Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday and moderator of the third and final presidential debate, shared his predictions for president-elect Donald Trump’s time in office with attendees of PLMA’s 2016 Private Label Show Monday.
“The big story in D.C. is the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, which I would have to say is the biggest political stunner in my lifetime. Trump in his acceptance speech said he couldn’t have done it without his rock, the love of his life, FBI director James Comey,” joked Wallace of the president-elect who “intends to take a wrecking ball to the work of the Obama administration.”
Among Trump’s first orders of business will be “undoing Obama’s executive orders of deferring deportation of people who are in this country illegally, possibly on day one,” according to Wallace.
"For the last four years Obama largely ignored Congress and ruled by executive action,” he said. “Now were going to see the flip side of that because anything a president does, not by working with Congress but by writing a law and signing that law through the stroke of a pen, can be undone with a stroke of a pen and you can be sure that Trump will score the early points by doing just that.”
Wallace also said that “Obama’s executive action on climate change [will be] undone within hours of the inauguration.”
Repealing Obamacare, on the other hand, is more complicated and will take time, he said.
“Through a process called budget reconciliation Republicans of Congress can repeal much of what’s in the president’s plan without having to face a Democratic filibuster in the Senate,” said Wallace. “Insiders tell me that they’re likely to repeal, if not the law then many major elements of Obamacare and keep it in place for a while while they work out the details of how they’ll replace it and no one will lose their health insurance during the interim.”
Trump will also get his choice for the Supreme Court “one way or another,” said Wallace. Once a conservative Justice is named, Republicans will control all three branches of government.
“Republicans have a secret weapon in their back pocket,” he explained. “The GOP was the minority and kept blocking Obama’s nominations so the Democrats employed something that’s known in Washington as the nuclear option. They changed the rules of the Senate so that nominations in the lower courts and in the administration were no longer subject to filibusters but could be passed by a simple majority of 51 votes instead of a super majority of 60 votes. Well Republicans cried fowl over that but now that we have a Republican president and Republican control of the Senate, we can be sure that if you try to block Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court with a filibuster, something that incidentally has never been done in our history of a Supreme Court nominee, that will extend the nuclear option to cover that as well.”
Wallace also shared a list of things he thinks Trump won’t do. “What was just campaign rhetoric that will fall by the side?” he asked. “My guess is quite a lot.”
Trump will only have a year or two to push through his agenda before the mid-term elections, when Republicans may lose control of the Senate. Wallace expects that the president-elect will drop his promise to assign a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton.
When asked by Leslie Stahl of CBS’ “60 Minutes” if he intends to appoint a special prosecutor for this purpose, Trump said that the Clintons are “good people” and that he would “think about it.”
Wallace also expects that Trump will “go slow” on massive deportation of those who are in this country illegally.
“My guess is he will push to secure the border,” said Wallace. “I’m not sure it’ll be an actual wall for the entire length of our border with Mexico, but I think it will emphasize more security and he will delay moving on deportation.”
During the “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, Trump said he intends to deport approximately 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants, focusing first on those with criminal records. He also said that he intends to build a wall at the border with Mexico but that it could take the form of a fence in certain areas.
Wallace is eager to see which Trump we’ll get in the Oval Office.
Will it be the “boisterous, politically incorrect ham of the primaries or the more sober, disciplined, more presidential Trump that we saw in Washington this last week? My guess is that we’ll see a mix of both and that will be the most fascinating aspects of covering or watching this president.
“I’ve spent private time with Trump and he is very different off camera. Quiet, well-mannered, a grownup. But I’ve also seen the public Trump … and that’s a different man. He can be extremely thin-skinned, especially when you ask him about his business practices. When he gets attacked he punches back even harder and he does have a tendency to shoot from the lip without thinking through all the implications. That can be exciting, even charming in a public figure but dangerous for a president whose every word can roil the financial markets and set off our allies and enemies around the world.”