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CNN Poll: Trump Approval Hits New Low; NYT: Report Cites Drastic Impact of Climate Change in U.S; North Korea Pushing Back Against Sanctions. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired August 8, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way to look at these numbers and to spin it and say this is good news.
[05:57:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new CNN poll showing the president's approval ratings at 38 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have Republicans right now split over whether or not they believe what is being said out of the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His base and a lot of Republicans are satisfied with what he's doing with national security.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Seventy percent of Americans tell us President Trump is too often tweeting in response to what he' watching on television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tweets have been a disaster for Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: North Korea vowing revenge against new U.N. sanctions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sanctions now have to be vigorously enforced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think military options have to be on the table.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, August 8, 6 a.m. here in New York. Here's our starting line. President Trump's approval rating at its lowest point in a brand-new CNN poll. Just 38 percent of Americans approve of how Mr. Trump is handling his job.
At six months in his presidency, the CNN poll shows erosion among the president's strongest supporters. There is also apparently widespread mistrust of the administration. Six in ten Americans do not think President Trump is honest and trustworthy. And three-quarters of Americans say they do not trust what they hear coming from the White House. CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: With the president's credibility on the
line, he isn't doing himself any favors with his tweet storms. What he chooses to tweet about and how are sources of concern. The president repeatedly attacking a Democratic senator's war record after appearing on our show yesterday and falsely claiming that the media is uncovering the sanctions against North Korea.
There's also an alarming report from government scientists from over a dozen agencies. The report concludes Americans are feeling the effects of climate change, and human activity is the primary culprit. But this contradicts claims made by President Trump in his administration. So the question begins where we started with this discussion, which is will they suppress this report from being released to the public?
We have it all covered for you. Let's start with CNN's Joe Johns live in Bridgewater, New Jersey -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
This new poll is a bleak picture for President Trump, especially because, for most presidents, this period tends to be a honeymoon with the voters, but the new CNN poll just adds to the evidence that the Russia investigation, as well as the lack of legislative accomplishments, may be taking its toll.
JOHNS (voice-over): A sobering assessment from the American people of President Trump's first six months in office. The president's job approval rating now at just 38 percent, its lowest point in CNN polling. Enthusiasm breaks against Trump, with 47 percent strongly disapproving of the job President Trump has done, compared with just a quarter who say they strongly approve.
Despite the president's assistance that support among his base is getting stronger. Our new poll shows otherwise.
Fifty-nine percent of Republicans strongly approving of the president, down 14 percentage points since February, a reality senior advisor Kellyanne Conway acknowledged this week.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: His approval rating among Republicans and conservatives and Trump voters is down slightly. It needs to go up. They are telling him just enact your program.
JOHNS: But the most alarming figure shows the White House's growing credibility crisis, an astonishing 73 percent of Americans do not trust most or all of what they hear from the White House. Nearly half of Republicans agree. Americans also weighing in on the president's use of Twitter.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is a very effective form of communication. I'm not unproud of it.
I have all these millions of people, and it's a great way to get a message out.
JOHNS: While 45 percent of Americans do think the president's tweets are effective, 72 percent believe his tweets send the wrong message to world leaders.
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I don't think that it's helpful in terms of legislation moving ahead.
JOHNS: And 70 percent say the president tweets too often in response to television news, an issue that played out in real time on Monday when President Trump tweeted about Senator Richard Blumenthal after he appeared on CNN's NEW DAY.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: That investigation must be pursued.
JOHNS: The president repeatedly attacking the Democratic senator's war record in a series of tweets throughout the day.
BLUMENTHAL: I have no idea about what is in his mind, I will not be distracted by this bullying.
JOHNS: The president also going after the "New York Times" after they published a story about Vice President Pence positioning himself for a possible run in 2020 if Trump bows out. Trump also falsely accusing the media of not covering U.N. sanctions on North Korea, after CNN covered the story extensively all weekend.
The president's tweet came at the same time Jake Tapper was reporting on the story.
JOHNS: And the president seems to be taking no time away from cable news or tweeting. He tweeted a total of 13 times just yesterday, and today for the first time during this working vacation, we do expect to see the president at an event in front of the cameras, it will be a briefing on the opioid crisis -- Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, we'll watch for that. Thank you very much.
Let's bring in our panel to discuss all this. We have CNN Politics reporter and editor at large, Chris Cillizza; CNN political analyst John Avlon; and CNN political commentator Errol Louis. Great to have all of you here this morning.
Let's tick through a couple of these major headlines in this CNN poll. So his approval rating, No. 1, is at 38 percent approval, 56 percent of respondents disapprove. That is the lowest level in the CNN poll.
Let's just look at what's happened to his approval rating in the past few months. It has dipped from where it was in February and March. It was that it's highest at 45 percent and now it's 38 percent. Here's a quick context of where other presidents were, at this point in their presidency. every president in recent memory was higher, some of them much higher, like, Kennedy, Eisenhower. Then President Trump is at, again, 38 percent. The closest person was Clinton at this time, with 44 percent.
John, your thoughts.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I mean, you know, there's no spinning your way out of this situation. This is -- these are historic lows in terms of top line. And the bottom line, the polls when you dig in is pretty devastating.
I mean, only a quarter of Americans right now believe that what they hear from the White House is true, a quarter, and barely 50 percent of Republicans. So that isn't a credibility gap. That's a credibility chasm. It's one of their own making, and it speaks to the ways he's actually diminished the office at this point. People don't believe what's coming out of the White House. That's a national tragedy, and he's responsible for it.
CUOMO: And Errol, how about you? In terms of looking at trust, the quantification of what John is saying, is that 24 percent say they believe what they heard coming out of the White House. Half of Republicans in parties, so even though he has support, you have an interesting disconnect. You have over eight in ten Republicans still say they back the president, which he should get. He should get the home team, 80, 90 percent not uncommon. But to only have half of them believe you, how do you make sense?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This is the Trump effect. We watched it through the campaign. You ask people, do you believe what this man is saying? No. Do you support him? Yes.
This is in some ways, I think, an indication of the kind of partisanship that we've seen going on, the polarization of the country. It's interesting that he falls only below Bill Clinton, because Bill Clinton in the early '90s was the start of what we now know as the modern era of polarization, where people, just because of the party, just because they're never going to believe anything the guy says or like anything that he wants to do are going to oppose it. It really is striking that you've got, like, 83 percent of Republicans supporting a president at much lower numbers, saying that they trust him, they like what he's doing.
They approve of the tweeting or that they believe what he says. You know, if all of those things are gone, but you still support the person, you've got to start asking what -- what has politics turned into in this country.
[06:05:18] CAMEROTA: Chris Cillizza, the president has talked about how his base is stronger than ever. I would say that those I've spoken to on panels that they confirm that, they feel just as strongly about him as they did on election day; but the numbers tell a different story.
So in terms of strongly approve, OK, in February, 73 percent of Republicans strongly approved of the president. A month later, it was 69 percent. Today it's 59 percent.
And let's just dig in more in a little bit more in terms of the different demographics, his approval among white non-college, voters is at 53 percent. A couple months ago, it was at 59 percent.
CUOMO: Also have to remember, he got two out of every three of those voters during the election. So that was a really, really important group for him, and they are the most wage-sensitive voters that we have, and the reason I bring that up is, job numbers used to be pilloried by the president and he is now touting, but we just haven't moved. That's going to be an inane measure for that main group. So that's a big number.
CAMEROTA: Chris, your thoughts?
CILLIZZA: Just to add one thing to Chris Cuomo's point, I looked at the jobs numbers yesterday, because the president has repeatedly tweeted that we ignore his successes. I wanted to look at job creation, because that's one that's easily measured.
Over the first seven months of this year, about 1.25 million jobs have been created. In the last -- in the seven months of 2016, 1.35 million jobs had been created. So there is positive growth, but we are not -- this is not a surge unlike that we've seen before.
One thing on the poll I want to touch on, and Alisyn, you mentioned this. The strong approval number versus the strong disapproval number. So I always look at that number, what you're seeing there in a lot of ways is base intensity. And that's how much do the people who love you and hate you love and hate you. There's a huge disparity there, strong approval numbers for the president, broadly speaking not just among Republicans but broadly speaking, are very low. Right, 24, 47. Man, you've got good graphics people.
That's a big -- that's a big problem, and it's not necessarily a huge problem right now for Donald Trump. You know who that's a big problem for? Every Republican on the ballot in 2018, because if the base of the Republican Party is not excited and enthusiastic midterm elections are almost always a battle of the two bases. And if you have a lot more enthusiasm among Democrats than among Republicans, that kind of enthusiasm gap creates big turnout problems and losses in midterm elections.
CUOMO: The big headline from this could be, if you want to be rosy about it, and I guarantee you the president's people are going to be rosy when they're looking at it. There is opportunity within this poll, because it does seem that most of the problems are self- inflicted.
When you look into the numbers, the tweeting is hurting him, not that he tweets. One of his advisers said yesterday they believe it's the most powerful political tool of the modern era, that no president has ever had a bigger hammer to swing.
However, how he's swinging it and what he's swinging at it is hurting him. Look at your screen. Too much about what's going on in the media. And remember, he blames us. He says you don't cover what matters. If you look at his tweets, he is the one who sets the tone on things that people say 70 percent of the time he shouldn't be talking about. AVLON: Yes, look, you know, he's tweeting more about attacks on the
media than he is about jobs, the military and other categories.
CUOMO: Almost combined sometimes.
AVLON: So this is a bit of, you know, wanting to play the victim.
CUOMO: A correctable error.
AVLON: Sure, of course it is, but first, look, anyone who is trying to find good news in this poll, it's like that old Ronald Reagan joke, you know, there must be a pony in here somewhere, because you know, this is -- this is a bad poll in almost every way. And yes, you can say if we're down to 38 percent in six months, only way to go is up except maybe if you fall down another five, ten points. There's probably a floor here somewhere is a more accurate metaphor. Chris, one second.
The other point I make is that it's very easy to say, "Look, the president shouldn't be tweeting." And from a national perspective, from an administration perspective, sure, that's the right thing. But I'd argue, especially from a citizen perspective, we want the president to keep tweeting.
AVLON: Because it's a way for us to see exactly what he's thinking in real time.
CUOMO: Never had access like this to a president's inner workings.
AVLON: And even if actually, the results are actually quite disturbing, it helps us in the media and as citizens hold him accountable.
CUOMO: Chris, you have a point?
CILLIZZA: To Chris Cuomo's point about that this is a correctable problem. I mean, in theory it's a correctable problem, but we know -- I mean, I think we know that this is not -- Donald Trump isn't going to change his stripes.
[06:10:03] He is not suddenly going to stop tweeting. He is not suddenly going to take the high road in all these situations. He is a 71-year-old man. This is who he is. I mean, I think we need to -- should he? Clearly, the polls suggest he should tweet less about things he sees on cable news, but that's not new. It's not as though most people have said, "Man, I love all these tweets about cable news prior." This is something that he could change it, he's just not going to.
CUOMO: I'm just saying within the poll, you're doing these things that are getting you in trouble.
CILLIZZA: Oh, sure. CUOMO: You have people who are relatively sanguine about their lives. The confidence base within this poll for people is pretty good. It's nice to have a positive status quo as a president, and you have a big hunger for change, a nice combination of effects, but again, these are self-inflicted wounds.
LOUIS: That's right. Even if you gave the feed over to some other people to add more stuff to it, so he could continue tweeting about Rosie O'Donnell, whatever he wants to talk about, but make sure that the story of the day, the story of the week, the good stats that you want to promote that there's some kind of a coherent story that's being told.
CAMEROTA: On that point, the story of the day yesterday, if you followed his tweets, seemed to be his feud with Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut.
CUOMO: In real time. As he would speak on the show here, he would tweet about him.
CAMEROTA: And then the president would tweet. And the president's line of attack is curious, because he's going after the misstatements that Senator Blumenthal made about his own military record, where he seemed to get when he was in Vietnam.
President Trump also has an interesting background in terms of deferment, five -- four or five deferments, lack of military service. Why go after an opponent who did end up serving in the Marine reserve, when you did not do that yourself?
LOUIS: Well, this is -- this is the Trump style, right? This is how he dispatched, you know, still over a dozen Republican opponents in the primaries last year. What he does is try and get inside your head, try to make you -- sort of brand you as something very, very negative, sort of make everybody believe and make you maybe half believe it yourself, try and quiet you down a little bit; and the fact that he appears to be a hypocrite, the fact that he got these deferments. And it seems to have not impeded his ability to walk every golf course in America, or at least every Trump golf course, seem to make any difference at all. That's not what this is about. He's not trying to lay out a factual case against Senator Blumenthal or anybody else.
CUOMO: It just spins him in the wrong direction. And I get it. You know, Blumenthal is vulnerable. You lied about something.
CAMEROTA: So is President Trump.
CUOMO: He didn't lie about his service record. He just didn't serve. And certainly, I could say that doesn't give him high ground. It's a subjective argument.
But again, on a day where he could have been celebrating 200 days as president and flagging all of his different pluses, he attacked a senator, who isn't even really highly relevant to the president directly, and he did it, and he did it again and and again. And it's not the first time.
The last time he attacked a senator for coming on the show, he got it wrong about whether or not we asked him about his military record. Yesterday, he was upset about the senator, and he got it wrong about us covering North Korea. It gets him out of sorts.
AVLON: Of course it gets him out of sorts, but that's his natural mode. And look, it's...
CUOMO: Out of sorts? That's when he's in his zone?
AVLON: That's when he's in his zone is when he's out of zone. It's great to know the president is watching. That's a great thing. But hypocrisy, we're well beyond hypocrisy being a characteristic. And again, on the subject of Vietnam, the president said that, you know, sex in the 1970s was his own personal Vietnam.
CAMEROTA: On that note, panel, stick around.
CUOMO: Avlon loves that line, by the way. He'll use it any chance he can get.
All right. Up next, much more is in this CNN poll. Americans feelings about the president, and why he has fallen short on his biggest campaign promises. The big question will be, will the president do anything different? Will he follow Kellyanne's advice and get back to his agenda? We'll discuss next.
[06:17:38] CUOMO: All right, there are troubling numbers for the Trump administration in our new CNN poll, and by the way, these aren't even the worst numbers to come out in a poll recently.
CNN's numbers put in about a middle to better picture of reality for the president. Thirty-six percent of Americans consider the administration's first six months a success. Specifically, they say President Trump is lagging on the key issues that propelled him to the White House, immigration, taxes, health care.
Let's bring back our panel: Chris Cillizza, John Avlon, Errol Louis.
Chris Cillizza, I didn't say it, but it looms large in this poll. Don't talk about the job numbers, says his base. Talk about wages, and the economic reality is wage growth is stagnating. Trump hit that heavy and often in the campaign. It is haunting him right now.
CILLIZZA: I mean, I always say that, if the economy is not great or people don't feel like the economy is great, every other issue doesn't really matter.
That's been the case well before "It's the economy, stupid," in the 1992 campaign, but that I think crystalized it for folks, so yes. Issues that hit people every day, day in, day out, we know politically speaking we have the biggest ramifications on how they vote. So the economy the other number I saw there, Chris, that I'd be
worried about if I was Donald Trump or Republicans, 31-62 on health care, approve/disapprove. Health care is an issue. Barack Obama learned that lesson in 2010 and, frankly, in 2014 as did a lot of Democrats who lost.
Health care is an issue that touches people, if not daily, weekly, monthly, it is an issue that they are affected by in ways that foreign policy, for example, they don't feel affected by day in and day out.
So that number on health care, particularly given what his mandate was, get elected. He ran every single speech, had at the top of it, repeal and replace health care. I think it is very unlikely that comes to pass. Polling would suggest people don't even want that to come to pass at this point, so Republicans are kind of caught betwixt and between there.
But economy and health care, jobs, wages, pay attention to polling on that the most, because I think those are the things that people we know historically vote on, as opposed to just tell a pollster how they feel about.
CAMEROTA: Errol, here's what I believe the White House would say about that, which is that it's Congress's fault. Health care is Congress's fault. He wanted repeal and replacement. They couldn't get it done after seven years. If you look at his tweets, that's what he hits hard.
[06:20:12] And in terms of the economy, what the White House would say is the stock market is going gangbusters, breaking records every single day, and the jobless numbers are at the lowest that they've been in decades and that they want credit for some of that.
LOUIS: Well, that's right. Look, he's got a story to tell, the administration has a good story to tell at this point. Whether or not they actually made this happen or not, we'll let everybody else figure out.
What they do have to worry about, though, is that if the downturn happens, you're going to see a cascading effect, because a lot of these -- these issues, you go through them one by one. But they're really the economy, asked you know, four or five different ways. And if you're not making enough, then all of a sudden, health care goes from bad to catastrophic. Housing goes from difficult to impossible.
Immigration starts to trickle in, because you start to wonder, "Hey, maybe I'm not making enough because of those immigrants" or something like that, and then you start to see a much deeper sort of political problem. So the fact that they're at parity, the fact that the stock market is at record highs, the fact that they are, in fact, creating jobs, well, that's, you know, that's the way the pollsters ask it, but really, what they're asking about is are these good jobs? Is it changing your life? Does it enable you to cover the bills, help your family, and do all the things you always wanted to do.
CUOMO: Is it what you promised? You know, the context matters. We know the White House is going to say that about Congress, because they did. Kellyanne came out and said his numbers are down. We blame Congress.
You had congressmen come on yesterday, saying, "It ain't us. Show some leadership." So they have their own political battle there, but the economic reality, I think, is much more pushing. They tried this immigrant argument last week.
CUOMO: They tried to say the immigrants are taking your jobs. There is no strong economic data to suggest that, but they are not being for minimum wage in this administration speaks to that, them not pushing businesses to deal with wage structures, that speaks to that.
AVLON: And look I think you're making an important point that, given the president's populist tone throughout the campaign, beyond the simply demonizing of the other to create a coalition, these folks, he said he'd focus on wages. Those haven't grown.
But let's just, you know, the president's impulse has been, if a poll is bad, it's fake news. But I think what's interesting about this -- this breakdown, is it shows something in common sense that has to resonate with the White House.
First of all, the only thing he's not underwater on is national security. Second strongest is the economy. Objectively, these are the two areas where he seems to be getting the most credit from the American people, and he's doing best.
His national security team, even senators who disagree with him, will acknowledge has been excellent. Jim Mattis at defense, McMaster at National Security Council second time around and now Kelly; he was in homeland. That's a very strong line-up, and he's getting credit for it from the American people.
The economy also doing well under the president, but it's still underwater in that number. So this shows the people recognizing the strengths and the many weaknesses of this administration.
CAMEROTA: So, Chris, that brings us to this new report. It's about climate change. It is described as sweeping, comprehensive. It has been signed off on by 13 federal agencies. It shows one of the conclusions is that climate change is happening. It's happening faster than some models. It is dangerous the amount of the temperature that will increase over the next years.
CUOMO: We're doing it.
CAMEROTA: That human -- human activity is conclusively behind it. So That's not how the Trump administration sees climate change, at least not from what they've shared with us. I mean, as you know, the president said he believes there's some connectivity to human activity, whatever that means.
CILLIZZA: Yes. CAMEROTA: So this is only a draft report. "The New York Times"
obtained a copy of it. We have the reporter on our program later on in the show. So the question is, what does the Trump administration do about this new report?
CILLIZZA: Well, two things, Alisyn. One, he has been very vague about his views on it, on climate change and whether it's manmade. I mean, he has sort of said, "I don't know. It could be, might not."
I think it's telling that this report was leaked out for fear that it would be suppressed otherwise. I think that speaks to the chilling effect that you see in some of the fearfulness that you see within the broader government bureaucracy, as it relates to the ideology and belief system of the Trump administration.
We don't usually focus on stuff like that. We focus on the president and his inner circle, but the way in which they conduct their business has a broad effect on agencies that we don't hear about every day, and issues like this, that are obviously of critical import. How do they handle it?
CILLIZZA: Well, it's now out there, so it makes it more difficult for them to not talk about it. You know, my guess is to say they will say, "Well, we were always going to release this, that you know, this is a problem with leaks," and they'll go there, because that's ground that is very consistent with what he believes and wants to focus on.
CUOMO: I would listen for the phrases "deep state" and "Obama scientists" to be used to explain some of this.
[06:25:09] CAMEROTA: All right, panel, thank you very much for all of the perspectives.
Let's get to this top story. North Korea seething over the latest U.N. sanctions accusing the U.S. of trying to start a nuclear war. So we have a live report for you next.
CAMEROTA: North Korea pushing back against tough new U.N. sanctions. The reclusive regime accusing the U.S. of trying to start a war. North Korea's foreign minister telling -- foreign minister saying that North Korea will not put its nuclear program on the negotiating table under any circumstances. Will Ripley is live for us in Beijing with more -- Will.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, here in Beijing, China, being North Korea's largest trading partner by far, they have said just within the last few hours, they are prepared to pay a financial price for this punishing round of economic sanctions, a $1 billion economic assault on the North Korean regime by Kim Jong-un.