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Meet the Press - November 20, 2016

NBC News - Meet The Press

"11.20.16"

(BEGIN TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, President-Elect Trump's administration begins to take shape. General Mike Flynn, Senator Jeff Sessions, Congressman Mike Pompeo. Loyalists all, as Donald Trump turns his campaign rhetoric into a governing reality. I'll talk to his incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus. Also do Democrats in Congress work with Trump or fight him?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

On issues where our values are at stake, where the president goes in a divisive direction, we'll go against him with everything we've got.

CHUCK TODD:

My interviews with the new Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, and with Senator Bernie Sanders. Plus, those middle-class voters who went for Obama and then Trump.

MICHELANGELO IVONE:

What made me vote for him is the fact that I believe that Hillary Clinton was a criminal.

CHUCK TODD:

I talked to voters who turned blue states red, about what they expect now from the president they voted for. Joining me for insight and analysis are Tom Friedman, columnist for The New York Times, Kathleen Parker, columnist for The Washington Post, Neera Tanden, President for the Center for American Progress, and Robert Costa, of The Washington Post. Welcome to Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. President-Elect Donald Trump spent the weekend at his Bedminster, New Jersey club, meeting with possible members of his administration including one-time rival and critic Mitt Romney, who is reportedly being considered for Secretary of State, as well as Michelle Rhee, a Democrat who ran the school system in Washington, D.C. She could be the next education secretary.

But, if Mr. Trump has made one thing clear with his choices for national security posts, it's that he's not yet tacking to the middle, as many conservatives perhaps had feared or liberals had hoped. For national security advisor, General Mike Flynn, who says militant Islam poses an existential threat to the United States. For attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, tireless opponent of illegal immigration, and someone who's been accused of making racially insensitive remarks that derailed a previous confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate for a federal judgeship in the '80s.

And for C.I.A. chief, Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas, tough critic of Hillary Clinton on Benghazi, he has gotten bipartisan praise for that pick. That's no team of rivals, though. Collectively so far, the choices do represent security over civil liberties, outsiders over insiders, and loyalists over moderates. Republican senators were largely supportive of the choices, and Democrats, in the most part, particularly in Jeff Sessions, sharply opposed.

Joining me now from Donald Trump's club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is the current head of the Republican National Committee, but of course, is President-Elect Trump's new incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. Mr. Priebus, first of all, congratulations on the new job.

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Well, good morning Chuck. Appreciate you having me on.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with the meeting with Mitt Romney. Is it fair to conclude, I've talked to a few people close to your campaign, but we're talking to you, and that is simply that it's Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney for Secretary of State. Is that fair to conclude?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Look, I think if you see the entire picture here, what I think Americans should take from this is the fact that we've got a President-Elect Trump that wants to bring all Americans together. He started with that speech that he gave on Wednesday morning, very graciously saying, "No matter who you are, no matter what your background is, I'm going to be here for you, make you proud of our country."

And what you saw with Mitt Romney, people like obviously Ted Cruz coming in, is a continuation of this bridge building and this scene that all Americans should take in, that he wants to bring us all together. The meeting with Mitt Romney itself though, I will tell you, was a very good meeting. It was gracious and personable and it was very sincere and it was productive. So I don’t-- we don't know where it will lead right now. But I can tell you that it was a great first step and people should be proud of the way things are going here in President-Elect Trump's operation.

CHUCK TODD:

Would it surprise you if President-Elect Trump selected Mitt Romney for Secretary of State?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

You know, look, I, I’m not sure who he's going to select. But I do know he's talking to the right people.

CHUCK TODD:

But would that surprise you?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Giuliani, General Keane, General Kelly, he's talked to Mitt Romney, obviously. And we'll see, Chuck, where it goes. But it's a good sign for all Americans.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I want to talk about obviously Donald Trump ran especially at the end on the phrase, he used it a lot, "Drain the swamp." But there's a number of moves that have happened this week that call that into question, perhaps some conflicts of interest, his daughter Ivanka was seen pictured at the meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, there is some businessmen from India who have deals with the president-elect's organization, Trump Organization, they had a meeting with the president-elect, took pictures of it, sort of creating this idea that maybe they'll end up profiting off of the Trump name, now that he's president, in India. How are you organizing a divestment or a blind trust right now of Donald Trump and his businesses?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

We're not going to get into the details of that, but that is being handled. And there is nothing being discussed of any import--

CHUCK TODD:

How do we know that?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

--the meeting was simply cursory.

CHUCK TODD:

Because you didn't bring the press in, by the way.

REINCE PRIEBUS:

The meeting was cursory. And look, all of these things, all these rules are going to be followed, Chuck. There is no-- There is going to be no violation of any of these rules, I can assure you of that. And as we move forward, those, those matters are going to be more clearly spelled out, and you're going to be aware of it. But look, the one person I can tell you that makes this decision is Donald Trump.

Families historically have been involved with their, with their fathers in administrations. And I can assure you though, what you're seeing Donald Trump do right now is bring the best and the brightest together to make the best decisions for America, for all Americans, no matter who you are.

CHUCK TODD:

But at the end of the day, how does he prove that he's not planned to use the presidency to profit? There have been reports that the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C., that, that ambassadors were encouraged to bring their visiting delegations and have them stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. Is that true?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

No, it's not true at all, Chuck. And, and I think what you, what we have here is it's truly a unique situation where you have an international businessperson that has done incredibly well in life, that is now going to work toward focusing 24/7 on being president of the United States. And setting up a system, a legal system to shield himself from any and all conflicts. That's what we're doing, that's what people are going to see. And in the coming days and weeks, the American people will see that.

CHUCK TODD:

The Wall Street Journal is recommending the following: the Trump family political business, Wall Street Journal, no, no member of the liberal media, at least their editorial page, "The political damage to a new administration could be extensive," they write. "If Mr. Trump doesn't liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position." They essentially believe it's untenable for Trump or his kids to have any control over the Trump organization while he's president. Does the president-elect share that view?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Look, we're, we’re looking at this right now Chuck, as well. And like, like I said before, we're going to make sure that no matter what decisions are made, that they're going to be run through counsel. And as you know, there's a White House Counsel's office that will be there, that will be issuing opinions and these matters will all be dealt with, they'll all be dealt with accordingly.

And Donald Trump, our new president, is going to spend every hour, every minute of the day making America proud of where we're going and making America great again, but also making the decisions that benefit everyone the most in this country. So I think we're just getting ahead of ourselves a little bit. But I can assure you the work will continue and the best and the brightest will continue to be brought together no matter their background, their political affiliation, and all the rest.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you a question about the appointment of General Mike Flynn to national security advisor. Essentially, there are two corner offices in the White House, you're going to be in one, he's going to be in the other. In February, Flynn posted a video listing bombings perpetrated by Muslims with the comment, "Fear of Muslims is rational." Can you equivocally rule out a registry for Muslims?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Look, I'm not going to rule out anything. But, but I wouldn’t-- we're not going to have a registry based on a religion. But what I think what we're trying to do is say that there are some people, certainly not all people, Chuck, there are some people that are radicalized and there are some people that have to be prevented from coming into this country.

And Donald Trump's position, President Trump's position is consistent with bills in the House and the Senate that say the following: "If you come-- If you want to come from a place or an area around the world that harbors and trains terrorists, we have to temporarily suspend that operation until a better, better vetting system is put in place." And when that happens, when a better vetting system is put in place, then those radical folks, or excuse me, they’ll be, they will not be allowed in, but then others will be allowed in. But only until that is done.

CHUCK TODD:But does--

REINCE PRIEBUS:

That's what General Michael Flynn believes--

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that.

REINCE PRIEBUS:

And that's what President Trump believes.

CHUCK TODD:

Does President-Elect Trump agree with General Flynn that fear of Muslims is rational?

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Well, I-- He believes that no faith in and of itself should be judged as a whole. But there are some people in countries abroad that need to be prevented from co-- there are some people that need to be prevented from coming into this country. So I think that's where 99% of Americans are at.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Reince Priebus, the next White House chief of staff, appreciate the, the time, and thanks for coming on and sharing your views.

REINCE PRIEBUS:

Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Well, on Friday I traveled to Michigan for a story on middle class voters who picked Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. We’re going to have that story for you later in the hour. But, while I was there I took a break to interview the new Senate democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer.

He began by telling me that Senate Democrats would give a very thorough vetting to President-Elect Trump’s choice for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions. And that he had tough questions for Mike Flynn, though he doesn’t need Senate confirmation, who, of course, is Mr. Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor. But then, here, we’re going to begin with a question I asked of whether he thinks Senate Democrats should oppose President Trump because it’s good for the party or work with him when they can.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, my test is the specifics. We're not going to work with him for the sake of working with him. We're not going to oppose him just because it's something that Trump sponsors. But let me give you a couple of examples on both sides. Surprisingly, on certain issues, candidate Trump voiced very progressive and populist opinions. For instance, getting rid of the carried interest loophole, changing our trade laws dramatically, a large infrastructure bill.

Cleaning up the swamp in Washington. These are things that Democrats have always stood for, and frankly, Republicans have always been against. So we're going to challenge President Trump to work with us on those issues where we can. If he doesn't, he'll be breaking his promise to particularly the blue collar workers, many of whom voted for him, on those particular issues.

But on issues where our values are at stake, where the president goes in a divisive direction, where his campaign did before, we'll go against him and with everything we've got. We're not going to repeal or help him repeal Obamacare. We are not going to roll back Dodd-Frank. I think they should forget about that. We have 60 votes to block them.

We're not going to help him build his wall. We have a comprehensive immigration reform bill that builds in much tougher border security and it had bipartisan support than he's ever called for. So we're not going to oppose him just because it's Trump. But we're certainly going to stick to our values and oppose him wherever he opposes those. But I hope, Chuck, one final thing--

CHUCK TODD:

Go ahead.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

I hope on the promises he's made to blue collar America on trade, on carried interest, on infrastructure, that he'll stick with them and work with us, even if it means breaking with the Republicans who have always opposed these things.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, you may have the longest relationship of any current U.S. senator with Donald Trump. I know you frequently speak with him. I'm curious, how frequently have you spoken with him post-election?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, look, number one, I didn't know him that well. We see each other occasionally at events in New York. But I really didn't know him very well.

CHUCK TODD:

You did a walk on on The Apprentice so you guys must've been in some way palish--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, they asked me to do it and I was a prize. But I really don't know him that well. I learned far more about him in the campaign. I was troubled by a whole lot of things in the campaign. The only thing I can say to my colleagues is, you know, President Obama met with him and said, "The presidency is a sobering experience." So I hope that President Trump will rise to the occasion. And when he does, we'll try to be supportive. But when he doesn't, we'll use everything we've got to oppose him.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm interviewing you right now from the suburbs of Detroit. We're doing a big focus on what happened, for instance, in Macomb County, a place where there were Obama Trump voters. Why do you believe the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton lost these voters that voted Obama in '08 and '12 and voted Trump in '16, particularly in a place like Michigan?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, you know, when you lose an election like we did, you can't flinch or look away from it. You've got to look it directly in the eye and analyze what you did wrong. And the analysis will continue. But my preliminary reading is very simple. We did not have the kind of strong, bold and pointed economic message that appealed to these people.

And a message that talked about how rigged the system was in Washington. What I hope to do as our Democratic leader is craft policies and platform and message that are bold on economic issues, that are strong on economic issue, that don't just nibble around the edges. And what that will do, I believe, is unite not only Democrats in the Senate. You've seen in our leadership team this kind of message has gotten Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on our team as well as Joe Manchin and Mark Warner. But much more importantly, unite America.

I don't think there should be a choice. You know, people say, "Well, should we go after the Obama coalition or the blue collar workers?" A bold, strong, economic message will unite both of them, both groups. It'll appeal to the worker in Oakland County, the factory worker, the college student in Los Angeles, the single mom trying to get above minimum wage in Harlem.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me finally ask you about the Supreme Court. Obviously, you were not pleased with how Senate Republicans handled the Merrick Garland nomination. I assume, barring some miracle for your side, it is not going to be brought up during the lame duck.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Pray for that miracle.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you comfortable filibustering any pick that a President Trump makes? And if that happened, do you fear the nuclear response, essentially, by the Republicans--

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Well, first, I hope that President Trump picks a mainstream candidate. A mainstream candidate is somebody you may not agree with on every issue, but basically believes in precedent and basically believes in following who the law--

CHUCK TODD:

What does that mean? Can he nominate somebody in your mind that is, say, Ted Cruz? Is he too conservative for you?

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

I'm not going to get into specific candidates. But we'd hope it would be mainstream. If it is mainstream, you have to remember, the last four nominees, two from President Bush, two from President Obama, got bipartisan support on the bench. If he doesn't nominate a mainstream candidate, we're going to go at him with everything we have, or her. Go at the candidate with everything we've got because this is so, so important.

Now, you know, Senator McConnell has said, "Let's not use the filibuster." But they don't come with clean hands, having delayed Merrick Garland for a whole year. And furthermore, I was the person when the rules were changed back a few years ago, when Leader Reid changed the rules, I said, "Let's not do the Supreme Court. We should have 60 votes," which we still do, because we should get bipartisan support. So I hope both President Trump and Leader McConnell will recognize those facts.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Senator Chuck Schumer, I've got to leave it there.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Democrat from New York, the new Senate Democratic leader. Thanks for joining us.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Appreciate it.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

As I told you, I did that interview on Friday. As the interview was airing, Donald Trump tweeted the following about Chuck Schumer this morning, “I’ve always had a good relationship with Chuck Schumer. He is far smarter than Harry R.” Referring to Harry Reid. “And has the ability to get things done.” Good news. So there you go. A Trump-Schumer relationship begins anew.

When we come back, my trip to Macomb County, Michigan, home of the Reagan Democrats who voted first for President Obama, and then for Donald Trump. And then we'll hear from the man who lost the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton and believes he could have beaten Trump, Senator Bernie Sanders.

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Let's dig in with the panel, Robert Costa of The Washington Post, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and perhaps the uncomfortable star of the WikiLeaks headlines during the campaign, Kathleen Parker, columnist for The Washington Post, and Tom Friedman, columnist for The New York Times, and author of the new book Thank You for Being Late. Welcome to you all. Robert, I want to start with you. Romney, Giuliani, how real is Romney Secretary of State? You're always quick with the Trump scoops. What you got?

ROBERT COSTA:

My Trump sources tell me Romney's very much in the running for Secretary of State. Trump likes his look, he likes his background, he wants to make an overture to the Republican establishment. And for Trump, he knows his reputation not only at home, but around the world. He wants to maybe have a different kind of face.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

It's no question that Romney brings a different face because he is sort of the epitome of goodness. And would be, I think, it'd be a very smart move for Trump to put him up front as the face to the rest of the world. As somebody’s joked, if you took an American flag and turned it into a human being, it would look like Mitt Romney.

CHUCK TODD:

You have to have a good relationship though with the national security advisor. And I bring this up, Thomas Friedman, as somebody who covered plenty of White House and international affairs, Mike Flynn has been described, this is by former colleagues, people who have worked with him, they did it all anonymously, "hot head, shallow and reactionary, impulsive, scary, doesn't understand the magnitude of the job." You've covered General Flynn back in the days of the first Afghanistan surge. You know him.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

I’ve seen General Flynn in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Washington at the D.I.A. I don't know the General Flynn who's been tweeting. But I had many encounters with him, or several in his job as one of the most intelligent, intelligent officers that we've had. He and Stan McChrystal, together, created the killing machine that took down Al Qaeda in Iraq. And they did it in an amazing way, basically leveraging big data. You know, they'd take down a terrorist leader, they'd take his computer and his cell phone, they'd pour it into a computer, find all the links, and then do one raid and then another and then another. I don't know this Mike Flynn, but that Mike Flynn is a serious, intelligent guy.

CHUCK TODD:

Qualified to be national security advisor, the old Mike Flynn?

TOM FRIEDMAN:

The old Mike Flynn, definitely. I just don't know the new Mike Flynn.

NEERA TANDEN:

Yeah. I would say the new Mike Flynn is deeply worrying, because that's who we've seen for the last year, someone who's attacked Muslims as a group, someone who's tweeted also from the alt right, basically things that seem racist on their face. And also, I mean, on a -- in a more disturbing level, we've found out that he's actually, as a lobbyist, been getting security briefings. And he's a lobbyist for foreign entities, foreign companies, that are linked to foreign governments, and has been receiving briefings while he's doing that. So I think in the "drain the swamp" concern, there's something still there.

ROBERT COSTA:

One thing on Flynn, we're all talking about his worldview and his combative personality, but his association with Trump, how close he is, it's really revealing about this whole transition. He's there because he's loyal. He was one of the early people who would go up to the top of Trump Tower, brief Trump on foreign affairs. Trump used to tell me, "I love the generals, and Flynn, this guy Flynn." Flynn was in the running for V.P. because he was there early and he's loyal. That's why he's going to be at the White House.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, and that’s -- what should we learn here? I've had this question posed to me by--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Don’t tweet.

CHUCK TODD:

Right, no, no, no. But I'm talking about, is it team of rivals or is it going to be loyalists--

TOM FRIEDMAN:

One thing about national security, Chuck, you have got to have an N.S.C. Advisor, a Secretary of State, and a Secretary of Defense that are able to work together and are basically aligned on their priority.

CHUCK TODD:

They need to be aligned, don’t they?

TOM FRIEDMAN:

They have to be basically aligned.

CHUCK TODD:

So Romney and Flynn doesn't feel like an alignment that could -- that just feels -- it doesn't work. Giuliani and Flynn to me, is more an alignment, Kathleen?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Oh gosh. Well, if you want -- if you want to present a fierce presence to the rest of the world, those two combined would certainly put fear in the hearts of other -- our allies and our enemies as well. You know, the other thing about Mitt Romney, and I think really today we probably should change his name to Mike Romney, because that seems to be a name that people prefer--

CHUCK TODD:

If you're a Mike, you have a better chance--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Yeah, you have a better shot.

CHUCK TODD:

Mike Pence, Mike Flynn, I know that joke went around--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

But remember-- but remember that in the second debate with Barack Obama, Romney was the person who said, "Our greatest geopolitical foe is Russia." And he practically got laughed off the stage. But he was clearly prescient in that regard. So this man is not-- he’s no novice when it comes to foreign affairs. And many of the other things he's said have come to be true.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to go back to this ethics thing. Does the Trump folks aware, Robert, that this is potentially something that could really blow up in their face, between the Trump organiza-- I thought it was interesting that Reince Priebus didn't dismiss the idea of total divestment.

ROBERT COSTA:

A lot of them don't dismiss it in private conversation. The looming question is who's actually having this conversation with the president-elect in a perhaps confrontational way about his family, about his business? A lot of people around Donald Trump don't want to engage with him on that level on that topic.

NEERA TANDEN:

And that's deeply disconcerting. I mean, the idea that a president would profit from the presidency is, seems to me, anathema to the kind of promises he made to a lot of people, that he would be independent, that he would work for them, not, not himself. And when you look at the information we're getting about meetings with Indian business--Indian businessmen who want to do more business.The idea that the hotel he has is basically pushing foreign dignitaries to stay at his hotel, give the hotel money, in order to curry favor with him. That is-- that is anathema to the kind of promise he made. And I think a real challenge for him going forward, he does not seem to want to divest.

KATHLEEN PARKER

It seems to me--

TOM FRIEDMAN:

You know, I think he has to realize that he's benefited enormously from the cell phone revolution, how we're all connected. There's a flipside to the cell phone revolution.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, look at what he did just now.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

Just now, he tweeted at the show--

CHUCK TODD:

Right, essentially responding to Schumer.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

But, you know, a friend of mine, Doug Seidman likes to say, these cell phones, you know, five years ago they were like a portable X-ray machine. Now they're a portable M.R.I. machine. They can see right inside you. They can see everywhere. They can tell the whole world what they see without an editor, a libel lawyer or a filter. And that can work for you and it can really work against you.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to end there and this is why everybody's going to buy his book. Well that’s a very--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

You know, note to public officials, "Don't tweet."

CHUCK TODD:

Well, I don't know. I think it’s good. We--

NEERA TANDEN:

It seemed to work.

CHUCK TODD:

We're learning about who people are. Anyway, let's pause the conversation here. When we come back, we're going to hear from some of those white, blue-collar voters, who abandoned Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump. What do they expect from their new president? Plus, quite a few of them were Bernie Sanders voters. I'll talk to Senator Sanders about how he thinks Democrats should respond. Stay with us.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. One of the big surprises of this election was the emergence of the Obama/Trump voter. People who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 but abandoned the Democrats this year and voted for Donald Trump. Those voters were concentrated in middle-class suburbs and in rural areas and had helped Trump win six states that Obama won in 2012, and gave Trump a decisive electoral college victory.

On Friday, I traveled to the epicenter of the Obama-to-Trump phenomenon, Macomb County, Michigan, right outside of Detroit. It's a blue-collar, middle-class county, made famous by Reagan Democrats in the '80s. Macomb is just one of 225 Obama-to-Trump counties nationwide. A small amount of counties, but many of them stretch across the upper Midwest. Look at them all, 12 in Michigan, 22 in Wisconsin, and 32 of these Obama/Trump counties in Iowa.

MICHELANGELO IVONE:

Obama didn't necessarily disappoint me, I guess, he didn't fulfill everything that I wanted.

CHUCK TODD:

Michelangelo Ivone, one of a group of voters I sat down with at Kuhnhenn Brewing in Warren, voted Obama in 2008 and 2012.

MICHELANGELO IVONE:

We wanted change. Okay, we had to get out of the Bush administration and what had been going on in there, we were, we were told lies.

CHUCK TODD:

But this time, he picked Trump. What made you vote for him?

MICHELANGELO IVONE:

What made me vote for him is the fact that I believe that Hillary Clinton was a criminal.

CHUCK TODD:

Nick Fetahu owns Little Joe's Coney Island, a diner.

NICK FETAHU:

I just hear people saying, "Well, he's a billionaire. He can't be bought." That's what people are saying. “They can't control him.”

CHUCK TODD:

He came, right?

NICK FETAHU:

He came three miles north of here, twelve mile. I think a lot of people feel like she took it for granted. Like, it was always been a blue state and that she had it in her back pocket.

CHUCK TODD:

Macomb is car country. Fiat, Chrysler, and G.M. have plants in Warren, Ford is next door in Sterling Heights. Between 2000 and 2010, half of the manufacturing jobs in Macomb vanished. Some have come back. But median household income is down 25%. Pensions are gone or disappearing, the cost of healthcare is up.

DONALD TRUMP:

If I'm elected, you won't lose one plant.

CHUCK TODD:

Voters expect Trump to keep those promises.

BRIAN HANSELMAN:

Put us all to work. Give us the opportunity to earn a living and take care of our families. That's it. It's that simple.

MAURICE WIENER:

Job creation. Not doing all our jobs offshore.

CHUCK TODD:

Macomb, still whiter than the rest of the country, is diversifying quickly.

MAURICE WIENER:

You don't hear the young people talk about how proud they are to be American anymore, they talk about how proud they are to be diverse.

JENNIFER MILLER:

I see my children having a school with 30 different languages spoken. Also for me it's been an exciting change.

CHUCK TODD:

And with it have come some cultural changes.

MAURICE WIENER:

I don't like the fact that now you can have a transgender person going in the bathroom.

CHUCK TODD:

Across the political spectrum in Macomb, voters aren't sure Trump will be able to unite the country.

JENNIFER MILLER:

How he has talked about me, my daughters, and women, who he's appointing being all white men, to me, reaching out is having women and women's issues in the forefront.

NICK FETAHU:

My father is an Albanian Muslim from Kosovo. Stop the rhetoric that's out there where people are being offended, attacked, or whatever the case may be because they're minorities, they have a different look to them, a different name to them. They practice a different religion. He has the chance to unite us all.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, remember those 12 Obama-to-Trump counties in Michigan that I mentioned? Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton in nine of them in the Michigan primary. By the way, Bernie Sanders also beat her in all 22 of the counties in Wisconsin, that went from Obama to Trump, in the Wisconsin Democratic primary. Well, joining me now is Bernie Sanders. And by the way, he's out with a new book called Our Revolution. Senator Sanders, welcome back to Meet the Press.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Good to be with you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Just those county stats alone in Wisconsin and Michigan, the fact of the matter is, they're clearly, and I ran into them, there were clearly people that were supporters of you. You were for some Trump supporters the second choice. And for some of your supporters, Clinton was not the second choice, and they chose to stay home. Do you think you would have had a better chance of carrying Michigan and Wisconsin if you'd been the Democratic nominee?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Chuck, I don't know that it does a whole lot of good to look backwards. We've got to look forward and we've got to hear what those workers were saying just a few moments ago. And what they were saying is, they're sick and tired of seeing their standard of living go down. They're sick and tired of seeing their jobs go to China and other low-wage countries.

Which means that we have to transform our trade policies and tell corporate America to start investing in this country and not in countries all over the world. It means we've got to raise the minimum wage. It means we need pay equity for women workers. It means to say that we have to create jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. It means to say that we have to make public colleges and universities tuition-free.

In other words, what all of that is about is the working class of this country, for the last 40 years, has been decimated and the rich are getting richer. People are tired of it. They want real change. And I'm going to do everything that I can as part of the new leadership of the Democratic party to bring about that change.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, one of the things that you always hear about is job retraining for folks that are displaced by trade agreements. But I want to play you a quote from the C.O.O. of Wico Metal Products, they're basically an auto parts manufacturer. And he was talking about the problems with some of these retraining programs. Take a listen.

DENNIS MEAGHER:

If you've been out on this floor, doing skilled to semi-skilled work and you're 40 years old, you don't want to go do a computer-based job. You want to make things.

CHUCK TODD:

Essentially, the job-retraining programs and some of these younger vo-tech programs, almost too computer based. He was complaining of a lack of skilled labor, but physical skilled labor.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, I think we've got to move forward on all fronts. I think we have to do, not everybody wants to go to college. And that's fine. God knows, there are enormous amounts of work out there that don't require a college degree. We've got to give people the training to do that. Which is why we have to rebuild our inner-cities. We have to rebuild our infrastructure.

There's a desperate need for affordable housing in this country. We can put millions of people to work rebuilding this country and so many parts of America. And that is what we have to do. On the other hand, in a highly competitive global economy, we do need the best-educated workforce in the world. And that means we have to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. And Mr. Trump, by the way, and his billionaire friends, are going to have to start paying their fair share of taxes.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, Senator Sanders, the progressive movement, Democratic party, is having a debate about whether to work with Donald Trump when there is agreement. I want to read for you something that Eric Sasson of the New Republic had to say about this debate.

"To so many Democrats … any mention of finding common ground with Trump is a step towards accomplishing the exact thing we fear most: normalization. … By prematurely offering to work with Trump before he has shown even the slightest bit of contrition ... congressional Democrats are hollowing out the argument they made for months. He is unfit for office, and that is precisely the argument that needs to be made -- now more than ever. … It is up to Trump to prove to us that he is able to lead. We shouldn't make it easy for him." Bottom line is this, essentially, do you not work with him until he shows some contrition on some of the social issues?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Look, let us be very clear, Chuck. When Donald Trump helped lead the birther movement, that was nothing less than a racist effort to undermine the legitimacy of the first African-American president we have ever had. That was racist, that was disgraceful, the African-American community, and all of us deserve an apology.

When he talks about Latinos or Mexicans as criminals and rapists, that is outrageous. When he says that one of the largest religions in the world, Islam, people who are Muslims cannot visit the United States or enter the United States, that is an outrage. On those issues, let me be very clear, speaking only for myself, there is no compromise. We have come too far as a country to try to move forward in a non-discriminatory way, to go backwards, and see us divided up by racism or xenophobia.

On the other hand, issues like raising the minimum wage. You know, Donald Trump has talked about he is not going to cut social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. He is going to work to reestablish a Glass-Steagall legislation. He wants to rebuild the infrastructure. Those are issues that some of us have been working on for years. And if he wants to work with us on those issues, I accept that.

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't accept the premise that you shouldn't work with him under any circumstance?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Right. But I do think the point of that article is right. He has said outrageous things and he needs to apologize to the American people. There are people all over this country who are really frightened.

CHUCK TODD:

But what--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

The other thing, the other thing, Chuck--

CHUCK TODD:Yeah.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

--is climate change. It is beyond comprehension that we have a president-elect who thinks that climate change is a hoax, when the whole scientific community is telling us--

CHUCK TODD:

But Senator--

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Yeah?

CHUCK TODD:

Right, but I want to go back to this other point. What do you say to the progressives that say, "Hey, the Republicans essentially united against President Obama. And guess what, it was good politically for the Republican party." What you're describing is going to be perhaps good for those workers you're talking about, but it may be bad for the Democratic party. What do you say to those progressives?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, I think we need to protect workers, we need a good strategy to make sure that in fact, we push our agenda. Look, on the issues, Chuck, that I'm talking about, these are the things that I have been fighting for years. But there is no compromise, none whatsoever, on bigotry. There is no compromise on climate change, because the future of the planet is at stake.

We need a strategy. And I'm going to work on this strategy, to go to Michigan, to go to Wisconsin, to stand with working people, to demand that we reverse the decline of the American middle class.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Sanders, that's all the time I have for today. Thanks for coming on and sharing your views, sir. And congrats on the new book, Our Revolution.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Thank you. Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

You got it. Before we go to break, this week, we said goodbye far too soon to our dear friend and colleague Gwen Ifill. Gwen was a trailblazer in our field, from newspaper reporter to NBC News correspondent, to co-anchor of the PBS News Hour, and of course, host of Washington Week, she broke a barrier everywhere she went. Gwen was tough and fair, yet at the same time, brought so much joy to her work. And not to mention, she had a great B.S. detector, something plenty of politicians learn the hard way.

I was honored to have Gwen as a panelist on this show many times. She made everyone around this table, including myself, a lot smarter. In fact, she made over 70 appearances on this program over the years. And many times, we were on the show together with someone we both called a mentor, Tim Russert. In her most recent appearance on Meet the Press, just eight weeks ago, Gwen reflected on the opening of the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

GWEN IFILL:

The emotion of the people in that audience, mostly blacks, singing full throatedly, reminded me of one of the things that are true in this country which is that we want to, we aspire to, we hope to make it a better union. And yet we see the clash, the hopefulness of that beautiful museum put up against what we've seen happen in the streets.

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

And we are back. It's download time. It's pretty much a rule of thumb, the winner of the popular vote in a presidential election also wins the popular vote in the swing states. But this year, that's not the case. Our friend Dave Wasserman over at the Cook Political Report has been keeping track of the national popular vote, as it continues to be counted, particularly out west.

Hillary Clinton leads by more than 1.6 million votes nationally. Believe it or not, that's triple of what Al Gore led George W. Bush by in 2000. But among the 13 swing states, these are defined as states that either flipped from 2012 or were decided by five points or less, it's reversed. Trump leads Clinton by 863,000 votes.

Of course, these states are all called battleground states for a reason. They're extraordinarily competitive. In fact, we looked at the vote in some key battleground states going back to the '92 presidential election. Get this, in Virginia, out of more than 20 million votes cast in the last seven elections combined, only 72,000 votes separate the Republicans and the Democrats. In Ohio, 34 million presidential votes cast since '92, only 68,000 separate the two major parties.

But take a look at Florida. Out of nearly 50 million votes cast in a presidential race since '92, only 11,296 votes separate the Democrats and the Republicans. That's .02 percent. If that was the margin in a single Florida election, we'd see an automatic recount, probably a lot of hand counts. Look, Florida, Florida, Florida. It's something we of course say often at Meet the Press. And as you can see, it's for good reason.

It is the microcosm of America. You have small towns and big cities, blue-collar voters and upper-income voters. You have the old Republican coalition and the new Democratic coalition. Florida is the ultimate battleground state, and that's not going to change any time soon. When we come back, guess who thinks he should be the de facto leader of the Democratic party going forward? It's Barack Obama. But before we go to break, here's S.N.L.'s take on Trump's weekend meeting with some potential cabinet picks.

JASON SUDEIKIS:

Hello Mr. President-Elect. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.

ALEC BALDWIN:

Governor Romney, so good of you to come.

JASON SUDEIKIS:

This isn't going to work, is it?

ALEC BALDWIN:

I don't think so.

JASON SUDEIKIS:

Great--

***COMMERCIAL BREAK***

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with the panel. So what do Democrats do? Neera, I wanna--the question that I addressed to Senator Sanders and Senator Schumer, and they both essentially have the same position. They will work with him where they agree. There are Democrats that think that's a mistake. Where do you come down on this?

NEERA TANDEN:

Look, I think people were willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and -- but I think the reality is in just this week, when you see Jeff Sessions, Mike Flynn, and Steve Bannon, you know, there is a view that the president has to reach out after a divisive race and we haven't seen much of that. And I think Democrats are actually, many Democrats, many progressives, are deeply worried that we're gonna see a divisive presidency, instead of a divisive--

CHUCK TODD:

Do you count the tweet about Schumer this morning? I mean, that's, you know, say what you want, that's outreach.

NEERA TANDEN:

You know what I would love is a tweet that said that people should really stop hate crimes and people should stop swastikas and stop bullying kids. You know, people can talk about the political process all they want, but there are a lot of people who are worried because of the -- they feel bullied. And the president of the United States has yet to really use his Twitter account to address that challenge.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

I couldn't agree with that more. And I've been advocating that Donald Trump needs to give a speech. He needs to address the whole nation and talk about, "Look, I'm-I’m a loose cannon sometimes, I say things and, you know, I don't really mean, I don't really feel." But make it a serious and sincere, not, it doesn't have to be an apology necessarily, but just say, "Look, this is not who I am. This is what I truly intend to do." But he's got to--he’s got to address it face on. And it would change things I think considerably.

CHUCK TODD:

Costa, you know him well. How likely is he to do something like that?

ROBERT COSTA:

Most important relationship in Washington is between Schumer and Trump. These are two brash New Yorkers. You didn't see Senator Schumer drawing a big line in the sand between these two men. I think what you've got to watch is how does Ryan handle it if Trump starts working with Democrats. Most important interview this week was Bannon to The Hollywood Reporter, he dangled out there a trillion dollars in the infrastructure. We'll see how that actually develops. But you're going to see Trump, he's not driven by an ideological compass. He can start to bait Democrats with a lot of infrastructure spending, see how they respond, maybe try to break apart their party.

CHUCK TODD:

But I want to talk about who's going to run the party and I found this fascinating. President Obama did an interview with David Remnick, sort of through the final days of the campaign and then after. Uh--and Tom Friedman, the President said this: "I think that if Hillary Clinton had won the election, then I'd just turn over the keys. I think now I have some responsibility to at least offer my counsel to those who will continue to be elected officials about how the D.N.C. can help rebuild, how state parties and progressive organizations can work together." In other words, he's saying, "Okay, I'll lead the party." How about that? When was the last time we had an ex, post president willing to do that?

TOM FRIEDMAN:

I think Democrats could do a lot worse than having Barack Obama lead their party. But I think it's not just Chuck who leads, it's what they lead on. And I think it's very, very important that uh, Democrats not just be about redistribution. They have to be about growing the pie. They have to be for entrepreneurship. I watched the Democratic Convention. They had women, they had blacks, they had gays, they had transgender, they even had a dwarf who was really charming. He actually talked about his relationship with Hillary Clinton. There's one thing they didn't have, an entrepreneur. Somebody who was a risk taker. Somebody who says, "I'm here to grow the pie, not just to redistribute."

ROBERT COSTA:

What about Tim Ryan in the house?

CHUCK TODD:

I have to say, I find it fascinating, because he is challenging Tim Ryan. Let me describe him and then let you finish your point. Democratic Congressman from Youngstown, Ohio, essentially the heir apparent to the Jim Traficant days, um, he wants to challenge Nancy Pelosi. He probably will lose, but he will be able to probably make himself a very competent candidate for governor of Ohio in 2018. But this is a fight inside the party of what to be.

ROBERT COSTA:

And we're asking why is President Obama prepared to be the leader on the sidelines is because a whole generation of Democratic leadership doesn't have the political capital because they haven't had many opportunities to actually become leaders. This is a microcosm of what's happening in the Democratic party. Can a person like Ryan actually get a shot in this post-Obama era?

CHUCK TODD:

Neera?

NEERA TANDEN:

Look, I think--I think that the party needs all voices. I think it's great that--

CHUCK TODD:

Does it need new voices? Does it need fresher voices than Schumer and Pelosi?

NEERA TANDEN:

I mean, look at the reality. Senator Sanders, not, he's been there for a long time, he's giving an important voice in the leadership as, well, the whole array of diverse voices. I think this is the time to have a debate about the future of the Democratic party. Nancy Pelosi has been a person who's been able to hold Democrats together, but it's an important debate for us to have.

CHUCK TODD:

But this race could end up being decided on what you just mentioned, identity politics in the House. And have the Democrats become too associated with identity politics?

NEERA TANDEN:

I think everybody recognizes that we need a strong, a stronger reform message, both about our politics, and about our economy. And I think, you know, the message of this election is that people are angry, they feel left out of the process, and Democrats have to give a voice to that.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

Chuck, technology and globalization are upsetting the two things that anchor people in the world, their community and their workplace, okay? And it's happening at the same time. People are--

CHUCK TODD:Diversification.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

People going to the grocery store, they, they hear--being spoken to in a different language, you see people dressed radically differently, fairly quickly, they go um, into the bathroom, there's a person of another gender, they go to work and there's a robot now studying their job next to them. And all those things fast and at once have really, I think, destabilized a lot of people. And I understand that.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, one quick note on Tim Ryan, I think his gifts might be better used right now if he could just teach all of us how to meditate. You know, he's--But on the issue that Tom was addressing, I think one of the big elements here in this sort of sense of disenfranchisement is the loss of identity. And this is what's driving these nationalist movements everywhere in Europe, as well as here. And no one has actually really spoken to that. I mean, yes, we acknowledge that all these languages, which I sort- I sort of love, and--

TOM FRIEDMAN:

I love it too.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Uh--the diversity of our population I find appealing, and we enjoy that here in Washington. But, the sense of loss of who we are, our--our, you know, our national identity is what's not being discussed in terms that people can relate to. You've got to identify it, you've got to say it, and Democrats just don't do that. Instead, they just collect all the various identities that they can, rather than talk about the one that unites us all.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm going to pause here. Homeless in their own country. Who wrote that? And we'll be back in endgame in just 45 seconds and why did Donald Trump give in and decide to settle that Trump University lawsuit for 25 million dollars?

* * *COMMERCIAL BREAK* * *

ANNOUNCER:

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CHUCK TODD:

Back now with Endgame. Trump University lawsuit on this show, Robert Costa, he told me he would never settle that lawsuit. Because he essentially said, "If you settle, it means you will get more lawsuits." Well, he settled. He tweeted that it is not an admission of guilt, which it technically isn't. But 25 million dollars is not chump change on Trump University.

ROBERT COSTA:

It's an example of how Trump is trying to navigate becoming President of the United States. He knows he has to get some of these things off of his table at Trump Tower.

CHUCK TODD:

He was going to have to testify the Monday after Thanksgiving.

ROBERT COSTA:

He was, it was scheduled. And he may not want to deal fully with the family issue and the entanglements in business. But at least when it comes to the legal entanglements, he's cutting some of them loose.

NEERA TANDEN:

I think we're losing sight of the fact here that he said-- he said he was innocent, nothing wrong, it was a great university, everything was great, he settled after he said he would never settle, he’s multiple times saying, "When you settle, it's an admission of guilt." So he knows that he was basically accused of defrauding students, and he is giving them money for his defrauding them. I mean, it's the reality of what happened here.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

And we can't forget this guy ran a campaign that debased our culture, that hurt a lot of people, and erased red lines we have never seen erased before. And somehow, if we forget that, if we think that was just about the campaign and it's not going to happen again, and we don't set up new red lines in a very clear way, we are really going to regret this.

CHUCK TODD:

But who's listening? I mean, you know, I have to say, who's listening?

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Well, you know, I don't know about the rest of you, but anytime I say anything that's slightly, at least open-minded toward Trump, it's saying, people are responding, "Oh, you're normalizing him. There they go, they're going to start normalizing--"

CHUCK TODD:

It's apocalyptic, left and right, it's apocalyptic the responses you get on social media.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Exactly, exactly.

CHUCK TODD:

And no matter what.

KATHLEEN PARKER:

Because the--

NEERA TANDEN:

I mean because the-- this is a problem for a lot of progressives, which is he said terrible things about a lot of people, and he succeeded. And people are wondering, he has erased all these red lines, who is going to uphold those red lines, who are we going to uphold basic standards of, you know, what it is to be an American these days, when we had such a divisive race. We used to believe that you cannot pit people against each other and win. And the lesson we've gotten from that is that you can and it can succeed.

TOM FRIEDMAN:

Well, we have to do it, but Republicans have to do it too. If they all just fold--

KATHLEEN PARKER:

No absolutely, they just need an example--

NEERA TANDEN:

Oh absolutely, they need to--

TOM FRIEDMAN:

Conservatives and Republicans don't, you know, play the role that you're talking about--

NEERA TANDEN:

I mean, they do seem to be holding--

CHUCK TODD:

But the fact is the voters were willing to forgive that.

NEERA TANDEN:

Yes, absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

Because of their feelings toward Clinton--

ROBERT COSTA:

But you got to go to Macomb County. You got to talk to these voters. You have to at the same time be as vigorous as possible in investigating and reporting this administration, but still understand what these voters are talking about.

NEERA TANDEN:

Absolutely, I agree.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, well, that was the goal of this show. You guys were great. Thank you very much. That's all we have for today. We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. I think it's the best holiday we have. And I look forward to hearing the conversations between all the crazy uncles debating each other. But we'll be back next week because even on Thanksgiving weekend, if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

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* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *