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Another Outrage from Congressman Steve King; DOW Plunging Almost a Thousand Points; Criticism Being Thrown at Ken Cuccinelli; Six Philly Police Officers Wounded in Standoff; Dow Plummeted 800 Points; Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, IN), Presidedntial Candidate, Was Interviewed About Gun Control Legislation and Steve King's Rhetoric. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 14, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] MAYOR JIM KENNEY (D), PHILADELPHIA: -- they were located. It was just a riveting -- riveting experience. But our officers need help. They need help. They need help with gun control. They need help with keeping these weapons out of these people's hands.

I mean, I told you earlier the two little boys that were, that officer had his head grazed, just a little bit more, and those two little boys will grow up without their dad.

Because some -- because this government, both along federal and states level, don't want to do anything about getting these guns off the streets and getting them out of the hands of criminals.

This guy is clearly a criminal. He was -- he is a criminal and he was -- he apparently had a long record which I'm not sure I don't have it in front of me, but has been involved in the criminal justice before and he was able to get these weapons, And a large magazine, a large amount of bullets.

Whether it's our six our officers who were shot or with some 15, 17, 20-year-old kid on the streets of Philadelphia will get shot with guns that shouldn't be in people's hands.

And it's aggravating. It's saddening and it's just something that we need to do something about. And if the state and federal government don't want to -- don't want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us -- let us police ourselves.

But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation. Our officers deserve to be protected. They don't deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and unlimited supply of bullets.

So, it's disgusting. And we got to do something about it. And we need to do something about it quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When was the last time this number of officers had been shot at one incident?


it may be move situation, I can't think of one where in over such a prolonged period of time. Because it wasn't like there was just an initial value shot upon entry. This went on long after I got there. And so, I've not seen that in years. And you know, John and I have been on 30 years.


ROSS: And I've not seen that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, listen, somebody upstairs, somebody upstairs was watching over these cops today. Six cops all shot and they're all released And going home to their families. It could very well be three coffins leaving here and three leaving from Einstein.

We can't have this. Too many guns out there. We need more support out there. We need the community support, step up. We're there for you. Come out and tell us what you need. And we'll get it done. We have the resources. We need cooperation. We need backing especially in certain officers in the city.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My officers will keep you guys updated on Twitter. You follow us on Twitter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if you just tell me it's status quo. We'll make sure you keep --

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Thank you so much for tuning in. This is breaking news right now.

Six police officers wounded in an hours' long standoff with a shooter in a North Philadelphia neighborhood tonight. Police say two officers are no longer trapped in the building. You were just hearing from the police commissioner in Philadelphia, Richard Ross, Jr. also with other officials commending the officers there for their handling of the incident.

We've all been watching unfold for hours. And thankfully none of the officers has life-threatening injuries. The mayor who you saw there as well Jim Kenney calling for more gun control and calling for the stalling of that reform disgusting, his words.

We're going to go there live in just a few minutes. We'll update you on this breaking news story.

As I've said before, but it has never been more true than it is at this moment in time. That words matter. Words matter. Whether they are tweeted or said out loud, whether those words are said by the president of the United States, members of this administration or members of his party. But that raises a really important question. Does the Republican Party

want to own this? A party of men spouting incendiary words and refusing to back down. We know the GOP is now the party of Donald Trump. That's been clear for a very long time. But what about the party of Ken Cuccinelli and the party of Steve King, the Iowa congressman who said this today --


REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out there who are products of rape and incest. Would there be any population of that world left that we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rape in Philly that's taken place and whatever happened to culture after society. I don't like to (Inaudible) that they're not part of the product of that.


LEMON: Now we all remember Steve King. He has a long history of disgusting racist remarks, remarks that cost him his committee assignments earlier this year. And now he's attempting to defend his opposition to all abortions in all circumstances by suggesting there wouldn't be any population of the world left if there were no rape or incest.

Democrats and even some members of Congressman King's own party reacting with outrage. Listen to presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND, IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You would think it would be pretty easy to come out against rape and incest? Then I think you think it would be pretty easy to come out against white nationalism.


LEMON: I'm going to talk to him in just a few minutes.

[22:04:54] Wyoming Republican, Liz Cheney demanding the congressman step down. Which seems pretty unlikely giving it was -- given it was just yesterday that he told CNN that he was fighting to get his committee assignments back.

So, is the GOP the party of Steve King? Is it the party of Trump loyalists like top immigration officer Ken Cuccinelli who said this?


KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.


LEMON: And who made matters worse by harking back to a time when most immigrants came to this country from Europe.


CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe. Where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class. And it was introduced, it was written one year, one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.


LEMON: Let's remember it was President Trump who back in 2018, reportedly told lawmakers trying to expand protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and several African nations, quote, "why do we want all these people from shit hole countries coming here?" Going to add that the U.S. should try to attract migrants from countries like Norway.

And in the wake of his new attempts to curve legal immigration, he said this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm tired of seeing our taxpayers paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things. So, I think we're doing it right.


LEMON: This is a president who has been relying on a deliberate strategy of dividing Americans. Of stoking fear of immigrants. People of color. With words like invasion.


TRUMP: This is an invasion. When you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people, that's an invasion. I was badly criticized for using the word invasion. It's an invasion. And it's also an invasion of drugs coming in from Mexico. OK? It's an invasion of drugs.

Yes, sir. We have barb wire going up. Because you know what? We're not letting these people invade our country.


LEMON: But that is a strategy that maybe blowing up in the president's face. A new poll from Fox News finds that a stunning 59 percent say he is, quote, "tearing the country apart." Including 92 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents. Did you get that? Six in 10 Americans tell Fox News pollsters that the president of the United States is tearing the country apart.

But the president's grip on power is firm and his chances of reelection are pretty good. And that's because if Trump is a new Teflon don, that Teflon surrounding him has been the economy. And so that is why tonight he is mid-Twitter freak out as a result of the bad news on the economy.

The Dow dropping 800 points in the midst of warning signs of a recession with 2020 looming. He's relied on Americans to care more about jobs and money in our pockets than everything he has -- he says to pit up against each other.

All of the racism, the Mueller report findings that did not exonerate the president of wrongdoing, the cozying up of dictators, of two dictators, none of that threatens his presidency the way a downturn in the economy would.

So tonight, sources are telling CNN that he is blaming the Fed and his own team trying to negotiate a trade deal with China. In other words, blaming everyone else and not taking responsibility for any of this. It is a page right out of the Trump play book. But is this the GOP now? A party that is willing to go along with anything this president does or says as long as the economy keeps humming?

A party that turns a blind eye to Steve King and his long, long hall of shame of racist remarks. Quote to the New York Times. "White nationalists? White supremacy? Western civilization? How did that language become offensive?" And let's not forget this.


KING: Go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by the other categories of people that you're talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?


LEMON: Or this about children of undocumented immigrants.


KING: For everyone who is a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that they weigh 130 pounds and they've got calluses the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.


LEMON: And just listen to what Donald Trump said about Steve King back in 2014.


TRUMP: Today I'm here to support Steve King, a special guy. A smart person with really the right gears on almost everything. And we don't really have to compare notes (Ph).


LEMON: And let's not forget that Donald Trump launched his political career by pushing the racist birther lie that Barack Obama was not born in this country.

[22:10:02] This the president who said this about the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.


TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.


LEMON: The president who said this about NFL players taking a knee to protest racial injustice.


TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.



LEMON: The president who stood by while the crowd at one of his rallies chanted his own words, send her back at a congresswoman of color.


TRUMP: Omar has a history of launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds.



LEMON: Like I said, men spouting incendiary words and refusing to back down. It's the president's play book. We're just living in it.

Our breaking news tonight. Six police officers wounded in an hours' long standoff with a shooter in a North Philadelphia neighborhood. We're going to have a live report next.

Plus -- plus, my interview tonight with Democratic candidate for a -- Democratic candidate, I should say, Mayor Pete Buttigieg coming up. We'll be right back


LEMON: Here's our breaking news tonight. It's out of Philadelphia where six police officers are wounded in an hours' long standoff with a gunman who they say is still armed inside a house. We have some brand-new eyewitness video tonight of the shooting. Just take a look.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get up here now. Het up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kids in the (muted) house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're shooting for nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kids in the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Don't go there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't go there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're shooting for nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kids in the house. It's kids in the (muted) house. His kids in the (muted) house. I'm not going nowhere (muted). My niece is in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no. Somebody got shot.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They got medicine. Somebody move. Hey, listen, somebody got shot in here.


LEMON: Well, again, that video just in to CNN. Let's go live to CNN's Jason Carroll at the scene for us. Jason, sources tell us the two officers are no longer trapped in the building. Is law enforcement been able to engage with the suspect?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're trying, Don. That's for certain. And in fact, just a few moments ago, we heard officers' negotiators as they were out here in loud speaker, trying to engage with the suspect. They were met with silence.

But as you can see from that video earlier, as officers came out here, they were met with violence with gunfire. Just to recap what happened. It was at about 4.30 this afternoon when Philly police officers were trying to serve a search warrant, narcotics officers were out here, they were met with gunfire, some of them having to jump outside of a window in order to escape.

And then the calls came in. We need back up. We need more officers. We need long guns. Officers descended on the scene out here in North Philly, SWAT came down, sheriff's department, FBI, police down here at the scene as well. And then the calls started coming in. Two officers injured, four

officers, five, then six. But thankfully none of those injuries were life-threatening. A seventh officer injured as well, Don, when he was trying to rush to the scene and was caught up in some sort of a car accident.

Then we got word about two officers who were trapped inside apparently up on the second floor. The shooter on the first floor, at one point shooting through walls and at officers as well.

But then we got late word tonight that those two officers who were barricaded up on the second floor holding prisoners with them were able to escape with the help of SWAT. Those prisoners out as well.

Now we're also getting word from my colleague Evan Perez that the suspect in question at least one of them. Police are sort of trying to confirm if it was one suspect inside still inside or if there maybe more than that is involved in some sort of a separate federal investigation. That will be part of this as well.

But this is where we stand at this moment at this hour, officers still trying to engage with the suspect, still at this point trying to reach the suspect on loud speaker. They've been met with silence. The standoff continues. Don?

LEMON: Jason Carroll, live at the scene for us. We'll get back to Jason if we need to in this broadcast. Thank you, Jason.

Joining me now, Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Mayor, thank you so much for taking the time. I want to start with this shooting in Philadelphia.

At least six police officers were shot during a shootout and standoff. It reminds us that there's all kind of gun violence that need to be addressed in this country.

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, and obviously there's a lot that we don't know. But what we do know is that there are a lot of families that are having a very long night. our hearts are with them. And we have to continue to act to prevent all forms of gun violence.

As long as we're in a country awash with guns there are dangers for everybody including law enforcement. Again, we don't know everything. But we know a lot of people are hurting today.

LEMON: Well, the country paid attention to that today, as well as the stock market, plummeting 800 points today after a warning sign that could indicate recession.

The president has been tweeting all day about it. Blaming the Fed. Are you concerned the economy may not be as robust as it seems?

BUTTIGIEG: You know, there have been concerns for a long time that the economic recovery that began with the early President Obama's early years would not go on forever. [22:20:03] Now we're starting to see a lot of signs of instability as

well as a business cycle that sooner or later turns just by the nature of economic cycles.

What's troubling is this time around we got a president who seems determined to destabilize it even further. With an inconsistent trade policy, tweets seeming to compromise the independence of the Fed, and a general unwillingness to prepare the country for how we're going to get through the economic ups and downs that are in the years ahead.

I'm very concerned about where the economy is right now because it feels like we can no longer just take for granted that there will continue to be growth.

LEMON: And the president's tariffs strategy and trade war with China it has created chaos in the markets. And now he appears to have blinked by reversing course on the tariffs. Has he given leverage to the Chinese in the negotiation, do you think?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the president has a pattern of making a threat and then backing away. I'm sure that a lot of different players around the world have noticed that pattern and the Chinese will likely take advantage.

Look, China famously plans in 10, 20, even 30-year horizons. We got a president who can't seem to keep the same plan from sun up to sun down. And sooner or later there's going to be a consequence to that. You add to that the fact that Americans are already hurting financially as a consequence to the tariffs. Which, just to be clear, our taxes that we are paying in addition to the retaliation from the Chinese side.

I'm here in Iowa earlier today I was meeting with farmers including soy farmers who are getting killed. And one of them asked how much longer are we supposed to be taking one for the team? While others are nervously looking at what's going to happen to American consumers. I guess we're supposed to be grateful that he's not going to hit us with this before Christmas? What are we supposed to do after Christmas?

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk a little bit about that because as you have been touring Iowa you've been talking about your rural economic plan. What makes your economic strategy better than the president's?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, all kinds of things. I mean, we'll start with the idea of do no harm including jumping into a trade war with China with no plan for how to succeed. But also, there's a lot of good that we can do to unlock rural community's potential.

You know, coming from more of an industrial community but in the middle of a number of rural counties in Indiana I've seen what can happen when communities partner together. And it's one of the reasons why the future of our plan is to use federal resources to incentivize regional cooperation with regional innovation hubs and centers that can connect jobs to opportunity to technology.

We're also proposing to welcome new Americans and new residents into many of these communities by creating a community renewal visa program. One of the things I learned doing economic development in my part of Indiana is that we need not only a job growth strategy, but in many communities, including Burlington where I am right now, we need a population growth strategy.

And communities including in rural and traditionally very conservative parts of the country that have embraced immigration have found that that can be a big part of the solution. You know, the country is always grown and benefitted economically from the added human capital and human potential that immigration represents. It's time to put that to work for our rural communities that are losing population sometimes at an alarming rate.

LEMON: Well, let's talk about immigration and race. There's a backlash to Ken Cuccinelli, Ken Cuccinelli is the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A backlash comes after he offered a revision of to the famous poem on the Statue of Liberty saying, give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." And then he defended it by saying this.


CUCCINELLI: That poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.


LEMON: What do you think he's getting at, Mayor?

BUTTIGIEG: You know, all I can say is that, you know, those -- many of those people who came from Europe, Italians and Irish immigrants, as well as Jews and Chinese immigrants who were mistreated or talked about in the very same way that a lot of Latino immigrants are talked about today.

This is all actually all part of the same tradition. It's just that changes from decade to decade or era to era who gets singled out and picked on. And right now this administration is picking on Latino immigration most of all.

In addition to being bad poetry, it's pretty bad strategy for him when you're in a hole you're supposed to stop digging. But it suggests that he just plain doesn't get what immigration is about, which is not only providing refuge or a place for people to live out their dreams. But also, one of the engines that has made America the country that it is.

The last thing I would add is since he had this strange excuse or defense about the idea that Europe has class-based societies. Is to remember that today, his administration, the Trump administration and their allies in the GOP congressional delegations, are doing everything in their power to make America a class-based society.

[22:25:08] Taking away worker protections, continuing an assault on organized labor are just among some of the reasons in addition to their fight against things like raising the minimum wage.

That America is no longer the number one country statistically to live out the American cream. Last time I check it was Denmark. And by many measures we're not even in the top 10. The idea of a class- based society is unfortunately being dug in by this very same administration. That is now trying to shut America to the immigration that helped made this country great.

LEMON: You said earlier today that there needs to be a sane representative in Steve King's district after his comments about whether humanity would exist without rape and incest. He's made many racist and offensive comments before. But he still remains in Congress.

BUTTIGIEG: Unfortunately, there is pretty much nothing or almost nothing that will get this congressional GOP to fully turn on one of their own even when it's white nationalism or these insane remarks apparently defending rape and insist.

I don't know what it's going to take other than a decisive defeat at the ballot box. The good news is Iowans have J.D. Scholten, a remarkable candidate who came very close last time is running again this time. The guy exudes common sense. Lives and breathes the concerns of his rural district and is not interested in waging the kind of rear-guard cultural war action that seems to consume the imagination of Steve King.

Somebody like that has no business being in the United States Congress. But it seems like the only way to defeat people like that or to remove people like that is to just plain win in November 2020.

LEMON: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, thank you for your time.

BUTTIGIEG: I appreciate the chance to be with you. Good night.

LEMON: Iowa Congressman Steve King under fire for his outrageous comments about rape and incest. Two Republican women weigh in, next.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Another outrage for Republican Congressman Steve King. I want you to listen again to what he said as he tried to defend his stance on abortion and his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest.


REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest. Would there be any population in the world left if we did that, considering all the wars and all the rape (Inaudible) that have taken place and whatever happened to culture after society. I know I can't certify that I am not a product to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Joining me now, Alice Stewart and Amanda Carpenter. Amanda is the author of Gaslighting America, Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us. Good evening, so glad both of you could join us on this. Alice, I'm going to start with you, you have spoken to King about his remarks. What is he telling you?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He says that he was making his point that represents his view on the pro-life issue. Look, I support life. I support pro-life measures. I am against abortion. But I do have exception for rape, incest, and the life of the mothers. Steve King doesn't. He doesn't support the exceptions for rape and incest. And what he was trying to say, and then he doubles down on today, is that what he's saying is that we can't hold the child responsible if someone is a victim of rape or incest.

And he says if you go back in history, there are probably many people who are born or were conceived through rape and incest. And that just reinforces his point that we cannot just support life that was not conceived of rape and incest. And he's trying to say every life is important, whether it's one day after conception, one day after birth, or one day before you are 1oo years old.

I agree with the principle of supporting life. I do not agree with the way he went about saying it. But he is confirmed in what he said. He says if we continue to push the pro-life message using the same language we have. It's losing impact. So this was his way of what he says stretching the minds of those in the pro-life movement.

It's just his way of taking it one step further, in my view. I think he went a little too far. But he's trying to make this pro-life message.

LEMON: OK. So Amanda, regardless of one's abortion views, how on Earth is the argument to -- that the argument to make in defense of the pro-life point of view?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. There's a thoughtful and nuisance discussion to have about the value of life and what should be done in cases of rape and incest. He wasn't making that case. This adds up to his other troubling comments, because there's always seems to be a direct line to the superiority of western civilization as symbolized by the white man, right?

Like, that's the point that he was making. It's like America is the greatest country in the world. So everything that happened right up until this moment is great. And you can't question it. That's sort of the direct line through these comments, the racist comments that has been getting him in trouble. And listen, his political support has been collapsing.

There's no one that I have seen in Republican leadership that wants to defend him. They have already stripped him of his committee assignments, agriculture and judiciary, both pretty important to those Iowa voters. And I think he has a pretty strong primary challenger. A Democrat probably isn't going to beat him in the general election. Steve King won, I think, by three points. The same guys running against him is a Democrat.

The best chance to knock him off is on the Republican side. And his challenger is positioning himself as someone that will be a Trump defender, not a distraction, is also pro-life, but is not going to go down these bizarre roads that turn off a lot of voters and hurt the party on a larger scale, because they keep holding up Steve King, rightfully so, as a symbol of racism, misogyny, and all the rest.

LEMON: Yeah. Alice, like Amanda just said, you know, King was stripped of his committee assignments. He was also condemned in a House resolution earlier this year for remarks he made in a New York Times interview, asking white nationalists, white supremacists (Inaudible) how did that become offensive. You have said in the past that Steve King is an effective representative for his district. How effective can he be now?

STEWART: It will remain to be seen. Look, these comments that he said recently are troubling. It is outside the mainstream of the pro- life movement. The reality is I have known him for many years. He's a very responsive member of Congress, to his constituents. The constituent service he does for them is very strong. They support where he is on the critical issues of northwest Iowa.

[22:35:09] And you have to remember. He's there representing the people of northwest Iowa. He's not concerned about how the people on the west and the east coast view what he says. He told me that he has not received harsh criticism from people in his district. He says he received less than 100 calls in his office, and many of them are from outside of Iowa. But what he's doing, he is laser-focused on his district and what they want.

That being said, Amanda makes a good point. When he continues to make statements like this that are so extreme, it creates a lot of tension and it will bring about -- he does have a very strong primary challenger. And it will make it very difficult.

CARPENTER: I would say there's probably three interesting data points that show the tide maybe turning for Steve King in Iowa on the local level. Number one, there's a guy named Bob Vander Plaats that runs Family Leader in Iowa, very influential conservative organization. He has endorsed (Inaudible), who is the primary challenger, also former governor Terry Branstad, who is now Trump's ambassador to China, has donated to the primary challenger.

Last point, I think Steve King only had $19,000 cash on hand at the last reporting period. His challenger has over $300,000. So the tables are turning. And it's not looking great for Steve King in that primary.

LEMON: That's got to be the last word. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The DOW plunging 800 points today on Wall Street's worst day of 2019. That with the bond market flashing a warning sign that a recession could be on the way. How will a worsening economy factor into the 2020 election? Well, let's discuss now. With CNN's - by the way our newest political commentator here, Mark McKinnon the Executive Producer of Showtime's the Circus. Welcome aboard. Congratulations, sir.

MARK MCKINNON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Glad to officially be part of the family, Don. We have been kicking it for a long time.

LEMON: Yeah. So let's talk about the market, sir. So the market is reeling. And the economy has been President Trump's strongest selling point. This spells big trouble, doesn't it?

MCKINNON: Well, it's not only trouble for Donald Trump. It's always for trouble for any president. Presidential elections and reelections are largely referendums on the economy. And the reason that Donald Trump has been treading water at all, so far with everything else that's been going on and all the controversy is largely because of the economy. And it has been robust.

And it's been strong. It's been setting record numbers. But that's gone south fast. And if you think about this, you know the thing that's been holding them up for his water wings and the Chinese actually very quickly now letting the air out of the water wings. And, you know, he could be sinking under water very fast. Because if you think about it, the Chinese have no rationale to negotiate now, they don't like Donald Trump.

They don't like what he's done with tariffs. And the president can play the long game, right, because his -- when, never, right? And Donald Trump has said that when he did the budget deal. He said I am just doing this and balloon the deficit just to get past the election. Usually, people don't say that out loud. He did the tax cuts, didn't pay for them, created a sugar high. We're paying for it now.

And the markets look really bad. And there are not a lot of indicators that suggest it will get much better. And by the way, Don, it's not just how people feel about the economy now. It's how they think it's going to be in the future. And that's what they're going to be thinking about next November. Not just what it's like today, but what it looks like, and right now the future is not good.

LEMON: Wow. He -- Trump said the trade war wasn't hurting Americans. Then he backed off yesterday just in case it might hurt the economy before Christmas. I want you to listen to one of his...


MCKINNON: Well, there's some irony there. There's some irony there, as you know, and some contradiction, because he said it doesn't hurt American consumers, the Chinese are paying for it. It's all hurting the Chinese. But if it's not hurting consumers, why back off the tariffs before Christmas?


MCKINNON: If he thinks that this is going to help for Christmas. LEMON: Agreed. But I want you to listen to one of his top economic

advisers, the spin on it, and then we'll talk about it.


PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: So yesterday, we had a big bump up on the market, on President Trumps Christmas present to the nation with his announcement on tariffs.


LEMON: I thought trade wars were good and easy to win? So why is he taking them away. Why is he taking them away, a gift?

MCKINNON: Well, why do consumers need a Christmas present if the tariffs are good for them when they're imposed? Why back off then? And by the way, I talked to his -- the president's economic advisers just because I as a -- you know, as a more traditional Republican, and a Bush Republican, and going back through, you know, the last decade or so. You know, we think a lot about deficits and the debt, or we used to anyway, until Donald Trump who loves debt.

And I talked to the economic advisers about that, about this budget deal that's just blowing a hole in the deficit and the debt. And they said, you know, as long as we have huge growth, that's doesn't matter. But the problem is if you don't have huge growth, it's just as much of a problem. That's like a writer saying, you know, I am going to write double if I just take meth for a couple of weeks. Well, that's after a couple months, there's going to a crash and burn. And that is what's happening with the economy.

LEMON: Interesting. I want you to take a look at this graphic, Mark. It shows how the stock market has performed for every president, from Reagan through Trump. President Trump is only three years into his presidency. But during that time, the S&P500 has climbed 25 percent. He's just about in the middle of other modern at this point in his presidency. Some of them ended their presidencies up much higher, like Clinton and Obama and Reagan.

Some ended, you know, moderately higher, up moderately higher, even quite a bit lower like the Bush's. Do the chances, electoral chances depend on which way this goes for him?

[22:45:05] MCKINNON: I think unquestionably and absolutely. I mean there are other presidents where you can argue that there were, you know, there were, you know, the war in Iraq or national security might have been an issue overlaying the election. But I think in this case, this is all and only about the economy for Donald Trump. That's what he's been, you know, that's the dice that he rolled with the tax cuts, the budget deal, the tariffs.

And right now, you know, the economy appears to be clawing its way to the bottom. And once that momentum starts, it's really hard to turn around. I mean the momentum that he had sort of going into with the tax cuts and all that had its own momentum to push things higher. But again, it's an artificial high, and it's dropping fast, dropping hard. And I don't think it's going to turn around any time soon.

LEMON: Yeah. And he's been taking a lot of credit, as you know, for the stock market doing well. Thank you very much, Mark. I appreciate your time again. And welcome to CNN. We love having you.

MCKINNON: Keep kicking it. Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Yeah. Ken Cuccinelli, under fire for his rewrite of the Statue of Liberty poem, I'm going to ask a presidential historian if the Trump administration is trying to change the foundation of what it means to be an American.


LEMON: Tonight, a lot of criticism being leveled at top Trump immigration official, Ken Cuccinelli. He is under fire for saying that the famous poem on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants was all about people coming to the U.S. from Europe. I want to talk about this now with Douglas Brinkley. Douglas, good evening, thank you so much. You know, we've Ken Cuccinelli comments about what he says the Statue of Liberty poem means. I want to play it one more time and then get your response.


KEN CUCCINELLI, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES ACTING DIRECTOR: That poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.


LEMON: So Douglas, they aren't just words. They are the foundation of what it means to be an American.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yeah. There our American ethos. And, you know, Emma Lazarus, who wrote that, she was a Sephardic Jew, fourth generation, lived in New York. And she livid that in the 1880s Jews were being persecuted, not just in Europe but in the United States, and she believed and wrote (Inaudible) people would get into her life a little more, that what America stood is opening up its doors to people no matter what the country, helping the oppressed all over the world.

She was really a human rights person before her time. So Ken Cuccinelli's kind of botched all this. But what he's trying to do is represent this anti-immigration stance of Donald Trump. And he's done it in a clumsy way by making a strange and weird historical analogy, in many ways defaming Emma Lazarus.

LEMON: Ken Cuccinelli tweeted this image just moments ago, and it is him standing next to -- in front of a replica of the Statue of Liberty. He said we've got a new decoration outside our office today. It is a good thing we love liberty. He's reveling in this.

BRINKLEY: Yeah. I mean what a minor league move by him, right? I mean, here's my fake Statue of Liberty. And instead of just saying I goofed in making an apology or make a turn or be quiet, he seems to want to double and triple down on this. And it is because, you know, back in the 1920s, 1924 to be exact, it was an immigration restriction league. And people wanted to stop immigrants from coming into the United States if they weren't northern European.

And many presidents have stood up to that. John F. Kennedy wrote a great book called a Nation of Immigrants, saying that we don't stand for xenophobia, and our doors are open to people from all over the world. He was encouraging Asian immigration at that point in the early 1960s. And Ronald Reagan's farewell address is all about, you know, and his whole presidency about the city on a hill and immigration.

So what the Trump administration and Cuccinelli are representing Don, is this sort of persistent, ugly, xenophobic, anti-immigration stance that pops its ugly head. It did in the 1880s. It did in the 1920s. It did in the 1950s with Senator McCarran, and we see it in the Trump years again. But most people know our country was built on immigrants from all over the world, not just white Europeans.

I think when Trump said we want more people from Sweden, not the s- hole countries. That's the immigration policy of Donald Trump.

LEMON: Well, you mentioned that -- you said Europeans. There seems to be almost a rewriting of the type of immigrants who came here from Europe. They were not educated. They didn't have much in the way of skill.

BRINKLEY: Well, exactly. And our whole country -- and that was that generation. I mean, the reason Kennedy, Jack Kennedy got so involved in promoting immigration was Catholics were being banned. I mean, we've compared the Trump administration to the know-nothing party that was anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-Jewish, Germany, European countries are Catholic.

So Lazarus was standing up, wrote the incredible New Colossus that has become almost like a founding document of our country. And most Americans believe that. America at its best, we have a conscience, and we have our doors open to people from all countries, not just Europe.

LEMON: In a way, though, is this consistent with one element of Trump? That your merit isn't inherent in you? It is the function of money, the money you have.

[22:54:50] BRINKLEY: Yes. That's basically what they're saying. If you have money and a particular skill, come on in. And if not, we won't take you. We'll close the door. And the problem is we're losing what America represents around the world. People loved our country. Anywhere you travel the world, as you know, Don, people used to think of the United States as this place that tried so hard for inclusion of people from around the world.

And Donald Trump is running an inclusionary policy. And Ken Cuccinelli's comments are coming right on the heels of El Paso, on this notion that there is a brown menace in the United States. It's all going to look very ugly 10, 20 years from now when we look back on this period and realize that these kinds of, you know, millerites were running the Trump administration.

LEMON: Douglas Brinkley, thank you so much.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.