Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Tennessee Star National Correspondent Neil W. McCabe to the newsmakers line.
During the third hour, McCabe weighed in on the current resignation of Attorney General Bill Barr while giving a synopsis of the culture within the Trump administration citing a lack of relationship between cabinet officers and the White House. Towards the end of the segment, he seemed unhappy with some of Trump’s promises not yet kept but believed the President would be beginning his second term in office on January 20, 2021.
Leahy: In the studio with us the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. On the newsmaker our Washington correspondent for the Tennessee Star and The Star News Network Neil W. McCabe. Good morning, Neil.
McCabe: Michael so glad to be with you, sir.
Leahy: Well Neil, lots going on in Washington yesterday. Mitch McConnell stepped up on the floor of the Senate and referred to Joe Biden as president-elect. That’s one thing. Bill Barr has announced he’s resigning on December 23, and Crom has something for you too.
Carmichael: What’s that about Neil?
McCabe: (Bellows) What’s that about? Barr?
McCabe: The problem that you have is that in a normal administration you would have someone in the White House who handles cabinet officers and these kinds of relationships. But because of the situation where you have acting and permanent chiefs of staff who do not actually fill in that role and the relationship between the White House so then the cabinet never really existed.
And Jared Kushner functioned as the de facto chief of staff, but the nominal chief of staff was always someone else. And so Wednesday morning Jared Kushner and Ivanka took off for New York and Florida where else that they’re going. And so basically you have this vacuum when no one is actively managing the cabinet officers the way it should be done. And so Trump is having to do it in himself.
And in these flood circumstances, you know, that’s a dangerous thing to do. And so Trump is a guy who is perfectly willing to hand off something a portfolio and say handle it. For instance Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. He said whatever Marco Rubio says about Venezuela is a go. And I think that bore fruit when you saw the way they were tough on the Maduro regime.
And certainly, the people in Florida responded to that positively. So it’s not that Trump is a control freak it’s just that when there’s a vacuum he feels like he has to move in there. Mark Meadows as chief of staff never really had the portfolio that he should have had because of Jared Kushner. And now Kushner is you know off looking for houses in Florida or something.
Carmichael: I have a bit of a different take and I want to get your opinion on it. I don’t disagree with what you’re saying, but I’m going to be a little more specific than what you have just said. I think Trump wanted Barr to do something that Barr refused to do. And so Barr said Mr. President if you want me to do that, I’m not going to do it.
I’ll be happy to give you my letter of resignation. Because I think it has something to do with the special counsel for Hunter Biden or something. something. I don’t know what it is that Trump wanted. Because if you think about what Trump has been through and I think it was Barr who appointed Durham. And Durham has accomplished virtually nothing.
Leahy: Zero, zip, nada.
Carmichael: And Hunter Biden looks like he’s going to skate. And so I think Trump is enormously frustrated by the lack of equality in the way that he has been treated and the Democrat Party members, especially the Bidens have been treated. So I think he demanded something that Barr refused to do and he handed in his resignation.
McCabe: All of that could have been massaged. all of that could have been handled. There could have been a meeting. It’s like something could have been done. The problem is there is no relationship between the cabinet officers and the White House. And so what happens is it’s like you’re at a dinner party or cocktail party and someone spills a drink on your suit and the only choice you have is either walk away or (Inaudible talk). And this is the problem. It’s like, you know, people are having conversations.
The White House staff under Trump was broken from the beginning because of the machinations of his daughter and his son-in-law. And now it’s bearing fruit, but you see it all the time. There are people in the White House even today as we come to the end of Trump’s first term who are working to make Puerto Rico a state.
Leahy: Within the White House?
McCabe: Yes. There’s the White House organization and Michael, you know this because of what our friend Stephen K. Bannon went through.
Leahy: Stephen K. Bannon.
McCabe: The White House was never set up properly. And you know, it’s like Jared Kushner said hey, let’s fire Comey. And then everything that spills out of that. Then Bannon says, hey, let’s bring in Kelly to replace Reince Priebus, and Kelly goes into the office for the oval officers first meeting with the president and says I’ll take this job if you fire Bannon. And Trump is like, okay. Like this is insane. (Leahy chuckles) Wednesday morning I think Ivanka and Jerry had their picture taken in New York shopping for their new home.
Right now I’m reading that they’re going to Florida. These two people won the fight. There were battles in the White House and Jared and Ivanka would win those battles over regular people and over Trump people and so this is where we’re at. And so Barr has been a disappointment. But you know out of all the cabinet officers, who besides Barr and Pompeo were catching bullets for the president? No one. Barr was upfront a lot. So the idea that Barr was not sticking up for the president and taking and drawing fire for the president is absurd.
Carmichael: I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that I think he was asked to do something that he didn’t want to do and he just said then I’ll resign. but I have a question for you. I have another based on what you said. Why would there still be people in the White House who are pushing for a Puerto Rican statehouse? Why would they still be there?
McCabe: Well, I don’t know. Personnel is policy, right? We learned that in the Reagan administration.
Carmichael: Yeah, but why didn’t when Trump come in, why didn’t all the White House staff leave? Why didn’t he simply replace all of them?
McCabe: Crom, these are Trump people. These people who were appointed by Trump. It’s the same crowd led by Brooke Rollins that said to the president, do not confront the protesters in the streets. Let the cities burn. It’ll work for us.
Leahy: So your point Neil is that the president’s administration from its very beginning has been more than a tad chaotic?
McCabe: Right, and I think that unfortunately, he trusted people and he didn’t know when to fire people and he tried he trusted people. And there are people who had an emotional hold on him and they exploited that emotional hold to the detriment of his administration.
Leahy: Crom has two questions for you.
Carmichael: Do you think Trump accomplished a tremendous amount in his four years?
McCabe: I don’t know. Where is my wall? Where is my concealed carry?
Leahy: Neil, we’re about to run out of time. I have two questions for you. Where will Donald Trump be at 12:01 p.m. eastern time on January 20?
McCabe: He’ll be beginning his second term.
Leahy: Okay. And how is that going to happen?
McCabe: Well, I think what’s going to happen is that there’s a lot of information about how this election was stolen and rigged. And people are waiting to rather than waste their time while it will be revealed in time for the Electoral College to make their decision on January 6.
Leahy: Well, that would be Congress making the decision to accept the results in the Electoral College.
McCabe: Congress has to approve those results.
Leahy: On that note Neil, I think a lot is going to come out between now and then. I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen between now and January 6.
Carmichael: Thanks, Neil.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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