Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Warren Slams Bloomberg on 2008 "Redlining" Remark, Says He Should Not Be Democratic Nominee; Biden Confident He'll Win South Carolina After Finishing Fourth in Iowa and Fight in New Hampshire. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 14, 2020 - 16:30   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: He tweeted, quote: One day driving home from school, I was pulled over by the cops.

[16:30:04]

Taken out of my car. Handcuffed. Placed in the back of a police car. Then released without explanation.

Bloomberg has not shown he understands the pain he caused in our community at all.

Now, in his apology, Bloomberg says he didn't understand then the unintended pain stop-and-frisk was calling -- causing.

I mean, the big challenge here is making anybody understand how could he not understand the pain this was causing? It was headlines in New York City the entire time.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and his challenge is not to let this overcome his entire campaign. He's trying to introduce himself on a national level with hundreds of millions of dollars in ads and now that he's rising in the polls, his past is starting to come up.

And people are asking very important and very realistic questions about why he pursued this policy for so long, why he defended it for so long. He was defending it in some of these tapes as late as 2015 after courts have thrown this out as unconstitutional. And he continued to double down on it and triple down on it.

It was only when he began running for president that he apologized and that apology is coming up short for a lot of people, including people who were directly impacted by this policy. So, he's going to have to do more than just apologize, and he has to make sure it doesn't overcome his entire campaign.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, I think the big winner of him in a debate could end up being Elizabeth Warren. Is there a more perfect foil for what she's built her candidacy on? I mean, this is -- I mean, not only what he said about the banks,

blaming, you know, anyone but the banks for the 2008 financial crisis. "Daily Beast" reported he said during an interview with the IMF that taxing the rich was a bigger problem -- was the problem with income inequality.

TAPPER: Uh-huh.

KUCINICH: I mean, this is not where the base of the Democratic Party is certainly. And he's --

TAPPER: It's not where the American people.

KUCINICH: It's not where the American people are.

So how he's going -- if he ends up on the debate stage or even if he's on the campaign trail, he's going to have to start asking questions. He can't just awash in ads and walk to the White House.

TAPPER: Mehdi, take a look at this. Bloomberg is launching what he calls Mike for Black America. It's complete with a section on his Website with buttons and apparel.

What do you think? I've heard people compare it to Blacks for Trump.

MEHDI HASAN, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, THE INTERCEPT: I mean, he's spending hundreds of millions of dollars on his presidential campaign. Why doesn't he spend some money compensating some of the people who are illegally, unconstitutionally stopped on his watch? And he was defending this, you know, you said in 2015, we heard the racist remarks that he made in 2015.

To be fair to him, he was 73 then. He's 78 now. Maybe there's been some growth and evolution.

He was defending this a year ago. In January 2019, he went to the Naval Observatory and said, Naval Academy, and said in a speech that this helped reduce crime. He only started apologizing when he ran for president. Surprise, surprise.

And he has so much to apologize for, not just racist stop-and-frisk, but his comments about women, his ridiculously bigoted comments about -- he said women walk past construction sites because they want who be whistled at. He says if women wanted to be respected for their brains, they'd go to a library, not Bloomingdale's. I mean, this is --

TAPPER: These are the safe for TV ones. There's much worse than that.

HASAN: They're safe for TV. So, Democrats, I'd be mad if the Democrats picked this candidate. There's already a right wing, racist, misogynist billionaire in the Oval Office. Why swap for him another one? I don't get it.

TAPPER: Well, and, Mary Katharine, I should point, this is the first time Mike Bloomberg has ever run in a Democratic primary because he first ran as a Republican. Then he was an independent. Then he was an incumbent mayor when he became a Democrat.

So he's never had to face Democratic voters' votes before.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. Eventually, the Democratic Party is going to have to go on a first date with this guy whose Instagram profile or dating profile is all they've seen. And like all the angles are great and it's all very edited, but then he's going to have to sit down in person with them, and the answer to the stop-and-frisk stuff does not inspire confidence because he says, well, this was five years ago. That's not really an answer.

There's not a ton of charisma there. We will see how does making an argument that he could be the guy. He also has -- no -- not a obviously, challenges with black voters.

He does have this relationship that goes back to the gun control stuff with suburban moms. That will matter. That is an argument he can make.

But whether it all comes together on the ground --

KUCINICH: Until they hear about the comments.

HAM: Yes.

TAPPER: Well, maybe. But then there's also the fact that he's been able to make generous contributions to a lot of politicians and a lot of mayors.

HASAN: Who then endorse him.

TAPPER: Who then endorse him.

HASAN: Democracy.

TAPPER: I mean, look, I hear what you're saying, that it is entirely on TV and Instagram. But it's been fairly effective so far.

HAM: Yes.

TAPPER: I mean, he's risen in the polls.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, and he is having the strategy where he bypassed the first four states, and he's focusing on Super Tuesday, trying to build a diverse electorate. And if his poll numbers continue to increase, it shows that spending money on TV in places where other candidates cannot spend money, where he has the game to himself essentially could actually put him in the mix as he tries to win this nomination.

TAPPER: Everyone, stick where you are because we're going to keep talking about this.

While several Democratic candidates are attacking Bloomberg, Joe Biden is talking a very big game about the upcoming races. His new promises, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:39:12]

TAPPER: Talk about great expectations. Former Vice President Joe Biden telling supporters not only is he confident he will win the South Carolina primary, but that he will finish first or second in the Nevada caucus.

And after those races, he says, quote, I will win Pennsylvania. I promise you. I will Michigan, I promise you. I will win those Midwest states as well as right now they have me winning in Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina.

Let's discuss. That is a very confident statement, Mehdi, from a guy --

HASAN: It's also false.

TAPPER: -- from a guy who just finished fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire.

HASAN: Former vice president of the United States, front-runner for much of the last year. But it was false, he's not leading in Florida. Michael Bloomberg is leading in Florida according to a poll today. And Bernie is beating him in Texas for the first time today and in Nevada according to polls out today.

So, Biden is in kind of free fall right now. Some of us warned that this would happen.

[16:40:01]

I remember coming on the show with you, Jake --

TAPPER: Yes.

HASAN: -- about a year ago and said, there's only one way for him is down from when he nominated.

Turns out to be the front-runner, you actually have to win some races. And he's run for president three times and he's yet to win a primary.

TAPPER: Although we should point out, Jackie, that he is still leading in South Carolina in some polls, and still enjoys the plurality of support among African-American voters in South Carolina, and they constitute 60 percent of the Democratic Party voters in South Carolina.

KUCINICH: But it's dwindling.

TAPPER: Dwindling, that's fair.

KUCINICH: And you're seeing people like Tom Steyer, Bernie Sanders, who's been doing a lot of work in South Carolina with the African- American community, siphon away those voters as Biden starts to fall.

So, that -- it is his firewall. That's what he keeps -- that is the, you know, school of thought in the campaign. But you can only say you're going to win so many times and to your point, you lose. When people start -- you can project confidence all you want, but the results do matter in this case.

And when -- you know, voters want to pick a winner and they want to beat Donald Trump, which is what all Democratic voters pretty much are going to tell you right now, that he's going to -- he's going to continue to lose support if he doesn't start winning.

TAPPER: What do you think?

HAM: I think the issue for him is that Nevada is stuck right there in between, the last primary is South Carolina. If he could go straight to South Carolina and be like, look at me, look what I did, and make people excited about him and there's a possibility he could that.

But there's other contest in between, and if he doesn't place second there -- you don't have to win but you've got to show. He hasn't shown yet. That support in South Carolina would have to fall off at that point. It is already at some extent.

TAPPER: Biden is obviously starting to really criticize Bernie Sanders, talking about how unrealistic his plans are, a new article in "Axios" called Bernie Sanders pipe dreams highlights the struggles that Sanders might face if he becomes president. It writes, quote, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and free college and other Sanders proposals that excite the Democratic base would likely hit a logjam in the Senate. The article goes on to say, quote, and that assumes he could get them through the House without major substantive changes, which is no sure thing.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even acknowledged, she's a big Sanders supporter, that he might have to compromise on Medicare for All. It might end up being a public option along with private health insurance.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, I don't know if that's the best strategy for Biden. People said that President Trump was not going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it, and people knew essentially he was not going to be able to deliver on that.

I don't know that the electorate is where they're looking through policy papers and saying you're not going to get through the filibuster. You're not going to be able to get 60 votes for X, Y, Z policy. It's all about sort of what is emotionally connecting to these voters, and Biden currently is not doing it, even though he has support in the African-American community.

Bernie right now is doing it with a segment of the population, the rest of the vote seems to be split among various moderates who also are struggling to figure out how to connect with voters on a direct revolutionary type connection that Bernie seems to have and he's raising a lot of money because of it. He's being able to get big crowds.

But I don't know that Biden saying Bernie will not be able to get his policy through because of the filibuster is the best way to inspire voters.

TAPPER: One last note. I just want to note that Klobuchar, Buttigieg, Tom Steyer in Nevada today. The made appearances at a conference hosted by a prominent Latin-American group where they were asked if they could name the president of Mexico.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know his name?

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I forgot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But can you tell me his name?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me who the president of Mexico is?

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, President Lopez Obrador, I hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So, Buttigieg is the one who got it correct, President Lopez Obrador. But, what do you think? I mean, does it matter?

KUCINICH: I don't know that that matters honestly. Perhaps --

TAPPER: Trading partner of the United States.

KUCINICH: Perhaps, perhaps in Nevada, but I think what -- I think there is -- I think a lot of Democratic voters are making their determination based on things like health care and -- rather than, you know, who can name the president of Mexico.

HASAN: It should matter, but it doesn't matter, and the president of the United States thinks Nepal and Bhutan and nipple and button.

HAM: I also enjoyed that Buttigieg is like, I know.

(LAUGHTER)

HASAN: Classic, classic.

TAPPER: If you can't get enough election, your excitement, be sure to tune into CNN for the premiere of the new season of "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE". That starts 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, only on CNN.

Coming up, a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in China as concerns also rise about what secrets China might be keeping from the rest of the world.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:48:19]

TAPPER: In our health lead now: The novel coronavirus is spiking in China, both in new deaths and also new cases.

And this comes as concerns about a missing citizen journalist who had been doing critical reporting from the epicenter of the outbreak continue to grow.

Chen Qiushi's friends and family believe he's being silenced for criticizing Chinese authorities' response to the outbreak and for posting videos of medical centers that seem to be short on supplies and overwhelmed with patients.

With us, Rebecca Katz, the director of Georgetown University's Center for Global Health Science and Security.

Thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

REBECCA KATZ, DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN CENTER FOR GLOBAL HEALTH SCIENCE AND SECURITY: My pleasure.

TAPPER: So I want to ask.

The CDC offered to help China with the coronavirus outbreak. That was six weeks ago. The CDC says that they -- the Chinese still have not accepted the offer.

Do you think that the world knows everything that the Chinese government knows about this outbreak?

KATZ: Probably not. It's really hard to know.

It's hard to -- it's hard to know what we don't know. But we -- a lot of -- the information was a little bit slow to come out. There's new information that's being released every day.

And I think the World Health Organization is scheduled to arrive in China this weekend with a team that will be working alongside a team from Beijing. And, at that point, hopefully, we will be able to maybe ground-truth some of the information that's coming out of the regime and to get hopefully some more answers.

TAPPER: What do you want to know that you're not sure we know, the number of cases, how quickly the virus travels?

KATZ: Well, I think we have a decent sense of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases.

We -- there's still so much we don't know about this virus. We don't know about -- we don't have good information about asymptomatic transmission. So we don't know if people are transmitting the virus when they're not showing external signs of being sick.

[16:50:11] We don't know the case fatality rate. So we don't actually know how deadly this is, in part because we don't -- we don't know what that denominator is. We don't know how many people have become ill.

TAPPER: Is this normal for the Chinese, the government, to not share this kind of information?

I mean, there was an epidemic there before, the SARS outbreak. And you have said that you think they're handling this better than they handled that.

KATZ: I think a lot has changed in the 17 years since SARS emerged, where the Chinese came under a lot of criticism for not sharing information about the outbreak.

In that time, they have completely revamped their public health infrastructure, their way of thinking. But it is still a -- it is against the law for an official to share disease surveillance information outside of official channels.

TAPPER: So here's a very basic question that you probably get everywhere you go outside of work.

How worried should Americans be? Coronavirus has now come to the United States. There have been no fatalities in the U.S., but there are confirmed cases. How scared should we be?

KATZ: I wouldn't be scared, but I would definitely be concerned.

I think -- remember, in about six weeks, we have seen the rise of cases go from really a handful to over 60,000. So, it is quite possible that we're going to see many more cases in the United States. It's also quite possible that this might just become embedded in our communities.

We really have no idea yet. So it's something that Americans should be aware of and be -- and keep a watchful eye out for.

But it's not something to panic about right now.

TAPPER: Wash your hands a lot, though.

KATZ: Wash your hands a lot.

TAPPER: All right, Rebecca Katz, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

Forgot Mexico. It looks like we're going to play -- pay for President Trump's wall, at the expense of the military.

We will show you what I'm talking about next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:56:43]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall!

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're building that wall. We're going to build the wall. We will build the wall. We are going to build a great border wall.

We will build the wall. Mexico is going to pay for the wall. We will build a wall. And you know who's going to pay for the wall? Mexico.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: It's true. Trump is starting to get his wall, but Mexico is decidedly not paying for it. You are.

The Trump administration diverting close to $4 billion from Pentagon funds, taxpayer money. Congress specifically appropriated these funds to buy fighter jets and ships and aircraft and National Guard equipment.

But, instead, the president is taking it and going -- he's going to use it to fund his wall.

And as, CNN's Barbara Starr reports, the move is not sitting well with lawmakers, even some Republicans, who say this diversion of funds is unconstitutional.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: It's pretty impressive.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump showing off the progress of building his border wall.

TRUMP: Right now, we have 122 miles of wall that's been built.

STARR: The latest plan to help pay for it is to divert nearly $4 billion of Pentagon spending, much of it from weapons programs, to keep going with one of the president's most controversial priorities.

The new funding proposal is facing a buzz saw of bipartisan congressional opposition. The ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee says the funding shift is unconstitutional.

REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R-TX): The Constitution says it's Congress' role to raise and maintain, provide for armies and navies and other military forces. What's happened here is, they didn't get Congress' approval. They just moved money around.

STARR: And even as lawmakers say border security is important...

THORNBERRY: So are the priorities of providing what our troops need to fight and win America's wars.

STARR: The money is coming out of critical programs, such as the advanced F-35 fighter jet and the armed Reaper drone program, both considered vital to war-fighting.

MARK ESPER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, I would say this much. Border security is national security, and national security is our mission. The action we took is legal under the law.

STARR: Some of these defense dollars are being put into DOD's drugs interdiction fund to help justify building the wall by stopping drug smuggling.

But one former Homeland Security official says, not so fast.

DAVID LAPAN, FORMER DHS PRESS SECRETARY: A wall is a stationary object that's easy to defeat. And traffickers will use boats, they will use aircraft, they will use anything. So a wall is ineffective to stopping illegal drugs coming into the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: Now, much of the president's wall that he talks about, of course, is upgrades and improvements on existing barriers.

But with the total effort having a price tag of about $11 billion, the worry now is that he sees the Pentagon as the cash register to pay for it -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us, thank you so much.

You can tune in this Sunday morning for CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION." Our guests, Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar, plus the vice president's chief of staff, Marc Short, as well as South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn.

It's all at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern on Sunday, only on CNN.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @JakeTapper. Tweet the show @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Happy Valentine's Day.

[17:00:00]