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President Trump Delivered his SOTU; Democrats Don't Agree on Funding Border Wall. Aired 11-12mp ET
Aired February 5, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] FMR. GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) OHIO: I mean, it's got to be what's called compromise.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with you.
KASICH But I'm saying to you that he's going to have to move.
JONES: Let me just say --
KASICH: And if he does, then we're back to the base.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Van?
KASICH: Yes, I agree with that and then we go back to the base politics.
JONES: Let me --
KASICH: And they all think they can win on that, David.
JONES: And maybe they will.
KASICH: I don't think you can win on --
JONES: But let me say what -- the way I would rephrase what we were just talking about is there's a what I would call a phony populism. Sherrod Brown talks about a phony populism where you appeal to the working people and you say your situation is awful.
And you know who I'm going to blame? I'm not going to blame big pharma. I'm not going to blame big corporations, I'm not going to blame (Inaudible). I'm going to blame these brown people stealing your job.
No, yes, that can work, but it divides the country. Because at the end of the day, it's not a true story. The reason that the working-class people in this country are struggling and our wages are low, is not because -- yes, sectors in whole parts of the country where you have almost no immigration and people still can't pay their bills and they're working two or three jobs.
So, yes, somebody could sell some phony populism on this thing and by people but I hope the Democrats figure out some way to unite.
COOPER: I haven't -- John, I haven't heard from you on air.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just a couple of things. One, back to the Stacey Abrams speech. That's a very difficult job. That's the best response Democrat or Republican I can remember in some years.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes.
KING: It's a very difficult job. It's a thankless job. But also, you learn about the differences between the two parties. She talked about voting rights. She talked about climate change and she talked about guns. We did not hear any of those subjects from the president of the United States.
Democrats believe that animates their coalition. They believe it helps them, and they believe especially on the issue of climate change, especially on the issue of voting right, it helps them to talk about things the president won't talk about. You can shrug all you want.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. There's not -- the Republicans don't support any of those things. Why would you talk about them?
KING: Well, all Americans should want our president, whatever the disagreements are, just look at his own national security review. Every leader, whatever your party should be talking about climate change. This is -- well, you can have a debate.
SANTORUM: Well, there's --
KING: But he's the president of the United States at this moment in the world did not mention climate change in even a sentence is just frankly a disgrace.
SANTORUM: I couldn't disagree with you more --
KING: Any president, Democrat or Republican. But back to the president and what the governor was just saying, look, the president has to make a choice. This town, sadly, you have some experience over here from when it was a little different, this town sadly has proven in the last 20 years it can only do one thing at a time. Something it can't -- sometimes it can't even do one thing at a time.
So, the president has to make a choice. If we stay in this immigration debate, that's all we are going to do. We'll have another potential government shutdown in two weeks or he'll assign something to keep the government open but then declare the national emergency. It will end up in court.
And any goodwill that was built tonight, any potential opening that was built tonight will be gone. If does he want to? And David can remember this in the early days of the Obama administration. They went with the stimulus plan and they came with health care. Everyone said I thought Obama was going to unite us and we can argue about who's to blame for one of the other things. But the town just went like that.
So will the president cut a deal, accept a compromise? Can he get, you're right, he would have to get Speaker Pelosi to put something on the table to get it, and then say let's do infrastructure or let's do prescription drugs, let's do something where we can actually work together, or are we going to stay in this all or nothing conversation for another two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, because if we do, forget any of this other stuff getting done.
KASICH: John, you know the conference committee, the people working on this whole immigration thing, they're going down apparently to Camp David to kind of talk this all through with the chief of staff. They're definitely going to put something in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Totally. Sure.
KASICH: To mollify him. Is he willing to take it?
KASICH: Is it enough or is he just going to say I don't -- no.
KING: No disrespect to Mick Mulvaney, but we work in a town that where even the Republicans --
KING: -- even the Republicans aren't sure that the chief of staff speaks for the president of the United States.
KING: They're not sure his son-in-law Jared Kushner speaks for the president of the United States. They're not sure the vice president speaks for the president of the United States on these issues.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Because he doesn't.
KING: They need to hear from him.
KASICH: God invented the fig leaf so politicians could have something to hide behind so they can declare victory. And I'm thinking he is going to look for a fig leaf. Maybe not. I don't know. Gloria, you don't think so?
BORGER: I don't know. Every time I think Donald Trump is going to do something and compromise, it doesn't happen. (CROSSTALK)
KASICH: It doesn't happen.
BORGER: It didn't happen.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're right. He should do that, because this is a loser for him.
BORGER: Yes, I agree.
AXELROD: But he hasn't been, he hasn't always been willing to do that because he's worried about --
COOPER: But wait a minute.
AXELROD: -- getting hectored by his base.
COOPER: But on the wall he's already saying the wall is being built.
COOPER: I mean, he's already -- I mean, if you are listening to what he is saying, he is saying we are building a new wall. We have new contracts going out. We are spending money on it. The wall is being built. And it just, you know --
AXELROD: Then why shut down the government.
COOPER: But why, why not accept some sort of compromise if you're already saying it's being built?
AXELROD: I think it's easy to get money. Nobody really should object to barriers where barriers are needed. And I don't think any Democrats do. So I think it's easy to come to a point of agreement if the president, whose rejected these kinds of things before, is willing to do a deal, his base will allow him to do that.
COOPER: Although (Inaudible) Democrats is willing to give the president a win on that if the president can then say look, new wall. The wall has been built.
AXELROD: I think -- I think probably what happens is Democrats will say what I just said, which is barriers are needed in places where barriers are needed.
BORGER: In certain areas.
[23:04:59] AXELROD: We're not going build unnecessary walls as a symbol --
AXELROD -- but we all agree there is a range of things we need to do on border security and barriers are a piece of that.
BORGER: And that's what --
HENDERSON: But does he want to keep Democrats the punching bag. That's also the history.
JONES: There's some weaknesses that -- weakness that President Trump showed by what he didn't talk about. He did not talk about the shutdown. He did not talk about the furloughed workers. That shows -- that showed some weakness. He did not talk about mass shootings.
So, there is -- there are some things that he has done, sticking with the NRA, shutting the government down, he is obviously not proud of he knows they're political losers because he didn't talk about them, didn't defend them, didn't brag on them at all. And so, it's not just what he says. It's what he doesn't say you got to watch.
COOPER: We got to -- let's go to Jake and Wolf. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson. One of the moments that got a lot of grimacing and other negative reactions from Democrats was when President Trump referred to the partisan investigations.
In fact, I think the quote was ridiculous partisan investigations. We have with us Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee who is conducting an investigation. I know you would say it's neither partisan nor ridiculous. I want you to take a listen to what President Trump exactly said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now the president is being investigated, and he and his family and his associates and his campaign and his inaugural committee are all being investigated by various different organizations.
The Mueller group, the Southern District of New York, the Manhattan district attorney, the Senate intelligence committee, the House judiciary committee, and your committee. I don't know which one he was referring to, maybe all, what was your reaction?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, when he started that sentence by the only thing that can get in the way of the economy is ridiculous, I thought he would have said ridiculous government shutdowns, because that had the most demonstrable negative impact on the economy.
Look, this is a president whose had two years of getting used to no oversight whatsoever by the Congress. A Congress that was essentially not even a rubber stamp, but no stamp at all. Just absent. And so, he is bridling under the fact that with a Democratic majority, we're going to do our job. We're not going to a quo equal branch of government. We're not going to turn and look the other way when we see corruption or malfeasance.
We're going get to the bottom of what Russia has done. We're going to get to the bottom of whether the Russians still possess financial leverage over the president. We would be negligent in not doing so.
TAPPER: And you're working with the Republicans on your committee, so it is a bipartisan investigation?
SCHIFF: Well, it started out as a bipartisan and then the Republicans decided to shut it down. We will invite them to rejoin the investigation. It's my hope that they will. We'll find out in very short order.
TAPPER: Dana has a question for you, I think.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I want to drill down on something that Jake was talking about. The Southern District of New York, CNN reported -- I'm sure you saw it today -- that the prosecutors up there in New York have requested interviews with executives at the Trump organization. What do you make of that?
SCHIFF: Well, a couple of things, you know. First, we in our committee has shared the concern that there may have been foreign money put into the inauguration through the inauguration committee through straw purchasers. We know that happened in part. We don't know the extent that may have happened.
But it's part of a broader phenomenon that we have seen of people very close to the president, maybe the president's own family, trying to capitalize, trying to make money on his position on the office and here the head of the inauguration committee, if this memo can be believed, if it's accurate, was also trying to exploit for financial benefit his work on the inauguration.
So, we're looking into this. Other offices obviously of the southern district or others are looking into this as well. It may also be a result of the fact that there is clearly an effort to shut down the Mueller investigation, and by these other offices taking this up, we can make sure that those who are responsible for breaking the law are brought to justice.
BASH: An effort to shut down the Mueller investigation different from what we've seen before? Is there something new that you've referred to? SCHIFF: Well, no. We've seen pressure from the White House all along
to shut down Mueller. We saw recently Matt Whitaker, this hand-picked acting attorney general, who talked about how he could privately cripple the Mueller investigation, saying publicly that it was coming to an end now. He shouldn't be speaking for the Mueller investigation. That may be his way of trying to pressure Mueller to wind things up.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Congressman Schiff, you heard the president say specifically tonight he wants a border wall. He said that walls work. Walls save lives. But he also said he wants a compromise. Are Democrats willing to compromise and provide at least some funds for what he calls barriers? Forget about the word walls, barriers along at least part of the border with Mexico.
SCHIFF: You know we are certainly ready to find common ground on border security. And I hope that this group of members that are working together will be able to do that.
[23:10:00] Indeed, before he shut down the government, we already had. We had agreed on bipartisan funding for border security. But the problem here is we're not negotiating amongst ourselves in Congress. We're really negotiating where the ultimate client is apparently a Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter.
And what the president says or his people say don't necessarily buy in their position if he gets too much blowback. So, whether we can reach a deal that's going to be acceptable to these conservative pundits, I doubt. But we are ready to work in a bipartisan way, and indeed we've already done that in the past.
BLITZER: Let's see what happens over the next few days. Congressman Schiff, thank you for coming in.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
BLITZER: Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: All right. Wolf, thanks very much. Back now. Van, what was the quote you said earlier? This was a psychotically -- a psychotically incoherent speech that mixed cookies with dog poop. Is that what you mean?
JONES: That's the line. Yes.
KASICH: Where did you steal that phrase?
JONES: That's what it is. I can't tell you how hurt people feel. I know that for some people immigration is just issue. You know, it's like, well, this is good for the base or this policy thing or somebody made a vote.
You have people living in real fear on a daily basis in this country, and they feel the president of the United States is licensing a kind of hatred against them. Everybody's algorithm shows them something different in their feed. I'm always seeing these videos of people going into Walmart and people yelling at them and saying get out of the country in front of their children and abusing them because they feel that they've been licensed now to do that.
And so, for me, I mean, I wanted to just talk about criminal justice reform, because we work so hard. And I saw a different Trump when he was talking that, and I watched Donald Trump personally move on that issue over a six-month period of time. I saw the impact on Donald Trump of seeing Ms. Alice Johnson come home. He talks about that video of her run across the street and hugging her children.
Every time I talk to him. I know that side of him. And for him to go directly from that into again attacking the immigrants, for me it was just heartbreaking. And it causes real pain for real people. And I don't want us to treat this outside of the humanity of other parts of this speech.
Don't tell me people coming home from prison are good people. People coming home from prison, I can give you a second chance. I see your humanity, and then turn right around and snatch babies from mamas at the border and not say a mumbling word. And snatch paychecks from furloughed workers and not say a mumbling word.
That part, that's what I was trying to put, these two things that don't go together were together in that speech. And I think it was unfortunate.
KASICH: Yes. Any immigration compromise here should extend the right of DACA, either to resolve DACA and extend TPS. That has to be a part of this.
There is one other thing. Everybody keeps talking about the wall. The problem that we're facing with many of these things are located in these countries that are our neighbors.
KASICH: And we're not doing enough to help them to solve their problems, whether it's economic aid or security aid, but I believe that the DACA folks, that that should be done, and it should be part of this deal. TPS, I don't know how you figure all that out. But we don't want these people living under fear every day that they're going have to leave. I think -- I think --
COOPER: Senator Santorum on DACA?
SANTORUM: I think there is a compromise that will include some element of DACA, some element of these TPA folks.
COOPER: The thrill in your voice, though.
SANTORUM: Look, it's a compromise. It should -- I mean, I don't know about too many people who get thrilled when you compromise, but you do it.
BORGER: You think you would? SANTORUM: And that's the whole idea. You need to do it, and I think the president will do it. Van, to suggest that when the president and Republicans and conservatives care about the security of our border, care about people coming into this country and committing crimes, as we saw pointed out by the three women in the audience whose grandparents were killed, those are real issues too. That's real pain too. That's real fear too.
There are people who are afraid and have a reason to be afraid because their neighborhoods aren't safe.
JONES: But you talk about --
SANTORUM: Because there are people here doing things that are harmful.
JONES: Senator, I believe --
SANTORUM: So, the idea that you throw a few videos that some people are afraid because you have an idiot in Walmart yelling at somebody, and I would agree.
JONES: Not just one.
SANTORUM: It be a hundred. It's wrong. I condemn it. The president will condemn it.
JONES: No, he hasn't.
SANTORUM: But what I -- but --
JONES: Senator, let me --
SANTORUM: You think the president would not condemn someone?
JONES: This is happening --
SANTORUM: What do you mean he hasn't?
JONES: It's happening across the country. People with MAGA hats on unfortunately doing this. You talk about it differently. Listen, you have you a similar politics of the head with Donald Trump, but a different politics of the heart. I don't hear you saying the kinds of things about people that he does. I disagree with you on policy, but I can understand where you're coming from.
The way the president talks about it causes people to feel that people who are here undocumented are less than, and that's wrong. And I think your faith and my faith prohibits that.
[23:15:01] SANTORUM: All I would say is I would agree with you that the president's rhetoric at times is incendiary, and at times can give a bad impression of what the president's policies are, and John goes crazy when he does it. I go crazy when he does it.
But the reality is what the president has put out there on immigration is a reasonable proposal, and I'm hopeful --
BORGER: You mean tonight?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're talking about tonight?
SANTORUM: What he talked about.
AXELROD: Let me ask a question. This story has surfaced in the last few days about the fact that the president himself has as a policy in his business hired undocumented workers in all of his -- in many of his properties, and so --
COOPER: And that goes become to the building of Trump tower.
AXELROD: He obviously doesn't feel like he is subjecting his guests to the threat of violence. He hires them for probably because he thinks they're good workers. So how do you square all of that? And isn't that a political problem for him?
SANTORUM: I would agree that it's a political problem. It goes to the point that I was making earlier, which is Republicans don't mind illegal immigration, because it provides a supply of workforce that may be a lot cheaper than you would get otherwise.
And that's why we have E-Verify. I know the Trump organization is not going use E-Verify, but they should have been using it from the beginning. They should have set an example. And I do think it's a black eye for the president.
GRANHOLM: I have another question; can I ask you guys.
AXELROD: Yes, of course.
GRANHOLM: Which is, can you understand, I think you probably can, but I'm not sure if you can. Can you understand --
AXELROD: Back to the same relationship.
GRANHOLM: This is my --
(CROSSTALK) AXELROD: You guys were doing so well.
GRANHOLM: I know.
SANTORUM: One time I agree with her, she turns on me.
GRANHOLM: And maybe you'll agree with me, but can you understand how people, Democrats and people who are supporting the immigrant community who hear what the president says about a wall and about border security, but when he -- when the whole purpose is security, and Democrats are saying we are willing to give you border security, and we're willing to do it in the smartest way you have El Chapo in prison right now and drugs were being smuggled in a tunnel.
A wall is not going to stop that. Democrats want to be able to give a smart deal, not a deal that's just a wall which seems to us like a campaign promise that was for the purpose of alien -- that was for the purpose of his base and alienates brown people. Alienates all people, at least on my side.
Can you understand why, though, can you understand why Democrats hate the wall and are willing to give border security, and we don't understand why Republicans don't see that.
BORGER: Just say yes.
SANTORUM: Yes. Hold on, no, no, no, no. Yes, I understand it, but that's not what the president's proposing. What the president has proposed and has been proposing is much more than just a wall.
And so, the idea that the president is only proposing a wall, he has never just proposed a wall. He says as part of a bigger package of border security, I need components of a wall because I think that is critical.
GRANHOLM: He has said --
SANTORUM: You may not agree with that.
GRANHOLM: No, no. I'm just -- he is insisting on a wall because that was a promise he made in the campaign.
SANTORUM: You were governor. When you ran on something and you made a central point --
GRANHOLM: But border security was my promise.
KASICH: I feel like I'm back in the debates.
JONES: Getting left out. But, no.
KASICH: Yes. (CROSSTALK)
KASICH: What about a bigger issue. Like comprehensive immigration reform. What about a guest worker program? What about things that make sense in addition to border security?
KASICH: One other thing I think is really important, we cannot have family separation at the border where these children are being taken from their --
SANTORUM: Then change the law.
KASICH: Well, look.
SANTORUM: Change the law.
KASICH: The fact is you don't want to have a policy that says well, if we have that, maybe people won't come. The law needs to be changed. Comprehensive immigration reform.
GRANHOLM: The law doesn't require it.
KASICH: Have some security at the border, but we can all agree what is happening now to these children is terrible. They are separated. We don't know where they are.
SANTORUM: Well, change the law to allow them to be --
GRANHOLM: No, that is a policy. No, no.
SANTORUM: -- like Mexicans coming over to be returned to the country.
SANTORUM: Right now, they can't be returned. So that's the problem. And in the law --
KASICH: Let's go fix it.
KING: You can make this case in the Republican primary, there is one available coming up. No, I don't ask the question to be a jerk in the sense does anybody at the table believe, I know from time to time he has said it, but given the history of the last two years that this president of the United States would sign legislation -- you say comprehensive immigration reform, to Democrats, because they control the House now. When they're in the minority they might have taken a different deal. They control the House now. To them, that means citizenship for the DREAMers. Do you believe this
president, who as the senator rightly says ran on this issue would sign that legislation heading into his 2020 reelection?
KING: Is there anything on the table?
KASICH: Well, look, I don't hope always springs eternal, right?
[23:19:58] KASICH: But maybe, but I don't d see that happening. But I don't even know if the Congress, look, here's what's happening in the country.
SANTORUM: I know it can pass.
KASICH: The Democrats are concerned about being primaried from the left and the Republicans are concerned about being primaried from the right. And all they're doing is trying to protect their stake and protect their reelection.
At some point, leaders will emerge who will come with the program that will be comprehensive, that will bring out --
BORGER: But the president --
KING: But these conversations about --
KASICH: -- exactly when it's going to happen.
KING: -- these big, huge comprehensive that people are having now, it's a waste of --
BORGER: No, not now.
KING: -- it's a waste of oxygen. It's not going happen.
KASICH: But, look, it's like healthcare reform. You just can't do it little. You can do it little piecemeal, but it has to be thought of in a bigger way. And then what is the time that it takes to get there? But if you don't start the legitimate debate, then the time doesn't get run through the clock.
BORGER: But they are having the debate. I mean, they are having -- they are having a debate.
KASICH: Then put some bills in that are comprehensive.
BORGER: Well, some people like Lindsey Graham, as you know, wanted to years ago, and the Senate passed it. And then it died. KING: I think it's brought to the floor now unless it's cooked.
BORGER: Right. And the president --
KING: There's no debate --
BORGER: You know, I don't believe the president would sign --
KASICH: Yes, I doubt that he would. It would be wrong.
BORGER: -- comprehensive immigration reform.
KASICH: It would be wrong.
BORGER: And to me underlying everything tonight is what can you belief that the president said tonight? What can you believe that he's really going to do? I mean, there was -- that he's proposed all these things. A lot of them --
SANTORUM: Proposed very many things.
BORGER: Well, you know, prescription drug benefits. Family and medical leave and all the rest --
COOPER: Eliminating HIV.
BORGER: Eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030.
BORGER: And he also said which sort of struck me that you have to reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution. Well, Donald Trump, what about that?
AXELROD: I say that kind of --
AXELROD: -- from Nancy Pelosi.
BORGER: Exactly. But what about that? Can I -- can I believe that Donald Trump, who talks about getting his enemies, who has always talked about that will give up retribution the way he behaved after the 2018 election? For example, talking about Mia Love? I mean, can I believe that? Should I believe that?
GRANHOLM: Right. We're 24 hours previously he had said that Nancy --
KASICH: It should me, show me, don' tell me.
KASICH: Show me and don't just don't tell me.
BORGER: Yes. So, State of the Union --
KASICH: We'll see. We're talking about it all night.
BORGER: -- speeches are tell me, but the world starts tomorrow, and you got to show me. Absolutely right.
AXELROD: That's right. One thing about the Stacey Abrams speech that was interesting, and I agree, John, that is a horrible job. You should get an unlisted number if you think you're going to be asked to give the response to the State of the Union, because it almost always is a failure.
JONES: But not this time.
AXELROD: I think she did very well.
BORGER: Very well.
AXELROD: But a lot of the themes that she struck were themes that were common to those Democratic candidates who won in 2018 and, you know, so I think that she was hitting a lot of resonant themes.
JONES: Can I say something? Yes. I mean, it's something of a miracle that happened in that she still has a political career. I mean, usually that is the beginning of a very bad couple years for you. And the fact that you have Stacey Abrams stand up there, nobody is making fun of her. Nobody is saying anything bad about her. She is not a meme. And the stuff that she talked about I think actually resonated.
As you look out into that chamber in the Senate and the House, and again, there is 300 people there and 400 people running for office, as you look out there, I hope they were taking notes tonight, not on Donald Trump, but on Stacey Abrams. Because I do think that there is way to talk about the working class.
By the way, undocumented workers are a part of the working class. Immigrants are a part of the working class. Women are a part of the working class. There is a way to talk about the working class in a way that brings people together. I thought Stacey Abrams did a great job of that tonight.
SANTORUM: I would say as I agree with the governor that she delivered a very good speech. She delivered the substance of the speech is one that is mainstream left-wing progressive just craziness, OK.
SANTORUM: But she delivered it well. OK?
JONES: That didn't seem like a compliment to me.
SANTORUM: She -- she has great stories. She wove them in. I mean, she is very, very good, and she is a great communicator for the Democratic side. The substance of it, I mean, I don't buy at all. But what she said --
AXELROD: I mean, this is a matter of pure politics, a lot of the positions, whether it's on, you know, student loans or health care or so on, the things she talked about were things that were on which Democrats have a majority view in this country.
I mean, this position that the president has taken on the wall is not a majority view. That's not something she geared in on. You know, the positions he took on health care during the last two years were not majority positions.
And there are a series of things that he did that caused -- you know, some of them were behavioral, as you mentioned before, but caused the Republican Party to suffer great setbacks in the fall of 2018. And she was keying into some of those things in a way that I think suggests --
[23:25:06] JONES: Those ideas were not -- those ideas are not just popular anymore with left wing folks. You talked about craziness. But listen, Medicare for all incredibly popular. However, we get there, hey.
SANTORUM: Wait. Wait and see how --
JONES: Green new deal is popular. A lot of this stuff is incredibly popular. How you get there is an issue.
SANTORUM: The rhetoric is popular. The policies maybe not.
JONES: Well, I think you guys are going to --
KING: For the Republican Party.
JONES: -- 2020.
KASICH: In my opinion, one challenge and not just 2020, but beyond. Are the Republicans able to generate really good new exciting ideas? If you take the issue of the division between the growing gap between the rich and the poor, the economic divide, so they say they want to have a 75 percent tax rate or whatever, what is the Republican response?
It can't be well, that's the dumbest idea. What are you going to say about it? It's real. You know, the problem when we had Obamacare was that the Republicans never proposed anything on healthcare.
COOPER: They still haven't.
KASICH: So, we get very comfortable being again, rather than creating new ideas, and we saw that. I was -- must say in the '90s, middle of the '90s, we had a lot of good, exciting new ideas. We haven't seen them for a long time. And they got to get in the game --
AXELROD: Yes. But there are also -- I mean, this -- it is true what Van said is right that there will be a big debate within the Democratic Party, and they'll end up somewhere on the spectrum on these issues. But they do speak to real-life concerns that people have.
AXELROD: And there is concerns -- there are concerns about health care. There are concerns about the cost of higher education. There are concerns about the great aggregation of wealth.
I mean, most people in this country have been peddling faster and fast over the last decade or two while there's been, you know, most of the growth has been captured by a very small group of people. And that's not to say those are bad people, but it is a problem for the country. And if you can address those things in a serious way, I think you run a very strong risk of losing.
KASICH: But the democrats you notice here have been retreating from these hard positions of 70 percent tax rates or Medicare for all. When you ask them about it, you see they're sort of going whoops, I've got to move a bit this way. And you're seeing it from almost all of them.
And so, they realize if they get too far out there on the left and he's on the right, then, of course, that opens up that big ocean for your favorite candidate.
AXELROD: Who is my favorite candidate?
KASICH: Howard Schultz.
HENDERSON: My gosh.
SANTORUM: One of the issues that the president brought that got bipartisan applause, I said this repeatedly, and I'm working with Senator Chris Dodd. I'm trying to actually come up with some ideas that we can even recommend to the Congress on paid parental leave.
And to me, this is an area where the president is for it. Ivanka, it's her issue. You saw her jump to her feet and enthusiastic. I'm actually out there doing what you did on criminal justice, which is talking to conservative groups, trying to -- you know, and immediately say, that's a terrible idea. And then you walk through it and they say, OK, if you talk that, that sort of makes sense.
But if the Democrats come and say no, we want everything in the world and we want to spend $100 billion on it, we're not going get that bill. And so this is where -- if there is real leadership in the house, if Nancy has real leadership in the House, if Nancy has real leadership in the House and come in and say look, we can actually make some progress for American families here. We can actually do something -- do something strong.
JONES: I was happy to hear that.
SANTORUM: Let's do it.
JONES: Look, I would --
SANTORUM: Take the step like you just did.
JONES: Look, I was happy. Ivanka Trump was smiling and I was happy to that because this should bring us together. You're talking about a paid family leaf. The other economic stuff that was talked about I thought was a little bit more dicey. He was taking credit for the economy doing really well. I think both --
SANTORUM: No president --
JONES: No, no, no. I'm saying, but listen, what I would say about that is, let's be clear that yes, the economy is doing well in a literal straight line from the Obama economy, and I think it's important.
SANTORUM: What? Up.
JONES: Yes, straight up. Yes, it was up.
SANTORUM: In a degree, a degree of increase is significant.
JONES: No, no. It's a straight line. So that's one thing. And the other thing that I want to say is this. I don't think that we've talked enough about some of the uses for lack of a better term. That Tree of Life shooting that was referenced.
That was a right wing, white supremacist, anti-Jewish murderer who's not alone. There is a threat in this country that is rising in terms of extreme violence and extremism, and it's not coming from immigrants. It's not coming from socialists. It's coming from this particular growing group of people.
SANTORUM: As you know, as you saw after this, there is as much anti- Semitism on the left -- in fact, I would argue there is more anti- Semitism on the left.
JONES: I've not seen -- I haven't -- well, here's what I know.
SANTORUM: Go to college campuses.
JONES: The bullets that are being fired and the people who are being killed are being killed too often now by right-wing extremists in our country who sometimes feel encouraged by Donald Trump.
[23:30:00] It's not his fault maybe. Maybe it's not. But the fact that we aren't each talking about, he is going to mention that but he doesn't talk about the broader context I think was a missed opportunity. I would like --
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You talk about anti- Semitism in very strong terms.
JONES: -- as we all should.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he sees a political opportunity in this issue because he did talk about it a lot. I mean, not that he shouldn't have talked about it, I'm glad that that he did. But, you know, this goes to the governor's point about how you behave when you're not giving the State of the Union speech.
So when neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville, you can't say there are good people on both sides. And therefore, you have a conflict when you spend so much of your time in the State of the Union, and people have a right to ask, well, what does he actually believe?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jim Sciutto actually has the first of a couple fact checks. Let's go to him. Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you know how central the immigration debate is to not just the speech tonight but also the coming possibility of another shutdown. So let's get to two of the key claims the president made tonight to justify his positions. Let's start with immigrants and crime. Have a listen to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Year after year, capitalist Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So you heard the president there. That's the claim, connecting crime to immigrants. What are the facts behind this? Well, a 2018 study by the libertarian Cato Institute which reviewed criminal conviction data from the Texas Department of Public Safety found that immigrants, legal or illegal, are in fact less likely than native-born Americans to be convicted of crime.
More broadly -- these are the Texas data here -- more broadly, there is also generally a decrease in the number of violent crimes across the country. Again, according to the FBI here, other studies have found that murder rate, robbery, aggravated assault, they have not increased alongside an uptick in undocumented immigration since 1990.
The undocumented immigrants do not contribute to an increase in drug overdoses and DUI deaths, and that young undocumented immigrants engage actually in less crime than their American or legal immigrant peers. Those are the national figures here.
As you know, Trump has repeatedly cited crimes committed by undocumented immigrants both during his presidential campaign and as justification for the desired wall. And this is the second time he's invited family members of victims of crime by undocumented immigrants to the State of the Union Address.
But is that a key connection? Is that key connection based on the facts? Our verdict here, it is at best misleading. The data does not make that connection. So let's get to border barriers here because that of course is very central to the president's desired wall. Listen to the president tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The border city of El Paso, Texas used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So that's the president's claim there, that the wall made the difference in El Paso, that's why it's one of the safest cities in the country. Does the data back that up? According to an analysis of FBI crimes data and city law enforcement data analysed by the El Paso Times, violent crime in El Paso actually peaked in 1993. It peaked way back here. And between 1993 and 2006, those violent crimes, they fell by some 34 percent.
That border fence? That was authorized many years into this drop, way down here in 2006. Construction didn't actually begin until 2008, wrapped up around then. And according to the El Paso Times, from 2006 to 2011, violent crime in El Paso actually increased a little bit here.
So when you look at that data, remember, big drop in crime, but the wall wasn't approved until here and it wasn't built until here, and you actually see an uptick. This is an easy one for us. The verdict on that claim is false. And this is an example that the president, the White House consistently cited as justification for a longer border wall along that border. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Jim, we will come back to you shortly. Coming up, our CNN instant poll speech watchers. What they thought of the president's address. Stay with us.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Quickly, I want to go to David Chalian. He's got an instant poll on how the country is reacting, at least those who watched. What have you got there, David?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: At least those who watched. This is our first look at a brand-new instant poll, but it is among speech watchers. So I just want to stress here for a State of the Union address, the president's partisans, his supporters, tend to turn out to watch the speech. This is true of a president of either party.
So tonight, we saw a heavily Republican-skewed audience turn out to watch the president's speech. But, look at this, a very positive reaction from those who watched the speech tonight, fifty-nine percent very positive, 17 percent somewhat positive, 23 percent negative.
I want you to see that very positive number, how that compares to Donald Trump's performances in the last couple of years when he has given a speech to a joint session of Congress like this. You'll see that he was again tonight at 59 percent. He was down at 48 percent very positive a year ago. Back when he first started the job and he addressed the congress, he was at 57 percent.
So he is back up. This is a -- this is a speech-watching audience that was more receptive this year than last year to what they saw. But here's the rub. Even this very favorable audience to Donald Trump does not believe his call for bipartisanship is going to meet with success.
Take a look. Will Donald Trump increase bipartisan cooperation? A majority of speech watchers, again, a heavily Republican audience, 53 percent say no 39 percent say yes.
[23:39:59] So, all that talk of bipartisanship seems to be being met by with the people who watched the speech by a healthy dose of skepticism, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, David, for that. Jake, we've got a special guest.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Joining me now is Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was in the House Chamber during tonight's speech as a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Thanks so much for being here, Mr. Chairman.
TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Great to be with you.
TAPPER: Tonight, we heard President Trump say a lot of things. One of the things I know Democrats really took issue with was the picture he painted of undocumented immigrants. Take a listen to just a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border, they're going to keep streaming right back in. Year after year, capitalist Americans are murdered by criminal illegal aliens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And you had some people in the chamber, in the House Chamber, who were victims, their families had been victimized by undocumented immigrants. What was your response?
PEREZ: Well, it was the same old distracting divisive Donald Trump. It was the run-up to the midterm elections. There was I think one sentence tonight about pre-existing conditions, and how many minutes about the manufactured crisis at the boarder? You just did a fact check at the other panel on what he just said about criminal aliens, what he said about El Paso, Texas. I think El Paso got false.
Every member of Congress from a border area opposes the wall. It was more of the distraction. And it just -- it is the divisive Donald that the antithesis of which was represented in Stacey Abrams. When we put hope on the ballot, when we bring America together, that's when we're at our best. His first line of the night was I come together not as two parties, but as one nation.
And what he I think deliberately left out is I thought he was going to say one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all. He kept that out because that hasn't been a part of what he has done. And so, you know, this is the same old, same old. But I can't say I'm surprised by that because this is the playbook for Donald Trump.
DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Chairman, I want to ask you about something else that the president said tonight, about socialism, making clear his opposition to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Not exactly subtle where he was going with that. Socialism is a dirty word among Republicans, but not so much among Democratic primary voters.
PEREZ: I mean this was dog whistle politics. The whole -- Jake, your question is about immigration. This question is about socialism, dog whistle politics. I just find it amazing that we -- I was there for I think it was an hour and 20 minutes. It felt like five hours. Jose Andres was next to me, the chef, and he during the immigration point, again, we all were just apoplectic, but respectful. And what we see here once again is the effort to divide. We should be talking about how we're going to come together around health care. We should be talking about -- he talked about a quote/unquote economic miracle. Talk to the people who are working two and three jobs, struggling to make ends meet. They haven't gotten a real raise in years because real wage growth has been stagnant. People are working harder and falling behind.
And so he uses dog whistle politics, socialism. He uses immigration, and the border talk, the caravans are coming, to distract us from the culture of corruption that is there. And then he in a Nixonian way says no investigations. That's the Donald Trump that we saw in the campaign. That's the Donald TYrump we've seen for two years. And frankly, that's a preview of his closing argument in 2020.
BLITZER: He also brought up some rather controversial comments by the governor of Virginia on abortion, late-term abortion. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And then we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth to defend the dignity of every person. I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children --
TRUMP: -- who can feel pain in the mother's womb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What was your reaction to that?
PEREZ: That's the 58 Pinocchios. The bill they're talking about in Virginia is about what happens when a mother's life is in danger. That's that bill.
[23:44:59] But, again, misstate the facts, dog whistle politics, Donald Trump at his worst. But, again, you know, one sentence on pre- existing conditions.
BLITZER: Very quickly, you think Northam, a governor, should stay as governor of Virginia?
PEREZ: I think he should step down. He's lost the confidence of the voters. When you lose the confidence of the voters, you've lost everything.
BLITZER: Chairman Tom Perez, thanks so much for joining us.
PEREZ: Pleasure to be with you.
BLITZER: Tom Perez, the chairman of the DNC. Just ahead, we are going to be fact checking more of the president's claims. Our reality check on what the president said about the economy.
COOPER: Hey, Tom, do you hear me? It's Anderson.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
COOPER: You hear me?
FOREMAN: Yes, I do, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, let's go. I think you're on. I think he was talking to somebody else.
FOREMAN: The president is very proud of what has happened with the economy, and he wasted no time in talking about that tonight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: More people are working now than at any time in the history of our country, 157 million people at work.
[23:50:00] All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: This is one of the things he really can brag about. The unemployment rate has been very, very low throughout this process. But do bear in mind a few things we have to think about here. One, when you talk about more people being employed, men or women, that's been rising year after year after year after year after year.
So, we've reached those benchmarks under many presidents out there. And as a percentage of the population, the number of people who are employed is still below pre-recession levels. By the way, while women made a lot of progress in this country compared to other advanced economies, they have been backsliding lately, hasn't been working, not so great for them. But on the raw numbers, yeah, what he said there was true.
What about what's happening for Americans who are part of minority groups?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: African-American, Hispanic-American, and Asian-American unemployment have all reached their lowest levels ever recorded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Have all reached, have all reached. That's a tricky statement because last year in May, June, July, yeah, look at these, these were great, great numbers here. But they have slipped since then. And he has not mentioned that, didn't say anything about that. So, in the past tense, what he said was true. In the present tense, what he said was false. What about some of the industry driving those jobs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have unleashed a revolution in American energy. The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas anywhere in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Yeah, look at the numbers. The United States has surpassed the both Saudi Arabia and Russia to tick up there and take the lead. But again, context matters. That all started back here under Barack Obama, and has been working its way steadily up.
So, does Trump get some of the credit? Yeah, he gets some, but when he tries to claim all of it, that makes his statement true, but misleading. And lastly, he talked about these people that he wants to fill certain jobs and the fact that Congress just won't help him out. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This new era of cooperation can start with finally confirming the more than 300 highly qualified nominees who are still stuck in the Senate, in some cases, years and years waiting. Not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: A lot of presidents have this complaint that Congress doesn't move that fast on their nominees out there. But, there are 144 positions for which the White House has not even named anybody for the job. So for him to suggest that this is all the fault of Congress is flat-out misleading. You can find out a whole lot more about what our fact check team has been doing all evening long if you go to at CNN.com.
COOPER: All right. Tom, thanks very much. I appreciate that. Just -- what happens tomorrow? I mean, you have this looming --
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What a great question. Look, I think there is no question. You see it in the flash poll. The president helped himself somewhat out in the country tonight. The people like to hear from their president. When I covered the Clinton White House, oh, my god, is this ever going to end?
Then you see the polls. People actually like to hear from their president even if they didn't vote for him. What does he want to do? What is going on in the country? He helped himself. The question is what does he make of it? If that's an opportunity, what does he make of it? Where is the follow through? He didn't help himself in the room. He didn't change the dynamic in the room at all, especially by raising the wall, calling the Democrats socialists, criticizing their investigations. But if he helps himself out the (ph) country, you can use that to change the room, if you harness it and change. The question is, again, until they figure out this immigration stuff and this spending plan, we are on a treadmill. What is going to happen? We don't know.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, and after he gets off that treadmill, where does he want to spend his energy and passion? The most kind of energy and passion I think he had in this speech was about immigration. I mean, it was about two or three pages. You can tell this is something he enjoys talking about.
This is his signature issue. What's the signature issue after this? Is there something that's akin to criminal justice reform around paid family leave, is it drug prices? So, we'll just have to see because the president hasn't followed through on anything but immigration.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a shame that he didn't follow up more on the infrastructure piece. He only had like one line. I was really surprised. I think there was a moment where you could get bipartisan support.
I also would say that because I really do think that this skewed Republican, the audience did, as it would skew Democrat. But I think even more so because Trump is so polarizing that many Democrats just can't bear honestly to watch him.
SANTORUM: A lot of people felt that way about Obama.
GRANHOLM: I'm not saying it's not true about others. But I think there is -- I'm not sure how many Democrats or independents he persuaded tonight. We'll have to see.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. It is not clear how unifying the president's address was tonight, but there was one moment that brought President Trump and Democrats together. That's next.
[23:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Tonight, a moment between President Trump and Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Don't sit yet. Yeah, I like this.
TRUMP: At exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was obviously one moment. Gloria, what did you make of that? BORGER: Well, what he didn't mention is that there are Democrats in the House and that's why there are more women than ever before, kind of skipped over that. But that was the only huge applause that he got from both sides and from Nancy Pelosi, who was more than enthusiastic about that one.
JONES: Well, everybody, then they started chanting USA, USA.
BORGER: I love that. That was awesome.
JONES: That brought the conservative war cry together with the women. That was a great moment.
BORGER: That was a great moment.
AXELROD: He'll some -- he'll get a bump off of this. We'll see how long.
COOPER: Thank you all. Great discussion tonight. I appreciate it. A special edition of "Cuomo Primetime" starts right now.