Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the Senate’s failure to repeal and replace Obamacare was the final reason for White House chief of staff Reince Priebus’s exit.
Partial transcript as follows:
TODD: All right, let me just start with a little I guess we’ll call it Sunday morning quarterbacking here. Looking back, what went wrong for Reince Priebus as chief of staff? What went wrong with that relationship in your opinion?
LEWANDOWSKI: Part of it, obviously, is that the president wants to bring a new direction, and what that means is making sure his legislative agenda gets done. And what’s very important to the president is fulfilling the campaign promises which he outlined. And we saw this week a legislative defeat in congress for the repeal and replace of Obamacare, and that’s something that he campaigned on. And Reince was brought in, as you know, as someone who could work with the members of the House and the Senate to get that legislative agenda done. And with that not being accomplished, the president made a decision to move in a new direction to bring a seriousness to his chief of staff and a pivot so that he can have his agenda at the forefront of what he wants to get done.
TODD: Given that Reince Priebus and the president weren’t always very close, you were — you had a front row seat to that at times. The tense relationship between when he was chairman at the RNC and your campaign and with candidate Trump. In hindsight was it a mistake for the president to hire somebody he wasn’t personally very close to?
LEWANDOWSKI: I think what the president decided when he was president-elect and to bring Reince on board was to bring someone in who understood Washington to help him staff his team in order to achieve his legislative agenda. And unfortunately where we are right now if you look at the ups and downs of the presidency so far, the single most important thing the president has been able to achieve is getting Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, a very important thing he’s been able to achieve, but the major issues of his agenda have not been accomplished through congress, and he’s decided to make a change at the top to move his agenda forward.
TODD: And he believes that it’s all Reince Priebus’ fault, that he has — doesn’t have any major legislative victory, that that’s at the feet of Reince Priebus?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, I don’t — I wouldn’t say that, Chuck, but what I would say is obviously the president has a very aggressive legislative agenda — health care — repeal and replace of Obamacare was at the top of that list. We’re now moving to tax reform where we can repatriate the money sitting overseas. We can give middle-class deductions, double those, and cut taxes on small businesses. And look, what you’ve got with General Kelly coming in is someone who’s bringing a fresh perspective, very important, and an opportunity to communicate the president’s agenda to the staff inside the White House and work closely with those members of congress and the U.S. senate who want to get the president’s agenda done, including building the wall on the southern border. I think the general should relook at firing Richard Cordray, the CFPB. He’s a person who is now all but running for governor in the state of Ohio, and he’s sitting in a federal office right now. And I think this general as the chief of staff is going to come in and put a fresh set of eyes on the inner workings of the White House and making sure the president’s agenda moves.
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