Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Makes Controversial Tweet Telling Four Congresswomen to Go Back to their Country; Interview With Julian Castro (D) Presidential Candidate. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 15, 2019 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump suggesting that some members of Congress should go back to their countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The feels his resonating with his core supporters.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is racist and un-American. You should never hear that from the president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have not seen any ICE agents making any appearances, but the fear is very palpable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should be able to enforce the law any reasonable way, and that's what we're doing here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want comprehensive immigration reform, but frightening children across our country is simply unacceptable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You heard the glass breaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. All the windows started coming out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Days of rain ahead. Barry continues to push inland.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people may think it does not present a threat. That is not the case.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 15th, 8:00 now in the east. And this morning we are hearing the reaction after President Trump tweets a stunningly racist attack against four Democratic congresswomen of color. Democrats spent Sunday speaking out against it. But to this point, just one Republican lawmaker has come out against that.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That can't be true. Just one?

CAMEROTA: Just one when last we checked. It's early Monday, but they have had almost 24 hours.

The president sent this incendiary tweet telling the women to go back to the countries they came from. All the lawmakers that are referenced there are American citizens. Three of them were born in the U.S.

BERMAN: We have been asking Republican lawmakers to contact us if they want to speak out against the president's racist tweets. So far, no takers. The highest profile condemnation from the last hour did come from a conservative politician, but one from the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister ThMresa may, she called the language used to refer to the women completely unacceptable. Just moments ago we did get reaction from the vice president's chief of staff.


MARC SHORT, CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE VICE PRESIDENT FO THE UNITED STATES: If the Democrats choose to want to unite around Ilhan Omar, it will be interested to see how that plays out for them. When people write that the president has racist motives, look at the reality of who is actually serving in Donald Trump's cabinet. He's making a point about a great frustration a lot of people feel that I think is hard to find anything Ilhan Omar ahs actually said since elected to Congress has been positive about the United States of America.


CAMEROTA: All right, we have a lot to talk about this morning, obviously. So joining us now are Mia Love, she's the former Utah Republican Congresswoman and CNN political commentator, we have Frank Bruni, "New York times" op-ed columnist and CNN contributor, Bianna Golodyrga, she is also a CNN contributor. Mia Love, I want to start with you, because we've only heard thus far from one Republican, Chip Roy of Texas, who gave not a full-throated condemnation but at least said it was wrong. Your thoughts on this?

MIA LOVE, (R) FORMER UTAH CONGRESSWOMAN, CNN COMMENTATOR: First of all, I think the reason why you're not seeing Republicans come out is because it's a very icky subject to get into. They don't like it. They don't want to be part of it. They would rather it just kind of go away. Frankly to me, and I think a lot of people, it's incredibly frustrating to see these types of tweets come out because it pulls away from any positive agenda that has to happen. There is issues at the border. There's a major crisis at the border. We're still waiting for immigration reform. And the American people are seeing Congress and the White House as a group that continues to just fight each other instead of fighting for the issues that they care about.

And I have to tell you that when you look at some of these tweets also, people like me, who are Republican, it's going to be difficult for the president to continue to talk to independents when he continues to make people feel like they're not part of the American vision that he is putting out there.

CAMEROTA: So you think that is the upshot, that it makes people feel like others and outsiders. But just to be clear, do you see those tweets as racist?

LOVE: Racist is a very -- I take that word incredibly seriously. I don't -- I'm not in the president's head. I do not think that these comments help. I am not going to get into whether he is racist. I don't think that those comments help him. I don't think that the comments help his narrative. I'm incredibly frustrated, I continue to be frustrated. I continue to tell me children not to look at these comments, not to behave or react to them, that they have to be empowered and not to let anybody determine who they are and how they are going to behave or what history writes about them.

BERMAN: Congresswoman, have you ever had anyone tell you to go back to a country from which you came from or from where your ancestors came from?

LOVE: Have I ever had anybody say that?


[08:05:00] LOVE: Oh, gosh. The country I came from was the United States, the country I was born in.

CAMEROTA: Just like these women.

LOVE: Yes. And so here is -- and this is what I would tell these women. First of all, I know Ayanna Pressley very well. I don't know the others. Ayanna and I have worked with each other before actually I became a member of Congress. And I can tell you one thing about Ayanna, that this is not going to be something that affects her. People have said horrible things, worse than that, by the way, to me. And I'll tell you right now that I am comfortable in my skin, I am comfortable with who I am, and words like that will not affect me negatively and will not determine how my children are seen in this country and how we love and behave and do everything that we can to show our American patriotism.

Bianna Golodryga, who joins us now onset, you are an immigrant, right, from Moldova?


BERMAN: And you grew up with people telling you to go back to Russia?

GOLODRYGA: Oh, yes, all the time, and not out of love. This was clearly an insult and a racist comment. I was called a commie spy and told to go back to Russia. So let's stop dancing around this issue. It's a racist comment. It's a racist comment any time somebody says go back to the country from which you came.

And I also think from a larger standpoint it does a disservice to Republicans, because now any time a Republican wants to come out and criticize any of these four congresswoman on their policies will be lumped into any sort of racist labels. And so from the larger standpoint when you want to talk about these women and their policies in office, absolutely. When you talk about their nationalities, their heritages, there's no other way to define it than racist, and a cheap shot.

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Mia love said she's frustrated, Republicans are frustrated. I'm frustrated with that interview. All due respect, I have no idea why she's dancing around calling those comments racist. She's no longer in Congress, and she still seems unwilling to call out the president's behavior for what it is. Those were racist -- no, please, those were racist tweets. And Republicans aren't running away from that tweet or the comments in the tweet because they're icky. They are being silent because they fear if they cross Donald Trump he will make it difficult for them to get reelected. This is a pure political calculation. It's a political calculation being made at the expense of civil and correct discourse in this country. And it's allowing Donald Trump to tear this country --

LOVE: I see the bigger issue here. And the bigger issue to me is when I go out and I see how the world views us, I see that the world looking at us tearing each other apart. So I'm sorry, don't tell me how I should feel about what somebody says about me, because I have grown up as a black woman in America my entire life. And I have been taught that I will not allow anyone to make me a victim. So I call it like it is.

Do I like those comments, do I think they are helpful? Absolutely not. Am I going to let it affect me, do I think Ayanna should let it affect her? Absolutely not. We are Americans, and we're going to continue to behave like Americans. And when somebody says something to us, we're not going to stoop down to that level. So that is what I'm saying. I don't know if you don't like what I'm saying, but this is my truth and how I feel about the situation.

BRUNI: Representative Love, all due respect, I wasn't talking about anything said about you. You were asked if you thought the tweet that Donald Trump sent about those four women Democratic congresswomen was racist, and you said you didn't like using the word. You ran away from it. You also said, and this is what I'm talking about --

LOVE: I didn't run away from it. I do not like using that word. If you offend -- I'm not going to get into the mind of somebody --

CAMEROTA: Yes, but we didn't see he's a racist, just the words, congresswoman. We just wondered if you thought the words were racist?

LOVE: I think that the words are horrible. I think that they could absolutely be seen as racist. Again, I am not -- I don't like them. I think it's unpresidential. I am not an apologist for the president, I've never been an apologist for the president. I have actually been a person that has called him out on issues and words like this. I wish they would focus on the issues Americans care about. So yes, the word "frustrated" is maybe not enough. Yes, I am incredibly frustrated. I wish that Congress and the United States president would work on the issues that are important to Americans today.

GOLODRYGA: The congresswoman talks about how we're viewed from around the world. And as an American, it is a bit insulting and jarring when you have the prime minister of the U.K. call the U.S. president out on comments that he made when you have U.S. elected officials not doing the same. And so when you have the president subsequently follow up that tweet and Marc Short say if Americans want to defend their hatred toward Israel or what have you -- no, it's not a binary choice. You can go after their policies, you can go after their rhetoric around certain issues without having to once again define it all as being they are racist and they should go back to their countries. They are two separate issues.

BRUNI: Let's also just be really clear about this one thing.

[08:10:00] Republicans are not silent because they find the subject matter icky. They are silent because they are making a political calculation and this is pure cowardice. And we have to talk about it that way and to talk about it any other way is to let them off the hook.

CAMEROTA: And Frank, just to be clear, you think all Republicans in different states around the country think racism is a winning strategy for them?

BRUNI: No. First of all, we're talking about Republicans in Congress.

CAMEROTA: That's what I mean.

BRUNI: I don't think Republicans in Congress think racism is a winning strategy for them. I think they don't want to cross the president even if they tacitly condone racism in the process.

BERMAN: Congresswoman?

LOVE: OK, but they also represent -- the House of Representatives is the branch of government that's closest to the people. And I think that they also represent a base of people that is in their districts. And I honestly -- the people in their districts really don't want them to get involved in this issue. There are people that are sitting there waiting for somebody to tell them how they are going to become citizens in the United States, what is going to happen to their families. There are people waiting to find out what's going to happen to health care, what's going to happen to their environment, how they are going to put food on the table.

And so you can make a blanket statement and say it's just because they don't want to cross hairs with the president, but you've had many Republicans that have gotten into crosshairs with the president. You've had Carlos Curbelo, you've had Jeff Flake.

BERMAN: They are all former members. They are all former members. They are all former members of Congress.

LOVE: They are. And I have to tell you, people like me have also been targets of the Democrat Party. So you have to figure out whether it's the issue or whether you want to have political control, because there are times when they go after members of Congress who are with them on some of these issues, also, even if they get into the crosshairs with the president. CAMEROTA: It's an ugly time.

BRUNI: There are time when you don't pause and say do my constituents want me to get involved in this or not. There are times when you take a moral stand. That's part of being a politician, too. And one of those times is when the president said after Charlottesville that there were good people on both sides, and another one of those times is this morning after he tweeted after these four congresswomen of color should go back to their own countries. You take a moral stand.

LOVE: But you have had people who have done that. I think it's absolutely disingenuous to say there are members of Congress that haven't done that. Tim Scott and I have done that. Time Scott is still there. Will Hurd has done that. He's still there. So I think, again, it's disingenuous to say that there are people that have not come out and have condemned --

CAMEROTA: I hear you. I hear you, congresswoman. Just this morning. This morning there was one. And it was not, as we've said --

GOLODRYGA: There was a "but" attached to it.

CAMEROTA: -- the most aggressive. There was a "but."

GOLODRYGA: There was a "but" attached to it. And let's just remind ourselves that speaking out against racism will not prevent Americans from focusing on health care and jobs, et cetera. These are two separate issues.

CAMEROTA: We can do both at the same time.

LOVE: I think it's a distraction, though. I think all of this is a distraction.

BERMAN: OK, I want to pick up on that.

LOVE: It pins us up against each other, and we really shouldn't do that. Again, I just do not like the fact that here we are as Americans, and we're getting -- we're going after each other. It creates -- I agree with Mr. Freeman who was on the show earlier that talks about us being the greatest threat to ourselves. We really have to do everything we can to look within and talk about how we're going to help uplift one another.

BERMAN: None of us likes having to talk about that this morning, I will tell you that pure and simple, because when the president of the United States says something like this, it affects all of us. It is about us. It is about America. And there's an element of this, Frank, which I think needs to be said. This wasn't an accident.


BERMAN: This was a statement that was put out, free of grammatical errors --

CAMEROTA: And interesting syntax that the president doesn't usually use.

BERMAN: So this was deliberate.

BRUNI: This was deliberate. I suspect this was a collaborative effort, maybe Stephen Miller was involved. I don't know. What he's doing here, this is the beginning -- not the beginning, but this is his reelection campaign. And if we thought 2016 was ugly, well, just get ready for 2020, because this is going to be one of the ugliest campaigns in the history of this country. What he is doing is he is telling me Americans here's your choice. Your choice is me, this older white man who by my own previous tweets is a good looking stable genius, or you can have a country answer to four younger women of color. That what's he's doing here, that's the way he's framing the election, and that's what that tweet is about in a larger sense.

GOLODRYGA: And it comes on a week of rather significant losses from the president, right, whether it's regards to the census, with regards to Acosta stepping down, and also the ICE raids being impacted the way we were fearful they would be.

CAMEROTA: Impossible to know, quite frankly, at this hour what happened with the ICE raids because the man in charge --

BERMAN: Won't tell you.

CAMEROTA: -- he said he didn't know.

GOLODRYGA: Wouldn't tell you the numbers.

CAMEROTA: He said he didn't know, actually.

[08:15:00] BERMAN: Frank Bruni, Bianna Golodyrga, CNN contributor, Congresswoman Mia Love, thank you for this discussion this morning, an important one to be having. And we just want to leave you before we go to break here with something that Martin Luther King, Jr. said.

Dr. King once said, "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the stride and clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

He also said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

GOLODRYGA: Thank you for sharing that.

BERMAN: We have yet to hear on that note from any top Republicans on the President's racist comments. We are going to get live reaction from a Democratic candidate for President, next.


BERMAN: All right, President Trump levied a racist attack on four minority Democratic lawmakers. He wrote that the women should go back to the countries they came from. All of the lawmakers he was talking about are American citizens. And three of them were in fact born in the United States. None of that matters. All four of them, American citizens.

[08:20:13] BERMAN: Joining us now to discuss, Julian Castro, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama and now a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for being with us this morning. We've been asking everyone coming on this morning for their first reaction, when you read what the President said, "Go back to the countries you came from."

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's disgusting. It's racist. It's everything that the guests that you all have had on have been saying and that people have been saying throughout the country, since he tweeted this out yesterday.

I mean, this -- everybody knows that the President acts like a white supremacist. He is a racist. He has made that clear on so many different occasions.

And not only that; as the leader of our country, his politics and his strategy is about dividing people along racial lines. It's called racial priming. And he has done that more successfully than any politician that we've seen in a very long time.

And, you know, I don't think it's an accident just a couple of weeks ago that he kicked off his 2020 campaign, and here he is making this kind of racist, outlandish statement that has a real history to it.

The question is, what are we as Americans going to do about this? You know, throughout our history, we faced leaders that made their whole career on being racially divisive.

And you know, people would say, "Go back to Africa." They would say, "Go back to Mexico." "No Irish need apply." The Chinese are excluded. And in every generation, Americans were able to rise up and to push back and to get better and get more inclusive. That's the question for this election.

Are we going to go forward to an America that continues to expand opportunity and get closer to the founding words in -- to the words in our founding documents? Or are we going to go backward? Are we going to go in the direction that this President wants of giving in to division and hate and bigotry and fear?

I believe that there are more Americans that want us to move forward and wants to be inclusive. Let me just say, I'm here in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and last night, I was at the First Presbyterian Church with a group there called Iowa Wins that is supporting 32 families of men who were picked up at a concrete plant about a year, a year and a half ago by I.C.E.

And these folks that don't look like the men who were picked up by I.C.E., they're mostly white. Iowans here in Mount Pleasant, they came together, they donated money, they've donated supplies to those families to help them get through this time. They stepped up to help provide legal services.

So that gives me hope, because I know that no matter the color of the skin of people out there, their background whether they live in a small town community like this, or in a big city, that we're united by compassion and understanding and love.

And I believe fundamentally, that there are more Americans like that, and that that's stronger than the fear, division and hate of this President.

BERMAN: Are you a hundred percent certain of that? Donald Trump won in 2016, with a message that was centered, much like the statement he made over the weekend, so do you know for sure that it won't work? Because this was deliberate?

CASTRO: Look, I can't tell you for sure that it won't work. There's no guarantee. But I believe that and I believe that people can see he has a record now. He came, you know, in 2016, and he wanted to be this disruptor that was going to do things differently in Washington and drain the swamp and, you know, not be part of the good old politics of Washington.

And he has been the worst example of the swamp and of the good old politics of Washington with his tax cuts that only benefit the wealthy and --

BERMAN: The reason I was asking -- I'm sorry, the reason I was asking about whether you're sure or not, because it's striking to me that we've only heard from one elected Republican this morning condemning the President's comments, and that's your fellow Texan, Congressman Chip Roy. He has said that he doesn't like what the President said over the weekend.

So there's a reason that no Republican has stood up and said no.

CASTRO: Well, look, you can't judge Americans by the politicians. Okay. Because oftentimes, the politicians do not immediately reflect the -- you know, will or the goodness of the people.

I think it's true what you were saying a little while ago, which is that there are a lot of Republican politicians that recognize that this is racist, they know that it's wrong. They know what he's doing. They've heard this phrase before about go back home.

I mean, all of us who are politics who are people of color, you know, you get this stuff on e-mails, you get it on Twitter all the time. It's out there. It's not like it's a surprise. These Republican politicians understand that, but as others have said, they're afraid either to cross the President or to cross a base of people that they think they're going to have to face in a primary.

You know, they're afraid of their primary -- potential primary challenge. So I agree with you that there are people that believe these things in the country, but what I'm saying is that when it comes to America as a whole, I believe there are more people, whether they're white, or black, or Latino, or Asian-American, Native American -- whoever they are, there are more people that actually don't believe in this and again, stand up against it in 2020.

BERMAN: So this weekend, the President had announced that there were going to be brave, that some 2,000 undocumented migrants in this country who had been, you know, deemed proper for deportation would be rounded up and collected. Right?

We don't know that that happened. It's hard to tell if anything happened this weekend. Alisyn had Ken Cuccinelli, who is in charge of parts of this issue on a short time ago from the White House, listen to what he said.


KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES OFFICE: He's getting almost no help from Congress, the same congressional people that he is lobbing hand grenades that I will concede, but at the same time, they are -- all they do is complain. They don't help fix anything.

And that some of the solutions we're seeking in the Trump administration are the same as were sought in the Obama administration. It is not a partisan solution in every instant.


BERMAN: Yes, he is blaming Democrats for lack of action on immigration over the last four years. If I can -- to get your reaction to the non-raids that seemed to happen this weekend. It's unclear exactly what happened.

CASTRO: It is unclear. I mean, there was a -- you know, write up that there were a couple of attempts, I believe in New York, that I.C.E. made -- I.C.E. raids that were attempted.

But you know, in some ways, this President, his strategy is to create fear, and to chill the participation of these immigrant families in American life.

And so whether two raids happened or 200 raids happened or no raids happened, there is an impression that is created in a fear and anxiety and paranoia that he has created in these immigrant families that affects them, and also that affects all of us, as Americans, because we don't know.

I draw a straight line between that and this issue of the citizenship question on the census. In some ways, it doesn't even matter whether it actually ends up on the official census. Of course, it looks like it's not, I hope it does not. People are fighting back against that. But he has created this fear and this anxiety.

And I'm quite confident probably in 2020, more of an unwillingness to participate in the 2020 census, probably by immigrant families. And that is part of the point. It's a political strategy to put these folks in a box to chill them out of participating in American life regardless of what actually happens. The only other thing I would say about that is that we know that this

guy is a big BS-er. All right. He said a couple of weeks ago that he pulled back from an airstrike on Iran 10 minutes before it was supposed to happen and then he was going to have these raids that he pulled back from him the day before.

So this is his MO. You never know whether it's true or not. But it still has an impact on these families and we don't have to do this. We can do this differently. We can have an immigration system that maintains border security, but that uses common sense and compassion instead of the cruelty of this President and that's the plan that I've laid out.

BERMAN: Mr. Secretary, Julian Castro, we know you will get a chance to discuss that in a little more than a week on the CNN debate stage -- two weeks I think from now -- the CNN debate stage in Detroit.

CAMEROTA: You're just getting ahead of yourself. You're so excited.

BERMAN: I am just so excited. This week is the draw. Thursday night, we get to find out who you will share that stage with in Detroit.

CASTRO: That is true.

BERMAN: We know you're looking forward to that.

CASTRO: I am looking forward to that.

BERMAN: I am sure you're really looking forward to finding out who you are on stage with this. Mr. Secretary, Julian Castro, thanks so much for being with us.

CASTRO: I will.

BERMAN: I appreciate it.

CASTRO: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Okay, now to this story. A community icon in Baton Rouge found dead in the trunk of a car. What police are saying about her mysterious death, next.