Return to Transcripts main page

WOLF

Trump Blames Obama for Brexit; Why Voters Wanted to Leave the E.U.; How Brexit Could Affect the U.S. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired June 24, 2016 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN POLITICAL ANCHOR: But Trump by interestingly enough, he said the President has himself to blame for this decision. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R),PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I was actually very surprised that President Obama would have come over here and he would have been so boldest to tell the people over here what to do.

And I think that a lot of people don't like him. And a lot of voted -- I think if he had not said it, I think your result might have been different. But when he said it, people were not happy about it. And I thought it was totally inappropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Interesting. I mean, to test that proposition because there is an aspect to kind of the globalized elite political structure saying, don't do this because it's bad. It's bad economically. It's bad for the concept of Europe. And a lot of people say, "No, we don't want that."

I mean, what I thought Trump was effective or dangerous, depending on your point of view, he was talking about the Brexit vote today, not as somebody with a polished view of the world and global leadership, but as a business guy. And his impressions of what will happen. I think there's a lot of people here that will say, yeah. I mean, you know, some of that makes sense. And I think some of the voters who hear politicians like a Tony Blair or a President Obama or others say don't do this, it's dangerous, we have to stick to this globalized order, think no, there's got to be something better because we're feeling left behind and we don't trust these big institutions anymore.

BLITZER: Here's another clip, Susan, from what the President said in April when he was in the U.K. speaking on this very sensitive referendum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not coming here to fix any votes. I'm not casting a vote myself. I'm offering my opinion. And in democracies, everybody should want more information, not less. And you shouldn't be afraid to hear an argument being made. That's not a threat. That should enhance the debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: A lot of people in Britain, as you know, they saw it as a threat when he said, "You know what? If you leave the E.U., we'll negotiate new trade deals with the E.U. You're a much smaller entity than the E.U. You'll be at the end of a queue." He said. That was bitterly seen by a lot of the British citizens that the President was interfering in their domestic affairs.

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": And of course, President Obama isn't just a commentator on CNN, as powerful as those people are; he's the president of the United States. So, when he makes that kind of commentary, I think it carries a little bit of a threat of a sting.

And now you see a situation -- but of course, we understand why President Obama spoke up. There are some economic consequences we're going to see in the United States as a result of this decision. There's going to be some shifts in the political dynamic and strategic partnerships that we have. I mean, I think it strengthens Germany's hand as a partner to the U.S. although, of course, Great Britain has been our historic partner.

BLITZER: And in terms of the U.S. election, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, is this seen as a good move, a good step for Donald Trump right now? Is this a win for him, the decision in the U.K.?

GREGORY: I think it cuts two ways. One, I think, it doubles down on his political philosophy, which again, depending on your perspective is refreshing or dangerous. And I think Hillary Clinton has to see this populism sweeping across the globe and find a way to deal with it.

The problem for Donald Trump is we look at our screen here, the Dow off almost 500 points. The economic shocks from this decision, which will play out in the days and weeks and months ahead, could also be a real warning sign to American voters about this kind of politics and that may hurt Trump especially on the first day in Scotland. He went so far out there saying, "No, this is a good thing."

BLITZER: With a lovely golf course out there.

GREGORY: He did. And it may be sold out after his big coverage.

BLITZER: Yeah. I'm sure he's got some good publicity for that. David Gregory, Susan Paige, guys, thanks very much.

Coming up, we're standing by to hear live from the president of the United States, President Obama getting ready to speak about the UK's historic vote to split from the European Union. We'll have live coverage of that. Stand by. He's out at Stanford University in California right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:38: 21] BLITZER: President Obama has been briefed on the stunning vote by Britain to leave the European Union. We expect to hear from the President, literally, any moment now. He'll be speaking at Stanford University, part of a panel discussion with the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. We'll have live coverage momentarily. We'll hear the President's words on this historic decision by the U.K.

We also heard from the vice president, Joe Biden, just a little while ago during a speech at the Dublin Castle in Ireland, he talked about the fears that may have led to the Brexit vote and the politicians who play to those fears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We see it in Europe, we see it in other parts of the world, and we see it in my home country, where some politicians find it convenient to scapegoat immigrants instead of welcoming them, to play to our fears, to play to our fears rather than, as Abraham Lincoln said, appeal to our better angels, divide us based on religion or ethnicity rather than unite us on our common humanity, build walls instead of bridges. It has been un-American what we have been seeing.

It's not -- and I'm here to tell you, it's not who we have become. It is not who we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The Vice President clearly referring to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. The stunning vote to leave the European Union reflects deep divisions in the U.K. over issues like immigration and globalization.

[13:40:03] Our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen is joining us now live from Rumford, England, which had one of the highest leave votes in the U.K. Fred, what are you hearing from the people there about why they wanted to pull out of the E.U.?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. You're absolutely right. It's a high percentage of people who wanted to leave the European Union. It's about 70 percent of the people who actually did vote in this referendum who were for the Leave campaign. And also, they had a really high voter turnout here as well. More than 70 percent of the people actually turned out.

And I did ask some of the folks here, who are coming by here, why exactly they voted that way. A lot of them were talking about issues with immigration. They felt that that was something that was not being handled well both by the current government in London, but also by the European Union as well.

And the other big issue was the economy. A lot of said that they felt left behind in the past couple of years, as of course, this country has advanced economically, but many of them said that the European Union was at least in part at fault for themselves having a lot of trouble finding jobs and finding good-paying jobs.

Now, the other thing that we also asked the folks, as well here is, what do they think of the consequences of all of this are going to be? Now, of course, we've already seen the pound, for instance, drop a lot. We've seen the stock markets drop a lot.

Most of the folks that we've been speaking to here, they say they believe that that's something only temporary. They think that the stock markets are going to rebound. And a lot of them actually believe that in the long term, the economy here in this country could be better off than it was before. So, you certainly do see a lot of people who are quite disgruntled at their current situation and who certainly believe that they'd be better off without the European Union, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Fred, thanks very much. Fred Pleitgen reporting for us. As the U.K. bids farewell to the E.U., Wall Street says hello to chaos. The Dow plunging nearly 500 points. We're going to talk to an economic analyst about how bad it could get.

Once again, take a look at these live pictures coming in from Stanford University. We're expecting President Obama to speak specifically on the Brexit vote when he takes to the stage at this event. That's coming up. We'll have these comments live once he gets to that stage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:46:37] BLITZER: Now, the president -- President Obama is on the campus of Stanford University getting ready to make a statement reacting -- official reaction from the President to the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union. We're standing by for a live coverage. We'll hear what the President has to say.

U.S. markets there reeling for Britain's vote to leave the European Union. Take a look at this right now. The Dow Jones Industrial is down almost 500 points. We'll be watching the markets throughout the day.

For more on how the Brexit vote could impact United States, your finances here in the United States, indeed, around the world, let's bring in Greg Ip. He's chief economics commentator for "The Wall Street Journal". Greg, thanks very much for joining us.

How unprecedented is this decision by the U.K.?

GREG IP, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, actually, it is pretty unprecedented. You know, the post-war period since the 1940, has been one of countries joining ever more deeper economic trade agreements. This is the first time a major economy has made an affirmative decision to leave one as important as the European Union.

And I think one of the reasons markets are still upset is that they worry that this a first of a series. There could be referendums in countries like France, the Netherlands, in Sweden. This fall, we could elect the president who has taken a very hard line on issues of trade and immigration.

BLITZER: You're referring to Donald Trump?

IP: Of course, yes.

BLITZER: So, some pessimists now are saying this could all lead to some sort of global recession. Is that realistic?

IP: I think that this is probably overstated at the time. This is not like Lehman Brothers. We don't have a large number of banks going bankrupt. It's not like Greece. Britain is not about to default on its debt. It's not about to replace pounds with a different currency. It's about a poll (ph) of uncertainty over the British economy for a number of years why all these rules and arrangements get rewritten about whether other countries are going to follow the same direction. That's going to be very negative for business investment. And in fact, business investment has been the single weakest part of the economy lately.

BLITZER: The Dow Jones, what you see right now, down about 500 points. How worried should American investors be right now that their 401Ks, their other investments could be in trouble?

IP: What you've seen in the market is an adjustment downward to recognize the fact that the world is a riskier ace. We often see that happen. For example, earlier this year, when the Chinese were devaluing their currency, I do not see what's happening as a market, as a portend of a recession where a much deeper bear market. So, you do not -- I would not expect you to have to feel that that's something you need to prepare for. But it does tell you is that the world is a more uncertain place, economic growth are probably been a little weaker than it was.

BLITZER: And what have been the impact if the vote had gone the other way?

IP: You've probably seen a modest rally. And in fact, in the days before the vote, the polls seem to show is the Remain was getting the momentum and markets had begun to rally. One of the reasons we're seeing the sell-off today is such a shock to what investors had already priced in.

BLITZER: You agree with Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister this hour that immigration was a decisive factor in convincing a lot of British citizens to vote against staying in the E.U.?

IP: Absolutely. In fact, if you look at the polls before the referendum, he asked people what is the most important issue to you? About 30 percent said sovereignty, which is a classic reason Eurosceptics have wanted Britain out of the European Union. 50 percent said immigration. I think that if immigration hadn't been there, in fact, if this vote had taken place five or six years ago, that remain would have won quite soundly.

BLITZER: Greg Ip, thanks very much for coming in.

IP: OK. Welcome.

BLITZER: Take a look at this, once again, live pictures coming in from Stanford University. The president, President Obama, expected to react to the Brexit vote any moment now. His comments, you'll see them, you'll hear them live right here on CNN. We'll be right back.

[13:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back. The president of the United States now being introduced by the president of Stanford University, John Hennessy. The President will be speaking momentarily. We're told he will open his remarks with U.S. reaction, official reaction to the stunning vote, the historic vote by the U.K. to leave the European Union. We'll have live coverage of the President once he starts speaking.

Greg Ip is still with me at this moment. Take a look at the Dow Jones, the New York Stock Exchange, still down more than 500 points. It's been pretty steady like that all day. But a lot of investors are wondering, Greg, will it just stay at 500? Is it going to go up, going to go down? We can't predict, but is this just a one-day reaction, or is it going to be a reaction for days and days, maybe weeks and months?

IP: I think it's more likely to be a one-day reaction, mostly because what I see today is investors and traders repositioning them for an outcome they did not expect. If this were the first of a series of dominos with a lot of more negative consequences in coming weeks, like we saw during the global financial crisis, then yes, you might want to brace for more days ahead.

But I should caution, there's a lot we just don't know at this point.

[13:54:59] I mean, this vote doesn't end the uncertainty, it just gives us more of it. First of all, the U.K. has to arrange a treaty to withdraw from the European Union. Then it has to arrange a second treaty for its new relations with the European Union. Then it has to sign about 50 new treaties with other countries, with which -- with it previously only had relations via the European Union. And then there's entire corpus of regulatory law that is no longer effective in the U.K. because it was done by the E.U. So that basically creates this wall of uncertainty.

And as we were talking about earlier, it also gives, I think, energy to the populous anti-globalization movements in other countries. You saw -- you actually saw the markets fall more in Europe than you did in Britain. Because let's say that Marine Le Pen becomes president of France in a couple years time and takes France out of the European Union, that would be a big blow.

BLITZER: Yeah. The President of the United States has been introduced. He is now going to be speaking at Stanford University. We'll listen to the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Everybody have a seat. Thank you so much. Thank you. Oh, thank you so much. This is a good-looking group. Thank you. Well, first of all, let me thank President Hennessy for the introduction, and the entire Stanford family for letting us take over the campus for a few days. As some of you know, John is stepping down after 16 years as president of Stanford. Fortunately for me, I cannot do that, to just stick around longer than my term limit. John, I'm sure there are some people who want you to stick around longer, but I'm confident that you're going to do extraordinary things. And we could not be prouder of John Hennessy and Stanford, and all the great work that they have done. So please give him a big round of applause.

Now, it's summer break. Just so all of you know, Stanford is not always this quiet. This school is unique. Folks ride on bicycles everywhere. And athletes are also computer engineers. This is the place that made nerd cool. So we are thrilled to be here.

I know that I am not the first speaker that you've heard from, but many of you have traveled here from a long ways. We've got more than 170 countries from every region in the world represented. Some of you, this is the first time you are visiting our country. So let me just say, on behalf of the American people, not only welcome to our Global Entrepreneurship Summit, but welcome to the United States of America. We are glad to have you.

I am not going to give a long speech, because what I really want to do is have a conversation with some outstanding young people who are part of our panel and we're going to introduce in a moment. But I do want to begin by offering some opening thoughts about the time in which we gather here today. And I'm going to start with the British people's decision to leave the European Union, the vote that took place yesterday.

Just a few hours ago, I spoke with Prime Minister David Cameron. David has been an outstanding friend and partner on the global stage. And based on our conversation, I'm confident that the U.K. is committed to an orderly transition out of the E.U. We agreed that our economic and financial teams will remain in close contact as we stay focused on ensuring economic growth and financial stability. I then spoke to Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and we agreed that the United States and our European allies will work closely together in the weeks and months ahead.

I do think that yesterday's vote speaks to the ongoing changes and challenges that are raised by globalization. But while the UK's relationship with the E.U. will change, one thing that will not change is the special relationship that exists between our two nations. That will endure. The E.U. will remain one of our indispensable partners. Our NATO alliance will remain a cornerstone of global security. And in a few weeks, we'll be meeting in Warsaw for the NATO Summit. And our shared values, including our commitment to democracy and pluralism, and opportunity for all people in a globalized world, that will continue to unite all of us.

[14:00:02] And that is the work that brings us here today.

The world has shrunk. It is interconnected. All of you represent that interconnection.