Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Names General John Kelly to Homeland Security; EPA Critic Tapped to Lead Agency; Union Leader Addresses Trump's Twitter Attacks. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired December 8, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Buy American and hire American.
[07:00:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you, Mr. Trump, would like is for nobody to criticize you.
CHUCK JONES, UNION LEADER: He was attacking me. I didn't attack him. I just called him out on where I felt like that he misled the people.
TRUMP: Companies are not going to leave the United States any more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have this kind of thin-skinned vindictiveness, we are in very deep trouble and, sir, so are you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The focus is not necessarily on what job they had. It's the success they've had.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump tapping another general to his cabinet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott Pruitt is a stark climate change denier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats and environmentalists are sounding the alarm about Trump's pick to head the EPA.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And we say good morning to you and welcome to your NEW DAY. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump announcing a series of new appointments to his cabinet 30 days after claiming victory. Trump picking another general. This is his third. This time to lead homeland security. He also tapped a climate change skeptic to head up the EPA.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This as the president-elect takes to Twitter to target a union boss who called him a liar for getting the facts of the Carrier deal wrong. We will speak to that union chief in just moments.
We are 43 days away from Mr. Trump's inauguration. So, let's begin our coverage with CNN national correspondent Sunlen Serfaty. She is live in Washington. Give us all the latest, Sunlen.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
There has been a flurry of announcements in the last 24 hours coming from the Trump transition team. The president-elect making some big picks for key roles in his administration, but Trump is also spending his time taking to Twitter, getting into a war of words with a local union leader who has been critical of Trump's claims over jobs actually saved at Carrier.
SERFATY (voice-over): President-elect Donald Trump naming two more hardliners to his cabinet, elevating climate change denier and fierce EPA critic Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the agency.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: There were a number of qualified candidates for that particular position that the president- elect interviewed, and he settled on Attorney General Pruitt.
SERFATY: A signal the Trump administration is intent on reversing President Obama's move to reverse climate change.
Trump also tapping another general to his cabinet, retired General John Kelly, to head the Department of Homeland Security, raising questions about the militarization of his administration.
Kelly, a decorated four-star Marine general, retired earlier this year as commander of the U.S. Southern Command. He's also a Gold Star father whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
And tonight, Trump will introduce Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as ambassador to China at his third stop on his thank-you tour in Des Moines. Branstad's longtime friendship with the Chinese president could help reassure the country that the president-elect is interested in maintaining its relationship with Beijing.
Trump also mixing business and entertainment, nominating former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration.
All this as Trump is readying to announce his choice for secretary of state, which could come next week. Trump insisting former adversary Mitt Romney still has a chance at the post.
TRUMP: It's not about revenge. It's about what's good for the country.
SERFATY: But Trump's administration moves are being overshadowed by another feud, the president-elect lashing out again on Twitter against the Carrier union leader Chuck Jones after he called into question Trump's math over how many jobs the deal he brokered with Carrier actually saved. Jones appearing on CNN last night.
JONES: Five hundred and fifty are still going to lose their jobs. SERFATY: Trump tweeting minutes later that Jones had done a terrible
job and blaming job losses on Jones. Quote, "If United Steel Workers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana."
Jones then calling into "ANDERSON COOPER 360" to respond directly to Trump's attack.
JONES: Because of corporate greed and unfair trade, they want to move these jobs out of the country. So if he wants to blame me, so be it. But I look at him, how many billions of dollars he spent on his hotels and casinos, trying to keep labor unions out.
SERFATY: And today at Trump Tower the president-elect will be meeting with one potential secretary of state contender, former NATO commander James Stavridis, and then he'll be traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to meet with the victims and the first responders from the Ohio State attack. Next stop of the victory tour he's been having; another one of these campaign-style rallies he's been having -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Sunlen, thank you for letting us know what is yet to come today.
So Democrats and environmentalists are fired up about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nomination to head the EPA. CNN senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns joins us now with more. Why are they so fired up?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Scott Pruitt calls himself a leading advocate against what he says is the EPA's activist agenda, and now Donald Trump wants to put him in control of the agency. The selection quickly created a storm of outrage on the left. One former top aide to the Obama administration calling Pruitt, quote, "an existential threat to the planet."
JOHNS (voice-over): Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump's pick for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, is a staunch climate change denier, giving Democrats and environmental groups whiplash after Trump's highly-publicized meetings with prominent climate change activists.
JASON MILLER, TRUMP TRANSITION SPOKESMAN (via phone): Attorney General Pruitt has a strong conservative record as a state prosecutor and has demonstrated a familiarity with laws and regulations impacting a large energy resource state.
JOHNS: An ally of the fossil fuel industry, the Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce critic of the agency he may soon lead, filing lawsuits against the EPA over its regulations of power plants, including Obama's effort to significantly reduce their emissions.
SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR NOMINEE: When you look at the EPA and the role that it's played over the last several years, there's going to be substantial change in that agency. There's going to be a regulatory rollback.
JOHNS: Critics blasting Trump's nominee. The League of Conservation Voters writing, "Scott Pruitt running the EPA is like the fox guarding the henhouse. He has fought to pad the profits of big polluters at the expense of public health."
As for climate change, Pruitt wrote in "The National Review" just a few months ago that the link between global warming and human activity is far from settled.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying Pruitt's "reluctance to accept the facts on climate change couldn't make him any more out of touch with the American people and with reality."
JOHNS: The decision to name Scott Pruitt came just a short time after the president-elect gave environmentalists a glimmer of hope for middle ground by meeting with Al Gore, who's been a leading voice on the issue of climate change -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thanks so much.
Let's discuss all of this with Republican Congressman Chris Collins. He is currently the co-chair of President-elect Trump's house leadership committee and services. He also serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Good morning, Congressman.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: Yes, good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about Scott Pruitt. How is it going to work when a fierce critic of the EPA is put in charge of the EPA?
COLLINS: Well, as a fellow fierce critic of the EPA, I know he's going to roll back the regulations that have been an overreach. The EPA has gone to extreme measures, whether it was a couple years ago or last year, the waters of the U.S., trying to regulate and call mud puddles in a pasture navigable waters so they could come in and regulate our farmers. I ran into that up in western New York.
The overreach of the EPA, as the Republicans have said, have hurt our economy, have hurt our farmers, certainly hurt our energy production and doing so driven up the cost of energy.
So, I look at Attorney General Pruitt as someone who understands balance. The EPA is out of balance. They've gone to the extreme.
COLLINS: He will bring it back in balance. And we all want clean water. We all want clean air. But there is -- there is an extreme where you start driving up the costs of living and doing business in America, overregulation.
COLLINS: And then the federal government stomping on states' rights. He will correct that overreach.
CAMEROTA: OK. Now, during the primary, Donald Trump said that he actually vowed to abolish the EPA. So is that really what's happening here?
COLLINS: No, it's not abolishing the EPA, but it's bringing them back; understanding the importance of states' rights. Understandingly, to be energy independent and we need an all-of-the- above energy policy, which includes fossil fuels. So it won't be abolishing the EPA, but they're going to be rolling back hundreds, if not thousands of regulations. That was simply an overreach. Let's bring them back into the common-sense world where we all live and not have the extremists.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, does Scott Pruitt believe in climate change?
COLLIN: I think all of us, including Scott Pruitt would say human activity certainly has an impact on the environment. And whether you want to use the word "climate change" but climate and the environment.
But, again, it's the extreme that the EPA has gone to in the past that's impacted our basically standard of living in this country that has to be rolled back. You've just said you've got to put things first. Don't go to the extremes. We all know human activity has an impact on the environment and hence on climate.
But it's not the top priority of the United States. We have less than 4 percent of the population of the world even live in our country, and we don't control the other 96 percent. If we want to talk about the real issues it's China; and it's India, and it's Mexico and others...
COLLINS: ... that are polluting the environment. And it's not the United States of America.
CAMEROTA: So -- but what about the treaties? The Paris treaties. The accords. Where the United States is part of a global community, an international community vowing to do whatever they can do to keep manmade emissions down so as not to enhance global warming. Where is Scott Pruitt on those?
COLLINS: Well, I can't say where our next EPA head is on those. But I think if we look, the United States is so far ahead of most of the world, especially, you know, where 80 percent of the people live. And that's the problem. We're starting from a different point. If you look at our air and our water and compare that to what you see in China and some other, you know, countries that are, in fact, you know, causing problems around the world, that's the real issue. It was not that we're starting from the same place.
CAMEROTA: Yes. COLLINS: But driving up our costs would put more and more workers in the United States out of work. And we're all about bringing the jobs back.
CAMEROTA: And there it is. I mean, that's exactly the crux of the argument. Because environmentalists and people who are certain, they say, of the science of global warming feel that Scott Pruitt's loyalties lie with the fossil fuel industry. And not with the environment.
COLLINS: They lie with the workers of the United States who need to bring some jobs back, some manufacturing jobs. At some point I suppose if nobody goes to work, we won't have to worry about much more pollution. But we need to get people back to work in this country. We need affordable energy, and we need to be energy independent and it's just the overreach.
What's happened the last eight years under President Obama. Some of these agencies have just gone rogue on the American public, and we just need to bring them back to the center.
CAMEROTA: OK. Speaking of jobs and certainly American-made products, why is it that the House Republicans -- there was a water bill, as I'm sure you know. And inserted into it was a provision that, for the future infrastructure projects, to only use American-made iron and steel products. Yet, House Republican tried to spike that provision, and they ended up in a place where it will only last for a year. Why? Why would House Republicans not want it to just be American-made steel?
COLLINS: Well, there's a balance here. The balance is how far do our dollars go? We're going to have to not put a straitjacket on ourselves. And while everyone wants to do what they can in this country, there is the -- always the cost factor. And I think there's the balance that a mandate like that would put us in a straitjacket. I think there's no question. Everyone wants to buy U.S.-made products. We need to bring our manufacturing back to this country to put people to work.
CAMEROTA: So why not have that provision? I mean, do you agree -- do you believe that American-made steel should be the first priority and that that's what we should use for our infrastructure projects?
COLLINS: Well, I'm somebody who believes in a competitive free market and, you know, encouraging the minute you put something like that in place, I think costs may actually go up, because competition has been restricted. I'm somebody who just believes in competition, believes in the best value for taxpayers...
COLLINS: ... to get the most work we can done for the least amount of dollars.
CAMEROTA: So then did you disagree with the Carrier deal that the president-elect just struck to keep jobs here, even though it will be more expensive for Carrier?
COLLINS: Well, Carrier made that decision, and I applaud them on that decision. The federal government is not throwing money into that deal.
CAMEROTA: Well, they're getting state incentives. So they're getting taxpayer money.
COLLINS: Yes, they are.
CAMEROTA: They're getting state incentives. President-elect Trump did, obviously, apply public pressure. So, did you approve of that?
COLLINS: Oh, yes. Good for President-elect Trump to stand up and do what he can to try to keep jobs here. And I applaud him on that, and a private company makes their own decisions. Carrier made the decision to stay. Governor Pence a very, very small amount of money given. I only wish New York could get jobs or save jobs at that same dollar level. We have a couple zeros after ours.
COLLINS: No, I thought it was a reasonable move and, I think, somewhat surprising. But, boy, we were all glad. Certainly, those 1,000 or so families now that are going to be having a merry Christmas.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Chris Collins, thanks for being on NEW DAY.
COLLINS: Good to be here, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Let's get over to Chris.
COLLINS: President-elect Donald Trump slamming a union boss who called him a liar over the Carrier jobs deal. We get Chuck Jones's side of the story when he joins us live, next. Good morning, Mr. Jones.
CUOMO: President-elect Donald Trump firing back at a local union leader in Indiana who called him a liar over the terms of the Carrier jobs deal. The union chief says Trump's numbers do not add up. Here's what Trump said in his announcement last week in Indiana.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up, and now they're keeping, actually, the numbers over 1,100 people, which is so great. Which is so great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Are they keeping jobs? Yes. But it's hundreds of jobs, 800, not the number that the president-elect put out. The extra 300 administrative engineering jobs that make up the total were never going to Mexico.
Now, despite the incentives to keep jobs in Indiana, Carrier is still going to shift 550 jobs to Mexico next year, and there may be more to come.
So we have the man at the center of this very public feud with the president-elect. Chuck Jones joining us. He is the president of the United Steel Workers 1999 union there. It's good to have you, Mr. Jones.
CHUCK JONES, PRESIDENT, UNITED STEEL WORKERS 1999: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: So, if I had to hazard a guess, it was you saying that the president-elect lied his blank off that got him to go after you on Twitter. Do you regret saying that?
JONES: No, I do not. Maybe, you know, the choice of words weren't the best, but the message was the same. He didn't tell the truth. He inflated the numbers, and I called him out on it.
CUOMO: That means that you believe that the president-elect knew that the real number wasn't 1,100 and said that anyway. How do you know that?
JONES: I do not know that to be a fact. But, you hear all the time how much of a skilled negotiator that he is. You know, he says about himself. So, I've been in a lot of negotiations as a union representative. So, I would have to assume that he knew the world either knew the precise numbers or most certainly should have.
CUOMO: Now he says that the reality is that you should be thanking him, because you failed to keep the jobs there because you're not being effective as a union leader. Fair criticism?
JONES: Well, you know, he's not listing everything I said. Any time I've talked to the media, one of the first things I've said is I thank him very much for getting involved in help save the 800 jobs that are going to remain here in Indianapolis. The people we are very grateful for what he did. So, he's not listening to that.
CUOMO: So, what is the reality for the workers at Carrier? We had one of your workers, one of your union members on one of our shows last night and it seems that the concern is that people see this as a good thing, obviously, that more people will get to have paychecks for the holidays for their families.
But that it belies the reality of how the jobs are being lost and how the wages are coming down at Carrier and industries like it. What's the reality?
JONES: Well, the reality is we're grateful, once again, to have 730 of our members still have a job. And it's due to President-elect Trump getting involved.
My problem is -- is when they put out earlier in the week that 1,100 and some odd jobs were going to be saved, a lot of the people thought at that point in time that they were going to have a job. During the conference that Pence and Trump were at, at Carrier, they talked about over 1,100 jobs. They did not mention anything about 550 jobs here in Indianapolis going to Mexico.
So a lot of the people in that crowd and that plant thought, at$, that point in time, were going to have a job only to find out when we told them the next day that 550 of them were going to lose their job to Monterey, Mexico.
CUOMO: You're saying that the politicians went for the big number for the quick score, and a lot of people wound up with dashed hopes because they're going to lose their jobs anyway?
JONES: Well, I don't know the reason they did it. I know a lot of people had dashed hopes, and they were not willing to give us any information until last Thursday when Mr. Trump and Pence came in the facility. We didn't know what the numbers were until noon that day. And, so, that's when we found out 730 people were going to retain their jobs.
When he got out there and told people 1,100 jobs have been retained, people in the crowd and throughout the plant thought they were going to have a livelihood.
CUOMO: I get it. I get the frustration in that. But, again, you do also recognize that it was a good thing that you get to keep jobs at all.
What do you think of Carrier being gifted tax incentives by the state and getting the attention from the administration as a way to get them to keep jobs in the U.S.? Do you like those tactics?
JONES: No. If I may, anybody that believes that the 7 million that the state of Indiana has anted up over a ten-year period had a big impact on them staying here, they'd better look at the numbers.
Carrier, according to their own numbers, were saving $65 million a year by moving the whole plant, with the exception of the R and D lab people, 350 to Monterey, Mexico. OK. They've got $5 billion with a "B" in military contracts. Nobody will ever say. And you know, my position is the military contracts was a big part of those negotiations between the UTC and Mr. Trump. It wasn't $7 million over ten years anted up by the taxpayers in Indiana.
JONES: And go a little further, I'm glad that jobs were saved, once again. But the taxpayers are paying their tax dollars to a very profitable company in order to retain 730 jobs.
CUOMO: But even if it was a combination, even if it was the tax incentives and someone from the administration. And again, we don't know. But just to follow through on your thinking. And they said, "Hey, your parent company gets a lot of money from this government." That could change if you don't do the right thing by workers. Shouldn't you like that kind of strong arm?
JONES: Sure. That's exactly what I'd have done if I had been involved with the negotiations. I'd have brought up the military contracts if the government awards them and tried to use that as leverage. And if he did that, I have no problem with that, but you know, everybody thinks that the state of Indiana offered up $7 million over ten years. That was a game changer. I don't -- I don't buy that.
CUOMO: So what has it been like, being in the crosshairs of the president-elect of the United States. There's reporting out there that you've had people making some ugly calls to you. I'm sure that's not completely new for a union leader, but this has to be a different order of magnitude than you're used to.
JONES: And you're exactly right. I've been doing this job 30 years. And I've had a lot more serious threats than what people are making right now. You know, I've gotten a little more thicker skinned than I did many years ago. Everybody's got a right to their opinion, and sometimes we disagree on things, but I'm not overly upset about any of it.
He overreacted, President-elect Trump did. And with respect, if you're going to tweet something, he should have come out and tried to justify his numbers and tried to justify, when I called him out on that he did not -- when he said he did not make any direct mentions of Carrier jobs keeping here in this country, even though he said it numerous times during his campaign.
CUOMO: So where does it go from here? We keep hearing that there are concerns that Carrier may sweat more jobs in the near future, and that more needs to be done and that they may be being framed as doing the right thing, when ultimately, their plans are to do the wrong thing by workers in Indiana.
JONES: Well, I don't know what their long-term plans are. I know the plans are to invest $16 million...
JONES: ... in the facility within the next two years. That's going to be some automation. And as Gregory Hayes, the CEO, has mentioned in an interview, automation is going to mean less people. So with that being said, I think we'll have a reduction of work force at some point in time, once they get the automation in and off and running and go from there.
CUOMO: Automation -- automation didn't get a lot of attention in the campaign, but as you know, it is a major reason for reduction in human labor. As we move forward with this discussion of how we keep jobs in America, Mr. Jones, please come back on the show, so we can talk about putting meat on the bones of ideas like retraining and how to make America more competitive place for production. We want to make sure that we get the perspective of labor leaders like yourself on that, as well.
Thank you very much for joining us, Mr. Jones.
JONES: Thank you.
CUOMO: Be well.
CAMEROTA: President-elect Trump adding another general to his administration. Should the heavy military influence in his cabinet raise any red flags? What does it mean? We discuss all that next.