Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Gives Press Conference on Air Force One; Trump Talks Tax Reform with Reporters; Trump Repeats Both Sides Comment on Charlottesville. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired September 14, 2017 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Well, we know now that the president has made news on multiple fronts on the Senator Scott meeting, hurricane Irma, Iran, Republicans, DACA all on board of Air Force One as he was heading from his trip down to Florida.

So here is the president.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you think Florida?

TRUMP: I think the governor has done a great job. I think the federal government working with state and local has really done a terrific job. Now the Keys, we've just gotten words on the Keys. That was just wiped out. That was a hurricane 5 hit it but we're getting tremendous amounts of supplies and medical and a lot of other things out to the Keys. But for the most part, the electric is going back on. It's already on in certain locations like Miami. But it's going back on a daily basis. We have masses of -- massive amounts of electricians, massive amounts of electrical workers all over the state. They came from all over the country. They came from Canada, as far away as Canada. There's never been a mobilization of electrical workers like we have in the state of Florida and it's going very, very rapidly. Much of it is already on.

[15:35:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Virgin Islands?

TRUMP: I'll be going to the Virgin Islands this next week as you know as the United Nations. I'm going to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico sometime the end of next week or the following week. I spoke to both governors. We've got it very well covered. Virgin Islands was really hit. They were hit about as hard as I've ever seen, but the Virgin Islands were hit. But I'll be going there at the end of the week or the beginning of the following week. I'll also be going to Puerto Rico the same day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United Nations next week?

TRUMP: A review of what? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iran deal.

TRUMP: You'll see what I'm going to be doing very shortly in October, but I will say this. The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I've ever seen. Certainly, at a minimum the spirit of the deal is just atrociously kept, but the Iran deal is not -- is not a fair deal to this country. It's a deal that should have never, ever been made and you'll see what we're doing in a couple of weeks. It's going to be -- it's going to be in October.


TRUMP: We'll see. You're going to see, but we are not going to stand for what they are doing to this country. They have violated so many different elements, but they've also violated the spirit of that deal and you will see what we'll be doing in October. It will be very evident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to Republicans who are reaching out to Democrats and say what's going on?

TRUMP: Well, many Republicans really like it. As you know, I was with a great Republican representative just now who you know very well, and -- two of them, and they are very, very happy with what I'm doing. And I'm a Republican through and through, but I'm also finding that sometimes to get things through it's not working that way and, you know, we got very poorly treated on the health care plan, and now you see what's happening where people are going single payer, exactly what I said would happen. And single payer would be a terrible thing for our country.

So, I am -- my relationship with the Republicans is excellent. Many of them agree with what I'm doing. You just saw Mario, you know who I'm talking about. We just met with two great Republican representatives who love what I'm doing, but we have to get things passed. If we can't get things passed, then we have to go a different route, but we have to get things passed. You've covered my statement very accurately on the dinner last night and, you know, they cannot obstruct for a wall because we definitely need a wall. I just spoke, by the way, to the president of Mexico and as you know, it's been impossible to reach him because of the -- he was in the mountains where they had the earthquake and there was no cell.

We spoke yesterday but the phone connection never got put together because he had no access to cell. But we just had a good talk, just got finished with him, and that whole earthquake is terrible. It's just terrible. So, we paid our respects. He, likewise, also paid his respects with respect to Irma and Harvey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I ask you, what's your response to Mnuchin seeking a government plane?

TRUMP: I don't know anything about it. I just heard about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it's inappropriate? TRUMP: I doubt he would do -- I've known him a long time. He is a

very straight shooter so it could be that he used a plane and he's paying for it. I don't know anything about it. I just heard about it a little while ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel confident in Mnuchin?

TRUMP: Total confidence. I've known him for a long time. He's a very honorable man.


TRUMP: I have confidence in Gary, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Tim Scott, when you go back to the hill and suggest to reporters there, he expressed frustration about the way that you handled the aftermath at Charlottesville. Were those things discussed?

TRUMP: Yes, they were. We had a great meeting. Tim Scott's been a friend of mine for a long time. I've been a supporter of his when I was a civilian. I was one of his earlier supporters and I supported him when he ran. We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you take a look at what's going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said.

[15:40:00] Now because of what's happened since then with Antifa, you look at really, you know, what's happened since Charlottesville. A lot of people are saying -- in fact, a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. Dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said. Now because of what's happened since then with Antifa, you look at really, you know, what's happened since Charlottesville. A lot of people are saying -- in fact, a lot of people have actually written, gee, Trump might have a point. I said, you've got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true. But we had a great --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he ask you?

TRUMP: We had a great conversation and he also has legislation which I actually like very much. The concept of which I support to get people going into certain areas and building and constructing and putting people to work, and I told him yesterday, that's a concept I could support very easily.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he ask you to make any bring ranking African- Americans to the inner circle?

TRUMP: We did talk about that, Yes. And, by the way, it's something I do, but it's something I said we would continue to do, and we did talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you make some promises in that regard?

TRUMP: I would do it. I told him I would do it. And he knows me. Let me tell you, he knows we've already done it, but I told him and I told him very strongly, I like that. And I also like very much legislation having to do with jobs in certain areas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mark Schwartz said the other day that the Obamacare process, that you can't count on members of your own party. To get your legislation across the goal line. Is that true? Do you share that?

TRUMP: I'll give you a great example. So, we had a surprise from John McCain and we had -- and then John McCain, he came out of nowhere. And we had a surprise. It was a very unpleasant surprise. And now what are we looking at? We have people now talking about single payer, and that's what we get. So, the Republicans have to stick together better. They have the votes and then John McCain changed his mind, pure and simple.

And if the Republicans don't stick together, then I'm going to have to do more and more. By the way, the Republican party agrees with me. The people out there definitely agree with me. If they're unable to stick together, then I'm going to have to get a little help from the Democrats and I've got that. I'll tell you. For the tax bill, I would be very surprised if I don't have at least a few Democrats. I have states that I won by 30 points and more where they have people running, and frankly I think and I get the impression that they very much like the ideas of this tax plan. We'll be submitting on the week of the 25th a detailed -- most people know about the plan in terms of the details, but we'll actually be opening up the week of the 25th and I think it's going to be something that's going to be very successful and I do believe we'll have some Democratic votes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most Democrats have said if the 1 percent gets the tax cut they will be against it. Can you confirm whether or not the 1 percent will get a tax cut.

TRUMP: This is not a plan for the rich. This is a plan for the middle class and this is a plan for jobs and this is a plan to bring $4 trillion back into the United States. And people have wanted to do for years, both Democrat and Republican. For years they've wanted to bring that money back into the United States. This is a plan to bring -- it could be more than 4 trillion. Frankly, nobody really knows what the number is. They've been saying for years it's 2.5 trillion, but that was -- for four years I've been hearing that. Obviously, it is' much more. I think it's anywhere between 4 and $5 trillion, could be much more than that. We'll be bringing that back into the United States. I will have tremendous Democrat support and Republican support for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will it be revenue neutral plan?

TRUMP: It will be revenue neutral when you add growth because we're going to have magnificent growth. If you look at GDP for the last quarter, it was 3 percent. Everybody was shocked to see that. I think we would have had -- I'm not going to use numbers, but I think we would have had substantially more than that for the next quarter in GDP. The problem is, we just got hit with two massive hurricanes, the likes of which we essentially haven't seen before. So that will have a little bit of an impact and maybe more than a little bit of an impact, but we have -- we have GDP -- if you raise -- if you go up one point in GDP, it takes care of many sins. If you go up two points, it takes care of everything.

And I think we're going to rock it in terms of GDP. And don't forget, I've been saying for a long time that GDP's going to be higher than you thought. When GDP -- when it hit 3 percent this last quarter, people, including many of the people here, were very, very surprised because they thought it would be about 1.7 or 1.8. A lot of it has to do with all of the regulations I've cut where people can actually now go out and build and farm and do all the things they want to do.

[15:45:00] At the same time being environmentally friendly and regulation friendly. So, I just want to say, including growth, because it's a very fair question, a good question, if you want to include growth, because we're going to go like a rocket ship, we're going to more than make up the difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the severity of the storm, do you think there's climate change?

TRUMP: We've had bigger storms than this. If you go back into the 1930s and the 1940s and you take a look, we've had storms over the years that have been bigger than this. If you go back into the teens you'll see storms that were as big or bigger. So, we did have two horrific storms, epic storms, but if you go back into the '30s, the '40s, you go back into the teens, you'll see some storms that were very similar and even bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Federal Reserve, are you thinking about the next chairman? Do you want to keep chairman Yellen?

TRUMP: Well, I do respect chairman Yellen a lot. I do like her and respect her, but I haven't made that decision yet. I think the country is doing well. We got hurt by the two hurricanes. The country is doing well. The stock market hit a new high as you see. Jobs are at a 17-year low. Unemployment is at the highest number it's ever been. If you look at the unemployment is low and the employment in the country is just about at the highest point it's ever been. We're doing well. Very importantly, just to finish, companies are starting to move back into our country. Expansion of auto firms and plants. Expansion of other things including Foxconn. It's made by who, you know who, Foxconn, and they're moving into the country for the first time. Apple is going to be building massive plants. There's a big reason for that, and the reason happens to be Trump. Have a good time, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like the bomb was initially bigger than initially thought

TRUMP: The what was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bomb the North Koreans exploded. Might have been two or three times bigger. Looks like they might be making preparations for another blast. They're reaching out to Xi Jinping. Where are you on North Korea?

TRUMP: We have a very good relationship with China and the president of China. We are working on different things. I can't tell you obviously what I'm working on, but believe me, the people of this country will be very, very sad. I think that a lot of effort is going to be put into this. We're looking at what's going on. I mean, as we speak, we are literally looking at it right now and you will be seeing what we're going to do.

Probably be visiting -- I was invited by the president. We'll probably all be going over as a group in -- sometime in November and we'll be doing Japan, South Korea, possibly Vietnam with the conference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the Philippines?

TRUMP: He invited us so we're going to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: South Korea, China?

TRUMP: It looks like right now definite. We've been invited by the Philippines. They want us to go to Vietnam.

So, we'll possibly do that. It'll be a busy -- it'll be a busy ten days, keep you guys busy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in time for Thanksgiving?

TRUMP: I hope so. I don't know, but I hope so.

Thank you.


BALDWIN: OK. So, we wanted to play that entirety -- that in its entirety for you, 15 minutes of the president on Air Force One answering a smattering of questions from the press pool traveling back with him to Washington, D.C. I've got Gloria Borger and Jeff Zeleny joining us to discuss the headlines. Gloria, beginning with DACA. We've been talking about the dinner over Chinese food and chocolate cake with the two top Democrats in the House and Senate last night. Was a deal done or not last night? The fact is that parts obviously of his base, I talked to one this past hour who feels betrayed by the fact that he's trying to maybe do deals with Democrats. The president on Air Force One saying many Republicans like it. He said presumably referring to DACA and are, quote, very, very happy with what we're doing. Some Republicans, Speaker Ryan and others, yes, true.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Ryan -- you know, Ryan wanted a deal on DACA. Just on listening to the president, first of all -- and Jeff can talk about this better than I can, but I think he came out to do the gavel because he was feeling pretty good. You know, this president doesn't like to talk to the press and just say, do you have any questions, if he doesn't really want to answer them. He went out there and he wanted to talk about DACA. And it's very clear that health care was on his mind. [15:50:00] And he felt the need to say, look, I'm a Republican through

and through as he put it but things didn't work so well before. I'm going to try it a different way. And I think what he was saying was, you know, sometimes we're going to need Democrats, I'm going to need them on tax reform. And I'm going to need them on DACA and if you guys don't like it, there are some Republicans who do. But things didn't work so well before. I'm going to try it a different way. And I think what he was saying was, you know, sometimes we're going to need Democrats, I'm going to need them on tax reform. And I'm going to need them on DACA and if you guys don't like it, there are some Republicans who do. And it was very clear he was talking about Rubio who was with him in Florida, who did like the president's plan. And so, you know, he's a deal maker, he says, and he hasn't been winning. And what he wants to do is win. And he thinks he can win this way so he'll do it this way and said basically there are some who don't like it, but there are some Republicans who are with me.

BALDWIN: And Jeff, I'd love to hear your analysis. On the note of the president talking a lot to the press today, which we welcome, apparently, he then got to the White House, got off the helicopter, and kept talking. So, if I may, let's get to that sound.


TRUMP: No, I think we are moving very rapidly on the wall. We are renovating large sections of walls. It'll be brand new by the time we finish. We're building samples of four different walls in order to make the choice and after the choice is made, we'll either have it in budget or some place, as if the Democrats aren't going to approve it, we are aren't going to do what they want. I think it'll work out. We're working on a deal for DACA, but a lot has to do with the amount of security. We want very heavy security at the border. We want surveillance, we want a lot of things at the border, and ultimately, we don't want them to obstruct with the wall. Just so you understand, we're renovating massive sections of wall right now and essentially, it'll be brand new. We'll be able to use that. DACA now and the wall soon. But the wall will happen. Thank you. We're not talking about amnesty at all. We have not talked about amnesty. There'll be no amnesty. We're not talking about that as part of the transaction. Thank you.


BALDWIN: The president lingering, answering a couple different questions. Jeff, it's interesting to note, as much talk on DACA today, the multiple, the tweets, and then the chats with press about we're building a wall, we're building a wall, Yes?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, what's happening here that we've just seen is that flood the zone strategy from this White House. They realize that the Democrats last night Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, sort of, you know, framing this discussion this morning was not necessarily good for their base. So, we -- I can't recall a day actually, Brooke, during the eight months where the president has talked in more different settings like this. They're offering a buffet of a multiple variety of headlines. I

believe to, you know, obscure the fact that there really are some divisions here between this president, his framework of a deal with Democrats, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are sort of smarting over this, but he did end the day here as he started, you know, some number of hours ago when he left for Florida, talking about that wall and about amnesty. He wants to make clear that this is not amnesty. Some Republicans, in fact some conservatives think it is.

They think that these dreamers were here, you know -- they're undocumented and should have to go home. In fact, his attorney general believes that. Despite the president talking about a variety of headlines, that is something he needs to sort out. I think one thing in the conversation on Air Force One that is going to sort of demand some closer inspection, is his talk about the meeting yesterday with South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott. The president basically went back to an original explanation if I was hearing it properly saying look, there are people who are bad on both sides. There are people, you know, who are --

BALDWIN: He said we have some pretty bad dudes on the other side as well.

ZELENY: And we just have a reaction here from Senator Scott. Our Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill caught up with him moments ago, I'm going to read what he said. That's who he is. This who he has been, I didn't go into that meeting thinking he was going to change. Senator Scott goes on to say, I wanted to inform and educate. I think we accomplished that, but to assume immediately thereafter he's going to have an epiphany is unrealistic. That, I think, the conversation with Senator Scott yesterday and Senator Scott's reaction, we'll try and get more from him is interesting. The Charlottesville matter of course created such an issue for this president. He did say that he supports Gary Cohn who was at odds with him on Charlottesville. He tried to defend Steven Mnuchin there as well. A lot to chew over there.

[15:55:00] BALDWIN: I want to bring in two more voices on this Senator Scott conversation over at the White House yesterday. And with me, Paris Dennard and Solomon Jones, Philadelphia radio host and columnist at the "Philadelphia Daily News."

Thank you for both coming on. I've got to throw this at you. This news coming out, the fact that the president came back. He could have said, Paris, we had a great conversation and leave it there but he went back to this whole, hey, you know what, there was some bad guys on the other side as well referring to those who came out to protest against the white supremacists.

Why is he doing that?

PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I commend Senator Scott, he wasn't as we all know a strong or even a supporter of the president during the campaign trail for sort of becoming the senior statesman in the Senate on a host of issues, be it tax reform, health care, small businesses, but all things in his house Senator Scott. In addition to that, the platform that he has as someone who can speak with some relative amount of authority on race relations. And so, what he did yesterday was go and speak truth to power.

He informed the president about how, about his perspective on a whole host of issues, especially Charlottesville. As a way to encourage him to listen to other sides of people within the party that agree with the GOP platform that say, this is my perspective as a black American in this country about what happened in Charlottesville. And Senator Scott said it perfectly. He had no expectation that the president was automatically going to change his total perspective on how he responded. The president is a law and order type of an individual, who does not like violence and abhors antifa as well as condemning multiple times racist people that are white supremacist, KKK, and the like. But the president is doing the right thing by meeting with Senator Scott, and he promised to continue to meet with him. And I think these are positive steps in the right direction that this president is doing.

BALDWIN: And another potential positive step and Solomon, I want to hear what you think -- same question I asked of Paris, in addition, "Washington Post" columnist reporter David Nakamura reported he asked the president a question about the Tim Scott meeting. He confirmed, Senator Scott asked him to diversify the administration, quote, I told him I would do it. Encouraging?

SOLOMON JONES, PHILADELPHIA RADIO HOST AND COLUMNIST AT THE "PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS": Not really. I think that the president tends to meet with black people who are pliable, black people who will agree with his point of view. Black people who are more conservative and certainly we are not a monolith, we don't all think the same thing. I think his policy, the policy put forward are harmful frankly to black people --

BALDWIN: Do you think Senator Scott is pliable?

JONES: To put an Education Secretary in place that doesn't know what she's doing. I think it's harmful to roll back consent decrees with 14 police departments across the country that have abused black people. I think it's harmful to attack affirmative action so that our students can't go to the best universities in the same numbers. And so, it doesn't matter, it's like chess. That's how white supremacy works. The pieces can only move in a certain way. The black knight can only move in an L shape just like the white knight can only move in an L shape. Putting people of color if they are not in there if they don't challenge the agenda is I don't think something that's going to be useful to my community.

BALDWIN: I'm listening closely to you, but do you think the only Republican black senator, Senator Scott, South Carolina, is pliable, and do you respect the man for trying to talk to the president about all of this?

JONES: Absolutely, I respect Tim Scott for trying to talk to the president. But I think that Tim Scott is a conservative. I think that when you meet with people like Kanye West, I would like to see him with thought leaders who understand what's going on in the black communities that the president has talked about in ways that have been insulting. And so, yes, I think that Tim Scott is the type of person that he would meet with because Tim Scott is more conservative. Yes, I respect the fact that he tried to make the effort, but trying to put black people into his cabinet who aren't going to try to move the needle, I don't think is useful.

BALDWIN: OK. I am out of time. I've got send it over to Washington, but I really appreciate both of your voices. Paris and Solomon for weighing in on this late breaking news from this gaggle on board air force one, the president talking about this meeting at the White House with Senator Scott. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.