'This Week' Transcript 1-21-18: Marc Short, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Mark Meadows
A rush transcript for "This Week" on January 21, 2018
— -- ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Chaos in the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER: We do some crazy things in Washington, but this is utter madness.
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REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), WHIP: The American people are rightfully upset with every one of us.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: As Congress and the White House fail at basic governing, the blame game in high gear.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Held all of us hostage over the completely unrelated issue of illegal immigration.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with jello.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: President Trump earned an F for leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: So is it "Trump shutdown" or Schumer's? What will it take to break the stalemate and what does it mean for you? Questions this week for the president's point man on Capitol Hill, the Senate Democrat at the center of the talks, and key lawmakers from both sides of the immigration debate.
Plus, at the one year mark...
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Where does President Trump stand? New findings from a brand new poll with insight and analysis from our powerhouse "Roundtable." We'll break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning. At the stroke of midnight on the anniversary of Trump's inaugural the government shut down. The president says Democrats did that on purpose to spoil his party. Democrats insist that Trump just does not know how to close a deal. Many of you at home might agree with Louisiana Senator John Kennedy who said this on Friday. "Our country was founded by geniuses, but it's being run by idiots."
So far the Trump administration is doing what it can to limit the impact of the shutdown. But many national parks and monuments like the Statue of Liberty did in fact close Saturday. A preview of the disruption to come if the shutdown lingers. And our brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows Americans more inclined to blame President Trump and Republicans than the Democrats by a 20-point margin.
At the one year mark, the president's approval rating the lowest of any president in modern times. Sentiment playing out yesterday at Women's Marches in hundreds of cities all across the country. One bright spot, Americans have the most positive views on the economy in nearly two decades. But just 38 percent give Trump the credit, 50 percent credit the Obama administration.
Want to start out now with our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.
And, Jon, you're at the White House this morning. Not a lot of activity there yesterday. No meetings between the president and congressional leaders. What's the latest on where things stand on the shutdown?
JONATHAN KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, right now this looks like a standoff that does not lend itself to a breakthrough. The Democrats are saying that they will not vote to reopen the government until they have an agreement on immigration. And Republicans are saying they won't even negotiate on immigration until the government is reopened.
But amidst all of the finger-pointing and the recriminations, Senator Schumer, the Democratic leader, and the president are tantalizing close to a deal on the underlying issue here on immigration. I am told that the president has expressed a willingness to have a deal that would be legal status for the DREAMers in exchange for full funding of his border wall. That's $20 billion over seven years.
He would do that even if he had no change to the visa lottery, no change to the policy on family reunification, so called "chained migration." Those are big priorities for the Republicans. But I'm told the president would be willing to do it without them. And further, George, I am told from Democratic sources that Senator Schumer is open to such a deal, even that full funding, something approaching $20 billion over seven years.
So we have the outlines of a significant deal that would make many conservatives unhappy. They care about those immigration priorities, many of them more than the wall, and something that would make Democrats, some of them very unhappy, because they never wanted to fund the border wall.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is, could they sell it to either side? In the meantime, Jon there is some movement to try to at least reopen the government before tomorrow morning, some idea of extending -- opening the government until February 8 in return for some implicit promises that there will be votes on immigration.
KARL: Yes, it's unclear whether or not this will fly. We have two possibilities of when this could go down. There's a vote scheduled for 1:00 this morning. That could be where you could see a breakthrough on that. And then Monday morning, as the government is supposed to be in normal times reopening, if it is shut down, people will begin to sense the true cost of a government shutdown. But right now it's not clear whether or not that shortened extension is actually going to fly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, how does the White House think this is playing for them? I was struck by something Eric Trump, the president's son, said last night on FOX. Listen.
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ERIC TRUMP, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: Honestly, I think it's a good thing for us, Judge, because people see through it. I mean, people have seen a year that's incredible, that has been filled with nothing but the best for our country, "America first" policies. And they're happy with where we are as a nation.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Everybody inside the White House that confident about the shutdown politics?
KARL: Not really, George. I mean, the dynamic that got us here is that the Democrats calculated this would hurt the White House and hurt Republicans more than it would hurt them. And Republicans calculated exactly the opposite. My sense talking to White House officials is they still do believe that Democrats will pay a bigger price. But they don't necessarily think this is a big win for them. And the president himself is less convinced that this is actually a winning issue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Jon Karl, thanks very much.
Let’s bring in the president’s point man on Capitol Hill, Marc Short joins us right now.
I know you’ve been burning the midnight oil, Marc, thank you for joining us this morning. Let’s start out with what Jon Karl was just talking about, right there, that meeting Friday between President Trump and Senator Schumer where they had the outlines of an agreement. Are we close?
MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: George, thanks for having me back. But, George, I think that, honestly, what’s befuddling to us is we do think we’re making progress. What the president outlined was four issue priorities that Jon went through, in helping to solve the DACA issue, which we want to do, too.
Keep in mind that these are people age 16 to 36 with work permits, which means they do not have any criminal background, they’re here being productive to our country. We want to solve border security. We want to end the chain -- chain migration. We want to end the visa lottery program. In two of those main functions, we are seeing Democrats move on the border security issue, which is one that our Border Patrol agents have said this is what we need to secure our southern border.
I think you’ve seen the White House show an openness to expand that population where Democrats have said there are other people who should be part of the DACA population because either they were afraid or didn’t apply to the program. We’ve shown even a willingness to consider that. So we feel like we’re making progress on multiple areas. What’s befuddling, then, is why are we shutting down the government?
Everything that’s in the bill is things that Democrats have asked for.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But on the specifics of that deal, what our understanding was that Senator Schumer offered, you know, the $20 billion over several years on the border wall funding, but in return for no changes on the chain migration and the visa lottery. Is that acceptable to the president? Is that something you can sell to Republicans in the Congress?
SHORT: George, I think the problem with that construct is we’re going to be back here in the exact same position in a few years. If we don’t solve the chain migration visa lottery programs, we will be back here in a few years debating over a new population. Let’s keep in mind that two terror attacks, most recently that happened in the United States, the pipe bomber came in through chain migration. The one who -- the terrorist who ran over individuals in New York and killed several people, he came in through the visa lottery program.
These are programs that Americans want ended. Why are we -- why are delaying ending those programs for a future debate? We need to make sure that we don’t end up back at the same table in a couple years having the same debate on immigration. So we want all these issues solved right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But so -- so that’s the official position of the White House, because it did seem, according to Senator Schumer, that the president was intrigued by that initial deal when it was presented. But in the meantime, there weren’t any meetings at the White House yesterday with the president. That meeting with Senator Schumer was the last one he had in person on the immigration.
I want to show something the president himself said in 2013, during the last government shutdown.
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TRUMP: You have to get everybody in a room, you have to be a leader, the president has to lead, and you have to be nice and be angry and be wild and cajole and do all sorts of things, but you have to get a deal.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: The government shut down at midnight on Friday. Why didn’t the president have the leaders down at the White House yesterday?
SHORT: Well, George, keep in mind a week ago he did have them over at the White House. He had a bipartisan, bicameral group of members that were to discuss exactly these issues. What we were going to…
STEPHANOPOUOLOS: That’s a lifetime ago in politics.
SHORT: George, what we’re facing right now is Democrats taking an absolutely implausible position that says we’re going to deny funding to 2 million troops who are serving our country, tens of thousands of Border Patrol agents trying to protect our country, over an issue that’s not even in this bill. That is an impossible place from which to negotiate.
Chuck Schumer himself, in 2013, that same negotiation, that same shutdown said it’s like somebody coming into your house, taking your wife and children hostage, and then trying to negotiate the price of your house. That’s exactly what he’s doing right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So -- so bottom line, you’re just not going to move at all until the Democrats say we’re not -- until the Democrats say they’re willing to open the government...
STEPHANOPOULOS: … without considering changes in DACA?
SHORT: No, I don’t -- I don’t think that’s true, George. I think you’ve seen us move. I think you’ve seen us move throughout the negotiation on immigration. You’ve also seen also seen us -- the bill that is being -- you know, the amendments being offered tonight that Jon Karl just mentioned, is a change from taking it from a four-week to a three-week continuing resolution, which is what the Democrats have asked for, for a shorter time period.
So we have been yielding, we have been showing flexibility to say, let’s find a deal to make sure that, again, our troops and our Border Patrol agents are not denied payment. But that -- the Democrats seem unwilling to even accept that offer, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Part of that, I know a bipartisan group of senators are working on that deal to extend the -- the government funding to February 8 in return for a promise from the leadership and the president that they would get votes on their immigration deal in both houses. Is the president willing to make that promise?
SHORT: Let’s keep in mind a couple of things. One, there is a bill that has already been introduced in the House by Chairman Goodlatte that we do hope gets a vote. The Senate does not yet have a bill that has been introduced. So Democrats keep having this position of saying, we need to rally behind the Durbin-Flake-Graham position, they don’t even have text they’ve introduced.
We are happy to open that debate as soon as people want. We were anxious to have this debate six, nine months ago when General Kelly went to Congress and said, we need a solution. We’ve provided our principles to Congress to say this is what we want in a legislative package. So we’re not afraid of a timetable on this. We want to have the right resolution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And are -- how worried are you that this is going to come back to hurt Republicans? You saw our poll coming in. Americans more inclined to blame the president and Republicans for the shutdown than Democrats.
SHORT: You know, I think that Eric Trump was -- was right in what he said in that the reality, I think, is that Democrats are forcing this shutdown because they look at what has happened over the last year and they’re captive by a part of their base. They see the record tax cut, they see the repeal of the individual mandate, the rollback of regulations, the record number of circuit court judges and the Supreme Court justice confirmed, and they see the president making a difference. And the base of their party is holding them captive.
And they’ve put themselves in a box now, that's a hard way to find a way out. How do you get out of a situation where you’re denying funding to our troops and our border agents?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, the president’s political team hitting them hard, coming out with this ad last night.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s pure evil. President Trump is right. Build the wall. Deport criminals. Stop illegal immigration now. Democrats who stand in our way will become complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe.
TRUMP: I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats complicit in murder?
SHORT: George, I think that the reality is that there are safety concerns for our country. One of the things that came out of a report just last week is that there’s over 2,500 people on the terror watch list trying to get into our country each and every year. Many of them are coming in through these loopholes that we need to fix. Why are we delaying fixing them?
That’s over seven per day trying to get into the United States of America. And yet we’re not doing anything to fix our immigration laws.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you also know that there’s plenty of studies that show that immigrants don’t commit crimes at rates higher than other Americans. And aren’t you worried that an ad like that is going to poison the well for negotiations?
SHORT: George, I think we’ve actually been making progress on the negotiations. I think what’s poisoning the well is the decision to shut down the government and stop paying our troops.
STEPHANOPOULOS: March Short, thanks for coming on this morning.
We are joined now by the number two Democrat in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Thank you for joining us this morning, senator.
Well, you just heard Marc Short right there talking about that ad. Not backing away from that ad from President Trump saying that Democrats are complicit, could be complicit in murder.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: I wish Marc would contact Ed Gillespie. He tried that theme in Virginia. It doesn't work. The American people are not going to accept the premise that immigrants are criminals and that we ought to deport the Dreamers.
You know, what it comes down to is we need a reasonable approach that is mindful of our national security, number one, but embraces a basic value in America. We are a diverse nation, a nation of immigrants, and we're proud of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about that deal that Senator Schumer reportedly offered to -- excuse me, Senator Schumer reportedly offered to the president on Friday: full funding of the border wall in return for no changes in chain migration, no changes in the visa lottery. You just heard Marc Short right there suggest that that wasn't good enough, that they needed changes in those other provisions.
DURBIN: I can tell you -- you can imagine the frustration of Senator Schumer. Invited to the White House on Friday by the president for a luncheon that involved John Kelly and Mike Lynch of Senator Schumer's staff, Senator Schumer and the president. It went on for almost two hours and there was a basic understanding at the end of it.
It is true that Chuck Schumer made what I considered to be a bold and important concession and said, yes, we'll go forward with the wall as long as we do this in a responsible fashion. We had a substantial...
STEPHANOPOULOS: $20 billion?
DURBIN: Well, I'm not going to quote numbers, because I don't think that's my place to do it, but I can tell you it was a substantial commitment to the president. The president embraced it. And Chuck came back to the Hill. We sat down in his office, and I said I think we're going to avoid the shutdown. I think we're ready to go.
Two hours later, a call from the White House says the deal is off. We're not going to stand by this at all.
How can you negotiate with the president under those circumstances where he agrees face-to-face to move forward with a certain path and then within two hours calls back and pulls the plug.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So where are things now? Is that the Democrat's bottom line? No changes in the chain migration, no changes in the lottery?
DURBIN: Look, let me tell you that what I tried to do with Lindsey Graham and four other Senators, two Democrats and two Republicans, was to put together a reasonable, bipartisan compromise when it came to this issue.
Remember, George, the issue of the Dreamers and DACA was created by President Trump on September 5 when he eliminated the program. It isn't as if we dreamed this up as something to insert into the conversation. They will start losing at 1,000 a day the protection, these DACA young people had, on March 5 because of President Trump's decision. We're trying to meet the challenge he sent us. He told us, I'm going to get rid of the executive order, now pass a law. That's what we're trying to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But is it right to hold the government hostage? You heard Marc Short cite Senator Schumer -- here's what Senator Schumer said back in 2013 during the last government shutdown.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: It's sort of like this, someone goes into your house, takes your wife and children hostage, and then says let's negotiate over the price of your house. You know, we could do the same thing on immigration. We believe strongly in immigration reform. We can say we're shutting down the government. We're not going to raise the debt ceiling until you pass immigration reform. It would be governmental chaos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, aren't you all creating chaos now?
DURBIN: George, you've got to concede one thing, and that is that the Republicans are in control of this government. They control the White House. They control the Senate. They control the House by nominations sent to the court. They basically control the Supreme Court.
We are in a minority position. The Republicans control what comes to the floor in both the House and the Senate.
In the Senate, though, with the 60 vote margin, there's a need for bipartisanship. That's all we've asked for. Sit down at the table and let us work this out in a bipartisan fashion. That's what Lindsey Graham and I presented to the president on that infamous meeting on January 11. That's what Senator Schumer did on Friday, a bipartisan approach to solve this problem. We are still ready and willing to move forward in that spirit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And there are bipartisan talks going on right now around keeping the government open until February 8 in return, as I asked Marc Short about, in return for some kind of an implicit commitment that you'd get votes on your bipartisan deal in both the House and the Senate. Is that coming together? Will the government open tomorrow?
DURBIN: I can't answer that question directly other than the fact that your premise is correct. There are bipartisan conversations going on right now. I've met, as Senator Schumer has, with the leaders of those efforts, Democrats and Republicans, who are in good faith trying to find common ground and put this behind us.
But at the end of the day the president has to step up and lead in this situation. He has to be willing, as Chuck has said many times, to accept yes for an answer. That's been the breakdown problem we've had both on the DACA issue, which the president created, as well as the overall issues, such as children's health insurance, community health care clinics, funding for our military, all of these things require presidential leadership.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sounds like you don't think the president is in charge of his own government right now?
DURBIN: I think he's in charge. But, you know, Chuck, you can't have an agreement at 2:00 and then a 4:00 phone call saying it's all off. And that's what happened this last Friday.
Chuck Schumer went down there in good faith and made what I considered a significant concession to this president for this quixotic quest he has for this wall on the border of our -- with Mexico. And despite that effort, two hours later the president's people called back and said it's over.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we have a new tweet from the president this morning, just out about in the last hour. "Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our military and safety at the border. The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked. The stalemate continues. Republicans should go to 51%, nuclear option, and vote on real long-term budget. No CRs." Your response.
DURBIN: My response is this: when it comes down to it, Senator Claire McCaskill offered a unanimous consent request so that there would be no interruption, none whatsoever, in the payment of the men and women in the military in service to our country. Senator McConnell, the Republican senate leader, objected. Now that's a matter of record. So we don't want to in any way diminish our commitment to our troops start to finish.
And secondly, let's get this done on a bipartisan basis. We've produced a bipartisan approach to many of these issues. If the president and the leaders in congress will sit down with us, we can resolve this quickly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about that nuclear option, doing away with the filibuster?
DURBIN: Well, I can tell you that would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers. We have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Durbin, thank you for your time this morning.
DURBIN: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, two key voices from the immigration debate, Congressional Hispanic Caucus member Luis Gutierrez and House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows. They join us live next.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Back now with two key members of the house on opposite sides of the immigration debate, Democrat Luis Gutierrez from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Republican Mark Meadows, chair of the Freedom Caucus. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.
Congressman Gutierrez, let me begin with you. You saw our poll showing that Americans more inclined to blame Republicans for the shutdown,but CNN also has a poll that says they think it's more important to avoid a shutdown, 56 percent versus continuing DACA, 34 percent. We put that poll up right now.
Are you worried at all about Democrats overplaying their hand?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS: Yeah, let me start by saying this to you, George, look, I think the wall is a monumental waste of tax payer money. It's to build a monument to stupidity and it's just idiotic.
Having said that, if that's what it's going to take in order to put 800,000 young men and women in this country, Dreamers, and put them in a safe place and put them on a course to full integration in our society, if that's what the hostage takers of the Dreamers, if that's their ransom call, I say pay it and then...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I thought Mexico was supposed to pay for the wall.
GUTIERREZ: Next November , we'll deal with the kidnappers at the election at the polls. And let's reopen the government.
But George, that's what the president said. He said I want to wall, and as despicable as it is, as hurtful as it is to people like me and others in this country, we are ready to sacrifice that so that Dreamers can have freedom in this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: $20 billion that Mexico was supposed to pay?
GUTIERREZ: That's exactly the point. $20 billion. A president of the United States had said Mexico are murderers, criminals, drug dealers, and we have got to build a wall. We've got to get rid of them. We have got to build a wall.
Because the conversation has always been about, well, you know, those Democrats they're not into border security. All right, you want to build this monument to stupidity. You want to waste, and you insist upon wasting $20 billion, then I say free the Dreamers.
I have -- they've taken them hostage, George. What am I supposed to do? I asked them to sign up. I filled out forms by the thousand with them. It is my responsibility today to put them in a safe place.
But George, it's really not. You know what this demonstrates to us? That it's really not about border security, right. Because the government should be open. Because people like I and others in the Democrat Party -- and I want to make clear, Dick Durbin offered them the money for the wall. Schumer offered the money for the wall. I wasn't the first one to come up with the Democrats to say this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Marc Short...
GUTIERREZ: But I have been clear about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, you heard Marc Short earlier in the program, he said that that wasn't good enough, that they also needed changes in the chain immigration and the lottery system. Are you willing to accept that in return for freeing the DACA hostages, as you put it?
GUTIERREZ: Here's my point to you. What it reveals to us is the president of the United States has said -- and he said this on numerous occasions, George, I want a wall. You get the Dreamers. And now they move the goals, right. Here's what they're saying to us, George, and we have to be very clear about it, and we are going to fight this, they want to end legal immigration to the United States. They say let's build a wall to keep us safe. They say let's build a wall so that our workers don't have to compete with illegals that come across the -- but then they end legal immigration. They say the lottery system, let's end it. That's legal immigration to the United States.
George, what they want is the following -- and listen very carefully to what they're saying. When they say chain immigration, which is something just as a general, offensive to me to use that word, right, because it's really about family reunification. It's about a mom bringing their children, about children bringing their moms, about husband and a wife, those are the visas they're going after. Let's be absolutely clear. They what to end. What does my ability to bring my brother to the United States of America, what does the ability that I have to bring my children to this country or my children to bring me have to do with border security? Have to do with keeping this country safe? They want to end legal immigration.
And you know what, George, we have to fight that. Because it's the essence of who we are as a nation. It's core to what it is to be American, to have an immigration policy. We would not be a nation without immigrants and an immigration policy. And we have to push back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, you were at the White House with General Kelly this week, did he really say the president was uninformed on the wall?
GUTIERREZ: Yes. Well, I had a meeting. I was sitting right next to him, next to Mr. Kelly, and here's what he said. He said the president of the United States when he was campaigning made promises that were not fully informed. I wrote it down. I wrote it down. It was so astonishing to me that I immediately wrote it down. He said was not fully informed. Is that uninformed? I heard the president was not fully informed.
He said I've educated the president and the president has evolved on the issue. And when I asked General Kelly what's a wall? He said it could be the inhospitable terrain. It could be border patrol agents. It could be drones. That's why I'm saying, let's take it off the table. Let's take it off the table. The America public has heard this president say time and time again he wants a wall. And as repugnant as it is to me, and as idiotic as it is to me, George, this debate has to be about men and women, about youth -- 800,000 young people. And I'm going to put them first. And you know what, if I have to muddy up my hands in order to do it so that they live a clean life in this country? Then let's do it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Congressman, thanks, we got your perspective right there.
Let's bring that to the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, Mark Meadows.
You just heard Congressman Gutierrez right there. Congressman Meadows, thank you for joining us this morning. Willing to trade...
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC), CHAIRMAN, FREEDOM CAUCUS: Great to be with you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: … what he calls an idiotic wall in return for freeing the DACA, is that good enough?
MEADOWS: You know, really right now, George, what this is all about is we're in the middle of a shutdown but yet we're talking about immigration. And so is this an amnesty shutdown? You know, I find it just really interesting that Schumer would have said what he did in your lead-up to this particular show about immigration and the fact that shutting it down over immigration is chaotic, and yet here we are on that very subject today.
But let me answer specifically your question, is, the president has been very clear, it is about border security. But border security is not just what we do at the southern border. It's also about visa overstays, it's also about chain migration, it's also about interior enforcement. And he put forth three things that he would do in exchange for making sure that those DACA recipients do not have to face deportation. And we were making good progress.
I can tell you, the president has called me a number of times saying that he wants to find a solution for those DACA recipients. And yet here we are today trying to use some kind of a tactic to force the president's hand. And I can tell you that the offers that have been made to date, whether there's the ones that you have reported or others, are not serious offers in terms of really stopping the genesis of what has created this problem in the first place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, in fact, The New York Times reported that the president spoke to you right after his meeting with Senator Schumer. We heard Senator Durbin earlier in the program saying, boy, at 2:00 the president seemed to agree, but Senator Schumer, by 4:00 they had called the Senate and said the deal is off.
Did you convince the president to reject that Schumer deal?MEADOWS: No, you know, listen, the president is the president of the United States. He makes his own decisions. And any suggestion that I'm going to convince the president to go one way or another greatly exaggerates my influence. And I will say this, there was no deal. There is no deal. And even the way that it was reported, George, you were talking about Schumer offering $20 billion over seven years. He can't do that.
You can't obligate a future Congress. So even if he made that offer he can't even deliver on the very offer that he's putting forth. So when we look at this, let's call it what it is. This is a tactic. My good friend Luis was talking about holding people hostage. This is the Democrats trying to hold our military hostage for an issue that has been with us for decades.
I think we need to resolve it. The president wants to resolve it. But you don't do that in the middle of a shutdown.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You sure you're not being overly modest about your influence, Congressman? Has the president promised you that he wouldn't agree to an immigration deal that you don't sign on to?
MEADOWS: No. He hasn't promised that. I know that was reported. I can tell you that what he has consistently said is that he wants to deal with this particular issue. He wants to get a deal that, yes, Tom Cotton and I can fully support. But it's not just the two of us, it's a broad spectrum across our conference, a bipartisan deal, indeed, he wants to do that.
In fact, when I was in the Oval Office with him a week or so ago, he said he wanted to make sure that the Tom Cottons and the Mark Meadows of the world can work with the Lindsey Grahams and the Dick Durbins of the world. Now that's before Dick Durbin went out and soured the negotiation a week or so ago. But I can tell you that he is committed to getting this done.
We need to go back to the negotiations. We can do that if the Democrats -- the Senate Democrats here in the next 24 hours will vote to open the government back up. The negotiations will start again. And so your viewers, you know, if they're DACA recipients and they're concerned about being deported, there's a deal that can be made, but we have to open the government first.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But opening the government, the deal that moderate senators on both sides are talking about right now is extend the government until February 8 in return for a hard commitment in both the House and the Senate to vote on their bipartisan deal. Are you willing to go along with that?
MEADOWS: Well, I'm not willing to go along with it. It's not in this particular deal. And when you start to look at that, to suggest -- listen, I wanted a whole lot of things in this continuing resolution. The president called me from Air Force One and said, you know, I'm asking you to stand down on two of your requests that you are wanting to put in here.
I guess the question I have for Senator Schumer is, is, you know, the whole Cadillac tax that actually is penalizing union workers, does he want that out of there? You know, the CHIP reauthorization that helps 9 million children, does he want that out of there? There is nothing in this bill that they oppose. They're using it as leverage to help them negotiate a deal that perhaps helps illegal immigrants to our country.
And we've got to find a deal. I'm willing to engage even with my good friend Luis. We'll sit down as soon as the government opens and try to find a solution. But today, this is about funding our government, our military men and women, our veterans, our border security agents. And I find it is a tactic that we should not be using to truly provide that leverage.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sure does sound like we're far from a deal right now. Congressman, thanks for your time this morning.
MEADOWS: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: "Roundtable" standing by. We'll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: "Roundtable" standing by. Maybe they can solve the shutdown. And all week long you get the latest on politics and the White House with breaking news alerts on the ABC News app. Download it during the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: January 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential, this America carnage stops right here and stops right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Has it only been one year since President Trump's inaugural? We're going to talk about his impact on our roundtable right now. Joined by our chief political analyst Matthew Dowd, the bureau chief of the AP in Washington Julie Pace, Marc Lotter, former press secretary to Vice President Pence, Megan McCain, co-host of The View, and Democratic Strategist Karen Finny who worked for the Clinton campaign, spokesperson.
And let's start with the shutdown politics. I mean, we were just talking before during the break, this is a different kind of shutdown. In past shutdowns, both in 2013, '95-'96, one side really, really wanted the shutdown. This time that's not the case. But Matt, both sides feel relatively comfortable where they are right now.
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS: Well, you played some tapes during some of the other interviews. I mean, you could play a series of tapes and there's so much hypocrisy in all sides in this.
But in the end, the president is the president. He has the House. He has the Senate. And to me what this shows fundamentally about Washington, and about this president, is a complete abject failure in moral and any kind of inspirational leadership. This deal could be done.
You said that maybe we could figure out how -- if the five of us got together by the time we left this table we could have had a deal on what to do in this, because of what the American public wants and what they know they want -- 80 percent of the country wants in this, but the idea that we've come to this situation where we can't get past what 80 percent of the country wants shows a total failure in leadership.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Julia, according to the reporting from Senator Schumer on Friday, it did seem like the president was receptive to what he was feeling, whether or not he actually signed on we're not sure, but it was receptive, but he's hemmed in on the House side.
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: And has been the great frustration, not just of Democrats, but frankly of Republicans in the president's own party who feel like they have these conversations with the president. They go to the White House for meetings. He is open to a large deal that would cover both spending, border security and DACA, but then something happens, either staffers who take a harder line on immigration get to him. He starts watching cable news coverage and hearing about how his base might feel if he makes a DACA deal, and then he backs a way. And that has made this a really difficult negotiation.
Because Republicans don't want to send something to the president that he won't sign. And they're never quite sure hour to hour what that package would look like.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And inside the White House there seems to be division on this.
MARC LOTTER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: I think the biggest issue that we face right now is that we have two separate issues. And so while we have the DACA disagreements, and the immigration disagreements, I mean, the government has been shut down over this. And those are two completely separate issues. There's nothing in the bill, like Marc Short said, that Democrats in the Senate don't support.
And then you also have the fundamental principle. Let's remember back in 2013, President Obama basically called it extortion and said that he was going to fight that kind of extortion for his successors in office, not just for himself. And here we are now with a government shutdown over a non-related policy issue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Karen, Democrats are on the other side of that issue right now. Senator Schumer clearly has switched positions on that. Worried at all that this idea the Democrats are supporting illegal immigrants will start to cut?
KAREN FINNEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No. Because here's the thing, let's take a step back and remember how we got here. We got here because we don't have a budget, right. We got here because the Republicans control everything. They have could not pass a budget. We've come down to the wire, down to the -- you know, basic deadline, it is President Trump who ended the DACA program and said congress fix it. We have been trying to fix it. We could have had a deal a week or so ago and avoided a lot of this.
And part of problem this erratic nature of the president seems to be why we can't seem to get a deal. I mean, as they were saying they thought they had a deal a couple of times, and then it turns out is it General Kelly walked in the room who is maybe the real president on this one and said no we can't accept that deal. And we know that certain things may be acceptable in the Senate, but then are they going to be able to work it out in the House with the Republicans?
And I think at the end of the day when you control everything, this is historic, right, where one party controls everything and they cannot get a deal done. And his was the guy, remember, who is supposed to be the "art of the deal." What's going on?
STEPHANOPOULOS: In the meantime, there does appear to be a growing group of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who want a deal, but they don't have control.
MEGHAN MCCAIN, CO-HOST THE VIEW: Listen, this a lose-lose situation all across the board for Democrats and Republicans. It's as simple as when you're preventing our troops from beingable to watch championship football, because you're shutting down the government...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's today....
MCCAIN: That is right, no American will be able to get behind. But the cut and dry of this is Democrats are trying to force DACA negotiations while attaching it to this spending bill. And it's interesting to me where we have President Trump who ran on the hard line of immigrants are -- Mexicans are rapists and criminals, and now he really seems to be hedging in the middle on DACA, something that surprised me a lot. The fact that Democrats can't come to the middle on this really is shocking to me.
FINNEY: But I think Democrats have come to the middle on this, frankly. And, look, part of -- again, how we got here Republicans wasted their time on a tax bill that a majority of Americans say benefits the wealthy and is not very popular. They wasted a lot of time on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which a majority of Americans actually oppose. Now they're wasting their time instead of trying to get a deal. And we're talking about -- that we're talking about kids. We're talking about deporting kids who -- where would they go? They don't have...
MCCAIN: Can I ask you a question, though, does it surprise you when you see Chuck Schumer talking about governmental chaos in this literal exact scenario that's happening right now in the clip that you played earlier about there being any hypocrisy with Democrats on this?
FINNEY: Well, but then when they see Eric Trump saying we think this is good for us politically, and we know that Donald Trump, you know, tweeted earlier last year said a shutdown would be -- we need a shutdown, that would be a good thing. I do question the motives.
I do think that they may think politically this is a good thing. If you look at all the people who are marching in the street yesterday...
MCCAIN: No one thinks this is politically a good thing.
FINNEY: That is what Eric Trump said.
DOWD: I think so in the end it's a pox on everybody. I mean, Meghan's right. It's a pox...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that hurts the in party more than the out party.
DOWD: Come the November elections, and I'm sure there's going to be 100 other crazy stuff that happens along the way even after this shutdown...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Only 100?
DOWD: I was thinking about some of the things the president has said. And one of the things that he said is I alone can fix this, right. And it seems to b e I alone can blow this up, because without the president this deal would be done. Without the president in the middle of this Democrats in the Senate have come together, enough members of the House would have come together, and one thing I know...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But is that exactly true? Because I'm still stuck on this -- because Julia, let me bring this to you, because I still can't believe that Senator Schumer offered this, if indeed he did offer, full funding for the wall, if that is true, after a year of President Trump campaigning as a candidate saying Mexico is going to pay for the wall?
PACE: It is pretty stunning. You heard Representative Gutierrez talk about this then earlier on the program that Democrats are now saying, hey, we'll give you the wall. We will pay for it wall. Mexico won't even have to pay for it here. That's a pretty amazing position for Democrats to be taking. And they're doing it because they feel like on the DACA issue they are on solid ground. Democrats disagree with this point publicly, but they are looking at the politics right now. They look at the fact that this this is an 80 percent issue.
PACE: They look at the fact that liberal Democrats are the most motivated voting group right now. They look at these marches. They don't want to take a position on DACA that dampens that enthusiasm.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wouldn't the wall be a big win for the president?
LOTTER: Absolutely it would be a win for the president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not take it?
LOTTER: Well, I think he's trying to -- well, I think you've got two things here. He's going to -- I think he's going to take that. And can you also get chain immigration, can you also get the visa lottery overhaul that they also want?
But here's another point on the politics of this shutdown, the five Democrats who voted to keep the government open, all moderate Democrats from states that the president won. They know the politics back home of trying to explain why they shut down the government is bad.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And will those numbers grow during the day today?
FINNEY: I don't think they will. And again, George, it goes back to what you just said. I mean, they control everything. And I do believe in the 2018 elections it's going to be Republicans -- I mean, god knows that's a world away from now, that's November, but still I think the Republican Party is going to have to explain why they deserve to stay in charge, not just because of the way this goes down, where again the dysfunction. I think it's -- I agree it's bad for both. But again, you make the argument that, OK, but you controlled everything and you still couldn't get a deal and you still couldn't get a budget.
And Democrats did try to say, OK, let's do at least funding for the military. McConnell shut it down. So, and the -- and the Republicans have spent so much time pushing policies that are so unpopular. And I think that's why Chuck Schumer probably knew he could try to make...
DOWD: I know we're talking about the politics, but to me the morality of this thing is awful. The morality of what's going on. So, not only do we have 800,000 kids who have now grown into -- you are given a promise by our government.
FINNEY: That's right.
DOWD: That we would do this. They were given a promise. So, we're reneging on the promise. We've got 9 million kids that are associated with CHIP that we're not dealing with. Not only do we have the military who are suffering in the middle of the shutdown, take that, but take also the CDC is suffering a shutdown in the midst of a flu crisis that we have, and a symbolism that you mentioned, earlier the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is shut down today. If that doesn't tell you all about the lack of moral leadership, it should.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that's why I don't think there's going to be much tolerance for a long shutdown, especially on this anniversary, kind of a metaphor that it happens on the weekend of the anniversary of President Trump's inauguration.
We're a year in now, Meghan. You saw our poll out this morning. President Trump, historic low approval ratings, even though views on the economy a near record highs.
MCCAIN: And the Dow is at an all-time high.
What's interesting to me is that he is still holding on to his base really intensely. And I know anecdotal evidence doesn't always go too far, but I have spent a lot of time in Cottonwood, Arizona over Christmas break, and let me tell you, you can't really go anywhere without seeing someone in a MAGA hat. And I think that a lot of times we sit here in these studios in New York City and you forget that he has a core base of supporters that forever reason, it doesn't matter what he does, it doesn't matter what salacious information comes out about his personal life, they're going to stick with him throughout this. And only if the economy drops...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The country is divided. We also saw all those women in the streets yesterday.
FINNNEY: That's absolutely right. And the women that you saw in the streets -- I mean, Emily's List now has something like 26,000 women who have contacted them about running for office. And one of the things that we saw in those elections in 2017 is that Democrats are winning in places that are gerrymandered against us and in places where people said there's no way you could possibly win, largely driven by women, largely driven, quite frankly, in many places by black women and the turnout.
But I think the other piece of this is, you know, for the president this erratic -- I mean, this shut down is in many ways symbolic of -- I mean I was thinking about the Muslim ban, what we started with a year or so ago and how -- what a disaster that was. I mean, it is the incompetence and the inability to lead, but also the sort of insecurity that I think people are feeling that I think has led to some of these numbers that this is not the guy -- you're right that he's got a core base of support of people who no matter what they're with him, but there are -- your poll shows that an increasing number of people who say this is not the guy we thought we might get here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Julie Pace, the president certainly has made good on his promise of disrupting.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've been on point, you've been on point as the bureau chief of the AP every day over the last year. What's the signature moment for you?
PACE: For me it's the day that he fired James Comey. I remember sitting in our tiny AP booth at the White House when that statement came through, and it just really encapsulates so many of the dynamics that we saw on this administration, the announcement and the explanation was bungled. It seemed as though the White House was not prepared for it. And it has really created this dynamic inside the White House where they know that this is a moment perhaps more than even what happened during the campaign potentially with contacts with Russia that could get people in trouble.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Because it is that single moment that did more than anything else to get Robert Mueller appointed the special counsel.
DOWD: Well, I took -- one of the moments I took -- there were so many in the course of this year, there were so many, but I actually think and you showed a clip of this, the moment basically that symbolized the entire presidency was his inaugural speech, which was one of the most unique, disruptive, divisive, depressing speeches that a president has ever given in an inauguration. And from that moment on, when he had a 46 percent job approval rating at the start of the presidency, it's only reflected exactly that.
He arrives today as the ABC poll says, with a 36 percent job approval rating. He started at the lowest point, he's ended at the lowest point. And his leadership has done not a single thing to expand his base beyond the third of the country that is there for him.
LOTTER: I think simply the tax cut and jobs act. And I think we are just starting to see the beginning of that. We're still two to three weeks away from Americans, 90 percent of them having more money in their paychecks every week. 2 million Americans have got bonuses, raising. We have auto manufacturing coming back from Mexico to Michigan. Those are the kinds of things that I think as the year and the years go out will start to uptick on the president's popularity.
MCCAIN: He was also the first sitting president to go to the March for Life and to speak at it, which shows that he is keeping his promises to his base with evangelicals and pro-life Republicans. And for someone like me, I was worried he was going to govern like a New York liberal, and I'm an intense pro-life woman. And seeing him out there really gave me -- it surprises me, and I also think it says a lot to how his loyalty to his base.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He has not been a New York liberal.
FINNEY: Charlottesville for a couple reasons. Number one, I think it shook the conscious of this country. I mean, we are living in -- we've been talking about how things are changing and moving so fast, but it was something that I think shook everybody and kind of woke people up a little bit out of a fog to recognize the very deep divisions in this country.
One of the things I thought was most positive -- even though I was terribly disappointed in the president, it made a moment very clear to me that he is not interested in being the president for all Americans given the comments that he made and then doubled down on. And I think it was also a moment where I think a lot of Americans recognized it's not just that this is a president and administration that will tell us things we can see with our own eyes isn't true but that we can feel in our own heart is not true, and is not going to be truthful with us about the legacy of white supremacy and slavery and really tough issues that we need to deal with in this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Country more divided today than a year ago?
DOWD: Oh, absolutely, it's way more divided today. And one of the unique things that we see, and was following up on something Marc said, is the stock market is at record highs, unemployment is down, and the president, yes it's true, has kept some of his promises, but the president is at the lowest point of any president in this first year. There is a total disconnect between the perception on the economy and the perception of this president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is going to have to be the last word today. Thank you all very much. We'll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News Tonight. And I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.
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