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Trump Outlines Plan to Overhaul Obamacare; Trump Asks America to 'Dream Big' in Speech; CNN Reality Check: Trump on Terrorism. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired March 1, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CUOMO: Every time I ask, "Are any Democrats going to work with you on this one," they all say the same thing, no they've been told to lock it up for now. We'll see what happens going forward.
[07:00:10] So is there a little bit of institutionalized resistance from Democrats right now? And what would make that end?
BESHEAR: Well, I'm sure there is, because when you look at the last eight years, when President Obama was in office, every idea that he had, the Republicans opposed. Not because it might have been a good or bad idea but simply because it was the president's idea. And I'm sure there's a little bit of resistance now with the Democrats, because that's the way they were treated for eight years.
But I can tell you this: Democrats in the long run want this country to move forward. We're willing to work with anybody to make it move forward, but it's time that they work with us. It's time that they step over that line, sit down with us. And let's work through these issues and make sure that, at the end of the day, every single American still has that health care that he or she needs and that family needs. You know, that's what's being lost in all this, Chris. They get up there, and they debate all of this policy and come up with all of these ideas. They forget about the family out here in America. They forget about the people that are going to suffer if they jerk this away.
You know, if any of these Republican plans go through, some people are going to die, and the doctors have said that. They say, "Look, if our folks lose their health care, I've got many patients who are going to die because of it." Now that's real life. You know, forget about all this politics in Washington. Let's get out here and do the right thing for the people of America.
CUOMO: Well, that's something that everyone should be able to agree on, is that you should be putting families first.
Governor Bashear, appreciate you being on NEW DAY. Thank you, sir.
BASHEAR: All right. Thank you.
CUOMO: Thanks to our international viewers for watching NEW DAY. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is coming up right now. For our U.S. viewers, it's a lot of news. Let's get after it.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The time for small thinking is over. The time for trivial fights is behind us.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What we saw was a transition from the campaign phase to the governing phase.
TRUMP: Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't a game. It's life and death.
TRUMP: I am asking all members of Congress to join me in dreaming big, and bold.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Donald Trump did become presidential tonight.
TRUMP: Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That was one of the most extraordinary moments in American politics, period.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Up first, Donald Trump striking an optimistic and more moderate tone in his first speech before Congress. The president ushering in what he calls a new chapter of American greatness while delivering a road map for many of his campaign promises.
CUOMO: President Trump did outline some specifics on what he wants out of a healthcare plan. He didn't give us a plan, per se. And he said he wants $1 trillion to redo America's infrastructure. He also vowed that the time is now to compromise on immigration reform.
The speech culminating with a really emotional tribute to a true hero. The fallen Navy SEAL Owens, his widow there, really persevering, fighting through pain. Remember, she lost her husband just a month ago.
This is day 41 of Donald Trump's presidency. CNN has every angle covered, starting with senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns, live at the White House. That was a big emotional moment that really highlighted a speech that surprised a lot of people.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris.
And you know, this speech was very well-received on Capitol Hill and here in Washington. It was about the tone. It was about the rhetoric. It was about the attempt to lay out a positive, forward- looking vision for the country. Congressional Republicans who have to push through the president's agenda gave him positive reviews. So did a few Democrats, as well, though the policy divide in Washington isn't going anywhere.
JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump striking a more presidential and optimistic tone...
TRUMP: I'm here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength.
JOHNS: ... in his hour-long speech to a joint session of Congress.
TRUMP: It is a message deeply delivered from my heart.
JOHNS: Off the top, the president condemning the surge in hate crimes since he took office.
TRUMP: Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that, while we may be a nation divided in policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.
JOHNS: Spending much of his speech laying out an ambitious agenda.
[07:05:06] TRUMP: Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed.
JOHNS: His solution: an echo from his campaign, "America first."
TRUMP: Buy American and hire American.
JOHNS: And once again, using national security as the basis for his proposed border wall with Mexico.
TRUMP: We want all Americans to succeed, but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos.
We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border.
JOHNS: The president touting his deportation efforts of undocumented people with criminal convictions.
TRUMP: We are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens.
JOHNS: And defending his controversial travel ban, halted by a federal court weeks ago.
TRUMP: It is not compassion but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.
JOHNS: But signaling that he might be open to compromise on immigration.
TRUMP: I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible. JOHNS: The president told network news anchors before the speech that he's open to a legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants if they never committed a crime.
TRUMP: I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades.
JOHNS: On health care, the president laying out five points for a plan to replace Obamacare.
TRUMP: We should ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions have access to coverage.
JOHNS: Arguing that people should be able to buy insurance across state lines and leaning on tax credits to ensure that Americans can afford their premiums.
TRUMP: It must be the plan they want, not the plan forced on them by our government.
JOHNS: The president also announcing a huge plan to boost the nation's infrastructure.
TRUMP: I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure of the United States, financed through both public and private capital, creating millions of new jobs.
JOHNS: On the war against ISIS, the president using this controversial reference.
TRUMP: Radical Islamic terrorism.
JOHNS: Even though sources say his new national security advisor urged him not to use "radical Islamic terrorism" in his speech, because it alienates Muslims.
TRUMP: Extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.
JOHNS: The president ending his speech with a very emotional moment, honoring the widow of Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL killed last month in Yemen, saying he was part of a highly successful terror raid.
TRUMP: Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he's very happy, because I think he just broke a record.
For the Bible teaches us there's no greater act of love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.
JOHNS: The White House likes the buzz they're getting over the speech this morning, and they've decided to let it play out. So much so that they've adjusted the schedule. They were originally planning to roll out the president's revised travel ban today, but they've decided to delay that -- Chris and Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Makes sense. Joe, thank you for all that.
Well, our CNN/ORC poll shows President Trump's speech getting strong reviews. Seventy-eight percent of speech watchers say they had a very positive or at least somewhat positive reaction to the speech. And 69 percent of speech watchers say President Trump's policies will move the nation in the right direction.
So joining us now is Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New York. He is the co-chair of the Trump House Leadership Committee.
Good morning, Congressman.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: Good morning, Alisyn. It was a great night last night.
CAMEROTA: You're not alone in thinking that. I'm sure you've seen many of the very positive reviews, and I want to ask you about the tone first of the speech, because you know President Trump as well as anybody. Do you think that the more optimistic tone that he used last night than, say, his inaugural speech, do you think that this marks a shift? Will he -- will this be a lasting tone? Has something changed?
COLLINS: Well, let's say all of us would hope that may be part of the case. I was watching the Democrats in the chamber, and when he came in, they were respectful. We were afraid there might be demonstrations, and there weren't. I'll give the Democrats a lot of credit there.
And as his speech progressed, you saw some folks starting to clap. He actually got a couple of standing ovations when he talked about hiring Americans and then making -- using American steel, you know, as you know, make an America pitch. So, you know, and as I watched the Democrats, you know, I saw them softening up a little bit. So, you know, there's hope right now.
[07:10:05] And this is what America wants. They want to see us work together. And I think on the infrastructure plan, where he got the most applause, there's an issue that we can work together with, and that may be part of tax reform. So I'm going to be very optimistic. Watching last night, you know, the other side, so to speak, that they were responding to the tone of his message.
And clearly, the White House is going to see that, as well, and that's an indication, as all of us know, if you're doing well and you're getting a good response you're going to continue down that road. And the Republicans were just, quite frankly, overjoyed at the message and the tone.
CAMEROTA: Well, listen, part and parcel, of this that we're talking about is that Mr. Trump has also not sent out an angry or controversial tweet in the past 72 hours. Has someone hidden his Blackberry?
COLLINS: Well, you'll have to ask the president that, but again, the tone was extraordinarily well-received.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I mean, I've been partially joking and partially serious. Do you think that that would help if he stops with his sort of knee-jerk tweets or his controversial tweets, if you're calling for unity, are you also calling for the president to do what he's done for the past few days and stop those?
COLLINS: Well, many of his supporters enjoy the tweets that go out. So I'm not going to comment. There's a positive to that. There's also a negative to that. We've talked about many of those on the show here, and I'll leave that up to the president for him to decide. And I'm not going to...
CAMEROTA: Do you think it would be helpful?
COLLINS: I'm not sure. I have to say I'm not sure, because again, his supporters like the tweets. And so, you know...
CAMEROTA: But in terms of unity?
COLLINS: In terms of unity, I suppose you could make that point. So it kind of cuts both ways.
CAMEROTA: Yes. OK. Let's talk about the infrastructure that you brought up. The president has proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
Now back in September, Speaker Paul Ryan laughed that -- I mean, he laughed off a $500 billion infrastructure plan when it was first proposed, because he doesn't think that that, you know, dovetails with what his images are of reigning in spending. So how are Republicans going to get their arms around twice that, $1 trillion?
COLLINS: Well, you saw the response. It was an overwhelming response on both sides of the chamber last night, and he did mention the P-3, the public, private partnership. And so in this case, which is not -- has not been the norm, inviting in the private sector to put some of their money forward on some of these projects. We've seen this happen in certain counties and cities across the country.
So you have to say it may not be, and it would not be a trillion dollars of federal money. And this is where I'm saying perhaps, with tax reform, if we go down the road we're talking. And we end up repatriating the trillions of dollars that are overseas, with a modest repatriation fee of whether it's five, six or eight percent, a lot of the infrastructure spending could come from the repatriation of these funds overseas, coupled with private-sector P-3 type of involvement.
It may not be that heavy a lift in Congress. We'll have to see how the details play out. But we need -- let's face it, we need that level of investment when you look at the roads and bridges, if not the airports, as well.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Congressman, yesterday President Trump held a private meeting with some broadcast journalists, the anchors of all of the broadcast networks and cable networks. And during that, he seemed open to a more lenient form of immigration reform than we had heard him say publicly. He suggested that he would be open to legal status for many of the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants here now. He didn't say that last night in the speech.
Do you understand exactly where President Trump is on the plan for immigration reform?
COLLINS: Well, here's what I'll tell you. During the campaign he said, "Let's secure the borders. Let's deport the criminal element. And then we will deal in a compassionate way, typical of the way America has treated people in the past.
CAMEROTA: Right. So deportation or legal status, because we've seen both. So more deportation or legal status? Which one is it?
COLLINS: It's deportation of the criminal element, and as he said -- and I'm hopeful with all my dairy farmers, because they need this -- a pathway to legal work status. Not citizenship.
COLLINS: For those immigrants who in many cases, here raising a family here, at least abiding by the laws now after they came here. And the president has always said, even on the campaign trail, he will deal with this in a compassionate way, which is a work status.
It's just unfortunate that a couple years ago or year or so ago, President Obama put a stick in our eye when I thought we were close to some kind of immigration compromise, and then he insisted on citizenship. And that just poisoned the water, and we didn't -- we weren't able to move beyond it.
[07:15:11] I believe there is an opening here, and it's consistent, actually, with what the president said when he was campaigning. But secure the borders. Get rid of the criminal element, and then deal with the eight, ten or 12 million illegal immigrant working on our dairy farms, you know, and the crops.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, sure, I hear you, but we have seen, you know, some moms being deported who are certainly not violent criminals. But we'll have to see how this plays out. I do want to get to one more thing about how President Trump last night framed how he sees his role in the world.
Let me play this for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people. And America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path.
My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Obviously, that got some standing ovation from the Republicans in the room. That is in keeping with what he calls the America first, but what -- what has happened to the notion of the president of the United States being the leader of the free world.
COLLINS: Well, with $20 trillion in debt and we're calling on other nations, including NATO, to carry their fair share, pay their fair share. And certainly, we are the world's remaining super power. And we have some obligations, but so do we have obligations to our own citizens relative to the $20 trillions of debt.
So the president, I think, is being consistent with what he said on the campaign trail. It will be America first. He's going to keep America safe, and the other nations are going to have to deal with their issues.
CAMEROTA: All right. Congressman Chris Collins, thank you very much for sharing your impressions.
COLLINS: Good being with you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: You, too. Thank you.
Coming up in just minutes, we have Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. He's going to join us to give the Democratic reaction to the speech. And in our next hour we have Republican Senator Ron Johnson. He will share his thoughts.
CUOMO: All right. We should note that Vice President Mike Pence is doing the rounds on all the morning shows this morning except this one. The White House declined our request to have the vice president on the show. They often decline requests. Just so you understand, we are doing our job of reaching out. There is always an opportunity here for the president. We know he watches the show. The vice president. Their surrogates. The opportunity is up to them. All right?
So the president taking on terror and immigration. How a shift in policy is raising eyebrows before the president even started speaking, next.
[07:21:40] CUOMO: All right we've got a word cloud. It's a very interesting way to look at what the president emphasized in his speech. And if they pull out on this a little bit, you'll see that the big words.
CAMEROTA: It's not Jessica.
CUOMO: Eric, whoever Eric is had a lot of attention last night and Erica is obviously his sister, or maybe this was a nod to transgender. That would have been a huge shocker last night.
So you have "America," "American" was big last night. New world, the nation, there are a lot of unifying words. Now, the question is did the facts follow the language?
So let's take you through a little bit of a reality check on the issue of terrorism. Take a listen to something the president said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism- related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Is that true? We asked the Department of Justice for the figures that Trump referenced, because there is a tendency to villainize refugees and immigrants, people from abroad. So the DOJ didn't give us the numbers yet. We'll wait on them.
But the New America Foundation also looked at trends over the last 15 years. It found out about half of those who carried out deadly terrorist attacks in the U.S. were born in the U.S. That means the other half were born abroad. I don't think that qualifies as the vast majority.
CAMEROTA: I believe they also described themselves as a bipartisan think tank. So just that you know the source.
CUOMO: And, you know, the numbers are the numbers, but you judge it as you like. Also on immigration, again, the president last night described the environment as "lawless chaos." Per capita, immigrants who are here undocumented commit less crime than other citizens.
Let's discuss this with our CNN senior political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein; and CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston. Gentlemen, thanks for being here.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
What did you hear in the facts versus fiction and the overall speech?
Look, I thought it was a more measured speech. More controlled. At points much more empathetic than we have seen publicly from Donald Trump. And in all of those ways, it was more effective.
But I think it's a profound mistake to view it as a reset. I think, if anything, it was a doubling down on his determination to redefine the Republican Party around a populist nationalist agenda that is very skeptical of global influences.
In fact, last night, he opened a new front in the debate by not only reaffirming his determination to build a wall and to pursue deportation in a very aggressive manner, but for the first time as president, he reconfirmed what he said in Phoenix as a presidential candidate, which is he also wants to significantly reduce legal immigration. There's legislation from two Republican senators to cut legal immigration in half.
And President Trump last night endorsed the underlying principle of that bill, shifting toward a more merit-based system and not the bill specifically.
There's a clear message here to Democrats. I think they have an adversary who has a very clear and coherent vision. He has an idea of the coalition that he is trying to build around this idea of "America first," and he has an agenda that is systematically aimed at speaking to those voters, underscored by the fact that, in this budget, he talked about exempting Social Security and Medicare which goes primarily obviously toward older Americans at a time when a majority of his votes came from whites over 45, and he would be cutting domestic programs that primarily benefit young people who vote -- whose parents vote Democratic.
[06:25:07] So there is a consistent coherent philosophy here, and I think that it's not clear to me that this ultimately will significantly broaden his audience. But it was, it was -- I think, a clear marker that he knows his audience and he has a plan for reaching them.
CUOMO: You know, our emphasis is always on what is said, but sometimes what isn't said is even more instructive, or at least equally so, Mark, as Ron was just saying. Not a lot of talk about saving entitlements last night. No mention of the word "Russia." He talked about new allies. Didn't say the word "Russia."
CAMEROTA: Or Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria.
CUOMO: Or Syria. And no talk about cyber security. No talk about what happened in the election. No mistakes there.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: No mistakes there, and honestly, no details about how he's going to pay for all these great domestic programs that he was talking about, as well.
He talked about a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan that would be heralded by Democrats, but the fact of the matter is, we don't know how he would pay for it. And as much as you saw applause from Republicans within the chamber last night, to a lot of his programs...
CUOMO: Ryan laughed at an infrastructure bill half that size, with Ron Brownstein.
PRESTON: Correct. Correct. Right. And what's going to happen is that the rubber is going to hit the road, so to speak. A phrase we'll hear over the next couple of weeks, if not the next couple months, where he's going to go to Capitol Hill and basically try to jam through these programs through a very fiscally conservative Congress; and it's not going to work.
CAMEROTA: Ron, because you were there, and you did ask the question that caused Speaker Ryan to slap his knee in hilarity about a $500 billion infrastructure...
CAMEROTA: ... how is it going to work, now that it's up to one trillion?
BROWNSTEIN: Now, look, what he said was it's not in the Better Way document, which was their plan that they put out last summer of how they would govern.
I think it's very unclear how that -- how this is going to work. You know, Donald Trump does want to change the Republican Party in some important ways. There are areas where his agenda overlaps with that they want to do. He wants to cut taxes. He wants to increase defense spending. He wants to cut discretionary spending, and he wants to roll back regulations, particularly on energy and climate. And in all of those ways, he overlaps with what Republicans have long wanted to do.
But there are other elements of this kind of populist nationalism that Steve Bannon, you know, has talked about for years that collide more directly with what Republicans have long -- most Republicans have long believed. And that includes spending more on infrastructure. That definitely includes exempting entitle -- the entitlement programs from any long-term fiscal discipline, which makes it essentially impossible to bring the budget in balance.
Don't forget: we are adding 40 million more seniors over the next roughly 35 years. And by the way, if you add 40 million seniors and you cut legal immigration in half, the best projections are you get no growth in the net worth force over that period, which means that the -- the current workers will have to bear the burden of a larger retiree population to support.
But I think the big open question is, do the Republicans in Congress bend toward him on the issues where he is challenging where they have been historically, like trade, like relations with allies, like legal immigration, like more spending on certain programs and exempting entitlements as the price of essentially unified actions on the places where they do agree? So far, you would have to say that President Trump is winning that tug of war, but all the battles haven't been fought yet.
CAMEROTA: Mark, very quickly, yes or no. Does the optimistic tone stick?
PRESTON: It sticks until he tweets again, right? And it sticks until he actually has to do some governing that goes beyond executive orders. Basically, he has to work with Congress to pass legislation and create laws.
CUOMO: We like that the president watches the show. He's always welcome to come on, but he should be encouraged. Stay off Twitter. Nobody wants any ugly distractions. Ride the momentum.
CAMEROTA: I'm sure he's taking notes from you on what he should do.
CUOMO: He's going to tweet right now: "Don't you tell me what to do." CAMEROTA: I know that.
Ron, Mark, thank you.
CUOMO: All right. A quick programming note. CNN is going to host a town hall tonight with Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Perfectly timed for moderator Dana Bash, 9 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN. Get a look at the face of what could be the resistance within the president's own party.
CAMEROTA: OK, so what do you, the speech watchers, think of President Trump's address to Congress last night? We have real-time reaction for you.