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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Middle Class Undertones In RNC Speech; Hillary Clinton Hits Chris Christie Back On His Ethics Talk Via Twitter. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 19, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: ... and you're acting like exploiting that...
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: No, no, no.
CUPP: ... is somehow beyond the pale.
HENDERSON: But Donald Trump get the...
CUPP: Are we not going to hear about Donald Trump but at the end there will be a lot, I bet we will.
HENDERSON: But Donald Trump also has those same problems in terms of honesty and trustworthy and likability.
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: So, let it not -- let it not be forgot that Hillary Clinton pounds away just like this on Donald Trump almost every time she's got a podium.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Can I just ask what happened to jobs and the economy night?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BORGER: That was supposed to be the theme of this evening. I think Chris Christie, I agree with David, I think he gave a speech...
LORD: I think he is looking for a job.
BORGER: ... he wanted to give as vice -- as a vice presidential nominee and I think he, you know, provided a very tough indictment of Hillary Clinton. I thought Tiffany -- Tiffany's anecdotes were very personal.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let's not forget.
BORGER: But we've heard all of these speakers...
BORGER: ... including members of Congress basically say he'll pass our bills.
JONES: But I want to say something about Paul Ryan.
BORGER: That was his enthusiastic and there's not -- and except for Paul Ryan, who was uplifting...
JONES: Paul Ryan -- I think Paul Ryan did something very important tonight. I think Chris Christie, I thought he sounded terrible and if you like that kind of stuff, good for you, good for you.
But I think that for ordinary people, I think Paul Ryan was trying. That was the first major person I've heard really try to get out there and appeal to a different part of what republicanism is.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, it's very quiet. Because those folks respond to Chris Christie that Brian Rowson (Ph) at the end, but when he was talking about his vision and ideas, they were very quiet.
JONES: I think part of what was challenging about Paul Ryan was simply this, when he talked about kindness, he talked about empathy, that's incredibly resonant but it's not present with the candidate. And so, that was interesting.
CUPP: Here is in disagreement to Donald Trump. I did not hear him honor. I know Paul Ryan. I did not hear him utter a single word that he doesn't believe in tonight. What he said tonight was both helpful to the candidate and honest, which is hard to do.
ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SHOW HOST: Although it wasn't too much about Donald Trump. It was much more about...
CUPP: No. It was his agenda.
COOPER: His agenda. And we also should point out Donald Trump Jr. is about -- is going to be coming up soon. We're going to bring that to you live.
Hillary Clinton has tweeted out in response to Chris Christie, "If you think Chris Christie can lecture anyone on ethics, we have a bridge to sell you with a link to an article about the timeline about the whole bridge."
CUPP: Because that's all she had.
BORGER: He cannot (Inaudible) Paul Ryan. It was a very smart speech. It was the only upbeat speech really that I've heard at this convention. And he did not hold Donald Trump to help while supporting him.
CUPP: Yes. BORGER: Because he has a political future and he's walking a very fine line here. And I heard that from Ryan and I heard that from the other members of Congress. They were supporting him but not holding him too close.
CUPP: Can we just reiterate, too, not to go back to Tiffany, but when Tiffany Trump said, "When I brought home my report cards," Van and I both soon, you know...
CUPP: Stand upright and clapped. We were all waiting for those personal moments. She was great.
COOPER: Let's listen in. Here's Donald Trump Jr.
DONALD TRUMP, JR, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: Thank you. Good evening. I'm Donald Trump Jr. I'm the -- thank you.
Thank you. I'm the father of five young children, from 2-year-old Chloe to Kai who just turned 9. I'm the husband to Vanessa, an amazing wife and mother and the son of a great man.
I'm an American. And tonight, I want to talk to you about the country we live in, the country our children will grow up in.
For my generation, this is the most important election of our lifetime, one that will determine the future of our country and in turn the future of the world.
For too long our country has ignored its problems punting it down the road for its future generations to deal with. In business I was trained by my father to make the tough investments and decisions today to ensure a brighter future tomorrow.
We've actually started to believe that solving our great problems is an impossible task. And that's why we need to elect a man who has a track record of accomplishing the impossible.
For the first time parents no longer think that their kids will be as well-off as we were. We've lost the confidence in our leaders and the faith in our institutions, but remember one thing, we're still Americans. We're still one country. And we're going to get it all back.
[22:05:10] We're going to get it back better than ever before. I know we'll get it back because I know my father. I know that when people tell him it can't be done, that guarantees that he gets it done. I know that when someone tells him that something is impossible,
that's what triggers him into action. When people told him it was impossible for a boy from Queens to go to Manhattan and take on developers in the big city, rather than give up, he changed the skyline of New York.
I've seen it time and time again, that look in his eyes when someone says it can't be done. I saw that look a little over a year ago when he was told he couldn't possibly succeed in politics. Yes, he did.
For my father, impossible is just the starting point. That's how he approaches business projects, that's how he approaches life. Whether it's teaching his granddaughter how to swing a golf club or tackling the toughest negotiations, he's always fully committed.
That's why the person who would never run for office before stood on the stage 11 months ago in this very arena with 16 professional politicians, and this week that same man will stand before you as our party's nominee for the president of the United States of America.
As a proud son and family member, it was one of the great honors of my life to be able to put him over the top in the delegate earlier today.
His unrelenting determination is why he's going to become our next president, and why I know that when my father says he can fix the country, he means it.
You want to know what kind of president he'll be. Let me tell you how he ran his businesses, and I know because I was there with him by his side on job sites, in conference rooms from the time I could walk.
He didn't hide out behind some desk in an executive suite. He spent his career with regular Americans. He hung out with the guys on construction sites, pouring sheet rock and hanging -- pouring concrete and hanging sheet rock.
He listened to them and he valued their opinions as much and often more from the guys from Harvard and Wharton locked away in offices away from the real work. He's recognized the talent and the drive that all Americans have.
He's promoted people based on their character, their street smarts and their work ethic. Not simply paper credentials. To this day, many of the top executives in our company are individuals that started out in positions that were blue collar, but he saw something in them and he pushed them to succeed. His true is a leader, is that he sees the potential in people that
they don't even see in themselves.
The potential that other executives would overlook because their resumes don't include the names of fancy colleges and degrees. I know he values those workers and those qualities in people because those are the individuals he had my siblings and me work under when we started out.
That he would trust his own children formative years to these men and women says all you need to know about Donald Trump.
We didn't learn from MBAs. We learned from people who had doctorates in common sense.
Guys like Vinny Stelio, who taught how to drive heavy equipment, operate tractors and chainsaws, who work his way through the ranks to become a trusted adviser of my father. It's why we're the only children of billionaires as comfortable in a detained caterpillar as we are in our own cars.
My father knew that those were the guys and gals that would teach us the dignity of hard work from a very young age. He knew that the heart of the American dream is the idea that whoever we are, wherever we're from, we can get ahead where everyone can prosper together.
The other party tells us they believe in the American dream, that we should worry about economic inequality and immobility.
[22:10:03] You know what? They're right. But they don't tell you that it was their policies that caused the problem and it was their policies that have no accountability.
They gave us the worst immigration system in the world, one that imports immobility, one that drives down employment and wages for Hispanic Americans, African-Americans and others. An immigration system that favors illegals over those trying to go through the process legally and at times even over law-abiding citizens.
It was Bernie Sanders himself who warned that a large tide of new workers keeps wages low and poverty high. The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up my siblings and I, we were truly fortunate to have choices
and options that others don't have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.
Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they're stalled on the ground floor. They're like Soviet Arab department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students.
You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school.
That's called competition. It's called the free market. And it's what the other party fears.
They fear it because they're more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.
They want to run everything top down from Washington. They tell us they are the experts and they know what's best. The other party gave us a regulatory state on steroids. Dodd-Frank was a thousand pages long and it's already spun off 22,000 pages in regulations.
Imagine trying to digest all that before you even open your doors for business. That doesn't help consumers. What it does is destroy small business in favor of big businesses, who can afford the vast number of lawyers and accountants needed to comply.
Dodd-Frank is consumer protection for billionaires.
We produced the thickest network of patron influence of any country at any time in world history. It's composed of a self-satisfied people at the top. Our new aristocrats. We can't live that any longer, it too risky.
Let me talk a little bit about risks. The other party is the party of risk. I spent many times with many great Americans who have served this country in the military and they know what's at stake. When we have weak leaders in positions of power, Americans risking their lives for our freedoms are less safe.
You know, almost daily I get a call or a text from a real American hero. His name is Mark Geist and I'm proud to call him a friend.
Mark was part of the security team at the Annex on our grounds at the consulate in Benghazi. Mark was one of the men who received frantic phone calls from his buddies at the compound, calls that pleaded for help, calls that he and his team tried to answer.
A call that didn't save all his friends. Because Secretary Clinton's State Department had ignored their request for help both on the night in question and even in the weeks and months leading up to the attack.
It was a tragedy and one that would be repeated were she to win the election. Ask Mark, who is fit to lead, who has the judgment to lead, who will take that call at 3 o'clock in the morning. You know, or better yet, ask yourselves if you were in Mark's shoes that night, who would you rather call?
Let me tell you something about risk. If Hillary Clinton were elected, she'd be the first president who couldn't pass a basic background check.
It's incredible. Hillary Clinton is a risk Americans can't afford to take. She said she'll issue executive orders to take away Americans' guns.
[22:15:04] She wants to appoint judges who will abolish the Second Amendment. Yes, just look at how effective those laws have been in inner city Chicago. A city with the toughest gun laws in our nation where 70 people were murdered last month alone and where over 3,400 American lives have been lost since this administration took office in 2009.
You know why those laws failed? Because criminals by definition don't follow laws.
Rather than prosecuting real criminals, she would strip hard working law abiding citizens of their right to protect themselves and their families. She'll throw every possible obstacle in the path of safe, reliable, affordable energy produced in America by Americans for American businesses and families, rather than being energy independent.
Our country would be forced to remain beholden to her buddies in the Middle East. Those are risks we can't afford to take. And when we win, we're not going to have to. There's so much work to do.
We will not accept the current state of our country because it's too hard to change. That's not the America I know. We're going to unleash the creative spirit and energy of all Americans. We're going to make our schools the best in the world for every single American of every single ethnicity and background.
We're going to put Americans first, all Americans, not a special class of crony elites at the top of the heap. We're going to elect a president who will work with everyone to pass legislation that will make our country great again, a president who will give us a tax code that will free the American economy and end special loopholes for the wealthy.
A president who will give us an immigration law that protects American citizens and gives them jobs.
A president who will repeal and replace ObamaCare without leaving our most vulnerable citizens without health care and who will do it without destroying Medicare for seniors as Hillary Clinton has proposed.
A president who knows we can't simply delete our problems but that we have to tackle them head on.
A president who won't allow a P.C. culture to put the safety and well- being of our children and our loved ones at stake. A president who won't bow and pander to nations that shutter at the very thought of America's existence.
A president more concerned with the safety and comfort of his fellow Americans than the feelings of those hostile nations abroad who, if given the option would wipe America off the face of this earth.
A president not beholden to special interests, foreign and domestic. And one who funded his entire primary run out of his own pocket just to prove it.
A president who will secure and defend the borders of the United States and who will appoint judges who believe that freedom requires a limited government. A president who won't use the highest office in the land as a path to personal enrichment.
A president who has actually created real jobs, who has actually signed the front of a paycheck and doesn't just talk about it in theory. A president who has real people's families and livelihoods dependent on his success and the success of his company for decades.
A president who speaks his mind and not just when it behooves him to do so, who doesn't have to run as focused group or use data analytics to be able to form a simple opinion.
Who says what needs to be said and not just what you want to hear. A president who will unleash the greatness in our nation and in all of us who will give the hard working men and women who built this great country a voice once again.
That president can only be my mentor, my best friend, my father. Donald Trump.
And when we elected him, we'll have done all that, we'll have made America great again, greater than ever before.
Thank you and God bless.
[22:20:06] WOLF BLITZER, THE SITUATION ROOM SHOW HOST: Donald Trump Jr. delivering what may have been, Jake and Dana, the most effective, powerful speech so far these first two days of this convention.
JAKE TAPPER, THE LEAD SHOW HOST: You know, a child of a nominee is expected to give a speech that is exploring the human side, I mean, the way that you don't normally see out of a candidate. And we heard that with Tiffany Trump. She gave a very moving, emotional account of report cards and that sort of thing.
Donald Trump Jr., like his dad, is not conventional. And I'm sure somebody said to him you should give the speech and talk about how your dad taught you how to ride a bike or whatever, and he wanted to give a different kind of speech. And he gave the kind of speech that you would be able to hear generally from let's say a senator who knew Donald Trump.
He went after Hillary Clinton. He talked about the aspirations of the American people, almost as if he was running for office himself.
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm thinking the same.
TAPPER: Or had the intention or has the intention of wanting to do so. I don't mean any of this by the way, I don't mean any of this dismissively or as a negative judgment. Like his dad, he does things the way he wants to do them. And you gave -- I think you're right. I think it was a very effective speech and not the kind of speech you normally would expect from a child.
BLITZER: He delivered it beautifully. He was reading from a teleprompter. I think he does that delivers a speech from a teleprompter a lot better than his own father does.
BASH: That goes without saying. I mean, that was -- it was kind of remarkable. You forgot that he was actually reading from a teleprompter. I mean, it was an incredibly well-delivered speech, a very polished guy and very polished speaker.
I was actually a little bit surprised. I think you're right, Jake, that he talked obviously a lot more about issues and about politics and about...
TAPPER: Yes, education and policy.
BASH: Right, policy than you would think a child of a candidate would do. But the beginning of it he actually did give a lot of information that maybe a friend would know. But something that he said that really struck me was that I'm the kind of a billionaire and yet, I can drive, you know, construction equipment as much as I can drive a car.
Which is, his way of humanizing him, but also kind of trying to explain why he is something who lives in Trump Tower but has been able to get -- in part, why he's been able to get working class voters on his side.
TAPPER: That's an excellent point. And we should also point out that Don Jr. went to boarding school and was largely raised by Donald trump's first wife. So, his relationship with his father probably -- well, I know this actually, was made -- obviously he had a relationship with his father when he was a boy and it was strong and this and that, but I know that they bonded most strongly...
BASH: Over business, right?
TAPPER: Yes, when Don Jr. came into the business and his father taught him the business. And it is interesting, as you know, that he did talk about the way that Donald Trump would introduce him to the guys...
TAPPER: ... doing the construction on the sites. And that's obviously something that I'm sure a lot of the voters here found very...
BLITZER: It was a good combination because he spoke personally as the son of Donald Trump. But he also had a lot of substance in there. He went through issues at the beginning. He said simply put "The future of our country, the future of our -- the world is at stake in this election." So, he went through some specific issues in defending his dad in a very, very serious way.
BASH: And, you know, I was actually just looking at my Twitter feed. And Eric Eriksson, who is a conservative who is not a fan of Donald Trump tweeted "Wow, one of his kids really is a republican," meaning, you know, the Trump family not that long ago, led by the father tended to sound and be more of a democrat.
And when he was talking about needing competition for education and so forth, those are -- that's republican credo.
TAPPER: Don Jr. is definitely a republican.
TAPPER: In fact, when the New York primary came as we know, Ivanka and Eric Trump were registered independents, and because of New York law they weren't able to change their registration in time.
TAPPER: To vote in the primary, Don Jr. was a registered republican.
BASH: Which is why he was able to be a delete and put his father over the top tonight.
TAPPER: Yes. It was a very impressive performance. And for people tuning in not knowing Don -- Don Trump, Jr., Tiffany Trump or that side of Donald Trump I'm sure was very impressive.
BLITZER: He's 38 years old. Tiffany only 22 years old, but I thought she was effective as well in a very, very different way.
All right. Stand by. Let's go over to Anderson for more. Anderson?
COOPER: Yes, Wolf. It was very much also the speech that he sort of telegraph that he would give to Dana bash and also to S.E. Cupp. S.E., I saw you smiling through a lot of that speech. It sounded like exactly what you hope to hear.
[22:25:01] CUPP: It was in a different way. First of all, I'm just incredibly proud of my friend, Don Jr. That was an amazing impressive performance.
Wolf talked about how comfortable he looked and how easy it seems and natural. He was amazing. It was personal in a way I didn't expect. He talked about his relationship with his dad at work and maybe that's because he doesn't have those stories of his dad teaching him to ride a bike as Jake said.
Maybe the relationship was forged in the office or on a construction site. And I thought those moments those anecdotes were deeply personal. I did get a sense of who Donald Trump the dad is, just not in the way I was expecting.
On the other stuff, on the policy, it is clear he is fluent in this language in a way that I think his dad is not. Donald Trump Jr. knows what he's talking about when it comes to politics. He knows the conservative meat in a way that I think his dad has missed at times throughout this campaign.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There was another really fascinating aspect of this piece, it had subject populist undertone. We heard Donald Trump Jr. say "My dad did not send an office of Trump Tower. He got out there and he stood by the guy pouring concrete. He promoted people who had doctorates in common sense, not people who just have Ivy League pedigrees."
We heard a very strong middle class undertone to this speech. And those are the voters Donald Trump has been so effective at reaching and those are the ones that could put him over the top.
Because between the polls of New York and L.A., there's a whole segment of society Donald Trump knows how to speak to. As opposed to Hillary Clinton who said she's dead broke upon leaving the White House, and really can't connect with those voters on the same visceral level.
LORD: One of the phrases Donald Trump Jr. used was people have a doctorate in common sense. And if we remember the phrase from our youth about the best and the brightest, which were JFK's folks, Lyndon Johnson's folks, they had all the Harvard degrees, all the fancy education, and yet, they gave us Vietnam.
And in essence, what this is coming down to with the contest between those and the country that are seen as having doctorates in common sense versus the best and the brightest who have brought all his foreign disasters of Hillary Clinton who was the epitome of the best and the brightest.
JONES: You know, listen, at the beginning of the speech I really appreciate what he was doing and what he was trying to do. And I'll tell you, as a parent, you can't imagine how proud they must have felt.
Then he just goes off and does the same stuff everybody else has been doing and I felt that he lost a lot of its power. His purpose was really served very well, the first 5, 10 minutes. After that, you know...
AXELROD: I think that republicans like S.E. Cupp and Eric Ericsson were thrilled and wishing that Donald Jr. was running for president of the United States.
AXELROD: But he is not running for president of the United States. And it may be that his more youthful purpose here, you say they didn't really know each other. He wasn't raised. He mentioned he has a whole bunch of kids. I wonder what Donald Trump's relationships are with his kids. I mean, I think he could have fleshed out to his...
BORGER: He taught his granddaughter how to swing a golf club. He got there a little bit.
CUPP: Yes, but I think...
BORGER: But I think he did it in another way, which is describing the character of his father that he knows, where he started saying, you know, he gets that look in his eye when you tell him something is impossible.
And then he says, impossible is just the starting point. Now, of the people I've spoken with who are friends of Donald Trump, they say the things you have to say to him is you can't do that and then he goes and does it. And I think that's what his son was talking about. In addition to all the rest of the, you know, talking to a staff.
COOPER: It was also and to Nia, to hear him sort of flip, you know, who is ready for the 3 a.m. phone call...
COOPER: ... to who would you rather make that phone call to, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?
HENDERSON: Or Hillary Clinton. You know, I thought this was a fantastic speech. I think he did everything. I was hearing from some friends on Twitter who are not republicans at all and very skeptical of Donald Trump really, really loved this speech.
They sort of hate it to admit that they like so much. I thought it presented a case against Hillary Clinton along those lines. She is really the risky one.
He also made an olive branch to Bernie Sanders, right. He talked about Bernie Sanders, he talked about of the new aristocrats, the sort of 1 percent that sit on the top of the heap and keep the little guys down.
I thought the whole idea of investing Donald Trump investing in blue collar workers, talking about education, that's something that certainly moms around the country are worried about when they have to send their kids out to poor schools.
I thought this speech had something for everyone. I mean, it was a way that people could see themselves in a Donald Trump business, in a Donald Trump world. And I thought that was a rare thing and sort of flipped what we've seen from Donald Trump.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, THE SMERCONISH SHOW HOST: I'm going to say something that's going to sound like a slight, it's not. Donald Trump is on his third wife. This is an awfully impressive family. They've endured divorce. [22:30:01] Every one of these kids is very impressive, they're all high achievers. You can disagree with the politics but you've got to respect and admire the way in which they've been raised and that they been this successful.