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EPA With a Climate Change Denier; Trump on His Thank You Tour; Filling Cabinet Positions; Leaving Companies Threatened. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 8, 2016 - 22:00   ET



[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: OK. That's it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And the breaking news, Donald Trump revisits his greatest hits in Des Moines.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We will make America strong again. We will make America rich again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again.


LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

The president-elect announcing new members of his team today. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier top the head for the EPA. Then there's Andrew Puzder, he's Trump's pick for secretary of labor. He's the CEO of a corporation that owns fast-food restaurants Hardy's and Carl's Jr. And he's against a $15 minimum wage.

Sensing a pattern here?

Meanwhile, the political firestorm when top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway implied she wouldn't take a White House job because she has young children. But, what about men with children?

Well, discuss all of that in the upcoming broadcast. Let's get right to CNN's Jeff Zeleny, they're live for us in Des Moines. Jeff, good evening to you. Donald Trump in Iowa tonight, another stop on his thank you tour. Did he stick to the script?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Don. He did stick to the script. This is a Presidential-style Donald Trump of course. And we've seen a variety of different Donald Trumps. But Don, tonight, exactly one month from election night when he found out that he was indeed on his way to the White House, he stuck closely to his teleprompter speech. He thanked the people of Iowa, at least the people who voted for him.

And he won the state, this Iowa by 10 percentage points. So he definitely was basking in the glow of that victory here.

He also visited Ohio earlier today. Don, a very interesting moment at the beginning of the rally. There were a couple of small pockets of protesters here. He was in the middle of talking about visiting Ohio, mentioning John Glenn when these protesters sort of broke out here. Watch out how Donald Trump reacted to this.


TRUMP: For the next seven decades, he devoted his life to serving the American people, which he did from the cockpit of his bullet riddle fighter jet. Tough times - in the weightless silence of his Mercury -- oh, that's OK. That's OK. We have to respect John Glenn. That's all right. I think you're actually on our side. They just don't know it yet. They will be soon.



ZELENY: Interesting, Don, "I think they are actually on our side but they don't know it yet." That does actually represent one of the challenges he faces here. He is going around to these, you know, battleground states that he won, speaking to his supporters who voted for him but he does also have to win over other people with his ideas.

And it's clear that that is something he is trying to do here, trying to bring his message of change that he campaigned on into reality. But of course we know the realities of governing are far more complicated, far more difficult certainly as he builds his cabinet, Don.

LEMON: Sounds like he's taking an oath from the current president on how to deal with protesters. You know, Jeff, fill us in on Trump's latest cabinet picks.

ZELENY: Well, Don, the cabinet really is rounding out here. We have nearly all of his choices except for four positions. Secretary of state, top among them. I am told by a Trump transition official that look for that, potentially early next week.

A long list of people still in the running for that. Also, an opening in the Veteran Affairs Administration, an opening in the Interior Department, and an opening at the Department of Agriculture.

Other than that, Don, the cabinet is coming together and what we are seeing is a pattern running throughout all of them. Conservative businessmen, largely businessmen, are running the EPA or tapped to run the EPA, to tapped for other positions here, and they, by and large, are strongly opposed to the Obama agenda, the Obama era regulations. And this is to be expected here.

Of course, one of the interesting things we always see republican presidential candidates campaigning to reduce the size of governments and eliminate some of these departments.

Donald Trump is not doing that. He's naming someone to all of these positions, like EPA, like education, like the Department of Labor and Transportation. But look for them to try and change much of what has happened over the last eight years.

Also look for most of them to get confirmed. There may be a hiccup here or there but important to remember here that republicans control the Senate. Democrats are objecting to a lot of these choices, particularly EPA.

[22:05:00] But, again, republicans control the Senate and they will need 51 votes to get these nominees confirmed.

LEMON: Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I want to bring in now CNN senior analyst David Gergen, and political analyst Kirsten Powers joins me from here in New York City. Thanks to both of you.

David, I'm going to start with you. Donald Trump won the White House exactly one month ago. Did you hear a campaign speech here or a unifying message tonight?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's mostly still playing to his base, Don. And he's gradually, you know, moderated. He didn't go into a lot of attacks against other individuals in American side. So, but I'm not sure it's working in the way that perhaps he wanted.

We do have a new survey out today from Pew, which is a very respected survey group, comparing the approval of his appointments and the way he has explain what he will do as president to past presidents to the last and similar polls were taken all the way back to George Bush Sr. in 1989.

So it goes back a long way. And Trump has the lowest numbers on both of those. Forty -- around 40 percent on both. So it does not appear that, you know, he's really building a base. He's got a very reliable base but he doesn't appear to be going beyond it.

LEMON: And Kirsten, there's always Twitter. So, let's talk Donald Trump and Twitter. Chuck Jones, the Carrier union boss who Trump lashed out at last night is now receiving death threats after Trump tweeted this. And there it is up there. Do you think that Trump's tweets are knee-jerk reactions to Jones' criticism at the Carrier deal or is it more calculated than that?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Or it could even be both a little bit?

LEMON: It could be both.

POWERS: Yes. I think -- well, I mean, I think he's reacting in the moment but at the same time, I think a lot of what he does is very calculated.

And look, he was getting great coverage for this deal that he did and this person comes along and basically rains on his parade. And he, you know, he has, you know, in the political morning consult poll, they got 60 percent of people saying they thought better of Donald Trump after this deal, including about 42 percent of democrats.

So, now, along comes somebody and says well, actually what you said wasn't true, it's not -- it's not that many people. The fact of the matter is, it's still a lot of people.

And Donald Trump, I think, another way to handle this it might have been to call him up and say, hey, you know, let's try and figure this out and try to get these people's jobs back, right?

Instead, he attacks him and starts talking about something that he's really never said before, which is blaming jobs going to Mexico on the unions. This is a new story line because before it was always that it was trade and globalization that was taking the jobs.

LEMON: That would have been the less reactionary and more diplomatic way.


LEMON: Should he be more careful?


LEMON: As probably as simpler question.

POWERS: Well, I think he should be more careful. But again, you know, Donald Trump got to where he is with such an improbable election and success doing this kind of stuff.


POWERS: And so if you're Donald Trump, I think he feels like I'm going to do it my way.

LEMON: Yes. David, what you want to say?

GERGEN: Don, I just think we're seeing a pattern emerge here and that is that Donald Trump approaches these questions of being presidential and governing from a power perspective and that is, do I have more power than the other side?

Am I the alpha male in this situation? And I'm going to seize upon every situation and basically threaten the people who may oppose me or stand in my way. If you don't do this, I'm going to do that.

LEMON: But, David, it's different when you're -- when you're knocking the media and you're knocking a big company. What about an individual like that essentially punching down?

GERGEN: I don't think he was seen so much punching down although he did go after this union chief. I thought what we saw tonight in Iowa, very importantly in this rally, after a series of threatening American companies in this union chief and going after this union chief, tonight he was back to kind of bully China.

He went after them right at the beginning, bringing Terry Branstad up, the Governor of Iowa, he is going to be his new ambassador to China. But he rattle up a series of complaints he had China that ordinarily would have been handled by diplomats and quietly, in order to get China to come around, especially trying to get Chinese help on stopping the crazy North Koreans from blowing up things, and he doesn't know he had much help from them.

But this pattern of constantly using threats, here's what I want to you do if you don't do it, boom, I'm going to hit you on something. That I think is very unlike any president I've seen. It's very new and I think may work for a while but ultimately it has real problems -- we'll run into real resistance down the road. I think the Chinese, among others, will not be bullied.

LEMON: Kirsten, what do you think, because his supporters seem to like it? I mean, he is an equal opportunity offender. I mean, it doesn't matter, right?

POWERS: Yes. I think that he is very aggrieved, this is something that predates him running for president. You know, he's sort of always sees himself as being a little bit under attack -- I mean, under attacks and undervalued and I don't know that he thinks it's punching down. I think that he feels like he's almost on the same level.

LEMON: It's a counterpunch.

POWERS: Yes, it's a counterpunch. And he's attacked individuals, look, he's attacked reporters by name. I mean, we've -- I've been attacked on Twitter, you know.

[22:10:03] And he's, you know, he's singled out Katy Tur, you know, who is there in the middle of this humongous, you know, from NBC News in front of this, you know, tens of thousands of people, singled her out.

I mean, putting her safety in jeopardy. He doesn't seem to understand the power that he has. I really don't think that he gets it, that he doesn't -- yes, I think he just thinks it's two people just having a fight.

GERGEN: I think he understands it altogether too well. I think that's the problem.

LEMON: Really?

GERGEN: The power that he has.

LEMON: The power that he has especially when people say to you -- because now that the union chief is saying that he's getting death threats, Kirsten mentioned Katy Tur and others and you know, when he attacks someone, reporters, and not just me, anyone, any reporter, most times they don't respond. But people do come after you, David. You think he understands that that is a threat to, you know, someone's safety, that when he attacks? GERGEN: Well, I'm not sure he appreciates the safety angle so much

but I do think he wants to draw blood. And you know, when he goes after Boeing, the air force one costs, you know, he's scoring some points with people who want to cut government costs but mostly he's trying to bully Boeing.

And by the way, they are apparently talking to him now. But the bigger issue is how he goes after these individual companies, saying if you now leave I'm going to give these tax cuts, I'm going to deregulate and all the rest. And if you leave anyway, well, I'm going to slap a 35 percent tariff on you.

If you're a Ford Motor Company you're not going to be able to bring your cars in here, you're not going to be able to sell your cars because they are going to be, the prices will go up 35 percent. That's a pretty big threat.

LEMON: Yes. I want to -- I want to move on and talk about this because I felt a certain kind of way about it in the beginning but then after thinking about it, I think I changed my mind.

We're learning tonight that Donald Trump is going to stay on his executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice." The New York Times is also reporting that Trump he's going to turn his business over to his sons but will keep the stake in his company. And we're obviously unsure -- an unchartered territory here.

The second part we'll talk about, about turning it over to his sons, but the fact that he's getting royalties from "Celebrity Apprentice," a show which he helped make successful, I think the media maybe reading too much into that.

Ronald Reagan got royalties and residuals from movies and, you know, productions he was in. The current president got royalties from books. What's the difference here? Is this a distinction without a difference, Kirsten?

POWERS: Well, I think when I first heard executive producer, to me, that suggested he was still having some sort of role--


POWERS: -- in the production of the "Celebrity Apprentice." If it's just receiving royalties, yes, I agree, it would be the same thing as receiving royalties from a book. So, do we know--


LEMON: But if he is producing and shooting and getting idea--

POWERS: But if he was actually involved in it, and I would say no. And you know, he was hired to do a job. One job. He's the President of the United States and that's what he needs to be spending his time on.

LEMON: Yes. David, what do you say? GERGEN: Well, I think -- look, I think the amount of money is minimal

and it's not worth talking about. I do think there's a question of taste. Do you really want to be connected as president of the United States with "Celebrity Apprentice" all the way through your presidency? I would think that would you move on.

But I think the big question, the big enchilada is going to be December 15th when he comes out and reveals what is he really doing about his company and that's where the real conflicts are.

LEMON: And of course there's a conflict of interest with NBC and NBC News.

POWERS: Right.

LEMON: NBC which has the "Apprentice" and then NBC News will be covering Donald Trump throughout his presidency. Let's talk about his sons, though. Do you think that he said he's going to keep a stake in the company? His sons are going to run it. Do you think that that's enough?



POWERS: No, it's not. I mean, the example that I've used before is imagine if Chelsea Clinton was running the Clinton Foundation and was working on the transition team, which is essentially what's happening right now with his children, and then Hillary was like, oh, and I'm just going to hand it off as president to Chelsea and she's going to run this with Bill Clinton. And you know, people would be hysteric. They're hysterical. Their heads would be exploding, right?

This was Donald Trump criticized this when she was secretary of state. What if she was president? You know. And the New York Times, who is liberal, they said if she won, that they should give up all operational control, Bill and Chelsea. So, I just don't understand how anybody would accept this.

LEMON: Yes. But I also hear, David, the surrogates are defending it using the opposite of statement of what Kirsten said, you know. We should give him a chance. Everybody should give him the chance the same chance that they will give Hillary Clinton or gave Hillary Clinton, but Hillary Clinton is not--


POWERS: When did she get a chance?

LEMON: -- she's not the president-elect so she had no chance. So that sort of you know, defending it that way doesn't make sense.

GERGEN: I don't even understand what that means in this context.

LEMON: Right. GERGEN: Listen, he's already got foreign diplomats are going to his

hotel in Washington to throw parties. And they are under some pressure. They feel under pressure that when people when visiting heads of state or government come in here they shouldn't -- to Washington, they shouldn't go stay in Blair house, which they traditionally do. They should maybe go and stay in his hotel.

[22:14:59] And his people are going to be out looking for hotel opportunities in other countries. We just heard about Taiwan and that sort of thing. That is pay -to-play.


GERGEN: That is fundamentally what we mean by pay-to-play. You pay -- you pay your dues, you know, you put something into my kitty and by the way, then I'll have an audience with you and consider something.

You know, that's what Putin did in centuries gone by. You know, so, I think that's fundamental and I do think there are going to be constitutional questions. He can separate himself out. I think we ought to give him a fair chance. We ought to give him time to say, here's what I'm going to do and let's not judge it, prejudge it totally. Let's see where he comes out and if he really separates out, we ought to praise him for it.

LEMON: I'm out of time. Thank you, David. Thank you, Kirsten. I appreciate that.


LEMON: When we come right back, Donald Trump says he takes President Obama's cabinet recommendation seriously. Well, apparently not that seriously. What do his picks tell us about his presidency?


LEMON: Donald Trump becomes president in 43 days and he is gradually filling key administrative posts. I want to bring in now Ari Fleischer who was White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush. Good evening, Ari. I guess I have to start with you because you're the only one here.


LEMON: Let's talk Trump's latest cabinet picks, shall we, his pick to head the EPA is Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, he is a prominent critic of climate change science. What does this selection signal to you?

[22:20:06] FLEISCHER: Well, it signals that the president wants his people in there who he think is going to reverse the direction that we've been going in the previous years.

I think in the case of EPA, this has a lot less to do with climate science or climate change. We're still trying to figure out where Donald Trump is on those issues. We don't really know. But a lot more to do with the legal role of the EPA and how much authority that they have to enact regulations on their own versus going through the rule of law and through Congress. That's what Pruitt got that job.

LEMON: OK. So, then let me ask you this. There was the Gore meeting. I think we discussed it here you and I. The Leonardo DiCaprio meeting. The buzz about Ivanka Trump acting as climate czar, was that all a head take you think? I mean, it looks like he might be shifting on policy and then he picks a hard liner.

FLEISCHER: Well, first of all, remember, cabinet secretaries carry out the president's policy. The president does not carry out the cabinet secretaries policies. So, what's most important here is where does Donald Trump stand on this issue.

On the one hand he said climate change was a Chinese hoax. On the other hand, he said more recently that he's open to listening to various ideas on it. So I don't think we heard from Donald Trump enough yet to know what direction he will give his EPA administrator or his secretary of state or the other people responsible for carrying out certain elements of the policies with climate change.

But make no mistake, presidents call the shots and cabinet secretaries carry them out. So, if he has raised questions in the past about climate change, and I think what he has raised has been exaggerated, he's questioned the degree and the extent to which human element has caused global warming.

He's not denied that the globe is warming. He's acknowledged it is. But it doesn't matter because it's the president's policies that he's going to be charged with carrying out.

LEMON: But he's also suing the EPA, correct?

FLEISCHER: He is suing the EPA along with 28 other attorney generals because the EPA is overreached and that's why I think Donald Trump tapped him for this job.

There's a legitimate issue about when President Obama lost the Congress in the 2010 election and he can no longer get legislation passed through Congress. He went too far in enacting regulatory changes, executive orders and tried to govern by FIAT and it became very controversial as you know, Don.

The courts have struck down many instances in which he's done that and there are pending court cases about EPA because they went beyond what any previous EPA administrator had done.

LEMON: I want to play this. This is Manu Raju. He spoke with Senator Tim Kaine earlier, Hillary Clinton's former running mate obviously. Here's his reaction to Donald Trump's cabinet picks, Ari.


SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: I don't mind having an EPA critic. That is not my concern. He's a climate science denier. And that causes me great concern because if there's any agency at the federal government that virtually every decision they make is a decision based on science.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: What about you on the armed services committee, the general that they are putting in there, what about the idea that they are putting three generals in the cabinet. Do you think--


KAINE: General Flynn's trafficking in conspiracy stories that a fourth grader would find incredible suggest either that he's highly gullible or that he's so consumed with malice that he -- that he loses his ability to judge what's fact and what's fiction.


LEMON: Those are tough words. He's a climate science denier and that conspiracy theory that a fourth grader would know better, basically, I'm paraphrasing there. Those are tough words. What's your reaction?

FLEISCHER: Well, on the climate change, I think he's an exaggerator. You know, I think you have to judge people what they've said and this is why you have a hearings process and they are going to have their chance when they come up for a confirmation to ask the hard questions and get the direct answers.

But what he's talked about in the past is the degree and the extent of man's contributions to climate warming. He didn't deny it. He just raised questions about the degree and extent. And I think that's a legitimate science inquiry.

LEMON: What about Flynn?

FLEISCHER: So, you know, you're always going to have -- you're always -- I'm sorry?

LEMON: What about Flynn? What about his comments towards him?

FLEISCHER: Well, in the case of -- yes, in the case of Flynn, I think he's going to have to answer some hard questions about some of the things he said before.

And, again, I'm a big believer in the process, don. You can go back to anybody's record particularly now in the age of social media and find on Tim that have been said and you know what> You are responsible and liable for making the defense of what you said. It should come up at the hearings.

But ultimately at the end of the day, presidents get their selections unless that person is wholly unqualified.

LEMON: Even if you--


FLEISCHER: Ideological--

LEMON: Ari, let me ask you this, though.

FLEISCHER: It was never a ground.

LEMON: Let me ask you this. Even if it's as recently as the past couple of months or within the last year? That's not ancient history. That's pretty recent history.

FLEISCHER: No, I don't think it matters whether it was ancient history or whether it was recent. If it's recent, it's a little more valid. It's cause for questions and answers. That's what this committee process should get through.

I'm not willing to rule somebody out or in on the basis of a tweet. I'm willing to let the process play forward and see what they've got and let them explain it.

[22:25:04] But the point I was making, Don, that is we have a longstanding history of this country of the loyal opposition does not object to the person the president puts in place on the basis of ideology.

If they think there is an ethical issue, if they think there is an issue with the person is just not qualified, that's typically ground to vote against somebody. But I went back and I looked at Barack Obama's picks and you know, Hillary Clinton was confirmed, 9-42. Despite the fact that many republicans in the Senate strongly opposed her.

Timothy Geithner, a treasury, 60 to 34, Eric Holder, Attorney General, 75-21. The loyal opposition does not historically vote against somebody because they don't like that person's policies. They recognize presidents are entitled to put their people in place.


FLEISCHER: And I hope the democrats don't break that by partisan tradition and just vote on ideological grounds. I also predict to you, Don, that you are going to see a split within the democratic Senate. You are going to have some of the Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren liberal elements vote no on ideological grounds unfortunately.

But you are going to have a lot of people will support the nominees--

LEMON: Hey, Ari.

FLEISCHER: -- because of tradition and because they are in tough races.

LEMON: I have to go. I'm over time here. But do you have a pick for secretary of state?

FLEISCHER: I do not. I think the three main names have hit turbulence and we're going to get somebody new and somebody different.

LEMON: Ari Fleischer, thank you. I appreciate it.

Up next, Donald Trump is well on his way to filling his cabinet but just how much diversity can we expect from his team?

[22:30:00] LEMON: The president-elect working steadily to fill his cabinet as he prepares to lead the country but he's getting pushed back on some of the people he's chosen.

Here to discuss now, Congressman Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee republican, and CNN political contributor Michael Nutter, the former democratic Mayor of Philadelphia. I haven't seen you in a while, Congresswoman. Welcome back to the show.


LEMON: Mayor Nutter was just on last night. So, we'll let him start because he is, you know. Just kidding. Mayor Nutter, of the 14 official cabinet posts plus the attorney general, the President-elect Trump only has five left to fill.

So far, Trump has chosen two women. He's chosen one Asian, one African-American in their complete first cabinets. This is what President Obama did. He had four women, three Chinese Americans, one Latino, one African-American.

President Bush 43 had three women, one Hispanic and two African- Americans. How much diversity do you think we're going to see in Trump's cabinet?

MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, one, you don't have many positions -- many positions left and I think we should probably add Governor Nikki Haley--

LEMON: Right.

NUTTER: -- who I believe is of Indian background. So, at some point you just run out of seats but so far, not a whole lot of diversity here but also when you look at President Obama's cabinet and match up the numbers to Mr. Trump's, you also find a significant lack of government experience in many of the Trump picks.

I counted about 16 people announced, 8 of when have any kind of government experience versus President Obama's cabinet, almost all of whom had some level of government experience and many of them, multiple different tours in various state or federal positions.

LEMON: Congresswoman, what do you think, how much diversity do you think we're going to see in Trump's cabinet and are you concerned about a lack of diversity?

BLACKBURN: I think you're going to see a good bit of diversity in this cabinet. And also you have to bear in mind he's elevating the status of the small business administration and Linda McMahon, who is incredibly capable, is taking that post.

So, he will have diversity in there. He's going to have diversity of thought, of gender, of race. I think that this is going to be a group of individuals who are going to bring complementary skills and robust discussion and that they are going to serve the president-elect very well.

LEMON: Go on.

NUTTER: Well, I mean, again, there are only five positions left. You know, I think when we hear the, you know, just the litany of folks for secretary of state, national intelligence and a couple others, I'm not sure that there are any people--


LEMON: Well, let's put up secretary of state now because--


BLACKBURN: Well, Michael--

LEMON: I'll let you respond, Congresswoman.

BLACKBURN: You know, wait a minute. Yes.

LEMON: We're putting up Secretary of state, all white men in there. So, go on.

BLACKBURN: You can look at who is going to be secretary of state. There may be somebody else who hasn't even come to the forefront yet.

Donald Trump is ahead of schedule. He is ahead of where everyone who has preceded him in the last 40 years has been in filling out this cabinet. He is going to build this cabinet out well. He doesn't have to have people who have had vast government experience in there. That is what has gotten our country into this mess. You need individuals who are going--


NUTER: Congresswoman, aren't you in the Congress?

BLACKBURN: -- who are going to run the country in a more business- like manner.

LEMON: Go ahead, ma'am.

BLACKBURN: Yes, I am a member of Congress and I have brought business skills.


NUTTER: So you do have some political experience, yes.

BLACKBURN: I brought -- well, that's exactly right.

NUTTER: Right.

BLACKBURN: But I also brought -- I had an entire lifetime outside of the public sector and in the private sector and, Michael, one of the things-- (CROSSTALK)

NUTER: Congresswoman, I wasn't making the argument that everyone has to have government experience.

BLACKBURN: No. Well, one of the things that--


NUTTER: I was just pointing out a fact.

BLACKBURN: One of the things you need to understand is that leadership skills are a transferable commodity. And what our nation needs right now is leadership skills from the private sector being brought to bear in the public sector to clean up some of the mess that's been created by individuals that think that government is the solution to every problem that we have. So, you know, let's--


LEMON: Let the mayor respond.


NUTER: Well, I mean, that's an interesting perspective. I think for some people--


BLACKBURN: It's a very solid perspective.

NUTTER: That's your opinion, congresswoman. I think for some people that--


BLACKBURN: Absolutely, it is.

NUTTER: Right. Just let me finish. I think for some people, those skills may in fact be transferable but they are not automatically transferable.

[22:35:01] And quite frankly, and you're an elected official and I was and I ran a government, some skills from the business side are not particularly well-suited to be in government.

The government is not like your private business or your private hedge fund or your private investment vehicle. It's a little different.


BLACKBURN: I'm not saying it is.

NUTTER: It has a different responsibility.

BLACKBURN: That's exactly right. But diversity of experience enriches a person's view that they -- their world view that they bring.


NUTETR: And diversity of background and diversity of race and diversity of gender brings something else.

BLACKBURN: Now and I will tell you -- and I will tell you that individual that just have only government experience do not have a tendency to make the most thoughtful and well-rounded public officials.

NUTTER: So how about this, congresswoman.

BLACKBURN: Because they always believe that government is going to be the answer.

NUTTER: I understand. So, that five big spots that are left, tell me who you think the African-American, Latino, the Asian and the women are going to be for those big five spots. Why don't you tell us that right now.

BLACKBURN: There are individuals that Mr. Trump is interviewing and working with. And as a member of the transition team and I don't go around giving his news. I allow him to be the one that is going to make that news--


BLACKBURN: -- when he chooses to make those announcements.


BLACKBURN: And there are great people that are talking with him and he will have some wonderful announcements.

LEMON: And I enjoyed the conversation. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mayor. Thank you, congresswoman.

BLACKBURN: Thank you.

LEMON: Coming up, why does top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway say it would be a bad idea for her to take a White House job? And what role will Ivanka Trump have in her father's administration.


LEMON: Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway says it would be a bad idea or her to take a job at the White House and her reason has a lot of women up in arms right now.

Here to discuss now, Margaret Hoover, a Sirius XM host, and republican consultant, Emily Jane Fox, staff writer for Vanity Fair, and Mel Robbins, CNN commentator and legal analyst. Mel, I haven't seen you in a while. Good to have you on.

MEL ROBBINS, CNN COMMENTATOR & LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks, Don. LEMON: Margaret, at a Politico women rule event, Kellyanne Conway

spoke of her decision to pass on a White House role saying this, "My children are 12, 12, 8 and 7, which is bad -- which is bad idea, bad idea, bad idea, bad idea," I guess meaning for every child, right, "for mom going inside the White House. They have to come first. And those are very fraught ages." As a mother of two, you have two young kids, what's your reaction?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do have two young kids and I frankly cannot -- look, I had the opportunity to work in the White House when I was 25, 26, 27 years old, and even at that staff level, you know, I was there during hurricane Katrina, these were 16, 18, 20-hour days and you have to do that on a very high tilt consistently.

And there's a very good reason that most senior White House officials burn out after 18 months. You just have to be there all the time. You are married to your job. It is your husband, your wife, your children, your family, your life.

That is what you do because you are serving the country and you have an opportunity to make a difference. I get it. Like, I understand what Kellyanne is saying.

And I think for people to are up and arms to think why can't you do both? Or why your husband be home early. I mean, she's making a realistic decision for her. It's up to every individual to do that but I can certainly understand with two small children, there's a time for everything and maybe when you're a mom of small children, to doing that it works for you but maybe it doesn't.

LEMON: OK. Let me ask and I'm just playing devil's advocate so don't say, you know, I'm being anti-woman or pro. I'm just playing devil's advocate because, you know, I grew up with a single mom--


LEMON: -- and was raised by my grandmother and my mom and I think women can do jobs just as well as, if not better than men, even when they have children at home.

Certainly when you are in the White House, you have access and at least salary that can afford help. You can -- people can help you. You can have nannies, you can have baby sitters, you can do all of those things.

Do you think that's the right, even though she has the right, and I think any woman who stays at home with her children has a tougher job than going out in the workforce, but do you think that sends a right message, that a double standard between men women?

HOOVER: I don't think that -- like we know Kellyanne here. Kellyanne has been here a lot. We've been on air with her. But Kellyanne is not going to not work. Kellyanne will be working just she was. She's probably just going to be working outside the White House. I don't think she's saying don't work or don't be a working person or mom. By the way, I know, you know, Kellyanne to be a dogged sort of

negotiator. I don't think she's ever taken a penny less than men in contemporary parts of her career or her entire life. I don't think she's sending a message.

LEMON: It's a personal decision.

HOOVER: I think what she's doing is, look, there are a lot of men who wouldn't take jobs--

LEMON: Right.

HOOVER: -- at that time because if they can because of their families either.

LEMON: Yes. Mel.

HOOVER: Less men, to be clear. Less men.

LEMON: Mel, you say this is a smart move because she will have more power and flexibility outside the White House. Explain that.

ROBBINS: Yes, Don. I mean, both of you already hit on some really important points and I don't think is a story necessarily about her putting her kids first. I think this is a story about her putting her entire life and business decisions first.

I mean, let's think about it. Choice a, become an employee of the government and work for the White House? Choice b, remain an independent contractor with your own business where you have the power, you have the leverage and you negotiate what your salary is without any kind of conflict of interest.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a business move as much as it is a move about what's important to her. And if we really pay attention and women in particular, pay attention to what she's doing, she is very clear about what matters to her and it's her family and it's remaining in power and in the era of Donald Trump and so she's going to do both.

She's going to have the flexibility and she's going to negotiate a position. You watch. Remain an adviser but somebody who is not on the payroll of the White House, Don.

LEMON: So, you think it's a very smart move that she's making.

ROBBINS: Of course.

LEMON: I want to say to you, Emily, this is Valerie Jarrett, who is of course a senior adviser, a very close confidant of the current president. Because I encouraged her to give it a try, first of all, because the experience inside the White House, working with somebody who you respect and know as well as she does, the president-elect is unique and I've had the benefit of that and I wouldn't have traded the last years for anything.

[22:45:10] That's what Valerie Jarrett says, who is a woman whose in who is working in the White House now. What do you say to that?

EMILY JANE FOX, VANITY FAIR STAFF WRITER: I think that was a great decision for Valerie Jarrett. Jarrett and she made that decision and it worked for her and it worked her family, and I think that Kellyanne will make a similar decision that works for her and works for her family.

And I also think she'll be able to have that unique experience whether she is a government employee working for the White House or whether she decides to be an independent contractor working for her business and continuing to advise Donald Trump.

HOOVER: I mean, very well said. Very well said.

LEMON: You're right. What she said.

HOOVER: I mean, yes, also, let's be clear, too, I mean, Kellyanne's earnings, you also--


HOOVER: If you're a mother of four, like you have this possibility of making more money, frankly, if you're outside the White House than a federal staff--


LEMON: I think it's a story that a little lit and this is just me, I think it's a blown, a little bit out of proportion. I think people can make their very -- make their own decisions as to what they want to do. And again, a woman who stays at home with her kids and runs the business, I think that's, you know, that's tougher than actually taking a job where you don't get--


ROBBINS: Yes, but stay at home with her kids, Don? Don, that's not what Kellyanne say.


LEMON: No, no, I said staying home with her kids.

ROBBINS: She's not saying I'm staying at home.

LEMON: No, you get -- I'm not saying she is. No, you're not listening to what I'm saying.

ROBBINS: She -- what she is saying is, what, you know, that she recognizes, Don--


LEMON: Hold on. Let me finish. Meaning not going to the White House, running her own business, doesn't necessarily mean staying at home in a traditional role. Don't get me wrong. That's not what I'm saying. ROBBINS: I got it. But look, I think that the bottom line is, like

we're trying to slice and dice this like, oh, I'm turning down that job. No, she's not. You think for a second that Kellyanne is not going to be in Trump's ear for the next four years?

She is doing it in a way that works for her and every woman and every man should pay attention to that. She has leverage right now and she knows it. And she's being very smart, she's being a savvy business woman and she's making a deal that works for her. And that's what everybody should do when they are in a position to negotiate.

LEMON: She also said this. "The question isn't would you take the job. The male sitting across from me who is going to take a big job in the White House, but would you want your wife to do that?" What message -- what is she saying by that? Would you want your wife to take that job? What do you think that meant, Margaret, or now anyone?

FOX: I think she was talking about sitting in front of potential cabinet secretaries there and saying to them, these are men who she's interviewing and she's asking them to flip the switch. Would you want your spouse to take that job?

And I think what she said after that was, their face visibly changed when they had to think, would I want my wife to take on a role that had so much responsibility and required so much time? And in her opinion, most of the men that she had been speaking to hadn't really thought of it that way.

LEMON: They wouldn't take that step.

HOOVER: Of course not.

LEMON: Yes. OK. Stay with us. We're going to continue much more coming up after this we'll continue to talk about this and also other cabinet picks. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Retired General David Petraeus on the short list for secretary of state despite his misdemeanor conviction for sharing classified information with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Back with me now, Margaret Hoover, Emily Jane Fox, and Mel Robbins. Emily, I want to start with you, you have a new interview with Paula Broadwell. What did she tell you about the military not letting her move on? She's never been criminally large.

FOX: Well, I think this is a very difficult time for Paula Broadwell. It's been a very difficult couple of years for her as well. She has not been allowed to retire from the military.

David Petraeus has been able to move on, he has a very prominent job in private equity, he is now being considered for secretary of state by Donald Trump. And Paula has not been able to even retire from her job. She has been turned down from various jobs and she's just really looking to move on for things that happen many years ago. LEMON: Here's what she told CBS earlier.


PAULA BROADWELL, U.S. ARMY RESERVE OFFICER: No, I think he's unequally qualified for many positions, but that's not my position to say. I think the president-elect would have to decide and members of the Senate.

As I woke up to the news, you know, it was a bit of a shocker that he was being considered for a cabinet position and I was both shocked that I'm still in this tenuous position and yet, happy because I think he should be able to go on with his life. He's earned it. And so should his family. But then it begged the question of, why shouldn't I be able to go on?


LEMON: So, is it -- is it a double standard? She's saying he should be able to go on. Should he be allowed to move on?

FOX: Of course.

LEMON: And what about her? She's -- I think she feels in some way stuck as you said, right?

FOX: She -- she is very excited for David Petraeus. She told me that she thinks she's the best candidate for the job and that he is the right fit for this position.

But David Petraeus is out there campaigning for a job and she has been silence because the military has not yet relinquish her and allowed her to retire. And she said, hey, it's great that he's out here able to campaign for a job, but I want to be able to campaign for a job as well.

LEMON: Yes, go ahead, Mel, what do you make of this?

ROBBINS: Well, I think it's the perfect example that explains the bias that people pretend that doesn't exist in this country. David Petraeus can have an affair and so can Paula, and he is now up for all kinds of positions. He's moving on with his life. She's branded the Scarlet Letter. It's just not these two.

Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, there are example after example. And I'm even going to tell you another one, Trump and Hillary Clinton. You cannot tell me that a woman that has had three wives, Don, and has done the things that--


LEMON: And three husbands.

ROBBINS: -- Donald has done have said the things -- three husbands. Well, I'm switching ears. Three husbands. Thank you very much.


ROBBINS: Definitely not a woman that's had three wives would ever be elected in this country in this day and age. She should be. But, you know, she wouldn't be.

There is a double standard in this country, period. When the average American looks at men and women, most Americans or the average American is uncomfortable with a woman in power unless that woman is a mother figure.

A woman in power that is working, that is making choices, that, you know, maybe traditional -- traditionally women haven't made. They're going to be judged differently than men.

[22:55:00] In fact, you said something, Don, in the prior segment when you were talking -- I can't remember -- you were talking about the fact, I think there was a moment where you talked about the fact that there were questions that Kellyanne were asking of cabinet members, would you want your wife to do this?

Why is that even a question? And the fact that the men were shocked and kind of put back like, oh, my wife might do this job, there is a different standard by which we judge women than we judge men, period.

LEMON: When we discuss that--


ROBBINS: And I hate the fact that Paula is going through this.


ROBBINS: I'm not saying that this is a good thing. I'm saying it is a reality and it's not fair. It's not fair that Petraeus is now in the position that he's in and Paula is picking up the scraps and branded the way that she is. It's not fair. And we need to change this as a country.

LEMON: And Margaret, we discussed that in the commercial break. Because we were talking about in context of Kellyanne Conway.

She's at a women's conference and she's talking about women's issues and she's saying to these women at least what we think is men would never have to think about that question, right?

HOOVER: She, herself, was making the point about the double standard.

LEMON: Right.

HOOVER: And highlighting the fact that, you know, men often don't have to think about these things. Don't think about these things, they haven't traditionally thought about these things, maybe they're in marriages that don't -- but it's true, women do. Women still do more, OK?

Like I'm a mother of two. I have a great husband who helps a lot. But you know, every marriage is different but, you know, look, there is a traditional flow that is, you know, hard to -- hard to just rewire.

LEMON: I think in the Paula Broadwell thing, I mean, we've made -- we've made our point. I got to go, Mel.

ROBBINS: But it's not about women doing more.


ROBBINS: It's about women being judged on different standards.

LEMON: On different standards.

ROBBINS: As men based on doing the exact same thing.

LEMON: Yes. I think that Paula Broadwell, your points are very good and I think on the Kellyanne Conway conversation, I think a lot of that was taken out of context and people were making a big deal out of something that she said at a women's conference and they don't know the full context of it.

Thank you, all. I appreciate it. Fascinating conversation. See you soon. We'll be right back.