tv Washington Week PBS April 6, 2018 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
robert: president trump rattles obal markets after threatening china with billions in new tariffs. i'm robert costa. u.s. troops head to the border and the embattled e.p.a. chief fights to keep his job. tonight on "washington week." trade war. president trump: you have to go after the people that aren't treating you right. robert: president trump calls for an additional $100 billion in tariffs on chinese goods,ng escalahe feud between the world's two largest economies. plus- >> this president has shown tremendous courage. robert: will e.p.a. administrator's scott pruitt' unwavering support for the president he him with a storm of controversy. questions about his housing
arrangement, first-classl. tra and president trump continues on his crackdown on undocumented immiesants. ent trump: we cannot let people continue to come through. until whave a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military. robert: we discuss it all with kayla tausche of cnbc. michael scherer of the "washington post," geoff bennett of nbc news ad susan glasser of politico. >> this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by -- >> their leadership is instinctive. they understand the challenges of today and research the
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common good. koo and patricia yuen for the yu foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the excellence and either said in journalism foundation. the corporation for public b broadcasting a contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. on again, from washington, moderator roberrtcosta. ro: good evening. another volnile day wall street after president trump stood by his threat of new tariffs on $100 billion in chinese imports. the stock market plunged on these trailed fears and a weaker than in thed jobs report. mr. trump definitelied his decision during a radio interview on friday. president trump: we don't have a trade war. we've lost the trade war. the easiest thing for me to do would be to close my eyes and forgeti' it. not saying there won't be a
little pain but the market has gone up 40%, 42% so we might lose a little bit of it but we're going to have a much stronger country when we're finished. robert: the standoff comes after china proposed $50 tpwhl tariffs on beef, pork, soy beans and wheats, airplanes and cars. kayla, the administratione in sp all what happened today with the market. they're still standing by their position why? kayla: they believe that this is at will bring china to the table. the president's cabinet and economic advisors haveefded the president and said he's the first president to actually stand c up tona, to do what no one else has but then other people, outse advisors, corporate executives are saying we don't seep how this gets resolved. and you had larry culled low, steven money chin talkg about
potential trailed negotiations c withna saying their they're not going on right now. that's something the markets didn't like. theyon want these tariffs to come intoesque. robert: that's ad g point. the president says one thing. thwhite house's new econom director says another thing. who is speaking to the administration, culled low or the president? >> good uestion. there appears to be a good cop/bad copy. strat i was on the lawn of the white house when larry clow was given talking to the press just as the markets opened,ta tryingo down fares but i was talking to somebody who's bone the - known the president for a while and says that the w the president reflects these negotiation reflects the way
he's done things his entire adult life. heou talks and expects the opponents to ultimately given. it's not entirely clear what a win looks -- looks like a in the choice -- chinese president, you have someone who's president fo life. robert: they called the u.s. arrogant today in a statement from theinistry of congress. they're not pulling any punches. >> that's right. i think it's significant that there are not any ghorkse negotiations already underway. second of all, the chinese arep ing this pretty savvy when it comes to american politics. they have tried to, in their response to president trump's initial round of proposedff ta they've tried to go into the united states and respond with thingsre that maximizing pressure on trump from within his own party. the american farm belt, the chinese have, i think, smartly calculated voted overwhelming for donald trump.
their hope and calculation is that the potential pain hitting american food producers, hitting the american farmers will cau them to put pressure on donald trump. you saw that already happening, by the way, with republican senator joanie against from, iot known as a big opponent of donald trump coming out yesterday sang i called up the president and i said this is not a good idea. i think it's really interesting. thehinese are learning to play american domestic politics. robert: you repted on this michael, this week. are the congressional republicans actually going to push in administration around? michael: they're not gist going after the farm belt. their microtargeting some of these tar riches. you look at washington state, honey, pears and apples. the strahm valley, almonds. big business. iowas ge and the whole midwest. pork, soy bea. the politics of this domestically are rather
complicated. you have chuck schumer comingay outg i actually think this is a good thing. and mitt romney today, traditional conservative run for senate in utah said also that he thinks this is a good thing. everybody is justhi playing as a butch at this point. the chinese have two big advantages. dge, it's an authoritarian regime. they don't have to worry about political factors and two, trump has yet to rally the world around his cause. the u.s. keeps acting unilaterally and china keeps dressing itself in the language of the iernational. >> last week they called a truce on the harmed line on trade rhetoric so g they coul everyone rallied around that one issue. after tax reform passed, you saw .comsenators and members of the white house coming to the whitee
house in d to try to lobby the president not to do what he's doing now and t president sat there and listened and you had peopleoa likee earns, grassley, like pan roberts of kansas saying please don't do that and the president did it anyway. robert: what's next? a bilateral negotiation between the u.s. and china or does the world trade snep and try to mediate. >> thee offf the trade representatives have leftop an window. nothing will go into effect for at least ahs couple of mo at this point. we're looking at late may that the administration has to either meet with china or figure out a way to resolve this through appropriate trailed exanls -- channe but china has a lot of powerful tools that it hasn't used yet. if the u.s. keeps talking tough,
china won't back down. robert sit just tough talk? politically, the president just wants to go back to his campaign pledge. >> i spoke to someone close to the president and they sa expect the president to talk about trade and immigration. the omnibus bill will be the last big thing done if a while. he's talking to be same things that made him effecti as a presidential candidate. robert: we also hav more urmoil inside of the administration. president trump said today on twilight they are e.p.a. administrator scott pruitt is doing a "great job" but is totally under seem. that statement left pruitt, o a barrage of controversy over
ravel expenses and residents hanging on for now. pruitt has been questioned about his travel and unreson the e.p.a. staff. as all these stories piled up. pruitt took to fox news to defend himself. >> president trump said he would drain the swamp. is draining the swamp renting an apartment from the wif of a washington lobby insist >> i don't think thatn it's e remotely fair to request -- ask that question. >> why d you then semi$50 a ndo from the a co wife of a washington lobbyist. >> that is something that's bee reviewed by the officials here, they said it's market arraignment. >> you're renting from the of a -- wife of a lobbyist. robert: pruitt reportedly used an obscure rule to secure tens of thousandses in pay rates for
two seniordvisors and "the new york times" reporter said he ked a security detail to flash the lights last year to get to dinner in washington on the way to le diplomat. amid all this, he survives. susan: that's right. listen, if anybody would be immune to firing somebody because they overly enjoyed the perks of their office, it might be donald trump but there's a substantive issue as well. pruitt has a lolled of -- lot of defenders among donald trump's conservative supporters. he's perceived as carrying out the ideological ideas of the administration. even predating his tenure in donlt trump's cabinet. so i think trump is reluctant on sub stan active grounds to fire him. re-he also has that contemporary him.k in
a few weeks ago when it was reported that h.r. mcmaster was out. donald trump w planning on firing him but he didn't like the "washington post" revealing that before he was ready to do it. he still did but he didn't want to do it right away. are we looking at aituation where programs the coverage of this and burginening struggles around pruitt have extended his life by a few additional days or does trump not want to get rid of him there were not one but two stories today, one in the "new york times" and one in the "wall street journal" saying that whithouse chief of staff john kelly had urged president trump ru dumpt and trump was still resisting. to me that seemed like really undercutting jn kelly so maybe his is the one whose job is -- job is on the line.
robert: everyone says they're job is in trouble when you're in the white house. >> i think scott pitt is quite sleeping well. there are a lot of reporters working on stories about scott pruitt now because there's so much there to dig into. the other thing is how do you the most obably controversial head of an agency, the e.p.a. he gothrough2 votes when he was first in the senate, when he was first you've lost one of those republican senators -- robert: do ty even have time in the senate? >> that too. amount vote and john mccain isn't voting right now. robert: business likes pruitt. when you talko people on wall street, because of all the regulations he's cut ay, there's not only support among the movement conservatives but the business communities. susan: and the president is in
touch with executives from the oil and gas industries, the mining industry, theni com feeling the benefits from the de legg regulatory agenda. he hears that the president likes what pruitt isoing and that's what nfls his view of ruitt. if you look at the white house's own dashboard, the.p.a. is right up there with some of the highest volume rollbacks of nip agencies in the governor and that's something that you hear the administration talking about quite often. but the white house said they're investigating this and whatever they find could be impermissi:e. robeeoff, you were at the white house all day. meeting ou make of the with the president and the advice from general kelly last week to get rid of pruitt? geoff: that's right. general kelly and other top white house aides have told the
presidentt's time for pruitt to go. as long as a cabinet member stays in the president's personal good graces a lot seems to be overlooked. robert: we've see ben carson have trouble. the secretary of housing and urban development. a lot of theseho outsiders come to washington, join the cab net and they don't realize -- reporters realize it -- everything that's pubatc infon gets coverage. a lot of officials come in and don't realize e part of the budgets is under scrutiny. >> a lot of times in government people take their cues from the person above them. president obama ran a pretty frugal straightforward operation. a lot of thesehis, first-class airfare, private planes, redecorating the office, a lot of thesee echo th lifestyle that the president lives. i think a lot of people came in
saying i shouldn't have scusms on my desk or a torn carpet. if i have to fly overnight, i should belying first class. >> you don't have those headlines from the members of the cabinet wloor independently wealthy. betty devos and others. only from people who are ceer government officials or who have perfectly affluent liv but perhaps not to the level of others sitting around the table. >> just last week kelly brought together a a group basically told them to get their acts together. robert: but the presint is digging in on pruitt. it's prilled from night. we'lcheck our phones after the show but for now he's there. the presidents digging in on a lot of things this week. on another front, immigration. mr. trump has ordered 2,000 to 4,000 nional guard troops to secure the u.s.-mexican
the perspective threw out his prepared remarks at a west virginia round table where he was scheduled to talk about something else, itead he seized on immigration. president trump: rember when i said things a peopleaid he was so tough. remember what i said about rape. women are remained atve levels seen before. we have to change our laws. robert: prosecute george w. bush and prosecute baraack ob both sent national guard deployments to the border. critics called those costly and infirst quarter. michael, you covered the president on the campaign trail. again this week, to the trailed issue and immigration what is going on whhis presidency at this point? >> when the president won election, if you go back and look at that first "60 minutes"
interview, yocan almost see his face that he was nervous about it and i thinkt was ver evident in those first few months. as het sure he could do the job and he surrounded himself with a group of advisors he's never been happy with. and now this late estrogen race door nd of gone out the and i think the president feels, as he's felt throughout his lime and career, in moments like this he should go back to his gut feelings. he has to get back on message, get republicansxcited to vote and he's taking a gamble here. robert: it's about that core base voter and also about the media that bails watches. so much of this was griffin b conservative coverage of central american migrants moving up tthrough mexico a way that was covered and the white house watched out. it w t und spotlight this week as well. >> that's a veryharitable way
of putting it. this is ouliterally t to you by fox news crisis. this is, they covered a caravan of immigrants that was supposedly on its wayo invamed and rampage in the united states. donald trump is ordering troops to the bordern response to a manufactured, not-real crisis. in the past, you talked about both president bush and president obama have had to, as various points in response to real events, order national guard troops too temporarily go sto the bordero this is a --er way. in every possible so i find that to be -- it's wesically a real metaphor for the politice living in right now. you see president trump throwing up the papers. to me, that's like the signature -- signature visual of the presidency. ah, this script is boring. i'm going to offerew you a immigration-related plotline.
put i want to go back to this idea that he's in campaign mold. i think he is. timeered or t th that he's out there doing what he wants to do. having the c winet it to have, the presidency i want to have. what i'm strucky is that he's still treating it as a reality show or as if everything is a campaign. actiondo have consequences in mexico this week in response to this manufvtured on t crisis, you saw the president of mexico, after two years of forbearance, actually give an address to the mexican people and say enough is enough, basically. donald trump, ift you w to talk about american domestic politics, you should dohat and leave mexico out of it. he may lose his jobn e july 1 mexican presidential election because of the arican politics here. >> to susan's point, this crisis wasn't ju tst broughto us by fox news but also by the president's friends and allies who were in
his ear at mar-a-lago next -- last weekend. folks like shapiro, sean hannity. toldhehat base was growing impatient and softening with the president's perceived giving in on immigration. remember, he signed that omnibus bill that didn't have funding r the wall. >> by the way, mexico is not going to pay for the wall. robert: are congressional republicans going to back up and chge theirune to immigration or would they rather sell the tax cut? >> i think thaveped ramp sell the tax cut. i think there's still confusion about what of immigration plan would pass congress the white house would sign ofdf on at this point there's the looming deadline. >> the real problem the president has is that the people who elected him in 2016 are not
going to dece who controls congress. there are moderate i a couple of years. rumor are they're not depressed working class parts of michigan or pennsylvania who delivered him the white house. so he has the same playbook but he's not playing the same game d it's not clear whether he won't do more damage dook to a lot of these candidacies if he keeps on this path. robert:i -- he keeps talking about voter fraud as well, thee ent. >> but his own commission decid to disband, finding no evidence that existed. robert: where do we go next? >> that's a good question i there's not a legislative agenda. michael's point is really important. what districts is he going to be welcome in to campaig >> he went back to west virginia
this week. he can always go back toest virginia. wild and wonderful west virginia. robert: we'll have to leave it there tonight. we'll discuss president trump's battle with amazon i the webcast. find that all week and later tonight at pbs.org/"washington week." i'm robert costa. thanks for joining us. >> it was the hostile take over of the republican rty. >> the fight between the president and his own party. >> in one fell swoop, the republicans sent a message, you're not a king, you're a president. >> don't mess with donald trump. >> donald trump doesn't forget. >> someb needs to stand up and say this is not our party. in is not normal. >> watch online or on air beginning april 10. ♪
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