Return to Transcripts main page
North Korea Launches Missile; Trump on Capitol Hill; Dems Pull out of Meeting; McConnell Speaks about Tax Bill. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 28, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: So it shows you once again that the tension, that the real threat has not gone away and now the State Department is going to have to come up with some other response to this.
And we're getting to a point where the sanctions, there are many of them. There are still areas where the U.S. and other countries can squeeze North Korea, of course. The U.S. would like to see many other countries, namely China, squeeze North Korea even more. But you do get to the point where it comes to sanctions, that there's just not that much more they're going to do, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, all right, Michelle, stand by. We're going to stay on top of all the breaking news. North Korea has launched a ballistic missile. Our special coverage continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, Wolf, thank you so much. We're going to take it from here. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me here.
We're going to continue this breaking news coverage out of North Korea where the reporting is that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile and it is still in the air. This is what we're getting from the South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
So, let's work with what we know, beginning with our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson, who is on the phone for us.
I know it's in the middle of the night for you in Hong Kong there. But, Ivan, tell me about what exactly is South Korea saying about this?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): We just have a preliminary statement coming out of South Korea's joint chiefs of staff confirming that there's a unified ballistic missile fired from Pyongsong in south Pyongyang to the east. And we still don't know anything further about the nature of this missile, the range of it.
What is striking about this is that it's coming after a pause of more than two months where North Korea had not fired any missiles. Another thing that's got my head -- me scratching my head right now is the timing of it. If you go back three, four, five months, Brooke, North Korea was firing these missiles on almost a weekly basis for some stretches, but it almost always took place at dawn Korea time. And this is taking place now at around 3:00 in the morning, around that time. So it doesn't fit the pattern that we've seen in the past.
And this missile launch will raise some serious questions because it comes so soon after President Trump made his tour of Asian countries and made a big show of (INAUDIBLE), not only allies, South Korea and Japan, to put additional pressure on isolating North Korea, but also met with Xi Jinping and after China sent an envoy just days ago to Pyongyang to meet with the North Koreans. So we're still waiting to find out the nature of this missile launch, how far and the altitude of this potential missile. This is very much developing as we speak now, Brooke.
BALDWIN: No, it's an excellent point on the timing and that this doesn't fit with the pattern that we saw over those couple of months where we would see them often and at dawn.
Ivan Watson, don't go too far for me.
I want to continue this with Ryan Browne, who is our Pentagon reporter.
And I understand you're getting some new information from the Pentagon. What are you hearing about this missile launch?
RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, that's right, Brooke, we just spoke with the -- the head spokesman for the Pentagon, Colonel Rob Manning. He just told us that the U.S. did detect what is being called a probable missile launch from North Korea about 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Now that's all the information they're providing right now. They say they're continuing to assess this launch. That they will provide more information as it becomes available. But now confirmation from the Pentagon that the U.S. military detected a missile launch from North Korea at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
Now, again, earlier in the day, U.S. military officials told me that there had been some movement of missile material in North Korea in the last 48 hours. They had seen -- some movement had been detected, but there was no clear sign of a major missile launch being imminent. So now -- but now the Pentagon saying that a launch did in fact occur and they're currently assessing to see what kind of missile it was. Was it a short range missile? Was it a medium range? Was it an ICBM? These are the things that they'll be reviewing now, looking at the data that they have.
BALDWIN: So we don't know the type of launch, to your point. We also, correct, me, Ryan, but it's so early, we still don't even know if it's a launch where the missile took the trajectory over Japan, as one has in the past, or as North Korea promised toward the U.S. territory of Guam. We still don't know, correct?
BROWNE: That's correct. No information about whether -- where the trajectory of the missile was provided at this time. I also asked whether or not if -- the missile at any time posed any risk to anyone, any U.S. personnel or others. No information available on that as well. So we don't know much about this missile. But now the Pentagon at least confirming that a probable missile launch did occur in North Korea.
[14:05:02] BALDWIN: Got it. Ryan Browne at the Pentagon, thank you so much. We'll come back to this breaking news on this ballistic missile, this unidentified ballistic missile out of Pyongsong.
But let's get to Capitol Hill, to the other breaking news this afternoon happening right now. You have the president of the United States up on The Hill meeting with Republican senators on this critical day for their effort to overhaul the nation's tax system. And you can see him there, some cameras caught him as he was on his way in.
While that is happening, another urgent congressional issue has already been undercut because the president was supposed to meet with Democrat leaders on how to fund the government before that December 8th deadline. However, House Minority Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer they aren't showing up. They're scraping those plans. And so we'll get into that in just a moment.
But first let's talk taxes. About 30 minutes from now the Senate Republicans tax proposal will go before the Budget Committee. And if just one Republican senator, one, joins the Democrats and votes no, that Senate plan stalls. And along with it the latest effort for Republicans to get major legislation passed before 2018 arrives. Keep in mind, there are just 14 legislative days remaining for the U.S. Senate.
So let's start here on Capitol Hill with my colleague Sunlen Serfaty.
And so, Sunlen, you know, the president is there in the building. He is trying to, you know, I presume wheel and deal with some of these senators. Talk to me about which senators the president needs to win over.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has a lot to win over, Brooke. Quite frankly there are at least 10 Republican senators that have openly voiced concern about the Republicans' tax plan right now. You can see a few of them up there on the screen.
And in the short term, I mean the immediate short term, when we're talking about the Senate Budget Committee today holding their mark-up, trying to get that to move out of committee and onto the floor with their goal of getting this voted on by the end of the week, the White House and Republicans are really zeroing in on, right at this moment, Senator Ron Johnson.
Now, he has been very vocal with his concerns centering around pass- throughs. The tax rates for business entities that pass through their earnings to the individual side. He wants the rates lowered. He wants some changes, more generous rates. He is demanding. And he says he, at least last we checked in with him, he intends to vote "no" in committee unless changes are made.
Now, up until this last moment, changes are being talked about behind closed doors. Of course that being a chief topic of conversation today at the Senate policy luncheon that Republicans are huddling with President Trump. And we know, according to our own Manu Raju's reporting, that President Trump did single out Ron Johnson in the meeting today to talk about his concerns about the tax bill. And he urged him to offer an amendment on the floor to address his concerns. The message being, Brooke, don't stall this in committee today.
BALDWIN: Here's the if. And this is when we're all going to get into the weeds, but this is what we do, right? So if it stalls within committee, if it can't get through, that doesn't necessarily mean that the bill won't see the light of day on the floor of the senate, correct?
SERFATY: That's right. That's right.
BALDWIN: This rule 14. Give me the straight skinny on this.
SERFATY: Exactly. You can just think of this as stalled but not stopped essentially.
SERFATY: It certainly would be a huge embarrassment for Republicans if they can't get their bill out of committee when it's Republicans standing in the way of it. But, as you mentioned, there are procedural tools that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, can use, and intends to it seems, to push this to a vote on the Senate floor.
And John Cornyn, who's the Republican whip, he told our own Ted Barrett today he's optimistic the bill would get out of committee. But when pressed on what the leadership intended to do if it stalls, he said option b is the same as option a, getter (ph) done.
BALDWIN: OK. Getter done.
Sunlen, thank you so much.
More now on why Leader Pelosi and Senator Schumer decided not to meet with the president today at the White House as planned. They backed out after the president tweeted this earlier, quote, meeting with Chuck and Nancy today about keeping government open and work. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our country unchecked, are weak on crime, and want to substantially raise taxes. I don't see a deal.
OK, so that came in from the president this morning. Here now is Senator Chuck Schumer speaking -- oh, actually, live pictures. Is he saying anything?
Ah, let's go quickly. Let's pivot. Let's go to Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent, at the White House.
I'm not quite sure I could make out whatever it was that the president was saying there. But, obviously, the wheel and the deal is on.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was trying to read lips there as well, Brooke. Couldn't quite make out what the president was saying there. He did say something to reporters as he was coming out of that meeting with Senate Republicans. As Sunlen said, he called out Senator Ron Johnson during that meeting.
BALDWIN: Let's listen. Hang on, Jim. Let's try again.
QUESTION: Mr. President, the North Koreans just launched a ballistic missile. Do you have any comment?
[14:10:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, do it here.
BALDWIN: OK. My executive producer apparently is the good lip reader and said he was being asked about this ballistic missile from Pyongsong, from North Korea.
BALDWIN: And he was saying, we'll be talking about North Korea. We'll be talking about North Korea. That's what that was about.
Go ahead, Jim.
ACOSTA: Right. And my guess is that the president is being briefed right now on what happened with this North Korea ballistic missile test. And we'll find out about that at the -- at the 3:00 briefing with Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary.
ACOSTA: But as you mentioned, the president issued that tweet earlier this morning. Sometimes, for the president, tweets don't have consequences. In this case, tweets do have consequences. Senator Schumer and House Leader -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi decided to skip this meeting that was being scheduled this afternoon at 3:00 here at the White House to meet with the president, other congressional leaders. That is not happening basically because they objected to that tweet. The president saying in that tweet he doesn't see a deal and putting that out there before they even have a chance to have a meeting to prevent a government shutdown which, by the way, could happen on December 8th.
Brooke, this White House is facing the prospect that its only major legislative achievement of the year may be avoiding a government shutdown. Put aside tax reform for a second. They have to make sure that the lights stay on here in Washington. But the White House, in response to that, did put out a statement, we can put this up on screen, in response to Schumer and Pelosi not coming over to the White House this afternoon. It says, it's disappointing that Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are refusing to come to the table and discuss urgent issues. The president's invitation to the Democratic leaders still stands and he encourages them to put aside their pettiness, stop the political grandstanding, show up and get to work. These issues are too important.
Brooke, one sentence there stands out to me in all of that. The president, his invitation still stands. He encourages them to put aside their pettiness. Obviously there are a lot of Democrats on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue this afternoon who are saying, really, pettiness. Isn't that what the president showed earlier this morning when he was tweeting at Pelosi and Schumer, calling them Chuck and Nancy and saying that they can't even come to a deal even before their meeting takes place. In Washington that sometimes counts as pettiness, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Jim Acosta, thank you, at the White House.
ACOSTA: You bet. Sure.
BALDWIN: We'll talk again after that -- or before that White House briefing at the top of the hour.
But let's just tick off some of the items on the lawmakers daunting to-do list. You know Jim mentioned making sure that the -- avoiding a government shutdown. But there is more.
So most urgently, December 8th, the funding for the government runs out. But also on the agenda, what to do with the nearly 700,000 dreamers who came to the U.S. as children with their parents. Also, how to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program among a couple of other issues there you see on that list.
So I have with me two CNN political commentators, Ben Ferguson, a conservative radio host, and Keith Boykin, a Democratic strategist and former Clinton White House aide.
Listen, we were both listening to Jim. And I mean I sighed audibly because I put this on both the Democrats and the Republicans.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure.
BALDWIN: So just, Keith, starting with you. The fact that both these leaders, the Democrat leaders, you know, Pelosi and Schumer aren't showing up. I understand tweets have consequences. But like this is why people don't like Congress. They are acting like children.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to lead here. You can't wake up in the morning, poison the waters with a tweet, attack your -- the people who you're going to meet with and say that they are weak on crime, weak on immigration, and won't have a deal, and then expect people to show up for a photo-op that's going to be a meaningless opportunity to sit down in front of cameras so Trump can look like he's doing something when he really isn't interested in governing. I don't think that they have any reason to show up.
BALDWIN: But what was that whole -- hang on, what was that whole Michelle Obama, they go low, we go high? If I may, you know, why, if you consider the president had gone low, why didn't -- they go low instead (ph).
BOYKIN: He didn't just go low. He poisoned the waters today. He said that there is no possibility for a deal. What's the point of showing up for a photo-op when the president said they won't have a deal?
FERGUSON: He didn't say possibly -- no possibility of a deal.
BOYKIN: OK, he said there's no -- he doesn't see -- a deal isn't likely --
FERGUSON: He doesn't see a deal.
BOYKIN: And he listed off a whole bunch of reasons why he thinks the Democrats, Chuck and Nancy, are --
BALDWIN: But that still mean -- that still means they shouldn't show up?
BOYKIN: No, it means that the president of the United States needs to exercise leadership. I mean he doesn't -- he's not --
FERGUSON: Yet you don't show up.
BOYKIN: He's not interested -- why would you show up, Ben, if someone tells you that you are a horrible person and there's no possibility for agreeing on anything, or little possibly. You've already poisoned the waters before there is a meeting.
FERGUSON: Well, let me say this. I'm going to --
BALDWIN: And what about the president? I'm being tough on you as well --
FERGUSON: I'm going to -- I'm going to use -- yes, but let me say this.
BALDWIN: And the lengths that he's gone in these tweets.
FERGUSON: If you're a Democrat and you hate the president's demeanor and you hate his tweets and you reign (ph) about his tweets all the time, then you can't act like the president and not say that you're completely hypocritical, if that's what you claim you hate.
And so you said a moment ago, why would you show up? Because, guess what, Nancy Pelosi's job and the Democratic leadership's job is to represent the people of this country. And so if you are claiming that the president has somehow been childish, your job is to not then go to the level that you're claiming the president is at that you cannot stand. You should show up as a statesman (INAUDIBLE) -- [14:15:09] BALDWIN: But why is the president going there to begin with? Let me start with you now.
BOYKIN: The president is a leader.
FERGUSON: Again, I'll say this, I don't think that that tweet was going to help much going into this meeting.
BOYKIN: Thank you.
FERGUSON: I'll be honest about it.
BOYKIN: At all.
FERGUSON: But let me also say this. You can no longer claim you have the high ground when you don't even show up for a meeting like you're a three year old saying, you're not invited to my birthday party tomorrow. I'm not going to sit down with you because you say you poisoned the well. Democrats, Republicans don't get along. They do it all the time. This tweet -- the only reason why you're offended by it is because it happened the day of the meeting. If it was yesterday, you would have had no problem with it.
BOYKIN: Ben -- OK, Ben -- Ben, I'm going to invite you to my house for dinner tonight.
BOYKIN: But before that, I want you --
FERGUSON: (INAUDIBLE) --
BOYKIN: I want you to know, you're a horrible person and that there's no possibility we're going to agree on anything, so -- but come over anyway. That's ridiculous.
FERGUSON: And but if I'm a congressman and I represent people, I show up. If I'm claiming to be a leader, then I lead and show up.
BOYKIN: No, if you're a leader --
FERGUSON: Nancy Pelosi is not leading by not showing up.
BOYKIN: OK, look, how many -- how many times does the president of the United States get to insult people and have no consequences for his actions.
FERGUSON: Again --
BOYKIN: He's insulted Bob Corker and Jeff Flake on the Republican side and almost everybody else on the Republican side who he needs to get a deal with.
FERGUSON: Again -- BOYKIN: You can't continue to lead this way by dividing the country.
FERGUSON: It's your job.
BOYKIN: No, it's not everybody else's fault. It's the president's fault.
FERGUSON: Here's the -- here's the thing. (INAUDIBLE) Congress, go back to your point, people hate Congress --
BALDWIN: This is exactly what we're talking about.
FERGUSON: People hate Congress because you sit there and they grandstand and they put their suits on and their beautiful dresses and they walk out there and give these grandiose speeches. But then a tweet says -- because of a tweet, I'm not going to work on tax reform --
BOYKIN: Oh, my gosh.
FERGUSON: I'm not going to work on immigration. I'm not going to come to the table. I'm going to be petty.
So my thing is, to Nancy and them, if you're going to claim that the president and the way he's governing is wrong, then don't do exactly what you say the president's doing that you hate.
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE). Here's the counter for you, though --
BALDWIN: When you think about so much that was done, negotiations on the Senate side among Republicans with regard to this tax reform. Where was the president during that whole time? He was like 14 hours away in Asia. And all of a sudden now the president is back and he's tweeting and now look at what we're talking about.
FERGUSON: Look, I'll say this. Name the last time Republicans and democrats worked together on any big legislative agenda in Washington before Donald Trump was president.
BALDWIN: Answer my question on the president being in Asia.
FERGUSON: No, I'm being serious though. I mean they have not gotten along. This has -- this has been going on. The total malfunction of Capitol Hill and Congress has been going on before Donald Trump got there. Go look at how they have not been getting along.
BALDWIN: Right, but -- but that's why people hate Washington.
BOYKIN: But he's avoiding -- he's avoiding -- he's avoiding the question. Look, the president of the United States --
FERGUSON: I'm not avoiding it, I'm just being honest.
BOYKIN: The president of the United States woke up this morning. The very first thing he tweeted was about NFL players taking a knee. This is a president who is dealing with a country where we have -- the government's about to shut down.
FERGUSON: Right, if they made --
BOYKIN: We have North Korea firing -- testing nuclear -- testing ballistic missiles.
FERGUSON: And Nancy's not showing up. And Democrats aren't showing up either. You can't say -- you can't rip on the president and then do exactly what you're (INAUDIBLE) doing.
BOYKIN: The Children's Health Insurance Program is expiring. Puerto Rico is still without electricity for half of the country.
FERGUSON: Again, you're going through all (INAUDIBLE) --
BOYKIN: And the president is busy worrying about NFL players.
FERGUSON: And I'll say this last thing --
BOYKIN: Where is the leadership, Ben? That's outrageous.
FERGUSON: Where's -- then where's the leadership of the Democratic Party to show up at the White House and to advocate for all those issues?
BOYKIN: The Democrats don't run the government. The Democrats do not run the government.
FERGUSON: They're elected officials. You can't say because you're not in charge of the leadership that somehow you have no say so.
BOYKIN: Look, if I --
FERGUSON: You have a minority leader, the United States senator. Are you telling me that Nancy Pelosi is meaningless, is that what you're saying, because she's not the speaker of the House?
BOYKIN: Apparently she is in this country because --
FERGUSON: OK. That's -- well then that's the Democrats.
BOYKIN: The president says -- the president says, I alone can fix it and I'm the only one that matters. He said this about his own State Department. He said -- the president thinks that he's a dictator and the president doesn't feel like he needs anyone to talk. And then when they do show up, the president doesn't even -- isn't even briefed enough on the details to be able to have an intelligent conversation. So what is the point.
FERGUSON: Time out. Time out. You just -- can we go over the list of how many things that Keith has just said to insult the president of the United States of American, including calling him a dictator.
BOYKIN: You're more concerned about what I have to say than what the president of the United States is says on Twitter every morning?
FERGUSON: (INAUDIBLE) no, I'm saying the Democrats (ph). And yet you said the president should (INAUDIBLE) anything that was negative. You're saying the president should never do it, yet you just poisoned the well, click (ph) well, using your own words.
BOYKIN: I am not the president of the United States. There's a -- there is a difference, Ben, between the president of the United States --
FERGUSON: Democrats, you all kind of have a problem with us.
BOYKIN: The president of the United States attacking everyone on Twitter and me telling people that the president of the United States is attacking everyone on Twitter. Those two things are not morally equivalent.
FERGUSON: So -- so --
BOYKIN: One person is in charge of the country has the capacity to launch nuclear weapons. I don't.
FERGUSON: What worries me is this. The new standard that worries me is this.
BOYKIN: Oh, my.
FERGUSON: Is that you're basically saying that every Democrat in Congress does not have to do their job if they're insulted by the president of the United States of America in a tweet.
BOYKIN: I'm saying the president of the United States shouldn't be insulting people in the first place, Ben.
FERGUSON: Instead of looking out for all of the issues that you claim that we need to be working on.
BOYKIN: What difference does it make if the Republicans are in charge of the -- of the legislative or the executive branch and judiciary. The Democrats go up to meet with the president. He won't listen to what they have to say anyway.
FERGUSON: You don't know that.
BOYKIN: He hasn't listen to what they've said in the past. He doesn't understand the details of government. He's more interested in (INAUDIBLE) --
FERGUSON: But isn't (INAUDIBLE) --
BALDWIN: All right, all right, all right, all right, blowing my -- blowing my invisible whistle. Time out. Give me a second.
We love you guys because obviously you come from very different places, very different perspectives and you argue.
I want to come back to you all. Stand by for me because I do want to get this in. And thank you both so much for all of that.
But back to this breaking news. North Korea firing a ballistic missile. We want to know how the White House will respond to this, right? We heard one of the questions shouted at the president as he was on Capitol Hill for this meeting to talk taxes. We're going to watch for what could happen out of the White House press briefing set to begin a short time from now.
[14:20:12] We will be right back.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: We're not there yet. But we're close. There are a lot of good elements in this tax bill. There are a lot of strong things it does in terms of reducing taxes on small businesses, on job creators in terms of creating an environment to create more jobs and to raise wages.
In my view, the biggest thing we need to do is focus more relief on the individual side. That's really what I pressed the president and pressed the conference to do. I think we should be giving every American a tax cut.
And I think we can get there. I think we're close. I think one of the really important pieces to getting tax reform done.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, good afternoon, everyone.
As you know, we had a lunch with the president. He did Q&A with our members for about an hour. Underscored the importance of accomplishing for the American people the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years, which we fully intend to accomplish in the next few days.
[14:25:21] The Budget Committee will be meeting at 2:30 to take a step that is required to move the process forward. And we're optimistic that step will be taken.
I'm going to have to run down to the White House for a meeting that I gather Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are not coming to. So I will not be here very long.
But in order to allow for a couple of questions, I'll be happy to throw it open just for a minute and then I'm going to call on Senator Hatch if he's here.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Right behind you.
QUESTION: Senator McConnell, how do you address all of the concerns that some of these GOP holdouts have simultaneously without making this bill too complicated (ph)?
MCCONNELL: It's a challenging exercise. Think of sitting there with a Rubik's cube trying to get to 50. And we do have a few members who have concerns and we're trying to address them and we know we would not be able to go forward until we get 50 people satisfied. And that's what we're working on.
QUESTION: Leader McConnell --
QUESTION: What about Leader Schumer and Leader Pelosi not coming to the meeting? Are you confident that they don't fully buy in, that you can move a bill to keep the government open with only Republican votes?
MCCONNELL: Well, let me say, I never refused to go to a meeting that President Obama called, a bipartisan meeting. It never occurred to me that I could just say to President Obama, I'm not showing up. That strikes me as a lack of seriousness about the matter before us, which is the funding of the federal government of the United States for the rest of this fiscal year.
QUESTION: But what about -- but what about --
MCCONNELL: So you'll have to ask them why they think it's appropriate to refuse to meet with the president f president of the United States over something as significant as how we're going to fund the troops and all the other needs that are addressed by the spending decisions we make every year.
QUESTION: Mr. Leader, it seems that (INAUDIBLE) --
QUESTION: Do you think that some senators are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good or the good enough on this tax bill?
MCCONNELL: Look, yes, I'm not going to criticize individual members. Look, big, complicated bills like this are challenging. You all have watched us wrestle when this sort of thing in the past. It's always difficult.
But everybody has an opportunity to weigh in. And some members are still weighing in. And we're hoping to satisfy them all.
And with that, I'm going to turn over the podium to the chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Hatch.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Oh, dear.
Well I'm happy to be with you all. I have to say, this is an opportunity for the first time in 31 years to really get a tax bill that could help turn this country even further ahead.
I wish we could get rid of the partisan politics. I wish we could get our -- both Republicans and Democrats together. This is a time when we ought to. It's an important time for our country. We've come a long way on the Finance Committee to get the bill this far. And I believe that -- I believe we're going to be successful. I just wish we had more bipartisan support.
As you all know, I've worked all my 40 years, plus years, to try and bring people together on both sides. And I've never seen it worse than it has been the last few years. Hopefully we can break through with this bill. And I call on my Democrat friends, let's work together and let's get this done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I hope with regard to the --
BALDWIN: OK. So first you heard from Texas Senator Ted Cruz, not there yet but close. Then we popped over to Capitol Hill and fresh out of that meeting with the president of the United States, you heard from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell talking about getting to 50 and it's like having a Rubik's cube, right, on this tax reform. They need those votes. A Rubik's cube trying to get to 50.
But then he was asked about this meeting which he's about to attended. He's about to head in the car on down Constitution, Pennsylvania Avenue, over to the White House, where it was supposed to be party of four, you know, plus the president, the two leaders on the Democrat side, both Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi, along with two on the Republican, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. And now we know it's minus two, the Democrats, not showing up because of this tweet essentially from the president this morning where he was counting out any sort of deal that would have been done with the Democrats.
So I was just talking to my friends Keith and Ben next to me. And we were going back and forth. You all were sort of sparring over, you know, why would, quoting the president, Chuck and Nancy, the Democratic leaders, show up if they were insulted by the president. But, at the same time, well, does that still mean they still shouldn't show up.