Chris Christie: 'This wasn't one of the best weeks' for President Trump

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable analyzes the week in politics.
14:22 | 12/23/18

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Transcript for Chris Christie: 'This wasn't one of the best weeks' for President Trump
Let's bring in our powerhouse round table. Chris Kris, democratic strategist Donna Brazile, rich Lowry and Elisabeth bumiller. Governor Christie, I There are the good weeks and bad weeks and this wasn't one of the best weeks he's had. Nobody should be surprised about what's going on here. There are certain things -- I've said this a number of times before, that the president has been pretty consistent on. The two are trade and on the border. So I can't say I'm surprised by it. I think the execution and the strategy could have been significantly better. I'm not surprised where we've ended up which is he feels like he has to take a stand politicly. As you said, it was a central promise in the 2016 campaign. That was Mexico paying for it. That wasn't tax payers paying for it. Listen, I was in those debates. There were a numof us debating another side saying a wall wasn't the best way. The centrality of the promise is not just the Mexico payment, although that's part it, but it's the wall itself. Explain to me why Democrats aren't willing to give anything on this. They could get -- come on. What was that sound? That was quite a groan. That was the sound of Nancy Pelosi about to take power. I'm groaning because Democrats have offered the president a little bit to get a lot more and he rejected it. He rejected it because he thought he could get more from a Republican controlled congress. He didn't get it. My good friend, it's Christmas, we'll show a little love here. Of course we will. Let me say this, the president, he's unravelled. Things are unravelling. This is more than a wall. By the way he promised a beautiful wall. Now we're talking about steel slats. I think steel slats are beautiful. Really? I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I heard Democrats say it's unravelling over the last two years. It's unravelling. This is it. This is the point -- Would you prefer the chaos? It feels differently this time. It's chaotic. No, it doesn't feel differently to me. This is who this president is. Why are we surprised that he's upending everything. That's who he is. That's who people voted for. I don't feel it's any different -- I don't think they voted for this. The president surprised me this week with a tweet. That happens from time to time. Look at this tweet. He said even president Ronald Reagan tried for eight years to build a border wall or fence and was unable to do so. That surprised me. I called up Luke cannon, the great Reagan biographer. I said did you ever hear that president Reagan pushed for a wall? He said no. Then this quote surfaced from Reagan in 1980. Rather than making or talking about putting up a fence, why don't we work out some recognition of our mutual problems? Make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit and then they pay taxes here. What happened to that Republican party? Reagan was open handed on I am graks. I think too open handed on immigration. One reason the Republicans are skeptical is Reagan had a deal in 1986 and then one never really came. This strategy on the shut down is a box canyon. First rule of a shut down is don't take credit for the shut down. He blew through that rule in the oval office. The Democrats know with every day that passes you get closer to January 3rd and Nancy Pelosi is going to take the gavel. The two outcomes here for the president is a defeat that he claims as a contributory or the defeat he blames on congressional Republicans. How does it end? Nancy Pelosi opens the government on January 3rd. What does the president do, veto the bill and keep the government shut? Keep 800,000 woshlg workers without pay. Where does he go from there? The only -- you see a little bit of a glimmer with Mick Mulvaney. Maybe after Christmas somebody says -- they reach a number of $2 billion. The governments call it border security and trump calls it a wall. Obviously there was a shutdown. Mike pence, the vice president, went up and told the Republican senators earlier that the president was okay with the measure to keep the government open. They backed down. Then Syria and Mattis. I'm starting to hear something a little bit different which is Republican senator after Republican senator coming out and expressing openly criticism of the white house. The president has to be careful. There were deeper problems with Mattis. The president thought he was ignoring him on everything. Not just trying to talk him out of bad decisions on big things. Mattis represented the marriage of the Republican establishment to this president. The breaking of that bond is not a good thing for the president. He needs the entire spectrum of the party to feel warm towards him because he has these very high stakes political and legal fights coming up and he needs every single Republican to have his back. What does the new year look like? Is this this precursor? One of the things I've often said to the president when you're executing executive power in government there has to be an end game. What I'm concerned about is I don't know what the end game is here. It hasn't been articulated. All this stuff, the other thing this administration has not appreciated is the cross currents. Everything affects everything else. The president comes from a world where each deal is discrete. We argue, we sue each other and fight and then it's only money and we move on. In this world everyone remembers every slight. Everyone remembers every time they were told pass this and I'll sign it and you change your mind. They lie in the weeds and they wait to get you. If you have issues coming up like the Mueller report, like potential investigations from house Democrats, if you have those things, you have to keep your Republicans completely in line with you to be able to fight off a political or legal attack from the other side. Democrats smell blood. Smell blood? He's splattered blood all over Washington with the way he's treating not just general Mattis, but the way he's treating other top Republicans. Leaving Syria without a strategy is an open door for Moscow. Leaving the kurds without protection is an open door for Iran. I don't know what the president's strategy is. You say he's not unravelling, this is the worst chaos I've ever seen in a generation. I would agree with that. You're talking about this presidency like it's a Normal presidency. I never said that. I'm going to check his water. I've been in Washington a long time. I've never seen anything like this. You were talking about leaving Syria. The interesting thing is leaving Syria is something probably Obama would have done. He would have done it much differently. It's interesting these are Obama and trump, complete opposites, but trump is doing the same thing in Syria that Obama did in Iraq. The reason is Obama wouldn't have been president and trump wouldn't have been president if they both wouldn't have opposed the Iraq war. How do you explain Afghanistan and giving the Taliban some -- They're both horrible decisions. Let me be clear since Elizabeth brought up this point. I didn't say it was a Normal presidency. This is what people voted for. No. Wait a second. No. They voted for this stock market? You vote for when it's up. Nobody wanted to give credit when it was up and nobody wanted to give him credit. Now it's down and they want to give him blame. That's not fair. This hysteria that I've never seen anything like this, this is what the American people voted for. They said the way Washington was being run by both parties wasn't effective. They have wanted a disrupter. They wanted a disrupter. Now they've the got a disrupter. Don't tell me this is not what people expected. People who voted for him, they like this. They like not every bit of it. You're not going to tell me those workers in Michigan and Pennsylvania who are about to lose their jobs from GM like this. No. They don't like this. They don't like this form of disruption. I don't know how you connect the two, Donna. I can make a lot of connections. Between his trade policies, tariffs -- You're telling me the CEO of GM is cutting these jobs because of trade policies. That's ridiculous. That's not why she decided to do it. She's doing it for her share holders. Donald Trump ran on saving jobs and bring in more jobs. We have the lowest unemployment. That was started under Obama. No. Anything good happening started under Obama -- That's true. And anything bad happened is trump's blame. That's not what I said. What are you talking about? You're speaking for me. Unemployment is the lowest it's ever been. There are clearly dark clouds on the horizon. Dark clouds. Which dark clouds? The stock market. The financial markets are reacting to the trade war with China. They're reacting to the chaos. It's driven a global economy that is slowing down even though ours is doing well. Rich, I'm old enough to remember when national review was dead set against Donald Trump. Let's call up the cover you famously put out. You wrote trump is a political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free floating populism with strong man overtones. You've been more supportive since he won the nomination and presidency. Are you seeing your worst fears? First of all, the context of that editorial is when we had 16 others guys to choose from, present company included. Thank you. I understand that. He's been better on domestic policy than I expected. That's a big deal. Our concerns about his temperament have largely proved out. Unfortunately this week has been a prime example of it. Is he starting to lose those -- I mean his bailiwick has been the Republican senators who have been so supportive, by and large. The corkers and the flakes on the outside. But Mcconnell -- Mcconnell's criticism this week about Mattis' resignation was a big warning sign to the president. Mcconnell is very disciplined. We all know that. He doesn't show his cards. The fact that that statement was so tough, we know what Mcconnell thinks privately which is trump is a big problem for the party. To have it said publicly is a big problem. Trump is -- fabulous reporting this morning by Peter baker and Maggie Haberman. He's very isolated in the white house. He sees enemies every where. He's more distant from his children. He doesn't listen to Jared and ivanka. He's watching a lot of television. He doesn't come down to the oval office until 11:00 A.M. I'm with Chris like this. Every other week we have this news cycle. The wheels are never quite coming off the way they seem. This has been a bad week. He'll get someone respectable to be secretary of defense. These are plum jobs that everyone want. Mulvaney, how will he do? That's going to be up to him. I was encouraged by hearing him say he wasn't going to try to manage the president. I think that one of the mistakes -- I think a very well intentioned mistake that general Kelly made is that he tried to manage the president. I don't think you can do that. I think what you need to try to do is to say to the president what are the areas you want me to manage and manage those areas. If he impedes you in those areas, you say Mr. President that wasn't our deal. Mick is right he shouldn't manage the president. That's just not a job that's going to happen. But -- I wonder -- I want to ask everybody today if they have a 72-year-old relative whose behavior -- Who is like Donald Trump? Whose behavior they're attempting to change -- when people get older -- it's happening to me now. When people get older, they become more and more convinced of the fact that what they're doing is the right thing. It becomes harder to convince them otherwise. Especially if they're president of the United States. Add to it president of the United States, it becomes even harder. Manage T things you can manage. If Mick does that, I think he'll be successful. If he doesn't it will be hard. I'm looking forward to January 3rd. I'm coming back early because I cannot wait to see this remarkable diverse congress come to Washington, D.C. To hold this president accountable. To your point, he wakes up every day. He watches television. If someone criticizes him, especially from his base, he just goes in the opposite direction. We are out of time. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to all of

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

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