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House Votes to Condemn Trump's Racist Tweets; Ocasio-Cortez & Tlaib on Face-to-Face Meeting with Pelosi; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Presidential Candidate is Interviewed About Trump's Racist Tweets. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 17, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They can go wherever they want, or they can stay. But they should love our country.
[05:59:34] REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): These comments are disgraceful and disgusting, and his comments are racist.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The president's not a racist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know racism when I see it.
MANU RAU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Four Republicans voted for that resolution. Senate Republicans, they do not want to go too far in criticizing this president.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has taken the presidency to a new low. It is unbecoming of the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can he get lower?
HARRIS: I don't know, but he needs to go back where he came from and leave that office.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, July 17, 6 a.m. here in New York. John is off this morning. Erica Hill joins me.
Great to have you.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Always nice to be here.
CAMEROTA: It was a wild night last night, and it promises to be so this morning --
HILL: I think so.
CAMEROTA: -- as well. So there were some wild hours on Capitol Hill last night as the House voted to condemn President Trump's racist attacks targeting four congresswomen of color. It is the first House rebuke of a president in more than a hundred years. Four Republicans and one independent joined Dems to condemn the president.
HILL: The vote itself was delayed after Republicans objected to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the president's tweets racist, claiming she violated House decorum rules. Well, that led to a heated back and forth, with the Democrat presiding over the House debate throwing his gavel down and storming off.
So where does this all go from here? CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill with our top story this morning.
Lauren, good morning.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These tweets, these racist tweets from the president are still consuming Capitol Hill; and Republicans had a rare opportunity last night to rebuke the president on the record. Instead, mostly, they voted along party lines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it.
FOX (voice-over): House Democrats strongly condemning President Trump's racist tweets, passing a resolution rebuking him for telling four Democratic congresswomen of color, who are all American citizens to, quote, go back to where they came from. Three of them born in the U.S.
The vote coming down largely on party lines, with only four Republicans and one independent supporting the measure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not the first time I've heard, "Go back to your own country," but it is the first time I have heard it coming from the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has really happened here is that the president and his supporters have been forced to endure months of allegations of racism.
FOX: The debate quickly turning into a partisan fight after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this.
PELOSI: Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president's racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office.
FOX: Republicans say Pelosi broke House rules by directly disparaging the president, stalling the vote for nearly two hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I make a point of order. The gentlewoman's words are unparliamentary, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to be taken down.
FOX: House Democrats shutting down that request, the debate frustrating presiding member Emanuel Cleaver.
REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): We want to just fight. I abandon the chair.
FOX: President Trump praising Republicans for standing unified.
MCCONNELL: The president is not a racist. And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were the president's tweets that said, "Go back" racist, yes or no?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No. I believe this is about ideology. This is about socialism versus freedom.
FOX: Earlier the president issuing his own defense, tweeting, quote, "I don't have a racist bone in my body."
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez firing back, writing in a tweet, "You're right, Mr. President. You don't have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in our head and a racist heart in your chest."
Tensions also rising for White House officials facing questions about Trump's racist comments.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To which countries was he referring?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: What's your ethnicity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is that relevant?
CONWAY: Because I'm asking you a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy. You're asking about -- he said originally. He said originally from.
FOX: And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she was going back onto the floor last night, that she still stood by her comments, even though they were technically struck from the record.
Also, this is really a clear illustration of where President Trump wants to go in the 2020 election: painting these four Republic -- four Democratic congresswomen as socialists that he wants to run against in the 2020 election -- Erica and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Lauren. Thank you very much.
Joining us now to discuss all of this, we have Toluse Olorunnipa, White House correspondent for "The Washington Post"; Rachael Bade, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post"; and Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman. He is now a CNN political commentator. Great to have all of you help us understand exactly what happened last night.
So Rachael, is this how Nancy Pelosi and Democrats wanted it to go? I mean, it got kind of crazy for a couple of hours there, where Nancy Pelosi herself ran afoul of these -- this, I think, amazing House rule that doesn't allow anyone to say that the president used racist words. Who knew that rule existed? And so it was a bit of a mess.
[06:05:14] And the outcome seems to be that President Trump just is using these four congresswomen of color as a new foil, and he likes to have a foil. And so is this what they were hoping for?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think they walked into this knowing that there was going to be some commotion on the floor. There was actually a private meeting with Democrats just this morning, or yesterday morning, where Pelosi basically went back on some advice that her rules chairman was giving members, which was be careful what you say on the floor. He was reminding them of these decorum rules.
And Pelosi said, "I'm not going to worry about it," and you know, people sort of chuckled. But she was serious. And I think she was trying to make a point, that she was going to call out these racist comments by the president, these racist tweets. And you know, forget about the House rules. We have to call a spade a spade here. And that's what she did. And it created a lot of press, what she did, the back and forth. And, you know, I think that that was the point she actually wanted to make.
And meanwhile, you had Democrats who were saying, you know, this whole thing is absurd. Republicans are talking about House rules right now and Pelosi breaking House rules, but they're not willing to stand up to the leader of their own party when he makes these sort of racist comments. And so Democrats, you know, were able to seize on that, as well.
HILL: You know, Charlie Dent, I'm curious, especially based on your experience there, former Congressman, do you agree that Nancy Pelosi did violate those House rules?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Maybe she did technically, but -- but I guess I would say, if you're losing on policy or on substance -- and in this case, you know, the Republicans are trying to defend the indefensible and explain the inexplicable. So you might as well turn this into a procedural fight, because the rules are pretty clear you can't disparage or attack the character of the president or a number -- or a member of the Congress on the floor. You're not allowed to do that.
So technically, you know, she may have been in the wrong, but substantively, you know, she was essentially just, you know, restating the president's word and calling -- calling him out for his behavior.
And the president -- you know, the president in this case, he's the arsonist, and he's out there calling members of Congress, Republican members, you know, encouraging the vote against the resolution. Telling the firefighters how to do their job. I mean, he ought to just -- he ought to just be laying low right now. He's just the -- he's the source of all the problems here.
HILL: Go ahead.
CAMEROTA: Let's look at the four, Toluse, who voted with Democrats Democrats. Here are the four Republicans and the one recent independent. So Justin Amash, of course, has left the Republican Party. Then we have Susan Brooks of Indiana. We have Fred Upton of Michigan. We have Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania; and Will Hurd, who also publicly, vocally spoke out. He, of course, is of Texas.
And what will become of them? We've seen, you know, history is littered with the political careers of people who have crossed paths with the president in the past two years.
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. The president was watching this vote very closely. He even tweeted about the margins afterwards. So it was clear that this is a vote where you could find yourself on the opposite side of the president.
Now, some of these members who voted against the president in this case are people who are from swing districts. They have a lot of Democrats, a lot of minorities in their districts. Will Hurd has a district right there on the border. He won a very narrow race. So standing right next to the president is not necessarily in his best interests.
And so some of these candidates, at least one of them, I believe, is retiring so doesn't have to worry about whether or not President Trump would take him on in a primary or anything like that.
But this was a litmus test. This was a loyalty tea test within the Republican Party to say whether or not you stand with the president, even though some of his comments were seen as racist, even by Republican Congressmembers.
And it seemed like a large majority of the Republican caucus decided to stick with the president. That was something that made the president happy, and it allowed the Democrats to put all of these Republicans on the record, standing with racist comments and standing against even some of their colleagues, some of their minority colleagues in Will Hurd, who openly called this out as racist. So that was one of the things the Democrats wanted to get out of this.
The president got what he wanted to get out of this, in terms of starting this fight and also having a litmus test and a loyalty test to see which Republicans would stand with him.
And for the most part, besides these four -- four or five members of Congress, everyone else in the Republican caucus decided to stand with the president.
HILL: What's interesting about this is it sort of started as a fight between Democrats, right? And then when we heard from the president, it changed the tune. It almost seemed to be uniting Democrats. But that may not actually be where we're at. CAMEROTA: That's right. Because there is this new interview that
Gayle King has just done with The Squad, Rachael, and it sounds like they have not necessarily buried the hatchet with Nancy Pelosi. So let's play a portion of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Our teams are in communication. Our chiefs are --
GAYLE KING, JOURNALIST: But shouldn't it be a face-to-face? I want to know if you are speaking --
[06:05:04] REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): She's the new member, not the speaker.
KING: No, but I want to know --
TLAIB: She has every right to sit down with her in any moment, any time with any of us. She is speaker of the House. She can ask for a meeting to sit down with us for clarification.
The fact of the knowledge is -- and I've done racial justice work in our country for a long time -- acknowledge the fact that we are women of color. So when you do single us out, be aware of that and what you're doing. Especially because some of us are getting death threats, because some of us are being singled out, in many ways because of our backgrounds, because of our experiences and so forth. But I think --
KING: Alexandria, are you interested in having a conversation face- to-face with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Absolutely. Absolutely.
TLAIB: Why wouldn't she sit down with her?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. No, absolutely, and we've reached out to that end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Rachael Bade, what do you make of that? I mean, they had this opportunity to just keep their sights trained on President Trump, and yet they have an aggressive tone, I think you could call it, towards Nancy Pelosi.
BADE: Yes. Trump might have sort of changed this battle for a few minutes, but this war between the Democrats, this is not over. It's sort of just been put on hold for now. And as you can see right there, going to potentially be escalating.
I mean, Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi hadn't spoken since February when Pelosi actually offered her a position on a climate panel, and AOC said, "I don't want it, basically, because it doesn't have enough teeth for me." Pelosi was really angry about that. And ever since then, there's been a lot of snide comments about
Ocasio-Cortez and The Squad. And, you know, I asked her that in the hallway just a few weeks ago. Or I guess it was even last week. I can't believe it was only last week. And her answer was, you know, "I don't know what to do. I don't know if I should approach her, but right now I don't want to."
And, you know, clearly right there. she's saying she's willing to have a conversation, but who's going to reach out? And unless somebody actually does, this cold war is going to continue.
HILL: It is a rough wind. It is frigid in a very, very warm time in -- in Washington. Charlie Dent, we'll give you the last word on this.
DENT: Well, I think it just -- it almost defies logic. I mean, here they are, these four women are complaining about Nancy Pelosi, who was upset with them, because they voted against the border funding bill. And then to turn around and suggest that Pelosi was criticizing them because they of their -- they were women of color was absurd. There was a -- there was a policy disagreement.
And when -- when those -- when The Squad -- and I forgot which one made the actual comment, when they -- they're basically race baiting, suggesting Nancy Pelosi was attacking them because of their color. And it was a simple policy disagreement.
I mean, those four members are not a very sympathetic bunch within the Democratic caucuses. Some of them are trying to incite primaries against other -- their fellow Democratic colleagues; and chief of staff, I think, of AOC was comparing the moderate Democrats, you know, to segregationists. I mean, come on.
And -- and what Donald Trump has done, he's united Democrats momentarily at a moment when they're engaged in this circular firing squad. It looks like they're back at the circular firing squad again.
CAMEROTA: I mean, it also just might be manna for heaven for President Trump. I mean, just -- every time they say something that he considers outrageous or against Nancy Pelosi, he seems to run with it.
Thank you all very much for all of the insights. We should let everyone know that coming up on NEW DAY, we will talk to two lawmakers who are at the center of the drama yesterday, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver -- he's the one who dropped the gavel and stormed off during the tense debate. And also, we have House Majority Whip James Clyburn.
HILL: Looking forward to both of those.
Up next, CNN sits down with Senator Kamala Harris as the 2020 hopeful slams the president's racist tweets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can he get lower? HARRIS: I don't know. But he needs to go back where he came from and
leave that office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: More of that interview next.
[06:18:20] CAMEROTA: Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris taking on President Trump's racist tweets and trying to clean up her own position on health care. The California senator sat down with CNN's Kyung Lah, who joins us live from Davenport, Iowa. She said a lot of interesting things in your interview, Kyung.
LAH: She did. And I think it bears repeating here, important for viewers to remember that Senator Kamala Harris is only the second black senator elected to that chamber, the very first South Asian elected to the chamber.
She says that phrase, "Go back to where you came from," is something that has been directed to her. So it is there with the president's tweet that we began our interview.
LAH: You are the daughter of immigrants, a sitting member of Congress, a woman of color. How do you view President Trump's tweets?
HARRIS: I think it's un-American. Un-American. It is unbecoming of the president of the United States. I think it defiles the office of the president of the United States. It is irresponsible. It is hateful. It is hurtful. And he has taken the presidency to a new low.
LAH: You take this personally as a daughter of an immigrant. You have written about how --
HARRIS: I take it personally as a member of the United States Senate.
LAH: If we could turn to what the four members of Congress urged: for people who are listening to not get distracted. How do you not get distracted? How do you not fall into his trap where he controls the narrative with a tweet like this?
[06:20:03] HARRIS: I've said it many times. This president purposely, I believe, distracts and attempts to distract by flame- throwing. Because the reality of it is, is he has done nothing to help working families in America.
He passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations of our country. He has conducted trade policy by tweet in a way that farmers are looking at bankruptcy and auto workers are looking at the potential for their jobs to be gone by the end of the year.
The American consumer is paying $1.4 billion more a month in everything from shampoo to washing machines because of his so-called trade policy, which I call the Trump trade tax.
And he has not done anything to build up the infrastructure of our country. And all that comes with that in terms of improving and elevating the condition of working families.
And -- and so what does he do? He wants to distract by -- by starting a whole -- lighting fires around the issue of race and ethnicity. It's disgusting.
LAH: Is this a turn? There's so much rage about this. Is this a turn for you?
HARRIS: There is so much that is disgusting about this. I think it is a turn for this president. Could it get any worse? Apparently, yes. It just did. How low can he go?
LAH: Can he get lower?
HARRIS: I don't know, but he needs to go back where he came from and leave that office. And so that's why I'm running, with the intention of making sure there will not be four more years.
I don't think that we can survive having a president of the United States who uses whatever voice he has in a way that is about dividing and fueling hate in our country. The American people will not tolerate that. I know that. I know who we really are as a country. The American people will not tolerate this kind of hate from their president.
LAH: I want to turn to the issue of health care.
LAH: At the beginning of the year in January, you talked about you were fine with getting rid of it all. And then you indicated that there was a place for private health insurance. And then the debate where you raised your hand, understanding that you say you misheard the question. So let's --
HARRIS: That's a lot that you're building into this question that's not accurate.
LAH: Well, there is confusion.
HARRIS: I would like to just get to the point, but there's a lot that you're building into the question that's inaccurate.
LAH: There is the impression -- the impression that people are left with is they're not quite sure. So let's clear it up.
HARRIS: OK, good.
LAH: From where you are --
LAH: -- tell me your position on what Medicare for all means --
LAH: -- under a president Harris.
HARRIS: Sure. Medicare for all means that everyone will have access to health care, and cost will not be a barrier.
As it relates to private insurance, there still will be supplemental insurance. But yes, getting -- transitioning into Medicare for all will, at some point, reduce the requirement for insurance. Because everyone will have access to health care.
Under Medicare for all, in my vision of Medicare for all, people will have covered what they don't now in terms of vision care, dental care, hearing aids. I'm here with a bunch of seniors in Iowa, and hearing aids are extremely expensive and not covered by Medicare right now.
Medicare for all means that -- that you recognize that right now in America, 91 percent of our doctors are in Medicare. So you're not going to have to lose your doctor. It is very unlikely.
LAH: The rule --
HARRIS: It means -- it means recognizing that, over a period of many years, the insurance companies have been jacking up the cost of health care in terms of premiums, deductibles, and copays. So that right now someone who has the insurance coverage will still be out of pocket $5,000, because that's their deductible, which for most Americans is unaffordable.
LAH: The role of private insurance, are you limiting that to something like cosmetic insurance? Or what is the exact role of private insurance?
HARRIS: To cover what is not otherwise covered.
LAH: So that includes what?
HARRIS: Very little, because almost anything will be covered.
LAH: So then how does this plan differ from what Senator Sanders is proposing?
HARRIS: I think that they're very similar. I don't know that they're -- I mean, I don't think that -- I'm supporting his bill, so to the extent that he's talking about his bill, I don't know what else he's talking about.
LAH: You said --
HARRIS: I mean, I'm not in support of middle-class families paying more taxes for it.
LAH: And that's what I actually was hoping to talk to you about that. You just said that, that you were not in favor of a middle-class tax hike.
HARRIS: Yes, correct.
LAH: How do you propose to pay for your version of Medicare for all if it resembles what Senator Sanders is proposing?
HARRIS: Well, part of it is going to have to be about Wall Street paying more. It's going to have to be about looking at how we and what we tax in terms of financial services. That's part of it.
[06:25:02] But the other part of it is to understand that this is about an investment which will reap a great return on the investment. We can't only look at this issue in terms of cost without thinking about benefit.
The benefit to the American public will be that people will have access to health care that right now they cannot afford. And we are all paying a price for that.
LAH: Well, Senator Sanders says that that is impossible to achieve without a middle-class tax hike.
HARRIS: I'm not prepared to engage in a middle-class tax hike.
LAH: But in many studies, study after study shows it would cost approximately $30 trillion over a decade to pay for this. So taxing Wall Street will reap $30 trillion in order to cover this?
HARRIS: What we're doing right now is unaffordable to so many American families. And the idea that we're going to go down and this -- this level of analysis that suggests that status quo is OK is completely unacceptable.
LAH: So people who have private insurance would eventually have to give that up under your plan?
HARRIS: They would eventually be covered under Medicare for all, and they would still see their doctor. And that's what they want.
LAH: How long would this transition take do you envision?
HARRIS: I think the transition is going to have to take -- I mean, the bill is four years. I think it's going to have to take more than that, to be honest with you.
LAH: And all of this done without a middle-class tax hike?
HARRIS: Without a middle-class tax hike, yes.
LAH: Thirty trillion over ten years.
HARRIS: There are ways to pay for it. Also understanding the investment that we are going to be making in a way that is going to reap great benefits in terms of other costs.
LAH: The investment where?
HARRIS: In American health. And what we are otherwise paying as a cost for people not having access to health care and the burdens that places on systems across the board when people don't have access to health care.
LAH: And when you -- when people question that there is no formula for this, that you are going to find money in magical ways is not realistic thinking, how do you respond to that?
HARRIS: Status quo is not enough. So we have to be open to challenging status quo so that everyone has access to health care and price is not the barrier. We have to agree that what's happening right now is not affordable to many, many working families.
LAH: Well, Joe Biden says that this is what you are suggesting, an elimination of Obamacare. Is that accurate?
HARRIS: It's absolutely not. Listen, I -- I will put my record up against anybody as having been a fighter for the maintenance and the sustainability of Obamacare.
As attorney general -- I mean, I'm sure on the debate stage, I'm the only one who went to court to fight to keep in place all of the benefits of Obamacare.
But like President Obama himself has said, he used the analogy of it like being a starter home. It was a profound public health policy and shift. It was incredible. The courage that he had, with so many others, to actually get it done and the wherewithal to get it done was profound.
LAH: But Obamacare isn't --
HARRIS: And so it's about taking it to -- but now it's about taking it to the next step.
LAH: So it is moving on from Obamacare?
HARRIS: And making improvements on it. And President Obama himself said that there are improvements to be made.
LAH: Now, you heard the senator reference Wall Street, taxing Wall Street, financial investments as a possible revenue stream. What the campaign is pointing to as other revenue streams, it's about a dozen of them. And what the senator is proposing is simply taking a middle- class tax hike off the table as a way to create a revenue stream in order to pay for Medicare for all -- Erica.
HILL: Kyung, stay with us. We do want to talk to you more about that interview. Plus, there's a new CNN poll out in New Hampshire. We'll take a look
at who's leading the crowded Democratic field, what the most important issue is to those voters, and what all of this could mean for Kamala Harris. That's next.