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Van Jones' Hosted Messy Truth; Trump's Second Thank You Tour; Contrast Between Outgoing and Incoming Presidents. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired December 6, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: It's not Nazi Germany we need to worry about, it's the friendly fascism of the 21st century. And I think the democrats the people who voted for Hillary, first of all, feel good about the fact that the majority of your fellow Americans did not want Donald J. Trump as our president. That's the majority by over 20 million.
So take some comfort in that your fellow Americans, you know--
VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Are with you.
MOORE: -- are with you, number one. Number two, we've got to get active here. We've got to--
JONES: I agree with that, but.
MOORE: Can I just say this, let me just say this.
JONES: And then I got to get one voice in here. You got to hear this guy.
MOORE: Yes, go ahead.
JONES: So, I want to bring in Chris Vitale who I think got something important to say to you.
CHRIS VITALE, TRUMP VOTER: When I was a kid growing up, I listened to Lee Iacocca tell us how this country got screwed on trade deals. Right now Germany puts a 19 percent tax on an American car that get shipped to Germany.
China does even more. China does that to ensure production in China. NAFTA was supposed to create a Mexican middle class. Twenty five years later, the average Mexican manufacturing wage is $2.97 an hour. I don't necessarily believe that Donald Trump is a hater, I think he's a businessman.
Tell me why I shouldn't have voted for him when my own union didn't back him, and his own party doesn't back him on trade but he's willing to speak the truth?
MOORE: On that issue I can't tell you that you -- that I can't because what he says -- on what he'll do, I don't know what he'll do. You know, but what he says is that NAFTA was wrong. He was -- that's correct, it was wrong. Key BP is wrong.
All the whole unfair thing that got set up. And democrats and republicans screwed the working class of this country. And the low unemployment that we have now is in large part due to the fact that you have some people have jobs, but they don't have the union jobs, the middle class jobs that they used to have.
So -- but let's see what he does with that because ultimately he's a billionaire who looks out. He has an ideology that he believes in and it's called Donald J. Trump. That's what he's going to make sure that he takes care of. I don't think he's going to take care of you, the working person.
VITALE: I think he's done more for me than any democrat has done in my lifetime.
MOORE: He hasn't done anything for you yet.
VITALE: He raised the issue. He raise the issue, and that's more than any of them have done.
MOORE: He raises the issue.
JONES: OK. Let him talk, let him talk. What has you, and by the way, this is a--
MOORE: He raises the issue.
JONES: He's a Chrysler worker and he's from a state -- I think you heard him called Michigan. And so what is--
VITALE: And a county called Macomb.
MOORE: That's right.
VITALE: I can tell you this no other politician in my lifetime has ever brought this issue to the forefront, and the fact of the matter is we do get screwed on trade.
VITALE: And they tell these companies to be more global. Well, when you add $9,000 to the price of a jeep when it goes to Germany, I'm frankly amazed they can sell any of them over there, let alone a few of them.
MOORE: Right. VITALE: And that needs to change.
MOORE: When he doesn't follow through, when he doesn't get rid of NAFTA, when you're still screwed in Michigan five months from now, two years from now, where are you going to be done on this issue?
JONES: How do you know he's not going to follow through, Michael?
MOORE: There is nothing in his behavior. The man is first of all, a malignant narcissist and he's only about in self, folks. And you're about to see that happening.
JONES: Hey, listen, I hate to say that--
VITALE: You can say the same thing about Hillary Clinton.
JONES: Wait, wait, hold on, guys. I hate to be the one to say this. It makes me feel very odd. But he's not an idiot. He's got to get re- elected--
VITALE: Not an idiot.
JONES: He's got re-elected by these guys. Can't you give him a chance, at least on the stuff you agree with him on?
MOORE: I can't even imagine he's thinking about re-election. I think I can't even imagine he's thinking about, I have to do this for four years? Not -- not fair.
JONES: OK, listen. We -- I got to get one more voice in here. Thank you so much, sir.
VITALE: Thank you.
JONES: We got -- yes, you give a round of applause. Thank you, sir.
We got Rebecca Liebson here, a sophomore at the Stony Brook University. So, she's got a tough political question for you.
REBECCA LIEBSON, CLINTON VOTER: Hi. So, I grew up in an area that's been greatly characterized by political gridlock. So, with that being said what do you think is the best move going forward for the congressional democrats? Do you think that they are going to be as oppositional as the GOP was under Obama?
MOORE: Well, I hope so.
LIEBSON: Or do you think they're actually going to try-- (CROSSTALK)
LIEBSON: -- and retrousse the island for its concerned coalition?
MOORE: No, no, no. This is not the kumbaya moment here. They -- the democrats in Congress, they represent the majority of Americans -- the majority of Americans, let's say it again, wanted Hillary Clinton. The majority of Americans did not want Donald Trump.
It is the responsibility of this minority of democrats in Congress--
JONES: Hey, hold on.
MOORE: -- to block, obstruct, disrupt and do whatever they can to prevent the onslaught that is going to happen with Donald Trump the American people do not support.
JONES: Hold on. Wait a minute. I have -- I keep feeling so odd, sir.
MOORE: I know you're in kumbaya moment. I'm sorry.
JONES: I know exactly. I feel. But let me just push back on you at.
JONES: I'm on the left side of Pluto just like you.
JONES: But let me just say a couple things here.
[22:05:01] MOORE: I wore tie for you, by the way.
JONES: And I appreciate that, sir. Listen, when the republicans did this, they blocked our president on everything. You know who suffered? Those workers suffered, the kids in Oakland suffered, the whole country suffered.
JONES: Are you saying that now democrats should have a policy of imposing that same suffering for four more years? You're saying we shouldn't even try to find any way out?
MOORE: Your job is to stop the suffering that these people are going to cause, and let me tell you something, he's going to be inaugurated on January 20th, and January 21st, which is a Saturday, don't be surprised if the republicans call a Saturday session of Congress, and they are going to pass a law after law after law and have him sign it the next day, and it's going to be one piece of suffering against people after another.
And it is the jobs of the democrats not to stop the suffering that he is about to create for the American people. That is -- that is their job, and they have to do it, and they better be planning it right now--
JONES: And I got to tell you.
MOORE: -- instead of being the wimps that they usually are.
JONES: Well, and this is going to be, again, here's the messy truth for democrats.
JONES: It's easy to say that, but when you have to go back to a district and you got to say, we're going to turn down infrastructure and that type of stuff, it's going to be a lot tougher than that. Because--
MOORE: I'm not saying -- I'm not saying turn it down, I'm just saying but they need to know when they go back to the district this spring, in the same way the tea party was there in '29, myself and thousands like me are going to be at those town halls in the districts in the spring.
JONES: Well, consider--
MOORE: And we will -- and we will primary down these democrats if they don't do their job.
JONES: Consider yourself warned! Consider yourself warned.
MOORE: That's the messy truth.
JONES: All right. OK. Well, listen, I want to thank you, and we had an honest conversation here tonight, but this is only the beginning. I hope that you are going to take this conversation back to your dinner tables, back to work tomorrow, the water cooler and your communities. Thank you very much. Stay human.
CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Van, from The Messy Truth to the breaking news tonight.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
President-elect Donald Trump taking his thank you, America tour to North Carolina tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES PRESIDENT-ELECT: You went out and pounded the pavement, you organized your fellow citizens and propelled to victory a grassroots movement, the likes of which nobody, nobody has ever seen before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And Trump officially introducing his choice for defense secretary, retired General James "Mad Dog" Mattis. We're going to begin this hour though ahead with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty. She is in North Carolina tonight where she was at that suite. So, Sunlen, this is the second so-called thank you rally. What did Donald Trump have to say and how was the crowd?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the crowd inside, Don, certainly felt like that they were at a campaign rally. A lot of energy from the crowd. But unlike his first thank you rally that we saw Donald Trump at last week, Donald Trump was much more subdued tonight.
It was very clear he was trying to stick to script, really trying to really push his own message. At one point it was interesting, the crowd started booing the media and he stopped them and said, no, no, maybe they will go on to write the truth.
So, it's quite a different change in tone and posture tonight coming from the president-elect. Really seemed determined to have his message be the headline coming out of this rally tonight. And that message here really playing all to this military-friendly community, given that this is only a few miles from Fort Bragg.
Here's a taste of what Donald Trump had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now today our brave men and women are the first in line defense, defense against radical Islamic terrorism, words that some people don't like to say, an ideology of death that slaughters innocent men, women and children.
We're going to protect our people, we're going to protect our country, believe me.
In every generation, a new threat to freedom arises. And just as we defeated these threats, we faced generations in the past, and you understand that, so, too, will we defeat the forces of terrorism. It's unseen in many cases, but we're going to defeat that force, and we're going to defeat it strongly and quickly. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Now there was a bit of showmanship coming on the part of Donald Trump when he rolled out his formal nomination for secretary of defense, General James Mattis. We of course, knew that news last week, but the two appearing here together at this rally tonight. Mattis took the microphone for a few minutes.
Interesting here, Don, Mattis will need a special waiver from Congress because he only retired from the military three years ago.
[22:10:01] Mattis speaking to that saying he's looking forward to serving in a civilian capacity if he's confirmed by the Senate, and if indeed he does get that waiver as the secretary of defense. And Trump later going on to say he's confident he will get that waiver and added that a lot of people will be angry if he doesn't. Don?
LEMON: Sunlen, thank you very much. I want to bring in now CNN senior political director David Chalian, and CNN senior political analyst, Mr. David Gergen who was an adviser to four presidents.
Good evening to both of you. Mr. Chalian, Trump pretty much stayed on script tonight, nothing inflammatory. Did anything stand out to you?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, what stood out to me was the discipline of the message, the clear attempt to be a uniter. He even caught himself. You know, sometimes we hear Donald Trump sort of instruct himself aloud--
CHALIAN: -- as if he's repeating his adviser's words. He started talking about poll numbers for half a second and then he said, we're not talking about numbers, though, we're trying to bring everyone together.
He clearly was trying to not have a barn burner and divisive and just play to his base. He really was trying to set forth his 100 days agenda and bring people together.
The other thing, Don, that I think the optics are so important to underscore here. The defense secretary nomination of Mattis. This is the first time we've seen Donald Trump share the stage with one of his cabinet appointees.
Everything else has been press release. This one he wanted to physically attach himself to this guy, and I think that that underscores how important he thinks this pick is.
LEMON: David Gergen, I heard you're in agreement there, his tone was a little subdued tonight, but he did take another swipe at China. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will have two simple rules when it comes to rebuilding this country. Buy American and hire American, all right? Buy American.
On trade, our trade deficit now nearly $800 billion a year. North Carolina has lost nearly half of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA. America has lost 70,000 factories. Think of it, 70,000 factories since joining the World Trade Organization. Think of it.
So, China joins the World Trade Organization, and since that time, we've lost so much, 70,000 factories. We're living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world. There's never been a jobs theft like what's happened to this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, David, even before taking office, Donald Trump is showing a strong man approach to governing, but how is that going to play on the world stage? Will it be effective?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We'll have to wait and see. He's -- it's clearly he's caught up to Putin and he seems to think that that's going pretty well. I think the big surprise is how tough he's been on China. And we don't know the Chinese response has gradually ratcheted up over the last 48 to 72 hours. So now that it looks like, you know, he really got their attention.
You know, what he seems to do, Don, what he did with Boeing today in his tweet and he did with, you know, he's done with others, he picks up a board and smacks somebody in the snout and gets their attention.
And that's what he's done with China, you know. He got their attention, but where it leads, I think, is very, very unpredictable, and analysts are completely divided on that question.
LEMON: I heard you agreeing again. I'm going to go back to what David said about his tone and staying on message. Do you agree with that?
GERGEN: I do. The last time, the you know, the first rally was sort of spike the football rally. And this time there was a lot less of that braggadocio, a lot less of the, and I think David Chalian had it absolutely right, that he was trying to sort of unite people more.
It's also important to remember in his message the substance of his message was to the troops, and it's important to remember how close he was to Fort Bragg and talking to -- talking to that audience. And not only introducing Mattis, which one of the reasons that I think he took him there and showcased him as David said.
But also basically making the argument we're not going to intervene where it's not in our paramount interest. If it's in our supreme interest, then we may go in. And it is in our interest to go after ISIS, but our plan, his plan is to pull back.
A lot of Americans will welcome that. That's what he said during the campaign. There was nothing particularly new in his speech today, but it helps you get a sense of where his emphasis is and the primacies that he's placing on jobs and the fact that he really does want to pull back.
I think he's getting ready to turn a lot of his portfolio over to the day to day management over to the secretary of defense, secretary of state and others, and he's going to focus on rebuilding the country at home.
LEMON: Is that really what he campaigned on, because he seemed to be much more aggressive in going after Syria -- in going into Syria, going after ISIS. Did he -- is that what he really campaigned on, David Chalian?
CHALIAN: Well, he certainly campaigned on this notion of pulling back, of America first, of not engaging in what he thinks were chaos conflicts. And this is why he was so adamant. Do you remember the entire debate about his support for the Iraq war on the Howard Stern show, but then he was so adamant to say, no, no, no, I was never for Iraq even though the facts said otherwise.
[22:15:06] Because he was trying to say this isn't a democrat/republican thing, this is Donald Trump trying to convince Americans of a new way forward that is less entangled in the Middle East conflicts.
LEMON: All right. David, David, stand by, everyone.
LEMON: Up next, the stark contrast in both style and tone between Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Donald Trump becomes president in 45 days, and he'll be a dramatically different leader than a man who's been in the Oval Office for the last eight years.
Back with me now, David Chalian, David Gergen, CNN -- and joining me now CNN political contributor Van Jones who just hosted the town hall event, The Messy Truth, and former Congressman Jack Kingston, a former senior adviser to the Trump campaign. Welcome to the panel. Nice job. Congratulations on your special tonight.
JONES: Thank you, big brother.
JACK KINGSTON, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISER: Good job. Nice work.
LEMON: And you said panic inducing?
JONES: Exactly. I think it's panic inducing.
LEMON: People don't realize when people are talking, you're like, which way do I go?
JONES: I know. But thank you very much.
LEMON: It was a great special and we're going to discuss it at length a little bit later on in this show.
But Donald Trump was in front of a crowd tonight, probably his favorite place to be, while the current President Barack Obama gave his final national security speech. Could the tone and the style, Van, of each man be more different?
JONES: No. I mean, I thought we have to play a clip. No. I mean -- and now that's the most amazing thing that you've seen is that, you know, we're supposed to have one president at a time, by the way.
[22:20:04] President Obama is still the President of the United States, by the way.
JONES: He's supposed to be able to complete what he's doing. Instead, you've got the master showman stealing the spotlight over and over again, but they could not be any more different in their style or their approaches. This as sober as someone Obama and the showmanship of Trump, I don't -- it's hard to digest in the same news hour.
LEMON: And it's going to be interesting to watch, you know, especially when they're, you know, something huge, as he would say happens--
LEMON: -- something huge happens to see him stand there and be presidential because he is such a showman.
Let's talk about the contrasting style, so just a little bit more. We heard Donald Trump earlier. Now listen to the current President Barack Obama talking about terror and the danger of giving terrorists too much attention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The terrorist threat is real and it is dangerous. But these terrorists want to cast themselves as the vanguard of a new world order. They are not. They are thugs and they are murderers and they should be treated that way.
Today's terrorist can kill innocent people. But they don't pose an existential threat to our nation, and we must not make the mistake of elevating them as if they do. That -- that does their job for them. It makes them more important and helps them with recruitment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, David Gergen, as you understand there as most people, he's making a nuance point about the psychology of dealing with ISIS. Contrast that with Donald Trump's view for me. GERGEN: Well, they're both very good speakers but they are vastly
different styles. And a couple points. Obama is cerebral. Trump is primal. Obama resorts to facts and logic. Trump goes for emotions. But the, I would call it the difference of logos versus pathos. It's a very different speaking style.
And of course we know with Obama, there's no drama. With Trump it's all drama all the time.
LEMON: I thought primal, did you guys think when he said primal, that was an interesting choice of words? He chose that word very carefully.
GERGEN: Don't you think -- don't you think there's something about where he's coming from. It is, it does have a primal quality to it, almost a primal screen to somebody say.
CHALIAN: Don, even though they're--
CHALIAN: -- even though we saw contrasting styles there, we also heard Barack Obama there talking to Donald Trump, basically. That was--
CHALIAN: -- that was the other sort of audience member that he was trying to speak to in those very comments. He was trying to make sure to set the stage on his terms that Donald Trump will step onto.
LEMON: Yes. Go ahead.
KINGSTON: But I do -- I do think that, as Van alluded to, there is a little bit of line dot irrelevancy to the president at this stage, particular after a long thought of presidential election. And I don't say that disrespectfully. I just think that's the reality of it.
And Donald Trump's venue tonight was right in the shadow of Fort Bragg. And Fort Bragg has had a disproportionate lift in the Middle East the last 10 years, and so I think rolling out Mad Dog Mattis there to people who love that nickname and go woof, woof, woof in the crowd. And then he, you know, he--
LEMON: Begin showmanship to Van's point.
KINGSTON: Yes, showmanship and cheerleading. You know, just probably just pulling out that patriotism. And very little criticism of the press or other people tonight.
JONES: That's a good point there.
LEMON: Yes. JONES: Yes. I think that one of the things that may happen is that we may wind up missing Barack Obama more as time goes forward. There is a danger with the kind of rah-rah belligerence. President Obama is not wrong. They have studied the psychology of the recruitment. And everything that you do to either marginalize young Muslims by making them, you know, feel like they don't have a place, they don't fit in which we've endangered doing in or country, helps the recruiters.
Everything that you do to sort of, you know, amp up there their meaning, a lot of young people want to be part of something that's powerful, that's important, that means something. By giving them all of this attention you're actually helping the recruiters.
Now that policy may change and we may wind up regretting it. Right now it may feel great to go, yes, yes, we're going to get them and talk about them all the time, but it may actually make us feel much worse going down.
LEMON: Yes. Like a, you know, a big hamburger and French fries feels great every day, but it's not necessarily a good thing.
JONES: We are going to talk about--
LEMON: Go ahead, Representative.
KINGSTON: But the other thing that I do think is important that Donald Trump's message tonight is we're going to strengthen the Pentagon and we're going to pick and choose our battles very, very carefully.
And Barack Obama's footprint of war is bigger than George Bush's, at least geographically. You know, we're in Libya, we're in Somalia, at least from the air. We're in Yemen, and again, from the air. We left Iraq--
LEMON: Representative, if I may, but I thought the criticism from conservatives on President Obama was that he was not involved enough, he wasn't aggressive enough.
JONES: Too wimpy.
[22:25:01] LEMON: He was too wimpy, and now you're saying he was too aggressive. The footprint of war was too big. What's -- what is the messy truth here?
KINGSTON: No. Actually, though, yes, and let me say this. There is a republican hat and there is a Trump hat when it comes to this, because Mr. Trump has said, you know, repeatedly, I was not for the war in Iraq, and you know, there was a debate on that, as we all know. But he -- I think his approach to the Middle East is going to be
different. I'm not certain what his program will be in Syria, for example. We do know that he wants to talk to the Russians about the defeat of ISIS, but not sure of what this is going to mean to the Assad regime in the long run, how you deal with refugees, how you deal with the rebels.
But I don't know that the average American associates his day-to-day life with what's going on in Somalia, Yemen or Libya. And so when Barack -- excuse me, when Donald Trump is talking about we're going to pick and choose our battles more carefully, I think there is a good sales point to that.
Now, having said that, I do agree with you, the republicans in Congress, John McCain is one of them, may have some major foreign policy differences. For now, Mr. McCain is being very quiet about their differences.
JONES: Go ahead, Mr. Gergen.
KINGSTON: Well, he's been quiet about it.
JONES: After Mr. Gergen, I'll give mine.
GERGEN: I just want to add this point. I challenge the point that President Obama is becoming less relevant or irrelevant as his days become numbered. I actually think he in what he's trying to do is set up a series of speeches and statements that shows he's turning over a legacy in a country that's in much better shape than it was when he got it.
And that's obviously true with regard to the economy, but he's also now making the point that, hey, look, we're doing better against ISIS than we were. We're making gains against ISIS. And--
LEMON: Whether people want to believe that or not it's--
GERGEN: Whether people want to believe it or not.
LEMON: I got to get to the break, though, David.
GERGEN: Thank you.
LEMON: And Van, you want the last point. Go ahead.
JONES: Well, I just want to say that there are the hawks and the isolationists and Trump makes promises to both. Well, a promise to one is a lie to the other.
At some point these things have to catch up. You're either going to go over there and be more aggressive or you're going to stay here at home. And at some point this conservative populist alliance is going to have to be rebalanced if it doesn't -- if it doesn't break.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Some of you I'll see you a little bit later on the show. Others, have a good night. Thank you for coming on.
Up next, President Barack Obama delivering a subtle warning to his successor about national security issues.
[22:30:00] LEMON: In his final major national security address President Barack Obama reaffirm his counterterrorism strategy while also issuing a subtle warning to the incoming Trump administration about some of their plans.
I want to discuss this now with Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS, of course, right here on CNN. Fareed, on the same day that President Barack Obama defended his counterterrorism legacy the president-elect held a rally. So, and he introduced "Mad Dog" Mattis, his pick for defense secretary.
How much of today's Obama's speech do you think was about knowing he was passing the baton on to a successor with an entirely different world view?
FAREED ZAKARIA, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS HOST: You know, what I think he was trying to do more than anything else was to lay out his world view in a kind of honest way and point to the places where it was different. So he began, actually, by pointing out that, look, here is my world view.
We live in a dangerous world, we have incredible military power. We can use it but we have to be discriminate, and we do not want to be nation building all over the world, we instead want to be using our lethal power like drones and Special Forces, not engaging in nation building.
Now that should be the message that actually if Donald Trump would have think about it, he agrees with. Trump and Obama have this broader overlap on this kind of coarse, strategic way that they would use force than I think either of them is willing to admit.
Then Obama moves to the differences, and that was very interesting and very pointed.
LEMON: The differences.
ZAKARIA: The differences he pointed that he said, you know, ISIS is not an existential threat. They are not going to destroy us. The only way they can destroy us is if we start cutting back on our civil liberties, if we start turning our society into something different. He pointed out -- you know, he went through a number of issues on
torture. He said, I've never -- you know, I scale back the use of any kind of torture and not one intelligence agency ever told me that we were denied information because of it.
ZAKARIA: You know, he went through a whole series of the kind of things Trump has talked about. He said American Muslims deserve as many rights as anybody else, including those that serve in uniform. We are not a country that believes in religious tests.
So, he laid out these markers where, you know, the Obama strategy is both different but is working.
ZAKARIA: But it's important to point that he started out by saying -- you know, by presenting a strategy that I'd be surprise if Donald Trump has huge disagreement with.
LEMON: Yes. But he was speaking directly to the incoming president. But this, and I think this is the reason that this stood out to you. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: But I've also insisted that it is unwise and unsustainable to ask our military to build nations on the other side of the world or resolve their internal conflicts, particularly in places where our forces become a magnet for terrorists and insurgences.
Instead, it's been my conviction that even as we focus relentlessly on dismantling terrorists networks like Al Qaeda and ISIL, we should ask allies to do their share in the fight, and we should strengthen local partners who can provide lasting security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And that was to you broader point, to the point that you made.
ZAKARIA: I think that has been the core of Obama's strategy in terms of the Middle East, in terms of the fight against terrorism, and it would surprise me greatly if, when Donald Trump sits down and thinks about it, he doesn't actually agree with it.
You know, because that's really Trump's instincts. All we have with Trump are trying to understand his instincts, and his instincts seem to be beat up the bad guys but don't go there and don't try to nation build.
[22:35:04] And in fact, that has been the Obama doctrine. Remember, when Barack Obama came into office, there were about 180,000 American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have 15,000 there right now.
What he has done is he's found a way to fight this war with drones, with Special Forces forcing the Iraqis to get much more involved and be very disciplined about not getting involved in Syria. Now there are people who complain about that, but not Donald Trump, I don't think.
LEMON: Yes. And President Obama, and you said when he first came into office, he said he wanted to close Guantanamo Bay. He argued about closing that again tonight and the banning of torture as well.
But here's Donald Trump on torture back in June.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Can you imagine them sitting around the table or wherever they're eating their dinner talking about the Americans don't do waterboarding and yet we chop off heads. We probably think we're weak, we're stupid, we don't know what we're doing, we have no leadership. You know, you have to fight fire with fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he has since walked that back a bit, but that's the sort of talk that won him the presidency. Tough talk.
ZAKARIA: Yes. People always say that we shouldn't take Donald Trump literally, we should take him seriously. So, let's assume there, as usual, you know, he probably doesn't know exactly what the difference between waterboarding and torture and this variety of things. He's trying to say he'll be very tough.
And I think Obama's point in the speech was, we were very tough but you did not have to violate American values to be tough. You did not have -- you don't have to register Muslims in some kind of database, you don't have to apply religious tests, you don't have to use torture.
And the broader point that Obama was making, which is very important, it really is one of the central, intellectual legacies he's trying to leave us with is, this is not an existential threat, this is not like Soviet communism, this is not like fascist Russia. This is a band of thugs.
Maybe there was a few thousand. Maybe they can manage to do some spectacular act of terrorism, but they are not like the Nazi armies marching through Europe, they are not like the Soviet Union with all its nations. You know, this is a very limited, specific kind of threat.
We're going to beat them up, we're going to keep pressure on them, but let's not surrender our values because we get so freaked out by a bunch of guys who produce slick videos and once every three or four months manage to kill 10 people in a cafe.
LEMON: And buy into a lot of rhetoric that a lot of people have bought into.
Fareed, I want you to stay with me. Because I want to ask you about your interview with President Barack Obama and I have a question for you about that. And also, where he reflects on being America's first black president.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Fareed Zakaria is back with me now. He sat down with the 44th president of United States as his tenure winds down. My question was before when we were talking about his foreign policy. He is above the glove, isn't he?
ZAKARIA: He is. He is very cool, very unsentimental. The thing that I'm struck about by him is there really is a spark-like quality. He's very disciplined but he's also very ruthless. He does not -- I talked to him about drones and civilian casualties. It doesn't bother him a lot. He feels as though his job is to protect the American people. If he's got to take out the bad guys, he's going to take them out.
LEMON: I want to talk, now let's talk about your news special on President Barack Obama's legacy. It airs tomorrow night at 9 p.m. right here on CNN. And Fareed spoke with him about his own identity about being the first black president. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: The first line of your biography will almost certainly be not something you did but who you are.
ZAKARIA: The first African-American president. And yet, you're half white, you were raised by three white people, your mother and your two grandparents.
OBAMA: And an Indonesian you can throw in there.
ZAKARIA: And an Indonesian. Are you comfortable with this characterization of you?
OBAMA: I am, actually. And the concept of race in America is not just genetic, otherwise the one drop rule wouldn't have made sense. It's cultural. It's this notion of a people who look different than the mainstream. Suffering terrible oppression, but somehow being able to make out of that a music and a language and a faith and a patriotism.
Being black meant only the knowledge of your own powerlessness and your own defeat.
ZAKARIA: Barack Obama once felt quite differently about race.
OBAMA: And the final irony should you refuse this defeat and lash out at your captors, they would have a name for that, too. A name that could cage you just as good. Like paranoid or militant or violent or nigger.
ZAKARIA: At a reading from his first book, "Dreams From My Father," he told a painful story from his childhood when his grandmother expressed fear of a man at her bus stop, his grandfather became very angry. OBAMA: She's been bothered my men before. Do you know why she's so
scared this time? I'll tell you why. Before you came in, she told me the fellow was black. Fear shook under my feet, ready to crack open at any moment. I stopped, trying to steady myself and knew for the first time that I was utterly alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that is closer to the -- when I lived in Chicago, the Barack Obama that I knew back in the early 2000s. He had a different, he sort of spoke differently about race.
And then in the beginning of his presidency, I think he was a little bit more hesitant even though he gave there a speech. And now do you feel that he's more open about it, and more -- has he changed? Is it a more nuance way and more honest about race?
ZAKARIA: You know, I think that he's always struggled with this reality that he is biracial.
[22:45:01] LEMON: Right.
ZAKARIA: He was raised by three white people. His mother is actually Scottish-Irish. And yet of course, he is black that he looks black, he was treated as black, and so he's always had the struggle which is he had to be black enough to ensure black America and white enough to ensure white America.
And so that I feel bad for him because the poor guy is always navigating that. And I think you're right.
ZAKARIA: He started this presidency much more cautious, much more careful to be just the President of America who happened to be black. And by the end of it, after all those racial incidents and with the iPhone videos and Trayvon Martin and all that, I think he found -- he founded a more comfortable place where he could be both--
ZAKARIA: -- half white and half black, where he could speak to the frustrations and aspirations of black Americans.
LEMON: Well, it's interesting, because I think that's a -- that's an experience that a lot of people of color, especially men of color, have, even though they may not be biracial, right? That you have to sort of code switch--
LEMON: -- in order to gain confidence or to make other people comfortable even though it's not fair that one must have to do that. So it must be an interesting experience to have to do it as a president. ZAKARIA: I think it's exactly right. I think as an immigrant I see
that thing. You know, on the one hand you have to assimilate. On the other hand you have your roots and you're always caught telegrammed (Ph).
LEMON: I can't wait and watch this. It's always fascinating. See you tomorrow, hopefully. Hopefully you'll be back on tomorrow.
Fareed Zakaria talks with President Barack Obama about his triumphs and struggles during his years in the White House. The special report, CNN's special report, The Legacy of Barack Obama, it airs tomorrow night at 9 right here on CNN. Make sure you tune in.
And coming up, when it country looks to its president to unify the people, will Donald Trump be up to the job?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: As Donald Trump's thank you tour rolls through the country, millions of voters aren't feeling particularly grateful for his victory. Americans are still deeply divided by race.
So, back with now is former Congressman Jack Kingston, he was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and political contributor Van Jones who just hosted The Messy Truth, a town hall about the gulp between Trump and Clinton voters.
All right. So let's have another messy truth conversation. You know, we always do on this show.
JONES: That's right.
LEMON: So, I want to -- I want to look at the moment. This is from your town hall just a little while ago here on CNN where you talked to a voter who chose President Obama twice but voted for Donald Trump this year. You asked him about Trump's inflammatory statements on race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: If you guys are, you know, raised the way that you were, I mean, you know not to say some of those things to people. Why didn't it make you vote against him?
SCOTT SELTZ, DEMOCRAT VOTED FOR TRUMP: Because we hear it and we crumble it up and we throw it away and it doesn't allow us to make our general decisions on what we're going to do to provide for our family.
We completely ignore that crap, that garbage, and we see what he has to provide for us outside of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: That's tough.
LEMON: You and I, and we would have gone back and forth about this, because I don't know if I actually agree with you on that.
LEMON: They said his statements were distasteful but not disqualifying. Does that trouble you?
JONES: It's heartbreaking but it's not enraging. In other words, I think there was a moment when people were afraid that what was driving the vast majority of Trump voters was all the racially inflammatory stuff, they not only that they were delighted by it, that they loved it and were for it.
And there were some people who did love it. But there were also people who found it disturbing, distasteful, but not disqualifying. So, I'm not mad at him. It' just breaks my heart that he would somebody under the bus, throw a Muslim, throw a Mexican.
LEMON: He said we just ignore it.
JONES: Yes. And people of color.
LEMON: Here is what I said to you when you said that because people voted for Donald Trump that did not make them racist. I agree with you on that. But it does make them, because of some of the statements that were made, and some of the activity during the -- it does make you an enabler. And by being an enabler, does that then make you--
JOENS: I guess -- I guess--
LEMON: What does that make you then?
JONES: There is a heroic position of saying even if it's going to cost my family a job I'm going to vote against this guy because I want to be right by people of color and other folks. That's the heroic position.
JONES: Then there's the villainous position of saying, I'm glad he's going to stick it to those darkies.
JONES: But there is this other position in the enabler the bystander and it's heartbreaking. It's not -- it's not the best but I just don't people to think these people are the worst, because they're not the worst.
LEMON: No, I understand what you're saying. And that's what this conversation is about. Do they understand that--
(CROSSTALK) JONES: It's messy.
LEMON: -- Muslims, people of color, especially women of color who voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, they don't have the luxury to ignore that because they're faced with it on so many levels every single moment of their lives, every single day.
JONES: You know, I think that I learned, we are now all in our own filter bubbles. They call them our own bubbles. And so, some people really don't even know.
They say, well, listen, Donald Trump is only talking about ISIS, why are Muslims worried? Then you talk to Muslim families and they don't know if they shouldn't leave the country because the way that -- the way that one person hears it versus the way another person hears it.
LEMON: Yes. How will you be in a culture of bubble when someone says Muslims should -- that's not a filter bubble. That's exactly what he said.
JONES: He said, now to be clear now, to be clear, he said he wants to ban Muslims from coming to the country.
JONES: But the ones here now feel more vulnerable.
LEMON: But people see that as him talking about ISIS.
JONES: Right. Well, exactly. So there are some people who hear, well, he's only talking about the bad ones. But what they don't understand is the way -- listen, if I -- when I said white lash, I said I was talking about--
LEMON: Yes. We're going to talk -- we're going to talk about that. I want to get to Jack. I want to get Jack to talk about that. But I mean, but you understand, that whole one of the good ones things is insulting to, because we know the history of that, oh, you're not like them, you're one of the good ones.
LEMON: Like what the hell does that mean? So, Jack, a lot of people remember this. Weigh in on this and then we'll talk about the white lash. Jack, what do you think about the conversation we just had?
KINGSTON: Well, let me say this. For people who have seen their household income drop from 57,000 to $53,000 over the last 15 years, their number one issue is economics.
[22:55:00] They believe that their government has let them down. They believe that Washington is about Washington and not about them. And here comes a guy who says, you know what, blow it all up, I'm different, I'm not bought, I'm going to help you, I'm going to speak to the heartland. And you know, he took -- he took repeated trips.
JONES: OK. But you know, the guy who said that was Bernie Sanders. He took that message but he also added some other stuff that was very, very disturbing, didn't he?
KINGSTON: Well, let me say this. As a white man who grew up in integrated schools, and I'd say in many ways was on the front edge of integration, I started in schools when they were white and then we had our first African-American young man come when I was in fifth grade.
And by the time -- and I was in the first white class to go to Bernie Harris High School in Athens, Georgia, it was a black high school at the time. And by the way, I've been beat up because of my race. I had been a victim of what would now be called a hate crime.
But let me say this. I'm also secure in who I am racially and I don't need Donald Trump or the media or whoever to define me racially. And so, you know--
JONES: Here's I'm -- first of all, if you were victimized, I think that's terrible and I sure hope that you were able to get past that and get some healing.
JONES: But here is my question to you. Don't you agree with me that that economic populist message that a Bernie Sanders had, that a Donald Trump often has, is one thing, but once you add into it some of these things that feel more racially charged, it ratchets it up?
LEMON: Because that's at the top of everyone's list--
KINGSTON: So, you know, but let me say--
LEMON: -- not just -- not just white voters in the rust belt.
KINGSTON: I think we all have a filter. I mean, when Hillary Clinton has a rally and a the Orlando terrorist's dad is in the back row, democrats dismissed it very easily. And I probably say republicans could have done the same thing but it was still outrageous.
And then when she calls half of Donald Trump's supporters irredeemable and deplorable--
JONES: That was offensive.
KINGSTON: -- highly offensive, But it was easy for the left to say, yes, you know, no big deal. So, I'd say that filter works in a lot of different ways.
JONES: But Representative--
LEMON: But shouldn't you only be insulted by that if you are irredeemable and deplorable? If you're not in that category then why would you--
JONES: I'm just with you on that, Don.
LEMON: I'm just -- no, I'm asking the question if you -- if someone says I'm racist and deplorable and I don't consider myself that--
JONES: No, no, but I tell you what. Let me stick up for you, congressman. Let me stick up for you. I thought that statement was completely unacceptable.
LEMON: I did too.
JONES: And I said, and I tell you what.
LEMON: You take personally--
JONES: If somebody said half the people at CNN are deplorable, even if I don't think of myself as deplorable, I would still be mad because I know half the people at CNN are not deplorable, that maybe, you know--
LEMON: But you have to wonder where -- but you have to -- Van, hold on. Hold on, Congressman. I understand what you're saying, Van. But you also have to look at the evidence of whether someone in a particular group or a particular supporter is deplorable.
I would say where is your evidence that someone at CNN is deplorable? If you said where is your evidence that some of Donald Trump's supporters are deplorable--
KINGSTON: Some but--
LEMON: -- or where is your evidence that some of Hillary Clinton's supporters are deplorable, then you have to look into those supporters' actions and figure out if there are some. And if you're not one of those, then why do you take personal offense to it?
Because I've been called a lot of things, I don't agree with those things, as Representative Kingston just said, I know who I am, I don't need someone else to define my race. So if I am not that, then why I am offended by someone calling me a name that I am not?
JONES: Because nobody running for president of United States should say that half of--
LEMON: I agree. I agree with you.
JONES: -- is deplorable.
LEMON: It should not have been said, but do you understand my point.
JONES: I do understand.
KINGSTON: And I think there's also a politically correct censorship that has permeated American universities in many cases and other venues as well where people can't speak their mind.
LEMON: I agree.
KINGSTON: You know, Van, you asked me if I got over being a victim of racial -- the differences. I did, but you know, we were integrated in a very true sense. I mean, we were sitting next to black children. We were playing sports with black children. We were going to the shower in the locker room with black children.
There was a time to hold a grudge because you just kept moving through the next day. And I think that was one of the things that the '60s had that the -- today we don't have, the millennial children I think they kind of almost gone back to segregated bubbles, if you will.
Just some great stuff we've lost because of being worried about being politically correct.
LEMON: I do -- I think you're right. I think you're right about that. But you know, I don't think anyone would want to go back to the '50s, '60s, or even '70s, but you're right, people are coddled now on the end, and on both sides, liberals and conservatives no one wants to hear what the other person has to say.
Thus, the reason we had Van Jones' special tonight, and I'm glad we did have it, and I'm glad we're having this conversation. And we'll continue, but unfortunately I have to go because it's the top of the hour and I got to the next hour.
[23:00:00] We went through the break. I'm in trouble.
JONES: No food for us. Somebody--
LEMON: Breaking news. Donald Trump taking -- thanking his viewers tonight.