tv Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin This Will Not Pass - Trump Biden... CSPAN May 31, 2022 9:57am-11:01am EDT
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washington journal and kind scheduling information from c-pan's podcasts and it's available at the apple store and google play, download it free today. c-span now, your front row seat to washington anytime and anywhere. >> welcome to the latest event, trump, biden, the battle for america's future. i'm a student studying public policy and the political magazine. we're thrilled to be joined by two political correspondents from the new york times, the book, this, too, will not pass, trump biden and america's future. and before joining the times mr. martin was a senior political writer for politico and hotline and the national review and co-authored a best selling book on the 2012 election and frequently appears as a political analyst on television and radio.
mr. burns before his work at the times, covering 2016 election was a reporter and editor at politico covered the 2012 election and previously harvard editorial review. the conversation by david axelrod former advisor the president, and i'll turn it over to you. >> thank you, (applause). >> harvard is in the east near boston. >> thank you, guys. as i read this book, i read a lot about the book before we saw the book because you guys were very skillful at disseminating some nuggets there that would be enticing to people. but let me ask you about that first. i mean, my fundamental point is that this book is so much bigger than the things that we
read that were kind of exclusive sort of scoop. the narrative of what's going on in our country and what went on in 2020 and i guess into this year, was really, really deep and wonderfully written. ... >> first off, let me just say thank you to the university of chicago, to the iop, to a friend and former colleague jennifer steinhauer and for david for hosting us here. it's a thrill to be back in hyde park. there certainly pressure from
the publisher of your book that obviously is paying you to produce a work that they want to see people purchase themselves. >> by the way it's available out there. >> on the way out we'd love for you to grab a copy. we signed the ball. but i think with alex and i, we've been colleagues now for nearly 15 years. the pressure that we felt was just from ourselves. like we are competitors. we wanted to produce the best possible book, and that means like to think. well-written, well-crafted, a lot of reporting. so we were committed to getting those scoops, david, and driving news and get inside the rooms of american politics, getting those conversations. not necessarily because we felt pressure from any external force but because we wanted to.
and without that this is extremely important to read up american history and we wanted to offer what we hope will be the building blocks for future historians who look back on his tumultuous years to try to capture what was going on in american politics and why did it happen. so that's why we're so committed to capturing not just secondhand accounts but first-hand accounts, getting primary source material whether it's the audio recordings that hopefully you've heard or whether it was memos or documents that brought people to this period and it could stand the test of time. >> and not just in washington but what's so interesting about your book is you have players across the country who interacted with the politics of the moment, including our own mayor here, lori lightfoot is represented in this book. but alex, i don't want to be
parochial about the book writing business. there are a ton of books out already and some coming about the 2020 election. you guys got a book contract. you knew that. you knew woodward and costco were out there and maggie haberman whose book is yet to come and all the other books that are being written. how did you decide what the contours of this book would be and what did you hope the story would be? >> well, first of all images in my own thanks to you, the iop, to jennifer, caitlin and all of you for being here. no, look, that's a huge challenge at the start of the major reporting project whether it's a book or whether it's a long range story that your on is to figure out how to put together something that will benefit from long range
intensive reporting and also still feel new in current and competitive when it comes out. and yes, there is the commercial pressure to attract readers who will spend money to consume it but it's also just look, like when we have demanding j jobs, -- day jobs, demanding personal and family lives, doing a book as an extraordinarily laborious undertaking and we didn't want to do that and then find ourselves generating something that nobody would find particularly valuable because they've heard it all before. the look at the commission the woodward and costa book, you mentioned the maggie book. we knew that there were a couple of the books that were getting more tethered to the 2020 election and a couple of the books that were going to be anchored really, really squarely in the trunk white house. and we thought both for those competitive reasons and also because of just wanting y
something new to readers that they really, really would not feel like was entirely familiar to them, that we just sort of the camp with this idea to try to make a risk on a narrative that would span the run-up o the 2020 election, the aftermath and the consequences of that election. we started talking about doing that. we do know january 6th coming. we did not trump would refuse to succeed. >> tell that to the authority. >> but what we did know was that the country is going through an extraordinary crisis in 2020 in the form of covid and then crisis of one crisis after that and it was going to be a real test to the system, could we have free and fair election and to transfer power and new administration that actually got some stuff done. that was abroad ship with this thing even before he started to fill in the most on details of the picture. >> i want to get to the story of the two parties, the two presidents but i mentioned the
narrative, the story of january 6th has been told and retold in 1 million different ways but somehow it seemed fresher in this book because of the first-hand accounts that you had come at us mensching before we came after that i found it what's so clear in this book is just how much people in both parties really felt our lives were in danger that day. you talk about anthony gonzalez who ended up voting for impeachment on, a republican, and it probably cost him his political career to do it. but on that day talk about what he did and on the other side, jason crowell and the conversation that he had with his wife, a republican, a democrat, young former military. speak to that. of reporting this book was talking to so many members of congress
who are not a household names right and really trying to animate the forces that we're driving them to make excruciating decisions like ending your own political career by voting to impeach donald trump as a republican or just what's going through your head in those crucial moments that we knew that if we generated a narrative about january 6th that told you all the donald trump gave this speech on the national mall and evacuated mike pants from the senate floor and then they all you know, they took the congress to secure. position etc, etc. like that's all pretty familiar. material. we know that we had to get deeper into that and and jonathan had the enormous advantage and dubious opportunity of actually being in the capital complex while the attack actually remember was seeing you wandering around. on the feeds from the capital that night. yeah, but you know anthony told us this well.
these members told us told their colleagues told friends and family about these really renting things that they did in real time. so jason crowe is calling jason crows a democrat elected in 2018 from colorado former army ranger a call. he's in the gallery when the capital is locked down and he calls his wife and she knows that he's a soldier and she knows the kind of training he has and the way he might want to behave in that situation and she tells him don't be a hero, you know, she's scared that her husband is going to try to do what he thinks is the right thing and she mentally and that he has children and we should add that he sent her home early sent her home early. this was this was this is one of the most chilling things. i think we discovered in the run-up to reporting on the run up to january 6th is how many members felt like something terrible was about to happen. so jason crowe andy came from new jersey, i did the same thing their families were either going to come to washington or already in washington for january 6th, and they just felt like
something feels really wrong. i don't want my spouse. i don't want my daughter or son to be in this city anymore. yeah, and a gonzales. yeah, left a note. yeah. so infinit gonzalez is our republican from ohio who some folks in this room might recall played pro football. he played for the peyton manning era indianapolis colts and he entered politics pretty young guy. he's still in his 30s fascinating story a cuban american. and was sort of widely seen as this rising star in gop politics in congress and he is he is really shaken by the events of that day, and we talked to him a great length about his experience that day. it's one of the most compelling parts of the book. i think he he was in his office in the capital complex and he decides to write a note for his wife and to put it in the desk
just in case he lost his life and no, just hearing that in the interview is sort of gives you chills because you realize what was going through the minds of lawmakers in those hours. and just how how close we worked. we even greater catastrophe on january 6th. and just to finish the story on gonzalez. he decided a few months after january 6th. he was not going to run for reelection. he's 37 years old, i think and he had voted to impeach president trump a week after january 6th and obviously caught hell from president trump because of that vote and he talks about sort of death rents have come in against he and his family about being met at the airport back in ohio with you know, uniform police officers to
escort them off the the gate. and he's i i just don't want this life anymore. it's just not worth it. i have you know wife and young kids and who needs that and frankly. he's pretty honest about it's i am worth it to come back here for a party that is still sort of in the throes of trumpism anyways, and so he's a fascinating character in this book both for his experience on the sixth and then for everything the flows out of that and sort of his disillusionment with his party with politics, generally. um you have a lot of scenes from inside the republican caucus and i want to talk about we're going to talk about both parties here, but i want to talk about things that have meaning beyond the the storyline of this book and into the future. there was a debate, you know, we had a great republican in this in the state named abraham lincoln. who said in illinois is for his
first he was born here though, david he in his first inaugural address. he said we are not enemies but friends, this is right before the civil war. we must not be enemies though passion may have strained. it must not break our bonds of affection. so you have a republican from arizona now named andy biggs and he had a slightly different message in the republican caucus. in the aftermath of january 6th and his ira was aimed not a demo not not well a democrat certainly, but at least cheney for for for taking on trump. and he accused of aid in comfort to democrats and he said they're not just an opponent. they're an adversary that's trying to wipe this country out and change it forever. yeah, and it strikes me that that quote. is heavy with meaning because it is sort of the it is what is
driving so much of republican politics now now you know and yeah, we we talk about trumpism. we were just talking before we came out here about this senate race in pennsylvania right now. well, donald trump has endorsed dr. oz uh, there's another candidate who's spent 40 million dollars or something and there's a woman who's going to very likely win that primary or certainly could who has spent virtually nothing but is in steve bannon's word ultra-maga. to the right of trump and all of them. what does this say about the state of republican politics? well, i mean, i think the notion that or is that a leading question? i think it is, but i think i'm willing to be led on this one. no, i mean, i think that the sentiment behind what andy biggs
said is so pervasive in republican politics even among people who are actually like comparatively ideologically mainstream relative to andy biggs people who don't necessarily have like way out there right-wing policy ideas, but who just feel like the democrats are out to take this country apart at the building blocks and i think when you see the other party that way it makes the basic operations of american government like virtually impossible if that if that gains prominent look the story in pennsylvania is extraordinary. i think that it speaks to a couple different things but one of them is, you know, we have written so many times including in this book about trump's control of the republican party. this is not a study in trump controlling the republican party. he's not been able to make a dr. oz the decisive front-runner in pennsylvania, but trump's brand of politics is definitely in control of the republican party in pennsylvania. this a candidate kathy burnett is i mean she is in in many ways like more trump than trump and she has been out there saying as
a paraphrase, but that you know trump doesn't control the magna movement, you know, we're more than that and that's actually i mean, it's it's a hell of a signal about the overall trend in republican politics. i think you could even make the case that it's a little bit ominous for a donald trump personally the point at which the sort of next generation of revolutionaries starts to say that the guy who led them on the long march is not actually in control of the revolution anymore. you know that makes things pretty unpredictable for everybody involved. we should point out that in the governor's race in the governor's primary. you also have a candidate who's likely to win who is running in tandem with this senate candidate or loosely in tand. who is also far to the right of the other candidates there? and but i think what's so telling is that we use these terms like far to the right and i get why but i think 10 years ago if we were using that language about the so called tea party. you're a candidates. that would have been shorthand
for like you know like down the line ideological conservatism on issue xy and z right? they are for limited spending. they are culture issues. you know, i think it's so much more now based on affect and and sort of a pugilism now more than it is any kind of menu of issues david and i you know what so appealing about barn and i think for a lot of republicans is not just you know, what kind of policies she's talking about. it's the packaging too. it's her storage her profile of the republican party is now organized chiefly around opposition to and really contempt for. the democrats and i sort of finger in the eye sort of platform. it's basically what the platform is is. we are against those guys and we
want to take it to those guys and what better way to take it to those guys then putting forth a conservative black woman who is saying a lot of the things that that you believe but saying them like, you know, pretty emphatically in sort of offering her own fascinating life story that serves as kind of a review to what you believe are the pieties of the left. i mean that's pretty powerful stuff. and again, it's wrapped up as much in sort of profile and image and appearance as it is any sort of set of issues. yeah, and that's i mean that's different from 10 years ago. it speaks to why governor desantis has become, you know trump first then the santa now this right? yeah. yeah, that's the through life but to santa's, you know. he he comes across like the quarterback of the high school football team slamming the geeky kid against the lockers to get laughs from the cheerleaders except in this case.
the geeky kids are the democrats and democratic shibboleths. so you're looking at me like you don't like my now oh, but like it's the slamming against the locker. that's the appeal, right? yes. yeah, no the muscularity of it. yeah. yeah. how much do you think you know, we're sitting here obviously, you know this in the district that obama's political career. how much of this nativism you know when you hear andy biggs quote about they want to change america? you hear this discussion about you know, they want they want to replace us push us out. how much of that was. a reaction to the election of the first black president i think there's no question that it accelerated that and it
brought it into. the mainstream of conservative politics here in a way that hadn't been before i think part of it is the actual reaction to the election of the first black president. i think part of it also is frankly the political success of democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections just wiped out a generation of mainstream compare comparatively mainstream conservative politicians and just opened the door to you know, whoever would put their name on the ballot when the 2010 election came around. i just broke the old guard establishment to the republican part of the old fashioned way by defeating them at the ballot box and consecutive elections. i think that it is a bigger story than a reaction to barack obama. i think the proof of that is when you look at other western countries where this style of politics has also been on the rise in some cases before us and in some cases accelerating substantially after us that right wing populism broadly
defined has been on the march across you know central and western and eastern europe and the uk for some time and in some respects. we're like a lagging indicator of the direction of the of western democratic politics a culturally but look i think that there's it's obviously, you know, jonathan alluded to the tea party before i think it's one of the things that the media has been a pretty upfront about and looking back on coverage of the tea party is that you know, yes, there were a lot of candidates who put their names on the ballot in 2010 and afterwards who sincerely believed in limited spending and small government and hated the aca and other obama era policies, but were there voters really motivated by like a profound ideological opposition to expanded government spending some of them some of them were clearly motivated by some other and much darker stuff. and i guess what's different now is kind of okay to remove the right. yes, and that's something that trump did.
yeah, he removed both sides of it, right? he removed the pretense that it's not about race and identity and he removed the pretense that they care about spending right like the trumpier republican party doesn't give a -- about that. yeah. let's i want to spend very little time on this because it's been so picked over in the coverage of your book, but it does speak to the power of this movement that we've been discussing both the republican leaders in the in the senate in the house. their initial reaction to trump's to january 6th. was repugnance, it's fair to say or at least they expressed that in mcconnell mitch mcconnell's case. it seemed to be very visceral. yeah in mccarthy's case, who knows but but they both expressed themselves to their to their caucuses and to their leadership on this that very
quickly and mccarthy's case later in and more subtly mcconnell's case dissipated and i thought one of the most telling quotes in the book was when mcconnell was sort of explaining why he didn't go along with the impeachment. i think it was impeachment movement that he he said i didn't get to be leader by voting with five members of the of the caucus. yeah. so what does that say? about about their future and their command of their caucuses as we move forward. it says that they're willing to be led by their caucuses rather than leader caucus. that's the short answer. i mean. politically it's a lot easier for kevin mccarthy to sort of bow to what he perceives as the center of gravity and his conference than it is for him to try to push his conference to what may be a more advantageous
long-term. position but obviously in the short term it's going to create political challenges for him. so he just sort of goes with the path of least resistance and in his case. it was pretty a pretty speedy back down tomorrow lago before the end of january of 2016 was just in the neighborhood. he was just in the neighborhood, right? he just he just happened to he just happened to stop in at the the compound of the former president. so yeah, but what it does have is implications alex for the future because it's very likely that when you think about gonzales and others who are leaving. and you look at the results for example in west virginia in this primary last week when two incumbents went up against each other and one of them lost who had the temerity of voting for the january 6th commission in infrastructure. that the caucus is going to be more polarized and more ferocious than it is right now.
so where you guys are saying is so will mccarthy. look, i think that the parties are being purified and that as the the election cycles roll by the house and senate are are more and more dug in their ideological or at least they're partisan trenches and you can just look at the senate turnover who's replacing republicans senators or for that matter who's replacing democratics and all oftentimes. it's republicans senators, and i think it speaks to this and by the way in both parties to them, i think it's possible that in the next few weeks. you could have two of the most conservative house democrats lose their primaries and be replaced by much more progressive house lawmakers. yeah, we're going to have a major polar. so one of the interesting things in your book is what nancy pelosi's private. observations of her own caucus i
think she said you couldn't give me a billion dollars to be speaker again, which does raise the question about how long she'll remain in congress. i thought it doesn't matter. yeah, the question we don't know is whether she meant that you couldn't give her a billion dollars because she would do it for free right but no this is this is something that she says in i forget was november or december of is november of 2020 after it's clear that democrats have held the house by like this margin and she's begging and scraping for votes from across the democratic caucus to get to 218 and become a speaker of the house again, and she finds it this sort of like humiliating experience right that she's the most formidable figure in the house in my lifetime by a lot and here she has to go hat in hand to all these freshmen or you know long-serving but in her view irrelevant people and ask them, please, please let me and arguably after being sort of in blue line during the trump view,
right and nobody. i mean there are plenty of people in the democratic party who will say fine. let her do it again, and then there's like a pretty significant block of people who yeah, like they want to make her a beg for it and she you know, she says this she what she's saying is basically this is the last time there's nothing that could have me do what i am doing right now again what she also says david this is almost a year later. when the left wing of the house caucus is giving her i just headache after headache about trying, you know, she's trying to get the infrastructure built through the house. they're just a killing her on it because there's so mad at biden and so mad at joe manchin for not getting a buildback better done and she says of two of the most prominent progressives in the house in a pramila jaya paul the head of the house progressive caucus and aoc, you know, what they're doing is they're competing to be a queen bee of the house minority where she just feels like her own members on the left are sabotaging the party as a whole in trying to keep power which speaks to the larger question and you guys there's so many different anecdotes here on the democratic side that speak to
the sort of atomization of the democratic party. yes and how difficult that is not just for nancy pelosi, but for joe biden, yeah and some of the decisions that he had to make political decisions that he had to make to try and signify to this unwieldy i and identity oriented. yeah a party base that he as a 77 year old white guy was okay. mean this is a lot of material in the book gets at just that that you have somebody in joe biden who? is trying to forge consensus? with a party that has grown on wheels. i mean the blessing and the curse of the trumpier for democrats is that it's enlarged the party. it's also enlarged the party and
that that creates challenges what you're trying to sort of put together a majority of votes for a party that spans actual socialists like aoc with like, you know conservative democrats like joe mansion. who collectively have one thing in common which is they opposed donald trump? and obviously that one thing was very significant and it's the reason why joe biden's president, but once you achieve that one thing then like what's next and i think that gets the heart of biden trying to sort of forge consensus in the party and you see that immediately david after his election. i think the chapter that you're alluding to as he's putting together his government and biden is trying to sort of satisfy this this divergent party that you extremely or ever more interested and sort of organized by identity. and so he's collin together a cabin with potentially a gop held santa we'll have to confirm all these nominees and with that
in mind trying to also please various democratic. groups and this is difficult. it's a real puzzle and you know, you see it when he's trying to figure out. who should be secretary of for example health and human services? well. somebody i have in mind could do it but you know, the hispanic caucus is giving my staff real grief over the sort of lack of hispanic individuals in the cabinet. so, how do we fix this? and i think that's where this really begins. you can sort of see it in the challenges to put it in together a cabinet, but it's not it doesn't end there. i mean this question in this year this i don't know if that's the right expression. but let me yeah bore down on that because secretary of health and human services is a really significant position, but probably more so in the middle a hundred year pandemic, yeah.
um and it and yet they chose someone who had no discernible background in health, right? in order to in order to check that box because the forces that they were contending with were so strong that they felt they needed to and that is policy implications it does and i think the way you just put it is absolutely the right a way to put it that, you know the forces that they they felt the forces that they were dealing with were really that strong right? it's a choice on the part of joe biden and his advisors to say, you know, we don't even really know. however, sarah biden botches his name when he announces he comes javier bakeria when he announces him as the nominee. he you know the rationale for him having a health background is really really thin there are other finalists for that job, you know, january monday the governor of rhode island michelle lujan grisham the governor of new mexico who wanted the job badly and by the way was a former chair of the
congressional hispanic caucus who have a much more extensive executive experience and health management experience, but the chc is down our next and so we're going to do becerra and to me. i'm not saying that specific choice is like the original sin of the biden administration because i think that's an important choice, but it's not, you know, singularly important, but it's pretty -- important in the context of the pandemic and if you were going to signal to your own party in those early weeks after the election that you can push me around like that and i the incoming president to the united states who as a 76 year old white guy won the nomination of this party and then when the election and i'm so scared of what folks are saying about me in the sort of identity-based caucuses of congress and even by the way on twitter that i am going to be rushed into choosing this guy who i barely know i think from the start it just sends a signal across the democrat across the democratic coalition that it's
open season and we should point out that joe biden actually got elected and you guys have some of this in your book as well under scoring some of this in your book as well. as a as a kind of moderate, you know, he was he was the guy who stood on the platform and said do i look like a socialist to you? and perhaps his most effective speech of the entire game. yeah the way was that speech after the kenosha riots? when what he went to pittsburgh, but about labor day of 2020 and said just that line and they immediately put that that line on tv and how you circulation around the midwest to kind of a defang the the attacks that the joe biden was some kind of extremist. no david. this is the great irony of the buy demonstration is that he was the least most popular candidate frankly on college campuses like like this certainly on twitter. he was somebody who was seen in this just not just yesterday's
news because of his age, but also to his his whole affect his politics his eagerness for consensus his affection for figures like mitch mcconnell. i remember he said it's not something about mike pence that pence is actually a nice guy. oh my gosh the backlash that then came biden got for saying the mike pence is a nice guy. i was enormous. yeah for him to sort of defeat those forces of the kind of modern left. and then once he becomes president to sort of like consider that constituency so much as he governs it is striking because he didn't have to do that. those were never his voters in the first place and in fact biden's age which were to laughs i twitter is not reality. this is not real. it's not even who the democratic party is, but the but they haven't practiced what they preached.
let's talk about a couple of you know, there's one big. decision that the probably the biggest personnel decision that he made which he made during the campaign is one you guys write extensively about and they're actually a an aspect of local interest here because one of the people who was a prime contender for vice president was our own senator tammy duckworth who according your reporting got pretty far in the process. and really intrigued the biden campaign. so what happened to her and how did this end up falling to kamala harris? and what was biden's mindset in all of that? you've got great reporting on that. but sure so in i think the main picture that emerges from our reporting on the vice presidential process is that it's driven by biden and by the people closest to him overwhelmingly by really short-term political considerations. what do we need to do to get
from early august to early november without blowing? thing that it seems like we're going to win and so they have this rubric of a traits. they want their running mate to have traits. they want their running mate not to have and like nowhere in our reporting did we discern that inside that rubric and important place was like a genuinely close relationship with joe biden and his complete and total confidence that they could take over the presidency and carry the torch forward for the democratic party in 2024 or at any time. well, maybe they just couldn't fit all of that in a rubber. it was it's it's look it's a pretty big rubric though that we saw some of the polling that they were cut considering the search committee was considering they bombarded people with questions about all these potential candidates and one of the things that i inspired the search committee about senator duckworth was obviously her heroic life story the diversity that she would bring to the ticket not just in terms of her
background as an asian american politician, but as a figure from the middle of the country as a row and as somebody who grew up times in her life in poverty, and you know our reporting is that biden connected really well with her, but the lawyers had a little bit of a problem with her and that was that she was born in thailand to and one parent who's american citizen and one who wasn't and they felt like on the merits they ought to be able to win a lawsuit against her about challenging her eligibility on sort of birtherism style grounds, but that they didn't want to have to fight that lawsuit in the middle of the campaign and trouble with what and of course trump would make it an issue if they were running against you know jeb bush, maybe they would have gone ahead with it. anyway, because jeff but they're rationale was it's only going to take one judge in one state to knock us off the ballot. maybe not just knock her off the ballot but knock the whole democratic ticket off the ballot in the state that we can't afford to lose and to me. so what made them think that trump would make citizenship an
issue. i know it just it's kind of can't come but to me that's that is one of the most revealing aspects of this right? is that a joe biden knows as well as almost anyone a how pernicious a birtherism is what a force it was in trump's rise and in this moment he decides, you know, i don't it's not that we're saying he would have chosen tammy duckworth. if not for this. i think that he and his advisors. i felt strongly by the time he was coming up on his decision that he really needed to choose a black woman for the ticket and that and that there were reasons why it made sense to choose somebody who had been road tested in national politics the way kamala harris had been and very few other people on the short list i had but the choice to say we're gonna take tammy duck worth out of consideration because of this attack that we think is bogus and and profoundly offensive, but we're just gonna practice those kinds of defensive short-term politics. i think again, it's another case study in sort of letting the other letting your adversary win
preemptively because you don't want to lose later on what i would just add. a lot of people in biden's orbit believe kamal harris was always going to be the pact that it was a fadedcom believe that she would just made the most sense for on a lot of levels and you know, yes abide did not have a close relationship with her. yes. she attacked by hayden fiercely during and and apparently jill biden was deeply july was not a fan of her attacks as we report in the book during the democratic primary one wondered allowed. is there nobody else that we can pick? that makes the fact that they never really deeply grappled with. what the world would look like and what her role would look like. if biden did win all the more striking he's if you sort of know from the get-go that common layers is probably gonna be the vp and then you you make her the vp pick. wouldn't at some point you consider like okay. so like what are the implications for governing after biden becomes president if he
does win and what are the implications for a soon to be 80 year old incumbent president and who may not be able to run for re-election and like what does that mean for succession? i we just never got the sense that the biden folks considered that it was just so much more narrowly focused on who is the short-term picked who can help us beat donald trump and i get the importance of getting donald trump out of the white house if you're joe biden's campaign, but my goodness they just never wrestle. i don't think at all with with the day after the election and now here we are in a situation where it's may of 2022. there's there's grave questions that every democrat is asking when the cameras are not on about, you know, joe biden's capacity to run for president again in 2024, and if you can't what do we do and like it's not clear to me that there's any kind of a plan for scenario b. biden doesn't run well and i mean and you guys did some reporting on this and everyone's
seen it it's not as if they've made the vice president and integral part of correct of the administration, you know, biden was actually in the obama administration. he ran the recovery act. he was sent to iraq. yeah negotiate the new government there. he was sent to the hills and negotiate. we don't see that. with this vice president well and the task that that she has taken either. she's not really embraced a fully or struggled with. yeah. well in fairness they gave her this they say you want to drive. we've got a couple of cars without. carburetors in the back and you can have those ah, but she didn't even try to drive the car is the problem. i mean you think about for example the voting issue we report in the book something. that was i think astonishing to both of us to report, but that she never once talked to joe mansion or lisa murkowski the two most pivotal senators on the voting issue about the voting
issue. how are you? how are you sort of honchoing that issue if you don't have a conversation with the two most important senators on the issue it sort of speaks to what you said david a minute ago about not exactly making her integral part of the administration. let me why is that not happening? you know, let me ask you about a couple of other things one of you you guys talked about. a decision that i think loom's larger now than people realize that the time which was the decision to to jump on the movement to increase the stipend in the rescue act from 600 from the $600 that the that the congress passed in december of 2022. the additional fort $1400 or 2,000 um and it turns out that was not exactly the work of
economists surrounded table trying to get to the right number so much as trump who is mad about being left out of the negotiation saying 600 to smile? i would have done 2,000 democrats jump on that say these two georgia republicans who are in a special election short-change people. we're for 2000. they should have been for 2,000. and 2000 it became and after the georgia runoffs and after january 6 when there's a meeting of a senate democrats a chuck schumer. who by the way was not campaigning for two thousand dollar checks prior to donald trump endorsing it himself. he brings in the new senators from georgia our raphael warnock and john ossip and kind of prompts them to tell the other senate democrats, you know, we we made some promises and we need to keep those promises so is goes from being this idea that president trump throws out there in a video on twitter one afternoon to be a campaign issue in this very very unusual a special election to like the
carved in stone economic agenda of the bind administration and underlying it david. it's not just that this is a sort of like a weird sequence of events that leads to this policy. it's also you know, it represents this larger wager that the biden administration makes early on, which is that if you give people in distress direct cash benefits or direct government benefits of another kind they recognize that you have done something concrete for them and they will reward you for it. so even before but even before you get to the issue of inflation and whether sending all that money out there helped overheat the economy. that basic betters doesn't pan out that we talked to members of the house who actually raised this with the bid administration. he said they would talk to people in their districts. they got that money. they thought that it was part of like the trump stimulus right that they don't see that showing up in their bank accounts and say, you know, thank you president biden and the democratic party. so it was just you know, it was a sort of a policy that came about through a weird sequence of events. that didn't do anything for joe
biden politically and i think that is much as anything as the real disappointment for them, but it does now the real political problem that he's facing is not that he didn't get enough credit for that, but that he is getting a lot of credit for runaway inflation. yeah, not all of which by any measure can be blamed on that one decision, but certainly when you look at other countries and our country every country's experience inflation ours may be a bit more and why in part because they're fighting the last war we heard this so many times. spring of 2021 we're not going to make the mistake that you know, who the guy who's from this neighborhood made barack obama. he just you know, it should have been a bigger stimulus package. you know, we're not gonna do that again. we're gonna get the biggest possible stimulus package here and we're gonna get this economy moving again. and so they they in effect
overcorrect in part part i think because of economic and political impulse but david also for being honest here, i think also because of reasons of sibling rivalry. don't tell anybody but barack obama and joe biden have a rivalry and they're not the closest of friends and i think joe biden felt like there are his time as vice president. he was not always well respected and the in the obama white house, and i think he still has a grudge that he was not sort of tapped to run for the presidency in 2016 that people in the obama's orbit rallied to hillary clinton and we have this scene in in 2021 david which a biden's riding high and he says in a very sort of unguarded moment to an advisor, you know, i don't think brock would like one bit the coverage of me as a more transformational president than him so you can't take the personal out of the political equation here when we're talking about biden's economic policies in that first year as president
and why he was so intent on getting the biggest possible stimulus package. there's a microphone there and those who have questions, please queue up behind that microphone. i want to ask one more, but if you don't queue up, i threaten right now. i'll ask more so i want to ask you guys. and and i think this conversation reflects it this book is called this will not pass it operates on a lot of different levels, but implication of it is that we are in the throes of something of large forces that are not going to be easily undone. um, so talk a bit that and then see if either of you can squeeze out a positive message so our audience doesn't go home deeply depressed. yes spoil or spoiler alert. there's not a happy ending at the end of at the end of this will not pass as the title may betray.
there were there already working on this past. just kidding it fast now. yeah, look i think the sort of the political fever that this country is in i think shows no signs of abating. in fact just the opposite. i think all signs point to more division more disdain for this sort of political opposition and sadly, i think the risk of more political violence that we saw on january 6. i don't see a scenario where that that is. that becomes less likely at least in the short term. i think the incentives now are all geared towards. more partisanship and the partisanship based on a contempt for the opposition. on a positive note. i think the history of the country offers the best sort of upbeat note. i mean we've had enormous challenges in the past and we've
had crises and we've eventually overcome them and sort of grown stronger as a country, you know a couple of steps back and then be obviously take steps forward. so i think i'm sort of hardened by the the long term that you know, the american story does tend to borrow a line that obama borrowed eventually been towards towards justice. i'll just add really quickly, you know, we mentioned before that in a lot of ways the us has been sort of the lagging strand and the rise of the far right across the west and i think it's possible that we're going to be the lagging strand in the the fall of the far right across the west that you know, if you look at there was this moment after trump's election when it looked like you know, you have these sort of like borderline fascist paul a party's on the rise in germany and italy and france and they elected a right-wing strong man in brazil and you know, god knows where it's just right and
well the philippine. yeah that's ever conversation about that. but you know, whatever germany is that just had another election. they elected a center left a chance, right italy's prime minister is basically like, you know, italy's a larry summers right? like these are not sort of like accept perhaps on some college campus is not not sort of like a figures of the extreme. right? right, you know bolsonaro looks like he's likely to lose in brazil. i think have a particularly rigid and low moving political system. that doesn't it doesn't sort of process electoral results turn them into policy and then let the voters repudiate them or embrace them quite as quickly as it happens elsewhere. so, you know, i don't know that's like a real upbeat message, but i do think that like give this to somebody more time. thank you. if we did joe biden would face a pretty tough vote of confidence right now, right? yeah. and the in the parliament of the united states right now, i'm not sure he would survive that vote. yeah, right. there's your upbeat. he like he puts a he gives us an upbeat button and then you have
to jump in and stamp all over it. let's take the question. yeah. hello. thank you very much for the nice overview. my name is john wayne postdoc at the prices school of molecular engineering. i have a question about more the left the center left side. so you mentioned that the the biden administration and the choice for example of kamala harris looked at the very short term results. my question is do you see? a political figure in the center left that or even more in the very progressive side that could sort of embrace more long-term you of development for for progressive policies and push them forward because i believe that's actually at the end of the day one of the most vivid
distinctions between what progressiveness is compared to trumpism and very sort of short-term right-wing. well, this is also a very active conversation in democratic circles these days all so most often help when the cameras are not are not on and that is who can pick up the torch joe biden said himself that he was a transitional figure, of course now his staff wants to say that that was only one time. he said that but look, joe biden was an emergency. canada effectively right first to stop bernie sanders and then to eject donald trump from office and that was the entirety there were a lot of voters in this country the rationale for joe biden's candidacy. so again, i come back to this sort of now what what's next and it's not totally clear what the network who the air is look. i think if kamal harris or joe
biden rather does not run for reelection. obviously commonly hearers will be a formidable candidate remember the administration the sitting vice president first black woman in history to be a national elected official you think she would be an opposed in the prime. no, i was about no. no, i was gonna say i think she'll have a robust prime. i mean, i think democrats are not gonna see the nomination to her not exactly progressive if biden doesn't run look, i think there will be yeah, there will be i think an intense primary both within the more progressive wing of the democratic party, and certainly i'm on the more moderate sort of faction of democrat. i think you'll see a number of governors. give it a look. senators cabinet members mayors i can see the governor of this stage debut pritzker being interested. you know that jared polis in colorado gavin newsom in california roy cooper in north carolina if stacy abrams went to
the governorship this year. absolutely. i think that murphy would consider it phil murphy in new jersey and the cabinet gina raimondo the more moderate weighing of the democratic party, perhaps mitchell andrew, and then i think you have to you know, consider bernie sanders and elizabeth warren, you know, they run for president before that's a pretty good indicator that they would consider doing it again, and certainly the same can be said for other senators like amy club, which are i think you would have a pretty robust primary. yeah. the only thing i'll just add is i think that this is the first administration first democratic administration and my life time and i think arguably first administration period in my lifetime. we're neither the president on nor the vice president as seen as like a person of real sort of like deeply anchored. ideological perspective right the trump administration, i think yeah also in a different way a not deeply ideologize yourself, but but i mean pence wasn't like a big vision guy,
but he was a guy with a pretty fixed principles, right, but you know when you think about like what bill clinton did to set the direction of the democratic party and what barack obama did to set the direction of the democratic party, i don't think you can look at joe biden or kamala harris. either of them has even attempted to do that and i think when you look back at the last primary campaign, whether it's elizabeth warren on one wing of the party or pete buttigieg on a very different wing of the party, i think you can you can tell there's this hunger in the democratic party for somebody who's gonna say what on earth they're about for the future right? i think that's a huge opportunity for somebody if biden doesn't let me ask you a question about this kind of thank you your question parochial political question, but it's one that i think about a lot. doesn't it matter when by an announces his decision because all of the people you're talking about? are not household political names in this kano and celebrities a huge driving force
obviously in today's politics. so if if biden says in summer of 2023 and his habit is not to make these decisions early. i've noticed that if he says in the summer of 2023, you know what? i'm going to just devote myself to the work of the country for the rest of my term or it could be late summer. i think what does that what does that do to all those people late summer could be fast. yeah, i mean, i think the second the midterms are over like midnight of of like election night this year the clock the clock starts ticking and i think every day that goes by after the midterms this year. the democratic anxiety levels are kind of like spike as trump is sort of in the wings attempting his combat democrats have an uncertainty about who's gonna be our standard bearer. i think there's going to be enormous pressure on biden to offer a decision, but david, i think you're getting something when joe biden does not want to
say no. he doesn't say no very quickly. and i think this is the ultimate and final know that joe biden would ever have to offer you sort of extinguishing his own political career. i don't think it's gonna be in a huge hurry to do that if that's the decision. i think it's more likely that biden would offer a quick decision about running for reelection than it is. he would offer a quick one about not running for your election. and this is also why governor pritzker governor polis are such important figures to watch, you know, if biden decides not to run like labor day of 2023, you're gonna have to get known really well really fast and that requires either celebrity going in we're having a lot of money. can you imagine if we're at labor day 23 and biden hasn't said what he's gonna do. oh my gosh. the democratic party would be on fire across this country. yes, i can imagine that. yeah, so we've got more questions here ben barker. two-part question. i know this fellow hey full of disclosure this my cousin cousin
alert. when you put together a book like how could you write a book so great. when you put together a book like this, how do you decide what to release into the news as you get it and what you hold on to to publish a cohesive larger narrative and do you have any additional reporting not yet reported from the lead up to the insurrection at the capitol that could impact the january 6 committee's work. oh my god question. well, first of all, happy birthday ben, he just turned already great great guy and i went to school up the road here a different school, which we've not name in chicago land area look. think your second question first i think the best reporting we got we put in the book for alias reasons, but we have a lot of primary source material and we have a note to readers in the beginning of the book that sort of gets at like why we think
it's important to no, only use quote march. it may sound like a small thing but like goose quilt marks, but when we know those were the precise words of the protagonist and in the in the book at the moment and so we we have obviously quite a bit of material some of which you've heard the audio tapes of and it's it's not the last of it, but i think the best material in terms of what's in those documents and those tapes you see in the book i think on the larger question. you know, have you have you been asked for the we have not had >> have even asked for those tapes i -- >> we have not had any kind of formal, yeah, request. i think the larger question, really easy. i mean, we don't speak to the the book foring in obvious reasons and it's not
something that we do but generally speaking if you have a scoop of the century in your lap and you work for newspaper, you're going to put in the paper, write? that's not really how reporting typically works. that's the hollywood version where you walk out your house one day and like in front, the front door there's a big bow on a gift with like the scope of a lifetime. it's like much grittier than that. it takes months and months of work of trying to track down material, verify material, get access to material and put it together. so it's not the kind of thing that you like sitting on necessarily, generally speaking. >> thank you. that will be cake for been speeded we're going to break away from this program for just a moment to keep our over for your commitment to live congressional coverage. we will return to booktv
momentarily. and live now to the u.s. senate from what we believe will be a brief session. no votes are expected. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., may 31, 2022. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable cory a. booker, a senator from the state of new jersey, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned u