JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Today on FACE THE NATION: As the first milestone approaches for President Trump, he ups the workload for a returning Congress, health care, tax reform, and avoiding a government shutdown.
The sprint to the end of the 100 days began on a high note, with traditional White House pomp and pageantry, plus a basket full of promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi, everybody.
QUESTION: All the legislative action that you’re planning next week, how are you going to accomplish all of that?
TRUMP: It is going to be great. It will happen.
QUESTION: You going to do health care and taxes?
TRUMP: It will happen. We will see what happens. No particular rush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: But there is a rush to get Congress to agree on funding to keep the government running past Mr. Trump’s 99th day.
Florida Republican Marco Rubio will join us, along with the person new polls say is the most popular politician in America. He’s trying to help the Democratic Party find itself.
Republican John Kasich has a new book out, “Two Paths: America Divided or United.” He will tell us about it.
And we will hear from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
As always, we will have plenty of political analysis.
It’s all ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning, and welcome to FACE THE NATION. I’m John Dickerson.
We will get to this week’s news in a moment, but, first, we want to tell you about next week’s broadcast. Saturday marks the official 100th day of the Trump administration. And we will be spending that day with the president. We will interview him at the White House and then travel with him to a rally in Pennsylvania. The first part of our interview will air on FACE THE NATION next Sunday and the rest on “CBS This Morning” on Monday May 1. That broadcast will originate live from the White House. Along with our interview, Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O’Donnell will be talking with top administration officials about the first 100 days and looking ahead to the next 100.
But, first, Congress is going to need to agree on how to fund the government for the rest of the year, or it will run out of money on day 99.
We begin this morning with Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who joins us from Miami.
Good morning, Senator.
I want to start with that government shutdown. The fight from the White House perspective is over funding for the border wall. Is that an issue worth fighting over right now, if a government shutdown is a possible -- is a possibility?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Well, first, understand, we’re just trying to finish out the current cycle, the current budget year.
And so I think that’s a fight worth having and a conversation and a debate worth having for 2018. And if we can do some of that now, that would be great. But we cannot shut down the government right now. We have a potential crisis brewing with North Korea. We have seen what’s going on, the ongoing crisis in Syria.
We don’t know what the outcome of the French election is going to be, but that could potentially throw the European Union and the NATO alliance into some level of consternation. The last thing we can afford is to send a message to the world that the United States government, by the way, is only partially functioning.
I mean, that would just have catastrophic impact, in my view, or certainly a very destabilizing, I should say, impact on global affairs. And so we should keep that in mind going into this week.
DICKERSON: Let me pick up on North Korea. I will ask you a question that was sent to me by a source in the middle of the country who sent me a note and just said, “Are we going to war with North Korea?”
RUBIO: I hope not. Obviously, we have to ask ourselves a very fundamental question. And that is, it is acceptable, can we live in a world where Kim Jong-un possesses not just nuclear weapons, but the ability to deliver those weapons against the continental United States? Can we live in a world like that?
If the answer is yes, then I suppose that there are all sorts of things we would not do. If the answer is no, then the options -- and the answer is no for me -- then the options before you are truly quite limited. And none of them are good. None of those options are good. But it is my view, at the end of the day, that we must do almost whatever it takes, just about anything, to prevent Kim Jong-un from acquiring a nuclear capability he can deliver against the mainland of the United States of America.
DICKERSON: So, what is the endgame there, Senator? Is that removing all missiles? What does the -- what would be the best possible outcome?
RUBIO: Well, I think the best possible outcome would be that he walks away from his long-range missile program. We already know he has nuclear weapons.
The issue here is, can he put it on a rocket and send it and hit the state of California, Arizona, the middle of the country, where you got that e-mail from, and potentially Washington, D.C.? That’s an unacceptable risk that. That cannot happen.
And so the endgame, and the ideal one in terms of the showdown, would be that he walks away from the long-range missile program. If he continues to test them, if he continues to make progress in that direction, then we have got a big problem.
DICKERSON: Senator, is the ratcheting up of conversation about North Korea that’s taken place over the last several weeks, is that merely because of the rhetoric and then obviously the missile test in North Korea, or, as you understand it, has the North Korean -- is North Korea closer to that intercontinental ballistic missile?
RUBIO: Well, there’s no doubt they’re closer and continue to get closer.
Now, you have seen some spectacular failures on their launches, but that’s always part of moving forward. Look, possessing a long- range missile is not technologically prohibitive for most countries in the world who are willing to dedicate the resources they’re dedicating to it.
You have to understand the people of North Korea are starving to death. There are literally people starving to death in North Korea. That government is putting virtually every dollar they have left over into the development of these long-range missiles.
And so, ultimately, if they want a long-range missile and continue unabated, and we do nothing about it, they will acquire that capability. They potentially have some of that capability now. So, ultimately, this is not something that’s prohibitive.
And, by the way, it’s one of my big concerns about Iran as well. They will follow the same track.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about President Trump. You had considerable reservations about his ability to handle this kind of an issue when you were a candidate. Do you have faith now on this sensitive and tricky issue that the president can handle it? RUBIO: Well, let me just say, first of all, I would never ultimately in a situation as critical as this go out there and deliberately undermine any president.
Suffice it to say that I do believe this president has taken this issue of North Korea with the seriousness it deserves. I, quite frankly, congratulate him and commend him for putting people around him that are capable of handling this issue alongside him, giving him good advice.
From everything I have heard -- and I know some people that were involved in those deliberations -- when the president looked at the situation in Syria, they were very impressed with the questions he asked. They were very impressed with his thought process and decision-making process. And that does give me greater confidence that we have a White House and a president who is handling these foreign situations, these national security situations in the appropriate way.
DICKERSON: The president got involved personally in the release of an aid worker who was being held in Egypt. Some people think that in part that release was a result of the fact that he was more accommodating towards the president of Egypt, who has been accused of human rights abuses and other things.
What is your sense of that tension, that, on the one hand, it’s productive, but, on the other hand, some people think that being too close to the Egyptian president is not a good thing?
RUBIO: Well, look, Egypt is an important country in that region, and we need them to be successful on multiple fronts.
My concern with Egypt has been that particular case of Aya Hijazi where she was released. She was an aid worker. She had been improperly imprisoned and should have been released a long time ago. Now, it sounds and it looks like the president raised the issue privately through back channels and in their meetings, and it ended in a positive result. And he should be congratulated for that.
I have ongoing concerns, and my big concern in Egypt is that the way they govern that country now under President El-Sisi is going to lead to some sort of violent clash, some sort of potential overthrow and a destabilizing change of government, because you cannot treat people this way and sustain it over the long haul.
That said, we do need to work with the Egyptian government, hopefully urge them in the right direction, especially long-term, but also work with them to secure the Sinai, to be a reliable partner against ISIS, and also to continue to be a reliable partner against Hamas and those that threaten Israel from Gaza.
So, all of these things are important, and they’re not mutually exclusive. And so I think that this is a moment where we need to stop and say, whether he did it publicly or privately, the president was successful at getting the release of an American improperly held abroad because he raised the issue and he made it a priority.
DICKERSON: He made it a priority, but he also -- do you see any tension in the connection there between -- North Korea has, for example, just taken a U.S. citizen, a third being held in North Korea.
Do you think there is any signal that is sent to other countries, when an aid worker can be released, but then these human rights abuses people are worried about don’t get talked about so much?
RUBIO: Well, I talk about them all the time. It’s one of my priorities. And others, I wish would talk about them more.
But, ultimately, the release of this -- of the aid worker, the American, should not in any way prohibit us from continuing to talk about the other human rights abuses that are occurring in Egypt.
There is a difference between Egypt and North Korea. Number one, Egypt is not developing nuclear weapons designed to strike the United States. Number two, Egypt is a partner in the fight against ISIS and the fight against radical jihadists. There is a difference. It’s an ally of the United States and a country we interact with.
That does not, however, mean that we cannot and should not publicly and privately, as I did with President El-Sisi three weeks ago, raise human rights concerns. And we raise them because it’s the right thing to do, but we also raise them because it’s the right thing to do for him and for Egypt.
Otherwise, if you continue to abuse your population, in the long term, there will be an uprising, there will be government instability, and that becomes the environment that breeds jihadists and radicals.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Marco Rubio, thanks so much for being with us.
RUBIO: Thank you.
DICKERSON: We want to welcome Homeland Security John Kelly, who joins us from Oceanside, California, following a tour of the U.S.- Mexican border.
Mr. Secretary, I want to start with the government, which is going to run out of money next week. One of the items of debate is, the president wants money for the border wall. Is a border wall so important right now that it is worth risking a government shutdown?
JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, I certainly think a border wall is essential, as do almost everyone that lives along the border.
So, yes, I think it’s certainly worth hard negotiation over. We have tremendous threats, whether it’s drugs, people, potential terrorists coming up from the south. And to have some type of a barrier, an effective barrier backed up by the brave and very effective men and women of DHS, I believe it’s essential.
DICKERSON: Of all the possible solutions to deal with the illegal immigration problem, is the border wall the number one thing you would pick, if you could pick any solution?
KELLY: Well, it’s -- there is no silver bullet solution to any of this.
I really do wish that the Congress would really join together in a bipartisan way and figure out these incredibly complex immigration laws and make some decisions on how to deal with those that are here illegally, illegally and behaving themselves.
But a border wall, security wall, technology, patrolling, all of that is very effective, but just as effective, I think and just as important is us helping reduce the amount of crime in Mexico and Central America because of the drug demand in our country. That is really the number one fuel of the problems.
DICKERSON: Is there something, based on your tour there, that the members of Congress should see or should know to move a little faster on the legislation you would like to see them putting forward?
KELLY: I don’t think there’s an awful lot that gets solved very well in Washington, D.C.
But if you come out here, as I do, as I say, to kick the tires and maybe take a look behind the dumpsters and talk to the people that are actually doing the work on the border, they will tell you, that is to say, the Customs and Border Protection people, the ICE people, local law enforcement, they will tell you a wall of some type is essential to the work that they do, that combined with policies inside the United States that no longer make it absolute that if you get here illegally, you will be able to stay.
My appeal to the folks in Mexico, Central America, other places like that is, don’t waste your money and come here, because we’re going to pick you up and we’re going to send you back home. On top of that, this network that they travel on is terribly, terribly dangerous and abusive.
To me, this is a human rights issue, to keep people in their homes, in their communities in Central America and other parts of the world.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you about those who are here. They have broken the law by being in the United States illegally, but they are not in the category, as the president calls them, of being bad dudes.
“The Washington Post” says that that number of people who are just here illegally, but have broken no other law has increased, has doubled since the president has been in office. So, it sounds like they don’t fit in the category of bad dudes, but they’re being deported anyway.
KELLY: The way we’re doing our business is that the ICE officials will establish or will go after targeted individuals, develop target packages and then go after them.
Now, if people who are here illegally fall into our hands incidental to those knock-and-talks -- as an example, just the other day, I was talking to some ICE agents up in El Paso, and they said, typically, when they go into these homes or these places looking for the person that they targeted, there will oftentimes be five, six, seven other people.
In the course, by the way they do their jobs, they then ask those people who they are, and if they can’t produce some form of proof that they’re here legally or that they’re U.S. citizens, then they could be taken into custody.
So, as police officers, they simply can’t turn a blind eye to the lawbreakers. In every case, we’re targeting people who are here, A, illegally, and, B, have broken other laws.
DICKERSON: So, it sounds like you’re not targeting them, but because they broke a law by being here, they would be suitable for deportation.
KELLY: It’s more than not sounds like. It’s more than not sounds like, John.
DICKERSON: You are?
KELLY: We are not doing that.
But, again, people fall into our hands incidentally that we have no choice in most cases but to go ahead and put in the system. But I think you know that system is years-long.
Give me your Homeland Security assessment of the North Korean threat.
KELLY: Well, I mean, so long as they’re on the other side of the world without a missile and a nuclear weapon to deliver against the United States, they’re not much threat right now, except in the world of cyber. They’re pretty aggressive when they want to be in cyber.
But the minute they get, John, you know, the instant they get a missile that can reach the United States, and they have a weaponized atomic device, nuclear device on it, we’re at grave risk as a nation.
DICKERSON: In the recent Paris attack, a policeman was killed. Is there anything in the Paris attack that sends any lessons about U.S. policy or policy that should be put in place?
KELLY: There are so many aspects of this terrorist thing. Obviously, you have got the homegrown terrorists. I don’t know how to stop that. I don’t know how to detect that.
You have got other terrorist threats that come across the border. I believe, in the case of the murder of the -- in the Paris shooting, I believe he was homegrown, but, again, there are so many threats that come in from across border. And it’s essential absolutely to control one’s border. The other thing, John, that has me -- keeps me literally awake at night is the threat against aviation. We know that would be the Super Bowl for the terrorists to knock down an airplane in flight, particularly if it was full of Americans.
We have taken measures overseas to reduce that threat, but it’s something I watch every day, ask four or five times a day, because there are a number of plots that we’re watching very, very closely. They’re very sophisticated. They’re very threatening. And the number one thing in my mind is to protect the American people. So, we will do that.
DICKERSON: I just want the follow up, Mr. Secretary. You said on the homegrown threat -- a lot of people think that is the biggest threat. It was part of the San Bernardino shooting and part of the Boston bombing.
But you said you don’t know how to stop that. If that’s the biggest threat, and you don’t know how to stop it, that seems like a big problem.
KELLY: It is a big problem.
It is number -- you know, depending on where you sit is where you stand on this. It’s a big threat. Is it the number one threat? I think it’s the most common threat. Unfortunately, there are other similar-type terrorist threats that could come from outside the border.
You know, the CIA, NSA, all the great women of DOD are doing a great job keeping them away from the homeland, but, again, I focus on this aviation threat as something that is very real. And if they’re successful, they’re going to kill hundreds and hundreds of people in one fell swoop.
So, I think the appeal I would make on the homegrown threat is, if you see something, say something, whether you’re a parent, a sibling, an imam. And this extends, frankly, John, to white supremacists and those kind of -- that kind of terrorism as well.
If you see a young man or a young woman going down that path where they’re always on these kind of Web sites or saying things at church or in a mosque that are clearly disturbing, then tell someone about it, so that we can help that kid, young man or woman, before they break the law.
DICKERSON: All right. Secretary John Kelly, thanks so much for being with us.
KELLY: Thanks, John.
DICKERSON: And when we come back, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be here to tell us what he’s doing to help get the Democratic Party back on track.
DICKERSON: And we’re back with Senator Bernie Sanders, who is back home in Burlington after a week-long tour of red states, along with the head of the Democratic Party.
I want to talk to you about that unity tour you’re on. You were with DNC Chairman Tom Perez. He was booed a little bit in Maine. There is also a dust-up over the -- your endorsement of a candidate in Omaha.
What are the terms of the discussion in the Democratic Party right now about its direction?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, I think what is clear to anyone who looks at where the Democratic Party today is, that the model of the Democratic Party is failing.
We have a Republican president who ran as a candidate as the most unpopular candidate in modern history of this country. Republicans control the House, the Senate, two-thirds of governor’s chairs. And in the last eight years, they have picked up 900 legislative seats.
Clearly, the Democratic Party has got to change. And, in my view, what it has got to become is a grassroots party, a party which makes decisions from the bottom on up, a party which is more dependent on small donations than large donations, a party, John, that speaks to the pain of the working class in this country.
The middle class is shrinking, 43 million people living in poverty. Almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. People can’t afford to send their kids to college. They can’t afford child care. They can’t afford health care. The Democratic Party has got to take the lead, rally people, young people, working people, stand up to the billionaire class.
And when we do that, you’re going to see voter turnout swell. You’re going to see people coming in and running for office. You’re going to see Democrats regain control of the United States Congress.
DICKERSON: One of the things, a debate, as Democrats try to fix the party is this question of, should there be a prioritization?
You have put those populist economic issues at the forefront. One of the reasons there’s a bit of a debate about the Omaha candidate for mayor is that he is against abortion rights. And so there is a debate about cultural issues vs. economic.
How does the party sort all that out?
SANDERS: I don’t think there’s much of a debate about that.
I have a 100 percent lifetime pro-choice voting record. Overwhelming majority of Democrats are pro-choice. I’m going to do everything that I can to see that the Republicans do not get away with their horrific effort to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides health care to 2.5 million women.
But if we’re going to become a 50-state party, if you’re going to go to Omaha, Nebraska, which has a Republican governor, two Republican senators, all Republican congresspeople, Republican legislature, you know what? And if in Omaha, 5,000 or 6,000 people come out to a rally led by Jane Kleeb, their new Democratic chairperson, who is doing a great job, and if you have a rally in which you have the labor movement and the environmentalists and Native Americans and the African-American community and the Latino community coming together, saying, we want this guy to become our next mayor, should I reject going there to Omaha?
I don’t think so. It was a great rally, and I hope very much he wins. And, by the way, his opponent, his opponent, the incumbent mayor, is also, of course, anti-choice. And she is inviting Scott Walker, one of the most reactionary anti-choice governors, anti-labor governor, anti-education governors, to campaign for her.
The choice is clear. And I hope very much the Democratic candidate there wins.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator, we’re going to keep this conversation going, but we will be interrupted quickly by a commercial.
So, we will be back in a moment with more from Senator Sanders.
DICKERSON: And we’re back with Senator Bernie Sanders.
Senator, I want to pick on that point about the grassroots that you made. You have an e-mail list of all those grassroots voters you contacted who donated to you.
Will you be handing that list over to the Democratic Party to help it with its grassroots outreach?
SANDERS: Well, right now, right now, John, our focus is building up a strong progressive movement in this country.
And I think the people who donated want us to focus on electing the most progressive people, people that we possibly can, and bringing our people together to oppose this disastrous Trump agenda, which calls for tax breaks for billionaires, while at the same time, he wants to throw 24 million Americans off of health insurance, defund Planned Parenthood, and raise premiums for older seniors.
So, our job right now is to build a progressive movement, and we’re making some pretty good success. All over this country, we’re seeing progressives running for office and beginning to win.
DICKERSON: So, some Democrats are going to hear that and think, well, he’s not totally committed to the whole Democratic Party idea here. SANDERS: Well, there’s very few people who have been running around the country quite as much as I have been trying to bring people into the party.
And here’s, I think, what the major issue is as we go into the 2018 election dealing with the most unpopular president after a three- month period in American history.
As you recall, in 2014, we had a voter turnout of 36 percent in the midterm elections. Almost two out of three Americans didn’t vote, and Republicans did very, very well. If that continues, there is no future forward for the Democratic Party.
So, what we have got to do and what the Democrats have got to do is go out all over this country, start getting into those red states, which have been ignored for decades, start growing the voter turnout, having an agenda which brings people together to say that in the richest country in the history of the world, yes, you know what, we can health care for all people as a right, we can raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
No, Donald Trump is not right. Climate change is not a hoax. It is a major planetary crisis.
DICKERSON: All right.
SANDERS: We have got the transform our energy.
SANDERS: If we focus on those issues, voter turnout goes up, Democrats win.
DICKERSON: All right, Senator Sanders, I’m afraid we have run out of time.
Thanks, as always, for being with us.
SANDERS: Thank you very much.
DICKERSON: And we will be back in a moment.
DICKERSON: And we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
Stay with us.
DICKERSON: Welcome back the FACE THE NATION. We’re joined by Ohio Governor John Kasich. He’s the author of the new book “Two Paths: America Divided or United.” Welcome, Governor. What is the message with this book? Is it a memoir? Is it a cry of the heart? It is a manifesto? Is it a campaign book?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You know, really, I guess in some sense it’s a cry of the heart, John. I have been fortunate enough to have so many different experiences in my life, both in politics and in business and the media, across the board.
And what this book is about, how did we get to where we are? Which is today divided, and how do we get out of it? And what is our responsibility, all of us as individuals?
And it really gets down to living a life a little bigger than ourselves. I think that in some sense we kind of lost it. And what’s most important is the people -- is for people the realize that they matter.
I mean, they matter as much as a CEO, even if they’re turning off the lights at night. And we need to come together as a nation. We need to focus on the things that bring us together, not the things that divide us. And we need to listen to one another.
Look, I have two 17-year-old daughters. Some people are going to say, why did you write this book? Is this politics? Are you running in the primary? It has nothing to do with that.
I wrote this book because I have observed what has been happening in our country. I’m concerned about it. But I believe that with an awakening the country can be refreshed and brought together again. I have no doubt.
And you just had Bernie Sanders on. Look, I have more Democrats, more independents, more Republicans that just walk up to me on the street and say, you know, you were the adult, you were the positive one.
The message of this book, I’m begging people to look at this book and to understand their responsibility and their ability to bring this country together and stop waiting for these politicians to get it right. They’re not going to get it right until they get a message from us.
DICKERSON: So what is that message? Let’s leave aside Donald Trump, you were a strong critic, you still are. But let’s leave that aside for just a moment. So what is that other message? What do people have to do? What can they do?
KASICH: Well, John, I think a lot of it is to focus on common humanity. You know, the editor of his book said that he and his uncle were fighting at every holiday. And I said, well, why don’t we focus on the things that pull us together?
Are we concerned about drug addiction in our neighborhoods? Of course, we are. It’s not Republican or Democrat. Are we worried about veterans who come home and can’t get a job? Can we look out for them? Of course.
What about a senior citizen that lost their spouse? You know, what about the issue of human trafficking? Can we keep our eyes open? You had the secretary, Kelly talking about how we’re all in this together.
If we can focus on common humanity and sit down and fix problems where we live and believe in ourselves, it will open our ears to people who might not think like us.
There are families that are in war with one another over politics. It’s ridiculous. There are more things that bring us together. So I think common action, at a food bank, fighting the drug addiction, helping our kids to read at earlier ages, these are things that get us to communicate, so then these other big global issues won’t matter as much.
I was in Atlanta, Bernice King invited me for the Martin Luther King Day down there. And somebody raised their hand and said, what about Trump? I said, well, what about your neighbor? What about your kids?
Martin Luther King did not change America by going to the big shots. They wouldn’t even meet with him. He brought Republicans and Democrats and liberals, conservatives who had moral outrage of what was happening in this country, he changed the country, and then the politicians got it.
So we need to be engaged and live the life bigger than ourselves. Life is not about self-absorption and just about me. Not looking for sainthood. Just live a life a little bigger.
DICKERSON: But Martin Luther King marched for racial equality and jobs. What is the march today? What does everybody get on the streets of Columbus and go march for?
KASICH: Well, I can tell you right now in Columbus is we should be marching against the scourge of drugs. And it brings people together even in the political parties, the fight against drugs.
The ability to keep our eyes open and to do things against the issue of human trafficking. The issue of racism. These are the things that people -- you know, in my hometown, if we all marched against drugs, we’d begin to win that battle.
And people sometimes look at the problems and they think they’re so big that I’m just one little person. We have a Holocaust memorial on the statehouse grounds in Columbus, and it says, “if you say one life you’ve changed the world.”
We need the believe in ourselves again and not think, you know, life sort of ends at the grave. It doesn’t. It goes on in accountability, in values. And I’ll tell you another thing, John. Faith, whether you’re a humanist or whether you have religious faith, there is a certain accountability. You don’t bury your talents. You don’t shut people out. You don’t shut them down. If we keep doing this, my kids are going to live in a country that I won’t recognize.
But if we begin to talk to one another, listen to one another, respect one another, because we live a life a little bigger than ourselves, we will make progress.
DICKERSON: You know, you say people should pay attention to what’s happening at the local level, but there are some pretty big things happening here in Washington that will affect their lives.
How can they possibly ignore that and particularly when you are very critical of President Trump and his campaign and the choice the Republican Party made? You talk about two paths. You say they have chosen the path of darkness.
KASICH: Look, John, John, the politicians are all locked in. They’re afraid of their own shadows. They’re afraid to talk to people of the other party. You see, this is the disease that’s affecting all of us.
And it’s -- look at United Airlines. You tell me how they could have yanked that guy off that airplane? Who was in charge there? What was anybody thinking? Why are politicians not working across the aisle?
The health care problem, the issue of Obamacare, of course it needs to be improved, but it takes both parties. And I’m critical of both parties because I see them being locked in their own silos. And you know what, John, a lot of the constituents today are locked into their own silos.
They only absorb the news that they agree with. And if they see something that they don’t like, they tune it out. We need to listen to other people’s points of view, and the country can be healed. I have no doubt about it. But it isn’t going to be healed if we’re waiting for somebody else to do something special.
DICKERSON: Let me ask you a question about your experience as governor. You came out of the gate with a big list of things to do. You had a lot you wanted to get done. You kind of realized you might have overshot in trying to do too much too fast. Do you have any advice for the current president who is at the beginning of his hundred days?
KASICH: Yes. Well, I was a congressman in a governor’s body. I talk about it in here. In fact, being a governor held me back in the presidential campaign because I wasn’t going to make wild promises and I was going to be responsible.
I was with the president. He invited me to the White House. And I told him a story about my wife. I said that one day my wife came to me, she said, John, you’re governor of Ohio, by the way, you’re the father of Ohio, why don’t you act like it? That was pretty powerful words. And I didn’t tell him that to, you know, get in his face, but there is a takeaway from that for the president.
DICKERSON: What kind of father has he been so far?
KASICH: Well, it’s incomplete. He has done some things well. And he has done other things that I don’t agree with. His story about yanking people out of their homes who have not committed a crime once they’ve come into this country, dividing families more, I don’t agree with.
I think what he did in Syria was correct. He seems to have toned down some of these things. But, look, it’s a hundred days, John. He has never held public office. He’s learning. And there is a big learning curve.
Now, I experienced it, but you know, in Ohio today, we’re more united. You know why? Because I’m not playing that stupid political game. And I think political parties are on their way out essentially.
Sanders is talking about reconstructing the Democratic Party. People care less about party. They want action and things done. But it’s not just politicians, John, it’s where you work and where you live and what you do.
DICKERSON: All right. Governor, thanks so much for being with us.
And we’ll be right back with our political panel.
DICKERSON: We turn now to our political panel. We want the welcome Carol Lee to the broadcast. She is the White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Jeffrey Goldberg is the editor-in-chief at The Atlantic. Reihan Salam is the executive editor at the National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow. And Mark Leibovich is the chief national correspondent with The New York Times Magazine.
Welcome to all of you. Carol, I want to start with you. The government needs funding or else it’s going to shut down. The OMB director at the White House has said to reach a deal they will give Democrats $1 for Obamacare funding if they get $1 for the president’s border wall, which Democrats don’t want to fund. Is that going to solve it?
CAROL LEE, “THE WALL STREET JOURNAL”: Well, it got a pretty quick rejection from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said it’s a non-starter. And they’re not going to negotiate that.
But it’s emblematic of two things. One is the president really wants a victory before the 100-day mark, particularly on some of his most significant campaign promises, like the border wall. The second thing is they need Democrats on board if they’re going to avoid a shutdown, which the White House would like to do. So that’s part of the reason why we’ve seen them leave open the possibility of not digging in on the border wall funding.
That’s also why we’ve seen them try to make a last-minute reach at taxes or health care, two things that on a good day for Congress would be really complicated and difficult, never mind that they’re trying to avoid a shutdown.
And so but at the end of the week, what it sounds like we may wind up at is a place that’s very conventional for Washington where we get a one-week continuing resolution so they can continue negotiations and then perhaps look at health care in the following week.
DICKERSON: Right. So, Reihan, let me ask you this, Congressman Tom Cole, a Republican, said this about the politics of a possible shutdown. He said: “Even our most recalcitrant members understand that if you shut down the government while you’re running it, and you control the House and the Senate, you can’t blame anybody but yourself.”
Does he have the politics of that right, do you think?
REIHAN SALAM, “THE NATIONAL REVIEW”: It’s not entirely clear partly because President Trump is a different animal. He’s someone who could lay blame at the feet of Congress if he so chose, and that’s why there’s so much uncertainty here.
The deeper issue is for Republicans, they’ve been trying to get to regular order, that is a kind of regular ordinary way they that we’re supposed to have legislation that goes through committees, they you vote on it, then you have a Conference Committee, all this other stuff.
Instead, the only way we ever pass anything is when we cram everything into omnibus must-passes legislation where someone is going to die. It’s like this kitten is going to die if we don’t passes this right now.
And the upshot of that is that you get legislation that is not scrutinized. You get all kinds of terrible decisions crammed into this stuff. And this is not a sane, reasonable way to govern.
The question is: How can you actually press reset? The expectation had been on the part of Republicans in Congress you get a Republican president, maybe we can take a breather and actually do this the normal way.
But the Republican president we got is Donald Trump, and we go back to the brinkmanship. And the things that Mick Mulvaney is saying about possible deals...
DICKERSON: OMB director.
SALAM: Exactly, it doesn’t actually add up. These are not deals that Democrats are willing to make. You send everyone right back the their brinkmanship kind of position.
DICKERSON: Right. So, Mark?
MARK LEIBOVICH, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE: I also think Democrats aren’t as worried about a government shutdown as an opposition party normally would be. I think that the Democrats believe, probably rightly, that the Republicans control every branch of government.
And traditionally President Obama, you know, experienced some actual political success when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, shut down the government, same with Bill Clinton in the ‘90s.
I think in this case, Democrats feel like they have a great deal of leverage. And what’s interesting is that as you approach this 100- day marker, I mean, when you’re trying to break up a no-hitter -- this is a baseball analogy, you’re trying to break up no-hitter, you don’t swing for the fences. You like try to get a single. And, you know, legislatively this administration...
DICKERSON: You think the president is trying to break up the no- hitter?
LEIBOVICH: Correct. He has accomplished nothing legislatively, right? I mean, Justice Gorsuch, I mean, is legislatively, maybe.
But, I mean, there’s like nothing he has accomplished. And this is not going to be a big victory you’re just going to get by imposing a deadline on Congress.
DICKERSON: Jeffrey, I’m going to dismount from the baseball metaphor and ask you about the rest of the world. Marco Rubio made this case that if Congress can’t get its act in gear on funding that it will send, he said, catastrophic message to the rest of the world. What did you make of that?
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “THE ATLANTIC”: That’s a big word. You know, it’s not the only signal we’re sending to the world in recent days that might leave the world a little bit doubtful about where we are and who we are and whether we’re fulfilling our responsibilities.
It is true that allies and adversaries alike watch Washington. They assume because we are the world’s sole remaining superpower that we have our act together. And when we don’t have our act together, that sends difficult signals.
But, again, there’s a panoply of difficult signals that are coming out of Washington. So I wouldn’t call it catastrophic. I would say at a moment of heightened tension in the Korean Peninsula and obviously the issues surrounding Iran and Syria, a recent strike in Syria, is not the moment to signal to the world that we can’t even keep our government running.
DICKERSON: Carol, as Mark pointed out, the president is trying to swing, you know, health care, taxes. Give us on health care, there was a blip that there might be something. Was there something going on last week about reviving the replacement to the Affordable Care Act, or was that kind of wishful thinking?
LEE: There has been an effort going on. The vice president, Mike Pence has worked on this. He has obviously been traveling in the last week. But there is the conservative -- the moderates, and the Freedom Caucus in the Republican Party are trying to work together to come up with some sort of compromise.
What they’ve come up with is something that is a bit cosmetic in terms of the differences that it has with the failed health care bill a few weeks ago. And so it’s not clear that it will actually go anywhere.
And even if it goes somewhere, you know, right now the president’s -- the White House’s argument is they consider it a victory if they get something passed in the House. Well, they still have to go through the Senate. And it’s not necessarily -- it doesn’t guarantee that it’s actually going to go anywhere.
DICKERSON: And as one senator said to me, anything that pleases the Freedom Caucus in the House is going to have bigger problems among Republicans in the Senate.
Reihan, also as a part of this beat-the-clock game to get things done before the hundred days, the president looks like he’s going to announce his tax plan. That seems faster than we would have expected it.
How -- explain what you think will happen when you introduce a tax cut -- a big tax cut plan in the midst of this environment that you’ve been describing?
SALAM: Well, one possibility is that if you’re not actually going to get legislation that can get past a filibuster, what you’re going to have is a temporary tax cut. It’s going to be something that’s going to be a bit more crowd-pleasing potentially and a bit narrower in scope.
Because Republicans, what they have been working on is getting a big border adjustment package that would give them the revenue they would need in order to do a variety of other things to make the tax code more investment-friendly, more growth-friendly.
But of course the border-adjusted tax is dividing Republicans. And so what we might wind up seeing is something that is, you know, a little more narrowly political and a little more stimulative.
What Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said is that we want to focus on a middle-class tax cut. We’ve heard that again and again and again. What exactly is that going to be? A middle-class tax cut is not what pro-growth, supply-side Republicans are most enthusiastic about, right?
What they care about is a corporate tax cut. What they care about is high-end tax cuts. So it’s possible that we will see something from Trump that is very, very different from what we’ve been talking about to-date, mainly something that is focused on his constituency.
That would be, in my view, politically smart, but, again, it doesn’t actually do much to get the Republican leadership on-side.
DICKERSON: Mark, focused on constituency, give me your sense of that. The president has -- you know, he is in this interesting position. He is a Republican, but he has also got his own constituency. And that’s why a fight over the border wall, on government spending, isn’t that putting him right back in the center of what brought him, which is to say his focus on border and maybe it threatens a shutdown, but he’s keeping his eye on the prize?
LEIBOVICH: Yes. I mean, he has great confidence that his supporters are for a border wall. And he’s probably right about that. The problem is his supporters right now have not scaled at all since he has been elected, at all.
I mean, it’s also unclear where the country is on a border wall. I mean, if you -- obviously if you polled (INAUDIBLE) people who voted for Donald Trump, I mean, you’re going to get very, very high numbers on a border wall.
You know, there’s no consensus, even on the Hill itself, that this is something that is worth really having a sort of knock-down- drag-out fight for -- especially on the eve of a government shutdown.
I mean, we’re talking, again, taxes, health care, border wall, these are not small things when you actually have an area of need, i.e., keeping the government open that is coming down, you know, in, what, five days from now, so.
DICKERSON: Right. Jeffrey, I want to switch, a quick question about international affairs. The president this morning tweeted: “Very interesting election currently taking place in France.” What have you made of his occasional forays into the French election?
GOLDBERG: That sounds like he should be a panelist on a panel discussion, fascinating, this French election. What he’s doing, I mean, it’s a very sort of passive-aggressive thing, because we have seen him earlier this week say, I’m not endorsing Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, but she’s really great on this subject and that subject, borders especially.
It’s -- we’re in a novel moment obviously in American-European relations, or -- and let’s say the history of the presidential interventions in overseas elections. She is the far-right candidate. Her party, the National Front, has its roots in Vichy fascist ideology.
I mean, this is somebody on the furthest-most right. So an American president coming out and saying, I’m not endorsing but in essence endorsing is really something that we haven’t experienced before. And, of course, if she wins, she makes it through this round and gets to the second round or even possibly wins, we’re looking at the end of the European experiment, the end of post-World War II European experiment. And Donald Trump has been sympathetic to that idea.
He has been very hostile to the E.U. He’s intermittently hostile to NATO, as we’ve seen over the years. And so he’s clearly trying to put his thumb on the scale while being a little bit cute about it.
DICKERSON: Reihan, what do you make? There are a lot of foreign policy developments this week. We’ve been talking about North Korea. The president made a phone call to Erdogan of Turkey about his victory.
And then this discussion about the French election. What do you make of the president and his foreign policy? Are these totally independent decisions? Do they follow a pattern of any kind?
SALAM: Well, I think that there is oftentimes the tendency to want to impose a narrative on what has been going on. So, for example, the fact that President Trump congratulated President Erdogan, well, look, I mean, President Obama congratulated President Putin on his re-election victory back in 2012. That didn’t necessarily mean that President Obama thought that Putin was a great guy.
Similarly, we just don’t know exactly what Donald Trump thinks about Erdogan and the political changes within Turkey domestically.
As for North Korea...
DICKERSON: You’re assuming he has thoughts about it, actual thoughts.
SALAM: Or, rather, it’s something that he is thinking about, puzzling through. And also I think that we’ve seen that his mind changes from time to time, right, which, you know, makes sense, which we’d expect.
DICKERSON: Well, he’s definitely focused on ISIS, and Turkey’s role in possibly helping.
SALAM: Right. And that’s very complicated, right, because, I mean, the Turks, they want to be the tip of the spear. They want to be sure that it’s Syrian Arabs who are the ones who are taking out ISIS. Whereas the United States has been working closely with Syrian Kurds, and the Turkish government believes that these guys are terrorists.
So, I mean, that’s enormously complicated and, of course, North Korea is, too.
LEE: I think what you’re seeing in his foreign policy is his transactional nature is playing out in that, you know, what he said in congratulating Erdogan, which White House officials said he wanted to do, particularly just so he could try to get -- put Turkey in a place where he might be able to get something that he wants from them on the Islamic State fight, and that it was worth taking criticism that the U.S. is hypocritical in its preaching democracy.
And you’ve also -- so he -- and he -- this is a president that likes to be praised, and so you see him offering praise to Erdogan. You saw him doing this with Egypt, in which they felt that that was -- that resulted in him getting this aid worker released.
He has done that with President Xi Jinping of China. And so it’s kind of how he -- you see how he’s operating. He’s doing these sort of praising people who we would not necessarily praise, and trying to get some sort of transactions from them.
LEIBOVICH: Well, yes, I also think that what we’re seeing -- I mean, I think, in a way, the current foreign policy environment suits his fairly situational approach to the world. I mean, he was praised for Syria, for instance.
And, you know, what was the next sentence every pundit in the world said after that, you know, what’s the strategy? I mean, you know, by the time we were on to the strategy we’re back the North Korea, we’re in Turkey, we’re in Egypt or something.
So, I mean, I think he’s also well-situated with pretty strong advisers at this point. I mean, I think McMaster, to some degree Tillerson, certainly Kelly, certainly Mattis are people he’s pretty -- gotten pretty comfortable with pretty quickly. And, again, the situational format, I think, suits him well.
DICKERSON: Twenty seconds.
GOLDBERG: Let me speak on behalf of the strategy-loving pundit class and say that you can have transactions for a while, but these problems pile up because transactions don’t solve the problems. You need an actual strategy to figure out what we’re doing in Syria. You need an actual strategy to figure out what you’re doing in North Korea. No sign of any strategy.
SALAM: Well, we’ve had a transactional strategy in North Korea for the last 20 years.
LEIBOVICH: I was going to say that, yes.
SALAM: Here we find ourselves.
DICKERSON: All right. Well, the transaction I must transact is that we are out of time. So we’ll be back in a moment with some thoughts about civility.
DICKERSON: The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez has been swearing a lot lately.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: They call their budget a skinny budget. I call their budget it a (expletive deleted) budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: Gone is Michelle Obama’s advice for handling the opposition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: When they go low, we go high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: The best Democratic line of the last campaign, and words we should all live by. This is about more than crass language. In times of tension do you keep your standards or do you drop them?
The Washington Post asked Perez about his potty mouth and he pointed out correctly that Republicans have tolerated far worse from Donald Trump. So two wrongs make a right and the race is on to the bottom, or whatever is below the bottom.
At this point you may be swearing in rebuttal. Party chairmen are supposed to be extreme. This conveys urgency, it excites the crowd. Plus Donald Trump never paid a price. Essentially this is good politics.
Is it really? If you oppose a president for his coarseness, why would you imitate it? Donald Trump’s primary opponents tried and failed at this.
Also for a party with a message problem, there is something exhausting about the overuse of the manure-spreader. It suggests a reliance on shock rather than strength of an argument. The outburst is supposed to be spontaneous, but comes across as thoroughly calculated.
A pointed word now and again can be effective, as Bernie Sanders proved when he said...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: ... the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Me too, me too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DICKERSON: But it was the prior restraint, not just the word, that made people take notice.
Back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DICKERSON: And that’s it for us today. Thanks for watching. Until next week when we’ll bring you our interview with President Donald Trump on his first one hundred days in office, airing on FACE THE NATION and then the following morning on “CBS This Morning,” live from the White House.
For FACE THE NATION, I’m John Dickerson.
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