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CNN Poll: Less Confidence & Trust in President Trump; Trump Softens Stance on China. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The overwhelming thing was the energy on the Democratic side. And that's definitely a referendum on the president.

[07:00:23] SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Republicans should look at the elections, and it should be a giant stop sign for their tax bill.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have a promise to keep. This puts more pressure on making sure we follow through.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Together we have in our power to finally liberate this region from this nuclear menace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hope is that the president will now try to find a way of driving North Korea to the negotiating table.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Flynn has expressed concern about the potential legal exposure of his son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mueller has been moving quite aggressively in this investigation.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: The fact that a father and son are both under investigation gives at least the potential for a lot of leverage.


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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. A year after Donald Trump's historic election, new CNN poll numbers do not paint a pretty picture. A majority of Americans say they are less confident in President Trump than when he took office. I was just waiting for the prompter, but I know you had to. Four in 10 say he has kept his promises. That means 6 in 10 say he does not. I

So is he bringing the kind of change the country needs? The poll says no.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I like the is suspense. CUOMO: It was a pregnant pause.

CAMEROTA: I can do that, too.

So Republicans are wrestling with a tough decision now to embrace or rebuke the president's rhetoric and handling of the issues. Republicans say they are focused on their tax plan. But is it adding up to what they promised. All this as President Trump does an about- face on his tough rhetoric against China in Beijing.

So we have it all covered for you. Let's begin with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. She is live on Capitol Hill.

What's the latest, Suzanne?


Well, these are damning new numbers for Republicans when they take a look at one year into the Trump presidency, less confidence in this president even within his own party.

At the same time, the blame game definitely taking place here on Capitol Hill as they look at those Tuesday results. They are openly asking themselves the question whether or not aligning with President Trump will cost them the majority next year.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): The Republican Party in damage control after a sweep of Democratic victories across the country. Some downplaying the results.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: This is a typical cycle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of these elections are decided by local -- local circumstances.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Virginia, because of northern Virginia, is really not a purple state any more. It's a blue state.

MALVEAUX: Others pointing the finger directly at President Trump.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I do think that we do better with a more inclusive message.

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: I certainly think the overwhelming thing that was going on was the energy on the Democrat side. And that's definitely a referendum on the president.

MALVEAUX: A new CNN poll shows that 64 percent of Americans say their confidence in the president has decreased since he took office. One in four Republicans feel less confident about their party's leader.

President Trump's divisive rhetoric taking a big toll on his ability to unite the country. Only 30 percent of Americans say they think the president can unite, rather than divide, the nation. And a 16-point drop among voters in his own party. The percentage of Republicans who think the president can bring needed change? Down 10 points since last November.

House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledging that Tuesday's losses show that Congress needs to deliver on tax reform.

RYAN: We have a promise to keep. If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through.

MALVEAUX: A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Republican tax plan would add $1.7 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, higher than initially projected.

Multiple sources tell CNN that President Trump personally lobbied Senate Democrats on a phone call Tuesday, attempting to garner support by insisting he'd be a big loser if the GOP plan is signed into law, despite a report from the Tax Policy Center that shows that the largest cuts would accrue to higher-income households.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Donald Trump says this doesn't help the wealthy. Obviously, it does. So all the claims they have made for this bill are belied by the bill itself.

MALVEAUX: White House budget director Mick Mulvaney insisting the plan will help the middle class.

MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: At the end of the day, if we really believe this is a middle-class tax increase, he's not going to sign it.

MALVEAUX: But most Americans disapprove of how the president is handling taxes. Exit polls in Virginia show that taxes were not the issue that mattered most to voters. Thirty-nine percent of Virginia voters said that health care was their No. 1 issue when voting for governor.

The Republican Party's failure to repeal and replace Obamacare clearly having an impact in the voting booth.


MALVEAUX: Senator John McCain is calling for Republicans to get their act together. At the same time, Senator Lindsey Graham says what does that mean? It means Republicans actually getting something done.

What that looks like on Capitol Hill, today is day four of the mark up in the House Ways and Means committee for the tax cuts and job act. Also, the Senate Finance Committee will be unveiling their own tax plan versions later today -- Chris, Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, Suzanne, thank you very much.

Let's get after it. Let's bring in CNN political analysts John Avlon and Gregory. All right. The polls, nothing good in there from the straight

numerical situation. You have 55/40, are you keeping your promises. Throw up another one. Any one. Doesn't matter. I can read what you put up.

CAMEROTA: Can the president bring change?

CUOMO: Fifty-six, 40.

So David Gregory, these are not strong numbers. They show us a quick analysis that...

CAMEROTA: Honest and trustworthy. This is an important one. Sorry to interrupt you.

CUOMO: Sixty, thirty.

CAMEROTA: Sixty-four percent say, no, not honest and trustworthy.

CUOMO: So look, his numbers have always been bad when it comes to personal attributes. The base has always been locked in. However, we see a widening gap, and an erosion in people's confidence in his abilities to do the primary functionings as president. So what's your takeaway?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think President Trump is now caught up in the Washington muck, in the -- exactly what people dislike so much about Washington, about big institutions in their lives. They say Washington is not getting anything done.

I think it's important what you say about those personal characteristics. He's always been under water on those. Whether he's truthful, whether he has the temperament for the job. You look at numbers, they have always been south for him on that. And yet, he's prevailed.

CUOMO: Now he's like an ear -- but now he's like an ear-popping depth under water with it.

GREGORY: Because there's an opportunity now for people to render judgment on him as part of the Washington establishment.

Look, this is a slash and burn president. The way he conducts himself. The way he goes after the media, the way he goes after his own party, the way he goes after any opponents.

The only sliver of good news he's had is when he worked with Democrats. And all of a sudden, people looked up and said, "Hey, wait, you know. He might surprise us here and get something done."

So he's caught up in all of that. And I think that's what's dragging him down. And a lot of this opposition to him, so there's Democratic energy. We expected that. And these Republicans who are splitting away from him who were probably never for him, you know, the Jeff Flakes of the world, they've got to go somewhere. And in a midterm race, a special election like we saw in Virginia,

they're going to move away from the Republican candidate if there's anything close to Trumpism in that recipe.

And one other aspect of this. Americans don't like for America to be so unpopular abroad. We saw this during the Bush presidency, as well. People are uncomfortable when America is unpopular in other parts of the world.

CAMEROTA: John, how do you see it?

AVLON: Well, you know, the best-case scenario argument for Trump and his supporters was is that he was going to be beyond politics. He was going to be a businessman who could make a deal. And maybe all that toxic rhetoric on the campaign trail was just that. But when he'd come into office, he'd really be able to blow things up, but then find a way to bring people together and get big deals done.

So his supporters are having to reconcile themselves with the fact that that hasn't happened. Instead, all the worst fears of how he campaigned have extended into the presidency and that "Art of the Deal" persona we were promised hasn't materialized. So that's accounting for a drift downward in the support in this poll among Republicans and, crucially, independents.

And if you want to look at where I think the real swing is, of course, it's independents and moderates. And for example, the approval on his job as commander in chief is down to 24 percent on moderates. That ends up being decisive even translating to the Virginia governor's race, where 40 percent -- moderates went for the Democrat by a two to one margin. That's a toxicity to Trump that extends down ballot for Republicans.

CUOMO: And yet, all we know is that the constant in politics has changed. Right? So these numbers can change if he gets something done. It seems they're putting all their money right now, no pun intended, on taxes. But even here we have an inconsistency.

CAMEROTA: This is interesting. So the job approval numbers about whether you think the president is handling the tax issue, disapprove 51 percent. Only 35 percent of respondents say that they approve.

But people are feeling good about the economy right now and the economic conditions. Sixty-eight percent of respondents say, yes, good economic conditions today in the country. So I don't know, David. Is that a paradox?

GREGORY: Yes, look, that first question is strange to me. It's more of a process quiz question. How is he doing handling taxes? I don't know. I mean, it's kind of a mess, you know. We're in markup for a big tax reform bill. I don't know how anybody comes out well in the middle of that process.

But I think it's pretty evident that you've got to get something done if you're a party in control of Congress, particularly on an issue that you campaigned on. So health care is a lot more popular among voters -- you look in Virginia in the exit polls -- than Republicans would like to believe, and their efforts to take it down are unpopular.

[07:10:07] I think people do feel good about the economy. And there's a larger point here, which is those stalwart supporters of the president, I'm not just talking about the base but I'm talking about the moveable feast that is the middle of the electorate that says, you know, something has got to be done in Washington, and the guy is still out there trying.

You may not like him. You may not approve of everything that he's doing. You may find it distasteful in a lot of ways. But he's still trying to get stuff done. I don't want to discount the possibility that people are going to reward President Trump for being in there and slugging it out.

CUOMO: Look, there's no question people wanted a fighter. They wanted him to be disruptive. They would even see the metaphor of seeing Trump as a virus to that system as a positive.

But then we just saw what happened in the election and the divisive rhetoric hit them. It was a punishment election down there. You hear it even from Republicans. And that's why I want to bring up Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan is saying that this has only increased the pressure for us to pass taxes. He may be missing the message. This is a man who came to power. You see, 63/33 about deserving reelection. But that number can change as a function of what happens going forward. That's the nature of polling.

But Ryan came to power because of his moral agents. When he was with Obama he would say things, you know, like "We won't play the villain in his morality plays. We must stay united. We have to show that we have better ideas." That he, Obama, was degrading the presidency, talking about primary politics, not what presidents should do. He has become mute on those moral messages. But that's what came out of the election in Virginia specifically. We don't want the divisiveness. We want someone to lead.

Is getting taxes enough?

AVLON: Well, look, getting taxes is essential, because they need to show they can deliver on a core area that unites their constituency. But the reason the administration's so focused on middle-class tax cuts is that that's the fulcrum. If he loses the middle class entirely, after all the rhetoric, at a time of real anxiety about income inequality, that's bad.

For Paul Ryan, you're right. It was the moral agency. He was the ideas guy in the Republican Party. And so the question is, as Republicans look to 2018, do they try to create a separation? Let's face it. There is deep separation between the Republican leadership, the governing class and President Trump and the White House.

But can Paul Ryan start to, you know, reignite his spine, in effect, and start standing up for the ideas that brought him to power. Because if he abandons it entirely, he becomes an accommodationist who tries to explain away in public everything Trump does that violates those principles, he loses the moral authority that elevated him to the speakership.

GREGORY: But we just have to remember -- I know we have to go. We just have to remember that people -- most people signed on for the wild ride as long as the Republicans could get something big done. As long as Trump could get something big done. That's what people are going to be watching.

CAMEROTA: OK. David Gregory, John Avlon, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. As we all know, President Trump is in China this morning. And he's had a big change in his rhetoric. Instead of calling China a rapist, he is now saying, "I don't blame them at all. I blame my predecessors for the U.S. trade situation with China."

Why the about-face? CNN's Jeff Zeleny live in Beijing with more. Is what we're just seeing on the ground diplomacy? He's in China; he has to change?


It was definitely a day of pomp and pageantry here as President Trump is trying to soften his stance, all in hopes of enlisting president Xi Jinping to fully join a confrontation against North Korea.

But after two days here on the ground in Beijing, the open question is, will there be any new policy from this Chinese president?


ZELENY (voice-over): President Trump receiving a regal welcome in China with new signs the flattery from President Xi Jinping may be working. Mr. Trump dramatically softening his once stern message to China on trade.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't blame China. After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.

ZELENY: Those words a far cry from his rhetoric on the campaign trail.

TRUMP: China is taking our jobs, our money, our base, our manufacturing.

We can't continue to allow China to rape our country.

ZELENY: On the edge of Tiananmen Square inside the Great Hall of the People today, Mr. Trump didn't fault China for its business practices. Instead, pointing a finger at his predecessors.

TRUMP: I do blame past administrations for allowing this out-of- control trade deficit to take place and to grow.

ZELENY: The two leaders met for hours during the president's two-day visit to Beijing. Mr. Trump called for a vibrant yet fair trading relationship and announced pledges of $250 billion in American business agreements here.

Yet North Korea's nuclear ambitions dominated the talks on the most consequential stop of the president's 13-day Asia tour.

[07:15:05] TRUMP: Together, we have in our power to finally liberate this region and the world from this very serious nuclear menace.

ZELENY: President Xi said China was committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. But stopped short of saying what else he might do to squeeze Kim Jong-un economically.

Mr. Trump became the first president since George H.W. Bush not to insist that a Chinese president take questions from the press at a joint news conference.

But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that President Trump did discuss human rights with his Chinese counterpart.

REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The president also committed to promote exchanges and understanding between our peoples and had a frank exchange of views on human rights issues.

ZELENY: President Trump's first state visit to China was intentionally filled with personal touches. To a dinner with his host, he brought along this video of his 6-year-old granddaughter, Arabella, speaking Mandarin. President Xi praised her skills with an "A-plus."


ZELENY: That video of the president's granddaughter was played again tonight just a short time ago at another state dinner here. The president already looking forward to his next stop on this Asian tour. That's in Vietnam, where the White House is anticipating a potential meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Now, this is not fully set yet. The Russians are saying it could happen on Friday. The U.S. side is saying it could, as well, if they can agree to a framework of conversation. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Syria and the Middle East will be on the agenda before they agree to a meeting.

I asked the secretary of state just a short time ago if Russian meddling would also be on the agenda. He said that stays on the list.

So Chris, if a meeting happens on Friday, fascinating once again to see these two presidents side by side, what conversation about Russian meddling will come up. Of course, this investigation still hangs over this White House back in Washington.

CUOMO: No question. Big opportunity for the president to put American interests first. Will he? We'll see. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

So President Trump telling Democrats he will be a big loser under the GOP's tax plan. True? Our economic experts break it down next.


[07:21:16] CUOMO: The Finance Committee on the Senate side is expected to reveal details about its tax bill today. Remember, you're going to have a Senate bill and a House bill. Will they be incongruous? We'll see.

The Congressional Budget Office says the House bill is going to add $1.7 trillion to the nation's already soaring deficit.

Joining us now is CNN senior economics analyst Stephen Moore, former Trump economic advisor; and CNN global economic analyst Rana Foroohar.

All right, Steve. It's good to have you, as always, my friend.

The criticism is that this tax plan is called middle class, but it helps the top tier more. And, for real conservatives like you, balloons the deficit in a way that should be unacceptable. Your defense?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Let me just step back for one second...

CUOMO: No, no.

MOORE: And say something. I want to say something. Those poll numbers you were talking about.

CUOMO: Please.

MOORE: It's related to this. You know, the most -- you guys buried the lead a little bit there, because the most important poll number that was released in that poll was astounding, actually. Sixty-five percent of Americans today think the economy is good or great? I haven't seen a poll result like that in 15 years.

CUOMO: It's actually 68 percent. Just to help your non-sequitur point.

MOORE: These are -- I've seen numbers as high as 65 percent saying good or great economy.

Now, that's important, because the economy has already picked up to 3 to 3.5 percent growth in Trump's first year in office. That's something that, by the way, nine months ago, when I was debating economists on this show, they'd say, "Trump is lying. It's impossible to get to 3 percent growth." We are here. That's good news.

It's amazing the jobs and the economy didn't show up for the first time in a decade as one of the top issues for Americans, because the economy is doing so well. So I say that because I...

CUOMO: Why do you need a tax cut? If the economy is so robust.

MOORE: Because we...

CUOMO: That's the whole point. Why do you need one?

MOORE: Because we want the economy to grow faster; we want even more jobs. We think we can get this economy to grow at 3.5 to 4 percent for four or five years.

And that's relevant to this whole issue about the deficit, Chris. Because if we get the economy growing at, say, 3.5 percent, you're talking about hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars of additional revenue when you take people off unemployment, when you have companies do better.

One other quick point. You know, you keep quoting the Tax Policy Center. You never call them liberal. I've never heard you call them a liberal group. And they're...

CUOMO: I don't think that's a fair appraisal.

MOORE: Well, they are liberal.

CUOMO: That's what you think. That's what you think that they are.

MOORE: Well, hold on, Chris. You've got a group called the Tax Foundation, which is on the right. It's the right counterpart to the left-wing Ta Policy Center. And they say this job is going to -- this bill will create a million jobs, will increase revenues due to growth. And the Tax Policy Center is saying zero new jobs.

CUOMO: Let's bring in Rana Foroohar. One, what's your take on who we're using as a point of appraisal here? Is Stephen right about the Tax Policy Center? And then make your larger point.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I actually don't agree with him on that. But I would say a broad group of economists actually disagree with the fact that tax cuts at this stage in our development are going to create tons of jobs. I mean, the last time that happened was under Reagan. But if you look, things were really different back then. Women were coming into the work force in large numbers. The birth rate was higher. Growth is really easy. Growth is just the number of people...

CUOMO: The deficit also exploded.

FOROOHAR: The deficit exploded. We'll get to that in a minute. But growth is people plus productivity. Neither of those things are growing right now. And, as you say, there were tax cuts, but there weren't spending cuts. Which means you had to reign that deficit back in in 1986.

So it's not like this is some kind of, you know, magic plan that's just going to create jobs without leaving us with a deficit problem. And that's what a lot of Republicans are actually... [07:25:00] CUOMO: Now let's bring it down to my intellectual level. You guys are, you know, very intelligent, and that's why we need you to add value on the show. On a much more like, you know, Chris level of thinking about this, here's what I see as an immediate problem for you, Stephen. And I look forward to your explaining it away.

You are calling this a middle-class tax cut. By most appraisals, at least initially, the middle class does get a cut. There's speculation down the line about that actually turning into a tax loss for them. But we'll have to see more meat on the bones.

But it is true in almost every point of analysis that the top tier does better than the middle class. So here's the problem. You're giving the middle class a tax cut but not as much as you are giving the top tier. You're trying to say it was designed for the middle class. It seems like you're setting yourself up for failure.

MOORE: Well, a couple of things. I mean, first of all, we believe -- you know, as you know, Chris, I worked with Donald Trump a year and a half ago helping put this thing together.

The idea has always been very simple. That American companies are overtaxed relative to the situation in China, in Korea, in Canada, in Ireland, in Mexico and these countries, and that we believe that, by cutting those tax rates, we can bring more jobs, more capital back to the United States. I mean, you were asking why -- gee, we have 3 percent growth. Isn't that the best we can do? Hell no.


CUOMO: No, I never said that. I'm just saying that doesn't directly help the middle class...

MOORE: Yes, it does.

CUOMO: ... if you wanted to directly help them. No. It would help them indirectly.

MOORE: Wait a minute, Chris.

CUOMO: Because you're assuming that everybody has jobs and they have money. You have companies holding cash like they never have before. They're not exploding their labor roles or their wages.

MOORE: We -- we believe that, when those tax rates come down for the businesses, whether you're talking about big companies like FedEx or smaller, middle-size said companies that when they have more money, they're going to hire more workers and expand their operations. And that leads to more jobs. Look, it's simple.

CUOMO: It happens, but it doesn't always happen.

FOROOHAR: It didn't happen in the last 20 years. It didn't happen -- didn't happen in 2001. It didn't happen with Obama.

MOORE: It happened under Reagan. FOROOHAR: Well, go back to Reagan, everything was different back then. It didn't happen in the last 20 years.

And, you know, what we need really is to grow wages. Because we've got a 70 percent consumer economy. If you don't have demand, if you don't have more money in people's pockets, you're not going to get more job growth.

I don't believe that cutting taxes on big corporations which have more cash on their balance sheets than ever before in history. Just look at Apple Computer. Nearly $300 billion of money on the balance sheet. Most of it in off-shore tax havens for the reason that Stephen is saying. We do have a higher corporate tax rate. But frankly, those companies are already paying a lower rate because of all the deductions which are not going to get closed on this plan.

CUOMO: Make a quick analysis for me of the president's claim, that he's going to get killed under this. The only tax return we've ever seen from him show that the AMT was a huge gift to him.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So what's he talking about?

FOROOHAR: Well, all right. So the AMT is the alternative minimum tax.

CUOMO: Minimum tax.

FOROOHAR: This is something that wealthy people sometimes pay. If you look back to the minimal amount of information we do have, his 2005 tax return, $31 million of the $38 million he paid on billions of dollars of income was that AMT.

So you've got to look at that and say, all right. He's looking at getting rid of a tax point that's really going to benefit him. And again, that kind of undermines the whole idea that this is for the middleclass.

CUOMO: Now, Stephen, when I asked you about the top tier, just so we recollect, you hopped right to corporate tax cuts. All I'm saying is this. Stephen, against, interests. Thank God I'm in the top tier. Thank you, CNN. I will benefit from what you're proposing right now.

I'm just saying you're pitching it as a middle-class tax cut. And it is not engineered by the GOP's own reckoning to overweight benefit to the middle class. I just don't get what you're trying to do. It seems like a bait and switch. "This is for you, middle class, but I'm helping the rich more than you." That's all.

MOORE: So you know, you just cited the Congressional Budget Office. And the Congressional Budget Office, which by the way, is I believe...

CUOMO: They're a left-leaning organization, as well?

MOORE: But the Congressional Budget Office, a month ago -- you guys can look this up -- did a report on what is the effect of cutting the corporate tax rate. The Congressional Budget Office says about 60 to 65 percent of the benefits of cutting business tax rates go to workers. Because workers have more jobs. Businesses can pay them more. I mean, look, ask a businessman or woman.

CUOMO: I'm asking you about the top tier individual rates. Why won't you address what I'm asking you? I know that your listening skills are par excellence. Why are you helping people like me more than the people who are making $75,000, $80,000 a year, if you're saying that the tax cut is geared for them?

MOORE: Well, let me -- let me make one point.

CUOMO: It better be the question I just asked you. This is the third swing at this.

MOORE: I agree with you on something, which is I think the fault of this bill is you guys just mentioned loopholes. I don't think this bill closes enough of these loopholes. I would like to see, Chris, I'd love your reaction to this. Let's just get rid of all the loopholes for people who make over a million dollars. Then you put a cap on the deductions and let that -- make them pay their fair share.

CUOMO: Go ahead and do it.

MOORE: Bring those rates down.

CUOMO: That would then wind up helping. Raise your revenues so that you would then remove the burden out of the middle class. You didn't do that. But I'll tell you what you did do. You're slipping punches like Floyd Mayweather. I've never seen anything like it.