Analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. The fall of Priti Patel and what it means for the government. Trump's first anniversary; how is it going for him?
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We are showing a plane that has just
arrived back at Heathrow. We cannot
be sure she is on board. If she is,
she may look out of her window and a
couple of helicopters and realised
that her arrival is much
It was a long flight
back for Priti Patel.
The joke was that she was soon to be
duty free on her return.
After a day that made
the Thick of It look
like The Churchill Diaries,
Priti Patel finally resigned.
Was it even a form
of Remainer revenge?
If you go into how did Priti Patel's
visit get leaked in the first place,
was it leaked by the Foreign Office,
was it leaked by somebody
in the Foreign Office
who resented her and probably
the Foreign Secretary,
as well, and Brexit,
you may well find something.
Is this government capable of
anything other than political drama?
And I'm in Washington a year
on from the night Donald Trump
was elected president: We're asking
what we've learnt from the biggest
political gamble the world
has perhaps ever seen.
And ahead of the next big race, we
have been in Alabama. How do things
look from there?
The opinion of most
people at any distance from Alabama
is that we are ignorant and
prejudiced. Most of that is
You really think that?
And does he exemplify that?
preys on it.
It was either a day to laugh
at comedy politics:
with a build up that
played out on TV,
the stuff that makes for a good week
on Have I Got News For You.
Or it was a day to cry
at a country with a distracted
and dysfunctional government,
and about to be hit by a freight
train called Brexit.
While political obsessives
here enjoyed tracking
Priti Patel's Kenyan Airlines flight
from Nairobi back to the UK,
some on the continent,
like the European Parliament's
Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt,
were warning that talks
still remain very deadlocked.
Meanwhile, the prominent
Brexiteer Priti Patel herself,
sacked from the cabinet,
sits as a potentially vocal
critic on the backbenches.
Will that upset the delicate
balance of hard and soft
Brexit in the cabinet?
Are we paralysed by a divided
Government that can't muster
a majority for either Brexit,
soft or hard, let alone
do anything else?
Well, lots to talk about.
First, here's Nick Watt
on the day of drama.
His film contains flash photography.
When you are weak and vulnerable,
life can be, well, downright cruel.
Out of the blue, you can be ensnared
in a moment. Theresa May has
thankfully not been eaten for dinner
on a remote island. But Downing
Street could be forgiven for
wondering where the next danger is
lurking. Priti Patel was forced to
resign after her mishandling of a
trip to Israel seemingly burst onto
the scene from nowhere. So Priti
Patel has just left Downing Street
not through that door, but through
the back door down there, after a 30
minute meeting with the Prime
Minister in which she formally
resigned as International
Development Secretary. There then
followed the ritual exchange of
letters with a rather pointed remark
from the Prime Minister saying, it
is right that you decided to resign.
Friends of Priti Patel say she still
has leadership ambitions, but she
will be taking time out, adopting a
low profile. But she will be back in
the new year for what they regard as
the next chapter in her very live
I'm a fan of Priti
Patel. I think she's done a good job
at DFID as someone who was sceptical
about some of the aid budget. She's
good at communicating to people who
are sceptical where aid budget has
not been spent as well as it could
have been. She's made changes where
it is defensible, and she has given
a strong defence. Clearly, it was a
major mistake to do these meetings
and not report them to the Foreign
Office and not have officials. It is
normal for ministers went on holiday
to take some time out and do some
official engagements. There are many
countries to which if a cabinet
minister went and did not pay a
courtesy call, they would be
And who can blame Priti
Patel for steering clear of the
cameras to my? She had after all
spent the best part of two days
shuttling between Heathrow and
Nairobi. It was the most eagerly
awaited return flight to Heathrow
since the Fab four flew in from
their sell-out tours of America.
Sadly, today these were not
screaming fans, but journalists
scenting prey. This may all have the
feel of a Whitehall farce, but we
are witnessing a Prime Minister
struggling to hold together her
government. It is exactly a week
since Michael Fallon resigned as
Defence Secretary and her effective
deputy Damian Green is fighting for
his political life.
Theresa May has
picked people that she believes need
to be close to her. Some people say
you have your enemies close to you.
Whether that is the case or not, I
will never know. But unfortunately,
the people in her cabinets are out
of control and it is really showing
her up. She needs to sort it out.
The sooner, the better for her,
because the damage control at this
point in time is serious.
She's in a
bad place. A senior editor who found
himself at odds with Downing Street
the Priti Patel visit Cisse
government in difficulty, although
not on the scale suggested by some.
It's interesting, the parallel with
the Suez crisis and the enviable
month of the British government
then. I think there is a more recent
example, which is the John Major
government. It is a similar sense of
everything collapsing around it.
smiling Theresa May did have a brief
outing today. This turned out to be
her new waxwork at Madame Tussaud's.
No doubt the real Prime Minister
will be hoping that she too can
regain her stride.
Nick Watt missed one other
item of government news:
International Trade minister
Mark Garnier apologised
to his constituents for having
asked his secretary to buy sex toys.
He said the episode had been
"outside the context
in which it occurred".
Funny old day.
Well, Nick is with me.
I have used the phrase sacked and
resigned in the course of my
introduction today. Which is the
I think this was a
sacking dressed up as a resignation.
I said last night that there was a
feeling at the centre of government
that if any more details emerge
about this visit to Israel and the
subsequent meetings that took place
that had not been disclosed to the
Prime Minister, there would be
trouble. I suggested that there was
one meeting they were concerned
about, and details of that emerged
today. Priti Patel met the Israeli
security minister on the 7th of
September in the House of Commons.
That emerged today, and that message
went down to Nairobi. It was
basically over. So Priti Patel, in
her letter, offered a fulsome
apology to the Prime Minister, and
this was the key line in the Prime
Minister's letter to her, saying
"Now that further details have come
to light, it is right that you have
decided to resign". We all know what
that means - you have decided to
leave my government.
now to Priti Patel? She is a
Priti Patel is
taking this in her stride
Priti Patel is
taking this in her stride. As she
was flying back, a message went back
to her supporters finger bash "Don't
bother defending me, I know what is
going to happen". I have known Priti
Patel for 20 years. She is a very
determined politician. She started
her political career in the
referendum party, the Jimmy
Goldsmith Eurosceptic party. Then
she worked for William Hague, made
it to parliament and then made it to
cabinet. My instinct is, her friends
have told me she still has
leadership ambitions, but she has a
much bigger job to do which I think
we will see her doing in the new
year - the Guardian of Brexit. Look
at the final line in her letter to
the Prime Minister - "I will also
speak up for our country, our
national interests and the great
future that Britain has as a free,
independent and sovereign nation. "
We have not heard the last of Priti
Nick, thank you very much.
A little earlier, I spoke
to the leading Tory Brexitieer,
Jacob Rees Mogg, darling
of many activists.
Now, last night, Nadhim Zahawi
suggested on this programme
that the focus on Priti Patel
and Boris Johnson may be a sort
of Remainer revenge motivated
by Brexit divisions.
Did Mr Rees Mogg think that?
As a general rule, conspiracy
theories are wrong.
People aren't behaving
according to some
grand Marxist plan to
overthrow the Government.
Nonetheless, there are some people
who are still very bitter
about the result a year ago,
that colours their behaviour.
So if you go into how did
Priti Patel's visit
come out in the first place,
was it leaked by the Foreign Office,
was it leaked by somebody
in the Foreign Office
who resented her and probably
the Foreign Secretary's
role in Brexit,
you may find something.
Does a Brexit Secretary of State
have to be replaced by another
Secretary of State?
Is it one for one at the moment?
I don't think so.
I think there are many people
within the Conservative Party
who supported Remain who are now
comfortably in favour of Brexit.
If you take the appointment
of Gavin Williamson, I thought
that he had come to accept Brexit
and was pushing, as Chief Whip,
the bills through Parliament
to implement Brexit.
And although he was replacing
a Remainer, I wouldn't have been
in the least worried if somebody
like Gavin Williamson had
replaced a Brexiteer,
because he's come round to it.
There are, on the other hand, some
Remainers who will never accept it.
So if Kenneth Clarke
were brought in to replace
Priti Patel, I would think
that was a bit extraordinary.
But as long as it's somebody who has
accepted that Brexit is happening
and will support it properly
and won't be a frightful Eeyore,
I don't think
there will be a problem.
But aren't you underestimating
A lot of Remainers have accepted
Brexit, but they don't necessarily
accept your version of Brexit.
No, that's true.
There is a divide between people
who want Brexit to mean
we're basically staying
within the European Union.
They are essentially the Remainers
who are unchanged and give
a veneer of acceptance,
but haven't truly accepted it.
I think there are quite a lot
of people who were quite evenly
balanced when they made the decision
as to which side to support,
who are now enthusiastic
about Brexit and want us to get
on with it properly.
And for you, it has to be one
of those rather than one
of the phoney converted...
It has to be somebody
who accepts Government
policy and is enthusiastic
about Government policy.
Would you take a job as
International Development Secretary?
I'm not going to be offered!
And it's a department
that I have my doubts
about in the first place.
Is the Government in as big a mess
as it looks at the moment?
No, it isn't.
If you look at the history
of ministerial resignations,
these happen to strong governments
as much as they happen to
governments with small majorities.
Two in a week?
Well, think back to the same person
resigning twice under Tony Blair.
Peter Mandelson was popping in and
out of the Cabinet the whole time.
Or Cecil Parkinson leaving
These things do happen, and it's
part of the life of politics.
Politics is always changing.
Things are emerging.
So no, I don't think it's
a commentary on the state
of the Government.
So it's not, in your view,
the divisions that are causing
a sense of chaos in government.
Is it the leader?
It is not the Prime Minister's
while she's been Prime Minister,
a sex scandal has erupted
affecting all parties.
She's getting on with the job.
There is a clear path to Brexit.
The bill is coming
So I think it's easy
to overstate the difficulties.
Can we really go five years?
Yes, of course we can.
We're joined from Nottingham
by the Conservative MP Anna Soubry,
a fervent Remainer.
Plus, to help us digest the day,
the LBC presenter Iain Dale
and the Times columnist
Let me start with you, Anna Soubry.
Two cabinet ministers gone in a
week. What leads to happen now?
first thing that needs to happen is,
you need to stop calling people like
me a fervent Remainer. We have to
move on. People like me have voted
in accordance with the promise we
made to our constituents that we
would abide by and respect the
result of the referendum. I voted
against my conscience. I voted to
trickle Article 50 out of respect
and I am abiding by that promise. We
have to change the language. We need
to bring our country back together
so that we form a consensus so that
we can get the best Brexit for our
But it is funny you say
that, because one of the theories
about this government is that it is
paralysed by a division which is the
old Brexit remain the vision now
manifesting itself in those who are
happy with no Deal and those who are
not happy with no deal or any of the
other arguments over Europe, and it
can't get anything done. Or can get
anything done until it resolves,
whether it is the Anna Soubry bring
in charge or the Jacob Rees Mogg
I don't accept that it is Anna
Soubry and Jacob Rees Mogg. I think
Jacob represents a small number of
members of Parliament in my party,
and then there is a huge swathe of
other people in the Conservative
Party and Parliament, Conservative
members of Parliament who have
accepted the result, and they want
us to get on and get the best deal,
and I am one of those. I accept that
I want us to stay in the single
market and the customs union, and
not everybody agrees with me. But
what is interesting and is
unfortunately not often reported is
that the consensus that is
undoubtedly growing, and we saw it
on Monday night, we had a good
debate about the organisations, not
reported by you unfortunately, and
you didn't look who was speaking in
favour of that.
I hadn't meant to get into Brexit,
that just happened. Sorry. What does
Theresa May need to do now to
eradicate this view of the
government being indicate?
all we have to say, as Jacob said,
she had to take firm action with
Michael Fallon last week. Sorry to
see him go that it was absolutely
the right thing. She didn't mess
about as we now know, as you now
know. Michael went within two hours
of a complaint coming forward about
his behaviour. Now we seen the
action ever Priti Patel. I'm sorry
she has had to go on a personal
level. I hugely like her. She is
exceptionally talented. I'm sure
we've all seen the last of her. Now
she has got to get her Cabinet, all
of them, in a row, get them working
together. You know my views on
Boris, those are just mine. She
brings them all together. We have
got the Budget coming up. We have
got the European Union talks in
December. We've got an industrial
strategy. That's going to be very
positive. Good news. We need to just
get on with it now. That's what
people in the real world want. They
are pretty cheesed off with people
falling out and all of this sort of
stuff, they want a government that
is competent. Theresa May has that
Thank you very much.
Let's died yesterday.
-- lets digests the day.
have we got?
Are these really deep
It is the mark of a
government that doesn't know what it
is doing and a Prime Minister that
cannot control her Cabinet. We would
have all been talking about Boris
Johnson had it not been about Priti
Patel today. He is endangering a
British woman in Iran. She may face
another five years in jail possibly
because Boris Johnson could not be
bothered to read his brief. It may
seem like she cannot sack him
because she's already lost two
Cabinet ministers in a week and he
represents a part of the party that
she doesn't want to alienate
further. Yet he is making Britain a
It does come back to
the divisions in the outcome to some
extent, you think, because she is
trying to keep this coalition
It comes back to the
divisions and the fact that he went
to the country and said, I want a
majority for a heart Brexit, didn't
get it, misplaced her hand, now has
persisted in acting as if the
country has said, go ahead and carry
on like you were last January. --
she went to the country. The country
doesn't agree with her. She isn't
powerful enough to enforce her views
on the party or on Parliament.
is pretty damning.
I don't think she
Am I living in a parallel
universe? Probably. Most of that
interview with Anna Soubry was about
Brexit, not Priti Patel, most of
what you said is about Brexit, and
not Priti Patel.
It is about the
position of the government.
Theresa May to be held responsible
for Michael Fallon going or Priti
Patel? There is nothing she could
have done to bring Priti Patel into
line and Abate ministerial...
that the nature of the government...
Is it divided? -- owed a
There are divisions
in all political parties. Political
parties are basically coalitions.
You demonstrated it tonight with
Anna Soubry and Jason Rees Mogg. For
obvious reasons. You will go to the
politicians at either extreme of the
party to give their opinion and
create further havoc. It's right for
you to do that. But we shouldn't be
surprised that any of these
differences of opinion. That get
real. This has happened today
because Priti Patel ignored the
ministerial code. It's as simple as
that. It's the most clear-cut reason
for a minister to be sacked. She was
sacked. That's not...
misled the Prime Minister. --
missed that the Prime Minister. Give
Theresa May credit, she allowed her
to leave with some dignity.
government that has looked as
accident prone comeback and been
through a period of serenity and
stability? Can you think of one?
that I can remember. The point was
making was slightly different. It
isn't that Theresa May is
responsible for Michael Fallon or
Priti Patel, although perhaps the
fact Priti Patel felt she could be
such a free agent is an example that
the Cabinet pays less and less
attention to the Prime Minister.
Since she is already in that mess
she cannot now afford to take
powerful action against a minister
not seem to be doing his job. Boris
Johnson has been characterised by
the Financial Times as the least
distinguished Foreign Secretary
since 1945. And who isn't on top of
history. And is in danger of
endangering our position in the
world and in the Brexit talks.
of the papers are leading on it.
Another day another crisis, the
Telegraph. The turmoil grows as
Priti Patel quits, in the Guardian.
The Times fears that the Cabinet
will collapse. Is this a collapsible
government? -- at the Times, fears
that the government will collapse.
The Callaghan government lasted for
five years. So did John Major. But
this has an air of a John Major
government about and where you have
one crisis on top of another and one
resignation on top of another. I
think Theresa May's task now is to
effectively lost until Christmas.
We've got the Budget. You could the
EU summit. Some pretty big hurdles
coming her way. You have the Sue
Gray report into Damian Green. If he
was forced out, now, that's a real
crisis. But we shall see. I don't
know when that is coming out.
question, asking for a friend, are
the politicians who are running
things now lower calibre than they
were in the 1990s and the 1980s?
Yes. I think that's true.
better then than now?
We did not
think they were great them, but they
were better. There was a raft of
able people who came in as Tory MPs
in 2010 and 2015 and 2017 and they
are not getting their shot at
They have only been
there for two years.
They are very
You know how politics
works. Tony Blair wouldn't have done
that. There is a certain bit of old
gittism here. Saying it wasn't like
that in the 1970s.
leave it there. Thanks.
Well, it's a programme
of two halves today,
a transatlantic alliance
because from the news here,
it's over to a memorable
anniversary in the US,
and Emily is there.
Good evening from Washington.
Donald Trump won the presidential
election a year ago today:
It has been divisive, it has been
surreal, it has been like nothing we
have ever seen.
MUSIC: You're Welcome
by Dwayne Johnson.
# OK, OK.
# I see what's happening
# You're face-to face
with greatness and it's strange.
# You don't even know how
# It's adorable!
From this day forward,
it's going to be only America first.
# What can I say
except you're welcome...
As you know, I have a running
war with the media.
# Hey, it's OK,
it's OK, you're welcome...
Are you sure Russia
was behind hacking?
They sort of made it
sound like I had a feud
with the intelligence community.
It has nothing to do with Russia.
Are you really, really sure?
# So what can I say
except you're welcome
# For the islands
I pulled from the sea
# There's no need to pray, it's OK
# You're welcome, ha!
# I guess it's just
my way of being me
# You're welcome...
Thank you, everybody.
# Well, come to think of it...
Oh, my God, oh, my God,
people are badly hurt.
Oh, my God.
We condemn in the strongest possible
terms this egregious display
of hatred, bigotry and violence -
on many sides.
# Well, anyway, let me
say you're welcome
# For the wonderful world you know
# Hey, it's OK, it's
OK, you're welcome
# Well, come to think
of it, I got to go
# Hey, it's OK to say you're welcome
# Cos I'm gonna need that boat
# I'm sailing away,
away, you're welcome...
The Russia story is
a total fabrication.
What the prosecutors should be
looking at are Hillary Clinton's
33,000 deleted e-mails.
# And thank you!#.
Candidly and was perhaps the biggest
gamble the world has ever known.
Donald Trump's election rocked the
foundations of politics as we knew
it. Even a year on it can still the
heart and body. Tonight, 12 months
on from the day America chose its
new president we are back in
Washington asking whether the gamble
has paid off. How do those who put
him in power think he is doing? Last
I saw victories for the Democrats in
Virginia and New Jersey. That
doesn't spell the end of the Trump
experiment but it does hint that his
own Republican party is divided on
how to win with him in power.
We've been in the Deep South state
of Alabama ahead of a critical
senate election next month.
In the primaries,
the establishment candidate
there was beaten by Roy Moore -
a man who takes Trumpism now
to new heights, who's backed
by Steve Bannon and who's been
accused of reopening the wounds
of the state's racial past
at a time when America is already
Alabama is a state
you rarely hear about
on the presidential campaign trail.
Its soul is deep, deep red.
It hasn't seen a Democrat win
here since Jimmy Carter in '76,
yet now, suddenly, it's the talk
of the town.
Next month's Senate election
to replace Jeff Sessions,
now Attorney General,
is one of the weirdest races
anyone has ever seen.
And it poses the bigger question:
Has the election of Donald Trump
a year ago created
a new normal for America?
Evening rush hour in Selma,
Alabama, is a gentle affair.
No queues, no jams.
But the noise, when it
comes, is passionate.
They're trying to get out the black
vote for the Alabama Senate race
next month, telling those willing
to wind down their window
how critical it is.
One vote, sir, can
make a difference.
One vote can save lives.
Faya Rose Toure was Alabama's
first black female judge.
We believe that December 12th
is a life-and-death election.
We truly believe, as statistics
show, that one vote
can make a difference.
Selma's a birthplace
of the civil rights movement.
It was here in 1965 that
Martin Luther King led demonstrators
demanding suffrage on the 50 mile
march into the state capital.
On this bridge, they were beaten
back like dogs by state troopers,
violence sanctioned by Selma's
mayor and governor.
The bridge was named
after the Confederate general
Ku Klux Klan leader and,
yes, Democratic senator
Edmund Pettus, responsible
for taking away the vote of black
men in 1902.
The fact that it still bears
his name, says Faya,
is a reminder that this is not
a past struggle,
but a very living one.
We're trying to get people
to understand that the people
who support the Trump agenda will be
running on December 12th,
will be running next year.
And it's extremely important that
you stop all of the President's men,
because he cannot carry forward this
agenda without them.
She will not say his name,
but she means this man,
Republican candidate for Senate,
Our foundation has been shaken.
Crime, corruption, amorality,
abortion, sodomy, sexual
perversion, sweep our land.
He's called for gay sex to be
illegal, claimed parts of America
already live under Sharia law.
He believed Obama was a Muslim
who was not US-born.
Doug Jones is Moore's Democratic
rival in the race.
He is known for being soft spoken,
but when I meet him,
he doesn't hold back.
What I think people in this country
worry about is that Roy Moore
will be the foreshadow
of things to come.
I think he divides people by race.
I think he divides
people by religion.
I think he divides people
by your sexual orientation.
Unless you are a part
of the population that he is OK
with, he thinks you're
a second-class citizen.
Roy Moore is one of half a dozen
candidates for Senate now backed
by the former White House strategist
Steve Bannon, the man nicknamed
the brain behind Trump,
the rump of the ideological right.
And you're going to see in state
after state after state,
people who follow the model
of Judge Moore that do not need
to raise money from the elites,
from the crony capitalists,
from the fat cats in Washington, DC,
New York City and Silicon Valley.
A year on from the election
of Donald Trump, we have
all still got a lot of figuring
out to do.
Has he reset politics in his image?
Will there be a major backlash
to his style of governing?
Or perhaps the question
we are in town today to ask: has
he and those who have helped him
to power paved the way for more
extreme versions of mainstream
politics than America,
yes, even here in the deep
South, has ever imagined?
Is the future of the Republican
Party now for characters
who will make Donald Trump himself
seem rather moderate?
The Alabama state symbol could be
the pick-up truck and in Roy Moore's
hometown of Gallant,
we stumble upon his nephew Steve,
whose own licence plate
tells of his twin loves,
tracking and Trump.
So do you think Trump's
draining the swamp?
The whole idea was that he came
to Washington to drain the swamp.
Do you think that's happening?
I hope it continues.
Who would you like
to see cleared out?
Anyone that doesn't
agree with Trump.
A dozen or so members of the Moore
family still live here.
But down the road, we find one
lone voice of dissent.
Charles, a long-time military man,
reminds me that Roy Moore has twice
been forced to stand down
from political office.
He invites me in to share
his views of Alabama.
And then his views of Alabama.
I've travelled a lot.
I have spent a lot of time overseas.
But the opinion of most people any
distance from Alabama is that we are
ignored and prejudiced.
-- ignorant and prejudiced.
Most of it is justified!
You really believe that?
And does he exemplify that?
He preys on it.
Now, he's well-educated in law.
He is a West Point graduate.
So he's well-educated.
But I think a professional
politician tells the people
what he thinks they want to hear.
And once he is in office, then he
can do, to a degree, what he wants.
They still like their Confederate
statues here in Dixie.
Moore's views may not be so wild
to those who live here.
Roy Moore is not a racist.
He is not homophobic,
and he is not someone who in any way
can be seen as anything less
than what we would be
proud of as a US Senator.
As we get ready to leave the deep
South, news comes of a governor
tour win for the Democrats
in Virginia against a moderate
Alabama will be the next big race.
Roy Moore is expecting an easy win.
So is that what the Republican Party
will look like next?
The work of Trump
may be almost done.
Steve Bannon's has barely begun.
I'm joined by Clarence Page
and Mica Mosbacher.
Clarence is a columnist
at the Chicago Tribune.
Mica is a Republican strategist
and member of the Trump 2020
Clarence, let me start with you.
Those who voted for Trump have
remained loyal and like what he is
It reminds me of the early
days of the Obama administration,
when Obama supporters were very much
behind what he was doing even though
he had some opponents out there. The
difference is that Mr Trump has
really defied norms here in
Washington, to a degree where he
makes proposals and then goes to
Congress and this, bring me
something to sign and when they
don't, he blames Congress. And his
bass buys it. They believe that
everything that is going wrong is
somebody else's fault and Mr Trump
is doing the best he can and give
The difference with the
Obama campaign, maybe, was that
Obama promised hope. Where is he
made concrete promises. There was
going to be the wall, the travel
ban. He was going to bring back jobs
from Mexico. Do the voters who put
him in power mind that those things
have not materialised, and may
Absolutely. He is already
keeping his campaign promises.
Firstly, his pick of Neil Gossage
for Supreme Court has satisfied his
That was quite a
long time ago.
It was recommended to
It was his final choice and it
resonated well with the base.
Additionally, he has put in place
several executive orders, many which
will increase the independence of
the United States, like the keystone
pipeline. There are prototypes right
now under way for a wall. We do have
to get funding through Congress, but
he is moving forward. And we cannot
argue about the stock market. It is
at an all-time record high.
welcome to the economy, but in
factual, tangible terms, what about
Obamacare, what about repealing and
And immigration reform.
There is no reform. And he never
said he was going to build a bridge
type for a while, he said he would
build a wall.
He will and it would
get through Congress. As a
Republican, I will say that I, along
with many Republicans and Republican
donors, are extremely frustrated
with our do nothing Congress,
especially the Senate, and the fact
that we did not replace Obamacare.
But there is only so much the
president can do. What I feel he has
done lately which will be important
to this country is that he is trying
to reach across the aisle. That is
how you get the best legislation in
this country. If Republicans and
Democrats can find some area to
compromise, I think that that would
benefit everyone's constituents.
That is what everyone wants,
be able to work together across the
aisle. That has not happened, partly
because Republicans are so divided
among themselves. They control all
three branches of government now.
But no major legislation has been
passed so far this year. I don't
know when a president in their first
year couldn't get anything done.
Trump has enemies within his own
Ed Gillespie lost in Virginia
because he was an establishment
candidates who tried to repackage
himself as a populist.
This was the
Republican running for governor who
did not endorse Trumpism and who was
then rejected today.
And he did not
endorse Trumpism because he knew it
was a loser in Virginia, which has
been a swing state that is trending
blue now. He knew he couldn't go too
far one way or the other, either
towards the right or too much in the
middle to please the base, and he
wound up getting stuck with a huge
He was an establishment
Do you think a Trump
candidate could have won Virginia?
Let me look wider than
Let's look at the
candidates that Steve Bannon is
You are saying there
must be a shift toward something
more Conservative and more
ideological than even Trump has
proved himself so far?
remember, this election was
emotional, not logical. And a lot of
it was a push against big business,
government as usual and the old
dinosaur establishment candidate. I
am a previous member of the Bush
administration. My husband was
secretary of commerce. I was the
ultimate establishment person, and I
went through a sort of 12-step
programme to realise that that was
But that is totally
confused. He is big business. Do you
like it or do you hate it?
here's a businessman, not
His problem is that he
doesn't seem to like legislating or
learning about legislating. He loves
the campaign, but Mr Trump hasn't
even read his own health care bill
which he endorses and then gets
angry with the Republican
legislators who don't want to go
along with it without him engaging
in the process. That is why they
have not got anything done on
Thank you both very
Now, when Trump won the election
a year ago, one writer,
Kurt Anderson, was halfway
through a book
that he would title Fantasyland.
It put the birth of fake news,
hyperbole and false claims into
a much wider historical context.
In it, he argues that America has
long been a place where renegades
and freaks came in search of freedom
to create their own realities.
It began, he suggests, with the
pilgrim fathers and the Salem witch
trials and goes right through to the
present day. He looks at religious
America and what he terms the unspun
rebooting of Christianity from
Moomins to charismatics. -- from
Moomins is back to charismatics. It
takes us through New Age quackery
and self-help practitioners to the
free for all era of the 1960s, where
he says liberalism run amok,
conspiracy theories flourished and
America believed in UFOs. And it
ends here in the current day.
Creationist belief, climate change
denial, Disneyland and a sense that
it must be true if you read it on
the internet. All this, he says,
helps to explain the rise and
acceptability of Donald Trump
himself and an America where the
difference between opinion and fact
is crumbling. Kurt Anderson joins us
now. You write that Trump, who won
the election just as the book was
finished, understood that a
breakdown of shared public reality
built upon widely accepted facts
represented an opportunity. You
think he appreciated the fantasyland
that you describe in that book?
don't think he would have put it in
those words, but I do think he
understood in some visceral sense
that now was the time, after having
flirted with the idea of running for
president for 30 years, that it
could work, that the Americans'
sense of reality versus fiction had
become iffy enough that he had a
That is too far-fetched.
Trump believes his own reality,
Yes and no. He lies, and he
believes. It is both. He simply has
no fixed commitment to factual
empirical reality. It is whatever
serves him at a given moment, like
the ultimate salesman that he is.
when you talk about the history of
America, what you build up is a
sense that people have been
following their own realities for
500 years. Some of that will sound
very critical of religion, very
unforgiving of faith and of people
being able to believe something that
is just less dictated than science.
I have nothing against faith and
religion as practised in Christendom
in most of the rest of the developed
world, including the UK, Europe,
Australia and the rest. It is the
extreme and extravagant religion of
various kinds, in which the United
States has always specialised and
which has made it even more
diverging from the rest of the
developed world today. And if that
is not bad in itself, it has led to
our politics, where an entire half
of the country could be persuaded
that climate change doesn't exist,
for instance, almost that many who
believe that evolution isn't real
and should be taught in public
schools and so on. Some of those
religious ideas and some are not,
but they are all about believing the
empirically unfounded and improbable
You don't arrive at a
conclusion to why America seems to
break the mould of being a deeply
religious country, and yet a very
economically successful one. We tend
to see the correlation in the other
Yes. We have been an
exceptional country in many ways. I
believe that this worked, that this
allowing a thousand flowers bloom in
all kinds of fantasies to be engaged
and propagated worked for several
hundred years because there was a
set of establishments in control. It
wasn't allowed to go crazy and get
out of control, whether it was in
religion, where the mainline
Protestant churches ruled, and in
the economy where, when it got
extreme, it was brought back. I
would say in many different ways,
starting in the 1960s and certainly
in the last 20 years, economically,
religiously and spiritually, we have
got out of control.
But what would
you change? You don't want America
to stop being free to think or
believe what it chooses.
cannot be fixed. We cannot say here
are the laws we need to pass. I
believe, however, that serious
people of all political stripes,
Conservatives as well as liberals
and everybody in between, have to
recommit to reality. They don't have
to give up their faith, their
hunches and superstitions, but we
have to have a shared set of facts
if we are going to have a society, a
country and an economy that
continues to thrive as it has.
Anderson, thanks for coming in. That
is all from Washington for tonight.
We will be back with more from DC
over the coming nights. Kirsty is in
the chair tomorrow, but from both of
us here and in London, good night.
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