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Trump's Chaotic Week; Tariff's on Steel and Aluminum; Lehigh University Honorary Degree Rescinding; Ryan Seacrest Sexual Harassment Allegations. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 03, 2018 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SMERCONISH: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This week was a disaster for President Trump, or was it? Let's consider the evidence. His most trusted advisor Hope Hicks is leaving the White House. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster maybe next and the New York Times is reporting the President is conflicted over the continued White House service of his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Even seeking John Kelly's help in removing them, where Kushner now has his own legal entanglements and saw his security clearance downgraded.
Trump's at war with his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Wednesday, he risked alienating the NRA when saying conciliatory words about a gun deal which drew an excited response from Diane Feinstein. And he even managed the impossible, to temporarily alienate one of his FOX enablers, Tucker Carlson, by being dismissive of due process. And then a day later he announced a stiff tariff on imports of steel catching the GOP by surprise where the White House has not even completed a legal review. The Friday Wall Street Journal editorial page, not exactly a left wing oracle called it the biggest policy blunder of his presidency.
All this just as we were getting past his Staff Secretary Rob Porter's departure amid allegations of spousal abuse. So a disaster right? And just how in the world did the President cope, how did he manage the stress from this disastrous week? By waking up Friday morning and before the sun came up casting his sights on Alex Baldwin, or Alec Baldwin. At 5:42 a.m. the President sent this carefree tweet. Alex Baldwin who's dying, die, dying mediocre career was saved now says Donald J. Trump was agony for him. Alex, it was also agony for those who were forced to watch. You were terrible. Bring back Darrell Hammond, much funnier and a far greater talent.
Don't forget this was also the week that the President hired a 20/20 campaign manager. And today he woke up in sunny Mar-A-Lago, what, him worry? So what does he know that those so quick to use the chaos descriptor don't? Maybe that politically speaking, none of this matters. After all, he's more popular today than election day. CNN's polling expert Harry Enten noted that while Trump has the lowest approval rating of any President at this point in their tenure. He's actually more popular now than when he was elected.
The favorability rating that spread between his disapproval and approval has actually shrunk eight points. Politically speaking, perhaps the most significant development of the week was the President's fulfillment of his campaign tariff pledge. It might be economically in error, but it bolsters the base that put him in office. The same group, for who's amusement he awoke yesterday and took on Alex Baldwin. Early in the campaign Trump famously claimed he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters. Many are trying to declare that the totality of all that transpired this week is the political equivalent of shooting somebody on 5th Avenue.
Well I'm not convinced that politically speaking he lost any voters. There were many of us who were quick to pronounce candidate Trump's demise during the campaign. I'm trying not to make that mistake a second time. I think that the only thing that could really be a disaster for this Administration, would come from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. I want to know what you think though. Go to my website, it's smerconishhhh.com and answer this question. Politically speaking, politically speaking, was this past week a disaster for President Trump?
Joining me now Salina Zito, who writes for the Washington Examiner and New York Post, Julian Zelizer, a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University, the aforementioned Harry Enten, CNN Senior Political Writer and Analyst and Amanda Terkel, Washington Bureau Chief for the Huffington Post. Harry, explain those numbers to me. What's going on?
ENTEN: Essentially what's going on is the President has this loyal base of supporters and everyone who hated him before the campaign, still hates him now. Except for a few Republicans who have switched from, say, disapproving of his job to approving of him personally. And that's basically what's happened is, the Democrats already all hated him, most of the Independents hated him and the Republicans are sticking by his side and nothing that seems to occur in this presidency takes them away from him.
SMERCONISH: Harry, something else to be kept in mind, I think is that electabililty and approval rates are two totally separate things.
ENTEN: Sure. Sure. Of course. And I think that this is one of the key things we need to remember. Right? Donald Trump was the most unpopular candidate - -
ENTEN: - - of all time when he faced off against Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Clinton herself was the second most unpopular candidate of all time. So, as we head into 2018, it's a whole different ballgame and that's why if I'm Donald Trump, I can't just count on the same factors that put me into office in the first place, allowing the Republican party to succeed in 2018. I personally think they may be heading for disaster.
SMERCONISH: Salina, you live in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania between now and March 13th, CNN viewers are going to hear a lot more about that Congressional District. How many Trump supporters did he lose this week in the 18th because of all the chaos and disaster?
ZITO: None. You know - - you have to - - you have to remember that people don't consume news in the same way that political junkies do. And they also have this sort of set point of view of him. They bought into the fact that it was going to be chaotic. They understood that he was flawed. And they - - and then a lot of times they didn't even like him, but that's what they wanted and - - and - - and as Harry said, not much has changed since November 8th, 2016. If you liked him, you're still optimistic.
If you hate him, you still hate him, and not much has moved, in terms of his popularity. Now when it comes to the midterms, we have yet to see whether that transfers down to these Congressional seats. I - - I would suspect ones in suburban districts that are affluent and don't have a lot of interaction with blue collar, he's going to suffer. But I don't know that that's going to happen if he's in - - in suburban districts that have a rural and blue collar mix.
SMERCONISH: Amanda, are you buying all this analysis thus far, and if not where do you disagree?
TERKEL: Well, I mean, I think he could be really hurt in midterms and we're already seeing Democrats do a lot better in these special elections that have been popping up and they're expected to. You know, these are areas where Trump won. I was just in rural western Wisconsin last week with a lot of rural voters and I talked to people who, you know, gave Trump a chance and now are thinking like, I don't know if I'm going to go with Republicans again. And some of that is because of Trump and some of that's just because they still don't like the way Washington is working and they don't like the Republican Congress. But Trump has to be careful because this chaos he's creating is having effects for other Republicans and the bad weeks like he had this last week, you know, certainly isn't helping anyone in the GOP.
SMERCONISH: Amanda, it's hard to recap all that transpired this week. But as you look at the milestones that we've just been through, which one, if I ask you to identify just one thing that happened in the last five days. What's at the top of your list?
TERKEL: Well, I'll take it and there are a lot of metrics for that. But I'll take it from Trump personally. I think Hope Hicks leaving is really going to hit him hard. He really relied on her. She had been with him since the beginning of the campaign. There's now just one other person in the White House who has been with him that long. And so, he - - you know, he is increasingly isolated, morale is really bad in the White House and he - - without that one other person to control Trump, he maybe increasingly volatile. So for Trump himself, I would say her departure is pretty bad.
SMERCONISH: Professor Zelizer, I think you have a very provocative piece right now at CNN.com that I recommend people read. But let me just grab one paragraph and put it on the screen if I might. "The biggest surprise these days is not what happens in the White House, but the way that this presidency is covered. Despite the fact that there has never been a period of normalcy since January of 2017. Other than a few days here and there of quiet, everyone keeps on expressing surprise at discovering the turbulent state that the Administration is in." Expand on that.
ZELIZER: Well I think almost every week we hit a point where you'll hear headlines about chaos, about turmoil, about something being unprecedented. All of that is true, but it's fairly consistent. There's only been a few calm weeks in this presidency. And I think this is the way that he governs. There's a logic to why he is doing this, a strategy. And I don't think we should be surprised at the end of every week where this is what's happened. This is the new normal in presidential politics, at least for this term.
SMERCONISH: And you, in your opinion piece saw it much the same way as I did in the opening monologue. Right? About how this just is a lot of noise, you didn't say it that way, but it's a lot of noise for those who put them in office. And sometimes that gets lost on a lot of us who are in a bubble.
ZELIZER: Yes. A lot of people who voted for him are not disturbed by what happened and there's a political explanation to some of what he's doing. The trade measures, if the economic fallout is contained, will appeal to many base voters in some of those "Rust Belt" areas that are suffering. The gun measure, he shows he's being flexible on television and listening to suburban voters. But he know the Republican Congress probably won't send him anything that the NRA can't - -
ZELIZER: - - live with and finally the parlor room intrigue that we see every week keeps focus on him. It keeps attention on personnel over policy and it reminds everyone in the White House, he's the boss and anyone is expendable at any moment.
SMERCONISH: Harry, is there anything he could do to shake the base support that he enjoys?
ENTEN: I - - I - - I think really you hit it at - - at the top of this segment when you said if Robert Mueller brings charges, I think that could really shake it.
ENTEN: I think the other thing that's completely out of his control is if the economy goes south. I mean, his highest approval ratings right now are on the economy. He campaigned on it. The economy goes south, I think his presidency goes south with him.
SMERCONISH: I want to ask Salina Zito to break down that Alex Baldwin exchange. What's going on there? I mean, what's truly - - you - - you are the Trump whisperer among of us. It's quarter of six, a.m. on Friday. There's a hell of a lot going on and the first thing on his mind when he awakens is Baldwin. What's going on?
ZITO: That's - - that's just him. I mean, this is what he does as Julian said, is his voters don't seem phased by that and - - and this is - - this is what people bought into. They knew he tweeted like this before he became President. They saw a few weeks after he became President he was still going to do it. And they're like, well, this is our normal. This is what - -
SMERCONISH: Amanda, no - - no down side for him. Again we're also speaking in political terms here, but no downside for him being on the opposite side of a debate with Alec Baldwin from SNL, part of that, you know, northeastern (inaudible) quarter, liberal establishment.
TERKEL: Yes. There's no downside for him at all. You know, the press will cover it a little bit. His supporters will think it's funny or just ignore it completely. And, I mean, you know, this week that we were talking about, you know, in any other presidency it would be considered a disastrous week. Like - - like everyone's been saying, he's had so many of these weeks, and in a lot of ways it's just - - it's just more noise. It's just another week in his presidency.
SMERCONISH: Julian Zelizer, as you look back at the week just transpired, what stands out in your mind? The same question that I put to Amanda earlier.
ZELIZER: I think what stands out is the fact that everyone's surprised and I mean that. I mean, there - - there has to be a point of reckoning in our world of journalism where we understand the kind of presidency that we have at this point. His method of doing business and we move beyond the shock and awe that comes every week and really analyze where this is going, what he's doing and what the real impact is economically and politically. Rather than every time wondering if - - if this is the turning point that we've reached by Friday or Saturday.
SMERCONISH: Harry Enten, sum up and take us out of the segment. What do you most want to say?
ENTEN: I think the thing that I most want to say is keep an eye on the 12 percent of the electorate that voted for Donald Trump but didn't like him going into 2016. That's the group of voters that will determine 2018.
SMERCONISH: Great conversation. Thank you all. I really appreciate all four of you being here. And remember, for those of you at home, go to my website it's smerrrrconish.com and answer the poll question of the day. Was this past week, in fact, a disastrous week politically speaking for the Trump Administration? I look forward to giving you the results at the end of the hour. Of course, tweet me @smerconish, go to Facebook and I'll read some of the responses. Catherine (ph) what do we have so far?
From Facebook, why would you put a positive spin on his negative week? Mark (ph), I - - I so anticipated that there'd be such a human cry from people who say, oh you're carrying his water. Not doing so at all. I laid out the litany of all that went wrong for the President. Stood back and assessed from a political standpoint and said, I don't think politically speaking, it has been the disaster that others have put in granite. That's my view, not to be misunderstood. But what can I say in terms of the reaction.
Hit me with another one. To be honest, it was no more disaster than any other week recently. It's been a normal. Well Vincent (ph), yes, Vincent Vinsenzo (ph), it says it. And I - - I'm trying to school myself not to be here on a Saturday and say, oh my God the sky is falling. Because if that's the assessment that you have, the sky's been falling for - - for more than a year. One more if we have time. Do we? I think we do. Smerconish, disaster if he wrote a script treatment for a TV sitcom, this would be deemed unbelievable, interesting times. Yes, I wrote such a script about a presidential campaign and was told it's too fantastical three or four years ago. I wonder what they would say today? Nothing is to fantastical.
OK. Coming up, I want to make sure the - - the President announced these surprise tariffs on steel and aluminum and I want to make sure that we get into the question of whether this was planned to help a GOP candidate who's running in this month's special election in steel country Pennsylvania.
SMERCONISH: Also, the faculty at my Alma Mater asked the University to take away the honorary degree that it awarded Donald Trump. This was at Lehigh in 1988. Were they right or would it set an awful precedent?
This week President Trump surprised his own advisors and the stock market with an announcement of tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. The markets may be miffed but it's likely going to be a bragging point when the President attends a campaign rally next Saturday in steel country for Rick Saccone, the GOP candidate in the special election in Pennsylvania's 18th District. He's been nicknamed Trump 2.0. The election, March 13th to replace Tim Murphy who resigned after a scandal will be a test for Trump who has so far seen other GOP strongholds fall. So, what does this one race say about the politics of the nation.
Joining me now is Charles Gerow a veteran Pennsylvania Political Consultant, who was an aide to Ronald Reagan, National Co-Chair of Carly Fironia's presidential campaign. He's the CEO of Quantum Communications. Charlie, I want to show you a tweet from Robert - -
SMERCONISH: - - Costa of the Washington Post, who with regard to the President said this, "One person close to the White House tells me that PA '18 is on the President's mind and he thinks through tariffs, he's being told that his base in places like western PA wants to see more on trade, person said." A question for you. Do you think that the President is imposing that tariff specifically with an eye toward this district?
GEROW: I think it's a little bit of a stretch Michael because while U.S. Steel and ALCOA are still headquartered in Pittsburgh and incidentally Pittsburgh isn't part of the district. The whole economy of that region has shifted over the years to lay meds and eds economy, meaning healthcare and technology and away from a heavy metals economy. In fact, I don't think that there's even a working steel mill in the 18th Congressional District.
SMERCONISH: Tell me about some of the peculiarities of this district and this race.
GEROW: This district Michael is very diverse, and Donald Trump remains very popular there. It's still registered Democrat, a historic footnote in some ways. Much like - - I think it's a historic footnote to call it a heavy metals district. It was - - you know for a long time registered Democrat. It's still about a 25,000 to 30,000 Democratic advantage, but Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points and that was no aberration. Mitt Romney carried it by 17 because for the last generation or so Michael, it's been voting increasingly Republican. Tim Murphy, when he ran the last two cycles, had no opposition whatsoever. So, this is a close race. It's much closer than it should be but I'd still believe that on point Rick Saccone will prevail.
SMERCONISH: Tell me more about Saccone and Conor Lamb.
GEROW: Well what's interesting is, over the course of the past five special elections for the House, the national Democrats came in and told their candidates basically be anti-Trump. Say Donald Trump bad, me good. It didn't work. They lost everyone of those races, even though some of them were closer than folks thought they would be. In this case, Conor Lamb has come in and said, I'm really much closer to Donald Trump than any national Democrat. He said he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi. He says he's pro-gun. He's personally pro-life, etcetera. On the other hand you have Rick Saccone, who is a veteran state legislator who is by all account, you know, Trump 2.0.
He says personally that he was Donald Trump before Donald Trump came along. Donald Trump remains very popular in that district. If you want to look at particular policies, I think there are two that drive his popularity. One is his support for the energy sector and natural gas in particular, which is creating a lot of new jobs in that district. And the other is the tax cut, more jingle in people's pockets means more folks likely to vote Republican on March 13th.
SMERCONISH: You make the point Charlie that Nancy Pelosi is an issue in this race. I want to show just the first 10 or 20 seconds of a Saccone anti-Conor Lamb commercial and then I'll make a comment on it.
SMERCONISH: Not exactly a 10 on a production value standpoint. Here's the response from Conor Lamb to Rick Saccone on his connection to Pelosi.
SMERCONISH: You've got a - - you've got a Democratic candidate saying, hey I told you on the front page of a newspaper, I'm - - I'm not a supporter of Pelosi. GEROW: And yet he's going to continue to be tied to Pelosi because many of the policies that he'd vote for as a member of their caucus are hers. Nancy Pelosi is going to be a big issue in the 2018 cycle. And I think in many respects Michael, she's the Republican's secret weapon.
SMERCONISH: Of course the question is Charles is whether popularity transfers. I mean, you've - - you've underscored the point that President Trump remains very popular in PA's 18th but that doesn't always pass down the line.
GEROW: It doesn't Michael. You and I have seen this in some very telling examples in Pennsylvania ourselves. Where the significant popularity of a candidate doesn't transfer to those of others. You know, some operatives on the ground are concerned that when Donald Trump comes into the district, he brings in folks from all over the place including a lot of people who couldn't vote for Rick Saccone because they don't live there. But he will energize the base and he will affect turnout, and ultimately special elections, you know, are decided largely on turnout. There's another thing here Michael that I should mention, it's taking, you know, a significant impact - -
GEROW: - - on this race. And that's a decision by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to overturn the current Congressional maps. They said that the reapportionment plan was unconstitutional. So they have now created new maps so that in the 2018 cycle, this is a special election as you noted going back to the 2016 election. But in the 2018 cycle, neither Conor Lamb nor Rick Saccone live within the newly created districts. So that may have an effect on turnout because folks may say, I'm going out only to vote for a seat that's going to be held for nine months or so.
SMERCONISH: And - - and a quick final point to - - to that end. So these two are running on May 13th and they don't live in the district as it's now being drawn. There will then be a primary in the spring and then they'll be a general in the fall conceivably neither of these guys could be running in the fall election. Is that not true Charlie?
GEROW: It is true. And if they are running Michael, they're probably not running against each other in the fall. And both of them it looks like may have primaries in the newly configured districts. If those districts hold up, because the Supreme Court of the United States has been asked to step in. We still don't know what's going to happen there.
SMERCONISH: Couldn't make it up. Charles, thank you so much. Great to have you here.
GEROW: Great to be with you Michael. Thank you.
SMERCONINSH: Let's see what you're saying on my smerconish Twitter and Facebook pages. What do we have? So Smerconish, although believe in watching what they do rather than what they say, you give Trump too much credit for long range planning. Tariff talk is more about PA special elections, 30 pieces of silver. You know, I just had truly one of the experts on Pennsylvania politics here to address that and - - and I - - he dissuaded me from the belief that - - that the tariff move is specifically addressed to this particular district, because of the lack of steel left in the district. So I disagree with that point.
By the way folks, don't forget to vote at smerconish.com on today's survey question. Was this week a disaster, politically speaking, for the Trump Administration? I'll give you those results at the end of the hour. Up ahead, faculty at my Alma Mater, Lehigh University tried to take away the sitting President's honorary degree bestowed in 1988. Was that right? And what happened? Also, the #metoo controversy on the red carpet for tomorrow nights Oscars, as some celebrities may bypass E Channel host Ryan Seacrest. He's been fighting charges of sexual harassment. I'll ask the red carpet princess, Melissa Rivers what she thinks.
SMERCONISH: Hey, I am wearing my brown and white today, in honor of my Alma Mater Lehigh University. Lehigh made headlines this week because the faculty voted to resend an honorary degree given to Donald Trump. I know I am usually pretty opinionated here, but I'm torn on this one. My Lehigh blood and affinity runs deep. I graduated in 1984. My brother was president of the Class of 1980. Our father got his masters at Lehigh. The President's late brother Fred was Lehigh Class of 1960. It was in 1988 that Donald Trump delivered the commencement address and received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
This week 80 percent of the Lehigh faculty voted yes on a motion to resend the degree on the grounds that the President exhibited behavior quote, "antithetical to Lehigh values". And the motion put forth a non-exhaustive list of what were described as racist, sexist and disrespectful remarks made by President Trump. Then the school's Student Senate passed it's own resolution supporting the faculty 38 to 2 to 1. Were a member of the board of trustees, I'm not sure what I would have done.
I don't like the idea of allowing an Honorary Degree to become a political football. I can't defend any of the President's statements contained in the motion. And the motion makes a very good point in saying quote, "if a member of Lehigh on campus community made one of these statements, he or she would be subject to disciplinary action. Taken in their entirety, he or she would be at risk of dismissal." At the same time Donald Trump was elected after saying many of the things contained in the motion. He remains the President. He faces no charges. And frankly, he's still the same guy to whom they awarded the degree.
Back in 1988, when Trump was announced as commencement speaker, Lehigh's then President Peter Likins said quote, "Lehigh is extremely proud to have Donald Trump as it's commencement speaker. He's a man of great imagination, daring and vision and I'm sure his message will be received eagerly by students." Actually a handful of students protested the selection. A Sirius XM radio listener of mine named Jeff was one of them and he sent me this picture. Trump's commencement address theme by the way, was that students needed to get angry. After warning graduates of the dangers of drugs, alcohol and AIDS, he launched into a passionate attack on foreign competitors.
Quote, "So many countries are whipping America", he said, "We have to fight back." He complained about U.S. allies who don't share their financial burden for defense and wondered aloud, quote, "What kind of clowns do we have representing us?" Sound familiar? He was being rewarded for just this kind of brash, outspokenness, and he hasn't changed. And while the newly - -
SMERCONISH: - - while the new motion expressly said, quote, "We are not commenting on his political views or policies." I worry that stripping him of the degree would never the less be perceived as such. I could just picture the people on FOX castigating Lehigh has some liberal institution, which is really is not. Campus politics are very mixed. Of course back in the early '80s, you could have fit all the campus supporters of Reagan-Bush, club that I founded into a phone booth.
It's not like me to abstain but on this one I see both sides. Yesterday the Lehigh Board of Trustees decided to let the degree stand. They reaffirmed what they decided back in October, which included the statement, quote, "The Board of Trustees remains committed to the universities values and to it's principles of our equitable community which recognize each persons right to think and speak as dictated by personal belief, and to respectfully disagree with or counter another's point of view."
That rational sounds about right to me. Let's check in on your tweets and Facebook comments. What do we have? Smerconish, how much faculty disapproves of the President, you could run this poll every time there's a Republican president and the results would likely be the same. Andre (ph), point well made. In this particular case, I think what makes it more a subject of debate at Lehigh is the awarding of the honorary degree. By the way, they revoked an honorary degree that they had given to Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby obviously facing legal charges, not something you could say at this juncture about President Trump.
One more, do we have time for it? Sure, what do we have? Smerconish, they should never have given it to him in the first place. He's a person of poor character but they did. No, don't resend it. He's the same person he's always been. Yes. I mean, to - - to you point, that was the - - I'm looking for my file here. That - - that was what I thought. I went back and I found the clips from the morning call in the Lehigh Valley about what was written after he delivered the speech and what was said when he was about to deliver the speech. Nothing's changed. You know, say what you will about the President.
He's been consistent since they awarded that degree in 1988. I want to remind you, answer the survey question. It's smerconish.com. Was the President's week a disaster, politically speaking? Still to come, tomorrow is Oscar night and #metoo is coloring the red carpet. Some celebrities may avoid E Channel's host Ryan Seacrest who's been fighting an accusation of sexual harassment. I will ask red carpet veteran Melissa Rivers what she thinks. By the way, this is what Jennifer Lawrence told Howard Stern.
SMERCONISH: The Oscars are tomorrow night and people are wondering if the Me Too or the Times Up movements will effect the ceremony even before the stars make it inside the theater. Celebrities on the red carpet traditionally make a pit stop with high profile reporter Ryan Seacrest from E Entertainment. But Seacrest has been accused of sexual harassment by a former personal stylist and some celebrities may be steering clear of his cameras. Seacrest has publicly denied her claims, including in this essay for the Hollywood Reporter. E investigated the charges and says it found, quote, "insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegations and is standing by it's long time host."
Meanwhile, they've asked back Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present Best Picture after last years unprecedented mistake where they announced the wrong movie. I thought, who better to discuss all of this with than Melissa Rivers, the woman who co-hosted E's Red Carpet coverage with her mother Joan and worked at the network for years. I spoke to her recently.
Melissa, a bigger unknown than who wins Best Picture, is what happens on the Red Carpet. What do you expect?
RIVERS: You know what, the Oscars Red Carpet is so controlled. It is the hardest one to get a credential to be on. They - - the Academy runs it. They - - I mean - - you have to apply in advance to be credentials. Most people don't even get to bring their own publicist on. The Academy supplies their own publicists to walk with the celebrities. So honestly, I'm predicting - - sort of - - what we always see at the Oscars which is a very controlled, very going to your grandparent's house who are very wealthy and haven't finished the will yet kind of feeling.
SMERCONISH: You don't think someone will confront Ryan Seacrest?
RIVERS: No. I don't think anyone is going to confront anyone. There seems to be a groundswell of love and support for Ryan right now. So I don't see it as being anything that's going to be, you know, some sort of crazy TV confrontational moment.
SMERCONISH: As these award shows go, do you think that the #metoo movement passed with the Globes?
RIVERS: I don't think it's passed with the Globes. I don't think we'll see another moment anytime soon that will be as respectful as all of those women all wearing black. It was such a visual statement. How it was handled with who these women - -
[09:45:14] RIVERS: - - brought with them to the awards. It was a moment that actually moved the needle, and it's hard, I think to keep replicating that. So I think we're going to see a sedate red carpet, but not necessarily as nearly as clear snapshot picture of unity. But yet, I still feel the unity's there, but you're not going to be able to replicate what happened at the Golden Globes which was so powerful.
SMERCONISH: Is the pressure off Jimmy Kimmel? We talked about this before when it was the Globes about the difficulty of a host coming out and having to, I think you said or I said, thread that needle.
RIVERS: Yes. And by the way, Seth Myers did it brilliantly. And - -
RIVERS: - - I think Jimmy Kimmel is so good in these situations that I don't think he's going to have a problem. I think he saw what Seth did with the tone. I think Jimmy might be a little bit edgier in the sense of that's also what he's been doing. He's been very outspoken in certain political issues recently. So I think he's going to be OK. I think again, we're in such a politically correct time where everybody's so frightened to say anything, or laugh at something. That again, it feels like everything is sort of - - I feel like the joy and the celebratory mood is lacking.
SMERCONISH: So something I'm really looking forward to, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty coming back. On Friday, Drudge had - - has his masthead not again and we all remember the fiasco of the awarding of Best Picture last time. I - - I love the fact that they're coming back. They were invited to come back. They will come back. What do you think of that?
RIVERS: Yes. Wash, rinse, repeat. Let - - apparently they've got all sorts of new safeguards in place where you can't be doing social media backstage. There is a triple check situation where the presenter has to have the envelope. The stage manager has to sign off that they're holding the correct envelope. The Pricewaterhouse person, I mean, it's going to be hard to mess that up than to get like through a TSA. So if it happens, it's going to be amazing. It's not - - obviously it's a nod towards, you know, last year - - oh we'll get it right this year. You know, again, there's so few safe stories this year that this one has become the one everyone's talking about because it's safe.
SMERCONISH: Give me a prediction before you leave me. Best Picture? I feel good. I've actually seen most of them this year which is unusual. What do you think wins?
RIVERS: I think, you know - - I'm so torn. I think "The Shape of Water" is - - SMERCONISH: Yes. Me too.
RIVERS: - - an extraordinary movie. I think the Academy members loved feeling smart and artistic so it could be "Dunkirk". And I personally and I loved "I, Tanya", which to me was like a piece of candy treat. Fabulousness. SMERSONISH: Allison Janney was awesome in that. I loved that as
RIVERS: It was - - it was literally like you didn't - - we walked in not knowing what to expect. And it was like you were given, like, the best treat, piece of candy ever.
SMERCONISH: When I was told what "Shape of Water" was about, I said that's sounds ridiculous. I'm not going to watch that, and then I loved it.
RIVERS: Yes. And it's beautiful performances. I mean, it's one of those movies that checks boxes in every single category, from writing and directing and acting and the visuals. And, you know, it's just one of those special movies.
SMERCONISH: Melissa, thank you. Please come back.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, the results of the survey question. Was this past week a disaster for President Trump politically speaking? I keep stressing that and your best and worst tweets and Facebook comments like this one. Disastrous for him would be if someone took away his Twitter account or he stopped being talked about at Smerconish. Great point Caroline (ph). We'll be back with the results in a sec.
SMERCONISH: So, how did that survey turn out at smerconish.com. Was this past week a disaster politically speaking for President Trump? Hit me with the results. With 9,379 votes cast, the yes' say 72 percent. I think some of them overlooked my reference to politically speaking. That number is too high. Hit me with some of the tweet reactions to the program. What do we have Catherine (ph)?
Smerconish, you are a closet Trump lover. You might as well come out of the closet. Why Momma? Because I dare to ask if everybody else is getting it wrong in thinking that this chaos catches up with him. Nope. I'm just asking the analytic question. What's next? Smerconish, not to worry. You are (laughter). Hey Marian (ph), Marian (ph), can you get together with Momma, who was the last tweeter and see if the two of you can - -
SMERCONISH: - - resolve. Am I in the tank for Trump? Or am I anti- Trump? Like which is it? Enquiring minds need to know. One more quickly, if we can get to it. Hysterical. What do we got? It was a great week for Trump. He met with many people and showed what a great leader is, trying to keep our children safe, unemployment numbers amazing. Toyota announced bringing jobs back, wages up. Now he sits in warm weather in Florida. Great week. Joe (ph), the point is there are many who look at it exactly as you do, including the President of the United States. I'll see you next week.