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Trump Speaks After Impeachment Acquittal. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 6, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think you had a choice because of your wife.
But thank her and Mark Meadows. He's an extraordinary guy. I mean, the only problem is, I guess, he is announcing -- he only won by 40 points, but he's announcing that he'll be not running this time. You have somebody good to run, somebody going to win the district by at least 20 points, please, okay.
But he's a tremendously talented man, not just as a politician, as a human being, he is incredible. And during these horrible times, I mean, the way he worked, and Jim and all of you guys, they way they worked was so -- it was like their life was at stake, so many.
Ron DeSantis is another one. He worked so hard. He called me and said, sir, I'd like to run for governor. He said governor? I don't want you to run. I'd like you staying. No, I want to run for governor. And I said, well, if you have to, I'd like your support. I said, how can I support you? You're at three.
He was at three, he had no money. Somebody else was at 38 and they had $22 million cash, right? I said, look, it was important, I'll do it, because he's been another great warrior and he's -- by the way, he ran, I endorsed him. His numbers went through the roof. The man who we beat, who was expected to win easily called me after the race. He said, you endorsed him and it was like a nuclear bomb went off. There was nothing I could do. He never even spent his money. He saved it.
But Ron DeSantis is another one. And now, he's the governor of Florida. And, by the way, he's a great governor, he's a very popular governor. His numbers were in the 70s. And he's done a great job.
But, Mark, I want to thank you very much, fantastic job, thank you very much, Mark Meadows.
And Mike Johnson of Louisiana, where is Mike? Central Casting, what a job. You can represent me at any time. You can represent me any time. Thank you. What a job you've done. Thank you, Mike.
And a man nobody has ever heard of except the other side. He is the other side's worst nightmare. This guy goes down into dungeons and basements. He'll find a document no matter what. He's the most legitimate human being, he's the hardest worker. He's unbelievable. He took tremendous abuse -- I mean, abuse -- the media and the other side and the bad ones, the leakers, the liars, the dirty cops, they wanted to destroy him. They tried. They got close but he wouldn't let it happen.
And, honestly, in a certain way, he was the first one, wouldn't you say, Jim and Mark and everybody? This was the first guy. He came out of nowhere. He's saying, these people are corrupt. He's still saying it. And he was unbelievable, Devin Nunes, he was unbelievable.
That's so true, Devin. He would come in and say -- I didn't even know him. I just heard there was this congressman who kept going into a basement, into files. He knew something was wrong. You felt it, right? And now, we know a lot more than we knew then, right? You never thought it was as bad as it is, and hopefully we're going to take care of things, because we can never, ever allow this to happen again.
Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Scott, thank you. Thank you, Scott, you're really great and you're doing very well over there, by the way. I just saw your numbers.
A man who is a -- I mean, Central Casting, if I'm going to pick Perry Mason, I'm going to do a remake of Perry Mason. Other than Bill Barr, I pick this guy, but I have to say, I'll pick Barr. I picked Barr first, right, John Ratcliffe, right? But I have to tell you, if we're doing a remake of Perry Mason, the man I get, there's nobody in Hollywood like this, John Ratcliffe, right? Stand up, John. So such a great lawyer, incredible guy, incredible talent, but just a great lawyer and we appreciate it. He gets on that screen and everyone says, I agree. The other side folds up so fast. We'll probably be using a lot of you in the next year. But you have been fantastic, John, we appreciate it. Thank you very much.
A man who is braver than me and braver than all of us in this room, he got whacked. He got whacked. My Steve, right?
I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night, right, honey? And we saw a man that was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. He was -- the doctor. And I told him, his wife, I said, she loves you. Why do you say that? Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn't give a damn. A lot of wives would have said, yes, I'd say, how is he doing? She couldn't even talk, she was inconsolable. Most wives would say, not good, listening, I'm going home now.
But the doctor came in, the wife is like -- she was a total mess. She was really devastated. And it really looked like he had a 20, 25 percent chance. I think you set a record for blood loss. And Steve Scalise, I actually -- honestly, I think you're better-looking there. You're more handsome there. You weren't that good-looking. You look good now. He looks better now, can you believe it? I don't know what the hell that is. Better now.
What a guy. And he was practicing for the baseball game against -- I guess the Democrats, right? And this whack job started shooting, hurt Rogers. I don't know if Rogers is here, but hurt a number of people, hit him, but really hit Steve. Steve was at second base. He was the second baseman, and he went down and it was terrible. I mean, I saw the whole thing and it was terrible.
Fortunately, you had two brave policemen with you. Because of your high position in Congress, you had two policemen and they were amazing. The man and the woman and they came -- they didn't have rifles. They were supposedly a pretty good sharpshooter with equipment, and all they had was a gun. And they started coming in from the outfield, shooting. And they were so far away that a handgun is not preferred.
This guy has the rifle and he's hitting people. And he was going to move up and there was no out. I mean, if you would have been able to move up, there was no way to get out. The entrance was a single entrance way on the other side from where he was.
So everyone ran into the dugout, ran into dugout. But Steve was hit really bad in the stomach and with a bullet that rips you apart. It was supposed to do that. It rips you apart. And these two people came charging forward, and one of them -- you know who -- one of them, him, got the shooter, hit him and then got him, killed him from a long distance. It was amazing. If you didn't have those two people, you could imagine, right? You could imagine what would happen.
And so Melania and I went to the hospital that night, and he was in such bad shape and he's been working ever since so hard. But six months ago, they had a baseball game at the National Spark. And I'm watching. And it's on television. And it's just a game, people, you want to win it, right? And Steve is at second base. The poor guy can't even walk.
Do you remember Bobby Richardson from the New York Yankees? He was known for range, really, range. He had the greatest range. If a ball is set to short stop, Bobby Richardson is the second player, second base. Bobby Richardson would feel the ball. If it's hit the first base, he'll throw it to the first base, he had unbelievable range.
This was not Steve Scalise. Steve had not range. One foot and he has to fall down, right, because he was trying to get better. I don't know who the the put you on the field. And this is a true story. So the game starts and the first pitch, Steve is in the second base and the guy is really in bad shape. And I said, this is terrible. A shot, ground ball shot, is hit to second. And Steve -- I said -- I didn't have time to think too much, but I said, this is not good, that ball is going toward him. And this guy stopped that ball, caught the ball. He's now laying down. He throws the ball to first base, he gets him out. I said it's the most incredible thing. I've never seen anything like it, right?
And he gets him out and they then took him out of the game, which was a very wise thing because you could never do that again in a million years. But you weren't going to let that ball go through.
I don't care if it was hit by the greatest of all time, right, that ball wasn't going through because you are a warrior. Steve, he is fantastic. You are fantastic, you and Liz and Kevin, what a group. I mean, what a group. I got lucky. I got lucky, because you need the right people. If I had the wrong people there, it may be a different story. Maybe we would be celebrating something else. But I really want to thank you, Steve Scalise.
And, Elise, you -- I just read this story. It's most incredible what's going on with you, Elise. So I even said, I was up campaigning for helping her but I thought, she looks good, she looks like good talent. But I did not realize when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise. You were killing them.
Elise -- there's a big story in the New York Post. I love the New York Post because they treat me well. There aren't not too many of you that do, but today you're treating me well. I even had a great headline in The New York Times, The Washington Post, I had all these great headlines. Maybe we should just end it right there.
But you had a great story yesterday in The Post, that people from all over the country are contributing to her campaign. They were so enthralled with the way you handled yourself, what you said, the way you said it. And I'll always be your friend. I think it's really an amazing story. What a great future you have. What a great future. Thank you.
First lady agrees, by the way. First lady agrees.
And Michael Turner, you can represent me any time. Where is Michael? Where is he? Well, you can represent me. How good were you? He's another Perry Mason type, I think, right? What do you think, John? But, Michael, you were fantastic and we appreciate it.
Brad Wenstrup. Where is Brad? Brad? This is a big day for you. Well, you notice only the lawyers stayed behind. All the lawyers stayed behind.
Lee Zeldin, how good are you? How good are you? Yes. Lou, your name isn't down. Do you know if -- I didn't announce Louie. Whoever the hell made this list, I got to get rid of them, because if I wouldn't have announced Louie, it might have been the end of the presidency. Louie, you have been so great, so tough and so smart. I got it. But Louie has been amazing. He's a tough guy, he's a smart guy, he's street-wise like crazy. We love Texas and we're with you all the way, Louie. We're with you all the way. Thank you very much.
So that's the story. We have a great group of warriors, and there are others left, and I guess probably I'm sure I didn't mention a few. I apologize if that's the case. How is CPAC doing (ph)? My man, stand up, will you? He's the one who said, you should run, right?
Matt said five years ago, six years ago. And I made a speech and then they did some kind of straw poll, who made the best speech? They said I made the best speech with all these professional -- he said this, with all these professional politicians, they voted by far the best speech was Trump. He calls me and says, you should run for politics. I said, what do I know about politics? But you know, we learn quickly and our country has never been better than it's doing right now. So, thank you, Matt. Great, say, hello.
So that's the story. We've been treated very unfairly. Fortunately, we have great men and women that came to our defense. If we didn't, this would have been a horrific incident for our country. When you have Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers. I want to believe the path you threw out for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- that's the office -- there's no way he gets elected, meaning me. There's no way he gets elected. This is Peter to Lisa. He's probably trying to impress her for obvious reasons. There's no way he gets elected. But I'm afraid we can't take the risk.
Now, think of this. In other words, if I get elected, they can't -- two low-lives, they can't take the risk.
They can't take the risk. Think of it. And that's where it came up, the greatest word of all, insurance policy. So when he says, but I'm afraid we can't take the risk, she may lose. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event, you die before your forehead (ph). In other words, if I won, then we're going to do exactly what they did to us. They were going to try and overthrow the government of the United States, a duly elected president.
And if I didn't fire James Comey, we would have never found this out, Because when I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out. They were ratting on each other. They were running for the hills. Let's see what happens. Let's see what happens. It's in the hands of some very talented people. We're going to have to see what happens.
But I can tell you in my opinion, these are the crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people I've ever seen. They said, this is Strzok, God, Hillary should win, 100 million to 1. This is about me. This is an agent from the FBI. Look how they left her off. 33,000 emails deleted. Nothing happens to her. Nothing happens. It's unbelievable. But thinks of it, God, Hillary should win. These guys are investigating Hillary.
And they go to work for Mueller, the two of them. And when Mueller found out that everybody knew that they were 100 percent this way, he let them go. But they deleted all of their emails and text messages. So when we got the phone, they were all deleted. Could you imagine the treasure throve they illegally deleted? So they left Bob Mueller. He had to look but he didn't have a lot of other things. Always had to look, Mr. G-Man. And I love the FBI and the FBI loves me, 99 percent. It was the top scum. And the FBI people don't like the top scum.
So think of that, 100 million to 1 and he's investigating me. And then, God, Trump is a loathsome human being, isn't he, because of the people looking at me. I'm really not a bad person. And he says, yes, he's awful. How would you like to have that?
This is the good stuff. This stuff 100 times worse than that. These are all dirty people. And now, I just heard that they're suing the United States of America because they were interfered with. Not going to let this happen, just not going to let it happen. We cannot let this happen to our country.
So I'm going to leave now, and I don't know if any of you have anything to say. You could say it but this is sort of a day of celebration because we went through hell. And I'm sure that Pelosi and Crying Chuck, this guy -- the only time I ever saw him cry was when it was appropriate. I've known him for a long time, Crying Chuck. But I'm sure they'll try and cook up other things. They'll go through the State of New York, they'll go through other places, they'll do whatever they can. Because instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do -- in my opinion, it's almost like they want to destroy our country. We can't let it happen.
Jim Jordan, did you want to say something? Go ahead. Mark?
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): I just wanted to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country. We've got your back.
TRUMP: Thank you. This was a highly partisan situation. Pelosi said -- I copied it down exactly -- before the impeachment -- she wanted to impeach from day one, by the way, don't let it fool you. She said, no, the impeachment is a very serious thing. I said she wants to impeach, watch. Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan -- bipartisan? It was 197 to nothing.
Then one failed presidential candidate, and I call that half a vote because he actually voted for us on the other one.
But we had one failed presidential candidate. That's the only half a vote we lost. So we had almost 53 to nothing. We had 197 to nothing. And the only one that voted against was a guy that can't stand the fact that he ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency.
But she said, there's something that has to be so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan. I don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country. She was right about that. And it's just not worth it. That was Nancy Pelosi a year ago, right?
And I think it's a shame. I think it's a shame. But as I said, if we can put this genius to work on roads and highways and bridges and all of the things we can do, prescription drugs. You know, we had -- Secretary Azar is here, and I want to thank him for this, but we had for the first time in 51 years where drug prices actually came down last year, first time in 51 years.
But what we can do working with both parties in Congress would be unbelievable. It would be unbelievable, all we can do. And I know Chuck Grassley, he's working very on it and Mitch is working very hard on it. But what we can do is incredible. What we can do, just generally, we've done so much without it. We've rebuilt our military. We've cut regulations at a level that nobody thought possible. We'll always protect our 2nd Amendment. We all know that. But I just want to tell you that it's an honor to be with you all. I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people. And Ivanka is here and my sons and my whole family. And that includes Barron who is up there as a young boy. Stand up, honey. Ivanka, thank you, honey.
So I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal. I was going to run for president, and if I won, I was going to do a great job. I didn't know I was going to run, and then when I got in I was going to have to run again and again and again, every week I had to run again. That wasn't the deal, but they stuck with me, and I'm so glad I did it, because we are making progress and doing things for our great people that everybody said couldn't be done. Our country is thriving. Our country is just respected again,
And it's an honor to be with the people in this room. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I am Brianna Keilar and you have been watching the president of the United States with an unscripted, vindictive, at times, profane, angry, rambling response to his impeachment acquittal. The president there for an hour holding what's really been a surreal ceremony there in the east room in front of his legal team, in front of Republican lawmakers, White House staff, his family, a friendly crowd that gave him numerous standing ovations.
The president insulting and going after his perceived enemies, everyone from former FBI Director James Comey to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Senator Mitt Romney. It also comes hours after he attacked the faith of Mitt Romney who was the only Republican senator to vote to convict him on abuse of power, just one of the two articles of impeachment.
I want to bring in our experts, our political experts here to talk about this. Gloria Borger, let's start with you.
First off, just the tone, the vindictive nature of his going through, clearly, almost an enemies list that he appeared to be looking down at on the heels of a number of Republicans voting to acquit him, citing that they think he's learned his lesson, which clearly he has not.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Which clearly he has not.
This started out with the president coming out into the east room to ruffle some flourishes and then immediately turned into an avalanche of grievance against everybody. It was vindictive, as you pointed out, it was full of revenge, it was mean-spirited, it was poisonous, it was spiteful. And it gave a real look into the way he views the world, which is the bad and evil people, as he spoke about, those are his words, who dared oppose him versus the people who stuck with him.
And he had names for everybody who opposed him. They were vicious, as he called Adam Schiff, as you said, Mitt Romney, a failed presidential candidate who uses religion as a crutch. This is a man who was a former bishop and president of his Mormon church. So I think it was quite a remarkable view into the president's psyche here.
And when you compare it to Bill Clinton, as we were all talking about after his impeachment, Bill Clinton apologized to the American people and said, he was -- how profoundly sorry I am to do what I did to trigger all this. The president did none of that.
KEILAR: And in the room at the time was Kaitlan Collins, our Kaitlan Collins. I want to head to her. Kaitlan, this was an extraordinary address by the president there in
the east room.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And I predict, Brianna, that you will never see something like this for a very long time. The president said this wasn't a news conference, it wasn't a speech, but he said, it was a celebration. But, really, what it was, Brianna, was an airing of grievances, and grievances certainly were aired.
You could essentially sense the president's anger of coming off the heels of the Mueller investigation into this impeachment inquiry and now it wrapping up. You heard the president double down on criticisms, of course, of people like Mitt Romney, Adam Schiff, Speaker Pelosi, as he was going through this.
But, Brianna, one thing that was clear and that really stood out in that over an hour long speech that the president just gave, he did not think -- he does not think he did anything wrong. So those senators like Susan Collins, Alexander, John Thune, people who have said that they believe the president has essentially learned a lesson here, he'll be more cautious going forward, that he's realized that there is a line drawn in the sand, that is not what the president just communicated here to the people in this room. It was less like an east room event, more like a Trump rally with all of his friends seated in here, some of the very people who defended him on the floor of the Senate this week, speaking to the president.
And, essentially, he was going on to saying that when there are some people who say it wasn't an perfect call, he said he understands that. He thinks maybe they're just saying it, but he said, that's incorrect, that's totally incorrect.
Notably, one person seated in the front row was the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who the president thanked, who, of course, has helped shepherd them through all of this, helping them avoid having witnesses in that impeachment trial. And the president seemed to indicate that Mitch McConnell has said he believes that call was okay.
We should be clear. McConnell has not said any of the sort. He has not commented either way despite being asked multiple times by reporters how he feels about whether or not it was appropriate for the president to ask another country to investigate his domestic, political rival. But that really was the bottom line here, Brianna, is the president does not think he did anything wrong. He is leaving impeachment in the past and essentially moving on to what is going to amount to some kind of political warfare over the next several months. And then, of course, he left the room and did not take any questions from reporters.
KEILAR: Kaitlan, thank you so much for taking us there inside the room.
And Alexi McCammond here with us from Axios, thank you so much for joining us. This was startling, to see this just litany of grievances, and also name-chucking people who helped him, who voted against impeachment and who voted in the Senate to acquit him.
ALEXI MCCAMMOND, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: This was very much presented as a team sport by the president, but it's really about the captain and his own personal glory, and that is exactly what we saw from him today.
He shouted out, as you mentioned, the different people who he credits for sort of helping him get over the finish line to the acquittal. But at the end of the day, it's about him. It's about the fact that he's done nothing wrong and it's also about the fact that he has his fingers in his hands in so many different places and people within the Republican Party.
He shouted out Josh Hawley, who remember took out Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri, in part, because President Trump advocated for him, endorsed him and got him over the finish line in that race in 2018. He talked about people like Senator Bill Cassidy and how he helps him. President Trump said better understand healthcare and pre- existing conditions and that issue. He talks about Mitch, McConnell, who really fees, kept the Republicans in line throughout this process.