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George Conway: I'm "Appalled" by Trump's Behavior; President Trump Presents Medals of Freedom in Ceremony. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired November 16, 2018 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: She doesn't like it, but we both have things we don't like.

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. What's striking is that Kellyanne Conway is a public-facing advocate of the president and you would expect to hear from her. What's striking over the last year of so is George Conway is actually willing to say, tweet publicly and now he's started a whole group that is about conservatives taking issue with the president and he has become much more comfortable about being outspoken about his opinions in opposition to President Trump. That's something you don't always see. I think back to Mary Madeline and James Carville. This is a thing that happens in Washington where you have

KEILAR: Right.

HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: But you the difference here, which is interesting, is they are both Republicans.

KEILAR: He said --


HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: George Conway is a conservative who was nominated by President Trump for a senior position at the Justice Department. He took himself out of the running. We forget about that. It's not like this is a Democrat and a Republican. These are two Republicans who, as many Republicans do right now, disagree over President Trump.

KEILAR: Speaking of that nomination, he said he was asked about why he turned down the opportunity, and this is what he said.


GEORGE CONWAY, ATTORNEY & HUSBAND OF WHITE HOUSE COUNSELLOR KELLYANNE CONWAY (voice-over): I'm watching this thing and it's like the administration is like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dumpster fire. I'm like I don't want to do that. I don't know. Then you got the Comey firing and then you got him going on TV saying, I had Russia on my mind. It's like, oh, no. And then it's like I'm driving home one day from New York and it's like, oh, Robert Mueller appointed special counsel. I realize that this guy will be at war with the Justice Department.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: That answer is -- that's the classic case of don't just read what he said, you need to hear how he says it. I don't want to. You picture him. He is filling out his financial forms for this job. I don't want to do this.

What do you think, Laura, as a legal professional, and he is walking you through this decision?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Why are we whispering, number one.


He is concerned about it.


COATES: It was like you hear the inner workings of his mind and the pillow talk that would have been reserved between him and his wife of why they would not want to do this. I don't think anyone disagree with his assessment about the likelihood of being successful as a part of the administration and being able to hold

KEILAR: Part of the DOJ.



COATES: That the president says is a deep state even before that came out. He's had conversations openly about how he feels the executive branch should have been run. He talks about his disdain for Jeff Sessions, the head of the DOJ. He doesn't abide by the protocols. It's not surprising that he was quite pressured here.

What' is surprising to me is just how, not just the opining of it. He didn't just talk about it on a podcast. He has a group called Checks and Balances where he is seeking to essentially play the role he thinks Congress is not to try to check the president of the United States for thwarting the entire rule of law. It goes beyond just the consternations, the head-in-the-hand impression in talking about this, and saying, I intend to do something about this. Remember, he came back with Neal Pateal (ph) on several occasions in several op-eds, talking about how the president's actions are unconstitutional. He goes well beyond the dumpster fire. He is talking about this maybe being a fire for the entire nation.

KEILAR: Laura Coates, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, thank you so much to both of you for sticking with me so long.

We have live pictures from the White House because the president is about to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is a very neat event that is going to be going on at the White House. There will be seven recipients. That includes Elvis, who we hope shows up. That would be amazing. Babe Ruth and Antonin Scalia being honor posthumously, all of them, as well as others there to receive the award. We are standing by for that. One election official -- actually, let's listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MILITARY AIDE: On behalf of the Honorable Antonin Scalia, Mrs. Maureen Scalia.


Mr. Roger Staubach.


The Honorable Alan C. Page.


On behalf of George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Mr. Thomas Stevens.


On behalf of Elvis Aron Presley, Mr. Jack Soden.


TRUMP: Thank you very much. Please.

It's a great honor. Melania and I are thrilled to welcome you to the White House, as we honor the recipients of our nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, something very, very special.

TRUMP: We're joined today by many members of my administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Hello, Mike.

Steve Mnuchin.

Steve, thank you very much.

Wilbur Ross, Alex Acosta, Matt Whitaker, Ben Carson, Betsy DeVos, Administrator Linda McMahon, Ambassador Lighthizer, and Acting Administrator, who, I will tell you, is going to be made permanent -- he's done a fantastic job and I want to congratulate him -- EPA Andrew Wheeler.

Where's Andrew?

Congratulations, Andrew, great job.


Great job. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)

Thank you, as well, to Senator Amy Klobuchar for being here.

Where is Amy, by the way? Where is Amy? I did better before, Amy.

And for five decades, I have to say, the Presidential Medal of Freedom has been given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to American life and culture. This year it is my true privilege to award this honor to seven extraordinary Americans: Senator Orrin Hatch; the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia; Miriam Adelson; Roger Staubach; Alan Page; and two more recipients who are no longer with us but whose legacies will live on forever, legendary Babe Ruth; legendary Elvis Presley -- true legends.

The first recipient is one of the longest-serving and most respected senators in American history, Senator Orrin Hatch, a friend of mine, a great friend of mine.

TRUMP: He liked me right from the beginning, and therefore I like him.


That helps.

That's the way it is. I guess I'm not supposed to say it, but that's the way life works, right?


For the last 42 years, Senator Hatch has proudly represented the people of Utah, sponsoring more bills that have become law than any living legislator.

From rewriting our tax code to helping just hardworking Americans get through life, to reshaping our courts, to uphold the vision of our founders, to protecting the religious freedom of all Americans, his achievements are too numerous to count.

Senator Hatch is a true American statesman. Today, Senator Hatch is joined by his incredible family, the love of his life, Elaine -- they've been married for 61 years -- along with their six children. Brent, Marcia, Scott, Kimberly, Alysa and Jesse.

Congratulations. Please stand up. Congratulations to you all. Thank you. Congratulations.


Congratulations to you all. Congratulations. Thank you very much. Thank you.

The second recipient we honor today is one of the greatest -- truly was one of the greatest jurists ever to serve our country, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Universally admired for his towering intellect, brilliant wit and fierce devotion to our founding principles, Justice Scalia has made a deep and lasting impact on the history of our nation. His presence is dearly missed by all, friend of a lot of people. Truly great intellect.

Justice Scalia transformed the American legal landscape, igniting a national movement to apply the original meaning of the Constitution as written. Few have done more to uphold this nation's founding charter.

Through nearly 900 written opinions and more than 30 years on the bench, Justice Scalia defended the American system of government and preserved the foundation of American freedom. Our whole nation is indeed indebted to Justice Scalia for his lifetime of noble and truly incredible service.

Joining us for this ceremony is his wife, Maureen, who's become a great friend of my family, myself. And their nine children: Ann, Gene, John, Catherine, Mary Clare, Paul, Matthew, Christopher and Meg (ph). You were very busy. Wow.


Wow. I always knew I liked him.

Also here, are several of Justice Scalia's former colleagues, and very respected ones at that. It's a personal tribute that they are giving to their friend. Chief Justice Roberts, where are -- thank you very much. Thank you.

Justice Ginsburg, glad to see you're feeling great.

Justice Alito, thank you.

Justice Kagan, Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Kavanaugh. Thank you very much. It's a great honor, looking down, saying thank you very much.

Our next Medal of Freedom recipient is a renowned philanthropist, somebody who's worked so hard. Doesn't have to do it, but she does, 24 hours a day, this is what she does. Miriam Adelson.

A medical doctor, Miriam had dedicated her life to fighting addiction, something we're all becoming all too familiar with. Through decades of innovative research, philanthropy and treatment, Miriam has helped thousands break free from their addiction to drugs and to alcohol.

In 2006, Miriam and her husband Sheldon, who's with us today -- thank you, Sheldon -- established the Adelson Medical Research Foundation to prevent, reduce or eliminate life-threatening diseases.

TRUMP: To protect the sacred heritage of the Jewish faith, Miriam and Sheldon have supported Jewish schools, Holocaust memorial organizations, and helped Jewish Americans visit the Holy Land.

Miriam, I want to thank you very much for saving so many lives and helping so many people to get back to a normal way of life. You've been incredible. I know the work you've done, and you have been truly incredible.

Here to celebrate Miriam's award is Sheldon. Where is Sheldon? Where is Sheldon? Where is he? There he is. Oh, right -- well, you didn't get -- you didn't make the front row. He's probably angry.


Thank you, Sheldon.

And their children, Steven, Jasmine, Adam, Maeton, as well as their son-in-law, Patrick. Thank you all for being here. Please stand up. Thank you.


Thank you very much. Congratulations. Congratulations.

And they were very happy to see the embassy move to Jerusalem. They were very happy about that, so congratulations on that, also. They fought very hard for that.


Capital of Israel.

Our next recipient of the Medal of Freedom is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. I used to watch him when I was going to school, and I'd say, "They can't catch him. He's just better, by far, than everybody else. He is something."

He's the winner of the Heisman Trophy, Roger Staubach. As a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, Roger set 28 football records. Upon graduation, he volunteered to deploy to Vietnam for one year, and served in the Navy for a total of four years.

At the age of 27, which is a little late, he began his NFL career, and what a career it was. Over the next 11 seasons, Roger led the Dallas Cowboys to four Super Bowls, and earned Pro Bowl honors six times. His exceptional talent earned Roger a place in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

And I have to tell you, I had a golf match where Roger was my partner, and we were in deep trouble, and Roger was also in deep trouble. He was so deep in the weeds that you wouldn't believe it. And we desperately needed a par on the 18th hole to win. And he came out and hit his shot. I don't know how it happened, but he was this far from the hole. We got our par. We won, and I said, "That's Roger Staubach."


I hope you remember that, Roger, right? That was quite exciting.

Roger and Marianne, his wife of 53 years, have generously supported thousands of Americans in need, including students, military families, and our truly great veterans, so helpful. Roger, you inspire Americans across the country to work hard, dream big, and always push on to victory. Roger became a great financial success, very successful businessman after his football career. His family is with us for this special ceremony, Marianne and their five children, Jennifer, Michelle, Stephanie, Jeff and Amy. Please stand up, please. Please stand up. Thank you.


Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Our next Medal of Freedom recipient is American football legend, and he was, indeed, a legend. He was tough, strong. A Minnesota Supreme Court justice, he became a Supreme Court justice also. He's only nervous with all of these U.S. Supreme Court justices.


Justice Alan Page, a very special man, a College Football Hall of Famer, Alan helped Notre Dame secure the national championship in 1966. He went on to have a 15-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. He became the first, and one of the only defensive players to earn the league's MVP award. That happens very, very seldom.

TRUMP: While Alan was still playing for the Vikings, he went to law school and earned a law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School. In 1993, he became the first African-American justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, where he served for more than two decades. That's very impressive. What do you think? That's a very impressive job. Really, it is. Thank you, Alan.

Alan and his wife, Diane, founded the page Education Foundation, which has provided nearly 7,000 scholarships to civic-minded students. Sadly, one month ago, Diane passed away after a heroic struggle with cancer -- said to be a great woman. Alan, we know that the goodness, grace and hope that Diane brought brought into our world will live on for many generations to come. She is looking down on you right now and she is so proud with love. She's so proud of you.

Alan is joined today by three of their children, Georgiana, Justin and Kamie.

Please stand up. Please stand up.


Thank you. Thank you.

It's a great honor. Thank you.

It is also my honor today to award the Medal of Freedom to one of the most celebrated sports heroes in world history, the Sultan of Swat, the Great Bambino, the one and only Babe Ruth. He truly is, when you think -- I mean, let's face it. Babe Ruth is Babe Ruth, right?

George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. -- he was a junior. I can imagine what his father was like...


... he must have been tough -- lived from 1895 to 1948, learning the game of baseball from Catholic Brothers at his orphanage.

At the age of 19, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher and soon became one of the best pitchers in baseball. People don't know that. Babe Ruth was one of the best pitchers. He still has records today.

In 1920, he started with the New York Yankees. And I have heard for many years what's the worst trade in the history of sports? Babe Ruth, 19-year-old pitcher, for $100,000, and a 35-year-old third baseman. That was not a good trade. Who was out of baseball the following season? That was not good. Of course, $100,000 is probably like $25 million today, but it was still a lousy deal.

But he became one of the greatest hitters of all time. They drafted him; they took him as a pitcher, but they knew they wanted to make him a hitter.

In fact, we have George Steinbrenner IV. George Steinbrenner was one of my best friends. He was tough -- he was tough, but he was good. Where is George Steinbrenner IV, his grandson? He's here some place. Where is he?

Thank you very much. Would you say hello to the family?



TRUMP: That's very nice (inaudible). Please.


George -- George was a real piece of work, I have to tell you that. Your grandfather was very difficult, but he was good.


He had a good heart. Sitting with George during the playoffs, as I often had to do, was like you'd go home exhausted. It was exhausting. So thank you for being here. Thank you very much.

The Babe hit 714 home runs, a record that stood for nearly 40 years. And people often would say that was a somewhat dead ball, didn't have the life the ball has today. He would often hit more home runs in a season than the league average for an entire team, and in one season hit more home runs than the entire American league. How do you do that?

To this day, his career slugging percentage of .690 remains the highest in the history of baseball -- hard to believe, actually. The Babe was also known for his devotion to our nation and its children. He visited countless children in hospitals and orphanages, supported more than 100 charities, raised money and raised hell. He was -- maybe that's why it's taken him a long time to get this award. This award...


... should have been given to him a long time ago. I said, you mean Babe Ruth hasn't gotten it? We took care of that real fast. But he was incredible. But he raised a lot of money for the war effort during World War II.

As we honor the legend who enshrined baseball as America's pastime, we are excited to be joined by a number of Babe Ruth's descendants, including his grandchildren, Donna Analovitch and Tom Stevens, and I want to thank you very much for being here.

TRUMP: Please stand up. Please. Thank you very much.


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you (inaudible).


Our final Medal of Freedom -- and here's another one who is just very incredible -- today goes to one of the most beloved artists and most enduring cultural icons that has ever lived, the King of Rock and Roll -- the true king. You have to say that. Elvis Aaron Presley.


TRUMP: It was Elvis. That was my idea. I said, "Give me a little -- a little song."


That was, I guess, a little promotional ability. But I will tell you, he was something special. I'd like to hear the rest of the song. I don't know why they cut it off so short. They have no promotional ability, that's why.

Growing up from humble beginnings in Mississippi, Elvis lived from 1935 to 1977 and first rose to fame with the 1954 single, "That's All Right," recorded at the fabled Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Great place.

He soon skyrocketed to international stardom, recording over three decades of unforgettable hits, from "Heartbreak Hotel" to "Suspicious Minds," to "Burning Love."

Elvis also won three Grammys for his gospel recordings, which were incredible, including his soaring live performance at "How Great Thou Art." Just got to hear a little piece of.

Deeply patriotic, Elvis served in the United States military at the height of his fame. He had a choice. And to him, it wasn't a choice.

Presley starred in more than 30 films, and his 1973 television special, "Elvis, Aloha From Hawaii," was viewed by more than a billion people around the world, one of the highest ever in the history of television.

After redefining music in the '50s and redefining cinema in the '60s, The King -- as he was known by everybody -- everybody to this day, they call him The King -- revolutionized live performances in the 1970s.

From the moment Elvis walked on the stage, to the closing chords of "Can't Help Falling in Love," crowds were enraptured by Elvis' electric performances and unbreakable bond with his fans.

In fact, at the end of a performance, often times, the fans would go so wild. I was there once, in Las Vegas at the Hilton. The fans were ripping the place apart, screaming. They were going crazy.

And they announced, "Elvis has left the house." Elvis -- if they didn't say that, I think I'd still be there. Maybe I wouldn't be here.


But they had to do that. Elvis has gone, Elvis has left.

Today, we're glad to be joined by president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Jack Soden.

Jack, thank you very much.

I want to congratulate all of this year's recipients and family members and loved ones. America is blessed to have the most skill, passion and talent anywhere on earth.

We are truly a great nation. And we're a nation that is doing really, really well right now. We have our greatest economy ever. We have our greatest employment numbers ever. We're doing well, and we're proud to be doing so well.

And I'd like to now ask the military aide to come forward and read the citations for each recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Thank you.

[13:59:54] UNIDENTIFIED MILITARY AIDE: The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch. Senator Orrin Hatch is one of the longest serving Senators in American history, having represented Utah for more than 41 years. Currently, the Senate's president pro temporary and chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Hatch has sponsored more bills that have become law than any other living member of Congress.