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President Trump Addresses a Joint Session of Congress; Aired 1- 2a ET
Aired March 1, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: You heard the President's speech. Now, hear what America thinks. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. We've got all the big moments from President Trump's first address to Congress, laying out his agenda on everything from immigration to healthcare, to the economy, to keep the Americans safe at home and around the world.
A very different tone from the President. But will Americans rally around what we heard earlier tonight? Let's get right to CNN Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston, Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter, and David Litt, a former speech writer for President Obama. Good to have all of you on. Mark, you first, this is an opportunity for the President to reach out to opponents, put his rocky past behind him. Let's listen to a clip first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The time for small thinking is over. The time to trivial fights is behind us. We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts, the bravery to express the hopes that share our souls, and the confidence to turn those hopes and those dreams into action. From now on, America will be empowered by our aspirations, not burdened by our fears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Not the kind of language, Mark, we're used to hearing from the President. How did he do?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Overall, I think he did very well, tonight. You know, the bar was certainly low given past speeches. It reminded me of the speech that he gave after he was - after he had won the presidency, in those early morning hours, quite frankly, right around this time.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right, right.
PRESTON: A couple hours that past this time, where he came across as very gracious to Hillary Clinton and also very Presidential. He sounded very Presidential tonight. That one line, though, where he said the time for trivial fights is over, is very ironic in many ways, because he has been the one who has started these trivial fights through his use of social media and Twitter. What he was trying to convey is that the time for trivial fights in Congress is over, it's time for us to come together as a nation. I don't think I would have used that line. But there was one moment, though, when he talked about unity, and he glared over at Nancy Pelosi. And the camera, happened to catch very quickly, and she had a grimace on her face.
[01:04:57] LEMON: Yes, I saw that.
PRESTON: That was - that was to die for, in many ways. So, he talked about unity, but for our viewers out there, to say that there's any unity in Washington would be a -
LEMON: Brain, you know the speech of pomp and circumstances when you do a Joint Congressional speech. I mean, that is a big deal. Did he rise to the occasion?
STELTER: I believe he did. I think the analogy to election night is really apt, because - I think about what happened on election night: it was a giant surprise, and in some ways, this speech has the same benefit of surprise. Well, a lot of the reactions were right afterwards, people say no, this was Presidential, people sounded by surprised by that. We heard on this network, and on other networks, this was the first day he was truly President by acting so Presidential. So, by surprising people, by exceeding those low expectation, I think those who didn't watch live are going to wake up and watch the morning shows, they're going to hear about the surprise of the speech which is going to be an added benefit for him.
LEMON: Going in there - talk about tone, a different tone. David Litt, everyone was listening for tone. I want to play some clips comparing tonight's speech with what's become known as the American carnage speech at the inauguration. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This American carnage stops right here, and stops right now.
That torch, is now in our hands, and we will use it to light up the world. I'm here tonight, to deliver a message of unity and strength. And it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.
For too long, a small group in our nation's capital, has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. While they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
While we maybe a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
Solving these and so many other pressing problems will require us to work past the differences of party. It will require us to tap into the American spirit that has overcome every challenge throughout our long and storied history.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: David, how did the speeches compare?
DAVID LITT, FORMER SPEECH WRITER FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think what's interesting to me as a writer, the first speech: the American carnage speech, the language is much more original. This speech, many of the more optimistic passages that people have pointed to, and I think the improvement in tone that many people have noticed, that said, the language was very generic. It could have come almost from, like a Twitter bot that does Presidential rhetoric whereas, the inauguration seemed to have a world view. It wasn't a world view that ended up being particularly popular, but it was a world view. So, I thought it was an interesting almost a trade-off of a vision where it was unique and, you know, unique to Trump, even if people didn't like it. And in exchange, he sounds more like a typical President but a typical politician tonight.
STELTER: You can argue that five or six different people wrote parts of tonight's speech. The way it sounded, you could hear some Steve Bannon, some Steven Miller, some Ivanka Trump, some Reince Priebus, some Jared Kushner, you could hear all their different voices in this speech. Versus the inauguration speech, which was probably seemed driven by Steve Bannon's world view and that American carnage phrase. To me this speech is like competing, you can hear the competing interests.
LEMON: But Brian, to his point, it sounded the, you know, many people criticized him for the American carnage speech. But it was much more original, I think to who Donald Trump is or who he has portrayed himself to be over the course of this campaign. And to David's point, that was my assessment earlier. This did not sound like, you know, Donald Trump. I think it sounded more Presidential. He said the language to him was little bit more generic, Mark. I don't know.
PRESTON: Yes. You know, I think it's OK that it was a generic -
LEMON: It's a teleprompter Trump versus -
STELTER: Twitter Trump.
PRESTON: Right. And I think it's OK in - look, I think it's OK to be, have a generic Presidential type speech. This is, you know, the type of atmosphere or setting you'll see that in.
LEMON: That's what people wanted from him.
PRESTON: Well, that's what people wanted, certainly, that's what Republicans wanted.
PRESTON: Because for him to do anything else, it would be very hard for him.
STELTER: And a lot of media types too.
PRESTON: Well, quite frankly, the nation and global leaders do too. But there was - we talked about dog whistles, it was mentioned last hour. Matt Lewis had said, you know, he talked a lot about God or he'd mentioned a couple times could have been a dog whistle to Christian conservatives, right? You know that even though, you know, he's not super spiritual, he at least referenced it a couple of times. This speech was very nationalist, right? And there was a dog whistle. If you read through the speech and you look at certain phrases and how he started the speech, and how basically kind of how he ended the speech was a dog whistle to those supporters who helped him get there.
[01:10:09] LEMON: Well, when he said - and also a nationalist because he said, hire American's first, right?
LEMON: And a lot of America first between -
PRESTON: Yes. My job is to represent the world - is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States. You know, and he also talked - also, you know, at the top about defending, you know, we defended the borders of other nations. But, you know, we weren't protecting our own borders which again, is something that the nationalist movement is very much in line with. And also, we talked about spending money overseas, foreign aid. That foreign aid is used as a diplomatic tool to prevent the growth of terrorism.
LEMON: David, that's not a common note to put messages within the speech that are not - that are a little bit more, subtle, to the people, you know, core, your base.
LITT: Absolutely. I think what we've seen is a shift. When Donald Trump took office, he believed certainly, Steve Bannon believed that this proud nationalism leading with that vision was going to unite the country behind this sort of economic nationalism, whatever you want to call it. Clearly, that did not work. This was a false start over the first 30 days. So now they're saying let's take the same policies. Let's repackage them to make them sound a little more conventional. But try to send some messages, as you pointed out, some dog whistles to our base that says, hey, we haven't forgotten about this stuff. We're just talking about it in a little bit of a different way. And I think compared to what we've seen so far, that looks like a success.
One other thing I think I should mention in terms of the nationalism is bringing families, people who were killed by undocumented immigrants. I mean, the number of people, that was a particularly striking nationalist moment. And who you invite to the speeches is a big deal. And that was not something we would have ever seen. And frankly, you know, I think both parties would be a little bit scared about that. I mean, it's not that far before you start to imagine bringing families who have lost a loved one and the killer happened to be of any number of minorities to a speech like that. So, that was another piece that looked more like American carnage, and a speech that was otherwise a little bit more toward the American spirit.
LEMON: Brian, I want to get your assessment of this. You are the media correspondent, I'm always surprised when people criticize you for talking about the media. Like, well, that's what his show about, the media. Is it - is a test there going to be for Donald Trump to stay off of social media and not step on this message?
STELTER: Well look at this soon. Not to announce a new executive order, trying to push forward the travel ban on Wednesday. That's an attempt to stay on message. We're going to see Vice President Pence on a lot of television shows and radio shows on Wednesday, trying to reiterate what Trump said. So, there is going to be this attempt to stay on message. But only one person can take Trump off message, and that's the President himself on Twitter. Almost sense in the reactions to his speech this fear that the President is going to pick up his cell phone and send everyone off on a curveball. It's an unusual dynamic that we experience here.
LEMON: Yes. We shall see. Thank you, I appreciate it. Fascinating conversation. When we come right back, you heard what President Trump said to Congress and the nation. We'll have our CNN reality check on the speech. That's next.
[01:15:27] DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Don Riddell with your CNN WORLD SPORT Headlines. Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, Michael Phelps testified before a Congressional hearing on improving anti-doping measures. In 28, Time Olympic medalist said he doesn't believe he has always been in competitions where the whole field was clean. Phelps said that he doesn't know how athletes avoid anti-doping testing adding he was tested 13 times before the last Olympics. He asked the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversights and Investigations for health to ensure the system is fair and reliable.
Tuesday was the first leg of the Coppa Italia Semifinal. This one, a high-caliber match up with Napoli at Juventus. The guests, actually leaving at half-time on what would be potentially a useful away goal but after the break, Juventus got two penalties from Paolo Dyabala and a tap-in from Gonzalo Higuain. Juven won in 3-1. The second leg is at the start of April.
Finally, the world number one Andy Murray was back in action for the first time since he was knocked out of the Australian Open. Murray shook off the rest from a six-week break and cruised to an easy straight set win over Tunisia's Malek Jaziri in the first round of the Dubai Championships. The same though can't be said for the defending champion, Stan Wawrinka, who was knocked out by Damir Dzumhur. That is a quick look at your Sports Headlines, I'm Don Riddell.
LEMON: President Trump delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress with a lot to say about the state of the economy he inherited. CNN's Jim Sciutto is at the magic wall with a reality check, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Don, the topic, the number of Americans out of work today. Here is a claim Trump made tonight in his speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Tonight, as I outlined the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited. 94 million Americans are out of the labor force. Over 43 million people are now living in poverty and over 43 million Americans are on food stamps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So, the first claim there, you heard that 94 million Americans out of the labor force. What are the facts? The fact is it's actually 95.1 million Americans who are not counted in the labor force today but let's go to the numbers a little bit deeper. The reasons why they are out of that labor force. 44.1 million of them, nearly half, they're retired. They're no longer working. 15.4 million, they're disabled, unable to work. 12.9 million people taking care of a family member and 15.5 million, they're in school or in job training. So, as you can see, you see a significant percentage, really the vast
majority of them not in the labor force for very good reasons. So for that reason, we say the claim is true - it's factually true, but very misleading. What about Trump's other claims in there on food stamp instance? He said over 43 million Americans are on food stamps. We looked at the numbers there. That is correct. 43 and change on his number. Regarding poverty, 43 million people now living in poverty today, that's also true but we should note that, that number is down a bit, it's declined, as has the food stamp number. We still rate the claim a true but we should also note in the context both the food stamp numbers, poverty numbers, they're decreasing in the last couple of years. Don?
LEMON: All right, Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. CNN Senior Political Analyst, Mark Preston is back with me and we're joined now by Senior Economics Analyst Stephen Moore, who was a Former Senior Economic Adviser to the Trump campaign. It's good to have all of you on -- good evening -- or good morning to you both. Stephen, I want to start you. I want to pick up with the Obamacare bit of this. The President didn't say how he'd pay for those tax incentives or conservatives -- are conservatives likely to back that, you think?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, you mean how they'll pay for it?
MOORE: Well, look. I mean, hopefully, if we can get a good Obamacare repeal through Congress, it will actually save money for the government very substantially. I mean, Obamacare is something that over the next decade is going to cost well over a trillion dollars. I see it as something blowing a big hole on the budget. I think the problem right now, Don, for Republicans is that they have so many different plans out there that there is a lot of confusion among people in the health care industry about, you know, what exactly is the plan? And, you know, how -- what are we going to be operating under this time next year. But I have to get this off my chest, Don. Look, I don't think that those were misleading statistics that Donald Trump used tonight. That 94 million people outside of the labor force, look we got to -- because jobs are not very plentiful, yes, you have more people, you know, staying at home, taking care of a parent, you have more people in job training programs, you have more people that have simply become so discouraged they don't even say they're looking for a job anymore.
When I was traveling around the country during the campaign, and you would tell people, "Gee, the media says that the unemployment rate is only five percent." People in a lot of these states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio, they'd laugh at you and say, "What are you talking about? The unemployment rate isn't five percent. It's about double that." So, there is a lot of different ways you can look at this employment numbers. But I guarantee you, most Americans don't believe that we have a healthy labor market right now.
[01:21:03] LEMON: I didn't say -- I don't know if what Jim said is completely false, but I think that--what most fact checkers and reality checkers are saying, Stephen, is that it's misleading. It said there's roughly - that is roughly the number, 94 million Americans, roughly the number of Americans older than 15 who didn't -- do not have jobs but includes high school and college students, people with disabilities --
MOORE: And retired people. Right.
LEMON: Stay at home parents and millions of retirees. The number of Americans who would like to work but can't find jobs is much smaller. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 7.6 million people were unemployed in January. Why do you think those numbers are wrong?
MOORE: Because so many people have - the way they do those surveys is they ask are you looking for a job. And the point that we found, and that has been the problem with the American economy now for the last seven or eight years, is that so many people have dropped out. They're not looking for a job. And you ask them why, and they can't find the kind of job that they want. Now look, there is no question we've seen an improvement in the labor market over the last couple years, that' -- that's undeniable. But I still think that when you tell people, gosh, the unemployment rate is so low, you know, people just don't buy it because yes, if you want a job at Walmart or Burger King, you can find a job. But the good paying jobs are not out there.
Incidentally, on this issue about food stamps, it is true. Food stamp numbers have come down from their big peak. But I looked at it very closely at these numbers. What hasn't happened is you haven't seen the big decline in food stamps as the economy has recovered. And I think one of the reasons for that is because a lot of the rules about eligibility were made much more lenient under Barack Obama so people could stay on food stamps for a longer period of time.
LEMON: Yes, I have the numbers here. But I wish we had our reality check folks as I could get to them faster.
MOORE: Well, we can talk to them but I had to get that off my chest.
LEMON: Yes, they do explain that about 94 - now living about the people -- number of people living in poverty - the number of people. Oh, here it is. 43 million Americans are now in food stamps. The number -- the number is correct but according to the Agriculture Department, 43.3 million Americans use food stamps. As with the poverty rate, though the number has been trending downward over the past several years. But let's go on. I want to include Mark in this as well. The President is also promising a massive tax cut -- massive tax cuts. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Right now, American companies are taxed at one of the highest rates anywhere in the world. My economic team is developing historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone.
It will be a big, big cut. At the same time, we will provide massive tax relief for the middle class. We must create a level playing field for American companies and our workers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that is on top of $54 Billion of budget increase for the military, a trillion dollar Infrastructure plan, and of course the wall. Republicans are applauding like mad there, Mark Preston. What happened to all the fiscal hawks?
PRESTON: You know, it's interesting in - we even her what Stephen has to say about this. You know, Donald Trump, up to this point has been able to govern through Executive Order. So he can get things done. He doesn't have to go through Congress to get things done. When he does go up there specifically, I mean let's just take out one of those things that you talked about. Take out the infrastructure element there. $1 trillion for public and private investment. Now look, Republicans, I'm sure, want to rebuild the roads and the infrastructure and what have you. However, they understand that, that is a huge price to pay. And what is going to happen? What is Donald Trump going to do when he realizes can't get Republican support to get a trillion dollars through?
And also, I mean quite frankly, everything else that he is trying to do at a time when this speech, he doesn't even talk about entitlements. When we're talking about arguably, which is the biggest problem right now in national security threat to the United States, some would say, is the economy and the fact that we have a $20 trillion debt right now?
LEMON: To Mark's point, Steve, is Congress going to go along with this?
[01:25:09] MOORE: It's a great $64 billion question. Mark is right about this that, that is hardly a conventional Republican position to be talking about spending a trillion dollars more. And by the way, we spend a trillion dollars every 10 years on infrastructure already at the federal level. So, I have to tell you guys I cringed when I heard Donald Trump say that. It's not the first time he said that. It's one of those areas where Donald Trump is redefining the Republican Party. And whether Republicans in Congress who ran as fiscal hawks will go for that kind of spending, I don't know.
Just one quick footnote on this, he said public and private. And there is a lot of private sector projects that could be funded potentially in the areas like energy development that, you know, pipelines for example, that would not necessarily require public funds to be spent.
LEMON: Stephen, thank you. Mark, thank you. Always a pleasure.
MOORE: Thank you.
LEMON: Up next, how Americans feel about the President's first ever address to Congress tonight.
LEMON: The President delivering an important address to a joint session of Congress. How do Americans feel about what they heard tonight? I want to bring in CNN Correspondent, Tom Foreman. Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. We had about 39,000 people out there with their pads and their phones, whatever, jumping in, casting about 15 million votes moment to moment. The line moves up if they like it, it moves down if they don't. Democrats in blue, Independents in purple, Republicans in red. And look at how the lines behaved when he brought up his signature issue, the thing that got him into the race, the border wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our Southern border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: This is the number one thing that propelled him into the race, maybe propelled him in the White House among some people and look, Democrats don't like it. Independents don't like it. But Republicans went soft on that, too. Out in the viewing audience. Not just in the chamber. People not too keen on that.
There were other areas which you could really see the gap between the Democrats and Republicans. No more so than when he talked about the Supreme Court. Remember, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. Democrats thought that Barack Obama would fill the seat. The Republicans blocked it. And now President Trump has his ideas. Watch the lines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To fill his seat we have chosen Judge Neil Gorsuch, a man of incredible skill and deep devotion to the law. He was confirmed unanimously by the Court of Appeals. And I am asking the Senate to swiftly approve his nomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Look at that. Throughout that entire statement, the Democrats down here in the basement. They don't like it at all. Republicans up in the attic. They're thrilled by the whole idea.
There were some areas in which there was agreement among the parties, where everyone seemed to move into the positive zone and move substantially. One of which is when he talked about the idea of new bridges, new highways, new roads, more infrastructure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The time has come for a new program of national rebuilding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Now whether they like all those new facilities or they like the jobs they represent, we don't know. But we know that brought everyone up near the top. And if the White House wants to look for areas of possible bipartisan cooperation, all they have to do is go through here and count all the places where the lines went up and joined together in the positive zone.
And I'll tell you, Don, it wouldn't take long because there weren't many of them.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Tom. Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
When we're coming right back, President Trump began his speech tonight condemning the recent wave of anti-Semitism. Will it help him unite a divided country?
[01:35:17] LEMON: It's one of the most iconic moments for any president. The sergeant-at-arms introducing -- introduction of the president of the United States inside the House chamber. Let's listen to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now the president's speech with CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston, CNN political commentators Jen Psaki and Ana Navarro, CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers and CNN political commentators Kayleigh McEnany and Matt Lewis.
I always expecting to hear, like, after that but you just hear -- that is an iconic moment. Right? I mean, yes, it's a great moment.
Kirsten, tonight President Trump tonight talked about how the country changed with his election. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We've defended the borders of other nations while leaving our own borders wide open for anyone to cross and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. And we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled. Then in 2016, the earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest. But then the quiet voices became a loud chorus as thousands of citizens now spoke out together, from cities small and large all across our country.
Finally the chorus became an earthquake and the people turned out by the tens of millions. And they were all united by one very simple but crucial demand, that America must put its own citizens first, because only then can we truly make America great again.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
LEMON: What do you think of the language, Kirsten?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not sure chorus can turn to an earthquake. That's my only quibble with it.
LEMON: Picky, picky.
POWERS: But -- but no, but I think he was basically talking about the -- you know, this sort of movement that led to his election. And, you know, pretty accurately so that I think it was unexpected. It was fairly quiet in the beginning and people didn't really see it coming. And it was -- I guess this was his more presidential version of talking about how well he did in the polls and what he normally does.
LEMON: Yes. But he's saying the chorus of people was a rumble. The rumble was so big. I get it. The rumble was so big.
POWERS: I mean, it wasn't -- it was sort of a political earthquake.
POWERS: I think that's probably a fair thing to say, don't you think?
LEMON: Yes. Yes. And Republicans in the chamber ate it up.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Yes, certainly. Certainly they did. I mean, he didn't stumble during the speech. And I think that they were very happy about that. And he didn't have any incendiary rhetoric which I think they were very happy about that. But what I think we have to do is we have to look at the setting. He was in the House of Representatives delivering a speech to the nation with Congress as the audience.
I mean, I think that's the symbolism in it of itself I think is going to you would hope at least keep the rhetoric down a little bit. But let's not forget, he is going now to Florida. He is going to your state on Friday. And he'll give another speech.
PRESTON: And we'll see what he does during that speech.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His inaugural was another big occasion. And you might have expected him at that inaugural to deliver a likewise serious eloquent speech. And that inaugural was incredibly different.
LEMON: It's not. But when you're in the House chamber, that's a little bit more reserved.
PRESTON: In that -- yes. I think Matt is right. You would think it would be on the same level. But he was also looking out at millions upon millions of people in his view or in his eyes. But they were all his supporters that were out there. So I think that kind of played into it as well.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But also, remember, this is a guy who reads press. This is a guy who watches TV like an addict. It means that he heard the criticism.
NAVARRO: It means that he read the criticism of the speech that he gave.
NAVARRO: And today he went out there and he tried to give a different type of speech.
LEWIS: I'm actually wondering if -- in all seriousness if he is learning. As Kayleigh was saying earlier, he went on TV today and said he gave himself a C plus for messaging. And then the second thing he said was they asked him, how are you going to fix it. And he said well, we'll see. Maybe I can start that process tonight.
NAVARRO: Look, we'll know if he's learning when we know if what he said today turns into action. He kept saying -- you know, let's -- this is not time for small thinking. This is not time for trivial fights. This is coming from a guy who has fought with a department store, with a Broadway musical, a TV show.
[01:40:04] LEWIS: Who among us? I mean, you know.
NAVARRO: You know, with Hollywood actors, with, you know, newscasters, with news channels. So, you know, let us see.
(CROSSTALK) PRESTON: Well, and it's also worth saying about -- say one thing about, because that was interesting about him giving himself a C, a C plus. But he also went for the Obama administration for the leaks. The Obama administration is no longer in power. So the leaks he says it's because of the previous administration.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But I also think sometimes we get caught up in analyzing a speech from a critical commentary standpoint. When at the end of the day, in four years when voters go to the poll, it's going to be what has materialized in their life.
There was a fascinating CBS poll out a few weeks ago that says 30 percent of voters are curious about Trump. They don't like him, they don't dislike him. They're curious about him. And what will sway them is economic conditions. So when we analyze this sounded like him, it didn't sound like him, I didn't like this line, I like this line, voters care about the economic conditions and realities in their life.
LEMON: That's what we do, Kayleigh.
MCENANY: OK. I just don't mean our entire --
LEMON: And the thing for him is -- you know, is learning that that's what we do. We're here to be critical. It doesn't mean we don't like him. We're critical of every speech. We go over every line.
LEMON: It's not personal. Right?
NAVARRO: You only one chance to give -- make a first impression.
NAVARRO: And this is his first impression that he is making.
LEMON: I think he's done pretty well. Right.
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But we're only going to be talking about the tone for probably 24 hours as long as he keeps --
NAVARRO: That's right. Because I don't know about you maybe, but tomorrow I'm going back to Russia. Russia, Russia. Investigate Russia.
PSAKI: Exactly. As long --
LEWIS: If you're a football analyst and you're watching the game -- LEMON: Right.
LEWIS: And the Redskins threw five interceptions.
LEWIS: You get to say they played horrible. And someone else could say yes, but it's only one game.
LEMON: Exactly. And that's my point when I said I listen to it on the treadmill. I wasn't watching. I was listening. And so I had a different take on it. It doesn't mean that I am anti-speech. I thought he did a good job. That is just my assessment.
LEWIS: I think he threw a touchdown tonight.
MCENANY: But that's true. But some voters also have a different take. So for instance, I think a lot of people are befuddled when everyone says hurrah, he denounced anti-Semitism tonight, because a lot of people heard his first response to the question about anti- Semitism.
MCENANY: He said, I denounce long simmering racism.
LEMON: Are you reading my card?
MCENANY: And they saw that as a denunciation.
LEMON: Play this and then we'll talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Go ahead. I'm sorry. I cut you off.
MCENANY: Look, that was a beautiful denunciation of hatred. It was a unifying message. But for commentators to come out and say he finally denounced it. No, the first time he was asked the question, if you go back and read the transcripts, he said, I denounce long simmering racism. I want peace in this country. Maybe it wasn't in the most poetic terms like it was tonight but he denounced it so it's not --
LEMON: Now you're being nitpicky. MCENANY: Yes. But a lot of Trump voters look at that and they say he
did denounce it, but he wasn't given that fair critique.
LEMON: Yes. Yes. Go ahead, Jen.
PSAKI: Look, I think that was the right thing to say at the beginning of the speech. A lot of people, not just Trump voters, not just people who voted for Clinton felt that he waited too long to strongly denounce it proactively. I don't think we need to spend a lot of time litigating that. I think the policy in the speech are one of my takeaways was there were specific areas where he has long said he wanted to focus on, whether that was repealing Obamacare or whether that was tax reform.
He didn't give any more specifics. And in fact a lot of Republicans coming out of the speech are all saying they heard him endorse their policies. So part of your objective for any of these speeches is to give a road map moving forward. I don't think he accomplished that. That was a missed opportunity.
NAVARRO: On this anti-Semitic acts, it's a horrible thing that is happening in this country right now. Tombstones are being toppled. This is not an isolated event. Dozens of Jewish community centers --
LEMON: Let me just get to some of these facts. According to the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, there have been at least 100 bomb threats to JCC and Jewish state schools in 33 different states in January.
NAVARRO: There was one in Miami a couple of days ago.
LEMON: Go on, Ana.
NAVARRO: Friends of mine had children there and were in a panic. And so, you know, I think today I hope that he realized the power of this bully pulpit, that he realizes that when he uses it strongly and vociferously, it may have an effect. And that he keeps on doing it. Because what is happening in this country is horrible. And we must all stand up and denounce it with all our strength.
LEMON: Well, Mark, to Ana's point, there is a tendency -- there appears to be a tendency with him, or maybe this administration to take it personally. What Ana is saying, there is -- to be bigger and realize that the office and the bully pulpit can actually make a difference, change policy, change people's minds, can maybe help people get caught.
[01:45:05] Can stop the anti-Semitism, in some way curb it around the country. That's what one must realize instead of why are you picking on me? Go on.
PRESTON: Well, to follow the thread to that I'll use a sports analogy.
NAVARRO: Oh, god.
PRESTON: Well, Matt went with football. I'll go with basketball. There are layups in politics. And this is a layup. It is easy to go out there and it is the right thing to do. And it's a smart thing to do. And he should do it. But it's a layup. It's easy to do. And I think that he is uniquely positioned to somebody who was a Democrat, became a Republican, is not necessarily beholden to the Republican Party to actually be transformative in some ways. If he was as Ana said is able to take what he did tonight and get half of what he said done, it would be an astounding success.
LEMON: Did you find him sounding like -- when you said he is -- you know, he's a Democrat who became a Republican, he sounded like a Democrat in some parts of his speech.
PSAKI: I think any president who is coming in and giving a joint session speech would have said a lot of similar line.
LEMON: What he said, right?
PSAKI: And you know, a lot of that is because those -- that's a typical speech. It was pretty traditional. And that said --
LEMON: Will it play, you think?
LEMON: Can you say politically?
POWERS: I don't know a lot of Republicans who would come out for that infrastructure bill idea. I mean, frankly, it's kind of amazing that you have Republicans, you know, cheering for this person when President Obama had wanted to do infrastructure spending that they wouldn't support. And the same thing with paid family leave. That's not a typical Republican thing to do, TPP. So I think that there are things that he is doing that are not typical.
LEMON: Before we get in the break, I want to ask you this. Is it because -- sometimes there is this sort of this, you know, division between Trump supporters and traditional Republicans. Is that a concern that he talked about those things that traditionally a Republican would not talk about? It may have played well with some folks but not --
MCENANY: No, and what was fascinating to me is I believe it was the infrastructure line. You saw Paul Ryan clap for that, for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Paul Ryan was clapping. You would never see a conservative Republican clap --
POWERS: Why is that?
LEMON: Stephen Moore said he cringed. Stephen Moore was like, oh, my gosh, I cringed, like, where is he going to get this money to pay for it?
POWERS: Why is that? Why do they want infrastructure spending now, but when President Obama wanted to do it, it was just -- he wanted to spend a bunch of money and they didn't want to do it?
MCENANY: Well, there was some nuance. He said infrastructure availability. Funding availability. So the implication I think there is it's going to be just Congress giving money. He is going to raise money in creative ways so I think there is some nuance there that maybe we'll find out --
LEMON: You know, it's because Obama is a Democrat. Come on.
LEMON: And it works both ways. We'll be right back. Yes.
[01:51:26] LEMON: And I'm back now with my panel. First question is to Kirsten Powers. Among those in President Trump's box tonight, if we can put it up, were the families of people killed by undocumented immigrants. I know you have a lot to say about this.
POWERS: Yes, so now we're getting to the substance of the speech. Right?
POWERS: And this is one of this things that he talks about a lot. And I would say in talking about it tonight, he was the least offensive that he's been probably. But overall, I do find this a very problematic sort of story line. Kayleigh and I disagree about it a lot because while it's a tragedy, and of course we all feel for those families when we see them, the fact of the matter is most undocumented immigrants are law-abiding people. They are not killing Americans in some disproportionate number. And so to showcase them in this manner suggests that they are. And so --
LEMON: The crime rate is actually lower among them.
POWERS: Yes. And so I think -- I think it's very problematic to be fear-mongering and kind of setting these people up sort of as dangerous to Americans when they're not.
LEWIS: I agree with what you said. I would say, though, that there are policies like these sanctuary cities where you've had the case of people who have been deported multiple times, and end up being given a safe -- you know, a safe haven in a city and then commit these acts. And so I think that's a legitimate political --
POWERS: But we're talking like a fraction of a percent. I mean, truly. I mean, this is -- it's almost --
LEMON: It's sad, but it's extreme cases. POWERS: It's almost like saying a blond person, you know, was a drunk
driver and killed somebody. So if we didn't let blond people into the country, then that person would be alive. I mean, it just isn't --
LEWIS: But all of this sort of the (INAUDIBLE) --
POWERS: It's true that if that person wasn't allowed to be here, but I mean, it's just -- it's such a small percentage of people, it doesn't even make sense.
NAVARRO: What I find really interesting about the entire immigration segment is so today he had an off the record with some news anchors, including some Hispanic TV anchors. And it seemed that he is going to --
NAVARRO: That he might give the DACA kids a reprieve. And that he is looking at some sort of compromise that might include some form of legalization.
LEMON: Path to citizen. Right.
NAVARRO: For, you know, many of the undocumented. Frankly, a program that looks a lot like the things that a Marco Rubio or a Jeb Bush would have advocated. And yet he goes out there at night, and it's all about criminal aliens, criminal aliens, criminal aliens. So part of me wonders if he is trying to give himself some wiggle room with his base. I'm wonder if he's trying -- you know, this is part of the art of the deal.
I will say as an immigrant myself, I wish he would moderate this by maybe including one good immigrant, you know, in his box. Could he invite one immigrant that's made a contribution to this country and is making it better? But of course I'm talking about --
LEMON: Ana, you could have gone.
PRESTON: I heard -- I heard that your invitation got lost.
PRESTON: I mean, that's --
LEMON: The one thing he did say is that families of people killed by undocumented immigrants have been ignored by the media. And any reality check will tell you they have been covered, the individuals killed by undocumented immigrants mentioned by President Trump in his speech received widespread coverage in local newspapers and on television. For example, the death of Jami Shaw Jr. who was shot and killed in 2008 in Los Angeles, was widely covered by "The Los Angeles Times" and local television stations as well.
MCENANY: But they're not showcased the way that good hardworking immigrant, which are the majority are on cable news, on broadcast television. And I think Trump said it so eloquently tonight when he said how is it compassionate when we allow abrogation of our laws which allows drugs to flow over our border, violence to flow over our border because it's not just American citizens who have died at the hands of some illegal immigrants who are the minority.
[01:55:06] It's also drugs. It's also people who have died because of heroin overdoses and those drugs have fled across our border because somehow building a wall is deemed uncompassionate. But we don't think of compassion when we think of the American citizens who have died at the hands of --
LEMON: But we're talking about drug dealers, you said he was --
POWERS: We shouldn't conflate drug dealers and undocumented immigrants. I mean, drug dealers are criminals who have come across the border for time immemorial.
LEMON: Let me read this, Kirsten. And I'll let you respond.
POWERS: That's not the same thing as an undocumented immigrant.
LEMON: He said, "We're removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals." Not a big change from the Obama administration. President Barack Obama already ordered the Department of Homeland Security to make serious criminals a primary focus of a deportation efforts. President Trump has called for all undocumented immigrants to be deported with limited manpower and resources, that could mean a higher share of nonviolent offenders among those who are deported. Multiple studies have concluded that immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than people born in the United States.
POWERS: Right. So President Obama was already targeting the criminals who needed to be deported. So when you bring up people who someone has been deported and sneaks back into the country, I think that, you know, those are the people that are already being targeted for deportation. So Donald Trump isn't really doing anything different on that front.
LEWIS: But there are cities who are the sanctuary cities. And I think that's a legitimate public policy difference. Rather than, you know, targeting, making this an anti-immigrant thing, I think it's a public policy debate.
POWERS: The sanctuary cities -- OK.
LEMON: Guys, guess what? That's the end.
LEMON: Everybody say happy birthday to me.
NAVARRO: Happy birthday. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: Thank you. I'm 25 again. How do I pull that off? That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching.
NAVARRO: You're pulling it off beautifully.
LEMON: I'll see you right back here later on tonight. CNN's live coverage continues in just a moment with John Vause and Isha Sesay in Los Angeles.