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Top Trump Officials On Mission To Reassure Europe; Trump Made Christie Eat Meatloaf With Him At White House; Trump Holds Campaign- Style Rally And Impromptu Newser; South Carolinians Speak On President Donald Trump; NBA Fans Ready For Tip-Off In New Orleans. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 17, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:08] NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: -- President Trump isn't going to strike some kind of deal over their heads with President Putin in Russia. But take Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor here, she'll be speaking at the same time as Vice President Mike Pence will be speaking. They will have a conversation together. But President Trump has criticized her openly and personally saying she's been weak on the issue of refugees like (inaudible) as compared to President Putin. He said that Germany is taking business away from the United States.

So, it's not just a message of reassurance. They're real personal bridges, you know, people to -- person to person, country to country that in a way need to be rebuilt. Damage limitation, damage control.

So, yes, the leaders here are very keen to get that message of assurance from Vice President Mike Pence. They got that today as well from Secretary of Defense Mattis. He was speaking at the conference here. He talked about how a strong Transatlantic Alliance means a strong Europe, and that's important to United States. This is what he said.


JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The Transatlantic bond remains our strongest bulwark against instability and violence. NATO exists to protect our way of life to include the free exchange of ideas that characterizes this annual conference in one of the world's great cities. Here, I am confident that we will strengthen our partnerships, confronting those who choose to attack innocent people or our democratic processes and our freedoms.


ROBERTSON: And those diplomats I've talked to here say that Secretary of Defense Mattis' words went down very well. That he's very well respected, that his message is clear. This is the sort of thing that they want to hear, Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: What about quickly, Nic, that hour plus long press conference in the East Room at the White House yesterday. How were world leaders reacting to the president? ROBERTSON: They find it hugely damaging, hugely worrying. Look, they want to, they want to hear this message of reassurance from Pence, from Mattis, from Tillerson, all of that. That's great and good. But they cannot, you know, form a strong political alliance or continue a strong political alliance with the United States. If their own populations look at this press conference, look at President Trump and feel alienated by it, the Europe's leaders will not have political support to have a friendship with President Trump because their populations are hearing a message that's alien to them.

And that is very corrosive in this relationship. Politicians cannot go against their people. Brooke?

BALDWIN: We'll be watching for the vice president to land there in Munich and watching for his message there to the world leaders. Thank you Nic, so much.

Coming up next, we saw President Trump just a few moments ago in South Carolina. He'll be in Florida for the weekend, and making a stop in Melbourne, Florida tomorrow. Why he's dubbing this a campaign rally? That's ahead.

Also, there are expected to be some big protests surrounding that event this weekend. We actually talked within protesters in South Carolina today. What they want to see from the President.

And menu mystery at the White House. Did President Trump force Chris Christie to eat meatloaf? The New Jersey Governor coming clean about lunch with the President. We'll be right back.


[14:37:39] BALDWIN: Remember summer '16, then candidate Donald Trump's massive campaign rallies in airport hangers across the country, his impromptu press conferences and buddies like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at his side. Well, those days aren't behind us. You saw President Trump's pretty well in this press conference yesterday.

Tomorrow he's hosting a campaign rally in Florida, one month after taking office in about four years until he is up for reelection. And Governor Christie's special invitation to the White House. I want you to listen to his account of the lunch the governor and the president shared just the other day.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: This is what it's like to be with Trump, OK.

He says, "There's the menu, you guys order whatever you want." And then he says, "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf."

CRAIG CARTON, HOST "BOOMER AND CARTON SHOW": He tells you what you're eating.

CHRISTIE: Yes. And I said, well, we'll have the meatloaf? And he said, I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous.

CARTON: Did you have the meatloaf?


CARTON: It's emasculating.

CHRISTIE: No, it's not.

CARTON: Another man tells you what you eat and you eat it? Not acceptable. I don't care who he is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the President.

CHRISTIE: It is the President.

CARTON: And president said you eat the meatloaf, would you guy (inaudible) what I want, thank you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would go along with --


CARTON: The guy eats there all the time. And the meatloaf was good.


BALDWIN: OK. This is about more than meatloaf. Let me just spoiler alert there, but that was just such a gem of a sound bite. Dylan Byers is with me, the senior media reporter for CNN Media and CNN Politics. David Zurawik is a long time media critic for the Baltimore Sun. Guys, great to have you both on.

And Dylan, you know, between the meatloaf at the White House with Governor Christie and, you know, the airplane hanger back drop for him a bit ago in North Charleston to the rally in Melbourne tomorrow, what's going on here?

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Well, we're less than a month into President Trump's first term. It would seem like there's a lot of governing to do. There's a lot of -- being the president of the United States to do. And yet, what we are -- what we're seeing here is Trump already sort of returning to the campaign trail. Returning, perhaps, to a place where he has a more receptive audience.

Clearly, watching that hour-long press conference that he gave, it's clear that he feels very defensive about the rule that he's in. And he feels like he's not being treated fairly by the media. He feels like he's not being legitimized by the media. It's easier to go back to those crowds that love you and just sort of return to some of that atmosphere of the campaign trail.

[14:40:05] And indeed, that is something that we saw President Obama do. It's just we didn't see him do it less than one month into his first term. It took him many months before he return t giving those rallies. He was -- you know, at this time in his first term he was going about the business of signing orders into law and of diplomacy, of meeting with foreign leaders. I believe it was this time that he took his first foreign trip up to Canada to meet with the prime minister there.

So, he -- basically what you're seeing Trump do is return to a place where he has that more favorable audience where he doesn't have to worry about all the external and internal pressure of being the president of the United States.

BALDWIN: And Kellyanne Conway said it herself, you know, she knows the president pretty well and she said, you know, the people at these rallies and crowds, that's his oxygen. It's his oxygen.

BYERS: That's absolutely right.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes. David, on the media, and I don't know about you, I'm on the Trump listservs so I got this survey that popped in my inbox which essentially, you know, they're sending out, they called it the Mainstream Media Accountability Survey. It was e-mailed out from Trump's Campaign Committee. And some of the questions -- let me just read this, "Do you trust CNN to report fairly on Trump's presidency? Do you believe that the media unfairly reported on President Trump's executive order temporarily restricting people entering our country from nation's compromise by radical Islamic terrorism it goes on? Why are they doing this? What are they doing with the data?"

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, BALTIMORE SUN: Listen, Brooke, this is, you know, I teach mass media research and I welcome this because I can use this as a midterm exam and ask students which of these are bad questions that you should never ask if you want honest data and they can check just about every box on that form. It's astonishing, the kinds of things they're doing.

They asked the questions. They introduced the concept of unfairness. The right way to ask that question would be to say, how would you rate the performance of CNN? Once you --


ZURAWIK: You know, the worst way would be to say, don't you think CNN is unfair? That would be the worst. But they're in the middle.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes.

BYERS: And Brooke, I would say -- you know, there's, there's a corollary there between conducting those surveys to come up with your sort of alternate reality or alternate reality about how you're doing as president of the United States. And those rallies that he's holding or that he's planning on holding.


BYERS: It's effectively creating a climate in which everything seems to be going well in which he is loved. In which people hate the media and love him. And it's an alternate reality it's not, you know, he talked about fake news. I mean, it's not real.

BALDWIN: Well, I guess it depends in which channel you tune into. It is that or it isn't. Go ahead David.

ZURAWIK: No, that's exactly it. When you were talking about that, I watched that press conference and thought, he really wants to feel the love. But it's like he has these demon voices in his head about the media and he just can't stop. He starts listing the accomplishments of his administration off the bat in a calm even voice. And then he says -- but the media doesn't get that. And he says, well maybe they get it but they'll never tell that story.


BALDWIN: But then he said at some point, you know, that some of these reporters or reporters in general some of the people I respected most in my life. It's like talking out of both sides and there's also that charming Trump piece, I think too.

ZURAWIK: Well, you know, there's part of him that does -- you know, part of him is a salesman. Even that back and forth he had with Jim Acosta from CNN, it was as if he wanted to connect with him in some nice way. But he kept hearing this voice and saying, CNN hates me, CNN is evil and it just puts him off the rails. Anything that's reasonable, as soon as he starts talking about press performance you start going, whoa, where is this guy coming from?

And I think, you know, I think Dylan is absolutely right. He's going back out on a rally be to try to feel some love. When I watched it, I thought this is -- for some strange reason, this will make me sound like a lunatic. But I thought of stand-up comedy performers in concert. And I thought of Richard Pryor, when I was very young and watching him the first time as he started channeling voices.

Well, Trump does that when he channels voices of like anchors on news channels. And he says, Donald Trump can never get to 270. Donald Trump will never. And you go, hey, this is might be funny for a stand-up comedian but for president of the United States you're starting to scare me. Calm down.

I'm not saying he's mentally ill but these voices he hears of his enemies. He wants to hear the voices of the crowd roaring and saying you're great, Donald, out this weekend.

BALDWIN: Well, of course you want to hear the applause, of course you do. And let's all just be clear, I'm no shrink, I don't know about you and we can't crawl into his head. And we don't know what the voices sound like. And I don't know if I want to know what the voices sound like, even in my own head. But, you know, point duly taken and in time.

[14:45:02] We'll see if he holds anymore of this. Just talking with April Ryan and she said he seemed pretty happy after the one yesterday. And there could be more. So, we'll talk about it again.

Dylan and David thank you so much. ZURAWIK: Thanks Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Speaking of the president, we did this just turn around some tape for you. He was just talking to reporters down in North Charleston, South Carolina. They are bailing just before getting in Air Force One and heading south. Here he was.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To negotiate price (INAUDIBLE). I never heard that said by a politician. The price is too high but we'll negotiate it.


TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) and we're doing very well with the F-35 also. Cutting prices, heavy prices, but we're doing very well. It's a great plane. We're cutting prices. Saving a lot of money.


TRUMP: But the price doesn't go down enough, we would. The F-18 it's a great plane and now putting a stealth component on to it. It's a great plane as the F-35 is a great plane. Thank you.

We've got a lot of money. We got over $700 million off the Lockheed plane. And that's just for small owner (ph), you know, they have a big one. It was out of control but now it's very much in control. So, we're very happy about it.

We'll save -- I will say we'll save billions and billions of dollars. Many billions of dollars. Perhaps most of them is going to have a twin product from both Boeing and Lockheed.


BALDWIN: OK. So there he goes. I know the audio, not the best in the world. I heard, you know, we're going to save billions of dollars. This was said as he was leaving the Boeing plant after he heard the crowd chanting "USA, USA.!" And this is a huge piece of why he won, right? Talking about jobs, talking about the economy, they're with the new Dreamliner plane and he is now off and he's probably back up in the air and heading now down to Mar-a-Lago in Florida. I wish you get more pictures of that.

In the meantime, let's take a quick break. We'll be right back.


[14:51:19] BALDWIN: Donald Trump is spending the one-month mark of his presidency today on the road. President Trump toured the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina just a while ago for the big unveil of the new 787-10 Dreamliner passenger plane. He also met with the CEO. But the protest movement that started the day after Trump's inauguration has followed him to South Carolina.


DAN KNAPP, TRUMP PROTESTER: Well, lots of people have a lot of different reasons for being upset. That the one unifying thing is just about everyone is upset with Trump as our president and his behavior. What he says doesn't matter at all because he just constantly lies. You can't believe anything he says. So I just -- I tune all of that out.


BALDWIN: All right. So that's one side of the equation here. Brynn Gingras is there in North Charleston, South Carolina. And I mean, I understand you have the people who are not at all thrilled with the president. But I was just talking with Jason Carroll who was, you know, at that Boeing facility who said, Brooke, there was a woman I talked to who drove miles and miles, slept overnight in her car just to get a glimpse of this man.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, we did. We got both sides even with the protest, Brooke, which is always a good thing. Now, I will tell you that North Charleston police told us that both sides sort of wanted to stay separate of this building that we're next too. So there was no conversation between the two sides but certainly they were here and all represented.

Now, the man you just heard from, and your viewers just heard from, he was part of a group. And I want to say that because this group that started, as you said, Brooke, it was after the inauguration and now they have about 2,000 members. And I talked to one of the chair people of that group AND she said you know what; in the South we don't talk two things, we don't talk religion and we don't talk politics. But ever since Trump administration begins there is this conversation happening.

People are talk building politics. People are talking about the issues that they don't agree with in this particular case. And that is what is bringing them together and just sort of lighting a fire underneath them.

But, yes, also we should mention there were here supporters of the Trump administration and who we talked to just after he gave his speech talking about creating jobs here at the Boeing plant, and they tell us that's exactly why they voted for this president. Because they want to see jobs comes to this area, that's what excites them. And that's why they showed up here as well Brooke.

BALDWIN: And I'm sure we will see a little bit of the same at that rally that he's holding tomorrow in Melbourne, Florida. You know, those who will continue along the protest line and those who drive and drive just to catch a glimpse. Brynn, thank you so much in South Carolina. Next, President Trump's message today, there was jobs, jobs, jobs and America first after quite the week. Seemed a lot like a campaign rally watching the president. What he said, what he's up to over the course of the next few days. Stay here.


[14:58:25] BALDWIN: It is an NBA All-Star weekend where the east meets the west. So the streets of New Orleans are filled with excitement. But even more excitement is brewing in the court. Andy Scholes is live in New Orleans in Bourbon Street with all the details.

First, you're in Houston for the Super Bowl then you're in New Orleans. What gigs my friend?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh I get all rough gigs right Brooke. Yes I'm roughing it here in New Orleans. This is a tough time. But I will say, well, this is the place to be if you're a sports fan right now. Not only it's the NBA All-Star weekend, it's the first weekend of Mardi Gras. Both of those are combining with parades all day.

So, even though it's a little rainy right now, definitely a fun atmosphere. Of course the main event for All-Star weekend, the game on Sunday and we got a juicy story line this year. We got of course Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant not only playing on the same team, having to share a locker room for the first time since Durant left Oklahoma City, this time with the Warriors this All Season. And these two do not speak to each other anymore. They had some heated exchanges on the court when they played earlier this season. So it's going to be very interesting to see how they interact on the same team on Sunday.

And there was media day just a few hours ago. And I flat out asked Russell Westbrook, what is it going to be like to be on Kevin Durant team once again in that locker room with him and his Warriors teammates, and this was the answer he gave me.


RUSSELL WESTBROOK, OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: Man, you know what, Fashion Week has been great. You seen fashion week? You been paying attention to Fashion Week?

SCHOLES: A little bit.

WESTBROOK: Man, there's lot of great looking things in the Fashion Week man, looking forward to new collections. It's been good man.

SCHOLES: I asked a fashion question what you talked about during --

WESTBROOK: Well, you got -- you asked a question then I give you an answer.

SCHOLES: What's your favorite shoe brand?

WESTBROOK: Shoe brand, Jordan obviously.


SCHOLES: There you go Brooke. Anytime you want to try to ask Westbrook about Durant, he talks about fashion. I tried to ask about fashion hoping he talk about Durant, didn't work. So I know --