Jake Tapper Talks About His Stephen Miller Interview
-Stephen Miller was on
your show on Sunday, and he came out guns blazing. I want to show — for those
who missed it, and first of all, I feel bad for anyone
who missed it. But let’s just show a bit of
a super cut of the highlights of your interview
with Stephen Miller, and then I have some questions.
-Okay. -Why don’t you just give me
three minutes to tell you the truth about Donald Trump
that I know, and that all
of our campaign staff know? -Because it’s my show, and I
don’t want to do that. So — -Well, this isn’t — this
isn’t a courtroom and I have a right to speak.
-Stephen, Stephen, settle down, settle down. Calm down.
-Jake. -I have a question for you
about issues. -I would be with the President
on a campaign plane with a rally in 20 minutes,
and he would be able — -You’ve already made this point,
Stephen. -A self-made billionaire,
revolutionized reality TV, and tapped into something
magical that’s happening in the heart of this country.
The people that you don’t — -The President has an approval
rating in the 30s. -The people — the people — -I don’t know what magical
you’re talking about. There’s one viewer that you care
about right now, and you’re being obsequious —
-No, but you’re being — -You’re being a factotum
in order to please him, okay? -No. You know — you know who
I care about? -I think I’ve wasted — I think
I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.
Thank you, Stephen. -You know who I care about?
-As Republican lawmakers call for Attorney General
Jeff Sessions to resign. -So…So I had to ask.
[ Cheers and applause ] You — you know Stephen Miller. You’ve interacted with him
before. Were you — did that catch you off-guard,
the tone of that interview? -Yeah. I’ve known him
for a long time. He was a press secretary
on Capitol Hill for quite some time.
And I knew that he was sometimes unusual to interact with.
-Mm-hmm. [ Laughter ] -But, no,
I was not expecting that. I was not — I would not have
booked him if I thought that that was what was going to
happen. -You — does it feel
at some point, a little bit like a rodeo,
and you’re just trying to stay on top of the interview
with that? -It was — it was just so…
[ Sighs ] Most of the time, when people
come and they want to represent their point of view, and I’ve
interviewed President Trump. I’ve interviewed Rex Tillerson. We’ve interviewed
lots of people. Most of the time when they want
to get across their point of view,
even if they think you’re being unfair, or they
don’t like the questions, there’s an effort made to have a certain behavior
like a human being. -Yeah.
[ Laughter ] Which makes sense,
’cause human — you’re a human. -I’m a human being.
-Humans are watching. -Yeah.
-Yeah. My viewers are 90% human.
-Yeah. [ Laughter ]
-10% cats. And there’s also usually,
in politics, an effort to be likeable.
-Mm-hmm. -To convince people. And I certainly understand
the White House point of view that the media’s unfair
to them, and doesn’t give them their due,
and all of that. But, you know, this wasn’t —
it wasn’t a conversation where he wasn’t allowing me
to ask questions, he wasn’t answering
my questions. He started repeating himself.
It was just bizarre. -He was complaining that you
weren’t giving him time to talk about issues, and yet every time
you tried to cede time, it seemed like he went back
to things he’d already said. -Yeah.
-Do you feel like — -Like the story about
the President coming up with — riffing off the news.
-Yeah. -If you missed it at 9:01,
he told it again at 9:07. [ Laughter ] -You said, had you known
it would go like that, you wouldn’t have had him on.
-Yeah. -You must have this balance,
that I’m sure people ask you about this all the time, like,
who you allow on your show. And there are people with
certain hateful rhetoric who are now in the White House.
-[ Laughs ] Right. -And so how do you decide,
as far as just being a gatekeeper as to guests…
-Yeah. -You obviously have a lot
of Trump people on your show. Do you think that’s important?
-Well, he’s the President. And Republicans control
the House and the Senate and the White House.
So I think it is very important to ask them questions
and to speak truth to power and also to just get information
from them and have them explain what they’re doing.
The way it works normally, is you have a Sunday show,
or even a weekday show, and you ask the White House
we would like this guest or we would like that guest.
On Sunday, it’s really just a, “who are you putting out
this Sunday?” -Mm-hmm.
-This is how it was during Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump. And they tell you
who they’re offering. That Sunday, you know, they were
offering Nikki Haley and CIA Director Pompeo,
and Stephen Miller. And I wanted Nikki Haley
or CIA Director Pompeo. [ Laughter ]
-Yeah. -But we got Miller. And, look,
I’m happy — he was — The big news was
the Michael Wolff book… -Yep.
-Which the White House cooperated with, otherwise
I don’t think it would get a quarter as much attention.
-Mm-hmm. -The falling out
between President Trump and Steve Bannon,
and Steve Bannon was responsible for getting Stephen Miller
on the campaign. They did used to work closely
together. And immigration. Those were three big issues,
and Stephen Miller, you know, could talk to all three of them.
So we booked him. -He called Steve Bannon
“grotesque” a few times during your interview,
and he came back to that point, Steve Bannon, obviously,
has fallen out of favor at the White House,
and the knives are out for him, despite the fact that he
was a guy who also seemed to have knives out quite a bit. Do you have any empathy for
these sort of fallen members of the Trump Administration,
once they sort of fall out and they’re sort of, ravaged by
their once-colleagues? -I wouldn’t call it empathy,
but, I mean, the truth of the matter is, Steve Bannon
played a huge role in the final months
of the Trump Campaign. And in the first,
whatever it was, eight months
of the Trump presidency. And to pretend that he didn’t
was silly. And when President Trump issued
the statement — and this is really where the conversation
with Stephen Miller started to go off the rails —
is when I started to ask about the fact
that the President had said Bannon didn’t play a role. And I said, “well, what about
all these issues? I was defending Steve Bannon,
which is one of the reasons why his attack on me and CNN
subsequent — like, you know, we’re liberal media,
we’re biased. I was defending Steve Bannon. [ Laughter ] -That’s liberal?
-You lefty. [ Laughs ] You bleeding heart lefty. You did say he was talking
to a audience of one, and very quickly after,
Donald Trump tweeted — sort of, I felt like brought
truth to the statement. And said, “Jake Tapper,
fake news, just got destroyed “in this interview
with Stephen Miller “of the Trump Administration. “Watch the hatred and unfairness
of the CNN flunky –” I’m sorry about that.
[ Laughter ] But then you wrote back —
-I said “factotum.” -[ Laughs ]
-That’s a word. -[ Laughs ] -You — you wrote
back with an emoji. “Here’s the interview.
Judge for yourself,” So, you certainly — your
feelings weren’t hurt that much.