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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Attends Mattis Ceremony at Pentagon; President Trump Signs Executive Orders. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 27, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Now, it's temporary, 30 days for these countries, 120-day stop on all refugees. But that time period is meant as per the executive order to allow for greater restrictions.
[16:30:01] And it even recommends some that would ask people what their religious beliefs are. And that's, of course, a test that I don't have to remind your or our viewers that a religious test like that is one that's inconsistent in the view of many Americans and lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, with American principle.
So, it's not blanket. It's not every Muslim in the world. It's not permanent, but it is -- it's a real shock to many involved and let's be clear, even to many of Donald Trump's own cabinet picks who have expressed --
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the vice-president of the United States and the secretary of defense.
Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon. You may be seated.
Mr. President, Chairman Dunford, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, leadership of the Department of Defense, men and women of our armed forces, distinguished guests, thank you for being here today for the ceremonial swearing in of General James Mattis as the 26th secretary of defense of the United States of America.
It is a high honor for me to be with you today. You look around this room. We stand in a place of honor, the Hall of Heroes. The names of 3,498 American patriots are inscribed on these walls. Each of them performed personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty and received the Medal of Honor as a consequence. It is humbling for us to be among their names and to be with all of you.
Secretary Mattis is soon to mark his 50th anniversary in the service of this country. During more than four decades in uniform, Secretary Mattis commanded marines at all levels from an infantry rifle platoon to a marine expeditionary force. He led an infantry battalion in Iraq in 1991 and expeditionary brigade in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attack, went on to lead the first marine expeditionary force, U.S. marine forces in central command. As a joint force commander, Secretary Mattis commanded U.S. Joint Forces Command, NATO Supreme Allied Command for Transformation and U.S. Central Command. At U.S. Central Command, he directed military operations of 200,000 soldiers, sailors, air men, coast guard, marines and allied forces across the Middle East.
And now, Mr. Secretary, your president has called you to lead all of the armed forces of the United States. He and I have the highest faith in your judgment, your courage, and your dedication to this nation.
And, so, on behalf of President Trump, it is my great privilege to administer to you the oath of office.
If you would please place your left hand on the bible, raise your right hand, and repeat after me.
I, James Norman Mattis do solemnly swear --
JAMES NORMAN MATTIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I, James Norman Mattis, do solemnly swear --
PENCE: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States --
MATTIS: -- that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States --
PENCE: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
MATTIS: -- against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
PENCE: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
MATTIS: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.
PENCE: That I take this obligation freely.
MATTIS: That I take this obligation freely.
PENCE: Without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
MATTIS: Without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
PENCE: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties --
MATTIS: And that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties --
PENCE: -- of the office upon which I am about to enter.
MATTIS: -- of the office upon which I am about to enter.
PENCE: So help me God.
MATTIS: So help me god.
MATTIS: Thank you.
MATTIS: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, and, Mr. President, thank you very much for your confidence in me and welcome to the headquarters of your military, your always loyal military, where America's awesome determination to defend herself is on full display.
I would just tell you that you've made clear, Mr. President, your commitment to a strong national defense and the Americans honored in this hall remind us of our strength as a nation of patriots.
On behalf of your department, I want you to know that after more than a decade of war, our longest war, those serving today have been tested and you can count on us all the way. We're grateful for you being here, for showing your respect for us on a day when former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, former deputy Secretary Rudy De Leon are here. It is a reminder this department stands in perpetuity as the defender, as the sentinels and as the guardians of the nation.
And thank you for your confidence in me, Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Total confidence. Thank you.
TRUMP: And that's total confidence, believe me.
I'd like to first congratulate General James Mattis, now Secretary Mattis. Secretary Mattis has devoted his life to serving his country. He is a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action. He likes action. He is the right man at the right time, and he will do us all very, very proud.
I am honored to stand here today among so many patriots. You are the backbone of this country. You are the spirit of this nation in every sense.
The men and women of the United States military are the greatest force for justice and peace and goodness that have ever walked the face of this earth. Your legacy exists everywhere in the world today, where people are more free, more prosperous and more secure because of the United States of America. And you have earned and ensured for our children the glorious birthright of freedom bestowed upon us by God.
We stand today in the hall of heroes, great heroes, a testament to the undying courage of those who wear our nation's uniform and who have received the highest distinction, the Medal of Honor. This is a sacred hall, the soul of our nation lives between these walls. These walls tell the story of those intrepid Americans who gave everything, risked everything, and fought with everything they had to save their fellow warriors and warriors they are, believe me. Warriors they are. And to save our wondrous liberties and to save this God-blessed land. They shed their blood and poured out the love from their hearts to
protect our home. We are in awe of their valor, tremendous valor, and we pledge our dedication to every single family serving our country and our flag. That is why today, I am signing two executive actions to ensure the sacrifices of our military are supported by the actions of our government, and they will always be supported by the actions of our government. Believe me.
First, I'm signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States, developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform. And I'm very proud to be doing that.
As we prepare our budget request for Congress -- and I think Congress is going to be very happy to see it -- our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace. We do want peace.
Secondly, I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas.
[16:40:04] We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.
We will never forget the lessons of 9/11 nor the heroes who lost their lives at the Pentagon. They were the best of us. We will honor them not only with our words, but with our actions, and that's what we're doing today.
I am privileged to be here with you, and I promise that our administration will always have your back. We will always be with you. And I just want to thank you very much.
I want to just extend a very special congratulations to a great man, and that's Secretary Mattis. And I think he's going to lead us so brilliantly. He's a tremendous soldier, always has been.
He's a general's general. Every general that I spoke to, they just -- I won't say that they all said, he's our favorite, but they did. He's our favorite. He's a special, special man.
So, I want to bless him and God bless you and God bless America. And, Secretary Mattis, I have no doubt you're going to do an outstanding job. And thank you very much for accepting this responsibility. Thank you.
So, this is the rebuilding of the United States armed forces. That's a big one. (INAUDIBLE)
Doesn't that sound good? It's been a while.
And this is the protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States. We all know what that means. Protection of the nation from foreign terrorists' entry into the United States. That's big stuff.
And I want to thank everybody. There are many great heroes, great warriors. We have tremendous respect for all of you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump finishing up the ceremonial swearing in of retired General James Mattis as secretary of defense. He's there with his Vice President Mike Pence.
He also signed two executive actions, one beginning the process of, in his view, rebuilding the armed forces, and then another one which he said would protect the country from enemy -- from foreign enemy entities, Islamic terrorists specifically he referred to.
Let's go to CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto at the Pentagon once more.
And we were talking about this before the ceremony. But this isn't specifically singling out people with extremist ties and banning those individuals from coming into the country. This is a blanket ban, at least temporary, of all individuals from specific countries. And we should point out Islamic terrorism is, of course, an extreme problem in many of these countries, but Muslims happen to be the biggest victims of that Islamic terrorism in these countries as well.
SCIUTTO: No question. We'll list the countries covered under this executive order -- Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan. Some of those, state sponsors of terror. That's why they're on the list, that's their governments.
The people, though, I mean, in effect, there is a presumption of guilt here by this, and I should note the president said as he signed this order that he wants to learn, he wants the country to learn the lessons of 9/11. Just to remind people, the hijackers, including those who came into the Pentagon here, they were from four countries, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. None of those countries are on the list there.
So, it just shows -- it raises questions about what exactly, from a counter-terror standpoint, this will -- this will do, will accomplish. And then the broader question about what a religious test is, because this is a religious test. It's not about banning people who have ties to terrorists or backgrounds. It talks about a delay initially for 30 days, 120 days for refugees, for everyone from these countries, Muslim majority countries, until the executive order says there can be better measures, including asking questions about their religious beliefs, which raises questions with many people, including people in that room there, as the president was signing -- was signing that executive order.
TAPPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you so much.
Coming up next, a first for the March for Life -- Vice President Mike Pence pays a visit to the thousands of demonstrators who hope that the Trump White House will pick a Supreme Court Justice who opposes abortion rights and will overturn Roe v. Wade. Stay with us.
[16:50:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Today's "NATIONAL LEAD", for the third time in a week, massive crowds have descended upon the nation's capital. Today, it was anti-abortion demonstrators marking 44 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortion legal in the United States, in the Roe v. Wade decision. But, with President Trump now in office and republicans controlling the house and senate, the people who marched today are more hopeful than ever of a high court reversal of that decision. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is covering today's rally and march. Sunlen, Vice President Pence became the first sitting vice president to ever address the rally. What did he have to tell the crowd?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, in that point really not last on the marchers here today. The Vice President was crystal clear in his message. He at many times during his speech recited the same refrain for emphasis saying, "Life is winning again in America." So, certainly trying to project this image that with the results of election that this is a new era they believe for the anti- abortion movement in America, indicating that now not only because you have a republican in the White House, but because you have a republican-controlled senate, a republican-controlled house. He said there is going to be movement up here on Capitol Hill. Here's what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: That's why this administration will work with the congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers. And we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And that message certainly resonating with the crowd. I spoke to here today on many of them, of course, wanting to see the defunding of Planned Parenthood, but top on their minds today from the many people I spoke to is certainly who Donald Trump will pick to be the next Supreme Court Justice, who he will nominate. Many people here sensing an opportunity to get an anti-abortion justice in place, and certainly many of the marchers are watching every move that Donald Trump makes. And one marcher, telling me that they will hold Donald Trump's feet to the fire on this one. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much. Republican Congresswoman Mia Love of Utah got personal with the crowd when she spoke at today's March for Life rally. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIA LOVE (R), UTAH: 41 years ago, that couple from Haiti could have made the choice to abort, but they didn't. They chose life. I'm certain that this couple would never have thought that that child would become the first black female republican ever elected to congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And the congressman joins me now. Congressman, that was a very powerful moment that caught our attention. I have to ask, I don't know if you were speaking more broadly to illustrate a point, or if your parents actually had contemplated getting an abortion.
LOVE: Oh, you can only imagine, you know, they came here with just $10 in their pockets. They're working really hard. They had no money. They left my brother and my sister behind, and it was awhile before they were able to get back. They wanted to become U.S. citizens so that they can bring my brother and my sister along. So, you couldn't even imagine the sacrifices and the contemplation of --
TAPPER: But did they ever tell you that they thought about it or --
LOVE: They don't tell their kids that. I mean --
TAPPER: OK, you're just wondering. You're --
LOVE: You're sitting there thinking, they're always a blessing, you know, their children.
LOVE: But I --
TAPPER: You just put yourself in their shoes and thought --
LOVE: I put myself in their shoes, but they have talked to me about how difficult it was, and how, you know, that would have been an easy out for them.
TAPPER: So, President Trump says he's going to pick his Supreme Court nominee next week, I think Thursday. Earlier today, he spoke with Christian Broadcasting Network, David Brody, and said he's wrapping up the vetting process. Here's what he had to say about his potential nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The person that I pick will be a big, big -- I think people are going to love it. I think evangelicals, Christians, will love my pick. And we'll be represented very, very fairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The president has also said, outright, that he wants a justice who opposes abortion rights. Is this -- and you're not going to vote on in in the house.
TAPPER: But you certainly have a respectable and respected voice. Is this the most important issue to you when it comes to who he picks for the Supreme Court?
[16:54:52] LOVE: Look, I look at my job very simply. I look at my job as a human being. I look at my job, especially in congress, very simply, to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is first and foremost my job. Life being important, the most important, and so this is obviously very personal to me on a religious standpoint, and I believe when it comes to what -- who we are as Americans and what we stand for, we -- our job is to protect life, and I believe that it's our job to protect life at all stages of development. So --
TAPPER: From -- so, from the moment of conception?
LOVE: I -- yes, that's my belief. And I -- and I think it's really important because when we look at these unborn lives, one of the things that I tried to mention, is what's to come. People don't see the missed potential when we -- when a child is aborted. I mean, that child could be -- could be the doctor that cures cancer, or could -- I mean, there's unlimited potential that we miss out on.
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question because this is something that I've never really fully understood. It seems the best way to bring down abortions, the number of abortions, is to prevent unwanted, unplanned for pregnancies to begin with. And that would seem to me from a medical perspective --
TAPPER: -- not a religious perspective -- from a medical perspective, it would seem to me that as much contraception as possible as you can get out there, so that there aren't -- these unplanned pregnancies, then that would reduce the number of abortions. But it does seem to me also that at the same time that the republicans in congress talked about wanting to have a pro-life country, they look for ways to reduce the amount of contraception.
LOVE: Well, now, you're really -- yes, so, that's the heart of it, right? So, where I would say that my job in congress is to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I do not believe it is my job to tell families how to control, how they manage their families. I don't believe it's my job to put -- not put contraceptives out there. I think that women and families should be able to make those decisions. I think it's up to us to get as many people as many options as possible so that --
TAPPER: But aren't -- but republicans want to take away the contraception mandate in Obamacare, and that would seem to be like --
LOVE: Well, see, there are some answers to that, right? So, there is a bill that I led out on last year that was over the counter, which would allow contraceptives, birth control to be put on over the -- to put in -- be put in over the counter, which would bring the cost to, bring it down to a fraction of the cost. There by giving as many people as many options. Now, one of the things that I want to be very clear about is protecting the youth is something that's really important to me also. So, you can't go in and get a birth control without parental -- without a parent or legal guardian. But these are the types of things that I think that we need to be looking at because it's not our job to tell people how to plan their families, but to give as many people as many options, and it is our job to protect life.
TAPPER: Congresswoman Mia Love, it's always great to have you on the show. Thanks so much for being here.
LOVE: Thank you.
TAPPER: We appreciate it.
Now, to our "BURIED LEAD", these are the stories we think are not getting enough attention. "Ad astra per aspera", that means, "A rough road lead to the stars." It's also the title of a new Kennedy Space Center tribute to the crew of Apollo 1. The three-man crew was killed a half century ago today, during what was supposed to be a routine countdown simulation. Now, because of their sacrifice, NASA was able to pave a safer and much more reliable road to the moon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo astronauts, Roger Chaffee, Edward White, and Gus Grissom, lose their lives in a tragic flash fire aboard their grounded space capsule.
TAPPER: It was to be the first manned flight of NASA's famed Apollo program. But 50 years ago today, during a routine count down simulation at Cape Canaveral, Apollo 1 ended in disaster.
The capsule was filled with pure oxygen. The hatch door latches fastened tight when a spark erupted into flames. Astronaut Ed White shouted "fire in the cockpit," but seconds later, all three astronauts inside perished.
SHERYL LYN CHAFFEE, ASTRONAUT ROGER CHAFFEE'S DAUGHTER: On January 27, 1967, my little eight-year-old world was torn apart. And that evening, my mother had to tell my brother Steven and me, that our daddy was never coming home. TAPPER: That daddy, Roger Chaffee, was just 31, a rookie astronaut who had not yet been to space. As an adult, his daughter Sheryl spent 33 years working at NASA to help others achieve that dream.
The hard lessons learned from the Apollo 1 disaster were applied to future missions as the U.S. raced the soviets to the moon. Redesigned hatches, less flammable materials and a safer mix of oxygen and nitrogen, allowed men such as Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin, to take off safely and land safely on the moon in 1969.
NEIL ARMSTRONG, APOLLO 11 COMMANDER: One giant leap for mankind.
TAPPER: Today, Aldrin tweeted a reminder, "We lost the Apollo 1 crew but we all knew the risks. So we pressed on and we were willing to take the risks so their sacrifice wasn't in vain."
TAPPER: Tune in to CNN this Sunday for "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern and noon. My guest, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio. That is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". Have a great weekend.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now. Extreme vetting: The Commander-in-Chief visits the Pentagon.