First 100 Days

Huckabee and Goolsbee debate new immigration orders; Ronna Romney McDaniel: Trump is a champion of women

Former Arkansas governor and former economic adviser to President Obama weigh in on 'The First 100 Days'

 

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," February 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, just off our powerful town hall on the new Trump administration immigration orders, a closer look at what actually happened now. 15,000 new agents will form the backbone of this new force.  New questions tonight over how the rewrite will or perhaps won't be all that dramatic since the Obama administration oversaw deportations more than the Bush and Clinton years combined when he was in office.

Just hours after homeland security released those directives, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has a possibly tricky trip to leaders -- to talk with leaders in Mexico City.

So here is how some of this was communicated today at the White House on day 34.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I would argue that we have a very healthy and robust relationship with the Mexican government and Mexican officials.  And I think they would echo that same sentiment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Back to Mexico, Videgaray and many officials have said this morning that they're not going to accept the directives that were put out by the White House and by DHS yesterday, and they may not take anyone that's not a Mexican immigrant.

What are you guys going to do with those people that Mexico will not accept?

SPICER:  I think Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly are going to have a great discussion down there and to walk through the implementation of the executive order.  But I feel very confident that any country who has a citizen that comes into this country that we send back, we'll make sure that they comply with this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  And speaking just hours ago in Guatemala, DHS secretary John Kelly said that while there will be no mass deportations under these new directives, the public should expect removals of illegal immigrants to happen more quickly than at any point over the past decades.

So what's the difference between those two things you may ask?

Governor Mike Huckabee and former Obama administration member Austan Goolsbee standing by to react to that in just a moment.  But, first, we go to Trace Gallagher live in our L.A. newsroom for the latest on what all of this really means.

Good evening, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Martha.  Experts say it's nearly impossible to say how many of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. will be affected by these new guidelines. But under the broader policies, the number could be in the millions.

So let's begin with what is not changing.  First, under President Trump's plan, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA will stay the same, meaning illegal immigrants under the age of 31 often referred to as dreamers, who came to the U.S. as children will still be allowed to legally work and go to school.

And like the Obama administration, this administration will not go after illegals in sensitive locations, like churches, schools, hospitals, or public demonstrations.  And the focus will still be on deporting undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.

Here is what is changing.  The definition of criminal aliens will expand to include things like drunk driving, shoplifting and any violation of immigration laws.  Experts say that's a wide net that could technically apply to anyone who illegally cross the border. Although, DHS Secretary John Kelly emphasized there would be no mass roundups.  But there will be expedited removal, which means instead of waiting months or years for deportation cases to make their way through the legal system, the courts would largely be bypassed.  And Border agents and immigration agents would have wider latitude to decide whether someone should be deported.

The plan is to hire 15,000 more agents but that could take time, considering 2 out of 3 border and customs applicants fail the polygraph test.  And we are already 2,000 agents under staffed.

For context, there were 869,000 deportations under President Clinton, just over 2 million under President Bush and over 3 million under President Obama.  The current administration is hoping to keep that trend moving up.

Martha?

MACCALLUM:  Thank you, Trace.

Joining me now for reaction to all this, Governor Mike Huckabee, Fox News contributor and two-time presidential candidate and Austan Goolsbee, economics professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.  He served as chief economist to President Obama.

Gentleman, welcome.  Good to have you here today.

So some of these details still sinking in and being sorted through.

Governor Huckabee, let me start with you.  What do they mean?  What did they say to you?

GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, I think it says Donald Trump is keeping a campaign promise, one that the American people elected him to do.

Let me ask a simple question.  Do you lock your doors at night when you go to bed?  Of course you do.  You do, Austan does, so do I.  Why?  Because we don't know who is going to come through those doors.

Donald Trump is locking America's doors at night and he says if you would like to come in, knock on the door, we will come to the door.  But just like in every neighborhood, we don't open the door and invite everyone in who knocks on the door.  We'll check these folks out.  We'll see.  That's common sense.  I don't know why there's such an outrage about it, except that it's manufactured outrage because nothing all that different is being done except enforcing the law, especially on those who were breaking the law by committing violent acts.

MACCALLUM:  You know, Austan, just going through so many of the stories and so much of what was written about this today, in most cases, no one -- you know, a lot of news outlets don't use the word illegal immigrant.  They are not describing these people as here illegally.  They are calling them all immigrants, but that's not the case.

We are talking about people who have come into the country and stayed here illegally and who have committed crimes.  I mean, those are the first people who are on this list.  And I can tell you just from Florida last night, most people are OK with that.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS:  Well, I don't know what news report you are referring to. They are usually.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  Well, New York Times, front page.

GOOLSBEE:  .are called undocumented immigrants, rather than calling them illegal immigrants.  They call them undocumented immigrants.

MACCALLUM:  But it's illegal to be undocumented and to be in the country. Do you see that?

GOOLSBEE:  I understand that.  That is why the reason there is outrage is not that Donald Trump is fulfilling a campaign promise, it's that he's directly violating a campaign promise.

MACCALLUM:  How so?

GOOLSBEE:  He came up with this plan during the campaign, and he said there would be a deportation force and that they would round up millions of what he called illegal immigrants.

And there was massive outrage at that plan and his Republican opponents in the primaries said that that would cost tens of billions of dollars that could be better spent on law enforcement in other places.  And so he backed away from that pledge in the campaign and now he is back.

And so it's not a surprise --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  But I think what really matters -- what matters now, Austan, what matters now, you know, we've all -- we're all dated enough that we watch people run for office in this country and we don't necessarily expect that they are going to carry out exactly the way, the language that they spoke about when they run for office.  That's just the way the country is, unfortunately.

GOOLSBEE:  OK. $30 billion is a lot of money.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  However, what he is trying to do is to put the law on the books to enforce the laws that are on the books to remove people who are for example -- to expand the role a little bit, to include people like drunk drivers.  Do you know how many people who have been killed by illegal immigrant drunk drivers in this country?

(CROSSTALK)

GOOLSBEE:  OK.  Martha, there is nothing wrong with finding criminals and violent criminals and deporting them.

MACCALLUM:  OK.

GOOLSBEE:  And that's supported by most people in the United States. What's happened here is they have redefined it so that they will literally be going to the interior of the United States, getting people who have been in this country for 20 and 30 years, that have kids that are citizens and we are going to spend more than $10,000 per deportation to find and deport them.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  So you are concerned about the cost.

And let me be, Governor Huckabee, because it sounds like the economics advisor to the former president is very concerned about the cost and that's what are the bottom line concerns of them.  Also that you are going to see interior --

GOOLSBEE:  Use of money for law enforcement.  That's my point.

MACCALLUM:  Well, it's going to be used.  I want to get -- let Governor Huckabee back in here.

Your reaction to what Mr. Goolsbee said?

HUCKABEE:  Well, first of all, Austan, I would just have to ask you, you are talking about how much it costs if somebody gets rounded up.  The president has made it very clear as is his entire administration.

They are not going to go out there with lassos and start rounding everybody up.  They are going after criminals.  Criminals, people who have murdered Americans; people who have committed crimes, beyond the crime of being here illegally.

Let me surprise you with something.  I actually support the concept of DACA.  What I didn't support when President Obama did it was that he did it with executive order rather than going to the Congress and actually getting the law changed like he is required to do.

I think Donald Trump is going to actually deal with the immigration issue, but he's going to do it in a truly comprehensive way, starting with enforcing the existing law and acting like that it means something in America.

We pretended that we just didn't have borders.  And 80 to 20 percent, Americans want this law enforced more than it is being currently enforced.

MACCALLUM:  Last thought, Austan, and we got to go.

GOOLSBEE:  Well, I'll just say if you have $30 billion to spend on law enforcement, you'd be better off going after violent criminals.  So find the violent criminals and get rid of them, not the grandmas.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  I hear that.  That sounds like it's the plan.  And we will see what the action is, piece by piece.  Thank you very much.

Austan Goolsbee, always good to have you here.  Governor Huckabee, it's great to see you, as well.

So still ahead tonight, after bruising electoral losses, do the Democrats see a move further to the left as the solution to their issues electorally? That question being asked of a new group of leaders for the party beginning to emerge.

Brit Hume, here to react to that.

Plus, G.O.P. lawmakers find themselves on the receiving end of some pretty angry constituents out there across the country.  As we learned at our town hall last night, it may not just be Democrats who are angry at these Republicans.  That debate when Chris Stirewalt, Charles Hurt and Jessica Tarlov join us straight up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  Is there anyone in particular in Congress that you are, you know, disappointed in so far?  And, you know, would you like to give them a message tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How much time do you have?

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM:  I got about 48 minutes.  Go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  Is there anyone in particular in Congress that you are, you know, disappointed in so far?  And, you know, would you like to give them a message tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How much time do you have?

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM:  I got about 48 minutes.  Go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I would say we finally have someone in office who is doing something probably not even -- the last president I can think that has done anything like this was Abraham Lincoln, who was trying to reunite the country.  And that's what we have voted for him to do.  And that's what he is doing.  Congress isn't getting behind us.

I say, term limits.  That way, you can clean house, just like he is doing, drain the swamp.  There is too many in there right now that are not doing their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  Plain talking, Claire Frank (ph) last night.  Just one of the fired up voters in the town hall.  She like many loyal Republicans are kind of wondering why it's taking so long for Congress to get behind key pieces of the president's legislative agenda.

Just today, President Trump admitting big moves on top issues like tax reform and ObamaCare repeal and replace may still be a month away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Before we do the tax, which is actually very well finalized, but we can't submit it until the healthcare, statutorily or otherwise, so, we are doing the health care, get moving along very well, sometime during the month of March, maybe mid to early March.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  So all that raising the question, can G.O.P. lawmakers live up to the expectations of their voters?

Chris Stirewalt, Fox News political director; Charlie Hurt, political columnist for The Washington Times and Jessica Tarlov, Democratic pollster.

Welcome to all of you.

We heard quite a bit of that last night, you guys.  I mean, they are -- you know, we ask them so many questions about President Trump and immigration and things he was doing, but they kept bubbling up, Chris, and saying, I'm not -- you know, we are happy with him.  In fact, we are thrilled with him. We are not so thrilled with the folks on Capitol Hill that promised us things like tax reform and repeal and replace.

CHRIS STIREWALT, EDITOR, FOX NEWS DIGITAL:  Well, you know, when you live in a culture where you wanted now, now, now, now, when you tell somebody, yes, we need 100 or 200 days to do something, it sounds like an eternity.

The other problem that the Republicans on the on The Hill are facing, they want to accommodate the president.  Their guy won.  They are terribly afraid that he might them in primaries or back challengers to them in primaries.  They want to give him what he wants.  But the administration is still getting its sea legs and trying to figure out exactly what it does want on things like ObamaCare.

The president is quite right when he says his tax plan is ready to go.  But getting the other pieces in place in advance, The Hill wants to accommodate him.  He just got to start calling the plays.

MACCALLUM:  I don't know.  They are pretty impatient, Charlie.  And they look at President Obama getting stimulus done by February 17th, 2009, which was a pretty big action.  And they want to see the things that they really care about the most.  And, you know, tonight, we're going to talk in a second about the transgender bathroom law.  But I think that for many of them, they would like to see this other stuff first.

CHARLES HURT, WASHINGTON TIMES:  Yes.  Well, I mean, it's a real thing. And voters have a legitimate right right now.  You know, we've had -- how many times have Republicans in Congress voted again and again to repeal ObamaCare, knowing full well that President Obama, even if he'd gotten all the way through, President Obama would have vetoed it.

And now, they have a president sitting in the White House who is willing to sign it, and suddenly, they don't pass ObamaCare anymore.  It's a real problem and it's a problem with politicians making promises they can't keep.

And it's particularly a problem for Republicans, because, of course, you know, Donald Trump, you know, originally, the reason that his campaign was so successful is because he started out running against Republicans.  And he almost beat Republicans worse than he wound up beating Democrats.

MACCALLUM:  Yes.

HURT:  And he has people behind him.

MACCALLUM:  That's true.

Jessica, you know, you look at this record so far, and I know Chris said that people need to be more patient.

JESSICA TARLOV, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Right.

MACCALLUM:  But I do think there is very little patience out there for this.  And as Charlie points out, you know, every time -- I remember interviewing lots of Republicans on The Hill over the ObamaCare issue and I would say to them, well, what's your plan?  You have something better?

They'll say, we do.  In fact, we put it on the president's desk, you know, ten times over, we could have done.  So whatever happened to that?

TARLOV:  Oh, I have no idea.  It might be in some lockbox that Mike Lee is guarding.  You know, all of those ObamaCare plans that were not in the end. You know, I agree with what has been said so far on the panel.  I understand why these voters are angry.

Donald Trump must have said, you know, 100 times, day one, I'm going to do X.  And you can't move that fast when you have checks and balances, right? And you have to work with other people in government.  And it's just not that easy to repeal something like ObamaCare.

And these voters, now they've been told that they can keep the pre-existing conditions clause, that they can stay in their parents insurance until they are 26, where parents can know that they are still protecting their kids, and they don't want to lose that and it makes it even more complicated.

But also like to say that Donald Trump wasted a good week and a half to two weeks without travel ban and the terrible rollout.  Because that became the main conversation and there was no room to do anything else at that time. So while he could have been pushing tax reform, when the economy is the only thing right now that Americans actually look at him approvingly about. He was spending time, you know, saying I'm going to ban this guy and that guy.

MACCALLUM:  It's a valid point, Chris.

STIREWALT:  Well, sure.  It is a valid point.  But, remember, the other point in all of this, you got to know what you want to do.  So you get a new president.  So there are plans in Congress.

Paul Ryan, I'm sure, would like -- could get a white board and write out all of the things that he wants to do and all of those things.  But if the president doesn't back it, if you don't have agreement between the White House and The Hill about what they want to do, it's going to blow up anyway.  So building that agreement is really what they are doing right now.

MACCALLUM:  But this is a great dealmaker, Charlie.  You know, bring them in to the Oval Office.  You know, get both sides.  Bring them into the Oval Office and say -- I've said this before -- you know, nobody is leaving until we start getting moving on this.  And I think there's frustration.

HURT:  And I do think that that's obviously his ammo in the way he does things.  And I get tired of hearing people complain about the travel ban. The way it was rolled out, whatever.  He got the policy right.  So there was a little problem with the rollout.

I don't think that -- that, you know, I mean, that's the least of America's problems.

TARLOV:  Charlie, he didn't get the policy right when he started off by banning green card holders.

HURT:  No, no.  He's got the policy right putting a pause on immigration from countries within hot beds of terrorism.  That's a very good thing. That's what voters want.

And in terms of going forward, in terms of, you know, figuring out the taxes and figuring out ObamaCare, he got into all that trouble a few weeks ago for saying that, oh, we got a replacement for ObamaCare.  Well, you know, and then, on The Hill, Republicans are like, no, we don't have that replacement yet.  Well, that was him saying, look, you are going to have it done by this time.  And I think that, you know, that going forward, I think, we will see more of that.  And I think carping about how it gets done is just sort of a waste of time.

MACCALLUM:  Yes.  All right.  Thanks, you guys.  Good to have you all here.

HURT:  Thank you.

TARLOV:  Thanks so much.

MACCALLUM:  So still ahead, a new chapter in the ongoing battle between President Trump and the media.  We'll show you the rallying cry one major newspaper had just unveiled.

And up next, Brit Hume here on the battle for control of the Democrat's future.  And just how far to the left they think they need to move as the race for the chair comes down to Keith Ellison and Tom Perez.  Two men equally opposed to everything Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You don't go to a knife fight with a spoon.  I wouldn't go tweet for tweet.  But I think we can hit him between the eyes with a 2x4.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  Democrats are gearing up to pick a new leader of the Democratic National Committee after the ouster of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and then Donna Brazile, who also ran into some headwinds.

The two frontrunners, though, may say quite a bit about where the party believes they should head next.  You've got Tom Perez, labor secretary under President Obama, and controversial Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.

They are the two men who are poised to contend for this post most likely.

Here to tell us the other sign the party may be lurching further to the left in its direction is our own Ed Henry reporting on this tonight.

Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Martha, good to see you.

We've already seen ultraliberal Senator Elizabeth Warren taking on a bigger role on the Democratic leadership.  Republicans thrilled to make her the face of the party ahead of the midterms of 2018 that, of course, will play a major role in deciding whether President Trump will be able to get his agenda through Congress.

Now the president and Republican leaders may be about to get a bigger gift with Democrats possibly on the verge of an even more leftward turn. Democratic activist heading to Atlanta to vote Saturday to who will be the next chair of the DNC.  After those tumultuous tenures of Debbie Wasserman- Shultz and Donna Brazile.

The top two contenders, as you noted, hard-core liberals.  Former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim- American in the House, who has had to distance himself from previous defences of the controversial nation of Islam leader Louise Farrakhan.

Now the President Trump seems more than happy to exploit this leftward shift tweeting today, quote, "One thing I will say about Rep. Keith Ellison in his fight to lead the DNC is that he was the one who predicted early on that I would win!"

And in fact he's referring to this gem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEITH ELLISON, DNC CHAIR CANDIDATE:  This man has got some momentum. And we better be ready for the fact that he might be leading the Republican ticket.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know you don't believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY:  Well, laughter.  Watch Senator Bernie Sanders who has the signs on going around the DNC.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Sanders allies have been quietly taking control of state Democratic parties all around the country to make them more liberal and populist.

Former DNC chair Ed Rendell told the journal, quote, "Is the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party going to push us too far to the left? Only if they start going after incumbent moderate Democrats in primaries like the Tea Party did."

Well, it turns out last week Sanders advisors opened the super PAC to yes, begin taking on Democratic incumbents and primaries.  That raises questions about whether they're going to eat their own or actually focus on taking on President Trump.

Martha?

MACCALLUM:  Very interesting.  Ed, thank you.

HENRY:  Good to see you.

MACCALLUM:  So joining us now is Brit Hume, Fox News channel senior political analyst.

Brit, it's fascinating to watch this emerging as they look for new leadership after drabbing that obviously based on the laughter from George Stephanopoulos and friends in that sound byte.  Nobody thought they were going to have to deal with.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  That's right.  They didn't expect they're going to have to deal with Donald Trump.  And I don't think very many of them thought Bernie Sanders, many of the establishment Democrats thought Bernie Sanders would go as far as he did and he gave Hillary Clinton as we all now know quite a race.

And I think that the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren-Keith Ellison wing of the Democratic Party is really where the party's heart is.  That's where the energy is.  That's where the drive is.  That's where the passion is.

And I wouldn't -- you know, it's possible Tom Perez, the Obama labor secretary might he had won this chairmanship.  That doesn't disguise the fact that this is a party that wants to go left.  That's where its heart is and it may be where the party goes.

And, of course, you know, it's not common for a candidate or leader who represent the outer edges of the two parties to lead them to victory, but in this day in age and in this era, who knows, Martha?  Who knows?

MACCALLUM:  I mean, you look at the places where they lost the presidential election.  You look at Western Pennsylvania.  You look at Michigan.  You look at Wisconsin, the blue-collar rustbelt areas in those counties that voted for President Obama twice and then flipped and voted for President Trump now.

And you ask yourself, you know, what should they do to win those voters back.  And you gotta scratch your head if they think that this is the path to expanding their party again, Brit.

HUME:  Well, I think that's right, Martha.  Another way to look at the equation and this is I'm sure the way a lot of Democrats feel is that Hillary Clinton failed to turn out the key core constituencies that the Democratic Party and the way that Barack Obama did.

MACCALLUM:  He said (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

HUME:  And so she couldn't fall back on those extraordinary turnout from blacks and Latinos and the way that he did.  And the result was that she was there for vulnerable to an upsurge on the Republican side of the votes from the key blue-collar areas that you just described.

So I suppose you could make an argument that if they have a candidate of the left who stirs the kind of passion that Barack Obama did, that they can win in spite of the losses they would suffer in some of those blue-collar areas.  I don't think it's a very powerful case, but I suspect that's what the thinking may be.

MACCALLUM:  Well, when you go back and dissect a little more of the process and you pointed this out, the anger that was felt by Bernie Sanders supporters over this whole super delegate issue that Hillary had locked in those super delegates before people even got a chance to vote in the primary.  And they felt that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was helping her.  And as you point out, Brit, that may be a dangerous road for them to go down here, as well.

BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS:  Well, it's worth remembering, Martha, where the super delegates came from on the first place.  Back in 1972, George McGovern, who had been the leader of a commission to reorganize the Democratic Party's nominating process, a process he learned of the process of designing it really, got the nomination and got slaughtered in a landslide by Richard Nixon.  They got Jimmy Carter in to power in the Watergate aftermath of 1976, and he was completely wiped out in 1980.  And the party leaders felt thereafter that the democratization of the process that have led the grassroots campaigns of McGovern, and then later, Carter, needed to be reined in so they wouldn't put up anymore sure-loser candidates.  So they gave the party leaders a bigger voice by making them super delegates, you know, hundreds of them.

MACCALLUM:  Yeah.

HUME:  And they were a bulwark for Hillary Clinton.  And their job, really, the whole idea was, you didn't want to get some candidates on the fringes stealing the nomination and leading to a landslide defeat.  So they did what they were supposed to do protected Hillary Clinton, but she ended up losing.

MACCALLUM:  Exactly, right.

HUME:  So case for them is now among the rank and file Democrats.  I think considerately weakened.  And Bernie sanders, of course, complained about them all the way to the primary season.  So they may be on the verge of scrapping that which would really open the way for a candidate from the left edge of the Democratic Party to sweep to a nomination and then, who knows what will happen.

MACCALLUM:  Just a few seconds left.  But I want you to weigh in on this issue of sort of the inner fighting of the GOP over ObamaCare.  This is what we heard so much out from the people in Florida last night.  You know, are they ruining it for themselves, having finally achieved what they wanted, the White House, the house, and the senate?

HUME:  Martha, it's way, way too early to be talking about that.  This congress is a month old.  This presidency is a month old.  This kind of legislation on taxes and ObamaCare repeal and replace is very intricate. It's obviously was going to take a while.  And people just need to calm down here a little bit and wait and see what happens.  Now the Republicans may fail.  They may not be able to get these bills.  And if they do, it will be a big failure for them and a big failure for the administration. But it's much too early to be overreacting to what's not happened so far.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  It feels like they have been spinning their wheels for eight years, they might come up with some plans by the time they've got it all together.

HUME:  Well, they have plans, but when you don't have -- when you can't -- look, they pass a lot of ObamaCare repealers.  They never had a replacement bill to pass.  That was always going to be hard and that's what they're struggling with.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  Thank you, Brit.  Good to see you.

HUME:  You bet, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  So coming up, the new head of the RNC earned the respect of President Trump when she supported him despite his public view at the time with her uncle Mitt Romney.  Ron-- joins us exclusively on how her example of unity might help push the GOP going forward.  Plus, another dustup between the press and the president, is the media going too far in describing its mission in the age of President Trump?  We will have both sides of that debate with Mollie Hemingway and Marie Harf, joins us next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE:  For as long as I've been alive, for as long as you've been alive, no leader of the free world has publicly spoken this way about the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  And tonight's media conflict segment, the president receiving fresh ammunition from a couple of outlets today.  First, there's MSNBC who, Mika Brzenzinski, who is forced to clarify the comments that she made this morning.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKA BRZENZINSKI, MSNBC:  Well, and I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he's trying to undermine the media, trying to make up his own facts.  And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think.  And that is our job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  And then, there's the Washington Post unveiling a new slogan under its mass head, democracy dies in darkness.  For more on the fallout, we go to Trace Gallagher from out West Coast newsroom on what happened here today.  Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS:  Hi, Martha.  When MSNBC's Mika Brzenzinski said it's the media's job to control exactly what people think.  Her co-host Joe Scarborough and the show's panel seem to let it go, but the audience wasn't as forgiving.  Some tweeting, quoting here, sorry, I've watched you say it live on the air with my own ears, it's what you think, you show it daily. You just finally admitted it.  And this, quoting, I believe that you believe that.  Others on the internet also called her on it saying the truth was out.  That led to Brzenzinski, the daughter her, Zbigniew Brzenzinski, Jimmy Carter national security advisor, to tweet the following clarification, quoting, today, I said it's the media's job to keep President Trump for making up his own facts, not that it's our job to control what people think.  And then, she added, of course, that is obvious from the transcript, but some people want to make up their own facts. Sad. Sad, of course, being a swipe at President Trump's frequent twitter signoff.  And the Washington Post now denies its new slogan, democracy dies in darkness, is a response to President Trump.  The paper which is a frequent recipient of the president's wrath said, quote, we thought it would be good, concise value statement that conveys who we are to the many millions of readers who have come to us for the first time over the last year.  Others believe the motto has everything to do with Trump and even mocked the ominous tone, a writer saying, quote, democracy dies in darkness is something a sincere goofball would say in a Preston Sturgis movie.  The Post point out that veteran journalist, Bob Woodward, has been using the darkness dies phrase for several years, Martha.

MACCALLUM:  Sad, exclamation point.  Thank you, Trace.  So joining us now, Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the Federalist, and Marie Harf, Fox News contributor and former Obama administration official.  Welcome to both of you.  Good to have you here tonight.  Mollie, some perspective on what we just heard.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST:  Well, Michael Kinsley famously said that a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth.  I'm really glad Mika Brzenzinski didn't -- that she was trying to say that the media should be holding politicians accountable.  But she accidentally said was the obvious truth that we have a media complex that likes to push narratives, a bit of partisan agenda, manipulating facts, and that's the entire problem that we have going on here.  We see the differences in how they treated the Obama presidency, versus the Trump presidency.  The carrying of the water for the Iran deal.  You know, the hostility that people with traditional religious values.  And just all these problems that we see, that's a big reason why we have problems with media credibility.

MACCALLUM:  So why wasn't the motto for the Washington Post, Marie, during the last eight years that democracy dies in darkness, as dire and dramatic as that is?

MARIE HARF, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFCIAL:  Well, I agree that the media, parts of it, can certainly be incredibly self-important at times. And seeing how they've covered this story over the past few weeks has had some evidence to that.  But, I don't think that we can overlook the fact that President Trump, both when he was a candidate and president, has used language in describing the media that really goes beyond what any other president has used.  Calling them the enemy of the American people is really a pattern.  When he's pushed by someone, whether it's the judiciary, whether it's the media, whether it's congressional Republicans, he blames them.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  I was looking at a list that Jay puts out today, about, you know, the back of examples for how other presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Nixon, had actually much more difficult relationships with the press.  And I think we all in some ways have to accept that the way that President Trump communicates is a lot of bluster.  You know, we watched him slice and dice people through this campaign in a way that I don't think we have ever seen before in terms of the language that was used, so maybe that has rough and tumbled up the entire dialogue a little bit on both sides.  

However, you know, Mollie, you watch that news conference last week, or I think last Thursday, everybody got their shots there.  They're bringing skype in.  They're allowing reporters who've never been in the room before to have their moment, to ask their question.  So, I mean, that has to be taken into account here, as well, doesn't it?

HEMINGWAY:  well, there is a real problem with media credibility again. There is a new Yougov House Post poll that shows that only 5 percent of Trump voters think the media are anything other than hostile to them.  We have the proof of how biased the media was throughout the 2016 campaign. And what the Washington Post should be doing is reforming who it hires, who it would promotes, how it frames stories, how well it understands the issues of the day.  And instead what they did was changed the slogan.  I mean, that is not really meaningful change.  And the fact that they waited until the Trump presidency to say that they're going to do their jobs as journalist is precisely the problem.  We needed to have them do a good job throughout the Obama presidency.

MACCALLUM:  Final word, Marie.

HARF:  Well, believe me they were stories in the press that I hated in the Obama administration spokesperson.  So it wasn't all easy for us compared to what's going on now.  But we have a president who calls the press the enemy.  And that's why a lot of Trump supporters don't trust the press because the president is telling them not to.  Instead of saying, a free and independent.

MACCALLUM:  But you've got to look at the reality of whether or not you're getting a fair shot.  You know, raffled feathers are one thing, and, you know, sticks and stones and all that, so we'll see.  Thank you, Marie, good to see you tonight.  Mollie, good to see you as always.  So coming up next, our exclusive with Ronna McDaniel, who is the newly minted head of the RNC, she's the first woman in 30 years.  She tells us how the GOP plans to fight the perception that their elected leaders aren't not acting quickly enough on the president's legislative agenda, when we come back.   

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  As the previous Republican chair of the pivotal state of Michigan, Ronna McDaniel has received credit for helping turn the state red this past November.  This despite President Trump's public feuding with her uncle, 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.  Now, all sides move forward in the aftermath of Mr. Trump's victory.  The question becomes will the party ultimately coalesce around a Trump presidency and some issues with that lately.  So here with me tonight in an exclusive is Ronna McDaniel, who now serves as the new chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Ronna, welcome.  Good to have you here tonight.

RONNA MCDANIELS, RNC CHAIRWOMAN:  Thanks for having me.

MACCALLUM:  So congratulations to you.  It's been 30 years since a woman has run the RNC.  And a lot of people have made quite a bit about the fact that your name is Ronna Romney McDaniel, and your uncle was -- didn't mince his words when it came to Donald Trump during this campaign.

MCDANIELS:  Well, I supported Donald Trump, obviously, as chair of the Michigan Republican Party.  I saw the movement firsthand when he first came into our state.  And he made Michigan a battleground state because he came to the voters of our state.  He said I'm going to talk to you about jobs, and the economy, and trade, and how you needed a champion in Washington and I need to be that champion.  So, I was thrilled to have Michigan turn red for the first time since 1988, and to see President Trump in the White House.

MACCALLUM:  You know, obviously, much has been made on the Democrat side of the war on women.  How instrumental do you think you can be as a woman running the RNC?

MCDANIELS:  Well, first of all, I look at Donald Trump as somebody who is a champion of women.  His daughter, Ivanka, is a role model.  I have a 13- year-old daughter, she's somebody that I point to as a businesswoman and a mother who balances all of those things and who is fighting for women in the workplace.  You have Kellyanne Conway who ran the first successful presidential campaign in the history of our country as a woman.  And then, President Trump coming to me and tapping me to be the RNC chair.  Donald Trump is a champion of women.  He recognizes that we add to the conversation, and that certainly something as Republican Party chair I'm going to be reaching out to women all across this country.

MACCALLUM:  Obviously, we just got through the presidential election just a few months ago.  But in your business at the head of the RNC, you're going to be all about the next election.  And there's much being said about the fact that the GOP, a lot of the leaders currently on Capitol Hill are dragging their feet on some very major issues.  I mean, a lot of people expected faster progress on things like tax reform, they expected they would be ready with repeal and replace.  How do you feel about that being out there in the next battleground for campaigns?

MCDANIELS:  Well, the Democrats are dragging their feet on Capitol Hill. We have seen unprecedented obstruction by Democrats with President Trump. He still has eight cabinet nominations that he needs to get through the senate.  They are preventing our government from functioning at the level that the American people deserve.  And President Obama never faced this. So to see the Democrats do what they are doing is so wrong to the American people.  They deserve a government -- and President Trump deserves that. He was elected.

MACCALLUM:  My question is about -- was on your side of the aisle, in terms of the GOP.  And people wanting to see much faster progress.  I did a town hall last night in Florida, and one of the things that was loud and clear was that they are less concerned about President Trump and more concerned about Republicans getting stuff done in congress when they have the opportunity.

MCDANIELS:  Well, they're working as hard as they can as they're dealing with the obstruction of the Democrats.  But we've seen our cabinet appointees being made or those nominations going through two in the morning, and senators are staying late so they can get it done.

MACCALLUM:  But that is not preventing Republicans from coming up with an alternative to Obamacare?

MCDANIELS:  Well, they are.  Speaker Ryan is focusing on that.  They're focusing on deregulation.  Look at what the Trump administration has put forward in the first 30 days.  The keystone pipeline is back on track. We've focused on deregulation of the coal industry, so jobs can come back to that all-important industry.  TPP, we've pulled out of that and said we're going to find better ways to do bilateral trade deals.  And, of course, a Supreme Court justice nominee in Judge Gorsuch.

MACCALLUM:  I hear you on all of this.

(CROSSTALK)

MCDANIELS:  They're going to keep focusing on supporting our president. But right now, we've got to get our government running, and 73 percent of Americans are saying Democrats need to work with President Trump to get our government running.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Donald Trump, in order to get the government running.  I'm just -- I guess pushing to know whether or not you're concerned about that, whether that that is something you've been speaking about with members of the Republican National Committee?  Because there are Republicans who are pushing back against the repeal of ObamaCare, and they're hearing it in these town halls across the country.  What would your recommendation be to those Republicans?

MCDANIELS:  Well, I think the Republicans are gathering the facts.  They recognize that the Democrats broke the American healthcare system.  Their constituents are concerned, and they're going to take the time to make sure they do it right.  And not rush things through, like the Democrats did, which is why we are dealing with the mess that we're dealing with right now with ObamaCare.  So, as a Republican congressional leaders and senators are going out and talking to their constituents, they're listening to their concerns.  And we're all better served when we have a dialogue and a discussion with something as important as healthcare.  Because they want to come and fix what the Democrats broke.

MACCALLUM:  All right, as some are impatient to get rolling.  Ronna, thank you so much for talking with us tonight, and congratulations on your new post.

MCDANIELS:  Thanks for having me.

MACCALLUM:  Vice President Mike Pence taking an even larger role in the Trump administration.  We're going to tell you why his remarks tomorrow night at CPAC, which you will see here live, will be watched very closely.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  Vice President Mike Pence making a powerful show of support visiting a century old Jewish cemetery in Missouri, which was vandalized over the weekend.  Chief national correspondent Ed Henry live in Washington.  Ed?

HENRY:  Martha, good to see her.  This is a classic example of how Mike Pence is sort of playing this role of Mr. Fix-it in the Trump administration.  The president faced his criticism, some say unfairly, for not reacting quickly enough to that vandalism, but also bomb threats in Jewish community centers around the country.  So, Mike Pence swoops in.  

It's also the same role he's playing on Capitol Hill, running point on the president's legislative agenda, as a former member of the house.  But also, tomorrow night, in prime time, it will be Mike Pence who will be speaking to CPAC here in the Washington area, the conservative group.  And he will be sort of warming up the base ahead of the president.  The first president, he will be doing that Friday, to speak to CPAC since Ronald Reagan.  Here's the bottom line, we went back and check, 2015 at CPAC, Mike Pence said, quote, modern Russia seeks to redraw the map of Europe by force.  That's not exactly the way President Trump approaches the issue of Russia, but it's a classic example of how Mike Pence is been very diplomatic and be able to navigate how he's different than the president on some of these big, big issues.  Martha.

MACCALLUM:  Good preview.  Thank you, Ed.  So with all the talk about this president and the media and the mutual bashing and pontification of some involved, it's worth remembering these words from Joseph Pulitzer which was on a bronze plaque at the entrance of the Columbia School of Journalism, and they're my quote for the night, quote, our republic and its press will rise or fall together.  An able, disinterested, public-spirited press with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.  The power to mold the future of the republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.  We will leave you that tonight.  Thanks for watching everybody.  I'm Martha MacCallum.  I look forward to seeing you back here again tomorrow night at 7:00.  Bill O'Reilly is up next.

END

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