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Donald Trump's Cabinet Taking Shape; Wolf Blitzer to Your Thanksgiving Table Rescue; How to Handle Politics at Thanksgiving Dinner

Aired November 24, 2016 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump adding diversity to his cabinet. Will it mean anything when he takes office in January? We will talk to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, next.


BALDWIN: President-elect Donald Trump bringing some diversity to his cabinet with not just one, two women appointees. Trump naming billionaire Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as his education secretary and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

So with me here is Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.

Thank you for sneaking through the parade traffic to get here in New York.

Good morning.


BALDWIN: Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Running through some of these names here. These picks -- Betsy DeVos, Dr. Ben Carson potentially as HUD secretary, Governor Haley and maybe, maybe even a Mitt Romney as secretary of state.

Do you like any of them?

JEFFRIES: Well, it's appropriate that he is beginning, the president- elect, to nominate individuals who look like America. I think that's very important. We're an incredibly diverse country and the president-elect's choices should reflect that.

BALDWIN: I feel like there's a but coming?

JEFFRIES: Absolutely a but. Well, if you think about the foreign policy space, we have a president-elect who has no foreign policy experience. The nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, no foreign policy experience. If he moves forward with Mitt Romney as secretary of state, no foreign policy experience.

Now we're living in a world where we've got ISIS, a crisis in Syria, Vladimir Putin wants to reconstitute the Soviet Union, nuclear aggression in North Korea, problems all over the map.

[08:35:10] And it's a little bit troubling, I think, should be disconcerting that the president-elect has decided to move forward in this space, nominated perhaps good people. Governor Haley is a distinguished public servant. I think Mitt Romney is a good man. But these individuals who lack the relevant experience in the area of expertise and that's a concern to me and I think many members of Congress.

BALDWIN: Sure. And you're echoing criticism we've heard, but they have been executives of state. They do have pretty tremendous resumes, though, you know, when you look at a Governor Haley and also a Mitt Romney, they have been harsh, harsh, harsh critics of President-elect Trump.

Do you think that could be a positive thing? And you give all sides credit for being willing to maybe work together?

JEFFRIES: Well, I think there's some degree of --

BALDWIN: Diversity of ideological opinion?

JEFFRIES: Diversity -- well, you've got people on the right and people on the far right who are coming together. I think that there should be a greater degree of diversity when you think about the fact that Donald Trump lost the popular vote. Majority of Americans actually voted against him, not for him. He's only the president because of the Electoral College dynamic. That's in the constitution. But it does suggest that he should broaden the tent as far as possibly he had Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, others who brought Republicans into their administration.


BALDWIN: If you could pick a Dem to serve in the cabinet? Give me a name.

JEFFRIES: Well, I don't want to name anyone because I would certainly doom them and they would be off the list automatically. But I do think there's a wide variety of individuals who got the expertise, the ability, the temperament and a commitment to doing the right thing for this nation, who maybe willing to consider stepping into a Trump administration.

BALDWIN: What about -- let's talk about your party and leader Pelosi. We now know she will be challenged. The vote is upcoming. And so, between Nancy Pelosi and a Tim Ryan, who would you like to see lead the party?

JEFFRIES: Well, I think Tim Ryan is a good man. He's raising some important issues. We're having a family conversation. But we've already got a very good quarterback, her name is Nancy Pelosi. She has led us into the end zone once before in 2006. I think she can do it again.

Part of the conversation that we are having as House Democrats is making sure that we have the best possible team surrounding her on the playing field that's going to involve bringing in some of the younger members, taking advantage of the talent and ability that exists across the broad Democratic spectrum.

Leader Pelosi has put out a whole host of ideas in that regard. We're going to have a conversation when we go back to Washington, D.C., but I think she is the one to continue bringing us forward.

BALDWIN: So you like her. What about I want you to name names as far as the fight for the DNC chair? I haven't heard. I've been reading. I haven't seen any name you thrown out that you specifically support. Who, who would it be for you?

JEFFRIES: Well, I had -- I've been meeting with Keith Ellison earlier this week. He's a talented individual. A committed progressive. I think he has a vision. He spotted very early that Donald Trump was a threat to actually prevail not just in the Republican primary, but perhaps become the president of the United States of America. He was laughed at for that suggestion that was made 15 months ago. I think he should be given some credit for that.

But I do think there's a reasonable concern that has been articulated given the fact that we as Democrats are in transition right now that the --

BALDWIN: Transition, is that what you would call it?

JEFFRIES: We're in transition. I'm optimistic on Thanksgiving Day.


JEFFRIES: And we will come back. But we're in transition right now and we need someone who is full-time perhaps. And I said this directly --

BALDWIN: Not just a member of Congress, but full, full-time.

JEFFRIES: Not just a member of Congress. I've said that directly to Keith Ellison. He understands that that's a reasonable concern.


JEFFRIES: There will be others who will come forward, but I think obviously he's a top tier candidate.

BALDWIN: OK. Congressman Jeffries, safe travels to Brooklyn. Happy Thanksgiving with you and your family.

JEFFRIES: Same to you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you for taking the time. And, so, who is ready for a nice calm, friendly, easy conversation, speaking of all this politics, about Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton over Thanksgiving dinner. Coming up next, we'll take a light-hearted look at how to make sure the political drama doesn't turn to family drama around the Thanksgiving table. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But first, Brooke, a cup of coffee might be just the thing to help you wake up this morning. But when your energy dips later in the day, a simple snack can keep you going. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more in today's "Food As Fuel."


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The best snack for an energy boost combine whole grains with healthy fats or protein. For example, you can make your own trail mix with dried fruits and healthy nuts and seeds.

Whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese are easy to prepare. So are hummus and veggies, which you can pack in a small container to make it more affordable. For convenience, you can buy dry roasted Edamame or roasted chick peas.

Snacks like these will cause a slow rise in blood sugar and help sustain your energy level throughout the day.

If you still feel like you need a little boost, try sipping green tea. It's packed with antioxidants and has less caffeine than coffee.



[08:44:00] BALDWIN: So on this Thanksgiving -- I like this. This is like a chat.


CAMEROTA: Brooke --

BALDWIN: On this Thanksgiving, a lot of people are a little nervous about bitter, political debates at the dinner table today. Yes, in fact, 53 percent of Americans are dreading the thought of talking politics today around the table. This is according to a new "CNN/ORC" poll.

Only -- so Ellen Degeneres, with the help of the one and only Wolf Blitzer has a way to help you avoid ugly conflicts as you pass the turkey.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can order a professional moderator to manage your meal. Choose from seasoned pros like Anderson Cooper, Megyn Kelly and Wolf Blitzer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course she should build the wall. They're coming across by the millions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's nowhere near a million.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary should be in prison.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: If we could just --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She won the popular vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody else should get away --


BLITZER: Mrs. Douglas, Uncle Lou. I f we could just please get back to the original question, could someone please pass the salt?


[08:45:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your moderator will restore civility to the conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This broccoli casserole is so good. I think it's --


BLITZER: Lucas, don't interrupt your sister.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's better than the sweet potatoes that you helped make.


BLITZER: Leslie is speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he'll make sure everyone gets an equal opportunity to talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My feet were so sore. They were swollen and red. You should have seen them. They looked like beets.

BLITZZER: You have five seconds.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was because my purse was so heavy when I walk.

BLITZER: Aunt Pearl, that's enough.



BLITZER: That's enough, Aunt Pearl.



BLITZER: You're out of time. Aunt pearl, you're out of time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus, your moderator can serve as a fact checker.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard that Barack Hussein Obama made it legal to steal things.

BLITZER: That is completely false.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then who stole my glasses?

BLITZER: Your glasses are on your forehead.


CAMEROTA: That one gets me every time.

BALDWIN: Wolf Blitzer.

Good stuff.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Joining us now with their take on what to do when the turkey talk turns to turkey.

Comedian Sherrod Small and Paul Mercurio. Great to see you guys.

SHERROD SMALL, COMEDIAN: Good to see you. Happy Thanksgiving.

PAUL MERCURIO, COMEDIAN: Yes. You look very Thanksgiving with the color.

CAMEROTA: You know, this was purely by accident.

BALDWIN: This is cranberry sauce.

MERCURIO: Well, you got it together.

CAMEROTA: You're right, full cranberry sauce.

BALDWIN: We're kind of hungry.

SMALL: My only question is will Wolf Blitzer come to the hood? Because I'm going to Bedford, Brooklyn. Will he come with me and my family?

CAMEROTA: Because you need a moderator?

SMALL: Yes, I need a moderator and I need an Uber ride, so can he do both?

CAMEROTA: What is your plan if the talk turns too political?

SMALL: I mean, you try to stay away from important stuff like religion and politics. But you know your family. Somebody want to rile it up.


SMALL: So the thing is to try to deflect. Deflect, deflect, deflect as much as --


SMALL: I try to change the subject.


SMALL: I just bring up the cousin -- my cousin Larry and his friend Michael.


Then all the heat is off of me.

Grandma, don't have any grandma.

CAMEROTA: That's awesome.

Paul your suggestion?

MERCURIO: Well, you know, you start out like almost every dinner starts out with saying grace. Just say grace for like a really long time. For five or so hours.

BALDWIN: Talk really slowly.


SMALL: A filibuster.

MERCURIO: All the food is cold. Everybody goes home.

But, you know, no matter what you do to avoid it, you always have that one -- those one or two relatives that just want, you know, to get in an argument. So I got those coming over tonight.

SMALL: I'm one of those relatives, too.


MERCURIO: Yes, exactly. Well, I created a Thanksgiving hotline. You call in.

SMALL: Right.

MERCURIO: And you get into an unwinnable argument with a fake relative and you can talk about anything. You can argue about like, global warming.


CAMEROTA: That's so great. Like get it out of your system.



MERCURIO: You can get people to say like you'll never make it as a stand-up comic. You know, all the suck --

SMALL: But you're a regular comic --


CAMEROTA: That's so great. I also know that you plan to use the drug, the turkey drug, the Tryptophan, to your advantage?

MERCURIO: Yes, it kicks in like an hour or so after you eat. So you let your opponent get sleepy in the argument.

SMALL: Right.

MERCURIO: And then you say all the thing you hates, and he agrees with you, and then you record it and you blackmail him later with it.

BALDWIN: I've heard already alcohol in this show. Now I'm hearing about drugs.

SMALL: New technology.

CAMEROTA: A natural one.

SMALL: And if you need to use technology.

BALDWIN: Convert to the iPhone?

SMALL: Don't go there. Just FaceTime your family. Just FaceTime there. And when you get there, they'll go like this, no, no more of that.

BALDWIN: Do you guys remember the "Saturday Night Live" with Adele who was hosting last year and they did this whole bit, where they're sitting around the table, it was almost like they were thinking ahead to the future and what a lot of people are going to be dealing with this year. This is a piece of the sketch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a question for you. Why is it that your friends keep antagonizing the police?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you ask my boyfriend that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm just trying to get to know him - (CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a guest here.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, your grandparents are here.


BALDWIN: And we're back.

So whether it's Adele or like your favorite album to make everyone stop.

MERCURIO: Well, you know --


SMALL: That's right.

MERCURIO: Just before dinner starts like break out a new Ikea dining room table and make everybody help you put it together.

BALDWIN: With the little tool.

MERCURIO: Exactly. That's all day, all night. No time for politics. At the end, all you want to do is eat and take a nap.

SMALL: You can use Adele though, right? Because she's a -- she's a red coat. It's an American holiday.


CAMEROTA: So what music can you use?

SMALL: I use Beyonce. Halo.

CAMEROTA: Oh, that's great. You put on Beyonce.

BALDWIN: But then you have somebody saying, hey -- hey remember that awesome Beyonce, Jay-Z concert in Cleveland for Hillary Clinton, and then boom you're back into politics.

SMALL: I only think of elevator when I think about Jay-Z and Beyonce.



[08:50:00] CAMEROTA: Paul, actually, this is not funny. As a Jersey girl, I was very upset to read that even the E-Street band is fighting over politics. There's tension --


SMALL: Oh really?

MERCURIO: Yes, exactly. It's a big fight too because like 130 members in E-street.

SMALL: That's right. They are the white mustangs.

MERCURIO: It goes on forever and ever. It's like what you're saying. You know, the other thing is I have the kid's table and the adult's table. Kid's table is always more fun. Just switch.

SMALL: That's true.

BALDWIN: Sit at the kid's table. That's brilliant.

MERCURIO: Kids are not going to talk about adult stuff like redoing the bathroom and living in loveless marriage.


SMALL: You're right.

CAMEROTA: The family is here in the studio.

MERCURIO: Hey, kids, you have a great mom.

SMALL: How's it going?

MERCURIO: And that's great.

SMALL: I'm cleaning up the mess.

BALDWIN: You guys want to come over? Come on over. We're having a little joke --


SMALL: He's adorable.

CAMEROTA: Come on over, guys.

SMALL: Happy Thanksgiving.


CAMEROTA: All right. So guys, all you guys --

MERCURIO: Hey, kid, you're blocking my shot.

CAMEROTA: Little Camerotas.

MERCURIO: What is this? What's going here?

CAMEROTA: Because we do have some late night laughs that all of you guys can watch. OK, here's some Thanksgiving zingers taking aim at, well, the president-elect. Take a look at this.


SMALL: My probation officer is going to love this.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON: After previously calling it a hoax, yesterday Donald Trump acknowledged that global warming might be real.


Trump was like I just had a hard time believing something could get hotter as it got older.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: Yesterday, he told staffers at the "New York Times" that his son-in-law Jared Kushner could help broker peace in the Middle East. And after that, maybe he could broker peace between America and the other half of America.


SETH MEYERS, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: On Tuesday, the same man who might run our Department of Energy DJ'ed for Vanilla Ice. Rick Perry (INAUDIBLE) secretary of energy drinks.

FALLON: The big news today is that Donald Trump has appointed South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to be ambassador to the United Nations. Her main job will be learning how to say sorry in over dozen languages.


COLBERT: And with all of Trump's businesses, there are bound to be conflicts of interest. For instance last week about 100 foreign diplomats from Brazil to Turkey gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to sip Trump branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect's newest hotel. Well, of course, Trump hotel serves sliders. I mean, those mini burgers make tiny hams look huge.




MERCURIO: This is awesome.

SMALL: Welcome back to "Nickelodeon."

MERCURIO: Let's slimed everybody. What's your favorite thing at Thanksgiving Dinner?


MERCURIO: Are you feeding your kids in Thanksgiving?

You don't know them.

CAMEROTA: We want a big feast.

SMALL: You're the youngest, huh?


SMALL: And the only boy.


SMALL: That's like my life. I was the youngest and only boy. Worst hand me downs ever. Am I right? And I have this one dress.


MERCURIO: They don't pick on you, do they?

BALDWIN: We'll let these guys go. Let me just tell everyone thank you for being here.

SMALL: Thank you so much. Happy Thanksgiving.


BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

And Paul Mercurio and his podcast, "Two Chairs and a Microphone." And if you are in New York City, you can catch him this weekend at the "Gotham."


Have a great Thanksgiving, guys.


MERCURIO: Yes, you, too.

We'll be over. What time is dinner?



BALDWIN: Coming up next, we'll take you live to the Thanksgiving Day parade, which is set to begin in a matter of minutes.

CAMEROTA: But, first, a Thanksgiving message from one of our brave service members overseas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain Hart Malika (ph) from New York City. I guess the most I miss back home is just being home with family and friends, and you know, kind of having that big meal, the big feast. I'd like to say hi to all my family and friends back in the United States, back in New York.



[08:57:45] CAMEROTA: It's the moment you've been waiting for. Charlie Brown's close-up. It's the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It's about to begin.

Let's check back in with CNN's Boris Sanchez. He's in the middle of it all.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning, Alisyn.

Yes, any minute things are about to kick off. We'll show you where we are. Just down the street from Charlie Brown himself, side by side with the crowd. Very, very excited to be here. We've got some turkey heads here. We also just heard the West Virginia band that's down there start preparing to get the music under way. Of course it starts on 77th/76th Street. It goes all the way down in 34 Street. Not a short parade by any means.

It's going to be about 3 million people watching from the street. Got some folks from Kentucky here, folks from Hawaii. All the way from Hawaii. So a lot of people coming to catch the excitement.

You mention Charlie Brown. That's a brand-new float this year. There's also "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" that's going to be a new float this year. Dreamer's "Trolls" is a new float this year. And Felix the Cat making a comeback. He was actually the first balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade back in 1927. They're bringing him back for the 90th year. You, guys, excited?

We have folks sitting up on a garbage truck that's meant to be a security barrier.

Security, something extremely important to point out. There's something like 3,000 police officers, uniformed police officers that are out here. The commissioner for NYPD earlier told me this is one of the most important days of the year for them. And all the hard work and preparation is worth it when you see these smiling faces, especially the young kids having a good time on Thanksgiving Day.

Brook and Alisyn?

BALDWIN: Thank you, Boris. CAMEROTA: Thank you, Boris, for all of the excitement. And we want to thank our producers who joined us here on the set.

BALDWIN: Yes, this is our A-team right here. All the kiddos.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So these are all actually of our crew's kids as well as mine.

Hey, Leah, I remember what we were going to do when I said in three, two, one --


BALDWIN: Amazing.

CAMEROTA: Thank you guys for all being here. We're very thankful for you guys.

BALDWIN: I'm thankful for you.

CAMEROTA: I'm thankful for you.

BALDWIN: That was really fun.

CAMEROTA: That was so fun. Let's do it again.

Have a great holiday.

BALDWIN: You, too. And, you, too.

I'll be back on at 2:00 if anyone's still watching TV today. Happy Thanksgiving, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'll be watching, Brooke, between --

BALDWIN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: OK, Happy Thanksgiving. NEWSROOM starts now.