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President Trump Late to Working Lunch at G7; Former Congressman Joe Walsh Announces Republican Presidential Candidacy. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired August 26, 2019 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00] JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm old enough to remember when conservatives were calling President Obama king for things like executive orders designed to protect the Dreamers. But for most conservative members of Congress today, their alleged principle stop when a president from their party is in power. And that's the reality check.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I hereby enjoyed that as I did a fortnight ago. Thank you very much, John.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well played.

CAMEROTA: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN Newsroom with Max Foster is next. For our U.S. viewers we have breaking news. NEW DAY continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, good morning, and Welcome to your New Day. It is Monday, August 26th, it is 8:00 in the east. And happening now, we are waiting to hear from President Trump. He will hold a news conference in France very shortly with the French president. What will he say? Well, breaking this morning, the president seems to have been spending the morning backing off the trade war with China. He claims China called twice overnight offering a conciliatory message and to schedule new talks in a few weeks. Well, those talks were already scheduled, and there's currently no proof those calls actually took place. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would only vaguely define them as discussions. Whatever the case may be about the accuracy of the story, there is little question now that the president is trying to clean up after the huge upheavals in the markets in responding to the president accelerating and decelerating then accelerating the trade war over the weekend. As of now, U.S. markets are up after dropping more 600 points on Friday.

CAMEROTA: So on Sunday President Trump conceded he's having second thoughts about imposing a new round of tariffs on China. Then hours later, White House aides had to try to explain that and walk that message back. And there's the attention-grabbing announcement that President Trump just made a little time ago that he will possibly host next year's G7 at his Doral Golf Resort outside of Miami, which has all sorts of ethical implications.

So joining us now with have April Ryan, CNN political analyst and White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Network, Angela Rye, CNN political commentator and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Bakari Sellers, CNN commentator and a former Democratic member of the South Carolina House, and Andrew Gillam, CNN political commentator and the 2018 Democratic candidate for governor of Florida. We've really cut down on your credentials.

BERMAN: Three titles, three titles back.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: So Bakari, I wish that we could report on what's come out of the G7. Frankly, in all honesty, it's hard to know what news was made because there have been so many conflicting reports from what the president said versus his allies versus White House aides.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think that we have -- not I think. I know we have a president who runs trust deficit, and we're starting to see, I think the world is starting to see what we saw in the campaign when he came down the escalator. There are a lot of us who have been preaching and singing from this same sheet of music for a very, very long period of time, back from the '90s and the Central Park Five, back from his father. All of these things come full circle. And so now the world has been seeing what we've been seeing for a long period of time.

One point that I did want to harp on that you brought up about actually having G7 in Doral, is that we forget, if you go back in history not too long ago, Jimmy Carter had a special counsel investigate his peanut farm. A special council launched a full investigation into this peanut farm that he was then compelled to sell. Jimmy Carter, the president of the United States, had to sell his peanut farm, but Donald Trump is ripping the United States --

CAMEROTA: So why is that? Why isn't a special counsel investigating Donald Trump's businesses right now.

SELLERS: I don't know. You've got to ask the United States, you've to ask a whole bunch of other people. Bill Barr ain't investigating nothing that has to get close to the Republican Party. But even more importantly, we should be concerned as a Americans that Donald Trump is ripping us apart at the seams for profit. Let's not forget that everything he does is profit driven and racist. So he's ripping us apart at the seams for profit. That is even more devastating.

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Baraki, I would almost even ask, this tirade of tweets, statements about tariffs, no tariffs, starting with Mexico, now we're obviously in China. I want to know, and somebody ought to do the investigative work, who is making the money here.

We already know the president's tweets can cause markets to either rise or collapse, to destabilize or not to destabilize. And then one other point from the piece that John Avlon just did. This is a president and a Republican Party who has made socialism the brand name for every Democrat running for president and any Democrat in the country who is running. For the FOX viewers out there, a true form of socialism is the government owns and operates everything to include private sector business. You now have a president who is attempting to constrain U.S. companies and telling them who they can and cannot do business with. If that isn't most socialist, I'm not really sure what should be. This is a man who throws name and lobs insults on the one hand, and on the other, is inconsistent, can't be trusted with his word, and quite frankly, flip-flops every tweet.

[08:05:00] APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And there are American companies that we know, brand names that we know that could be affected by this. One is Walmart. I remember going to China maybe two years before the Beijing Olympics. Walmart was the first company in China that had a union. And guess who oversaw the union. The government, the Chinese government. Those kinds of companies are affected, not just small companies, but major companies.

But going back to this other thing about Doral. Let's think about, number one, September 9th when Congress goes back in session, I can see Elijah Cummings, head of Oversight and Government Reform, looking into this. This goes back into emoluments. Those goes back into conflicts of interest. Then let's talk about taxpayer dollars. This will be the world converging at his place in Florida.

But think about this. Taxpayer dollars will be used to supply secret Service. When you have this kind of movement of world leaders, you have to construct barriers. You have to do so much. It is costly. And then at a time when there is issues of heightened security, national security, this is not only going to cost us, but the president is going to make money off of this at his facility that you have said is --

BERMAN: Hang on one second. Just one update on where we are right now, Angela. I think we have some live pictures from inside a working lunch at the G7. Can we put those pictures up there? It's tape playback. We have some video of it, we can at least put that up, of this working lunch. And I'm told at least as of a few moments ago President Trump wasn't inside, nor has there been an actual meal served there.

CAMEROTA: Macron is hosting it. And I suppose everyone was expected to be at this working meeting. But we don't know why President Trump isn't there.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's at recess. Angela, look. He may show up any second, he may be there already. But how would you assess the reception he has received over the last few days. So many of the articles, Peter Baker as a great one in the "New York Times" basically saying he's in his own summit while everyone else is also holding meetings.

RYE: That's why I said he's on recess. When you think about Donald Trump and how he behaves, it's just like a school child, especially the ones that never learn how to play with anyone else in the sandbox.

GILLUM: No offense to school children.

BERMAN: Or sandboxes.

GILLUM: Or sandboxes.

RYE: That is so true. But offense to Donald Trump. And I think the reality of this is, I think about, Bakari, some of the things that you were just raising about Donald Trump's history. The fact is it should be no surprise to any of us that he has, again, played on some of America's worst fears, whether that is Mexicans taking people's jobs, or the Chinese and them being a dominant world power and our stiffest competition. There's no room for global cooperation in his mind. And I think that's a big disservice to our country. It's no surprise also you said he might be at the working lunch now. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he didn't.

GILLUM: I have to tell you, I'm not a fan of Donald Trump, didn't vote for him, obviously, and I'm working hard in Florida to see him not reelected.

RYE: You sure about that, Andrew?

GILLUM: But that being aside, when he is on the world stage, he's representing all of us. He's representing the United States of America, and that means Democrats, Republicans, independents, those who don't vote whatsoever. Not showing up at a working lunch is an embarrassment. Popping off one day about not knowing about the Iranian finance and state ministers coming to the G7, and then flipping the next day. Going into the G7 and attempting to reward Russia, a country who we know, based off of all of our intelligence here in America, intruded upon the U.S. elections, and are working to do it again. This is embarrassment after embarrassment after embarrassment. And it has to raise the question, who exactly is this president working for?

CAMEROTA: Hold on, this just in. Our pool reporter tells us that President Trump has just arrived at that working lunch. He was running late.

Let's talk about what the alternative is. For voters out there, Republican or Democrat, who are tired of this and want an alternative for 2020, there are alternatives popping up. And one of them was just on our program. And Angela, I want to talk to you about this, because this is former Congressman Joe Walsh.

RYE: One-term Congressman Joe Walsh.

CAMEROTA: One-term Congressman Joe Walsh, now a conservative talk radio host. And he has said that he regrets his incendiary language, which he specialized in for many, many years, and that he's no long area bomb thrower, and that he said on our air he will no longer engage in personal attacks. And I'm just wondering because he engaged in one with you publicly on Twitter. Are people capable of redemption? Should we allow them when they come out on public stage like this and say that they regret it, should we allow them redemption, or are some people too far gone? RYE: I think that everyone can be redeemed. That doesn't mean that

they need to be president nor does it mean that they need to run for any public office, nor does it mean they should hold a radio show, nor does it mean they should have a Twitter account, nor does it mean they should have an internship.

[08:10:00] I don't care how he has redeemed himself. I don't think he deserves to have a microphone, an opportunity to speak on this network or any other. He is not just inflammatory. He knows that he twists people's words and benefited from it. From whatever little thing he got from the retweet moment, I hope it was worth it. And at the end of the day, he has to sleep with the consciousness of having supported someone he is identical to if you look at the public record of everything he has ever said on social media and no distinction at all. What is he going to do different? He's not bright. He's not going to do anything dynamic -- we don't have to say as the president, he's not going to get there. So congratulations, you scored an interview on NEW DAY. Next.

(LAUGHTER)

SELLERS: All right. I was following up. It was in my head until -- great segue there, Angela.

Donald Trump is causing people to go into a sense of mania. There is no reason for any Democrat out there to uplift Joe Walsh. There's no reason for any never Trump or anybody who wants to beat Donald Trump, there's no weakening that Joe Walsh is going to do to Donald Trump.

BERMAN: No impact at all.

RYE: None.

SELLERS: This whole theory that Scaramucci has that, oh, my God, we're going to have this collection of misfits that come together and they're going to weaken Donald Trump. They're not.

RYE: Who are you, actually? Who are you?

CAMEROTA: Just to be clear, they don't actually say it's a collection of misfits. Both of them say that they have heard from people inside White House and inside Congress that there is a groundswell of this feeling that they are not alone. They believe they are the spokespeople for this. They're not misfits --

RYAN: There's definitely a groundswell.

SELLERS: If there is, I would prefer you not trot out Joe Walsh as your captain.

RYAN: Here is the problem, here is the problem. I've said this before, as America, as we are now bullied into submission that anything, in some minds, is better than Donald Trump. But they are now at the point where anything similar still is better than Donald Trump. That's crazy. This man has talked about Stevie Wonder taking the knee. This man has talked about Barack Obama being a Muslim. We've forgot about Pastor Jeremiah Wright, right, remember that? He just equated on this show Native-American skin --

INGRAHAM: Redskins, he was saying the word "redskins," and he was defending a previous tweet that had been incendiary about redskins.

RYAN: There's no defense for that. It's racial, it's racist, it's ugly.

SELLERS: My only point, for me personally, I can't speak for anybody else in this quartet of brilliant minds. There's six of us now.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

SELLERS: Blame that on the lack of cappuccino. Limousine liberals. But what I will say is for a lot of us this race is not just about beating Donald Trump, and I think people forget. It's about much more than that. I want to beat Donald Trump and everything he stands for. For me, Joe Walsh is a part of that everything he stands for. Without Donald Trump I'm not sure Joe Walsh and all these individuals didn't have a mascot that emboldens them to go out and parade there xenophobia --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Historically Pat Buchanan in '92 softened George H.W. Bush. Ted Kennedy in 1980 softened Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan softened Gerald Ford. If you look back historically some people point and say, hey, if a president does gets primaried, it can weaken him. You don't see that?

GILLUM: No, I don't see that. And just so that viewers know, I certainly don't believe, and I think my colleagues would agree, that there is no road to redemption. What I haven't heard from Mr. Walsh, how did he come to terms with his vitriol? What process has he gone through. His actions, of course, but was it, as I've heard him say, watching Donald Trump illuminate to him the ugliness that was in himself? I don't buy it.

CAMEROTA: Why isn't that possible.

GILLUM: Because he stood with that same hatefulness, in fact, some might argue helped to give birth to it. He preceded it.

CAMEROTA: He argues that. He argues that himself.

GILLUM: And now I want to see him do the work. And doing the work doesn't mean running for president of the United States. I want him to have some courageous conversations that actually illuminate that there's been a growth period rather than what I am concluding to be a very self-motivated act. And I consider the same to be true for Scaramucci.

SELLERS: And we're going to have this discussion on religion later, but I will quote the book of James, because it says faith without works is dead. So before you come up here and want me to have faith that all of a sudden you are a changed man, as we're talking about redemption, then we have to see what work you've put into it.

RYAN: But maybe he is changing. I want to believe. George Wallace -- I want to believe -- no, but I want to believe -- I believe in redemption.

RYE: I believe in redemption, too.

RYAN: But also show me. I'm from show me state, even though I'm from Maryland. But show me.

CAMEROTA: The other state.

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: But remember George Wallace apologized towards the end of his life. I believe that people know that they're doing wrong and they know it's wrong just to galvanize people, but at the same time, they're hurting people.

I believe you're right, he needs to do the work. He doesn't need to run for President. We don't need -- this person has got to be a moral world leader.

BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE MEMBER: I don't believe in redemption.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now, you don't.

RYAN: Now, you don't?

SELLERS: I have to regroup for that. No, because I don't believe that George Wallace could be redeemed. He hurt too many people.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here is the bottom line.

CAMEROTA: Yes, give us the bottom line.

RYE: When John brought up Pat Buchanan, you were going to talk about how folks could be racist and insert themselves in presidential elections, but I think our reality is simple.

Joe Walsh is not different than Donald Trump is not different from Anthony Scaramucci. And so congratulations, all of you all are narcissists, and you've had your platform and your moment. Enjoy it -- this short moment of fame. Enjoy it.

CAMEROTA: All right, all stars. On that note, thank you all very much for this conversation.

SELLERS: I am confused about redemption.

RYE: No, it could be your team. You can stay.

RYAN: They could be redeemed, but don't run for President.

SELLERS: Fair enough. RYE: Be redeemed.

CAMEROTA: All right. Moving on. Expressing regret, then amping up more tariff threats. Where does the President really stand on the trade war with China or economic policy for that matter? We will speak with the White House's former top economist, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:20:25] CAMEROTA: President Trump sending mixed messages on this trade war with China at the G7 Summit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: ... escalating the trade war with China?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. Sure, why not. Might as well. Might as well.

QUESTION: You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?

TRUMP: I have seconds about everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Okay. Then hours later, the White House Press Secretary said Trump's comments had been greatly misinterpreted. She said his only regret is that he is not raising the tariffs higher.

Joining us now is Kevin Hassett. He's served as President Trump's top economist for two years and then in June, he left his position as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and today we welcome him as a CNN economics commentator. Welcome, Kevin.

KEVIN HASSETT, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: Oh, it's great to be here. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Boy. Do we need your help parsing what has happened at the G7? Let's just start with that moment when the President says, "Yes, sure." He has had second thoughts. He has second thoughts about everything. How do you interpret that?

HASSETT: Well, I think there's been an ebb and flow in the trade negotiations for a long time, and the basic backdrop is that there are hardliners in China that think that it's okay for them to steal our IP and so on. They don't want to trade deal. They want to continue to just sort of steal us blind.

And then there are reformers there like Liu He that want to work out a deal as we do. And the reformers and the hardliners seem to be like ebbing and flowing in influence and so we thought we had a deal, you know, right before I left, you know, in the spring, we thought we had a deal, that was a really good deal.

And then all of a sudden, they pulled it out from under us. And then there was another move like that last Friday, and I know the President got very angry about it, which is that we had actually eased back on our tariffs so that you know, the Christmas season would be okay.

And then the Chinese kind of doubled down right after we did that, as if they thought that us being more reasonable was a sign of weakness.

And so the President came out swinging on Friday. But you know, I think, I heard over the weekend from friends inside that there is a movement towards having talks again. And so hopefully, in the end, you know, the reformers in China will agree with basically everybody on our team that we should have a new deal that stops Chinese bad action.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but Kevin --

HASSETT: And that up opens up both markets.

CAMEROTA: I am sorry to interrupt, but I am talking about the ebb and flow in President Trump's mind. I'm talking about the ebb and flow where he says, "Yes, sure," he's had second thoughts. And then his press people have to say, "Oh, he has only had second thoughts about imposing higher tariffs."

When the when you hear the President, if you were still in the White House and you heard him say, "Yes, of course, I have second thoughts about imposing tariffs," what goes on inside the White House when the President says something like that?

HASSETT: Right? Well, I think that it's -- you know, a negotiation is a very difficult thing. And again, if I think about like, forget about what the President is thinking, I can't get inside his mind. Think about me --

You know, I believed that the reformers in China had the upper hand and that they were accurately representing Chinese position throughout the negotiations while I was at the White House. And I thought we were really, really close to a deal. I'm sure that I was on CNN saying, "Hey, I think we're about to have a deal." And then boom, the whole deal gets taken out from under us.

And so I think that, you know, maybe the President thinks he should have been tougher at the beginning and not phase things in because the Chinese aren't really going to budge, and we're never going to budge. I mean, you could talk to him about it.

But I think that the mistake that I've made is that I thought that the reformers had more influence over the final decision and it appears that they do.

CAMEROTA: Do you believe that China in the past 24 hours, called the White House twice, to resume trade talks?

HASSETT: There's constant communication between, say Secretary Mnuchin and Liu He's team and then also, you know, other people as well. But I'm certain that there's been some communication over the weekend that suggests that they'll have talks, otherwise, they wouldn't have said it. And there's so much communication continuous that it wouldn't be a surprise.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, that's the question because weren't Lighthizer and Mnuchin already scheduled to have talks with their Chinese counterparts for this week? In other words, I think the President is suggesting that because of something he has done or said at the G7, that that's why these calls have happened from China.

But are you saying that these calls happen all the time? And there's nothing that moved the needle?

HASSETT: Right. But also don't forget, because the Chinese hit us with this sort of surprise tariffs on Friday, and then the President responded, there was a lot of uncertainty about whether we're actually going to have the talks that were scheduled.

And so I think that over the weekend that was clarified and clarified in a positive way. And I think that's why markets are responding so favorably today.

CAMEROTA: Is Jerome Powell the enemy of the U.S. people?

HASSETT: No, no, he is not. You know, he is -- you know, the President chose Jay for the Fed. I know he has policy differences with Jay, but Jay is doing a job over there that's you know, the best he can.

I thought the speech he gave at Jackson Hole just last week was fantastic. It like laid out his thinking, and they've started to reduce rates, which I think is the right move.

I think that everybody thinks that the increase that they gave us last December was a little bit too far. And they're winding it back now. And that's the right thing, but he is certainly not the enemy of the people.

[08:25:11] CAMEROTA: So then, why would the President say, who is the bigger enemy President Xi or Jerome Powell?

HASSETT: I think that if you were to ask the question the way an economist would, you would say, who has caused more negative impact on GDP over the last six months the Fed? Or China? You know, that's the kind of thing that seminars are made from and I think it could be that's what the President is speculating about.

CAMEROTA: I guess my point is, do you think it's helpful that he is calling Jerome Powell a possible enemy of the U.S. people?

HASSETT: The President uses very strident language. I don't -- so you know, if he is channeling me, he would sound different now and then, yes.

CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable with the language that the President uses?

HASSETT: I'm comfortable with the policies that the President has pushed, you know, even the China reform. You know, I mentioned in a piece that will be coming out in CNN today sometime that, you know, the biggest heist in U.S. history was an art heist of the Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston of $500 million worth of art. The Chinese have taken that much IP from us just about every day.

They did it every day for a year. That's how much IP they're taking from us. So the President is standing up to that.

And then the other stuff, deregulation and tax policy, you know, I very much support those policies. And I think that's why GDP growth is so much higher now than, you know, the Congressional Budget Office thought it would be back in 2016, when they looked ahead to today.

So the President's policies are working. And you know, I'm sure that the tweets could aggravate at times. They certainly have aggravated me at times. But the policies have been a big success.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, you say the policy is working, but China stopped doing that? I mean, the tariffs have been in place for a year, you say they continue to steal intellectual property. How is it working?

HASSETT: Yes, the Chinese policy is a work in progress. But the sort of strong stance that the President has taken on trade has given us a new trade deal with Korea, a KORUS deal. It's given us the new NAFTA deal -- USMCA -- that's a really good deal. It has lots of important modern things like Internet trade and ocean litter, getting the plastics out of the oceans and so on.

And so, he has made a whole bunch of good deals. The China one is the last big one. And I think that if that comes through, and there's a big reform there that you'd have to say that his policies have been a big success.

CAMEROTA: Well, if is a big word there.

HASSETT: Yes, on that one --

CAMEROTA: But Kevin Hassett, we appreciate getting your perspective on all of these.

HASSETT: Oh, thanks for having me. And it's great to be on the team.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much. John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A fiery plane crash overnight at a California airport. We will tell you what happened and how those on board got out alive -- that's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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