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State of the Union
Interview With Presidential Candidate Donald Trump; Interview With Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Interview With Florida Senator Marco Rubio; Interview With Ohio Governor John Kasich; Arrest and Violence at Donald Trump Rallies. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 13, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Out of control.
Donald Trump cancels his rally, as protesters descend and violence erupts.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A planned attack just came of nowhere, a disgrace, if you want to know the truth.
TAPPER: Has campaign 2016 reached a boiling point? Donald Trump will be here in moments.
But will any of this violence change the race?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's called chaos. It's called anarchy. and that's what we're careening towards in our political process.
TAPPER: Senator Marco Rubio will also be here.
And with just two days to go before the winner-take-all crucial primaries of Ohio and Florida, will the candidates collude to try to stop Trump?
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to get in the business of telling people, I really like you, but, by the way, don't vote for me.
TAPPER: Governor John Kasich will join me live. Fresh off his surprise win in Michigan, can he do it here again in Ohio?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you guys come out to vote, we're going to pull off an upset here as well.
TAPPER: Bernie Sanders will be here live ahead of our Democratic town hall this evening.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Columbus, Ohio, where this evening, I will be hosting a town hall live on CNN with the Democratic candidates for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
But, first, let's talk about the state of our union, which is chaotic, dozens arrested at Donald Trump's rallies this weekend, as the front- runner's supporters and protesters face off, sometimes leading to violent confrontations.
Friday's rally in Chicago was canceled after a melee broke out, leaving two police officers injured. Trump continued campaigning, but was often interrupted by protesters, whom he taunted from the stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want to ruin people's lives. But the only way we're going to stop this craziness is if we press charges, because then their lives are going to be ruined. They're going to know their lives are going to be ruined.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And, in Ohio, Secret Service rushed to surround Trump after a man jumped a barrier in an attempt to get on stage with Trump. He was arrested as well.
Trump's fellow candidates in both parties condemning the violence and accusing the Republican front-runner of creating a toxic environment, but with just who days until Tuesday's winner-take-all primaries in Ohio and Florida, Trump still looks on track to maintain his significant delegate lead.
And joining us now, Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump, thanks so much for joining us.
TRUMP: Thank you.
TAPPER: So, Mr. Trump, you're being faulted for a tone allegedly encouraging violence by every candidate in the race, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders.
Take a look at this new ad from an anti-Trump super PAC which is airing on national cable today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: Donald Trump campaign violence.
TRUMP: I would like to punch him in the face, knock the crap out of him. They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks. I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, protests on the campaign trail are obviously nothing new. I have seen one in every previous election I have covered.
But, in every one I have seen before, the leader on the stage tries to lower the temperature, not raise it. Do you ever consider whether you should be trying to lower the temperature when these protests erupt?
TRUMP: I think, in many cases, I do lower the temperature.
I tell the police, please take it easy when people are punching the police and trying to hurt people. When I say things like "I would like to punch him," frankly, this was a person that was absolutely violent and was like a crazed individual.
A lot of them are -- you know, I don't even call them protesters. I call them disrupters. A lot of them come from Bernie Sanders, whether he wants to say it or not. And if he says no, then he's lying.
Bernie Sanders, they have Sanders signs all over the place. And they're made by the same people that make the regular Bernie Sanders signs. They're professionally made.
And we have great rallies. We have by far the biggest rallies. We have 25,000, 30,000 people at rallies. And out of that, you have had very little problem. And then what I did with Chicago -- and I could have gone. It would have been easier for me to go and make the speech, and you would have had a clash, because you had professional disrupters, thousands of them, from Sanders and to a smaller extent Hillary.
Hillary doesn't have very much fervor. I will say that. And so people don't care that much. But you have Sanders disrupters going over there. You had Ayers there. You had a lot of people there that I don't think is so good to be there.
And I'll tell you what. I think what I did -- and I have gotten a lot of credit for it, not from CNN. I watched John King this morning. That was a total kill job, the entire show. I was amazed at that show. It was like a total kill.
But I'll tell you what. I got a lot -- I have gotten a lot of credit from other networks, not from CNN. I have gotten a lot of credit for the fact that...
TRUMP: ... I canceled and postponed the other day in Chicago...
TRUMP: ... because, frankly, if I went up, we would have had my -- my supporters have tremendous love of this country.
TRUMP: They're tired of our country being ripped off by everybody.
And I will tell you, you would have had a tremendous clash. And a lot of people would have gotten hurt or worse. And by canceling it, everybody dispersed beautifully. The police did a great job. The Secret Service was fantastic.
TRUMP: And there was no injuries, no nothing.
So, I should get credit, not be scorned...
TRUMP: ... on your program by John King all morning long.
TAPPER: OK. Well, that's not my program.
But, in any case, this morning, sir, you tweeted: "Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disrupters aren't told to go to my events. Be careful, Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours."
That sounds like a threat. It doesn't sound like lowering the temperature. It sounds like making things perhaps even worse.
TRUMP: No, it's not a threat. It's not a threat. It's not a threat at all.
Look, my people have said, we ought to go to his rallies, because, you know, it's sort of interesting. When liberals and super liberals -- and I don't even call them liberals, because I have many friends that are liberal, and I think they're wonderful people. These are beyond liberal.
These people are bad people that are looking to do harm to our country. But when these people come into mine, you know, everybody thinks I'm a bad guy, when, if my people went into one of his rallies, they'd say, oh, this is a terrible thing. They would be arrested and all sorts of things would happen to them.
If conservative Republicans ever went into his rally, you would see things happen that would be unbelievable. And Bernie would be, oh, poor, Bernie, isn't that a shame?
There is a horrible thing -- there is a horrible thing going on in the media. We are treated so unfairly, and I'm treated very unfairly. I mean, you know, this morning, you had your political consultant say I had 5,000 people in Dayton, Ohio.
Well, I had far more than 5,000 people. We had a hangar that was filled with people.
TRUMP: It had to be 10,000 or 15,000 people.
TAPPER: I think people -- I guess, Mr. Trump, the point is that people are getting hurt, and people are actually concerned that somebody might get seriously, seriously injured before this is all over, and that you are not taking down the temperature. You are, in the views of many of your fellow Republicans, making
things worse, inciting, encouraging violence. And you're a leader, sir.
TRUMP: My fellow Republicans...
TAPPER: You're the front-runner of the Republican Party.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me.
My fellow Republicans are running against me. They are losing big league. In Florida, we have a man, Marco Rubio, who doesn't even show up to vote in the U.S. Senate. He's a disgrace. He's weak, very weak on illegal immigration, wants to give amnesty to everybody. He's a person that I don't think he could be elected dogcatcher in Florida, frankly, but I'm running against...
TAPPER: All right, but, with all due respect, sir...
TRUMP: In -- if you look at -- excuse me. Excuse me.
If you look at Ohio, we have a man that voted for NAFTA. NAFTA has destroyed Ohio, and now he's voting for TPP, I mean, in Kasich. And give me a break. They're running against me. So, obviously, if I were in their position, I would be saying the same thing.
We have rallies of 25,000, 30,000 people, and you haven't even said anything about danger in our rallies until Friday. And the danger was ended by a very good managerial decision not to have that particular rally, to postpone it.
TAPPER: I -- well, I said something about it at the debate on Thursday night, because people are worried about it.
TRUMP: How many people -- and, Jake, you made a statement.
Jake, could I ask you a question? You made a statement that, at my rallies, people are -- it's dangerous. Now, other than for the other day with Chicago and the one man that rushed the stage and Secret Service did a very good job, but, other than that, with thousands of people, 21,000, 25,000, 35,000 people a few weeks ago in Alabama, how many people have been injured at my rallies?
Zero. Zero. There's been nobody injured.
TAPPER: I -- I don't think that it's zero. It's -- it's...
TRUMP: But you make it like everybody is being broken down and injured, because CNN reports very, very unfairly about me, I'll tell you what.
So, out of all of these rallies, with thousands and thousands of people, and nobody is even close -- by the way, Bernie gets peanuts compared to what we get. And I say we because it's me and -- I'm just a messenger, because there is a lot of anger in this country, and it's anger at incompetence.
It's anger at the border. It's anger at trade deals that are so bad for us and all our jobs are being taken out of the country. There is a lot of anger.
I didn't need to do this. I have a wonderful life. I have a great, great company. I didn't need to do this. I wanted to do it, because somebody has to do it.
TAPPER: I would just ask...
TRUMP: Our country is in trouble.
TAPPER: I hear you, sir. I hear you, sir, about the causes of the anger.
I would just, ask as a fellow American, if you could consider whether or not dialing down the temperature, trying to bring down the temperature, might be a healthier thing, both for your campaign and for the nation at large.
But that's all the time we have. Thank you so much for joining us, Donald Trump.
TRUMP: Well, if you would report it right -- well, you should report it right, because we have had no injuries at my -- at my events with thousands of people. You just don't report it that way.
So, you know, do what you have to do.
TAPPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: Thank you.
TAPPER: We're going to hear from both Governor John Kasich and Senator Rubio shortly.
But, first, let's turn to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Donald Trump blamed him yesterday for some of the violence at his canceled event in Chicago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People that were there, that came there, that were invited there, thousands and thousands of people, they caused no problem.
They were taunted. They were harassed by these other people. These other people, by the way, some represented Bernie, our communist friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: And Senator Bernie Sanders joins me now.
Senator, thanks for joining us.
SANDERS: My pleasure.
TAPPER: So, Donald Trump said Saturday that some of the people who disrupted his rally in Chicago -- quote -- "represented Bernie, our communist friend." You just heard him say that.
TAPPER: And then, this morning, he issued something of a warning to you on Twitter.
He wrote: "Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disrupters aren't told to go to my events. Be careful, Bernie, or more my supports will go to yours."
TAPPER: What's your response, sir?
SANDERS: Well, for a start, Mr. Trump should be -- we should take Mr. Trump's words with a grain of salt, because I think, as almost everybody knows, this man cannot stop lying about anything.
To call me a communist is a lie. To talk about our organization or our campaign disrupting his meeting is a lie. Were there some people there? There were thousands of people, as I understand it. Some of them were supporters of mine, but, certainly, absolutely, we had nothing to do, our campaign had nothing to do with disrupting his meeting.
I think what you see, Jake, is a man -- and even his Republican colleagues make this point -- his language, his intonations, when he talks about carrying people out in stretchers, when you see at his rallies people sucker-punch folks, kick people when they're down, this is a man who keeps implying violence, and then you end up getting what you see.
So, I think that he, in fact, has got to tell his supporters that, in the United States of America, you don't go beating up people, that people have a right to peacefully protest. And I hope that become the tone of his campaign.
But I will also say this. I think Trump is getting nervous because he is seeing, in virtually every national poll, last NBC poll, we were 18 points ahead of him. Statewide polls, we are way ahead of him. People in America know that we cannot have a president like Trump, who insults Mexicans, who insults women, who insults Muslims, who insults veterans in John McCain.
People are catching on to Donald Trump. That's why he's getting reckless. TAPPER: So, the group People for Bernie, which I understand is not an
official campaign group, but it is a group of your supporters, they were claiming at least partial credit for shutting down the Trump rally, that it wasn't just luck.
This is a tweet of theirs. "It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work."
Now, I get protesting, but the goal here of these protests seem to be to stop the rally from happening. And I'm wondering if you have any concerns...
TAPPER: ... about supporters of yours stopping Donald Trump from exercising his First Amendment right to speak.
SANDERS: Look, Jake, no, I agree.
Look, you have just indicated there were many, many, many organizations. We learned about this when we saw it on television. Our campaign had nothing to do about it.
I think people have the right to protest. I do not like people disrupting anybody's meetings. And I would hope that my supporters will not disrupt meetings. To protest is one thing. To disrupt is something else.
But, once again, Trump is not telling the truth. It should not surprise anybody. He very rarely tells the truth when he says that our campaign disrupted his meeting. It was not. We have millions of supporters, and people do things, but it was not our campaign.
TAPPER: But, just to be clear, any violence, any disruption that is inappropriate from any of your supporters, you denounce and you would tell your supporters not to do that?
But I also think -- and, again, this is not just me talking. This is people in the Republican Party. As I understand it, Jake, Donald Trump's own campaign manager is now up on charges for assaulting a female reporter, bruising her.
I mean, this is a campaign whose rhetoric, whose people now, because I think of that rhetoric, are leaning too much in the direction of violence.
And Trump himself, I think, is the primary cause of this. He has absolutely got to tone it down.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the race here in Ohio for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Your rival, Hillary Clinton, went after you this weekend on the issue of health care reform. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to pull together and stand up against those powerful forces.
And I always get a little chuckle when I hear my opponent talking about doing it. Well, I don't know where he was when I was trying to get health care in '93 and '94, standing up against the insurance companies, standing up against the drug companies.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your response?
And, more broadly, what did you think of Hillary Clinton's management of the health care reform effort in the '90s?
SANDERS: Well -- well, I think that, you know, Secretary Clinton is getting a little bit nervous.
She lost last week in Michigan. I think she understands that the momentum in this campaign and the energy is with us, and that we have a good chance to win a number of states on Tuesday.
By the way, I think we have a photograph out there somewhere of me standing literally right next to Hillary Clinton in her efforts to bring health care reform back in the 1990s. So, what she's saying is not entirely accurate.
But what I do say and what I have said throughout this campaign is that, while the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of good, we have got to go further. We have got to join the rest of the industrialized world, guarantee health care to all people, take on the drug companies in -- who are ripping off the American people in an unconscionable way, charging us the highest prices in the world for medicine.
One out of five Americans can't even afford medicine. So, I believe, as I have said throughout this campaign, that health care is a right of all people. We have got to move to a Medicare-for-all health care system.
TAPPER: You won Michigan. You say part of that is because of your position against trade deals that have hurt American workers.
NAFTA is obviously a big issue here in Ohio. Is it fair to go after Hillary Clinton for a trade deal that her husband signed into law?
SANDERS: Jake, that would not be fair.
But the truth is that Hillary Clinton herself spoke out time and time again in strong support of that disastrous piece of legislation. I have helped lead the effort, almost from my first days in Congress, against NAFTA, later against permanent normal trade relations with China.
The facts are -- this has nothing to do with Bill Clinton. The facts are that Hillary Clinton has vigorously supported almost every piece of disastrous trade legislation this country has seen, legislation which has cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and led to a race to the bottom.
I have opposed those pieces of legislation, helped lead the opposition to them, because I understood that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Mexico or people in China who are making pennies an hour. That's unfair.
If elected president, we are going to bring about major reforms to our trade policies. Corporations are going to start investing in the United States of America, creating jobs here, not in China.
Hillary Clinton and I have a strong difference of opinion and a different record regarding trade.
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton provoked something of a backlash on Friday from some of her supporters in the LGBT community after she praised Nancy Reagan's work on HIV and AIDS. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s.
And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular Mrs. Reagan, we started a national conversation, when, before, nobody would talk about it, nobody wanted to do anything about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Hillary Clinton has since apologized for these -- those remarks and said it was a mistake.
What did you make of that?
SANDERS: I just don't know what she was talking about.
In fact, that was a very tragic moment in modern American history. There were many, many people who were dying of AIDS. And, in fact, there was demand all over this country for President Reagan to start talking about this terrible tragedy. And yet he refused to talk about it while the AIDS epidemic was sweeping this country.
So, I'm not quite sure where Secretary Clinton got her information. I'm glad she apologized, but the truth is, it was not President Reagan and Nancy Reagan who were leaders in talking about this issue, quite the contrary. They refused to allow that discussion to take place. They didn't get involved in it while so many fellow Americans were getting sick and dying.
TAPPER: You will permit me one horse race question, sir.
Hillary Clinton leads you in pledged delegates by a wider margin than the one Obama led Clinton in 2008. Tell us the path to how you beat her in pledged delegates and win the nomination. What states will you win in a landslide, thus changing the basic calculus?
SANDERS: Well, you know, Jake, as you know, a lot of the states that have come up so far -- and I should tell you, we have won nine primaries and caucuses, most of them by very wide margins.
Most of the states that came up -- and I think where Secretary Clinton has gotten today most of her delegates are in the Deep South, and we have not done well there. That's -- that's absolutely true. We have not done well.
But now we're heading into areas of this country where I think we are going to do better. I think we're going to have a good day on Tuesday. I think we're heading out West in the next weeks and months in California, obviously a lot of delegates there, state of Washington, state of Oregon.
We're going to do well in Montana. I think we're going to do well in Hawaii, and I think we're going to do well in New York state. And adding that up, there are a lot of delegates there.
Also, Jake, I would say that, as the campaign progresses and if, if we do well in a number of states, and if the general sentiment becomes that Bernie Sanders is the candidate who will defeat Donald Trump -- and all of the polls -- virtually all of the polls have me doing better against Trump than Hillary Clinton -- I think a lot of those superdelegates who are today pledged to Hillary Clinton may say, what's most important is defeating Trump or the Republican nominee. Bernie Sanders is the candidate to do that. We're going to swing over to Bernie.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Sanders, I will see you later today.
And you at home, you can join me, Senator Sanders, and Hillary Clinton tonight for the CNN/TV One Democratic presidential town hall in advance of Tuesday's critical primaries. I will be moderating a conversation between Senator Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and voters here in Ohio.
That's this evening at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.
Our thanks to Senator Sanders just then.
Returning now to the Republican race, we're going to hear from Governor John Kasich on his response to Trump shortly.
But, first, let's turn to Senator Marco Rubio. He is crisscrossing his home state of Florida, sounding not just upset about Trump and the violence at some of Trump's rallies, but almost in despair.
And joining us now from Orlando, Florida, Senator Marco Rubio.
Senator, thanks for joining us.
RUBIO: Thank you. Good morning.
TAPPER: This weekend, you condemned Donald Trump for allegedly inciting his supporters to commit violence. You called it a -- quote -- "frightening, grotesque, and disturbing development in American politics."
Frightening. What are you frightened about?
RUBIO: That we can no longer have a debate in this country about policy differences without it resorting to the highest level of anxiety, anger.
You see images of Americans now at -- literally at each other's throats, pointing fingers in each other's face. Look, some of these protesters that you saw in Chicago apparently, obviously, were organized, maybe even paid to disrupt an event, so I'm not excusing their behavior.
But this not just the protesters in Chicago. These is now multiple rallies where people are assaulted and beat up, where a guy gets sucker-punched by one of the Trump supporters. And then, instead of condemning it, Trump is silent. When the guy is released from jail, he says, the next time, we -- maybe we should kill the protester against -- again, there is silence.
Then he goes on stage and makes -- just makes things up. He keeps telling the story about general -- a general who dipped bullets in the pig blood and shot a bunch of prisoners of -- Muslim prisoners up. Not only is it outrageous. It's a lie. And then he claims that the guy that stormed the stage was linked to ISIS.
He has turned the most important election in a generation into a circus, into a complete fiasco and a carnival. And it's -- this country deserves better. I mean, we -- at some point, people have to wake up here. This is really going to do damage to America.
TAPPER: I want to read a tweet that Donald Trump just sent out.
He wrote -- quote -- "Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disrupters aren't told to go to my events. Be careful, Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours."
Your response, sir?
RUBIO: I don't know anything about Bernie Sanders' campaign and who they're sending.
But this is not just Bernie Sanders. Yes, a few people had Bernie Sanders signs. OK? I don't agree with their -- them going and thinking they can shut down a rally. This is something the left has now been doing on college campuses.
But he wants to deflect and distract. Here is the bottom line. He has said to people, why don't we basically beat up the protesters and beat up the hecklers, and I will pay your legal bills?
And here is what people have to understand. Maybe you think it's a joke, but there are people out there that are not balanced. There are people out there that -- that are not completely in control of themselves. And they hear something like this from a leader, you don't know what they're going to do next.
And when someone is seeking a position of leadership and is already in a position of influence, you speak responsibly. This notion that a president can just say anything they want, or even a presidential candidate can say anything they want, whatever comes to mind, it's just not true, and it's reckless, and it's dangerous.
And I -- look, I hope people wake up on time and realize what's happening here, because, if we reach a point in this country where we can't have a debate about politics without it getting to levels of violence and anger, where people think that just because you're angry, you can say and almost do anything you want, we're going to lose our republic.
We're going to have a big problem. Those images from Chicago the other night, it looks like something out of the Third World.
TAPPER: I have to say, Senator, I brought this up at the debate in Miami on Thursday evening, and you simply said you were concerned about violence in general in this society.
Why didn't you say anything Thursday night? Why did you hesitate to criticize this when Trump was on the stage?
RUBIO: Well, that's not -- yes, that's not exactly how it played out, Jake. That question was not even asked of me. And I was the fourth person to opine on it. And, at that point, a lot had already been said about it, number one.
Number two, the question I was directly asked about was about Muslims and what he had said about all Muslims hating America. And I said very clearly there that presidents can't just say anything they want, that there's consequences for that.
But, look, this is an ongoing thing, OK? So, every day, something new comes up, and I try not to escalate things, because you don't want to exaggerate them, and you don't want to make something bigger than it really is.
But just in the last, you know, five days, we he have had stories about the guy getting sucker-punched at the Trump rally. You have supporters basically -- you have a campaign employee now allegedly assaulted a reporter at an event.
So, every day, it's something new. And so there comes a point here where there's a tipping point, right? And you look at it and say enough is enough. So, I think, at the end of the day, we should all examine our behavior moving -- over the last year on this issue. We should all examine whether we have been quick enough.
And that includes the media. That includes your network that has given wall -- and not just you. I'm not picking on you. Everybody else gives every one of Trump's speeches wall-to-wall coverage, because, while they may act outraged by what he says, they cover it, and they want to get it live, so they can talk about it. And it drives ratings.
So, I think we all need to take a step back and say, have we contributed to this culture that has turned American politics and the American political discourse into the equivalent of the comments sections in these blogs, where presidential comments are now basically Twitter trolls?
TAPPER: Would I be overstating matters if I said you sound like you're actually concerned that somebody, before this is all over, somebody might lose their life?
RUBIO: I'm very concerned about that.
I'm very concerned. We don't know what's going to happen next here. I know that we have reached the point now where people in American politics have decided that, if they don't agree with you, that they can get angry at you, that you're a bad and evil person, that they can say anything they want about you.
I think that the -- all the gates of civility have been blown apart, and we have now reached a point where, on both sides, everyone is just saying or doing whatever they want. And, you know, you can't just say or do whatever you want. This is not about political correctness. This is about rules of civility and a way a society talks to each other.
And let me ask everybody this. Do we really want to live a -- in a country where everybody hates each other, where everybody is at each other's throat, where, because we disagree on the role of government or the tax rate or Obamacare or foreign policy, we now in this nation cannot have a discourse or agree on any other issue and end up hating each other?
Because that's what it feels like. It feels like we're reaching a point now where, in America, everyone hates each other. I'm so tired of arguing and fighting with other Americans.
Yes, we have serious disagreements, and let's debate those through our republic, but we have reached a point now where, if I don't agree with you on something, it's not just that you're wrong, but you're a bad person, you're an evil person, you deserve nothing.
I mean, we -- all the gates of -- all the rules that once governed our discourse have been blown away. And we're headed in a very dangerous direction. And, yes, there are people out there that are unbalanced. There are people out there that do not have control of themselves. We don't know what they will do.
And this applies to both sides of this debate, by the way. TAPPER: At the Detroit debate, you pledged you would support the
nominee no matter who it is, even if it's Donald Trump.
But, yesterday, I have to say, you sounded like a man who was seriously reconsidering that position. To be honest...
RUBIO: It's getting harder.
TAPPER: ... you sounded like somebody who, no matter what you say publicly, you're not going to vote for Trump in the privacy of the voting booth.
RUBIO: Well, let me tell you that I think a significant number of Republicans will not vote for Donald Trump at the voting booth, no matter what I say or anybody else tells them.
They just won't do it. They will abstain. And, you know, I have never argued that anyone should abstain in an election, and I need to lead by example.
Yes, but I'll be frank. It's getting harder every day to justify that answer. And I'm not prepared to say something different today, other than to tell you that I hope we can avoid that.
I hope that, through this process, somehow, some way, we can avoid leaving the Republican Party with a nominee that basically people have to make excuses for or can't ultimately support.
I know, already, some public officials have said that. And I don't know what else to tell you, other than, you know, it's getting harder every day to justify that statement to myself, to my children, to my family, and to the people who support me.
[09:30:05] TAPPER: You compared Donald Trump to a Third World dictator yesterday in an interview with "The New York Times."
RUBIO: Well, I don't know about a dictator. I said a third-world strong man.
You know, he's running for president so no matter what he won't be a dictator unless our republic completely crumbles which I don't anticipate it will. But yes, here's what happens in many countries around the world. You have a leader that emerges and basically says, don't put your faith in yourselves. Don't put your faith in society. Put your faith in me, I'm a strong leader, and I'm going to make things better all by myself.
This is very typical. You see it in the third world. You see it a lot in Latin America for decades. It's basically the argument that he's making that he single handedly is going to turn the country around. We've never been that kind of country. We have a president.
The president is an American citizen who serves for a period of time, constrained by the constitutions and the powers vested in that office. The president works for the people. Not the people for the president.
And if you listen to the way he describes himself of what he's going to do he's going to single handedly do this and do that without regard for whether it's legal or not.
Look, I think people have to make up their minds -- I can tell you this, no matter what happens in this election for years to come there are many people on the right, in the media, and voters at large that are going to be having to explain and justify how they fell into this trap of supporting Donald Trump because this is not going to end well one way or the other. He's going to be the nominee and he's going to lose. Or he'll have thrown this party into its most chaotic and divisive period of and that's unfortunate because the Republican Party is the home of the limited government, free enterprise movement in America. And if it crumbles or divide or it splits apart, it will be very difficult to elect candidates that hold those views at any level of the government until we can bring the party back together.
TAPPER: Senator, should we assume that even if you do not win Florida on Tuesday you're going to be in the race until the convention?
RUBIO: My intention is to run for president and as I've said before to campaign in all 50 states and territories until either someone gets the delegates to be the nominee or this process ends. That's our intention. It continues to be.
We're scheduled to be in Utah on Wednesday morning and that's where we're going to be. I intend to win Florida. It's a tough fight.
Look I mean, we're experiencing in Florida what the country is seeing, which is a very unusual election cycle. And I can tell you this, you know -- and the only one that can beat Donald Trump in Florida is me. And so that's why I have made that argument, that if you support John Kasich or Ted Cruz if you vote in Florida, voting for them is in essence voting for Donald Trump. I'm the only one that can actually beat him here.
So I feel good about our campaign here, but even if I win Florida it won't mean that I wrapped this thing up. I think it will change the contours of the race quite a bit but the fact of the matter is that after last night Ted Cruz needs 75 percent of the delegates for the rest of this campaign in order to be the nominee. Donald Trump needs over 60 percent of the delegates to be the nominee.
So this notion that somehow it's now a two-man race and these two have the inside track is just fiction. And I know it's convenient for their narrative but it's just not accurate. No one knows how this is going to end. This is a very unpredictably year to say the least but I can tell you it's the most important election in a generation and it comes at a time when we are now asked to define the identity of the conservative movement, the Republican Party, and ultimately of our country, and I feel very passionate about that.
TAPPER: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, in Orlando this morning. Good luck to you on Tuesday, sir. Thanks so much for joining us.
RUBIO: Thank you very much, Jake.
TAPPER: And coming up here in Ohio, Governor John Kasich, could a win in the buckeye state be enough to slow down Trump? But Ohio's governor says he's about to change the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will never take the low road to the highest office in the land.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper. We are here live in Columbus, Ohio, home of one of the major winner take all states on Tuesday.
Home state Governor John Kasich is hoping to thwart Donald Trump's momentum with a big victory here. He might be getting in an assist from one of his opponents with the top Marco Rubio staffer actually encouraging Republicans to vote for Kasich in Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX CONANT, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, MARCO RUBIO FOR PRESIDENT: I'm just stating the obvious that John Kasich is the one person who can beat Trump in Ohio just like Marco Rubio is the one person that can beat Trump here in Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Can that work? Let's look ahead to Tuesday and talk about the wild weekend on the campaign trail with Ohio Governor John Kasich who joins me now live from Cleveland, Ohio. Sorry that you're not here in Columbus, sir.
KASICH: Yes. I mean, it's my home. I live in a little town called Westerville which is just not far from you and you're at my alma mater and I'm up in Cleveland which is a resurgent city in the Midwest. It really is doing great, Jake.
TAPPER: Let's talk about some of the issues emerging this weekend on the campaign trail. Donald Trump is blaming protesters entirely for the chaos that broke out Friday in Chicago. He says his people are not violent. It's -- quote -- "These people that come in." You have something to say about this. What's your view?
KASICH: Well, there's no question that Donald Trump has created a toxic atmosphere pitting one group against another and name calling and all those kinds of things.
Now, I think there are people that would go to a rally who would look to disrupt, but, look, the environment is there, and he needs to back off of this and start being more aspirational, telling people we can get it together. You know, at my -- at my -- at my events, any of my town halls, rallies, or whatever, I tell people that, you know, we can solve these problems, and I have got a record that shows it.
Whether it was in Washington creating jobs, you know, creating an environment for job creation in Ohio where we're up over 400,000 jobs.
Jake, you can go into a room and get people depressed and down and angry or you can walk into that room with the same people and you can lift them and give them hope. And I think we need to be hopeful in America, not depressed.
TAPPER: So I asked about this on Thursday night at the debate, about the violence at Trump rallies, reading some of the quotes that Trump has said about violent ways to deal with protesters, and with all due respect, sir, you didn't say what you're saying now at the debate. Do you think you missed an opportunity to condemn Trump's rhetoric before a much wider audience?
KASICH: Well Jake, look -- you know, in those debates I hear this and that, but it took me to see on Friday night what was happening at that arena.
I mean, I really don't watch Trump rallies. I don't watch the news. I basically watch the "Golf Channel" when I'm traveling, believe it or not, but when I saw the violence in Chicago, I just had enough. And you might recall, it was in the third debate where I started saying that Trump was dividing us. I also said that Ben Carson's plans on Medicare were outrageous. And so I have made my point but when I saw the violence, Jake, I felt compelled to really say something about it. And I'm very comfortable with the fact that I waited until I felt it was necessary for me to say something. And, look, that's what I have got to say about it. It's just not the road I take.
But you know what? When you have a record of having success in relieving the frustrations of people, and let's face it, they're worried about keeping their job. They're worried about their wages. They're worried about not getting any interest in the banks. They're worried about their kids' future. You cannot win them by trashing Donald Trump or being negative. You have got to explain to them carefully, your vision, your record, your accomplishments, and what you can do and that's the path that I have taken.
TAPPER: So Donald Trump has been hammering you on the issue of trade specifically here in Ohio. You were asked about NAFTA back in the summer and you said -- quote -- "I think we have, in some ways, been saps."
What were you thinking back in '93 when NAFTA passed and why did it not pan out the way you had hoped?
KASICH: No, no. I think that NAFTA has been basically a wash. I don't think that we can walk away from free trade but we need to be for fair trade. And what I have said is when countries violate our trade agreements we need to have an expedited process to hold them accountable and protect the jobs of the American worker. In 2001 I helped the steel companies achieve a 201 which was basically a trade block to let the companies be stronger and get together. I have been a free trader but I have been a fair trader, and if you go back and talk to my colleagues in Congress they will tell you that. But we're not going to lock the doors or pull down the blinds and let the rest of the world go away. There's 38 million people who have jobs connected to trade.
And by the way, Jake, on Thursday -- Friday night I stood in a facility where the Chinese have invested a half a billion dollars and hired over 1,000 Ohioans. Yesterday I'm in a facility in Newark, Ohio, there where the Germans have invested. We have a lot of foreign investment in our country. Ford brought jobs back from Mexico into Ohio.
Look, this is a -- it's a red herring but it's all more of that negativity and, you know -- and just getting down, and I look up.
TAPPER: There's an attack ad running against you here in Ohio from the Trump campaign. It accuses you of helping Wall Street predator Lehman brothers destroy the world economy. Now, I know you have said that you were just a guy in a two-person office in Columbus.
Let me ask you a more -- a broad question. Who do you blame for the economic collapse of 2007-2008?
KASICH: Oh, I think there was greed on Wall Street, no question about it. They just kept taking on higher and higher leverage. And then they couldn't keep up with it.
In addition to that, we had the government, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraging people to buy homes that they couldn't afford. We had the rating agencies look the other way. I mean, it was a number of things. But let me be clear about this, I think sometimes on Wall Street the pendulum swings towards greed, and I think it's terrible, and I think it's wrong, and I think that the requirements now that these big banks have to reserve against the risk they take is great. The idea now that they have to have more equity, more ownership invested instead of piling up the debt has been a good thing, and the regulators have to do their job.
I mean, they were out there before when all this was going on. Not only did they not bite, but they didn't even bark. So we absolutely have to keep a handle on all of this, and there were many contributors to this. But greed, is a -- is it really a leading reason why we have problems. Get a little bit of morality, folks, and realize that free enterprise is great, but it has to have a moral underpinning.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the primary race here. Marco Rubio talked about you on Friday. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: Clearly John Kasich has a better chance of winning Ohio than I do, and if a voter in Ohio concludes that voting for John Kasich gives us the best chance to stop Donald Trump there, I anticipate that's what they'll do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So Rubio seeming to encourage his supporters in Ohio to back you, but you're not encouraging your supporters in Florida to back him. Why not?
KASICH: Well, Jake, I mean, my people aren't like robots, you know, where -- you know, go do this, go do that. I mean, I'm not really campaigning in Florida. I tried to actually call Marco last night to wish him good luck. I couldn't get through to him.
But, look, at the end of the day how do you tell your people that are for you to go vote for somebody else? And after all, I'm not into a stop Trump as more as I am be for Kasich movement.
You know, reward me for the experience in foreign affairs. Reward me for the achievements I have had in balancing budgets and creating an environment for job creation both in the country and in Ohio. Reward me for that, for cutting taxes, for having wages grow faster than the national average. Those are the things that I want people to think about as opposed to be against that person. I'm just trying to be be for me.
I run a (ph) unwaveringly positive campaign since I got in this and some of the time I operated in total obscurity. It's OK because we're rising now. We're rising. We're going to win Ohio with the help of our Republicans here. We're rising in Illinois and it's a whole new ball game after Tuesday.
TAPPER: All right. Governor John Kasich, good luck on Tuesday, sir.
KASICH: Thank you, Jake. Good luck to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's these people that come in. My people want to do one thing, make America great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Will this weekend's arrest and violence change the race in any way? Here with me in Ohio to talk about it, CNN contributors Bakari Sellers, who's a Hillary Clinton supporter, and Ana Navarro who voted for Marco Rubio in Florida. Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and Congressman Tom Marino, a Donald Trump supporter.
Thanks one and all for being here.
I'll start with you, congressman, what do you say to people who say Donald Trump at these rallies is encouraging violence?
REP. TOM MARINO (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I simply say that Donald Trump is a man that speaks what he feels, and when he speaks what he feels he's tapping into obviously people who are going to come out and vote for him.
Now, I don't promote violence. Certainly I don't promote someone stopping another group or entity from exercising their first amendment rights. And Donald has even said that we have to stop the violence. He stopped it in Chicago before it got to a level that I think it may have gotten to, and I think because of people being planted there. MoveOn.org is very clear about they want to be disruptive about these. But he was smart enough to shut it down but he's talking about what people care about.
You know, I come from a rural district. I come from blue collar family and I didn't go to college until two weeks after my 30th birthday. I worked in a factory until I was 30 and my wife and I put me through college and law school and I know what it was like to live from paycheck to paycheck and stretch a buck into next week, and it's difficult. And people are suffering that way now. Donald Trump is feeling that, and he knows it's hurting the American people.
People in my district are frustrated with insider Washington people. They're with some policymakers that make policies just for them. They're frustrated with Wall Street. The guys who manipulate the market to maybe money for them.
MARINO: But who comes up short is Main Street. The people in my district. And the following that he has is just going to grow. And each time these people get there and start fights...
MARINO: ... and start interrupting his campaign, it's just going to grow even more.
TAPPER: Ana, I just want to ask you about this, because Marco Rubio sounded full of despair this morning and also said he was very concerned that before this is over somebody is going to lose their life.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I could identify and sympathize with every word coming out of Marco's mouth because both Marco and I come from a community that is full of political exiles that have seen strong men rise in countries in Latin America, and I think we are very concerned about it.
When we see a Donald Trump and his -- that kind of populist -- I mean, that kind of negative rhetoric, I think it brings back very bad memories for anybody that, like me or like Marco's parents, had to flee that kind of populism in our home countries.
NAVARRO: Look I -- here is the thing, Donald Trump is no longer the host of "The Apprentice" he is now the front-runner for the Republican nomination. It is time that he grows into this position. It is time that he starts acting presidential. This is so hard for his campaign manager to tell the reporter from a right wing blog that supports him that has now charged him with alleged assault on her.
Listen, I'm sorry. I don't know what happened. Things got out of control. But I am sorry. This is so hard for him to make a distinction between being politically correct and being civil. It is so hard for him to call for unity. Is he running to be the president of a faction of the Republican Party or is he running to be the president of the United States of America?
Every Republican, every single Republican, if we love the Democratic process, if we love our party, if we love our country, should be calling today for civility from every single candidate and that includes you, sir.
TAPPER: Let me -- let me ask you, Nina, there clearly is a lot of passion on -- I can't say both sides because there's a million of sides, across the spectrum.
FORMER STATE SENATOR NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: Yes.
TAPPER: Is there any responsibility that those who are protesting Donald Trump have to also take the temperature down?
TURNER: We all have a responsibility. There's a (INAUDIBLE) of emotion that's been surfacing to the stop. But for Mr. Trump to imply in any way that Senator Sanders that our campaign has anything to do with this, people are hurting.
I certainly agreed with my governor, Governor Kasich, when he said that Mr. Trump is creating a toxic environment. But I want to take it one step further, Jake. You know, somebody who is a historian in terms of Mr. Trump saying he wants to make America great again, for some folks in this country, great again, what does that mean?
We really do have to deal with the underlying factors of racism in this country that we refuse to deal with. And although Mr. Trump is hoping that's to percolate to the surface. This is not just about him. We need to look at the men and women in the mirror in this country to understand why these (ph) feelings (ph), why somebody is going hit -- an elderly gentleman hit a young African-American man who was being taken out by the police? And what did the police do? Instead of turning to the elderly gentleman and arresting him for assault they continued to push the young African-American out of the door.
TAPPER: They did arrest him the next day.
TURNER: But then, Jake, they didn't do -- you're right though. No, you're right. I'm with you. For the record they did but they didn't do it right then. So this is -- racism is in the DNA of this country and we see it percolate up the surface.
We have moments like this in our history even when President Obama was elected that kind of start (ph) percolating to the top. And the chickens are coming home to roost. It is ironic to meet some of the same Republicans right now, some of them, who are calling out Mr. Trump, did not call him out when he pushed the birther movement on our (ph) African-American President Barack Obama. President Barack Obama -- they were nowhere to be found. They thought it was cute. Now that it's playing in their house, it's not so cute anymore.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think that Donald Trump's rhetoric is dangerous. I think that Donald Trump is a political arsonist. I think we -- what we're seeing now is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And what he's doing is that dangerous.
I was speaking to my father about the fact that I wanted to go see a Donald Trump rally. And when my father who is over 70 years old who actually got shot in a civil rights movement said, no, because I've seen this before. Because I've seen this type of climate, because I've seen this type of rhetoric before and I don't want you in that environment. It speaks to me. It's very profound.
And I think that we need to take a step back. I think that everyone -- and I was very pleased to hear this is not the first time Ana has actually given this pledge and this flee to her fellow Republicans but as a country we have to unite. We have to get bigger than this.
This is not about the protesters. This is about Donald Trump and Donald Trump's rhetoric that is dangerous for the fabric of this country. And Donald Trump is not a racist. He's something even more dangerous because he's utilizing racism to build his movement. And I think that' that is something when you -- when you have knowledge of it and when you're playing to the lowest common denominator of racism and hate -- and yes, we have people who are angry in this country but we do not have to speak to those tenants. And for me that's very fearful and it reminds me of a part of this country that I want to make America great again but there are certain elements I don't want to go back to.
TURNER: That's right.
TAPPER: Congressman, I'll give you the last word.
MARINO: As we see throughout the campaigns, throughout the protest, Donald Trump has stepped up and said we're not going to tolerate this. He means not from the point of anyone. Anyone on his side, anyone on any other candidates' side. And he really truly is addressing the issues that the American people are concerned about and he's going to continue to address the issues of let's keep this peaceful, I'm not going to stand for it. And he's going to win the nomination and I believe he's going to beat (ph) Hillary (ph).
TAPPER: Does it -- does it concern you at all, sir, when you hear congressman -- when you hear Donald Trump say things like, punch him in the face or carry him out on a stretcher or go after the guy and if you do I'll pay your legal bills? I mean, he has said those things.
MARINO: He has said those.
But look, I don't think agree on Donald on everything. And I'm not one to speak like that.
For your information I was a prosecutor for 18 years.
NAVARRO: Well then denounce it, sir. I mean --
MARINO: I'm talking now. Don't interrupt me. I was talking. You had your turn. You had your turn to talk. Give me my turn to talk.
I protected people my entire life. You don't know what discussions I may have or may not have. But I know --
NAVARRO: You're on national --
NAVARRO: You have a platform today.
MARINO: I know what Donald Trump has said recently and he's going to continue to say that. And I said before, I don't condone -- I don't condone violence. I'm not going to condone it and I'm going to stand up and speak that, let's (ph) knock (ph) this (ph) off (ph).
NAVARRO: Here's my (INAUDIBLE). I don't know what Kool-Aid the Donald Trump supports drink but if they don't agree -- it's not enough not to agree. If they have a national platform denounce it and call for civility.
TAPPER: Thank you very much. Come back here at 8:00 p.m. we're going to have a CNN T.V. One Democratic town hall with Hillary Clinton and with Bernie Sanders. I will be moderating the conversation between the candidates and voters. Preparing to vote in Tuesday's critical Ohio primary that's 8:00 p.m. right here on CNN live in here at Ohio State University.
Thanks for spending your Sunday with us. I'm Jake Tapper.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" is next.