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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Biden Says He's Made A Decision On How To Responds To Deadly Attack On U.S Troops; White House: We Are Not Looking For War With Iran; Republicans Call On Biden To Strike Iran. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 30, 2024 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNNI HOST: Joe Biden faces a defining moment. The White House under pressure from the left and the right as they consider how to address
multiple crises across the Middle East, and the President first runs for reelection. Plus, Donald Trump is set to meet with the influential
Teamsters union. He is seeking their endorsement. But first, he has taken to social media to insult the head of the Auto Workers union after the UAW
endorsed Joe Biden. And I'll speak with former Trump White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. What does he make of a
potential rematch between Joe Biden and his former boss? That and more ahead.
Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 a.m. here in Washington. It's Tuesday,
January 30. There are just 25 days until the South Carolina Republican primary, 279 days until Election Day. This is today's State of the Race.
Presents President Biden today just moments ago, in fact, says he has made a decision about how he will respond to the deadly attack on a U.S.
military base in Jordan, without sparking all-out war with Iran. The U.S. has been blaming an Iran-based militia for the deaths of these three
American soldiers, and Biden said he holds Iran responsible for supplying weapons. Iran denies any role in the attack. Earlier, the President said --
the White House said the President is aware of the high stakes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATL. SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We are not looking for a war with Iran. We're not looking
to escalate here. This attack over the weekend was escalatory. Make no mistake about it. And it requires a response. Make no mistake about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Republicans on Capitol Hill are slamming the President. The House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said "President Biden's fear
of escalation has morphed into a doctrine of appeasement. The weakness shown by this administration emboldens our enemies." But, there is also
pressure on the President from within his own party about going too far. Before the attack, 14 House Democrats had written to the President, urging
him to "seek authorization from Congress before involving the U.S. in another conflict in the Middle East, potentially provoking Iran-backed
militias, and risking escalation of a wider regional war."
Let's dive into all this with today's panel. CNN Political Commentator, Democratic Strategist, Maria Cardona; Lance Trover, the former Spokesman
for North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's 2024 presidential campaign, and Gloria Borger who is a CNN Senior Political Analyst. Welcome to all of you.
Thank you so much for being here.
Gloria, let's start here with the dilemma that the President is facing. So, we just heard from the President on the South Lawn. I'm not sure if we have
those remarks ready to play. I can show them to the panel. Let's just play them because you can kind of see that this isn't a Q&A-style session. It
helps kind of give a little bit of context to what he was trying to speak to. Watch. This was just moments ago from the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These strikes were not deterred. These --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right. So, we've had a little bit of trouble with that audio there. But, Gloria, basically, he says, yes, he has made a decision, but he
is not elaborating on what that decision is. And he was asked, does this risk a wider war? And he says, well, of course, I don't want that. I think
it's important to underscore that he was responding to questions as he made these comments. Clearly, they're not ready to telegraph exactly what it is,
although they've said that they've decided what to do. What are the pressures the President is facing right now?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, they don't want a wider war. They've got a situation right now in the Middle East that they
don't want to inflame even further. So, they've got a lot of difficult choices to make. And I think what the Secretary of State has said is maybe
don't expect just one thing. They might do a few things, and maybe not all at once. But, I think what we're sort of hearing them is that a direct
strike against Iran is probably out of the picture, and that maybe they would strike proxies. They would do economic - - more economic sanctions.
They would do a variety of things and a variety of ways to retaliate, without going into the belly of the beast and starting up another war,
which is the last thing in the world that they want right now.
HUNT: Right. I mean, Maria, if you are the White House, I mean, they claim and John Kirby said this from the podium.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes.
HUNT: In fact, let me show everybody that. Right? So, John Kirby was pressed yesterday about the fact that the President is facing a reelection
campaign. Is he concerned about public opinion in the context of this?
Is the President concerned? Take a look at how Kirby responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRBY: The Commander in Chief is not looking at polling or considering the electoral calendar when he is defending --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How they feel about the war on Gaza?
KIRBY: Now, can I answer the question? He is not looking at political calculations or the polling or the electoral calendar, as he works to
protect our troops ashore and our ships at sea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Maria, what do you see as -- I mean, how do you think that the White House is considering this? It does seem like the criticism is going
to come in from Republicans in Congress, either way.
CARDONA: That's exactly right. And that's why I think what this President and his foreign policy team are looking at are, what are the best ways to
defend the country, to defend our troops, to make sure that we are able to respond in a way that matches what happened without trying to escalate it.
I really loved Kirby's answer, because I do think it's important for the President to telegraph that he is not doing this for any kind of political
gain. He is not looking at what the political consequences are here. He is focused on keeping this country safe. He is focused on keeping the lives of
our troops safe. And from someone who has the kind of foreign policy experience that this President has, with the personal experience that he
has with troops, right, his son served, this is very personal to him.
Now, that doesn't mean that others in the White House aren't looking at the political calculation. But, that certainly is not something that this
President is taking into consideration at this time.
HUNT: Yeah. I mean, well, I have to say, I don't -- I never buy it when they say -- I mean, they always look at the polls. They always -- everyone,
I'm sorry, both parties forget it.
HUNT: It is a bipartisan like it's -- and honestly, you're a politician. If you're not, you're kind of like not doing the job. I think the challenge is
to make sure that you are making decisions that you also feel are the correct ones in this context.
HUNT: And I will say, Lance, I mean, the Republicans on the Hill are actually not necessarily aligned with where Donald Trump, the former
President, and the likely opponent of President Biden is. Right? They are in, in many cases, a more bellicose place in saying -- I mean, there have
been Republican senators that have said, strike Tehran directly, right, as in, like, make strikes inside Iran. That, of course, would be remarkably
HUNT: Lindsey Graham has said that. Donald Trump, on the other hand, just says, well, if I was President, none of this ever would have happened,
which we have no way to actually -
LANCE TROVER, SPOKESPERSON FOR DOUG BURGUM'S 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I think where you are going to -- to me, where you're seeing the broader
question here is you -- yeah, I'm with you. I don't buy that they weren't paying attention, but they're not paying attention to polls. That's
ridiculous. Of course, they are just 2024. They're in a general election.
CARDONA: But, that's different than making a decision based on that.
TROVER: They have to respond. He has a job to do.
TROVER: But, the idea --
TROVER: -- that folks in the White House aren't paying attention to what's going on, that is 100 percent. Look, the broader picture here is they want
this election to be about Donald Trump. And these -- he has been in office for three years. And I think where the Republicans are going to go is, how
did we get to this situation? There is going to be questions about you gave $6 billion to the Iranians to get hostages out. You undid sanctions on the
Iranians. These are the folks who are funding all of this. I think that's the area where this may be headed is, how do we get to the situation? Well,
it's because of the decisions that Joe Biden made while in the White House last few years.
HUNT: Gloria, do you think that that's going to be a fair criticism from Republicans? I mean, there is also questions about the Iranian nuclear
BORGER: Sure. There are -- look, it's the obvious questions. It is, OK. You did this. You did that with Iran. And you did the deal. And we want to undo
the deal and undid the deal and hated the deal. So, of course, those are the obvious questions and there are obvious responses to that, which the
White House will provide, no doubt. Look, no matter what Joe Biden does in this situation, he is going to get blamed. I mean, it's kind of a --
HUNT: It's not with being President.
BORGER: It's a no win situation. Same thing with Gaza. Right? And he has got that problem on his hands right now too.
HUNT: So, Gloria, I'm glad you raised that, because that's kind of the other half of this conversation. We're talking about Republican criticism
of potential decisions related to this strike. But, President Biden is under increasing pressure from members of his own party, progressives. They
have started calling him Genocide Joe, and he has been repeatedly interrupted at speeches and events he has held in recent days and weeks. We
can show you just a few of them. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: That's all right. That's all right. That's all right. Jill and I had a chance to sit down --
BIDEN: Jill and I had a chance to sit down --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Genocide Joe, how many kids have you killed in Gaza?
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
BIDEN: -- no matter what that was. It should be --
BIDEN: That is what I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Pretty remarkable. Maria, this is something that the White House, I know from talking to people that are thinking about how to grapple with it.
I think it really underscores the emotion inside the party. I mean, what should the President be doing about this?
CARDONA: Yeah. No question about that, Kasie. I think this is one of the most difficult situations that he is going to have going into the 2024
election, especially with young voters. But, I think what they're going to be doing is continuing to listen. They invite folks into the white house
all the time to listen to what their concerns are to say the President is pushing privately, Israel to make sure that they do everything that they
can to make these -- the way that they are conducting the war to have less people who are dying. That's so -- it's such a hard argument to make.
I think what they're looking at here is long term that this President is focused on making sure that both sides are equally listened to, and that to
keep their eyes on the prize, which is something that, again, incredibly difficult to do, the two-state solution, focusing on making sure to keep
the -- all of the lines of communication open. That's really all they can do right now. And I think moving forward, they're also going to focus on
the fact that this is the President, regardless of what Republicans say or what Donald Trump says, that with his relationships around the world, his
experience in foreign policy, he is the best President position to make sure that there is a good outcome long term.
BORGER: I tell you what, though, these are the polls they are paying attention to.
BORGER: Yeah, because they're looking at younger voters --
CARDONA: Yeah. Absolutely.
BORGER: -- for example, as you were saying --
CARDONA: That's right.
BORGER: -- and it's just gone downhill. And the -- they're looking at the polls on Gaza. They understand what's at stake here --
BORGER: -- politically for them.
CARDONA: Right. Right.
HUNT: But, Lance, last word here, I mean, the reality is they're caught here again, because independent voters, older voters who frankly vote more
often than young voters do, they're with the President on Israel.
TROVER: 100 percent. I mean, this is -- he is certainly walking a tightrope here, and that's certainly something that I don't envy. But, at the end of
the day, I think his initial reaction after October 7 to stick with Israel is probably the right one, because that's where folks should be. And if he
starts drifting further to the left on this, he is going to lose those independent minded and older voters, for sure.
HUNT: All right. We've got much more conversation ahead here. Donald Trump feuding with the head of the United Auto Workers. Where will that leave the
union vote in the Midwest? That's up next.
HUNT: Welcome back. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump lashing out at the head of the United Auto Workers union, upset that the union endorsed
President Biden instead of him. Trump wrote on Truth Social. "Shawn Fain is a Weapon of Mass Destruction on Auto Workers in the Automobile
Manufacturing Industry in the United States. All Autoworkers should VOTE FOR TRUMP." Fain brushed those comments off when he responded on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS UNION: I don't care what Donald Trump says about me. I don't care what he thinks about me. I care about
facts, and the facts are very clear for the large majority of Americans, the working class people been left behind by Trump's billionaire class, the
billionaire buddies, and the economy that only works for the wealthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, the union endorsed President Biden last week. They also did that in 2020. So, that is a meaningful win for him. There are razor thin margins
across the Midwest, including in Michigan, where Biden made history last year when he did this. He joined striking workers on the picket line near
Detroit. It's quite a visual for a sitting U.S. President. Meanwhile, Donald Trump meeting with the Teamsters tomorrow. The schedule is being
worked out for a meeting between Biden and the Teamsters. That's another union showdown.
We are back with our panel now. Gloria, these union households are really everything still in the so-called blue wall --
HUNT: -- those Midwestern states --
HUNT: -- particularly in Michigan, obviously --
HUNT: -- the birthplace of the American auto industry.
I want to show two graphics. First, let's start with how Joe Biden did against President Trump with union households. 56 percent in union
households said they voted for Biden. 40 percent said they voted for Trump. This was from our exit poll in Michigan. So, Biden won Michigan in 2020. It
was very narrow win, but he won. Hillary Clinton lost in Michigan. And so, let me show you the numbers there. Look, 51 percent of union households
went for Clinton, 48 percent voted for Trump, again, according to our exit polls.
I think that really underscores, Gloria, that this is actually a very critically important situation here. I think my question is, what is the
disconnect going to be? I mean, you heard Shawn Fain say there, and he is kind of more of a populist union leader than --
HUNT: -- we've seen in the past.
HUNT: He is very popular with the rank and file. But, he basically says, look, the working class is with the Democratic Party. We've seen kind of
the opposite that more and more working class voters are identifying with the Republican Party.
BORGER: Yeah. And they -- more and more think the Democratic Party is the party of the elite --
BORGER: -- and not the party of the working class. And I think what you have to do is show up and talk about how you are the party of the working
class. Now, Joe Biden is Scranton Joe, says every time he can --
BORGER: -- and reminds people of his roots and where he came from. Donald Trump doesn't remind people of his roots because he came from New York City
in a very wealthy family. But, he is a populist and he is a demagogue, and he uses that to his advantage. So, what Joe Biden has to do is show up in
the Midwest, in the blue wall, remind people who he is, remind people what he has done for them, or what he is doing for them in terms of prescription
drugs, in terms of the American Rescue Act and all the rest of it. I'm not sure he should call it Bidenomics. But, remind people what he has done.
Remind people what he has done and remind people where the economy was when Donald Trump left office.
HUNT: But, I mean, Maria, like, let me dig into -- why is it that -- I mean, it is a remarkable shift that suddenly the Republican Party is the
party of working class people. We're also seeing more Hispanics and more black Americans saying that they're interested in voting for Donald Trump
or voting Republican. Why is that, and how does it play into what's going on with the unions here?
CARDONA: Well, I think it plays into what's going on with the unions, because like you said, in so many of these states where the blue wall has
got to maintain its strength in order for Biden to win, a lot of the union households, including a lot of the multiracial coalition that are working
class voters, that's going to be critical for Biden's win. And Gloria is exactly right. He has got to go into the states and into these communities,
and that's exactly what he is doing, to not just remind people what he is doing but who he has been, right, historically.
And this is why he I think he got the endorsement of the UAW because he has been the most pro-union President in history, even going back to when he
was Vice President under Obama. They came in and they rescued the auto industry after the recession or during the recession.
BORGER: They might want to remind people of that.
CARDONA: Yes, exactly. That is exactly right. And so, that is what all of the campaign visits are going to be about. And then, currently, the
infrastructure bill, which now what we're seeing is so many Republicans that voted against it are now trying to take credit for it in events that
they're doing in their own communities. And so, Biden has got to continue to remind people of that. But, you made a very good point in terms of black
and Hispanic voters. I don't buy that black and Hispanic voters are running into the arms of Republicans. Do we have challenges? Yes. And we should
assume that we need to go in there and shore up this coalition, the way that we've always had to, but that is going to happen this year.
And what you're seeing with black and Hispanic voters is they're going to take a look at what Biden has done. They're going to make the contrast with
Donald Trump. And this is exactly what this is going to be about, this election. And when you have a contrast between what Joe Biden has done as
VP, as President, his whole history, Scranton Joe, versus Donald Trump, the only thing that he can do is come out and say the horrible things that he
said about a union president, I don't think that's going to help with the support among union households.
TROVER: Name calling aside, the fact that we are sitting here and having this debate --
TROVER: -- the fact that we're even sitting here having this discussion, the idea that we're talking about a union president and a union endorsing
an incumbent Democratic President right now is not something we would have been talking about 20 years ago. I think it speaks to the breadth to which
Donald Trump has transformed the political parties in this country. And to your point about working voters, you had Debbie Dingell on Early Start this
morning, and she was talking about Michigan being a purple state.
HUNT: Thank you for watching this morning. He is very kind.
TROVER: Early riser.
HUNT: Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah.
TROVER: But, the point is, the auto workers and the like are not listening. And they're not the only unions out there that are just not listening to
their leadership the way they did 20, 25 years ago. And that's why you're seeing this change here today.
HUNT: Yeah. I mean, it's -- again, I take your -- both of your -- the points that you're making when you say like Biden has got to tout his
accomplishments along those lines. But, I just keep coming back to the fact that like, people don't see it that way. Right?
HUNT: Like they do, at the end of the day, see the Democratic Party. I think you said it very well, Gloria, as the party of the elite.
BORGER: Right. Well -- but, don't forget, Fain is also pretty popular.
BORGER: He got a pretty good contract for them.
BORGER: And so, that's something that people don't forget either when you're a union member. And so, it may be more about supporting someone that
Fain likes rather than --
TROVER: But, you were saying that he is for the billionaires, it's kind of fallen to me, if that's falling on deaf ears talking point, and I just --
because his union membership is not. They don't agree with it.
CARDONA: But, what's interesting about Joe Biden, and you talk about the shift, is that Joe Biden actually got more of white working class voters
than Obama did. So, he is going in the right direction. And he did that because he focused on his roots. He focused on the history. He focused on
making sure that the message that the Democratic Party is communicating isn't just for the multicultural coalition, which is incredibly important.
But, Joe Biden knew and understood very well that we cannot win without attracting more white working class voters. So, if anyone can continue to
do that, it's Joe Biden.
HUNT: Yeah. Gloria, what is the next -- I mean, that the Teamsters are meeting with Trump and with -- it sounds like with Biden, although it's not
firmly on the schedule yet. I mean, that union, it's a little bit different from the UAW, although still kind of one of the classic bedrock ones. It's
not the SEIU, which tends to have a different kind of profile. I mean, what is the likelihood that one of these major unions does endorse Trump,
because it does look like they still are firmly with the Democratic Party?
BORGER: Yeah. They are by and large. But, I think you always have to consider it as a possibility. I mean, Donald Trump is Donald Trump. And it
wouldn't be that they'd be endorsing Republicans. It'd be that they'd be endorsing this person, this persona. I'm for you. You have grievances. Your
grievances are my grievances. I'm the victim here, because next you are going to be the victim. So, it depends how you feel personally. It depends
how you feel economically in your own pocketbook. And so, I think anything can happen. We see the economy improving. It's hard to turn a battleship
around until people feel it. It depends how people feel.
HUNT: Right. Well, I mean -- and I think for a lot of these union households too, the question is, they used to be able to just have one job
when you remember the union --
BORGER: Right. Right.
HUNT: -- and now a lot of them feel like they need to have more than one. It's just not working. So, that's the challenge.
All right. When we come back, we're going to have the latest from the House as Republicans attempt to impeach the Secretary of Homeland Security. Our
Lauren Fox joins us live from Capitol Hill, up next.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. Right now, the Homeland -- the House Committee on Homeland
Security is meeting to mark up articles of impeachment against Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security Secretary. Republicans want to impeach him
for what they call high crimes and misdemeanors. The articles which were first released on Sunday accused Mayorkas of "refusing to comply with the
law and a breach of public trust." This is over his handling of the southern border. The vote is expected today.
But, ahead of the mark up, Democrats released a report, calling this effort a sham, and Mayorkas is also fighting back. Early this morning in a letter
to the Committee, he wrote this. "I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader
public service mission to which I have devoted most of my career and to which I remain devoted." The Republican Homeland Security Chairman,
meanwhile, acknowledging he is not sure he has the votes for impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: How confident are you guys that you're going to have the votes on the floor?
REP. MARK GREEN (R-TN): You know, from my perspective, I'm doing what is I think my duty, and votes will be what votes are. But, I feel pretty good. I
mean -- but it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. That's a not sure. CNN's Lauren Fox, who you saw in that clip, joins us now. She is live on Capitol Hill. Lauren, a lot going on there
when you pressed Mark Green about that. They obviously have the narrowest of majorities, Republicans do, in the House. What are the -- what's the
latest in terms of your reporting on the dynamics of this?
FOX: Yeah. I mean, they have a two-seat margin, right, Kasie, and that really truly is the narrowest majority that the House Republicans have seen
over the last two years. That means they don't have a lot of wiggle room. They have people to convince including, Tom McClintock. Ken Buck. That work
is still underway. And Mark Green is really heading up a lot of that discussion, trying to convince members that these are high crimes and
But, behind me, in this Committee room right now, what you're seeing is a lot of back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. The point you are
hearing repeatedly from Democrats is that a legitimate policy disagreement over how to manage the southern border does not warrant an impeachable
offense. These are not high crimes and misdemeanors. That's at least what Democrats are arguing. Meanwhile, Republicans, including those members who
are from swing districts in New York, they're saying they back this effort. They are ready to vote on it, and they are ready to see it on the House
Now, if the House Republicans can get this passed out of the House of Representatives, if they can actually impeach Secretary Mayorkas, then it
goes over to the Senate for a potential trial. The Senate, of course, Kasie, is controlled by Democrats. And there is a number of Republicans in
leadership who also have concerns about whether or not this really rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. So, it'll be really interesting
to see how that plays out if the House can get this out of their own chamber.
But, there is also another dynamic happening right now, and that is the fact that there is an emerging border deal. And you have a number of
Republicans, and not just Republican leadership, not just hardliners, but I just talked to Representative Nick LaLota from New York who is making it
clear that he is unlikely to support the Senate border deal if it looks like any of the reports he has seen so far. I think that that just shows
you that there is sort of two different tracks happening right now on immigration in the House. There is this effort to try and impeach Mayorkas.
At the same time, House Republicans looking like they are ready to reject that emerging border deal out of the Senate, a deal that I should note we
still have not seen legislative tech stuff. Kasie.
HUNT: Yes. So much going on there. Lauren Fox for us on Capitol Hill, Lauren, thanks very much for joining us today.
Maria, the reality here, there is a reason why those New York Republicans seemed prepared for this, to vote for this. I mean, immigration has become
a top priority for many. It's right up there next to the economy. Most of what we asked now. It tends to be more important to Republicans. We can put
this up. 55 percent say the government should prioritize immigration and the border. This is from a recent Associated Press poll.
HUNT: But, that's still a solid chunk of Independents and Democrats who say it should be prioritized. You're also hearing from Democratic governors,
mayors in blue states on this issue. Now, that said, this would be the first time in 150 years that a cabinet secretary would be impeached. So,
there is a little bit of -- it's -- they're choosing to highlight this issue this way. But --
HUNT: -- again, I also, I mean, to Lauren's point, changing out the cabinet secretary doesn't necessarily change the administration's policy.
CARDONA: Not only that, Kasie, but I think in the midst of what's happening with immigration when they are on the verge of trying to get a bipartisan
deal for them to be going after the one who -- one of the people who are trying to negotiate this deal, I think underscores just how unserious the
Republicans are, the Republican majority, especially in Congress, how unserious they are in terms of really governing. This whole effort to try
to impeach Mayorkas is only a political stunt. And it's a political stunt designed to try to distract from the debacle and the disarray that
Republicans are suffering in their own caucus, in their own party.
And I think that, in addition to the ridiculous sham that is, I agree with the Democrats who have written this letter that it is a sham. When you have
Donald Trump and other Republicans now saying that they don't want the border deal that was so meticulously negotiated even as you know to the
chagrin of some of the folks on the Democratic base, because many believe that --
CARDONA: -- it goes too far. For Republicans, the ones who are saying, oh my god, the border is a crisis. Terrorists are coming over. We have drugs
coming over. We have to do something now. And then, Donald Trump saying, no, don't do anything now. I need this as an election issue. And then, for
them now to say, oh, wait, it's not really a crisis. We can wait. That again underscores just how unserious they are about really trying to solve
this problem. And Democrats are going to flip the script and use this as a message going into the general election as to how the majority and Congress
do not deserve to govern.
HUNT: Well, I see how they're going to try. I'm not sure they're going to buy it.
TROVER: Well, they can try.
CARDONA: And they will.
TROVER: The President's approval rating on this is it hovers around 30 percent. This goes back to what we were talking about earlier, three years
of this administration ignoring the crisis as this has ballooned, resending policies meant to stop some of the stuff that's going on, berating
reporters who even dare to ask them about it, and now in the 11th hour, suddenly, this is a big administration policy. Give me a break. The problem
the Democrats are going to have is, he is coming in and saying, oh, now I care about the border. The messenger is not good here. I think that's baked
into the minds of voters.
So, yeah, they can try it. But, at the end of the day, I don't think that's what's going to happen.
BORGER: But, Donald Trump intervening --
HUNT: Yes. Exactly.
BORGER: -- and putting his thumb on the scale in the 11th hour doesn't look good either. You have Senate Republicans saying that, like, we're going to
make up our own minds. We've got to decide what to do. We don't want one more day of fentanyl crossing the border. So, I think it works both ways.
As far as the impeachment goes, Republicans had legal scholars testifying, who said this doesn't reach high crimes and misdemeanors. These were people
who were supposed to be testifying for them, and came to the Committee and said, no, no, no, no, no, this isn't a high crime and misdemeanor.
So, you can look at this and you say, OK, he is the scapegoat here. That's obviously what it is. Whether you say it's justified or not, he is the
scapegoat. And then, you have this other deal.
HUNT: Yeah. Let's distinguish between the impeachment of Mayorkas and the overall kind of border policy.
HUNT: I do think we can pull those two things apart, because I also see the Mayorkas -- I mean, the impeachment proceedings. I mean, we have seen the
erosion of norms in Washington --
BORGER: Totally. Totally.
HUNT: -- right, and the use of tools. I mean, there is a reason this -- the last time it happened 150 years ago is for allegations of bribery, right,
which is kind of a different thing.
But, I do think, Lance, it underscores the difference between House Republicans were -- over here they are doing that. They're breaking norms
and they're using this tool against a sitting cabinet secretary. And the very serious Senate Republicans who are looking at this. I mean, James
Lankford was just censored --
HUNT: -- by his own party in Oklahoma over this.
TROVER: Yeah. There certainly is. And my question was why -- you knew there was a House Republican majority over there. I feel like they should have
been brought in from the beginning if there was going to be any kind of negotiations with -- on this, because here we are in the situation where
they're throwing up saying, no. But, again, on the broader issue, yeah, to me, the voters have kind of baked in on this issue right now. And every day
that we're talking about the border and whether Mayorkas' whatever, we're talking about the border, and I think that's not good for this White House.
HUNT: Yeah. Well, so, speaking of this White House, I think we may have played this yesterday. I certainly have been thinking about this a lot.
But, I think it's worth playing again just because it really kind of illustrates the shift in language on. I mean, this is an administration
that, you know, day one of the Biden administration, they were putting out executive orders that rescinded some of the policies that Trump
administration had put in place on border issues. But now, this is what Joe Biden has to say, and says what he would do if in fact this law was passed
in Congress. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: If that bill were the law today, I'd shut down the border right now and fix it quickly. A bipartisan bill would be good for America and help
fix our broken immigration system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: I mean, Maria, I'd shut down the border right now. I mean, that sounds like Donald Trump.
CARDONA: Well -- and --
HUNT: It sounds like Trump won the argument.
CARDONA: -- and like I said, that is one of the things including some of the proposals that have been negotiated. And we haven't even seen the text
here. So, let's underscore that. That is something that does give heartburn to the Democratic base. But yet, Democrats understand that something does
need to be done, because we have had this overwhelming chaos at the border, not caused by Joe Biden. This has been -- immigration has been a problem
for a long, long time. The global pandemic and the global recession have really fed into why people are coming here, and frankly, are massive
HUNT: Do you think that the Biden administration should have done anything differently in how the policy changes they made? I realize some of it was
in the courts. Some of it was out of their hands. But, they did make some policy decisions early on around the Remain in Mexico policy and other
HUNT: Do you think they should have done anything differently?
CARDONA: I don't think they should have. I think that he campaigned on promising to get rid of the horrendous draconian Trump-style policies at
the border, and they did that.
HUNT: Well, now say he wants to bring some of them back.
CARDONA: Well, because again, situations have changed. What's going on now --
HUNT: But, you think that the situation changed, not because of anything he did, because -- I mean, you're saying like --
CARDONA: Yes. I agree. The situation has changed because the global migration that is going on is something that we have never seen before. And
so, what this President is trying to do, and again, I don't agree with everything that they are talking about or that they are going to negotiate,
but I do agree with it, this President has got to have the authority to be able to change versus the circumstances on the ground. And what we are
seeing from Republicans is a completely unserious effort to try to solve this because they are at the table. They were at the table at least --
BORGER: Well, Lankford --
CARDONA: -- trying to figure this out, and Lankford is sensitive about this.
BORGER: I mean, he says it all. Look, they are trying to get something done here.
BORGER: And how many years have we covered immigration? How many years?
BORGER: We should see how many decades we covered immigration.
CARDONA: That's right.
BORGER: They're finally getting to a moment when, yes, progressives in the Democratic Party will be upset about asylum provisions, etc.
But, you're finally getting to a moment when something could get done and suddenly Donald Trump says I want a perfect bill. It's got to be perfect,
or we're not going to --
HUNT: Yeah. Let's just show -- hold on. Let's show --
HUNT: -- Donald Trump and what he said about the bad bill over the weekend. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Please blame it on me. Please. Because they were getting ready to pass a very bad bill. And I'll tell you what, a
bad bill is -- I'd rather have no bill than a bad bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, there you go. He says, please blame it on me.
CARDONA: And we will blame it on him. Absolutely. Thank you for that. That's going to happen anyway
HUNT: But, I think there is a reason. Like, he knows that there is a reason why -- I mean, to your point, that like -- and Maria, with all due respect,
like, I do think the sort of the way you have to talk about this underscores the challenge for Democrats messaging around.
CARDONA: Yeah. Well, there is no question about that, Kasie. But, you can't have Republicans scream at the top of their lungs. There is a crisis on the
border. Terrorists are coming across. We have to do something now, and then say, oh, it's OK. Donald Trump told us. We can't do this because he need
this issue, and then think that the American people are going to look at them seriously about governing. That's not going to happen.
HUNT: Let me pull those two things apart. One, I will say that it is, and I have said this earlier this week on the show, it is not just Republicans
and Democrats who do this. They make sometimes the wrong decisions for the country because they want to maintain a political issue for themselves. I
think it's wrong in every instance. And you are seeing Republicans admit out loud that that's what's going on.
CARDONA: Yes. That's right.
HUNT: Right? That's on the one hand. But, on the other hand, the idea that the American public after all of these years of identifying like Trump
border wall, Trump border wall, and seeing Democrats argue the other side of this.
I mean, to your point, Lance, I struggle to see how they can convince people that they -- how they can flip the script on immigration with
TROVER: That's what I am thinking. I mean, I think the voters have kind of baked in on this. And that's what -- again, I'm hearing Donald Trump,
Donald Trump, Donald Trump, and I get it. That is where the Democrats, they want this election to be about Donald Trump. I totally understand that.
But, at the same time --
CARDONA: Donald Trump is making it about.
TROVER: -- Joe Biden has been President for three years. And in any election, the incumbent, people are going to look at and decide, what are
the decisions he has made? What are the ramifications of those decisions? Or in this case, what decisions did he not make or do in the last three
years? But, I'm not saying --
BORGER: But, Donald Trump --
TROVER: -- that the border wasn't a problem prior to Joe Biden coming in.
CARDONA: That's right. That's exactly right.
TROVER: But, I'm saying that he has taken steps and ignored many problems there, and that's why we're here today.
BORGER: Well -- but, Donald Trump was President before Joe Biden.
BORGER: And that -- so, the American public is fed up. The polls that they are looking at the White House again, going back to that, are the polls on
immigration, and they're bad. And I think they're worse probably because -- for the Democrats, because Joe Biden happens to be in the White House right
BORGER: But, if you're on the verge of success and you can't get there, because Donald Trump has put his thumb on the scale, I think that's a
problem. And I think it's going to be more of a problem if Republicans talk about it, not House Republicans, but if the Senate Republicans, like
BORGER: -- talk about it.
CARDONA: And Mitt Romney.
BORGER: Well, right.
CARDONA: He was very strong about this. He said, this is ridiculous. This is appalling. They're not going to take us seriously. And that's exactly
right. We're going to use Republican words in that messaging to flip the script.
HUNT: I will say that this bill is probably the best chance Republicans are going to have --
HUNT: -- for --
HUNT: -- consecutive immigration reforms.
HUNT: If Donald Trump is President of the United States, there is no way any of this is actually happening because Democrats would never go along
with it. All right. We clearly are going to have a lot to work with in this conversation over the course of the next 10 months.
Up next, our panel rejoins us. We'll talk a little bit more about the Republican race and Nikki Haley. Why she was talking about negroes (ph)?
HUNT: Welcome back. Donald Trump seems on track to win the Republican nomination and will then be set for a 2020 rematch with Joe Biden.
Anthony Scaramucci was briefly the former White House Communications Director under President Trump, and he joins us now. Anthony, it's great to
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COMM. DIR. FOR PRES. TRUMP: Kasie, it's great to have you. I like how you describe 11 days as briefly. I felt
like seconds actually. But, yes. I was just communications director, and what a trip that was, Kasie,
HUNT: Wasn't it? So, you've said that --
HUNT: -- this time around you're going to back Joe Biden for President. And what -- kind of give us your -- like, how are you viewing the way that
Donald Trump seems to be on the steamroll to the Republican nomination?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I'll start off by saying, I've been a lifelong Republican. I sort of been in the Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush community, the
Republican Party. And I have a lot of respect for Governor Haley. But, I think you have to be honest about where the situation is. The former
President will win this nomination unless there is some type of legal avalanche that takes place from the Department of Justice or perhaps one of
the states. But, even in that situation, those proceedings take longer than usual. And I think we do have a rematch.
And I'm a patriot first and a partisan second. And so, I'm going to go with the institutions of the democracy and the checks and balances of the
system, and not somebody that's talking about tyranny and talking about being a dictator for a day, or using the Department of Justice to persecute
his political adversaries. He has also talked about taking FCC licenses away from companies that don't necessarily agree with political views. So,
I think we have to take these things seriously at this point. There'll be a lot of discussion that comes out related to the insurrection and the
election interference cases in the next couple of months. I think you'll see a President and his team that has very low regard for the American
So, this is a democracy that made your family and my family incredibly successful in this country. And I think we have to look at it that way, a
result of which I'll be helping President Biden. I'll raise him money, provide media advocacy, and take the necessary steps to make sure he is
reelected President, not that he needs my help, by the way, because he'll win this race handily, primarily because Mr. Trump has not been able to
expand his base.
HUNT: Do you think if -- I mean, you know Donald Trump. Do you think if he were reelected President, would he come after you personally? Would he come
after others that he has grudges against from the past?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, if he comes after me personally, I'll be ready for him. The good news is we still have the legal system and the relative fairness
of all that. But, the bad news is, he will expand his executive powers. I would not put anything past him. But, don't go by me, Kasie. Go by his
actual rhetoric and go by his actual words. He has stated very publicly that he wants to use the justice system and the apparatus and powers of the
executive branch of the United States to go after his adversary.
So, I think the question should be, am I afraid of him going after me? And of course, I'm not, which is why I'm speaking out and advocating for
President Biden. He won't win. But, I think he would create another four- year nightmare for the country and stress the institutions of the democracy and the decentralized system of our government, which has made us all so
HUNT: So, did you see -- Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan said, I believe at Davos, where -- we may need to discuss your party (inaudible) at Davos, actually.
I'm interested in how you allowed that to happen.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes. It is sort of -- yeah.
HUNT: But --
SCARAMUCCI: It was reverse Jesus moment for me. I was turning wine into water as opposed to water into wine. But, it's a scary (ph) moment for me,
HUNT; Well, no disrespect intended, but Jamie Dimon came out and said, you know, you got to stop trashing MAGA. Did we just lose Anthony Scaramucci?
Nope. There he is. OK. Still there. So, he said -- he came out and said don't trash MAGA. It's a problem if the Democrats do this. Now, I'm going
to leave aside the questions. We were talking about how the Republican Party honestly has become more of the party of working people than the
Democratic Party, at least in some people's minds. This all unfolded at Davos. We'll let people kind of draw those connections on their own. But,
do you think that Dimon is right about MAGA and not attacking people who are -- consider themselves part of the MAGA movement?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, yeah. I think the point he is making is a fair point. You don't want to demonize Trump supporters of anything. You want to explain to
them the danger of Donald Trump and see if you can recruit them away from Donald Trump. And I think demonizing people hardens them and hardens their
support. But, since you mentioned Davos, and I was there in Davos, running wine, the very good news is the 3,000 delegates in Davos all believe that
President Trump is going to handle the (inaudible), which is hands down. The number one reason why I think he won't be, because that crowd is
invariably wrong. They said in 2016, Hillary Clinton was going to be President. No need to have an election. In 2020, they said Mr. Trump was
going to win reelection. Of course, that didn't happen.
And the elites have a tendency to be out of touch and they get these things wrong. And so, what the President has going for him is expanding the
economy. He has got the deficit under control. He has got one big issue, which is the border issue. But, I think he can tie that down over the next
three or four months, and then it's going to be normalcy, normal American government or full on craziness. I think the independents which are now the
largest voting bloc in the country are going to vote for normalcy over craziness.
HUNT: All right. Fair enough. Anthony Scaramucci, you're a great support. Thanks very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I hope to see you
SCARAMUCCI: All right. Good to be here, Kasie.
HUNT: All right. Cheers.
All right. It's time for a quick break. Don't go anywhere. Our panel is back with one more thing.
HUNT: Welcome back to the State of the Race. Our panel rejoins, because before we go, we always ask for one more thing on the campaign trail or in
Washington you're watching in the coming days. Maria, what are you watching?
CARDONA: I am watching at the DCCC announcement yesterday of 17 new members that they are putting in their coveted Red to Blue program, which means the
districts that they believe are very possible to flip from Republican to Democrat. Three Latinos are in there, one from Nebraska, one from
California, one from Texas, Michelle Vallejo, Rudy Silas, and I want to make sure to get this right, Tony Vargas. And to me, that speaks to two
things. Number one, the expanding map that the DCCC seems pretty confident in in terms of taking back the House, and number two, focusing on Latino
voters, which we know is critical.
HUNT: Sure. Lance.
TROVER: South Carolina primary, but not for why you think. I'm kind of interested in the Democratic side because it's an open primary. I don't
think Nikki is going to win there, but she would need independents to come over to bump up her numbers. But, we also have the President, the
Democrats, move to South Carolina to be first. So, I think he is probably going to want a good showing there in South Carolina. So, I'm kind of
interested to see how the Democratic primary shapes.
HUNT; Yeah. You're not the only one watching.
BORGER: Again, Nikki Haley, remember, Donald Trump threatened people who supported her and continued to give her money to excommunicate them from
MAGA, whatever that means. I guess you lose your MAGA card. I don't know. In any case, she has raised -- since that moment, she has raised $4 million
online. She is having a big fundraiser in New York City. Americans for Prosperity, the big PAC that has been supporting her, is continuing to
support her. So, the money continues to flow.
HUNT: It sure does. All right. Thank you all for the various --
CARDONA: Thanks, Kasie.
TROVER: Thank you.
HUNT: -- great conversation, and thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, January 30. You can
always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter. Don't go anywhere. One World is up next.