tv Washington Journal David Drucker K CSPAN November 30, 2021 2:00am-2:59am EST
continues. host: david drucker is senior correspondent with the washington examiner and a long washington reporter, and the author of the brand-new book, "in trump's shadow: the battle for 2024 & the future of the gop ." david drucker, welcome back. guest: good to be here. host: what was your original inspiration for writing this book? guest: it started out as a collection of stories about republicans planning for 2024 long before president trump at even run for reelection. we knew he was going to run, he was preparing to run and normally when your party controls the white house, uri and the next presidential bid that is available to you and you at least wait for the incumbent to win or lose and the next day, win or lose, it is like a free-for-all and it is
understood that the reelected president or the defeated president is no longer in the picture, and you plan from there. what i saw in 2017 to 2019 but really crystallized for me was that i had written a number of stories and a number of colleagues of mine had written a number of stories about mike pence or nikki haley, tom cotton and others that were actively very aggressively preparing for 2024 and i thought it would make a very interesting longform story about this shadow campaign and all the rivalries that were developing. that is how it started. it evolved into a story about that, but a story about former -- the former president's impact on the publican party. what i believe donald trump
represents for republicans is a generational break with the reagan era in gop politics. host: he would have cast a shadow either way, had he won in 2020. there would have been a shadow cast on the party after that, but that changed with his loss in 2020. guest: he was going to cast a shadow even if he didn't lose. a lot of reporting happened after he lost to joe biden but as i began the reporting in the beginning of the pandemic, i was talking to republican strategists across the party and i was talking to republican politicians across the party and i mean establishment based, populist movements. everybody agreed that even if trump were to lose, although it would impact whether or not the party moved away from him, that
given where republican primary voters were, which was very supportive and they appreciated his approach to politicking, even though it rubbed so many swing voters the wrong way, that it was going to have an influence over how the next class of president shall candidates conducted themselves -- presidential candidates conducted themselves. trump losing a not going away, as past good losers had done an remaining this seminal figure in the party has obviously had an impact on things, but i don't think the party based on my reporting would have reversed back to the pre-trump reagan era consensus, even if trump had been completely -- even if republicans in the house had lost seats and even if republican voters concluded that it was a failed experiment.
i think trump brought about changes that were going to stick around regardless. host: a potential problem or challenge to a future gop candidate if it is not donald trump, and that he completely changed the calculus and fate -- and type of candidate. i'm thinking about your conversation with the former president. he spent time talking him about that very first speech, the s leader speech where he announced his presidency -- the escalator speech, where he announced his presidency. he basically throughout the script and it could be a metaphor for his all campaign -- for his whole campaign. guest: it really was. what i was trying to do with this book was get into donald trump's head to the extent that i could and map out why it is he conducted himself the way he did and trying to use that information to extrapolate in a way that we could understand what republicans that are going
to come after him are going to do. one of the things that he told me in the conversation and a lot of us forget is he had put out a prewritten speech that was embargoed. he ended up basically using none of it and he said a lot of things that were controversial, some were borderline racist to a degree, and yet the way republican primary voters responded, here is somebody who is finally saying what he said and isn't feeling pressured to dial it back and i think -- i asked trump if he knew all of that would work and what he told me was that he actually didn't know if it would. i thought he would say of course i did, i'm smarter than everybody but he said a lot of the things he said in that speech were things he believed for years and nobody had paid him much attention.
he didn't have a large following for saying those things and it wasn't very republican, just what he believed. lo and behold, it worked. what that means to republican voters is you can criticize the president all day long for what he -- it cost republicans control the house in 2018 and the white house in 2020 but republican voters saw him win in 2016 and saw republicans come close to winning back the house in 2020 and they think this kind of politicking can work, so it is hard to make the case that this was a failed experiment when there are so many pieces of evidence politically that it worked in so many ways, even though it had negative repercussions for republicans in other ways that is why i think it when he 24, whether trump runs or not, but especially if he does, you will see every candidate in some fashion or
another try and tell trump -- tell republican primary voters they will be the next trump. host: you say a lot, in your book -- influence over his four years in office. you write in particular that even after trump engineered a hostile takeover of the gop, he was suspicious of the party that he led and did not have a very high opinion of it and that is why after leaving the white house in 2021, he sent cease-and-desist letters to the nrsc, now under the chairmanship of 2024 contender in florida senator rick scott, demanding excessive permission to use his image and likeness in political messaging. was that strictly a business move on his part?
why doesn't he just claim ownership of the republican party? guest: he does when it is convenient for him. everything for him as a business move. i don't think that is ever far from his mind. the national republican senate -- senatorial committee top staff reached out to the trump campaign top staff and they said let's have a get together and make sure we are all on the same page. they meet together in arlington at trump campaign headquarters and the one big requested trump campaign had was you can't use the boss's image or likeness without our permission and they thought the request was bizarre and did not know how to react to that. here you have the president of the united states, a public figure and the leader of the party. clearly they are not going to write some fundraiser script, but image and likeness? they ignored him then, and he
said the nrs he is ignoring him now, but when i asked trump about this conversation, he said i don't like all republicans. i don't think a lot of them are good at their job. what is important to understand, and it was so politically bizarre to some of us who covered him, that he could be elected president of the united states and then continue to beat up on the government he was leading and was a part of, as though he were some sort of barstool commentator. one of the things that this does for him is solidified his relationship with so many republican primary voters who share his contempt for the party they affiliate with. there are a lot of republican voters out there who think the republican party is completely mismanaged, completely filled with people who are not concerned about them. every time trump does this, as weird as it can be for some of us watching, and as hypocritical
as it is because now you are in charge, so maybe if you have a problem with the government, you should do some big about it. as weird as it is, republican voters look at him and say exactly, he gets what a messed up place this is. he gets what a messed up party we are all voting for, so he is going to do something about it. i think trump recognizes the positive feedback. so much of what he does is about getting a reaction. if the reaction is negative, he moves on. when it works, he keeps it up. host: david drucker's book is "in trump's shadow: the battle for 2024 & the future of the gop ." we welcome your calls, comments and questions. (202)-748-8000 is the line for democrats. for republicans, (202)-748-8001. for independents and all others, (202)-748-8002. you can also send a text at (202)-748-8003.
david drucker, who are his closest political advisors and are any of them potential presidential candidates in 2024? guest: i don't think anybody that is elected to office as republican is necessarily close, versus just within his circle of supporters. we know that he's a big fan of jim jordan and devin nunes. there are some senators he likes. at the end of the day, i think donald trump what donald trump wants to do, and i don't think he is keen on taking advice. most of the politicians that he has surrounded himself with don't necessarily give him constructive criticism, versus just giving him the kind of affirmation he seeks. he commented to me on this, that a lot of republicans make the
program image -- make the pilgrimage to mar-a-lago, repeatedly, month after month and week after week to pay homage to him and be close to him and the within his orbit. he told me that mar-a-lago was like the grand central station of republican politics. he said republicans come to see him more than when he was the president of the united states. i tend to agree with that in that i think, given his solid relationship with the base of the republican party, there are a lot of republicans who want it to be known that they are still affiliated with him and that they support him. it is one of the reasons why you don't see more republicans stand up to his claims, which don't have any evidence that the election was stolen. there is no reason to believe that the fraud would have changed the election but the
reason republicans don't stand up to that is because they know the voters don't believe that and it is not so much that they worry about getting crossed with trump, they worry about getting crossed with the voters. it is that connection that he has that keeps republicans flowing down to mar-a-lago or up to new jersey in the summer months. this is something you will continue to see as the months move forward, even though you would think that the continued focus on 2020 might be a problem for some republicans, because when you look backward, tends to be a political problem. as long as the polling looks good heading into the 2022 midterm elections, you won't see many publicans in washington overly concerned with that. it is only when it starts to cause a problem that they might change their tune. host: how has his relationship with -- how is his relationship with kevin mccarthy and mitch mcconnell? guest: we know he doesn't like
mitch mcconnell, in that he wants mitch mcconnell to step down as the top republican in the u.s. senate. donald trump complained unprompted about several republicans, and i write about this in "in trump's shadow." he complained about mitch mcconnell more than any other republican or democrat, for that matter. once for every 20 minutes, on average. mitch mcconnell could care less. he juts -- he just wants to win back the majority and does not give donald trump much thought. for donald trump, it is clearly an issue that mitch mcconnell refused to recognize his unfounded claims that the election was stolen, but he recognized joe biden and kamala harris, he helped defeat the president's bid to have the election overturned, very openly. i don't think you can ever solve those issues. with kevin mccarthy, they are
clearly in a different place. a majority of house republicans voted to overturn the election during the certification process and kevin mccarthy regularly consults with donald trump on political matters, both because he believes that the president has very astute feedback to give him. this is part of what they did together in 2020. he believes by keeping the former president in the fold, he can keep him as a constructive force in the party, rather than throwing stones from the outside. the interesting thing is that donald trump never likes or appreciates anybody. he likes republicans as long as they do what he says. i don't know if republicans understand that there is no assuaging donald trump. there is no making him feel ok. there is no, look, everything is fine. he's never going to like anybody. he has a lot of contempt for republicans who constantly bend the knee. he realizes they are bending the knee, and none of it ever works.
what kevin mccarthy is trying to do is manage a very fractious caucus that includes a pragmatic wing, a trump wing, a centrist wing. he is trying to keep everybody on the same page and keep donald trump from being openly hostile. sometimes i think it causes mccarthy problems with some republicans think he is being -- that he acquiesces too much, that he bends the knee far too much. but he is in a very difficult spot, and anybody can criticize any part of his strategy, but it is a different matter to be in his position. the one thing that might have helped him is that he had some things to say about the former president during the postelection process, throughout the riot at the u.s. capitol on january 6. i think he would have been better off sticking to his position and then simply saying,
he is being -- i think the backpedaling in trump's mind, something he can use to his advantage and has tried to use to his advantage. host: you touched on the end of the reagan era and you write in the book, for the first time in more than 40 years, there will not be a reagan or self-proclaimed reaganaire contending for the candidacy. every candidate with a chance to win, if trump does not run himself will be running as the next trump. some will be understated, others obvious, almost to a man or woman will make assurances that the former president is there northstar. how do you explain chris christie, who has seemingly tried to distance himself somewhat talking about the party looking not back but ahead? guest: what i would say about chris christie is in part, he
follows the trump again -- the trumpian model of criticizing anybody and not being afraid of anybody. he has been very specific that he believes that trump j claims of the election was stolen are false and the party should stop parroting those claims, that looking backward to the 2020 election is less politically advantageous than looking forward to 2022 and 2024. i think that when you look at christie's conduct and behavior and style it in fact follows the trump model of being very blunt. one of the things the republicans did wrong in 2016's they kept dancing around trump, going after others, hoping to clear the field, hoping to end up one on one with trump like that would solve the problem. they didn't want to offend trump's voters so they constantly treated him with kid gloves. trump did not do any of that.
he punched up, punch down, criticized former and current presidents, he belittled them, treated them like it was a no holds barred converse competition, criticizing them politically and otherwise. that is the lesson you need to take away from pretty 16 if you are running in the republican primary. if you want to be the big dog, you go after the big dog and don't hold anything back. christie seems to have learned that lesson. when i talk about this generational break with the reagan era republican politics, for most of my lifetime, every four years, republicans would climb all over themselves to tell republican voters they would be the next ronald reagan, that they were a more pure version of ronald reagan than their competitors in a primary. all of that is going to happen all over again in 2024, but it will be about trump. some of them will be subtle about it and promise the trump
agenda without his behavior. some will be very overt about it and say i'm going to give you the best of trump with the best of trump because there is no worst. it will all revolve around this conservative populist agenda that trump ran on and that he governed on, and i don't think there is going to be a reset, even with christie if he runs for president and he gets far in that primary. we will keep an eye on him, but he is not going to try and promise a return to reagan aaron policy -- reagan era policy agendas. -- policies on trade in particular, but i think you will see them all try and say that all of those policy things that trump did, i'm going to give you. i don't think christie will be different. host: david drucker is our guest with his new book, "in trump's shadow: the battle for 2024 & the future of the gop."
for democrats, the line is (202)-748-8000. republicans, (202)-748-8001. independents, (202)-748-8002. first call is rudy in bowling green, ohio, democrats line. caller: good morning. i just want to say that i appreciate the comments you are making and your reporting. it seems very thorough. i suggest -- i was wondering the first section of washington journal this morning had a lot of callers calling in with false claims about the vaccine, and i'm curious to know, some people say trump created the vaccine. why isn't there a dichotomy of thought behind the vaccine if it was trump's vaccine? why didn't people take it? where is that propaganda coming from? guest: it is a good question,
and thanks for your comments. i think a lot of what goes on in the united states has become politicized because our politics have become so triable. if you recall, before trump lost to joe biden, in that campaign there was a lot of suspicion and caution about operation warp speed and the forthcoming vaccine, that was coming from democrats and the left. once the vaccines were available, the fda gave them the emergency approval and all of this happened more or less after trump lost. all of we saw more suspicion coming from the right, less suspicion from the left. it reversed itself. if i could pinpoint human psychology on every issue, i could probably write a lot more books a lot quicker. i think part of human nature these days is to be suspicious of the government, depending on
who is in charge of the government and with the pandemic, it has been very unsettling for a lot of people and they've had to deal with a lot of financial, physical and psychological trauma related to the pandemic, and i think part of this is going to be people getting used to the fact that the coronavirus is never going away and that vaccines are a way for us to get through this and live a very normal life. i think from time to time, we are going to see different groups from different sides of the aisle sort of flipping and interchanging their opinions on policy. i think that will have a lot to do with who is in charge. ironically it was donald trump who was pushing republicans at the end of his term to spend even more government money in direct checks to americans as a part of the coronavirus relief package. republicans in congress were resisting him. republican voters were with trump another joe biden is trying to spend all kinds of
money even beyond coronavirus relief, you once again have republican voters suspicious of democrat -- of government spending and democrats in favor of government spending. this goes back and forth. i understand why people sometimes can't figure out what is going on. host: let's hear from kathleen on the republican line in michigan. caller: yes, this is kathleen jackson. the author mentioned trying to get into president trump's head. [inaudible] you can't afford to be predictable. when it came to trump and his initial campaign, he did not come out with all of that
rhetoric. the democrats have been trying to eradicate the republican party and blame us for exactly what trump was projecting himself as. the republican party not have any numbers until he started conducting this new campaign with this rhetoric about bias and all the other stuff he was coming out with. i just found it interesting how that came to be, and when it was pinpointed, a lot of it was the racism. i have no words for that. it was revolting. host: we appreciate your call. on rhetoric, draped -- david drucker, he seemed to run on rhetoric to a point where the
republican party in 2016 was a very minimalist document. guest: i would not make much of the minimal platform. the republican national committee with all due respect to the hard work they do every year, that platform is not really a template anyone follows. the party leader is the presidential nominee every four years and everything filters down from there. sometimes if you have a majority in congress without the white house, you will drive the agenda that way. what the caller pointed out, i think was part and parcel of why donald trump continues to enjoy such a strong relationship with so many republican voters. they believe the party was weak and ineffective until he became its central figure. that the way he conducts himself, the way he talks, the fact that he won't back down even when it would make perfect political sense to back down is why the party in their eyes had a resurgence. it is the only reason in their
eyes that he defeated hillary clinton in 2016. this is why for him, the political incentives never amounted to a reason why he should change his tune. we know that the former president created a -- that caused him problems in 2020 but for a lot of republican voters, they believed that this was the first time the party had shown some real strength. when i asked trump about his lasting impact on the party, he could have mentioned any number of policy issues that were legitimate republican or conservative accomplishments. what he told me is, i taught the party how to fight. host: let's hear from new jersey, ron on the independent line. caller: good morning. it seems to me that the american economic system is failing. we are paying more than any
other nation for education and we ranked 23rd, 35th in math. in medicine, we are paying more than any other country and we rank 38th. in the military, the official figure is $700 billion, but it is more like $1 trillion every year, and the russians are only paying about $60 billion and they have equally, the same number of nuclear bombs and probably just as many capable people to fight a war. our economy is built basically on consumerism, where other western economies are built on manufacturing. i don't know if you have any
comments or suggestions or any ideas on these issues. host: any response, david drucker? any relation to your book? guest: i think part of what drives the debate in the united states is this perennial concern over our place in the world and whether we are being surpassed or we are keeping ahead of our adversaries and competitors. the concerns of gentleman is expressing -- are expressing a part of what i hear in every campaign. of course donald trump like any other politician that runs for president or seek higher office was promising and is still promising a return to glory and promises to fix all the problems that we have, and it is just one of those things that is going to be a part of every campaign. one thing that is interesting to know is as a measure of our gross domestic product, it is a
large dollar on the u.s. military, but relative to our gdp it has shrunk over the years. one of the debates we have in this country constantly is how much we want to spend on what. there are competing needs, whether it is health care or education, social spending programs, social safety nets, new aspects of the social safety net being debated. i think americans have to decide what it is they believe is a priority, because there is never enough money to -- never enough money for everything. no other country around the world is the units -- is like the unit -- is like the united states in terms of the power it has and the responsibility it has taken on, geopolitically and the economy we have and its importance to the rest of the world. i think these are things we will continue to debate. host: let's go to michigan. timothy on the republican line. caller: good morning. i was just wondering when people
are really going to understand why there was fraud in the election, because i voted democrat for 10 years. then i went and voted republican for the last election, and they told me i had already voted democrat. they did the same thing to my mom. guest: there is fraud in every election. there has always been fraud in every election. the question is whether or not there was enough, such that if you were able to dig it up in document it, it would have changed the outcome of the election. when i interviewed trump for "in trump's shadow," i asked him, that he actually think that the results of the election could be undone? his answer was early interesting. what i would say to you is i don't think the argument, at least not enough -- not among people who cover and understand elections is that there was zero fraud, but whether or not you
would have changed the election. in order to find enough fraud to change the outcome of an election, you would have to find it across multiple states in huge numbers. the president went to court about 60 times. he went to state court and all sorts of federal courts. he petitioned the u.s. supreme court or at least allies of his did, and none of this was found to be sufficient or legally viable. the only way we can have a system in the united states that works is if at the end of the day, the loser accepts the outcome. the winter honors the outcome. we all say to ourselves, there is another election in two years and two years after that and two years after that and there are some off years where we can register our discontent as we saw this year in virginia and pennsylvania and other important local elections. host: from your conversation with the former president, does
he still feel the election was stolen from him? guest: yes. donald trump told me the election was stolen and he thought the outcome could be undone and something made right, somehow. he looked at me pointblank and said yes. when i asked him about those two special senate elections in georgia on january 5. i said mr. president, if you had gone to georgia and told georgia republicans that were upset about the outcome of the election, we think things should have turned out to fully but the system works, it is basically trustworthy and so it is really important that all of you go out and vote january 5 so we can retain control of the senate, don't you think that might have made a difference? he said yeah, i probably would have, but i was angry. i didn't like the way things went and republican voters were angry. i didn't say it as strongly as you suggest. my point in that is that he was
very aware of the impact he was having on political discourse and on republican voting habits at the time and is still aware of that, but i don't think this is something he will ever ever let go of. host: as we have about 25 minutes remaining, i want to make sure we touch on the other candidates that make potential 24 -- 124 candidates. you write in your book that there is more depth and while ines to the former vice president -- wilyness to the former vice president. the civil question is whether republican primary voters will forgive this staunch conservative for placing loyalty to the constitution above all else when he bought the 44th president and supported certification of the election it made him a former veep. trump certainly hasn't. guest: correct. the thing to understand about
pence is that most of the time, you would see publicly with mike pence, somebody who would ignore, apologize for, or try and recast everything trump did, that is something pence would never have done or stood for in his personal or political life, but it was all ok, and mike pence went out of his way to be trump's defender and explainer and translator. donald trump would say that is not what i was doing it all but we would see mike pence translate for him and he would lay on the praise so thick that it made you cringe but what mike pence was doing behind the scenes was using all of that to accrue a lot of power in the west wing. he probably had more independence and influence in the west wing than possibly any
recent vice president including dick cheney, in that because of his relationship that he had developed with donald trump and the trust that trump had in him at the time, mike pence had his own political team, he was fielding calls from ceos and politicians that normally would go to the oval office. everybody knew that pence new the way government worked and he could get them an answer on some things. host: so for turning 24, for mike pence to be the candidate, does that mean that donald trump has to basically pardon him, forgive him, for mike pence to be the candidate? guest: a lot depends on whether or not trump runs. idle think donald trump is ever going to let this go with mike pence. the question is whether mike pence decides to lean into his story. what mike pence did, basically telling the president i'm not going to overturn the election, trying to grab power that does
not exist for selfish political purposes. it's a way for him to tell republicans that you might not appreciate that i broke with the president, at least i had the stones to stand up to the president when i felt it mattered most and do what i thought was right. theoretically, republican voters like that sort of thing, somebody that tells the establishment and the leadership, i'm not going to do what you want just because you are asking me to do it. i don't know if republican voters will ever respond to that favorably, but is a path he could take to show that while he was lawyers -- loyal to the trump agenda and remains so, as obvious in his post vice president remarks, that when push comes to shove, he couldn't be pushed around and in president of politics, use what you have and you hope it works. it may not work, the timing might be off, the rest of what mike pence has to offer may not work for people looking voters, but he does have a good story to tell.
host: we hear from bill frommer's ore. goa -- from missouri. go ahead. caller: there was talk a little earlier about people not wanting to take the vaccine. both my wife and i are vaccinated and i strongly suggest, urge people to get the vaccine. i want to point out that everybody looks at this and that. actually, there are reasons why certain groups are resisting the vaccine. blacks for instance because of things that you know happened in the past that the united states government has done and are guilty of doing. there are reasons why young women don't want to take the vaccine, that are in a certain age group, wanting to have a family.
there are reasons why people in the medical industry don't want to take it, nurses, doctors, paramedics. they don't want to take it because of certain things i have discovered. host: david drucker. on the political front, in terms of the response to covid, certainly governor rick scott in florida, a potential 2024 candidate has touted their success. his view of their success in florida infighting covid. is that a strong point for him and a potential -- in a potential 2024 run? guest: senator rick scott has pointed to florida and a lot of republicans point to florida saying what governor ron desantis has been able to do and local governments have been able to do was better balanced for financial and health concerns posed by the pandemic. a lot of people forget this, and i reference it briefly in "in trump's shadow," the fact that
in many states that were run -- majority democrats states, they prioritized health concerns and a lot of their voters are extreme he happy with that, but there are other states like tennessee under governor bill lee, florida under governor ron desantis, that felt as though that state and local governments had to do a better job balancing the economic fallout from the pandemic that all of us saw, in addition to the fallout from a health perspective, and i think it is just a different point of view. there are policymakers that believe in edging the health risks -- managing the health risks came above everything else and there were other policymakers who believe you have to balance health and economic concerns. voters will make up their mind as to what they believe the most. i think what you have seen this year under president joe biden
is that even for somebody who ran on shutting down the virus and has had trouble doing so, because any president would have trouble doing so, he is taking an approach that is trying to better balance economic and health concerns because it was hard for the country to do what it did in those first year or two, much longer than it did without creating severe economic strain on the american people beyond what it already experienced. host: let's hear from jerry in kentucky, on the independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning everyone. 2016 election, roughly 56 percent of the republican voters were over 50 years old. in a country where life expert and see is only 77, you can imagine how many of those that passed away by 2020.
on the other hand, over 50% of the democrat voters were under 50 years old. is this a trend you see carrying on? how is this going to work out? these are the numbers i could find. they could be wrong. thank you for your time. guest: generally in my lifetime, the democrat party has done better with younger voters. when they can maximize turnout among younger voters, they tend to do better than when they don't. i think the observation is astute. i don't think it is anything different than what we have seen over the past 20 or 30 years. host: let's go to pennsylvania, republican line. this is pat. caller: good morning. in your conversation with president trump, do you see him as a politician or a businessman when he was running this country ? the reason i ask that question is because there was a movie
called caddy shack with roddy dangerfield. he was treated not as a politician. guest: that is a good question. i think he's always been a little bit of both. he directed a lot of political business to his properties, and he was very unapologetic in doing so. he is still able to direct a lot of republican business to his properties. here in washington, d.c., now that he is out of the white house, his hotel is being sold and it will become a waldorf-astoria. i think he has always been a mixture. i don't think he ever transitioned to being just a politician and no longer a businessman. i would say he is clearly a politician in that he pushes political buttons, at least
inside the republican party, and he does that to the effect, to accrue and maintain political power. host: terry is next up in iowa. hello, independent line. caller: hello. i just got a question and a comment. you keep talking about the election being stolen. i don't think the election was stolen, but i think it was unconstitutional. when you look at the states that changed the way you can vote in everything, they did a the guise of covid -- they did it under the guise of covid and it is unconstitutional the way they did it. you had judges and other people changing the laws, and that is unconstitutional. the other thing i would like to ask you personally is where is your apology for your four years of slamming donald trump and believing the big lie, the russian collusion lie? you go around talking about people believing the election
lie. how about all you people that believed in trump's live, the dossier and all of that? host: a response? guest: he raises an interesting point about legislatures and how various states made changes to their election law and election regulations in ways that weren't always perfectly pure, according to the state constitutions but we are in a situation where these matters were taken to court and we've always seen courts make exceptions and change rules on the fly. i've talked to a lot of republicans in the states who believe that even though there were changes made, that the election was still held in a way that was secure and safe and produced an accurate outcome, and in fact fought with the trump campaign and other parts of their party to embrace malin and absentee voting -- mail-in
and absentee voting that came about mostly because of the coronavirus. the concerns of the gentleman raises is not without merit -- the concern the gentleman raises is not without merit and to the extent that this happens in the future, i would point out that the way our system works is that states get to run their own elections and in some cases, counties get to run their own elections and to the extent that they change these rules, it is a matter for states to work out. a lot of republican governors and republic and state officials did not come to the same conclusion that former president donald trump did. as far as the russia investigation, and issues with the dossier, i completely understand his concern. i think as reporters, this is something we have to learn from and understand that sometimes we need to be more skeptical, even when a story seems to present
itself, that seems as though it might be an open and shut case. this thing worked its way through the system. there was a special counsel that the president appointed, that the current president has not disbanded. the reason these matters are coming to light is because our system and the government is working. host: you talked about these conversations, the shadow conversations happening about potential 2024 republican candidates. during the trump administration, writing about tom cotton, you say, tom cotton had laid the cornerstone of his 2024 campaign back in 2016 when conventional wisdom suggested trump was a goner. in ways that matter to the gop electorate, the u.s. senator from arkansas was trump before trump. he is an immigration hawk, opposed to unfettered free trade. what he lacks in panache he makes up for indiscipline and strategic planning, but those were not big strong suits for donald trump and did not seem to matter and getting him elected.
-- seem to matter in getting him elected. guest: that is a good passage you pulled. presidential candidates can only use what they have. all of them have challenges. all of them have a potential fatal flaw. it's all about timing and who your competition is. i think that donald trump in 2016 against a competent and charismatic democratic nominee, somebody who would not destroy their resume with a problem the way hillary clinton's confidence and strength was shattered by having that secret server in her basement when she was secretary of state, donald trump would have ended up losing that election. for all of his strengths, and he has many political strengths in -- he did not minister win the national popular vote either time and even though that is not
the way our system works, i have talked to many republicans that are concerned that republicans are having trouble winning a majority of the vote in national elections, because it is a signal about how broad and lasting your political strength can be. right now, the way the two parties are fractured, democrats seem to have more available votes nationally, even though from an electoral college standpoint, they are often challenged. but of course just 10 years ago, we would have talked about this differently, where it seemed like democrats had a better shot at an electoral college victory, and that was before this realignment. somebody like tom cotton has a number of strengths and challenges. i tried to lay them all out. how this plays out in 2024 remains to be seen. host: mimi is on the democrats line in arizona. caller: yes, there is something that has really bothered me for
quite some time, about trump and the republicans that are in congress right now. i believe there is a handful of republicans that have not very high iqs, that really believe the election was stolen from trump, but i believe that the majority of them in congress and the senate are afraid, physically, of saying anything negative about trump, even if inside they don't believe in the trump platform right now. host: do you think they are afraid of political repercussions? afraid for their safety? caller: it is not set enough, but afraid for themselves, physically and for their family. guest: i don't think a majority
of them are afraid physically, although i have talked to republicans over the past year that have had some reason for concern. a majority of them are concerned that their voters are with trump -- a majority of republicans don't believe the election was stolen, although they don't have issues with the broader agenda that trump governed on. when it comes to the election being stolen, the majority of them believe it is hogwash. why won't they say so? they try to at least back up trump's claims in some fashion, because they think their voters are with trump and they want to keep their job. they don't want to cross their voters. the only point i like to make with this is this is not about trump's personal aura and personal power over them but it is about his relationship with their voters. they don't want to cross their voters. host: next up is william,
republican line in pennsylvania. caller: i have two quick things. one, no republican is going to get the ballot like liz cheney, chris christie or mike pence, without trump's support. second of all, pennsylvania was stolen. the election was stolen. there were ballots that came from new york city into pennsylvania. what happened to that? why aren't people arrested for that, or why wasn't the mailman in trouble for that? host: david drucker, what is the future for people like liz cheney? we know adam kinzinger, another republican who opposed the insurrection in the capital. what is the future of that wing of the republican party, at least on capitol hill? guest: they may not have much of a future. there is not a wing of trump opponents on capitol hill. there are less than a handful of
republicans who are willing to openly defy and criticize the former president for his postelection behavior, and his culpability in the january 6 riots. what you are going to see in 2024, and you are already seeing this in 2022, is a party that has -- that is broadly behind the trump legislative agenda, and i think what some people forget is liz cheney voted with trump when it came to legislation, more so than her successor. liz cheney had a 80's -- 80% something voting record with the trump agenda but this has never been about the legislative agenda. it's all -- it's always been about fealty or loyalty to trump the person. since last november, about this election. you will not see republicans trying to stick in needle in the
eye of their own voters by going against the former president in a way that is overt like this. what you will see and what we may see are republicans who try and welcome the trump wing of the republican base because when you have the trump wing of the party, and you have that suburban swing voter wing of the party that is available to you, you can put together a majority coalition, the same way glenn youngkin did in virginia. politics is about addition, not subtraction. you don't wage war against a wing of the party but you try and focus on issues that are unifying. that doesn't mean you have to agree with them. you can say look, the election wasn't stolen but look at what he did for the party. this is the sort of message you can try and use to bring every buddy together. i think you will see different republicans try that in 2024. you are seeing them try it in 2021 and 2022. i think that is the way you get to a majority coalition, if you