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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump: Durbin 'Misrepresented' What I Said, 'Blew Up DACA' Deal; Trump Foregoes MLK Day For Service, Golfs Instead; Trump: 'I'm The Least Racist Person You Will Ever Interview'; Some Lawmakers Boycotting Trump's State Of The Union Speech; MLK: Trump Comments On Immigration 'Extremely Racist'; Detroit Man Deported To Mexico After 30 Years In U.S.; GOP Lawmakers Face Angry Constituents. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 15, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: What the president has said doesn't reflect poorly on Haiti. It reflects poorly on him, on his intellect, on his experience or lack of it, and on what is in his heart. Thanks very much for watching.
[21:00:15] Time to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time", Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson. Well said. Appreciate it.
We have a lot to get after tonight. Martin Luther King the III has a message for the president of the United States. Congressman Cedric Richmond, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is on. We're going to ask whether he plans to boycott the State of the Union.
I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time".
It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, but his legacy, challenging this nation to live up to its founding ideal that all men are created equal, well, that lives on.
Let's be honest, though. Our country is grappling with race and racism still, fueled by a president well known for making divisive statements. President Trump himself declared this MLK Day a day of service, but he spent it on the golf course, taking time out to attack the Democratic senator who exposed the president's s-hole comment, where he expressed a preference for people from Norway over immigrants from Africa and Central and South America. It is an unfortunate think that on Martin Luther King weekend, the president of the United States felt the need to repeat something that he says all too often.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.
No, I am the least racist person that you've ever met.
Just so you know, I am the least racist person, the least racist person that you've ever seen.
I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, many of you see this as a sad commentary that Trump doth protest too much. But maybe this is exactly the moment we need to act on Dr. King's legacy. After all, underneath all of this soaring imagery and oratory, the imploring of the collective spirit, King's enduring gift is truth. He was speaking the truth, fighting for truth, equality, liberty, justice. All of these are about truth, and that's where we are today, demanding the truth and accountability when truth is abused. And that takes us to a boiling controversy at the White House and our great debate. We have Former Obama Special Adviser, Van Jones with us, along with Former Trump Campaign Strategist David Urban. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Thanks for having me, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, so, Van, the question is as direct as it is loaded. Do you believe that this was the straw that broke the camel's back and that you can now say that the president is a racist?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, unfortunately I think you can. I think you have to. I had actually hoped that Trump was a racial opportunist, which is not the same as a racist. Somebody who knows better but he's using racial antagonisms. He's taking the opportunity to get the white people mad at the black people just to help himself but deep in his heart he knew better.
The problem you have now with this, he's not in front of reality, he's not getting an ad in "The New York Times". He's in a private meeting, and what he said is a textbook definition of racism. Let me tell you why I say that.
If he had said, "I don't want anybody coming here who's not an engineer or a doctor. I don't care if they come from Nigeria or Norway, but send me the engineers." That's elitist but it's not racist. That's not wt he said. What he said was -- take out the curse word. What he said was, "I don't want people coming from Nigeria no matter what their qualifications are. I want people coming from Norway no matter what their qualifications are." That is the definition of racism.
Now, the problem you have now is people will then come out and try to re-change what he said. But when you put a whole group of people in one category, negative or positive, --
JONES: -- that's a textbook definition of racism. That's what he did. That's what he did.
CUOMO: Mr. Urban.
URBAN: Van, you know, I have much more respect for you than what you just -- what you said. I know you don't believe that in your heart of hearts, Van.
JONES: I do!
URBAN: Van, listen, you weren't in the room. You didn't hear what the guy said. What I believe the president was talking about and alluding to in a private meeting, right after meeting with the prime minister of Norway, was that he was in favor of skills-based immigration. Chris, this morning --
JONES: That's not what he said.
URBAN: Van, were you there? I wasn't there. You weren't there. And Chris wasn't there. This morning, Chris, when I watched your interview with the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, I thought it was very poignant. You asked him a lot of questions about the program the president was specifically talking about, TPS, and you asked him, look, if your country is great, why do you need TPS still? And what was his response, Chris? Do you remember from this morning?
[21:05:10] CUOMO: Of course I do.
CUOMO: What's your point?
URBAN: So what was his responsibility?
CUOMO: His response was they need more time.
CUOMO: -- another 18 months.
URBAN: Right, the 18-month program, which was put in place how many years ago? Seven years ago. They still need more time. The Haitian people are great, strong, proud people. They're fabulously resilient. But the Haitian government has a lot to be desired. I don't think the president is condemning --
JONES: What does this have to do with an individual who wants to come to the United States being lumped into a category, a negative category because of the country he or she is from, which is what the president did?
URBAN: Van, listen, I believe the president misspoke. I believe the president was making gross generalizations.
CUOMO: Hold on. Hold on. Let's do this step by step. What do you mean that you think the president misspoke?
URBAN: I think the president was talking about an immigration system that should be based upon skills, skills-based immigration.
CUOMO: But he didn't say anything like that.
URBAN: So, Chris, who did he meet with immediately, a day before?
CUOMO: The prime minister of Norway.
CUOMO: How does that make it OK? If he had met with the --
URBAN: It doesn't make OK, Chris.
Chris, I'm not saying it's OK --
CUOMO: I'm just saying if he had met with, you know, somebody who was the head of a government in South America, you think --
URBAN: What if he had said prime minister --
CUOMO: -- that country? I don't think so.
URBAN: Chris, what if he had said let's have more immigrants from India. He's a huge fan of President Modi and the Indian people. Would we have this debate right now? Would we have this debate right now?
JONES: Yes. Let me tell you why. First of all, just to correct the record because sometimes we act like these stereotypes are real, but he was just rude about them. Just to be clear, 10 percent of white Americans have advances degrees in the United States. God bless them. Twenty five percent of Nigerians have advanced degrees.
JONES: -- hold on. Let me finish. Thirty percent of Americans of all colors have college degrees. Forty three percent of African immigrants have college degrees. In other words --
URBAN: We should be admitting on a merit-based system, that we should be admitting more of those folks.
CUOMO: Listen, this is a legitimate argument to make, but here's the problem, fellas, and we've been dealing with this so it's good to know just be able to cut through all of it. This is not about s-hole or s- house, OK? It's semantics, OK? He used an ugly word. I say that he used an ugly word because that is what's in his head and his heart when he discusses these things. That's my take on it, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because what he definitely did was he drew a preference between people from Central and South America and Africa and Norway. That's what he did. He wasn't talking about merits. He didn't talk about skills. He was talking about brown people and white people.
URBAN: He was talking about countries which are in the TPS program and countries that weren't, Chris. Is that a fact?
CUOMO: Look, I want to say that you're right. You had Lowry this morning saying, well, he was talking about the lottery system. He wasn't talking about TPS. I believe that's wrong. I believe contextually he had been put on the table a deal to help people who need TPS extension as we heard from the ambassador of Haiti this morning, they need help. They're here for a reason. That's what he was talking about. And he said, why do we need so many of these people? Why don't we have more people from Norway? How do you take that as a non-racist situation? Explain it to me, Mr. Urban.
URBAN: No. Chris, you can call me David. You don't have to call me Mr. Urban.
CUOMO: -- difference. I'm naturally deferential.
URBAN: OK, that's fine. You know, again, I think the president was saying, listen, to Van's point, let's take folks from Nigeria. The president didn't lump in Nigeria with the group. We're talking about TPS countries.
CUOMO: Is it the whole continent. Van, go ahead.
JONES: David, so here's the deal. If the president said something I disagree with, but he could have said this. I only want engineers. I only want doctors.
JONES: I want them from Nigeria. I want them from Norway. I want them from El Salvador. You sent me the engineers and the doctors, leave the rest of them out, that's not racist. It's elitist. I disagree with it. I'll fight. You don't have to have a college degree to be worthy. You don't have to be rich to be worthy. I'll fight you on it. But it's elitist. The problem is that's not what he said. That's what you're saying.
URBAN: You and I weren't in the room. We're relying on Senator Durbin who relayed a comment which I think was, you know, I'm not quite certain why he felt compelled to come out of a negotiation to report to the world --
JONES: But here's the Rubicon that we have crossed. We've crossed the Rubicon now where even people like myself, I've really tried not to say he's racist. I've said he's racially intolerant. I said that --
URBAN: I know and I -- JONES: But at this point you now have crossed the Rubicon where in
the privacy of a private meeting, he left the impression with a bunch of people that he was -- forget the curse word -- that he was putting a whole group of people, a whole continent in a negative light. That is -- if that is not racist, then the word has no more meaning. And now you have that along with all the other examples. I don't see how anybody at this point can escape the conclusion regretfully that this man seems to have a racist disposition, and it's sad to say it. I've given him every break you can. But on this one, you can't give the break, man. You just can't.
[21:10:14] URBAN: Well, you know, it's unfortunate you feel that way, Van. I mean, I campaigned with the president in north Philadelphia. We fought for every vote in Pennsylvania, Van. We went after black votes. We went after Latino votes. We went after every vote possible.
JONES: I gave you credit for that. I gave you credit for that.
URBAN: Listen, we went to north Philly on the Friday before Labor Day, and there were more protesters in the street, right? I mean unfortunately the Clinton campaign came out and said we weren't trying to be sincere about our outreach.
JONES: David, let me ask you a question. What could someone say that is a racist statement in your point of view, that this president hasn't said or said something like? I mean, just help me understand what is your definition for a racist statement.
URBAN: Van, I think again, I agree with you. Listen, I'm not on trial here. I agree with you that what the president said was not sensitive. I agree with you it was inartful. I know this president not to be racist, and I'm telling you that the guy fought for every vote in Pennsylvania. He didn't care if you were Latino, if you were a minority of any color.
JONES: Let me tell you --
URBAN: -- by casting your vote.
JONES: I gave you guys credit for that, and I was warning people the whole time you guys were doing that. But here's where I think we've got to look in the mirror --
URBAN: So how can you say somebody who sits and campaigns and wants to lift --
JONES: Because votes are votes.
URBAN: Listen, he wants to lift all people out of poverty into a better lifestyle. How can you say that guy's a racist?
JONES: David, here's the deal. People want the votes that they want, but the thing is you've got to look at the totality. Here's my concern now for the Republican Party, people like yourself and other people I respect who continue to try to figure out a way to defend this stuff. I think it's more important to tell him, look, you've got to change.
I'm going to tell you one thing for sure, for sure. If you look the at the entire of Haiti and all you see are people you don't want in the United States, you are putting an entire category of people in a negative light. That is the definition of racism. And we can have the argument about immigration, skills based versus TPS. We can have that argument. I will argue to say it's elitist to say you only want the people with college degrees because you wouldn't have the Kennedy's here if you had that standard. You wouldn't have the Cuomos here if you had that standard. But it's not racist. That's not an argument about racism. That's argument about elitist versus exclusivity.
URBAN: But unfortunately, Chris, let me make this one point quickly. Unfortunately -- listen, this is a point that's made against every Republican president. President Bush 41 --
CUOMO: Not like this.
URBAN: Listen, Chris, hear me out.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
URBAN: Willie Horton ad, terrible, racism. President 43, Katrina, terrible. John McCain voted against MLK Day, terrible, racist. I mean, every Republican, it's trotted out and beaten.
CUOMO: But you have to take each one on their face. Look, let's just look at what we're dealing with right now, OK? You and others are arguing, hey, we weren't there.
Listen, we know what was said from Durbin. We know how Graham communicated it. We know what he said to Tim Scott before this was even really out there. Jeff Flake, same thing. What happens when we went to the White House? Raj Shaw, what was his statement? No pushback on the language, OK? And why do I say his name slowly like that? Because another part of the distraction here is I forgot Raj's last name this morning. I apologize for that. And then there wound up being a counter-narrative. Well, that makes you racist. See, -- but, Dave, it's not helpful.
URBAN: I'm not saying that, Chris. Listen --
CUOMO: I know you're not saying, but it's being said. It's being said. So instead of having this conversation that you want to have, and even Lowry wanted to have this morning, which is should we do merit based, not look at the countries anymore, has the time for unskilled labor passed? All valid arguments to have. But instead you're saying -- hold on, Dave. But instead this is what's being said. You guys are lying. He didn't use that word.
URBAN: I'm not saying that.
CUOMO: And now you got Senator Cotton and Senator Perdue, who by mistake, I called Will this morning instead of Dave. I wonder if that means I'm anti-white. But you have those two guys saying we never heard it. So now it's about fake news again. Now it's about a false narrative instead of this real conversation you say you want to have.
URBAN: I'm not alleging it's fake news. I'm just saying what Van makes a very specific, very detailed narrative, and he wasn't there. I'm saying you can't simply do that. You can't.
CUOMO: But, Dave, what was the response from the White House? It was never said. They're using the wrong word. Durbin is a liar.
URBAN: Am I saying, that Chris? I'm not saying that.
CUOMO: But do you condone what it is doing.
URBAN: Do I condone what?
CUOMO: What's coming out of the White House in terms of this counter- narrative. They never pushed back. A White House staffer said that they liked the message. They thought the base would go with it. Now everybody is lying.
URBAN: I think the message should be we should re-examine -- here's what the message should be, Chris. We want a DACA bill. The president has said this, right? The president said he wants to sign a clean DACA bill. Let's have DACA plus some border money. "The Washington Post", right, the very conservative Washington Post-opined that would be a great deal for Democrats. They should take it. So we should narrow the focus back to where it was, to where we begin.
[21:15:14] CUOMO: Good.
URBAN: Tone the rhetoric down on all this, right?
CUOMO: Well, not all of it, but I certainly don't think you should tell people that they're lying when they're just bring things up --
URBAN: I'm not saying you're lying.
CUOMO: I know you're not but you're here to represent what's coming out of the White House.
URBAN: Do we want to get to a solution this country? We want to talk about --
CUOMO: Absolutely. So let's do this.
URBAN: So, right. The question is how do we get there? How do we get there? How do we move forward?
CUOMO: You know how we do it? We have the foresight to have guys who are really smart coming from opposite directions somewhat like you two to discuss it. And you know what? I'm going to give it a second block. Let's take a quick break. Dave, Van, please stay. We do have to talk about what could be this deal, what should be this deal, what actually matters. Let's have that conversation and strip away all this B.S. about who's lying and who isn't.
Up next, they can argue about, and we're also going to have to figure out what our elected leaders are going to do about this problem. We'll have Van and Dave take it on, but we're also going to have the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus. Now, he's calling for President Trump to be censured, but there's also this theory, this rumor that maybe they'll boycott the State of the Union. Is that even possible? Next.
CUOMO: You know what's one of the good things about just having a few weeks to do this? We can do whatever we want. We should have a second block. I asked Van Jones and Dave Urban to stay because they're coming from different places. But so are the people negotiating the deal and what's going to happen on DACA. So we're going to bring them back for a second block.
Brothers, thank you very much for staying. But I have someone else who's really important for us to hear from tonight.
Now, you've heard the president say so many times that he's the least racist person. This latest slur where he seemed to show a preference for certain immigrants over others was something that really hit home for a lot of people, and it wasn't just about the ugly word. It was that preference. So let's bring in now the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond, representative from Louisiana. It is good to have you, sir. Thank you for this. Now, let's cut through --
[21:20:13] REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D), CHAIRMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Thank you for having me.
CUOMO: Absolutely. Let's cut through the what word was used and who we believe and who's a liar and who's a veteran. Let's put it all to the side. Nobody is questioning or pushing back on the fundamental point that the president said, why do we need to have all these people from Central, South America, Africa? Why can't we have more people from Norway? How do you take that?
RICHMOND: Well, I think the president is putting value based on where people come from, and that's one of the things that we're fighting against. He's so quick to label minority communities, minority countries, and other things. And the one time we did meet with him, we told him how hurtful his words were when he referred to Chicago and other places as war zones and other things. And that words have consequences.
So, look, we know what his sentiment is. He does not find the people of Haiti, of Africa, El Salvador worthy to come to the United States, and that's a bigger problem within itself despite the words that were used. CUOMO: So what are you prepared to do about it, sir?
RICHMOND: Well, we will continue to do what we do, and that is we will continue to legislate. We will continue to make our voices heard as this negotiation goes forward and we're advocating for a clean Dream Act. And I think that a lot of this was him pandering to his base because he misspoke during his live negotiation session that he was having. But he made a commitment months ago to protect the Dreamers, and he would do that in exchange for border security. And that's what was on the table until he decided to insert diversity visas or family reunification.
RICHMOND: So we will go back to advocating for a clean Dream Act, and that's what we will do.
CUOMO: What about word of these harsher actions, that there may be a move to censure and maybe even to boycott the State of the Union? Where are you on those as the head of the Caucus?
RICHMOND: Well, I'm offering the censure resolution. And I think that the censure resolution is important all on its own because we need the world to know and especially these countries to know that Donald Trump does not speak for the entire United States. He didn't win the popular vote. But when you have a president that says things as reckless as this, it is important to let the world know that it is not a unanimous position of the United States that these countries are referred to like this. So that would give a sense of Congress that we understand the words were inappropriate and we ask for an apology.
Now, the State of the Union, I know some of my members have decided that they will not go. They will boycott. But that's something we will talk about in our Wednesday meeting when we go back to Congress to see if we get a Caucus position on it. Our members will do what they please.
CUOMO: If you censure the president, if you boycott the State of the Union, aren't you basically declaring war on someone who is a very active enemy?
RICHMOND: I don't think we're declaring war. If anything, we're responding to his declaration of war.
Look, we went to meet with this president. We gave him a 130-page policy manual on how to help minority communities, how to help rural areas in this country. He didn't read it. They didn't respond to it. And then they sent another invitation for a social gathering, and we turned it down because we're not here to be social. We're here to get things done.
So I don't -- I'm not afraid. And, look, when you start talking about John Lewis, Maxine Waters and Frederica Wilson, my elders who have fought their entire lives to get to where they are, they're not afraid of Donald Trump. They're not afraid of anything. They respect the office of the presidency if the person in the position respects the office, and that's the bigger context in which we see all of this.
CUOMO: With all due respect to all the representatives -- and if is earned and deserved -- I'm just saying, you censure this president, you're going to have a fight on your hands. But Congressman, I appreciate you coming here and laying it out for us. You're always welcome. Thank you, sir.
RICHMOND: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So let's bring back as promised Van Jones and David Urban. We were talking first about all this kerfuffle about what was said and what wasn't said and what is in the president's heart and what's in his head. But at the end of the day there's going to have to be a deal. So let's start with this. Mr. Urban, out of deference, Dave, do you believe that the president will sign whatever is agreed upon by the two sides as promised in that meet something.
URBAN: Sure, Chris. Let's go back.
CUOMO: Because you know what, there have been indications he may not, right?
URBAN: Listen, there are indications. Let's go back to -- let's wind this all back to how we got to this point, right? So President Obama couldn't get the Dreamer Act passed, so he by executive order put forth DACA, right? At the time he said he didn't even know he had the authority to do it, right? So he puts forth DACA, an executive order that provided protection for these kids who were born in America here.
[21:25:24] CUOMO: Yes.
URBAN: Then after that put forth DAPA, the program for their parents.
URBAN: That program was then struck down by the Fifth Circuit, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, right?
URBAN: So this president was notified by some attorney generals, they were going to sue to strike down DACA. He said to the Congress, I'm not going to move right now. I'm going to give you guys six months to get your act together to pass a bill. Put everybody on notice that he wanted to sign a bill, that he wanted to keep these folks here, wasn't going to kick them out.
Gave the Congress ample notice on this. Democrats had plenty of time to reach out to Republicans. Democrats had Senator Durbin and others had plenty of time. Chris, you know, Van knows, I know, and everybody who works here knows this is just a waiting game. Everyone is waiting until they got to the end of the fiscal year so they could have the spending bill to shut down the government. I mean, everybody in Washington knew this, that DACA was going to be held as leverage for that. So here we are now. This president has said, look, give me some money for the wall. Give me some money for border security, -- wait hold on. Give me some money for border security, so we can have a secure border.
URBAN: And I will sign DACA. And Chris, listen -- again, Van, you're laughing. "The Washington Post", the Jeff Bezos owned "Washington Post" opined on its editorial page, the Democrats should take this deal. It's a very good deal.
URBAN: And they should take it and run. As you know, Van, very well, comprehensive immigration reform will never get done.
CUOMO: First of all, that was the phrase that the president used. He took it out of President Bush's mouth and he said he wants comprehensive immigration reform. But, Van, the fundamental proposition from Dave is you get DACA and you give him the wall. Are the Democrats going to do that?
JONES: Well, listen, first of all, I want to be very, very clear. I mean, I appreciate the history lesson, but the reality is --
URBAN: Van, most people don't know that.
JONES: I'm talking. I think you did a great service --
CUOMO: I thought it was helpful. Go ahead.
URBAN: I think you did a great service to our viewers walking through that history, but I want to just point out though is that no court has struck down DACA. No court said that there's anything wrong with DACA. This president decided to make DACA an issue in order to get his wall. So that --
URBAN: I disagree with you on that.
CUOMO: There's ongoing litigation. There's ongoing litigation. It wasn't on the most solid legal footing. It wasn't final.
URBAN: So Chris agrees with me. There's a point for me right there. It's Chris Cuomo.
CUOMO: You know what, I'd love to score these debates. I actually offered it up as a suggestion. It was seen as beneath the standard. Probably right. But go ahead.
URBAN: But Chris I'll take, listen, when you say I'm right, I'll take it anyday. CUOMO: Look, it's about the truth, my brother. It's about the truth.
URBAN: OK. OK.
CUOMO: If we lose that, we lose everything.
URBAN: I admire you for that.
CUOMO: So, Van, the point is this. You know, look, this is a unique moment for the Democrats. Dave is right. You guys have played leverage the right way to this point, OK? But now imagine this. President Trump is beating the Democrats right now. Hold my tweeter feed for a second. It's already lit up because --
URBAN: Chris, I'm loving you. Keep going. Keep going.
CUOMO: You got the tax bill. The president got it. The high ground for the Democrats coming out of that was, boy, he did this in a rank partisan way. He divided the country by party and by socioeconomics, but now it does seem that the Democrats may hand the president a win as a uniter and give him the wall in order to get DACA. Do you see that happening?
JONES: I don't -- I don't follow the chess moves the way that you do.
CUOMO: Bipartisan agreement just like he did with the interdict. He'll have Democrats there shaking hands. We got DACA done, but he's going to get his wall.
JONES: Listen, I think that he's on the way to some miniaturized version of a wall that he can hold up and say, you know, he got that.
CUOMO: Nothing Trump does is miniature. Not when he explains it. And he is good at winning the messaging battle.
JONES: Listen, if he gets two bricks and a toothpick, he's going to say it's the biggest wall ever.
CUOMO: But then, that's on you if you give it to him, though. If the Democrats give it to him, then you're giving him that win.
JONES: I think everybody else got a chance to talk. I just want to try to lay this out from a progressive perspective. You didn't kind of see how we see it. First of all, this is a crisis created by Donald Trump in order to get the wall. He's willing to put the well being of, you know, tens of thousands of young people at risk. And this is not --
URBAN: Van, there's a crisis at the U.S. border.
JONES: You are not going to --
JONES: You have the segment.
CUOMO: Let him go, Dave. Let him go. Let him go. Go ahead, Van.
JONES: -- to your home Mr. --
CUOMO: Van, don't waste time. Go ahead.
JONES: OK, fine. So you have a president who is willing to jeopardize the well being and security of all these young people in order to get his wall. That's the game he's playing on his side of it.
[21:30:00] And so I think, you know, from the Democrats' point of view, they should not give a lot on this. Democrats are already on record saying that we're willing to do more for border security, but we also want to point out that most of the people who are here didn't cross the border. Most of the people here come here in airports and overstay their visas. And so this whole sort of demonization of the border and Mexican-Americans and people from Central and South America sits poorly in the mouth. But Democrats care enough about these young people and care enough about what their fate is to give some. The problem that you have now is that this president has then expanded the debate, expanded the discussion to include a whole bunch of issues including a TPS.
JONES: And that make the whole thing a lot tougher.
CUOMO: All right, so now we have a good idea of where the two sides are, where they come together, that's the big question. But let me ask you guys this when we know more about what the meat on the bones are of this actual deal, please come back so we can clue chew on it and see where it is.
URBAN: Chris, I love you agree with me. I'll be back.
CUOMO: Dave, Van, thank you very much.
URBAN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, up next, one-on-one with Martin Luther King III. He weighs in on his father's legacy, where he wants our heads and hearts today, and he has some very pointed things to say about the president that you have not heard before.
CUOMO: On this Martin Luther King Day, we remember the man who helped lead this country through some of its most challenging days, and yet we are reminded that we are still not where we need to be. The dream does live on, but are we any closer to making it a reality? It's an important question, and we have the perfect guest to answer.
[21:35:03] All right. Let's take all of this one-on-one with the son of the late civil rights leader, Martin Luther King III. Martin, always a pleasure to see you.
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Thank you, and same here.
CUOMO: On this day, of course, we wish our best to the family, and it is important that the message lives on, as relevant today as ever. Where do you want people to have their heads and their hearts on this day?
KING: Always this is a period to look back, and quite frankly this is a little bit different than other years, largely because it is 50 years since my father was assassinated. And so as a result, many are looking backward to determine how much progress we've made. I always say that it's wonderful because in January, we have an opportunity to look back, reflect, and say, well, we did not achieve fully the dream last year. But we can start every January, start anew. And I think what's probably most difficult this particular year is our country appears to be so divided because of the national leadership. I always say we can and we must do better. We are much better nation than the behavior we're seeing exhibited from our leadership at this point.
CUOMO: So let's put the principles of your father that you maintain today into practice in analyzing what we're living through right now. When you hear the president of the United States say, why do we need to have so many people from these South and Central American places, Africa? Why don't we have more people from Norway? How do you take that?
KING: Well, I think those comments are extremely racist comments, and I think that the president has got to be engaged in some sensitivity and heart-changing. When I say heart, we've got to appeal to his heart because there's something wrong, it seems to me, when you make comments that way. And maybe that's what you believe. I mean it must be the first thing he believes because that's the first thing that came up. And the reality is diversity is what's made this nation great. People from all over the world have come to our shores and made this country great, and diversity will continue to build upon our country.
CUOMO: So there are two things. One, you really believe that the president has a problem with his heart?
KING: Yes. I guess if you say something like what he said, I do have to at least raise that question. Some may go further and say he is a racist. What I am saying is his comments were extraordinarily racist.
CUOMO: What's the difference between saying something that's racist and being a racist?
KING: Well, I think we have to -- the thing that we have to -- there are a lot of people who can say things racist, and that's unfortunate. So it's unfortunate, his comments. But my question and concern is he is the president of the United States. He has the ability to execute on that racism. And if he does that, then it definitely says he is a racist.
CUOMO: He says --
KING: If he does that.
CUOMO: -- he is not a racist. He says he is the least racist person that we will ever interview. You met with him last year.
KING: I did.
CUOMO: When you looked him in the eye, what was your sense?
KING: Well, I wasn't evaluating that particular subject at that time. I was focused on a very narrow issue of voting rights and voter suppression. He later on came out and created a voter fraud commission. Obviously it has disbanded, so there is no and there was no voter fraud. He's not addressed that issue yet. My issue was an issue of saying, let's put a picture on the social security card, and therefore we will give everybody -- we take away that issue of I.D everybody will have an I.D. and he said at the time, that sounds like an interesting idea. I'm going to convene and have you come to the White House once I'm elected, which would have been the next day actually he was sworn in. And of course obviously that has not happened.
CUOMO: He got a lot of dap from meeting with you last year. It mattered to people that Martin Luther King III went and met with President Trump. Do you regret that meeting given what's happened since?
KING: No, I do not regret. I think you have to always appeal to those in leadership. In the late '50s, my father appealed to President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon and had a relationship with Vice President Nixon. In the early '60s, my father appealed to President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson, and then in the mid- '60s, President Johnson and Vice President Humphrey. We've got to always be in dialogue, appealing to the administration if we ever want to see true change come in our nation.
CUOMO: Let me ask you to comment on what Alveda King, your niece, said about the president. She gave him a much more positive review. She thinks it's outrageous that he would be called racist, that because he respects the lessons and teachings of your father and that he has worked on prison reform and some other issues. She believes that he should be held in high esteem.
[21:40:10] KING: I think everybody has, in all families, we all have different points of view. No family is monolithic. No group of people are monolithic. And so I would counter that. You know, one of the things if you remember, the president went to see the Pope, and he gave the Pope all of my father's books. What I would implore the president to do is to get those books for himself and to read them. And then he can begin to understand who Martin Luther King Jr. was and --
CUOMO: You don't think he has read your father's books?
KING: I don't -- I doubt it. I'd be very surprised. I'd be pleasantly surprised, but I'd be very surprised.
CUOMO: You think he'd give them as a gift to the Pope but not know what's in them?
KING: I think that is exactly what happened.
CUOMO: Well, we don't know, and you can ask that one. Let me know what answer you get back from the White House about that. I got enough battles to fight. Martin Luther King III, especially today but every day, your message is welcome, and I wish you and the family the best.
KING: Thank you so much. Thank you for what you do every day.
CUOMO: All right. Our thanks to Martin Luther King III. It's important to get his perspective on this day and really every day.
All right, so another story, we've been talking about immigration, and we talk about DACA and the Dreamers and about the lives that are on the line. But we've been pretty mired in the political side of this. I mean let's be honest. And the reality of what's happening is playing out right now in realtime, literally just this morning.
Jorge Garcia was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents when he was just 10 years old, OK? Now, 30 years later, he's a husband. He's a father. And on this day, he was deported. You are watching him say good-bye to his family. His wife joins us with the back story, and this is a reality that we may be seeing all too often. Please come back and watch this, next.
[21:46:07] CUOMO: All right. Early this morning, this was the scene at the Detroit Airport.
This is a good-bye that just doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. This is a father saying good-bye to his wife and two teenage children. His name is Jorge Garcia. He was brought to the United States by his parents when he was 10 years old. Today, after living and working here for 30 years, Jorge Garcia was deported to Mexico. His wife, Cindy, says he has no criminal record. He has paid his taxes, and that he is a good man.
Cindy Garcia was born here. She's a citizen. She says they tried to do the right thing. Their lawyer filed the wrong paperwork. This is a story you hear so often about people getting caught up in the system, and they're on the wrong track, and it's deportation, and it's fighting for delays.
And after 30 years of doing everything right except for Jorge being born a little later, if Jorge were a year younger, he would qualify as a Dreamer but he missed it, so he doesn't. And after getting extensions under the Obama administration, the new administration under Trump's order is cracking down. So that's what happened this morning. On the day that we celebrate Martin Luther King, this man had to leave his family. The story about it has been re-tweeted more than 40,000 times. We talked to Cindy just before the show. Here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What do you tell your kids?
CINDY GARCIA, HUSBAND DEPORTED TO MEXICO CITY: I tell them to be strong. I tell them we're going to get through this. We're not the only family that's out there. It affects 11 million other people, but at least I can come forward and tell my story because I am a U.S citizen, and I do not have to hide in any shadows.
CUOMO: What are you telling yourself about this that will make it OK?
GARCIA: Just to be strong, that it is our law, and I have to respect it because I am a U.S. citizen, and I do want I.C.E. to protect our borders because I do want terrorists to enter. But at the same time it devastates me because each individual case needs to be looked at separately, not as a group.
CUOMO: We saw the footage of you guys saying good-bye at the Detroit Airport. What was the last thing you said to your husband?
GARCIA: I love you, and I'm going to miss you.
CUOMO: Do you think you'll be able to find a way through this? What do you say to President Trump?
GARCIA: He needs to fix this broken immigration system and find a right way to citizenship.
CUOMO: What do you want him to know about your husband?
GARCIA: That he's not a criminal. Yes, he was brought here at 10 years old, and, yes, he entered the country illegally. But he has no criminal record, and his case needs to be looked at individually because he deserves to be here in a country that he's known, not Mexico.
CUOMO: This is not an easy set of circumstances you've been set. As you know, the law is so much in flux. We don't know what the DACA deal could be. We don't know if that remedy would be extended in any way to people like your husband. Unfortunately it's a waiting game at best. I wish there was better information for you.
GARCIA: Yes. I even asked the I.C.E. officer if he could extend his time because with the new DACA in place, that there is no age limit, and that would make my husband eligible. And he said, well, that's up in the air. So we have no control over that. At this present time, there is no DACA in place, so your husband has to leave.
CUOMO: Well, look, we're watching that every day, and please, you know how to get us. Stay in touch. Let us know what happens with your situation and what you're hearing from the government side as well as we learn more about what deal, if any, is going to be made. But, Cindy, I wish we had met you under different circumstances. Cindy Garcia, thank you very much. [21:50:01] GARCIA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Can you imagine? She's got these two young kids now. Now her husband is gone. She doesn't know when he's going to come back and he's the breadwinner. She's on medical leave from work. And this is one story that Cindy says she doesn't want to be repeated and it may be thousands and thousands of time. That's why we need to see a deal get done in Washington, D.C.
CNN reached out to I.C.E. for a statement on the Garcia family. We haven't heard back. We're going to take a break.
You know, in politics, actions like this can have consequences. Chris Cillizza is next with "The Point" about what this all may mean in the upcoming elections.
CUOMO: Going home ain't easy these days for some Republican lawmakers. Voters for and against President Trump confronted each other and Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa at a Town Hall meeting, he held it just today and we're watching what happened. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers was booed at an MLK Day event in her hometown in Washington. So, what does all this mean for the upcoming elections this November? Let's get "The Point" with CNN Politics Editor-at- Large Chris Cillizza. How do you see it playing out?
[21:54:59] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: OK. First of all, kudos to these members of Congress who are at least holding these meetings, Chris. I think it's worth saying that. Lots of them don't do it because they know there's going to be negative reaction. What does tell us? It tells us that something I think we knew. The Democratic base is very, very fired up. Most of that is anti-Trump sentiment. We saw it play out in Alabama with the election of Doug Jones. We saw it play out in Virginia in the governor's race. Democratic enthusiasm turnout way up. Republican enthusiasm a little bit lower.
CUOMO: And in terms of the timing what's happening now? How relevant is it in November? The primacy recency deal?
CILLIZZA: Well, so, midterm elections are almost always a referendum on the president. It's been through basically since the beginning of time, politically speaking. And I think this one will be to, because no one doesn't be feel passionately about Donald Trump.
The Democratic base would and Democratic electorates would rather have it be October right now because their base is really, really energized. One thing I'll note, Gallup Poll came out today, a lot of people probably missed it, it showed 60 percent of Republicans are more optimistic about the country than they have been since 2007. Why? Because I think the Republicans passed that tax cut bill. It was 31 percent in 2017. It's up to 61 percent. So, that may fire the Republican base up in a way that it wasn't for at that Alabama Senate election or the Virginia governor's election and they badly need that or they are going to be swamped come the fall.
CILLIZZA: Well, can Donald Trump -- I think this is not possible looking at history. But can Donald Trump go from 37 percent approval to 45 percent approval? You say, well, who cares, there are still more people dislike him than like him. There could be a massive seat difference there. Thirty seven percent I think Democrats win back the House. They need 24 seats, so I think they do that easily. Forty five percent, it's harder. A few Republicans who lose when Donald Trump is at 37 maybe hold on at 45. I don't know that he can get there, because I think everyone has already got an opinion about him. I don't think even if he wanted to change that opinion he could. And I don't think he would want to anyway, by the way. He's exhibited no behavior that would suggest he wants to. But we'll see. It's still a long time. One thing, though, Chris, I have your producers in my ear. I believe that there is a Chris Cuomo impersonator other than me.
CUOMO: Somebody biting on my game?
CUOMO: I'm well aware.
CILLIZZA: That's Will Smith, as you can tell. Look at him.
WILL SMITH, ACTOR: I'm making repeated blows to my genitalia.
CILLIZZA: Yes. That's you with --
CUOMO: I feel like that everyday.
SMITH: Chris Cuomo Smith reporting to you live.
CILLIZZA: What he doesn't have are those 36-inch pythons hanging from his arms. That's the key that he's missing.
CUOMO: So, he said in his Instagram -- yes, there I am. I moved my hairline. I'm going to sue. I still --
CILLIZZA: That looks good.
CUOMO: I want hair plugs paid for by the company. He said it, he mocked me. I think he was making fun of me. I don't think this was like, you know, a good thing for me. He said, this is Chris Cuomo Smith reporting live. But I think he's kind of lampooning me.
CILLIZZA: Someone who is regularly lampooned, I assure you this was a tribute.
CUOMO: You think so? What about the genitalia thing?
CUOMO: I was very worried about that during the hurricane. But, look, I think any time Will Smith says your name it's a good day. It's one of the few moments where my kids actually thought that I was of any worth at all.
CILLIZZA: I was in the elevator with Jamie Fox last time I was in New York. It was the most excited my wife has been about me being on television in about five years.
CUOMO: Did he looked at you and say, wow Cillizza, you're tall?
CILLIZZA: He said, are you Chris Cuomo? I said, absolutely.
CUOMO: We all look alike, all of us on T.V. All right, Chris Cillizza, thank you very much.
CILLIZZA: Thank you, my friend.
CUOMO: Will Smith is actually better at that than I am. No surprise there either.
All right, thanks to Cillizza and our other guests.
Tomorrow we're going to have Congressman Chris Collins Republican Upstate New York. He was the first member of Congress to back Trump for president. What does he think now one year in? We will put his arguments to the test. "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon, the man, starts right now.