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Year one of the Trump presidency and day one of a government shutdown and the end of year one for the first lady Melania Trump Aired 4-5p ET
Aired January 20, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:10] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brianna Keilar.
And it is year one of the Trump presidency and day one of a government shutdown. A nationwide rebuke of President Trump from stormy first year in office. Hundreds of thousands of protesters pour into the streets in a continuation of the women's march that protested his inauguration.
Now meanwhile, the Senate is back in session, just hours after last- minute negotiations collapsed there in the latest display of congressional deadlock and dysfunction. The President going on the offensive, tweeting, this is the one-year anniversary of my presidency, and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present. He ends with the #Democratshutdown.
But privately, the dealmaker in chief is reportedly stewing. A source closed to the White House says President Trump believes that the public will blame him. Regardless, one senior White House official offers little hope of an immediate breakthrough, saying the battle lines are entrenched, at least until a new work week.
Now, the women's marches all shared common themes, supporting women's rights, electing women to office and fighting sexual assault and racial inequality. Just a couple hours ago in a single tweet, the President appears to troll the protesters suggesting that they are celebrating the economy under his watch or maybe that they should be celebrating it.
Beautiful weather all over our great country. A perfect day for all women to march. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years.
We have CNN reporters stationed across the country. I want to start though at one of the biggest rallies gathering there in the streets of Los Angeles. That's where we find CNN's Kyang Lah. Tell us what you are seeing there in L.A., Kyung.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, the mayor of Los Angeles just came out a short time ago and called this the biggest one, he says, by city estimates, there are 500,000 people that have walked through Los Angeles. And from where we are standing, it's very difficult to tell exactly how many team are here. But if you take a look at our drone flying up above, you get a better sense.
This entire area right in front of Los Angeles city hall is completely packed. Again, the city estimate, 500,000 people are here.
Brianna, you were talking about the number of issues people were talking about. I can tell you right away that no one here is celebrating Trump, even though he may be celebrating some of these marches on twitter, no one here is.
A lot of people continue to be offended by him. And this year, the women at this march say that they are being directed to vote. That that is the emphasis, that it will be the midterm elections in 2018 that these protesters who came out in force last year, who are again out here in force and large numbers here in Los Angeles, which is truly ground zero of the Trump resistance. They say it will be Trump payback time this year -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Kyung, you were there in southern California. I want to head up north to San Francisco where Dan Simon is.
Dan, tell us about the scene where you are.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Brianna. I have covered a lot of activist rallies in San Francisco, and this is one of the biggest ones I have ever seen. I was standing pretty much in this exact same spot when same-sex marriage became the law of the land. And I have to say, the crowds today are basically about the same size in terms of when you compare it to that historic date.
I want to show you an example of the kinds of things we are seeing today. This right here, a group of friends, all coming together. You see they have signs with similar themes. I'm going to talk here to the sort of the leader of this group here, Katie.
You guys all got together. You marched last year.
KATIE, PROTESTER: We did.
SIMON: Tell me what it feels like to come together this year.
KATIE: We were just really frustrated by the lack of action. And we were very energized when we came last year to get together and be in this large environment where we're all just jazzing each other up. I have my friends, it's not something we normally do. We are all very much moms, scientists, and we want to be an example to our kids as well. So this is one thing that we were willing to do together, even though we are really shy and introverted, but coming together in this kind of environment just makes it very much motivated to have change.
SIMON: Katie, thank you very much.
Brianna, obviously, a very strong anti-Donald Trump undercurrent here. You see her sign, bring decency back. Behind there, love Trumps hate. Let's look at some of these other signs. Hate racism sexist Trump.
So you get the idea. That is pretty much the theme here in San Francisco. And of course, around the country -- Brianna.
[16:05:00] KEILAR: Dan Simon, thank you so much there in San Francisco. Kyung Lah was live for us from Los Angeles.
Anger, frustration and paralysis. This morning, there is a lot of activity on Capitol Hill but not a whole lot of movement toward finding a swift end to the government shutdown.
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has been covering all of this on Capitol Hill.
Bring us up to date, Sunlen. What's going on?
SUNLEN SERFATY, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the mood is not great up here, Brianna, put simply. And lawmakers really openly saying about the negotiations. Look, the longer all this goes out, the more it gets drawn out, the worse it can potentially get. And you have a situation here on day one of the shutdown where both sides are really even more entrenched in their respective positions. Really digging in even more today. We have the White House and Republicans out saying point blank, no more talks over DACA until Democrats agree to reopen the government.
And then you have Democrats on the other side saying we need assurances here. We need promises over DACA before we move to reopen the government. Add that to this mix is the fact that you already have the blame game in full effect up here. A lot of partisan politicking. That coming from the floor of the U.S. Senate this morning, just check out this heated rhetoric from both sides of the aisle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: The bottom line is simple. President Trump just can't take yes for an answer. Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O. That's why this compromise will be called a Trump shutdown. It's impossible to negotiate with a constantly moving target. Leader McConnell has found that out. Speaker Ryan has found that out. And I have found that out.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Votes were there. The President was ready. The solution to this manufactured crisis was inches away. But then the Democratic leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this legislation, preventing it from passing. And plunging the country into this totally avoidable mess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Now, as you saw, certainly, a lot of heated rhetoric, even on the floor of the U.S. Senate. I just was talking to the house majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, as he went to the floor of the house. Of course, a lot of movement up here, Brianna, but as you said not a lot of progress on reopening the government. There is a proposal on the table right now. It shortens the time of that short-term continuing resolution in from four weeks to three weeks. A lot of Republicans behind it, Kevin McCarthy saying he thinks it's the only sensible plan widely seen among Republicans as an off-ramp here. But Senate Democrats have made clear that's a nonstarter for them, so we continue to wait as they continue to negotiate -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Sunlen Serfaty on the Hill for us.
Seems like a whole lot of show and not a lot of go there. And President Trump is working the phones. We are told he is talking to Republican leaders in the House and the Senate. It is a far cry from his original plans of attending a lavish fund-raiser at his Palm Beach estate to celebrate this one-year anniversary of his inauguration.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is there with the latest for us.
You are there at the White House, which is where the President had not expected to be, Jeff.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question about it, Brianna. The President is here. And he in fact has a few thousand protesters right outside the gates of the White House where he can see and hear, if he decided to look at them.
Now, the question here is there's not much movement at all here on this end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Yes, there are some phone calls, some meetings, but nothing like the potential breakthrough we saw about 24 hours ago when there was a meeting with the President and the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer. Of course, that didn't come to pass. Now, both sides digging in.
Here was Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, talking about Democrats, and listen to how he describes them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: There is nothing in this bill Democrats say they object to. Yet it's like a 2- year-old temper tantrum to say I'm going to take my toys and go home because I'm upset about something else. It has nothing to do with this bill. The Senate Democrats are basically conducting a 2-year-old temper tantrum in front of all the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: Well, a temper tantrum perhaps, but immigration, DACA has always been at the center of this bill. What the White House is not saying, Brianna, the four Republican senators who voted against this last night as well. It is more than just Senate Democrats who have an issue with how this government is being funded and now is not being funded -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Jeff Zeleny for us from the White House. Thank you for that.
Now, in the Senate, it's not only been a battle of issues and ideals. It's becoming a battle of insoles with some calling this chaos, some saying it's embarrassing. Some saying worse about each other, even within the same party. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders even went as far as to call Democrats quote "losers." And joining me now from Capitol Hill is the number two Democrat in the
Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Senator, thank you so much for joining us today.
[16:10:08] SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MINORITY LEADER: Thank you.
KEILAR: OK, so you are the number two Democrat in the Senate. You have been very involved in these negotiations. Are there any? Where are we? Are we any closer to a resolution?
DURBIN: Well, I can tell you we are in a very challenging situation. And Republicans are in control of the House. They are in control of the Senate. They control the White House. And through their nominees control the U.S. Supreme Court. And yet, they have been unable to put together a budget for the United States of America. They are asking us to pass the fourth continuing resolution, which is a temporary measure. Very costly to the agencies. Doesn't leave us strong in terms of national defense. They refuse to face some of the critical issues. They haven't reauthorized the children's health insurance program. They haven't reauthorized the community health care clinics. They have refused --
KEILAR: But that's in the bill. That's in the bill that was up last night, CHIP.
DURBIN: Yes. The CHIP program is included in it, but frankly, 40 percent of the services provided these children come from community health clinics, which they refuse to authorize and fund.
KEILAR: Can I take issue with what you said about Democrats not having control? So true, the White House, the House, but in the Senate, where there is a filibuster-proof majority that is needed to pass, Democrats do have, albeit limited, but they do have power. It's how with a lack of agreement between Democrats and Republicans we see the shutdown happening.
So that said, with Mitch McConnell saying that his plan is to make you guys vote over and over again on this same bill, are you worried the Democrats are going to get some blame even though Republicans are the majority in both chambers?
DURBIN: We have made two direct overtures to President Trump to solve problems that are engaged or involved rather in this government shutdown. I came to him after he had said on January 9th in a meeting where I attended, that he would sign any bill related to the DACA issue, which he created, that was sent his way. Two days later, I presented a bipartisan bill with Senator Graham of South Carolina. The President rejected it. Yesterday, he invited Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate to come for lunch. They reached a basic understanding and agreement on all of the key issues. Within two hours, the President called and said it's over. It's off. We are not going to move forward.
You cannot solve the problems facing this nation and this government unless the President shows leadership and is willing to sit down and work with both sides.
KEILAR: You reportedly told House Democrats, this is what one of our very wonderful House side producers tells us, that Mitch McConnell is scared to death of Donald Trump and that he is limited by Paul Ryan's agenda. Tell us about that.
DURBIN: Well, senator McConnell has said it publicly. He said I can't move forward on some of these issues until I know where the President stand. He has said that over and over again. It's pretty clear there is not a level of dialogue and communication you would expect between the Republican leader of the Senate and the President of the United States in the same party.
And when it comes to speaker Ryan, though he has said publicly he supports things like the DREAM Act, he came to Chicago to make that announcement. I applauded him for it years ago. Last night, in the midst of negotiations, trying to avoid the shutdown, a phone call from Paul Ryan to Mitch McConnell, apparently put an end to the negotiation.
We have to really have responsible leadership on both sides stepping forward, bring an end to this Trump shutdown as quickly as possible.
KEILAR: The White House and Republicans are now, senator, trying to cast Democrats as supporting undocumented immigrants, illegal or unlawful, as we have heard. The White House as well as Mitch McConnell describe them. Instead of Americans, instead of service members, instead of federal employees, instead of other categories of Americans. Listen to what the Senate majority leader said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: American people cannot comprehend why the senior center from New York is advising his party to keep the government shuttered for American troops, American veterans, American military families, and vulnerable American children, until he gets exactly what he wants on the issue of illegal immigration. Situation which not even -- does not even become urgent until March.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The protections for those DREAMers, as he said, don't expire until March. Are you worried that this argument McConnell is making there, we are also hearing the White House make it, are you worried that's going to stick and hurt Democrats?
DURBIN: Why are we talking about DACA and the DREAMers today? We are talking about it because the President on September 5th decided to eliminate the program and the protection which these young people had to stay and work in the United States. It was the President's decision that took them out of legal protection under the DACA program and cast their future in doubt. It was the President who set the timetable and said we have barely six weeks left now to solve this problem. It is senator McConnell whose Republicans in the Senate have not scheduled a single bill, a single hearing on a bill, to solve this problem. Number of us stepped up. Six senators, three Democrats, three
Republicans. We wrote a good balanced will. We presented it to the Senate and the President, and so far, they won't let us call it for consideration and a vote.
[16:15:33] KEILAR: What about this three-week funding extension that we are now hearing about? Why not support a three-week extension that Republicans are proposing to fund the government to stop the shutdown?
DURBIN: It's about more than whether or not it's a four-week extension or a three-week extension. Excuse me, but it gets too much deeper and more serious issues. Are we going to continue to lurch forward with these continuing resolutions? Which imperil the defense of this country and cost us dearly. The secretary of the Navy says the continuing resolutions have cost American taxpayers $4 billion. Because of the failure of this Republican leadership to pass a budget. So we need to get to fundamental issue that affect programs involving healthcare, involving pensions, involving helping working families across America.
KEILAR: At a certain point, though, don't Democrats have to blink? I mean, it really does feel like a game of chicken. Who is going to blink, Republicans or Democrats? You are looking --the military is only funded right now through the next pay period, to February 1st.
DURBIN: Last night, Senator Claire McCaskill asked a unanimous consent request to make sure whatever happens in this debate on Capitol Hill, we never miss a payroll period for the men and women of the military. Senator McConnell objected. I can tell you on a bipartisan basis, we should pass the McCaskill unanimous consent request as quickly as possible.
KEILAR: Senator Dick Durbin, thank you so much.
I do want to go to the Senate floor now. We are hearing from the Senate majority leader -- no, we are not actually, I'm told.
So we are actually -- the White House budget director, we are going to talk about, calling out Democrats and members of his own party for inserting quote "unrelated topics to these shutdown negotiations." We are going to get reaction from a Senate Republican in the middle of this fight.
Plus, protests still raging across the country as President Trump marks his first year in office. We have CNN reporters monitoring all of these rally said across the nation.
Stay with us for that.
[16:21:51] KEILAR: Happening right now, hundreds of thousands of people are hitting the streets on the one-year anniversary of President Trump's inauguration. We have shown you these protests in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. And on the opposite side of the country, now thousands of people are also marching in the President's hometown of New York City. This protest started off in front of Trump tower.
And CNN's Brynn Gingras is there for us.
Brynn, give us a sense of the scene.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. We are at the end of the march, actually here at the women's march. Let me lay this out for you. This March route lasted about 20 or so New York City blocks. If we look back, we still can see people marching about 15 blocks from where we are standing right now. And you see there's still a steady stream of people passing by. They have been marching for about three- and-a-half hours. That just gives you a sense of how enormous this crowd was that came out today for this cause.
Now, one of the things we are hearing a lot from people is last year, of course, from the time the election happened to the inauguration. They had a short of time to organize. This year, of course, they had a much longer amount of time. They were more organized, an organization turned into motivation. A lot of people coming out today, motivated for a number of causes. Of course, the big thing they have on their mind, though, is later this year when those elections happen for 2018 -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Brynn Gingras following the protests there in New York City. Thank you so much.
Blame, chaos, and inertia on Capitol Hill. Protests across the country and then looking back now at the first full year of a presidency that's been eventful, would be one way to put it. That is certainly today in a nutshell. And I want to bring in our panel to talk about this.
We have CNN politics senior writer Juana Summers. We have CNN political analyst in "Washington Examiner" correspond David Drucker. We have CNN political reporter Rebecca Berg.
I wonder as we look at this, we just hear this kind of slurry of blame that is happening here in Washington, who ends up getting blame for this.
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And Brianna, I thought your question to Dick Durbin, the Senate minority whip, was key. Because even though Republicans control all of government in Washington, Democrats still have the power to stop things in the Senate. They have filibustered all of the appropriations bills, which is one of the reasons why they are still governing by CR. Now Republicans are in control --.
KEILAR: Continuing resolution, funding the government at its current rate, basically.
DRUCKER: Correct, and the President obviously has a role to play. So the blame can be spread around. But it can also be spread around to Democrats. And I think that's why you have seen them try to resolve this shutdown before it gets out of control. Because as we saw with the CNN poll that came out in the last 24 hours, it's not an open and shut case that holding up government funding to solve what for many people is very important, making sure that DACA individuals are not deported, there's no guarantee that voters are going to side with Democrats if that's how this issue is framed.
KEILAR: What do you think as you are watching this, Rebecca, and you are seeing a lot of show, not a whole lot of go coming from Congress? I mean, it's sort of like this parade of blame as you watch the Senate floor as you listen to really anyone talking. It just seems to be about pointing fingers and not really getting anything done.
[16:25:10] REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. This is exactly the sort of behavior that so frustrates many Americans when they think about Congress and when they think about the federal government in general. And this was part of the behavior that President Trump campaigned against.
He said Washington is a mess. It is dysfunctional. And I'm going to clean it up. And clearly, in this case, and in some others, he hasn't been able to do that. And we haven't seen this strong sort of leadership from the President going up to Capitol Hill, bringing lawmakers together. Part of that is because of his low approval rating, Brianna, because he doesn't have that sort of political capital that he would have if he had a 50 percent, 60 percent approval rating. If he had that popularity to hold over these lawmakers.
But even so, they are expecting sort of a consistent negotiator in the President, someone who is strong and firm in his positions. That's not what they have been getting.
KEILAR: Do we get the sense, Juana, that the President is distressed by there being a shutdown? Because it seems like privately we have this reporting that he is stewing over it. He is upset. But then he fires off tweet kind of trolling the protesters and he seems to have cruised into this shutdown.
JUANA SUMMERS, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: Look, I don't know what to make of that tweet. I do think this is a President who privately does not like this. He is someone his entire career, as Rebecca was alluding to, he is someone who is supposed to be a great negotiator, a deal maker. He didn't want to have this type of Washington. This was something he pointed fingers at President Barack Obama for in 2013.
He is also, we have to noticed, missing his fancy fund-raiser down at Mar-a-Lago where he usually spends the weekends. Instead, he is here in Washington. I don't think this is certainly what he wanted. But I think he lacks the popularity. He lacks deep relationships on the Hill. And I think frankly, the other thing that is playing in here, is a lot of people on both sides of the aisle don't quite know what the President wants to put in a deal that he will sign and it will be OK with all sides.
KEILAR: Yes. That does seem to be the case.
Back in 2013 when there was a shutdown, David, Senator Ted Cruz, really, he led the charge on that. He wanted Obamacare gutted. It was in the bill that he was voted on, the funding for it, although it was also the law of the land. This time, Democrats want to add this DACA extension to protect young undocumented immigrants who don't know a home besides the U.S., brought here as kids. Is this different? Does this make the politics different?
DRUCKER: Not necessarily. I think what is interesting is nervous as Republicans have been that this shutdown could go sideways on them because they have never won one that we have seen in the last 25 years, this is the first time that we have seen a Republican in the White House. And usually not withstanding his low approval ratings and the issues he has in terms of trying to negotiate because he is moving around so much. Usually the President has the bully pulpit, and is in a better position to come out as more reasonable.
That's what we saw in 2013 when the public sided with President Obama even though they didn't like Obamacare. They did not like the healthcare law, but they still sided with the President in that argument. And so President Trump still has an opportunity here despite his problems to come out on top if he is seen as involved and working hard and trying to resolve this. What both sides have to be --
KEILAR: He seems involved in reasonable, so that's a struggle for him, David.
DRUCKER: Yes. And that's what Democrats are banking on. That a President that usually is unreasonable will continue to be unreasonable, allowing them to outflank Republicans and come out on top.
BERG: But what is very interesting I think is that some of us perhaps were bracing ourselves this morning for the President to logon to twitter and start ranting about Democrats and actually, it seems like he has been in a very sort of good natured trolling mood. Certainly poking at Democrats, but not in as negative a way as we have seen from the President in the past.
KEILAR: All right David Drucker, Juana Summers, and Rebecca Berg, thank you so much to you.
And coming up, many Republicans in Congress actually support a fix for DREAMers whose protections are about to expire. So why don't they just do it now? We are going to ask the Republican senator who is in charge of the political arm for Senate Republicans, Cory Gardner is with us next.
[16:33:35] KEILAR: Greetings from day one of the government shutdown and one year into the Trump presidency and protests raging across the country.
On Capitol Hill, members of the senate are trying to find a way forward to possibly reach a compromise, maybe. It's not easy, though. Mick Mulvaney, the President's budget director, explained the difficulties this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: We handicap a bill, one of the things we try, the likelihood of passage is can we get a bill together that people can and will support? Because what's in the bill is acceptable to them. And that's one of the reasons I think Marc and I shared the opinion it was going to pass. Again, because it was acceptable then press.
Once folks of either party start inserting completely new and unrelated topics into a negotiation, then it's impossible to predict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Joining me now from Capitol Hill is Republican senator Cory Gardner of Colorado.
Senator, thank you so much for being with us on this Saturday.
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Thanks for having me. Thank you.
KEILAR: All right, how is it going? Are we going to see any movement on this, or is this just going to continue, because it seems like a whole lot of blame coming from both sides up there on the hill?
GARDNER: Well, the American people certainly expect to see some kind of activity take place. Some kind of a solution brought very soon. It's unfortunate we find ourselves where we are, particularly, given that we were having good negotiations and conversations on DACA and immigration, as senator Schumer had hoped for. But unfortunately, last night, he decided he would rather not provide the votes to keep the government funded.
I believe that we still have time. And I hope it's done sooner rather than later to come up with a solution that senator Schumer can support, that senator McConnell can support, that the President of the United States can support. And more importantly --
[16:35:09] KEILAR: What about the Republicans who voted with Democrats?
GARDNER: Well, I think what happened last night is senator Schumer set up a vote requirement of 60 votes. It could have taken 51 votes to pass the legislation. We had 51 votes last night. If you look at that 51 vote simple majority of the Senate, senator Schumer required 60 and then he denied --
KEILAR: But your guys didn't even stick together.
GARDNER: I think what you are looking at is a vote that was set up by senator Schumer to get 60 votes.
KEILAR: Wait. But these are Republicans. I don't think they were set up by senator Schumer.
GARDNER: Senator Schumer could have allowed 51 votes. That's the fact. He could have allowed 51 votes and instead, he required 60. And then he denied the votes necessary to get to 60 votes.
Look, this isn't about finger pointing. What I'm trying to do is make sure the American people aren't subjected to the kind of shutdown politics that we saw last night. If you are somebody who is simply trying to do their job each and every day at Ft. Carson, Colorado, in Colorado Springs, if you are somebody trying to do your work at the national renewable energy laboratory in Golden, Colorado, you simply want to know that your government is functioning because you are doing your best to be a great public servant. And the kind of collateral damage that occurred last night as a result of the shutdown is unacceptable.
Even Chuck Schumer said that himself, when he said in 2013 it would create governmental chaos to close the government. And now we see them opposing things like in the vote last night, a six-year authorization of CHIP which affects 8.9 million people women and children around the country.
So I hope that we can -- I am somebody who is trying to find a solution when it comes to DACA. I have been part of the bipartisan working group to do just that.
KEILAR: No, that's right. You support protections for DREAMers. You actually joined your Democratic colleague, Michael Bennet, who is a Democrat, to introduce a version of the DREAM act in September because the President ended the executive order that provided those protections. I mean, you support that, so why not deal with it now?
GARDNER: Well, we are. I would like to see this done as soon as possible. And we are making good progress. But we have time to do this. I don't think it makes a solution easier to reach if you shut the government down. In fact, I think it actually hurts our efforts to find a solution. Senator Schumer talked about the fact --
KEILAR: But you have time to deal with CHIP, too. I mean, CHIP also is up in March and so is DACA. So isn't - you are saying one thing for CHIP but it's the same thing for DACA which you are saying you have time to deal with.
GARDNER: I have actually been a co-sponsor of CHIP for a number of months, trying to make sure that it gets passed. We have received numbers of letters from governors across the country trying to address. Look, these are things that people support.
What I'm saying is how on earth does it make it easier to solve problems by creating a bigger problem? This is kind of like going into the upside down world here. In the upside down, only can you take a bad thing and solve it with a worse thing, that seems to be something that Washington is really good at, but certainly the American people are tired of.
KEILAR: This is a mess. I mean, we are looking at what's going on in the inability to keep the government funded in any consistent sort of way. And you have other considerations, certainly, besides just your Senate seat. You are the head of the political arm. You, sir, are tasked with the difficult task of keeping Republicans in power, trying to get more Republicans into the Senate. Are you worried that voters are going to blame them? You have a big election coming up.
GARDNER: I think if you look at the candidates who are across the country, going to be answering this question. Do you think it was a smart idea to shut down the government and put our troops at risk? Put our CDC flu vaccination programs at risk? Put civilians at risk who are being furloughed who support our war on terror. Is that a right thing or not?
KEILAR: Wait. How are vaccinations at risk? The CDC is going to keep doing their flu monitoring. So that's not exactly true.
GARDNER: No. If you listen to some of the language and reports that have been out, there are concerned that CDC's efforts will be hampered. Look, when you shut the government down, it's going to cause delays. It is going to cause problems. And there were questions about whether or not this effort would be allowed to -- if it would interfere with CDC efforts or not.
The opiate addiction, Senator Schumer went on to the floor and said how important it was we address opiate addiction problems. And so his solution is to shut the government down?
KEILAR: Isn't it hard for Republicans when you guys were in the same place - you guys were on the same opposite side of this terrible game in 2013, and you know, everyone could use someone's quotes from before about the past shutdown. I mean, isn't it kind of ridiculous? It seems like it's the same script, but you guys have just switched sides of the field.
GARDNER: Well, in 2013, I voted yes to fund the federal government. I think that's very important. We voted yes to fund the federal government. What you saw last night --
KEILAR: To be clear, you said we did. You voted, but there were Republicans --
GARDNER: The House of Representatives. The Republican House of Representatives voted yes to fund the government. And I think what you are seeing here is --.
KEILAR: The Senate did not.
GARDNER: They voted no to fund the government. And I was not in the Senate at the time.
GARDNER: So what is important is to make sure that we do what's right by the American people. As I said, I was part of -- am a part of a bipartisan working group to find a solution. I want to do that sooner rather than later. I just worry so much that if we continue down this path, the solution is more difficult, not easier, to accomplish.
[16:40:17] KEILAR: Well, we do appreciate your taking the time today.
Colorado senator Cory Gardner, thank you so much. And good luck trying to find a solution to this.
GARDNER: Thank you.
KEILAR: All right, up next, much more on the nationwide women's march protest across the country on the one-year anniversary of the Trump presidency. Stay with us.
[16:45:00] KEILAR: There's a lot of activity on Capitol Hill. Not unfortunately toward a solution to the government shutdown. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on the hill for us.
And Sunlen, what is this we are hearing, legislative business had to be momentarily halted on the house floor?
SERFATY: That's right. This was just a few minutes ago on the House floor, Brianna. And you know from your time covering Capitol Hill, these moments of heated partisan rhetoric are typically happen on the house floor.
Well today, one member called out another member for that very thing. We had Texas Republican congressman Pete Sessions down on the floor. And he was criticizing Chuck Schumer, the way he's handling the government shutdown. And his Democratic colleague, Congressman Perlmutter called him out. He demanded for him to be sanctioned for his words to be struck from the record for impugning the character of someone else.
So it led to a temporarily legislative halt on the floor of the U.S. House for just a few minutes, led to just a sort of side huddle with some members of leadership, and ultimately, it was withdrawn. So at the end of the day, not a huge thing, but certainly this moment really does signify how tense everything is up here, how tempers are flaring in the midst of this shutdown.
KEILAR: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much for that.
We are now one year into the Trump presidency. Let's take a look back, and then we are going to take a look ahead.
And joining me now to give their picks for the defining moment of the President's first year and their predictions for the year ahead, we have CNN political commentator and former coms director for Senator Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter. CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, and CNN political commentator and former South Carolina lieutenant governor Andre Bauer with us.
OK. Let's start with you, Maria. The defining moment of President Trump's first year.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I have to say that it's this shutdown because I think you can encompass what so many people like myself who were opposed to President Trump even before he became President, which frankly is the majority of the American people, because let's remember, the majority of the American people did not vote for him, and he's still at record low approval ratings.
But I think this showdown sort of encompasses in a neat box why we all thought he was so unfit to be the President of the United States. Because into that box, you fit everything that transpired this past week, when there was thought to be a bipartisan deal, they went to the White House, and instead of a bipartisan deal, we got s-hole countries. That comment then fed into this whole other issue which I think is a big reason why a lot of people are against Trump. And that is the way that he feels about people of color. And I think those two things are, I think, really indicative and are defining moments of Trump's first year.
KEILAR: Andre, what do you think?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the defining moment was getting the tax bill passed. For decades, people have talked about doing this. This was a monumental change that will affect millions of lives for years to come. We see companies that are not even Trump supporters coming back to the country, bringing tens of billions of dollars back. And it will change people's lives for years to come. What it's going to do for this economy.
KEILAR: I would say it should be the defining moment, Andre, but doesn't he get in his own way in not touting what he wants to be his accomplishment? Some people obviously disagree with tax reform, but certainly, it should be the thing that he touts as his accomplishment.
BAUER: Well, he should be touting this. This is his accomplishment. Today should be President Trump's day. I hate what's happened, that we are now talking about folks that don't even have a vote in this country over making sure we fund essentials in government. And so it's disheartening to me as a Trump supporter, as a guy who has seen him do so many things that I approve of, not to go back today reflect on the big monumental changes that have happened but we are not talking about today. It's sad for so many of us that come from places that supported Trump overwhelmingly and we are glad he is making those changes.
KEILAR: Amanda, what is the defining moment for you?
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I mean, I have a lighter take in terms of the iconic moment. When I go back to the highlight reel, I just can't get out of my head, during the eclipse, Donald Trump stepping out of the White House. Everyone said don't look straight at the sun. You will set a bad example for the children and you will hurt yourself. Well, he steps out, looks straight at it. And to me, that's the perfect metaphor for Donald Trump.
KEILAR: That kind of defines him, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another neat little box.
KEILAR: You think he does disregard some advice? He does his own thing.
BAUER: I think this is a guy that has defied the odds in business, in TV, and now in the presidency as a guy coming with no military background, no political background. All his life he has had people telling him he couldn't do something. When he came in to Manhattan as a developer, they said he could do as guys in this 20s. He has used to people telling him he can't do stuff, and he enjoys the fight.
KEILAR: What are you looking at ahead? What are you looking for the next year to be?
CARPENTER: I mean, honestly, the next six to eight months will be the most consequential time of his presidency. The honeymoon is over. He's in a shutdown which is really one of the first events beyond his control. Yes, he can get people in a room, but this is out of control for the time being, and then the Russia investigation. The trials will be starting going into the midterm elections. This is where we see things happening outside the rallies, outside Trump can role can control, and how he reacts to that will impact the rest of his presidency.
[16:50:30] KEILAR: Maria.
CARDONA: Yes, I agree with that. I think it's the question mark of the Mueller investigation, which contrary to what Trump supporters love to think when they say there's nothing there. Nothing has been found, well, because it's not done yet. And so let's see what happens there. I think there is going to be a big question mark in terms of, you know, maybe not collusion, but I have always thought where there's going to be the nugget is where it comes to his financial entanglements with Russia in terms of money laundering. And frankly, Steve Bannon actually also mentioned money laundering was there. And then that I think also connects to the midterm elections and how incredibly excited the opposition is. We saw it in the elections of last year in Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, and all the special elections. We are going to see it in 2018 in November.
KEILAR: Andre, the year ahead.
BAUER: I think number one, we have got to solve our immigration problem. We have got to be able to have a policy where we know who is coming in the country. We allow people to come into this country that are going to contribute and help our population grow and help us become a better society. But we have to have a vetting system. And it's going to be an issue. It has been an issue, and he is the guy that can actually come in here and find a way at the end of the day to solve this problem.
CARDONA: Wanting people from Norway is not really the problem.
CARPENTER: Ted Cruz lead a government shutdown as generally pro- shutdown for the right reasons, I see how this could help Donald Trump. The Democrats have not clearly messaged this. They don't have that person as being clear public face for why they are shutting down the government for the DACA recipients. Unless they make the case, this is going to whipsaw them.
KEILAR: We will see.
All right, thank you guys so much. Maria Cardona, Andre Bauer, Amanda Carpenter. A happy new year because it starts January 20th.
Still ahead, Melania Trump is marking her first year in her role as first lady. We have new poll numbers on her one year in.
[16:56:35] KEILAR: Today marks one year since the inauguration of President Trump. And it is also the end of year one for the first lady Melania Trump who marked the occasion with a tweet, appropriately enough, saying this has been a year filled with many wonderful moments.
For her, one of those wonderful moments may be her approval rating. In CNN's new poll, she has a 47 percent favorability rating. That's compared to 37 percent unfavorable. Still 16 percent of people aren't really sure about the first lady.
CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett with us this afternoon.
So Melania Trump has largely stayed behind the scenes. And it's interesting you see that photo, and it's not of the President. It's almost like she knows in a way that, you know, her popularity does not come from her husband at all. But I wonder, is she going to step out more into the light as we have seen other first ladies do long before now?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, two things about that tweet. The way you said she is very independent. And she said that before. She operates very independently from her husband. And I do think we will see her more.
She kicked off 2018 by hiring three new staff members bringing her staff to a giant 12, which is not huge. Michelle Obama has almost five staff when she left. One of them, though, is a policy person. And we need to see Melania Trump's new platform. Her strategies. Helping children is a very broad umbrella. And I hear that she is going to narrow that down in the coming months.
KEILAR: One of the things she hasn't done, you are talking about this in the break, you know, where is the carpool karaoke? Where is the late night appearances? Where is the vogue cover? Where are these things in popular culture that we had seen other first ladies do by now.
BENNETT: I mean, they just - they are not existing right now. And I think it's because certainly she is a different animal than previous first ladies. She hasn't embraced popular culture herself, and therefore it sort of hasn't done so back. I think there's probably some divisiveness of this administration and her husband, clearly, that might be a put-off to pop culture.
But I do think we will hear more from her in 2018. She won't just be that quiet, you know, behind the sunglasses first lady that we have seen a lot but really haven't heard from.
KEILAR: Do you think some of it -- is it personal driven? Is it driven because she is seen as an extension of President Trump? Or is it just the learning curve of not having had that chance to be in the public eye, in politics, where these rules might be a little more comfortable for her?
BENNETT: It's a fascinating and unprecedented mix of all three, right. This is a woman who is not used to being in the public eye. She was private even when she lived in New York. She wasn't swanking about the social scene and being seen in tabloids. She certainly is finding this presidency and all its complications difficult for her to step off on the right footing, you know. And she's still sort of -- she was a fashion model. She wasn't a corporate attorney. She wasn't even like Laura Bush who had the benefit of a mother-in-law who had been in the same role to help her.
So she is sort of really, for where she is, again, it's just so new and different for her. And I think in her first year, having only moved to the White House in June, she is behind the eight ball already. But she is going to have to sort of pick it up because people don't know her. The 16 percent of people who have yet to have an opinion about the first lady of the United States is a pretty high number. Here we are in January.
KEILAR: It really does say a lot.
Kate Bennett, thank you so much. This may be a busy year for you. Who knows, maybe this will be the year of Melania. We will see.
BENNETT: Will it be.
KEILAR: Thank you.
Now be sure to watch our CNN Special Report, "Trump's first year, reign of chaos," 10:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.
And this programming note, be sure to tune in tonight. And yes, that is going to be tonight at 10:00 p.m.
Thank you so much. That's it for me. Wolf Blitzer is picking up right now on "the SITUATION ROOM."