Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton to Deliver Concession Speech Soon; George H.W. Bush Calls, Congratulates Trump; Paul Ryan Press Conference. Aired 11- 11:29a ET

Aired November 9, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Brianna Keilar, you covered of this latest adventure. She tried to reach the White House and I wonder if her husband, her daughter, the family -- I know the vice presidential running mate will be there. Do we know who else is going to be with her at this moment?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We know at this point that this is really a good-bye and a thank you to a lot of people who have worked on her campaign. And even before the campaign and this was almost a shadow campaign. I covered her for more than a year before she officially declared so we know a number of these are folks who just haven't been with her just for this cycle, but they have been with her over the years and they are going to be there. Now, exactly what she's going to say, we know generally we expect that she is going to be gracious, that she is going to talk about healing some of the divisions that we saw come up in this election, but otherwise, we don't know a whole lot about what she is going to say. I think we should expect there's going to be something memorable as we heard eight years ago in her speech where she talked about the glass ceiling. We just don't know what that is at this point. This is going to be obviously a very difficult speech. Something really strikes me which is a lot of people have said why didn't she give the concession last night. I also think it' turning on a dime, right, from going from thinking you were going to win and not just her thinking that, everyone, even the Trump folks, thought he was going to need a miracle to win. At the end of the night what she thought was going to be a wedding was a funeral and you don't have a funeral at a wedding. This is a completely different situation and layout in tone of an event than what we would have seen last night if she had come out onstage. That's where she gave the concession called John podesta said "TBD," wait until tomorrow.

BLITZER: The state is set for her to deliver, Brianna, this concession speech.

David Gergen, you worked for four American presidents. I remember vividly, and I was a young reporter back in 1980, 1980 when Jimmy Carter was still president of the United States, and all of a sudden, the Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan to be their presidential nominee. They were high-fiving each other in the White House because a movie star, an actor, they thought it was going to be -- he's the president of the United States. They underestimated Ronald Reagan and you know what? I think it's fair to say the Clinton team clearly underestimated Donald Trump.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Using George W. Bushisms, they underestimated him. Look, in 1980, as you remember, there was a real sense in the country nobody could govern anymore. We were coming apart, things weren't working. Here was this least qualified, most problematic figure coming in, this cowboy, coming in from Hollywood. Everybody thought he's not going to do it. You know, then he took over and took over during the transition. If Trump can take or the transition and guide it and be in charge of it and look like a real president, it could transform the way a lot of people think about him.

BLITZER: Can he do that?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he didn't run as an ideological conservative. There was no purity to Donald Trump's politics whatsoever.

BLITZER: Populist.

BORGER: Total populist. And so, whereas conservatives might feel one way on lots of issues like immigration, some conservatives opposed him, some conservatives were with him. In that sense, Donald Trump does have an opportunity. And I remember we were all covering the meeting he had with Paul Ryan not too long ago which apparently didn't go so well from Paul Ryan's point of view but in talking to people who <*re in it, one thing they said was that the feeling they came out of that meeting with was Donald Trump said to me just get me elected, then we will talk about your agenda and figure it out. So, the question is, ironically, Paul Ryan who will not say Trump's name, may depend on Donald Trump to get his agenda through the Congress and it may be the best thing that ever happened to Paul Ryan. We just don't know the answer to that.


BORGER: -- in control of the Congress, by the way.

BLITZER: It's also -- Dana, it's also very, very interesting, a senior administration official told us that, starting today, Donald Trump will start receiving the same high-level, most-sensitive intelligence briefings that the president of the United States receives. They are not going to water it down. Starting today, he's going to get the most sensitive information that the U.S. intelligence community, a daily briefing for the president-elect of the United States on what's going on in Iraq, in Syria, North Korea, all the most sensitive issues. Russia, for example. Trump will get a daily briefing along those lines every day. And that's going to be a significant development because I don't know if it will or won't affect some of his foreign policy national security views. Many of them have been very controversial.

[11:05:09] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It very well may. There's no question. It's an education. Of course, in the world.


And knowing things about it that none of us know, probably things that would make all of us want to go under our covers and never come out, because it's pretty scary stuff.

Having said that, I also wonder down too many layers too deep but while we're on the topic, given the rigged system and the fact that his whole line out there was you can't trust these institutions, what that's going to mean for the commander-in-chief getting information from intelligence.

BLITZER: Hold on one second.

We are just learning first here on CNN that the former President George H.W. Bush has just phoned Donald Trump. We are told they spoke for about 10 minutes on the phone. The former president 41, he congratulated Donald Trump. Donald Trump said it was a very warm, very good, and very positive conversation. The former President George H.W. Bush congratulating, congratulating Donald Trump. Earlier he tweeted, "President Bush, Barbara and I congratulate @realDonaldTrump" -- his twitter handle - "wish him well as he guides America forward as our next president. His family is in our prayers."

The Bush family, at least the first President Bush, now making that move, a very important gesture to bring this country together.

Carl Bernstein is with us.

Carl, this is a very gracious move by the former president, who was deeply upset by some of the things Donald Trump had said during the Republican primaries about Jeb Bush.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, we are seeing people who are in the political system, who understand the presidency, they know how important this transition is and that the country get a sense of some notion of unified purpose and willingness to help the new president no matter what has happened in the past. There's no doubt in any of these, especially Hillary Clinton's -- and we are going to hear from her in a moment -- Trump ran a campaign that was based on racism, based on xenophobia. Despite all of these aspects, these people are now going to say, we are Americans, we need to make our system work, we want to see this president succeed. On top of which, they want to see some of the venom of Trump removed, and perhaps by speaking of him in this way, they might succeed a little bit in remaining the venom that was so typical of the campaign.

BLITZER: Let me be precise. What I reported about President George H.W. Bush, this from our special correspondent, Jamie Gangel, who reports that Bush 41 called Donald Trump at, according to Bush's spokesman, Jim McGrath, McGrath said they spoke for about five minutes. Trump was very friendly and gracious and 41 wished him, quote, "Good luck on your new challenge," several times.

I want to go to the White House. Michelle Kosinski, our White House correspondent, is there. Michele, shortly after Hillary Clinton delivers this concession

speech, we are going to hear from the current president of the United States. He will go -- is going into the Cabinet Room, the East Room, one of the stately rooms at the White House to deliver his speech congratulating Donald Trump.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It will be the Cabinet Room, Wolf. This will be the first we have heard directly from the White House. In fact, the White House has been quite quiet. As there were questions over what is going on in this building right now, what is the feeling. Last night people were here in the West Wing quite late, then after around 2:00 a.m., everything went dark. Even in our communications with White House staffers, in the beginning, they were very hopeful, they were trying to stay encouraged, but after a certain point, you just didn't hear from them at all anymore.

Now we are hearing the first from White House staffers. A senior administration official tells us this morning that the mood right now is sadness, disbelief and tears. The way they put it, they have a sense they need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and do what they can to try to bring people together from their own staff to Democrats and even to the country at large. They say there's a discussion right now about the need to keep doing their jobs and focus on the peaceful transfer of power. They were telling us that they want to get the point across that America is more than a collection of red states and blue states. That summarizes much of what we are going to hear from the president today. It's unlikely he will take questions.

But right after we hear from him, there's a White House briefing. That's where we are going to hear from the administration the answers to all of our questions out there from what went wrong to what happens to the many points of President Obama's legacy that he was looking forward to Hillary Clinton taking over. I think when you look back over the campaign and some of the things that President Obama said, this really strong unprecedented statement against Donald Trump, things like he's dangerous, that this is not who we are, that the president has faith in the American public's judgment and values, or that this is an easy choice. President Obama has had so many strong, strongly worded rebukes of Donald Trump over these past few months, seeming to ramp up that rhetoric and now things did not work out that way so obviously, the administration is going to face many, many difficult questions out here.

[11:10:51] BLITZER: I'm sure the president will have a very, very different tone today when he speaks. That speech coming up as you point out from the Cabinet Room around 12:15 p.m. eastern.

The speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, will also be speaking, we are told, fairly soon. He will be delivering his statement. There are some live pictures coming in. Speaker Paul Ryan, who was not enthusiastic about Donald Trump during this entire presidential campaign.

But right now, we are waiting for Hillary Clinton. She's going to be speaking. You see all those American flags. You see the lectern there. She will be speaking over there at the Windham, New York hotel. She will be delivering her remarks we are told very, very soon. She just left the Peninsula Hotel. We will have special live coverage right after this.


BLITZER: We are standing by to hear from Hillary Clinton very soon. She will be speaking. You see the podium there, you see the lectern, you see the America American flags.

Jeff Zeleny, we understand Paul Ryan is about to make a statement, but set the scene once again.

[11:15:50] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRSPONDENT: Wolf, I'm told senator Tim Kaine, of course, the Democratic running mate, is on site here. I'm told that he will be introducing Hillary Clinton when she addresses this crowd here in this hotel ballroom. Many of her top staffers are sitting in the front row. Key supporters to her are also in this ballroom. Outside of this ballroom, there are literally hundreds of campaign staffers ling the atrium sort of greeting her here on her arrival.

I am told she's going to directly address Donald Trump, directly thank the president as well or his support, but it is interesting that she will be introduced by Tim Kaine, who of course four months ago, joined this ticket to campaign with her. Wolf, now he could be the future of the Democratic party or certainly one future face of the Democratic party and that's where this conversation will turn after she gives her address here today.

BLITZER: Tim Kaine wanted to be vice president of the United States. That is not happening, at least not now. Maybe he will run for president four years from now. Seems like a long time from now.

Jeff, stand by.

I want to set the scene. Clearly, Hillary Clinton is running a few minutes late. We will get to Hillary Clinton as soon as she starts speaking.

Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, is in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, getting ready to hold a news conference. We will get live pictures over there.

Dana, you covered Paul Ryan for a long time. This has been a very difficult ordeal for him as well.

BASH: This is not the nominee he wanted but it's the president he got. As the speaker of the House, who is just a few heartbeats away from that -- constitutionally from that role himself, he realizes how monumental this is.

I think, Gloria, your point was really, really a good one in that this does -- I mean, in some ways. it diminishes Paul Ryan because he's not really the only Republican leader who can get things done just because of the way -


BLITZER: Here he comes. Let's listen to Paul Ryan. Then we will hear the statement from Hillary Clinton.


Last night and again this morning, I spoke with president-elect Donald Trump and I congratulated him on his great victory. We talked about the work ahead of us and the importance of bringing this country together.

Let me just say, this is the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime. This is something you've heard me say time and again. Seven out of 10 Americans, they do not like the direction our country is going. Many of our fellow citizens feel alienated and have lost faith in our core institutions. They don't feel heard and they don't feel represented by those in office.

But Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard. He connected with -- he connected in ways with people no one else did. He turned politics on its head. And now, Donald Trump will lead a unified Republican government. And we will work hand-in- hand on a positive agenda to tackle this country's big challenges.

I want to congratulate my friend Mike Pence. Mike Pence is a good man, a principled conservative, and he will make a great vice president.

I want to congratulate Reince Priebus. You need to know how proud we are in Wisconsin of Reince Priebus. What he has done to rebuild our party is remarkable.

I want to congratulate Mitch McConnell and our Republican colleagues in the Senate.

I want to congratulate Ron Johnson, something that we've worked so hard here at home, on his victory. Ron, Scott Walker and I just spent four days on a bus in Wisconsin crisscrossing the state, urging all Republicans to come together, to unify and to win, and that's exactly what happened. It was close quarters at times, and it was worth it to get Ron back the next six years.

Of course, I am immensely proud of the campaign that our House members and our candidates ran. I want to congratulate Greg Walden and the team at the NRCC and our entire House leadership team. What a phenomenal job. Look at it this way. Our House majority is bigger than expected. We won more seats than anyone expected, and much of that is thanks to Donald Trump. Donald Trump provided the kind of coat tails that got a lot of people over the finish line so the we could maintain our strong House and Senate majorities.

Now we have important work to do. Many months ago, Republicans in the House united around a bold, specific agenda for this country and offered a better way forward for America, and it will help us hit the ground running as we work with Donald Trump to do this. We will honor the timeless principles that our country was founded on; liberty, freedom, free enterprise, consent of the governed. And we will apply those principles to the problems of the day.

This is the kind of unified Republican government that we set out to deliver. I want to close with this. There is no doubt our democracy can be very messy and we do remain a sharply divided country. But now, as we do every four years, we have to work to heal the divisions of a long campaign. I think president-elect Donald Trump set the perfect tone last night for doing just this.

[11:20:05] And I know President Obama and Secretary Clinton are committed to bringing the country together. This needs to be a time of redemption, not a time of recrimination. We all need to rededicate ourselves to making America great and making it a more perfect union.

With that, let me take your questions.

QUESTION: Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) critical of Donald Trump (inaudible)? (inaudible) relationship with the president-elect and your (inaudible) in the House in tact?

RYAN: Yes, it is. I think our relationship is fine. I've spoken with Donald twice in the last 18 hours. We spoke last night. We spoke again this morning. I spoke with my good friend Mike Pence twice as well.

I think we are going to hit the ground running. We are already talking about getting our transitions working together. We're very excited. Look, Kelly, when I say seven out of 10 Americans don't like the direction the country's going, they just voted.

I think what Donald Trump just pulled off is an enormous political feat. It's an enormous feat in that he heard those voices that were out there that other people weren't hearing. And he just earned a mandate. And we now just have a unified Republican government.

If you listened to us in the closing days of this campaign, whether it was crisscrossing America or crisscrossing Wisconsin, we were making an appeal to our fellow citizens and to all Republicans to come home to unify. And we did just that. And that's why I'm excited about where we are.


QUESTION: (inaudible) your conversations with the president- elect, did you (inaudible) speakership?

RYAN: We had great conversations about how we work together on the transition to make this work. We're trying to get our schedules lined up to meet to flesh out how we build our transition, how we go forward. And so yes, I'm very excited about our ability to work together.

QUESTION: (inaudible) organization (inaudible)?

RYAN: Yes.

QUESTION: (inaudible)?

RYAN: I'll say to Wisconsinites what I said to Wisconsinites before the election. Look at these issues. Look at the potential for our country. Look at the direction we've been going. Look at the direction we need to go. And look at what a unified Republican government can get you.

Look, I'm really proud of the fact that for the first time since 1984, Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes went to Republicans. This is an enormous feat. Frankly, you saw the Marquette poll. I mean, Charles, you saw it. We didn't think it could happen. Donald Trump turn this on its head. Donald Trump delivered the 10 electoral votes.

And by the way, he helped elect a strong majority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House.


QUESTION: (inaudible) used the word "mandate." If you're going to repeal and replace Obamacare, how quickly? How soon? What does it look like? And what do you say to those folks that just don't feel like he is going to be their president?

RYAN: I -- I think after a tough campaign, where people believe that they were -- they were pitching so hard for one side or the other, the time is to heal and to unify. This health care law, Charles, is not a popular law. This health care law is collapsing under its own weight.

And so to your specific question about repealing and replacing Obamacare, this Congress, this House majority, this Senate majority has already demonstrated and proven we're able to pass that legislation and put it on the president's desk.

BLITZER: All right, we're going to break away from the Speaker of the House, a very gracious statement he made, saying what Donald Trump has done is the most incredible political feat in our lifetime