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Trump Voters Speak Out on His Presidency; What Ohio's 12th District Could Tell Us About Midterm Elections. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 7, 2018 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We are more than 18 months into the Trump presidency, so we thought it would be a good time to check in with Trump voters to see how they're feeling today.

[08:33:14] I sat down with a panel of people from California, Texas, Ohio and New York City, all of whom voted for Donald Trump. At one time, these folks were all on the same side, excited about this outsider running for president. But as you'll see, times have changed and today some very -- feel very differently.

So here, now, our next "Pulse of the People."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: How many of you are still just as excited today as you were on election day about President Trump?

ARTHUR SCHAPER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Maybe more so.

CAMEROTA: And how many of you, the rest, would you say that you regret your votes? Raise your hands.

CHRISTOPHER J. GAGIN, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I'm disappointed.

CAMEROTA: Why are you more excited today than you were?

SCHAPER: You know, I came in with some trepidation based on his previous record. He's the most pro-life president we've had, more than Reagan. He's done a substantial job protecting the Second Amendment, securing our border, deporting illegal aliens. He made a list of promises. He's coming through on many of them.

CAMEROTA: Jeremy, what do you regret about your vote?

JEREMY MONTANEZ, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: In my mind, the way I look at him now, I think he's a monster. I think he's a bigot. I think that he's doing a lot of things to ruin people's lives. I don't think that he has -- I think that he's taken this country in the wrong direction, and it's a terrifying time for me.

CAMEROTA: Was there a moment that turned you?

MONTANEZ: It was when I heard about what was going on on the southern border.

CAMEROTA: What part did you object to?

MONTANEZ: The family separation. And the children --

SCHAPER: I would chime in just really quick.

CAMEROTA: yes.

SCHAPER: You've got parents who are breaking the law bringing their kids here. If you don't want to be separated from your family, don't come to the country illegally. You're having individuals coming from Central or even South America, risking their lives and their children's lives.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Because their lives are at risk at home.

SCHAPER: They can go to an embassy and be safe there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not necessarily.

SCHAPER: In the country of Mexico.

CAMEROTA: They can do it. It is legal here to go to a port of entry and seek asylum. It was President Trump that started the zero tolerance. So you used to be able to stay together; you couldn't under the zero tolerance.

[08:35:05] SCHAPER: Keep in mind, also, we have these minors that are now getting excellent care. They're getting very good housing and board --

CAMEROTA: But that's not the point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not the point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their parents.

MARYSE SELIT, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I mean, I'm a lawyer, and I can tell you first of all, there were 2,500 children --

BIANCA GRACIA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Some of them were not. They were reconnected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- that came here that were not reconnected. They did come here legally.

GRACIA: No one's really talked about the unaccompanied minors that are being brought here by people that are looking to sex traffic these children. They're trafficking --

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Listen, let's talk about that. We talked about that. The thing that people -- that got everyone's attention was that people who were not sex traffickers were bringing their kids, and they got separated. And 572 of them may never see their parents again.

SCHAPER: And this is the result of you break into this country illegally.

(CROSSTALK)

SELIT: Even after Trump's own directive.

GRACIA: Were they really the parents?

CAMEROTA: Hold on. We haven't heard yet from Chris. Go ahead.

GAGIN: This is the problem with what the president is doing. He's able to divide us on these issues where we're now fighting amongst ourselves.

You know, you look at Charlottesville, you look at the separation of the families on the border, you just look at the tweeting. I've never seen an individual who is so so good at connecting with sort of average people that has no ability to really communicate or control the way he communicates.

DAMANI BRYANT FELDER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's disingenuous to say that President Trump is wholly responsible for the bifurcation that we see across party lines right now.

CAMEROTA: But is he helping it?

FELDER: I don't think that necessarily -- some of the things that he says could be said in a more polished manner.

SELIT: My issue with this president, who I voted for, is the fact that he has something negative to say about every other leader. But you try saying one little comment that's negative about Trump himself, he jumps into a fit, and he has this Twitter tirade. You know, we have a lot of really -- I mean, I have to be crass about it, idiots who voted for him, including myself at one time.

SCHAPER: I take great offense. I'm not an idiot. It's a wise decision that people voted for them. It was a wise decision for Michiganders, for Wisconsinites, for Pennsylvanians, for working Americans who were tired of their jobs being taken away, shipped overseas or taken by illegals.

MONTANEZ: I want to apologize to the nation for my vote for him. It was the wrong thing to do. It was the biggest mistake I ever made. Like I said, he is a racist.

CAMEROTA: Why do you believe he's racist?

MONTANEZ: Why do I believe he's racist? Look what happened in Puerto Rico. He said, "Oh, they want to just cry." And, you know, they needed help. Just because they're not white-skinned, he doesn't want to go down there and help them out.

FELDER: I take great offense to the fact that you felt the need to apologize on the behalf of the entire nation. Because that also --

MONTANEZ: That's for me. I'm apologizing for myself.

FELDER: That says to me that you are invalidating the validity of my vote.

CAMEROTA: No, he's not apologizing for you.

(CROSSTALK)

FELDER: I think the reasons why I voted for Donald Trump is because, based on my perception of him, he is not a racist, and he has done so much. He has done so much for the black community.

MONTANEZ: How do you explain --

(CROSSTALK)

CAMEROTA: Hold on, hold on. I want to hear from Chris. Hold on.

GAGIN: How do you explain the tweet about LeBron James and Don Lemon?

CAMEROTA: That's right!

FELDER: I watched that interview --

GAGIN: I mean, the president has done this before. He's called people of color, he's called them ignorant; he's called them dumb.

SCHAPER: He's called white people that, too.

CAMEROTA: He said LeBron James is more stupid than Don Lemon.

He goes after Don Lemon and LeBron James and Maxine Waters. How do you explain that?

FELDER: When you call someone's -- when you call someone's intellect into question, it has nothing to do with race.

GRACIA: I work with a lot of Hispanic evangelicals who are pro-life. Hispanics care about God, family, jobs, education. Top things for us. President Trump is delivering on those things. So all this other rhetoric of -- this rhetoric of "Oh, he tweeted this," or "He this -- this," I don't really care about that.

CAMEROTA: You don't care about that?

GRACIA: I care about God, family, jobs and education.

SCHAPER: You're free to care.

CAMEROTA: Understood. You made a great point about that. So as somebody who is driven by her faith and cares about God and family, do any of the personal peccadillos give you pause? The "Playboy" model who was paid off, the payments to Stormy Daniels, the lies about affairs, does any of that give you pause? GRACIA: You know -- we are taught as Christians to be forgiving. I'm

not going to get into his personal life. That -- that was not something that I weighed in to go vote for him.

CAMEROTA: Did it make you --

GRACIA: Anything was better than Hillary. Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: But when you hear about the "Playboy" stuff, does it make you uncomfortable?

GRACIA: No. I'm not here to judge about what he did on his miscellaneous activities or what he was doing outside of his bedroom. That is not what I voted for you to do. I voted for him for his policies and his agenda to put this country back on track.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: One more time, that was not Clinton voters versus Trump voters. Those were all Trump voters.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I say, I find it fascinating when you bring these people together.

And we talk about the phenomenon in the country right now where the president's approval rating, despite a booming economy, has a ceiling at 42 to 45 percent. What you see there is the ceiling. You see that even some people who voted for Donald Trump will not support him because of the policies he has at the southern border or just negativity or perhaps foreign policy there. And unless he replaces some of these people with people who voted against him, that could be trouble.

Now maybe that will happen if the economy improves. It will be interesting to see, as you continue to do these, if you get people who have been won over since the election.

[08:40:09] But if he loses some people who wanted a change of flavor and now don't like the flavor they're tasting, it will be a problem.

CAMEROTA: And I think that another thing to point out is that you can hear how his voters who are still his staunchest defenders, who are passionate about him, compartmentalize the other stuff.

So the stuff that's turned some people off, you could hear there -- from Bianca at the end that she is able to -- though she considers herself a woman of faith and family, she compartmentalizes that and doesn't look at the stuff that might have offended her in the past, because she likes Trump's policies.

BERMAN: And the feeling that he's delivered on his promises. You see an increase, in some cases, in intensity of support. All of it. Fascinating.

CAMEROTA: We'll have more tomorrow for you.

BERMAN: Excellent. I can't wait.

Powerful hail falls in Colorado, shutting down a zoo. This video is stunning. Watch how the animals handle it. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: In Indonesia, the death toll now stands at 105 after the 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Lambak. That happened on Sunday. Rescue crews still scrambling to find people feared trapped in the rubble of a mosque. Authorities say two people have already been pulled out alive. At least 84,000 people have now been displaced by this earthquake.

[08:45:18] CAMEROTA: Infowars and its founder, Alex Jones, have been removed from YouTube, Apple and Facebook for violating content policies. YouTube polling Jones' main channel, cutting him off from 2.4 million subscribers.

Infowars, in case you've missed this, is notorious for outrageous content. It bathes in conspiracy theories. Here's the most disgusting -- one of the most disgusting ones. It claims the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, and 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the U.S. government.

BERMAN: A zoo in Colorado Springs will be closed today after a powerful hailstorm killed two birds and injured 14 people on Monday. Look at this. Those are chunks of hail, some the size of softballs three. Look at that. It sent the bears at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo scrambling for cover in their enclosure.

More than 3,000 zoo visitors were evacuated to a nearby school. Five of the injured were taken to the hospital for treatment.

CAMEROTA: Is it August in Colorado, as well?

BERMAN: I believe -- I believe it is. It has reached August. I just can't believe the size of the water, you know, explosions there from the hail.

CAMEROTA: That's violent weather. And, you know, I mean, some people don't think that climate change is necessarily happening.

BERMAN: Bears hate it, too.

CAMEROTA: OK, meanwhile, the city of West Hollywood unanimously passed a resolution urging President Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to be permanently removed, citing recent costly vandalism and demonstrations.

To be clear, the vote is not binding, and that's because the star is the property of Los Angeles City, not West Hollywood. It's also important to note the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has refused past efforts to remove the stars of disgraced actors.

I think we should also note vandalism is bad, and people should stop doing this sort of thing. BERMAN: They made a measure that they know won't pass and has no

effect, even if it is passed.

CAMEROTA: Listen, I'm glad they're using their time wisely. OK? I think that's your message.

BERMAN: All right. Elections today across the country. What to watch for: Ohio 12. Could this be a barometer? A sign of things to come in November? Our bottom line is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:51:27] BERMAN: Voters heading to the polls in five states today. Primaries are being held in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. And in Ohio, the state's 12th congressional district is holding a special election.

So let's get the bottom line. CNN political director David Chalian. The results will be, of course, coming in later tonight, but we have you here now, David.

CAMEROTA: What are they now?

BERMAN: Tell us the results.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I can't give you the results now.

BERMAN: What are you watching for? What's important out of this tonight?

CHALIAN: Listen, let's first acknowledge the fact that we're even talking about this congressional district in Ohio and that it's a dead-heat race heading into today. This is a district Donald Trump won by 11 points. It's been in Republican hands for 35 years. It is a Republican congressional district, and it is a dead heat going in.

And that is -- that is the story of politics in the Trump era. That is the story heading into November midterm elections: that Democrats are showing up. They're enthused right now, and Republicans are trying very hard to boost some enthusiasm among their troops.

CAMEROTA: And so explain how this is a bellwether. I mean, is this Republican in Ohio 12 not a perfect candidate, or is this truly showing Democratic energy?

CHALIAN: I mean, again, we'll see the results tonight, but the fact that the polls are showing a close race here, and we've seen all the momentum, quite frankly, in the polling over the last couple months on the Democratic side, I would suggest it's the latter, Alisyn. We'll see what the final result is.

But even a final result where Democrats lose is still not going to ease the concerns Republicans have and know about this fall. They're facing big head winds. Historically, that is true for the party in power in the president's first midterm, but obviously, because of Trump's polarizing effect and his upside-down approval ratings, that's having even a bigger impact for Republicans.

BERMAN: What signs do we get specifically from this district? It is a more educated district in Ohio. I know Ron Brownstein, all of our friends are looking at the suburban white women to see where they go.

CHALIAN: Exactly. That is certainly a key voting block. As you know, John, the entire battleground map for control of the House of Representatives is largely playing out in suburban concentrated districts, in districts with college-educated whites, a group that was part of the Republican fold and has proven quite elusive to Donald Trump.

And so when you look at the landscape, I would just look at it this way. If a district that Donald Trump won by 11 points can be competitive, imagine what that means for the entire map. There are going to be some 90 competitive races this fall. It's a huge battleground, and most of that are Republicans trying to defend home turf.

CAMEROTA: OK, tell us what you're watching in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Washington, the other places with primaries.

CHALIAN: Yes, so the primaries are playing out there, not "D" versus "R" like in Ohio.

In Kansas, the Republican gubernatorial primary is going to be fascinating. Kris Kobach, you know, the controversial figure on the voting fraud panel of the president's, on his immigration stances. The president weighs into that race yesterday, endorses Kobach, against the will of the Republican establishment in Washington, the Republican Governors' Association. You've seen Donald Trump's track record in Republican primaries. If he can help Kobach become the nominee, the question becomes did -- will that help the party in November? Might Kobach be a vulnerable Republican nominee in a general election context?

And then you mentioned Michigan and Missouri as well as Kansas. We're looking at sort of the Ocasio-Cortez/Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Many primary challengers there sort of pit them against the more establishment wing of the Democratic Party. And we'll see if that energy is playing out the way it did in Ocasio-Cortez's race in New York.

[08:55:17] BERMAN: We've got about 30 seconds left, David. The Manafort trial continues, Rick Gates back on the stand this morning. How do you think this will play or seep into the political discourse in the coming weeks?

CHALIAN: You know, it's a good question. The thing that we're learning time and again, John, is that the Russia investigation overall or the trials -- the Manafort trial that's going on, it is not big talk on the campaign trail.

What I do think it does is, clearly, it feeds the president's mood, which in turn feeds the political environment. And that overall environment is having an impact. But I don't think you're going to see sort of one congressional race hinge on Manafort's trial or Rick Gates's dramatic testimony against him.

BERMAN: David Chalian with the bottom line. I am sure David will be a big part of our election coverage tonight as the results pour in from these five states, including Ohio.

Be sure to watch CNN for complete results starting at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

CAMEROTA: All right. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow will pick up after this break. We'll see you tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour, good morning everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York, and we are just minutes away from what is sure to be many more hours of dramatic and possibly pivotal testimony from the star witness for the prosecution of the bank fraud and tax evasion trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Rick Gates returns to the stand this morning, having told jurors yesterday that he helped his former boss --