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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 7, 2016 8:30pm-9:01pm PST

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us. "hardball with chris matthews" begins right now. night of the gens. let's play hardball. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. a busy day for the trump transition. the president-elect announced iowa governor terry branstad will serve as u.s. ambassador to china. secretary of state remains unfilled. will it be rudy or mitt, general petraeus or possibly john bolton? donald trump himself said the announcement was coming next week and insisted mitt romney, one of his fiercest critics
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during the campaign, was still in contention. >> is he still under consideration? >> yes, he is. >> does he have a chance to become secretary of state? >> yes, he does. i've spoken to him a lot. wee come a long way together. we've had some tremendous difficulty together. and now i think we've come a long way. but the answer is yes, he does. >> so this isn't about some case of stringing him along as revenge being a dish best served cold for the comments he made during the campaign? >> no, it's not about revenge. it's about what's good for the company. i'm able to put this stuff behind us. >> nbc news reported trump will appoint retired marine general john kelly to head the department of homeland security, a big appointment. the general will join another retired general, james "mad dog" mattis who has been tapped as defense department chief. trump's national security adviser is also a retired geral, michael flynn, of course. "the new york times"' maggie
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may habarman tweeted that it already looks like "seven days of may," when the generals take over in the 1960s novel. hallie jackson joins us from that dangerous spot on the corner of fifth avenue. let me ask you about this interesting mix, generals and billionaires, pretty consistent now. >> everybody except nikki haley, chris. you look at his high level picks, all high level millionaires, billionaires, and retired generals. you've got not just general kelly today but announcing linda mcmahon will head up the small business administration. she also is extremely wealthy. interesting to watch ts play out. it also makes you wonder, you mentioned general petraeus as a possible pick for secretary of state. one has to wonder if the president-elect will pick yet another retired general given how many are in his administration so far.
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>> there must be some concern about the congress, because congress has to pass, you know, a waiver on this to allow people who have served within the last seven years to serve in a civilian capacities. maybe they can tie that on as a rider to a must-pass bill. but it looks to me if he keeps naming generals, especially if he names a general like petraeus to the state department, he's really loading it up with generals. >> reporter: right. so we ran the numbers, we had one of our researchers take a look at how many generals and former generals were in president bush's administration, president obama. president bush had four, president obama had five. of course that's over their eight-year terms, it wasn't all at once and wasn't so early. this is worth noting. remember, it's general mattis that needs the waiver but it doesn't look like there's going to be a huge fight about that, at least right now, especially considering the comments from house minority leader nancy pelosi who indicated it's probably not going to be a huge battle. that said, he will have
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difficulty in other areas of people trying to get confirmed. i think of, for example, his pick for treasury, steven mnuchin, who came under a lot of fire when he was named. you're seeing potential problem military-linked pick. >> what about rudy for secretary of state? this is the card he's been sitting on. he's never said rude oy won't g it, rudy was the most loyal guy in the campaign. what do you make of his prospects? >> reporter: chris, my favorite thing is when you ask me to give my opinion on your opinions. it's a lot of fun to predict your opinions. ly say this, i just got off the phone with a source familiar with some of this process. he says the president-elect is diving really into this process and has been diving and really getting into secretary of state, feels like it is so, so important, which is why you're seeing the process be so deliberative. i will tell you a couple of people familiar with the process are still putting rudy giuliani
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at the top of the list, despite the president-elect's comments about where mitt romney stands. and it's donald trump, there's always a fan of a dark horse pick, there are some in the inner circle who are a fan of other people, like jon huntsman who has fallen out of the mix. a lot of speculation. we should know by the end of next week. the clock is ticking. we'll know soon. >> thank you, hallie jackson, in front of that golden tower on fifth avenue. "time" magazine chose angela merkel last year as person of the year, there was a loud voice of contempt, donald trump. trump tweeted, i told you "time" magazine wouldn't pick me, they picked a person who is ruining germany. today "time" announced hits 2016 person of the year, not surprisingly, president-elect
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donald trump. there's the picture. on the "today" show this morning, trump said he was honored. >> well, it's a great honor. it means a lot, especially me growing up reading "time" magazine. it's a very important magazine. and i've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year. so -- and last year. but i consider this a very, very great honor. >> i'm joined by "time" magazine's editor in chief nancy gibbs, also katie packer, the former campaign manager for mitt romney's presidential campaign, and ed rendell, former governor of pennsylvania and an msnbc analyst. nancy, was it an honor? >> it doesn't surprise any of us, i expect, that he would treat it that way. what we always say is the person of the year is the one who has had the most influence over events of the year for better or worse. the weird thing this year is no one is really arguing that someone else had more influence over the events this year, there's agreement on that, yet
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there is still profound disagreement over whether it was for better or worse. the fact that he views as an honor, he talks about how often he was on the cover of "time," and sometimes it was because he was doing very well, and other times it was when his campaign seemed to be falli apart. but if he is in the school that there's no such thing as pad publicity, then of course having us note that no other figure on the world stage this year dominated it in the way that he did, i think that would be hard to argue with. >> i don't think anyone has told him yet that richard nixon was on the cover of "time" 56 times for the all-time record. he was impeached. donald trump did take one issue with "time" magazine's coverage. your cover said he's presiding over a divided america. here is what he said this morning to matt. >> i think putting "divided" is snarky. again, it's divided -- i'm not president yet. i didn't do anything to divide. i will say this. i've now gotten to know
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president obama. i really like him. we have -- i think i can say at least for myself, i can't speak for him, but we have a really good chemistry together. we talk. he loves the country. he wants to do right by the country and for the country. and i will tell you, we obviously very much disagree on certain policies and certain things. but, you know, i really like him as a person. >> let me go to governor rendell. you must be in shock watching this performance. you are a guy that was district attorney, assistant da before that, mayor of a big city, governor, you did everything the normal way, and here is a guy with his whackiness, we don't know if anything he says is true until it's proven, there's no agreement that anything he says is true. and he's on the cover of "time" magazine as person of the year
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and president-elect of the united states. what do you make of the earth right now, ed rendell? >> that boggles my entire mind. how donald trump, who attacked barack obama's citizenship, led a birther movement until this country and around the world, called obama a terrorist sympathizer, said he was the father of isis, how he could switch after one meeting and a few phone calling, all of a sudden he's in love with the guy, they've got chemistry together. good lord, certain chemicals can blow stuff up. it's mind-boggling to me. >> this is gallows humor, for those watching. >> absolutely. >> this is not happy humor. this is crazy stuff. >> and let me tell you, he says he didn't do anything to divide the country? well, he sure divided muslim-americans when he said what he said about not allowing muslims into the country, and maybe even deporting some
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muslims. he certainly divided mexican-americans when he said what he did about people who come from mexico. so he was very responsible for a lot of the division that exists in the country. and what i really fault him for is, after he won. after he won, as you recall, chris, there were incidents in schools all over the country, but particularly in pennsylvania, we had an incident where some high school sophomores were yelling white power in the school. if i were donald trump, i would have called the principal, said i'm coming tomorrow, get all the kids in assembly, and i would have reamed those kids out, i would have said, we're one america, there's no white power, there's no black power, there's american power. he could have done so much to begin the process of uniting. he hasn't done it. >> jack kennedy said those who ride the tiger sometimes end up in its stomach. riding the tiger on this kind of stuff is no good in the long
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run. mitt romney is a little stiff to say the least but some of the democratic candidates have been stiff as well. al gore, for example. kerry sometimes. and so trump is more the people's man. but this is still stunning. he's on the cover of "time." he is going to be person of the year. he has all this game going. >> he should be. >> he's deciding how much torture he's going to inflict on mitt romney. i mean, he's just making the guidance. he says he walks like a penguin, he shows a picture of him walking what looks like a white house, he makes him courtesy, genuflect and all this stuff. what do you make of it? is romney going crazy? >> maybe a little. the one thing that i think is lost on people in all these appointments of billionaires and generals and governors, he's appointed a few governors, what is really the common denominator here is he likes people that run things. he likes people that are ceos, that have served at the top, that have given direction, and
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have high expectations. >> and given orders. >> but he's got a fabulously short memory. people insult him and the minute they say something nice, he forgets it all. that may serve him well. coming up, a backlash over donald trump's pick to head the environmental protection agency. he sued the epa to block its rules again rules. isit. new plan...same doctor. i'm happy. it's medicare open enrollment. have you compared plans yet? it's easy at or you can call 1-800-medicare. medicare open enrollment. you'll never know unless you go. i did it. you can too. ♪
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let's just get a sandwich or something. "or something"? you don't just graduate from medical school, "or something." and we don't just pull smoked chicken, bake fresh foccacia and hand-slice avocado. there's nothing "or something" about it.
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ah, family holiday party, huh greg? at least with directv from at&t, you can download then watch your dvr'ed shows anywhere. that makes you more powerful than your gene pool. i'll trade you the candy cane for the eggnog. deal. or aunt jaxie's lack of boundaries. or uncle terry's over-commitment to holiday cheer. pretty good hiding place, gotta say. say that to the nanny cam. it's your tv, take it with you. now you can watch your dvr anywhere, at no extra cost, with directv from at&t. welcome back to "hardball." donald trump plans to nominate oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt as epa administrator. that's lead to a backlash by many profession. as attorney general of oklahoma, pruitt led state lawsuits to block virtually every major federal regulation on climate or air pollution put forward by
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president obama's epa. "the new york times" said it showed mr. trump's desire to dismantle president obama's efforts to counter climate change. pruitt will head the organization he's currently suing. i'm joined by eric lipton from "the new york times." and eric swallow. where is the status of that suit? is he currently in litigation against the epa? >> he's got quite a number of lawsuits still pending against the epa and the government in general. he believes in states' rights and that states should have their own determination to make environmental regulations. >> he believes states should do what they want with fossil fuel? >> he thinks they know how to manage oil and gas exploration and the epa should let them set their own standards. >> there couldn't be any pushback in an industry where --
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who would dare go up against the industry of the state? we've seen that in pennsylvania with fracking. >> he is largely speaking to a population that agrees with him in oklahoma. he's quite popular in oklahoma. >> congressman, thank you for joining us. what do you make of this in your face decision by the president-elect to say, screw you guys, i don't believe in climate change, i'm going to prove it by picking a guy who agrees with me? >> he's putting a climate denier in that position, someone with very little experience with the environment. oklahoma, for all its fracking, has seen an increase in earthquakes, something that's concerned us in california, why we've tried to stem the efforts to do that. but also, this is the only state in the country that refused to negotiate with the banks after the mortgage crisis. 49 states got relief after what happened in 2008. oklahoma sat out. that was his decision. >> let's talk about the whole strategy. is there any other indication of what trump wants to do with environmental regulations? because business, i don't know why the market is booming right now, the dow, but clearly one of the reasons is the sense we're coming into a new regime which
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is going to be a lot less environmental, a lot less regulatory. he's going to be smooth sailing of people who want to make some money. >> i say that scott pruitt is a guy that believes in the rule of law as he calls it and states' rights. he also has ended up in a close alliance with the energy companies. and there are a lot of rules that are pending before the epa right now that they want to roll back. for example, there's a methane rule that limits emissions of methane gas that contributes to global warming. they want to strike down that rule and block it. there's a quite a number of rules he's fighting through lawsuits which now administratively he may be able to kill or roll back. >> the koch brothers must be ecstatic. >> devon energy in oklahoma city is a close ally of his. devon energy, they were giving him letters to send to federal officials. they were drafting the letters. >> the koch brothers? >> devon energy was. he simply put the letter on his own letterhead, signed it and sent it off to the federal
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agency. he was basically working in alliance with these companies. but if you ask him about it, he says he believes the same thing those companies did, that the estates have the right to make their own determination. >> ed markey, senator from massachusetts, is very concerned about this appointment. it seems like trump is saying right off the bat, i don't believe in looking out for the environment, i'm going to do whatever i want. >> the same week that he meets with or has ivanka meet with al gore. >> what's that about? >> i think it shows he'll pander, but we know -- >> a photo op? >> it was a photo op, bring gore to trump tower, but the person who will make decisions around climate change is a climate denier. >> i've heard this from lou harris and other pollsters, there are people who care deeply, i do, my wife does, about the environment. although it doesn't get all the noise the other issues do, it's there in people's soul, they believe we have to protect this planet for the future. the executive director of the sierra club, the most
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environmental, released the following statement upon hearing the news that donald trump intended to nominate scott pruitt of oklahoma. quote, having scott pruitt in charge of the environmental protection agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires. he's a climate science denier who as attorney general for the state of oklahoma regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack epa protections. pretty strong. what's he going to do? >> people at home want to see this upheld. what democrats can do is talk about what the new clean energy economy looks like for jobs. connect clean energy to jobs so that people don't think that climate change means they're going to lose their job. >> eric, this is science, not politics. we looked back at lucy, the first forms of human life 4 million years ago, you think mankind, when he was primitive, did a pretty good job of protecting the climate, no fossil fuels, no greenhouse
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gases. now in the short space of the 20th and 21st century, ruining the planet. >> you know -- >> after millions of human years, human existence. >> donald trump has not made it clear what his position will be on the paris accords. whether or not he believes in climate change, it depends who asks him as to what answer he gives. this is a good test as to how he runs the environmental protection agency. we'll see whether or not it becomes the state attorney's -- the liberal attorney generals who become the real environmental force in the united states, as was the case in the bush administration, that may be coming back. >> thank you. let me finish with the 75th anniversary of the attack on pearl harbor. you're watching "hardball." the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine.
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let me finish tonight with a pearl harbor story. it's from joseph allsup, a top
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american columnist who found himself in hong kong the day after the attack on hawaii. he could hear the bombs dropping. he lay on the floor of his apartment in perfect darkness because of the blackout, listening to an old radio. this is he described his feelings as he heard president roosevelt ask the congress to declare war. "i heard no more than enough to be reminded of the timbre of his voice. it never for one moment occurred to me that there might be the smallest doubt about the outcome of the vast war the president was asking the congress to declare. nor did i find any other american throughout the entire war who ever doubted the eventual outcome. i now feel nostalgia for the absolute confidence in the american future which was the necessary foundation of the total absence of doubt. hope was in fact franklin roosevelt's greatest gift to his
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fellow americans. partly he gave his hope by deeds when he came to an office that seemed utterly devoid of hope. he gave us hope because all conceded he himself felt not the slightest doubt about the future at any time in his years as president. and somehow his mind formed the minds of the overwhelming majority of other americans who watched him in action in those years of hope. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. join me again tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern. see you then. [ cough ]
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in april 2009, a couple of months after president barack obama was sworn in for the first time, didn't make that much of a splash outside silicon valley because he's kind of a known eccentric so therefore whatever he's on about now sort of tends to be seen as an interesting thing if you care about him, but if you don't it doesn't necessarily mean it will have any wider impact on the world. still, though, what this silicon valley billionaire had to say right after barack obama was sworn in in 2009, it was controversial enough that people do expect weird stuff from him, looking back on it now, even now it stands out. what he proclaimed in 2009 in this manifesto was that democracy was over. freedom was dead. and the only hope for humankind woulbe