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Trump Touts Jobs & Defends Cabinet Picks; Trump Will Keep 'Celebrity Apprentice' Role While President; Space Age Hero John Glenn Dies at 95. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 9, 2016 - 06:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: The enemy's pretty tough, right? So I think we need some tough people.

[05:58:19] SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), OUTGOING MINORITY LEADER: The people he is picking is, quite frankly, scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people are far more committed to protecting our democracy than their critics.

TRUMP: The nation of China is bad. They haven't played by the rules. And I know it's time that they're going to start.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump will keep his title as can executive producer of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big enough job without the conflict presented by his business interests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Glenn, one of America's first astronauts.

JOHN GLENN, ASTRONAUT: Oh, that view is tremendous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was tremendously generous. We're going to miss him here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Godspeed, John Glenn.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: What a loss, and yet the passing of John Glenn gives us the chance to remember all that he did. I mean, he is as much a hero for a generation of children today as he was two generations.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's great to look at all those old film clips. Just really inspiring.

CUOMO: What a man. Godspeed, John Glenn.

Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Friday, December 9, 6 a.m. in the East. Up first, President-elect Donald Trump taking his victory lap to the Midwest, touting his ability to keep jobs in America and taking aim at China, kind of. We'll tell you about that. He was also defending his wealthy and controversial cabinet picks.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This as a new conflict of interest crops up. The next commander in chief will still be the executive producer of the show "Celebrity Apprentice." And he'll still be collecting a paycheck from NBC while serving as president of the United States.

We're just 42 days away from inauguration day. We have it all covered for you. So let's begin with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live in Washington. Good morning, Sunlen.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Alisyn.

Well, this is real unchartered territory for a president here, certainly raising a lot of question. After Donald Trump takes the oath of office, the nation will have a president who will still be part of and have his name listed in the credits of a reality show.

All this as Trump hits the road in full force, defending the people he's chosen for his cabinet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY (voice-over): Reveling in a crowd of thousands in Iowa...

TRUMP: You like it so far, everybody?

SERFATY: ... President-elect Donald Trump defending his cabinet appointments.

TRUMP: I want people that made a fortune, because now they're negotiating with you.

SERFATY: Touting the success of some of his wealthy picks.

TRUMP: It's no different than a great baseball player or a great golfer.

SERFATY: Including Carl's Jr. and Hardee's executive Andy Puzder to head the Labor Department. Puzder is a staunch critic of paid mandatory sick leave, is against expanding overtime pay and increasing the minimum wage.

ANDY PUZDER, LABOR SECRETARY NOMINEE: States have every right to decide what the minimum wage should be. My -- I've been opposed to minimum wage increases that killed jobs.

SERFATY: Trump saying in a statement that Puzder, quote, will "Save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations."

Meantime, scrutiny is growing over Trump's pick to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), FORMER VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He's a climate science denier.

SERFATY: At his third victory rally in Des Moines, Trump echoing Pruitt's call to rule back environmental regulation.

TRUMP: And we are going to end the EPA intrusion into your lives.

SERFATY: And doubling down on campaign promises, including immigration.

TRUMP: I've used the expression "extreme vetting." Extreme, oh, it's going to be extreme. But there's going to be doors on the wall. Big, beautiful doors.

SERFATY: Trump also calling for improving U.S. relations with China.

TRUMP: They haven't played by the rules, and I know it's time that they're going to start.

SERFATY: As he formally rolled out his pick to be U.S. ambassador to China, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a long-time friend of the Chinese president.

TRUMP: The man who knows China and likes China. Better to like China if you're going to be over there. Do we agree?

SERFATY: All this as all eyes are on two big announcements coming next week, potentially the president-elect's choice for secretary of state and a news conference on Thursday to address potentially backing away from his family business.

But the incoming president is keeping his ties to "Celebrity Apprentice," the NBC reality show he launched nearly 15 years ago. Sources tell CNN Trump will stay on as executive producer of the show and continue being paid as he is in the Oval Office, raising even more questions about the growing list of conflicts between his business dealings and the presidency.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: And this morning at Trump Tower, the president-elect will be meeting with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat potentially being considered for a cabinet post. Then Trump will be spending most of the day on the road. He'll be in Louisiana for their state Republican Party's get-out-the-vote rally and on to Michigan tonight for another stop on his thank-you tour -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, Sunlen. Thanks.

Let's bring in the panel. CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis; CNN contributor and "Washington Examiner" reporter Salena Zito; and CNN political analyst David Gregory.

Errol Louis, keeping his title as E.P. of the show of a show that he created is a problem because, dot, dot, dot. ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that it is, to

tell you the truth. I think it's a problem because people won't -- maybe don't quite understand what it means. I mean, in this case, this is a passive income. This is something...

CUOMO: This is not money he gets for not doing anything actively.

LOUIS: Exactly. He's -- it's almost the equivalent, I would think of, as being the co-author of "Art of the Deal." He's the co-owner of the show. If the show does well, he will get a check. The same way as if the book -- he's had his name on about a half dozen books, really. If those books sell, he gets royalties. The same is true for President Obama with the books that he co-authored -- that he authored. And I'm not sure why -- if there would be a problem, unless people think that they can influence the president by doing something with the show. Buying ads on the show or something like that. But that remains to be proven.

CAMEROTA: David, first of all, how do I get money for doing nothing? That's my first question. And second, I think the conflict is that this is an NBC show, and NBC News will be covering the president. Is that a conflict?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm going to let the good people of NBC News figure out whether they have a conflict or not and had a deal with that with the president.

I think the larger issue is this. I think Errol is right, this is passive income. It's really about the office of the presidency. It's about the institution of the presidency and how does it look. Donald Trump doesn't need this money. Why not divest from it?

I remember Ronald Reagan famously wouldn't wear -- or insisted upon wearing his suit jacket in the Oval Office. Such was his respect for the Oval Office and for the presidency itself.

I worry that Donald Trump doesn't have the same respect for the institution. When he uses Twitter to bully people in 140 characters, I think that's a concern. And I don't think it's befitting of the office. And that's not elitist talk. That's not inside the Beltway talk. That's American talk about how we view the presidency. And I just think that this is another example of him not caring as much about the optics of it when perhaps he ought to, you know, think about it a little bit more.

CUOMO: Salena, it goes to whom he wants to please. What is the case that could be made that, according to his support group, they know that he's the E.P. That's why they voted for him. They know he's rich. They understand what we're calling conflicts, and they're OK with it.

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. I mean, look, he's giving us, us meaning the American electorate, exactly what we asked for. Voters said they wanted change. And they don't mind this different approach as he enters the White House. Now, if there -- a problem arises and, you know, begins to show great

conflict, I'm sure or I would suspect that he would divest of having his name on that. But, you know, this is what the American people asked for. They knew what they were getting into with this guy. They knew he was completely unconventional and for the moment they're willing to ride it out to see what happens.

GREGORY: But let's just be clear that what the American people -- this was a very close election. So, this is a great big country and a great big electorate. And I agree with Salena 100 percent that there is a disruptive, unconventional aspect of Donald Trump that I think actually pleases a lot of people the more he bucks convention.

But I think that's a separate matter from his own, his own adjustments that he makes to really assuming the office and everything that that means. And I don't know that he's really thought through all of these things. And he might, he might change over time the way he views some of the choices he's making now, once he's in the job.

CAMEROTA: OK. I want to move on to some of his picks for his cabinet. So we now know for labor he has picked Andy Puzder. Andy Puzder is the CEO of Carl Jr. Burgers, Hardee's. He is against any sort of minimum wage hike. He's for modernization in terms of replacing humans with robots. But he might be best known for these commercials. Watch this.

CUOMO: If I must. Wait for it.

CAMEROTA: Wait for it. It's worth it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking, but come on, it's called a bacon three-way burger. What'd you expect?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say three's a crowd.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK. I think -- I think we've seen enough. The director doesn't think so. So, Errol that...

CUOMO: Full disclosure. I was very close to being cast in that ad and I got kicked out in the last round of the cut and I took this job.

CAMEROTA: I'll never understand that.

He says, "I don't think there's anything wrong with a beautiful woman in a bikini eating a burger and washing a Bentley or a pickup truck or being in a hot tub."

Errol, your thoughts?

LOUIS: I'd never seen the ad before, so this is entirely new to me. It looks like pure garbage, both the food and the way it was being sold. I think the issue that the Trump administration is going to have to deal with, if he becomes their secretary, if he becomes the face when it deals -- when it comes to this level, this sector of labor, is that you've got him on the other side of much of what Trump supporters say that they want. They want higher wages. They want better working conditions. They want work to carry some dignity and some respect.

It seems not just the ad, which is, you know, sort of bad enough, but his stances on paid sick leave, on minimum wage is going in exactly the opposite direction. It creates an opening for somebody, if the Democrats ever get it together, to go to these people, to go to the active, growing movement of people who are fighting for higher minimum wage, dignity at work, better working conditions to say, OK, come back home. Because clearly the Trump administration doesn't care about the things that you care about.

CUOMO: Salena, give us the through thread on the -- kind of the themes of what has been coming through in these picks of the cabinet, that are wealthy people after a campaign that was about helping the working man and woman. The people being put into these cabinet positions -- labor, environment, health and human services -- who seem to be against the typical agendas of those agencies. What's the through thread here?

ZITO: Well, if you listen to voters this year, you know, out in -- like in Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, especially small business owners. Keeping the minimum wage to a point where it didn't impact their bottom line or cause them to get, you know, rid of workers, you know this is what people wanted. This is what small business people wanted. So he is in line with small business owners. The bulk of them are out there in the center part of the country.

You know, and both of his picks, whether it's EPA or for labor, are within the conservative orthodoxy. They reflect what conservatives have been talking about since 2008 when they ran against Barack Obama and, you know, reinforced in 2012 along with the mid-term election cycle.

CAMEROTA: David, last word. Very quickly.

GREGORY: I just think it's striking how conservative they are, these picks. More than Donald Trump.

I think the big through line here is deregulation. Constricting government regulation. That's something that he really believes in as president-elect.

CAMEROTA: All right, guys. Stick around. Coming up on NEW DAY, we will have President-elect Trump's senior advisor, Kellyanne Conway. She will join us live in our 7 a.m. hour.

CUOMO: The nation is grieving, and rightly so, as we remember the extraordinary life of space age hero and former senator John Glenn. He, of course, the first to orbit the earth. He died Thursday in an Ohio hospital. He was 95 years old. Lawmakers, astronauts, everyone in the public truly honoring an American legend. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Godspeed, John Glenn.

CUOMO (voice-over): He was the last of the "Mercury 7," a founding figure of the U.S. space program. John Glenn hurdled into history aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft in 1962. The lone astronaut took off, becoming the first American to orbit the earth.

JOHN GLENN, ASTRONAUT: I feel fine. Oh, that view is tremendous.

CUOMO: Those close to him remember his bravery.

GENERAL "JACK" DALEY, DIRECTOR, SMITHSONIAN'S NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUThink about this. He's sitting on a rocket that had failed twice in some of the previous tests and nobody had ever done that before. He's going at this incredible speed, and he's looking out the window and admiring the view.

CUOMO: Glenn celebrated as an American hero, earning the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. His legacy so great the government decided he was too valuable to risk in another spaceflight.

Glenn retired from NASA in 1964 and won a Senate seat in 1974 representing Ohio, where he served for 24 years. In 1984, he ran for president.

GLENN: With the nomination of my party, I firmly believe I can beat Ronald Reagan.

CUOMO: He lost the Democratic nomination, but went on to succeed in a new endeavor.

After 36 years, Glenn's dream of returning to space had finally come true. Proving at age 77 he had one more mission left in him, Glenn became the oldest person in space aboard the space shuttle "discovery." in 1988. A legend in his own time. Glenn was awarded the presidential medal of freedom in 2012.

Overnight flags at the U.S. Capitol lowered to half-staff in the wake of his passing. Respect for a man with a lifetime of remarkable achievements. A combat pilot in two wars, U.S. senator, astronaut. Few parallel the extraordinary life of John Glenn.

GLENN: You know, people looked up for tens of thousands of years and wondered what was up there. In our lifetime we're going up there. What a fortunate time we are in. What a great time in history to be around.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: That's beautiful. He's just the epitome of courage. I mean, a literal trailblazer in so many ways, a real gentleman. And 95 years old. That's a long life.

CUOMO: He lived a long life, and he lived it fully. A real symbol for the rest of us.

CAMEROTA: Well, President-elect Trump calling out China for not playing by the rules but also saying we need to improve our relationship with them. Is that a mixed message? We break it down, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:17:43] CAMEROTA: President-elect Donald Trump refusing to let up on China during a victory rally in Iowa last night. Is he sending mixed messages about the communist nation? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: One of the most important relationships we must improve and we have to improve, is our relationship with China.

The nation of China is responsible for almost half of America's trade deficit. They haven't played by the rules. And I know it's time that they're going to start. They're going to start. They've got to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right. Let's bring back our panel. We have Errol Louis, Salena Zito and David Gregory.

So was that a mixed message, Errol? That they're not playing by the rules and we need to have a great relationship with them.

LOUIS: Well, it's not just a little bit inconsistent. It leaves out a lot of the overall relationship with China. This is what critics of Trump's approach have been -- have been saying for a while now, which is that it's not just a bilateral relationship where we can sort of point to a rule, point at currency manipulation and that's the totality of the relationship.

The TPP was intended to get America into Asia. America into sort of cutting off at the pass some of China's trading partners in that region of the world. And sort of create some competition which opens a new front to get into some of the security questions around some of these manmade islands that they're involved in.

CAMEROTA: He doesn't want that. If that dies, then we have to start over with China.

LOUIS: Well, he doesn't want it. That dies. China, you know, should basically send him a thank-you card. It will be maybe one of the first things they say to the ambassador, is "Thanks a whole lot for not competing with us in Asia. We've got a free hand. We're going to strengthen ourselves. Now, let's talk."

CUOMO: Well, he says he'll negotiate his own deals.

And Salena, what do you see in the fact that this was not off-the- cuff? As you saw there, his eyes were fixed in one direction. Apparently, that's where the teleprompter was. This was a sculpted message. How is this a the kind of follow through on what he promised $ during the campaign?

ZITA: You know, he talked a lot about in the campaign about currency manipulation and steel dumping. Things that impact, you know, sort of middle America and they feel that impacts manufacturing. And, so, he's consistent on that.

[06:20:07 I mean, there's no subtlety with him. He negotiates what he's going to do or telegraphs what he's going to do when he either tweets or he's at a rally. We're sort of not used to that kind of diplomacy. And on one hand he's saying China, "You're bad on this, this, and this and this. But we really, really want to have a good relationship with you, too." And he sends Branstad as his ambassador, who does have a really good relationship with the Chinese president.

GREGORY: I think what -- what's interesting is the extent to which he's already, as president-elect, trying to keep the Chinese leadership off balance by putting in Governor Branstad as the ambassador, who's got a relationship with President Xi. I think that is -- that sends one message. While he's on campaign mode on this thank you tour going after China in a way, again, seems too off the cuff. There was a sculpted message. Nevertheless, he is still developing a policy tour China but seems to be freelancing in terms of throwing out these charges and throwing China around.

There has to be a coherent strategy, and China has pushback that it can get engaged on trade and the economy to say nothing about the military questions in the South China Sea. So, this becomes an interesting chapter for Trump to be opening up at this stage, even as he's putting both the national security and an economic team together.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about another big country, Russia, that is also complicated. So, leading senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Richard Burr, even Bob Corker are now suggesting that they want to launch wide-ranging investigations into exactly what Russia's role was in meddling in the U.S. election. It's interesting to hear Bob Corker on the list that he would be holding committee hearings next year about it, because, of course, his name has been floated for secretary of state.

LOUIS: Yes. That may be the end of his bid or it may be a result of the fact that he has maybe privately been told or it doesn't look so good for him as far as actually getting that job.

But this is a tremendously important bipartisan issue. This is something that really kind of got skipped over in the concluding weeks of the campaign. And absolutely everybody, including the incoming administration, owes it to the public to get to the bottom of this. It's very, very serious.

CUOMO: And yet, Salena, this was something that was ignored, certainly by the political right during the campaign, right, all the way up to the president-elect who said, you know, it's not true. Even now the president-elect will say, "We don't know that Russia was behind the hacking."

So, what's the plus/minus on this politically going forward? If they find out what's supposedly, according to the intel community, is obvious, which is that Russia was behind the hacks, then what?

ZITO: Well, you know, I think the president-elect dismissed what was being said about Russia being involved with the elections, because optically that made him look weaker and it made him look as though he wasn't having a genuine surge on his own. It wasn't -- you know, he didn't own his rise in the popularity.

Having said that, he's not a dumb guy. You know, meddling always happens between both of our countries, but he doesn't want that sort of part of his legacy. I don't think he will back off of what they're looking at, especially when it comes to, you know, taking -- looking at our military, meddling with our security. You know, those are very, very important issues.

CAMEROTA: David, very quickly.

GREGORY: But he's already been dismissive of the idea that the Russians interfere. Which means that he is bucking the information he's getting from the intelligence community now that he's getting national security briefings.

So Congress has an obligation to push this. And Trump, to his credit, if he does not believe Putin is a bad actor, he is at least talking to people, from Governor Romney to others, who think that Russia is not to be trusted and should be dealt with as more of an enemy instead of, you know, the pal that candidate Trump seemed to be going around and describing Putin as.

CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you very much.

CUOMO: So we go from a revisiting of a potential cold war to just plain cold. There's some scary temperatures and snow in the weekend forecast. Meteorologist Chad Myers is going to tell you what's going to happen where you are, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:28:01] CUOMO: Breaking news overnight. South Korea's parliament voting overwhelmingly to impeach embattled president Park Geun-hye. She's being relieved of her duties immediately. The prime minister is going to run the country for the next six months while South Korea's constitutional court decides whether to formally remove the president and schedule a new election. Why? An influence peddling scandal that dropped Park's approval rating to a dismal 5 percent in recent days.

CAMEROTA: Crews are working to clear up a huge chain reaction crash involving more than 50 vehicles on Ohio's Interstate 90. You can see the aftermath here. At least 19 people were hurt.

There's an arctic blast hitting much of the country, and more snow is on the way, we're told. Let's check that with CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. He has our forecast.

Hi, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A lot of snow. Hi, Alisyn. In some parts of Chicago, Detroit, you are under the gun for a Sunday snow storm. It's still a ways out there. It's just affecting the West Coast, but it's certainly cold across all of the country today.

It's so cold, in fact, that I even saw frost on the roads today. It didn't snow in Atlanta overnight, but the roads are a little bit slick. And I think you see that in Nashville, Knoxville, all the way up the East Coast, maybe even some spots across the northeast, as well.

It is frigid. It is going to be cold. It's not going away. The arctic plunge is going to be with us for many, many more days. So, how does it work? Well, my mom's famous song or saying was, hey, nothing lasts forever. But I have a problem this morning, Mom. This might just last forever. This arctic blast all the way until next Friday when, in fact, it gets colder, Chris.

CAMEROTA: What?

CUOMO: So, is that why you're calling out to your mommy while you're doing the job this morning?

MYERS: Yes, yes. See if she'll buy me a sweater.

CUOMO: Knit you one. All right, Chad. See you soon.

The future of safety in America is actually being reflected in what we're seeing on the ground right now in Aleppo. Citizens are running for their lives. Now, even though Russia says the hostilities have ceased, Syrian forces keep pounding. People are fleeing. They are desperate. The future of these people is going to be felt back here at home. We have a report from the battle zone, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)