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World Leaders Slam Trump's Racist Comments; Dems To Try To Censure Trump; WSJ: Trump Lawyer Arranged $130K Payment For Porn Star's Silence A Month Before 2016 Election; MLK's Nephew: Trump Racially Ignorant And Uninformed. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired January 13, 2018 - 08:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we need more Haitians? And then he went on and he started to describe the immigration from Africa calling the nations they come from shitholes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump, Haiti is not what he called it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should hear from some of the Republican House members who were in that oval office meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if it's every day, no, I don't think every time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could it make you say maybe I won't vote for Donald Trump this time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can live with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. The president is starting the beginning of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend at his resort in Florida. Now this is supposed to be dedicated to justice, equal rights and opportunity. But President Trump is facing growing international backlash from those racist comments.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're hearing from the Africa Union this morning now demanding an apology from President Trump after he reportedly said the U.S. didn't need any more immigrants from, quote, "shithole countries and Africa."

World leaders are slamming the comments. They are calling in U.S. diplomats to explain themselves and Democrats are leading an effort to officially censure and reprimand the president. All of this happening as President Trump spends the weekend at his Florida resort. CNN's Abby Phillip is live in Washington. So, the president we know is going to wake up to new criticism from world leaders and Democrats and members of his own party. What are you hearing from there, Abby?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, of course, this is a president no stranger to controversy. Once again, his comments are deemed not safe for children and drawing condemnation from Democrats to Republicans to even the United Nations in a statement condemning the sentiment behind the comments.

Now one of the groups -- the criticism has been somewhat tepid from are Republicans who have given some mixed reactions to the president's comments on Friday. We heard a little bit from House Speaker Paul Ryan who called them unhelpful. And Ryan talked a little bit about his own history, family's history as immigrants from Ireland.

But we haven't heard anything at all from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, and several of the Republicans who were in the room when the president allegedly made these comments have kind of come to his defense saying in a joint statement Senator Cotton and Senator Purdue said in a joint statement that they don't recall the president making those comments.

Now, of course, there were many others in the room including some Democrats and another Republican Lindsey Graham who alluded to the president's comments in his statement saying that he confronted President Trump about what he said and reiterated the need for the United States to have moral leadership on the world stage.

This is a problem that is clearly not going away for this president and we're still waiting to hear what more the White House has to say about these allegations.

BLACKWELL: All right. Abby, stay with us. Let's bring in Amie Parnes and Amanda Terkel into this conversation. Amie is a CNN political commentator who wrote "Shattered" about Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run. Amanda is the Washington bureau chief of "The Huffington Post." Ladies, good morning to you.

I want to start here with a portion of what we just heard from Abby. Amanda, I'll bring it to you. Nothing from Mitch McConnell. Unhelpful and unfortunate from Paul Ryan, which I -- are the weakest descriptions of what the president said.

And nothing from the vice president who even after the "Access Hollywood" tape, his running mate who criticized the president's comments. How long can this go on with nothing from those three leaders of the party?

AMANDA TERKEL, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "HUFFPOST": I mean, the thing is it might go on for a while. I think that's the thing with President Trump's comments. It's not the first time he said something like this. You know, he insulted a Mexican-American judge saying because of his ethnicity he can't judge fairly.

I mean, Trump for years was pushing the birther conspiracy against President Obama. This stuff is not new, and the reality is he's got to get away with it. And I that I Republicans leaders feel like they can either ignore his comments or put out something tepid like Paul Ryan did and not face many consequences.

I mean, reporters are going to continue to press Republicans and say, look, you know, you say you support President Trump. Do you agree with him? They might put out something, but these things will continue. Republicans feel like they can get away with it.

Now the bigger issue is for the party. Are voters going to see the party now as, you know, racist and reflecting the comments or are they going to be able to distinguish between what Trump does and the rest of the party does? That's a problem for the leaders of the Republican Party.

BLACKWELL: So, Amie, we're not hearing much from the leaders of the Republican Party. But the Democrats, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, ranking Democrat on House Judiciary say that they're going to introduce a motion to censure the president. How far does that get?

[08:05:05] AMIE PARNES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it gets -- I don't think it goes very far. I think they are -- what it is doing is affecting DACA and the negotiations there. I think a lot of Democrats, particularly House Democrats, are really upset about this.

And they think that it's not going to help matters going forward with DACA and so this is kind of a weird moment for them. They needed -- for President Trump and Republicans, they needed Democrats onboard and right now it looks like they're facing a tough -- you know, they just can't go forward on this. And so, I think that's going to be tough for them for, you know, facing a budget bill and everything else.

BLACKWELL: So Abby, let me come back to you and we just heard from Amie about the problems with getting a deal on DACA. This is what the president said during that bipartisan televised meeting on Tuesday that if this deal comes together what he would do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This group comes back hopefully with an agreement. This group and others from the Senate, from the House comes back with an agreement. I'm signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I'm not going to say oh, gee, I want this or I want that, I'll be signing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: So, the group came back. Senator Jeff Flake announced that there was a deal. There is what the president tweeted yesterday, "The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. It was not properly funded. Chain and lottery were made worse." I won't ask for this or that, the president said. What happened? PHILLIP: Well, Victor, you know, one of the things that we heard from sources on Thursday night about what happened in those meetings at the White House is that senators came to the president to present him with something and White House aides who were opposed to what these senators had come up with called other senators hard-liners, immigration hard-liners like Tom Cotton and Purdue and said come to the White House quickly.

And then they all had this meeting which blew up in such a spectacular fashion. Now at the same time, another source said after the meeting even after all of this controversy that it shouldn't be read too much into this. That there is no deal or there is no hope for a deal.

With Trump, often he pushes back on his negotiating partners and eventually comes back to the table. I think a lot of people within the White House and on the Hill are taking this in stride even when Trump goes out on social media and criticizes Democrats and criticizes the negotiators.

A lot of folks, it's irritating to them, but they don't think that it's going to foreclose on a deal completely. They're in wait and see mode hoping that as these groups continue to put things forward the president will eventually say yes to something.

BLACKWELL: Amie, this was supposed to be the month of bipartisanship. This was new year, new me. Trump, we're going to reach out to the Democrats. We can make a deal. It seems that it's, what, the 13th of the month and that's already over?

PARNES: Yes, this was a chance for him actually for the president to tout his business deals. He had the fiat deal he could have talked about. They lined up a "Wall Street Journal" interview for him to get out in front of it for him to talk about policy and get in front of that.

And he once again has pivoted in the wrong way. This is causing a lot of consternation inside the White House. I've spoken to a couple of aides who have said, you know, they don't know how much longer they can stick by him. I know a lot of people are saying this isn't a big deal. There is a lot of consternation in the White House right now over this comment.

BLACKWELL: So, Amanda, let me wrap up with you. You know, after the president's comments about African nations and Haitians and -- are we all supposed to move on to infrastructure next? I mean, how does Washington go on to the next thing, the next legislative element with so many unanswered questions, denials, and accusations about something so fundamental to the idea of what the United States is?

TERKEL: Yes. I think that's a great question. I think that there are an increasing number of people who don't want to and say, you know, in Congress, for example, how can we cooperate with a president who holds these views.

Like you said, it's so fundamental to everything that he does. This isn't the first time he said something like this. He's done stuff like this and it's been reflected in his policies over and over and over. But the reality is that Trump will move on.

He will tweet something else that will upset people or say another comment. And everyone sorts of move around that. And, you know, this comment may pale in comparison to something he tweets or says next week.

But this stuff is going to continue. It's not a new year, new Donald Trump. It's the same Trump, and, yes, it's only 13 days into the new year.

BLACKWELL: The same Trump. I remember it was just last week when the like really smart tweet came during this show. Saturday morning. Amanda, Abby, Amie, thank you all.

[08:10:07] PAUL: Iran says President Trump has crossed the line with new sanctions and they're promising a, quote, "severe response." Now the president recertified the Iran deal as part of that deal he agreed to hold off on key sanctions for what he said was the last time. And as he certified that deal, he announced new sanctions on 14 Iranian individuals and entities. Iran called the move, quote, "hostile and illegal."

BLACKWELL: A new report in the "Wall Street Journal" says a lawyer for President Trump arranged a six-figure payment to an adult film star. Reportedly came right before the 2016 election. Now the question why was allegedly paid, here's CNN Washington correspondent, Tom Foreman.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The big new claim in the "Wall Street Journal" is this, a woman was paid $130,000 a month before the presidential election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

According to the story Trump had this encounter with an adult film star who goes by the name of Stormy Daniels in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament. The "Journal" says this new report of hush money comes from people familiar with the matter.

But the president's long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, is hitting back hard saying, "These rumors have circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again vehemently denies any such occurrence as has Ms. Daniels."

Cohen did not directly address the idea of a payment, but he did give CNN a statement. He says it's from Stormy Daniels saying, "My involvement with Donald Trump was limited to a few public appearances and nothing more. When I met Donald Trump, he was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and everyone in my presence.

Rumors that I have received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false. If indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me, you wouldn't be reading about in the news, you would be reading about it in my book. But the fact of the matter is these stories are not true," she says. CNN has tried to reach Ms. Daniels for independent confirmation. We've not spoken to her yet and Trump's lawyer have not provided contact information for her. If the alleged event did nonetheless take place, it would have occurred the year after he married now First Lady Melania Trump. The White House however is calling this old, recycled news, strongly denied prior to the election.

BLACKWELL: Tom Foreman, thank you.

PAUL: The president's remark about African countries has really created a lot of outrage from people there. We're going to hear from them in a moment.

BLACKWELL: Plus, words really do matter. The president has been throwing around a lot of false claims about immigration this week. You deserve the truth. We're going to take apart the president's just flat out untrue statements about the visa lottery program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:17:01]

BLACKWELL: The president wakes up at his Florida resort, the stench of his shithole remark is being reacted to around the world. Here's how people across the globe are responding.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I find him quite offensive. Actually, really offensive because I think Africa most countries in Africa are pretty stable and we're doing good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's not the right thing for him to do. He's the president of the United States of America like we expect more of him. We expect him to be an example. We are growing democracies and we don't expect such remarks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not agree because, first, it's downgrade on humanity because we're not any less of human beings. Two is that U.S. needs immigrants to help fund the economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no (inaudible) immigrants and there is no rich immigrants. I mean, there is immigrants all over the world who are immigrating because they need to find a better future for them and for their childs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's clearly revolting. We know very well that it's not the opinion of all Americans. It's a racist part of America that is expressing itself more and more, which is unfortunate in the 21st Century.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: All righty. So, Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator and former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders is with us now as well as Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Ted Cruz, and Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist. Thank you all so much for being here.

I want to share with you a tweet from former president of Ghana that has just come up regarding the shithole country's remark. This is what he tweeted, "Shithole? I thought he was impressed with us last September."

Giving an idea as to where we're going from here, Alice, where do Republicans go in trying to work with this continent with all of these countries when this is how they're reacting?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The best place to go and the first thing to do is to convey to them that these comments, these repulsive and disgusting comments from the president don't reflect those of the people of this country and certainly not other leaders in his administration that are trying to work with them.

PAUL: Can anybody else make that argument besides the president and have it be as effective?

STEWART: Sure. A lot of the people that these foreign leaders are dealing with, they know them one-on-one. They know that these people are -- have good intentions and their hearts are pure and don't feel the same way that the president feels.

And I think it's really important that a lot of people when they're in these one-on-one meetings or talking to groups to convey and many of them already have that the views and comments of the president don't reflect the views and comments of many other Americans.

Many people do agree with him. But the majority of Americans with good intentions in their hearts look at all countries as great places in which we want to bring them to this country in a lawful, legal way.

[08:20:00] And that's the important thing as the entire argument about immigration and how to reform our immigration system, which is on its track to being reformed is getting lost in putty mouth comments from the president which is really unfortunate.

PAUL: And then we have questions about policy this morning. The president tweeted just a couple minutes ago, "The Democrats are all talk and no action. They're doing nothing to fix DACA. Great opportunity missed, too bad." Evan, where does this policy go?

EVAN SIEGFRIED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I'm not entirely sure. The president's comments certainly helped to derail it, it seems with Democrats. It's made it even more toxic for Democrats to work with President Trump. He's a .22 caliber mind in a .357 world.

The president of the United States talks a great deal about how we didn't get respected in the Obama administration. Now other nations are starting to respect us. What nation respects a president who belittles third world countries and calls them such terrible term? Really turns people off.

And it's going to play out here in the American political landscape. A poll this week said that 59 percent of Americans believed that Donald Trump doesn't care about people like them. Among that, 60 percent of college educated whites, 88 percent of African-Americans and 65 percent of Hispanics say Donald Trump doesn't care about people like them.

That's a problem. The White House is in a crisis mode and it just seems to think that it's the Democrats' fault. I blame them for a lot of stuff but not this one.

PAUL: I want to listen to Tim Ryan, who was on yesterday. Here's what he said about what we've been talking about the last couple of days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPRESENTATIVE TIM RYAN (D), OHIO: I think the president wants the United States to be one big Mar-a-Lago. You know, you got a lot of money. You get a tax cut. You look pretty, you get all dressed up and look handsome, you can get into the club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Symone, what are your thoughts on that? Do you believe that to be true? Is that too harsh?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know what? I would agree with Congressman Tim Ryan. I think that the president has a very specific idea of whom he thinks should be allowed into this country. I think that's been reflected in his comments.

Even, you know what? We can have a substantive conversation about a, quote/unquote, "merit based immigration system." But the problem with the president's comments, not only did he refer to Haiti, El Salvador and other African countries as shitholes, he specifically noted that he wants a merit based system and why can't we have people from Norway?

As if folks from those aforementioned countries would not pass the smell test to come to this country. So, I think it's problematic. I think we need more folks to stand up and hold the president accountable. Congress is a co-equal branch in government and they are frankly not doing their job.

PAUL: Let me ask you this, Symone. MLK Jr.'s nephew yesterday spoke with the president after the ceremony at the White House yesterday. He said this, let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISAAC NEWTON FARRIS JR., MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.'S NEPHEW: I don't think that President Trump is a racist in the traditional sense as we know in this country. I think President Trump is racially ignorant or racially uninformed. I don't you think that he's a racist in the traditional sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Symone, do you agree that?

SANDERS: I do not agree with that. One, I don't care that he's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s nephew. He is clearly ignorant of the facts. The facts support this current president of the United States, Donald Trump, he has sympathized and empathized and identifies with white supremacists.

He has repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that others, people of color in this country, and I believe the president is a racist. So, you know, he's not racially ignorant. This man started his campaign saying that Mexico is sending some of the worst or sending rapists and murderers.

He said that Judge Curiel, a judge of Mexican heritage, Mexican dissent, could not do his job because of his heritage, because of his culture, because of his ethnicity. If that is not racist, I don't really know what is.

PAUL: Alice, do you believe him to be a racist?

STEWART: I think some of his comments certainly are. Let me address what Congressman Ryan said with regard to the president wanting all of America to look like Mar-a-Lago. I don't agree with that. He has made it quite clear that he does want to provide a DACA fix and provide provisions for DREAMers.

Sixty percent -- nearly 80 percent of Americans want that and he will work toward that, but it must be done in his mind with some type of border wall. He does want to do away with chain migration.

PAUL: But a wall is not going to bring the two groups together to remedy DACA.

STEWART: Members of Congress want to come together and remedy DACA. They want to provide for the DREAMes. Hold on. I'm not quite finished yet --

PAUL: But he has to sign it at the end of the day.

SIEGFRIED: He rejected a senate deal to fix DACA. The president said, no, I don't like it enough. Two days before he said I'll sign anything you put in front of me. He basically is doing two sides of the entire argument. It's what he feels like at any given time.

[08:25:07] Yes, border security is important. But on the racism part, he said it's news report from another network said yesterday that he was briefed by an intelligence officer about Pakistan. She was a Korean-American heritage. Then he turned to aides after and said how come the very pretty Korean lady isn't briefing me about North Korea?

PAUL: We don't have that reporting. I just want to point that out. We have there this morning. The African Union Mission is calling the language that the president used alarming and they are demanding apology. Evan, what needs to be said from the president in terms of an apology to try to remedy some of this?

SIEGFRIED: He has to acknowledge that it happened and say I'm sorry, and he needs to come out and say there are times where I have been imperfect. That's what we are as humans, but he won't do that. This is a president who doesn't say sorry.

He actually loves the spotlight of controversy because he thinks that being president is about getting on the cover of "The New York Post" when it is actually about governing. And Alice and I both agree.

We want border security. We want to deal with the problems of illegal immigration. But the president is making it harder for Republicans to actually do this and to reform the system because he gets in the way.

PAUL: All right. I'm sorry we're out of time. Symone Sanders, Alice Stewart, and Evan Siegfried, appreciate your voices in this. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Next up, how the visa lottery, the diversity visa lottery system actually works. Here's a hint though. It's nothing like what the president says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Where they do it by hand and put the hand in a bowl, like probably what's in their hand are the worst of the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:30:57] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump says that any deal to protect DACA recipients must include funding for the border wall and ending both chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program. But in selling his plan to the American people, the president objectively is not telling you the truth.

All morning we're giving you the facts on these programs. Right now the diversity visa lottery program. Here's how the president describes it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not giving you their best names. They're giving you people that they don't want. And then we take them out of the lottery. And where they do it by hand, where they put the hand in the bowl, probably what's in their hand are the worst of the worst. But they put people that they don't want into a lottery and the United States takes those people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Let's break down the president's characterization.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're giving you people that they don't want. And then we take them out of the lottery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Stop there. They. President Trump seems to suggest that foreign governments choose who enters the visa lottery and in turn who comes into the United States. Well, they don't. People around the world enter the visa lottery individually, applicants pay the fees themselves. And the United States runs the show from start to finish.

It is literally the first sentence of the instructions on how to apply. "The Department of State administers the congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program." So they don't give the U.S. anyone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Where they do it by hand, where they put the hand in a bowl, probably what's in their hand are the worst of the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: As you might imagine, the process is far more complicated than throwing names into a bowl. And it takes quite a long time. Consider this. To get a visa next year in 2019, the window to apply closed in November of last year. It was open for just 35 days. And not everyone is even allowed to apply. People from these 18 countries are not eligible because too many people from Pakistan and Brazil and Vietnam and the rest have received visas in the last five years.

Now to the president's claim that the people coming in through the visa lottery program are the worst of the worst, it simply is not true. For 2017, 19,344,588 people applied for visa through the diversity program from all over the world. They're represented by these 195 figures. And of this group, the State Department randomly selected one, one of the 195, the raw number here, 89,910. That's fewer than one half of 1 percent of the applicants.

And then the real vetting starts -- background checks, looking through birth certificates, court filings, police records, military history, deportation history, marriages, divorces, adoption records, education, work experience, and then more questions about relatives and in-person interviews.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: People that they don't want into a lottery and the United States takes those people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's not true either. The United States does not take all of the people chosen through random selection. 49,067 were granted visas in 2017. And federal law caps visas through the program at 50,000 a year.

Now remember where we started, 19,344,588 applicants, then 89,910 initially selected. So that means that the State Department granted visas to a little more than one quarter of 1 percent of the applicants, 49,067. So when the president says this the next time --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're giving you people that they don't want and then we take them out of the lottery and where they do it by hand, where they put their hand in a bowl, probably what's in their hand are the worst of the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Remember none of it is true.

And joining me now to talk about this, Harry LaRosiliere, the mayor of Plano, Texas. He was born in Haiti, came to the U.S. at 3 years old then became a U.S. citizen at 18 through a work sponsorship program. His family came here as well. And Julissa Arce, who we've had on before. She was an undocumented immigrant who rose to become a vice president at Goldman Sachs.

[08:35:07] So good morning to both of you.

MAYOR HARRY LAROSILIERE (R), PLANO, TEXAS: Good morning.

JULISSA ARCE, AUTHOR, "MY UNDERGROUND AMERICAN DREAM": Good morning.

BLACKWELL: I should mention that she told her story in the book "My Underground American Dream."

Mister Mayor, let me start with you. And I've explained how this really works versus how the president explains it. The president says that people who come out of that figurative bowl here are the worst of the worst. Are they? Do you agree?

LAROSILIERE: Well, I submit that they're not. Those comments are pretty offensive to -- on a personal level when you consider my mother and my father came here when I was 3 years old. My mother worked for 30 years cleaning offices for a third of her life, a stone throw away from Trump Tower so my sister and I can have an education and be the first college graduates of our family. And here I am the mayor of a premier city in America.

And I submit someone like my mother is not the worst of the worst. We need for people like her in America because that's really what makes our fabric wonderful nation.

BLACKWELL: Are you a Republican, sir?

LAROSILIERE: Yes, I am.

BLACKWELL: You voted for the president?

LAROSILIERE: No, I did not.

BLACKWELL: OK. And tell me, from what you understand here, why is the president doing this? LAROSILIERE: Well, I think -- you know, I can't answer why his

reasons. I do know the results. The results is a degradation of the office of the presidency. As a mayor, I know it's a privilege to represent my city. And that's amplified to represent our nation. And through his divisiveness I think it's creating the opportunity for unity for us and opportunity for us as a nation to work towards that more perfect union, and so his reasons, you'll have to ask him. But the results are obviously baring out in terms of what we're seeing in our country.

BLACKWELL: Julissa, from your perspective, is the president just -- he just doesn't know the process or he is intentionally lying to people, misleading them about how people get in through this program?

ARCE: Yes. I mean, the reality is that the president is flat-out lying to the American people to gain support to end programs like the diversity visa program and family reunification which he calls chain migration.

When you look at why the program was implemented in the first place back in the 1980s and the 1990s it was specifically designed to help Irish immigrants be able to come to the country. That's why the program was implemented. And now that over half of the visa -- the diversity visa program winners are from African countries, now we have a problem with it.

So I will go and say that I believe the reason why the president wants to end these programs is based on race. And it's sort of his way of trying to keep the country white. You know, when you see the comments that he made earlier this week, you can see his motivations behind trying to end programs like the diversity visa program which again now bring in half the people are from African countries.

(CROSSTALK)

ARCE: Where before it was Irish immigrants.

BLACKWELL: Let me point out here, though, that you said that the president wants to end the diversity visa lottery program. It's not just the president or just Republicans, the bipartisan Gang of 8 back in 2013 on immigration, one of the proposals was to end the diversity visa lottery program and switch to something that was more merit based and reportedly what was discussed in this program that the bipartisan group took to the president on Thursday was to cut it in half.

Do you think that the diversity visa program should be cut back? Should be eliminated?

ARCE: Well, there might be some changes that can be made to the diversity visa program and perhaps that should be looked as at an overall package, overall deal that includes a DACA fix where the 800,000 Dreamers whose lives are currently in limbo. But again, it should be noted that the president's -- that the president's own mother came to the U.S. as part of what he would call chain migration. She came from Scotland to live with her sister in Queens. And she was a domestic worker. BLACKWELL: Yes.

ARCE: Something that the president called unskilled.

BLACKWELL: Mr. Mayor, let me come to you with this statement from the African Union representing 54 African nations. They condemn the comments in the strongest terms and demand a retraction of the comment as well as an apology to not only the Africans but all of the people of African dissent around the globe. The president's a characterization of the nations of Africa.

Do you think the president should apologize? And is there more for this president to do beyond an apology?

LAROSILIERE: Well, I think an apology would be appropriate. We look back at a track record. And I think we'll -- I'll let you project as to what you think will happen as far as him giving an apology. There's more that needs to be done. There is really simply understanding the grander of the office.

[08:40:02] Being president of the United States, you are the compass, you're the soul, you're the moral leader of our nation. And my hope is that he can rise to that level.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

LAROSILIERE: If he does not, then it is up to us, especially as myself and other elected officials to not remain silent. You know, here we are at Martin Luther King weekend and he said our lives begin to end when we states remain silent on things that matter. Well, our moral compass of our nation matters and it's up to us to really to eliminate the deafness, the loudness of our silence and speak out to who we are and what we're about.

BLACKWELL: Julissa, the president at the White House yesterday, part of his remarks about Dr. King jumped out to me in the context of what we've been discussing over the last 48 hours or so. And he said that Dr. King opened the eyes and lifted the conscience of our nation. He stirred the hearts of our people to recognize the dignity written in every human soul, and to juxtapose the contract what we heard from the president to his comments about Dr. King, I wonder how you received what we saw in the White House yesterday.

ARCE: Yes. I mean, there is clearly a very -- there's a disconnect a lot of times between what the president says on -- when somebody writes the things that he's supposed to say and when he's speaking freely on how he really feels. I mean, I think that given this is MLK weekend, it's very unfortunate that he decided to come out with some of his most racist comments when we are just around the corner from celebrating one of the greatest heroes of our nation.

BLACKWELL: All right. Julissa Arce, Plano, Texas mayor Harry LaRosiliere, thank you so much for being with us.

LAROSILIERE: Thank you for having me, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Sure.

PAUL: Well, you've seen the cover of the "New Yorker." It is depicting Martin Luther King Jr. There it is. Taking a knee between NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett. The cover prompted Dr. King's niece to weigh in. We're going to hear what she had to say and we're talking to the cartoonist who created this. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:46:34] BLACKWELL: The president honored civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. by signing legislation that creates a new national historic park in his name in Georgia.

PAUL: The cover of the "New Yorker" decided to honor the civil rights leader in a different way. I don't know if you've seen this yet but let's pull it up. Here it is. It depicts Martin Luther King Jr. taking a knee between NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett as you can see there.

Cartoonist Mark Ulriksen is the artist behind that cover and he's with us now.

So your illustration, I understand, Mark, and thank you for being here, is called "In Creative Battle." What do you hope to take away from this?

MARK ULRIKSEN, CONTRIBUTOR, NEW YORKER MAGAZINE: I guess it will continue the dialogue about Dr. King's legacy and the steps that Colin Kaepernick and NFL players are taking to try to address the fact that equality is still not within reach yet.

BLACKWELL: You know, Mark, I was having a conversation with some friends just a couple of days ago about -- one is a teacher. They've got this icon pack for their school where you get the Easter Bunny, you get Santa Claus, and you get Martin Luther King. You get, you know, a shamrock and we have created in some way the idea that Dr. King was just like Santa Claus, just like the Easter Bunny, in fact, he was a fighter. So your use of the word battle intentionalized, sir.

ULRIKSEN: Well, yes. And, you know, Martin Luther King is a real person as opposed to the other people you mentioned.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

PAUL: Well, you said I think in the interview that we had earlier, pre-interview, that you asked yourself what would King be doing if he were around today. What answer did you find of yourself there?

ULRIKSEN: Well, this image. I thought that if King were still around, he, of course, would be continuing the fight for equality. And when I was trying to think of an image for the cover, in my mind's eye I saw King in prayer. And then when I saw him in prayer, I saw him on a knee. And then it led me to think, well, wait a minute, what's going on today is Colin Kaepernick and certain NFL players are continuing to fight their civil disobedience by taking a knee. And I thought they're just links in this continual chain to fight for equality in America for all people.

BLACKWELL: So Dr. King's niece, Alveda King, has seen the cover. I want you to listen to her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALVEDA KING, MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR'S KNEE: When they had Martin, Uncle ML in between the two athletes with taking the knee, I said, well, I hope you know what he would take the knee for. He would be praying for you, for your concerns, he would be praying for America, he would be praying for President Trump. So I was concerned that they were only catching the method without taking the message of God's love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: What is your reaction to that?

ULRIKSEN: Well, you know, the great thing about art is that it's open to interpretation however you want to see it and even I see stuff later that I wasn't aware of at the time. For me, the message was that King, you know, gave his life in the pursuit of ending discrimination and trying to keep -- making sure that everybody was treated equally. And there is dignity for all. And I think that Colin Kaepernick in the same way has decided that he's going to perhaps sacrifice his career for something that he believes in and the same way that Muhammad Ali sacrificed his career, his prime, when he didn't want to go fighting the war. So there's repercussions to this. But I -- you know, I try to treat King with respect.

[08:50:04] I have him in prayer. But I also had the players staring straight ahead because they're the ones engaged in the fight today.

PAUL: All right. Mark Ulriksen, thank you so much for being with us.

ULRIKSEN: Sure.

PAUL: Sure. Best to you. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: CNN's new film "TROPHY" premiers tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Now this film takes a look at whether hunting big game can save them from extinction. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you ever get attached to a lion? That it's hard to release it for a hunt? Is there some animal like that that you like?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All animals, doesn't matter what animals it is. If you love animals, you will get attached to them. You'll go out there every day, you see this animal, you're feeding him, the buffalo, of course, but there will be a time when you have to let go. Cut. Can we just cut this? (END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:55:18] PAUL: Oh, my gosh. You get that -- that just hit you, you know, seeing this big guy getting so emotional.

Be sure to watch CNN's new film, "TROPHY." It's tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

And we want to thank you so much for spending time with us. We hope you make good memories today.

BLACKWELL: Stay with us right here at CNN. "SMERCONISH" is up after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

He meant to say it. He knew what he was saying.