Right in DC Podcasts

Interview with Mary Kate Cary: Bush 41, William Barr

My guest today on RIGHT IN DC is Mary Kate Cary. She’s a dear friend of mine and also lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, as am I. Mary Kate is a senior fellow at the UVA Miller Center, a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush, and is also a political commentator. She is the Executive Producer of the documentary “41 on 41” (President George H.W. Bush was President #41) which I had the honor to see at its premier. Mary Kate is an expert on Presidential communications and speech writing.

We discuss:

  • Surprising fact about NPR
  • Her time with President Bush and writing speeches for him
  • What happened around the Bush funeral
  • How she started working for William Barr and what he’s like
  • Her testimony before Congress for Barr (https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/download/cary-testimony)
  • Her thoughts about the problems of Virginia Governor Northam and his press conference
  • Her advice to President Trump concerning his SOTU address

MORE:

http://marykatecary.com

https://twitter.com/mkcary

https://millercenter.org/experts/mary-kate-cary

Documentary: https://www.41on41.com/

“Bipodisan” podcast: http://marykatecary.com/podcast-host/

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TRANSCRIPT

Gayle Trotter

I’m so excited to have our guest today, Mary Kate Cary. She’s a dear friend of mine, also from the Washington D.C. area. She’s a graduate of Mr. Jefferson’s University as I am as well.

Mary Kate Cary

Go Hoos.

GT

Yes. Absolutely. It’s going well for us.

She is a senior fellow at the UVA Miller Center. She’s a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush. She’s also a political commentator. You might have heard her on NPR or seen her on the news. She is also the executive producer of 41ON41. If you don’t remember, President George H.W. Bush was president number 41. This is a great documentary about President Bush that I had the honor to see at its premier and it even had a little cameo from Dana Carvey which was quite hilarious. She is also an expert on presidential communications and speechwriting.

Mary Kate, thank you so much for joining us today.

MKC

Thanks for having me, Gayle. I think this is my second time. Early on when you first started your podcast, I remember being on it. It’s an honor to be asked back.

GT

Yes. Thank you so much for being a repeat guest. Mary Kate and I first connected because our children went to school together and you go to these parties for different people in D.C. and there is kind of a secret handshake, I would say, among Republicans, wouldn’t you say, Mary Kate?

MKC

We sure are in D.C. Yes, yes. That’s exactly right.

GT

Mary Kate had done a lot of political commentary for NPR and I was very grateful, because she connected me with some of the folks at NPR and I was able to go on. I will tell you the reporters and the journalists at NPR might be some of the nicest people in the entire country.

MKC

That’s true.

GT

Yet, of course, my opinions are quite shocking to them. I always have to remember my closest liberal friend in law school and talk to her in my head when I’m actually going on NPR.

What tricks do you use when you go and speak on NPR about these very hot and controversial topics going on?

MKC

I got asked one time, it was I want to say maybe the 30th or 40th anniversary of NPR, and they flew in all their station managers and major donors to D.C. and we had to pretend like we were on the air in front of a live audience in a hotel ballroom. It was as if we were doing a show, but we were just really doing a panel, I guess you would say, but they said we’re going to act as if we were doing a show on the air. They brought in the host and everything and so we started doing the show. As you’re aware, there is always a balance on the panel. There is usually a Republican, a Democratic, and an independent on their political panels. Where I see the choice of stories is where you see a little bit more of the bias.

I always assume, like you do, that I am talking to a huge audience that is mostly liberal. This particular day, I finished being on the panel and I saw this crowd of people heading towards me from the audience, and I thought “Uh-oh.”  It’s all over. Is my will in order? [Laughter]

GT

Right. Never a good sign.

MKC

I thought I was about to be killed or something, and they were a huge group of conservatives who were major donors and supporters of NPR. They came over to say, “Stick with it, always go Mary Kate, make your arguments,” and they were all giving me this rah-rah and I said, “Are there conservatives that listen to NPR?” They said, “Oh, absolutely.”  It’s pretty much a third, a third, a third, and there are many areas of the United States, mostly rural, where NPR is the only source of news. They don’t necessarily have local radio and there are a surprisingly a high number of conservatives who get their news from NPR. I don’t feel like that’s really a problem anymore once I learned that. I’m always polite and NPR has a culture of not interrupting and I think that’s great. I think it’s a joy to be on and I’ve always enjoyed it. Like you said, there are lovely people who work there, and very smart and very good at what they do.

GT

They really are and they are very dedicated to the news and it is just fun for me to go blow their minds a little bit. I don’t want to say I’m holding back, but I’m trying to put my most persuasive argument forward. Start with the premise of the shared value, so we all share freedom.

MKC

Exactly.

GT

We all share compassion and then here is how we get to that point. I find it interesting to have that opportunity to go there and actually have that conversation and —

MKC

We’re trying to change people’s minds. It’s respectful behavior and a time to make smart arguments. They might not agree with you on everything, but you might change one person’s mind on something, and that’s worth it.

GT

I think when we first met, you said that part of your approach was trying to be reasonable. I think, particularly given this political environment right now, people on both sides of the argument tend to think the other side is not reasonable at all.

MKC

Right.

GT

Even showing up and having that conversation on NPR, even if you don’t change anybody’s mind, they at least might think there are logical reasons for the positions that Republicans hold instead of just outright bias or ignorance or any other bad motive.

MKC

Agree.

GT

Going back to the documentary a little bit, we had President Bush’s funeral service in the National Cathedral a few months ago. Tell a little bit about your time with President Bush.

MKC

I was a speechwriter for President Bush and when I first joined the staff, I came right off of the 1988 campaign, and I was 23 at the time, by the time I became a speechwriter I was 24 and was a speechwriter for three out of four of the years. The fourth year of the administration, I went over to the Justice Department to work for then Attorney General Bill Barr, who is now back in the news. We can talk about that if you want.

GT

Yes.

MKC

Because I was so young, I was assigned what I think are the most fun speeches but are the most junior speeches. It would be the spelling bee winners, the Girl Scout of the year award winners. Three years in a row, I did the turkey pardoning, very important. In a lot of ways, I think President Bush would have been the first to say he did not consider himself an orator and he didn’t particularly enjoy giving speeches. He was much better one-on-one in interviews. He was very good at press conferences. He was very good on his feet, but he didn’t particularly enjoy giving a high-stakes speech. The ones that were lower stakes and were more about people and normal Americans coming to the White House to be honored for something they’ve done extraordinarily well, he loved that sort of stuff. I think that’s why he and I got along so well, is because we both enjoyed those sort of pegging in and causing the slice of life speeches. That was great fun for me, and it was the best job I’ll ever have.

A few years later, I went on the advisory board of his library, and that allowed me to see him every six months, there would be a board meeting for the library. Sometimes they’d be down at Texas A&M and we’d get to see the Aggies and go to an Aggie football game or an Aggie basketball game, it was so much fun. The other meeting every year was up in Kennebunkport. Mrs. Bush was always with him. I got to know her very well. As he got older and more infirm, the Bush World, as we call it, started making more and more of the funeral plans, as all presidents do.

GT

Right.

MKC

They decided they wanted someone from Bush World on every network so that the members of the press weren’t the only ones defining his legacy. I was tasked with going onto CNN. I had to forego going to the funeral myself and instead sat in the booth and told stories about George Bush. I think it was the right thing to do because many of the reporters that I was on with had never met George Bush and didn’t know him personally. I was able to tell all kinds of funny stories and humanize him and talk about what an amazingly humble and gracious man he was, how he was so well-qualified to be president.

I talked about some of his friendships with world leaders all through the years and all the great things he did from the big stuff, like the end of the Cold War and the first Persian Gulf War to starting the Points of Light movement to some of the domestic achievements like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act. Down to the really personal stuff where I think, for example, one of the reasons he was such a successful leader is because he treated everyone with the same dignity and respect, whether they were the Queen of England or the landscaper at the White House.

I had so many stories about that and I think that’s what young people can learn from him, not to demonize someone else, not to take people for granted, and to treat everyone with the same respect as you would your own brother or sister.

GT

Amen to that.

MKC

It was a joy to be able to do that and then the end of the week, the very end, he got buried down at Texas A&M and I was going to take a rental car back to Houston and fly home the next day and luckily ran into some friends as they were coming out of the graveyard, who were all long-time family friends and staff. They said, “Oh, don’t take your rental car. Jump in this bus with us Mary Kate. We’ll get you back to Houston.”

I jumped on the bus and that was the best thing all week because it was all over and we had an hour and a half on one of those fancy busses, like a greyhound bus, and it was all the long-time staff. Some of his kids were on the bus, Neil Bush was there; some of the grandchildren were there; John Meacham was there. They had a microphone and they just passed the microphone up and down the aisle and we all sat around for an hour and a half and told our greatest George Bush stories. We had wine on the bus; we all toasted President Bush 41 one last time. It was something I’ll never forget. It was just a great ending to the week, just being with all the people he loved so much. It was great.

GT

That sounds like a beautiful time to reminisce about him. Did you learn anything new, in particular, about him from that bus journey or anything during the week? Any surprising stories that, now, you were in charge of a documentary about this man. Was there a new story that you learned?

MKC

I made the mistake. I was wrong. Remember after the Houston funeral, they put him on a train, and the family got on the train, too, and the train went very slowly from Houston to College Station. I had wrongly assumed that this was a time for the family, after this crazy week of this spectacular send off, that had so many events and so many logistics to it, that I thought this would be the time where the family could actually put their feet up for a minute. The group was getting smaller and smaller as it got closer. It wasn’t thousands of people on that train. It was really just the closest family and friends were on that train. I thought I had heard that President Bush had picked out the menu and that there was going to be lunch served. I said, “This is great, thank God these guys gets an hour of peace before they have to do the really hard part and bury him.”  They can all be together and have a nice peaceful moment.

I was totally wrong. The crowds were huge out in rural Texas. People drove in and filled the streets and stood for hours waiting for the train to go by in freezing rain. It was miserable. There were cowboys on horses and apparently President George W. Bush stood the whole time, hanging out the window in the pouring rain waving at everybody. They did not get to put their feet up and have a peaceful moment and eat some lunch.

Afterwards, I was talking to Jean Becker about it and she said that when President Bush was choosing the menu, he said, “Well, I would like to eat,” I forget what the menu was, let’s say it’s turkey sandwiches or something, right? He said, “I would like to eat turkey sandwiches and some iced tea and some pork rinds,” no broccoli, this kind of stuff, and they said, “Sir, we will honor your wishes, but we just need to remind you, you won’t actually be there.”  He says, “Oh, I’ll be there. I just won’t be eating.”  I was, like, isn’t that sweet? He’s, like, “Oh, no, I’ll be right with you. Don’t worry. I’ll be there.”  I just thought that was such a sweet thing for him to say.

GT

That is.

MKC

His spirit would be with them through the whole thing. It was beautiful.

GT

We attended the funeral. Our son was one of the singers in the choir, and we were very fortunate to be at the Cathedral service.

MKC

Oh, congratulations.

GT

I was just blown away by the stories that Senator Simpson told. There were many touching moments. You could debate it, but I think the most touching moment was when President Bush’s pastor from Texas was talking about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and he talked about Secretary Baker, who was one of the most powerful men in American politics, historically, he was rubbing President Bush’s feet in those final hours. Just to think about that kind of friendship that President Bush and Secretary Baker had and the grief that he must have experienced. Then the camera panned to Secretary Baker and he dropped his head and you could tell he got very choked up about it. I think that goes to your point that President Bush was president, that’s amazing. He did lots of important things. We last week interviewed Scott Stump, who is the president of the Desert Storm-Desert Shield Memorial Association. They’re trying to build a memorial near the National Mall in D.C. to memorialize Desert Shield-Desert Storm right near the Lincoln Memorial because that was such as an operation of liberation and freedom.

MKC

Love it.

GT

I think this goes to your point, President Bush, maybe the legacy he left most of all, is in his relationships with individual people and his influence. I think that came across a lot in his funeral.

I want to take that and build on it from your testimony before Congress in the nomination of William Barr. Explain to us a little bit how you came to know Bill Barr and how you came to testify before Congress on his behalf in his nomination hearings.

MKC

Most speechwriters at the White House last about two years. It’s a high burnout job. It’s really a job for young people. There is a reason there is not a lot of 75-year-old speechwriters at the White House. It’s a crazy life with long hours, and you’ve got to be able to jump on a plane and go. It’s crazy.

I felt like I beat the odds, and I didn’t start really getting burned out until the third year. The end of the third year, I started saying, “Oh, my gosh. I’m falling apart here.”  You might recall that Senator John Heinz, who is of Heinz Ketchup.

GT

Yes.

MKC

He died in a plane crash.

GT

Yes.

MKC

Then his Senate seat opened up and so the then Attorney General Dick Thornburgh was from Pennsylvania, he decided to go back home and run for John Heinz’s Senate seat. By the way, footnote to history, Mrs. Heinz ran off with Senator John Kerry, Secretary of State, I don’t know if you remember that.

GT

Yes.

MKC

Another footnote to history is Dick Thornburgh ran against Harris Wofford for that Senate seat and Harris Wofford’s campaign manager was the young James Carville.

GT

No way.

MKC

It was this big upset that Harris Wofford won the Senate seat and Dick Thornburg didn’t. That became kind of the canary in the coal mine that perhaps President Bush’s reelection might not be guaranteed.

GT

Sure, yes.

MKC

That is when Bill Clinton scooped up James Carville and made him his campaign manager.

GT

Wow.

MKC

That was the beginning of that.

Anyway, so a new Attorney General had to get named and Bill Barr was the Deputy Attorney General of the United States and so President Bush nominated him to be the new Attorney General and he needed a spokesman. The word went out, “Does anybody want to oversee the speechwriters and be the spokesman for the Attorney General?”  I raised my hand and said, “Well, that might be a little slower pace and better money. Yeah, that sounds like a good thing to do.”

I went over there and oversaw the speechwriters and was the deputy director of policy and communications, but really what I was was there were two spokesmen for the Attorney General. There is a separate set of spokesmen for the Department of Justice. They’re like civil servants who are in charge of putting out the press releases about litigation and class action lawsuits and whistle blowers and stuff like that. This was different. They’re civil servants. We were political appointees. It was Paul McNulty who went on to become Deputy Attorney General under George W. Bush. Paul had five kids at the time. He managed the sort of Washington press corps. I was not married yet, so I got assigned to do the traveling press corps. If the Attorney General went out to Omaha, I would go with him and made sure he got onto live at 5:00 and made sure the local reporters all got to interview him and set up the press conferences and things like that. It turned out to be a crazy job, too, which so much for that idea.

GT

Be careful what you wish for.

MKC

It was better money, so that’s good.

This was in the days of asset forfeiture and they had seized a small prop plane from a drug dealer and that became the Attorney General’s plane because he was under such a threat that he couldn’t fly commercial. It was a four-seater and there was no bathroom on the plane. If we were flying coast to coast, we stopped in Salina, Kansas, and everybody would get out and go to the bathroom and refuel the plane and keep going.

GT

Wow.

MKC

I got to know him very well, as you can imagine, and we had a great time. He was a terrific Attorney General and like President Bush 41, he had this very broad group of friends who still are his friends to this day. He’s very good at treating everyone the same way, giving everyone respectful listening. Whether they are the secretary answering the phones at the Department of Justice, or a young police chief in Peoria, or the Chief Justice of Supreme Court. It’s remarkable how similar the two are, which is why I think President Bush probably chose him for that job, and he was very successful. As a result, he’s now one of the few people in American history to be asked to be Attorney General twice and I can certainly see why.

GT

That speaks volumes.

MKC

Yeah. It tells you volumes about him.

GT

I’m going to link to your written testimony in the transcript of this podcast. I think the thing that really jumped out at me about your testimony, well, two things. He seems like an amazing guy. I’ve never met him, so I don’t have any personal knowledge of him, but I would say it did seem like in your testimony that you emphasized that he was a gentleman. I think you specifically used that word.

MKC

I did.

GT

You talk about his respect for women. You talked about how he had, I think, it was three daughters —

MKC

That’s right.

GT

when you were working with him, and he was away a lot and it must have been difficult for the family because he was on the road a lot and he had a very demanding job, but all of his daughters chose to go to law school. I couldn’t help but think were you signaling through your testimony, in this “Me too” era that there is no cause for concern with Bill Barr? That your interactions with him flying on this little plane, all over the country, that there was not going to be anything that we saw in perhaps other confirmation hearings in the last six months?

MKC

Correct. I thought, “Why sit and wait to get asked that question?”  I thought, “Preempt the question and just say, ‘This man is an absolute gentleman.'” I was very impressed with the way he carried himself. The way his daughters turned out. The way that he was so kind to me when I was so young, and I was not a lawyer. I was one of the few people on his staff that was not a lawyer and that didn’t make a difference at all. He just treated me as if I was the right person in the right place at the right time. He was just very kind to me.

There is one story I told that I referenced briefly in the testimony, but then I can tell you that the rest of the story. We go to, I think it was Richmond, and he was very involved in this Operation Weed and Seed, which was something he came up with, which was to go into high crime neighborhoods, weed out the violent criminals and then seed the good programs that would help people have more opportunity, get a shot at a good education, start their own businesses, be able to buy a house. All the things that make a neighborhood thrive again. He partnered with Jack Kemp who was then Secretary of HUD.

There was a high-crime neighborhood in Richmond that they were going to do Operation Weed and Seed. It was going to be a joint press conference between Bill Barr and Jack Kemp at 2:00, let’s say, and so we all pull in, in all the limos. I’m there, because it’s outside of Washington, so it’s my job. As we’re pulling in, the FBI says, “Listen, about 10, 15 minutes ago, right before this happened, there was a takedown of a gang. It got very dicey there. There was a lot of bullets flying. We think everything is okay now and the area has been secured, but, just in case, there is a stray bullet, we have two bulletproof vests here. One for you, Mr. Kemp, one for you, Mr. Barr, and would you put these on before you go to the podium.” I’m standing right there, and Bill says, “Well, what about her?”  They said, “We only have two bullet proof vests and she’s out of luck.” More important for you two, not her, to have bulletproof vests on. Of course, we’re surrounded by FBI agents who all have guns and bulletproof vests. I’m the only one to not have one. Bill looks at them and says, “Well, that’s not really going to work.”  He says, “Here, I got an idea, Mary Kate. We’ll be okay. We’ll go to the podium and you stay here. Get back into the armored limo and just keep your head down, okay, but don’t go up there with us. Just stay here, and get in the limo, and keep your head down.”  I was thinking I couldn’t even believe he was even worrying about this. I think any other guy would have strapped on the bulletproof vest and said, “All right. Let’s go,” and gone right up to the podium and wouldn’t have thought for a minute about the 28-year-old kid standing there who doesn’t have a bulletproof vest.

I referenced that in my testimony just to say this tells you volumes, and this is why people admire him so much and are so loyal to him. Believe me, even though I was the person that didn’t have the bulletproof vest in that situation. The agents who were all standing there heard this whole thing, and all looked at each other and were kind of nodding and sort of said, “This is a good guy.” Not every other Attorney General would have gotten that reaction, I don’t think.

He came to my wedding. He and his wife came to my wedding. I got married shortly after we left office and the agents all came because I loved them, too. We’ve all stayed in touch, all these years. The agents still send me Christmas cards 30 years later. It’s just very sweet. He really is a gentleman. He’s a great guy. He’ll be a great Attorney General.

GT

Sounds like he is a real servant leader as they like to say.

MKC

And a brilliant legal mind, which everybody else on the testimony panel was addressing his legal brilliance and I was there just to basically tell great stories.

GT

Right. That sounds like a breath of fresh air in Washington. We have lots of great lawyers, but not lots of great servant leaders.

MKC

He certainly is one of them. I don’t doubt for a minute he will sail through the confirmation. He’ll be good.

GT

Two final questions. You and I are both graduates of UVA. There was a lot of controversy last week about the Governor of Virginia. First, he seemed to say in a radio interview that he was in favor of infanticide. He tried to back off of that and then a couple days later that medical school yearbook photo was published. I think he was age 25 when that came out. Then we saw his press conference this weekend where he kind of went backtracking on whether he was in the photo, the very offensive photo from his medical yearbook.

If you were counseling him for that press conference that he did, it’s not presidential communications, but certainly political communications, what advice would you have given him before that press conference?

MKC

Part of the story was when the story first broke about the yearbook, and he put out a written statement first, the written statement did not have him resigning, but the written statement had a very apologetic tone. He was horrified at this, it was very well written and then the press conference was a complete 180. Not horrified and not apologetic. It was really to the point where I thought, “Did he not have anything to do with that written statement?”  Did someone else write it and say, “Sir, we’re putting this out”?

GT

I think you’re right.

MKC

It really struck me as a total disconnect and then the whole Michael Jackson and his wife tell him not to moonwalk, I think something is very wrong here. I can’t quite figure out the explanation for it. Obviously, I think he needs to resign. He should have resigned on Friday. When he put that statement out is when he should have resigned. I find the whole thing very disturbing and why this didn’t come out sooner is mystifying to me. How he got elected with this out there is mystifying and when you add the infanticide comments earlier, which from a policy point of view are equally horrific.

GT

Yes. Thank you.

MKC

I find the whole thing to be a complete disgrace and I wish him well. I hope he comes to his senses and does the right thing and leaves office. I’m concerned that he’s just not acting right. There is something off here.

GT

I think most people don’t realize that the Virginia governorship is a one-term governorship, so it’s very hard for anyone to be forced out. He doesn’t really need the state legislature to do stuff. He’s the executive of Virginia for the next period of time and obviously he’s not going to have any political career after this. It would be hard to force him to resign.

MKC

One insight that somebody shared with me last night, the Lieutenant Governor is African American and also Democratic and under the current rules in Virginia, if Governor Northam would step aside, the Lieutenant Governor would step up and be the Governor for the next three years out of four and then could run for a second term, which would really be his first term, because there is no second term in Virginia. From the strategic DNC chairman’s point of view, there is nothing to lose by saying that Northam should step down, because chances are, you could have a Democratic governor for seven years instead of for the next three. I think that helped explain why so many Democrats came out so fast and said he’s got to resign because they had nothing to lose.

If it had been a Republican Lieutenant Governor, things may have been a little different. I think the political side of it, as you’re pointing out, is fascinating because Virginia, I think, is the only state in the Union where you cannot get reelected as Governor which needs to change. You’re an instant lame duck. It’s a dumb system.

GT

Lame duck. Immediately.

Here is my final question:  We have the State of the Union coming up this week and you are an expert in presidential communications, and you have the connection with President H.W. Bush’s administration. A lot of people have said that President Trump’s “build the wall” is equivalent to President George H.W. Bush’s, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” We’re going to see this State of the Union. We’re going to see what kind of chessmanship President Trump has to try and deliver on this campaign process of “build the wall.”

What advice would you give President Trump going into this very controversial — I don’t think we’ve ever seen the build up to a State of the Union so controversial as this one. What advice would you give President Trump?

MKC

President Trump is different from his predecessors in that he has a direct pipeline that he has been using for good or for bad, directly to the American people, through Twitter. In the past, other presidents (say President Reagan or President Bush 41 or even as recent as early Obama), presidents used the State of the Union address to go around the mainstream media and directly address the American people.

The problem is that the State of the Union address is not an interesting speech to give. It’s a legislative laundry list in a lot of ways and you’re talking about your priorities. There is no room for a lot of stories. There is not room for any humor. It’s a difficult slog, and it’s a long speech. It’s hard to use that as an effective communications tool. That is why President Reagan started with, I don’t know if you remember, Lenny Skutnik. The guy who dove into the Potomac River to save the people on the Air Florida flight. That was the beginning of trying to bring stories into the State of the Union to try and make it a more effective communications device.

In the past, that was why you did the State of the Union, was to try and speak over the heads of the people in the chamber and talk to the cameras and talk to the American people. President Trump doesn’t necessarily need to do that, and he’s been having trouble getting the people in the chamber to negotiate with him. Remember he kept inviting them to lunch and they won’t come. They all left town and he stayed there waiting.

GT

Yes. “I’m lonely in the White House.”

MKC

Yeah. For one time here, I think maybe you don’t talk to so much to the American people. Maybe you try and really talk to the people in that room and sort of put them on the spot and see if you can persuade them to change their minds and turn on the charm, and he has a reputation. I’ve never been in the room with Donald Trump, but I’ve heard that when you’re in the room with him, he can be very, very charming. That’s not a crazy idea. Don’t go in like he has in the past, loaded for bear. Maybe this time he should try a little something different and talk to the people in the room and see if he can convince them, as you were saying, the shared values, the things that they agree on. They all are in favor of border security, and there are many people who want to do a deal that involves the dreamers. There is a bargain to be had in there and I think he could turn the tables on them and not do what everyone expects him to do and try something a little different. So that would be my advice to him is turn the tables on them in the room and see what you can do to change their minds and come out with a win.

GT

That is a brilliant suggestion. Adequately directed to President Trump and his speechwriters, I think, and you gave it for free.

MKC

They will. I should be charging millions for my advice. Oh, well.

GT

That’s exactly right. Mary Kate, thank you so much for joining us today. Where can people find out more about you or where can they find you on social media if they want to continue the conversation and learn more about what you’re doing?

MKC

Great. I have a website, www.marykatecary.com and I am on Twitter @mkcary. I have a podcast myself called Bipodisan (www.bipodisan.com) in which we try and cross the aisle and talk to Democrats. It’s an Obama speechwriter and myself, and we interview all kinds of fascinating people and have a great time. It’s Bipodisan on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. Join us.

GT

Thank you, Mary Kate.

MKC

Thank you for having me. It’s a joy to talk to you, Gayle. I always admire everything you’re doing, and I just think you do a great job. Thanks.

GT

This is Gayle Trotter. You can follow me on Facebook, you can like me on Twitter, you can like me on Instagram. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel. You can support this podcast on Patreon and we have brand new Right in DC t-shirts if you support us on Patreon. This is Right in DC.

About the author

Gayle Trotter

Gayle Trotter is an attorney, political analyst and columnist who regularly appears on TV, such as Fox News, contributes to The Hill, The Daily Caller, Townhall and other well-known political websites, and is a frequent guest on radio shows across the country providing an insider’s view of Washington, DC. Read More