tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC November 27, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. >> our transition team is working smoothly, efficiently and effectively. >> as trump heads to the white house. his inner circle deeply divided over secretary of state. is the front-runner rudy or romney? >> his appointments will come out when he's ready. not a moment sooner. >> trump promised to leave his empire behind. >> i couldn't care less about my company. it's peanuts. >> will he do enough or will his businesses profit from his presidency? and the growing call for a recount. does hillary still have a shot? we take the questions to trump's senior adviser, kellyanne conway, senators ted cruz and bernie sanders.
and the former chair of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen. and -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> fidel castro dead at 90. what it means for cuba, its people and with the trump white house, is our renewed relationship hanging in the balance? from abc news, it's "this week." here now coanchor martha raddatz. >> good morning and thanks for joining us this holiday weekend. hope you all had a great thanksgiving. it was a busy week for president-elect donald trump who spent his holiday at mar-a-lago filling in his cabinet, detailing some surprising shifts on key campaign promises. and while he is yet to hold a press conference as president-elect, he released another taped message to the american people. >> it's time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. let us give thanks for all that we have and let us boldly face the exciting new frontiers that lie ahead.
>> the once divisive candidate now calling for unity. we'll get to that in a moment with senator ted cruz. in his first sunday interview since dropping out of the race. trump senior adviser kellyanne conway and senator bernie sanders. first, the world reacting to fidel castro's death at 90. president obama who restored diplomatic relations with cuba offering his condolences saying the cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the united states of america. but will that friendship continue under donald trump? for more on that let's bring in jim avila in havana and tom llamas outside of trump tower in new york. jim, let's start with you. we know cuba will observe nine days of official mourning. what will that look like? what is the mood like there on the ground? >> reporter: well, the sunday it's a normal quiet sunday morning, maybe quieter than normal.
people have been told to mourn here and that's what they're doing. the state has tremendous power to rally the faithful. 90% of the people work for the government. youth organizations are funded by the communist party. when they want to gather a crowd like tomorrow, it won't be difficult to rally the faithful here and they'll be out in force and they'll be out in force looking to celebrate fidel castro's life and his revolution. >> jim, castro did hold power longer than any national leader except for queen elizabeth and while in power, he controlled almost aspect of cuban life. will his death change people's day to day life there? >> reporter: not right away. he has really stepped back in the last ten years since he was sick and just tried to be the conscience of the communist party. his brother raul has been running things hands-on and with approval of fidel castro,
and things will continue along the same path until raul castro steps down as he promises to do by 2018. you'll have to wait for the younger generation of politicians here if there's going to be any change at all or some kind of popular revolt among the people. >> tom llamas, you were there in front of trump tower. you covered the reflect throughout the campaign. over the weekend both president obama and president-elect trump released statements they were extremely contradictory in tone. president obama's statement talking about castro's figure with enormous impact and donald trump saying today the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. fidel castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. on the campaign trail, trump promised he would reverse president obama's opening to cuba. do you think that will happen or might castro's death change all that?
>> reporter: you know, martha, i think president-elect trump sent two clear signals, first a statement. i can't tell you how many cuban american friends and relatives called me. some who voted for trump, some who didn't, praising trump's language on castro's brutal legacy. they loved the very blunt terms. the other thing is he's appointed one of the biggest supporters of the cuban embargo to his transition team at the treasury department. that is no accident. of course, donald trump sort of changed his policy on cuba during his campaign in the primaries he said he was open to dialogue with cuba but wanted a better deal, then later during the general election campaign he said he would reverse president obama's executive order on cuba, if the castro regime did not meet our demands. it's unclear where this will play. donald trump has to appoint secretary of state and our top diplomat where does cuba play on that person's list of important things when it comes to foreign
policy. i think right now donald trump has sent clear signals that he's going to be very tough with cuba in the future. martha. >> this story is so personal for you. your grandparents and parents fled cuba as political exiles. you have talked very powerfully and emotionally this weekend about your cuban heritage. how has your family reacted to the news? and you? >> reporter: you know, i think as far as my family is concerned, there's a lot of joy. you see it on the streets of south florida with the celebrations in little havana and it's not joy that an old frail man is dead. that's not why they're celebrating. they're celebrating because a very dark chapter in their life has ended. we were constantly reminded of castro's legacy and brutal regime living in miami just 90 miles from havana and reminded when we had to send family medicines and food to cuba every week and money every month when
fishermen would find empty rafts floating in the florida straits and our relatives would reach the united states legally. i'll never forget one time cousins i had never seen before had showed up to a hotel right off of biscayne bay and i remember telling my dad how thin they were. my cousins. the parents and the children were so thin and i'll never forget martha, the children were much older than toddlers and walking and running around and yet still breastfed. why? because there was not enough milk to go around in cuba. >> thanks tom for sharing that with us. thanks to you jim as well. for more now let's turn to republican senator and former presidential candidate ted cruz of texas. senator cruz, you heard tom talk about his family. you have cuban heritage as well from your dad's side of the family. what was his reaction? >> well, look, this is a powerful moment for people all across the country and
especially for cuban americans. i was with my dad when he found out the news that fidel castro was dead and he simply said praise god. you know, for so many of us whose families had been in prison, had been tortured, seen the destruction of cuba that castro carried out, my dad as a teenager was tortured. beaten in a prison cell. had his teeth kicked out of his mouth. my aunt whom i adore, she fought in the counter revolution against castro and she and her two best friends in high school were thrown in prison and tortured as teenage girls. what they did to girls in cuban prisons was unspeakable. you know, i first heard that castro had passed the final judgment with a text from my cousin bb who said she got to
call her mom and tell her mom fidel is dead. for a man who was tortured and murdered and oppressed for so many, it is thankful he is no longer with us. >> so many powerful stores like that. you put out a statement paying tribute to castro's victims. those who were against him. do you think his death will open a new chapter for cubans? with increasing liberty for cubans? what happens next? >> look, that is certainly my hope and my prayer. unfortunately the policies of the obama administration have made that less likely. what the obama administration has done is strengthen raul castro. raul is the dictator now. i asked my dad at dinner last night what do you think happens now that fidel is dead? and he shrugged and said raul has been in power for years. the system has gotten stronger and what obama has done is funneled billions of dollars to raul castro which is being used to
oppress dissidence. in 2015 roughly 10,000 political arrests occurred in cuba, five times as many in 2010 when there were only about 2,000. this regime has gotten stronger because of a weak president, weak foreign policy and very much my hope and belief that with a new president coming into office in january, president trump, a new administration, that u.s. foreign policy towards our enemies whether they are iran or north korea will no longer be a policy of weakness and appeasement but instead using u.s. strength to force and press for change but i look for the day -- i've never been to cuba. i've never been to the land where my father was born or grew up. i look forward to coming to cuba and seeing a free cuba where people can live, where it's pulled out of -- cuba is like
the land that time forgot. >> do you think the embargo was working? do you want to double down on that? >> you know, what i will say is the economic pressure was having real effect. cuba was a client state of the soviet union. for in many, many, years. when the soviets collapsed it put enormous pressure on cuba but then venezuela stepped in and provided dollars in exchange for troops. when the economy was cratering president obama stepped in with billions and is propping up the administration. this ought to be a moment where cubans are dancing in the street because they're being liberated, but instead, listen, if you dance in the street, you're going to be thrown in jail. cuba is not a free society. in 2015 some 2,000 churches in cuba were declared illegal. 100 were destroyed by the government. you don't have the freedom to worship god, to speak. and it is my hope that we will see u.s. strength prompting real
change and real freedom in cuba. >> let's turn to president-elect trump. you met with him last week in trump tower. you said you want to work with the new president in whatever capacity you can have the greatest impact. what capacity might that be? >> well, listen, we have got a lot of work to do. this election was a mandate for change. it astonished everyone. the pundits, the pollsters. and it was an overwhelming mandate. over 300 electoral votes and winning states that had gone democratic for years after year after years, like pennsylvania, michigan, iowa and wisconsin. we have a mandate for change and republicans have been given the opportunity, we have been given control of the white house, of every executive branch and both houses of congress. we can't blow it. we have got to deliver. so i'm excited about working with president-elect trump, working with the new administration to actually
deliver on the promises we have made, to repeal obamacare, to lift the burdens on small businesses, to unleash energy to -- >> on that point -- >> to confirm strong principle conservative supreme court justices. >> mr. trump has changed his tune. he wants to keep certain provisions of obamacare instead of repealing and replacing the law. that mankind may be causing climate change and abiding by the paris accord and that same-sex marriage is settled law that he would not try to have the supreme court overturn. do those changes in his tone concern you? >> listen, what i'm going to work to do every day is to try to work closely with the new president. with the new administration. and with my colleagues in congress to deliver on what we promised. i got to say if we don't, if we're given the white house and both houses of congress and don't deliver, i think there'll
be pitch forks in the streets. i think quite rightly. i think people are so fed up with washington. this election was a mandate with change and the most catastrophic thing republicans could do is go back to business as usual. i'll tell you there are a lot of -- >> do you have real concerns about what he said since? >> listen, the new team that trump is bringing together is an impressive serious team. jeff sessions as attorney general, i know jeff and worked closely with jeff in the senate. jeff is a smart principled serious conservative. he's going to make an excellent attorney general. look at the national security team coming around. the trump administration, it is a strong serious national security team. i'm encouraged by the team that is coming together by where their focus is. i'm encouraged by their plan for the first 100 days to act aggressively, lifting the burdens on small businesses and job creators. that's what the president should be doing and from my end, i want to do everything i can to help president trump have an incredibly successful
administration because if we deliver on the promises, that's how we actually turn the country around, bring back jobs and raise wages for people that are hurt. >> i also want to go back a little bit. back to the campaign which at times was very bitter. you had some very strong words about then candidate trump. listen to this. >> this man is a pathological liar. he doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. he lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. the man is utterly immoral. morality does not exist for him. >> do you regret any of those words? >> well, listen, it was a hard-fought campaign on all sides. and it was vigorous until the end. but at the end of the day the people have spoken. he won the election. he won the nomination and the general election in convincing manner.
my focus is on the country. my focus is we have a new president. we have a mandate. we ought to deliver on that mandate. we ought to deliver. this election was about jobs, about the fact for the last eight years working men and women in this country have seen their lives and wages stagnant and factories closing. we need an administration that nights for the working men and women in this country. that's my number one priority in the senate, fighting for 27 million texans for jobs, for economic growth. >> i want to go back to those words he lies practically every word that comes ow of his mouth. do you think donald trump is a liar? >> you know, i'm not going to go back to the past. i'm going to focus on the future and on what's in front of us and fixing the problems we have. i will say one thing that's going to be an interesting test in the next few days. i very much hope that we don't see any u.s. government officials going to fidel castro's funeral.
i hope we don't see president obama and joe biden and hillary clinton and democrats lining up for a murderous tyrant and thug. if you wouldn't go to pots funeral because they were murdering communist dictators, then you shouldn't be doing what obama is doing which is celebrating fidel castro, a murderous dictator. >> thanks so much. >> thank you, martha. god bless. >> let's bring in donald trump's senior adviser kellyanne conway. president-elect trump said in his statement about fidel castro's death that his administration will do all it can to ensure the cuban people can begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty but also promised to reverse president obama's opening to cuba. how will ending diplomatic
relations and pulling american businesses out help achieve prosperity and liberty. >> martha, first, thanks for having me. what president-elect trump was saying is that the first priority he has is to make sure the political prisoners are released and the people of cuba finally after 60 years of oppreo oppression know economic and political and religious freedom. he is opened to researching and in fact resetting relations with cuba but his criticism of what has happened in the last couple years is simple. it's that we got nothing in return. that by reopening diplomatic relations with cuba, allowing commercial aircraft and the rest that we really got nothing in return. we didn't get those political prisoners released or assurances that cubans who live on the island would be religiously and politically and economically free. and we respect the thousands and hundreds of thousands of cubans who live here who fled that
oppression, fled that poverty, fled who they believe to be a dictator and as ted cruz is saying on your program, has 60 years of blood on his hands. we can't romanticize. we have to take a look at the way he ran his country to the democracy we have here in the united states. it's much like donald trump on trade. you don't just give up everything and get nothing in return. i think that's very clear in president-elect's message. across any number of issues. >> he has to get all of that in return or he reverses the opening? >> he hasn't said that and he's open -- i discussed this with him directly. he's open to any number of possibilities but we remain very firm that when you open up diplomatic relations as president obama has with cuba and fidel castro in the last several years, to get nothing in return including political prisoners and assurances that
people on the island of cuba will be free politically, i personally and i'm sure you have victims of fidel castro's oppression and his torture. i many years ago was touched as a young girl meeting an author who wrote a book. against all hope in a movie made on the book and that's one example of many. we all have friends i'm sure who have those stories of cubans coming in the dead of night with $20 in their pocket and children strapped into a boat trying to come to the free land 60 miles away and they have done that. to the extent that president trump can open up new conversations with cuba, it would have to be a very different cuba. again he's all about america first. american workers, american interest, american allies and certainly americans and in that regard, he wants to make sure that when the united states of america when he's president engages in any type of diplomatic relations or trade
agreements for that matter and the like that we as america are being protected and are getting something in return. >> i want to turn to the personnel this week. you weighed in into the cabinet selection process with tweets concerning governor mitt romney saying you're receiving a deluge of social media and private communications about romney. some trump loyalists warn against him as secretary of state adding later that being loyal was an important quality for the job. why did you weigh in? on governor romney? >> i weigh in privately first of all, let me make clear that there's one person who will select his cabinet and it's president-elect donald trump. whatever he decides will have my full support and respect and he knows that. as does vice president-elect pence. i think there was trump movement and governor romney. he went out of his way to hurt donald trump. he gave two speeches about donald trump.
mullen ran in the state of utah. we don't know who mitt romney voted for. apart from that, look, i'm glad they're talking. i've been critical of mitt romney in the past and also last week on your network and other places talked about how i was very pleased that the president-elect and mitt romney had met. i was there when they met. i'm glad two job creators who have the rare privilege of having represented their republican party as its presidential nominee. >> i don't understand why you took to twitter on this, why not go to mr. trump. did he want you to tweet that or is that just you talking? >> i won't discuss that but i will tell you i've already weighed in privately because i've been asked to. first of all, it's donald trump who is going to form his cabinet. i did want to say, you know, this is trump's party now. he won states that mitt romney lost. he's the one with the political
instincts, this is his cabinet to form. he won michigan, mitt romney lost by ten. we won pennsylvania. romney lost iowa by five points. we won it by nine. we won ohio. i think that the political instincts and it wasn't just -- i only wish governor romney had been as critical of hillary clinton and her policy positions. i'm all for party unity. i'm a big party unity person. and look what donald trump has done. he's got nikki haley in the cabinet. u.n. ambassador. daughter of indian immigrants. he's met with ted cruz. taken calls from mitt romney, from jeb bush, from john kasich, from carly fiorina. he's working with speaker ryan. reince priebus is his chief of staff. we're all for part of unity. i don't think a cost of admission for party unity has to be the secretary of state position. >> i want to turn to hillary clinton. when mr. trump say that is he does not want to pursue investigations of hillary clinton, what does he mean by that? is he asking the fbi or justice
department to stand down? >> no. he's not. he respects the integrity of those institutions and the next leaders of those institutions when he's president will do their jobs without the interference of the executive branch and the president of the united states. at the same time, president-elect trump is being very magnanamous. what he said to the new york times was that he's not focused on that right now. not focused on hillary clinton and prosecuting her any further. >> did he overstep his role by making those comments? should he have been making public comments about that? >>'s welcome to. he's the president-elect and about to be the leader of the free world. he is not undercutting anybody's authority in any of those branches, any of those positions. martha, as you and i know and respect, different people will have the authority to make those decisions based on the evidence presented to them. this is how the president-elect feels at this moment about hillary clinton.
i would say in response that i guess her attitude towards that is to have her counsel go and join this ridiculously recount that jill stein is engaging in in wisconsin and perhaps elsewhere. you have got the president-elect donald trump being magnanamous to hillary clinton. and you have got her responding joining into this recount. >> he's tweeted about a half dozen times. why is he tweeting so much about that recount? >> well, he's able to weigh in. he has probably 30 million followers on facebook and twitter. but for him weighing in on issues like that, perhaps, many of his followers would never hear the full information. but i guess the real question is why in the world can't the democrats quote, accept the election result? all they did was ask people like me and mr. trump a million times plus will you accept the election results?
why at the last debate in las vegas did mr. trump say he'll keep us in suspense, he'll let us know, he'll accept the election results if he wins and now you have got hillary clinton who on election night called donald trump to both congratulate him and to concede the election to him. i was standing right there. mr. trump was on my phone with her. i didn't hear him say well, secretary clinton just conceded but she said unless of course, two and a half weeks from now jill stein who got less than 1% of the vote nationwide decides she should issue a recount, raise 7 million bucks and have a recount. jill stein got 33,000 votes in wisconsin. mr. trump got 1.4 million. 33,000 votes is like the number of people who tailgate at a packers game. it is not a serious effort to change the election results. the question for the democrats is why are you doing this? by the way, what does president obama think of this recount? he has eight weeks left to finish his term and i think it's quite small of jill stein and
hillary clinton's counsel and perhaps her to interfere with the last eight weeks of president obama's legacy. president obama and president-elect trump speak regularly. they spoke yesterday at length. they're trying to move on and form a government. it's high time that hillary and her supporters do the same. >> we'll have to leave it there. thanks very much. kellyanne conway. and coming up, as the battle of trump's secretary of state heats up, i'll talk about trump's foreign policy team. and a recount is under way in wisconsin. two more states could follow. does the clinton camp have a shot or is it false hope? i'll ask senator bernie sanders back in just two minutes. >> "this week" with george stephanopoulos is brought to you by mucinex. >> "this week" with george stephanopoulos is brought to you by mucinex. mucinex clear and cool. ah! what's this sudden cooooling thing happening? it's got a menthol burst.
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talk with your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. in 1961 they invaded cuba and everybody was convinced castro was the worst guy in the world. all people are going to rise up. not that they are educated. and gave them health care. totally transformed the society. not to say cuba or castro are perfect. they are not. just because ronald reagan does not like this nation, does not mean the people feel the same way. >> senator bernie sanders offering praise back in 1985 for the cuban leader who died friday. let's get to senator sanders. the former democratic presidential candidate and author of the new book "our revolution." good morning senator sanders. you said in 1985 castro
transformed cuban society and gave them health care and education. this was a brutal dictatorship despite the version that some americans have of cuba. you heard all today. senator cruz talking about that. have you changed your view of castro since 1985? how would you now describe his leadership? >> i'm not quite sure this is the issue that is on the minds of the american people right now. who basically want to make sure that donald trump keeps the promises he made when he said he was not going to cut social security and medicaid. >> i want to go back to your comments please. we'll get to donald trump in a moment. >> no. of course, their economy is terrible. you're right. it is a dictatorship and did have a decent health care system and decent educational system. a lot of people have left cuba for better dreams, to fulfill their aspirations. no, the cuban economy is a disaster. no, i do not praise fidel castro. >> let's move on to the trump administration.
>> it is interesting that we start a program off by talking about what happened -- what i said 30 years ago. right now the american people are concerned is in fact an economy right now in which we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality. mr. trump made some promises to the american people. he said that he will not cut social security. >> please let me ask questions. >> medicaid and medicare. >> i will also say that people are concerned about fidel castro and what happens next. you said you'll try to work with president trump on issues where you agree, infrastructure, the minimum wage, given his cabinet picks and things he has said this week, do you think you can work with him? >> we'll see. i am not impressed by the cabinet pick so far he has made. mr. trump said that he will take on the drug companies. right now we pay as you know the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. many americans cannot afford the medicine they desperately need.
he said he would support medicare negotiating prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and allow for reimportation. right now i'm 50 miles away from dan. they pay half of the price that we pay. trump said he will do something about it. let's see if he does. trump said when he was running for president. you heard him say this. i am the only republican candidate who will not cut social security, medicare and medicaid. you got people in the republican party who want to make massive cuts in medicaid. will he keep his word? he said he was against disastrous trade policies this country has. we look forward to working with him to save the jobs for the carrier workers, to make sure corporations don't throw american workers out on the street as they go to china and mexico at low wages. if he is serious about protecting working families, we'll work with him. we will not if he talks about
racism, sexism, that is not acceptable. we do not believe, i do not believe climate change is a hoax. i believe the scientific evidence is overwhelming. one of the great threats to humanity and we have to transform or energy system. >> mr. trump said mankind may be causing climate change and open to abiding by the paris accord. is that a new and improved donald trump to you? >> that is something. but we have got to go further than that. the scientific community is saying if we do not transform our energy system yesterday we're going to be looking at more drought, more floods, more extreme weather disturbances. he has got to listen to the scientific community, not the fossil fuel industry. >> i want to talk about this recount that's going to go on. you said right after the election that it's over, mr. trump will be the next president and democrats must focus on the realities of where we are. so are they wrong to do this recount and question the
election's results? >> the democrats are not doing the recount. i trust that you know that was initiated by the green party who has every right in the world to do. >> i'm aware that hillary clinton has joined in. >> of course they joined it. we will see what happens. it's a legal right. it's not a big deal. i don't think anybody, secretary clinton or anybody else thinks there'll be profound changes but the focus has to do everything we can to address the real issues facing the working families of this country. mr. trump talked about throwing 20 million americans off health insurance. what happens to those people? he talked about the need to make college more affordable. is he serious about doing that? >> what does trump's victory meant to the democratic party? what will transform it? what will change in the democratic party? is it time for the clintons to move on? >> we don't have to make this personal. secretary clinton served this
country for 25 years. she got two million more votes than trump did in the general election. she has a role to play. the real issue facing the democratic party is to assess where they are and they're not in a good place. not just the white house, it's the senate, the house, two-thirds of the governors' chairs. what we need to do and what i am trying to do is revitalize the democratic party. bring in the working people. become less dependent on big money. big money people have done a good job. they have tried to help but can't be the dominant force on the democratic party. we have got to open the doors. we have got to go to 50 states in this country. not just, you know, the blue states or battleground states. there is no reason why we cannot win in states all over this country because we have a message that says at a time of massive income and wealth and equality when the rich get richer we're going to stand with working families. that is a message that will win. if we take it to 50 states. >> thanks very much for joining us this morning senator sanders. >> thank you.
>> coming up, donald trump's foreign policy team is coming together but they'll have to hit the ground running against an array of threats. i'll talk to the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. about what worries him most. plus the powerhouse round table on trump's latest cabinet picks and what they mean for the american economy and your bottom line. and your bottom line. it'...when that laxour loves your body back. only miralax hydrates, eases,
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i think under the leadership of barack obama and hillary clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble. >> donald trump had harsh words for u.s. officers throughout his campaign but turning to lots of retired brass for advice. what will that mean for u.s. foreign policy? i'm joined by admiral mike mullen, the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and highest ranking military officer in the u.s. and the president's principle military adviser. good to see you. i want to start with that transition. you were there for the transition between president bush and president obama. what's that like? >> i think more than anything else it is to look at the leaving campaign rhetoric behind and the reality of governing which hits you square in the face. so focusing on finding out and focusing on the real issues that are facing the current administration and then
developing policies and strategies if you will to meet those challenges. >> and what will donald trump inherit? we know the isis problem. there's also north korea he seems concerned about. you were on this panel. the u.s. policy towards north korea and you wrote that north korea poses a grave and expanding threat and it is likely that the next president will face a north korea that has gained the capability to strike the united states with nuclear weapons. that would make anybody nervous. >> i think north korea, that peninsula is more likely than any place else in the world to potentially create an explosive outcome particularly tied to the north korean leader kim jong-un. the reality that he has nuclear weapons and the inability so far to contain him in that regard. that's a place where four of the five top economies in the world are centered. stability there is critical.
at least north korea historically has generated a surprise if you will for new leaders in this country. >> nothing stopped them. >> no. >> not the bush policy, not the obama policy. >> i think this has to go through beijing. beijing has pushed back on that time after time. but if beijing doesn't leave this we're going to get to the point where he's going to be able to put a nuclear weapon on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the united states. and that's not acceptable. >> donald trump does not have foreign policy experience but turning to people who do. does it matter that he doesn't really have much forgn policy experience? other presidents haven't either. >> i think that is true. i'm encouraged by the fact that he is turning to people who have that experience. and that will really make a difference. the world is very unforgiving. and he has said that he wants to focus here in the united states.
but i've also found certainly in my time that challenges that exist international whether it's north korea or china or russia or the middle east will certainly be on his desk on day one. >> i mentioned in the beginning he's turning to an unprecedented number of general officers. in his cabinet for advice. jim mattis is out there for defense secretary. how do you square what he said about the generals? >> i put that in a category of rhetoric on one side and reality on the other. jim mattis is strategically focused. internationally focused. good relationships on the international side and someone who is born to serve and could make a difference really significant difference as well. >> mike flynn was your intelligence officer called the j2. you've said great things about him. as an intelligence officer. different job as a national security adviser. >> completely different.
he was a terrific intelligence officer for me but now he's at the hub of the national security apparatus and he's got to be an honest broker and present all opinions. he has to actually -- he and his deputy have to make the trains run on time in the white house. the number of issues are extraordinary and he has to do that to give the president and the cabinet but really the president all the options in a way where the president can make the best decision for the security of the country. >> thanks very much for joining us. we would love to have you back to talk about this more. we'll be right back with the powerhouse round table in 30 seconds. 30 sends.
let's bring in our round table now. republican pollster and abc news contributor kristin anderson. host of the young turks jake yuger. white house correspondent kara lee and washington post chief correspondent dan balls. i want to start with you kristin. trump's cabinet thus far and the names on the list, what have you learned about the direction of the country? >> thus far, not a lot of his picks have been terribly surprising. pretty predictable, in line with the stuff he talked about on the campaign trail. you have his pick for secretary of education that conservatives say this means he's going to pursue a right of center agenda. this makes us excited. these picks have been so important because donald trump
ran his campaign i think based a lot on sort of personality a strong message but there was a lot of questions about filling in then gaps on the policy areas. and so much excitement about the picks where he's filling in the gaps. in a very conservative way. >> dan, your analysis of the trump victory cast him as the first truly independent candidate do you still feel that way? after you have seen some of these picks and the people he's talking to? >> i don't think we know enough. if you think of what he hasn't done yet, we don't have a sense of what his national security team will look like or a sense of what his economic team is going to look like. >> we know mike flynn and kt mcfarland. who he announced this week. >> we don't know secretary of defense or state. >> what do you think about what kellyanne conway said about mitt romney? >> she's channeling something but i'm not quite sure what but she's trying to do everything she can to deny mitt romney getting secretary of state. it seems as though there may be
other names in this mix. i think until we get a full picture, it's hard to determine at this point whether he's going to be an independent as some of his policies. the things he talked about in that video he put out before thanksgiving, he talked about getting out of tpp. that's something that the rest of the party is not necessarily in favor of. so there's a lot still up in the air. >> it sounds like he's listening to a lot of different people. carol, i want to turn to conflicts of interest. something we haven't talked about. you have reported that obama lick question dated most of his assets to avoid concerns about whether a decision he made might be even inadvertently benefit him. trump on wednesday told the new york times under the law the president can't have a conflict of interest. who is right? >> well, i mean, it remains to be seen exactly what donald trump does here. typically you would see a president-elect try to get out in front of this. he hasn't shown any interest so far in doing that.
i think when you hear stories like the fact that he was speaking to a high level british politician about not having wind mills off the coast of scotland where one of his properties is. those really raise concerns with people. i do think if he doesn't get out in front of this soon and have some kind of a strategy for dealing with this, you're going to see a drip, drip, drip of all of these stories coming out and this would be a narrative that dogs his presidency at a time when he's trying to do a number of different things on the economy, national security and this will be a big distraction. >> conflicts aside, we have seen his approval rating rise since the election. >> uh-huh. >> so what is that all about and what do you think he needs to do going forward? just listening to him the past couple weeks. >> i can understand why his numbers go up because the american people are very optimistic and i have talked to hillary clinton voters who said hey, let's give the guy a chance.
if you're progressive you're happy about that and he talks about spending a trillion dollars in infrastructure. great. president obama should spent that. he's outpopulisting the democrats. that's why he won in the first place. now are all the good news. a lot of bad news, too. he said he would drain the swamp. so far his cabinet is the swamp. betsy deboss expects a return on investment and the conflict of interest is out of control. he brags about it. he has his kids in the meetings with the leaders of foreign countries, japan, argentina, et cetera. brings in indian business leaders. >> i think he'll say my daughter was just in that meeting. >> yeah. what does that mean? >> you're not buying that. >> no. he said it right after the election. he said hey, i told the american people i have property all over the world and they elected me anyway. he didn't have 10 billion going in. he'll have going out.
>> my hope is donald trump picks the most qualified people and he bucks the way he's been portrayed in the media, as someone who likes to reward his friends. who takes slights very personally. you notice in kellyanne conway's criticism about mitt romney, it wasn't about his qualifications for the job. as we have discussed on the show earlier, the world is a very dangerous place. we need a secretary of state who can renegotiate an iran deal or who can step up and be a strong voice if china gets adventurous in the south china sea. we need somebody who is the most qualified person for the job. donald trump can surprise a lot of people by defying the media's portrayal of him putting people in positions. >> do you see that happening? >> i agree with dan. i don't think we know yet. whoever wins out between mitt romney and rudy giuliani will tell us a lot about the direction this administration is going to go. but i think it's too soon to tell. we don't have the big ticket
cabinet secretaries filled in. he has not named that much staff so far. i covered president obama's transition and at this point, things were much further along, you had a much clearer vision and the rollout was clear in that you understood where the president-elect wanted to go in terms of policies and the vision that he had for his presidency. we just have not seen that yet. >> and dan, i want to talk about relations with the press. which have been testy sometimes. what will it be like to cover donald trump at the white house? >> i think it will be a huge challenge. a bigger challenge than we have ever had, certainly in my lifetime in dealing with somebody who has over the course of the campaign been very hostile toward the press, has talked about, you know, changing the first amendment or changing the liable laws which would require changing them. he was more generous when he went to the new york times last week and said you're a jewel.
he had previously threatened to sue them over a tax story they did. i think his instincts are to fight back whenever he feels aggrieved and if the press does its role it's going to be very tough. it's tough on every president. no president likes the press. we'll see whether donald trump acts differently as president than he did as a candidate. >> quickly, last thing, there was so much outrage when candidate trump refused to say he would definitely accept the results of the election. now some on the left don't seem to be accepting those results. you heard us talk about that. is that hypocritical? >> not at all. a recount is a perfectly normal part of the process. if you go outside of the process, i would be with you. we were on trump for doing that. i totally agree it would be hypocritical. but if you're within a percent and there are rules in every state on this, perfectly right to call for a recount. you know, i saw the interview earlier in the show.
i don't know why they're so nervous. they're just so jittery about it. no recount, no recount. don't do a recount. if you think you won, the recount will show the same thing. >> thanks for all of you for joining us this morning. great to have you here on a holiday weekend. we'll be right back after this from our abc stations. before we go before we go we have a very big welcome to our newest viewer, riaz delawala born
>> up next, accidents in the weather. why the weather is being blamed for the accidents. >> good morning to you. check it out. you probably slept through the rain. but we did receive some decent amounts from our second system. a third one is on the way, 53 degrees in san francisco right now. but it will be a sunny sunday. stay with us. i'll track the next rainmaker coming up next on the abc7 i'll track the next rainmaker coming up next on the abc7 mholidays are about joy again.he where days are filled with magic instead of madness. at t.j. maxx, marshalls and homegoods, we've imagined the holidays this way for decades. it's why we never have crazy sales. never make you clip coupons. and always have amazing prices on popular brands and thoughtful gifts.
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