Return to Transcripts main page


White House Hosts Right-Wing Internet Personalities At Social Media Summit, Not Tech Leaders; Biden Unleashes On Trump In Foreign Policy Pitch; Miami's Poor Pressured To Move To Areas More Likely To Flood. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 11, 2019 - 16:30   ET


S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Trump had full control of Congress, did not build a wall, did not do meaningful immigration reform.

[16:30:01] And the dirty secret is that this issue is so politically profitable, broken, solving it is almost getting rid of the incentive for Republicans, Democrats, to run on immigration, to fundraise on it. It's disgusting, the lack of leadership, politically, on this issue. This is the latest, but it is not the first -- you know, the only example of a lack of leadership.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think S.E. is exactly right. It's punitive, it's mean-spirited, it's disorganized, it's chaotic, and it's not designed to solve a problem.

It's much like the census issue. Trump has no fundamental political philosophy. So he just does whatever he thinks will win in the moment. And this is an objective designed to win in a moment to get his supporters ginned up for the reelection.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, maybe they should start these deportation raids at his golf clubs and hotels. God knows there's been a lot of undocumented immigrants working there. Hypocrite.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That is accurate -- well, without the hypocrite part of it, is it accurate to say there have been a lot of undocumented immigrants who have worked for Trump organizations.

Be sure to tune in for a CNN Special Report, "The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America." That airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, tomorrow night here on CNN.

Coming up, the White House summit to solve what's perceived as a problem, although they did not invite the people who could solve the problem. That's next.


[16:35:41] TAPPER: In our tech lead, right now, the president is wrapping up his so-called social media summit, something you might expect the big players such as Twitter or Facebook to attend. Instead, President Trump invited a colorful group of right-wing internet groups and individuals, the only social media company there, apparently, as a platform called Minds, formerly popular with neo- Nazis, to spread their propaganda. They're all joined by others, such as meme creators popular with Trump supporters for praising the president in clever ways or attacking his opponents in other ways.

As CNN's Tom Foreman now reports, President Trump is discussing the challenges of social media with a very small circle who share his views.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The social media summit turned into a who's who of some extremely controversial conservatives, all breathless supporters of the president, including James O'Keefe, long accused of misleading, editing, and loathsome behavior in his efforts to expose alleged liberal bias.

Internet personality Bill Mitchell, and Gateway Pundit, both known to push wild conspiracy theories. Twitter meme maker such as Carpe Donktum and Mad Liberals. A social media site once popular with neo- Nazis was invited. Even a right-wing cartoonists accused of pushing anti-Semitic racist materials. After much controversy, he was uninvited.

But plenty of others came to raise the cry that social media companies are silencing conservative voices. So who's out? Neither Facebook nor Twitter was welcomed, two of the companies that could answer those conservative complaints amid a growing drumbeat for regulation.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are a lot of people that want us to take action against Facebook and against Twitter and frankly against Amazon.

FOREMAN: The outrage is ironic for this president, who has used social media far more than any other, with more than 25 million Facebook followers, almost 62 million on Twitter, and tens of thousands of posts and tweets to his name, he has met every call for him to rein it in with an unshakable belief in the power it gives him.

TRUMP: I put one out this morning and as soon as I pressed the button, they said, we have breaking news. Every network, everybody station.

FOREMAN: In addition, Trump supporters have pumped the Internet full of their content -- some of it inflammatory, false, or otherwise in violation of platform policies. Yet Trump and other conservatives insist the social media giants are blocking their followers, stifling their free speech, and pushing a liberal agenda.

Trump falsely tweeted during the election, for example, Twitter, Google, and Facebook are burying the criminal investigation of Clinton. Very dishonest media.

And it's a theme he's pushing still.

TRUMP: Let me tell you, they're trying to rig the election. I'll tell you what, they should be sued, because what's happening with the bias --


FOREMAN: Many Democrats, independents, and even some Republicans are saying, look, there has not been so much a summit as a hit job on big social media companies, a preemptive attack to paint them as unfair and beat them into submission, just as the 2020 race is heating up. So if team Trump gets into any trouble during the election, they can throw up their hands and say, see, we told you! They're unfair -- Jake.

TAPPER: Perennially, they're victims.


TAPPER: Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

Insults and promises, the pitch Joe Biden just made that was full of name calling. Stay with us.





[16:43:38] TAPPER: In our 2020 lead, Joe Biden today drawing one of the sharpest contrasts to date between him and President Trump. In a speech laying out his foreign policy plans if elected, Biden lambasting the president for his relationship with American allies, promising he won't, quote, cuddle dictators and reminding voters about his decades of foreign policy work.

But as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, that's exactly what Biden's critics are using to attack him.


BIDEN: Make no mistake about it: The world sees Trump for what he is -- a sincere, ill-informed, and impulsive, and sometimes corrupt.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joe Biden outlining his foreign policy doctrine today, offering a world view that revolves almost entirely around defeating President Trump and dismantling his America first agenda.

BIDEN: Donald Trump's brand of American first has too often led to America alone.

ZELENY: In a speech in New York today, the former vice president pledged to restore fraying U.S. alliances, calling the 2020 election an urgent turning point for the world.

BIDEN: We have to restore our ability to rally the free world. We only have one opportunity to reset this democracy after Trump. And we have to be prepared to make the most of it.

[16:45:00] ZELENY: But Biden is also seeking to reset his own campaign, trying once again to present himself as the best Democrat to confront Trump and hoping to allay any concern about the strength of his candidacy.

The contrast with Trump was stark in both policy and presentation as Biden delivered a sober lecture rather than the more boisterous talked the president favors.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama and Vice President Biden, they didn't have a clue. They got taken advantage of by China, by NATO, by every country they did business with.

ZELENY: If elected Biden said he would convene a summit of the world's strongest democracies during his first year in office signaling to allies a return to an American normalcy. He did not address the distinctions inside the Democratic primary, not directly mentioning his 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq war which his rivals have already been using to raise questions about his judgment.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe voted for that war, I helped lead the opposition to that war which is a total disaster.

ZELENY: The closest Biden came was this.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: American leadership is not infallible. We've made missteps and mistakes.

ZELENYS: As he pushed for an end to the longest conflict in U.S. history.

BIDEN: This long past time we in the forever wars. I have long argued that we should bring home the vast majority of our combat troops.


ZELENY: Now while Biden kept his remarks squarely focused on President Trump, he had barely finished speaking when a top adviser to Bernie Sanders called by now saying any forward-looking policy must grapple with the continuing impact of Iraq.

It's an open question though if Iraq or Trump's world view is a more pressing concern to voters. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much. Phil Bump, Biden today said that if he were president, there will be no more Helsinki. It's a reference to the meeting with Putin. He said the world sees President Trump as ill-informed and impulsive, and he slammed what he called Twitter trick tantrums by the president. What do you make of it all?

PHILIP BUMP, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that Biden is as Jeff said, he's very squarely trying to focuses on an "it is me against Trump debate," right. I mean, this is how he started his campaign. Kamala Harris knocked him off that -- off that track during that debate. He is trying to resuscitate his campaign by going back to something with which he feels very comfortable.

Now, remember in 2008, the reason -- one of the reasons that Barack Obama chose Biden was to square up his own foreign policy credentials. Joe Biden sees this as an area of strength. For him, he's trying to present it is him versus Trump on this field. Whether or not it takes remains to be seen.

TAPPER: Now, Republican critics of Biden air pointing to a line from the former defense secretary during the Obama years and also Bush. Robert Gates, his 2014 book where he says Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy decision over the last 40 years. Gates stands by that. Is that a problem?

NAVARRO: Look, 40 years is a long time, right? I think he's entitled to some mistakes.

TAPPER: But he's saying everything was a mistake, every single decision.

NAVARRO: That sounds a little bit of an exaggeration. Joe Biden's greatest strength and certainly what he's trying to portray is his experience. He was a chairman at a time of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate. It is his greatest strength. It's also baggage and it's also given -- you know, put a target on his back when it comes to his opponents.

He wants to focus squarely on Trump. His opponents in a Democratic primary want to focus squarely on him. And I think after Kamala Harris showed that you can get a bump of ten points after knocking him off his game, he's going to ---he's going to see much more of that.

CUPP: I mean, that's the thing. We saw how defensive he got defending some of his domestic record. I mean, if you look at his foreign policy, he was against the Gulf War, he was for the Iraq war, he was against the Osama bin Laden raid. He was for intervention in Yemen. He's going to have to answer questions from his own party not just his candidates but Democratic voters on all of those decisions. If he's as defensive as he was as he has been, I don't think he's going to clear any of those landmines.

BOYKIN: Yes. The criticism from Robert Gates actually helps him because Gates was complaining about Biden's votes against the Reagan administration. And the Democratic primary, that's a good thing because Democrats did not like Reagan. But the general problem that Biden has is that he's running a general election campaign. That was a general election speech that does nothing for him in terms of winning the primary.

If he's running against -- running against Donald Trump in the fall of next year, that's very useful. But right now he's got to explain his vote on the war in Iraq and that's still an issue that separates him from the other Democrats he'll be facing in the Democratic primary, not to mention the fact that Trump goes around claiming that he was opposed to the war in Iraq even though he's had both positions on it.

So he's going to have to separate himself, Joe Biden, from Donald Trump's own position. The Democrats can't speak with some sort of moral clarity on the issue if they have somebody who doesn't speak clearly on that issue as well.

TAPPER: Well, Keith, I mean, let me just follow up on that. How big an issue is the war in Iraq for Democratic voters? They had a stark choice in 2016. Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq though she said like Biden that she regretted it, Bernie Sanders opposed it, and they went with Hillary Clinton last time. Why would it hurt Biden if it didn't really hurt Hillary Clinton necessarily?

BOYKIN: Yes, I mean I think it's still an issue. It did hurt Hillary Clinton in the primaries. That's part of the reason why Bernie Sanders was able to take off. I mean, it didn't stop her from winning the nomination, but Joe Biden's got a lot more competition than Hillary Clinton had. So she has -- he also has to deal with other candidates like Kamala Harris, and he has to deal with Elizabeth Warren, he has to deal with Bernie Sanders as well. So you've got 24 other candidates out there while Hillary Clinton only had one.

[16:50:16]TAPPER: All right --

NAVARRO: He should just get an empty globe, put it in front of Donald Trump and say here, name ten countries.

TAPPER: That's a --

BOYKIN: Donald Trump would make them up and his supporters would still love him.

TAPPER: You don't want to miss the next Democratic presidential primary debates right here on CNN. My colleagues Dana Bash and Don Lemon will join me in moderating both nights of the debate July 30th and July 31st in Detroit, Michigan.

Not just rising temperatures and increasing natural disasters, the growing problem that the climate crisis is causing that few people saw coming. That's next.


[16:55:00] TAPPER: Our "BURIED LEAD" now. A State Department analyst resigned according to "The Wall Street Journal" and "New York Times" after the White House removed a portion of his June Congressional testimony which included evidence that the climate crisis is a threat to U.S. national security. The State Department told CNN it does not comment on personnel matters.

As part of our "EARTH MATTERS SERIES," CNN's Climate Correspondent Bill Weir is looking into an economic as well as an environmental threat to communities across this country, what's known as climate gentrification.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL WEIR, CNN CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: This intersection is nine feet above sea level. This one is seven, that one is six. And these numbers are just one reminder that in the age of sea level rise, evaluation is everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plan is to raise the sea wall to here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be about this high.

WEIR: In Ritzy Miami Beach, they're raising streets, changing building codes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water is rising and it won't recede.

WEIR: In well-to-do Pinecrest, they formed America's first underwater homeowner's association. But in working-class immigrant neighborhoods like Little Haiti, year-to-year sea level rise gets lost in the day- to-day struggle. They had no idea they were lifting a lofty three feet higher than their rich neighbors, but they figured it out when strangers started calling and buying.

MARLEINE BASTIEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAMILY. ACTION NETWORK MOVEMENT: They are being pushed out from their homes, from their businesses. We are now --

WEIR: Because high ground is valued property now.

BASTIEN: Well, believe it or not, we didn't know that.

WEIR: Investors from as far away as China began buying land, raising rent. Mom and pop businesses began to disappear. And after the kids in Marleine's community center had to have move three times, she learned the term Climate Gentrification.

Do you imagine a day where property values are almost flip, where what used to be the bad side of the railroad tracks is more valuable because it's high ground as opposed to the beach.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: I don't imagine it for climatic reasons. I imagine it for other gentrification reasons.

WEIR: Miami's Republican mayor championed a plan to spend $400 million on the climate crisis including funds to keep low-income folks from being priced out of safe neighborhoods. But Marleine says she'll believe it when she sees it and fought hard to stop a $1 billion development called Magic City in, you guessed it, Little Haiti.

BASTIEN: They want to build 25 stories. That would be the end of Little Haiti.

WEIR: Right. But doesn't it also means thousands of new jobs for the community?

BASTIEN: Thousands of new jobs for who?

WEIR: Not for you? Not for these folks? BASTIEN: They won't be here to access the jobs because they'll all be


WEIR: But a protest failed. And after Magic City promised $31 million to the community, the mega-project was approved.

MAX SKLAR, VICE PRESIDENT, PLAZA EQUITY PARTNERS: The area we took was all industrial. There was no real thriving economy around these warehouses or vacant land. So our goal is to create that economy.

WEIR: Is sea level rise part of the equation?

SKLAR: Look, in the time that we purchased this property, obviously, climate change is something that everybody looks at. But it wasn't a factor that we considered when acquiring the property.


WEIR: Leonie is among the Haitian leaders who believes gentrification is out of control so they might as well embrace Magic City and hope for the best.

HERMANTIN: We need to be part of the solution. Because if you're not around the table, what are you, the meal. We don't want to be nobody's meal.

WEIR: This puts her at odds with Marleine. But they are just a sample of how a slow-motion disaster is dividing neighbors. How climate is giving new meaning to the old saying, real estate is all about location, location, and elevation.


TAPPER: And Bill Weir joins me in studio right now. Bill, do the people in power down there, do they see this as climate gentrification?

WEIR: Well, it's tricky, because they can't admit that they would lose to the sea eventually. You know, all of the real estate tax pay is based in development and growth. So the mayor is saying, we're going to manage it.

He's one of the rare Republicans who passionately agrees it exists and we should be mitigating it but thinks we can get out ahead of it and making Miami instead of the most vulnerable, the most sort of resolute, adaptable city.

TAPPER: And you go all over the country. Have you seen this elsewhere?

WEIR: No. They're leading the way. Florida, South Florida, California, and Alaska, where it was hotter in Anchorage than Key West on the Fourth of July, it's a non-partisan issue there.

TAPPER: Bill Weir, thanks so much. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or tweet the show @THELEADCNN.