First 100 Days

Speaker Ryan: This is the replacement bill we all ran on; Gen. Keane on high stakes of Tillerson's Asia trip

On 'The First 100 Days,' the House speaker says he is open to changes on the healthcare legislation

 

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," March 14, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST:  Breaking tonight, the pitch battle of a repeal and replace is crucial to the success or failure of the first 100 days of this presidency.  It's not only liberal versus conservative, but a battle to define Trumpism healthcare style.  What does that look like?  And to find the marriage between this ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Everybody has got to be covered.  This is an unRepublican thing for me to say, because a lot of times, they say, "No, no, the lower 25 percent, they can't afford private, but --

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Universal health care?

TRUMP:  I am going to take a care of everybody.  I don't care if it cost me votes or not, everybody is going to be taken care much more better than they're taking care now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  So, that, and you have this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  This is it.  If we don't get this through, the goal of repealing ObamaCare and instituting a system that hold patient-centered is going to be unbelievably difficult.  This is the vehicle to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  So, here's the question, is it the government or taxpayer's duty to make sure that everybody in this country has a health insurance policy?

ObamaCare said yes.  But we've seen what happened, the costs have been driven out of control, insurers have left, and the insured are paying thousands of dollars out of pocket before they even get to the deductible anywhere near anything that can be called coverage.  You've got a lot of states that are down to one single provider, which is essentially providing no choice at all.

So, the GOP plan on the table says it will ultimately get us lower costs and more competition in the marketplace.  But the most conservative or libertarian members say that the plan will not pass.  They want to get the federal government out of the health care business, and they want to kick Medicaid grants back to the states and let them allocate the money.

Here is their argument.  Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO:  We didn't tell the voters we were going to repeal ObamaCare but keep a bunch of the taxes for an extra year and bring back the Cadillac tax.  We didn't tell them we were going to repeal ObamaCare but take the Medicaid expansion and extend it for several years.  
And we didn't tell them we were going to provide insurance subsidies in the bill and have a 30 percent penalty even though the mandate is gone.

SEN. TOM COTTON, R-ARKANSAS (through telephone):  There is no three-phase process.  There is no three-step plan.  That is just political talk.  It's just politicians engaging in spin.  There is not going to be phase three legislation.  It's phase one and done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  So, it is day 54 of the first 100.  I'm Martha MacCallum.  And tonight, we welcome Speaker Paul Ryan, the driving force behind this.  Mr. Speaker, welcome.  Thank you for being with us tonight.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS., SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  Hey, Martha, congratulations on the gig.  Good to be with you.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you.  Thank you.  It's great to have you hear tonight. So, let's start with some of your colleagues on the Hill.  You just heard the sound from Tom Cotton and Jim Jordan in the House.  What do you -- what's your answer to them?

RYAN:  Well, first of all, this is the replacement plan that we all ran on. Remember, we've been saying for well over a year that we want to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  The president made it very forceful in his campaign, but also, since the campaign, that we're going to repeal and replace at the same time.

This is something we've all been saying we will do.  Because we want to replace ObamaCare, which is a government-run program, with market competition, with patients-centered health care, where people get to do what they want to do and they have real choice.  And so, we worked on this bill starting January of 2015 -- or January 2016, excuse me.  And I wrote this bill from January to June, released it to the country, ran on it all fall, and then transmitted into legislative text.  It is now, passed with unanimous Republican votes out of two of our committees.  We're in that four-committee process.  

So, it's going through what we call "regular order" on its way into law. And sure, there are people who have concerns or criticisms, but that's what happens when you get consensus.  As a governing party, we have an obligation to keep our promises, to pass the reforms that we told people we would pass if we got this opportunity, to be in the majority with the Republican Senate, so we're doing that.

MACCALLUM:  I get it.  But you got -- you've got a lot of folks who are kicking and screaming, though.  I want to pull up some of the headlines that were in the news today.

"Ryan constituents turn on ObamaCare 2.0", they're calling it.  "They talk and warn about Trump being ahead of Ryan on his own district."  Does it feel like you are -- like you're getting the squeeze to come up with a new plan to start over or allow amendments to the plan you came up with?

RYAN:  Well, no, not at all.  Because this is again, the plan we ran on. But we want to get members feedback.  This is a legislative process.  Like I said, we're halfway through a four-committee process.  Then, it goes over to the senate.  So, we're keeping this bill intact, but we're obviously going to make some, you know, modifications per members' feedback.  We want constructive engagement and feedback with our members, and that's exactly what's happening, and going to the committee process.  And then when the House passes it, it goes over to the senate.

So, senators have an issue, or senators have a problem, they have their own process to go with over there.  So, I would -- I would suggest to senators to just amend the bill when it comes over there.  This is the legislative process.  But the point here, Martha, as we are of repealing and replacing ObamaCare with the plan that we've been running on all along, and what we really could see that this is going to work.

MACCALLUM:  But the argument from some of your colleagues, Mr. Speaker, excuse me, is that it's not the plan that they feel they ran on.  They feel, Jim Jordan, and you heard him in the introduction, says that there are too many taxes that are still in this plan; he doesn't like the Medicaid expansion being drawn out.  The Cadillac tax being drawn out.  His argument is, you know, we're basically still paying for everyone to be covered at a federal level, and that's not what he feels voters voted for in the fall.

RYAN:  Yes.  So, the Medicaid expansion goes away in three years instead of two years.  And that is just to allow the tax credits to catch up.  That is a pretty minor modification.  As far as the Cadillac tax, look, I want to repeal it fully and forever if the senate rules.  Here's what people are concerned about or frustrated; we have to write this in such a way that it can't get filibustered, that it can pass with 51 votes in the senate.  And that means, this legislation can't have everything we want in it.  That's why we have a three-part process, which is, part one, 51 votes, repeal and replace, which is this bill.  Part two, Tom Price deregulates the marketplace and lets the states go back to opening up market competition so the states regulate health care.  That's a huge active federalism --

MACCALLUM:  You know what, there's a concern out there that those two parts are never going to happen because you're going to need 60 votes to get those through.  And that you won't have them.

RYAN:  No, no, that's what I'm saying.  No, no, that's not true.  Part one is 51 votes, part two, there's no votes, if Tom Price does this with all of the flexibility he has.  Part three is what you were talking about, the Tom Cotton claim.

Now, it's clear to me that Democrats aren't going to help us on a lot of things, like repealing ObamaCare.  That's why we're using reconciliation. But these bills that we're talking about, part three, were never in the bill that we passed last year, or in 2015.  Because they can't, because of reconciliation rules.

I do think that we -- the Democrats will be pretty hard to be standing up against things like association health plans.  Let a farmer by their insurance through National Farm Bureau Association plan.  Let a restaurant tour buy their association through the National Restaurant Association plan.  I mean, look forward to seeing Democrats try and kill that idea when we send that bill over to the senate.

MACCALLUM:  But I want -- I just want to get your (INAUDIBLE) one thing, in terms of whether or not you're flexible about changing this bill on the house side, because senate -- Senator McConnell said today he is open to amendments on the senate side.

Now, when I listened to Jim Jordan, it makes you wonder if you're going to get -- you can only lose 22 votes in the house.  He's got 40 members in his Freedom Caucus.  You may not get enough to pass this.  Are you willing to make changes?  Can you say whether or not you're open to that?  To that --

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN:  Oh, yes.  No, just so you know, Martha, that's what we've been doing all week long; that's what we've been doing this entire process.

MACCALLUM:  OK.

RYAN:  So, of course, the Budget Committee takes this up on Thursday, so those discussions about what kind of modifications, those are ongoing discussions.

MACCALLUML:  So, you are open to change --

RYAN:  So -- of course, we are.  But more importantly, let me just get you there.  So, yes, we are, but we got to make sure we get the sweet spots, so the key consensus, and we're going to get it done.  We don't want to have some endless dragged-out thing where we never get this done.  It's been seven years long, we've got to make good on our promises; we've got to make sure that we keep consensus, so we actually pass this bill.  

Look, the Freedom Caucus members who already voted for this -- and the committees already voted for this in the committees.  This bill is modeled after Tom Price's bill that he had introduced as recently as December, which had like a dozen Freedom Caucus members as a cosponsor.  So, I feel like we're in a good place.  But of course, we want to listen to our members and make improvements to the bill, so long as those improvements don't make the bill harder to pass.

MACCALLUM:  So, you spoke to the president today, he's got sort of Rand Paul on one side arguing for a different kind of bill, and he has you who he's spoken to quite a bit on this.   What did he say to you today?

RYAN:  Oh, we basically just talked about how we're executing, how we're getting this done.  We talked about dividing up labor; who does what and how do we make sure we just basically stick to landing and getting it done.  
And so -- and we're just talking about details, details about the kinds of changes we're looking at; details about just the legislative process; our timeline; our deadlines.  It was basically just a status check.  It was the second time I talked to him today.  So, we talked pretty darn often, almost every day.

MACCALLUM:  Is he encouraging you to stay flexible with these more conservative members?

RYAN:  Oh, yes.  Well, we're all -- it's not that we need the encouragement to stay flexible.  We've been talking about these things, we've been working with our members about how can we make improvements to this bill without derailing the bill or without making it harder to pass the bill. But we've long been talking with our members about how to make improvements of the bill.  But basically, what we're working with the White House is making sure that everybody is on the same page.  You have to remember, this bill was written with the White House and the Senate all along working off the same document, the same page.  And so, we just check in with each other on a very frequent basis.  And this is what that was.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  I want to get your response to this audio that came up this morning, I'm sure you heard about it.  I'll just kind of play a little piece of it.  And I want to give you a chance to respond to it. Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN (through phone):  I am not going to be defend Donald Trump.  Not now, not in the future.  Look, you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee.  You know, I hope you appreciate that I'm doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what's best for me.  And so, I want to do what's best for our members.  And I think that that is the right thing to do, so I'm not going to try to defend him.  And I'm going to focus on Congress.  I mean, I focus on upholding our values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  That was back on October 10th after that "Access Hollywood" tape came out during the course of the election.  But, you know, a lot of people are speculating that it maybe being released today because people want to pressure you for other reasons on health care.  What do you think?

RYAN:  I got really thick skin, Martha.  That is ancient history.  That was back then when you -- like you said, when that video came out.  Look, it's no secret Donald and I had our ups and downs, the president and I had our ups and down.  But we merged forces at the end of the campaign.  I campaigned with Mike Pence, I supported Donald Trump; we merged forces; and since then, we've been working hand in glove together.  So honestly, I got really thick skin.  This is such an ancient history.  I'm surprised it's even a story.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  So, do you think people are trying to take you down, to put a chink in your armor during this health care battle that was going on here?

RYAN:  You know what, I don't even give it much thought.  It's just not part of my day job to worry about things like that, so I just don't worry about it.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  Speaker Paul Ryan, thank you so much.  Good to have you here tonight, sir.

All right.  So, straight ahead Governor Mike Huckabee and former advisor to President Obama Austan Goolsbee react to Speaker Paul Ryan and the new reports of an apparent effort underway to "blame the Speaker if the health care bill fails in the house."  

Plus, new developments in Middlebury College (INAUDIBLE) remember this story?  That left a professor hospitalized when students didn't like what a conservative speaker had to say.  A student their responds.  And former Education Secretary Bill Bennett tells us why the teaching profession on college campuses is largely to blame.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN:  We don't want to have some endless dragged out thing where we never get this done.  It's been seven years long, we've got to make good on our promises.  We've got to make sure that we keep consensus so we actually pass this bill.  But of course, we want to listen to our members and make improvements to the bill, so long as those improvements don't make the bill harder to pass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  This is looking like a heavy lift.  That was Speaker of the House Paul Ryan just moments ago, as I pressed him on how far he's willing to go, how many amendments would he be willing to bring in, to win over the more conservative members of the House to back the proposed health care bill.  A lot of what has been getting lost in this debate, what does this bill actually do?  How does it change existing ObamaCare law, and what exactly does the more conservative wing want?  

For that, we go to Trace Gallagher, live in our west coast newsroom, who boils it down for you all tonight.  Hi, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NEWS ANCHOR:  Hey, Martha.  Of the five biggest takeaways from the GOP health care plan, one of the most controversial appears to be the cuts to Medicaid.  Now for context, prior to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid was intended for low income families, pregnant women, children, the disabled, and the elderly.  Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, an additional 11 million people enrolled in Medicaid.

The GOP plan would not affect those people at all or anyone else who enrolls prior to 2020.  But after 2020, Medicaid expansion would be cut back, saving the federal government an estimated $880 billion by 2026, and leading to an estimated 14 million fewer people getting Medicaid coverage. For those who would no longer qualify for Medicaid, the hope is they'd be covered by alternate plans.  Though, some governors, including GOP governors, worry about their states losing federal dollars.  

Also causing controversy is the Congressional Budget Office estimate, that by 2026, an additional 24 million people would be uninsured, with 14 million of those becoming uninsured as early as next year.  House Speaker Paul Ryan has downplayed the numbers, saying, the reason more people won't have insurance is because they will no longer be mandated to have insurance.  And the CBO agrees that not having a mandate certainly plays a part, but the CBO also says affordability plays a part.  

And just to be clear, the GOP bill eliminates tax penalties beginning in 2016.  So, if you didn't have individual insurance or if you were supposed to offer your employees' health insurance but you didn't, you won't have to pay a fine for last year or future years.  But some lawmakers, including Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul, say, the Republican bill still has a mandate because there are still penalties.  Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KENTUCKY:  There's also an individual mandate, believe it or not.  Instead of paying the mandate to the government, they are going to tell you, you have to pay the mandate, by law, to an insurance company.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER:  And because of the criticism of the house bill, some senators say, this should be taken one step at a time.  First, a clean repeal of the Affordable Care Act, followed by a well-thought out replacement.  Martha?

MACCALLUM:  All right.  Trace, thank you.

So here now, Governor Mike Huckabee, Fox News Contributor, and Austan Goolsbee, former advisor to President Obama and a professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.  Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have you here.  So, Trace laid it out well -- governor Huckabee, let me start with you.  Is this a bill that will improve the situation for people who do not like ObamaCare?

MIKE HUCKABEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS:  It will for some of them, Martha.  But look, let's be real clear, and I want to be very honest with you and with everybody who's watching.  This is not a wonderful panacea.  There are going to be some people who right now have health care who may not be able to afford the new version because we don't know what the market is going to be.  The fact that there are elimination of the mandate, both individually, and also, the coverage benefit, that's a good thing because those were unconstitutional.  But it's also what made it financially feasible.  

I think the Republicans are playing a little bit of a word game when they say, "We're going to end subsidies, but then, we're going to come on the back end with tax credits."  Here's the problem.  If you are a poor person, you don't need a tax credit because you can't wait for a year to get your money.  You need the money now so you can afford the health care.  And I think that's a little bit misleading to say that, "Golly, we've done this wonderful thing by ending the subsidies," like it's a fiscal error of responsibility.  But the truth is, you're still subsidizing it.  You're just doing it in a way that poor people can't afford it.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  So here is -- here is the problem for President Trump.  He's in the middle here to some extent, because this is what he promised.  Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  Save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts.  Have to do it.  Get rid of the fraud, get rid of the waste and abuse, but save it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  All right.  So there's a couple things here.  One, is that he's being pulled in one direction by Rand Paul, the more conservative wing of the party; and the other direction by Paul Ryan, who's saying, "Look, let's get something done.  Let's put something on your desk that we can sign and get this ball rolling.  Austan, what do you think?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO'S BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS PROFESSOR AND FORMER ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Look, I think what you said is correct.  I thought that what the governor said was well-thought through. And I think in the White House, they're looking at this.  They're trying to decide, is this a Chernobyl style meltdown or merely a Fukushima?  They are trying to get their name off of this.  They want to have nothing to do with it.  

Number one, it's a direct violation of one of the central promises that Donald Trump made when he was campaigning, that he would not cut Medicaid, and its $880 billion cut to Medicaid.  And then, second, you pile on that the CBO score says 24 million people are going to lose their health insurance or not have health insurance.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  Yes, I mean, that has been, you know, some people think that's true, some people think that's not true, some people think CBO is so politicized that you can't trust what they say.

(CROSSTALK)

GOOLSBEE:  Yes, but they say that -- but the White House --

MACCALLUM:  They were way off on ObamaCare, as you know, Austan, and a lot of people believe that their numbers are way off here, as well.

GOOLSBEE:  No.  Be careful, Martha, because the White House has their own internal numbers.  And the White House's own numbers were actually worse than what the CBO said.  So, I think the fact that every Democrat and something like half the Republicans are expressing major reservations about this bill means --

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM:  And part of the promise, once you give people something, it's almost impossible to take it away.  We know that.  And the other thing that strikes me in that sound bite that we just played from President Trump, Governor Huckabee, is to look for the waste in Medicaid and Medicare, right.  President Obama said the exact same thing.  It never happened.  And I don't know if it ever will.  We will see.  Your thoughts?

HUCKABEE:  One of the reasons we don't really fix Medicaid is because we don't make it realistic.  Turn Medicaid over to the state, make it a block grant, but give the governors the flexibility to do co-pays, deductibles and premiums.  Because if you don't do that, you're never going to be able to sustain the costs because you don't control the utilization.  Why would a person go to the doctor tomorrow if he can go to the emergency room right now at 10:00 at night and still not pay anything?  But make the difference of $10 versus $100 payment, now, you've got a reason that you're going to control utilization.  Some of this is common sense.

MACCALLUM:  I got to go.  There is this, Mr. Governor (INAUDIBLE) I'm sorry.  (INAUDIBLE) is this going to pass, do you think, governor?  Let me get this through --

HUCKABEE:  I don't think the current formal pass exactly like this, but that's typical of legislation.  Everybody takes their spoon into the kitchen, everyone wants to be a chef, and a lot of people will get to add some spice before the recipe is finished.

MACCALLUM:  (INAUDIBLE) gentlemen, thank you.  Good to see you, as always.

So, still ahead tonight, the actress, Ashley Judd is triggered at a basketball game after she met, simply met a supporter of President Trump. Dana Loesch here with her message on that.  Plus, free speech on college campuses in the age of Trump is approaching crisis level.  A fallout continues from a recent incident at Middlebury College that left an invited speaker mobbed and a professor hospitalized.  Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett here with his thoughts on that tonight.  He calls the adults in charge at these university's feckless, and he has a prescription for fixing the problem.  That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  Developing tonight, the Middlebury College protest on March 2nd that silenced an invited speaker, a well-known writer Charles Murray and also sent to the hospital the popular professor whom he was speaking with that night has continued to get national attention.  The controversy setting up a larger conversation about free speech on American college campuses.  A student from Middlebury wrote this.

"For many, self-proclaimed liberals who pride themselves on openness and tolerance, it is a shame how they readily exclude and judge harshly those with opposing views.  Indoctrination and alienation are not the ways to introduce more progressive ideals to conservatives, open conversation, and listening."

(INAUDIBLE) who has tried in vain up to this point to get an editorial that that is a part of published in the Middlebury Newspaper, apparently the folks who run the newspaper haven't been interested in that viewpoint, but perhaps they'll change their mind.

Joining me now, Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary and Host of "The Bill Bennett Show" Podcast on iTunes and Fox News contributor.  Bill, good to see you tonight.  Thanks for being here.

BILL BENNETT, FORMER UNITED STATES EDUCATION SECRETARY:  Thank you.  Thank you, you're welcome.

MACCALLUM: So, this young man, wrote this letter to me, he has tried very hard to get his perspective heard by some and read by the student body in the newspaper.  But so far, it hasn't happened, he thinks it may happen now.  Your thoughts on all of this?

BENNETT:  Is he a student at Middlebury?

MACCALLUM:  Yes, sir.

BENNETT:  Is he -- is he alive?  Is he alive?  Is he OK?  Has anybody checked on him?

MACCALLUM:  He's fine.  Yes, he's fine.

BENNETT:  I mean, for take -- for taking these views you must be --

MACCALLUM:  And very strong.  (INAUDIBLE) by the way, I would say, in the face of all of these.

BENNETT:  Yes, for telling the truth, he got -- he got a medal at Middlebury.  He's probably a transfer from a Community College or someplace that makes sense.  Look, maybe this is the endpoint.  People -- some very smart people have written this is the end point -- tipping point.  I don't think so.  There's no end of the nonsense on college campuses.  The real embarrassment here is of course not just the students, I mean, you can send your child to Middlebury where he can hang out with idiots such as those in the -- who were screaming and preventing free speech, or maybe if he -- if he takes it really seriously, he can become an idiot himself.  And you can do that for $62,000 a year.  And ranked number four in U.S. News & World Report.  It's -- I mean, it's just ridiculous.  

The president of the college stood up there and talked about -- while the students were screaming and not letting Murray speak.  He's a brilliant man and one of the most brilliant people in America, wouldn't let him speak. She was talking about how much he disagreed with him.  But I'll tell you what tops it all off, Martha.  There was a letter that was published on this. Did you read "The New York Times" by the woman professor whose neck was injured and her hair was pulled? She wrote "The New York Times" on Monday. You know who she blamed? Donald Trump. You bet. Anyway, that is where we go in the land of milk and maple syrup.

MACCALLUM:  Yes. There's also been something put out by the college saying that they wanted to let people know useful information regarding Charles Murray's Middlebury visit. It was from the admissions folks and they wanted to make it very clear, they went through pains to put as much distance as possible between themselves, between the college and the speaker.

They said, well, we didn't hire Charles Murray. We didn't ask him to come. It was the student group and we don't ascribe to any of his views. I mean, enlighten everybody at home, what is so controversial about Charles Murray?

BENNETT:  Well, of course again, wrong. They call him a white nationalist. Charles is one of the most open-minded, liberal-minded people in the world. They are attacking the bell curve which talks about cognitive stratification -- most of the book if they would read it -- do they read books there? -- is about how we now select people based on intellect rather than by cast (ph) or religion or color of their skin, which is progress for civilization. I wonder how many of them read the book.

But this happens all the time. I haven't been invited to a college campus like this in forever. I had 32 honorary degrees, Martha, before I joined the Reagan administration. After that, I got four, I'm thinking in 30 years. I've been told that my views are not welcome on a campus. I've been told that, you know, a free speech does not apply to people who disagree with the faculty is talking about. It's horrendous.

And the real embarrassment here is the people who pay $62,000 a year for it, for their kids, thinking well, they'll get this prestigious degree, not that prestigious degree, by the way.

MACCALLUM:  Well, you know what, the biggest travesty is that they are not being educated, that they're not hearing different viewpoints in order to develop their own opinion. They're basically being brainwashed because they're only hearing one side of the story and they have to wait until they get out of college to start opening their mind and hearing different viewpoints. Bill Bennett, thank you very much, sir.

BENNETT:  Absolutely.

MACCALLUM:  We will continue on the story and have you back. Good to see you.

So, a big first for the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lands in Tokyo, Japan in just hours, tasked with projecting American strength in the region, analyst say is reaching a boiling point. General Jack Keane joins us in moments with what is really at stake with this important visit and the changes under Donald Trump, the president, and his military.

Plus, reaction tonight to major moves by the administration to take on the allegedly unaccountable federal bureaucracy. We are seeing the deconstruction of the administrative state. Are we? We'll get there when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM:  Breaking tonight, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is just hours from touching down in Tokyo, Japan, the first stop on this highly anticipated trip to Asia. The visit comes as many experts say the region is as complex and dangerous as it has ever been. The Wall Street Journal noting the stakes with one country in particular of utmost importance with a headline that went this way, "To China, America Finally Looks Vulnerable."

On top of that, Mr. Tillerson's stop in Tokyo comes just a week after North Korean missiles came dangerously close to the Japan coastline. Rich Edson is travelling with the Secretary of State and reporting tonight from Tokyo, Rich.

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Martha, in just a few hours, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives here to Tokyo, Japan. It's the first city on a three-stop Asian tour that will also take him to Seoul, South Korea and Beijing, China. Atop Secretary Tillerson's agenda will be coordinating efforts to address North Korean aggressions, specifically the continued development of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs.

To counter that, the United States is engaging an ongoing military exercises with South Korea and also agreed to deploy drones and a missile defense system to South Korea. The Chinese government views that as a threat. The United States denies that and says it is only installing those systems to defend South Korea from its northern neighbor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK TONER, SPOKESMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT:  We differ in our viewpoints on the way forward. But in no way are we going to back away from our, frankly, our treaty obligations to our allies, South Korea in doing the utmost that we can do for not only defense of our forces but for the defense of the Korean people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

EDSON:  There is also a significant economic component to this trip. As President Trump has promised to remake the trade dynamic with Asia, he's already done so substantially, withdrawing the United States from the 12 country Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement that Japan was also negotiating to be a part of. Among his first meetings here in Tokyo, Secretary Tillerson will be meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Martha.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you Rich. So joining me now with more, General Jack Keane, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and a Fox News military analyst. Jack, good to see you. Good evening. Thanks for being here.

JACK KEANE, MILITARY ANALYST, FOX NEWS:  Good to see you Martha.

MACCALLUM:  Big trip obviously for Rex Tillerson, a number of people have been in this position before. He is new to the job and the former CEO of ExxonMobil. He will speak with leaders in Japan and in China. What should be at the top of his list?

KEANE:  Well clearly, North Korean aggression is the number one subject. We've had 20 years of three presidents trying to leverage China to change North Korea's behavior. The result, they had a nuclear arsenal and the developed medium-range ballistic missiles and intercontinental missiles that they intend to weaponize with nuclear weapons. That is highly dangerous to the security of the United States, and puts our bases in the region at risk and it puts the American people at risk.

That is totally unacceptable. What Tillerson will be telling the Chinese is that you're coming down with North Korea a military option only, that we will have no other choice but to conduct some type of strike kinetic, cyber attack, both on those launch facilities so they do not launch those weapons. That is what is in front of us.

MACCALLUM:  Is that a move that you think President Trump will make?

KEANE:  Absolutely. I cannot imagine a president of the United States accepting a weaponized ICBM launched from an aggressive nation like North Korea. We cannot put the American people at risk.

MACCALLUM:  You know, it's fascinating to see the posture changing in terms of the Trump administration and the way they're going about things. Of course, you know, many people will disagree with some of these moves. In terms of the ability of our military to do on the ground what they feel they need to do. Big story in The New York Times the other day, that he's loosening their ability to go after terrorists and to hit targets in places like Yemen and Somalia. It is that a big change and it is that a change that you believe is necessary?

KEANE:  It's a big change and it's absolutely necessary. Listen, we've had three former secretaries of defense, Hagel, Panetta, and Gates, all complain about the Obama administration micromanaging military operations. So much so that the enemy adapted to it and we weren't flexible enough to react to an enemy in time.

Now, what the president has done, he's re-established trust with civilian leaders who are overseeing the military and the military commanders themselves. They give us the intent, the military commanders -- this is what we're trying to accomplish. You go out and accomplish that then you do not have to ask permission for every air strike you want to conduct or every operation you want to conduct. That is the way it should work. And finally, this president is putting that back in play the way it needs to be.

MACCALLUM:  So you believe he's listening to the military commanders in the field and doing what they say. In terms of, you know, sort of the diplomacy that Rex Tillerson will need to address here, Russia has tried to supplant us in many ways in these arenas. They are selling equipment, selling fighter jets to these countries, where we used to be the dominant supplier of them. In many ways, they don't use anymore and perhaps that is what drove some of that headline, China sees America now for the first time as truly vulnerable.

KEANE:  Well, the Chinese have been trampling on U.S. interests and the interests of our allies in the South China See in the Western Pacific for the last eight years and they have literally had their way so much so that our allies are very concerned. Russia in the Middle East, has been trying, and succeeding at replacing the United States as the most influential country in that region -- arms deals, nuclear power plants, you name it, they've been doing it. This is what is happening.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you very much. Good to have you here tonight sir. Good to see you.

KEANE:  Good talking to you Martha.

MACCALLUM:  So still ahead, Ashley Judd left shaken after encountering a Trump supporter face to face at a basketball game. Dana Loesch is here with her response to the actresses call for increased safe spaces to prevent these sorts of things from happening.

Plus, President Trump's executive order calls for cutting spending and staffing at federal agencies. Can you imagine? Are we seeing what Steve Bannon called the destruction of the administrative state? Mollie Hemingway and Matt Bennett weigh in, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST:  The deconstruction of the administrative state. You look at these cabinet appointees. They were selected for a reason and that is the deconstruction -- the way the progressive left runs is that they can't get it passed, they're just going to put in it some sort of regulation in an agency. That's all going to be deconstructed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM:  That was President Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, speaking last month at CPAC. He's describing one of the main objectives of this administration. And boy, does it have folks in the U.S. bureaucracy uneasy. Yesterday, while the media focused a lot on Russia and other health care stories, the president chipped away at that administrative state, signing an executive order that required a review of every federal agency to look for cuts.

Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, Matt Bennett, the former deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton and co-founder of the Third Way. So this is war. This is battle with the bureaucracy that lives within the beltway of D.C. and they are not happy about it, Mollie.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST:  Well, I hope that this is war. I hope the Trump administration understands the need to take on the size and scope of our bureaucracy, which has so much power, so many regulations. A really big problem with lack of transparency and lack of accountability, I mean, I think people understand just looking at the past few years.

We have an IRS that's able to target political opponents with impunity. We have a Veteran Affairs Administration that has systematic incompetence that has led to the death of Americans and nobody has lost their job. We have serious problems with the bureaucracy and it will require not just executive orders like what we saw yesterday, but the fortitude to really see that through to the end, to deal with the waste, the fraud, and mismanagement, and again, just the tremendous control and power that the bureaucracy has over average Americans lives.

MACCALLUM:  Yes. I mean this is a very big story and it goes to the heart of simple questions like, can you make a 20 percent cut in your agency and I think there's reason, Matt, why Steve Bannon said this cabinet was selected intentionally. The last cabinets have been accused of not having anybody from the business world. A lot of these folks are from the business world and they understand what it means when a CEO says, you know what, I got to take 10 percent out of your group, find a way.

MATT BENNETT, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO BILL CLINTON:  Well, look Martha, that's true but don't forget where we are. This is after many years of budget sequestration, which is now their budgets had been cut pretty radically barges have been quite dumb at caught radically --

MACCALLUM:  The defense budget has been cut pretty radically, nothing else.

BENNET:  No, it was all non-defense budgets were cut other than the entitlement programs. So, the programs had been cut really deeply already for many years.  And now, this is going to go below the bone and into real muscle. This is --

MACCALLUM:  How can that be possibly be Matt? We have more tax dollars going into the U.S. government than ever before. You look at education, in many of the most difficult areas for education, you have a higher dollar amount going towards each student than ever before. So the problem is not money. The problem is efficiency. And that is what he is trying to get at the heart of. Whether or not you're going to succeed, I have no idea because the forces pushing back against this are going to be tremendous.

BENNETT:  But Martha, don't forget what we're talking about. We're talking about keeping our drinking water safe, we're talking about keeping our skies and airports safe, we're talking about protecting wild lands, we're talking about doing things that people really, really care about. And yes, we are spending more money but we're a bigger country. We're growing -- we have 330 million people in this country. It takes money to do the things we need to do.

MACCALLUM:  All right. Mollie, those are scary things. Is that what we're talking about?

HEMNINGWAY:  No, and I mean we saw 20,000 pages added to the federal register last year. Hundreds of new regulations, thousands of new regulations including some that are significant with economic impact. You see that federal agencies grow in a way that's correlated with the size of regulatory growth and it has tremendous economic impact. But more than that, it has impact on the freedom of Americans to live their lives how they choose, to have jobs that they choose to have, to raise their families how they want to, to have things in their refrigerator that they want to. And yes, there is a role for limited regulation and we blew past that a long time ago.

MACCALLUM:  All right. We got to leave it at that but we're going to keep going on this and we're going to have you both back. Thank you very much.
Good to have you with tonight.

So just ahead, actress Ashley Judd has a run-in with a Trump supporter that left her calling for apolitical spaces. She believes that they need exist in this country. Dana Loesch up next.

(BEGUN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS:  I didn't know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDD:  It remains for me the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my lifetime. You know, raped as a child, bad. Re-raped by a political system that ordains a clown, really bad.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Strong words. That was the always delightfully political actress Ashley Judd who is now calling for a politics free space. She believes they should exist all around because she said she was triggered at a college basketball game. Judd took to her Facebook writing this in part, quote, "He said to me with open hostility as he was backing away, "We like Trump." I feel very sad that this happened and frankly, scared, she writes. We absolutely need apolitical spaces in this country."

Joining me now with her thoughts on this, Dana Loesch, who is host of "Dana" on the TheBlaze TV. Dana, good evening. We've been talking about free speech here tonight. She has the right to say whatever she wants to say, but the argument that she is living in a place that reminds her of Hitler and that this election is worse than when she was raped as a child, which is, you know, obviously a horrific history that she has had to live through, but give us your perspective here on where this -- what this is all about.

DANA LOESCH, DANA SHOW HOST, THEBLAZE TV:  Martha, I think she's nuts. She's absolutely crazy. Everything is literally Hitler to these people. She calls for apolitical space, but what she's actually calling for is only a political space in which everyone shares her exact belief system. That's it.

I feel so bad for this guy. She's on a basketball game in Kentucky. She was born in L.A., and so now she wants to act like she is one of the people. And she goes to this basketball game and this guy goes up to her, and she enjoys being recognized any other time and he talks with her, takes a picture, and then all he says is we like Trump. That simple statement is enough to trigger her.

She goes into this full on meltdown. And then, and I wrote a book on this called "Flyover Nation," she does exactly what I write in the book. She then in turn responds on Facebook exactly how people from Hollywood and people from the, you know, the coastal elite, how they respond to people from flyover areas. Big Stone Gap guy. This guy was from Big Stone Gap, a place by the way Martha that went overwhelmingly for Trump as Kentucky went for a Trump.

And so she basically says, well, I'm sorry in her Facebook post, that you and all of Big Stone Gap voted for the KKK and you're all full of misogynists because that was her response.  Here response was to characterize this guy as a misogynist and a racist simply because he said "we like Trump." I think she is unhinged.  I think she needs mental help honestly because every time she tops herself, it goes above and beyond every time.

MACCALLUM:  I mean, I guess the question is why the hysteria? You know, separating it from Ashley Judd for a moment and her own, you know, personal whatever she is dealing with. This belief that it's OK to say these sorts of things to people, American citizens who voted for someone different than you did, we've gotten into a very, you know, talk about an unsafe space, that's an unsafe space.

LOESCH:  Yes. I mean, that is an unsafe space to demand that not everyone can exercise their free-speech opinion. She is in Kentucky, for crying out loud. This is Ashley Judd, he's in Kentucky. Kentuckians are going to talk about that they like them some Trump. They voted for Trump. It's no different than if she goes anywhere else in flyover country.

MACCALLUM:  Thank you Dana. Good to have you tonight. Before we leave, here's the quote of the night for Ashley Judd and for our friends on Middlebury and all the places where people want to hear both sides of the argument. "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent, we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington 1783. Good night everybody. See you tomorrow.

Content and Programming Copyright 2017 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.