and if you think back to what president obama then candidate obama had to do to disassociate himself with the reverend wright comments, right, the reason obama had to do that in that campaign was that the sense was, if he allowed himself to be associated with some of the things that reverend wright had said, sort of anti-american kind of ranting and statements,çó tht somehow that if he ever became president, that would take on a whole different tone and, so, theñr ideañr7n' that presidentt trump is allowing himself to be associated so directly with all of these sort of, you know,
12:28 am
spectrum of statements that have been on breitbart, whether he believes them or not, it really takes on an entirely different magnitude when you become president of the united states and every word that comes out of your mouth is the word of the united states. >> rose: well, how will this play itself out? you think mr. bannon will be required to denounce what is there and clearly distance himself? >> i mean, i don't see how -- i don't see how he can. i don't see -- i mean, you know, some of our other panelists here have talked to him. i've not interviewed him so perhaps they have some insight. i don't see how he disassociates himself, and i think ultimately they don't want to because they see breitbart as still fueling the movement. so it is a central piece of what they're about. so i think it will be interesting and fascinating and revealing to see how it all plays out. >> i would say, if you had told me a year ago that breitbart and
12:29 am
steve bannon would play a role in the successful campaign of an american president, i would have said you're insane. but what has happened -- ( laughter ) i mean, i would have. it would have been inconceivable to me. but somehow, over the last year, how they talk and what they talk about has been normalized for a big part of the voting public, and that's both the amazing thing and the scary thing about this. it's not just they have these views, but it's become a much more normal part of the conversation. i don't see bannon or trump changing the way they interact. >> rose: everybody agree? i absolutely agree, though i differ from other folks in saying i don't see how it's tenable for bannon to remain connected to breitbart news. i think trump and his administration are going to have a realization about the power of their words when trump is president, as michael alluded to, and i don't think they will want reporters coming to them every day saying here's a racist
12:30 am
and inflammatory headline from breitbart, how do you respond to this. so if only in a formal sense, i think bannon will have to cut ties in a formal way. >> i agree, but i don't see breitbart news stopping the direction of the coverage they have. so i think there will always be a connection in people's minds, whether or not he's got an official role there or not. >> rose: but it is true, it seems to me, you know, that donald trump's campaign and the people he's associated with and what he has said has given power, position, credibility to the alt right movement. >> no question about that. most people i don't think had heard the term alt right until six months ago and i think it was hillary clinton who elevated that term into the national discourse by making a speech
12:31 am
explicitly drawing connections between racism and antisemitism and anti-muslim sentiment and applying them to donald trump. it just so happens trump's chief advisor bannon wears that mantle proudly or at least he did till trump won the eelection. now i guess we'll see. >> and bannon is so central to donald trump's candidacy, his strategy, his vision for this country that trump knew over the last few days that this was going to be a huge story. he knew that appointing bannon to be counselor at the white house was going to create blowback and accusations of racism and misogyny and antisemitism, but he did it anyway because it was so important to have steve bannon at his side during the beginning days of his presidency so that tells you something about where bannon fits in the pyramid of power. >> i think it says something about donald trump, too. we could not imagine a steve bannon in any other administration because he is so far outside the bounds of what would typically be considered
12:32 am
acceptable in american politics that it just never would happen, yet trump has appointed him, and i think that tells us or amplifies the point that trump himself is so outside the bounds of what is normal in u.s. politics, that the next four or eight years ago are going to be very unsettling and perhaps very scary. >> one last point on the notion that bannon may have to sort of sever ties or walk away, bannon hasn't done any media interviews since he went on the trump campaign with any major news organizations, but he's continued to appear on his old breitbart radio show. he was there the day after the election. so i think he's not giving up that real or connection. i think that's terribly important to him in his position and probably important important to trump and his constituency. >> rose: and another name we
12:33 am
haven't heard from much is roger stone. where is he? >> charlie, if i could mildly correct the record there. i actually did speak to bannon on the record the day after trump was elected president, and he did give his outlook o somebody who exists in a more distant orbit around trump. he's always there. he, too, is a similar influence to bannon but i don't think h he is the same kind of horse whisperer and strategist that bannon has been and i can't really imagine a role for roger stone in the white house. >> rose: let me follow up with you, then. i assume some of the things we have been talking about appeared in the article, number one. i mean, the kinds of things we're talking about is the kinds of things you addressed in the article, and if you, in fact, had to summarize steve bannon,
12:34 am
of all the things we've said, what would be the first paragraph? >> well, i think what bannon is trying to do now is to meld this kind of hard right populism that he espouses with the kind of institutional conservatism as it's existed in washington up until now. and for all of his reputation as a bomb thrower and an attacker of his fellow republicans, bannon was a voice inside the campaign toward the end who is urging trump not to attack paul ryan. it's actually trump family members who are really bitter and stoking that along. so there are at least some mild signs or signals that maybe bannon wants to morph into a different sort of person and understands that trump has a different audience now as president and a different set of people he feeds to appeal to than he did during the campaign. a month ago, two months ago, six months ago, it was great to win over 20,000 people at a stadium
12:35 am
rally, but now he needs to win over the 535 members of the u.s. congress if he's going to be able to get anything done as president, and i think, although i'm not sure, that bannon recognizes that distinction, is going to try and shift trump in a healthier direction. >> rose: thank you so much, joshua green, ken stern, philip rucker and michael shear. it's been an enlightening sense of understanding what's going on a few blocks from where i am recording this conversation. we'll be right back. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you all very much. we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: gwen ifill, the great distinguished pbs journalist died yesterday following a battle with cancer. 61, way too young, one of the most prominent television anchors of her generation, also one to have the first african-american women to preside over a major national political show with her her
12:36 am
appointment in 1999 to lead washington week in review. president obama described her as an especially powerful role model for women and young girls who admire her integrity, tenacity and intellect. she began her career at the baltimore evening sun in 1981, went on to report for "the washington post" and the "new york times." she covered congress and many presidential campaigns. she served as moderator and managing editor of the pbs public affairs program washington week and the co-anchor and co-editor of "newshour" on pbs with judy woodruff. she prided over the 2000 and 2004 general elections. she helped moderate a debate between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. her close colleague michele norris joins me. i know it's a difficult week for
12:37 am
you and i appreciate you coming here to share what is so powerfully missing today because gwen has left us. david brooks wrote beautifully because he was there at pbs with honor friday. let's talk about friendship first. >> that would be a great place to start, charlie. it's really good to be with you. it would be a great place to start because for the last three decades she has been my closest friend, really almost a sister to me, and i miss her so much, already. it's really hard to start to talk about her in the past tense. >> rose: tell me about the evolution of the friendship. >> well, we met at a journalism convention. i had access to a car because of who i was dating. ( laughter ) somehow, as a good reporter, somehow she knew that. we had been at a convention
12:38 am
where all the activities were behind closed doors. we had not been outside, and she approached me and said, i hear yoyouyou have access to a car. we want to break free. we went to the galleria, this big shopping center, and spent an afternoon together. not long after that, i was working at "the los angeles times," later the chicago tribune and then "the washington post" where we deepened our friendship, i was interviewing for a job at "the washington post," and she saw he and we greeted her and said hello. she said, listen, this is what you need to do, before you go in for your interview, you need to ask for more money than you're prepared to ask for and think about the assignment you need to ask for. she said that's what the white boys do. you need to think about your value and push for it. then it was like a lightning strike and she was off back to her desk to work on a deadline.
12:39 am
it stiffened my spine a bit. i didn't get all i asked for but got more than i would have otherwise. she served in my life over and over again reminding me of my value, teaching me to be tough, and teaching anyone around her to really understand themselves and understand how to look for excellence in themselves. >> rose: how come she was so wise? >> she comes from a family of really which coul wicked smart . we are much like family, we spent holidays together. her brothers and sisters are really smart and i think, for them, it began as their dining room table. her father was a minister, a general sector in the ame church. >> rose: right. and really asked for much of his sons and daughters, demanded they read, demanded they do well in school, and demanded they participate in this robust
12:40 am
family conversation. and i think for gwen, she learned how to question authority without being sent to her room. >> rose: yes. eally early in life, and that served her well as a journalist, certainly. >> rose: did the toughness come from them? >> you know, i think the toughness came from them. i think the tough necessary came from -- i think the toughness came from being an african-american woman who went to high school and college in the '70s. some of it was innate, but some of it she cultivated. people know her for her toughness. when you think of an image of gwen, what comes in your mind? probably a smile. >> rose: a gentle smile. yet she was tough, but she was accessible, and i think in some way some of it was in her dna, but she also taught herself how to be tough in a particular way and, as a woman, period, and as a female journalist and as someone working in television at the same time she was working in television, i really appreciated it because, for a while, if you
12:41 am
worked in television and if you covered, you know, one of the big beats, like politics or if you, you know, covered the treasury, you had to carry authority in a certain way, and gwen showed you could do it in a slightly different way. you didn't have to lower your voice and you didn't have to always wear the dark, bossy suits so that you looked like the male anchors. you could do it, express authority and gravidas, but you could also smile. you could show joy in your work and that it didn't diminish or and didn't lessen or flatten your intellect in some ways. i think that was an important lesson oor journalists but also young women who saw her and her strengths and saw she wasn't hardened around the edges, that she was someone who expressed joy and had an inviting nature about her because of that. >> rose: what brought her the most pride? >> young people. you know, knowing that she was
12:42 am
leaving a pipeline of young journalists who cared about the industry, who were interested in journalism. she was really worried about the way the industry had changed. she was worried that young people would either think journalism wasn't a noble profession or that they wouldn't necessarily understand how to fill out their resume or their c.v. or experiences so they could really be muscular journalists. we would go to these journalism conventions almost every year for the national association of black journalists and sometimes other conventions, but in an aba convention, a line of women would follow her wherever she went. we want to be just like you, gwen! they would be dressed to the nines and have the sheaths with the resumes with them and she took this very seriously and she was always encouraging but she would say, okay, you want to be a journalist. what newspapers did you read today? >> rose: exactly. in school, did you write for your newspaper in school?
12:43 am
did you use the opportunity to sharpen your skills? or did you work for the college radio station? you know, she wanted people to understand that journalism was not just about reading copy and looking good behind camera, that you had to be able to understand how to wrestle a story to the ground, deal with reluctant sources and work with editors and would always tell them, if you have a choice and you have to decide between this market or that market or this job or that job, take the job that will allow you to work with the toughest editor. >> rose: right, you will learn there. >> mm-hmm, exactly. >> rose: david brooks in the "new york times" had the following paragraph, once during a walk through walk creek park in washington, she told me that if she didn't go to church on sunday, she left a little flatter for the whole week. a spirit as deep and ebull yent as hers needed nourishment and care, and when it came out, it came out in her smile which was totalistic and unrestrained. religion was important?
12:44 am
>> religion was very important, in part pause she was a p.k., a preacher's kid. >> rose: yes, i know. ( laughter ) >> so it was important for that reason but also because it was her emotional refueling station. she went to church because she loved church. we lived near rock creek park for the last three decades, we lived within five blocks of each other and near rock creek park, so i know exactly where she was walking with david. and we would talk about our individual religious traditions. she's ame and i'm catholic and we would talk about in my case the homily and in her case the sermon. she loved the joy and the music of the service. she loved seeing people every week and sat in the same place and same pew. with a dear friend, they'd go to breakfast after 8:00 service. it was important to her. it was especially important to her recently as she was battling an illness, and her faith really
12:45 am
helped her get through this. she was very private. many of your viewers probably were much surprised to hear about her passing because they didn't know that she had been sick, and you wouldn't know it from watching her on the air. she anchored two conventions. she did a town hall meeting with president obama. she traveled the country because she wanted to hear from voters. she didn't want to anchor the broadcast from the studio. in this election she wanted to go out and hear from people. she did that in part because of her stamina but also her faith. it propelled her forward and kept her strong. she had this ability to do something that i think is so important that people understand. she chose joy. she chose to look for brightness. she chose to reach for and to look for the good things in people. and the small details in life
12:46 am
and understood that god is d is everywhere in his ownthat way, everywhere in the world, and part of that came from her faith and added to her curiosity as a journalist, to her sort of muscular sense of curiosity and to her ability to look inside herself and will herself forward, even when, you know, many people who were facing her illness, she had endo meterrial cancer and in the end dealing with quite a lot of pain, and she decided she would lean on her faith. eshe would take good care of herself, but she would try to get as much out of life as she could, and part of that was continuing to practice this thing she loved, this craft of journalism. it was important to her and she felt it was important to her viewers that she owed them particularly in this election to really put herself into her work. >> rose: she was worried, it is said, about the status of racism in america and
12:47 am
increasingly worried. >> she was, and, you know, for good reason. we learned a lot about america on november 8th, and not because things were suddenly new to america, but because there were things that were revealed and surfaced. she was concerned on a lot of different levels. she was concerned people weren't listening to each other. she was concerned -- she predicted some of the violence and some of the sort of course nature of discourse we were seeing on the campaign trail might blossom into something more pugilistic and potentially ugly after the election, and we've seen some of the incidence of that. she was worried journalists were afraid to confront the issue of racism. you know, she did it often. it wasn't always necessarily talking about race, and she understood the difference between racism and race, also, which is an important nuance, that you could talk about race without necessarily talking about racism. that race was this bright
12:48 am
thread, this pulsing, throbbing vein that ran through america's body politic, and if you really want to understand governance or governing and politics in america, that you really had to contemplate and consider race, and she understood not everyone was comfortable doing that. so she used her role as a journalist, as an inquisitor to raise these questions and have these conversations and, charlie, she did it in the studio, but she also did it in her personal life. you know, she loved to entertain. she had people in her home all the time. she was out in the world at dinners and she really maintained several close friendships, and she was the kind of person who could keep a conversation going even when things got a little bit brickly. she had a great sense of humor and an amazing sense of comic timing. but she would help guide the conversation by allowing people to talk about things that they might not talk about themselves. >> rose: david wrote about
12:49 am
people gathering the night before obama's inauguration at david and katherine bradley's house and they were singing a lot of civil rights songs including "amazing grace," and people knew the first stanza, many people knew the first stanza, but by the time they got to the end of amazing grace, only one person was still singing. >> and she was so proud of that. she had a beautiful singing voice, also, because she grew up singing in the church. you know, but it was also true that some people can sing, you know, lift up your voice and sing. the national anthem, she knew every stanza of that one and could proudly -- and when everyone else could get quiet and pretend to sing, she would get louder and louder because she knew all the words and was proud of that. >> rose: had life been good to her before the cancer came? >> very good and she would tell you that without hesitation, she was rich in all the important
12:50 am
ways. she was accomplished in her career but she also had deep and abiding friendships. she had a lovely home. she was curious about the world and she would travel the world and she loved arts and she was out and about in the city all the time. she really did feel like she had an abundant life. on friendship, we started talking about friendship. i want to make this note is that she understood that friendship is much like a garden, need to be fertilized and nourished, and she took care of her friends and whether they were personal friends or people who sat at her table in the studio friday night, if you talk to them, you will know she knew their parents names. she kept up with their kids and if you who was graduating from high school or who was coming home this summer from college. she really took care of her people, and her people were,
12:51 am
capital h, capital p, her people, a really big group of people, and she loved that. i think it's been noted many times now, this tradition in washington, she would throw up her doors on new year's day, started out as a tiny apartment and grew in size, and it was a very integrated group offpeople which, as much as we like to pretend washington is an integrated city, frankly, it is not and she was always bringing people together in that way. >> rose: did she talk about dying? >> she did not. i spent a lot of time with her in this last year. she didn't tell a lot of people and there were a small group of us that spent a lot of time with her including her siblings and a few of her long-time friends. she didn't talk about it because she was too busy living. she didn't talk about it because she wanted to always look for
12:52 am
the answers, to look for the plan and the path forward. and, so, the end of that plan was not part of what she was contemplating because she was looking for answers that would help her continue to have joy and music and richness in her life. so she didn't -- i was going to say she didn't dwell on it, it's more than that. she really didn't spend a lot of time talking about that. even in the most difficult moments, you know, she was looking, let's get a plan, i need to get better, i need to get through this, i've got people to see and things i want to do. >> rose: she always would say to me -- and i didn't see her often, in fact rarely because i lived in new york and she lived in washington and we didn't necessarily -- we would see each other covering the same events, but she always said, you're working too hard, or how is it that you're doing this, you know, and i want to make sure
12:53 am
you're having fun. >> that's funny that you say that because, you know, you do burn the candle at both ends. and i'm laughing because we were watching you one day, and we had just seen you the night before, and she said, does he ever sleep? you know, how does he do this? but it's funny because you could say pot kettle black. >> rose: yes, exactly right. exactly right. >> you know, she hosted a weekly show and did washington week and you could see her doing history makers and other things. >> rose: that's exactly what i said to her, by the way. david brody ended his piece, now that gwen is dead, who is the next best thing? there is nobody. there are many great people who will follow her example but nobody quite reminds you of gwen. you had a rare privilege because all of us, in friendship, find
12:54 am
one of the great rewards of life, and you can say and feel and know that because you shared this friendship with gwen ifill, your life is better. >> oh, much better. much better. she was singular, and that's okay, but her voice is needed now more than ever, and that's one of the many things that makes me so sad right now. but the things that we need right now -- courage, curiosity, someone who will really stand up for journalistic principles, tolerance, the ability to listen, but also to push people and to remind us of what we really stand for as americans, that lives in all of us, and i think if we think about her life and the blessings of her life and the way she led her life, it can be a beacon or perhaps a road map for us to find that in ourselves. >> rose: michele, thank you
12:55 am
for being with us. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: gwen ifill, 61 years old, way too soon, a magnificent life. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> rose: for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
12:56 am
>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
12:57 am
12:58 am
12:59 am
1:00 am
♪ this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and sue herera. lucky seven. the dow extends its winning streak and sends the blue chip index to another all-time high. buffett boost. airlines take off after the billionaire investor has a change of heart, and makes a big bet on that sector. under the microscope. what might funding for medical research look like under a trump administration? those stories and more tonight on "nightly business report" for tuesday, november 15th. good evening, everyone. glad you could be with us tonight. this rally shows no signs of cooling off. the dow jones extending its winning streak to seven days. oil prices soarednd


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on