tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 22, 2016 1:30pm-3:31pm EST
>> as planning for the presidential transition continues at trump tower in midtown manhattan, the council on foreign relations posted a discussion on past presidential transitions. we heard from former white house chief of staff from the obama, bush, and clinton administrations. >> welcome to today's council on foreign relations meeting with josh bolten, bill daley, and mack mclarty. i won't go over their long biographies. the main thing you may want to know is that they have all served as chiefs of staff in the white house. we are so lucky because i cannot imagine people who know more about presidential presidential transitions. at a moment when we have a very
uncertain presidential transition. i would also like to welcome cfr members from around the world participating in the meeting through the livestream. we will hear from them during the question and answer session. i am also asked to let everyone know that the next meeting is on domestic security in the age of isis, and that's on november 28. this panel is about navigating the transition. but there are a lot of transitions going on at once. there is the handing over of so many institutions from one set of hands to another. there is the transition that the president-elect has to make from being a candidate to being someone who governs. in this case, that is a big transition for someone who has never been in government before. and there is also the transition that all of the people around him have to make and that we as a country have to make from an intensely fought campaign to a
moment of government when the choices are different. not everyone may want to make that transition. mack, let me start with you. we have never had a transition quite like this. of the three of you, your experience is the closest. in early 1993, you and a governor from a small southern state arrived in the white house after 12 years with the other party in power. talk about that. how disorienting and transformative is it and what do you wish someone had told you? mr. mclarty: i survived, number one. [laughter] all, it is good to be here. it is always a pleasure to work with cfr. and of course with chief bolten and chief daley. i think you hit it just right.
the real key to any transition is the hallmark of any working democracy -- a peaceful transition of power is pivoting from a campaign which was a highly contested one to governing. that is the key pivot that a transition entails. there is so much to do and so little time to do it. you have a number of stakeholders in terms of getting a government in place. that is what you alluded to -- the cabinet, the white house staff. you have the press to engage with. you have got to be sure to remember those that brought you, as the old saying goes, your supporters. and you need to reach out and try to broaden the base. and then there is the members of congress, each of whom think they are a pretty important individual. in governor clinton's case, just like with donald trump, you are stepping on the world stage for the first time and that is such an important and sacred step. so there is all of these things to do with so little time. less than 80 days. >> what is the one thing you
wish someone had told you? mr. mclarty: i kept asking jim baker to give me some granular detail on transitions, and he said you just have to be there. [laughter] >> josh, you are a transition legend. the transition, the handoff that you managed from the george w. bush administration to the obama administration is considered to be very smooth. how much of that is something that would have been the case if not for your experience on september 11? mr. bolten: well, first, thank you for having us and it is a privilege to be here with bill and mack. 9/11 had a lot to do with it. the tenor and the substance of the transition that we worked on
as president bush was leaving office in 2008 was very much a product of the terrorist attack of 9/11 in the sense that president bush called me in probably a year before the inauguration and maybe even a little more. and he said that he wanted to be sure that whoever was elected president, that his white house executed the best, most effective, deepest, most cooperative transition in modern history. in large part because this was the first transition in modern history during which there was a really keen sense that the homeland itself was under threat. this period of transition is a real point of vulnerability for the country. those of us who have either left the white house on january 19 or
arrived on january 20, and i have done the former twice and the latter once, you know that the west wing is completely empty on the night of january 19. there is nothing on the walls. there is nothing on the desks. there are computers but the hard drives have been taken. there is no one in any of the offices except for some watch people in the situation room and the navy people who serve the food in the mess. otherwise, it is completely blind. -- blank. and so the people that come in to take over our government are doing it, at least as far as the white house is concerned and many other places are concerned, are doing it with a completely new team. and if the outgoing white house does not help the new one get as
prepared as possible, there is a real moment of vulnerability for our country. >> do you think that window of vulnerability has closed somewhat compared to where we were on 9/11? mr. bolten: yeah, it has closed a lot. there have been two waves of legislation that have made it much easier for candidates, two major party candidates, to begin the transition planning which used to be considered "measuring the drapes." it is now basically legally required, which is excellent. as soon as the nominee has the nomination of his or her party, the gsa makes office space available, there is money available to pay staff. so it is now in our law because of some really good work by a lot of groups, including the partnership for public service,
former senator ted kaufman, former governor mike leavitt -- there is a kaufman-leavitt act which puts a lot of this in law. and now it is standard operating procedure to get prepared and to have the resources to get prepared hopefully without being accused of measuring the drapes. >> you have all of the resources there. do you have a sense that they have been used this time? if you have all these offices, are they being productively occupied? mr. bolten: well, i mean -- yeah, we will see. [laughter] i interacted with both the clinton and trump transition teams several months ago at an event sponsored by public service partnership, and they had a book and all of this kind of stuff. and i was impressed that the trump people seemed to be paying even more attention than the
clinton people. because i think the clinton people felt we have done this dozens of times before. we've got this. the trump people were very serious and very professional and very well prepared. so i was optimistic about both. the concern that arose in my mind is that two days into the transition, the president-elect's team basically decapitated their transition team. they purged a certain number of folks who were associated with governor christie. and so took out some of the leadership of the transition that had been going through this training. they lost several steps. my sense now is that they have regained their footing. they have time. it is an enormous amount of work to do and it is a big scramble but hopefully they are well-positioned to do it properly.
>> you have had the experience of going through confirmation as a cabinet secretary for commerce. talk a little bit about what that is like, to have your life examined, and also, how you as chief of staff saw the confirmation process playing out for other administration members. mr. daley: well, i doubt there are many people in this room or in this town who don't think the nomination process has gotten totally ridiculous. the amount of information, the number of people, the general counsel of commerce having to go -- with all due respect to the lawyers, this has gotten crazy. the whole process is unbelievably time-consuming, it gets people off track. it can destroy one's reputation
for something minor and there always seems to be, whether it is a cabinet spot or at a lower level. there is always one or two people that get the prize of being the target. >> there will always be somebody. mr. daley: you always hope it is somebody that gets identified real early before you get chewed up. [laughter] through,r as i went december 13, the hearing -- i kept waiting every morning to hopefully see an article on somebody else. [laughter] they were going to be the target . but it ended up almost being like an oral bar test. before -- i had never done it, so it was kind of strange, and i remember one of the senators saying to me -- why do you seem so nervous?
as i was going to see them. they really do not care what you say. it is the question they want to ask. and i kept thinking it was some sort of exam that i had to know everything. all these briefing books they give you, all about the department. and basically, i think it was john mccain -- he said they do not want to know what you know, they want to know who you are. and suddenly the lightbulb went on and it was a different process for me. but it is no fun. >> let me ask you about another way congress might have a role particularly in this transition. a couple of names have been mentioned -- general mattis, for example -- who would need a waiver, a statutory waiver because he has not been out of the military for that long. what is your perspective? mr. daley: first of all, i have enormous respect for his service to the country and he is a remarkable person. i personally think that's a bit
-- i think it will be more of a fight than people think for that waiver. the last time one was done was for marshall recommended by harry truman. it is not done often. and very often, presidents or presidents-elect think about a military person for defense because oftentimes you get highly visible and highly talented people. but they step back because there seems to be an inherent conflict in that. and so i personally think it may be too soon. but i think -- i assume he will go for it, nominate him and probably win the vote because of the dynamics of it but i do not know if that is good precedent. that is my personal view. gamma interesting. one job that does not need confirmation is chief of staff. i wonder if you all have the impression that the chief of staff job as you experienced it is even going to exist in this
administration. we have reince preibus, obviously, but we also have steve bannon who is simultaneously announced as the chief strategist, senior adviser. it is not really clear what the balance between those. is that normal? [laughter] is that a good way to run a white house? [laughter] mr. mclarty: josh, why don't you start? [laughter] mr. bolten: i was going to say yes, but the shorter and more correct answer would be no. [laughter] you know -- well, let me answer that -- no, it does not sound right, it sounds like a big mistake to have them announced -- to have the senior adviser and the chief of staff announced as co-equals in the white house.
that on its face sounds like a real mistake. in the sense that you need the chief of staff to be the emissary to and from the president. and only one person can really be the final word on setting the president's calendar, on deciding which issues will go to him in which format, on setting the strategic course for the white house. and very importantly, on reflecting the definitive word on what the president has decided. imagine a situation in which the president says something to his senior adviser -- "ok, go do it." and steve bannon says -- it means bomb iran.
and reince priebus says, it means he was mouthing the words to a beach boys song. >> is it more of an issue because of who steve bannon is? mr. bolten: you know, it would be an issue anyway but the provocative past that he has makes it worse. but let me add a note of caution to everybody in assuming that is how it will work out, because you can say that they are coequal and i think be setting up a rational structure if by coequal you mean they are coequal advisers to the president. that i, donald trump as president, will listen to these people equally and give their advice equal weight. that is not a problem. there are plenty of people in a white house who as private advisers to the president can have equal weight. i served as chief of staff when -- with the senior adviser in
that position, in what sounds like a similar position, was karl rove. president george w. bush had no closer, smarter, more astute and effective advisor then karl rove. and i would be the first one to say that if i were the president, i would probably listen more closely to karl rove's advice then i would to josh bolten. but there was no doubt when i served as chief of staff that when it came to running the white house, when it came to interpreting and executing the president's instructions, president bush empowered me to do that and not karl rove. if they mean coequal in the sense of advice, fine. if they mean coequal in the sense of equal authority within the white house, potential disaster. mr. daley: let me just add that
i firmly agree with the way that josh answered that question. we really do not know his management style yet. it is one thing -- you could dismiss the analysis of coequal meaning i am satisfied with my base. reibus, instead of just saying reince priebus is chief of staff and he would get altt of blowback from the -right crowd. he satisfied that political problem he could have had. my guess is that is more likely the case. whereas, josh said someone really has got to be responsible for the day to day. mr. mclarty: to build on what they have said, i think josh articulated how coequal could be viewed. every white house clearly has influence centers, more than just the chief of staff position. certainly, the vice president is a major player, the first lady
always has influence regardless of the president, and others including senior advisers. i think the real key to any effective chief of staff is it has to fit with the president. it is a position that has to fit hand in glove with whomever is the president and how he or she wants to operate the white house. but the key is authority and responsibility. you have got to have the authority and responsibility and you cannot have people undercutting the management of the white house. and you would think that someone coming from business would understand how the chain of command and authority and responsibility might work. go backight, except to to what we do know about donald style, one ofment the few clear things that we do know is that he relies a great deal on his children, his adult children. there are nepotism rules meaning he cannot quite give them jobs
but when you talk about authority, there is also an element of accountability. do we have models for this? is there a precedent for this? how do you see -- mr. daley: i don't think there is a precedent for adult children who also have a business they are running. so far, it seems as though they will continue to run their business and take it over from their father. that is unprecedented. >> is it tenable? mr. daley: um, well, he won and he will be there for four years so it is tenable. will they take a lot of heat for it? sure. my guess is that it is fraught with potential, if not real issues, appearance issues if anyone cares. >> if anyone cares -- that is a big question. are -- all of our standards and expectations of what makes someone confirmable, what is
acceptable conflict of interest, moderation -- have those been thrown out a little bit in this transition, in this election? mean toy: i didn't imply they have been thrown out, but there is no question in my mind, we have set a new bar in this election, in this campaign. whether you want to say that we have put the bar of work -- but the bar up or taken it to the floor the bar has been changed. mr. mclarty: we are in unchartered waters. no doubt about it. mr. daley: that mack very kind. [laughter] >> do you recognize this transition process -- the parade of people to trump tower, the open acknowledgement of who the candidates are?
mr. mclarty: certainly different. different than transitions we were involved in. whether it is good or bad could be debated but it is certainly different. mr. bolten: i like it and i think it is refreshing. i came from an administration that held the names of people that were being considered very tightly. it was basically a genuine secret until it was announced. each cabinet announcement that president-elect bush made at the end of 2000 and 2001. the obama folks handled things differently. they also kept it secret but then they would leak the name of the likely nominee a day or two before they planned to announce it to see how things went. which was a pretty smart way to do it. i think everybody made it through. but i like what the trump people are doing in very publicly parading folks --
>> a positive assessment. mr. bolten: well, i am doing my best. [laughter] let me say why. trump has promised to bring a new feel to governance and to washington and if one of the new things that he brings is a greater sense of transparency and access, i am all for it. there is also something about the trump candidacy itself, about which many people were frightened. that it would be a narrow, noninclusive range of people that would be giving advice to the new president. and i think -- even if they do not pick some of these folks, i think it is great that we are seeing this diverse crowd , including democrats, including
mitt romney, who said such horrible things about donald trump during the campaign and trump about him -- i think it is great that we are seeing him go through the front door and being considered for secretary of state. even if he is not appointed. it suggests to me that there is an open-mindedness and a sensitivity to inclusiveness that was not evident to many people during the campaign. >> inclusiveness at the cost of their being, for example, a counterweight to trump and his policies and his philosophy within the republican party or without the republican party. you were very publicly a "never-trumper" for a long time. do you have reservations? people probably come to you asking about whether they should join the trump administration. it is a real question, i would
imagine, for people. do i stay outside and speak as loudly as i can about how i disagree or do i sign on with an idea that i could influence policy when maybe all i am doing is making it look prettier? mr. bolten: well, that is a lively debate among establishment republicans which i was not aware of. -- i wasn't aware i was one. apparently i am. and a lot of people with whom i served in the bush administration, especially some of the younger people whose time would be now to step into important positions of responsibility. i have told every one of them that if they feel they can go into a position in the trump administration without compromising major principles -- >> but can they? mr. bolten: yes, i think they can. without compromising major principles, at least on a regular basis -- [laughter]
well you go into government and , you always end up doing things that you disagree with, there is no question about that. but you certainly do not violate any moral principles. but i think people can go in and give this administration a chance. see how it goes. these are all public spirited people. i think it is their duty to go in and serve and help make this administration the best it can possibly be. so i am not ambiguous on that question. for most of the people with whom i served in government that strenuously opposed donald trump, i would be thrilled to see most or all of them serve in the trump administration. mr. mclarty: it will be interesting to see how he reaches out to the democratic side, not only from the cabinet post, as both president clinton and president obama did choose members of the cabinet from
other parties but also from a , legislative standpoint. how are you going to govern? even with the republicans having the majority in the house and the senate and the white house, you are still going to need votes from the democratic party to get much of your legislation passed. >> bill, do you want to speak to that? mr. daley: i would agree with josh in helping the government. i would say that if they came to me unless they were a close friend. [laughter] >> i wonder -- mr. bolten: i guess i am not going to be encouraging bill to join the administration. >> i wonder if you, as part of that conversation, are talking to people honestly about how comfortable they feel with things like quitting, leaking, if they see the trump
administration, for all of the reasons that you opposed him, might go out of bounds. mr. bolten: never leak. always be prepared to quit if you feel like you all -- if you feel like the law or your moral principles are being violated but that is true no matter who the president is. i say to my former colleagues, give these folks a chance. as a republican, as an establishment republican, there are some very exciting prospects to the current configuration of governance. we have a real chance to do serious tax reform that has evaded us for 30 years. it has been literally 30 years since a major tax reform has successfully been done in this country. there is a chance to pull back on what we republicans think is a lot of stifling regulation. there is a chance to do
infrastructure spending. i think there are remarkably good things for the united states that can be accomplished in a trump administration. but the administration needs good people to affect that good policy. and that is why i say without hesitation, go in and see what you can do. >> we have talked about inclusiveness in terms of bringing in other republicans or maybe a democrat or two. this has been a campaign in which actual bigotry has been on the table in a way we have rarely seen. how crucial is it that this transition make some gesture or show something about the question that, for example, has been asked like what place do americans, black americans, women have in donald trump's administration of america?
>> i think that burden is totally on the president lost shoulders, and so, you know, there would have to be, i have not seen it yet or speculated about, certain appointment that would convey that reaction to that. i think the challenge will be to him and i think when you tweet about a play, actors and a play, like that is the real world. it is different. >> we will turn to questions from members in a second. i want to ask a quick question to all of you. we have been so focused on the cabinet positions. there are 4000 jobs that have to be filled. give us a tip for non-cabinet jobs that we should keep our eyes on as somebody who is crucial, who might say something about where this administration
is headed, if you have got one. >> we had talked earlier about the ustr. with trade being such a central issue in the campaign, both the head of ustr and how that leading organization is structured, i think that is kind of a bellwether to how a president trump will proceed regarding trade. >> i would have to think about it. nothing comes to mind that would -- most of the people under them do all of the work, so it is much more person than the person who becomes a cabinet secretary, but i cannot think of someone, but i agree. a real indication on the economic team will not be so much the treasury secretary as it will the ustr. >> agree. i would also keep an eye on some
of the other white house appointments. none of which require confirmation, but all of which, at least at the assistant to the president level, of which there are about 15 positions that really count, at that level, those are positions worth watching because those are the people who will have an opportunity to speak to the president on at least weekly if not daily basis. ms. davidson: let us answer questions. if you say who you are, where you are from, and why don't we start? julia: julia moore with carlton strategies. what about the appointment of the presidential science advisor? what kind of bellwether word
signal will that -- bellwether or signal will that sell of the incoming administration? ms. davidson: obviously, that goes to the climate change issue. who wants to take that? >> i can only comment about the clinton administration that vice president gore was so interested and knowledgeable about that subject including climate change, but science and innovation, research more generally, it would be interesting to see what kind of portfolio vice president pence takes on in this administration. it appears a pretty substantial one, may not be in the policy area as much as reaching out to the hill and taking over transition, as a josh noted earlier. i think people will be looking at how broad gauged a trump is ministration is, but he, like every president, will have to prioritize coming in for the first 100 days, the first year. you cannot do everything at
once, as much as he would like. ms. davidson: either view? -- either of you? >> i am a lawyer here. josh said the magic word, "confirmation." i saw this on the congressional side. i wanted to ask all three of you, with republicans controlling the senate, easy or hard a ride will nominees have in the senate, referring to cabinet officers. ms. davidson: let us also talk about the supreme court nominees. >> no, please. [laughter] >> you can hold that question for later. just the u.s. cabinet officers. >> i would assume they will have a fairly easy time. generally one person will be grilled, there will be to tough
hearings. sessions will get a tough hearing. i would be surprised if something comes up we have not seen that he will be denied, but you can pretty much be assured, and i think it is a good thing that presidents get the call if there is a close call, should get the call to put his people in to these spots unless there is some glaring issue, so i would be shocked if the vast majority do not go through rather quickly. ms. davidson: right there. >> thank you. arianna from foreign relations. you discuss whether or not you would advise friends and colleagues to serve in this
government, this president. for those of us in the military, we will be serving as president regardless of if we want to or not. given that my question is the advice that you potentially gave the president's you served about that transition specifically to the role of commander-in-chief and if there is in particular we should be looking for to see whether or not this president takes that responsibility seriously. ms. davidson: that is a great question. we have a whole series of presidents who have never served in the military. >> i will start and let josh give his. thank you for your service to our country. even though that 1992 campaign many years ago, it was the economy that had a real domestic focus. it becomes clear that i before the inaugural, when the football is passed, even well before 9/11, it it has become, i think, even so much more paramount and right before us, but that is the most sacred responsibility of the president of the united states, commander-in-chief, his
security of the american people. i think trump talked about a lot of the military and security. i would think that will be a high priority with him. i think he will engage pretty actively with the military. that is certainly the signal he has been sending. ms. davidson: do either of you want to add to that? let me follow up on that. we have had discussion about things like the definition of torture and we have heard before the election that there might be moments when people in the military would refuse orders they viewed as unlawful. what is your view on that? any experience you might have had thinking about those questions? josh? mr. bolten: i think regardless of who the president is, it is
the responsibility of every person in uniform and all of the civilian employees of the federal government who now number combined about 4 million, so it is quite a large number, it is the responsibility of everyone of those people the question and satisfy themselves that the directions they have been given are consistent with our laws and constitution, and if they are not, they should be disobeyed. that applies regardless of whom you are serving. ms. davidson: right there? >> matthew goodman. we talked a lot about personnel. i wanted to ask about two other things that are part of this thing, policy and process. to what extent our policies shaped during the translation as
a part -- the transition as opposed to prior to or after the transition, and to what extent is the process and mechanisms discussed and how much of that is important to the performance of an administration? >> you know the answer to your question. [laughter] >> i think both are shaped during transition without question. i think the priorities are set in terms of policy. in terms of the process, certainly, in our case, the president's relationship with the cabinet was really established during the transition with decisions that were made, and frankly, how the chief of staff position was set up during that transition process with the cabinet members. mr. mclarty: and we had a very active camp net -- cabinet. i think that is very critical,
very essential in all of that, i think grew out of the transition. it would be very interesting to see how a president trump organizes his cabinet and what real authority those cabinet members have to implement policy. ms. davidson: we have heard elizabeth warren saying that personnel is policy. do you think that is why they have happened at the same time, when you're picking your people you -- mr. mclarty: you are sending a message. from the coming in, if he was to be picked as secretary of state, that is a very different from his message, and the policy i would assume, the stridency, would be less likely to be in limited with a secretary romney as opposed to a secretary giuliani. mr. daley: or secretary bolton. not this boston. [laughter] mr. mclarty: no relevance. ms. davidson: not this guy.
>> jean proctor. donald trump would be the first president elected without government experience. what advice would you have for him for dealing with how to better manage our government? ms. davidson: and maybe to narrow that down, specifically, what somebody who has never been in government would not know? >> know what you don't know. look, i am one who takes a different tack around even though i have spent much of my time in the private sector. this idea that a ceo is somehow therefore magically able to be a better president or as unique talent. first of all, and i don't been this in a disparaging way, running a real estate and development company is not like running general motors or jpmorgan or some major institution with global and lots
of thousands of people and management issues where you get the experience of actually managing a broad thing. it is a relatively small company. i don't think you can necessarily take those into it. i think it is a very difficult situation where you go from a privately owned and held company where what you think it's done, period, whether it is right or wrong, do it. and then you go to the government and say that, and everybody goes, [mumbling] [laughter] >> i think mr. trump's "art of the deal" will be tested. go responded to this question. even though donald trump comes from the private sector for business, he has had an unusual amount of media. -- media experience, press
experience. mr. mclarty: but the real problem -- maybe he enjoys it too much, possibly. >> a little bit of an argument, difference, i should say, not argument. can you envision president elect from having a formal press conference for an hour, hour and a half? that is a long time. [laughter] >> if it is 140 characters, that works. in the traditional sort of, and maybe tradition is all out, but in the world president bush, president clinton, president obama, most modern presidents have dealt with, you know, having that sort of access by the media unfiltered. that is hard to envision in this administration.
maybe that is good, maybe that is bad, i don't know. mr. mclarty: we'll see, seriously. >> harry, world bank. i was wondering especially for chief baldwin, you were there when the u.s. pulled out of kyoto. how is that decision made and how do you think the decision on paris will shake out this time? mr. bolten: i can answer the first part, but the second part, i would be speculating. it goes back to amy's earlier question, actually, to matt goodman's question about policy and process formulation. in the case of the early bush administration, the policy was set during the campaign.
i was the policy director of that campaign and i started my work in austin, texas, in february of 1999, so almost two years before the inauguration itself. and we developed a very serious broad and deep policy agenda that toward the end of the campaign, we ended up publishing into two books that hold up about 400 pages of president bush's speeches during the campaign and the fact sheets that backed them up. when we entered governance, we had a manual of what president bush's policies were and so, it was not in the transition, matt, that the policy formulation was done. it was done over the course of the campaign and i am very proud of my association with that campaign because that is the way that i think, at least i believe, that you would want the campaigns run. how much attention people pay to that stuff, you know, --
ms. davidson: do you think there is a book like that for trump? mr. bolten: there is not. this was a different kind of campaign and we had the blessing in the case of the bush campaign, which is that much of the american people suspected that george w. bush is not bright. i knew different, the people close to him new different, but we had a political imperative to prove it. and so, it was a fantastic job to be in a campaign where we had to prove the policy of our candidate, political strategists were on board with that and the candidate was on board with that and we have -- we had a really substantive agenda when we came in. it was decided during the campaign that the united states would formally withdraw from the treaty that had been rejected by the senate. i forget with the vote was, 90 something to one or two or three.
it put a punctuation mark on that and then to go forward with an agenda to address environmental and climate issues. how the trump administration now goes forward with that, because you are right in your question, this was not a detail-heavy substantive campaign, candidly on either side, although hillary clinton was backed up with volumes of policy stuff, she did not really campaign on that stuff. did not seem to be what the american people were interested in hearing about. but they come in now with some sort of top line statements and then have the challenge of figuring out how to implement those, and so, in this case, the transition may be important to policy formulation, but i suspect that a lot of the policy
formulation, it is not going to be possible to accomplish without the personnel in place during this transition period and many of the details in the trump administration are going to be filled in in the early weeks of the presidency. i think it will be a very interesting, hopefully productive, time in american politics and policy, but it all does remain to be seen. >> i am curious. i am curious how you feel about trump's desire to have his children get security clearances so they can sit in on the policy meetings that apparently they are going to run his corporate interests, and the connections he has overseas with corporate people, and they are going to
stay at the trump hotel. i find it very disturbing. honestly, i don't know how other people feel about it, but somehow it does not seem to me as if it is right. ms. davidson: who wants to start? >> first of all, i think the trump transition team has been very emphatic in saying no one has requested security clearance for the children, for his children. so, i think that was speculated about, unrealistically considering the closeness of all of them. mr. daley: i think the president elect's daughter sitting in on the meeting with abe is a different story. on the one hand, that is great, but i think we are in uncharted waters, having adult rosen who have a real business -- adult children who have a real business. they will have to work through
that. and honest conflict ends up resulting in some major issue. i would hate to be white house counsel, i would tell you that. [laughter] >> is he basically going to have to choose between having his children around him and his children still being involved in the business? is that what it is going to come down to if he wants? does the whole family have to divest in some way? distance themselves from the management? >> this is totally unprecedented. you never had this kind of dynamic with a large business enterprise privately held, children of those ages that have been active in the campaign, and how do you, and square all of that up and particularly in this day of 30 47 -- 24/7 news cycle.
has got it right. -- bill has got it right. you have got to give this a lot of serious thought and somehow draw some lines and definition or i think it will be potentially a serious and almost overwhelming issue, ongoing issue with the american public, and i think you are going to have to address it in a very careful, thoughtful, serious manner. as far as his children being advisors, obviously, robert kennedy is the example many of us think of, but that was a very different time and place and legislation has been passed since then. josh had spoken earlier before george w. bush was president, he was an informal adviser to his father, but on the outside, not the inside. i think if jared kushner, for example decided to take a white house position and leave the business interest, that probably could be accommodated in one way or another.
those are just major issues that in my view must be addressed and resolved in a very serious manner. >> cutler, u.s. foreign service. since we are at the council on foreign relations, focus on foreign policy. over the course of years, the nsc has grown from a handful of people, more than 400 now. it is a big bureaucracy in the white house. how important is this in the terms of transition? also, should this be coordinated with the election of secretaries of state and defense and others? ms. davidson: that is a great question. josh, do you want to question -- do you want to?
mr. bolten: i think the nsc has gotten too big. agencies feel like they are being micromanaged, which is not what the white house ought to before. the white house ought to be there to set the direction of policy, to tee up issues for decision by the president, and to coordinate among agencies when they disagree, as they often do in the foreign policy area. my own view is that that coordination, the role of team things up properly for the president is possible with the smallest number of people who are well-informed, understand each other and understand the agencies with whom they are interacting, and have a good relationship with those agencies. i mean, there is thousands of important decisions made in government every day. only a few of them deserve to be considered at the white house.
the white house ought to be focused on those things. my advice to the trump transition would be, if you can manage it, if you can figure out how to pry those folks out of there, reduce the size of the nsc, and rely on the state department, defense department, the cia, all the more. those 400 people, having been the budget director, and having been chief of staff, i know those 400 people do not show up in the budget of the president. every president wants to show that they are, you know, even tighter with the taxpayer's dollar than the previous ones. the clinton folks did this. they announced they were cutting the white house staff by 20 or 30% when they came in, but what they actually did was they took a couple of agencies that had been considered part of the
executive office of the president and moved them out of the executive office of the president. whammo! 100 people left but turned out to be working for the white house. you staff the nsc and force everyone else to pay for it. it is a process risk -- it is a preposterous situation. >> do i get rebuttal time? one big, quick add-on. i think josh has got it right and i would agree on most of his points there. i think, while you make a very good point about the nsc, i would say how economic trade policies were to be coordinated, there is so much integration now between traditional foreign-policy issues and international economic issues that they have to be carefully coordinated at the white house,
but it really goes to how effectively are you going to use your cabinet and how much you are going to put in the white house. that goes to josh's point. ms. davidson: let us go to the back, the very back. >> can i add a footnote that he has brought to mind with his wisdom? the national economic council and the domestic policy council, which are the counterparts supposedly of the nsc and the white house, operate in each case with about 1/10th the staff that the nsc does. >> good evening. on this problem of a conflict of interest, isn't that a ticking time bomb if you think about it? the president operating one of his hotels out of a government building? he owes money to the bank of china, deutsche bank, and there were reports every day pointing to the problems.
how damaging could that be and how should he address this right now? ms. davidson: this is the financial transition. i don't know who wants to start with it. the wall street journal recommended that he liquidate everything. [laughter] >> you know, he is president elect, not president yet. he has nine weeks to figure this out. they have got to figure something out. they cannot stand there at the capital and be sworn in and not have some game plan that will be implement the by then. mr. daley: -- implemented by then. so i think it is a big problem, as we talked earlier. i think, whether it will be credible or you will think it is credible or not, or the american people do, will be known to everyone how this is going to work. ms. davidson: i think we have time for one more quick question.
let us take it right here. >> thank you for being here. christine vargas, control risks. with sessions and benin in play -- bannon in play, minorities are worried for their safety, especially with a laissez-faire attitude toward a lot of heat crimes being tracked by the southern poverty law center. -- hate crimes being tracked by the southern poverty law center. what can we see in policy if they are confirmed as well as how you think the country will react? ms. davidson: who wants to start with that? [laughter] >> mack? >> here is my opinion. we will have to wait and see. the president said certain things about policy, and whether he is able to implement them, whether it is to build the wall,
deport 2 million people or 20 million people. you have got to see that develop. i do not think we should assume. i think the republic will be fine. it will be different and elections -- >> is that one part of the function of the confirmation process? is that where some of these, not just waiting and seeing, but you said sessions would go through easily. >> the president confirmed. it starts with him. he has been confirmed. >> well, you raise a very serious and topical question for sure. and i think what you hear from josh and bill and me is basically, let us give the president elect, whether we supported him or not, an opportunity to go forward with his policies and with his cabinet and white house team and
people. mr. mclarty: certainly, president-elect trump's first public comments after his election were a positive and unifying. i think the vast majority of this country has respect for the individual dignity of each >> we will leave the last few minutes of this discussion to take you live to the floor of the u.s. house.
pursuant toe section -a of house resolution 921, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 3-b of house resolution 921, the house stands adjourned until 9:30 a.m. on friday, november 25, 2016. up hisld trump wrapped meeting with "the new york times" a little bit ago.
also today president obama is awarding the presidential medal of freedom for the last time in his presidency. 21 people will be receiving the metal, including ellen degeneres, kareem abdul-jabbar, tom hanks, and bill and melinda gates. we will take you there live. until then, here is a conversation about president obama's legacy. host: here to talk about his new book on the legacy of president obama is michael days. thank you for being here. guest: thank you so much for having me. host: historians will portray
obama favorably be on the obvious citation that he broke the color line. what do you think are going to be his biggest accomplishments? guest: you have to look at what he was handed in 2002. we were in deeper session. we were losing jobs every year. the unemployment rate was 10% and it did reach 10%. congress approved $900 million in funding to sustain jobs and create new jobs. a lot of teachers and police officers kept their jobs. money was spent on infrastructure and other things. that began to turn things around a bit. despite quite a bit of concern in congress, he cited he was
going to fix the auto industry. the government bought chrysler and gm and forced of the file bankruptcy. six years later, both of those entities have paid back the money the government had invested in them. there were thigns like that, if the economy hadn't been settled, we'd be in a very different place right now. i am a betting guy. even though we've heard a lot of talk in this campaign about repeal and replace obamacare, i think much of it will survive in some form or other. many presidents have struggled to provide health care. host: unemployment falls to to 4.9% before the election, yet the selection was about the economy and many people supporting donald trump because they were angry that washington
and this president has not done enough for them to raise wages and have better jobs for them. guest: some of it is about and unleashing of people's fears and anxieties about the economy. there is a challenge now in terms of where we are economically as americans. our parents' generation had pensions. they assumed when they took a job in their 20's they would have that same job for their career. you add on to it the number of jobs that have gone overseas. people don't have stability. so that is something that needs to be addressed. i think we have to figure out how we can work together. what i am sensing is a lot of division. i am not alone in that in america.
host: you mentioned the president signed into law major overhauls to health care with the affordable care act. i want to show our viewers what he had to say that day when he signed what is often called obamacare. president obama: once this is created, health insurance exchanges will be created, a competitive marketplace where uninsured people in small businesses will be able to purchase affordable insurance. they will be able to be part of a big pool and get the same deal members of congress get. that is what is going to happen under this reform. and when this exchange is up and running, millions of people will get tax breaks to help them afford coverage. which represents the largest middle class tax cut for health care industry. that is what this reform is about. today we are affirming that central truth, a truth and -- every generation is called to discover for himself, that we are not a nation that scales back its aspirations. we are not a nation that falls
prey to doubt or mistrust. we do not fall prey to fear. we are not a nation that does what is easy. not who we are. that is not how we got here. that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities. we are a nation that does what is hard, what is necessary, what is right. here in this country, we shape our own destiny. that is what we do. that is who we are. that is what makes us the united states of america. host: why'd you think this will be central to his legacy? guest: i think it's going to survive because it is needed. there are several pieces that impact all americans. one, you cannot be penalized, cannot deny company coverage for a pre-existing condition.
that impacts every american. you can keep your child on your plan until they are 26. that covers everyone. you can't max out in terms of the amount of money spent on you in terms of health care. i think that's really important. we have more than 20 million people who have health care, most of them did not. i don't see how you take that away in a way that is humane. host: the economy, health care, many areas to discuss about president obama's legacy. what do you think it will be? premiums have gone up. here we are six years later. premiums are slated to go up more. the administration has struggled
with signing up people on the exchanges. americans would like to see changes to this law. do you think it's still going to be called obamacare? guest: it may not be called that, but it will still be obamacare. all of their premiums have gone up. most people, the majority of people who have obamacare have subsidies. so i am of the belief that once you give something they need, it's difficult to take it away. host: what is your thought about executive action and the use of that by this president? for him to have gone down that road, you think that will be his legacy for good or for worse? guest: he is not the first president to use executive orders. there are others who did it more. in the last three years or so, he took that route because of frustration with congress.
there are a lot of things we will see if they sustain through time. host: let's go to john who is in virginia. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i want to ask the guest. this president has done something that no president has done before, which is when you see a republican leader stand in the middle of the senate, i am not here to work with this president, i want him to fail. that is a big message that you are sending.
this president's accomplishments -- no one can deny. unemployment was 9% when he took over. now it is 4.9%. they tell the american people that people give up jobs. the reality is this president took us out of war. women equal pay for equal work. he got obamacare. he has put us in a position that no president has ever given us. he is a black president and that is the problem. let's be realistic. have a good day. guest: that's a lot. i think race does matter. i am frustrated post-election by by the narrative that democrats did not win because the white working class feels maligned or that they haven't had the ability to move up. there are working class that are
white and brown and black. it seems to me that when black and brown people complain about where they find themselves, it's viewed just as complaining and whining. i think the president suffered through a lot of that. there are many who would argue no one has been as disrespected as he has been as president. you're absolutely right. the republican leadership on the day of his inauguration gathered to figure out how they were going to make his life a living hell. host: what about this headline, "race relations reach an
all-time low under president obama in polls." guest: i've seen that poll. i see people talk about that quite a bit. people are just talking about it. a lot of people may have thought that once the first african-american president was elected we would be in some post-racial place. that's not the case. people who study american history know that one black president does not make nirvana. host: kentucky. caller: i would like to say that when he is talking about obama's legacy with the affordable care act, is that i think people will remember he was not truthful when he said that the families would average savings of $2500 a year. and if you like your dr., you could keep your dr., and if you like your insurance, you could keep your insurance. while i am speaking i would like to say that i am disgusted with him saying now that he is going to reserve the right to speak out if he doesn't approve of some of the things the president-elect says in the future. he had the last eight years and former president bush never said
a word about the way he was governing. he is saying he is going to leave himself open to be able to say whatever he wants to say about the job trump is doing. he needs to just go away. we put up with him for eight years. you know what? we have had enough. guest: i guess i would say that the president has been very supportive of the incoming president. he has been in europe for a week and calming waters there and saying we need to give the new president a chance to show what he can do. as an american, president obama has every right to speak out on things. host: joe is in north carolina. welcome to the conversation. we are talking about president obama's legacy. go ahead. caller: i think obama's legacy is going to be one of the better presidents that we ever had. host: why do you say that?
presidents that we ever had. initially, everybody wanted him to be a celebrity. being black, he was supposed to show how america was so fair and promoting lack people to the front, despite where they came from. and we were all going to benefit from this. in reality, every time he did something successfully, people got angry. i saw people fall on the ground and cry when the health care law was approved as being constitutional. i saw guys get in a fight in a bojangles because he was able to kill osama bin laden. as he became more competently successful, there were many whites who became very uncomfortable with that kind of power in the hands of a black man. people had never seen that before.
not on their jobs and not in their communities. and when they saw it in the hands of the president, a lot of people decided that we need to get this guy out of here and hillary clinton is only his third term. we need to stop her at all costs. host: we heard your point. guest: i think there is a lot of truth in what you said. at thissay on this day point, his approval rating is 45%. i think americans are taking a second look at his legacy and what he accomplished. now they have something to compare and contrast. host: one of the points the caller brought up was osama bin laden and president obama's leadership and decision to go in and take him out. this is may 1, 2011, when he announces the death of osama bin laden. president obama: tonight i can
report to the american people and to the world, the united states has killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. it was nearly 10 years ago on a bright september day that was darkened by the worst attack in american history. the images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless september sky, the twin towers collapsing to the ground. black smoke blowing up from the pentagon. 93 ineckage of flight shanksville, pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. this does not mark the end of our effort. there is no doubt that al qaeda will pursue attacks against us. we must and we will remain
vigilant at home and abroad. as we do, we must reaffirm that the united states is not and never will be at war with islam. i have made clear just as president bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not -- againstthis islam, bin laden was not a muslim leader. he is a mass murderer of muslims. his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. host: what will be the impact of that decision on president obama's legacy? guest: it's huge. it's something he promised when he was running and 10 years after the attack, he was able to get the premier terrorist of the time.
i think it was huge, imagine what we would be saying if it went terribly wrong, if many americans have lost their lives, or if it had set off another round of terrorism. i think it was important psychologically for americans. host: the situation we are seeing in syria, "the washington times" says his campaign to withdraw from the international scene, the power of the united states, whether political or military, expresses itself even when washington chooses to remain neutral. the world order is unimaginable, not only to our allies but our adversaries as well. guest: it's not like we've withdrawn from the world stage. we tried to extract ourselves from iran. we've been involved in creating
an environment where 190 countries have come together to try to control the increase in global warming. we are involved with the iran nuclear deal. there are a lot of things we are involved with, and there are some who argue it's been involved in everything. we could argue that forever. which it be our involvement in syria. host: what you think will be his approach to foreign policy that will be remembered? guest: he's had good relationships with people. the thing he seems most proud of is the pact to bring down global toming, to get 190 countries agree to that. i think it's extraordinary. we only have one planet. while i have not thought to him about that when i started working on the book, just how i realized essential and
important it is. host: fred is in new york. caller: hi. over the last 80 years, i can't think of any one particular item that would make me think that obama's legacy is positive. i think the world is less safe. i think our country is less safe. there is more entitlement than ever. he introduced a health care plan that is still very unpopular. i don't believe we are stronger internationally. i think our our relations with the rest of the world have declined. if there was an expression made long ago, are we better off
eight years ago or eight years from when he took over, in total i don't leave we are ahead of where we were over the past eight years. host: what does your research tell you? guest: i hear the same kinds of conversation. are you standing in a bread line? if you are not, you are doing mitch better because we could have been there based on what barack obama was handed. the reality is things are better. host: what do you think is behind this approval rating? 57%. it has gone up. it has syed high. guest: it was in the 40%'s for a good chunk of his second term. host: what do you think is behind that? guest: in retrospect, people have viewed him as a stable and inspiring leader that got stuff done. that's my belief.
host: jean is a republican in orlando, florida. caller: i would like to make a comment. i wish he had expanded on it. keep in mind if gm had not been bought out by our tax dollars, private investors would have. but immediately after we gave them the money, they sold out chrysler. they sold it to a foreign country. they put that money in the bank. and now they have turned around and they have built a g.m. billion-dollar plant in asia. our tax dollars have built this plant in asia. there went our jobs. guest: i would have to go back and take a look at that. it was my belief that the jobs issue was stabilized due to the government getting involved.
you make an interesting point. it's worth taking a look at. >> we take you live to the white house, president obama awarding the presidential medal of freedom today. this will be the last time the president will bestow this award. 21 people have been chosen to receive the medal today. we will hear summaries shortly of their lives and career, including ellen to gerald harris, kareem abdul-jabbar, and michael jordan, tom hanks, robertde niro, and redford, and bill and melinda gates. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the
and character actors like the eye from space jam. the patient to those english will i know you, the presidential medal of. let me tell you about each of tom you first we can close missing out on a bill and melinda gates partnership because apparently bills openly mine was you want to lease from this coming saturday. he is doing with computers that.
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