Senior Advisor to the President David Plouffe conceded this morning that some of the cuts the White House agreed to in order to avoid a government shutdown were draconian. In an interview on "This Week" with anchor Christiane Amanpour, he called the cuts both "draconian" and "historic."
"The Senate majority called what the Speaker was asking for, just in February," Amanpour said, "he called it 'draconian.'" She pointed out the cuts were now being called historic. "I mean, which is it? Is it draconian yesterday and historic today?" Amanpour pressed.
"Well," Plouffe replied, "some of the cuts were draconian. Because it's not just the number, it's what composes the number."
"So in this budget deal, the President, Senator Reid, you know we protected medical research, community health centers, kids in Head Start. We were not going to sign off on a deal that cut those things," Plouffe said. "The President was comfortable with the composition of this deal that, again, there were some tough cuts in there…but in these fiscal times, everyone is going to have to make tough decisions. So it was a historic deal for the American people."
Plouffe insisted the budget that the White House, the Senate and House agreed to preserved the country's ability to invest in and "win the future."
Plouffe began in his position as senior advisor to the president in January of this year.
Plouffe says that Donald Trump had no chance of making it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Plouffe, who managed President Obama's successful 2008 campaign, told Amanpour that any Trump presidential run would be a losing affair.
"What do you make of Donald Trump and raising this [birth certificate] issue?" Amanpour asked Plouffe. "Do you think it's going to be a big issue in the campaign?"
"I don't. I think I saw Donald Trump kind of rising in some polls and given his behavior and spectacle the last couple of weeks, I hope he keeps on rising because there is zero chance that Donald Trump would ever be hired by the American people to do this job," he said.
Plouffe addressed the accusation, repeatedly knocked down by Hawaiian government officials where Obama was born but echoed this week by Trump, that President Obama was not born in the United States
"There may be a small part of the country that believes these things, but mainstream Americans think it's a sideshow," he said. "And what they want our leaders to do is focus squarely on the issues right in front of us: how we're going to keep growing the economy…how we keep our people safe, how do we make sure we're going to win the future by focusing on things like education and innovation? So that's what they want us to focus on."
"That's not leadership, that's, kind of, sideshow behavior," he said of Trump.
Earlier this week on a morning television program, Trump said "Three weeks ago when I started I thought he was probably born in this country, and now I really have a much bigger doubt than I did before." He told the host, "You are not allowed to be a president if you're not born in this country. [Obama] may not have been born in this country, and I'll tell you what. Three weeks ago I thought he was born in this country. Right now I have some real doubts. I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding."
Trump, a real estate developer and reality show host, has said he is mulling a run for president and says will decide whether he will make it official or not soon.
"Well, I am going to announce my decision sometime prior to June," he told Neil Cavuto on Fox News on Friday. "And you may be very -- you may be very surprised."
Later in the interview, Plouffe trumpeted the bipartisan cooperation that allowed the U.S. federal government to avoid being shut down, if only barely.
"On any issue," Plouffe said, "nothing's going to happen unless it has the support of members of both parties. We're not going to move forward together as a country unless we do it together, Republicans and Democrats, on behalf of all Americans."
He said it should "give us some confidence" that both sides of the aisle had passed the "first big test" of the divided government, with Democrats in control of the White House and Senate, and Republicans with a majority in the House of Representatives.
"The Speaker, the President, the Senate Majority leader were able to work together. Yes it came down to the finish line, but you couple that with what happened in December on nuclear weapons, on tax cuts for the American people and 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' it should give us some confidence that when our leaders really put the American people first, they have the ability to work together," he said.