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Cuomo Prime Time
Trump Immigration Speech Riddled with False Claims; Trump Plays To Fears of Immigration Head of Midterms; Trump Claims Troops will shoot at Rock Throwing Migrants. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 01, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues. Right now, I want to hand it over to Chris for Cuomo Prime Time. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME": All right, my friend, I appreciate it. I am Chris Cuomo, and welcome to Prime Time.
This is a very big night for the President of the United States. He is all in on fear and loathing. We're going to be invaded he says. Women fear for their safety, he says. He must take the law into his own hands and change the asylum rules and allow the military to fire on the unarmed.
Here are the facts. There is no invasion. Nothing he just said there has any basis in reality, except there is an emergency going on, that explains all the Trumped up talk. It's five days before the election.
What matters to the President is winning. So the proposition is this. Will enough of you buy into his fear and loathing to drives turnout? Will that repulsive new ad we showed you accusing Democrats of plotting to help migrants kill our cops, will that work for you?
Many Republicans are staying quiet, but not all. We have a leader, a potential presidential aspirant who has a message for the President and for you. And we have a special closing argument tonight that takes us back in time, but lines up exactly with where we are now. He drops some truth you may not be ready to hear. Big night, tons to test. Let's get after it.
All right, we saw more of Trump in the theater from the absurd from the commander in chief today as the President delivered a presidential address behind a White House podium. Why am I putting in quotes? Because it really was a political rally, there were no new details, there were no specifics on immigration. He was peddling more fear and loathing. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation can allow itself to be overwhelmed by uncontrolled masses of people rushing their border.
It's not just people, it's people, it's drugs, it's human traffickers, they're throwing rocks viciously and violently. These migrants are not legitimate asylum seekers.
This is an invasion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: If you keep saying it, maybe you will believe it, but it ain't true. We're just five days out from the midterms and this is where the Republican Party is. Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio, joins us right now. Welcome back to Prime Time, Gov?
GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH (R) OHIO: Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: So, do you agree with me on the basic proposition that there is no imminent invasion?
KASICH: No, there's no imminent invasion. And frankly what we have as a situation as we approach the border, we're not going to let a bunch of people come into the country, but it is people want to seek asylum, and it's the laws we have. And the fact is, when someone gets to the border, and if their families were at risk of being, you know, violence raped, or murdered or whatever, they have a right to apply.
And look, we need a whole reform of our immigration laws. The fact of the matter is, it should be handled and could be handled effectively. There was at one point, an ability -- I understand, for Costa Rica to sort of vet these people. And for some reason, that program was ended under this administration. That would have been a smart thing to do.
So we'll see how this goes, Chris. But this is all about -- it's all about getting people stirred up. It's about fear. It's about scaring people. You know, I heard about a lady who has -- she said, I have a lake house in Minneapolis. And the way things are going, they're going to be in my lake house.
KASICH: I mean, people are susceptible to fear when they're told that by the President. And look, I've said over and over again, that everybody has to calm down. I was telling my wife earlier today, yes, I know that there are Democrats that say things that are incendiary, OK but look, this is the President of the United States. The President of the United States has the most powerful voice, not just in America, but in the world. And what a President says matters. And when a President sets a tone of fear, is there any surprise, Chris, that there was a Washington Post poll that shows that 69% of Americans across the board, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, are fearful of our nation's future? This is not the way to work. Do we have problems? Of course we do. But the answer to that is, we look at them and we solve them. We don't stoke fear because stoke fear repels people.
CUOMO: Right. But that's not the President's agenda.
KASICH: That's really the bottom line.
CUOMO: It's pretty clear that's not the President's objective. The fact that we've failed for what? 30, 35 years as a country to come up with a better system. You know, I was looking at a clip the other day of President H.W. Bush then running for President against Ronald Reagan, who of course won and they were having this same debate about the exact same issues, in fact, birth right citizenship came up in the debate. But they didn't even resemble the Democrats today.
[21:05:02] You know, President Trump would write them off as mobbish thugs based on how sub missive they seemed to the situation. So times have changed. And your party is dead quiet when it comes to opposing the President on this. They either say nothing, or they say it quietly. So how do you not expect your party to become exactly this? The party of fear and loathing?
KASICH: Well, because, you know, I saw today that Carlos Cabello from Florida condemned this latest ad where they were saying Democrats were looking the other way, or opening the borders so this terrible guy could come in, at least that what the chyrons were on the ad.
I thought it was -- it's completely and totally inappropriate. And Chris, at the end we have to pick up the pieces after these campaigns.
KASICH: And when your objective is to win -- see, there are ethical lines that you should not cross. And I think there have been ethical lines that have been crossed.
CUOMO: Yes, I don't think there are any lines.
KASICH: Somebody sent me --
CUOMO: I don't think there are any lines, Gov.
KASICH: Somebody sent me -- look, Chris, what is happening is wrong, it's repelling people, it's polarizing people, and I think another thing as well. I think that this kind of heated rhetoric isn't going to win elections.
CUOMO: What if it wins in the midterms.
KASICH: I actually think that --
CUOMO: What if he keeps the Democrats from getting the House?
KASICH: Well, look --
CUOMO: Trump's going to be even more of a hero?
KASICH: Look, I 'm going to tell you, I don't think this tactic is working, because I live out here in a congressional district that is usually won overwhelmingly by Republicans that Republican won race with special election. You're losing -- what you're losing with this kind of rhetoric is you're losing Republican suburban women, you're losing young people, you're losing independents, because people don't want to hear this kind of talk out of our President. Now, Reagan and Bush, these were people that could take it to the
Democrats, OK? But there were lines that they would not cross. And the same is true about Clinton and the same is true about Obama. Presidents can't do this. And when we all go to school and learn about our great presidents, whether it's George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, I mean, when you think about those people, they united the country. You can't be tearing it apart in order to win an election.
CUOMO: Well, he's saying --
KASICH: Because the pieces have to be put together afterwards.
CUOMO: But he is saying this is a function --
KASICH: It's a tactic.
CUOMO: Well, I get that. And look, you're a governor with a lot of power. You ran for president, you could run for president again. But the leaders in their currently on the federal side, they don't say any of this. What you're saying right now. Even Paul Ryan, you know, the man who certainly had the moxie to call out President Obama and say he wasn't speaking in a presidential fashion, he's never said that about the President of the United States. Yes, he's said he can't change the 14th amendment by himself.
CUOMO: That's not the problem. The problem isn't his misunderstanding of executive authority. He is all over the place. Today he said, I got to change the asylum laws by executive order. That's exactly what he criticized in Obama with DACA. It's the exact functional equivalent as a move. So the hypocrisy is clear. But it's not clear to your leaders in your party on any level that I'm seeing. Where they say, we think these lines are crossed. Kasich's right, we're not going to allow it any more. He's got to stop. We're going to go talk to him. None of that is happening, this is who you are.
KASICH: Look, first of all, I think we have to recognize the fact that there are elements on both sides that get out of control, and they say things that are wrong.
CUOMO: One side is saying if they throw rocks at you, treat it as rifles --
KASICH: But my -- look my deal is, Chris, this is the President, and you're above all other mega phones. Now, look, there are some Republicans who are speaking out. I just mentioned one to you, Carlos Cabello who tried to --
CUOMO: Right. He's not in the leadership, though.
KASICH: -- of people. OK. Well, he's not in the leadership, but he's a Republican leader.
CUOMO: He is, fair point. KASICH: And he's a growing leader. And there are others. But look,
do I wish there are more people that would say, this is wrong? Of course I would, I would love for them to do that. But I'm not doing this because I'm interested in -- I want to make it clear to you, I say this because I am worried about what I'm hearing and what we're seeing in this country. The ratcheting up of the rhetoric, the fear that's being put out there, the things that are being said that this could be the end of our country as we know it, by many voices. Not just the President, by many voices, this gets people frightened, and when you frighten people, you always take the risk that somebody, whose not in control of their emotions or has bad judgment does something crazy.
CUOMO: We just saw that.
KASICH: And we've seen it happen. And I don't want to see it happen any more, because we're all at risk, and we expect better out of our leaders. And the rabbi at the synagogue over in Pittsburgh said, we've got to take hate out of our language. The leaders, the politicians have to take hate out. Because when there is a sense of hatred in that vocabulary, in that rhetoric, it infects people.
And bottom line also, Chris, is I've said this on your show a million times, for many people, instead of getting angry, go and vote. And instead of getting angry, organize your community. That's what we have to do, because we can't fix all these big time leaders -- many of whom just can't get it.
[21:10:13] CUOMO: Governor Kasich, thank you for speaking truth to power on this show as always.
KASICH: All right, Chris. God bless us, and God bless America.
CUOMO: Thank you, sir.
All right, we're going to break apart these really questionable claims that the President made during his White House address today. And there are many things that must be fact checks. Even from someone who says he tries to tell the truth, was tonight one of the times that he was trying? Could the President be breaking the law if he makes his proposed changes to U.S. asylum policy? I'll take you through it next.
CUOMO: Facts first, President Trump says he's going to change the asylum laws himself. First, that's exactly what he said President Obama could not do with DACA, using an executive order to get around a law as written. So there's an obvious hypocrisy here start off, but unlike Obama, changing the asylum law would also potentially contravene international law for the treatment of potential refugees which allows people to enter a country however they can, in a nod to the desperation of their plight. And then he said something that would likely never come to pass. But it reminds us how dark the President's motives are, where migrants are concerned. [21:15:01] Here is what he said, American troops will have permission
to open fire on unarmed migrants if they throw rocks. The main thing to look at is whether or not tonight was one of those times that the President says he tries to tell the truth. Let's see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Some people call it an invasion, it's like an invasion. They violently overrun the Mexican border, you saw that two days ago. These are tough people in many cases, a lot of young men, strong men, and a lot of men that maybe we don't want in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Some people call it an invasion. As we introduced to you the other night, don't be a sucker, all right. An invasion doesn't give you a month's heads up. This is not what an invasion looks like, walking slowly down the road with kids in tow, OK. Now, as for them overrunning and badly hurting Mexican soldiers, that's what he said, the President.
CNN's Leyla Santiago checked with Mexican officials. Here are the facts, two federal police officers were hit by rocks thrown, we believe by migrants, their injuries are not serious. However, Trump said if they do that here, we should consider rocks as rifles. What does that mean? That means, you can shoot them, America more brutal than Mexico? Who would have ever imagined that?
Now, those strong young men he'd have you be scared of. They're really strong, we're not sure we want them there, because they're all weak. They're coming here to fill the more than seven million unfilled jobs in this country. He doubled down on this, saying they're going to costs us money. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Once they arrive, the Democrat party's vision is to offer them free health care, free welfare, free education, and even the right to vote. You and the hardworking taxpayers of our country will be asked to pick up the entire tab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Fear can hit you here. Facts hit you here. There are open jobs because Americans can't fill them. There are more jobs than available workers. Ask the employers, the same ones who commit crimes by hiring and never getting prosecuted with these illegal entrants.
Now, Trump doesn't go after them. Undocumented immigrants pump somewhere between 150 billion to $240 billion into our economy. Also, about $12 billion in state and local taxes each year. Some 13 billion in payroll taxes, they're also the politics. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's only the Republicans that are in unison, they want to change them. They want to make strong borders, want to get rid of any crime because of the borders, of which there's a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, OK? And they've got the White House, obviously. Together, the number of immigration bills they have passed is zero. And they are not of one mind, that happens to be part of the zero calculus, some are severe like Trump. Other want to work along lines with Democrats suggested, remember the gang of eight? And then there was this, it was as ugly as it was obvious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want them in our country. And women don't want them in our country. Women want security. Men don't want them in our country. But the women do not want them, women want security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Women don't want them, they want security. This speaks to two things. One, the President recognizes he has a political problem with women, and this is somewhat of an absurd attempt to connect with them. Of all the things women want from Trump, starting with respect, fearing migrants is an obvious play. But not to what's obvious to women, it's playing to the idea that women would fear attack more than men. And they must want security from these migrants because the migrants are monsters.
This is where the President finishes where he started when talking about immigrants. They are rapists and murders in the main, and it has never been true. So I guess tonight was one of those times that Trump just couldn't tell the truth.
Now, I want to hear how two Trump supporters plan to counter these arguments. There's enough for the President to deal with on that side of the ball, that they have both seats at the table tonight, a double dose of maga mania. The great debate next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:23:28] TRUMP: Think of it. You're an enemy of our country. You're a general with war on your mind. You're a dictator who we hate and who's against us, and that dictator has his wife, have a baby on American soil. Congratulations, your son or daughter is now an American citizen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: General? Dictator? What is he talking about? Is this true? Is any of these true? Let's ask our great debaters. Both of whom are Trump supporters. Amy Kremer and Rick Santorum.
My brother and sister, thank you for joining us tonight.
AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Thanks, good to be here.
CUOMO: Rick, what dictator, what general? Whoever did that? What was he talking about?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What the President is referring to is what's referred to us birther -- not birther --
CUOMO: Birth right citizenship.
SANTORUM: No, yes, not bight right citizenship, birther tourism.
CUOMO: Right. I get --
SANTORUM: Yes, people coming in just for the purpose of having a child.
CUOMO: I totally get it.
SANTORUM: And it could be someone who's an enemy of the United States.
CUOMO: It could be.
SANTORUM: Doing that.
CUOMO: Right. But he was suggesting like it happened. Have you ever heard any of that either of you? Or is it just a suggestion. He could have said godzilla or a moth?
SANTORUM: Certainly thousands of people are coming to this country and doing this. And it's a practical question. And one that really -- we should have a debate about whether we're going to allow that to continue because it's wrong.
CUOMO: Right. I get the concept. I get where the concern is, the problem is of course you have a constitutional amendment, anyway.
SANTORUM: Well, yes. I don't know about that, I think the Congress can actually try to pass something when it comes to people who come here for the express purposes of spending a very short period of time in America just to have a child, I think we can do some things on that.
[21:25:08] CUOMO: Look, you might be right, but we know that everything that jurisprudence tells us about that amendment and the supreme court legacy after it says, that's not right.
SANTORUM: We'll see.
CUOMO: It's a political argument but for the President to say, he can do it by executive order is right up there with the general. I don't get it.
SANTORUM: I don't think he can do that. I don't he can.
CUOMO: Amy -- yes, I don't think so he can either. Who, look at that drinks, drinks on me, Rick.
KREMER: I think we can all agree thought that it's going to do to the court and it's going to be tried up for a long time.
CUOMO: No, I don't agree with that. I don't think it will.
KREMER: You don't think it's going to go to the court.
KREMER: The President's going to do this and it's going to go to the courts, Chris. And you know it's going to be tied up. Look how long the --
CUOMO: Muslim ban?
KREMER: Both. I mean --
CUOMO: Neither one is doing what he's trying to do with the constitution. I think he gets laugh out of any court. I don't think it's protracted. But we'll see and certainly got people talking.
KREMER: Well, constitution al scholars are going back and forth about this, to debate that has been had --
KREMER: Yes. And I think it's going to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
CUOMO: Not really a debate.
SANTORUM: We'll see.
CUOMO: It's not really a debate. It's not. I'm just telling you -- not only am I a lawyer, I'm a lousy loyal that's why I'm doing this.
SANTORUM: I'm a lousy lawyer too --
CUOMO: I talk a lot to legal experts, it's not a real debate. It's not like you have equal things on both sides, it's like global warming. It's like, there are really a lot of them on one side, and there are a few on the other.
SANTORUM: We're going to disagree on that, too, Chris.
CUOMO: That's fine. The science is the science.
KREMER: I believe in the weather.
CUOMO: Yes, well, it's about climate, not weather. But that's for another day.
Amy, are you afraid of the caravan? Do you think they're going to come here and do something to you, God forbid? KREMER: Listen, what I don't want it to ever happen, but I think we
need to secure our borders and we need to know every single person that is coming in and going out of this country.
KREMER: And that is actually the responsibility of the President and the Congress.
KREMER: So it's incumbent upon them to do something about it, this is what the President campaigned on in 2015 and 2016, and he is promises made, promises kept. And he's following through on what he promised.
CUOMO: Is he?
KREMER: Chris, if you go back to --
KREMER: Listen, if you go back to the spring, what did he do? He did something that no one else we've ever seen done before. He brought Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer into the White House with all the Democrats and Republicans and said, let's fix the illegal immigration problem. Let's fix DACA, the dreamers and all of that.
KREMER: What did the Democrats do? They tucked and ran. They didn't want to do anything about it.
CUOMO: No. Not true.
KREMER: Because they don't want to deal with this issue.
CUOMO: Not true.
KREMER: No, they want it as a political issue, they weren't going to agree with him. And they don't want him to have one more victory.
CUOMO: Amy, hold on a second. Not true, OK?
KREMER: How is it not true?
CUOMO: I'll tell you how. Give me a second. So he had the meeting. He had the press on, he said, let's do it, it never happened. He never seriously tried to bring the sides together. You'll hear it from Republicans, Rick knows a bunch of them. You'll hear it from Democrats, I heard from both. There was no serious effort for him. He's put a lot more energy into demonizing, because it works for him more from a popularity index with the base and for the midterms, frankly than the legislative process, he never did it in Ernest. You'll hear it from lawmakers on both sides. He never put his capital behind it.
KREMER: I disagree with you.
CUOMO: You can but I have sources on my side, not just my feelings. They told this to me.
KREMER: These aren't feelings, I have sources too. He was going to make a deal and he caught hell from many of us, because we don't agree with granting amnesty to millions and millions of people.
CUOMO: That's more to my point. He didn't want to put capital behind it. He backed away from that effort.
KREMER: He was going to because he was following through on what he promised to do.
CUOMO: But he never promised during the campaign, Rick, that I'm going to spend my time demonizing the migrants, but not really doing anything to fix the problem. That wasn't his promise. He said, I'm a deal maker, I'll get it done. You got both houses of Congress. He's got nothing done.
SANTORUM: Well, you have both have the Congress but you need Democrats to pass the bill in the Senate as you will know. And so you need a bipartisan support to get an immigration bill done. And by the way, as you well know, in the first two years of the Obama administration, they didn't need a single Republican vote to pass Obamacare, and by the way, they wouldn't have needed a single Republican vote to pass immigration reform. They did nothing --
SANTORUM: -- when they have the chance to do that.
CUOMO: True. You can blame the President but this all goes back to -- and this is the reason that Republicans make this point over and over. The Democrats really don't want to fix this, because when they had the chance to do it, they didn't even bring up the issue. Why? Because they think it's a political winner for them.
CUOMO: Well, look, I haven't seen anybody do anything with this. By the way, to be honest, on both sides I was watching a debate earlier today, from 1980, with George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. They were talking about the same damn issue. So both sides have failed on it, we just thought Trump would be different. We're in the same place except for the rhetoric. We've never seen the rhetoric like this before.
SANTORUM: They passed (inaudible) and, you know, Ronald Reagan said after the fact, you know that he made a deal to allow it basically legalize, everybody was in this country. And he was promised all these things and none of them ever happened.
CUOMO: It didn't happen but he tried that all you can do, that's right.
SANTORUM: My point is Republicans have learned from that, that you can't say, OK, you know, we're going to give everybody amnesty and then we'll fix the problem going-forward because it never gets fixed. And so that's the suspicion, and that's why --
[12:30:04] CUOMO: Doing nothing isn't a remedy either, and that's where we're at about.
SANTORUM: Donald Trump put a deal on the table. And I understand because I heard those same sources, people thought it wasn't enough. But let me say, Donald Trump put a deal on the table that I don't know if any conservative would have put on the table or would have been enthusiastic about supporting. So you can say it wasn't far enough for the Democrats or even moderate Republicans but it was further than any conservative had gone so far.
CUOMO: I'm just saying, if he really cared about security and that was his main concern, he'd be putting a lot more energy into that process, than going from rally to rally around the country just to stir up fear and loathing. He said something tonight none of us has ever heard before from a president of the United States much. If they throw rocks, treat them as rifles. We both know what that means, OK? There's no code involved. I cannot believe that either of you would agree with that assessment.
SANTORUM: I do not.
SANTORUM: I'm just saying for the record. No, I do not.
KREMER: Yes and --
CUOMO: Then call him out and say don't do that to us.
SANTORUM: I just did.
CUOMO: Don't make me pull that out of you.
SANTORUM: You asked -- I mean, I'm not going to --
CUOMO: I mean, come on, could you imagine if Barack Obama said that? Could you imagine?
SANTORUM: No, you're right. I mean, this is wrong. I mean, he shouldn't have said that. I hope he --
CUOMO: It's not just incorrect, Amy, it's not about being right or wrong. Wrong is, I can change the asylum laws by executive order. That's just wrong, it's not going to happen. It doesn't work like that for the same reason you were mad about DACA, I get, but it's not going to happen.
The idea of Mexico paying for the wall, you're wrong, it's not going to happen. They're not going to pay for it. But rocks as rifles, that is to put hate in people's hearts. That is to remind them that these people are not worthy of the decency that we would give to enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amy, that's what he said tonight, that's what it means.
KREMER: No, Chris, it's not what it means. What he's trying to do is discourage people from coming here. And we saw what they did on the Mexican border. They threw rocks. They attacked them. They tore down fences. They didn't accept they're not coming in.
CUOMO: Two cops were hurt.
KREMER: Wait a second, you know what, one cop is too much, Chris.
CUOMO: To shoot them? To shoot them?
KREMER: Let me finish what I'm saying. The President said that trying to discourage. Remember the story of David and Goliath, it was a stone. And remember on September 11th, what was the weapon they used to fly those airplanes into the buildings? Box cutters. The point is that, there are rules of engagement that the military follows. And --
CUOMO: Throwing rocks doesn't get you shot by the U.S. military. They have honor and integrity with their rules of --
KREMER: Chris, when have you ever known our military just to go shoot people up.
CUOMO: When the commander in chief says that's what I want --
KREMER: No, that is not.
CUOMO: But look, they have a chain of command that wouldn't like it.
KREMER: You tell me when that's happened?
CUOMO: And the idea that a box cutter wasn't what caused 9/11. It was airplanes that did it.
KREMER: Right --
CUOMO: It was a systematic attach to --
CUOMO: -- that wasn't ready for it.
KREMER: Hey, Chris, I'm a former flight attendant.
CUOMO: David and Goliath.
KREMER: It was box cutters that were used to cut those --
CUOMO: David and Goliath is a bible story.
KREMER: So they could get into the cockpit. The bottom line is, there are rules of engagement that have to be followed, and just because the President goes out and says something doesn't mean that the military's going to go and start shooting people up at the border.
CUOMO: He's the commander in chief.
KREMER: That's absurd.
CUOMO: He is the commander in chief, why should he say it? It's all absurd. You're saying David and Goliath, Rick, that's why we have to worry about the rocks. That's what David used.
SANTORUM: I understand the point, the President is trying to do everything he can to discourage people from coming to the border.
SANTORUM: But that was not an appropriate way to do so. There's other ways I think the fact that you're sending all these troops and that you're saying that we're not going to bring anybody in, and that we're going to have a different process that's going to take longer.
SANTORUM: I think there's lots of things he can do to discourage people from coming. We've seen an explosion of the number of people coming from Honduras and Guatemala and El Salvador.
CUOMO: Look, I hear you. All though if you look at the chart, the number of illegal entries has been going down.
SANTORUM: Yes, that's because Mexicans have --
CUOMO: -- so like the last 10 years ago, it's lowest level in long time.
SANTORUM: That's because primary -- as you know Chris, that's primarily because Mexicans going over.
CUOMO: But it's still low.
KREMER: You know what --
SANTORUM: Let me finish this point --
CUOMO: It's an invasion.
SANTORUM: Let me just finish this point. The reason the number of Mexicans are going down, because when a Mexican comes across the border, you can immediately send them back, and you can't with everyone else.
CUOMO: Then the system is not that broken.
KREMER: Chris? CUOMO: I get that it needs to be better, but the idea that it's a national emergency. We know that's not the majority of people that get into this country and the illegal. There are overstays that are a real problem. We know that. Address that if you're so worried about security.
KREMER: At this point you even said yourself a few minutes ago, that Congress has done nothing. Neither party. At what point --
CUOMO: He was supposed to be different. Trump was supposed to make deals.
KREMER: But at what point is somebody going to stand up and say no more. I mean, seriously, Barack Obama didn't.
CUOMO: Are you going to stand up and say that? You're going to use a bible story to justify saying rocks as rifles?
KREMER: I'm not --
CUOMO: Because David and Goliath, they got to be careful about the little guy with the stone?
KREMER: I'm not justifying --
CUOMO: They don't even have slingshots.
KREMER: Chris, come on, you know what, this is the thing, if these people were truly seeking asylum, why are they not accepting the asylum Mexico had for them.
CUOMO: Many did.
KREMER: Many have not. And they continue on this march.
CUOMO: But then you process them and if you don't think they deserve it, and that's what the system says, and that's what you do.
KREMER: Don't support the victory --
CUOMO: But you don't say shot them if throw a stone and you don't treat them like they're animals and you don't need bible stories to justify this truth.
[21:35:04] KREMER: Chris, if they go to the ports of entry they won't have this problem. Just go to a port of entry and --
CUOMO: Sometimes they do, sometimes they're on the run, and you deal with it either way that's international law says. We'll play out the law and see what happens.
KREMER: Follow the law.
CUOMO: But David and Goliath, that's not working with me.
Amy, thank you very much. Rich Santorum, I appreciate it, as always. All right, the President actually suggested today, what I was just saying, all right? And there was none of this, you know, don't forget what happened with David and Goliath, there was none of that, there's none of that, all right, that's not a legitimate basis of concern when migrants come to the fence. And yet he said, treat rocks as rifles. Oh, he didn't mean it. He's the commander in chief.
Our next guest served in Iraq. He knows what happens when you put a lot of troops on the border. He knows the stress and strain. He knows the money, he knows the concerns. He knows the situation. We're going to have a good conversation. PJ Rieckhoff, next.
CUOMO: This is America. Throw a rock and it might as well be a rifle. That is the word from our President. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police. I say, consider it a rifle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He's talking about the migrants. That was the President's message. And look, we've seen what's happening with the migrants. We know that there is a potential for conflict. We know there could be a lot here. So what do we do about it, and what's the right way to think about it.
Founder and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans of America, and Iraq War Veteran, Paul Rieckhoff joins us now. Thank you so much, good to see you, bro.
Perfect gift to the audience, you know the military, you know the politics, the realities, perfect. Thank you. I'm worried about our fighting men and women being put in this position. 15,000 maybe active duty troops. We've never seen that. Obama/Bush National Guard, they called him up, work with the governor. This would be different, that's the mandate from the President, what does that mean by the way, coming from the commander in chief.
[21:40:09] PAUL RIECKHOFF, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: It means he's turning it up like he does on every other issue quite frankly and we do it with the military, it's a totally different level. We're sending America's sons and daughters into another complicated dangerous political situation like they don't have enough already, right?
I was in Iraq for what was really a crazy political situation that felt like a shark tank. And I had rocks thrown at me. And you don't unload your clip when a kid throws a rock at you. I think the true testament to your militarization were strength. That when they are hit, sometimes they don't fight back, they don't shoot back, because it can escalate the situation or put more people at risk. So I think it's a failure to understand really what our military is designed for, how our military operates. And the history of how often we put them in bad situations for the last decade and a half. This is the last thing they need. They don't need to be scrambling all across the country to get riot gear to run down of the border when we're trying to deal with enemies overseas and protect our borders here.
CUOMO: Just in case, because sometimes what he says, he actually tries to do. Is there anyway that that kind of directive becomes a rule of engagement?
RIECKHOFF: No, it shouldn't. I mean, our troops are professionals. I don't ever trust politician, I think most Americans don't trust politicians. But I do trust our troops, and they've held the line and they're incredible professionals. Even when they're put in the most difficult situations imaginable. And they're not going to commit war crimes. They're going to hold back if they have to, they're going to engage if they have to but I think we also have to ask what kind of situation are we putting them in.
RIECKHOFF: You know, that's the real demand. These are Americas sons and daughters. If one of our sons and daughters dies, it could be an accident. What is it for. And I think that's what the President owes the American people. Anytime you send troops anywhere, you owe them a reason and it's got to be worth it, and that hasn't been communicated to anybody. This doesn't look like a military strategy, it looks like a political strategy. And if it's not, prove it. Make the case of the American people because the military can't speak up. They're going to do their job, they're going to follow orders. That's what Mattis is going to do, that's what every troop is going to do, but the American people have to hold the politicians accountable and the commander in chief most of all.
CUOMO: Now, the audience knows you a little bit, you've been on here, you've been on a lot of different places on CNN, been in the morning. But you understand the politics of situations better than most and when you see this group coming, it's an invasion. People say it's an invasion. They're about to invade, does anything that you have gleaned about what's going on, speak to invasion?
RIECKHOFF: No, it doesn't look like a threat to me. I don't think it looks like a threat to the Pentagon.
CUOMO: But what if they come here and don't go through the port of entry. And they're step across the board?
RIECKHOFF: I don't see that as an imminent threat to my security, to the security of my family. That's me personally, right? We have a divers membership, naval people feel differently but I think the American people generally don't feel threatened here either. Both parties have sounded off on that. And they do feel threatened by other things.
We're here in New York City, I was worried about a pipe bomb. That was an imminent threat to me, to your family, to everyone in this building that was an immanent threat that seemed like it needed a forceful response and protection. That's the reality. And I think we have to ground politicians in reality. Especially when we're a week out from an election. And two weeks out for Veterans Day. So we should ask ourselves. All the generation of veteran have been entrust into situation. Sometimes it was necessary, sometimes it wasn't. You have to ask, is this worth losing a man or a woman's life. Somebody's son or daughter. And if it's not, then you shouldn't do it, that's simple, that should be straightforward.
CUOMO: What's your sense about whether or not the fear and loathing is working. Is it going to drive out people who come because they now have a fear invested by the President of the United States, that the monster, the boogy man is coming.
RIECKHOFF: I mean, fear motivates people from a political standpoint. We've seen that from all parties as long as history goes on. I will tell you something people are forgetting, the veterans vote, the troops votes. Our member is voting about 98%. They're very diverse. They're very engage, they're very pragmatic, they're increasingly nonpartisan. They're sick of the hyper rhetoric, they're sick of the politized issue (ph) --
CUOMO: How does sending 15,000 sit with them?
RIECKHOFF: I don't think they love it. I mean, I really don't. I mean, they're so overextended. And that's another part of this, every time you ask them to do one more thing, you're wearing them out. And we've been wearing them out over and over again. Especially when it's a quick spin up that they weren't preparing for. I've talked to people who are in units right now, scrambling to get riot here, they're not preparing for riot gear two weeks ago, they're preparing for deployment overseas. So anytime you try them curveball, you're compromising something else. So that's the other part. Is this worth compromising what we're doing in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, and other parts around the world. That's the question you got to be ask.
CUOMO: P.J., you get the military, you get the politics. Thank you very much.
RIECKHOFF: Thank you brother, I appreciate it.
CUOMO: I appreciate it. PJ Rieckhoff.
All right, Democrats you don't see them going toe too toe with Trump right now. Why? It's a legitimate question. He's throwing out a lot of red meat, he's throwing a lot of falsehoods, and they're really not firing back, they're not making it their hill to live or die on. Until, perhaps, today. Is Oprah the one who might rescue the Democrats? Next. You get a car. You get a car.
[21:46:50] CUOMO: The governor's race in Georgia got some star power today. Oprah was out knocking on doors on behalf of Democrat Stacey Abrams. I'm laughing because imagine this woman when she knocks on the door and she expects somebody with a flyer and it's Oprah. She also took some shots at Trump in her speech. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: It's so much noise and crazy talk. All the vitriol in the ads, you know what, they're designed to confuse and confound you with fear. They're not designed for people with discernment. Women, people, we have discernment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So what would be our would-be counter puncher in chief have to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Oprah liked me very much. I've always liked Oprah. You know, Oprah's good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, he's gone kind of both ways. Remember when somebody was thinking she might run and he changed his tune a little bit. But now he's back to be nice. Take if when you find it.
Let's bring in D. Lemon on this. Oprah, is she the anti-dote?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Let me challenge on something, I don't really think she was talking about Trump, I think she stayed away from Trump on purpose. I think she's talking specifically about political ads and the current climate if you want it somehow.
CUOMO: It sounded like she was talking about Trump.
LEMON: Yes. It did, I mean it did. But I watched the speech, I wasn't watching it, because I was dealing with some things, and everyone is texting me. Oh, my gosh, you watch Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. And you get a vote! And you get a vote! And you get a vote!
I tell you what, Oprah would be the first one to tell you this. Oprah won't be the one who puts Stacey Abrams over the edge. It is the unknown people, especially those unknown women, many of them women of color who are fighting behind the scenes and knocking on doors that Oprah is motivating right now who are going to get Stacey Abrams elected if she wins comes Tuesday night.
So I think -- but I love the spirit of Oprah's speech today, who is an independent. She's sick of political parties like me. I've been an independent for a long time. Don't -- I own my own mind and my own vote, and don't tell me who to vote for. I vote -- by the way, I just voted. I did it, because we're going to be Tuesday night in D.C. I sent in my ballot yesterday. So anyway, I think Oprah can help, but it's going to be the people behind the scenes who actually -- those people who are working on everyday.
CUOMO: Well, I think that's very true. At the end of the day, it's -- can somebody spark what is in your head and heart? And make you act or make yourself want to act? She did have something that I haven't seen from Democrats right now. I don't care what she was talking about, how she was couching it, whether she was playing it aggressive or safe. She was coming with equal passion. But not with equal animus.
CUOMO: And that is a potent combination.
LEMON: Yes. Well, I think it is genius. It's the lesson in think in how one should conduct himself all the time. But especially if you're in the political arena. The way she conducted herself was fantastic right on, I mean, come on Oprah's a pro.
LEMON: She knows how to handle herself. And what I liked about it is she said, nobody called me to come here. I called her, I sought her out. Which I thought spoke volumes about the kind of person Stacey Abrams is.
[21:50:09] By the way, we're going to be talking about that. But we'll also talk about how the President used the Oval Office today, how he tricked the media and the American public. How he is pulling a bamboozle on the American public. And we're also going to talk about Steve King. We have someone who reports on Steve King. Could be in trouble for -- well, he's in trouble for his party, own party now, and some racist statements that he's made recently.
CUOMO: All right, D. Lemon, appreciate it.
LEMON: See you in a couple minutes, Mr. Cuomo. I hope you didn't eat too much candy today. You're looking a little chunky today. I know you like sugar.
CUOMO: All true. All true. You win again.
All right. I'm going to do something a little different tonight. The closing is the most powerful one that you will have heard on this show. It's not my words. But it is somebody who is going to describe what's going on right now better than I ever could, and it is scary because they are talking about a time long ago. There is a truth you may not want to hear. Because you are going to have a responsibility that you don't think you have right now. Next.
[21:55:17] CUOMO: The President of the United States is attempting something no other President has in modern history. He's trying to start a mass movement based on fear and loathing of a minority group. Now, he says that's not true, that he's just trying to keep us safe and make the system better. But don't be a sucker. He doesn't need to demonize migrants to do that. Those walking across illegally are the smallest part of our illegal entrance. If he really just wanted to make us safe, he would prosecute those in big business that do the mass hiring and he would use his storied deal making skills to get Congress to change the system. He has gotten nowhere despite having both houses of Congress. That's
because what he really wants are votes and popularity with a minority of the country. And he has found a well-worn way to do it. Fear and loathing with a common enemy. His methods are vulgar. His objectives are obvious and ugly. But he is not the key to the movement.
You are. Those who decide to follow and those who decide to oppose. If you think that hate is empowering, you're wrong. And if you think love will simply overwhelm, you're missing a major step. Both situations were explained in perfect detail by the famed Thomas Merton. He wrote about exactly what is going on here right now. Frighteningly exact.
Now, he was writing about what power nationalism in World War II held. But his words will make a better case than I ever could for what each of you needs to decide right now. This is Thomas Merton from the chapter "Christianity and Totalitarianism" in "disputed questions."
A mass movement readily exploits the discontent and frustration of large segments of the population, which for some reason? Reason or other, cannot face the responsibility of being persons and standing on their own feet. But give these persons a movement to join, a cause to defend, and they will go to any extreme, stop at no crime, intoxicated as they are by the slogans that give them a pseudo religious sense of transcending their own limitations.
The member of a mass movement afraid of his own isolation and his own weakness as an individual cannot face the task of discovering within himself the spiritual power and integrity which can be called forth only by love. Instead of this he seeks a movement that will protect his weakness with a wall of anonymity and justify his acts by the sanction of collective glory and power.
All the better if this is done out of hatred, for hatred is always easier and less subtle than love. It does not have to respect reality, as love does. It does not have to take account of individual cases. Its solutions are simple and easy. It makes its decisions by a simple glance at a face, a colored skin, a uniform. It identifies an enemy by an accent, an unfamiliar turn of speech, an appeal to concepts that are difficult to understand.
Here is something unfamiliar. This is not ours. This must be brought into line or destroyed. It is against this temptation most of you will that the Christian, is what Merton says, but this applies to anyone who opposes a malignant movement. That person must labor with inexhaustible patience and love, often in silence, perhaps in repeated failure, seeking tirelessly to restore wherever he can and first of all in himself the capacity of love and understanding which makes man the living image of god.
Man, that is deep and it is so spot on that it scares me. Someone reminded me of this passage today. My father first taught me this many, many years ago. Look, it's easy to give into hate. That is the easy way. And it is harder to fight it. But both choices stem from an immutable truth. This is not about Trump. Certainly, not about safety nor any Trumped up invasion. It is about what each of you decide about yourself and what you want to be about. These are not my words, but man, I do own the sentiment, and it is food for thought for me and I hope it is for you as well.
Thank you for watching tonight. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts right now.
LEMON: I love when you talk about your dad. You call him pop.
LEMON: We just talked about him at dinner the other night and that story you shared about him and his --