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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Caravan of Migrants Still More Than 1,000 Miles from Border; Trump Denies Nationalist Has Racial Undertones; Megyn Kelly Apologizes for Defending 'Blackface' Comment. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 23, 2018 - 21:00   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

The truth has come out about the caravan and the president's wild notions of the monsters headed this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no proof of anything. There's no proof of anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: But you have to ask, why would Trump admit this instead of doubling down, which is his go-to move when he's wrong? The answer could be very worrisome for Democrats. Maybe Trump doesn't need the fear of terrorists to motivate the midterms. Maybe the existence of the caravan alone is enough to fuel his rage against foreigners and the need for change.

So, where does that leave the Democrats? They have been pretty quiet during this, haven't they? Can they counter the campaign of fear or is this caravan going to block their wave?

We have a young leader in the Democratic Party, a possible Trump challenger in 2020. He's here to take on this challenge.

And we also have Anthony Scaramucci here to tell you why the caravan works for the president and why calling out the president's lies does not work for his critics. Hopefully he can also help explain to us why it's okay for a U.S. president to brag about being a nationalist. Trump sees it as a good word that he's bringing back. Seriously? Yes.

So let's get after it.

(MUSIC)

CUOMO: Well, look, the latest estimate, and who knows for sure, but it's about 7,000 people are walking north through Mexico, about 1,000 miles from our southern border right now.

Trump's talking about troops at the border to stop them and his crowds are going crazy. So where are the Democrats in all of this?

Trump has found his best bulkhead against a blue wave in two weeks with the midterms, so what's the response?

Let's talk about it with a man who says he's likely to run against Trump, Obama's former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro.

It's good to have you with us.

JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Great to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So, you hear what I'm setting up. The idea of the caravan, we know why Trump is running with it. He's running with it because it encapsulates all his concerns about immigration. The unknown, they're coming this way, they're going to break in. We don't know if they're good or bad. And the Democrats just want to let them all come right in.

What's the response?

CASTRO: Well, the response is that actually this shows that Donald Trump has been a total failure when it comes to immigration. He told us, he told all of us, he and his attorney general, that if we would just abuse these families by taking away the little children from their parents, that it would deter more families from coming over. And look at how many folks are trying to come over. He was completely wrong.

So, if anything -

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: So the deterrent effect you're saying didn't work.

CASTRO: Yes, that's right. That was what he sold, right?

So I would just say especially to all of those, I know, mothers and grandmothers who when they heard about that policy maybe, you know, it gave them some heartburn but they thought maybe we have to do this because it will deter some of these families, some of these other folks from trying to come over. Now you see that he was completely wrong and he treated these families, these children in such an inhumane and cruel way and for nothing.

In fact, he's been the biggest failure as a president on immigration that we can imagine. And so, perhaps instead of buying what he's selling again, everybody should step back and realize that he doesn't have a plan. In addition to that, what we're going to do is we're going to continue to talk about the fact that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in Congress --

CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: -- want to cut Social Security, they want to cut Medicare, so that they can continue to give tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy.

CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: In fact, in all of the things that the president lied about these last few days, he's told a lie about a, quote, middle class tax cut.

CUOMO: Right, 10 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTRO: I mean, his folks that are watching saw yesterday, yes, they saw that he had this moment yesterday where Congressman Brady was in the audience of the event in Houston and he calls Congressman Brady out and says, hey, we're going to do that middle class tax cut. Brady looks like he doesn't even know what in the world --

CUOMO: It looks like the first time he heard Trump say something he didn't agree with.

So here's the thing, I hear your argument. I hear the empathy argument. Here's the return argument, OK? He's got a lot of support behind him who fear what's coming among and with this caravan, and he points to Congress and specifically the Democrats, and he says you want all of these people to come in. And that is a nonstarter for America.

What's the Democrat response?

CASTRO: No, I would say that there's nobody that's arguing that we should have open borders. And there hasn't been a single Democrat or Republican for that matter in history that has said or has enacted a policy of open borders. In fact, the only politician that I've seen on video arguing for open borders was Ronald Reagan in that debate clip when he was debating George Bush in 1980 and argued basically for open borders.

So, that's a nonstarter. It's just not true.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But they say it's a functional equivalent, that if you want unlimited family reunification, if you want no wall, and if you're not going to stand up with Trump and say this caravan must stop, they cannot come into this country, they cannot get asylum, they don't qualify -- that you are for them.

CASTRO: I say that the United States has a process in place to effectively deal with individuals who present themselves for asylum, that we are a big enough nation to deal with that issue, to do it in a way that is humane, that respects the fact that of course we have a border, but that is not cruel, not what Donald Trump has done.

So, you know, we have spent the last 18 months listening to unprecedented lies from the president. He has made up things. It's lie after lie. CUOMO: True. True.

CASTRO: And what he's doing is now he's swinging for the fences.

CUOMO: True.

CASTRO: So if you're a voter out there, why in the world would you believe anything that comes out of this man's mouth? It's so convenient that this is going on 14 days before the midterms.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: It's definitely intentional but it's effective. This caravan is real.

CASTRO: He's going to have -- yes, Chris, I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: The caravan is real, though. He lies about a lot of stuff about the caravan. He lies about it. We've proven it on this show. He even admitted it a little bit today saying there's no proof.

CASTRO: He's already lied --

CUOMO: But the caravan is real.

CASTRO: He's also -- and he -- and we in the United States have dealt with this issue before and we've dealt with it effectively.

There is a process in place to handle individuals who presenting themselves for asylum or making other claims. And so what is new here? We can do this effectively. We have been able to do it effectively.

This is just a scare tactic that Donald Trump is trying to pull out and this is why he's doing it, because he knows that people are tired of his lies, they're tired of his failed policies, whether it's on immigration or on the tax cuts that he's giving away to wealthy people like himself and his family. They're tired of a Congress that is not holding him accountable for all of these scandals. They want a change.

And this basically is him panicking, trying to do anything that he can knowing that if Democrats take back the House, then he's actually going to have to be accountable to you, the American people, and he just can't take that idea. So, he's going to make up lie after lie and try to do anything he can.

How many times have you heard a politician when they have no other option, they lie?

CUOMO: Well --

CASTRO: That's what this guy is doing. I think people are going to see through it. CUOMO: One of the things that makes this president so interesting is

even when he does have better options, he chooses to lie.

But that caravan is real and it's going to create a crisis of commitment on both sides to see who wants to do what. That's why I tee it up for you, Secretary Castro, and get your thoughts on it.

Thank you very much, and please come again.

CASTRO: Thanks a lot.

CUOMO: All right. Now, look, the caravan is fertile ground for the president. It unwraps a lot of concerns that citizens have, and not just on the right. But then he muddies it up. He says, I'm a nationalist.

What does that mean? The president feigned ignorance when told why it was a poor choice of a label for a U.S. president. And I hope he's right, he doesn't know. But then he said the term should make a comeback here. I hope he's wrong about that too.

Facts and history to the rescue, my friends, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I am a nationalist. It's a word that hasn't been used too much. People use it, but I'm very proud. I think it should be brought back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Well, let's hope not, unless he intends to redefine it. It is loaded language, and not just because of the definition, but because of the application and identification.

Now, when told that calling himself a nationalist will offend people, that seemed to trigger the president's double down deal, which may have led to the quote above. Again, let's hope, because the term since the Second World War overwhelmingly relays a desire to do terrible things to others in the name of power.

In fairness, the president said he knew nothing about that take on the term.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You know, they have a word, it sort of became old-fashioned. It's called a nationalist. And I say really? We're not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I'm a nationalist, OK? I'm a nationalist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So again, maybe he just thought he was like pushing back on political correctness or something. I don't know. No one has ever accused the president of being an ardent student of history. So let's hope he is clueless on this, and let's remind all of us what the term means.

Now, the best way to do this is to tell you what it does not mean. It doesn't mean patriotism, OK? George Orwell, you all remember him, right? Not from the book "1984", he laid out the very significant difference between patriotism and nationalism in a famous essay of his called "Notes on Nationalism."

Patriotism, he says, is a devotion to a particular place or lifestyle that one loves. The key is, it's defensive as a belief, culturally and militarily. Nationalism, however, is inseparable from the desire for power.

It is power hungry and it is offensive, done with force often and almost always at the expense of others. Germany, Japan, right? The World War II era enemies, they were nationalist states. America fought them, of course, because their ideals were and are anathema to our concept of freedom and democracy.

Communism, Trotskyism, anti-Semitism, these are nationalist movements. The last clues us into why David Duke celebrated Trump using the term, saying this is why white people love him.

Now, as you know, this isn't the first time that Trump has drawn the love of David Duke, despite the president saying he has no desire to court such folk. Nevertheless, he has stoked enthusiasm of white nationalists time and again. Like with the Confederate statues, and the good people being included in white power marches.

Orwell makes another point. Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, unshakably certain of being in the right.

Now, take that for what it's worth. Regardless of Trump's knowledge of what he's playing with, he certainly is not ahead of the curve. There has been a resurgence in nationalist parties in Europe for some time, helped bring about Brexit in 2016. Steve Bannon, remember that name, he used to brand Trump as having an economic nationalist agenda.

So, the word arguably could mean different things to different people, arguably, but here's what it is not. It is not patriotism. It is not populism, which is about supporting the interests of ordinary folks.

One more thing it is not. It is not American. As I said, it is antithetical to the idea of this country as an example to the rest of the world, a beacon that can shine, not a darkness that can block out the light for others.

So, we know it's loaded. We also know it can be coded language by the president, sending a message to his base, playing on the divisions in this country even more so. That is the stuff of a great debate, and we're going to have it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: Now, a little of this is typical, right, somebody tells the president don't say that and then he says I'm going to say it and I'm really proud to say it. Maybe that's what's driving his new nationalist sympathies, despite the term's historical connotations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud of our country, and I am a nationalist. It's a word that hasn't been used too much. I'm somebody that wants to help other countries of the world, but I also have to take -- we have to take care of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: That's not nationalism. That's patriotism. Say that, say patriotism.

Anyway, whether he sees nationalism for what it is and it's just another way to say America first, it's really loaded and it raises issues about yet another dog whistle just before the midterms. Is this a calculation or is this something less?

Let's ask our great debaters. We have two great ones for you tonight, Ana Navarro and Steve Cortes.

So, Ana, the president says, look, I want to help other countries, I just love our country. So, that makes me a nationalist.

Does that make it okay that he's not using the word the right way?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, he also says -- puts it into context and says I shouldn't be saying that word and they tell me I shouldn't be saying that word because he knows exactly what he's saying and, of course, it's a calculated move. Because instead of talking about health care, instead of talking about the cover-up that the U.S. has been practically complicit in that the Trump administration has been complicit in of the Jamal Khashoggi murder, we are talking about his use of words.

And, you know, it is what we've heard from him time and time again. I mean, if at this point, you need to hear Trump say that he's a nationalist, if the fact that he questioned a U.S. judge's ability to do his job because his parents were Mexican immigrants, if the Central Park Five, if calling places like El Salvador and Haiti and Africa shitholes wasn't enough for you, then maybe you needed to hear him say this. As for me, this is redundancy.

CUOMO: Maybe you're right.

Steve, is that the straight truth? Trump is a nationalist with all that word carries.

STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is a nationalist, I am too but you don't understand what it does carry. When you try to compare American nationalism to Nazis, for example, you're incredibly mistaken, because the Nazis -- their perverted nationalism was about racial purity. It was about blood and soil. America nationalism, which, by the way, defeated Nazism, America nationalism is about shared ideals. It's about a Constitution.

CUOMO: That's not nationalism.

CORTES: It has nothing to do with race, for example. Yes, it is.

By the way, you don't get, Chris, to just decide -- nobody made you CEO of the English language.

CUOMO: You know better than George Orwell? Do you know better than George Orwell? Do you know who that is?

CORTES: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Do you know better than he?

CORTES: Yes. I heard of George Orwell. Yes, I have, read his book.

CUOMO: Why does he see a difference between patriotism and nationalism? Why does he see it as pernicious? Why does he see it as investing itself in ugly concepts that you disagree with?

CORTES: Right. My guess is that he was talking at that time about specifically the Nazis. But what I'm telling you is that American nationalism, which has been a great force for good in this entire world, is about shared values. It's about our Constitution. It's about our flag.

CUOMO: Then why doesn't he just say patriotism.

CORTES: Sometimes it's easier to describe something -- let me tell you why, because sometimes it's easier to describe something by what it is not. And what it is not and what it is the opposite of is globalism.

And what Trump reacted against and our 2016 movement reacted against was the globalism which was all too often taking control of America, where elites of political and media elites in places like Davos and the United Nations were making decisions for our country rather than Americans. And many of those same elites are more comfortable quite frankly with people from Paris, France, than they are from Paris, Texas. So, America nationalism says --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: This is what we see.

CUOMO: Right. So, Ana, it seems like he's making the case that you were making. Nationalism means exactly what I was afraid it meant.

NAVARRO: Listen, I think nationalism is a dog whistle for white nationalism. I think that's why Donald Trump said that there were people telling him he shouldn't say it. He knew exactly the message he was sending, and we see this, you know, from people who want to justify and enable Donald Trump over and over again.

When we see him mocking a reporter, they say he was, I don't know, dancing the Macarena, when, you know, he pretends he doesn't hear the question about denouncing David Duke, they pretend the ear piece wasn't on, when we hear him boasting about sexual assault, they pretend it's locker room talk. This is what happens over and over and over again.

But his base understands this clearly. He sent the message clearly. That's why he said -- why else would he say I'm not supposed to use this word. He knows what he is doing.

CORTES: I'll tell you why.

NAVARRO: And what drives me crazy is that instead of talking about the red tide in Florida, instead of talking about the murder and cover-up that the U.S. is allowing the Saudi Arabian government to perpetrate on Jamal Khashoggi's murder, after we saw the son being forced into saluting the royals there today, we are talking about this, you know, this -- another shiny object that Trump throws and that we have to react to because how don't you react when the president of the United States goes out and calls himself practically, you know, a racist.

CORTES: Here's why he said that he's told me shouldn't say it. It's a shame we've come to this point. But pride in country and pride in America first has been, unfortunately, regarded increasingly by many elites who believe more in transnationalism and multilateralism than they do in America. It's become -- no, it's become regarded as something retrograde.

CUOMO: You think that we're -- you think I just did what I did on the magic wall because I'm an elitist who doesn't like the idea of caring about your country? That's why you think I did it, Steve?

CORTES: The fact that you tried to ascribe America nationalism and compare it to Nazi nationalism tells me that you don't understand it at all.

CUOMO: Did I use the word Nazi? I don't believe I did and there's a reason I didn't.

But also let me tell you something. There's no such thing as American nationalism. There's just nationalism. OK?

CORTES: There sure is. No.

CUOMO: And it's attached itself to different cultures.

CORTES: There's American nationalism.

CUOMO: If you want to redefine it, it's fine. But let me give you a pro tip from politics. Don't use nationalism and try to redefine it. Find a new word, OK?

CORTES: Enlightened American nationalism is a great force for good for the world.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: Chris, why would they take that pro tip when creating cultural wars -- Chris, why would they take that pro tip when dividing America, when fabricating culture wars, when making it them versus us has worked for Donald Trump in the past?

He's going back to his old playbook, man. There's nothing new here. He's ginning up the base and throwing out this kind of red meat and racist dog whistling type of language.

CUOMO: Bannon didn't even call it American nationalism, he called it economic nationalism because he was trying to parse a little carefully. I don't know where you're going with American nationalism. That's an oxymoron.

CORTES: No, it is not. American nationalism is about individualism, it's about free enterprise, about tolerance. It's about America's leadership in the world. And it's about a country that is not based on race, that's not blood and soil, a country based on ideals.

And it's about also rejecting the idea that America is the superpower of the world should submit to the will of multilateralism. We've done that too much, whether it's bad trade deals, unfair security deals, and it's about America saying that the world is actually better off, by the way, when every country puts itself first, Britain first, Austria first, Mexico first.

There's actually ironically more harmony, more prosperity and security for the world when we follow those paths of enlightened self-interest rather than trying to rely on multilateral structures --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- that has to deal with nationalism, even when you put a positive spin on it, it's always about through force, putting your ideals on others whether they want it or not and subverting others. That's what nationalism is.

It's interesting, you know, you raise a point. George Orwell said another aspect of nationalism, maybe you're right, maybe you guys are nationalists, is flagrant dishonesty, that they will flood the zone with dishonesty because they're so sure that they can convince people of what they believe to be true.

Maybe that's what we're seeing with the president, Ana, in this last stretch to the midterms.

CORTES: What we force in on others?

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: False of definition of nationalism, fears about foreigners, fears about what's coming in the caravan, lies about what's happening in this country, about fraudulent voters, about riots that don't happen. I can't even remember all of them because you're flooding the zone.

I'm out of time. Ana, thank you very much.

CORTES: Protecting borders --

CUOMO: Steve, I'm out of time, but thank you very much.

NAVARRO: Five thousand lies. You're not supposed to remember 5,000 lies.

CUOMO: Yes, I am, because when you don't forget them, they wind up taking root.

But thank you both for having --

CORTES: Protecting borders is sensible nationalism.

CUOMO: No one said it wasn't.

Anthony Scaramucci wrote a book about why Trump won, why the base loves him, and why calling out lies won't beat the president. That's got test written all over it. We're happy for the new book.

Let's have some robust dialogue with our friend, Anthony.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. So Trump is a nationalist and proudly so, he says. This isn't about race, the president says, it's about America first, which by the way is another phrase with not the best history.

But economics and trade, he says that's the focus. But that's not what nationalism means or how it's been applied. And if Trump means something different, then he should say that. And he probably shouldn't continue to ramp up racially tinged rhetoric, because it just stokes fear and makes you look at the falsehoods a little differently, especially with him using this kind of word.

My next guest, Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director, understands the president's head-to-mouth relationship very well. Look at his new book, "Trump: The Blue Collar President." clever, provocative.

Welcome back to PRIME TIME.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hey, it's a pleasure to be here.

CUOMO: Congratulations on the book.

SCARAMUCCI: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

CUOMO: All the way at the back of the book we find Chris Cuomo after Jesse "the joke" Watters.

SCARAMUCCI: In a much lower font than the other journalist, but that's fine.

CUOMO: Wow. Well, I just said waters, we mean journalist.

All right. So, let me talk to you about what's just happening here --

SCARAMUCCI: Shooting at -- Fox sells books, so thank you, Fox.

CUOMO: That is true. Hopefully, we'll sell a few for you.

SCARAMUCCI: The president is not really a nationalist. He's an antagonist but he's not a nationalist.

CUOMO: He says they tell me not to use it, I'm using it.

SCARAMUCCI: Someone should really sit down and explain to him what the context of that is and someone should probably give him a summary of Barbara Tuchman's book and someone should explain to him that the anniversary of Veterans Day for that First World War is coming up and you're a statesman now and leader of the free world, so don't use the word. It's just not the right word.

And, by the way, the people that he's talking to, and I'm not trying to pick on anybody on the set like Ana or anybody like that, but people that he's talking to are not racist. I did a tremendous amount of research in this book. My family is not racist, your family is not racist. A lot of blue collar people support the president, so they're not racist either.

He's doing it because he wanted to antagonize people. He understands that he's a great wrecking ball for that establishment. He knows what that ball hits into the establishment, it galvanizes his base and he instinctively knows it will turn out more voters for him come the midterm elections.

But he's not a nationalist. So, he should stop using that word.

CUOMO: Well, maybe he is. I mean, listening to Steve Cortes --

SCARAMUCCI: Well, if he's a nationalist, then we have to like really sit down and say so you're a nationalist, so what you want to do is you want to use the bellicosity of your rhetoric and get us into a war and try to prove that America is better than like Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany or the Kaiser? Is that what you want to do?

Because that's not what he wants to do. I mean, what he wants to do is he wants American people to do very well on the world stage relative to other countries.

CUOMO: Then why doesn't he say that? I don't know what's more scary, that what you're saying or what Cortes is saying, because you're saying he doesn't get it. He's using the word, he means something else. But that's kind of scary. But what if he does mean it?

SCARAMUCCI: Someone should have a real honest conversation with him inside the White House and say, OK, listen, here's 150 years of the word "nationalist". This is how the word has been used in the context of global history.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: They have been fighting a war in Europe since King Charlemagne every 100 years.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: We put off a war after the Congress of Vienna.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: If you read "The Guns of August", she explains what --

CUOMO: That's a Tuchman book.

SCARAMUCCI: The Tuchman book, she explains what happened after all those veterans died off. You had a systemic rise of nationalism in pride and it touched off a war. It took a minor --

CUOMO: Maybe he saw it in Europe with Brexit.

SCARAMUCCI: Let me say this, it took a minor incident, Mr. President, the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.

Now, granted it wasn't a minor incident to him.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: But it was a minor incident. And it touched off a world war, The Europeans thought it was only going to last three months. Four and a half years later, 45 million people later, we didn't recover from it. We may not even have recovered from it today frankly, OK, because we went to war again in '39 and there's still remnants of that war.

Look at what happened to the Sykes-Picot peace treaty in the Middle East as the French and the British Empire were pulling out of the Middle East to fight the First World War.

CUOMO: But what I'm saying is, look, Anthony --

SCARAMUCCI: Don't use the word, it's a bad word.

CUOMO: I agree, but he's using it anyway.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: So somebody has got to explain it to him.

CUOMO: -- looking at Europe and the new nationalism that's rising, maybe he does like it. Maybe that's why he's planting all this division here and trying to somehow purify what it is to be American. Maybe Cortes is right and he does mean it.

SCARAMUCCI: No. What I really think it is, is stick a finger in the eye of the elites. When the journalists are looking at his -- I guess "The Washington Post" says 5,000 or 6,000 lies and they're like a proctor inside of a school, like a Catholic school that you or I went to, and they're calling you out on it, he's laughing at them because he knows that his base really doesn't care about that stuff.

CUOMO: They don't care if he tell the truth?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't think they care if he tells the truth. I think they care more about the substance of his policy and they care more about is he making America safer and is he giving me more economic opportunity.

CUOMO: But since when does blue collar like where you grew up and where I grew up, since when do those people not care if somebody has integrity and whether they tell the truth, if he's the blue collar president as you say in the book?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I mean, it's nuance, right? I think that he has a -- you don't like what I'm going to say but I'll just tell you what I really think. There's a toggle switch. When he goes to an event like that in Houston, he turns on the toggle switch, that's the entertainment toggle switch and that's the galvanizing toggle switch.

And then he's like my grandfather --

CUOMO: It's galvanizing to say it's OK to beat up a journalist? It's galvanizing to lie about all those things happening in the country that divide us?

SCARAMUCCI: You're not going to like what I'm saying, Chris, I'm just going to tell you, he gets laughs with it, he gets cheers with it. He's in entertainment mode and he's galvanizing his base.

When push comes to shove and there's a very, very serious situation going on, the Saudi situation, something going on with the Russians, he toggles back to something very different. I've seen him in those situations. I've seen him make very moderate, very temperate decisions, but I also see and understand what he's doing.

Now, you guys may not like him, but you're not going to beat him. If you want to beat him, I'm not saying you do or you don't because you're a journalist, but you want to beat him, you're not going to beat him by sitting there as a proctor in the high school cafeteria saying, okay, you just stole the guy's lunch money. That's not going to beat him. OK, the way you've got to beat him is come up with a different strategy.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I mean, look, our job -- that's for the Democrats to figure out or an independent or another Republican. For me, it's, hey, if you're going to say there are riots in cities because of sanctuary cities and there aren't, I'm going to call it out. You're going to say there are millions of people that voted fraudulently, it's a lie, I'm going to call it out.

SCARAMUCCI: OK.

CUOMO: The truth has to matter for something, Anthony. It can't be an entertainment switch.

SCARAMUCCI: I think the truth matters. If I was in the White House I'd be laughing, saying why are you doing that? I know why you're doing it but I think it's hurting your integrity. It's going to be is, it's gong to be like Chicken Little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling and then people aren't going to believe you at some point when you're going to need them to really believe you.

So, if the people there's like ten other things I heard this morning that he said that are factually inaccurate, let's dial it back.

CUOMO: Imagine if you're the U.K. or Germany and hear him saying he's a nationalist.

SCARAMUCCI: Let me say something, I've been running money, OK, maybe I was terrible as a communications director, but I've been running money for 30 years of my life. And something about the market, there's a wisdom to the crowd actually, right, because the market is super smart people that are making bets.

They have priced in the president's personality and they have priced in the president's speaking style. And so, the president can say cuckoo la la things or straight up things, it doesn't matter to the market.

CUOMO: To them.

SCARAMUCCI: So, what's happening right now is there's a battle between policy and personality. The people that don't like the president, they don't like the lying or the mistruths or the gross exaggerations.

CUOMO: It's the division, Anthony. It's the division.

SCARAMUCCI: I understand that. So, I'm just saying, so they're going after him. The other people are looking at it going, OK, the economy is pretty good to very, very good. The unemployment --

CUOMO: Except for wages. But go ahead.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, but "The Wall Street Journal" reported, and I'll send this to you, two Saturdays ago that wages are up for the bottom 10 percent for the first time in 30 years.

CUOMO: The wages are not growing the way that unemployment would suggest they should and the strength of the economy as they were back in 2001. They're about 2.9 percent, they should be at about 4 to be apples to apples.

SCARAMUCCI: No question, but let's explain to the American people why, that's because of automation, that's because of the influx of surplus of labor around the world, that's because of excess factory capacity. Guess what? Here's the dirty secret politicians don't like telling

people. You cannot fix these problems overnight. America needs a 25- year plan to fix its employment situation, to right size its infrastructure, to even out its education.

The educational system in the country is totally uneven. There's nobody on cable news, there's no public servant out there that says, OK, here's a 25-year plan for infrastructure, a 25-year plan for education. No one is doing that. You know why? Because they're staying in power by doing this.

CUOMO: That's right.

SCARAMUCCI: Because they're turning off a lot of very smart people. They may watch you for entertainment but they say this blows, I'm not going to go vote.

CUOMO: Yes.

SCARAMUCCI: So they exit the system and that keeps these extremes in power, Chris.

CUOMO: If I was more extreme, I'd be more entertaining, more people would watch, but I don't think that's the way to do the job.

"Trump: The Blue Collar President" is Anthony Scaramucci's new book. It is an interesting read to figure out how a president won over a group that many argue he never should have.

Anthony, thank you very much.

SCARAMUCCI: He hijacked the Democratic base. Read the book if you're a Democrat and understand how he did it.

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

SCARAMUCCI: If you're a Republican, you're going to love it because he did do that.

CUOMO: And you did it, you know. They'll love it just because it's you.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. And Chris is in the back, very small font.

CUOMO: Very small.

SCARAMUCCI: Large font for other people but small for Chris.

CUOMO: All right. How about this topic. When you thought it couldn't get any heavier, talk about Halloween costumes, how can that go wrong? This moment happened.

I don't even know why I'm smiling. I almost threw up my breakfast when I heard about this. Live TV, one of the biggest stars said something I can't believe, even her own network had to check her. Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: So, the answer to the question of how a segment on Halloween costumes can go wrong is when you make it about black face being okay.

Here's NBC's Megyn Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, NBC ANCHOR: What is racist, because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KELLY: Back when I was a kid that was okay as long as you were dressing up as a character. There was a controversy on "The Real Housewives of New York" with Luann. She dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really is. People said that was racist.

And I don't know -- I thought like who doesn't love Diana Ross. She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don't know how that got racist on Halloween.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: White people putting on blackface and black people putting on white face are very different things. Kelly issued an apology to co- workers saying: I realize now that such behavior is indeed wrong, and I'm sorry. The history of blackface in our culture is abhorrent, the wounds too deep. I've never been a PC kind of person, but I understand that we need to be more sensitive in this day and age.

D. Lemon --

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: How much time do you have, Chris?

CUOMO: I don't know, but you're eating into it with your silence right now.

LEMON: Because I've got so much going on here. Listen, I know Megyn. You know, we do this -- sometimes you say stupid things when you're live.

But I'm just going to be honest. Megyn is 47 years old, she's our age. There has never been a time in that -- in her 47 years that blackface has been acceptable.

There were all white people on that panel. There were no African- Americans, no people of color there to say, hey, Megyn, not cool. I wonder how much diversity she has on her staff, I don't know, I'm not there. But I would imagine there's not a lot because people would have informed her.

This is what people of the larger culture don't understand about racism and about privilege. I don't know of many black people who are trying to be white people for Halloween or dressing up as white people but I know a lot of people who do it for black people. She mentioned Luann who I know. I know Luann feels bad about the Diana Ross thing.

It wasn't that Luann wanted to look like Diana Ross. She put on a wig that looked like Marge Simpson, right, over-characterizing Diana Ross. And there was no need even in that to put on dark face.

Megyn is not aware of the history of this country. It's not a one- off. Remember the whole black Santa Claus thing which was offensive. I think people really need to educate themselves about this particular issue, and we need to realize in this culture that some people do have a privilege where they don't have to think about it. It does not exist to them.

Now, let me be honest. In this business, I'm the only person who looks like me in PRIME TIME. I'm a unicorn.

Megyn has taken over for what used to be an African-American woman and a black man who had that slot and who actually did better than her in the ratings, and who in this situation would have said it is never okay to do blackface. There would not be this controversy.

So diversity is key. The people who are hiring people like Megyn, like me and you should realize how important diversity is, how important it is for their talent to know the history of this country and not say stupid things like, it's okay, it's always been okay for people to dress up as long as they're honoring and memorializing people. It's never okay.

CUOMO: I hear you on t. I don't disagree with anything you said. It's all spot-on, especially about the hiring and the atmosphere that you work in and having people around who can help you understand things that maybe you don't.

I don't know that's the explanation here, especially when this is something that's bothered her in the past. She talked about Santa's white, you know.

LEMON: And Jesus.

CUOMO: She has her own way of processing this. She's a very, very intelligent person, by the way.

LEMON: This is the thing that got me. This is the thing that got me, OK? I was like, OK, fine. I read her thing.

I have never been a PC kind of person but I understand we need to be more sensitive in this day and age. Politically correct does not mean you can be racist or say racist things. That's an excuse for people who don't understand the nuances of racism, and when they treat people of color one dimensionally.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: To say that there is no need to say that we have to be PC. I've never been -- PC is something completely different than not understanding race and racism.

CUOMO: True.

LEMON: And the other thing about being sensitive in this day and age, what does that have to do with the price of tea? What does that have to do with anything?

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Especially if you are one of the highest paid people in this --

CUOMO: If not the highest.

LEMON: The highest paid. You got to know.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: Look, I think it's a little bit of Fox affect to be honest with you. This all used to be okay where she used to be.

LEMON: It's an echo chamber. When you live in an echo chamber, you don't know anything beyond that. So educate yourself. Learn that maybe you are in a position of privilege and you have not been aware of it for 47 years. That's all I'm saying.

Eric Holder is going to be on the show tonight.

CUOMO: Strong choice.

LEMON: And he's going to talk about whether he regrets what he said about kicking them.

CUOMO: I'm going to watch that.

LEMON: All right?

CUOMO: D. Lemon, thank you for the education.

LEMON: Thank you.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

LEMON: All righty.

CUOMO: All right. Racist robocalls are going around in Florida, targeting the first black nominee for governor there, there in Florida.

We must be better than this. I'm going to make an argument to you about what's going on. We've been talking about a lot of it tonight on different levels. The question is what do you do about it? Argument, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Someone sends a bomb to George Soros. People are crashing restaurants and chasing lawmakers. Thugs on the left, thugs on the right.

This is what's going out as a robocall in the Florida governor's race.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ROBOCALL: Well, hello there. I is a Negro Andrew Gillum, and I be asking you to make me governor of this here state of Florida. So I's promise if you make me, Andrew Gillum, the governor every peoples what be ailing will get all the chicken feets they need.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CUOMO: In 2018? Cable filled with hot breath and hateful rhetoric. People calling the police on their black neighbors for no good reason.

And now, the president is saying he's bringing back the word nationalist because that's what he is. I don't know if it's scarier he really doesn't know what the word means or if he does and insists that that's what he's about. All of it is part of same thing. While you may see this as just the fringe, if you look at it closely the way we do, each layer is getting a little closer to normative.

And regardless of whether you want to see it as an aberration or the new normal, it's a flashing red sign. We need to rethink how we all are because this is about all of us. I don't do that, you say. I get it.

But on a butterfly-wing level, the contagion covers many of us. Think about it. The bad tweets that lead to the harsh conversations that often end in the go whatever yourself dismissal of another troll. But many are not trolls. They're not bots.

Then come the like-minded organizer, people coordinating their attacks, the political agendas to harness it, and the steady separation from those you don't agree with, the demonizing of differences and those who are different.

How many of you said to me, don't have her or him on your show anymore. I don't want to hear from them. That troubles me more than "Cuomo, you suck," because at least those people, sweet as they are, are still watching.

I'm always saying the same thing. You have to stay open. This isn't some kumbaya. That's not who I am.

It's been honing your arguments, listening to find your advantage over those you disagree with, and much, much more importantly, yes. You stay open because you have to stay connected -- yes, with the people who drive you nuts. They're still fellow citizens, and often at some point, we're going to have to come together on something.

Even if you don't consider yourself part of the problem, you are part of the solution. Roll your eyes, but you've got to be the change in your own way. Nothing's going to change otherwise. It's not going to happen from the top.

Now, I'm not talking about surrender or acquiescence or even softness, all right? I'm talking about practicality and strategy and, most of all, decency. Insights over insults.

I told my kid just tonight, we were arguing. I said, you lost as soon as you came at me personally because that means you wound up having nothing else good to say. It's easy to say that. It is hard to do, I know.

But you can't become what it is you say you disrespect. Not as a question of morality. Again, practicality. It won't work.

Look around you. It isn't working. Why? You don't stop anger by getting angry at it. You beat lies by telling the truth again and again and again.

And you beat anger by giving it nothing to feed on. It will starve. We've seen it time and again.

And then you've got the chance. You've got a chance to feed the same people, the same hunger, with something else. We will see what is offered up as sustenance because the need, the appetite, is clearly great.

Thank you for watching.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.