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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Jon Stewart Blames Democrats for Trump's Rise; Cruz Not Releasing Delegates Before Convention; Obama to Visit Hiroshima; London Mayor Says No Thanks to Trump. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired May 10, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And the early voting statistics show that this may be a record-breaking primary election for the state of West Virginia, and at least they all have one common goal in mind, it is to help the state they live in to bring jobs back here -- Kate, John?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Jean Casarez on the ground for us.
They're voting all day today.
Jean, thank you very, very much.
So former "Daily Show" host, Jon Stewart, may not have a "Daily Show" any long, but he is now weighing in on the presidential race, hitting Donald Trump, and blaming Democrats for his rise.
Listen to a part of a conversation between Stewart and David Axelrod, CNN political commentator and former Obama White House official.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: He is a man-baby. He has the physical countenance of a man and a baby's temperament and hands.
I'll lay the blame then with the Democrats. The door is open to an (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like Donald Trump because the Democrats haven't done enough to show to people that government that can be effective for people can be efficient for people. And if you can't do that, then you've lost the right to make that change, and someone is going to come in and demagogue you, and that's what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now, CNN political commentators, Peter Beinart, a contributor to "The Atlantic"; Kayleigh McEnany, a Donald Trump supporter; Margaret Hoover, who worked in the George W. Bush White House and on two presidential campaigns. Also joining us, Andrew Kirtzman, a long-time New York political journalist, currently president of Kirtzman Strategies.
Peter Beinart, you are a lot like Jon Stewart, except for the beard.
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Maybe a little funnier.
BERMAN: You are a funny man.
You just wrote a piece saying "Democrats are built to win." Jon Stewart said Democrats are to blame for Donald Trump. Are those two notions compatible?
BEINART: Yeah, I'm a great admirer of Jon Stewart but I disagree with that. If there's one place where you could fault Democrats, it's in not being able to pass a bigger stimulus. If we had had a massive stimulus coming out of the recession, I think the economy would have gotten -- jobs would have returned faster, and some of the economic despair that is fueling Trump would not be there as much. But remember Democrats could not pass a big stimulus bill because, A, the Republicans didn't want a big stimulus bill, and, B, to the degree they supported any stimulus at all, they wanted tax cuts. I think Obama was in a weak position in order to get that done.
BOLDUAN: I know you wholeheartedly support more stimulus back in --
BOLDUAN: Just kidding. I saw your face.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As if $834 billion in stimulus was not enough.
BEINART: It wasn't nearly enough and Donald Trump wants more.
MCENANY: I have to praise Jon Stewart for admitting big government isn't working now, but where he's wrong is big government never works. $830 billion stimulus and Obama basically had to admit there were no shovel-ready jobs. Big government fails. It's why Fed Ex is better than the post office.
MCENANY: It's why Amtrak is on the verge of --
BEINART: Doesn't Donald Trump --
BEINART: Sorry, doesn't Donald Trump want actually an even bigger stimulus?
MCENANY: Not so my knowledge, no. Has he advocated --
BEINART: Look at his book. If you look at his book --
BEINART: -- he talks about a massive stimulus to build construction and give people jobs. I think you and he are out of touch, I'm afraid.
MCENANY: Donald Trump has involved on some of his policies just like Hillary Clinton. The moment there is a majority in court for same-sex marriage, she change the moment that --
BEINART: You're changing the topic.
BERMAN: OK, guys.
MCENANY: People are allowed to evolve on their policies just like your candidate has had a huge change of heart the same time the majority of the nation has had a change of heart. She's lockstep with the nation and changes her policy.
BERMAN: Jon Stewart, making people laugh once again.
BOLDUAN: Joy and happiness, right here.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What's so curious about Jon Stewart's analysis that Democrats are to blame is it demonstrates still the fault lines between liberalism and conservatism and the role of the federal government. What he's saying is we are just one magical technocrat away from having someone come in and magically harmonize the government to maximum efficiency. Conservatives don't believe that is possible, they believe it's against human nature. We believe if you make it smaller, smarter, more streamline, you can have a more efficient government. But human nature precludes a massive bureaucracy from ever aligning and providing the kind of authority and oversight you need in order to make it highly efficient.
BERMAN: It's interesting --
BOLDUAN: Exactly, says Kayleigh.
BEINART: But that's not Donald Trump's method.
BERMAN: There's an interesting discussion about Donald Trump policy, stimulus policy. Something interesting has happened within the last 24 hours. All of a sudden, there is a discussion -- and we heard it there from Sean Spicer --
BERMAN: -- about Donald Trump's tax policy, and it's confusing. And it just is. Objectively confusing whether or not he was suggesting that, you know, he would be in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy or not.
So, Andrew, I guess the question is, you know, and maybe he explained it away. Maybe he justified what he was saying, but is this a new level of scrutiny, a different type of scrutiny Trump will face in an general election than he received in the primaries when there was 17 guys running?
ANDREW KIRTZMAN, NEW YORK JOURNALIST & PRESIDENT, KIRTZMAN STRATEGIES: Absolutely. It looks to me like he's just winging it, like he's making it up as it goes along. That's a bad problem for someone who is going to run the economy. You know, he gets away with a lot because people love that personality, and as I said before, he's a real strong leader. But if he looks like he really has that much of an incoherent, you know, tax policy or doesn't really even have kind of a grasp on things, that's a huge problem and that's the way it's looking to me right now.
[11:35:09] BOLDUAN: You're looking at tax policy. We remember the memorable positions -- many positions on abortion, minimum wage. That's just to name a few off the top of my head.
Going into a general, that's going to be harder in terms of he's going to face more pressure on this. What do you want to see him do?
MCENANY: I want to see him do what he's continually doing, being candid, off the cuff. And --
BOLDUAN: Do you think multiple positions in multiple days will land any differently in a general than it did in a primary?
MCENANY: I disagree he's had multiple positions in multiple days. With regard to the tax issue, for instance, I look at what happened, as he has said before, I'm willing to pay more taxes, and I think he truly believes that. He has a $10 million empire. He cares deeply about the middle class. He cares deeply about --
BOLDUAN: The hedge funders aren't going to be happy --
MCENANY: Sure. Because he believes in closing the carried interest loophole, but at the same token he doesn't believe in raising taxes overall despite the fact he would be willing to pay more. Those are compatible things. BERMAN: We will see how compatibly he explains it going forward. In
his explanation, it may get more sharp in the coming days. So we'll see.
Guys, thanks very much.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: Pretty interesting discussion due to Jon Stewart there.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, Jon Stewart.
BERMAN: Ted Cruz not currently running for president as far as we know. So why is he looking to hold on to his delegates for the convention? A top Cruz campaign official still working as the national spokesman for Ted Cruz joins us live. BOLDUAN: Plus, the White House with a very big announcement today,
that President Obama, he will be visiting Hiroshima, Japan, the first sitting president to do so more than seven decades after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb there.
We'll be right back.
[11:41:07] BERMAN: Ted Cruz, he may be out of the presidential race, but he's not willing to loosen his grip on his delegates. Last night, he reportedly held a conference call to keep delegates in line for the convention, but for what?
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this now with Ted Cruz's national campaign spokesman, Ron Nehring; as well as CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Doug Heye.
Great to see you both.
BOLDUAN: Ron, on this conference call last night, Ted Cruz trying to rally delegate support, to hold onto delegates, to shape the party platform at the convention. What exactly is he after?
RON NEHRING, NATIONAL SPOKESMAN, TED CRUZ PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, it's exactly what you just said, and that is that Senator Cruz is interested in making sure that we have a conservative party platform, that that platform which speaks for the Republican party on so many important issues and helps to bring the party together remains a conservative one, that it's updated, that it's one which speaks to current issues, and at the end of the day reflects the conservative base of the Republican party.
BERMAN: You know, Doug, in this day and age, do the party platforms matter? Do you think the average voters know what's in the party platform at all?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The average voter doesn't know necessarily what's in the platform, but I do think they matter. I think the Republican Party platform matters this time more than most others, I think precisely for what your segment was about, in part, talking about Donald Trump's position on taxes one day versus the next day, minimum wage one day versus the next day. Because there's no core underpinnings of policy for Trump, it's important for the Republican Party to declare where it stands so other candidates, whether they're running for Senate or house or state Senate or state House, or whatever it may be, has something they can point to. That's important.
BOLDUAN: As Doug points out, he thinks the platform is kind of to respond to where Donald Trump's position is maybe on some of these things. Ron, does this have anything to, this effort have anything to do with stopping Donald Trump?
NEHRING: No, it doesn't. The convention, at the end of the day, ultimately, produces four things. It adopts the rules of the Republican Party. It adopts a platform. It nominates a candidate for president and vice for president. The campaign for president is over. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, and whoever he chooses to be the vice presidential nominee will be the vice presidential nominee. But there's other important business to do. And there are literally thousands of Republican candidates who will be running for office, federal, state, and local, around the country, and many people, particularly activists and volunteers and people engaged in the Republican Party, look to the party platform to make sure they're in the right place, and that's why it's important. And Senator Cruz is the leader, as the conservative movement I think coming out of this convention, will have an important voice in terms of how that platform shapes up, and making sure that the conservative activists in the party have a platform that speaks to them.
BERMAN: Doug, I think Ron would deny this, so I'm not going to even bother asking him, but I will ask you, do you think there's anything about positioning for perhaps 2020 for Ted Cruz involved in shaping this platform.
HEYE: I know Ron obviously wouldn't be able to answer it. I'll tell you, absolutely. I didn't vote for Ted Cruz. I voted for Marco Rubio. But I think Ted Cruz has run as smart a campaign as you can run. It's smart to put yourself in this position to pivot, if Donald Trump loses, for 2020. It also means, operationally, as we look forward to Cleveland -- two months ago, we were talking about the rules committee and how important that's going to be, and it stay may be, but right now, all eyes are on the platform committee, and who would have guessed that going back to the Iowa caucuses.
BOLDUAN: Ron, just got a little information in our ear. Manu Raju is tweeting that Ted Cruz is indicating he's not ready to throw his support behind Donald Trump. Last time we spoke with you, you were waiting to hear where Ted Cruz stood before you knew where you were going head. Does this surprise you, that Ted Cruz is not yet ready to throw his support behind Donald Trump?
NEHRING: No, I'm not surprised by that. I think it's very soon after suspending his presidential campaign. He's heading back to Washington, D.C., to resume his duties in the Senate, and he'll speak to that issue in his own time when he's ready to.
[11:45:15] BERMAN: All right.
HEYE: Kate, I'd say quickly, keep in mind, Donald Trump pushed rumors of infidelity with Ted Cruz, attacked his wife, and accused Ted Cruz's father of being involved in the JFK assassination. I don't think anybody would blame Ted Cruz for being hesitant right now.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely not.
Ron, real quick, have you decided who you're voting for though?
NEHRING: I'm going to let Senator Cruz speak for what he's going to do first, and then, you know, it's a long ball game at the end of the day. But I'm on board with where Senator Cruz is ultimately going to go.
BOLDUAN: All right.
BERMAN: Ron Nehring, Doug Heye, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
HEYE: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.
NEHRING: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: London's new mayor, the first Muslim to hold the office, is taking on Donald Trump, hitting Trump's proposed Muslim ban, even after Trump said that he could be the exception to the ban. How the mayor of London is responding now. Details ahead.
BERMAN: Plus, a historic announcement from the White House. We learned this morning President Obama plans to visit Hiroshima. He will be first U.S. president to make this trip. This is of huge significance. We'll have details next.
[11:50:30] BOLDUAN: New this morning, a historic announcement coming from the White House. The president will visit the city of Hiroshima where the United States dropped the first atomic bomb. The visit will come during the visit to Asia later this month.
BERMAN: This will be the first sitting American president to pay a visit. It is of enormous significance to people in Japan.
CNN national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, joins us to discuss what the president will and, more importantly, in this case, will not say.
Jim, it will not be an apology, correct?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The White House making that clear, saying they're not going to revisit the U.S. decision to use the atomic bombs twice to end world war ii. But it does have a broader message. One, for the president to highlight the horrors of nuclear war, atomic and nuclear weapons. And, two, to help advance his agenda of nuclear nonproliferation. This has been a key part of his presidency. Earlier in his presidency, he expressed a wish to go to Hiroshima.
But, John and Kate, if you've been there, I've been there once, to have a U.S. president, first time, visit a place where tens of thousands of people died literally in seconds, is going to be an extremely powerful image, regardless of what he says when he's there. And that's something clearly that the president wanted to do. Also, to highlight the relationship with Japan because, keep in mind, this is a dangerous time in terms of nuclear technology when you have North Korea, right across the Sea of Japan, repeatedly testing nuclear weapons. So it's going to be a very powerful moment.
Thanks so much, Jim, for laying it out for us. Everyone watching the trip, watching very, very closely. Thank you so much.
Coming up new for us, the London mayor blasting Donald Trump after the presumptive GOP nominee said that he could be an exception to his proposed Muslim ban. The mayor apparently is not so thrilled about this special treatment. That's next.
[11:56:33] BERMAN: All right. We have breaking news. Senator Ted Cruz, moments ago, weighing in on whether he is ready to endorse Donald Trump, and perhaps even more peculiarly, if he is definitively forever out of the race.
BOLDUAN: Out of the race in this cycle.
Let's get over to Manu Raju who has been listening into this interview.
Manu, what can you tell us about what Ted Cruz is telling Glenn Beck?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's clear he's not ready to support Donald Trump. He said this is a decision that does not need to be made today. And he took a lot of shots ate Donald Trump and the media, suggesting they were coordinating behind an effort to promote Donald Trump and will now tear down Donald Trump. He was asked whether or not he would get back into the race by Glenn Beck and he said, I don't see a viable path, but if something were to happen, something were to change, maybe I would get back into this race. We don't think that's likely. Probably going to lose handedly tonight. But if there's a miracle Nebraska, things could turn around.
It's clear, Kate and John, that Ted Cruz, that very bitter battle, he's not gotten over that yet. He's not ready to get behind Donald Trump. It just shows the lengths Trump will have to do to get Cruz behind him and his supporters behind him and folks on Capitol Hill behind him. BERMAN: This comes as we're preparing for Marco Rubio at 4:00 on "The
Lead" with Jake Tapper today. It seems like a lot of people running for president, might think about it again one day and, all of the sudden, are saying interesting things.
RAJU: Yeah. Saying not ready to get behind Donald Trump. Paul Ryan has not completely shut the door on running in 2020. Perhaps, one day, he may want to jump into the race if Trump does not win in the fall.
I think Rubio probably -- I don't know what he's going to say to Jake later today. And I had a chance to talk to Rubio yesterday, but he would not say anything. But if you look at his statement he put out yesterday, he did not want to be considered as Trump's vice presidential nominee, he said they should pick someone who is ready to fully embrace the Trump agenda, something he's not able to do. So probably expect some sharp words from Marco Rubio as well.
Interesting that Cruz is trying to get ahead of Marco Rubio, maybe trying to jockey for 2020.
BERMAN: We noticed.
Manu Raju, thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: Noted. Thanks so much, Manu.
London is calling and immediately hanging up on Donald Trump. London's newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to hold the office, is saying thank you, but no thank you, after Trump said that he could make an exception to his proposed Muslim ban if Kahn wanted to visit the United States.
BOLDUAN: Let's go to Phil Black in London right now.
Phil, what is the mayor-elect saying?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Kate, the new mayor, Sadiq Khan, said quickly he'd be interested in going to the United States. Not long after he won here on Friday night, saying he'd like to meet with mayors in big cities there to discuss some of the challenges that they share. But he noted he would have to do that before January, he said, just in case Donald Trump is elected and he puts into place that controversial policy banning Muslims from entering the country.
Trump replied, saying that perhaps Sadiq Khan could be the exception. But Sadiq Khan said he's not really interested in that. That's not the point. That's not what he's concerned about. It's Trump's whole thinking when it comes to Muslims and the issue of Islam all together. He cares that Trump's view is ignorant, and that it is, in fact, making both the United States and the United Kingdom less safe because it's playing into extremist's hands by alienating mainstream Muslims.