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Don Lemon Tonight

Donald Trump and the News Media; Trump and Berlusconi; How the World Sees Trump; Interview with Colin Quinn; Trump and White Supremacist Supporters. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 22, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:12] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The man who might out-Trump Trump.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

A billionaire real estate mogul, a huge success in television, a tough talking political outsider promising to take down the system and make his fellow citizens rich, multiple wives, scandals.

No, not Donald Trump. It's Italy's Silvio Berlusconi. What do his years in power tell us about the Trump White House. We'll discuss that.

Plus, from Broadway to "SNL," celebrities bashing Donald Trump, but are they just adding fuel to the fire for his supporters?

Let's discuss now with CNN senior White House correspondent Mr. Jim Acosta and senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.

How does it feel to be inside?



ACOSTA: You know, we do the live shot in front of Trump Tower I feel like I'm at the bus stop. There's always a bus behind me when that live shot comes up for some reason invariably.


ACOSTA: But, anyway, I digress.

LEMON: It's good to see you inside. And then we were talking about wait, did the election happen or is it still going on for a second?

ACOSTA: I know. Yes. I think we pushed it back to December is what happened.

LEMON: Yes. Yes. It's still happening. So I want to talk about this meeting today with Donald Trump. He backed away from promises to prosecute Hillary Clinton. He denounced a neo-Nazi movement hailing his victory. And he even indicated that he has an open mind when it comes to climate change. Are we seeing -- who is this Donald Trump? ACOSTA: You know, this has been the story of this transition. He

turns up the temperature, he turns down the temperature, and I think that I sort of feel like the "New York Times" got the press conference that we were supposed to get today before Donald Trump went on vacation but I thought it was very revealing and it shows this sort of push and pull inside the transition team and perhaps the push and pull inside Donald Trump's mind as to what kind of president he's going to be.

Is he going to be this president that we saw out on the campaign trail, who was this sort of fire-breathing scorched earth guy, or is the presidency, the weight of the presidency starting to moderate his views?

You know, he was starting to indicate in that "60 Minutes" interview that he was not going to go after Hillary Clinton and that was just all campaign rhetoric and I think today was sort of the final nail in that. We're not going to see Hillary Clinton indicted or prosecuted under a Trump presidency.

STELTER: And we'll see how his supporters feel about that.


STELTER: Breitbart today, the headline was "Broken Promise."

LEMON: Yes. Yes. And not only about that but about a number of things so far. So his second meeting in two days and as many days with major news organization, with the anchors yesterday and the head of television from different outlets and then the "New York Times." What's he trying to accomplish with this?

STELTER: Clearly he recognizes the importance of the media even though he bashes journalists every chance he gets. He can complain on Twitter about the crooked media but he recognizes the importance of the fourth estate.

I was at the Committee to Protect Journalists dinner, Don. Normally it's all about journalists in trouble in other countries. Tonight it was much more about the United States, about the trouble here, about the creeping threat to press freedom posed Donald Trump. Our boss Jeff Zucker talked about holding the administration's feet to the fire, so did David Remnick of the "New Yorker," and it was our own Christiane Amanpour who really impressed the room the most, I think, talking about journalism's existential crisis.

Not only because of Donald Trump, also because of fake news and other issues, but she was very clear about the challenge we face to hold Trump accountable. You know, he says so many things, sometimes contradictory in nature and criticizes journalists all the while. It's a unique challenge. By the way, I think we're up for it but it's unique challenge.

LEMON: And we can't back off because, you know, the Trump supporters will, you know, say that we're lying and that we're fake news and that's not our jobs to have -- to approach any candidate or any president with a critical eye.

ACOSTA: Right.

LEMON: That's what the media does. And without that I don't think they would want a country without that.

STELTER: Yes, that's right.

LEMON: Would you mind if I share a conversation that we had privately?

STELTER: Of course --

LEMON: I think you'll be fine with it. We were talking about whether in this environment, if reporters were afraid of Donald Trump or members of the media in some way, and you said that you believe that some people are.

STELTER: I think many journalists have been fearful of Donald Trump because of his criticism of the press, because of his talk about loosening up the libel laws, because of the way he would encourage crowds at rallies to protest the media but you said in the makeup room, no, you're not afraid of him.

LEMON: No. Because I think that energizes us. That emboldens us to -- especially when someone is trying to intimidate you, it's almost like a bully, then what you do is you tell that bully no, you're not going to do it. Right? So what happens? How do they teach you to deal with a bully? When someone bullies you, you punch them in the nose and then they back down.

ACOSTA: Don --

LEMON: Now I'm not saying that's what you have to do --

ACOSTA: The way I look at it is, Donald Trump did not defeat us. He defeated Hillary Clinton.

LEMON: Right.

ACOSTA: We're here to do our job and journalists have been threatened and pressured by administrations going back decades. And as long as we do our job, do the news, we'll be fine.


STELTER: I think he deserves some credit for going over to the "New York Times" headquarters today.

ACOSTA: Absolutely.

STELTER: I was just talking to Carolyn Ryan, the political editor, who says it was a good sign that he's willing to meet. It's a good sign he took questions for an hour plus.

[23:05:05] ACOSTA: And do it on camera. LEMON: Yes.

STELTER: He should now have a press conference. It's been two weeks.


STELTER: Normally president-elects do that by now.

LEMON: But this is what I think. I think that the meeting yesterday -- I think it was -- I thought it was, you know, good that he met with the media yesterday. I thought the mistake was, is that it was off the record because then the people who are in the meeting were hamstrung. They couldn't give their story and as a reporter, as a journalist, if someone says off the record to me that's off the record. I don't call Brian Stelter and say, oh, here's what happened in the meeting because the meeting is off the record. So journalists had no recourse. The message came from Donald Trump's camp so which is the reason that --

STELTER: Saying that he was aggressive.

LEMON: Saying that he was aggressive or whatever, and how do you fight back because then you break the rules and then you're not being a good journalist. I think what the "New York Times" did today was heroic in standing up and saying no, you can meet with our boss off the record, that's fine, but when you meet with these reporters and journalists, it's on the record and we get to report about it.

STELTER: And the "Times" is using -- Trump's desire for an off-the- record chat as leverage to say OK, we'll talk with you.


STELTER: We'll have a private talk if you also talk with us publicly.

LEMON: OK. All right.

ACOSTA: He's Donald Trump. What do you have to be afraid of? Come out on camera, answer the questions.

LEMON: Answer the question. Yes.

ACOSTA: What's the worst we could do?

STELTER: It worked for him so well in the primaries.

LEMON: So -- so anyway, we were talking about -- I think that let's move on because we're news for the newsroom.


LEMON: So what are you hearing about Mitt Romney? Is he seriously considering this? The secretary of State, correct?

ACOSTA: I talked to a source who says he is seriously considering being Donald Trump's secretary of State. I was talking to a Republican source earlier this evening and asking, you know, in what world does any of this makes sense, and the bottom line is insane is the new black. We're living in crazy times and this is something to expect the unexpected.

If Donald Trump being president doesn't make sense to you, then Mitt Romney being his secretary of State doesn't make much sense either, but in some ways it makes sense to both of these men. Donald Trump needs a moderating influence on the world stage. Mitt Romney would provide that. And at the same time Mitt Romney I think would probably like to get back in the game.


ACOSTA: And this is his way.

LEMON: Any other announcements coming?

ACOSTA: One thing we should point out, we think -- we think tomorrow there will be some more announcements. Nothing as important as secretary of State or as high priority as secretary of State but we do understand that some Cabinet picks may be coming down tomorrow and -- but it's interesting that this back and forth over secretary of State, Don, get this, Newt Gingrich earlier tonight campaigning against Mitt Romney.

STELTER: Right. Right.

ACOSTA: This was earlier tonight. Take a listen.


NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I think Trump would have to really think through. Romney wanted to be in President-elect Trump's job. You know? And to what degree would Romney once became secretary of State represent himself going around the world? I mean, sort of in the John Kerry tradition --


GINGRICH: Of let's go from five plus star hotel to five star hotel having nice gourmet dinners with foreign ministers, and to what extent would he actually represent the kind of tough-minded America-first policies that Trump has campaigned on? I mean, Trump has got to have somebody at State who's very tough and very willing to take on foreign leaders and say, wait a second, I'm here to represent the United States.


LEMON: That was -- that was shady.

ACOSTA: Yes. Newt Gingrich campaigning in favor of Rudy Giuliani, by the way, for secretary of State.


LEMON: But hadn't he ever heard of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

ACOSTA: Team of rivals, exactly. But, you know, remember, Mitt Romney defeated Newt Gingrich for the 2012 Republican nomination.

LEMON: OK. Got it.

ACOSTA: Might be some residual hard feelings there and at the same time there is -- but there is this -- this crystallizes the debate that's going on inside Trump world which is do we let somebody like a Mitt Romney who called Donald Trump a phony and a fraud into the tent?


ACOSTA: Into the inner sanctum?


ACOSTA: It's a debate that Donald Trump is going to have to sort out.

LEMON: Fascinating conversation.

STELTER: WWBS? What would Breitbart say? Right?


STELTER: We saw today them calling out Trump on his broken promise about Clinton.


STELTER: I do wonder how much pressure he's going to face from people far to the right to hold to what he's saying during the campaign.

LEMON: Or Obamacare, for the wall, for a number of things.

ACOSTA: Well, a lot of his supporters -- and they've told us that on the campaign trail --

LEMON: They thought it was bluster.

ACOSTA: They thought it was bluster. I 0-- you know, it's not so much I believed what Donald Trump had to say, I liked the way he said it.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

ACOSTA: You got it.

STELTER: Thanks.

LEMON: Happy Thanksgiving.

ACOSTA: You too.

LEMON: So how does the rest of the world see the rise of Donald Trump? Here to discuss, Rula Jebreal, professor of International Relations at American University of Rome, and also Barbie Latza Nadeau, the Rome bureau chief for the "Daily Beast."

It's good to have both of you on. Good evening to you.

Barbie, you first. How is Donald Trump, the transition, playing in the European press?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, ROME BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I mean, I think people are watching very curiously across Europe but especially here in Italy. You know we've walked down this road before with Silvio Berlusconi. A lot of Italians are saying OK, you made fun of us, now it's our turn to make fun of you a little bit. And people are watching and very, very curious. I think most people in Europe, they'll assume Europe is going to be left out of any sort of Trump policy so it's going to be up to Europe to go through some of the major transitions that they're seeing in the next couple of months with Brexit and the like, so people are watching, very curious to be sure.

[23:10:10] LEMON: Rula, to you now. Barbie mentioned Berlusconi, so -- and you and others have compared Donald Trump to Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister. Why is that?

RULA JEBREAL, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF ROME: Well, they're very similar. They're both businessmen who were -- who consider themselves outsiders who appeal to the basic common denominator, who will basically campaign against immigrants, campaign as outsiders, call their opponents corrupt, inept, even traitors, who attack the media on and off. Berlusconi actually fired and sued many of my friends who worked here in Italian television, even comedians like Luttazzi, the same Trump sued Bill Maher. He called the judiciary the worst cancer of our democracy.

I think people underestimated Berlusconi and he went on winning. And I wrote a year ago in the "Washington Post" that not to underestimate Trump because he might win. He's appealing to all kind of people and I think the pace is resentful of gridlock in Washington, D.C., and of the economic difficulties, and basically he's sanctioning prejudice as well so I thought he will win and he did and we underestimated him, mocked him, laughed about him, and this is what we got.

LEMON: So, Barbie, what were the keys to Berlusconi winning over the Italian people?

NADEAU: Well, I think he really -- this is the same with Trump, because he really spoke to that common person, and, you know, here he was in his chauffeur-driven car, and his Armani suit, you know, nothing like those people who ended up voting for him but he represented a dream, he was a self-made man, successful or so he presented himself on the work of his own back, and he did it kind of with a wink and a nudge and he was very sexist, that played well here in Italy, I'm sorry to say.

He was extremely racist, that played well to a certain number of voters. And a lot of people thought they found common ground with him. And that's why they voted him. And again, they were sick of the old establishment. Berlusconi in Italy represented something fresh and new and different and they voted him in three times.

JEBREAL: Well, let's also remember he also dominated the media. He was -- he owned half of the media, he controlled the other half, he was a master manipulator exactly like Trump. People in the beginning used him for ratings exactly like CBS chief who said well, Trump is bad for the country but it's good for CBS, bring this on, Donald. This is the kind of -- we underestimated him and we thought that he will not win.

Berlusconi went on winning and basically most people when he left were worse off than when he entered office. 80 percent of young people now don't believe in democratic institutions anymore. He waged a war on judiciary, on journalists, he waged actually a war between people themselves.

The system is discredited since that moment. Italy had to be bailed out by Europe in 2014 and force them to resign otherwise it would have become like Greece on any other country. The risk with Trump, because he's a businessman and transactional, exactly like Berlusconi, his policy will be about what can I get out of this deal? And we're seeing the conflict of interest already rising and we saw this with Berlusconi in Italy.

His lawyers were sitting in parliament writing the reforms for him and defending him in court. I met him twice, I interviewed him twice, and I met him when he said that Islam is an inferior civilization which was appealing to many Europeans here after 9/11. And in privately he told me that he never meant that so he would say something in the morning, deny it in the evening exactly like Trump. He would lie on and off and bluntly. And then he told me that he never said that because -- and the proof of it that he dated an Arab woman, he had a relationship with an Arab woman. We later discovered she was an underage prostitute of the name Ruby. So he played the media, he played everybody in Italy and he really almost wrecked the country.


JEBREAL: And the issue with Trump, we're seeing now with his private meetings. Look at what happened. He's deflecting exactly like -- like Berlusconi. So Trump is now mocking and insulting the people on Broadway, especially at "Hamilton" to cover the real issue, and the real issue is his meeting with -- his meeting with Japanese leaders and his Indian partners and especially what happened with a phone call with Argentina. The president called him and what happened immediately the day after all of his enterprise have open access and his business deals are approved immediately.

[23:15:09] This smells of corruption and this is what we need to hold him on.

LEMON: OK, Rula Jebreal and Barbie Nadeau, stand by.

When we come right back, why Silvio Berlusconi's story may be a warning sign for Donald Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Donald Trump takes the oath of office in 59 days, winning the election as a businessman who is a Washington outsider. His rise to power strikingly similar to that of a former Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

Back with me now, Rula Jebreal and Barbie Latza Nadeau.

Barbie, you first, the economist Luigi Zingales also compared Berlusconi to Trump in the "New York Times" and he made this point. He said, "Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for a long -- as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared."

So can that also be said about Trump's opposition?

NADEAU: Well, I think that's what we're seeing. I mean, that's very obvious. If you focus on something like the personality of Donald Trump, like the Italians, the personality of Silvio Berlusconi, you miss the issues and there you give those people a pass generally because you're not calling them to talk about the issues. We saw that with Berlusconi. Berlusconi only had to defend his behavior, he didn't have to defend so often his policy.

[23:20:03] In the meantime the country just ran -- spiraled out of control. You know, Berlusconi was -- after he left office was convicted of tax evasion. He was convicted of abetting underage prostitution, all of these things that went on while he was in office people were focused on that. What they didn't realize is the country was going into debt, the country, you know, is still just coming out of a recession, teetering back and forth.

All of these things were the effect of bad government and the effect of the fact that there was no opposition that was strong enough, smart enough or effective enough to get him out of the way.

LEMON: Rula, how did it help Donald Trump that his opponents and many in the mainstream press didn't take his campaign seriously at first? I wonder if that was the same with Berlusconi?

JEBREAL: Look, Trump is Berlusconi on steroids. He's a master manipulator and he's very effective at it. You know, he's an expert in the media, remember when the first presidential -- I think it was during the primaries when Megyn Kelly asked him about his misogynistic attitudes towards women. What did he do? His deflection was very clear. He attacked her, attacked her, attacked her, and we start talking about him attacking Megyn Kelly, and not about his track record in treating women.

And he's been doing this over and again. Immediately after he settled his lawsuit, fraud lawsuit for Trump University, $25 million, he immediately moved to the next deflection moment which is "Hamilton." It was -- you know, we need to talk about "Hamilton," two minutes, five, six, but then back to the real issues and this is the advice from our experience here in Italy. Focus on the real issues, the real issues will be there, all of them. The writings are on the wall. The misogyny, the sexism, corruption, conflicts of interest,

xenophobia. We see people already in Washington, D.C. celebrating and he's basically deflecting and talking a little bit about them but above all he is waging a war against the media and "Hamilton." So we're talking more about those issues than the real issues.

And the last thing, the opposition will have to rise and will have to invent somebody. The only man that beat Berlusconi twice, not once, was the opposite of Berlusconi, was Mr. Romano Pradi who was an outsider like Berlusconi, but he was a priest, he was a principled guy and he gives actually recipes, listen to voters. He didn't listen to Berlusconi. He listened to voters and give them some hope and made them understand that, yes, we struggle but we struggle together and we rise together. He was an on honorable man full of conviction.


JEBREAL: Not transactions like Berlusconi. This is what the opposition needs to do in America and journalists, all of us, we need to challenge him even if he sue us, bully us and especially if he intimidate us.

LEMON: Yes. I think the American press is up to that challenge. So Barbie, Berlusconi famously insulted --

JEBREAL: I hope so.

LEMON: -- Angela Merkel's looks, boasted about his sexual conquests and generally treated women as sex objects, and there was a backlash in Italy. A resurgence of feminism. Might American women have a similar response to Donald Trump?

NADEAU: Well, I think, you know, Berlusconi really underscored -- the phenomenon of Berlusconi, maybe just like Trump is doing in the States, really underscored just how far we have to go as women and I think in Italy especially people thought is it really this bad that we can allow ourselves to be exploded? That we can, you know, take these pay cuts? That we cannot get jobs because we might have a baby, that we have to put a picture on our resume because they want to see what we look like. All of those things that happened here in Italy are slowly being chipped away. You know, there's still a long way to go here and that is because people galvanized, women galvanized, and men in support of women's rights galvanized in Italy because of Berlusconi.

But I think they didn't realize how bad it was until it was so blatantly in front of them and I think we see that in the States to a certain extent that a man could be elected president of the United States that says things that are so demeaning to women, and yet still win means that we have a long way to go in the United States as well as women in Italy did.

LEMON: But yet, Barbie, a lot of women --

NADEAU: And the only way is up.

LEMON: A lot of women, Barbie, especially white women in the United States voted for him. Yes. Go on.

JEBREAL: Because it was about voting against what you hate and not what -- not what inspires you. It was about identity politics more than anything else.

Don, you and I are, you know, journalists. Look, we are black and we understand what this election has been about all along. It's also about racism, xenophobia and other things. Berlusconi treated women in a horrible way, disgusting way, but he was -- he felt he was above the law, that he could do it and get away with it. Exactly like Trump who many women accused of sexually assaulting them.

[23:25:09] What did he do after? He started threatening them, bullying them and even the media when they interviewed them and gave them space -- and I remember I interviewed one of the women who actually was bullied by Berlusconi and she was a prostitute. We interviewed her for our network. He almost sued us, he made a couple of my friends resign, he went after us big time. But we resisted and luckily people that were sued won the cases. So it can be done.

When it came to women he was so outrageous, Berlusconi, one of his lovers who was a model, a top model, she was appointed as a minister of equal opportunities. This is how bad it got that the office of the prime minister became an orgy house, excuse my language, a whore house. This is what he'd done.

My fear with Trump and the normalization of xenophobia and sexism and racism that if we don't push back, this will become -- because this is what he wants when he said -- I think yesterday he said conflict of interest? People knew of it, this is OK, this is normal.


JEBREAL: It's not OK, it's not normal and we need to call it for what it is.

LEMON: Thank you, Rula. Thank you, Barbie. I realize it's very late or very early there and I appreciate you guys staying up or getting up early. Thank you so much.

JEBREAL: Thank you.

NADEAU: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Straight ahead, Donald Trump does not think "Saturday Night Live" is funny. At least not when it pokes fun at him. Does he need to lighten up? Comedian Colin Quinn weighs in next.


[23:30:38] LEMON: Comedians have a long, long history of poking fun at presidents and in 59 days Donald Trump becomes the newest occupant of the White House. Imagine what will happen then. This is just the beginning, folks.

Let's discuss now with comedian Colin Quinn, who's new show is called "Colin Quinn: The New York Story." It's on Netflix.


LEMON: I haven't seen it. I can't wait to see it is. Is it out?


LEMON: Yes? So should I watch?

QUINN: You really should.

LEMON: You make fun of presidents?

QUINN: No, I make fun of every ethnicity in New York and how they help form the New York personality.

LEMON: I love that.

QUINN: OK. I think you'll like it.

LEMON: So it's been a contentious election. Donald Trump is now the president-elect, what do you think?

QUINN: I wouldn't -- look, they said when I was a kid what makes America great is anybody can grow up to become president of the United States. And they weren't lying.

LEMON: Anybody. I saw that one coming a mile away.

QUINN: I know you did.

LEMON: What did you mean by that? Donald Trump.

QUINN: That was sneaky. But, yes, I mean, I was just -- you know, I was more surprise than anybody. I thought it was going to be Gary Johnson.


QUINN: Yes. I mean, it's --

LEMON: So you said you make fun of every ethnicity because that's --

QUINN: Sure.

LEMON: That's what makes New York New York and makes its run.

QUINN: Right.

LEMON: Do you think that this election was a reaction to, you know, being overly politically correct?

QUINN: Yes. I mean, they do -- for a lot of people I think it was. You know, I'm not saying that -- I would just say that like, you know, the sheet metal worker in Wisconsin doesn't like being scolded by people on the red carpet. You know what I mean? Like, you can't be up there in Versace gowns telling these people -- giving civic lessons to a Topeka electrician or something. You know what I mean? A lot of that -- a lot of that was that, I think.

LEMON: Yes. And so what do you do then?

QUINN: What do you mean?

LEMON: What do you do? You don't give those speeches on the red carpet in their Versace gowns?

QUINN: No, I mean, it's not for -- I just feel like people got too full of themselves scolding -- you can't, like, scold a Vietnam vet and his nurse -- retired nurse wife in, like, the Midwest and expect them to go, you know what, you're right about me, I am going to vote -- you know what I mean? It's just -- this country is going to have -- this country is break up. This country is headed for a divorce, that's what I say, or a civil war.

LEMON: I've heard lots of people say that. Do you really believe that?


LEMON: Yes. So he -- speaking of, you know, show business, Donald Trump tweeted about the Broadway show "Hamilton" and what happened with --


LEMON: And "SNL." What do you think?

QUINN: I mean, of course he got -- you know, Pence got booed at the "Hamilton" show but it's like you can't say gay people need to be reprogrammed and then go to a Broadway show and expect not to get booed.

LEMON: Especially not that show.

QUINN: I mean, any Broadway show.

LEMON: Any Broadway -- right.

QUINN: It could have been a lot worse if he gone to, like, "Kinky Boots" or -- I don't know, "Wicked."

LEMON: I mean, honestly, I know you're joking around, but, I mean, what do you think would happen if you just sort of do your home work on "Hamilton" and on Broadway, I mean, there's a lot of gays, a lot of gay people.

QUINN: Yes. What a guy? I know. I mean, that was the thing, you can't --

LEMON: What did you think was going to happen?

QUINN: He's like walking, like, hey, and I mean, it's like we said before, it's like going into an Irish bar going, "let's quit drinking."


QUINN: You know, it's like -- you can't. You have to --

LEMON: You're Irish, right?


LEMON: So I'll let that stand.

QUINN: Well, wait until you see my show. I take many liberties with anybody.

LEMON: And also he's upset with "SNL" saying, you know, that was biased and that he wanted equal time.

QUINN: Bias -- yes. Equal time.

LEMON: Is that your Trump --

QUINN: What's that?

LEMON: Is that your Trump?


LEMON: How does it go?

QUINN: Fantastic, low energy. I do the Trump like the anxious like catering hall guy, like this is fantastic, sumptuous accommodations, you know, like the overly classy guy.


QUINN: And look, I'm not saying I'm an impressionist, let's calm down. I'm off the cuff.


QUINN: Don goes, yes.

LEMON: "SNL" has a history of poking fun at presidents. Watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you forget about me. Don't, don't, don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you think of me, when you think of John McCain, think of me, George W. Bush. Think of this face. When you're in the voting booth, before you vote --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Solid, solid as Barack.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Oh, and Mike, you're going to do everything, right?



[23:35:06] LEMON: So he took issue with "SNL." He said it was biased. So does he need to lighten up?

QUINN: Yes, sure, of course. But I mean, I just like the Pence -- I don't feel like -- I feel like I was watching that sketch and I feel like it's going to be Pence and Trump, there's going to be two White Houses and it's going to be a conflict. Pence and like the, you know, the real Republican like Christian guys, and Trump is going to be like the steak house, midtown steak house hedge fund guys. You know, having a party. There's going to be conflict. I can't see him and Pence getting along.

LEMON: You realize the midtown, you know, steak house hedge fund guys are -- I'm generalizing here -- are mostly sort of rhinos, people call them rhinos. It's only because of the money, they're social liberals.

QUINN: That's what I'm saying. Yes. So I'm saying like, there's going to be a clash in this White House between the Mike Pence and, you know, his way and then the other guys.

LEMON: How do you think he'll do as president? Are you rooting for him?

QUINN: Of course I'm rooting for him.

LEMON: He's the president.

QUINN: I mean, I want it to work. I want to be great. I've got the under. You know, if I was a betting man, I don't know it's going to last. I'd say the Easter egg hunt will probably be the meltdown. Maybe around then, but I mean, I'm hoping it works out great.

LEMON: You know, it's definitely going to be interesting to see the next four years.

QUINN: Because it is. Let's just hope there's not a -- we don't break up into eight countries by, you know.

LEMON: Yes. I mean, we're laughing and you have to laugh, that's part of it.


LEMON: OK. All right. So I'm telling -- I have to do this. You have special called "Colin Quinn: The New York Story."

QUINN: Oh, please don't strain yourself.

LEMON: It is based on your hit off Broadway play which you came here to talk about. And you reminisce about the New York City of your childhood. Let's watch this clip. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUINN: People of New York accuse you of information, like you owe them information. Don't say, excuse me, they just block you. "Where'd you get the ice cream?" Like holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And then if you tell them, they want a review. They're like, "Over there." "Is it good?"


QUINN: And if you say it's good you have to leave or they might come back like, "Where's that guy that said this was good?"


LEMON: So this is the part of thing, I grew up in the south, in a red state and I've lived in the Midwest and whatever.


LEMON: And there's a certain -- sameness to it, every single day is sort of the same. You go, New York City, you never know what's going to happen. No day is the same.

QUINN: Yes, probably because of the subway, you know what I mean?

LEMON: Exactly.

QUINN: The subway just makes it random and arbitrary and it's everybody packed together. So there's no -- you know, but New York is getting like -- believe me, New York is starting to look like every place else.

LEMON: You think so? Why?

QUINN: Just every corner is a bank then a drugstore then chain stores. There used to be never any chain stores in Manhattan. You never see like a TGI Friday's or anything like that. In fact the first TGI Friday's is in Manhattan. And that was it. There was no like chain restaurants or anything.

LEMON: I know. I go through Times Square, and I'm like, what happened? It's like --

QUINN: Yes. Time Square. Perfect example.

LEMON: I like the old Times Square.

QUINN: Yes. I know.

LEMON: Like, kid, don't look that way, because you didn't know what you would see.

QUINN: Exactly.

LEMON: Yes. QUINN: Now you can slide right by Spider-Man.

LEMON: Yes. What's your message to the American people?

QUINN: My message is we had a nice run, I'll see you, you know, whatever country you move to, man.


LEMON: Colin, you're a mess. Good luck, always a pleasure.

QUINN: Thanks.

LEMON: Happy Thanksgiving.

QUINN: You too.

LEMON: Appreciate it.

When we come right back, they say Donald Trump's election victory is a big opportunity for them but is it time for the president-elect to shut down his neo-Nazi supporters once and for all?


[23:42:30] LEMON: Donald Trump tells the "New York Times" that he doesn't want white supremacists to be energized by his victory. Here to discuss now, Charles Blow, op-ed columnist for the "New York Times," CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany, John Philips, top radio host for KABC, and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers.

So let's discuss this. And we have much more to discuss because we spent a lot of time on it in the show but Donald Trump says he didn't do anything to energize the white supremacists but his appeal to them goes back through his entire campaign. Here's the chairman of the American Nazi Party speaking. This is in September.


ROCKY SUHAYDA, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN NAZI PARTY: Now if Trump does win, OK, it's going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists, OK, acting intelligently to build upon that and to go and start. OK. You know how you have the black political caucus and whatnot. All right. In Congress and everything. To start building on something like that. OK.


LEMON: Trump did disavow them, Kayleigh, when asked about it. But can you deny, though, that they -- not him -- they are trying to build on his victory?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, you have elements of this racist Nazi group that tried to build on the presidency of Ronald Reagan and they were slapped down as they should have been. You have people that -- from fringe groups on the left and the right who will attempt to attack themselves to a presidency that is mainstream. We saw with Hillary Clinton, we saw the terrorist's father, the Orlando terrorist's father showing up at her rally. You can't help who endorses you. You can however help how you treat those endorsements, and Donald Trump has repeatedly disavowed racism. Just since he became president he's made four calls to unity and disavows of racist groups so that's all he can do.

I understand that my leftist friends would want the entirety of the Donald Trump presidency to consist of him standing on the roof top of Trump Tower saying, "I disavow, I disavow, I disavow." But he's moving on to focus on how to better the American people.

LEMON: Should he give a speech? Should he give a speech? Because there was a lot of vitriol in D.C. this weekend with this neo-Nazi group that has sort of rebranded itself as the alt-right. He appears to be outraged by many things like "Hamilton" and "SNL," or whatever, and he tweets about. Should he be more, I don't know, fervent in his denouncing of them? Should he get on Twitter? Should he give a speech instead rather than just saying to a group like the "New York Times," "Well, I disavow?"

MCENANY: Look, I think he has said everything he needs to do but I think a unity speech would be very nice. A speech after his presidency, after he takes office, just uniting the country, it was obviously a divisive election. I think that would be a really nice thing.

[23:45:04] LEMON: Charles?

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it was divisive because he made it divisive. Right? It was divisive along racial and ethnic and religious lines because he made it divisive along racial, ethnic, and religious lines, when he says that Islam hates us, those are his words, saying Islam hates us. When he says words like "law and order," Fannie Lou Hamer says black people know what white people mean when they say law and order. Right? It is not -- it is not that you're coming in to help and to protect us, it is that you want to crack down on us. Right?

This idea -- this is not built out of nowhere. The idea that this man would use racial division and ethnic division and religious division in order to become elected, he has -- he built this, right? He built that and he now has to make amends for that and you can't go -- I mean, this thing when he came into the "New York Times" building today, I was getting out of here. I was like, I didn't want to be around that nonsense.


BLOW: That show was outrageous and ridiculous, you know, now all of a sudden you want to say, but I don't mean certain things that I said to get elected.


BLOW: Right? That is a person who lacks morals, who would do anything -- because all Donald Trump is about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Donald Trump is at the center of Donald Trump's universe and he used racism and bigotry and that's what he did.

LEMON: John?

JOHN PHILIPS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I love the fact that the Nazi has very poor cell reception in his mother's basement and we're all fortunate for that. But, look, these guys are whack jobs, everyone hates them, Donald Trump has disavowed them and look, I love our system of federalism and a two-party government, however when you have two parties, unfortunately the people on the fringes are going to attach themselves to one of the two parties. They're going to attach themselves to candidates for public office to try to generate publicity.

Over in Europe where they have the parliamentary system, all the nuts have their own parties and they can all go do their own thing and it's times like this that make me wish we kind of had that system because that way these people would just go away.

LEMON: Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that my colleagues on the right are missing this point somewhat. I mean, they're not attaching themselves to Donald Trump. In fact, Donald Trump has given them a vein or a vessel to have this outlet. I mean, I think the prime example is we talk about alt-right and I actually hate that term. We need to call it white what it is, it's white nationalism, it's neo-Nazism.

Donald Trump literally took the founder of the Web site who bred this and brought him into his White House. I mean, this is not attaching it to something. This is bringing it to where we live, this is bringing it to where we govern. That's first and foremost.

And Donald Trump can -- I mean, it's amazing how many people on the right, right now, the only word they know is disavow. He disavowed. He disavowed. Well, Donald Trump has tweeted I believe 10 times or more since he's been president about the media. He's tweeted four times or more about "Hamilton." He tweets about "SNL." He does all of this stuff but if Donald Trump really wants to get excited, if he wants to have some fervor, if he wants to say that -- listen, Kayleigh, please talk to him, because all I want him to say is look into a camera to the American public and say, racism, hate, xenophobia has no place in this country.

Because what's happening is this kissy foot that he's doing with white nationalists, with bigots, all it does is empower them and enrage and breeds more hate in this country. And until he stands up and becomes a leader, I guess we have to wait until January 20th for him to even act as if he's going to lead this country and bring it together, we're going to continue to be divided and fall apart.

LEMON: We'll be right back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:52:33] LEMON: I'm back now with Charles Blow, Kayleigh McEnany, John Philips, and Bakari Sellers.

So let's talk now about Cabinet appointments.

Kayleigh, what are you hearing about Cabinet appointments? Mitt Romney as potential secretary of State. We heard Newt Gingrich on FOX arguing against this appointment. What are you hearing?

MCENANY: Look, I mean, Mitt Romney, if Donald Trump chooses him, that means to me that Mitt Romney has decided to accept the Trump national security agenda. The Trump foreign policy agenda. But it's hard for me to imagine -- I agree with Newt -- Mitt Romney in this position because he fundamentally disagrees with everything Trump stands for on the foreign policy stage and otherwise. So I'm a proponent of Rudy Giuliani. I think exhibits strength against ISIS. That strength that we need. But if Mitt Romney gets it, I trust the judgment of the president-elect.

LEMON: Bakari, how about Ben Carson who is according to some reports being considered for Housing and Urban Development secretary?

SELLERS: I think it's -- I think it's kind of laughable. Wasn't it just last week when his own adviser said that he wasn't prepared to be Cabinet secretary? I just think that --

LEMON: And he ran for president.

SELLERS: That Ben Carson is a man -- I think Ben Carson is a man of many skills. I just -- I'm not sure that Housing is where he needs to be. I will say this, though. There's an interesting pick -- and I hope that he chooses Mitt Romney out of the choices that he has. But there's an interesting pick that Donald Trump I think can and will make. And that's Nikki Haley to be to the ambassador to the U.N. I disagree with Governor Haley on politics up and down, will disagree probably to the day that I die, but she is very representative of what this country is.

She's an immigrant. Her story is very passionate. Her story is very true and I think she'll speak to the world in a glowing way of what we represent as a country even in this Donald Trump administration. So that's my suggestion for U.N. ambassador.

LEMON: Charles, here's Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, comparing Islam to cancer in August.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Islam is a political ideology. It is a political ideology. It definitely hides behind this notion of it being a religion. It's like cancer. I've gone through cancer in my own life. And so it's like cancer and it's like a malignant cancer, though, in this case. It has metastasized.


LEMON: What do you make of that, Charles?

BLOW: What are you supposed to make of it? I mean -- I mean, it's so outrageous. I mean, this is the thing that's really important that I cannot get across enough. That people of good faith have to develop a posture that allows you to have enough stamina to constantly say about people like Flynn, about a lot of the people that Donald Trump is considering, about Donald Trump himself, that this is not OK.

[23:55:11] That this is not who we are. That this man in Donald Trump and the people he's surrounding himself with so far are an affront to us. They're an abomination to what I believe America is. And that is not about trying to convince some voters that they were right or wrong or trying to bring somebody to your side or not. It is simply about saying, I believe that this is wrong. Morally, I have a moral responsibility to say that as often and as loudly as I can possibly say that and never get tired.

King said never grow weary. I will never grow weary of saying that that is an abomination and an outrage and the fact that that person is part of the Cabinet is an abomination.

LEMON: I just -- I just have a few seconds left. Because there are many who are watching, especially Trump supporters, who say, hey, listen, this is sour grapes? Your candidate lost, he won.

BLOW: I literally do not care about -- the moral flaw in that logic is that you are -- you're assuming that I want to convince you. I actually have no -- I have to live with myself.

LEMON: John.

BLOW: I have to go -- I said the right thing.

LEMON: Yes. I got 10 seconds. Go for it.

PHILIPS: I've got a Fantasy Baseball pick for you. Mitt Romney for VA secretary. He's good at turning around underperforming properties, the VA deserves him right now.

LEMON: OK. And secretary of State?

MCENANY: Rudy Giuliani.

PHILIPS: I'd give it to Nikki Haley.

LEMON: I got to go.

SELLERS: Barron Trump.


LEMON: Thanks for watching, everyone. I appreciate it. Thanks, everybody. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Good night.