'There's not an entitlement to being in leadership': Christie on Rep. Liz Cheney

The Powerhouse Roundtable breaks down the latest news on "This Week."
18:09 | 05/09/21

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Transcript for 'There's not an entitlement to being in leadership': Christie on Rep. Liz Cheney
Let's talk about it on our round table, joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Yvette Simpson, and Jane coaston. Biden didn't understand, and he's mystified by what the republic party is going through. Try to explain it right now. You spoke out against the idea the election was stolen, but that seems to be taking more hold every single day. I don't think it is taking more hold every single day. You're talking about the same people talking about the same things. 70% of Republicans still think that. Listen. All I can tell you is the people that I talk to are not in that camp and want to move on, and they want to talk about what we need to do next in the country, and if you look at this, a atmosphere, Elise Stefanik comes from a swing district in new York state that president Obama won twice by double digits, and then president trump won twice by double digits. So she comes from a place where it's much more likely that she'll bring a much more moderating voice on policy into that caucus leadership than what Liz Cheney did who voted 90% of the time with Donald Trump. And the right qualifier there though, on policy. George, of course. I say my words very carefully. That's what you guys pay me to do here, right? To say it the right way, and that's what she'll do. I've known Elise, and I campaigned for Elise in her first campaign. She was the youngest woman elected to the house of representatives, and I think Elise will bring some real good things to it. I also like Liz Cheney, and I think Liz is smart and tough, but I think Liz is doing what she wants to do. I don't think Liz wants to be in leadership anymore because once she won the vote earlier, she continued to press this issue publicly in a way that was antagonizing the people who were against her, and I think you don't have an entitlement to be in leadership, but you have an entitlement to be in congress. A lot of Democrats look at Liz Cheney and say, we don't know what to make of this. A strong conservative. Should we be cheering her or walking away? I mean, I think you can be looking at the situation with that eye because this is the same Liz Cheney who went after attorneys sent to Guantanamo Bay. She called them the Al Qaeda seven as if they themselves were terrorists and also said the obvious fact which is that Joe Biden won the presidential election, and to your point about moving on, I mean I think that the person who is going on Steve Bannon's podcast is the person who perhaps isn't moving on, the person who is so focused on the agenda of the person who once again, lost the election. Donald Trump lost the election. His agenda is whatever he wants to be doing right now in Florida. He does not have I think the agenda of the country moving forward at heart, and I think that it's important to note here, again, I don't think this is what the majority of Republicans want, but this is a base play. The base in these state parties, the base in Ohio is the one that wants to censure representative Gonzalez. Looking for bamboo threads because apparently pandas are in charge of the election? I think it's important to say this is not what conservativism at large looks like. This is what trumpism at large looks like. I don't disagree with one thing you just said, okay? But the point is there's not an entitlement to being in leadership, and I think Liz -- through what she's been doing now in the last couple of weeks after she won the first vote is sending a clear signal she's not comfortable in this leadership anymore, and she doesn't want to be in it. Trump is calling her a warmonger. If he supported that, why would he be supporting Lindsey graham? Is Liz Cheney right? Is it necessary to stick by Donald Trump here, or is it important for the future of the Republican party to move on? Jane said the word, you know, conservative agenda. First of all, this is not a conservative party. You want to look at a conservative party, pick up John Boehner's book. This is a reactionary party built on both resentment and race. That is where the party is going. Second, the other piece of this is you talk about an agenda. In 2020, there was no platform. There's no agenda. It's about Donald Trump, you know, parties exist for two reasons. Set out a set of policy principles. They didn't have that in 2020. They don't have that. Number two, to win elections. It took 90 years to bring a president to lose the white house, the house and the senate. This is about Donald Trump and his grievances and the other piece that makes no sense to me. You have an election. There are three things that both parties have. The Republicans have redistricting, they have basically restricting voter access, and they are going to also have the ability in this area to cut off any part of history they have. Democrats have an economy, a president with a job approval that's above 50% in the midterms that has not happened, and then the third piece on that, they have a popular agenda where a quarter of the Republicans are supportive. In the last election, Joe Biden took 10% of the Republican party. This is not good for swing voters. But Yvette Simpson, on policy, the moves in Texas and Florida will help the Republican party. They will, and that's the whole objective. Let's remember the basis is supposed to be voter fraud that didn't happen, and what they're reacting to is the fact that Donald Trump legitimately lost the election because Democrats got voters out, black and brown voters in large numbers and their objective is to keep that from happening again. This is about stealing an election. This is about eroding democracy. This is about making sure that they win, and they know that the only way they can win is by stealing an election, and that's not okay, and this is as Rahm said, the only real policy objective outside of racism, qanon conspiracy theory, white supremacy we can see, and insurrection we can see coming out of this party right now which is a shame. Look at this. You have Matt Gaetz being looked at for trafficking of underaged women, and accusations for a congressman from North Carolina who lied about his resume. You have accusations from congresswomen from Illinois who praised what hitler did in the holocaust. They are staying in the caucus. They are staying on committees, but if you speak up against Donald Trump and say, Joe Biden won the election, you are thrown out of this party. Here are the representatives. They're the standard bearers out here, and you have people in rallies saying Donald Trump is the one. You hear Marjorie Greene, and Matt Gaetz. They are the standard bearers for this party now. You say most Republicans want to move on. Clearly the former president doesn't wan to move on. Did he extend he's getting involved? He's hand picking people in the primaries and coming out with messages against Republicans when they cross him. It's not productive, and we shouldn't be surprised. That's the way he has felt since 2:30 A.M. On election night when we sat at the other studio and watched him give that speech. So this is nothing new here. Let me just say I was in Dallas and Austin on Thursday and Friday, and Austin Texas, there were eight different leaders of the Republican party. People like Mike Pompeo to Marco Rubio and others, who were there to speak about the future of the party. No one spoke. It was eight hours of interviews of leaders of the party, myself included, and no one spoke about the 2020 election. No one spoke about bamboo and ballots. Nobody spoke about grievance politics. They were talking about the conservative agenda to move forward. It's 15 weeks into the Biden administration, and everyone wants the Republican party to have reformed itself, learned from 2020 and moved onto the next thing. It doesn't happen that quickly in politics, and few look back at 2016 with the Democrats, it didn't happen that quickly either. There were leaders, Mike Pompeo, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, myself, Marco Rubio, Tom cotton, all who spoke in Austin on Friday afternoon, and not one of them brought up any of the issues we're talking about this morning. Marco Rubio wants to punish Amazon specifically for, you know, what they're doing, and I think it's interesting that now we've gotten into a grievance politics that's beyond trump. It's about punishing corporations, the same corporations that Republicans have been giving tax breaks to for 40 years, but for not doing exactly what they wanted, and also to your point about voters. We also tell millions of nonwhite Americans who did vote for Republicans in 2020. They voted in many states in Florida and Texas. They went to the ballot box and voted to raise the minimum wage, legalize medical marijuana and vote for Donald Trump. Do you know why? Voters are a complicated group of people, and occasionally when we're talking about nonwhite voters, we think of them as just being a monolith, and it's important to talk about the black community. 100%. I didn't mean to cut you off, but the biggest piece of this election that hasn't been discovered is how hispanics and Asians voted Republican, and college-educated men voted democratic, and that has not been discovered. The other thing -- let me say this. We talked about trump. The big story here is Mccarthy. Mccarthy in 20 -- Kevin Mccarthy. Yes. Making sure -- Could be Joe Mccarthy or gene Mccarthy, but in 2016, Kevin Mccarthy on a call with the Republican leadership said he thinks Putin controls trump, and every time Liz Cheney spoke and it shows up that he is an empty suit, and he wants to get rid of her, he's not just doing Donald Trump's bidding. He does not want a leadership that shows him up and says he can't stand up and speak honestly. It is a lot also about Kevin Mccarthy, and the other piece of this which is interesting in the first 15 weeks, the Republican attacks on Joe Biden are about what is infrastructure, about the burning of the credit card. What is interesting to me is they are silent about the taxes. The Republican party is becoming a working class party and they don't want to fight about corporations. They are not anchoring -- When they govern, they give nothing but corporate welfare away. Given the economic numbers on Friday, they're trying to find a message. Let's listen to pat Toomey, the outgoing senator for Pennsylvania. Systematically paying unemployment benefits that are more than a person makes working doesn't create an environment that's particularly conducive to going back to work. We're getting a little orwellian when it comes to the language we hear from the administration sometimes. Can they get traction from this argument? Absolutely not. The reality is wages are so low at this point, we need to talk about the fact that people will return to work, and you have a working class wage, if you have a living wage for people, and so the idea for Republicans and economists who say that people aren't going back to work because they want to sit home is ridiculous, and the reality is you have to show you're looking for work in order to get unemployment benefits. We have to talk about having a living wage in this country that makes it so people go to work, and when they go to work, they can have a living wage and that should be the reason. If businesses are going to continue to remain shuttered, we don't talk about making sure people get a living wage so people can go back to work. We can't even talk about child care because some people can't quite yet figure that situation out because of covid. I think it's ridiculous, and I think this is not about black and brown people voting for trump. We know the voter suppression laws in this country, the ones we're seeing in texaand the ones we're seeing in Florida are about urban areas where black people are voting for Democrats. Right. We saw trump supporters storming election centers on election day. He did do better, and it doesn't seem to matter to the party. It's a very strange messaging of the people saying, yes. More minorities are voting for conservative candidates, but we need fewer minorities voting at all, and that's a message that just doesn't make sense. That's not what they're saying. They're saying we want certain black and brown people. We know that a lot of these laws are focused on urban centers, places where black people overwhelmingly voted for Democrats. Purity laws that are aimed at cities where mostly black people are voting for Democrats and we know this is an orchestrated method to try to resolve the issue of the last election. We saw that trump lost talking about Milwaukee. You're saying that they're not talking about issues, but there are things that are being talked about beyond what Rahm sets up as the Republican agenda which I love when he does that. You're paying attention. You now have the head of the CDC who has become Randi Weingarten's assistant. We -- listen. We saw this this past week that the CDC set out a plan to send kids back to school based on science, and until Randi Weingarten and her team sent in the emails, to the CDC, and then that policy changed. Now we still have less than half of the kids back to school in classrooms around this country because the teachers union does not want their members to have to go back into the classrooms even after they're vaccinated. The reality is most schools -- I let you go on all morning. We're talking about teachers. We're talking about the teachers union. I'm talking about the union. I know what they're. They're politicians -- they're politician who is get paid millions of dollars a year to be able to represent teachers. They don't represent them well. They don't represent them well. When teachers represent themselves, you have a problem. I have a problem with the policies. I'm going to just use my -- I'll use my indoor voice. I'm having an out of body experience now. We just ran senator Toomey. He went on about the spending. Nothing about taxes. I didn't see -- just that segment. That used to be an organizing principle of the Republican party. They don't want to fight about corporations that don't pay taxes and have to lower the tax rate. Right. You have a big realignment in the country going on. They have become a party of grievance and they've become a party of resentment dominated by one personality, and the Republican cannot win swing districts where Donald Trump is still the dominating face and voice of this party, and that's where they're going to take a historic opportunity in a pmidterm and pass it right by. Because the Democrats can't pass Biden's agenda which includes the tax increases Rahm is talking about unless they unify their party, and the divisions are still there. I think they are still there, but I also think it's worth noting that one of the challenges we have here with is that Democrats are pretty united on the fact that corporations need to pay their fair share. Mm-hmm. And Republicans are united that corporations, they don't like need to pay their fair share. Republicans are angry at Amazon because they are forcing their employees to urinate in bottles. They're angry at Amazon because they didn't sell a book they like, and so I didn't -- Or because Jeff bezos owns "The Washington post." I'm sure that's important to Amazon employees who are forced to work 15-hour days. I'm sure they are very concerned about the operations of "The Washington post." A lot of these tax ideas, and it's interesting because when Donald Trump came into office in the 2015, 2016 campaign, the people closest to him were saying, we have to make this about workers. He was, like, this is going to kill me if we raise tax rates, but I'm going to do it anyway. He didn't do it anyway. Donald Trump cared about workers? That's my point. Mitch Mcconnell proved to be a much stronger influence on Donald Trump than Donald Trump became on Mitch Mcconnell. The alignment that was being talked about, it's true, but it's worth noting this is a very specific context. They're just coming out of a very successful covid package which is a package that I think in some ways was directed by the events of 2020. You know, when you have a moment where it's like you can give people checks or not, it turns out you can give people checks and I think the decisions moving forward will prove to be more difficult, but I'm pretty certain Democrats can maintain that type of unity, but the battles in swing districts will be about schools, and it will be resolved later in the year, but it'll be about events when we're not sure what things will look like. It won't be later in the year because the damage we've done to children's education since September of last year -- the parents are not going to forget that. Oh, come on. Listen. Listen. Listen, Yvette. You can a talk about it? I went to a public school. I worked in public schools. So did I. So did I. Most of these schools are not outfitted to bring these kids back. They don't have the facilities they need. That's not what the science says. Teachers are caring for elder parents. They're worried about this. Are the food workers taking care of elder parts? They made them go back. We made them go back, Yvette. Hold on. The class. Let me just say, you have the policy positions of the party, haven't caught up to the realignment of going on the coalition, and the two lines about, there's different things that happen this election that are going to keep rippling through the alignment of the parties, but the policy positions of those parties, over 50% of the Republican party supports tax fairness and making corporations pay, which is why the Republicans can't make this a major thrust against the Biden agenda. Right. It's why they can't use taxes as a punishment. That's right. That's why there's a major realignment on the coalition basis. That's going to have to be the last word. Next, we're live on the

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

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