The threat posed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump's battle against the judiciary, and the travails of Sean Spicer. Then, New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait joins Jon and Dan to talk about Obama's legacy and Trump's first few weeks.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to POD save America on Jon Favreau
the pod. Today we have writer for new.
Work magazine, Jonathan Chait was also
written a book called audacity how Barack Obama defied his critics and
did a legacy that will prevail so we're going to have disagreements with that book down.
Yeah, it seems, seems controversial in the potty american universe. Then I'm here in New York City welcome to winter yeah. I know schitt
I think we were. I would like the last flight out of lax to here.
Tommy and love at night tomorrow night have a have a live show at
the Bam Harvey Theater in Brooklyn, very exciting stuff
yeah crooked media taking over the world live, show in Brooklyn, corrected media, which mention Axios. This morning I mean that is some establishment
right there, then that's right
so you get your table to four seasons in Georgetown, going to CAFE Milano later this week. So
also want to remind everyone. Tommy was out with a new episode of pod save the world. Yesterday, he interviewed Dan Restrepo, who was Obama's Latin America grew grew.
Episode sign up subscribe rate. It also subscribe.
Pods of America. If you haven't rate us, and that and review us in Itunes Store, always helps well
Well, easy D. Can I call you easy? It's not
Please don't call me Zd,
I feel like she really went off the rails since Monday, huh yeah, I
the segments every time I listen to your podcast, the Monday podcast, I'm like water.
I'm going to talk about, and then she just gets crazier. We always have
You talk about. Between Monday and Thursday
It also shows like how slow time moves in the
Trump era. Do you notice that, like it has been
It is only he's only been in office. What twenty one days now yeah it's uh!
it will be a month tomorrow, will be one month since inauguration tomorrow, tomorrow be one month since inauguration, which has felt like a lifetime.
Uh. Did you see it? You see that story I'll try to find this, but friend of the pod Cody. He didn't send it to us about how there's actually a scientific reason. It feels this way
is that the entire time, because I feel like I'm losing my fucking mind. That's right! It's not like people are you.
Pretty good about.
Knowing how long like be able to estimate time like I was doing it for ten seconds or a minute in less
they're very stressed, and then they always dramatically underestimate. It just feels
longer than it is or they overestimate it, and so basically,
living in a world of collective emotional trauma for America in the world
Starting on a happy note, you know,
That's right! It does feel like that, though, so
things happened in the old USN it over the last couple of days. There was a quite a contentious fight over the nomination of Jeffrey
guard sessions, the nation's current new attorney general
so there's this debate in the Senate over
and at one point
Elizabeth Warren got up to speak out against the nomination, which happens when there's a nomination. You disagree with an
She started reading a letter from Caretta Scott King about why
Jeff sessions, was a bad choice for federal judge in nineteen. Eighty six, because he had
and the line was mister
from Chris got sick Scott King's letter, Mr Sessions, his use of the awesome power of his office as US attorney in a shabby attempts to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. She called the conduct reprehensible
as Warren is reading this letter, Mitch Mcconnell
invoke something called rule. Nineteen to call her out of order, saying that you
not supposed to disparage a fellow senator first of all, what the fact is that rule
like and second of all, even if that, even if you agree with that rule,
it's not like. She was disparaging him on the Senate floor because they were arguing as about something as fellow senators
being nominated to be attorney general and so there's a debate about whether he should receive that number that he should be confirmed or not. So
snowflake, Republicans, couldn't really handle, handle
The criticism sessions sign
Install Elizabeth Warren, which then had the effective making sure
that everyone in the world hurting,
exactly what Elizabeth Warren had said, we
but that strategy down. I thought it was brilliant
if the goal was to have every person
and if it goes to have a meal
people watch a facebook live reading of the current Scott King Letter, then kudos Mitch, Mcconnell. You have achieved your goal. I mean
a few nerds on the hill who are watching c span would have seen that speech. Had it not been for Mitch Mcconnell, it would have been like,
but that would have been me when I was working there just sitting at my desk watching c span.
I'm not sure if that is that, if you would not I've been here, I was many times he's been, has never been on. I know it when I was in the Senate in two thousand two thousand five days. I I am,
skeptical, you had c span on and that's true actually, but then I worked in the Senate for many years and I couldn't find these band on my tv. You couldn't
I wasn't watching c span when you were there now
now, even though he was not, but that's not. I would refer to maybe someone like Tom
natural. But I get your point. I was
this thing that
people who said well. This is, this is all part of our strategy in Mcconnells part because he wanted to elevate Elizabeth Warren Beatty.
If you elevate Elizabeth Warren is the leader of the Democrats she's too extreme and
So that will actually hurt the Democrats I'm like. Can we can we not do the like Mitch? Mcconnell is playing three dimensional chest here. Chess here like come on,
it's ridiculous, also fine,
find elevate. Elizabeth Warren, like Elizabeth,
as a populist message that probably works in most of the midwestern
is that we didn't do so well in twenty. Sixteen, so go for it. So the bigger
The broader point here is sessions got confirmed.
No Republicans voted against him. Unlike the two Republicans that voted against Betsy, Devos and
uh and Joe Mansion also voted for him.
So he is our attorney general
I believe this is incredibly dangerous. I think he's probably, I think, he's probably
most dangerous nominee that Trump put up. What do you think, oh absolutely were mean he the amount of
power over voting rights and civil rights law enforcement? That.
That original has is mind. Boggling, and here you have someone with a who
he believes in voter suppression as a political tactic being in charge of that who
You know, even though there has been bipartisan
consensus around criminal?
this reform reform. Mandatory minimum sentence is to Jeff sessions, with the exact opposite of that he is, and it's going to be put in
for this, and you want, if you wanted- to bring back chain gangs and life
sentence is for
individuals under fourteen years old
even make it. I mean this is the story that got me. The story that that led, Correta Scott came to write. That letter is that
when he was the US attorney in Alabama,
civil rights activist who march with Martin Luther king at Selma, who had their heads beaten in at Selma, for
our fraud for allegedly helping elderly black voters fill out their ballots. He
it, was the first time someone
prosecuted, civil rights activist for voter fraud
in that way, for doing such a thing, he took the case to court. It took the jury.
Three hours to deliberate the case and then throw it out, because it was ridiculous
in the Senate. At the time decided,
he was it was
he was too racist to become a federal judge in nineteen. Eighty six since then,
Basically, you know:
and the ideological godfather of Trumpism.
and is one of those people who you know, is it
immigration not for economic reasons, not for security reasons, but because
assimilation reasons because of cultural reasons
and now this person is going to be in charge of you know when people bring lawsuits against the government for
Immigration, executive orders and, like you said, drug sentencing in criminal justice and voting rights, and it is
he does not believe in same day. Registration, voter registration doesn't believe in early voting. He wants to
the voter fraud. I mean it. Is it scary?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's probably not a good dude. No,
not at all. No, I mean his Senate. Colleagues were like well he's very nice personally great. Well, he can be nice as he, you know, suppresses the vote for the next eight four years.
Yeah I mean I was Joe Manchin voted for first sessions, but no other Democrat Did- and I think that's the they didn't think that was by far the right thing to do.
And we should you did just like the device confirmation we didn't win this one, but bye bye
by near unanimous Democrats. Voting against it sends a message, and that is at least a step in the right direction.
That also forget- and this will will segue into this later, but
will be the Justice department that looks that is responsible the day for bringing
formal charges against trump-
they are his initiation for all the conflict of interest ad then violations governor of the costs that are to be happening on a
daily basis around There- to help
Westgate possible ties between the Trump Administration or the Trump campaign in Russia? Which sessions has pointedly declined to say whether he would recuse himself from such an investigation of
Is this like the fox guarding the Hen house? Things are how they was in that. I think that would be. That would be the host all saying, yeah
so how do we the
Late upgraded my farm metaphors, but you get the point, so I think we have a lot of Democrats and activist wondering you know they sort of wage, this
against Devos. We came up short,
though I would say you know getting to
Publican senators to vote against a republican
nominee and having MIKE Prince MIKE Pence, have to break the tie, which hasn't happened with a nominee in history,
You know it's a moral when it's not a real, not so it was worth it, but you know, but we came up short with sessions. What do people do
Jeff sessions attorney general. What are sort of our options here? That's a tough question.
Uh, I think there's a larger point here that fighting for the sake of fighting, even if you don't win, is the right thing to do. It's only the right thing for set a demo
to do, show democratic voters that they get what's happening out there. This.
This is not we're in a long war. Now right we have the
chance, we're going to have to wait
fight every battle.
How we can in this
over the long term. We have to win the next two sets of elections, and it is begin,
slow process of channeling. What caused people to shut down the Capitol Hill switchboards over that
Boston Channel that into action that actually wins elections and because
One way to deal with sessions would be to take the Senate back and be able to the house back and be able to hold oversight hearings.
Narrow the margin so that, if you
so the next time a republican senator two breaks, you actually win as opposed to losing and that is incumbent upon the people who
calling and protesting to begin to focus on the election was also incumbent upon democratic poll.
Missions and progressive organizations to give them a place to go
give them a reason to fight
and a reason to believe that voting turning out of members of Congress matters and to give them
the tools in the in the organizations to channel that energy? Yes, I think it's it's
We can never say enough. That goal number one is the twenty eighteen elections and you know winning the house back. Then it's going to be tougher, but even with the house, you can still hold those oversight hearings.
In the mean time, I think you know there are organizations like the ACLU that will be very active in trying to sue the government like they did with the travel ban. So you know, support the ACLU, and also this week our friend friend of the pod Jason Kander, launched an organization called let America vote
that is designed to fight voter suppression and you and I are on the board than I know-
well. I mean this thing is destined for success with rock stars like you and I on there
don't know why they wanted us, but sure will help nobody
I like the idea of the organization, because there's a lot of efforts out there to fight voter suppression from a legal standpoint which is incredibly important. That's what ultimately would stop it, but
uh. I think Jason recognizes that there has to be a public battle that goes along with the legal battle and that we need to let people know exactly what's going on an what folks, like session and a lot of sort of republican secretaries of state and and a gs in various states are doing to sort of put in place these very stringent targeted, often at minorities.
Draconian voter suppression laws. Yeah, I think Jasons exactly right and that politicians operate based on their own set of political incentives and if
There is more pain for pushing these
plus there is benefit. Then there then they will do the opposite and to be
clear, we have lost the pr battle on this over years. Voter id law
this in franchise, a lot of people are very onerous, also can be very popular because the easy
argument is the prevent voter fraud. Everyone
each other photo id without explaining the consequent people who are affected by that. The consequences that active
fraud is a republican, fantasy design,
explain away election losses like Donald Trump's, three million three million vote.
Popular vote losses this year and
the first organization to do this, and I'm very
Hey that it's here
member stated that you, I could be a part of it and excited to see what Jason Kander does with it too.
Let's move on to Trump versus the judicial branch of our government, which is something that we have to talk about now, since Trump is in a has already decided to pick a fight with the judiciary. So
the Trump tweet that got all the attention yesterday was quote: big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas,
well, our people are far more vulnerable as we wait for what should be all caps, easy d, exclamation point what the fuck was he thinking
that one you just read. This ran out of characters and he thought he would. He thought he would abbreviate the word decision with Easy D.
I have. I have so many easy d jokes.
For the last twenty four hours, they were all right. They were made within the first twenty minutes on Twitter. I was like a little late to it and I I just had some pretty lame joke that I had to throw out there, because all the good Easy did drugs were taken. Well,
I also then, as I thought about them and pepper in part of my very rigorous,
the spot every morning
both my parents and my in laws. Listen to this pod, so I was going to be potentially not get overly graphic in my easy jokes
I will say the best one
that I saw was the grinder.
Your account just did the just the inquisitive face. Emoji, look at a lot of attention, good for Trump Trump, getting getting greater attention there
no, I mean to the serious thing about this is he's
as we all waiting and I'm sure, by the time this part. Yes, it's been recorded and released. The ninth circuit will have made their decision, as usually happens, to us what we record these, but we're waiting for the ninth circuit, the Appellate circuit, to decide that the travel ban and and decide the constitutionality of it or whether it's legal or not, and so
you know and Trump, as is never been done by a president before, is basically just sort of
attacking them attacking the judiciary, as he did over the weekend, like in advance of the decision and calling it politics and saying that politics plays a role in whatever they decide, which is extremely day
Remember when the when Trump took office and
White House website did not include the judiciary right.
Three branches of government yeah. Everyone is like a hot type of, maybe not no, maybe not. I mean we talk about a lot in this cast and we freak out about a lot of things. I would say that in these first in Trump's, first couple weeks as president, I think the his his stance towards the judiciary to the towards the judicial branch of government and his attacks against the judicial branch of government is probably the thing that most alarms me, but I think matters the most, because we know that the legislative branch will not be a check on his power because of Paul Ryan and Mitch. Mcconnell have decided that tax cuts are more important than having a check against Trump's authoritarian ways because they're cowards, so the legislative branch is just decline
to stand up to Trump or you know, offer any kind of check and balance against him. So the only bulwark against Trump acting as an authoritarian goon is the judicial branch, and you know to undermine them like he's doing and to turn them into just another. Sort of political object. Be attacked is pretty frightening
yeah, we live in a it. If you like, step back
think about how our system of governance works. It really dip
when's on the executive like this way,
did you share a branch rules,
blah blah blah and then
it is up to the executive. Executive branch owns all the tools for the enforcement of the law. So, if the
executive is unwilling to respect the ruling
Judiciary branch you, the whole system can break down pretty quickly, and so it's a real.
Open question of what is going to happen if the
even when the ninth circuit rules against Trump are they
by by the ruling? All right- and I also I mean I
show like went when Obama was president. There were plenty of rulings by the judiciary. The Barack Obama disagreed with right and I notice when Trump started this affair,
conservatives said oh well, it was on president
even in the state of the union in twenty ten twenty eleven. I forget what it was when the court ruled on citizens, United, an Obama sort of show that said that he disagreed with that decision. Of course he started his statement with all due deference to the separation of powers between branches of government. I want to say that I disagree with this decision now. Uh, it's fine for a president to say they disagree with the decision if this court rules against Trump and he came out the next day and said, I very strongly disagree with the decision.
Of the ninth circuit. I think that, in order to protect our country, we need to do this, but I respect their decision and we're going to try to figure out another way to protect our country. Fine, that is totally fine. He can criticize the decision all he wants, but to attack the judges to call them so called judge is to say that he did it all politics that the courts deserve blame if a terrorist attack happens in our country, that is so far beyond the pale, no republican president has ever done. Something like that. No democratic president has ever done something like that. It's an appalling and he's putting before we got
the appeals court hearing. He was trying to target that one individual judge like that agenda during the renewal, which is also die, which she did with that with the judge and the Trump lawsuit case. Yes yeah in any of
and Chris are ways in a race as well as all the rest as fit with Mexican. So he couldn't couldn't rule in a fair way, even though he was not mexican.
Yeah I mean this is this is very alarming and it
The silence of Republicans about this is very disturbing,
zero? His slick we are always like our our system. Governance were great for many many years, but you you know it's like. We think back to Watergate Right when Nixon fired, like eighteen people and so could finally find a summer in the Justice Department who would fire or triple
The special prosecutor, the Congress, was a check there right conger.
Eventually, impeach, Nixon and forced him to resign
Does anyone believe he's talking to sherry, and we know that Paul
and would do anything he would back
to the end of the world as long as Trump promised, to give more money
search people and take food stamps away from poor people, so he'd be totally cool with that. So
like there are. The system only works if there are checks and balances and not to get like overly dystopian here. But you know this
one of our three branches: ain't exactly doing the job right now, so uh
reason for alarm, yeah well in Paul Ryan and Mitch, Mcconnell say that have said as long as Trump is abiding by the judicial decisions. Who cares what he tweets or says right, which is also bullshit, because
Trump has a huge megaphone and when he's out there undermining faith in the judiciary and letting people believe that this decision is the courts maker all based on politics, he's going to rile people up against the judiciary right like that's. What authoritarians do an and he's going to lay the predicate for? Maybe packing courts, maybe
all kinds of other things that you know you should be doing so right. I'm a kind of a big get away with this right now by saying look he's abiding by the decisions, even if he's undermining them publicly, I mean that that's gonna, that's gonna, be able to last. For that long, dad not not. Now
strong one front. So one person who does not agree with what Trump has been saying about the judiciary is
Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch,
really in a meeting with Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Gorsuch called Trump's remarks, particularly Trump's tweet, on the quote, so called judge in Seattle quote disheartening and demoralizing, and now course it said this to Blumenthal, told him and all he could say it publicly. Former senator Kelly Ayotte who's been helping Trump with this nomination process also said that Gorsuch made those remarks and Trump decides to tweet that Blumenthal.
Misrepresenting what Gore should said and then started attacking bloom with all this morning. How do evil? But what do we think about this so part of what we re? Let's break, let's break what is happened,
So yesterday, when this all came out, part of the theory was this was
a very smart confirmations,
added. She I mean I, I actually believe Gorsuch.
He does believe that it's not a good idea for president says to attack individual judges,
So I believe that it's a sincere belief is because he's an american citizen
yeah? And it's not because we think Gorsuch isn't as conservative as people say. He is because, like you could be the most conservative right wing person in the world and still have a basic respect for the judiciary. Right like it's like hard to keep in mind how outside of the mainstream Donald Trump
right, but anyway, right right, and so the theory was well. This is the.
The Trump's attacks magician doing a big part of the confirmation process that could create a permission structure for a bunch of Democrats who would otherwise, who might
believe in the idea that upper down vote on Supreme Court nominee give them a reason to filibuster or what
aren't these guys so smart and then Trump to
sweet which suggests one or two things. Maybe
was that a grand strategy, or maybe it was gross its strategies and not and not the collection of Mensa
is currently around the White House, or it was a White House strategy, an no one told the
but what I don't believe was some of the other tea leaf
this morning is that this is all
play on Trump's part. Where he's going to let him have his cake and eat it too, where he can pretend
like he wasn't actually upset.
Stop being criticized by his own nominee.
Still get groceries through the week.
Like to your point about Mcconnell's,
Dimensional chess, like Trump, could not play. Doesn't
three dimensional chess players have two dimensional chess player?
Naturally the checkers player- I don't know he plays, can
and I don't know what game it is he plays, but this is, he was Pist off because I got bored whatever it is.
Finish finished his life. He just flips it over.
I you know he clearly was mad that
guy that he gave this this amazing appointment to who
because he had to introduce his family and all of that criticized him because he's a sensitive little baby yeah,
it's pretty, I I think the nuclear cuts. I think it's pretty simple here, like when someone of stature with a megaphone criticizes Trump Trump, cannot let that criticism go. He has never ever been able to. Let one critique of him go and then the bigger person, so the instinct always on on on from Trump is well. Now I have to attack were just attacked. Me
He can't do that because it's his own Supreme Court nominee, some people yesterday were speculating like well. He could pull the nomination. I suppose I would say that's ridiculous in most cases, but hey who the fuck knows like it's a Trump presidency. I guess that could happen, but I think even Trump is thinking like ok. Well, I can't detect my own Supreme Court nominee. So who can I attack I'll attack
I'll shoot the messenger. I will attack the person who said that course it said this and now we're going to get into the I'm sure we're going to have Sean Spicer.
Kellyanne Conway and all the rest of the goons in the White House. When asked about this
Oh, no! No! No! No! He didn't he didn't attack that note to Trump Trump in Attack Richard Blumenthal. We know that, that's I'm sure gorgeous said that and trump respect, anything that Neil Gorsuch says and
some sort of orwellian. You know double speak that just a house cat though the worst yeah I mean it's like
basically the truck messaging strategy is, like the
These are not the jedis you're looking for a part of star wars, but without the actual force. So it's just like no, they are the Jedis were looking for, oh god, so anyway. So then the other. The other issue that happened yesterday, I guess, is so Trump's intelligence briefing is scheduled for nine hundred and thirty in the morning.
Today, at nine hundred and fifty he tweets my daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She is a great person
always pushing me to do the right thing, tearable. So a few things about this. One, maybe it was a fast briefing and drug just get out in twenty minutes and couldn't wait to get back to his twitter machine, perhaps also
I love that he there's an love. It pointed this out. There is an acknowledgement in that tweet that Trump's instincts are to do the wrong thing, because-
he's grateful that Ivanka is always pushing him to do the right thing,
which is a little window into his soul, but also by the way, probably shouldn't use the presidential bully pulpit to attack a company for not promoting your families brand right.
Yeah that doesn't seem legal. It is not. It is not
It's also, I think, there's also like a window into trump
psychology here, which is
Nordstrom made this announcement a few days ago and
what happened. Uh
He said to me when is Trump going to tweet about this, and I was like I bet. Avanca asked him not to write
it's a it's. A like just makes a bad situation worse for her to get involved in this, so he thinks he must
wanted to tweet so long and it was like holding back on it for so long and finally, just could not take it anymore and
like lashed out, but in a way to try to soften the blow at his dinner table at home. He had to point out that she is a very good person who
tell me to do the right thing which leans into the
really obnoxious narrative that Ivanka and Jared Kushner has been pushing that they're, the ones who pushed trump to,
in somebody's owner, is LGBT Aios and other stuff, and so it's
look honey I did is I I said what you wanted to say, but I couldn't come to contain myself anymore, the big heroes, when I think of when I think of profiles in courage, I think of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump well, and so then, of course, the White House double down on all this spicy did news briefing
and then this morning Kelly and goes on Fox and says by a vanka stuff which
used to be a violation of federal law, uh.
Yes? It is most certainly a violation of federal law. I am positive that
at moments after being sworn in on Facebook live today, just
just walk out of the oval office and instruct his team to look into this obvious violation of federal law.
Under the partner resins as that they can be sued under the Fair Business ACT and that this is an abuse of office. Both Trump promoted, basically like a ten using you in the federal government to attack a company
it does not enrich that refuses to enrich your own family seems like it's a violation of all sorts of things.
And then Kelly and using her public position to hawk goods for the Trump family also seems like it's a federal violation, so all kinds of Lonrho
breaking from the law and order candidate today, yes,
as friend of the pod and
modern day, internet sensation? Jake tapper pointed out. We all
Kelly adds salary and we pay for the route. The briefing room in which she made these comments and
we don't get any of the money for the additional sales of chinese made. Him backs that of right come from hey. It was right in the inaugural men, first rule the Trump administration as ministration by American, unless it's a bunch of clothes and then by Chinese.
Or Trump's ties
sheets or whatever look, I think,
listen here is you should be very careful about using your public platform to hawk merchandise, unless you have a podcast, in which case, maybe it's time for a word from our sponsors.
That I mean I was just thinking just your
play game is on point. This is this is what I prepare for. I barely read the headlines. It's basically just how can I figure out how to get to the ads will be right back
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Okay, let's talk about your friend and mine, Spicy Sean Spicer,
two hundred and sure his had a rough couple of weeks, especially rough week. Rough couple days I don't know I don't
oh yeah. I don't know when Sean Spicer's last had a good day. This I mean the
It's basically come again. His national car crash in none of us can turn away we're just rubbernecking at the public
this man just
your daily basis and
like you, and I I guess we don't like Sean Spicer or we don't like what he does or we disagree with his choices. But you know
who really doesn't like Sean Spicer, his colleague
his colleagues, the think the things
people scallop reporters in his own from his own
team and say about him are mind. Blowing
just there I mean. There's a CNN article
It was about how Trump is trying to hire a communication structure on Spicer is technically doing the communications director job in the press secretary job
It just buried in there just a bunch of people saying that basically Trump, let's get rid of him right
rains Priebus, who is very close to Sean Spicer force them down. Trump's throat trump now believes that this is matter
its previous about it that Steve
Ben has doesn't trust him and therefore has hired his own personal run. A rogue press operation out of his office is woman, Julia Hahn who were still work at Breitbart, I mean the
say I mean I've never seen anything like this watching be be a tough place, but.
Saturday live, is the least of Asians risers problems. I mean, but also the fact that the fact that Sean Spicer was in trouble with Donald Trump, because he was played by a woman on Saturday night live with the political story was just who, in those places not doing himself any favours like I said I might feel bad for him if he didn't go out there every day and proudly and happily lie for the administration. Like it's no big deal, I mean like I get, that has been
is to his job is to defend the administration, which is often indefensible, and if you just tried to go, do that with good humor, everyday I'd sort of pity him, but I wouldn't, like you know, I feel bad for form once in awhile, but some of the things he says like yesterday. After that Elizabeth Warren Episode, where she read the letter from Caretta Scott King a letter about how successions was racist Spicer at the briefing yesterday says, I can only hope that that, if Scott King King,
still with us that she would support senator sessions nomination. Now, then, you gave this.
This is your nominee for the dumbest thing that Sean Spicer has said, or will ever say,.
Well, I mean it's sort of I'm not,
The translator is not going to be there in three to four months. So it's we're on a short runway, but the the thing
This is like you and I have been involved with the practice of press secretary goes into like there's a they they spend hours. I mean. Theoretically, I don't know what happens the Trump White House, but in every previous White House, for people who respected governing norms of democracy and
etc. The press secretary would prep with staff for
first before hand and think about all the question
They could get asked tryout answers on people and
I'm try to come up with news worth newsworthy lines that you could get quoted. That would
move the administration's message, and so I don't think this was off the cuff, like Sean Spicer, basically
Baptist this in the mirror in his office and thought to himself
the whole time boy. Am I going to trick them when I
but they have considered the idea that credit, Scott King Martin Luther King's widow,
Probably support the attorney general nominee of a man who put a white supremacist in the White House.
Or a man like yeah, that's actually great size and the like, okay time to write a letter. I wrote to criticize twenty years ago and said he should be a federal judge because he was intimidating black voters.
Yes, I'm sure that I'm sure that, if Credit Scott King
live today in the ensuing three decades. We've had a change of heart and they would have supported Jeff sessions.
Even more on what it of the people who you that you may
do not want to try to channel their thoughts- like I don't know, Chris Martin Luther King's widow, Credit Scott King civil rights hero may not be one of 'em. It's insulting. It's insulting to
Yes, listen to that Sean Spicer,
Offends me a lot of
on a policy level on a political level
but just as late as a
cooperative with many years in communications.
It's about a professional level that someone would say that briefing
be so stupid on a daily
Since it's like, how did we get to this point 'cause? That is the job that
most every like young,
fledgling. You know capital
press secretary hopes to a chain, is this city. It is to be at that podium one day and then like what did disappoint like like
and we end up. We end up with.
With more on the it's really like. I know- and this is I was very harsh- who is being trolled on Saturday night. Live you see the story that he's be
hold on Venmo
They did see him as being told about which is very
clever? I hadn't even thought about that. This is because we have a good story about this. Is that all the all these people are
him on Van MO and just writing nasty comments to him, which we I thought we we do not endorse that here, parts of America, partly because look we just want this is a piece of advice to shun. You know, because we care a lot about him here. If you don't want to be trolled on Van motion on where people can just post things that are open in our public to everyone else, you should perhaps think about using the square cash up because of the square catch up is not public like that, in fact, the square cash app is the simplest way to
people back friends, family coworkers. Anyone really did you know this damn. I did know this and that's why I love this work. Actually I use the square cash. It's great to catch up is great. You can send money free and fast most payments can be deposited directly into your bank account in just a few seconds. You link your debit or credit
it's like selected amount to send type in a friend's phone number email address to complete a payment, and that's it no gimmicks just cold hard digital cash and if Sean Spicer Use that he wouldn't be trolled on Venmo, look at. That
look at the synergy there. Dan this has happened is actually like a segway is the synergy it also had until with something that could be really useful to our friend John Spicer. Do you
feel all dad for Sean Spicer? No, I don't I'm to I'd. Like I said I there's there's probably some people in the Trump administration. I will feel bad for at some point just because it looks like they're there, because you know they've been taken hostage like I almost feel more pity for rides previous somehow than Sean Spicer, because sons, but, like I said like I could have saved, I I
and feel this book before the first day Sean when out in the briefing room based on what he did. The campaign I'd feel this way, but, like the lies, he's been telling and and he's like so proud of it it. I I just sort of law, also we we forgot to cover the other thing. He said after the aside from the credits,
I can comment which, when he was asked about the Yemen Raid
and so you know what have you have? You guys thought about the fact that maybe it wasn't a success. What went wrong and Spicer said quote anyone, including John Mccain, because John Mccain had criticized the raid. Anyone, including John Mccain, who says the Yemen rate. Wasn't a success, does a disservice to the slain Navy Seals life and owes an apology. That is a despicable thing to say it just is, and he knows that yeah I mean to say that the John Mccain, who is your dog,
Do you like and to say that, and also how long did Donald Trump spend in the campaign attacking the Iraq war? Did anyone win Donald Trump said the Iraq war? Is the one thing or said that Barack Obama's strategy against ISIS was the wrong thing and that, like our military
general when he's tagged, our military and our generals, like did anyone tell Donald Trump that he couldn't he couldn't criticize and military mission because it disrespects the people who died in that mission? That is such bullshit. Well, I mean just think about Benghazi. As an example, right
the exact like this exact corollary to this, which is, if, like
this went wrong, had been Ghazi too obviously, and the
people lost their lives and then politicizing it, maybe even using almost an entire night. If your convention to try to score political points on it
might also be viewed as some people as disrespectful to the people who lost their lives. There I mean it is just
and then and then and Trump picked up this criticism today and start attacking John Mccain said he's been losing for so long, so he went
to the Well Mccain who he is, who he attacked early on the campaign. Famously by saying you know I like people who didn't get shot down, it is just goof
and uh what a time to be alive, what a time to be alive, what a time to be alive when we come back, we will have
New York magazine writer and book author Jonathan Chait, hey,
anywhere. This is part of America and there's more on the way positive
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With us on the pod. Today we have New York magazine writer, Jonathan Chait, who is also the author of the new book audacity, how Barack Obama defied his critics and created
legacy that will prevail. Jonathan welcomes the program,
Thank you so much for having me a thanks for coming and um. You look, I mean, as you can tell what the two of us on this phone, where we have a lot of disagreement with this book.
Criticism criticisms, not something that's really about reality.
You know I was really going to be unhappy. If you didn't have me on the show that would get just about the worst indictment I could have possibly gotten so I'm just feeling in their tremendous relief right now, like you know, people always,
We have to have people that we don't agree with on the show, so we're like, let's just invite someone.
Who wrote a book about how Obamas legacy is awesome
but it's on the news, it's an outstanding book. I read it over the last couple of weeks and so the thesis of your book is that
Obama's legacy will survive Trump ism
I also have that optimism, but I'm way more of a Kool aid drinker than you are probably so. What makes you think that
uhm. You can actually already see if you go through issue by issue. How
trouble Trump is having overturning most
policy achievements in the book tries to make the case that there are
more than people understand. Even people who followed the news closely, I think, are going to read the book and say I I forgot about this, and I forgot about that and you
If you realize it, he did more with
well breath in more depth than you assumed, then you're going to that's going to get you part of the way towards understanding how hard is going to be overturned. But you know just look at health care,
got some of this in the book already the day after the election, they were basically saying Obama CARE is done, gone, move on to the next.
What's next, but you know they're going back
not forward in terms of
overturning this law. It's it's a successful law. People like it at the time
there's a lot of complaints about it, because people were comparing it to
idealized alternative, but
answer alternative that you can actually get to in a real political world. It's about
standing law- that's the case I want to make in so. If you you know, there's no. There was never any realistic way of getting up and appreciate
he better law written and that's what Republicans have discovered.
I think if you go through some of the other areas, some of them, I think, are more vulnerable than others, but most of them are pretty SIRI for different reasons. Dot, Frank some age.
Major reform that I think a lot of people didn't quite pay attention to how much it really did to rain in Wall Street. That's protect!
The simple reason that you need: sixty votes and
publicans. Don't have any Democrats who want to help them. We can regulation on Wall Street
financial rescue moves are protected,
studious reasonable, which is that
the financial crisis is gone and can't come back. I mean you would literally need a time machine to bring back the twenty. Oh eight financial crisis. So that's that's been solved. The they're. Not
undo. Do the auto bailout indian kill the auto industry, so
there are a handful of other things that are more vulnerable, but I I do think that the major pieces are going to stay in place. We we're using the a c a five goes from here. Obviously you know they have sort of drag their feet on this and the Republicans can't get together around an alternative. How do you see it playing out.
It's a really good question, because if you play out any strategy that they try, it runs into some kind of brick wall they could they could
Try to jam through appeal uh with
forty in the house and if they can cram together fifty senators and let two of them go to get fifty break the tie, but they're not going
be able to replace it. So are they really willing to take the damage of melting down the health care market in every single state?
You can not only hurting poor and sick people, but
people who sell them healthcare services uhm, I
a hard time seeing it. I think in the end, they're going to have to get some kind of deal with the Democrats to patch it
to change it. This way that way to make it probably more industry friendly and call it replace Indian say it's terrific. I think that's where they're going to have to go with this. That's that to me that's the most sensible move. Even if you grant that they're willing to take the wheel
there's a lot of political pain to repeal this law and get that tilt up on the wall. I just don't think they're going to really go all the way, I'm trying to figure out what what thing that they could,
anyway. So what's what's your well, I'm trying to figure out like if they do get to a replacement package, and it's like alright, let's work with some Senate Democrats on something I just don't know what would be what I could imagine Senate Democrats saying yes to even like the mansions and the Heidi Heitkamp's right, like what kind of package wouldn't actually take health cause people to lose their health care, but would still?
be acceptable to Senate Democrats, I can't think of one. I think if you made it just more fiscally responsible, oh yeah, I mean
the pay e forty unpopular,
find a that. You know have that
opposed by industry groups right like the medical device tax in the Cadillac tax. Just
look at some of those out yeah. I guess they could do that, but then it doesn't really that's mostly a tweak right
yeah yeah. I very interested in you're yeah
It would be interesting to see how the democratic base,
would feel about any sort
bipartisan deal to tweak Obamacare
such as the Republicans want to sell it as more than a tweak- and this is the problem we always run into- is
the Venn diagram of things acceptable to their base and that we that we would
from a policy perspective. Is
it's very little overlap there? So I mean like
basically like the most likely scenario, is stalemate that we will
we will get to the twenty twenty election and be in the
same place. We are with having Republicans having tried
undermine it administratively and towel. That is some measure of success. Yeah,
that could be. I mean IE. You could very easily see
maybe the most likely or next most likely scenario is repeal and delay on a long fuse and they just delayed delayed delayed and, if I'm actually, if I'm them and I'm looking for the smartest most d,
would do is repeal and delay and push the delay out past.
I'm there in office and then
No so like we just keep extending it as long as you have control in it in when you lose control, just throw the whole mass of the Democrats and then the Democrats whenever the
look at stake power: twenty twenty one, twenty twenty five they've gotten expiring law that they've got a couple together the votes to sustain if it melts down it's on the democratic watch. That's what I would do if I were them and had their moral values,
the Good NEWS is no one.
Listen to this, so they won't even get that idea from okay, so so Trump offers us. You know a dozen targets every single day and it seems one of the one of the difficulties in the fighting back and focusing on a single message against Trump is that you know it's inevitably upended by some tweeted gets more media coverage where, where do we fight like
Where do you think he's week? Where do you think we should be focused you're, describing the dilemma have every day where I just have a
information of tabs engulfing my computer and fourteen ideas to write about it. I don't know to me um, the the
The simple economic, populous nexus between personal
corruption and policies that benefit the rich seem
the most straightforward theme that you can you can you
explain a lot of scandals
but policy yeah,
it doesn't you know you guys are. This. Is your guys job? It's not I've. Never I've never worked in politics, so I don't really know what what people care about or what people listen to.
No look I mean it. Does it that's what I've been thinking is that it? You know he at the end of the day, there were voters who didn't like Clinton or try
and they said well I'll- go with him because he seems more likely to change Washington for the better and improve my life for the better and so revealing
that he is breaking that promise every single day by you know
either siding with plutocrat Republicans or you know, sort of the billionaire class is burning.
Say uh and not with working people seems like sort of the best ave. But
That's a hard message to drive every day when you know he's like tweeting about Nordstrom and everything else.
You know the best counter arrangement of that was by Yasha monk,
This is writing a lot about autocracy and the threat to Denver.
Ocracy in the United States and he said, look the fact is economic policy is just boring as hell most people
it'll focus on it and it's true it really.
Yes, I mean that's even true in wash-
and I mean most
it's less so now than it was when I started, but getting
People don't understand and care about. Economic policy is not easy. Yeah, no blue main. We working on those Obama. Econ speeches was that was never the most exciting thing, although he got who is it
right- I mean I'm I'm interested in it, but you know
it's complicated into people and most people don't really pay attention. So you know that that's like added, I'm not sure. I agree with that. That's a pretty personal
to counter argument to that, I think the
challenge: there is it's less about convincing.
Pull that policy a is effects them and that you know what effect there
love or the wages in this very specific way, but using Economie
next to tell us, you need to tell a story about Trump's values and- and
policy economics is the most resonant way to do. It was basically
Obama two thousand and twelve strategy against,
and you have to so it's a proxy for a conversation about about
NEWS, but I don't work.
For you is.
What is your? How do you
I think the democratic establishment is uh
handling the first month or so the democratic Senate, Democratic House members, the stablishment handling.
First month of the Trump presidency?
It's hard to say
because there's some shadow boxing going on with the public,
you mentioned you, don't really know how much they mean it like all these
say. We will really want to work with Trump on this and that
do they mean that or they just positioning themselves to come back and say? Well, we tried, but he didn't. You know blah blah blah
I don't really know the answer- I know some people who are a little
close. The situation are
kind of alarms that the that's
Some of the comments about wanting to work with him and things like infrastructure are genuine. They really believe it uhm. So
that that's been a big Schumer theme and I've been writing about that um that Mcconnell,
had this right politically with Obama that
I'm the opposing administration bipartisan cover is your best play, is the opposing strategy, as the opposing party and
I'm not sure they completely understand that, but I think the base is kind of pushing them there, even if that
not where they want to go. There's just
there's just so much anger at the Trump administration. I feel like
I feel like it's going to be really hard les you just as you mentioned before, with Obama care to make a deal on almost anything. So going back to your book for a second Gmail Bowie wrote a piece about your book,
reading the other day, and he argued that through the trial
Ilysm in your book and just
and Obama in general, and he kind of blamed Obama, for this too sometimes discounts the force of backlash to the progress of the last eight years, and that has
contributed to all of us sort of missing the rise of trump in the first place. What do you think about this?
Well, you know Jim L
the rise of Trump as much as any of us did
so I'm not really sure that's what is? That's really
Horse here that
this is to miss it, I mean I guess my question is: why did you find it important to not just to set the record your book? Was
so, let's set the record straight, here's what Obama really did, but it seems like and look we tried to do this in Obama speeches as well. It's basically detailing prog
this is a way to say you know don't lose hope, because, even though
things look challenging? If you look to history, you know this kind of forward. Progress is possible right is it so? Why did you
important to get there so that the worldview that he had.
The President Obama, had that I agreed with that. You know that
if you look at american history already long interval of time? You see things getting better,
even though you have lots and lots of periods where it gets. Weird looks really scary with things are getting worse. I didn't really understand
I like Jamal. I respect him. I think he's a great writer. I didn't really understand his point here. He didn't disagree.
Agree with that. He just said if you're a person living in a period when things are getting worse, it's bad an. I agree with that.
I mean I think President Obama would agree with that, and I don't think that's a.
Blindness- and it's not really he's not really bringing up, are above
he's just putting more
this is on a point. That's already been acknowledged.
What what do you think? What do you think caused everyone to miss sort of? I mean everyone missed sort of the end of the electoral results, but like sort of the power of Trump right like that heat, that this yeah this? What do you think we we think causes Thomas that I I do
There are a few factors I would say the biggest the biggest way in which we were in a bubble that people like us who
politics all the time the
scandals is just ordinary low grade political crap. Just the same,
blah blah. We all know yeah, she shouldn't have done the mail server yeah. She deserves to be wrapped over the knuckles for it.
People saw it as outright criminality. They did not
do not have that kind of context that we had.
I mean. This is what I
I have a friend who works in politics who- and I've heard this actually from a lot of sources- that alot ordinary voters in the middle thought that Clinton definitely killed. People
absolutely with oh yeah. I heard that a lot
I've been very, I think I mean so that was the number one thing that we thought
did, they would just say. Clinton is just like or an ordinary politician in a in a somewhat bad way, but they saw her as as a completely extraordinary you.
Politician. I think it's number one. I think
We missed the degree to which the Apprentice-
did Trump truly seem like a business genius with
superhuman abilities uh.
I think a lot of
people who pay attention to politics more closely
followed the agreed kind of understood his business career in different context of him. Seeing him as a
huckster right, someone, who's who's, got talent for media manipulation, but basically plays a rich person on television and is made and learn how to make a lot of money by pretending to be a rich person and thus becoming a rich person on that. But but I think they did they
if they saw this totally different than that, and I think
it was just a self fulfilling quality of people.
In Clinton was going to win. She was in this very dangerous zone of being a had enough that all the covered assumed that she was going to win, but not being ahead so much that she really was certain to win yeah. You know it's
it's interesting because, like in some ways we most people, I think, did not hum
that miss the power of Trumpism. We just
estimated Hillary and underestimated Trump as a political figure, but trumpet, like
other people, thought, including a lot of
You know in two thousand and thirteen when the shutdown was happening, that TED Cruz was on his way to being the republican nominee. And
that actually have trumpet not run. That, probably, is how that would have played itself out, and
you know. I the way I often describe the election is we
overestimated Hillary Clinton abilities as a candidate, and we underestimate
Brock Obama's, and by that I mean they're. All these
there's that probably
yeah like these rural white voters in Iowa and Ohio who held
who we sort of thought Obama was the floor. You know
they can vote for a black eyed name broken by then these are
that's what it turns out, actually that he had a unique appeal beyond that that Hillary did not have, and so I think it's always important separate,
you know, quote unquote trump is in, which is the rise of you know Ethno.
White nationalism, populism
you, know anti establishment forever from the actual election results of of
but just sticking with something do you
how do you think the election of Trump affects Brock Obama's political legacy, like
you know what does that say about his presidency that that you know the first african american President was
be replaced by or succeeded by someone who may
believed to be and out not racist,
So I would make a couple of points I would say it's not
I'm all for us to assess
Largely through their successor. I think that
just something we're doing right now, because Trump's coming into office and it on everybody's mind and it's magnified his importance, but people didn't when you talk about,
Did Abraham Lincoln? Do you don't primarily talk about Andrew Johnson, even though he drew,
He did attack in much of his legacy. In fact, the into the answer to Johnson is part of Obama's of sorry in two thousand as part of Abraham Lincoln's legacy, because when
and fired his vice president input into Johnson on the ticket and was single handedly responsible for that disaster. But that's not really a.
On page one of anyone's Lincoln Biography
I think. That's a bit
applying an unusual standard to Obama.
Two, I would say trump-
is related to obamas legacy. In fact, Trump is a major character in my book and was a major character in the book. Even before I thought he was going to get the nomination, because I think he tells us something really important about the nature of the republican opposition to Obama. I think if you,
Look at the way people were analyzing republican behavior
during most of Obama's term, and that's what I do. I sort of show what Republicans are doing and what people thought Republicans were doing at the time it was really being seen as being about the deficit or about
you should know about discrete policy choices that you Bob Administration was making. I think true crop really shows. That's not the case that it was mostly and identity politics based backlash, what kind of form of white identity politics backlash against against any
I think he did and and
the commentary that a lot of people on the center and even some of the left for making bucks. Why doesn't Obama do this or that in response to republican opposition,
unrealistic. One last question: since Trump has taken office: what's one thing that has surprised you in a good way, an one thing that surprised you in a bad way hum,
I think, in a in a bad way. I think.
He literally worse at his job than I thought he would be. I mean I had such a low estimation of his ability to do. This
but it really seems he's even more,
we then we assumed I mean these stories that come on almost every single day, how
you know he killed. He won't read a brief
What you won't read anything more. You can't have more than nine bullets on a page of paper that you handed him but he's reading. He looking at seventeen different samples of of curtains for his office and he's complaining about that. The towels not being soft enough, an airforce one. It's really just like you know what
It's it's it's beyond Saturday Night live version of his of his mental capacities in the state of mind, it's really works, like I didn't think he could screw up. I get to know you called with the Prime Minister of Australia. If you had predicted that for the access they come on, like he's going to struggle at the heart in the medium level tasks, but not that so it's really
really bad on the good side. I really
I think that
there's been immediate pushback in resistance in mobilization,
left in. I actually think it's working in a lot of ways. I think,
you're, really seeing some acknowledgement in fear other
inside of Indian. You know the house ethics
change got pulled back
you're, seeing a lot of reluctance to just
get rid of Obama care.
So I think I actually think that that part is is working. I thought Republicans would have power and feel almost totally unconstrained right away.
Maybe until two thousand and eighteen, but that's not happened. Trump is a bigger child and we thought, but we are a better resistance.
Jonathan. That's a that is a self flattering, no surprises. No, I I'm I'm I'm with you. Thank you very
Much for for joining the
blood and ever go check out Jonathan's book audacity, how Barack Obama defied his critics and created a legacy that will prevail, take care,
So much if you enjoyed this episode of POD save America, there are other great new, an archived episodes. You should go check out some
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Okay, that is our show for today, thanks again to Jonathan Shade for joining us, and we will see you again on Monday, bye, guys.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-31.