tv Mercedes Schlapp and John Weaver Discuss Future of Republican Party CSPAN April 14, 2017 5:08pm-6:36pm EDT
the washington bureau chief david corn moderated a discussion on the future of the republican party. conservativeas a -- and advisor for john mccain's campaign. questions from brown university students at this early march event. this is one hour and 25 minutes. >> welcome to. brown, welcome to our conversation. i have been watching politics a long time and i don't think i have ever seen an election like this one.
the college democrats and the college republicans both internally split. college republicans couldn't agree on which candidate to support. sharp e-mails were exchanged. and now both democrats and republicans trying to figure out what direction for the party. where do we go? who are we? to help us sort this out, i'm delighted to welcome back our graduate -- i won't say what class -- a recent class of brown university, david corn. david is the washington bureau chief for "mother jones," and if you read it, he has written in it. i think that is all that needs to be said. award-winning journalist. i will plug your book. "hubris: the inside story of spin, scandal, and the selling of the iraq war." familiar face around the watson institute and brown university. he will take it from here and help us sort out the future of the republican party, where 2
republicans -- he will introduce our panelists. before i turn it over to him, note that we are welcoming c-span to our campus. if you feel moved to shout out and denounce someone, feel free, but please do it into the microphone. [laughter] >> you cannot be heard if you are talking in general. and of course, it goes without saying, as with all classes cell , phones off. welcome to our panelists. david, please take it from here. david: thank you. we will get to questions at the end, so save your shouting for then. i will have a bias when it comes to questions, taking questions from students. fair warning, i want students to rush the mics to ask good questions. i am happy to be here as part of a series we had been doing through this academic year before and after the election, an election that was surprising to both winners and losers.
now we are looking ahead towards the future. i will start with our two panelists and introduce them. we're going to try to not get too bogged down in the details of the last four or five news cycles, which would last three hours. lastich were all in the three hours. but we will start with that. we will get to some of that. to my right, we have mercedes schlapp, who is a fox news commentator. and i have wrestled with her, figuratively -- [laughter] david: not seriously, not literally, on msnbc -- mercedes: and with my husband. david: and with her husband -- i was going to get to your husband. she's a columnist with "the washington times" and a radio host on sirius-xm patriot. she has also done real work in life. [laughter]
david: other than being in the media with me as a commentator. she was the director of specialty media for george w. bush in the white house. she is a first-generation cuban-american who was raised in miami, florida. as she noted, she is married to matt schlapp, chairman of the american conservative union, which is best known for running the annual cpac convention, the gathering of conservative advocates and activists, which a week or two back held its 2017 gathering, which turned into a tremendous trump-fest. mercedes: and david corn was the keynote speaker, but he didn't tell you that. david: no, i didn't quite make it. perhaps the most important thing about matt and mercedes is they have five daughters. five daughters. john weaver only has two children. [laughter]
david: but he has had as long, probably a longer career in republican politics. he is now best known as the chief strategist for john kasich, the republican governor of ohio. but for many years he was associated and is still associated with john mccain, being a chief strategist for mccain when he ran for president in 2000 and again in 2008 he worked with him. he has also been involved with campaigns for campaign-finance reform and for how you treat prisoners under the geneva convention. he has worked on comprehensive immigration reform. interestingly, after the 9/11 attacks in new york city, john oversaw the new york city communications efforts, working with rudy giuliani back then. these are two republicans who could not disagree more at this moment in time on an issue that is maybe foremost -- set a stage
for the future of the republican party, which is what to do and what to think about and how to regard now-president donald trump. i want to start off with what has happened in the last couple of days, the last few weeks. it has only been six weeks into this presidency, but there will be a lot to talk about. if i were to pick up some of the things that at least made news, we could be here all day. but we started off with the president insisting there were 1.5 million people at an inauguration where clearly there weren't up to 1.5 million people. that there were 3 million people who voted illegally in the last campaign, which is why he did not win majority of the electorate, when no voting expert says anything like that happened. we had the tweets this past weekend accusing obama of wiretapping him very
specifically in trump tower. again, no factual basis for that. i won't get into the details of surveillance, but really probably not even possible to happen. we have had chaos of the first executive order with the muslim travel ban. the most recent one signed yesterday has not created that chaos, to be fair. his attorney general has had to recuse himself and what perhaps is the most important controversy of the moment, the russian trump scandal. and his first national security adviser because he lied regarding that, he was fired. today we see the house republicans release the much valued legislative effort to repeal and replace of obamacare, something president trump has made a centerpiece of his presidency and in 20 seconds, it has returned to a pub -- a
republican food fight, with conservative and moderate republicans attacking the ryan bill, some people call it the ryan care, or soon to be rhino care, and it looks like it is doa and it is unclear what the president's approach will be because he was contacting republicans and asking them to support this legislation. >> all in all, not a bad start. david: i am exhausted just thinking about this. [laughter] first question, you wanted donald trump to be president and you were a supporter. is this a good start or not? how do you think about the last six weeks? mercedes: you have got to divide it into two parts.
i think he ran on a particular vision and had campaign promises of drinking jobs back to america. what were the first things he did? a lot of deregulation, whether it was environmental deregulation, obamacare deregulation, the dakota access pipeline, bringing jobs back. he met with heads of corporations and union leaders, brought in moderate democrats to talk about different issues important to them. what you are finding is he is basically in his agenda of bringing jobs back. that being said, you have a lot of other chaotic factors surrounding the transition of a businessman, someone who has never been a politician, becoming the president of the united states. i worked in the bush administration. obviously you are very familiar in that world as well. the way the transition has gone from transition to governing is you have to have your staff in
place, and you have to make sure it is a fine oiled machine. first of all, they are not staffed up and we saw that with the first executive order. what happened with the second on this temporary ban, we saw general kelly in place, sessions in place, tillerson in place, and i was a sense they had a process that made sense the second time around. i think it is a lot of growing pains for the trump administration right now. a lot of people in the administration have never been in the white house before. you have seen the growing pains side of it, but at the same time, you see the positive side. he is focused on his agenda. we saw this with the joint session address the president gave, which shocked conservative and liberal pundits. they basically said it was his moment of being presidential and providing a positive vision america. david: but he says it's a finely
tuned machine. mercedes: i am not he. i'm saying looking from the outside. david: do you have any concerns, not about whether or not it is staffed up enough, but the way he has been reacting and come porting himself, and what seems to be, objectively put, a degree of erratic behavior yet the mercedes: i think he is transforming the presidency. john: no doubt about that. mercedes: it's how you see it in the world you live in. in the trump world, the trump supporters are thrilled the president is going after mainstream media. they want him to step it up and go after democrats and republicans. there are two worlds. there is a disconnect in america. there are in elites that are appalled by his actions, and then there is the guy working in pennsylvania or in a coal mine
saying this guy is fighting for me. that is where it lies. it is a lot about division in america where we can sit here and answer philosophical questions, but the trump supporter out there is saying, go after the media and the -- be yourself and don't change, trump. david: his approval ratings are at a historic low for an incoming president. how would you look at the last six weeks, john, as someone who is very critical for trump before he was elected, and pointed to what you considered to be instability and a lack of familiarity with a policy and facts. last six weeks, as you envisioned, worse or better? john: i think it's what we saw in the campaign. people who say there will be a reset or he will be different in the way he has conducted himself
over his lifetime, are either fooling themselves or they are fooling the american people. he's not going to change. something mercedes that is accurate, but it concerns me. yes, we have two camps but only one country. he's the president. it is his responsibility to rise up and heal these divisions and and bring people together, and not play to them. that has been my major concern about him and his conduct, that he is unwilling to accept the role that he is the father of the country, so to speak, right now until he is no longer in the , office. he has not risen to that. as far as staffing, they don't have the proper staff and they don't have enough staff. the staff they do have there is , hubris and inexperience mixed in with that. is organizations, whether it
brown university, fox news, mother jones, they take on the leadership and the characteristics of the person at the top. the same can be said for this white house. it is erratic and lives in a false state of reality. it is not truthful. it is helping corrode civic discussion in our country. i'm very concerned about it. it's the worst start of the white house in my lifetime. having said that, he's not been involved in government before so i give him a little break, but he has shown no interest in being curious about policy and about growing in the office. i have got grave concerns about what's going to happen when we face a real crisis, be it national security or domestic. david: you have been around politicians a long time. there is a certain degree of spin and trying to create a
narrative to your benefit and putting your best foot forward. and acceptability for that, within politics, and even within government. we had kellyanne conway talk about alternative facts and sean spider came out to the podium several times to defend a remark that experts said were just completely untrue. do you think this administration as we have seen so far, is pushing the envelope, setting records in terms of not being honest or having a different attitude or approach to responsible discourse?
john: of course. if one of my clients asked me to go out and lie to the public i , would resign. that is what is so befuddling about this. i question why they continue to go down this road. the president owes it to all americans, but especially people who voted for him, to tell him the truth. not what he wants them to believe but what the truth is. that is only how we are going to solve the problems facing us. to continue to try and divide us based on a false narrative that appeared on a website or worse, is morally wrong. mercedes: on the republican side, during the election, the feeling was that the democrats were trying to divide us by identity and gender and sex and they pushed it through, it did
not work and did not sell for the american people because those particular battleground states, they were looking for how will you solve my economic problem, how can i get better wages or a better job, and i think trump spoke to that. the democrats, hillary clinton 's campaign it was the same , message pushed nationally on divisive identity politics, where trump is able to sell a very simple economic message to the american people. john: we have to stipulate this was a very close election. -- belt couple rust bit states by a small margin, but of
the people who voted, many did not accept his vision. in terms of what the american people want or do not want, i don't think we can make bold generalizations based on the results. yes he won with a that message , in those states and that worked there to a limited degree, but to enough of a degree. wonder, after listening to john, if you think president trump in the white house has any credibility problem or any problem with truth or truthiness, as stephen colbert would say -- mercedes: i think president trump, and his team having to defend him, it gets complicated. he might think a certain way that does not make sense to the rest of us. or it might be like you were saying, not accurate. the question becomes when you look at the bigger picture of what he is trying to sell in terms of relationships he is
building in congress, much better than what president obama has done. in terms of working on the bigger picture of repealing obama care, tax reform and school choice, it is when he -- he can be an effective president. but it is when he gets boggled down, who is going to take twitter away from president trump, whoever can successfully do that should get paid like millions of dollars. john, if you are looking for that job -- john: i am not. david: you are being generous, but i will leave it at that. john: one point on this. he didn't have a mandate. presidents have come in before having lost the popular vote or a narrow election and went out of their way to build public support. your boss did that. he lost the popular vote and famously contested the election. richard nixon in 1968 tried to move to the middle and unite people. president kennedy.
in a very close election tried to rot in his appeal. what concerns me -- mercedes: stop right there. you didn't mention president obama. you know for a fact failed to have a relationship with speaker boehner or senator mitch mcconnell. the fact that they barely reached out to republicans -- john: i agree with all of that. i am talking about -- people in a very close election -- mercedes: but here's the deal. who was in charge of the house of representatives and senate and republicans? past then't get gridlock. i think, i'm not going to generalized, i think those voters out there who felt their voices were not heard during the obama administration, they felt it was being dictated from washington what they need to think, how to believe, and it was a rejection of washington and the gridlock.
i think you are having someone coming from the outside who is to loyal, nessus rarely, either party, and he's not going to play politics the way it is normally played. john: no one is asking him to play politics the way it has been played, because it hasn't and played well in a long time. that's actually true. however his conduct, i don't , call it a new form of being president. he is degrading the white house. let's call it what it is. he's not telling the truth. i could spend hours talking about this. he is blatantly not telling the truth. that is not conducted to anyone. that is not the conduct anybody around here would excuse. you do not accept it with your girls and i do not ask at it with my kids. why would we want to accept that as president as if he's
different? that is not fair. obama did not reach out to republicans and the big problem with obamacare is it was pushed through without republican support. one of the big problems we will have now conversely is republicans will try to push through reform of it and neither -- without democratic support. neither side is the right approach. but we should hold the president to a higher standard and not to a lower standard just because he is odd. david: as a non-republican on a panel, i do not want to dwell on the past, but when it came to the stimulus bill, one of the first major legislative initiatives from barack obama, he did reach out to republicans, more if researchers spending, he -- infrastructure spending. he tried to work with a gang on the health care bill. they ran away from him. mercedes: you are talking about immigration. david: no, that was later. the health care bill it was susan collins, and stone.
not have been as successful, but as of now, these were greater initiatives than what we see trump doing on repeal, replace, executive order, and everything else. you can go back and look at that , but i would like to see if we could move ahead here. and ask this question now. when donald trump ran the primaries, he was derided by many conservatives. rick perry called it a cancer on conservatism. he now works for the man. marco rubio called him a con man . again and again, you have intellectuals and pundits on the right, from bill kristol and others, saying he is not conservative, and we will talk about the issues perhaps, but my question now is we look ahead at future of the republican party in the conservative movement, it
has often been intertwined, so is it fair to say the conservative movement is the trump movement and the republican party is the trump party? mercedes: to a certain extent. i think the conservative movement is a bit divided into -- everything is divided into two caps. there would be like the john a goldberg from national review, no crystal -- david: neoconservatives. mercedes: right. stephen hayes with the weekly standard. they were pretty much part of the never trump world in terms of saying he's not conservative and not acceptable alternative.
they make the argument of saying compared to hillary clinton, who can you have more and influence on, donald trump or hillary clinton? when donald trump chose mike pence as his vice presidential candidate, it was a clear indication to the conservative movement that he wanted and outreach to conservatives. then you have when he gave up a list of conservative supreme court nominations, another outreach to conservatives that he was serious in terms of saying, i'm willing to listen and i want you to be a part of my campaign. you will still have the conservative movement in general keeping tabs on what the president is doing, so far with the supreme court nominations, when it comes to tax reform, a lot of issues there that conservatives do not like, pro-life issues, they like the direction he is taking this.
but when you talk about infrastructure spending with democrats, conservatives get nervous about spending. i think you will see the conservatives still holding the president accountable. it is not just they are all in. but i think they did make the right step with the supreme court nomination on gorsuch. david: but on foreign policy issues, going easy on vladimir putin, on trade issues, and even on issues of the deck and deficit spending, infrastructure, we see the initial reviews of the repeal obamacare substitute, it would actually create more
deficits. and other things showing no , loyalty and then you look at campaign promises, nothing for the national debt except to expand it. mercedes: this is where i think you have to understand the breakup of the conservative movement. ronald reagan explained it perfectly. the social conservative, the fiscal conservative, and the neocon. national security strong and , hawkish and more like senator marco rubio or lindsey graham. conservative, more social conservative for evangelical christians, conservative catholics, they will be focused on the pro-life issues and the family issues. then you have neocons again going back to senator marco rubio, more hawkish. they would not be happy with the direction president trump is going but they do not want us negotiating with iran, they do
not like the iran nuclear deal, and they want to get out of here. then you have the free traders. those individuals will not be happy with the trade restrictions. there will be parts they like like withthey do not the agenda. john: she should work for the president. david: she would be better than some of the people who work there. i like her so i would not wish that upon her. john: they are intertwined. there would not be the movement without either one of them. republicans are intertwined totally and completely. just on the conservative side, we do not know where we will be on tax reform. it has just been introduced. i have a sense it is being regarded by special interests, the way washington works. the supreme court pick was a
good pick, and the reach out to mike pence make sense. but he was also in the middle of battening downr republican opposition. it makes sense he did those things. i'm not sure he's actually committed to any of them in the long-term. on the republican side, his polling numbers row -- now run 38%. in washington among republican officeholders, there is no interest like self interest. as long as his numbers hold markhat stable in the 45% not a good place for a new president but it is what it is, he will be fine, but there is nervousness. if this russian investigation picks up steam, if there is a special prosecutor, is his numbers fall below 38% where you start losing people who wanted
to support him -- did not want to support him but did not want to vote for secretary clinton, you will start to see republicans start separating themselves from him. we are only five weeks into the administration. it is hard to say that. he is the leader of the party. it pains me to say that, we are handcuffed to his failure at the moment and the future of the party, we will talk about that, we will have to take the handcuffs off. no future of our party growing in the demographic groups we have to grow and, if we are linked to donald trump permanently. david: let's talk about that because famously, after the 2012 election, reince priebus, a very bad choice of words, the autopsy. a postelection review about why
the republicans have lost the last two elections, it came down to, the party did not seem to be welcoming to american voters of latino heritage and also because of social conservative issues but also the way republicans vote about these issues, putting off women, and talked all about how the party did not address this, and otherwise it was dead in the water. come 2016, the shocked really -- donald trump through the rules out. really now, he nailed white
working-class voters who had been having trouble economically , not under obama per se, but for the last 20 or 30 years, and talked about going back to an never time again when america was great -- mercedes: ronald reagan. time, he saidsame many things that were offensive to latino voters. he said many things offensive to women. he was caught on tape boasting about sexual assault. and all the women who may charges afterwards. he attacked muslim voters. basically everything reince priebus said don't do, and i
like to think this as, you watch football with the kickoff, it tends to bounce but every once in a while, you do a kickoff and the ball bounces straight, going in the same direction over and over again. a lot of things came together like that. the democrats seemed to be waiting for the republicans. do you think that demographics will pose a problem, that this may be certain of the last to bring out this voting with, and i would argue reagan's language involved in this, and his rise to prominence as a conservative leader was
based on racist conspiracy theories, but he did not make -- putting that aside, that block did not vote for him and he did not make efforts to reach theelsewhere, can republican party win with that strategy? mercedes: these are deep questions and everything is so complicated. when you look at florida for example, there are about 500,000 new hispanic voters to sign up. there was a big concern there was no way president trump could win florida. it was clear there was an energized effort in florida. what happened was in my community in miami, cuban-americans, they had 50% of
cubans voted for donald trump, they felt betrayed by president obama and you had that generation of my sister in her 30's, they were not political, but they were attracted to trump because he was successful, he was going to bring change to washington, and so i think a lot of them vote for president obama back in 2008 and 2012. they abandoned -- think about it. reagan used to get 84% of the cuban-american vote. we are down to 58% now for donald trump. it worries me because i come from the bush world where we used to be thrilled to get 45% of the hispanic vote, and donald trump got 29%. they were tearing it on. i was like, wait a second, this is not good enough and we need to do better. i think for the party, it is trying to figure out if it is
becoming the working-class party , where they brought in a lot of whoe in the working-class voted for obama in 2008 and decided to give this guy a try is this a long lasting , relationship? no. these are mostly independent voters who could switch easily. this has always been the case. we have talked about this in every election that i can remember, reaching out to the hispanic community. absolutely. donald trump spent zero dollars on hispanic television and radio. i remember, how do we not spend money in this area? i think the rnc spent maybe $250,000. millions of dollars spent by hillary clinton, yet she failed to provide enthusiasm. you had not enough hispanic voters to vote for her not , enough african-americans voted
for her key states. the enthusiasm is not there. it is driven by who is the leader of the party. could trump replicate this four years from now? it's going to be very difficult unless he's able to bring people -- unless we know we had a building economy, he's able to hone in on his agenda where it is 3% growth in the economy. saying that my life is better than it was four or five years ago. david: right now there are headlines about the trump administration wanting to separate parents of seven-year-olds rounding them up at the border. mycedes: just so you know, background is in hispanic media. this is my area. under the parth of -- under the bush world --
pushing immigration reform. one of the shocking things was the day of the joint session where he said he wanted to talk our partisanship on immigration reform. it will be interesting to see how it plays out. john: it's just a ruse. that was called a misdirection. that seemed to be coming from a cynical place. mercedes: i think it came from him. david: he said it was misdirection. mercedes: he said it in his speech. john: no, he didn't. mercedes: it was on the immigration reform -- look, when it comes to hispanics, immigration is a very important issue, but not the most important one. economics, jobs, education are the key issues. on immigration, we have to solve the problem. we have to enforce the law. do the majority of hispanics support security?
they do. john: there's nobody who doesn't support border security. mercedes: or enforcing the law. the issue is how you do it and whether you are rushing into schools and taking parents live from kids. david: the whole way you go about doing it sends a message. this is only going on for six weeks. if thisly imagine becomes the norm -- mercedes: the problem is because of the lack of immigration reform we have not had for decades that we ended up in the situation we are in. there needs to be a revolution. david: right. trump ran against the gang of eight immigration reform. he chided marco rubio for being part of it. right now, i do not think he has read the autopsy or that he cares about the autopsy. seems to be speaking to a very small part of the base not an in agreement with you. john: i'm just going to say, it is not possible to replicate
this, nor should we. we should not want to replicate this victory. if the election was a or a wednesday monday or a saturday, he probably would have lost. he was one of those one and -- in 100,000, that he was able to win the election. hillary clinton ran a not inspiring campaign. there was nothing she said that inspired young people or people i met around the country. then she had the distractions of james comey and whatever happened with the russians. you cannot qualitative saying one thing or the other. 77,000 votes in three major states cost the election. he lost the popular vote, let's not kid ourselves about this at all. we can't replicate this. two years from now, the country will be 2% less white demographically. while the cuban-american vote
has gone from 86% for president reagan down to the high 50's for president trump, a mexican-american vote, the central american vote in the united states now, folks from the caribbean basin, those are trending much more against us. millennial voters are trading -- trending against us. first-time voters are trending against us. women are trending against us. i could go on and on and on. asian americans who used to vote in big numbers for president reagan are trending against us in big numbers. it is not sustainable. at the end of the day, policy is politics. we cannot ignore the average concerns of average americans like we have done. i could go through a litany of policy issues.
no reason to get into it needed -- and debate tonight, but we had been cynical about solving them with bumper sticker slogans, and not being responsible as a party. not conservatives, but as a party. it will catch up with us. we have to start going to the marketplace of other demographic groups and offering our hands and saying, what are your concerns? here are conservative or center-right solutions to your concerns. we care. right now, all they hear is the leader of the party calling whole groups of people names, or a judge of hispanic origin, or a gold star family being degraded by the leader of our party. that is not sustainable. as long as he is the leader of your party, he tops
-- we can all agree when it comes to the bully pulpit, he tops them all in terms of the megaphone or whatever you want to call it. as long as he's in that position , in your view there will not be change in how he behaves -- will there ever be a chance for other republicans to present to potential republican voters that different view? republicans will be on the ballot in 2018. yes, it is hard. and he breaks through. -- it is hard. senator mccain has the standing to do that. and he breaks through. he breaks through on foreign policy and immigration issues, tone, but we have a lot of good, you cannot compete with a president.
particularly a president like this who dominates the landscape. it is difficult to get through. let me just -- i think it is important to understand a little bit the dynamics of the republican party. john, i would love to get your insight. i think because there is a sense of what i call country club republicans -- david: playing at mar-a-lago? mercedes: no, the ones having nice dinners and all of that. are you hanging out at trump hotel? there you go. what i see is the sense of the disconnect. the ryans and the mcconnell's,
it is where you have rebellious republicans almost saying i , cannot be part of that. i think actually john kasich was a perfect example of someone who was able to understand the grassroots and understand the people happening at the local level. there has been a disconnect between republican leaders and what is happening. it is important to make that distinction. i think that is why a rejection of like marco rubio and these washington types because of the fact they are -- john: the tea party came out saidse we, as republicans, , put us in power, we will balance the budget, restrain government. we had a president and congress, and what did we do?
we had two wars on the credit card, we cannot pay for it, the tea party came because of our in action. then what did we tell the tea party? we will repeal the obamacare. we didn't reveal anything. mercedes: we didn't have enough votes. some said you didn't fight against obama, you need 60 senators, so you can't. but i think there is a sense they didn't get anything done in congress. and they have a health care bill that on arrival and we will end up with legislation we have had for another year, probably at least. david: do you think that republicans as we moved to the 2018 elections for the house and senate, and luckily for
republicans, there might not be more democrats on the senate, but they should fully identify with trump and the approach he winning in 2016? mercedes: i think each race is going to be different. if you look at the map, it is in favor of republicans. it will depend on how much they can get done. they have to be successful in their legislative agenda. will the transition of going from obamacare to a ryan/ trumpcare, will it be effective, atwill you have protesters town halls making it known? the averageis american doesn't like uncertainty or change. from this changing
obamacare to whatever version it will be. the thing is, trump and the theiricans right now, political capital will run out at the end of the year. it's really important to depend on the impact if they get obamacare. if they get through a tax reform , and jobs coming back, the economy moving, there's a possibility. midtermory shows elections always goes against the party in power. david: would you be happy if trump finds a way to work with congressional republicans to pass a replacement bill and an -- an act some sort of tax reform? kasich said toor weeks ago, he's a pilot of the plane and you want the plane to land safely. [laughter]
i don't know what it says about the next leg of the trip, but of course we want him to be successful. but i don't anticipate that happening. i see more likely him cutting onls with chuck schumer etc. the infrastructure build more quickly than i see tax reform. david: and what would you be telling, if you are working for a republican, one of the few up for reelection in 2018, about how they should be positioning themselves, -- different. race is unfortunately, republicans in the house, they will be the ones that will be most distant from the president. they will pay the biggest price for his positions and his conduct.
they are in danger because their districts by nature are more equivocal. every senate race will be different. the headwinds, i'm not anticipating a big economic up turn between now and 2018. i think the headwinds historically have been against us. the president's approval ratings, what they are now or -- are even lower, it will be difficult. the map is looking in our favor, so we could have a bad cycle still because we don't pick up as much as we should in the house. we could lose nominal control of the house if we are not careful . leadership needs to score victories not just for the party but for the country. ,that is vital. there is too much talk about the republican party. country?ood for the
if it is good for the country, it should be good for your party. david: let me ask you, as believes trump is not a stable leader and could do things that might be dangerous, would you not want to see one of the two houses of congress with the ability to keep him in check? john: i don't really have a lot of faith in nancy pelosi. david: just in terms of having decent investigations. we see the financial conflicts of interest. jason chaffetz won't look into that. devin nunes on the house committee, he keeps complaining about the investigation he supposed to do. about theseare issues -- john: i do. but i think public pressure will cause them to do the right thing. i personally support a select committee in congress because
an attack on any hardy is an attack on our democracy. there nothing more vital than the democracy, i don't care who you are. i take great offense we seem to be dragging our feet on that. having said that i'm not ready , to turn the keys back to speaker pelosi. i don't have faith that would be better. david: it's good to know you are still a republican. let me ask a big picture question. the republican party and conservative movement used to like to identify themselves above all with ronald reagan and with reaganism. they used to say that, you know, to reaganism,mism shining city on the hill, and a loyalty that went all the way back to goldwater days, to
bedrock conservative principles, on all three legs of the stool. when you sat on that stool, there was no tipping. move to a trump republican party or conservative party, is it darker? is it meaner? is it less ideologically coherent, internally coherent? he is hawkish in some ways, not hawkish in other ways, and goes back and forth on the same issue. ask him about syria three times and you will get five different answers. was very hard to figure out where he and the people who supported him would land. cpac, they talk
about ronald reagan, they talk about trump. has trump pushed, pulled, nudged the republican party and conservative movement into a much different place than where reagan had it? >> we have to separate what donald trump stands for and how he conducts himself from the rest of the party. he's in the party because he is the president of the united states right now, but his conduct so far on foreign policy has been erratic and dangerous. ronald reagan was able and the es who succeeded him -- they were firm. not only did our our auto what we were doing, our opponents did. on domestic policy, the same thing. we have a president who is a blank slate and trips around or
he is erratic based on his mood swings and what he saw on tucker or fox and friends. that's not how we can conduct national security policy because real lives are at stake and there are going to be people who will no longer be a live or no longer be free a year from now because of the actions of this .resident that is not something that we should take lightly. that's not something ronald reagan or the people who knew ronald reagan when people try to join this guyco- with ronald reagan. >> surrounding yourself with individuals who will provide foreign-policy advice to him, i do think he has decided he's going to position himself -- >> in munich, we think the vice
president and secretary of defense -- theut he started bashing united states of america -- >> that's not what happened. i actually said what john mccain was saying, and who undercut them but the president of the united states? >> you will get your chance. look, explain -- because not everyone followed this -- explain how you saw what happened. >> and annual security conference in munich where it originally was just our nato allies, but now it has grown. the russians and iranians and chinese come, and it's kind of , and you have all the security leaders of different countries that come and speak, and is a chance for us to meet with our allies and interface with people who are neutral, a chance to interface with our potential and real adversaries. john mccain has been going for 30 years and has led that
conference and led the american .elegation to the conference this year, governor kasich went as a delegate at senator mccain 's request, so obviously, we saw a lot of firsthand knowledge. we talked to a lot of europeans who were distressed with what they are hearing out of this administration. and it's not what they are hearing out of mattis. they are not hearing anything out of mr. tillerson. they are distressed about what they are hearing out of the president. i know governor kasich said when he got back that he can send mike pence all he wants and general matus, but our allies need to hear from you and everyone needs to speak with the same voice. that's not a criticism. that's a fact. he needs to step up and understand the words matter. unfortunately, tweets matter now , and that he has to accept
responsibility for this. -- not hence, not matus, not tillerson -- not pe tillersonattis, not -- he does. quickly john mccain made the comments that were critical of the president, i think that is not helpful. >> i think you need to reread the speech. what he said was do not lose faith in the american people. we will stand with you in the ukraine, and the baltics, against vladimir putin. you may take that as criticism -- >> know, a different part of that speech. >> might issue, though, is when , he iscain says that speaking from his perspective, and we have seen from the president's statements -- >> representing the american delegation -- >> but the substance we have seen from the president, back and forth on nato, back and
forth on ukraine. of course, it is quite well known that he has yet to say one critical thing about vladimir , who is an oppressive dog on a good day. attacked arnold schwarzenegger and rosie o'donnell and the list goes on and on. one thing that just really tozles me is when it comes the foreign-policy national of the triad, how conservatives who support trump, what they think about his .pproach to russia to me, this is what joins john and i. i'm not a hawk. thate always believed
throughout the cold war, we should find ways to lessen tensions and find ways where we can work together. at the same time, i recognize that putin has basically declared war on liberal democracies throughout europe and america, and back at home, people like us who disagree with or feard have to flee for our lives, and yet, donald trump again and again and again -- it is just uncanny -- cannot say a negative word about him. cannot talk about the repression in russia, the deaths of journalists and critics of putin , and cannot say anything about is not onlying united states, in western europe and elsewhere. .o me, it is mind-boggling >> nikki haley in the united
nations made comments that were critical. >> yeah, but he cannot. >> take what nikki haley said -- >> my question is what you think about the fact that he cannot -- >> a former bush national security official. >> at anonymous source. >> i asked what we should do with russia, and he said here's the deal. they are going to have a certain approach, calling a foreign leader assad, making all these comments. understandable. with the president of the united nowes, he is in a position to try to -- i don't even want to use the word reset because hillary used the word reset, but how do you have a better relationship with russia? it cannot start on the footing of that comment. it has to start with building that relationship. >> he spent eight years calling obama feckless. mercedes: a schoolyard bully. what i'm saying is --
>> there is one thing vladimir putin understands. understands the recent is an opportunity for him to steal some more over here. this new cold war that some conservatives are saying we just need to kind of work with putin, trump is a businessman who can cut a good deal with him -- >> i think he can. >> no, we cannot. meanwhile, the chief strategist in the white house has been meeting with alt-right and writes a premises -- white supremacist leaders in europe, some of whom are funded by putin, and that is also sending a signal that is totally inappropriate. we need to hear from the president that he will stand with our nato allies and stand with the eu and stand with americans.
we need to have a foreign policy based on values. mercedes: it is just you parse it the way you want to parse it. he has made those comments sticking with the nato allies in his speech. david: let's go to some questions. there is a microphone there and a microphone there. i did say i had a preference for students. students through some and other people want to join, please do so. tell us your name and maybe where you are from, and let's hear your question. we will start over here. is the microphone on? >> hello? >> yes. >> hello? >> it works. speak right into it. my question is twofold.
you talk about how divided our country is and how there are two sections of it that trump is talking to. like they hear one and we hear something else. i'm wondering on our side what we should be doing to bridge that gap and on your side, something you support, how we can bridge that gap when the president constantly walks into likelicy related matters, attacking the president this past weekend, and objectively .ies i check fox news every morning, and i rarely see any overlap between them -- and i read the times as well. are those things helping to create the alternate reality that is hurting the country yet the thank you very much. mercedes: that is a great question. i think there is this complete sense of -- and i'm glad you are
watching fox once in a while -- that you are able to get as much news as you can from different outlets and see what people are thinking on the right, on the left. i think it is a helpful thing to do in general. i think to the divide -- you know, i think part of it is the dialogue and conversation. we have been on television debating -- on live television. when you are off tv, the reality is that you really try to have on how we cans find common ground. after the presidential election, the first person i called over any sort of election as my mentor who now is retired but irks at the university that went to, and he is a democrat, and i am a conservative, and we always talk about where we can find common ground in terms of policy.
i think you are finding that one thing with trust or fire is he is not an ideologue. he is not a pure conservative. he is not a pure liberal. he is going to want to work with different sides. would it help if he could not go the tweeting and with his gut reaction to realize that words matter? i think it would be incredibly beneficial for him to do that, but i don't control the president, and he is who he is. he wants to communicate and not use the media who in a lot of ways represent him as an evil guy, and anyone who has had personal contact with him what's luv is not. this whole idea he wants to be a dictator -- it's like when you meet him, he says it all the time. he's focused on what i need to do to grow the economy. if he would just it to that, he could be --
>> why is he up at 6:00 in the morning attacking arnold schwarzenegger? the sense you get is that he is not really focused on policy stuff. >> he works all the time. >> he spends 90 minutes for berating for rating -- the press, and a big press conference so far in his presidency. how come he sends messages to sean spicer during the meeting saying hit them hard or? >> he has no interest in being friends with the press. >> that is a concern. >> you know past press secretaries, and stan perino is a friend of mine, they had helpful relations with the press. there has been this position. creating hostility with the
press. the press has been analyzing itself for, like, days on end. they were psychoanalyzing, why are we the enemy? david i mean the president of : the united states calls anyone or anything an enemy of the american people? mercedes: but it was about the independent press. is it? john: as opposed to breitbart? david whether the new york : times, the russian post, what he may not like with a report, but no one is telling them what to say. mercedes: but it terrifies them. david: but he is calling them the enemy of the american people. do you believe that? do you believe it is the enemy of the american people.
mercedes: i don't. that is my opinion. david: you talk about being divisive. what could be more divisive than stating it like that? know, you can't call for coming together, you cannot call for coming together, and we all want the country to be less divisive, then give a pass to someone in authority who creates that division with his tweets at his words without any consequences. that is my speech. [laughter] john: you said it very well. david: let's go to questions. >> i'm curious about the extent to which you think the strategy -- strategies being pursued by both parties are [inaudible] >> check, one, too.
>> there you go. >> the extent to which you think the strategies being prepared by that republicans and democrats have been regional and that a lot of the de facto leaders of each party like to say the republicans, chairwoman mcdaniel mcdaniel and speaker and vice president and chief of staff, are all from the midwest, and for the democratic party, schumer and warren, booker and sanders, are all from the northeast, and how that can play out geopolitically moving forward with some of the areas that are sort of ripe for the taking are not being responded to in terms of people from those places being elevated to the forefront of the discussion? how that is going to work out. governor kasich is also from the midwest. john: the democratic side will not have a leader of the party until they have a new standardbearer running for president in 2020, so we don't have 18, 20 people running for that. who knows what that will be. both parties are in search of
identity, quite frankly. we stumbled upon mr. trump, and he was able to win. hillary clinton, and i said earlier, she moved around to try to beat back senator sanders. you had a 72-year-old socialist who was not even a member of the democratic party who almost won their nomination and brought most of the energy to the primary battle. then you had our situation. both parties currently are still searching for what they will be in the next 10, 20, 30 years, but we will see where the democrats are, what they will be when they have their primary battle for president. that is how that works. on our side we will see what happens if this president serves out his term or if he runs for reelection or is president for eight years.
we don't know. so we cannot really do much about our situation until it is the post trump world. it is my opinion. david: do you think it will be the post-trump world or just trump world? is that what we will stick around for? mercedes: yes, for now it will. is he going to be the party for the next 14, 20 years? the leaders do shape the party. so if he is bringing in more white working, working-class individuals into the party, maybe so, but you want to make sure you talk about the big ten, bringing in women, hispanics, african-americans. one of the things donald trump should focus on in terms of outreach is helping build inner cities. i think republicans have done a terrible job of even talking about it. he does not have a problem going
to talk to african-american leaders in their community. david: he did not do that much during the campaign. months went by when people would ask him to do that. republicans i don't think do enough. they just give up the african-american vote. so what i think is the case study to watch in the state of texas, which is a growing hispanic population and jobless, and what does it mean in terms of when you saw the map, it was not trump or hillary. the republican governor of it was there. that is the trend you want to be seeing.
julian castro will be running against him likely. hi, thank you both for coming. my name is if in. i am a sophomore here. -- my name is ethan. i had a question about the comparison between trump and the reagan administration, and i would love to get your thoughts on this, how you can get that comparison given the 1980's approach with reagan and margaret thatcher with world politics and what we see from the trump administration and chief strategist steve van and, -- steve bannon, and economic nationalism. and i was at a talk with you and your husband, and donald trump talked about pipes that can be just for american companies and create products here. that is a drastically from -- drastically different worldview from the reagan approach of the 1980's, solving problems of those time, the end of communism in europe, and i would like to see how you can see and reconcile both of them as conservative. mercedes: i know it is not on the economic growth, they want the growth in terms of jobs.
>> democrats with a that as well, though. mercedes: they would go about in different ways. less speculation, which is what trump and reagan would agree on. tax reform. remember the last big tax reform was in 1986, so a better economy in terms of tax reform. you would find commonality in terms of tax reform as well. i think reagan spoke to the working class. the reagan democrats. he effectively did the same thing in the battleground states. second, there is comparison in that area. it seems trump is more of an isolationist, but at the same time, he wants to provide this peace through strength. they talk about it all the time in the trump world, very much taking a page out of reagan's foreign policy position.
i think that while there is a lot of commonality, there is some differences. i do think that trump is not going to be one to want to be .oing into iraq it's not his style. i think the peace through strength where america is strong, where you have military buildup, that is very similar to what reagan pushed. david: in facebook terms, it's complicated. >> i don't think there's a very thorough comparison. reagan was not for intervening in world affairs necessarily, but he was for response dealing with the soviets at the time and continued what president nixon with his rapprochement with china. very focused on his
ongoing battle with the evil empire. john: he was. which led to various things like latin america. on the topic of trade, there's a big difference with the reagan administration, but those were different times, but nafta has .een a success for this country the tpp would have been a success for his country and would have moved countries in the chinese shadow away from china and more into the american orbit. canceling that was a big mistake , not just on job creation, but from a strategic national security point of view because trade and national security have to go together. i think there are major differences. a blank slate,
or there is a mishmash of policy views. i don't think there is any one core view. david: i think this is the last question, right? so you get it. oh, tina. quick questions, quick answers. >> i want to thank you guys for being here and give you a little background about myself so you know where coming from. i'm from dallas, texas, one of the most conservative states in the country and i go to brown, arguably one of the most liberal campuses. my question is after evaluating the facts, right, nothing alternative fact that the fact, of theng trump out picture, looking at his actions, what he has done, what he says, a lot of the little things are bothering me, right? not showing up for the national security intel meetings, taking away the spanish part of the , spinninge website
the russian part of the campaign into it's a national security leak and it's a threat. i just want to understand, i want to learn why i should continue to support someone like of the the president united states and what i can say to myself or other people to convince them to continue supporting him. before the election, i totally understood if you were a trump supporter, i get it. i respect that value, but right now, i'm confused as to why i should continue to think he is capable. >> i think this is to you. mercedes: he is a relationship guy. it's what he does well. it's where he is able to negotiate a deal, bring the jobs back. he is very much focused on
pushing forward his agenda. if you believe his campaign promises, that is where he is going. on which in italy, there's a lot of other noise around it, which makes it very difficult, and i think he would be wise if he could stay focused on what he can get done. one thing about donald trump is he is a doer. he really is about focusing on helping the coal miners. it's where his heart is and what he wants to do, but i do think he gets a little stressed on things that i do not think necessarily matter. >> the geithner charge of nuclear weapons is a leader strapped in. john: i just want to say, be involved, speak out, participate . watch fox, read the new york times.
do not self-select your ecosystem to all you know is what you believe in. be open-minded. make your own decisions. if you are opposed to him, speak out and participate. if you are for him, speak out and participate. our democracy. naomi.ame is i'm from las vegas, nevada,/tijuana, mexico. president ago, the met with a lot of leaders from historically black colleges, and a few days later, the same leaders that met with him came out with official statements on their websites talking about how they felt essentially played and that nothing came out of it except for an instagram photo op . like, you can go on their websites. it's not an alternative fact. as a minority, i'm a low income
first-generation mexican-american. i do not want an administration who looks at us to fill a quota. we are not numbers, we are human beings. how do you think this administration, if they do, will reach out to us and care about us, if that is going to be putting people in the administration that represent us, not just white men. what steps are they going to take beyond a photo op? >> i'm working closely with a hispanic is now the secretary of labor nominee. theof his key advisers in white house was just picked as his special assistant and public liaison, someone i worked very closely with during the campaign who really has done an outstanding job reaching out to hispanics in key battleground states in particular. --now that it is important
it is an important part of what they want to do in terms of reaching out to the hispanic community. i think it is going to start with the jobs. i think that is where the key is for them in terms of helping small business owners, helping hispanics in terms of school choice, which, for example, more so inorities that case as well. , but i think it will be based a lot on his policy agenda. it is unfortunate because i know that is an area he is focusing on, and i know he has good people in place that this is what they have done. this is what they did throughout the rnc, did for the white house. people who i know and trust and work with, and they get it, and i know they're going to be very vocal voices as well as reince priebus, who supported them in their efforts to get out
the message to the hispanic community. david: let me ask you? ? at are you looking for what would convince you that this president and the people around him cared about you and your community and your concerns ? >> first, like you said, the little things. not calling out entire groups of people and having hateful rhetoric. that is definitely a big issue, but also policy, like she said. representation. just having a token hispanic or a token african-american really isn't enough. going out, reaching into the local communities, asking us what we want. i have not been seeing a lot of that, but, hopefully, it is something they will start considering. >> we as a party need to do more of that. both of us have been longtime advocates of that for a long time. we as a party need to do it.
think our panel. thank you all. >> supreme court justice soanya sotomayor spoke last month about the importance of education. her legal career, attending princeton and yale universities, and growing up in poverty in new york city -- supreme court justice sonia soto mayor. tonight, an evening of our ds," on "afterwor alternatives to traditional , and the chief spokesperson for the united nations high commissioner for .efugees
that starts tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tonight on c-span3, american history tv primetime. professor and author explores the impact of the 19th century california gold rush on women and the pioneers who encouraged single women to move west. american history tv primetime begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span three. join us tomorrow for a rally demanding that president trump release his tax returns and not or thees on corporations wealthy. coverageave live tomorrow starting at noon eastern on c-span. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily.
in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> this morning on "washington journal" he got an update on the investigation into the business practices of wells fargo. this is about 25 minutes. from and joining us now new york is laura keller, she's the wall street finance reporter bloomberg. she's here to discuss the findings of a six-month internal of wells fargo's unauthorized account scandal. joining us this morning. guest: sure, i'm happy to be here, thanks for the invitation. remind our viewers of exactly what prompted this wells fargo? into guest: right. exactly. it's been seven months, probably go back and think about how this all
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