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A contentious phone call between the president and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, one of America's closest ally; Leaders of the tech giants are banding together to oppose President Trump's travel ban; Aired 11-12p ET
Aired February 1, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Woodson started this. He pioneered this because he believed that black - basically history needed to be taught as part of history in the schools. So that our kids understood history and then as it grew, white progressives became more and more interested. And then we all know that under Gerald Ford black history month finally nationally recognized as month.
So we need black history because our - the press secretary of -- the White House press secretary doesn't know black history. The president of the United States does not know black history.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Let Paris get in. Paris, go ahead.
PARIS DENNARD, GOP POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. The only person who is actually in the room to know the totality of what was said, I will tell you what the president was referring to was the African-American history museum that was on - that is recently put on the mall. And he was talking about how important that is and visitors going to see that inside of the actual museum.
He was talking about more and more people as they go through the museum are learning more and more about Frederick Douglass and the other person that he named. But to say that this president - I will just say this. Have me on with the same panel in a few months when we see more and more things this president is going to do for our community, especially HBCUs and education. I think you will have a seriously different tune because this is a president who cares about our community --
SANDERS: Look. Donald Trump doesn't have a plan for HBCU --
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, TEARS WE CANNOT STOP: A SERMON TO WHITE AMERICA: We could welcome the attention of the Trump presidency on those critical and serious issues. That doesn't displace the fact or replace the fact that Donald Trump is not intimately familiar with these things. I'm glad that he is open to that kind of conversation. But as wielding a bully pulpit in the most visible spot in the world to have that kind of fumbling toward inchoate conception of what black history is. And speaking of Frederick Douglass as if he is in the present, as if he was some guy around the corner who is making contributions now without making distinction, doesn't leave me much confidence in the fact that Donald Trump will be able to tell the past from the present. And indeed given the tone and tenor of his presidency, the revival of a certain kind of bigotry does harken back to the times Harriot Tubman and Fredrick Douglass lived.
LEMON: Why do you say he has taken it out of context Paris when the tape was there? We actually ran it live on CNN.
DENNARD: Play the whole tape for your audience to see. I think it will speaks for itself. I think you are taken out what he said out of context. He was by no means talking as if Frederick Douglass is alive and well today.
SANDERS: He was. I just heard that say furthermore, I heard the comments real time. I have been watching in my office.
DENNARD: Well, Symone, congratulations. I was in the room. And I understand what he was saying.
SANDERS: Well, you know what, I would come if I was invited.
DENNARD: You don't have a seat, Symone. You just said if you were given a seat wouldn't go. That's the problem. That was the problem with Congressman Lewis. What he said he wouldn't invite President Donald Trump down to Selma. That's a problem.
SANDERS: You want a real effort connecting to the African-American community.
LEMON: Symone, start your comments over, please, because we didn't hear.
SANDERS: The problem is look, I don't need Donald Trump to give me anything. I'm a 27-year-old black woman on CNN. So that's first and foremost. Secondly, Donald Trump needs to be talking about policy and (INAUDIBLE), real policy prescriptions for the African-American community. He has only given up rhetoric. He hadn't give up any action. And he cannot govern for the next four years like that.
What we have seen from Donald Trump is that he has nominated people like Betsy Devos who is using charter schools as carrot stick for black communities. We have seen - he has nominated people --
DENNARD: The black community overwhelmingly supports charter schools.
SANDERS: We have seen that he has nominated people like Jeff Sessions who doesn't even believe in protecting civil liberties and civil rights of all people including black people. So Donald Trump is disingenuous. And I'm going to take a page out of Kanye West's book, Donald Trump doesn't care about black people. And until he shows me otherwise that's where I am.
LEMON: OK. DENNARD: That's unfortunate for you and for the listeners to hear
that type of remark about the president of the United States. And for her to say doesn't have a seat at table, to try to bring about change --.
LEMON: Go ahead, Michael.
DYSON: Brother Paris, here is the problem. Not only did Donald Trump not want to invite President Obama figuratively to a seat at the table and I think that Symone just made this a very resonant metaphor. But what is interesting here is that this is a man who spent two years of his life weighing against the legitimacy and the stability of the American presidency and specifically denigrating and humiliating the reputation of President Obama, wanting to retroactively abort him in the womb of democracy and to pretend that he was not a human being worthy of significant attribution of intelligence. And you are offended simply because we push back on Donald Trump as a man who is manifestly incapable of intelligently speaking about the African- American experience.
[23:05:11] DYSON: I'm saying to you -- I didn't interrupt you. Finally, the point is that Donald Trump is a man who represents the most antithetical to black intelligence position that one might stake out. And I think at this point there is not much sympathy for a man who has been grossly inconsistent and viciously uncomprehending and indifferent to the plight and predicament of African-American (INAUDIBLE).
DENNARD: Well, Dr. Dyson, if you had pushed back on President Obama for the past eight years as you have done for this president less than two weeks.
DYSON: Read my book.
LEMON: One at a time, doctor. Go ahead, Paris.
DENNARD: Maybe we will be able to figure out this issue that's going on and the carnage in Chicago.
DENNARD: Lord, it is true.
DENNARD: They do but as of right now the problem is in Chicago and focus on. And I'm glad that your president --.
DYSON: Here is what is clear. There's an elective affinity between the black people who are attracted to Trump and Mr. Trump himself, the inability to read critically, to be in contact with the information that is readily available and not be able to be literate about the context and sophisticated nuanced interpretation of the facts. The fact is I wrote a book called "the Black Presidency," Barack Obama and politics of race where I appreciated his genius but I also pushed back on the failures of that presidency to address significant and serious issues including the issue race within context, sir. So if you were conversant with that literature, you wouldn't make the kind of ignorance state that you just made about the particular position --.
LEMON: And Dr. Dyson, I was watching you today as you were on "The View" with the ladies barely getting a word in edge-wise. That's the show and that's why we love it. You talked about the reason you believed that this president was elected. And you also said that you believed that the former president didn't do enough about race while you appreciated his genius in some ways what you call in - I'm paraphrasing here. But also you talked about the reasons you think that Donald Trump will be bad for race as president.
DYSON: Absolutely right. Because you see, Donald Trump as I said then and thank you, Don, for that, is that you know, Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster. So there was ground swell that produce Donald Trump. Donald Trump's renunciation of the ability to be empathetic to our black people, to understand that most significant and most powerful black man on the face of the earth Barack Obama was worthy of the kind of respect. And many black people understood that if he is not respectful of this man not, he is not respectful to black people in general.
But beyond that, he was elected because there was a ground swell of resentment against the black man in-charge. And the fact is, if white America can't love and respect and appreciate Barack Obama there's not a black man who has been created that they will ever be attracted to. He is as affable and genial a man as one might imagine and yet still despite the fact that he was very low toned in his dealings with white America, he failed to tell wide American the truth and to hold them accountable for some of the vicious consequences of the legacies of inequality that presented themselves. I didn't expect him to be - (INAUDIBLE) but I speak to freely and stand up and use the black power sign. What I expect them to do is to deploy the bully pulpit to be as truthful to white folk as he was to black folk when he cast dispersion against us. That's the kind of balance we were looking for.
LEMON: Paris. Paris, what would you say, I mean, because you have the president's ear, you are, I would imagine, part of president's counsel now. You were invited into the room. What do you say to him? Do you offer him your honest advice? Do you tell him sometimes that he is tone deaf and that he may too like Steve Bannon said maybe he should listen a little bit instead of doing all the talking?
DENNARD: Well, title of this meeting was a listening session. And so, that's exactly what he was doing. That's what he has done multiple times throughout the campaign. But I told him today specifically, Don, was I said Mr. President you have the opportunity to go down as one of the greatest presidents of the United States, especially as it relates to African-American community and other fragile communities across the country. There are things you can do right now if you get it right from day one. Speaking of pre-K to 12th grade and the school choice, the parental choice in getting that issue right in public education, I said you can be a hero to a huge swath of America if you support historically black college and universities and the programs that support it such as Pell Grants, such as Perry Plus (ph) loan issues and other things.
LEMON: Do you think it would help if he understood the history of black America?
DENNARD: I think that the president does understand the history of black America. And the reason why he has listening sessions to support him to understand greater about the totality of the American experience and whole cross section of people which includes African- American community. Because he is not just the president like we always used to say about President Obama, just a president for black people, he is a president of all Americans. And this is unique time for him to get it right.
Stay tuned because this president is going to do significant things this month and throughout his presidency for our community. This panel doesn't want to hear it.
[23:10:16] LEMON: I got to go. Symone, I will give you the last word.
SANDERS: Look. Donald Trump had a listening session today with his staff and his campaign - Donald Trump had a listening session today with his staff and his campaign volunteers.
DENNARD: That's not true. That's factually not true.
SANDERS: We need real engagement and surrogates. We need real engagement. We need a real plan. And again, I will extend Donald Trump the same courtesy he has extended women, people of color in this country, black people, Latinos, native-Americans, Asian-Americans, the disabled community. He has yet to show up. So I'm not showing up for him.
LEMON: All right. Thank you everyone. I appreciate it.
DENNARD: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: We will be right back with more of our breaking news tonight.
[23:13:26] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LEMON: That's right. It is a night of big breaking news and I want to turn to what may be a huge fumble by the Trump administration. A contentious phone call between the president and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, one of America's closest ally.
CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston is here to discuss.
So Mark, earlier, I spoke with "Washington Post's" Greg Miller about his reporting on this phone call with the prime minister in Australia. And here's part of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG MILLER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Everybody here we talked to just characterize this call as really hostile and ended very abruptly. That it was a combination.
Trump was badgering the Australian prime minister, was complaining about a deal regarding America's agreement to take some refugees that are being held in Australian detention camp. But he also used the call to try brag about his Electoral College win and the call attention to his electoral success in the election in November. And then when the Australian prime minister tried to move on to other subjects including Syria, Trump abruptly sort of ended call. He wanted to get off this call. Told the Australian prime minister I talked to a lot of other foreign leaders today including Vladimir Putin, this is the worst call of the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Fill us in on what happened, Mark?
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, these are series of phone calls that happened on Saturday as Greg had pointed out. This was a call that took place at the end. And a lot of the facts that Greg has spelled out in your interview with him, CNN has corroborated. Jake Tapper (INAUDIBLE) and others and Jim Acosta has corroborated.
But we haven't corroborated is the fact that "Washington Post" reporting as well that Donald Trump talked about his electoral gains during this phone call but the hostility of the telephone call, the argument over whether the United States would honor agreement under that was struck when Barack Obama was president about taking refugees in that are currently in Australia here in the U.S., we are reporting that as well.
[23:15:25] LEMON: Interesting. According to Greg, when I asked him he said and this is also in reporting, this call was supposed to last 25 minutes, it lasted 25 minutes as supposed to be longer. And I think he said he spoke to four other world leaders that day, the president did, and that this call with Turnbull was the worst including Vladimir Putin. This was the worst call by far.
PRESTON: Well, and he had made that comment directly to the prime minister of Australia as well, yes. This was a call that ended abruptly.
I guess what is really shaking about this call you know is the fact that Australia is considered one of the United States' most reliable allies. It is somebody the United States often turns to for intelligence gathering and vice-versa. And to be alienating somebody like Australia certainly at a time when there's so much turmoil in the world is certainly confusing to say the least.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Mark Preston. I appreciate that. Now I want to bring in Sarah Martin. She is a political reporter for
"the Australian" and she joins us now live from Australia.
You have been speaking with people there, Sarah. What are they saying about this?
SARAH MARTIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE AUSTRALIAN: Look. I think there's absolute shock and confusion, and particularly just in recent minutes with Donald Trump tweeting that he will look at this dumb deal to take refugees from Australia to the United States.
Now, all day it's been on again, off again arrangement. Just two hours ago the U.S. embassy here in Canberra confirmed that the deal would be going ahead. They said they had that confirmation from the state department and from White House. But yet, two hours later the U.S. president is tweeting that he will look at this dumb deal and he has cast doubt on the arrangement.
So lot of confusion here. The prime minister has certainly assured the people here that the deal will go ahead and says he has that assurance from the president himself. But I guess what we are seeing today is lot of chaos coming out of the United States and a lot of subsequent uncertainty about the agreement that apparently was made between the two leaders over the weekend. And I guess, the bigger question of course what this means for the alliance. So this is a very dependable alliance.
Of course, Australia has been in every war with the United States since the Second World War. It is based on shared values and commonalities and common interests. And we have U.S. marines based in northern Australia. It seems extraordinary that this alliance would be so rocky so early on in the new president's term. He sort of makes you wonder how some of those more other fragile alliances will go. It's just extraordinary, extraordinary thing to watch.
LEMON: It is. And specifically though, you know, saying that this was the worst call - this was even worse than the call with Vladimir Putin, how is that playing there?
MARTIN: Look, I think we are probably a little offended. It is extraordinary that the Australian prime minister would be placed in that category and sledged in that way. And extraordinary still that details of that conversation between two world leaders would leak in such an extraordinary way in the U.S. I think it is quite staggering. There is no suggestion that the prime minister wasn't also forceful in the conversation and it appeared until moments ago that the conversation had allowed Australia to secure the agreement with Donald Trump. So it may have been a robust conversation. But until today there was not much doubt that the deal would still go ahead. And now the whole lot seems to be in disarray and we have a lot of uncertainty about what will happen next. Given it's changing by the hour, it's hard to keep up.
LEMON: The deal was whether the U.S. would honor its pledge to take 1250 refugees. And then - but he called it worst deal ever. And then reportedly saying that Australia was seeking to export the next Boston bombers. Stand by Sarah, because I want to bring Mark Preston back in.
PRESTON: I'm from Boston.
LEMON: Interesting for -- with ally to use that sort of language.
PRESTON: Yes. Specifically, when you are talking about a terrorist situation that really was gruesome and symbolic in many ways during, you know, it was obviously during the Boston marathon. But very symbolic of an attack on the United States because of where it took place, at the time it took place and the fact that Donald Trump would use this kind of language again with one of our top allies is puzzling.
[23:20:16] LEMON: Hey, Sarah, I have to ask you. What is the overall reaction in Australia to Donald Trump becoming president of the United States?
MARTIN: Look, I think we are seeing some of the similar trends in Australia. Certainly not to the same extent as has been seen in the U.S. But there is the rise of populist protectionist parties in Australia as there has been in Europe and in Britain of course and in America. So personally, I wasn't as surprised as some of my colleagues. But I think the general reaction was, you know, what on earth will this mean.
And as conversation has been progressing, as it has in the U.S. for you guys, it was sort of a case of wait and see what this means for the alliance. Wait and see what he does once he comes to office.
So these past nine days I think has given us here in Australia a taste of what it may mean. And there are some big issues in the Asia Pacific region that are going to have to be negotiated with the new administration and Australia. The South China Sea tensions for example, is one that is going to have to be very delicately negotiated and the U.S. and Australia's role in the alliance and alliance with Japan is critical.
And so, if we are having this sort of fallout over an agreement that as far as Australia was concerned was locked and loaded, it is concerning to say the least as to what is to come for more high stakes security considerations.
LEMON: All right. Sarah Miller. Thank you very much. Mark stick around. We will see you a little bit later on.
Next more breaking news. Tech leaders coming out against President Trump's travel ban. I'm going to talk to one of them.
[23:25:45] LEMON: So we have more breaking news tonight. We are learning that the leaders of the tech giants are banding together to oppose President Trump's travel ban.
Joining me now on the phone is Kara Swisher. She is founder of "Recode." Kara, I'm so glad you could us this evening. So you have some new
reporting about this major tech companies responding to this executive order on immigration. Fill us in.
KARA SWISHER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RECODE (on the phone): Yes.
So - I have been hearing about this for a while. Obviously, I'm waiting for this to be done jointly. But they often do kind of jointly like they did on Net Neutrality or other issues important to them. And done it before when the government was tapping into their systems and things like that. So I'm expecting them to do this.
So I think what is different here is they are trying to involve not just tech companies but the whole range of companies. CPG companies, consumer product goods, manufacturing companies, media companies. They don't want to make it just tech versus Trump essentially which it has become a little bit. They want involve (INAUDIBLE) U.S. companies in this who were all - they supported immigration where immigration supports to the businesses and of course to the core values of the company.
LEMON: When we spoke earlier this week, it was a Monday, you said that tech companies have to get used to new political atmosphere. Do you still see that happening given this letter that they are reportedly drafting right now?
SWISHER: Yes. We will have that letter up very soon. I have a copy of it but I just got it on sight. They are still working on the draft. Listen. They can agree to have lunch to a lot of these people if they want to have for lunch. And so, it's really hard to put a draft copy together. This is something from what meaningful.
I think what they have to say do realizes certain core issues that are important to them. You know, when they went to see Trump, not just tech companies but others, everyone was relatively acquiescent as he says something. And then now this has been, I don't know, 18 executive orders, some of which are very problematic for certain U.S. companies. They have to start to speak up. I think that's just normal. And the question is, is there safety in numbers? Is there strength in numbers? And I think they probably think that. If they are all banding together, they can get a better result and make clear to the government that the things like immigration are incredibly important to them.
LEMON: I know you have to get this up on your site. It is really important to you. Can you just share with us just a little bit of what that letter says if you have it there? Do you have it in your hand, Kara?
SWISHER: I don't. I'm talking on my phone. Can't look at it.
LEMON: It is on the phone.
SWISHER: Essentially, you know, we believe immigration is good, lack of immigration - you know, I interviewed (INAUDIBLE) on the stage this morning at the conference. And she talked about it very clear (ph). She put a post on Facebook essentially opposing the Trump travel restriction and she said this is just not good for us. This is not good for companies. This is not - you know, vetting of course is important, we feel safe borders are important. But at the same time, you know, open -- being able to bring really smart immigrants into the country and work and create innovation is important. And she pointed out her great, great grandmother was immigrant. That Sergei Bran (ph) who protested the other day is a refugee, the head of Microsoft immigrant. The head of - the guy who is running Google, (INAUDIBLE), an immigrant. Steve Jobs' father, refugee and immigrant from Syria.
And so, I think they are trying to make the point that, you know, of all the melting pots in the country, tech is melting pot. But one of the key things as they want lots of companies being part of it because it's not just a tech problem. It is like lots of problem that is not that they don't want to create jobs here except there is all kinds of innovation that has to happen to create jobs for everybody. And it can't limit it at all in terms of bringing people in. So I think that's the focus.
LEMON: And this, I mean, is not to - this is very important because we have become a tech society now and that's where things are going.
LEMON: Kara, thank you. If you get more information please come back.
SWISHER: I will. And this will be all on the site very soon. OK? Thank you.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
We are going to talk about that and also the breaking news tonight that President Trump's contentious phone call with the prime minister of Australia.
Solet's get the panel in now. Mark Preston is back with me. Also CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers and political commentator Kevin Madden.
You heard Kara Swisher there, panel, discussed this. You know, for as much as we talk about people, you know, who feel like the economy has gone past them or people are not talking about them, we are becoming very tech-driven society. And this should not be underestimated, Kirsten Powers.
[23:30:08] KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, and I think that it's important to remember how many people who, you know, as Kara was just citing, major figures in the tech industry in the United States. And then many people that we have never heard of are, you know, children of refugees or themselves immigrants and have really fuelled our tech industry. And so, I'm not surprised at all that tech industry is speaking out about this. And it's obviously one of the most influential industries in our country and so I think it's really meaningful.
LEMON: Kevin Madden?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think to Kirsten's point. I think that the tech industry is a like a lot of business. The one thing that -- they are the things that they really need in order to thrive are stability and certainty. And what you saw with the way that the executive order was implemented was a lot of instability and chaos. And I think that's why they felt this need to speak up. And you know, folks have been wary in this new environment of speaking out alone. So I think that banding and finding strength in numbers is something that I think where they feel a little bit more comfort.
The other part of this, too, Don, is the need for so many of these companies to talk about their values. You know, in many ways if you look at some of the details of how this executive order would be implemented, they may not be affected wider on the issue of some of the visas that they may get for high skilled tech workers. But the values that they wanted demonstrator or they want to put on display for their customers, that they are standing up against something that they think is wrong and not consistent with American values, I think that is also an important message that they want to send to consumers and to the public writ large.
LEMON: And listen, not to downplay again the importance of what this means to the economy, Mark. Because you look at the billions and billions - I mean, Mark Zuckerberg and, you know, Twitter founder and all of this - the wealthiest people not only in America but the world.
PRESTON: Yes, no doubt about it. And I do think it says something. And you know, Kevin is right. It is about values. And let's get how the tech company is established now. It is younger people, you know. We are not talking about older folks that are doing it. And we are seeing this change in how our political class is now created. It is not just Democrats and Republicans. Younger people are now kind of going into the middle. And quite frankly, they are not necessarily grasping onto this uber conservative values. Gay marriage, you know, and others as well. So it is interesting to see that they are coming together. Be interesting to see if Donald Trump actually listens to them.
OK. So in speaking of the president now, Kirsten. Let's turn now to the phone call with the prime minister of Australia. What does that tell you about, you know, this reporting in the "Wall Street Journal," what does that tell you about the temperament of this president and way he approaches diplomatic duties.
POWERS: Well, I don't think there is any news in terms of his temperament. I think it is the same temperament that we saw during the campaign. And this is, you know, somebody who can be very pugilistic to put it lightly. And I think also believes that he believes in instability, believes in creating instability that somehow keeping people he's negotiating with on their toes is to sort of create unstable environment. And so, I think that, you know, I have said before, I'm puzzled by the approach of alienating friends and saying nice things about people who are very anti-American. And Donald Trump doesn't seem to have considered what is going to happen when he may actually need some of these people in the future, you know. He has this idea that somehow America first and America alone almost.
LEMON: Kevin, you said and when we spoke earlier this evening, you said he is not going to change. People who are expecting him to change are going to be in for - are going to be highly disappointed. Maybe not in for such a surprise because, you know, we have been saying he is going to pivot and everyone was saying he is going to pivot, and that has not happened. What does it say about his temperament, though, as you look at this phone call?
MADDEN: Well, look. I don't expect the White House or President Trump to walk back from this. I think if anything they believe that moments like this are a time to reinforce the message that they carried all the way through the campaign and the reason that he is now President Trump and not a losing candidate.
And you know, Kirsten just talked about it. They are going to come out tomorrow. They are going to say yes, Donald Trump, President Trump is unapologetic about putting America first. And he is unapologetic about talking to even our allies about how strongly he feels about the refugee crisis and the potential threat that it presents to Americans. And they are going to - and his style is to double down on that and to reinforce the message that put him right into the oval office so that he was even making that call in the first place.
LEMON: Mark, I have some other news that I want to discuss here and this is talking about Iran's recent missile test. This is a national security advisor Michael Flynn responding to that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[23:35:06] MICHAEL FLYNN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place which places American lives at risk. President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements between Iran and the Obama administration as well as the United Nations as being weak as ineffective. Instead of being thankful to United States in these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today we are officially putting Iran on notice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Officially putting Iran on notice. Some pretty strong language today. Was that right move?
PRESTON: We don't even know what it means, right. So you know, as had been stated on air earlier today by a former general is there were no diplomatic cables that were sent to Iran. There was - this was basically a press release and a press conference. You know, in many ways they maybe creating a situation much like what Barack Obama did when he was talking about Syria back in 2012. LEMON: The red line.
PRESTON: Correct. If Assad uses nuclear weapons, you know, he will cross the red line. Now, what that meant was is Barack Obama was going to send troop into Syria. He was going to, you know, use some militaristic muscle. He never did that. And in many ways, people thought that Barack Obama was weak because of that. Now, by drawing their own red line right now, are they boxing themselves in?
LEMON: Kirsten, also, tonight, the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani criticized President Trump's travel ban or executive order as they have been saying or both, (INAUDIBLE) saying that the U.S. has walked on all international principles and communities. What do you think? And commitments. Excuse me.
POWERS: Yes. Well, look. I think it's incredible. And what Donald Trump has done, I do think that you can even be getting that kind of criticism. It just shows how what he has done I think even is recognizable not just to Americans but recognizable to people all over the world as being sort of un-American and not what this country stands for.
And again this seems to be what he wants to do, you know. But I don't know what the end game of it is in terms of destabilizing all our relationships with people who are our friends and sort of sending a message to the world that we are not a beacon of hope anymore.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, everyone.
When we come right back, the outrage over the president's executive orders and shows no signs of dying down but I'm going to talk to some surprising supporters of the ban next.
[23:41:34] LEMON: The president's executive action on immigration has been one of the most controversial of his 13 day old presidency.
So let's discuss now with two people who are in favor of the order. Terri King is one of them. She is an attorney and a Trump supporter from Middletown, Ohio. And Scott Presler, he is Republican from Virginia Beach who is in favor of the immigration order.
Terri, Scott, thank you so much for coming on. I'm going to start with you Terry.
SCOTT PRESLER, SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION BAN: Thank you.
TERRI KING, LAWYER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Thank you.
LEMON: You fully support the president's immigration ban or executive order. Tell me why you believe it's a good thing.
KING: I believe it's a good thing because we have to protect our borders as a nation. The countries that President Trump stopped immigrants from coming from were nations that already Obama had stated or considered as terrorist, where terrorist activity was coming from. So he is not doing anything new other than enforcing our laws, enforcing our border laws. But there was no outcry when president Obama did it.
We have to protect our borders. We are a nation. And if people want to come here, they can come here legally. But immigration -- the ban on immigration from countries where terrorism is coming from is a good thing. It's to protect American people and that's the president's job, is to protect America first and it is not that we don't care about those people. We do care about those people, but we need to help them in their homeland. We do not need to be bringing them here. Because if you look at Europe, Europe is in chaos. And the European leaders, they basically invited it in when they allowed all these Syrian refugees and immigrants that cannot be vetted. Yes, sir?
LEMON: Terri, so I have to tell you we have different immigration policies than Europe. But the other thing that I do appreciate you being here and stating, you know, your opinion, but Obama, what President Obama did and what the current president did are two different things. Those were seven countries that were identified and people who are traveling to those countries should have got more vetting, not people who are coming from those countries into the United States. It's not the same thing. And there's a reason that the former president put out a statement eight days after he left office. They are not the same thing.
But Scott, I want to go on.
KING: No they're not the same.
LEMON: They are not the same, no.
So Scott, you liked the president's order so much that you thought about staging an airport protest of your own in support of the president. Why are you so strongly in favor of this decision?
PRESLER: Sure. Well, number one, this is a campaign promise that Mr. Trump is keeping to the American people. He said from day one that he was going to have extreme vetting. And this is exactly what this immigration policy is. But I'm going to disagree with you on one point. It's not only important to make sure that we are vetting people coming from those countries but we need to also vet Americans that travel overseas and then come back. Because what we have seen is there's potential for people to get radicalized when they are overseas. So when it comes to what I'm looking for and what I am so thankful for from Mr. Trump, is he truly is putting the well-being, the safety and the security of the American people first. It all comes back to the same theme. America first, safety first. And I'm so thankful for this policy.
[23:45:19] LEMON: Scott, you know, I think you have a point that it's, you know, almost all Americans care about the safety of our country. But many experts have said that this ban won't make us any safer that it will actually inspire terrorists and is playing right into what ISIS wants us to do. What do you think? PRESLER: Well, I mean, if I may, we had the former department of
homeland security head, name Tom Ridge. And he came out in addition to James Comey, who is our FBI director. And both of them said that look we cannot properly vet refugees coming from Syria completely. And so, therefore, if we cannot properly vet people, it is important that we make sure that we keep people who might be a terror threats from coming to our country.
And I'm a very compassionate person. I'm a humanitarian. I want to take care this many people as I can. But my allegiance is first to the American people. And let me tell you, Terri is from Ohio. She is from the rust belt. The people in America are having hard enough time paying their bills, paycheck to paycheck, feeding their families. Terrorism is not something else that they want to have to worry about. We want safety. We want security. That's what we are looking for.
LEMON: Do you realize -- anything can happen and 9/11 was horrible but the seven countries on that list, Terri, since 1975, not one American killed by terrorist from any of those countries and chance of being killed by or even harmed by refugee is like three billion to one here in the United States. Do you think that that's where our priority should be for something that is at this point maybe led by fear more than reality?
KING: No. I don't think so. I think it is a reality that our nation is under attack. We have had several terrorist attacks on American soil in San Bernardino.
LEMON: Those are from Americans by the way.
KING: That's correct, but parents had came here from Islamic countries. And so, the ideology is the problem. The ideology, if it's passed on to their children, then they become radicalized even though they live in the United States. They become radicalized and then act upon that terror. And that's what we have had. So why should we allow people who will not assimilate into our culture, who do not agree with us, come into our nation and basically begin to make enclaves into our society, into our -- you know, wanting Sharia law in some states and to start to put it into our nation. That's the problem.
LEMON: I understand.
PRESLER: Can I jump in?
MADDEN: I got to get to the break --
LEMON: That's a lot of accusations about a lot of things. People wanting Sharia law is that just not accurate, but - sorry, go on, Scott.
PRESLER: Sure. Well, I would like play off what Terri was saying.
LEMON: Quickly. I have to go just for time purposes.
PRESLER: Sure. There's a lot of talk about, you know, these seven countries. Well, the fact of the matter is these seven countries were actually proposed by Obama administration. And --
LEMON: I just explained that to her.
PRESLER: Sharia law is the greatest threat to the world. Gay people killed. Women are killed and children are raped. So yes, Sharia law is the greatest threat to the world 100 percent.
LEMON: Thank you both so much. Thank you, Terri King. Thank you Scott Presler. I appreciate it. Please come back.
PRESLER: Thank you for having on.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Lemon.
LEMON: When we come right back, President Trump says it's order is about keeping, in his words, bad people out of this country, but is it really playing in is' hands?
[23:52:07] LEMON: Americans are deeply divided over President Trump's executive order on immigration.
Let's discuss now with CNN political commentators Peter Beinart and Matt Lewis.
I want to get right to it. Peter, you first. Very nice people. A lot of what they said, most of what they said was not true. That's their perception and that's their opinion. I respect them for it. But they are not right on effect. How does that happen?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is a really wide network out there in the United States. Groups like Acts for America, for instance, that have been promoting this idea that sharia law is a threat to the United States. That most Muslims are adherent to it. That most mosque are espousing it. And that the Muslim brotherhood infiltrate United States.
This is actually only with Donald Trump are we now seeing this kind of come to light. But the ground work has been laid but it is very similar to conspiracy theories who have American Catholic, 100 years ago when they believed they were loyal to the hope. And it is a product of people's anxieties about changes in the country.
LEMON: That is the same thing that President Obama did in 20 other countries that this was the same thing. It's not.
BEINART: No. I mean, President Obama essentially increased the vetting and slowed down the number of Iraqis coming in, but Iraqis were still coming in in 2011. And he never had a blanket prohibition on people from a single country coming into the United States.
LEMON: So Matt, how do you - and it's important to hear from Trump supporters, from conservatives, from people who, you know, live in other parts of the country rather than the coasts. But how do you get the facts to sink in because we want people to make decisions based on having are the facts and being educated voters.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, I think that this is a problem, right. It plays into the fake news side of it, where are you getting your information from? What are your sources? And it's a real problem because if the American public doesn't have the right information, then they are going to support policies that maybe, you know, unwise or not prudent.
LEMON: Yes. So what -- did you get to sit and listen to the supporters? Listen. By no means being up on them, I would love to have come back and have another conversation with them about this. But what did you think, Matt, of the conversation when, you know, I wanted to -- you wanted to say that's simply not true. But they just don't believe it.
LEWIS: Well, I think, you know, obviously the sharia part is the part that I, you know, sort of didn't agree with as much. But look, I think the angst, the anxiety and the concern is very legitimate. And I think there is a real debate to be had amongst people who are inform and a lot of people who I think have a legitimate difference of opinion, you know, whether or not this is a smart policy.
Look, and the roll out of this, we will call it a travel ban, was horrific and problematic. But I think there is a real debate as to whether or not we should have a pause and then go to this extreme vetting. I don't think it's absurd to think that we need to be very careful about who is coming here including refugees which I know we want and need to be compassionate. We also need to be very cautious and prudent.
[23:55:25] LEMON: Yes, I don't think people will disagree with you that we should be safer and then we can always have better ways of vetting people. I think the issue is number one, the weight was rolled out, as you said. And number two, whether people are basing their opinions and their judgment on this on reality. Do you think that this is a good policy, Peter?
BEINART: I mean, look. Since the 1970, as you said in earlier segment, the number of Middle Eastern refugees who have killed Americans in terrorist attacks on American soil is zero. Zero. So it's not to say there is not a threat. There is a threat, but the threat --
LEMON: From those seven countries it's zero.
BEINART: From any Middle Eastern country as refugees. Now, the most the - there are have been some immigrants that people came to the United States as not refugees mostly Saudis and Egyptians and Pakistani, actually. Ironically, they are not on the list.
So yes, there is a threat, but the threat is being massively, massively exaggerated. And the irony is that we actually increased the threat when we do things that make it easier for ISIS to radicalize people both inside the United States and outside. So even if you want to be as strict as possible on the security side, almost all the national security experts in both parties are telling us you are actually increasing the threat because you are stigmatizing Muslims and making it easier for them to be radicalized.
LEMON: So now what, Matt?
LEWIS: Well, look. I think you have to be very clear if you are the Trump administration. This is where they have, I think, been some way irresponsible. You have to make it very clear that this is not a war on Islam. It is a war on radical Islamism. And this is not a Muslim ban.
You have to be very precise and the Trump administration hasn't been. You could make an argument, though, of course, that anything we do to protect ourselves is actually radicalizing more people. So yes, we have to be smart about how we do this. But you know, you can say that having drones actually creates more terrorists. You can say that pulling out of the Middle East emboldens them and then creates a vacuum. I mean, it is a very tough situation.
LEMON: Yes. You are going to be wrong. But again, you have to, again, based on facts and maybe that's right. But base your opinions or your judgments on reality and not something that you --. We all have to start listening to more things. We have to get our news from other places besides places that sort of reaffirm our own beliefs, right. Sometimes you have to watch and read news outlets and papers that you might disagree with, right?
So that's it. I'm done here. My work is done here. I will see you back here tomorrow night.