On Monday, on “CBS This Morning,” members of President Trump’s staff were on hand for interviews. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus discussed the president’s strategy regarding North Korea, as well as his proposed tax plan. Co-anchor Norah O’Donnell paid due credit to Trump, saying “He has signed 29 bills, 32 executive orders. He's confirmed a Supreme Court justice.” She asked, “The next question is the big legislative victory. Are you expecting a health care bill this week?”
Priebus betrayed some caution in his answer. Laughing, he said, “Well, I -- I certainly hope so. I-- I think so. I'm an optimistic person.” Co-anchor Gayle King interjected, asking “Do you have the votes, do you think?” Priebus responded, “I think-- I think we will. I think it will happen this week. And so -- so much has been made of this signature piece of legislation and the timing. I think it's important to know for the listeners as well-- it-- this goes through the House and the Senate this will be the-- one of the -- one of the fastest pieces of signature legislation to go through for a president—since [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt, I believe.”
Drawing comparisons to the passing of Barack Obama’s stimulus bill, which was “pre-baked,” Priebus said that previous presidents saw that many months passed before getting certain bills passed.
Co-anchor Charlie Rose asked if tax reform can be expected by the end of this year. Priebus said, “I think we'll have tax reform by the end of the year. Yeah, I think that's a goal. And I would expect it to happen, Charlie.”
When the correspondents sought to say that Trump had changed his views in office about China, the North American Trade Agreement, and NATO, Priebus said that Trump’s views have not changed. Priebus said that regarding NATO, “his position's the same that these countries need to pay up and pay their fair share. You remember when the secretary general walked out onto the podium right over there, one of the first things that came out of his mouth was that President Trump is absolutely right that it's about time that these countries pay up.”
Priebus paid credit to Trump for causing national leaders such as China’s president to “change their rhetoric and their positions on matter. Look at President Xi... But what's happening is President Xi is using his positioning to leverage in North Korea. So I would just say his positions are the same. And his positions are causing other people to change. Now as far as the overall question I think this is an enormous job.”
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.