tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC April 12, 2017 11:30pm-12:01am PDT
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i'm going to instruct my treasury secretary to label china a currency manipulator. the greatest in the world. >> that was last summer in akron, ohio. in just the past few days, donald trump has made some stark policy u-turns from his positions during the campaign. for starters, on nato, on russia, if not putin, on syria, on china, on that last topic the wall street journal reported the following today, trump says the dollar is getting too strong and he won't label china a currency manipulator.
he said this during an interview with the journal, and i quote, i think our dollar is getting too strong and partially that is my fault. because people have confidence in me. but that will hurt ultimately. joining us is our own stephanie whose background in finance means we often call on her to explain such things to us. stephanie, in addition to being the first humble brag in the history of the white house, for all of us who didn't take economics, what does a stronger dollar mean, and more fundamentally, is donald trump right about this? >> well, first of all, you have to establish donald trump is 100% flip-flopping. but maybe you're okay with that. what he said on the campaign about
the strong dollar, about janet yellen, about china being a manipulator, he's clearly saying something different now. it appears that maybe he is looking at things based in fact.
so in terms of there being a strong dollar, it's almost as if he likes the sound of there being a strong dollar, because it sounds good, strong dollar. but given how strong our dollar is in the global economy, it currently is too expensive for other countries to want to buy our goods. if the dollar were to get stronger, so if we saw the border adjustment tax, you would see the dollar get stronger and that would be a negative. we wouldn't want that to happen. so president trump making the signal that he is today is kind of saying, border adjustment tax, not happening. in terms of -- you're seeing janet yellen raise interest rates which sounds like she's on the path to do, president trump no longer wants her to do that, saying maybe the economy isn't as strong. people are enthused about it,
customer confidence and sentiment is up, but when you look at the actual facts, when you look at the soft gdp number or actual jobs numbers, he is saying maybe i would like it
slow and steady, which is so different from what he said last fall. he said janet yellen and the fed highly politicized, she was only leaving rates as slow as they were because she wanted the economy to look nice and good for obama. but this is dpr american -- those great americans, life time savers, they were not getting more. well, now that he's president, remember, the government, borrowing trillions of dollars, he wants those rates low. and he wants things smooth and steady. it also points to the fact that he is maybe -- we talk about steve bannon maybe being out, steve bannon brought in novarro. peter novarro is the guy said china is the currency manipulator. here is the thing, the treasury department evaluates the other countries, are the currencies being manipulated? they are not. maybe this is a sign that peter
navarro, stephen bannons are getting farther away from trump. jared kushner may be sitting next to him now, but he was also sitting next to president trump when he made those claims that didn't make a lot of sense. >> in our final 60 seconds, donald trump's base voted for the businessman they had seen on television, figuring that on the base line economy, he would be right most of the time. is he right most of the time? >> he flip-flops basically. but basically now the turns he's making, make it sound more like he is listening to more rational people who have a deeper understanding of the economy. i mean, steve mnuchin himself said not thatong ago, well, some of theata a information that the trump campaign team was looking at might not have been the best. we didn't have that much money.
steve mnuchin wasn't advising him on the economy at the time, he was a finance chair. but it is amazing, it is a stark contrast to where he was. a lot of those hard-core trump supporters are not economic gurus, they're people who want jobs, they want their wages up. they want things to move to a more positive area. he has a guy like wilbur ross sitting next to him now. kevin warsh was in the room two days ago during the ceo meeting. he's one of the smartest guys on the economy out there. you can throw your hands in the air and say are you kidding me with this flip-flopping, but he's flip-flopping with a lot more rational role. >> thank you, stephanie. as always, we appreciate it. >> thank you. after our next break, donald trump learns a lesson about north korea. and like health care, it turns out to be harder than he thought. me safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench? maybe?
they're toying with us. >> welcome back to "the 11th hour." president trump april of last year saying china should handle the north korea threat. the president discussed the matter with china's president last week, and described that conversation with "the wall street journal." they write this. quote, mr. trump said he told his chinese counterpart he believed beijing could easily take care of the north korea threat. mr. xi then explained the history of china and korea. quote, after listening for ten minutes, i realized it's not so easy, mr. trump recounted. i felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power over north korea, but he said it's not what you would think. the problem, of course, is the number of policy professionals and readers of history who knew that already, like the number of people who knew health care was complicated. we've asked barry mccaffrey to
join us again tonight, a retired u.s. army four-star general, whose experience includes military policy on the korean peninsula. barry, most people who reach the office of president, it's no one's fault or to their detriment have a background in government. donald trump is not. he's been involved in other pursuits. how does it strike you to hear that his briefing on the china-north korea relationship came from the president of china? >> yeah. it's sort of unsettling. by the way, brian, my experience with the business community in this country, particularly in new york city they're incredibly well informed. smart people. they pay attention to the world community. if you ask them where slovakia is, they know. astonishing that the president is learning for the first time some of these observations. noh korea is probly the st serious threatacing the united states and our allies. pan, south korea, australia, that region, nukes, they're moving aggressively in a
direction where they will have an icbm, they will have a submarine launch ballistic missile, they already have solid state missile technology and mobile missiles. these people are a dreadful threat to the united states, and the region. and mr. trump, the notion that we're going to take care of it on our own, i would suggest, is sadly mistaken. >> you told me days ago this train is leaving the station, to the extent that we should switch, along with all the other allied nations in the region, to a defensive posture to concentrating perhaps on how to get these things out of the sky once they're up there. >> yeah. i think -- i pay a lot of attention to what bill perry says. i think he's come to the conclusion that many of us have, they will -- north koreans will never do away with their nuclear weapons. not going to happen. the chinese don't actually have the leverage to force that situation on them. so what do we do.
well, we get a coalition. we hem them in. we try and talk to them. we provide them economic aid if they're starving to death. but we better build a defensive system regardless of what the chinese think about being a threat to their capability, we need to put that in place. ten years from now the american people will be in tremendous peril. >> i want to play the back drop during which the president briefed the president of china about the cruise missile launch. we'll talk after this. >> i was sitting at the table. we had finished dinner. we're now having dessert. and we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen. and president xi was enjoying it. and i saidmr. president, let me explain something to you. this is during dessert. what happens is, i said, we've just launched 59 missiles heading to iraq. >> headed to syria?
>> yes, heading toward syria. >> everyone is allowed a mistake, general. but what happens in your reading of history when presidents arrive on the job and find out what it's like to use the levers of u.s. military power? >> well, it's an awesome thing. u.s. defensive establishment is still the most powerful course for good that is imaginable. 2.2 million men and women. they have the most advanced technology on the face of the earth. having said that, it's astonishing the president talking to the chinese. these are sophisticated people. they do have strategies, they do have a long-term view. they don't want to see the korean peninsula united with u.s. and japanese presence. so again, it's a little bit baffling to see mr. trump
struggle with these new things. >> general, wherever you seem to travel we seem to find you and are so much better on the broadcast for having found you. thank you very much again. coming up after another break, the president's dark view of the world repeated today. and the context given on today's date, and its history and the meaning, on "the 11th hour" when it continues.
welcome back to the 11th hour. fdr died on this day in 1945. he was sitting for the portrait painter elizabeth. he complained of having what he called a terrific pain in the back of his head. then when he slumped forward, everyone in the room thought he just dropped his cigarette holder. instead the american giant of that century was gone. our troops fighting the last battles of world war ii were stunned and shaken by the news, americans of 12 or 13 had never known another president. many wondered how we could go on. his sunny confidence and steely
resolve got us through the depression and the world war, and even his critics admitted that. so it was on this day that the current president's remarks were so striking. so we thought of our friend who on twitter today has chronicled april 20th, 1945, including the president's desk in the oval office after word of his death. michael, under fdr, the phrase "leader of the free world" has never been more true. donald trump's world view today, as he put it, the world is nasty, the world is a mess. how should we proce the contrast? well, i would not take -- him saying that the world is a mess very seriously if you compare it to a lot of things in history. not least, that night we were talking about april 12th, 1945, when the free world, the allies
were roaring to a victory in europe. but the world was still extremely unsettled. one of the things that was amazing when you listened to president trump today you know he always makes the point that he doesn't read books for better or worse and you really saw the sense that this was someone who really does not have a historical framework. even the thing he said today about one of the worst or perhaps the worst situations between the united states and russia, in human history, was not exactly the way he put it but i think if he knew very much about the cold war he would say yes, we have a difficult situation between america and russia now, but if you look at the cuban missile crisis or certain other moments it's not so bad. >> it's been said before that when he uses superlatives like never before -- >> or the most beautiful chocolate cake you have ever seen. >> exactly, because for him, and
people have different interests, because he doesn't have the base line of history, history in a way begins with his election and his move to the white house and his presidency, in his field of view. >> well, i think that is right. and you know i would have said it abstractly before this presidency, but i really say it now which is you know when you become president you have to make all of these decisions quickly on the basis of fragmentary information, and one of the ways you can do this is to have some idea where presidents in the past have succeeded and failed. not because you're ever going to know the president that is exactly the same as the case that you're dealing with but it gives you a little bit of perspective. and the person who knew that and talked about it more than anybody else as president was a man who became president this day in 1945, harry truman, who
didn't have a college education but i think more well read about history than almost any other president. >> how much would you like to sit down and brief the president on the historical markers you feel he should know about every day? >> well, i think that would be interesting to do. and i think a lot of historians would do that extremely well. but i think it's really no substitute for having a little bit of a background. and by that i'm not saying that you know, he has to know every minute of the battle of new orleans. or the lewis and clark expedition, every single place that the two of them went to. but it does help to have some greater understanding of the history of our constitution, our politics and particularly given the type of things he was talking about today, the history of american presidents and war. >> michael, it's an honor to
over the last two days. and he is the president of china. >> last thing before we go here tonight. it was a common question on the campaign trail. have you, donald trump, ever met russian president vladimir putin? do you know him, do you have any sort of relationship with him? you saw there his answer to the question as of this afternoon. but this topic has been a moving target for donald trump who has changed his answer to it over the years. >> what exactly is your relationship with vladimir putin? >> i have no relationship with putin. i have no relationship. >> do you have a relationship with vladimir putin? >> i do have a relationship. and i can tell you that he is very interested in what we're doing here today. >> i have nothing to do with putin, i have never spoken to him, i know nothing about him other than he will respect me. >> i was in moscow, and they treated me s great. putin even sent me a president, beautiful president with a beautiful note, i spoke to all
of his people. >> i got to know him very well because we were both on 60 minutes, we were stable mates and did 60 minutes together, by the way, not together, together. he was probably shot in moscow. >> >> donald trump on vladimir putin, a man he said today he does not know. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us and good night from new york. tonight on "all in." >> putin is the leader of russia. russia is a strong country. >> foreign agents. >> paul manafort has done an amazing job. >> new questions about trump aides working for foreign governments as rex tillerson meets with vladimir putin. >> we touched only briefly on the issue of cybersecurity. >> the latest on the trump campaign probe and the state of u.s. foreign policy. >> i said we've just launched 59 missiles heading to iraq.