tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN January 18, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
that was the end. and now, the beginning. this is cnn tonight, i'm don lemon here in washington. in a little more than one day, donald trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the united states. but is team trump ready to take the reins? president obama has this advice. >> this is a job of such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself. >> well, tonight we saw an unprecedented and intimate look at the end of the obama administration as seen and experienced by the president's inner circumstance. let's get right to it. here to discuss the presidential
historian. and the land of america, kirsten powers is here as well, mark preston, and david gergen, that was a crazy look at the end of the days of the obama presidency, what did you think? >> i thought his greatest legacy may not be in legislation or international agreements. it may be for the principles with which he stood, the decency with which he stood. you know, bill moyers said, history will judge him as president. we can judges character, and it's sterling, i think that is an important legacy. >> absolutely, i thought the documentary cnn land was just remarkable. it reminded me of the war room,
the penny baker film, that inside look. i thought the star of the film was the speech writer, david and i talk about the speech writers sometimes, but -- >> he was a student. >> like ted sorensen was for kennedy. i think we have to treat them as a peggy noonan-like -- >> favro was the bigger loftier speeches -- >> i remember back in the beginning in 2006 when barack obama won and i went to valerie jarrett's office, so i had a reverse scene of her in her office in chicago packing up and getting ready to go to washington with them showing the pictures and then yeah, the pictures of her here. and it's hard to believe it's been eight years, and valerie jarrett has been with him for eight years. that is a long time.
that doesn't usually happen. >> i remember back in 2008, when you and i -- i guess it was 2009, when we were on the mall. >> and it was zero -- >> it was cold out. there was a different feeling back then when barack obama was supposed to take office. it was a different feeling, the feeling that you and i at this table probably is experiencing with donald trump. >> do you think that it will feel more like an inauguration as the week progresses, because i remember being here this time for the last two inaugurations, and there was more people here. there was more of a festive attitude. i don't know why it's different this time. maybe people are waiting until the end of the week to come, who knows? >> yeah, i think we have a very different kind of president-elect this time. and obviously with president obama, even people who didn't vote for him, the historic nature of that election made, especially 2008, a very special time for most americans. so it had a real emotional feel,
even with conservatives, you know, i think for any american that looked at the first african-american president just made it very meaningful. >> from the bottom of my heart, thank you, and there is a touching photo of them looking out toward the washington monument. it feels like an end of an era. >> i think it is, michelle obama will go down as one of the real first ladies, somebody who was a real partner to her husband, and somebody who played a public role coming into it she didn't really ever want to run for office, let alone be first lady, and she just owned it and became a force in her own right. >> it was an incredible documentary, if you didn't see it, just tuning in watch the replay of it.
it's really beautiful. >> donald trump has been so critical of the press, and today barack obama made his final news conference, again with the full-thro full-throated defense of the press. >> you're supposed to ask me tough questions. you're not supposed to complement me but cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure we are accountable to the people who have sent us here and you have done that. and having you in this building has made this place work better. >> mark preston, what did you read into that? was he speaking to someone? >> well, it feels like it's the end of an era, i have to tell you what. in some ways it is, something very historical. we all experienced it. he said during the news conference he will speak up when
he sees the core values of america at stake, whether that is systemic racism or stop the free press and really telling as well when he talks about protecting dreamers, those children who were brought here illegally but know nothing other than the united states as being their home. he says he won't get involved in every little tax fight, but unlike other presidents that we've seen, i think barack obama is not going to go away. >> he is still very young when it comes to the president. can we talk about the press? i thought that was a direct message to the incoming president, especially the administration who is saying they may move the press corps away from the white house. >> i thought it was interesting, the central conclusion he reached about all of this. not only that their press corps stayed there, and historically, that is their tradition. but having the press corps in
the white house, seeing who is coming and going but being able to interact in the white house and staff. in the administrations i served in, he drew the same lesson from it that i did. having the press there actually makes the white house staff more honest and accountable. if you were not there, you would feel like you know we can get away with this kind of thing, but when you have to go out and answer questions every day and have regular news conferences it forces the staff to say we can't get away with this, let's tell the truth. >> they may think in the beginning that it's great if you can get away with everything, but in the end that ultimately undoes a lot of people. >> it's worth reflecting a little bit on president obama's legacy and how he reacted with the media. it really was not very good. the white house repeatedly complained about the lack of access. some said this white house was the most secret they ever dealt
with. they waged a war on whistle-blowers, remember the whole thing with the justice department. >> but don't you think those things look rather small? >> i think it does affect your ability to have a principled criticism of it when you behave that way. and it started with the bush administration. >> doesn't every administration have an adversarial relationship with the press -- >> it's been getting worse, when you talk to long-standing white house reporters they will tell you with the bush administration and they will actually say that the obama administration was worse than the bush administration in many ways, in terms of access and transparency. >> what is helping the legacy is donald trump. by comparison, he is like saint agustin in there. and also i think josh earnest has been a very good press
secretary for the second term. he ranks as one of the better ones. "the new york times," the protest media loves barack obama right now. if 60% of the american people have an approval rating of barack obama, the press seems to have an 80% approval rating of him right now. >> and just adding the mainstream media here at cnn, wherever they may be, barack obama and michelle obama often times went around the mainstream media. they would go to celebrity-type shows to deliver their message. and also their administration started at a time when twitter and instant feedback came into full force. they were able to put out their own message and news briefing every week on youtube. so they understand how to manipulate the media. >> they did not have a big scandal in eight years. very rare. >> very classy family.
and speaking of the obamas, michelle obama, the first lady spoke so movingly about the importance of electing hillary clinton, but also defeating donald trump. today the president was asked about his daughter's reaction to the election. he spoke at length and ended on a somewhat subdued note. here is what he said. >> man, my daughters are something. and they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. they were disappointed. they paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it. because it's consistent with what we've tried to teach them in our household. what i've tried to model as a father with their mom. and what we've asked them to
expect from future boyfriends or spouses. but what we've also tried to teach them is resilience and we've tried to teach them hope. and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world. and so you get knocked down, you get up. brush yourself off and you get back to work. at my core -- i think we're going to be okay. we just have to fight and work for it and not take it for granted. and i know that you will help us do it. thank you very much press corps. good luck. >> those are no doubt the sentiments of a lot of people shared. do you think he felt the need to console the people who didn't necessarily vote for donald trump in that message there? >> i think he definitely feels the pressure of that. and also it's just a reminder again we just kept talking about how classy they are.
i think it's a classy way to handle it, to you know, basically say we're going to be okay. and i think we know the president is probably a little worried. but he is not really letting on. >> we haven't seen a young family like this in the white house since the kennedy his, ri? is that correct? very young and good looking family and again, no scandals. stick around, when we come back, a tough choice for cabinet members. and one that they broke away from on key policy. at bp, we empower anyone to stop a job if something doesn't seem right, so everyone comes home safely. because safety is never being satisfied. and always working to be better.
back now live from washington, d.c. and you know donald trump becomes the president in a little more than a day. and all during the transition he has been saying that one of the first things he wants to do is repeal and replace obamacare. let's discuss that now. dana bash sat down with mike pence today, pressed him about his plan to replace obamacare, and to provide insurance for everybody. let's take a look at this. >> what does it mean to insure everybody? >> well, i think it means to have insurance for everybody and allowing reforms for medicaid on
a state by state basis, and make sure we have health care for the most vulnerable. >> so making it affordable, and for the most vulnerable, i guess you're not talking about a mandate. but when he says insurance for everybody that sort of sends a signal that people are not going to lose the health insurance that they have. >> well, our commitment is to an orderly transition out of obamacare. we don't want anybody to be anxious who has insurance through exchange or the process of obamacare. we don't want people to be concerned that they're going to lose that coverage and face hardships. >> pence clarifies he meant make it affordable for everybody. and the day before, i think it was access for everyone. seriously, donald trump says something and people come on to
clarify and then he says something else. i don't know if you know what he means and is this what it's going to be like for the next four years? >> if i knew what he meant, can you imagine what i would be in this world -- >> i mean, there have been a couple of explanations, am i right? >> this is the best way to take a step back and look at the whole situation. my money is on mike pence, and the reason being is he has the relationships in the building behind us, he understands how legislation works. mike pence if you go back to the presidential debate where he was continuously thrown up against the ropes by tim kaine having to defend donald trump, for the crazy things donald trump said whether it was about russia or how he viewed women, and mike pence did a really good job of deflecting, deflecting, i think in many ways he will be the most powerful vice president of our
generation. >> he looks like the thing in the -- the thing in the picture frame, if it said vice president. the guy with the gray hair and as you said the deep voice. >> and he is very smart. and i think mike pence is going to play a critical role in this administration. >> but i bet you donald trump does not let it be called pencecare, he is going to want it to be trump care. he will simply repeal obamacare and get rid of it and call it trump care. he may just be wanting to shed the name obama from it -- >> but my line was, last night or the night before i think i said donald trump plans to get rid of obamacare with something that looks a lot like obamacare, except it will be called trump care. >> it's rebranding. >> well for donald trump it may be, but for republicans that is not what they mean when they say
repeal and replace. they mean to replace. they're the dog that caught the car and they don't know what to do with it. they never expected to be in this position, so they never have found a way to replace it in a way that americans came to expect. i think it is one of barack obama's greatest legacies. >> that is donald trump's plane arriving back from la guardia. he has been popping in and out. but then friday, hopefully it will be his permanent home, meaning he is staying at the white house. >> until saturday. well, he said he will start to govern on monday, he may go back on saturday. >> there is something weird going on about this health care deliberation, if you will call it that within the administration. donald trump seems to have pulled it back inside trump tower. all the planning and thinking. i mean, we've learned that his secretary for hhs was actually
purposefully excluded from the conversations about what the answer ought to be. i can't imagine, i have gone through this twice with other presidents. the hhs secretary is pivotal, they have the team and resources to figure out how this works. this is a big thing, you need a big team to figure it out. i just don't understand what they're doing and they're giving out contradictory statements. >> she said can you give a hint? he said it will be a surprise, why will it be a surprise. >> what are the republicans doing? how can they not have something to replace it with? >> they never have been able to agree on how it should actually be done, i mean, that is the problem. and the hhs secretary nominee himself has had legislation but it has not been embraced by everybody on the house republican side. so to your point, they really have caught the car and now they don't know what the do with it. >> they are going to have to
figure it out soon enough. you mentioned the hhs secretary, douglas did you want to get in on this? >> no, go ahead. >> i want to look at trump's pick. >> indicating the climate is changing -- >> but you haven't told me why you think the climate is changing. >> well, senator, the job of the administrator -- >> why is the climate changing? >> senator, in response to the co 2 issue, the administrator is constrained -- >> i'm asking you a personal opinion. >> my personal opinion is immaterial to the job -- >> you are going to be the head of the agency to protect the environment and your personal feelings about whether climate change is caused by human activity and carbon emissions is immaterial? >> so democrats want to paint him as pro-energy, anti-environment, he rejects that narrative, what do you make
of it? >> i don't know why he was dodging the question. it was a pretty straightforward question. what struck me with this, this is something any of his nominees could have said. it seems to be it doesn't really matter what we think because we're just going to do what donald trump is going to do i presume, or unless they think that they're going to somehow convince him to do something different. but when you have people like you know, even the idea you don't have the person who is responsible for repealing or coming up with a replacement for obamacare in on the discussions, it's just a very unorthodox way to go about things. >> scott pruett, my answer is he is really bad choice, if you look at what he has done on any
issue of environment he seems to be an enemy of not objenly the climate, but grass roots. he seemed to have not picked a more controversial guy, but he probably will have. >> thank you, up next, donald trump's latest feud, this time with fashion designer tom ford. and it's all about the incoming first lady, melania trump. my advice for looking younger, longer? get your beauty sleep. and use aveeno® absolutely ageless® night cream with active naturals® blackberry complex. younger looking skin can start today. absolutely ageless® from aveeno®. as after a dvt blood clot,ital i sure had a lot to think about.
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donald trump less than two days away from addressing the nation at 45th president of the united states. but what sort of inauguration can we expect from a man who has been unconventional from day one of his campaign? the author of ronnie & nancy. so you have covered four inaugurations up close and personal? >> well, jimmy carter, the reagans, yeah, bush one --
>> what do you make about this controversy? have you ever seen this much controversy swirling around the controversy? >> not to this degree, i mean, reagan, there was a lot of talk from the press, that ronald reagan couldn't wait to push the button. but there was not this level of intensity. nobody was going on strike. members of the democratic party were not refusing to attend the inauguration. >> usually, you know, inaugurations are pretty glitzy and glamorous affairs. i wonder what you think the trump appeal will be, there will be fewer balls and celebrity appearances. what do you think the social scene will be like in d.c. during a trump administration? >> well, i hope it picks up actually from the obama and bush ii administrations where you didn't really have first ladies
who liked to entertain a lot. you know, i think one of the geniuses of nancy reagan was that she understood getting people together socially was a way to get people to know each other and work together. i think trump, you know, he and melania are not very social people. trump has always kind of spurned the idea of society, even in palm beach. i think ivanka and jared kushner may end up being the sort of social epicenter of washington. >> it's interesting if you say that because if you lived in new york in the '80s and '90s, donald trump was a man about town. do you think that is in recent years he spurned the social scene? >> you know, donald was sort of a protege of roy cohn, who was sort of a player in new york.
ivana, his first wife, was running the casinos in atlantic city. she wanted to be more social. you know, you could go to endless dinner parties in new york and you will never really see donald and melania. i think donald, part of his populist appeal, he was still like a guy from queens who really -- he is not really into the society scenes. >> you think it would help, better suit and bring them together like nancy reagan did if there was more? >> i think if melania took a more active role, i think ivanka will fill that role. >> donald trump has a feud with somebody all the time, there was a feud with tom ford on the view. >> i don't know i was asked to dress her quite a few years ago, and i declined. >> why? >> well, she is not necessarily my image, the first lady, other
than the fact that i am a democrat and voted for hillary, and very sad she is not, but she should not be wearing my clothes, they're too expensive. >> he was talking about dressing melania for the inaugural balls. what do you think about that? >> well, look, i knew tom ford since the studio 54 days, when he was at nyu, and wore brook brothers blazers. i go with that carolina herrera, and even as president of the council of fashion designers of america who said it's an honor to dress the first lady. >> and i think ralph lauren, may be a choice. and we'll see, we'll find out. >> melania has worn a lot of foreign designers, so has michelle, actually. that is a big break. when nancy reagan wore one
valentino dress one time, she was criticized. >> here is how donald trump responded. >> tom ford is an example, i will not dress the first lady. he was not asked to dress. and steve wynn thought it was so terrible that he threw his clothing out of his las vegas hotel. i'm not a fan of tom ford, never have been. >> steve wynn, i did a profile on him. i kept -- it was 11:00 at night. he is still talking, you know, i mean, the thing about all of this it is all people who love publicity. i started out working for andy warhol, and he predicted where we're at today. where fame is the ultimate value. and we're living in a reality tv world. i mean, it's quite funny to see the president-elect talk about steve winn, a casino operator
throwing out tom ford's clothes from the stores in las vegas. >> are you surprised -- >> well, i can't see ronald reagan or either bush or even bill clinton, you know, making a remark like that. and i say this as someone who actually likes donald, and i'm the token republican at vanity fair, it's surreal. >> he is the president-elect, why would he care? listen, we all send our best wishes to the bush family, george h. bush, in the hospital, the first lady has bronchitis. is there anything -- you went to their inaugurations, you knew them. is there anything you with like to share? >> well, i really didn't know them that well. i saw them after they were out of office in the dominican
republic. you know, nancy reagan and barbara bush were not best of friends. nancy actually called barbara bush to apologize, she said we have black sheep in our family, too. you know, she was a beloved first lady, barbara bush, but she was tough. people that knew her, she was tough. and nancy reagan was portrayed as tough, and i don't think she was as tough as she really -- you know, people -- perception of people is not what they're really like sometimes. >> don't i know that. >> i think they were a very distinguished couple, she is a lady and he is a gentleman. >> coming up, what happens on day one, and is team trump ready
are still a long way from being confirmed. let's discuss now with the cnn political contributor matt louis, and simone sanders. simone, i want to talk about donald trump's cabinet picks today, tom price, betsy dubois, they face really tough questions, but beyond putting them on the hot seat is there anything that democrats can do at this point? >> democrats can ask really great questions and have research. we saw that betsy didn't know the depth of her job, the disabilities act and how that applied to her job as sink cecr of education, and tom price, as a climate denier, i think the american people appreciate the questions and it informs their
opinions. >> will it have any impact? >> well, you know, the republicans are in charge and they can ram through the nominations, but not the say the democrats should not fight the nominati nominati nominations. >> any impact? >> i think we heard about the challenges. he was challenged by the senate democrats. he promised he was not going to cut social security or take away medicare for seniors, are you going to keep that promise? and you have a cabinet secretary sort of on the hot seat here. we have seen with obamacare that the democrats fighting back has actually changed the conversation about obamacare. the republicans thought they were going to ram through appeal. guess what, that has totally slowed down. >> a couple of times, a few times the confirmation hearings got heated. watch this. >> you can't say definitively
that guns should be in schools? >> well, i will refer back to senator enzy and the school he was talking about in wyoming. i would think the school he talked about, i would imagine there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies. >> i look forward to working with you to make sure that every american has access to the highest quality health care possible. >> have access to, i have access to buy a $10 million home, i don't have money to do that. >> you have been writing money on polluting industries, how many letters did you write to the epa about this crisis? >> you can't just bring a lawsuit, if there is no standing, in each of those cases -- >> my time has expired. clearly asthma is triggered and
caused by air pollutants. >> similar question to you, what i would ask simone and hillary, those were very fiery moments. i think some of the candidates seemed to be caught off guard, or the picks, do you think that will have an impact? >> none, whatsoever, because democrats sealed the deal for republicans when they eliminated the filibuster for cabinet picks and said hey, you just need 50 votes in order to secure your cabinet picks. so these will all get through. i think rex tillerson, could be questionable. but i would have to disagree with hillary that the reason we're talking about a replacement for obamacare is not because of democrats but because we have a president-elect who said i'm not going to let people die on the streets. it's important that people keep their health care, not that democrats have changed the conversation. it's the fact we have a president-elect who is a
post-partisan president. >> he didn't start to say it until there was huge pressure in the last couple of weeks. >> he said it in the republican primary. >> then they got to washington and they were planning this repeal all along. look, if donald trump wants to work with democrats to protect americans from a radical congress, more power to him. i'm happy to have him do it. but i think that we should not kid ourselves that he is going to be following what congress is doing in many respects. >> matt, i think you made this point the other night the fact we were even having this conversation, is because of obamacare, and in the position to even be able to discuss it. >> no, i think that is true, one way of looking at this is to say that obamacare is going to go away, and therefore president obama's legacy is going to go away. but the fact is once obamacare passed, the paradigm shifted and there became an assumption that
government is responsible for providing at least access to health care. and i think it is echoed in donald trump's own statements. this is not a libertarian sort of statement this is let the market decide. and the assumption that government has some responsibility to make sure this works. >> here is what you said, a part of the piece you wrote in "the daily beast." you said these are picks intended to upset the apple cart. trump doesn't want to manage the status quo, he wants to shift the paradigm. >> so if you were trying to have this ship run without scandal or problems you would pick administrators, managers, bureaucrats to manager a bureaucracy. but in the case of pruett at epa you have a guy who is going to push back against environmental over-reach during the obama years. in the case of jeff sessions who clearly worries about law and order. flynn is about isis, and betsy
duvoss, it's about school choice, so these are not picks of people who are safe administrators, who will manage things smoothly. they're big gambles to change the country i would say mostly in a positive direction. but i would not be surprised if there were not a few hiccups along the way. >> well, six of the picks have no government experience. >> the trump administration and the republicans will own the successes but also will own the failures. they will not have a democratic president to push it off on, they won't have democrats in congress. this will be solely on the hands of the republican. they will push back. >> okay. we'll be right back.
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it was a brutal campaign, the country's deeply divided. what does he need to say to bring the country together? first of all, do you believe he's writing his own speech? >> i do. he's bucked the system so far. >> you believe he's writing his own speech? do you? do you? >> i think it's actually going ad lib it like the rallies. that's my prediction. >> i think he has some influence, but who would -- that's what speech writers are for. speech writers are awesome. >> we were told steven miller was writing it, but at the same time a lot of america is done with the rhetoric we've had the last eight years and they like unadulterated real speak, and that's what donald trump gave us, and that's why he won the election. >> i like inspiration. >> i also like something that is not focus group test and gone over and over and over again. >> what are does he need to say? >> when he came out and he won the presidency and he came out and said i want to be the
president for all americans and all religions and all creeds, it was the second thing that came out of his mouth on the night of november 8th. that's the tone he needs to hit. the chord he needs to strike. if he does so, it will be a great speech. >> he said that the night he was elected and he spent the last month and a half picking fights with people. smashing at hillary and congressman lewis and doubters and losers and media. he needs to just rise above it and just be a president for all americans. i think we'll hear that probably in his speech, whether he can do it the next day too is really the thing. >> he's going to start on monday. he'll get a fresh start on monday. >> because he's been so business. >> well, you know, it's probably going to be a big --
>> he actually becomes president on friday, has nobody told him that? >> he said he will start on monday. >> he will start signing bills on monday. he hasn't even been talking to the picks for the cabinet. they all said we haven't spoken to mr. trump about that. matt, you say it's a good thing he's so unpopular right now. because he can only do better. there is nowhere to go but up. it's a counterintuitive perspective. but there are arguments to that. underpromise and overachieve. the fact is that if he comes out and is humble and i think kaylie is right. if he can channel what he did after the election, that first speech, people will be -- he is so eloquent and humble. the low expectations do help him. >> we asked this question before. maybe it will be like tara said. he will realize this is something bigger than he is. >> it's the thomas beckett rule.
when you were thrust with the awesome responsibility, sometimes people can rise to the occasion. i think we should hope that he does that. >> but you see and we have this amazing view of it out here, when you see the majesty of washington, d.c. and the capitol behind you, the people in front of you, facing the lincoln memorial and the washington monument, if you are not overcome with some humility, if you don't experience some moment where you recognize the responsibility you are about to undertake, then you really aren't even fit to be leader. so i can't imagine he won't have some moment there. the question is, does it ever get sustained with donald trump? >> the president -- the current president, barack obama, held his final press conference today. this was his departing message. >> i believe in this country. i believe in the american
people. i believe that people are more good than bad. at my core, i think we're going to be okay, we just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted. >> he says, i think we're going to be okay. did you hear that as a calming message or sort of concerning? >> i thought it was a great message. democrats looked at this like, oh, normally president obama is optimistic. he's not as optimistic as he typically is. this is a kind of bad prediction of what's to come for trump and how he sees it. i thought it was entirely the opposite. you have 50 democrats sitting out and pouting and not attending the swearing-in. and you have the president today saying, look guys, everything is going to be okay. you don't need to be apoplectic about this, everything is going to be okay. i thought it was a reassuring message and i admire president obama for how he's handled the last 60 days. he's been nothing but graceful and respectful and i admire him
for that. >> are you apoplectic? >> i love my president, president obama, and i think he's the epitome of grace and class. >> what are you going to do? i saw him when the bushes got on the helicopter and left. what are you going to do? >> i think i might ball out. >> seriously? >> i'll be watching and it will be a sad moment, but i know that they're coming back. the obamas will be here, they'll be here for the fight. they're going to continue to do the work. he gave up a little hope and change on his way out. >> thank you, panel. that's it for us tonight. thanks for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow.
good evening from washington where inauguration preparations have ramped up and the man at the center is about to reach another milestone. in the final two days before becoming president, president-elect trump landed tonight at national airport for a pair of dinners tonight, one for mike pence, the other for his cabinet. when he flies back to new york later it will be his last time for a while on his private boeing 757. he'll return tomorrow on an air force jet which will land at joint base andrews and after friday he'll be taking air force one. breaking news about his cabinet getting confirmed, as well as george h.w. and barbara bush both in the