Yellen is 'brilliant,' 'experienced' and has 'broad support': ABC's Rebecca Jarvis

The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses the transition, Biden's Cabinet picks and Donald Trump’s political future on "This Week."
14:34 | 11/29/20

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Transcript for Yellen is 'brilliant,' 'experienced' and has 'broad support': ABC's Rebecca Jarvis
building? Certainly I will. Certainly I will and you know that. I think a lot of things will be happening between now and the 20th of January, a lot of things. President trump speaking to reporters Thanksgiving day, the first time he's answered questions from the press sce losing his re-election bid. We're going to discuss all that and more with the round table this morning. ABC news political analyst Matthew dowd, "Washington post" columnist Michelle Norris, author Evan osnos of the new Yorker, also the author of "Joe Biden, the life, the run and what matters now" and our chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. Good morning to you all. Rebecca, I want to start with you. Biden is expected to announce his economic team this week, Janet Yellen for treasury. Why do you think she was chosen? There were several names floated. What do you think it means? Well, Martha, she's brilliant, experienced and has broad support. The Progressives like her and so does Wall Street and corporate America. She has bipartisan support. She has a huge task in front of her. While President-Elect Biden has been calling for more stimulus, that's something she has also been calling for because of the fact that this recovery that we're in the midst of is on extremely fragile footing. You have millions of Americans still out of work. Millions who have slipped into poverty in the last handful of months and small businesses, while you might be looking at the stock market thinking things have fully recovered, you have W up at 30,000. That's the biggest 30 companies in thitry. Smaller businesses, Martha, are still in pain. I hear from them on a daily basis. It's existential at this point as they enter into these winter months. They're worried about their communities. They're worried about keeping their businesses and worried about their customers and employees. It's going to be a difficult time indeed. Michelle, Biden says he's focussed on bringing diversity to his cabinet. Most oe picks have something in common. They served in the Obama administration. It seems like the new team is the same as the old team. Admiral Mcraven disagrees with that. But do you see any room for fresh thinking? I think we'll see fresh thinking because these are different times. These are all people who know each other and that is certainly a benefit. It's interesting to look at not just who he is choosing for the cabinet, but how he'll compose the cabinet. It's quite possible that given the year of tumult we've faced and all the uncertainties that he might be expanding the cabinet with new faces. It would not be surprising if he used the envoy position like we see if John Kerry, likely a pandemic czar, but someone who would focus on technology and innovation, focus on education, focus on economic problems forward beyond commerce and the small business administration. Evan, you wrote the book on Joe Biden quite literally. In terms of the choices he's made so far in national security he is clearly choosing people in large part who he knows well. Yeah. These are people who he trusts. Most of all he trusts their experience. They've been through hard problems. Some have been involved with decisions they regret. The involvement in Iraq or the decision to go into Libya. They have scar tissue and that's because they know these jobs. They know how to go into an office on day one and make a difference. There's another key piece to this. We talk about the diversity we're seeing in some of these choices, diversity in race and background. If you take somebody like Linda Thomas Greenfield, she's also an extraordinary example of full spectrum of American income experience, background. She's the first person in her family to graduate from not only college, but high school. She's served in the highest ranks of the state department. There's a real effort to make this government look like America. Were you surprised he brought John Kerry into the team? No. I thought that's a measure of Kerry's respect for Joe Biden and Joe Biden's belief that climate change is an essential issue, not just about climate in dealing his risk to the United States, but also about national security. It's about our standing in the world, our standing in the global community. John Kerry knows how to go around the world and get people to talk to him and take him seriously. Matt, most of the picks appear headed for smooth senate confirmation. How difficult is it going to be for Biden with the remaining team, with people who appease the Progressive way of thinking in the democratic party, but getting them through the senate? Well, you know, Martha, for us in the Christian faith today is the first Sunday of advent. It's symbolized by hope. My hope is that what you said is true, that the senate, regardless of its 50/50, or the Republicans have an advantage, they'll look at the competency and qualifications of Biden's cabinet. What I think will happen is that the Republicans will approve most of them, if not all of them, with a few exceptions. I think they'll do a few exceptions. I think they'll pick out one or two people in order to show the base of the Republican party that they can stand up to the new president after January 20th. They'll pick somebody out and try to defeat one or two. The majority of these will go through. Nobody so far is outlandish. I think one thing Joe Biden should do is try to put somebody in a cabinet level position, whether a czar over democracy and the institution of democracy in this country. What we've seen in the last few years and especially in the last month is the attack on democracy in our country. It's a lot like water pipes, Martha. You can't just ignore them and think they're fine. We have to do repairs on the institution of democracy. I think that's really important. I think it's really important for Joe Biden to recognize that 74 million people votenst him and there's questions in people's minds about the institution of democracy. Michelle, Biden is set to receive the presidential daily briefing first thing tomorrow. Even if Donald Trump publicly fights on, it seems he is signaling he knows this is over. He's signaling that, but you Ver know from one day to the next whether that message is going to hold. He's now saying if the electoral college approves Joe Biden he will lead. Will he ever really lead? It's safe to assume he'll represent thunder at the fringe for years to come. He will be an important person in the party, a greatly influential person in the party. As Joe Biden moves into this position, being able to work with the other side,e Biden's Thanksgiving address you saw his message of healing. You saw him talking about the need to come together and unite to move forward. It might be hard for Republicans to take that hardline stance when that's juxtaposed by someone speaking with compassion and empathy and trying very hard to pull the country together so we can meet the challenges in front of us. Matt, back to you. Mitch Mcconnell hasn't said much about Joe Biden at all. What's his strategy here? Well, I think his big worry -- everything Mitch Mcconnell is focussed on is the two senate races in Georgia on January 5th. That will determine whether or not he's majority leader or not come that day. I think that's what he's focussed on. I think he's trying to balance. Mitch Mcconnel of us know is smart enough to know Joe Biden won and is going to take the oath of office January 20th. He knows that. He's trying to balance that with this election going on. He's trying to keep the majority in the senate. He's an operator in the midst of this. He will come along. He and Joe Biden have a personal relationship that goes back decades. Can that relationship overcome the tendency to fight and battle and be polarized? That's what will be telling. Can a long-term personal relationship that we thought was of respect, can it move the country in a way that gets Rebecca, I want to turn to you talked about the economic strain. There's good news on the horizon. Dr. Fauci, of course, talking about the vaccine next year. How will that change things? How many businesses go out of business? What will the Y look like post-vaccine do you think? Well, Martha, what we're seeing now is that while a lot of businesses in the last handful of months started to see things looking up, these last handful of weeks and what we're heading into, the winter months before there's a vaccine, before it's widely distributed, are uncertain. They're especially uncertain if you run a restaurant or bar or all retailer. For these businesses, in particular the people who work for them, 3.5 million Americans who work in the leisure and hospitality space still don't have their jobs back from February. All these small businesses while they may have taken ppe earlier in the year don't have an additional lifeline at this point. Thousands of them are at risk of closing even though there's this vaccine on the horizon because there's this bridge and the bridge doesn't exist currently for so many. That's a big question that Janet Yellen will have to answer in her role as treasury secretary. Shave to draw on her experience as fed chair, looking at these issues that exist within the U.S. Economy and thinking about how in the future as we go forward, how to rebuild from where we are right now. The structural issues are there and impacting businesses right now. Evan, in Biden's sobering covid speech, he urged Americans to persevere declaring America is not going to lose this war. It's like he's preparing to govern as a war time president. You heard a prayerful tone from him. This was a man who recognizes the gravity of what we're facing. I think what you heard him saying is out of division, we can find unity. It's striking to me he's spent the last week or two talking to local mayors, many Republicans. He's saying, look, I get it. If Washington Republicans are not going to acknowledge this victory and help us move on and begin the transition, I'll talk to the people on the frontlines. It was Republicans on the frontlines who forced Donald Trump to acknowledge the fact that this was over. Donald Trump and Joe Biden may never have that kind of meeting of the minds, but Joe Biden is not waiting. He's talking to people dealing with this every day. Michelle, you talked about what Joe Biden will face and the issue of democracy when he takes office next January. He'll face a monumental challenge of millions and millf Americans not really believing the election results. Does he have a prayer of bringing those Americans on board? You know, I don't know that he can bring them on board, but he can govern them effectively whether they get on board or not. He might have to figure out how to do that. He talked so much about unity and healing. That seems to be his natural he's so effective when he speaks in those tones. At the same time the diverse coalition of voters who sent him to office are also looking for him to demonstrate a bit of a warrior spirit which means not just extending an olive branch, but also trying to show he's willing to push for reform and tussle with the senate if they are not will work for him. It's going to be very difficult for him to do this. It's possible that he might and we saw a break perhaps in the Republican allegiance in the days after the election. As Evan noted, there was a break. Republicans in Arizona and Michigan and Georgia broke from the party line and upheld democracy. They made a choice and put America first. You might hopefully see that more often as he takes that oath of office. Matt, it seems clear no matter what happens Donald Trump is probably going to remain a force in the Republican party. What does that mean for any new Republican leaders or hopefuls? Well, I think that's the biggest pressure. Yes, there's going to be pressure on Joe Biden to see what he can do. One of the moments that people underestimate is when he puts his hand on the bible on January 20th. There's a shift among the country, maybe not for all Donald Trump supporters, but for a significant portion. They'll open their eyes and they'll listen to what Joe Biden has to say. The Republicans are going to be struggling with this because if they want any new generation of leaders or any new leaders to emerge that isn't Donald Trump, that represents the Republican party in a different way, maybe back to a more principled conservative way, how it used to be, they'll be blocked by Donald Trump. I see no incentive for Donald Trump to go away in this. He has a huge amount of followers. He has the second most votes ever cast for a person in history of the country. He has upwards of 74 million people. People love him. The Republicans that follow him lo. He has 95% support among Republicans, another high standard for a Republican in this. He loves to be in the limelight. He loves to be on stage, even though now he's not the main actor in the play. Matthew, I've got to stop you there. No problem. Thanks so much for all of that's all for us today.

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

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