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Amy Walter and Tamara Keith on Omarosa’s allegations

Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report join Judy Woodruff to discuss an explosive new book from Omarosa Manigault Newman about her time in the Trump White House, the political impact of extremist views about race at the anniversary of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, plus another round of primary elections.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    From Omarosa's allegations the president, to another coming day of primary elections, it is shaping up to a busy week in politics. A perfect time for politics Monday, with Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of "The Cook Political Report".

    The first time we've had the two of you together in a long time.

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes, we're back.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Tamara back from having a baby.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes. He's cute, three months ago.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We're so glad to you have back.

  • Amy Walter:

    Thank you.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And have the two of you together.

    Omarosa, you heard — Amy, you heard her comments about everything from the president being racist to the White House trying to shut her down what did you make of it?

  • Amy Walter:

    There wasn't — I'm not really particularly surprised by this. This is somebody who has made a career out of being a reality star contestant, and I think she is doing an excellent job of sort of keeping that persona going, of I'm going to reveal only a little bit and then reveal a little bit more and reveal a little bit more about the drama.

    I thought it was fascinating the way you talked to her about — over and over again about this blind spot or this cult of personality that she said she only became aware of once she was out of White House. But remember she did not make a decision to leave willingly.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Amy Walter:

    She was fired from the White House. So, now, all these months later, she can see the blind spot but she couldn't see them time and time and time again while she was there. That to me seems like a very big hurdle to come over.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Tam, what did you hear?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Certainly, she is — she is doing the reality contestant thing. Just as President Trump did. In fact, the tweets from President Trump today give the story of her book more fuel. And give people things to ask her about in the next interview and the next interview. In some ways, the president gave her a gift today in terms of publicity for the book.

    It is fascinating the way she has been dribbling out little bits, audiotape and here on your show teasing that there must be more, that there is more.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Tamara Keith:

    A multimedia treasure trove she says.

    The challenge with the book and I have read it from cover to cover is that there are a number of items in the book that are simply unverifiable. And some of them are pretty outlandish. And you just sort of stuck with it. It's part of a genre of books that are coming out of this administration or about this administration that sort of straddle that line between fantasy and reality, and there are not a lot of reliable narrators in the Trump administration to be able to say what is fact and what is fiction.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So given that, Amy, does a book like, this and add it to the other books —

  • Amy Walter:

    Right. Does it actually move the needle anywhere?

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Does it move the needle politically in any way?

  • Amy Walter:

    I think you get a bunch of people saying this is exactly, he is exactly what we knew we were getting when we put him in the office. And you know, structures, they reflect their leaders. And so, when you see people coming out of the White House saying what they're saying or the kinds, the ways in which they're interacting with the media, it feels very similar to the person who happens to be sitting behind the big desk at 1600 Pennsylvania.

  • Tamara Keith:

    And there as been incredible turn over in this White House. Omarosa Manigault Newman is just one of many people, looking back, 40 percent of the people who are on the payroll last year aren't on the payroll this year.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Forty percent?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Forty percent. That's according to a "Reuters" analysis. So, there has been incredible tumult, and when she talks in her book and some of her interviews about sort of the backstabbing and the sort of toxic nature of that workplace, certainly, we've seen that reflected and we've seen that reflected in the turnover in personnel.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Excuse me — and this comes on the weekend, Amy, where we observe one year since the death of a woman in Charlottesville after the white supremacist rally there. There was a demonstration in Washington that pretty much fizzled out, the anti white supremacist protest was much, much larger.

    Are we at a point now though where this has just become part of the fabric of our politics? We're going to keep on having this dispute about race and extremist views on race?

  • Amy Walter:

    Yes. So, the CBS did a poll on the wake of the anniversary and found that 61 percent of Americans said that they thought racial tensions have actually increased in the last year. And who is to blame for that, of course, depends where you sit, both what your race is and what your party is. African-Americans, Hispanics believe that it has increased more than 60. More than 60 percent of them believe this and they blame the president.

    White voters are evenly divided and, of course, if you are a Republican white voter versus a Democratic white voter, whether you think that the president is hand — doing a poor job of handling racial issues.

    But, Judy, it gets to the bigger question, right, which is handling race and politics is not new to Americans, our American society. It didn't start with Donald Trump and the reality is unless and until white voters and white politicians decide that it's an important issue, then it's going to — we're going to will keep coming back to this place, where it's this wound that has never healed, maybe put a band-aid on it, but underneath, it's still festering.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes, and the president over the weekend tweeted about being opposed to racism of all kinds. And that is an interesting signal, because for different people, racism means different things. While I was out on maternity leave, I spent a fair bit of time listening to conservative talk radio and at one point heard a host talking about how Nancy Pelosi had said that she didn't want there to be five white guys at the table. And the host was angry as can be at the Republican leadership for not going after her hard enough for her, quote, racism and sexism.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, it's — but you're right. Both of you watched American politics for a long time and it feels like we are in a cycle that just isn't stopping.

    Very quickly. Tomorrow, another round of primary elections, to both of you, in a minute or so. What are we watching for?

  • Amy Walter:

    Well, Minnesota is going to be — that's the state where this is happening. It's going to be a fascinating microcosm. I'm especially looking at the House races. This is a state that for years, the more rural parts of the state were Democratic stronghold, the so-called DFL, and the suburbs were Republicans had a stronghold.

    Now, fast forward into the era we're in, it's Democrats who are trying to hold on to their rural districts, see if they can go against the Trump tide in this red — now red places, and it's Republicans who are trying to hold on to the Minneapolis suburbs, all of the divides in this idea of suburb versus rural going to happen in one state, all within a nice primary. So, if you want to go, check it out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Eyes on Minnesota.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes, watch Minnesota. There are two Senate seats up because of the Al Franken situation.

  • Amy Walter:

    That's right.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right, and a few more of these to go and we're off to the races for November.

  • Amy Walter:

    Yep.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We're so glad to have the two of you back. Welcome back, Tamara Keith, Amy Walter. Great to see you. Thanks. Politics Monday.

  • Amy Walter:

    You're welcome.

  • Tamara Keith:

    You're welcome.

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