"Brooks and Marcus on why Trump's appointments make sense" PBS NewsHour 11/18/2016
SUMMARY: As Donald Trump announces his choices for prominent roles in his upcoming administration, patterns are emerging. New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus join Judy Woodruff to analyze the newest appointments and the governing philosophy they represent, consider Trump's potential conflicts of interest and share remembrances of beloved colleague Gwen Ifill.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): And now to the analysis of Brooks and Marcus. That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. Mark Shields is away.
And happy Friday to both of you.
So, President-elect Trump, David, making these three big announcements today in the national security arena, after we heard who a couple of people are going to be around him in the White House. What do we make of these choices, starting with the ones today?
DAVID BROOKS, New York Times: Well, if you thought Donald Trump was going to be swallowed up by the conventional Republican Party or by Washington, you were wrong.
He's governing, it seems, exactly as he campaigned. And the people he selected are very much in the spirit of the campaign, sometimes explicitly referencing the policies he took on the campaign.
So, I would say:
- A) (aka First) They are going to be very different. We're going to have a very different administration from a normal Republican administration, let alone a Democratic administration.
- Second, I have to say, they have good resumes. Pompeo, Flynn, they are — it's not like they're just out of the wilderness. These are people who have been around power and who probably are not going to be automatically incompetent at their jobs.
And so, if they work as a team, maybe they will be a very tough team, but they could work on each other. And it could be hard to hire people under them, because these are people famous for being really hard on those around them.
- The third thing to that we say is, they have Donald Trump's charm, which is to say they are extremely sharp-elbowed individuals, to a person. And it's like he's taken all the hard bosses or bad bosses in the world, and so far, he is bringing them all together.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth, what do you make of these national security picks?
RUTH MARCUS, Washington Post: Disturbing on General Flynn, and less disturbing on Congressman Pompeo.
I think it's really important for us to understand Donald Trump is the president-elect, and he is really entitled to — he has got the prerogative to pick people who will implement his policies and who have his confidence.
But I think — I don't look at it just as the national security team. I look at it as a whole, and I'm very worried that he is picking people — he talked on election night about the need to bind the wounds of division. I think he's picking a series of people who are potentially pouring salt into the wounds of division and who are reinforcing some of his worst tendencies, rather than buttressing him and surrounding himself with people who bring to the table both personality and capabilities that he may be lacking in.
And so I would — the three that most concern me are General Flynn, Senator Sessions, and Steve Bannon at his right hand in the White House.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Who comes from Breitbart News.
RUTH MARCUS: Indeed.