ED O'KEEFE: I'm Ed O'Keefe, and this is the Washington Week Extra, where we pick up
online where we left off on air.
And, Carol, I actually do want to pick up right
where we left off, regarding the Cabinet.
As we mentioned, Defense Secretary Mattis is now in place, Homeland Security Secretary
Kelly is in place, both of them retired Marine generals, but there's still a lot of
government to fill out.
And I know Republicans had expected to have as many as six
or seven confirmed on Friday, and that didn't happen.
CAROL LEE: It didn't.
It's going a little slower than they would have liked.
They'll also probably have the CIA director early next week.
And the president was supposed to go to the CIA to basically be there for the swearing-in
of his CIA director, but also try to repair some of these rifts that have happened during
the transition between him and the intelligence agencies.
General Mattis is - the defense secretary is somebody who Democrats, even openly during
his hearings, were looking forward, saying we're counting on you, which can, as Joe Biden
would say, work for you or against you.
And also, you know, you've seen in this national security team that's coming together
there's some friction between the president's national security advisor and that team.
And then you have - he still doesn't have a secretary of state; Rex Tillerson, there were
some questions about how his hearings went, whether he performed well enough or not, and
that didn't move as fast as they thought.
And then you have a host of other ones that are waiting.
And hopefully - I mean, the goal, I think, is for them to get them done rather quickly
through the next week, but he is starting - taking over at a time when he has tried to put
forward a very ambitious agenda but doesn't necessarily have the people in place that he
wants to carry out that agenda.
ED O'KEEFE: It's a predominantly white and predominantly male Cabinet.
There's been some talk of that this week.
Do we think that the Trump administration really thinks about that at all, or is that
going to be a consideration as they fill out the rest of the government?
CAROL LEE: It was a consideration and they thought about it during the transition.
I think clearly they don't feel the need to care, frankly, in the sense that when you
look at his Cabinet he picked the people that he wanted to pick and didn't - he didn't
set down kind of markers that - President Obama during the transition set very specific
things that he wanted in his Cabinet.
He wanted, you know, a Republican in his Cabinet; Donald Trump didn't do that.
He wanted - you know, his Cabinet was diverse.
And we just haven't seen that.
ED O'KEEFE: Peter, it was a remarkable day in part because most of the former presidents
and first ladies were there, most notably of course Hillary Clinton, who was sitting
there watching what she probably thought would have been a better day for her had things
I'm just curious what you - what you thought of all of them
being there and Clinton's not performance so much as appearance.
PETER BAKER: Right.
It is an extraordinary thing about American democracy that
certainly over the last 50 years, anyway, with only a few exceptions, the loser in a
presidential race almost always seems to be onstage when the winner takes office because
they're vice president or a senator, or in this case a former first lady, and by custom
they have to be there.
It's also sort of ritualistically masochistic, I think, because
it can't be an easy thing to walk out there when you thought you had it in the bag, as
she clearly did, and to have to watch this person who she doesn't really respect take
the oath that she thought she should have taken.
She wore her white suffragette, you
know, dress that she made famous during last year's campaign.
If you watch the footage
of her before she actually walked out onstage, her face was very grim.
She seemed very
She did a, you know, game effort of putting a smile on when she did go out in
public, but she obviously couldn't have had a great time.
President Trump did
graciously pay tribute to her at the lunch afterwards, asked her to stand and be
applauded, but you have to imagine she wanted to get out of town as fast as she could.
ED O'KEEFE: The only one absent, of course, was former President George H.W.
and his wife, Barbara, who were recuperating at a Houston hospital.
The word on
Friday was that they were recovering and had watched the inaugural festivities.
And, Yamiche, Peter mentioned the suffragette outfit that Hillary Clinton wore.
A lot of suffragettes, in essence, will be in the streets of Washington this weekend for
this anticipated Women's March, which is not only happening here in Washington but of
course across the country in a lot of other ways.
This came together in a remarkably organic way in the wake of the election.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It came together in a really organic way mainly because a lot of the
issues that people had with Donald Trump, apart from people thinking that he might be
racist or that he might have populist views, but the fact that he had that Access
Hollywood tape and that women really felt as though he was someone who didn't really
So these are the women - of course, not the 53 percent or so that
voted for him, but the opposition women.
So this march is supposed to be - more
than 100,000 people are expected to go down on the Mall.
I've talked to some of the
people who are going.
I've talked to at least three families who are bringing all
generations of their family - so the grandmother, the mother, the daughter.
So there's a lot of people going to this march to not only oppose him, but also give
themselves something to talk about and organize and plan for the future.
So a lot of these women are really readying themselves for the next four years.
ED O'KEEFE: Do we know what this is designed to be for?
We know what it's against - it's pretty much against the new president.
But what else are they really trying to advocate for?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the women that I've talked to are kind of in the same situation
as the Democrats right now.
They're confused because they don't know exactly what
Donald Trump is going to do.
Is he going to create a Muslim registry?
Is he going
to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act and not replace it with anything?
Is he going to somehow maybe try to roll back - I mean, even though he's not on the
Supreme Court, some way attack Roe v. Wade?
So I think there's a lot of stuff
that - there's a lot of things that people don't know are going to happen.
I mean, there are a lot of questions still in the air.
But basically everybody that
I talked to, they list climate change, they list racial justice, they list immigration.
I mean, the long - there's a long list of issues that people are worried about.
And remarkably, a lot of people are saying that they're ready to fight about an issue
that doesn't maybe directly affect them.
So even though - I've talked to some people who are Christian, white women.
They're ready to fight for immigrants, or they're ready to fight about Muslim issues.
So there are people that are just ready to fight in general.
ED O'KEEFE: And the emphasis is on people.
There are men who plan to show up as well, not just women.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There are a couple men.
ED O'KEEFE: There will be - there will be three or four of them, men.
Not me, but
men in general.
Dan, you adroitly wrote in Friday's paper about the fact
that, you know, the new president pointed this out, and it's worth reminding folks
that he didn't start all this - and by this, we mean the rancorous political
environment that we live in, that this is something that really has been snowballing
over the course now of almost two decades.
DAN BALZ: Yes, I mean, this country's clearly divided.
We know that.
It's very divided over his presidency, but it's been divided for quite a while.
President Obama, though his approval ratings are up at the end of his presidency, ended
up as the president with the biggest gap between approval among Democrats and approval
among Republicans, and so some people have said he's the most polarizing president in our
But George W. Bush was the second most in terms of that measure and Bill
Clinton was third most.
So what we've seen over two decades is a pulling apart of
the political system.
There is not only rancor, there is - there is passionate
anger toward the opposition.
The sense of good will is gone.
People have - people suspect the worst of the opponent, of the other side.
And that's something that anybody who, you know, won this office - if Hillary Clinton had
won, she would have to be dealing with that same problem.
The issue for Trump is that, in a way, he used those divisions and some ways stoked
those divisions successfully in his campaign to knock off the Republican establishment
and then to defeat Secretary Clinton.
So there was nothing in the campaign that he
did to try to begin to, you know, create a thaw in that - in that icy relationship
between the left and the right or the Republicans and Democrats, red and blue.
ED O'KEEFE: And his inaugural address, many would say, today added to that deep freeze.
So we'll see how he thaws everything over the next four years, eight years perhaps.
That's it for this edition of Washington Week Extra.
While you're online, check out some fun facts about presidential inaugurations through
history, including three where the outgoing president chose not to attend their
successor's swearing-in at all.
That's on the Washington Week-ly News Quiz.
I'm Ed O'Keefe.
On behalf of all of us here at Washington Week,
we'll see you next time.