Gingrich: Trump 'very methodical' about Cabinet choices; Rep. McMorris Rodgers on joining Trump transition team

This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," December 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: Good morning, everybody. Happy Sunday.  Moving ahead.

Hi, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. Welcome to "Sunday Morning Futures."

President-elect Donald Trump stepping up his efforts to build his administration with now less than 50 days until Inauguration Day. What is his next move and who's next on the list?

And we'll check out the transition right now. We'll talk about that right now with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is with us. And Congressman Jeb Hensarling talking about rules and regulations.

Plus, what is the state of our nation's cybersecurity? Are we prepared for attacks at home and abroad? We'll talk with the former head of the intelligence agency.

General Keith Alexander is with us as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures".


BARTIROMO: And for more on the Trump transition, with me right now, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House, author of "Treason", and a Fox News contributor.

Mr. Speaker, good to see you again. Thanks so much for joining us.

NEWT GINGRICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's great to be back with you.

BARTIROMO: Broadly speaking, how would you characterize the transition so far? We had a great conversation last week with Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross who seemed very focused on priorities of tax reform, rolling back regulations, but broadly characterize what we have seen so far?

GINGRICH: Well, I think President-elect Trump have first of all has been very methodical and looked at absolutely first class people and I think generally has picked people who are going to be tough and I intelligent and have a lot of experience. I think, for example, that his choice of Betsy DeVos for education is just remarkably powerful because she spent years of her life fighting for the right of poor children in neighborhoods with bad schools, to have the choice of going to a better school. She's spent a great deal of her own personal money in this crusade to help poor children.  So, you can hardly have a better person as secretary of education.

At the same time, that Elaine Chao's ability to understand the federal government to bring people together will make her a very important secretary of transportation at a time when a very large infrastructure program is going to be a key part of the make America great jobs program that Trump is in favor of.

So, I look around. General Mattis is as good as anybody I have worked with in the Defense Department in the last 30 years. He is a remarkable person.

I am delighted they could talk him into doing it because he's a total patriot, and he will bring a very calm, very measured approach to that job.  He's very respected across the entire defense establishment. And Congress has to pass a waiver, but I'm confident it will go through with virtually no opposition because Jim Mattis is such a remarkable guy.

So, I look at what he's done up until now, Wilbur Ross is a brilliant guy, and knows how business works. Has proven it himself. Steve Mnuchin was described to me as one of the smartest finance people in the world, and the treasury secretary is an operational job. You've got to make it work every day.

It's not theoretical, and he will bring great experience and intelligence to making the job work.

BARTIROMO: The idea that Donald Trump is tweeting this morning about companies leaving the country and there will be consequences. Newt, there's some debate about that. I understand making America, you know, the most favorable place to do business, and making the tax code so attractive that you don't want to leave.

But to warn companies that there will be consequences, do you worry about this kind of tone?

GINGRICH: No, I don't, because I think he's trying to jar the system. I think, you know, he isn't going out and saying I'm going to pick on you individually. He's saying, look, there's a class of behavior which we're going to have a response to and we're sending a signal that this is going to be different, and it is going to be different. This is something people better get in their heads. He's going to intervene.

You know, every governor in the country intervenes to keep factories in their state or intervenes in order to convince somebody to invest and build a factory in their state. Well, Trump understands what the governors understand, which is we're in a worldwide competition with Mexico, with China, with other countries. And he's going to work very hard to figure out, and this is part of why he picked Wilbur Ross and he picked Steve Mnuchin. He wants to figure out how do we create an environment in which it's so desirable to be in the U.S., and, by the way, so expensive not to be in the U.S. So, I expect to see them take some steps to make it harder to import and easier to export as part of their general strategy.

BARTIROMO: Right, and that's what he said in the tweet this morning, basically saying there will be a tax on our soon-to-be strong border of 35 percent for those companies who leave the country, produce goods overseas like in Mexico, much cheaper, and then try to get those products back into the U.S.

GINGRICH: And the only question is, does that tax apply to everybody? So, if you're Toyota or you're Mercedes, or whatever, are you also going to pay that tax?

I suspect the tax will apply to all imports. And at the same time, I suspect he's going to create a rebate so if you're the Mercedes plant in Alabama, you're going to get money back if you ship your cars out of the company. But if you're going to pay a tax to get the cars into the U.S.

BARTIROMO: But isn't that 35 percent potential tariff the one thing that business and individuals were afraid of about his trade talk during the campaign, Newt? I mean, isn't that what we have been worried about? Then he said he was going to use it as a tool. Is it just a tool and a threat?  Or are we going to see a real disruption in terms of our trading partners with this potential tariff?

GINGRICH: Well, look, I think this again goes to the heart of Trumpism and why he was elected. We're running $600 billion and $800 billion a year deficits. If you cut that in half, that means you have disrupted a number of countries. If you actually turn it into a surplus over the next ten years, you have really disrupted a number of countries.

Now, the question is, do you want to keep running huge deficits and costing American jobs but having cheaper products? Or are you prepared to pay a little bit more for imported products but have dramatically more American jobs?

These are very disruptive moment in American history, and so far, the sentiment in the Congress and the presidential election, I mean, even Secretary Clinton was against the trade deal she had been in favor of because she found it was politically unsustainable.

BARTIROMO: Yes, you make a great point.

Let me move on to Taiwan. What do you make of this, Mr. Speaker? I mean, he says she called him, and of course, I'm going to take the call to, you know, answer the congratulations tone. But this is being looked at as a real pushback and a message to China.

How do you see it?

GINGRICH: I love this. I love this at every level.

First of all, I like the idea that if the freely elected leader of 23 million people, this is the third time that the Taiwanese have had an election in which the opposition party has won. So, they actually have a genuine free government. This is the first woman elected in her own right without having a husband or a father who was president before her. She's a totally legitimate figure. So, she calls you.

Now, understand the old establishment, the old timid State Department, the old rules, we would have turned down the phone call on the grounds we don't want to offend the dictatorship of Beijing.

Trump said, hey, if she wants to talk, I'll talk to her. He doesn't make any diplomatic gestures except he's talked with the freely elected leader of a country.

Now, the second thing I like about this is, it cuts straight across all of the State Department ideas. Nick Burns, a big guy in the State Department for years, said I'm afraid Trump is not listening to the State Department.  I tweeted, "I hope not, we elected him not to listen to the current State Department."

Lastly, it's a good signal to the Chinese. Beijing does not dictate who an American president speaks to. And they need to be under no illusions.

Donald Trump is different. He's not hostile to China. But at the same time, he's not going to kowtow and do what the Chinese want. This is very inexpensive, low-key way of doing that.

BARTIROMO: Yes, but at the same time, China is responding. Are we going into the new presidency with an already hostile tone to a country that is supposed to be one of our most important allies, China?

GINGRICH: I mean, they're not one -- the Chinese currently are trying to establish control over several islands in the North China Sea where they're claiming the right to establish an air corridor that they will control.  They're inventing islands in the South China Sea where they're trying to establish a claim of sovereignty over the entire region.

You know, we need to be clear. The Chinese are -- they're not our enemies, but they are our natural competitors right now. They're behaving like competitors and I think that we need -- we don't need to go into some kind of Cold War, but we need to be calmly and cheerfully firm that the United States in fact is not automatically going to do what Beijing wants it to do.

BARTIROMO: Yes. And, of course, this is going to be a job also for his next secretary of state. Do you expect that position to be announced this week? There was a report yesterday that now, Romney and Giuliani are out.  What's your take on who's going to take that role?

GINGRICH: Let me say something I have learned spending the last two years studying Donald J. Trump. I have known him for many years, but starting in January of last year, I talked to him about running and ever since we paid pretty close attention.

No one knows. There's only one person who knows who is going to be secretary of state. That person may not have yet made their mind up. When they do, it will be the person they want. It could be Giuliani, it could be Romney, it could be Petraeus, it could be Senator Corker. It could be Ambassador John Bolton. There's lots of talented people out there.

What I'm impressed with and I hope everybody will take note of this -- this has been his hardest decision for a lot of different reasons. It's a very hard job to fill right now, because each guy has strengths but also has weaknesses. And what's been impressive to me is his patience and methodically, calmly going through this.

He knows some of us are deeply opposed to Romney. That hasn't stopped him.  He knows that there's people strongly in favor of Romney, that hasn't automatically moved him.

He knows Giuliani has many supporters. I'm one of them. That doesn't automatically get him anything.

So, I have admired the very deliberate, very calm way in which Trump has gone through this. He's been very methodical. As you know, I am not a fan of Romney's, but if they have had several long meetings and had several deep conversations, and with this call from Taiwan, for example, I think Trump is indicating how central he will be to relations around the world and that he's not going to be the State Department's automatic puppet.

I think in that kind of setting, whoever he ends up picking is somebody I'll support because I think Trump is the person who has to have a vision of his administration and his cabinet.


GINGRICH: And he deserves some respect for having really very methodically worked this problem.

BARTIROMO: Yes, it's really extraordinary what's happening before the inauguration. So much activity.

Mr. Speaker, great to see you as always. Thanks so much.

GINGRICH: Good to be with you.

BARTIROMO: Always a pleasure. Newt Gingrich there.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: President-elect Trump is not skipping a beat when it comes to working with Congress. So, what can we expect from January and beyond?  We'll talk with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers live, next.

Follow me on Twitter @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures. Let us know what you would like to hear in these upcoming interviews.

Stay with us. We're looking ahead right now on "Sunday Morning Futures."  We'll be right back.



INTERVIEWER: Have you told him being president is not being CEO of the United States, that the Congress is going to have a say?

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have talked about that extensively. We've talked about the Constitution, Article I of the Constitution, the separation of powers. He feels very strongly, actually, that under President Obama's watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the legislative branch of government, and we want to reset the balance of power so that people in the Constitution are rightfully restored.


BARTIROMO: That's a sound bite of Speaker Paul Ryan that will be on tonight on "60 Minutes". He's weighing in on his evolving relationship with President-elect Donald Trump.

So, what does that mean from the new administration's first 100 days and beyond?

I want to bring in Washington state Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, and newly appointed co-vice chairman of the Trump/Pence presidential transition team.

Congresswoman, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS, R-WA.: Great to be with you, Maria.

BARTIROMO: So, this role, new role as vice chair of the Trump transition announced this past week. Tell us about that role and what you're doing.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, I'm really thrilled to be joining the transition team as one of the vice chairs. We're meeting on a regular basis and this is the team identifying the best and brightest across the country for President-elect Trump's consideration, and realize, there are over 400 positions that the Senate will have to confirm, over 4,000 positions within the federal government.

So, we're meeting on a regular basis. We're identifying the priority positions, and then the chairman of the transition team, Vice President- elect Pence, is the one that is guiding us through this and helping us identify what these positions are, and he's just looking for names. So, anyone who's interested should go to, submit their resume and get in to the cue.

BARTIROMO: Yes, there's a lot of positions, 400 to be confirmed, 4,000 throughout government.

Let me ask you about the priorities there, Congresswoman, because, obviously, there's a lot of debate about the meetings that Trump is having.  Obviously, Romney comes to mind.

How important is it for the team to have something like a team of rivals, people on the other side, people who may have been critical of Donald Trump along the way? Is that a priority in terms of who you're speaking with in these meetings?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: I am encouraged. When you look at President-elect Trump, he's looking at a broad base of people from around this country, really seeking the best and the brightest. I think that that speaks very highly of him, and those that he's appointed are ones we can really be proud he's putting in these positions. People that have a record of success, can hit the ground running.

I think that this is going to speak highly of -- does speak highly of him and will continue to serve him well in this process. And I would also note that he is ahead of schedule. When you compare this transition to other transitions, the people that he's appointed today, the positions that he's already nominated someone, he is operating at a record pace.

BARTIROMO: Congresswoman, let's talk about what you believe is doable in terms of getting through Congress and actually becoming law. Steven Mnuchin, the incoming treasury secretary last week told me the first 90 days after the inauguration, he's going to be trying to implement tax reform. And then Mike Pence told the "Wall Street Journal" that in the first 100 to 200 days, they've got plans aimed at fulfilling core campaign promises, jump starting economic growth.

Realistically speaking, what do you think passes Congress and what will we see in terms of some of the first new laws?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Right, well, obviously, this is an amazing moment that we have been given. And there's a lot to be done. This is our opportunity to think big and re-imagine this federal government.

The conversations about the first 100 days, the first 200 days, are under way right now between the Trump, new Trump administration, the House, and the Senate.

We have a lot of work to be done. We want to hit the ground running. But you look at some of these priorities, whether it's the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, yes, tax reform is a top priority. We want to get this economy growing.

This is a president-elect who campaigned and really connected with the working men and women of America. And that is going to be our priority, to lift the tax burden, the regulatory burden, the skyrocketing cost of health care. Those are all going to be priority items for this new administration and the new House and Senate.

BARTIROMO: And one of the bills that just passed the House, the 21st Century Cures Act, tell me how that fits in, funding R&D for life- threatening diseases?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Yes, 21st Century Cures. This is legislation we have been working on for over three years, brought bipartisan support. This mixture that America continues to be the leader in medical innovation.

And you think about personalized medicine, you think about the amazing scientific discoveries and the collaboration that we need to have taking place in America, this is an important legislation that will insure that America continues to be the leader in medical innovation and that the jobs and the research stay right here in America.

BARTIROMO: Real quick, we know that a lot of announcements are expected this upcoming week. Will we learn who secretary of state is this week?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: You know, there's a lot to be done. I think President- elect Trump is the only one that knows that answer. But I have been encouraged by the approach he's been taking.

BARTIROMO: Congresswoman, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us today.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Great. Great to be with you.

BARTIROMO: We appreciate it very much.

We are talking about rolling back regulations next and tax reform. Those are the two priorities for the new administration in terms of getting that economy moving. Can they get it done?

The House Financial Services Committee chairman will weigh in. Jeb Hensarling joins us live as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."



STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY DESIGNEE: We need to make sure that the bridges, the roads, the power grids, that we have a 21st century infrastructure. And we'll be looking at many ways of doing it. Some of it will be private/public partnerships. Some of it will be working with the states.

BARTIROMO: What is the most important bilateral deal you need to do?

WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY DESIGNEE: I think there's going to be lots of them. NAFTA is probably as good a starting point as any. NAFTA is technically three countries. But a lot of issues that we have that will benefit us and will also benefit both Mexico and Canada.


BARTIROMO: Two appointed cabinet members laying out some of their first priorities. Some of the things they intend to do for the Trump administration, speaking with me this week on the Fox Business Network.

It comes as the November jobs number brought mixed news about the economy.  Employers added 178,000 jobs to the economy last month, but a record number of job seekers are giving up their search and leaving the workforce all together. Wages also disappointing in that report.

I want to bring in Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling, the financial services chairman.

Good to see you, sir. Thank you so much for joining us.

REP. JEB HENSARLING, R-TEXAS: Good morning, Maria. Thanks for having me.

BARTIROMO: So, I want to talk about the number one priority, which I keep hearing from Steven Mnuchin and others in the administration, incoming administration. And that is tax reform.

Congressman, how do you expect to see tax reform executed in the first 100 to 200 days after the inauguration? According to Mike Pence and Steven Mnuchin?

HENSARLING: Well, number one, Kevin Brady, our chairman of the house ways and means committee has been working on this ever since he's been on the House Ways and Means Committee. Our speaker has been working on this.  Nothing says economic growth quite like tax reform, making the code fairer, simpler, more competitive, built for growth.

And so, we have a lot of momentum already going in the House. I would help that Democrats would want to join in on this. You know, when you have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, I think we're the third highest corporate tax rate out of 170-some odd countries. We know that that's one of the things sending jobs overseas.

So, it's going to be priority number one. Everybody is going to roll up their sleeves. We're never going to work so hard in Congress and we're never going to love it more.

BARTIROMO: I know the GOP house plan called for a corporate tax rate of 20 percent. Do you see -- would you see yourself voting for 15 percent, as Donald Trump has talked about, or do you expect it to be a bit higher, 20 percent, which was the GOP plan?

HENSARLING: Well, I don't know quite where we end up, Maria, but I know there's probably about 80 percent similarity between Chairman Brady's plan and the incoming administration's plan.


HENSARLING: So I'm sure we'll talk with them and find common ground. But the main thing is, it's got to be a fairer, flatter tax code that's built for growth, built for simplicity, and obviously holds the IRS accountable, too, perhaps the most feared government agency that has trampled upon our most sacred rights. We have to respect the rule of law.

And so, listen, there's a lot of common ground between those two plans. I have no doubt we can forge ahead, get this done and get us on the road to this 3.5 percent to 4 percent economic growth that we need to have.

BARTIROMO: So, you are expecting 3.5 percent to 4 percent economic growth in a short period of time, which is what Steven Mnuchin predicted as well?

HENSARLING: Well, Maria, if you get the right policy, yes. But I'm not oblivious to Senate rules that say for most matters, you have to have nine Democratic senators agreed. And so, there has to be a lot of focus on them and their decisions.

But if you had a fundamental tax reform, if you got rid of Dodd/Frank, which is clogging the arteries of capital going through our system, helping cause small business lending to be at a 25-year low.


HENSARLING: Entrepreneurship at a generational low. You had tax reform, got rid of too Dodd/Frank regulatory reform, where the rule of law is restored, not the discretion of regulators but the rule of law. I have no doubt, and with the trade negotiations that I believe this new administration can successfully conclude -- yes, we're capable of it, but you have to get public policy right.

BARTIROMO: And part of that negotiation seems to be Donald Trump's tweeting. I mean, you know, the tweet this morning that basically is warning companies, look, if you take jobs overseas and you create a factory overseas and try to get your product back into the U.S., there will be a 35 percent tax on your products. That will be at that strong border.

Do you agree with this tone? Warning companies, hey, it's our way or the highway, and yes, we're going to make America real attractive to do business here, but if you don't, you'll face a 35 percent tariff?

HENSARLING: Maria, I personally prefer carrots over sticks. I also have heard the president-elect say that, again, we're going to have fundamental tax reform. We're going to get rid of Dodd/Frank. We're going to conclude greater trade deals.

What I known, for example, about the Carrier deal, is Carrier issued a statement saying it was tax incentives by the state of Indiana and the pro- growth, pro-business job creation atmosphere and legislation that the new administration plans to propose.

So, again, I don't know exactly what the president-elect has in mind. I prefer carrots over sticks. And if we get the public policy right, we won't need any sticks.

BARTIROMO: So, you prefer not to see a 35 percent tariff?


BARTIROMO: Let me ask you this in terms of Dodd/Frank, Congressman. A lot of people are wondering really what dies in Dodd/Frank. What's the most onerous part from your standpoint?

Steven Mnuchin last week said, look, banks have to lend again. But what's the rule that you want to kill, or what are the areas of Dodd/Frank you think need to go away?

HENSARLING: Well, Maria, it's kind of a target-rich environment because it harmed us in so many ways and is a key contributor to our lousy 2 percent economic growth. Number one, the federal government should not be in the business of designating too big to fail firms. And because of that, under Dodd/Frank, the big banks have gotten bigger and the small banks have gotten fewer, and the taxpayer has gotten poorer.

Second of all, we have under Dodd/Frank a taxpayer bailout fund. I mean, this is just crazy. Did we not learn anything from the financial crisis?

So, we need to replace bailout with bankruptcy. And we need to replace private capital with federal control. And under the House Financial Services bill, what we call the Financial Choice Act, what we do is we give financial institutions a voluntary Dodd/Frank off-ramp. If you'll have a 10 percent simple leverage ratio, in other words, raise a whole lot of loss absorbing private capital, you can go out and run your bank. As long as you're using private capital and not taxpayer funds, you can go out and work and help fund the American dream.

So, the regulatory burden in Dodd/Frank is just immense. It's crushing our community financial institutions. We're losing one a day. And again, this is what funds our small businesses. The job creation engine of America.  So, those are just a couple provisions right there.


HENSARLING: But I need hours to go on about the harms that Dodd/Frank has done to the economy, and that's why House Republicans are going to replace it.

BARTIROMO: Yes, I can see it's going to be a new day. Certainly it is.  Sir, good to have you on the program. Thanks very much.

Congressman Hensarling there.

HENSARLING: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: We'll take a short break. A blue ribbon panel presenting a new report to President Obama this week on the future of cybersecurity in America. That's next.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back. A panel of the nation's top cybersecurity experts issuing a wide ranging report to President Obama on Friday, recommending a number of urgent changes, including technology upgrades in the federal sector, more cooperation between the government and private sector on digital network security and a so-called cybersecurity nutritional label for product safety ratings.

What does this all mean for the incoming Trump administration?

Joining me right now, retired four-star General Keith Alexander, now CEO and president of Iron Net Cyber Security, and a former NSA director who is also part of the Cybersecurity Commission.

General, great to have you on the program. Thanks so much for joining us.

GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, RETIRED 4-STAR GENERAL: Thanks, Maria. Great to be here.

BARTIROMO: Tell us about the cybersecurity commission and its impact?

ALEXANDER: Well, we had a commissioner, 12 commissioners together, a nonpartisan, look at the biggest issues to face our country in cyber security. As you mention, we came up with six imperatives, roughly 13 recommendations and over 50 action items.

When you look at this, you hit on some of the key things. What do we need to give to the next president, President-elect Trump and his administration, of what they could do their first 100 days in office to help set cyber security right.

This is hugely important for our nation for a whole host of reasons. If you think about the theft of intellectual property, the greatest transfer of wealth in history, this is something that president-elect Trump clearly understands. That's our future. We have to fix that.

And one of the ways of fixing that is by having government and industry work together, and joining those together, and coming up with ways to transfer information from the government to industry and from the industry to government at network speed.

Now, we came up with a series of ideas, including setting up a national board like the president's intel advisory board that would report directly to the president which would have industry on it. We talked about the next digital economy and what we could do, especially on the Internet of Things.


ALEXANDER: And if you think about that Internet of Things, think about the convergence going on there. You know, this latest attack on the Eastern Seaboard will use the Internet of Things as part of that. We can no longer think of those as separate entities. We have to think of those as ones converging on the internet.

So, you hit on a key point with your labels. How do we help people get the right devices when your refrigerator or your printer becomes a device to attack us? So, we got to think about that. Go ahead.

BARTIROMO: How do you -- I mean, do you have confidence that you are going to be able to get these private/public partnerships going when we know that we've got major privacy issues? You know, the law enforcement couldn't even get into the San Bernardino killer's phone, because technology companies would not open that phone because of privacy issues.

ALEXANDER: So, these are issues that we have to work on and have to be completely transparent with the American people. But it's my opinion, technically, we can protect this nation better than we ever have before.  And we can work with our allies to do that.

First, it starts with, and you would pick right up on this, we have to get the government house in order. And that means setting up some kind of civilian agency that does all of our I.T. and our cyber security as one.


ALEXANDER: And then have that work with the military side and intelligence community and industry. How do we put that group together? And then be transparent about the rules. What do we want to share?


ALEXANDER: This is -- our Constitution starts out with the common defense.  And this is the biggest change in history. Think about what's going on for our nation.

BARTIROMO: Absolutely.

ALEXANDER: Yes, we've got to get this right. I do believe we can do both.  I think --

BARTIROMO: And these are tough issues. We know that.


BARTIROMO: Let me ask you, General, Congress will need to pass a special law to allow retired Officer James Mattis to take the Pentagon's top post.  What's your take on that, President-elect Donald Trump naming James Mattis as his pick for defense secretary? Is he going to face a challenge or a problem in terms of getting confirmed?

ALEXANDER: Well, first, I have known Jim Mattis since we went to the War College together back in '93. He is a superb officer. He has been at every level of war, as you mentioned before. At the division level in Iraq in 2003, he led. At the core level, and then at the theater level.

He is a superb leader who understands what it's like to put military people at risk. And I think he will be a tremendous asset for President-elect Trump. I think that was a great choice. And he will give President-elect Trump good advice.


ALEXANDER: They can elect -- they can push this through. I don't see it as an issue unless we make it one. But truly, it's not an issue. This is a good person who will do a great job as our secretary of defense.

BARTIROMO: So, you think Congress will and should pass that special law to allow him retired for so many years to come back with no challenge in terms of confirmation? You think it will happen?

ALEXANDER: Absolutely. You know, they did it -- now, I wasn't around when they did it for Marshall, but they did it before and they could this again.  You know, we made these laws.

This is -- I think one of things we should take great pride in is look what the president-elect is doing. He's getting people from the full spectrum, as others have said on the program, the best and brightest across the board. That's what I think we need to do.

BARTIROMO: Would you like to see General Petraeus as secretary of state?

ALEXANDER: I think General Dave Petraeus is one of the smartest people I have ever worked with. He's a classmate, a friend. He's been at every level of war.

But he's been beyond that. When you think of Dave Petraeus, here's a guy who understands international issues better than anybody else in our government. He worked as the CentCom commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a CIA director, and his current civilian job. He's been to over 40 countries at every level.

And I think the incoming White House chief of staff has said, he's like a walking encyclopedia. This guy is brilliant.

So, I think we should take great pride in the fact that President-elect Trump is looking at individuals like Dave Petraeus.


ALEXANDER: A statesman, and like Romney and all the others. I think that's great, what he's doing. It really speaks well for the future of this country. Get the best in there. Help reform our government. Get this country going again. That's what we need to do.

BARTIROMO: General, it's great to have you on the program. Thank you so much, sir.

ALEXANDER: Thank you.

BARTIROMO: General Keith Alexander there.

Let's look what's coming up at the top of the hour on "MediaBuzz."

Here's Howie Kurtz. Good morning, Howie.


Donald Trump going after the dishonest press once again at a rally, tweeting up a storm, breaking with decades of protocol by accepting the call from the president of Taiwan. The media struggling to figure out how to cover this guy. Even a debate, should we cover his tweets? What if the tweets are not in accordance with the facts?

We'll look at that and more coming up on "Media Buzz."

BARTIROMO: All right. Howie, we'll see you in about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, some Democrats pointing the finger almost a month after the election. Others arguing it's time to start rebuilding the party. Our panel weighs in on all of the above, next.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Top Democrats still struggling to unify nearly a month after Hillary Clinton's loss. Did Bernie Sanders hurt her too much in the primaries?  Could he have beaten President-elect Donald Trump? And should they just move on and rebuild the party?

I want to bring in our panel. Ed Rollins is former principal White House adviser to President Reagan, and chief strategist for a Trump super PAC.  Julie Roginsky is a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor. And Jack Brewer with us today, former NFL star, CEO of the Brewer Group.

Good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

So, Nancy Pelosi re-elected. Keith Ellison pushed forward for the head of the DNC. It doesn't feel like the Democrats are listening to what the American people want to talk about, given these -- am I wrong?

ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: No, six weeks ago, eight weeks ago, the story was when Trump loses, Republicans are in disarray. It will take them 20 years to put it all back together again. We're obviously now in a much better position moving forward.

I think the Democrats got old. The leadership got old. Obviously, it's always difficult after a terrible defeat like this, and the premise is not just the defeat at the top. It's a defeat all the way through the line, and we now have more governors than we ever had, more state legislatures, Congress controlled by both -- Republicans, both House and the Senate.

I think they have a rebuilding and they have to find some new leaders, some younger leaders.

BARTIROMO: But they're not doing that, Julie, that's the point. The idea to get pushed all the way to the left by the Bernie Sanders and the Elizabeth Warrens of the world, they're not going towards the middle. And answering what people are talking about in terms of jobs.

JULIE ROGINSKY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You know, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and that's absolutely right.  We're doing the same thing over and over again. That is absolutely right.  We have lost the vast majority of state houses, not only at the governor level but also the legislative level. Obviously, the House is gone to us.  The Senate which should have been ours this year because of the math is not. And we lost the presidential election that quite frankly we should have won.

So, we need to look -- we're going to look at the leaders that we've had in place. And to me, to re-elect Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the House Democrats just makes no sense. It's not a reflection on her per se, but it's time for new blood, time for new leadership. We need to reassess, we need a full-time DNC chair.

I'm not really clear on who that person should be, but if it's Keith Ellison, he owes it to the people of Minnesota and his district and the Democrats across the country to focus on one job or the other, because it is a full-time job to rebuild our party.

We need to take stock and make sure we don't repeat the same mistake in '17 when we have a few governors races up, in '18 when we have a lot of governor races up.


ROGINSKY: The House and a third of the Senate.

BARTIROMO: So, what's the problem? I thought Tim Ryan got it. I mean, he seemed very much down the line.

And, you know, most people in this country are hanging out in the middle.  You might lean to the right or the left, he was in the middle. And yet Nancy Pelosi -- he's failed in challenging Nancy Pelosi.

ROGINSKY: It's very hard, and Ed knows it, we both worked in D.C., it's very hard to overthrow an existing leader who doles out goodies, and doles out committee chairmanships or ranking memberships and appointments. And it's vastly hard task to do unless you really have a coalition of people coming together to do it, as they have.

ROLLINS: She's been a tremendous fund-raiser, and that's basically the premise.


ROLLINS: Nancy and I are peers. We started in California politics together. I'm an old man. She should retire or basically be speaker emeritus or whatever, step aside. Let somebody else in the game.

BARTIROMO: Jack, how do you see?

JACK BREWER, FORMER NFL STAR: It's like a football team searching for an identity. And whenever you're a political party, that's not good. They came off a -- obviously a horrific defeat that was shocking. But I use sports analogies a lot, whenever you're competing.

And so, if you look a football team that doesn't know whether they want to run or throw the ball, you're going to be in disarray. I think that's what you're seeing with the Democratic Party.

BARTIROMO: Because they don't understand what the American people really want at this point. It's about jobs and economic growth, I think.

ROGINSKY: It is. And I one thing I have to say, on the other hand, the Republicans have the car keys to everything, so it's up to them to deliver.

In the next few years, if they don't deliver, if Donald Trump doesn't deliver, if the House and Senate don't deliver, guess what's going to happen. We'll talk about Republicans in disarray. So, you know, the car keys belong to the Republican Party now. God bless. Go do it.

ROLLINS: Well, the interesting thing is, you know, Democrats lost three landslide elections in the '80s. The guy who came -- sort of led them out of the wilderness was Bill Clinton, who understood about centrist Democrats and basically did a very effective job. His mantra, which obviously many people thought his wife would carry that ball, she didn't, and the idea that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren are going to take it back to the promise land is absurd.


ROLLINS: So, my sense is, if you want to get back to the working class Democrat that you lost in this election, the map is going to stay the same.  The big problem is they have 25 senators up next time. We have seven. Ten of those are in seats that Romney won. So they can really get clobbered in the next election.

BARTIROMO: Yes, it's pretty extraordinary.

OK. We'll be right back. More from our panel, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the best tweet. I mean, wow, what a great, smart tweet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, we're in a security briefing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, but this could not wait. It was from a young man named Seth. He's 16. He's in high school. And I really did retweet him, seriously. This is real.


BARTIROMO: "Saturday Night Live" having a ball with this election, and Trump responding this morning, "Just tried watching ‘Saturday Night Live', unwatchable. Totally biased, not funny, and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad."

We're with our panel right now. Ed Rollins, Julie Roginsky, Jack Brewer with us this morning.

They're going to have a long run with this.

ROLLINS: Sure, they will. What Trump has to understand is 5.7 million people watch "Saturday Night Live" and it's part of the culture. He can go on two shows on Fox and reach more people than that. So, he just needs to get over it, move forward and just laugh at it like everybody else.

BARTIROMO: Yes, it's funny because when they were making fun of Sarah Palin, they actually did penetrate. They hurt Sarah Palin. They have been unable to hurt Donald Trump, Julie.

ROGINSKY: Well, I'm not sure they're doing a caricature so much as word for word impersonation, it seems.

I mean, look, the problem with Donald Trump is he's got 300 million people to worry about. He's worried about Alec Baldwin and he's tweeting this out at 12:30 a.m.? It underscores exactly what is being made fun of, which is the fact that instead of focusing on, I don't know, the One China Policy, which he should familiarize himself with --


ROGINSKY: He's tweeting about Alec Baldwin in the middle of the night.  Come on. Grow up.

BARTIROMO: He is focused on a platform.

You know, Steven Mnuchin was with me last week and Wilbur Ross. They're talking about lowering taxes, Jack, in the first 90 days. They start talking about rolling back regulation in the first 200 days. They've got a plan on the table.

BREWER: And that's what it's about, and I think that's what Donald Trump is doing. I'm excited to see the tax reform coming along, as a small business owner.

You know, it's time. That's what the Democrats are kind of missing the boat. You know, the American people want change. And so, it's not about making everyone happy and trying to pull everyone in America to like you.  It's about picking a side and being decisive on real decisions that affect people.

And we've got to laugh at ourselves. I love watching "Saturday Night Live."

ROLLINS: I do, too. He had the best week of anybody in the transition period. He had a home run with Carrier.


ROLLINS: And, basically, his appointments have been better than people anticipated. It's kind of -- so, my sense is he's dominated the political scene. Obama is obviously trying to get out of the White House and do some things but nobody is paying attention.

BARTIROMO: We'll probably hear a secretary of state announcement next week.

Jack, who's going to win the football games today? Which team are you watching?

BREWER: The New York giants. The New York football Giants.

BARTIROMO: Boom, there you go.

BREWER: Let's do it.

ROGINSKY: New Jersey Giants, that's where they play, but that's a whole separate issue.

BARTIROMO: Jack Brewer, Julie Roginsky and Ed Rollins, thank you.

That will do it for "Sunday Morning Futures". We'll see you tomorrow, Fox Business Network, 6:00 a.m. See you then.

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