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Trump's First 100 Days; Violence in Venezuala; Recaps From the White House Corresponents' Dinner. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 30, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:00:12] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITEDSTATES: I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAIN ASHER, HOST: Spending his 100th day in office about 100 miles from Washington, D.C., as U.S. President Trump marks a milestone. We'll take a
look at his priorities at home and abroad on day 101.
Also ahead, pointed punchlines at the White House Correspondents Dinner. We break down the president's relationship with the press.
Plus, flying the stars and stripes inside Syria. American troops begin patrols to keep the peace between allies. We'll have that all this hour.
Hello and a warm welcome to all of you at home. Welcome to Connect the World. I am Zain Asher in New York sitting in for Becky Anderson.
We begin here in the United President Trump is clearing, I would say, a pretty important milestone - his first 100 days in office and there's been
so much talk about whether or not this milestone is actually important, whether it's purely psychological. But let's talk about what he did not do
on his first 100 days.
He actually did not attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night, but he did instead surround himself with supporters at a rally in
Pennsylvania, certainly bringing back a lot of memories from 2016.
Here's our Jeff Zeleny with more.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump delivering a rerun of his campaign from last year. In a speech on Saturday
evening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, President Trump ran through a litany of grievances with familiar attacks on the media, familiar attacks on the
Obama Administration, taking little responsibility for any of his own crises and chaos in the west wing during his first 100 days. But he was
speaking in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to loyal supporters at the same time, the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner was going on back in
Washington. He made that clear from the very beginning of his speech.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in
our Nation's Capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents' Dinner without the president.
ZELENY: The president did not tell his supporters that he in fact has attended this dinner for years and he will likely attend it next year, he
says. He did turn to other issues as well particularly on China. His language on China so different than during the campaign and he explained
exactly why he now says China may not be a currency manipulator.
TRUMP: And I think it's not exactly the right time to call China a currency manipulator right now. Do we agree with that?
ZELENY: The president also said he will decide within the next two weeks whether to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Of course this was the
accord reached during the Obama Administration about can climate change. He's being advised by some of his officials inside the west wing to
withdraw from this. Others say he should stick with it. Now, this is one of the big decisions as he said, that's facing him going forward in the next
chapter of his presidency. So many more decisions, as well as well as some legislative accomplishments like health care and other matters he has yet
to achieve during his first 100 days.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
ASHER: And as our Jeff Zeleny was just talking about there, while the president was rallying his supporters are in Pennsylvania. Members of the
media instead gathered in Washington, D.C. for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. We'll get to the fun stuff and all the jokes and
all the roasting in just a moment, but first I want you to listen to two iconic journalists striking a very serious tone about the president's
relationship with the media. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL BERNSTEIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: We're reporters, not judges, not legislators. What the government or citizens or judges do with the
information we've developed is not our part of the process nor our objective. Our job is to put the best obtainable version of the truth
out there. Period. Especially now.
[11:05:05] BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: The effort today to get this best attainable version of the truth is largely made in good faith. Mr.
President, the media is not fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Mr. President, the media is not fake news. We just saw some sound bite there from two very famous, very iconic journalists. I want to bring
in our Ryan Nobles to talk more about this.
But Ryan, normally the White House Correspondents Dinner is supposed to be fun and it's supposed to be fun, it's supposed to be glitz and glamour, but
there was a very somber and very sort of serious tone, a very sort of serious cloud hanging over this year, because actually free press is a
pillar of democracy. It's very serious stuff. Just set the scene for us last night.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, no doubt the foundation of American democracy in many ways.
Zain, I was there last night. I had never been to a White House Correspondents Dinner before, so it's hard for me to compare it to past
years, but just judging by what my colleagues had to say, there was certainly a different atmosphere.
You know, you people were generally still in a good mood, but it seemed that the focus had changed quite a bit. During the Obama administration,
you saw A-list celebrities, some of the biggest names in Hollywood, showing up for this event. They were just not there last night, the celebrities
that were there weren't necessarily A-list celebrities. And they were not the focus, the focus seemed to be back on journalism, the responsibility
that those of us that cover the White House every day have. And that's what you heard with the remarks from Woodward and Bernstein last night.
And it was also part of what Hasan Minhaj, the Comedy Central correspondent talked about as well during his remarks.
So, the fact that President Trump wasn't there almost allowed this Correspondents' Dinner to have somewhat of a reset and that the focus it
could go back to what the White House Correspondents' Association goal is each year with this dinner's and that's to raise money for aspiring
journalists through scholarship funds.
ASHER: And actually, there were a lot of journalists as well. In fact, CNN, and other media outlets invited student journalists to attend the
event. But I want to play our audience a sound bite from last night from Hasan Minhaj actually joiking about how much the
president relies on cable news for information. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASAN MINHAJ, COMEDIAN: So, that's why you've got to be on your A game. You've got to be twice as good. You can't make any mistakes because when
one of you messes up he blames your entire group, and now you know what it feels like to be a minority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Now you know what it feels like to be a minority.
So -- just walk us through. How - what was his scorecard? I mean, how did people think he did? Was it tough to actually squeeze out fresh material
about a president who has already been joked about so much?
NOBLES: I think he certainly had a pretty big job in front of him. The Correspondents' Association tends to be a pretty tough crowd. A lot of us
in the journalism community don't necessarily have that thick of skin and he was an equal opportunity offender. He certainly went after the
president in a big way, but he also went after those of us in the media as well. He had some choice words for those of us at CNN in particular. But
I think the reviews by and large have been pretty positive, but you know, Zain, like with anything in this environment, it really depends on the
prism of your perspective. And if you're a supporter of Donald Trump's and you're not necessarily that big of a fan of
the mainstream media, you probably didn't like to hear what Hasan Minhaj had to say last night, but I think those of his colleagues, those in the
comedic community and journalists by and large thought he did a pretty effective job last night.
ASHER: And Ryan, just quickly you mentioned that it was your very first White House Correspondents' Dinner. Did you have a good time?
NOBLES: I did all right. I had to be up here pretty early, so I couldn't stay all night long, but it was certainly...
ASHER: Had to cut the partying short.
NOBLES: Exactly, but it was still fun to be a part of it for sure.
ASHER: All right, Ryan Nobles, live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
As we've heard President Trump's relationship with the media has been rocky. Isn't that somewhat of an understatement to say the least. But
especially, though, as the 100-day milestone got closer and closer. Last week, in fact, the president tweeted, "no matter how much i accomplish
during the ridiculous standard of the first100 days and it has been a lot, including the Supreme Court, the
media will kill."
But what Mr. Trump now calls ridiculous, a ridiculous standard, rather, was in fact, a benchmark that he certainly embraced on the campaign trail last
year. He even rolled out a 100-day action plan to make America great again. Here's what he said before the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country.
Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of a Trump administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:10:02] ASHER: All right, let's talk about this with Errol Lewis who is a CNN political commentator.
You know, Errol, watching CNN yesterday, or rather the day before, I was watching one of our anchors interview some Trump supporters. And they were
saying, you know, it's not about looking at the 100 days and giving it a pass or fail or an A grade or B grade, it's actually about taking the
chance - taking the time, rather, to step back and give the president a chance. Is that fair?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, that is certainly moving the goalposts, which anyone's political supporters are entitled to
do, Zain. But the reality is, though, just as you point out, he made the election in his words a referendum on this 100-day plan. He also announced
that plan not just any place on the campaign trail, but at the solemn memorial battleground of Gettysburg. This is a solemn promise, a solemn
place, and he simply didn't deliver. There's no getting around that.
Now, the fact that his political supporters don't particularly care, perhaps they want to move the goalpost, perhaps they want to see this as a
metaphor. You know, he didn't begin to get the funding to build that wall on the border with Mexico. He didn't begin to get Mexico to pay for it,
something that he pledged almost every single day of the campaign.
If his supporters don't care about it, well, you know, we're back to what you just quoted Woodward and Bernstein talking about. This is the best
attainable version of the truth that we can provide. He simply didn't get started on things that he said he was going to do on day one. As of day
100 he had not done them, though he pledged that he would.
ASHER: But Errol, is 100 days an unfair. I mean, the president obviously, as you mentioned changed the goalpost, but objectively speaking is 100 days
an unfair milestone to judge the president by?
LOUIS: Well, no, I think it's fair for the following reasons, Zain. First of all, nobody put a gun to his head and told him he has to do this in the
first 100 days. He said...
ASHER: He said it himself. He said it himself.
LOUIS: Yes. I mean, he put it in writing. He didn't put a lot of things in writing during the campaign. That was in writing.
The other thing is that - the 100 days of FDR, that's really where this measurement comes from, which was a true national emergency back in the
1930s. FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed 13 major pieces of legislation. There was a bank emergency. They closed every bank in the
country for a period of time to try and reset the financial system and when subsequent presidents have asked, in this case with President Trump to be
judged by that same standard, they were saying on the campaign trail in effect that this is a comparable state of emergency, that fast action has
got to be taken. And that kind of hyperbole can blow up in your face especially when you can't meet the standard.
Who could meet the standard that FDR set back in the 1930s?
I mean, one small example, FDR swore in his entire cabinet in one ceremony, that's how much of an emergency it was. He didn't want to do it day by
day. He put them all in a room, had them raise their hands and said let's get on with it today right now on inauguration day.
ASHER: And you know, Errol, a lot of people say that the president is obviously at his most powerful in the first sort of five, six months,
because obviously after that, congress sort of gets sidetracked when it comes to mid-term elections, when it comes to 2018 and so the president is
really at his most powerful right now. Would you agree?
LOUIS: Well, I should certainly hope not both from the Trump administration perspective and from the national perspective. This is as
good as it gets. If this is supposed to be the honeymoon and he's polling what we call in the business, upside down, more people disapprove than
approve of his performance in this first 100 days, one would hope that it's going to get better because you cannot have a president who is so hobbled
by a lack of trust from the public. I mean, he's got to figure out a way to turn those numbers around, get more of the public to support what he's
ASHER: So, how does he do that, then? How does he do that then? How does he reach - I mean, obviously, he spent yesterday, his 100th day in office
actually surrounded by his supporters. How does he reach to the other side of the aisle?
LOUIS: Yeah, well, I mean, some of it involves simply showing up in other than friendly venues, you know.
He was incredibly hostile, for example, to cities, including New York City, his hometown, which he has not visited since taking office 100 days ago.
He hasn't put out any kind of a program that would reach out to those areas of the country, whether politically or geographically, that did not support
him. And that is the key, I think, to getting on the road to kind of unifying the country and building up some support among those who have been
skeptical about him.
ASHER: All right. Errol Louis live for us there. Thank you so much for your perspective. I appreciate that.
All right, let's talk a little bit about Donald Trump's foreign policy. North Korea has, of course, quickly become one of his biggest challenges
in that arena, especially in the first 100 days. You just said this week that conflict with North Korea is indeed possible, and in fact, with an
interview that he just made with CBS he did not rule out military force after North Korea's latest ballistic missile test. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:15:06] TRUMP: I would not be happy if he does a nuclear test, I would not be happy. And I can tell you also, I don't believe that the president
of China who is a very respected man would be happy either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not happy mean military action?
TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, we'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: I don't know. We'll see. Well, how is all of this being viewed inside North Korea? Will Ripley is the only western TV journalist
reporting from the capital Pyongyang.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zain, President Trump continues to be ambiguous about what the United States would actually do if North Korea
goes forward with a sixth nuclear test, but here in Pyongyang, the rhetoric is anything but ambiguous. They call the United States warmongers for
having the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group in the waters off the Korean peninsula conducting joint exercises with the South Korean navy.
And they say that the confusion in South Korea over who will pay the $1 billion to the THAAD missile defense system, confusion has been cleared up,
the U.S. will be paying for it as per a confidential agreement paying per a confidential
agreement before those components started rolling in.
Well, North Korea also jumping on that as an example of just the chaos down south as they continue to stay focused on developing missiles and nuclear
weapons that they view as vital to protect their national sovereignty.
Government officials here in Pyongyang have been telling us for several days that the country will move forward with more missile launches at the
discretion of their supreme leader Kim Jong-un and they scoff at the suggestion that influence from China would have anything to do with their
decision making when it comes to conducting this kind of test that the world considers provocative and that could lead to severe economic
penalties from Beijing, which accounts for at least 70 percent of North Korean trade and also controls the flow of a large amount of oil into this
So what is North Korea doing behind the scenes? That's what we don't know. We know from our discussions with government officials that there is a
genuine desire to engage with the United States and the rest of the world. This country doesn't want a military conflict just like everybody else.
They know that it would be bad for all sides for this to escalate into military action, but they say they will not back down and not shy away from
war if that's what needs to happen.
So moving forward, the Trump administration working with China trying to put diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang. Pyongyang with a fiery rhetoric, but
could there be discussions happening that we don't know about to try to bring about a diplomatic resolution to this conflict that is something
we will have to wait and see - Zain.
ASHER: Our Will Ripley reporting there.
Still to come on Connect the World, U.S. troops go on patrol inside Syria. Who are they trying to protect and why? We'll explain after the break.
Plus, an exclusive look inside the fight against ISIS. CNN goes along on a mission into Iraq. That's next.
ASHER: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me, Zain Asher.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is exercising new powers he won in this month's constitutional referendum under a new decree announced
Saturday nearly 4,000 public employees were fired because of what he said on national security concerns. It's certainly a continuation of the purge
that he began launching after last year's failed coup attempt.
Another decree has blocked access to Wikipedia. Turkey accuses Wikipedia of a smear campaign and links it to terrorist groups.
I want to also turn now to a show of force inside Syria along the border with Turkey. The U.S. is now patrolling parts of the region with armored
vehicles in the wake of Turkish strikes on U.S.-backed Kurdish militia. The goal is to clamp down on cross border sort of skirmishes, fights
between the two U.S. allies. The patrols began Friday and are being conducted along Syria's central and northeastern border with Turkey.
I want to bring in our Ben Wedeman who is monitoring this story.
So, Ben, will this be, do you think, an effective buffer, if you will, between the Kurds and Turkey?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNAITONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's certainly a high profile one, Zain. Normally with U.S. forces, they're going low profile,
but here we are seeing them driving in their armored vehicles with the American flag very prominently displayed as they are on joint patrol with
the YPG, that's one of the Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria that's backed by the United States as a key ally in the fight against ISIS.
Now, the problem is that the YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is the Turkish-Kurdish Workers Party which the Turkish state as well as the
United States incidentally consider it a terrorist organization. The PKK has been fighting a war against the Turkish state since 1984 and therefore
when Turkish officials see this level of cooperation between the YPG affiliated with the PKK and U.S. forces in Syria, they are very concerned.
And just listen here to what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRESIDENT OF TURKEY (through translator): Unfortunately, on these convoys we see the flags of two countries. I won't
even say a country, but we are seriously saddened by seeing the rags of a terrorist organization such as YPG together with U.S. flags at a convoy.
We will show these photos with Mr. president at the meeting we will hold on May 16.
And of course, that is when the president will be meeting with Trrump in the United States and to keep in mind, of course, that it was just last
Wednesday that Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish targets in northeastern Syria, very closes to where some of the Americans were, the U.S. coalition
spokesman said that the U.S. only had a one-hour warning from the Turks of that strike. The Turks also struck Kurdish targets in Iraq, as well.
Keep in mind, of course, that Turkey is a key ally of the United States, a NATO member, as
well. And so this is a serious rift between traditional allies. And certainly it's going to be an interesting conversation between the
presidents of Turkey and the United States when it happens on the 16th of May - Zain.
ASHER: Yeah, it will be interesting, especially because President Erdogan recently said that he has high hopes for Turkey's relationship with the
United States, especially under President Trump.
So where does all of this leave that? Just looking into your crystal ball in terms of the future of
the U.S. relationship with Turkey here?
WEDEMAN: Well, it leaves the situation -- I mean, if you look back to the relationship between President Erdogan and President Obama, it was not very
The Turks were very impatient with Obama's cautious approach to the Syrian civil war. Of course, Turkey has been a major backer of some of the Syrian
rebel factions and so they have that in addition to other issues, for instance, the fact that the United States
is home to the Turkish Cleric Fethullah Gulen who is accused of involvement in the 15 of July 2016 failed coup d'etat. So - and of course, then you
have the current effort being led by the United States to crush ISIS in Syria, and of
course, the United States has about 1,000 troops in northern Syria that are supposed to be supporting their Syrian allies including the Kurds in an
effort to retake Raqqa.
So it is a massive mess and the two leaders will have to try to sort it out - Zain.
[11:25:20] ASHER: So, Ben, just quickly, I want to talk about domestic issues for President Erdogan, because we just reported that he expels 4,000
civil servants. So, is this an issue that's going to get worse in this post-referendum Turkey where President Erdogan has a lot more powers than he did before?
WEDEMAN: Well, the expectation is that, yes -- well, he doesn't have the power yet, it's important to keep in mind that the referendum gave the
position, the post president of the Republic sweeping new powers, but they won't go into effect until 2019. But certainly the fact that the
referendum passed - although, by a slim margin, only 2.5 percent, it does give him sort of a political mandate, but not quite as strong as he would
have hoped, but strong enough, obviously, to carry out sort of to intensify this purge, keeping in mind that earlier this week he of course detained
nerely 1,000 police officers and sacked 9,000 government officials in addition to that. And therefore, he does seem to feel that he's been
emboldened by the vote.
ASHER: All right. Ben Wedeman live for us in Istanbul. Thank you so much.
In the war against ISIS troops, on the front lines are going through so much ammunition they need rapid reloads delivered by air. Our Frederik
Pleitgen has this exclusive look at a vital supply mission.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An explosive but also vital cargo for American and allied forces fighting
ISIS, munitions bound for Iraq.
(on-camera): And, apparently, it's rockets that are being flown into Iraq. It's going to deliver munitions to some of the frontline troops.
(voice-over): We're riding along on C-130 Hercules taking off from a U.S. air base in an undisclosed location in the Middle East. For the crew,
flights like this one are common but never routine, they say. For security reasons, we can only identify the crew by their ranks and first names.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just maintain vigilance. Situational awareness are big when there's always other things going on. Everybody gets pretty task
saturated. So, we just make sure that we keep our focus on getting the mission done.
PLEITGEN: The Iraqi army backed by U.S. forces is fighting an intense battle, trying to oust ISIS from its largest stronghold, Mosul. As the war
intensifies, the troops unleash more firepower and need new ammo to come in fast.
That makes cargo flights like this one so important. Landing is the most dangerous part. The C-130 is vulnerable as it flies low over the Iraqi
countryside. The crew wearing helmets and flak vest in case they take enemy fire. The aircraft's commander, who we can only name as Colonel Buck, has
decades of experience.
COLONEL BUCK, UNITED STATES ARMY: Obviously, flying in a war zone, you know, the danger of getting shot at is always there. But we're always
prepared for that. We train hard for that. So we're ready for anything that pops up.
PLEITGEN: Unloading only takes a few minutes, the engines running and the plane and its cargo secured by two heavily armed soldiers. Then the C-130
takes off again, ready for another mission to keep up the fight against ISIS.
Fred Pleitgen, CNN, reporting from an undisclosed U.S. air base in the Middle East.
ASHER: Right. It's time for a quick break. We will have the latest world news headlines just ahead.
Plus, these frightening images show us protests in Venezuela are literally spiraling out of control, a massive standoff right now between
demonstrators and the government. We will have the latest after this break.
[11:33:27] ASHER: Weeks of sometimes deadly protests have turned into a standoff between demonstrators and the government. Here is our Patrick
Oppmann with more.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As violent anti- government protests in Venezuela rage on, a dire situation is getting worse. In the latest clashes, demonstrators have faced down armored
vehicles, then bombarded from the air with tear gas, even jumped into a river to escape the calamity.
Both opponents and supporters of the government have taken to the streets in an increasingly
bitter stalemate that has divided the country, even families.
On Wednesday, Yibram Saeb (ph) released a video calling on his father, a top government official charged with investigating human rights abuses, to
"Dad, at this moment, you have the power to put an end to this injustice that has sunk this
country," he says. "I ask you as a son, and in Venezuela's name, which you serve, to reflect and do what you're supposed to do."
Long riven by social divisions, Venezuela has come undone as the country's economy has slipped into a death spiral.
Food and medicine are scarce, lines to buy basic items stretch for blocks and inflation is
among the highest in the world. Despite sitting on top of the richest oil reserves, Venezuela is now broke.
The opposition blames the government's socialist policies begun years ago by then President Hugo Chavez and massive official corruption and
mismanagement. Chavez's successor Nicholas Maduro says, his country is the victim of an international conspiracy and has rejected opposition the
government may be trying to buy time in the hopes that oil prices will rise.
DAVID SMILDE, THE WASHINGTON OFFICE ON LATIN AMERICA: If oil were to surge to $60 or $80 a barrel it certainly would give them some more breathing
room. And that's what they're hoping, they're hoping that, you know, if oil can go up, they can defeat these protests. They can go to elections
and perhaps, you know, rig the playing field or rig the campaign enough that they can actually stay in power.
OPPMANN: Venezuela's embattled president doesn't appear too concerned about the turmoil as he throws around the baseball. Peace will continue,
he says, to those violent group, the law will find them. It has already arrived for many of them, and by way of the law there will be peace.
In better economic times, Venezuela bought influence around the region supplying billions of dollars of oil to other socialist countries like Cuba
which has been a stalwart supporter of Venezuela criticizing what Havana calls foreign interference in Venezuelan affairs,
but Venezuela is increasingly isolated, withdrawing from the organization of American states as concerns
mount in Latin America that the humanitarian crisis there could soon spread far beyond Venezuela's borders.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.
ASHER: All right, let's return now to our top story: Donald Trump marking his 100th day in office and today marks 101. Back in November, Mr. Trump
promised that he was going to heal the wounds of division in the U.S., but 101 days in, of course, there is still a massive divide in this country.
We've seen it with his relationship with the press, with the media. We've been talking about today with the White House Correspondents' Dinner last
His failure, something that a lot of people have been talking about, his failure to push through key initiatives in congress and the protests that
have taken place in the streets of Washington.
I want to bring in Jason Miller, political analyst to CNN and also former communications adviser for the Trump campaign.
So, Jason, thank you so much for being with us.
So, Donald Trump for the first 100 days he promised last year 2016 that in his first 100 days he was going to withdraw from or renegotiate NAFTA, that
he would label China a currency manipulator, that he would promise tax relief for the middle class. He promised that he would repeal and replace
Obamacare, and he promised that he would remove 2 million illegal immigrants.
Jason, what happened?
JASON MILLER, FRM. COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER TO TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Hello, Zain, and thank you so much...
ASHER: I love that you laugh. I love that you laugh. What happened?
MILLER: It was a fantastic setup.
But, look, I think the president has gotten off to a fantastic stuff. Obviously, I'm a big supporter of the president and what we've seen him do
with jobs and really this effort to pull back and repeal a number of burdensome regulations that get in the way of creating jobs. I think the
president has done a good job. And also when we talk about on the international stage, I think
the president rightfully so received a lot of plaudits for his handling of Syria to make sure that Assad isn't able to kill more of his own people
with chemical weapons and obviously positioning the United States to be ready to
defend our allies on the Korean peninsula.
Now, to - with some of the campaign pledges, the president has gotten a great start on those. They're not done yet. For example, it took
President Obama 17 months to go and pass Obamacare. I do think that President Trump will be able to repeal and replace it less than half of
that time. He just introduced his tax reform package this past week, so those have gotten started. Has everything happened within the first 100
days? No. But I think the president has made some tremendous strides to get that going here.
ASHER: You know, some of those strides that you mentioned a lot of people tout the executive orders. He's probably put in 30 or so executive orders,
but a lot of those executive orders I mean that whole theme was something that he heavily, heavily criticized Barack Obama for. So what gives,
MILLER: That's a very good question. So, one of the things I think that's important to point out is that so many of these executive orders that the
president has been signing really are repealing back and pulling back on over-regulation from the federal government. So they aren't so much new
laws or edicts that he's putting forward just from the stroke of a pen, it's pulling back the overreach of the federal government that we saw from
the previous eight years.
And Zain, I want want to go back to something that you said in the lead-in, in the introduction, and when we talk about the divided country.
I think one of the things that's important for folks around the world to understand is that the United States is no longer at the political level -
it's no longer this partisan Democrat versus Republican divide. President Trump really revolutionized our political system and the way people view
everything from the electoral map to the issues that people are talking about, and so when President Trump is out there talking about steel jobs,
talking about aluminum jobs, when he's talking about the forgotten men and women that he referenced in his inaugural speech, I mean, he's reaching out
to Democrats and independents alike.
And so, I think it's...
[11:40:14] ASHER: But, you know, yesterday, his 100th day in office, he spent it surrounded by purely his supporters, so there is a divide. But he
does need to reach across the other side of the aisle, Jason.
MILLER: So, this is a fantastic point, because last night really is in a microcosm this cultural divide that we see in the United States right now.
And so there's this New York to Washington, they call it the Acela corridor, which is named
after the train that runs between the two towns. There's this divide between that kind of media elite and political elite power center and the
rest of the country. And so while you have the mainstream media all gathered in one room at the same time, you have the president out in real
America so to speak, and I say that obviously as a supporter, but rallying with the people in a heavily Democratic state that helped elect the
president in the first place.
And so, on one hand you had everyone in black tie and hobnobbing with Hollywood and media powers and come to some really over the top critical
commentary of the president, not funny satire, but really twisting the knife, mean-spirited-type commentary, and then you had the president out
there talking about the reforms that he's trying to bring to Washington,
And I think last night really summed up kind of where the country is right now. There is a cultural divide.
ASHER: Jason, I have to interrupt you because I'm up against the clock, but President Trump spoke to Reuters this week and he said, and I'm
paraphrasing here. I loved my life. I loved my previous life. I had no idea that the presidency, rather, would be this difficult. I thought it
would be easier. Did that surprise you?
I mean, I think that was a very honest answer from the president and refreshing to hear.
ASHER: Why on Earth would he think the leader of the free world would be an easy job?
MILLER: Because what I think what the president was referring to was the fact that he has the Senate and he has the House and that some of our
Republican allies on Capitol Hill have been so far behind coming in actually coming up with legislation and getting things moving. We should
have had a number of things passed by now, but it's unfortunately some of the incompetence, in my opinion,
of folks on Capitol Hill that have prevented that from moving,
But you only truly know a president by the crises and the challenges that they're presented with. And I think as we've seen with - as I mentioned
before, Syria and with the situation going on with the Korean peninsula, with the nuclear weapons being tested and such, I think the president has
stepped up and represented us very well.
ASHER: Jason, I've got to run. I've got to run. I'm up against the clock. But thank you so much taking the time to be with us. Appreciate
All right, I'm Zain Asher and that was Connect the World. I appreciate you watching. See you at the top of the hour.