tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC April 25, 2018 10:00am-11:00am PDT
facebook @andreamitchellreports. chris jansing is up next. >> good afternoon from msnbc world headquarters in new york. i'm if nor craig melvin. candy man, nickname around the white house for president trump's pick to run the veterans affairs administration. a tip handing out prescription drugs as white house doctor, and doesn't containing the central question of his confirmation. is trump's personal doctor even qualified to run the second largest government agency taking care of our veterans? and charm offensive. the french president takes his message directly to congress. he talked to iran, climate change, fake news and at times rebuked president trump's viewpoints. plus, melania's moments with the administration's first day visit, stepping into the spotlight and leaves a style imprint on this formal show of unity with our nation's oldest ally. we get to all of that but begin
with the white house digging in, defending their pick to lead the department of veterans affairs ronny jackson. the white house has no plans to drop out and hinted the allegations against him may be politically moat valuated. mo motivated. >> we think dr. jackson is a great american patriot and deserves the opportunity. >> a process within the department of defense for active military people to bring those concerns as to why would they bring allegations to the ranking member of the veterans affairs committee if it wasn't politically motivated? >> top democrat on the committee confirms at least 20 people have come forward to accuse the admiral of creating a toxic work environment, drinking on the job and improperly prexrscribing medication. >> number one, improper doling out of prescription drugs. it's a big, big problem to the point where some of the white house even calling the candy
man. these are prescription drugs, controlled substances. as a medical doctor you need to treat that as such. >> jackson denied the hostile workplace and drinking allegations and told our own garrett haake he'd like to address those at a public hearing. >> looking forward to the hearing tomorrow. disappointed it's postponed but looking forward to get itting rescheduled and answering everybody's questions. >> you've seen the hostile workplace allegations. saying those are categorically untrue? >> i'm looking forward to the hearing to sit down and explain to everyone and answer all the senators' questions. >> the i.g. report about the allegations? >> no, there was not. >> we have latest developments covered from all angles with correspondent garrick hake, and white house buick oh cheer "washington post" and msnbc political analyst, politico senior writer jake sherman and tommy sauers, former assistant secretary at the v.a. and former green beret. good to you have all here.
garrett, start with you. you've been in the middle of the story. where does ronny jackson's nomination stand right now? >> reporter: chris, pretty well stuck. the top senators on the committee are not ready to move forward with a hearing for him until they get answers to these questions and accusations that have come up since last weekend. i talked to john tester, the top democrat on that committee about this, this morning. he addressed some of what needs to happen before they can go forward. take a listen. >> we have to talk to -- we haven't convened. talk to him individually. for the most part they're doing the same thing i am and just trying to figure out where the truth is. >> have you had anymore accusations brought to your office's attention? >> i have to go back and talk to my staff on that. there have been people come up and talk to people like you that we weren't aware of. >> reporter: chris, the reality here is no confirmation hearing
this week. already canceled. there will not be one next week, because the senate is out. dangerous tore dr. jackson both because it gets rid of momentum from the mostly positive, from what i'm told, with meetings with lawmakers leading up to this week and risks possibilities more damaging information will come out before he gets his opportunity to address this, to clear his name and potentially begin really moving through the process in earnest with that full committee hearing. >> already starting, jake, to see concerns on both sides of the aisle. even though defenders of the good doctor are suggesting that this might be politically motivated. take a listen here. >> well, let me tell you first the allegations that we're hearing are very disturbing, and need to be investigated, and i'm glad they've put a pause on his confirmation hearings. >> we're not going to find anybody that's got a lot of experience managing 360,000 employees. so we're not going to find someone to compete in that
category with him. >> one of those things sounds a bit sort of like gossip to me. the president picked him, like every other one, i try to give consideration to what the president wants. >> so, jake what are you hearing? what's likely to happen next? >> we should take a step back and look at the landscape. in the middle of an election year. in both parties, a lot of discussion about drug abuse and things of that nature and a very salient issue across the country and the white house is walking into a situation where its v.a. secretary nominee will have to testify with, again, a lot of members of congress, a lot of senators up for re-election, about some very damning allegations, and garrett did a great job pressing him in the hallway. he was able to get away. he's not able to get away in a hearing and will have to answer questions. he's going to be -- >> under oath. >> reporter: right. exactly. and you have to imagine that -- members of congress and senators usually don't make these kinds
of claims without hearing them pretty credibly from people who have worked for this man, and, again, i don't have any -- i didn't work for him, i don't have any firsthand knowledge of any of these instances, besides reporting what we hear on capitol hill, but these are pretty damning. again, there's already misgivings about this guy and his lack of experience and drinking on the job and dispensing medicine without proper mechanisms and proper exams seems like two very serious issues that if they get worse could really imperil his nomination and floor vote, again, in the middle of an election year. >> just accusations but we have, i don't have to tell you this, the second largest government agency, more than 377,000 employees over 9 million veterans who are served by the v.a. every year. are you concerned about a delay? are you concerned about this being dragged out? tell me where you are on this. >> well, that's who really loses
in this, are the veterans. i mean, i get my health care through the v.a. there's a lot of important decisions that need to be made, and it appears that the last secretary either resigned or was fired. that was botched. clearly, this was not a fully vetted secretary nomination, and you know, going from managing 50 to 70 folks to managing 370,000 people, i mean, you don't take someone that manages a starbucks and have them then manage starbucks or command a platoon and have them jump up to command at the entire army. so i've got serious concerns about not just the vetting and background, truly the experience this nominee. >> are you concerned right now that if this drags on a while, this will in a very real way affect the health care that those millions of veterans expect every single day? >> well, it certainly delays decision-making with the department. look, moving this large
organization, it's challenging once you're inside. once you have the full staff around you. once you have a clear mandate on what it is that needs to be done. so there's already a cloud over this nominee. it's delaying the decision-making right now with the department, and i imagine that's going to continue over the upcoming weeks and months. >> phil, your paper reports that jackson wasn't even properly prepped by the white house, for all of this. dealing with mostly mid-level staffers who lacked knowledge. what can you tell us about that? >> that's in keeping with the way the white house handled this nomination from the beginning. there was really no formal vetting of dr. jackson. >> can i stop you there? i mean, if you're going to run for congress and the dnc is going to support you, they're going to vet you. if you're running for city council in places you'll get vetted. how is it possible that somebody who's going to run the second largest agency in the government doesn't go through all of the steps we all know every previous
administration used? >> well, it seems implausible, chris, but exactly how president trump chose to make this decision. he wanted to remove david shulkin as the secretary at the v.a. and install jackson, who he knows personally, because he's been his physician, he likes. thinks he has a good camera presence, stage manner if it were, and plucked him and installed him as the nominee without a formal vetting process. i think they assumed that the white house, because he was a navy admiral, been a highly regarded presidential doctor at the white house, also in his time in the military and in the battlefield, that he would pass any sort of a vet, but might have found the problems had they done their own due diligence before putting his name forward. >> and they would make the argument, and it is fair, that many members of the obama administration spoke glowingly of him, who dealt with him on a pretty regular basis. the white house has certainly shown that the reviews president obama himself gave of him were very, very good.
but also on the other side, jake, remember this now infamous press conference the doctor gave after the physical he gave to president trump. let's remind folks. >> he will remain for duty for this term and remainder of the next term if elected. some people just have great genes. i told the president, he might live to be 200 years old. i don't know. >> is, jake, this a microcosm of larger chaos? larger problems? within the administration? is that what we're really looking at here? >> well to have a physician posit that the president might live 200 years is a bit strange. but also, this is not only a problem for the white house, that they don't vet their nominees carefully and don't prepare nominees for battles. they, up here on capitol hill, you have a lot of republicans who now have to answer for the white house's decisions and are being put on the spot politically to answer for all of
these decisions that the white house makes. which is not great for republicans. it's not a good look for republicans, and it puts them in a bad spot and members of congress, hate nothing more than having to answer for a white house that doesn't do its homework. so that is a dynamic that's really hard to overstate. when the white house puts members of congress in this position, it's really uncomfortable, especially, again, in the middle of charged political election year. >> wondering, tommy what should happen next? what's the best possible outcome in your mind for the veterans who should be at center of every consideration here? >> i bring it back to the committee. the veterans affairs committee is filled with patriots on both sides of the aisle and when i went through my confirmation process, you know it took basically six months of vetting and a lot of prep to get down and be able to answer questions intelligently about the future of the department.
so i think it's time absolutely to pump the brakes on this nomination, make sure that these allegations are fully run down and frankly make sure we have a secretary, the next secretary's ready to lead this department. >> another member of this administration is under fire. director of the consumer protection bureau mich mulvaney told banking executives as a congress maman he would only me with lobbyists who contributed to his campaign. is this an administration that feels like the person who's at the top of it, they can say anything they want? i mean, i was thinking this morning, maybe if it was someone who was not familiar with politics. you might say, well, they don't really understand the impact of what they're saying. mick millmill -- mulvaney is no that guy. >> saying out loud what we assume in the case in politics in washington.
that industries and lobbyists that give campaign donations have a little more action to those lawmakers. to acknowledge that was the practice in his office is remarkable and i think he feels free to do it, because the president has shown in a number of other instances that he does not hold his cabinet members to a high ethical or moral standard. look at all the problems that scott pruitt as administrator at the epa had over the last few months without consequences from the president, from his boss. >> let me go over that. several cabinet, right? epa administrator, scott pruitt facing at least ten congressional investigations linked to a koncondo and soundpf room and a flight from las vegas to montana. the man who preceded him, shulkin, given walking papers after revealed he traveled to europe with his wife on the
taxpayer dime. is the bigger question really, jake, for this administration, you know, remember, they were going to drain the swamp. that they have got to get a handle on these ethical things? >> seems to me just from observing and i think phil would agree with me on this, that the president almost seems to defend people who are embattled, because he almost relishes the fight and relishes kind of the political system caving in on somebody and him standing up for that political figure like pruitt. >> also intrinsically believe that so many attacks are unfounded? just his sort of default position, because he believes he's been so unfairly treated? >> yes, but pruitt and any other administration would be an easy person to let go. this is somebody who suggested to his security detail that he be driven around in an armored suv with run flat tires as if he's in baghdad or kabul like a
war zone when he's in washington. opportunities to get and apartment and decided to get one from the wife of a lobbyist who deals with the epa and deals with environmental issues. i mean, when you have this set of information in front of you as a president and you stand up for that figure, it defies logic to a lot of people who are in the party and who are around the president that he continues to stand up for these folks when it's so obvious it would be of a political benefit for him to do away with these distractions and to do away with these people. it's not as if there aren't other republican whose would carry out the same, exact policies scott pruitt carries out at the epa or at any other agency across the board. so it is a bit confounding. >> jake sherman, tommy sauers, phil rucker, garrett haake, thanks to you all. appreciate it. new information just coming in from our white house team on that potential meeting between president trump and north korean
leader kim jong-un. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker just got in front of the camera. what can you tell us? >> reporter: according to a white house official, national security adviser john bolton met with south korea's ambassador yesterday. the two discussed the importance of close cooperation between the united states, this is according to this white house official, as south korea prepares to have talks with north korea and, of course, ahead of those high-stakes potential talks between president trump and kim jong-un. now, chris, the two men also discussed the possibility of president trump having a call with south korea's president, and even more significantly, a potential meeting ahead of president trump meeting with north korea's dictator. now, this official didn't get into timing, any specifics and wanted to stress this is something still in discussions. so still it's significant from the perspective of this white house wanting to show a united front with south korea ahead of
any potential talks with north korea. this official saying it's critical that we send the message that we are in lockstep. of course, it comes after president trump accepted that invitation to meet with kim jong-un in a way that some officials here thought was rather impromptu, caught some officials off guard here as well as a high level of south korean officials as well. so this kind of underscoring that the white house wants to show that it is taking these talks very seriously and at the same time, doing the hard work to make sure that all of the is are dotted and ts are crossed. again, chris, the united states and south korea in talks for a positive meeting between president trump and the president of south korea ahead of any planned meeting with trump and kim jong-un. >> going over my time. be brief on this. you also have new reporting about that meeting between the president and his nominee for veterans affairs, and, because the president went from saying,
maybe, and very publicly, i told them, maybe you should just walk away essentially, and then something changed. tell us what happened. >> reporter: well, the president met with ronny jackson in the oval office. the meeting described as positive. an official asked how he was doing, wanted to proceed with these allegations. jackson denied them and said he wanted to have a chance to tell his story. as he told our own garrett haake yesterday in the halls of congress. he wants a fair hearing. president trump indicating he's going to stand behind him, chris. >> kristen welker, thank you so much. always very busy today, as she always is. appreciate it. meantime, the president of france met with congress. first chance to make his case directly to u.s. lawmakers. the moments where he split with trump and the mixed responses we're already getting on capitol hill. plus, verdict watch. right now the jury deliberating whether billcosby will be convicted of aggravated indecent assault.
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bromance. cheeky kisses, hand-holding. even macron's hand on trump's knee at one point. summed up by the president's statement -- i like him a lot. all of that leading unanswered for now the question whether the friendship will impact policy. before congress, macron calling on the u.s. to maintain its global outreach in the face of president trump's america first agenda. >> translator: to be received in the democracy -- >> it will not douse the flame of our citizens. we have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks right in front of us. >> joining me now, admiral and dean of tufts universities and msnbc national security and diplomacy analyst and christopher dickie, world news editor at daily beast."
>> following french government a long time. >> 30 years. >> i have to open up, because so many people are talking about it. with this relationship between these two men, and a couple of first lines and stories were, there was simply so much touching. another one, the couple seemed to be happy to be together again. we laugh about it, and we make fun of it and the night shows put together clips, but what's your take on the importance of the personal relationship between these two men? >> well, it all has to do with what macron is able to accomplish through this personal relationship. i mean, as his speech in front of congress showed, his positions on all kinds of key issues appear to be diametrically opposed to donald trump's positions on globalization, on climate change. maybe on the iran deal. on syria, and he has to try to -- has to try to kraecreate
personal his personal chemistry will trump will overcome the political differences. maybe he'll be able to do that. i don't know. he's really a genius, macron. a genius at personal relations but i looked and was curious -- >> kind of believes from what i read. i'll be honest, doing the translator act today seeing what the french newspapers were saying. a suggest he truly believes he does have the charm, can win almost anyone over. >> that's right. it's also true the french newspapers and french tv didn't pay much attention to the kissy and touchy kind of thing. >> no. >> almost none of that. they did pay attention to the wiping the dandruff off his lapel they thought was a little more than condescending and literally pat trronizing like a father taking care of his son. something macron has always played on. he knew how to use older people including older men, make them feel he's the son they wish they
had. >> back to the relationship, because the macron said something in the speech as voltaire. get to the policy part if we can. obviously, what everyone is watching to whether or not there is something that comes out of this personal relationship. whether the powers of persuasion of the french president were work, really about the iran nuclear deal and i want to remind people what the president said, president trump, said yesterday at the press conference tlrchl conference. >> there is a chance and nobody knows what i'm going to do on the 12th. although, mr. president, you have a pretty good idea, but we'll see. but we'll see also if i do what some expect, whether or not it will be possible to did a new deal with solid foundations. >> macron said today, you can't get more succinct, we can't get rid of the deal. where do you see this gong? hints that you heard over the
last 24 hours, admiral, that give you a suggestion that something could be in the works here? >> i think it's highly unlikely. my guess is what happens here is the president will pull out. let's recall his new national security adviser, john bolton, has been extremely harsh on this deal. let's recall that the probably about to be confirmed new secretary of state mike pompeo has similar views. i think the weight of the administration will pull us out of this deal, and i think that's a mistake. what macron is trying to do, in my view, commendably, try to bridge the gap between a hard-core u.s. view of this and the rest of europe. i think despite all the personal charm and the hand-holding and kissing and so forth, you mentioned voltaire earlier. a famous line from voltaire is, life is a ship wreck. save what you can. i think we -- >> a different quote than macron used today. yeah. it's interesting.
also, another very serious issue that the two men haven't talked about, obviously, they talked about syria and isis. reading conservative takes on this. one writer put it this way. no matter how charming macron is during his visit to washington, president trump should avoid being suckered -- his word -- into a longer and deeper involvement in syria. again, where do you see that going? any clues that you heard in the last 24 hours? >> i want to start by saying i spent four years as the supreme allied commander of nato, you know, chris. and the french military. their professionalism, their ability to operate globally is really at the very top of the alliance. perhaps at the same level as that of the united kingdom. so i've seen them again and again deliver in afghanistan, libya, the balkans, counterpiracy operations at sea. we would be very wise to work with the french, with the british, with nato to try and do
what we can in syria. here i think there is a higher probability of a condominium of views between the united states and france, and let's try and pull nato along into it. that's our best hope of remaining engaged in syria and we should seek to do so, because we have vital national interests at stake there ranging from countering the weapons of mass destruction, dealing with the humanitarian crisis, trying to prevent iran from really running the table in that region. these are important, big issues. dwoent have to have 150,000 troops like we did under my command in afghanistan, chris, but 10,000, 5,000 u.s. troops with the french, with the british, with our arab allies, it makes sense. this is a zone i see the united states and france coming together. >> the producers are going to kill me. i want to, do we have the quote from macron today? it is so good. the voltaire? can we play that? okay. they're rolling it.
again, this is before congress. to the point that clearly macron knows the topic a lot of people are talking about. take a listen. >> in 1778, the french philosopher voltaire and ben minh franklin met in purce. john adams tells the story after shaking hands he embraced hugging one another and kissing each other's cheeks. it can remind you of something. >> great stuff. we talked about syria and we talked about iran. one of the more recent times you and i were together was in paris for the climate accord that president obama was there as well. so i guess the question becomes, what would make this a success from not just emmanuel macron's point of view but the eu's? >> well, look. macron is trying tro present a framework. talking about the four pillars dealing with iran that give
trump a possibility of staying in the jcpoa. the agreement with iran. he says, let's not throw that out, but let's have another agreement. work on an agreement for what happens in 2025, which this expires. >> build something bigger. >> build something bigger with different components. what comes after the jcpoa and also let's work on the question of stopping iran's military from advancing in syria and iraq, which means actually the syria policy of keeping more americans on it's ground and also talk about, you know, other major issues that address iran. whether that will be enough for trump i don't know, but i think that it does give trump a possibility to stay in and to justify what he's doing to his core. to his core base. the real problem with trump, he makes promises in campaigns and speeches before his cheering mega supporters and then doesn't
want to go back on them. although they're completely oversimplified. if he can't explain them in three or four words, he doesn't want to change his position. >> good to see you here in new york. even though frankly i prefer to see you in paris. >> next time, chris. >> admiral, always a pleasure. and right now we're waiting for the jury to decide whether billcosby is guilty or not of assaulting a woman in 2004. will they accomplish what a previous jury didn't? come together on a verd. talk about the question they just asked the judge in the last hour. (car horn) when it's your mission to get a better hot dog in every hand, well, you gotta make... a better dog! that's what oscar mayer does every... single... day. our dogs are totally free from artificial preservatives, any added nitrates or nitrites,
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the definition of consent. what does that tell you? >> it tells me that the jurors are marching through each of the subsections of the aggravated indecent assault statute and likely went into the room, sat down and said, let's start with number one. which is the absence of consent. after that, they have to consider whether ms. constand was unconscious or impaired. that may be what they're doing, is starting with the issue of consent. now, pennsylvania law just dough fines consent as a defense if it negates and element of the crime. so that's not much help. in this case, the judge has to tell them it's whatever you think it is. >> what's different about this second trial, it's the #metoo movement. a few other things but the way they with and talk about things. the attention given has been exponentially more than the first trial. i wonder, does it make it more risky for the defense team to go
after constand, or is that the only play they have in a situation like this to discredit her? >> #metoo aside, the defense absolutely has to go after constand. she is the sole accuser, and the case rises and falls on the credibility of her allegations. so they absolutely have to paint her as somebody who is in this for profit. they have to paint her as a con artist, because if the jury finds her credible and believes what she said, bill cosby is in a lot of trouble. that, plus the fact he's contending not with one prior bad act witness this time, but five. >> danny, thank you. i know you won't go far, in case we do get the jury coming back. thank you so much, danny savalas. two of the president's biggest and most controversial decisions in jeopardy. the big hurdles facing the travel ban and the administration's push to end daca. plus a night out in trump's washington. the president who once railed against state dinners, all-in on
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hearing arguments on whether the third iteration of the president's travel ban is unconstitutional. separately, a third federal judge issue aed a setback for the administration's efforts to end the daca program ordering the government to continue processing applications by dreamers and resume accepting new ones, and giving the government 90 days to offer better reasons for abolishing the program. for more on the two major policy battles i bring in nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. pete, start, if we can, with what's going on with donald trump, and i'm going back to when he announced his intention to implement a travel ban and get you on the other side. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states, until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on! [ cheers and applause ] >> now, a lot has happened
between then and now. what's at the heart of the case now, pete? >> reporter: well, on the question of whether this is a muslim ban, the solicitor general noelle francisco said if it was, it's a very poor one, because most of the muslim world is not covered by this. justice alito agreed with. it only covers 9% of the muslim population. sorry. there's an emergency vehicle going on here. let it pass. so i think -- a majority of the conservatives are not bothered anymore by this muslim ban issue. although the courts liberals seemed concerned about it. justice said suppose an anti-semitic candidate campaign and banning all travel from israel and did that as a president. would that stand? francisco said, no. only if a genuine threat from israel. the other question sheer a legal
one. does the president have authority to pan entry into the u.s. based solely on what country a person is from? several members of the court seemed to be concerned that if the answer to that is, no, it could be the court's interfering with the president's ability to make national security decision. for those two reasons seemed like a majority of the court is prepared to rule the third version of the muslim ban, of the travel ban, is constitutional. >> talk about daca. the judge gave pretty withering critique of the program. tell us about that and what happens next with it. >> reporter: right. the previous two court decisions said the government was wrong to try to shut daca down last fall and has to continue operating it to allow people currently in the program to renew, which they have to do every two years. this judge in washington went further saying not only that, the government has to now accept new applications, he said similar to the other courts he didn't think the justice
department and the government had given a sufficient legal reason for wanting to declare it illegal and shut it down. the just put a hold on his own order. ordered both sides to get back to him by late in july to see if this stands. what changes? nothing as a result of this decision. people in daca can still renew. people who want to get into daca now for the first time, have to wait at least 90 days to see what happens and whether the judge sticks with guns or decides the government offered a sufficient explanation. >> pete williams, as always, good to see you, my friend. melania's moment. the first laid, hesitant to step into the spotlight, frankly. takes center stage in a big way. reviews are in on the trump administration's first official state visit.
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that skills like teamwork, attention to detail, and customer service are critical to business success. the kind of skills, that work for you. after a successful white house state dinner, president trump this morning lavished praise on his wife melania. tweeting, flotus did a spectacular job hosting the president of france, emmanuel macron and his wife brigitte. every detail was done to perfection. the state dining room never looked more beautiful. and washington is abuzz over what an incredible job melania
did. it was all officially for french president macron, many are calling it melania's moment. in the 15 months, melania trump has largely remained behind the scenes. her fashion statements sometimes speaki ining louder than her wo. but her role this week as hostess in chief has put her back in the spotlight. katie rogers, white house correspondent for the new york times. good to see both of you. emily, you write about how melania finally seemed at ease as first lady. what struck you over the last couple days? >> i think if anyone thought she did not want to be seen, i will point them to that white hat that she wore when the french president and his wife arrived officially at the white house. and that was a statement. that was a hat that no one who wants to blend in would ever wear. so i think she clearly wanted to be seen. >> can i quote, i have to quote your pulitzer prize winning
fashion critic "the washington post." >> oh, please do. i bow down. >> the day began with the hat. it ended with a hat too. that magnificent halo of pure white light perched atop melania trump's perfectly groomed head. it was a diva crown, a grand gesture of independence. a church hat. the lord is my shepherd, deliver us from evil. amen. very literary. others saw beyonce in it. some people saw olivia pope of "scandal." >> you know who i actually saw in this hat was princess diana. i think that was a look you might have seen on the late royal and certainly obviously royals wear hats far more often than we americans do, but it seemed to evoke that. and i know that princess diana is actually a woman whose public profile some have suggested that the first lady might model herself after. i saw that. >> well, she always looks fantastic, but it is
interesting, katie. we were talking to chris about this a little later how the american papers are talking about what they're wearing and the hat and the bromance, but let me show you the headlines from french newspapers. in washington a state dinner with a solemn atmosphere freen macron and trump. brigitte and melania close despite opposing temperaments. what do you make of that? >> i don't think i make very much of it because i think they're both first ladies, if you will, who are not necessarily courters of the spotlight. suggesting they're wildly oppositional in their temperaments, i'm not really sure if that's true. i think definitely they were together yesterday for a large amount of time. it's pretty clear that the trumps and macrons van understanding of each other as first couples, as allies.
whether that translates into definitive actions taken by the americans remains to be seen. >> you know, emily, the white house was adamant about showing just how much the first lady was involved in the planning of this. they did a little behind the scenes video. you call this the trumps foray into official diplomatic branding beyond the glitz and the glamour, how important is this? >> i think this is very important to the first lady. this is an element of her role as first lady that she feels comfortable with. in a way that she doesn't feel comfortable with other parts of it. i mean, look, first lady is not an official job title. there's no job description for it. she doesn't get paid. every woman who has been in this role has made it her own. but there are certain elements of this role that melania trump clearly doesn't feel comfortable with, doesn't embrace -- public speaking, politics, even policy. these aren't things that come naturally to her.
but the idea of entertaining, of presenting the white house in a certain way, of mastering the visuals, those are things that she does enjoy and feel comfortable with and play to her strengths. she has a background -- she studied art and architecture. she was a fashion model so she understands the power of visual. so this is a part of this role that i think comes naturally to her. i spoke to her staff this week and they emphasized to me just how much time she does spend on small little details of maintaining the white house, of presenting the white house to visitors, not just to the state dinner guests who were gathered in the state dining room last night for this beautiful black tie affair, but to everyday visitors, to people come for say egg rolls or other events at the white house. this is a very important element of this job. and i think it kind of gives us a little bit of a peek into the way she's approaching this job in a way that we really haven't. she's been sort of a sphinx in some ways.
she's embracing this. >> we've seen her twice obviously last night but also she represented her husband at the funeral of barbara bush earlier in the week. do you think this week has changed anything for her, especially the fact that she was so successful, you know, after being criticized for the speech at the convention and the whole thing about plagiarism and she apparently was deeply hurt by all of that. do you think we'll potentially see more of her? >> well, i do think this first lady from the beginning faced a ton of scrutiny. every single move she makes is sort of put through a filter depending on who is watching her and what that person thinks about the trump presidency. i think for certain her visiting barbara bush's funeral and putting on -- representing the white house, representing her office and her husband i think it was looked upon as a really class act. i think that her aides told me right away they were drafting statements when they heard of the death.
they were making preparations to go. it's not something she felt uncomfortable doing. the state dinner was not something she felt uncomfortable doing. and i think that for all the criticism she's faced as a first lady who has not really played to type in terms of how her predecessors might have approached the role, i think that there's definitely an openness to her that might not have been there before. >> thank you both. we'll be right back. amanda's mom's appointment just got rescheduled - for today. amanda needs right at home. our customized care plans provide as much - or as little help - as her mom requires. whether it's a ride to the doctor or help around the house. oh, of course! tom, i am really sorry. i've gotta go. look, call right at home. get the right care. right at home.
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