“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace had a contentious interview with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, grilling him on why President Barack Obama was not working with Republicans in Congress.
WALLACE: Let’s turn to domestic issues. Does President Obama realize that he lost the midterm election?
MCDONOUGH: What the president realizes and he laid this out in the speech last night is that over the course of now decades, middle class families in this country have faced unrelenting pressure as costs go up with while wages stagnate. What the president laid out in the speech on Tuesday night, is a plan to say, ‘Hey, let’s put the middle class first in the country first, close loopholes, invest in them, things like child care, job training, community college,’ and make sure that they can get the kind of opportunities that we all had when we were growing up in the middle class family, Chris.
WALLACE: Forgive me. During the campaign, the president said that his agenda was — the midterms were in effect going to be a referendum on his agenda… And yet, despite the fact that Republicans gained nine seats and took control of the Senate, gained 13 seats in the House, the president didn’t acknowledge the fact that Republicans won the midterms and didn’t basically scale back any of his agenda to reach out to Republicans.
MCDONOUGH: Here is what we’ve done since the mid-terms. We’ve normalized relations with Cuba, after policy for 50 years had been failing…
WALLACE: Respectfully, you’re not answering my question.
MCDONOUGH: We laid out a plan for the middle class on Tuesday night. In the meantime the Republicans have debated a single infrastructure project for three weeks. They’ve debated among themselves about how to address women’s health issues. Just going back to the first set of issues, as I look at it, I don’t see a pathway to getting the DHS appropriations bill — which funds things like counter-terrorism, our aviation security– I don’t see a path to how they get that done. I hope they’ll lay that out for us this week. We’re ready to work them on all these things, Chris. We have to get things like the DHS appropriations bill done.
WALLACE: The president famously said to Eric Canter in 2009, elections have consequences, I won. Well, guess what, in November the Republicans won. What are the consequences? Doesn’t the president need to scale back his agenda to find areas of agreement with the Republicans who won the mid-term?
MCDONOUGH: The president laid out a lot of places in the speech as well where we can work with the Republicans; precision medicine, you saw that in the newspaper today, things like trade, things like infrastructure, things like research and development which have traditionally been nonpartisan issues. We’re ready to work on those. Here is where the president will not trim back his agenda, Chris; he is not going to say that we should trim back our agenda working for middle class families in this country.