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Trump Touts Jobs & Defends Cabinet Picks; Trump Will Keep 'Celebrity Apprentice' Role as President; Space Age Hero John Glenn Dies at 95. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 9, 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: I ran for president? I think so, right?

[07:00:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump will stay on as executive producer of "the Celebrity Apprentice."

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Donald Trump doesn't need this money. Why not divest from it?

TRUMP: Rebuilding this country with American hands by American workers.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Fake news can have real-world consequences. This isn't about politics. Lives are at risk.

TRUMP: We're not going to be the stupid people any more, folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a climate science denier.

TRUMP: These are talented people. Smart people.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The president-elect has continued to make deeply troubling choices.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. President-elect Donald Trump's victory tour makes some stops in the Midwest, Mr. Trump selling his job-creating message and defending some of his deep-pocketed picks that he's appointing to his cabinet positions.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: A new potential conflict of interest for the president-elect. Trump says he's going to remain on the pay roll of NBC as executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice" while he is in the White House. What does that mean?

There are 42 days to go until the inauguration. Got it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live in Washington -- Sunlen.

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

Well, this is real uncharted territory here for a president, certainly raising a lot of questions. Once Donald Trump takes the oath of office, the nation will have a president who will still be a part of and still 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 going to Louisiana for their state Republican Party get-out-the-vote rally there and on to Michigan, Chris, for another stop of his thank-you tour.

CUOMO: The Manchin meeting something to watch. See what the senator says coming out of that meeting.

All right. Let's discuss what's going on with CNN political analysts Rebecca Berg, Kirsten Powers and David Gregory.

Kirsten Powers, Donald Trump staying as E.P. of "The Apprentice" while president of the United States. Controversy, non-troversy?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think -- I think it's a controversy. I'm kind of -- my initial reaction to it was that I thought it was pretty insane. And then I was sort of moved by the arguments that people were making that, no, this is just like getting royalties from a book. Then when I thought about it more, it's actually not just getting royalties from a book, because a book is written. It's out there and people buy it. It's not an ongoing situation.

[07:05:06] Now, if he's -- if he's saying I'm just going to take money, but I'm not going to be in any way involved in "The Celebrity Apprentice." OK, I guess. I still think it's inappropriate, them sitting and watching television, and you see the credits rolling; and the president of the United States is on the credits. I just don't think it's appropriate for the president of the United States.

I'm also not sure I entirely buy the idea that Donald Trump will stay out of it. If he sees things that he doesn't like that's going on, are we -- do we believe he's actually not going to the involve himself? I find that hard to believe.

CUOMO: But -- all right, so David, let's follow through on Kirsten's thinking. Let's say he does keep some kind of minor role of oversight on the show, saying what he likes and what he doesn't, of course. Most of it is pretty shot. So it's not like he'd have to follow it around in real time. But that the definition of president has changed. It's defined by who is in the office, and this time it's Donald Trump.

Yes, I mean, they're pre-taped. But you can still imagine a kind of live tweeting party led by the president of the United States. So yes. I mean, I'm with Kirsten on this. I don't mind the money as much. I think it's just a question of whether it's unseemly. This is the presidency.

This is an institution that's bigger than Donald Trump. I was saying when we talked about this earlier this morning. Remember when everybody freaked out because people in the Obama administration didn't wear their coat jacket or their blazer in the Oval Office like Ronald Reagan insisted upon doing? Well, I think this is a new area, where you have a president who tweets the way he does and who's going to associate himself as president with an ongoing reality show.

CUOMO: All right. Well, a lot of this is going to be about how it's perceived by the people in the country. We'll see if we get a reaction to that.

Rebecca, let me pivot with you to something else that's going to be different with Donald Trump as president of the United States. Let me play you some sound of what he keyed up -- or teed up last night about why he likes talking to CEOs and what will make him more effective than other presidents. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I actually love calling these companies. I said, "Give me a list of ten companies that are leaving." And I actually love calling these companies and saying, "Hi." And I get the president of this company. And I say, "Hi, how are you doing?"

"Oh, hello, Mr. President-elect. Congratulations."

"Yes, congratulations. By the way, while we're on the phone, don't leave. Please don't leave. Please." And we've had great success. You'll be seeing a lot more success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So interesting there, Rebecca, he's suggesting he's already making these calls. But what do you think about the plus-minus of the president picking up the phone and talking to these companies directly?

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are a few elements to this, Chris, in my mind.

First, I think even Republicans would be pretty uncomfortable in the long term with the idea of the president of the United States using the power of his office on a company-by-company basis to encourage these companies to stay in this country.

I think what lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would rather see is the president address the underlying problems here in the market, in the economy and actually make some policy changes with Congress to encourage these companies to stay, not to be working against their best economic interests.

And so, that's actually a Republican criticism I've heard of this Carrier deal that he made, is that President-elect Trump and Vice- President-elect Pence aren't necessarily addressing the underlying economic issues here. They're actually encouraging Carrier, potentially, to make a decision that goes against its best economic interests. So, that, in the long term, could be problematic for Trump.

But then there's also this issue of someone who ran a very populist campaign appealing to the American worker and then running an administration that sounds like it's going to be a very pro-business, pro-big corporation sort of administration. Then you worry politically, if you're Donald Trump, are you ignoring the American worker at the expense of these, you know, to quote Bernie Sanders, "millionaires and billionaires"?

CUOMO: Well, why doesn't it play the other way, Kirsten? Which is, you know, to the American worker out there, he said, good, he's doing something for us. He's picking up the phone. He's talking to these companies. You know, he's one of these big shots like the rest of them, and he can get them on the phone and strong-arm them.

POWERS: I actually -- I actually support what he's doing, and I wrote a column actually defending him. So, you know, I think that this is exactly what people want to see. They want to see people who are involved.

It's true that it's not addressing the underlying problem. You know, 85 percent of these jobs are not, are not lost because they're going to other countries. They're lost because of automation.

But, look, these are still jobs. These are still jobs that matter. And if he can work with these companies and try to figure out how to keep them in the country, I also think it's fine for him to give them tax credits. There's nothing wrong with that. I mean, when you break down...

CUOMO: Economists will debate that.

POWERS: I think, you know, when you break down how much money. Look at the Carrier deal, for example. Over ten years we're talking about 700 or $800 in tax credits per employee.

CUOMO: Some economists say it's a false analysis.

POWERS: Why?

CUOMO: Because they say that prorating 7 million over ten years, 700,000 a year, dividing it by the number of jobs, doesn't take into consideration any of the economic costs of benefiting one company over another. Gifting money to a highly profitable company to the disadvantage of its competitors.

POWERS: Are these, like, libertarian economists, conservative economists?

CUOMO: They're people who look at raw numbers in terms of what can you do to push...

POWERS: Because I -- because I think that you have to do something, because the truth is that there's a cost to the company to stay in the United States. They can leave...

CUOMO: True.

POWERS: you know, they could pay $20 an hour here or they could pay $4 an hour in Mexico. So you're going to have to give them some kind of incentive to stay here.

CUOMO: True. David Gregory.

GREGORY: I just want to make an observation. You've gotten two different views on this. I'm not going to make a judgment about it, but I want to offer this observation. Trump is doing a lot thus far to keep people off balance. There's an unpredictability, a disruptive influence. We don't know where this goes in a couple of different areas. We can talk about that with regard to China when we get to.

In this case, he is both the populist and the corporate guy. Right? He'll call these companies and say, "Don't move your jobs. I'm looking after the workers. Keep the jobs here." And on the other hand, he might dismantle regulations that have to do with protecting workers.

So, you know, so that they kind of defend more corporate interests. I think that dynamic is something that's striking so far.

CUOMO: You know, and in truth, the answer to both different perspectives from Rebecca and Kirsten is to address your concerns whether they're conservative or in terms of the baseline economic for workers, is who's on that list of companies he calls? They should be, according to most economic consensus new energy/new industry companies who are thinking of growing abroad, because those are actual jobs that you could put existing manufacturing worker base into retraining.

Kirsten, Rebecca, David, thank you very much. Coming up on NEW DAY, President-elect Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway is going to be here in just minutes to explain where they are on the issues that matter -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton making a rare public appearance in Washington. This was at a ceremony honoring outgoing Senator Harry Reid. She weighed in on the growing problem of bogus, online conspiracies and fake stories. She called this an epidemic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. This isn't about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Of course, you know a gunman who was self-investigating, as he said, one of those viral, bogus stories about Clinton and her campaign staff opened fire at a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor on Sunday. Clinton is calling on Congress to support legislation to combat this problem.

And a dramatic testimony in day two of the Dylann Roof murder trial. Jurors shown disturbing images of the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre, including video of roof arriving at the church and then leaving the church. Moments after allegedly killing nine people. One of the victims' mothers taking the stand, saying Roof belongs in the, quote, "pits of hell."

CUOMO: All right. So the first family, President-elect Trump, fellow astronauts, all honoring the extraordinary life of space pioneer and long-time Senator John Glenn, hero. He was the first American, of course, to orbit the earth. He died Thursday at an Ohio hospital at the age of 95. Let's give you just a little look, just a taste of an incredible life.

(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 MUSEUM: Think 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.

[07:05:09] 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)

CUOMO: A man who lived the collective dream of an entire country. You know, to be in outer space. He did it.

CAMEROTA: And the courage it took to do something like that. I just love watching those old film clips and seeing his face, you know, through the years. Ninety-five years. Wow, what a life.

Well, Donald Trump vowing to eliminate his conflicts of interest, but he seems in no hurry to cut ties with his business empire. So what is his plan? That's next on NEW DAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:20:08] CUOMO: President-elect Trump set to announce next week how he will intend to separate from his company. He's going to fully divest. He said there's going to be legal documents. Is any of this really practical, especially in light of his plan to stay on as executive producer of NBC's reality show, "Celebrity Apprentice."

Let's discuss. We've got "Vanity Fair" staff right here, Emily Jane FOX, and co-founder of Helical Holdings. Did I see that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Helical.

CUOMO: Helical. And chief skeptic of tasty trade, Dylan Ratigan.

RATIGAN: Is that a job?

CUOMO: Do we have to call you that? Chief skeptic.

RATIGAN: That's optional. Entirely optional but it is, you know, at your discretion. I feel you enjoy saying it.

CUOMO: I do. What's not to like. So when you see this -- when you see this from the outside, Donald Trump was, in part, elected because of his prowess, because of his reputation and now this talk about conflicts making sure that there's no dealing. Can he sufficiently separate from what is essentially a brand of business?

RATIGAN: Absolutely. I mean, it's self-evident that he can't separate. Whatever he does is optical; it's not structural. It's impossible to have a brand in a global real estate empire. This is not that Donald Trump -- by the way, it's not that Donald Trump is a bad guy. You cannot structurally have a global multi-billion-dollar real-estate empire across countries of the world and be president of the United States and not be conflicted.

Now, I think this is a fantastic development for America, because I believe for the first time the conflicts that have been present in our government at senior levels are now out in the open. So rather than having the more subtle or hidden conflicts that we've had in the past, whether it's with Reagan or Bush or down the line, Obama for that matter, now we are blatantly and openly conflicted in a way that allows us to be more honest, Alisyn, about where we are in our country and maybe, I think, move towards some reforms over the next ten years.

CAMEROTA: That's the point. Where does that take us?

RATIGAN: Where it takes us is the realization that we can no longer allow these two political parties to be responsible for selecting the candidates for president of the United States. We have brilliant people in this country across the country coast to coast, city to city, rural, urban.

And the fact that the candidate pool that we are being provided with is this conflicted, is this backwards, is this small-minded is a huge opportunity to catalyze a gigantic, independent primary in America that can allow the generation of much more interesting candidates, which is what I believe is going to happen, actually.

CUOMO: Emily Jane Fox, let me ask you something. Dylan says at least it's all out in the open, but isn't part of the problem is that we don't really know what any of the holdings are and what the potential conflicts are. We don't even know what taxes he pays.

EMILY JANE FOX, "VANITY FAIR": I think that's the exact point I was going to make. We have no idea what the conflicts are. We know that there are conflicts, and you're right, that that is out in the...

CUOMO: Or at least potential ones. FOX: Potential. There's the potential for conflicts of interest once

he takes office. But we don't have any idea what the scope of his business dealings are, because he has not released his tax returns. And that's a problem. And I think we have a general sense that there could be issues going forward. It would be great to have a more specific sense of what those problems could be.

CAMEROTA: If this were anyone but Donald Trump, could this work? All these potential conflicts which we see in this sort of cascading way, from "The Apprentice" to his real-estate holdings to his daughter sitting in with meetings. How would anyone else -- why is Donald Trump allowed to do this when no one else is?

FOX: Well, I don't know that he's necessarily going to be allowed to do this, that he's going to get away with it. But I think that Donald Trump has always been held to a different set of standards. For some reason, people give him a very, very long leash. And so everyone can talk about, oh, these conflicts of interest is going to be such a problem, but when push comes to shove, no one really seems to be able to say, like, "Let's do something to stop this."

RATIGAN: The thing that also is unique about Donald Trump is that he's not trying to win the confidence of people who don't like him. So, everybody who's offended by the conflicts or potential conflicts that doesn't like Donald Trump, he doesn't care.

In fact, the people who do like Donald Trump, I believe, find it appealing that he is conflicted and that the people who are offended, they're like, yes, of course, please offend the fancy dressed people in mid-town and San Francisco with their conflicts.

CUOMO: You've been around him a long time, and you've watched him closely for a long time. What's the chance that, instead of "doesn't" the right verb tense now is "didn't"? That he didn't care in private life, didn't care in the campaign about what insiders thought of him, because he was going for a populist message. But that now he does. And one of the reasons he's even saying that he would do something, which you, you know, reasonably conclude is tough to do structurally is because he wants approval more than anything else. And that may be his motivation to at least try to appease sensible interests about keeping business on one side and the government on the other.

RATIGAN: I mean, listen, I want to hear what Emily says to this. Your theory makes a tremendous amount of sense. My bottom line with Donald Trump is this. We cannot judge anything he does by his words. Words for him are toys that come out of his mouth to create feelings in people, and he likes to create feelings in people, because he's an effectively tremendous television host.

[17:25:07] This is going to be a really challenging time for all of us journalistically, because the only thing -- it's sort of like watch the ball. Like don't -- what he says and what he does means nothing. Literally look at the actions that the administration takes, and that really is the only fact that exists.

FOX: I think -- I think that there are also a lot of people around him who are yessing him and saying, "Everyone's supporting you. Everyone's" --That's a way to manage Donald Trump, because he actually doesn't do well with criticism. You've seen that a million times. That's why he strikes people on Twitter, because people really get to him when...

CUOMO: There's no need for you to explain that to the two Italians sitting in front of you right now.

CAMEROTA: So, Dylan, let's segue to this seems like your natural you to sit around the table and argue things about politics. But what have you been up to since you got out of this racket?

RATIGAN: Well, that's a loaded question, because I know you know the answer. I think you guys know I left this particular business about four years ago and we built a business with -- really inspired by combat veterans. It was actually Marine combat veterans that came up with the idea for the business and inspired the idea for the business to create a company that makes standardized plug and play solar- powered hydroponic greenhouses that work as a kit that can be placed anywhere in the world very easily and immediately pop up water, power, communications and farming three acres of produce so that you can resolve inner city food deserts, rural food deserts, employ veterans domestically to do this, work with the food banks domestically, inside of housing developments.

Also, we just received letters of intent this morning...

CAMEROTA: Wow.

RATIGAN: ... from the prince in Kuwait, who wants to build a network of them throughout Kuwait.

We also received a letter of intent from a large group of investors in Wales. There's going to be a Welsh network of farms. And then the nice thing is because it is the same piece of equipment, the children or the adults working in Wales or working with the first nations in Canada, we have incredible, Justin Trudeau, by the way, and that administration is really making a big investment in infrastructure in Canada. So there's a big opportunity there. But we're being able to connect.

So imagine connecting the children and adults at the first nations in Canada with Kuwait, with Louisiana. So, that's -- but that's fun. But also, this is fun. I want to do both.

CAMEROTA: I think you can.

CUOMO: You want to do something meaningful with your life and also talk about stuff.

CAMEROTA: And be on cable.

RATIGAN: Who doesn't? That's the American dream.

CAMEROTA: What an endeavor. That's wonderful. I'll tweet out more about Helical Holdings so that people can find out more about it. Thank you.

All right. Next up, we talk to President-elect Donald Trump's advisor, Kellyanne Conway, about his decision to stay on as the E.P. of "Celebrity Apprentice" and so much more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)