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Trump Voter Panel; Border Patrol Agents Attacked; Trump Continues to Avoid Moore Questions; Trump's UCLA Tweet. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired November 21, 2017 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:33:13] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It's been basically one year since President Trump won his historical election, so we wanted to check in with a panel of people who voted for him. They were from Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Connecticut, and Louisiana. We wanted to see how they're feeling today.
Now, on Monday, we asked the panel to grade the president's performance. And as you can see, they gave him three Bs, two As and an F.
In part two of "Pulse of the People," we started with how they feel about the president's tone and its effect on the country.
CAMEROTA: Hey, show of hands, how many people are comfortable with the president's tone? So you don't find some of it course or insulting or any of the other things he's accused of?
KIM CARSON, TRUMP VOTER: I know sometimes you kind of cringe when he says, you know, get those SOB's off the field. That's not anything we don't hear all time from our neighbors. And the fact that he speaks like everyday people, too, has some weight.
STACY BIGELOW, TRUMP VOTER: He's not perfect. Far from perfect -- you know, perfect. So I don't expect -- I'm not -- you know, I don't think everything he says is going to come off totally perfect. But I think he's saying what a lot of us are thinking.
CAMEROTA: How many of you think the president's tone has affected the national tone?
RUBEN ESTRADA, TRUMP VOTER: It's not only that. It's other things that he's said and the way he says it. It's -- it's very offensive.
CAMEROTA: Such as?
ESTRADA: When you discuss about the Mexican community, how he referred to them (INAUDIBLE) --
CAMEROTA: As rapists and murderers.
ESTRADA: Right, and that's an issue. You cannot just do things like that.
CAMEROTA: And so why do you overlook that to give -- to vote for him and to give him then a B now at year end?
ESTRADA: I give him a B because I'm hoping that he learns a little bit more and --
CAMEROTA: He changes his tone.
ESTRADA: He changes his tone a little bit. Just give a little more respect to people.
MARK LEE, TRUMP VOTER: (INAUDIBLE).
ESTRADA: That's all I want.
I just want to hear Mark's response.
LEE: He is respectful. You have to understand --
ESTRADA: It's not respectful to me and my community that's for sure.
LEE: And that's OK. I think he's doing his best under the circumstances and I just think people should just cut him a little bit of slack.
[08:35:02] SHERRI UNDERWOOD, TRUMP VOTER: I do have something to say about the tone. I'm not comfortable with it. I think he should be setting the tone in a healing way. A lot of people view him as a racist. He may not be racist, but a lot of people have accused him of that because of the tone.
BIGELOW: But his tone when he ran for -- when he ran was the same as it is now.
UNDERWOOD: You know, he said he would bring the country together and, you know, that hasn't happened. In Charlottesville, I think that he could have made a stronger statement and not have been perceived so much as, you know, a racist in that incident.
ANTHONY MILES, TRUMP VOTER: But it takes two to start a fight. So that's what he was trying to get everybody to recognize.
LEE: That's right.
MILES: Is you can't just blame one group of people with rocks. You have to look at the other group with the rocks.
LEE: Absolutely. Yes.
CAMEROTA: But people felt that neo-Nazis are sort of in their own category.
BIGELOW: Exactly. MILES: But they're still Americans.
LEE: (INAUDIBLE). Yes, they're still -- they still have the right. You know, look --
CAMEROTA: They don't have the right to mow people that are protesting down with their car.
LEE: No, no, they have the right --
MILES: Their ideology may make us sick --
MILES: But that's what's wonderful about America. You can do some really weird things.
CAMEROTA: So what about the, for lack of a better word, controversies of the past year. I mean I can just tick through them between the Twitter fights, let's say, with Kim Jong-un, the -- all the Russian ties, Sergeant Johnson's widow, Niger, not talking about it, not talking about the soldiers lost there. Do you feel that these are self-inflicted? Do you feel that these are getting in the way of his agenda? What are your thoughts when these things crop up?
ESTRADA: My thought for this is a lot of them are -- and I go back to what he says, is media. A lot of them -- you could -- you could -- you could -- you could frame a conversation -- a media could frame a conversation whichever the way they wanted.
CAMEROTA: How are we to blame for his slow response to the soldiers in Niger being killed?
ESTRADA: Well, no, but it's -- it's more like how -- he didn't profess his message. He -- this is the first time he's doing this. He doesn't know how to talk to a person who's grieving.
MILES: He's not very polished.
CAMEROTA: Fine, but that's not the media's fault.
LEE: That's not the media.
ESTRADA: I know, but the media made it to be like the worst thing in the world.
CAMEROTA: Show of hands, how many people think that the Russia stuff is just an invention of the fake news media, nothing to see here?
Ruben, why don't you think that?
ESTRADA: Any interjection of Russia in our system, as little as it may be, is a problem.
CARSON: But it's been going on for years and years and years.
ESTRADA: But you can't stop it. We can't stop it, but I'm not going to accept it. I will not accept it.
CARSON: Even --
: (INAUDIBLE) but they injected (ph) in Obama's election.
CARSON: Exactly. I was going to say --
: Should we investigate Obama? Where are we going with this?
ESTRADA: I don't know.
CARSON: So this is nothing new. I think maybe getting a dossier on a candidate and putting it out would probably be a big problem, or selling 20 percent of your uranium to them would be a big problem.
ESTRADA: Twenty percent of uranium is also (INAUDIBLE).
CAMEROTA: You don't think that the Trump campaign meeting with Russians who were going to hand over dirt -- fine.
LEE: Put it in (INAUDIBLE).
CARSON: No, no, I think it's the same either way. And I think it should be handled the same way.
CAMEROTA: How do you know? How do you know?
LEE: It's been a year. We haven't seen anything yet.
CAMEROTA: All right, let's look it up. George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. You guys are too -- completely comfortable with all of this.
LEE: Nothing to see. Nothing to see.
UNDERWOOD: No, no, not comfortable with that.
LEE: Papadopoulos, he's a janitor in the Trump administration. He's a nobody.
CAMEROTA: Really? So even though he was in that foreign policy meeting --
LEE: The guy literally was a janitor.
CAMEROTA: And where are you getting information that he was a janitor?
LEE: I don't mean literally, but, I mean, he was a nobody. That's my point.
CAMEROTA: And how do you know that? LEE: Because Trump says so.
UNDERWOOD: I mean we have people pleading guilty to charges. You know, this is very serious.
CAMEROTA: You all voted for President Trump. How many of you, show of hands, your lives are better one year later?
BIGELOW: Too soon to tell, I mean, for me, for my business.
ESTRADA: Right. Right. And my business too. It's too soon to tell.
BIGELOW: When the health care gets straightened out and the tax cuts, then I would be able to answer one way or the other. But, right now, too soon to tell.
MILES: We do not have a puppet in the White House anymore.
CAMEROTA: That makes your life better?
MILES: That gives me hope.
CAMEROTA: Sherri, you've given him an F. Has your life gotten worse with President Trump?
UNDERWOOD: I -- it's definitely not improved. I'm also very anxious to see what they will do with these tax cuts.
CAMEROTA: You think you're going to be hurt by the tax cut?
UNDERWOOD: Oh, I think I will definitely be hurt by the tax cut. It's going to hit a lot of Americans who are not anticipating being hit with that tax -- they're thinking they're going to get a break and they're going -- I'm afraid going to be surprised.
CAMEROTA: Thanksgiving is coming up. How many of you expect to have conversations about politics or President Trump at your Thanksgiving Day table?
ESTRADA: Oh, some of that.
LEE: I'm a stickler (ph). I can't in my family.
CAMEROTA: You won't. You say no.
LEE: No. I'm the only Republican in my family. They literally --
CAMEROTA: They won't let you talk.
LEE: I won't eat.
UNDERWOOD: Everyone in my family is a Trump supporter. So we will not be discussing politics at our Thanksgiving dinner.
BIGELOW: We have a good majority of the people I work with are Trump supporters, but there are others that are not, and that's -- sometimes we've had to put that off limits in the lunchroom because it's -- sometimes doesn't end very well.
CARSON: In my family it's always pleasant. And we've got, you know, we've got a few that are on the other side. But, in my family, everyone's really open-mined. We exchange ideas and we're always respectful. Anytime you have a respectful conversation it benefits both parties.
[08:40:12] (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Mark, the man up on the right --
CAMEROTA: The Jamaican guy, yes?
CUOMO: He's going to have problems with his family because he says if Jesus came off the cross. If he's a Christian, he has risen. He's already off the cross. So that's going to be his problem right out of the box.
Do you believe that a year in you're seeing the same gap between fact and feeling?
CAMEROTA: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I think that what I've always heard from these Trump panels is the passion with which they have embraced President Trump. He has inspired in them and captured an emotional level and passion that you don't normally see with how they feel about their politicians. That's part of what his superpower has been, how strongly -- I mean you're referring to what Mark said about, he would believe President Trump over Jesus. That's how strongly the people who give him an A still feel.
CUOMO: It is interesting, though, that as facts come out, it's how -- what they decide to make of those facts.
CUOMO: And how they weave that into the feelings that they want to maintain. It is tough to convince somebody of the truth if they are intent on believing something else.
CUOMO: There you have it.
We're learning more about a brutal attack on two border patrol agents in Texas. One of them is dead, the other one seriously injured. What happened? Answers ahead.
CUOMO: All right, we are learning more about what the Border Patrol Union is calling a deadly attack on two agents in southwest Texas. According to a spokesman, Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were responding to a ground sensor that went off in an area that's known for drug smuggling. When they got there, they encountered trouble. [08:45:09] CNN's Ed Lavandera drove all night to get to El Paso,
What are you learning, my friend?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris.
What's a bit of a mystery is to exactly what is going on in this situation. As you detailed there, the information coming from the union that represents border patrol agents describes this attack as an ambush, and so have President Trump, the governor of Texas, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas as well, all describing the incident as an attack.
The problem is, federal investigators really haven't gone that far yet. They say this incident happened late Saturday night about 12 miles east of the small town of Van Horn, Texas. This is a very remote area. And as the union spokesperson described it is they believe it was an area highly trafficked by drug smugglers and they believe that this was a well-planned out attack. Perhaps these agents disrupting some sort of drug smuggling operation and that they believe that they were attacked with perhaps something like a rock.
But federal investigators officially not saying anything to that extent, which just kind of leads to the mystery of exactly what happened with these agents.
CAMEROTA: Yes, Ed, it is very mysterious. We're going to need a lot more questions answered. Thank you very much for the reporting from there.
Meanwhile, President Trump is tweeting about a basketball player's father who did not say "thank you," and Senator Franken's sexual harassment scandal, but he's not talking about Senate Nominee Roy Moore. So we'll get "The Bottom Line," next.
[08:50:09] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
QUESTION: Your thoughts on Ray Moore, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers?
Do you believe Roy Moore's accusers, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's President Trump continuing to avoid questions about the Republican Party's embattled Senate Nominee Roy Moore. But the president has plenty to say about Senator Al Franken's sexual harassment scandal, and an outspoken basketball dad that Chris knows very well and his refusal to say "thank you."
Let's get "The Bottom Line" from CNN political director David Chalian.
So, David, I mean, I don't know how many of those awkward press conferences we've seen --
CUOMO: Defensive posturing.
CAMEROTA: With -- that's what they're doing, with -- where the men sit at the conference table and say like, no more questions, no more questions, no more questions about Roy Moore, but I guess that's going to continue for the next -- until December 12th.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, let's be clear, the questions aren't going to stop, so he'll have to get used to being in that position to not answering the questions.
But, Alisyn, the White House actually, in the last 24 hours or so, has begun to indicate, I think, where they really are on this and where the president is because it seemed for a while they were trying to have it both ways, act like they weren't weighing in at all, it's up to the people of Alabama. But then Kellyanne Conway went out on television yesterday and made the case for why people should not be voting for Doug Jones, so therefore suggesting that Roy Moore would be a better vote to have in the United States Senate.
CHALIAN: And yesterday Sarah Sanders, from the podium, the White House press secretary, said that the president is interested in having senators who will support the president's agenda. Well, in that Alabama contest, there's only one, Roy Moore versus Doug Jones, who that description applies to. That's Roy Moore. So while they like to say it's up to the voters of Alabama, it seems that the White House is indicating that they would be OK with Roy Moore be elected to the United States Senate.
CAMEROTA: Do you want to hear that sound? Because Kellyanne Conway said one thing last week --
CAMEROTA: And then she said a different thing that you're referring to, David, yesterday. So let's listen to those.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The principle -- the incontrovertible principle is that there's no Senate seat that's worth more than a child.
Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don't be fooled. He'll be a vote against tax cuts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So vote Roy Moore?
CONWAY: I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What happened to the incontrovertible principle of no child's life is worth that?
CHALIAN: That seems to have gone out the window.
And, by the way, the White House, in terms of Republican folks here in Washington, Republican elected officials, seems to be on an island here because everyone now, from Mitch McConnell to Susan Collins, that's a pretty broad spectrum of the Republican Party right now up on Capitol Hill, has said he needs to go now and they don't want him in the United States Senate.
The White House is in a different place here. And, obviously, we've talked about this, I think the reason is twofold. One is, the president's own personal history with accusers. This makes it an extraordinary comfortable and awkward conversation for the president to have perhaps, a. B, it cuts against his own base politics. This is where we were on the losing side of the Strange/Moore primary in the runoff in Alabama. We know that the Bannon wing is remaining fired up for Roy Moore, and Donald Trump is clearly concerned about getting crosswise with his own base.
CUOMO: Right. But it's just so obvious. I mean we're not used to seeing Donald Trump duck situations this way.
CUOMO: We're used to seeing him take things on that he shouldn't, like LaVar Ball, and then you have people like Sanders or Conway who come in to clean it up, which is their job. Sanders doing an unusually awkward job. Alisyn and I were debating this earlier today. Sanders says he meant his tweet about, I should have left them in jail in China --
CHALIAN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) --
CUOMO: Rhetorically, even though Sean Spicer had said before Sanders, tweets are official records from the president. They are official statements.
CAMEROTA: Yes, but I --
CUOMO: Another lame kind of statement.
CAMEROTA: We were debating if you can have something be rhetorical without being questioned. I say yes. What say you, David?
CUOMO: I say no.
CAMEROTA: I say yes.
CHALIAN: Rhetorical? You can have a rhetorical statement that's not a question.
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
CHALIAN: I think you can have a rhetorical flourish. But I -- but the point here is the inconsistency and we were told that his tweets are official statements.
CHALIAN: So now you just want to it's a turn of phrase --
CUOMO: He says, I should have left them in jail.
CHALIAN: Right. And that --
CUOMO: You explain to me how that is rhetorical.
CAMEROTA: He said, I should have left you there. That's rhetorical. I should have left you there.
CHALIAN: Right. Well, he -- he is -- they are clearly (INAUDIBLE) --
CUOMO: The president of the United States is talking about teenage citizens.
CAMEROTA: OK, listen, now, if you're going to throw the president of the United States --
CUOMO: But it's the context --
CAMEROTA: If you're going to play the president of the United States card --
CUOMO: Context. This is where you lose.
CAMEROTA: Then we're in a -- then we're in a whole different category, which we are every day, as you know, David.
CUOMO: But it's such a lame, obvious aversion. Whether it's the body language that Alisyn is referring to, or the fact that he takes things on all the time but he doesn't take this on. Is there any chance that that hurts him?
[08:55:00] CHALIAN: Oh, I mean, you just looked at a -- you just looked at a segment with his most core supporters. Hurts him with whom? I mean this is -- this is the reality we live in with President Trump now. He has one of the --
CUOMO: Independent voters, college educated white voters.
CHALIAN: Well, independent voters are gone. But they're gone, Chris. He's -- he's two to one -- their -- independents are two to one against him. So what is left to really lose here at this moment? I'm not suggesting his numbers can't go down a bit. I'm sure they can. President Bush's went lower. But he has such a strong connection with his base that the idea of, does it hurt him, I -- you know, he's been a president hanging out at historic lows.
CAMEROTA: Have you noticed how many of our guests sigh when we ask a question?
CAMEROTA: David, thank you for "The Bottom Line" very much.
CHALIAN: Thanks guys.
CAMEROTA: On that note, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman picks up after this break.