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President Trump Tweets about Meeting with Democratic Leaders on Possible Deal Regarding DACA; Trump and Democrats at Odds Over "Dreamers" Deal. Interview with Senator Marco Rubio. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired September 14, 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: Was that done there? It was certainly was done at Ave Maria University. Mr. President, thank you very much.
JIM TOWEY, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF FAITH BASED INSTITUTIONS: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Young lady, thank you for showing the best of what you are studying to do. You have to use your heart as much as your head. Thank you very much.
MICHELLE ZETTEL, STUDENT, AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, this is an important part of the aspect, how people came together to get us through this. There is a lot of news to get after this morning. Let's get after it.
TOWEY: This is CNN breaking news.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, September 14th, 8:00 here in New York. Chris of course is in Florida where President Trump will survey the aftermath of Irma very shortly.
But we begin with breaking news here. President Trump is denying that he hatched a deal last night with Democratic leaders to protect the so-called DREAMers. In a series of tweets this morning, the president is explaining his feelings about the DREAMers and he insists his border wall will continue to be built. Conservatives, though, are blasting the president for making this possible deal with Democrats that they say excludes his border wall. Chris?
CUOMO: All right, so you have politics and then you have the reality, and the president is coming down here to see it firsthand, what Irma did to Florida. He is going to leave the White House. He tweeted he was getting ready to come down and he was going to look at the damage firsthand.
At latest count more than 3 million customers are still without power in this state. And every day, this heat and humidity, it's going to change moods and it's going to be addressed. The death toll, we knew it was going to rise, and it has. Seventy-seven lives now have been lost in the U.S. and the Caribbean as a result of Irma. The police, however, are investigating eight other deaths. They are not being put in the storm count just yet because there's a criminal question about these sweltering conditions at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, that may have attributed to the deaths of eight seniors.
We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with the breaking news. Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. At first it appeared there was an agreement to agree between Congressional Democrats and the president to help those 800,000 so-called DREAMers in the United States through DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Democrats put out a statement last night, saying in part the protections of DACA were being put into law quickly to work out a package of border security excluding the president's controversial border wall that is acceptable to both sides.
That did not go over well among conservatives. "Breitbart" website overnight labeling "Amnesty Don." So this morning a flurry of tweets from the president of the United States indicating no deal was made on DACA, that massive security would have to be agreed to, also seeking to allay concerns that the president was giving up his border wall, quote, "The wall, which is already under construction in the form of renovation, will continue to be built."
And then the president turning his attention to the DREAMers. He writes "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military?" He goes on, "They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own, brought in by parents at a young age."
Still there is potential backlash here. Conservative Congressman Steve King writing on Twitter that if an Associated Press report on this issue is correct the Trump base is, quote, "blown up, destroyed, irreparable, disillusioned, beyond repair, no promise is credible." So there is certainly more to learn on this story. Back to you.
CUOMO: Joe, there's something we already know. Sometimes doing the right thing ain't going to be popular in politics. Thank you for the reporting.
Joining us now on the phone is Senator Marco Rubio. He is on his way to the west coast of Florida to meet with President Trump, and he has been doggedly attentive to the needs of his state during and after hurricane Irma. Senator, thank you for joining us.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: Thanks for having me. Thanks for your coverage on this, guys. I think it's really important what you have done, even leading up to the storm. A lot of people watching on the news decided to leave because of the coverage. So I think this was an example of where the media really was very important in getting the word out. So we appreciate that.
CUOMO: That's the job, senator. So let me also pass along from the Keys that the people hear what you are saying, that to the extent that they're getting information, they need you and they appreciate your efforts. So they know what you are doing to help them with Irma, and we're going to talk about that. But let's deal with this issue because I know it matters to you and your state. Do you think there's a deal or there is no deal with the Democrats on DACA?
RUBIO: I don't know. I wasn't in the meeting, but I am about to see the president, and when the moment is appropriate I will ask him directly.
[08:05:00] And here's the thing, I said it a couple weeks ago. I always believed I wanted to deal with this issue and help young people and do it in a responsible way. And obviously the details of it are important. But a couple weeks ago when the decision was made, I said, look, it would be really important what the president laid out what he would sign and what he wouldn't to create a sort of guidance for a legislative fix. But it's an issue I hope we will deal with and I believe we can deal with, and if the president is ready to announce the parameters of what he's willing to be supportive of, that will be a big step forward in achieving that.
CUOMO: One more beat on this. What do you to people in your party who say if he does anything on DACA that keeps those people here, he's a fraud, and what do you say to the notion that the wall should be a nonstarter for Democrats in doing any deal on DACA? Address those two points.
RUBIO: Border security is the fundamental responsibility of the government, and a wall is a part of that. It's not the only part of it, but a significant percentage of people in this country illegally don't cross the border. They come in on a visa. So you have got to deal with that. And I think a broken legal immigration system contributes to it as well.
And as far as DACA is concerned, I don't think the president has ever said he wanted to round up and deport young people educated in this country, brought here as children. I think he has consistently over a period of time expressed his desire to do something with them differently than perhaps what some people perceived. So now he's going to have to do it in a way he assures this never happens again and we're not incentivizing people to do this in the future, but I never gotten the feeling from the president that he was gung ho on kicking DREAMers out of the United States. I've gotten the opposite.
CUOMO: Except when he had the A.G. come forward and talk about how they're all illegals and that they're hurting the economy, which isn't even true in many contexts, and made it into a little bit of a policing matter. That seemed to send a signal that the DREAMers were vulnerable.
RUBIO: Yes. Again, the president has consistently said -- I have heard him say it a number of times and he told me personally it was an issue he would like to fix and fix in the right way. So again, I have always operated under the assumption that's what they wanted to do. I think the reasons why we got the six-month extension or a six-month period is to give Congress the opportunity to work to fix it. He could have just immediately ended it and slammed the door shut, and that's not what they wanted to do. But again, the details are what's important. As you know well know from covering this, this issue can get complicated very fast the more things you add to it.
CUOMO: Especially if we allow politics to add things to issues that could be kept clean. Let's use that as a segue. It will be interesting to hear what the president says to you about the DACA situation. You are always welcome on the show to discuss what. But keeping a matter clean and uncorrupted by politics is going to be essentially to keeping the flow of money to your state to address the needs of Irma now, three months from now, three years from now. What do you think of that?
RUBIO: We have short-term and long-term needs. The short-term needs are the emergent situation of reimbursing local governments for the cost of doing what they are doing, getting individualized assistance to individuals, getting small business loans for people down in the Keys, a lot of small family-owned businesses, some for generations, that aren't going to have customers for a long time. It could wipe them out. That sort of emergency funding is not overly controversial. There may be a dozen people in the Senate the vote against it no matter what, but that's something that's overwhelmingly popular.
Where we are going to get into a problem is if we use this as an opportunity to pay for a long term project that may be related to the hurricane but are things that should be done as part of the regular budget, not as part of emergency funding. So that's my goal, let's do the emergency for the emergency funding, and then the long-term improvements, things like mitigation against sea level rise, things like that, as part of the long-term normal budgeting process.
CUOMO: Sometimes, they wind up dovetailing, though. That's what we saw with the Sandy funding. You had certain members of your party attack it and say that this was pork, and that really just wasn't accurate, and it wound up really stalling something for months that could have done quickly.
RUBIO: Yes, but let me tell you part of the Sandy problem. Sandy funded hurricane airplanes, which I support. These improved airplanes that can go out as hurricane hunters. But that's a long-term project. It is related to the storm and it should have been funded, but it should have been funded as part of the regular process, not as part of the emergency funding. That's what I am approaching this.
Monroe County needs an emergency operation center. They don't have a standalone one that functions the way it should. We should help fund that, but not as part of the emergency funding, as part of the regular funding. And I think people would be supportive if we do it that way, I really do. I think that's the way to do it. The long-term projects deserve more scrutiny. And that's why in the aftermath of Katrina where there were examples of monies that were misspent, this really kind of triggered this. We don't want to trigger that.
CUOMO: Right, but sometimes something may not seem like an emergency in the moment but winds up being so fundamental down the road.
[08:10:00] Like look at the money that you guys put into your infrastructure with the cement poles that carry a lot of the power network in the Keys. I was just down there. Those poles largely are still up. It's going to make a huge difference in reconnecting power. It wasn't central to the funding mechanism at that time but it wound up being fundamental to helping this rescue effort.
RUBIO: Right. And again, I am not saying we shouldn't fund them. Certainly when it comes to those poles, there's largely funding by the state, but again, I am not saying that we shouldn't do them, but to the extent we are going to do those things it should be part of the broader long term, just because, look, it's the right way to that. What I don't want to see is suddenly FEMA funding being used as a Christmas tree where other people hang their own projects that may or may not be directly related because it slows it down and we can't afford any delays. FEMA will run out of money here fairly soon given the increase clip of spending, so we just want to be able to act quickly on the emergencies.
CUOMO: Hear you. Hollywood, Florida, and what we are seeing in the nursing home, there are some really troubling questions here. The most relevant one early on is going to be why didn't they transfer these people to the hospital, and that question is begged by the series of 911 calls. These weren't citizens. These were standard of care, these were caregivers who supposedly would have had better acumen than what was exercised in this situation. How do you deal with that, and what are your larger questions?
RUBIO: My larger question, I think this storm has exposed the real vulnerability in our senior system. We get reports from all over the state, four or five days without power. It's not just nursing. We have people just didn't show up, the staff just abandoned the patients when the storm was looming. And university students had to bring them in and shelter them. You have people in Miami and Hillsborough County and all over the state living in housing facilities that are senior citizens with no power. That means the food is spoiled, the elevators don't work. You have people trapped with this storm exposed to very dangerous vulnerability in our network of senior care.
I was emailing with Susan Collins this morning who is, Senator Collins, the chairman of the aging committee in the Senate. I'd like for us to really work into that issue, maybe even hold some hearings as possible to study this from a broader perspective because there were examples of this as well in Harvey, and we have really got to look at how resilient is our senior care system after a natural disaster in which power could be out for an extended period of time.
CUOMO: Important questions, no doubt. Senator, thank you for joining us. We look forward to discussing these issues with you going forward. And we hope all your loved ones and friends made it through the storm OK.
RUBIO: They did. Thank you for that. And I look forward to being back. We are in the Keys the day after, and we look forward to getting back down there tomorrow with the massive rebuilding effort, but the Keys are going to come back and come back strong.
CUOMO: That's the hope down there, but, boy, is the need great. Senator Marco Rubio, be well.
RUBIO: Yes, sir.
CAMEROTA: OK, Chris, thanks so much.
Let's get reaction to your interview with Senator Rubio. We want to bring in chief CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash. OK Dana, so much to parse and go through. Senator Rubio admitted to Chris he doesn't know if there was a deal reached last night. He wasn't in the room. It was leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi of the Democrats. They had dinner with President Trump. They say a deal was reached. He seems to suggest no deal was reached.
Let me just read his tweets. He fired up the Twitter machine this morning into overdrive. Here's what he has been saying this morning, "No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange to consent, would be subject to vote." And he says "The wall, which is already under construction in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls, will continue to be built.
And then he gives, you know, really, I think what is in his mind and maybe heart about the DREAMers, and he gives us a window into that when he says "Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated, and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military. Really?" And he said "They've been in our country for many years through no fault of their own, brought in by parents at a young age. Plus, big border security." So where are we this morning?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The most telling thing that I heard Senator Rubio say to Chris was that he was glad that the president is taking the lead, that he had said when this whole debate restarted a few weeks ago that what Congress needs, what the president wants Congress to deal with legislatively, are parameters from the president.
So there are a couple reasons for that, but Alisyn, the big reason just politically and strategically is because -- let's get honest. The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, and the House speaker, Paul Ryan, they were thrilled, almost certainly thrilled not to be invited to last night's dinner.
BASH: Because if they are not involved they don't get the blame from their base for something that they want. They want to deal with this issue of the DREAMers. At the end of the day, if you look at the big picture of the illegal immigration problem, almost certainly would probably want a path to citizenship or at least some deal where everybody who is here illegally could find a way to not live in the shadows.
[08:15:15] But they're not going to say that publicly, because of the complete nuclear bomb -- political nuclear bomb that exploded within the conservative world. CAMEROTA: Here are some remnants of that bomb that exploded last
night at 11:00 p.m. Here are the tweets sent out by some of the conservatives.
Congressman Steve King says: If "The Associated Press" is correct, Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.
I'm guessing he doesn't like the idea of the deal.
Laura Ingraham, conservative talk show host, the art of the steal, she says. Let's hope that Pelosi and Schumer misrepresented the DACA deal.
Sean Hannity says weak Republicans have betrayed voters. POTUS needs to stay the course and keep his promises or it's over. Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted.
I mean, is this civil war in the GOP?
BASH: Yes. It is the issue that splits apart the Republican Party more than any other and has for a decade. Marco Rubio is a perfect example of that because he co-authored a bipartisan bill that allowed a path to citizenship right before he ran for the Republican primary for the White House and he heard about it at almost every stop. He gets it, which is why he and other Republicans want the president, who's got a lot of capital with conservatives on this issue, to take the lead.
CAMEROTA: Dana, thank you very much for being here. It always helps to have you parse Washington speak for us, particularly when it is completely contradictory. So, thanks so much.
BASH: The Washington whisper, I try.
CAMEROTA: And you succeed. Very well done.
CAMEROTA: So, for the second time in two weeks, President Trump has reached across the aisle to make a deal with Democrats. Is this the GOP's new reality? What do Republicans think about it?
Stay tuned for our debate, next.
[08:20:38] CAMEROTA: The White House and Democratic leaders at odds about what happened at this dinner last night. The president tweeting this morning that there is no deal that he struck with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and he says his border wall will be built.
But the Democrats have a different take on what happened.
So, let's discuss it with CNN political commentator, Symone Sanders, and former political director for George W. Bush, Matt Schlapp. Great to have both of you.
So, the information and the breaking news is coming in fast and furious this morning. Matt, if the president, if Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and what they say is correct, and the president agreed to some protection for DREAMers without a border wall, do you feel as a conservative feel betrayed?
MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, no, because clearly, by the president's tweets this morning, that did not happen. And I think -- I like the fact that the president, unlike some people who are whining that President Trump is spending too much time with these Democratic leaders, I actually think it's a good thing. You know, he should -- just like everyone should -- every president should be everyone's president and they should attempt to work with the opposition.
And if they can come up with some deals on issues that the country cares about, I'm all for it. I could see a deal here yet. Could be one in the future.
CAMEROTA: And when you say whining --
CAMEROTA: -- before I get to Symone, let me read what I think you are referring to, because here were the tweets. They were coming out, you know, in rapid fire succession last night at 11:00 p.m. after word of this alleged deal hit. So, here's Congressman Steve King. He says, if "The Associated Press" is correct, the Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.
Talk show host Laura Ingraham says the art of the steal. Let's hope the Pelosi and Schumer misrepresented the DACA deal.
Sean Hannity says weak Republicans have betrayed voters and the president needs to stay the course and keep his promises or it's over. Pelosi and Schumer can never be trusted.
Now, the president himself, I got to tell you, Matt, he's not denying that this is what they talked about. I mean, he's saying basically, no deal was reached but he's not saying that they didn't hammer out or move closer to having an official deal. So, again, if there's no border wall and he did this with Democrats, what will you say tomorrow?
SCHLAPP: Well, I think, let me just say, the whining I am referring to are Republicans on the Hill that seem to think that the president should only deal with them. I think the president should deal with Democrats, number one.
Number two, on this question, first of all, the president ended DACA, OK? So, he ended the ability for people to come here through a special loophole in the immigration process. That's ended. So, now, the next question, which the president has not talked about,
is what do you do with the 700,000, 800,000 people here, and they could be put in lots of different categories, as he said, including people serving in the military.
SCHLAPP: That is the question before Congress. How do you handle the 800,000 people who are here?
By the way, the Democrats have a role in determining that legislative process as well and that's now going to happen before our eyes.
CAMEROTA: Symone, how do you explain what you are seeing unfold where twice now in the space of a week or two, the president has worked with, it appears, the Democrats, and he had the dinner last night with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and did not invite Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, I think what we're seeing here is, one, excellent and very high-level maneuvering on the part of Leader Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
And on the side of the president, I think what we're seeing here is he wants some kind of win. Donald Trump has no major legislative victories under his belt. The one thing he can tout and say is a success is the fact that he got a Supreme Court justice confirmed. And that's not enough.
And so, I think what we're seeing here is that, look, the president doesn't want to kick the DREAMers out. He wants to do something to protect them, or at least he says he does, and if he wants to, you have to codify that in some type of law, some type of maneuvering, if you will, to protect them.
So, I think Donald Trump is attempting, if you will, to struggle with himself. But I think actions speak a whole lot louder than words. And I think what we did see in his tweets this morning is that he's prepared possibly to do something on behalf of the DREAMers.
[08:25:00] Look, I know Matt just said DACA was rescinded --
CAMEROTA: Symone, hold on, I'm sorry to interrupt you, because we just have new tape of the president as he departs on Air Force One to Florida, and we believe he is speaking about this very thing. He was certainly asked questions about it because everybody wants him to clarify what happened at this dinner last night.
Thus far, all we have is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer's re- accounting of the deal that they think that they struck with the president, and then the president tweeting this morning, saying, no deal. So, of course, he was asked about it as he was getting on the plane and we believe we have sound of it that we will get to it -- give us a few more seconds -- now we have it.
Here we go. Listen to this. Wow, we're going to replay that for you because that was so subtle.
SANDERS: It was the slow-mo version.
SCHLAPP: Just glad we weren't showing Melania's footwear. That's good.
CAMEROTA: Yes. I believe if we take a wide shot, we may be able to see the footwear.
All right. Look, I get to that in a second. But in the meantime, I want to show you, Matt, what Ann Coulter feels about all of this this morning when the president tweeted this morning, first, his tweet about the DREAMers. He said: They have been brought in our country for many years through no fault of their own and brought in by parents at a young age, plus big border security.
Ann Coulter then tweeted, at this point, who doesn't want Trump impeached?
What do you say to her, Matt?
SCHLAPP: You know, not much. She's a witty tweeter. She's provocative. But let's get to the policy.
The fact is, there are 700,000 or 800,000 people who are here. They can be put in lots of different categories. By the way, not all of them are juveniles. Sometimes, they are able to bring over guardians.
CAMEROTA: Understood, right.
SCHLAPP: There are people here who are adults. As you said, there are people who serve in the military.
SCHLAPP: The question is this, DACA, he kept his promise on DACA, which he got criticism for. But now you have the population that's here in the country, Congress has to wrestle this to the ground and figure out the solution --
CAMEROTA: But, Matt, hold on a second.
CAMEROTA: You are ignoring a big piece, and that's the border wall. I mean, you're awfully sanguine about this. But if whatever he did for DREAMers, whatever deal he struck with DREAMers doesn't include the big and beautiful border wall he promised, what will you think?
SCHLAPP: He's going to have to build that wall and he's going to build that wall. I don't know what point in the legislative process that more funding will come forward. Remember, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted for having this wall. So, I mean, it's going to happen.
SANDERS: Wait, Matt, no, they didn't.
SCHLAPP: Yes, they did. They called it a fence.
SANDERS: -- did not vote -- did not vote for anything that resembles what Donald Trump is talking about.
CAMEROTA: Well, hold on a second. Sorry, Symone, but just want to say, so is the president calling it a fence this morning. So, let me put up his tweet, because I just want to clarify this --
SCHLAPP: They're just synonyms.
CAMEROTA: Wait a second, Matt. Hold on. You are --
SANDERS: Donald Trump is talking about building a Berlin-style block them up, keep them out, game of thrones style of wall, OK?
CAMEROTA: And this morning, he's changed that, Symone. This morning, the tweet basically says, by the way, the wall already is being built.
SCHLAPP: It is. It's true.
CAMEROTA: Hold on, hold on, Matt.
SANDERS: That's not true.
CAMEROTA: It's in the form of new renovation of old and existing fences and walls will continue to be built. Is that what you had in mind for the new and big beautiful wall?
SCHLAPP: If you are asking me, I think the wall that he describes during the campaign will be built. I think the hypocrisy here by a lot of Democrats is that they have voted, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Senate over and over and over again to have funding to secure our southern border. The American people want the southern border secured.
It makes no sense to try to catch and release and to deport people if they can simply come right through.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Symone.
SANDERS: I want to be really clear. Nobody is saying we should have unfettered borders and just unfettered immigration into this country. Multiple times, many members of Congress, including Democrats, including folks like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have voted for border security, but no one -- no sane Democrat has voted, definitely not Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have voted for this "Game of Thrones" style of wall.
SCHLAPP: Let me just say one thing, Hillary Clinton -- let me just say this, Hillary Clinton said on DACA specifically --
CAMEROTA: Guys, hold on. Now we have the tape. Guys, hold on. We have the tape of the president. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are working on a plan for DACA. People want to see that happen. You have 800,000 young people brought here, no fault of their own. So, we are working on a plan and we'll see how it works out. But we are going to get massive border security as part of that. I think something can happen. We will see what happens. But something will happen.
REPORTER: What about Florida? There's 5 million people still without power, and (IANUDIBLE) it doesn't happen in the future?
TRUMP: Yes, they are doing a great job on power and they are doing a great job. Historically, there's never been anything like this.