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Trump Is Calling On Four Democratic Congresswomen Of Color To Go Back To The Countries They Came From; The ICE Raids That Were Set For Nine Cities Targeting Thousands Of Migrants Are Under Way; Rep. Omar Is The Only One Out Of Four Called Out That Isn't From America And The Question Is Will Her Fellow Democrats Support Her. Aired 7- 7:30a ET
Aired July 15, 2019 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
In terms of putting on Iran and therefore unraveling the nuclear deal.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-HOST, CNN NEWS: OK Nick thank you very much for all of that and "New Day" continues right now.
President Trump suggesting Democratic lawmakers go back to their countries in a tweet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Constantly looking for every way to divide people, it's a political strategy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you are a Trump supporter, you might not push back at all or even see it as racist.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES: They're going to take people out and they're going to bring them back to their countries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have the raids started?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't speak to operational specifics and won't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one wants to see children ripped away from their parents, that ought to stop right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This storm still has a long way to go before it leaves the state.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One home completely ripped apart because of the strong winds from Barry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It pays to be safe than sorry, coming to a shelter, it's the most safe place for me and my family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day" with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CO-HOST, CNN NEWS: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world, this is "New Day" and this morning what the president said was racist.
I want to read you the lead from Peter Baker's piece in the New York Times this morning, it says President Trump woke up, gazed out at the nation he leads, saw the dry kindling of race relations and decided to throw a match on it.
It was not the first time nor is it likely to be the last. He has a pretty large carton of matches and a ready supply of kerosene. The president, pure and simple, if trafficking in basic, un-nuanced racism.
He is calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to the countries they came from. Not that it matters, all of them are U.S. citizens, three of them were born in this country.
As of this minute, we've only heard from one single elected Republican condemning the president's statement, just one. So where are the other voices this morning?
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile the Trump administration says the ICE raids that were set for nine cities targeting thousands of migrants are under way, but advocacy groups say they are not seeing them yet.
The New York Times reports said plans were changed at the last minute because reports had tipped off the immigrant communities ahead of time. Now you may remember that President Trump himself publicly announced the details of the raids last week.
So we will discuss these raids with the Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli later in the hour. But joining us now to talk about the president's racist rant, we have Maysoon Zayed.
She's a writer, producer and disability advocate. Michael Smerconish, host of CNN's "Smerconish", Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz and Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter for the Washington Post.
We're so glad that all of you are joining us for this important conversation. You know, there are some times, Maysoon, that we chalk things up to well that's Donald Trump being Donald Trump.
And then there are some times like yesterday that what he tweets out so shocks the system that it sort of - the smoke clears and it reminds you that this is the president of the United States.
You are a Muslim woman, what did you think when you read that yesterday?
MAYSOON ZAYED, WRITER, PRODUCER, DISABILITY ADVOCATE: I always think that there's absolutely nothing that he can do that will shock me, and I was shocked to my core because what I saw was someone who has no fear anymore, who is totally OK with being openly racist and knows that he can gaslight us all into thinking that that's OK.
I felt it as a Muslim woman, as a brown woman, but mostly I felt it as an American, as an American citizen who no longer feels safe because of our own president, that's where we are right now.
BERMAN: Will you just explain to us how the phrase go back where you came from is such a loaded statement?
ZAYED: First of all, it's usually flung at people in violence. So people ask me all the time do people say go back to your country to me and I say yes, people say go back to your country to me all the time and I usually joke about the fact that I'm from Jersey and whether people like it or not that is part of America.
But what it's really saying is you don't belong, and go back to your country is being partnered with really violent images of people being caged on our borders. So if we don't belong here, what does that mean?
It means that we're not safe, it means that we're not welcome and it means that we're being called not American. That is un-American behavior.
CAMEROTA: Amanda, what do you think the response from Republicans will be today and why we didn't hear from them yesterday?
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER SENIOR STAFFER FOR TED CRUZ: Duck and cover because when you are a Republican star president, Republicans let you do it, you can do anything.
I am very proud of the fact that my former colleague, Representative Chip Roy was the lone Republican to go out on Twitter and say this is wrong. Fellow Republicans, grow a spine like Chip Roy, you do not have to condone racism to be a strong conservative, to be strong on immigration policies, to support the principles that you believe in because every time you duck and cover from this conversation and refuse to hold the president accountable, you lost your credibility with everyone else in the country. Be like Chip.
BERMAN: Amanda, is silence acquiescence?
CAMEROTA: Should we read Chip Roy's tweet, because I appreciate, Amanda, you pointing out that he did tweet. And I do think that in this culture it is brave, though it's hardly a full throated condemnation, but here we go. Here it is.
"The president was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any home besides the U.S. But I just as strongly believe non-citizens who abuse our immigration laws should be sent home immediately and representatives who refuse to defend America should be sent home on November 2020."
I mean he could have just stopped with the first sentence, Amanda.
CARPENTER: Sure, but this is the bind that Republicans get in, and I think Chip was wise to say I am a conservative, there is the mentality today, I have been subjected to it constantly, if you don't support the president somehow you aren't a Republican, you're a liberal.
Chip Roy most definitely is not, as are many conservatives that I know who refuse to go along with this racist train that the president is driving.
BERMAN: Racism isn't conservative, you know, as a political philosophy racism isn't conservative or liberal, it's just racist. And Toluse, this was a choice by the president. I don't know if he wrote this tweet or not specifically, you know, he owns it, there's no question he owns it.
I will note there are no spelling or grammatical errors so I do wonder -
BERMAN: I do wonder if it came from his own Twitter fingers. But Toluse, why choose racism from the White House and the Trump campaign this weekend? Has your reporting turned up anything?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well this is part of a long standing pattern with this president. You have to remember that he sort of came to national political prominence on the racist idea of birtherism which he promoted in - as he's moved through his political career, he's been able to continue making some of these comments and he's seen the push back decreased from Republican allies when he was running for president and he talked about a Mexican judge who was actually an American citizen.
He got push back from members of his party, Paul Ryan, other leaders. But now you're not hearing that push back. You're hearing a lot of silence, you're hearing acquiescence as you said from leaders of its party, some rank and file members of his party, people who know what he's saying is wrong but are too cowardly to actually speak out about it.
And the president knows that, he has political instincts to know that he has carte blanche within his party to say whatever he wants, and this is an issue that he believes he can use for 2020, stir up his base, get people angry, get people divided.
And he believes that that worked in 2016 and he can use it to great effect in 2020. The difference between then and now, are there are far fewer within his party pushing back and he does have that leeway to make those comments and potentially even go further.
CAMEROTA: Michael, your thoughts on whether this works for the Republicans in 2020 or hurts them.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO HOST, CNN NEWS: So to John's point, this was not a gaff. A gaff is something that is unintentional, this was deliberate. This was not - and I'm not putting them in the same equation, but I just want to illustrate a point.
This was not President Obama at a wine and cheese talking about Pennsylvanians clinging to their guns and bibles, this was not George Allen out on the stump not knowing he was being filmed when he made that Macaca comment.
We're used to candidates putting their foot in their mouth unintentionally, this was with malice, a forethought. And so it begs the question why would the president have tweeted that out? Why would he deliberately have done so?
And, you know, his instincts, although they may be offensive, have often been very, very accurate in reaching that constituency. I like to say that the president gives very good ear, whether he overstepped his bounds in this case remains to be seen because demographic shift in the country is really the lurking issue that motivates those who came out and supported him in 2016.
It's not just limited to the United States, Boris Johnson is about to be elected prime minister of the U.K. I think because of the same motivations and whether the president went too far in this instance, it remains to be seen.
He's playing for just a handful of states and it's all with an eye toward that.
BERMAN: Maysoon, Michael is saying the president's doing this because he thinks it might work, and one of your greatest fears is that it will work.
ZAYED: One of my greatest fears is that it will work and it's really interesting to hear people say is this the line, is this too much? This is violent racism, and I don't care if it's being used to distract from Epstein, I don't care if it's being used to get out the 2020 vote, it is violent, it is dangerous, it needs to be called out.
It doesn't need to be normalized or excused. I really think that this is a moment in time where if this is not stopped, this will become America.
This is the president, whether you like it or not, he speaks for us all and he is shouting racism from the rooftops and there is an entire party behind him who is silent. And the idea that these people are fearful, they don't know what fear is.
Fear is waking up in America, the country that you were born and raised in and know that when you go out on the street people are going to start yelling, go back to your country, possibly face violence because the president is inciting it. And, I don't think these people are fearful, I don't think they're cowardly. I think they're complicit and they're racist, because if you're not racist you speak up in this moment.
This is a time in history where Americans need everyone to stand up and say, no, we're not going to let brown and black people feel fear in this country.
CAMEROTA: And you've talked about -- you've used the word terrorized. You feel differently today than you did yesterday after you read that tweet. You woke up and you had a different physical sense of security because of that tweet.
ZAYID: And as I said, I'm not a fearful person. I go perform in warzones. I was a Muslim-American living in New Jersey post 9/11 and I have never felt as terrorized as I do right now.
As a disabled person, as a woman, as a woman of color, and especially as a Muslim, who constantly has a president saying we don't belong. Who posts snuff videos, who is not held to any standard that any other person employed or on social media is held to.
CAMEROTA: The president posted a snuff video of killing Muslims?
ZAYID: He posted a video where he claimed Muslims were killing people and they showed the actual killing, and it turned out to be a fake video from Britain First, who has been banned in their own country. And that was being amplified by this man.
And I really keep repeating over and over, I don't care if you're doing this for votes, I don't care if you're afraid, this is the time to be brave. We need people in power to stand up and say, enough, and I don't want pile on Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi, why are you using xenophobic? Nobody knows what xenophobic is. Call it what it is, violent, dangerous hate speech and racism.
BERMAN: You know, Amanda Carpenter, Tim Alberta has this new book this week out, "American Carnage," which talks about the Trump takeover of the Republican Party. Is this confirmation that the operation is complete?
CARPENTER: Yes, but also a continuation of it. I think that when Trump posts these controversial things, he's posing more loyalty tests to his troops. Who's going to go out and defend me, right?
Like, he likes to see who says nice things about him on television. And let me tell you President Trump, you keep saying these things; you're going to get terrible people defending you. Only the misfits, only the dregs, you will not have the best people, you will have the worse.
But I want to follow up on something that was said earlier about Republicans being brave, anyone being brave. It doesn't take that much to say this is wrong. We're not asking you to put on a uniform and go fight terrorism.
All you have to do is go on Twitter and say this is wrong. If people do that, people will feel safer. It's really the least you can do. It'll take two seconds. It's not that much effort. Get off your butts, get out of bed, get on your phone, post a tweet, say this is wrong and come together on this.
CAMEROTA: Amanda, such a great point. Is it in terms of bravery, I mean, that picking up your phone from your bed does not really rise to the level of courage that we normally associate with American bravery?
So, Toluse, you have your finger on the pulse of Congress, will they say -- will Republicans, will there be an outcry today?
OLORUNNIPA: I think they've had plenty of time. I mean, there's almost been 24 hours since the president made these comments and the silence has been deafening and it is very defining for the party, for the Republicans who decided that they do not want to weigh in on this.
Some of the Republicans who you might expect to weight in on this, based on the past, some of them have been driven out of office. And if there's anything that motivates members of Congress, it's the ability to hold onto power and I think getting into a tit for tat with this president is something that none of these Republicans want any part of and they're much more willing to turn a blind eye to his comments than get it out in front of it and actually take a stand and potentially get pushback from the President of the United States.
So, I don't expect to see much from the Republicans in Congress in response to this, just because they've had plenty of time and if they haven't been able to muster the courage to say anything about it, they are willfully sort of deciding that it's OK.
BERMAN: By the way, the phone lines are open. We have put out messages and feelers (ph). Any republican who wants to call in. If you're an elected member of Congress, you want to call in and speak about this, we will take that call. Michael Smerconish, it does strike me that the Smerconish's didn't come over on the Mayflower nor did the Bermans or the Camerota's or the Zayids an all, but Amanda, I can't tell.
But this is a -
CAMEROTA: Maybe yours was a carpenter on the Mayflower.
BERMAN: Exactly, exactly. But Michael, just - so how did this comment strike you because I'm sure members of your family have heard the same thing?
SMERCONISH: You know, it's so funny you bring this up because when I first saw the tweets I said, "it's not about those four. It's not about the quote, unquote, 'squad.' It's about all of us. It's about the melting pot of America."
And you're absolutely right, John. In my case, a generation ago or two, it would have been about the Austria-Hungarian Empire, modern-day Poland from my father's side of the family and Montenegro in the former Yugoslavia from my mother's side of the family. It could have been said about us, too, and I think that's the biggest consideration of all. It's about all of us, not just four.
BERMAN: I think that's a great point. It is a fundamental comment about what America is. Friends, thank you all for being with us here this morning. A great group of Americans.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. Thank you for that conversation.
BERMAN: All right, the leader of one of America's just biggest allies just spoke out to condemn the president's racist attack. This is from a different country, not from one half of Congress, so will the president pay a price for this? We're going to be joined by Tom Friedman of The New York Times next.
BERMAN: President Trump launched one of the most openly-racist attacks of his presidency tweeting that progressive democratic congresswoman should go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Joining me now is Thomas Friedman. He's a New York Times Columnist and author of the best- selling book "Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist Guide to Thriving In the Age of Acceleration". Tom, I have to say an optimist is what I need this morning. I think we all need that.
When you read over the weekend what the president told these four democratic congresswomen to go back to the countries they came from, what was your first reaction?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well John, I really - we pick up on what Michael Smerconish said which is that the president isn't talking just about or to these four congresswomen. He's talking about us. He's talking about we. He's talking about every Irish American whose grandparents fled the potato famine. He's talking about every Italian American whose grandparents or great grandparents fled the depression. He's talking about every Muslim American whose parents or grandparents fled the disorder of Lebanon or Libya or Iraq. He's talking about every black American whose great-great grandparents were forced to come here in slavery or fled disorder in Africa. He's talking about every Latin American whose family came here fro Venezuela or Mexico.
He's talking about we and us. Every one of us at some point or virtually all of us have - can trace our roots to what Trump has called shithole countries. Hey, Camerota, which shithole country did your grandparents come from? Berman, which shithole country did your grandparents come from?
We all came here. We all came here because this is not a country of blood and soil which Trump thinks. It's a country built around a universal idea that out of many we make one. And I know one thing absolutely for sure that we have a President of the United States who could not pass the simplest - the simplest citizenship test that is administered to every new immigrant in this country because he has no idea what this country is about.
BERMAN: You know, Camerota, go back to Italy, you know?
CAMEROTA: I mean, and by the way, my great grandparents when they came in 1904 were not held in cages by the way.
BERMAN: No, no. You know, it would be Berman, go back to Russia, Poland. Tom, I'm sure, you know, go back somewhere. And Tom Friedman, I will note the Friedmans are - you are from the Minnesota Congressional District that Ilhan Omar represents right now. So before she was a new immigrant there, your family was new immigrants there.
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely. I come from the little town outside of Minneapolis called St. Louis Park that before my parents moved there was a prominently white, you know, a Christian suburb, and then they welcomed frankly the biggest Jewish immigration of any community in the upper Midwest back in the early 50s. And you know, a generation later they welcomed the Somalis, and that's the story of the country.
But John, when you have a president without shame backed by a party without spine, backed by a network called Fox without integrity, you get this kind of aberrant behavior because no one is drawing red lines around him.
The only thing I would say about this to me is that inside he must be worried about something because any time he goes to this extreme it's because he thinks he needs to gen up his base and may go back to those polls that say he's not doing so well.
BERMAN: I want to read you a reaction we did get from a conservative, political leader. It just happens to be the conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May. She put out a statement just moments ago. "The language that was used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable." That is from the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. How come we've heard from Theresa May and besides one single of member of Congress, no other Republicans talk?
FRIEDMAN: Because Trump using Twitter has basically energized the republican base and made every republican leader fearful that if they take on the president he will primary them. It's one of the most disgusting and frightening things I think we've ever seen in American politics.
We have a president saying fundamentally non-American things, and as is said, I can't say this often enough, he is a man without shame. But what enables him to do this, is that he has a party without spine and they're amplified by a network without integrity.
BERMAN: I want to read to you, we just go the first response from the White House itself. This comes from Marc Short who is the Chief of Staff for Vice President Pence. So, let's listen to Marc Short.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SHORT, CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If the Democrats choose to want to want to unite around Ilhan Omar, it will be interesting to see how that plays out for them. So, when people write that the president has racist motives here, it's
just look at -- look at the reality of who's actually serving in Donald Trump's cabinet. He's making a point about a great frustration a lot of people feel, that I think it's hard to find anything Ilhan Omar actually says since elected to Congress has been positive about the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It's that first part of the comment that interests me the most Tom, and perhaps you as well, again, from being from the Minnesota Congressional district that Ilhan Omar now represents, if the Democrats want to unite around Ilhan Omar, it will be interesting to see how that plays out for them.
The White House is trying to frame this around her.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, well clearly because she's the one who is not born in the United States. Look, I have issues with things Ilhan Omar has said, and that's not a secret. I've written about that and I've spoken about that, on this network in fact. She has trucked at times and anti-Semitic troupes. She's said some things about 9/11, which I find very disturbing, but that is a totally separate issue.
We can have that political debate, but you don't lump together four woman, three of whom where born in America, one abroad, who have spoken out on a lot of issues and other than basically -- basically do to them what Trump tried to do to Obama, which is say, you are not an America, you are not a real America.
He fabricated that Obama was born in Africa, not in America, and when you go down that road, John, what you do, is send a signal to all bigots around this country, bigots and racists, that these people are not of us and that does really make them targets in a country full of guns. It is incredibly dangerous what he is trucking (ph) in.
BERMAN: I've to say, Thomas Friedman has agreed to stick around with us for one more segment. Tom, I have another question for you about what you think the biggest threat to this country is right now, we'll get to that, and also some of the threats you see around the world. More with Thomas Friedman when we come back.