September 11, 2017

Caucus keynote Halperin discusses 2016 election, Trump presidency

Mark Halperin, senior political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, addressed hundreds of credit union representatives Monday at NAFCU's Congressional Caucus as he discussed the 2016 presidential election and the President Donald Trump presidency.

Halperin is also creator, executive producer and co-host of Showtime's political documentary series The Circus and co-author of New York Times bestseller "Double Down: Game Change 2012." Before diving into his remarks, he noted how humbling it is for anyone to work in politics today given the current political climate and uncertainty that comes with a President Donald Trump administration.

When discussing the current state of economy, Halperin noted the uncertainty and concerns of Americans regarding factors such as the rising costs of college, stagnant household income and a persistent 2 percent growth rate in the gross domestic product. He said these concerns existed during the eight years of President Barack Obama's presidency and influenced the 2016 presidential election.

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Mark Halperin addressing credit union attendees at NAFCU's Caucus on Monday.

Halperin said during the campaign, Trump started talking about things that people liked. "People saw him as someone who could change things," Halperin said. "He talked about fast-tracking economic growth, understood the environment perfectly and talked about it in a way that appealed to people."

However, Halperin did note that Americans often see two Trumps: a "good Trump" and a "bad Trump." The good Trump, he explained, is charming, funny, appealing to people, wants to be liked, a deal maker and a centrist (not beholden to any specific political party). The bad Trump, which Halperin said has been on frequent display, is immature and vindictive.

During the election season, people were willing to overlook the bad Trump, he said. However, Halperin said the deal Trump made with House and Senate Democrats last week that raised the debt ceiling, funded the federal government and a provided hurricane relief, was a good one, and he hopes those negotiations will continue.

Halperin said he thinks Trump wants to make more deals with Democrats and will need to in order to accomplish his main priorities for his presidency: regulatory relief, tax reform, health care reform and infrastructure funding.

During the Q&A portion of Halperin's keynote, credit union representatives asked about the president's relationship with the press, the upcoming 2018 congressional elections and some about international affairs.

Congressional Caucus, NAFCU's lobbying event of the year, runs through Wednesday in Washington. Follow the hashtag #NAFCUCaucus on Twitter for the latest information.