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White House Releases New Guidance on Transgender Bathrooms in Public Schools; Republican Lawmakers Facing Large Town Hall Crowds. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 23, 2017 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00] ANTHONY CHAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CHIEF ECONOMIST, CHASE: But that still leaves that population factor that is out of the equation. And so it's not a question of whether we prefer one ethnic group over another one, but if we get rid of seven million workers, we're not going to get that growth, that labor force growth that we need to get, that 3.5 or 4 percent growth. Actually I'm looking for only 2.2 percent economic growth this year and 2.5 percent growth next year.

So we have two options. We either can replace those undocumented workers with another group of immigrants, or we can use morrow robots and therefore no workers whatsoever. But it's unlikely we'll be able to do that in a very quick period of time and get those kind of growth rates if we simply get rid of 7 million workers.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Steve, let me give you some context for this. I want to bring you in here. You laughed when he said we can bring in robots. But isn't the truth, and this is important right now because the president is going to meet with manufacturing CEOs and the promise is to bring those jobs back, 80 percent is the baseline estimate of jobs lost to innovation. And the suggestion is you don't get those jobs back. So is this something people need to get their hands around and not be deceived by any false promise?

STEPHEN MOORE, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: There's no question automation and technological improvement have changed factories, the way they operate. No question about it. And you have fewer workers doing more work, that's what productivity is.

But I've been to a lot of areas around the country when I was on the Trump campaign, in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and those factories I do think can come back. And they're going to be operated in a different way. Robotics is coming, artificial intelligence. But I'll give you an example. I heard your fascinating discussion a few minutes ago with that woman Rose. One of the things -- when she said Trump lies, she said, well, he says he's going to bring those coal jobs back. We are going to bring these coal jobs back. Just last week Donald Trump passed a regulation getting rid of a lot of the environmental rules that really killed the coal industry.

I talked to coal executives that say you get rid of those some of those regulations we're going to start up again and we're going to hire tens of thousands of more coal miners. So some of these policy changes can bring the jobs back. By the way, 2.2 percent growth, no. I estimate if we get the tax cut down and pro-America energy policies and the rollback of Obamacare, we get four percent growth for five years. We can do that. We have 94 million Americans over the age of 16 that are outside of the workforce. All you have to do is get one- half of those -- one-tenth of those into the workforce and you've got the workers that you need.

CHAN: Out of the 94 -- actually it's a little over 95 million people, you have almost half of those individuals over the age of 65. They're retired, they're wealthy and they have no desire to work. Then you another group of people in the disabled camp.

MOORE: That's true.

CHAN: Then you have another group of people in college. Then you have another group of people that are actually staying at home taking care of a sick relative or perhaps taking care of their children.

MOORE: That's true. But there are still --

CHAN: It is not true, the Labor Department has estimated --

CUOMO: Let Mr. Chan finish.

CHAN: -- and able to work.

CUOMO: Steve, finish your point.

MOORE: Just, the professor, or the gentleman is exactly right, that there are a lot of people over the age of 65. But the big decline in the labor force has actually been younger people who could and should be working. I'm for immigration. I'd agree with you, immigrants are good for the economy when they're working. But they have to come in legally.

CUOMO: Understood, understood. You know what, this is why they say, hey, give me a one-handed economist. This is why you need so many opinions.

MOORE: We don't disagree about much.

CUOMO: Steve, Anthony, this was great. People need to hear this conversation. There's always a truth within the numbers. Thank you, gentlemen. Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, let's start our next hour. Good morning everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

Up first, the Trump administration feeling the heat for rescinding federal protections for transgender students at public schools. The White House says that states and school districts should decide how to handle this transgender issue. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, and we have these Republican lawmakers taking it on the chin. Angry constituents continuing to vent at town hall meetings across the country. What does this mean for the Democrats? They were creating their own heat where I am in Atlanta last night, trying to figure out who is the new chair for their party, who was the best. We'll show you and you can decide. Just day 35 of the Trump presidency. We've got it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. There's no question overnight we've seen an important rollback on the Trump -- the Obama administration guidelines relating to transgender students and bathrooms. However, the guidance from the Trump administration is very limited. We know they don't like the legal analysis that the Obama administration used, widely seen in conservative circles as an overreach. But there's not much more to the guidance from the Trump administration except they say states and localities ought to decide this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[08:05:11] JOHNS: The federal departments of justice and education issuing a letter to public schools saying they no longer need to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity rather than the gender they were assigned at birth. The White House arguing this week that this isn't an issue for the federal government to decide.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president, as I said yesterday, is a firm believer in states' rights.

JOHN: The move in stark contrast to candidate Trump's position last April.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if Caitlyn Jenner were to walk into Trump Tower and want to use the bathroom, you would be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses?

TRUMP: That is correct.

JOHNS: Sources tell CNN the president's education secretary opposed the new guidance but was pressured to get on board by the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A source says Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reminded the president they both promised to protect all students. DeVos issuing a strongly worded statement saying "This is not merely a federal mandate, but a moral obligation no individual school district or state can abdicate," reassuring concerned students that her department will investigate claims of discrimination, bullying, and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.

The new guidance rejects the inclusion of gender identity and the interpretation of title nine, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools. Hundreds gathering outside the White House to protest. One of the performers at the president's inauguration who has a transgender sister tweeting "Mr. Trump, you gave me the honor to sing at your inauguration. Please give me and my sis the honor to meet with you to talk transgender rights."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: So this is a very controversial issue. It is a very divisive issue, and it's not over yet. In all likelihood the courts are going to get to decide this. There is a case pending before the Supreme Court. Chris and Alisyn?

CUOMO: The Grimm case is coming. Joe Johns, thank you very much.

Meantime, we've been talking about this voter anger because it's not going away. In fact it seems to be heating up. We're seeing it at more town halls for Republican lawmakers and more places all across the country. This question is, what does it mean for the Democratic Party?

The White House claims a percentage of this outrage is manufactured. It's not organic, that these are protesters that are paid and trying to organize. But there's no evidence to back up those claims. In fact, there's evidence of the opposite. CNN's Ryan Young live in Charles City, Iowa, where another town hall takes place tonight. There are always organizers. But the idea that that's what really is going on may be extending the truth.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. A lot of passion out there. We're literally on Main Street in the city. We know this morning people are expected to pack this town hall. We've seen a lot of emotions across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2020 you're gone!

YOUNG: Republican lawmakers across the country coming home to this.

(SHOUTING)

YOUNG: Facing off with scores of enraged constituents.

CROWD: Do your job! Do your job!

YOUNG: The anger palpable in Arkansas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You work for us!

(APPLAUSE)

YOUNG: Senator Tom Cotton looking out over a sea of protesters in a packed down hall, some emotional about the prospect of losing insurance coverage under Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of insurance do you have?

(APPLAUSE)

YOUNG: Others expressing their frustration over the new administration, including this seven-year-old boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump makes Mexicans not important to people who are in Arkansas who like Mexicans like me, my grandma, and all my people.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's deleting all the parts in PBS kids just to make a wall. He shouldn't do that.

(APPLAUSE)

YOUNG: In New Jersey, a record crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How will you mobilize the other Republicans to push back against this man when he makes delusional statements/

(APPLAUSE)

YOUNG: Congressman Leonard Lance shouted down for not standing up to the president's so-called alternative facts.

REP. LEONARD LANCE, (R) NEW JERSEY: I believe that when the president misstates, as, for example --

(APPLAUSE)

[08:10:00] YOUNG: In northern California, tempers erupting after Congressman Tom McClintock sidestepped this question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you support a bipartisan investigation of the Trump administration's dealings with Vladimir Putin and Russia?

(APPLAUSE)

REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK, (R) CALIFORNIA: I'm not sure that an investigation, which would take up an awful lot of bandwidth in the Congress --

(SHOUTING)

YOUNG: Liberal groups across the country holding empty chair town halls for lawmakers who are reluctant to face voters. The president and White House downplaying the wave of opposition.

SPICER: I think some people are clearly upset, but there is a bit of professional protester manufactured base in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Mary from Fayetteville, and I am not a paid protester.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YOUNG: You had one woman grab the mike the other day while we were covering a protest to say she had never cared about politics this much ever in her life, and now she feels energized by this. Alisyn, from main street back to your street, a lot of people looking forward to having their voices heard.

CAMEROTA: It sure sounds like it, and we are hearing them loudly and clearly. Ryan, thank you very much.

So let's bring in now Republican Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia. He is a former Navy SEAL and a veteran of the Iraq war. He, himself, has had some rowdy town halls this week. Good morning, congressman.

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: Good morning. How are you doing?

CAMEROTA: Doing well. So I understand you had a rowdy town hall on Monday night and Tuesday night this week. So let's play for the viewers a little clip from some of those.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our current president questions objective reality.

(APPLAUSE)

TAYLOR: You want me to finish or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please allow the congressman to answer the question.

TAYLOR: I'll come see you guys at your breakfast. No problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe the president should release his tax returns --

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and separate himself from his business dealings that are conflicts of interest?

TAYLOR: I think it's an excellent question. It's a legitimate concern -- you want to come up here?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: So congressman, we never did get to hear your answer. Did you give an answer about whether or not you thought the president should release his tax returns?

TAYLOR: I did. I answered I don't know how many answers -- I answered probably 150 questions in the past few days over there. And I'm glad you played that because that was rowdy and the first one, of course. In the first one we had the local Virginia Beach Party, Democrat Party, which is fine. I'm happy to answer their questions. But they were there. They were certainly inciting the shouting. Last night, however, you didn't mention that, we had zero problems.

CAMEROTA: I do want to mention. I want to get to that. But what's your answer to whether or not the president should release his tax returns?

TAYLOR: I think he should. I think it's certainly a reasonable request. He doesn't have to. But I think he should, sure. It's up to the American people to hold him accountable for that, of course, at the ballot box if they think that's the biggest issue. But the reality is, whether you want to see it or not, he's still the president and he still will be the president even if he shows it.

CAMEROTA: OK. I do want to get to what happened last night, but before we do that, because last night was different. Somehow you tamed the beast. And I do want to talk about that. But before that, let's talk about what happened Monday and Tuesday night. Why are people so angry? What was your sense from your constituents? What are they most angry about?

TAYLOR: Well, the anger has progressively subsided with each town hall. But what I will tell you is, there are some concerns, of course, some legitimate concerns. There's been a lot of talk about paid protesters, organized folks, and then organic folks. I will tell you, I don't know of any paid protesters that were at my town hall. There were certainly folks that were there to rabble rouse, who came there and started chanting and stuff as soon as they arrived. They were there.

But that being said, there were certainly folks who are concerned with the administration, who are concerned with the policies, concerned with my votes as well, too. And some of them had not been at town halls before, which is great actually. I think it's awesome that they're engaged and that they're there. They should have a seat at the table and I certainly welcome that. There was concern, of course, if you're on the left, you're concerned about the policies. This is the same thing I saw eight years ago.

CAMEROTA: But I wanted to ask you about that. So you don't think there's any one animating issue, because eight years ago it did seem people were quite animated by the Affordable Care Act. And so now is this the flipside of it and people are telling you that they are worried about having it taken away, or is it everything that people are feeling strongly about?

TAYLOR: There's definitely some strong feelings in my town halls for sure. And to be fair and to be factual, most of the folks that are in my town hall are on the other side of me politically. And that's fine. Usually that's the type of folks who show up to town halls, when they have a grievance. But there's issues, of course, with the president. There's issues with Russia meddling into the election.

[08:15:00] People are very passionate about that, or ties. And the ACA, of course, is one.

Like you said, eight years ago, it was a lot of resistance from normal folks who are coming out, who are very upset with Obamacare itself.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

TAYLOR: But there are several issues that people are concerned about at my town halls.

CAMEROTA: So, when people say they're concerned about possible Russian ties between the Trump administration and Moscow, what's your response? I mean, what do you tell them?

TAYLOR: Well, you know, in this -- in this country, we have processes, right? So, right, you've already heard the FBI is coming out saying they're investigating, they investigated General Flynn. They didn't -- they're not charging him with anything. They acknowledged that their investigation is broader.

Of course, there was a classified briefing that they went into the Intelligence Committee in the Senate who came out of that meeting in a bipartisan meeting and said there's something to look into here. And that's their prerogative and their duty as an oversight folks, of course. And I support that. And that's what I support at this time.

Of course, you have folks that are on the side who don't like the president who are asking for everything, and I don't think that's -- that's not the right thing to do. We have processes and we shoulder go through them in this country.

CAMEROTA: Yes. OK. I want to get to a couple other issues with you, but first, about last night, you're again, the constituents came loaded for bear. So, what did you do to lull them into submission? Because everybody described that town hall as much calmer.

TAYLOR: Well, it was calm. You know, with the same concerns -- of course, there are folks there had the same legitimate concerns. I'm so appreciative they were there in the first place.

They -- you know, we didn't have the same agitators quite frankly. And you hear about agitators, it only takes a couple people to generate a lot of emotion in a room, right, no doubt about it. Calm is contagious and the opposite is contagious, especially in small spaces.

So, you know, we just tried -- I stayed calm the whole time. I answered everybody's questions. We were respectful, I asked for them to be respectful as well. You know, that was on the eastern shore of Virginia. I'm from that area and I know folks are very polite there.

And we didn't -- you know, they -- I told them, I said, look, I know your mammas didn't raises you to shout people down, so if you're doing that, you're probably not from the eastern shore. And that's what happened last night.

CAMEROTA: You shamed them into submission.

All right. I want to ask you about the news this morning about the Trump administration rolling back the protections for transgender teenagers at school. Are you worried this will make trans teenagers more vulnerable at school?

TAYLOR: Well, I'm a Republican who has submitted legislation in the statehouse or co-sponsored legislation in the statehouse, I'm about to submit legislation in Washington that deals with protections for the LGBT community. So, it's something that is absolutely close to my heart in terms of making sure that they're protected from discrimination and harassment.

This is certainly a divisive issue. You guys were talking about it in the previous segment as well, too, because, of course, I mean, localities and schools, there are different populations and setups. Should they have a say in it? Yes, I do believe they should have a say in it. At the same time -- at the same time --

CAMEROTA: I want to understand --

TAYLOR: Yes?

CAMEROTA: -- since this is an important issue to you, and you have tried protecting them --

TAYLOR: Sure.

CAMEROTA: -- why do you think that the White House took this issue to roll back those protections?

TAYLOR: I'm not so sure they tried to roll back the protection of discrimination and harassment. I'm not sure that's that case. I'll let them answer those questions.

But I will tell you, just like I believe in real estate for example having protections for discrimination for the LGBT in there, that we can thread a needle between religious protections and LGBT community, I think that we can thread a needle here as well too. It is a divisive issue. It is one that you want to bring people into. It's going through the process and the courts now.

But I think we can thread a needle to make sure folks are protected from discrimination and harassment, but at the same time allowing some of the localities to have a say in it.

CAMEROTA: OK. We look forward to seeing how you plan to thread that needle. But I do want to ask you, because you're --

TAYLOR: Well, we'll see how the courts do that, right? There's court cases right now.

CAMEROTA: It is. Good point.

You fought in Iraq, as we said. The fighting continues, as you know, in Iraq. U.S. soldiers are there fighting, you know, alongside Iraqi soldiers. So given that, what do you think of Iraq being one of those seven countries that's been identified as the Trump administration for the travel ban?

TAYLOR: I think it's an excellent question. Let me also say that, you know, I represent a district that has more veterans and military than anyone in the nation. So, there are a lot of folks here who have seen the atrocities and some of the worst places in the world to include what's happening in Iraq. And I can tell you there's no one more than the soldier, the woman or

man shoulder who has seen this, who would love to scoop up a family and bring them over because they understand what's going on. At the same time, they've also seen the other side of what happens over there. They've seen the horrendous horrors and what people are capable of doing over there.

So, I think it's actually important to make sure you're protected, especially in a country you are fighting in, because there are potential folks who, of course, might want retaliation. So, it's important to properly vet folks. At the same time, it's important for us to be compassionate.

[08:20:00] But I will tell you having been over there and knowing many people you have, they have seen those things on both sides -- the cost and humanitarian problems, but also the horrors there.

So, I don't think it's unreasonable to make sure we have proper protections and vetting and heightened security in terms of who comes over from that country.

CAMEROTA: OK, Congressman Scott Taylor, thank you for your service. Thanks for the time here on NEW DAY.

TAYLOR: Thank you. Always a pleasure. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Chris?

CUOMO: All right. We have disturbing video out of Anaheim, California. This is a dispute between an off duty LAPD officer and a teenager. What you're going to see here is that the officer winds up snatching up this teenager by his shirt, OK?

Another boy just charged in at the officer. He goes down on the ground. The officer takes out a concealed gun. A shot goes off.

The teenagers are going to run off from the scene. No one was hurt. OK?

There's the gunshot. This is what I just described to you. You see the person with the cell phone or other camera, they run off. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets demanding the protester face charges. Some even vandalized the officer's house and car.

Anaheim police say they arrested at least two dozen people. The police officer is on administrative leave. That is not in any way a nod of guilt. That's what a lot of police forces, certainly the LAPD does to investigate the incident.

CAMEROTA: Well, Chris, that's terrifying. And, look, I'm not a police officer, but it is hard to understand why a gun would have needed to be drawn in that scenario, and it could have gone much, much worse.

CUOMO: Well, let me tell you why. We don't know the background of the altercation. Off duty could be a very important part of the analysis here. Was there a relationship? Are there neighbors? What was going on? Is there history? Is there beef?

Putting that to the side, you're in an altercation and someone of size comes running out of nowhere and takes you onto the ground, it is very easy, police officer or not, for your mind to go to a very bad place very quickly. So, we're going to have to hear the facts as they develop. But I get how somebody can feel threatened in a situation like that, that kid hit him and took him down.

People will see both sides. That's why there has to be an investigation.

CAMEROTA: All right. We'll follow that story and Chris will be back with you momentarily.

There are eight Democrats who are vying to lead the Democratic Party. They took part in a CNN debate last night. Chris moderated it. It was in Atlanta. That's why he's there this morning. And he's going to talk to one of the candidates.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, how did he think he did last night?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[08:25:42] CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, you're a millennial. What do you have to say about this?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, MAYOR OF SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: One thing to do to better engage millennials would be to put a 35-year-old in as chair of the DNC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: He got the room going on that one. That is Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Now, very interesting. He's 35 years old. He's a mayor, as I just said. He's a veteran and he was making the case last night that that's why he's the perfect fit to be the leader of the Democratic Party in the age of Trump.

He was one of eight that was with us here last night until midnight and the crowd was going and they were going. It was the good debate.

The question is, what will happen at the vote on Saturday?

All right. So, let's bring in the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, my favorite name of the night.

Maltese you told me, right? That's the derivation.

BUTTIGIEG: There's not too many of those Maltese in politics, but here I am.

CUOMO: They call you Mayor Pete. How do you feel you comported yourself last night and do you believe you made the case that you were the right fit for the party and why?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, I do, in my biased opinion. Of course, what really matters is what the 447 members of the DNC think who will make the decision.

But it was a great opportunity for me to lay out the case that the DNC needs to change, that the answers are not going to come from Washington, they're going to come from communities like mine and all the states and territories around the country. We've got to become a party that recognizes it's not all top-down. That we've got to tap into the energy that's happening in the grassroots now around the country and we've got to get back to a 50-state strategy.

That's why one of the endorsements I'm most proud of is that of Howard Dean, who is the architect of the 50-state strategy. How Democrats can run and win in every part of the country.

CUOMO: And Howard Dean actually just recently said our most reliable voters in the DNC, as he was talking as a Democrat, are those under 35. We have to get them out every time. We have to understand why. And, obviously, he sees you as a potential face for your generation.

All right. So, now, here's the hard political questions, all right? You may well do well on Saturday. As you know, you're not favored to win. If it is not you, whom should it be?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I'm not going to throw my weight behind any candidacy besides mine. What I will say is, we've got a lot of great Democrats out there and it's extremely important that we come together as a party, whoever is chosen on Saturday.

One of the things that motivated me to get into this is this can't be a factional struggle and we cannot walk out of that decision in Atlanta with half of the party feeling they've been rejected or sent packing.

The actual opposition is in power and not just in the White House. You know, even if we had won the White House, the Democratic Party would be in a lot of trouble right now. So, we've got to be united. We've got to come together and that's going to be the priority for the party coming out of Saturday.

CUOMO: And you've got to show that you learned your lessons. You know, it was not missed on me last night that there was no talk about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and why she stepped down and what was actually demonstrable about what happened within your party during the primary. People are finding ways not to say the word "rigged" last night, except for Mr. Ronan, another man who was up there last night.

And that matters too. If you want to bring your party together, you have to let those who feel they were wronged know that things will be right for them going forward. How do you do that?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, you can't pretend that everything is going along fine. The status quo did not work. It didn't work internally, holding the party together, and it didn't work externally because I know we don't like saying it or admitting it as Democrats, but we got beat. He won.

Now, yes, Russia, yes, Comey, yes, popular vote, but it should never have even been that close. So, it's clear we need a different approach. And it's clear that, if you do what you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got.

We've got to acknowledge the mistakes of the past without being doomed to repeat them, without reliving 2016. I didn't love as a Democrat living through the 2016 primary once. I don't think it's a good idea for us to relive it now. We've got to take those lessons, move forward and make some changes in the way the party is run in our governance, in our priorities, in our approach.

That's why I think a fresh start, somebody who is not a product of any faction, not a product of the Washington establishment is the right kind of person to lead our party going forward.