What’s the promise of Obama? Why are—why does he appeal to voters? Looking back at those days, what was your overview about—about that with Obama? Well, Obama was one of the most attractive political candidates, certainly the most attractive in my lifetime in all of the not—obviously, I disagree with him on policy, but he has a lovely family; he’s unbelievably well-spoken; he tells great jokes; he sings beautifully, looks good in a suit. I mean, just everything I’ve heard about the Kennedys, you look at Obama and as a Republican think, I’m so glad I don’t have to run against that again. I mean, there’s no one who can compare. I think that’s why [Sen.] Cory Booker has gone no place, because he’s like—Obama was so—was so eloquent and elegant. Cory Booker comes along, and he’s like Obama’s country cousin. … So I think that’s part of the attractiveness. Obviously it only helped him that he was half-African American. White America feels very guilty about slavery and Jim Crow and how far behind such a large percentage— not all, obviously, but a large percentage of African Americans are. Andrew Sullivan was writing this is the president who’s going to bring us together; this will heal us; the Muslim world won’t hate us as much when they see someone named Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States. I think those were the good reasons for his appeal. And the bad reasons for his appeal is what we always have with us, just some element of Americans who want a much more socialist government, a much bigger government, and thought we got this Mr. Charm School to push it through. And they did get it with health care. … So at the same point that he is presenting himself and is being seen as a bridge to the divide, both politically and racially, during the campaign, of course, on the other side, Sarah Palin is brought on as the vice presidential contender. Sarah Palin ties in to a very different America, a very different audience. Talk a little bit about—and a very important one to understand because eventually those people kind of become the Tea Party people, and those people become kind of the “forgotten.” Trump voters, right. So talk about what she tied in to, what she understood about the anger that was out there and who those—who those people were. … Well, I think that… we’ll call them the Palin voters, Tea Partyers, Trump voters. They were right that beneath the very charming, well-spoken facade, there was a strong left-wing and, I think, racially divisive aspect of Obama… And I think Sarah Palin voters/Tea Partyers/Trump voters, I think they were right to suspect there was that undercurrent, revealed in part by him showing up at Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright’s sermons every weekend. I mean, those were pretty aggressive, anti-white sermons, as were some of the other— some of the other ministers he was—he was promoting and going to. And you know, you could brush it off, as I’m sure a lot of Obama supporters did, as, well, he had to—he needed the community support; this is what they go for. It’s a very condescending attitude, by the way, toward black voters, that, oh, yes, their little church thing, whatever. But I think it was real, and it came out. So you did have all of the charm, and there were a lot of things that I liked about Obama. For example, he could put two sentences together unlike recent Republicans—[Sen. John] McCain, Bush, Bush, Trump. Reagan was the last Republican president we had who could speak. So it was nice to have an eloquent speaker, but there was a racial undercurrent that I think really hurt America, and we are still living with it today. Racial and economic? I mean, the anger was deep. Who—what were those people so concerned about, and why did they glom on to somebody like Palin? Well, she was the only game in town. I mean, McCain picked her. And I—I mean, I think there were a lot of people you could have chosen for that. She gave that beautiful convention speech. I mean, she had been a sportscaster; she knew how to read a teleprompter. She was an attractive person. And I’ve got to say, I was thrilled when she gave that convention speech. It was—it was magnificent. … What Republicans never liked about John McCain, and the reason Trump got away with bashing John McCain, isn’t that he sometimes crossed the aisle, for Pete’s sake. I sometimes cross the aisle on issues; all of us do on—on this or that issue. It was because he delighted in saying whatever The New York Times wanted him to say so he could be praised for his bravery. No, it’s not bravery being liberal to The New York Times. Go down to Mississippi and say it, and you’ll be brave. … So let’s talk about the Obama years and a couple of things that happened that created more and more turmoil and the anger on the right. … Of course we’re coming back from 2008, or still in the midst of it, and you have the stimulus bill and you have the bank bailouts and you have the automobile bailouts. What does your audience, the people that are reading your books and are listening to you on the radio and seeing you on television, what did they see when they see what’s going on with Obama? And what is the ramifications—what are the results of that? As many of us suspected, not in every way, but some pretty far-left policies. Obviously Obamacare was the biggest part of that, but take the stimulus. Instead of—instead of stimulating, well, say, infrastructure spending, for some reason, we keep voting and voting and voting for more infrastructure spending, whether it’s with Obama or Trump, and we can never, ever get it… As we see with the Trump, it’s the industrial Midwest; it is the manufacturing base of America that has been left behind, forgotten, crushed. Their salaries are going down. You know, construction workers in California, they made more, not even counting inflation, they made more 15 years ago than they do today. Not—that’s even skipping inflation. I mean, by like half. And does anybody speak for them? Does anyone care? Oh, yeah, every politician says, “I’m going to—I’ll do something great for the economy,” and then, oh, more spending for government workers. So that was the annoyance with the stimulus bill. The bailouts, I’ve got to say—I mean, I think you can see from votes on some of that, both under Bush and under Obama, both Republicans, elected Republicans and Democrats are fine with bailing out the rich. I’m not. I mean, Wall Street? You made your bet. If those bets had gone well, I didn’t get to share in the profits. But oops, oops! They eff up, and—and I have to share in the losses. And every American does. I mean, that just—it just burns up ordinary people, and I don’t think this is— I mean, maybe it’s a right/left thing, but I don’t think it is. It is [Amity Shlaes’] The Forgotten Man thing. It is—it is just ordinary middle-class people thinking, I can’t get away with that. Oh, my gosh, we are run by an oligarchy. The rich and the powerful get away with anything. So Obama, I think, had some of the promise of that, as, frankly, so did Trump. I mean, I will say Trump hasn’t bailed out Wall Street. He hasn’t started any new wars. Obama didn’t start any new wars. So we’re getting, you know, one-tenth of what we had voted for. But in both cases, I think you still have a huge swath of Americans voting and voting and voting and never getting what they voted for. So the anger of the Tea Party that summer, 2009, what’s going on in these town meetings countrywide? The backlash against both economic issues, as well as certainly the ACA [Affordable Care Act], what’s going on there? And how—the connection between media, radio, media on the right side, radio, websites and such, what’s going on that summer? Take us into why that happened. Well, I really think the Tea Party— yes, the stimulus was part of it that is going to government workers instead of the left-behind people. But it really was Obamacare. This has been on the left’s to-do list since neither FDR or LBJ got it done. They have just been waiting, waiting, waiting. When we have the presidency and both houses of Congress, we are going to push this through. And yeah, sure, I mean, a lot—it’s not exactly like conservatives are defending a free market system… The 2012 election happens, and the famous “autopsy.” Ooh! —the autopsy which says, hey, you know, we’ve got a problem here, because the numbers are changing, and the Republican Party is going to lose power if we’re not careful. So the Gang of Eight come together, and they sign and they pass in the Senate the reform—the immigration reform bill. But there are some disagreements on that. Fox—not by Fox, not by [Sean] Hannity; they’re in support of it. Correct! And there are some people, like [Steve] Bannon at Breitbart, and certainly Sessions, Sen. [Jeff] Sessions and [Stephen] Miller, who was working for Sessions— I can tell you who was against the amnesty. And Bannon was still—nobody knew who Bannon was back in 2012. Good luck to you finding him anyplace. And I’m not criticizing him, but no, that—no, it was Sen. Sessions; Stephen Miller, who worked for him; Mickey Kaus; me; Joyce Kaufman. I don’t think I can get up to 10 names who were opposed to that amnesty.…. The fact is that it seems to be a done deal. There seems to be a wave—maybe not a tidal wave, but a wave moving towards this. Very bad. But there’s—there’s—there’s—within a small group, including yourself, there’s chipping away at sort of why we’re going down this route. And there’s an adjustment in the GOP at that point in time which is pretty radical. Immigration at that point in time starts becoming a much bigger issue with Republicans, and when [House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor loses— That was great. I mean, I know people go back and forth, but when Cantor loses, people all of a sudden say, “Wait a minute.” So take us to that moment. How does that happen? They were very dark days, and you’re giving too many people credit for this. It was 100% of the Democratic Party; 70% of the Republican Party; 90% of the 30% of the Republican Party pretending to be against amnesty. The entire conservative talk radio except— I mean, seriously, I could name like, three talk radio hosts, and they weren’t the big ones, who were against amnesty. One hundred percent Fox News was pedal to the metal to get this amnesty bill passed. They were very, very dark days. It wasn’t the GOP waking up. It was the elected Republicans and talk radio realizing that the people who vote for them and watch their media hated their guts, absolutely hated their guts. I’ve been talking about immigration since Bush first started to push it in 2006. Then McCain pushed it. Then we had [Sen. Marco] Rubio and McCain pushing it again. I’ve been on the issue—not obsessively—I didn’t have a book about it until 2015— but I’ve been pushing this since 2004, and what I would do—in fact, I gave lots of speeches to the Tea Parties. They’d ask me to speak usually about Obamacare, often guns. Whatever the issues [were] in the news then—let’s say Obamacare, guns—I would have— I’d have the speech: OK, here’s Obamacare; here’s guns; and now I’m going to talk about immigration. And they weren’t hearing it from Fox News, and they weren’t hearing it from talk radio. When I got to immigration, the crowds went wild. I told [Mitt] Romney this. I told him: “I just came back from a speech. Nobody even asked me to speak about immigration. When I got to immigration—” No, that’s always what the base was. How was amnesty stopped? Well, it’s been stopped. They’ve been trying to sneak it through Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. They’ve tried to sneak it through at least a half dozen, maybe a dozen times in the past 20 years. The only way it has ever stopped—it’s not because of Fox News; it’s not because of talk radio— is because somehow the word gets out, “They’re about to pass an amnesty,” and regular Americans call in and shut down the congressional switchboard. It is such a—I’ve never seen an issue where the elites are 100% on one side and the people are 100% on the other side. Not 100%, but 90/90. And Trump was the only guy—I mean, this is why I wrote In Trump We Trust. And don’t think I didn’t know what his disabilities were. I’d go out with my friends; they’d sit down and tell me, you know, that he’s tacky and the gold all over, and he can’t put two sentences—and I’d say I’m going into this totally, totally clear-eyed. But he’s not a genius. There’s a $1,000 bill laying on the ground, and he picked it up, and nobody else would pick it up. Does any other Republican want to run on a popular issue? Any of you guys? Anyone? Do we have any offers? You in the back? Nope! The Koch brothers and the chamber of commerce want their cheap labor, and they don’t care what kind of country this will become because of it. Well, the people do care. An awful lot of the people do care what kind of country this becomes. … So one other thing—talk about Miller. Did you know Miller back then? No. Who was he? Why does he become this rising star? Why does Trump turn to him? He’s an interesting guy. He also—he starts out in talk radio in a way. He’s a student, and he’s at Duke and everything else. So he’s glommed onto it, and he’s good on it, and so he’s popular. But who is Miller? He’s very smart. He’s very patriotic. He’s never taken to heart the important Reagan slogan, there’s no end to what can be accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit. He’s the one blocking a lot of the things in the Trump administration, like hiring anyone who knows how to get it done. I mean, he’s also the last man standing. He’s arranged to be the last man standing. What do you—what do you mean? I mean, he’s the one who blocked Kris Kobach. He’s the one who’s getting rid of—I don’t know if you remember. There was one time—speaking of, you know, division in politics, there was one moment in the Trump years when the left and right came together in peace and unity. I get home the night Omarosa [Manigault Newman] was fired. CNN: Everybody hates Omarosa. MSNBC: Everybody hates Omarosa. Fox News: Everybody hates Omarosa. I thought, we finally did it. Thank you, Omarosa. But one of the things that came out in those interviews were—people were saying— they were interviewing, I think it was on CNN, a lot of black Republicans, and the CNN anchor was saying, “Well, OK, but this is the only black Republican working in the Trump White House,” and all the black Republicans said, “That’s because of Omarosa!” Same thing with Stephen Miller. Smart guy. Realizing that he’s been pushing something for a long time that’s been being ignored except by people like Sessions, he is going to push this thing through in any way possible, and a lot of the other people out there don’t have—have never had their hearts in it, and he’d— They’re absolutely against it. And there are plenty of people who could be hired—and by the way, I’m not applying for a job; I absolutely do not want a job— but until he unfortunately passed away last year, Pat Caddell, Mickey Kaus, Kris Kobach—you’ve got Harvard-Yale-Oxford. He wrote E-Verify! He wrote the Arizona law [SB 1070] that was upheld by the Supreme Court, denounced as “papers, please.” Yeah, that was upheld. So screw you, MSNBC. He’s the one who came up with—I mean, Romney called it “self-deportation”— the argument that we don’t have to deport anyone. We enforce E-Verify; they go home the same way they came. We didn’t round them up to bring them here; we don’t have to round them up to bring them home. It’s a lot easier going back the same way. All of these were Kris Kobach’s ideas. I mean, Trump will never get done what he promised to get done if he’s not going to hire the people who know how to do it. … So let’s get to Trump. So, you know, the escalator speech. He comes down the escalator. His message resonates with the forgotten. He is channeling you, your book. He’s like reading directly from your book. You’re watching this thing. Have you been talking to him? What are you seeing, and why does it resonate, and why did nobody else understand that this was— the establishment basically said this guy is done the first day he announces. What’s going on? He did—I tried to get a copy of Adios, America to several Republicans running for president, and the Koch brothers. Post-it-noted just a few pages they’d need to read. I’m FedExing it off. I’m contacting my friends who know one or the other candidate, begging them to take up this issue, begging them! No, Trump just saw me on—a week before the book came out, I did an interview with Jorge Ramos. It winds up on Drudge. It goes viral. I’m on my way to the airport later that day, and I get an email from—I recalled it being him, but it was probably Corey Lewandowski, saying, “Could you please FedEx a copy of your book to us?” And yes, Trump got a lot of the very important points and correct points from Adios, America. He put them perhaps a little more aggressively than I would have. But… when I first saw the escalator speech, I was a little nervous by it, because it was more kind of, well, not the way I would have put it. Agreed with the underlying points, but maybe, maybe a little—a little honey in your presentation. But my main—so the concern was that he would end up undermining the issues that were so important and so popular by stating them a teensy bit too aggressively. So it actually took me a couple of weeks. I also expected he was going to back down. … So I was waiting for Trump to take it back and say: “Oh, no, no, I didn’t mean that Mexico’s sending rapists. They’re sending Rhodes Scholars. They’re so much better than we are.” And damned if he never took it back! So two weeks later, I had to say, OK, I’m for—I’m for this guy. Why does it resonate with a population, certainly your audience, other people out there? What is going on that the establishment doesn’t understand? Well, two things. One is the issue itself. And I think that really—that has always been lost with Trump. I mean, the mainstream media’s narrative is that, you know, all the people who voted for Trump are just, you know, three-fingered troglodytes who hate minorities and hate the other. … No—could you please notice that he’s the only one who has allowed us to vote on this basket of issues? … The trade, immigration and no more pointless wars, all of which serves, you know, Boeing, Raytheon, the cheap labor. The globalism serves Wall Street; they get to do the contracts. What do they care about America? They are globalists. Whether they’re in Gstaad or Davos, what do they care about America? Normal Americans care about being Americans; it’s one of our most precious possessions. And the fact that politicians have blown that off over and over and over again, even when Trump was winning on those issues—I mean, would I have preferred someone who is a little more well-spoken? Yeah. I think I and all of my friends would have. … OK, that’s part one. Do not discount the issues. That is why people were voting for him. It was an advantage that he would double down when he was attacked. Why? Because it made him the molecular opposite of John McCain. You’re not going to back down. Now, I wish since he’s been president that he would do the punch-back even harder when he’s being attacked for actually doing something, like building the wall, not for tweeting something. But a Republican who not only doesn’t back down but punches back harder, that independently, even if he’s not always right, even if he said something stupid, the fact that he doesn’t back down to the hysteria from the left, that is a quality in and of itself. …. The Access Hollywood moment is I think an example of what you’re talking about, is the fact that— and you’ve written about it—that he can kind of do— get way with a lot because people see him as telling the truth on the points that they’re mostly interested in. Define what was going on. How is it possible that he was able to maneuver around the Access Hollywood tape using techniques like going into the debate the next night— That was great! —and sort of going after Bill Clinton. I mean, what was going on? First, I don’t think anything could have stopped Trump at that point when the Access Hollywood tape came out. People wanted to vote on immigration. Every time it has been put to a vote since 1994, they have voted to end illegal immigration. Can you get a clue, politicians? They were voting for Trump. And as I think it was Josh Barro—I forget who the reporter was, but I think it was Josh Barro— went out to Iowa before the Iowa caucuses, and he said he’s interviewing people. He tweeted this out and said something like, “You know, I’m asking voters, ‘But what about his attack on John McCain?’ Who cares? The wall. You know, next question: ‘How about the fact that he used to be a Democrat?’ Who cares? The wall.” That’s what people were voting on. He promised to build a wall. There was such a hard-core element of support. I mean, it may not be every single voter, but I think it was an awful lot of them. I mean, in my circle, that was what—it was voting on the wall and illegal immigration. And I’m talking about, you know, doctors and lawyers and Hollywood people who aren’t forgotten. What do we get out of this? We get the cheap labor, too, but we want to save America, and we care about our fellow Americans. So I don’t think anything could have stopped Trump at that point. … And I have to say, my face apparently turned white when I first heard about the Access Hollywood tape at Breitbart offices in L.A. And we just sat and we watched every network playing it, and I just didn’t say anything. I sent a few tweets. By that night—this is what has happened over and over again in the Trump era. Even when there’s something bad about Trump that would kill anyone else, the media so overplays their hand. They can’t help themselves. And when I saw Lawrence O’Donnell weeping about the horror of this tape, oh, give me a break! I mean, Hollywood is constantly putting all this schlock in prime time, but, oh, now they’re suddenly fainting Victorian virgins? As usual, the media so overplayed their hand that even besides the fact that a, nothing could have stopped Trump, the media made sure the Access Hollywood tape wasn’t going to stop Trump. And then c, it was great when he brought the women that Bill Clinton had molested to the next debate. That was magnificent. But that was icing on the cake. … His relationship with, you know, now that he’s president, and during the campaign to some extent, with friendly media, with Fox and conservative radio and Breitbart and all is—there’s a simpatico there. There’s a back-and-forth. There’s Hannity coming up and giving speeches. There’s a connection there that he seems to depend upon. He retweets the stuff that he’s getting from people. … The fact of whether he’s quoting from you or he’s, you know, he’s having conversations with Hannity and then repeating the same thing the next day in a speech or in a tweet, what’s— what’s going on with that relationship, and how different is that than any other president has ever had? Well, I’m not a Democrat, so I can’t speak to the loyalty of Democrats, but my impressionistic view is that Trump is the most disloyal person I’ve ever seen. No, in fact, he doesn’t give interviews to Breitbart, the website that supported him when Fox News was bashing him night after night after night. He does not give interviews to Daily Caller. He has absolutely no loyalty to anyone but himself. And if you happen to be a TV—a TV talk host who’s going to stick your nose up his butt every night, yes, he’ll pat you on the head and give you interviews. But in terms of rewarding the media that supported him? Oh, my gosh, he’s disloyal. He calls Maggie Haberman of The New York Times every day. Why was he giving that interview to Lester Holt where he said, “I was going to fire [James] Comey anyway”? Why are you talking to Lester Holt? All he wants is for the mainstream media to love him. It’s kind of cross-messaging when you’re telling your supporters it’s fake news, it’s fake news, it’s fake news, and all you want is praise from them, other than Hannity and Fox & Friends. … So he has—very early on he basically takes over the messaging, very early. In February he’s calling the mainstream media the “enemy of the people.” I think it’s a great message. I wish he wouldn’t— It’s in your books as well. You agree with him about the media. So explain what is going on with that part of the relationship. … But what’s going on with the message, taking over the message, battering the media constantly, and what are the consequences of that? I don’t think any progress can be made on anything in America until the media is destroyed and replaced by something with integrity. I mean, Trump, as usual, his actions are not consistent with his words, which is to say he denounces New York Times and, you know, ABC, NBC, CBS as “fake news,” but oh, does he suck up to them; that’s all he wants, the interview— “Oh, clear my schedule, Maggie Haberman’s coming in”—and then totally disses Breitbart. So kind of, like with the wall, we get great tweets on immigration, but he’s not actually doing it. But I do think the words he’s saying, at least we’re getting that out of him. I was hoping for more, but at least we’re getting the words. And I think that is useful. One of the—one of the great things Trump has done is to give a word for—for concepts. I mean, it was an important point George Orwell made—I think it was Orwell— that until you have a word for something, you don’t understand; that there’s no part of your brain that—“the swamp,” “fake news.” What are some of the other ones? “Low energy” was a good one; that was a really good one. … But the “fake news” one, I mean, that could be the only thing we get out of this presidency, to run down—and boy, the media sure isn’t giving him any pushback on this. … ABC, NBC, CBS, they are embarrassing themselves over and over and over again. The first week he comes out with the executive orders and the travel ban immediately. So what’s your view of that? And on the other side of it is, one of the seven executive orders that had been written up was on DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], and that one doesn’t show up. So what’s your overview of those initial executive orders, and, you know, what are the results? What’s at stake here? Well, the country is what’s at stake. The first few weeks were good is my—is my conclusion. I mean, the Muslim ban, as it’s called, it was upheld by the Supreme Court. And as some of us said, it always would be. Ooh, wow, you wouldn’t know that, speaking of fake news, from reading The New York Times, from watching ABC. And it’s the most [unconstitutional]—he’s like Hitler! Upheld by the Supreme Court. The third version. Any of them would have been. Read the opinion. It’s in the Constitution. It’s in statutory law. The president can exclude [Congress]— I mean, there are laws on the books that were passed by both Republicans and Democrats in banging out compromises. And we agree to a bill, and we send it up, and the president gets it signed, and it’s been on the books for decades, and it says the president can exclude any immigrants for any reasons in the best interest of the United States. And the message sent with that coming out as quickly as it did? … It was—I think it was just—I think probably for the first few weeks of his presidency, he had some vague idea of keeping his promises. That was abandoned very quickly. Decided it’s more fun just to tweet and promote Ivanka [Trump]’s shoe company or something. But yeah, it’s an easy promise. Frankly, all of his promises—among the brilliant things about his campaign, and it was a magnificent campaign, and I write in In Trump We Trust again, all of his immigration promises, he doesn’t need Congress for. As I wrote in In Trump We Trust, what was so clever about it was, a lot of it is just enforcing laws on the books. A lot of it is up to the president as commander in chief. The only thing he needed Congress for of his central campaign promises was overturning Obamacare. So I’m sick of hearing the 3D chess crowd say, “Oh, he can’t because of Congress.” No, read In Trump We Trust! That was the brilliance of his campaign. He is the commander in chief; his number one duty is to protect the borders of the United States. For 200 years that’s what our military did. We built fortresses along the border. There are Treasury regulations. He’s head of the executive branch. He could tax remittances, the billions of dollars being sent mostly by illegal aliens from this country back to Mexico. Tax the remittances. I don’t even know who’s against that. Doesn’t Wall Street make some money on—are they the ones against this? That’s how Mexico pays for the wall. You put a 10% tax on I think it’s—I think it’s something like $20 billion is sent every year. It’s an astonishing amount that gets sent out of here. You put a small tax on that, Mexico’s paying for the wall! You keep a promise. And there are Treasury regulations passed after 9/11 that allow— allow the Treasury Department by itself to put—to put regulations on transactions. So he could do that without Congress. He can overturn the unconstitutional “I’m going to give amnesty to ‘Dreamers’” thing that Obama passed after saying— for six years, for seven years, Obama is telling Hispanic groups, “I don’t have the constitutional authority to pass this law or to issue an executive order; I need Congress.” Congress doesn’t pass it, and then he says, “I’m going to do it.” So we have it on the authority of constitutional law professor Barack Obama that his DACA executive order is unconstitutional. Trump can’t even write an executive order ending it? Why? Why didn’t the executive order—certainly Sessions and Miller are in there pushing big time. Bannon as well, supposedly. What was going on there? What was the view of your audience to that? Well, some of us are a little upset that he hasn’t kept his promises, more than I think you will hear from publicly, because the media has made itself the enemy of the people. And I think—and look, I understand this. I think somebody’s got to try to hold his feet to the fire. We have a few months left to get—to get anything out of this guy. I mean, even if he wins reelection, is he more or less likely to keep his promises when he isn’t facing another election? … I’ll fall on my sword and keep attacking him for not keeping his promises, but I must say I understand the feeling of the— I mean, I don’t think I can debase myself enough to start claiming he’s playing 3D chess. No, he’s not playing 3D chess. He’s lazy, narcissistic. I don’t know what the reasons were. Never believed it to begin with. Who knows? But he’s not keeping his promises, and don’t tell me 3D chess. … So let’s talk about the Dreamers. So Sessions sets a deadline. I guess it was August of ’17. … Trump seems to be torn on the Dreamers specifically on what should happen. And he goes back and forth, and everybody talks about, you know, the two sides of the White House pushing him in either direction. What was going on there? Why didn’t he act? Was—could you tell from your conversations with people that there was a divide, an actual divide? … For a president who knows things and has beliefs, like Ronald Reagan, he could surround himself with people who don’t believe the same things he does and still accomplish a lot. It would be harder, but he could do it. For a president who doesn’t know a lot about the subject and maybe doesn’t quite care so much, to surround himself with his kids and with the exact RNC [Republican National Committee] flacks he ran against and he beat and that the Republican Party base hates with the hot, hot hate of a thousand suns, you’re not going to get anything done. And that’s basically what we’ve seen over and over again with Trump on the immigration issue. … And there’s no one in that immigration bureau— maybe there’s, you know, one, one person who agreed with Trump, but not the head of Homeland Security. Why is that? Trump hired these people. What does that mean? I mean, I thought Trump was the guy—this is what he promised to do. So why is he hiring people that disagree with what his tenets are? So why he’s surrounded—why he surrounded himself by people actively opposed to his agenda and let Paul Ryan take over his agenda for the first two years when he had a Republican House and Republican Senate, No, let’s do all the stuff on the loser GOP’s to-do list. Let’s not do the popular stuff that won this very unlikely person the presidency. Why he did that, who knows? Who knows? He has surrounded himself with people who disagree with him. Why did he hire his kids? I mean, I don’t know. Does he believe any of it? Is he a con-man liar and this was just a good gig? Again, picked up the $1,000 bill lying on the ground because no other Republican was willing to run on popular issues. Or is he just lazy? Yeah, he does believe it, but if it’s going to take a phone call—“I have to call [Sen.] Mitch McConnell? Nah, let them do whatever they want.” Could be laziness. Could be narcissism: “They love me for me!” Who knows? But he has surrounded himself by people who don’t agree with his agenda, and that’s why very, very, very little is getting done. So let’s go the Jan. 9 meeting. So this is Trump, [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi’s in the room, other Democratic leaders. And he’s talking about, let’s figure out a way to deal with the Dreamer issue. If you come up with something good, I’m going to sign it. And it’s all recorded because he wants the cameras in the room. Yep! You came out very strongly at this point condemning this DACA love fest. What—what did you see going on, and the significance of it and your attitude on it, and your audience’s attitude on it? It was unbelievable. I mean, the one saving grace at the time, which is why I think the 3D chess crowd really ought to shut up and join me in our last few months to save the nation, he said a lot of dumb stuff during the campaign, too. I don’t know if you remember. I think it was the first debate, second debate. He was to Marco Rubio’s left on how he’s going to bring in all these H-1B workers and give Mark Zuckerberg whatever he wants. So back then, things were running—being run by people who a, know something about politics as opposed to marketing shoes; b, actually care about the issues that Trump was pushing and knew they were popular— Corey Lewandowski, Stephen Miller, moi. By the end of the debate, Trump put out a statement retracting what he had said about the H-1B visa. His immigration policy paper was magnificent. Did he write it? No, but he read it, I assume. He kept saying the same things over and over in speeches. You’d think at some point that would kind of stick in his brain. So that’s why we—we, I—punch back whenever he does something stupid, because he’s— he’s done stupid stuff before, but then he gets back on track. He got back on track a lot faster during the 2016 campaign because he cared about being elected. Again, I say to the 3D chess crowd, what’s the incentive in a second term? You think you’re going to get the wall then? So what happened in that meeting that you were watching and couldn’t believe or—or were punching back about? I don’t really remember distinctly. I just remember him saying he wanted to give amnesty to Dreamers. How many times do we have to win this fight?! It’s the craziest thing! Over and over and over again. And you know, I was saying in Adios, America, this is what Bush said about the terrorists: We have to win every time; they only have to win once, and the country is over. You called it the lowest day in his presidency. Yeah, until he signed the third omnibus bill not providing funding for the wall. Little did I know there was lower to come. Then—that was Tuesday. Then Thursday, the Thursday Trump. Tuesday Trump, Thursday Trump. [Sen. Dick] Durbin and [Sen. Lindsey] Graham come into the White House thinking, well, we’ve got— we’ve got some plans for an immigration deal; we’ve got—we’ve got possibilities here. Meanwhile, Miller, the way the story is told is Miller and with others involved sort of realized that this is a problem here; we’re going down the wrong track. And he makes some phone calls. I assume you might have been involved in the discussion that was going on. And all of a sudden you’ve got in the White House a lot of very conservative legislators who are in the same room, and there’s a very different president there. Explain. Tell me that story. What happened on Thursday? Well, I wasn’t in the room. I haven’t worked in the White House, but it seems, I think, perfectly apparent to me and anyone else who observes this president, he—he’s impulsive. He says things off the top of his head. He bears the impression of, like, a couch, bears the impression of the last person who sat on him. It’s just whoever gave him the last piece of advice, he goes out and says it, which is why it’s kind of important who he surrounds himself with. … It sounds like you’re asking for some sort of reform that Congress might push through, because without that, you don’t accomplish anything without negotiation to find an agreement between the sides of government. And here you have this meeting which seemed to have blown that to smithereens. I mean, what were the results of that meeting, and is there a problem— how does that define the problem in Washington to get anything done? No, I think the problem started sooner. Two things. Trump could put a pause on all immigration as we know from the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Muslim ban. Virtually all immigration. He could do it. It’s in the president’s hands. Congress passed law putting that in the president’s hands. And no, it’s not good for this country, and it’s not in the best interest of the country to be driving down wages more and more and more. That is not in the best interest of the country. I think that would be upheld by the Supreme Court. Point two: We had two years with a Republican House and a Republican Senate, and one of the things we’ve seen, even when Trump says—though I don’t particularly want to admit this to a Frontline audience— but even when he tweets something that is rather stupid, you will notice Republicans in Congress won’t attack him for it. Why? Because they know the Trump base will be angry at them if they attack him for saying something stupid. Think of the power he has! He couldn’t have gotten a Republican House and Republican Senate to vote for a moratorium on all immigration? Just a brief moratorium. We can assimilate the ones already here; we can get our books in order. The world isn’t going to fall apart, but you may have to pay your maid an extra couple of dollars. Sorry, Park Avenue! Let’s move on to “zero tolerance.” So then Sessions announces the zero tolerance policy. What was your audience’s view about zero tolerance? … Yeah, that’s why we wanted a wall. A, it made me angry that he hasn’t started the wall yet. But as long as we’re not going to have a wall, yeah, of course you’ve got to have zero tolerance policy. We’ve created a magnet. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t done this before. Reagan passed an amnesty, and one amnesty begets another amnesty; it begets more and more. You are creating a magnet for more and more illegal aliens to pour in, as every country that’s ever tried an amnesty has discovered, and never done it again. We do it because we happen to have Latin America on our border as opposed to, you know, the Tatars or the Russians. Luckily, luckily for the left, oh, they’re slightly beiger than we are so we can be accused of racism for not wanting illegal aliens pouring in. Well, we’re not vetting them. I don’t want them pouring in from Russia; I don’t want them pouring in from India; I don’t want them pouring in from Scotland, Japan or anyplace else. But oh, you get called a racist for wanting to stop illegal immigration. And that’s the only reason this is still a live issue in America. Every other country tries it and says, “Oh, my gosh, this is insane.” In fact, Spain famously asked the EU for help when they were having migrants just pouring in, pouring in. They said, “We can’t—we can’t stop this.” And the EU crossed its arms and said, “You guys passed an amnesty a few years ago; you did this to yourselves.” Well, we did it to ourselves. The only way to—before you talk about anything that’s going to be … done with the Dreamers, you have to cut off the flow of the new ones coming more and more and more. And my gosh, if you’re giving them driver’s licenses and, you know, free health care and amnestying them, it—it isn’t multicultural. We are getting one culture coming in. Bangladeshis don’t happen to live within walking distance. So liberals just say, “Fine, screw them”? They’re not being vetted for crimes, for membership in gangs, for even, you know, at Ellis Island they’d slap you on the back, make you cough and see if you have tuberculosis. Now we’re getting all kinds of things coming in. We have no idea. … … So why the executive order that the president then puts out that ends the system [of family separation]? Because Ivanka cried. Explain. I don’t know. Maybe he had to. I don’t think so. I think Americans are really fed up with this. I mean, Americans are the most generous people in the world. It’s manifest by their giving, private giving. Whenever there’s a tsunami, an earthquake, a warlord who is rushing in to—so Americans have very soft hearts. But when you’ve been tapped on the shoulder over and over again, and it keeps turning out to be a con man, and they’re moving in, and they’re Gypsies, and they’ve taken over your house, at some point your patience wears out. And it doesn’t matter that the Gypsy has the crying baby, or the begging baby, I guess they’re called in India. I think there—this was a politically engineered crisis. Storm the border so that we can get the pictures. And I think enough Americans understand that. And your attitude about the president’s decision? No strong position. Build the wall. Build the wall. But I’m talking about here. I know you are. I’m saying build the wall. You can try to get me to say something else. I don’t really have a position on what you asked me about. The only position I have is build the wall. You wouldn’t have to go through this if you had kept your number one campaign promise. Build the wall. So he then says he’s going to. So the fight over the—in December 2018, the fight over the budget, and he’s, you know, demanding the $5 billion for the wall, and it’s not going to be in the funding bill. For the third time. For the third time. But he’s waffling about it. But then there’s pressure brought by Freedom Caucus and others, the press and other advisers, like Miller. No, Miller let three omnibus bills be signed. Stop acting like he’s, you know, the [first grand inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition Tomás de] Torquemada of immigration. All of this happened on his watch. But Fox and you— Nope! Not Fox! Not Fox? Do not be confused by that. Absolutely not. Explain. It was Drudge Report and Drudge Report alone that alerted—I know it alerted me, and I think it alerted Rush Limbaugh. It was a Tuesday. Drudge Report headline—you ought to get that headline—“President to sign bill with no wall funding.” I wrote the column that night when I was flying. And when I arrived—I never watched Fox News, but I thought, you know, because they really, really, really want amnesty, really want to fling open the border, maids aren’t cheap enough, I watched to see how was this going to be covered on prime time. Not mentioned. Nope, not Tuesday night. Rush, God bless him, railed about it on radio the next day. I don’t think it was mentioned in Fox prime time until Thursday. Well, it was over by then. Between my column, put that at number 1,000, between Drudge and Rush, and Drudge did link to my column, so that upped it from 1,000 to having some influence on it. Oh, no, Fox News was silent. Didn’t mention it. There was other news. Didn’t mention it. And the results were? The government closes down. Yeah. So your—your view of that and how long it goes on and the results. The results were terrible. It couldn’t have been worse. So you shut down the government for no reason, and then you get, ooh, scared because the media is saying, oh, everybody’s going to be so mad at you. And by the way, the government didn’t shut down. That shows you if only Trump had someone, someone in administration who knew something about the government. Almost every department was already funded. I mean, the hard-luck stories, they were, you know, scraping the bottom of the barrel for on MSNBC were a joke. They’re going—every government official is going—not official; it was, I think it was only support staff, but every major department was funded. Essential employees stay on duty during government shutdowns. … But they’re all terrified. They were all, “Ooh, I’m going to have to have a garage sale.” Oh, you are not. You get a free vacation, government gift shop worker. Free vacation, and you get full back pay. You always have. It will always work that way. But ooh, they freak out in the White House, and the deal Trump ended up making was even worse. Mistake? Yeah, of course it was a mistake. I mean, what Trump proved—I don’t know why he can’t learn from his own campaign. He ran a beautiful campaign, and what he should have learned from his campaign was, number one, don’t listen to donors. They hate America. You don’t need their money. Number two, don’t freak out and become a scaredy cat when the media attacks you! It’s good for you! It helps you! And they freaked out in the White House. … So, we’ll come up to the present—we’ll move closer to the present now. So by March of 2019, the border crisis is getting worse, and the arrests are at a two-year high. Your view of why it’s grown to this extent, why the crisis has become worse and worse during this period of time. Is it—is any of this due to Trump? It’s all—well, you can’t say it’s all due to Trump, but none of this would exist if Trump had simply hired some people who knew how to keep his promises. Whether that’s because he doesn’t care about his promises or he’s just a lazy narcissist, who knows? But that’s the fact. He didn’t hire the people who can get it done. And it’s not getting done. And yes, it’s worse than it’s ever been. It’s worse than it would have been under Hillary; Hillary would know she couldn’t get away with this. It’s worse than it was under Obama. It’s an absolute disaster. And he seems to have no interest—he, the president—no interest in finding out how to make it any better. As long as he goes out and says something wild about the press and gets unfairly attacked, unfairly attacked by all the Democrats, unfairly attacked by the media, lied about in the media, that’s going to keep bringing the base back. And I think we should support him when he’s unfairly attacked. I would just like it to be him being unfairly attacked for doing something and not tweeting something. The level of frustration is very high in the White House at this point. He’s very frustrated. His anger is growing at the people around him. This is when you’re also attacking the DHS leadership. And he eventually comes around to firing [Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen, firing others involved in DHS and trying to— I assume this is his answer to trying to do the next thing, trying to do something. He wants tougher people. He wants tougher policies. He wants people to do what he says he wants them to do. Talk, talk, talk. That’s what he says. Doesn’t do anything that would accomplish that. He puts something in charge who’s as bad as Nielsen. So you got rid of one bad and absolutely idiotic choice for the single most important department in your administration, Department of Homeland Security, and replaced her with someone equally bad. Way to go, Mr. President! And the answer would have been? Kris Kobach, as it would have been from day one. I’ve got to tell you, you can look back at my columns a month after his election, during the transition, when he did not immediately announce that it was going to be Kris Kobach, I said this is— I predicted ball and pocket what was going to happen if you don’t surround yourself with people who know how to get this done. You’re going to be lied to. You will have bureaucrats saying, “Oh, you can’t do that.” They’ll make the wrong arguments in court. They’ll make the wrong arguments on TV, and you won’t get any of it done. Hire Kris Kobach. He never hired Kris Kobach. … No, Kobach is a lovely person. There is not—he is rhetorically the molecular opposite of Donald Trump. He is the Marshall Scholar version of someone who loves our country. He understands the policies. There would be nothing being, you know, running roughshod over the law or immigrants. He’s a kind person. … And the argument made by Nielsen and others in the DHS was they were attempting to do the things that the president wanted, but they weren’t able to do it because of legalities, and they were trying to slow things down so they would take place in a way that would hold up in the courts. That’s almost verbatim what I predicted would happen if he didn’t hire the right people. This is what they’ll tell you, Mr. President: “Oh, we can’t; there’s a court ruling against that.” Oh, my gosh. It is so easy to stop something if you don’t want it done, and the entire bureaucracy doesn’t want it done. Like I say, it would be tough even for Reagan to accomplish his agenda if he didn’t surround himself with people who knew what they were doing. Tough, but possible. With someone who himself has no idea what’s going on and no particular strong beliefs that it should be done? Not a chance. … So you kind of discount—the way that it’s reported in a lot of places is that Miller is really the one behind it. Yes, the media has that 100% wrong. Tell me one more time. A lot of people say right now he’s the one that got Nielsen fired; he’s the one that is pushing forward these much more aggressive policies than anybody else. And so he’s the guy who’s the last man standing. The media have this totally wrong. It’s hilarious. I’m sure he’s enjoying it. No, he’s the one who kept immigration patriots out of the White House because he wants to be the only one; he wants the full credit, and he wants Trump to only check with him. By the way, where was he when his old boss Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, was being humiliated day after day after day by the president? Was he going in, slapping president on the back, “Nice job, yeah. That Sessions, you’re right. He’s—”? And furthermore, there was only lonely voice in the woods who said that Sessions should not be AG. I wanted him—I said put him in immigration; put him in Homeland. And I was told, “Oh, he’s always wanted to be attorney general.” I said, “We’ve got 10 seconds on the clock to save the nation. This isn’t Make-a-Wish Foundation. Don’t put him there.” I mean, he was great. He did more than anybody else in the administration. But I mean, I would have put [William] Barr. He’s very—the attorney general does have to do things other than immigration. Barr is very smart, very good, has worked in Department of Justice before. We should have kept—I would have kept Sessions in the Senate. We lost a senator. Now he was replaced by a Democrat because of more idiocy from the White House, endorsing the establishment, pro-amnesty candidate because Mitch McConnell asked him to. And then we end up with Roy Moore instead of just endorsing Mo Brooks to begin with. No, no! Can’t do that! Because that would be a good idea. Why does Trump do that? The story was that McConnell told [Jared] Kushner that he wanted Trump to endorse Luther Strange, the pro-amnesty Republican. Good thinking. That was a good move. But then eventually— Well, Strange, of course, lost. Right, and then eventually Trump supports Moore. But at that point— What else are you going to do? That’s against the Democrat. So in the most conservative state in the union, we now have a Democratic senator because of the genius machinations of Jared Kushner and Mitch McConnell. So good, you know, to have people who know what they’re doing. No, Trump’s like the guy who, you know, breaks up a marriage and then refuses to marry the—marry the wife. He gets Sessions out of the Senate and then blows the Senate seat. Just to finalize on Sessions and whatever Miller does or does not do, Bannon, who is involved with them in the very beginning on these issues on immigration, how much do they actually get done in the end? Did they accomplish—how many of the goals that Sessions specifically was trying to accomplish? Sessions did some stuff. I—I—I’m not sure. Sessions did some things; it would be hard to quantify that. It was the only place, pretty much, that anything was being done on Trump’s promises. So it was really fun to watch Trump humiliating Sessions every day on Twitter, the one guy keeping your promises. But look, it’s all about personnel. It’s all about personnel. If he cared, he’d hire the right people.