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Florida Keys Damage; Power Restoration Update; St. Thomas Hit Hard by Hurricane; GOP Tries Tax Reform; Bannon on Christie. Aired 12- 12:30p ET
Aired September 12, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] BROCK LONG, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Largely from storm surge, 25 percent of the houses initially have been destroyed and 65 percent have major damage. Basically every house in The Keys was impacted in some way or another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Uprooted trees and broken power poles map Irma's messy path up Florida and across the southeast. Millions still without power. And it could be a while.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: I've gotten a lot of phone calls from nursing homes and assisted living that they're having issues with their generators. And so we're doing everything we can to help them get either generators, fuel, power back on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Plus, tax reform is the new focus for Republicans in Congress. And there are some new wrinkles. President Trump's recent deal-making with Democrats and rising tensions between the White House and the GOP leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: I think Mitch McConnell and to a degree Paul Ryan, they do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic, nationalist agenda to be implemented. It's very obvious. They're not going to help you unless they're put on notice they're going to be held accountable if they do not support the President of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We could hear from the president at any moment. He's in a meeting right now with the prime minister of Malaysia at the White House. If they have any comments, we'll bring them to you as soon as we get that tape.
Back to Irma, though. And please be patient. That's the plea from officials across the southeast today as crews work to get the power back on for about 7 million homes and businesses and as countless evacuees begin heading home.
This after Tropical Storm Irma lashed the region with heavy rainfall and fierce winds. Officials report at least six deaths due to the storm. That's on top of the 36 killed in the Caribbean. The storm now downgraded to a tropical depression overnight. In Charleston, South Carolina, tied in a harbor that peaked at nearly 10 feet high. That's four feet higher than normal.
Popular areas along the battery surged with floodwaters. Residents spotted even more frightening sights as the storm passed. Check this out. A waterspout just off the coast.
Farther south, officials are struggling to reach certain parts of the Florida Keys. The Defense Department says 10,000 people who rode out the storm might now need to evacuate. FEMA officials estimates that 25 percent of the homes were destroyed in The Keys, 65 percent of them likely damaged.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is in the Caribbean today to survey the brutal damage on French territories. European leaders trying to rush to fly in supplies and aid workers as well. People on the islands across the Caribbean say there are major shortages of food, fuel, and clean water.
Concerning the Florida Keys right now, any damage estimates are just that, early estimates. It's an island chain, so getting in, much harder. First responders still trying to reach some of the hardest hit areas.
CNN's Bill Weir has been sailing just off the Florida Keys trying to assess the damage.
Bill, what are you seeing?
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, greetings from lower Matecumbe Key. We're about mile marker 72-73 here on the overseas highway. Look at how calm the Atlantic is today. If only it stayed that way all the time, ay. But the cost of living in paradise is the destruction of storms like Irma that we're just beginning to absorb now as we work our way south, as traffic sort of trickles open now.
This used to be a very popular restaurant in this area called Mr. Lobster. It's gone. It has been completely wiped away. Not so much by wind, although that did -- there are signs of wind damage ono the roofs here, but by that storm surge. As that 10, 15 foot wave came and took that restaurant, a lot of it made of big shipping containers, and floated them across Antigua Harbor here and crashing into that boat, as you can see there.
The devastation not as bad as we have seen in some other, you know, less sturdily constructed areas. But, thankfully, lots of proof of life here. As we motored in, we saw people on boats, people on their balconies drying out their things. You hear the sound of generators cranking. A lot of activity on the highway. Big earth movers clearing the sand. But little hints here and there of just how powerful this storm was.
Lobster traps from the Atlantic side thrown into neighborhoods on this side.
We are working our way, slowly but surely, down to the lower keys, where the eyewall of that storm came ashore. And that is where the most concern is, is for human life there. There's no way to confirm who may have perished and who maybe, that's like the rest of us, just doesn't have cell service. Even our satellite phones are really spotty.
And so it is so primitive down here. No power. No running water. Everybody on the hunt for precious drops of gasoline. Ice is a luxury down here that will bring people to the edge of tears with joy as they find some.
But I'm hearing a lot of resolve. Very little self-pity from these hardy folks down here in the Conck (ph) Republic. As we were motoring out of Key Largo, the owner of the Caribbean Club, which was one of the sets for the movie, "Key Largo," with Bogart and Bacall, said, hey, CNN, you tell America this is just stuff. We can rebuild it. We're coming back. And that's the kind of attitude it's going to take to clean up what is the most devastating weather here in a generation.
[12:05:24] We are going to keep moving down The Keys and report in what we find all along the way.
Until then, I'm Bill Weir. Let's send it back to John.
KING: Bill Weir for us off the Florida Keys. Again, officials just trying to get a scope -- a sense of the scope of the devastation. Out of nearly seven million customers without power in the southeast, at least 5.5 million of those in Florida. The vice president of the largest power company in the state says power restoration could be coming very soon in many places.
Let's get to Sarasota, Florida. That's where we find CNN's Alex Marquardt.
Alex, Florida Power just had a news briefing. What did they tell us?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They did. Well, this is a round the clock effort to get the power turned back on, John. There is some good news. Some progress made overnight. Almost 2 million customers having their power restored. But, of course, that is of little comfort to those 5.5 million customers who are still without power here in Florida, who you were talking about.
Now, we do have to make a differentiation between customers and people. Customers include homes and businesses. So when we talk about 5.5 million, it is many millions of more people.
Now, the lucky ones amongst them will get their power back within days or hours. But many of the more unfortunate, particularly farther south from here, may have to wait weeks.
As you mentioned, we have just gotten an update from the biggest utility company, Florida Power and Light. Here's what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We estimate we will be restoring power to all customers along the eastern portion of our service territory. The eastern portion of Florida had much -- or had less damage in some respects than the western side of our state. So along the eastern seaboard, if you will, the eastern portion of our territory, we expect to be essentially restored for all customers by the end of this coming weekend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: So by the end of the coming weekend for the east coast, which, of course, wasn't hit as hard as the west coast. FPL saying the west coast can expect to get their power restored by Friday, September 22nd, which, of course, will come as welcome news to so many who were expecting to wait weeks longer.
Now, John, we are in one of FPL's 20 staging areas across the state. This looks like an empty parking lot. It has been a hive of activity with crews coming and going, coming back from assignments, going back out on assignments all day long.
Just to show you how they are working around the clock, back there are a bunch of sleeping trailers that can fit around 1,800 people. The CEO of FPL saying they are working 24-7.
The White House says it has deployed the biggest army of power workers ever, drawing in people from all across the country, even Canada. Now, of course, the focus has been on Florida for the past few days. We can't forget that as that storm swept upwards, it has knocked out power in Alabama and the Carolinas and in Georgia to the tune of 1.4 million customers.
KING: A remarkable logistical challenge for the reconstruction and the rebuilding. Alex Marquardt for us in Sarasota. Alex, thank you. Keep in touch.
Florida took a hard hit, but the Caribbean islands, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, took an even harder hit. CNN's Sara Ganim joins us on the phone now. She's on the way to St. Thomas.
Sara, update us on your status and what you know.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hey there, John.
Yes, we're actually on a private boat. A local resident, a charter boat captain, he's one of many people here on the islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, who are helping people try to get off of St. Thomas.
The current situation there, we are told, is very dire. The entire island is without power. Several thousand residents, American citizens and tourists. The airport is badly damaged and no flights are going in and out. Ferries just started running back and forth to other islands the last couple of days.
So it's actually the local community here that has come together, stepped up to help each other. You've got locals helping the locals here.
I talked to boat captains, to airline pilot. There are people who live on these islands and they're using their own resources to try to evacuate people to Puerto Rico, which is the nearest airport that's flying really international and is up and running. They're literally shuttling people back and forth, John, from the islands to Puerto Rico.
Now, we are told by government officials that cruise ships are expected to arrive later today to take on some of those stranded residents. And we do know that military assistance is also now on the island. You've got FEMA coordinating with the DOD to bring in supplies, to rescue people who haven't been able to leave their homes since Irma hit.
St. Thomas is a very mountainous terrain, just to give you an idea of what it's like here. Lots of windy roads. The wind from Hurricane Irma, you can imagine all the foliage is now debris that's just everywhere. And locals told me that they spent days with chainsaws trying to get down the street to the center of town to cut through all the debris so they could drive out of their homes. So the people here who were among the first to really feel the wrath of Hurricane Irma are now also some of the last to remain trapped by the aftermath.
[12:10:25] The boat that I'm on right now with our crew is filled. It's a yacht that probably could fit, you know, 15 to 20 people and instead it's filled with supplies. Everything from diapers to food to water. Tons and tons of water. Just supplies for the people who are stranded there with no power, with little water. And people are just starting in the last few days to be able to get in and out, John.
KING: CNN's Sara Ganim on her way to the Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, to get a first-hand look.
And you see some of these pictures across the Caribbean. Yes, Florida took a hard hit, but these tiny islands took a much, much harder hit.
Sara, keep up the good work. We'll keep in touch with you as you get close to your destination.
When we come back, domestic politics. As Congress gets back to work, President Trump and his economic team press lawmakers on tax reform, including a big White House dinner party tonight.
[12:15:20] KING: Welcome back.
Tax reform is priority one as Congress gets back to work this week. And it's a big focus for the president too. His top economic advisers on Capitol Hill today trying to make some progress on the details and on the process. And tax reform talk is on the menu as the president plays host to six senators tonight, three Republicans and three Democrats. We know the president wants to slash the top corporate tax rate from 39 percent to 15 percent, but his treasury secretary pretty clear here he knows that deep of a cut is a tough sell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: This is a pass-fail exercise. So passing tax reform, which hasn't been done in 31 years, that's a win. And what the exact number is, we'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: CNN's Phil Mattingly live for us on Capitol Hill.
Phil, you've been looking at the Republican plan to try to sell this. Obamacare didn't go that well. Tax reform will be easy, right?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, something like that, yes. No, not at all. And I think they recognize that.
Look, when it comes to how they want to sell this, they're not worried, necessarily, about selling it to the public right now. They're trying to sell it to their own members.
Now, as this has been going along over the last couple of months, you've had meetings of the big six, the chairs of the key committees, White House officials, the leadership. That's starting to spread out now. They're trying to kind of loop members of each committee, Senate Finance, House Ways and Means Committee, in on the details. The rational for this, they wants buy-ins. Soon, I'm told by aides, over the next couple of weeks they'll release kind of a longer set of principles and top lines. And then they'll start getting feedback from their own members.
You talk about health care. One of the lessons learned from that experience was their rank and file members need to have buy-in. Need to feel like their input is being heard. That way when it comes down to the end, when it comes down to whether you're thumbs up or thumbs down on the final vote, you feel like you've been heard, and perhaps you even have some provisions in there as well.
But it's worth noting, John, one, this is very early in the process. We still expect to have hearings on both sides. Both chambers are going to take up their own bills with some kind of input from the White House here. But even more important than that, one of the meetings that's happening today, Steve Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, Gary Cohn, NEC director, meeting with the Senate budget Republicans. Why? Well, the Budget Committee still has to pass a budget in both the House and the Senate and then they need to bring it together. That is the only way that they can get tax reform through on a simple majority. They aren't even close on that yet.
So you talk about the details of tax reform, how in the weeds this is going to get. You don't even bring in when lobbyists get involved, k street, all the problems that's going to cause. They haven't even been able to get the initial mechanism through yet. That's going to be the focus over the next couple weeks.
It is a long haul. I was talking to Senator John Thune yesterday, a member of leadership, who said this. Look, we've heard a lot of deadline -- we've set a lot of deadlines in the past and we've ended up missing. Aspirationally, we would love to have this done by the end of this year. But if it has to move into 2018, we have to get tax reform done. Deadlines aren't nearly as important as trying to get all the members in the loop, John.
KING: Wishful thinking perhaps as things get a little more difficult as you move into that election year, but we shall see.
Phil Mattingly, a busy few weeks ahead up on Capitol Hill.
Now, that shared goal of tax reform doesn't guarantee smooth sailing as the White House and GOP leadership try to get to the finish line. A lot of Republicans feel betrayed by that spending deal the president cut last week with top Democrats. And now the former White House chief strategist, Steven Bannon, is calling out the GOP leaders and promising to back primary challenges against lawmakers he views as too tied to the establishment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: I think Mitch McConnell and to a degree Paul Ryan. They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic, nationalist agenda to be implemented. It's very obvious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: With us to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Nia- Malika Henderson, Carl Hulse of "The New York Times," CNN's Jeff Zeleny and Rachael Bade of "Politico."
How much does this environment affect progress on something that was already complicated to begin with? Everyone's trying to put the best face on this. But Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin are going to go meet with Republicans today who are mad at the president. The president's trying to get this done. Steve Bannon is saying, if you don't' vote the way we want, I'll run a primary challenge against you.
So before they could even get to the details, they have to deal with this climate. How poisoned is the will?
CARL HULSE, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I don't think it's the most conducive environment to cutting a big deal, obviously. And they're still fighting over what that deal last week actually represented. I talked to Senator McConnell yesterday at length about -- about these things. And on tax reform, you know, they are optimistic that this is something that brings them together much more so than health care did, obviously. A lot of people had different ideas about that.
But, I mean, as Phil said, the big issue is the budget. They have to get a budget passed in the House and the Senate before they do anything. That's just not going to be that easy and everybody is at a little -- at each other's throats a little bit.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You talk to Republicans and it's not that they want to help out the president necessarily. They know that they need a win. I mean that's something that House Republicans are retiring and, you know, afraid of running, necessarily moderates and others. So the Republican senators and House members I'm talking to, you know, they do know that they need something on tax reform. There's no way it's going to be as ambitious as originally outlined. But even something smaller on tax reform or a tax cut of some kind.
[12:20:15] Many Republicans think it's essential to winning next year. I talked to one top Republican strategist yesterday with all of these House races. He said if they don't have tax reform or a tax cut under their belt, Republicans lose the House. Too early to say for sure, but that's not that far-fetched.
RACHAEL BADE, POLITICO: You know, a lot of people feel like that on Capitol Hill right now that, you know, their majority is really in jeopardy if they don't get these tax cuts through.
But just bringing it back to that deal that Trump struck with the Democrats. I mean I was standing outside of the Republican conference last Friday getting -- my phone was just blowing up with members in the room saying, you know, people are standing up and hissing and booing at Mnuchin and Mulvaney over this deal. There's a great fear that because Trump went, you know, circumvented leadership and struck this deal with Democrats on the debt issue, maybe he's going to do this on tax reform.
And you sort of see it today perfectly, right? You have, at the White House, Republicans -- or, I'm sorry, on Capitol Hill, Republicans are meeting. Ryan, McConnell, the chairman of the tax committees, Mnuchin and Cohn are talking about a Republican tax bill. Trump is hosting a bipartisan coalition right now at the White House a few hours later. He wants to do tax infrastructure, which would be a bipartisan plan. So they're worried about this after last week and they have every right to be.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And in some ways, I mean, the Republican strategists I talked to sort of close to the White House are also a little skeptical of whether or not, is this sort of a one-off, this kind of bipartisanship, or is it a pattern? I mean because Trump is unpredictable. Sometimes he makes friends and then he doesn't have those friends anymore. And Schumer, I mean we saw early on, it seemed like he could strike a deal with Schumer right after the inauguration. They seemed pretty chummy, him and Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, and that's where we are again. But is that going to be kind of the rule of the day or will he turn on them as well?
KING: Well, I -- part of that question is the president, who's transactional. If he thinks he can get a win over here, he's going to stay over here. Even through you might had earned (ph) him last week, he's going to stay over here if he thinks he can get a win.
But you had a conversation with Chuck Schumer about this, and that is one of the big questions because, yes, it was significant and Republicans are mad, they feel betrayed, especially the way it was done with their leader sitting right there in the Oval Office when the president pulled the rug out from under them. But he cuts a deal -- a deal on a temporary spending bill and the debt ceiling increase and Harvey money is a lot easier than the details of tax reform.
You had a conversation with the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, the fellow New Yorker. Listen to his take here to Carl Hulse of "The New York Times" on the new relationship with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: But the one thing we've had is we're New Yorkers. We're pretty direct and we talk right at each other. And it worked.
So the first week I said to President-elect Trump, look, we're not going to obstruct you just for the sake of obstruction. If you work with us, as long as we can keep our values, we'll work together. But the hard right philosophy works very well when you're on the outside shooting at somebody -- figuratively. It does not work when you have to govern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Diplomatic there from his fellow New Yorker.
But, I mean, this will turn into a car before Democrats will agree with the president on tax reform, will it not? To Democrats, tax reform means raising taxes on the rich and then cutting taxes on lower and middle income. That is not what the president has in mind or the Republicans.
HULSE: Right. I think that would be a tough deal. The president is trying to pick off a few Democrats, though, and that's who he's going to have a dinner with tonight, like Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota. You know maybe there's some -- a few votes available there to offset Republican losses.
But a couple other things. One, I think a hard time getting this done this year and they know it. that's why they don't want to set any deadlines because as soon as they miss that deadline, we attack them for blowing it again.
And, two, we probably shouldn't even call this tax reform anymore. It's tax cuts. It's not going to be some big package.
KING: It's not going to be --
HULSE: I agree with Jeff, they need -- they've got to -- they've got to have a win or they're in serious trouble.
KING: And one of the things we've got to watch as all this plays out is the Steve Bannon, removed from the White House, now at Breitbart, said -- we know he doesn't like the Republican leadership. We know he doesn't like Gary Cohn. We know he's not always on the same page as the president's treasury secretary. He says he's going to help the president, but he's got his arrows pointed at a lot of people. The president needs to get this to the finish line.
He also -- this is interesting here. Listen to this in the CBS "60 Minutes" interview Steve Bannon did. He's talking about why Chris Christie didn't get a big job in the Trump administration. He says it goes back to that weekend when the "Access Hollywood" tape came out and a lot of people thought the Trump campaign was about to collapse. Steve Bannon says Chris Christie wouldn't stand up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Oh, I've got to -- I've got to -- you know, I'm Irish. I've got to get my black book and I got him.
Christie, because of Billy Bush weekend and was -- was not looked at for a cabinet position.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wasn't there for you on Billy Bush weekend, so therefore he doesn't get a cabinet position?
BANNON: I told him the plane leaves at 11:00 in the morning. If you're on the plane, you're on the team. He didn't make the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I'm sure Billy Bush is thrilled they call it Billy Bush weekend.
[12:25:00] Here's Governor Christie's response. He says that's fiction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: That that conversation that Mr. Bannon references in his interview never happened. So I suspect this little black book that Mr. Bannon's talking about, the only one who read that black book was Mr. Bannon himself. I know that no one else cared about it. And now that he's been fired, no one's going to really care about anything else Steve Bannon has to say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, this is a great -- it's great, Christie versus Bannon. It's just a great drama between the two of them, who, shall we say, don't think alike on many issues. But and it -- but it's also a reminder of, we're not quite sure what to make of this new Bannon role as a disruptor from the outside.
ZELENY: No question. But we do know that Steve Bannon now is -- has no -- he's unshackled. He does not have the, you know, the reign of -- the chain of authority he has to report up to. He can tweet out anything. He can assign a story on Breitbart. He can, in fact, call the president if he wants to, or he doesn't even have to call him. He can sort of lead from the outside. So he is unshackled. And that makes a lot of people inside the West
Wing a little bit anxious about this. But he also overplays his hand in some respects, I'm told by people close to the president, of overstating his influence. Sometimes he has it. Sometimes he has a lot of it if the president's in that mood. But the president doesn't always listen.
And as we've seen, we saw him rolled (ph) several times. So I think the funniest thing of all this is Steve Bannon thinks, he said, he doesn't care what the mainstream media thinks.
HENDERSON: He loves the mainstream media.
ZELENY: Which is why, of course, he was giving an interview on "60 Minutes" with Charlie Rose, which is pretty mainstream.
HENDERSON: Yes. Yes.
BADE: You mentioned the limits of Steve Bannon or Breitbart's power, et cetera, right now. I would say that not only are people in the White House watching him closely. But on Capitol Hill, I'm sure there are a lot of lawmakers. Obviously the GOP leaders who were in that black book he is talking about. But this week we sort of saw something interesting happen where, you know, there were a couple of reports about him meeting with Freedom Caucus conservatives who are really ticked off at Paul Ryan for the lack of legislative accomplishments. They were talking about, you know, who could replace the speaker. These are the guys who drove out John Boehner. Would they do the same for Paul Ryan?
And that actually had the total reverse effect --
BADE: That Bannon and the conservative would have wanted it to have. It make Republicans rally around Ryan, who are like, this is a premature discussion right now. Yes, they are very ticked at Republican leadership, but they're more upset with Trump right now because of this deal from last week. So, for now, Ryan seems to be OK, but Hill leaders are also going to have a big issue with Bannon going forward.
KING: And maybe he can raise more money now because he had the platform in the White House position and the platform of his place in the Trump campaign. But it's not like that Breitbart hasn't done this before.
KING: They went after Mitch McConnell. They, you know, supported his primary challenger back a few years ago. It didn't happen.
HULSE: And crushed him everywhere.
KING: Yes. Yes. That was the Tea Party and Breitbart. It hasn't worked in the past. Is there any reason to believe that the party's different now?
KING: You have a Donald Trump presidency. The Republican Party is sort of changing under our feet by the day. Do we have any reason to believe it can be different?
HENDERSON: I mean -- I mean I do think folks like Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, I mean, they are very vulnerable in this cycle. And they would be vulnerable whether or not Bannon decides to get into this race anyway. So we'll see what his real power is.
But I do think he does it, as Jeff said, sort of overplay his hand, overstate his importance, overstate the kind of pull he has on the ground in a lot of these states, particularly. And so we'll see how this works out. But I do think it is an echo of what we've seen before and we'll see if it works. But it certainly is worrying Republicans.
HULSE: You know, John, I tried to get -- I tried to get Mitch McConnell to engage on Bannon yesterday and totally hit a brick wall. He just would not dignify this at all with a comment.
But, you know, from Mitch McConnell's perspective, it doesn't make sense to take -- for Republicans to fight among Republicans. But, you know, he's -- I think this race in Alabama is -- that's the first test. It's (INAUDIBLE). McConnell is backing the incumbent and the challenger is doing pretty well.
KING: All right, we'll see how that one plays out then. My bigger question is, how does this play with the president over time, in the sense that Steve Bannon says, I'm the president's wingman. I will never hurt the president. And yet he says, Gary Cohn should have resigned. He attacks, you know, he attacks the personnel inside the White House. He attacks some of the positions of people inside the White House. He's going after the speaker and the majority, who the president needs to get this to the finish line. They're not going to get a lot of Democratic votes for tax reform. They'll be lucky if they get a handful. They'll be lucky if they get one or two actually.
So is there any point where the president realizes, this guy keeps saying he's my friend, but this is not helping the cause.
ZELENY: I think it's -- go ahead.
BADE: Oh, I was just going to say, it's not like President Trump is best friends with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan anyway.
KING: Right. Right.
BADE: I mean, yes, he needs them to get things done right now. I think one of the areas we haven't really discussed where they're going to butt heads is the dreamer issue, right? You know, the president has said, even though he is ending DACA, he wants some sort of deal, increased border security for the dreamers getting legal -- continuing their legal status. So obviously Bannon is going to go hard against that and conservatives will again as well.
ZELENY: It's one of those examples that the president, he is in charge and he decides which part of the Bannon philosophy he's going to believe. I think the difference here is, is Breitbart going to have a big influence? What does the president do? Does he decide to go hard after this? He has made constant -- there are several examples of he has not gone to the wall like he said he would in terms of shutting the government down.
[12:30:08] KING: Right.
ZELENY: He's decided not to do that. So he has stopped well short of the Bannon philosophy.
KING: I'm going to take you to the White House now. Sorry to interrupt.