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Inside Politics

Supreme Court Allows Abortion Pill To Remain On Market; Trump Meet With GOP Lawmakers On Capitol Hill; UAW Members Say Union's Biden Endorsement Only Goes So Far; Climate Activists Storm Field At Congressional Baseball Game. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired June 13, 2024 - 12:30   ET




MANU RAJU, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Joining me now is a player in the House Republican Conference, Congressman Tim Burchett of Tennessee. Mr. Burchett, thank you so much for joining us. I want to talk to you about that meeting with Trump in a second. But first, I want to start off on today's Supreme Court decision, a significant one.

It's actually upholding access to abortion medication. You signed on to a brief supporting the plaintiff's challenge -- challenging the FDA over mifepristone. I'm wondering if you're concerned about the court's decision.

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Of course I am. I think abortion is wrong. You're killing a child, an unborn child at any stage. I felt that is wrong. And a I'll continue to fight that. I think it just -- the reality is on abortion, we'll, probably -- you can pass all the laws you want, but we're not going to change -- we need to -- government is not going to change people's hearts.


That needs to come from the church and the family, and we've done about all we can to destroy both those institutions. So I'd hope in the future that the courts would give us more favorable rulings.

RAJU: So you were in the meeting with Trump today and Republican members, and in that meeting, he talked about abortion from what we understand. He reiterated his stance that abortion restrictions should be left up to the states. But you have supported the Life at Conception Act. Are you disappointed with the former president's position on abortion?

BURCHETT: Of course I am. But not everybody's going to agree with Tim Burchett. I think it'd be very boring if they did. It'd be a lot more correct, obviously. But the reality is, is what the president actually said was, he said, you know, he talked about how Roe v. Wade, even the legal scholars on both sides of the aisle said that was not really well written law and it wasn't a unanimous decision when Roe v. Wade was passed. And so he went back to the reiteration of -- that everybody wants states' rights. We threw it back to the states and now some people are unhappy about that. So, you know, there's a lot of conjecture back and forth. It's going to be a hot button issue. And honestly, people on -- a lot of people on both sides don't want it solved because then they're not going to be able to sell memberships to their organizations.

A whole lot like term limit. You know, I've carried a term limit bill for years and a very strong one. And yet, the term limit people that sell all those $50 of memberships never come see me. So, you know, it's the corporation of Washington D.C. and everybody's profiting from it except for the people.

RAJU: So just take us a little bit more inside that meeting. We understand you had some advice from the former president about the tone that he should be taking. What exactly is your concern about the former president and his tone?

BURCHETT: Well, the president was very eloquent. I asked a question. I asked to be recognized. I was. He called me and said, Tim, he called me by my first name. And I said, Mr. President, I said, you do an excellent job of telling us what's wrong in this country. We know that Americans are out $600 a month, on average, more than they were under his administration.

The border is a disaster. No, the Democrats aren't doing anything to fix that other than than lip service. And I said, but you do even better job of explaining how we're going to fix these problems. And he did a very good job in the meeting. He talked about our steel situation with China.

He talked about down in Cuba that nobody seems to be talking about. If it was under the Trump administrations, we all know this would be headline news across the board. So I just -- you know, I talked in a positive tone. I think now that people are hurting and we need someone to fix this and to talk about it in terms. And I felt like at that point, he was very Reagan esque in his explanations of those things.

RAJU: But Congressman, he does air his grievances. As you full know, that tends to be a lot of the things that he talks about often times. And what we also understand is that he even attacked one of your colleagues, David Valadao. Of course, he voted, Valadao did, to impeach Donald Trump. But, is that the kind of thing that's helpful as you guys trying to keep your majority?

BURCHETT: Well, I really didn't take it as an attack. You know, he -- people said that he attacked Marjorie Taylor Greene, when in fact, he said, what a great job you're doing and how wonderful you've been at the events and how she travels across the country to speak at his events for him.

And so I really didn't take it as that. I actually took it as more of a healing thing and it was more of just friendly jabs. So, I mean, you know, you can take it for what you want. I was in there, that was my interpretation of what was going on, but I didn't feel like he'd put anybody really on the defensive except for you all in the national media and the Chinese communists and the Russians.

RAJU: So, I mean he -- this is Trump's first time back on Capitol Hill since January 6. Trump has, you know, repeatedly called those involved in those riots, he called them patriots. But many of those rioters, as you know, they caused destruction, some attacked police. Do you think the former president should be calling those January 6 prisoners patriots?

BURCHETT: Well, some of them were patriots that -- but they didn't -- but once they crossed that --

RAJU: But he talks about them and he talks about them in a broad brush.

BURCHETT: Yes. I understand.

RAJU: He says they're patriots.

BURCHETT: But, as you realize, some guy in horns is not going to overthrow the government. I'm not making any excuses for lawbreakers, because once they crossed those barriers, they were breaking the law. Now, I was not 100 feet from where we're standing right now. I was the very last House member. It was myself and Markwayne Mullin. He walked out first, I walked out last.

The very last -- he and I were the last two people to leave the House floor on that day. Look, I stayed to fight. That's the way it was, and that's what we did. And --

RAJU: Should he be offering -- he's offering blanket pardons to these people, too. Is that appropriate? Do you think voters want him to be talking about that?

BURCHETT: Well, he's not president yet, so I haven't heard him say that he's going to offer blanket pardons. I would think that would -- that's in the future, and that's, you know, if he's elected president, which I think he will, I think overwhelmingly people are sick of this stuff.


And it goes back to people have trust in their government and honestly they don't. And we're not really giving them any reason to trust in it now. And the conversation of January 6th is really a Democrat talking point, and it's not going anywhere. The Democrats were --

RAJU: But it was -- it was an attack on the Capitol.

BURCHETT: Oh yes, it absolutely was. They were vandals and hoodlums and people got caught up in it and they came in and they shouldn't have. And -- but going to jail for years for these types of things, it's kind of unusual, especially when the Black Lives Matters marches and riots across the country, millions of dollars, people killed, federal courthouses ransacked, yet no one goes to jail for those type of things.

So you've got to paint that brush all the way across the country. And, unfortunately, the left does not understand that.

RAJU: Yes.

BURCHETT: And that's why people are mad and they're going to the polls and in record numbers in this country.

RAJU: Of course, yes. And of course that will be litigated in the campaign. It was an attack on the Capitol. Of course, Trump supporters did come into the Capitol, caused destruction, violence, and you saw what happened there and you'll debate it as we get into the election.

Tim Burchett of Tennessee, thank you so much, sir, for coming out and sharing your views.

BURCHETT: Thank you, bro. It's always a pleasure being with my good friends at CNN.

RAJU: Appreciate it.

Coming up, can President Biden rely on union rank and file members to help him squeak out another win? CNN's John King talks with deeply divided auto workers in the swing state of Michigan. That's next.



RAJU: President Biden has a long history of supporting unions and even joined striking United Auto Workers on the picket line in Michigan last year. But that may not be enough to win over Trump supporters. CNN's John King has more from Battleground Michigan.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty years at the same job means you develop a routine. So when the United Auto Workers called a strike last fall, Tonya Rincon was a little lost.

TONYA RINCON, MICHIGAN VOTER: We were scared. It was weird because none of us ever thought we'd actually be out on strike and we didn't know what to expect. And, I mean, in living memory, Ford hadn't been on strike. I think it was the early 70s.

Shoulders, knees, hips.

KING: Right.


KING: Hard work.

KING (voice-over): For six weeks, the local 900 Union Hall was the place to get a meal. Now you can grab a Biden-Harris yard sign. The president's pro union record included joining the picket line.

RINCON: It showed solidarity with everyday men and women that are putting their lives on the line and putting their paychecks on the line for a better living. It mattered.

KING: Did it change the conversation about him at all?

RINCON: Inside the plans? No, I don't think it did.

KING: If you had a secret ballot in there, how would it come up?

RINCON: In the rank and file, it goes about 50-50. Maybe a little move -- a small percentage. And Michigan is a state where small percentages matter. So maybe it'll be 51-49.

KING: But no doubt for you?

RINCON: No doubt for me. No, I'm supporting President Biden in this election.

KING (voice-over): It's way down from Detroit's heyday, but 134,000 members still makes the UAW a force in battleground Michigan. Chris Vitale works in engine development at Chrysler and believes President Biden's push for more electric vehicles hurts business.

CHRIS VITALE, MICHIGAN VOTER: The government seems to be appeasing the coasts. You know, everyone who lives in Manhattan thinks everyone should drive an electric car.

KING (voice-over): Vitale says he will again ignore union leadership and vote Trump a third time, hoping to end the EV mandates and to get better trade rules.

VITALE: I've watched this region go from the arsenal of democracy, now we're happy if we can get a sports stadium or we're going to sell weed or fireworks or whatever. It's absolutely pathetic what we have sunk to now. And our politicians, just they're good with it. He isn't. So that's the difference.

KING (voice-over): Bill Govier voted Trump in 2016 and 2020. Likely Trump this time. First, though, he wants to study Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Michigan election math.

BILL GOVIER, MICHIGAN VOTER: If I would really rather have Kennedy, but by voting for Kennedy, it means I think Biden would win, I might have to vote for Trump.

KING (voice-over): Govier is a 25-year Ford worker and UAW member. This is a side business, using dry ice to clean car underbodies and engine parts. He pours his savings into the business and is about breaking even right now.

GOVIER: We're going to use dry ice to remove all that stuff.

KING (voice-over): Govier calls himself a middle of the road conservative, doesn't like what some people call him or Trump.

GOVIER: The powers that'd be label me as some far right, white supremacist, you know, MAGA Republican and you're still entitled to your opinion. But I just don't see him as the anti-Christ, or Hitler. That's ridiculous.

KING (voice-over): Bob King worked at Ford for more than 40 years and served a term as UAW president when the industry was trying to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. He ties Trump's support among union auto workers to years of lost jobs and lower wages.

BOB KING, MICHIGAN VOTER: People feel like the government and the establishment hasn't been delivering for them. Is their life better now than it was 10 years ago or worse? And for many, many working people, it's worse. Their standard of living has deteriorated. In some cases, their communities have deteriorated.

KING (voice-over): Walter Robinson Jr. bets about 40 percent of his Ford co-workers are for Trump.

WALTER ROBINSON JR., MICHIGAN VOTER: He's never done a hard day's work, not physical work, like you do in a plant. He has a solid gold toilet at home. So, I mean, how can he really empathize with your life?


KING: And when you say, wait, Joe Biden walked the picket line with us, Joe Biden's been a pro-union president.

ROBINSON: They say that, you know, guns, gays, abortion, sleepy Joe, Hunter Biden.

KING (voice-over): Robinson says the new contract wins were impressive, but didn't fix everything.

ROBINSON: Gas prices are still pretty high. Food, when you go to the grocery store every time, it's just me and my wife and it's $200 every time I go to the grocery store.

KING (voice-over): His side job, meet DJ Furious (ph), helps pay the bills. But Robinson says he does it mostly for fun and to make people happy no matter their politics.


RAJU: And our thanks to John King.

Just ahead, chaos at the Congressional Baseball Game. Who are these protesters storming the field?



RAJU: ?For the fourth straight year, Republicans beat Democrats in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. And it was an absolute beat down, 31 to 11. But the final score last night wasn't the only craziness. Eight climate activists are facing federal charges after storming the field at the game at Nationals Park. The video was posted by the group Climate Defiance, who previewed their protest saying, quote," Congress wants to play baseball while they torch our planet. It's time to tell them, stop playing games."

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Thanks for joining us today. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after the break.