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MTP Daily, Transcript 11/14/2016

Guests: Matt Borges, Alfonso Aguilar, Perry Bacon, Kelly O`Donnell, Howard Dean

Show: MTP DAILY Date: November 14, 2016 Guest: Matt Borges, Alfonso Aguilar, Perry Bacon, Kelly O`Donnell, Howard Dean

PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC HOST: Good Monday evening. I`m Peter Alexander in Washington in for Chuck Todd. Welcome to MTP DAILY.

Hang onto your chair, folks, the floodgates are opening on a wild evening of breaking news. President Obama has just wrapped up that big press conference at the White House on Donald Trump and his transition to power.

More protests are scheduled tonight as a firestorm erupts over the appointment of a former Breitbart executive, Steve Bannon, into a top White House post. An appointment that some critics and civil rights groups say is tainted with racism and anti-Semitism. And that doesn`t even scratch the surface tonight.

Our reporting team has all the big stories covered. And there are a lot more of them about to happen at the top of this hour.

Kelly O`Donnell is at the White House where fresh off his news conference. President Obama is speaking to the DNC after some big news in that leadership race.

Kasie Hunt, as you see on Capitol Hill, where Senate Democrats are holding a news conference of their own. And the GOP forum is just getting underway to begin the process of selecting their new leadership team.

Alex Seitz-Wald moderating a conference call between Hillary Clinton and House Democrats, happening right now as well.

And Katy Tur, of course, has the latest news from a wild day inside of Donald Trump`s transition. There is also, we should tell you, about a 5:00 call at the RNC as they look to replace chairman Reince Priebus who was just named Donald Trump`s chief of staff.

So, that`s where we begin this afternoon. First, President Obama holding that first news conference since the election. And nearly every question was about, well, as you guessed it, Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most notable parts of this news conference were all the times that the president repeatedly, sort of, refused to criticize president- elect Trump.

There`s been a ground swell of attacks from the Democratic leaders specifically attacking appointment of Steve Bannon. President Obama not only refused to engage in those attacks, he seemed to take a shot at those within his own party who are criticizing Trump`s decision.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, the people have spoken. Donald Trump will be the next president, the 45th president of the United States. And it will be up to him to set up a team that he thinks will serve him well and reflect his policies.

And those who didn`t vote for him have to recognize that that`s how democracy works. That`s how this system operates.


ALEXANDER: But while President Obama didn`t directly criticize the Bannon pick, he did urge Trump to make smart staffing decisions and to reach out to minorities and women.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did say to him, as I`ve said publicly, that because of the nature and the campaigns and the bitterness and ferocity of the campaigns. That it`s really important to try to send some signals of unity and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign.


ALEXANDER: Also some big news on the foreign policy front. Donald Trump called NATO obsolete during the campaign. But today, President Obama said Trump is committed to that alliance and the president isn`t afraid to spread that message when he leaves this evening for his trip abroad.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In my conversation with the president-elect, he expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships. And so, one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the transatlantic alliance. I think that`s one of the most important functions I can serve at this stage during this trip is to let them know that there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America`s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship.


ALEXANDER: NBC`s Kelly O`Donnell kicks things off right now at the White House. And, Kelly, listen to that news conference tonight. I was struck by a couple of things. One that it`s clear that the president thinks he serves as better purpose as the president-elect sort of ally in this process than he does as a potential obstacle.

KELLY O`DONNELL, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: I think that`s very true. And when you think back eight years ago, George W. Bush said nothing critical about Barack Obama and gave him a lot of space.

Now, Dick Cheney was very critical often but George W. Bush was not. And it allowed for Barack Obama to, sort of, cut his own path without his predecessor, sort of, chirping over his shoulder.

[17:05:05] It appears that President Obama is very conscious of a few things. The international community, he`s about to meet his colleagues on the world stage in the next few days. He wants to bring reassurance about the strength of the United States.

Transitions are a period where there is vulnerability for the country in every sense of that. And so, he wants to convey that strength and continuity.

At the same time, he is certainly aware of the protests, the heart break among Democrats, the fear and anxiety about those who are concerned about what a Trump administration could do and how it might affect especially minority communities.

And so, certainly, the president is trying to reassure them and, at the same time, he is sending a very clear signal to Trump and his team that he will be a partner in this. Even though they may disagree, he`ll try to work with him -- Peter.

ALEXANDER: That is right. We`re just sharing, right now as we speak, the president is supposed to be speaking to DNC members about the way forward. Give us a sense of what we expect to hear in that call.

It`s worth noting, we heard from the president a short time ago with some sort of vailed criticisms that the way the Clinton campaign handled itself, saying, in effect, you`ve got to go everywhere to compete. You can`t just go to the places where they embrace you.

O`DONNELL: And the president talked about the fact that he believes the ideas of his party are the right ones. But it is worthwhile to assess how they organize themselves as a national party. How they structure the approach of bringing those ideas to voters. And he said, good ideas don`t mean much if voters and the people out there don`t hear them.

And he was using an example of his own career, talking about having won Iowa because he spent, the terms he used, 87 days in every part of Iowa. And even those places where he did not win, he might have lost by a lesser margin --


O`DONNELL: -- because he spent so much time. And you know, there has been criticism of Hillary Clinton for not going to some of the key battle ground states -- Peter.

ALEXANDER: Yes, one of the most striking statistics, the fact that in those final 100 days, Donald Trump with 133 separate stops in the main battle ground states. Hillary Clinton just 87 in that same period of time.

Kelly O`Donnell at the White House. Kelly, thanks so much.

Let`s get right to my panel here. Perry Bacon is NBC News senior political reporter. Alfonso Aguilar is the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principals. He was also the former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under President Bush. And Maria Teresa Kumar is an MSNBC Contributor and president of Voto Latino. Nice to see you all for our post-election revisiting.

Perry, I`ll start with you quickly. I just want to get a sense from you of what struck you in listening to the president there. I think there were a lot of people maybe who were still upset with this outcome who were hoping he would have really had the final jab at Donald Trump. But it was just the opposite of that.

PERRY BACON, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, NBC NEWS: It sounds like he wants to almost convince Donald Trump, you campaign one way but you can govern another way. He`s trying to really, sort of, root on and kind of encourage Donald Trump to almost be a better president than what he campaigned as. It was an interesting tactic.

He was asked four or five times, you said Trump was unqualified in the campaign. Do you still say that now? And he kept ducking the question. He was asked about Bannon. He wouldn`t answer. I think he`s really trying to encourage Trump in a lot of ways.

ALEXANDER: Yes, I think you`re right. I want to play for you guys right now, if I can quickly. Here is what President Obama said specifically about Donald Trump. In effect, sticking up for the guy. Take a listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he`s sincere in wanting to be a successful president and moving this country forward. And I don`t think any president ever comes in saying to himself, I want to figure out how to make people angry or alienate half the country. I think he`s going to try as best he can to make sure that he delivers. Not only for the people who voted for him but for the people at large.

And the good thing is that there are going to be elections coming up so there is a built-in incentive for him to try to do that.


ALEXANDER: Maria, your thoughts.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think what the president realizes is that Donald Trump is now going into the Oval Office and that`s the institution of our government. And he needs to make sure that he`s going to be the president of everyone so he`s leading with engagement. He`s, like, engage everyone.

He also -- the president also understands that if we were to leave NATO, if we were to make it weaker, all of a sudden, you create a power vacuum that we have not been -- that we would not have rescinded under any normal circumstances.

So, I think he`s trying to say, look, we have to come together. It`s very difficult. You have people marching the streets saying, not my president. Well, you know what? If he`s not your president, then this is not your institution. And our institution needs to be strong and viable.

ALEXANDER: Yes. And, in effect, he said, if you`re upset that this isn`t your president, then you should have voted. You better make sure you vote next time.

Alfonso, I`m curious, your take on this, especially given the fact that this division exists right now. And it seems that the president, more than anything, is using the levers he still has left to, sort of, nudge Donald Trump, in effect, to say, hey, here`s why I think these things work and why I think you should be considerate of them, including on the issue of Obamacare going forward.

[17:10:00] ALFONSO AGUILAR, FORMER CHIEF, U.S. OFFICE OF CITIZENSHIP: Look, I think the president is being very dignified. He`s being presidential. This is what outgoing presidents do. Reassure the nation that it`s going to be OK. That we have a peaceful transition of power. And encouraging those who are frustrating with Mr. Trump to giving some room.

And I think Mr. Trump is actually listening to President Obama. You know, after their conversation, he made some comments about Obamacare, saying that he would keep some elements of Obamacare. The -- you know, the health insurance companies cannot do away with people with preexisting conditions. Things like that are important. And he`s sending a message that he`s willing to other people.

ALEXANDER: I want to get to Kasie Hunt, if I can, really quickly. You guys stay with us now for a moment.

Kasie has been covering this wild day on Capitol Hill. And, Kasie, to you quickly. Democrats holding a news conference on the Hill right now. Republicans holding their own leadership forum. So, how are these parties charting a course forward after what we heard from the president this evening?

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Peter, this is a remarkably turbulent time for both parties, especially considering one of them now has complete control of government, both Houses of Congress and the presidency.

But I want to start with a little bit of breaking news for you. Hillary Clinton is currently on that phone call with House Democrats, members of the caucus here over on the House side of the Hill. We`re are underground in the basement where Republicans are gathering for their leadership conversations for elections that are set tomorrow.

But Hillary Clinton, I`m told by a source on the call, opened that call with House Democrats with a three-minute opening statement. She said that she was very grateful for all of the help that Democratic members of the House have provided for her over the past election.

She also says that their vision of America actually earned more votes. But, of course, the result wasn`t what they wanted. And she said, no one is more sorry than I am. She urged Democrats not to be discouraged or divided, to keep going. And she also says that they have to take stock of what went wrong, understand it and analyze it. But not be distracted by the law.

So, I`m told, now, that she`s now taking questions from members of the House Democratic caucus. We`ll see what the tenor and tone of that conversation ends up being. But she, of course, apparently trying to at least chart an upbeat path forward.

I think, for Democrats, there`s a real struggle going on right now between the progressive wing of the party and a lot of the center left leaders that have been in power for many years, whether it`s Nancy Pelosi on the House side or Chuck Schumer in the Senate. They are trying actively, it seems, trying to embrace the progressive wing of the party. Keith Ellison as somebody who might be the chairman of the DNC, for example.



HUNT: An example of that is he is somebody that comes out of the party`s progressive wing, yes, saying he`s going to make that bid. Getting support from some of those older guard Democrats.

But, on the flip side, there have been some Democrats who`ve said, hey, to Nancy Pelosi. Hey, we want you to hold off. We want to talk about this a little bit more before we select who our leaders are going to be going forward -- Peter.

ALEXANDER: All right. Kasie with that breaking news right there. Some of the first words from Hillary Clinton on this new call that she`s doing right now with some of the leading Democrats in the country.

To my friend, Alex Seitz-Wald, who has the latest fallout from Clinton world as it was. You just heard from Kasie there, a moment ago. Hillary Clinton, of course, saying she`s grateful for acknowledging that she got plenty of votes but certainly not enough, obviously.

And right now, the real challenge is for Democrats going forward. How do they make up for that deficit and the Obama coalition not holding together the way they needed it to? And they weren`t able to grow it into those rural areas as Donald Trump did.

ALEX SEITZ-WALD, MSNBC NEWS REPORTER: Right, Peter. Well, I think the first question that a lot of people are asking is what went wrong. They want to try and diagnose that so they can figure out a path forward.

And there`s kind of competing camps here. One is coming from the Clinton campaign themselves. It`s a message that Hillary Clinton, herself, delivered on a call this weekend with donors and will likely be repeating on House members.

They, basically, argue that they lost the race in the final week of the election. That it was that James Comey letter that put them over the top. Throughout the race, they needed, basically, the Obama coalition but replacing non-college whites with college educated whites because they knew Trump was going to do well with non-educated whites.

And they kind of feel like the pendulum was swinging back and forth throughout the year, depending on the news environment with those college educated whites. And they just ended with the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction from them with that letter from James Comey.

The counter argument to that which a lot of members of Congress are saying, a lot of Democrats that I`ve spoken to outside of the Clinton campaign are saying, is that they -- you know, the failing went beyond James Comey. And it was, actually, with the Clinton campaign themselves. They ignored the economy. They focused too much on Donald Trump`s temperament. They didn`t go to Wisconsin once, a state that she lost that she really needed --


SEITZ-WALD: -- to win and didn`t spend enough money there. And the campaign spent all this time trying to make Trump unacceptable to voters. They sort of succeeded in that. I mean, a lot of exit voters said a lot of voters didn`t find Trump to be, you know, qualified or did not have a very favorable opinion of him. But they wanted change so much that they went ahead and voted for Trump anyway.

[17:15:07] Clinton campaign sources and Democrats` critics says the one thing they agree on is that the campaign underestimated how much voters wanted change. And that Clinton, you know, a former first lady, secretary of state, senator just couldn`t be the change agent that voters wanted to see.

ALEXANDER: Alex Seitz-Wald reporting from our newsroom. Alex with that new information.

Katy Tur right now with the latest from inside the Trump transition of power. Katy, NBC`s Andrea Mitchell reported this afternoon there have been no contact between Trump`s transition and national security agency. She also reported officials had been stunned at how little Trump knew about the job when he met with the president.

What is the state of the transition effort? I know there`s more names floating out right now as we try to track down, in effect, which way Donald Trump hopes to go with this administration.

KATY TUR, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pater, you`ve got to remember, this is a very small team of people that had gotten Donald Trump to this point. Many of whom have never held jobs in Washington, never had government jobs. Frankly, they`re just brand-new to the process who seemed like tourists more in Washington the other day when they all took a visit down there than they did as folks who were going to go over and, basically, take over the entire city, let alone the country.

But there are some more names being thrown out for who Donald Trump will surround himself. Cabinet members as well as some of the more high-profile jobs in the west wing.

What we`re hearing right now is Laura Ingram, the conservative talk show radio host, is a leading contender for press secretary. There is also Katie Walsh, she`s the deputy -- or the chief of staff at the RNC. She`s an uncontend -- in contention to be the deputy chief of staff under Reince Priebus in the White House.

John Bolton as secretary of state. And remember, we`ve also reported that Newt Gingrich was interested in that job as well as Rudy Giuliani. And then, there`s former Senator Jim Tallon as well looking at a job at the Department of Defense. And Ronna Romney who is a -- Mitt Romney`s niece out of Michigan. The chair of the Republican Party in Michigan being considered, potentially, to run the RNC.

So, a lot of names out there. A lot of familiar names. Some more surprising names. Certainly, Laura Ingram is a surprising name, a conservative talk show radio host being a press secretary.

But it seems like, right now, Donald Trump is still, frankly, figuring out who is going to lead his government alongside of him. Remember, they were going to be replace -- presenting him with three to five names of each of the top cabinet positions for him to go over and then to meet with folks. And that`s all happening as rapidly as they possibly can do it. But the campaign has stressed for reporters and everyone else to have patience with them as they navigate this process.

ALEXANDER: Not to mention names like Rudy Giuliani and others still floating out there right now. Katy Tur, thank you very much.

Up next, we`re going to talk to Howard Dean as Democrats duke it out over leadership.

And later, a voice that we will all miss in these turbulent times. Some sad news ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things that are true in this country which is that we want to. We aspire to. We hope to make it a better union.


ALEXANDER: The legacy of journalist Gwenn Ifill. We`ll have that coming up here on MTP DAILY.



ALEXANDER: Democrats are trying to not only figure out where their party can go from here but also who will lead that party. Moments ago, Hillary Clinton telling House Democrats on a call that the party needs its leadership to forge ahead and to produce results.

And on that note, former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean wants his old job back. He says his party needs to up its game when it comes to campaign infrastructure. And the Republican National Committee agrees.


HOWARD DEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, DNC: What the DNC is about is mechanics. It is about being everywhere. It is about training people up. It`s about having an adequate intelligent -- I mean, text system which we no longer apparently have.

KATIE WALSH, CHIEF OF STAFF, RNC: There`s a lot of conversation that goes around about what the role of federal party committee is moving forward and I think Reince has just set the gold standard of what a federal party committee should do for their candidates. And I think you saw Howard Dean this morning basically say that they should be doing that as well.


ALEXANDER: Howard Dean joining me live in 60 second.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that we have better ideas. But I also believe that good ideas don`t matter if people don`t hear them. And one of the issues that Democrats have to be clear on is that given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere.


ALEXANDER: President Obama just there, urging Democrats not to waiver from its -- their core beliefs in the aftermath of Donald Trump`s upset victory. But in the wake of Tuesday`s election, the party is looking to rebuild.

And Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota says he`s the one to lead that effort, officially announcing his candidacy for DNC chair this afternoon. Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress and was a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders during the primary.

And he has the backing of many Democratic leaders including Senator Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid. In his announcement, Ellison said, quote, "This election cycle, we did not motivate enough people to the ballot box. We must champion the challenges of working families is and give voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2018 and beyond."

Joining me now, someone else who wants that DNC job, former DNC chair, Howard Dean. He`s also, of course, an MSNBC contributor. Mr. Dean, thanks for -- Governor Dean, thanks for being with us. Congressman Keith Ellison is now officially running for DNC chair. There are a lot of big name Democrats, as you heard me just list off who support him. Who is endorsing you?

DEAN: I haven`t gotten around to that yet. And he hasn`t either because not one of the people you named has a vote in this election. There`s 447 people voting and votes for them were outside Washington and don`t -- and don`t sit in Congress.

Look, I like Keith Ellison a lot. I went door to door with him for his very first election. I think he`s -- his politics is great. I like him. I don`t believe he can have this job and have a seat in Congress or in the governor`s office. And you`ve got -- this job is 80, 90 hours a week. You can`t do both.

ALEXANDER: Well, just to be clear, you said that, obviously, none of those individuals have a vote for this job. But, obviously, Senator Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, among others, represent wide swaths of the grass roots of your party. So, aren`t those endorsements, do you think, validating of why Keith Ellison may be a good person for this position?

DEAN: I think Keith Ellison is a good person for this. Look, my goal is to make sure this does not decent into another Hillary versus Bernie fight. I think that`s very, very important. And, again, my only problem with Keith -- I`d vote for Keith in half a second if he weren`t in Congress.

[17:25:00] But I have seen a lot of people have seats in Congress or governor`s offices try to do this job and they have not been able to do it, despite their very best intention. This is a full-time job. It requires strategy. It requires travel all over the country. It requires -- it was 250,000 miles a year I put on. I don`t think this can work.

ALEXANDER: And, Governor, because optics can say a lot to an audience and to a country right now. Why would choosing you be looking, you know, forward versus backward, as some people would suggest?

DEAN: Well, look -- let`s look at it this way. I came in in 2005. We didn`t have the House. We didn`t have the Senate. And we didn`t have the presidency. When our team left in 2009, we had the House, the Senate and the presidency. That was never done before. I think we need to do that.

And, look, I agree. I`m an old white guy. We need a fresh face. But I need a fresh face who doesn`t -- isn`t going to be distracted by what`s going on in Congress.

ALEXANDER: Let me ask you that specifically. We heard from the president a short time ago. Keith Ellison, Congressman Ellison clearly thinks that the DNC needs an ideological leader to, sort of, spread the party`s message. You said earlier this morning on "MORNING SHOW" that Senate and House Democrats should lead on economic policy. And the DNC chair should handle what you called mechanics.

But didn`t this election prove, even the president reiterated this, that where Democrats came short wasn`t so much mechanics but on messaging. As the president just said a moment ago, we need to show up everywhere. We have better ideas but it doesn`t matter if they don`t get heard.

DEAN: You need both. And Keith would be a fantastic messenger. But if you don`t pay any attention to the mechanics, you`re not going to win the election. We need to -- look, the 50-state strategy has withered away as it always does under an incumbent president.

The -- I`m understanding that the tech is not as good as it was when Barack Obama used it to such fantastic effect when he won his two races which are two of the greatest campaigns that have been run in American history.

I know the mechanics. That`s what I care about. I want to get this stuff done. I`m very happy to let some -- I`m very happy to let somebody else be the face of the party. And I don`t -- really don`t even care if I`m the chairman. I just want this job to be done again.

ALEXANDER: For Donald Trump, the motto is, clearly, make America great again. And that resonated. I traveled with him for each of the last two weeks. For the Democrats right now, write me that slogan. What should the Democrat slogan, going forward, be beginning today?

DEAN: Make America fair again. Because under Donald Trump, it will not be. You know, I want to give him a honeymoon just like everybody else and I hope he succeeds. Some of these things are really scary. I mean, the guy he just appointed as a senior advisor is at out and out racist. And I`m not calling names. He`s boasted about that at an anti-Semite. I mean, this is not good stuff.

And so, I`m very hopeful that Donald Trump`s economic policy will be reasonable. I`m hoping his approach to Obamacare will be reasonable. I understand there are going to be some changes. That`s what the voters wanted and I respect that.

But we need to be there talking about fairness. The core reason that Donald Trump got elected is because our society has not treated everybody fairly, including all the working class folks that voted for Donald Trump. They know it.

ALEXANDER: I was going to say, there`s been a lot of people coming out to defend Steve Bannon today, suggesting that while his Web site was provocative, he doesn`t share those views. That his are much more inclusive. Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren suggesting they`re open to working with Donald Trump rather than obstructing everything he proposes. Do you support that?

DEAN: Absolutely. I don`t support their remarks about Breitbart. Breitbart was in charge of the page and he has to live with what he`s done. Although if -- you know, redemption is great if he`ll -- if he`ll do that. I very much supporting -- support the Democrats working with Trump and not opposing everything that he does.

One of the things I`ve just looked at is a piece that -- using public- private partnerships in order to create infrastructure. That`s the only way we`re ever going to build infrastructure. I think it`s very smart.

If Donald Trump came out with an infrastructure program that was based on public-private partnerships, I`d be very supportive of that. I`m supportive of tax reform. We have to do it. But we have to make the tax reform helpful to working people, not just to the people at the top which is what`s been going on while the Republicans have been in charge.

ALEXANDER: Governor Howard Dean, candidate for DNC chair. Governor, nice to see you. Thanks for your time.

DEAN: Thanks, again, always a pleasure.

ALEXANDER: No doubt.

And we should let our audience know that Keith Ellison will join Chris Hayes tonight. That`s 8:00 Eastern. It`ll be a one-on-one interview on "ALL IN."

The RNC, by the way, looking for a leader to replace Reince Priebus. I`m going to talk to one Republican who could be in the running for that.

Stay tuned. You`re watching MTP DAILY.


PETER ALEXANDER, JOURNALIST, NBC NEWS: More "MTP Daily" is ahead, but first Deirdre Bosa has the CNBC Market Wrap.

DEIRDRE BOSA, TECHNOLOGY REPORTER, CNBC: Thank you, Peter. Stocks ending mixed and little change. The Dow rising 21 points pushing further into record territory, the S&P falling just a fraction, and the Nasdaq 18 shutting 18 points.

Oil fell as low as 42.20 a barrel during today`s session. That is the lowest level since August on oversupply worries, background by the close. Airline stocks are rallying after hours. Buffett Berkshire Hathaway had taken stakes in Southwest American Airline, United Continental, and Delta. That is it from CNBC, first in business worldwide.


ALEXANDER: We are back now with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus now heading to the White House to be chief of staff for president-elect Donald Trump. Someone has to fill his job at the Republican National Committee. They held a call with their members about well this hour and what their future would look like.

Matt Borges was on that call. He was one of the people whose name has surfaced as the contender for the chairmanship. Borges of course is the current chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and during the campaign was a critic of Trump, but ultimately became a supporter.

Matt, nice to see you. I appreciate you being here. You just got off that call about the future of the RNC. Your name as we know has been floated for the chairmanship. What happened on that call? Is that something you will be interested in?

MATT BORGES, OHIO REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: Look, traditionally, our party has allowed the president or the president-elect to decide whose gonna go run their political operation over at the RNC. Reince Priebus is still the chairman of the republican party and did a wonderful job here in Ohio.

We won everything on Tuesday night from the top to the bottom of the ticket and swept everything that we could win and feel really good about that. And so what I`m looking forward to doing is supporting whoever it is that the Trump team decides that they would like to put forward and have them vote for.

I tell you, being able to be home this weekend with my wife and daughter and spend a little time relaxing and hanging out, let my daughter watch cartoons was really nice. So, I`m glad that this election is over and of course I couldn`t be happier about the fact that in Ohio, we won everything.

ALEXANDER: The same thing happened at the Alexander house and a lot of reporter and campaigned both houses this weekend. But just simply put, would it be something you would be interested in if the Trump transition team reach out to?

BORGES: If they were to, of course I would be happy to serve at any way that they would ask. But we heard some other names that are being floated and really what I`m looking forward to doing is just supporting whoever it is that they put forward and I`m sure that`s what all three of the national committee members from Ohio will do.

ALEXANDER: I respect that`s all we got from you on that topic. Let me move on to some other issues right now. We are seeing this anti-Trump protest daily. What is the president-elect need to do to address the divided nation to help heal this country right now?

BORGES: I thik he took some important steps over the last several days. First, right out of the gate with his acceptance speech was talking about reaching out to everyone and being the president for all.

Then there were some of these incidents and he spoke directly to the camera last night on "60 Minutes" and said that in fact that these folks, you know, who are doing some of the stuff if they happened to be republicans to knock it off.

I`m glad that he has been talking about a unifying message and that`s what we really need to do right now. We need to come together as a party. We need to come together as a country and move forward. This campaign was rough and tumble and long and grueling and it`s over.

The last thing we want to do is boomerang back to what was going on even just a week ago. We are done with the election. Now, it`s time to move forward and Mr. Trump has talked about being a president who will bring people together.

ALEXANDER: All that said obviously that he`s taking significant steps to unify the country right now. But it`s often actions not words that speak volumes. In this selection as chief strategist, Steve Bannon, a person who is tightly aligned with the alt-right who some suggest has not just white nationalist but anti-Semitic views.

Doesn`t that haunt the message that you and others suggest Donald Trump is trying to deliver right now of a greater unity?

BORGES: Mr. Bannon and I can tell you that from the things that I`ve read and the people who I respect and heard from. We heard Reince Priebus talked about this yesterday. Some of those characterizations I think maybe a little unfair and they are necessarily representative of what he has done.

ALEXANDER: You are a guy in your own house. You were a Kasich supporter obviously in your home state of Ohio right now. You and your own family experienced the hardship of coming on board with Donald Trump. As I understood at one point would even put the Trump side in your yard because you weren`t sure how to feel about things including his comments from that Access Hollywood tape right now.

So, are you now more comfortable with the idea of all your reservations about Donald Trump evaporated?

BORGES: Yes. It`s time for this country to move forward. He won the election and he did a great job. Ultimately, my role as party chair allowed me the opportunity to have some personal conversations with him and experience my relationship with Mr. Trump in a way that a lot of other folks didn`t.

And I can tell you that he was always earnest, he was always forthright. He kept his word to me on the things that he said he was going to do. And he really was focused on winning the election and then being a president who will unify the country and bring people together. Now, it`s up to us to give him an opportunity to do that.

It`s also up to republican leaders and elected officials around the country to understand that there is this enormous opportunity in front of us now. And so let`s take advantage of that opportunity and let`s get to work on fixing the problems. The voters over the past year and a half have been calling out for change.

They have been calling out for someone to listen to their concerns. I think really more than anything else, that was Donald Trump was able to do. He surprised a lot of us during the primaries, and then went on to not only win our nomination but win the election and win the states that we had won and republican party had won in a long, long time.

He obviously heard the concerns of voters who were calling for change and now he has an opportunity to do some good. I`m just going to support in any way that I possibly can.

ALEXANDER: The transition is under way right now. Do you think Donald Trump should appoint democrats alongside republicans in his administration?

BORGES: Well, that`s not really for me to say. We will see if he does. I know that has been a tradition on both sides for the last couple of transition teams that there has been at least one member of the other party in one of those roles. I`m not sure all the names that he is sorting out.

We don`t want a democrat for the RNC chair. I can tell you that. We will find someone to fill that role and I`m sure with Governor Pence and Chairman Priebus and of course Donald Trump and his family and the folks that are working on this, they will do a great job in picking the right people to fill these spots.

ALEXANDER: Fair to say the democrats face their own challenge right now trying to find their own share. Matt Borges, I trust that also won`t be you. Nice to see you. I appreciate your visiting with us. Enjoy more time with your family in this brief hiatus you get.

BORGES: Thanks.

ALEXANDER: All right. Thanks so much. Just ahead, remembering Gwen Ifill and her legacy. A journalistic excellence. Stay with us.


ALEXANDER: Some sad news to report tonight. Veteran political journalist Gwen Ifill has died following a battle with cancer. She was the co-host of PBS "NewsHour" and moderator of Washington Week. She did it for seven presidential elections. Ifill first made her name in prints working for the New York Times and The Washington Post.

She moved to T.V. in 1994, covering the White House and congress for NBC News. In 1999, Ifill joined PBS, becoming one of the first African-American journalists to host a national political show. She moderated two vice presidential debates including that epic 2008 Palin-Biden face off.

This year, Gwen Ifill moderated one of the democratic primary debates. She was a frequent guest on "Meet the Press". Her most recent appearance was the Sunday before the first presidential debate talking about the challenges ahead for two unpopular and divisive candidates.


CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS DAILY SHOW HOST: A president Trump. What happens at the unveiling of President Obama`s photo? What happens -- there are moments where you have to work with ex-presidents and I just.

GWEN IFILL, CO-HOST OF PBS "NEWSHOUR", MODERATOR OF WASHINGTON WEEK: I spent a lot of time yesterday watching the speeches being delivered and trying to imagine different people, not just Donald Trump, but also Hillary Clinton in that position. I wouldn`t quite do it.


ALEXANDER: Ifill was the author of the 2009 book "The Breakthrough Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." This afternoon, President Obama spoke about Gwen Ifill`s influence.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill`s family and all of you, her colleagues, on her passing. Gwen was a friend of ours. She was an extraordinary journalist.

She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work. I always appreciated Gwen`s reporting even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and and thorough interviews.


ALEXANDER: I will never forget the opportunities to spend time with Gwen Ifill. She was 61.


ALEXANDER: Back now for "The Lid." The panel is here again. Perry Bacon, Alfonso Aguilar, and Maria Teresa Kumar. Thanks for hanging out. We just put you in the corner and then you come back out.


ALEXANDER: Thanks for being here. We were talking about President Obama`s remarks a short time ago. And I want to get back to this topic of Steve Bannon, one of the first major appointments. They say that Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus will be equal partners in their responsibilities like the president-elect.

Here`s a little bit of what President Obama said a short time ago which appeared to be in effect sort of a glancing shot at the Bannon pick.


OBAMA: The most important point that I made was that how you staff in an election like this that was so hotly contested and so divided gestures matter. And how he reaches out to groups that may not have supported him, how he signals his interest in their issues or concerns. I think those are the kinds of things that can set a tone, that will help move things forward once he`s actually taken office.


ALEXANDER: Maria, he says, gestures matter. What does this gesture say?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF VOTO LATINO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think he`s trying to sound the alarm to the American people that Steve Bannon has been in control of a white supremacist site that`s been anti- women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay. He had simultaneously yesterday announced that they`re going to be opening up five bureaus of Breitbart around the world.

So it`s something, it`s going to be a long game. And I think that what he`s trying to say is, look, there`s a reason why people were pushing for Priebus, because he understands how government works, he understands coming together, and working with the republican party. So they were hoping -- and I think this is -- I`ll share with you.

I think this is actually, basically, what they brokered of, we`re going to have someone that`s part of the establishment, and we`re going to bring in someone that helped.

ALEXANDER: So Alfonso, you have two factions of this party, someone who`s going to reach out to the establishment, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan, fellow Wisconsin, you have the person who speaks to the grassroots and in fact knows how to sort of rally that base.

ALFONSO AGUILAR, FORMER CHIEF OF THE U.S. OFFICE OF CITIZENSHIP: But I think that`s exactly what he`s doing. He`s doing what President Obama is talking about. He`s having a balance. He`s bringing in somebody like Reince Priebus, who many conservatives don`t like. They see him as too tied to the establishment. But then he has Bannon. Not as chief of staff, but as a senior council.

ALEXANDER: Remind you, his name was on top on the press release, for whatever that`s worth. But here are the headlines from the ultraconservative Breitbart website, that Bannon, of course the former executive. Let`s just put some of this up on screen. This is what Americans are seeing right now, as they get a sense of that inner circle, the first two announcements.

Things like Bill Kristol, a conservative commentator, republican spoiler, renegade Jew. Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy. And at the top of the screen, racist, pro-Nazi, roots of planned parenthood revealed. It`s not so much balance. Can there be balance for that?

AGUILAR: Well, let me say something. Look, obviously, I didn`t like those titles. I didn`t like those headlines. I`m not a fan of Breitbart. But I`m not going to say based on -- he didn`t write those articles. I don`t have enough information to say he`s an outright racist.

KUMAR: But he runs.

AGUILAR: Maria, let`s be balanced here. Because President Obama associated with people that I consider also had some issues and promoted.

KUMAR: Breitbart is on record saying that he didn`t want his child to be associated and going to schools with Jews. He`s on record.

AGUILAR: Wait a second -- on record?

KUMAR: On record, yes.

ALEXANDER: He has denied that.

KUMAR: That was from divorce proceedings.

AGUILAR: But that`s an allegation. You`re saying that is right, that is true, that happened.

KUMAR: And I think this is what the president was trying to do today. He was basically trying to say we need to ensure that Donald Trump is engaged in his selections. That he is part of this whole shebang. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of folks that are concerned that he`s going to delegate his presidency and surround himself by people that may not understand.

AGUILAR: But it`s not only Bannon. You have Mike Pence there who.

KUMAR: Mike Pence is anti-gay. He`s anti-choice, and he`s.

AGUILAR: But that`s a very radical, ideological position you`re saying because based on that I`m anti-gay, I`m hateful as well just because I don`t believe in same-sex marriage.

ALEXANDER: Even the president says he doesn`t think Donald Trump is as ideological as right now.

KUMAR: That`s right.

ALEXANDER: So Perry let me ask you, what was striking in that "60 Minutes" interview with Donald Trump is how he seemed to at least be flexible if not moderate and be flexible on some issues, from the wall, saying there could be a fence, to the idea that we could focus on criminals, for deportations not having a deportation force to get all 11 million Americans.

Imagine that`s basically what Donald Trump -- excuse me, President Obama is doing right now. He`s been responsible for like 2.9 million deportations in the course of his presidency. So, is Donald Trump ideological or pragmatic. Is he someone that democrats or some of the Obama coalition might be satisfied with on some policies?

PERRY BACON, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: We don`t know how he`s going to govern. I think it`s important to say. One interview, he`s been campaigning for 10 to 12 months. He`s not been.

ALEXANDER: 17. BACON: . during that period. So I think you have to take it at his word that he`s promised a lot of things during the campaign, so he`s going to governor. The answer is, we don`t know, but I wouldn`t withdraw 17 months of comments based on two interviews. I think it`s important to say that the deportation plans are pretty extensive, the party`s repealing Obamacare. We don`t know. We`ll see what comes forward.

ALEXANDER: Last thought. Gay marriage. You said you`re okay with abortion, he said, it might be overturned, you would have to cross state lines.

AGUILAR: This is what democrats and liberal activists need to understand. The fact that we disagree with them doesn`t mean that we`re tolerant. That`s a very important point. Because we believe in traditional marriage or we believe in the right to life doesn`t mean that we`re intolerant, and sometimes we`re criticized and attacked by being tolerant, because of the positions that we hold.

ALEXANDER: Maria, last thought?

KUMAR: But I think one thing that we have to realize is that a million people voted for Hillary Clinton so he has to.

ALEXANDER: A million more people. KUMAR: Million more people. Right. He has to bring that to bear, what he`s governing, and what folks are saying if governing for all Americans.

ALEXANDER: This conversation is gonna go for four years of that. Maria, Alfonso, Perry. Nice to see you all. Appreciate it. We`re going to be back after the break. The answers to some of the last week`s biggest ballot questions across the country. Stay tuned.


ALEXANDER: So in case you missed it, the presidential election wasn`t the only thing on the ballot last week. Across the country, votes were cast on a series of issues. Among them, recreational marijuana. Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all voting to legalize recreational pot, more than tripling the number of Americans who now live in states where recreational pot is legal.

And medical marijuana will now be legal in Arkansas, Florida, and Montana. On guns, in California, voters banned large-capacity ammunition magazines and voted to require background checks for the sale of ammunition. Washington made it easier for police to seize guns from people deemed a threat. And Nevada voted to require background checks in private gun sales. Voters in Maine rejected a similar initiative.

That`s not it. Maine voted to change the way they vote. In Arkansas, the governor will now still, effectively, be the governor, even when he or she leaves the state. And here in D.C., voters overwhelmingly cast ballots to make Washington the 51st state, but the petition now goes to congress where it is unlikely to pass. That`s all for tonight. "With All Due Respect" begins right now.