tv Washington Journal Darlene Superville and Al Weaver CSPAN January 29, 2018 1:31pm-2:00pm EST
donald trump gives his first state of the union address to congress and the nation. join us on c-span for a preview of the evening starting at 8 p.m. eastern, then the state of the union speech live at 9 p.m. following the speech, the democratic response from congressman joe kennedy. we'll also hear your reaction and comments from members of congress. president trump's state of the union address, tuesday night, live on c-span. listen live on the free c-span radio app and available live or on demand on your desktop, phone or tablet at c-span.org. >> and here's more about tomorrow night's state of the union address and a look at what's coming up this week in washington from this morning's "washington journal." >> host: joining us for a discussion onn many things, particularly in light of the white house and congress this week, are two guests. we're joining by darlene supervel, also al weaver of the
washington examiner who serves as a political reporter. to both of you, thanks for joining us today. so let's start with state of the union. if you look to the papers this morning just even suggestions from the headlines, the president isat expected to softn theg, tone on the speech as fars tomorrow's presentation, and particularly what it does for immigration. darlene, what do we get a sense as far as tone leading into tomorrow's speech? >> guest: well, the white house has said that he is going to speak in more optimistic tones tomorrow. contrast that, for example, with the inaugust ration speech that he gave a year ago when he talked about american carnage andam painted this kind of very dark picture of the united states of america. so he's looking to do a little bit of the opposite and be softer, more optimistic, more hopeful in talking about immigration and is only of the other -- some of the other issues we're going the hear him speak about. >> host: al weaver, particularly those members of congress that are sitting there, that message
if it is a softer tone, what's he trying to sell to them on both sides? >> guest: well, a couple things. the white house has been talking about an infrastructure deal. they rolled out this $1.7 being -- trillion are, excuse me, trillion dollar figure the other day that they said the white house or the administration will only kick in $200 billion of it. so that's one thing you're going to see.f and the other thing, obviously, that's really been talked about on the hill right now is this daca issue. it's ripping everyone to shreds up there, and we're going to see the white house, they rolled out their framework last year, 1.8 million dreamers that they want to have covered under any such deal along with $25 billion for wall funding. that's going to be a tough one to sell with democrats even though chuck schumer has floated wall money in the past. so that's going to be the big issue to be talked about on the hill. >> host: darlene, how did the president and his team arrive at this proposal, m? considering everything they have said about immigration and particularlyhe the daca program
leading up to it, what's the thinking? how dopr they arrive at this? >> guest: that's a good question. the president said last week that hed wanted $25 billion for the wall and border security, and you might remember that there was a meeting that he had at the white house with chuck schumer on the friday of the shutdown where the senator offered him $25 billion for the wall and border security. so that could be where that comes from. chuck schumerld eventually took that offer off the table, and then you have the white house coming back andhe saying we want $25 billion for the wall. the other elements of the plan have to do with the visa lottery program which the president wants to see eliminated or drastically changed some way. and then what they call chain migration or family-based immigration where you can come here and then bring relatives, children, spouses, parents, brothers, sisters, that sort of thing. they want to narrow, narrow down that program. and those are basically the four elements of the administration's deal on immigration including a fix for the daca, for the
dreamers. >> host: you know better than anyone else though, when the president talks, he talks to his base. how do they weigh what they want out of this over the concerns of the base particularly the things he said leading up to his election? >> guest: well, i think it'll be interesting to see because there has been a lot of pushback among the president's supporters over the portion of the plan that would offer citizenship, a 10-12 year pathway to citizenship for these young people who are here illegally. c and you'll recall during the campaign the president talked about wanting to do away with daca. his supporters regard any pathway to citizenship as amnesty. and you have breitbart news that last week referred to him as amnesty don. so there's some strong pushback over that particular part of the plan, and i think it will be interesting to watch and see whether the white house tries to peel back from that at all given the pushback that they've been getting. >>ee 748-800 for democrats, 8001
for republicans and 8002 for independents if you want to ask our guests questions concerning the topics that we'll bring up in this hour. al weaver, who do we look at in congress as ofin today, who are the ones that are going to be hashing out these large framework issues that the president has provided? >> guest: you look on the senate side, and you have the main, the number twos are the big ones, so senator john cornyn, senate majority whip, dick durbin has been highly involved in this issue. we'll see what that means moving forward although they will need to get the nine votes in the senate in order to get any bill passed. you have to look at the leadership, kevin mccarthy was on tv talking about any sort of deal. he's going to be one of the point people in the house. the other people you've got to look for are the conservative members on both sides of, bicameral. you have senator ted cruz the other day said that, you know, this would amount to no less than amnesty for these folks, as
daughter lean mentioned, and you have the -- darlene mentioned, and you have the house freedom caucus. we're not sure where they come down on this. on one hand, they are these solidly-red trump districts where trump did very well, but on the other hand, it's the amnesty issue, and it's going to be interesting. from what my sources tell me, they're going to meet tonight, obviously, once they get back into town, and the immigration issue's going to be on the docket tonight. >> host: apologies for that. on the white house side then, what kind of reaching out to these groups thatam al talked about? >> guest: well, another point i think that's important is you'll remember a week or so ago when the president had that bipartisan immigration meeting that was televised and went on for an hour or so, there was a point in that meeting where he said, you know, i'll take the heat -- >> host: yep. >> guest: whatever kind of deal this group gets and brings to me, you pass it, i'll sign it, and i'll take the heat. i think also it'll be interesting to see how much of a sales job the president does if he's really serious about
wanting to offer these young people a pathway to citizenship, how invested he is in going out and tryingci to sell members on it. because that h would provide thm some cover to vote for it. >> host: is this the president reaching outho directly? is this steven miller? is this mike pence? who's doing the sales job? >> guest: that remains to be seen at this point. stephen miller is, obviously, involved in the policy formation, so is john kelly, but as to who will be going out and doing the selling, we don't know yet.ha >> host: we've seen nancy pelosi weigh in and other things, so as far as the democratic side, al weaver, what's the talk? >> guest: well, they'res not happy about this at all. the two things they're really worried about, one is the 25 billion. chuck schumer laid down the marker kind of the other week, andli that's going to be an isse for democrats moving forward who really don't want the wall. some have signaled an openness, but it's this issue of chain migration that's really roiling
those in the democratic ranks. they really do not like this, the narrowing down to only spouses r and children that are under 21. i mean, because it was previously parents, siblings overpa 21, a bunch of those, you know, branch out in the family. right now they want it as nuclear as possible, just the spouses and children under 21. so that's one issue. the other person you've got to watch i neglected earlier is speaker ryan, a key figure to watch in this. one of the reasons he became speaker was given this, you know, he always would talk about,ke okay, any bill that wod pass especially an immigration bill has to get the majority of the majority, and that's going to be, i think, a tough sell for republicans. but the one key figure is trump. what does trump do, how does he try to sell this with his members and does, ultimately, does that save ryan and possibly his speakership if it gets to that point on immigration. that's the most toxic issue -- >> host: we've seen the president say i'll accept this
but then soften or change his mind on certain things in the past. thesees principles or at least these initial things that he wanted from the release last week, are these must-haves or are these we can talk about it and seesome. >> guest: right now they seem to be must haves, the but the president has gone back and forth, and he could very well change his mind, change some aspect of it to, you know, bring along members of congress. >> host: 202-748-8000 for democrats, 8001 for republicans and 8002 for independents. darlene covers the white house and al weaver of the washington examiner, serves as political reporter. our first call this morning is from don, independent line. you're on with our bests, go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: okay. my opinion daca started in 1986. and they've had two -- hello?
>> host: you're on, go ahead. >> caller: okay. they've had two general rations of children -- generations of children since '86, i'm pretty sure. now, if you're only going to include 1.8 million, i'd like to know how this retinal scanning is coming along to keep from paper sharing? >> host: well, dawn, we'll leave itit there. aside from the last part of it, history always comes up in these matters going back toe the '86 deal and, clearly, i think both sides congress and the white house have to understand that going forward. how does history play a part considering what happened in '86? what does the president see as far as how his proposals advance those things? >> guest: that's a goodth question. i -- history -- [laughter] >> host: well, as far as the president, you know, he understands that this has always been a tricky issue politically,
and he's going to have to try to conquer it now. >> guest: yeah. well, again, it goes back to, i think, just how much, of an effort he puts into trying to sell it to members of the public, to congress. immigration has always been a difficult issue, and we have a deadline supposedly now of february 8th to try to get a deal whichw seems a little bit unrealistic for an issue as complicated as immigration. so i think time will tell. >> host: thank you for bringing it up, the deadline. how does that factor into these negotiations? >> guest: well, i mean, i think it's there, but i really don't see the february 8th thing being a big situation. i think it's going to go to the march thing and probably maybe even into the summer given the court order we saw last month. this month, excuse me. no, i mean, it's -- the history going back is really fascinating in this sense, you go back to 2013, only a couple years ago, and one of the key figures back thenye was senator marco rubio,
and he's no where to be seen on this issue. he's playing either a silent role or kind of hanging behind the scenes depending on who you talk to. so i i think the history of this is a real factor in this given who's involved and, notably, who isn't. >> host: from california, independent line, justin. hello. >> caller: hi. i wanted to ask j your guests, does the daca legislation address, say, a family that comes across the border with a young child s a year from now? if they pass this legislation and we deal with the people who are here, the children brought over illegally previously, are we going to be right back into this same problem a few years from now, or do all young children brought to the u.s. illegally in the future get into daca? is this issue addressed? >> host: you want to start? >> guest: yeah. no, those kids would not be under this, under any legislation coming forward.
any bill right now would work for the kids between the age of 16-36 that were brought here in the past, you know, however many years that are under this dreamer status and have enrolled in daca or were afraid to enroll in daca. i mean, i think it's about 700,000 who are in daca right now, but there are many more that were afraid to enroll in the program. so that's where they get the 1.8 number. no, it would not impact those who come in here moving forward, they would not be covered under any bill. >> host: anything to add? >> guest: the only thing i would add is that one of the talking points on coming up with a solution to daca is you often hear republicans say we need to solve this situation now so that five years from now we're not back in the same situation where you have unaccompanied minors being brought to the u.s. and creating sort of a similar situation that we're grappling with right now. >> host: the headline fromm politico when taking a look at the speech tomorrow, he has to be normal.
trump's state of the union aims for unity after a polarizing year. the subhead, facing a grim midterm outlook, the president plans to focus on selling agenda items with a bipartisan touch. the midterm elections being the elephant in the room, so to speak. how does the white house account for that? >> guest: well, because we have midterm elections this year the legislative window for the president to get anything done -- infrastructure, immigration, and there's a list of issues that have been carried over from last year like the debt ceiling that has to be dealt with -- the window for getting stuff done is even shorter than it is in a normal year. so those are some of the dynamics the president has to play to. the other part of that is also, you know, the republicans lost a seat in the senate, so they're now down to 51 seats instead of 52. it's a little bit harder for them to get anything done, and i think some of that is why you're going to see the president take this more optimistic tone, speak
more about bipartisanship because that really is the only way to get anything done, as al mentioned earlier. republicans now need nine votes, nine democrats in the senate to get anything, most major legislation passed. >> host: do you see or does the white house see president trump taking a more active role in campaigning, particularly for those in questionable seats? >> guest: i think the president would like to be out there a little bit more campaigning for republicans. you -- hed has to be careful where he goes. not every member of congress is going to want him to come to their district because his popularity is so low, so historically low for a new president. so it's going to have to be carefully pick and choose where to send him and where he can be most useful. >> host: what's the potential of changeover in both the house and the senate as it stands today, al weaver? >> guest: well, the house is likely to have some changeover. the average going back many years is 24 seats in each, you know, for a president after their first term losing seats in
the house. i think that's the average. i think right now the house democrats need 26 to overtake the republicans, and nancy pelosi or someone back into speakership. we're going to see what happens there. i think you're seeing h a little bit of a playout in pennsylvania-18 right now, you haveve a republican, state legislator out there, and he's running in the seat. and right now if you look at the pollsth there, trump is very polarized, as he is everywhere, but especially there. i saw a poll that has 49 favorable and 47% unfavorable. and this was a district he won by 19 points last -- in 2016. i shouldn't say last year, 2016. but, yeah, i mean, that underscores that this is a trump district, and this is a place where trump should have a big impact in this race. but i think we're going to see that. race is in march, there's a little timee between now and then, but that's one place to look for in the coming months. >> host: new jersey, independent line. charles,ne hello.
>> caller: yeah, good morning. appreciate your show very much. my question is why are we so worried about the kids that are already here illegally and so less worried about more people coming through the border illegally and what we're going to have to do in the future we don't do something to protect our borders right now? so where should we go? i mean, i would put more emphasis on the wall going up and more border security and less emphasis on the daca children that are here illegally right now. >> host: darlene superville, is the version of the wall that the white house currently sees the version they started off with in the campaign? >> guest: well, the way the president described it during the campaign made it seem like it was going to be a contiguous, 2,000-mile along the u.s./mexico border. lately he's saying he never intended for it to be a con tillous wall because you have the river, some mountains in
some areas, lots of natural areas along the border. he'sal talked about see-through elements where you can see to the other side who's trying to come over, who's trying to toss drugs over. and there are some, i think, half a dozen or so prototypes that are up town on the border, andar he's supposed to make a tp at some time down there in short order to go and see the models and maybe weigh in on which version he hikes better. he likes better. but to go to the caller's question, i think part of the issue with the daca children right now is that the president has ended the program that provided them with protections and allowed them to work in the country without fear of being deported. and once that program ends come march 5th or sometime shortly after that, then you're going to go back to a situation where these people are living in the shadows, living in fear, that sort of thing. so youre want to sort of solve f that issue, and the president is
coupling that, his desire to solve that problem with demands for border security. >> host: so, al weaver, if the wall isn't going to sell with democrats and some republicans, what version -- excuse me -- border security are they proposing? what do you think democrats think will work? >> guest: that's the $10 billion question right now. we're not totally sure what's going to happen here. i mean, the wall -- the issue for democrats as i mentioned earlier, senator schumer laid down the marker during the negotiations and told trump here's what -- you can have whatever you want on border security, in essence. people have been talking that he offered up to the $25 billion that trump has requested in this negotiation. and i think that's going to be the major issue. you see what's going to happen, but i want to go back to the caller or purpose a second, and they said, they mentioned how we want to solve the issue moving forward, well, i think that's one thing the white house is pouring. that's the goal as far as chain my gracious as they put it, and ending the visa lottery. they're trying to nip this situation in the bud so we don't
have these problems anymore. thiess that's the white house's arguments. >> host: from decatur, illinois -- i'm sorry, decatur, alabama. hello. >> caller: hello. what i want to know is we pay tax, we got soldiers, we put hem in every other country except our open. why i dove to borrow money to build a wall when we can take our own soldiers and put them on the borderline and control the wall? that'll be a wall, one you'll never forget. which you could -- when they are training to do the same thing? why do we have to spend, borrow money to build another wall which we don't need? >> host: darlene superville, one of the arguments that you constantly hear on front is the cost, ultimately, the price tag from the president. >> guest: right. and he's asking for $25 billion to do this although last week when he dropped by chief of staff kelly's office, he did say he could build the wall for less. he didn't say how much less he could build it for, but you
might see the price tag shift a little bit. with anyli regard, it's still an incredible amount of money for a wall that a lot of people think is not necessary. >> host: mr. weaver? >> guest: going back to the campaign, i don't cover the campaign for thein examiner, an, you know, you go to all the rallies and one thing that was notable was when trump would say who's playing for the wall, and the answer was always mexico. that's one thing i always keep in the back of my mind -- >> host: and that's a hard concept. [inaudible conversations] >> guest: that was something at almost every rally he said, and obviously that's not going to happen. >> host: and there was the call and response -- >> guest: exactly. >> guest: everybody would chant, "mexico." >> guest: that was the thing and now that's, obviously, not going to happen, so, you know, that's anto added wrinkle -- >> host: on matters of economic, one of the things also expected from tomorrow's state of the union about the president's own role in economic success. the headline from the washington times this morning that state of the union will tout those
things. al weaver, what's the -- first of all, what will the president say, and we'll get to you, ms. superville, to expand on that. what would be the expected response from congress as far as the reality of what the president says? >> guest: obviously, the republicans are going to love it. that's one thing the president has going for him, he can go in and say, hey, look at the economy, look at01 the stock market. stock market's at record highs right now. you have unemployment is where it's at. the one thing he did in a tweet to jay-z the other day was black unemployment specifically. that's one thing he and his team have really been touting. i i think you're going to see stuff like that in the speech. last week, obviously, he went to davos and spoke about the economic success in america right now. i think you're going to see more of that in this speech. we look back at his address to the joint session of congress where he had this uplifting tone, he wasn't, as darlene mentioned in her open, about his
inaugural address where he talked about american carnage. i remember i did a story about a month ago talking about to peter king about this, and he mentioned how the president's major issue has always been stepping on his own toes. it was after that joint session, you know, everyone's talking about how he did a great job and what not, but then two days later he said that obama wiretapped trump tower,, and he really stepped on his message there. so i think that's going to be the issue mike moving forward. he's not going on the road to sell this, so that's going to be, you know, the million dollar question, ihe think. >> host: does that surprise you, that the president won't be selling this on the road like most presidents do -- >> guest: absolutely, it is surprising. he's taking a trip on thursday to go to west virginia to speak to the house and senate republican legislative retreat, their annual legislative retreat where they go away and strategize. but one could argue that members of congress aren't the only ones that need to hear more from the
president after the state of the union. you need -- people out in the country up like toon hear from their president and how they're going to sell the infrastructure plan and where are we going to get $2 trillion to build roads and bridges and how is he going to sell the immigration deal that he's put on the table. >> host: i suppose that the tax breaks will also be part of his speech -- >> guest: the tax cut will definitely be a big part of the speech tomorrow. he's very proud of that, as he should be, and just hearkening back to the appearance on pretty in davos at the world economic forum he talked about that a lot and how it's sort of spurred a lot of companies -- he mentioned at&t and apple has talked about bringing moneyas back to the u., companies are giving their workers $1,000 bonuses. you're going to hear, i think we'll definitely hear all of that tomorrow night in the speech. >> host: and i suppose now if the timetable works out that people will start seeing more money in the next couple of weeks in their paychecks, so that's timing there as well.
>> guest: right. it's a good segway to people seeing slightly bigger paychecks. >> host: i want to play you a clip from yesterday's shows, senator sanders talked about the tax cut, and i'm interested to see how democrats approach this. here's senator bernie sanders, he was on "face the nation" yesterday. here's senator sanders from yesterday. >> well, sure, everybody should be pleased when any worker gets a raise, but what we should also understand is that tax proposal will add $1.4 trillion to the deaf create. and concern deficit. and at the end of ten years, 84% of the tax benefits will go to the top 1%. nancy, at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, billionaires and large multi-national corporation to not need tax breaks, it is the middle class and working families of this country who do. >> host: at the same time he talks about the price tag, he has to deal with balance of, you know, if people get a tax break, ultimately that works out for them.. i suppose democrats still have
to to wrestle with this issue on a widere front. >> guest: they do. and senator sanders gives a good demonstration of where republicans are right now. they are happy for workers getting $1,000 bonuses from apple, home depoe, verizon, given where the situation is right now, they still go back to this, well, eventually it's going to go to the corporations. and that's the line you're always going to hear: i talked to chris van holland the other week, and he made this point, okay, it's good, but he also has to look atnt this, you know? other companies are laying off folks in order to do this. i think walmart was an example of that. so, you know, it's a little bit of a counterbalance that democrats have to deal with right now. how do you deal with these folks that are getting bumps in their paychecks especially leading up to 2018 and the red state democrats. thousand you manage that while also pushing this, well, eventually it's not going to happen. >> host: and this is a white house that has built this tax cut on the idea of growth in the
economy and sustained growth to help pay for it. >> guest: right. the president has talked about how the tax cuts will unleash all of this economic growth. he envisions the u.s. economy growing 3% or something to that effect. on friday, again, when he was in switzerland we got a gdp report slightly under 3% for the last quarter of the year, but that is what they are counting on, sort of the old trickle down economic theory that cutting taxes for corporations will just benefit everybody and spur wildly massive economic growth. >> host: how does the white house react when they hear people sayon in general that today's economy should be more of a factor if president obama and his tenure and rather than the current one year of donald trump. >> >> guest: well, he doesn't like it. [laughter] and he is pretty muchs the only opinion that counts when it comes to that. he thinks that a lot of what has happened is because of him and because america elected a businessman to a degree and that
sort of brought some new optimism toro the country, to workers. he talked the other day about consumer confidence being up, manufacturing confidence being up, and he attributes a lot of that to just himself and his personality and what he brings to the presidency from his career many business. in business. >> host: not surprising, some of those comments coming from democrats on capitol hill. >> guest: no, the one line i hearkened back to was when sean spicer was still press secretary, and they got the jobs report. he said, youhe know, quoted the president of saying something to the effect, well, they may not have been real then, but they're certainly real now. [laughter] that's always funny when you deal with president and jobs number and who takes credit for this. of. >> host: let's hear from johnh n bethesda -- >> well, this segment and the rest of today's "washington journal" is available at c-span.org. we will leave this at this point as the senate's about to gavel in. lawmakers expected to work on a bill banning abortions after 20