CBS This Morning on Monday offered a gushing interview to fellow reporters from Politico about the players in Capitol Hill. While Donald Trump is in step of “chaos,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the “steady” hand and the “adult in the room. Politico correspondent Anna Palmer spun the President as having “reverence and respect” for the Congressional Democrat.
She marveled, “Clearly Pelosi is the steady hand in Washington. She is the person who has the most power and control and is going to be the adult in the room.” Describing how Trump views the House Speaker, Palmer appeared memorized: “One of the thing’s that very interesting is the reverence and respect that the President gives Nancy Pelosi. It is unlike any other member or figure when we talked to him and st down with him.”
The Politico journalist contrasted, “If Donald Trump loves chaos, Nancy Pelosi loves order.” Palmer and her colleague Jake Sherman were there to judge Trump and the congressional Democrats. While Pelosi got high marks, Trump suffered: “The President likes to say he's a deal maker. But, truly, he has not done anything to bring Democrats to the table that’s substantive.”
Palmer complained, “I think he doesn't deserve a very good grade.” Liberal journalists talking to liberal journalists about liberal politicians. Is there any wonder why the media sounds like an echo chamber?
A transcript of th exchange is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
8:04:27 to 8:09:28
NORAH O’DONNELL: Now, whomever is nominated to be Homeland Security Secretary will have to be approved by the Senate. It's very hard to get anything done on Capitol Hill these days as shown in the new book The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump’s America. Politico reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer both wrote the book together. They have each covered Capitol Hill for nearly a decade and this book is the result of 26 months of reporting. They interviewed Senators, House members, White House aides, and President Trump. Good morning.
ANNA PALMER: Good morning.
O’DONNELL: Not only is it full of information but a juicy read. But first, let's talk about the news. Secretary Nielsen resigning. Who will be her replacement and how hard will it be to get that person confirmed?
JAKE SHERMAN: Very difficult to get that person confirmed. I think that we know for a fact. People have mentioned Rick Perry, but Donald Trump seems to like acting secretaries at the moment. He believes that he has more control over them and they don't get too comfortable in their jobs, which is something, as you’ve noted, we’ve seen a dozen cabinet secretaries leave. So it’s something he likes.
DICKERSON: And they don’t have to get confirmed, which is the key.
GAYLE KING: He also seems to likes chaos, which is key. He likes to stir things up and keep everyone off balance, Anna.
PALMER: Yeah. Absolutely. I think you saw him tweeting last night about this. He's hard on the border. He's like a Hollywood producer. He changes the cast midstream when he doesn’t think something is working out for him.
KING: This is what you say about Congress. You say it's unlike anything on Earth, a remarkable place of democracy. But one of the pettiest collections of adults and teenage melodrama. For instance, Jake?
SHERMAN: Well, there are countless instances.
KING: Where do you begin?
SHERMAN: I think you can look from the top. I mean, former Speaker Paul Ryan who left at the end of this congressional term had a lot of problems with Donald Trump but got on his side. Think of it this way. Congress is 535 former high school class presidents. And I think that’s only been aggravated or accentuated in Donald Trump’s Washington where you have an unpredictable chief executive who calls people at all hours of the night, ringing up members of Congress at all hours asking for their advice. It’s really a picture of chaos.
DICKERSON: And let me ask you about that. Because President Trump when he ran for president said, “I am a deal maker. I know how to negotiate things. I have a special quality, never before seen in Washington to get people to come to the table. I may knock their heads together or cajole them, but I'm going to get things done. In practice, he's made a lot of phone calls, has chummy moments. But does he have the talent, has he applied the skill to get any of the hard business of actually getting things done?
PALMER: I think he doesn't deserve a very good grade. Right? If you look at the first two years which this book really details from Election Day 2016, through the midterm, through the shutdown, he really only had one bright spot, which was tax reform. And even tax reform, which we detail, was a partisan issue. They did not do it with any Democrats. So, yes, the President likes to say he's a deal maker. But, truly, he has not done anything to bring Democrats to the table that’s substantive.
KING: I'm fascinated — did you want to say something?
SHERMAN: I would just add that we were given amazing access because President Trump, as we all know, proclaims to not like the media, but members of Congress are very, very eager to talk to press. We traveled with him around the country, listened to their phone calls. We listened to their phone calls. We had recordings of their e-mails, their memos. So we were really able to bring our readers inside the process of D.C.
KING: I'll say. A couple of times when I was reading the book, I thought, “Did people know you were there?” But clearly they were. Because, to Norah’s word, it was juicy. I'm fascinated by Nancy Pelosi. And Donald Trump, he seems to be fascinated with her, too. You said Pelosi is Trump's polar opposite. What way? What do you mean?
PALMER: If Donald Trump loves chaos, Nancy Pelosi loves order.
SHERMAN: That’s right.
PALMER: I think one of the thing’s that very interesting is the reverence and respect that the President gives Nancy Pelosi. It is unlike any other member or figure when we talked to him and st down with him, when he was describing his relationship with members of Congress. Clearly Pelosi is the steady hand in Washington. She is the person who has the most power and control and is going to be the adult in the room.
KING: Her nickname is Nancy. That says something.
SHERMAN: And I think on top of that, she doesn't back down from the President. She stares him in the eye and says this is where I'm going, this is what I want to do and the President is forced to back down. President Trump didn’t get his border wall. Nancy Pelosi won.
O’DONNELL: You also detail Sean Hannity of Fox News being on a number of calls. Do those on the other end of the call know that he’s also on the call?
PALMER: There are moments when he weighs in, which we detail. I think it was surprising to both of us how involved Sean Hannity was, not just tweeting and maybe having conversations with the President but how involved he was on a more regular basis.
SHERMAN: We saw people leaving on Capitol Hill, picking up their cell phone and it's Sean Hannity calling. This isn’t conjecture.
KING: What does that say to you that he’s that involved? What does it mean?
SHERMAN: It’s unlike anything we’ve seen in our time covering Washington for a TV talk host to have such sway over the President of the United States. It’s unusual.