This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," January 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to actually make all more competitive.
MARK FIELDS, FORD MOTOR COMPANY PRESIDENT: The president is very, very serious on making sure that the United States economy is going to be strong.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are going to be cutting taxes massively for both the middle class and for companies. We are trying to get it down to anywhere from 15 percent to 20 percent, and it is now 35 percent. We think we can cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more, but by 75 percent. We've got plenty of trade, but TPP wasn't the right way, so we're going back to those countries one-on-one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That address on Friday was a great middle-class address. It hit home for the people who had been hurt. That was a great moment for working men and women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Just some sound from the meetings at the White House today. President Trump meeting with business leaders, signing executive orders, and also meeting with union leaders. Of the seven unions represented in that meeting today, all seven of them endorsed Hillary Clinton in the election this past cycle.
The executive actions so far, he halted reduction to annual mortgage insurance premium borrowers pay when taking out government-backed home loans, ordered agencies to freeze new regulations, giving the new administration time to review them, imposed a hiring freeze for some federal government workers as a way to shrink the size of government, excluding the military as the president noted at the signing, issued a directive to federal agencies to ease regulatory burdens of Obamacare -- that lays the pathway for repeal and replace -- signed a notice that the U.S. will begin withdrawing from the TPP, Transpacific Partnership, reinstated the so-called Mexico City policy, a ban on federal funds to international groups that perform abortions or lobby to legalize or promote abortion. That was his definition of day one.
Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, editor in chief of The Weekly Standard; Mara Liasson, national political correspondent of National Public Radio; editor in chief of Lifezette, Laura Ingraham, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Laura, thoughts on day one in his book?
LAURA INGRAHAM, LIFEZETTE.COM: He got a lot done today. Most of these issues are things he campaigned on. That moment with the union leaders, all of whom supported Hillary Clinton, was really well produced. There was some concern, there was some of the rocky stuff that happened over the weekend, but it was like they planned this thing out from the executive order signing to that moment with union leaders. I think those kinds of images and those comments, maybe 10 seconds or 15 seconds from that union chief, those are wonderful moments for him. He's going to have to follow through with a lot more, but for day one, conservative thinking this was all just talk and there wasn't going to be any action, I think so far today was a homerun for him.
BAIER: For all the angst about the analysis, Mara, about the inaugural speech, to hear that union leader, who again, endorsed Hillary Clinton, talk about it from a middle-class point of view, that was interesting.
MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: And you know what was interesting about, I was at the White House today. President Trump called the press pool back in to hear that guy say that. They had already left, and then he called them back into make sure they heard somebody, not just from him, because his comments to the pool were going to have jobs, we're going to build factories, everything's going to be great, no more trade deals. Then the press was called back in so they could hear that guy.
Today was a very on-message day after a rocky weekend. Everything reinforced Trump's nationalist populist message, from getting out of TPP, he had something for social conservatives with Mexico City, he got something for fiscal conservatives with the hiring freeze. And then he had this unusual, for a Republican, meeting with the labor groups. And some were local union leaders, not just national unions. And when he met with those CEOs, and you played a clip earlier, he did tell them he would slash taxes and regulations, but he also told them that if you move your factories to Mexico and you want to import goods fact, we're going to slap a 35 percent import tariff on you. BAIER: Some carrots and sticks. He was asked in that union meeting about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, whether it will be renegotiated. He said at the appropriate time, saying that that was going to happen. Steve, he also called the press pool back in late today at a meeting, a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders. We just have a little clip of that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is the meeting going, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Very good. We have a fantastic relationship with everybody at the table. Totally just a beautiful, beautiful relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(LAUGHTER) BAIER: A beautiful, beautiful relationship. He's got Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi there. But he is making a bipartisan outreach on day number one.
STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes. Look, it's good. I think this was a very good day. He spent 18 months campaigning for the White House to do stuff on day one. This is day one, and he's gotten a lot accomplished. The executive action, the kinds of things that Laura was talking about and the kinds of things that you listed.
Some of it I think will be music to the ears of free-market conservatives. You look at the federal hiring freeze, that's great. People are going to love it. His talk about tax cuts this morning, about eliminating regulations, freezing new regulations, eliminating the ones that exist, that's the kind of thing that's going to make conservatives happy.
After the inaugural speech where I think some conservatives were concerned that there wasn't a case for re-limiting government. Some of that was good. I think for those of us who believe in free trade, we're concerned about some of the other comments he made about the tariffs, about revisiting NAFTA, what have you. A lot of those details still need to be worked out, but this was a very good day I thought for the Trump administration. I don't think that the relationship with Chuck Schumer is very good right now. It was a very rocky weekend. The relationship between Republicans and Chuck Schumer --
BAIER: To that point, on confirmations, they were supposed to have a move on the CIA director, Pompeo, the nominee. And he had pledged to vote. And then there was a dustup on the floor that you reported on between Senator Tom Cotton and Chuck Schumer, also Senator Burr and Senator Cornyn. And there you see they get in each other's face, they kind of point at each other. Apparently there were some different words used -- words that have been used on that floor before, but an exchange that you said was pretty heated.
HAYES: Alternative words. No, I think there may well have been some f- bombs dropped. This was a testy exchange because Republicans will tell you Chuck Schumer made a promise that if Republicans would agree to move the confirmation hearing for Mike Pompeo to be CIA director back one day, Chuck Schumer would agree to include Mike Pompeo in the group of national security officials that was passed in the Senate by voice vote on inauguration day. That didn't happen. Republicans have said that Chuck Schumer went back on his pledge. When he was asked for an explanation, according to several sources that I've talked to, Schumer said to the Republicans, well, I was speaking in my personal capacity. I wasn't speaking as the leader of the Democrats. And Richard Burr, Senate intelligence community chairman, who is not known for being particularly aggressive or fiery, said today to one of our reporters on Capitol Hill, he lied.
BAIER: Charles, it does, though, seem that Pompeo will get through. Tillerson after Rubio and Lindsey Graham and John McCain as secretary of state will also get through. He just passed committee this evening.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Once McCain and Lindsey Graham approved of the nomination of Tillerson, it was a done deal. I don't think Rubio wanted to be a lone holdout. Everyone, the hardliners said they are not totally convinced, but they are not going to veto a presidential appointment, especially one of this stature.
But on the Schumer issue, it's a beautiful, beautiful relationship. I have a question. What was he doing on the inaugural stage, and what was his speech about? It's the one thing I haven't seen covered. It was one of the oddest events ever.
BAIER: And it was long.
KRAUTHAMMER: It was long and his speech went nowhere. Now we know about the captain, or general, whoever it was, but it seemed slightly out of place, and it was never actually explained. But that's an aside.
Look, Trump had a great day today starting with the fact that it wasn't Saturday. But it was very organized, very disciplined, and I think that scene of him with the union leaders was a great act of political larceny. That is the Democratic constituency. That's the constituency he's stole to get elected to the presidency. And as long as he nurtures it, he's got a leg up on the Democrats until 2020.
BAIER: More outreach like that. We shouldn't overlook that Mexico City policy. Tom Cotton said "reaffirming this policy will usher in a new era of concern for the unborn. Not one dime of taxpayer money should pay for abortion. I think this decision will go a long way toward spreading a culture of life both in this country and around the world." It's a big deal for social conservatives.
INGRAHAM: Absolutely. And Sean Spicer reaffirmed that today in the press conference. He was asked directly about that and he said we are standing up, essentially paraphrasing, for the most vulnerable, people who are basically unborn and born, all Americans deserve our protection. And I think -- think back to the primary. All these social conservatives were really concerned about Trump, what kind of judges he's going to nominate. He's not really pro-life, he's going to do this, he's going to do that, he's just a liberal in disguise. And this was done on day one. That is pretty good so far.
LIASSON: Any Republican president would have done this on day one, as they've done in the past. However, what happened is presidents changed their parties don't completely blow up the old coalition and replace it with something new. They bridge the old base of the party like social conservatives, and they bring in new people like the labor union. So that's what you saw today. He wasn't breaking faith with the old base of the Republican Party. On the contrary, he was making good on his promises to them.
BAIER: After Saturday, don't you think today was calming for a lot of his party?
HAYES: No question.
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