'More Optimistic and Less Dire'
Attention powerhouse politics listeners just note that ABC News and fivethirtyeight will be bringing you daily coverage of the convention all week long checkout five thirty. It's politics podcasts for instant reactions of the night of and start here from morning briefing of what went down. You can find links to those shows in the episode description, and of course, powerhouse politics will be here all week long. So subscribe to your friends to subscribe and listen here for analysis and in-depth interviews. Well. What would the power of politics on ABC News? Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and seen as political director Rick Klein Rick. Getty's Republican convention week. Looking ahead to this. Seeing what the president's been saying you know my my take going into this this. Particularly the president's speech the main speech on Thursday is going to be Dr. the president has been warning the actually in scranton the other day he compared himself to a wall like the wall. Got Him wanting to build a wall. A wall between the American dream and the complete and total destruction of the greatest country on earth. I think. That this convention speech may just make american-carnage look like morning in America we should note that the Republicans are telling us it's going to be optimistic note that's the that's the reason. That's the free spin and you look at the president even this morning is being renominated without any objection a grand total of one delegate went to someone other than Donald Trump through this. Is Bill Weld is wonderful well, delegate and Mike Pence is being renominated by acclamation. There is no no that internal dissent none of that. None of the typical convention storylines, even less than the Democrats. Last week in the Democrats had very little of it. This is this is this is Donald Trump's party, and that sort of the point this this convention is a lot more about donald trump and it is about the Republican Party. It's also more of a convention than the Democrats had last week because there are in person components to it, there's going to be a whole lot of trump on all four nights were told that this convention, a celebration of trump ism but I'm kind of with John that I don't see the the morning America type of optimism. Emanating from the president's rhetoric it is. It is become quite apocalyptic. And almost almost a fitting counter to what we heard last week with all the talk about voting like your life depends on it and these decisions that will define democracy and define generations of Americans moving forward. It's not like either side has needed much prodding to up the stakes of this of this election and if you remember. The president broker record for years ago in Cleveland with the longest acceptance speech in the history of acceptance speech at least of the television. but but let's let's if you don't line rick before we get to our guest, we're GONNA be talking to to Governor Christie in just a few minutes but let's let's revisit for a moment. What the president said four years ago I wanNA start just with the the line that we all probably remember the best nobody knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it. I. Always thought that line was kind of it was notable because he was saying I alone, which obviously is would cut most of the attention but the first part of it. nobody knows the system better than me it's kind of funny because. The one thing that he had going for him into that thing is that he would become the first president with exactly zero government experience. Terry never government. But he knew the system better. But that was the point John. You remember that that was about how easy it was the by politicians. That's why he's given money to Hillary is because he was crooked Hillary and he knew how to had a work in, he could fix it now and that is remembered and I remembered rightly and the other thing we remembered for is, of course, the the cheering which you're not going to get this here. Okay. So. If you if you listened to the speech and and I just want to focus on one aspect of it, which was quite prominent right near the top of the speech and it was a theme ran through it all this was a law and order speech. In I want you to listen to this. Thinking about today, but realizing that this speech was four years ago. So here was Donald Trump on the crisis gripping our nation. Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation, the attacks on our police and the terrorism of our cities threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country. So, so rick. It's hard to it's hard to think that the violence gripping our cities. The attacks on our police is he is saying That sounds like Donald Trump and twenty twenty. A words were said in two thousand sixteen. But let me play one more clip from the speed. Americans, watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence on our streets and the chaos in their communities. Many of witness this violence personally. Some have even been victims. I have a message for all of you, the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon and I mean very soon, come to an end. Beginning on January twentieth. Of Twenty, seventeen safety will be restored. Okay now, even if you accept his analysis of what the crisis is, what the nature of the problem is all of that. Not Promise has been kept. It's almost like it's almost like a prophecy I mean, let's do it now. It's almost UNCANNY. I mean it's really it's really something else now of course. I think we'll hear the theme again, but it'll be blamed on Democrats you know the the violence, the the the the the we're dealing with aren't democratic cities. Dates the Democratic mayor since the Democrat governors I mean. I. Don't know it's going to be interesting I. So so that's that's that's the context. That's the context. Now, did you happen to catch this little bit of news that we broke over the weekend, which I think is just kind of a kind of a fun little item. The you see who's who is overseeing the speechwriting operation I mean basically working on. Having handed virtually every speech in this convention in Anaheim told taking a direct lead in drafting the speeches of of at least two trump's donald junior tiffany just can't make it up John you broke the news you tell us you tell us who it is cliff. Cliff Simms was a served in the in the trump White House for roughly five hundred days and left to write a tell all book called team of Vipers. Which portrayed the the West Wing in the White House I would argue quite accurately and it's it's it's the book is a good read. But. But goes in chapter and verse about the infighting and the self-dealing and the conniving of the president's top advisers, and it was one that was not received well on the White House. Obviously, the president attacked the book. Accused called sims basically a low level person that he barely knew in and said that he made up a whole bunch of stories at the book of Fiction. And then Sims actually sued the president personally a sued the president. Because the through the campaign, he said that the president was trying to stop. The book by enforcing a nondisclosure agreement any accused the president of trying to infringe on his first amendment rights now. The. I found out about this from. Some others that were working for some of the people speaking over this over this week who Kinda surprised I dug into it and Found in fact, a simms has been on team trump now for a while the bygones be bygones, Don Donald Trump junior gave me very glowing quote about about how much of A. strong supporter simms has benefit President I got another quote from Rick Grenell Praising Sims. An saying that Sims helped him in his confirmation hearing which I did not know. And and it's important to point out that since book at Riedel a description of the trump White House. Ah was he was clearly Even in the book, admiring the President himself and basically making the case that he's ill served but people around him but he's back. He's back in this pretty important role as far as I can tell you, it's a big one is his convention and it's all over there. That's a remarkable factoid of gets lost in the blur of news around everything. But the you know the trump team has never been a huge team it's never been. Particularly, Well Oiled machine you'll remember that convention four years ago it was A. Technical term. I can't say on the radio and s show or something like it was it was it was wild. It was you know the Ted Cruz is moment money trump in the plagiarism? The the new rioting among some delegates it was it was all over the place and a mess. But of course, none of it mattered because he loved him. A winning I think he had a ended up winning the presidency It's a remarkable thing and then we've got a great guest coming up John I spent. Friday out on the on what counts is the campaign trail. These days is the first time I've been anywhere near presidential candidates. Biden's Baseman in no better than that. I went to the Hotel Du Pont in downtown. Wilmington Delaware where our colleagues. David Muir, it's beautiful Cobbler Harris and Joe. Biden. I sit down. You saw it on twenty twenty last night. I was struck by a couple of things about it. I. This campaign that campaign is so worried about covert it's it is just Another level of concern of ceiling people off I was watching the interview from the kitchen of the hotel where we had set up a little viewing area didn't come in contact with the with the candidates because the campaign was worried about any kind of contact like that I thought five and Harris were very, very strong. The Biden after a convention speech where which is one of the better ones that I think we've ever seen from I. Think you said as much John. He was he was he was dialed into this interview and I think. To me at least setting. A contrast of message vision that we could hear a lot about you know the whole interview is out there. I, hope you'll watch twenty twenty if you don't go watch it but this is this is toward the end of the interview with David Muir was asking just a little bit about how he might might hope to heal the country president's job is to heal. To Heal. This country needs healing. I'll be a president who tells the truth who takes responsibility, and who in fact invites the opposition to come to the Oval Office settled problems together so Look these aren't controversial. Sentiments in fact, that was one big theme of much of the much of the week that was hitting. Similar sentiments from the from the stage but in the trump, it sounds different and. It the hope in Biden world is that they can keep that and it's not let the running a positive campaign or. Clearly GonNa wire-to-wire talking about sweetness and light but that difference in tone of of trying to unite I'm interested to see if if president trump you're gonNA tents that this week because it's not where he most naturally agile as a political being. The president hasn't met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for ages. And when he last met with her as you remember, she walked out. So of the meeting. So This is not been a president who was invited the opposition sit down in the Oval Office and solve problems together I mean there were a couple of moments where he did that there was that brief Chuck Nancy phase if you remember for. Whom the fall of twenty, seventeen they were. You know they they they gotta deal on the debt ceiling I mean. This is those were. That proved the rule. There's also I along I think some five thousand word. Piece in politico recommend everybody to take a look by Tim Alberta very very smart. Analyst specially of all things Republican us He came to us for National Review Right is not where he was B before before political or Republican Party. He's got a very, very savvy take on the at the beginning so. So so you know he's somebody comes from a bit of a conservative background himself in the and this is what this is what he writes. Swede one quote here looking. Pretty good can be safely said as his term in the White House first term in the white. House draws toward closure Donald. Trump's party is the very definition of a cult of personality. It stands for no special ideal possesses no organizing principle. It represents detailed vision for governing filling vacuum is lazy identity based populism the draw from the lowest common denominator It's if it agitates the base lights up a Fox News Chiron with its serves to nate sturdy real Americans from delicate coastal elites in it's got a place in the grand old party It's it's literally take I mean he's He goes on like I said, some five thousand words talks to. Talk to a lot of people and. Tries to solve answer the question what does the Republican Party Donald Trump's Republican party but it stand for can you gain any? Can you see any? Rick in terms of of the the selection of speakers over the next four days. There's a lot of trump of the I. think there's a lot of highlighting people that have been made famous or infamous during the trump era either through cable news or you know interesting little little incidents along the way there are some rising stars. There are people that that the the party would hope to showcase in a time like this we may have some little preview of twenty, twenty four, but it's not. It's not like conventions that we've seen before it is very, very trumpy from start to finish. Well. Let's let's go to the guy that can actually answer these questions for us. Let's go to friend of the PODCAST ABC News Analyst. Former governor of New Jersey former presidential candidate. Chris Christie Governor. Christie. Thank you for joining US Charles. Good joint. What does this Republican Party stands for listen the Republican Party still stands for much of what it is stood for during a lot of the last decade or war. Which is lower taxes. Smaller government except during time of crisis when it's needed to be made larger and more protective it stands for trying to make sure that we have business development job, growth and. There's some things that have changed under Donald. Trump. For certain trade has changed significantly under Donald Trump in his position on that is certainly different than the traditional Republican position on trade and on foreign policy, it is a less interventionist foreign policy on certainly the policy of George. W Bush forty three, our last Republican president. But in the main, the Republican principles still remain pretty much the same I was listening to what you rick. We're talking about before that and that's just a bunch of dribbled from somebody who's never actually been in the party. Tim Alberta. This may be good report it, but that doesn't make him a good analyst. The students I mean it's hard I mean. We can have this debate, but I don't know how you can say this is the party of of smaller government given given the absolute explosion. Of of deficit spending on pro shop, which one retarded with would you would you dot had institutions Sir job, which you've not had the government grow in size in the midst of a once in a century global pandemic that'd be. What about the last three years? Now you know John Hasn't it you know the the the fact is that the the huge growth in government through real. Growth government has been over the last five months certainly proportionately to what has happened in the last three years. So but but let me ask you about the other thing we're hearing from the President I suspect we will hear in his speech on Thursday a real apocalyptic description of of this of the stakes in this campaign and to be sure there were equally dark talk on the democratic side about trump reelection would win. But. You know in addition to saying things like the only way that I can lose if if they steal the election. He's also saying. That He actually used it. We talked about this before you got on the did he hurt himself to a wall, the somebody dead in Scranton between the American dream and the complete and total destruction of the greatest country on earth he is saying that a Joe Biden win will mean the complete and total destruction of America. Chris. Christie's coming not well listen I think what he what he means is that. We're going to turn into the country's GonNa turn into a version of the Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren. View of the world, which is government should become even larger. Take over the entire. Healthcare system. and and takeover sections of the economy that they've never had possession of before i. think that is something that we're workings and most independence I'm don't want to buy and that's why you didn't hear Joe Biden saying anything John. During his convention last week nor most of the speakers of any specific policy positions the reason for that is they know that their policy positions broadly sell to General Electric. So what they did and they very well, I think during their convention was advertised Joe Biden the man as good decent honest human being which I found to be over thirty five years that I've known him. But. He has completely sold his soul to get the nomination. Remember. This is the guy who in the first Democratic Primary Bait when asked do you believe the borders should be decriminalized? Raised his hand along with every other Democrat on that stage this is a guy who signed a hundred ten page you know agreement with Bernie Sanders. About how he govern. This is someone who's picked a running mate. Care for all. Back and forth about it but for Medicare for all for the green new deal. This is become the Party of Elizabeth Warren and Berkeley Sanders and AFC and Joe Biden. This merely the vessel and certainly not the vessel they wanted but the vessel that the Democratic primary electorate stuck them with to spent a poor their philosophy into or if he's a funnel. To pour through and I think that's what the president's tried to emphasize. It's valid a worrying concern as far as apocalypse. I listened to Michelle Obama speech last week, which I thought was very well executed. And her husband speaks to former president. That described pretty much an apocalypse is donald trump is reelected. So if we're talking about a, Oculus, as my kids would say when they were in their preteens they started it. We've seen a lot of messaging from the RNC from trump campaign officials saint to to expect an optimistic convention. I'm not sure buying that yet governor but I thought that there's a couple times. Now, president trump's been asked to define his second term agenda and he just has not had a crisp answer where does where does that fit into this and do you expect this to be an optimistic week? I hope it's going to be a week where he lays out that agenda I think that has been the single biggest failing of the trump campaign so far. I said this memo to the president sixty days ago. That, the two predominant themes in the memo that I sent him as one that you have to lay out of the television for the next four years, and that's the way we turn this into a binary race, which is to contrast the. Republican. Vision for the next four years versus a democratic vision because otherwise it will be a referendum on Donald trump and no incumbent wants the race to be a referendum on them purely, and that's whether you look at Ronald Reagan, his race in nineteen eighty four with you look at Bill Clinton and his race in. Nineteen ninety-six or we look at Brcko bomb in his race in two, thousand twelve or George W Bush in his race in two, thousand four it was always a contrast against what would replace them if they were put aside, secondly, the other thing that trump campaign has failed on in addition to laying out a detailed plan for next four is you cannot run the two thousand sixteen campaign in two thousand, twenty, any campaign that runs the last campaign is a losing campaign, and so they have to do it differently this time it has to be more optimistic. And less dire on it has to be one that talks about what they WANNA do and how they want to leave the country at the conclusion of their eight years in and I think quite frankly that the trump campaign has not done well on either goes fronts and I'm hoping that's going to start to change and governor Christie because we're in convention week I I'd like to talk a little bit your perspective on on speaking at these conventions, you were the keynote Speaker at the twenty twelve convention the Romney. The Romney Convention, the Romney Ryan Convention people remember the Empty Chair. But I remember Chris Christie, and that at that speech gave of course and and you were featured last time what what are the? What are the differences that you've seen in how president trump thinks about a convention both in sixteen and this virtual convention at twenty twenty versus the more traditional Republican approach that I would assume was the Romney campaigns approach to programming convention? The campaign was more controlling I'm as you might have expected. To, have my draft of the keynote speech to the Romney people two weeks before the convention. They reviewed it. Literally. Changed. Two sentences. In, the speech gave it back to make but they got a chance to review it and also then watched me rehearse. The high command of the Romney Campaign Watch the rehearse in a hotel near the site of to also give me their input on my delivery of the speech So the the Romney campaign was very controlling that way the trump campaign. I was still polishing speech the morning I gave it. The morning for that evening they only asked me for transcript of the speech that afternoon. And always. So they could give the transcript out to the media Mike I no reaction on it at all until after it was delivered. And then the reaction I got was directly from the candidate. who called me on my cellphone as soon as I was done and so you know the trump approach the I don't know because I've not been intimately involved in the Convention Planning for Twenty Twenty. But you know. My guess is that it's it's fairly loose in terms of what people are going to be. Able to say, I think that the president generally people know the kind of things he likes to hear. Will, want to hear and they're gonNA crafter speeches in a way I. Hope that will provide some real information to people who are listening some encouragement to the people who are supporters. And at. A A forward looking vision for where they picked the country should go and you are somebody who is political supporter of the president but I know you also a friend. And friend with the first lady. French president you're you know. I it's. It's beyond the no this is not your transactional you know. Political relationship you you have a relationship him with him that goes back before he was involved in politics is so I'm wondering. What you. Fake, how you think he is reacting truly reacting not just what we see on his twitter feed. Off when he sees his sister his sister secretly taped by his niece saying some tough things about him and now we hear. Did WanNa Melania's former friend Stephanie Winston walk-off has supposedly a secretly taped conversations that she had with the first lady were the first lady disparages the president and his family on his adult children. The president has said remarkably little about any of this from niece's block to to the. To what we heard from his sister obviously, we haven't heard anything yet on this Rania latest thing. How does how does he? How does he react to? This was true we actually. Well a few things I think first off. What Mary Trump did was reprehensible. I know Maryanne trump barry very well. I know we're just swells the president. In fact, she was the person who introduced me to the President nearly twenty years ago and she is a smart tough accomplished woman in her own right having nothing to do with her brother and everyone knew she was the first female. Top assistant in the US Attorney's Office in New Jersey in the nineteen seventies. John when that's didn't happen much before Ronald Reagan put her on the district. Court. Bench in then Bill Clinton put her on the Circuit Court Bench She's an incredibly accomplished woman and and she's also very honest and direct. And? I am confident that she's mortified. that she was tasteless taste for mid public. I'm also confident that she's had very tough things to say directly to her brother overtime She's the older sister. I never known judge Barry mince words I'm sure they're both upset with that became public I all of us who have close knit families You know that there are tough thing times in family sometimes anger frustration sometimes out of motion sometimes out of pure love. I think the president and his reaction to it. John. Is Pretty much what you see is what you get when he says very little like that I'm sure this hurt him. you know? No like to hear that stuff be made public. It's one thing for your sisters say that to you privately, if you'd have an argument about it, I'm it's to hold other things for it to be public and I think what Mary trump did. was just reprehensible to judge Barry. Forget about the president. This is obviously a young woman who lost her father who Marianne Barry was clearly trying to mentor in a family that had been torn apart by litigation over the grandfather's estate and all the rest of things that we know and while she's having these candidate mentoring conversations with her niece. Options taping them and then using it for profit So I feel the person I feel worse for this morning. The worst for is Judge Barry. Who I think was horribly used in the circumstance and is now being embarrassed publicly because. She's now has greater notoriety because her brother is the president. I hope that the thing we're hearing about that tape recordings of the first lady are not true. For the very same reasons and and Malania herself isn't even more private person than. Judge Barry. I'm has been over time. So it's a shame. It's a distraction. I don't think the public quite frankly really cares about it. John. I, think they know they've been problems inside the trump family that's been pretty well chronicled and I I don't think that's going to determine. Anybody's vote the people who agree with what? Is, Berry said on that tape are probably already decided not to vote for Donald Trump and vice versa, and I don't think anybody who's undecided at the moment will decide the race will deci based upon these tapes or any tapes that may turn up of the of the first lady. All Right Governor Christie it's it's always it's always great to talk to you. Thanks for coming on. I'm sure we'll be talking every every day this week including on the broadcast absolutely looking forward ABC, news lacked tonight and the network broadcast and. For to being up there masking up with rahm Emanuel sit. There we go. Here we go. All right. Governor Christie I appreciate it. All right well, that is all the time we have for powerhouse politics but rick, we are here every day this week. So we will be back tomorrow with with another special guest. Thank you listening. Thank you susie Lou every Miller, the tire powerhouse politics.