Transcript

President Trump reflects on his first 100 days

President Trump sits down with Martha McCallum to discuss his first 100 days

 

This is a rush transcript from "The First 100 Days," April 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS CHANNEL THE FIRST 100 DAYS HOST: Just breaking in the last couple of hours, North Korea has fired off another ballistic missile, this test like many that came before has failed. The missile crashed into the Sea of Japan after traveling 25 miles through the air.

Good evening, everybody, welcome to "The First 100 Days," I'm Martha MacCallum. We will continue to monitor those developments throughout the hour this evening but first, to day 99, which was spectacular in our nation's capital, but day 1 as you remember was cold and gray back in January when the President took the oath of office and spoke of American carnage and rattled the establishment with these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, but for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. An education system flushed with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. We've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: All themes that have been part of the first 99 days, the President's approval numbers right now in the mid-40s and while 30 executive orders and 28 bills have been signed into law, 13 of which were bills that were rollbacks from Obama-era regulations, the big three that he campaigned on, health care, tax reform, and immigration reform have not happened quickly as he had hoped. The President is clearly frustrated to some extent with the Republican Congress.

The businessman now-president learning that the wheels turn slowly in this town, and he sees his biggest win so far as outside our borders. Earlier today, we spoke about both.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: Well, I think I've gotten and developed tremendous relationships throughout the world with the leaders. That's something that you won't - you know, we have this artificial barrier called 100 days which I'm not a big fan of, but of course, I know -

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Well, you made a pretty good effort to get a lot of things done in the past few days.

TRUMP: No, no, I fall victim to it all, so -- no, no, I fall victim to it all, so -- but it is very much an artificial barrier but allot of things can't be really determined. As an example, I've made tremendous and created great foundations in terms of relationships with China and with Japan and with many, many other countries. You are saying yourself and so on the show the other night where you're talking about there's never been any, kind of, a relationship that we've had with China, look at what China's doing, they're turning back the coal ships from North Korea, they're putting a lot of pressure on North Korea.

Now, I don't know -- I have a lot of respect and I really like President Xi. I don't know that he is going to be able to pull it off. It may have to be a much more difficult ending, to be honest, but he is trying. I believe he is trying. And he's a friend of mine and I really like him a lot. We'll see what happens, but I've set the foundations for a lot of great relationships in the future. I have tremendous feelings for a lot of the people running the countries of this world. And that's a good thing, that's a great thing.

Now, you don't measure that in the first 100days but those foundations have been set in the first 100 days. Getting a Supreme Court Justice, a great one, I think he'll be great one but getting him not only nominated but approved in the first 100days which hasn't been done since1881. And this is going to be something really special. That was interesting. It was -- I was reading a couple of reports where every time there's a five to four decision in favor of let's say what our views are and this is for the next thirty or forty years potentially, you know, you can say that you had a major part in it.

That's why I've always said having supreme Court justice, getting Supreme Court justices confirmed. Now, I could have others and we'll see what happens but getting justice gore such confirmed was to me a very bighting and it will be a very big thing in the future.

MACCALLUM: You are a registered Democrat for a long time, now Republican President of the United States, and people say, "Well, President Trump is not an ideologue, he is a pragmatist. How would you describe your political philosophy?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not really an ideologue. I think I'm a person of common sense. I think more than anything else and I was a Democrat, I came from a place -- you know, I lived in Manhattan. I started in Queens with my parents and then when I started doing a little better and better deals, I was able to get into Manhattan, I moved into Manhattan and in Manhattan you, you know, Republicans are not exactly flourishing. And so I started off as a Democrat like Ronald Reagan was also a Democrat.

And over the years, you know, your views just change somewhat but I think more than anything else I'm a person of common sense.

I understand what has to be done, I get things done I've always been a closer. We don't have a lot of closers in politics and I understand why. It's a very rough system, it's an archaic system. You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House, bit the rule of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through, it's really a bad thing for the country in my opinion.

There are archaic rules and maybe at some point, we're going to have to take those rules on because for the good of the nation things are going to have to be different. You can't go through a process like this. It's not fair, it forces you to make bad decisions. I mean, if you're forced into doing things that you would normally not do except for these archaic rules, so --

MACCALLUM: Like what, how would you change them?

TRUMP: Well, you know, you look at the voting and you look at the filibuster system. And it used to be. You know, I always thought of filibuster where you stand up and you talk all day and then somebody else--

MACCALLUM: You don't have to do that anymore.

TRUMP: No, you don't have to do it anymore. Today you say filibuster guys sit home and they watch television or whatever they do. I think, you know, the filibuster concept is not a good concept to start off with but if you're going to filibuster, let somebody stand up for 20hours and talk and do what they have to do or even if they are reading comic books to everybody, let them do it but honestly, the whole with so many bad concepts in our rules and it's forcing bad decisions. I really see. I see just -- I've seen this -- I've seen it over the years where bad decisions are made, decisions that nobody wanted are made because of archaic rules and that's something that I think we're going to have to change.

MACCALLUM: You really try to make a lot of moves to shrink the size of government, to shrink the size of the bureaucracy. But people say why not be concerned about the deficit? Why allow it to balloon with this tax reform deal and why not touch entitlements because unless you do that, you're not really ever going to take a bite out of the spending.

TRUMP: Well, I'm not touching Social Security other than fraud, waste, and abuse. And I will tell you this, look. We are doing -- we're just put in I think a great tax proposal, the economy is going to boom and you'll see that. It'll take a period of time and you'll going to have some deficits in the meantime, it's, sort of, called priming the pump, you have to prime the pump but look, the numbers just came out yesterday really, the real numbers. 1.6 GDP last year under President Obama.

1.6 percent, now, that is a horrible number. I call up leaders of countries and I say -- because I'm so friendly with so many of the leaders as I said and I say, "How are you doing?" "Oh, we are not doing well, we are not doing well, it's -- we are very upset. GDP is 8 percent," or GDP is seven or GDP is eleven and here we are at essentially one percent GDP and were supposed to be happy about it? No, we have to prime the pump, but more often a lot of other things are happening.

We're going to be doing trade bills you see what's happening with all of the trade deals that we have which are horrible. We're going to have a lot of money pouring into our country. In addition to which you wouldn't get GDP from the one percent to a one and a half percent to let's say, I say four because I really believe it. You know, we're saying three but I say four --

MACCALLUM: Four buy one?

TRUMP: And I say over the next few years. And I say there is no reason we shouldn't be able to get at some point into the future to five and above. But we need better trade deals, we lose a fortune with every country. Look, I've been talking about China for years. Now, I speak nicely about China because I really do believe they're trying to help out with respect to North Korea but the trade deficit with China is hundreds of billions of dollars.

The trade deficit with Mexico is close to $70 billion, even with candidates its $17 billion trade deficit with Canada. I mean, the lumber pouring into our country and all of the things coming from Canada and it's not reciprocal. And the word I like to use is reciprocal. If we had a reciprocal nature to our trade deals it would be a whole different ballgame, but that's very unfair. And we never, ever seem to have a surplus with countries. With every country takes advantage of the United States and it's not good happen anymore.

MACCALLUM: In terms of legislation you're going to see everywhere on Saturday that there was no major legislation passed in the first hundred days. You have the Republican congress --

TRUMP: You know, that's been a wrong, not necessarily wrong. First of all, we had 28 bills.

MACCALLUM: Understood.

TRUMP: I was with the reporter the other day who said the same thing, "You didn't pass anything," and I said, "No, we passed 28 bills. And by the way, by tomorrow it could be 32." These are bills passed by the legislature which I'm saying. I'm not talking about the executive orders which are frankly equally as important but I'm talking about bills passed so we have 28, we could have 32 within the next two days but when you of that this reporter said, "No, I don't believe it." They went back and checked and he said, "You know, you're right, you actually passed – "

MACCALLUM: You are right and we have looked at the list. I should've been more specific about --

TRUMP: And a lot of it is important. How about -- how about --

MACCALLUM: -- having about health care reform --

TRUMP: Well, how about this --

MACCALLUM: -- tax reform --

TRUMP: Sure, the two biggest --

MACCALLUM: -- immigration reform? OK.

TRUMP: And we're doing very well on them. We're doing very well on them. Look --

MACCALLUM: But my question for you is about -- is about congress because when you were running you said I'm going to do great deals with congress, I'm going to have great relationships on Capitol Hill. Are you disappointed with how the Republicans have handled these big issues? Health care went down the first time.

TRUMP: Yes, I'm disappointed.

MACCALLUM: And there was some suggestion it might happen today but now it's not going to happen.

TRUMP: I'm disappointed that it doesn't go quicker. I like them a lot, I have great relationships, and most of them I don't even know but many of them like the Freedom Caucus came and I see that it's not we love our president, we're doing this for our president, you look at that -- you look at the moderates, it's the same thing. We love our president. They have different views. You know, I kept -- I have a party that's coming to a lot of territory, they have different views, I'm disappointed.

I'll tell you, Paul Ryan's trying very, very hard. I think everybody is trying very hard. It is a very tough system and we're dealing with obstructionists. The Democrats and I have one Democratic vote. ObamaCare is exploding, ObamaCare is dead, essentially, ObamaCare is dead, and it's not going to make it, OK? You have states. I went to Tennessee two weeks ago, half of the states doesn't have any insurance companies. You look at Kentucky, what's going on, you -- it's a disaster in terms of, you know, the insurance companies are all going to be pulling out. Many, many states you have no insurance companies, ObamaCare is dead.

MACCALLUM: I hear you but, you know --

TRUMP: The Democrats know it. Wait one second. The Democrats know it and unfortunately because of the hard time that the Republicans have had getting their hands around these things which shouldn't be because it -- you know, I once said it's complicated, it's not complicated compared to other things being complicated, it's not that hard. I was disappointed that they didn't have more in line by time they walked in. But ObamaCare took 17 months of brutality to get it approved.

They ended up giving Nebraska, the Nebraska deal was, were frankly that senator who wasn't even that popular made one of the best deals, what they did for the State of Nebraska. I will tell you this, I will tell you that the 17 months to get ObamaCare approved. What we're talking about is far better than ObamaCare, it's an incredible bill and we have a good shot at getting it approved by the House. And I call them, I said, "Look, look, the hundred days, don't worry about it, you don't have to take the vote today. Take it next week. Take it in two weeks and three weeks but take a vote --

MACCALLUM: But I want to know about the leadership on this because after the first health care bill did not pass you said I have complete confidence in Paul Ryan. Do you still have complete confidence that he can get these moderates on board with the House Freedom Caucus because you've got to get everybody upon the raft?

TRUMP: He's a good man, he's under tremendous amount of pressure. I do have confidence in him, I have confidence in the Freedom Caucus people, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan and all of the different -- you know, all of the different guys. I have confidence in them, I have great confidence in the moderates. These are great, great people, Martha McSally. She flew jet fighters, she used to tell me more about jets than anybody was able to tell me about jets. These are great people. They're great people. They were all great people.

MACCALLUM: So they're going to get it done.

TRUMP: I believe that they're going to get it done. I believe it's going to be --

MACCALLUM: And the timeframe?

TRUMP: I think maybe next week sometime.

MACCALLUM: Next week? OK.

TRUMP: They're really coming together. I'll tell you what. They are -- it's very interesting, they're getting together and, you know, they never had a government, they always had Obama and they didn't have the Senate, so they could always vote no and do whatever they want to do and nobody cared just for many years, so it didn't matter. All of a sudden, we're governing and I told him and I said, "Folks, we are now governing. We have to come together to -- "

MACCALLUM: And a lot of people said they had all these years to put these bills together, these plans together, and they --

TRUMP: Well, I know but they also at all -- yes, but they were all -- unless there was a culture shock for them, they never had it governed. It didn't matter if they voted yes or no because Obama was going to reject it anyway. Who was going to be there with anyway? And they wouldn't get it through the Senate.

MACCALLUM: Maybe they didn't know that you were going to win so they weren't ready.

TRUMP: Well, they probably -- some of them knew I was going to win because they saw the crowds but I had great support from both groups.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

TRUMP: Look, these are great people, they have different views but their views are coming together and I think you're going to see. Again, they are now starting to govern. It's a big difference. Before whether it's freedom or the moderates, they could always vote no. They knew the Senate going to reject it anyway because they didn't have the Senate.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

TRUMP: And even if something happened in the Senate, Obama was going to be there, so it didn't really matter and now what matters.

MACCALLUM: So what -- what do you say to the members of congress who say well, you know, the president's approval numbers are in the high 40s.

TRUMP: It's not that --

MACCALLUM: I'm not necessarily going to, you know, bend to his will because on tax reform and on health care, I might lose my own election at home that you don't have the numbers to make it --

TRUMP: Solemnly --

MACCALLUM: -- important for them to come along with you?

TRUMP: Let me guess. OK. So I have approvals in the high 40s, every network that you see with the exception of Fox, Fox has been fair but every network you see hits me on every topic, made up stories like Russia, they do the Russia, the full Russia, I call it the fake Russia story.

Russia story was made up because the -- they were embarrassed by their loss. They had this tremendous loss, a loss like nobody has ever seen before. The Democrats should never lose the Electoral College because they automatically start with New York, California, and Illinois.

MACCALLUM: Right.

TRUMP: It's impossible for Republican to win. And not only did I won I won easily. So they made up this
Russia thing to try and deflect because they're embarrassed by what happened. The Russia is a phony -- what do you see is the Russia story? The Russia story. And you see all of these other phony stories. It's so bad and for me to have great approval records in light of all the faux press and the fake press I think is amazing.

Now, I will say this, we had a case where I got involved the last few days in Atlanta, in fact, I'm going there today for Karen, he looked like he was going to win, he had about56 percent of the vote, if he gets 50 he wins, we have no way, Democratic congressman. I did a robocall, I did some tweets, I did some interviews, he didn't get the number, and I believe she's going to win, and she might win very easily, I'm involved in other congressional races. I think I'm going to win.

MACCALLUM: The president making the argument that he has had a positive impact on some of the special elections that we have watched. Up next in part two of my exclusive sit-down with President Trump today, wait to hear who he believes is to blame for the General Flynn controversy and why he thinks his new tax reform plan will work without touching social security, how those numbers add up. Will see how the president answers this question as well. Do you ever think will may be one term would be enough of this kind of life?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: We are back and the Russia investigation has cast a long shadow over the first 100days particularly when it comes to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and that is where we pick up a question from the second part of our interview today, our sit-down with President Trump.

TRUMP: If you look at other networks all I do is get hit all the time. And by the way, falsely. And I don't mind getting hit legitimately but --

MACCALLUM: Well, that story is not -- is not going anywhere as you know. I mean, that story has a lot of, sort of, avenues to it and the most recent one comes back to Mike Flynn who -- when he left when here signed you said that he was treated horribly and that you felt badly about that. Given what we now are seeing on the payments from Turkey and Russia, would you stand by that comment?

TRUMP: Well, let me just tell you I do feel badly for him, he served the country, he was a general but just remember he was approved by the Obama Administration at the highest level. And when they say we didn't bet, well, Obama I guess didn't bet because he was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama Administration. So when he came into our administration for a short period of time, he came in -- he was already approved by the Obama Administration and he had years left on that approval.

Now, if somebody is approved at the absolute highest level by the Obama or a previous administration, I mean, does anybody ever ask about them? Does anybody ask about why Bill Clinton was paid a fortune to make speeches in Russia? Does anybody ever ask about Podesta having a company with his brother in Russia? Does anybody ever ask why Podesta would not let the FBI check on the server when somebody hacked their server?

And by the way, they tried to hack the RNC too but we had good defense. We had good defense. They couldn't hack us. But does anybody ask why is it that Podesta had a company in Russia with his brother? They don't mention that. Now, they should mention that, Martha, but they don't. It's one of those things.

MACCALLUM: I want to move on to a couple of other quick things because I know we're short on time. The huge cut that small businesses would see would also be enjoyed by hedge funds and also by real estate companies. Is that going to make it tougher for you to get that big cut through for the past through past companies in your tax reform?

TRUMP: So with the highest tax nation in the world are business taxes are through the roof and we're not competitive and companies are leaving. We're going to break companies back, we're going to lower taxes and the biggest beneficiaries of the small companies and the biggest of all beneficiary are middle-income people who have really been hurt. Their taxes are going down to10 percent and I have two guys, I mean, I have the president of Goldman Sachs, Gary Cohn, I have Steve Mnuchin, one of the most successful guys, never made a bad deal.

These are very smart guys but I said, "Fellas, you keep forgetting to mention because I'm the one that set the numbers, I'm the one that did this to a large extent. You keep forgetting to say that the biggest beneficiaries of the middle-class people who have been absently hurt."

MACCALLUM: But your critics are going to say, "Well, real estate companies like President Trump's company will benefit along with that middle cut," so is there -- is it going to make it harder for you to get that big cut in the middle, the 39 takes to 50?

TRUMP: OK. If I'm individually paying 35 percent, I will tell you that's more, OK. I'm going to end up paying more than I pay right now in taxes, all right? I will pay more than I pay right now. The reason I'm going to pay more is because I lose all the deductions. They have deductions on top of the deductions, they have hundreds and hundreds of pages of deductions.

MACCALLUM: We'll eliminate those and then --

TRUMP: -- things that you never heard of before, I have great accounting firms, I'm sure you do. They come in -- well, you're entitled to a deduction for geese flying over America, you're entitled to this, you're entitled to -- by the time they give you all these, all that stuff goes away, all of it goes away other than charitable deductions which we think is important to keep and interest deductions which we think is important to keep. But all of the stuff goes away.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

TRUMP: So I predict I will probably pay more than I'm paying right now.

MACCALLUM: So your life pretty much changed completely after Election Day, how would you say the presidency has changed you?

TRUMP: Well, I didn't have much privacy but now I have no privacy. I said to somebody the other day I love driving cars. You know, to me a great -- a great event is getting into a car and driving someplace, I can't do that anymore and I haven't been able to do that really since the primaries. When you go to number one in the primaries all of a sudden you get secret service and -- so it's been a long time. And, you know, there are certain things in life that you miss. It's -- you're in a cocoon and there are amazing people, the secret service, but you can't go very far.

MACCALLUM: Do you ever think will may be one term would be enough of this kind of life?

TRUMP: Well, I mean, I want to see how we're doing. I hope that we do so well, that, you know, things are good, that I could either run easily and nicely and enjoy the fruits of what we did. Maybe it takes a little bit longer but I think we're doing tremendously well. I don't think anybody has ever done this much in a hundred days. But I've always said it's going to be 8 years, not 4 years.

MACCALLUM: Personal question for you, you're going back to New York.

TRUMP: Yes.

MACCALLUM: I'm surprised that you haven't been back to New York yet since you became president.

TRUMP: Well, I'll break this on the show, I love New York but going back is very expensive for the country because they close up 5th Avenue and they close up 56th Street. I live in Trump Tower which is right smack, great location, right smack in the middle of everything and I always feel a little bit guilty when I go there. And if I go to as an example I have a lot of property. So if I go to one of my clubs like in New Jersey, they'll say, "Oh, he's going to play golf," I'm not going to play golf, I couldn't care less about golf but have a place there.

That costs almost nothing because it's hundreds of acres and security and they don't have to close up streets et cetera, et cetera. And I like to do that as much as possible. The problem is every time I go to a club they say, "He's out there having fun," I'm not having fun. When I go to a club I'm working. As an example, I did play golf with Ernie Els and the Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe.

That was such a great day and we bonded because of that and, you know, bringing Ernie Els along, a great golfer, great champion, he'll never forget the day we had a great time but I feel guilty when I go back to Europe because I hate to see the New Yorkers with the streets closed and I've been there because I've been there when presidents have come to New York City.

MACCALLUM: Yes, we were around the corner, we know.

TRUMP: You know.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

TRUMP: And they close up, you know, the entire midtown section of Manhattan. I don't know if it's all necessary, so I go back as little as possible because it's expensive, et cetera, it would be much better, people would understand that I could go other places that I have but then they hit me for relaxing and I don't want to be known as a person who relaxes because I'm working hard and I'm working hard for the people and were doing a great job.

MACCALLUM: We're looking forward to having your -- the first lady and your son will be here soon?

TRUMP: They're here right now and yes, I am. I mean, it's going to be great. They're going to move right as soon as he's finished with school they're moving to Washington.

MACCALLUM: Mr. President, thank you very much.

TRUMP: Thank you, thank you very much as well.

MACCALLUM: Good to be with you.

TRUMP: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACCALLUM: So there you have it. In my interview, President Trump's plan to roll back regulations to spur economic growth has been a big push. So a large chunk of bills that he has passed do away with a lot of Obama-era regulations but the big items legislatively are still out there. Chris Stirewalt, Marie Harf, and Marc Thiessen join us next after this. Stick around. My question for you is about-- is about congress because when you were running, you said, "I'm going to do great deals with congress, I'm going to have great relationship on Capitol Hill." Are you disappointed with how Republicans have handled these big issues?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FIRST 100 DAYS SHOW HOST, FOX NEWS: Breaking tonight, you just heard from President Trump defending his legislative agenda and talking about the 28 bills that he has passed and promising a resolution on the bigger ticket items in the weeks and months to come.

For a closer look at what we just heard from the president plus where the administration may go from here, let's turn to Chris Stirewalt Fox News Politics Editor; Marie Harf, Former State Department Spokesperson under President Obama; and Marc Thiessen, American Enterprise Chief Scholar and they are all Fox News - full Fox News contributors, welcome - welcome everybody.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS POLITICS EDITOR: Great interview.

MARIE HARF, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: Thank you.

HARF: Yes.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's always interesting and there is always sort of a million places that you want to go but when you speak with the president he is sort of, you know, end up going in some different directions at times, you know, but when he talked about it, I wanted your thoughts on the Michael Flynn question because he -- stood -- he was a general. He had great reputation and he stuck up for him to a certain extent but he said we can't be blamed for not vetting him properly, Chris?

STIREWALT: Well, I'll let Marie take that...

(LAUGHTER)

STIREWALT: ...take that football because I bet she has a lot that she would like to say about that, but Donald Trump was warned repeatedly about Michael Flynn by people who were around him that said this guy is bad news. You don't want to do this.

And Flynn, we have to put this in the right context. At a time when no one with a reputation like Flynn's would stand within 50 yards of the host of the "Celebrity Apprentice"...

HARF: Right.

STIREWALT: ...and this guy's a joke and here's a guy who can't do anything. Here is a guy who was a serious operator of the national security community and he picks Trump and he was with him and Trump was loyal with him up and to the point even of doing considerable damage to his young administration. So, we have to remember the context for it.

HARF: Right.

MACCALLUM: That's right.

HARF: Well - and we can't forget that President Obama fired Mike Flynn for gross mismanagement of the defense intelligence agency, so yes there were career officials in the Obama Administration who do...

(Crosstalk)

MACCALLUM: ...a lot of that had to do with the fact that they disagree on the way...

HARF: I think that...

MACCALLUM: ...that the war was being handled. Mike Flynn would have been much more aggressive. It wasn't that he was, you know, not buying enough paperclips so that he was a lousy manager, it was that they had a philosophical disagreement on how to - how to handle the war, how to pursue the war and, you know, the other point I would make is that he was vetted by the Obama Administration, correct?

HARF: Well, first that's how Mike Flynn - how you just described it, it's how Flynn try to spin getting fired. A lot of nonpartisan folks at the defense department have said when Mike Flynn came to DIA he was a bad manager and it had nothing actually to do with his ideology. But, no I have -- I thought that the security clearance, I think - I think many of us up here have. Those are conducted...

(LAUGHTER)

HARF: ...and we could get you...

STIREWALT: Oh, no, no.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

HARF: ...those security clearance forms are processed by career security officers. Barack Obama or political appointees weren't vetting them. He was vetted by the folks that do everyone. And look if Mike Flynn lied on his form he's in real serious trouble. And, you know, there should be higher standards.

Donald Trump, I mean, Chris is exactly right, he should have been vetted to be national security advisor not just by what he put on his SF86 Form but by the fact that he had very openly embraced Vladimir Putin. You don't need a security form to know that that's probably a little shady.

MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE CHIEF SCHOLAR: Not discriminating of that but in defense of what you said, Martha, this is a guy who in the DIA -- at DIA warned Barack Obama explicitly in an intelligence report that was sent to the White House that if you withdraw from Iraq and pull all of our troops out, ISIS will rise up, move into Syria, move back into Iraq, take over Mosul, take over all of these cities and Barack Obama didn't want to hear it.

So, I don't think it's fair to say that he was just fired because he was a bad manager. I would say bad management is not listening to your intelligence community when they tell you that he better not move out of Iraq.

STIREWALT: The rules say you got to get your security clearance re-up every five years and if you ever leave your clearance - if you - if you...

HARF: Yes.

STIREWALT: ...ever step out before you get back in the poll, you got to get revetted, that's the rule for everybody regardless.

MACCALLUM: And he is no longer the administration and a number of things that you touched on have to do with that fact.

STIREWALT: Right.

HARF: Yes.

MACCALLUM: All right, that's more to come.

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM: So, common frames (ph) on the campaign trail carried over to the first 100 days as President Trump blamed the media for his lacking approval numbers. Howie Kurtz, Mollie Hemmingway, and Richard Fowler are here on whether the president has a legitimate crack with that, when we come back.

TRUMP: So, I have approvals in the high 40s, but every network you see hits me on every topic, made up stories like Russia. They do the Russia -- the full Russia, I quote the "fake Russia story."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TRUMP: So, I have approvals in the high 40s. Every network that you see, with the exception of Fox -- Fox has been fair, but every network you see hits me on every topic, made up stories like Russia. They do the Russia -- the full Russia I quote the Fake Russia Story. The Russia story was made up because they embarrass -- they were embarrassed by their loss. You see all of these other phony stories, it's so bad and for me to have great approval records in light of all the faux press and the fake press, I think it's amazing.

MACCALLUM: President Trump's from our exclusive interview earlier today saying that the media's obsession over what he deemed destructions is the driving force behind his approval rating for the First 100 Days.

Here now are panel is media experts Howard Kurtz, Host of "MediaBuzz" here on FNC; Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at The Federalist; and Richard Fowler, Senior Fellow at the New Leaders Council both are Fox News contributors, welcome to all of you.

So, Howie, he is essentially saying that the reason that his numbers are lower than say President Obama's were at this point or President Bush's were at this point is that the media hits him so hard that it weighs them - weighs on them.

HOWARD KURTZ, "MEDIABUZZ" HOST: Well, every president faces a learning curve and they do think that networks view this president with disdain. I have to say that no president in our lifetimes has been subjected to such a relentless barrage of negative coverage and bitterly hostile commentary and personal ridicule. And it's not just ideological, many journalists not all and some are being fair and some are trying to examine their record, have a kind of a visceral disdain for Donald Trump, the guy they said that would never win and who they -- he has a different style, he is talking, tweeting, working at his positions in public and that is in poor contrast to the poll tested carefully calibrated language of most politicians.

MACCALLUM: You know, I have to wonder, Mollie because we did three different Town Halls, you know, wanted to talk to voters and see how they are feeling now and test the support whether it was waning or not. Now, these are just three rooms full of people but in every case when I ask people to raise their hands if they were still, you know, very enthusiastic or were they can, you know, were happy but with concerns, or disappointed, in most cases, the room all the hands went up saying that they were enthusiastic. So, it makes me wonder to some extent, are these numbers accurately reflecting the enthusiasm for the president or not?

MOLLIE HEMMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST: Well, it's good to remember that he was elected without having high approval ratings.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

HEMMINGWAY: And I would almost say that the numbers are as low as they are despite the media coverage being so hostile. I think for many people the hostility of the media was actually something that drew them to Donald Trump and if you want to see low approval numbers you look at media approval numbers.

You have people particularly Republicans but both sides of the aisle whose report they have very little trust in the media to tell a story accurately. So, the fact that the media has been so hostile to them I don't think that's hurting him all together that much.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Oh, it's helping him.

HEMMINGWAY: It's not helping.

RICHARD FOWLER, NATIONALLY SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Well, I do think it's helping him with his base. So, amongst his small - his base of support who approach him have their Trump-Pence bumper sticker on, the media hate helps him immensely. But I think if you talk to the general American public, I think they're sort of lukewarm on Donald Trump.

And I think the reason why they're lukewarm on him is not because of the media but because of White House missteps, right? Starting from day one when he started arguing about his crowd size to the failure of the health care act that they try to do, to sort of this week's saying we're going to pass all these bills because this is the first 100 days.

But we don't care about the first 100 days at all of that has played into everyday American saying, I'm not so sure.

MACCALLUM: You know, it's interesting you look at these special elections that we've had, right? There's been a lot of discussion about whether or not Democrats could make some ground there, they haven't. I asked the president about that. You know, whether or not he felt that he was getting support of congressmen who wanted his help because of these poll numbers and his claim was, you know, I am helping them and they are doing OK and it's working. Mollie, what do you think?

HEMMINGWAY: Let's say more important than his 45% approval rating is that he has a 48% disapproval rating. If he weren't underwater on that, he could be using his bully pulpit more, but again it's early on and it is helping him. I mean he did with -- the Kansas election was one. I think Georgia will probably go in Republican's favor as well.

KURTZ: The president took a shot of House Republicans in your interview...

MACCALLUM: Yes.

KURTZ: ...it's not a governing party yet that is hurting him because of lack of a major bill getting through.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

KURTZ: But I have to say also that yes, there have been missteps, every new president has missteps, JFK had the Bay of Pigs. But the president (ph) understand that for all of our efforts to true squad and fact-check this president, our collective credibility has suffered so much in recent years and particularly in the Trump era that half the country that supported Donald Trump doesn't believe just about anything we say and when we attack him it actually helps him.

Now, does that extend to Democrats and Independents to some extent? I still think that no -- everybody hates us, so we're a big fat target. Are we fake news all the time? No, I think that's overstated but we are struggling in our own credibility as we try to cover this president.

MACCALLUM: Yes, I mean, I just have -- you have to wonder about these poll numbers, you have to -- after what we saw in the last election sort of question whether or not they are truly reflective. And I don't know the answer to that but, you know, during the election it was apparent that a lot of people that were Trump supporters had so much disdain for polling organizations that they didn't want to talk to them, that they - that they didn't answer their calls. What's your feel, Richard?

FOWLER: So, my thought on this is that I think you can -- polls are polls, right? But you look at what's happening on the Hill and it looks like a barometer of where this president is when politicians don't want to stand with you, when you have a battle between the Tuesday group, the Charlie Dents of the world, and the Freedom Caucus and they can't come together when you guys are the ruling party, that speaks to the fact that you don't have enough power to get your own members to do what you want them to do.

KURTZ: You know, the fact that president ran against the Republican establishment, he's almost like an independent president, an outsider president and so that's what's making it hard to pull the two different wings of the party together.

MACCALLUM: What do you think, Mollie?

HEMMINGWAY: The problem is that the media are making everything a problem and it's hard to take them seriously on anything.

KURTZ: Everything goes to 11.

FOWLER: Everything goes to 11.

MACCALLUM: Everything goes to 11.

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM: Thank you very much, you guys.

FOWLER: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: All right, so as we close in on the first big mile marker of the Trump Administration, we'll take a look back to where we may go from here Mercedes Schlapp, Chris Stirewalt, Marie Harf and they've been following the ups and downs of The First 100 Days and are here to give out their last report card grade tonight, stick around for that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So, earlier today when I spoke with the president, he affirmed his belief that he will have a two-term presidency after recent comments pointed to some frustration with what he has run up against since First 100 Days. Let's turn to our panel of political experts and get their final grades on these first 100 days. Joining us Mercedes Schlapp, Republican Strategist and Fox News contributor; and Chris Stirewalt and Marie Harf are back with us as well. Good to see all of you.

You know, it was interesting when I asked him you know, there's frustrations but are you going to definitely run again because he's talked over the course of this week about the bubble, about the cocoon, about the frustrations of the job. He said, "Well, you know, I'm pretty sure I will run again." And he said, "You know what absolutely."

STIREWALT: Yes, yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM: What did you make of that? Chris, you want to start?

STIREWALT: Well, I would caution him on one point. Don't let your reelection hamper your first term because that is a thing that happens. When you are too focused on the reelect, you can't be yourself and that's actually a good way to...

MACCALLUM: Does anything make you feel like he is at this point?

STIREWALT: Yes -- not yet, but what I'm saying is the rallies and these things that's fine having a conscious selection -- conscious plan for reelection is fine. But if you find that the choices that you're making and the way that you're governing is limited by you thinking about that reelection all the time, you're not going to do as good of a job and it might cost you...

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: Well, I thought that interesting move this week was the Wisconsin Dairy Farmers was, you know, sensing that made me think about that. Oh, he's, you know, looking ahead...

STIREWALT: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin...

MACCALLUM: Yes, Pennsylvania, exactly...

STIREWALT: ...Michigan...

MACCALLUM: ...some of the things that would be real positives for the people who voted for him last time around, but they also work with his agenda or what he's doing right now, but let's get some grades. All right, Marie let's start with you...

(LAUGHTER)

MACCALLUM: ...because I - I see your grade here...

HARF: Yes.

MACCALLUM: ...and things are not looking up in your opinion.

HARF: No, I gave him a "D" for the first 100 days, but with some incompletes and by that mean I mean he outlined a very specific agenda that he wanted to get done in his first 100 days. During the campaign, repeal and replace ObamaCare, build the wall, the list goes on. And on that list, he hasn't had a lot of big successes.

Neil Gorsuch is probably the biggest for sure, the Supreme Court, that is an item fulfilled, but on foreign policy we haven't seen a detailed policy agenda. He failed spectacularly to do ObamaCare repeal and replace, they may still get it done. That's sort of an incomplete category. Tax reform keeps getting pushed back, infrastructure isn't anywhere on the horizon...

MACCALLUM: Well...

HARF: ...these are big ticket items.

MACCALLUM: ...has just began. I wouldn't say it's getting pushback.

HARF: Well, first they said...

(CROSSTALK)

HARF: ...done by August and now they keep pushing it back.

MACCALLUM: All right.

HARF: So, we'll see, what gets done before 2018.

MACCALLUM: Mercedes, I want to get everybody...

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, the ones that deserve a "D" or an "F" grade are the Democrats for resisting every single move of President Trump to be realistic...

STIREWALT: A-.

SCHLAPP: ...but for the President Trump definitely an A-...

(LAUGHTER)

SCHLAPP: You all can laugh but I can tell you those viewers out there, those people in the middle of America, they believe he deserves an A-...

STIREWALT: Oh, why the minus.

SCHLAPP: Clearly because we - first of all, we've seen economic security - he's making progress on economic growth and on his plan of pushing forward a tax reform bill and talking to congress about this as well. Then you have on the other hand a foreign policy, I think he has shown strength especially when it comes to the issue...

MACCALLUM: Yes.

SCHLAPP: ...about taking down ISIS, on responding to Syria where President Obama failed. Now, where he gets the "A-" is the fact that yes, it was a rough start and the fact that it has been difficult dealing with his own party members where there has been the infighting between the centrists and between conservatives.

MACCALLUM: All right, let me just start what we're getting (ph) here. I also mention the Dow is up 14%, NASDAQ up 16%, so there's some positive marks from the market.

STIREWALT: Sure, he gets to see in my book, because the point of 100 days is to make congress passed legislation that's why FDR did it.

SCHLAPP: ...presidents who have been able to pass legislation on 100 days...

STIREWALT: That's why...

SCHLAPP: ...not very many, very difficult.

STIREWALT: Franklin Roosevelt initiated the concept...

SCHLAPP: Ronald Regan couldn't do it.

STIREWALT: ...Franklin Roosevelt initiated the concept about congress move.

SCHLAPP: Right.

STIREWALT: He did not make congress move...

SCHLAPP: But...

STIREWALT: ...that didn't happen, so that's bad. To the good, look at him learn. Look at him a guy who had never been in public life before. And a guy who obviously didn't understand everything that went into being president of the United States, you saw it reflected at his interview with you. He is learning and just as he learned as a candidate, he is learning as president as this goes and the Democrats better be careful. This guy is going to speak up on them.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: ...you know, that was the sense that I had today, was that there's a - there's a little bit of, you know, more assurance and comfort in the White House than there was, you know, when we first went there a month ago. So, thank you guys...

STIREWALT: Bye.

MACCALLUM: ...very interesting to talk to you all, so we will be right back with more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So, we set out 100 days ago and joining you every night to document the journey of an outsider candidate who has become an unconventional president. We brought you the ups and downs, the palace intrigue but mostly the stories that we believe would impact your lives the most.

We went back to the pivotal state to see how you thought the 45th president is doing in his job. We interviewed many of the major players in the administration and we took you behind the scenes of the West Wing and the White House.

Well, the First 100 Days will be behind us as of tomorrow, "The Story" is just beginning. "The Story" goes on and that's the name of our new show, "The Story with Martha MacCallum" starts this Monday night at 7:00. We hope that you will make us part of your evening and make us part of your story as well.

Thank you, everybody, good night, we'll see you Monday.

END

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