Transcript for 'Powerhouse Politics': Former Trump campaign officials tell the inside story
Hello welcome a powerhouse politics ABC news chief White House correspondent. Our. Rector recline this is a special edition powerhouse politics. Featuring Couri Lewin Belsky former campaign manager for Donald Trump Dave bossy former deputy. Campaign manager for cultural thank you both for joining us guys have a new book out let trump the trop and I've got to tell yet. This is a book. Called a tell. Oh. We we we we years old and we hear. These. Oh yeah and some point in the campaign don't hold back without asking about one. It was that moment the second debate the Access Hollywood he just broke in two days early. You're not with the campaign anymore you're certainly. Watching very clue. Vantage point but your right there Dave. And you decide to bring in the Clinton accusers there's Paula Jones there's. Juanita Broderick. Tell us what was behind that decision and every what was it debated and where we was everybody on board. You know what it was debated. A little bit but it. It was just unanimous. Once we had a conversation it was steep Annan's. Idea and creation. We I that we take. What I call Billy bush weekend and we. Detail it in the book and that's what I think you're referring to is this in Saint Louis we wanted to change the conversation we wanted. Student two to remind the American people that Bill Clinton was an abuser. Of women while he was in the White House and we. Believe Hillary Clinton was an enabler and we wanted to say. Hey let's not this is not just a one sided issue and we need to make sure. That even though the president said what he said there's locker room talk there's a difference between. That an action which is what Bill Clinton. Well let's be clear I mean. You tried to put the swimming. In the family's seats white on the set of the debate sure I mean. Most pulled it almost. We would. We would we return it was from a lack of trying it was a motto is already literally minutes before the debate started. But we're still arguing. Written. The co chairman of the debate commission saying this is where we're going to we're gonna use all our force each. And day that we went back important of course they ended up sitting right in front row instead. But it was. It was a calculation for us to try to get into the Clinton camp's head and really I think it worked. Let me ask you one before we it is more he tells them really incredible stories that you guys tell here. This is a book were YouTube pull back the curtain Wheeler a little bit about the president's eating habits. Held a lot of McDonald's inner. And it's Adam you you're you're very harsh on on some of the people that. That were involved what this campaign some of the people that we took the White House. It's sign off from the president before deciding. Write this book did you what what what where when did you first tell him about it that he EV DO. Did the privilege of being in the Oval Office Acura moral and we can't we talked about right in the region want to write the it because we want the American people to understand what was really like in the campaign when Donald trumps the agent was what he saw in what he executed in what we say it. Campaign with 99.9 percent ultra Winter Olympics at the staff and what the book talks about is. His ability to see full court. To do the rallies to talk about issues ignored tuchman illegal immigration fair trade for change not retrieve it fair trade putting America first. His ability to see what the American people want we want to tell that story and if everything was religion every campaign wouldn't be as excitedly US immune. He said it's talked with to do want to write the book he knew who got to write the book I had the privilege of presenting the president a copy of the book late last week. This book. Shows the success of candidate trump. What he accomplished in shows how great his family is that what this book is about but he chose the rise of the outsider and all the things that he overcame. To become the 45 present at states. So we di tale we detail in the book election night some of the big moments though the debate prep sessions. You know and the debates and so we don't we read it is a little bit unvarnished but it's it's a lot of fun the ride was fun so we try to make the refund so it seems to me that. A sub title of the book revealed while letter on board. Our the phrase are campaign chairman but. I am struck by this and talk about Matt reportable if a port gates in the talk about rights and bites are coming into the White House news a lot of problems. With the fact some of the outsiders not loyalists and how do you square that with what you use as presidential judgment that he went higher in your view people that were disloyal people that were bad it's are morally. In the course of this campaign. Let me start with you. Great decision Hartford's campaign. You agree decision nick and his second campaign manager Kelly income phenomenal choice right. Paul airports will he month campaign. With to be that delegate. Manager because we were still looking at the time potentially contested convention last time that happened. With practice in venture packaging which Paul involved in politics in 1976. So we put off all we take off all from Paul would bring into the campaign. And fast forward. And he did a fine job and ensure that delegates at the convention state fat and held true and Donald Trump McCain the Republican nominee. But Kendall core competency. And repent and all in the campaign and what we saw in the very short window. Was once his role invention had been finished. President trump candy trump brought in. Steve Bennett Kellyanne Connolly and they ought to the true campaign professionals to take his campaign to the next level. And Wayne that's what he did because that's a good but he still high he hires its previous shots by transition it eight. Rights rights and show on different jobs. They were. Running the RNC. Ryan's previous did a phenomenal job in an incredible job. Oh REIT reinventing the RNC as chairman before. President trump with the candidate. What he did to raise money and bill that apparatus the second non and then writes is job. Debate prep really his singular focus was trying to look nobody stepped on that stage and delivered the debate performances but Donald Trump. Rimes and Chris Christie we pray with really helping lead the debate prep team. And without them without others he wouldn't have gotten in when the transition happens. The president is looking at right is a professional who his running artsy and helped. Run the ground game with Kate Walsh up when nominal effort I mean just sec Clinton on Barton on. And never been seen before and helped us win those close states of Michigan Wisconsin and even Pennsylvania. It was it was an awesome thing so you don't know. Q. Well states that worked were incredibly close and ever all the polling data. Look at these conversations you know leading up to the election. I was trying to say this is our active victory and nobody believed us and so these things are not surprises. Look the White House always hats in every administration in that first year changeover Barack Obama George Bush Ronald Reagan. If it's historic because. No matter how good you want to be the chemistry in the makeup of the White House staff can change in action as a fine thing. When asked about the role the press and this is one very colorful passage in the book that struck me. You talk about the press following a round presidential. Candidate up at the wobble of the ranged penguins. Slurping down pickled parents what is yet want Johnny and even like her. I feels but I thought Eric what. But you also go on at length about the news and it out. About president trump or about that they. The press trying to bring him down on their sports how couldn't people how can the press be following him around like to raise penguins in in in only April and collecting hits but also beat it. For the fourth time in modern political history the press need candy with. The press. Donald Trump was a ratings track you look at the presidential. Primary debate right the largest debate every look that your election to the largely over. That was because with all due respect Marco Rubio and take with people we're truly being in to see them it was too lenient as he don't. And every word that can eat trump said was hung on by the press. Analyze detailed litigate. And you know. We saw that because the president earned four. Billion dollars and earned media coverage because of his ability to driving narrative he came down to Washington DC to a press conference and you remember what he did. He had all these medal of honor recipient who came out and spoke on his behalf and the press just waited and waited and waited for him to come out to Barack Obama is blowing at state. After thirty minutes of having medal of honor recipient. Praise candy company what that it is aging jet and by the way at Barack Obama on US thank you and what will not. But the pressed with thirty that just hung on. Every single word alive and carry until breaking news that would with your argument that it was eight news politics Anderson got a free ride from the press all of and example. But this booklet. Donald Trump did 700. Interviews. With in the nuts aren't in the campaign. 700 interviews with. But New York Times in. Basically every day. He was the most accessible candidate I've got her degree. In part because it got so. Part of that was because. Because the media treats an area fairly. What they have done what we can anchor Rick let me just one example this week the example this week it was a story this week. That Baltimore's investigation. Had subpoenaed. Records at Deutsche Bank that we're going to look into the trump family and the Trump Organization financial transactions. That story gift for what you got a by many other media outlets across the spectrum. Or it might have to tell if Clinton team can not at fault. That is detrimental. To the president and that is what we saw on the campaign. All. Stories. And Jonathon you know this. I get a call from the press and it's it we have it for fact this case today. Portland campaign is all I'll tell you beautiful ball we've got resource resource awful crap. Up when you have four people count which sources and the stories are right. Should be an obligation. To run on the president apply. I don't like it. If I don't I tell the truth but right. I think it is very difficult question can one talk outlined when you talk to their lives and those include Hillary Clinton to the FBI. And whom Aberdeen and Sharon and yet I don't. About Porter that due to come on which we know. What's gone on in the last just weak. Two major stories of reporters getting it wrong. About the president setting a narrative. Telling the American people having other people other TV personalities. Go on and repeat those like the market. Crashes 350. Points on all right. And so we all know what this is about we that you guys can ignore the fact that the president's correct now does. Did it does. This press to a great job covering the American political scene across the board and doing your job absolutely but we all understand that. The president is under scrutiny and he's under attack by the lefties under attack by the Democrats but did the leadership in the house and senate. Every minute of every day he can't do anything right and her mind. And then we see these stories that are perpetuated. And they have impact in what we try to say is. This is why the president. Speech the way he does uses Twitter to get right past did not have a filter through the media and he speaks directly to the American people. And that's what's made him effective and that's one of the reasons one. Ask you. But when when when you look overall at this at this campaign. One thing commute but you do pull back the court one thing we do see is. That Donald Trump has a temper and it's. Rick Italy believed that you two guys different. All right police had multiple super bring this issue to tell us a little but about that mean what would what is it what is it sets in law from what is it would be. The recipients. But cultural when he is lost his temper he's angry you. Jonathan I contend it is. He's Michael tearing my face offered on many times and you know one. Because he is a perfectionist he didn't enter deserves perfection when I fail or the campaign team fails him. He's not shy about letting me know that and okay. When he walks onto the stage and the microphone doesn't work thoughtful adult helpful to the campaign team and he cold people on hold him accountable. That's what -- better person a better staff for interim manager down the road. And he expects perfection he deserved for effect because every day he woke up. He gave it protection he never complained about the travel schedule and importantly in the event never complained about how many times we asked him to do things or sign things take pictures. He just did it. He was amazing and when he. Asks the staff to be as good as he would be better just be as good as the workers partisan if you don't work harder keep the same hours I do. He wasn't asking us to glow persuade its always on right yeah voter he's gonna go to jail for six hours a day an intricate instinct of a sport titled. A basket to do justice Mitchell when it looked at the microphone works the staffing is right the white. Reasonable expect the Romans fall in if you can't get that done that you deserve to have your face ripped off because he is working so hard. Everything justice in an art book. You know let trump you trump the lot of things we do. Bring you know pull back the curtain so that they people could see election night in and the debate preps in the debate all the different things but. One of the things we talk about is the once the kind side. The generous side of Donald Trump. The the tours are doing are fairly. That's right because us and other staffers immigrant looked I got introduced him because I was raising money for Children's Hospital. And Steve Flynn introduced means adopt don't gonna help you and he did. This in 2010. Long before nothing to do with politics no fanfare no pressing need but that. One really odd scenes on on on the plane where where he gets matter OPEC's. Then you know. Now the communications record the White House because she forgot the steamer for his suit. Look we all did everything let's just say that was we were detailing a specific date hope happen and when that day but George did you Ebert. I don't we all did everything that's the thing about this campaign was a small group of people you guys know one a small group Hillary Clinton had 900 what you got the McDonald's and I don't know yeah I don't like at notre. You know I I do whatever they can ask me if we're going to do you get there. He court to get that would ever there was five people the delineation of work was only between people and so look. Please don't we George the whole picked it is the type of. Mindset that the five and six in ten people and keeping which was what ever it takes to get something going to do and I remember very vividly we were in Las Vegas. And now we're about to go on and mr. taught me to simply to George. Jumpsuit and George EG those who was one of the five people who director of advanced until there steaming mr. trump suit. Because you just jumped in you were no personalities. We had a singular focus. Give him the best of our ability and help him get elected president and that is unlike. Indicated it ever end and by the way we are telling to book that's the way the campaign was run at the beginning and that's where it wasn't the end in the last couple months in the last ten weeks while I was there. It was yeah all that it was an all hands on deck situation but there was only five shirts of us on the plane. And running a look. We ate fast food and people love to talk about the fast food in this book but the reality was we checked out. We are always looking you guys have been the guy did the press corps that was trying to stay. With that you understood you were unfortunately probably eating a lot of the sending things because. We always were moving the president's motor was not stop he would wake up and beyond wrote we'd be on the road from. Dawn till dusk and it was the net and by the late towards the last few weeks of the campaign. This guy would do this court saying. And and we do you tell it in the schedule in the book that's what that. The rallies 1010151020000. People packed into these Arenas it's like a rock concert. He comes out there and deliver any deliberate he never wanted to let them down. It's one of the reasoned look. He was filling Arenas 1520000. People 56 times today and Hillary Clinton was having trouble filling a cap at a high school cafeteria. Let's be honest we looked at that we saw that as part of the dynamic. And we knew we were on to something when we were going to Pennsylvania and the other states Ohio North Carolina Florida. And we knew we were are we just. He figured out something it was something was in the water and that's what he tapped into and that's what the polling data didn't say. You kitchen something that's passport worldly means that you mentioned earlier. It sounded like you guys were set up to get jobs in the White House that Wright's previous says it's a done deal it's all it's all sat. You get in there he actually wants to talk about something different but there it talks about leaks right but he also. There also is there's a window for you guys to go inside and work in the White House you decide not. He's got a permanent decision as far as you guys are concerned that you see yourself working on the inside what is it now why aren't on the inside now. Well let me just say -- that that meeting on Memorial Day in office was. Pam Spanish savings. From ourselves. Because you work how many of you and your ration coverage well we we you're going to be the war room guy yet you're gonna be deputies got rhymes look. Rights and Steve Bannon who tried to really. Do you know only huge right job they they were under a lot of pressure. We're looking to have us come in but the president said look I'm I'm unhappy with the current situation and that there aren't changes. Soon I'm gonna make some changes and he didn't want us. We took it as he didn't want us to be victims of that and that's an incredibly. Gracious thing for him to have. What you don't want it coming your X are about to fire people that's that was. Yet. Look what this book talks to wield enough credit or we geek. Among the number of hours we've flown airplanes. The number of stops from an audit we ought not. And then there's 8000 downed jet fuel. 908000. Pounds of jet to we put that plane and 45 feet 722. Different segments we gave you 233 city. We were two pilots not to shut the pilots to individuals that is the mindset of the people who work for trump is. You can do more with less and that's you don't just go back to everybody did everything it flat plane probably couldn't get enough about them I was not. Top small team and how hard he worked an out going into the White House. The problem we don't go. Here. If it's not for young cute. Game with a two guys in the sacrifices to. It's too selfish right now. The meeting go and do the job. Of working in Saudi government which is the Super Bowl. The World Series and Stanley Cup all rolled into one of your political operative to go into that used to sell it for me because I can't. See my family I just need two more years with three more years to be away from you because my kids between six and ten years we'll never been gone for two years and a half so. Let's hope we trump talked about the family dynamic and we're giving people come from to blue collar guys who work at a front row seat history minute Stewart right. To see the world changed and it I talk quite apparent hit and a book about. How specialist Ross. The island of misfit toys has had described the issue sort of social let me let me just ask you and I guess that ago final question in that Memorial Day meeting. You asked the president how he's doing he says I'm doing fine staff Sox. The rough quote a cracked the blood relatives say that on at about half equipment orders as the worst thing that gets into pretty good guess pretty good. All so 22 part question here one how is the stuff doing now how do you grade the current White House they're serving president. And then. I'll hear from both. Who's going to be. The next and the second ago to be a couple choices you can pick Rex Tillerson you can pick Jeff Sessions you can pick. Jarrett Sutton go back to New York who do you think is the next. It. Why can I can tell I think it. Card shoes after Kelly's it is really. Taken at different management approach it runs it well look the freewheeling aspect of that White House was. You know was something. You know two to. To really look at. But the president loves to get lots of information from people he loves that and so this that the general has taken a different tact and he is buttoned up. The building in the management's now. I think the president has taken two and I think that there they're working as a great team seems so I him I'm. Perfectly happy with how it is going. You know the late October it to the president must now be because of that the Kelly's can't control and you know one I don't talk about you know look like manager Mike. Privileges. And present an Eagles. Right right right finishers are urged to look I think it did this White House is now being run in a way I think there they. The title of this book didn't have anything to do. With the White House staffer like that but. Some argue that Kelly not troubled and who are learning each day how they need to let shall be truck greatest. Communicators he understands the message is the best political instinct of any. But he I've seen in my lifetime. And he understands the polls that are being what they want and what they're looking for and that's the reason. Look I think this is doing great job really do. I think you need to be changed the president talked about that Memorial Day he is working exceptionally hard. I think Gerald Kelly has come and brought order from chaos and to be fair to write preakness having a three headed monster at the top of the food chain is younger crowd cheers three teaching it only hit TV when every senator Isakson we have writes for the third name mentioned on that Presley's announcing. So when you report. Multiple people diesel is the boss let me be clear John Kelly's the chief of the staff there's no question up. Okay rat targeted naturally questions meter world record it's who's the next that we. I. I really don't it. This news. Eight Hoff. Feasible to work and you guys covered this is a very difficult complicated. Please the world is in chaos in a lot of places. It is tough to be away from them so Rex Tillerson says I've done this for years it's time for meeting go back to Texas. You know more back to the corporate world that's his decision. I can tell you you know I think the team is doing a great job and look at what's going on in the world. And and I look at these courageous decisions on on Jerusalem. And and you know other things that they're doing every day getting the biggest Whitman talked about it. Reform package that present the biggest legislative accomplishment just just last week so where he's on the pass. Got to pass the house passed conference Rome jail while we're getting there we're what I do you have experienced this you know it's like to fire. You can tell you can read you know when something's coming at least I think Monday's criticism lighthouses and haven't filled jobs deficit in history lovers thinking state accountability. In that department. And I think there's accountability. At the macro level of the political decisions which are being need because I think it has to be good. Political operation when I don't seen this is not pejorative anybody's in the building is artist Karl Rove. The even axle rod that that top political operative who is helping crack. The political decisions going into what will be a very competitive 2018 cycle from members of the house and the senate and ultimately. If the president is looking to be reluctant 20/20 that person is. Focused on those efforts and I think you might see some change come with going to be your job. Look I haven't gotten great job. And all right to be honest when we like being. His supports. Step outside. That we are messengers for him and and we think we we can be very effective from outside so we like. All right Cory will announce that you Dave bossy thank you for joining us retreat element here they are asphalt arms again the next book is let trump the trump. Thank you for washing powerhouse politics wolf you.
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