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Speaker Ryan: 'I'm Just Not Ready' to Back Trump; Third Party Run Not Out of the Question; What Would a Trump Presidency Look Like? Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 5, 2016 - 22:00   ET



[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Well, that does it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon starts now.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: So, this is the GOP's worst nightmare.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

House Speaker Paul Ryan in a stunning moment declines to support Donald Trump.


PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm just not ready to do that at this point, I'm not there right now. And I hope to, though, and I want to, but I think what is required is that we unify this party.


LEMON: You know Trump fired back tonight in true Trump fashion with a statement saying I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Then saying this in his first rally since becoming the presumptive nominee.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody's out, I'm the only one left, that's OK, right? Right?



LEMON: OK. So, I hope you're writing all this down. Meanwhile, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney all refusing to attend the GOP convention in July. Now it's a battle for the party of the party of Lincoln. Or is that this Trump's party right now?

A battle that threatens to tear the party apart. Can the GOP be safe? If anybody can explain all of this, I would venture to guess that it's Gloria Borger. I said to the audience, Gloria, I hope you're writing all of this down.

I mean, who would have thought you got the Speaker Paul Ryan saying he's not ready to support Trump. Here's what he told CNN exclusively, and then we'll talk about it.


RYAN: I hope to support our nominee, I hope to support his candidacy fully, and want to do that, but right now, I have to tell you, Jake, just being candid with you, at this point I'm not there right now.

This man is going to get the nomination, because he earned it. He deserved it, he won the vote. And more importantly, I think those of us need to learn a few lessons here. I think there's a bit of humility that each of us need, especially leaders in Congress, which is he tapped into something in this country that was very powerful.

And people are sending a message to people to Washington that we need to learn from and listen to. But at the same time, now that we have a presumptive nominee who is going to be our standard bearer, I think it's very important that there's a demonstration that our standards will be beard.

I mean, that he will advance our appreciation for limited government, for the Constitution. For the proper of the executive, for the principles, not only built our party, but built this country and how we're going to apply those principles to offer solutions and run a campaign that republicans can be proud of and run a campaign that Americans can be proud of.


LEMON: As you know, Gloria Borger, that interview sending shock waves across the country. You have been on the phone all night. I'm sure your phone is burning up.


LEMON: What are your sources saying to you?

BORGER: Well, first of all, it's a stunning development in this interview with Jake today. Look, you have the sitting Speaker of the House who is going to be the chairman of the convention saying to Jake Tapper, look, I'm not there yet. I'm not -- I'm not there to support the republican nominee.

And there isn't one person I've spoken with by the way, who didn't feel that this was a heartfelt move on behalf of the speaker.

This is clearly a speaker who has a vision that he wants to talk to Donald Trump about, and their visions don't coincide, And so, the question is, Donald Trump right now, Donald Trump is the future of the Republican Party, he's the Republican Party nominee, presumptive nominee.

And Paul Ryan is somebody who maybe one day will run for president. And he's the Speaker of the House. But they have to be able to get together on some agenda. And you, you know, you heard what Trump said in his statement which is, I don't support Ryan's agenda.

LEMON: hey, let me read it for you, Gloria.

BORGER: Yes, yes.

LEMON: OK. Because I'm wondering though if this is a standup. Let me read it now then I'll ask you that question. Donald Trump says, "I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Perhaps in the future we can together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They've been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first." So, go on, standoff here?

BORGER: Well, you know, I think the question when I talk to republicans is, how do you put humpty dumpty together? Look, the fact that Paul Ryan is not ready to endorse Donald Trump is not going to bother Donald Trump's supporters one bit. OK? It doesn't matter.

What's interesting to me this evening is that I'm talking to republicans who are saying, you know, he gives some republicans cover who can say, I will support the republican nominee, but I kind of like the Paul Ryan agenda, so in that sense, you know, he gives some cover.

Another thing that very interesting tonight, Don, is that you didn't see Donald Trump go to Twitter and take on Paul Ryan. You didn't see him challenge Paul Ryan in his stump speech tonight when he was at his rally.

LEMON: Right.

BORGER: You know, he released a statement saying we're going to agree to disagree and Donald Trump moved on. And so, I think we're seeing, I know we always say this, but I think it's a different kind of Donald Trump than the one during a campaign who would have taken to twitter, because he's not running against anybody any more. And he doesn't want to run against the Speaker of the House. Period.

[22:05:13] LEMON: OK. So, no Twitter tirade, but just a statement which a, which, you know, a traditional politician would do. What about the rest of the campaign, how are they reacting?

BORGER: Well, look, I think that tonight at a rally, our Sara Murray reported that while Trump didn't say anything Corey Lewandowski who is one of his top advisers was gaggling to reporters off camera.

And you know, reporters were asking him whether this was a slap in the face to Donald Trump. And he said, look, there's the leader of the Republican Party and he pointed to Donald Trump. It's not Paul Ryan, it's Donald Trump.

LEMON: Who is it? Who is it?

BORGER: Well, I think that's a big question. It depends on which vision you embrace. And I don't think this is an argument that republicans really want to be having right now.

But I do think at some point -- and I was speaking to somebody this evening who's a friend of Paul Ryan, and he said that he believes eventually he'll get to yes, but that he wants to talk to Trump about what it is they can agree on.


BORGER: And so, you know, Reince Priebus is probably going to set up this kind of a meeting, and they're going to see what they have in common. And I think what you heard Paul Ryan say is, look, there are certain kind of we want our standard bearer to share our standards or something to that effect.


BORGER: You know, Paul Ryan has come out and said that the temporary ban on Muslims is wrong. So, I think that you're going to -- you're going to see him talk to Donald Trump a little bit about the big 10 Republican Party and see where they --where they can agree. But heading into the convention, this isn't a great thing for republicans.

LEMON: It is fascinating to say the least.


LEMON: Hey, Gloria, will you stand by? Because I need you to help with the next conversation.


LEMON: With the next two gentlemen who are joining us right now. Republican strategist, John Brabender, CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen. Welcome to the broadcast, guys.

So, John, Trump supporters are saying that this is another example of the republican establishment completely out of touch with voters? Are they right?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, I think you have to understand the context of the race. I'm not an analyst; I'm a strategist, so I look at how do you win?

And the playing field for republicans to win a presidential is not great. You either have to pick up more Hispanics, more single women, more blue collar democrats, and more independents.

BORGER: Right.

BRABENDER: Trump is playing to the independents and the blue collar democrats. And the last thing frankly that he needs is for every republican leader to rally behind him. So, in an ironic way, I think this is probably as helpful for Trump as it is harmful.

LEMON: And I should say, David Gregory. David, I'm in so much cold medication so please, forgive me. I'm sure you can hear it. So, David...


DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's quite all right. I have a lot of respect for David Gregory.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you very much. You know, we're seeing this power, and again, my apology. We're seeing this power struggle play out. Will it be up to Washington to get on board with Trump's platform or vice versa?

GERGEN: I think it has to be a meeting of the minds. So, it's another wild day for a fracturing party. But I think -- I think Paul Ryan is doing something very smart. He has some leverage here, he is -- he is chair of the convention. After all he is going to have that gavel.

This is going to be a dramatic moment Trump gives his speech; will Paul Ryan endorse him then? If he hasn't already it's going to be very dramatic. But I think what he's doing, Don, is using his leverage to see if he can't reign Trump in from some of his successes. Both on tone, which is very, very important to Paul Ryan and also on the substance.

Listen, you have to move off this idea that you're going to ban every Muslim. You can't deport 11 million people. Your supporter is not voting for you probably for those reasons anyway.

And we have seen this in the past in the Republican Party, in fact, both parties. When there are two power brokers going on, there's often some kind of meeting, are conciliatory meeting to see if you can put together an agreement that both sides can support.

And I think Ryan, if he would endorse him right away, he would have no leverage over Trump's tone or over his agenda. By doing this, he has a conversation and he will have leverage. And other republicans will join in that, and he'll be led by Ryan. Trump in Mr. Ways needs Paul Ryan more than Paul Ryan needs Trump.

LEMON: Yes, that was and you can explain why -- explain why that is, I agree with you, but explain to our viewers why that is.

GERGEN: Well, because if Trump goes down and as long as the republicans can hold house. You know, they haven't gone backwards, they've just -- they blown what could have been a big opportunity but they are going backwards and Paul Ryan can continue to build the future of the Republican Party.

BOLTON: Right.

GERGEN: And Trump will be rejected. On the other hand, you know, Trump has a lot to lose. This is his shot.

LEMON: Right.

GERGEN: He doesn't make it this time until it's over.

LEMON: And he needs -- he needs...


GERGEN: So, you know, he needs Paul Ryan.

[22:10:00] LEMON: Yes.

GERGEN: The only way he's going to win the presidency to go back to what John said, he's got to unite the party. And then he can be reaching out to independents and then he can be reaching out to disaffected democrats.

But he's got to have that first circle closed to have any prayer of bringing them a lot of independents and democrats. But in order to win, he needs Ryan.

LEMON: But John, let -- Gloria, I want to John this. I'm going to let you get in. But, John, can anyone reign in Donald Trump? I mean, even some of the people he's brought in, you know, they can't even reign him in? Can Paul Ryan do that?

BRABENDER: Yes. Look, our first instinct is, here's what he should do, he should look presidential. He should go with a teleprompter. All these things. The things we have to understand, though, Donald Trump cannot win a choice election.

Donald Trump can win a movement election. And the way you win a movement election is to basically throw the playbook out, play by different rules, change the dynamics, you know, we're trying to give advice to a guy that just kicked the butts of 17 different candidates of the republican nomination.

LEMON: Exactly. Yes. Go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: Yes, I agree with John on that. I think this election is not going to be so much about persuasion as it is about mobilization. You're going to have to mobilize and get out your voters. Donald Trump has done a really good job of that so far getting out his voters.


GERGEN: Yes. But to mobilize the voters it's also important to mobilize your party.

BORGER: Right.

GERGEN: When you got two former presidents who both are saying they are not going to endorse him.


BORGER: Hillary Clinton will mobilize.

GERGEN: And two nominees staying out of the convention, that makes a mess. And the press is going to play on that the division for just forever. BORGER: Right. But, I will tell you that Hillary Clinton will

mobilize republican voters, and you know that Donald Trump will mobilize...


GERGEN: Absolutely.

BORGER: ... will mobilize democratic voters. I think the problem, the republicans I talk to today...

GERGEN: We'll see. We'll see.

BORGER: ... the problem that they have is the question of, where does this end as one said to me? Where does it end? Because how can -- how can Paul Ryan reconcile his vision for the Republican Party with Donald Trump's vision.

And they're -- you know, they don't have a lot in common, you know, it's not only, you know, it's not only the question of Muslims, it's a question of immigration, it's a question of trade. It's a question of entitlement reform.

If you go issue by issue by issue by issue, how can they reconcile. It can't be about the issues. What it has to be something larger that they can agree on, about the presentation the Republican Party wants to make to voters in this country overall.

LEMON: All right.

BORGER: And how inclusive the party wants to be.


GERGEN: It can't be about philosophy?

LEMON: Yes. Hey.

BORGER: Well, because they don't agree on anything.

GERGEN: It can't be about philosophy and about tone.

BORGER: And tone.

LEMON: Stand by, everyone. Stand by, everyone.

GERGEN: But it is about tone and about principles.

LEMON: Gloria, thank you very much. I appreciate it.


LEMON: John Brabender and David Gergen, I want you to stick around.

When we come right back, two former presidents and two nominees say they are skipping the GOP convention all because of Donald Trump. Is this any way to unify the party?


LEMON: House Speaker Paul Ryan turning republican politics upside down saying that he's just not ready to support Donald Trump as the party's presumptive nominee.

Back with me, John Brabender and David Gergen. So, John, Mitt Romney, Bush 41 and 43, John McCain, they're all skipping out on the republican convention this summer, is that a mistake?

BRABENDER: No, I understand why they're doing it. In some cases it's for personal reasons, in other cases they have raises. But let's not forget, there's been a lot of republicans in the last two days that have come out Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, who all said they're going to support Donald Trump.

I want to go back to something that David said earlier, though, that I think is important. The calculus for Trump to win does include getting basically every vote that Mitt Romney got last time, and then some additional independents and blue collar democrats.

For him to get that he needs to get these people to rally behind him. And so, the challenge he has is how to get them to unite, but at the same time not looking to have his base leave him because it looks like he sold out. That's the challenge for Donald Trump.

LEMON: Yes. And Paul Ryan can help him with that, correct?

BRABENDER: Absolutely he can, and I would be shocked if at the end of the day, Paul Ryan is not there. What Paul Ryan is saying at this point is, you're going to do it on my terms not your terms.

LEMON: OK. So, David, let's talk about what John just said. Let's follow up on that. And on the one hand you have the past two republican presidential nominees and the past republican two presidents they're saying, no thanks.

But then today, we're learning the former Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsing Trump. Others saying now that they're going to endorse him as well. So, what does this all mean?

GERGEN: Well, first of all, I agree with every word that John just said. And I thought it was right on the mark. And I think that Donald Trump really ought to listen to the underlying tone of what Paul Ryan said, that is, everybody a little humility here.

And I think that includes, he's in a position as a victor to be gracious here. And I think for him to go visit Paul Ryan would be a very, very smart idea. And I think at some point he's going to have to pay the Bush's a visit.

You know, it's very personal with him because of what happened to son Jeb. And I think that Donald Trump needs to reach out in a way that shows he's a larger man than people think he is. He's done a fantastic job mobilizing his voters. Everybody agree with that. Just any number of people I talked to are sort of -- you know, cab drivers and people in hotels and things like that they're all sort of saying, wow! This guy came out of nowhere and won this? He's got something going for him. And, you know, they're excited about it. But he's got to bring the rest of the party with him. And I think that's done by persuasion of bombast.

LEMON: How do you do that, David, without seeming like you're capitulating? Because you have things is I'm an establishment.

GERGEN: Well, you know, one of the things I thought was really -- one of the reasons I thought Ronald Reagan was so successful as a leader was, he stuck to his principles. Everybody knew he was still Ronald Reagan but he was also extremely gracious at reaching out across the aisle.

And indeed, including people in his White House and in his government who didn't agree with him on every issue. I happened to be that. I wasn't as conservative as he was, but he welcomed me in. He made it a big tent.

And Donald Trump has got to do that. He has -- I think he can create something here. He can surprise all of us, he goes out as an underdog, but, you know, the truth to the matter is, yes, he could still win this election. But he has to do certain things to do that, you just can't kick people around and assume they're going to get together with you.

LEMON: Is there anything he can do, John to turned off the people who support him? Because if he -- if he does this, some may say, well, what you doing, why are you, you know, why are you kowtowing to the Speaker of the House. Why would you just do what you, you know, he's the establishment, that's what we don't want.

[22:20:13] I do think he has to be careful, and I think he also has to understand why he's in the position he is today. These aren't people who waited their whole life to vote for Donald Trump. These are people who have been very frustrated for a long time. Felt disenfranchised from the process, and basically they're channeling that frustration through him because he has a big mega phone.

And so, the whole point of this is understanding these are people who want to see change, and they believe that he's authentic enough and believe in him that he will do what he says. If they do indeed thinks that he's just doing this for political manipulation or he's just going to sell out, or anything like that they will leave him very quickly.

LEMON: Yes. What about this idea...


GERGEN: I think he can be in a position, but he could be in a position where he is the representative of the people who are angry and comes in to say, Paul, you have to understand where the electorate is coming from, you have to work with me on this. I'll work with you on some things, but have you to work with me on some things too.

That's what a leader does. And that's how, you know, this party is not going to come together naturally, he has to be the one who is the leader in bringing it together. I think he can do that where he can prove he can do that. Others have proved you can do that.


BRABENDER: And that's important. There needs to be this message transition from tapping into that frustration and using it as anger in a republican primary, to now changing it to being something more hopeful, more visionary about how we are going to make America great again, and get people around that.

BOLTON: Right.

BRABENDER: And I do think there needs to be some of a positive message transition to do that that hopefully we'll start seeing.

LEMON: It's just -- the idea of a third party, is that just all talk and really no momentum? You know, this whole no Trump movement we've been hearing this and still looking for a potential third party candidate. How realistic or unrealistic is that, David Gergen?

GERGEN: I think it's unrealistic. I don't think you're going to find anybody can take the nomination away from him. And after the convention, it's too late to get on the ballot. So, I just...


LEMON: You hand it over to the democrat. You hand it right over to Hillary Clinton if she's indeed the nominee?

GERGEN: Well, you can hand it over if you don't get -- I think you need to put the party back together. As John said, he needs every Romney voter plus a whole lot more.

LEMON: John?

BRABENDER: Yes. I think what you have to understand is, for all practical purposes Donald Trump is a third party candidate, because he's not running as a quintessential republican candidate. And that has great benefits if you can pull off and still get the republican vote. That's the question to be seen.

But this never Trump I think is never more at this point, because I think you're going to be seeing a lot of people start jumping on to the Trump band wagon and it's already happened in the last two days.

LEMON: So, I want to ask you about this. I want you to take a look, this is a new anti-Trump ad that Hillary Clinton is running. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're to mock a reporter with a disability. TRUMP: I don't remember. Planned Parenthood should absolutely be


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you ban abortion?

TRUMP: We'll go back to a position like they had, where people will perhaps go to illegal places.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should the woman be punished for having an abortion?

TRUMP: There has to be some form of punishment.

JAKE TAPPER, THE LEAD SHOW HOST: Will you condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or other white supremacists?

TRUMP: I don't know anything about white supremacists. So, I don't know.

Knock the crap out of him, would you? I'd like to punch him in the face.


LEMON: So, she isn't wasting any time going up against Donald Trump. But here's what the RNC communications director Shawn Spicer who is on CNN today. He said that support of a third party -- and you say that Donald Trump is already third party, but supporters of someone else besides Donald Trump, means supporting Hillary Clinton, and then she's got that ammunition as well, John. So, this is...


BRABENDER: Well, first of all, that ad right there was targeted towards moderate republican women in my opinion. And what they are trying to do, and I think the Clinton campaign will do this, is try to cherry pick and divide the most mobile, swing republican voters and see if they can turn them against a Trump. And if they do, he's going to have a big problem.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.

BRABENDER: Thank you.

LEMON: We're just getting started, the conversation continues right after this break. Don't go anywhere.


BOLTON: A political earthquake in the Republican Party, House Speaker Paul Ryan telling CNN that he is not ready to throw his support behind Donald Trump, the likely nominee.

Here to discuss CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany and Peter Beinart. Kayleigh is supporting Trump. Also here, conservative political analyst, Amy Holmes. OK, Peter -- hello, everyone by the way.


LEMON: What's your reaction to Paul Ryan today?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's pretty remarkable, I mean, he didn't have to do this, he could have punted and waited until Trump came down to Washington. I think a big part of this is that Paul Ryan is trying to protect that house majority.

We are now in a situation where Donald Trump's numbers are so terrible that he puts not only the Senate in jeopardy for the Republican Party, but the House as well. And I think that one of the things that Ryan is calculating is that, he is giving other house republicans cover if they feel like they don't want to endorse Donald Trump that maybe that gives them a better chance of saving their seats.

LEMON: So, he's saying, look, you have to do this if you want to save the Republican Party and if you want to save our majority? Correct?

BEINART: I think he believes that doesn't want everything to go down in the massive bonfire that is the Trump candidacy, he wants there still to be a Republican Party in Washington afterwards that can rebuild. He doesn't want a situation where the republicans have lost both the presidency, the Senate, the House and essentially, the Supreme Court all in one election.

LEMON: You look pained, Kayleigh. So, describes she's like...


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sorry. It sounds like such a lunacy to me. Because this is the candidate that has the most votes of any candidate in Republican Party history...


BEINART: and the highest unfavorability ratings of any nominee.

MCENANY: As does your candidate, Hillary Clinton.

BEINART: No, no, no. First of all, excuse me, she's not my candidate. I am like you do not have a candidate...


MCENANY: Peter, you have a candidate.

BEINART: No, no, no. Actually, I'm genuinely torn between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton if you want to know the answer.


[22:30:00] BEINART: But his unfavorability ratings are 15 points higher. Hers are very high. No question about it. But he is our absolutely unprecedented.

MCENANY: Well, he is also -- well, you know, it's unprecedented on the democrat side. She is undergoing a criminal investigation by the FBI, but the democrats don't have a problem with unity that still -- it's so crazy to me that there is no unity problem there when she's undergoing this investigation.

But what Paul Ryan did today, was unprecedented, it was wrong. If you care at all about the conservative movement your goal should be keeping Hillary out of the White House. What do you do to help her get in the White House, you cause division in your own party.

That's exactly what Paul Ryan did today. It was unprecedented. It was wrong. He should have done what Mitch McConnell did, he should have done what Rick Perry did, that's the responsible thing to do.

LEMON: You can say that Donald trump is the -- who's a leader, is it Paul Ryan or is it Donald Trump?

HOLMES: Who's the leader? Well, they're both leaders.


LEMON: OK. So, all right.

HOLMES: And Paul Ryan will be the presiding over the convention in Cleveland.

LEMON: So, the leaders and the future.


LEMON: Because Donald Trump may be the future of the Republican Party. They both say they're not ready to support each other, all right? OK, so let's look at -- this is what Donald Trump, how he responded.

He said, "I'm not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it's about time for politicians to put them first." So, can the two be united?

HOLMES: They could be, and I think Peter you're right in a number of respects why Paul Ryan made the statement today, I think he's trying to give cover to other party members who are in tough districts this fall, and may have to go their own way. May have to run against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

But I also think he's saying, I'm not ready yet. That he's playing footsie, and he's trying to have leverage and influence over Donald Trump. His campaign, his approach, both substantively and in terms of style.

And I think he was also sort of expressing catharsis for those republicans who didn't vote for Donald Trump, are skeptical of him and are still on the sidelines. And Paul Ryan is basically saying, I get you, this is where I'm at, but it could be that he could move toward Donald Trump.

LEMON: His motivation though, could pull not in a bad way, but you know, it's not personal; this is a political motivation in order to help the party. Do you believe that' correct?

HOLMES: I think it is. And I think it's also, you know, a moment for him to sort of channel this catharsis for republicans who are not themselves ready for Donald Trump. But then they could be.

BEINART: I think the problem for Paul Ryan is, what do you really expect Donald Trump is going to do? Even if you had a great meeting with Donald Trump and he says various things about how he's not going to be as insulting. He's not going to incite violence in his rallies. Maybe he's even a pull back.

HOLMES: But, Peter, right.

BEINART: But do you really have any faith that he's going to teach you that the next day?

HOLMES: Right. Well, Donald Trump as we know he's very much his own man and runs his mouth in his Twitter feed as he speak. But Paul Ryan as presiding over the convention in Cleveland does have a lot of power, in terms of those rules, delegates, who gets to speak on the floor. So, Donald Trump does need to do business with Paul Ryan.

LEMON: Kayleigh, does Ryan -- does Ryan risk sounding out of touch with the electorate, with the voters?

MCENANY: Yes, that's the whole problem here. It's not surprising to me that we see Ryan, we see Romney coming out against Trump, or at least not supporting him yet, because this is the thing.

Trump represents the electorate who feels betrayed by their party, who has said we chose this person because we are rejecting republican leadership. They said they have been rejected and other picking and screaming because they didn't get their way.

And what is so strange to me, is they're using conservatism as a shield essentially. They're saying this guy isn't conservative enough. But yet, they endorse and brought in McCain, like him even though he for cap and trade against the Bush tax cut.

They were fine with Romney who laid out the plan against basically the plan for ObamaCare in a micro level in Massachusetts. Conservatism is a shield.

BEINART: I think it's a good point. I think that truly, I think if I had to guess, I would say it's because they don't think Donald Trump is a decent man. I mean, I think they don't believe he's a decent, honorable human being. That's the fundamental differences. They were willing to overlook the ideological differences with Romney and McCain because they respected them as people. I think Paul Ryan genuinely does not respect Donald Trump as a man.

HOLMES: Well, there's also the question of trustworthiness in terms of the positions he's taking now, will he stick to six months from now, a year from now if you were to be in the White House.

But I would also make the point that as we know, politics is a game of addition not subtraction. And Donald Trump needs to add to his numbers not subtract them. So, it doesn't behoove him or help him to say, well, I don't need Paul Ryan -- I don't need to support. Yes, you do, you need the every vote.

MCENANY: Yes, he does. Because here's the thing. The CNN poll that came out yesterday showed this was of all registered voters. Seventy six percent of people believed Washington doesn't represent their views.

There is a problem with the system on the democratic side, which is why people like Senator Sanders and on the republican side. So, I think it helps him to say, look, I said the system was rigged then, I'm saying it's rigged now. I'm consistent. I don't have any sketch...


HOLMES: But he needs -- he needs the party's support to get him across the finish line, both tactically and ideologically. He needs to get -- he can't just win with the Trump base, he has to...


LEMON: Isn't it amazing, as I'm sitting here listening to you guys and it's a great conversation. Is it amazing that we get anything accomplished considering what happens? How this process works?

HOLMES: It is amazing.

BEINART: Yes, but it's important to them -- there's a false equivalence here between the democratic and the Republican Party. The Democratic Party is you may like, you may not like it. It's a much more unified party. Just look at the polling.

[22:35:00] If you look at the poll of the percentage of democrats who say they won't support Hillary Clinton, the polling is about 8 percent of democrats said they wouldn't support Hillary Clinton.

The percentage of republicans who wouldn't support Donald Trump right now is 28 percent.

HOLMES: But, Peter, they influence...


BEINART: Now that number will go down. That number will go down...

HOLMES: Hold on. Right.

BEINART: But even if it drops by half, you're still talking about a much more divided Republican Party. The democrats will coalesce around Hillary Clinton even the Bernie Sanders supporters. HOLMES: But, Peter, they may get on board eventually in those

statistics per that out. But let's face it, Hillary Clinton just lost to Bernie Sanders in Indiana.


HOLMES: Democratic voters are still expressing their disapproval.


BEINART: And Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in many of the last primaries in 2008, and 2008, and yet the party...


LEMON: Not everybody...

BEINART: ... is fairly united.

LEMON: Not everybody believes that a third party is out of the question. So, we're going to discuss that and more next. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: All right. So, back with me now, Kayleigh McEnany, Peter Beinart, and Amy Holmes. So, Amy, do you think Paul Ryan just opened the door to a third party?

HOLMES: No, I don't think that he did. No, and it's certainly not and his interest as the House Speaker of the Republican Party to launch a third party candidate.

[22:39:58] And look, you know, back in 1992, Ross Perot was the most successful third party candidate in history. And he only got about 18 percent. And that was with, you know, this enormous momentum.

So, I don't think a third party candidate would be successful, and it may just actually put Hillary Clinton in the White House that republicans don't want.

LEMON: I have a couple of long time conservative on last night saying, you know what I would love to write someone in or have somebody else come in as a third party candidate. But that's essentially a vote for Hillary Clinton.

MCENANY: It's a vote for Hillary Clinton. Absolutely. And if you are a conservative, it just pains me to no end to see these conservatives say, I'm a conservative, and therefore I'm not voting for Trump. OK, that makes no sense because you're letting Hillary into the White House. I mean,...

LEMON: Paul Ryan's comments does it help democrats?

BEINART: Yes. Look, if you look at it historically, divided parties generally don't win presidential elections. If you look at 19 -- the republicans in '76, the democrats in '80, the republicans in '92. It's much harder to win when you're a divided party. The Republican Party is much more divided at this stage than any major political party has been in my lifetime. So, yes, it puts him in a very weak position.

LEMON: Texas Governor, former GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry endorsed Trump tonight, said he would be open -- he said "I'm open in any way I could help the party and that would be a V.P. as well."

What's your reaction?

MCENANY: That is fantastic because that's what people do when you have a presumptive nominee. What Rick Perry did is what everyone does in history. You have a nominee; you support the nominee because you care about the party. I commend Rick Perry. I commend Mitch McConnell. I never thought I'd be sitting here saying I commend Mitch McConnell but tonight, I'm saying it.


LEMON: But you want to see -- here's what Mitch McConnell said. Mitch McConnell issued a statement that said he would support Trump. And he said "I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee is now on the verge of clinching that nomination. Republicans are committed to preventing what would be a third term of Barack Obama and restoring economic and national security after eight years of a democrat in the White House. As the presumptive nominee, now has the opportunity -- he now has the opportunity and the obligation to unite our party around our goals."

So, you're happy about that but you also said that you want Marco Rubio.


LEMON: Why is that?

MCENANY: That's the ultimate sign of unity; I think to have someone who Donald Trump had bitter fights with. We also about play out come and stand next to, and say I support this person. He brings youth to the ticket.

Hillary Clinton has a horrible problem with millennials. She's lost millennials in every state that two were exit polls has been conducted. Marco Rubio can bring those people into the fold. He brings energy, he's excellent.

LEMON: It's interesting that Trump says, that he says he, meaning Trump has the opportunity and the obligation to unite the party. Do you think Trump sees it that way?

HOLMES: Clearly he doesn't from his tweets and his statements where he's like I don't need that kind of elite help, you know, basically brushing them off.

But Mitch McConnell saying, look, he wants Trump to come around to a GOP principles, a GOP ideological outlook. But what I would also point out that a lot of these politicians they're using this like of clever little wording that they'll say that they will support Trump but they don't endorse Trump.

LEMON: Right.

HOLMES: And that's what Nikki Haley, the governor of South California.

BOLTON: There's not a full throated...


BEINART: Well, you notice how they like, they don't like to say Trump's name. They say "we support the nominee," the people are wondering, who the nominee is, right?


HOLMES: That's right, exactly, yes. Who could that be, Peter? Who could that be?

LEMON: Why, I mean, is it because, you know, you said Trump is his own man and he runs his own mouth and his Twitter feed.


LEMON: It's because of -- it's because of that. It's because of the...

BEINART: It's also because they think he's going to get creamed. If they just disagreed with this guy. But they thought there was a really good likelihood he would be president. And becoming his running mate would really give you a likely the ticket to being vice president of the United States.

This will be a different calculation. But you're talking about a guy who I think genuinely they don't think is fit for to be president because he lies incessantly and he doesn't know basic facts about our government.

And secondly, they think he's going to get killed. So, why would someone like Marco Rubio want to get on a train like that?


HOLMES: He's having those conversations with Donald Trump and he's not going back to Washington. So, he needs a new job.

LEMON: Go ahead, Kayleigh.


BEINART: He needs a new job. I don't think it's going to be this one.

MCENANY: Why wouldn't somebody listen to those people because the same people who are the naysayers now were the naysayers in July saying Donald Trump never had a shot. They were saying that in July, they underestimated him. BEINART: Right.

MCENANY: Now they are saying it again.


LEMON: But these are initial campaign the primary is much different than...

BEINART: It's very different because in the Republican Party we're operating in an essentially all-white political environment. It is a radically different environment than when you enter a country where the Latino population is growing every years.

The African-American population, the Asian population are significant. It's a completely different political environment when you leave the Republican Party.

HOLMES: Right. But one last point about the Republican Party being able to unify around Donald Trump. Let's not forget that Hillary Clinton could be quite a unifying factor...


HOLMES: ... for republicans and conservatives once its now, you know, a one-man, one-woman race.

LEMON: All right.

HOLMES: So, it will focus people's attention.

LEMON: Kayleigh, quickly because I want to move on to...


MCENANY: I think Peter is underestimating the intangibles of Donald Trump. He's been the most resilient candidate in political history. Contrast that to Hillary Clinton who has a history of losing an election she should win against Barack Obama, against Sanders. She had both of these locked up but she thinks challenge now, she lost to Barack Obama, they are complete opposites and I think he will beat her.

LEMON: Speaking of, listen to Donald Trump in West Virginia tonight.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're all taking our jobs, folks. That's all going to change very rapidly, I promise.


[22:45:07] But the miners don't want to leave anyway, is that right? You want to stay here, you want to open the mines. We're going to open the mines.


I see over here, Trump digs coal. Look at that, Trump digs coal. That's true. That's true, I do. So, I've always been fascinated by it. I've been fascinated by the whole sequence of doing it, it's incredible the engineering now that's involved and the safety and all that's taken place over the last number of years.


LEMON: Clearly a direct shot at Hillary Clinton who was basically inferring that the coal mining system that those jobs they have they must evolve. But that was a direct shot at Hillary Clinton.

BEINART: Right. I will say this, Kayleigh. Donald Trump will win West Virginia. A West -- you know, West Virginia is the kind of state where the Democratic Party has been just obliterated. What you've seen is, as the Democratic Party has lost, is doing much, much worse among working class white voters. And people where lower education levels.

West Virginia is a state with very low level of education in general. And so, those states, Barack Obama was extremely unpopular, Hillary Clinton will be extremely unpopular. The good news for Democratic Party, right, is that they're doing very, very well with rising demographic groups and numerically like younger people, single women and Latinos.

HOLMES: But, Peter, you're talking about in terms of it but just identity politics, Hillary Clinton said that she would put coal miners out of work and coal out of business.

LEMON: I've got to run, that's got to be the last word.

Coming up, Donald Trump -- thank you, by the way, everyone. Donald Trump promising to make America great again. But will the art of the deal work in the White House?


LEMON: Donald Trump has rewritten the rules in his run so the republican nomination. But would a Trump presidency, what would it look like?

Joining me now is Evan Thomas, historian and author of "Being Nixon, A Man Divided," and Mark Preston, CNN politics executive editor. Good evening to both of you.

Evan first, as president, Donald Trump promises to make America great again, beginning with jobs. Here he is in West Virginia tonight.


TRUMP: The jobs are going to everyone else but us. We're sending our jobs to Mexico, China's taking our jobs. Japan, they're all taking our jobs, folks. That's all going to change very rapidly, I promise.

(CROWD CHEERIN) We'll start winning, winning, winning, and you are going to be very proud. And for those miners, get ready because you're going to be working your asses off, all right?


LEMON: Yes. Right? So, you know, from day one, a "president Trump," quote, says if he'll put corporate executives on notice if they move jobs out of the country, he's going to hit them with big tariffs. Is that going to work?

EVAN THOMAS, HISTORIAN & AUTHOR: No, he could set off a global trade war which means that all sorts of people lose jobs not just the miners but a lot of other people as well. But the worse thing he could do is erect tariffs and cause a trades war and have people cut off their trade with us. That would be a disaster.

LEMON: This message though, Mark, resonates with his base. I mean, doesn't it the strong leader who's going to fight for American jobs?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, no doubt, and certainly we saw that in West Virginia today. You know, what he just said to the miners there, you know, we're going to get you back to work and you're going to work your asses off.

You know, these are folks now, Don, as we know that have been out of work. And what Donald Trump is doing is offering very little of any specifics. But what he is doing is he's offering like this tough, fighting rhetoric and he's offering them hope.

LEMON: Yes. But he sums up his foreign policy, he says in two words, right? His foreign policy doctrine in two words, America first. So, how do you read that slogan? Is he just, you know, defining America's priorities or is this isolationism you believe?

PRESTON: Yes. Well, I mean, what's interesting is that the whole American first slogan comes from the 1940s, which was in isolationist committee.

LEMON: That isolationist...


PRESTON: You know, they didn't even want to get involved in World War II. So, you know, just a, you know, a week or two ago, he did a foreign policy speech, OK, where he talked about how he was going to make America first. But he also talked about the greatness that America did, about how it saved the world, you know, in World War II.

So, while it is an interesting language that he's using. If you look at the historical context, it goes against everything that he's saying.

LEMON: So, Evan, I sat here, and Mark and I sat here with, you know, great minds like Fareed Zakaria just I think was last week when he gave that foreign policy speech. And he said isolationism would be detrimental to the economy. I'm paraphrasing here, what's your take on this?

THOMAS: I think Trump is all over the place. He's been saying what comes out of his mouth. He seems to be isolationist mostly, he certainly wants to cut off the world as far as trade goes. And he doesn't -- he doesn't like our allies and he wants to cut off our alliances.

That sounds isolationist. But he also says that he's going to smash ISIS. So, who knows what he's going to do. I think he's making it up as he goes along.

LEMON: So, I want to -- I want to talk about something that you wrote. "Trump has been widely criticized for his lack of foreign policy jobs by experts in both parties. But he says his cabinet doesn't have room for elites like these."

It's an issue you address in your New York Times piece this week. And I want to read just a quick excerpt from. He says, "As much as his neo-isolationism frightens our allies," you write, "it is Mr. Trump's anti-establishment stance that most threatens international security as even Nixon recognized since its emergence as a global power in the late 189th century. America has relied on a highly trained core of diplomats, world financiers and academics to steer it straight. Get rid of them as Mr. Trump seems intent on doing and chaos will follow."

So, here's my question, Evan. Why the chaos? What can diplomats and bankers offer that generals and business leaders can't?

THOMAS: Well, it's simply true that the United States has created a World War that's fostered stability. Kept us out of World War. You know, we're all here.

A huge, giant global economy that was created by this foreign policy establishment, foreign policy elite. They made a lot of mistakes, the Vietnam War, others, but they by and large have gotten it right for a long time.

It takes skill and expertise to do that, amateurs can't do that. Amateurs -- you know, to deal with countries that have nuclear weapons and complicated trade issues, you need people who actually know what they're doing.

[22:55:08] You can call it an establishment, you can make fun of it as an elite. But every president including people who railed against the elite like Richard Nixon...


LEMON: Like Richard Nixon, right.

THOMAS: ... understood that.

LEMON: Yes. Richard Nixon had, you know, he had Harvard grads and Wall Street types in his cabinet. So, what do you think a Donald Trump cabinet would look like? As he said he railed against that but he had him in his cabinet. PRESTON: Well, a couple of things. I think Evan is absolutely right,

what you're talking about is the glue that keeps everything together. And while it is not optimal, and they do make a lot of mistake. It is what keeps everything together.

Look, Donald Trump in many ways, again, Evan is right again, he's making things up as he goes along. Let's assume that he does win the presidency. I'm fairly certain that it's not going to be a radical change to what happens here in Washington.

He's going to hire people that knows what they're doing, and they're going to go into these cabinet positions. And Washington isn't going to change that much. A presidency does not alter Washington. We saw that with Barack Obama. He came in and said he was going to offer hope and change in Washington. It's going to turn on its head. I haven't seen a presidency turn Washington on its head.

LEMON: Yes. Evan Thomas and Mark Preston, thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.

When we come back, Donald Trump celebrates Cinco de Mayo as only he could, and no surprise, stirs up some trouble.


[23:00:00] LEMON: Paul Ryan drops a bomb on Donald Trump.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

The House Speaker is just not that into Trump, not yet anyway. He says he can't support his own party's nominee. And Trump where he says he can't support Ryan's agenda.