Transcript for Experts weigh in on whether more Republicans will support Trump’s impeachment
We are one week away from the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. Now the insurrection and impeachment casting a shadow on that day. Earlier this evening I spoke with Yvette Simpson, CEO of democracy for America. Sara Fagen, Republican strategist. Chris Christie, former Republican governor of new Jersey. Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago and democratic adviser. Thank you all for joining us. Chris, I'll start with you. History has spoken about Donald Trump. Should he still be the Republican party are this is an indication it's over for him? Well, you know, Byron, I think that gets determined by two sets of people. The president and the voters of the Republican party in the United States. I remember when he got in the race in 2015, I was in the race as well. None of us took him seriously, didn't think he was going to be a serious candidate, we really didn't. By were obviously made very wrong by the voters. I think it's too early to decide that. The president has shown a complete disregard for the truth about a fundamental part of our American system, and that is the voting system to elect our president. I think that's damaged him. I think it's damaged him significantly. But, you know, I don't know whether that finishes him or not. But I do think it damages him, and it should. Does Republican party even want the hardcore trump supporters moving forward? Sure. They want people who support the agenda that the president puts forward. And I think you have to separate message from messenger, Byron. Now when you do that, maybe you lose some of those folks. Maybe those folks only would do that for Donald Trump. But I suspect that most of them respond to the message more than they respond to the messenger. And that's going to be one of the things the Republican party's going to have to figure out. Like every party that loses the way we have now in the last four years. The house, the senate, and the white house. You've got to take some time to be introspective. Rahm, what happens to the 74 million voters who voted for Donald Trump? What can Joe Biden, the democratic party, do to get some of them on board? I think Joe Biden by his DNA, it's already showing in the transition polling, by his graciousness, his decency, and his willingness to kind of open up and be receptive to those even that disagree. I said this many times during the final months of the campaign. When he went up to Minnesota to be with the Floyd family, there was a protester that greeted him. He went over, gave him an elbow he said, "I'll be your president it was a protester against him. And they both smiled. And I thought that was an iconic picture. And I said it then. I think that kind of receptivity, that he's not going to shut people out, that he's not going to cancel them. They may not agree with him, but we don't have to be disagreeable and see each other as mortal enemies. Tone and tenor from a president counts a lot. We S what it counted for president trump. He fomented this American against American mindset. Joe Biden will be the opposite, 180 degrees from that. Second, we have a set of people -- listen, if you don't live in a metropolitan area, you don't have a college degree, you're not part of the economy, you have as a generation, not just under trump, been left behind. There's a person that said at the protest, do you see me? I don't think people think that they've been seen, heard, or valued. And part of what Joe Biden, a kid from Scranton can do, is say to the working class who feel left behind, I see you. I care about you. And here's how we're going to invest in you and your children. And doesn't mean you're going to get 74 million. But he'll get their attention. Sara, Liz Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment. Already her house colleagues are trying to oust her from her leadership position. The divisions in your party are deep. Can they survive this? Yeah, they can survive it. And you know, it's going to take people like Liz Cheney who don't back down. It's possible she'll get removed. I don't think she will. I think the rest of the leadership will work hard to ensure that she remains the important voice that she is in the party. But yeah, there is soul searching that's happening. It's going to continue to happen. And a lot -- I agree with a lot what was Chris said. I think much will be determined by, who is the next standard bearer? Is it somebody different than Donald Trump? Grump's impeached, which seems less likely to me today, he's unlikely to be the nominee in four years. But if he is, you're going to see a ton of Republicans formally bolt the party. And either go to an independent or go democratic. Sure. Yvette, we know a senate trial won't happen till after Joe Biden is sworn in. Do the Democrats run the risk of a backlash here? Do they really want to start an impeachment trial at the beginning of Biden's term? I think it depends on the way you think about this. When I talk to people across the country, they consider this right now the number one issue. And so you can't walk around it. You can't skate past it and say, we're going to pretend like the U.S. Capitol was not stormed for the first time in 200 years, and we all feel safe after this has happened. I think safety is one of the most principles for people. And they want to know that the president isn't going to walk past it, that he's going to address it. You know, talking about healing versus accountability. We're talking about unity versus justice. The reality is, I think Joe Biden has to show himself as someone who will not allow what Donald Trump has done, what a lot of the folks who will be -- he will be working with in the congress have supported and done, going unaccounted. We know that folks are scared. We know folks are worried. He tries to pretend like this isn't happening, hug it out, let's keep it moving? I think folks are going to feel like they're not ready to talk about the other important issues facing our country. This conversation will continue. Yvette, Sara, Chris, Rahm, thanks for your time tonight. We'll see you down the road. And we'll be right back with
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