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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Arrives At Mar-A-Lago Amid 'Shithole Countries' Uproar; WSJ: Trump Lawyer Arranged $130K Payment For Porn Star's Silence A Month Before 2016 Election; GOP Mostly Silent on Trump's 'Shithole Countries' Slur; 'Trophy': Big-Game Hunting, Conservation & Controversy. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 12, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:01:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Jim, thank you very much. Have a good weekend my friend.
A provocative question and a quest for answers. Why would Donald Trump's lawyer allegedly pay off a porn star? And we go one-on-one with President Trump's Former Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski. Why he says the president's words are not a problem. Let's get after it on Friday night.
I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time".
Well, my friends, we are on the eve of Martin Luther King weekend, a man who coached us to judge people by their content of their character, not the color of their skin or the place they come from.
President Trump breathed new life into those words with his ugly invective about wanting less brown people and more people from Norway.
We're going to go one-on-one with Former Trump Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski to see if he can adjust the president's words and deeds. I mean, let's start where we always do, facts first.
This may be the image of the week. Who do we see? HUD Secretary Ben Carson, at an event honoring Dr. King at the White House. Carson, for all these controversies, pulled himself up from poverty, became a renowned neurosurgeon, presidential candidate, he represents so much of what Dr. King fought for and dreamed.
Behind the secretary, a president who has repeated racist remarks, makes us wonder how he really feels about people who look like Carson. And then you have Vice President Mike Pence, characteristically silent, like he is on his boss' booger slur.
But Pence isn't alone. You hear that? That is the silence of the GOP leadership, McConnell, Ryan, so many others seemingly content to swallow whatever Trump feeds the country, as long as they can get legislation they like.
Many of you have voiced your feelings to me since we learned these words from the president, hot and cold. We've seen news folk outraged, even weepy. But what about those elected to represent our values and lead by example? Where are they now? Well, none of them are looking to come on tonight, so let's get after it with a man who knows Donald Trump so well, he wrote a book about him. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, his new book about the president is called "Let Trump Be Trump." Corey, always a pleasure.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Chris, I had nothing else to do on a Friday night. So I love being with you.
CUOMO: No, it's nice of you to take the opportunity, haven't spoken you since the New Year. The best to you and the family for 2018.
LEWANDOWSKI: Same, and same to you and your family, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, let me get your response on this reporting tonight. The allegation that the president's lawyer made a payment to the porn star, I think she goes by "Stormy Daniels." Have you ever heard anything about this?
LEWANDOWSKI: You know, I've only heard what's being reported in the last couple hours. And what I've seen is what the public reports are, which is the White House has said that this was an allegation which was talked about prior to the election that was shot down. And she has said that there's no truth to this. And so I don't know why this is a news story.
I do understand that "The Wall Street Journal" has some type of sourcing on this, that they say that a payment was made. But we've got two individuals, both the White House speaking on behalf of the president and the individual in question who supposedly received a payment who saying that there's 6no truth to the story. So in normal journalism word, you have two sources, both prime sources, who have a story are about -- and saying it didn't take place. So I don't understand why it's still a story.
CUOMO: I don't disagree with your skepticism, but you know what makes it a little funky, the outlets, "The Wall Street Journal", "The New York Post", even "Fox News" had it on their websites or one of its blog sites.
Murdock-owned periodicals, media properties, why would Murdock-owned properties, go out of their way to do a false story about the president of the United States? They must have vetted it, right? Some editorial staffs must have been consulted and thought it was OK, legal steps. Why would Murdock properties do this if it's that thin?
[21:05:06] LEWANDOWSKI: It's a great question. You know, I think as you look back at some of the stories that have been written about this candidate and about this administration, we've seen that there have been (INAUDIBLE) on many occasions from the media outlets.
So I don't know about the story, but what I do know is that the woman who is supposedly received this money according to "The Wall Street Journal" has now been on the record saying she hasn't received any money. This incident didn't take place. She's a primary source. The person who supposedly made the payment according to "The Wall Street Journal" which would have been then-candidate Trump or Mr. Trump back in 2006 through his attorney saying that this never took place. So I don't know where the sourcing comes from.
CUOMO: -- do you agree with me it's a little interesting where it came out though, isn't it?
LEWANDOWSKI: It's interesting, but I don't understand when got two people who supposed -- two people know what really took place, both on the record saying it never happened. And if that's the case, I don't know how someone has the ability to write a story.
CUOMO: Because there are some more allegations about the money and some proof of it. But, you know what, I guess the answer is going to come from Mr. Murdock, he's the one who put it out first that will be very interesting to see, how they want to back up the story.
All right, let's talk about something that is certainly more important and could not be more real. You know what the president said. Let me ask you, Corey, did you get on the phone and get to the president and say, hey, you can't talk like this, this isn't what America is, we have to be better than this, Mr. President. Did you make that call?
LEWANDOWSKI: I didn't speak to the president yesterday, Chris. I was actually -- I was in Washington yesterday and then I spent time in Tennessee helping Congresswoman run for the U.S. Senate down there. So I didn't speak to the president yesterday. I don't speak to the president today. I don't know what was said in the meeting because I wasn't there. And now we've got --
CUOMO: No, you know what was said in the meeting.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, here's what I know. We've got two Republican U.S. senators, men who I don't think we are questioning their credibility or their convictions, Tom Cotton, who said that they didn't hear that conversation take place.
CUOMO: That's not what he says. Cotton wasn't sure what he heard, he didn't remember, they're trying to duck it. They want to stay away from it Corey. They don't want own this, they Trump to own it.
LEWANDOWSKI: We weren't there.
CUOMO: No, Durbin was there and other people were there.
CUOMO: And when the White House was called, let me tell you what's got my antenna up. One, it sounds just like something he would say. And second, when the White House was contacted, they had an opportunity to back off on this right away and they didn't. The reporting the CNN was, yes, look, you know, the words are what they were and, you know what, we think this is going to be OK with the people who supported the president, like when he talked about the NFL and he said certain things that were ugly about the people who are protesting. We think they agree and we're going to be OK. They could have backed off then if they want.
CUOMO: I don't think you want to argue accuracy here.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Chris, I don't know who they spoke to at the White House who said those words. I don't know if they were in the room.
LEWANDOWSKI: OK, look, I saw a statement --
CUOMO: And he did not deny the --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- two Republican U.S. senators. Well, I saw a statement from two Republican U.S. senators who were in the room.
CUOMO: Who say he didn't say it or they said they don't remember hearing it? There's a difference, Corey. You were in law enforcement. You know there's a difference.
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, but Chris, they put a joint public statement out. I wasn't there. I don't know if (INAUDIBLE) was there. What I know is the president said he didn't say it. Two Republican U.S. senators in the room say they didn't hear it said --
CUOMO: Do you think -- do you think Durbin is making this up?
LEWANDOWSKI: -- but I wasn't there.
CUOMO: Do you think Durbin is just making it up?
LEWANDOWSKI: Here's what I know --
CUOMO: Come on, what a co-incidence, the Democrat heard it and said he said that and a lot of other ugly stuff, and the Republicans say they're not sure what they heard. Come on.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, it wasn't that long ago when Barack Obama called Libya something very similar, as you know, and no one talked about it back then.
CUOMO: By the way, they weren't similar circumstances, but even if they were, even if he did the exact same thing, would that make --
LEWANDOWSKI: No one called Barack Obama a racist. No, it doesn't make OK, but nobody accused Barack Obama of being racist of calling Libya the same thing.
CUOMO: First of all, look, it's not even the word, --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- said those exact word.
CUOMO: It's not even the word, Corey. It's not even what he used. And by the way, we're allowed to say the word that's on the screen right now.
CUOMO: But this is what it is. You're trying to confuse the standard and we'll get to why. But first let's take a look at the premise. You're saying, well, everybody uses bad words, why are you coming after him? It's not the word.
LEWANDOWSKI: No, just me and mooch. Me and mooch are the only ones who use that word.
CUOMO: -- be analogy. It was the analogy, OK? It was -- I don't want brown people here. Why are going to have all these brown people? Why can't we have more people from Norway? What's the difference between the people of Sudan and Norway? Let's think, what's the main distinguishing about the characteristics between El Salvador, Sudan, Haiti, and Norway? Could it be white people?
LEWANDOWSKI: I can tell you.
CUOMO: What's the difference?
LEWANDOWSKI: I'm happy to tell you if you want me to.
LEWANDOWSKI: So, In Haiti the average person's income is $804 a year. In Norway, the average is $97,000 a year. Now if those refugees are going to come to United States, do you want a person who is average income is $800 a year and they're going to be a contributing member of society or do you want an average person whose income is $97,000? And these aren't my statistics, these are government statistics. And so --
[21:10:11] CUOMO: And they're completely meaningless. I want this. You see what I'm pointing right now?
LEWANDOWSKI: No, they're not meaningless.
CUOMO: You see want I'm pointing at?
LEWANDOWSKI: I can't see it.
CUOMO: You can't? I'm pointing my heart. I want heart. You want heart. You want people who come here with the love in their heart for this country and for opportunity.
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course you do.
CUOMO: And who will work their ass off to make the most to those opportunities like your ancestors did and my ancestors did. What did the Lewandowski bring down -- LEWANDOWSKI: We're the greatest country in the world.
CUOMO: -- in the old country before they came here? What were they bring down, Corey?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, you know we got? We're the greatest country in the world. Rich people come here --
CUOMO: -- very often. People come here for opportunity.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, of course they do. You know what, your family did, my family did. We follow the rules and we did the right way and there's nothing wrong with that. And that's what the president is saying. We want immigrants --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- we want people to come here.
CUOMO: These people came under TPS, they followed the rules too, my brother. That's how they got here.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, it was a temporary solution, right? And now what the president is saying is let's have a comprehensive immigration strategy.
CUOMO: That's not what he said. He could have said that. He didn't. He said, hey, why are you making this deal offer to me right now that if we want to do DACA, you got to have the TPS people in here? Why do we have to have people from all these lousy countries? Why can't we have more people like from Norway? That is about wanting special type of people. He doesn't want the people who come interest those places, Corey. Why don't you just own it?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, didn't the liberal line of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, say the exact same thing in 1965? Are you accusing him of being racist?
CUOMO: What did he say in 1965?
LEWANDOWSKI: When they passed the legislation he said this is going to preclude people from Western Europe from coming in and we're going to get people from Africa and other countries that aren't from Western Europe and they're going to overrun our country. That's what Ted Kennedy said in 1965 when they passed the legislation. He's one of your heroes. I know he is --
CUOMO: You don't know who my heroes are. What I'm saying is this --
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Chris, are you going to denounce --
CUOMO: I knew Senator Ted Kennedy, OK? And there is zero chance that he would have ever said I would love to have more people from Norway than people from these shithole countries. He would never said it, Corey. You know why? Because he didn't think white people were inherently better than brown people, that's why.
LEWANDOWSKI: What Ted Kennedy said in 1965 was very clear.
CUOMO: -- people anxious for opportunity. Look, I get what you're doing. I'd even give you a little bit of a golf clap for looking back into history and try to find something to make an analogy to this.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I come prepared for you, baby. I always come prepared to you because I know, that's what I know.
CUOMO: But you don't seem to want to own what the president said. It's not about his language.
CUOMO: He was saying, he doesn't want these poor, brown people. He wants the nice white people to come.
LEWANDOWSKI: No. Look, that's a great story to say he's a racist.
CUOMO: Why they bring up Norway?
LEWANDOWSKI: Because --
CUOMO: I haven't said that. I haven't said that and not because I couldn't say it, it's because I don't know that it's productive. I think what's productive is trying to drill down on these things. I think that's --
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, here's what -- Chris, you know why president was great the other day, when he brought all the cameras in and they had an open dialogue for 55 minutes Republicans and Democrats sitting around the table and, you know what, no one walked out of that and said the president said this or didn't say that. The American people watched it.
Let's have more of those because the first time the cameras are off, we've got two different accounts of what might have been said in a room. So let's bring the cameras in every single time and make people negotiate in front of the American people.
CUOMO: It's not --
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course, it is.
CUOMO: It's not a veracity issue. It's not a veracity issue, no way. No way. There's no way that this is --
CUOMO: And I'm not talking about the difference between House and whole. He was talking about ugly about people from those countries and expressing a preference. And you want to talk about the meeting. I think you're right. I'd love it all to be televised, maybe a little counterproductive. There may be some deal making and sausage making that may be necessary to ultimate virtuous goals, that may be would be forced all, but I think more transparency would probably be a good thing.
But there were things we saw that weren't that encouraging, all right? The president did not show great understanding about the state of play with what was going on. He did not seem to understand the negotiating tactic of a clean bill versus, you know, an attached bill with different things. He agreed with Feinstein and then had to change his mind when McCarthy spoke up. You know, that wasn't the art of the deal par excellence going on in that room for the president, was it?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, what the president said was, you want to give me the heat. I'll take all the heat you want. I'll get you a deal done but here's what the requirement --
CUOMO: When he done that?
LEWANDOWSKI: We've got to have a wall on the southern border. Look, we've got a wall on the southern border.
CUOMO: We do have a wall on southern border.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- and chain migration. We don't -- not on 2,000 miles. We have to end chain migration.
[21:15:03] CUOMO: You can't have it on 2,000 miles. That's what Kellyanne told me and the president now knows.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, Chris, 44 percent of the immigrants coming in to this country now --
CUOMO: Wait. Hold on, one step at a time.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- are chain migration immigrants.
CUOMO: One step at a time. One step at a time.
CUOMO: The wall is going to be the big deal and I'll tell you why, because we know that the Gang of Eight already had language on chain migration, on the lottery. This was predicared (ph). You know, they had talked about these things. It's the wall, a signature promise that I watched you many times gladly smile and applaud through, that it was going to be a brand-new wall that was going to go the whole way, just like China did, 30 feet high, bricks and mortar, and he knows how to build it and Mexico is going to pay for it, all right?
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right.
CUOMO: The second part has become a laughable afterthought, and now we hear, well, now that he's president and he has met with experts, it turns out that a wall is not feasible to build all the way across the border because it turns out there are rivers involved. It's like, you know, what happen? You become president and they give you a map and there's like new information on it that none of us ever had before? Everyone was saying this to him.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, it's very simple. It's called -- he's going to build a wall. It's called sealing the border, OK? We are a sovereign country. Look at the countries who have problems with their neighbors, and guess what they do? They build a wall. Look at Israel. Look at the southern border of Mexico. We are a sovereign nation and we have the right to control our borders and who comes in. Because if one American citizen dies from a person crossing that border illegally and something happens to them, that's one too many. And it's the job of the president of this United States to keep our citizens safe from all enemies both foreign and domestic and that means people coming across the border illegally.
CUOMO: That wasn't already negotiated in the last bill. Put fences where you need them, put sensors where you need them, --
LEWANDOWSKI: 10 years ago, Hillary Clinton --
CUOMO: -- shore up the points of entry. But she didn't want to build a brand new wall, all the way along the whole border. That was your big promise. And now you're just trying to pretend like it never happened, that you always meant this.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look. The wall's going to get built.
CUOMO: When everybody was saying again, you don't mean a wall the whole way, you mean wall as a metaphor, put security where you need it. No, no, no. And now he's saying that you guys -- well, it's OK, it was just, you know, in the interest of getting a deal, really? So your principles mean nothing as long as you get a deal done.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I don't believe that. The deal which includes building the wall, it also includes stopping the lottery, it includes ending chain migration, it include stopping sanctuary cities. That is the comprehensive immigration package we're talking about. But the wall is paramount. The wall will get built.
CUOMO: I thought DACA was paramount. I thought saving the 800,000 was paramount. I thought it was like a "bill of love."
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, let me tell you something. I don't think you can tell me within a million people how many illegal immigrants are in this country, not within 100 or thousand or 100,000.
CUOMO: I'll tell you one thing, I don't know the number but I know this. I know this no matter how many illegal people, if you want to call them that, are in this country. They're not our biggest problem. They're not the boogeyman that you guys are --
LEWANDOWSKI: They are illegal. CUOMO: I'll tell you what.
CUOMO: They're not who's creating the crime in this country. They're not stealing jobs from people the way you want people think. They're no boogeyman. They're no boogeyman. They're people --
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course, they're taking jobs --
CUOMO: A lot of them are like your ancestors and my ancestors. May be two generations ago, Corey.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's right.
CUOMO: That's who they like. And you're making them sound like they're some creatures from the black lagoon. That's the truth my brother. That's what's going on with this conversation. And we both know it.
So you want to build a wall, fine. But now you're not going to build a wall, you want to have a safe border, that's fine. Everybody wants a safe border. But that's not the way this talk started. It was ugly and it was scary, it xenophobic, and now to get a deal done, that's all going to go away and we should be OK with it. I think you got remember what people said. Remember why they said, Corey.
LEWANDOWSKI: I remember, but I don't even -- we don't even know within a million people, how many illegal immigrants are in the country. That's a problem. That's --
CUOMO: No question.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- the population of the state of New Hampshire.
CUOMO: No question.
LEWANDOWSKI: We need to do a better job.
CUOMO: We need to do a better job.
LEWANDOWSKI: We need to find out how many illegals are here.
CUOMO: We should know who is here and who isn't.
LEWANDOWSKI: The government owes accountability.
CUOMO: You are absolutely right.
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, we should.
CUOMO: But that wasn't the original sales pitch.
LEWANDOWSKI: So let's find a way to do that.
CUOMO: But let's see what deal they come up with. And I'll tell you what, all on this I'm good news for you. I think the president is going to get this deal and I think he's going to be able to say that he's going to get a wall out of it. I think the Democrats are going to cut that kind of deal, why? I have no idea. But that's what I think is going to happen. I'll track it. You're welcome back whenever you want to discuss these issues, my friend.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Be well to you.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, Corey Lewandowski, everybody.
So, the president has gone from a very stable genius to slamming countries in just five days. When will the GOP finally speak some truth to power? We have Rick Santorum versus Ben Jealous, the great debate, where else to be on a Friday night, next.
[21:23:34] CUOMO: All right. Are you ready for the great debate? We're ending our week tallying up fallout from the president's political statements. POLITICO Susan Glasser summed it up this way. "Things we've debated this week, is the president nuts? Is the president racist? Did the president pay off a porn star right before the election? And angels wept."
Joining me now, the former head of the NAACP and current candidate for governor of Maryland, Mr. Ben Jealous, and former Republican senator, Rick Santorum, a CNN Senior Political Commentator.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us.
Rick, let me start with you. Do you understand the criticism of what the president said most recently with respect to countries and the people who come from there to here?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. I think the criticism is -- for the most part appropriate. The president shouldn't be talking like this. I know it was a private conversation and there's certainly some question as to what he said and whether he said it. I mean, the president denies saying it, but if, in fact, he did say that, those are comments that are beneath the presidency and very troublesome.
And look, you heard me talk many, many times. I think the president is doing a good job on a lot of policy things, but runs, you know, just gets in his own way by making these types of comments that hurt him, and hurt his agenda and I think the American people. I wish he would stop doing it.
[21:25:02] CUOMO: Ben, do you think there's a chance he didn't say it, and if he did say it, what does it mean to you?
BENJAMIN JEALOUS (D), MARYLAND GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: There's zero chance that he didn't say it. I think we saw the limits of what the White House staff is willing to do. I mean, they engage into the fake news with him and they exaggerate his accomplishments, but apparently they're not willing to lie about what's probably a recorded fact that he said this.
And frankly, it's so consistent with all the other things that he said. I mean, when are we just going to believe him that he is who he pretends to be. I mean, he calls people from Mexico murderers and rapists. He says he's entitled to grab women by the pussy because he is a celebrity. He says that the Central Park Five are still guilty even though DNA has proved that they are innocent. You can just go on and on and on.
And what it means to me is that we got to put pressure on all the folks who, frankly, will defend him and will stay silent to actually stand up for what this country is about because, you know, even your talk with Corey, when he was saying that we should let the rich folks in, I mean, has he been to the statue of liberty recently? Has he read the words at the bottom, because that's not what it talks about, you know. Has he turn over his money and see what it says on the back, pluribus unum, out of many, one. We're supposed to be melting pot. We're supposed to be a shelter in the storm to the hungry and the poor. And that's what we got to get back, quite frankly.
CUOMO: Rick, I get the political expedience, I get that when you're in there. You're in the same party. you have to be careful. But when is enough, enough? You know, Paul Ryan stood up when Barack Obama said in the State of the Union, he talked about Trump's Muslim ban and Paul Ryan stood up in full rectitude and said, you know, I'm not saying that the Muslim ban
is a good thing, we shouldn't have a religious test, but, you know, this is not the kind of thing to -- you know, this denigrates the presidency. The presidency shouldn't speak this way. And on this, you know, he's so mousy about it. McConnell's silent about it. I mean, at what point is enough, enough? You speak truth to the power, people over party.
SANTORUM: Well, I don't think there's been any shortage of speaking truth to power when it comes to the president's statements. So I think many Republicans -- the question is how often do you have to do it? How many times are you going to be required to go up and say, no, I don't agree with what the president said and then move on --
JEALOUS: Every time.
SANTORUM: Well, but if it's every day, no, I don't think every time. I think -- there reaches a point where you have to say, look, this is a president --
JEALOUS: But you need to because our kids are listening.
SANTORUM: Look, I understand why you would want someone to respond every time, every thing -- every accusation or every statement that he makes, but I think at some point it becomes a distraction. We all know who Donald Trump is. I think every Republican will tell you that we know that Donald Trump does not have a filter and says things that are not what a president should be saying. And I don't know of a single Republican who hasn't said that on multiple occasions. The question is, you know, can we get past this and understand that's who he is and the American public is going to make a political judgment about and then actually trying to get something done.
JEALOUS: -- statement for stability from the Republican Party, yes, they repeat as their party in line because what we're seeing quite frankly through the silence is --
SANTORUM: There's no silence. I disagree there's silence.
CUOMO: -- gave a short statement. A lot of the guys have said nothing, Rick, I mean you know this.
SANTORUM: Again, I just don't think that ever time the president says something -- and it is almost on a daily basis, that he requite everybody --
JEALOUS: Iit doesn't need to be everybody, certainly the head of the party.
SANTORUM: Count me.
CUOMO: I will count you. But, you know what, you know, if you were in there right now and you are part of the leadership, I just think there's a different responsibility. But now let's bounce the ball the other way.
Ben, even though the president is consistently buried under his own words, and he is consistently getting crushed in the media for it, the Democrats are still losing to him. He is. I know that's going to upset people on the left, and we have a ton of Democrats who watch. But just think about your own interest as Democrats. They lost on the tax bill, OK. Yes, it was a reconciliation vote, only 50, but they lost. And the only high ground they had coming out of that was what, that he did I had along partisan lines, he divided this country along partisan lines and along so few economic lines. But with DACA, the whole country, except for Rick Santorum, wants you to take care of the Dreamer. Even the Republicans are over 70 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll. Why do they have to give him this exaggerated idea of a wall and the ability to say he's a unifier when they don't have to? Why are the Democrats going to give him this deal? They don't have to do it to help the Dreamers. Why go 0 for 2?
[21:30:00] JEALOUS: You know, frankly, I don't get the way our party often negotiates in Congress. You know, the Republicans are so insane that they now are trying to play it like tug of war on a football field from the second tear of the bleachers. And then we say, oh, well, they've gone way up in the bleachers. Let's walk to the 50-yard line and start tug of war from there. And we're like, well, how did we get in their end zone, well, that's what happens.
And so in a week, we have to actually start from what we want if we want to get anything close to it. But at the same time we have to be smart enough to actually say, wait, how did it come to be that the Republicans control every branch of our federal government. And it really gets down to the fact that we let them really build a movement that now controls 3/4 of our states. And so, we've got to get serious about taking back our states, and quite frankly, moving forward in our states no matter what happens in Washington.
We have families here tonight, children will go to bed, and then they'll wake up in a cold sweat at 2:00 in the morning and then rush into their parents' bedroom to make sure they are still there. These are American citizen children with immigrant parents who are terrified every night, and quite frankly, it is not enough to wait for the federal government to change. We've got to find ways to make them feel secure here in our states.
CUOMO: And here is the thing, Rick, as a starting point the president isn't where you are on this. He's (INAUDIBLE) they came here illegally. We have to deal -- he's saying "bill of love". He's all on. He says I want to help them. And a lot of Republicans have said the same time.
Imagine from your negotiating background in D.C., if the Democrats have came to the table and said, listen, you're the one who set the deadline, you're the one who's putting all these guys here. We know that you don't like what Obama did but you the deadline on it. We're not going to do anything on this. We want a clean bill. We want DACA or we want you to go back to that tax bill. We want you to give a certain percent of the corporate profits if they're going to get now and return for their tax money, percentage of that has to go to wages, that or we're not giving you anything? Why don't they do a hard line negotiation? They had the leverage. This is not a 50 plus one vote.
SANTORUM: I disagree, because I think elections have consequences, and the fact is they don't control either chamber of the Congress.
CUOMO: They need 60 on this.
SANTORUM: They do. And there are a lot of Rick Santorum like folks in the Republican Party who don't like the idea of providing some sort of amnesty to anybody who came to this country illegally.
CUOMO: Seventy plus percent of Republicans in a Quinnipiac poll say they want it.
SANTORUM: I understand, may be the public --
SANTORUM: -- it's not reflective of what the mood is among members of Congress. I think what members of Congress want and have wanted, and been very, very clear about this, unless we have enforcement, unless we control our borders, unless we control our visa programs, we have visa overstays which are half of the people here illegally. CUOMO: That's true.
SANTORUM: Unless we have --
CUOMO: Tell that to all the people who say we're a wall away, Rick.
SANTORUM: Not just the wall.
CUOMO: But that's all we're hearing there. We need a wall.
CUOMO: Final point, Ben. I got to wrap.
JEALOUS: Sure, I mean, how quickly we forget. I think all three of us have probably have ancestors that came through -- in New York through Ellis Island. And frankly, we know what the slur wop stands for, right? Stands for without papers because it was so common that so many of us, not just Italians who are slurred with that, but so many of us have ancestors --
SANTORUM: As an Italian immigrant I identify with that.
JEALOUS: And you know what, those ancestors were white and apparently that wasn't a problem. But when you're brown or you're black and you don't have papers, now that's a problem.
SANTORUM: Not the same.
JEALOUS: Now you're an illegal person. That's outrageous.
JEALOUS: -- Statue of Liberty says our country --
SANTORUM: I understand what you're saying, Ben. You have to give me a --
JEALOUS: Be a patriot.
SANTORUM: The reality is my father and grandfather came here, you're right, they had papers, but a lot of people didn't. But we had labor shortages during the turn of the last century, and the reality is most of the workers were unskilled workers and we needed unskilled workers. That is not the case anymore. Secondly, we had no welfare system. Basically, if you can --
JEALOUS: Have you ever been to a farm recently, Rick?
JEALOUS: I can take you some at Pennsylvania. They have --
(CROSSTALK) SANTORUM: -- different world that we're coming into compare to hundred years ago. And you can't compare the two.
JEALOUS: Rick, come to a farm with me, any farm, and you'll see plenty of need for unskilled laborers. Come on.
SANTORUM: Up until the last year into Donald Trump, wages have not gone up in this country, and the slowest wage growth in 30 years for those wage earners, for low skilled wage earners. The reality is --
JEALOUS: Don't act like you want to increase wages when you're like completely against raising the minimum wage.
SANTORUM: I'm for raising the minimum wage.
JEALOUS: -- it needs to be $15 per hour. You and I can solve that problem.
CUOMO: Gentlemen, I appreciate it, robust and reasonable. Thank you very much. Rick Santorum, thank you very much. Ben Jealous, appreciate you being on the show. Have a good weekend fellows.
[21:34:56] CUOMO: Mr. Trump says something inflammatory, a man of good conscience like the GOP leadership. Stand up and say, look, I got to put people before party. You need to stop this garbage. That's what they're supposed to do, right? Then why are there crickets so diggity dank loud (ph). Chris Cillizza raised his hand first. He's got the answer, next.
CUOMO: Republican reaction to President Trump's slur about immigrants from, "shithole countries" can be filed under profiles in non-courage, maybe call it profiles in pusillanimousness (ph). Most in the GOP are silent on the president's latest racially charge remark. Most notably, the leadership, although House Speaker Paul Ryan did muster this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I read those comments later last night. So first thing that came to my mind was, very unfortunate, unhelpful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Compare that to the old Ryan, remember when President Pbama mentioned President Trump's Muslim ban during a State of the Union address? Ryan stood up and said such talk degrades the presidency. That's not what presidents ought to be talking about. Now, you saw what he just said. McConnell, though, said nothing. So let's get to "The Point" with CNN politics Editor-at-Large, Chris Cillizza. Happy Friday night to you, handsome.
[21:40:10] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Pusillanimous.
CUOMO: All right, I don't know if that pusillanimous. I don't know about suffix I put on it, but it was a strong start.
CILLIZZA: You're a lawyer.
CUOMO: Indeed. So, what do you make of the non-handling of this situation by the GOP? Do you subscribe to the Rick Santorum theory of -- they can't say something every time, it happens to often.
CILLIZZA: Sort of. I mean, I actually do think. If you reacted, if you are a Republican you reacted to every time Donald Trump tweeted something or said something that you didn't totally agree with, you would be responding all the time, but this is not sort of a mole hill. That is a mountain. This is Donald Trump making very clear that immigrants from a basically all-white country, Norway, are welcome, and immigrants from places like El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries, what are they, right, brown and black, are not welcome and doing so in crude terms. Whether he used that exact word or some iteration of it, no one is claiming that he wasn't making clear that he wanted more white immigrants and less black and brown immigrants. And that to me is something that you can't just say -- this isn't just another one of the thing that Donald Trump does --
CUOMO: Fine, but that is how they handled it. So, whom do you give this ignominy, this distinction of being the big award winner for saying nothing?
CILLIZZA: Yes, so this is a win for Mitch McConnell. You mentioned it, but he's the Senate Majority Leader, Chris. He is the single most powerful person, Republican, other than Donald Trump, in Washington. He didn't say a word. I just think, even if you put out a two- sentence statement that says, Donald Trump's views don't reflect mine or the Republican Party's. And I'll note very quickly there, there's danger here for the Republican Party by saying nothing. Donald Trump was not a Republican before he ran for office, he's (INAUDIBLE) in terms of views a Republican now. When Donald Trump is out of office four years or eight years from now, they're going to have to pick the pieces of the Republican Party up, and it's not going to be the Donald Trump Party. It's going to be the Republican Party, what do they stand for.
CUOMO: Who's the runner-up?
CILLIZZA: OK, runner-up, Tom Cotton and David Perdue. Now, I watched earlier this today -- earlier this hour. I watched Corey Lewandowski say repeatedly two Republican senators said that Donald Trump did not say these things in this Oval Office meeting. Now they were both there. That's not what their statement said.
CUOMO: That's what I said to Corey.
CILLIZZA: Yes. What their statement said was, we don't recall if he did this, which, Chris, let's be honest. You common sense here. If they could say he did not say this, he did not do this, we were there and we know it, don't you think they would have?
CUOMO: Yes, strong point.
CILLIZZA: Of course they would have, right?
CUOMO: Strong point.
CILLIZZA: So I just think using that as some sort of -- well, they're not saying that. You have Dick Durbin on the record the senator, you have Lindsey Graham, you have other folks saying, yes, this is what he said. Plus, let's remember the most important thing. It's not about that word. It's about the sentiment.
CILLIZZA: Which is white people, white immigrants are welcome, black and brown immigrants, why do we have so many of them. That's the important thing.
CUOMO: I hear you and I appreciate you. Thank you very much Chris Cillizza. You are always getting reward --
CILLIZZA: Have a good weekend, my friend.
CUOMO: -- in my eyes.
CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: All right, a little bit of a change of topic, but just as provocative of the situation. Elephants, rhinos, lions, all marching close to extinction each year. We know this, right? Is game hunting the answer? A conservationist and a big game hunter says, yes. How? Another great debate, next.
[21:47:48] CUOMO: Tonight, a special great debate, some of our planets' most majestic animals are getting closer to extinction each year. That is a fact. If I were to ask you how to save them, an idea that would probably not jump to mind is to allow them to be hunted for trophies. This Sunday marks the premiere of the CNN original film "Trophy" and in it they argue that conservation and hunting may go closer than you think. Watch this sneak preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been a hunter my whole life. I lost my dad a few years ago, and he was a hunter. I think that he would be really tickled to be able to tell the people back home at the coffee shop that his son is out hunting a lion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Safari club international show is the largest hunting convention in the planet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crocodiles are really mean besides a pair of boots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Poachers (ph) will shoot every last one because there's a commercial-driven desire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are confused how hunting and conservation go together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can just pick whatever animal you want from the menu that they offer you, see the price, and book the kill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big cats, 22, sold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that money will all go back into conservation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much for that sucker?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 85, 35.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the recipe to save the rhinos from extinction. Salons keep the rhinos alive. On the black market the retail value of this one would be $250,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The operation is painless. It will take two years before he goes through the same procedure again. All I need is for it to be legal. Give me one animal that's about to extinct while farmers were breeding it and making money out of it. There's not one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. So the question is, does big game hunting help or hurt conservation? Here to debate it are hunter and sheep rancher, Philip Glass, and the CEO and general counsel of Born Free USA, Prashant Khetan. It's good to have you both here, gentlemen.
[21:50:06] Mr. Glass, let's begin. What is your take and why?
PHILIP GLASS, HUNTER AND SHEEP RANCHER: My take is that hunting and conservation go together. We have a century long track record of success from North America to South Africa to Central Asia and everywhere that we're hunting and implying this commercial model where animal numbers are actually increasing. It's the countries where you can't hunt where the tragic stories are being told such as Kenya who has lost 80 percent of its wildlife over the years since the hunting ban has been instituted.
CUOMO: Prashant, it is a bad image but a reality that this money that comes into it winds up making the difference in conservation, acceptable to you as a rationale?
PRASHANT KHETAN, CEO & GENERAL COUNSEL, BORN FREE USA: So, it is not, Chris. I think what with the statistics really show is that less than three percent of the money that gets paid for the hunting that's done actually goes back into the community. The vast majority of that money is going into the outfits that are running the hunting, going into the government hands. They're really not going back into the community or for a conservation of the species. CUOMO: The money is a token. It is not of legitimate value. The numbers are pumped up, fair criticism, Mr. Glass?
GLASS: You know, Chris Muller was featured in a film. He's the anti- poaching leader in Zimbabwe where I hunted the lion. He was on television here in New York City a few months ago. And he stated that he and the community received fully 50 percent of my lion safari dollars. So the facts and figures that Mr. Khetan is putting out are just simply -- they're just simply false. Some of us have actually been on the ground and actually know what we are talking about, about how this money is distributed to this people and the meat as well.
CUOMO: Back up your theory about the numbers and deposity (ph) of the profits going to actual conservation, Prashant.
KHETAN: So I think what we are talking about is that there might be one off situations as like Mr. Glass is describing where in fact he can trace the money into -- going book to the community or school. But we don't have to speculate. There have been studies done on this. And the studies are almost unanimous that a very low percent of the money that gets paid for trophy hunting is actually going back into the community. The number that I've seen --
KHETAN: -- and low is three percent.
CUOMO: All right, so let's look at it a little differently, even if the numbers are exaggerated, if there is any money that is going that is attributing in some way that the numbers in these places where they have the trophy hunting being better than in other countries, why isn't that a good enough basis to allow the practice to continue as trade-off?
KHETAN: So, again, I would say that I don't think that's actually true. There are countries in which trophy hunting has been -- is allowed and not just allowed but it is done quite rampantly. And poaching and other activities that were supposed to be reduced because of the money going into conservation are not happening. What we are actually seeing in some of those countries is that the amount of poaching is either increasing or staying the same. You're not seeing the money that is being paid for purposes of the hunts actually going to conserve the species.
CUOMO: Mr. Glass, we'll give you the final word and respond to this notion. For a lot of people who see "Trophy" this Sunday, it's not going to be facts. It's going to be about feelings. And the idea that if these are such a precious resource and you don't need them for food anymore, why would we ever kill them? What do you say to those people?
GLASS: It's simply about the numbers. It's simply about the population. The population of these animals before hunting became popular in South Africa in the '50s was about a million head of animals, total. Now there's 26 million. The numbers don't lie. The numbers in these countries, the lion, I hunted in Zimbabwe. In 2016, the IUCM stated that the lion population in 2016 in Zimbabwe was increasing. So the countries we hunt (INAUDIBLE) are applied the animal numbers are increasing. It's just a simple, simple fact.
CUOMO: Well, here's what we know for sure, we need to do much better with many different species because the numbers, in too many cases, aren't going away. We want them too for the next generation and those to follow. Mr. Glass, Mr. Khetan, thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate it.
KHETAN: Thank you.
CUOMO: The CNN Film "Trophy" premieres this Sunday at 9:00 P.M.
Up next you've been blowing up my Twitter feed with your thoughts about the show. Up next, social statues. Let's take the temperature of the tweets @CHRISCUOMO, use the #CuomoPrimeTime. Let's get it on.
[21:58:46] CUOMO: That's nice. That's too mean. All right, let's check our social status tonight. Margaret26 tweets, "What did your kids think about your show last night? I love your new show." They felt like it was weird for me to say that word and they don't understand why everybody's so angry all the time, and you know what, neither do I.
From C-conf85, "Chris Cuomo, are you always this awkward?" Yes.
And Beingcammed declares, "Who synonymous is the word of the week, kid. My hippie (ph) though I made it up, what does that tell you?" Thanks for being so supportive of the special this week.
A few more weeks of fun to go, please stay with us. Don't forget to catch me and Allison every weekday morning on "New Day" starting at 6:00 A.M. in the East.
That's it for us tonight. Thank you for watching. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon, the man, starts right now.