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Trump's Credibility Numbers Drop in New Polls; President Trump in Wisconsin. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:02]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: This is a blue state that -- remember, this is the blue wall he turned red during the election. He's talking about American manufacturing, while cracking down on employers who try to use cheap foreign labor.

This is just a piece of his new executive order that he is about to sign today there, which, according to the administration, should help push the president's buy American, hire American agenda.

The president is touring the headquarters of this American tool maker in Kenosha, and in just a couple of minutes, he will give a speech.

So, let's go straight to the president's event there and to senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny following the president there at the headquarters of Snap-on tools.

Tell me, what do we expect from the message from the president and also his executive orders he's about to sign?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, we do know the president is going to sign an executive order here this afternoon, taking his message outside of the White House, outside of Washington here to Wisconsin.

And it's going to be part of that campaign slogan he talked so much about, hire American, buy American. It's going to essentially limit the number of visas that are allowed for some workers to come into the U.S.

Now, the specifics of this were quite vague and the White House is saying that the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security will put specific numbers on these. But they are also going to make the federal government, these agencies, buy American goods and products here.

It's an executive order. What it's not is, is a piece of legislation. Something like this would be very popular among Republicans and even some Democrats alike, but the administration has not proposed this as legislation. So he will be signing this here, Brooke, but as the 100- day mark of the presidency approaches next week, the White House is aware of sort of a sense of a lack of living up to all of those campaign promises, delivering on all of those promises. They are trying to show action and they are signing that executive

order here. You can see behind me here the flag, Brooke, is actually made out of wrenches. Of course, we are at the Snap-on manufacturing center here in Wisconsin, an American company, of course.

So the president will be talking about one of the central parts of his campaign message. And I probably have a sense that he's happy to get out of Wisconsin, the challenges facing him there, and to get out in the country here.

As you said, Wisconsin longtime a blue state. He's the first Republican to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984. And it's his first visit to Wisconsin since taking office -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jeff Zeleny, thank you. We will be looking for the president. Thank you for telling that was wrenches. I was trying to figure out what that American flag was made of. Thank you.

ZELENY: Sure.

BALDWIN: And as the president moves forward with his America first, when you look at some of these new poll numbers, they show his approval numbers falling following -- Jeff was talking about promises.

One of the questions was, do you believe the president keeps his promises? Those numbers are down. Let me run through some of these Gallup findings. He's down 17 points when it comes to whether people believe he will keep his promises. He's down seven points as a strong leader, down seven points for bringing about needed change.

And you can see there the questions go on and on.

Matt Viser, deputy Washington bureau chief for "The Boston Globe," on the show today.

Matt Viser, do you think that maybe one of the reasons why the president has taken a little field trip out of the White House and into a place like Wisconsin is precisely because he has, according to these numbers, a credibility issue?

MATT VISER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Yes.

He's getting outside of Washington and trying to get out to the populist message that got him to the White House. Some of the numbers, though, are quite troubling for him, that 17-point drop in keeping his promises.

This poll was also conducted before last week, when he continued shifting on the Ex-Em Bank, on Janet Yellen, on whether NATO was obsolete. Even since the poll has been taken, there's been a number of positions that he's backed away from and outright changed on.

That's not going to help those numbers get any better. I think he's wanting to get outside of some of the policy day-to-day in Washington and back to a factory, in a place he was much more comfortable during the campaign. BALDWIN: And I think, as we look at some of these pictures of the

president shaking hands and saying hello as he's off Air Force One in Milwaukee and he's -- he will be at the Snap-on tools, this manufacturing plant.

The significance of even this particular county, Matt, as you well know, this is one of the crucial states he won, but it's also the home to Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, this home country. Why is it so important for him to be here today?

VISER: As Jeff was saying earlier, Republicans tend not to win Wisconsin.

This is an area in a state that has tended to be blue. It illustrates the exact type of voters that Trump won over, over Hillary Clinton. And this is the area, this is the base that he needs to continue to speak to.

[15:05:05]

You mentioned Reince Priebus in that area as well, Paul Ryan, the House speaker, from a different area of Wisconsin. But it's an important state and it's an important constituency for the president to keep in mind as some of those numbers and the trust in him erode.

He needs to keep these kind of people that are going to be there with him today.

BALDWIN: What about taxes, Matt Viser? What about how -- this call for the president to release his tax returns? You heard the question from Jon Karl at the briefing yesterday. And will the president ever release his tax returns?

And now you have Democrats jumping on it, as it's been Tax Day, and even some Republicans are saying you really should release your taxes. This is all sort of putting these two issues together with tax reform and saying, we can't tackle tax reform unless you release your taxes, when, in all honestly, these are two very different issues and this is all about posturing. Right?

VISER: Yes. And, I mean, but I think, though, that as tax reform is sort of the next big thing that they want to tackle...

BALDWIN: Yes.

VISER: ... it will bring about questions over President Trump's own tax returns.

And it was an issue that you thought might fade after the election. You know, he did get elected without releasing his tax returns. But as they turn to taxes, it will be a persistent issue, and it's something that the president remains sensitive to.

Over the weekend, he diverted his motorcade around a group of protesters in Florida at his Mar-a-Lago compound there. So I think it's something that we will continue to have come up. Whether people will -- whether he will change course at all, I think that's still open, but I sort of doubt it at this stage that he will do anything different.

BALDWIN: I'm with you on that one. Matt Viser, fellow Tar Heel, thank you so much. Thank you.

Also just in, we have the White House now defending President Trump's phone call to the president of Turkey. Critics calling him an any of democracy, a strongman who just pulled off this dangerous power grab. Talking about Erdogan here.

And President Trump now criticized for actually calling him up and congratulating him, although the White House said this was a "simple congrats."

This is the president of Turkey, Erdogan, narrowly won a referendum that gives him unchecked power and expands his rule. The vote itself under scrutiny, as accusations of voter intimidation and fraud swirl.

Despite all of this, President Trump congratulated him in this call, and the White House says the president did not voice any concerns because that wasn't the purpose of the call. President Trump wanted to focus on areas where they could work together.

For more on this, I'm joined by Michelle Kosinski, CNN senior diplomatic correspondent.

But, Becky Anderson, I want to begin with you, because you just wrapped this exclusive interview with Turkey's president.

And so you tell me, Becky, what did Erdogan say about those questioning this referendum victory and that phone call from the president of the United States?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, I straight up asked him how he responds to his harshest critics who say this new Turkish-style presidential system and the sweeping powers that gifts him is the slow march to dictatorship here in Turkey.

His response: I'm a mere mortal. This is bigger than one man. This is not about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but about reforming a system that over the years created deadlock, he says, that he blames for crippling the economy and causing a legacy of military coups, the like of which of course we saw here back in July last year.

I also asked Erdogan about that call he had with Donald Trump congratulating his Turkish counterpart on his win. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Of course, that was a call of celebration, congratulations. And it was a time when they were celebrating the Easter festival.

It was very pleasing. He congratulated me for the outcome. And we talked about our relationship in the forthcoming period. He shared with me his views about that and about Syria. And I had the same opportunity to share my views with him.

And I said to him, especially on the matter of seeing each other, I said, now the election is over. Rather than having to do it over the phone, it would be better to have a face-to-face meeting and to take forward our relationship and matters about Syria, and we agreed that we will have that meeting in due course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:10:01]

ANDERSON: Yes, he clearly wants that invitation to Washington.

The U.S. file clearly front and center for President Erdogan, with his sights set on resetting relations with Washington. Domestically, though, Brooke, he faces outcry from the opposition here and international observers who monitored the referendum who say the crackdown on dissent meant a one-sided campaign.

Both are contesting the results, citing irregularities on the count. The old adage it ain't over until it's over really doesn't count here. It ain't over even when it's over in Turkey these days, Brooke.

BALDWIN: If that could be the case, you have world leaders, Michelle Kosinski, who are, especially European leaders, urging caution. Even the president's own State Department issuing a statement that doesn't entirely seem in line with the president's phone call.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

First, the State Department statement came out, and it noted the concerns of the observers, the suspected irregularities in voting, other problems with the process, intimidation. And it really focused on the need for democracy, saying that it looks to the government to protect people's fundamental rights.

And then, a day later, you have the president calling and congratulating Erdogan, but saying nothing of these concerns. So, the White House is saying today that President Trump supports democracy and encourages it, but at the same time Erdogan is an important ally in the fight against terrorists.

So, they know it's an imperfect situation. And in looking at those two issues, they decided that, at least in this brief phone call, they wanted to focus on ways for that the two countries are going to work together and they cited the America first policy, that when you're focused on protecting America, you're going to call this leader, even though he seems on the right side of focusing on ISIS, but maybe not the right side of democracy at this point.

You're going to try to focus on moving forward. And I will say that the Obama administration also had a little bit of struggle with maintaining the relationship, as well as trying to support democracy, because, right after that coup attempt last year, when Erdogan had this crackdown on dissent, firing or suspending more than 100,000 people, including teachers and journalists, jailing tens of thousands of others, the White House was not quick to condemn that at all.

They said that Turkey has a right to defend itself and that a coup attempt is a threat to democracy. It took many days of this going on and under intense pressure of questions in the briefing for that White House to finally say, OK, OK, we have some concerns about this.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Yes. Michelle, thank you.

Becky, great interview.

Thank you, ladies, very much.

Under way right now, what could be the first real verdict of the Trump presidency, why the president is stepping up some insults on this young Democrat in Georgia. We will take you live to the Sixth Congressional District, where voting is under way.

And speaking of America first, any moment now, President Trump will speak at a plant in Wisconsin touting that America first agenda, live pictures, Kenosha, Wisconsin, this manufacturing plant, Snap-on tools. We will take it live when we see the president. Stay with me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:17:15]

BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN.

All eyes on Georgia right now, as voters decide the fate of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff. He's running to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Georgia's Sixth Congressional District. Ossoff only 30 years of age, a virtual political novice, seems to be running well ahead of a very crowded Republican field.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON OSSOFF (D), GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, the polling and the early vote numbers show that we're within striking distance. We're certainly going for an outright win here today, but a special election is special. It's notoriously difficult to predict. It's all going to come out to turnout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: President Trump obviously hoping to put a stop to that, urging Georgians to vote Republican in this tweet -- quote -- "Democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in Congress. Very weak in crime and illegal immigration, bad for jobs and wants higher taxes. Say no."

Our senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju watching this race very, very closely. There he is live in Marietta, Georgia. What are the chances? Can this young Democrat get enough support that he needs that he can pull ahead?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very possible.

We expect him tonight to at least finish first in this crowded field, but we are not certain if he can surpass the critical 50 percent threshold. If he does he 50-plus-one percent, this race is over, he becomes the next congressman from this district and be he's the first Democratic congressman to hold this seat in 37 years.

But I talked to officials on both sides. They are not expecting him to get over 50 percent. In fact, they expect in the mid to high 40s and that to turn into a two-person run-off before that June 20th run- off.

And when that run-off happens, the Republican candidate would be favored, given the conservative lean in this district. But one thing that Democrats believe they have going for them, Brooke, is enthusiasm on the left. A lot of people are fired up because of Donald Trump.

Democrats and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested a lot of money into turning out the vote, 70 field staffers on the ground trying to turn out to vote. But on the Republican side, there is some concerns that the base may not turn out.

I talked to one of the key Republican candidates in this race tonight, Karen Handel, about just what she's hearing on the ground from voters who are concerned that not enough is getting done in Republican- dominated Washington. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HANDEL (R), GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: People want to have a congressman who is going to be a fighter for them for this district.

And, yes, there's a little anxiety about congressional inaction, if you will, and this real desire for people to see the Republicans in Congress move from vocal opposition to actually governing. And that's been the constant theme, repetitive theme, throughout the whole campaign with the voters I have talked to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:20:03]

RAJU: But given that this could be a real sign if the Democrat does win, Brooke, that there's a repudiation, a concern about Donald Trump and the direction of his agenda, the president himself trying to move quickly, aggressively in this race, try to urge Republican voters to come out, recording a robo-call for the Republican National Committee, urging people to come out and stop the Democratic agenda, stop Nancy Pelosi from gaining power, tweeting repeatedly for Republicans to come out. So, he recognizes the high stakes here. But the Republicans are arguing if they get to a run-off, that is a victory, in and of itself, but a run-off itself could be very close too and that could extend this race for two more months.

But, clearly, Brooke, Democrats want to win this tonight and get it over with and get a really huge upset in the books, first time here any Democrat would have this seat in nearly four decades -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Yes, you said it. This isn't just Tom Price's district. This is Newt Gingrich. This is like ruby red territory. So, we will be watching, polls closing at 7:00. Manu, thank you very much.

Coming up next here on CNN, new details in on the end of the urgent manhunt for the Facebook killer. We're now learning where they found him and what happened moments before it all ended.

We're also minutes away from a police news conference. We will keep an eye on that.

But we're really watching to see the president speaking in Kenosha, Wisconsin, touting his America first agenda. We will take it live as soon as that happens.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And these are real workers. I love the workers. Doing a good job for the workers.

And I'm thrilled to be back in Wisconsin. The optimism in this room is the same incredible spirit that is sweeping across our country and even greater than that great day in November, when I won the state of Wisconsin and when we won the presidency. Yes, that was a great day, obviously.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: That was a great day. And thank you, Wisconsin.

No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days. That includes on military, on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement. We love our law enforcement. And on government reform.

Today, we're building on that optimism, and I'm proud to announce that we are about to take bold new steps to follow through on my pledge to buy American and hire American.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I can't think of a better place to make that announcement than right here at Snap-on.

I just took a tour of the company. It's doing well, too.

Standing among the workers who make the tools that will rebuild our nation. Your craftsmanship is incredible.

It's a pleasure to see my good friend Governor Scott Walker. He has been such a big help. He has been so incredible.

Stand up, Scott, Governor Walker.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: As well as Senator Ron Johnson. We worked hard together.

Thank you, Ron.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And although he could not be here today, my thanks go to Speaker Ryan, who has represented the city for nearly two decades in Congress. And you know where he is? He is with NATO. And so he has a good excuse.

I said, Ron, make sure these countries start paying their bills a little bit more. They are way, way behind, Ron. We have to -- well, I'm going to talk to you about that, Ron.

But, Paul, you are over with NATO. Get them to pay their bills. I think that.

And, Ron, you have to work on that too.

And, Scott, you are right here in Wisconsin. You don't have to bother. We will keep you right here, for a little while at least.

Also with us is a famous local resident, the pride of Kenosha, Reince Priebus, my chief of staff.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Where is Reince? Where is he? What a good man. There he is.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: In fact, we flew over his house on the way up, and he got all excited. He's taking pictures of it.

Reince went to school right here, just about a mile away, where he took his wife, Sally, to the prom. Now, that was a match made in heaven. Very nice.

[15:25:05]

I also want to thank Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for being with us today. Secretary Mnuchin is working to put together a tax reform plan to make our industry more competitive and also to provide a level playing field for our workers.

We don't have a level playing field. Believe me, you are going to have one very soon. And our tax reform and tax plan is coming along very well. It's going to be out very soon. We are working on health care and we're going to get that done too.

Our education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is also here.

Where is Betsy? She is around here someplace.

Stand up. Thank you, Betsy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Secretary DeVos is working to ensure that our workers are trained for the skilled technical jobs that will in the future power our country.

I'm excited to be joined today by students from Gateway Technical College, and remember the college president, Bryan Albrecht.

Thank you. Great job. Thank you very much.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you, Bryan.

Your partnership with Snap-on is a great example of why vocational education is the way of the future. When I was growing up in Queens, we had vocational schools. They were great. We don't have schools like that so much anymore. But we are bringing them back, vocational schools. These are very talented people that love that type of work.

And it's great work. It really is great work. So, vocational schools are going to be a big factor in the Trump administration. Together, we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that more products are stamped with those wonderful words, made in the USA.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: In the old days, we used to use it. We don't use it so much anymore. We are going to start using it again, made in the USA.

For too long, we have watched as our factories have been closed and our jobs have been sent to other faraway lands. We have lost 70,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization. And you have seen that. You have heard about it, 70,000.

The World Trade Organization, another one of our disasters. But this election, the American people voted to end the theft of American prosperity. They voted to bring back their jobs and to bring back their dreams into our country.

That's why I'm here today. In just a few moments, I will be signing a buy American and hire American executive order. You haven't heard about that in a long time in this country.

With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world. We're going to defend our workers, protect our jobs and finally put America first.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: I see all the "Make America Great Again" hats. It's a good crowd. Those are good hats.

Through the years, Snap-on tools have been at the center of our industrial life. Your tools have fixed the cars our families depend on. They have sailed with the fleets that patrol the oceans. They have fixed the planes that cross our skies. And Snap-on tools have reached the heights of space, used by astronauts in orbit to carry out their very, very important work.

And I don't know if you noticed. Recently, I signed a very big order. We're going to spend again on NASA space program. And that's something we need. And we also need it psychologically. And it's going to be very exciting.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: For decades, this company has served the needs of American workers. It's time we had a federal government that does the same.

The buy and hire American order I'm about to sign will help protect workers and students like those of you in the audience today. This historic action declares that the policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.

It's America first. You better believe it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: It's time. It's time, right? It's time.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: First, we will fully monitor, uphold and enforce