Interviews

Welch: Trump needs to become the controller-in-chief

On 'Your World,' former GE CEO reflects on the president's first 100 days, tax reform proposal

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 28, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Are you disappointed with how the Republicans have handled these big issues? Health care went down the first time.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

MACCALLUM: Mm-hmm.

TRUMP: I like them a lot. I have great relationships. Don't forget, most of them, I didn't even know.

MACCALLUM: Right.

TRUMP: But many of them, like the Freedom Caucus came, and I see them all the time: We love our president. We're doing this for our president.

You look at that. You look at the moderates, the same thing.

I'm disappointed. I'll tell you, Paul Ryan is trying very, very hard. I think everybody is trying very hard. It's a very tough system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, the president expressing his frustration with our Martha MacCallum. You can catch that interview 7:00 p.m. in our final 100 days show. It's a riveting exchange here.

But it gets back to something that Jack Welch had mentioned to me not long ago, that it's very different being a CEO running a big Fortune 500 company, and then trying to work the wily ways of Washington. Even the guys within your own party cannot agree on these issues.

Jack, of course, is the former CEO of General Electric. He's the executive chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute, considered arguably one of the great CEOs of all time. I would concur with that.

Jack, it's very good to have you.

This was a frustration he echoed, and you did as well not too long ago, that that movement from private enterprise to public works is very, very different. And he was kind of frustrated with his own party there. Where is it going now?

JACK WELCH, FORMER CHAIRMAN & CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: Well, he's got to become the cajoler in chief.

I mean, there's no question he doesn't have the leadership he wants to drive some of these things home. Now, they hung together on his most important achievement so far. They hung together to get Gorsuch approved in the Senate.

CAVUTO: Right.

WELCH: And that was a singular achievement of leadership by Mitch McConnell and that team.

But Paul Ryan has not been able to herd the cats in the way he should be as leader of the House. And it's frustrating. It's frustrating to hear Nancy Pelosi every day shine the same thing. They have the White House, they have the Senate, they have the House, and they can't get anything done.

CAVUTO: Right.

WELCH: Well, that's nonsense. But she's allowed to do it as long as these things hang out there.

CAVUTO: I'm wondering, the markets have been doing very well.

The economy, the first quarter weakness notwithstanding, and that's kind of a typical development, a lot of people are hanging a lot on these tax cuts and that the Republicans will get the job done. But even among the Republicans, Jack, there's some difference back and forth as to whether they should all be paid for right away or whether dynamic accounting or scoring is going to help and they will create revenues of their own.

If you were the president, you were advising the president, what would you be saying? Because they're at loggerheads already on that issue.

WELCH: I would focus on it every day. I would just put the heat on them. I would get Paul Ryan and McConnell all over it.

Look, the Republicans have a wild crowd. They don't play by the same rules as the Democrats. The Democrats line up like, you know, melons and vote the same way.

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: You have got to give a guy like Schumer and somebody like Pelosi credit. They herd these cats better than anybody else.

Now, the Republicans...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: The Republicans used to be good at that. They herded in the opposition much more effectively. Maybe there is something about being in the opposition, it's easier to do.

But on the tax cuts, I mean, they hope to be scoring a big health care deal in a second go-round that will grease the skids for that. But already that deal that looked possible, as the president kind of intimidated there with Martha MacCallum, what you gain, you lose with moderates.

Now, I'm wondering, if that is delayed, and let's say the tax cuts are pushed off much later, would you be worried then?

WELCH: Yes, I want them put in place. We need to grow this economy.

If we don't get growth, we're stunted. We're done. And we have to get it. We can't have this debt keep piling up without taking a shot at getting real growth on one side and cost containment on the other.

But, Neil, my problem is with Republicans in general. You look at Sessions. He recuses himself in a minute.

CAVUTO: You're talking about Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.

WELCH: Eric Holder -- wait a minute. Eric Holder was a walking sinner, and he never pulled back from anything. He had more conflicts than anybody.

And they hang in there. Nunes recuses himself from the investigation, and they let this guy Adam Schiff mouth off every hour on the hour. It's crazy, the way they cave.

CAVUTO: All right, you're talking about the Intelligence Committee and how, on these issues, they're always on defense.

Let me, though, get a sense from you. The president has been saying, you know, he's coming closer to his core beliefs when it comes to tax cuts. We need them. We need them to be big. We need them to be comprehensive.

Now, Ronald Reagan shepherded that process aggressively, but tried to court Democrats as well. He worked very effectively with Tip O'Neill, won over, as you remember, Jacks, those Southern Democrats, the so-called Boll Weevils.

But he was intimately involved in the process. Do you think -- and you're known as a detail guy, but who never forgot the big picture -- that this president should follow that same strategy when it comes to tax cuts, because I have a feeling that much will be decided on this president's reputation and success on whether he gets these through.

WELCH: Well, he made it clear that the White House is driving this boat. And that's good.

Now he's got to drive it. He has got to roll up his sleeves, get in there, make the compromises here and there. But he's got to get his party to stay together and come with him.

They have to realize that his vote depends on him getting this. He ran on jobs, jobs, jobs. If we're going to get this economy going, we need this tax cut. And he's done a hell of a job so far. He's got the regulations out of the way. He's cleaned up a lot of stuff. He's looking at that stupid Paris accord.

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: Now, if you walk away from the Paris accord, you hate the environment.

CAVUTO: That's the climate change accord. But go ahead.

WELCH: No.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: No, you don't hate the environment. You hate the deal, where India and China don't play for 13 more years.

You hate the deal. You don't hate the environment. You don't want to handcuff yourself, while they continue with a free rein to do what they want.

So, the deals he's challenged are deals that are too one-way, negotiated by people who wanted the deal more than they wanted what is good for America. And he's fixing that.

And the way the media polarizes his positions is outrageous. You're anti- something if you challenge the status quo. It's crazy.

CAVUTO: Yes.

WELCH: He's not an anti-environmentalist. He's a thoughtful guy that is trying to do it right.

CAVUTO: If you want to trash whatever, I mean, it's ample time for all the news organizations the cover the whole thing, but not just one way.

But you have obviously been watching too many CNBC.

Listen, Jack Welch, it always good seeing you, my friend. Thank you very, very much.

WELCH: Very nice talking to you. Stay on this tax thing, Neil. Make it happen.

CAVUTO: All right, make it happen, the orders from Jack Welch.

END

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