AMY WALTER: Hello.
I'm Amy Walter.
This is the Washington Week Extra.
First up, we continue the conversation we barely touched on during the show: Donald
Trump's tweets - (laughs) - that is always hard to say - Donald Trump's tweets, the
impact on the global audience.
Yochi, what is it that when he's tweeting these things
out, the whole world, of course, is picking up his tweets - not just folks here in the
U.S. How does the rest of the world see him?
And what is his relationship, do you think, with many of these world leaders?
We've seen his relationship with Netanyahu and with Putin.
But how are others viewing the incoming president?
YOCHI DREAZEN: First of all, a lot of these countries are just confused.
I mean, there are two presidents both nominally - one in office, one coming into office,
saying vastly different things.
Trump's tweets often, as we know, contradict each other.
One say he says one thing, the next one - the next day he says the other.
What we're seeing about Trump that's consistent is that with strong guys, with tough
guys, he loves them all.
And when they see him coming in, they figure we can wait out
And you've seen this with Bibi Netanyahu.
You've seen this with Vladimir
You've seen this with the head of the Philippines, who has called Barack Obama a
son of a B, a son of a W. He's cursed him in all kinds of creative ways.
Then he spoke to Donald Trump and said we had a great conversation.
told me to keep doing what I'm doing.
He said I'm welcome in the United States.
President Obama has said this man has overseen the killing of thousands of his own
President-elect Trump has said: Come on home.
AMY WALTER: Indira, what about Europe?
How are they feeling?
So we know how -
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: We know that Duterte in the Philippines thinks Trump is great.
They have the same sort of - you know, they call Duterte, "Duterte Harry."
He, you know,
has called for extrajudicial killings.
He's said a lot of things that a lot of - I
think that Trump and his supporters might think but don't come right out and say.
Sisi in Egypt, there are many leaders who have said, you know, boy, maybe we just wait it
out and we won't get the same tongue-lashing about human rights or whatever that we got
from the Obama administration.
Maybe this is going to be a better deal for us.
I think in Europe, it's something entirely different.
I think that Angela Merkel is
probably sitting there and thinking: Oh, my goodness.
What is going to happen next?
What is Trump going to say and do next?
So I think our traditional allies are not
so psyched about Trump taking over, or at least they're worried.
But I thought it was very curious this week that Theresa May in Britain basically put
out this gratuitous parting shot at John Kerry over his speech on the Middle East,
criticizing him for, you know, essentially being mean to Israel, when in fact Britain was
one of the countries that was sponsoring this resolution in the United Nations that
Israel was unhappy about.
And, you know, this gets lost.
But this is the very first
time that the Obama administration has allowed a U.N. resolution critical of Israel to
Whereas previous U.S. presidents have allowed many - 21 under Ronald
So I thought it took some cheek for Theresa May to be criticizing
John Kerry when her country was actually backing that resolution.
PHILIP RUCKER: And it shows a calculus to try to get close to the incoming Trump administration.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Absolutely, playing for political points.
PHILIP RUCKER: Build a relationship, yeah.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Absolutely.
AMY WALTER: Right.
Well, President Obama was asked about the 2016 election, and in
reflection he said that if he'd been allowed to run for a third term he would have won.
We're going to take a listen from a podcast interview he did with David Axelrod.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From video.)
I'm confident that if I had run again, and
articulated it, I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to rally
I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country,
even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that
you point towards is the right one.
AMY WALTER: Phil, what was the point of his - (laughs) - comments saying basically: I
would have won if I had gone up against Trump?
PHILIP RUCKER: Well, he's trying to protect his legacy, President Obama is, and trying
to show that the vote for Donald Trump in November was not a vote against the Obama years
and the record that Obama achieved.
It certainly got under Trump's skin.
We saw that with the tweets that Trump fired off.
Trump cares a lot about legitimacy
and power and projecting strength.
And he - the Obama statement really undercut that.
But the most interesting thing to look for going forward is, what does Obama say after
Is he and Michelle Obama - are they going to disappear and be quiet, or
are they going to kind of pop up from time to time and offer critiques?
Especially Michelle Obama, the first lady.
She was perhaps the most effective surrogate
on the campaign trail critiquing Donald Trump.
And I'd be surprised if she stayed quiet all year.
AMY WALTER: The president himself in that interview said he thought he would only make
statements - be public if there was something egregious that he needed to address.
How hard do you think it's going to be for him to stay silent?
PHILIP RUCKER: I think it will be hard.
First of all, he's going to be watching a
lot of the key pillars of his legacy just collapse in the Trump years.
That's going to be difficult to watch silently.
It's also going to be hard for him because the Democratic Party is going to need him.
There's no other leader that can command the level of respect and authority, and the
megaphone, frankly, that former President Obama will be able to do in the Democratic
So they're going to need him to come forward from time to time and
articulate a contrast to Trump.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Isn't that because the bench is so not deep?
It's such a shallow bench for the Democrats at this point.
PHILIP RUCKER: It is.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: And honestly, even though it may have been silly for him to say I
would have beaten Trump, the polls show he's right.
The polls show he does have a higher approval rating that Donald Trump does.
PHILIP RUCKER: And he remains more popular than Trump.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: And he remains more popular than Trump.
PHILIP RUCKER: Which bothers Trump.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: It's the reality of the polls that gets under Trump's skin.
ELIANA JOHNSON: OK, but, I mean, the truth is, like, presidents don't run for third
And so approval rating - I mean, Hillary Clinton had a higher approval rating
than Trump as well.
And he said, you know, she actually did mobilize a majority of
the American people also.
And I think that his remarks showed that, you know, he -
Obama obviously gets under Trump's skin, but Trump gets under Obama's skin too.
PHILIP RUCKER: That's exactly right.
ELIANA JOHNSON: And I think it demonstrates, like, that these people who become
president, they have big egos.
And as Trump has a big and fragile ego, Obama also
has a big and fragile ego.
That's sort of part and parcel of what it takes to reach,
you know, the heights of American politics.
AMY WALTER: Yeah, you have to have an ego to be president?
I never heard that before, Eliana.
Well, let's turn to four years from now, so the 2020 Democratic field.
Retiring Senator Harry Reid told New York Magazine, quote, "It appears we're going to
have an old-folks' home."
We've got Warren - that's Elizabeth Warren, senator from
Massachusetts - she'll be 71.
Biden will be 78.
Bernie will be 79.
It's also note that - Eliana - that Harry Reid is 77.
So he's not a young chicken.
ELIANA JOHNSON: Yeah, he said that, like, doddering out on a cane with a, you know,
AMY WALTER: So, but, that is the point that Indira was making as well, which is what's
the deal with the - with the Democratic bench?
Is that really what we're looking
at is a bunch of 70-year-olds as their potential 2020 prospects?
ELIANA JOHNSON: Right now it is.
And I actually think that that's perhaps the
thing Obama is most sensitive to, because for all of the incredible electoral
victories that he's amassed and the revolution in data and targeting that he oversaw,
he was rather inwardly focused rather than focused on really cultivating young talent
in the Democratic Party.
And the midterm elections in particular, because of the
ideological pushes and the legislative successes he saw, saw Democrats slaughtered
in 2010 and 2014.
And so there just isn't the sort of talent - and the Republican
successes on the state and local levels, in gubernatorial elections and in
statehouses, have also really, really hurt the party.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Right.
That's why I think it's so interesting what Phil said
about Michelle Obama, because she has been one of the most popular figures, even
though she's not an elected official herself.
And I think that's part of why she has been a magnet for so much hatred on the Republican
side, and so many racist attacks against her that have come out recently - partly because
she was such an effective surrogate for the Democrats.
She'll certainly - someone will be pressuring her to run, I think, as well.
PHILIP RUCKER: Yeah.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: Not that she's definitely - not that she's going to go for it.
But there'll be pressure on her.
AMY WALTER: Well, we can talk about that on the next round.
INDIRA LAKSHMANAN: I can't believe you're talking about 2020 already.
AMY WALTER: All right.
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