Dem primary 'like third-grade soccer': Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses politics and border conditions on "This Week."
17:01 | 07/14/19

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Transcript for Dem primary 'like third-grade soccer': Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
roundtable. Chris Christie, ABC news contributor, former Republican governor of new Jersey, Rahm Emanuel, former democratic mayor of Chicago, Rachael bade, congressional reporter for the Washington post and and Alexis mccammond. Debut appearance on "This week," national political reporter from axios. Governor Christie, we had another departure, labor secretary is now gone. I have a list now of the acting cabinet officials in the government, it's a long list. We can put it up on the screen. You've got -- and this is just cabinet-level officials. Lot of actings in other places in this government. What's going on? It all goes back to the transition and how poorly the transition was run. These people weren't vetted appropriately and the president wound up watching them in action. They were vetted while they were doing the jobs, and they wound up being deficient, many of them. He's broken a record now. I understand. I read about it. But I have been saying 2 1/2 years now this was predictable. If you don't run a professional transition you wind up with people who are not up to the job. When they're not up to the job, you have to get rid of them. This all goes back to that and that issue. I think there's no way and the president himself has said, I think in his interview with George, about what his biggest mistake was, was personnel in the first part of his presidency. Perfect example of that. Jon, I think it's turnly a layer deeper. Longest period of time without a secretary of defense, now we have a confrontation both with North Korea and Iran, we have quote/unquote, crisis at the border, no homeland security. We have climate events, like in New Orleans, you don't have anyone running FEMA. We have major crises, people not in charge and then also the problem, and I think this is why it's going to be bipartisan because if you don't get confirmation, to have influence and hold you accountable is diminished and then members of congress of both parties, remember your loyalty's more to one side of Pennsylvania avenue than anything else they're going to react to that. The sense of impact on policy, we have a situation right now with Iran and it's the longest period of time in history without a secretary of defense. You have a quote/unquote border crisis. We're on our second acting secretary of defense. You have New Orleans and everything like that, no FEMA director. Just to take those crises with people who are not qualified to be in the positions they're in. Wait a second, Jon, the only thing I'd say about that, you can't extrapolate because they're acting. In fact, I would argue -- wait a second. Congress and the senate, the Republican senate should push to have confirmation hearings. But it doesn't mean because someone is acting -- in a lot of these instances they're more qualified than the people they replaced. That's not. The senate Republicans have been pushing the white house on this for a while, it doesn't matter. President trump said I like acting positions because I can move quickly. He has no problem with that. It's bipartisan. It's the senate. This is what they're supposed to do. It doesn't matter to trump. I don't think those two points can be overstated. Both the diminished role the congress faces and the vetting mess. The e-mails leaked going through this trump transition and how they were basically throwing shots in the dark figuring out whether these people are qualified or not. They're going through the vetting process while they're on the job and we're seeing that fallout as Alex Acosta is the latest person to leave. Bottom line is, if you get a job in trump world expect not to keep that job unless you're a family member. Probably not put it on my resume because it's not resume building -- Another major story this week, Nancy Pelosi versus the base. You know, the Progressives, the squad. You actually had this amazing situation, I believe, with Alexandria ocasio-cortez, freshman member of congress, from queens, the bronx, actually suggest that Nancy Pelosi -- well, let me read her quote. Here it goes. It got to the point where it was just outright disrespectful, the explicit of singling out of newly elected women of color. She's directly talking about Pelosi said about the squad. You've been reporting on this. Yes, it's like high school. It's like mean girls. The democratic party on the hill right now is a total mess in terms of infighting. This all started a weekend ago when Nancy Pelosi made a snide comment about the AOC. And these three other liberal freshmen in the house. That's not the first time she's done that. I sought AOC on the hill, what's up with this? What is your relationship like Pelosi? It turns out that they haven't spoken since February. She took that shot at Pelosi, saying she's undermining women of color. The congressional black caucus was furious they would suggest that because they're close to Pelosi. They said back off. Yesterday, we saw another member of the squad who's a black lawmakers, Ayala Pressley. It's incredibly ugly and it shows both the generational and political divide in the party. But I also think, last point here it shows that the squad and these new Progressives, they don't know how Washington works. This isn't going to help them in terms of accusing speaker Pelosi of having a racial basis. It's going to backfire. It's backfiring. Speaker Pelosi's comments, Washington's success is based on legislative wins. Her comments about AOC, no matter how they're being taken, Pelosi was talking about from a purely legislative standpoint. They had four votes, no one else followed them. It's an objective fact that she singled out four women of color. Yes, I don't know that necessarily she's criticizeding them for their race. She's not. Nancy Pelosi criticizing them because of her race? No. She has made a number of comments about these four women. The reason she's doing it is because she's worried and her majority. These women, AOC, the squad, they've been target for top Republicans, who are saying, all these moderate Democrats from a trump district, you're like AOC. Pelosi has been knocking them a little bit because she doesn't want to be tied to AOC. These women are getting frustrated. Jon, you got to love oac. You really do. She's the only person in Washington who can bring Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi together. You have Donald Trump defending Nancy Pelosi. And saying -- For very different reasons. But my point is, that this the optics it's create. I'm not saying it's real. It's the optics it creates. What AOC and the squad, complete political -- creates an opportunity for the president who seizes on that opportunity. I say, let's have her on the show every weekend. It's great news for Republicans. Mayor, nobody knows Nancy Pelosi at this table better than you. How is this playing? Well, first of all, couple of things I'd say on this basis, for Nancy inside the caucus, fabulous. Okay, because you have majority's built in general elections not in primaries. And in the last cycle Nancy was seen running in these districts, she would be a liability for these candidates, that's not the case anymore. Second I want to say one thing -- and this is very, very important. The quote/unquote, four members of congress have to make a decision, the net roots where the comment was made by Pressley, do you want to beat Donald Trump or the moderates in the democratic party? Everyone's focus needs to be on one thing in the 18 months. You made a comment and this is myth I think that exists, that the base of the party is this voice. What I would say in politics is sound not always equal fury. The fact is, there's a bg moderate wing of the party. Not being spoken in the presidential race. Somebody in both the presidential -- It looks like they're running toward the same ball as AOC -- Listen, 35% of democratic primary voters self-describe them as moderates. That's unscratched real estate and everybody is going to one side. That's both on the presidential and the congressional side -- there's big moderate wing and candidates in marginal districts shouldn't be in a position to go home every weekend when they're doing town halls answering for a colleague from another part of the country. It's liability and what we have to focus on is Donald Trump and not each other. And more about American people and less about the party difference. He's got it exactly right and that's why the president is optimistic right now. What you see in those last debates and what we're going to anticipate we'll see in Detroit, more hands raised for medicare for all, more hands raised for green new deal. Those people who describe themselves as moderate conservatives of the democratic party, they'll either wind up staying home or voting for Donald Trump. A new poll, the most consequential swing voters for Democrats, it's white folks who have two years of college, they went to president trump in droves, 74% said they recognize AOC, only 22% have a favorable view of her. That presents a clear view for the Democrats. To keep the house and make gains in the senate. Swing voters we know and extremely dislike socialism. Whether we're talking about the presidential candidates or folks running in these blue to red districts, we need to think about whether and how they're talking about this idea of socialism. Jon, here's the thing, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida. Everything we do as a party has to be looking right at those four states and then the voters. Here's what I would say is one of the biggest things, working class voters and the candidates, two events that are very, very important. One is the way the president dissed our national soccer team and then you this Epstein situation, cultural, you have two men that basically look like they dissed and dismissed a lot of women. The biggest group of voters that broke from Donald Trump between 2016 and 2018 were women voters. If they ignore it like we ignored working voters, here them roar. One thing anecdotely, I was driving yesterday from the Jersey shore to be on the train to come down here, New Jersey a very reliably blue state, huge flag on a big flagpole on route 34 in New Jersey, underneath the American flag said socialism with the international no sign over it. If that kind of flag is flying in New Jersey those states, this is a big problem, that's why I think you should have AOC as a co-host here as a Republican because that's a good thing for Republicans. Fe he could read that sign, that means he was keeping the speed limit. There was also some drama on the other side, Paul Ryan, remember him? He came out with an interesting quote on president trump, saying, those of us around him really helped stop him from making bad decisions all the time. We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. First of all -- and he then went on to really criticize the president, never heard while he was speaker of house. We always heard from his top allies and his aides how frustrated he was with the president. Very different type of Republicans. Ryan, stay traditional to supplyside economics. No tariffs. President trump is superdivisive. He hated that rhetoric. But instead of criticizing him, which a lot of traditional Republicans, especially like never trump types wanted Ryan to do, he did this thing where he tried to be friends with trump to try to persuade him to his side. People on the hill called it his, quote, pact with the devil, where he was trying to get policies passed by working with trump. Such as tax reform. Lot of people thought after he announced his retirement, he would start pushing back on trump more in public. He never did. You're finally seeing him being honest about how he feels. What did he stop? What did he stop? In some ways it's laughable. You said this earlier, Democrats fall in love and Republicans fall in line, Republicans have fall in line since president trump was elected. But we've basically seen president trump move forward on the most bombastic and extreme things he wanted to do. I'm still not sure what Paul Ryan feels he stopped him -- The ridiculous part of that quote from Paul Ryan is, Paul Ryan was the architect of attacking Obamacare as the first thing that Donald Trump did out of the box. That was a defining moment for the trump presidency in a bad way, not what the president wanted to do. I know that for a fact talking with the president. You're saying Ryan was part of the problem? Let me tell you something -- Ryan is now trying to make himself look like, oh, I was the guy who was controlling everything. He was one of the propeller heads who got this president to go after Obamacare as first thing out of the box, it was a major legislative failure out of the box. Wasted a ton of political capital that the president could have spent on tax cuts and infrastructure. Let me pick up, I didn't what to do this -- Chris is right. It pains me. You guys are agreeing way too much. Here's the tactical, had the president come out infrastructure it would have divided Democrats. He came out with healthcare and it united us, it divided us from our base about working with him. It was a very major strategic mistake. But I also take note on all this, Rex tillerson walks out of the white house calls the guy a moron. The ambassador from the uk, same observation. Paul Ryan, basically the same observation. Anybody who works with this guy up close says, you have the most competent, basically moron in the oval office. That's their conclusion. At some point, the emperor wears no clothing and it's going to become obvious. A lot of friendly fire, governor. No, it's not really. Listen, I told the president from the beginning that Paul Ryan was not someone as the speaker that he could trust and trust his judgment. Listen, Paul's a very good policy guy. Does Paul know that? He's not very good politically. How did the president respond to that? The president responded to that by listening to reince -- and trusting Paul Ryan on that issue -- Jon, here's the thing that happened in megapolitics, have to president and Ryan, Nancy Pelosi and AOC, time period where Ross Perot died, if first moment of the breakup of the parties. That's all the time

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

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