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Netanyahu Condemns Schumer; Rep. Dan Kildee is Interviewed about Politics and Trump. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 18, 2024 - 06:30   ET





BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think what he said is totally inappropriate. It's inappropriate for -- to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there. That's something that Israel - the Israeli public does on its own. We're not a banana republic.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: In a new interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemning Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for calling for new elections in Israel and saying that the prime minister is impeding piece. Thousands of protesters filled the streets in Tel Aviv in Jerusalem Saturday night to protest Netanyahu's government and demand the release of hostages being held by Hamas. The prime minister insisted the majority of Israelis support his policies.


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: There were other polls in Israel, three major Israeli television stations, that said what Israelis also support our early elections. That's what I really want to focus on here is Senator Schumer not calling to sort of topple the government, but specifically says, when the war winds down, will you commit to calling new elections. Thats my question. Will you?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Dana, two-thirds -- first of all what you said is wrong. The vast majority of Israelis oppose early elections until the war doesn't end. We've just had many polls on that. Look, a lot of the polls are - you know, are twisted -

BASH: Channel 12 says -

NETANYAHU: And a lot of polls are guided by all sorts of confusion. But all polls - but all polls show -

BASH: Channel 12 says 64 percent of Israelis support early elections. NETANYAHU: That's not - no, I'm afraid that - they asked them the question, do you support it during the war? And they said, no. OK. So, number one, they haven't supported it. If you go by the polls -

BASH: But that's not what Schumer is calling for. He's calling for new elections when the war winds down.

NETANYAHU: Well, we'll see when we win the war.


HUNT: Again, when we win the war.

Dana Bash joins us now.

Dana, I'm so grateful to have you.


HUNT: It was a great interview. You were kind of narrating what he was saying there as we were kind of talking off-screen. What's actually the story here?

BASH: The story is that the majority of polls, and these are three polls that just came out last week. Three major television stations in Israel do say that there should be new elections.

What he was saying was, well, the majority of Israelis want a topple of Hamas. Of course.

HUNT: Sure.

BASH: The majority of the world wants to topple Hamas. There's no question about that. And, you know, what is going on here, if you kind of take a step back, is what Senator Schumer last week, right after that with President Biden saying it was a good speech, not at all in trying to pretend to distance himself from that.

It is the U.S., which is the staunchest ally of Israel, expressing severe, severe skepticism and worry about the fact that Bibi Netanyahu's government is taking Israel down the wrong path, not in trying to topple Hamas, in how it is trying to topple Hamas. And specifically, we talked later in the interview, a lot about the lack of humanitarian aid getting especially to the north of Gaza, where we're seeing all these images of civilians starving.

HUNT: Right.

BASH: And it is possible for them to - every -- even the United States, it's possible for them to open more border crossings, and they haven't.

HUNT: The - let's talk about Bibi's -- the pressure on Bibi himself.

BASH: Yes. HUNT: Because what is this really about? It's about the fact that if new elections were called, his support does seem to have softened. He, right now, as this alliance that is keeping him in power with the far right of the government, which is driving a lot of this, no?

BASH: The reality is that Benjamin Netanyahu's hold on power is very much connected to the prosecution of the war and the length of the war right now, meaning, when the war ends, it's hard to imagine talking to anybody, inside Israel or in the administration here, that those elections will not be called, or at least there won't be even more pressure to change the government. And the concern is that he's continuing to say, well, I'm going to go into Rafah, the southern part of Gaza -

HUNT: Where million - a million plus Palestinians have fled.


BASH: A million - yes, but also Hamas apparently does have a lot of tunnels under the - underground going into Egypt. But by continuing to say that, it - it buys him more time in power. And you just quickly mention the fact that his government is a coalition that basically makes him one of the most liberal members of his coalition government.

HUNT: Right.

BASH: And you do have people on the far right who are much more, I mean, hawkish is probably an understatement -

HUNT: Right.

BASH: They're some of the people who are saying -

HUNT: More aggressive.

BASH: More aggressive, who are saying, be more aggressive, not just in prosecuting the war, but in choking - chocking Gaza and choking the humanitarian aid.

HUNT: Let's expand this conversation out to our panel.

David Frum, I'm kind of interested in your - Dana mentioned President Biden said that he supported Chuck Schumer's speech. Schumer was calling for changes for -- calling for something in a democrat -- country with a democracy. Do you think it's appropriate?

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": I don't understand why Chuck Schumer did that. I don't understand what in American foreign policy terms that speech was intended to achieve. In domestic policy terms it's pretty obvious.

But it's also worth marking, the day after tomorrow will be the fifth month since President Biden asked on October 20th for a big aid package for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid to Gaza. No action by Congress. Five months. The United States has given Israel a lot of time on this war, more than was given, for example, in 1982 when Israel went into Lebanon to deal with the PLO after a terrorist atrocity by the PLO in that year. It's given a lot of time. But the money that would support efforts by allies and partners, like Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, that's lacking. The day after tomorrow, five months since October 20th.

LULU GARCIA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Former Middle East correspondent here. So, first of all, was a really interesting and important interview.

What I will say is what the foreign policy goals of Chuck Schumer's speech were, is that they're looking for what happens after the war in Gaza. And after the war in Gaza, the United States wants to see a two- state solution, or at least the hope of some negotiation. And that is impossible with the present configuration of the Israeli leadership, including Bibi Netanyahu and his allies in government.

And so, if you think about this, what is going to happen after the war, then you do see that there is a foreign policy aim here, because, frankly speaking, both on the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, there are no partners for the United States to actually negotiate for a two-state solution and a better - a betterment of a situation there. So, that's the first thing I'd say.

The second thing I would say is that, you know, we haven't talked about the fact that Bibi Netanyahu was the prime administer, the leader during one of the most egregious breaches of Israel's security in the modern era.

HUNT: It's a very good (INAUDIBLE).

NAVARRO: And so this isn't only about the prosecution of the war, this is also about what he presided over.

HUNT: He failed, right?

BASH: Culpability.

NAVARRO: And that is what people are angry about in Israel.

HUNT: Yes.

JASON OSBORNE, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST, DR. BEN CARSON FOR PRESIDENT '16: Yes, but I think there - I mean there clearly was a failure there.

I would go back to one thing you said about Biden saying this was a good speech. Didn't Kirby come out the very next day, or that same day, and say, wait a minute, he wasn't talking about a change in leadership aspect and kind of tacitly supported Netanyahu on this? I think it's pretty reckless, quite frankly, that right now that's the focus is to talk about having new elections when they're in the middle of this conflict.

And to your point, yes, I mean, I think Republicans do bear some blame for not pushing at least separating out the Israel aspect of it and passing something through. Although Ukraine was tied to it and that causes problems. But -

HUNT: How long, Dana, do you think that Netanyahu can use - I mean let's set aside America - American politicians trying to get this to happen. I mean Netanyahu - I - this is what I have been wondering since, you know, the weeks after when you were first asking Bibi these kinds of questions, and he was answering your questions by saying, well, we're at war, I can't -

BASH: Yes.

HUNT: I can't deal with that right now. You can't talk to me about my political standing. I mean when does - when does he -

BASH: Yes.

HUNT: When is that over?

BASH: And that question was specifically about responsibility.

HUNT: Right.

BASH: Will you take responsibility because this - this did happen on his watch.

You know, the fact that it is five months in and we have to remember, and I feel like every time we talk about this we have to say over and over again that this started because of this horrific terror attack.

HUNT: And there are still hostages in Gaza, also important.

BASH: And there are still hostages. About 100 hostages, including Americans, being held in Gaza in conditions we can't even fathom.

But - but I would say, and even given that, the fact that sort of perception has changed, that happens a lot with Israel. This seems to be different. And maybe some of it is for domestic political reasons, because the Democratic base is, you know, is very much opposed to the retaliation that Israel is doing.


But the answer your question is, I think that Netanyahu kind of - it seems to me that he sees, I don't know if the end of the road is here or far in the distance, but it seems to me that he sees that at some point -

HUNT: Yes.

BASH: He is going to have to call for elections. And that is really the key. And that - I was trying to get at that bit of nuance that might have been lost.

What Schumer is calling for is a promise for elections when the war is over. But as I said earlier, they're - they're very much connected.

OSBORNE: But doesn't that plan - FRUM: But that doesn't that solve - but that's solving for the wrong problem. There's - there's - there's one - when we look back on this two or three or four years from now, one two things will be true. Either the Palestinian national movement got the idea that violent terrorism doesn't work and only leads to destruction and they must choose another path, or they get the idea that violent terrorism did sort of work, and Hamas did survive.

The way we - you will get to peace is if the message is communicated, October 7th was a - from your Palestinian national point of view, a terrible idea. Never do anything like that again. It leads only to destruction. If that is communicated, there will be peace.


FRUM: If there's any survives, there won't be peace.


NAVARRO: I mean -

HUNT: Very quick, last thought. We've got to go.

NAVARRO: Yes, last thought on that is that, you know, it isn't as simple as that. It isn't just like, if we crush them and grind them into the ground and starve them to death, that means that somehow there will be a bright future. That - that - I - I think the history has shown that that just never works.

FRUM: We - we've always - the other way, there's always been a last- minute pause, and that didn't work.

HUNT: All right, it's a clearly very difficult situation.

Dana, thank you so much coming.

BASH: Thanks for having me on. Nice to see you.

HUNT: A great interview, as always.

Coming up next here, he said he won't endorse Donald Trump. Now Mike Pence calling out his former boss.

Plus, Trump praising Capitol rioters as patriots, calling them hostages. We're going to talk to a lawmaker who was there on January 6th. Congressman Dan Kildee joins us next.



HUNT: All right, 45 minutes past the hour. Here's your morning roundup.

President Biden will sign an executive order today aimed at increasing funding for women's health research. It doesn't directly relate to IVF, but it comes as the Biden campaign is trying to sharpen its focus on women's reproductive health.

Today, the Supreme Court hears arguments to determine whether its censorship for the government to flag social media companies about disinformation on their platforms. The court's ruling could thwart (ph) government effort to combat vaccine information and foreign attempts to interfere in the U.S. election.

The family of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is demanding her name be removed from an award after the Opperman Foundation gave it to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Jim Ginsburg calls it desecration and says his mother would be appalled.


JIM GINSBURG, SON OF LATE JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: The two that obviously stand out here are Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch. When you think of people - you know, trying to create a more just society, which of course was mom's ultimate goal, those are probably about the last names that would come to mind.


HUNT: All right. Now this, President Biden maybe struggling in the polls, but the campaign dollars keep pouring in. Here's the February numbers, $53 million raised by the president's reelection team. It's the most cash any Democratic candidate has ever had at this stage of an election cycle, giving the president a significant advantage over Donald Trump who spent the weekend claiming some migrants are not people, predicting a bloodbath for the auto industry and the country if he loses the November election.

Let's bring in Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan.

Congressman Kildee, thank you so much for being here.

REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Thank you.

HUNT: Let's start with the comments that we've been talking about all morning where Donald Trump promised a bloodbath. He did make the comments in the context of the auto industry, but they also come in the context of other instances where he seems to advocate for political violence.

What was your reaction?

KILDEE: Well, two things. One, you know, if a person intends to be president of United States, they have to understand that their words matter, particularly in the moment that we're in right now. The last several years, we've seen an increase in political violence here in the United States. And for a person who's running for president, once served as president, to use that sort of language, that's irresponsible.

Now, I understand that, you know, his supporters may say that it was taken out of context and maybe it was. The other point, however, though, is -- is that during Donald Trump's presidency, we lost auto jobs in the United States of America. In President Biden's presidency, we've gained auto jobs.

So setting aside the incendiary language --

HUNT: The controversy, right.

KILDEE: The facts don't support his assertion that he's some sort of savior of the American auto industry. Quite the contrary.

HUNT: Right. I want to ask you also about another piece of what happened at the rally, the former president -- and I know this is a delicate issue. You were there on January 6 and talked at length about how it affected you personally.

But I want to show you and ask you to respond and to what the president did at the top of this rally in Ohio. Watch.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated January 6 hostages.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you see the spirit from the hostages? And that's what they are is hostages. They'd been treated terribly.

Unbelievable patriots and they were unbelievable patriots and are.


HUNT: What is your -- I mean, having been there on the day, what is your reaction?

KILDEE: I have a personal physical reaction when I hear stuff like that, they are not patriots. They are domestic terrorists who attacked the United States Capitol and intended to do great harm, and resulted in the deaths and severe injuries for many people in the Capitol police. Anyone who believes those people are patriots, anyone who believes that is completely deranged.

This is not good for our country going forward because it endorses the same behavior that in the wake of January 6, Democrats and Republicans decried, I expect this from Donald Trump. What's more disturbing to me is so many of my Republican colleagues now are sort of sitting on their hands looking at their phones, staring down when the president makes these sorts of comments.


You know, I think of the reaction that Kevin McCarthy had in the hour or two after the attack as compared to the reaction he had after, you know, flying to Mar-a-Lago and making up with the president. This can't be acceptable behavior in the United States, and the fact that so many people, not just him, I expect this from him, but the fact that so many of my colleagues, for short-term political gain seem willing to normalize violent -- a violent attack against not just us but themselves included, the long view of history will not treat people who take that position very well.

HUNT: It's -- I mean, it's -- it's -- to certain extent kind of like living in a warped, like I -- I struggled to reconcile what I saw with my own eyes experienced that day with how people now talk about it.

Let's briefly talk about one person who hasn't done this and that is Mike Pence, his former vice president. He actually came out and said -- well, he talked about this exact question, this January 6 hostages question.

Can we show what Mike Pence had to say?


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it's very unfortunate at a time that there are American hostages being held in Gaza that the president or any other leaders would refer to people that are moving through our justice system as hostages. And it's just -- it's just unacceptable.


HUNT: Your reaction to Pence?

KILDEE: Well, you know, of course, I have policy disagreements with him, but I have great respect for him for what he just said and for what he'd done on January 6. That's patriotism.

Patriotism doesn't require us to agree on the issues, but it does require that we have greater love and honor for our country and its Constitution than we do for our own narrow interests.

And I never served with Mike Pence other than when he was vice president. But to go back to my earlier point, a longer view of history will treat Mike Pence very well for what he did on January 6 and for his willingness to say what he just said.

HUNT: Congressman, I really appreciate the conversation. I also appreciate your willingness to hang while we continue to have this broader conversation with our panel.

Another thing I want to bring into this conversation, and is something that it's taken us the whole show to get to because there's been so much material from former President Trump.

But over the weekend, he also on Truth Social said that Liz Cheney, who was, of course, the head of the Select Committee on January 6, should go to jail. He wrote, quote: She should go to jail along with the rest of the unselect committee. He was re-sharing something from John Solomon, a right-wing writer who was writing about the Secret Service agent that supposedly contradicts Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony here.

Lulu, she should go to jail. It's like Hillary Clinton should go to jail. Liz Cheney should go to jail, raises quite the specter in the event that he is actually reelected.

NAVARRO: I mean, it's part and parcel of the same kind of language that we see from him in that it sets the stage for this idea that anyone who opposes you should have repercussions whether they'd be legal, whether they be violent, whether they be ideological, that there should be something that happens to people who oppose Donald Trump. And I think that, you know, Liz Cheney going to jail, it again feeds this need that a lot of his supporters have for there to be punishment, and especially women become a big target for Donald Trump. We know that.

And so, we -- it used to be Hillary Clinton and now he has this avatar in Liz Cheney.

HUNT: Jason, what do you make of this?

OSBORNE: Look, again, I'm in this position where I feel like I'm having to defend some of the comments that he made. Look, like eight years ago, I gave up trying to understand what -- where the way that Donald Trump's mind works. I think there is an explanation to some of this, and I think there is a reasonableness to some of what he's saying some of the time.

But when he throws out this red meat about Liz Cheney for what, for what purpose? It doesn't get him anything except maybe laughs and jokes at a -- at a rally.

The same with, you know, the talks about, you know, the bloodbath. I think that in his mind, it's kind of a word association thing and he's like, what's the first thing that comes into my mind is, you know, bloodbath and hostages, et cetera. And it's not going to do them any -- it's not going to do him well, coming in the general election, right?

I mean, I think I'm very curious to see what happens like in this election tomorrow in Arizona and see how many protests votes there are against them, because that's the true sign of how this kind of rhetoric is going to play across the country and getting his base even to come out and support them.

FRUM: This topic we're having now and really this whole hour from which I've been privileged to take part is an example of why President Biden will win this reelection.


Because when against an incumbent, the challenger should have one question, got any complaints?

And amazingly enough, people often have complaints and they don't all have to agree what their complaint is. And you try to mobilize everyone who has any complaint against how things are right now with the promise that you can make things better. When you do not agree to do is to say, let me be the issue and let's ask people, have you gotten any complaints about me?

And so, do they have complaints about Donald Trump on abortion? Do they have complaints about Donald Trump on his jobs record? Do they have complaints about political violence?

The number of people have complaints against Donald Trump is more than half the electorate.

HUNT: Right.

FRUM: And his psychic need to make himself the topic of every discussion violates his political need to say the topic is President Biden, his record, got any complaints.

HUNT: Yes. So, you say you think the president is going to win, but in the face of everything we've talked about this today, considering what is coming from Donald Trump, why is it that the president's approval ratings are so low? He didn't trail Trump in polls in previous election cycles. He is now.

FRUM: Because we're making the gear shift right now from the topic of '22 and '23, which is got any complaints about the existing president, to the topic of '24, what do you think of this alternative who insists that you talk about him and his psychological deviations all the time?

OSBORNE: I think the economy here though is like -- that it's playing into Trump's favor, right? I mean, this -- this continued message from the Biden campaign that the economy is great, that more jobs have been created, it doesn't resonate with the actual person who's actually having to go to the grocery store and realizes that everything is --

NAVARRO: We are seeing a shift though. We are seeing a shift.

OSBORNE: We are but until --

NAVARRO: We are.

OSBORNE: -- it actually comes full circle --

NAVARRO: And that's why -- and that's why immigration has become such a central issue because they're not talking about the economy anymore. They're actually making immigration central because the economy has gotten better.

KILDEE: Yeah. And I think the truth is that public sentiment lags the reality on the ground. The data often takes some time for people to begin to feel it. Those 14 million new jobs are occupied by people who didn't have jobs before. But the fact that, you know, we are seeing the economy moving in the right direction, it takes root, but it takes time for us to do that. Plus, we have to send that message.

Continue with the psychoanalysis when it comes to President Trump, I think what we see is his transference. When he talks about Liz Cheney going to jail, I think he realizes that he may be the one going to jail. He -- we see him do this a lot where he'll accuse his opponents of the things that he's engaged in. He'll project on somebody that he disagrees with the very problems that he himself might be facing.

NAVARRO: Representative, is this is what we're going to have to look forward to for the next seven months is psychoanalyzing Donald Trump?


KILDEE: Oh, my gosh. I know. Well, and the truth -- the thing we remind ourselves of is that you can measure a person's performance in office largely by how they campaign.

And if America wants to go back to what we just saw with Donald Trump in front of us every single day, leading this nation, setting the tone for this country, I don't think the count -- I don't think the country is going to go there.

FRUM: When a great political party nominates as its candidate for president a head case, yeah, you've got a lot of psychoanalysis.

HUNT: You want to respond?

OSBORNE: I mean -- I mean, that's kind of hard to compete with there. He's got these great quips.

But I do think at the end of the day, to your point, the campaign is starting to pick up on the Biden side of things. But until we get to a point where on the ground people are starting to realize, wait a minute, that the economy is doing better that I am, you know, seeing more and more job creation that my neighbors are happier, the pre- pandemic job growth was higher than it is right now.

But I mean, continue to push that message, 15 million new jobs, et cetera. Until people actually feel it and can smell it and taste it, I don't think it's going to change the numbers greatly.

HUNT: Yeah, Congress --

OSBORNE: But it's going to get closer and closer as we get closer --


HUNT: Congressman, we're almost out of time here but one thing I -- the president was in Saginaw in your home state. He went in. He had private meetings, didn't talk to anybody afterwards. Why not?

KILDEE: I mean, their campaign -- the campaign is going to make whatever decision they want to make.

HUNT: Right.

KILDEE: I was there. It was a good event for us. We need to get the base, our volunteers, the mechanisms of the party organized and motivated. When I was in Saginaw with the president, he did just that, and that's really important for us at this stage of the --


HUNT: It doesn't show that he's a little bit afraid to confront the protesters that he might see? I mean --

KILDEE: I don't think he is. I mean, he and I talked quite a bit about this. My view and I shared this with him -- I think we need an ongoing conversation, particularly with the Arab Muslim community in Michigan, and I encourage them to engage in that as soon as possible.

HUNT: David, there'd been some reports that the president himself is defensive and angry about his own campaign.

What is the danger if they don't run the best campaign?

FRUM: I don't think there is a danger if they don't run the best campaign because I think Donald Trump is going to run the campaign. Donald Trump has consented to run as the incumbent. He has consented to be the topic.


And so, Biden, in effect, becomes a challenger, which is everyone who says got any complaints against that guy -- you know, there are a lot of people -- Biden is going to be we put over the top by a lot of people who don't like Biden all that much.