tv Washington Week PBS August 16, 2019 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
>> political and economic warfare. i'm robert costa. nlcome to "washingto week." >> you have no choice but to vote for me, because four 401(k)'s, down the tubes. everything is going to be down the tubes. whether you love me or hate ve, goote for me. >> after months of growth, the stock market is rattled. but the president sticks with his trade war. >> china, ou doing? they're not too happy. not too happy. losing millions of jobs. the tariffs are worki and they're eating the tariffs, by the way. there's no price increase. >> are there tensions inside the administration? and the president, once again, clashes with minorityn women i congress. this time on israel. next.us
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moderator robert costa. >> this week's gyrations in the stock market have nothanged president trump's hard line on trade. but he did make adjustments as he seeks a deal with china, laying tariffs on some goods until december. and ahead of a rally on thursday, he remained upbeat. >> walma announced, others announced, we had some tremendous numbers come out today, which i'm sure you saw, so we're very happy about that. we're doing very well. the econo is incredible. the consumer probably above all else, theonsumer is doing incredibly. >> but the week's losses have investors and business leadersd concer amid global uncertainty and signs of slowing growth. joining me tonight, elisabeth miller, washington burea chief for the new york times. jerry seib, executive washington itor for the wall street journal. toluse olorunnipa, white house reporter for the washington post. and andrea mitchell, chief foreign affairs corresponde
for nbc news. jerry, president trump has put the economy front and center of his 2020 re-election campaign. with all of the economic and trade news ts week, how is the outlet for 2020 changed? well, this is theeek in which people started to talk seriously about, will there be a recessionn 2020? that's obviously terrible news for any presidential candidate. it's hard to predict. people say the economists have picked eight -- eight of last five recessions. it's hard to know. it's early. but the president keeps saying, as he just did, our economy is doing great. other countries are not having the same kind of success. and that's true, but it also points to the problem this is a globalized economy. if the u.s. is doing great but others aren't, the u.s. eventually gets dragged down. hie president can be happy now that these are having trouble, and they are, but eventually, in a globalized roblem becomes's our problem. >> and he doesn't seem to understand what trade deficits are. he doesn't understand, at least
until the hint this week, when he talked about protecting christmas shoppers, that at's actualricans who pay his passers. and he doesn't understand if german stops buying america's goods, that hurts us. he seems to take pleasure in everybody else's global a woes. ilso don't think he's surrounded by good, smart people on the economy. conflicting advice on trade, friction among his advisors. ande unl previous presidents, he doesn't have a good senior staff or top advisors. counsel of economicdvisors. he doesn't have real economists advising him. >> candid analysis from area. yoyou've been on the ground with the president, in new jersey, at his golf club. what are the tensions inside the white house on how to proceed on the economy, on trade? >> we did t see president pull back on some tariffs that were about to go int effect.
he pushed that back until december. at the same time, he said tariffs werein not h an effect, but he said we're going to push this back several months because we are worried aut the christmas season. as andrea said, he is listening to pple who say, maybe you should think about the politics, think about your own political fortunes here, maybe push this back until after the elections. he's also hearing other voices saying it's hard to take the hard line against china. let's push for as much as we can get. >> who is in histe ear? navarro, the hard liner on klein? is it larry kudlow, the former cnbc commentator? who is shaping the policy? >> all of the above.un unfoely, it sort of depends on who is the last person to speak to the on some days, it is peter navarro, who is pushing that hard line, saying we take on china now, have this grand battle, ultimate fight between t twoowers. then you have other people like larry kudlow, steve mnuchin, who
are saying, let's try to think about the poltuical fs and don't have a recession going into 2020. and it really depds -- that's why we've seen this frenetic approach from the president. one day he's listening to navarro, the next daynuchin. s so much is driven by trump's chaotic governinle. that's really bad for investors. the other thing is that he's heading into 2020. we're hearing, despite his sitive comments, that there's a lot of concern at the white house, behind the scenes, abouti what economy is going to look like in september, october 2020. and trump is kind of run out of things to do. he's run out of tools in his tool kit. the taxutyou know, has kind of run it course. the ade warith china is having a bad effect on the economy. so now he's bludgeoning the fed constantly to try and lower interest rates. that's kind of what he's got left. no lot of ests think that just lowering the interest rate
a quarter of a point is not going to have that profound an effectn the economy. >> the economy is as stimulated as it can be. dollarunning a trillion a year deficit. and you have low interest rates. and you still have thets eff there's not much more stimulation you can do. the problem here is not the economy. the reason that the markets went crazy this week was because china put out a whole slew of data that showed the econo there i slowing. germany reported that its economy shrank a bit. this is a global problem, not an american pro it washes on to our shores quickly. >> the global an important point. what does your reporting reveal about that? >> the globa slowdown is clearly the effect of a lot of things that have been buiing . also this trade rhetoric and the tariffs from the president, going against canada, going against mexico. he got what he wanted there in this new deal, which hasn't been ratified yet. the fact is, he does not see the
interconnections. t also bludgeon the fed, when, as jerry points out, they don't haveoo a kit either anymore really, given how historicallyer low it rates are. more stimulus right now would not really help, butpr the ident doesn't seem to understand that. >> a lot of economists say that being tough on china is not a bad thing that, the chinese do deserve some toughness. but e president has gone about it in a very peculiar way. ratherhat, you know, marshaling our allies, japan, south korea, theuropeans, to build up a case against china, ariffs ontually put them. so it's a very strange economic policy. >> what kind of test, elisabeth r the hong kong protests for president trump as he navigates a trade deal? >> this is actually sort of related to his trade war with rechina. thedent is pretty much isolated in his rhetoric in hong kong, which is very mild. he is not really supporting the protesters.
he's not denouncing the crackdown and what the chinese government is doing. he is out of step with both parties and on the hil republicans and democrats, out of step with the allies, out of step with his o state department. he's even out of step with his own conservative aisors, like john bolton, who are denouncing china for cracking down on freedom. >> is that because the president wants this trade deal? he looks at the market being a little uneasy this week, but on the horizon, he sees a possible trade deal? is it all about trying to l off china, lay off president x jinping of china, to salvage a deal, whether it's in the fall or spring of >> yeah. we've seen this president link trade to all kinds of other issues thats other preside haven't done in the past. human rights abuses, protests, freedoms. this is a president who wants to deal with china. he doesn't really see the value of interfering in another country's matters, even if it is to stand up for human rights if it's not going to benefit h politically. we may talk about him
interfering with the i elections and trying to bar american conesswomen from visiting israel, because he sees that as politically beneficial to him. u standi for protesters in hong kong, he doesn't necessarily see the political benefit for that. he does see the political benefit for getting a trade deal. so that's part of t reason he's not having sort of a strong voice, standing up for human rights in china.ea in hoping he can get a trade deal and deal with human rights later. >> in hong kong -- bitter scenes in hong kong. what are beijing's options as they confront this crisis? >> theyave staged, as close as they could be to hong kong military, you know, army, the tanks are there. president xi, according to all reporting -- i've talke to officials here, as well as other capitals, president xi does not want another tiananmen. he is setting the stage in case he has to reassert conol by defining the protesters as
terrorists, by trying to whip up nationalist fervor against them. ond in a controlled state media, he is trying t change the narrative, at least in the way this is being interpreted domestically. ntand as far as presis concerned -- president trump is concerned you're absolutely right in his linking trade and human rights in a way thats i counterintuitive to our culture, to republican and democratic presidents. it is really trumpian for him to be hanging back an being so silent about this and silencing the state department on human rights here. it is similar to the way he has behaved in other settings with ether totalitarian leaders, because h seems to have an affinity for strong men. >> i think it's interesting to speculate how president xi links these two issues, trade and hong kong. it it seems to me it could go either way. he could say, look, i got problems here. let's do a trade deal and get that one off my plate. or he cou say, need to be really tough here and vi to show -- i have to showss tough
right now, so i can't be seen as conceding things to donald trump. i think it could go either way. >> economic questions are also democratic presidential candidates. for instance, senator elizabeth elizabethnd bernie sanders -- elizabeth warren and bernie sanders, calling for more regulation andes to rein in wall street. and at the iowa state fair, senator corey booker said this. >> the president has hurt farmers, hurt our economy, hurt working people because of these tariffs. our trade policy will take one people lhina and we will wi we won't just talk about it with bluster and tweeting. >> as alex shepard wrote, democrats have a difficult task in addressing the possibility of a recession that cannot be seen as eager for economic pain. at the same time, there's been a real reluctance to cticize the obama administration's legacy. toluse, how t has economy reshaped the --
>> you've heard so many say that the economy isn working for everyday workers, even though there are strong numbers on employment, on g.d.p. growth. they're trying to paint this economy as being rigged against woman,king man and basically saying that working families are not getting ahead in the trump e'rnomy. th going against the tax cuts, which they say go disproportionately to the wealthy. they're saying corporate tax cu help corporations. you hear elizabeth warren speaking out against big multi-national corporations. and she's getting some pickup from a lot of voters who do believe that corporations are rigging the economy. and they say that trump isin he the corporations at the expense of everyday working people. are the times reporters picking up on a little bit of traction for the more populous democrats, the democratic socialists amid all ts news? >> certainly. interesting to think that corey boer was talking about farmers. they have really been hurt by trump's trade policies. interesting, just thisonth,
the farm borough took out a really tough statement,bout agricultural exports in the united states, and said this is going to cost us $9 billion this year. and that we're gonna lose all of that. so,he yeah,'s certainly a lot of, among younger voters, millennials, there's a lot of support for those kind of policies. >> is this field going to tighten, former colorado governor johnke hooper decided to bow out of the presidential election this week. are we seeing a shrinking? >> i think you're going t see a shrinking for whoever does not get on that third debatetitage. they see whether or not ony can find their w through free media, getting on shows, and finally, they hope, picking up in the polls, i don't know how much room w thel be for both warren and sanders. and in fact warren's organizing
evility, her ground game in iowa, ina, is impressive. and her message on the sounds fresher. it's tough and populist butt sounds newer than sanders' does, which sounds like the same theme from 2016. e theory got a cohes about what's wrong with the capitalist economy on the left. if we actually are going into this economic crisis that we've been talking about, who is better off as democratic candidate? somebody who has got what might be called a radicix at a time when people are already nervous, or somebody who has got a more reassuring message than joe biden? i think it's possible in a tough environment, it's a -- a radical message is not a good one. >> as the economy is turbulent, there's also a culture war raging out there. we saw president tru stoked it this week. he called on israel to block a visit by two minority women
lawmakers, ilhan omar and rashida tlaib were sch travel to the country for an official visit. but after that tweetsrael denied them permission, then later granted tlaib consent to visit her grandmother in the west bank. she decided not to go. is president trump trying to make these female lawmakers the face of the democratic party? >> i knew what w coming out. yes, absolutely. he's been trying to do that for a long time. >> why? >> because they are so far left, i mean, they are -- nancy pelosi, the speaker, has had trouble with them. they have been criticized by a number of moderate democrats on the hill. but to trump, this is great politics for him. they are extreme on many issues. and the more he can pai them as this is the democratic party, the better he feels he cano. i mean, you saw the tweet this week where he said they hat inael and they hate -- hate big capital letters in the tweet. >> neither of them have said anything like that.
>> right. >> the really incredibly disturng issue here, though, was how unprecedented it is for an american president to pressure a foreign ally to prevent aongressional visit. israel gets more foreign military aid than any other country. israel is the foremost recipient of u.s. aid. congressional be part of that.d and elected members of congress, in the only democracyg visit the only democracy in the middle east, want to be able to go. >> why did prime minister netanyahu go along with this? >> he was bok i boxedn by president trump. they had said a mont month ago t they could do. they were struggling with it in the 24 hours leading up to it. once the presidentss ped them -- he's also being criticized for this. this shows him,s popular as
president trump is in israel, which is enormously popular, at the same time, the ileellectual ers are really criticizing him for this, forhi cave n president trump. it was a reversal, no question. >> but he has made asi strategic de politically to lash himself to donald trump as he job. to save his own if that's your strategy, this comes up. you almost have to follow that path. e, you have no choice. but at the same t she could not go under these restrictions. thhe basically said could go visit her grandmother in the west bank but she s could not anything, as a member of pongress that was unacceptable. >> donald traced so much criticism here. ciapec crid israel, apec, which is so pro-israel, for this decision. thnse were republi democrats, everyone were very critical of trump. >> what isy this rea about? you look at just a few minutes before we went to air, the president, multiple tweets about these congresswomen. he said, tlaib and f omar,t
becoming the face of the democratic party. he's mocking them repeatedly. inside the white house. is this the president alone, or is this part of a strategy? >> this is a strategy that's bein led by the president. the people who are remaining in the whitert house have of made their peace with donald trump and they follow whatever he does. they're following his ld on this. they do believe there is some political strategy. >> what is it? >> well, the president has been very concerned aboutde how crats have always been unified, and it's always been the republicans fightg each other. so he's found a group of women in the congress who force dissension in the democratic party. he wants to inflame those tensions so nancy pelosi has people who are empowered, who may be going against her in the decratic field. that's something he's tried to push. he's tried to elevate these women in partecause he thinks it helps him politically. the president thinks that fightingit these freshmen women of congress helps him in
his 20 race. >> what does this mean f governing? youave gun control on the agenda. does this poisonhe well? >> among democrats on the hill? >> on both sides >> actually, there have been talks at the white house. we're unclear with how far it's going to go, but there have been talks, with key senators on the hill, about some kind of gun control legislation this fall. >> seems to be backing off of it a bit in his thursday night speech, talking about mental health, that people with mental health problemsull the trigger, not the guns. so he may already be backing away from what he had said earlier in the week about background checks. and i don't think it's an accident that hegn red this racial and cultural war with the squad, the so-called squad, after two mass shootings. hist of criticism of behavior in el paso. and, you know, the controversies as well as the 800-point drop in
the market, at least i one day he needed a distraction. that's when he went to war with em. >> i just want to say, we talk about all these things that donald trump does, the response tol paso, the stock market drops, the attacks on the squad. all through two and a half years of his president, he's basically stated 38%, nothing seems to budge his numbers, no matter what he does. >> yeah. bu the key to the re-election for him is to make sure that 40% of the country is as dug in as hard as possible for him. >> but it's still not enough. >> but there's a small group of people in the middle whoon't ke donald trump but think he's doing a good job handling the economy. in o polling, that's about a 10% slice of the electorate. that's where the election will geted. it starts making sure that 45% base is locked in,d guaranto show up, whereas some people
might not show up. >> some of those suburban voters may not be happy about their 401(k)'s this week. >> right. and they'reiously not happy about the way the president conducts himself on culture issues, the fact that he's leading a party in a much more divisive approach to governing. but they have been happy with the enomy. if that starts to tank, the president may end up losing them. but to your poi about how difficult it will be to get things done, it's hard to see congress making much progres on gun control, on -- >> the president says he wants to do background checks. >> he does, but one of the biggest applause lines at his manchester rly in new hampshire was when he said it's not the guns that pull the igger. it's mentally ill people. it's not about -- you know, we have to stand up foron the s amendment. it does appear that the president wants to back away from anything major on gun control. t we will have to leave it thereight. thanks, everybody, for joining us on a friday night.
e "washington week" extra is coming up next. we will discuss the consequences of the trumpdministration's new immigration rule. watch it on our website, facebook or i'm robert costa. have a great weekend! ♪[music] >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by... >> babble. a language learning app that uses speech recognition technology and tches real-life conversations. daily, 10- to 15-minute lessons are voiced by native speakers. they're at babble, babblcom. >> financial services firm raymond james. additional funding is provided by the yuen foundion. committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities.
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