Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Gives Address at NRA in Atlanta; Obama: Obamacare More Popular Than Trump. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 28, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Freedom is not a gift from the government. Freedom is a gift from God.


TRUMP: It was this conviction that stirred the heart of a great American patriot. On that day, April, 242 years ago, it was the day that Paul Revere spread his Lexington alarm, the famous warning that the British are coming, the British are coming. Right? You all heard that. Right? The British are coming. Now we have other people trying to come. But believe me, they are not going to be successful. That I can tell you.


TRUMP: Nothing changes, right, folks? Nothing changes. They are not going to be successful. It will be serious hurt on them, not on us.

Next came the shot heard around the world, and then a ragtag army of God-fearing farmers, frontiersmen, shopkeepers, merchants that stood up to the most powerful army at that time on earth. The most powerful army on earth. But we sometimes forget what inspired those everyday farmers and workers in that great war for independence. Many years after the war, young men asked, Captain Levy Preston, age 91, why he fought alongside his neighbors at Concord. Was it the Stamp Act? Was it the tea tax? Was it a work of philosophy? No, the old veteran replied. Then, why, he was asked? Young man, the captain said, what we meant in going for those red coats was this, we always had governed ourselves and we always meant to govern ourselves.


TRUMP: Captain Preston's words are a reminder of what this organization and my administration are all about, the right of a sovereign people to govern their own affairs and govern them properly.



TRUMP: We don't want any longer to be ruled by the bureaucrats in Washington or in any other country, for that matter. In America, we are ruled by our citizens. We are ruled by each and every one of you. But we can't be complacent. These are dangerous times. These are horrible times for certain obvious reasons. But we're going to make them great times again. Every day, we are up against those who would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties, and even those who want to abolish the Second Amendment. I think we're all up to the task. Since the first generation of Americans stood strong at Concord, each generation to follow has answered the call to defend freedom in their time. That's why I'm here today, to defend freedom for our children, to defend the liberty of all Americans, and to defend the right of a free and sovereign people to keep and bear arms.

I greatly appreciated your support on November 8th in what will hopefully be one of the most important and positive elections for the United States of all time. And to the NRA, I can proudly say, I will never, ever let you down.

Thank you. God bless you, God bless our Constitution, and God bless America.


TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you.




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump there drumming up his base in Atlanta, the National Rifle Association. This is the first time a president has spoken in front of the crowd since 1983. You could hear them respond. Again, the president taking another victory lap for his big win on election day, even going as far as to remind everyone no one thought he could get to that magic number, 270. He remembers the breaking news, of course, that he won.

He also took a shot at a potential candidate for 2020, Elizabeth Warren, calling her Pocahontas. Thanking veterans, law enforcement, his friend, Wayne LaPierre, up there with the NRA.

I have a great panel standing by. Let's go through all of this.

David Urban, beginning with you, sir, CNN political commentator, former senior advisor to the Trump campaign.

Even Doris Kearns Goodwin was essentially saying the nation has moved past the election. Isn't it time the president does as well?

[14:35:25] DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Brooke, I think you're looking -- you can't have it two ways, right? We're within the 100 first days or we're still kind of finding our legs, or we're past the 100 first days. I think the president is moving forward. He's going to continue to do the things he does --


BALDWIN: How is he moving forward, if I may, he's in the Oval Office and when you're talking to Reuters reporters in the middle of talking to President Xi of China, you whip out an electoral map with a lot of read of the country, which was great for him, but people are saying, Mr. President, we get it, let's move forward.

URBAN: I think as he continues to sit in the chair and work with Congress, he'll move forward, continue to reach out, as you see with health care and tax. You're going to have to work across the aisle and get 60 votes and you can't do many things by reconciliation. Maybe one or two. So he'll have to do that at some point. It'll be some point soon.

BALDWIN: Governor Granholm, how do you see it?


BALDWIN: Sounded like he was on the stump.

GRANHOM: He was on the stump. I mean, he is supposed to be presidential and reaching across. And all he did was recite the same things as on the campaign. He's not going to get people who are suspicious of him now to come over when he is continuing to say things like, oh, the folks on the left want to ban guns, ban private ownership. That's just B.S.





GRANHOLM: That is exactly what I'm calling you on.


GRANHOLM: Name one person in leadership who is calling for that. I'm just saying that.

URBAN: In the past I know you've said President Obama was protector in chief, and we didn't have to rely on certain things, gun ownership. I don't know your comments at that time.

GRANHOLM: You are assuming.

URBAN: I think it's a red-meat speech to the base.


GRANHOLM: That's my point. You are a president. You are not supposed to be doing a red meat speech to the base when you have an opportunity to reach out --



think the governor's right, that this is sort of the similar to the speech that he gave in the campaign. At the same time, I've seen President Obama speak to labor organizations in which he gave a speech which was more red meat-oriented than he would have given in the Oval Office.


CILLIZZA: Some of that is politics. The thing that I'm always struck by is, this is where he is at his best.

Now, for Democrats, they will say this is where he's at his worst.


CILLIZZA: But for people who voted for him --

BALDWIN: They love this stuff.

CILLIZA: -- this is what they like to see. They love the Pocahontas thing about Elizabeth Warren. They loved the like/dislike/like thing about Ted Cruz.

BALDWIN: Ted Cruz.

CILLIZZA: So this is his element, much more so than being in Washington.


BALDWIN: Let me play the Pocahontas moment in case you missed it. Hang on. Let's rerack it.


TRUMP: I have a feeling that in the next election you're going to be swamped with candidates, but you're not going to be wasting your time. You'll have plenty of those Democrats coming over and you're going to say, no, sir, no, thank you, no, ma'am. It may be Pocahontas, remember that.



TRUMP: And she is not big for the NRA. That I can tell you.

We are also joined by two people that -- well, one I loved right from the beginning. The other one I really liked, didn't like, and now like a lot again.


Does that make sense? Senator David Perdue, he was from the beginning. And Senator Ted Cruz, like, dislike, like. (CHEERING)


CILLIZZA: They are really good.


CILLIZZA: I'm glad they sent all that stuff beforehand.


So both of those things, number one, are off prompter. He has a line into the Teleprompter that he starts about 2020, and you're not going to be voting for anyone but me, but then he goes off and does his own thing.

Number two, in both of those clips, you see more clearly in the first and second, he revels in the Pocahontas thing. He smiles. He's thrilled.


CILLIZZA: Because that's how he won.


CILLIZZA: That's exactly right. Here's the thing. If you are someone who is like --


CILLIZZA: Turn in Saturday night. There will be more of it.

BALDWIN: To that point, if I may, he's gotten all of the cheers there, going to Harrisburg tomorrow night, not going to the dinner. Another huge crowd, he won Pennsylvania. Shouldn't he now step beyond the base and expand the tent?

URBAN: Look, I think he is solidifying the base and trying to make sure the party --


BALDWIN: But he has the base.

[14:40:06] URBAN: He's doing well. He wants to make sure that he gets 216 votes in the Congress. A lot of this stuff is pretty tough. His brand has got to beat the brand of the Congress. You've got to be able to get health care. You've got to be able to squeeze the votes out of them.

BALDWIN: Governor?

GRANHOLM: In his speech, he made two gun-related promises in his first 100 days on the campaign trail. One was that he was going to un-do President Obama's access to guns by those so mentally incompetent that they can't manage their own affairs. And the second as -- and he did that and that was one of the bills that he signed. Interesting that he did that because it's so utterly unpopular among most people.


URBAN: Give him credit for it, though.

GRANHOLM: No, no. I'm not giving him credit for anything.


URBAN: That's unfair.

GRANHOLM: OK. I give him credit for --

URBAN: Thank you.

GRANHOLM: -- doing that, but he's not publicly taking credit because it shows he's smart enough to know how unpopular is to allow people with severe mental illness from accessing guns.

But the second promise he made, he said is that on day one he would allow guns in school, essentially revoking the gun-free school zones. Of course, he hasn't done that, right? But they keep using the word freedom, and freedom is obviously very personal. I want to be free to send my kids to schools where there are no guns.

URBAN: No doubt.


URBAN: We all agree we want to cut gun violence in America. We just agree on how to get there.

GRANHOLM: Would you support allowing local --


URBAN: Listen, I don't think we should have guns in schools.

BALDWIN: What about under the category of taking credit.

Let me ask you. When you look at the first 100 days, yes, executive actions but no legislative achievement. And he goes back to Neil Gorsuch.


URBAN: Which is huge.

BALDWIN: It's a huge deal. But after a footnote, this has been the first president since 1881 that there's even been an opening --

CILLIZZA: Yes. -- to have that justice by the first 100 days.

CILLIZZA: I actually do think -- I think Donald Trump both radicalizes the right and some to the left in terms of their criticism of him. The idea that a president wouldn't use the 100-day mark to take credit for things that are half done -- the governor -- part of that is politics. It doesn't have to do with Donald Trump. Every politician claims, oh, you did you see the stock market going up? My economic policies are working. Some of that is nature of the beast.

To David's point that I really wonder about, though, I think he's well within his rights to do this at a NRA speech, to do some other base speeches. Most politicians do.


CILLIZZA: The danger, though, is that he's shown -- you might disagree with me -- I think he's shown almost no capacity to have a message that's more, that reaches outside this space.


CILLIZZA: He's gotten quite good at reaching the base. They love it. The question is --


CILLIZZA: -- if you need Democrats, to David's point, he does -- there's no way he doesn't on health care or tax or anything else we're talking about, a border wall --


BALDWIN: -- funding.

CILLIZZA: -- that speech is going to get it done.

URBAN: Back to your point, don't forget, there are about 150 vacancies on the federal bench that this president is going to appoint judges to. All these circuit court justices and, some day, on the Supreme Court. Very, very important to remember that as well.


CILLIZZA: Which is probably why he won, in truth, Brooke. The best days of Donald Trump's campaign and presidency have been when, May 11th, I think it was, he put out the 11 people he might nominate to be Supreme Court justices. He's trying to rally the base to get rid of Ted Cruz. Gorsuch's pick that day and his confirmation. Even if the Republican base disagrees with him with many of the things he's taken a lot of different positions, that is a --


CILLIZZA: These judges are so much more important. They are going to be there for much longer. And Hillary Clinton would have had judges radically different. He got a lot of votes from a lot of people that had a lot of doubt about him on that issue.

[14:45:54] BALDWIN: Picking on Ted Cruz that he liked/disliked him and likes him again.

Can I ask all of you to stand by?

We're just getting rolling. We're getting going on this Friday afternoon, because when we come back, we'll move off of President Trump. President Obama was part of this private event last night. And we saw him earlier this week one his first public appearance in Chicago. Didn't touch politics or President Trump. But he did make a note when asked about what he would do when he was frustrated as president, and he said something alluding to this current president. That's coming up next.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

As Republicans fell short again this week of the vote on health care to repeal and replace Obamacare before day 100 in this presidency, former President Barack Obama is saying his signature health care bill has a better approval rating than President Trump himself. He was at this private event in Manhattan. An attendee tells CNN that President Obama said, quote, "The Affordable Care Act has never been more popular and it's more popular than the current president."

This was during a Q&A moderated by Doris Kearns Goodwin, who was with me at the top of the hour. So there was a piece of that. There was a also a piece on -- Doris Kearns Goodwin was sitting there at a private event and she was asking about frustrated presidents and what would you do if you were frustrated. And she talked about Abraham Lincoln and he'd write angry letters and he would shove them in a desk drawer never send them. The president's response to that was, well, for starters, I wouldn't have a Twitter account.

Care to respond?

[14:50:06] URBAN: No. I mean, it's his right to say what he wants. This president feels the Twitter account gets him to the people who elected him. I think he feels he spoke directly to all those folks and these rallies and social media like no one has in the past and redefined presidential elections. And I don't think he's going to change from now until 1390 days from now.

BALDWIN: What about Obamacare being more popular than --


URBAN: I don't think that's a big measure. Listen, it's --


GRANHOLM: It's true.

BALDWIN: "It's true," Governor Granholm said. URBAN: When you give people benefits, they tend to like it. When you

give people things for free, they like it.

GRANHOLM: Number one, I agree that it is not a big deal. President Obama is funny and it was a funny response and it is true. But --

BALDWIN: The Twitter thing?

GRANHOLM: The Twitter thing and the health care bit. It is true, and I think a lot of people that you guys have been surveying and the people who voted for Trump, a lot of them would say, I wish he'd give up his Twitter account. So --

BALDWIN: I have two Trump supporters coming up in the next hour.


GRANHOLM: No. It will be interesting to see.

You know, I get that he should be able to throw red meat out to base. I get that.


GRANHOLM: But the frustrating part to me is his and Wayne LaPierre continuing to say that Democrats -- and this is back to want to steal your guns. That causes people who are Independents and Democrats to go crazy because most people who are Democrats and who are Independent say we believe in the Second Amendment, we just think that there should be a responsible guardrail going around them.


GRANHOLM: We don't think that terrorists should be able to have access to guns. Is that so unreasonable?


GRANHOLM: 90 percent of the people agree with that.

URBAN: The ACLU doesn't agree with you, believe it or not.

GRANHOLM: Good for them.


GRANHOLM: 90 percent of people agree.


GRANHOLM: I'm saying, just not to see these extreme, ridiculous things drives us crazy. I say that as a governor from a state that was very of pro-Second Amendment.

CILLIZZA: Yeah, I mean, look, I do think that there's a lot -- I have this conversation with my parents who live in Connecticut. There's a lot more that the two parties agree with than you might be able to figure out by watching cable or reading stuff -- there is a lot of common ground. The problem is that the two poles have moved further away.

Donald Trump has -- I've said this before. I'm going to say it again. It's important.

BALDWIN: Say it again.

CILLIZZA: Donald Trump has radicalized the right. The right is significantly more conservative and more empowered. He's not the only person who did that. The right was moving right.

The left, Donald Trump could say -- maybe the governor will disagree but Donald Trump could say tomorrow, you know what, forget health care and tax reform. Let's do infrastructure. We have crumbling roads and bridges, which is something that Democrats, if Barack Obama proposed infrastructure --


BALDWIN: President Trump says they are like --


CILLIZZA: You can blame him for poisoning the well due to his rhetoric. But at the same time, it's now incapable -- Democrats are incapable of saying anything -- everything Donald Trump says is --


BALDWIN: One quick response?

URBAN: A point on polarization. Governor, when Democrats get the lead on these things, assault weapons ban, magazine clip ban, the FBI statics show year in and year out, more people are killed with hands and fists than long guns.

We're talking about red meat and rhetoric, Democrats could dial it back just as easily.

CILLIZZA: I don't disagree. That's my point. Unfortunately, what happens --


CILLIZZA: -- is we don't have a middle -- there's a lot of middle ground here.

URBAN: Why even go with an assault weapons ban. Why don't we talk about --

BALDWIN: We can have an entire show, and I have on the whole gun conversation.

(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: So let's hit pause on that.

Let me pivot to some sound from President Trump. He's very happy that he won. He shows the electoral map. He talks about how he got to the magic number of 270. But here's the president on his life in the Oval Office.


TRUMP: There's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.

This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a -- I'm a details-oriented person, I think you would say that. But I do miss my old life. I like to work, so that's not a problem, but this is actually more work.


BALDWIN: David Urban, this is a man who you worked so hard to get elected. Is he naive to be saying maybe his inside voice shouldn't be allowed?


URBAN: No. The president -- I think people find it refreshing. I think your viewers and viewers will find it refreshing. He's telling you what he's thinking. It's what he did on the campaign trail.

BALDWIN: It sounds like what he's thinking is he misses his old life.

URBAN: No, he doesn't miss his old life. I think everyone that gets into the presidency, as Doris Kearns Goodwin said before, people find the job much more daunting.

BALDWIN: Sure. It's lonely.

URBAN: It's much more daunting. They may have not said it. They may say it to their biographer eight years later. They'll say, wow, I wasn't prepared for the scope of the government and how slow it is. But that doesn't mean the president doesn't enjoy this.

[14:55:09] GRANHOLM: I think it's fine for him to have his personal reflections be more loose, but when he's talking about a major conflict like North Korea --


GRANHOLM: I mean it's loose language.

URBAN: War on the Korean peninsula is a very possible fact.


GRANHOLM: I know. But I don't know that he gets yet how consequential the language of the president is. It's fine when he's talking about his own personal thing. But when you're talking about global and nuclear war --

URBAN: I don't see what he said that's so problematic. The North Koreans, at some point, whoever the president was, whether it's President Clinton or --


CILLIZZA: Rhetorically there's a difference, I would say, between Tillerson at the U.N. Security Council and what Trump said on North Korea.

GRANHOLM: Yes. Yes. Of course.

CILLIZZA: The government is more in favor of Tillerson --


GRANHOLM: Of course.

CILLIZZA: Donald Trump won in large part because he had never served in any office before. He can say, I'm not part of this world. The problem with that is, there's a big learning curve, to be a governor, to be a state rep, to be a member of Congress, to be president. It's hugely difficult. His challenges have made it more difficult by the fact that he had no bases and no real sense --- how could he -- any real sense of what the job was like.


CILLIZZA: And I have to admire him. At least he's being honest about it.

URBAN: The president is used to moving at the pace of business. The pace of government moves glacially. At the state --


CILLIZZA: I don't think it's just base. Being president of the United States -- he has said this -- it's not like being the head of a brand that is your company. It's a different challenge.

GRANHOLM: He sounded very unhappy. And I know a lot of people would be happy if he were happy.


URBAN: I assure you the president is not unhappy. He's happy to be there. He's honored. He's happy. You can see it. Tune in Saturday night to see more happiness.


BALDWIN: Tune in Saturday night also and we'll talk about the dinner where he'll be in Harrisburg as well.

David and Chris and Governor Granholm, thank you all so very much. Appreciate it.


BALDWIN: Let's move along. Breaking news, the Pentagon releasing new details about a raid in Afghanistan that left two U.S. Army Rangers dead during a three-hour fire fight, including the possibility that they might have been killed by friendly fire. We'll take you to the Pentagon coming up.


[15:00:02] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Breaking news here on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me.