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Trump's Pattern of Insults on Race, Religion, Ethnicity; Trump Touts a Very Good Relationship with Kim Jong-un; U.S. Ambassador to Panama Resigns Over Trump. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 12, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: President Trump's vial remark has immigrants stunned -- about immigrants have so many people stunned, but it's not the first time that he's made comments widely considered disparaging to Ethnic and racial groups.


BALDWIN: OK. So, to agree with the president's statements is to ignore the inherent history of this country. It is to turn a blind eye to the countless contributions made to the U.S. by people who weren't born here. With me now, Lola Ogunnaike, Pop-culture commentator and host of entertainment weekly, the show. She is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants and formally with CNN. Welcome back to the family. Good to see you.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, DAUGHTER OF NIGERIAN IMMIGRANTS: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: I was asking you, you know, how did you first hear about the Trump tweets and what he said? You said your dad called.

OGUNNAIKE: Yes, my dad who is proud Nigerian, called me yesterday and said can you believe what Trump said? I said oh, no, oh, no, what did he say now. And my dad, who never curses, because he's also a proud Christian, was forced to use language that he never uses. And he said that -- to use the s word -- and here we are now, Brooke, having this conversation today. Was I surprised by rhetoric? No. Because as you mentioned before, this is typical Trump. New year, same Trump. It was the same person who has called Mexican rapists. The same person who's called protesters taking a knee, sons of bitches. And same people who has been sued for racial discrimination in 1970s. So, the same person who questioned Obama legitimacy as president. This is the same Trump. So, was I surprised? No. Was I appalled? Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Here's a look at some of what he said so far.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to have him show his birth certificate. And can I be honest with you, I hope he can.

TRUMP: They are bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They are rapists. TRUMP: Donald Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of

Muslims entering the United States.

TRUMP: But we are building a wall. He's a Mexican. We are building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is he is giving us very unfair rulings.

TRUMP: If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.

TRUMP: You are living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?

TRUMP: We have very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.

TRUMP: Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago, they call her Pocahontas.


BALDWIN: So, just echoing the point you're making a second ago. But I want to stay on you and your family. Because I think a lot of people say maybe the president is missing the point. That a lot of immigrants who come to this country from places within Africa, are some of the most bright, educated men and women like your own parents. Tell me about them.

OGUNNAIKE: Brooke, my parents immigrated to this country in 1970s. They came with $300 in our pocket. And one thing they always instilled in my siblings and I is that America is where you can make it. It doesn't matter where you come from. If you work hard, if you study hard, if you face your studies, you can be anything in this country. Barack Obama proved to us that you can be president of the United States if you work hard. This is a sentiment that my parents believed in.

You have no idea how invested immigrants are in the American dream. You would have to be invested in that to leave your country, leave all that you know and love to come and try and make a better life for yourself and future family here. That's what my parents did in the '70s. And, Brooke, it worked out. Between my siblings and my husband, we have degrees from Wharton Business School, MIT, the University of Virginia, American University, Yale and the University of Virginia. That's not bad. That's not bad at all at all.

BALDWIN: That's impressive.

OGUNNAIKE: But guess what? We are not the anomaly. That is the norm for people in my set. That is the norm. Because there is an understanding that you are expected to achieve. You are given opportunity in America and you are expected to make it. And, again, I have numbers to back it up. Nigerians make up less than 1 percent of the black population in the U.S. and yet in 2013 alone, 25 percent of the black students at Harvard Business School were of Nigerian decent.

Here's some more numbers for you, Brooke. Other a fourth of the Nigerian Americans have a graduate or professional degree. Only 11 percent of whites in America can say the same. So, we are model minorities. So, about this myth about Africa living in huts, being hungry with extended bellies. It's not a Sally Struthers commercial anymore. We are the most upwardly mobile people in this country.

[15:35:00] Between Africans and the West Indians that I know, we make an extraordinarily amount of money. We work extremely hard, and our goal is not only to be great citizens, but we want to make our parents who sacrificed everything to get us quality educations and better life proud.

BALDWIN: And the next generation.

OGUNNAIKE: And the next generation.

BALDWIN: You have a 3-year-old.


BALDWIN: Are you worried at all about any of this, you know, harmful language being heard, overheard by little ones from their parents, taking it to school, and you know your 3-year-old facing the brunt of it?

OGUNNAIKE: It's interesting that you ask that. I was on the phone call with one of my friends this morning, she has a 5-year-old daughter. My friend's daughter is half Indian and half Nigerian. Her daughter happened into the room and heard the word shithole in Africa. So, she was forced to have a conversation with her daughter about something that she shouldn't have to hear at this age. At 5 years old asking what shithole means. That is wildly inappropriate. We shouldn't have to censor the news for our children. It's a problem. And I think it's important for Africans in West Indians and people of color around the globe to understand, now more than ever, it is important for us to guard our children against this type of rhetoric. It is paramount that we protect them from this type of rhetoric. Because what can't happen is to have any sort of negativity seep into their psyche. They are not second-class citizens. Their global citizens. And they are future of this nation.

BALDWIN: Amen. You got the last word. Thank you so much for your voice. It is powerful. Lola OGUNNAIKE, it's so nice to see you again. Thank you very much.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you. Good to be here. Thankyou.

BALDWIN: The State Department, also, by the way, is giving U.S. diplomats guidance on how to handle this firestorm. This is happening as one U.S. ambassador is explaining why he is resigning. Sighting differences with the Trump administration. The back story on that, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:41:00] BALDWIN: As the world is reacting to the president's vial comments on African countries, a wild interview he gave is also raising all kinds of eyebrows. One thing we learned, President Trump says he probably has very good relationship with North Koreans leader, Kim Jong-un. And stressing, quote, I have relationships with people. I think you people are surprised.

Something that is obviously very important to the president. And look no further than this help from this matchup we put together for you.


TRUMP: I have a good relationship with Mexico.

TRUMP: Well we've had a very good relationship China in all fairness, and I do like President Xi.

TRUMP: As you know we were having a lot of problems with the Philippines. The relationship with the past administration was horrible, to use a nice word. Now we have a very, very strong relationship with the Philippines.

TRUMP: I say it loud and clear. I've been saying it for years. I think it's good thing if we have great relationships, or at least good relationships. That's very important.

TRUMP: We have great relationships there. We have a great relationship with Finland.

TRUMP: From that moment on, we had a really and developed a really great relationship. And here we are today and better than ever. And we are going to work together. And it's going to get more and more special.


BALDWIN: Rebecca Ballhaus, you were one of the few reporters here, a "Wall Street Journal," reporter, interviewing the president there in the room. Thank you so much for being with me. You know, starting with just the point and the part of the interview -- tell me more about what the president said in this freewheeling, wide ranging interview beginning here with North Korea and points about his good relationship with KJU. How does he claim he has a good relationship with him?

REBECCA BALLHAUS, WALL STREET JOURNAL, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: This was a really interesting part of our interview. In part, because it was totally unprompted. We had been asking more broadly, questions about foreign policy, foreign policy towards North Korea. And he made a point of raising these questions about whether or not he's talking to the leader of North Korea. He said that the two probably have a very good relationship. And then when we tried to press for more clarity on whether the two are speaking or not, he didn't want to go into that. He said he wasn't going to comment on that.

But he was very clear in trying to raise this issue. And I think relationships are something he has talked about a lot. He made a point of this in his trip to Asia in November of trying to build some of these relationships with the Prime Minister of Japan, the president of China. He likes to do it in Washington too, invite members of Congress to golf with him to visit him at Mar-a-Lago. He's all about touting these relationships.

BALDWIN: As we just cited in all those sound bites. Let's talk about James Comey, his former FBI director. This is what he told you guys. Quote, I should be given credit for having great insight. Because many things have found out -- there's that many things -- many things have been found out about Comey that would never have been found out if I didn't fire him.

What is he referring to, Rebecca?

BALLHAUS: It's not completely clear what he's referring to. I mean, I think he has repeatedly called Comey a liar and a leaker, as he did in our interview. I think he's referring to what Comey himself has testified to Congress, that he passed memos of his conversations with the president on to a friend to leak to the news media, because he believed that those notes were alarming. That they would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

But I think what came across the most from the portion of our interview that discussed Comey is how angry he really still is over the whole thing. He was really eager to dive into Comey. We didn't ask questions specifically about why he fired Comey, or what he thought since then. But he was very eager to talk about it. And he really swung from saying that it was the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who had written a memo at the White House's urging that was critical of Comey. Saying, he was in charge. He's the reason that Comey was fired. To saying that he wants this credit for firing Comey. And I think what really came across is that he feels like there is a lot of hypocrisy in how Washington has talked about the firing.

BALDWIN: Well, he talks about it. I think, he obviously, gives himself a lot of credit for a lot of things. And I think the part of the interview -- I mean, I've highlighted it. It's like five graphs. It's part of this huge interview where he's talking about himself. Tendency to be "braggadocious." Including that he was one of the best -- it says one of the athletes.

BALLHAUS: One of the best athletes, yes. Well, I mean that was the other part that struck us from the interview was he brought up this Michael Wolff book totally unprompted and was, as he's been over the last couple of weeks, very eager to push back on a lot of its claims. I think we have seen with this president a lot of that he has certain points that really seem to drive him crazy. And I think raising questions about his intelligence or fitness for the job is clearly one of them.

BALDWIN: OK. Just quickly, when he says all of this about himself, totally with a straight face, right?

BALLHAUS: Yes. [15:46:16] BALDWIN: OK. Rebecca Ballhaus with the "Wall Street

Journal," thank you so much. That was an incredible, incredible interview.

Next here in the middle of this controversy that the president has created for himself, one U.S. ambassador explains why he's resigning citing differences with the Trump administration.


BALDWIN: President Trump's vile comments have triggered global condemnation, disbelief and outrage, and we are just getting word that the U.S. ambassador to Panama, John Feeley is stepping down from his post, citing differences with the Trump administration. I've got to be clear, the resignation letter came last month but reads in part, as a junior foreign service officer I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies.

My instructors made it clear if I believed I could not do that, I would be -- I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come. Jim Sciutto is with me, our chief national security correspondent, and you talked to a top official at state about this. What did they tell you?

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting. They acknowledged in effect, one, the reason that he stepped down and it was because -- it wasn't personal reasons, family, et cetera, it was because he had very severe differences with very Trump administration. But also, interesting, this official, the under-secretary of state, Steve Goldstein, acknowledged he has the right to do this. Here is exactly what he told me.

He said that everyone has a line that they don't want to cross, and we respect that. We are sorry to see him go. Acknowledging that the Ambassador Feeley reached a point because of where the president's policies and statements that that was crossing a line he couldn't stomach anymore. One more point, Brooke, this is a career service foreign officer, in addition to having been a Marine veteran. But a career foreign service officer, they fight through years and many assignments around the world to get to level of ambassador.

They don't leave these roles lightly, right? It took a lifetime of work and commitment and travel around the world to get to that position, so to leave that position as a protest is a remarkable step to take.

BALDWIN: Jim Sciutto, we'll look for you tonight sitting in for Anderson, "AC 360," 8:00. Thank you.

Still ahead here, trip cancelled. The reason President Trump says he called off his visit to London next month and what the London mayor says is the real reason.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: A new CNN original film called "Trophy" takes a look at how rare and endangered species can be saved. Ed Lavandera travels to a big-game hunting preserve where hunters pay top dollar to hunt rare animals.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jason Molitor manages the herds of roughly 60 different species spread across 18,000 acres of land on the Ox Ranch. At everyone turn, you come across not just native white- tailed deer but a dizzying array of African species. Hunters shell out big money for a guided excursion to hunt down prized trophies on this land, choosing from a menu of animals to hunt. Paying anywhere from a few thousand dollars to as much as $35,000. And they say they're doing it not just for the thrill of the hunt but in the name of conservation.

JASON MOLITOR, CEO, OX RANCH: I know it sounds contradictory, but hunters love animals.

LAVANDERA: Hunters pay to hunt the oldest males past breeding age. The number of animals killed is controlled. It's essentially, they argue, sacrificing a few animals from a herd to grow the population of a species.

MOLITOR: Just because a guy comes in here and says, I've got some money, I want to shoot this, I'm not going to shoot it if it's not something that benefits me and my management program to take that animal out.

PRASHANT KHETAN, BORN FREE USA: Today, trophy hunting is a sport and it is a horror show.

LAVANDERA: Prashant Khetan is with an animal advocacy group called Born Free. He says the idea that the money paid to kill one animal can help save the species is a myth.

KHETAN: There is no benefit to trophy hunting. It really just lines the pockets of an elite few and it's a practice that is done by a very small percent of the population. To put the trophies up in their house to show off that they've killed another animal.

LAVANDERA: Trophy hunters like to say they spend more money than anyone to help protect animals around the world, but critics question whether countries that promote trophy hunts manage that money properly.

KHETAN: It benefits governments, and I think it benefits the companies that put on these hunts. But that's it. It doesn't benefit the people. It certainly doesn't benefit the animals that they're killing.

LAVANDERA: Back on the Ox Ranch, Jason says for him the issue is simple.

MOLITOR: Everyone can sit in their high-rise apartment in the middle of the city and say you shouldn't hunt this animal. What are they doing to save that animal?

LAVANDERA: For the critics, trophy hunting remains a barbaric blood sport. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Texas.


BALDWIN: All right. So just a reminder, for all of you interested in watching the CNN film "TROPHY," it appears this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. and with that, I'm going to say thank you here from New York. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We're going to send it to Washington on this Friday afternoon. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.