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Trump Unleashes On DeSantis In Potential 2024 Preview; Justice Dept. To Appeal Ruling Striking Down Student Loan Forgiveness; Trump Ally Rep. Boebert Locked In Tight Race, Auto Recount Likely. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 11, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Former President Donald Trump launching a new attack against one man likely to challenge him for the 2024 Republican nomination. In a social media post, Trump took credit for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's rise to power and accused DeSantis of lacking loyalty and class. This while the balance of power in Washington is yet to be decided and a whole bunch of questions of what role Donald Trump had in that.

Joining me now is Francis Rooney. He's a former Republican congressman from Florida. It's good to see you, Congressman, thank you for being here. First off, what do you take as the message from the election so far? Is there one resounding message for you?


FRANCIS ROONEY, FORMER REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE, FLORIDA: Well, yes, the overriding message to me is that Trump is once again a big loser who caused a lot of trouble for the Republican Party, recruited a bunch of bad candidates, perpetuates this stolen election mantra, and I don't think that's getting anybody anywhere.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's -- what we're hearing more and more from Republicans in just the last couple of days, you've got the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Virginia who's now saying that really this very similar message that the message from voters is it's time to move away from Donald Trump. And that also seems to be the same takeaway as retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey, as we know and you know Democrat John Fetterman just picked up his seat now turned a democratic seat in Pennsylvania. Let me play what Pat Toomey said.


SEN. PAT TOOMEY, (R-PA): I think my party needs to face the fact that if fealty to Donald Trump is the primary criteria for selecting candidates, we're probably not going to do really well.


BOLDUAN: You just said that as well. And you've been saying that for some time, I will note, Congressman. But what impact do you think this midterm has then on the movement away from Trump if that movement is real?

ROONEY: Well, we saw Tim Griffith (PH) come out a couple of days ago, one of the largest Republican donors. I've worked with him before. He said it's time to move on from Trump. I think we're going to see a lot more people take that kind of position.

What's going to be really interesting is how many of these psychopathic candidates continue to slavishly praise Trump. I can't imagine why they would. But they continue to do it.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it diminishes? That's a -- that's an interesting question. Do you think it diminishes? Do you think they don't -- what -- you know, what, what do you see in your crystal ball with that?

ROONEY: Well, I think this election shows you know that this MAGA group is a -- is a very dedicated group, but it's not a majority. And it takes moderate Republicans just like it takes moderate Democrats to win. And that was George Bush's and Ronald Reagan's coalition, the suburbs. And they all left because of Trump's behavior, and we've got to get them back somehow or we're not going to be successful. What Senator Specter said was absolutely true.

BOLDUAN: Senator Toomey, yes. What do you make of the attacks by --

ROONEY: Toomey.

BOLDUAN: -- By Donald Trump against Ron DeSantis Over just even the past 24 hours now?

ROONEY: Well, I think that actually helps Ron, OK? Everybody knows what Trump is. Anybody who has read Bill Barr's book or talked to any of his past Chiefs of Staff or some of the other people who have heard his rants and ravings and profanities and things in the White House can attest to the fact that his behaviors are always brutish and immature. And I think that Ron is a statement about it. And the more he stays that way, the better he's going to look.

BOLDUAN: You know something of a blueprint, maybe for other Republicans. But finally, I do want to ask you about Kevin McCarthy and the challenge and struggle that he's up against right now. I mean, he is -- members of the pro-Trump House Freedom Caucus who are now playing hardball with their support for him as speaker. And even beyond that, Congressman, considering how slim the Republican majority in the House might be, that struggle is going to extend right into legislating. I mean, how tough of a road do you think McCarthy and a slim Republican majority has?

ROONEY: I think Kevin will be hard to beat now. The -- when you get into legislating, it's going to be hard to keep the corral full of the majority of Republicans because everybody's going to go their own ways on certain issues that are hot buttons to them. But he did a good job. And the last two years I was in Congress working on some of the Freedom Caucus members, he's very careful. And, you know, we put Jim Jordan when I was on the steering committee in charge of the Government Operations Committee, which is something he wanted. And so he's got a few allies in the Freedom Caucus now.

BOLDUAN: I was just thinking, you miss it. Now that you've seen what the makeup might look? You're missing your time in Congress?

ROONEY: Oh, no, I didn't. You know, the reason I ran -- you don't become a new career and become a politician at 67 years old. I ran to get that money to protect the environment in southwest Florida. And we've gone so long without getting any appropriations to save the Everglades and fix our beaches and in renourish, our estuaries and that was once I accomplish that, I just figured it's time to move on and be an example for other people.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It's good to have you on. I really appreciate it, Congressman.

ROONEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. So, another legal setback for President Biden's plan to forgive student loan debt for millions of Americans, how the Justice Department is now fighting a new federal court ruling on this. That's next.



BOLDUAN: So new this morning, the Justice Department is appealing a federal judge's ruling overnight striking down President Biden's program to forgive student loans for millions of Americans. Arlette Saenz is live at the White House for us at this hour with much more on this. Arlette, what does this mean right now for all of those who applied for the help in debt relief?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the millions of Americans who have been counting on this debt relief are now in this wait-and-see period as that ruling really grounds the program to a halt.


The Justice Department has appealed this ruling by that federal judge down in Texas who deemed the program to be unlawful. But in the meantime, the education department has stopped accepting applications for debt relief. You can actually -- if you go to that website where people could submit their applications earlier, it now includes a message saying that they are no longer taking those applications. Now, what the Department of Education is doing is they're holding on to all of the information that's been submitted to them previously, in the hopes that ultimately they will be able to dole out the relief. But certainly, this is causing a lot of anxiety for many student loan borrowers as they are now in limbo, especially with those repayments -- loan repayments set to restart again on January 1.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. The timing here, it makes it -- this also additionally challenging and confusing. It's good to see you, Arlette. Thank you. So, Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert is locked in a tight race to keep her seat. It may come down to an automatic recount. Colorado's Secretary of State joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Colorado Republican and Trump ally Lauren Boebert is locked in a tight battle in the state's third congressional district. She's pulled away slightly ahead of Democratic challenger Adam Frisch but the race is so close, it could be headed for an automatic recount. John Berman's back with me, John, this was -- this actually changed while we're on air. We're talking about this yesterday, what does it do now?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Very close -- very close, right? So separated by 1100 votes, what's happened over the last couple of days is votes have been tabulated largely from Pueblo County, which you can see actually leaves blue, but the vote counts had been friendly to Lauren Boebert. She has netted 924 votes there. That's been enough to put her in the lead even though as of yesterday at one point and Frisch was 64 votes ahead.

The fact that it's even this close is stunning, though. Just one thing, the last thing I want to show you here is we had a list of races that we consider competitive along with inside elections before the election, right? And Colorado Third, home to Lauren Boebert, wasn't even one of the ones on that list. We did not consider it competitive, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's amazing. All right, we're going to watch this one close. It's good to see you, John. Thank you so much.

All right, we have to head to Washington one more time. Vice President Kamala Harris is speaking now at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Veterans Day. Let's listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First, to survivors. It is a profound privilege to thank and honor you today and every day. So, we gathered to pay homage to all of those who have served our nation in uniform, at home and overseas, in times of war and in times of peace. Generations of veterans defended our country and our most sacred values from the fields of Yorktown to the trenches of the Marne, from the beaches of Normandy to the banks of the Chosin Reservoir and the streets of Saigon, from Baghdad to Fallujah, to Kandahar, you stood as one to protect our democracy and our freedom. And even when you returned home and took off your uniform, you continued to serve and to lead in communities across our country.

Veterans, after all, are nurses and firefighters, Little League coaches, and small business owners, faith leaders, and elected officials, mentors, and teachers. Every day, through your life's work, and your example, you make America stronger. And on Veterans Day we come together as a nation to express our profound gratitude for all you have done and continue to do.

Here on hallowed ground, we also remember those who gave their lives for our nation. We remember our service members who have not yet returned and their families, and we reaffirm our commitment to bring home all those missing in action. Veterans represent the best of America, unwavering courage, unmatched talent, and unshakable devotion. You come from every corner of our country, and out of many, you become one the greatest fighting force in the world.

As vice president, at the DMZ in Korea, aboard ships in the Indo- Pacific, at SOCOM and CENTCOM in Florida, and on NATO's eastern flank, I have seen firsthand how America's Armed Forces protect the highest ideals of our nation around the world.


Since 1789, American service members have sworn an oath, not to a person, not to a party, but to the Constitution of the United States to support and defend the principles of liberty, equality, and justice, to preserve and protect our democracy. Veterans, you're the one who answered the call. And in so doing, you left often the people you love and the place you call home, you missed birthdays, holidays, and graduations. Some of you first met your newborn baby on a video chat. You risked everything. And you gave up so much to safeguard the lives and the liberty of people who you may never meet.

To be a veteran is to have truly known the true cost of freedom and to have born it for all of us. That is a debt that must always be remembered. And I believe it is a debt we must all work to repay. Back when I was attorney general in California and then as the United States Senator, we fought to protect the health and well-being of our veterans and service members. And as Vice President, I'm proud to serve alongside one of the greatest, greatest, greatest champions of our nation's warriors, our President, Joe Biden.

President Biden and I believe that as Americans, we have a sacred obligation to take care of our veterans and our military families. Fulfilling that obligation means making sure veterans can access the support and the resources they need to thrive. For example, it has meant connecting thousands of veterans with job training to help them leverage the skills and experience they gained while serving, to build a new career, and to strengthen America's workforce. Fulfilling that obligation also means taking on veteran homelessness. This year alone, we have placed 31,000 veterans in permanent housing, and we are on track to house thousands more by year-end.

Taking care of our veterans also means taking care of those who love them because while our veterans wore the uniform, they were not the only ones who served. And no one understands that better than Dr. Jill Biden. Through her leadership of joining forces, Dr. Biden fights for military families, caregivers, and survivors. And Dr. Biden, our nation applauds your extraordinary work.

And taking care of our veterans means making sure that they receive the benefits they have rightly earned. Since we took office, we have worked to reduce the VA claims backlog by upgrading technology, hiring more claims processors, and streamlining evaluations. And as a result, this year and under the leadership of the secretary, we process more VA claims than ever before in history.