Republican Describes Donald Trump's Handling Of The Shutdown As Total Chaos | The Last Word | MSNBC

  • Published on: 2019-01-10
  • in Vanity Fair Gabriel Sherman is reporting that a prominent Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Trump's handling of the shutdown as total chaos and in the actual quote between the word total and chaos is that heavy piece of profanity that Rex Tillerson reportedly used to describe exactly what kind of moron Donald Trump is and that chaos continued today because Nancy Pelosi just said no and when the Speaker of the House says no to the current President of the United States Donald Trump literally does not know what to do or to say because prior to Speaker Nancy Pelosi Donald Trump has never heard the Speaker of the House say no when it comes to legislative matters the Speaker of the House is always more powerful than the president that is by constitutional design the Speaker of the House always has the power to say no to presidential legislation and they often do even when the president is in the same party as the speaker no one remembers george w bush's reelection campaign promise that made reforming Social Security a number-one priority for the second term of the Bush presidency and no one remembers that because the Republicans Speaker of the House said no to the Republican president so did the Republican Senate Majority Leader and so the Republican presidents number one priority of reforming Social Security never even got a hearing in the house or the Senate because when it comes to legislation the Speaker of the House is more powerful than the president and every previous president has understood that and so every previous president has treated the Speaker of the House publicly with respect and privately with even more respect but today the president of the United States got up and walked out on the Speaker of the House because Nancy Pelosi said no he asked Speaker Pelosi will you agree to my wall she said no and he just got up and said then we have nothing to discuss and he just walked down again we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way the Republican congressional leadership in the room with the president and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer all agree but that is exactly what happened the president just walked out but they insist that it wasn't a temper tantrum because they say they insist that the president spoke very politely according to a congressional aide who described the meeting to NBC at one point Senator Schumer asked the president quote why won't you open the government and stop hurting people to which Donald Trump responded quote because then you won't give me what I want Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi seem convinced but Donald Trump does not know that 800,000 federal workers who are not receiving their paychecks are actually having a hard time the president seems to be insensitive to that he thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money but they can't but they can't if you don't understand financial insecurity then you would have a policy that takes pride in saying I'm going to keep government shutdown for months for years unless you totally agree to my position prior to the meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at the White House the president had a luncheon meeting in the Senate with Republican senators and even that meeting didn't go well because while the Democrats are completely totally unified behind their leadership in the House and the Senate on this issue Republicans are not there are now at least 12 Republicans who have publicly split with the president and support the bills that speaker Pelosi passed in the House of Representatives last week eight Republicans in the House of Representatives are supporting the Pelosi position and at least four Republican senators are sporting the Pelosi position which means now a majority of the US Senate 51 senators support the Pelosi bills to reopen the government at the beginning and at the beginning of this story a few weeks ago those bills actually passed the United States Senate unanimously and so it should not be surprising now that at least four Republican senators who voted for those bills before when President Trump said he would sign those bills before changing his mind that at least for those Republican senators are now in favor of those bills again and it could be many more there could be other Republican senators who simply aren't saying so publicly but would be ready to vote for those bills if they came to a vote in the Senate and so the president's trip to the Senate today which is an extremely rare thing for a president to do was a desperate move to try to hold Republican senators in line against the Pelosi bills and it's not working but to hear Donald Trump describe the meeting with Republican senators you would think that Republican senators are totally unified on this and you would have no idea that four Republican senators have already moved over to the Democrats position publicly and Donald Trump knows that the Republican senators are not totally unified on this and that is exactly why he had to make that trip to talk to the Republican senators at their luncheon today to try to hold them together and every reporter waiting to speak to the president after that luncheon knows all of that they know that the Republicans are not totally unified but Donald Trump tried to tell them but the Republicans are totally unified we talked about strategy but there were those over totally unified Alaska Republican senator Lisa Murkowski was in the meeting yesterday she became the third of the four Republican senators to defect from the Trump position she is opposed to the Trump position here's what Senator Murkowski told reporters after that meeting with the president today and I wish that there had been more opportunity for her question and answer but the president was very clear in what he was asking for which was unity from the Republicans I reiterated that I thought that there was you know unity when it came to supporting our our national security and providing for secure borders as well as to deal with the humanitarian crisis but I did suggest that there was some separation in terms of how long the the shutdown would continue that that folks are impacted whether they're in the state of Alaska or wherever around the country maybe no one in the room translated that for Donald Trump lisa-marie case Murkowski is saying that sure there's Republican unity on policy but there is no unity on the shutdown Lisa Murkowski does not want the shutdown to continue and so she wants to fund the government now and fight about the wall later were you happy with the meeting with the president I wish that we had had a little more clear direction as to how we're gonna get there that is the polite public senatorial language for what that unnamed Republican called total chaos journey our discussion now John Heilemann national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC he is co-host and executive producer of show times the circus Charlie Sykes is with us he's the editor in chief of the the bulwark and an MSNBC political analyst and Sam Stein the politics editor of The Daily Beast he's also an MSNBC political analyst and Charlie I'm sorry that in the teleprompter was the first time I learned that you are running something called the bulwark which we find where is that online that is online a lot of the staffers are on the weekly standards are there all right well we're going to do we just did the full promo for it the John Heilemann Donald Trump comes out of a meeting with senators where everyone in the building knows the Republicans are not totally unified and all he can do is try to tell the press that they are totally unified if they were totally unified Donald Trump would not have been running up to the Senate today trying to make them unified yes the presence of Donald Trump on Capitol Hill at lunch saying that the Republicans are unified was the best evidence that in fact the brothel was not in fact unified and of course if the Republicans were unified the whole world would be different but as we saw last night one of the things you know in the before the speech and I know you covered it very well last night Lawrence but one of the things you noted which was really tweet which was true it was you know Trump confessing to those reporters before the speech that nothing would change on the base of the speech which is why I didn't want to give it and you know Trump has had very few moments of great clarity in his in his mental state such as it is but that one he was right about he was right the politics are against him the policies against him the country's against him and his pleas that the Democrats are unified against him and his party is starting to turn against him slowly but inevitably and so he knew that the speech wasn't going to accomplish anything and so today everything that unfolded I think again Trump rarely clear really lucid but I think he saw as far back as yesterday afternoon that he was going to be in the situation where he was going to give a speech that would have no effect whatsoever and he was gonna have to spend today lying about the fact that his speech had in fact had a profound effect on the unity of his party and Charlie it had no effect on Nancy Pelosi who has a very simple one-word negotiating position with Donald Trump on the wall and that word is no yeah and apparently the author of or the the guy who claimed to be the author of art of the deal really doesn't know notice how to handle that but look this is a very difficult position for the Republicans when you think about it there used to be that they would if they were involved in a government shutdown it was because they wanted to shrink the size of government they cared about the size of the deficit they were concerned about the debt and here they find themselves presiding over this chaos this cluster in in in the cause of spending more money increasing money spending money on a medieval boondoggle and think about what you know I mean having reeled about government overreach for years sitting in the room with the president who is threatening to declare a national emergency think about what that must sound like to conservative Republicans who have you know claimed to be concerned about the rule of one constitutional balance between the the branches of government subside I assume that the president knew exactly what he was going to do as soon as he heard the no from Nancy Pelosi that he knew he was going to hear and that the best he figured he had today was I'll go out and tweet that I walked out on Nancy Pelosi and rush limbaugh is gonna love that yes I mean that's that sort of prototypical Trump stagecraft he's kind of advertised that he would do a move like that we just were waiting for it and part of what he's trying to do is to at least show that there is some talk or progress happening from his vantage point the lot the worst thing that could happen for Trump is for things to be stagnant he has to be show that things are moving whether they're moving in a direction of compromise or agitation or confrontation they have to be moving moving otherwise the focus comes squarely on him and so calling people up to the White House when you know the outcome is something that he has to do I will say this though we're putting a preponderance of attention on Trump and Pelosi at the top of your monologue you made a very interesting valid point which is the congressional leaders hold an immense amount of power in this negotiation and Pelosi is just one of to the other person who holds an immense amount of power in this negotiation is Mitch McConnell and at any moment in time Mitch McConnell could just say I've had enough of this and I'm gonna let it go to the floor and I will likely get enough votes to override a presidential veto and we'll be done with this but Mitch McConnell has notably stayed very far away from the debate and what I thought was the most interesting element today was not Trump getting up and walking out a Nancy Pelosi I thought it was Mitch McConnell yet again not going out with Republicans after that confrontation to talk to the cameras because he really clearly wants no part of this negotiation that is exactly what I was seeing in those and when they went out to the cameras afterwards was the no Mitch McConnell I was seeing what wasn't there and John Heilemann Sam is so right about how how important that is and McConnell has been very careful in his language people are reporting him to have said to say repeatedly that he will not bring up a bill unless he's not saying that he's saying things like it's not realistic to bring up yeah it could be realistic tomorrow afternoon or it could be realistic Monday so Mitch McConnell's language and everything I see him say leaves him the opening that as Sam suggests could come at any moment where there's enough Republican support in the Senate where he just moves and and and ends this thing and there's in addition to the fact that Mitch McConnell had nothing to say publicly outside the White House there's a report indicating he had absolutely nothing to say in the room when the president was in the room talking to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and that's just inconceivable that the Senate Majority Leader would be in the room with the speaker and the president and not say a word yeah well I mean look his I think he's still obviously feeling burned by the way the president has handled this entire thing and and doesn't want to get burned again but but look I mean I do think we are coming quickly if you listen to the to the tenor of the reporting that was coming out from the hill over the course of this day and you started to hear Republicans even before the Pelosi and Schumer meeting where Trump walked out even before that you were starting to hear this ambient noise Republicans on Capitol Hill starting to say well there's really only one way out of this and the only way out is for there to be for Trump to declare a national emergency and and and then after the Pelosi meeting you heard that volume was amplified to some extent you're now starting to hear from Republicans most of them not on the record but but it's the kind of a say the ambient noise is Republicans starting to realize the only way out is the national emergency and I do think Lawrence the point that you and Sam both just made throws into very stark relief the choice that Republicans are going to face in the coming days Trump is clearly moving in that direction and so the question for the Republican Party is going to be are you going to acquiesce in to that kind of action which is truly the the act of an autocrat are you going to accept that embrace the notion that the only way out is a national emergency declaration by the president where usurps all kinds of powers and acts and that's kind of unprecedented and and died out totally unprecedent but certainly unconstitutional extra constitutional way or are you going to acknowledge that there is of course another way out and that is to behave like responsible legislators and take the vote again that you took a couple weeks ago and that is you say would probably pass at this point by via proof margins and Charlie polling overwhelmingly against President Trump and Republicans on the shutdown we have an economist poll saying who's most to blame for the shutdown obviously most people say Donald Trump 50% another five percent say Republicans so there you have 55 percent with Trump of the Republicans 32% Democrats and that 32% Democrats is really every Trump voter in the country at this point presumably but Charlie two to John's point the the emergency saves weak senators from exactly what they want to be saved from which is any kind of vote that's awkward the emergency they know would be immediately challenged in court just like the Trump Muslim ban probably get an injunction against it in federal court very very quickly and the ball has left the Senate and Mitch McConnell could kind of go on with business well think about that though that the the only endgame that they can envision involves basically override the legislative process and a big narrowing the appropriation that the Republican Party has gotten to the point where they could do exactly what John describes went in and Mitch McConnell you know in the back of his mind he always wants to have an end game but for the end game to be the declaration of a national emergency and the transfer of billions of the defends default Department dollars to to go to the wall for them to think that okay we'll do that because the courts will probably throw it out but the precedent is just horrible this is a constitutional crisis and it is just an indication again objective the price they are paying for the the acquiescence to Donald Trump and the enabling of Donald Trump those poll numbers are bad today they're going to be a lot worse as I think the damage from the shutdown becomes clearer as bid as the cost becomes clearer I also think when people begin to think through the the concept of declaring a national defense emergency on the border I think there's gonna be a tremendous backlash to that as well Sam Stein anyone who knows anything about the way the Army Corps of Engineers the Defense Department spends money does construction builds things especially things that require permits which a lot of their stuff doesn't if it's being done in combat zones say in Afghanistan stuff if you're trying to build something in Texas and you are the Defense Department you are a minimum if you're completely unobstructed by the political process or the are by courts you're a minimum of over a year away from a shovel hitting any dirt anywhere in Texas on the border to build this wall yeah absolutely and that's not even mentioning the fact that you are probably usurping and taking via eminent domain land from private ranchers who don't want anything to do with this you're talking about not just one legal fight but many many legal fights spanning across numerous jurisdictions and all of this of course is not to mention that we were promised at the very beginning of this that Mexico would pay for this wall so I'm not entirely sure that a national emergency is in the best political interests with trumpet creates all host of political legal problems it underscores how hollow his initial campaign promise was and a little bit nuance here but I happen to think he likes having the issue of the wall as a political cudgel I don't I think part of him wishes it was still out there going into the 2020 elections and that might be giving him some hesitation about declaring this national emergency - well Sam you've just hit on a theory that has been advanced by Ezra Klein and Ezra is going to join us later in the show with exactly that case that Donald Trump does actually want the wall he wants the fight John hi I'm Charlie Sykes Sam Stein thank you all for starting us off tonight thanks for checking out our YouTube channel subscribe by clicking on the button below for more from the last word and the rest of MSNBC
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