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Democrats Win Governorships in Virginia and New Jersey; President Trump's Comments on North Korea Examined; Interview with Representative Scott Taylor. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 8, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Republicans, they need to contemplate do you embrace Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't get health care done. They've got to show a record of accomplishment. Now we have a strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fight hard in the primary, and then bury the hatchet and start winning elections.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world cannot tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens with nuclear devastation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very useful for the president to act and sound tough on this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: North Korean officials said we don't care what that mad dog may utter.

TRUMP: To those nations that choose to ignore this threat, the weight of this crisis is on your conscience.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, November 8th, 8:00 in the east. And boy what a night for the Democrats. Voters sending a clear message to the Trump White House, and it was one of rejection. Democrats sweeping to victory a year after President Trump's election. Republican Congressman Scott Taylor of Virginia says it is a repudiation of the Trump presidency. He blames the president's divisive rhetoric for the GOP's big losses. We're going to have the Congressman on. His state was such a major focus last night.

The biggest win for Dems was that governor's seat there. Why? You had Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam who beat the Republican Party's former chairman Ed Gillespie who became a doppelganger for President Trump, harnessing the divisive rhetoric, making it very ugly to try to instigate that kind of faux populism, and he got crushed.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Then in New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy taking back the governor's office after eight years of Chris Christie. We will be joined by the governor-elect there in moments. But what does the Democratic momentum mean for the midterm elections next year? We have it covered for you, so let's begin with CNN's Ryan Nobles. He is live from Richmond, Virginia. Give us the latest from there, Ryan.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, good morning. It was certainly a rough night for Republicans all across the country, but it was a very rough night for them here in Virginia. This was a governor's race that was supposed to be close and it wasn't. Many Republicans I talked to blame one person for their big loss last night, and his name is Donald Trump


TOM PEREZ, (D) CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The Democratic Party is back, my friends!


NOBLES: An anti-Trump wave fueling a big Democratic sweep, including the hotly contested governor's race in Virginia. The state's Democratic lieutenant governor Ralph Northam crushing Republican Ed Gillespie by nine points in a race that was expected to be close.

RALPH NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA GOVERNOR ELECT: Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry, and to end the politics that have torn this country apart.

NOBLES: President Trump blaming Gillespie for the loss, accusing him of not embracing him and what he stands for. But exit polls show that President Trump is deeply unpopular, with twice as many Virginia voters who say Trump was a factor in their decision, saying they came out to oppose the president rather than to support him.

PEREZ: You have sent a message across the globe to South Korea. Donald Trump you don't stand for our values.

NOBLES: Gillespie did not campaign with the president, but Mr. Trump recorded robo-calls and threw his support behind the establishment Republican on Twitter. In the final stretch of the campaign, Gillespie rallied around the culture wars the president has fueled, touting his support for Confederate monuments and tying illegal immigration with violent gangs with provocative ads like this one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ralph Northam's policies are dangerous.

NOBLES: A strategy that led to Northam flip-flopping on his support for sanctuary cities, but ultimately failed to deliver Gillespie a win.

Democrats also making significant gains in Virginia's House of Delegates, possibly forcing a number of recounts that could shift control of the chamber to Democrats for the first time in almost 20 years.

PHIL MURPHY, (D) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR ELECT: With Donald Trump in the White House, and Steve Bannon holding Republicans in Congress hostage, governors will have never mattered more.

NOBLES: In New Jersey Democrat Phil Murphy easily defeating the state's Republican lieutenant governor Kim Guadagno, who struggled to overcome the unpopularity of her boss, Governor Chris Christie. Hotly contested mayoral races in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Charlotte, North Carolina, also breaking in the Democrat's favorite. The blue wave extending to a number of social and cultural issues as well. Virginia Democrat Danica Roem making history, becoming the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature, defeating a social conservative who sponsored a bill that would have restricted which bathroom she could use.

DANICA ROEM, (D) VIRGINIA STATE HOUSE DELEGATE-ELECT: For every person who has ever been singled out, this one is for you.

NOBLES: And first time politician Chris Hurst, the boyfriend of a reporter shot and killed on live TV in 2015, also elected in Virginia, upsetting a three-time Republican incumbent backed by the NRA.


[08:05:06] NOBLES: And now Republicans are left wondering this morning how does this impact the upcoming 28 midterm elections. They'll have to contend with that even earlier as a special election for a Senate seat in Alabama is set to take place very soon. The Trump-backed candidate there, Roy Moore, already locked in a very tight race according to polls, and is that a state that is deeply red, perhaps a sign to come for Republicans across the country. Alisyn and Chris?

CUOMO: Ryan, appreciate it. Joining us now, CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza. The headline for you, John Avlon?

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Just as shellacking, a rejection of Trumpism by voters in states with a nine point margin in Virginia, exceeding all expectations. Republicans in Congress are nervous today about what is coming down the pike for 18. But make no mistake, this was a rejection of Donald Trump and his policies across the board from statewide to down ballot.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Let me challenge you, John.

AVLON: Do challenge me, Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: I know you look forward to that. That's not how voters saw it in New Jersey. So let's go to the New Jersey governor's race.

AVLON: OK, go.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, because there the Democrat, Phil Murphy won, and he's coming up on our program very shortly. here's what the exit polls say. Was it because they support Trump or oppose Trump or Trump not a factor -- 59 percent. Chris Christie was a factor in that state, and it was a rejection of Chris Christie, but they say not of Trump. AVLON: A 33 percent approval rate for Donald Trump in New Jersey,

that's how to answer that. And in Virginia, Trump really did seem to motivate.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I agree, but New Jersey seems --

AVLON: I think Virginia is the big prize because that's the key swing state. And look, now Democrats have basically turned that state. They've had four of the five last governors, and this is a state that was very Republican, very conservative. And this margin nobody saw coming. And if you look at the gender gap in particular, he did better among women than Hillary Clinton. I think that speaks to a deeper groundswell.

CUOMO: The polls are not going to be the best testing your proposition. What will be is the exits and the demographics, Chris Cillizza. Td this is not to take any of the varnish off the Democrats' celebration. They deserve to say they did something well. But it was because they had to. They had to come out and show that this resistance is real. If they couldn't do it in Jersey against, you know, Christie's lieutenant governor, and in Virginia, they were going to have huge problems.

The real testing of the proposition of the shellacking is when you look at the margins of white college educated and white non-college educated, they did better but it's not a homerun yet, and that is the window into where that fight for that middle third of indication voters is still very real. That's the testing of handsome Avlon.



AVLON: Thanks, guys.

CILLIZZA: I think you're right. I would say that what you saw in the electorate, let's do Virginia I think specifically, because honestly I think Chris Christie's unpopularity was at 11, 12 percent popularity going into the vote with his lieutenant governor running, that's going to be a hard race for anyone to win no matter who the president is. So I take that one, to me that's an outlier. I think you saw Maine, New Hampshire, Long Island, Virginia, Washington state, those are all more of a piece.

So what you saw, I think, is the electorate that Democrats thought they were going to see in 2016, and they didn't. I think that's why everybody was wary of making predictions, because polling did suggest that Donald Trump was not going to win the presidential race. Now, it wasn't as wrong as so many people say, but it didn't suggest that. But what you saw on Tuesday night was the biggest difference Donald Trump candidate versus one year into Donald Trump, Loudoun County, Virginia, swing area, ex-urban, growing into more of a suburban area. Ed Gillespie won that in 2014. He carried Loudoun County, narrowly, but carried it. In this one he lost by 24,000 votes. Why? There's only one reason -- Donald Trump and what the first year of Trump and Trump's administration has looked like. AVLON: And Loudoun County is the great example. You want to look at

the swing counties and the swing states, and that swing ain't subtle. But there's something else here, too. It's a perpetuation of something that's been a deeper problem with politics which is that opposition motivates people more than proposition. Being against something, being against the incumbent really rallies to go to the polls, but standing for something doesn't have that same force. So with Trump in the White House, that becomes a major coalescing for Democrats at the grassroots level that did not exist when Hillary Clinton was running.

CUOMO: So what does it do for the Republicans because now they're dealing with a very difficult proposition. Do you go against your party's own president because you know he has 80 percent approval within that party. So while that may not be enough for him, it could be enough for him to squash you.

[08:10:05] AVLON: The political calculus on Capitol Hill changed because also the first thing he did after Ed Gillespie lost was just run him over with a bus and all his surrogates as well. So there's not the kind of constancy. You've been forced into supporting Trump and a conservative populist agenda. You need to do that to maintain the base, but there's no sense of continuity or loyalty if you are standing with this guy. And so that's going to change people's calculus and major votes coming up on Capitol Hill, especially as they look to 18 because I don't think running alongside and hugging Donald Trump is going to be the safest place to be politically until you are in a deep, deep red district.

CILLIZZA: Chris, I would just add I think that proposition that you laid out, and John is right, that proposition you laid out is the fundamental thing that I think questioned going forward --

CUOMO: High praise from Cillizza.

CILLIZZA: Well, I like being on your show.


CILLIZZA: I also think you are right, because what you have is -- look at the arc of Ed Gillespie's candidacy. He almost loses to a former Trump official, a guy named Corey Stewart, in the primary earlier this year. Corey Stewart raised no money, no one thought that was going to be close. Gillespie barely escapes because he's running as an establishment pragmatist.

Then in the general election, even though he keeps Trump at a distance, and embraced Trumpism, MS-13, sanctuary cities, keep the Confederate monuments up, and he gets blasting. That is concerning if you are a Republican who is trying to negotiate what could be an ideological or a tonal primary against a Trump-backed candidate, and also you have to win in a state that doesn't look like Alabama, for example. That is a tough proposition, and there's lots of House districts in the suburbs of Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia, rather, in suburban places around this country where I don't know that you can do the two-step, the run with Trump in the primary and run against him in the general election. I think. you wind up like Ed Gillespie.

CAMEROTA: OK, great to get all of the analysis John Avlon, Chris Cillizza, thank you both very much.

So President Trump issuing a blunt warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, telling to North to not to underestimate the power of the U.S., saying, quote, "Do not try us." CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Beijing. He is traveling with the president. What is the latest from there, Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. President Trump arrived here a few hours ago. He is no doubt on the most consequential stop of his swing this week. Of course the economic superpower of China that the president often railed against when he was running for office, now he is coming face-to-face to talk about a lot of these economic issues.

But it is of course the matter of North Korea that is front and center on the agenda here. The president when he was delivering that speech in Seoul, South Korea, he asked for the world's help in confronting the regime. He also said don't try us. Let's watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope I speak not only for our countries, but for all civilized nations when I say to the North, do not underestimate us, and do not try us. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face. North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.


ZELENY: But the difficult challenges remain, convincing China and Russia and other countries, but particularly those two, to increase sanctions and squeeze North Korea economically. The reality here is this has been going on long before the Trump presidency and not much is likely to change because of these meetings. But we are struck by this flattery that is going on here. You can see it. President Xi Jinping is rolling out the red carpet for the president, inviting him as the first world leader to have dinner at the Forbidden City. They're be having meetings later tomorrow as this all goes forward here. But Chris, this is the most important relationship President Trump is dealing with of any world leader.

CUOMO: Highlighted by the state of play. You have Trump saying don't try us. You have North Korea calling him a mad dog. It screams for the influence of a third party. Will that be China? We will see. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

So big headline this morning is what the Democrats did in the elections, but an equal headline is how will the GOP react? You're going to hear something from a Republican congressman from Virginia where one of those big elections was last night, that his party is not going to like, but it may be the truth. Why did they lost last night in his party? Congressman Scott Taylor will tell you, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


[08:18:53] RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: Virginia has told us to end the divisiveness, that we will not condone hatred and bigotry. And to end the politics that have torn this country apart.


CUOMO: All right. That is the winner of Virginia's governor race, and that's what he was known for. Ralph Northam is not a name you probably heard before but it was his message that he would be a rejection of Trump's divisiveness that led him past Ed Gillespie, the former head of the Republican National Party.

Now Republican Congressman Scott Taylor is from Virginia, and he agrees with what you just heard Northam say. He says as a Republican that the Democratic sweep is a repudiation of the man leading the GOP, President Trump, specifically his divisiveness rhetoric.

Joining us now is that congressman, Scott Taylor of Virginia.

Always a pleasure to have you on the show, sir.

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: Good morning, Chris. How are you?

CUOMO: Bold words from a bold man. We are not hearing people within your party put it the way you have. Tell us why you say the party lost last night.

[08:20:05] TAYLOR: Well, I think, you know, logically, and if we want to be intellectually consistent, you know, in 2009 when Governor Bob McDonnell won Virginia resoundingly, I mean, it was a referendum on President Obama. And if the results last night were the opposite, we would have said that as well, so I think that you have to say, you have to attribute some of these things, given the exit polls, given the Democrat turnout.

And, you know, you have to give credit where credit is due. Democrats showed up last night. There's no question about it. So I think when you look at those factors, you can certainly attribute some things to perhaps the candidate, and Gillespie as well, too, but there was an overwhelming thing that was looming large, and that was -- I think it was the divisive rhetoric.

Look, you've heard me on here say I support the president not blindly. If I agree with him I'll say it. If I don't, I don't. And I think that last night was a referendum. I don't think there's any way that you can look at it in a different way, to be honest with you and be intellectually consistent.

CUOMO: Well, plenty of people are saying Gillespie didn't go far enough, that he needed to go more Trump and one of those people is the president himself. So if you want to speak truth to power, have at it. What do you think the message is about that kind divisive rhetoric? Do you need to go more or is it the time to rethink dividing?

TAYLOR: Well, let me first say, with all due respect to the president, I simply profoundly disagree with that. Look, I'm a guy that believes in unifying folks in leadership. I believe in addition, not subtraction. I think Virginians spoke last night, you know, by and large. Spoke last night what they believe. And I think it's important that we come together as a country.

I think it's important that -- well, leadership matters, and to me, leading is bringing people together and achieving a purpose. So tons of respect for the president. As I said, I support him, but when I disagree with him I have no problem with saying it.

CUOMO: So the message for the Democrats, fairly simply. They have their own challenges going forward. The midterms certainly not decided by this one slate of elections.

What is the message for the GOP? Someone like you, who has to run in Virginia, very purple, now trending blue with this last set of elections. What do you do? Do you step away from your party's own president or do you risk having him come at you? Worthy and all that he comes after you and says, this guy, he doesn't embrace me, he's got to go?

TAYLOR: I think it's important to be authentic. I think people see right through -- when people are not authentic, and look, if you believe in something say what you believe in. We work hard for our folks back home every single day. And again, whatever I believe in I say. If I disagree with something then I say.

I think it's important that people are individuals, that we have the message that we're speaking about and how we're improving folks' lives. I believe in our party, I believe in our ideals, I believe that they're timeless. I believe that they will long term help people raise out of bad situations.

I think that we can do things to lead this party and move in the future in the right direction, but we need to be saying that, of course, and people have to have the ability to be able to stand up and say, look, I agree with this, I believe in this, where I disagree, and I don't believe in this.

CUOMO: But you're not seeing that.

TAYLOR: I think that's on both sides.

CUOMO: You're not seeing that. I mean, we talk on this show all the time about, you know, we mock it, and we say you hear that? That's McConnell and Ryan not saying anything about this latest inflammatory statement from the president of the United States.

What's the challenge? Because, you know, you're going to have to deal with it. When you run, people can look and say, you know, your score with Donald Trump is 97.9 percent. You will be a proxy for President Trump. For people in your district. How do you feel about that proposition? TAYLOR: Like I said many times before, Chris. Look, I -- you know, I

agree with a lot of the policies. You know, and I believe --


CUOMO: 97.9 percent. Yes, you do.

TAYLOR: Well, the reality is, look, the Republicans control the House, so the bills that are on the floor are mostly Republican. And if it was Speaker Nancy Pelosi, most of the bills on the floor would be Democrats. So of course my score would be in the opposite. So I think that score is a little bit misleading. But the reality is, when we believe in something we should have no problem standing up and saying so, and if we disagree with something we should have no problem standing up and saying so.

CUOMO: What do you think happens in the midterms if people in your party who are running for Congress don't start saying what you're saying right now, which is we can't divide anymore? The divisiveness rhetoric may have gotten us here in terms of having a president from our party but won't get us where we want to be?

TAYLOR: Again, I believe that leadership is bringing people together. I believe in the politics of addition, not subtraction. I think that, you know, I would just encourage my peers to do the same thing, that, you know, dividing people -- and listen. Let's not -- let's be realistic here. Democrats are guilty of this as well, too.

We saw that in Virginia as well. When folks were being very divisive, racially charged ads, stuff like that. I don't think that's helpful for anyone. I don't think it's helpful for the country and I don't care what side of the aisle you're on, if you're doing that, I think that that's failing in leading.

CUOMO: Well, but let's just be clear. You think Democrats won last night because they were more successful in being divisive, or do you think they won because there was a rejection of divisiveness?

[08:25:02] TAYLOR: What I'm being clear is that I do believe that there are Democrats that have used very divisive tactics as well, too. Again, I believe that we have to -- a little bit of self-reflection in our own party and our divisive rhetoric. I don't think it's good for the country at all. '

You know, you had a couple of folks on here that were talking. I watched these elections last night very closely. I know Virginia, I know the precincts. And I will tell you that there were some folks that, you know, that were talking about the issues, but those issues weren't in play last night. Some of those -- you know, those issues, individual issues were absolutely overshadowed by the national scene.

CUOMO: I mean, I think that's why you're making news this morning is that there was a very clear message. You know, health care matters, there are a lot of things that matter, but what seemed to matter most in those elections last night were people have had it in terms of the tone at the top. And that's why it's interesting that you're speaking about exactly that. Brave man.

Congressman, good to have you on the show. As always, you're always welcome here on new DAY.

Congressman Taylor from Virginia.

TAYLOR: Thanks, Chris. Have a great day.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Well, Democrat Phil Murphy wins the race for governor in New Jersey. What does he think his sweeping victory means? What was that about? Look at how he took the stage. We'll ask him about all of that next.