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A Climate Change with Matt Matern Climate Podcast

01: Rick Gates, Author & Former Trump Campaign Chairman

Guest Name(s): Rick Gates

Rick Gates discusses Trump’s impact on the GOP, advocating for election integrity and criticizing the Mueller investigation as biased. He denies collusion with Russia and refutes claims about nefarious activities with Oleg Deripaska. Gates condemns the Capitol riot, emphasizing political frustrations and advocating for dialogue to overcome partisanship.

Wicked Games: An Insider’s Story on How Trump Won, Mueller Failed, and America Lost >>

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In a factual firsthand account of this turbulent period in our nation’s history, Donald Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign chairman takes us deep behind the scenes to examine the truth about how Trump won, why the Mueller investigation failed, and how the current state of presidential politics is tearing apart the very fabric of our democracy.
Rick Gates, author and former Trump Campaign manager.
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I’ve got Rick Gates here, appreciate you being on the opening broadcast of unite and heal America, you were out front and center of the Trump 2016 campaign. Also in the Muller investigation that followed, then you wrote a book about it your experience the Wicked Game and insider story on how Trump won, Muller failed and America lost. I’ve read the whole book from cover to cover and thought it raised some interesting points.

And I’m glad to have you here to ask you some questions about what came up during the book, reading the book and more broadly asked you about some of your experiences before ever getting involved in President Trump’s 2016. Campaign, as well as your thoughts on how the Republican Party has been essentially taken over by Trump and Trumpism. Since 2016.

Matt, it’s great to be with you. Thanks very much for having me. It’s interesting when we look at the Republican party today under Trump, and when we started, you know, Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016, it was a very different situation back then the party was very much against an outsider, they were very much against Donald Trump, you could see that in every debate, every meeting every instance, where Donald Trump started to gain traction.

And what we saw from you know, behind the scenes, was a republican party that was very entrenched in established traditions, and did not anticipate an outsider coming in and winning the presidency. And what really, we saw was really the same catalyst that you saw on the 2020 election, and that there was a sentiment from people that they were tired of politics and politicians. So as a result, this guy had this idea of an outsider coming in, was very fresh, it was very new, and people wanted to give an outsider an opportunity. So you know, all throughout that process, we had obstacle after obstacle.

And, you know, throughout, you know, President Trump’s administration, that same process applied. And I think, you know, as we move forward in history, we’ll be able to look back and really determine what Donald Trump brought to the presidency and how he literally up ended the Republican Party, and now actually is the leader of the party even after you know, most people believe he has been defeated. In the 2020 election.

This is very unusual situation, most of the time, a party leader has been defeated, kind of moves on and goes away, does the exact opposite with President Trump. I mean, he is going to be here for a defined period of time moving forward. And I think you’re likely going to see him make an announcement that he’s going to run for election again in 2024, as well,

well, let’s follow up on that point. Most people think he’s been defeated. Where do you fall in that spectrum? Do you feel he’s been defeated?

I feel that he’s been defeated in a fraudulent election. Yes. And I want to be very clear, because I know there’s a lot of rhetoric, a lot of people have kind of, you know, put a definition of fraud. For me, fraud is fraud, whether it’s 10 votes, or 10 million votes. The fact that we had it in this election gives rise to a lot of the rhetoric that has been going a lot of the requests have been made to do investigations, audits, and other activity related to really getting to the root of it. What we’ve had is fraud for decades in this country. And at the end of the day, we just never paid attention to it, because it hasn’t really mattered in the 2020 race, it was very close, it meant a lot. So it look any American should want to get to the full bottom of the details so that we have an process full of integrity and legitimacy. And right now that does not exist. So until we can clear the air on this. We need to we need to you know, dig deeper.

Well, let’s just take this inch by inch. So if you’re saying it’s a fraudulent election, was there sufficient fraud to sway the outcome? Attorney General Barr had said that he did not after the Justice Department and the FBI investigated did not find sufficient information to show that it would have changed the results of the election. Do you believe that the Attorney General’s and the FBIs findings were not accurate? And if so, please point to specific instances where that would support your case?

Sure. First, I’d say they’re incomplete versus inaccurate. And I think we need to look at you know, a lot of their findings. Look, again, what Bill Barr did, you know, particularly on the way out is the press conference he did right before he left office, he actually admitted that there was fraud in the elections. Now, to your point, yes, he said there was not a systemic level of fraud that would have changed the result of the election.

But you know, as as one opinion of many Americans, for me, fraud is fraud, if we don’t have a fair process, then we need to make sure the process is transparent and free and fair. And we got to fix that first and foremost. So when you go through each individual state, sure, we could dedicate you know, probably an entire day to going through each state talking about dead people that voted. You know people that have moved away from the state that actually filed two ballots.

You know, one in one state one and another. We can talk about, you know, a host of other fraudulent activity that took place. But again, for me, personally, the fraud is the fraud, we need to take a much deeper look at this and make sure that we’re, you know, giving legitimacy to these elections. And you know, the interesting thing that is going on right now, you don’t see a decrease in the number of people that believe there was fraud in the election, you’re actually seeing an increase.

And that increase is now crossed over where Democrats actually believe that there was fraud in the election. They’re just not going to argue about it, because obviously, their guy won. Well,

I guess, taking Georgia for an example. And Georgia has a Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. And a governor, there was a Republican, and they investigated this, the Secretary of State found two dead people had voted. So yes, that occurred, but it was insubstantial, and it’s not going to change results. So yes, in a country where there are 150 million votes cast, will there be some instances of fraud?

I mean, you can’t squeeze all of it out of the system, where there’s zero. But I think that we’ve gotten to the point where it’s reliable. And like President Trump had stated that, oh, he won Georgia by 400,000 votes. Well, that is clearly false. I mean, there’s no way he won it by 400,000 votes. Do you believe that he wanted by 400,000 votes?

No, I don’t believe you won by 4,000 votes, I do believe 100,000. Exactly. 400,000. Yeah. So you know, but given the small margin of just over 11,000 votes, I mean, that you raise the perfect example. And to some extent, I agree with you, you know, there were a number of actions taken by the Secretary of State of Georgia and the governor that we’re looking into the election fraud, you had recounts? Well, the recounts don’t work if you actually don’t do an audit.

So after they did three recounts, they finally agreed to do a partial audit. And within that partial audit, they did find fraud. Again, they wouldn’t go into detail about how much but it was enough to expand the audit to a more representative Democrat piece of Georgia.

And then the thing that was I think most interesting is I did not realize this until recently, but the Trump campaign has requested a lot of the information that the Georgia Secretary of State alleged to have to say that, hey, we investigated this, and we found no fraud, but they wouldn’t provide any of that information to either of the campaign. Well, my problem with that is if we’re going to do that we need to be as transparent as possible, so that the election is as legitimate as possible. Well, that’s exactly what we didn’t have in Georgia.

What do you think that Brad Rapp Hunsberger found evidence of systemic fraud that would have elected President Trump and he’s withholding it as the Republican Secretary of State? I mean, that seems a little bit unbelievable. I mean, I could maybe believe that a Democrat might feel partisan Lee affiliated with Biden, but Ralph Hunsberger certainly isn’t.

Right. And I agree, I don’t think like, for example, the Dominion issues. I still think, you know, there needs to be a thorough investigation. I don’t think people have enough information to really draw, you know, conclusions about that at this time.

I think that needs to be investigated further, Was there enough fraud in Georgia, Georgia is a very unique situation, because the vote count was only by 11,000. So if we go back and we do a entire audit of the mail in ballots of Georgia, just start with that, do it do an audit of the mail in ballots? I think you’ll be surprised at how many fraudulent ballots you actually found.

Well, the see that, to me, is speculation on your part, that you you believe that you’re going to find all this fraud and that it is going to tip the balance of power. You know, you’re you’re speculating, you don’t know that. I mean, now I can see you’re saying you want that to happen. But you can’t say in advance, you know that the result is going to be President Trump wins. That’s speculation. And why would we object to that and say that calls for speculation because you don’t have that information.

President Trump doesn’t have that information. And see, that’s the problem that I have with President Trump speculating widely saying, Hey, I won. If he said, let’s look at this. Let’s investigate it. Let’s audit it. That’s a reasonable statement, saying I won. And there was fraud involved. That’s improper, because he has no factual basis to show that he won. And that fraud was involved. Because it he’s saying he has an audited, so how can he know that there was fraud involved?

Well, and that’s exactly the point. Let’s get the facts. Let’s get the evidence. There are barriers by each state that don’t permit campaigns to actually thoroughly get that evidence. And that’s the point I’m making about Georgia. Robins burger has more information. He just hasn’t shared that information with the general public part of it.

They say it’s due to the Privacy Act. Maybe it’s True, maybe it’s not. But at the end of the day when you’re this close in an election in a state so critical, why would you want to be transparent and open across the board? Why do we have so many hidden secrets, you know, within our state and federal government about not sharing information with the people that deserve to see it?

Well, I absolutely believe in transparency. And I certainly have no objection to transparency. I think this election had observers all over the place. There were lawyers and observers all up and down the state of Georgia and all over the 50 states. So there were lots of eyes on this. And lots of very senior Republicans, like Pat Toomey and senator from Pennsylvania have said, hey, there wasn’t systemic fraud in Pennsylvania. But President Trump still isn’t accepting the result there.

There’s no reason why Senator Toomey is is saying that to benefit Joe Biden. So that’s the problem I have is that, you know, allegations of systemic fraud are made without evidence, hey, we’ve had two months to gather facts and we still haven’t seen facts that support these contentions that President Trump is making. Now, we got to cut for a commercial break. But we’ll be right back with Brad gates and a chance to talk to him a little bit more about his book and some of the political things that are going on right now.

Matt Matern here with Unite and Heal America with Rick Gates and wanted to talk to us about what is happening on the Capitol Hill today with people taking over the US Capitol. And isn’t this impart incited by or certainly encouraged by President Trump?

Look, what’s happened today on Capitol Hill is absolutely unacceptable. The violence cannot be tolerated. But I want to take two approaches to it. You know, the sentiment that you have seen today is in large part, the exact sentiment that gave a rise to President Trump’s presidency. And that is the anger among the people over politics and politicians.

And it’s very prevalent. It’s very pervasive. And this is where the American people have felt like they have not been able to get their voice heard that media has obviously been a huge culprit in that, you know, of late and as a result of all that it has created this sentiment in these people. Now it doesn’t justify any type of violence. Peaceful protest is exactly what we should you know, adhere to?

Do. I believe that the President instigated this absolutely not any more than I do believe Joe Biden instigated, you know, Antifa. And Black Lives Matter, you know, protest, everybody makes their own choice in their own decision, the President as commander in chief, and as the President has a very strong voice, a very strong rhetoric, but everybody has known that he the one thing about Donald Trump has not changed since he started running for election in 2016.

What does this does this do any damage to our democracy, this storming of the Capitol and interrupting a major vote on who is going to be president and the counting of the Electoral College votes? Yeah, it certainly disrupts the process, I was very much looking forward. Honestly, as a student of politics, to see all this unfold, I love to see our democracy in action. I love to see the Constitution tested. It’s never been tested to this length before, I think we were going to see a lot of interesting things come out of that debate.

You know, Senator Ted Cruz had outlined a number of key points that he was going to walk through. And I just think it would have been great as a exercise in democracy for the American people and and the people around the global community to see. So from that perspective, I am disappointed that it was disrupted, you know, by by individual protesters.

With that said, that is democracy and action in itself, right. I mean, these people wanted to be heard, they felt they were being suppressed by politics and politicians, and they chose to, you know, come up to Capitol Hill and, and make their presence known. My opinion went a little too far. But you know, we are where we are, and we got to deal with it moving forward.

But I’d say more than a little bit too far. I mean, storming the Capitol and breaking things and coming in to disrupt a vote of the United States. Congress is a little more than normal, free speech rights. When you say,

Well, yeah, look, but it’s no different than Antifa Black Lives Matter protests all over the country, you know, those went, you know, well across the line as well. And I think, Matt, what it shows is exactly where we are, you know, in America today, and we are very divided. But the difference is we’re divided emotionally on political issues.

And I think, you know, as Americans, we’ve lost the art, to be able to have political discussions with one another and listen and learn from each other. You and I may disagree on points, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a discussion and talk about it.

And at the end of the day, agree to disagree, but still have an engaging and polite discussion, where we’re sharing ideas and maybe I learned something from you that I didn’t know before that is completely been lost on America for a very long time. well in advance of, you know, Donald Trump running for office, but you know, his his election was able to take that sentiment and really bring it out into the into the open for Are you no all Americans to see?

Now I would imagine you’re not going to agree with this. But I see Trump as a tragically flawed figure. I mean, that where you say in your book that Trump speaks hyperbolically and where I come hyperbolically We call it dishonesty. I mean, in the Midwest, we just say, he’s lying to us, he doesn’t seem to have a regard for the truth. And to me, that’s a that’s a disqualifying factor.

For somebody who’s leading the country, we need to have somebody that we can trust. And when they say, hey, it’s this way. It’s this way. Is anybody perfect? No. But I think there’s a rigorousness. I mean, the party of Lincoln was based upon a man, President Lincoln, who was very honest, I mean, that was his moniker. And now we’ve got somebody who who does not believe in that as a method of transacting the country’s business.

Well, first and foremost, I agree, we’re all flawed, right. And so, you know, all of this falls short of what it means to be a perfect person. With that said, if you’re going to apply that same kind of litmus across the board, then you know, that would, you know, basically discount the entirety of Congress and probably most people inside of government.

I mean, the problem we have now is, we don’t even know what the truth is that barometer has been so shattered. I mean, I could turn on CNN and you know, Newsmax and and listen to both. I couldn’t tell you, you know, what’s truth and what’s fiction. And that’s, again, a very unfortunate for us to be in as a country. And I think we need to find, you know, a way out of that. I would love to see, here’s a great idea.

Why don’t we hold Congress to that same standard that you just mentioned? Why don’t we, you know, put every member of Congress under oath every time they speak publicly? I guarantee you, that’ll change the rhetoric and the discourse from a lot of these members on both sides of the aisle. I’m not saying it’s one or the other. It’s both no question about it.

Well, I agree that people congressman, and in particular need to watch what they say. But I believe that President Trump was well beyond normal in his disregard for the truth. But he is a function of a broken system, in my humble opinion. But, you know, you talked about dysfunction division, hatred in America.

And isn’t it true that President Trump has exacerbated some of these trends with his actions and his extreme rhetoric, and we could go on with lots of examples, such as good people on both sides in Charlottesville and making comments about the Mexican American judge who was hearing the case against the Trump University and saying that he was going to be biased against him, you know, things like that, that just are very divisive. You know, it’s hard to support somebody who, who speaks that way. Why can you still support him through all that?

Well, absolutely. And it’s a great question. And it’s a fair question. And I think when you look at the way that he’s treated is the entirety of his campaign. As I said, from the beginning, everybody knew who he was everybody knew what they were getting. And whether you like his rhetoric, or don’t he, the two things that he prided himself on is that he was not politically correct.

And he is not presidential. He never wanted to be a politician. And I absolutely would think you would agree that he’s checked all those boxes. And from from that standpoint, he he maintained the same path. Now, did he exasperate it? To some extent, absolutely. That was part of who he is. What he liked to do is he liked to formulate his opinion about an issue, and then go out and message around that most politicians, they want to know what the people are thinking.

And then they come back, and they try to do their messaging around that, which is in large part why many of them haven’t had strong convictions. But there’s one misnomer that, you know, I want to make sure we get out there. And, you know, a lot of people say, you know, Trump created the chaos that we’re in now. And I do absolutely disagree with that. And we’ve had chaos for decades, the chaos has always been there. Have there been moments where he is absolutely exasperated it, of course, that’s part of who he is, as a person.
And when he brings out some of that, it’s, you know, there are people that were not happy with that, as demonstrated in the 2020 election. But at the end of the day, there was certainly a majority in 2016, that absolutely got behind that, because again, they were tired of the system. They were tired of politicians who did nothing for the average American people. And that’s what Trump gave rise to. He gave a voice to those people that felt they didn’t have a voice before.

You’re on KABC 790 with Matt Matern, I’m here talking with Rick Gates. And we’re talking about both his recent book Wicked Game, which is about politics and America and his experience, wanted to kind of pivot to the Muller investigation and how you got caught up in that.

I realize it’s, it’s a bit of a long story, but there’s some things in there you you bring a different perspective to it, obviously, because you were actually involved in it on the ground and felt the weight of a prosecution that you didn’t feel like was fair, but certainly at the end of the day, you did plead to some, some offenses and, you know, maybe you can give us your take on how that went down and the most important things that are takeaways from you coming out of that investigation?

Sure, I think the first and most important takeaway is that, you know, in my own experiences, and I know other people have had the shared experience that the justice system is broken, as well as the political system. And in some ways, the justice system is even more broken. And, you know, I was unfortunate to have to look at it, you know, from the inside out.

But I will tell you without a doubt, and look, we know a lot more today than we did three years ago, when all this started. And this is a great example of what we were talking about earlier about transparency, there is so much dishonesty by individuals within our government agencies, that is just unfathomable, that they were able to get away with some of the things that they did. And we can go through, you know, specific details as I do in the book, but just to give you a couple that some of the tactics that they used, you know, illegal, probably not unethical, absolutely.

But they, you know, these prosecutors under Bob Muller, they were driving toward one mission, and that was to remove President Donald Trump. There’s no question about it, you look at the rhetoric and a lot of these prosecutors today. There’s no question they’re biased, you know, so this idea that we go back and say, Oh, I can do my job, you know, as a government official, not be politically motivated. That’s absolutely absurd. And I think it’s a great opportunity for us to look at our system and see where it’s broken.

And look, more information is coming out, you know, John Durham, has been given special special counsel status. How many times do we does the Department of Justice actually set up an investigation to investigate the investigators. So I think, you know, based on, you know, some of the informations come out, President Trump has done a great job at one thing that’s declassified documents, it certainly gives me motivation to encourage other presidents to do it as well.

And I think past presidents should have done it. We are losing sight of of being able to be transparent within our government. And that’s what’s created this whole idea of, you know, Matt, particularly over the last four years of where there was just an attack attack attack against President Trump. And you know, whether you again, you like them or not there, you could absolutely agree that this is there’s no President’s been attacked on more issues than him in a presidential administration.

And what we have found out about the Muller probe now, you know, in my own words, you know, for me, it was the it was the greatest crime perpetrated by Americans against Americans on American soil. And I think as we move forward in time more information is going to come out the historical record is going to be much different than it was three years ago, when, you know, certain individuals inside government decided that, hey, there was collusion with Russia, when not one single instance, you know, was was promoted.

But as a result of all that a number of us were used as pawns to get to Donald Trump. And as the record shows, there was absolutely, look, I worked with him on the campaign for 2016. I knew nothing about his business affairs, what he had done in the 80s, the 90s. You know, all I could comment, you know, was on the political nature of the work and his campaign, and it had nothing to do with Russians. I was there front and center and there was absolutely no collusion. And the FBI said the same thing,

Rick, I’m gonna have to get back to this way after we get back from the break. I’m here with Rick Gates, we’re talking about the Wicked Game. We’re on AM 790 This is Matt Matern. We’re on the show Unite and Heal America. So we’ll be back in just a minute.

This is Matt Matern, back talking with Rick Gates, about the Wicked Game, his book about an insider story and how Trump won Muller failed and America last, Rick, wanted to get back to you about how you actually got involved with Paul Manafort getting hired by Trump in 2016. And one of the big questions I had was man afford volunteered for this job.

And my understanding was that was not getting paid by the Trump campaign to come in and do that work. Is that correct? Yes, that is correct. That kind of struck me as a bit odd. Because just generally in business, you guys are consultants, you want to get paid for your work? Why would you come in and take on such an enormous task and not get paid for it?

Yeah, there’s actually a very good and simple answer that and if you look at historically, where Paul Manafort came in, in the context of presidential elections, he had worked on a number of presidential campaigns through the years. But there was a period of time when he did not work on us in US politics, and he was doing a lot of work internationally.

And one of the opportunities, you know, when Donald Trump decided to run, and Paul had a number of former colleagues that were also looking at supporting Trump, it was an opportunity for Paul to get back into American politics. And it’s actually not very uncommon for people at that level to volunteer. There are plenty of volunteers.

You know, in other presidential administrations, it’s usually you know, the line staff that you know, need the basic salaries you know, to get by But somebody that had done as much work as Paul, he was there, he knew what to do. And frankly, Donald Trump had a much different approach to campaign. He self financed.

Everybody, I guess I had a follow up question that which is, wasn’t it true that Manafort and I guess you as well, because you’re working with Manafort, we’re having some financial challenges, because work was drying up in the Ukraine, and or it seemed as though there were financial stressors on Manafort at that time, correct?

Yes, that’s correct. I document that in the book. And that was related to the international work, where the political parties that Paul had been working for, had severed and split. And so he was trying to rely on that. But at the same time, he also had an interest in getting back involved in US politics as well. And the presidential cycle presented a great opportunity.

And one of the things I kind of wanted to ask you about was this Deripaska, Olga Oleg Deripaska, who had sued you and Paul Manafort on a couple of different occasions, one in a 2018 lawsuit, where Deripaska had alleged that 18 point 9 million that was meant to invest in a Ukrainian TV venture, the Black Sea cable company had vanished, what’s the status of that case? And they’ve been resolved?

Yeah, so that case is, from my understanding, still ongoing, it’s been put on hiatus, because of a lot of the activity related to Paul’s other case. And I don’t know if that’ll resurface or not. But yeah, I mean, that was a, you know, a period of time where I look, I was there front and center. There was no wrongdoing at all, it was at the time, the Ukraine into the world market, if you recall, in 2008, was up ended economically and financially, and it created extreme hardship on the company.

And I’m sure we don’t want to get into all the details of Ukrainian cable company. But absolutely, you know, I was deposed for a case along that line, and provided you know, factual information, truthful information on that, and there was nothing nefarious about it, Paul and oleic had a long standing relationship. And it’s my understanding that they work some of that out.

And as I learned, you know, through the Muller investigation, which was I thought fascinating, is that, you know, Ollie had actually been working with US authorities, one specific instance, he was working with the FBI to recover an American, you know, agent, and he financed, the whole operation was helping the Americans because the Americans couldn’t get into Iran, where only a business there and was able to do so.

So, you know, a lot of the stuff that, you know, you’re raising that is interesting for me personally, because there’s a lot of it that I didn’t know about until the Muller investigation, and there’s a lot more links between government agencies, and a lot of the foreign participants that, you know, we were involved with, that we’re actually working with the United States government.

And certainly, it’s, it’s useful to get that information. But one of the things that you didn’t discuss in the book, which I thought was kind of an important fact, for a reader to know was that there was a $10 million a year contract with Manafort its company and Deripaska for lobbying project that Manafort had said, quote, would greatly benefit the Putin government. And that was entered into in 2006. So can you tell us a little bit about that? Yeah, sure.

And like it is with everything, you know, with the media, particularly, it’s either taken out of context, or a lot of the details are not provided that contract when specifically for an organization that oleic had an idea to set up to help former Soviet countries enter into democratic values, democratic standards hold free and fair elections. And that was not just within eastern Europe, but it expanded, you know, to parts of Asia. And the idea is even in, you know, Eastern Europe, for example, a former Communist Bloc countries, a lot of the individuals in those countries are actually big believers in capitalism and democracy because that democracy promotes stability.

And that is something a lot of those countries never had. So when everybody the media descended on this contract, they made it look like, you know, Paul was taking 10 million from Oleg for nefarious purposes. Nobody ever got into the details of going through the entity that was set up some of the countries that had been worked on the Democratic campaigns that were being waged in those countries.

And I think it’s just a disservice that, you know, people don’t want to look into all the details, they just want to, you know, often look at what the media is putting out there, particularly if it’s political, because most times in political stuff, you’re either on one side or the other. And, and I did think that, you know, to the whole point of your show, you know, we got to find a way to be able to come to the middle ground and be balanced on a lot of these issues, including how we look at, you know, you know, individuals that are doing this type of work.

Well, absolutely. And I think there are shades of gray here, and certainly you make some points in the book as to President Obama’s potential mistakes and handling the Ukraine and maybe driving the Ukraine into the arms of the Russians a little bit by not supporting the Ukraine more around 2013-2014 and certainly That’s a legitimate criticism of them, or certainly at least something we should look at.

We should have a discussion about, and we should take these relationships Seriously though, I did find faults in the way you presented Trump’s dealings with the current President of Ukraine and kind of sloughing that off saying, it’s no big deal that he was essentially saying, Hey, we’re going to hold up $400 million of military aid to you, unless you say you’re going to announce there’s an investigation against Joe Biden, and to me that’s wrong. He’s using the power of the presidency to attack a political rival. I don’t I don’t see how you can support that.

What’s your…

Well, on that? On that point? There are a number of instances in every presidential administration. Why did we find out about that, in large part because President Trump himself declassified those cables in those transcripts? Why isn’t any other president?

You know, we certainly no, I would, I would stop you there and say, we found out of it, because there was a whistleblower who reported it, and then it became public. I mean, it was right, you felt it was it? It wasn’t President Trump but saying, Hey, I did this, by the way.

No, I I’m not saying he stepped up and said, This is what I did. He actually presented the transcript that people could read for themselves. And I think that’s a function of I would love every president to do that. I think the American people, I think that that’s talking about process more than the actual mechanics of what happened, and the substance of it, and the substance of it was, he was using the power of the US presidency and the US government to influence a government to benefit him by attacking his political rival, Joe Biden. To me, that’s the problem.

Right? It’s surprising. You seem shocked by that, like as if this is the first.

No, I’m not saying that it shocks me in terms of the government of the United States has never done anything nefarious, but it’s wrong. So the point you’re trying to then make is as a classic kind of President Trump point, which is pointing to other instances of misconduct and saying,

Well, that’s a reason to get away from it. It’s like I robbed a bank, but that guy killed somebody, you know, you, let’s just look at the bank robbery first. And then, you know, the the other stuff will sort itself out. But I do want to let you know that I read your book, and I actually found a minor mistake on your page 201. I think you got the date wrong. He said January 29 2017. Was your queen for the day interview? I think that must have been 2018.

Exactly right. 2018.

So just to give you proof that I did actually read the book.

I read it very intently that because that’s there’s only one other person that found that it’s since been corrected.

Yes, that is correct. So pivoting from that, to getting back to kind of more current policy issues. Is President Trump going to pardon his kids and Jared Kushner and himself? Or is, is that not going to happen?

I personally don’t believe so. And the mere fact is, you know, in a big announcement today, I think will help with that. And that was the appointment of Merrick Garland as the candidate for attorney general. And look, I think with everything going on, and a number of Democrats have even said this, you know, in fact, James Comey came out today and said, you know, President Trump should not be prosecuted.

And at some point, we have to stop. I mean, look at somebody that went through the Mueller probe firsthand, I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, my worst enemy. And that is not America, what those prosecutors did was wrong, they may have believed in their cause of trying to take, you know, President Trump down, you know, as duly elected from the people, whatever their motivations. It’s very unfortunate that our country went through that.

And again, the great thing about the truth is eventually it finds you know, the surface and it’ll take some time, but there’s a lot more there to unpack.
But you know, I could probably talk with you for a few more hours on that subject. But I’m gonna I’m gonna pivot again to Eric Trump’s tweet today. You’re here with Matt manna. I’m talking to Rick Gates, who wrote a book the wiki game, and we’re talking about politics here. Eric Trump’s tweet today was those who don’t vote to overturn the election will face the wrath of President Trump essentially, is that something that you endorse, but I don’t necessarily endorse the rhetoric I endorse the belief that the election in certain states, there was a fraud, and we need to get to that?

And where are these senators are being called to object to, you know, the electoral votes in the certification process? I think those issues need to be raised. We’re not going to have an opportunity like this, again, where the magnifying glass is on our electoral process. We’re the gold standard for the world. And this time around, we have failed miserably in being able to show that we can run elections. I think somebody jokingly said even Mexico has a voter ID system and electronic voter ID system. You know, we’re still dealing with paper ballots and you know, posting,

Thank God, we’re dealing with paper ballots, because then we actually have a record of it. And then we don’t have an electronic system that could potentially be hacked. So I think we should have both to make sure that we have a backup.

And then, you know, because President Trump would say, Oh, they were all hacked, and they were all changed. And now we can go back to the paper ballot and say, hey, they weren’t. And here’s the evidence of it. So with that, I think we’ve got another commercial break coming back in a few minutes with Rick Gates on AM 790 This is Matt Matern.

Hi, we’re back here on KABC with Matt matter on unite and heal America. I’ve got Rick gates here with me. And we’re talking about his book, The Wicked Game. And Rick, just wanted to talk to you about one of the things that you said in your book that Trump he always winds up on top, and this was written before the election in November of 2020.

So you were, I guess, hopeful that he would win. To me, it doesn’t look that way, in that the Republican Party lost the House of Representatives and 2018 has now looks like they’ve lost the Senate with the races in Georgia and lost the presidency. So to me, that’s not the winning that President Trump had promised the republican party when he came into office.

Yeah, look, I mean, you take it historically, across lines, you know, presidents in their midterms, typically lose seats. You know, in the 2020. election on the House side, you know, Republicans actually did pick up, you know, a number of seats. And yes, they did lose the Senate. I think that President Trump, you know, would argue that he still won the White House, and he will stick to that he certainly believes it.

So I look, I think there are a number of ways you can evaluate it for a guy who’s never run a political race in his life, and for the first time comes in and wins the presidency. That’s a that’s a pretty good track record, you know, from that point of view, where, you know, sometimes it takes others 30 or 40 years to get there. But, you know, politics, as we know, is a very, very, you know, cutthroat business. It is very difficult. It’s hard.

There’s a lot of backstabbing, and knives being thrown, you know, in between parties with parties. And this is part of the nature of it, I hope it changes that, you know, if nothing else, I hope that you know, from the last decade, you know, more than the last four years, but from the last decade, we can start to change course, and understand that, you know, we can have those discussions, political discussions with each other and learn something from each other.

And I certainly hope that we can get there I don’t see President Trump as being somebody who in any way supported moves in that direction. Just because, as you said, trumping Trump. He is divisive, he is inflammatory. He is somebody who’s combative, just reflexively at all times versus cooperative and collegial.

So that’s, that’s his nature name calling that type of thing. I’m hopeful that Joe Biden will bring in some collegiality and some civility, because I think that fosters dialogue, quite frankly, when you’re insulting your opponent, it’s very hard to have a civil dialogue, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, look, I think, you know, in the instance, that, you know, over the course of his campaign and his administration, and even in the reelect, in 2020, he brought a different type of discourse. Now, again, you may agree or disagree with it. But at the end of the day, he gave rise to over 74 million people that felt that they didn’t have a voice. And you know, what all the pollster said, you know, it’s gonna be a blue landslide, Trump’s gonna get demolished, you know, they were absolutely wrong and why they were wrong.

That is because people in DC, it is a bubble, it is a swamp. They don’t know what the people out in Kansas or Iowa or, you know, even Texas or New Mexico are thinking they lose touch with what the average American voter, what really matters to them. And I’ll be the first admit I when I campaigned in 2016, went to Iowa, it was like a reopening of my eyes into who the real American voters are. And I think that’s part of the problem.

Congress is those guys, you know, and ladies all get lost in being in DC and they forget why they’re there and what they’re supposed to be doing. So you may not agree with the rhetoric that President Trump has, but it certainly brings a different type of style and perspective. And nobody can disagree with the ability of somebody to come in and basically take over a well established, you know, traditional Republican Party and bring momentum to it that the party has not seen in decades.

Yeah, well, I’m all for shaking things up a little bit and upsetting the status quo to the extent that it’s, it’s not working for everybody. Great, but I think there’s a way to do it. That does ain’t heard what we have that does work and American democracy, for all its faults has generally worked in large measure.

And President Trump, I think, because of his nature of being so in my mind so self centered, that he would be willing to tear down democracy in order to help himself. And I think that’s the big problem that I find with President Trump. Look, I just saw my book. And I think this is important to know. And I know a lot of people would probably agree with you. And there’s one thing that, you know, in my time with Donald Trump that, you know, I learned very quickly is there is, first and foremost, he ran because he loves his country, I truly believe that again, you can debate the tactics, and the rhetoric and all that stuff.

But at the core, the reason he ran was because he loves this country. And that means a lot it to a lot of people. Now the way he did it, the tactics, the process, sure all up for debate, but at the end of the day, when you have that at the core that matters, but a lot of times people didn’t see that because of the rhetoric because of the tweets.

And I think that’s unfortunate, because, again, this is a person, you know, when you’re in politics, candidates typically are, to a large extent, like puppets, you know, they go along with their advisors and consultants tell them, you know, they create the messages, they’re out, they they communicate the message, Donald Trump was the exact opposite.

He knew exactly what he wanted to do and how he wanted to do it. And then that’s what he messaged on, and it upset a lot of people. And it upset a lot of people in the Republican Party and a lot of traditional Republican voters. Well, your point we needed something like that to shake up the system, because nothing else has worked.

And my question then is, how do we walk away from this point we’re at right now or move forward from this point we’re at right now in a healthy way, particularly when President Trump is vowing that he is going to stay involved and possibly run in 2024, when he isn’t going to probably change his ways at all in terms of insulting divisive rhetoric.

Well, at first, I think it’s an interesting question, because up to this point, if he had won re election, obviously, he believes the way that he has done things has worked. But now with the advent of the 2020 election, and if things turn out the way it looks like, you know, and he’s not reelected, then he is going to have to do some soul searching to determine whether or not he wants to change his course and how he’s going to do that, you know, one of the interesting statistics has kind of come up, it’s if you look at his base of support, you know, within the Republican Party, it’s largely rural.

And and so a lot of the suburbanites have kind of shifted and gone more to the middle, how does he win those people back, because he’s certainly going to need them if he’s going to run for, you know, the presidency again, in 2024, he’s going to have to determine whether or not he’s going to change his tactics in order to be able to reach more people. I mean, we’ll have to get into it. But you know, the COVID was a good example, the pandemic offered a lot of opportunities for the President, to message the people in the country on certain things.

And as his former campaign manager said, which I thought was a pretty interesting point, is at that point, you know, President Trump felt it was more important to keep the economy open, keeping the economy open, would help more people over the long term, he felt that was the right path to reelection, where a lot of people felt he should have been more empathetic.

Now, we can always go back in hindsight, you know, any presidential campaign and play 2020 In terms of what people should have done, or candidates should have done. But at the end of the day, you know, that did create a division within the Republican Party, particularly in some demographics that didn’t support him this time around, right. I mean, he just couldn’t help himself. I mean, quite frankly, if if he had played it as a an empathetic politician caring about people more than about the business profits in the short term, he certainly would have done better.

And I think that it was a crisis that he was swamped by, in part because he’s not somebody who reads science a whole lot. He’s not a big reader. And you documented that in your book, they won’t read stuff that you give him, which to me is a very substantial flaw as a leader, you need to read and as his secretary of defense, Mattis said, You need to read hundreds of books to become functionally literate.

And President Trump from all accounts is not somebody who’s read probably any in recent memory, like I don’t really disagree with you on that point. And then what about all the people in the world that learn differently, like what I also address in the book is that he was like a sponge in terms of listening to people, he would rather get the information by listening to people than reading a book, that is a basic way of, you know, being educated that goes to people across, you know, the world, people have different ways of learning. And that was his mechanism of doing it.

So I disagree with that. I mean, could you read, of course he could read, did you want to read? Not necessarily, you’d rather sit with five advisors rather than read their 20 page papers and get to the crux of what really mattered. He was able to do that by soaking it up, you know, like a sponge by listening rather than reading. Many people do.

Well, I think if if the results were that he was making good decisions. I might agree with that point that certain people are auditory learners. But I felt like with the pandemic, which is a great case in point, but he was not learning. He was not following the advice of experts. I mean, just wearing a mask that alone, he should have been supporting, encouraging.

And having everybody take that seriously, it could have saved 1000s of lives and making it into a political point, hey, not wearing a mask and making a kind of machismo. I don’t have to wear a mask, got a lot of people sick. And a lot of people probably died as a result of that. And to me, that’s a complete abject failure of leadership on President Trump’s part.

I think the biggest loser in that, honestly, are the scientists and let’s let’s be, you know, we’re gonna have this discussion, we need to be very open and honest about it. And none of the scientists had any clue what was going on how many reports I think the scientists said wear a mask and President Trump was basically saying, No, I don’t think you have to, and he would go parade around in public and had public events where he was not wearing a mask. He was encouraging other people not to wear masks.

And to me, that’s unconscionable. I mean, you need to be protecting people. And as the leader, you need to make the tough decisions that protect people. He was not doing that. And that’s failure here. Yeah.

But look, there were plenty. The scientists scientific community was not in unison on whether maths actually work. Take New York, for example. There are instances where huge enclaves of people wore masks, and the infection rate went up by 85%. Well, masks?

Well, I think the scientific community is pretty unified that they do work and protect both the person who’s wearing them and the people around them. So I really don’t think that’s much in dispute. And this is where the divide occurs when we’ve kind of politicized science to that extent where you’re jumping on the side, protecting President Trump in the face of science that is pretty clearly out there on the other side, but, Rick, we got to wrap this interview up.

I’ve enjoyed talking to you. I appreciate you coming on the show and and talking to us about your book and your experiences, working with President Trump and in politics in general. Thank you for that and, you know, maybe have you on the show in the future.

Thanks very much. I really enjoyed that discussion.

Thank you. You’ve been listening to Matt Matern and Unite and Heal America on KABC 790. Look forward to having you back next Saturday.

This pre recorded show furnished by Matthew Matern.

(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)

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