Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump Now Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee; Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Criticize Donald Trump; Interview with Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer; Trump & Clinton Gear Up for General Election Fight. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired May 5, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're six months out now from the general election in November, but the election war is already well underway. Let's bring in Phil Mattingly in Columbus, Ohio. Good morning, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good Morning, John. For months top GOP officials have been grappling with the possibility, now they're grappling with the reality. Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, and that has major ramifications across the party, but just in the presidential election, but all the way up and down ballot races. It surprised many, even Donald Trump.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm even surprised by it.
MATTINGLY: Donald Trump's elevation to presumptive nominee of the Republican Party happened suddenly, even for Donald Trump.
TRUMP: I thought that I would be going longer.
MATTINGLY: His ascent now has conservatives scrambling, deciding whether to back a billionaire unabashedly vocal about his disdain for the party.
TRUMP: The Republican system is rigged, but more -- in a much more sophisticated way.
MATTINGLY: Both former presidents Bush have made it clear they will not support Trump, according to close aides. Bush 41 is, quote, "retired from politics," and his son does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign. In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Trump is looking ahead and hitting his clearest target, the likely nominee Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of being the first to speculate on Obama's citizenship.
TRUMP: Do you know who started it? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first? Hillary Clinton. She is the one that started it. She brought it up years before it was brought up by me. And, you know, so she can talk. Look, here is a person under investigation by the FBI. She is only going to get the nomination because it is a rigged deal. And frankly, maybe she won't even be able to run. MATTINGLY: The new standard bearer of the Republican Party outlining
some of his potential policies, taking a cue from Bernie Sanders when asked if he'll raise the minimum wage.
TRUMP: I'm actually looking at that, because I'm very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on. But what I'm really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that, so they make more money than the 15$15. If you start playing around with the lower number, you're not going to be competitive.
MATTINGLY: And vowing to implement his ban of all Muslims from entering the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you sticking with the temporary ban?
TRUMP: Until we figure out what's going on, we have to be very tough, we have to be vigilant, yes.
MATTINGLY: Trump, now focused on potential running mates.
TRUMP: I'm starting to think about it very soon. We'll be vetting people.
MATTINGLY: In a possible push to unify the GOP, name checking previous rivals who have since supported him.
TRUMP: I'm going to set up a committee. I may put Ben Carson on the committee. I may put Chris Christie on the committee. I've had a good relationship with John. I've gotten along with him well. But John, whether he is vice-president or not, I think he'll be very helpful with Ohio.
MATTINGLY: John Kasich has always said there is zero chance that he would be Trump's VP. But his future is still left unknown.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone. And as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith that the Lord will show me the way forward.
MATTINGLY: And guys, all eyes here in Columbus, really across the Republican Party, want to know what John Kasich will do next, not just related to a potential vice-president pick, but his support in general for Donald Trump. Kasich, one of many top Republican officials who grew sharply critical of Trump over the course of the campaign. A lot of those officials have grudgingly accepted Donald Trump as the nominee. They'll vote for the nominee. But it's an issue that a lot of them are facing this head on right now, one John Kasich took great pains to avoid last night during his speech, announcing the suspension of his campaign, deciding not to take questions from reporters. A lot of Republican officials aren't going to have that option in the weeks and months ahead, Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. It will be interesting to see how he responds in the future. Phil, thanks for that.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, launching a new round of attacks against Donald Trump. The former secretary of state telling CNN's Anderson Cooper, a Trump presidency is too big a risk to take. CNN Chris Frates is live in Washington with more on that interview. Hi, Chris.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. You're right, Hillary Clinton wasted no time hitting the freshly minted presumptive GOP nominee, slamming Donald Trump in an exclusive interview with our own Anderson Cooper.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he is a loose cannon, and loose cannons tend to misfire.
FRATES: Hillary Clinton says she is ready to take on Donald Trump in the general election, brushing off his crooked Hillary moniker, and repeatedly calling him a loose cannon.
CLINTON: I've seen the presidency up close from two different perspectives, and I think I know what it takes. And I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running our country. Donald Trump has said it's OK for other countries to get nuclear weapons. I think that's just downright dangerous.
[08:05:04] FRATES: But elsewhere Clinton is treading more light, declining to say whether she agrees with this tweet from Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying Trump, quote, "built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia."
CLINTON: I think Elizabeth Warren is really smart.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you agree with all that.
CLINTON: I think anybody who has listened to him and how he's talked certainly can draw that conclusion.
COOPER: Do you think he is a racist?
CLINTON: I'm going to let people judge for themselves.
FRATES: Clinton also seems unfazed by Trump's more personal barbs.
COOPER: He has made reference to your marriage, your husband?
CLINTON: Well, he is not the first one, Anderson. I can't say this often enough. He wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s, if he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I'm more than happy to have him do that.
COOPER: You're ready for that? CLINTON: Oh, please. I mean, look, this is -- this is, to me, a
classic case of a blustering, bullying guy who has knocked out of the way all the Republicans because they were just dumbfounded.
FRATES: And fresh off his Indiana primary victory over Clinton, Bernie Sanders is also criticizing Trump's abrasive campaign tactics at his rally last night.
BERNIE SANDERS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that there is a lot of nervousness around this country that Donald Trump may become president.
SANDERS: Ain't gonna happen.
SANDERS: The American people will never elect a candidate who insults people every single day in incredibly ugly ways.
FRATES: Now, Sanders stuck mostly to criticizing Donald Trump. He didn't mention Clinton at all in his speech last night, but it remains to be seen if this kindler, gentler Bernie Sanders will continue, because, remember, it's mathematically impossible for Sanders to win enough delegates in all these remaining contests to clinch the Democratic nomination. But the Vermont senator has vowed to take his fight all the way to the convention, hoping to convince enough super delegates to switch sides and hand him the nomination. John, back to you my friend.
BERMAN: Chris Frates in Washington, thanks so much.
So both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gearing up for what could be a general election like we have never seen before. Let us discuss now with Donald Trump supporter, the former governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer. Governor, thanks so much for being with us. Nice to see you again.
JAN BREWER, (R) FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR: Good to be with you, John.
BERMAN: So just moments ago, Donald Trump did an interview where he said there is a 40 percent chance that he will pick his running mates from among the people that were competing against him to be president of the United States. That's pretty high. So of the 16 people he was running against, just wondering if you have an opinion of one or two who you think who make good running mate.
BREWER: Well, I certainly think he has some really great, good quality Republicans to choose from. I know the majority of them, if not all of them. I think that John Kasich would serve him well. He has got a long history of representing the state of Ohio in Congress. He has worked at the Pentagon. He was very successful turning the budget around. A great guy, personally, and has done a wonderful job in Ohio.
Chris Christie, you know, very knowledgeable. You know, all of them are good. And you know, he is going to have to make that decision, somebody that he is comfortable with, somebody he can work with, that can implement his plans and his policies. And I look forward to hearing all about it.
BERMAN: We'll mark you down on Kasich and Christi as pro them for now.
Donald Trump has begun to turn his focus to the general election. The other guys have dropped out and he is running alone right now in the Republican race. And we're starting to hear more from him about policy and what he would do as president. Our Wolf Blitzer had a chance to speak with him just within the last 24 hours and he was asking Donald Trump about the minimum wage. Now, remember, Donald Trump at one point said actually he thinks wages need to be lower, not higher. But listen to what he told Wolf Blitzer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Bernie Sanders says he wants $15 an hour minimum wage. And he has really gone after you for saying you're happy with $7.25, the current federal minimum wage. You can't live on $7.25 an hour.
TRUMP: No, and I'm actually looking at that, because I'm very different from most Republicans. You have to have something that you can live on. But what I'm really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Is this a shift for Donald Trump? Before he said he didn't want to raise the minimum wage, now he says he is looking at it. That seems to be a shift.
BREWER: Well, you know, I don't know whether it is a shift or not, or I don't know the whole background on his philosophy in regards to that.
[08:10:00] But traditionally, we know you have to have a good economy, you have to have a job, in order to get any kind of wages. And traditionally, if the economy is good, and wages will rise. If people work hard, they get paid more money. But bottom line is our economy has sunk and it's terrible. And we're probably headed into another recession. And so we need somebody there like Mr. Trump that can turn this economy around, bring jobs back to our country, get people employed, and the minimum wage probably will raise --
BERMAN: But the minimum wage, a lot of people were concerned during the primary that Donald Trump would say one thing in the primaries, then say something else in the general election. The general election campaign for Donald Trump is all of 20 hours old and he already does appear to be saying something different. Do you see where there might be concern there? BREWER: Well, we all know that as we move forward through these
races, traditionally, year after year, election after election, candidates, you know, they pivot. But what Donald is trying to say, you bring jobs back to the country, you're going to increase the economy. And if you have an increased economy, the wages will raise.
BERMAN: What is his plan to have wages go up? What is the economic plan he is going to use to raise wages?
BREWER: Well, I certainly think he will get rid of rules and regulations, he is going to put people back to work. He's not going to close down the companies that are working here. An example in West Virginia, the coal mines, there's a good clean way to maintain and make sure those people maintain their jobs in West Virginia and likewise in other places, use our resources that we have here in the United States.
You know, fair trade is really, really important. We know we're outmaneuvered on a lot of trade that is taking place in China and Korea. There is multiple ways of doing it. And he is a new, fresh face. He's somebody that has been successful himself in business and didn't come by it lightly. And he will be able to implement those kinds of things and strategies here in the United States. And the American people are very supportive of him, obviously.
BERMAN: The Republican Party, he did -- he did win the Republican primaries right now. He is the presumptive nominee, no question about that. There is some dissension within the ranks, though, of the Republican Party. We've heard from a number of Republicans this morning saying they'll never vote for Trump. One even told us he'll support Hillary Clinton if he had to. In your own state of Arizona, the two senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, I don't know that either of them have said at this point whether or not they will vote for Donald Trump. What is your message to these Republicans who are reluctant?
BREWER: I think, well, just to correct the record, you know, I have not heard that Senator McCain nor Senator Flake said they would not vote for Mr. Trump.
BERMAN: I haven't heard them say it in the affirmative just yet.
BREWER: Republican nominee -- yes, well, you know, and I'm not -- I lost my train of thought. But the bottom line is that I think that dividing our party is absolutely ridiculous. It's wrong. And what are they going to do? Are they going to vote for Hillary? I mean, do they like the Hillary policy, somebody that is not a truth teller, somebody that we have been able to vet for 30 years. We know what she stands for. You know, she is a leftwing liberal who doesn't tell the truth.
BERMAN: Let me ask you Ben Sasse, Republican senator from Nebraska, has called for someone in a third party to run right now. Are you saying that Republicans now who are not lining up behind Donald Trump, are you saying that they're not real Republicans? BREWER: Well, I think that trying to divide the Republican Party and
our standard platform is ridiculous. I mean, you've got a choice here. Are you going to support Hillary, or are you going to divide the Republicans and lose the presidency? It's just simply irrational to me.
I know Mr. Trump. And I think as people get to know him better and work with him that they will become supportive. He is a very kind, thoughtful person. He listens. And he can put the pieces together and lead this country out of the disaster that we've been living through for the last eight years.
BERMAN: He has six months until the general election.
BREWER: He can unite --
BERMAN: He has six months left in the general election to make that case. He has some time where he is running in the clear before his own convention. So we'll see how he does. Governor Jan Brewer from Arizona, thanks so much for being with us, appreciate it. Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: OK, John, a U.S. Army captain suing President Obama, saying the president does not have the proper legal authority from Congress to wage war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. And 28-year-old Captain Nathan Smith filing the lawsuit as the president deploys more special ops forces to the region.
[08:15:04] Smith says he strongly supports fighting ISIS but wants to uphold the constitution. The suit filed a day after a third service member in the U.S. -- sorry, led the campaign, no comment from the White House.
BERMAN: California raising the legal age to buy tobacco to 21. Active duty can be 18. Also for the first time, vaping will be banned in Californi's restaurants, bars, theaters, and other public places where smoking is already banned. All of that takes effect in five weeks.
CAMEROTA: You have to see this dramatic video out of Utah. You can see a chopper, hovering over crews on a rescue mission on the side of the mountain. They were about to load a woman's body into the helicopter, when the safety rope suddenly gets caught in the blade. The chopper immediately loses control. The rescuers tumble down the rocks, as the tail of the chopper flies over their heads. Believe it or not, the chopper landed safely in a nearby field and everyone here is OK.
BERMAN: That is amazing.
CAMEROTA: That is amazing. I don't know how, you know, helicopters fly on a good day. I mean, they're so sort of aerodynamically mysterious and then something like this happens and everybody could survive, amazing.
BERMAN: It makes you want to get in one.
CAMEROTA: No, it doesn't actually.
BERMAN: All right. Sixteen minutes after the hour right now.
Bernie who? Hillary Clinton has been laser focused on Donald Trump. What is her plan now to battle the Republican presumptive nominee, a potential matchup? We'll ask her chief strategist, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[08:20:15] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think the general election campaign has already started, you versus Hillary Clinton, that for all practical purposes, Bernie Sanders is out?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think what has happened, there has been a little flip. I'm even surprised by it. I thought I'd be going longer and she would be going shorter. She can't put it away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was Donald Trump, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Hillary Clinton cannot overcome Bernie Sanders, and cannot put it away. Clinton labeling Trump a loose cannon and a risky choice.
So, what kind of challenge will the presumptive nominee be for Clinton if she were to clinch the nomination?
Let's ask Clinton's campaign chief strategist Joel Benenson.
Thanks so much for being here.
JOEL BENENSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGIST: Happy to be here.
CAMEROTA: That was Donald Trump talking about the irony that even he sees, that he has secured the nomination before Hillary Clinton. Are you surprised by that?
BENENSON: Well, I think most experts acknowledged several weeks before last Tuesday that Hillary Clinton had secured the nomination that we had piled up an insurmountable lead.
CAMEROTA: That's not what Bernie Sanders says.
BENENSON: I understand what -- Bernie Sanders has been saying that all the way through. He's also said he'll do everything he can to make sure Donald Trump never becomes president. The math is the math. Everyday, there is another construction from the Sanders campaign about, oh, how this person will switch, we're going to get more pledged delegates. We're going to get superdelegates.
Those are people grasping at answers that aren't real at this moment. Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. CAMEROTA: But this was supposed to be more of a cake walk than it
ended up being. When this started, people didn't predict by May 4th, she wouldn't really have secured it yet and Bernie Sanders would still be fighting. I think that Trump's point is that he says she can't close the deal.
BENENSON: Look, Bernie Sanders has run a strong campaign. He has galvanized a part of the Democratic Party that feels very passionate about issues that all Democrats care about. How do we get incomes rising again? How do we get the economy working for average people out there working hard and still not getting where they want to be, working two jobs trying to make it work.
The truth here is, though, there's much more that unites us as Democrats than divides us from Republicans. They've had a much more contentious debate. Several people have dropped out because they can't sustain their campaign. Senator Sanders will make his decisions going forward, but the fact is, we'll be a united front behind Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in November.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the general election. Hillary Clinton sat down with Anderson Cooper yesterday and she seemed very sanguine about the possibility that Donald Trump has said that he's going to go after her basically both barrels. She sort of laughed and said, you know, I'm used to it.
But then, when Anderson gave her an opportunity to go after Donald Trump, with both barrels, she didn't take the opportunity. So let me play that moment for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Elizabeth Warren tweeted out that Donald Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia. Do you agree with that?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Elizabeth Warren is very smart.
COOPER: Do you agree with that statement?
CLINTON: I think anybody who has listened to him and how he has talked certainly can draw that conclusion.
COOPER: Do you think he is a racist?
CLINTON: I'm going to let people judge themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So she wouldn't say whether or not she thought he was a racist or xenophobe. She said he was a loose cannon. Is that strong enough language? BENENSON: She has said repeatedly that Donald Trump has used divisive, bigoted language and she has said very clearly, you don't great by tearing down what has made America great. She has said what makes America great is our diversity, the fact that this nation was built by immigrants, that we have people who come to the country because they aspire, build a better future for their children.
That's a clear difference here between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Donald Trump talks about making America great, but he has no recipe for keeping America great. Hillary Clinton does. She is the one candidate, talking about making a real difference in people's lives that brings America together, that can solve the biggest challenges we face.
She has said repeatedly, he is divisive, dangerous and risky candidate for America.
CAMEROTA: So, on the campaign, how worried are you all about what the general election could look like in terms of the tone and what Donald Trump is going to throw at her?
BENENSON: Well, I think, look, Donald Trump is, I mean, Secretary Clinton yesterday said he is a loose cannon. I think people have seen that. He says outlandish things day-to-day. But I think more importantly here is people will judge this in your own poll yesterday, CNN showed this, somebody who can get health care costs down for me and my family, make sure my kid gets a good education, no matter what zip code we live in.
On all of those categories, dealing with income and equality, Hillary Clinton has a significant advantage, close to 20 points or more over Donald Trump.
[08:25:02] CAMEROTA: There is one place where she doesn't have an advantage over Donald Trump. That is where the voters say the economy is most important to them. Let me put up the numbers.
BENENSON: I know the numbers 50-45.
CAMEROTA: Fifty to forty-five.
BENENSON: And you know what that is?
CAMEROTA: What is it?
BENENSON: That is a smaller gap than any Republican has ever had going against the Democratic.
CAMEROTA: He still wins.
BENENSON: No, going against any Democratic, Republicans when you just ask a general question about economy always have an advantage against Democrats. I've looked at this polling data for decades, right?
His five-point gap is tiny compared to where other Republicans start out. Mitt Romney had a big gap than that against Barack Obama in 2012 on the economy. When American people judge who's going to make the economy better, it's about their health care cost, access to health care, getting education for their kids, getting college education.
CAMEROTA: But are you saying in the voting booth, that ends up not mattering, they vote for the Republican for the economy?
BENENSON: I'm saying that the ingredients of what really comprises who will be better on the economy, those things that people are struggling with in their lives everyday, not a broad question about the economy, but will you help me when it comes to health care, education, creating good paying jobs that I want for myself and family, and on those metrics, Democrats have been winning.
And I think in this election, the contest will be clear and Hillary Clinton will maintain her double digit advantage over Donald Trump on improving people's health care, improving education and getting incomes rising.
CAMEROTA: Joel Benenson, thanks so much. Great to you have here on NEW DAY.
BENENSON: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Let's get over to John.
BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Alisyn.
Frantic moments to get Prince help in the hours before he died. We're going to look at what his friends tried to do to save him. Talking to HLN's Dr. Drew Pinsky about the apparent battle with painkillers.