Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Trump: The Vote Counter Is More Important Than The Candidate; Prince Harry Says He's Not Safe In U.K., Wants Police Protection; Is Macron's "Piss Off" The Unvaccinated Strategy Working? Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 17, 2022 - 07:30   ET





MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS HOST: Have you gotten the booster?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: So, I've done whatever I did -- the normal shot. And, you know, that, at the end of the day, is people's individual decisions about what they want to do.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the questions was did you get the booster because they had the vaccine. And they all -- they're answering it like -- in other words, the answer is yes but they don't want to say it because they're gutless. You've got to say it.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The state of Florida does not appear big enough for Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. A dispute over vaccines has exposed a growing rift between the Florida governor and the former president. You could hear DeSantis there dodging when asked about his vaccination status. Trump used the word gutless to describe politicians who duck the question.

And according to "The New York Times," Trump has been griping to friends and visitors for months about DeSantis, especially since the Republican governor has refused to say that he will set aside if Trump runs for president in 2024.

I find this dance to be fascinating. There was a new chapter in it Friday night where Ron DeSantis did an interview where he was critical of Trump's initial pandemic response here. So, DeSantis isn't backing down.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: That really stood out to me. No, he was saying, in fact, he wishes he had pushed back harder when the Trump administration was advocating that communities lock down because of their response to the virus.

And, I mean, this is a very tricky line to walk for DeSantis and I think it's a real test of just what kind of hold the former president has over the Republican Party. Are they loyal, in fact, to him or are the politics -- to Trump, I mean -- or are the politics of the pandemic such that they're essentially taking over that fury?

Because you also have to remember that if Republicans ever want to win a general election they're going to have to win over some Independent voters. And Independent voters right now -- I mean, according to some of the polling around the president -- the current president -- they're not very happy with the way things are going.

And I think DeSantis is picking up on that as well. I mean, he clearly is -- doesn't want to bend the knee, which is what Trump demands. And there is a lot of time for Trump to continue to kick him and I'm very interested to see where the loyalties will go in the base.


BERMAN: Look, I think one of the most interesting questions in politics today is can there be Trumpism without Trump, and how far are Republicans willing to push him aside there? And I do think that there are a lot of signs every week that passes that more and more Republicans are feeling brave enough to do it.

DeSantis, clearly, is the highest-profile one who might have the most individual constituency. But I don't think they should be seen in a vacuum with what Mike Rounds did last week where he wasn't afraid to speak up against Trump and other Republicans got in line behind him. Look at Glenn Youngkin, who is taking power in Virginia, doing a lot of things but has also created some distance with Trump.

I think this bears watching going forward here because if they can have their cake and eat it too, which is to say if they can have victory in Trumpism without all the problems that Donald Trump brings, I think a lot of Republicans would like that.

HUNT: Oh, and I think that's why the Youngkin example is so interesting. Because he -- contrary to DeSantis, Youngkin never really attacked --


HUNT: -- Donald Trump. He just kept his mouth shut about him. He was sort of soft Trump.

And I know I talk to a lot of Republicans in Washington who, while they would never say it publicly, feel like their electoral chances of winning the presidency and also taking back control of Congress -- they're much better if they have someone who has not named Trump at the top of the ticket because of how divisive President Trump is.

BERMAN: Yes. No, again, like I said, I really will watch this very closely in the coming weeks to see if there are more Republicans who do things in more overt ways.

HUNT: Yes. So, in a new video, Donald Trump, despite all of the evidence to the contrary that he won the state of Pennsylvania -- and let's just underscore that he did not -- but he will continue to contest the official results that show he lost to Joe Biden. Trump also laid out his goal of targeting those who count the votes in future elections.


TRUMP: And we have to be a lot sharper the next time when it comes to counting the vote. There's a famous statement -- sometimes the vote counter is more important than the candidate. And we can't let that ever, ever happen again. They have to get tougher and smarter.


HUNT: So, joining me now to discuss all of this is former Philadelphia Republican city commissioner Al Schmidt. Al, thank you so much for being on with us this morning. It's always great to see you.

And you, of course, are someone who has come under personal sharp attack and dealt with what that's like from former President Trump. I just want to ask what's your reaction to that statement he made about saying sometimes the person that counts the votes is more important?

AL SCHMIDT, (R) FORMER PHILADELPHIA REPUBLICAN CITY COMMISSIONER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, COMMITTEE OF SEVENTY (via Webex by Cisco): Well, while I would have rather him quote Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King when it comes to our democratic process, rather than Joseph Stalin, I think what he's saying deserves our attention.

It is very true that in the immediate next two years we're going to see a lot of changes when it comes to election administration across the country. The 2020 election was some time ago. We haven't yet hit the election cycles where, in most states, governors will be elected who appoint their secretaries of state to run elections or counties and cities with county commissioners who get elected to run their elections.

HUNT: How much of this do you think we're going to see crop up here in the midterm elections? I mean, is this something that we need to be actively worrying about and focused on ahead of that, or is the threat really pushed farther out into the 2004 (sic) presidential races and some of those gubernatorial races that you mentioned?

SCHMIDT: It's really not so much worrying about it as it is doing something about it and making sure that when candidates run they are on the record supporting our democratic system of government and that they believe that every vote is precious, whether it's at the state level or the county level in the lead-up to 2024 election.

I think he thinks and others think that the election in 2024 will really be decided in the next two years before then. And he's clearly interested in targeting election administrators across the country who are unwilling to lie on his behalf.

HUNT: Let's talk a little bit about the politics in Pennsylvania because this is, of course, an absolutely critical state in the presidential election where you're going to have the governor's race. We've got a hotly contested Senate race.

Berman and I were just talking a little bit about how Republicans are handling Donald Trump. As someone who knows the ins and outs and talks to a lot of people on the ground in Philadelphia and around Philadelphia, how do you think the Republican Party in the state of Pennsylvania is going to handle this? I mean, can someone that ties themself explicitly to Donald Trump in a very aggressive way win statewide in Pennsylvania or not?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think right now in the Commonwealth because we have an open Senate seat and an open seat for governor, as you've said, there's a lot of competition on the Republican side and a belief that this will be a Republican year in Pennsylvania.


So it's a very crowded field and with that crowded field, you have a number of candidates all trying to tie themselves even more closely to the former president, whether it's hiring his former advisers or quoting things that he's said about them that were positive.

So I think most of the jockeying right now, at least in the primary --

HUNT: Sure.

SCHMIDT: -- will be trying to pull Trump close.

HUNT: Yes -- no, absolutely.

One thing we -- that stood out to us here over the weekend was that Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana -- he, of course, a Republican. He dismissed the notion that voters would reward candidates who support changing voting rules and regulations in their favor.

Let's take a look at what he had to say and then I want to ask you about it on the other side.


REP. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): I can imagine a campaign slogan -- "Vote for me. I'm going to cheat in the election." We should not underestimate the American people. The American people are not going to vote for a cheat. If someone says I'm voting because I want to flip an election, they're going to lose their election.

And so, I think we have to kind of give credit to the American people in the elections, in the process that we've gone to. Those ill-intents didn't pass. And, indeed, as I pointed out in Georgia, they have more permissive laws than Delaware and New York.


HUNT: So, one thing I always try to do in my coverage is to never underestimate voters and how smart they are. But, of course, the challenge we have now in this environment is misinformation, disinformation -- things people are reading on social media that just scrambles the truth entirely.

I mean, do you agree with Sen. Cassidy and what he had to say there?

SCHMIDT: Well, I think you're absolutely right and I hope he's right as well. But as we've seen in the last year or two when a majority of my party seems to support the lie that the 2020 election was stolen somehow, it does sort of shake your faith a little bit in confidence that people are going to make the right decision at the end of the day.

HUNT: Yes, I think that's certainly -- as I covered Congress throughout the Trump years, there were a lot of Republicans who would always insist privately everything would be fine. The Trump era would end. And, of course, it ended with a riot on our Capitol and this continuation of a -- of a big lie that now polls show many Republicans believe.

Al Schmidt, thank you, as always, for being here with us. We really appreciate your time today.

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

HUNT: And coming up next here, Prince Harry locked in a legal battle over paying for his security. Why he says he doesn't feel safe.

BERMAN: And an epic T.V. rant. The T.V. host goes off on antivaxxers.


LEONARDO SCHWEBEL, HOST, TELEDIARIO GUADALAJARA: You damned antivaxxers, gaggle of morons! Stop with you b***s*** and at least put on a g**d***** face mask.




BERMAN: This morning, Prince Harry says it is too dangerous for his family to visit the United Kingdom without protection. He is now taking legal action against the British government to allow him to pay privately for police security.

CNN's Max Foster live in England with the latest on this. And Max, this is loaded with a lot of different aspects all at once here.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, definitely. So he does have a private security team. He says that's fine in the U.S. -- it works there -- but he needs additional state support when he comes to the U.K. because of the nature of the threats. And he doesn't want to bring his family over until he can get that. He says there are threats from extremists and from fixated people,

which really emerged since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left their royal roles. He also came over last year and his car was chased by photographers and he felt his security was compromised there.

What he's saying is he needs police support if he's going to come over and he's willing to pay for it. But that offer is being turned down by the British authorities.

So, in September, he went to a judicial review to try to get an appeal against that -- to allow him to pay for police security. That's only coming out now because there was a report in the tabloids over the weekend and the Sussexes want to -- wanted to address it properly.

So, why isn't he getting it? Well, the only thing we could get from the government was a statement -- a brief statement saying, "The U.K. government's protective security system is rigorous and proportionate." They didn't go -- want to go in more detail because it's a security issue.

But behind the scenes, there's talk here about not wanting to allow precedent here for any high-profile person to come into the U.K., claim a particular threat, and then effectively have British polices' guns for hire. They don't want that situation. They want to choose when to offer that police support.

Also, there's a slightly pointed -- you know, I've been speaking to representatives, John, over the weekend of the Sussexes. There's a bit of a pointed remark they made to me saying that actually, Harry first offered to pay for the police way back in 2020 when he was negotiating with the family on the terms of leaving. So he's also pointing it towards the royal family even though really, this is a government and police issue.

BERMAN: All right, Max Foster. Thank you for helping us understand -- appreciate it.

HUNT: All right. A T.V. host in Mexico completing loses it on the air targeting his frustration at antivaxxers -- watch.


SCHWEBEL (translated on screen): You damned antivaxxers, gaggle of morons! Stop with you b***s*** and at least put on a g**d***** face mask. And stop hitting the brakes for the entire world! Yes, you antivaxxers, you are a moron! Put on a face mask!


HUNT: Wow, wow.

BERMAN: The only issue -- the only issue I would take there, he called it a gaggle of morons. I think it's actually technically either a flock or a pod of morons. I don't think it's got a murder of morons.

[07:50:04] HUNT: I cannot answer that question for you, John, but I do understand what you're saying.

I mean, my God, isn't it just channeling, though, the frustration? I mean, we have to acknowledge people are divided on this issue but people are driving their cars angrily. People are upset about everything. Small things are touching people off that wouldn't normally.

And clearly, our host here had gotten his frustration out of hand with, in this case, antivaxxers.


HUNT: I know.

BERMAN: A flock of morons next time, though.

New overnight, the French National Assembly passed a bill requiring the proof of full vaccination to access a wide range of everyday activities in the country with no options for testing out -- the latest battle being drawn between President Emmanuel Macron and the unvaccinated in France.

CNN's Jim Bittermann live in Paris with the very latest -- Jim.

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, in fact, there's about 5 1/2 million of those unvaccinated people in France. That's about eight percent of the population here.

And they're going to be the ones that are being most affected by this vaccination pass that you're now going to have to display to do just about anything. And the pass hasn't gone into effect yet but it will be going into effect probably within the next few days. It has to go pass the constitutional court but that's seen as something of a formality.

And so, there's going to be a lot of concern among people who aren't vaccinated because they're not going to be able to do things like go into bars and restaurants, and cafes, and take long-distance transportation.

And by the way, John, one of the things that this has impacted on or may impact on is Novak Djokovic. Because the Sports Ministry here said -- the spokesman for the Sports Ministry said this morning that, in fact, any people -- anybody that takes part in a sporting event, including the players themselves, would have to be double-vaccinated in order to get into the -- into the play. So that could impact Novak Djokovic if he wants to compete in the Roland-Garros coming up here in mid-May -- John.

BERMAN: Has the government specifically been asked about Djokovic yet? Have they made it explicitly clear that he won't be allowed?

BITTERMANN: No. This was the Sports Ministry spokesman, so not quite at the level of a government minister. But it will come up, no doubt about that. And I think actually, there's tournaments before them like Indian Wells, for example, will be coming up before Roland-Garros. So it's not quite a pressing issue right now but it could be down the line.

BERMAN: Yes, May, June. We have a long time before the French Open but still, I can see this becoming a huge deal.

Jim Bittermann, thank you very much.


HUNT: And speaking of, brand-new video this morning of Novak Djokovic back in his home country of Serbia. The top men's player in the world was deported from Australia after losing a visa battle over his vaccination status. A crowd of supporters greeted him at the airport in Belgrade, waving flags and chanting "We love Novak."

Djokovic cannot be granted another visa for three years under Australia's immigration laws. So, potential ramifications for future Australian opens as well.

Also, just in, news out of China with just weeks to go until the Olympics. What they're now telling the public about attending the games.

BERMAN: And "AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS" says goodbye to its original host.



BERMAN: "AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS" paying a touching tribute to its beloved original host, Bob Saget -- watch.


ALFONSO RIBEIRO, HOST, "AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS": Bob Saget is synonymous with "AFV" to this day and this show wouldn't have been the same without his unique sense of humor. It's been my honor to continue carrying the torch Bob so brightly lit.

Take a look back at Bob being Bob.

"Bob being Bob" -- a montage of clips of comical moments from Saget's time hosting the show.



SAGET: Right.

BERGERON: -- you did the voiceovers differently than I did. SAGET: Yes.

BERGERON: You have like five voices.

SAGET: Yes, and I would be uh-oh, look out. Don't forget to keep your arms straight out. Roger, arms out -- ready for takeoff. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Oh, and the other one I guess would be oh, I'm beautiful.


HUNT: I love him so much. And I have to say I loved the Bob Saget era of "AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS." We used to watch it all the time.

BERMAN: I mean, I -- Bill Carter noted that he was on two of the top 10-rated shows between that and "FULL HOUSE" at one time, so --

HUNT: I know. What a loss for all of us. But I'm so grateful that he was there, especially when I was growing up. We would watch -- you know, come home from school and watching "FULL HOUSE" will always be part of those memories that I have, along with so many other Americans out there.

BERMAN: Glad to know where you got your education.

NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, January 17th. It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

I'm John Berman. Brianna is working nights this week -- don't miss it. Here with me this morning is Kasie Hunt.

HUNT: It's great to see you, John.

BERMAN: It's great to see you. How's it going, so far?

HUNT: It's wonderful to be back. So far -- I mean, could I ask for a better co-host?

BERMAN: Probably, but you haven't -- but you haven't so far, which is -- which is encouraging.

HUNT: I don't think I could.

BERMAN: All right.

More than 50 million people are facing winter weather alerts as a powerful and dangerous winter storm batters the east coast. Thousands are without power this morning. Freezing rain, ice, and snow stretching as far south as Florida.

Governor Brian Kemp, in Georgia, is pleading with people there to stay off the roads. High winds and sleet across the northern part --