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CNN Live Event/Special

CNN Covers Georgia Senate Runoff; Raphael Warnock Delivers Victory Speech. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired December 06, 2022 - 23:00   ET



LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): He simply got up every day for a year and pointed to his record. He pointed to conservative policies like how we handled COVID, how we dealth with a growing economy.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Okay. I'm sorry to interrupt. We will come back to you. But here is Herschel Walker.


HERSCHEL WALKER, GEORGIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ. And also, I'm going to acknowledge my wife, Julie, because she is with me, and she's going through a tough time. But I want to say that I want to thank all of you as well because we had a tough journey, have we not?

But one of the things I said, when they called the race, I said the numbers doesn't look like it's going to add up. But one of the things I want to tell all of you is you never stop dreaming. I don't want any of you to stop dreaming.

I don't want any of you to stop believing in America. I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the Constitution and believe in our elected officials, most of all. Continue to pray for them because all the prayers you have given me, I have felt those prayers.

I want to thank all my team as well, team Herschel, because they put up with a lot. I want to thank team Herschel. I want to thank all of my donors as well because you guys, without you, I could not have done what I have done. I want to thank all of you as well because there are no excuses in life, and I'm not going to make any excuses now because we put up one heck of a fight. And that is what we have got to do because this is much bigger. This is much bigger than Herschel Walker.

I told someone this the other day, I said, guys, I have done a lot of stuff. You talk about Heisman trophy, you talk about all the athletic awards, business wards I have one. But the best thing I have ever done in my whole entire life is run for this Senate seat right here.

And the reason I'm going to say that is because we had a chance to meet all of you and to hear what you guys feel about this country. And I got a chance to, for you guys, to tell me what do you do, feel about this country. I got a chance to go into your homes. I got a chance to invest in Herschel Walker.

And I thank you -- and I thank you so much. And as I said, you cannot blame anyone because I want you to continue to believe in this country, believe in our elected officials.

And most of all, stay together. Don't let anyone separate you. Don't let anyone tell you that we can't because I am here to tell you we can. I'm here to tell you we can. And as I said early on, they say, God is good. He is a good God. All the time, he is a good God.

So, I want to say I'm never going to say fighting for Georgia. I'm never going to stop fighting for you because you are my family. I always -- hey, we are all winners and that's what I want to say. We are all winners. And I want to say God is a good God. God bless you guys.

And let me tell you, stay together, continue to believe in all our elected officials, always, always cast your vote no matter whatever is happening. Cast you vote. In God we trust. I do. In God we trust. Continue to cast your vote. Never, never, never give up. All right? God bless you, guys. Thank you, guys. Thank you.


TAPPER: Republican Senate Candidate Herschel Walker conceding defeat, saying that his losing Senate campaign is the achievement he is most proud of. Conceding, which is significant for somebody who, at one point, was engaged in spreading Donald Trump's election lies.

And in fact, Manu Raju, while we wait for the winner of the election, Raphael Warnock, to come out and give his celebration speech, we should note that after Donald Trump lost the state of Georgia, Herschel Walker was among those retweeting Donald Trump's election lies and attacking Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Raffensperger, two conservative Republicans who are resoundingly reelected last month.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, Herschel Walker would not be here if it were not for Donald Trump. He was a supporter of Donald Trump in the 2020 election campaign. Herschel Walker live in Texas. He was not even in Georgia. It wasn't because -- he wasn't going to run until Trump pushed him into the race and essentially got republican base behind him, essentially led to Mitch McConnell endorsing him.

It would have been a much different candidate, potentially a different result if it were not for Donald Trump. That is one of the things that Republicans are just going to have to grapple with going forward. How do you deal with Donald Trump's handpicked candidates? We have seen in race after race after race cycle, they cost them key seats and the Senate majority.

TAPPER: I mean, not to put too fine a point on it, but there are a number of Democrats who were reelected or elected, who were vulnerable.


I'm from Pennsylvania. It was almost a truism that if a Democrat was in the White House, a Republican would be elected governor and vice versa. And yet Democrat Josh Shapiro is the new governor-elect because Donald Trump got involved. And there was a MAGA candidate named Doug Mastriano who was unelectable statewide. And it was over and over: Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, on and on.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, I think Arizona and Nevada are two case in points, two top targets of the Republicans. And Democrats won both of those races. And now, they have won yet another Senate seat in the deep south.

This is a real moment for Republicans to figure out how they are going to proceed and it goes beyond Donald Trump at this point because it is not just Trumpism. It's also a lot of Trump voters who are -- we are Trump is and maybe even beyond that at a certain point.

And that is what is pushing the party so far to the right that they are not able to get out of these primaries unscathed with a candidate who can really survive in a general election.

The primary process is a huge part of the problem here. It is making them vulnerable. It's making them unpalatable in the suburbs. It's making them unpalatable to a lot of these emerging voters of color who are decisive in states like Nevada and Arizona and Georgia. But these are big problems. They are going to persist even beyond.

TAPPER: They could not get Geoff Duncan's vote. The very conservative Christian lieutenant governor of Georgia went to vote, and Herschel Walker was such a horrible candidate he could not -- let's go to where Geoff Duncan is. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks so much. Geoff, what is the message for -- what is the message for the Democrats here and for Republicans, Geoff? What is the message for Republicans?

DUNCAN: Number one, I want to thank Herschel Walker for that concession speech. That was one of the classic speeches I've heard from either Democrat or Republican. I appreciate it. And things like that are going to help make us a better country as we continue to move forward. It's a wakeup call for both parties. There's a vacuum of leadership of epic proportions.

When I walk into a room to give a speech, I oftentimes say, raise your hand if you think the political system is broken, and everybody raises their hand. This is a wakeup call. Our problems are starting to mount. Economic problems, international problems, you name it. We got challenges.

And so, this country needs leadership. This is a pivot point for Republicans, my party. We need to pick up in a new direction. We need to pick new leaders that have a vision, and I think this is an important step.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Just because Republicans are dumb, they make Democrats smart. I do think it's important for us to look in the mirror. We are going to hear from one of the great leaders. I think we have some great leadership. We are going to hear from him tonight when he gets his victory speech, Reverend Warnock.

Just because Republicans have done dump steps does not make Democrats smart. And there is a danger that we can be to triumphalist about what just happened. He should have been beat by 50 points. He should have been beat by 80 points. The kind of campaign that he put and kind of character he showed, he should have been supported by anybody. And yet, you could bring yourself to vote for Warnock and people did bring themselves to vote for him.

So, I think Democrats have to look in the mirror. I think we got lucky and we earned that by working hard and putting forward great people. So, that's -- it's (INAUDIBLE). I think going forward -- the tide has gone differently. I do not have that abortion decision. I do not have somebody's rock doodle candidates from Donald Trump.

And we will sit in a filthy box. What would we be saying? We will be saying, some of this work stuff has gone too far. We would be saying, some of our inability to really bring people in, who are working class, in a great way is not where it needs to be.

So, there are problems and faults and flaws in our party. I want to make sure that we fix those because 2024 is around the corner.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have to say, I disagree with you a little bit. I think that we -- both parties need to do an evaluation and Democrats did get lucky in some instances. I also think, though, that Democrats wanted a fighter.

They wanted candidates that were going to go out and be like, we are not going to be bullied by Donald Trump, we are not going to be bullied by insurrectionists, we are going to stand up for our democracy, we are going to try and get legislation passed even if you cannot get over the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, and then Joe Biden did take some action.

I'm not going to lie. Dobbs was monumental in this election. Gun violence was monumental in this election. But it was talking about all of it. And I think that, you know, when Joe Biden told people on the campaign trail, when we were in 2020, and said, we are going to address student loan debt, we did not solve the whole problem but we are going to take a step forward and you actually deliver on politics, that's what people want. When you make a promise, you keep it. And when politicians don't, that's why people feel like it's broken.


And I think as long as Republicans, now that they have the House, if they go down this path with investigations and oversight and not delivering for the American people, I think we are going to be having a similar conversation in 2024 if Democrats keep the word they run on in this cycle. ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: And I think you brought some things very important, the lieutenant governor did as well, which is the fact that we are even commanding a candidate for conceding at a loss shows how far the GOP has gotten outside of the mainstream.

You had to two former election deniers in Doug Mastrian and in Herschel Walker who showed more integrity, more honesty, and more class than the former president did by acknowledging reality and the truth that they lost the election.

All right, great, step in the right direction. But to your point, we now have a split government, which I actually think is a good thing for democracy and for the country. But it's a moment for House Republicans to recognize that this was not a mandate for Republicans.

They squeaked by just by a hair that Kevin McCarthy or whoever the leader ends up being, the speaker ends up being, this is a moment to govern, to actually deliver and to do things like try to lower gas prices, try to bring down bills for average American, secure the border. I worry that that lesson is not going to be heard because there is still going to be so held hostage to Trump.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And I'm going to agree with Van because I don't think it was a mandate for Democrats either. I think Democrats won a lot of races in a very close way because they had better candidates and they worked so hard, as you guys are talking about. And as you look into the future, they got 20 plus candidates. What is it? Up in 2024, they have 21 democratic seats up.

And they got to get their act together, too, if they want to keep control of the Senate. We don't know if Joe Biden is going to run or not. My guess now is that he is going to run. But who is he going to run against? And what you are talking about is the Democratic Party sort of overdoing it and overstepping it, and maybe they need to take a look and kind of re-jigger and move back to the center, which is what Joe Biden ran and won on in the first place. And people say, you know, overinterpreted his mandate and govern as a liberal.

COOPER: I want to keep the conversation going. I just want to point out that Senator Raphael Warnock is now on stage. We are going to bring you his comments live. But we will continue --

BORGER: I think people -- I think people voted for candidates because they want to believe what they were saying and agree with them. They wanted them to do something.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there is plenty of worries for both parties. I think both parties need new leadership in 2024. I think the American people are tired of these parties backing in to these races. They're looking to affirmatively be led. They don't get it out of Trump. I don't really think they think they are getting it out of Biden. New leadership is needed and the American people want it.

(CROWD CHANTING) SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-GA): Well, hello, everybody!


WARNOCK: You all settle down now. Settle down.


WARNOCK: Thank you. Thank you, Georgia.


WARNOCK: Thank you. I love you, too. All right, you all settle down. I want to say, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to God be the glory --


WARNOCK: -- for the great things that God has done.


WARNOCK: And after a hard-fought campaign --



WARNOCK: -- or should I say campaigns --


WARNOCK: -- it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy. The people have spoken.


WARNOCK: I often say that a vote is a kind of prayer for the world we desire for ourselves and for our children. Voting is faith put into action. And Georgia, you have been praying with your lips and your legs.


WARNOCK: With your hands and your feet, your heads and your hearts. You have put in the hard work, and here we are standing together.


WARNOCK: I want to say thank you.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): You are welcome.

WARNOCK: And I want to say, thank you, to my mother who is here tonight.


WARNOCK: You will see her in a little while. But she grew up in the 1950s in Waycross, Georgia picking somebody else's cotton and somebody else's tobacco. But tonight, she helped take her youngest son to be a United States senator.


WARNOCK: My dad has long passed into the light, but he is still very much with us. I watched my dad, a pastor and a small businessman, take care of his family by working really hard with his hands and using his brain. He picked up old junk cars and loaded them on the back of a rig that the mechanisms of which he designed himself, one on top of the other, and that's how he took care of his family. But on Sunday morning, the man who lifted broken cars lifted broken people.


WARNOCK: And convince them of their value. I would not be here where not for them. I am a proud son of Savannah, Georgia.


WARNOCK: It's a coastal city known for its verdant town squares and its cobblestone streets, tall, majestic oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, bending back and the love of history and horticulture to the city by the sea. My roots, like the roots of those oak trees, go deep down into the soil of Savannah and Waycross and (INAUDIBLE) and Burke County. I am Georgia.



WARNOCK: I am an example and iteration of its history, of its pain and its promise of the brutality and the possibility. But because this is America, because we always have a path to make our country greater against unspeakable odds, here we stand together. Thank you, Georgia.


WARNOCK: I want to thank my mother and my late father. I want to thank my siblings who are here. I am one of 12 in my family. Clearly, my folks read the bible, be fruitful and multiply.


WARNOCK: Our family was short on money but long on love, long on faith. And I want to thank my two darling children, Chloe and Caleb, whose brilliance inspire me to work for all of our children.

Georgia, I don't want you to miss what you've done. In a moment in which there were folks trying to divide our country, and those forces are very much at work right now, Georgia did an amazing thing. In 2021, it sent its first African American senator and its first Jewish senator to the United States Senate in one fell swoop. (APPLAUSE)

WARNOCK: And you have done it again. Thank you, Georgia!


WARNOCK: Now, there are those who will look at the outcome of this race and say that -- yes, you are right, we won.


WARNOCK: There are those who would look at the outcome of this race and say that there is no voter suppression in Georgia. Let me be clear. Just because people endured long lines that wrapped around buildings, some blocks long, just because they endured the rain and the cold and all kinds of tricks in order to vote does not mean that voter suppression does not exist. It simply means that you, the people, have decided that your voices will not be silent.


WARNOCK: Let us not forget that when we entered this runoff, a vestige of the ugly side of our complicated American story -- state officials said that we could not vote on Saturday. But we sued them and we won.


WARNOCK: And the people, once again, rolls up in a multiracial, multireligious coalition of conscience, you endured the rain, you endured the long lines and you voted, and you did it because you believe, as I do, that democracy is the political enactment of a spiritual idea. This notion that each of us has within us a spark of the divine, that we were created in the -- in the image of God. And if you are not given to that kind of religious language, that's fine, our tent is big.



WARNOCK: Simply put it this way, each of us has value. And if we have value, we ought to have a voice. And the way to have a voice is to have a vote to determine the direction of your country and your destiny within it.

And so, we stand here tonight on broad shoulders. Our ballot is a bloodstained ballot. We stand here on the shoulders of the martyrs: Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, two Jews and an African American who lost their lives fighting for that great American right to vote. (INAUDIBLE) and James Reed (ph), a white sister and a white brother, who also lost their lives. Fannie Lou Hamer, that indomitable Mississippi sharecropper. And my parishioner. God bless his memory, John Lewis.

(APPLAUSE) WARNOCK: Who one day crossed the bridge knowing that there was danger on the other side. And yet he crossed that bridge while building the bridge for the future. And now, it is on us, the latest generation of Americans and Georgians, to keep building that bridge, to keep walking that long walk, pushing the nation towards our ideals.

And so, Georgia, this is my promise to you. The work that we must do is difficult. The issues are not simple. They are complex. But here is my promise to you. I will walk with you even as I work for you.


WARNOCK: Because here is what I have learned as a pastor. You cannot lead the people unless you love the people. You can't love the people unless you know the people. And you can't know the people unless you walk among the people. You cannot serve me if you cannot see me.

And so, during these difficult days, even as I work on specific public policy proposals, and I offer bills and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get those bills passed, I just want you to know that I see you.

I see your parents as you are trying to put your kids through college and community college and technical college. I see students as you are trying to make a way out of their way. I see you essential workers fighting for a livable wage to participate in the prosperity that you create for others. Farmers who are an answer to our most basic prayer, give us this day our daily bread, and yet they struggle to hold on to the farm. Farmers, I see you, and I'm here with you. And together, we can work through all of these issues.

And I want all of Georgia to know, whether you voted for me or not --


WARNOCK: I get it. But I want all of Georgia to know, whether you voted for me or not, that every single day, I am going to keep working for you. I am proud of the bipartisan work I have done and I intend to do more because I actually believe that at the end of the day, we are all Americans. I believe in that American covenant.

And it is that covenant that drives me to work to lower cost, to lower the cost of prescription drugs, to create jobs all across our state, to address the issue of criminal justice reform, because I believe that you can have justice and safety at the same time.


So, thank you for this high honor. After a hard-fought campaign, you got me for six more years.



(LAUGHTER) WARNOCK: Thank you. So, let me quickly do a couple of things. I want to thank my amazing campaign staff --


WARNOCK: -- led by --

COOPER: Listening to Raphael Warnock, senator, reelected tonight, CNN has projected, in the runoff against Herschel Walker.

Van Jones, you can certainly see his influence as a preacher, the cadence with which he speaks.

JONES: Yeah. It's beautiful. And I was noticing, it's hard not to smile, even my Republican colleagues, when he was -- his presence. It just brings a smile. You can tell this is a good man, and he means what he says. And I thought that that frame, I see you, he started talking about all the people who just don't feel seen, the people who work hard every day, the people who don't have very much, I think it's a blessing.

I was just happy to see something kind on the air. So many shootings and Nazis and stuff like that. Just to let somebody who care about the community, who worked so hard, who has been there for us, to go through not one, not two, not three, not four, but five elections in two years for one job, this brother wants that job. He wants that job. And I think you can feel he is going to do a good job.

BORGER: I think we heard two good speeches tonight. And not grievance-filled and talking about bipartisanship and working across the aisle, and together we can work through these issues. I thought it was kind of remarkable and refreshing.

COOPER: Geoff?

DUNCAN: I want to congratulate Senator Warnock. I can't imagine how tired he is. Van, to your point, I mean, the guy has been campaigning for feels like a decade. He's going to sleep well tonight. He has got his work cut out for him.

I couldn't help but be reminded, listening to that speech, he kind of made it easier on himself, too. If he would have more of a Joe Manchin voting record along the way instead of just being 100% or 96% or 98%, that would have been a closer fit to Georgia.

But he won the race and congratulations to him. We got our work cut out as Republicans. We will have another Senate seat on the table in four years.

COOPER: Ashley?

ALLISON: You know, listening to his speech and honestly listening to Herschel Walker's speech, you might not know which party they were from tonight, and that was refreshing. I'm in the business of building coalitions, and I really appreciated what Senator Warnock said tonight about building bridges. He feels like not a transition candidate, but the next generation for our party. He talked about his parishioner, John Lewis. This man preaches at Martin Luther King's church. In a time when I wasn't even thought of and to see what is possible in this country, it gives me hope as an older millennial, the next generation for him, to speak to them, to speak to working class, to talking about how his mother picked cotton.

In this country, we often think about how far we have come. But our history is very recent. And if we have leaders like Warnock in office, who are willing to build bridges, who are willing to be bipartisan, who are willing to represent all of Georgia, which he has promised to do, it gives me hope for this country. And nights like tonight, I want to bundle up and remember, because it won't always be this moment of feeling, and so we need to remember nights like this because this is what America is about.

JONES: I think it's important that he mentioned the martyrs by name.

ALLISON: By name.

JONES: When we say, this is Georgia, we know what that means. We know that people literally were murdered, people were literally beaten, people literally killed, black and white. Just to have a Black person to be able to vote, let alone to go to the U.S. Senate, and that he gave the honor to Fannie Lou Hamer, he gave the honor to John Lewis.

Looking at his mom being brought -- and to his mother, who he just so beautifully mentioned. I just think it's important because we assume that everyone knows, when we say, this is Georgia. He made sure everyone knew, that they are martyrs, that they gave their life for this.

GRIFFIN: And I think it was important that he mentioned bipartisanship in the speech tonight. He does have a strong voting record of being with President Biden pretty consistently.


He has got his work cut out for him. The job begins (INAUDIBLE) January in the Senate. There are major must pass bills and Democrats have a very slim majority. So, it is going to require for him to be a successful senator, who is going to represent the whole state of Georgia, he's going to need to reach across the aisle. I hope that he means that.

JENNINGS: One thing about tonight and this entire midterm, pretty well-run election across the board. Very few problems. It did take a long time to cast some votes out west. We had one state where somebody is kind of throwing a fit about a clear outcome. There were a lot of predictions that we were going to have another 2020-style meltdown. That did not happen.

And so, for all the county clerks and precinct workers and everyone else who runs elections in America which I am a strong supporter of the diffused election system we have, all these people, some of them are volunteers, they get very low pay and they take these jobs, they are in the crosshairs of a lot of controversy, but we had a pretty well-run election.

And tonight, we had a gracious winner, we had a gracious loser. If you think that American democracy was damaged somehow after 2020 and you are wondering what was going to happen here, I would think, no matter what party you are in, this whole election should have given you some heart that when push comes to shove, America will get it right, the American people will get it right, and we did.

COOPER: Even some of the most extreme candidates on the right who were running lost. I mean, Arizona -- the outlier on this. But Mastriano and others conceded.

JENNINGS: Absolutely. And they taught the Republican Party a lesson. They taught Donald Trump a lesson. And you just got to hope the momentum of respecting the outcomes of democratic elections will continue.

COOPER: Stay with us for more reaction to Senator Warnock's reelection victory, what it means for both parties with the 2024 presidential election race around the corner. Our special coverage continues right after this.




TAPPER: A critical and hard-fought victory for Democrats tonight. CNN projecting that Senator Raphael Warnock has been reelected in Georgia, defeating his republican challenger, football star Herschel Walker, after a close and whiplash-inducing runoff election.

We saw the lead changed multiple times as votes came in this evening. This means Democrats are getting what they wanted, an outright Senate majority of 51 seats. That will strengthen their control of the chamber over the next two years. Republicans will lose a seat. They will have 49 in the next Senate. Their hopes of keeping the Senate evenly divided dashed.

Herschel walker's loss is clearly a huge blow to Republicans, perhaps, especially to Donald Trump. Kristen Holmes has more on that. Kristen, what are you hearing from inside the Republican Party?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is certainly especially to Donald Trump. We have already started hearing Republicans, some of them, in more veiled language, not using Trump's name directly, saying it is time to reevaluate the party, it's time -- this should be a moment of reckoning.

Others are blaming Trump outright. Former -- excuse me, prominent Iowa Republican Bob Vander Plaats, who once supported Trump, tweeted that conservatives are tired of losing, that 2024 should be a time to reevaluate, that they need to choose well. The big question here now for those around Trump is whether or not he can actually hold on to his base. I spoke to one former Trump advisor who said there is still a large portion of the republican base who only cares about Donald Trump. But some in his orbit just are not so sure.

Jake, I'm going to say what I said in the beginning of the night and repeat it again now. Donald Trump needed Herschel Walker to win. He needed him to after those lackluster midterm results, after a number of candidates that he had put forward fizzled or flopped in the midterms, and after his own campaign seems to be stalled.

He now has even less momentum going into his 2024 cycle after he announced his third presidential bid than he did when he announced after his midterms bid.

TAPPER: All right, Kristen Holmes, thanks so much. Let's talk about this with our panel. It's interesting, Herschel Walker said something in his concession speech that maybe some of us missed. But in retrospect, when you think about Donald Trump, it might have been significant. Let's play that if we can.


WALKER: But one of the things I said, when they called the race, I said the numbers doesn't look like it's going to add up. But one of the things I want to tell all of you is you never stop dreaming. I don't want any of you to stop dreaming. I don't want any of you to stop believing in America. I want you to believe in America and continue to believe in the Constitution and believe in our elected officials, most of all.


TAPPER: Now, I don't think that Herschel Walker meant this. But when he invoked believe in the Constitution, a couple days after Donald Trump suggested that provisions in the Constitution be terminated so that he could be installed as president, it is just an interesting contrast.

Again, I don't think that Herschel Walker meant that as a slam on Donald Trump. But the fact that Donald Trump is now not only a loser when it comes to his own elections and when it comes to people that he plucks to win their primaries, they're going to lose in the general, he is also, by definition, anti-Constitution.

PHILLIP: I mean, well, first of, I'm with you. I'm not sure that Herschel Walker meant this (INAUDIBLE) to Trump. But I think a lot of Republicans are going to be put in a pretty tough spot when they have to defend some of the stuff, especially, I think, this last day. It's actually kind of incredible that it would take Trump writing that the Constitution should be terminated and not when he actually incited a riot on January 6th to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

[23:45:06] The act was not enough, but the words apparently were enough for Republicans to do a double take and say, okay, maybe this is not what we want for the nominee of our party. But this is a weak moment for Trump. It was --


PHILLIP: It was that tweet, his meetings with anti-Semites and racists, and also, all of these losses that are all out.

BASH: And yet look at what we are going to be seeing and are already seeing. You are running around covering every single day on the Hill, which is the race for the speakership on the republican side.

And Kevin McCarthy trying to walk this line because he has been very robustly supportive of Donald Trump over the past many years, but even after the insurrection. And it is because of what he sees in his own caucus, that that House Republican Caucus, those who are from those ruby red states and there are so many ruby red districts, they haven't move past Donald Trump.

RAJU: No question. And that's the real divide within the Republican Party. You're seeing the House Republicans still dominated by so many of those Trump allies because of the fact that they come from these -- they have to win primaries in these very red districts, and Senate Republicans with a much more diverse constituency, who want to get away from Donald Trump.

I can tell you, just talking to Senate Republicans since the dinner with anti-semite, since the termination of the Constitution post, and in the aftermath of losing the Senate in November, losing it now, they are tired of it. They want to move on.

Now, as Mitt Romney told me yesterday, he said, yean, it doesn't really matter what the elected officials say, it matters what the base says. That is really the bigger issue here. We can expect more elected officials to run away from Trump but will it matter?

PHILLIP: I heard recently from a Republican, a very senior Republican, who is very saying, you know, Trump has not really demonstrated that he really actually wants to launch a serious campaign for the presidency. And that might be true. But I think it's going to take more than wishful thinking for Trump to actually be defeated. Republicans have to actually do something. He is not just going to kind of fade into the background. That is just not really his MO.

TAPPER: It is the first time since 1934 that the incumbent party picked up governor seats and picked up a Senate seat. And Democrats did a good job. I don't want to take away from that. But it is because in no small part of Donald Trump being the primary force in the Republican Party. That is one of the reasons why Democrats had another great election night.

Coming up next, what does the Warnock win mean for President Biden? And political battles ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



TAPPER: And welcome back to election night in America. It's over, guys. President Biden is now weighing in on the reelection of Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democrat in the Georgia runoff. President Biden posting this tweet a short while ago, saying he just phoned Senator Warnock to congratulate him. He added -- quote -- "Tonight, Georgia voters stood up for our democracy, rejected ultra MAGA-ism, and most importantly, sent a good man back to the Senate. Here's to six more years."

And I have to say that I think while, you know, the election -- reelection of Raphael Warnock bodes ill or in a normal world would bode ill for Donald Trump, this, to me, is yet more evidence that there is no question although this is not a fact, this is my projection, my guess, that Joe Biden will not see a victory for him in the election results and want to run for reelection.

I think the fact that this is the first time since 1934 that the president's incumbent party picked up governor seats, two governor seats and a Senate seat, not to mention the red wave that really never happened, Joe Biden is going to view that as a victory for him as well. It's a vote of confidence.

PHILLIP: I think it is a victory for Joe Biden. I mean, this is not a good -- this was not a good environment for an incumbent president and his party, and they did way better than a lot of people expected, including a lot of Democrats.

Once again, the Biden White House is looking at the situation and they are saying, everyone consistently underestimates us, they underestimated us in the 2020 democratic primaries, they did it again when it comes to the legislative agenda which was robust and bipartisan on a lot of different fronts, and then they did it again in the midterm elections.

And I think that Biden, personally, based on talking to people close to him, he believes that he can beat Trump again. He's very confident about that. And so, as we wait for that decision, everything that I have heard from people around Biden is that he has no question in his own mind about whether he can --

BASH: Yeah, they are planning on it. They are planning on it right now. And I guess any president or anybody in the situation would plan on it until and unless they are not going to do it. I mean, let's just be honest. Any president or any politician with this record in a midterm, there would be no question about them running again, if they were not 80 years old.

TAPPER: Right.

BASH: That's it. I mean, you know, to say it out loud. RAJU: They think that he can beat Donald Trump. What about Ron

DeSantis? What about a younger candidate?

TAPPER: What about Brian Kemp?

RAJU: Exactly. That sparks a lot of fears among Democrats, that he may not be able to withstand the rigors of a campaign if the country does want someone new. I mean, yes, they exceeded expectations, no doubt about it, but Biden also avoided some of these key states in the midterms. Barack Obama was the one stumping in Georgia in the final days, not Joe Biden.


And all throughout the campaign cycle, that's what happened here. They knew where to go and where not to go.

BASH: But we remember when Barack Obama was president, he was not --


BASH: Yeah. I mean, that's what happens when you are sitting president --

TAPPER: I will just give one more update on the Donald Trump thing because we are talking about (INAUDIBLE) Republican Party ever going to learn. Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chair went on Fox and said, we need our voters to vote early. She said, we are learning the lesson of last years. We need our voters to vote early. There were many in 2020 saying don't vote by mail, don't vote early. Obviously --

PHILLIP: By many.

TAPPER: Obviously, she meant Donald Trump. And yet, of course, the RNC spokesman just issued a statement saying, no, we weren't talking about Donald Trump. He supports early voting, which, of course, he does not. So, this is an idea of where the party is going on that whole thing.

Kasie Hunt and John Vause are standing by with more election night coverage. Stay tuned. They will be right here.