Sign in to comment!

Interviews

Jack Welch: Trump has to complete his promises

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 9, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Jack Welch is here right now, the former CEO of General Electric, arguably one of the greatest CEOs this country has ever had.

Jack, that is going to be a little tense, that meeting, isn’t it?

JACK WELCH, FORMER CHAIRMAN & CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: Absolutely.

But I think Donald Trump and the president are schmoozes enough that they will work their way through it nicely.

CAVUTO: Yes. I think you’re right about the schmoozing part. They are both very good at that.

But, you know, people remember bad comments. When you were a young man when you were taking over GE, you had a couple of rivals for the job. How did that go?

WELCH: Well, you know, Neil, it was shocking, because one of the rivals came into me and handed me his resignation. He was a very capable guy.  And I said, what the hell is this all about?

And he said, well, I supported the other candidate. And I said look, tear that up and stay here. You got to reach out.

CAVUTO: Did he stay?

WELCH: Yes, stayed and became vice chairman and stayed 20 years.

CAVUTO: Sure. Wow.

The question here is, the parties are very different. So, it’s not as if, when the Democrat argues you want the president to succeed, only so much, right? I guess what are they saying when they say stuff like that?

WELCH: It’s part of the charade, the dance.

CAVUTO: I got you.

WELCH: Let’s face it. I have been on television once today. And the fellow was telling me that...

CAVUTO: Were you on television prior to this?

WELCH: My God. I apologize, Neil.

CAVUTO: What were you on?

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: An old network that you knew.

CAVUTO: Oh, my gosh. Does it begin with a C?

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: OK. Fine.

WELCH: No, but the point is, I was on with a fellow who was making...

CAVUTO: Did they give you the questions ahead of time?

WELCH: No. That’s...

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: You got to have...

CAVUTO: I understand. I’m joking, of course. Go ahead.

WELCH: No, but I think the point is, everyone now wants Trump to change.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: But Trump won. You remember during the ACA…

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: ... when Obama looked at Paul Ryan and said, who won? I won.

Now, I think...

CAVUTO: Well, he was shoving that in their face.

WELCH: Yes. But I think it would be smart for Trump to reach out and get the best people. That’s the game here now.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But he can run the table right now. He has got the House and the Senate. This is something that Barack Obama had when he first came to Washington, at least the first two years. They got a lot of stuff done. A lot of Republicans don’t like what they got done, but they got a lot of stuff done.

How much do you think he can done, if you were advising -- leaving aside the people he picks for his Cabinet and key agencies -- we just had a congressman who just gave me a laundry list of things they want to do, like regulatory relief, tax cuts, beef up the military, all within the first 100 days.

WELCH: Right.

CAVUTO: How would you fine-tune it, because you had a blitzkrieg beginning at GE?

WELCH: Yes.

No, I think -- first of all, I think he has got to complete his promises.  ACA, he has got to...

CAVUTO: You’re talking about the Affordable Care Act.

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: He wants to junk it, repeal it.

WELCH: He has got to junk it. And he has got to have an answer there.

And I think Paul Ryan has the makings of an answer. Now, he and Paul Ryan -- Paul Ryan was very conciliatory this morning.

CAVUTO: Right.

WELCH: And they might make good dance partners for a while.

CAVUTO: How does that go, though, Jack? When you got the CEO job, you know, up until Donald Trump was elected last night, the highest ranking Republican of the country was Paul Ryan.

I guess the conventional kind of decorum on this subject is the president is the leader of not only the country, but of the party. So, technically, he is over Paul Ryan and he will call the shots for the party. How do you think all of that is going to go down?

WELCH: I think if this morning is any indication, I think Paul Ryan wants to play ball, because he’s a policy wonk.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: He has got 18 policies that he wants to get back. He needs the president.

CAVUTO: And the president needs him.

WELCH: And they need each other.

Now, if they are smart, they will do that. I think they will. Look, Donald Trump knows how to make a deal.

CAVUTO: Do you think he should cut taxes immediately?

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: Right away?

WELCH: Particularly the corporate.

CAVUTO: Because it takes a long time to go through.

WELCH: Particularly corporate.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

How do you think he will do with his own party vs. the Democrats? He doesn’t need the Democrats that much for a lot of stuff, but you don’t want to start out on a bad foot. We’re told Nancy Pelosi called him today to congratulate him.

But you need to do more, right? Or do you?

WELCH: Look, I think his own party will line up behind him. You see it everywhere you turn now today. They are stepping over each other for the new boss. OK?

CAVUTO: Did that happen to you? Like, when you became the big cheese, did people then...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Everyone was sucking up to you, right?

WELCH: I got much smarter very quickly. And I had to have a mirror test to be sure that it was...

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: But did you remember, hey, wait a minute, not too long ago, before I got this assignment, you were ripping me a new one?

I mean, Donald Trump, how does he handle that when people are suddenly embracing him?

WELCH: Well, I think he will have trouble with a guy like Kasich.

CAVUTO: Right, the Ohio governor.

(CROSSTALK)

WELCH: Yes. I don’t think he will have much trouble with Cruz, who went out to Iowa and...

CAVUTO: But he won’t be dealing with Kasich really that much, right? He’s a governor.

WELCH: Well, he might want a job.

CAVUTO: Oh, I see. I see.

WELCH: Now I’m talking about jobs.

CAVUTO: Jobs, OK.

WELCH: These guys don’t have long futures if they don’t land something.

CAVUTO: Yes. Yes.

For the Clintons and where they go, the idea that Donald Trump could take out the Bush family and the Clinton family, if you think about it, is fairly remarkable.

WELCH: It is unbelievable.

CAVUTO: How did he do it?

WELCH: By touching a vein. He found a crowd in Middle America and along the East Coast down a ways who clearly needed voice. No one was listening to them. The politicians ignored them.

CAVUTO: You were. You said that there was that tapped rage out there.  And early on, you liked the way Cruz was addressing that.

WELCH: I thought Cruz had the same idea.

CAVUTO: But you quickly seized on the significance of Donald Trump.

WELCH: After Cruz.

CAVUTO: After Cruz.

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: But then you didn’t like Cruz, right, because he -- after the convention.

WELCH: Well, I didn’t like him for the -- right.

CAVUTO: So, you think the Republicans will unite around him.

And talking ability Trump’s agenda and all, what -- is he going to be like an Andrew Jackson-type president? Do you think he’s just be this bull in a china shop president? And would that be a good thing, because people just don’t know what to make of them?

WELCH: We have got to get this economy going. We have got to get jobs.  We have got to get regulations off our back. And we can’t have a 600 percent increase in immigration of Syrians, if you will. You have got to have a border. He’s going to get a border in place. Now, he will have...

CAVUTO: What if he never builds that wall?

WELCH: That’s not important.

CAVUTO: Really?

WELCH: No.

What is important is he puts authority in immigration agencies, that he drives the authority, supports them all the away.

CAVUTO: So, the wall was a metaphor for that?

WELCH: Exactly. Get a great, if you will, wall of regulation that doesn’t let these people in. And we don’t have to go back and forth five times and we don’t support sanctuary cities. We don’t do that stuff.

CAVUTO: Right.  

I think you and I were talking about this, but I thought the key to Trump’s success was -- and this is why I thought he would win -- is that he is very E.Q.-oriented. And Clinton with the policy statements was very I.Q.- oriented, very smart woman, don’t get me wrong. She had the index card with the all the litany of things he wanted to do.

And he would mix it like a stand-up comic with news of the day interwoven with his basic stump speech. I thought it was funny and engaging. My kids would want to listen to it.

How important is getting that part right, this part, the hard part, you know?

WELCH: Huge. And he touched a lot on -- now, people in New York and the people in L.A., he didn’t touch them at all.

CAVUTO: Right.

WELCH: OK?

But the people that work every day to make the food -- to get the money for the food on the table who hadn’t been listened to for a long time, he touched them. And there’s a silent majority in many places.

CAVUTO: Many, many.

And, by the way, more women and minorities than we thought, maybe more Hispanics than we thought, certainly higher percentages that they’re crunching now. Would you ever want to, if he called you up, and say join his administration?

WELCH: No.

CAVUTO: Why not?

WELCH: Look, I don’t want any part of being there. I

CAVUTO: Why?

WELCH: I would love to put my two cents’ worth in with him.

CAVUTO: Well, you’re a great golfer. He is a great golfer.

WELCH: But what I don’t want to do is go to work...

CAVUTO: How many presidents have you golfed with?

WELCH: One, two.

CAVUTO: Presidents of the country, I mean.

WELCH: Yes.

CAVUTO: Wow.

WELCH: Three, I think.

CAVUTO: That’s awesome.

Well, that’s the kind of connection that if you were helping him out maybe in the Cabinet.

WELCH: The Cabinet -- let me tell you what happens when you go to the Cabinet.

You go from being a CEO or private citizen to a staff member, where they call you in. Your secretary says, the boss is calling.

CAVUTO: And you were the boss.

(CROSSTALK)

WELCH: Yes, but you haven’t had a boss call you in 15 years.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

WELCH: OK? And all of a sudden, you’re one input in a staff.

CAVUTO: You don’t need that. You don’t need that.

WELCH: No, thank you.

CAVUTO: So, you will just advise him on the golf course.

WELCH: I will tell you, what I want him to do is take the action to get the real jobs back and get up this phony 4.9 percent unemployment. It is closer to 10 than it is 5.

CAVUTO: The real unemployment right now.

WELCH: Real unemployment.

And we got to get jobs going. And we can’t have these regulations killing us.

CAVUTO: You’re right.

I will say this. And I have always thought your key to success, beginning with "Straight From the Gut," a great book, is, it has to be from the gut.  You have to get to people from a certain level that goes beyond just wonkiness. And that is what we need.

WELCH: Your job as a leader is to get in the skin of everyone, show them where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and what is in it for them when you get there.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: You get those three things going and, man, you have got it.

CAVUTO: That’s what I do with the prompter every day, every day, Jack, every day.

Great seeing you, my friend.

WELCH: Great seeing you.

CAVUTO: Jack Welch.

Makes you think. But Jack was way ahead of people. He said, you know, Neil, you can’t just pitch from the head. You have got to pitch from the heart. Donald Trump does that, he could be off to the races, right?

WELCH: I think so.

CAVUTO: All right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.