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Interview with Rep. Kevin Brady; Inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th President; Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 20, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: As the office becomes more important than his own emotions. What are you expecting?

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), TEXAS: You know, he's very much his own man and I think that is why he prevailed through a very tough primary and through a tough general election as well, and, you know, he's one of these guys you can tell from the polls he doesn't have his finger in the air all the time. We were just wondering which way the political winds are blowing. I like that. Sort of that old axiom. You got your finger there, you can't put it on the problem. This president is about solving problems. Especially economy and security. So I think these are very strong traits for this president.

CUOMO: Now coming into it, he doesn't necessarily like you either. Right? When he was running it was Republicans, Democrats, all of you in this swamp as he refers to it.

BRADY: And I know you mean that in the best possible way.

CUOMO: I'm just saying the way he said it.


CUOMO: I never said it. But no, what does that mean in terms of expectations. Do you think you know what he wants to do and how he wants to do it? There are a lot of questions on your side of the aisle about that, especially with the ACA, with Obamacare, when people don't think they know whether he is sure about what he wants.

BRADY: So in my view the House Republicans we're exactly on the same page and, in fact, so much so Ways and Means Republicans, we came back to Washington to work during the holidays to be ready on tax reform on how we repeal and then replace a very careful, thoughtful deliberate approach the Affordable Care Act and his goals on national security.

Just getting this economy moving we are on the right track so we've been working hard since Election Day to be ready to work with this president.

CUOMO: So what will that mean in practical effect day one? What can you do with the ACA where you repeal something which essentially means defunding, given the ability to defund things? And we know what the vulnerability is there. If you take money away you may put people at risk unless you replace that revenue at the same time. Can you do that? BRADY: Yes, we can. So the Obamacare experiment has failed on day

one and including on Monday we expect the president and the administration to start to ease some of the regulatory burdens to deal or to give people more choices and options they don't have today. Congress has a lot of this work to do, which is why we voted to begin the process of repeal. But you're also going to see us take some very positive steps on the replacement side.

Here's what you won't see.

CUOMO: You know what that is? That's Marine -- talking about what we will see.


CUOMO: There's Marine One arriving at the east front of the U.S. capitol. The ceremony takes place on the other side of the capitol but this is history in progress. The main players, they're starting to show up. The exiting president, the incoming president. I will follow these big moments throughout the morning.

So, Congressman, back to our conversation. You had said that the starting point is that the ACA has been a failure. Now what we're seeing is yet more people sign up. You have higher approval ratings of it. Some of that may be politically charged.


BRADY: Yes. I think it is. Yes.

CUOMO: But you do have growing sentiment within your own party that, whoa, this is not as easy as campaign rhetoric. You know, the old expression. You campaign in poetry, repeal and replace, you govern in prose. There's hard work. It's working for a lot of people and you could put people at jeopardy. Where is your confidence come from that you could avoid those pitfalls?

BRADY: Well, there's a high confidence. I don't think anyone thought this would be easy. No entitlement once it's been established in history has ever been repealed. We're going to take that history, and secondly, look, we're focused on affordable health care, sort of the concept or replace that huge bureaucracy of the Affordable Care Act with something tailored to you, more like a health care backpack where you can take it from job to job, state to state, home, to start a business or family, even in retirement.

So you'll see us focus on how do we personalize health care, how can you take it with you and change it to meet your life as you go forward but give more control, not just to patients but to the states as well. That will take several steps, and I was just pointing out, you won't see a 2,000 page bill that no one has read. We're not replacing that part of the Obamacare process. You're going to see a step-by-step process where the public and lawmakers understand sort of the foundations they're letting. We think that's the best way to get affordable health care personalized to you.

CUOMO: The danger is always in the details.


CUOMO: We'll follow it closely. Good luck to you. The American people need good outcomes.

BRADY: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Congressman Brady, enjoy the day.

BRADY: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, it is an electric day here in Washington, D.C. Just hours until Mr. Trump's inauguration and people from around the country are already making their way to the National Mall here in Washington to witness history on the steps of the U.S. capitol.

Our inauguration coverage continues next.


[07:38:40] CUOMO: History will be made today and there are going to be big crowds expected to gather here in our nation's capitol. Donald John Trump taking the oath of office. Our 45th president. It happens in just a few hours. Gates already open on the National Mall.

We got CNN's senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns in the middle of it all. A witness to history with a front row seat, kind of.



CUOMO: Joe. Can't get through security. I know the feeling. There's Joe. Can you hear me?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I can hear you fine. It's loud. They're banging the rock and roll right now. We're just hearing some ZZ Top.

Good energy out here on the mall and I wanted to show you some of the things that are changed a little bit from past years. And one thing that hasn't changed is how long it took to get in. But look at this sort of moonscape. It's white plastic flooring that they have. It goes almost all the way up to the capitol reflecting pool and goes almost down to as far as you can see. That's to protect the grass. They had a big sort of renovation project out here and they're trying to protect the grass on the National Mall.

Now another interesting thing that people will see who come out here are these bike rack business that goes once again all the way up to the reflecting pool. [07:40:03] Pools out, opens up, just like that. Now what's that for?

It's, in fact, an emergency runway in the event there's a problem, somebody's hurt, somebody's sick. First responders will bring them here and they can run all the way back and forth so that's what it looks like out here on the mall. People are coming in. A lot of excitement and a lot of things prohibited including umbrellas but this kind of thing is allowed. The long umbrellas are not allowed.

Back to you, guys.

CAMEROTA: OK, Joe. Keep rocking it out there and we will check back with you.

CUOMO: From Beyonce to ZZ Top.

CAMEROTA: We're covering all the bases.

President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn into office about four hours from now. True to form he just tweeted, "It all begins today," he says. "I will see you at 11:00 a.m. for the swearing in. Movement continues, the work begins." But the president-elect will take office without most of his Cabinet in place.

Let's discuss that and so much more with our panel. We have Salena Zito, David Gregory, Maggie Haberman and Mark Preston.

Mark, the lack of a full Cabinet. Big deal or life goes on?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I mean, look, life is going to go on. I mean, we're going to sit here and talk about how slow it's been for him to name people. He just named his Ag secretary. Just nominated him the other day. More importantly, though, than the folks that are going to assume these senior positions is these junior positions, these undersecretary positions. These are the folks who are actually run the government and he hasn't named any of them.

In fact -- and this does happen. He has asked several high ranking key Obama officials to stay on for the transition. You know, that is common. The question is how long are they going to have to stay on because right now there doesn't seem to be anyone back filming and coming in to assume these new roles.

CUOMO: Kevin Brady, Republican, Texas, House Ways and Means, he was on the show and he said we're getting after repeal and replace right away. When pressed, he said we're confident we can do it, we can do it the right way, and then he talked about portability of plans. That's an issue but it's not the issue when it comes to what's most expensive and what's most important in that plan.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think that's right. I think that -- I think at the moment before we get to that phase we don't actually know what versions of a plan that we are even talking about. There is not harmony between what some in Congress are talking about, Trump in an interview with the "Washington Post," insisted that he was very close to his own plan, aides seemed to walk that back pretty quickly. What he described was health care for everybody. That is -- that doesn't like much than Obamacare, right? And then its goal. So I think we're going to have to wait and see.

I do think, to Mark's point, about how the government functions going forward, there is sort of this permanent bureaucracy that it's not going to carry out Trump's vision on policy without guidance from these undersecretaries and deputy secretaries. Some domestic agencies like the Department of Justice it sounds like that's gone fairly well, but you also have a sitting senator taking over. It is places like State Department, you know, minor agency like that, where you have Rex Tillerson who is new to this world, does not have a ton of people, have people who have not wanted to take the job, or he is not equipped with.

The same has been true for General Mattis at the Department of Defense, and so -- and there's a similar issue at Department of Homeland Security. So I think that this is going to be a tense couple of weeks as he gets off that.

CAMEROTA: I mean, look, they are not part of the Washington machineries, these folks. They are not enmeshed inside the beltway. People like that about them.

CUOMO: Right.

CAMEROTA: His supporters. So doesn't he get a grace period for putting all of these people in place?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Probably more from a lot of the public than from official Washington. And I think again we have to really bear that in mind. How many Americans are celebrating the disruptive nature of Donald Trump today both in Washington and around the country.

The opposition to Trump I think is starting to solidify. It's very vocal. It occupies a lot of media centers. And I think it's striking from Senator Schumer. I think that the Democratic left has actually decided to really go hard resistance. I think they're going to oppose these nominations. I think it is going to be on Trump to try to confuse his opposition to give them no choice but to cooperate with him on infrastructure, tax reform, other issues. That's going to be his opportunity.

Look at all of these members of Congress who are not showing up today. Why? Because they are in districts who viewed Trump as illegitimate. Now that may be unfair, may be wrong on the face of it. but there's enough energy out there for Democrats to say you know what, let's dig in, let's start fighting the midterms today on inauguration day.

CUOMO: And yet the problem finds its source in the same place that the solution does and it's Donald Trump, Salena. And when he takes that podium today, and gives his speech, he's going to have to start making decisions about which battles he picks and how he tries to move especially in this constipated place that's called Washington, D.C.

[07:45:02] You know, if they can't get things done that's going to be on him.


CUOMO: Do you think that he has that in him, to make the deals and make the changes, to keep the fights down and the progress up?

ZITO: I think he has it in him to make the deals. He's never run as a incredibly ideological candidate. He was not your traditional Republican candidate. He wasn't a Democrat either. And that was part of the appeal for him and why he got a lot of crossover vote. When he steps up there today and gives his speech, he has an incredible moment in his hands to not only take the people somewhere aspirational but to also offer tangible benefit like he did with "Make American Great Again."

And to what you said about Democrats, I met with a group of them from Pennsylvania and Ohio over the last weekend and they were very frustrated by the hardened stance that Schumer has taken. They feel that they have lost seats. Especially down ballot because the party has become too striking and too progressive. So I think that's the Democrats' challenge.

GREGORY: And it's really striking. I mean, think about what this represents. You know, when Andrew Jackson was sworn in for his first inaugural, John Quincy Adams didn't even show up.


GREGORY: He didn't visit him at the White House. He didn't even show up to the inauguration because their previous battle for the presidency was so hard fought. Here you have an outgoing president with near -- not -- I don't think Reagan level approval but huge approval.

CUOMO: Pretty close.

GREGORY: And yet -- and yet you've got so much desire for changing the country.


HABERMAN: That's right.

CAMEROTA: So will we see anything, Mark Preston, in terms of executive actions this weekend? After the pageantry of today will Mr. Trump immediately swing into action?

PRESTON: I just want to say that the most ridiculous story line is that he's going to start on day one, which would be Monday. He's the president of the United States at noon.


PRESTON: He starts working at noon. OK. President of the United States, seven days a week, 24 hours a day in the next four years.

HABERMAN: He also has never had a day job in 20 years.

PRESTON: Correct. You know, the guy does work. I mean, we do know that.

HABERMAN: No. I'm not saying he's not a hard worker.

PRESTON: We don't know what he's going to do. And you know what, neither does his staff.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. Well, one thing he is definitely going to do. Donald Trump is going to make history today. He is going to go from a real estate mogul, to celebrity TV guy to the 45th president of the United States. He says he wrote his own inaugural address because he has a very specific message. What might it be? Next.


[07:51:33] CAMEROTA: Throughout the morning we asked you, our viewers, what you think President-elect Trump's number one priority should be when he takes office. We received hundreds of your responses so far on Twitter. You want to guess what the overwhelming response is?

CUOMO: Make NEW DAY seven hours.


CAMEROTA: No. No. That will be his second priority.

CUOMO: There it is.

CAMEROTA: The first priority is unity. You can see that in the big red letters. Also topping the list health care, fighting ISIS.

CUOMO: ISIS, jobs.

CAMEROTA: Jobs, immigration, and building the wall.

CUOMO: So I'm still looking at the words up there on your screen right now. All right. So let's bring in our panel and let's talk about this idea of unity and what Donald J. Trump, our next president, can do in his first inaugural address.

CNN presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, Tim Naftali is here. Executive editor of Bloomberg View and author of "Trump Nation: The Art of Being the Donald," Timothy O'Brien. And author of "Democracy's Big Day," inaugural historian, Jim Bendat.

All right. So, Jim, this is the day that you live for. The inauguration. You have all the fun facts. And we've been reading in and you do get overcome with the history that falls on your head in this town on this day. What are some of the big ones that pop out to you about what makes the inauguration such an amazing historical event?

JIM BENDAT, INAUGURAL HISTORIAN: The fact that our inauguration day makes our country stand out from so many other nations. They don't do it that way. We have one day every four years. Other nations, they might have military coups, they might have monarchs who reign forever. So we have our unique way of doing things.

CAMEROTA: You only get your moment in the sun once every four years as an inaugural historian.

BENDAT: The way I like to put it is every four years I get my 15 minutes.


CAMEROTA: That's right. So let me stick with you, Jim, for a second. What are you looking for today?

BENDAT: Well, I'm always looking to see if the traditions will be followed. We know that a lot of them will be. We know that Trump is going to be going to the church services. He'll be going to the White House. There will be the procession to the capitol. We know that. But we already know also there are going to be some differences. He's going to set a record today with six religious prayers as part of the ceremony, three invocations, three benedictions, that's a new record.

During the inaugural parade we know that unfortunately a tradition has been lost. Trump fired Charlie Brotman.

CAMEROTA: The announcer.

CUOMO: The announcer.

BENDAT: The announcer who's been doing every inaugural parade since 1957, covering Democrats and Republicans. He's a part of my book. I wrote -- the chapter in my book is called "The President's Announcer." He's a gregarious person, he's still up to the task, he shouldn't have been fired.

CUOMO: So what do you think about the walk of the inaugural parade? Who was it, Carter, walked the entire thing? He was the first one to do it? What's the most common protocol there and what are we expecting today?

BENDAT: Well, Jimmy Carter and Rosalind Carter are the only ones to actually watch the entire distance.

CUOMO: What is it? Like a mile and a half or something?

BENDAT: Yes. But many other presidents since then almost all of them have gotten out of the car, generally toward the end of the parade, although Barack and Michelle Obama got out a couple of times, but definitely toward the end of the parade route in front of the supporters right near the White House you can generally expect almost all presidents to do that.

[07:55:02] CAMEROTA: Tim, as presidential historian, what has -- what are you keeping your eye on? What has jumped out at you so far?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I'm going to watch how Mr. Trump uses words. One of the things that presidents learn is that words matter, that they can change the stock market, they can change the value of the U.S. currency. They can send signals to our foreign allies and adversaries with words.

How will Donald Trump introduce himself to us as a president? He's introduced himself to us many times in other forms, but today he is a president.

CAMEROTA: We know a few things about the inaugural address. They say it will be shorter than usual. I think that they're saying about 20 minutes long. And that we heard yesterday from the head of the Inaugural Committee that it will be a collaboration between he, his ideas and his speech writer.

NAFTALI: Well., I -- there are always collaborations. And that's traditional. The key is this, the issue of unity. He becomes president of all of us. He's not just president of the people who voted for him. He's president of the people who didn't vote for him. He's president of the people too young to vote. How is he going to talk to all of us and what is the vision he's going to share with us about where we go from now. That's what I'm looking for today.

CUOMO: So these two have gotten to bask into the possibility of the moment. You, Tim O'Brien, you have a different task. You and I are members of the fraternity now of people who have investigated Donald Trump. You are a senior member of that fraternity. And the question that you can answer best is, do you think the man has it in him to surrender the me to the we, that when the grace of this moment comes upon him and he realizes his power and his position, do you think he has it in him to say, I don't come first anymore?

TIMOTHY O'BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I think we all have to hope that he does. I think it's important for the country. I think it's important for the presidency. It's important for good governance that Donald Trump embrace this moment and rise to the occasion. I think that will require things of him we have not seen in him historically. It will require emotional, intellectual and strategic discipline. It will require generosity of spirit. It will require enormous self-restraint.

We've seen since the election that on Twitter he's demonstrated no self-restraint. And I think it's a wait-and-see. I was thinking about this yesterday, Chris, during the ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. Jon Voight gave a very confrontational opening speech in that moment. It wasn't about unity. It was about Trump got smeared and God put him here to save things. So I think it's in Trump's court now.

CAMEROTA: Jim, I was struck reading through the history of all of the inaugurations. How often weather plays a role? Sometimes things are canceled if it's too cold. Sometimes it's been too snowy, I think with John Kennedy's inauguration. Today it is going to be a light drizzle. What do you see for how all of this unfolds compared to past years?

BENDAT: Well, weather is often a big deal in Washington here at this time of year. The last time that it rained was for George W. Bush in 2001. Actually that day George W. Bush had planned to use the original George Washington bible when he took the oath, but because of the weather the powers that be who look after that bible decided not to bring it outdoors. So we've had rainy days in the 1800s quite often. Snow has been more of a problem since inauguration day got moved up from march to January.

CUOMO: They have only had a couple got canceled, though. Reagan had it canceled I think this is the second one, right? Because of how cold it was.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Sometimes the parades are moved or the parades are cancelled. But even in March when the inauguration used to be in march, I was struck by how often snow played a role here in Washington, D.C.

BENDAT: The last time that happened was 1909, William Howard Taft. It was so snowy that a lot of stuff got canceled.

CUOMO: So how big a deal for you when it comes down to just one moment, right? Boon on January 20th, 20th amendment of the constitution puts that as when the job begins. Do you feel anything in that moment happen in this kind of ceremony?

BENDAT: Well, a lot of people are going to feel a lot this year. You're going to have people who are going to be jubilant and you're going to have lots of people who are very depressed. So we're a divided country and whether Donald Trump will be able to do anything about that remains to be seen. I don't think it will be decided during his inaugural address. I don't think we can expect much from that. We'll find out a lot in the days ahead.

CUOMO: President Obama, the outgoing president, is doing everything he can in terms of tradition, he's spend all the time with him, traveling there, they're -- you know, every box you could check as peaceful transition seems to be getting done -- yes.

BENDAT: Definitely. He's been very gracious just as George W. Bush was gracious to him.

CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Thanks for sharing all of the historical facts with us and the perspective. Great to talk to you.


CAMEROTA: We have much more of our inaugural coverage starting right now.

Donald trump, president-elect: We're going four incredible years. It's going to be something special.