Trump: Reports of impending staff changes are 'exaggerated'

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 15, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: Welcome back to The Five. Many staffing changes at the White House, recently, and there're talk of more to come. But President Trump is dismissing shake-up rumors as exaggerated following the abrupt dismissal of his secretary of state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They wrote a story about staff changes today, that was very false. We've made a wonderful change. I think Mike Pompeo is going to be an incredible secretary of state. We have some wonderful ideas. I've gotten to know a lot of people over the last year. I've been in Washington for a little more than a year, where some people have been here for 30, 40 years. I've gotten to know great people.

So there's always be changed but very little. It was a very false story. It's very -- a very exaggerated, a very exaggerated and false story. But there's always be change, and I think you want to see change. And I want to also see different ideas. Larry Kudlow just came in a little while ago. And I think Larry is going to be outstanding as economic advisor, so we look forward to it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUILFOYLE: More now with chief White House correspondent, John Roberts. John?

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: Kimberly, good afternoon to you. Not sure exactly which report the president is referencing there as a false report, but Fox News was saying last night, and earlier today, that there were some expected staff changes ahead. They may number anywhere between two and four, depending on the timing. And we were been told by sources inside close to the White House, but outside, yesterday, that some of these changes were imminent.

A couple of the changes that have been talked about, there's an awful lot of chatter about this one, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, may be removed from his post. We are told by numerous officials in the White House, saying people outside, that he has lost the confidence of the president to some degree based on the findings of an inspector general report, as well as the travel where he had taxpayers foot the bill to take his wife to Europe. He later reimbursed the treasury for that. But the president has always made Veterans Affairs a real priority. And if he's got somebody in there who he doesn't think is managing it as well as it could be managed, that he might make a change.

There were some rumors yesterday that Rick Perry, the secretary of energy, might be the replacement. But I'm told by White House officials that both the president and Perry have said he's not moving to the V.A. So another name that is floating to the surface, one that will be very familiar to viewers of Fox News, Pete Hegseth, who used to be the CEO of Concerned Veterans of America, and is well-versed in veterans issues and how to restructure the V.A. Fox & Friends' host, his name is making the rounds again here at the White House, as a possible replacement for Shulkin.

Couple of other items that may be in the offing sooner rather than later, H.R. McMaster, the national security advisor, has been rumored to not have a great relationship with the president for a long time. There's a possibility he could leave, and that John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, may take his place. When it comes to the V.A., Sarah Huckabee Sanders, earlier today, was asked about any staff changes. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don't have any personal announcements, but I can tell you that every day we're looking for how we can better the system, whether it's through policy changes or personnel changes. Not just at the top level but across the board. We've already made a number of changes within the personnel and make sure that we're looking at how we can best serve our nation's veterans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: But the president, again, saying that such talk about changes is a false story. But I'm told by some people that he's getting tired, Kimberly, of these daily stories of the drip, drip, drip of staff departures and the chaos. Better to rip the bandage off all at once, get it out of the way, then regroup and keep going forward. Kimberly.

GUILFOYLE: OK. Well, seems a little-bit -- John, thank you so much. All right, Dana, so lots of developments and we've been hearing, kind of, the steady stream of information about people that might be exiting the White House. Different people that, perhaps, the president didn't fell that the relationship was gelling in a way, or, perhaps, it's just time to move on. So there's quite -- it's almost like a Broadway play at this point. The cast of characters that keeps developing in terms of, you know, who might be leaving, in what order, progression, and who the possible candidates and replacements are. From a communications perspective, what do you think of the way this is sort of being decimated and handled, or -- and how, perhaps, they do better.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Well, I think that every president should have people working for him or her that they can trust, and that they have confidence in, and change is not necessarily bad. But from a communication standpoint, the easiest story to cover in Washington is personnel changes. And if you want to force the media to cover your accomplishments, then you're going to have to, like, serve them vegetables. But if you're serving up every day anonymous sources about somebody's in, somebody's out, and then having the president talk about it, then it is likely that they're going to eat dessert first. It's inevitable.

GUILFOYLE: OK. Well, there we go. All right, Greg.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: I guess it feels more like a business and less of a bureaucracy, because bureaucracy you can get pretty comfortable. Bring in your box of pictures and photos, put it on your desk. You can't do that with Trump. You don't know what's going to happen. I have to adjust my lens for the last 18 months of what this White House is like. And I guess in this Trump-era, I will take staff chaos over, you know, stylized videos of decapitations of westerners and journalist. I mean, if this is the kind of news that we are covering, I don't mind it. I'd rather hear about the staff changes. It's to me it's just part of life. It's better than seeing ISIS every day. I think this is progress.

GUILFOYLE: OK. All right, Jesse.

JESSE WATTERS, CO-HOST: Well, you called it a Broadway play, and I put the cast into groupings because that's how I understand things. So you have the nationalists, the Bannon's, Sessions', and the Miller's. The businessmen, Cohn, Ross, Mnuchin, and Tillerson.

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

WATTERS: The establishment, Reince and Spicer, you know what happened to them. You have the loyalists, Hope, Kellyanne and Shiller. And then the brass, Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly. But the family, Ivanka and Jared. The only thing I can derive from that grouping is the family is ascendant and they're not going anywhere. And in terms of the staff change, it looks very random. I don't know if you can really derive that much of a pattern there. But the pattern to me, at least, seems he's putting in place people that he trusts and that like him. It's very important for the people that surround the president, to support the president's agenda, agree with the president's agenda, and then personally like the president. We've heard a lot of people that are kind of doing their duty and kind of rolling their eyes. And those leaks really, I think, hurt the president, and doing him a very big disservice. So he's consolidating the group of people around him. He still likes the diversity of opinion. So, still, kind of -- that serves him well, but at the same time, he wants to have people that surround him, that agree with him and like him. And it's safe to say Kellyanne is safe, and Stephen Miller is safe, and Sarah Sanders is doing an excellent job. But Trump is all about change, and I don't think that's ever going to stop.

GUILFOYLE: It's kind of your language, safe, like an episode of Survivor.

(CROSSTALK)

WATTERS: Tribal council, survive.

WILLIAMS: Yes. So we've both picked up on the idea that you said this is like a Broadway play. And to me, it's not the Broadway play, so much it's reality TV. And if you want to get in the show, you have to get in, like, the Fox green room, because, apparently, that's the staging --

GUILFOYLE: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: But I will say --

GUILFOYLE: Slow down on the hate.

WILLIAMS: It's not hate. I mean, it's a fact. I mean, like he says, oh, you journalists, fake news, no chaos here. It's obvious to everybody if you just open your eyes and take a look. I mean, this is three times the amount of change in Obama's first year, two times the amount of change, and let say, Ronald Reagan's first year. I mean, we don't see things like this. And people come and go in a way that I think is a little unsettling --

GUTFELD: I heard Kilmeade is going to be on the Supreme Court.

WILLIAMS: -- in the room. If there's adults in the room, it looks like the adults. People like McMaster, apparently, on the bank plank, and Tillerson, and now even Kelly. The idea is, well, who are the adults? Instead, he's going to people who I think are like an echo chamber for him to simply tell him, yes, -- what he wants to hear. And that's a little unsettling.

GUILFOYLE: All right. Ahead, the Broward County sheriff's office release a surveillance video that proves the officer assigned to protect Stoneman Douglas High School did not go inside while the massacre was underway. Back in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: We're getting a first look at some very disturbing surveillance video. The Broward County Sheriff's Office has released the footage from outside Stoneman Douglas High as the shooter began slaughtering more than 17 inside the school on February 14.

The tape confirms that Deputy Scot Peterson, the man assigned to protect the school, did not go inside while the massacre unfolded.

So here's the thing. Kimberly, I want you to hear me out on this, because his lawyer, Joe DiRuzzo, says it's unfair to call him a coward, that he called in the shooting to the police department and then set up an outside perimeter, which is what the protocol established.

On the other hand, people look at this, including the sheriff's department, and say his job was to go inside and confront the shooter. What does Kimberly Guilfoyle say?

GUILFOYLE: Well, it depends. Each different -- you know, departments have different protocol about how they secure a perimeter, what they do in terms of when they receive information. A 911 call about responding to the scene, who's first on scene, securing the perimeter and then approaching, as information develops, to go in.

When you have an active, you know, shooter situation, what's really important, too, is also what is the procedure at the school? And are they aware of what that -- you know, the procedure is and what they're supposed to do? So are people there holding in place? They want to make sure that they don't increase any other casualties. They want to identify the location of the shooter. So you have to go in and you do a process by clearing room by room to be able to go identify, locate, and then eliminate or neutralize the shooter.

WILLIAMS: And Jesse, the sheriff, Scot Peterson [SIC], says basically that he gave the man the information, the protocol, and he should've handled it and he didn't. It's not the department's fault. What does Jesse say?

WATTERS: Well, according to the protocol, which we have right here, it's not to set up a perimeter. The protocol says quickly engage the suspect, because every time you hear a gunshot, it says you have to assume that someone has been killed. They learned these lessons after Columbine. You do not set up a perimeter. You go in. If it's one person you go in. If it's two persons -- people, you go in immediately and neutralize the shooter.

He didn't do that. And he stood outside and he waited. And if you listen to his radio transmission, the radio transmission, he says, "This could be firecrackers, but I believe it's gunshots. And it's coming from, I believe, Building 2011 or 211."

And that contradicts the statement that he released through his attorney, which said, "Oh, we thought the shooting was from somewhere outside." So why would you contradict yourself and then why would you take up a defensive position outside the building that you heard the gunshots from? It doesn't make any sense. And, you know, people are calling him the coward from Broward, and this is why. I don't know what was going through his head. But he has -- he should have gone in there.

GUILFOYLE: He has nightmares about it.

WATTERS: Yes.

WILLIAMS: So he resigned. He's gone. But at the same time, there's lots of investigation. What -- where does this lead us?

PERINO: Well, hopefully, to better protocol if that's what we need.

And also, we talked yesterday about would you rather break protocol and save somebody's life or risk somebody dying because you were so afraid to break protocol? And I think he's -- he knows he's the only one at the school that has a gun. And did he really think it was firecrackers inside? I mean, come on. Like honestly, that doesn't make any sense.

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Greg.

GUTFELD: I return to the hypocrisy of Sheriff Israel, who sat up on that stage at CNN knowing all of this stuff, knowing a lot of stuff but marshaling the audience to attack evil Dana Loesch and the NRA, because that was the thing to do that could get -- get the blame off him. After missing all of those red flags and having an absolute viable way to prevent this from happening. And then when it does happen, not going in and trying to stop it.

The media has devoted so much time to everything but the most glaring facts. We are enamored by the emotional aspects of this, but we overlook stuff like this. There are so many failures involved here.

And there are a lot of solutions. There are two major solutions. And I've said before, the database, where you have a civil tag based on what officials at school and the police, when they see somebody who's law- abiding but there's something wrong, they can put them in the database. That's an offensive maneuver. And also, the hardening the schools which will never be totally perfect. You can't harden -- it will never be perfect, but you can improve it. And that's metal detectors and a trained staff.

So there are things you can do. When you -- when you admit to yourself what the problems are. And there's a problem.

WILLIAMS: So you wouldn't talk about gun control?

GUTFELD: We always talk about gun control. We always do.

WILLIAMS: All right.

GUTFELD: I'm talking about the facts now.

WILLIAMS: Yes, me, too.

Democrats have their work cut out for them in 2020. New buzz on their challenging hunt for a nominee. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUTFELD: According to The Hill -- the newspaper, not the raised area of land -- Democrats now think their next nominee need not be "likable." He or she just needs to win. Which is funny. It's not like Hillary lost because of her sparkling personality. Back pain is more appealing.

What they mean is they want a fighter, someone who can throw punches instead of retreating to Gwyneth Paltrow's flat to mainline quinoa. A fighter isn't polite or normal -- formal but aggressive, blunt and sometimes even rude. Meaning they're looking for their Trump. For two reasons: One, we may never return to the way things were before Trump. It's not enough to tie the perfect Windsor knot or make the most tasteful toast. You've got to be interesting, funny, raw.

But also, it seems likability means less when assessing effectiveness. The fact is, you didn't have to like Trump to admit he's doing a good job so far. Sure, the way Trump handled Tillerson, that lacked appeal. His approach to critics can make you wince. But the tax plan, the renewal of our military, the decimation of ISIS, that offers some optimism. You don't have to like the boss to admit the company is doing OK.

So for the Dems, it may be time to nominate an adult with an actual plan, not simply a call for hope and change or an undergraduate's reliance on identity politics. A wish is no course of action, which explains why most places you find a Democrat in charge, you find an unholy mess.

All right, Juan, go to you first. Do you agree with everything I had to say? Do you guys -- do Democrats need, like, some kind of their correlation to Trump? They need their Trump?

WILLIAMS: Their Trump?

GUTFELD: They need their Trump

WILLIAMS: Do you mean a celebrity?

GUTFELD: No, somebody that doesn't adhere to the typical traditional mode of a politician. Or maybe their Trump was already Barack Obama.

PERINO: That's what I think.

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: That's how we have Trump.

GUTFELD: Yes, that's right. That's true.

WILLIAMS: The fact is, I read something the other day, Dana, that said that we are in a moment where you have to be, like, a cultural phenomenon in order to win the presidency. That doesn't speak well to parties or to structure or the establishment. But that would be one argument.

GUTFELD: Yes.

WILLIAMS: To my mind, the big thing is here, especially after the Conor Lamb apparent victory in Pennsylvania, is that, if the next election is a referendum on Trump, Trump loses. So he's got to dirty up the Democrat. So you need a Democrat who can, in fact, engage and be a fighter. And I think that's what's different.

Because going back to George W., people said that's a guy you want to have a drink with. You want to have a beer with him.

GUTFELD: Yes.

WILLIAMS: Well, maybe now, Joe Biden, who would be at the top of the Democrats' list at the moment, is a guy you want to have a beer with. But you need a guy who's willing to get down and dirty with Trump.

GUTFELD: Right. And Joe might not have the energy, Jesse, to keep up.

WATTERS: Yes, he'll be older than, I think, President Trump at the time.

GUTFELD: Yes.

WATTERS: I don't think Joe wants it.

But it's very difficult to defeat an incumbent president. It's only happened a few times in the last couple decades. You had Bill Clinton, who was extremely talented and kind of caught lightning in a bottle. And then you had Jimmy Carter, one term. Because basically, the whole world collapsed and gas prices were high and he was a pathetic mess. And Reagan came along just at the right time.

So I don't think they have a chance at defeating him. I think it's going to be a lot closer than it was in 2016. But they do need someone that can throw haymakers with President Trump. But they have to do it in more of an aspirational way. Because if you get in the mud with Trump, you're going to get dirty and you're going to get bruised up. And it's going to be tough to recover.

Elizabeth Warren's not going to be able to do it. Kamala Harris, Booker, Bernie. I just don't think they have the innate talent. You can't just draft someone out of the blue. Talent has to bubble up and arise from somewhere within the country. And if I'm looking at the list here, and I have a whole long list of Democrats, I don't see anybody with even a small amount of talent compared to this president.

GUTFELD: It's interesting, though. Dana, they did find Obama. He was kind of drafted. Right?

PERINO: Well, he gave the speech in -- at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, and everyone said, "Whoa, who was that?" And then three years later, he's the nominee. That's -- I don't know if he was drafted so much as, in some ways, he was a phenomenon and he was the opposite. Often, people go for opposites.

But you mentioned Bill Clinton and how he did well. One of the things that helped Bill Clinton so much is that he lost his congressional majorities in the first midterm.

GUTFELD: And had to change.

PERINO: And then he worked with the Democrats [SIC], and then people were actually like, "Oh, we kind of like this guy." I'm not saying that's going to happen in this case.

But also, the Democrats benefit this year, because there's no one face of the party. Just like Republicans benefited in 2010 when there was no one face. So they were fighting against the president, not just one person. That changes soon after they choose a nominee.

GUTFELD: Kimberly, who do you think is the feistiest Democrat? Like who's the one that will, like --

GUILFOYLE: Well, the feistiest, in my opinion, would be Elizabeth Warren. She loves to battle him. They do, like, Twitter battles. Like, it's like "Battlestar Galactica" meets Twitter.

So but she's saying that she's not going to run now.

GUTFELD: Yes.

GUILFOYLE: So he's going to be up against, the thing is, a number of people. I think there will be, like, 15 or 16. It's going to be like the redux of when the Republicans all ran, and then who was left standing?

So I think everybody's going to try and throw their hat in, especially since there isn't any Clinton family member blocking the spot.

GUTFELD: Right.

GUILFOYLE: So it's kind of wide open race to see who qualifies.

WATTERS: And just one more thing, John Kerry tried to imitate Bush, when he was, "I served in Vietnam, reporting for duty." I don't think that works. I think you have to go with authenticity and someone the opposite.

PERINO: Well, I think he tried that, too, because we were a nation at war --

WATTERS: Exactly.

PERINO: -- right after 9/11.

WATTERS: And that's what they wanted.

WILLIAMS: Hey, wait a second. It worked for Conor Lamb, a Marine.

GUTFELD: Yes, but Conor Lamb was closer to Trump then to Pelosi.

WILLIAMS: No.

GUTFELD: Yes. No, he kind of said that. Anyway, I mean, his policies were closer to Trump than Pelosi.

PERINO: Well, he was for tariffs. He was for unions.

GUTFELD: Yes. Yes. All right, enough of this. Sean Penn, remember him? He used to act. Well, he wrote a new book with a Trump-like president. Can you guess the plot? That's right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WATTERS: Kathy Griffin did it. Johnny Depp did it. Now Sean Penn, the latest celeb to allude to assassinating President Trump. He penned a new novel coming out later this month, and according to reports, the main character calls for murdering a president.

All right. The left's fascination with assassination, Greg. What do you think drives this?

GUTFELD: I think it's just -- it's sad, because he used to be kind of a creative guy, but he's not anymore. He's not very interesting. He's not very innovative, and he's -- this is his way of being shocking.

WATTERS: Right.

GUTFELD: Which as you see, people have done this before. He's become very dull, very old and very predictable. He thinks he's a Hell's Angel, but he's like the bass player from the Cars for Kids ad.

WATTERS: Thanks for getting that stuck in our head.

GUTFELD: Yes.

WATTERS: You think -- so to Greg's point, is this a way to shock?

PERINO: Yes, I think a way to shock but also, it's a way to deal with the rage that they feel.

GUTFELD: Therapy.

PERINO: Everything is out of their control.

But also, remember, they do like to shock. Remember, was it years ago when they had was it "The Walking Dead" or something where they have the character of George W. Bush and had like his head --

GUTFELD: "Game of Thrones."

PERINO: Took it off, like "Game of Thrones."

And it's just a way to, I guess, to get it all out. But they should just go for a walk instead.

WATTERS: OK.

GUTFELD: Walking is good.

WATTERS: Juan, are you going to buy the book?

PERINO: Listen to a podcast.

WILLIAMS: No, I mean, the title of the book is pretty wild: "Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff." I mean, like -- I was like puzzled by this title. And then I'm told that Bob Honey is a septic tank cleaner and that the Trump character is called Landlord. So there's all sorts of allusions in there but they don't work for me.

And guess what? I think these this guy's a two-time Oscar-winner, big name. And boy, is there an audience for his, you know, criticism of Donald Trump. This could do well.

WATTERS: Do you think it's going to sell, Kimberly?

GUILFOYLE: Yes. I mean, I'm disappointed in Sean.

WATTERS: You're on a first-name basis?

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

WATTERS: Sean Penn? All right.

GUILFOYLE: Yes. No more.

WATTERS: No more?

GUILFOYLE: Yes, I mean, I just don't think this is appropriate. And I don't like anything that even suggests, like, violence in that way, because somebody could take someone up on it and I think it's just suggestive. It's improper. And I don't know that there's any need for it.

But I mean, I guess he's been consistent about his feelings as it relates to the president.

WATTERS: All right. "One More Thing" up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GUILFOYLE: It's time now for "One More Thing," so I'll begin. Do you remember that wonderful place in your childhood, the place that Greg still likes to go and play in the aisles and the hallways? Of Toys 'R' Us, Greg, where all the things are at your height?

GUTFELD: Those were the days.

GUILFOYLE: So it's perfect. Well, after 60 fun-filled years, the toy giant Toys 'R' Us announced it will be closing all 800 of its toy stores, which is very sad. The retailer filed for bankruptcy earlier this year amid increased competition from Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart. And it's struggled to pay down billions in debt. So that's a big problem.

GUTFELD: Can I respond?

GUILFOYLE: Yes.

GUTFELD: Because I'm not going to get to my "One More Thing." I don't like Toys 'R' Us, because any time you ever wrote something with a backward "R," their lawyers would contact you.

PERINO: Really?

GUTFELD: Yes. They did it to me.

WATTERS: That was --

GUTFELD: Yes, they did it to me.

GUILFOYLE: No. I mean, this is actually a sad moment for millions of children.

WATTERS: And you make it about yourself.

GUTFELD: I know. Blame Amazon. Blame Amazon. People getting their toys from Amazon.

PERINO: All right, let's blame another company. Uber. OK, Uber is creating a bike sharing program. So you know, like Citi Bike, when you, again, have an account and you have a docking station. Well, this is different in that you can just leave your bike anywhere. OK?

And so this is not realistic. And these bikes are being stripped of their parts. In China there's apparently -- there's, like, entire bike share graveyards that have appeared. Massive piles of bikes discarded like trash. And I just -- I don't like it. I don't like it.

GUTFELD: There you go.

GUILFOYLE: All righty. Juan.

WILLIAMS: Happy 85th birthday to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I don't know if this is good news for Republicans or Democrats. Ginsburg sits on a court with one other person over 80, Justice Kennedy. Another, Justice Breyer, about to turn 80 in August. And everybody is thinking, well, maybe President Trump will have another Supreme Court appointee.

But Ginsburg, no sign of slowing down. She's a cultural icon, affectionately nicknamed RBG. The subject of blogs, T-shirts, coloring books and there are two films being made about her, a documentary and a film, "On the Basis of Sex." She says she's going to do the job as long as she has full steam. So full steam ahead.

PERINO: Do you mean gender?

GUTFELD: Gender, not sex. Right?

WILLIAMS: No, it says, "On the Basis of Sex" is the name of the movie.

PERINO: Oh.

GUILFOYLE: All right, Jesse. Quickly.

WATTERS: OK. Well, Greg thinks robots are taking over the world. He thinks robot dogs are going to be in, like, every home, and they're going to do everything. Well, I've found a way to defeat them. You put a banana peel on the floor. They're not going to take over anything.

GUILFOYLE: You're really against them.

WATTERS: That's how you neutralize the robots taking over. They slip on a banana peel.

GUTFELD: Robot PETA is going to come after you.

GUILFOYLE: Sorry, Greg. Just one more thing instead of three today. Go ahead.

GUTFELD: I don't -- I didn't plan on doing one. Because I didn't think I'd have enough time.

WATTERS: The podcast.

GUTFELD: Go on my podcast with Kevin Williamson. You can go check it out.

PERINO: What are you having for dinner?

GUTFELD: I think I'm going to have Chinese food.

PERINO: Did you get any good recommendations the other night when you asked?

GUTFELD: Yes, people -- a lot people on Atkins. A lot of people on Atkins, I'll tell you that. They gave me a lot of good tips.

WATTERS: Ribs?

GUTFELD: Ribs. Nothing but ribs.

GUILFOYLE: All right. OK. Never miss an episode of "The Five." "Special Report" up next.

Hey, Bret.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Kimberly, thank you.

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