tv Jake Tapper The Hellfire Club CSPAN July 4, 2018 9:50am-11:01am EDT
so my dad was vice president. that is where we started with that. we wanted to help kids and adults and teachers and educators, you know, have a way to teach about the vice presidency. >> man, you guys are quiet. that never happens. good evening. i am mark updegrove, president and ceo of the lbj foundation. first a little housekeeping. i want to thank our generous sponsors, the ford foundation, the moodyy foundation and tito's homemade vodka.
[applause] are you applauding vodka? i also want to invite you to our upcoming friends program on june june 14 and we will be hosting within lady bird johnson's daughter,, former lbj aide and former president of cnn tom johnson and historian kyl longley, author of lbj 1968 for an conversation on 1968, one of the most momentous eras in american history. it will make for fascinating discussion. i hope you can be with us. we have some great stuff lined up for the fall including a program with doris kirkland on her t new book on leadership and another on the 50th anniversary of cbs iconic show, 60 minutes. more to come on those programs
and others. finally, i want to invite all of the friends of the lbj library members to a reception in theth great hall double follow this program. tonight we are delighted to welcome someone comes forth book, "the hellfire club," has been for book since its release in "the new york times" best-seller list. i hope you picked up the book, but if you didn't have a chance to do so after the program. someone has been in washington for two decades. he started his career in journalism at the washington city paper and then t moved on o salon and abc news. in 2013, he joined cnn. the chief washington correspondent and host the lead but jake tapper and sunday mornings date of the union. his excellence as a journalist has fielded in the reputation as
one of the best in a competitive field. has led to numerous awards including an emmy and edward r. murrow award in three marion smith awards. the "washington post" recently called jake but tenacious anchor at cnn, the merciless slayer of alternative facts [applause] man coming or going to be clapping a lot tonight. in the dogged his later of political egos. stephen colbert are simply called n him the son of one of television news. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, jake tapper.
>> this is texas. >> and it's lbj. before we talk about the book, the one question we all have is how does a guy like you write a book. when do you have time with your schedule and all you're doing to write a book. >> the idea for the "the hellfire club" occurred to me years ago and i've been working on it for the better part of three or four years, starting in, scrapping andn starting agan working on an outline. even though i know it disappeared for weeks ago and people heard about it for weeks ago, i've been working on it for a long time. that i is one. the second one is who is actually fun to write. i was a history major in college. it was fun to do all the research. it was fun to escape from the political world that was
nonfiction and go into the fictional one where i could control the politician and what came out of their mouths and where i knew how it ended. i don't know how this one ends if anyone is asking. i don't know. it was a lot of fun. >> so, your first two books are works of nonfiction. the outpost among which is "the new york times" bestseller. have you s always wanted to wrie a novel? is it something you wanted to do? >> i wrote one in my 20s i didn't get published. i always wanted to write one, but after the one in my 20s that went nowhere. i didn't really have a good idea for one until i came up with the idea fors this one. and then i said this actually has a decent idea. for those who don't know the basic plot, it's about a young congressman and his wife who moved on to washington in 1954
and may get caught up in a can you receive in the secret society. but they also have, what was really fun was to have my characters, my fictitious carrot or is interacting with real people t from 1954 appearance of joe mccarthy a character in the book, minority leader lyndon johnson is a character in the book and others. >> kennedys come and nixon's eisenhower. >> no spoilers. it was a lot of fun to learn about these people and to figure out how to write dialogue for them by reading up on them whether it is the robert caro books are others just to get in their head. if lbj were to meet my character and then turn on the senate tram and overheard them talking about the democratic senator who nobody's ever heard of them today, but back then -- well
maybe this audience because your learned, but a lot of people out there have never heard ofav it. in 1952 he ran for president, democrat from tennessee anyone all the primaries but because back then literally it was rigged. the backroom guys nominated that like stephenson said and he was a frustrated guy. so what would lbj say if he ever heard people talking? i should make that mistake. everybody here knows everything. i know that from now on. >> you started writing a string of ominous ration. >> i did. by mccarthy era washington? >> i started writing it ended to place in the 1700 that's really tough to pull off. so i tried many, many times, but i just couldn't rate for john adams.
and then i said in the modern era, but charlie, his character is a really good and decent person, but it's also kind of naïve. it just wasn't believable and 2015, 2016. so then 1954, which actually brought a lot of things home because then i could write about washington and really plunge into the world doesn't is back then as opposed to if i wrote it in a modern era and it would just be weird. and then, the 1950s with such a curious time in american popular culture. it's idea like answer rain, but it wasn't honestly at all that way. first of all, it was a horribly racist and sexist. but ancient history, but beyond that, was full of mccarthyism, and segregation was about school
segregation was about to be ruled on comp to chanel. it was a time ofur real people beneath a serving surface. it would fit well with the plot i wanted to do. so if you write about the 50s, you have to write about mccarthy because he was the character. joe mccarthy at the beginning of 1954 at the height of his popularity, they are talking about maybe even challenging eisenhower and republican nomination for president in 1966.y he is the year and a disgrace, so it was just an interesting time in the mccarthy parallel to our current history were there. and they say history doesn't repeat itself, but arrives. you can read about the
mccarthy era and not hear a lot of rhyming. so i played a little bit of thought up when i was writing the book in 2016 and 2017. but i didn't really have to because the parallels were just there. >> i will confess -- >> you do because you're an historian. but i did not know what the club was. it's the real thing. talk about the club in its history and how you use it in the book. >> so, "the hellfire club" was an actual is secret society in england in the 1700 it was on an estate outside of london and the most powerful man in london, members of the royal family, politicians and businesspeople businesspeople -- i should say businessmen are not businesspeople could this was the 1700s. it was just men. they would come and they would have these mock satanic rituals
and the newest complete debauchery. it was a secret society where they all forged alliances and all of the same time had mutually assured destruction. they all knew you're on the other. so is served all o their interet on one level analysis object to them to blackmail another. these are people who had rivalries. i first found out about it because benjamin franklin when he was in london in the 1760s i believe visited it. if you know anything about benjamin franklin, i'm sure you had a good time. the conceited analysis but if benjamin franklin was like i like this. and then it went on from there. >> you talk about the
protagonists who was a world war ii hero, new york professor, writes the best-selling. >> he's an historian. i john, tall strappingng historian. thank you very much. >> although his dirty three. >> a younghe historian. he's heard this jack armstrong 50s ideallyn to zero in this very sinister world of washington. how did you conceive this character and his wife, margaret, who's incredibly interesting carrot herself, and zoologists. >> i thought of charlie s. kind of a stand-in for the way i think of the united states back in 1954. .. is his wife, she's a
zoologist and they met at columbia university when they were students and she has career ambitions on her own, which is odd. i thought of her and kind of the principles that guides the country whereas charlie was just kind of the country itself and that's how i thought about it when i wrote it. >> you said in an interview recently i have lived in washington for several decades and i have seen good people come here and try to do good work and
they did-- the system is designed to force them to compromise. sometimes the compromise might be deeper and i have seen some people and their principles chipped away at their sole sold off piece by piece. i'm wondering, you are talking the context of your protagonist, would charlie might-- martyr fare better in today's washington or mcarthur dairy washington? >> or yit's probably better foru or dog or the one of the professor hears to answer that question then me, but in terms of like which area-- era is a swampy or, now or the 1950s i mean on its face the 1950s was swampy because all of the transparency rules and laws we know about today that require a come-- reporting and campaign contributions, but there is so
much more money today, so he didn't have to disclose it back then, but the bride might be 500 bucks and today there's a whole legal bribes system that's essentially illegal that politicians still like to-- avail itself of in which its tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. i don't know if that's a really good question here: at the things i wanted to capture in the book in addition to hopefully writing a funding yarn was the idea of how it happens that someone comes to washington with a good person and finds himself before they know it deep in swamp water and how is it that you go down there to do something good and within three or four your-- years you icon in something that is not good and
you see it happen all the time with politicians. gluck, sometimes the compromises are just political compromises and i'm not judging, i will vote for your bill if you'll vote for my and we will put it in the legislation so it will pass, that's how the system was designed. nor am i talking about okay in order to get reelected i have to spend one third to one half of my time raising money which is also unfortunate part of politics, but that's the system. in order to become part of the party machine, in order to get so much money that you chase off any challenges so often people, politicians enter into agreements with corporations or big donors or machine bosses or whomever and then the next thing you know they are doing things that are illegal and that's kind of what i wanted to capture. would charlie fare better than
are now, i mean, he barely gets out of 1954, so i don't know, but yeah, to survive-- he lives oe the end of the book. he doesn't die, but i think now, i mean, i know a lot of good fall-- politicians, really good people ratherns who are politicians who you can see they are struggling with what they go through. >> you have any washington for a long time, couple decades as i mentioned in the quote i just read. do most of the politicians who go there like charlie went to do good? >> i don't know. i honestly don't. i honestly don't know if it's most. i mean, i could name a few that seem like decent people to me, but inevitably if i do thate thy will all get arrested. [laughter]
>> that may not be the endorsement they want. >> exactly. if i learned anything its watch out for predictions, but i don't know, i certainly think there are a lot of good people that go into politics aoo because they k they can do good and achieve things, definitely. most? i don't know. i mean, a bunch are sociopaths. i mean, it's pretty clear. well, is impaired holt from this state? i mean, what is that? i mean, i think that's unanimous i'm not going out on a limb taking on that guy. has in the governor called on him to step down ? i think there are a bunch of that are sociopaths and a bunch are in it for power, but there are a number of politicians in it because they are inspired to do good whether it's because
they are active with their church group and they thought maybe they could bring those values to washington or live those values through public service or they are veterans or organizers or whatever, i mean, i think people-- i think a number of them go to do good things. i can't give you a number. i really don't know and i wonder , these days. >> let me go back to one who was not in for good, mccarthy. you draw it so well in the book. you write of him in the book, he's impossible to ignore your he's become this planet blocking the sun and whatever points he makes that have validity are plotted out by his indecency and allies to smear and then you write of president eisenhower saying to charlie martyr, of mccarthy he's incapable of stopping even when it's in his own interest, smearing and lying
it's what he does. one cannot appease the insatiable. so, it begs the question here and you all know the question-- [laughter] you are way ahead of me. >> what are you talking about? >> how does joseph mccarthy compared to donald j trump? >> i mean, there are obvious comparisons and similarities. i actually think president trump owes much more to mccarthy protége and president trump's mentor roy cohn and that is again not invented. that's just really mean if you a pick up the art of the deal and i'm sure everyone has a copy at home, he talks about roy cohn and what he learned from him. of the importance of loyalty he learned from roy: and probably learned about media. learned about what the president calls part of the deal truthful
hyperbole that the rest of us call lying, but, i mean, i can't -- look, bill clinton told lies, richard nixon told lies. richard and clint told bigger lies, but i can't think of an american politician that is as cavalier with the truth to this extent, sheila back to mccarthy, i mean, everything he said was a lie there were communists trying to infiltrate the government, but j edgar hoover was napping them. mccarthy was just smearing people in the state department. mccarthy smeared general marshall, a hero of world war ii so, yeah, they have a lot in common in terms of just an utter and complete disregard for truth also, smearing.
but, what they stand for is very different, i mean, trump's amend mccarthy is a, they are different people, but the lying and smear and indecency i think are similar. >> you alluded to this a moment ago, but mccarthy goes down in 1954 when your book ends although you don't go into this in the book. >> i assume the reader knows what happens. there are hints as to what mccarthy is about to experience. >> yes, you get a good sense of what his fate will be.u as you said he got censured by the senate for conduct quote contrary to senatorial traditions after which is influence waned irrevocably and he was condemned to history. what do you think history will say about donald trump? >> i don't know because obviously joe mccarthy was known
for one thing which was smearing people in the name of communism-- in the name of fighting communism and president trump is doing a lot , i mean, there are a lot of things he is doing. so, i don't know if he will go down in historyan as the man who did nuclear eyes the korean peninsula. i hope he does. i don't know if he will go down in history as the man who-- you know he has so methinks he wants to achieve. let's say that his-- i don't-- term-- trumpism is only seven things and mccarthyism is one thing. there are parts of trumpism that i think are actually healthy your car gets healthy for the united states political leaders and the public to rethink its approach to trade. i don't think there's anything wrong inherently with-- we have been negotiating our trade deals , democrats and republicans
thinking too much about corporate profits and not enough about having a thriving middle class in this country. i don't think it's necessarily wrong and i haven't seen him actually live up to his word in this, but i don't think it's necessarily wrong for the president-- for the public and policymakers to rethink american intervention abroad. because you know you hear about people on the left in the right who think there's just one big party, democrats and republicans are basically the same and obviously they are not, but when it comes to trade and when he comes to foreign policyin there has been this kind of morphed in the middle of just like one american policyy in one american party. >> a fixed appeared i'm. >> yes and i don't know if after president trump leaves office there have been changes their, i don't know what people will think about him and maybe there will be achievements in that area. a now, that's policy.
in terms of how he conducts himself on twitter and the line and smearing and the racism and just the basic indecent behavior , those are things that are not acceptable. i always get mad when i think about him insulting john mccain, i get this early angry-- this early angry. obviously with that aid recently making of a joke about mccain dying of brain cancer, how that person has a job and how the white house has not apologized is beyond me, so all of that and i start to look at how like my dad when i think about it, a frown. i think that history will judge politicians harshly who do not stand up to its.
you read about the 1950s and there are two people who stood out to me. when is margaret j smith, senate republican from maine who went to the senate floor in 1950 and gave what was her declaration of conscious speech against mccarthy and mccarthyism in 1950. for context edward r murrow didn't take on the john mccarthy until 1954, so that was pcredibly brave and as a senator in her own party and she wasn't retiring because i know a lot of senators find their courage when they are retiringh. she stuck around for years and years after that in the u.s. senate so she's who i think about my think about thatra eure and i also think about robert taft from ohio. i think either the son ornd grandson of the president of the president to taft and he ran for president against ike and 52
losing in the primary and went back to the senate became senate minority leader and senate majority leader after the eisenhower landside. i'm sure he thought he would run for president again someday and he tried to straddle the world of mccarthyism and knowing how awful and gross it was any never mccarthystand against .r mccarthyism i guess he thought he could waited out and in no, you don't get to write your own legacy. in 1953, dropped dead and now he's known for not standing up to mccarthy. so, that's what i think about when i think about how our future generations will judge today's politicians in today's members of the media, how did you respond to the indecency, not did you join the resistance or vote this way or that way, but did you take a stand when
this was said or done. i think that there will be a lot of politiciansns who are going o be disappointed when and if there is a heaven and they are looking down to see how their legacy looks and it doesn't look so good. >> you talked about morel who had a hand in mccarthy's demise. >> he did. >> but, he was late. >> he was late. >> on his program, the iconic see it now on cbs he did a famous malani which he said we have to stand up for principlea. that was at a time when there were only three networks, abc, cbs and nbc. >> and they were all very cautious. >> very conservative, but he did have the fragmentation of the media you have today. the term fake news now as a result of this fragmentation to some degree has become part of it and 60% of trump supporters
believeel trump's claim that the media is the enemy of the people >> is it up to 60? i thought it was 51%, which was upsetting enough. you are giving me bad news. fake news. [laughter] that's what you do now if you don't like the news. >> as i said, 51% of 12-- trump supporters-- he's that good, so the question is how do you combat that? had you combat this notion that there's fake news out there? >> there are a few things out there. one's and i have to say this from the bottom of myle heart. i think journalism is a noble profession and a lot of journalists-- i also get really upset when reporters make sloppy mistakes or take positions that
i think are debatable. like for instance, there became -- last week the "new york times" wrote a story about whether or not the summit was going to happen and they said a senior aide said it was impossible that the timing was impossible and a president trump got on twitter and said this is fake news, invented and no one ever said this. and it turned out that the "new york times" based their comment on something said by senior administration official at an official background briefing and when you read the quotes what they'd actually said was something along the lines of it was going to be really really difficult to pull it off o the summit of june 12, because it's in like 10 minutes or something like that.
but, they didn't say it was impossible. then it became this whole debate about president trump said this in the "new york times" said that and like ultimately i kind of feel like the "new york times"as paraphrase was not necessarily fair. or at least it wasn't as accurate as it could have been. the "new york times" story yesterday about trump's rally in tennessee they described an audience of a thousand people in the fire marshal and trump again this morning fake news, much bigger than that. the fire s marshal said it was about 5500 peoplele about five times bigger than the "new york times" and the "new york times" had to issue a correction. these are self-inflicted wounds. i don't mean to pick on the "new york times", but as the two most prevalent in my head. it's impossible to publish a million fax a day and i have a couple of them wrong, but we
just need to be really really diligence and really really careful because the most powerful man in the world is trying to undermine us and he's doing so at least according to what leslie stahl on 60 minutes said he told her i do it so when you report negatively on me that no one will believe it. >> its tactical? >> yeah. that's why he's doing it and we just have to be purer than pure and make sure our facts are right to glow, i don't always get my facts right. it's not possible, but i really wish i had-- i had an editor in my first full-time job and my editor was david carr who went on to become immediate editor for the "new york times" and i remember every mistake i made and i remember david carr and how he dealt with it and it was not happy. it was not a pretty sight and i wish everyone had had david carr
the fake news phenomenon, calling us fake news is hideous, but it bothers me so much when journalists don't understand how fragile our credibility is and how low our standing as with the american people and how difficult it is to earn it back, so i don't mean to emphasize the "new york times" for people who make mistakes and i guarantee tomorrow i will make some big mistakebu, but we really need to rise to this moment because it's hideous what he's doing. he has labeled anything he does-- he said one time he described negative news as fake. he did a tweet. that's what it is to him, negative equals fate-- fake. he one time tweeted something like all negative poles are fake. that's a quote, i mean, so we know what it is to him and that the problem as there are a
number of supporters of his believe it and we cannot help him undermine ourselves we had to stand strong and make sure that we fact check everything. >> went to get back to this moment. why did you get into this? i mean, you had other career aspirations out of college, but you eventually gravitated towards journalism. >> i started writing freelance stories because it was-- people were not writing the stories i wanted to read. there were things i wanted to know about and people were not writing them. i was directly-- directionless. i was working public relations and i started pitching stories to the "washington post" and i i liked it. it was fun. i got a rush from seeing my byline and from people enjoying my work, but i wrote a lot of different stuff. it wasn't political at first. did a lot of lifestyle stuff, i
mean, you can find the stuff on the internet. i did a story about the stairmaster was invented. [laughter] that's not even the premise. the women were complaining that there was a phenomenon called stairmaster but where their butts were getting big from doing too much stairmaster. this is of the "washington post", so withhold your judgment [laughter] i mean, i wrote anything. when you're young freelancer you will write anything about any subject and then i liked it because i knew a lot about politics i gravitated towards politics. i got into the business because people were not writing the stories that i wanted to read and i think now i am in it because people are not asking the questions that i want asked. >> i mentioned that "washington post" quote recently about you
being a dogged defender-- wonderful quote about you and i think it's fair to say you are respected on both sides of the aisle for being a no-nonsense guy who asks tough questions but is basically fair. is there anything you have done relating to trump that you regrets? >> no. [laughter] i mean, in retrospect i think if we hadn the media known he was going to win might cover things differently. just in terms of policies and trying to get permanent commitments as to what his policies were on a number of subjects because it's still rather hazyha, but no, not real.
i mean, he stopped doing interviews with me in june, 2016 , because of-- i interviewed him before the california primary and the trump university case was proceeding and there was a judge those about to hear it in the president said to the "wall street journal" the day before that the judge could not do a good job or be a fair judge because he was mexican. judge carol is from indiana so i challenged president trump nicely but persistently about if you are saying someone can do a job because of their race isn't that the definition of racism and that was the last time i got an interview with president trump so it's hard for me to look back and say i should have been tougher because i mean there weren't a lot of people that were interviewing him that all of a sudden were not allowed to interview him anymore.
>> has cheated-- cnn changed its operation to adapt to the trump era? >> oh, yeah. first of all i think there is an acknowledgment by leadership of cnn and i wish that fox and msnbc would acknowledge it as well that in 2015 especially cnn ran too many trump rallies start to finish unedited gavel to gavel no editorial comment or fact checking and did not do the same for the candidates. they have acknowledged they regret that - and i wish msnbc and fox would acknowledge that, so there is less of that. i think the fact checking apparatus is much stronger and much more forceful and i think the way journalists talk at least on cnn the way journalists talk about lies and statements that are not true is much more clear-cut than it used it to the
there are other changes we have had to make. there is more security at cnn because of death threats and you know the president saying that you're an organization an enemy of the american people results in lots of unpleasant people have a lots of unpleasant thoughts. i mean, it's a chance that trump rallies, cnn socks. they mean the media socks, but cnn represents. >> you are the poster boy for fake news. >> and girls. >> you are the central figure there and i don't mean that in a negative way, but i suppose, i mean,-- >> the truth of the matter is it's just so juvenile, i mean, it's not like the way an adult would have a conversation with someone and say i really thought that story was unfair and let me explain to you why.
it's just you are poop. what? >> is it hard not to take it personally or is it easy because it's a ludicrous? >> i don't take it personally at all the stuff that offends me a stuff like making fun of the journalists who has a disability , it's up seeing. it's obscene. [applause]. a ban on all muslims entering the united states? i mean, i don't have room to get worried about the stuff that offends me personally. there are like millions of other things. you should not-- any journalism student if you are here, should not go into journalism if you don't have at least something of a thick skin because it's not an easy businesssy, but it botherse because he is undermining
concepts of empirical facts. that is troubling, not attacking me. you are attacking cnn or whatever, but the idea that facts don't exist or are they are what i want to be what i feel them to the. you know, barack obama couldn't get these three hostages out of north korea so i'm going to get them outak or two of them were taken hostage when you were president. how was obama going to get them out when he was president if they had not been captured yet? yet, there's no change, you know. kellyanne conway came on the show and i challenged her and i said, you know, the president tells us so many lies and she said the president does a lot of things. [laughter]
which is true. i can't dispute that on a factual ground but, i mean, like bad tweet is still up. it's still up. it's a lie. it's just a blatant falsehood and there's no embarrassment about it. you know, i mess up and there's a tweet and i'm like under my bed for like a week and there's no shame. they don't care. quite something to behold. >> i talked about the fragmentation in the media world and given the breadth of the landscape, who do you consider your competitor? >> everyone, i mean, the media landscape is vast and there's great journalism being done. i mean, on one level, you know, i have a sunday show, so it chuck todd and george stephanopoulos and chris wallace and margaret brennemanmy are my
competitors on sunday and then i have a show at 4:00 p.m. 4, so m competing directly with the call wallace and neil cavuto and then more broadly a world of tv anchors and we are all trying to do the best show we can and get interviews that we can get, so there's a lot of competition, but the truth of the matter is i have never felt a more collegial time in journalism than it now because there's so much animosity towards journalists that, you know, none of us want what has happenedd-- you know when the-- chuck todd is a friend of mine and when the president goes after chuck todd i have to stop myself and it tweeting in defense of chuck todd. my wife is like he doesn't need your defense, stop.
and mean i'm competing with him and i went to beat him and get the guest and i don't want him to get them and all of that, but i want him to thrive and succeed is so strong that it outweighs the spirit of competition quite oftenre, but,i mean-- look, the "new york times" is breaking a million stories a day. the "washington post", la times, i mean, there's a lot of great journalism being done right now. >> you did this country a great service by going down to parkland, floridada after the shootings on moderating what ended being a constructive conversation after the shootings at stoneman douglas high school. what was it like to be in that room then? >> i thank you for same act, but i have to tell you like conservatives hated that townhall so much and i remember as a journalist flying into denver in 1999, after columbine
and you know you can feel grief. you go into a house where people are mourning and you can feel it and when it's a whole city or a whole county morning, shock, on edge, i mean, it's something almost tangible in the roomm and they did know how it would go pick the way that went down was, i know the congressman from that represents that county, who is actually my counselor in training at camp. i mean, i didn't keep in touch with him, but you know that would have been kind of weird. years later when he was erected to congress-- elected to congress so i knew him and he called me.
i guess the shooting was on a tuesday or wednesday-- wednesday, maybe. he called me two days later and said there are people down here who went on a townhall new line cnn to do a townhall, what you think and there was that community was obviously politically engaged community, obviously very progressive community and they wanted to speak truth to power and ventte and get things off their chest and they wanted to come together as a community, so we put it together really quickly and we put it together in this big arena because normally a townhall has like a hundred 50 people. but, we put it together with the school stoneman douglas high school and the school had the position and you know, i totally get it that we are not turning anyone away so this needs to be in a big arena. we are not doing 150 people.
anyone that wants to come. so, we had it at the local hockey rink and we worked really hard on it and we tried to make sure that anyone who lost a family member could ask a question and anyone who was wounded got to ask a question. we tried to get a diversity of topics so it wasn't just only about guns because there were other topics, school security, mental health, the response of the sheriffs. we know now and did not know then that it could've been much stronger and it was very intense i thought it was going to be a much more sad events and it ended up being a much more mad event. people were angry. and so a lot of conservatives were upset about it and that's
fine. that comes with the job. , to his credit showed up. now to be completely candid i don't know what you know about florida politics, but broward county is not rubio country. it's a very liberal part of florida and so marco rubio showing up two weeks before would have been-- [inaudible] but, he knew what he was getting intow and i admire that he went there. governor scott did not go and president trump did not go and republican leaders of the state senate and statehouse did not go even though they were all invited. rubio was the only republican officials and people were angry and i took some heat for not stopping, i mean, i tried to calm the room a few times but i took some heat for not stopping students or parents when they went after the nra are marco rubio or anyone else, but the
truth is i wasn't going to say to some dad w who just lost his 14-year old daughter that you need to have more respect, i mean, he just lost his daughter, you know. if you don't like it, turn it off. >> what i admired was your restraints. you held back and you let people talk. i thought that was the whole point. >> letting them talk. letting them vent. we fancy ourselves as speaking truth to power,al people of journalism, but that was the most pure example of ever seen , 15, 16-year old kids, grieving moms and dads, this unfettered only a week into their grief telling politicians how upset and furious they were about what happened and how come they had not done more to prevent it from happening to their kids. i've never seen anything like it and it was raw and it was uncomfortable, but i don't think
i would change one thing. >> did you get a sense of the movement that would grow out of it? >> no, not really. not until the march. you know, they are impressive kids. they are politically active and savvy, but their kids, still. they obviously had an effect when he came to the law in florida. a lot was passed in florida that changed how things were done. not in any major way, but the law for purchasing a semi automatic weapon was raised from 18 to 21 and there are other changes having to do a school security, but i see them on twitter and theyey are still vey optimistic and i'm not about to correct them. >> will their movement lead to
meaningful gun control reform? >> i don't know. i don't know because you saw very different response in santa fe. a lot of the country-- i don't need to tell us to you, a lot of the country feels the way a lot of people in santa fe do, which is the problem is that the-- that is a bad kid or there isn't enough guidance on the school grounds or whatever, i mean, i was surprised there wasn't more of a call for a law to require adults to lock up their weapons because the lieutenant governor said something along those lines about right after the shooting about how people need to lock up their guns, but then i had him on my sunday show and he wasn't willing to require its.
there is a law that you can get sued if you don't do it and your kid gets a gun and whatever. there is a law that if you are concealed carry holder and you try to stop something someone else can soup, so that exists, but not the thing about walking up your guns, say no i don't think so, but i don't know. >> your moderation that conversation is a good example of you getting a sense of the people and journalists particularly those in washington don't often get that opportunity how do you stay in touch with the american people? >> well, i read a lot and i travel a lot and i meet a lot of people on twitter who are different from me and i stay in touch with a lot of friends who have very different political opinions than i do. i don't really have huge political opinions.
like people passionate on the left or the right like i'm like that's nice you think that strongly, but like there are a lot of facebook posting leftward and rightward and i'm just like wow. all of them are different for me because i'm not out there with political views on much of anything, but i do keep in touch with a lot of trump supporters that our soldiers that i met when i wrote my last spoke about afghanistan and i'm a friends with, you knoww, hundreds of troops and their families from that experience. i interviewed more than 250 people for the book and a lot of them are very conservative trump supporters. a lot of troops are not trump supporters, also. highlights in touch? i mean, the short answer is i don't as much as i should or could, but i'm aware that i come to the world with certain viewpoints based on being who i
am, raised hell i was in philadelphia and going to where i went to college and all of that as, constantly seeking out how other people might look at the situation, so it was not a prize for example that you dealt with the shooting much different than parkland? >> but-- and santa fe is actually what a much more used to work parkland, is the aberration. most communities deal with the school shootings way santa fe does in a very way about their loss and there isn't a cry for activism. >> earlier today you retweeted a donald trump tweet and your tweet read: happy sixth anniversary to the streets and the retreat from donald trump-- i'm paraphrasing a bitou barack obama major failing as president was not uniting the american people. [laughter] >> six years ago today.
if you are on twitter there's a great twitter feed called trump hop and it tweets out things he treated in the past and i follow it and it's a never ending source of amusement because sometimes you will get like a whole bunch from 2011 or 2010 and it's just like come to my new golf course just like selling a product of some sort and sometimes it will be like him talking about kristen stewart's and it's just like he has this obsession with why they broke up. it was very hot. he liked tweeted about it like 30 times. >> she was telling him to move along because she tweeted-- cheated. >> i guess ask president trump. some of their are very pointed politically because he will be faulting obama for something that is like it's now at his watch. barack obama did not unite the country, but it's hard to argue
that there is a huge effort being made today. >> i guess my question, can anyoneon-- >> no and we are not meant to be united. it's kind of a silly criticism or to the best un- american president can is try to heal the nation in times of division and try to preen the people together. there is never going to be a united states of america, but what i think president trump does and he's not the first and he won't be the lastmp is he trs to divide us often. a good example of this is the controversy over nfl players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and inequality. i totally understand this comes from following a lot of gold star moms on facebook . i truly understand why people are offended.
this is my two minutes in this week's where i can think about my son treat is also may be possibly think you so or daughter or husband people even though it went-- even though that's not what they are protesting to have people pick that moment to stage a protest is deeply offensive. i really do understand it and i also do understand why an african-american especiallyy player in this day and age with the gift of knowledge that we all have because of the cell phone cameras and now, we all see what everyone in the african community and latino community have been complaining about for decades that people like you and me did not see ever why they feel compelled to do something even if it's just this one little thing and if there were a dialogue and discussion about this, that would be something
hiat maybe could be at least helpful. just even if people-- you are not going to convince everyone to join one side or the other. there is no winning in this argument. these are two deeply held sbeliefs and by the way they are because it has to do with how they feel in their feelings are valid. what president trump does is pick a side t and demonize the other. >> politics of division. >> yes, it's not new to america. george w. bush did it with same-sex marriageew in plenty of other politicians going down the line in both parties about it. but, that to me as what i was thinking about when i tweeted that tweet-- that retreat from 2012 because i just think, i mean, barack obama did not unite
the country and he did a lot of things that a lot of people found divisive and i'm not going to take issue with that, but i don't think he picked on scams the way president trump does. he wants to get his base out. i understand it's a political strategy, but is it good for the country? i don't think it is. >> you started your journalism career during the clinton administration. the clinton administration the george w. bush administration barack obama. well, going to ask you, is the trump washington the new norm? is trump's america the new norm or will we go back to an america that's more familiar to us? >> you know, i don't know. there are a lot of people on the right who were and i think it was more policy oriented than it was in terms of the national
character or the national dialogue, but a lot of people found barack obama's america upsetting because they thought it represented the government and if not socialism more people on the federal etc. and the truth of the matter is that every president makes an imprint in this country on this country and it's difficult to go back to the country just keeps going in its own direction. is there going to be a course direction when it comes to lies? i don't know, maybe. i don't know. remember, this is the american experiment. is not done. it's a work in progress. we don't know how it ends, i mean, they're interviewing a different person in a different time could make an argument about how damaging president obama was to the notion of what americans expect their
government to pay for and how that actually means more long-term damage to the united states than anything else because of the amount of moneyns we pay in interest on the debt not to mention the debt. i don't know. they'll put their imprint on it one way or the other. you talk about i came down during the clinton years, i mean, there's a lot of stuff that happened during the presidency that i think had a negative impact on the national character.ha i mean, people are very quick to criticize conservatives, evangelicals turning a blind eye to donald trump's behavior, but i remember when people made those same criticisms about feminist turning a blind eye to bill clinton's scandals. >> to change irrevocably as a result? >> it's hard to say because it really has to do with the parkland generation and has to do with those kids and how they
think about things because certain things just change and they don't change back, i mean, you and i are old enough to remember when the concept of same-sex marriage being legal in texas would be insane. not to pick on texas-- alabama. [laughter] is that better? >> much better. >> we are in texas. so, things change. certain opinions about humanity evolve. you know, i don't know where this nation will be on abortion and 50 years. it seems like according to some polls we has a nation are getting more conservative on that issue. >> let me shift years and stay in the same subject of works in progress work dimension to the audience that your protagonist-- >> charlie lives. >> in a memorable last seen.
>> just to give a plug for the both-- but, if you are a history buff, which i suspect you are if you are i mean a lot of history buffs have liked to the book because there is a lot of history and it and this is what it was like to live in 1954 and the actual events that took place that you might not have known about like march, 1954, when puerto rican terrorists burst into house of representatives and shouted up and shot five members of congress and different little things like that h-- not littlet the time, but different things like that are throughout the bookgh. >> let me just say that point, very few works of fiction sites sources. >> i have notes in my book. >> jake has a very conference of section in which he cites his sources and i would commend the book to you. >> i thought people would want to know what was real and what was not real because to me the crazy stuff in the book is the stuff that's real. i mean, yeah. this conspiracy theory and all that, but like joe mccarthy when
he drank, which was often would eat a stick of butter. he would eat a stick of butter and a put that in the book. i read that in a jack anderson biography about mccarthy written in 1952 o'clock if i don't put that in the end notes people will think i made that up. >> i will say the last words of the book, after the end notes. they are with that being said this is a work of fiction. [laughter] so, will charlie come back? are you thinking about a sequel to "the hellfire club"? >> i am thinking about it. there's this great story i heard about that takes place in 1962 that israel-- is real that struck me as a credible thing have a plot although it's not particularly-- it's not a
cliffhanger in any way, but it might be fun to have it around which is in 1962 president kennedy was about to go out to los angelesen, and frank's not sure who had helped him get elected and considered him a good friend was desperate to have john f. kennedy stay at the sonata compound in los angeles, desperate and he started building extra buildings and this was where the press will be and attorney general robert kennedy thought about it, looked into it and turned out there was some things and sinatra's background that were not so hot. maybe you have heard about them. he was friends with some people and ultimately john f. kennedy, president kennedy stayed at the house of the number one republicans liberty in los angeles being caught-- bing crosby b and drove sinatra crazy and i just thought that was such a great story.
>> drove a permanent wedge in their relationship. >> p lawfordre who was a memberf the rat pack who was also married to a kennedy: of john f. kennedy's sisters, peter lawford after this happened because lawford was ambassador between the two camps after that he was banned from sinatra movies. he was written out of every oceans movie like it was a huge deal back then. anyway,-- >> it would be like george clooney dropping characters. >> you are out. so, that struck me as something that might be fun to write about , but i don't know yet. it was a lot of work to do this one, so we will have to see. >> again, the book is on sale outside if you have not already picked it up i recommend it highly. j, went to thank you for being here and i thank you for what you do particularly in the donald trump era. >> thank you. [applause].
[applause]. >> book tv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com. /book tv or post a comment on our facebook page, facebook.com. /book tv. >> book tv recently visited capitol hill to ask amazon congress what they read in a summer. >> i have quite a stack of books here. the first one is meditation. i read this a long time ago, but i was recently told this is jim mattis our secretary of defense favorite books oh it's helping me understand him a bit better to read that. i have a biography here, rise of theodore roosevelt. it's an older book, but i never
got a chance to read it, so i'm looking forward to that could this is the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of senator robert kennedy or chris matthews has a new book out about senator kennedy. got to know senator kennedy's grandson, joe kennedy, who is a member of the house and this is something i'm looking forward to. i have another book here that says 1587 a year of significance it was a book recommended again by secretary mattis and is about the mean the dynasty in china and he says if you want to understand china-- modern-day china you need to understand the meaning dynasty. this book is on attempt nation of power and it's another way to look into the mindset of what's happening in contemporary middle east and within islam worldwide. this little book is something recommended to me. it's different from the type of reading i usually do. it's called immersions and it's a very interesting book on about
science call the science. largest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world. this thing that you can probably throw like a rock in her someone with his supposed to be a book about cuba. just called cuba and the author is hugh thomas and this has just been updated. my final one is a book i have been trying to read for some time and it's a book called the innovator. this is about people that actually have come up with the great ideas we see in the tech world, so as you see i don't read fiction. i read nonfiction and some of it is eclectic, but it's usually related to the work i'm doing here in congress and i'm really grateful to have the help that i have from the library of congress and their experts over there to recommend books to me that we going taken read and we can return them and asked for
others if we find something in the book that interests us. >> book tv was to know what you are reading. cynosure summer reading list the atwitter at book tv or instagram at book_tv or posted to our facebook page facebook.com. /book tv. .. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you for coming to the white house luncheon. it is a real treat for us to have not one but two former
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