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Meet the Press 12/25/16

NBC News - Meet The Press

"12.25.16"

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, what do we know about what kind of president Donald Trump will be?

DONALD TRUMP:

I will build a great, great, wall on our Southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

CHUCK TODD:

What have we learned about Trump the man, the politician, and the future President? We'll hear from Mr. Trump on domestic politics--

DONALD TRUMP:

Everybody's taxes are going down, and some people won't pay taxes.

CHUCK TODD:

On foreign policy --

DONALD TRUMP:

I like the Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS.

CHUCK TODD:

And on presidential leadership.

DONALD TRUMP:

We have to be the cheerleader for our country. We don't have a cheerleader.

CHUCK TODD:

This morning, the Donald Trump we saw and got to know right here on Meet the Press and throughout this campaign. Plus, Christmas messages from presidents throughout the years.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN:

This is the time of year that most of us try to be better than our everyday selves.

PRESIDENT JOHN KENNEDY:

Let us rededicate ourselves to the principles of good will and peace towards man.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome to Christmas Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning and Merry Christmas, happy first day of Hanukkah as well. Happy holidays to everyone. When Donald Trump rode down that escalator at Trump Tower on June 16th, 2015 it's safe to say very few people predicted that a year and a half later we would be sitting here looking ahead to the Trump presidency.

Trump's victory was a triumph for people who had had it with the federal government, for people who felt overlooked by Democrats and for folks who felt dismissed by the so-called elites. At the same time his victory was a bitter disappointment for a plurality of voters, many of whom were disgusted by his campaign and uncomfortable with his unpredictability and his coziness with nativist language.

So as we look ahead to the Trump presidency we wanted to look back at the 18 times that Donald Trump appeared on Meet the Press during this campaign and discuss the candidate and the man with some of the journalists who have covered him so closely. Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network, Joy Reid host AM Joy on MSNBC, Katy Tur, our chief Trump correspondent throughout the campaign right here at NBC News and Robert Costa who, of course, broke a lot of stories on Trump for the Washington Post.

So welcome to all of you and welcome to all of you. Happy holidays. We're going to show these Meet the Press interviews with Donald Trump in three chunks. And then one by one discuss each areas. So I want to begin with domestic policy covering areas from immigration, to health care, to companies that leave the United States. And we'll begin with the issue that has divided this country for decades: abortion.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Should some form of abortion always be legal?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, to me, I have exceptions. Rape, incest, if the mother is going to die. And Ronald Reagan had those same exceptions and many Republicans have those same exceptions. But I say rape, incest--

CHUCK TODD:

You said life of the mother, what about health of the mother?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I said, actually if the mother's close to death. And I'm talking about death. If, you know, because then you sort of say, like, "Well maybe she's not feeling so well--"

CHUCK TODD:

Well, what's the line here -- what is the constitutional right between the mother and the unborn child? Whose constitutional rights matter more?

DONALD TRUMP:

My statement on that happens to be, you know, if the mother will die and, you know, we were to know that. And the problem with the life, if you say life, what does life mean? You have a cold and you're going to end up having an abortion.

CHUCK TODD:

One big thing is going to jump out a lot -- a lot of Hispanics would be upset about, you want to get rid of birthright citizenship.

DONALD TRUMP:

You have to get rid of it. Yes. You have to. What they're doing, they're having a baby and all of a sudden nobody knows--

CHUCK TODD:

You believe that--

DONALD TRUMP:

You have no choice.

CHUCK TODD:

--that they're trying to do is they're coming here.

DONALD TRUMP:

Let me tell you, when we have some good people, we have some very good people, and we have a lot of really good people. They're illegal. You either have country or not. We go out--

CHUCK TODD:

You get rid of birthright citizenship?

DONALD TRUMP:

--and we're going to try and bring them back, rapidly the good ones.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that.

DONALD TRUMP:

Rapidly.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you do then about DACA?

DONALD TRUMP:

You know the word expedited?

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, I do. Yeah.

DONALD TRUMP:

Expedited.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you about the DACA order now where you've had this grant, or the DREAM Act, however you want to refer to it. The executive order that the president is--

DONALD TRUMP:

The executive order gets rescinded. One good thing about--

CHUCK TODD:

You'll rescind that one too?

DONALD TRUMP:

One good that--

CHUCK TODD:

You'll rescind the DREAM Act executive order and DACA?

DONALD TRUMP:

We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in they have to come in--

CHUCK TODD:

You're going to split up families. You're going to deport children.

DONALD TRUMP:

Chuck, no, no. We're going to keep the families together. We have to keep the families together.

CHUCK TODD:

But you're going to--

DONALD TRUMP:

But they have to go.

CHUCK TODD:

What if they have no place to go?

DONALD TRUMP:

We will work with them. They have to go. Chuck, and to have a country or we don't have a country.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's move to your tax plan.

DONALD TRUMP:

Okay.

CHUCK TODD:

You said it was going to be revenue neutral. You said it was going to raise taxes on the wealthy. A lot of people have done the numbers. Overall it cuts taxes on the wealthy dramatically when you throw in the state tax and things like that. And it's a big hole in the deficit until we find out what you're cutting.

DONALD TRUMP:

Okay.

CHUCK TODD:

So what are you cutting?

DONALD TRUMP:

Are you ready? We're cutting a lot. We're cutting taxes really for the middle income more than anything else.

CHUCK TODD:

Everybody's taxes are going down now.

DONALD TRUMP:

Everybody's taxes are going down and some people won't pay tax. And the reason they're not going to pay-- and I love the idea of having a little sort of fat in the game if we can. But the fact is these are people that are doing very poorly. I mean, they're not making not a lot of money.

And we're saving a tremendous amount of administrative costs and a lot of other things by not making them pay. Under my plan, I really think it's a very dynamic plan, we're going to grow the economy. If we do 6% or 7% under my plan everybody benefited--

CHUCK TODD:

We've never had it here.

DONALD TRUMP:

--but we can. We can do that. We also start cutting because the waste in this country is unbelievable. When you look at all the--

CHUCK TODD:

You're going to get rid of entire departments?

DONALD TRUMP:

--I would get rid of some. You look at, as an example, department of education.

CHUCK TODD:

You'd get rid of it?

DONALD TRUMP:

No, not entirely. But I would certainly get rid of a lot of it. If you look at Jeb Bush, you know, he's a big common core person. I'm not. I want local education. We could save a fortune with environmental protection--

CHUCK TODD:

Financially not a big department though. You're not going to get rid of a lot.

DONALD TRUMP:

--it's a lot of money.

CHUCK TODD:

You're not going to get rid of as much as-- what is another agency you're going to get rid?

DONALD TRUMP:

Look, even in the military. I'm going to build a military that's going to be much stronger than it is right now. It's going to be so strong nobody's going to mess with us. But you know what, we can do it for a lot less.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm coming back to the math here because nobody can seem-- especially since you've said you're taking social security and Medicare off the table. You're not going to do any cuts there at all. If you take that off the table--

DONALD TRUMP:

Unfair to put it on the table. People have been paying in for years. Now all of a sudden they're not getting what they--

CHUCK TODD:

You wouldn't even raise the age of the--

DONALD TRUMP:

No I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that at all. I'm going to take in so much money from China and other places. Look, we have a trade deficit with China of almost $400 billion a year. $400 billion. I had it looked up the other day. I said, "I can't believe it."

CHUCK TODD:

In that first speech to Congress you're going to lay out your first 100 days agenda. What are those four issues--

DONALD TRUMP:

I want to build our military bigger and better and stronger--

CHUCK TODD:

I need a number.

DONALD TRUMP:

--than ever before.

CHUCK TODD:

That's number one.

DONALD TRUMP:

I want to take care of our veterans. I want to take care of them. They're being taken care of horribly. I want to fix our healthcare system. I want to create borders so that we have a country. Because right now we don't have a country. We have borders where people just walk across and do whatever they want to do. And then they have babies and the babies become citizens. And we have to take care of them. We're going to do many, many things. And we're going to make America great again. That somewhat I want to do.

CHUCK TODD:

You want some sort of government system on health care.

DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

You don't like the system that's in there now. That I understand.

DONALD TRUMP:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

But describe--

DONALD TRUMP:

Not single-payer.

CHUCK TODD:

--describe the system that you want.

DONALD TRUMP:

Let me.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

DONALD TRUMP:

First of all, what I do, I have a massive company. I have thousands and thousands of employees. And I have many different states. You have artificial lines around each state. You know why? Because the insurance company take care of the politicians so they don't want to get rid of the lines.

If you get rid of those lines you would have great private insurance and it would take care of most people. It'd be an unbelievable thing. In addition to that you can have a savings, you know, you can do the savings situation where you would have health care savings accounts and it would be fantastic.

There's so many things you can do. The problem is the insurance companies don't want to do these things. And they don't want to specifically get rid of the lines because they'd rather have a monopoly in New York, as an example, than let 50 companies come in and bid. Companies from Iowa, companies from New Hampshire.

CHUCK TODD:

But you're going to have to structure a government program to do this.

DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, here's what you do. So you're going to have a great system. But there will be people left that do have any money. And what I said last night is I don't want people dying in the middle of the street. It's not going to happen if I'm president. Okay? This isn't single-payer. This is using our hospitals to take care of people. You work them out. You reimburse the hospital because you will get--

CHUCK TODD:

You expand Medicaid?

DONALD TRUMP:

You can do it through Medicaid. You can do it through some other way. But I'm just saying very simple, and this has nothing to do with single-- this has to do with humanity. This has to do with having a heart.

CHUCK TODD:

You defended the other work Planned Parenthood does. And now you said you'd--

DONALD TRUMP:

That's right. I do.

CHUCK TODD:

--defund it. Now the government will say--

DONALD TRUMP:

That's right. I would.

CHUCK TODD:

--Democrats will say the money they give to Planned Parenthood does not go to abortions, that the money they give to Planned Parenthood only goes to other women's health issues including mammograms and things like that. If you knew the government money were only going to that would you support funding Planned Parenthood?

DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, if it didn't have to do with abortions, look, I understand, and I have many, many friends who are women who understand Planned Parenthood than you or I will ever understand it. And they do some very good work, cervical cancer. Lots of women's health issues are taken care of.

I know one of the candidates, I won't mention names, said, "We're not going to spend that kind of money on women's health issues." I am. Planned Parenthood does a really good job at a lot of different areas. But not on abortion. So I'm not going to fund it if it's doing the abortion. I'm not going to fund it.

CHUCK TODD:

You said there would be consequences for any company that tried to move a factory down. What is the consequences?

DONALD TRUMP:

Absolutely, it's so simple --

CHUCK TODD:

You bring up Carrier a lot. If you were president what would--

DONALD TRUMP:

That was just an example.

CHUCK TODD:

--right I understand that. But explain the consequence.

DONALD TRUMP:

Okay, here's the consequence.

CHUCK TODD:

What would it be?

DONALD TRUMP:

So Carrier comes in. They announce they're moving to Mexico. They fire all their people in Indiana and they say, "Hi, here we are Mexico. You know, enjoy your plant. Enjoy the rest of your life." And you hire people from Mexico. Okay?

Now they make their product and they put it into the United States. Well, we will have a very strong border, by the way. But they put it into the United States and we don't charge them tax. There will be a tax to be paid. If they're going to fire all their people, move their plant to Mexico, build air conditioners and think they're going to sell those air conditioners to the United States there's going to be a tax to pay.

CHUCK TODD:

What kind of tax are you thinking?

DONALD TRUMP:

It could be 25%, could be 35%, could be 15%. I haven't determined. And it could be different for different companies.

CHUCK TODD:

Some of these things aren't going to get through the World Trade Organization. There's--

DONALD TRUMP:

Doesn't matter.

CHUCK TODD:

A lot of these--

DONALD TRUMP:

Then we're going to renegotiate or we're going to pull out. These trade deals are a disaster, Chuck.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

There it is. Part one, Donald Trump domestic issues. Donald Trump at home. Let's dive right in. Katy, there was plenty of, you know, we like to highlight the inconsistencies sometimes. There was plenty of consistencies in different ways he'd talk about issues. First 100 days the first three items he brought up were expanding the military, dealing with immigration and dealing with Obamacare.

KATY TUR:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

Talked about that throughout the campaign.

KATY TUR:

He did have consistency in some idealistic ways. But you could tell that he didn't have a lot of policy depth in what he was saying. So while he would talk about something like Medicare or he would talk about something like health care reform he wouldn't realize what he was actually describing.

And that's what got him into trouble especially with the Republicans. He was often going against, you know, long-established Republican talking points and platform. And that's where the inconsistencies. And when he would try and dial it back or work around it and say, "No that's not what I really believe," it's oftentimes what he said in the aftermath of some of these comments that made it a little murkier than it may have seemed initially.

CHUCK TODD:

Robert, it's Trump priorities versus Republican priorities. Right? And I think it's funny, Katy, that you said Trump, you know, hurt himself to Republicans. Not the voters. It was only Republican leaders. That's going to happen in his first 100 days. And I think health care and Medicare is where we may see it the most.

ROBERT COSTA:

2016 was the year of Donald Trump's victory. It was also the year of the shattering of the ideological consensus within the Republican party. Interview after interview we're watching Donald Trump go against the mainstream of his party, conservative orthodoxy.

I remember being on a plane with him in August of 2015. I said, "Are you a populist? How do you define yourself ideologically?" He said, "Costa, I'm common sense." And so each and every time he seemed to make news because he was breaking away from the GOP. And that's why a lot of people in the party privately say he's probably the first independent president of the United States because he's not really a Republican at his core.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh, is he?

HUGH HEWITT:

I think he is. I think he will become one. I can binge-watch those clips forever. I mean, I love watching Donald Trump use things, "If it funds the abortion," the abortion like the nuclear. But I was standing next to him--

CHUCK TODD:

Loves the articles --

HUGH HEWITT:

--yeah, the articles. I was standing next to Katy on the floor of Cleveland when he gave his speech and he brought up the Supreme Court. Biggest applause line. The biggest Christmas present that will unify the conservatives and the Republicans will be his Supreme Court appointment. And I think he's going to deliver. So I think he's becoming a conservative. He isn't one. But he's becoming one because there's a lot of payoff there.

CHUCK TODD:

Is it a conservative of convenience though, Joy? Because it's interesting, I think the Scalia pick is an easy one for him.

JOY-ANN REID:

Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

It's conservative for conservative.

JOY-ANN REID:

Yeah. And it's something that he can give the party. I mean, bringing on Mike Pence was part of the coopting religious right.

CHUCK TODD:

But what does he do if there's a second opening that would actually change it? He might not be where everybody thinks he is.

JOY-ANN REID:

I mean, I'm not so sure that Donald Trump is that doctrinaire on any conservative orthodox. I think what Robert said is true. This was the year that I think the Republican party found out that all of these sort of ideological firmaments of the party only existed with their elites.

And at the base of the party, the reason they like Donald Trump is that he talks the way they talk around their dinner party, probably to include the articles that you're throwing in. You're talking about the abortion. He sort of talks about it free of any deep thought or any ideological background.

He just says what at the time sounds logical to him. And I think for a lot of Republicans, Republican elites thought that the base of the party wanted tax cuts for the very rich, wanted corporate tax rate to be at 15%, wanted certain ideological things. But that's not what they wanted at all. They want the end of trade agreements, the reduction in immigration and a lot of things that were an anathema to the elites of the party probably for years.

KATY TUR:

But let's see how much Donald Trump cares about these issues when he's in office and how much he delegates to the people who are under him who have shown themselves to be at least so far quite conservative members of the Republican party. So how much of it is going to be Donald Trump leading policy and how much is it going to be his cabinet officials?

I have to say I was at dinner last night and this was just a shocking moment. And we had two Wall Street bankers sitting next to me. And they were thrilled at Donald Trump's presidency. They said they didn't know how he would do necessarily. But they were thrilled because they didn't believe he was going to have his hands in anything. They believed that commerce was going to take over. They believe that Tillerson was going to make the oil futures rise. They believe that they were going to make a ton of money off this. And they were toasting it.

JOY-ANN REID:

And that's the big irony.

CHUCK TODD:

I know. The mistakes though people make is assuming some stereotypes of Trump. Trump, if he doesn't care about an issue, they may be right. But when he cares about an issue, Robert, he cares about an issue.

ROBERT COSTA:

But Trump won the election. And when I'm at the capital these past few days a lot of Congressional Republicans, members of the House and Senate feel like they won the election too. But Trump didn't run on trimming Medicare spending or social security. He didn't run as a deficit hawk.

He ran as a populist. Yet, many conservatives in Washington believe they can enact their own agenda. You look at history, look at Bill Clinton's first term, even President Obama's first term, when you have these majorities and you're in your first term you think you can roll through policy after policy. But Trump didn't have the mandate in his campaign for the kind of policies that are being advocated by the leadership.

JOY-ANN REID:

And that's sort of the irony is that Donald Trump runs this campaign that aims right at the heart of blue collar, white America. But now as he's putting his cabinet together it's essentially a feast, a moveable feast for Wall Street. It is a series of executives whether it's Mnuchin who was essentially a foreclosure king. He's stacking his administration with these ultra-elite, the very people that the base of the party despise.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me close with this question domestically, what's a one-issue promise that he made that if he doesn't keep it he's got to worry about his own political standing with his base?

HUGH HEWITT:

He has to build the wall. He has to build it.

CHUCK TODD:

You feel like he's got to build-- an actual wall or the virtual wall?

HUGH HEWITT:

An actual 700-miles--

CHUCK TODD:

You really believe that?

HUGH HEWITT:

I really believe that if there is not the visible expression of the invisible commitment to sovereignty--

KATY TUR:

I don't believe that. I talked to people on the campaign trail. I asked them, they didn't seem to care. It's jobs. He's got to create jobs.

ROBERT COSTA:

And bouncing off of that, infrastructure. He is a builder. If the highways don't start getting built in the Rustbelt again and some factories don't come back, if there's not the infrastructure there.

JOY-ANN REID:

When we were in Ohio talking to steelworkers who voted for Obama twice and seemed to be really interested in Donald Trump they cared about two things, ending trade deals because they think it'll create jobs and immigration. If he doesn't do substantive reductions in immigration and, I mean, people want him to pull out of NAFTA. That isn't going to happen. But that's what they think is going to happen.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, it's that year two when he has to start dealing with these trade deals. I don't think he touches them in year one. Anyway, great conversation. When we come back we're going to hear from candidate Donald Trump on all things national security.

(BEGIN TAPE)

DONALD TRUMP:

I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS.

(END TAPE)

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. During the campaign Donald Trump was unsparing in his criticism of President Obama's foreign policy and of the foreign policy establishment left and right in general. Among other things he argued that America's military had been hollowed out, that the Iran deal was a one-sided disaster for the United States and that he knew more about ISIS than the generals. And that's where we start part two of our broadcast with Donald Trump on ISIS.

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

You want to knock the hell out of ISIS. How?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I want to take away their wealth. And as you know for years I've been saying, "Don't go into Iraq." They went into Iraq. They destabilized the Middle East. It was a big mistake. Okay. Now we're there. And you have ISIS.

And I said this was going to happen. I said, "Iran will take over Iraq," which is happening as sure as you're sitting there. And ISIS has taken over a lot of the oil in certain areas of Iraq. And I said, "You take away their wealth." You go and knock the hell out of the oil, take back the oil. We take over the oil which we should've done in the first place.

CHUCK TODD:

It's going to take ground troops.

DONALD TRUMP:

If you re--

CHUCK TODD:

What you're talking about is ground troops.

DONALD TRUMP:

It's okay. Chuck, it's okay.

CHUCK TODD:

Maybe 25,000? How ma--

DONALD TRUMP:

We're going to circle it. We're going to circle it. We're going to have so much money. And what I would do with the money that we make which would be tremendous, I would take care of the soldiers that were killed, the families of the soldiers that were killed.

CHUCK TODD:

Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great, you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and--

CHUCK TODD:

So you do the--

DONALD TRUMP:

--and you have certain people.

CHUCK TODD:

But is there somebody, is there a go-to for you? You know?

DONALD TRUMP:

Probably there are two--

CHUCK TODD:

Every presidential candidate--

DONALD TRUMP:

--or three. Yeah--

CHUCK TODD:

--has a go-to.

DONALD TRUMP:

--probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he's, you know, tough cookie. Knows what he's talking about. Jacobs is a good--

CHUCK TODD:

You mean Ambassador John Bolton.

DONALD TRUMP:

--guy. Yes. I think he's perfect.

CHUCK TODD:

You mean Colonel Jack Jacobs.

DONALD TRUMP:

Colonel Jack Jacobs is a good guy. And I see him on occasion.

DONALD TRUMP

This horrible deal with Iran. This deal, if you had the right, you'd have the prisoners back years ago.

CHUCK TODD:

Iran would still get money. I understand--

DONALD TRUMP:

Can you believe that deal?

CHUCK TODD:

But let me ask you this.

DONALD TRUMP:

No, why is Iran getting the money?

CHUCK TODD:

I understand there's a lot of people-- I understand a lot of people are critical of the deal. But could you, what deal can you come up with that wouldn't give Iran money?

DONALD TRUMP:

Okay, I would never have given them--

CHUCK TODD:

You wouldn't give them sanction relief?

DONALD TRUMP:

--I would have told them up front, "By the way--"

CHUCK TODD:

No sanctions relief?

DONALD TRUMP:

"--we will never give you back your money--"

CHUCK TODD:

Period.

DONALD TRUMP:

"--We will never give you back your $150 billion. You're never getting that money back. That's number one. Number two, before we start negotiations, you have to give us our three prisoners. Now it's four. Okay? You know, when it started, it was three. Now it's four. You have to give us back. Without question you have to give them back. And, you know what, you don't want them. But we do. It's psychologically good. And it'll help us make a better deal together that's good for you. Okay?"

But I would have told them up front, "You will never get your $150 billion back." They are going to be such a wealthy, such a powerful nation they're going to have nuclear weapons. They are going to take over parts of the world that you wouldn't believe. And I think it's going to lead to nuclear holocaust. And I will say this, the people that negotiated that deal, namely Kerry and his friends, are incompetent.

CHUCK TODD:

What do you do on day one though? This is a deal Secretary Gates basically says didn't like the deal, thought the U.S. wanted the deal--

DONALD TRUMP:

Too much.

CHUCK TODD:

--too much.

DONALD TRUMP:No they begged for it.

CHUCK TODD:

So bad negotiating tactic, all of those things.

DONALD TRUMP:

And by the way, they should have doubled up the sanctions.

CHUCK TODD:

And then he said, and then he said, "Can't pull out of the deal because of the international ramifications." What do you say to that?

DONALD TRUMP:

I would--

CHUCK TODD:

He's a pretty wise guy.

DONALD TRUMP:

--okay, I've heard a lot of people say, "We're going to rip up the deal." It's very tough to do when you say "rip up a deal" because I'm a deal person and--

CHUCK TODD:

You get that. Even if it-- you've made, you've--

DONALD TRUMP:

--when I, when I make those-- Let me tell you. But I will police that deal, you know, I've taken over some bad contracts. I buy contracts where people screwed up and they had bad contracts.

CHUCK TODD:

But you have to abide by them.

DONALD TRUMP:

But I'm really good at looking at a contact and finding things within a contract that even if they're bad. I would police that contract so tough that they don't have a chance. As bad as the contract is I will be so tough on that contract.

CHUCK TODD:

So the deal lives in a Trump administration.

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, the deal--

CHUCK TODD:

You're just going to be--

DONALD TRUMP:

It's very hard to say, "We're ripping up." And the problem is by the time I got in there they will have already received the $150 billion. Do you know if the deal gets rejected they still get the money?

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think the Middle East would be better today if Gaddafi, Saddam and Assad were sort of-- if Saddam and Gaddafi were still there and Assad were stronger?

DONALD TRUMP:

Not even--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think the Middle East would be safer?

DONALD TRUMP:

It's not even a contest, Chuck. It's not even a contest. Iraq is a disaster. And ISIS--

CHUCK TODD:

So it would be better off if Saddam were in charge?

DONALD TRUMP:

--don't forget, ISIS came out of Iraq.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you welcome Putin's involvement?

DONALD TRUMP:

I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS. And it's going to be ISIS. And I'll tell you why, Putin has to get rid of ISIS because Putin doesn't want ISIS coming into Russia.

CHUCK TODD:

Why do you trust him and nobody else does?

DONALD TRUMP:

I don't trust him. I don't trust him at all. Other than we both got very good ratings the other night on 60 Minutes because I, it was with me and Putin. Can you believe this of all--

CHUCK TODD:

There you go.

DONALD TRUMP:

Right? So I don't know. Did I get the ratings or did he? But the truth, it's not a question of trust. I don't want to see the United States-- We've spent now, we've spent 2 trillion in Iraq, probably a trillion in Afghanistan. We're in th-- We're destroying our country.

DONALD TRUMP:

Here's the problem to what you're saying in Syria, we are fighting Assad and we're fighting for people and helping people that we don't even know who they are.

And they may be worse than Assad. They may be worse. Okay? They may be worse. And if Assad never happened, if you didn't have a problem in Syria you wouldn't have the migration, you wouldn't be talking about all of these countries with what's going on in Europe. And now they're talking about taking 200,000 people that we don't even know who they are and bringing them to the United States. The whole thing is ridiculous. So I'm not justifying Putin. But you watch, he'll get bogged down there. He'll be there. He'll spend a fortune. He'll be begging to get out. Everybody that's gone to the Middle East has had nothing but problems.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me give you one more issue where you sort of went counter to what is perceived as Republican orthodoxy and that is on--

DONALD TRUMP:

Okay, fine.

CHUCK TODD:

--the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. You said Wednesday you wanted to be neutral in that dispute. Explain what neutral means because some heard that in the pro-Israeli community and think "oh he's going to be anti-Israel." Explain what you mean by neutral.

DONALD TRUMP:

No, they want me-- Look, no, I'm very pro-Israel. In fact, I was the head of the Israeli day parade a number of years ago. I did a commercial for Netanyahu when he was getting elected. He asked me to do a commercial for him. I did a commercial for him. I am.

But I don't want to be, look, the hardest thing to do is that in terms of deals, if you're a deal person. Right? The ultimate deal is that deal. Israel/Palestine, if you're going to make it, that probably is the hardest deal there is to make.

People are born with hatred. They're taught hatred. And I have to say it's mostly on the one side, not on the other side. But they're taught hatred. I say this, if I'm going to be president I'd rather be in a position, because I will try the best I can, and I'm a very good deal-maker, believe me, to try and solve that puzzle. You're not going to solve it if you're going to be on one side or another. Everyone understands then, if I am going to solve the problem I want to go in with a clean slate otherwise you're never going to get the cooperation of the other side.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Well, there you go, Donald Trump on the various hot spots around the world. Hugh Hewitt, national security is probably the issue that you care the most about as a conservative. Do you think you know Donald Trump's foreign policy doctrine at this point?

HUGH HEWITT:

I know that he is the most unpredictable and interesting interview in the world. So if you just watch his interviews you can't piece together a foreign policy. But we were talking in the green room and I believe it to be true, there is a Nixonian element of this, the good Nixon, the deal maker, the unpredictable, the willing to go to China when he had spent his entire life campaigning against Mao.

I think there's a way to even understand the Russia play as being a repurposing of the least strong among the Russia/China adversaries as our ally as Nixon went at that time to China. So I think he is going to avail himself of Dr. Kissinger, as he had. I think Tillerson--Dan Ponder is a friend of mine-- a Democrat Obama senior advi-- says Tillerson's wonderful. I think General Mattis is the great geostrategic thinker. I think he's got a great team and I think he's going to work with them. I'm an optimist.

CHUCK TODD:

Y-- Joy, it's interesting that Hugh brings up Nixon because I think Nixon is a fascinating parallel to Trump because of just what he said. Ideologically neutral. You don't know always-- Yeah, Nixon would get talked into conservative causes. But could easily veer off into a populist realm just like Trump.

JOY-ANN REID:

Well, I think the problem though with Trump is because he's sort of an empty vessel, the danger in that is that the strong camps in Trump world are all troubling. So you've got Putinism which Trump feels in his own gut, as you can hear when he speaks, he's very pro-Putinite. So the idea of turning over sort of global leadership to Russia is troubling.

The second piece is that Donald Trump is echoing this European sort of ethno nationalist line that the far right parties in Europe are. His language is not about specific countries that are our allies. It's about Christians versus Islam, this sort of eliminationist almost language which says that we are in a war of civilizations and embracing that, something George W. Bush never did.

And I think even with all the mistakes George W. Bush made in foreign policy, he never did that. Trump is echoing that same sort of Christian nationalist line which puts us in a dangerous place when you also have this third piece which is his potential Israeli ambassador wanting to make provocative moves like moving the embassy to Jerusalem which could touch off a conflagration in the Muslim world. And I'm not sure Donald Trump knows his own mind enough to have a strategy to deal with an absolute crisis which he, himself, could provoke very soon.

KATY TUR:

I think Joy makes a really good point. And I think if you take a look at the tape, if you-- see Donald Trump's first reaction to things, his gut reaction to topics whether it be Planned Parenthood or the Iran deal, it's a much more moderate position.

It's only after he's taken that moderate position and somebody gets into his ear behind the scenes, who knows which advisor it is on any given topic, does he change and did he go more towards the very conservative end of the spectrum. Early on in the campaign, one of the earliest rallies I went to was July in Phoenix. It was huge.

He got up on stage and he admitted, "This is not a popular position but I think we need to have universal health care in this country. I don't like Obamacare but we need to have universal health care because we need to take care of everybody." Later on it became much more harsher and a rallying cry, "Repeal and replace Obamacare." So he starts out in a moderate position and moves to the right when people get inside his ear. The question is, and this is something that people have been debating, does Donald Trump, did Donald Trump see an opening within the Republican party to manipulate them in a way that he didn't see with the Democratic party? And is that why now he is so conservative?

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Robert, though, I want to bring up one point that I think everybody here realizes when it comes to presidents and foreign policy is that, don't pay attention to how they campaign on it because whatever the foreign policy issue is during a campaign it usually is the last debate that we're having on foreign policy. We actually don't know what the major foreign policy challenge-- We probably don't know what the challenge is going to be for Trump going forward.

ROBERT COSTA:

Well, the president-elect's going to face a challenge immediately once he's in office.

CHUCK TODD:

We don't know what, right?

ROBERT COSTA:

Well one of them would be the Islamic state. And he ran, as you said, really distancing himself from the George W. Bush world-view. He ran in part with militaristic language but with a non-interventionist approach. And he's going to be tested from day one does he actually work with Vladimir Putin? How does he interact with Assad? How does he confront the crisis in Syria and ISIS even though he had so much support from working-class Americans disgruntled by the wars, weary by them, to be this non-interventionist candidate. He's going to be pressured from a lot of hawks in his own party to go and intervene in the Middle East.

JOY-ANN REID:

And I have to say one thing that, you know, we cannot discount how his personal conflicts of interest wind up influencing his foreign policy. We don't know to what international banks he is in debt. We don't know the extent to which his own pecuniary interests might influence, quite frankly, his foreign policy.

If his children are still running his company and there's a hotel to be built in Dubai does that influence his reaction if the government of Dubai acts in a way we don't want or in Turkey or in these other countries. These entanglements become really important not to mention the fact that this is a Republican strategist who said it to me and said it repeatedly, you start to also have anything with the Trump name on it around the world becoming an instant terrorist target. How do we react to a world in which the name of the president of the United States is plastered all over hotels and hotspots around the world?

HUGH HEWITT:

Of all the people you've interviewed over the years, Chuck, no one is less predictable, I would guess, than Donald Trump. I ask you this question, and so I think the Sunday shows when he starts to do them, and I hope he keeps doing them, every foreign leader whether it's Theresa May or Putin, whether it's in Australia or in Indonesia, they're going to tune in to find out what he thinks. President Obama was hard to find on the air. I think President Trump is going to be available and people are going to watch because he is so unpredictable.

CHUCK TODD:

He is. I'm just going to be curious to see at the end of four years do we have a bigger rivalry with China or Russia? Anyway when we come back we'll look at President-elect Trump's leadership style. But right after the break a look at some presidential Christmas messages over the decades. Here's the tape.

(BEGIN TAPE)

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

For over two millennia year Christmas has carried the message that God is with us.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT:

It is indeed a holy season in which to work for good will among men.

(END TAPE)

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. We're going to take a brief holiday break this Christmas day to look at American tradition, the Christmas season messages from presidents throughout the years. And thankfully this is one tradition that has been immune from partisan politics. And you'll see it goes back a long way.

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON:

We are joined by simple and universal convictions.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society's margins.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN:

Never too late to touch a life and maybe change the world forever for someone.

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER:

Our nation is not one of solemn faces and sad demeanors.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON:

Let us just remember we do have some problems which we will overcome.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH:

The holidays are, as we've seen here tonight, a time of laughter and children and counting our blessings.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN:

We Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

For over two millennia Christmas has carried the message that God is with us.

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT:

It is indeed a holy season in which to work for good will among men.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN:

This is the time of year when most of us try to be better than our everyday selves.

PRESIDENT JOHN KENNEDY:

Let us we dedicate ourselves to the principles of peace and good will towards men.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

During Christmas we celebrate the blessings of the season and the blessings that surround us every day.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:

Let's reach out to those who can use a hand. Let's summon the spirit of togetherness that's always helped to kindle America as a shining example for the world.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good advice for any time of year but especially during the holiday season. And speaking of we also want to wish many of our viewers and many members of my own family a happy Hanukkah as well. We'll be right back.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. One thing we can all agree on is that Donald Trump was nothing if not a different kind of candidate. Brash, unfiltered, willing to insult half the country in order to win over the other half. Some saw him as a conman. Others saw him as a man not afraid to tell it like it is. But never in doubt was that Donald was always, always the showman.

(TAPE BEGINS)

CHUCK TODD:

I sort of was amused by this little except from your Playboy interview in 1990. The questionnaire asked, "What does all of this mean? You talk about your yacht, the bronze tower, the casino. What does it really mean to you?" And you replied, "Props for the show." And they said, "What show was that?" And you replied, "The show is Trump. And it is sold out performances everywhere."

DONALD TRUMP:

And it has for a long time.

CHUCK TODD:

Are we all a part of a show? I mean, there is --

DONALD TRUMP:

No --

CHUCK TODD:

-- you know that some of the criticisms have said we all feel like we're -- are we in a reality show?

DONALD TRUMP:

No this is not a reality -- this is the real deal. But our country has to be --

CHUCK TODD:

You did smile when I said the show stuff. Because it resonated.

DONALD TRUMP:

I mean, it's fine. My life has been an interesting life. I've had a lot of fun.

CHUCK TODD:

People call you a lot of names. Some of it's positive, some of it's negative. I want to throw some by. Let's see, some people are calling you the music man of this race. Kim Kardashian, Biff from Back to the Future, George Costanza, P.T. Barnum. Any of those do you consider a compliment?

DONALD TRUMP:

P.T. Barnum.

CHUCK TODD:

You'll take the P.T. Barnum?

DONALD TRUMP:

P.T. Barnum. Look, people call you names. We need P.T. Barnum a little bit because we have to build up the image of our country and we have to be a cheerleader for our country. We don't have a cheerleader.

CHUCK TODD:

Transparency in the White House. Will you commit to really saying the names of everybody you meet with as president to the public?

DONALD TRUMP:

I would have no problem with it. You know, transparency's a real thing. If Merkel wants to come over from Germany I'm not looking to embarrass her. You know, if she wants to have a quiet meeting I'm not looking to go wild. I want these people to like Trump and to like this country.

So, you know, I don't think that's the most important thing. I do think having to do with campaign financing everything should be released. It should be very open. But having to do with that, I want to make a country coming to the White House feel comfortable. As far as people coming in from our country, like business people, 100%.

CHUCK TODD:

President Obama tried to put a ban on lobbyists ever working in the administration. Will you do something like that?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, that's a pretty good idea because, you know, these guys get out and they almost immediately, almost immediately go to work for a company. And they have power that they shouldn't have. The lobbyists and the special interests and the donors have --

CHUCK TODD:

So no lobbyists will work in the Trump administration? You'll have a ban?

DONALD TRUMP:

I would certainly have a ban. Yeah, you can't put a lifetime ban. But you can certainly make it three, four years.

CHUCK TODD:

Right now on Twitter there is a trending retweet of yours. You retweeted somebody from Ilduce2016. It was a Mussolini quote. But you didn't know it was Mussolini when you retweeted said, "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep." That's a famous Mussolini quote. You retweeted it. Do you like the quote? Did you know it was Mussolini?

DONALD TRUMP:

It's okay to know it's Mussolini. Look, Mussolini was Mussolini. It's okay -- it's a very good quote. It's a very interesting quote. And I saw it. I know who said it. But what difference does it make whether it's Mussolini or somebody else? It's certainly a very interesting quote. That's probably why I --

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Mussolini is a known fascist.

DONALD TRUMP:

Between Facebook and Twitter 14 million people when other people don't.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you want to be associated--

DONALD TRUMP:

It's a very interesting quote, and people can talk about it.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you want to be associated with a fascist?

DONALD TRUMP:

No I want to be associated with interesting quotes.

CHUCK TODD:

This violence on the campaign trail, it's got a lot of people concerned. And I guess why won't you go up on stage and ratchet it back? I mean, you've used rhetoric about Islam hates us, surveillance of certain mosques, calling Mexican immigrants rapists. What did you expect? A lot of people say you're reaping what you sow here. That the reason there's so much tension at your rallies is you've used such divisive rhetoric. Do you have any regrets?

DONALD TRUMP:

The reason there's tension at my rallies is that these people are sick and tired of this country being run by incompetent people that don't know what they're doing on trade deals where our jobs are being ripped out of our country, Chuck. They're being ripped out. Or in ISIS where we can't even beat ISIS with our military.

Our military is not being taken care of. We can't even beat ISIS. On in our vets who are being treated horribly. Frankly, they're being treated worse than illegal immigrants. The people are angry at that. They're not angry about something I'm saying. I'm just the messenger. The people are angry about the fact that for 12 years the workers in this country haven't had a pay increase, Chuck. In 12 years they haven't had an effective pay increase.

CHUCK TODD:

So you will not --

DONALD TRUMP:

And that's what they're angry about.

CHUCK TODD:

-- you will not call for ratcheting back the rhetoric. You will not call for it?

DONALD TRUMP:

Well I haven't said anything. I'm just expressing my opinion. What have I said that's wrong?

CHUCK TODD:

Why not release the tax returns that aren't involved in the audit?

DONALD TRUMP:

Because it's a link. I have very big tax returns. I'm sure you've seen the picture where the returns are literally from the floor to up to here.

CHUCK TODD:

Will you do it --

DONALD TRUMP:

-- they're extremely complex. I get audited --

CHUCK TODD:

Before the election?

DONALD TRUMP:

-- I hope so. I'd like to. I have no problem --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you pledge to do it before the election?

DONALD TRUMP:

Excuse me. Sure. If the audit is finished. I'll do it as fast as the audit's finished. Remember this, I've already given my financials. And my financials show I'm worth more than $10 billion by any stretch of the imagination, has tremendous cash, tremendous cash flow. You don't learn much from tax returns. But I would love to give the tax returns. But I can't do it until I'm finished with the audit.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Back with the panel, two words. Bully pulpit. There is no doubt Donald Trump is going to redefine this --

KATY TUR:

I think he's going to still do --

CHUCK TODD:

--for a generation.

KATY TUR:

-- rallies. I think he's going to go out there when he decides he wants to push an issue he's going to go and have a rally, in Mobile, Alabama. Get 10-20,000 people to come see him and then say, "Look, you've got to pass it, Congress. Look at all them."

JOY-ANN REID:

Heavy on the bully. I mean, I think what Donald Trump is sort of about and, you know, whether it's the profiles that have been about him over the years in Vanity Fair or the books we all know that have been written about is that it is the politics of resentment. It's the Queens rich guy that wants the Manhattan elite to respect him.

And he loves the adulation of the crowds. That's the feeling of respect that has been missing in his life. And so yeah, I think he's going to be out on the road as was pitched to John Kasich reportedly when the sons tried to get him to be VP. Mike Pence is going to be running the government. He's going to be out making America great again. And I think whatever gets the applause is what Donald Trump is going to do. That's the only way to predict an unpredictable president.

HUGH HEWITT:

You know, I'm the proud of owner of TrumpTheMusical.com. I did that in 2015 after my first interview with him because I thought the showman is going to be around for a long time. And he said in that first interview -- I haven't interviewed him as much as you have, Chuck. But I've done it a lot. And Katy's talked to him a lot. And Joy, I hope he does AM Joy because it would a terrific --

JOY-ANN REID:

I'd love to --

HUGH HEWITT:

Costa talked to him more than anybody. But he used to go to hear Norman Vincent Peale at Marble Collegiate. That's what he grew up on Sundays, a showman extraordinaire. I think that's what we're in for. I don't know that it has any particular politics attached to it. But it's going to be awfully doggone interesting.

ROBERT COSTA:

One thing I've picked up just covering Trump is every day he wakes up very early, he's consuming television. He has a pile of printouts. He doesn't use email. He's reading stories in the news, foreign policy, domestic policy, also about himself. He has a marker. He's going through it. Then he's on his cellphone, he's looking through Twitter. This is someone who's constantly engaged. Some would say for better others would say for worse. That's it.

CHUCK TODD:

Go ahead.

JOY-ANN REID:

I was just going to say that one of the things that I think we have to guard against as you just discussed, Hugh, this sort of entertainment factor, there are some real elements of authoritarianism in the approach that Donald Trump takes to government. His admiration for Putin. These things are troubling. We live in an open system, in a democratic system, small d, where, you know, America is supposed to be allergic to authoritarianism. But we're seeing how easily Americans slip into it. And I think we have to be on guard particularly in the media against allowing ourselves to sort of slip casually into authoritarianism.

CHUCK TODD:

What I'm curious about though is what kind of West Wing is he going to run? It does feel that, look, he went through three campaign managers. That tells me, Katy, I wouldn't want to be Reince Priebus. You wouldn't want to be the first chief of staff because you're certainly not going to be the last.

KATY TUR:

I think if it doesn't go well there will be black sheep. Who can I blame for whatever failure that we're having or whatever discontent that might be breeding throughout the country? So yeah, Reince Priebus might be in an uncomfortable position. But I would also look to some others as well. I would look to Michael Flynn and wonder if he's going to be able to maintain that NSA position because there's been so much discontent about him. But, I mean, I think that nobody is safe in a Trump White House or a Trump administration or a Trump orbit. No, maybe the kids.

CHUCK TODD:

Except the kids.

KATY TUR:

Maybe the kids.

CHUCK TODD:

And Jared, right?

KATY TUR:

Well, I don't even know. I think that--

CHUCK TODD:

Wow.

KATY TUR:

-- I think when Donald Trump needs your loyalty he covets your loyalty, he cultivates your loyalty, he touts your loyalty, he promises he'll be loyal back to you. But then when he doesn't really need it anymore he casts you aside. And I think that we saw that very clearly with Chris Christie who really went out on a ledge for him, with Rudy Giuliani, with Newt Gingrich as well. Three of the men that really went out there and defended him when nobody else would. And they're not major players.

CHUCK TODD:

No.

KATY TUR:

At all.

ROBERT COSTA:

Katy, you're spot on about the fleeting loyalty within Trump's inner circle. And I also see it not just as one circle but multiple spheres around the president-elect. You have the family, you have Steve Bannon, the populist, Mike Flynn's in that group. You have the mainstream Republicans led of course by Reince Priebus, the incoming chief of staff.

The most important thing I've learned covering Trump is that there's always a direct line to Trump. Instead of having an isolated presidency I would expect to see a president who's taking advice and counsel from people outside of his administration.

CHUCK TODD:

That's what's going to be fascinating because that's right. You can have a relationship with Trump outside his staff which scare the bejesus out of staff.

JOY-ANN REID:

And you can get to him directly on Twitter which is an odd thing, right, for a president. But, you know, out of the list that Robert just reeled off I can tell you the single most divisive person in that list besides Flynn with the conspiracy theories, et cetera, is Bannon.

As long as Donald Trump maintains someone like Steve Bannon who ran a website that touts itself as the home of the alt-right, that is associated in that sense with white nationalism, that white nationalists see as their window, their doorway into the administration, as long as that person is whispering into the president's ear --

(OVERTALK)

JOY-ANN REID:

-- he'll never, ever, ever get back from the divisiveness of Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

But one thing Bannon will also keep him away from is getting caught in traps like cutting Medicare and --

JOY REID:

Will he? I mean I think --

CHUCK TODD:

I don't know. I think that's where Bannon's head is at.

HUGH HEWITT:

Example is he invites the preeminent, non-partisan, public servant Bob Gates of our day. Invites him to Trump Tower. Says to him, "I don't know who to make secretary of state." Bob Gates says, "Why don't you try to Tillerson?" That tells me just step away from the selection.

A tremendous openness to an argument. Maybe it's the last person in the room. And I understand your authentic concern. And I think the press needs to be vigilant. But I actually am so much more optimistic than most people are because I believe that Tillerson's selection showed us he is tremendously open to argument. Developers do this. I talked to Bob Corker about it this week. Developers are focus and execute people.

CHUCK TODD:

Alright, well we will pause there. When we come back some of the shining figures and groundbreakers in politics and culture that we lost this year.

MUHAMMAD ALI:

My intention is to box and to win a clean fight. But in war the intention is to kill, kill, kill, kill and continue killing innocent people.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

As we celebrate this holiday season with friends and family, we also wanted to take a moment to remember those in the world of politics, media, and culture who we lost this year and who meant a lot to us and to you, our Meet the Press viewers.

(BEGIN TAPE)

TIM RUSSERT:

You love to argue the law, don't you?

ANTONIN SCALIA:

I just love the law. I love to think about the law. I love to argue the law.

GWEN IFILL:

Tonight on Washington Weekend Review.

ELIE WIESEL:

We must take sides, for neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.

MORLEY SAFER

This is what the war on Vietnam is all about.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN:

Issue one.

JOHN GLENN:

It's just so beautiful up there. You can't help but look out and you get teary-eyed almost.

FIDEL CASTRO:

Why am I going to hate the people of the United States? I don't hate anybody, including my enemies.

MUHAMMAD ALI:

My intention is to box, to win a clean fight. But in war the intention is to kill, kill, kill, kill and continue killing innocent people.

NANCY REAGAN:

There's a big, wonderful world out there for you.

RONALD REAGAN:

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for your love. And thank you for just being you.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with the panel for the last end game segment of the year. Okay. Obviously predictions is a -- not the greatest idea of 2016. But let's see if 2017's any better. First 100 days headline, Joy.

JOY-ANN REID:

Conflict of interests roil Trump administration. I think it's still going to be the big headline, is going to be Donald Trump and his children's business conflicts around the world and how that impacts him and his policies domestic and foreign.

CHUCK TODD:

Hugh Hewitt.

HUGH HEWITT:

Immigration overhaul drives huge bipartisan support, Trump triumphant.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, there you go. Mr. Costa.

ROBERT COSTA:

Trump enthuses the right with Supreme Court pick. I think that's going to be the way he tries to keep his party with him.

CHUCK TODD:

And Miss Tur.

KATY TUR:

Trump provokes Iran.

CHUCK TODD:

Provokes Iran? Wow.

KATY TUR:

Security experts.

CHUCK TODD:

Here's one thing I know. It's going to be a very busy first 100 days. Perhaps a very busy four years. Before we go though I'd like to not just thank our panelists here for this review of year in Trump. For us it's been quite a year on that front.

But what about what's happening in the Democratic party? Where do they go? What is their headline in the first 100 days, Mr. Costa?

ROBERT COSTA:

I think they're going to probably go with more of a mainstream pick for party chairman. Maybe Labor Secretary Tom Perez. And I think we're going to see an ongoing civil war. Is this going to be the party of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and progressives? Or is it going to try to be the party of Tim Ryan and really focus on rust belt issues?

KATY TUR:

Who is the Democratic party? They have to find an identity and they've got to find somebody to rally behind and I think Costa's right. Is it Bernie Sanders or is it a new face that we haven't yet seen?

JOY-ANN REID:

And I don't think it can be Bernie Sanders because as we all know he's not a Democrat. And so I think you're going to have a lot of Democrats --

KATY TUR:

Donald Trump's not really a Republican.

JOY-ANN REID:

That is a good point. But I think because he didn't actually join formally the party it's going to be difficult for him to exert leadership because much of the party will resist that. I think that the Democrats are scrambling for a message, for a leader, for an identity. And I think that at the moment they do not appear to be well-equipped to deal with Donald Trump or Trumpism. They're going to need to get it together very quickly.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. Hewitt.

HUGH HEWITT:

Joe Biden hits the gym and the road on behalf of Democrats everywhere staying in shape for 2020.

ROBERT COSTA:

One quick thing, really watching President Obama, does he be part of these discussions in a vital way? Or does he go off and paint George W. Bush style?

JOY-ANN REID:

No from what we're hearing essentially is that President Obama is not going to now be able to go ride off into the sunset. He wants to essentially coach young leaders in the party, sort of start to develop a bench of new dynamic Democratic leaders. And he's going to be active.

CHUCK TODD:

Because there's a vacuum the party has no choice but to stick being the party of Obama until they find the heir apparent. Anyway, thank you, guys.

HUGH HEWITT:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

We had a little bit of Democratic talk there right at the end. I want to thank you guys. Thank everybody that's been on the show. And again, I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, happy holidays to all. And as we leave you today we do so with some moments from First Ladies and the way that many of them celebrated Christmas at the White House. We hope you enjoy it. And remember, we'll be back next Sunday because even on New Year's Day, no matter what day it is and what year it is, if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

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