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President Trump's More Polished and Presidential Tone; Trump Speech Disheartens Deported Mom's Kids; Trump Pays Tribute to Fallen Navy Seal; Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 1, 2017 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Certainly a stark contrast to his inaugural address. Take a look at the difference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

I'm here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

A new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action.

Solving these and so many other pressing problems will require us to work past the differences after party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Let's get the thoughts of our all-star panel. We have CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator and former White House communications director Jennifer Psaki, and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Great to have all of you here this morning with us.

Ana, your thoughts on last night's speech.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Whatever they slipped in his Coca-Cola in the afternoon, they need to keep giving it to him, hopefully intravenously every night.

(LAUGHTER)

NAVARRO: Look, he -- you know, who knew he was capable of sounding sane for a prolonged period of time? Who knew he had the attention span to actually stick to the teleprompter and be coherent? Who knew that he could be unifying? He finally came out and vociferously, full throatedly condemn anti-Semitic acts. That was a great way to start, a great unifying, and so needed way to start. The things that are happening around the country in JCC centers, Jewish community centers and grave -- you know, with the gravestones is just horrific.

And so I think -- you know, there's tone and there's substance, for those of us who oppose him, our expectations on him on both were so low and yesterday he really exceeded my expectations on tone. He I thought sounded presidential for the first time ever.

CUOMO: Well, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicines go down. Right?

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: A lot of what he put in that speech upset Democrats.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What was that? Mary Poppins.

CUOMO: Mary Poppins. Put a lot of Democrats still ill at ease about what he was doing about immigration and some of his other versions of reality. But the way he did it wound up changing how it was taken even by the hardest on the left yet.

FLEISCHER: There's a powerful lesson now going forward. Let's look through what this could mean for the future. And as a president who enjoys reading his clips and thrives on what people are saying about him, if he realizes the power of the presidency derives from strength and leadership, far more than from counter puncher this can be a powerful change now in how Donald Trump leads.

And if he does that, as you've seen from the CNN polls last night, the number of people who watched who believe now America is in the right direction under his leadership is increasing sharply. As opposed to last fall when two-thirds of the American people said the country was on the wrong direction. He has the ingredients to be a successful, popular president. A tone like last night will help him get there.

CAMEROTA: Well, there you go.

NAVARRO: You bring up CNN polls. And it's kind of funny, you know, but last night the White House was tweeting out CNN polls. Oh, we're not that fake anymore, now are we?

FLEISCHER: Yes, they -- they meant another network. Somebody just spelled it wrong.

CUOMO: Actually it meant that the White House was a little less fake last night. They're at least going with numbers that we can vet.

CAMEROTA: That is interesting. But, I mean, Ari hits on it. Optimism does have an effect on people. Optimism is contagious. And so taking a tone of optimism as opposed to fear, then you hear that all the speech watchers felt more optimistic when your leader presents an optimistic view. So what did you as a Democrat hear?

JENNIFER PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it was the best delivery of a speech that President Trump has given, no doubt about it. But there were a lot of pieces, and even as the speech was ending, you could see people starting question, well, what did he mean by health care? There were Republicans who thought they heard he was endorsing their plan, there were others who thought he was endorsing their plan. We didn't hear a lot of details on tax reform and what he wanted to do.

The tone was smart and a lot of it is the expectations game going into any of these speeches. So there was either an intervention by his team or maybe he woke up and saw the coverage and wanted to do something different. But the question now is where do you go from here? Does he maintain the same tone? What does he do? Does he actually have a plan on health care? Do the Republicans have clear marching orders moving forward.

I think what he accomplished is probably unifying the Republicans. But there's still a lot of questions from the Democrats about these policies and what they will do.

CUOMO: But there was another benefit to the tone, by simply not attacking, he's not cleaning that up today. His people aren't cleaning that up today. And even though we got Perumered (PH), this morning, Perez and Schumer, where they were like, what did you hear last night? His ideas are still bad, bad, bad. But there isn't that additional, and what he said about us, and what he said about these people. That's not there this morning.

So at least the battle is one that he can see looking forward, Ana, which is how do I get this other side to do something with me?

NAVARRO: I think he's got a more immediate battle, which is, how much self-discipline do I have to continue, you know, being this person?

[08:35:08] The question today for me is, was this a performance or a pivot? We'll see soon enough. If he starts tweeting again against newspapers and against networks and against "Hamilton" and Broadway plays and department stores and all sorts of things, you know it was a performance and it didn't have any lasting effect.

CUOMO: Hasn't tweeted yet this morning.

CAMEROTA: And by the way, hasn't tweeted as far as we know in about 72 hours, Ari. Any sort of controversial or angry knee-jerk tweet.

FLEISCHER: Right.

CAMEROTA: And so what does that tell you?

FLEISCHER: Well, that's my point about what's the lesson going forward. If the lesson is leadership and optimism, that the president's power derives much more from those two than the counter punch. But you've got to look back. The man has never been in public office before. He is the outsider the country sought to fix what's wrong with Washington. There are things he's going to learn along the way. And if this is one of the lessons, to shift from being the counter puncher to win the campaign, to being the president who governs for all, it's going to be tremendously successful for him.

And this is the raw ingredient he's working with. He has a country that's largely wants him to be successful. That largely is for his economic policies. It's polarized. There will be people who hate him and always will hate him. But there are others who are persuadable. And that's the center that the president has to push for. He has to grow his base.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But even if they don't like him -- even if they don't like -- because I get your political reality, you're right. And he's going to have to expand his base if he wants to win again. I think that's pretty safe. The point --

FLEISCHER: Or govern. Govern. I'm not sure about win again.

CUOMO: Right.

FLEISCHER: He might be able to win with a narrow base. But he has to govern first.

CUOMO: Well --

FLEISCHER: And that means give Republicans strength.

CUOMO: He'd have to have a lot of dominos fall the right way to have a repeat to what happened in this election. But you're right about governance.

FLEISCHER: Govern first.

CUOMO: Absolutely. And coming out of that he said that you have lawless chaos with immigration. But then he said he's open to a compromise plan. He said that the ACA is a disaster. But then he said but we've got to work on how to make it better.

The Democrats are going to have to make a choice. Do they want to hear the lawless chaos part only or do they want to hear the compromise part? What do you think the inclination is?

PSAKI: Look, I think the inclination of Democrats coming out of an election they lost is to oppose, oppose, oppose. I think they need to be more selective about which battles they're going to fight. But right now it's not just Democrats versus Republicans, it's Republicans versus Republicans on a lot of these plans. They don't have agreement on health care. That's why the Affordable Care Act is still alive. That surprises me, it surprises many people who worked for President Obama.

They don't have a specific path forward on another objective, tax reform. Even the infrastructure bill. If you talk to Republicans on the Hill, that's not something that's even going to maybe come up until next year. So they need to get their own house in order and figure out what their plan is or if there is a plan. And then Democrats will look at the specifics and they'll look at the details and they'll see if this is something that will still make sure people have health care, that will still make sure middle class taxes are protected. And, you know, we'll see how that goes.

CAMEROTA: Were there specifics in policy that you liked last night?

NAVARRO: I like the -- I like the rumors about immigration that came out yesterday during lunchtime but that he did not mention in detail during the speech.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: You know one of my criticisms would be, you know, would it kill you to say one good thing about one immigrant at least? You know once? It is sad to me that he uses these platforms to just paint with a very broad brush all immigrants and focus on criminals and focus on murderers and focus on all of this, and doesn't focus on some of the positive stuff.

CAMEROTA: Panel of all-stars, thank you very much.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to all of you.

So this is the moment that had both sides of the aisle unified. This was the president's tribute to a fallen Navy SEAL and his widow and her very emotional response. We'll show you more next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:42:40] CAMEROTA: A brother and sister from Arizona traveling to Washington to listen to President Trump's speech. The mother of those two teenagers is hundreds of miles away in Mexico after being recently deported over a 2008 non-violent felony.

CNN national correspondent Polo Sandoval has their story -- Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Alisyn, good morning. You know, if these children were encouraged to do anything after Donald Trump's speech yesterday was to keep fighting and being the voice for their mother who waits sought of the border this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Jackie and Angel Rayos-Garcia traveled 2300 miles from their Phoenix home to Washington to hear the president speak after the deportation of their mother under his new immigration policy.

JACQUELINE RAYOS-GARCIA, DAUGHTER OF DEPORTED MOTHER: It was really sad seeing how people were blinded. It was sad seeing how people agreed with him.

SANDOVAL: President Trump's rousing speech to Congress taking place on their mother's 36th birthday.

J. RAYOS-GARCIA: Told her happy birthday and that I loved her a lot and that I miss her.

ANGEL RAYOS-GARCIA, SON OF DEPORTED MOTHER: She told us that she's really proud of us.

SANDOVAL: We first met Guadalupe Rayos-Garcia in Sonoma, Mexico earlier this month, just after immigration officials acted on a 2013 order to deport her. The 36-year-old was arrested in 2008 and later pleaded guilty to making up a Social Security number on a job application. That's a non-violent felony. Immigration and Customs officials detained Rayos-Garcia.

TRUMP: We are removing gang members, drug dealers and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens.

A. RAYOS-GARCIA: What he said, it was just -- it was a lie. It's not just the bad people he's taking out, it's just everyone in general.

SANDOVAL: Arizona congressman Ruben Gallego hopes to send this message to President Trump.

REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D), ARIZONA: These are kids, and that his policy really has destroyed their lives. His policy did not make, you know, this country safer by deporting Guadalupe.

SANDOVAL: Working to get Jackie and Angel's mother back home to the U.S., but with a 10-year ban in place before she can legally re-enter, chances are many more birthdays will be celebrated apart.

A. RAYOS-GARCIA: We're not afraid. We're going to stand up for our community.

J. RAYOS-GARCIA: I won't stop fighting until things change.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANDOVAL: So what comes next for Rayos-Garcia? We are told that her sister, a U.S. citizen, has already petitioned to have her be brought here to the United States, Chris.

[08:45:04] But I'm told by Rayos-Garcia's attorney that as long as that felony remains on her record, albeit a non-violent one, the chances of that happening any time soon are very slim -- Chris.

CUOMO: Important story, Polo. Heartbreaking for that family but a counterfactual to what the president painted as lawless chaos, as being what the immigrant situation is in this country.

Thank you, my friend.

So probably the most emotional moment of the night was an obvious one. The Navy SEAL widow trying to hold it together. You remember the Yemen raid. We lost a Navy chief in it. So how do you make sense of this moment? Why was it so popular and what does it mean going forward? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: A very emotional moment last night. President Trump honoring fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens who was killed last month in a terror raid in Yemen. And his grief-stricken widow Karen received long and sustained applause.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation. Ryan's legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:50:06] CAMEROTA: Well, let's discuss what this means --

CUOMO: That applause went on. In several different iterations the president joked that Ryan was looking down and he was happy because he probably just broke a record.

CAMEROTA: I know. So let's bring in Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst, and former Army commanding general in Europe and 7th Army, and CNN military analyst, retired Major General James "Spider" Marks.

General Hertling, let me start with you. You know, you see -- you see Karen Owens at times looking up to the heavens for strength while she was, you know, making it through, everyone in the chamber honoring her and clapping. She's clapping for her husband there. It obviously was impossible not to be moved by this. What did you think of this moment?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, what I'd say, Alisyn, it was a powerful reminder to all Americans of the sacrifices that service members and their families make. You know, Mrs. Owens is there right now and I'm sure from this point forward, her husband is going to be frozen in her memory at this time in his life. He will not grow old. He will not see -- they will not grow old together. He will not see his children grow old. He will be there with her forever.

And we've all experienced that, those of us who have worn the cloth of the country multiple times when we see family members grieve their loved ones who have been killed in combat, sacrificing their lives for the country. So it was an extremely powerful reminder, but it was also a reminder to all leaders and the president that you have to be humble and seriously mindful about the business of leading and you must really adhere to the values of what we're all about when you're commanding the nation's sons and daughters.

CUOMO: And that takes us to, you know, the hard part of the analysis here. You don't want to disrespect the memory of the men and women who were lost in battle, Spider. But you also want to be honest in your appraisal of why it happened. We know there are military tribunals going on looking at it, as is often the case. The father of the fallen SEAL wasn't there last night for a reason.

He wants a different investigation. And what was your take on the president's explanation recently for what happened there and his -- and his seeming desire to shift responsibility for this?

Let's play some of a recent interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This was a mission that was started before I got here. And so something that was -- you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me, they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I -- I believe. And they lost Ryan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: "They lost Ryan" is the line that's getting the scrutiny. Your take?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Chris, good morning. I think, first of all, my very dear friend Mark Hertling nailed it. It's all about the sacrifices. What Mrs. Owens represents are all of those that are sacrificed in all of our conflicts, over all of these wars, and this continual state of conflict that we're a part of. This is not going away any time soon. There will be additional loss.

To your point about the mission's success, I'm not going to second- guess the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the Central Command and the Special Operations Command who are going to derive intelligence from this mission. So let's agnostically acknowledge that there was an objective and that they went after that objective, and the level of success will be evaluated.

Was there a loss of life? Absolutely. Were others injured? Yes. Was there collateral damage? Yes. Look, we have to acknowledge that these are the costs associated with conducting operations in order to protect our nation. So we get that.

Clearly, the father of Ryan, that is always a difficult, difficult -- when you burry your children. When an old man buries his young patriotic, heroic son. Look, my bride's dad was killed in Vietnam. His parents in their 70s buried my father-in-law, with seven kids. That's a very tough emotional requirement.

So I understand the spread of emotions that we saw. But this is an opportunity to realize that there are costs associated with protecting this nation, and it is about leadership and moving forward together.

CAMEROTA: General Hertling, Bill Owens, the father of Ryan Owens, he, himself, is a veteran of the Navy and of the Army. He understands the sacrifices and the cost. But it sounds like there's more than just brief talking when he's giving his comments. I'll just read them for everyone. "Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it

wasn't even barely a week into Mr. Trump's administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen. Everything was missiles and drones. Because there was not a target worth one American life. Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?"

[08:55:07] You know, what do you think of his comments?

HERTLING: Well, I -- yes, I can understand his grief, but he doesn't quite have the facts straight. We have had forces, special operations forces in Yemen and monitoring that situation. It is a terribly intense al Qaeda area, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. All parents have grief after their children are killed in combat. But what I'll tell you -- you know, when Special Operations Command plans a mission and when it goes all the way up to the president for decision-making and he has to make a call -- and remember, Alisyn, Mr. Obama was slammed multiple times for holding the reins too tight on some of these things. Maybe this is the reason why, because you have to make those tough calls on high-risk missions which this was.

But I've got to tell you, I've talked to folks in the Special Operations and CentCom community, this was a good mission going in. It had been planned a long time, it had been rehearsed on multiple occasions. And I think you're going to see -- we're going to see some good information out of it.

CAMEROTA: That's very good context.

CUOMO: And at the end of the day, though, good mission, good outcome, bad outcome, the president owns it, he's the final word.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Gentlemen, thank you very much for all that and for your service.

CUOMO: "CNN NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up right after the break. There's a lot of news. Thanks for starting the day with NEW DAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman. Thanks so much for joining us. A lot going on this morning.

HARLOW: Yes.

(END)