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White House: No Health Care Vote or Shutdown This Week; Polls: Trump's Approval Rating Hits Historic Low. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 24, 2017 - 07:00   ET

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


J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR: -- a lot of the marginal Trump voters, the voters who really gave Trump the margin of victory in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they were Obama voters in 2008 and 2012. And they didn't abandon the Democratic Party overnight. They wanted to see whether those policies worked. So they gave him the opportunity. I think they're going to give Trump the same opportunity. But he may not meet the standard. And if he doesn't, the Republicans will pay for it.

[07:00:36] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But important to remember, he didn't win because he turned Democrats. He won because Hillary Clinton didn't get Democrats out in the places she needed to in the race that she needed to.

CAMEROTA: J.D., Salena, thank you very much for all the context. Great to talk to you.

CUOMO: All right. And because it is time to measure the president, we're going to hear from some of those diehard Trump supporters. How do they feel he's doing so far? What is the relevant measure to them?

Thank you, international viewers, for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next for you. For our U.S. viewers, this is a huge week. Let's get after it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One way or the other, we cannot let the government shut down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has been pretty straight forward about the need for a border wall. I suspect he will be insistent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would not want that to define his first 100 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not a desire to end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our priorities funded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the bigger priorities during the campaign was border security.

REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would like to have a vote this week. On Monday, we're still going to be here. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Dealing with the most unpopular president after a three-month period in American history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He dragged down the health care bill and tried to sell it to the American people, knowing it did not represent what he campaigned on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He walked into the lions' den. This is what you called the swamp.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

Up first, this is a big week for President Trump. This will mark the 100th day of his presidency. This will mark the 100th day of his presidency. It will be on Saturday. Congress facing several battles. First, a spending bill. Are they going to keep the government open? Imagine a shutdown so early in the presidency. Unlikely. We'll go through why.

But the president's big ask was that there would be a vote on health care and that border wall.

CAMEROTA: So the budget battle comes as the White House makes a big push on health care and plans to unveil the president's tax cut plan. All of this as new polls show President Trump's approval rating hitting historic lows. Can Mr. Trump have a win during this major week?

It is day 95 of his presidency. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Joe Johns, live at the White House.

Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.

Five days to go. Reality now setting on here at the White House as well as on Capitol Hill about the slim likelihood of getting a do-over on health care through the House of Representatives before the end of the week.

The White House and congressional Republicans now apparently settling on a strategy to do what it takes to avoid shutting down the government. Even though the president's desire to get funding for his border wall seems to be getting in the way of that message.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KELLY, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The president has been pretty straight forward about his desire and the need for a border wall. He'll do the right thing for sure, but I will suspect he will be insistent on the funding. JOHNS (voice-over): The White House setting up a showdown with

Congress just five days before a potential government shutdown. Demanding that a $1.4 billion down-payment for President Trump's border wall be included in this week's must-pass spending bill.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: The Democrats do not support the wall. The burden to keep it open is on the Republicans. The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise.

JOHNS: Democrats scoffing at the demand as some Hill Republicans speculate whether the fight is worth the political capital.

RUBIO: I think that's a fight worth having and a conversation, a debate worth having for 2018.

SEN. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Once the government is up and running and stays up and running, then we have to just fight this out over the next year.

JOHNS: President Trump insisting that American taxpayers need to foot the bill for the wall now, but eventually at a later date, Mexico will be paying. A very different message than his campaign bluster.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people will not pay for the wall.

Mexico will pay for the wall. A hundred percent.

JOHNS: Vice President Mike Pence ending his overseas trip a day early to help out on Capitol Hill. Despite the president's attempt to downplay the importance of the 100-day mark, Trump's jam-packed schedule proving the administration thinks the milestone is significant. Officials telling CNN the president is expected to sign a flurry of executive orders this week, culminating with a major rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday to mark his 100th day in office.

PRIEBUS: He is fulfilling his promises and doing it at breakneck speed.

JOHNS: White House officials are trying to prove the president is taking action, given the lack of legislative accomplishments.

[07:05:04] MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: We're talking about historic accomplishments by this administration in the first 100 days, but all anybody wants to talk about is health care.

JOHNS: Despite the touted efforts to revive the battle to repeal Obamacare, officials now say there is no expectation of a vote before Friday.

PRIEBUS: It's a marathon, not a sprint. So we're hopeful for this week. But again, it's not something that has to happen in order for it to define our success.

JOHNS: Trump's budget director also downplaying expectations for Wednesday's big announcement on tax reform. MULVANEY: What you're going to see on Wednesday for the first time is

here's what our principles are. Here are some of the ideas that we like, some of the ideas we don't like.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: And today, diplomacy is back on the menu at the White House. The president expected to have dinner with about a dozen diplomats on the U.N. Security Council, including the United States Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley -- Chris and Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, Joe, I appreciate it. So ever since FDR said, "Let's look at the first 100 days, see if we're getting through this depression," the measure has mattered. And in two national polls, President Trump's approval rating is historic lows.

An ABC News/"Washington Post" poll shows 42 percent of Americans approve of what Trump has done in office. An NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll shows 40 percent approval. Those would be at the lowest levels of any president at the 100-day mark in decades. But that is not the whole story.

Let's discuss. CNN political analysts Ron Brownstein, Jackie Kucinich and national security correspondent for "The New York Times," David Sanger.

Professor Brownstein, nobody loves the numbers like you. What are the headlines? What are the caveats?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no, I think -- look, I think these poll results are showing a very consistent and distinctive pattern for Donald Trump. Not only in the poll results, but going back through the actual election results last November and even into the primaries. And they tell you the same story one after the other which is that President Trump has a powerful, even visceral hold, on his coalition, which is primarily older, non-urban, religious and blue-collar whites. Many of whom who feel left behind by cultural, demographic and especially economic change.

And those voters are strongly with him. Ninety-six percent of those voters said they would vote for him again. But that was 46 percent of the country. And what these polls also tell you is that he faces a lot of resistance beyond that coalition. It is very hard for him to get to 50 percent support.

The only newly-elected president in the history of Gallup polling who never has, at the outside of his presidency, ever reached 50 percent support in his job approval.

And what it basically says is Democrats are maybe asking the wrong question. The key question may not be how do you peel away voters who are attached to Trump? The question for both 2018 to 2020 is can you mobilize and consolidate the support of the majority of the country that has expressed unease about him as president from the beginning? And that's something that Hillary Clinton simply was not able to do. CAMEROTA: Jackie, before we get to 2018, let's talk about this week.

We'll shorten the calendar's expectations a tad. Because given these poll numbers, but given his extremely high poll numbers with Republicans, and Republicans who voted for him, he's at 96 percent approval rating. So what does that mean for getting health care done and tax reform done in the budget?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Just because they support him doesn't mean they're supporting what he's put -- what Congress is trying to put through.

Remember, that health care bill that they first tried to put through had 17 percent approval. Now they might be blaming Congress for that. But the interesting thing about these poll numbers that I think we'll see bear out is that, if he keeps -- if he is still so low, members of Congress aren't scared of him. And when he tries to apply pressure to them, they really don't have any reason to follow him if their constituents are looking at some of his -- the things that he pushed and saying, "You know, I'm not really on board with that."

So the fact that he -- if he doesn't have the country behind him, he's going to have a harder time getting his agenda through a Congress that might be resistant to the details.

CUOMO: You know, David, obviously, we all know the limitations of these numbers and focus groups and panels and all these things is that you wind up looking at a specific for something that could also be multivariant, you know. But at the end of the day, everybody's decision comes down to pretty much the same metric, barring any kind of huge overwhelming factor. Did you make my life better? Did you raise my wages? You know, did you deal with opioids, if you're up in New England? Whatever it is. That's the test, isn't it?

DAVID SANGER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": It is. And that's why the 100 days is one that I think the president himself has clearly got some doubts about. Because you can't accomplish that much in 100 days.

The stock market has been up, but doesn't benefit many of the people who voted for Trump. The economy still looks good, but people are wondering whether or not we're in a bubble.

[07:10:08] What I find fascinating, Chris, is that the things that he accomplished most easily in that first 100 days were the things where he actually ran by the old playbook instead of by the Trump playbook. So for example, he got Neil Gorsuch through. And that was very well done. The rollout was perfect. He got that done just right.

They handled the Syrian bombing pretty well. And that was done by a pretty experienced national security team that basically said step aside and let us go go do this. Same thing for the summit that they had with President Xi. It's when he has gone outside of the normal rules and tried to push through something where he paid no attention to the details, like the health care bill, where I think he has run consistently into trouble. And the question is, for the next 100 days, does that tell you that

there's some reasons that the swamp developed all these strange procedures?

CAMEROTA: Ron, you heard Reince Priebus there in Joe Johns' set-up piece for us, say, "Look, this president is achieving things at a breakneck speed." And is he talking about executive action? Because President Trump has signed more executive actions than his predecessors. So is that how -- can he rely on those for the next two years to fulfill a lot of his promises?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Only to a point. He's right. There are two continuums I think you have to kind of look at what President Trump has and has not been able to accomplish in the first hundred days.

The first is, as you suggest, executive action and legislative action. And they are struggling on the legislative side, obviously, with health care and with tax reform, having a very uncertain future that I think is going to evolve into a tax cut, because tax reform is revenue neutral, difficult.

So yes, they have been able to get more done through executive action, but legislative action is more lasting.

And I think the other thing is, to David's point from a moment ago, the other continuum is between kind of the conventional Republican agenda: less regulation, less spending, less taxes where they've been able to consolidate, support and particularly to move forward on the -- on the executive side and the regulatory.

And then the distinctive Trump items. The economic nationalism on trade, reconsidering NATO and immigration. Of those big agenda items, only immigration is really moving forward in the way that he said. On things like China is a, you know, currency manipulator. They've had to back off on NATO, on the E.U., and they've had to strike a different tone as they've been kind of to pulled gravitationally over more conventional Republican positions.

CUOMO: Jackie, I'll give you a dollar if you can figure out who told the president to push for a vote this week on health care. Who told...

CAMEROTA: Just a dollar? That seems like it's worth more.

CUOMO: Times are tough. Because I think you're going to get 20 answers.

But he set himself up between the "I have a 100-day plan," which he said -- and then setting those expectations for this week. That person has to be in grave trouble with the president.

KUCINICH: It is. It was an interesting strategy, for sure. Particularly, maybe this is someone who wasn't familiar with the congressional schedule that they -- and the fact that they can't really do one thing -- more than one thing, big thing, at a time. They've got to worry about the government shutting down. That is not

an easy process. Particularly when you have the White House pushing for border spending in it. That just complicates that process. It's already rife with complications.

So the fact that this health care bill, they threw out that amendment last week that they said that they had agreement with the Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group. There's more moderate Republicans.

Still, that's not legislative form as we saw the last time. Once it gets in legislative form, that's when the process actually begins. They're trying to force this through such a major piece of legislation through the House, not even through the Senate, just doesn't seem like it has a place in this week's reality.

CAMEROTA: David Sanger, our world is inextricably linked to what happens in Europe. So let's talk about what happened to what we saw over the weekend with yesterday with the French election. Le Pen and Macron are now in a runoff, which is just two weeks away. So how do you explain what the choice is in France and how it reflects what's happening here?

SANGER: Well, first of all, Steve Bannon, the president's adviser, had a concept coming in that what you saw happen begin with the Brexit vote, been through Mr. Trump's election and now in France would be sort of a continuum. And we don't know yet whether that's right.

Le Pen is obviously not only the Trump candidate, but she's the anti- Europe candidate. She's the candidate for France goes alone, goes back to a more nationalist kind of view. The same kind of immigration views you heard from President Trump during the campaign.

[07:15:03] Mr. Macron is very much the vote for staying integrated with the rest of Europe, even if Britain is moving away. The future of France cannot be in isolation.

And what you've always seen happen in the past is that there's always been sort of a coalescing around the Macron view. And what the question is, can that hold now, given the rather impressive showing that Ms. Le Pen had. And this is the first time that we've ever seen any one from what had been regarded just a few years ago as a fringe group in French politics actually do as well as she did.

CAMEROTA: All right. Panel, thank you very much. Stick around, please. We have more to talk to you about.

Meanwhile, investigators are looking into what caused the deadliest House fire in New York City in years. The fire killed five people, including three children. It broke out in a house Sunday afternoon, and it spread to an adjacent home. Authorities say the youngest victim was just 2 years old. The fire took hours to get under control.

CUOMO: It was burning so hot, and they still don't know why.

All right. There's an urgent search going on right now in Los Angeles. A missing 5-year-old boy. You looking at the screen? Police say the mother's child, the child's mother has reported her son missing Saturday morning. The father failed to drop him off. The couple is estranged. Police found the father passed out in a local park Saturday afternoon. He has been booked on suspicion of child endangerment and child abduction.

CAMEROTA: OK. Now, we have some video that is tough to watch. It shows the moment that a 4-year-old girl fell out of a moving church bus. Volunteer firefighter, there was an EMT at the right -- at the right place at the right time. He jumped into action as this dash cam shows and captured the whole thing.

He said he picked the girl up to get her out of harm's way and he worked to keep her conscious. Paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital. She has a broken jaw. That EMT will join us live in our next hour to tell us what happened next.

Oh, my goodness.

CUOMO: She's OK. But the story you have to hear. OK?

Also, up next, a pivotal week for President Trump. What can get done this week to make the 100-day mark even more bright and shiny?

CAMEROTA: OK. Plus, what do Mr. Trump's diehard supporters think of his first 100 days in office?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's used his power against people. I think that's wrong. It's been a disaster, I think, in the first 100 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK. We'll see if the others agree with that. My discussion with those who helped Donald Trump win the presidency, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:21:52] CAMEROTA: So there is a deadline looming to avoid a government shutdown. Congress must pass a spending bill this Friday to continue to fund the government. But there are a couple of key issues that could put that bill in jeopardy.

So let's bring back our panel. We have Ron Brownstein, Jackie Kucinich and David Sanger.

So Jackie, one of the issues that seems as though it is nettlesome is the border wall and who's going to pay for it. President Trump now wants Congress to pay $1.4 billion for the border wall. So how's that going to work?

KUCINICH: Not well. So Congress has been -- they have been negotiating the spending bill for quite a bit. Democrats and Republicans trying to get to a deal to keep the government funded. This throws a wrench into that.

Back in March, Senate Democrats sent Republicans a letter saying that this is a non-starter. They're not going to vote for something. You heard Nancy Pelosi: that includes a border -- funding for a border wall. You heard Nancy Pelosi this weekend say the same thing. You heard Republicans say that -- more moderate Republicans, this is not something that should be part of a spending bill.

So you might -- you might be able to see, you know, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans that don't want to vote for something that funds the border wall, which is a huge problem for keeping the government funded, if they insist that this be in there.

CUOMO: Somebody did a little enterprise reporting, and they couldn't find a representative along the border who wanted that. And one of the reasons is that it's not a one-time payment.

This is just the first installment. So what do you see down the road? There's every expectation there will not be a government shutdown, but it's going to be a short-term solution, which means it could come back to haunt in the next phase of health care, right, or the next phase if they get far enough for tax policy. What do you see here?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, the wall, as Jackie said, if they want to draw -- they want to go to the wall, over the wall, they will shut down the government, because they need eight Democratic votes in the Senate to pass the continuing resolution to keep the government open, and it is hard to imagine there are ever eight Democratic votes for the wall.

Particularly because it faces such resistance in public opinion. In Quinnipiac polling, it's at one-third. Thirty-three percent of the country says they support the wall. Sixty-four percent oppose the wall. And as you know, when "The Wall Street Journal" just surveyed both border state representatives and Senate members from both parties, they could not find anyone who supported -- you know, including the funding here.

So this is something that does matter to the president. It did matter to his base. But it is indicative of the larger problem that we talked about, which is that many elements of this agenda, this kind of defining, this economic and racially-tinged nationalism.

It really appeals -- it has a strong appeal to a certain portion of the public, but there are big portions, a larger portion of the public in many, not all cases, who feels that it kind of violates what they consider their vision of America. And it puts an upward ceiling, a limit on the president's ability to grow his coalition.

CAMEROTA: David Sanger, another defining promise of the campaign was repeal and replace Obamacare. And Reince Priebus was out on the Sunday shows yesterday, giving a very optimistic timeline for when we'll see the next plan. Let me play this for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [07:25:03] PRIEBUS: I would like to have a vote this week. And I think the leadership knows that we'd like to have a vote this week. But it's not, you know -- on Monday, we're still going to be here working for the American people.

So whether health care repeal and replace comes on Friday or Saturday or on Monday, in the grand scheme of things, it's a marathon, not a sprint. So we're hopeful for this week. But again, it's not something that has to happen in order to define our success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: David, this messaging is so confusing. Because you hear from members of Congress, "No, we're not close." And then you hear the president and Reince Priebus say, "Oh, yes, maybe by Monday or certainly by Friday or Saturday we could have a vote." Why are they setting that expectation?

SANGER: Well, they're setting it because it's critical to their 100- day measure. But I think they're discovering that the lesson of this first 100 days is, if you go into something as complex as health care, and it was the president said, "Who knew this was so complicated?"

Well, I think almost anybody who looked at it knew it was this complicated.

They're almost setting themselves up to repeat the same mistake if you think it's going to get less complicated by Friday, Saturday or Monday. And there's a reason that it took the Obama administration a year and a half before they got their first bill through. It is incredibly complicated.

And I think the lesson of the first 100 days is no one wants to throw out the old system until they see what the new system looks like.

One point back on the border wall very, very quickly. This is a president who got elected on a national security agenda. And what he hasn't managed to do is explain why this $1.4 billion and the billions that would follow fit at the top of that national security agenda. He has never actually really made that case. It's more about the nationalism. It's more about the politics of the campaign.

And I think that almost everybody on his staff who has looked at this recognizes there are other fights in national security they'd much rather be pursuing.

CUOMO: Well, and that seems to be a little bit of the tale of the tape here, doesn't it? You have a lot of the people who do support the president's wall are now calling it an analogy. You know, it's not just the wall. They're going to be putting dollars towards an analogy? No, it's going to be bricks and mortar. It's going to be a problem.

But Jackie, do you think that a part of this tale of the tape is he wasn't able to find a big deal that he could get consensus? If we look at Obama, he came in at an unprecedently bad time economically. But within those first 100 days, they got the stimulus done, because there was consensus. Something needed to be done. There was urgency. Everybody was on the same page. We haven't seen that here.

KUCINICH: Because a lot of it was sort of false urgency. You know, the one thing he has done when it comes to national security, border crossings are down, partially because of his rhetoric. "The Daily Beast" has done a lot of reporting on that issue in particular.

But, you know, I don't think his people are going to punish him for this. You're going to hear them say, you know, it's the swamp. That said, it's, you know, as we've seen with several of the measures that he's tried to push, it's easier said than done.

CAMEROTA: David Sanger, very quickly, we're just getting word that President Trump is hosting a highly unusual lunch today, we're told with ambassadors of the U.N. Security Council nations. What do you know about this?

SANGER: Well, this is going to be interesting, because the U.N. and particularly the Security Council were not at the high list of his favorites during the campaign. But he's about to come up by the end of the week on a significant move to try to tighten things down on North Korea.

He's sending Rex Tillerson up to the U.N. to personally chair that Security Council meeting. I think he's got to show the Security Council members two things.

First, that he's not about to go do something that's out of the ordinary with North Korea. He's not interested in preemptive attack and so forth.

And secondly, that he respects and is willing to work within their opinions and rules. And so my guess is this is a lunch you're not going to hear a whole lot of details about from the White House. I bet you will hear a lot from the participants.

CUOMO: All right, fellows, appreciate it. Jackie, appreciate it, as always.

CAMEROTA: Honorary fellows.

CUOMO: Fellows, too. I don't care.

CAMEROTA: I took care of it.

CAMEROTA: Pushing the party's mainstream political parties to the side. OK? Now, this could be a unique situation. It already is. So we're live in Paris with the expectations of change.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)