Return to Transcripts main page

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Has First Physical As President; Interview with Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired January 12, 2018 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And, Sanjay, I don't want to be rude about it, but the president doesn't look healthy and what we know about his diet and exercise habits, he doesn't lead a particularly healthy lifestyle.

[16:30:04] What are we expecting to learn about his health?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, even before, what we did know in his base line, Jake, if you do the math, he was overweight, borderline obese in the past and that was before this year, which has been a stressful year and a year, as you mentioned, where he's had, you know, as far as his diet goes, pretty atrocious, frankly, a couple of cheese burgers, couple of fish sandwiches, chocolate shakes, steak with ketchup, 12 Diet Cokes a day. It's extraordinary really.

What we know is that he was on a statin drug in the past. That's one of the most relevant things about his history. His cholesterol was OK on that. That's obviously one of the big concerns in a 70-year-old focusing on the heart health, what are the risk factors for that, risk factors for stroke and risk factor for some cancers. That's what over the last four hours, those doctors likely focused on.

I will tell you, they also typically ask about depression, anxiety and stress as well, part of a primary, just questions that doctors will typically ask.

TAPPER: We should also note that the president doesn't drink, doesn't smoke and doesn't do drugs and that's obviously in the plus column. But you just brought up stress, et cetera, and I have to note that because of that book, "Fire and Fury," that the White House and the president cooperated with and the author and his scathing conclusion, the president's mental fitness has come under discussion quite a bit the last two weeks.

Do you think a president's mental health should be tested?

GUPTA: Well, I'll tell you this, I think his mental health in particular should be tested for this reason alone, he's over the age of 65 and what we know, and, frankly, any Medicare patient would get cognitive testing over the age of 65. It's something that Medicare covers and recommends. Cognitive testing, looking at things like a mini mental status exam and his cognitive abilities overall.

As you point out, Jake, and we heard from the White House earlier, that was not likely to happen. He was not likely to get any sort of mental capacity or status examinations. If he did, we like by wouldn't hear about it anyway. There is no requirement that we do.

But keep in mind, most people over the age of 65 do get this standard with a physical exam.

TAPPER: All right. Maybe that should be added to the repertoire for future residents.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

The speaker of the house tiptoed around the president's controversial remarks and the Senate majority leader has been silent so far, a no- show really. What will it take for Republican leaders to call out the president's remarks?

Republican governor of Ohio, John Kasich, joins me live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:37:00] TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead, and President Trump's disparaging comments about, quote, shithole countries reverberating across the country and the globe.

Joining me now is Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate, John Kasich.

Governor Kasich, as always, thanks for being here.

I want to ask you, the president's allies suggest what the president was talking about is letting in immigrants who are -- have skills and what's good for growth in the United States. The president's critics, of course, saying this is simply about race. The Congressional Black Caucus chairman, Congressman Cedric Richmond saying this is proof that the president's Make America Great Again slogan is code for make America white again.

What was your reaction?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, the comments were, you know, totally inappropriate and we don't need to be insulting people around the world and, you know, it was just a very, very big mistake and he's got to be very careful with his words because words matter.

What I'm most concerned about now, Jake, is that we have 800,000 kids who were brought to this country who have now grown up who are facing the threat of deportation, which would split families, send children into, you know, I mean, really scare children as to what was going to happen with them, and then we have a couple hundred thousand Salvadorans here who have been integrated into our society. President Bush and President Obama said they could stay.

Let's just move forward. Look, take care of these DREAMers. This is -- Jake, the Republican Party is the party of family.

TAPPER: Right.

KASICH: You know, I helped write the family tax credit in 1997. It's just been improved now. Keep families together.

TAPPER: I know you want to look forward and I want to get to what should happen with the DREAMers and such, but I do want to talk about the comments made by the president where he said he doesn't think we need any more Haitians, why are we taking people from these shithole countries in Africa, et cetera.

I know that you're very reluctant to label the president racist, but I just want to point out, this is a president who suggested the first African-American president was born in Africa, he was sued by the Justice Department during the Nixon years for discriminatory housing practices against blacks in New York, he suggested they bring back the death penalty for the Central Park Five, black and Latino teenagers who've been falsely accused of rape. This is the president who said there we, quote, very fine people on both sides of the Charlottesville neo-Nazi Klan march. This is a president who suggested a judge with Mexican heritage wasn't able to be fair because of his heritage and now this.

So, I understand your reluctance to label him a racist, but what would it take for you to call someone's words or actions racist?

KASICH: Jake, Jake, look, I ran against the guy. I was only person I can think of in modern history who had a Republican convention, their own party convention in their state, I didn't go. I was severely criticized for it, which is fine. I didn't endorse him. I didn't vote for him.

I mean, I've said all that. I'm not a name-caller. What would it take? I don't know. I don't -- I'm not into name-calling.

[16:40:01] I'm into policy. I'm into saying, look, I've already just said what he said was absurd, and, frankly, there had to be unanimity among Republicans, too, to just say you don't talk like that. That's just absolutely inappropriate.

TAPPER: I've heard --

KASICH: But I'm not just a name-caller. I'm sorry.

TAPPER: We've heard from Congresswoman Mia Love. We've heard from Jeb Bush. We've heard from Eliana Ros-Lehtinen, the Cuban-American congresswoman from Florida. But honestly, it's been pretty quiet when it comes to Republicans talking about these remarks.

What do you make of that?

KASICH: Well, Jake, look, everybody is always trying to kind of give, you know, the extra mile to a president of their own party. I mean, it's just kind of natural. You don't have to be, you know, viciously attacking him or personally attacking him, but these comments are inappropriate.

And, frankly, the party ought to say it's inappropriate. So what? Frankly, he ought to apologize for it, OK? It's not a big deal. I had to apologize to somebody that I did something inappropriate to.

Not that I'm the saint of everything or the, you know, know all these answers, but it just takes a little "I'm sorry," you know.

I was talking to Peter Hoekstra, who's the new ambassador over in the Netherlands and he got himself in a squabble. I said, hey, Pete, just tell them that, you know, you made a mistake and you're there to learn. I mean, let's get over it.

But the parties -- this is another symptom of the split between the parties. I think we can agree the language wasn't good. Look, the president is saying he didn't say it because he knows it was a mistake. But, you know, the leaders ought to have something to say.

But this is -- every day there is another thing. This like reality TV, right? It's not healthy for our country or healthy to the world.

TAPPER: Take a listen to Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina speaking on CNN today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: The president is the commander-in-chief and this is kind of what we call conduct of unbecoming of an officer. And if a general or some other line officer in the military were to say something like this, he would be censured. I think it should occur here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you think that the president should be censured?

KASICH: I don't think -- I think we need to move on and I think we need to take care of the DREAMers and I think we need to take care of these people who are here legally through the temporary assistance program, that's what I think we need to do.

We need to move on, Jake. Look, I'll be honest with you. I understand ratings, newspaper clicks, hits, ratings in television, OK? Everybody's had their say.

Hopefully, we'll see some more out of Republicans. Maybe the president will say something, apologize or whatever. We've got to move on.

We have big issues out there. We're facing maybe the closing of the government. We've got a situation where we've got to take care of these other folks.

Everybody, you know, this is a time for everybody to pound somebody. I've never been a big one on pounding somebody when they're down, other than to say that was wrong. And I think what the president said was wrong. I don't have any more to say about it than this.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about immigration going forward. I would just -- I just want to note for the record -- KASICH: OK, one more.

TAPPER: I want to take -- I just want to -- we don't have to talk about this but I'm going to take issue with the notion that the president says something in which he denigrates an entire continent and the country of Haiti and I'm talking about it for ratings. I'm talking about to it, because a lot of people were morally offended by it.

KASICH: OK, look, you've asked me three times.

TAPPER: No, I want to --

KASICH: And I've expressed myself three times.

TAPPER: So, let's --

KASICH: Look, I wrote a book called "Two Paths". Everybody ought to read it. It's why I didn't support the guy, OK?

TAPPER: I read it and I promoted it.

Let me -- let me get to the immigration question you asked -- you're not letting me do it.

KASICH: I'm not saying you, Jake. Look, I'm not saying you're doing this for ratings. I'm saying at some point we've got to move on because we have some big things. If this is all we focus on, it's more polarizing and I'd rather take care of the DREAMers. And guess what? So would they.

TAPPER: But this came in the context of an immigration deal. That's how this conversation happened.

KASICH: I know.

TAPPER: You've called for Republicans and Democrats --

KASICH: I know.

TAPPER: -- to try to find this legislative fix for the DREAMers, the 800,000 brought into this country through no fault of their own.

In an editorial with Jeb Bush Jr., you write, quote, if we believe America is made stronger by families, let's do everything we can to strengthen all the families who chose to call America home. At the very least, the federal government should not become an instrument for attacking them.

So, let me ask you, given what's going on, given what the president said in the response, do you think that can happen?

KASICH: Well, I don't like the fact that we have these ICE agents going in and grabbing people and deporting them. We've already lost I don't know how many thousands of DREAMers that have been deported. I mean, this breakdown is terrible. And I argued long ago, just go ahead and pass something.

[16:45:00] Here is another thing, if the Senate has an agreement, pass it. Pass the bill. Send it to the President. He wants to veto it, fine, but get it to him. Get the House to do something. I mean, you can't -- this is America. We've got the statue of liberty out there. I saw one of the big firms up in Wall Street, the guy said, you know, I look out my window and I see lady liberty and our values will shine through. We've got to be careful of our values and we've got to make sure that we're not being mean or playing politics with people who are making contributions to our country.

TAPPER: All right.

KASICH: So pass something. Get it to the House. Let them shut it down but go and do something. Provide some hope.

TAPPER: All right, Ohio Governor John Kasich, always a pleasure.

KASICH: It's always great to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: Thanks, Governor. I appreciate it.

KASICH: Always fun with you. It's not fun here but it's always good to be with you. I tell you.

TAPPER: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Lots more to talk about. President Trump backing out of a trip to London, blaming Obama for something George Bush did and blasting the new embassy there, but he might have been talking to the guy he picks to be ambassador before he went off on that tangent. We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:50:00] TAPPER: We're back with our "MONEY LEAD" and a major victory for President Trump. Fiat-Chrysler announced it will make ram heavy-duty trucks in Michigan, not in Mexico, citing tax reform as the driving force. 2,500 jobs are expected today come back to the U.S. with production starting in 2020. Vice President Pence tweeting, "manufacturing is back, great announcement. Proof that this administration's America first policies are working." I'm back with the panel and let's give President Trump his due. Several companies this week announced that they are passing on the rewards of the tax bill to their employees. We can put aside for one second the President's remarks in the Oval Office if he didn't make those remarks and if he didn't do all of these (INAUDIBLE) things, then we'd be talking much more about these types of things.

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, SEN TED CRUZ: Yes, this would be the greatest news cycle probably in my generation. Listen, I am from the Genesee County which is home for Flint, Michigan. I grew up in a time when everybody's mom and dads were losing the jobs to Mexico. I didn't think we would see a headline like this. I really didn't. I hoped you know, maybe if we made economic changes, maybe down the road in five or ten years, a new sector might come and replace it. This is amazing news. If I were in the White House, I would -- this is just like gold material. But yet I feel like Republicans are going to get wiped out and we're going to say why didn't we ever get credit for those great things we did? And there is going to be a two-word answer and it's going to be Trump's mouth.

TAPPER: If you were in the White House, you would steal the President's smartphone. One of the --

CARPENTER: I would break it, I would trash and it and do what Hillary Clinton did to her server.

TAPPER: One of the other reasons President Trump causing an uproar in the United Kingdom, America's closest ally. The President tweeted, "the reason I canceled my trip to London is that I'm not a big fan of the Obama administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for peanuts, in quotes for some reason, only to build a new one in an off location for $1.2 billion. Bad deal, wanted me to cut ribbon. No." But this is wrong, Perry, the Bush administration is the one that began the process of selling this land to have a more secure embassy in a different place.

PERRY BACON, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: Trump is saying something false not, you know, exactly shocking, but the big thing here is that he doesn't want to go to London because he was going to be booed by thousands of people, probably lines of people all over the country there. I mean, this is our closest ally and people in, you know, people in Britain want Obama to come whenever he can, but they really, you know, Trump is not very popular. The Mayor of London has been criticizing him. So I think you're seeing -- you're seeing Trump unpopular at home despite the strong economy, even more, unpopular abroad.

TAPPER: And even the President's own U.S. Ambassador to the U.K. defended the Embassy move saying the new one is bigger, better, more secure. This is once again President Trump saying something at odds with not just the facts but his own administration.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His own administration. And you see time and time again these U.S. Ambassadors to everywhere are coming out and saying, hey, you know, look, praise God for these institutions that they're bigger than one person and you know, offering explanations and really kind of walking things back on behalf of the United States of America so we don't look crazy to the rest of the world.

TAPPER: And this is, again, another thing that happened yesterday. The President ahead of the FISA reauthorization bill for surveillance said it was an act that may have been used to surveil him, it wasn't. He almost sabotaged the bill, although it ultimately passed the House. And watch this moment during that bipartisan immigration meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What about a clean DACA bill now with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure -- DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no problem. I

think that's basically what Dick is saying. We're going to come out with DACA. We're going to do DACA and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.

FEINSTEIN: Would you be agreeable to that?

TRUMP: Yes, I would like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Of course he had to be corrected and ultimately what he meant was -- by a clean DACA bill was a clean DACA bill except not clean, it would have border security and much more attached to it.

CARPENTER: Let me be an optimist. These are two examples, in the FISA debate and this where the White House actually did clean up and cleaned it up. I'll give them that.

TAPPER: That's not much. That's not much.

CARPENTER: It's an improvement.

TAPPER: It's something.

BACON: You know, a broader point, he's going to give the State of the Union Address in a few weeks and the State of the Union actually is pretty strong. The economy is going well. The country is doing pretty well under Donald Trump except for the Donald Trump part. It's really strange to have a President with such a low approval rating despite so many things in terms of the economy particularly going well. He stopped tweeting, he might beat 50 by the end of the year.

TAPPER: Everyone stick around. We got lots more to talk about. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: We're back with our panel, the end of a crazy week. So yes or no, folks, because we only have a little time. Will we still be talking about the President's remarks about Africans and Haitians this time next week?

SANDERS: Yes because he'll still be tweeting about it.

BACON: No, he'll say something more crazy about that.

CARPENTER: Here's our cycle. We go from constitutional crisis to prospect of nuclear war, to racist comments, to denigrating comments about women. That's the cycle.

TAPPER: Is that --

CARPENTER: Rinse, repeat.

TAPPER: Rinse -- all right. That's an interesting way to look at it. I'll have to -- I'll have to put that flowchart on my wall. Thanks, one and all, for being here. You guys were great. Be sure to tune into CNN this Sunday morning for "STATE OF THE UNION." My guest will be Republican Congresswoman Mia Love. She's the first Haitian- American ever elected to Congress and she has a lot of strong views about the President's remarks even though, of course, he is the leader of her party. That all starts at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern on Sunday, only on CNN. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. We actually ready them, believe it or not. That's it the for THE LEAD. I turn you over now to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a fantastic weekend.