tv Washington Journal Sarah Westwood Discusses White House Response to... CSPAN August 17, 2017 1:01pm-1:23pm EDT
opportunity now at this time, at this particular time in our nation's history, to have a system that we have to leave this remarkable department is as fulfilling as anything. >> followed at 8:30 p.m. by a conversation with supreme court justice you elena kagan. >> you said at the beginning of the conversation we are not a your democracy, a constitutional democracy. that means the judiciary has an important role to play in policing the boundaries of all the other branches. that can make the judiciary and unpopular set of people when governor or president or congress you can't do that because it is not within your constitutional powers.
that is what led to more forceful statement on monday from the white house. then he basically undid whatever goodwill that monday's statement had earned him on tuesday by taking questions from reporters from the lobby of the trump tower, and doing the same thing again. host: this morning, in the wake of the criticism for what he said on tuesday, he is tweeting lindsey graham, publicly seeking lindsey graham falsely stated that i said there is moral equivalency between the kkk, neo-nazis & white supremacists. he says it is a lie.
other people have said it. olence. he did that on monday. other people have said it. guest: he said there were good people on both sides, refusing to condemn specifically the group involved in the violence. he did that on monday. he still condemned the white supremacist groups. that was included in his remarks on tuesday, but because he was also criticizing the anti-fascist groups protesting the white supremacist rally, there were a lot of critics who said those comments to not go far enough. host: let's listen to the president on tuesday. [video clip] president trump: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious and horrible, a horrible thing to watch you are that there is another side. there was a group on this side, you can call them the left, you just called them they left, they came violently attacking the other group. but you -- so you can say what you want, but that is what it is. >> from both sides, you said there was hatred.
president trump: i think there is blame on both sides. i think there is blame on both sides. i have no doubt about it, and you do not have any doubt about it either. and if you reported it accurately, you would say it. >> heather heyer died. >> heather heyer died. >> they protested in charlottesville. president trump: and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also has some people that were very fine people on both sides. excuse me, i saw the same pictures as you did.
you had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from robert e lee to another name. host: sarah westwood, did the president intend to take questions from reporters? guest: no, the statement was supposed to focus on infrastructure. his staff did not know he was going to take questions. i think that was part of why this has been so difficult for the white house to manage, because they did not have any type of preparation for it, they were not ready to be able to incite controversy over charlottesville. they thought they had put that to rest with the brief televised remarks from the white house a day earlier. so they had a controversy even stronger than the one they thought they just defeated, and it was difficult. a lot of the president's staff were offended by those remarks. guest: we heard that some were disgusted and offended. there was this this morning -- the morality of damage control. should mr. trump's advisors stay or go? what are you hearing? guest: it does not appear that
there are any resignations in the immediate future. i think we probably would have seen those already. you never know. clearly, this was something that has been difficult for the president's staff to manage when they are torn and have a duty to protect the president from controversy. what is really difficult is the fact that president trump was not factually wrong. there was violence of both sides, but being right was so much less important in this situation than being a unified leader, than healing the nation after something a lot of people found deeply troubling. the president did not rise to that moment. he was more concerned with the details of who did what in that riot.
earlier this week, over the weekend, it was not the time to do that. host: what was the reaction from the chief of staff? he has been on the job for two and a weeks. how is it going? guest: a lot of folks say he has instilled a sense of order and structure to the white house. he controls who can walk into the oval office. he controls the flow as information to the president so he is accurate and up-to-date with information, and that was not always the case under the previous leadership. we have not really seen him make any major hires, besides scaramucci, we're not seen any major fires either. it is the workflow. kelly is reviewing everybody's portfolios, looking at their duties and looking for ambiguity. maybe we will see some major staff shakeups then, but it seems like kelly has tried, with limited success, to instill this structure in the west wing. host: it was an asset hope hicks would be replacing anthony scaramucci as communications director.
what do we know about her? guest: she was a trunk loyalist since the beginning. she was working with trump before he ran for president, so she is someone that trump trusts very much, and that is really important because some of the other aides have come and gone because trump do not trust them. she has been performing this type of duties for a while now, so it is kind of a natural next step for her.president, which i, because president trump to not trust prior aids to -- prior it's kind of a natural next step for her to fill this position. are some folks i talked to who think this could ultimately be a permanent appointment, that after this interim. -- this interim period, she will take over the title in perpetuity. something the white house has been having trouble doing. host: the advisors and the
president himself, how are they reacting -- we saw a little bit on twitter, republican senators who have been tweeting and putting out statements, as mitch mcconnell did, and speaker of the house paul ryan, condemning the violence in charlottesville. name,ying the president's but saying that this doesn't have a place in the party. president trump has never taken criticism well. he is always felt the need to counter attack when he has been criticized by members of his own party. it has gotten him in trouble before, but a lot of voters like it. they think he deserves to fight back when he is attacked. i think the frustration with the way that members of his own party received his charlottesville frustration and the way the media reported on it , it was clearly a source of frustration. or what he said, his critics in immediate would not be
satisfied. part of his performance on tuesday in trump tower, part of it stemmed from this frustration , thinking that he was not getting a fair shake. he wanted the chance to personally set the record straight. that frustration was there, it was brewing before he ever came down the elevator, the way his comments were being perceived. caller: good morning, c-span. my name is gina. about -- i don't know what the president's religion affiliation is, is he christian? he is involved with bewhat christians seem to losing their minds behind him. he has eight school-aged child -- he has a school-aged child.
to sit in church, but it wouldn't hurt for him to put the phone down and go to church on sunday. you know about his religious practices? guest: president trump is a christian, and he did court evangelicals during his campaign. he did talk about perhaps being rejected by evangelicals, because he has been married three times, lived a life that evangelicals might not necessarily look for in a candidate. he does have the support of a lot of conservative christian leaders. even though he may not be as devout as some previous republican presidents, republicans at other levels have been, he is a christian. host: has he lived up to his promises for that part of his constituency? with the nomination, the vote with judge
gorsuch on the supreme court. we are learning that the white house plans to overrule an obama regulation on contraception's. players who have -- employers who have religious beliefs, can now declined to provide contraception on their health care. -- he has issued executive orders, installed justice neil gorsuch, he has been a forceful voice for pro-life efforts. he has signed an executive order related to religious liberty, saying he supports the idea that free speech is maybe more what democrats view as antidiscrimination efforts when it comes to same-sex marriage ceremonies. from the standpoint of what issues were most important to evangelicals, president trump has -- host: ruth, an independent. hello.
all of this is, to me, of no consequence. great-great-grandma was a chickasaw, the other was a cherokee, she walked the trail of tears. jew.andpa was a full blood david duke would have hated my family. same as he hates donald trump's family. because there are jews in donald's family, too. and his daughter converted to judaism. david duke is using this. he did ittrump -- over and over. , i rest of his speech
imagine martin luther king jr.. , andtened to his speeches donald trump is the closest thing to martin luther king jr. as i have ever heard. host: why is that? caller: america, unite and come together. host: i want to take the first part of her comments, where all of this is of no consequence. consequence of what people heard from the president with the people who supported him, voted for him, and those that don't? steve bannon tells the new york times this morning -- president trump, by asking -- where does this all and? connects with all of -- the race identity politics of the left wants to say it is
racist. i can't get enough of it. guest: i think there is a certain segment of president trump's base that will not abandon him no matter what happens. safe in thaty respect. there is another segment of the population that would never support him the matter what he did. a certain that to extent, there is nothing he could have said in this situation, because he has already been so associated with the all right, because those white supremacist leaders have his name.ing in this will always be trickier for him than others. i think a lot of critics think that president trump had a special responsibility to denounce those groups, because they claim him as their standardbearer. that is why he has had so much trouble getting away from the kkk, from these alt-right groups. mostnly are these groups
typically associated with republicans, fairly or unfairly, but these groups are specifically citing president trump as their inspiration. host: oklahoma, terry, democrat. caller: first of all, i consider myself a good christian, and i'm not particularly a trump supporter. said, my biggest question is that i'm of the belief that trump's second statement was -- to the point of almost, what i'm going to call, -- or the people who were defending the statue, i want to see pictures of that from the news, where it is actually shown that that happened. leftw that the ones on the -- heckling the ones on the right, but actually instigating
violence. i have never -- i have yet to see any pictures of that happening. guesthost: i know you are a whie house reporter. what have you seen? guest: what is accurate is that there was violence on the both sides. the time for clarifying that, from the president of the united states, was not earlier this week. while it was factually accurate that people on both sides were attacking each other, and it is still not clear to law enforcement who instigated the violence, it was not the job of the president to be logistically accurate in the situation. he had more of a symbolic role that people feel he did not live up to. it is factually accurate to say that the anti-fascist protesters, some of them did show up with clubs or other instruments, that suggested to law enforcement they were
prepared to do violence. host: susan in arizona, republican. question or comment. caller: both. didn't charlotte have a vote on that statue to take it down or leave it in? had a permity they to go there, because they were protesting against it. i saw that on -- news. then i saw them stating that they have a permit, and then everyone who was coming from out of charlotte started protesting and fighting. the other question i have -- the statement i have. i think that every state should vote on a statute, and if they don't want it, make a museum. trump has come to arizona, and we are going to fight him 100%. host: that's right, donald trump is traveling to arizona on
august 22. how are arizona officials reacting? guest: the mayor of phoenix has made a caution to trump to consider delaying the rally, given how high temperatures are right now. senator john mccain is no fan of president trump, so this is not necessarily the friendliest territory for him. he has a lot of supporters in arizona. still have ably huge turnout for the rally, should he choose to go. this is where you see him in his element. feeling most comfortable, most confident, defending his record. this is as ways, much as a refresher for him mentally as it is for him to regroup, turn the page. host: he has tweeted out this morning -- great to see that dr. kelly ward is running against flake jeff flake, he is toxic.
do you think he will repeat that message in arizona with eight republican senator, jeff flake, up for reelection? guest: it is possible. he rarely supported any of his policies. so president trump has directed a lot of his vitriol at jeff flake. it will be interesting to see whether the white house backs that up with material support. host: robert in greenville, north carolina, independent. caller: good morning. i cannot believe that no one is jumping on donald trump, who is a hand grenade in the white house. somebody has to stop going about reelected and say what needs to
be said and move this -- i do not know what to call him. he is -- there's nothing good about him. he has no good qualities. everything about donald trump is what we do not want in america or anywhere. it is time for the press -- the press needs to start talking impeachment. republicans need to stop worrying about whether they are going to get reelected intake this man out of office. pence backing him up, he should theeave this program to press conference with secretary mattis and rex tillerson. >> our condolences to the loss of life and injuries that occurred to so many innocent people yet again. we will continue to monitor the situation. wend