Castellanos on White House shake-up: 'When you can't fire the coach, you trade the players'

The Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics on "This Week."
11:58 | 07/30/17

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Transcript for Castellanos on White House shake-up: 'When you can't fire the coach, you trade the players'
It's so easy to act presidential. But that's not going get it done. With the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that's ever held this office. That I can tell you. That was president trump in Ohio this week. And here to take that on and all of this wild week in Washington is our powerhouse "Roundtable." Matthew dowd, Republican stat gist and ABC news contributor Alex cast yellanos. Julie pace. And ABC news congressional correspondent, Mary Bruce. Welcome, everyone. We say this all the time. What a week, what a week. I want to start with you, Julie. Reince Priebus. One of the shortest serving chiefs of staff in history. We now have John Kelly, former secretary of dhs or maybe he lasts until Monday. Retired four-star marine general. Kind of guy you think can bring order to that white house. But what does this tell you about this white house and the direction they're taking? I think it tells us first that the president recognizes he needs a new direction. Think that is an important step. He is someone who rarely admits he's made a mistake or that things are not going as smoothly as he would like to proper tray. The challenges for celerily are many. Gettinging a white house that thrives on invigt fighting. The people there are there because they want to promote their own press. The second challenge is to get trump to be more disciplined. When the white house comes up with plans, when they come up with a messaging strategy for the week, it can be washed away with one 6:00 A.M. Treat. Tweet. If Kelly is not able to change that, we'll be in a similar situation in the fall. Doe choosing John Kelly tell you that the president wants to change things up? Or does he want somebody in there that says, yes, sir, Mr. President? I think it send messages. He wants someone from the military, who understands the chain of command. The problem for Kelly is not going to be his own strategy. It will be ke K he get the staff and the president to go along with it. And Matt, let's remind everyone. Since the beginning of the administration. I had to write this down. The following key personnel have all been fired or have resigned. National securitied a vider Mike Flynn. FBI director James Comey. White house communications director Mike dubky. White house communications, Sean spicer. And now chief of staff, reince Priebus. That's just over six months. What do you think needs to happen to stabilize this administration? Fundamentally, the chant of the ship needs to change. Idea they keep replacinging someone on an oar and a ship and they're going to somehow change the direction of the ship when the person at the wheel is steering it in all kinds of bizarre manner, don't think it changes anything. There's been three generals in the administration and the administration has operated the way it has since day one. Three generals in three big powerful positions. Actually four. One is gone, as you say. And nothing has changed. So, I don't think this is going to change anything. It's another one of the pawns moved on the board. Donald Trump is going to keep being Donald Trump. Alex, you look like you're itching to get in on this. Well, when you can't -- can't fire the coach, you trade the players. And, I think Matthew in that sense, is right about that. Look at general Kelly. Donald Trump brought him in, I think, because he brings that sense of discipline. But it all depends on if general Kelly is able to get Donald Trump into boot camp at Paris island. If he's able to discipline the president of the United States. Now, you would think that if trump brings someone in to do that job, he would let him do that job. But how trump embraces that discipline from Kelly is what is going on is to set the example for everyone else in the white house. The first few weeks are going to be critical. It's an amazing statement that you want to bring the president into boot camp to give him training. To Matthew's point, these other Jens. Some of them have been marginalized to a degree. There's been friction with the other generals. With H.R. Mcmaster in particular. Do you think he brought John Kelly in because John Kelly has been overtly supportive? A real champ Ron for Donald Trump since he came on? I think he brought Kelly in for the reason he brings in successful businessmen and brings in other generals. He likes people who have accomplished things. Who have been successful in other realms. Political guys are not those people. The people who fail in trump world are political people. The people who succeed are military and successful businessmen. That should be the direction this administration goes. And Mary, you have been on the hill all week. I think you did that all-nighter. I suspect. Before his firing, reince Priebus, house speaker Paul Ryan came out the defend him. Republicans on the hill also have come forward to defend Jeff sessions. Give us a sense of what it's like on the hill for Republicans to look at all this drama in the white house? There's a real sense they are getting fed up. I think you saw that this week especially after all of the fighting and the back and forth between the president and Jeff sessions. What is different this week is a lot of top republica seem to be putting their foot down now. You heard Lindsey graham. Never one to shy away from criticizing the president. He said look, tif president trump makes moves to try to move Jeff sessions, there would be holy hell to pay. I think it goes beyond just words. You're seeing Republicans like chairman grassley saying if the president thinks he's going to get a new attorney general appointed this week, forget art it. They don't have the band width. It won't happen. We saw the jaw-dropping interview with scaramucci and "The new Yorker's" Ryan lizza. What effect does that have in the white house? Who is going to go? Reince? Scaramucci? The relationship between Bannon, scaramucci. How do you see that settle out? CHLT the effe[t of Anthony scaramucci's arrival in the white house has been pretty amazing. He's ostensibly the communications director. In his one week on the job, he was acting like chief of staff. I think the dynamic in the white house is this right now. You have a new chief of staff who will come in to bring order. You have a communications staff that is reeling, even with a new person at the helm there. And then you have these other power centers. Steve Bannon, who remains someone who can remind trump of the base gnat elected him but is lacking in broader power. And NEP you have the family. The family is really where the power resides. That dynamic between John Kelly trying to right the ship and the family is going to be the real dynamic to watch here. Mary, I want to go back to you on health care. What the moment was to like John McCain. That stunning moment. And what do they next? What happens? They really don't know what comes next. Think Republicans I have talked with up cyst this fight is not over. And politically for them, it can't be over. This is their signature promise to the American people. They have to find some way to get something done here. I've talked with some Republicans who insist they still have some legislative options left. That's hard to see how given that this skinniest of skinny repeals can't get through the senate. On the other side, you're hearing some Republicans saying, it's time to go back to the beginning of this. Let's have regular order. Let's work with Democrats. The one thing open seems to agree on is that day don't know the path forward. I talked to Tom Mcarthur Friday, the Republican who helped push this through the house. I asked him what comes next. He said, I am not a prophet, I don't know what comes next. Another event. President trump spoke to law enforcement and had thesese words for them. Like, when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head. The way you put the hand over -- like, don't hit their head and they've just killed someone. Don't hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away. Okay? And the comments are pouringing in from police departments all over the country. The New York police department to suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable is irresponsible, unprofession unprofessional, sends the wrong message. Boston police department, as a police department, we're committed to helping people not harming them. The statements go on and on. Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, New Orleans. Matt dowd? It's hard to believe that I can continually be shocked by the president's behavior. But I am continually shocked by the president's behavior. First, so many people around the country that intersect are law enforcement already have the fear of being mistreated. How the police would act toward them. The idea that he would celebrate that misstreemt is amazing to me. His statements there. His statements at the boy scouts. The statement he politicized a boy scout event. The head of boy scouts had to apologize. Amidst a bunch of 17 and 18-year-old. Anthony scaramucci, his behavior, being empowered in that behavior. Donald Trump has a bizarre view of what it means to be a strong person. In this society. Especially a strong man. Me, Donald Trump in his actions are a weak person's idea of what a strong person is. The way you commit violence, how you act towards others. All of that. His idea of a strong person is bullying people. His idea of a strong police officer is mistreating people that they -- apprehend. So, to me, it's a much broader sense. He's somehow been launched himself back in the 13th centercenter century about what he views as a strong person. I want to talk about his transgender tweet. Saying transgender people cannot seven in the military. The only thing I'll say is one thing we have learned about president trump is his supporters hear what he says differently sometimes than we here in Washington. Or two-thirds of the country. No, actually, a lot of the country heard their president say, these criminals, we have coddled them. We've been too soft on them. We've put their interests ahead of keeping you safe. We're on your side. He wasn't really saying let's bang people on the head. In the military, they call that command climate. In our overly sanitized culture, Donald Trump speaks like people. Not like the elite in Washington. A lot of America says, he's right. A lot of America? A good chunk of America. But, potentially a shrinking pool of America. Okay, thanks all of you. I'm sure we'll have another wild week at some point, unless general Kelly. No more surprises, please. It will settle down now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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