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Marco Rubio 1st Comments after Suspending Campaign; Op-Ed: My Immigrant Father a Trump Supporter; American Sees Cuban Dream. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 17, 2016 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you consider being Cruz's vice president --

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to be anybody's vice president. I'm not interested in being vice president. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way. I don't want to be vice president. I'll finish out my term in the Senate. We're going to work really hard here. We have some things we want to achieve. Then I'll be a private citizen in January.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You're not going to rethink this and go back and file in April or May?

RUBIO: No, I'm not running for re-election to the Senate. I'm going to finish my term here and then I'll be a private citizen.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about this idea of a -- it's so fractured, as we get to the summer time, there's been chatter over the last 48 hours over a contested convention. Paul Ryan said today he was boning up on the rules in case it gets to that --


RUBIO: My campaign barely ended 48 hours ago so I haven't thought through that. Certainly not anything we're planning on. If you go on to the convention and no one has the requisite number of delegates, then there are rules that account for l". We ran a race I'm very proud of from the messaging perspective. It's not what the electorate wants to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator, what do you make of Trump's comments that he might incite riots --

RUBIO: You don't have to scream.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Sorry, I'm wearing headphones. That he might incite a riot if they try to take the nomination away from him?

RUBIO: At this point, it's like there isn't going to be any riots. It's a very unusual political year. People are going to write books about this year. There's going to be a lot of political scholarship on what happened but I don't think riots are going to be a part of it. (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you write a book?

RUBIO: About this election?


RUBIO: I'm not planning on it. It might be a good idea though. All these guys are making movies out of their books.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) -- Supreme Court nominee --

RUBIO: Well, I just started. I'm not in the middle of it. I just started yesterday.


RUBIO: My position remains the same. I mean, I don't see the point of it. I know enough about his record to know I wouldn't support him. I know enough about the position in general to say, number one, I don't think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president's term. And number two, even if this was a third year of this president's term, this is not someone I would support.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Meeting with him, courtesy call meeting?

RUBIO: I'd be more than happy to talk to anybody, but I wouldn't change my position.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator, we talked -- when you look back at the campaign, two questions, one, what do you think went wrong? Two, you actually wanted to take this -- your campaign certainly kept open the option of going to the convention and fighting it out. Why do you choose not to do that?

RUBIO: Couple points, number one no one ever gets into an election saying I can't wait to get to the convention. You want to win the delegates and unite the party. That's the ideal outcome. It doesn't appear to be headed $ there. Tuesday night, you know, perhaps Trump has gained enough delegates to move closer in that direction. There's still an open question about whether he gets to 1237 and we'll see as it plays out. In an ideal world, you have a nominee. And it gives you a stronger position in the general election. Don't believe Donald Trump will ever be able to do that. That's my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: On your campaign though, look back at the nature of this, the volatility that gravitated towards Trump. You said the right message but you weren't on the winning side this time around.

RUBIO: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What was the fundamental flaw in that? What was different? RUBIO: I just think, you know, you see what's happening. People

really got hurt in 2007 and 2008. We had this massive economic downturn. Most Americans, their number one investment is their home. It took a bath and it really went underneath and none of it has gotten better for them. You have millions of Americans who are struggling financially. The changes in our economics have been very disruptive. Many of the jobs people relied on are either gone or they don't pay enough or they're sent overseas. My argument was yes, these things are really happening, but there's also opportunities being created and we should embrace those. That's just not a message people wanted to hear or rely caught on. I understood we could run a campaign based on speaking to people's frustrations and anger and getting them angry and more frustrated, but I really continue to believe these disruptions in our economy also provide opportunities. That's why I focus so much on vocational training and higher education reform. I think that's what we're going to need to do. I still think that's the right approach. But politically, it's just not something that necessarily cuts through it in a year where someone like Donald Trump so far has been able to capture that frustration and anger and exacerbate bait is in a way that helped him with voters.


RUBIO: Yeah. I already said, we almost won Virginia after that, beat Ted Cruz in Georgia after that. And I don't think it reflected --


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How much on the immigration issue?

RUBIO: It was a factor. I don't think it was -- at the end of the day, it's a 17 person field and I was one of the last four standing. In a field that ran basically every major political figure in the Republican Party at the national level ran for president. I'm proud of how far we got but it wasn't far enough. At the end of the day, you look at how we performed in many places. I don't think it's the reason why I'm not still in the race.



[14:35:30] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Could you foresee another run for office in the future?

RUBIO: I mean, guys, I just got here. I'm not running for governor. I'm not running for reelection in the Senate. Beyond that --



RUBIO: I don't think so.


RUBIO: The lieutenant governor's a good friend of mine --


RUBIO: Thank you, guys.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Now that is what we call a scrum there on Capitol Hill, lots of people chasing down Marco Rubio. We've seen him in a much different light these past I don't know how many months, 10- plus. He wanted the party's nomination for president of the United States. Instead, he's back to just being Senator Marco Rubio here, his first day back to work on Capitol Hill.

Dana Bash, let me bring you in, our chief congressional (sic) correspondent.

Highlights to me -- political correspondent, forgive me -- I'm not going to be anyone's V.P. I'm not running for governor of Florida. Trump would fracture the Republican Party. It's the first time we're hearing from him.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, it's the first time seen back in the Senate today. He's doing his day job. He's voting. Something we remember he was criticized heavily by Jeb Bush and others for not doing because he was running for president. And he is not running for re-election from Florida. Look, this is tough. I mean, you can kind of see it on his face.

BALDWIN: He looks tired.

BASH: He's tired. And it's not easy. I mean, this is not where he wanted to be. There's a lot of humble pie being eaten in the hallways there when he's talking to reporters. The fact he is saying he doesn't want to be vice president is interesting. Before he started to go after Donald Trump really, really hard, the kind of betting in some of the parlor games here in Washington was, well, maybe Rubio wasn't going after Donald Trump because he is thinking maybe he wants to be his V.P. running mate, you know, he's ruled that out today. Again, we've heard politicians rule things in and out and change their minds not long after.

But look, think the bottom line is you step back and you see that this is a young man who decided to just go for it, thought maybe the time was right for him to be president, even though there were so many people in the race. He did get further than most of the 17 people who also threw their hats into the ring. Now he's trying to at least fill out the rest of his term, which ends at the end of this year. And then, you know, it's going to be -- who knows what he's going to do. He'll be a private citizen.

BALDWIN: Maybe he'll write a book. I think it's interesting how he was responding to those questions --


BASH: I can guarantee he's going to write a book.

BALDWIN: You think? You know, books, movies, unprecedented. Now sounds like a cliched word as we talk about this election cycle.

BASH: I know.

BALDWIN: But you're interview with Senator Lindsey Graham, we were talking about Harry Reid, and now Marco Rubio saying I don't know if I felt a ton of love, but did acknowledge he seems like the most conservative man standing.

BASH: Exactly. That is the sense of a lot of Republicans here in Washington who thought they would never say that because they have been so aggravated with Ted Cruz for the way he has, you know, kind of held things up on Senate floor in ways -- he never really had a chance of winning and so on and so forth. But that's just the reality where we are right now. The question is going to be if even that is going to be enough. Because of the fact that Donald Trump only needs about half of the remaining delegates to get to that magic 1,237 to clinch the nomination. Ted Cruz needs about 80 percent, which is pretty challenging to do. And so that's where everybody is going to be at the -- at the floor of the convention in Cleveland.

BALDWIN: Dana, thank you. We will chat again soon.

Gloria Borger was just seated.

Because we wanted to make sure we talk to you. We'll talk to you in a second about all your great reporting about this Republican meeting behind closed doors.

Again, just to see Marco Rubio there in the thick of it. Manu Raju, one of our political correspondents, firing a question away at him. He's back, to quote Dana, back at his day job.


BALDWIN: Back in the saddle. Specifically, saying he doesn't want to be anyone's vice president and he isn't running in Florida. And he, I guess, will, in 10 months, be a citizen of Florida.

[14:40:02] BORGER: Right. I think, you know, people who know Marco Rubio well say that what he wants to do now is get out there and earn a little money. When you've been in public service and you have a growing family, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea. I think there are people talking about him potentially as a run for governor. Having lost your state in a presidential primary, doesn't really help you with that. But he's a young guy. He's hugely talented. And I think he has a great feature, whatever he wants to do, you know.

BALDWIN: OK. We'll talk to you at the top of the hour.

Gloria, thank you so much for the hustle. I appreciate that, and your reporting on this meeting of Republicans coalescing against Mr. Trump. So see you then.

Coming up, my next guest says he knows one Trump supporter who truly surprised him, his own father, an immigrant to the United States some years ago. Why his dad says he's voting for Trump. He and his father join me live. Do not miss this discussion next.


[14:44:27]BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Question: Who are Donald Trump supporters? It is a question we have been asking since the New York billionaire launched his campaign. If you look at the crowds at Trump rallies, you know, for the most part, when you look at this, covering it for months and months, they're white, blue collar, evangelical. But Trump has cobbled together a far broader coalition in his run to become the undisputed Republican front-runner.

My next guest profiled one Trump supporter who he found particularly fascinating, because it's his own dad. Jean-Robert Regis is a Haitian immigrant who came to the United States in the 1970s and he voted for Donald Trump.

His son, my friend, Sian-Pierre Regis, his son, my friend, is the editor-in-chief of "Swagger, New York." He wrote this piece in which he interviewed not only his dad but other parents supporting Trump, called, "My Dad Voted for Trump and Theirs Will, Too."

Both of the Regises on my panel today, wonderful to have both of you on.


BALDWIN: Sian-Pierre, let me turn to you, because I've known you for, what, a year or two. You're this fashionable young, hip progressive dude living in Manhattan. I would only imagine, knowing you as I do, that the last person you would want as president would be Donald Trump. Am I wrong?

SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: You'd be right on the mark, Brooke. To me and most of my friends, the reason I wrote this article, to me, he's misogynist, he's racist, he really plays into all don't want to surround myself by. So many people on my social media feeds are spewing this vitriol which I understand. Then I speak to my dad and so many other people about why they're doing it. It's sort of start to make sense to me. It's wild.

BALDWIN: On the making sense, you're in your car and your dad drops on you, son, I voted for Donald Trump.

So Mr. Regis, Jean-Robert, why, with your back story, a Haitian immigrant, coming to the country legally, and all that you've done and made for you and your family, talk to me about why your back story then sort of funnels into why you think Donald Trump should be president.

JEAN-ROBERT REGIS, FATHER OF SIAN-PIERRE & DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: He just said it. I came to this country legally and I think Donald Trump stand for this people to come to this country legally. And also I tend to focus my attention on the economy and jobs, national security, border control, reduce the debt and the deficit, and a strong national security. So Donald Trump, he's --


BALDWIN: Jean-Robert, when your son said Donald Trump is misogynist and racist, your response is what?

JEAN-ROBERT REGIS: My response to him is he's still young, he doesn't understand life yet. That's why he's on the side that he is on.

SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: And one thing I would say that I think is important is my dad is an immigrant, came here and worked tooth and nail to get everything he had. My dad didn't really speak too much English. He worked three jobs, you know, he worked so hard to amass a little bit of wealth and the thought of my dad of losing everything that he's made --

BALDWIN: You're getting emotional.


SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: It's hard, because, in this way, I understand it. I understand the voices that my dad has. I think we're misrepresenting a lot the voters. My dad worked so hard to have what he has, and to give it all away to people who, for him, he doesn't believe work that hard.

BALDWIN: They haven't earned it.

SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: Right. And he deserves it. He came here for the American dream, came here to get all of what he has, and to think that that would be taken away from him, that the money -- the only reason he came here was for money for his family. To think that would be taken away is so hard.

BALDWIN: You not only profiled your dad, but you also made this point in talking to other people. Because there are a lot of anti-Trump folks who do say, listen, all of his supporters are white, xenophobe. Not true? Not true?

SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: Not true. I talked to a family who knows about Communism. They know China brought Communism into Vietnam. It ruined their networks. They say, yes, we now live in a country where our president potentially wants to go out to the country that screwed our families, you know, and for that reason, you know, they want him. There's another woman in the outskirts of Philadelphia, wealthy woman whose son is a good friend of mine, lives in New York City. She is so afraid that her son is going to die at a movie theater through some act of terrorism. She's getting herself a gun. That's how afraid she is. He speaks some rhetoric to all different walks of people and it touches them.

BALDWIN: I would push then on what foreign policy, national security, specifics. That's been the criticism.

SIAN-PIERRE REGIS: Of course. Yes. I talk to my dad about that too. Dad, you can take it from here, but I said, listen, socio-politically,

do you care that he's a misogynist? Do you care he's not diplomatic. To me, you said, no, I care about my money, I care about my safety.

BALDWIN: Jean-Robert, go ahead.

JEAN-ROBERT REGIS: That's exactly right. I don't really care about who Donald Trump is. I care about the action that he is about to take to put the country back on the right track.

[14:50:18] BALDWIN: Jean-Robert, what would you say to your son here on live national television? What is the one thing you would tell him to try to sway him that Trump should be commander-in-chief?

JEAN-ROBERT PIERRE: One thing I would tell him, if he's thinking about his future, he should look toward Donald Trump because, again, the past experience that we've had I don't think it

BALDWIN: Jean-Robert, thank you so much for your time. May just say you've done a really nice job with this son of yours.

JEAN-ROBERT PIERRE: Thank you so much. Sian-Pierre, thank you very much.

SIAN-PIERRE PIERRE: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BALDWIN: Thank you, thank you.

Just in, on politics, John Kasich, the man who has refused to go negative, the man who has remained the adult in the room, his target, Trump. The first shots fired as the Republicans race for delegates, ahead.


BALDWIN: For five decades, it was a place almost frozen in time, cut off from the world and barred from diplomatic relations with the United States. This Sunday, President Obama hopes to change all that, traveling to Cuba for an historic visit.

CNN's Bill Weir traveled south to explore some of the places once off limits also to Americans the legendary American dream. What he found, the Cuban dream might be just as powerful.


[14:55:00] BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It looks like trendy boutique you might see in Soho or Melrose district in Los Angeles. Across the street, you have people raising chickens on their balcony.

How is life in Havana these days?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really hard.

WEIR: It's hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah. Some people think change in the future. I hope so.

WEIR: You hope so? You don't think so?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's change for business, for government, but for the people, I don't know. More young people, it's better. More revolutions, new ideas, we need that. Maybe in few years, good.

WEIR: Really? All right.


WEIR (voice-over): I came here expecting to find that sentiment everywhere. But to my surprise, so many seem proud of the Cuban system, warts and all.


BALDWIN: Warts and all.

Bill Weir, so great to have you back.

WEIR: Good to see you again.


WEIR: Thank you, thank you.

BALDWIN: So you've never been to Cuba.

WEIR: No, no.

BALDWIN: On bucket list destination for me.

Walking around, what most surprised you?

WEIR: First all, how broken the island is, you know, the '57 Chevys are charming, the '57 plumbing and electricity and communications not so ideal.


WEIR: The most luscious ruin in the world I think. They got a long way to do to get to speed to accent the millions of tourists coming there.

But the attitude. I'll tell you a Cuban joke.


WEIR: Two old Cubans are talking. They say you know what the three greatest successes of the revolution are, of course, sports, culture and science. And what are the their greatest failures? Breakfast, lunch and dinner.


These are jokes that would have gotten these people locked up just a few years ago. But they're speaking freely. They're critical of their government. But at the same time so proud of its soul. I expected people to be very careful of how they talked but they're completely open hearted. They love Americans. They're not sure they love the idea of the American way yet.

BALDWIN: That's what I wanted to ask you.

WEIR: So how it changes.

BALDWIN: Once the floodgates open and, boom, we're rushing down there, I mean, are they going to --


WEIR: Everybody thinks it's going to turn into Cancun next week. But they don't want that, especially -- what's interesting is meeting Cubans who have been to America and say, you know, we say the American dream is when you fall asleep at a stop light between your second and third job because you need to work three jobs to afford America, you know. It's just a different way of looking at 50 years of history between these neighbors that don't know each other.

But they're so warm and so inviting. For 30 bucks a night, you can stay at a casa and have fresh lobster and cold beer and air conditioning. And we should all do it. I highly recommend it.

But you'll probably have your mines blown. I went down there as sort of this Cold War kid with these preconceived notions of we'll to turn this place into "Godfather II." Take a while, fascinating place.

BALDWIN: Love your perspective.

WEIR: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Congratulations on the show, the best job in the building.

Bill Weir. Make sure you watch more with Bill coming up Sunday night at 10:00 eastern right here on CNN.

Thank you.

Next, she was a Tea Party darling who made national headlines.


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL, (R), FORMER SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you.


BALDWIN: Now Christine O'Donnell is back. You know what? She has a lot to say about the current state of the 2016 presidential race, especially when it comes to Trump. She'll join me live. Stay with me.


[15:00:06] BALDWIN: Hour two. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. So great to be with you.

Wow, we have a lot now, a lot of developments. He promised --