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Trump's Diplomatic Rift with Mexico Over Border Wall; Tiger Struggles In Return to PGA Tour; Trump Called Parks Chief to Complain About Crowd Photos. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 27, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Far more than his predecessor, George W. Bush, because there is always this suggestion that Obama made it all worse. However, the rate of deportation did decline sharply during the final years of the Obama administration. Why? One suggestion is that once they saw they weren't getting a deal on immigration, enforcement did get more lax. Like President Trump, former President Obama also instructed agents to target undocumented immigrants with criminal record.

So, how good a job have we been doing? A 2016 Department of Homeland Security report shows agents comply, noting that, quote, "an increasing percentage of those deported from the interior of the country, OK, were convicted of serious crimes, more than 90 percent in 2016, the Bush era 2009, 51 percent."

One question after President Trump's executive order: who is going to qualify as a criminal under the new administration? Who will be considered a priority for deportation? So these are the facts, you know, Poppy, I know it's a lot of information. People need to have it to understand the entire conversation.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Those facts are stubborn things, aren't they, Chris?

CUOMO: Yes, ma'am.

HARLOW: Thank you for that, eye opening this morning.

Coming up, President Trump's rift with Mexico over the border wall. And one of his proposed solutions to Mexican imports is already having an impact on the peso in a big way. Could it trigger a trade war? We're going to take you live to Mexico City, next.


[06:35:18] HARLOW: President Trump diplomatic showdown with Mexico over his border wall and how to pay for it is already having a ripple effect in Mexico. Now that President Pena Nieto says he is not coming to the White House, how is the news being received there?

Our Leyla Santiago is live in Mexico City with more.

Obviously, there has to be a lot of outcry there. But it's already depressing the weak currency, the peso.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. We have been seeing the peso plunge for quite some time now. And then, obviously, yesterday, we saw the impact.

But, you know, some of the details that are coming out on how this actually went down are pretty fascinating. The foreign minister the new foreign minister for Mexico actually talked last night about how he was at the White House, in the middle of a meeting with Trump's staff when he got word of that tweet from Donald Trump, that said if Mexico is not willing to pay for the wall, maybe we shouldn't meet.

And that's when he said, "I need a break," he stepped out. He called the Mexican president, himself, directly, and the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said it's off. We're not doing this. I am not going to this meeting, and instructed him to let the White House staff know in a cordial way.

And that's something that's really resonating here in Mexico City. You know, I was talking to one family who was not aware that he had cancelled the meeting and when I told them, you could see their face sort of light up, as if dignitary has been restored for them, as if they were proud of their president. So, he's really being applauded.

And, remember, this was something that a group of senators here had asked for, had called for and today, we expect that he will be meeting with the foreign minister who is now back in Mexico, the economic minister of an entire delegation that was at the White House this week, we expect them to be meeting with the President Enrique Pena Nieto today.

CUOMO: Thank you for the reporting. You give voice to a very important dynamic. There is a lot of national pride in Mexico. That's something coming into political play.

Let's bring from a great guest for this situation, Ariel Moutsatsos Morales. He is former Mexican diplomat, and a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Morales, thank you very much for joining us about this.

The optics --


CUOMO: It is a pleasure to have you, sir.

The optics from the U.S. side are -- according to Trump administration -- we have all the leverage. There is a huge trade imbalance. We give much more to Mexico than we get back. We have the cards. We can make them do what we want.

What is the reality on your side politically?

MORALES: Well, the reality is regarding that Mexico is only let's say responsible for 8 percent of the trade deficit and China is responsible for 56 of your trade deficit. So I don't know if the president is afraid of, you know, sanctioning China or talking, regarding China as he talks on Mexico. But it is very, very -- it caught my attention, gets my attention that this is happening. That's one thing.

The other thing regarding the border is that these narratives is taking us at least 30 or 40 years back in our relations and let me explain what I'm trying to say here. In Mexico, for more than a century, we have sort of an anti-American sentiment.

That anti-American sentiment was for all purposes left behind when NAFTA started to occur and now 22 years after NAFTA, the anti-American sentiment was gone. But I am sure that, unfortunately, even though I don't think that's a good thing, having a border wall will certainly rekindle that anti-American sentiment with all the consequences that that can have.

CUOMO: All right.

MORALES: We are feeling that the U.S. is treating us as enemies, when we are friends. If they keep treating us as enemies, then we could become enemies.

CUOMO: But what do you think? What would that look like? Because to the base of voters that put Donald Trump in office, they -- their perspective would be they don't care how you feel, because you are the ones who aren't securing your side of the border. You are where the conduit has become for these people to come in here illegally. And under NAFTA, you have taken jobs, you haven't given anything back.

Those are the optics.

MORALES: Well, on one side, and I'm glad that you mentioned security. Mexico is a very important factor. It's I would say an essential factor for national security in the United States.

[06:40:04] And that is, that could change if cooperation and friendship with the United States, between the United States and Mexico does not stay in that course. That's one thing.

And the other thing regarding jobs and on that is is that we don't just trade with each other. It's more like we are partners. And let me give you a very quick example, regarding cars, which have been in the news for the last weeks. One car crosses the border seven times between Mexico and the United States before it actually becomes a car. So, we are not just trading between us, but most importantly, we are partners. Canada and Mexico and the United States, we are partners in North America.

So, as we trade with the world and we become, we are to becoming, we staying this course the most dynamic region in the world, including Asia, so there is just one side of the story what's being seen and what is being said by President Trump and not the whole story.

CUOMO: Here's the last question for you this morning. Does President Pena Nieto have the political capital and in his personal disposition, which you know, does he have the gumption to take on President Trump if it's going to require a sustained period of fighting?

MORALES: It's very, very important question. I think that President Nieto, like all presidents and like the government in Mexico normally, has been criticized by Mexicans. That's how we are regarding our government. But on this, on this we stand behind President Nieto all the way.

Two tweets from Donald Trump managed to get the Mexicans together behind the president and behind our government. We don't need to be aggressive, but we need to be firm regarding the United States. We are friends, don't make us enemies.

CUOMO: Ariel, thank you very much for your perspective. As things develop and we see if another meeting is scheduled and what the terms are, what the state of play is, I'm come back to you, so you can give us the Mexican perspective. Thank you very much.

MORALES: Always happy to meet with you and your audience. Thank you very much, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.


HARLOW: All right. Chris, thank you.

Up next, what has become a presidential obsession, why do crowd sizes matter so much to the leader of the free world? We will take a closer look ahead.


[06:46:24] HARLOW: It's time for a little sports. Tiger Woods off to a rough start. He's returned to the PGA Tour.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Good morning.


Yes, the Farmer's Insurance Open taking place at Torrey Pines, where Tiger won his last major back 2008. But Tiger did not have that kind of success yesterday in the opening round. Tiger playing in his first official PGA tour event in 17 months, definitely looked a little rusty.

On the back nine, he ran into trouble. On 15, he hits it into the gallery and then he ended up rolling off a cliff. He would double bogey that hole. Tiger, though, he would end his day on a positive note, sinking this birdie putt on 18. He is 4 over. Lots of work to do if he hopes to make the cut later today.

All right. The new improved pro bowl skills challenge airing last night from Orlando. O'Dell Beckham, Jr., winning the drone drop challenge, catching this ball from 125 feet up in the air.

The most anticipated of the days was the dodgeball competition. Beckham also taking part in this but he was eliminated when T.Y. Hilton caught the ball there. He nearly caught this ball from Ezekiel Elliot. It was robbed. Elliot takes his shirt off and celebrates like he just one the Super Bowl.

I tell you what, Chris, NFC very happy that they won that dodgeball competition. Probably more that happy than if they won on Sunday.

CUOMO: You know, you and Poppy, you guys are too young to remember, but that used to make the all pro stuff great. It wasn't the game. You know --


CUOMO: It was the skills. You get to see who the fastest man was, you can see dodgeball. They used to have a strength contest. That's the fun of it.

HARLOW: That's the fun of it.

All right. Bye, my young friend, Andy. We'll see you soon.

CUOMO: So, week one is in the books, you can measure it by my hairline. It could have been solely remembered for unprecedented activity in advancing campaign promises by a new president. But it won't be, because of our president's priorities of engagement.

The question is, why does he keep doing this? A lot of people are asking it. We have people who can answer it next.


[06:52:18] HARLOW: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Sources telling us here at CNN that President Donald Trump angered over a National Park Service retweet comparing his crowd size to former President Obama's inaugural crowd in 1999, actually spoke on the phone with the acting director of the National Park Service to complain.

Why is the president obsessed with crowd sizes and his popularity?

Let's bring, Gwenda Blair, author of "The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire," and Michael D'Antonio, the author of the "Truth About Trump". His latest book is "A Consequential President: A Legacy of Barack Obama."

Thank you both for being here.


HARLOW: And nice to have you both on.

Gwenda, let me begin with you. The short version of the long story here with the National Parks Service, is it on a Saturday, President Trump gets on the phone with a guy that leads the National Parks Service and says, find me some photos, I want to see additional photo, not just that side-by-side comparison that so many people were looking at.

Why would that be something he is doing in his first 24 hours in office? What is it about the mind of Trump that is obsessed with disproving what is fact?

GWENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR, "THE TRUMPS": I think there's a couple of things going on here. One is that he has to see himself as a success. He has to be a winner. He can't be a loser.

If he's, you know, if he's looking like he's a loser, then it's got to be rigged. It's got to be stolen from him. There's got to be somebody at fault. That it can't be true. So that's one thing.

Another thing is this is -- it's not just an obsession, though. It's kind of building up as a part of an ongoing effort to build up a kind of counter-narrative, to have an alternate way of looking at things, a different keg that doesn't rely on facts. It doesn't rely on the truth.

We saw that with the birther movement, with his pushing the idea that Obama was born in -- not born in the U.S. And now, we see another example of it here. He's pushing this idea that nobody supports. Every people on both sides of the aisle said that's not true.

So, there's that. It's also a big distraction. He's the distractor in chief. If we look at this, we're not looking at the federal income taxes that haven't been released. We're not looking at the conflict of interest, things that are just being swept under the rug.

CUOMO: Well, there's actually a lawsuit advancing on that, we ask about the taxes all the time. That's why you saw Kellyanne Conway making some news on their reluctance to do exactly that. But your point is taken.

Nobody here is a psychologist. We're not trying to get into the psyche of Donald Trump. But just on the collective experience you two have had, we are looking for insight.

For example, Michael, the president said, no, this isn't about me and the size of my crowd and all that.

[06:55:07] It's about respecting the people who put me here and the media is trying to demean that, by demeaning the size of the crowd. Is that something that is important to this man, his advocacy and protection of others?

ANTONIO: Well, I don't know that it's to protect others, but it's a brilliant rhetorical strategy. You can always shift the focus, so if people are saying, "well, Donald, you are very self referential, this is all about your ego", he can say, "Well, no, it's about all these people who supported me", and to a degree, that's true. But it really often comes back to him and he wants us to see the world

through his eyes. And in his eyes, he is a spectacular success and I'm sure within he was speaking that day and looked out on the crowd that he could see, it was really big and really inspiring to him and those are the folks who supported him. So, he also, he enlists them against the media and against the press and even against the National Park Service.

HARLOW: You know, I spent a large part of this week, Chris and I were talking about it, in Kentucky, in a tiny town in Kentucky. And this is Trump country, right?

And many of them have a real distaste for media, a real distaste for CNN. I had a long dialogue with a lot of them. But I got it. You know, I felt what they were feeling.

And whether everything they said was factual or not about the media, the president is reiterating what a lot of those folks are saying. My question to you, though, Gwen, is what is the end game for him, in fighting this, what he calls a war with the media? What do you think the end game is? Is he just voicing what those folks are saying, or is there something else here?

BLAIR: He's in charge. That's what he's saying. He's going to dominate the story. And he doesn't -- people who are critical the press, which he takes as critical, if there is a questioning, if there is a pushback, that shows he's -- that could show that could show he is a loser.

And he can't, they have to keep undermining the legitimacy of the press. He has to keep going after the media.

This is an old Republican strategy. He didn't invent it. It's usually, it goes very well and again, it's distracting. It takes us away from what about those tax returns?

CUOMO: Both side go after the press, though. You know, in truth the Obama administration was no congratulatory effect on the media either. This is just more and more extreme and more angry than we've seen in the past.

Michael, as you know, I've known the president I've known his family for many, many years. He has always been a source for people to go to for how to deal two a bad situation with the press. He hasn't known as a sage, that you go to Donald Trump and he'll tell you who you to deal two a bad situation.

Why do you think it is that he's putting himself in bad situations now? I don't think he would give others the advice that he seems to be following right now, that he had all these executive orders that could have made him look so productive this week. In fact, he was. But he's chasing phantom illegal voters, going at park size. Why would he do that to himself?

ANTONIO: Well, I think he's easily distracted, you know, this guy does seem to have attention deficit disorder. So, a shiny object will catch his attention.

But the other thing that is true about Trump is that he's a guy who wants to pose as a fighter. So this gives him somebody to fight if the media is going to be an easy target to fight. He knows that everyone will follow him, all of his supporters will line up against the media as well. They've almost been conditioned to see the enemy as the press.

So, as long as you are looking at this battle, which is exciting and he can seem commanding, you're not looking at anything else and it's comfortable for him. Most of us don't like the fight. But I think he really relishes it. So, this is his set point.

HARLOW: Guys, thank you very much. I wish we had more time. We appreciate your insight, you both wrote entire books on the man. Thank you.

CUOMO: People like to write a lot of this off as critics saying it's a sign of intelligence. A big mistake -- the president of the United States is a very intelligent man, which makes this more worrisome, frankly.


CUOMO: Thanks to our international viewers for watching. CNN "NEWSROOM" is going to begin for you in just moments.

For our U.S. viewers, we have some news for you. NEW DAY continues right now.



CUOMO: The president's very public diplomatic rift with Mexico.

TRUMP: The American people will not pay for a wall. And I made that clear to Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's something we would not do, will never do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House floating a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico.

TRUMP: Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless.