tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 18, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST
that's going to do it for this hour of "msnbc live." a lot happening right now. again, president obama's final news conference set to happen in roughly 15 minutes. meanwhile, a former president george w.h. bush admitted to a texas hospital, in intensive care. brian williams will pick up our special coverage of president obama's final press conference right now. good afternoon from new york. forget what we said about the christmas break about that being the president's final news conference, because now there's today. we woke up this morning, two days from the trump inauguration. you see the white house correspondents there in the front of the white house briefing room. this will be his 39th solo news conference as president.
we're expecting it to begin about 14 minutes from now. as craig melvin mentioned, right before the top of the hour, our thoughts and prayers and concerns today, right this minute, are with a former president and a former first lady. george h.w. bush 41 and barbara bush are both hospitalized, both in methodist hospital in houston, texas. though, the medical circumstances of the former president took a bad turn overnight and into the morning. they had to sedate the former president to clear his airway, both former president and former first lady are hospitalized for respiratory issues. white house correspondent chris jansing is standing by with an update on all of it. >> reporter: let me start with what i think we'll hear from the president, which is expressing his concern for former president goenchts h.w. bush, and barbara bush.
he suffers from a form of parkinson's. he's been hospitalized before with breathing problems. any time you're 92 years old and you have a problemlike pneumonia, it is cau concern, they did put him in the icu. and barbara bush also, as you said, hospitalized. she is suffering from fatigue. so, we will obviously keep you updated on that. again, i'm sure that president obama will have remarks to make about it as well. it was president bush who decided this end-of-year press conference was a good idea, a way to talk to the press, many of whom have traveled the world with him over the course of the last eight years and there's a lot of stuff in the news since the last press conference at the end of the year, around christmastime. his decision to commute the sentence of chelsea manning, what went into it than go a
different route than his defense secretary recommended. there are the repeals recommended by the incoming president, obamacare being at the top of the list and his thoughts about that. it has been sort of the order of the day for the last 18 months or so that whatever the press conference, there are always questions about donald trump even before he was the republican nominee. and we have also a whole slew of new polls that show 77% of americans think this is a divided nation. josh earnest, his press secretary, says he does want to talk about the press. this room itself, as you know, has become the subject of some debate. would the press get moved out of here? now the word is they won't. but donald trump just saying in the last 24 hours, they're going to be begging to get out of here. this is 49 seats. there are 200 people, he said, who want to be credentialed and come to these press conferences. so, all of that against the backdrop of a very high approval rating for this president,
brian, of about 60%. >> chris yjansing in the always crowded west wing white house briefing room. thanks. nicolle wallace is here with us. for purposes of talking about our former president, nicole, in addition to having been the communications director in the white house of george w. bush 43, has worked with, worked around and worked for the bush family in many different capacities. obviously, our thoughts are in houston, texas. >> absolutely. and i spent the morning like a gps tracker trying to figure out where everybody was to gauge for myself and my concern, how concerned the family is. and they at the moment are not all in houston. for the moment, i have a little bit of relief in my concern for this family that i revere. it's worth noting that the letter that the office of bush
41 sent today, sending good wishes and explanation for why they wouldn't be at the inauguration, president bush 41 and mrs. barbara bush, had all the sort of signature humanity and humor and self-deprecating charm that makes everyone who loves them deeply on concerned on a day like today. >> it read like him. a guy who has put his body through a lot. 92 years old. at one time was the youngest aviator in the u.s. navy, of course, shot down over the pacific. you know, in addition to the climbing out of perfectly good airplanes wle under way and parachuting to the earth, he is -- you know, he can take a challenge. >> in 2012 he had pneumonia and he was in the hospital. i was in dallas with mrs. bush and people -- they were very concerned. he was in the hospital for a couple months with pneumonia. he has battled pneumonia. when you have this form of pa parkinson's, pneumonia is a very
serious condition. he's the scrappiest 92-year-old you'll ever meet but he is 92 years old. they're both dealing with any normal health challenges someone of their aij would deal with. the people around them are a just a wadded mess of concern and worry for these two people we adore. >> yeah. and we will -- we will continue to deep an ear toward houston, texas. our thoughts and prayers will continue with the family of the former president. joy reid is among those with us here in our new york studios. joy, what a time this day is. i would have said that yesterday, i'm sure i'll say it tomorrow. every day this week we knew it was going to be a news-packed environment. you never quite know what we're discussing. we can anticipate what a lot of this news conference will be about. i'm sure it's the chelsea manning commutation and we have no idea what he'll announce today. >> it's interesting.
just picking up on what nicole was saying about george herbert walker bush, indeed. you think with the time between george h.w. bush and bill clinton and the warmth that developed between george herbert walker bush and bill clinton, almost a father/son relationship. the warmth of the handover of the bush families in general to their successors, george w. to the obamas. you get to know whatever are disagreements on policies between republicans and democrats, there's a certain grace to most of our modern presidents. there's a grace to the presidential handover. this is a jarring time because there's an incredible discontinuity between what's coming and what's gone before it. i have friends who are black republicans in florida who have said many times, if, you know, george herbert walker bush, he was a bare-knuckle politician, the way he became president, but if he were still running the party there wouldn't be this tolerance for this raw, racial
rancor and nastiness and this vibe of tearing the country apart and only speaking to supporters. you think of the son, george w. bush, the circumstances in which he became president and still trying to come in with a grace, still trying to say, even if you didn't vote for me, i'm going to be your president. and barack obama coming in and saying to people who hated him, i want to be your president. i've never experienced someone coming in and not saying that, and not even indicating it. it will be interesting to also see the land mines that this president is laying sort of for his successors which i'm not accustomed to. whether it's the deployments to parts of eastern europe to set donald trump up, whether it's the manning commutation when sends -- it throws a monkey wrench into the whole wikileaks attempt to rebrand themselves and gain back some of their support. it's interesting. >> or 20 presidential appointments in the waning hours.
andrea mitchell is standing by to talk to us. i heard david gergen speaking last night on television. he doesn't throw around a lot of hyperbo hyperbole. in discussing your work, he said he should be shocked and not surprised by donald trump. he said in his memory, no president-elect has ever done this much harm to american foreign policy in this kind of run-up. >> david gergen, as you know better than anyone, was in a number of white houses, republican as well as mocric. that is a vw worldwide. rtceainl with the gathering if davos at the economic forum, joe biden gave a speech today targeting vladimir putin, angel merkel terribly upset at the recent criticism from donald trump on twitter. i was on the hill all last week and this, i just came back from there. talked to mark warner, the
ranking democrat on senate intelligence. he announced on our program that he is going to be voting for mike pompeo. he was out at langley at the cia yesterday, listening to the workforce, trying to get beyond the john brennan versus donald trump controversy and listen to the men and women of the workforce who are deeply distressed, many of them, by the tenor of criticism of intelligence on triter, again. mark warner saying he's going to vote for mike pompeo, the conservative republican to take over cia. think he he has answered questions very admirably and also concerned the workforce needs to be reassured when the president-elect becomes president that his intelligence community, that he is going to rely on to keep america safe, to keep the president safe, to keep the world safe, that he trusts them. that trust has been badly broken, according to a lot of interviews i've been doing. you've got concerns in intelligence, you've got concerns in foreign relations, armed services, you've listened
to john mccain, lindsey graham, marco rubio, the intense questioning of rex tillerson as secretary of state. the fact you have the fewest number of national security council staff members. now, a lot of talk that it's always been bloated in recent years, but they don't have directors, they don't have deputies. when there was a training exercise at the white house, i was there last week, they were just coming out from it, had you all of the cabinet and subcabinet, the entire obama outgoing team ready to train the incoming team and there was only a handful of people to train. they're not up to speed. >> all right. andrea mitchell with a rather dark assessment of the time that's going to start, the clock that's going to start at 12:00 noon on friday with the new administration. we've been watching the briefing room on the left-hand side of the screen. we have seen the president's water and notes, his notebook brought out to lectern. you see murderer's row, the reporters, our murderer, kristen
welker, standing by. this is a time of lasts. last night i heard it said that donald trump was taking his plane back to new york for the last time as president-elect. he'll switch to a much larger government aircraft shortly. this will be the last appearance, we presume, of this president in this briefing room. . >> reporter: it will, indeed, brian. he wanted to hold it in the press briefing room to foster a more conversational give and take instead of the east room, which is typically where you would hold your final news conference. i think topic number one is going to be his controversial decision to commute the sentence of transgender soldier chelsea manning, who, of course, leaked tens of thousands of documents to wikileaks. he'll also bereedn the commts by john lewisalling president-elect trump illegitimate. he takes the podium at a time when his legacy is on the line.
donald trump has vowed to overturn his key policy decisions, everything from obamacare and actions on environment and immigration. he is somewhat imboldined with some of his highest approval ratings to date. 56% according to our latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. that's the highest since his early months in office. he'll be pressed on a whole range of topics. his foreign legacy policy, isis and united states' very complicated relationship with russia. this is a day of lasts. we are anticipating he'll be here momentarily to face our questions for the last time. >> we are approaching what they call the two-minute warning in the trade, the last set of notes having been brought out. it's time for us to sneak in a comment from our friend, eugene robinson, the pulitzer prize winner from "the washington post" and a man who's been with us throughout this tumultuous political scene. eugene, people should remember
the mark rich pardon on bill clinton's way out of office. we could still get some real headline-grabbing pardons and commutations. this president now leads all of his peers in history in presidential commutations. a lot could happen in the remaining hours until the inauguration of the president-ect. >> i sure could. it's almost a tradition now that on the way out, as the screen door is about to hit them in the rear, presidents do commutations and pardons. and i'm not sure that we've seen the last of president obama's. the other thing that strikes me is, who knows how soon it will be until we hear president obama again. he will be former president obama. but you saw how george w. bush, to cite one example, really left the public stage when he became a former president. that's something he believes
very strongly. i wonder how unengaged or disengaged president obama will be given that donald trump intends to dismantle a lot of president obama's legacy. i don't know that he will keep silent on that. so, we won't hear him again in the presidential briefing room, but i'm not altogether convinced we won't hear him again, perhaps, sooner than we think. >> i think he's going to probably endeavor to keep his comments to his family and maybe occasionally yell at his sand wedge in palm springs, as he hits the links and enjoys some sunshine and relaxation. but this very disciplined president may have that discipline tested depending on what is said about him and what happens in washington. eugene, as always, thank you. we'll be checking with you on the other side of the president's comments. to jon meacham we go, our friend, the historian and author and for the purposes of today's
conversation, the biographer of george herbert walker bush 41 having written one of the best works of contemporary nonfiction about this fascinating man. jon, i know you join the rest of us in thinking about george and barbara bush. >> absolutely. you know, he's 92, she's 91. they've been married for 72 years. i was with them last summer in a restaurant in maine. a couple came up and wanted their picture made on their 50th anniversary. barbara said, pikers. so, you know, they had two of the -- they have two of the great american lives. they've just served the country decade to decade. i've called president bush 41 the last gentleman of american politics. and i think in many ways he embodies an efos that is
slipping into the shadows. he had more in common somewhat as president and as a politician temp mentally and culturally really with the founding fathers than he did with his own generation of politicians. >> absolutely. jon meacham, thank you. we'll be talking to you throughout. chuck todd, our political director, is standing by to talk to us in washington. chuck, what's on your radar for what we're about to witness? >> well, i think a few things. number one is, look, we are getting to hear from president obama for the first time responding to john lewis. and that -- that is something, as if the john lewis story can extend another day, i think that what he says about those democrats that want to skip the inaugural and all that, i'm curious to see how he walks that line. i just got done with an interview with the vice president-elect mike pence, and i can tell you he's effusive in
his praise for president obama and vice president biden for the transition and for them personally. it was very interesting there. so, i am curious about that balancing act that president obama walks here. i hear you guys talking about his post -- what he's going to do post-life. keep an eye on something. he has a fascination in our media culture. he's obsessed with it. he loves to talk about it. he loves to criticize it a lot with friends and family. that he talks with about this. you know, i don't know what he -- i think today i expect him to stand up for the press briefing, stand up for some of those basic ideas that there's nothing like going to -- going to an authoritarian leader around the world and saying, guess what, i don't like the press but they're in my home every dato ask me questions because that's what democracy is about. be sure to listen for some hints where the critiques he may make about our media culture overall because i think that is a post presidential -- career is the wrong word -- interest of his.
>> chuck, last night i heard jon meacham talk about the president who is have mastered the various media as those forms of media have come along. fdr took ownership of radio and really became the unseen guest in american homes when they needed him during world war ii. jfk intrinsically understood television. to jon meacham's argument, bill clinton understood cable television, which is a different animal. some day somebody's going to explain that to me. and then obama has truly come up with, not quite taken on the behavior of the president-elect, but has truly come up with social media and has been more immersed in immediate, yeah obviously, than any president prior to him. >> he's been -- he's the first platform-neutral president, i guess, we'll look back and say that. meaning particularly the folks around him convinced him of this, right, that, look, you
cannot -- i remember -- i enjoyed watching the prime time press conference as a kid wit carter and reagan. they felt like big events. they realize that doesn't penetrate anymore. you've got a message and you've got to touch people, use 15 different platforms to touch people. i think they certainly believe that and they embraced it. it's interesting, as they were terrific at expanding the platforms and talking to people in expansive ways, i would say they -- you know, the press conference, for instance, wasn't president obama's best vehicle. you know, i would say his best vehicles are still the big speeches. that's been best vehicle number one. and one-on-one interviews. those are gooi good od ones wit. others are masters of press conferences. for president obama, press conferences have tripped him up more than other presidents in the past. and i think it's, for whatever reason, he doesn't do as many of
them. as previous presidents, perhaps. that is, he expanded the aperture, but in the old immediate, yeah he was so dismisses ive he doesn't bother to take care of it. >> there's a press secretary sliding her head through the door. i don't know if that means we'll be further delayed or the president's on his way. nicolle wallace, since you have familiarity with the west wing, we should talk about transitions. there's been a lot of whispering, some regular talk in washgton that the trump administration has a lot of vacancies, at the middle level. the president gets to fill about 4,000 jobs. there are career people in a lot of jobs, but in some of those presidential appointments, starting day one, you may want to say, who do we have at nsc on syria? well, there's a temporary person
in that position has not been filled. they'll get a lesson into the presidency starting friday night into saturday. >> that's right. it's worth looking back a little bit to understand how they got here. there was a transition that was run by governor chris christie. he was fired two days after donald trump's unexpected victory. governor christie ran an operation and had a staff with offices in d.c. and had lists of candidates that had been vetted. that whole operation, that year of work, was destroyed and they started anew. some of the same names ended up on the list. they essentially started a year later. i mean, mitt romney ran and lost but he had staffed 4,000 positions the way -- you would imagine someone like that would do that. so, donald trump wasn't just, you know, caught off guard by his victory. his transition was way behind where a normal transition is. add to that, the people around him, part of the reason he won and i spent the week out with
people who voted for him, part of what they loved is that he took a wrecking ball to the political establishment of both parties and the media. but in that wreckage lay the knowledge of how to staff a government. you know, it really was a case of the baby getting thrown out with the bath water. i think you will see a lot of positions remain vacant as a consequence. that won't help him. a president is bolstered by resources and by staff and by an efficient white house. it's just not clear to me, there's no indication to me that he will have that on day one. >> i'll use the word luckily. luckily, there are career staff in so many important jobs. over at the state department there is a desk officer for each country we deal with overseas. those desk officers are the experts in their realm. a president with kind of molecular understanding of how an administration works, lyndon johnson, used to call the
individual desk officers working the night shift at the state department, imagine their surprise, but it was the boss wanting to talk about some country or other. president johnson would call the situation room with the kind of molecular understanding of the war we were fighting in vietnam, asking about certain air missions, specific air missions. did they all come back? if not, how many have come back to the carrier or the air strip? here now, the president have the united states for the last time from the briefing room. >> good afternoon, everybody. let me start off by saying that i was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today for my last press conference, but michelle, who's fashion sense is a little better than mine, tells me that's not appropriate in january. i covered a lot of the ground i would want to cover in my farewell address last week, so i'm just going to say a couple
of quick things before i start taking questions. first, we have been in touch with the bush family today after hearing about president george h.w. bush and barbara bush being admitted to the hospital this morning. they have not only dedicated their lives to this country, they have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel for michelle and me over the years. they are as fine a couple as we know. and so, we want to send our prayers and our love to them. really good people. second thing i want to do is to thank all of you. some of you have been covering me for a long time. folks like christie, some of you i have just gotten to know. we have traveled the world together.
we've hit a few singles, a few doubles together. i offered advice i thought was really sound like, don't do stupid stuff. and even when you complained about my long answers, i just want you to know the only reason they were long is because you asked six-part questions. but i have enjoyed working with all of you. does not mean i have enjoyed every story you have filed, but that's the point of this relationship. you're not supposed to be fans, you're supposed to be skeptics, you're supposed to ask me tough questions. you're not supposed to be complimentary, but you're supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power. and make sure we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that. you have done it, for the most part, in ways that i could
appreciate for fairness, even if i didn't always agree with your conclusions. and having you in this building has made this place work better. it keeps us honest. it makes us work harder. you've made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we're able to deliver on what's been requested by ourconstituents for example, every time you've asked, why haven't you cured ebola yet, i can go back to my team and say, will you get this solved before the next press conference. i've spent a lot of time in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. it goes without saying that essential to that is a free
press. that is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment in self-government has to work. it doesn't work if we don't have a well-informed citizenry. you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what's taking place in the halls of power. so, america needs you and our democracy needs you. we need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. so, my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right. and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves. and toush this country to be the best version of itself. i have no doubt you will doso.
i'm looking forward to being an active consumer of your work rather than always the subject of it. i want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy. with that, i will take some questions. i will start with, jeff mason, whose term apparently is not up. i thought, you know, we'd be going out together, brother, but you got to hang around for a while. >> reporter: i'm staying put. thank you. are you concerned, mr. president, that commuting chelsea manning's sentence will send a message that we can classify material will not generate a tough sentence to groups like wikileaks? how do you reconcile that in light of wikileaks' connection to russian hacking in last year's election? and julian assange coming to the united states, are you seeking that or would he be charged or arrested if he came here? >> well, first of all, let's be
clear, chelsea manning has served a tough prison sentence. so, the notion that the average person who was thinking about disclosing vital classified information would think that it goes unpunished, i don't think, would get that impression from the sentence that chelsea manning has served. it has been my view that given she went to trial, that due processas carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that
she received was very disproportional -- disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received. and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence. and, you know, i feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent that when it comes to our national security, that wherever possible, we need folks who may have legitimate concerns about the actions of government or their superiors or the agencies in which they work, that they try to work through the established channels and avail themselves to the whistle-blower protections that have been put in place. i recognize there are some folks who think they're not enough. and, you know, i think all of us
when we're working in big institutions may find ourselves at times at odds with policies that are set, but when it comes to national security, we're often dealing with people in the field whose lives may be put at risk or, you know, the safety and security and the ability of our military or our intelligence teams or our embassies to function effectively. and that has to be kept in mind. so, with respect to wikileaks, i don't see a contradiction. first of all, i haven't commented on wikileaks generally. the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether wikileaks was the conduit through which we heard
about the dnc e-mails that were leaked. i don't pay a lot of attention to mr. assange's tweets, so that wasn't a consideration in this instance. i refer you to the justice department for any criminal investigations, indictments, extradition issues that may come up with him. what i can say broadly is that in this new cyber age, we're going to have to make sure that we continually work to find the right balance of accountability and openness and transparency that is the hallmark of our democracy and also recognize there are adversaries and bad actors out there who want to use that same openness in ways that hurt us. whether that's in trying to
commit financial crimes or trying to commit acts of terrorism or folks who want to interfere with our elections. we're going to have to continually build the kind of architecture to make sure the best of our democracy is preserved, that our national security and intelligence agencies have the ability to carry out policy without advertising to our adversaries what it is we're doing, but do so in a way that still keeps citizens up to speed on what their government's doing on their behalf. but with respect to chelsea manning, i looked at the particulars of this case, the same way i had the other commutations and pardons i have done, and i felt that in light of all the circumstances, that commuting her sentence was entirely appropriate.
>> reporter: mr. president, thank you. the president-elect has said that he would consider lifting sanctions on russia if they substantially reduced their nuclear stockpile. given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that's an effective strategy, knowing this office and mr. trump, how would you advise his advisers to help him be effective when he deals with vladimir putin? and given your actions recently on russia, do you think those sanctions should be -- >> a couple of thins. number one, i think it is in america's interest and the world's interest that we have a constructive relationship with russia. that's been my approach throughout my presidency. where our interests have overlapped, we have worked together. at the beginning of my term, i did what i could to encourage russia to be a constructive
member of the international community. and tried to work with the president and the government of russia in helping them diversify their economy, improve their economy, use the incredible talents of the russian people in more constructive ways. i think it's fair to say that after president putin came back into the presidency that an escalating anti-american rhetoric and an approach to global affairs that seem to be premised on the idea that whatever america's trying to do must be bad for russia, and so we want to try to counteract whatever they do, that return to
an adversarial spirit that i think existed during the cold war has made the relationship more difficult. and it was hammered home when russia went into crimea and portions of ukraine. the reason we imposed the sanctions, you recall, was not because of nuclear weapons issues, it was because the independence of sovereignty of a country, ukraine, had been encroached upon by force by russia. that wasn't our judgment. that was the judgment of the entire international community. and russia continues to occupy ukrainian territory and meddle in ukrainian affairs and support military surrogates who have violated basic international law and international norms.
what i've said to the russians, as soon as you stop doing that, the sanctions will be removed. and i think it will probably best serve not only american interests but also the interests of preserving international norms if we made sure that we don't confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues. on nuclear issues, in my first term we negotiated the s.t.a.r.t. ii treaty and that has substantially reduced our nuclear stockpile, both russia and the united states. i was prepared to go further. i told president putin i was prepared to go further. they have been unwilling to negotiate. if president-elect trump is able to restart those talks in a serious way, i think there remains a lot of room for our two countries to reduce our stockpiles.
and part of the reason we've been successful on our nonproliferation agenda and on our nuclear security agenda is because we were leading by example. i hope that continues. but i think it's important just to remember that the reason sanctions were put in place against russia has to do with their actions in ukraine. and it is important for the united states to stand up for the basic principle that big countries don't go around and invade and bully smaller countries. i've said before, i expect russia and ukraine to have a strong relationship. they are historically bound together in all sorts of cultural and social ways. but ukraine is an independent country. and this is a good example of the vital role that america has to continue to play around the world in preserving basic norms and values. whether it's advocating on behalf of human rights,
advocating on behalf of women's rights, advocating on behalf of freedom of the press, you know, the united states has not always been perfect in this regard. there are times where we by necessity are dealing with allies or friends or partners who, themselves, are not nemeetg the standards we would like to see met when it comes to international rules and norms. but i can tell you that in every multilateral setting, in the united nations, the g-20 and g-7, the united states typically has been on the right side of these issues. and it is important for us to continue to object the right side of these issues because if we, the largest, strongest country and democracy in the world, are not willing to stand up on behalf of these values,
then certainly china, russia and others will not. kevin court. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. you have been a strong supporter of the idea of a peaceful transfer of power. demonstrated not terribly far from here, the rose garden. even as you and i speak, there are more than five dozen democrats that are going to boycott the inauguration of the incoming president. do you support that? and what message would you send to democrats to better demonstrate the peaceful transfer of power? if i could follow, i want to ask you about your conversations with the president-elect previously, and without getting into too much of the personal side of it, i'm just curious, were you able to use that opportunity to convince him to take a fresh look at some of the important ideas that you will leave this office with,
maintaining some semblance of the affordable care act, some idea of keeping dreamers here in the country without fear of deportation? were you able to use personal stories to try to convince him? and how successful were you? . >> well, i won't go into the details of my conversations with president-elect trump. as i've said before, they are cordial. at times they have been fairly lengthy and they've been substantive. i can't tell you how convincing i've been. i think you'd have to ask him. whether i've been convincing or not. i have offered my best advice, counsel, about certain issues, both foreign and domestic. and, my working assumption is that having won an election opposed to a number of my initiatives and certain aspects
of my vision for where the country needs to go, it is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values. and i don't expect that there's going to be enormous overlap. it may be that on certain issues, once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to, in fact, provide health care for everybody, something he says he wants to do, or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country, that that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that i arrived at once i got here. but i won't think we'll know unless he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk. and i think a lot of his views are going to be shaped by his
advisers, people around him, which is why it's important to pay attention to these confirmation hearings. i can tell you that, and this is something i have told him, that this is a job of such magnitude, that you can't do it by yourself. you are enormously reliant on a team. your cabinet, your senior white house staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s, but who are executing on significant responsibilities. and so, how you put a team together to make sure that they're getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions, that's probably the most useful advice, the most constructive advice i've been able to give
him. that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down or you're only hearing from people that agree with you on things or you haven't created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you've made, that's when you start making mistakes. as i indicated in some of my previous remarks, reality has a way of biting back if you're not paying attention to it. with respect to the inauguration, i'm not going to comment on those issues. all i know is i'm going to be there, so is michelle. i have been checking the weather. i'm heartened by the fact it won't be as cold as my first inauguration, because that was cold. jenna rodriguez. >> reporter: right here, president.
thank you very much. you said you would come back for the dreamers. are you fearful for the status of the dreamers, the future of the young immigrants and all immigrants in this country with the new administration? and what did you mean when you said you would come back? would you go into congress? explore the political arena again? a second question. why did you take action on dry foot -- wet foot a week ago? >> let me be absolutely clear. i did not mean i was going to be running for anything any time soon. what i meant is that it's important for me to take some time to promises this amazing experience we've gone through, to make sure my wife, with whom i will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to reup and put up with me a little bit longer. i want to do some writing.
i want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much. i want to spend precious time with my girls. those are my priorities this year. as i said before, i'm a citizen, and i think it is important for democrats or progressives who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this elections to be able to distinguish between the normal back and forth ebb and flow of policies, are we going to raise taxes or lower taxes? are we going to, you know, expand this program or eliminate this program? you know, how -- how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change or -- you know,
those are all normal parts of the dehe bait. as i said, sometimes in a democracy you're going to win on those issues and sometimes you're going to lose. i'm confident about the rightness of my position on a lot of these points, but we've got a new president and a congress that are going to make their same determinations. there will be a back and forth in congress around those issues. you guys will report on all that. but there's a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where, i think, our core values may be at stake. i put in that category, if i saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion, i put in that category explicit or
functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise. i put in that category institutional efforts to silence d dissent orr the press. for me at least i would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here, and for all practical purposes, are american kids, and send them someplace else. when they love this country, they are our kids' friends and classmates and are now entering
into community colleges or in some cases serving in our military. the notion that we would just arbitrarily or because of politics, accomplish tse kids, when they didn't do anything wrong themselves, i think, would be something that would merit me speaking out. it doesn't mean that i would get on the ballot. with respect to wet foot/dry foot, we underwent a monumental shift in our policy towards cuba. my view was after 50 years of a policy not working, it made sense for us to try to reopen diplomatic relations to engage a cuban government, to be honest with them about the strong disagreements we have around,
you know, political repression and treatment of dissenters and freedom of press and freedom of religion, but that to make progress for the cuban people, our best shot was to suddenly have the cuban people interacting with americans, and seeing the incredible success of cuban-american community, and engaging in commerce and business and trade. and that it was through that process of opening up these bilateral relations that you would see over time serious and significant improvement. given that relation -- or that shift in the relationship, the policy that we had in place was wet foot/dry foot, which treated cuban immigrants completely
different from folks from el salvador or guatemala or nicaragua or any other part of the world. one that made a distinction whether you got here by land or by foot, you know, that was a carryover of an old way of thinking that didn't make sense in this day and age. particularly as we're opening up travel between the two countries. and so, you know, we had very lengthy consultations with the department of homeland security, we had some tough negotiations with the cuban government, but we arrived at a policy which we think is both fair and appropriate to the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries. nadia. >> reporter: thank you, sir.
i appreciate the opportunity. i want to wish your new family the best of luck in the future. >> thank you. >> reporter: mr. president, you have been criticized and attacked for the u.n. security council resolution that declared israeli settlements illegal. mr. trump wants to move the embassy. how are you about the u.s. leadership in the arab work and honest broker? will this ignite -- will this protected israel? do you think you should hold israel more accountable, like president bush sr. did? >> i am -- i can continue to be significantly worried about the israeli/palestinian issue. and i'm worried about it both because i think the status quo
is unsustainable, that it is dangerous for israel, that it is bad for palestinians, it is bad for the region and it is bad for america's national security. and i came into this office wanting to do everything i could to encourage serious peace talks between israelis and palestinians. and we invested a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of effort, first year, second year, all the way until last year. ultimately what has always been clear is we cannot force the parties to arrive at peace. what we can do is facilitate, provide a platform, encourage, but we can't force them to do it.
but in light of shifts in israeli politics and palestinian politics, a rightward drift in israeli politics, a weakening of president abbas' ability to move and take risks on behalf of peace in the palestinian ter territories, in light of all the dangers that have emerged in the region and the understandable ars that israelis may have about the chaos and rise of groups like isil and the deterioration of syria, in light of all those things, what we at least wanted to do, understanding the two parties wouldn't actually arrive at a final status agreement, was to reserve the possibility of a two-state solution because we do not see an alternative to it.
and i've said this directly to prime minister netanyahu, i've said it inside of israel, i've said it to palestinians as well, i don't see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains israel as both jewish and a democracy. because if you do not have two states, then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation, functionally you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second-class occupant -- or residen residents. you can't even call them citizens. so, the goal of the resolution was to simply say that the settlements, the growth of the settlements, are creating a
reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible. and we've believed, consistent with the position that had been taken with previous u.s. administrations for decades now, that it was important for us to send a signal, a wake-up call, that this moment may be passing. and israeli voters and palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing. and hopefully that, then, creates a debate inside both israeli and palestinian communities that won't result immediately in peace, but at least will lead to a more sober assessment of what the alternatives are. so, the president-elect will have h own policy.
the ambassador, the candidate for the ambassadorship obviously has very different views than i do. that's their prerogative. that's part of what happens after elections. and i think my views are clear. we'll see how -- how their approach plays itself out. i don't want to -- i don't want to project today what could end up happening, but obviously it's a volatile environment. what we've seen in the past is when sudden unilateral moves are made, that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive. and i -- what we try to do in the transition is just to provide the context in which the president-elect may want to make some of these decisions.
[ inaudible ] >> well, that's part of what we've tried to indicate to the incoming team in our transition process is, pay attention to this because this is -- this is volatile stuff. people feel deeply and passionately about this. and, as i -- as i've said, i think, many times, the actions that we take have enormous consequences and ramifications. we're the biggest kid on the block. and i think it is right and appropriate for a new president to test old assumptions and re-examine the old ways of doing things. but if you're going to make big shifts in policy, just make sure
you've thought it through and understand there are going to be consequences and actions typically create reactions, and so you want to be intentional about it. you don't want to do things off the cuff when it comes to an issue this volatile. chris johnson. i'm sorry, where is chris? >> reporter: i'm in the back. >> i'm sorry. i didn't see you. >> reporter: you've seen a lot of achievements over the past eight years, including signing legislation, don't ask, don't tell repeal, marriage equality nationwide and ensuring pple fe respected. how do you think lbgt will be in your legacy? [ inaudible ]