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Trump's Speech in Phoenix. Aired 11-11:30p ET
Aired August 23, 2017 - 23:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN, ANCHOR: Tonight on the program what does Donald Trump combative Phoenix speech tell us about his character, his priorities and
ability to govern? CNN contributor Salena Zito and Washington Post contributor Sarah Posner weigh in.
And, Pakistan in the firing line as Donald Trump unveiled his Afghanistan strategy. Reaction from a former high commissioner as his country is
accused of sheltering the Taliban.
Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Michael Holmes in London. Well, it was vintage Donald Trump at a campaign style rally in
Arizona. President Trump had the forum, what he relishes most doesn't he, a crowd of adoring fans. He bashed the media, whitewashed his opinion that
both sides were to blame for the White Nationalist violence in Charlottesville.
He attacked Arizona's two senators. Both of them republicans. And, perhaps most importantly he said he was willing to allow the government to
shut down and possibly default on its debt an economic nightmare if Congress doesn't fund his boarder wall.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know that wall. Now, the obstructionist democrats would like us not do it but believe me if we
have to close down our government we're building that wall.
HOLMES: His rally was so disturbing to James Clapper the former direction of national intelligence and one of America's top national security experts
that he said this.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I really question his ability to - his fitness to be in this office. This behavior and this
divisiveness and the complete intellectual and moral and ethical void that the president of the United States exhibits. I worry about frankly the
access to nuclear codes.
HOLMES: Meanwhile a new poll shows that just 39 percent of American's approve of the job Trump is doing as president. And, I'm joined now by
Selena Zito, CNN contributor and journalist at the Washington Examiner who reports often from the Trump heartland and Sarah Posner, contributor to the
Great to have you both on the program. First of all before we get started I wanted to play a little bit of sound to sort of set the scene. First of
all Donald Trump on Monday night. Let's listen.
TRUMP: Nearly 16 years after September 11 attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure the American people are weary of war
HOLMES: And then, on Tuesday we saw a different Donald Trump. Let's hear that.
TRUMP: The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.
HOLMES: All right. Let's begin the discussion. I'm curious and let's start with you Sarah. Which is the real Donald Trump and what does the
latter comment tell you about his leadership?
SARAH POSNER, WASHINGTON POST, CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the real Trump is the Trump we saw on Tuesday night. The unscripted Trump. The one who's not
reading a speech but just speaking off the cuff. It's not completely off the cuff though as you might have detected from that little bit of sound
you played from last night's speech.
Where he said that it's the media, the quote unquote, "fake news media that's providing a platform for hate groups". That's a clear attempt by
him to flip the tables to engage in some what absolutism. Because his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannen had told me last summer in Cleveland
at the Republican National Convention that Brite Bart the new site that Bannen returned to after leaving the White House last week, is the platform
for the Alt-Right's.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN: It's interesting following your Twitter feed. It's interesting you said "sometimes I feel as though I live in a parallel
universe, Trump supporters love this speech, everyone else is at a loss". And as we said this was a speech that attacked the Republican Senators,
attack the media, so on and so on. You're somebody in touch with the Trump base. Do those sorts of speeches, including untruths as we heard randomly
with those supporters. Why are they so easily forgiving of that?
SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, NEW YORK POST COLUMNIST: Well it's like I said last year at this time, voters take him seriously but not literally.
We in the press take everything he says literally and we do not take him seriously. You'll open up the segment correctly Michael by saying that was
vintage Donald Trump last night. That was vintage Donald Trump. I've seen that type of speech dozens of times across the country. That is what he
does when he govern - when he is campaigning. The speech the night before is what he does when he is governing. And I was watching.
HOLMES: That's the point isn't Selena? He's still doing it while governing he's not a candidate anymore.
SARAH POSNER, WASHINGTON POST: Look he is not your typical President. I mean we have to begin to understand that. It doesn't mean we cover him
differently, but we have to understand that every sentence is likely going to begin with, this is unprecedented; no one's done this before. That's
right; we've never elected a populous President before. He is not a very idea logic President, he's not very Republican, he's not very Democrat,
he's his own being and that was part of what attracted voters to him. They were tired of the establishment Republicans and they were tired of
establishment Democrats, they wanted something different, they wanted something that was changed.
Much like when people when people wanted change with Barrack Obama, I've spent a lot of time with voters who voted for Obama twice and then voted
for Trump. People are looking for something to - someone to be a leader and they still haven't found that yet. This time they picked someone that
HOLMES: That is certainly the case Sarah they don't want to make it all about the media that's for sure but it is interesting and the narrative
continues. The media on the receiving end of Donald Trump's (invected). Yesterday again he called journalist liars, he called them sick people who
hate their country and foremen ting the vision in the country. OK, so he is bashing the media, that's fine. What damage is being down? What are
the consequences of putting those sorts of thoughts in people's heads, about the media calling them the enemy and the people?
POSNER: Well in the United States we have a Constitution and a First Amendment, and a Free Press, and Trump is trying to undermine that. He is
trying to under-mind it by planting in people's heads the notion that the media is against the good guys and he portrays himself as the good guy. So
if you noticed in last night's speech, he used phrases like beautiful, bigger, and destiny, and glorious, to talk about us and our heritage and
our culture and then he would turn the tables when talking about perceived enemies including the press, including Democrats, including Immigrants, and
use words like crooked, or violent to describe his enemies.
So he's creating an environment - the sort of environment that an authoritarian leader would create where he's trying to turn the people
against the Free Press by portraying himself as the media's victim.
HOLMES: And Selena, it is a very much a (venomous) message, isn't it? And that's something that the base does like. They feel that it's a case of us
against the system in a way and this man is our voice. But is he putting all his eggs in one basket when it comes to that? That - that core group
that won't desert him no matter what he says, but that's not enough of a group to win elections with.
ZITO: Well it's enough to win the election last year. Look he needs to expand his base. All presidents need to expand their base, that's
important. Most presidents when they win reelection they win by more voters.
You know there's an interesting phenomenon that I run into more often than not where I find - - I find voters that didn't vote for either candidate.
But because they buy into the distrust with the media, they feel as though -- they have started to like him more as the way they perceive that the
media is treating him.
And I think it's really important to make this note in that parties have a problem with trust in the media. We just see the Republicans right now
because they're the party of power; they have the presidency, the majority of the House and the Senate. But the Democrats have the exact same problem
with their voters.
I mean the Bernie Sanders voters are still incredibly resentful in the way the felt that the establishment and the media treated their candidate. And
I don't just interview Republicans I interview all types of people. I interview Democrats all the time. Building that trust is very difficult
because they feel as though the big media is untruthful and unfair so it is a problem across the board so it is a problem across the board.
MICHAEL HOLMES: Right.
SALENA ZITO: Big institutions -- there's a lot of distrust in them, including the media.
MICHAEL HOLMES: And, Sarah, we talk about well this is Donald Trump, this is what he says; he speaks this way. I'm curious, what's your take on
something else he said last night. When he was talking about Confederate statues and the like and the media, but he was talking about them taking
away our culture, our history, our heritage that kind of language is important and do you think it's resonating with a certain section of his
support base there? I mean are they loaded words in some ways?
SARAH POSNER: Yes, definitely loaded words. He's signaling to different facets of his base, ranging from people who are opposed to taking down
Confederate statues for the reasons he stated, but also the more white supremacists alt right wing of his base. The people who really did show up
in Charlottesville and they see that as signal that he buys into their view that white people are under threat in the United States by political
correctness, by immigration, by multiculturalism.
They believe that white people are being dispossessed. These are signals when he talks about our culture and our heritage in the context of the
Confederate monuments. He's signaling to them that he shares those fears and anxieties with them.
MICHAEL HOLMES: And that he is their voice and any risk to that is going to take away their voice. I wish we had more time, Salena Zito and Sarah
Posner, thanks so much.
SALENA ZITO: Thank you.
SARAH POSNER: Thank you.
MICHAEL HOLMES: Well while Trump's sober Afghanistan speech may have been high point in the U.S. this week, it wasn't in Pakistan, which heard only
complaints and threats. We ask what could be Pakistan's future role in the war on the Taliban. That's coming up next.
MICHAEL HOLMES: And welcome back everyone. Donald Trump's new Afghan strategy, not going down all that well in neighboring Pakistan. It's Prime
Minister has hit back at the U.S. President, after he accused Pakistan of providing a safe haven for terrorists.
On Monday the U.S. President announcing plans, of course, to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight a resurgent Taliban. The -- warned
Islamabad it has quite much to lose, if it doesn't do more to help oust them.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan (ph) is a former Pakistani high commissioner to the U.K. He joins me now here in the studio. And thanks for doing so Sir.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN, FMR. PAKISTANI HIGH COMMISSIONER TO UK: Thank you (inaudible).
MICHAEL HOLMES: When you -- when Pakistan's leadership hears those words, that Pakistan is giving a safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and
terror. What is the response of the Pakistan government, to those sorts of words. That kind of language from the U.S. President.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: Pakistan's government feels insulted, so the people of Pakistan feel insulted. Because we have been, allegedly, trusted ally
of United States, which is our most -- since 1954.
MICHAEL HOLMES: Yes.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: And yet at the end of the day, when we are still facing a war on terror, we're accused of giving safe haven to these
MICHAEL HOLMES: It's not the first administration. This is probably the most blunt administration, when it comes to that. It's not the first
administration to criticize Pakistan. Elements of the security service have been accused of turning a blind eye to Taliban activities. And in the
worst case scenario, helping -- there are parts along the border where it is seen that the Taliban crossed back and forth freely, have bases there
too. Is there not an element of truth that Pakistan's not doing everything it can.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: As Vladimir Putin (ph) -- Mexican's crocus (ph) crossing (ph) into our (ph) United States. They do. Since their terrain
is way difficult. Not -- It's not possible for Pakistan, single handed, to control those terrorists. And, you know, since 19 -- 2001, better troops
are present in Pakistan (ph). Why can't they take care of those safe havens. Why can't they do it?
MICHAEL HOLMES: Do you think everything is being done? Particularly .
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: No it is not being done, because they think that Pakistan needs to be pulled back. And you know Pakistan has to be
pressurized to do things. Pakistan can do -- Pakistan can not intervene in Astan (ph), as such. Pakistan has been doing -- going out of their way to
support United States Astan (ph). They have been going out of their way to support the Americans as well. The war on terror is with -- all these
things have been going on. But it's still -- it really sounds very painful when we are accused of all these things. All the -- every time we are told
to do more. We are doing the best that we could.
MICHAEL HOLMES: There were a couple of other things that came up that I think were significant. China, speaking out in Pakistan's defense. Now
China has a lot of economic interest in Pakistan, but also a lot of political support. Do you see that increasing if the U.S., does for
example, reduce aid. Is that something that China will say, well we will help you. And China gets more influence with North (inaudible) .
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: North China does -- China is a very distant friend of Pakistan's since ages now.
MICHAEL HOLMES: Yes.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: And we really look to Astan (ph) for a lot of assistance. They're doing great deal of work in Pakistan, sit back (ph).
What President Trump has tried to do this time is to get into the wall (ph) in a big way into Afghanistan (ph). Which is like red drape (ph) to a
bull. You know, we don't like him, tends (ph) to be interfering in entry (ph) next to our country. And they have got those -- check -- not check
post (ph) consulates (ph) under people (ph). The number is not that there (ph) when I was from (ph). So in China -- Americans are trying to build up
India, to counter China. And this will not suite us.
MICHAEL HOLMES: How much of a risky -- because that was the other part that came out of the speech I was going to ask you about. Raising India,
how much of a -- that's a deliberate thing to say. Criticize Pakistan one minute, and say oh India hopefully will do more in Afghanistan. What
message does that send to Pakistan?
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: Well it does. Because again, as I said, Pakistan is next door neighbor of Iwanistan (ph). Pakistan is next door neighbor of
Asad Chandrid (ph) but of (ph) the two counties. And it is our national interest to have a stability in both the countries now (ph). Because we
are exposed to all sorts of things. You know, there is a repackstan (ph). Our government says that they are (ph) responsible, the America -- The
Indians. So all these things put together, makes us very vulnerable (ph). Then President Trump said this.
MICHAEL HOLMES: Yes.
WAJID SHAMSUL HASAN: And if (ph) he has to -- you know, he has to play -- justify the -- you know, in a manner that Pakistani people should feel
satisfied. There's a lot of anger in Pakistan among the people. And over here (ph), you have the government, our government. Successive governments
have been supporting the Americans. And Pakistanis ask, why are they supporting the Americans, because they have not done anything for us.
However if you see our infrastructure has been destroyed totally, we have suffered a loss of $100 billion.
HOLMES: But a lot of aid goes to Pakistan from the United States and that's now under threat.
HASAN: A lot of aid goes to Pakistan to fight terrorism, and we are fighting terrorism and you know we have lost 10 thousands. Army personnel,
including generals and unit officers. So all of these things put together makes us feel very awkward when the American President says all these
HOLMES: OK, so in short. Do you thing the U.S. position - the things Donald Trump said by invoking India almost in the same breath is
criticizing Pakistan and then China also offering its support for Pakistan.
Do you thing that was strategically a bad move by the U.S.?
HASAN: Yes, definitely. Because again you are trying to harm a friend which would have stuck by you, by your policy (court of law) all these
(ideas) and you're trying to backstab it.
This is not on (inaudible) at least to my mind because I've been in politics and other things the last 40 years and as (generous) as well. I
don't see it's going to support America or free the Americans. You have got to be rational and in dealing with Pakistan.
HOLMES: Wajid Shamsul Hasan, former Pakistani high commissioner for the U.K. thank you so much for coming in.
HOLMES: And when we come back a ghost story 60 years on from the tsunami.
HOLMES: . We imagined Japan survivors struggling with the presence of the dead coming up here on the program.
HOLMES: And finally tonight. Imagine a world haunted by ghosts from the past. 6 years since the tsunami decimated large areas of Japan killing
some 18,000 people. Trauma has interwoven with supernatural beliefs creating new horrors as survivors cope with living while so many others
As phenomenal journalist and author Richard Lloyd Perry examines, in his latest book "Ghosts of the Tsunami". He joined me earlier to talk about
HOLMES: Richard Lloyd Perry thanks so much for being with us on the program.
Richard Lloyd Perry: Thank you very much.
HOLMES: I want to go back to the beginning, what do you remember about - it was what? March 11 2011. Where were you when the earthquake hit?
Richard Lloyd Perry: I was in my office in Tokyo on the 10th floor when the first I knew about it. Like many people in Japan, was when the
building started to shake very violently.
When you live in Japan as I have for a long time, you get rattles and small earthquakes every few months or weeks. This is the biggest one I've ever
experienced. At first as in many of these things, it wasn't clear what the death toll was, but within a few hours, it was clear this was a historic
disaster. The kind of thing that happens once ever few hundred years.
HOLMES: One of the fascinating parts of this book in the later park of the book is, it becomes a story of ghosts and spiritualism hauntings and things
like that. How people interacted ever with ghosts. When you started hearing those stories, what did you thing? Were you initially skeptical,
Richard Lloyd Perry: You see those stories didn't come at first in the immediate emergency after the disaster when people were just getting by
hour by hour, day by day. That was all it was. It was when things had calmed down when people had more time to reflect, they started seeing
ghosts and it because obvious whether you believe in ghosts or not. Personally I don't, but these were not really stories about ghosts. They
were stories about the massive psychological trauma that they suffered. Not only by individuals in their communities but the whole region of North
HOLMES: Did you think who you were speaking to believed that they were ghosts or were representative?
Richard Lloyd Perry: They did, they believed. And that part of Japan is a very interesting part of Japan is a very interesting part of Japan. It's
always been a place where the supernatural has felt very close for mediums, shamans, it has that rather spooky feel to it.
HOLMES: I mean some of the stories were, quite chilling really. The middle aged man who hated to go out into the rain because the eyes of the
dead stared out at him from the puddles. A fires station who received calls from places where everything had been destroyed. And taxi drivers
taking passengars to address's that no longer existed.
PARRY: A lot of those stories you would hear them in different versions. And it was never, this happened to me. It was always a friend of a friend.
That had something of the character of urban myth. So it's a coping mechanism do you think?
HOLMES: Or a guilt, for (ph) survival?
PARRY: In some ways - I mean the work people, who reported communicating with their dead relatives. You make of that what you want. It's very hard
to question the veracity of people that are telling you those stories. But I think what it spoke of is this profound shock.
HOLMES: Yes, and as you say a spiritually that you find in that part of the world.
PARRY: And that was another thing, I've lived in Japan 22 years, but I was surprised to realize how deep rooted that sense is of the presence of the
dead, and particularly the presence of ancestors in peoples lives. People who in other ways were not obviously religious, in a conventional way. Had
an instinct to believe, belief that the dead were present, and that the dead who died in the tsunami were unhappy and needed consolation.
HOLMES: What is the future like for those who were there who survived? I mean what is the future like for them, in terms of emotionally going
forward? But also tangibly things like rebuilding homes, infrastructure and their lives?
PARRY: This is the thing if you went back there now, to the affected area you might not have any idea that anything happened. Everything's been
cleared up, the rubble has been taken away. Many of the ruined buildings have been just leveled. Its been over grown. Their not going to rebuild
homes in those areas that were overwhelmed by the wave. That's not allowed, they are can have business's there. People are relocating in
land. But a lot of those communities will never recover. There already very aging communities. Young people leaving, they have nothing for them
there. That process has been accelerated. So a lot of these places have gone forever.
HOLMES: Right, right. The book is "The Ghost of the Tsunami", Richard Lloyd Parry thanks so much.
PARRY: Thank you very much Michael.
HOLMES: And that is it for our program tonight. And remember you can listen to our pod cast. You can see it online at amanpour.com (ph), follow
me on twitter at @holmescnn (ph).