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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Awaiting Paul Ryan Speech following Trump Meeting; Joint Statement Issued by Ryan/Trump; Interview with RNC Chair Reince Priebus. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired May 12, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jim Acosta, we'll get back to you as soon as Trump's motorcade arrives at the location.
I want to thank all of you for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello.
AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Paul Ryan, I don't know what happened.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that he needs to do more to unify this party.
SARAH PALIN, (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR & FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Paul Ryan and his ilk, they have become so disconnected.
RYAN: The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.
TRUMP: He wants to meet, I'll meet.
We'll just see what happens. It's just more drama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Berman.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
It's big. It's massive. Wild scene on Capitol Hill today. So big, in fact, that we are calling it the Paul Ryan primary. So stand by for a key race alert any minute now.
BERMAN: You're looking at live pictures from the capitol where, any minute now, House Speaker Paul Ryan, he will hold a press conference. This comes after his first official face-to-face -- actually, two face-to-faces -- with the presumptive nominee.
BOLDUAN: Faces-to-faces is harder to say.
BERMAN: Right. It's like attorneys general. I'm not sure what the right plural.
We've had two meetings with Donald trump now today. The head of the RNC, Reince Priebus, who hosted the meetings, and called the meeting great and a positive step toward unity, but what will Paul Ryan say? That's so crucial. It comes a week after he dropped that bombshell on CNN that he is not yet ready to back Donald Trump.
We're joined for this big event today by CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, who is live outside the RNC headquarters where these meetings just took place. CNN senior political reporter, Manu Raju, who is inside the capitol, just steps from Speaker Ryan's office.
First to Dana.
What are you hearing?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell what you we're seeing, moments ago, Donald Trump and his motorcade just drove by here. He was all smiles through his window though. He was all smiles and waving as he left. So it doesn't sound like that would be the face and the reaction from somebody who didn't have a very good meeting.
But my understanding is that, first of all, the initial meeting -- there were two meetings inside here -- first was just with Donald Trump, the RNC chair, Reince Priebus, and also with the speaker, Paul Ryan. The three of the met for about an hour, just the three of them. No aides, no staff. And I can just tell you on this leading up to this meeting, I am told by a source familiar with the process, that Reince Priebus spent a lot of time talking to Donald Trump, every day, sometimes multiple times a day. To be fair, not just about this meeting, but about the fact that the Republican National Committee has to now join forces with Donald Trump and his campaign. But that Reince Priebus also kind of got back and tried to have conversations with his old friend, Paul Ryan. The two of them go back a long time in Wisconsin Republican politics. So my sense is that Reince Priebus was really the bridge, the go-between between these two men who really didn't know each other.
Then the next meeting -- and I can just tell you and as I'm talking to you I'm going to pull this up on my phone here, some reporting that I just got about that meeting. And that is, this is according to a source in the room, that Paul Ryan made clear to Trump on what Trump needs to understand. Now, what is that? According to this source, Paul Ryan said to Trump, there are a lot of people who voted against you and you need to unify. Ryan also discussed what is near and dear to his heart, which is, of course, the budget and the idea of entitlements, meaning Social Security and Medicare. Ryan said you need to change Social Security or Medicare or there can't be a balanced budget moving forward. And also I'm told there was a focus on judges, which is obviously historically a big issue for conservatives, the conservative base. And although the House doesn't have anything to do with confirming judges, the rank-and-file, and the conservative base is very interested in that. But the fact that, again, according to this source familiar with the meeting, the fact that Ryan seemed to hold firm, particularly on Medicare and Social Security, which are two areas where we just know from covering Donald Trump through the primary season, from our debates, he has been very cautious about wanting to change those programs, critical even of Paul Ryan's plans to do so. But apparently, Ryan made clear, look, we can't do anything about the budget unless those big, high-cost entitlements are dealt with.
BOLDUAN: But reality check here for everyone, Dana, in covering Paul Ryan, you know it would be another bombshell if Paul Ryan then, all of a sudden, turned around his position on entitlements. That is one thing if you know anything about him that he will never change on.
[11:05:09] BASH: He won't. He won't. And I don't think there was any expectation that he would change. I think that the question is, from his perspective, whether or not he could, you know, have a discussion with Donald Trump and let him know that this is a really big, important difference between the two, and not just between him and Donald Trump, but Paul Ryan had been the one who came up with the budget that really changed both of those programs, particularly -- actually, both of them. And it was something that most of the rank and file in the House, Republicans only, signed onto, so that is a huge policy difference between the two bodies, if you will.
Dana, great to see you.
Let's go from outside the capitol building into the capitol, where we're waiting -- any minute, we're going to be hearing from the speaker's himself. Manu Raju is just steps away from the speaker's office.
Manu, what are you expecting? What were you picking up from your sources? What are we going to hear from Paul Ryan?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think we're going to hear a pretty positive message. That's what we're picking up from sources familiar with the meeting, that this was a good meeting.
It's interesting, Dana's reporting shows the differences that were highlighted. Internally, it will be interesting to see how Donald Trump responded to what Paul Ryan had to say.
But I should note that going into the meeting Paul Ryan made it very clear that there are different bodies of thought within the Republican Party. He tried to make this sound like there's a big-tent Republican Party, there are different wings. He represents a different wing than Donald Trump and they're not going to agree on a lot of policy issues, and entitlement reform is one of them, immigration reform is certainly another. Those are issues on Paul Ryan's mind, issues close to him.
But from what I'm gathering, that this was a rather productive meeting, not just from Reince Priebus' tweet, from people who were in the RNC seemed to feel pretty positive about it.
We're expecting a statement from Paul Ryan any minute now talking about what happened before he actually goes and addresses the media, so we should get more of his thinking. But clearly Paul Ryan also feeling pressure from a lot of his colleagues --
BERMAN: Manu, Manu, stand by. Stand by, Manu.
Because in our e-mail boxes while you were saying it --
BERMAN: -- we got a joint statement from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. That headline in itself is interesting, a joint statement from Speaker Ryan and Trump.
It's long, but I think I should read the whole thing. "The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents. That is why it's critical that Republicans unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda, and do all we can to win this fall. With that focus, we had a great conversation this morning. While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize there are also many important areas of common ground. We will be having additional discussions but remain confident there's a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal. We are extremely proud of the fact that many of millions of new voters have entered the primary system, far more than ever before in the Republican Party's history. This was our first meeting, but it was a very positive step towards unification."
I see a lot of words there like unity, common ground --
BERMAN: Joint statement.
BOLDUAN: It was great.
BERMAN: Everything is OK.
BOLDUAN: Everything will be fine. Exactly.
Let's discuss this right now. Let's discuss this with CNN political commentator and former RNC communications director, Doug Heye; CNN's chief political analyst, Gloria Borger; senior adviser to Donald Trump's campaign, Barry Bennett; and CNN Politics executive editor, Mark Preston.
So we have this statement, unity, unity, unity. It will be fine. What do you think, Gloria? GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF ANALYST: And we're going to unite around a
conservative agenda, which I think is important to Paul Ryan, and it also spoke about their few differences. Not their many differences, but their few differences, and said they're going to meet again. So what we've been saying today is actually true, which is that this is the beginning of many meetings. I don't think -- you know, I think they paid homage to the millions of new voters that Donald Trump has brought into the system and to the primary system. I think it was important to Donald Trump to say that and to acknowledge that. And they've got to be on the same page eventually because they need to mobilize their voters to go to the polls this fall, and you cannot do that if you're a hugely divided party along any line.
BERMAN: Doug Heye, did Paul Ryan just sort of endorse Donald Trump? I'm sorry, I mean, this is a statement of unity.
BOLDUAN: He put out a statement with Donald Trump.
BERMAN: He put out a statement with Donald Trump talking about their all their common ground. I guess what he did not do is say I'm definitely voting for him and endorsing him but he did everything short.
[11:10:00] DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I guess you could say it's a kind of, sort of endorsement almost. We're getting to the endorsement. To Gloria's point about them trying to get on the same page, a joint statement is the same page, so this is I think the big significant thing. If they weren't on the same page, we'd hear a good productive dialogue from Paul Ryan. Trump might have said it was a big beautiful meeting or whatever. But this gets them on that glide path to where Paul Ryan's always wanted to go.
But it's also one cautionary note. It's not just about issues. It's about tone. It's one of the big things that Paul Ryan and his office have been telling people all week. It's something Orrin Hatch and other Senators will bring up in the meeting in the Senate today.
BOLDUAN: But, Barry, the few differences, but few can also mean great differences. I mean, if they're talking about the few differences are on entitlements, the few differences are on banning all Muslims from entering the country, I mean, there might be few in number, but they could be huge between these two. Do you not see that?
BARRY BENNETT, SENIOR ADVISOR, DONALD TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: No, I don't think it's a big deal at all.
BOLDUAN: You don't?
BENNETT: No. I know you're surprised.
You can fix entitlements without hurting anyone and that's what Donald Trump wants to do. BERMAN: Donald Trump says he doesn't want to change Social Security.
No change means no fix. It means it's perfect as itself. He says no fix, correct?
BENNETT: We don't want to hurt anyone. That's the key. We don't want to hurt people. If you can come up with a change that doesn't hurt anyone, then, you know, no one is going to object, right?
BERMAN: Donald Trump until yesterday I think would have objected. I feel like the Donald Trump in the primaries would have. The Donald Trump who said I won't change Social Security.
BOLDUAN: My absolute intention to leave Social Security the way it is, not increase the age, leave it as is.
BENNETT: If you can fix it and not hurt those people on those issues, then let's do it, and we can.
BOLDUAN: Then you would have won the Pulitzer, because why wouldn't that have been done already?
BERMAN: Mark, you're itching to say something.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Can I take like seven different threads and tie this together here?
BOLDUAN: Let's see this.
PRESTON: First of all, it's like a promise ring, right? There was a promise ring we saw today. They're dating. They haven't quite got engaged. They're going to eventually get married. That's what we saw today.
PRESTON: That's what happened in the last hour. It's a promise ring. Promise to continue talking, probably get engaged, and then we'll get married. That's one. Two, Donald Trump --
PRESTON: Berman is dying over there.
BERMAN: It's my favorite thing you've ever said in my life. And I've known you for a while. This is awesome. Keep going.
PRESTON: Number two, Barry, with all due respect, we all know Donald Trump is going to say what he needs to say. He says he's not a politician but he is a politician of all politicians. He's willing to adapt, to change his -- where he is on the issues, and we're going to see that on Social Security. There's no question we will, right, because the way it's laid out right now it's not going to work. I think Barry is right when he says they don't want to hurt anybody, but there's a certain way you got to get there.
And I will say this for Donald Trump, he did go to Washington. He went on their turf. He went to their buildings. He did go down there with an olive branch. That takes a lot I think for Donald Trump to do, as opposed to making them come to New York and to sit down with him.
BORGER: Let me ask Barry this because if Donald Trump compromises too much with the establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill, whom his supporters despise --
BORGER: -- doesn't that hurt his brand?
BENNETT: Well, he's not going to compromise, right? But I mean he only cares about hurting people. We can't hurt people through entitlement reform. If we can find a way to do it that doesn't hurt anyone, then we should do it.
BERMAN: What about Paul Ryan's brand? You're asking about Donald Trump's brand. Does this hurt Paul Ryan's brand, which is, look, it's been pretty squeaky clean for a long time now in many conservative circles. He's navigated a lot of issues.
BOLDUAN: Remember, he didn't want to be speaker but they loved him so much he had to be speaker.
BERMAN: Now, he didn't want to support Donald Trump, he's not ready to endorse, there are things that don't represent conservative principles, like the Muslim ban --
BOLDUAN: Like the Muslim ban.
BERMAN: But now there are a lot of unity --
HEYE: I can tell you, the House Republican conference is maybe the choppiest water that's out there in politics right now. And it is shark infested and there's blood in the water, and that's a constant we've seen over the past couple years. But I think this is a very good step for Paul Ryan, but also speaks to why he says that this is the beginning of the process. One of the concerns that a lot of Republicans have is that they may get an agreement on pick your issue with Trump, but then in an interview the next day, he may come to a different position or a different position the day after. And it's that lack of consistency that I think on issues give a lot of Republicans pause.
BOLDUAN: Here is one of the questions that we were actually batting around this morning. Paul Ryan billed this as a kind of getting to know you session, but what does that mean getting to know you? Truly?
PRESTON: It's like an arranged marriage.
PRESTON: It's like an arranged marriage. There's some reality show --
PRESTON: I'm just trying to bring everyone together, all right?
BOLDUAN: You are unity.
PRESTON: The Republican Party is all about family and what have you.
BERMAN: Is it like a dating game?
PRESTON: It is what it is.
BERMAN: I have a question for Doug.
Doug, I'm curious about this statement, again, talking about a joint statement from Paul Ryan and Donald J. Trump. If you have worked in Congress and for members, when was this statement written, who wrote it, when would it have been signed off upon? I could almost imagine this being written before the meeting in some ways. This was an inevitability. But how do you think it got from beginning to end and passed through both teams?
[11:15:18] HEYE: In things like this, you have three or four statements in the can ready to go based on how things in the meeting go. So I think Brenden Buck (ph), who we all know had a good hand in writing a lot of --
BOLDUAN: That's why he's not returning my e-mails this morning.
HEYE: That may be one of the reasons.
BOLDUAN: There you go.
HEYE: There may be several. But there were certainly several statements and then the question is which one do we go with? And that's the difficult thing if you're the press staffer outside of the room. You have to be told which statement to go to and whether or not you have to change the statement that's agreed to at the last second.
BERMAN: And with Trump -- Barry, you work for Donald J. Trump. Would he have had to sign off on the language of the specific statement before it went public?
BENNETT: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. In negotiating these things, which I spent a lifetime doing, is hard. The fact it was done so quickly, to me, it suggests that Reince probably played a pretty good role in this.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. That's where all the conversations were in the last few days.
BORGER: There's something in here for everyone, right? I mean, Trump brought in all these voters. We have few differences --
BERMAN: Are you surprised this statement came out?
BORGER: Of course not. No, no, no.
PRESTON: We all knew they were going to come out and they weren't going to say, look, mom and dad, we aren't getting married. We knew that wasn't going to happen. We knew that --
BOLDUAN: I need one more.
PRESTON: You knew they were going to come out and as far as brands go, you talk about Paul Ryan --
BOLDUAN: What is the reality though? Is this reality -- what is the reality?
PRESTON: No. It's the new normal which, by the way, is the new phrase in Washington right now. The new normal is Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. But to brand Donald Trump right now is still anti-Washington, anti-establishment. There is the olive branch. He did go down on their turf. Paul Ryan, to his point, too, has gone out there and he hasn't capitulated or caved.
BORGER: The reality is they all need each other, right?
BOLDUAN: Do they really?
BORGER: In the long-term, yes.
BOLDUAN: In the short term? BORGER: They do to a great degree, because, A, they want to motivate their voters. Paul Ryan wants to make sure he continues to have a Republican House. The Republican Senators want to make sure they continue to have a Republican Senate. Donald Trump is going to be at the top of the ticket, and it gets a lot more difficult to bring out your base voters if Donald Trump is in a fight with the Republican Party. It doesn't help their truth one wit. So they have to find a way to make some kind of peace with Donald Trump.
By the way, Donald Trump does, too. This is probably like casserole for Donald Trump. He doesn't need this. But, but, you know, he was blindsided, he felt, by Ryan's statement --
BORGER: And -- right? And he didn't want to get out there and continue to have a fight with Paul Ryan. I don't think that does him any good, does it, Barry?
BOLDUAN: But, wait a second, Barry. His son, just last night, said, yes, we'd love to have Paul Ryan. We don't need him. We don't need his endorsement. I, at first, when this all started going down, I was like, of course, Donald Trump needs Paul Ryan. He needs the Republican House speaker in line with him. That's long term. Short term though, they say you don't need him?
BENNETT: Well, we want him. We want him. That's the key. We want him. Can we win the presidency without Paul Ryan? Of course, we could. But that doesn't mean that's the path we want to go.
BENNETT: But look at what he does for the House and Senate. Look at Pennsylvania. Look at Ohio. I got a bit of data yesterday. It was astounding. In Youngstown, Ohio, Mahoning County, before the primary, there were 16,000 registered Republicans. After the primary, 38,000 registered Republicans. That gets Rob Portman re-elected. The same thing is happening in Pittsburgh, and that's what gets Tom Toomey re- elected. It's going to help those guys if they can work with him and they can get to a clean message.
BERMAN: And there's the other issue we haven't talked about yet, which is cash, and I want to get to that in a second.
Guys, we are waiting to hear from Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan set to speak at the capitol. We just got this joint statement with Donald Trump. We can expect they'll say more along those lines, a lot of unity, a lot of common ground.
BOLDUAN: But he often takes questions at these press conferences and that's where the interesting parts begin.
BERMAN: We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:20:47] BOLDUAN: Welcome back, everybody. In just a few minutes, we'll be listening to Speaker Ryan who will be making his first comments after his high-stakes meeting with Donald Trump.
BERMAN: We need to discuss this more. And there is a lot to discuss. I want to bring in Jim Geraghty, contributing editor for the "National Review"; CNN political commentator and conservative commentator, Mary Katherine Ham; Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for "The Daily Beast"; and Kevin Sheridan, former senior advisor for Mitt Romney and also a former Republican National Committee spokesman.
Jim, I want to start with you.
You work for the "National Review," which made it its raison d'etre to defeat Donald Trump in the primaries. That did not happen. You have still spoken of ways to defeat Donald Trump even post-primary. Now that you hear Paul Ryan, the highest-elected Republican official in the land, talk about unity and common ground and how great this meeting was, is this what you wanted to see from Paul Ryan?
JIM GERAGHTY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: They're all going to sell out eventually. You know, when the Rick Perrys and Bobby Jindals of the world, who said you can't trust Donald Trump with nuclear weapons, he's a mad man who needs to be stopped -- oh, never mind, he's better than Hillary Clinton. Ultimately, every Republican will fall in line. There will be a few exceptions, but they'll all do it. We've now had the biggest summit since Malta.
And Ryan -- if they didn't go too far on the first dates, eventually, there will be more dates down the road. And I'll let you take that metaphor.
BOLDUAN: The theme continues, Jim. Well done.
GERAGHTY: Thank you.
Look, did you ever see an old movie where two guys who hate each other are handcuffed together and they have to run away from the cops or something like that? That's Ryan and Trump right now. They at least recognize neither one of them is going to get what they want unless the other does well.
BOLDUAN: Mary Katherine, get in on this. Jim says everyone eventually will sell out. They'll all kind of turn around on positions where they said he's horrible, he's horrible, forget about it. One of those issues could be on releasing his taxes. This was a big issue amongst his rivals during the primary. Ganging up on him, saying release your taxes, release your taxes. What are they going to say now?
MARY KATHERINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That lasted one and a half news cycles and then we moved on to whatever thing Trump had said the next day. Look, I think it's a pertinent issue. But Mitt Romney is a guy bringing it up because he's not running for anything. Jim is right that many of these guys will line up behind Trump.
Here is the other thing. Paul Ryan cracks me up because he's the guy in "Clarks," who is like, I'm not even supposed to be here today. He didn't want this job. He didn't want to be the highest elected Republican in the country. And then he gets this conundrum dropped in his lap, which is, hey, guess who we nominated? A very prominent Democratic donor, who does not get down with entitlement reform, have fun. Like, this is the thing that he's dealing with. It's really a remarkable turn of events.
BERMAN: You know, it's very interesting to see, as you say, Paul Ryan and the situation he is, and Jim Geraghty saying he'll sell out, eventually, every one sells out. That was the language Jim just used right there.
One guy who hasn't yet is Mitt Romney, the guy who picked Paul Ryan to be his running mate. He is just still going nuts on Donald Trump right now. He was pushing on the tax returns. He put out a statement yesterday on the tax returns on Facebook saying there's only one logical explanation for why he didn't do it, blah, blah, blah. We can only assume it's a bombshell of unusual size.
First of all, Jackie, is that a "Princess Bride" reference?
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Kind of amazing.
KUCINICH: I always associate "Princess Bride" with Ted Cruz now, so it's kind of confusing. But, no, you could not pick two more opposite people than Mitt Romney and Donald Trump in so many ways. You'll remember Mitt Romney was hounded for his taxes and he eventually released them. This is something he has to deal with in his race and he's seeing Donald Trump get away with just saying, I'm being audited, what do you expect me to do.
But I think the biggest challenge for the Republicans who do decide to endorse Donald Trump is keeping up with his positions. We saw reports coming from this meeting that the Muslim ban that he talked about was just a suggestion. It's just hard to keep track of where he is day to day. And they're going to have to defend -- whether they like it or not, they're going to have to defend what their standard bearer says once they endorse him.
[11:25:04] HAM: By the way -- sorry, Jackie, I didn't mean to interrupt you.
But I do think that's what's going on here, is that Paul Ryan is attempting to negotiate "Art of the Deal" style with Donald Trump and say, like, here's where I am, I'm not giving you my endorsement right away, you're going to have to work for it. But the problem, as Jackie points out, is that his positions on issues change from day to day depending how Donald Trump feels, so I don't think his word is good if he says he's going to give you something.
Is Kevin Sheridan with us? I don't see him in our shot mix.
There you are!
BOLDUAN: Kevin Sheridan, in the flesh.
Kevin, Mitt Romney is your former boss. You worked for him. What do you think he's trying to do here?
KEVIN SHERIDAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR FOR MITT ROMNEY & FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE SPOKESMAN: Well, I can't speak for what Mitt Romney wants to do. I think it's different for people who are out of office now that aren't seeking another office necessarily to speak their mind. And, you know, he's a party elder at this point. He can say what he wants.
I think Paul Ryan is trying to provide the space for his members who are kind of, you know, in three different places on whether or not they can actually get behind Trump, whether or not they can actually support him, and god forbid, defend his daily statements, as they were saying. I think this is why everybody is kind of just pausing, they're taking a minute, they're trying to provide the space to be able to go forward with their own campaigns and let Donald Trump go forward with his, and try not to --
BERMAN: Kevin, stand by for one minute. Kevin, stand by.
We want to get straight to Dana Bash who is outside the Republican National Committee headquarters. I think Dana has a very, very big guest right now -- Dana?
BASH: That's right. We're actually inside the Republican National Committee headquarters with the RNC chair, Reince Priebus.
What's the headline?
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I think the headline is positive first step toward unifying our party. It was a great meeting, and that's the only way it can be described.
BASH: That doesn't tell us a lot.
PRIEBUS: It doesn't, but that's because it was a private meeting in my office, and I'm not going to talk about the specifics other than to say things were discussed that were specific. It was a cooperative meeting. It was mutually I think cooperative and positive, and that's the only way you can describe it.
BASH: My understanding is you have spent a lot of time over the past week on the phone with Donald Trump, talking to him almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. You talked a lot to your old friend, Paul Ryan. You guys have known each other since way back from Wisconsin Republican politics. To be the bridge builder here, is that how you feel?
PRIEBUS: I think it's an important role for the party. Unifying the party should be no surprise to anyone that that's one of the jobs of being the chairman of the Republican Party. It's important to be unified. So it's important to remember that --
BASH: But it's not usually this hard.
PRIEBUS: But, you know what? This was not a usual election. I mean, it was a very contentious, tough primary, and obviously no one can deny that. It's something that a lot of us haven't been through.
BASH: Do you feel like a couple's therapist?
PRIEBUS: You know, you wouldn't say that if you were in the room. It was very -- it was great, and I think it had very good chemistry between the two of them. And like I said -- I don't mean to be repetitive -- but it can only be described --
BASH: I can't imagine two more different kinds of people than Donald Trump and Paul Ryan. They had good chemistry?
PRIEBUS: Look, it was positive, it was give and take, and it was also something that I think, if anyone was a fly on the wall, would agree with everything that I'm saying.
BASH: But you are the fly on the wall so what else can you tell us?
PRIEBUS: I can't say a whole lot else. Look, I have to honor confidentiality. I'm not going to say a peep about any specifics --
BASH: Did they discuss tone and toner, the things that Ryan has said publicly he's not thrilled with, the policy differences, both?
PRIEBUS: I hate to spoil the fun but I'm not going to get into the details other than to say that it was a meeting that I think went as well as I would have hoped.
BASH: As I toss it back, you expect an endorsement soon from Paul Ryan now?
PRIEBUS: Look, like I said, it was a great first step toward unifying the party, and I think if you read both of the statements that came out of speaker's office and Donald Trump's campaign, they echo the same feeling.
BASH: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for taking the time.
PRIEBUS: Thank you.
BASH: Appreciate it.
Kate and John, back to you.
BOLDUAN: That was great. Dana Bash labeled Reince Priebus with a new title. Not only is he chairman of the RNC, also a fly on the wall.
BERMAN: A fly on the wall.
BOLDUAN: Dana, thank you. Thanks very much.
Let's discuss this and the very latest on what is going on with everyone here. Back with us -- I don't even have to introduce you. Everyone knows you.
Doug, when Reince Priebus says there were things discussed that were specific, what do you think Paul Ryan specifically wanted to, and then obviously what did Trump want to discuss?
HEYE: I would say two things. One, issues like entitlement reform, Social Security, to be really specific about it. Two, the broader attitudinal things we've seen from Trump and his campaign that caused real concern for a lot of Republicans.
BOLDUAN: If Eric Cantor was -- when you worked for him, if Eric Cantor was sitting in on this meeting -- just play it this way -- and he's sitting across the table, is Eric Cantor -- is this leader of the Republican Party, are you laying out where we stand or is it just a discussion? Like how do you think this played out?
HEYE: It's both. Paul Ryan obviously has been putting out a positive agenda that he wants to campaign on for house Republicans because his job, we talk about the troops in the field for as Republican voters, he's also got House of Representatives members that he's --