Interviews

Karl Rove sounds off about post-election protests

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right, well, happy Veterans Day, America, a country still divided over this election.  That's not too surprising.  

What is, is how violent some of them are getting, again, the exception, more than the rule, but a good many people not taking the notion of President Donald Trump very favorably.  

Again, always think, if this were reversed, though, and it was Donald Trump forces out there angry that Hillary Clinton had won, I suspect that the coverage would be a tad different.  But I could be wrong.  

To my friend Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush.  

Entertain my curiosity here, if you don't mind, Karl.  What if it were the other way around and it were Trump forces protesting right now because their guy hadn't won?

KARL ROVE, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  Well, we got a suggestion what that might be like in 2000 when, after George W. Bush was confirmed as president of the United States, we had the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives go on "Meet the Press" on December 17, 2000, and when twice asked by Tim Russert if President Bush was legitimately elected president of the United States, Dick Gephardt of Missouri, a good man, twice refused to answer the question.  

We had a lot of Democrats protesting.  Even today, Paul Begala, sort of a dead-ender, still says Bush was not legitimately elected president.  

CAVUTO:  Incredible.

ROVE:  So, not on the scale we're seeing now, but we have gotten a taste of it once before.  

CAVUTO:  But the thing is, we have seen a great deal of class and magnanimity certainly out of Hillary Clinton...  

ROVE:  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  ... and certainly out of the president of the United States.  

ROVE:  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  Should they -- or -- these are isolated incidents in isolated cities.  Is it incumbent on them to say something again, on anyone in leadership to say anything again, or just to ride it out?  I think one law enforcement official said, you ride it out.

ROVE:  Yes.  Look, the local law enforcement will ride it out.

And, look, there are elements that -- taking sort of college students here in Austin that we had marching down Congress Avenue.  The police chief said there were some -- they were just getting it out of their system, but there were bad agitators around trying to stir up violence and trying to stir up destruction of property.  

Clearly happening in Portland, which is near several sort of communes of really radical, violent anarchists.  But, look, I don't want to put it on President Obama or Secretary Clinton to do this.

But I do think some appropriate Democratic official, maybe the acting Democrat national chairman, Donna Brazile, ought to come out and say, as Democrats, we ought to respect the peaceful transfer of power and knock it off.  

But I got to tell you, I think we have seen three class acts in the last several days. Tuesday night, Donald Trump's concession -- or victory statement was incredibly good and generous and the right tone.  The concession speech the next day by Hillary Clinton could not have been better.  You can imagine the pain and bitterness that must be in there, but she didn't let it show.

And then President Obama's comments, I thought, were terrific.  

CAVUTO:  You know, Karl, and I did want to talk about the possible picks that they be looking at in a Trump administration, but I can't help but mention and get your take on this and what it could do and present Donald Trump with when he assumes office, if it's still going on.

The idea is to idea is to hit him hard and make him a very compromised president-elect and a president on Inauguration Day, right?  That's the goal.  

ROVE:  Well, it is.

But, look, in 2000, we had protesters lining the streets, 2001, January 2001, lining the streets in Washington, D.C.

CAVUTO:  Oh, I remember.

ROVE:  And a real fear that President Bush might be the subject of an attack.  

But, look, I got to tell you, my gut tells me that if Donald Trump continues to act the way that he has been acting, and President Obama continues to act the way that he has been acting, and Secretary Clinton continues, that a lot of the energy is going to be drawn out of this.  

President Trump has a chance, because this was settled on Election Day, and not contested by Secretary Clinton.  He has a chance for 71 days to continue to set the tone that is constructive and open and understanding of the diversity of the country.  And that will serve him well once he takes the oath of office on January 20.

CAVUTO:  Karl Rove, thank you very much.  

These breaking news developments warranted a slight shift here.  And I appreciate your patience doing that.

END

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