"Shields and Brooks on cabinet picks and conflicts of interest" PBS NewsHour 11/25/2016
SUMMARY: In the past week, President-elect Donald Trump has announced several White House appointments and policy ideas. Judy Woodruff speaks with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks about Trump's choice to oversee the Department of Education, his interview with the New York Times, possible conflicts of interest and the top contenders for secretary of state.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): But first to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
And we welcome both of you on this day after Thanksgiving.
MARK SHIELDS, syndicated columnist: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David is in Philadelphia.
Let's talk about — we're getting — beginning to get a sense, Mark, of Donald Trump's administration, a little sense. He has named two more people today to the White House. What are we learning from this? What are we — what do you now understand about him that we didn't understand before?
MARK SHIELDS: Not much.
I mean, I would say that there's been the small Donald, the petty, vindictive Donald, who can be rather mean-spirited, as he was on display at The New York Times editorial board meeting, where he gratuitously took out after Kelly Ayotte, the former Republican — senior Republican senator in New Hampshire, who had — after the “Access Hollywood” tape had refused to support Donald Trump and said she couldn't get a job.
And then we see the little bit larger Donald in hiring Nikki Haley, who had, in fact, backed both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and in the national address, in response — the official Republican response to the President's State of the Union, had warned the party against following the siren call of those — it was a direct allusion to Donald Trump at the time.
So he was larger in spirit in choosing her. And she certainly is a person who has demonstrated leadership and character under stress at the time of the massacre, the racial massacre at the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston and leading in lowering the Confederate Battle Flag over the state — on the state capitol grounds.
JUDY WOODRUFF: David?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Excuse me. I didn't mean to interrupt.
MARK SHIELDS: Sure.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What are you learning about Donald Trump from these appointments or announcements?
DAVID BROOKS, New York Times: Well, I guess it's — yes, of some comfort, I guess.
Sometimes, the campaign seemed to be, as Mark said, vindictive, but sort of a depraved three-ring circus. The transition period has not been that. He's nominated people like DeVos or Haley who are competent people, who are more or less professional, experienced people.
They may not be, on substantive ground, all of our cup of tea. They are very consistent with the way he campaigned, a nationalist campaign on education policy, a campaign that is enthusiastic about school choice.
But they are more or less the sort of professional version of Trump's ideology. And I do think there is just this animating spirit here to create a sort of nationalist, populist conservatism that will in some ways stretch the Republican Party and in some ways offend a lot of conservatives.
But I think there is an animating vision here to try to create a movement that will last post-Trump, a populist movement that may even try to span some of the dividing lines that have existed so far through large economic policies, through infrastructure policies, through a tough anti-terror policy that nonetheless keeps American troops out of war.
There's an animating vision here, and it's being executed, at least in the appointments so far, in some intellectually coherent way.