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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Senate Unveils Bipartisan Border Deal; Speaker: Border Bill "Dead On Arrival" If It Reaches House; GOP Senate Candidate Makes Sharp U-Turn To Embrace Trump. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 11:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: The Senate has a border deal. But, will the former president kill it in the House? Donald Trump this morning

strengthening his opposition to this bipartisan bill, saying it would be "a great gift to Democrats". President Biden, however, saying I`m ready to

secure the border. The president is in Nevada ahead of the state`s Democratic primary tomorrow. Biden faces no real opposition in that

contest, and his campaign focused squarely on Donald Trump. Plus, we are less than three weeks away from the South Carolina Republican primary. I`ll

speak with Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette about why she supports Donald Trump over his own state`s former Governor Nikki Haley.

Good day, everyone. I`m Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching across the world. It is 11 a.m. here in Washington Monday, February 5. There are just

19 days until the South Carolina Republican primary, 273 days until Election Day. This is today`s State of the Race.

All right. We now have the details of a much anticipated bipartisan border bill that was negotiated by senators in both parties. The $118 billion

package includes roughly $60 billion in war funding for Ukraine and another $14 billion for Israel. The Senate is set to take action on it this week.

But, even if it passes, Speaker Mike Johnson says the bill is dead on arrival in the House. The border crisis, of course, at the very center of

this presidential campaign. Donald Trump doing all he can to shut the deal down, not wanting to hand President Joe Biden a political win on this

issue. Here is what Trump said on Friday before the bill was released.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They`re not releasing the papers. That`s always a bad sign. Nobody can get

a hold of the papers.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: They said they are going to it Friday night.


BARTIROMO: The text is Friday.

TRUMP: Why weren`t they releasing it earlier than that? Because it`s no good, and it`s no good for the Republicans. And frankly, any Republican

that signs it should be ashamed of himself or herself. I don`t think there is anything you can do that`s worse than a bad immigration deal, and

they`re doing a bad deal. You`re better off not having a deal than having a bad deal, and that`s what they`re negotiating.


HUNT: All right. Let`s dive into all of this with today`s panel. Mark Longabaugh, Democratic Strategist, former Advisor to Bernie Sanders 2016

Presidential Campaign; Alice Stewart, CNN Political Analyst, Republican Strategist, and Nathan Gonzales. He is the Editor and Publisher of the

Nonpartisan Analysis Site "Inside Elections". Welcome to all of you.

Alice, it`s very clear that this deal -- I mean, it was barely out when we saw this tweet from Mike Johnson. Honestly, I meant to like calculate the

number of hours in between, but it`s a 370-page bill. I think it would have taken longer to read it --


HUNT: -- than he would have to post this tweet.


HUNT: I`ve seen enough. The bill is even worse than we expected, and won`t come close to ending the catastrophe the president has created. The border

never closes. If this bill reaches the House, it will be dead on arrival.

STEWART: Well, the truth is, Kasie, the devil is in the details. The problem with Donald Trump and many Republicans, they saw this border deal

as the devil even before they saw the details. Now, they`re even more looking at this as something that they do not want to do. Look, I think we

can all agree that Donald Trump does deserve credit for calling attention to the crisis at the border, getting Republicans on board that we need to

do something. Now, we have a bipartisan effort to do something, and they can`t take yes for an answer.

Look, I think there are some significant steps in here that conservatives would like, speeding up the asylum process, immigrant visas, and certainly


HUNT: Yeah.

STEWART: -- limiting those coming in. The problem is Donald Trump put the kibosh on this before we even heard the details, without saying, well,

let`s have the conversation. We have a bipartisan effort to get this done. And unfortunately, Donald Trump is more concerned about making sure that

Joe Biden does not get the win, and he potentially gets it if elected president, that we`re not really going to have any progress on immigration.

HUNT: So, this is what Trump posted this morning. "Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat" who says "would vote for this horrendous bill." He

calls it a death wish for the Republican Party. I mean, Mark Longabaugh, to me, there is always this issue of a political win, can they get what they

want? It`s more than that, in my opinion. It`s like fixing the problem would like take an issue off the table for Donald Trump. And I`m kind of

curious your assessment, because the left is -- has looked at this and said, wow, this goes farther than we want it to go. I mean, it is actually

-- there are elements of this that there is no way Democrats when Donald Trump was president would ever have signed off on.


Is this a mistake for Republicans? And what do you think we should be paying attention to in this?


Joe Biden a huge issue in this campaign. I mean, as we talked about previously, immigration is one of the top issues in any of the polls that

we do in political campaigns, in some cases, the number one issue.

HUNT: And let`s put up on the screen who polls better on it. This is from the NBC poll, who is better on border and immigration, Trump 57 percent,

Biden 22 percent. So, that also gives you an indication of where people trust on this issue.

LONGABAUGH: Right. Right, which is why I think this is a gift to the Biden campaign, because they`re now going to be able to say, hey, listen, we had

a deal. We put it together, and the Republicans killed it for politics. We tried to solve the problem. And I think it`s going to be a very effective

rebuttal on their part.

HUNT: Nathan, you look at these races from a nonpartisan lens, and you had a really good granular understanding of how this is going to impact

candidates at the ground further -- much further down in the presidential race. What is your sense of how the politics of this are going to play? I

mean, is there going to be a case for Democrats to make the Republicans walked away from this? Or is this massive divide in the issue already too

baked in for it to matter?

NATHAN GONZALES, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, INSIDE ELECTIONS: Well, I think, first, we have to remember that immigration is no longer a border state

issue. Right? Immigration is a national issue. And so, that`s the first step. Democrats are on the defensive right now with President Biden being

held responsible for what`s happening at the border. And if he is held responsible and things are going poorly, then Democrats down the ballot are

going to suffer.

I do think there is an opportunity for Democrats to seize and be on offense on this. But, they have to show that either they have the solution or

they`re going to fix the problem or it looks like it is getting better. And I would add that the devil is in the details but also the devil is in the

negotiation that just even negotiating with Democrats is a non-starter for Trump in the Republican Party. James --

HUNT: Yeah.

GONZALES: -- Lankford, a conservative Senator of Oklahoma, is leading the charge on the Republican side and Senate side, but he is viewed as now --

he is a rhino now because he happened to -- if Democrats or any way for it, then it must be bad.

HUNT: Yeah.

GONZALES: That`s the view of the Republican Party right now.

HUNT: I mean, him being censured by the Republican Party in Oklahoma is really remarkable. Let`s show -- Lankford was out on Fox & Friends this

morning trying to defend this deal and explain what`s going on. Again, he was the Republican negotiator. And I`ve covered Senator Lankford. He is a

very serious guy. Yes, very conservative. He used to be probably one of the most conservative members of the Republican Party. He is in a much

different place now in the Trump GOP. Take a look at what Senator Lankford had to say.


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): Are we, as Republicans, going to have press conferences and complain the border is bad, and then intentionally leave it

open? After the worst month in American history in December, now we`ve got to actually determine are we going to just complain about things? Are we`re

going to actually address -- change as many things as we can? We had the shot under a Democrat President to dramatically increase detention beds,

deportation flights, lock down the border to be able to change the asylum laws --


LANKFORD: -- to be able to accelerate the process no one would have believed it. And now, no one actually wants to be able to fix it. And so, I

don`t want even debate it. I don`t want to discuss it. We have to decide as Republicans, what are we going to actually do about the border? Leave it

open, or actually leave it closed?


HUNT: I mean, Mark, I got to say, like, he makes a good case that this is - -

LONGABAUGH: That sounds like a pretty tough bill. Again, I mean, he is putting that on the plate for Biden over the course of this campaign. And I

think he gives the Biden folks a lot of cover on this.

HUNT: Alice -- yeah.

STEWART: Yeah. I think one of the things that Lankford did such a great job of really explaining in that interview, there is so much misinformation,

shockingly, by some Republicans about what Lankford was talking about closing down the border. If the migrant numbers come to $5,000 -- or 5,000

people per day migrant crossing, then they`ll shut down the border. Well, Republicans are saying, well, that`s -- you`re just letting 5,000 people

in. Well, he is saying, we normally have 10,000 to 12,000. So, we`re actually making progress and reducing the number of migrant crossings and

then shutting the border down. So, he is trying to explain the very specifics of this, not just to --

HUNT: But, it will help the adage when you`re explaining you`re losing.

STEWART: Yeah. Exactly. But, it`s also important to know, it`s very easy and obvious Donald Trump is making a big show of absolutely shutting down

any conversation on this. And he deserves a lot of the blame for this not progressing forward. But, there are also some Democrats who weren`t

thrilled with this. Some of the Hispanic Latino Democrats are not thrilled with the fact there is no protections for dreamers in this. So, there is a

little bit of a blame to go around in both --

LONGABAUGH: But, in some ways, this would be my point about what the Republicans are giving to Biden here is --


LONGABAUGH: -- Biden therefore doesn`t have to pass, isn`t passing a bad bill the many on the left may not like.

HUNT: Yeah. No. It`s -- I mean, we`re going to have to see how the politics of this ultimately fall, but again, the policy provisions in this are so

much more conservative than the Democratic Party two years ago would have been willing to accept. I just -- I don`t want to lose sight of that here.


But, I also I think this takes place in the context of a bigger picture here whereby Donald Trump is on a glide path to the Republican nomination,

and it is, again, demonstrating over and over and over again that crossing him is simply not possible if you want to remain or become an elected

Republican. And we`re seeing this, obviously, not just on Capitol Hill, but also in congressional races across the country. Let`s go to Ohio where a

Republican Senate candidate, and we`ve seen this movie before, this candidate has deleted multiple tweets that were critical of Donald Trump.

Bernie Moreno once called Trump a "fake Republican" who stokes "hatred and fear."


BERNIE MORENO, U.S. REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE (VIA TELEPHONE): I think they have to open their eyes a little bit more and see what Trump`s message

is really about. Is that the America that we really want, the America that we saw in Chicago, where hatred is stoked and fears are what drive our

decision-making? There is no scenario in which I would support Trump. If Trump is the nominee, I think the Republican Party is now a different party

and not a party that I want to be a part of.


HUNT: So, that was March of 2016. He sounded a lot like many other Republicans. Nowadays, Moreno attacks the "wine-sipping country club

Republicans" who are offended by Trump`s words. Moreno`s struck about face (ph) has earned him an endorsement from the former president.

Andrew Kaczynski leads the team that uncovered all of this. They do this with many different things, and I always appreciate it very much. And

Andrew joins us now from New York. Andrew, tell us more about what you`ve learned here.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, & CNN SENIOR EDITOR, KFILE: Yeah. That is far from the only comment. He has a history of these anti-

Trump comments in both 2016 and 2021. This is the guy who harshly opposed Donald Trump, as we heard, during that 2016 Republican primary. He called

him a fake Republican. And he suggested that he was working with Hillary Clinton to bring down the Republican Party. He even insulted those

signature red Make America Great Again hats. He called them cheap. And that`s all been erased, deleted from Twitter now that he is announcing his

run for Senate.

And what`s interesting about that comment that you just played where he talks about, I`ll never vote for Donald Trump, is just take a look at this

deleted tweet from Moreno in October 6, 2016, that we found. He did just that. He said that he wrote in Marco Rubio. Now his campaign claims that

this was a joke that he supported Trump in 2016. But, with that harsh language, it wasn`t just Trump that he spoke so harshly about. Listen to

what he said in spring of 2016 as he talked about Trump supporters.


MORENO: We`re living in an interesting year of populism on both sides of the aisle. And the best defense against that populism is education. Really

being aware, because people do take advantage of ignorance in our society all the time.


HUNT: Unlike a lot of Democrats there when they`re in private, honestly. People are very careful not to say that in public, honestly, about voters.

But, Andrew, when Moreno previously ran for the Senate, he apparently falsely claimed that Trump was right about the OIC. I mean, he claimed that

Trump was right about the election being stolen, which we obviously know is false.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah. And one of the things I think we should note is his campaign has said that he strongly supported Trump after 2016. But, we

actually couldn`t find a very long record of him being a Trump supporter before he first ran for Senate in 2022. We even found an interview from

2019 where he denied that he supported Trump`s campaign. And then, we found this deleted tweet from 2020 where he actually congratulates Joe Biden for

his win. He now says that the election was stolen. But, again, we found this deleted tweet where he condemned Trump`s false election rhetoric in

November of 2020. And as rioters ransacked the Capitol on 2016, Moreno tweeted that Trump deserved "lots and lots of blame for the Capitol riot".

So, here is a guy who has just completely reinvented himself now that he was hoping to win Donald Trump`s support.

HUNT: Yeah. No. I mean, I think he briefly misspoke and said. This is what he said about January 6, not 2016. Your point is absolutely very well


And Nathan Gonzales, I actually -- this is kind of the piece of it. I mean, the history of candidates, I mean, Lindsey Graham, comes to mind, right,

Paul Ryan, people in 2016, who said this guy is the worst. Like, obviously, they all kind of changed their tunes in mass and here we are. Fine.

Clearly, Trump has been able to get over some of that. But, this election stuff is going forward. It`s going to matter, not just in the context of

one candidate`s hypocrisy and you can address that, please, I know you`ve covered these races very closely, but also in terms of what our members of

Congress are going to be asked to do in the aftermath of Election Day on 2024, which is certify the results of whoever actually does win the



GONZALES: Right. So, the big picture we have to remember that Ohio is one of the top two Senate races in the entire country along with Montana in

terms of the Senate control being on the line. And --

HUNT: And we should underscore that for our viewers. Right? Like, there is a huge question of whether the Senate will be controlled by Democrats or

Republicans, and this is the epicenter.

GONZALES: And if Republicans are able to defeat either Sherrod Brown in Ohio or Jon Tester in Montana, then they`re likely to be in control of the

Senate next year. The question I have now is, what does Trump do? How does Trump, when he reads all these tweets, what does he do? Does he rescind his

endorsement from Moreno? Because this is a competitive primary with two other credible candidates, Matt Dolan, a state legislator, and Frank

LaRose, who is a statewide elected official. But, I`m also interested, there is a congressional race in Ohio right now with the establishment

rally behind a state legislator named Craig Riedel. He was on the glide path for the nomination against Marcy Kaptur.

HUNT: Yeah.

GONZALES: And some tweets, some comments came up where he called President Trump "arrogant" and said he didn`t like the name calling. That was enough

for the Speaker Mike Johnson to pull his endorsement, Elise Stefanik to pull their endorsement. And they went and got another candidate in the

race. And that`s in Ohio. That happened just a few weeks ago. And so now, it seems she is -- how this will impact a very critical Senate race. And to

your point about January 6, to me, there was almost -- there has almost been no consequences for Republicans not voting to certify the election in

2020. So, what -- why would they not -- what would prevent them from at least trying that again?

HUNT: Let me also --

LONGABAUGH: Can I also point out? J.D. Vance was very much, on the record in 2016, criticizing Donald Trump. Donald Trump put his finger on the

scales in that primary in 2022. And J.D. Vance is now a United States Senator. So, I`m not sure consistency for the Republicans really matter.

HUNT: Once again, Nathan, who -- if you`re Sherrod Brown, the Democrat in the Ohio race, who does he want to run against?

GONZALES: I think all of them pose challenges because all of them are still credible Republicans in a state that is moving Republican.

HUNT: Right.

GONZALES: Sherrod Brown has proven he can win in Ohio, but it is just getting more difficult that it goes along. Brown has been able to outspend

his opponents in the past. He is not going to be able to do it this time because Moreno or Matt Dolan are both wealthy candidates. Frank LaRose will

have enough money with the party helping him. So, I think each of them pose different challenges for Sherrod Brown.

HUNT: Andrew, if you`re still with us, you obviously have seen this play out with many a candidate in your career hunting for this stuff online.

What is your expectation here? What are you watching for in the wake of your revelations?

KACZYNSKI: Yeah. I think there is -- I don`t think Trump is going to pull his endorsement, and that`s probably because there is really nothing that

Donald Trump loves more than somebody who was basically groveling for his endorsement. Right? When you have these people who were really anti-Trump,

who are now convert, it is sort of oath almost the ultimate testament of Donald Trump`s power, right, in the Republican Party, that you had these

people who, in 2016, were so harshly criticizing him, who after the capitol riots were so harshly criticizing him, and they have to basically go to

Donald Trump and almost sort of beg for his forgiveness.

We saw that with J.D. Vance who was mentioned. J.D. Vance once suggested that Donald Trump could be America`s Hitler. And then, Donald Trump ended

up endorsing him because he went and he basically gravely (ph) apologized for all of those old anti-Trump tweets. So, it`s going to be interesting to

see what Trump does here. But, again, this is sort of just Donald Trump`s power in the Republican Party that these sort of people have to come

begging to him for forgiveness.

HUNT: No. And Andrew Kaczynski, thank you very much for the reminder of what life was like in Donald Trump`s Washington and is going to continue to

be if he gets reelected.

All right. The rest of the panel is going to stay with us.

Up next, in Nevada, Donald Trump appears to be locked to win that state. So, how is it also likely that Nikki Haley could win the Republican primary

there? It`s a very confusing state of affairs in the Silver State. We`ll break it down.




HUNT: Welcome back. If it sounds confusing, well, it is. Republicans in Nevada can basically vote twice. They have two options for choosing a

presidential nominee this week. But, only one of the contests is actually going to matter where it counts. We already know the winner. A new state

law requires Nevada to hold a Republican primary. That is set for tomorrow, and Nikki Haley is going to be on that ballot. Donald Trump will not be on

that ballot. Now, in theory, that sounds great for Haley. Right? But, Nevada`s Republican Party, they have decided to continue with the caucuses.

That had been the usual way of picking a presidential candidate in Nevada. And those caucuses are where the state`s delegates are going to be awarded.

And Donald Trump is on that ballot and Nikki Haley is not.

Long story short, all of this means that Donald Trump will win the delegates in Nevada, though Nikki Haley could rack up more votes in the

state. Haley continued to jab at her rival over the weekend, making a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Our next question comes from someone who describes herself as a concerned South Carolina voter.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Hello. My question is, why won`t you debate Nikki Haley?

DONALD TRUMP PLAYED BY JAMES AUSTIN JOHNSON: Oh, my God, it`s her. The woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6. It`s Nancy Pelosi. Nikki

Haley, Joel Osman, we call her. Sixth Sense. I see dead people.

HALEY: Yeah, that`s what voters will say if they see you and Joe on the ballot.

AYO EDEBIRI, STAR OF THE FX ON HULU SERIES "THE BEAR": I was just curious, what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War, um, and do you

think it starts with an `s` and ends with a `lavery?

HALEY: Yep. I probably should have said that the first time. And Live from New York, it`s Saturday night.


HUNT: Haley followed that comedy skit cameo with this tweet taunting Trump. The show she says was past Trump`s bedtime. So, she expected a stream of

unhinged tweets the next morning.

Our panel returns. I have to say, like, if you`re going to get a notice from Donald Trump, I mean, the man -- he is a New Yorker. SNL is a big


STEWART: Yeah. And SNL is not a big fan of Trump. So, the fact that she went on there and told him, I`m sure that really, really got under his

skin. But, what she is doing that I think one of the unwritten rules of running for office, have fun. Have a good time. You have to love it. It is

hard work. It`s grueling. It`s time away from your family, but most importantly, have fun. And she is clearly doing just that.

HUNT: Yeah. I mean, if you`re not having fun, you`re probably losing.


HUNT: And also, voters can pick up on that --


HUNT: -- in a big way. Mark, would you make of it?

LONGABAUGH: Well, the Nevada situation actually is partly derived from the Democrats changing this -- their nominating process --


HUNT: Right. Right.

LONGABAUGH: -- in routing (ph) their state into that position and the Republicans just didn`t want to go along with it. So, they -- that`s why

you have this bifurcated system.

HUNT: (Inaudible).

LONGABAUGH: And this is not the first time that the state has had it. Texas used to have this kind of a system for -- in -- on the Democratic side, but

they got rid of it. So --

HUNT: I mean, it makes very little sense.

LONGABAUGH: No. It makes very little sense. And it`s actually an example of where the parties ought to try and work more together in terms of their

nominating system so we don`t have this kind of situation for voters. But, on the Haley front, I agree with you completely. She looks like she is

having fun, and I believe she is still playing for 2028. So --

HUNT: Right. I mean, look, any politician, it`s -- you got to be at a certain profile to get an invite SNL.


HUNT: I mean, let`s be real.

Nathan, on Nevada, the one thing that is a little bit of a wrinkle here too, I mean, Trump`s team obviously went with, OK, we`re going to do it the

right way. We`re going to get the delegates. We`re going to --


HUNT: -- participate in the caucus. Now, some of the reporting that`s out there sort of suggests they`re like, OK, fine. That was a good decision.

But, the primary, they`ve left this open to Nikki Haley, who is still in the race --


HUNT: -- and who is likely to get many more votes in a primary because the primary is so much more of an accessible system.

GONZALES: Right. He is still going to be winning the war. He is going to be inching closer to the nomination. But, he might take a hit on the

narrative, or Haley will -- she`ll at least have an opportunity to talk about how many votes she had winning the state. Now, those that we know

that she is not going to win delegates, but she is able to at least grab a victory and keep marching on. I`m still skeptical that she will even make

it to Super Tuesday. But, it`s clearly personal between the two of them now, and it`s going to get probably more ugly rather than playing the


HUNT: Why wouldn`t she stay in till Super Tuesday is she has got all these millions of dollars?

STEWART: Well, look, I think she`ll stay in for a limited period of time speaking with some folks in South Carolina. Look, she doesn`t have much

support in terms of elected officials. They see that she is -- they expect her to get beat by like 30 points in her own state.

HUNT: Sure.

STEWART: But, they look at the fact she is raising money. She is relevant. She is continuing to be part of the process, increasing her name ID, and

she is influential in the conservative Republican wing of the Republican Party, and she`ll stay in for a limited period of time. Look, the important

thing with Nevada, Trump knows, he knows how this process works. He knows he is probably not the most popular in some circles. But, they do know how

this works, the electoral process. He has got the Nevada GOP in his back pocket, and he knows he can --

HUNT: Yeah.

STEWART: -- win the caucus. She might win the vote in the actual primary. But, all it matters is leaving Las Vegas with those 26 delegates in the

tank and adding to his delegate count to get to the magic number 1,215.

HUNT: But, isn`t there still a risk, Mark? I mean, we`re talking about candidates. Like, clearly, Donald Trump gave Nikki Haley a gift when he got

so upset when she didn`t drop out after New Hampshire. I mean, and the Haley campaign saw that right away. I mean, as soon as he gave that speech



HUNT: -- I was getting texts being like, this is a gift.


HUNT: I mean, if she can get under -- I realize you`re the Democrat at the table, but you`ve been a -- you`ve got a lot of relationships --


HUNT: -- with a lot of candidates --


HUNT: -- over the years.

LONGABAUGH: Right. Right. Well, I mean, again -- I mean, I think she is playing the long game here. I mean, she is making a bet that one way or

another Donald Trump is gone after 2024. And when you get on SNL, as you were pointing out, that`s a cultural marker in our society, and people who

get on SNL as politicians, they have a long shelf life. So --

HUNT: Yeah. I mean, getting parodied on this.

LONGABAUGH: Yeah. No. Absolutely.

GONZALES: This is a case where I think Trump and his personal -- making these personal has made it more complicated for party. I think Nikki Haley

was probably his best choice for vice president. She is, I think, one of the -- she has to be one of the most accomplished women in the Republican

Party right now. And -- but, he has gone so far in just alienating her and DeSantis. When he got out, he called Nikki Haley the past, the 52-year old

two-time governor. But, let`s go with the 78-year-old, 77 -- almost -- turning 77 this year --

HUNT: Yeah.

GONZALES: -- as the future. I just think this was unnecessary, and he ruined an opportunity.

HUNT: Mark, can I ask you about the money for a second? Because since you were familiar with Bernie Sanders --


HUNT: -- and how -- the grassroots funding. They say that $11.2 million of their 16 some odd million dollars in the last month is coming from

grassroots --


HUNT: -- supporters. Now, this is firmly anecdata. But, I will say that I do have some Democrats in my life who have given like 10 bucks --


HUNT: -- to Nikki Haley. Right?


HUNT: And she has clearly tapped into that anti-Trump --


HUNT: -- excitement. I mean, can she keep leaning into that and still preserve her options?

LONGABAUGH: Well, I mean, I think continually losing elections, I think, eventually she will lose steam. But, I do believe that she can probably

survive South Carolina and go to Super Tuesday if she wants. My view would be, if I were in her camp, let`s go to Super Tuesday and collect as many

delegates as we can. Delegates are power at a convention. And by the way, we`ve got to -- they`ve got -- the Republicans have got a prospective

nominee who is under multiple indictments. We don`t know exactly what`s going to happen. There is a Supreme Court case about whether he can get --

he can be barred from the ballot.


If I were her, I`d stay in the game. I -- this whole commentary about she should get out, she should get out, she should get out, I just think is all


STEWART: And I think the small dollar donations are critical when you`re talking about -- in state-by-state races because --

LONGABAUGH: Absolutely.

STEWART: -- small dollars means many people and that means many people go vote. What I`m pleasantly surprised given someone that I think we need to

have a voice that stands up against Trump in this primary, I`m surprised that these large donors are still behind her. Some of them said, if she

doesn`t do well in Iowa and in New Hampshire, they`re going to pull their money back and not continue to put it down a rabbit hole. They`re

continuing to support her. So, clearly, there is small dollar and large donor support behind her message, and not just going against Trump, but

linking Trump with Biden, and 70 percent of Americans don`t want that rematch.

HUNT: Well, it`s writings on the wall there.

All right. Up next here, on the Democratic side, President Biden is a lock to win the Nevada primary, but this time around, he is not taking anything

for granted. We`ll talk about his adventures in the Silver State next.


HUNT: Welcome back to the State of the Race. I`m Kasie Hunt. We`re live in Washington. We just told you about Nevada`s parallel Republican primary

contests this week. It is considerably less confusing if you are a Democrat. They have one contest, tomorrow`s primary. President Joe Biden

faces no significant opposition there. He is returning to Washington today after rounding his base in Nevada and touting his record on the economy, as

he looks ahead to a likely general election rematch against President -- former President Trump.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Inflation is now lower in America than any other major economy in the world, in the world. Let me

tell you who else is noticing this, Donald Trump, the strange things he says. He recently said, when there is a crash, I hope it`s in the next 12

months, and I wonder for a former president to root for a crash. It`s unbelievable. It`s un-American.


How can anyone, especially a former president, wish for an economic crash that would devastate millions of Americans?


HUNT: All right. Our panel is back with us. He also went on to continue to criticize Trump along these lines, Mark, and he called him Donald Herbert

Hoover Trump, which is interesting. Take a look at what President Biden said.


BIDEN: Trump also said the one president he doesn`t want to be is Herbert Hoover. Donald, I got you bad news for you, pal. It`s too late. There are

only two presidents in American history, you and Herbert Hoover who left office with fewer jobs than when they took office, Herbert Hoover, yes,

Donald "Herbert Hoover" Trump.


HUNT: OK. What do you make of that, effective in --

LONGABAUGH: Well, I mean, I think he is having a little bit of fun. I mean, this is a party dinner. And so, it was substance along with a few jokes.

And I think that was sort of part of the jest. But, I will say, I think the president and his campaign are using the early primary contests as great

platforms to engage the debate. I mean, they did it in South Carolina. They`re doing it now in Nevada. I would expect they do it in Michigan. And

it`s a way for them to engage Trump. And I think he has decided to take him on directly.

HUNT: What do you think?

STEWART: I think it is fun now to see it`s basically hit the head of Trump and Biden. Right? And now it`s mano a mano. Clearly, Biden is going after

Trump using that reference to Hoover, talking about the economy. If I were him, given the state of the economy right now or people`s perception of the

economy, I might avoid talking about the economy. While the metrics are good, the numbers are good, the mood does not match the metrics, and the

American people feel as though they trust Trump more than Biden to handle the economy, and they trust Trump more than Biden to handle immigration at

this stage. So, I`m looking at Biden looking at a message that might appeal to a Democratic audience. But, writ large, the American people see Trump

stronger on key issues that resonate with American people.

HUNT: What do you see in the polling on this?

GONZALES: Well, I think that one thing that stuck out to me about this event, again, with -- according to polling, is that when he entered the

stage, it was from behind the podium, and it was sort of like WWE, but it was sort of the shuffle, like it was about -- it just showed -- I think it

almost highlighted his age rather than focused on something else. And when you look at polling, there is voter concern about his age. And we know that

Trump is all of three and a half years younger, and not a spring chicken himself. But, the scrutiny has been on Biden. And so, I just wonder, with

future events, when you want to show that he is active and able, but highlighting, like --

HUNT: Yeah.

GONZALES: -- the age is something I think that has to be taken into consideration.

HUNT: Certainly the video can -- a different video that exists of him can potentially add to the perceptions that Americans already have of him.

That said, one of the ways in which Biden seemed to be trying to demonstrate his vim and vigor was to say this about Donald Trump. Now,

granted, he was egged on by someone in the crowd. But, take a look at this.


BIDEN: This is the guy, when he was in France, they asked him to go to an American cemetery in France for World War II, where Americans were buried.

You know what he said? He said those folks were suckers and losers. Suckers and losers the guy said. No. I am not kidding. By the way, that`s the --

I`m glad I wasn`t there. No, no. I`m serious. I shouldn`t say that. But, I am glad I wasn`t there to call my son and your sons and daughters who gave

their lives in this country suckers and losers. That`s how this guy thinks.


HUNT: So, Biden there, of course, reminding everyone of this -- of what Donald Trump said when he was in office, and he visited the American

Cemetery in France. However, he also was egged on to, Mark, knock him out by a crowd member saying like, punch Trump, and Biden says, I`m glad I

wasn`t there, suggesting, well, if I had been there, I might attack him. And then he goes, I shouldn`t say that. Like, we`ve heard this a little bit

from Biden before in certain instances. He is usually criticized for it because he is usually the guy that`s like, violence, not OK in politics.

Right? But, there is a little Irish there.

LONGABAUGH: Well, yeah. And again, I don`t want to read too much into it because he is responding to the crowd there, and there is a give and take

call and response going on there. But, look, I mean, I think one of the strongest things that Biden did was actually calling Trump out on one of

the most despicable and disgusting comments that he has ever made, disparaging American service members, and it`s -- and he also took him to

task for the triviality in which he treated the loss of these three Georgia service members that America lost in the Middle East.


And so, I just can`t even think among Trump`s base that that plays very well.

STEWART: And I think foreign policy is another issue where Biden might want to steer clear of at this stage of the game because he does not have a

strong foreign policy record, starting with Afghanistan and now we`re in the midst of proxy wars. That would be an issue, just steer clear from. In

speaking with -- you talk to a lot more Democrats than I do. But, in speaking with the Democrats that I speak with, abortion would be a good

issue to focus on. That would really generate enthusiasm and support with Democratic base. And threats to democracy, that`s an easy one, Donald Trump

and what he has done to question the integrity of our fantastic election process. That is a motivator for voters.

So, in my mind, until we can turn the -- till the voters feel the economy has turned around, until there is progress on immigration, I see Biden

better served talking about abortion and threats to democracy.

HUNT: You agree?

GONZALES: Yeah. I mean, abortion is going to be one of the top issues. It`s where Democrats have made gains at the -- in the midterm elections where it

helped them over perform. It`s going to be one of the core issues of this campaign.

HUNT: Yeah, for sure.

All right. Up next here, Donald Trump maintaining a strong lead over Nikki Haley in her home state of South Carolina. Still ahead, we`re going to talk

to South Carolina Lieutenant Governor and Trump supporter. Pamela Evette will join us to discuss.


HUNT: Welcome back. The South Carolina Republican primary now less than three weeks away, and latest polling shows Donald Trump with a comfortable

lead over Nikki Haley there. But, that has not stopped Haley from raising large sums of money, and of course keeping up her attacks on the former

president. How close can she come in her home state?

Joining me now is Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina who is endorsing Donald Trump this cycle, Pamela Evette. Lieutenant Governor, thank you very

much for being with us today.

PAMELA EVETTE, SOUTH CAROLINA LT. GOVERNOR: Thank you so much for having me on.

HUNT: So, let me just start. You and Nikki Haley actually share quite a few things. I mean, you`re both barrier-breaking Republican women in the south.


You`re accountants by training. You both have business backgrounds. You both have immigrant roots in your families. Why is it that you are

supporting Donald Trump over someone so similar in profile to you?

EVETTE: Well, Kasie, it`s not a secret to anyone. I`ve supported President Trump since 2015. I feel with the way the world is today, and we are in

disarray, that he just brings the skill set to the job. I don`t believe that there is time to learn on the job right now. We have an invasion at

our southern border. Bidenomics are crushing families and businesses, even here in South Carolina. And so, it was easy to throw my support behind him.

HUNT: Do you have any concerns about the former president`s ability to win considering that Republicans nationally have had a string of losses in

2018, 2020 and 2022, even 2023?

EVETTE: I`m not concerned at all. As I travel around, I was in New Hampshire with the former president, and here in South Carolina in my

travels, more and more people that said, they didn`t vote for him four years ago, are voting for him now. They`re worried. Energy prices continue

to go up. People`s bank accounts are going down. Their 401(k)`s are being impacted. I think now people are looking at what is affecting me and my

home. And as a mom, I`m worried about what`s happening at the southern border. My children are less safe today than they were four years ago.

And most South Carolinians, this is what I hear over and over, they`re not as prosperous as they were four years ago. Under the Trump administration,

everybody was winning. All demographics were moving up. People`s 401(k)`s were rising. Gas prices were lower. Bank accounts continue to fill and


HUNT: Well, in fairness, the markets are the highest they`ve ever been right now.

EVETTE: But, people have taken big losses. I know -- everybody that I talked to sees their 401(k)`s going up and down. It is very erratic. But,

it still doesn`t -- when you talk about what it takes to buy a house anymore, four years ago, $40,000 could get some -- I`m sorry, $70,000 could

get somebody into that starter home. And now, those prices are estimated at $120,000. So, that puts it out of the reach. The American Dream is getting

further and further out of people`s reach.

HUNT: Lieutenant Governor, how do you view the way that the former president has attacked Nikki Haley on the campaign trail? He, for example,

criticized the dress that she wore in her New Hampshire speech. Do you think that that was appropriate?

EVETTE: I`m concentrating, and I think most Americans now are getting away from the rhetoric that happens during campaigns, and they`re looking at

what somebody can actually do for them. And how -- again, how is it affecting them in their homes? I would love to see everybody come behind

who we know is going to be our nominee, which is President Trump, and let`s all work together and focus on how we beat President Biden because that`s

the enemy in this race if you`re a Republican. That`s who we need to beat come November this year. That`s how we take that.

HUNT: Might it be easier to focus on President Biden if the former president wasn`t -- I mean, Nikki Haley`s team will say that those attacks

on her that night helped her. They`ve helped generate donations. They`ve in many ways prolonged the process. And if you talk to people close to

President Trump as well, they`ll say they would prefer if he didn`t actually act that way. So, do you think he is hurting himself in the race

against, as you say, you believe it`s a very important race against the president?

EVETTE: Well, I see his numbers continue to go up and up, and his support continues to go up and up. So, what I want to see again, I would love for

us all to come behind and stop beating up each other. I really want to focus on beating Joe Biden come November, taking back the White House.

That`s the way we`re going to correct all the problems that Bidenomics has caused here in our country, this unrest in the world. In 2022, I traveled

to Israel, and Benjamin Netanyahu, at that point, said when America has weak leadership, the entire world is in disarray. And boy, aren`t we seeing

that today like we`ve never seen before.

HUNT: Lieutenant Governor, can I ask you about -- you mentioned border security and immigration as being something that is important for the

safety of your children. There was a compromise released in the Senate just overnight last night. The former president has come out against it. But, it

does include some of the most conservative border measures so far. Do you believe that your kids would be safer if they could do something about the

border now instead of waiting?

EVETTE: Well, I wish President Biden would have done something about the border three years ago. I mean, with a stroke of a pen, he could have

closed down the border. And we didn`t have to wait for this, because now we have over 11 million illegal immigrants.

HUNT: Well, he would say that the law prevents him from doing that, and that he needs Congress to change the law.


EVETTE: Well, President Trump, he was -- well, I think under President Trump, he was building a wall. We were keeping more security at our

southern border than we`d seen in a long time. And President Biden could have done that. He reversed all of President Trump`s policies, staying in

Mexico, stopping of the building of the wall. This all created this influx that`s happening right now. And with 11 million plus illegal immigrants,

and that`s double the population of South Carolina, that`s not good for our country. We have no idea who is here and why they`re here, or even where

they`re going. Catch and release is causing South Carolinians a lot of worry, because everywhere I go, everywhere I stop, people want to know how

that`s going to affect us here in South Carolina. It`s truly made every state a border state.

HUNT: The debate has very much changed. We`ve been discussing that as well. I mean -- so, I guess my final question to you, Lieutenant Governor, would

just be, what would you say that Nikki Haley`s future is in the Republican Party?

EVETTE: I think we all have a great future. There is a lot of work to be done. We all want to see America once again have strength. And so, I wish

her all the best. I really would hope that, again, she comes behind our nominee. Let`s all come together. The Republican Party has a wide tent, and

we want to make sure everybody feels a part of that and move on. Again, the person we all have to come together to beat is Joe Biden, and that`s what

we need to do come November.

HUNT: All right. South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate your time.

EVETTE: Thank you so much.

HUNT: All right. It`s time for a quick break here. But, do stay with us. Our panel is going to be back with one more thing.


HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. My panel rejoins. Before we go, we always ask for one more thing on the campaign trail or in Washington you`re

watching for in the coming days. Your thoughts. 30 seconds each. Mark.

LONGABAUGH: Well, I know the 2024 campaign is not concluded yet. But, 2028 has already begun. And the Democrats --

HUNT: Should I add that countdown on the show?


HUNT: It is 273 days for Election Day.

LONGABAUGH: Actually, I wrote your 273 down. I don`t know what the addition --


LONGABAUGH: But, I think you see many of the prospective 28 candidates using the Biden campaign as a launching pad and a platform for their

further prospective campaigns in 2028. You`ve got obviously Vice President Harris building her organization state by state in the early primary. She

is a spokesperson on abortion. You got Gavin Newsom who made a high profile South Carolina trip. He is signing emails for the Biden-Harris ticket.

You`ve got Ro Khanna who spent four days in New Hampshire working on the right enough there.

HUNT: Yes.

LONGABAUGH: He was also at the South Carolina dinner where the president spoke. And I`m sure we`re going to see a lot of Gretchen Whitmer and many

more candidates who are out there who have been asked by the Biden campaign to speak. But, we`re already in a -- it`s already started.

HUNT: Setting the stage for the Democratic side of this.

LONGABAUGH: Setting the stage.

HUNT: All right. Alice.

STEWART: I`m going to look a little more in the near future, this current presidential race. One overlooked caucus that doesn`t get a lot of

attention but is coming up this week on Thursday, February 8, is the U.S. Virgin Island caucus. And yes --

HUNT: We can`t forget about the Virgin Islands.

STEWART: Yes. We could do a remote show from there.

HUNT: I am there. Jimmy, set it up. Thank you.

STEWART: Nikki Haley has done some tele townhall campaigning there. She is doing one this evening. Donald Trump has sent some surrogates there. But,

look, they cannot vote in this election, but they do have delegates, and there are nine delegates up for grabs, and that will be something -- if

Nikki Haley were to grab them, that would show some sense of momentum. But, at this stage of the game, it`s all about the delegates, and that`d be a

good place.

HUNT: Very interesting. I will say there are a handful of places. I`ve been to Puerto Rico several times --


HUNT: -- chasing candidates who were chasing delegates. But, I never got to go to the Virgin Islands, though, on my part. We got a couple of days.


GONZALES: I warned this about it before. But, next week, Tuesday is the special election in New York`s third district. This where the Republicans

are defending the seat after they expelled George Santos.


This is critical because it could get Democrats one closer this year, making the legislative more difficult for Republicans, but also get

Democrats closer to a majority next year. So, it`s all having -- this Long Island, little bit of Queens, and whichever party wins, I guarantee they`re

going to say, this is what it means for November. Whoever loses, this isn`t a big deal. But, it is a big deal because the House margin is so narrow.

That is a big huge election.

HUNT: It`s a huge deal. Do you think that the Democratic hand wringing on that is warranted?

GONZALES: Yeah. Actually, my colleague, Jacob Rubashkin, was just up there last week, and it was remarkable the lack of energy or activity during the

week, and he was told, Oh, on the weekend, this is when things are moving. Well, OK. But, remember what`s happening this weekend on Sunday, Super

Bowl. I`m not sure if people want someone knocking on their door and say, hey, are you going to vote on Tuesday when they`re trying to watch a big


HUNT: We are all going to be watching the Super Bowl. Let`s be real.

All right. Guys, thank you all very much for the conversation.

I`m Kasie Hunt. That`s the State of the Race for today, Monday, February 5. You can always follow me on Instagram and on the platform formerly known as

Twitter. Don`t go anywhere. One World is up next.