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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump and the Politics of Fear; Trump Extends His Condolences to Loved Ones of Those Lost in Synagogue Massacre; Trump Claims He Can Defy Constitution. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 30, 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, and to your team for the coverage.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
Fear and loathing, that's the Trump game plan for the midterms, period. The tax cut, trade, forget it all. Focus on the monsters making their way here and others like them. Damn that media that discloses our lies about the same and double down on the harshness against both.
And then they tell us the president is trying every way he can to unify the country. Come on. Send the military to the border now and make the situation seem urgent when it will be at least a month before the strongest of the migrants could make the trek to our border.
And the newest creative truth -- birthright citizenship gone. Trump can change it by executive order. Mr. President, you really think you can defy the Constitution by fiat? Or another hollow promise?
Is the GOP really OK with this tragedy? Many letter sit mum but not all. We have a member of Congress tonight who says it must stop here.
And just days after the worst massacre of Jews in American history, a candidate for state office targets his Jewish opponent with an ad that some critics are decrying as anti-Semitic. Is it? I'll show it to you. You decide.
What do you say? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: There were protests that greeted the president today when he landed in Pittsburgh, even has he did the right thing there, laid stones and white flowers for the 11 people who've been massacred. He went to see victims of the mass shooting in the hospital.
But the protests were because of everything that he had said before today. Those words are being felt, especially in Pittsburgh, especially after that massacre. The demonstrators included some of the victims from this past week's mass shooting, united against what they say is the president's hateful rhetoric and stoking of fear.
The thing is, the president's not hiding his intentions. He wants his base to be motivated to vote, and he sees scaring you about migrants and fighting with the media, that's the way to do it. Invaders, meet them with the military. Trump can change what's in the Constitution all by himself, that's how smart he is.
And the media who questions him, they are the real enemy of the people. And that phrase is from Stalin and Hitler. They both used it. Why bring that term or the term "nationalist" back if you don't want to get hit for their history? Is all the GOP on board with this?
Let's bring in Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joining us right now.
It's good to have you. Not an easy conversation. I respect that you want to have it.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Yes, you bet. Thanks. Thanks for having me.
CUOMO: Fear and loathing. That's what I call it because that's what it is.
You defended this country. You were a hero in the service of the military. And now, you are being told as one of the members of the party, there is a bunch of barbarians headed towards our gates, they're murderers, they're drug dealers, they're coming to break through and do harm to as many as they can. That's what the president wants people to believe.
Do you believe that about the caravan?
KINZINGER: No. I don't like the caravan. I want the caravan to not come here and take advantage of our asylum laws. And I want the border to be secure.
But one of my big concerns in all of this, you know, look, you mentioned my military service. I got into politics not because I want to win. I got into politics because I want to make a difference. And, you know, winning I think from a political perspective helps me make a difference.
But what my big concern right now is just where the country is. And, you know, on one side, our side blames only the Democrats, the Democrats blame only the Republicans. I think, look, maybe only God knows who is really more at fault in all of this.
Everybody, including the president, including members of Congress, including people just when you're on Facebook and Twitter, we need to take deep breaths and we need to realize that we're not going to be this country that sings kumbaya and is united on everything, but we can be a country that respects each other again, that takes moments like a shooting in a synagogue and ponders that.
What does that mean for us? What does that mean for our country? Why is this happening? And --
CUOMO: But you know why, Congressman. You know, look, there's no question that the partisanship is toxic, all right? That's the easy part of the analysis.
CUOMO: The hard part is who's going to be held to account, all right? The left's not in power.
CUOMO: They have their own problems. They're struggling to figure out how to match the n energy of President Trump when it comes to rallying the base.
This negativity works with his base. It may not be the same people who voted for you but the people who voted for him and your party now giving him well over 80 percent approval, it works with them. The problem is it's based on at best bad information and in the main lies.
We know from his own intelligence he knows that migrant caravan isn't showing up here any day. The strongest of those people, people like as fit and strong as you wouldn't be here for another month. He knows that the population of it can be broken down as being in the main, murderers and drug dealers. He knows that's not true. But that's what he's selling.
Isn't it incumbent upon those of you in the party who know it's not true to stay stop it? We don't have to like the caravan, we don't have to like big groups coming in here and taking advantage of asylum laws, stop staying they're monsters? They're more mothers than monsters. Don't say it.
Why don't any of you say that?
KINZINGER: Yes. Well, I think we're doing it.
KINZINGER: I mean, I think I'm on here doing it. I'm on here saying this is the rhetoric is out of control from this stuff.
CUOMO: From him?
KINZINGER: On all sides.
And again, and this is the problem. This is the problem is you can't just -- yes, I've said it. The president needs to tone down his rhetoric, but it is -- the caravan is an issue we're concerned about. It's -- they may not be here tomorrow, but this caravan if they continue to get nice bus rides and walk and everything, they're going to make it here and then there's going to be a decision that has to be made at the border, which is, do you process these asylum requests with a promised court date in the future or don't you? It's going to be something we're going to have to address.
Now, you can disagree with the language being used in this and I disagree with a lot of the language used in this, but it's a reality. And I think -- CUOMO: What's the reality, Congressman? Just to be clear: what's the
KINZINGER: The reality is they're on the way. They're on the way. There's a second caravan coming. This is a -- this is a process.
And it's not even just the caravan. It's a fact that people now, there's lawyers that go down to advise these people on how to make an asylum claim into the United States even if they don't have a credible fear of harm. The reality is in asylum laws, they should be declaring asylum in Mexico and staying put there.
CUOMO: A big bunch of them just took asylum in Mexico there, right?
CUOMO: A big bunch of them just took asylum in Mexico. But I have to tell you, if you're going to make a go of it, why would you stop in Mexico? Life there is very hard.
KINZINGER: Because that's not what the law is. Because the law -- because the law says asylum isn't about going to the place you've always wanted to live your whole life or going to the nicest place with the best skyscrapers, it's about going to place you'll be safe.
And now, there's crime in Mexico, but crime -- Mexico is not considered -- it's considered a healthy place to claim asylum right now. That's the real -- but the broader issue is this -- we're on your show talking about how to fix the tone here --
KINZINGER: -- but what ends up happening in every time I get in this discussion is fingers are pointed only on one side. I will say the president significantly needs to tone down his rhetoric. I want him to be a comforter in chief in things like after, you know, pipe bombs are sent or after a shooting in the synagogue. I want him to be the comforter in chief.
At the same token, if all we do is say, it's only the president that's responsible, or the Republicans say it's only these people that are responsible, the temperature escalates. Neither side is going to say, you know what, you got angry enough and you made such a good point that I gave up and you're correct. It just raises the temperature in this country.
Plenty of responsibility to go around. I just want it to stop. I want to have healthy political debates. We can go negative in politics. We always have from the beginning of time --
KINZINGER: -- but it doesn't have to be personal --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: A hundred percent. It's one of the mottos of the show. I'm totally with you. It's why I have you on. It's why I have everybody on. You may like the testing, you may not like it. You're never going to leave my show saying, well, that was a cheap shot. You know, I can't believe he said that about me. I would never do it. It gets us nowhere. It's doing a disservice to my audience.
However, it's not the way the president thinks. And while there's a lot of blame to go around, you cannot ignore that the tone starts at the top. We've never dealt with anything like this. There's a reason there's 90 percent negative about the president, we're overwhelmed with what he floods the zone with that isn't true, and is meant to divide.
Look at the anti-Semitism in this country. He's got two -- he. It's everybody's party. You've got two candidates there right now.
Most notably a guy he handpicked and said this is who you should make the senator from Virginia, a U.S. senator. The guy has cottoned to these Confederacy-loving people and these ugly people, and President Trump knew that when he said "this is my guy", and now, he's putting out an ad describing these migrants in the ugliest terms. That's the tone.
There's another guy right after the massacre, running as a Republican, puts out a mailer describing or depicting his opponent as Jewish guy holding a handful of money. The guy is Jewish he's running against, right after the massacre. You know, what is that about, Congressman?
KINZINGER: I don't know. I can't -- again, I think you want me to come on and speak on behalf of the president and speak on behalf of everything that's said. I can't do that.
All I can tell you is I came in to politics to make a difference. And where I think I can make a difference now is I'm pointing out that all of it, we just have to move on, and that includes the president. And I'll say on those -- I love the president's policies. I like the policies of the administration, but the tone, we need him to be a comforter in chief in certain things --
CUOMO: But somebody's telling him different, Congressman. I don't want you to speak for Trump. If I thought you were speaking for Trump, I wouldn't have had you on tonight.
You know, I'm trying to make an effort after what happened over the weekend --
KINZINGER: I'm trying to make an effort, too.
CUOMO: You're doing great, Congressman.
KINZINGER: I'm trying to make an effort to say this --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: But somebody is giving him a different message than you're giving him. Somebody is telling him, you will win, keep fighting with the media, the base loves it. You will win, keep dividing, keep scaring them about the migrants, you will win. The divisions are right. The culture war is real.
You actually had a lower third on Fox News, which let's be fair, they're not exactly attacking your party or this president on any kind of regular basis, that says Democrats are talking about health care and the economy, Republicans renew culture war ahead of midterms. That was the lower third on Fox of all places. That's how obvious it is.
CUOMO: How is it good for your party?
KINZINGER: I don't know. I mean, again, I don't know if it's good for the party. I don't know what it's going to do on Tuesday. I don't think anybody can prognosticate what Tuesday ends up looking like.
There are issues that people are very concerned about. I think immigration is one and I think it's legitimate to be concerned about that.
CUOMO: A hundred percent.
KINZINGER: You may not like the rhetoric behind it. I've said I don't like some of the rhetoric behind it. But bringing up immigration in the midterms --
CUOMO: A hundred percent if somebody came to you and said, Adam, I think you should call yourself a nationalist and I think you should start using enemy of the people, it seems to work well for the president. I know Stalin used it. I know Hitler used it, but it's working well. Nationalists worked well also. Just say you're redefining it.
Would you do anything of those things?
KINZINGER: No, I wouldn't. You know, I believe in America, I believe in America first but I'm not nationalist. I believe we have a role in the world and that role is to be an example to billions of people who are desperate for a taste of what we have that we take for granted.
Now, I don't think the media's an enemy of the people. Do I think the media has bias? Absolutely. But we can still win even with a biased media. To call them an enemy of the people when we're fighting in places like -- against ISIS and things like that and we have to deal with the Russians and the Chinese, I don't like that tone either.
But at the same time, like I said, I'm not here to defend the president of the United States and I know you're not asking me to do that. What I'm here to say is, we all -- maybe after Tuesday, maybe after the next presidential election, but we all have got to think about what's happening here. Everybody's to blame. I'm to blame, the president's to blame. Democratic leaders are to blame.
And every time you post something divisive on Facebook, even if you're not in politics, we all have a share of it. We all need to settle down and say, look, have massive disagreement -- the thing I admired so much about John McCain, I never knew anybody more passionate about what he believed than John McCain. He was a pretty serious partisan. But he also never lost respect for people. He may not talk to you for three days after an argument but you ended up being his best friend.
CUOMO: Sometimes silence is the biggest comfort. We certainly learned that these days.
I just want to ask you before I let you go, Congressman. Have you reached out to the leadership, Scalise, Ryan and said, hey, guys, what are you guys doing up there, we got to change the tone, I can't get anything done here, that's why I was here?
KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, we've all talked about it. Absolutely. And I don't think they're setting a bad tone --
CUOMO: Why do you think they're so quite?
KINZINGER: I don't know if they are. You know, I don't know. I mean, we're in the middle of an election.
The other thing is this, you can't every time the president says something, I can't make a tweet on it, I'm not going to come on TV and talk about it every single time. The president is who he is. He's very different than we've ever seen before.
All I can do, all Paul Ryan can do and Steve Scalise -- we just have to live by what we want our country and what we want our politics to look like. That's what I aim to do. I may fall short, I have fallen short, I probably continue to fall short in the future, but my hope is when I get out of this, I can say I made a positive impact, no matter how big or little that was.
CUOMO: You speak out about what you know is wrong, that's going to be the best barometer for the people who put you in office, as to whether or not you're doing the job.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thank you for your service to the country. Thank you for coming on. You're always welcome.
KINZINGER: You bet. See you.
CUOMO: All right. Look, here's a matter of fact -- there is no invasion crisis at the border. There is none coming soon. There is a credibility crisis, though, and it's all around us. But we're not going to let it float around as fact, not here, not on this watch. So, we have the truth about the caravan, the facts about Trump's
ability to militarize the border and his claim that his lawyers say he can change the Constitution all by himself. Facts first, next.
CUOMO: All right. Facts first. The president wants you to believe we're about to be invaded. An army of diseased drug dealers and murderers are almost at the door.
No more terrorists. Terrorists used to be part of the cell, but it was proven to be too foolish to flourish as an idea. So, he's taken that part out.
The problem is it is all untrue. These migrants are more than 800 miles away right now, about a month away if you're really healthy and walking really fast all the time. That's the earliest they would be at the border. So you're going to have attrition, OK?
Even if they ran a marathon every day, they wouldn't be here by December. But that's not what the president is really worried about, all right. This is -- people voting. And that's a whole lot closer, right? That's a week away today.
The initial monsters in our midst attack had big holes blown in it by us in the media because Trump was grossly exaggerating what he knew. And here's the proof -- when I say he knows they're not coming, I say that because he knows they're not coming. His own intelligence clearly tells him they expect a small percentage of the people in the caravan will ever make it to this country.
So, the monster madness needed some fluffing up and that's where another offer you can't refuse came from.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Some legal scholars believe you can get rid of the citizenship without changing the Constitution?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With an executive order.
INTERVIEWER: Have you thought about that?
INTERVIEWER: Tell me more.
TRUMP: It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment.
INTERVIEWER: Right, 14th Amendment. TRUMP: Guess what? You don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: This is the latest of Trump's barrage of B.S. in last minute midterm promises -- tax cut for the middle class, Congress isn't even in session. Then you have all those tries to get rid of preexisting conditions. We all remember that, right? Then he says, oh, no, we want to keep preexisting condition. We're going to protect them for you. What?
Then he believes that big sell are the monsters posing as migrants and then he's going to do everything to stop them, lie like mad, bring in the army, almost as many as we have in Iraq by the way.
And now the idea of changing a signature right in the Constitution all by himself. But this latest one raises two central questions. Can he do it? Should he do it?
Well, let's deal with the can, all right? Here was the vice president trying to sell this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We all cherish the language of the 14th Amendment but the Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, that's an end run, all right? He's not being intellectually honest. They never tested this because when they did first test this initially, if you just Google the 14th Amendment, click on any description about this Citizenship Clause. You'll see, they put it in an amendment because they wanted to keep it safe from Congress and keep it safe from SCOTUS.
And the one time it was reviewed by SCOTUS, they have one simple line, OK? All persons born and naturalized, this is the 14th Amendment, all right? And then the court case said if you're born here, that's it, that's the end of the analysis. So he's intellectually dishonest, all right?
Even the DOJ's actual arguments back up the fact that Trump can't do this. Maybe that's why on the eve of Halloween, the ghost of Paul Ryan finally came out of hiding and said this --
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right. So, on the can, if Trump tries this, you can expect a big court fight where he can argue liberal judges are out to get him and his defenders will point to anchor baby tourism as the idea of resorts advertised as a place to come and have a baby so that you can automatically get citizenship for that baby.
Now, Trump should know something about this, because "The Daily Beast" reports his properties in Florida are often advertised by third parties to Russian parents to come and have babies.
So, sending in the army, this is a little bit of an easier situation. Why? There is this law, this act you've been hearing about called posse comitatus. You know, back in the cowboy days, let's round up the posse? That's what this was about, the ability to enlist and conscript citizens to help enforce the law.
Now, it says you can't use the U.S. military, standing military, to enforce laws against U.S. citizens. But there are loopholes. And if the job is what the DOD says it is, logistics and administrative, it will likely be okay legally. But what happens if there's violence? That's where the should comes in.
And even they -- even then, rather, Trump may believe that if people are angry about the migrants, he still win, no matter what happens. Does that sound farfetched?
Remember him with the kids, remember when they were torn from the families, he wanted it. He said it was right. Then there was outrage. He pretended to fix it, but it was all a lie. And he eventually said he liked the message of taking kids from their parents and the harshness and what that said to others to keep them away.
That's why the DHS now has separation high on their priority list. He likes the harshness. He thinks it will bring wins next Tuesday. A week from today, we're going to know if the president made the right bet.
Now, on the point of presidents on what they do, find me one who has ever overturned an amendment by executive order. It's a bold declaration.
Let's bring in "Cuomo's Court" and let's see if we can get to the bottom of this one.
CUOMO: The president says his lawyers told him that he can end birthright citizenship, first protection afforded by the 14th Amendment, and he can do it all by himself.
I hear everyone saying this is just a farce to impress the base a week out. But you know what? When a president says something like this, it must be tested. Can he do this? Should he do this?
"Cuomo's Court" is in session. We've got Norm Eisen and Mark Smith.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here.
Mark, if we look at this --
MARK W. SMITH, CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me on, Chris.
CUOMO: A hundred percent.
If we look at this as non-traditional litigation, you would go first. Give me a quick take on why you think a president can do this. We'll deal with should later.
SMITH: Sure. Bear in mind that no one is suggesting that president Trump can amend the 14th amendment by himself, but the president of the United States has a seat at the constitutional table. The president, members of Congress, the Supreme Court all swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, and I think what the president is doing here is essentially saying, we are going to start the legal process with this executive order he says he's going to sign and that legal process we know is going to go to the courts and even eventually, Chris, it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And while the president by himself cannot change the meaning of the Constitution, certainly we know the Supreme Court can change the meaning of the Constitution as to how it's applied because the Supreme Court frankly does it all the time.
And I think what really is going on here is the president is doing two things. One, politically, he's reminding people of his views on immigration, which he (INAUDIBLE) thinks will help him in the midterm. And then there's the legal strategy part of it --
SMITH: -- to say, look, this is going to take years, let's start the ball rolling now. Why wait?
CUOMO: We know it's not going to take years. If he tries by executive order to change the protection in the 14th amendment, he's going to have a short legal battle, unless what you're suggesting is that he's starting the process of changing the Constitution. That's not what he says, though.
But, Norm, even on the basis of that, this is the beginning of a long legal process and I'm going to start it by executive order. Would that pass muster?
NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Chris, thanks for having me back on "Cuomo's Court."
As somebody who has advised a president on executive orders, I can tell you this is a complete stunt. The 14th Amendment is clear. This is one thing and one thing alone and I give Mark credit for acknowledging it, it's a political ploy and it's desecration, Chris.
This is when we're still mourning these people who are dead in part because of what? In part because of president Trump demagoguing the caravan. Here he is doing that issue again while we're still mourning. Shameful.
It is an insult to the office of the president of the United States and a ridiculous legal argument that doesn't bear water.
CUOMO: Do you think the acting counsel --
SMITH: Chris, I think that historically --
CUOMO: Hold on a second. I want to give some context to this. The president says his lawyers said he can do this. I really think they should produce the lawyer, not that I don't love having you on the show and you're welcomed back. But I want to hear that somebody told him that by executive order, you can stop birthright citizenship, because you know nobody who's worried about their license would ever give that advice.
So, you tell me how does this turn out well for the president legally?
SMITH: Well, Chris, let's just take two very simple examples of ideas that at one point were viewed as crazy in a sense and then became the law of land.
First of all, if you suggested 200 years ago we would have a constitutional right to gay marriage recognized by the Supreme Court, I think people would say that's not possible. And now we have it.
Likewise, 100-plus years ago, we had separate but equal or the Jim Crow laws that said African-Americans and whites can be separated in public accommodations. And then, of course, many decades it took before we have Brown versus Board of Education.
So, there's a lot of precedent historically out there of time starting the ball rolling and what would be on a Don Quixote effort to change the law and that ultimately gives rise to a successful Supreme Court outcome that changes not the Constitution but the interpretation of the Constitution.
CUOMO: The problem is though there --
SMITH: And what I really see what Donald Trump is doing here is kicking off the football at the start of a football game.
CUOMO: That's not what he said. He said that he could kick the football -- he said he could kick the football, run down the other end, catch it and run it back for a touchdown. That's what he said. And unfortunately someone like you have to own that, although you wouldn't have stated the proposition that way.
But however, however, there's a fundamental difference, Norm, between those other examples and the ones we have here. Those were about evolving and having more inclusion put into the constitution. This is about Congress already deciding to expand and make more inclusive the protections of the 14th Amendment as a reaction to Dred Scott and other exigencies, and this would be undoing the inclusion, it would be shrinking the situation. Do we have constitutional precedent for that?
EISEN: No, Chris.
CUOMO: Less rights.
EISEN: It's contrary -- your honor, it's contrary to the whole trend of the Constitution. Chris, why are we talking about gay marriage and Dred Scott and separate but equal instead of the 14th Amendment? Because President Trump doesn't have a leg to stand on.
And it is so reprehensible for our president, our chief law enforcement officer charged by the Constitution to take care that it be enforced to use that as a red flag to feed the base, to whip up hate in a week when his hatred has already caused so much pain, suffering, risk, pipe bombs and 11 deaths, Chris. You're so right to put it in that contest when you introduced this segment. That's what we need to be talking about.
This is one of the most profound betrayals of a constitutional duty that we've ever seen, and that's why Mark, to his credit, who is attempting to defend this has to pivot off of the plain language, the congressional intent and the longstanding case law of the 14th Amendment and talk about gay marriage and separate but equal. Come on!
SMITH: The 14th Amendment is hardly clear. Remember, the 14th Amendment was one of the three constitutional amendments that were ratified immediately following the Civil War in the 19th century. I think we can all agree that at the time of the years after the Civil War which ended slavery, I don't think, you know, concerns about illegal immigration from Latin America and what happens to their children was really being discussed.
CUOMO: Although they tested it -- they tested it -- hold on. We have to go and let's do it this way.
First of all, Mark, you had a tough go tonight because the president put you in a box. The idea of whether or not he should do it is a much more fertile, legal and political really discussion. We'll have that one with you as well.
But it was tested in an immigrant context. That was the case about Chinese immigration and the Supreme Court ruled very clearly in a single line, if you're born here, it triggers the protections of the 14th Amendment. But whether he should do it, whether we should want to do it and go through and change the Constitution, separate conversation and you're welcome back to have that one.
Mark Smith, thank you for being here. Norm Eisen, best hair in the business, as always, thank you very much.
EISEN: Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Mark.
CUOMO: All right. So, does the Trump base feed on fear and loathing? I'm kind of stating it as a given. Does it? And if not, is there a chance that this could backfire a week from tonight? We're going to put it up for debate with two great debaters, next. One is already shaking his head.
CUOMO: Protesters, prayer, politics -- they were all on display in Pittsburgh. The president went to extend his condolences to the loved ones of those lost in the synagogue massacre. It was a brief departure from an all-in campaign of fear and loathing, focusing on migrants as marauders.
The question is, will it work?
Let's address it with our great debaters Van Jones and David Urban.
It works because -- go ahead, David.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it does work, Chris. Listen, you know why it works? It works because, you know, we have to acknowledge there's a problem on our southern border. You're going to either acknowledge that we are a country that plays by the rules and has a system of legal immigration and a secure border or we're not.
And so, look, I don't think that there's a band of marauders coming on the southern border, but I do believe we need to have secure borders. And this president like other presidents -- I think you need to point out, Chris, you know, President Trump isn't the first president to send U.S. servicemen to the border to secure the borders. President Bush did it, 41, 43, President Obama did it, lots of other presidents before them did it, for the exact same reasons, to help U.S. Customs enforce the border and, you know, stop illegal immigration across the border.
So, I don't think this is, you know, the end of the world coming here but it really does make a statement are you for open borders or are you against open borders? Are you for legal immigration or are you for open borders? I think that's what's really at issue here.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Chris, a couple of things here. First of all, if you're -- you notice all the Republicans tonight keep talking about the southern border, the southern border. The majority of people who are here unlawfully did not come from the southern border. They flew in on airplanes and overstayed their visas.
If all they were concerned about was literally just people being here unlawfully, the entire conversation would be different. This is not about unlawful immigration. It's about who these people are and where they are coming from, and that is unfortunate. We are talking about now, by the way, putting 5,000 troops -- we're going to have more troops on our border to stop this little caravan than I think we have in Iraq.
We've got -- it's a massive overreaction, and it's not chartered to the problem of undocumented people. It's undocumented people of a certain color, from a certain part of the world. And that's what's I think is very disturbing.
And we can't get away from this bigger picture now. In Brazil, they just elected somebody who is an enemy of democracy playing on these internal tensions and divisions. Turkey, Hungary, all around the world, liberal democracies -- I don't mean liberal like democratic, I mean liberal like not fascist, democracies are starting to turn on their own people, they're starting to move in a negative direction and we play part of that.
CUOMO: It does feel familiar.
CUOMO: That's why I jump on the enemy of the people stuff and the nationalism stuff. I don't know why Trump's bringing that stuff back when we know the history of it.
URBAN: Chris, listen, the media -- the president needs to acknowledge the media is not the enemy of the people, the media needs to acknowledge the president is not the enemy of the people.
CUOMO: Only one of them is saying it.
URBAN: OK. Well, so, and to Van's point --
URBAN: Listen, to Van's point, you know, in the Bush administration, 41 had 6,000 troops on the border. There have been thousands of troops on the southern border before. It's not some historical abnormality.
Chris, to your point earlier, you know, there are folks coming through because they're fleeing horrific conditions in their own country. We need to as a nation and as a world examine why are those people leaving? Why are they fleeing these oppressive regimes?
CUOMO: We all know the history, what happened in the '80s and what countries we supported.
URBAN: Yes. But, Chris, what are we going to do to fix it, right? Are we going to help them --
CUOMO: Trump said he wants to stop their funding to cause the same conditions that caused their fleeing.
(CROSSTALK) URBAN: And so, when they get to Mexico and they're offered asylum, why don't they stay? Why do they come to the United States?
CUOMO: Well, you just had a thousand take asylum (INAUDIBLE) to be in Mexico.
URBAN: Right. Why is it a better place to be?
CUOMO: What do you mean? There's every reason you can think of.
URBAN: Right, because there's more economic opportunity --
CUOMO: That's right. And people are hiring here in a way that President Trump won't crack down on. That would go a long way to stop the flow also.
URBAN: Chris, you're a smart guy and I know you're a lawyer. What is one of the key -- one of the key ingredients, or the key elements for proving asylum?
CUOMO: You have to show a real fear and articulate your fear of what happens upon return (ph).
URBAN: Right. So, when you get to Mexico and you escaped the fear of El Salvador and Guatemala, what happens? Why you keep coming?
CUOMO: Because this is a better place to be. The law doesn't say you have to go to the next available place.
URBAN: No, Chris, but -- go ahead to Van. I'm sorry.
CUOMO: Van, this is an extension of the argument I want you to comment on. Look at what he's saying with the 14th Amendment. This is like the perfect Trump play, OK? Legally, he knows he can't do it. He said some lawyers told lawyers told him he could.
I say produce the lawyers, I love to have them on the show. Or just put a statement of where they think this is legal, because nobody who cares about their license would say it.
CUOMO: But even then whether he should do it, what are you saying? You're saying that you don't want a type of people here.
JONES: Yes, listen --
URBAN: No, no, no, Chris, that's wrong. It's illegal immigration. That's what we're talking about.
CUOMO: It's in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Van, go ahead. Van, make your point.
JONES: I'll say a couple things.
First of all, the 14th Amendment of the Constitution is really, really precious because the point of this thing and we haven't talked about it is to say that there was an idea that if you were African-American, you weren't a citizen.
JONES: The whole point was to say we don't care who you are, we don't care what color you are, what your previous status was, if you were born here, you belong here, we want you. That's the point of it.
CUOMO: And then it was tested with the Chinese-American.
CUOMO: And the case was that he can't be a citizen, his parents are Chinese. And the court decided quickly and in one line validated that the 14th Amendment holds. Trump now is saying it doesn't.
URBAN: Chris, this is about --
JONES: So, now you have people -- hold on a second. Now you have people saying, hold on a second, we got people who came here illegally, they came here unlawfully, they're taking advantage, we don't want those people.
What they're not taking responsibility for is that's been going on for 400 years. The pilgrims didn't have a passport either. The people -- we've had people coming here for generations. And what we've always said is we don't care -- if we -- if somehow you got here, if our laws didn't keep you out, if you are born here, though, you have rights.
To go back and say -- now, listen, obviously he can't do it, he's just lying. And there's no lawyer that told him to d that. The lawyer would be disbarred for malpractice. But the idea that you want to unwind this, why, you want to unwind this because of the southern border, not because people are coming here on airplanes. They're not sending troops to the airports. They're sending them to the southern border.
That is very disturbing because it's about a racial, ethnic agenda sneaking into the Republican Party and it's wrong.
CUOMO: All right. Guys, we have to hold it there.
URBAN: Van, we're going to disagree on that.
CUOMO: That's OK. We're here to disagree but we do it the right way. And that's why I love you fellas. Thanks to both of you. Van Jones, David Urban.
Ahead, some more breaking news. Kanye news. Is Trump's favorite fan now Trumping off the MAGA train? Is he breaking up with President Trump? What's happening?
CUOMO: So, less than a month after the Oval Office sit-down, Kanye West says he needs distance from politics. Good choice. In a pair of tweets, he denies designing a t-shirt line urging black people to abandon the Democratic Party. They call it "Blexit".
If he was used by conservative activist Candace Owens, it wouldn't be the first time he was used for political gain.
Let's bring in D. Lemon.
D. Lemon, right move for Kanye?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes. Listen, you know how I feel about this, and I don't want to beat up on Kanye anymore because this isn't -- I don't mean this in a derogatory way. He has to deal -- he's dealing with some issues.
And it seems to me from these tweets he is probably dealing with them, which is a good thing. Which is what most people said, this is the point, at this time in his life without the knowledge of history and perhaps reading a little bit more, that he should not be talking about and addressing the issues that he was addressing because he wasn't helping on the issue, especially when it came to certain amendments, right? Now, we're talking about the 14th Amendment today but that's another story.
So, you mentioned Candace. He's talking about the hat, the "Blexit", right, it was the hat, "Blexit", black exit from the Democratic Party or whatever, I introduced Candice to the person who made the logo. I never wanted any association with "Blexit:, I had nothing to do with it, he says.
So -- and then he says, you know, I support -- he supports community, helping people in the community. He supports all kinds of things. I'm just looking at his tweets now and saying that he's going to back away from politics. OK, good. And focus on creativity.
All I say is good for you. I hope you mean it. I just wonder what the Trump folks are going to say now, how they're going to spin this.
CUOMO: My guess, nothing. And if they do have to say anything, because, look, I think it looked like what it was. I think it looked like he was trotting somebody out, the timing of it wasn't great, the media of all over it, shame on us as far as I'm concerned, and he didn't seem well. And it seemed exploitive.
LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: So I think they say nothing. If they have to say something, they'll say the enemy of the people barked Kanye out of the game.
LEMON: You're a smart man. Listen, my eyes are now wide open and I now realize I've been used to spread messages I don't believe in. That's pretty big.
CUOMO: Yes. It would be nice if he was saying whose messages.
LEMON: Whose message.
CUOMO: And who was doing it. We'll take progress where we find it.
D. Lemon --
LEMON: We're going to talk at the top of the hour. We'll talk about the president's visit today to Pennsylvania and whether it was appropriate or not on this particular day and the reception or lack thereof he got.
CUOMO: Provocative. Thank you, my friend. See you in a second.
All right. So we had some Republicans on the show here the last couple days. We've been making a different effort. We got to figure out a way to get better from where we are. They'll admit some things they have to about Trump's lies about the migrants and his claim with the constitution.
But we have to call out what this is really all about. There's only a week until the midterms.
Closing argument next.
CUOMO: Help me understand. Why are Trump folk fighting the idea that their campaign message for the midterms is fear and loathing?
It's the truth. Identify enemies threatening to create more carnage, as Trump put it in his inaugural speech, then demonize, like with the migrants, create a farce that they are an invading force filled with dealers and murderers, whip up as much xenophobia and conflict as he can. Democrats are evil. Media is the enemy of the people. And, again, that is a phrase propagated by Stalin, used by Hitler.
The president says he's a nationalist. Again, we know where this comes from, and it's painful, especially to the ears of those who fled and fought the Nazis like the 11 Jewish people massacred this past weekend.
Trump was there in Pittsburgh today. He did the right thing. He showed respect. But he was shown some disrespect precisely for this kind of talk. And apparently, he is okay with all of it.
It's so obviously true, this midterm hate campaign, that even state TV had this banner. Look at it. I did not make this up.
Democrats emphasize health care and the economy. GOP ramps up culture wars for the midterms.
You can't make it up. It's so obvious that even they say it.
I call it fear and loathing because it is. Now, the full title of the book that I'm borrowing that phrase from is the famous Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream."
And that part may apply just as much. We are on a savage journey, and it is a battle for the heart of the American dream. Or, more directly, will the dream have any heart anymore?
Will there be new Colossus? Will there be lady with the lamp? Is the Statue of Liberty going to be painted gold and called the last line of defense?
And will the torch become an AR-15 because it's all about demonizing and keeping people out and force? Illegal entrants and legal? More Norway, less ways like the ones that his wife, the president's wife and in-laws used? Imagine how they feel with that talk.
And the most objectionable part may be why he's doing this. The president is doing this not out of some deep, profound conviction. It's because he thinks it sells. It's all about the sell.
That's why he hated the bombings, not because of what it said about his rhetoric or the risks to the people they were sent to. He never even reached out to the former presidents who were targeted.
His M.O. is spreading. That's more proof. Trump's choice for U.S. senator in Virginia is a guy we tested here on this show and exposed him as someone who is way too close to people who are way too bigoted. And he fought it kind of and then put out this ad.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
COREY STEWART (R-VA), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: They allow criminal illegal aliens to assault our daughters, murder our sons, and deal drugs. The Democratic Party of today is an unhinged angry mob of thugs, and Tim Kaine tells them to fight in the streets and get in people's faces. If Tim Kaine wins and the Democrats take control of the Senate, it will get worse, much worse.
I'm Corey Stewart, Republican for Senate.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: Somebody's face says thug, it's got to be Tim Kaine.
Obviously I'm kidding, but that's the nature of it. It's so brazen. It's so obvious.
And then there's another ad. I almost didn't show you this one because it gets my trump (ph) up, and I think we should be turning down the hostility.
But you need to know what is being done out there in the name of democracy. So after the synagogue massacre, after it, this ad from Republican Ed Charamut, who is running for state Senate in Connecticut, shows a mailbox, depicts his Jewish opponent, Democratic State Rep Matthew Lesser, holding a fist full of money.
Look at his face. Look at the expression on his face.
This is what Trump is encouraging. This is how he is molding the GOP in his image, and that party seems to be sitting by, scared, or joining in. This is a far cry from where that party ever was, and they're basically daring Republicans who don't believe in all this jingoism and hateful talk to vote for someone else or not at all.
And Trump is betting they will not. One week from today, we will see if he made the right bet.
Thank you for watching.
"CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now.