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Cleveland Awaits Arrival of Donald Trump; Inside "The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth"; Bridging Divides in the GOP. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 20, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, "THE SITUATION ROOM" HOST: I appreciate it. That's it for me. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM".
The news continues next right here on CNN.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, from the Republican National Convention where the city awaits the arrival of the now official Republican
nominee for U.S. President. That is Donald Trump. They're in the air, due to land in this city this hour, to hold a rally with his running mate, Mike
Pence. Tonight, their team is make America first again. We'll have live coverage and analysis.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour at the Republican Party Convention here in Cleveland, Ohio. And
any minute now, we're expecting the arrival of Donald Trump and his Vice President, his presidential pick rather, Mike Pence, here in the city.
It's the first time they'll be appearing together since delegates formerly nominated Trump for president in this arena late last night. They'll be
looking to put on a strong show of solidarity and to unite their party which has been tattered and torn and buffeted by Trump's divisive and some
say volatile campaign.
That division was on show for all to see yesterday evening when reluctant Trump supporter, House Speaker Paul Ryan got a much cooler crowd reception
than when he spoke as the party's vice presidential candidate at the last convention. And also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even got some
boos. Despite both their big names, neither spoke during the prime time slot. That honor went to New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, who fired up
the convention by turning the crowd into judge and jury against Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Hillary Clinton, lying to the American people about her selfish, awful judgment in making our secrets
vulnerable. What's your verdict, guilty or not guilty?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, the plane has now landed. We're going to show you the live pictures and that is the Trump plane and Mr. Trump and Mike Pence
presumably on that plane due to hold a rally any time soon once they taxi, once they then get into a helicopter, and come to a location here in
Now, the 2016 campaign is so unusual. The American Television Network, "Showtime", is calling its election program, the "The Circus: Inside the
Greatest Political Show on Earth." Its star reporter is John Heilemann and its executive producer is Mark McKinnon and both join me now. Gentlemen,
welcome to the program.
MARK MCKINNON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Thank you. You know, we originally thought of the title, "The Circus", which was about 1.5 year
ago, we thought maybe that was going to over the top. It was .
AMANPOUR: But nothing in this campaign is, you know, over the top.
MCKINNON: No. If we've taken this two years ago to Hollywood as fiction, they would have said, "That's over the top. We don't believe."
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, a veteran political reporter, John Heilemann, you call it "The Circus" and I know it's a lot of fun. But is
it a joke on all of you, on all of us, for not recognizing Donald Trump when he declared more than a year ago was going to end up here as the
JOHN HEILEMANN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF "BLOOMBERG POLITICS": Well, I think it's fair to say that not a lot of people in our business when Trump got in
the race. First of all, they didn't think he was going to get it. That was the first thing, was Donald Trump will never run. If he decides to
run, he won't take it seriously. It'll all be a branding exercise. He'll get in, he'll get out.
I will say, from my part, that because we, Mark Halperin, the other ringmaster of "The Circus", and I wrote a book about 2012 campaign in which
we talked about how close Trump came to running in 2012. We actually took him pretty seriously when he got in 2016. We didn't predict he would win
but said, "This guy has got a constituency, he's a force to be reckon with, he's really rich and he's really famous." And being and entering a race
with near 100 percent name recognition is something that none of the other 15 Republicans who got in this race could do.
And look, for a lot Americans, when Trump got in, he was an emblem of success, and success means a lot in America. It always has, always will,
and Trump was able to capitalize on a really acute understanding of what the Republican Party has become as opposed to what people, what it used to
be, or what a lot of its leaders still think it is.
AMANPOUR: Well, to that point, let me ask you, Mark, because you have advised many presidents, many candidates, mostly Republicans but some
Democrats as well, this party is divided. Do you believe that Trump's formal nomination and the now final stretch from the convention to the
election will unite the party after what you've seen in these last two days right here?
MCKINNON: Well, I've been saying for a number of years now that we need to blow up the Republican Party and start over, and that has certainly
happened. The question is, where is it going and what's the unifying vision that Donald Trump has. It's a much different kind of Republican
vision than a lot of us are used to.
[14:05:01] I mean on the issues like trade, it's complete -- he's redefining it. But as you can see from the clips that you saw, the people
are responding badly to the Establishment politicians and that's what Trump has tapped into. So, he's talking about new issues and new ideas and
definitely the Republican Party needed something new, whether or not Donald Trump, I mean, is it for the general election, will see, but he was
certainly it for the primary nomination for Republicans.
AMANPOUR: Just a little bit of "The Circus" play, but obviously the first night was overwhelmed and overshadowed by the Melania Trump speech. And,
did she plagiarize? Didn't she? The Trump campaign said nothing happened, nobody wants to apologize except for the letter (ph) and let me read it to
you, from the speech writer herself, "She read me some passages from Mrs. Obama speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the
phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama's speeches. That was my mistake. I apologize for the
confusion and hysteria my mistake has caused." And apparently, Mr. Trump has not accepted her resignation which she says she offered. What does
that say about "The Circus" atmosphere that you're looking at behind the scenes and in the campaign?
HEILEMANN: Well, Mark would tell you that in a normal presidential campaign, Republican or Democratic alike, a speech, any speech given from
the floor of the convention and particularly a speech given by the nominee .
AMANPOUR: As we just interrupt .
HEILEMANN: Yeah, yeah.
AMANPOUR: . briefly, that's Mike Pence, I believe some of his family members. Of course, Mike Pence, the Governor of Indiana, is Donald Trump's
vice presidential pick and he is going to meet Donald Trump when he comes from the airport on his helicopter and they're going to hold a rally.
MCKINNON: Or maybe they'll parachute out of the helicopter.
AMANPOUR: Well, the thing is, is Mike Pence the kind of -- would he have been first on your list of vice presidential guesses?
HEILEMANN: You have two questions on the table, which one do you want me to go to?
AMANPOUR: That one because I forgot the other one.
HEILEMANN: I'll get you. We'll leave the other behind, the plagiarism one.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're going to come back to it.
HEILEMANN: Well, I think that he wouldn't be my vice, but I would have pick McKinnon if I were the nominee. But the notion of me being the
Republican nominee is sort of like a situation .
AMANPOUR: I actually meant your pick.
HEILEMANN: If I were the Republican .
AMANPOUR: Your guess.
HEILEMANN: If I were the Republican nominee, I would say that that's like Albert Queen (ph) is saying that someone's dog could do calculus. So
that's not very likely. Would he have been my pick? I think the question is, I don't think the vice presidential picks matter very much. So, does
Mike Pence satisfy some number of Conservatives who are worried about whether Donald Trump is really conservative? Maybe on the margin a little
There's an interesting theory going around that, you know, vice presidential nominees, you don't come to a convention and announce, "Here's
my vice president," and you can give it by fiat. The floor gets to vote. And so I think some people have now concluded that they were a little
worried that if they got someone who the Christian Conservatives who follow Ted Cruz did not like, they might have been able to get their vice
presidential pick through this convention and that Mike Pence was a very staunch, cultural Conservation was a way to insure that at least Trump
would get the person he picked whether or not that was the person he actually wanted or not.
MCKINNON: I would say the pick does no harm which is ...
AMANPOUR: And what about to come back? I mean, John was saying any political strategists like yourself know .
MCKINNON: Well, I'll say two things about it. One is that, you know, it's just absolute campaign 101 that you run and he speak, particularly as John
said, you know, the potential first lady, somebody who's never really given a public speech before, you absolute have to cover that ground. That's
just due diligence. The second thing is that now that this individual has come forward could have saved a lot of time and a lot of headaches by just
doing this about 14 hours ago. You know, would you cover up like that?
AMANPOUR: Well, that makes a difference. You say the vice presidential pick won't be defined or anything, but will this make a .
AMANPOUR: . difference in people's mind?
MCKINNON: No, I don't think so at all.
AMANPOUR: No, OK.
MCKINNON: I mean I don't think people really thought there was intent here. You know, it's a minor script. But it does show the problem having
a campaign that's really been put together by spit and glue. That's kind of how they got here. They're quick and they're nimble. But this shows
the problem of not having like a deep infrastructure and typical campaign.
AMANPOUR: So to the two of you, I want to ask, because clearly, the light motif of the last years of this campaign is the massive partisanship
between the parties and obviously within the Democratic and the Republican Party. If you look at Trump, Sanders, et center, where is the center?
What did you think of the tactic of essentially criminalizing political differences in the theatrics of Governor Christie last night? Every
mistake or every political disagreement with Hillary Clinton was put to the crowd as guilty, lock her up. Where does that leave this country?
MCKINNON: Well, it shows just, you know, how partisan the country has become and there's -- it also shows that for Trump, and to some degree on
the Democratic side, they know that they have to rally the base. Donald Trump has to have 90 percent of the Republican Party behind him in order to
get elected. Currently coming in to this, he's only got 75 percent. So part of that is just throwing that red meat to the base of the Republican
Party to make sure that they're excited and that's the kind of thing that animates him.
HEILEMANN: A national convention like this has to do two things, you have to unify the party and you also have to reach outside of the party base in
order to win. Republicans have lost five in the last six popular votes in America. Democrats have a huge structural advantage at the level, at your
college and the popular vote because the way the demographic of the country has changed.
[14:10:04] So Donald Trump has to unite the Republican Party. Mark is 100 percent right, but that's not enough to win in America. Republicans are
the minority party at the presidential level. He's got to also attract people who are not conservatives, who are not the core of the party. So,
lock her up is a great message for people in this hall and for rapid Clinton haters. It is not a great message for college educated woman in
the suburbs of Philadelphia who Donald Trump needs to win if he wants to be president.
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary that almost none of Donald Trump's rivals are coming here. The governor of this very state, Ohio, John Kasich, is
not coming here. But he did speak yesterday about why he wasn't and he said that the Republican Party has to have a jolly good look inside to see
what kind of a 21st century party it can be. And this is also what he said. I'm going to play it and we can talk about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: When you say things, you have to mean them. If you don't mean them, don't say them. So the things that I've talked
about in this country, the importance of trade, the importance of immigration, the importance of bringing people together, these things are
important to me. And, it's not just some political role that I'm espousing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, it sounds very rational. Has the party -- can the party get back to that idea even with the Trump presidency or after this election?
We've got one minute, so 30 seconds. Mark first and then John.
MCKINNON: Well, we're going to find out, you know. I mean, I'm a former Democrat. I was attracted to the Republican Party because of the message
of compassion, that conservatism. I think you've got to have that compassion a component to a conservative message in order to expand the
party to win the general election.
HEILEMANN: He's the very popular two-term governor of Ohio because when he got reelected, he expanded the percentage of African-Americans and other
non-white voters in this state that voted for him, unusual for Republican to do that in general. For a Republican to win in the presidential
election in America, they cannot get 12, 15, 20 percent of the Hispanic voters or of non-white voters. They got to get a bigger number. That's
the biggest challenge Donald Trump has. Without those numbers, it just doesn't add up.
AMANPOUR: Fascinating, John Heilemann, Mark McKinnon, "The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth", thank you so much .
MCKINNON: Thanks very much.
AMANPOUR: . for joining us. And we continue to monitor Donald Trump's arrival. But up next, a Republican strategist and a former Obama advisor
talk common ground on immigration, race and party politics.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. The Republican Party hopes that Trump's formal nomination will bridge the cavernous divisions within the
GOP and also soften the inflammatory remarks on immigration and race. But this is a spreading western phenomenon that I discuss with CNN Political
Commentator, Ana Navarro, who is a Republican Strategist, and Van Jones who is a former advisor to President Obama. Ana Navarro, Van Jones, welcome
So, I heard Senator Rick Santorum tell "CNN Today" that this is not about an angry white person as it's being described, this mood in the country.
It's just about angry people. How do you respond to that?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's true. I mean I think that the angst, the frustration, the fury with the dysfunction in
Washington cuts across gender, cuts across color, cuts across ethnicity. But we have seen a very little diversity in this convention. We have seen
very few voices, there are very few delegates that are not white, that are not, you know, men frankly.
AMANPOUR: There are no Hispanics here officially scheduled this evening.
NAVARRO: I mean there's a few Hispanics speaking. I think Mark Rubio is going to send a video today. He's not here. But for the first time in my
lifetime that I can remember coming to conventions and I've been coming to Republican Conventions for 20 years, this is the first time that there is
not one federally elected Hispanic from Florida at this convention, much less speaking at this convention.
[14:15:13] AMANPOUR: What does this mean, Van? Obviously, you're a Democrat, but what does this mean for a party that apparently needs to
reach out to minorities?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think both parties are struggling with this and with saying there is real anger in the country. I
think, you know, black lives matter expresses a certain level of frustration. I think the fact that in the Democratic Party, you have 43
percent of people vote for Bernie Sanders, a socialist, shows a level of frustration.
I think the challenge to the Republicans is they seem to be drawing on a particular kind of anger, almost exclusively which has more of almost like
a white nationalist after taste. You know, it's not, you know, overt. I think that causes them some problems going forward. Frankly, Democrats is
going to have some problems going forward to if they can't relate to that anger of the white working class, if they can't relate to it. If they
pooh-pooh (ph), if they look down in, they're going to have some problems. But it is very disturbing, I think, to see the Republican Party moving in
this direction when there are such great Republicans who've been pushing the other way, including Paul Ryan who spoke last night and Rubio and
AMANPOUR: To your point about white nationalism, what's happened in Britain with Brexit has been sort of compared to a kind of angry white
backlash, their white identity politics, and it's happening around Europe. I spoke to Geert Wilders who's the head of a very prominent populist
extreme right-wing party and he told me that he believed that all of this is linked. Listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEERT WILDERS, LEADER OF DUTCH FREEDOM PARTY: What is happening in the United States today as a matter of fact is the same as what is happening in
Europe today. The people no longer feel represented by their political leader. So there's an enormous gap both here in American and the Europe
where people feel their problems when it comes to their jobs, when it comes to crime, when it comes to immigration or terrorism are not addressed by
their political leaders. And I think that is not only a popularity of Mr. Trump, but also of my own party being by far the biggest party in all the
polls in Holland. I could be prime minister next year if we win the elections, and in so many other European countries, from France with Mrs.
Le Pen, to Austria. Well, you see that people who address the problems of so many of their inhabitants are gaining ground. And this genie will not
go back into the bottle again.
AMANPOUR: So what is your solution? What is Mrs. Le Pen's solution? What is the Brexit solution?
WILDERS: Well, we have a solution. First, Brexit is important and I would like to have an exit. So first, get out of the European Union. Second,
make sure that when it comes to the immigration of Islamic countries that there will be a full stop. Second, if people with double nationality, and
most of the Muslims in Holland have a double nationality, if they commit a crime and they are unfortunately overrepresented in the crime statistics,
we should denaturalize them and send them out of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's quite and extreme, you know, position of sort of anti- Islam and the fear of the other that's going on there and here to an extent as well. I mean, the wall, the quarter ban Muslim, how do you see this
NAVARRO: I think it's an international phenomenon going on right now where you see this processed establishment, where you see populism, where you see
frustration with the inability of governments to address the huge national crisis that are affecting their people, their countries. And it's going on
all over the place. I think that people have to be very careful though about the promises made, big fanciful promises made.
You know here in America, we hear Donald Trump talking about building a wall and making the Mexicans pay for it. Well, it's not going happen.
People may want it to happen, may want to believe that it's going to happen the same way that it happened with Brexit. So I would say to folks, be
very careful, be very wise that you're not buying into big fancy promises that at the end of the day will not be able to be implemented and you will
end up with buyers remorse.
AMANPOUR: Van, do you recognize -- I mean, we saw last night from the stage here, a lot of anger, a lot of almost criminalizing of political
differences if you take what Chris Christie said about convict her or find her guilty, talking about Hillary Clinton and lock her up, all of that. We
know that the economy is not as bad as they would have us think, that unemployment is not as high as they would want us think. But there is this
moment of white and minority birth rates sort of coinciding. So, white people feel that they're being taken over by minorities with the Hispanics
or whoever. That -- but that's a reality. How is that going to play out?
JONES: Well, listen, first of all, I think you have to start with some level of empathy. Part of what's happening now is just a complete loss of
empathy between all sides. I if you're a black kid, you have no empathy for the legitimate fears of a white cop. If you're a white cop, you
completely dismiss the concerns about racial profiling from that black kid who might be a college student for all you know.
[14:20:00] No empathy. If you are a white working class person, you say, all of these Muslims, these Muslims, that you forget we have 6 million
Muslims in America right now. They have the lowest crime rate of any group. Thomas Jefferson had a Qu'ran. Islam is not something new
phenomena in the United States. The radicalism of Islam overseas is, but we've -- you know, your doctor, your a dentist, your a cab driver might be
a Muslim. What are you talking about?
But we're starting to lose track of each other's basic humanity. That is very dangerous in a country. And when that happens, you have demagogues on
all sides. And what's happening, I think, is because that -- yeah, I'm sure the economic pain here compared to, you know, Haiti, hey, look, we're
all living high on hog but that's not what people react to. They react to their expectations and their expectation is that tomorrow will be worse
than yesterday. That opens a door for demagogues.
NAVARRO: I think Van is so right. I would tell you that if you ask me today what is the biggest problem we encounter as a country, it is this
level of suspension .
NAVARRO: . of questioning of motives, of questioning of values that we have developed towards anybody that is different than us, that looks
different than us, that talks different than us, that thinks different than us. For too long now, Americans, and across the world, they only want to
listen to people who think like, who agree with them. They only want to read things that they agree with. And it's very harmful. Once you lose
the ability to value diversity of thought, you have lost what has made America so great.
JONES: I think that the left parties had their own leadership challenge with this. Listen, we are expecting European populations to do something
that very few countries have done well in human history, which is to absorb an awful lot of new people in a short period of time. It is true that
there are racists and xenophobes but it's also true that change is hard. And I think that left parties not speaking honestly about some of these
changes and not showing any empathy or understanding is setting the left up to have less influence than we should have. And so, it's not just that you
have some right-wing demagogues, you have some very tone deaf progressives that I think are making the problem worse.
AMANPOUR: Really important point. Thank you so much.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, as we've been talking, there we go, let's listen in to Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: . someone who is going to make an unbelievable Vice President of the United States, Governor Mike Pence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you, Donald Trump.
Let's hear it for the next President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. It is such an honor to join your family to welcome you to
Cleveland. We're excited to hear you address the nation tomorrow night. It's been exciting to hear from your family more to come tonight. And I'm
convinced what begins in Cleveland will end in the White House. Thank you and God bless you, and welcome to Cleveland.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mike. I just want to also congratulate Don, and Tiffany, and Eric is going to have
his shot tonight and Eric is going to be great, and Ivanka tomorrow night, and my whole family. And Karen, I want to address that your whole family
is an incredible family, and we love having you with us in this endeavor and hopefully we'll going to do an amazing job and an amazing job for the
country most importantly. So, thank you very much. And kids, congratulations. Fantastic job. Thank you very much.
PENCE: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. We'll go and start working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: All right. So, that was Donald Trump and Mike Pence addressing the press, addressing his own family, telling them what a great job they
had done on stage last night. And, we are going take a quick break from the convention, and when we come back, more of the saturation media
coverage here and overseas.
[14:25:16] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. So again, we're over live pictures of Donald Trump who is now the formal nominee for the
Republican Party's candidate for president and he has arrived here in Cleveland, and he is out there near the lake area and he is with his vice
presidential pick, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, also Donald Trump's children, some of whom spoke from the stage here in this arena last night,
some who will do so tonight and then of course tomorrow night.
Again, it must be said that it is unusual for the actual candidate to be here and to be present so often before his own acceptance speech which is
due to take place tomorrow. So Donald Trump came on his plane. He got here shortly a little while ago, got off that plane, gone on to a
helicopter and flew the short distance from Cleveland Airport here to Downtown Cleveland. Very, very close to the Convention Center. He won't
be in the Convention Center, at least we don't think so until formally he takes that stage Thursday night to accept the nomination as the Republican
Nominee for President of the United States.
And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, you can see us online at amanpour.com and you can follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye for now from Cleveland.