Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Rallies after Saying He May Not Accept Election Results; Clinton, Trump Trade Jokes, Jabs at Charity Dinner; Republicans Fear for Fate of Senate. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 21, 2016 - 11:00   ET



[11:00:14] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan.


This morning we know this campaign is no joke -- at least probably not a good one -- judging by the Al Smith dinner. More on that in just a moment.

In just a few minutes, Donald Trump takes the stage in Fletcher, North Carolina, and then he's off to Pennsylvania for two events later today. This, as he says he will or won't or may accept the results of this election, an election where he's down by an average of eight points nationwide.

Hillary Clinton goes to Ohio today where she's been trailing in some polls, although a new poll shows the race there even.

BOLDUAN: But about last night, the two candidates were a little too close for comfort, both on the seating chart, and where their jokes landed, at the annual Al Smith charity dinner in New York City. As is tradition, the candidates traded jokes and jabs, but as is tradition for this election cycle, it was mostly jabs. Some were funny. Some were kind of not. Some may have gone a little too far. You be the judge.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary accidentally bumped into me and she very civilly said, "Pardon me."


And I very politely replied, "Let me talk to you about that after I get into office."


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People look at the Statue of Liberty and they see a proud symbol of our history as a nation of immigrants, a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the statue of liberty and sees a four, maybe a five, if she loses the torch and tablet, and changes her hair.



BOLDUAN: Hold your laughs, your boos, your judgment. Let's first get to the news.

CNN's Jessica Schneider in Fletcher, North Carolina, where Donald Trump is about to take the stage.

So, Jessica, are we expecting more stand-up comedy today?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kate, you know, Donald Trump expected to touch down here in North Carolina shortly. And the question is, will he once again dig in on those rallying cries of a rigged election. We heard him yesterday digging into his plans to potentially protest the election if it doesn't comes out in his favor, in fact, saying yesterday that he would accept the results of the election, and adding a dramatic pause, if he won. Then he went on yesterday to clarify that he was reserving his rights to legally challenge the results of the election.

Right here in North Carolina, there's at least one person not taking kindly to that rhetoric. It's the GOP executive chair here in North Carolina, Dallas Woodhouse. He put it quite bluntly yesterday, saying, "We at the North Carolina Republican party are not aware of the results being optional."

Of course, other lawmakers also coming out. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as well as Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, both of them putting it very bluntly as well, saying that Donald Trump is doing a disservice to democracy by repeating this rhetoric and casting doubt on the country's democracy.

Well, the voters here are hyped up for yet another rally as we head into these final days of the election. Right here in North Carolina, the polls are showing this race neck and neck. In fact, the latest CNN poll that was released on Monday showed Hillary Clinton polling at 48 percent, Donald Trump at 47 percent.

So a very close race here. We will see what Donald Trump has in store for us today. He was full of a lot of rhetoric throughout his rallies and, of course, and at that dinner yesterday -- Kate and John?

BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you so much. We'll be watching for Donald Trump to take the stage and what will come next.

BERMAN: Was it comedy, was it cringe-worthy, was it a little of both at last night's Al Smith dinner, this is the annual white-tie fundraiser for Catholic Charities in New York City. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both told jokes or at least both tried.

CNN's senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, joins us now.

Brianna, I want to say highlights or lowlights, but give us the lights of the event.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: All right. I'm going to start off with a bit of low light. This is actually probably the thing that got Donald Trump in the most trouble last night. Keeping in mind, as you mentioned, this is to Benefit Catholic Charities. It's hosted by the archdiocese of New York. You had Cardinal Dolan as the one sitting between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in this event to benefit needy children.

Donald Trump said this, and it didn't go over too well.


TRUMP: Hillary believes that it's vital to deceive the people by having one public policy --


TRUMP: -- and a totally different policy in private.

That's OK. I don't know who they're angry at, Hillary, you or I.

For example, here she is tonight in public pretending not to hate Catholics.



[11:35:25] KEILAR: So the background here, he's referring to an e- mail, a hacked e-mail from WikiLeaks, not an e-mail from Hillary Clinton or to Hillary Clinton, but from one of her top aides that came years before the campaign started but, nonetheless, spoke disparagingly about Catholics, even though this aid was Catholic. This aide was talking about how conservatives are Catholics because they feel it's the most socially accepted conservative religion. So that didn't go over well in a room full of people there for a Catholic charity dinner, as you can imagine.

The other thing that was sort of an interesting barb that I know you rather enjoyed, Kate. This was Hillary Clinton responding to this very weird statement by Donald Trump leading up to the debate that Hillary Clinton may have previously been on drugs at a debate and that they should do drug testing. Here's what she said.


CLINTON: Donald wanted me dg tested night's debate.


And look, I got to tell you, I am so flattered that Donald thought I used some sort of performance enhancer.


Now, actually, I did. It's called preparation.



KEILAR: And prepare, she did. She spent five days preparing for that last debate. She spent several days preparing for each previous debate.

Some observers, as you know, looked at that and thought it might have made her a little robotic, but it also helped her win because, according to our scientific instant polls, she won all three debates.

BOLDUAN: Who won the Al Smith debate? We will find out.

Brianna, great to see you. Thank you.

So joining us now, Alex Burns, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for "The New York Times"; CNN political commentators, S.E. Cupp, a conservative columnist; Bill Press, a Hillary Clinton supporter and the host of the "Bill Press" show; and Kayleigh McEnany, Donald Trump supporter.

Guys, thanks for being here.

After last night, Cardinal Dolan, who had the most difficult seat in the house --


-- maybe the only man who could handle it -- he was on the "Today" show speaking about kind of what was said, what his job was. He said, in private, the two sounded a little different than they did in public. Watch this.


CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, NEW YORK CITY CATHOLIC DIOCESE: After the little prayer, Mr. Trump turned to Secretary Clinton and said, you know, you are one tough and talented woman. And he said, "This has been a great, a good experience, this whole campaign, as tough as it's been." She said to him, "And Donald, whatever happens, we need to work together afterwards." I thought, this is the evening at its best.


BERMAN: Then there were rainbows and unicorns.


BOLDUAN: Then we woke up from the dream.


S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Cardinal Dolan has a great sense of humor and he's just adorable. But seeing him sandwiched between two people, who come in with really legitimately bad character issues, was odd to watch.

I've got to be honest, I actually thought, I know these jokes were scripted for them, but I actually thought the front ends of Donald Trump's delivery, his jokes were funnier, and they were written by other people, I get it. They were funnier. Her delivery is not that great.

But in typical Trump fashion, he took, I thought, the good will he had earned through some of those jokes and threw it in the dumpster and lit it on fire when he turns toward Hillary Clinton as so corrupt and Hillary Clinton is pretending not to hate Catholics. The room just sunk. It was a thud. And it's sort of typical of what he does.

She, on the other hand, gave sort of a flat joke performance and then turned to, but let's all come together and we're better than this. And, of course, the room loves that. So it was sort of almost two different kinds of moments in both of their speeches.

BERMAN: Alex Burns, at the risk of making too much of this, Chuck Todd said it's really hard to go in and lose the Al Smith dinner. But Donald Trump may have done that. Is that a fair analysis?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is. I think what make it sort of additionally a weird thing to see happen is that this should have been a room that Trump is pretty familiar with. It's a bunch of rich New Yorkers, including many in the real estate development business. This ought to have been something of a hometown crowd. Not that Trump is deeply involved with Catholic Charities in New York, but still, it was a room he should have been able to read. But I think S.E.'s point is right on. We have seen over and over Trump in this general election really struggle to read a room that isn't a high school gymnasium in central Pennsylvania full of cheering fans who are with him in the Republican primary. He's not a terribly maneuverable candidate.

[11:10:00] BOLDUAN: They can all put away the white tuxes and back to the campaign trail, Bill.



BOLDUAN: So Donald Trump, on the issue of will he accept the election results when they come out, he went from holding voters in suspense yesterday afternoon, to making a joke about it, and then he seemed to back off of that in his speech even yesterday, backtrack, maybe clean it up a little bit. Listen to this.


]TRUMP: Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.



BOLDUAN: If you listen to that one, and you forget everything else, that seems not unreasonable. Does it settle it for you now?

PRESS: No. Just say he will accept the results of the election.

I just have to say one quick thing. I wish the comments they made, according to the cardinal, privately, they had said publicly at the debate. I think the American people would have been --


BERMAN: We wish they shook hands at the debate. We got criticized for saying that. But they did shake hands last night.

PRESS: They didn't shake hands at the debate at all. They did last night.

I have to say, look, this whole thing about -- I have been a candidate. I have lost an election. It's hard to do, but it's what you have to do as a candidate. Richard Nixon did it when he could have challenged John F. Kennedy. John McCain, John Kerry could have challenged. They haven't. They accept the results and move on. That's what Donald Trump has to say, emphatically. I think it's wrong. And I think it's dangerous because I think the result is, not for him, maybe, but his supporters then will not trust the legitimacy of the Clinton presidency, which looks like we are going to get, so it will be Birther round two.

BERMAN: Didn't he open up the door now to accepting it saying, if there is a clear result? Granted, it comes after everything else.

PRESS: Stop playing games. Just say, yes, of course, I'll accept it. I'm an American. This is our democratic process. God bless America. I hope to win. But if I don't, yes, I will get behind, I will just accept the results.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the apocalyptic reaction to what Donald Trump said is stunning and really overblown. The fact that he wants to wait and see what happens in two weeks on the heels of a video coming out where you have Democratic operatives talking about how to commit mass voter fraud, naming the states they want to do it in, I think it is entirely fair for him to say, one, be vigilant, and, two, I want to wait and see what happens.


PRESS: There is no evidence, Kayleigh, zero evidence of any voter fraud.

MCENANY: Except the video with Democratic operatives planning it out --

(CROSSTALK) PRESS: That was not voter fraud. That was trying -- by the way, I condemn it. We all should. A couple of Democratic operatives, who have since been fired, who were trying to stir up allegedly some violence at a Trump rally. We could never support that. But that is not massive voter fraud on a national scale. It does not exist.


CUPP: Can I just say I think on this issue, what Donald Trump is saying is horrific and dangerous. Kayleigh is right though. I talked to a lot of people around the country over the past couple of days. They feel this is an overblown issue. They feel this is fake outrage, like it's an academic sort of interpretation of what he said.


CUPP: Because they --

BOLDUAN: He doesn't even believe what he's saying or --

CUPP: No, they don't understand the consequences. When we talk about the consequences of that kind of language, really undermining democracy, and this idea of a peaceful transition of power and how terrible that is, they will say well, he doesn't have an Army. What's he going to do? They don't think that these sort of academic arguments --


BERMAN: No real people --


CUPP: It's not really working in the heartland. As much as I wish it were compelling argument, because I really do believe it's dangerous, I don't think this going to move people who aren't ready decided.


BURNS: I think that may very well be the case. I do think it's an issue that's important enough that we ought to be focusing on it, irrespective of whether the man in the street is that concerned about it.


CUPP: Yes.

BURNS: I spent yesterday talking to a number of diplomats about what this conversation does to the image of American democracy internationally, and it's less a matter of Trump saying that he will wait and see, you know, what the results are before conceding, and more this constant talk that the system is rigged, you can't trust the result, it's all -- the fix is in from the elites on high, they have already sort of decided the vote tallies. For people around the world who see the United States as a beacon of democracy, that's really, really dangerous talk.


BOLDUAN: I just want to get your take on one of the other big moments. This obviously was the moment that overshadowed a lot of the debate, post debate. Another moment that so many we are talking about -- I know you have been asked about it as well -- is when Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton was such a nasty woman. This has put a lot of Republicans in the position of being asked, do you agree, don't you agree.

This is what Texas Congressman Ryan Babin said when he was asked about it. Listen to this.


ALAN COLMES, HOST, ALAN COLMES RADIO SHOW (voice-over): Do you think it's appropriate to call her a nasty woman?

REP. RYAN BABIN, (R), TEXAS (voice-over): Well, I'm a genteel southerner, Alan.

COLMES: So that means no?

BABIN: No, I think -- I think sometimes a lady needs to be told when she's being nasty.


BOLDUAN: This helping your cause, Kayleigh?

[11:15:11] MCENANY: I think he was trying to dispel any sense of this was some gender criticism, because I don't think this was sexism when Donald Trump said nasty woman.


BERMAN: He said lady. He said lady there. I'm not sure that helps say it's there.


CUPP: A lady needs to be told, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: I think that's reading too much into that. Look, I don't think Donald Trump should have said the comment "nasty woman" on the stage. I don't think it helped him win voters. I don't think it hurt him.

I do think he was speaking to a deep frustration of standing next to someone whose associates smashed Blackberrys with hammers, who got out of the Clinton quid pro quo allegations, and his deep frustration with the smugness and arrogance she had on that stage. He shouldn't have said it but I understand his frustration.

PRESS: Here's why he was frustrated. He was frustrated because he knows he' losing this election and knew he had lost that debate and she had gotten under his skin. She was talking for god's sakes about the FICA tax and Social Security, the driest subject on the planet. She wasn't attacking him in any way. He could not --


BOLDUAN: She did get a dig in, right before that, about him not paying.

BERMAN: One last point on this. Does this show the kind of bind Republicans around the country can be in when dealing with Donald Trump? This guy on the "Alan Colmes Radio Show," Congressman Babin, was asked about the nasty comment. Your choice is to either disavow the candidate or weigh in. He chose option three, which is make it worse.

CUPP: Yeah. If are you taxed with the duty of defending Donald Trump, it's very difficult and you are that you have to get yourself into to put a positive spin on what is clearly indefensible. That's why a lot of Republicans have chosen not to defend him.

BOLDUAN: Guys, great to see you. Thanks so much.



While Trump and Clinton fight for the White House, 34 Senate seats are also on the ballot, and there's a case being made for one Republican Senator by suggesting Trump has already lost. The strategy behind that ahead.

BERMAN: Occasionally, Florida is an important state in presidential elections.


Yes. By occasionally, we mean always. Coming up, we'll speak with a Republican Party head of Florida with new information about the state of the race there.

And a possible anti-Ryan rebellion. Could the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, have his job on the line because of his position or lack thereof on Donald Trump? Stick around.


[11:21:21] BOLDUAN: A candid statement on the state of the race, a last-ditch effort to save a Senate seat, both in the battleground state of New Hampshire. A brand new poll shows Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte trailing eight points behind her Democratic opponent.

BERMAN: The same poll shows that Donald Trump is down a whopping 15 points there in the presidential race. Now there is a new ad, a new ad on behalf of Senator Ayotte that has a lot of people talking.

I want to bring in chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, to explain what's going on -- Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is potentially a moment that we will look back on as a key turning point in the race in terms of how the Republicans sort of establishment writ-large looks at where the resources go. At least that is what one of the groups, the Chamber of Commerce, is hoping. They are starting an ad, they say today, in New Hampshire, which is to benefit the incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, but more importantly, the message in it to voters in New Hampshire is vote for Kelly Ayotte as a check and balance on the White House. It doesn't explicitly say Hillary Clinton will win, but that is the clear message.

Let's take a listen.


ANNOUNCER: America's future is far from certain. But no matter whom the next president is, New Hampshire needs a strong voice in the U.S. Senate. That's Senator, Kelly Ayotte. She works across the aisle to get things done.

Maggie Hassan's record? Hassan voted over 100 times for more taxes and fees. Just imagine what she would do unchecked in Washington with a new president.


BASH: Now, you showed the public polling that shows Kelly Ayotte, the incumbent Republican, pretty far behind her Democratic challenger. I'm told internal polling has Kelly Ayotte closer, and that they think this is somewhere where she actually can win if they can successfully separate her from Donald Trump, and more importantly, as this ad tries to do, say it's critical to put her in the Senate and other Republicans, keep the majority, in order to sort of offset what they believe will be a Democratic White House.

Remember, back in 1996, when Bob Dole was on the ticket about this point in the campaign, with the blessing of Bob Dole, a lot of the resources, including party resources, were shifted over to the Senate because it was clear he was not going to win. This is different in that the party resources are still going for Donald Trump. They are still working hand in glove. But I'm told specifically by a source at the Chamber of Commerce -- this is an important Republican group -- that they are hoping this does send a signal to other candidates in tough Senate races and other outside groups like them, that it is time to really put the money and resources in the Senate and make clear message-wise to voters it is because they think Hillary Clinton is going to be the one in the White House.

BERMAN: Dana Bash, an important moment. Thanks so much.

I want to bring in Blaise Ingoglia, the state representative and chairman of the Republican party of Florida.

Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for being with us. Dana Bash was just talking about the Senate race in New Hampshire, so

let's talk about the Senate race in the great state of Florida. Yesterday, President Obama was in your backyard and he weighed in decisively on that Senate race. Let's listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How can you call him a con artist and dangerous and object to all the controversial things, and then say, but I'm still going to vote for him? Come on, man. Come on, man.


It is the height of cynicism. That's a sign of somebody who will say anything, do anything, pretend to be anybody, just to get elected.


[11:25:27] BERMAN: The president saying Marco Rubio said some pretty tough things about Donald Trump, yet he's still going to vote for him. Your response to the president?

BLAISE INGOGLIA, CHAIRMAN, FLORIDA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Well, I would say to the president the reason why Marco Rubio is voting for Donald Trump is Marco Rubio understands that we need a federal government that is accountable and he understands the importance of keeping the Supreme Court in check.

Look, you could say that about Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. But let's talk about Patrick Murphy. Patrick Murphy is casting a vote for perhaps what people will say is the most corrupt career politician ever to run for the presidency. So if the president is going to ask Marco Rubio that question, we need to ask Patrick Murphy why is he still standing by Hillary Clinton.

BOLDUAN: Mr. Chairman, You are the Republican chair in the state of Florida, maybe the most important state for Donald Trump for a path to victory right now. How enthusiastic are you about Donald Trump?

INGOGLIA: Look, I think there's a lot of enthusiasm for a Donald Trump presidency. But what I want to remind everybody is please do not underestimate the level of frustration with Americans with their federal government. As long as this race is close, I believe that the shadow vote that we keep on talking about is going to help put Donald Trump over the top in some of these states. What is that shadow --


BERMAN: Mr. Chairman.

INGOGLIA: Yes, sir?

BERMAN: I couldn't help but notice you didn't say I have a lot of enthusiasm for Donald Trump. You said there is a lot of enthusiasm for Donald Trump. Kate's question was how supportive are you personally of Donald Trump's candidacy?

INGOGLIA: Look, I'm voting for Donald Trump. I also understand the importance of keeping a federal government in check. I understand the importance of a Supreme Court that is accountable to the people and goes by the strict meaning of the Constitution.

What we can't afford is a Hillary Clinton presidency. Look, with the Pay-to-Play schemes, with somebody who has the office who is only there to enrich herself and her friends, a lot of people will see past this. The last thing we need is a continuing of the status quo in this federal government.

BOLDUAN: Are you concerned about widespread voter fraud in Florida?

INGOGLIA: What I am concerned about is some things that we are seeing that are some cause for concern. When you put it all together, it is some cause for concern. You know, we have seen how the Democrats --


BOLDUAN: Marco Rubio, though, when he was asked about it -- you are supportive of Marco Rubio -- Marco Rubio said very definitively in a debate this election is not going to be rigged, there is no evidence behind any of this, and Donald Trump should stop talking about it.

INGOGLIA: Well, the first thing I would say is let's talk about the Florida system. It is very, very safe. We are a paper-based system that goes through optical scanners and that is on a closed network that is not connected to the Internet. So in a worst case scenario, we can always recreate the election here in Florida.

Let's talk about what the Florida Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign did in the state of Florida this week. They actually filed a lawsuit asking a judge to count the votes of people who are not registered in the state of Florida. That is unprecedented. It's scary. It can create chaos. What they did was basically ask a judge to have anybody who shows up to the polls not even to verify that they are registered to come in and cast a vote. That is unprecedented. It's scary. Thank god the judge shot that down.

BOLDUAN: So it's not happening. Got it.

Blaise Ingoglia, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

INGOGLIA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So House Speaker Paul Ryan is now feeling the heat for his lukewarm support of Donald Trump. Now, some of the speaker's Republican colleagues in the House are threatening rebellion. Details ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, legal experts call it the doomsday scenario. What happens if the Supreme Court has to weigh in on this election? A court that's down a member right now, so if there's a 4-4 tie, who gets to pick the president?

BOLDUAN: John Berman.