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Trump: Parts of London, Paris Radicalized; Interview with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Trump's Impact on Democratic Presidential Race; RNC Chairman Doesn't Agree with Trump. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired December 9, 2015 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump also brought up the idea that in Paris, as well, that there are Muslim no-go zones, which is a conspiracy theory that has been debunked a number of times. Is that still a version of the facts that the candidate stands by, even when you the British prime minister and the French leader denying that is the case in their own countries, and these are two countries that are fighting the terror threat very much everyday as well.
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESWOMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I heard a FOX News commentator yesterday say that she left Paris because she lived in a neighborhood where Muslims were not assimilating in the least. And the "Daily Mail" posted an article where it has five officers in Europe proclaiming that Donald Trump was right about what he said.
SCIUTTO: Listen, I am not springing this on you, because I lived in London for nine years and traveled the country for many years after 9/11 and there for the 777 attacks in 2005. I lived near Muslim neighborhoods, and there were no neighborhoods in my experience, and there are a lot of people in the U.K. that deny that. So I wonder what the candidate is basing that position on.
PIERSON: Well, because people who also have lived there have had different experiences. And we could say that for a number of places on the globe. But the "Daily Mail" does reference police officers in London who say that is true. We have to agree to disagree if the experiences are different. But the problem is that we have a problem with Muslim extremists all over the globe, and Donald Trump is the only one willing to say that.
SCIUTTO: And on the business side of things, as his travel ban proposal is the Dubai-based retail giant to suspend sales of Trump's branded product, and Trump has done a number of business in the Middle East, the Person Gulf. There's a Dubai property mogul coming out against him. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KHALAF AL-HABLOOR, CHAIRMAN, AL-HABLOOR GROUP: I think that he has damaged all of the brands in all Muslim countries. I mean, nobody will accept him, and nobody will accept his brand in any country.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: Has Donald Trump just damage his business in that part of the world? Is that something that he is willing to give up in light of his position?
PIERSON: Well, Donald Trump has pledged his fortune and fight to save America and the families, and so I don't speak for his company, but I will speak for the campaign that Donald Trump is committed 100 percent to putting everything that he has on the line, because we are losing our country, and he is not going to sit by and let it happen.
SCIUTTO: Katrina Pierson, thank you or the taking the time today.
PIERSON: Thank you, Jim.
SCIUTTO: A reminder that Donald Trump is sitting down with our own Don Lemon and you can catch the entire interview tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern time.
And still ahead, while many in the Republican Party are speaking out against Donald Trump's anti-Muslim comments, it begs the question, are his comments helping the Democratic Party? We'll ask the head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wassermann Schultz, who is going to join me next, after this break.
[13:37:16] SCIUTTO: The backlash over Donald Trump's proposal on banning Muslims from entering the U.S. is providing Democratic presidential candidates with a fund-raising opportunity. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton sent e-mails to supporters with a call to support to fight Trump.
For more on the Democratic reaction to Trump, I am joined by the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and she is Congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz.
Thank you for joining us.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, (D-CA), CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thank you, Jim. It is great to be with you today.
SCIUTTO: And now, the conventional wisdom is that these comments help Democrats in 2016 and it will weaken the support of whoever the Republican candidate is. But I wonder, is that definite? Because clearly, he is giving voice to a certain part of the party, and that support is proving more durable than many expected. I feel like every month people say he is eventually going to burn out, and not just the national numbers, but the numbers in the local races, Iowa and New Hampshire, are still solid for him. So, you know, how do you rectify those two?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, the way I look at this, Jim, is that our responsibility as Americans, my responsibility as the leader of one of the two major national parties is to sound the alarm bell here. I mean, what is coming out of the Republican side of the presidential field is nothing short of un-American for a variety of reasons. One is that just that Donald Trump is hurtling us towards a repeat of the McCarthy era it can be called nothing less than that. God forbid this man would become president, and actually implement the outrageous proposal that we would not allow Muslims to come into our country wholesale, and even ban Muslim Americans from traveling back into the country is just the -- cries out for a unified condemnation which has not come in any shape or form from the are Republican side, and here is what I mean. Mealy mouthed criticism that has come from some of the presidential candidates and unfortunately the Republican Party chairman, Mr. Priebus, is outrageous. What they need to do is unequivocally state that one of their candidates for president would not support this man if he were the nominee, and every one of them continues to have raised the right hand and stand by that pledge to support this man if he is their nominee. And you know, the poem that that came after World War II and the Holocaust that said -- that talks about I didn't speak up, and then they came for me, applies here. And we are speaking up, and we will continue to speak up.
[13:40:21] SCIUTTO: And let me ask you this, because the argument that you just made was echoed by Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail yesterday in effect saying that all of the Republican candidates, that it is a product of the campaign as a whole, and not just one candidate.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is right.
SCIUTTO: And I wonder what you think needs to be said and what phrase is necessary for them to say, because some were quick, Jeb Bush and others, were quick to come out to say I don't represent that. Paul Ryan's speech was pretty clear, and it violates not only the law but the Constitution and the spirit of the country. What do you need to hear them say?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: How about them not saying the things that they have said. Because it is not just Donald Trump that has said that Muslims are unacceptable for admission to the country. Jeb Bush suggested that we should only admit Christian refugees and not Muslim refugees. Chris Christie would have denied 3-year-old orphans if they were Muslim into this country. And Marco Rubio said after the Paris attacks not only should we be considering interment, but he actually suggested that maybe we should close down cafes and diners where Muslims gather, and in fact, compared them to the Nazi Party. I mean, so --
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: They are all in the same boat.
SCIUTTO: And so you have run a lot of campaigns, and you know how they work, and candidates don't say stuff unless they believe that there is an audience for that stuff.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That is right.
SCIUTTO: And in your view, are those comments or what you call mealy mouthed reposts, as it were, to Donald Trump's comments, is that the because they are hearing from their polling, from the focus groups, et cetera, that there is public support for these kinds of positions?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The Republican party as a whole since the development and strengthening of the Tea Party as the base has been absolutely petrified to the not alienate that base. All of them running for president understand that their pathway to the nomination will not occur without making sure that they have that Tea Party extremist base. Their supporters support these concepts, and embrace that notion. Their supporters are not a majority of the country, and so, really, getting back to the opening questions, you know, at the end of the day, that is why the 45th president of the United States will be the Democratic nominee, because when we have our nominee versus their nominee, certainly, the sense of their nominee is going to be coming from this collection of the right wing extreme bigots who would take our country backwards to the McCarthy era policies that I think that most Americans, I am sure that most Americans reject, that is why our nominee will ultimately be president of the United States.
SCIUTTO: Final question. You heard Donald Trump float the idea and not for the first time that he would be willing to possibly run as a third-party candidate. Is that good news for the Democrats if that were to happen?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, you know what goes on, on their side of the aisle is not of concern to me in terms of the political machinations, but what is of concern is a member of Congress and as an American and as the party leader is that we make sure that we support our constitution, our constitutional principles, and that we continue to be the beacon of hope and democracy and freedom and welcoming people who are freeing, and who are fleeing oppression. That is with what the Democratic Party stands for and the Republican Party stands for turn turning the clock back to the McCarthy era, and that is the contrast here.
SCIUTTO: Those are strong words, Debbie Wassermann Schultz. We appreciate having you on.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you so much.
SCIUTTO: And coming up next, our political strategists will weigh in on the latest controversy. Should the RNC risk alienating Trump even if it means a Trump third-party run? Plus, hear what Trump's say is the real reason the RNC does not like the current front runner.
[13:43:57] SCIUTTO: We have been covering the political firestorm surrounding Donald Trump's proposal for a temporary travel ban on all Muslims coming to the U.S.
Here to talk about it now, political strategist, Angela Rye; and CNN political commentator and Republican strategist, Tara Setmayer.
Tara, if I can begin with you, on this controversy we heard from the RNC chairman today, Reince Priebus, and he said the following, "We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values." Do you think the RNC need to do more to explicitly say that what their leading, by a long shot, candidate has just proposed?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the RNC is in a tough position because they are the national committee. They have to be careful of how they get involved into a certain degree. The fact Reince came out and strongly --
SETMAYER: Well, yes, because you're dealing with a rogue candidate. Unfortunately, when you have someone threatening to go third party, threatening to charge CNN $5 million to show up at the debate -- he's don't all these things that are very unconventional, no one has seen before, no one has answers for directly. It's a tough balancing act for the RNC, which is unfortunate because a lot of us who are looking at this and saying someone needs to take Trump on directly and hold him accountable for a lot of the reckless things he has said. But given that, it's the third-party aspect of this that is holding the RNC hostage and kind of having to handle him with kid gloves because of the way the structure is set up. Now, you have other people like Paul Ryan and Dick Cheney and other leaders in the party who have condemned what Donald Trump has said, and that's what they should do.
[13:50:42] SCIUTTO: Angela, Trump has fired that warning shot, laid it out there. It's not the first time he's done, about a third party run. Is that enough of an excuse in your view for the RNC to hold back a little bit, treat him with kid gloves as Tara was saying?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I certainly understand the position, but I absolutely disagree. I think part of the issue is, I keep asking myself, where is the line in the sand? No matter what, I'm like, this is the moment, this is the moment where he goes too far. He says there needs be a ban on all Muslims and he also said had he been elected at that time he maybe would have supported Japanese internment and he thought FDR did the right thing. He wouldn't have been alone in that moment, but for us to be in 2015, almost 2016, it's shocking.
For me, I wonder what is that real line in the sand, where you say I need to set politics aside because what's most important is our American values. If that is indeed the case, what does that really look like? Paul Ryan, as you just mentioned, Tara, said, I'm still going to support the Republican nominee. That's why we can't find the line. What is accepted?
SETMAYER: You know, you just had Debbie Wasserman Schultz is about staying on message no matter what. She almost the master. But she's a madam of staying on message almost to the point of ridiculousness at times. So you understand for Angela the way politics works especially for committee chairmen, they're going to sit there and say, yes, we support the will nominee. That's the political answer.
SCIUTTO: Listen, we've all covered politics. But when you tear up the talking points and say, listen, this is a bridge too far. I know you correctly cite -- I sat there and watched Paul Ryan very explicitly say this violates our Constitution, violates the law. We saw Dick Cheney in no uncertain teams say this is damaging.
SETMAYER: Almost all the Republican candidates say the same.
SCIUTTO: The party is the party. Eventually it's got the accountability. When do you tear up the talking points book -- and talk about lines in the sand. This is a line too far?
RYE: Jim, let me just say --
SCIUTTO: Let me give Tara a moment.
SETMAYER: I think at some point now that there has to be a tougher position on forcing Donald Trump to have to be accountable for what he says. How they choose to do that I think they're still trying to figure out because of all of the different layers involved, it's not just that simple as saying, that's it, we condemn you, you have to get out of this race. It doesn't work that way for the party chairmanship, for someone like Reince Priebus. Other folks have done that, and that's what they should do. But when you have people following Trump say they'll follow him to a third party, that is a balancing act for us as a party looking at a general election. If that happens, we can hand the presidency right to Hillary Clinton. That is the balance the party is looking for, ultimately it's about winning the election.
SCIUTTO: Angela, I want to give you a chance to respond.
But I want to give our viewers a chance to listen to Trump supporters. We spoke to them about these comments. Here's how one of them explained their thinking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: The GOP, the Republicans, cannot control him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't.
UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: That's what they don't like about him. They can control Bush. They can control Rubio. They can control all of them.
UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: All of them.
UNIDENTIFIED TRUMP SUPPORTER: For them to come out and to back-stab him like this, I'm done with the Republican Party. I don't think he'll leave the party, but if mar. Trump was go to go Independent, I'll bring all my people -- we're going to send a message to Congress. We're going to send a message to the Senate. We're going to send a message to the Democrats and the Republicans and this president when he leaves. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: You just heard there a nice crystallization really of what it is that drives many people to support him even with statements like this. And I wonder, Angela, he can say anything. The level of that feeling if America is pretty high with a lot of institutions.
RYE: That's 100 percent right. And I continue to look not only to our political leaders but to leaders of corporations, leaders of nonprofits s faith leaders to tell us what is a step too far? What are real American values? Thankfully, I got to sit in and listen to President Obama speak today to Congress talking at the 150th commemoration of the 13th Amendment or the ratification of it. I want to pull this quote because it's so timely right now. He said, "We betray efforts from the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms." I'm not just saying because I'm a Democrat and he's a Democratic president. I await the opportunity to quote someone who speaks out that strongly on the Republican side.
[13:55:31] SETMAYER: Really quickly, it's ironic to me here with pointing to strong statements made by President Obama only when it comes to race and bigotry.
SETMAYER: When it comes to national security, calling radical Islam who they are, that's why they support Donald Trump. He goes too far, but he says it straight and honest.
SETMAYER: -- president, when it comes to protecting the American people, that's also what's fueling a lot of the Trump support because they're sick and tired of that level of, well, we're going to talk all over and hear this but then we're going to lollygag and --
SCIUTTO: But there are times to be fair --
SCIUTTO: To be fair, there are also time to be fair where he blurs the truth.
SETMAYER: Absolutely. I'm not a Trump supporter, by any means.
SCIUTTO: I understand.
SETMAYER: I'm using it as an example of why people are so upset.
SCIUTTO: It's a fair point. Tara, Angela, thanks so much.
That's it for us right now. The news continues right after this message.