tv WSJ at Large With Gerry Baker FOX Business January 24, 2021 6:30am-7:01am EST
and right here on fox business start smart from 6-9 a.m. eastern, check out "mornings with maria" right here on fox business. that'll do it for us for this weekend. thank you so much for being with me. have a won rest of the weekend, everybody. i'll see you again next time. ♪ ♪ gerry: welcome to the "wall street journal at large." the united states has a new president, and it's only right that the nation comes together to congratulate him and wish him the greatest success. joe biden has a series of tough tasks, to rebuild a nation wounded by the deadly pandemic, to repair an economy ravaged by lockdowns and perhaps, above all, to bring together a perilously are divided nation. now, to watch some of the adoring coverage of president biden's first days in office, you'd be or forgiven for thinking that he'd already
succeeded. listening to the gushing praise that poured forth from 26 networks and news organizations, you'd think all he had to do was usher in a democrat and the fissures in the american landscape would disappear. the inauguration was the spice girls getting back together all rolled into one glorious event. some declared they could final he breathe again after suffocating anxiety. pundits seemed to be stumbling into the light. >> those lights that are, that are just shooting out from the lincoln memorial along the reflecting pool, it's like almost extensions of joe biden's arms embracing america. >> you know, i'm reminded of the psalmists, you know in he heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. >> there was not one part of that that wasn't just medicine in the wound. >> he is the better angel president. gerry: well, if you ever
wondered what happened to religion, you need look no further. but sadly, the the inaugurations won't on their own bring about harmony and love. that's going to require or concessions and compromises on all sides. that's how fractured societies are repaired. of course, joe biden and kamala harris won the election. they get to decide the way the country goes, but there were worrying signs in biden's inaugural address. many of the trump voters supposedly the white supremacists. >> and now a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must con front, and -- cop front and we will defeat. and the harsh ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear,
demonization have long torn us apart. gerry: now, no one, of course, would dispute these are, indeed, ugly realities of america's history and its present, but the suggestion that white racism is the source of most of the nation's problems and the indication that trump voters are to blame for them is as dangerous as fraud. some democrats believe in a kind of reeducation program, a de-trumpification for many of the 74 million people who voted for the former president. for many of those people not because their racist, but because they see a rising tide of intolerance. views of their own that differ from theirs. the nation has been divided in large part by a prevailing progressive orthodoxy in culture, business and now government. this places personal identity at the center of americans' lives. if you emphasize differences in this way, it's small wonder that the nation becomes fractured. the new president has a great opportunity to help heal the country, but he could squander it if he succumbed to the
temptation to place all the blame on his opponents. now, presidents often sign a stream of executive orders to reverse their predecessor's policies, and mr. biden was no exception, overturning measures on issues such as immigration and a host of others, and he wants legislation to provide a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. that will certainly be an early flashpoint. what should we expect from the biden presidency? i'm pleased to be joined by michigan congresswoman debbie dingell. congresswoman, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me. >> it's great to be with you. gerry: i think it's fair to say that joe biden got high marks from across the political spectrum for his presidential inauguration speech and particularly the emphasis on the need to unify the country. those are the words. obviously, it's going to require action x it's going to require a lot of action because it's a
very divided country. what do you think are the most effective ways to bring the country together now after it's been through such a period of extraordinary division? >> well, i think part of the problem is that we're all going to have to be part of this. democracy is not something that you can take for granted. we all have to engage, and we all have to act. he will be a leader. he knows how to work across the aisle. every single person that he meets -- he wants to learn what they think, how to find that common ground. so i think he's the right man, but all of us have responsibilities. i think that -- [audio difficulty] but i think a lot of people paid attention to it. i've talked for years of the concern of the fear and hatred we've been seeing on the way in our country and at the pillars of our democracy. i think a lot of people were
horrified and realized that we've all got to start listening to each other, talking to each other more. gerry: i'm sure you're right. i think almost everybody was horrified by what they saw on january 6th. i think most people with a sort of decency and conscience condemned it. and the president's inaugural, he did seem to suggest that perhaps the largest problem the country faces in terms of divisions is white supremacy and racism. and i wonder if that's true. he did seem to suggest nearly 75 million people voted for donald trump. by no means all racist. many of them in your own district, in your own state who are good, decent americans who belief in their -- believe in their country. do you think this emphasis on the threat from white supremacy is maybe not addressing the concerns that many voters have? >> well, i think we're clear with democrats that i have been speaking to that we cannot -- there were, i was somebody in this country that predicted
donald trump could win four years ago, and everybody got mad at me and thought i was crazy, and i was correct. because i don't think four years ago we talked about trade. you know, in a very good way. people like county workers have lost their jobs and seen them shipped overseas. i think right now i am very worried about these extremist groups that you've seen and, quite frankly, i -- if you have ever been a target of donald trump's hate, i call it, you've seen them. you know they're there. i have many of them, some of them live in my district. one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks in the united states was the oklahoma bombing by the michigan militia. so hate groups are something no matter who they are, who they're focusing on, we need to be a aware of. but i'm going to tell you, i think democrats, 70 million people voted for donald trump, and many of them did not agree
with what happened at the capitol, and most of them don't, i don't believe, want to kill somebody or want democracy to go away. we need to understand what they care about. gerry: just briefly, because we've not to take a break, congresswoman, there are democrats who talk about the need to kind of reeducate half the country, you know, you hear talk about people need to be sort of a reprogramming of those people who were somehow delude by donald trump, that we need an education program for them. what do you say to those people? >> i hate the word reprogramming. i'm not reprogramming everybody. we all have to take responsibility for really understanding what the facts are. we're returning to a day where science matters, and we do need to talk about how we provide information that's accurate and people know they're reading accurate information. gerry: we've got to take a quick break, but coming up, i want to ask you about the immediate opportunities and challenges
♪ ♪ gerry: i'm back with congresswoman debbie dingell. let's start with the immediate agenda, if we can. and right at the top, it looks like perhaps on monday, is going to be the possibility the senate moves forward with trial of president trump. you voted last week along with your democratic colleagues and ten republicans to impeach president trump in the house, and it's now clear that senator schumer, who will be the majority leader in the senate, wants the senate trial to begin pretty well immediately, begin monday, monday, tuesday perhaps of next week, early next week, which mcconnell has said he wants a bit of a delay. what do you think the senate should do, how quickly should it go about it, and is this actually the way to bring the country together the, immediately convicting the former president in. >> i think we have a lot of challenges ahead of us.
senator schumer and speaker pelosi has said she will send the papers over on monday. he's got to negotiate with the republican leadership what they want the schedule to be. the challenge right now is we have to do this very carefully. people need to be held accountable, we need the process not to divide this country further, and we have to get president biden his cabinet. they need to get confirmed. and the first thing is the national covid policy which we have not had in place for a year. since it began a yearing ago. we need to move that as well. they're all going to be having lots of conversations this weekend. i hope they can go into some kind of schedule where we can get some of the things that we have to get done done, hold people accountable for what happened on the 6th and find a way to pull the country together. not easy, but we can't not-not do it. gerry: when gerald ford became
president in the '70s, one of his first acts was to pardon his predecessor, richard nixon, and he said he needed to do that to bring healing and unity to the country. i'm wondering if we're going to spend a few weeks trying this case in the senate, you know, it's going to need 17 republicans to vote for it, that seems unlikely. is this going to make things more difficult for joe biden to bring the country together? >> you know, i would -- you probably don't even know this. i was very young, but i was working for bob cushman at the time and knew gerry ford very well. [inaudible conversations] and this is a very different time. richard nixon knew he did something wrong, president trump hasn't said he's done anything wrong. we've got to hold people accountable, keep moving and try to bring the country back
together. gerry: is there anything that president biden and maybe vice president harris, but president biden should be doing? we've seen already he's reversed a lot of president trump's executive orders. presidents often do that when they come into office, that's understandable. but he hasn't appointed any republicans to any senior positions in his administration. is there something you think that president biden could do once this, these early weeks are over and impeachment is out of the way that could maybe perhaps be a signal to conservatives, to republicans that this is a unifying administration? >> i think that there is probably no better person that knows that he must do that. i think he's looking at different ways to do it. the appointment of a cabinet is complicates, and i'm sure he would have liked to have had a republican in the cabinet. but the numbers, by the way, in the house and senate are so tight that not everybody was happy. i think that you'll see him
appoint commissions or task forces to study things, he's going to make every effort. i know joe biden's going to invite republicans down to the white house -- well, we're not going to gather like we used to, but to zoom. he will develop those relationships so people can talk to him and know who he is, and he can listen to what's on their mind. gerry: my thanks to congresswoman debbie dingell. thank you so much, indeed, congresswoman. >> thank you. gerry: coming up, what can history tell us about the pitfalls and challenges that await a newly-elected president? we'll take that up with presidential historian doug wead next. next. ♪ ♪ ♪ we made usaa insurance for veterans like martin. when a hailstorm hit, he needed his insurance to get it done right, right away.
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may have been a day of fists -- firsts, the oldest president elected, first female vice president and inauguration during a global pandemic. but maybe history can allow insight into what to expect as we go forward. here to take up what we can learn from president biden's inauguration, presidential historian and new york times best selling author doug wead. doug, thank you for joining me. >> thanks for having me. gerry: so as the media have not ceased to point out, this is a historic presidency, some of things i just named there. the first, obviously, female vice president and vice president of color, the oldest president, president taking office after four years, it's been a fairly turbulent time. it's too early to say anything significant yet, but in the first few days and probably the inauguration itself, what's your impression of what kind of presidency joe biden might have? >> well, i think he's got a
tremendous advantage, pro and con, with a sympathetic media. you would think that would be a complete advantage. on the other hand, there's the risk of insuggesting the intelligence of -- insulting the intelligence of your audience if they keep asking was that chocolate or vanilla, that milk shake. but that should be an advantage if he works it right and the media is a little bit restrained from its enthusiasm. gerry: he's talked, obviously, a lot about bringing the country together, the theme of his inaugural speech was unity. you have to contrast that, perhaps, with some of the early actions he's taken already, and it is a very polarized and divided country. ing do you think he can do anything that previous presidents have been unable to do to bring the country to more unity in. >> well, he's got to reach out to the other side. i mean, the country was terribly divided in 1800. george washington died in 1799 in despair over the the emergence of the two political
parties that were the republicans who were the forerunners of what became the democratic party and were the federalists. but in his inaugural address, jefferson said we are all republicans, we are all federalists. he even, imagine this, defended the rights of those who were calling for an overthrow of the u.s. government. he said they were like monuments to free speech. so you contrast that to today, i think biden missed a great moment when he was first president-elect and he used it to attack donald trump. it's kind of like, wait a minute, you won the election -- [laughter] you don't have to do this. and to call his supporters terrorists, i this think that -- gerry: yeah, that clearly -- [laughter] clearly was not the way to bring the country together. but do you think that the way in which the trump presidency ended in tumult and controversy and, obviously, with the events of january the 6th, and i think most people and i think the polling suggests whatever they
think of president trump, the election, they were appalled by what happened on january 6th. do you think that makes things, if anything, easier for joe biden, that maybe there is a little bit more goodwill there, that people have stepped back from the brink of that violent assault on the capitol, or do you think it just underscores how divided the country is and makes it difficult for himsome. >> no, i think it helps him. and he himself said that when he was asked. he thought it made things better. but you've got to show leadership if you want unity to reach out to the people. they're saying, well, you know, he had to attack trump and trump supporters because of their actions, but abraham lincoln tonight attack the in his second -- didn't attack the south, malice toward none and chair -- charity for all. that's leadership. gerry: just very briefly, so far we've heard a lot of good words, but the early executive orders, some of the things that he's been talking about, some of the
measures he's been putting in place, rather, they look like a pretty traditional democratic agenda, not deseened to appeal to a -- designed to appeal to a lot of republicans. >> yeah, it shows you how deep the bitterness is. and it seems the democrats have got to get off trump. they've got to show us what their future is. it almost shows intellectual weakness to constantly are be attacking trump. let go of that bone and give us your vision of the future. gerry: good advice there, doug. we'll see if they can, indeed. doug wead, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. >> thanks. gerry: coming up, the incoming president is showing signs of doing one thing and saying another. perhaps not the best way to bring the country together. my thoughts on
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♪ ♪ gerry: president biden has been fiercely critical of his predecessor's handling of the coronavirus, especially contentious of president trump's evident disdain for mask wearing. he insisted again on the importance of face coverings. >> for god's sake, wear a mask if not for yourself, for your loved ones, for your country. gerry: but on wednesday night, just hours into his presidency, mr. biden meant maskless at an event. pressed on the issue the next
say day, jen psaki was airily dismissive. >> he was celebrating an evening of an historic day in our country. he was inaugurated as president of the united states. he was surrounded by his family. we take a number of precautions, but to nothing -- i think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time. gerry: bigger issues to worry about. well, it was their first day. maybe we can put that down to a rookie mistake. but this slip was very resident of what drives so many americans crazy about the behavior of their political leaders. over the last year, we've seen so many examples of democratic politicians telling people how to behave while doing something completely different themselves, dining out, spending time with the family, not wearing masks. president biden rightly says he wants to bring unity to the country. well, he could start by insuring that everyone, no matter how big the issues they have to deal with, is held to the same
standard standard. well, that's it for this week. be sure to follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram, and i'll be back next week right here on "the wall street journal at large." thank you very much for joining us. ♪ ♪ ♪ jack: welcome to "barron's roundtable" where we get behind the headlines and prepare you for the week ahead. i'm jack otter. with a razor thin majority in the house and senate, can the democrats deliver on biden's agenda? greg ball area will handle -- ball year will handle cap the odds. but we begin, as always, with what we think are the three most important things investors should be thinking about right now. despite a covid scare on friday, tech stocks led the market