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New Polling Indicates Low Approval Ratings for President Trump; Analysts Examines President Poll Numbers. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired August 8, 2017 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: They don't like what it will mean for caps on American business that will disadvantage them, you know, again businesses abroad. It seems to be more about the implications of the science rather than their rational basis for disputing the science itself, is it not?

LISA FRIEDMAN, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That's certainly an argument that folks have made, absolutely. The real concern comes when you say, if you accept this science, what happens next? There are, of course, many folks in the climate community, scientists and others, who say that addressing climate change, you know, won't bring -- will bring economic opportunities as well as obviously some pain. The, you know, conservatives, you know, looking at the possibilities of what to do to address climate change look at the landscape and say this is going to hurt our communities. That's a debate that's raging and ongoing and far from being resolved.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Lisa, thank you very much for sharing the conclusions in your reporting with us here on NEW DAY.

FRIEDMAN: Thanks so much for having me.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news this morning, so let's getting right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no way to look at these numbers and spin it and say this is good news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new CNN poll showing the president's approval rating at just 38 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have Republicans right now split on 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And 70 percent of Americans tell us President Trump is too obvious tweeting in response to what he's 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 been to be vigorously enforced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think military options have to be on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, August 8th, 8:00 in the east.

President Trump's approval rating hits its lowest point yet. In a brand-new CNN poll, just 38 percent of Americans approve of how the president is handling his job at six months into the term. The poll also finds that an astounding number of Americans not trust what they hear from the White House.

CUOMO: So with the president's credibility on the line, he's not doing himself any favors apparently with his frequent tweets storms. Case in point, the repeated attacks on a Democratic senator, Richard Blumenthal, while on NEW DAY, going after the senator's war record instead of dealing with the issue. So what is the virtue of these numbers? What is the chance for change? We've got it all covered.

Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns is live in Bridgewater, New Jersey, which is not a vacation, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Not a vacation, and I've got to tell you, Chris, when you look at these numbers, it is pretty clear the president has a problem, and it's in stark contrast to most if not all of the other presidents during the age of modern polling. During the first 200 days most of them experience a honeymoon with the voters. But the Russia investigation as well as the lack of legislative accomplishments with this administration so far seem to be taking their toll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: 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 insistence that support among his base is getting stronger, our new poll shows otherwise -- 59 percent of Republicans strongly approving of the president, down 14 percentage points since February, a reality senior divorce Kellyanne Conway acknowledged this week.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: His approval rating among Republicans and conservative 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 agreeing. 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 un-proud 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.

[08:05:12] SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: That investigation must be pursued.

JOHNS: The president repeatedly attacking the Democratic senator's war report 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 sanctions on North Korea after CNN covered the story extensively all weekend. The president's tweet came at the same time that Jake Tapper was reporting on the story.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: And the president continues to watch television news, also continues to tweet, 13 tweets yesterday, four so far this morning, including one talking about his briefing on the opioid crisis, which will occur later today. That will be the first time we have seen the president on this working vacation, Chris and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll obviously be looking for that. Joe, thank you very much.

So let's bring in our panel now to discuss this. We have CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza, CNN political analysts David Drucker and Karoun Demirjian. Great to see all of you.

David Drucker, let's just look at the headlines from this poll. I think it bears repeating. So President Trump's approval rating is at only at 38 percent. It's always good to get some historical context of where his predecessors were at this time in their administration, so let's pull up that poll, because what you can see is the person closest to him was actually Bill Clinton. In 1993 he was at only 44 percent, but then some of them, Kennedy, Eisenhower had soaring highs of 75 percent, 73 percent. What do you see in all of this?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there are a couple of interesting findings in the poll. And I think the comparison is good because it tells you both the danger that Trump and his party faces but also shows you there's time for recovery. Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996, but his party was shellacked in 1994 in that famous Republican resurgence grabbed control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

Two things about the CNN poll. One, his numbers with Republicans and non-college-educated whites are down. That means he's hurting with the Republican Party broadly. He's only at 83 percent. He really should be up around 90 percent. And non-college-educated whites, which we consider to be Trump's core enthusiastic base, also has a lower opinion of him.

The one thing that jumped out at me in addition to that was can Trump manage the government? With Republicans and independent-leaning conservatives who lean independent, or independents, they look at his ability to manage the government at just 50 percent. And if you look at what Trump was billed as and what he's sold himself as, was he was going to get to Washington and he was going to run the place better. So much of the problem was stupid leader who make dumb decisions. And this means that the chaos coming out of the White House periodically over the past six months, not just in the past few weeks, is taking a toll. And Trump really has to right the ship. Part of that gets to how he communicates, but part of that get to his failure to negotiate, negotiate big legislative deals, and negotiate a level on foreign policy in a way that makes Americans comfortable that he knows that he's doing.

CUOMO: I was just reading a pollster's take on this, Karoun, Trump has had to work to get these bad numbers because he has got people who are basically sanguine about the state of the world. When you look at the status quo numbers in here they're pretty good relatively. He's got a good stock market, he's got good job growth, and this is his honeymoon period as president. Do you agree with that, that this is a function of self-inflicted wounds?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Many of Trump's wounds are certainly self-inflicted, some because of the way he tweets about members of his own administration and various things that are happening around him in Washington, some just because there's a tension between Trump and Capitol Hill, and he needs Congress to be able to enact much of the agenda that he's put forward. But he's not really a details guy and hasn't always been in the thick of things as his party tries to figure out where they stand on these various issues.

But there's something else that I just noticed about the comparison you put up to the other presidents. If you look, since the '60s you have seen the numbers guess worse and worse and worse in approval ratings. So part of it is certainly self-inflicted, part of it also is a reflection of the partisanship that exists in this country that is getting worse and worse. We talk about this in the Capitol Hill context all the time, but it's pervasive thing across the country. But he doesn't necessarily have a lot of good will to lose, and he has spent a lot of maybe what he came in, because things have not gone well and because of the tenor with which he's approached the presidency rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.

CAMEROTA: Chris Cillizza, one of the most striking if not the most striking part of this new poll is the truth level that Americans have of this White House.

[08:10:02] Do you truth what you hear coming from the White House, was the question. Only 24 percent said yes. That is just so striking. Even Republicans say they're not believing the White House messaging. It's as though people have just kind of accept that you're not going to be able to believe what sort of comes out of the White House press office or the president's statements.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, EDITOR AT LARGE, CNN POLITICS: Yes. And Alisyn, I would argue that a lot of people accepted that in the election and voted for Donald Trump. If you look at -- in 2016 exit polling, if you look at that question, do you think that Donald Trump is honest and trustworthy, they asked that of Clinton and Trump, you're going to get about two-thirds, somewhere between 60 percent and 65 percent. I'm getting old so my memory fails me, but it's in that range of people who said he was not honest and trustworthy. He won the election. That is stunning.

So what conclusion do we draw from that? I think the conclusion we draw is that moth people, certainly lots and lots and lots of Republicans believe all politicians are fundamentally liars. Everyone in Washington lies and you can't trust them. And this goes to the point that David Drucker made, which is really important. That's why management is so important for Donald Trump. He in some ways gets a pass from many of his supporters about the honest and trustworthy thing because they dismiss it.

But can you make deals? Can you make the government run more effectively? Does your business experience, as you promised, make it so that you're going to be a better president? The first six months, 200 days, whatever marker we're using, has not been reflective of what he promised on the campaign trail. That to me -- I know this is strange because we teach our kids to be honest and trustworthy, but can he manage the government question I think matters more to his own electoral future than the honest and trustworthy question because I'm not sure anyone thought he was terribly honest and trustworthy.

CUOMO: Brownstein will tell you all day that if he wants to keep the base he has to get the base up. The job number, the stock market, those are things that the president pilloried during the campaign because for the hardworking man and woman it's about your wages, they've stagnated. Will he get that done?

But there's a different component here, David, in terms of why are these numbers so bad. One theory that we heard from Matt Schlapp from the American Conservative Union is because of us, because the coverage is so negative that it has oozed over the president and colored perceptions of him. The other is, no, it's because of what he does on social media. He is driving the negativity by creating narratives that are often false or misleading or worse, or attacking and he's engendering negativity. The poll reflects the latter, that his tweets, 70 percent, they don't think they're good for him.

DRUCKER: I love Matt, but if we were that influential, then a lot of things in politics would look different. When I talk to Republican voters, and I've spent a lot of time asking Republicans how do they feel about the president's tweets and behavior versus HIS agenda, what they have told med and what they have told a lot of us is they like the president's agenda, they don't regret their vote, because the alternative was Hillary Clinton as president, but they don't like the tweets. They don't like the weird antics and behavior, and they would like the president to do what he promised and be a leader.

CUOMO: Kellyanne said the same thing, by the way.

DRUCKER: And that was key because when she goes on television, Trump's favorite venue for information, and says something like that acknowledging the legitimacy of the polling, you know she's trying to send a message. What Trump has to be careful of is that outside of whatever percentage of his base will never go away, and we now it's a little bit fungible based on the most recent polling, there is a universe of Republicans that were always skeptical of him and that they have a shelf life with all of this stuff. They want to see him succeed, but if he doesn't get it done and continues to act in a way that is not presidential with the tweeting and all of that, eventually they'll wash their hands of him and at least in 2018 say I gave Republicans control of government, I gave it to President Trump who delivered nothing. I think I have got better things to do today, and that is going to be a problem for his party in 2018.

CAMEROTA: Karoun, just to put a finer point on a couple of the numbers and the poll that we should show people, 72 percent of respondents believe that the tweets send the wrong message to world leaders, not just domestically, about eclipsing the agenda here, it's to world leaders. And yesterday, you know, obviously there was a tweet storm after Senator Richard Blumenthal was on our program, President Trump was tweeting in real time criticisms of Senator Blumenthal, particularly what he had said was his war record, which of course is confusing again because Donald Trump doesn't have the most illustrious military service record.

DEMIRJIAN: Well, Twitter does go to an international audience as long as the Internet is open and free in every other country that you're talking about reading them. And, you know, it's both the leaders of those countries that are reading that and the people of those countries that are reading that, informing their own impressions. And we've never done diplomacy in 140 characters or less at a time.

So, this is just kind of a new sort of environment that we're in as we're having Twitter be a medium not to spur, you now, controlled communications from the president to the rest of the world, but very genuine and sometimes impulsive ones as well. CILLIZZA: Guys, can I just say one quick thing?

CAMEROTA: Yes?

CILLIZZA: I know we have to go, but can I say one quick thing? Because it drives me insane.

We cover what the president says and does. That's what we cover. So, when you presidents tweets things, he's the president. So, yes, we cover it just like if the president put out a statement, we would cover it.

This idea that somehow we are responsible for Donald Trump's actions, we cover the president. He's the most powerful politician person in the country.

CAMEROTA: Right, but he's saying we're responsible for the bad poll numbers, because we cover too much negativity. We don't cover all the positive things that he wants us to be covering about what he's done.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: Look at his.

CUOMO: What if he talked about them more.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: Look at his Twitter feed. What his Twitter feed suggests is what he cares about. What is the dominant -- we've run graphics day after day after day, what is the dominant theme? The media and that the Russian investigation is a hoax, and then personal attacks on fill in the blank politician.

CAMEROTA: You know what?

CILLIZZA: I mean --

CAMEROTA: I'm going to let that hang there, Chris Cillizza.

CUOMO: Chris Cillizza with the point.

CAMEROTA: I know.

Thank you very much, panel.

All right. So, President Trump tweeting that he plans to hold a major briefing this afternoon that will affect lots of people and people will be very interested in. It's going to be with the Health and Human Secretary Tom Price and it's about the opioid crisis. The president calls it a major problem for our country.

It is something that the Nashville Mayor Megan Barry knows all too well, as she mourns the death of her 22-year-old Max. And he died last week of drug overdose. The mayor vows to become a voice in fighting the opioid crisis. Listen to her describe the knock on her door at 3:00 a.m. when a police officers came to her home to deliver the news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MEGAN BARRY (D), NASHVILLE: He told me that Max had passed away, and he had to repeat it several times, because that was not what my brain could hear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Mayor Barry's son spent a month in a rehab facility in Florida last year.

CUOMO: And the mayor making her story known. Just to repeat something that has become painfully obvious. No one is immune from this scourge. I've been involved with this for about 30 years, and nobody in the community has ever seen anything like what opioids are doing.

Good for the president to make a move on it with this commission. Let's see what he does today.

Now, another headline for you -- there are reports that Google has fired the male engineer who wrote an anti-diversity memo, suggesting women are not biologically fit for tech roles. It contends women don't make up half of the company's tech and leadership positions because of differences in preferences and abilities, not sexism.

Google's CEO condemning the memo saying it advances harmful stereotypes in the workplace.

CAMEROTA: Listen to this story -- people who live in mega mansions in an exclusive San Francisco are fighting back after an enterprising couple buys their entire private street. Tina Lim (ph) and Michael Chang (ph) snatched of presidio terrace at auction for about 90 grand? That's it? In 2015?

CUOMO: How does that square with the mega mansions?

CAMEROTA: I don't know. The homeowners association not realizing there was an outstanding tax bill dating back to the 1980s. Lim (ph) and Chang (ph) now want to cash in, possibly by forcing the homeowners to pay for parking privileges on their own street. Wow.

CUOMO: So, they bought the street from the municipality.

CAMEROTA: Right, because it had a tax burden.

CUOMO: So, now they own the actual --

CAMEROTA: The street. Wait, what happens --

CUOMO: One of the homes on the streets is worth $17 million. But you don't own the street. The municipality does, and now they own it.

CAMEROTA: You have to pay to park.

CUOMO: I don't know. That's got litigation written all over it, but it's funny.

CAMEROTA: We'll keep you posted.

CUOMO: All right. We got new polling for your this morning that is just driving the news cycle, with good reason. It is the first solid reckoning that we see the president may have trouble with his base, and it's self-inflicted. How deep is this problem? What is the fix?

Let's talk to one of the president's supporters, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:23:23] CUOMO: CNN's new national poll paints a stark picture of the Trump administration's credibility. And it is in crisis. Only one in four Americans say they trust most of what they hear from the White House. Even within the president's own party, he's annual only 50/50 when it comes to credibility. And look at that, honesty and trustworthy, 60 percent no.

What does the White House do with these numbers? How did they turn it around?

Let's discuss with Republican Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.

How are you doing?

REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: I'm well, Chris. How are you?

CUOMO: All right. So, how do you interpret these numbers? What do they mean in terms of what the White House needs to do?

DUFFY: Well, first off, take a step back. And if we believe polls, we would note that we would have Hillary Clinton getting 300 electoral votes and she would be president of the United States if we believe the polls the day before the election.

So, with that said, I do think we have to read into these polls. And I hear what you've talked about in the show this morning in your poll that a lot of Americans, including Republicans, don't like Twitter or they think he tweets too much. I hear that. I spent at weekend at fairs, just did a town hall yesterday. His most ardent supporters will tell me that very same thing.

They don't want him to get rid of the Twitter, but they want him to be a little more judicious in how he uses it. But you have to note that the president -- I mean, there's been a steady stream of leaks that have come from the deep state, from the West Wing itself. He's had a lot of negative stories that have come from the media, and it's been relentless.

I got to tell you, the guy has a backbone of steel, and I think that he's at where he is in your poll is a testament to how strong he is with his base. And if I could just make one other point, Chris, this is a national poll. If you look at my state and the area of my state where I come from, I'm telling you what, people haven't left him. [08:25:03] I had -- I had a cutout of Donald Trump in our Republican

booth. I had streams of people coming in, wanting to take pictures with Donald Trump in the cutout. I've been in that booth for years. I've never seen as much activity and excitement as I saw this weekend here in Wausau, Wisconsin.

So, I think, though the way we are in Wisconsin is similar to Michigan and Minnesota that Trump almost won, in Pennsylvania and Ohio, West Virginia, that excitement still exists, but again, we start to have -- we have to start having some wins.

We can't say we're going to be great and do great things, but not repeal and replace Obamacare. We cannot have tax reform done. We have to get the big items across the finish line. And that's less about Trump and more about the Congress.

CUOMO: Well, you've got a few different things to play here, right? You got your big ticket items as you say, having been delivered in this administration. You have a president who is now touting what it used to pillory, the stock market numbers and what's good on on Wall Street.

This president used to say, who cares? This is about the working man and woman. How are wages doing?

Wages are going to be a problem. He can celebrate the stock market all he wants.

Then there's the third point -- 75 percent, certainly over 70 percent in every metric we see in the poll, it's not just the tweeting, it's not surrendering the me to the we, that this president seems obsessed with himself and what matters to him. And that's what he tweets about and that's who he attacks, and he's not thinking about the American people who put him there enough. Fair criticism?

DUFFY: Your last point first. I would tell you the people I see would say Donald Trump cares more about me, and my family and my job and policies that affect me than any president that I can remember. That's why he's done so well with the Rust Belt, with the average income American who's fighting to have a shot at the American dream. They feel like Donald Trump and they still feel like Donald Trump is looking out for them.

CUOMO: Did they say why?

(CROSSTALK)

DUFFY: -- wage growth.

Listen, look at is rally in West Virginia. I think they look at border security. They look at trying to crush ISIS, growing your military, trying to fix health care, trying to fix taxes, reduce regulation. Those things when Donald Trump talks about them, he talks about them, you know, in a space that is relatable to the average American. And you've got to look at what's happened to Democrats. I mean, you

have this coastal elite party that's left the middle class alone. You can look to the RNC as evidence by this, Chris. The RNC has raised twice as much money as Barack Obama did in the first six months that he was in the White House, and these are small dollar contributions that are coming in to the RNC. Usually, Republicans don't get small dollar contributions, you get a little bigger contributions, but it's interesting to see how excited the small dollar contributor is to Donald Trump.

But in regard to wage growth, I think that's important. And you have to see people's lives get better. And I just -- I did a roundtable yesterday with business leaders over at Hudson, part of my district, a suburb of Minneapolis St. Paul, and unemployment is down at 3.1 percent. Wage growth is incredible. People are making with no skill anywhere from, you know, $12 to $16 an hour, because there's so much competitive -- so much competition for this labor force amongst a group of people who can't find people to come in and fill the jobs in their businesses.

So, what's happening in my district I think is going to start happening around the country, as labor tightens, wages are going to rise.

CUOMO: As labor tightens, wages are going to rise. Maybe, maybe not. I mean, you would have to do things affirmatively within the corporate space to encourage them to pay workers more, which we all know, all capitalists are the same, right? We want to make as much money as possible, which means we keep our costs as low as possible. That's why they shipped so many jobs overseas, that's why they lean so heavily on innovation.

What do you have in the agenda to stop that or change it?

DUFFY: Well, think that's a little bit unfair. I think when people want to make money, they need to make money with a great workforce. And the way you get a great workforce is you pay a great salary. And --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Or you ship jobs overseas and turn to innovation. That's what we've seen happen.

DUFFY: We have. And that goes to tax reform. We have a tax system, Chris, that incentivizes American businesses to leave our country, where they were doing business, and manufacture somewhere else.

This is crazy the way the American tax system works. Let's fix it so it works like the rest of the world, so we can incentivize business not to go overseas but to come back home.

CUOMO: Any timing on the plan for that?

(CROSSTALK)

DUFFY: And that is -- what's that?

CUOMO: Any timing on the plan out of the White House or from Congress on how to do that?

DUFFY: On tax reform. You know, it's gotten more challenging since we didn't get Obamacare done, but talking to the speaker a couple of days ago, and, you know, his hope is we get it done by deer hunting season. What that means in Wisconsin is by Thanksgiving, Chris.

But this the Ways and Means Committee, the House and Senate have been working on this for years, but, you know, specifically and like a laser for the last, you know, eight months, trying to plan for different alternatives that will happen with health care reform, whether it happen or not.