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Trump Visits RNC Offices in Virginia; Voting Underway Across U.S., 102 Million Early Votes Already Cast. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired November 3, 2020 - 13:00   ET




ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. As the nation holds its breath, Don, President Trump has been going out to just meeting with his top campaign officials, I believe, including Bill Stepien for about 20 minutes at campaign headquarters, and we see them here, masks, Don, the rest of the campaign staff awaiting the president who, I believe, any second is supposed to come out and address these people who have been working so hard for him.


BURNETT: Masks and not socially distant, but, you know, doesn't look like a Trump rally.

LEMON: It doesn't. Well, at least we have to give them credit for wearing masks, which has been sort of what the Trump folks have been saying not to do the entire time for this pandemic. We see some masks at the Trump rally, of course, but usually it's the folks behind the president who are on camera. A couple familiar faces, as you said, in that crowd as we wait for the president. Arlington, Virginia, President Trump is scheduled to show up at any moment to speak to his campaign staff.

As you said, Bill Stepien, and also I don't know if you recognize that face to the left, and that's Boris Epshtyen who used to appear on this network and then went on to work for another very pro-Trump network. But, again, Erin, this is his staff.

BURNETT: Yes. And they are -- yes, the staff headquarters, right, as they're waiting. And this is in Arlington.

The president, as we've been talking about, Don, he had worked last night five rallies until well after 1:00 in the morning. When he called into his Fox News interview this morning, it was 45 minutes late and you could hear all the rallies in his voice, right, scratchy. Whatever happens here, you can't say that the president left anything on the table in these final days.

LEMON: No. BURNETT: He was out there.

LEMON: Forget how many rallies. And he has done a number of rallies, probably a record-number over just the last couple days, and record- setting number of rallies in just one day. Some days, four or five rallies in different cities around the country. And now, this -- the rallying time is over, really, because this is Election Day.

BURNETT: Right, this is the sort of rallying of his troops. And we are going to take this live, everyone, as the president speaks, Joe Biden, today, as they speak to their troops. We will take it live. Not sure why our camera is pulling out. We're watching this very carefully there.

But for those just joining us, this is our special coverage of Election Day in America. And this is what it's come down to, Don, 102 million votes and Trump will meet with his campaign staffers. Biden, I'm sure, will speak to his. And they are now waiting, as we all are, for the voters and what they have chosen.

LEMON: It's interesting, because as I am reading here, it says that this campaign stretched on for two years. It feels like we have been in perpetual campaign mode honestly since President Trump descended those -- that escalator in the summer of 2015. It feels like we have been in perpetual campaign mode. I mean, the day -- I think the day of that he was inaugurated, I think either that day or the next day, he declared re-election.

So he's really been in campaign mode. And he's been having those rallies around the country since 2015, 2016. And it didn't even stop when he was in the White House for the past three and a half-plus years he has been in the White House.

But you're right, Erin. Imagine this, I don't know if you and I ever thought we would be talking about before Election Day more than 100 million people having voted already. That is unprecedented. There's the president.

BURNETT: It truly is. There he is, walking out greeting. You see the applause. So, as he walks out, let's listen to what he has to say, the final words that he's going to have to give to these people who have worked day and night tirelessly in an effort to re-elect the president of the United States. Here he is.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Yes, thank you very much. We just got back. We had some incredible rallies and incredible times. And I hear we're doing very well in Florida. We're doing very well in Arizona. We're doing incredibly well in Texas.

We're doing -- I think we're doing -- I'm hearing we're doing well all over here. I hear the lines are amazing. The lines have been amazing. And I think we're going to have a great night. We're going to have a great night. And we're going to have much more importantly a great four years.

But, I want to thank everybody, the tremendous group of people. [13:05:01]

Come on over here. This is the media. They're very nice. They treat us -- come on over. Come on over here. Young, attractive people, no politics, and so day, some of the people in this room, I predict, some of them will be president, I hope. But they've been working very hard. And I know you'll be here all night. And I think you're going to see some tremendous results.

And, you know, we had rallies. There was love at those rallies. And there's never been rallies like that. There has never been and I say it in front of the media and they can check it. They can fact check it if they want. But there's never been anything like we just had. And I think a combination of the debate, maybe the debates but the debate, certainly the second debate, and the rallies were -- it was a good combination. And we really -- I think we took off. So, it's been really good.

I want to just thank everybody in the room. You see these people. We travel with these people. They're extremely nice. And they respect very much what we've done. Actually, I think they do. If you want to know the truth, I think they do.

Yes, please?

REPORTER: How you feeling today, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I feel very good. After doing that many rallies, the voice gets a little bit choppy, I think. God did not design it for that much. But, you know, look, we did a lot of them. We did actually six the last day because one finish at 2:00 in the morning. So I put it on. So we did five plus sort of one, but we did a lot. And then I feel great, really.

REPORTER: If you win tonight, what's your message to Americans who didn't vote for you?

TRUMP: Everybody should come together. And I think success brings us together. We're going to have a tremendous success. We had 33.1 percent up in growth GDP and nobody has ever seen a number like that. The last time the number was less than half. And I think that was in 1952. So we doubled up the number, more than doubled up the number. I think we're set for tremendous success. And success is going to bring unity.

And I was bringing it before then we got hit with the China virus. And that certainly -- you had to go back and I think we've done an incredible job with respect to that, other than public relations because -- I'm not sure that it's possible to convince you of it. You people were not really convincible no matter what we did. But we've done an incredible job, not only in handling it.

Don't forget, we were expecting and people were projecting 2.2 million people. We closed up the greatest economy in the history of the world for any country, not just for our country. And we are now opening it up. We saved more than 2 million lives and did an incredible job with therapies, therapeutics and with, I think, maybe cures because, frankly, some of this stuff is so good.

But if you look at the ventilator situation, we had a ventilator problem. And now, with all the work that everybody has done, including Jared, people coming in from Silicon Valley, and now we're sending the ventilators all over, I mean, all over the world now, all over the world. We're producing them for other countries. But it's been an incredible period of time.

And I think that if you look at -- and I say it and I say it proudly, we are rounding the corner. But the vaccines are coming out very soon. They're having tremendous success. Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer, and we're going to have something -- we're going to have a very special year. Next year, I think, is going to be more successful than it was last year. We had the best year we ever had last year and I think we're going to be right in that category for next year. So that's very successful.

REPORTER: Mr. President, have you written an acceptance speech and concession speech?

TRUMP: No, I'm not thinking about concession speech or acceptance speech yet. Hopefully, we'll be doing only one of those two. And, you know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not. But I think we have -- when you see rallies, the likes of which in the history of this country, probably in the history of the world, nobody has ever seen before. There's a tremendous love going on in this country.

And there's really a tremendous unity. There's a tremendous unity. Nobody has ever seen that. Where you take an airport and The airport is not big enough to hold the crowds. Nobody has ever seen a thing like that. And our opposition, as you know, would have a few people sitting in circles, and that's okay. That's not abnormal. That's not abnormal, actually. I mean, that's the way it is. But we would get crowds of 50,000 people, 45,000 people, more. Nobody has ever seen anything like that.

So it was an honor. They're great people. These are people that they appreciate what we did and they also remember before I got there and before we all got there. This group has been with me. A lot of them are very young, but they've been with me, many of them, for a long time, right, a long time.


And I just want to -- I really came here to thank you all. And then I'm going to say -- and get immediately back to work.

BURNETT: All right, that was President Trump. Don, it was very interesting listening to him there.


BURNETT: He's tired. You know, he wanted to thank them. He was very clear to not say, you know, there was no bluster of I'm going to be declaring victory early. There was none of that. And I thought there was kind of one thing there, a little bit insight into his psyche. Winning is easy, but losing for me is not. Losing is hard. He seems like a president who very much -- let's listen to him again.

TRUMP: -- a very good place for me. I went to college there. It's always been good. I think Pennsylvania is very important. Florida is very important, obviously. A lot of people talked about Texas. And Texas is -- we will have a tremendous victory there based on everything that you see. This is no longer polls. This is now we're looking at what's happening. It will be a tremendous victory in Texas. I'm hearing we're doing tremendously well in Arizona. I think we're doing well all over. Yes?

REPORTER: When do you think we'll know a winner? Should every vote be counted no matter how long it took?

TRUMP: Well, I think you'll know possibly tonight, depending on the extent of the victory. I think you could know tonight. I think the ruling on Pennsylvania was an unfortunate one by the Supreme Court because I think we should know what happens on the night. Let people put their ballots in earlier. But you have to have numbers. You can't have these things delayed for many days and maybe weeks. You can't do that. The whole world is waiting. This country is waiting. But the whole world is waiting.

And a lot of shenanigans, a lot of bad things happen with ballots when you say, oh, let's devote days and days and all of a sudden the ballot count changes. And you take a look at Philadelphia, the history of Philadelphia politics, no, I don't put people on their honor code. I don't think it's right. And I think it's a very dangerous thing they've done with that decision and maybe their wisdom will change that decision or maybe we'll go back and give them a right to change it.

But that's a terrible -- it's a very dangerous decision with this country what they did with Pennsylvania and some others also. You have to have a date. And a date happens to be November 3rd. And we should be entitled to know who won on November 3rd.

And if somebody comes along and puts a ballot in way late, they shouldn't be -- they should put the ballot in earlier. There's no reason why they can't put the ballot in two weeks earlier or one week earlier. I think it's a very dangerous decision for our country, in many ways, dangerous, in many ways. Yes?

REPORTER: Can you speak to the American people tonight regardless of the outcome or --

TRUMP: Well, I may. I mean, we're going to have to see. We have a big night planned. We're going to have a very big night. I just think we're going to have a tremendous -- I think we're going to have -- look, I'm looking right now, I'm looking at different locations and we're seeing lines of people.

And they're wearing a lot of red material, including hats. But, no, we're seeing in certain areas that would be Trump areas, we're seeing lines of people that are extended for miles. You're seeing it too. I mean, you don't have to say, but you're seeing it too.

So I think we're going to have a great night. But it's politics and it's elections and you never know. I can say that Texas, Arizona, a few of them are looking really very, very strong, Florida looking very, very strong. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Florida. But the people of Florida, they know I love them and they love me. We just have an automatic bond. Yes, please?

REPORTER: Speaking of Florida, especially in terms of seniors, are you worried about any slippage there?

TRUMP: No, I don't think we're going to have any slippage. I think we're going to have -- look, my relationship to seniors, I happen to be a senior. I don't want to say that too loud in this group, people that are averaging about 20 years old. But I don't think we're going to have anything. I think, if anything, we're going to do very well.

I have seen and we have seen African-Americans way up and Hispanic- Americans way up, and people have seen that. And, you know, I've said with regard to African-American, the black community, I've done more than any other president with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, and sometimes I say with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. But let's give him a lot of credit, right?

But I've done more than any other president in the history of this country for African-American, the black community, and they understand it. Criminal justice reform, prison reform, historically black colleges and universities, you look at what we've done, opportunities with Tim Scott, South Carolina, who is great. Nobody has done what I've done in terms of the African-American community.


So -- and they see it. And they're tired of being used by the Democrats for 100 years. I mean, it's like been 100 years. So, I think we're doing very well there. And I heard we're doing very well with the Hispanic community.

REPORTER: Mr. President, did you put your own money into your campaign?

TRUMP: What's that?

REPORTER: Did you put any of your own money into the campaign?

TRUMP: Well, you'll see that in the filings. But we had plenty of money, I will tell you. We had plenty of money. And what I didn't do is call up Wall Street send me 25 million to the head of every firm. I could have done that. I would have been the all-time king of fundraising if I did that.

But once you do that, you can no longer deal properly with them. You just can't. So I didn't do that. We could have done that. I could raised much more money. I mean, Hillary Clinton spent much more money than I did. And in this case, when they raise that much money, that means to me they're making deals, and that can happen. So, thank you very much. We'll maybe see you later. Have an exciting day. And for you, I just appreciate everything you've all done and we'll see you soon, okay?

LEMON: So, Erin, there was a lot to fact check there because, basically, we heard a lot of propaganda from the president of the United States, and I'm sure you can help me through it. The Pennsylvania decision though sticks out with me the most because he's talking about the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court --


LEMON: -- left in place. The U.S. Supreme Court left in place Pennsylvania State Supreme Court's decision that allowed counting of ballots received up to three days after the election. Remember, it's a Republican legislature that made the decision not to count early vote tallies or ballots until tomorrow, and that's in Pennsylvania. So that was propaganda.

Also, we have to remember when he says everyone should know on Election Day by November, there were states in 2016 that the president did not know that he won until it was -- the votes were counted after Election Day.


LEMON: There is nothing unusual about the votes being counted after Election Day. The specific quote that he said, winning is easy, losing is never easy, especially for me, I think that's very telling.

He also said tremendous unity in the country. There's not tremendous -- he's talking about the folks at the Trump rally. There's not tremendous unity in the country when you have Trump supporters who are out on interstates trying to run down buses and drive Biden campaign people off the road. There are human lives who are on that bus.

And the president is saying, oh, this is great. And then you have Marco Rubio saying the same thing, coming out in Florida saying the same thing. Yesterday, there's no tremendous unity in this country. We have never been more divided because this president divides.

The whole thing that he talks about criminal justice, criminal justice, do your homework on criminal justice and on HBCUs, historically black colleges and universities. It is not what this president says it is. Neither of them are what he says they are. There were many people, both Democrats and Republicans, who have been doing the hard work when it comes to criminal justice reform.

Also, the president fought tooth and nail for criminal justice reform. That was something that Jared Kushner, who we saw there, by the way, at that thing not wearing a mask, had to push for and he did not want it.

So there's so much to talk about. I almost feel like I'm not sure if we should be running this propaganda video as people are still going to the polls to vote today because not much of what he said if anything was true.

BURNETT: Well, and it was a rehash of a lot of things he said. But I do think there was a tone there that was significant, right? For those who thought that he was going to be bluster and bold, and I'm assured a victory and I have my speech ready, he didn't do that.

LEMON: Yes, he didn't.

BURNETT: He said, I don't have one. I'm not sure if we're going to know tonight. We might possibly. In a sense, he seemed a bit down, maybe just because he's tired, a bit more -- I felt --

LEMON: I think he's tired.

BURNETT: -- looking at his next steps that he thinks very well may not involve the White House. I heard a change in tone there. But, you know --

LEMON: Listen, Erin, I'm not going to disagree with you that he didn't say that he is going to -- he has a speech ready and he shouldn't -- he probably should not say that. That was very smart of him, but I didn't hear a change in tone, because he still called it China virus. He still talked about ventilators, that we're doing all these ventilators. That was after massive public outcry to get that in place. The greatest economy, as we know, from Daniel Dale, that is a lie.

BURNETT: Right. I just think -- I think the focus today being on how is he going to handle the election and what's happening. I think it was a little different than what some people may have expected there.

LEMON: But as you know, he will say one thing and then he'll do another in the same breath.

BURNETT: But we'll see whether that's him being tired or whether he'll change tonight, I guess we'll see. But he's talking about lines across the country which we're seeing as well as we're looking at polling stations in some of these crucial battleground states. Reporters from Michigan to Texas, we have been checking in with them, Don and I, through the past hour-and-a-half.

I want to go to Omar Jimenez now in Detroit. And so, Omar, you know, both campaigns spending so much time where you are to try to get voters to the polls today, right, continue with those records.


What are you seeing right now?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've seen significant turnout. I mean, things have gone smoothly so far here in Michigan and in Detroit, which is what officials wanted to see. There were long lines to begin the day. But part of that was just because the doors hadn't opened yet. So when the door did there was a little lag of getting people in. So, that's a good thing. But the polls opened at 7:00 A.M. today. not just to allow people inside but, crucially, that is when we could start counting absentee ballots here in the state of Michigan. And there was such a record number of backlog of absentee ball lots before we had gotten to this day, over 3 million of which.

And while Detroit isn't necessarily expected to be a very contested portion of Michigan, earlier this morning, we were up in Macomb County, which is a county that President Trump flipped from Democrat to Republican in 2016. It's a county whose winner has gone on to be the state winner for governor's races and presidential races, spanning the last seven years in a row.

And we spoke to voters there, particularly younger voters, about the contest, the importance of the moment and why they felt they needed to have their voice heard.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's crazy that the outward advertising for voting that we've seen this year versus 2016, I don't think I saw anything.

And it really says a lot about where we're coming as a country and I'm really proud that like the younger generation is coming in and making sure that they're voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My friends were like, it doesn't matter. My vote really doesn't count. And then we saw the results. And so this year, a lot of them had made the choice to vote either before or are in line currently right now as well.


JIMENEZ: And those people we spoke to were 25 years old and 27 years old. And what's interesting about that is that that was the biggest growth in absentee ballot demographics that we saw in regards to ballots that were returned. It grew from 2.5 percent in 2016 up to 9.4 percent in this election. And when you look at the, again, overall record absentee ballot turnout that we have seen, it is something that is going to add to the time in counting these ballots. Erin, Don?

BURNETT: All right. Omar, thank you very much.

Let's go to Texas now. Biden campaign is hoping to flip it for the first time in 44 years. And, Brian, I don't know if you just heard Trump talking, he's assured he thinks of a tremendous victory in Texas. But all eyes are on Texas, which usually is not the case in a presidential election, never is the case in a presidential election. So what is the turnout where you are, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ERIN, very energetic turnout. We're here at the Multiservice Center on West Gray Street in Houston. This is one of the busiest polling places in the entire city and in the entire county of Harris County. All morning long, all day long, you've had dueling kind of campaign rhetoric on either side of West Gray Street here. On this side, you've got Democrats and others of their ilk chanting, doing slogans, playing music. On this side over here, you have got Trump supporters doing the same thing, they've been trying to shout down each other all day long and kind of yelling campaign rhetoric and other things. Nothing menacing or threatening, it's all pretty good natured, but there's competition here.

And this is really exemplary of the kind of energy that's here in the Houston area. This is a busy precinct. They had long lines here earlier. I'm going to walk over here and talk to the police chief of Houston, Art Acevedo. Chief, thanks for joining us.

What made you want to come down here? Are there any security concerns at all about what's going on here, because it's gotten heated a little bit, nothing really threatening? But what were your concerns?

CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, this is the only location in all of Harris County where we have opposing sides. And so I just wanted to come down and make sure that everybody knows that we expect everyone to exercise their First Amendment rights but to be respectful of each other and most importantly to realize this is Houston where we come together regardless of our differences. And so I'm proud to be here. And I'm proud of the fact that everything has been going smoothly so far.

TODD: Any problems, any anomalies of any polling stations in Houston?

ACEVEDO: Not yet. Remember that our governor extended early voting and we have actually been keeping eyes on this location. And one of the things I'm proud of as an American police officer is that if you think about the history of policing, we have been seen as oppressors trying to oppress the vote in the past. And in this election, it's so heated. The American people, our community, actually wants us out here to make them feel safe and we're proud to be part of that.

TODD: All right. Chief, thanks very much for talking to us. Good luck today monitoring the polling stations. The chief has been for hours, guys, talking to people, making sure it's peaceful out here.

You heard him say there's been no real trouble, but this is really where the spirit of this polling station is. Right now inside the voting room, it's a little slow. So we wanted to show you kind of where the energy is out here on West Gray Street.

These people have been out here all day long, again, dueling campaign rhetoric. It's really kind of fun to watch, lots of horn-honking going on here. You know, you talked about early voting across the country. Texas set records. Almost 10 million Texans voted before Election Day. That was more than the total number of people who voted in the state four years ago. So, they're setting records all over the place here.


It doesn't seem to have affected turnout, at least at this polling station. It's been very vibrant all day, guys.

BURNETT: I love the word, vibrant. And, you know, the context of what Brian is saying, the 1.9 million new registered voters in Texas this time from four years ago, I mean, that is incredible. That's ordinarily, in any four-year period, it would be, what, 700,000. So you are just seeing -- you're seeing such a huge increase, tripling of normal, and they're turning out to vote and that is exciting.

And let's go to North Carolina right now. North Carolina a crucial state, and one of the ones -- I don't know if you heard Sam Feist from our political department talking about earlier, we may know a little earlier in the evening, we may. But there are now discussions in North Carolina on whether to extend hours at polling locations, which would push that out, which could delay the results. This is obviously -- could be very significant.

I want to go to our Suzanne Malveaux, who is standing by there. So, Suzanne, we were just saying North Carolina was a state where we thought we might be able to know a little earlier. And now, it seems that perhaps that could be changing.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It could be changing. I mean, I've been speaking with election officials. They've been very proudful -- prideful, if you will, about the fact that they believe they could have the results out unofficially, of course, by 7:30 this evening. That might actually change.

There is an emergency meeting that's taking place. North Carolina State Board of Elections saying that they might actually extend the hours of four polling places because they were delayed slightly in opening. And under state law, by majority, if you have that majority, if they vote that way, then they can go ahead. And if it's interrupted by more than 15 minutes or so, they can go ahead and extend those hours.

So that is what they're considering at this hour in this emergency meeting, those four counties being Gilford County, Cabarrus and two locations in Sampson County. We have been told that one of the reasons there was a delay was that some of the poll workers were tardy, a little bit late, and that, in time, it was quite early as you can imagine, 6:30 was the time that voting was to begin. Another at a church where they had a printer issue, and that had to be resolved.

And so they're considering allowing people to extend those hours and vote just a little bit longer. So we'll see. We'll get those answers shortly, see which way they go. North Carolina pretty much has been on the side of extending hours and extending opportunities for folks to vote through the legal process. So we'll see which way this goes.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. That obviously important and significant that they're going to extend, so every vote can indeed be counted if people have been waiting.

Let's go now to New Hampshire, to Londonderry. That's where Polo Sandoval is at a polling location right now.

All right, Polo, what are you seeing in terms of turnout, how smoothly it's going?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, earlier, we heard from officials at this particular polling location, they said their main goal was to make sure that this was going to turn out to be a fair, safe and efficient election. And after checking in with them and also some of the folks at the state capitol seems like that is the case.

I tell you what though, the number of voters that have been stopping by at this location described as one of the busiest in the country, it really is impressive. This line actually snakes out of this high school gym and then around the vehicles in the parking lot.

So it certainly gives you a sense of the excitement and the interest that people have in this part of New Hampshire in the election. We've been told that at least 40 percent of the total electorate in this part of New Hampshire has already cast their ballot either in person or absentee.

And back to that issue about safety, I can tell you after observing here for the last couple days, Erin, we really have seen poll workers at this location go above and beyond to make sure that people feel at least safe. You have the plexiglass, obviously, that's in place, where the voters are checking in before heading over to the booths.

You have the PPE that folks are encouraged to wear. You're seeing very few people without a mask here, and then finally, just constant sanitizing of the booth itself. I've watched this young man goes into those booths after each voter and cleans up before another voter goes in. And so that certainly gives you an idea of what people are talking about here.

And then finally we need to remind viewer obviously about New Hampshire's role in the primary, obviously extremely prominent. General election, though, I'll remind you that it was only four years ago that Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by less than 1 percent. So, winning New Hampshire would certainly be a feather that the president would want in his cap. And then, finally, those four electoral votes, they have not gone to the Republicans in 20 years, that's another trend that the Trump campaign would certainly like to at least break.

But in the meantime, again, high interest and it seems like things are continuing to move forward with high interest and things running very smoothly in this part of New Hampshire.

BURNETT: Well, that's what we like to hear, things running smoothly, and we are hearing it across this country for those following that, right, no major reports of any issues at polling stations thus far. It's exactly what everyone in this country wanted to see.

Next, U.S. district court judge ordering the Postal Service to sweep underperforming districts for election mail processing facilities by 3:00 P.M. Eastern Time in a bunch of states, including some crucial battleground states.


We're going to have details next because this is significant as to whether those ballots will count on Election Day.