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New Day Sunday
President Trump's Sister Says He Is "Cruel," Has "No Principles" And "You Can't Trust Him"; Trump Makes Baseless Claim That "Deep State" At FDA Is Deliberately Slowing Vaccine Trials; Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) Is Interviewed About The House Approving $25 Billion Boost To U.S. Postal Service; Deadly California Wildfires Burn More Than One Million Acres; Two Tropical Systems Headed For Gulf Coast Could Make Landfall As Hurricanes With 48 Hours Of Each Other; Anti-Trump Republicans Ramp Up Criticism Of Party Ahead Of RNC. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired August 23, 2020 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The president's older sister was secretly recorded by her niece slamming her brother, President Trump and his policies.
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: This goddamn tweet and the lying. Oh, my God, I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories the lack of preparation, the lying, the -- holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said, all about the base. All he wants to do is appeal to the base. He has no principles, none, none.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN has learned President Trump is really in overdrive to produce a Republican National Convention that outshines the Dems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He cannot make this race more competitive without improving people's verdict on his performance, particularly on the coronavirus.
BLITZER: Tropical storms Laura and Marco both heading towards the Gulf of Mexico, putting Louisiana right now in a dangerous path.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two key words here, and that's planning and preparedness.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Beautiful look across New York this morning. It is a top of the hour. We're one day out from the start of the Republican National
Convention. And we're hearing this brutal critique of the president from his sister, Maryanne Barry Trump -- Maryanne Trump Barry, I should say, former federal judge. She made these comments in conversations that were secretly recorded by the president's niece in 2018 and last year.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: This is happening as the president is promising the celebration very different from the all digital event put on by the Democrats. At the center of it all of it, too, is the president himself. He's making appearances every night.
BLACKWELL: And in the Gulf, communities from the Florida Keys to Louisiana, they're watching tropical storms Marco and Laura. The latest updates say that both storms could make landfall as hurricanes within 48 hours of one another. We're going to start this morning with a strong condemnation of President Trump by his sister. Here's part of what she said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: This goddamn tweet and the lying. Oh, my God, I'm talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories the lack of preparation, the lying, the -- holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
I mean, I didn't get him in. But I know he didn't get into college. And he -- and he went to Fordham for one year and then he got into University of Pennsylvania. Because he had somebody take his -- take the exams.
MARY TRUMP: No way.
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: And he --
MARY TRUMP: He had someone take his entrance exams?
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: SATs or whatever.
MARY TRUMP: Yeah. Oh, Jesus!
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: That's what I believe. I even remember the name.
MARY TRUMP: Oh, man!
MARYANNE TRUMP BARRY: Donald is out for Donald, period. When he said -- he started to say something to me, boy, look at what I've done for you. And I said, you have done nothing.
Deliberately, I have never asked him for a favor since 1981 when I was being highly considered to go to the federal court, on my own merits.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN's Brian Stelter with us now to talk about this, this morning.
Brian, what does this reveal -- not just about Donald Trump but about the Trump family in general?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. Certainly, a broken family in some ways, people tape recording each other. This is not the first time we've heard about Trump and secretly recorded tapes. I think our colleague, Amanda Carpenter, the CNN commentator, said it really well overnight. She said, now we know the first speaker at the Republican National Convention, it's Maryanne.
Not literally, of course, but by having these clips come out over the weekend, ahead of the RNC, it does set the table in a really interesting and challenging way for the Republicans. We've just heard about Joe Biden being a family man, surrounded by his loved ones at the Democratic convention, surrounded virtually, of course. But that was the theme of the Democratic Convention.
And now, the Republican Convention, this is going to be on the president's mind. He's going to have -- he's going to have his children speak at the convention. But we've just heard in the past week about the president's brother dying, he just had a service at the White House for his brother. Now here is his sister on audiotapes calling him a liar and a cheat.
Some of the context going on, Mary Trump believes it is possibly criminal that the president, she alleges, cheated to get into Wharton. He cheated on his SATs. What you hear in these clips from Maryanne Trump is that she's telling Mary Trump about this.
So, essentially, what's happening here is Mary Trump is revealing to the world that her source of the information is the president's sister. And in a statement overnight, Mary Trump spoke and was pressed for an investigation. Not directly. But Mary Trump's spokesperson brought up the fact that we've seen other high-profile individuals recently caught up in legal troubles for college fraud.
So, that's some of the sub text here. The president's reaction is revealing. Let's look at the statements overnight. Pretty clearly written in his own words or dictated because this sounds like the president.
He said: Every day it's something else. Who cares? I miss my brother and I'll continue to work hard for the American people. Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before.
I think almost every story fits into a frame. The president suggesting that the frame for this story, about his sister bitterly criticizing him, calling him cruel and calling him an idiot, the president is saying the frame of the story is that he's out there fighting for the American people and there's lots of people standing his way, but he's going to keep fighting. That's the frame he wants on this story.
And if you look at the Fox News home page, that's the frame they're going with. The other frame, however, is even the president's sister knows he's a
liar, knows he doesn't read books, knows he's cruel, and that confirms what many Americans have believed for three and a half years. We've just never heard it from the president's sister anymore. We've never heard much from the president's sister about Donald Trump.
So, to have her on the recorded tapes is a very big deal and I suspect very uncomfortable for the president this morning.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, it's interesting. This is the first time we're hearing at length from the president's sister, especially about him. But she was at the election rally. I mean, she has not completely backed away from the president during his administration. Do we know what the impact is --
STELTER: I'm glad you pointed that.
BLACKWELL: But go ahead and answer that and if there's any impact here.
STELTER: She has spoken approvingly, admiringly of the president in the past. You know, I would say on the other hand, however, "The New York Times" reported overnight, and you heard it reported, Maryanne was not present in the service for Robert Trump, that she was not present to the White House on Friday when the president held a private memorial service.
So, you know, what that raises a question in my mind, it's hard to see inside any family. There are obviously secrets in every family. But did Maryanne Trump become uncomfortable with the president's behavior while in office? These tapes were made while the president was in office, while there were scandals, while there were lies and disruptions occurring.
It is possible that Maryanne Trump looked at her brother and became more and more disappointed over the years. But, look, no one can be a mind reader. She's not commented publicly on any of this.
This was first brought to her by "The Washington Post" on Friday, then it's Saturday, now it's Sunday, she has not impacted.
And as to the impact, I'm not going to claim this is going to change anyone's mind, but I think it's important that we have the fullest possible picture of the president and of his rival Joe Biden. That means knowing what the siblings, the brothers, the sisters, the spouses, the children believed about these people. This is sad but revealing in some ways.
BLACKWELL: Yeah. What we don't know if this is the full release of the tape. As we saw with Omarosa, that this could go on for days.
STELTER: That's a good point.
BLACKWELL: We're on the eve of the four-day event. There could be releases every day. We don't know that. We will see.
Brian Stelter, thanks so much.
STELTER: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Stelter has a new book. "Hoax: The Untold Story of Trump and Fox News". It's out now. And, of course, you can watch him later this morning on "RELIABLE SOURCES" at 11:00 Eastern.
PAUL: And tonight, President Trump is holding a news conference on the coronavirus. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claims the president will discuss, quote, a major therapeutic breakthrough.
BLACKWELL: OK, of course, we will cover that.
CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us now.
So, the president made some unexpected accusations via Twitter against the FDA yesterday. Tell us about it.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And this announcement we heard from overnight previewing the president's announcement tonight of this so- called therapeutic breakthrough, but this stopped short of explaining exactly how this could potentially provide the medical community with the upper hand in trying to fight this virus. So, we certainly have to wait and see exactly how this would serve to help in the fight against COVID.
But we should also mention at the White House that we could expect the head of the FDA to be present during this evening's announcement. But we also have to remember that it was yesterday that President Trump took to Twitter to basically push this baseless claim that there was force within the FDA that was for political reasons trying to stall the release of the vaccine as the nation tries to coped with COVID
SANDOVAL (voice-over): President Trump on Saturday accused the FDA of deliberately delaying coronavirus vaccine trials, but provided no evidence to back up its claim. In a tweet, Trump pushed the unfounded theory that there's a deep state embedded within the FDA. Trump claims the agency is, quote, making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines. And he accused it of deliberately delaying the vaccine until after the November election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, has a responsibility to approve drugs with their -- judging on their safety and their efficacy. Not by a declaration from the White House about speed and politicizing the FDA. This was a very dangerous statement on the part of the president. Even for him.
SANDOVAL: Across the country, students are making their way back to college campuses, despite safety measures in place, university in the least 15 states have reported coronavirus cases. Some of which have been traced to gatherings.
Incoming students planning to attend Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts this fall will need to find another school if they don't agree to follow the university's social gathering guidelines. Syracuse University in New York has already handed down interim suspensions to 23 students after they gathered on the campus quad Wednesday night.
DR. JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: We cannot go to bars and indoor dining. We have to wear masks and do the hard work to do the thing that matters the most, which is to get our kids through the school year. So, I'd like to see people realize, what we do today matters tomorrow. Let's put them to work.
SANDOVAL: As far as the latest numbers in South Carolina, the state is nearing 110,000 coronavirus cases. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports 95 new COVID-related deaths on Saturday, bringing the state's total to over 5,000.
In Florida, the state's COVID-19 cases are nearing 600,000. Good news in New Jersey, the state is seeing its lowest number of coronavirus- related hospitalizations since March 24th, the governor tweeted Saturday.
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The problem is, when we see some states make some gains, we see other states become hotspots, so even really badly affected states like Arizona and South Carolina likely seeing a decline in deaths. At the same time, Minnesota is starting to see an increase and we're worried about the Midwest in general becoming a next hotspot for COVID-19.
SANDOVAL: Here in Illinois, we saw just over 2,000 confirmed COVID case cases which is the highest since late May. So, that is really concerning for officials since the positive rate still stays at about stubborn 2.3 percent. There are other states, of course, Victor and Christi, that are trending in the positive direction, including New York state, yesterday was the 15th straight day that -- consecutive day that we've seen positivities stay below 1 percent.
BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval in Chicago, thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Polo.
So, now, a disturbing trend in several cities this weekend. Believers of an unfounded conspiracy theory called QAnon are rallying behind signs like save the children. And they're hijacking actual efforts to stop human trafficking to try to draw attention to what I'll characterize as these beliefs that are so bizarre and disturbing.
BLACKWELL: President Trump is an important figure in these debunked theories. But instead of telling people that they're bogus, he says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate. I don't know really anything about it other than they do supposedly like me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Vice President Mike Pence has dismissed QAnon as a conspiracy theory, and the FBI has labeled QAnon a domestic terror threat.
PAUL: So a lot of people watching for what the president will do this week to put on the blockbuster RNC, to outdo the Democrats. We're going to look at what the Republicans have in store and some of the controversial speakers that are taking part.
BLACKWELL: Plus, wildfires in California burned more than 1 million acres across the state, an approaching weather could make things worse for really exhausted firefighters.
BLACKWELL: A bill to provide $25 billion to the postal service has passed the House and is now headed to the Senate.
PAUL: More than two dozen Republicans switched sides to vote with Democrats. But still, the bill is unlikely to pass in the Republican- controlled Senate.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood.
Any chance that this is going to reach the president's desk and he'll sign it if it does?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: And good morning, Victor.
There's virtually no chance of that happening. The White House made clear. On Friday night, before the bill had everyone voted on, they would veto that bill if it ever made it to the president's desk and it's very unlikely that it will even make it that far because, as you mentioned, the Senate is not interested in advancing this bill.
It passed yesterday by about 257-150 margin with more than 24 House Republicans voting for it, many of them are facing competitive races this fall.
Now, part of why the White House opposed it, in addition to the $25 billion figure that's going to the Post Office being too high, they didn't like the fact that it imposed restrictions on what kinds of changes the postal service could make. In that veto threat, the White House mentioned they want to see reforms in the Post Office.
And meanwhile, the president is preparing for the kickoff of the GOP convention this week. Tomorrow, he'll have a very busy day. He'll travel to North Carolina, along with Vice President Pence and give some brief remarks at the roll call, the opening day of the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Significant because it's really the only in-person component of either of the conventions that we'll see. It's the closest thing to normalcy. But even though the president will be speaking there, his big night will be Thursday when he delivers his acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House here behind me.
They're constructing a stage for that event.
The president wants the convention to look nothing like the Democrats, really. He wants more live components, more surprises, and Republicans are working to amp up expectations for the event later this week.
So the president tomorrow traveling to western North Carolina as well and also to Greer, South Carolina. So, he will, of course, have a very busy day on the first day of the GOP convention, Victor and Christi.
PAUL: Yes, he will. Sarah Westwood, good to have the report, thank you so much.
So let's talk to Michigan Democrat, Representative Brenda Lawrence, now.
As we take a look at what's coming ahead this week, we know that the Postmaster DeJoy is going to be speaking again to the House starting tomorrow. There was a lot to unpack from this week.
Let's listen to what Representative Lawrence had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D-MI): I want everyone here to know that every postal employee takes an oath that they will adhere to the Constitution that they will serve and protect, that the majority of the postal workers are veterans who have served the military, who continue their service in the postal service. I want it to be very clear that this election that is being held hostage right now by the postal service internal decisions to tear it apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And Representative Brenda Lawrence with us now.
Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us. You were very passionate in that speech, because you are a 30-year veteran of the Postal Service. You worked there in human resources prior to your retirement, we understand.
PAUL: So, we know that Friday, Postmaster DeJoy said that the changes we're seeing have been happening for 50 years. You were there for 30 years. Did you see any evidence of these changes then?
LAWRENCE: What has happened is the re removal of sorting machines happens all the time as technology improves. But it doesn't happen at the rate that we're seeing.
You remove collection boxes all the time because there are mail density counts. However, the volume of the changes and they're sudden. And that is the question that we're asking.
And even the postmaster general says, OK, I'll stop doing it until the election. We have two crises in front of us. We have COVID, which has had an internal impact on our workforce and in addition to that, because of COVID, we've had increased volume in parcels that -- because people are sitting at home and ordering instead of going physically shopping.
And then you add to that, that you have an election that, because of COVID, we're going to have to use the Postal Service to really participate in our democracy.
So when you have all of these flying around, why would you implement all of these changes? Because I will tell you, built into the process of changing equipment out, there is a built-in delay. And that's why you phase it in so that you can manage that delay of the mail. If it's not intentional for you to delay the mail, then you would not do a massive -- five machines in one building, that's unheard of.
PAUL: You called this -- you said that this election is being held hostage. You believe these actions to be intentional.
Do you think that Postmaster DeJoy should be removed from his position?
LAWRENCE: Postmaster DeJoy will come before us on Monday. He has literally stopped, said he will stop what he has been doing. Our bill -- that's why our bill was so important -- we are directing him to stop and to cease during this presidential national election all of these changes.
He is the postmaster general. I don't have an issue with that. But if you -- he's only been there two months.
So, give me a freaking break. You've been there two months and making all of these massive changes in the middle of COVID and in the middle of a national election. Either he's not informed or he doesn't give a darn.
Either way, he needs to stop. And if he doesn't, he needs to be removed because he is -- he is prohibiting the postal service from performing its duty and that is to deliver the mail timely and efficiently to every American household in America.
PAUL: So, when he's back in front of the House tomorrow, what do you need to hear from him? LAWRENCE: I need to hear, what is the plan? To say, well, this has
been on the books for a long time. Well, COVID was not on the books with it. So if there was a plan, it needs to be revised. I need to know, do you even understand the impact of these decisions?
PAUL: Do you --
LAWRENCE: And if we do, why are you doing it now?
PAUL: Do you expect, Congresswoman, that regardless of who wins this election, that there's going to be questions about the Postal Service and ballots and, therefore, integrity of the results?
LAWRENCE: This is why this whole process is so frustrating to me. A ballot is not only a Democrat. A ballot is Republican.
And that's why some of the Republicans voting, they know the ballots that are mailed in, helps them to win their election. So, this is not about a Democrat or Republican winning the election. I feel strongly on the Democratic side, we understand this. Obviously, some of the Republicans did. They voted with us.
So with that reality, why would you question it when we vote by mail every single election?
People are voting by mail. It's just the volume of it now has increased because of COVID. There should be no questions about it. We have internal processes for checks and balances for the mail system.
PAUL: I wanted to ask you real quickly about what we saw from the DNC this past week as we go into the RNC this week.
And "The Washington Post," former AOC aide and political adviser said this, right now, what we're seeing is we've got a common goal to beat Donald Trump but come January, maybe we have a different goal. They won the nomination, they get to pick the game plan. Now, that doesn't mean that they get to pick the game plan in the midterms.
There's a united front right now to beat Donald Trump. But with this statement and with what we saw from the AOC, if Biden wins, do you see a fracture or a divide in the Democratic Party and what may happen January 20th?
LAWRENCE: You know, I keep hearing that. It's really important. Even the Republican Party who has the Tea Party.
We have -- we're not a homogenous bunch here as Democrat. Some of us, they call us minors (ph), some of us they call liberals, some of us they call progressive. And so, they're our voices. But we all have to come together.
I think Bernie Sanders did a great job at the convention talking about where he wants the country to go. He ran for president on that. That's not a bad thing.
But when I look at Biden, Biden is moving the train down the tracks. Regardless of -- if you're a Democrat, regardless of where you are, whether you feel the train should go faster, if you feel the train should have more cars to it, but he's moving that train down the tracks. To Donald Trump, the train is not moving at all for Democrats.
PAUL: Representative Brenda Lawrence, we appreciate your voice with us this morning. Thank you, ma'am.
LAWRENCE: Thank you so much. Be blessed and stay safe.
PAUL: You as all -- you as well. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: We've got the two tropical storm systems that are heading towards the Gulf Coast, and we learned that they could make landfall as hurricanes within 48 hours of one another. We're going to check in with Allison Chinchar in the CNN weather center when we come back.
PAUL: Listen, now, more than 500 wildfires that are raging across California. And it includes one of the largest in state history. Four people have died because of this, and more than a million acres of land have burned thus far.
BLACKWELL: They've got 13,000 firefighters working to control these fires. And the worry now is that there's no end in sight because the crews are already exhausted. The forecast shows there's a chance of more lightning over the next few days and could start even more fires.
PAUL: And then on the other coast, a hurricane warning has been issued for parts of the Gulf Coast. This is near Louisiana and Mississippi. And people there are stocking up on supplies, batteries, water, food, gas. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY MILLER, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: I'm getting prepared. Gassed up my car first. That was the first thing I did. Long lines, but needed the gas. Want to be prepared in case if it does strengthen, I have the ability to -- you know, enough gas to get out of harm's way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Let's go to meteorologist Allison Chinchar who has been tracking the storms in the CNN Weather Center.
Allison, what's the latest advisory tell us?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right. So, we are starting to see the models trend and shift to the West, specifically with tropical storm Laura.
So, again, here is what the tracks are showing right now. Technically as of this point, both Houston and the city of New Orleans are technically in both cones. OK? Where we anticipate these storms to go, because they can shift, basically, I think if you are between Corpus Christi, Texas and Apalachicola, Florida, you just need to prepare, because if you don't get the focal point of the storm, say, the eyeball or the center of the storm, you're still going to get bands. You're still going to have some impact.
So, this could affect your evacuation routes, the normal place you go to. In addition, because of COVID, you may have additional precautions. Don't forget, start getting your kits together now. And don't forget this year, the hurricane center is recommending to add masks and even hand sanitizer to what they normally have in their supply list.
We do have watches and warnings in place already. You notice in southern Florida, we have tropical storm watches out. That is for tropical storm Laura.
But we also have watches and warnings, including this red area here, that's a hurricane warning. These watches and warnings for tropical storm Marco, because that is the one that's going to hit first.
Here's a look from Biloxi, all the way to Morgan City, you're talking about 4 to 6 feet of storm surge. On the surrounding areas, likely two to four feet of storm surge. The track of Marco has it getting to a category 1 strength storm sometime day, making landfall late Monday or early Tuesday. Here you can see, again, a lot of those outer bands stretch into multiple states. You have to be prepared even if the center of the storm does not hit you.
Then as we get later, then you start to see tropical storm Laura begin to move into the gulf, those outer bands still likely to impact, cities like Miami, places like Key West. So, keep that in mind. Even if it's not directly over you, you're going to have impacts, especially Laura, because it's a larger in size storm compared to Marco.
Here's a look at Laura's track now. At this point in time, we anticipate Laura to make to a category 2 storm. And continue that as it makes landfall. Best guess between Louisiana and Texas. But again, the models for this particular storm are beginning to shift out to the west. So, again, guys, there's a lot of factors here.
But, Victor and Christi, it's going to be an intense amount of rainfall, because a lot of these areas, the first bout for Marco won't have enough time to drain in less than 48 hours before the next storm comes in.
PAUL: Oh, I for those people there.
Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: All right. Tomorrow kicks off the Republican National Convention. Four days the GOP will try to make the case that President Trump deserves four more years in office.
Now, the RNC comes at a time when some Republicans are working with Democrats to defeat the president and reassessing their role in the party and its rhetoric.
That includes our next guest who spent decades guiding campaigns. "Politico" calls him one of the most successful of his generation. He's now the author of a new book. "It Was All A Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump", Stuart Stevens, is with me now.
Stuart, good morning to you.
STUART STEVENS, AUTHOR, "IT WAS ALL A LIE: HOW THE REPUBLICAN PARTY BECAME DONALD TRUMP": Hi, Victor. Great to be here.
BLACKWELL: Good to have you. Let me start here with the news of the day, "The Washington Post" publishing these recordings of the president's sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, her criticisms of her brother, but not just her brother, but also of certain parts of the Republican Party in their support of him.
What do you take away as the impact of these recordings?
STEVENS: Well, you know, I've never found anyone who spent much time with Donald Trump who didn't say the same kind of things. It's a classic sort of emperor has no clothes.
I think one of the great tragedies when we look back on this era is that a lot of good and sensible people who saw that Donald Trump was a total fraud, dangerous to the country didn't speak up for various reasons, a lot of them, I think, personal selfish reasons. It's a real tragedy.
BLACKWELL: You say that "It Was All a Lie", the title of the book.
What was the lie? Was there a central lie? When did that happen? To go from government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem from Reagan to Trump in 2016, I alone can fix it. What happened and where did the lie begin?
STEVENS: Well, you know, that's a great question. Sort of the essential question. I think back in the dark old ages, four years ago, most of us in the Republican Party would have agreed on a few principles, what did the party stand for, character counts, strong national debt, fiscal sanity, strong on Russia, free trade.
Now, it's not that we've drifted away from those principles, it's that we're actively against all those principles. You'd have to ask yourself, do people drop deeply held beliefs in a few years?
I don't think they do. I think it just means you didn't deeply hold them. A lot of us took as bedrock values were marketing slogans.
You know, after the 2012 loss, there was a growth and opportunity project, you know, the report that came out, how to reach out to African-Americans and women and to Hispanics. And then in 2016, the party nominates the, if you're a star they let you do it, what the hell do you have to lose, build a wall candidate. Was that ever genuine introspection?
STEVENS: Well, look, it's hard to generalize each individual. But collectively for the party, it probably wasn't genuine. What's interesting about that victory, that so-called autopsy was presented not just as a political necessity but as a moral mandate.
That if the Republican Party was trying to govern this big, confusing, growing, changing, chaotic country, you had to more reflect what the country was. When Donald Trump came along, it was an audible sigh of relief that was thrown out of the window and it's like, thank God, we can win with white people the same old way.
I think it shows that it really wasn't a belief that the party wanted to accept and adopt. It was a belief that the party would a dropt if it had to. Look, we did feel that they didn't need to, it was, OK. Let's go back to the way we've always done it.
BLACKWELL: You say racism is the original sin of the Republicans, but race and the example (ph) takes of it is the original sin of the Republican Party and the latter half of the has century. You played a big role in selling a lot of Republican candidates to the American people.
Were you selling the exploitation of race and racism to try to get people elected?
STEVENS: Yeah, you know, it's something I thought about a lot. I didn't want it to be, look what these other people did book. I wanted it to be self-reflective, and if I believe in a personal responsibility, then I accept personal responsibility. So, I think about how in the first race I ever did, which was a congressional race down in Mississippi, that there was a black independent candidate, white Democrat and white Republican, and I made ads, which, you know, I thought were very clear, that if anything disparaging about the African-American, it was just sort of like, League of Women Voters, voter IDs ads.
But it had the purpose of informing African Americans that there was an African American in the race. They were either going to vote for that African-American or the Democrat, 90 percent members. So, you know, as I said, I played a race card on that very first race. I never worked for candidates like Jesse Helms. I was very much part of the George Bush side of the party that was for compassionate conservatism and we wanted to change the party.
I mean, Ken Mehlman, who's chairman of the party in 2005 I think, went in front of the NAACP and apologized to his southern strategy. So, you know, I think what you inspire to is really important, and now, the party seems to have quit aspiring to any of that. BLACKWELL: Yeah, and the question will be, if the president leaves in
2021 or 2025, what will the senators who have been in Congress for decades before Trump and Trumpism came along, what will they say? What will they be?
We've run without of time, but that gives us a reason to read, "It Was All A Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump", Stuart Stevens, good to have you, sir.
STEVENS: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: Well, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is responding to attacks on his mental state by President Trump. Here's what he told ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: I want to turn to the blistering attacks we've seen from President Trump just this week alone on your mental fitness, whether you're up for the job.
MUIR: His campaign has called you diminished, and I'm curious how you respond to that.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Watch me. Mr. President, watch me. Look at us both. What we say, what we do, what we control, what we know, what kind of shape we're in. Come on.
This is -- look, I think it's a legitimate question to ask anybody over 70 years old whether or not they're fit and whether they're ready. But I just -- the only thing I can say to the American people, it's a legitimate question to anybody. Watch me.
MUIR: Let's put the attacks aside then. The American people remember Ronald Reagan was 77 when he left office. You would be 78 entering office. And you have said that you're a transition candidate. Does that mean a one-term president? What does that mean?
BIDEN: No, it doesn't mean --
MUIR: So, you're leaving open the possibility you'll serve eight years if you will be elected?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And we'll be right back.
[07:48:32] PAUL: Well, the Louisiana state police are investigating the death of a black man shot by officers from the Lafayette Police Department.
BLACKWELL: According to a statement, officers found Trayford Pellerin with a knife in a store parking lot. The city's mayor says the officers first used tasers and chased him and then started shooting as he tried to enter a different convenience store with that knife.
The shooting was filmed by a witness and here's the warning. You can hear multiple shots. This video is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait. We've got witnesses. We have to --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got a knife. The man got a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They going to shoot him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We gots to wait. We gots to wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, but he got a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) knife.
Get on the ground. They tased him, he's not even doing nothing and they're chasing him. He's --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh! Oh, my god. Oh, my god. Oh, my god. They just shot this man. They literally just killed this man in front of me. Oh, my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) god.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you had on my video?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would y'all shoot that man like four times? That's the problem with cops now, like what (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
Oh, my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) god. They just killed that man. I recorded the whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) thing. I recorded the whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: As we said, Louisiana state police are investigating. And civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump says he's one of the lawyers representing this man's family, calling for the officers involved to be fired. State police say that no officers were injured, that the investigation is active and ongoing.
We will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:55:03]
BLACKWELL: All right. So this is live in I believe Minsk there in Belarus, where protesters are in the capital. It has been two weeks now, back to August 9th, thousands have been in the streets over the disputed re-election of the president, Alexander Lukashenko.
PAUL: Yeah, demonstrators are demanding he step down. His response thus far has been to warn -- we have to point out without any evidence -- of a military buildup threatening the country's border.
We'll keep you posted on that. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.