tv MSNBC Live MSNBC April 8, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT
hello, i'm sheinelle jones at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it's high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. the inside story on the decision to strike syria. a new report on what led to the u.s. military action in that country. russia reacts, now sending a warship to the area from where the u.s. fired those missiles.
>> so what we're talking about here really is the very high potential for a direct military conflict between the united states and russia. >> and an alarming message from at least one member of congress about potential war with russia. new today, a report about the options laid out by president trump by advisers to deal with north korea. one of them involves nuclear weapons. and another directly involves the leader of that country, kim jong-un. it's an option that might shock you. we begin with new reaction from president trump tweeting this past hour. he says congratulations to our great military men and women for representing the united states and the world so well in the syria attack. his praise for the military coming as we're learning the inside story of how he went from america first to striking syria. "the washington post" said it wasn't just the horrible pictures of suffering that led to this 180 but also, quote, he has been eager to show a clear victory more than two months
into his tumultuous young presidency. a strike against syria could help him demonstrate independence from russia and its president, vladimir putin. trump wants to show that he is a tougher and stronger leader than obama. meanwhile democratic congresswoman tulsi gabbard who met with president assad in january wants proof that his regime was behind the chemical attack. >> if president assad is found to be responsible after an independent investigation for these horrific chemical weapons attacks, i'll be the first one to denounce him, to call him a war criminal and to call for his prosecution in the international criminal court. make sure that those consequences are there. but the key is now with president trump's reckless military strikes last night, it flew directly in the face of the action that the u.n. was working on at that time to launch an independent investigation, to find out exactly what the facts are, who was involved and who was responsible so the
appropriate consequences could be levied. >> let's bring in nbc's kelly o'donnell. she's in palm beach, florida, today near president trump's mar-a-lago estate. kelly, good afternoon to you. let's start with the president just weighing in on his visit with the chinese president. what did he have to say? >> reporter: what's interesting is the president is out and about today. he's at trump national golf course, not unusual for a weekend for this president. but taking some time on his way there to send out a trio of tweets. he is reflecting on his big moment on the world stage again as a host here at his mar-a-lago home with president xi. he of course had prime minister shinzo abe of japan earlier in the administration, but this was particularly high stakes because of how president trump so often talked about china, as a candidate and even as a president-elect, raising questions about taiwan. a tense relationship going into the festivities and the serious meetings between the two delegations. and so the president says it was a great honor to have president
xi here as a guest in the united states. what's kind of notable here is he says tremendous good will and friendship was formed, but only time will tell on trade. so that is sort of classically donald trump. a bit of a note of friendship in that personal diplomacy but holding out the issue of trade. something that was a signature issue for him as a candidate and certainly when it comes to china and the trade imbalance, this is an area where president trump feels that there needs to be a real resetting of the table internationally. so the china visit deemed a success, at least at the diplomatic level, with more work to do. i think that's the best way to describe it, sheinelle, is this went as well as can be expected given the set of issues between the two nations. there was a spirit of friendship that appeared to be real as you try to read the interaction between the two leaders but there is a lot more for them to
do. >> i'm sure you know there has been a lot of reporting about this infighting in the white house. from what you're hearing, is there anything to report on an upcoming white house staff shakeup, if you will? >> reporter: we get plenty of pushback from the white house with no impending changes to actual staff, but there are many sources that will talk about tensions that do exist between factions in the senior adership around the president. we're talking about his son-in-law, jared kushner, who is a sior advisor, white house chief of staff, reince priebus, who comes from the more traditional republican lane of the party, and steve bannon, the chief strategist and is that sort of outlier in terms of the conservative, populist voice of the trump voter during the campaign season. it is very difficult for any new administration to navigate the enormity of the tasks in front of them. they might have their own agenda and then we see events with what unfolded this past week with an outside force, the syrian
government doing the chemical attack. that has to change the way they respond. they have had legislative defeats trying to repeal health care and losing in the court battle over travel ban. so there are issues where they have had real setbacks and they have also had some positives. difficult to get the supreme court nomination through, but they did. this does breed some of the disagreement, some of the difficulty that can happen. so we do see these reports where there are stories of reince priebus being in some kind of trouble and yet we've got other top advisers saying it's just the tensions that exist in a highly volatile environment. >> thank you, kelly. let's bring in congressman ted lieu, democrat of california. he's also a veteran of the u.s. air force. good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon, sheinelle. >> there are reports this morning that jets are already taking off again from the same airfield targeted by the u.s. on thursday. so if the base is still operational, then what was the point in your opinion, or was it
just sending the message that the u.s. will act? is that enough? >> thank you for that question. let me first say that what assad did with chemical weapons was horrific, but our constitution doesn't allow the president to engage in acts of war without approval of congress. and when he did this strike, it turns out that it did very little. as you said now, there is operations from the very base we just struck a couple of days ago. it's not clear to me why we launched 59 cruise missiles and there's still no strategy in syria. >> so what else could the president have done in your opinion? >> he should have come to congress and presented a strategy as to what we're doing in syria, how long we're going to be there, who are we supporting and what our goals are. he did none of that. instead he did exactly what he said he wasn't going to do when he campaigned, which is to be america first and take us out of foreign wars. instead he just entangled us further into the middle east. >> last night you offered one theory as to why president trump
decided to carry out this strike. let's take a listen. >> if you're facing possible collusion with putin, you might just want to distract people. >> you think that's what this is? >> it might be, we don't know. i've learned to not predict donald trump. >> do you really think he'd go that far to maybe start an entirely -- whole new military conflict just to distract from the russia investigation? >> anything is possible with this president and this white house. the russian collusion investigation is going forward. we're not going to be distracted by any other issues. this is the most important issue of the day. because if there was collusion last year, that affects the legitimacy of this administration. >> what's your response to his argument that president obama didn't do anything. he didn't need congressional authorization for these strikes. what would you say? >> well, the reason obama didn't do anything was because obama was following our constitution.
our constitution does not allow the president to engage in acts of war without congressional authorization, and congress has only authorized two types of conflicts that the president can engage in. go after terrorists with military force and deal with the threat of iraq. attacking syria, a country that did not attack the u.s., was not authorized. what the president was illegal. >> so with that said then, if the president does this again, he carries out military action without consulting congress, what will you do? what options do you have? >> unfortunately, the republicans do control congress. america gets a vote in a year and a half and the voters can decide if they like what's going on. but it's very important that our president, first of all, tell us what his strategy is in syria. why are we even there taking sides in a civil war halfway around the world and putting our troops at risk? >> if the president would have waited, let's just say, and let's just say goodness forbid assad did it again and we see these honestly heart-wrenching pictures of these children.
what would you say he should do? >> those images were horrific, but let's keep in mind just a week ago, the trump administration was okay with keeping assad in power, even though they knew he had killed over 100,000 civilians and used chemical weapons in the past. not clear what changed. this kind of whiplash foreign policy weakens the united states, causes the american public to not know what the president's principles are and reduces the credibility of the words that our chief diplomat, rex tillerson, says. >> we played a clip from your colleague, tulsi gabbard and she's not convinced it was assad. what do you think about that? >> i trust our intelligence agencies and i trust their words that assad did this, especially because assad did do this in the past. keep in mind, a lot of people have died in syria and continue to die because of tanks, of bullets, of famine, and the trump administration seems totally fine with that, except with chemical weapons.
so again, what is the purpose of launching all these cruise missiles if we're only going to do it one time and the air base in syria continues to operate. i really don't understand the strategy that this administration is engaging in. >> i will say it's interesting, a lot of people say it sends a message, even to a place like north korea. the national security council offered the president several options for dealing with north korea, including putting nukes in south korea or assassinating kim jong-un. how do you react to that? it's a scary time. >> this is exactly the wrong message to send, because north korea has nuclear weapons. they can rain down artillery on south korea and kill millions of people. we do not want to use military force against north korea if we don't have to. we need to use diplomacy and this is exactly the wrong message for the administration to send, that we might attack north korea. we don't want that message to be sent. >> before i lose you, can you give me your take on the meeting
with china, with xi? >> i am pleased that there was no bad news out of that meeting. i also note that trump had no victories. because if he did, he would have announced it. so the status quo remains and i am okay with that. >> earlier this week you signed on to a letter that devin nunes recuse himself from the russia investigation. now that he has, what's next? >> i've been calling for his resignation as chairman of the intelligence committee because what he did was he tried to mislead the american people. he went to the white house, got documents from the white house and the very next day he holds a press conference saying he got these secret documents and he needed to go brief the white house about them. well, these are exactly the same documents the white house gave him. he was intentionally trying to trick the american people. he's lost credibility. he needs to resign his chairmanship. >> i mentioned to one of our producers this time last week, this is all we were talking about, the whole connection with russia and what's going on behind the scenes and now with this air strike, it almost seems
like the conversation has shifted just a bit. is that what you're alluding to here to bring it back full circle? >> i cannot tell what the motivations are of our president. i do know that russia still remains the biggest issue, the collusion investigation, and that is going forward. i've called for a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation as well. >> we squeezed in a lot of topics on this saturday. thank you for your time today. the growing divide with jared kushner's star rising. are steve bannon's days numbered? next, a sense of what's happening to the president's inner circle. customers. who's with me? we're like a basketball team here at ally. if a basketball team had over 7... i'm in. 7,000 players. our plays are a little unorthodox. but to beat the big boys, you need smarter ways to save people money. we know what you want from a financial company and we'll stop at... nothing to make sure you get it. one, two... and we mean nothing.
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an interview last night. >> i've heard nothing but rumors and innuendos in press reports that would make any of us believe that anything other than the real shakeup going on in washington is the way donald trump is coming in as a disrupter. he appreciates the diversity of opinion. he likes when people disagree or give him differences in viewpoints. he's never had a bunch of yes men and y wom around him and we all appreciate that. >> but sources tell "the new york times" this morning it's gotten so bad that president trump told his chief of staff, reince priebus, and top advisor, steve bannon, to, quote, work this out with jared kushner, and other advisers. joining me now is jeremy peters, "new york times" reporter who's been following these stories. jeremy, good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon. >> can you take us back a little bit. what happened this week that led to this point? >> so for the last few weeks now, there's been a growing tension over ideology and the direction of the trump
presidency that has split jared kushner, president trump's powerful son-in-law, and other more liberal-minded advisers in the administration from the conservative nationalist core of the trump white house that has been with him for quite a while now. the idea here, the tension here is that there are people like jared kushner and his wife, ivanka, who want the president to soften his rougher edges. they want him to moderate, they want him to try to get things done with democrats, and that's not what steve bannon and the economic conservative nationalists in the administration would like, because they argue, look, no democrats are going to vote for you. it's all-out war they have declared on your presidency. so there's no point in playing nice. you need to be true to your core, your people, and that's what's going to keep you in strong political standing. >> we're showing these pictures and just the sheer optics of all of it. you can see the dynamic there.
politico is reporting that priebus because kushner and bannon together for a 45-minute huddle at mar-a-lago yesterday. how realistic for the president is it to think they can work this out, there's a middle ground for these polar opposite men? >> right now it does not look very promising and president trump realizes that the likelihood of a reconciliation here isn't great. that said, this is an administration and prior to that was a campaign that went through a series of ups and downs and shakeups. you never can tell with trump. as my colleague, maggie haberman and i report in the piece, this is a president who has a unique tolerance for chaos, but also a unique gift for creating it. and it doesn't necessarily mean that just because things are shaky this week that this is the end of the line for either bannon or reince. i wouldn't be shocked if
eventually down the road there's some reshuffling and the two of them get reassigned, but right now trump is not pulling the trigger. >> i want to play for you what journalist chris whipple told my colleague, thomas roberts, earlier. chris interviewed 17 chiefs of staff for a new book. >> this is the most dysfunctional white house in modern history. i mean the levels of incompetence and ineptitude are really off the charts. and lobbying a few missiles into a syrian air base is not going to change that. >> many people think the president just -- that this drama can't last for -- it's not sustainable. >> that's correct. i do think that he makes a good point there. this strike in syria, to call it surgical really, i even think overplays it. it was more like a needle point prick. this was the bare minimum that
the military could do to intervene. donald trump is looking at a very active next month policywise and not just overseas. you not only have these crises with north korea and syria, you've got a budget you've got to finish, you have a debt ceiling that needs to be reconciled, you have a health care debate that isn't going away, and i just think that if president trump doesn't find a victory there in one of those spots, he's -- his 35% approval rating may look like a good spot. >> with that said, let me get your take really quickly on some of the positive reaction president trump is getting from the military attack from republicans who had long been critics. here's lindsey graham. take a listen to this. >> i think he was repulsed as a human being by what assad was capable of doing. the children really moved him and all i can say about this
president, he has the instincts of ronald reagan in many ways. he's an emotional man, but he's also a very smart man. i think he feels that he did the right thing by those children. >> the instincts of ronald reagan. what's graham's angle here? >> well, graham is, along with john mccain and tom cotton and marco rubio and some of these other senators who were praising donald trump for this action from the hawkish wing of the party and they want to see a harder line taken against assad, but they're never going to be satisfied because donald trump is not, as far as i can tell or foresee at this moment, going to push as hard as they would like him to. i mean there was a debate inside this administration before the strike about really what good would it do. there's a recognition, and steve bannon is a part of this wing in the administration, that this is a horribly messy war, a horrid
situation, an intractable conflict that the united states is not going to be able to solve by dropping a few tomahawk missiles. and let's not forget, president trump was elected by telling people i'm going to get us out of stupid wars. so i don't think for the -- just because at the moment there are some republicans that are satisfied with this, that this means there's any general consensus in the republican party that donald trump's foreign policy is what they would like to see. >> jeremy peters, thank you for talking. it was a good segue to our next topic. thank you for your time on this saturday. >> thank you. pushback from the far right. how the president could face a backlash from the people who got him into office. imagine if the things you bought every day earned you miles to get to the places you really want to go. with the united mileageplus explorer card, you'll get a free checked bag,
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welcome back, i'm sheinelle jones here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. at the half hour, here's what we're monitoring. police in sweden say the man they have arrested for that deadly truck attack is a 39-year-old native of uzbekistan. authorities believe he was at the wheel of the stolen beer truck that struck and killed four pedestrians yesterday before crashing into a department store. earlier today sweden's prime minister visited the scene to lay flowers at a makeshift memorial. he declared monday a day of mourning for sweden, a time for the nation to grieve with families of the victims. among those criticizing president trump for his action in syria are some of his biggest supporters who are telling "the los angeles times" he betrayed the america first philosophy that he campaigned on. joining me now is charlie sykes, radio host and msnbc contributor. good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon.
>> with the trump administration weighing further action in syria, what kind of message does that send to this group of core supporters? are you hearing from them on your radio show? >> well, what is fascinating is you're talking about the alt-right nationalist base that he appealed to. you know, watching on twitter to see the reaction of anne colter and some of the others is fascinating. maybe they did not realize that part of the problem with donald trump is that he's prepared to change his positions on just about everything. but there's no question about it, that he ran very specifically as an isolationist, noninterventionist, and what you saw was a 48-hour absolute 180-degree flip-flop. so, yes, not surprised that there would be some disillusionment and surprise. >> so is the syria decision a sign that steve bannon with his america first doctrine is losing influence as an article suggests? >> this is fascinating because
this is not just a personnel move within the white house, this game of thrones thing going on because steve bannon was the chief ideaologist of this america first nationalism. he specifically said let's not engage in military affairs. this is off message as far as steve bannon. many of us thought it was going to be reince priebus versus steve bannon. instead bannon and priebus may be aligned with one another against jared kushner and some of the others who will have a very, very different view of this. some of these reports that suggest that steve bannon has been calling jared kushner behind his back a cuck and a globalist really raise the stakes for what's going on in the white house right now. >> we've been talking about that today. charlie, how about the timing and optics of the military strikes. do you think president trump's meeting with president xi was part of his calculation? >> it's hard to say. i mean if he wanted to project
decisiveness and strength, it was good timing. but there's two big questions, why now and what now. why did he decide to change his position, radically different from what he has said in the past. children have been killed by chemical weapons in syria before and he was adamantly opposed to it. then he saw these pictures and decided to act this quickly so that's the first question, why now, what changed. of course the other question is, and i'm sure the chinese are wondering along with the rest of the world, what does this mean? what is the policy? what is rex tillerson going to say in moscow? he went out of his way to say this doesn't reflect a change in policy. are we going to intervene? are we going to get involved in this civil war? nobody knows the answer to that question either. >> you mentioned what now. is it naive to think president trump will change his outlook on the syria refugee ban after citing the babies and children who suffered in the chemical attack? >> i think that's one of the most interesting questions because remember, really the first major initiative of his
presidency was banning all syrian refugees, and that's where he drew the line in the sand. these were the children. these were the victims of this chemical attack that donald trump said under a trump presidency would not be welcome in this country. now, that would be an epically major flip-flop if he changed his position on that. >> you mentioned rex tillerson. between the investigation into russia's involvement in the election, i'm wondering what should we expect when rex tillerson meets with russian officials, possibly even with president putin in moscow, how will they react really on both sides? >> what is interesting, the russians appear to be reacting with a great deal of restraint. i think they understand that this attack was kind of a symbolic pinprick at this point and doesn't fully change anything on the ground. i would actually feel better if rex tillerson was bringing nikki haley along with him. nikki haley seems to understand what message needs to be delivered to the russians and i'm not sure that rex tillerson
is the guy that's going to deliver that message. >> let me shift gears. you had a chance to speak with paul ryan on the radio this week. i know you've known him for a while, fellow wisconsinite. do you feel he's feeling why john boehner stepped down. >> he's living it. paul ryan did not want this job. he was a reluctant speaker. the job of speaker is essential low to herd cats. he's experiencing some of the main problems. i think he understands that right now there's a real crisis. do the republicans have a governing majority in the house of representatives. the answer so far is no. and i think he understands this is really an existential challenge both to his speakership and to the republican majority to get things done and that one of the possibilities is that donald trump will pivot and begin negotiating with the democrats and leave people like paul ryan on the sidelines. >> good discussion today. charlie sykes, thank you for your time on this saturday. >> thank you. let's go to nbc's bill neely. he joins us now from moscow with the latest on what we've been
talking about. bill, can you pick up on what we were just discussing there, what kind of reception we should expect to see for tillerson? >> well, sheinelle, there's no question that this will be a very significant visit, the first by any senior trump official to moscow and obviously the first after president trump's first missile strike. so it will be interesting. rex tillerson is known here indeed, as you'll remember he was honored personally by vladimir putin. the russians will undoubtedly want to express their opposition to that missile strike. they may cut him a bit more slack than other secretaries of state would have had. he's due to meet sergey lavrov, the foreign minister, but the russians may express their displeasure by not allowing him to see president putin, we'll see. and for rex tillerson himself, he is going to have to tread a very fine line because on the one hand he wants to look tough and to show why america launched
these missile strikes. on the other hand, remember, a central plank of donald trump's foreign policy is better relations with russia, so he needs to get back on that track as well. and he's talked pretty tough in the last few days. remember, he said that russia was either complicit in the syrian chemical weapons strike or incompetent, because it didn't know anything about the fact that syria had chemical weapons at that base. so he's already talked pretty tough. one of his other diplomats is talking pretty tough too. interesting that your previous contributor said it would be good to have nikki haley along on this trip. here's what she said at the united nations yesterday during an exchange at the u.n. security council's emergency session. take a listen. >> every time assad has crossed the line of human decency, russia has stood beside him.
the united states took a very measured step last night. we are prepared to do more. but we hope that will not be next. >> we describe that attack as a flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression. we strongly condemn the illegitimate actions by the u.s. >> and rex tillerson will be coming here straight off the back of a g-7 meeting in italy. he'll want to bring a united message. interestingly today, the british foreign secretary, boris johnson, cancelled his visit to moscow saying we want a clear and coordinated message to the russians, and that is a message that will be carried by rex tillerson. sheinelle. >> goodness, tough talk on all sides. bill neely, thank you. still ahead, hillary clinton going public with the reason she thinks she lost the presidency to donald trump. and to her, it all boils down to
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hey, you bought gas-x®! unlike antacids, gas-x ® relieves pressure and bloating fast. huh, crisis averted. i think he was repulsed as a human being by what assad was capable of doing. the children really moved him. and all i can say about this president, he has the instincts of ronald reagan in many ways. he's an emotional man, but he's also a very smart man. i think he feels that he did the right thing by those children. >> south carolina senator lindsey graham speaking to nbc's kasie hunt and defending president trump's decision to launch air strikes in syria. let's bring in peter emerson, a huffington post contributor, and dr. gina lowden.
>> good afternoon. >> gina, how do you respond from what we just heard from senator graham. in your opinion is that an accurate comparison to make? >> i do think that that was -- it's not often that senator graham and i agree, but i do feel like that was a very appropriate response. i think that the president saw what happened to those children and evidently the things that we had heard from the obama administration about assad not having chemical weapons isn't true. the president acted swiftly and i think it was a good thing. >> gina, you're a trump supporter and lindsey graham has been a vocal trump critic for some time. how do you explain this turn-around? we've had guests on earlier today that said these atrocities have been happening. why now? >> well, i'm glad that the president is keeping his finger on the pulse rather than locking into some foothold from years past. you have to look at the fact that we believed obama and kerry when they told us that assad no longer had chemical weapons.
apparently that wasn't true. and so with that new information, the president made a decision and i think most of america appreciates that he was able to act, as i said, swiftly and to send a message to assad that this sort of human atrocity, especially exacted on children, will not be tolerated by the rest of the world. >> so you're not part of the group who says, listen, no intervention, america first. there's a section of folks that are frustrated and mad with his decision. >> yeah, i think it's a small section. i agree that i don't want to go -- you know, before this, i thought i really hope we don't intervene that way. i hope we can find a different way. but having seen that -- knowing this, president trump is acting on obama's intelligence, on the intelligence of the obama administration because confirmations have taken so long that that's really what he has too on. we have to assume thahe has information that we don't have
and that he acted on it. i for one am just glad to see his level of decisiveness and his ability to be sort of fluid in these situations and make decisions not worried about what the media is going to say to attack him but instead just doing the right thing in that moment. >> let me bring you in here, peter, from a democrat's perspective. is president trump a kind of reagan 2.0? >> i don't think so. i have great empathy for impulse, emotional impulse in reaction to the photographs that the president saw. but my concern is that impulse bombing without a follow-up strategy could be very dangerous. we saw what happened in libya, for instance. so the question we have to ask are what are the effects of the bombing. right now the reports out of syria indicate there was very little damage done to the airfield. that's not going to inhibit -- in fact it's not inhibited the assad regime's bombing of those camps at all. >> right. >> second, what's the long-term strategy. is this a one-off? are we looking for regime
change? the danger for that is the two major rebel groups are isis and al qaeda. we could end up in a very, very difficult situation there if we don't think through. on the other hand, i understand the impulse to want to do something with these horrific pictures. but there's nothing that's coming out of syria that's being reported by all parts of the world that indicates that anything has been effective vis-a-vis this bombing. >> peter, do you think democrats acted the right way in response? >> well, i don't think it was unanimous because democrats don't usually react monolithically, much to my frustration often. but i think the idea that chemical weapons that we've been trying to get off the surface of the earth since world war i, anything we can do to foster that is a good thing. the problem is this didn't really have anything to do with chemical weapons other than the pictures that were produced by the chemical weapons.
but attacking the airfield didn't do anything to destroy the supplies or warehouses filled with these chemicals. >> we'll just have to see what happens next. let me squeeze in another topic here. politico is saying that the president ordered steve bannon and jared kushner to sit down and work things out after reports of discord between the two top advisers. gina, what's your take on this, when it comes to infighting, particularly knowing the president's style. >> contrary to what peter said, i really am glad that there's disagreement. you have strong voices in this white house. you have strong personalities, strong opinions. i think that's a good thing. and i think it even is a stronger testament to this president that rather than strong-arm these strong personalities, he says, hey, sit down, work it out. that is the way it's done. we all know that the president doesn't hesitate to tell someone they're fired if they're acting out of line. but that's not the case here. there are going to be different
leadership stielyles, there are going to be different opinions. it's interesting on the conservative side it seems like differences of opinion are often respected. in the republican party you have pro choice, you have pro life, you have pro traditional marriage, you have pro gay marriage, it's a big tent and i think the white house is reflective of that big tent. >> peter, where's the balance there? you've worked in the white house with different opinions coming to the table and to the extreme to where you're stalling the agenda because you can't get anything done. is there a tap dance there or where's the line? >> the tap dance generally is done sperinternally. this tap dance between bannon and jared kushner and many, many others, they're just sort of the leader of their own tribes, this is being danced out around the world in publications, on the news. we're talking about it. this is not good. it's confusing to our allies. it doesn't make for any sort of semblance of a strategy, whether it be strategic or tactical.
so ultimately the style that corporate ceos use in the board rooms of their companies often don't work in government. that's yet to be seen. but at the moment sitting down and working it out is one thing. the problem is, are they going to keep it inside the white house. to this date it's been very clear that neither of them, actually no one in the white house, is able to keep it inside the white house itself. it's now on the front pages of every newspaper of every television program around the world. >> if they can't keep it inside, do you think a shakeup is coming? >> i think either way, there seems to be a shakeup coming. >> gina, what do you think? >> i think you have to look at this week, one of the most successful weeks of a presidency ever. the president of course met with the leader of china, he had a very successful air strike where the airport was decimated as were many of their airlines. i'm not sure where peter is getting his information but that's the data that i saw. >> gina, if i saw -- >> if i can just finish.
you had the confirmation -- excuse me. i saw visual reports too, peter. i hear you. >> i'm not going to play fake news. >> the entire change, the entire change of the supreme court this week with the confirmation of gorsuch. you have in his first 100 days literally record numbers of jobs set. the stock market is soaring. >> actually the jobs report was just released were fewer this month. >> peter, let me give you the last word. i hear what gina is saying, but the matter at hand, what's next for syria? i'll give you the last word, i've got about seven seconds. >> there's confusion because nikki haley said syria was not a priority. tillerson, secretary of state, said it's in the people's decision in syria to do what they want. i don't see any strategy that's been laid out and that's what concerns me. >> peter emerson, gina louden, thank you for your time on this saturday. still ahead, president trump's waning popularity. how will the syria air strike affect his approval rating?
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president donald trump's approval rating is hovering around 40%. 21 points lower than president obama's in 2009, but after thursday's air strikes in syria, which have been generally well received on both sides of the aisle, could those numbers turn around? let's bring in larry sabato, author of "trump, the 2016 election that broke all the rules." good afternoon to you. >> thank you, sheinelle. >> in the past presidents have enjoyed a spike in popularity after taking military action. why is that, in your opinion, and could it happen here? >> well, it's the old rally around the flag effect. we've seen it for presidents, both democratic and republican. but, you know, this is going to be and already is a very unusual presidency. there's actually a very narrow corridor of public support for president trump. he has a relatively high floor.
i think he's going to have a hard time going below mid to upper 30s, but he's also going to have a hard time getting above his ceiling. his ceiling was 46% on election day. maybe he could get a little slice of libertarians and get up to 50 from time to time. but we're talking about an unusual presidency that doesn't have a lot of variation in terms of public support. >> well, for his approval rating to be this low so early, is it as bad as it seems or can we just attribute this to normal growing pains for a new administration? >> no, this is donald trump. we live in a polarized era, everybody knows that. we see it at the polls, we saw it in the vote on neil gorsuch, we see it in a thousand ways. but donald trump is a human polarizer. he doubles down on the polarization that we've seen develop really since the 1980s. so, no, i think it's very particular to donald trump and his presidency. >> i thought this was interesting.
if you zoom into the numbers here, over the last few weeks, the president's approval rating among white men in particular, the very group that propelled him to office, has dropped by 11 points. how do you explain that? and is that perhaps the more concerning number for the president? >> until friday, the trump presidency had not been terribly successful. i suppose to his base anything he does is a success. but to the broader population and certainly to analysts, until friday when he got gorsuch approved or the republicans did through the senate and the syrian strike, and let's remember the first reaction is positive. let's see how it develops over the weeks and months. but until then, he had had a series of setbacks. and setbacks affect everybody. his base believed he was going to be a big success. white males, blue collar males in particular, expected him to produce jobs maybe more quickly than any president could. they're going to be looking to that sector.
if he does it, they'll come back to him. if he doesn't, they won't. >> you touch on this. your new book is all about explaining president trump's victory. if you had to narrow it down to two major lessons from the 2016 election to pass on to anyone hoping to run in 2018, what would those be? >> wow, that's a good question. i wish we had five hours, because there are about two dozen reasons. i know, we've got a minute instead of five hours. one thing is a party should never forget who brung them to the dance, and the democrats did that in 2016. and second, data analytics and polls are a lot of fun, it can be very revealing, but there's no substitute for a gut connection with your voters and persuadable voters. >> that was good. we'll have to see what happens next. larry sabato, thank you for your time today. >> thank you so much. still ahead, the military options for north korea. details on the controversial plans in our next hour. get to the places
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