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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Following the South Carolina Republican Primary Results; Who Wins Evangelicals?; Jeb Bush Suspends Presidential Campaign; Donald Trump Addresses Supporters. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 20, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Not only does he look like the candidate have changed all big influence stuff for South Carolina Republican voters. He also doesn't allow anyone to take turf with the Evangelical voters. That is -- put that all together, that's where you get a big Donald Trump win tonight.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And obviously shows that even people who are Evangelicals are voting other issues.
BASH: Not necessarily voting that issue.
CHALIAN: Because they're angry.
CHALIAN: And they want change.
BASH: Absolutely. Wolf?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: So, it's the top of the hour. Let's update our viewers. Donald Trump wins the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary. That's our projection right now.
Let's take a look at the votes. He's ahead with 15percent of the actual vote now in 32.9 percent. There's a fierce battle for second place underway between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Rubio right now is in second place. Look at this. It just changed 22.2 percent for Rubio, 20.6 percent for Cruz. Kasich, Bush, Carson down,. But Kasich now in fourth place, just took over for Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is now in fifth place with 16 percent of the vote. Dr. Ben Carson in sixth place. But look at Donald Trump, a very, very impressive win for him right now in South Carolina.
Let's go over to John King. John, these numbers are impressive, a fierce fight for number two. It's going back and forth between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. But you've got to give Donald Trump credit for a big win.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You've got to give Donald Trump credit. We're going to spend a lot of time for now to the end of the night trying to figure out that race for two and three and how that impacts the race going forward. So, let's make while we have the time to salute winner. Because if you just look at this and you watch this fill in, this dark red, it's Donald Trump.
He's winning everywhere. He's winning here in the center of the state. These are your mainline established Republican voters. He's winning down here along the coast. This, you have military bases. You have retirees. You have more moderate voters down here in Charleston.
At the moment, Donald Trump is only winning, but winning impressive margins, 28 percent there. And Marco Rubio at second, Ted Cruz, third. You watch this down here for Marco Rubio. He needs to stay as close as he can to Trump along the coast if he's going to pull out the second place finish tonight. A lot of people are looking at the early results here.
This is Greenville. This is in the Evangelical base of South Carolina. Rubio is ahead right now. A lot of people are noticing that but just barely, just the first precincts are being counted there. So, let's keep an eye on this one. Greenville and Spartanburg to the right, it was to the east or to the right, you don't have any votes there, and this is the Evangelical, the highlands in South Carolina, very important territory.
But as you watch, that Rubio, if Marco Rubio can keep that, that's impressive for him tonight, but we're just starting to count the votes. Again, as you watch this Wolf, it just tells you about Trump. A lot of people will say, yes, he's only getting 335 percent, 34 percent of the vote. Once the field shrinks, you can get him. But when John McCain won the state in 2008, he only got 33 percent of the vote. He went on to become the Republican nominee. A lot of people win South Carolina in the 30s and go on to be the Republican nominee.
So, as we watch this fill in for Donald Trump tonight, he is once again as he did in New Hampshire. He's winning in places where that you have very conservative voters. He's winning in place where you have more moderate voters. He's winning across the Republican spectrum right now. So, the big conversation of the Republican Party will be, you know, who is the alternative. Cruz very much won second place here, so that he can head south.
When the map from here, while they march one states or down here, this will be the fight next. Most of them, not all of them are down here though. Ted Cruz wants to be the alternative for Donald Trump. Marco Rubio wants to say, he's the alternative to Trump and Cruz. And if you look at this, you have 33, 22, 41 and then it drops quite a bit. Kasich and Bush fighting it out at 9 percent each. Dr. Carson at the bottom of the pack, down 6 percent. One of the big conversations tonight, definitely will be the future of the Jeb Bush campaign, especially if you -- he's this low in the pack. A state that was so good to his dad, so good to his brother, the Republican voters in South Carolina are essentially sending a message tonight that we've moved on from the Bush family.
BLITZER: Well, let me walk over. I'm going to show our viewers the votes right now. There's a fierce battle for second place underway right now. Let's take a look at the battle for second place. Once again, Donald Trump is the winner. He's got an impressive lead, 34.2 percent. But Marco Rubio is now in second place with 21.6 percent, but Ted Cruz, 21.2 percent, 27,205 for Rubio, 26,701 for Cruz. So, there's a fierce fight underway right now.
And look at this, John Kasich, the Ohio governor, he's in fourth place right now. He's ahead of Jeb Bush. Ben Carson is in sixth place. But John Kasich has now moved up to fourth place, just ahead of Jeb Bush. So, this is a fierce battle underway for second place. But Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump is the big winner in South Carolina and no one could take that away from him right now. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if his numbers hold up, this is a rough result for Jeb Bush. And I have to say, coming in fifth, and let's turn to our analyst table here, coming in fifth behind John Kasich, the votes still coming in. This might not be the end result. But if he actually ends up coming in fifth behind John Kasich who barely competed in South Carolina and Jeb Bush put a lot into South Carolina. It's tough to make the argument that that is a campaign that should continue.
[20:05:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYSIT: It is. As John was just saying, look, I think he needed to break into the double digits here. I think it's going to be a very tough conversation to have with your funders about continuing to support your campaign after you brought your brother to the state, who was so popular in the Republican Party and very popular in South Carolina and you couldn't do any better than single digits, if that where it remains for Jeb Bush.
So, I think there are a lot of tough conversations going on within the Bush campaign this evening. And if you are a financial supporter of Jeb Bush, I think you're probably making some phone calls and saying to the Bush people, if we have to think about what our next move is.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SERNIOR POLITOCAL COMMNETATOR: I don't think this is a tough conversation. I just think it's a sad conversation. I think this race was done.
BORGER: It wasn't sad.
AXELROD: I mean, he had to beat Marco Rubio ...
BORGER: Yeah. AXELROD: ... in South Carolina. His campaign effectively came to an end when Nikki Haley endorsed Marco Rubio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
AXELROD: That was the death now for the Jeb Bush campaign. And, you know, if you're looking back, he started as the front runner. But temperamentally in terms of this approach to politics, in terms of -- you know, he's simply wasn't the right guy for a party that is obviously very edgy, very angry right now. And so, this has been the writing on the wall for sometime now.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, and in some ways, you even saw Kasich at our Town Hall. I was there that night and a lot of those folks were Bush people going in. And then, so Kasich who was very warm, connecting with the audience, really took that compassion and conservative mantle, and you can could sort of see that it wasn't going to quite work for Bush.
TAPPER: Let's just hold that thought for one second. I want to go to Athena Jones who was at Bush campaign headquarters. And Athena, it's got to be rough in that room right now?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Well, surprisingly Jake, there's a lot of festive atmosphere in this room. A lot of attention being paid, of course, to what's going on in the polls. But right here, it feels like a party.
Of course, if you're with the few Bush campaign staffers, Republic gathered around looking at these numbers, it probably doesn't feel much like a party because as you mentioned, Jeb Bush campaign hard here. He brought out his brother. He brought out his mother. He campaigned all across the state.
Coming into South Carolina, his campaign was saying this is his best early save (ph). He have the strongest organization of any of the candidates. His only goal in the state is to do the best among the candidates, not named Donald Trump and not named Ted Cruz. And the language has shifted over the last several days. They wanted to be in third. And now, they've been talking about how even a close fourth wouldn't be so bad, that it's all going to come down to the point thread.
But Jake, I got to imagine that they weren't expecting a point thread as big as this one. It's still early. Yes, we still have to wait to for a lot of numbers to come in. But it's not looking good for Governor Bush.
TAPPER: Let's turn to our commentator, Mike Rogers. It's tough to make an argument that after three primaries where you don't come in top three in any of them, that your campaign has a life, that the voters want you to stay in the race. MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMENTATOR: Just one more state.
TAPPER: Just one more state.
ROGERS: You know, part of the problem is what these Bush events were very well attended. When President Bush showed at these events, huge crowds, adoring crowds, they do love George W. Bush in South Carolina. They turned out to be spectator events. They were there for President Bush. They weren't there for Jeb Bush.
I mean, I think -- I mean I agree. This is -- it's not only going to be a sad. It's going to be a hard conversation. He's going to had to make that determination, losing to hemorrhaging (ph) donors. And, you know, $100 million in your pack is apparently not going do it. He spent a lot of money in South Carolina.
TAPPER: Van, one of the things that's interesting voters that I met in Iowa and New Hampshire, they like Jeb Bush.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENDATOR: Yeah.
TAPPER: They just didn't vote for him.
JONES: Yes, and it just as an amazing thing. In some ways, it's a death of a dynasty in a way. You see, you know, the W comes. The mom comes. The grand kids were there. He's there and he's giving at his all. And frankly, he earned my respect. I think he earned a lot of people's respect because he didn't bow down.
You know, I was making a joke about like the revenge of the nerd, you know. The bully pushed him and pushed him. . He stood up for himself. He earned a lot of respect. He didn't earn their votes.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I was going to say one thing. That is what made this race so exciting. I mean regardless to what happens, I think all the candidates pulled out all the stuff to try to win in South Carolina. You saw Jeb coming out with his family, on Marco Rubio playing out the Nikki Haley endorsement, and you had -- saw Ted Cruz with all his supporters on the ground.
This is an exciting race. And no matter what happens, there are more Republicans activated, energized, excited because people like Jeb Bush, although they may not win the nomination, they're not going to go away. They're going to keep fighting for Republican victory.
TAPPER: Jeffrey Lord, I want to ask you a question. Do you think that Jeb Bush has had such a tough time because he's just the wrong man for this moment in terms of the anger among the Republican Party, the fact that his last name is Bush, and elections tend to be looking towards the future, not towards the past? Or, do you think Donald Trump as a master brander just labeled him a low energy and just destroyed him?
[20:10:00] JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITIAL COMMENTATOR: I think that is a play here. I think there's something else going on here, Jake. My friend, Ed Rollins, who was a White House political director for Reagan and managed the re-election campaign, years later, Rollin, his memoirs, that when Ronald Reagan picked George H.W. Bush, this is vice president. The thought that went through Ed's head was that the Republican conservative base has just cut the fuse on the Reagan revolution because they set up this succession process. And that is, in fact, what happened with George H.W. Bush who then lost after a term, and then it was Bob Dole, and onto President Bush, 43, who had his own difficulties with the conservative base over no child left behind and spending, et cetera.
What's going on tonight, I think, is the reclaiming. When you look at across the board here of the Reagan revolution and turning it into something that might be called the Trump revolution.
TAPPER: Let's look at something else going on here right now which is you don't want to take anything away from Donald Trump and his decisive and triumphant victory. But there is a keen battle going on right now for second place between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both of them, at 21.5 percent. Michael Smerconish?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, something else that occurs to me is that Donald Trump, and I don't want to take away from his victory. Congratulations again Jeffrey, Ambassador Lord.
LORD: And thanks to the pope.
SMERCONISH: David, to the court of St. James. But he's at the third, right? He's at a third and he's static. I don't see the growth potential. When you look at the internals, people who decided late, Jake, they didn't break for Donald Trump. They've heard enough of that routine and they weren't buying it. But look at the tote board, if you will, and add together.
TAPPER: Just one second, if we're looking at the tote board.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
TAPPER: Just look at Cruz and Rubio right now, they have the exact same vote count.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, yes.
TAPPER: 34,163 each.
SMERCONISH: Well, I'm looking not only at that, but I'm also adding the vote total of Marco Rubio, John Kasich ...
SMERCONISH: ... and also Jeb Bush.
TAPPER: Right. SMERCONISH: And that is a total that exceeds Donald Trump, and
wouldn't that be an interesting dynamic ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SMERCONISH: ... if it then becomes one of between Cruz and Trump, which one is getting that.
AXELROD: That's, that's the Rubio scenario. That is the Rubio scenario ...
AXELROD: ... that those guys drop, he picks up the vote, and suddenly he's very competitive with Donald Trump, I mean, and there some logic to that.
SMERCONISH: So, here's the phone call ...
BORGER: So Rubio, it's a narrative.
SMERCONISH: ... it's the Governor Kasich.
SMERCONISH: Yeah, it's the phone call that Governor Kasich and it's saying, the two of us together, we win this thing.
BORGER: Yeah, but Cruz ...
BORGER: And Kasich says, OK fine, who's number one?
SMERCONISH: Well then they argue about who's ...
SMERCONISH: ... to a conversation they have in a couple of weeks.
BORGER: I don't think that's the way ...
TAPPER: Nia-Malika, I have to be honest. I found it all this a little bit fuzzy in terms of the map. There's few people who are -- who don't want Donald Trump to become the nominee.
TAPPER: No offense to you Michael.
HENDERSON: No, yeah.
TAPPER: But my respect in the door. But the idea that, like, oh let's look at that and like two-thirds of the voters are not going for ...
HENDERSON: Yeah, yeah, and then ...
TAPPER: You know what, I'd rather have a third of them.
HENDERSON: Yeah, that's right, that's right. And it's still if you look at the votes between Trump and Cruz which is the anti- establishment votes, they are still doing better than all of these establishment candidates combined. So, I mean all of this, that's every ...
AXELROD: I have doubt in this content. I would be the first to admit that Donald Trump has been -- and to acknowledge that Donald Trump has been a phenomenon in this campaign, but he does have -- somewhere there's a ceiling, there's a very high floor, somewhere there's a ceiling. It may not come into play in and out the Oval Office.
AXELROD: So, I did it as ...
TAPPER: Well, the overall awkward felling is what Jeffrey Lord is saying.
BORGER: I think the Trump people makes a point. And that there's some validity to it, that if this were any other candidate, we'd be saying, OK, he's well on his play, the nomination.
CARPENTER: Yeah, that's right.
BORGER: Which actually I think it's true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, yeah.
BORGER: I think it's true.
TAPPER: But that's the point, John McCain got 33 percent or something like that, when he won ...
BORGER: Right, yes.
TAPPER: ... South Carolina and he won and hear saying ...
TAPPER: ... well, look it's 65 percent or into (ph) on the game.
BORGER: On paper.
SMERCONISH: Your absolutely right. Anybody would trade places with him and yet there's still skepticism.
BORGER: You know.
SMERCONISH: Can this really be happening? BORGER: But on paper, Jeb Bush looked like the perfect nominee, except it turned out to be for 2008, right, and not for 2016. On paper, Donald Trump did not look like the perfect nominee. But guess what? Given all the things we've seen on the exit polls about Republican voters, where they are and how they won an outsider and they feel betrayed by the Republican Party and on and on, and how they don't value experience, it looks like this -- Trump fits that mold ...
BORGER: ... better than any of these other candidates. So maybe Ted Cruz, maybe Ted Cruz, I'll give you that Amanda, comes in a second..
HENDERSON: Yeah, and he's ...
BORGER: Comes in a second.
HENDERSON: And he's still doing well with the broad base of the party, mainline folks, military folks, moderate, even Evangelicals.
HENDERSON: I mean Rubio is making the case that he's the one that can unite the party, which actually isn't a very good argument today. It gets boring.
TAPPER: And while we're saying that, Ted Cruz just overtook ...
TAPPER: ... Marco Rubio on that.
JONES: And you guys know, I've been afraid of Rubio. I have a lot of respect for Rubio. But if he does 353, 3 third place, 5th place, 3rd place. Can you come out and give another, you know, look at me speech? I mean at a certain point, I think with merits (ph) are still fall apart.
[20:15:03] AXELROD: It's where you just -- you were just giving him like ...
JONES: No, no. I ...
AXELROD: ... a trophy about 10 minutes ago.
JONES: All right, just listen. He's fought his way back from - for having his little beach wear written out of one of banana peel debate performance that I thought it was very, very tough for him to come back from. The reality is nobody is talking about that now. That shows character.
AXELROD: But it was his fourth place finish that you yourself say was ...
JONES: Sure, I mean ...
AXELROD: ... the problem ...
JONES: Yes, it was a huge problem for him.
AXELROD: ... for him.
JONES: It shows character when you're able to fight back. But if you fight back to, you know, another loss and a loss to Cruz in this situation, I don't think it's good for him. And the other thing I want to say is simply this. Cruz doesn't get enough respect for the machinery that he had built.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he's got ...
TAPPER: OK, so they leave the ground game, the -- yes please?
JONES: There's a little bit of Trump in Rubio. And sort of, I'm good looking. I'm down here. I'm dealing with the crowd and he doesn't always build that machinery. Cruz, say what you want about him. He has built the machinery to go out there and find those votes and get them. And Rubio might pay it up but ...
AXELROD: But he's (inaudible), turn out elections, we're finding out what the limits of machinery is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
AXELROD: I mean the fact is ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We -- everybody wanted to say that Evangelical vote was going to go for Cruz. It is not monolithic. I think we had talked about that earlier. They also have economic records on their families like they have never had before. Most of them, the last 10 years, no races, they certainly down at South Carolina, the textile industry has completely flipped it up. Now, they didn't get jobs with BMW and Boeing moved down their big wins for South Carolina but it wasn't really enough. So these Evangelical voters are saying maybe economics can get through it.
TAPPER: Let's get a look. Let's go to the key race alert.
BLITZER: Thanks Jake. Let's show our viewers this Key Race Alert right now. Quarter of the vote now officially and Donald Trump is the winner. We've projected that awhile ago. He's got 33.8 percent. There's a fierce battle for second place underway with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. They've been going back and forth for second place. 21.7 percent for Cruz, 21.5 percent for Rubio. Jeb Bush is now back in fourth place, 8.6 percent. But John Kasich not far behind with 8 percent. Ben Carson, 6.4 percent. Cruz, the winner tonight, he's ahead about right now by 21,289 votes. The size of a lead we have projected. He is the winner. And you know, it's -- for Tuesday night is the Republican Presidential Causes in Nevada. He's doing well putting all the polls in Nevada as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump is a big name. He's all over the place in Nevada. So, maybe that's not ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Literally, literally.
BLITZER: Let's not forget, we have a republican presidential debate Thursday night in Houston. That's the last debate before Super Tuesday, so we're excited about that as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are, and we will both be there. We'll all be there. But let's talk about the breakdowns a little bit more of why the voters voted the way they did and their perceptions of this candidate.
CHALIAN: All right, so we keep talking about this close race for second place between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. So, we took a deep dive into the numbers to see sort of where are their strengths, where are Cruz and Rubio, obviously not as strong as Trump tonight, but where are their strengths and that might inform us about how they plan to sort of message and build their campaigns going forward from here.
So take a look at this. Among the Republican voters who say I need a candidate who shares my values, that is where Ted Cruz wins, 36 percent of those voters to Rubio's 26 percent. Carson's about 11 percent and Bush down to 10 percent, and they make up 37 percent of the electorate.
Electability is a Marco Rubio strength. Those voters that want a candidate who can win in November, big time by 30 points. Rubio wins 49 percent, Trump, 19 percent, Cruz, 19 percent, Kasich, 6 percent. The problem for Marco Rubio there is that only 15 percent of the electorate is looking for the candidate that can win in November.
And then take a look at when people decided. This is fascinating to me. If you look among votes who decided in the last week, 30 percent of them went for Rubio, 27 percent went for Cruz, 16 percent went for Trump and Kasich, 10 percent. Compare that to the voters that decided much earlier, Trump on those, big time.
So here you go, Marco Rubio can make the case based on that number right there that he was the late momentum candidate. Even in South Carolina race, as he was trying to build that rebound from New Hampshire, he and Cruz did better among the folks that decided in this last week that Donald Trump did. That is a moment, if you are the Trump campaign. You are thrilled with your victor tonight, where you're going to see that number. You're going to be like, so what did we do in the final week of the South Carolina campaign that we don't want to repeat again because we want late deciders to come our way, go and vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. Although it might be hard for Marco Rubio, recreate what we had in South Carolina. Not only momentum but he had all of these leaders who are very well respected on his side.
One of the things that just strikes me when you're going through all those numbers is the person not on that list at all, which is who is Jeb Bush?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And not at all. And I've been texting and communicating with some people who are close to him tonight.
[20:20:02] And one saying something I thought was very interesting, "Jeb is the biggest establishment candidate in generations, running the most anti-establish in the most anti-establishment environment in generations" and he just can't do it.
CHALIAN: This -- I mean that to me ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just can't do it.
CHALIAN: ... can be translated to, this is not Jeb Bush' year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not Jeb Bush' year. And, you know, a lot of people who are close to him and have been lamenting for sometime that he is a great leader, has a proven record, but you can't become a leader until you can prove that you're a good candidate, and just hasn't been able to catch that fire no matter what he did. And even, you know, with his brother coming in South Carolina where he's wildly popular, George W. Bush, it was a one day bump. And just the next day, I was down in South Carolina talking to a lot of people saying, it banished. It was just too quick and it didn't help him.
BLITZER: And it raises the serious question, is money really all that important in politics? Because David, you know he and the Super PAC had $100,000 to do the job that did -- that wasn't done.
CHALIAN: It's unbelievable. In every one of these states, the largest spender on television ads is the Jeb Bush Super PAC.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
CHALIAN: And it zero, zero attraction for what they were doing. And again, I think that gets back to Dennis (ph) point, well, which is the electorate was just in a different place ...
BLITZER: All right.
CHALIAN: ... from the argument they were making.
BLITZER: Standby guys. We're going to take a quick break. And we think we're getting ready to hear directly from Donald Trump, the big winner in South Carolina tonight.
We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: All right, welcome back. Let's get a CNN key race alert right now. A third of the vote now and Donald Trump is the big winner in South Carolina tonight. He's got 33.2 percent. There's a fight for second place. Ted Cruz slightly ahead of Marco Rubio, 22.1 percent, it's 21 percent for Rubio. Jeb Bush is in fourth place right now, slightly ahead of John Kasich, 8.5 percent. It's 8 percent for John Kasich. Dr. Ben Carson is in sixth place, 6.5 percent but it's a third of the vote. That's a significant number right now.
You see this battle for second place between Cruz and Rubio. They have been going back and forth.
Let's go over to John King. John, significant numbers right now. We know Trump is the big winner. It's interesting who's going to wind up in second place.
KING: Right, and let's focus on the winner for just a second. And if you look at the map, the dark red is Donald Trump. He's winning along the coast, military bases. He's winning more south along the coast, retirees, more moderate Republicans. He's winning across the state and he's winning up here in the Evangelical heartland of South Carolina. Essentially, Donald Trump is winning everywhere. As we saw in New Hampshire, he's winning across the board right now.
Whereas this red, this is the center part of the state, Richland County, Columbia. This is where the state capital is. Remember the governor endorsed Marco Rubio. Rubio running ahead right now at 28 to 23 percent. Ted Cruz, third place there. This is a mainstream establishment Republican area won by Romney, won by McCain. Rubio leading right now, 30 percent of the vote counted there.
That will help him. It's a major population center. If he can keep that margin in this close race for second place, more votes there would help. This is interesting up here, Greenville County, this is in the Evangelical belt up here in the highlands of South Carolina.
At the moment, Rubio is winning. But I want to say, zero percent officially in. So this is a few early precincts, Ted Cruz running third. If Ted Cruz is running third up here, that will deeply impact his effort to get into second place. Same as you come over here to Spartanburg, Greenville, Spartanburg, part of the conservative Evangelical wave -- band across Northern South Carolina and you have Trump, Rubio, Cruz, but again, very early on.
So, we've got to watch Greenville and Spartanburg in this race for second place. But when you pull out all together, well, this is pretty striking. Again, Donald Trump proving he can win moderate republicans. He can win mainstream establishment Republicans. He can win Evangelical Republicans. A lot of people will say it's only 33 percent but let's look at the other way.
In a state built for him, in state with an Evangelical base, with a strong tea party support, Ted Cruz is falling only 22 percent. That's tough to look at camera direct that on and say I'm doing great in South Carolina tonight, whether you're second or third, this is the state built for him and he's getting 22 percent of the vote.
Rubio, again, wants to be the new face of the Republican Party, the Indian-American governor, the African-American Republican senator, 22 percent. Again, they're going to spin this. On we go. That's pretty tough, getting 22 percent to Donald Trump, essentially the new force in the Republican Party. And when you get beyond the top three, there's no question, these three are in the race to stay to start moving down.
We're going to ask some questions here. Kasich says, he's in no matter what. I was just communicating with his command. And no matter what, I was communicating with somebody in the Bush campaign, a very close friend, he said, "Please be respectful. We're still counting the results." It'd be interesting to watch what we hear from the Bush camp in the hours said.
BLITZER: Yeah. All of us, we're waiting to hear that. Are you surprised that there's so much red there. Donald Trump's number there, almost all of the counties, he is ahead right now.
KING: If you ask me that question a few months ago, I would say yes. If you watched what happened in Iowa where Trump ran second. If you watched what happened in New Hampshire where Trump won by a big margin, something like this, this is the proof Donald Trump.
And when you travel and talk to our corresponds who have been to his rallies, you meet people at his rallies who are Evangelicals. You meet people at his rallies who voted for McCain and Romney. You meet people at his rallies who say, if Trump doesn't win, I'm going to look at Bernie Sanders. So, he is bringing in a very mixed coalition.
He has the broadest coalition among the Republican candidates right now. A lot of people were skeptical and he's drawing power early on. They said he could -- this is a state where you need a ground game. That's your primary. And maybe it's a celebrity, maybe it's his big rally and the combination of that and mechanics, we'll just go through some of these and look, 30 percent here, you know, just barely beating here. If you come over here, 29 percent. But when you move back toward the coast, this is a famping (ph).
He's getting nearly half the votes here in the Myrtle Beach area, Horry County. It's a big population there. It's the only 6 percent of the state population. He's getting near 50 percent. So, whether you like Donald Trump or don't like Donald Trump, that speaks for itself. Well, this is a famping (ph), a shellacking.
BLITZER: I compare it to four years ago and eight years ago, because we see a lot of event over this.
KING: Right. This map looks very much like the New Cambridge map essentially. Look at this map. This is New Cambridge who won 40 percent over Romney. Again, Rubio is winning here and Rubio is competitive here along the coast. This is where you find a more moderate, more mainstream establishment Republicans.
Look at the 2008, again, John McCain won here, won a broader slot.
This is the Evangelical vote up here for Mike Huckabee. Now, he come -- remember this, just remember these areas here. This, I'll circle it in green, mainstream Republicans. This, I'll circle it in white up here, those are Evangelical Republicans, right. So what is happening this year? Donald Trump, getting both -- getting both.
He's got again, you could only argue with only 34erpcent but winning is winning and he is winning in a very good deep republican fill, Donald Trump is winning across the spectrum.
BLITZER: And look at this battle for second place, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, they're both at 21 percent, there's only one, 400 vote difference between the two of them. Want to go over to Manu Raju. He's over at the Marco Rubio headquarters right now.
Manu, what are you learning over there? What are you hearing from the Rubio folks?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well the Rubio camp is very in bold and by these results particularly after their disappointing finish in New Hampshire, they end up come up in second place of -- this would be a big surprise given though what we see in the polls in the last several days. But what you're hearing from Rubio officials and people close to the senator that they believe to the longer Jeb Bush stays in this race, the more likely at it is to help Donald Trump.
You heard that message coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire. That is going to be a very loud drum beat. So we're going to hear over the next several days if Jeb Bush does not give in the -- get out of the way, not just because they and of course similar types of voters but because Jeb Bush is super PAC right to right has just been pommeling Marco Rubio across the airwaves and all of the early state driving up Marco Rubio's negatives like no other group.
So if Jeb gets out, Marco Rubio is seeing things that's going to be a big boon for them but they'll have to worry about another person in the race, John Kasich who is showing no sign of getting out. That's a fight that could intensify in the coming days here Wolf.
BLITZER: Well do they think those Jeb Bush votes would go towards Marco Rubio? A fellow Floridian or we're going to be Ohio Governor John Kasich?
RAJU: I think that they -- bigger will come to them more naturally but I can only think that's up for granted. I don't think we really know that quite yet and, you know, the also -- the other thing here we have to look at is that, up until March 15th, all these state vote give out a delegates proportionally.
After March 15, that's when it's going to come really down to -- really down to winning which Marco Rubio has not proving yet that he can do. Sure he can enough in the top here (ph) and through the first three states but he has to win and if he does not win after March 15th. Donald Trump could potentially run away with it Wolf.
BLITZER: All right Manu, stand by. I want to update our viewers right now in the actual votes. You can see right now Trump is the big winner. Almost 40 percent of the vote is now in. He's got 34.3 percent. Ted Cruz is in second place but barely 21.6 percent to 21.3 percent for Marco Rubio. It's not connect between Cruz and Rubio are fierce battle for second place.
Underway, Jeb Bush in forth place just slightly ahead of John Kasich 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent that is just changed 8.2 percent to 8 percent for John Kasich. Dr. Ben Carson has also 6.6 percent.
But once again, Donald Trump, the big winner. You see that fierce battle for second place between Cruz and Rubio.
Jake, back to you.
TAPPER: Ben Carson incidentally is taken the stage and said that he is not going anywhere and he's going to continue to run in this race.
Let's ask some tough questions right now about the guys buying for second place, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Let's start with Ted Cruz who's in second right now.
Gloria, Ted Cruz, just to play doubles ad but then against Mr. Cruz for a second. It's a state with 73 percent evangelical turn out.
TAPPER: That she should be doing very well. He has this much heralded ground game and still he has this rather anemic potentially second place finish.
BORGER: Right, and I think what we're seeing tonight is this question of what Republican voters value the most? Is it somebody who shares their values? Or is it somebody who is an outsider and tells it like it is and is kind of the truth telling candidate and that's the difference between the ...
AXELROD: Or we'll kick some butt. And I think that's the ...
BORGER: A kick some but, right.
BORGER: To put it nicely and so that's the difference between those two guys. Look I think Cruz is very well organized heading in to the Southern States, other Southern States. I think nothing succeeds like success and so Trump is also going to ride that wagon and, you know, don't forget Rubio is also well organized and well financed so, you know, I think you're going to see this pre-continued.
AXELROD: Listen. I think so if you ask if -- when Ted Cruz started planning this race and I think he's planned his race more assiduously than anyone else.
TAPPER: Oh yeah.
AXELROD: If you would ask him whether he though he would be struggling to hang on a second in the South Carolina Primary and lose to Donald Trump, he would have thought you were crazy.
This is a blow to him.
AXELROD: He can stay. He has -- he is fortified to stay. This battle for second is meaningful but this is a blow to his strategy.
BORGER: There's something about the brashness and the honesty of a Donald Trump, whether you agree with him or you disagree with him that's appealing to voters and appealing to these voters because he gives voice to their frustration and anxiety.
[20:35:10] TAPPER: Just one quick note for our viewers who are looking on the right side of the screen. At the top right is Donald Trump headquarters. The bottom right is Jeb Bush headquarters and we will be bringing you those speeches when they come.
We do expect Jeb Bush to make remarks any moment and we'll bring that to you live.
AXELROD: You know, we keep talking about the economic grievances that people feel who are supporting Donald Trump. I think there are cultural grievances as well.
BORGER: Absolutely, I think that's true.
AXELROD: There are people, you know, who share his views or the views his articulated about immigration. Who share his views about refugees and are thrilled that he is articulating his views of thumbing his nose at a political establishment they believe has looked down on them.
AXELROD: And I think that's another part what's going on here.
HENDERSON: That's right, yeah.
HENDERSON: And I think, I mean, that specialty resonates in the self (ph), right, where you do have a region of -- where some people have felt like, they didn't look down of, on, you know, we call her a white voters.
I do think this pulls the question for Rubio going forward. Does he have to change his message and always what is his message? It's partly I can unite the party. It's partly I can win in November. It's partly I won't say anything that offends you.
HENDERSON: But he's going to figure out -- is that going to really resonate broadly this idea that he's the -- that the face of the new Republican Party, it seems like they kind of like the old face, the Republican Party.
BORGER: Well electability only 15 percent.
BORGER: And in the exit polls only 15 percent of Republicans thought that electability was important. Rubio won those 50 percent.
BORGER: But electability doesn't ...
AXELROD: Rubio strategy is always been if I am everybody second choice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
AXELROD: If I'm acceptable to every suction of the party that it ultimately will come together from me, so far it hasn't come together.
HENDERSON: Definitely, yes.
BORGER: It wanted somewhere.
SMERCONISH: If I'm Ted Crus, I think I'm a little disappointed to hear Ben Carson's speech tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.
SMERCONISH: What's he hanging in for? We've already been talking about Jeb Bush. Is this the swan song for -- what about Ted -- what about Ben Carson? Is this about anything more of this stage I have to say it than selling books.
And if I am Ted Cruz, I want those five or six percent who are largely evangelical and have supported Carson as far.
TAPPER: But I will say, I will say a polster in Iowa told us that there is this assumption that Carson voters would go for Cruz and that wasn't born out by this is in Iowa where they actually poll (ph) for second choices.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: True. TAPPER: Where Cruz is not necessarily the second choice for Carson supporters because one of the reasons that they like Ben Carson is because of his demeanor, because of his attitude, because of a pleasant in ninety seemed which are not necessarily qualities one would describe Ted Cruz.
BORGER: Some of those voters may have gone to John Kasich's by the way.
AXELROD: We should give credit -- we should give credit to Dr. Carson though because he said tonight he is not going anywhere and he's not going anywhere.
TAPPER: Let me ask you about Marco Rubio because here's the other doubled up the question about Marco Rubio. Your Marco Rubio, you're this great right hope for the Republican establishment. You have the endorsement of Nikki Haley. You have the endorsement of Tim Scott. You have the endorsement of Trey Gowdy and the other members of the congressional deligation in South Carolina and yet this is what you manage to get.
BORGER: Well, right. And they are going to spin it by the way. I totally agree with you. They're going to spin it that a close third if they were to come in third would be fine. But I remember the days they were talking about winning in South Carolina.
BORGER: And I think it is a real disappointment for them. Look there is no doubt that Nikki Haley's endorsement really helps them. There is no doubt that Rubio sees himself as the generational change that the Republican Party need. But I'm just not sure at this point whether the Republican Party feels that way because they -- on immigration for example as you've look at this -- as you look at this exit polls, Rubio was hurt by his position on immigration.
It's not like any Republican has clean hands on that because they all sort of change their view except for one person and that's Donald Trump who shares the views of most of the Republican voters we saw.
TAPPER: Although Donald Trump in 2012 criticize Nick Romney for having too hardline the position on immigration ...
BORGER: Well there you have it.
TAPPER: ... on immigration but 2012 as ancient history. Nia-Malika, you -- one would think on paper with Marco Rubio and Nikki Haley -- we're going to Wolf Blitzer right now or are we going to Jeb Bush right now?
BLITZER: All right hold on for ...
TAPPER: We're going to Wolf Blitzer right now.
BLITZER: Hold on for a moment I want to bring in Mark Preston. We see Jeb Bush on the stage. Mark Preston, tell us what you've learned. MARK PRESTON, CNN EXECUTIVE EDITOR FOR POLITICS: Well, well so now we know Jeb Bush is on the stage right now and he is going to suspend his campaign for the presidency. Jeb Bush who's run a very hard race that one time was considered the front runner right now has decided to suspend his campaign. We'll hear him shortly say that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Short and sweet ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: To be introduced by Lindsey Graham of one of the supporters in senator from South Carolina.
Dana are you -- you want to lay in, do you have anymore information?
[20:40:00] BASH: Well I just want to say that I was just speaking t one of his topped owners who said that the discussions for underway obviously we have this petition (ph) but the key meaning Jeb Bush wanted to get out tonight.
That after the discussion it was his decision he wants to end up.
BLITZER: Mark Chalian -- David Chalain.
CHALIAN: I'm sorry is just watching this moment of Jeb Bush bending over to his wife Columba and giving her a kiss, as Lindsey Graham is introducing him for obviously what is going to be as much as supported a suspension of his camp. BLITZER: I think we just saw his wife, mark, crying. Obviously very
sad moment for the Bush family but he is about to speak right now. He's getting a little hug from Lindsey Graham, right here's the former Florida governor.
JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): Jeb, Jeb, Jeb!
BUSH: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Lindsey. When I begun this journey in Miami, I committed that I would campaign as I would serve, going everywhere, speaking to everyone, keeping my word, facing the issues without flinching. And staying true to what I believe.
For the better part of a year I've endeavored to do just exactly that. I have put forth a vision for America that includes all because our country deserves a president for everyone. The presidency is bigger than any one person and is certainly bigger than any candidate. This is not, you know, we're different in our country because our head of state is not above us but because the head of state, the people that aspire to the presidency are part of the people. In a government of the people, by the people and for the people, we elect a president like us in perfect under God's watchful eye. I've had a front row seat to this office for most of my adult life.
I've seen fallible men rise up to the challenges of our time, with humility and clarity of purpose to make our nation safer, stronger and freer.
I firmly believe the American people must entrust this office to someone who understands that whoever holds it is a servant, not the master. Someone who commit to that service with honor and decency. Our next president will lead an extraordinary country, whose people have always made the improbable possible in big ways and small.
Every day, Americans test the boundaries of freedom and achieve more than what they could have ever dreamed. But over the last seven years, our nation's bright light has become little more than a flicker. We have retreated from the world stage. The American values that have brought peace and opportunity are fading. That is not the America we know and love. America is a country that thinks big, acts boldly and leads without apology. It will be up to the next president to restore that kind of leadership.
I'm proud of the campaign that we have run to unify our country. And to advocate conservative solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential. But the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision. So tonight I am suspending my campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
BUSH: Yeah, yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
BUSH: Thank you very -- yeah. I congratulate my competitors that are remaining on the island. On their success for a race that has been hard-fought. Just as the contest for the presidency should be, because it is a tough job. In this campaign, I have stood my ground, refusing to bend to the political winds. We put forward detailed innovative conservative plans to address the mounting challenges that we face, because despite what you might have heard, ideas matter, policy matters.
And I truly hope that these ideas that we've laid out will serve as a blueprint for a generation of conservative leaders at every level of government so that we can take back our country. We laid out plans on everything from reforming our tax and regulatory system, to reviving our economy, to rebuilding our military, and to fixing the V.A. once in for all.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): Yeah.
BUSH: Finally I am so grateful to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina here for his steadfast support. And his amazing humor.
[20:45:00] He stole the line that I'm now saying, which is that he's become a friend for life. I thank all of the Jeb alumni, many of them are here that have been going door to door across the country, who have put their lives on hold for this cause.
And I want to thank my mom and brother, who came here to South Carolina. America truly loves them and respects them and so do I.
I want to thank all my family 2.0 is always back there in the back. And to my dad, who has served as an inspiration to me. He's the greatest man alive and good (INAUDIBLE) to be like that.
I want to thank all the volunteers and supporters that I've met along this incredible journey and to all the fellow grinders in our campaign, our staff who never, ever, ever gave up.
I've had an incredible life, and for me, public service has been the highlight of that life. But no matter what the future holds, here's the greatest safety landing, if you can imagine. Tonight I'm going to sleep with the best friend I have and the love of my life.
And I am totally blessed to be the father of three extraordinary children and as you might know four near perfect grandchildren. And I'll be blessed to say that I'm living in the greatest country in the world has ever known.
I remain optimistic and with the right kind of leadership that we all need to work to make sure it happens, America's best days are ahead. With strong conservative leadership, Republicans can win the White House and if we can get back to being in the very verge of having the greatest time to be alive and that's what I honestly believe and I know you do as well. I look forward to work in you to make that dream come true.
I will do is it as a private citizen, just as you are. Thank you for the opportunity to run for the greatest office on the face of the earth. I love you all God bless you.
BLITZER: Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, the son of one president, the brother of another president ends his quest to become the third President Bush. You heard it first here.
Mark Preston here with us right now. You brought the news just before his speech. He ends his quest for the White House.
PRESTON: Yeah, you know, a couple things about a Jeb Bush. One he did it with dignity and he ran a very honorable campaign. This has been a very dirty campaign. It's been a lot of fighting back and forth with something we've never seen before. I think Jeb Bush did run an honorable campaign and we should be noted for that.
Here's another thing, the three of us, Dana, myself and David we're all in South Carolina for the town hall. Just couple days ago Jeb Bush came out and it was in a interesting moment because he had his mother in the audience. He had his wife in the audience. And he really seemed at peace with himself. And I do have to say this I was talking to his debate team leader today. And they were preparing to go to Houston.
They were asking questions, they wanted to know how the format was going to go. They were all ready to go to Houston, clearly after tonight's for showing, they decided that it was time.
BLITZER: The next Republican presidential debate in Houston CNN we will be moderating that debate, Jeb Bush will not be attending that debate.
David Chalian, it's a very sad moment for the Bush family, you saw his brother, the former president come in. His mom came in, didn't really work. CHALIAN: And we heard stories throughout the campaign about his dad,
the former President Bush 41 watching the T.V., getting so angry of what he was seeing happening in the campaign. Take a moment Wolf to step back here and think where we were a year ago at the beginning phases of this race. And there was all this talk of a potential Bush-Clinton rematch race. This was the guy that everyone as this race began, assumed would likely emerge the nominee. And Jeb Bush, I think informed us early on about 14 months ago earlier than anyone else did, when he used that line and say, "You've got to be willing to lose the primary to win the general." as we know, you can't actually do that. And that is what Jeb Bush is figuring out tonight. He was unable to win the primary to move on to the general. But he was keenly aware, even before Donald Trump was a contender in this, of the forces inside the Republican Party. That's what he was speaking to when he said that line. And it proved to be true, he was not able to win this primary with this electorate at this time. BLITZER: And Dana you saw his -- the love of his life, his wife
Columba she was crying there on the stage. I thought he ended his campaign for the White House with a lot of class, with a lot of dignity.
[20:50:01] BASH: He sure did. And frankly I think most people would say that's how he spent his entire campaign. But you mentioned Columba, I though that was so poignant for so many reasons. The most of which was that he was very clear, the people near him were clear when it was -- should he or shouldn't he run in the first place, she didn't want it. She was always the reluctant spouse. And there you see her standing with the man that she loves watching him fail and getting emotional about it even though she didn't want it in the first place.
On his decision to drop out, I told you right before he spoke that I was -- this text with the donor saying it was his decision. Another source just texted me saying that he just didn't want to drag this out. It shows he's a reasonable and sober leader. Obviously, this is somebody very close to Jeb. But doing the right thing, he wanted to be the bigger guy. So, I think that's sort of the moment.
The other thing, just one quick political note here. Remember how much money he raised for his super PAC. He delayed his announcement for months and months and months, so that he could by legal standards raise a lot of money for his super PAC because that was the place where they could have unlimited funds and unlimited donations. It didn't work. It didn't work. So that campaign didn't work with the super PAC, plus Miss Wisconsin. Scott Walker did the same thing. And it didn't work.
BLITZER: All right stand by guys, Donald Trump is -- just been introduced. He's about to emerge. He's about to deliver his victory speech. He's the big winner in South Carolina tonight. This is a moment that he has wanted. There you see him, walking out. He's about to give his big speech. He's looking forward to the next level of contest.
He's got his family there with him as well. You know what, let's listen in Donald trump, the winner of the South Carolina Republican Primary. He is getting ready to speak right now. His supporters are very, very excited, understandably so.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER (in unison): USA.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much everybody. Well, I want to begin by thanking the people of South Carolina. This is a special state. Thank you.
These are special people. And you know, we get a little boost last week from a place we all remember New Hampshire. We can't forget it. Special, special. We love it. And they sent us in here with a very good feeling, right? Very good feeling.
So I really want to thank you and my volunteers, all of these people, volunteers. And they travel, and they go. Oh I say, "What are you doing?" And now they're going to Texas and they're going all over. Some are going to Nevada. I'll be going to Nevada. We're making a big speech tomorrow in Atlanta. And then we're going right to Nevada. And I think we're going to do terrific there. And the SCC is going to be very, very exciting. We expect to do very, very well. Very well.
I want to just say thank you to my family. It's been not easy for them. They don't see me any more. I'm making speeches all of the time. And I have a great family. I really have a great family. So I just want to thank all of you.
And Ivanka, you know we have a hospital ready just in case. In South Carolina, we're going to have a baby. There is nothing wrong with that, right? So it could be any second. It could even be before I'm finished. I mean, but it's -- but you know, she insisted on being here. It was so important to Ivanka to insist on being here so thank you, I mean, really good and Jared, Vanessa, Don.
We have a wonderful lieutenant governor who backed us very early in the process. You know Henry, right? The lieutenant governor of South Carolina. I will take him over the governor any time because we won. We won. He can handle that very nicely. He's tough. Who's very tough. Tiffany, Eric, Lara and Melania. Melania, saying something. Guys, please.
MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: Just want to say, an amazing place South Carolina. Congratulations to my husband. He was working very hard and he loves you. We love you. And to be going ahead to Nevada and we will see what happens. He will be the best president.
[20:55:10] TRUMP: And representing some very, very wonderful children, Ivanka. Just say a few words.
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: Thank you, South Carolina. This is an amazing, amazing night. The momentum, since the beginning of this campaign has been unbelievable and that's because my father's message resonates so deeply with so many people. So as our family, we're incredibly
proud. We're incredibly grateful to each of you. So thank you for being here to support us. And I will say this, my father is an incredibly hard worker. And he'll be working for each and every one of you. So together we'll make America great again. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. So you know, I was watching upstairs, and it was really amazing to be watching what I was watching. And some of the pundits and not, you know, over all fair, but not too much. But a number of the pundits said, well, if a couple of the other candidates dropped out, if you add their scores together, it's going to equal Trump! What? These geniuses, the geniuses, they don't understand that as people drop out, I'm going to get a lot of those votes also. You don't just add them together. So I think we're going to do very, very well. I think we're going to do very well.
I want to also congratulate the other candidates. In particular, I have to say Ted and Marco did a really good job, and they got -- they did quite well, as I understand. And then, no, come on just of -- just one minute. Come on. One second, right? Good.
OK, we go back to war tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning we'll be back. But I just want to congratulate the other candidates. There's nothing easier about running for president. I can tell you. It's tough. It's nasty. It's mean. It's vicious. It's beautiful.
When you win, it's beautiful. And we're going to start -- we are going to start winning for our country. We're going to start winning. Because our country doesn't win any more. Doesn't win. We don't win with the military. We can't beat ISIS. We have great military, but we can't beat ISIS.
We don't win on trade. You look at what China is doing to us, what Japan does to us, what Mexico is just killing us at the border, at the border, and with trade. Mexico is killing us, absolutely. We'll do the wall. Don't worry, we're going to do the wall. We're going to do the wall, and by the way, who is going to pay for the wall? Mexico is going to pay for the wall and it's very easy.
The other politicians come then, you can't get Mexico to pay for the wall. I said, 100%, we have a $58 billion trade deficit with Mexico. The wall is going to cause 10 to $12 billion, OK? Believe me, they will pay.
One of the officials, actually, one of the ex officials from Mexico had a news conference, and he announced that we will not be paying for the wall. Who does Mister Trump think he is? They came to me, the press, these people, look at all those cameras back there.
The press came to me, and they told me that he said would not pay for the wall. Do you have a comment? I said, yes, the wall just got 10 feet taller. It's true, and I love Mexico. I love Mexico. I love China. I love many of these countries that reap us off, because we have leaders that are incompetent and don't know what they're doing.
I love these countries. They're great. I have thousands and thousands of Hispanics. We're going to Nevada. I lead, I lead with the Hispanics. I'm leading in every poll with the Hispanics. They love me, I love them. The problem is -- the problem is that the leaders of these countries, whether it's Mexico, or Japan or Vietnam, which is just doing a big number now all of a sudden, or China in particular, that's the big one.
The greatest abuse of a country that I think I've ever seen financially, China. What they have done to us is the greatest single theft in the history of the world. They've taken our jobs. They've taken our money. They have taken everything. We're bringing our jobs back, folks. We're bringing our jobs back. We're going to bring them back.
And I know how to do it. We've had so many incredible endorsements. And to me, getting the greatest business people to endorse me is very important. Carl Icahn endorsed me. So many others have endorsed me. And we're going to put these great business people in charge of trade and when China wants to come and negotiate, they're going to negotiate, not with a political hack, which is what they have now.
[21:00:08] They're going to negotiate with the best business minds in the world, and we have them in this country.