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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Trump Pivots, Heads Spin, Republicans Worry; Clinton Doesn't Take The Bait On Trump Attack; Clinton Talks Women Issues In Virginia Voters; Winning The Women's Vote; Trump: Clinton An "Enabler Of Husband's Infidelity"; Trump Meets House Speakers Ryan, Others Thursday; Can The GOP's Division Be Bridged?; Evangelicals And Trump; Who Will Be The Religious Right's Candidate?; At Least 2 Dead In Oklahoma Tornadoes; 10% of City Destroyed By Wildfire; Widespread Destruction From Wildfire. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 9, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:45] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, Donald Trump making headlines for things he said, for positions he's held and change for people he's offended, fans he's fired up and opponents he's belittled, in other words, welcome to Monday.
All of the above, however, stands out for most Mondays because this is the first one, Donald Trump is the undisputed presumptive Republican nominee. It's the point in which most candidates and his business you might turn towards November start ruling general election voters over Donald Trump as we certainly know is not the most candidates. His general election pivots so far, includes concerning financial experts, annoying tax cutting conservatives and potentially alienating some women voters with remarks about the opponent he calls "crooked Hillary." We begin with that with CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton isn't taking the bait.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have nothing to say about him and how he's run his campaigns.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Incredible.
ZELENY: Donald Trump is running his campaign by reviving old Clinton controversies.
TRUMP: She's married to a man who is the worst abuser of women in the history of politics. She's married to a man who hurt many women, and Hillary, if you look and see study, Hillary hurt many women, the women that he abused.
ZELENY: Today in Virginia, Clinton says, she isn't responding to that.
CLINTON: Oh, I'm answering him all the time -- no, I'm answering him on what I think voters care about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're responding with substance.
CLINTON: I'm running my campaign. I'm not running against him. He is doing a fine job of doing that himself. I'm running my campaign, what I want to do as president, what I stand for, what I've always stood for.
ZELENY: Her battle with Trump already hardening in their fight for women voters.
CLINTON: There's still was a challenge with equal pay for women which is real, not made up.
ZELENY: Trump defending his comments on CNN's "New Day," telling Chris Cuomo that Clinton played the woman card first.
TRUMP: She is playing the woman's card to the hilt.
ZELENY: Women, always a pivotal vote, even more so this year. She leads Trump 61 to 35 nationally among women according to the latest CNN/ORC poll. Clinton is taking her message to small groups of voters, like this gathering today at a cafe in Virginia.
CLINTON: You know, I'm accused of playing the gender card and all of that, and the fact is that it's a real problem.
ZELENY: She won the Virginia primary two months ago.
CLINTON: Hello, Virginia.
ZELENY: But she's back with the general election in mind.
CLINTON: It's clear that there are so many challenges facing young families today that we have got to come to grips with.
ZELENY: The path to the White House goes directly through suburbs like here in Loudoun County, Virginia. Clinton visited for this reason. President Obama carried the county by 8 percent in 2008 and only three points four years later. But in the 2014 mid term elections, Republican Barbara Comstock won the Congressional district by 17 points. Now she's torn telling the "Washington Post," I can't support Hillary Clinton and I won't be, but Donald Trump needs to earn the votes of me and many others.
These swing voters here will be key to the fall election. Clinton is still trying to build excitement around her history making candidacy to be the first woman president, particularly willing women and effort mock by "Saturday Night Live."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Barbie, the first Barbie commander-in- chief.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, neat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, and do you want to play with her? She's a girl just like you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny joins us. Now what is the campaign saying about why Hillary Clinton isn't responding directly to Trump's allegations?
ZELENY: Anderson, quite simply, the campaign believes that voters don't want to hear about this any more, that women voters in particular certainly didn't like it then, wouldn't like it now. They want to hear what she would do for them that's why we saw the Clinton campaign out there. You know, early this afternoon, Secretary Clinton talking about child care, health care, education, other things. So, simply they're trying to take the high road for now. And they believe that that will work in the long term because they believe that they have such a significant advantage among women voters and others.
But there is that open question out there that Donald Trump is, you know, a unique candidate here. All of his attacks worked so well in the primary, would they work now? But, for now, the Clinton campaign believes and certainly Secretary Clinton believes, she told us directly there that, I'm not responding to him. She does not want to get drawn into this.
[21:05:04] The question is, will Bill Clinton respond to this. This is, of course, is directed at him as well. He's out there campaigning all the time. He's been known to go off message, so, I'll be watching that in the coming days, Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah, and of course at some point they're going to be on the stage debating each other. So we will see how that goes. Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
John King, here by the magical wall. Donald Trump says he doesn't have a problem with women voters among women voters. Does he?
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He does at the moment. He has a fundamental huge structural problem. If he doesn't improve it, he can't win the White House in November.
Look at this, this is among women. We asked our voters in our national poll, registered voters, women, 61 percent to 35 percent. So that's 26 points right there. I insist impossible or near impossible. Anyway, I can't figure how you get elected president. If this is your gender gap come Election Day. For comparison, there was only 11 points. President Obama won -- remember in Electoral College landslide in 2012 over Mitt Romney, 55 percent of women voted for the president on reelection day, 44 percent for Mitt Romney.
So if you look at that number -- does Donald Trump have to -- if Donald Trump needs to get somewhere in this territory or even better than Mitt Romney. You cannot be 26 points down among women and have a reasonable chance to win the general election.
Now, can he get there? He's got six months but as he tries to get there, this is as much as the problem. The horse race numbers can be changed but it's hard to change this horse race numbers when you have this number, which is only 34 percent. These are again, women registered voters, only 34 percent view Donald Trump favorably right now, 64 percent unfavorably. He has a convention. Now, he has this campaign of it. He has six months to change it. So it cannot be done? Of course, it can be done but he starting in a huge ditch, he is.
COOPER: Right, I mean Donald Trump essentially says there's a lot of time. And Hillary Clinton has high unfavorables, and this is much to do about nothing.
KING: Right and Trump also says, look I just want to Republican primary.
KING: I didn't swing them. I want to convince them.
COOPER: Right yeah, I mean all the other candidates are out.
KING: And so this is no big deal. And that's a valid point. That's a valid point but I just want to make this point.
Republican primaries and the demographics of Republican primaries are very different than a general election. Republican primaries tend to be majority men. Women are a smaller slice of the electorate. These are all states Trump won and all states Trump says will be on play in the general election. Nevada, Virginia, Michigan, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, only in Florida in our exit polls were women and majority of voters in these primaries, in Nevada's case a caucus.
You see 48 percent of women, 47 percent just over 50 in Florida. But in the general election, we know from history it will be significantly different. Take a look, 53 percent of voters in 2012 in Nevada on Election Day November were women, 53 percent in Virginia, 51 percent in Michigan, 55 percent in Florida, 55 percent in New York.
Look at the difference between the Republican primary and the general election in New York, same in Pennsylvania. So Anderson, in November Donald Trump is going to competing in an electorate that we know nationally will be majority women. We know in this key battleground states will be majority women and some of them, if you look 55, 55, 53,53 by a significant margin.
So you cannot win the presidency with a 26 point gender gap which is what Donald Trump has right now. He has six months, but there is no doubt at the moment he has a problem.
COOPER: All right, John, make your way back over here to the panel table. We begin discussion in the last hour. We got pretty heated, joining us in this hour Republican Strategist, Ana Navarro, The Daily Caller Contributor Matt Lewis as well as our other panelists. Mary Katharine, let's start up with you.
Does this -- it just feels like this is just the beginning of this kind of discussion. We're going to be hearing a lot more about it. Does it help Donald Trump? MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMENTATOR AND SENIOR WRITER, THE FEDERALIST: Well, it's just the beginning of the general election. But I think what's important, is we saw him flip numbers in a really serious way during the GOP primary, the things that people thought ...
HAM: ... was unfavorable thought could never go that direction and they did.
COOPER: I remember the whole, he couldn't get above 35 percent. Well, that's, you know.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY CALLER AND CONSERVATIVE WRITER: Yes, he had a ceiling. It was a cathedral ceiling. Its huge ceiling but still I had to see them.
COOPER: And they kept raising that.
HAM: But I think what's interesting, is the distinction was really important that John makes between the primary and the general, because Donald Trump often speaks about the general as if it will be the same as the primary, and it's not the same electorate, it does not respond to the same things. He is changed a lot of rules but I don't think he can make the primary ...
COOPER: This is which that Hillary Clinton, the attack on her as "enabler". Do you think that plays well among Republicans and even an Independents in general?
LEWIS: That's plays amazingly well among Republicans because of we've seen Republican candidate after Republican candidate bend over backwards. I'm a good guy. I'm not a racist. I'm not misogynist and they play the woman card every time and they beat them up Mitt Romney was destroyed by the women. Mitt Romney despite and the most decent guy we could ever meet, destroyed by the world in woman thing. Republicans are like finally somebody who's going to go on the offensive and take the battle to Hillary.
And I think there's something else. And I think part of it is psychological warfare, it is not about the actual issue, it's about look what he did to Ted Cruz. Right, he brings up the whole, you know, Rafael Cruz involved in assassination of JFK. A crazy issue, doesn't want any voters, but it got Ted Cruz of his message who give this crazy press conference. And I think Hillary, let see if she slips up.
COOPER: It's interesting, Ana be gotten where essentially was saying is that it setting kind of a marker down of where this might go and a warning which I guess from views or at least he believes use effectively when Hillary Clinton brought up the notion of Trump to sexist. He sort encountered with his enabler. And I think that was the initial salvo and it seemed to, I think in Trump's estimation stopped the Clinton push on that. [21:10:11] ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first let me say I don't think its place with all Republican women. I can tell you it doesn't play well with this Republican woman. I have a real issue with Donald Trump going there. I think we need to have this, the issues oriented at some point in this campaign, this needs to turn into a debate about the issues.
And I really have an issue I have to tell you with a guy like Donald Trump, but really, is he the best messenger on an issue like infidelity? I don't think so.
Let's also remember that he has the enabler and The Philander at his wedding and he maxed out in campaign donations to the enabler and gave the Philanders foundation hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So, the entire attack to me is just crazy from every angle, from the woman angle, from the political angle, from everything goes.
LEWIS: This control and it's also about controlling the news cycle. We're talking about it right now.
NAVARRO: That being said, he continues doing what he has done with the entire time. It's a cause controversy that gives ...
COOPER: Barry, can Donald Trump make this argument when back in 2008, I mean, we played that video on the last hour. He said this was much to do about nothing essentially.
BARRY BENNETT, SENIOR ADVISER TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I mean, we already has, right? I mean, everybody is all, everybody is talking about. And Matt is absolutely correct. This unifies the party. So, this is not the best strategy.
NAVARRO: Now, you want to fight the price.
BENNETT: Yes, it does. We go to the polling numbers.
NAVARRO: I mean, I just, you know, ...
BENNETT: Ana, you're wrong.
NAVARRO: OK. Well, but that's because we're not unified. If you think that the party is unified, you cross between -- you are living in a wardrobe and are living in the universe of Narnia.
BENNETT: It's been unification unit in everything. Well, but there, probably, I just said something.
LEWIS: Well I can say that, I don't like Donald Trump very much. But I think that a most for the best majority Republicans are to enjoy going on the offense.
And if Hillary slips up, and by the way, she's hypocritical on this. I think this shows her hypocrisy. We talked about it, you know, you guys talked about it during the last segment about the fact that she was essentially trying to discredit women. I mean, that's a vital issue. That's legitimate.
COOPER: I want Paul ...
NAVARRO: I mean, that's supposed to -- wait to make that argument not up to Donald Trump.
COOPER: I want Paul and the others, so we have respond to that in a second. We got to take a quick break. We're going to have more on this discussion. We'll be right back.
[21:15:42] COOPER: With Donald Trump polls badly among women. Women outvote men in general elections, as John was just showing you the wall. Trump claims that he will in his own words be better for women by a big factor than Hillary Clinton. That's a quote.
So, are his tactics and -- so with his tactics are open debate and whose votes he thinks he'll be wining them with are open to debate as well. Back with the panel. We stop the conversation in mid sentence. Paul, I want you to be able to respond to some what was said.
And also, do you think and there are a lot of younger women who were not alive or, you know, sort of voting age during the '90s, aren't aware of initially the history here. And this might all be kind of new stuff in.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is, but it's also certainly literally prehistoric to them. And one of the laws of politics is election is about the future, not the past. Elections are about your life, not mine.
And this attack violates both of those rules. And Barry said something very telling though. He said this will unify the Republicans. That may will be, but that also explain, he said, it's just a tactic in the guy's at any point. He invited the Clintons to his wedding. He praised President Clinton after the affair became known. He attacked the impeachment is still legitimate.
So, this is just another common man's grief, OK? He's just trying to put one over, and it will work on some people it will, but they tend to be Republican voters anyway. His deficit with women, I'll pick up what King was in. Married women went to for Mitt Romney by seven points. They're now going for Hillary by 12.
So Trump has to get to makeup 19 points just to lose. Unmarried women went for President Obama by 36 points. They're going for Hillary now by 52. He can't win unless he gets better with women. I don't think this is going to make him better with women. It's to make him worse.
COOPER: And Kayleigh -- I mean, to Paul's point, if Donald Trump believes this so vehemently about Hillary Clinton and about Bill Clinton, why back in 2008 did he say basically the opposite and invite them to his wedding.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, a lot of things have changed since then. One being that Linda Tripp came out and said, look, I sat -- I was just down the hall from Hillary Clinton in the west wing. I sat there and I heard her come up with, essentially lies to demonize these women.
So I think a lot has changed since then and I think that this is going to be very effective with women, not only the allegations with respect to Clinton's personal life. But the news day, the news they reported on a 1975 rape case in which Hillary Clinton blames the victim. Number 101, when you're dealing with rape cases, don't blame the victim.
She blamed a 12 year old girl, a sixth grade 12 year old girl of seeking the attention of older men and fantasizing about being with older men. There's audio.
COOPER: Wait, we haven't corroborated any of this. So, I mean, I just think you should be very -- I mean this is not been ...
MCENANY It's widely reported. It's widely reported.
COOPER: It's widely reported, so is the National Enquirer widely reported. Widely reported doesn't mean anything, not on this network I would point out.
MCENANY: OK, but there's an audio tape where Hillary Clinton laughs about the defendant in this case and said, look, he passed a polygraph and I forever lost my faith in polygraph. So that's ...
COOPER: So you're point is ...
MCENANY: So that is -- my point is she demonized the rape victim. She laughs about it in a radio interview. The people can go look up the audio on YouTube. So she has a long history, not with respect to her personal life, but with respect to her legal work of demonizing sexual assault victims. Women will not like this. It's going to be put in an ad and Hillary Clinton is going to suffer for that.
COOPER: Angela, I mean, do you believe that this is something that is going to go as Kayleigh says?
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: No, I don't. I really believe that, number one, as an attorney, I am really just flabbergasted by some of the allegations that we're just tossing out here that are not -- we're not really accountable. We have to be accountable ...
HAM: But Kayleigh is right about the audio. The audio was broken by the freebie and more than a year ago. It was from the Clinton library. It was dug up by a reporter there. So there is actual evidence here that -- of her speaking about this ...
RYE: The whole breath and depth of what's been said tonight though is not. And so, what I'm saying to you is that, I think that we still need to be careful with our words. And I think that we can still run great election coverage, and have a great debate on real, tangible issues. Then I think unfortunately, for Trump supporters, this is really hard because you don't know where he stands from day to day.
COOPER: But Angela a do for a new generation women who were not paying attention or aren't alive even back then or in voting age. How do you think this plays?
RYE: I don't think it plays well. And again, I think it goes to the fact that whether you have been cheated on or you know someone who's been cheated on, it is always wrong to blame someone who was a party of that and didn't participate in it. So I don't -- I think that there are women everywhere that can appreciate that. They maybe they have parents who have been divorced because a father cheated or a mother cheated. It is ridiculous.
[21:20:05] COOPER: Kayliegh, did Donald Trump have affairs? I'm not up on his history. But, did your candidate have affairs?
MCENANY: I don't know personally if he did or didn't. You know, we do ...
COOPER: What's been reported?
MCENANY: We do know that people that he has been married three different times, and people love to bring it up over and over and over again, but I do know that he has never demonized sexual assault victims ...
COOPER: So your unaware he had a reporting that his had affair?
RYE: He did on a military base that I brought up earlier.
MCENANY: No you brought up that tweet by the way and you took it completely out of context. He was saying that when you bring men and women together, there are sexual assaults, and it is unfortunate and shouldn't happen.
COOPER: I guess the question is Donald Trump the right person to be bringing up, you know, the issue race by Ana the question was is Donald Trump really the right person to bringing these things up. And if it was such a big deal for him, why was it not a big deal for him in 2008?
MCENANY: I think he is the right person to bring it up and I think if we really want the right person to bring it up, I think Juanita Broderick should be on this network, I think Paula Jones should be on this network. I think we should bring on the victims if you don't want to hear it from Donald Trump, let's bring on the victims, and let them have their day in court right here, right now and address these in the court.
NAVARRO: Kayleigh let me tell you, much like the Bill Clinton case, the Donald Trump philandering, infidelity whatever you want to call it was also played out on national media. We all read about the fight between Marla Maples and Ivana Trump back then, I don't care about what Donald Trump in 20 years ago or what Bill Clinton did 20 year ago. I don't think we should charge or accuse Hillary Clinton on that. I want to know what they do for me today and tomorrow what they were going to do to make our lives better. You know, frankly it is disingenuous to be on national TV and say you don't know that, you know, the what Donald Trump marital history was. Everybody knows. It is all over the press.
MCENANY: OK, Ana you don't care about affairs, but do you care about actions of Hillary Clinton with respect to the victims? You care not about Bill's actions, let's take Bill Clinton out of this, do you care about Hillary's actions with respect to the victims. Do you care or do you not care?
NAVARRO: Let me tell you what I care about Kayleigh, I care about national security, I care about education, I care about the economy, I care about jobs. And if anybody is going to make those charges against Hillary Clinton and should be the women who had to deal with it. And should be Hillary Clinton and those women ...
MCENANY: And they have, and they have.
NAVARRO: ... it most definitely not be a man who we all know, including you, did cheat on his wife.
MCENANY: They have made those accusations, so they can't get national attention, they can't get on television networks. They made accusations to places like the Daily Mail, but only people who would listen to them but I am surprised that you don't care about these women. It is a huge issue, it goes with integrity, it goes to ...
NAVARRO: I didn't say that I didn't care about those women. I said I don't care about allegations that have been litigated 20 years ago when it comes to Trump and when it comes Bill Clinton, particularly since Bill Clinton is not on the ballot.
NAVARRO: Judge Hillary Clinton by her actions.
BENNETT: Before we are saying is that Hillary is said some really nasty things about some of the women. We raise in private conversation.
BEGALA: Such as?
BENNETT: The Looney Tunes remark.
BEGALA: She thinks fair being to criticize her for being unhappy that her husband had an affair in a private phone call?
BENNETT: It's surprise though that she didn't say anything about her husband in that conversation.
BEGALA: Yes, she did. Didn't make the story.
LEWIS: This all started because Hillary Clinton back in like December attacked Donald Trump for being a misogynist, she try to play the wrong women card that Democrats run every cycle and recent history and now Donald Trump said OK you want to play that game, we are going to push back a little bit.
RYE: Does he said he wanted to punish women.
LEWIS: It's a politics.
NAVARRO: What I will tell you which I find really interesting, is that Donald Trump is showing us that he is gender blind when it comes to attacking and counter attacking.
COOPER: Which is why Melania Trump had said herself.
NAVARRO: I think -- you know, I think a lot of ...
LEWIS: You could argue is a positive attribute.
NAVARRO: I'm not saying it's not I mean saying let's recognize that. A lot of male candidates kind of, you know, tip toe around stuff regarding women, how do we prepare to debate a women. How do we prepare to run against the woman Donald Trump is laying it all out there.
LEWIS: Yeah, and tonight ...
LEWIS: I agree and I think if John McCain or Mitt Romney were running against her, they would be wringing their hands so, you know ...
COOPER: But let me ask you were your saw how Hillary Clinton responded to this can she continue to respond to it in the same way?
BEGALA: As Matt points out, Trump has raised this for months. And his 52 points behind with unmarried women, this12 points behind with married women. It's not working well that's why Hillary knows if she makes the election about their lives, not hers, they'll both be better off.
The truth is Mr. Trump is wealthy, he has a terrific family but the thing you did with him with the family, she was the best thing he's done in the campaign. Hillary is healthy and wealthy with a terrific family. Both of the Trump and the Hillary Clinton families they're going to be fine. The question is will your family be fine? COOPER: Mary Kat and then we'll go.
HAM I think this is the whole thing is emblematic of the conundrum the Republican Party find themselves and which is that he has alienated many Republicans and I think Matt is not wrong, that many of them will feel good about going on the offensive in this situation.
[21:25:06] And that might unify to some degree not all of us. But it unifies in the most caustic way possible for the general election and for specifically that women gap and I think that's the problem.
LEWIS: But this could also be setting the table, to and I don't know if Trump is this smarter this when he's very smart but I don't know if he can, if he is disciplined enough to do this but theoretically he could be setting the table inoculating himself now from the wrong women name so that down the road they can't -- they won't use it against him.
COOPER: Which would be a smart move.
NAVARRO: I think he is rattling that little cage that they're keeping Bill Clinton and in seeing if he can get to itself.
COOPER: We have to take a quick break. Everybody stick around. As more to talk about just ahead, can divided GOP find a way to pull together before November? What and who are the biggest obstacles.
Plus behind the frontlines, the battle to stop an out of control fire its already burned 400,000 acres and forced an entire city to evacuate. The images, unforgettable.
COOPER: As we been reporting and say crucial moment for the Republican Party with a critical meeting just days away on Thursday morning, Donald Trump will meet with GOP leaders in Washington, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest ranking elector Republican withholding support for the presumptive nominee.
[21:30:08] He said on CNN last week that he is not ready yet. He is not alone not by long site -- shot. Tonight the GOP is party divided from the Grassroots to its leaders. Here is Dana Bash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: As the grand old party churns in turmoil, Donald Trump is reminding Republican nay Sayers today of this reality. GOP voters chose him for a reason.
TRUMP: I have people that I'm representing. They're unbelievable people, they're loyal, they're smart, they're sharp, they're tired of being abused. BASH: And some establishment Republicans are getting on board. Today, Terry Branstad of Iowa, the longest serving Governor in U.S. history.
GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD, (R) IOWA: You know, as he, they're going to be the nominee of our party. And I'm a team player, and I'm going to support him.
BASH: And even House Speaker Paul Ryan, who detonated a political bomb by withholding support for Trump, now looks like he is trying to cool things off ahead of a critical meeting with Trump later this week.
Ryan told a paper back home, "The man deserves a ton of credit for an amazing achievement. At the same time, we want to make sure we don't pretend we're unified and then go into the fall at half strength."
And after Trump suggested that he may ask Ryan to step aside as chair of the Republican convention, Ryan said he'd be happy to oblige.
But, today on CNN's "New Day", Trump also seemed to try to lay the ground work for a successful meeting with Ryan.
TRUMP: He was very supportive and very nice. I thought everything was fine. And then I got blindsided. So we'll see it.
BASH: Other high profile Republicans, however, are digging into the GOP divide. Trump Supporter Sarah Palin told CNN, she'll even work to help defeat Ryan in his Republican primary.
SARAH PALIN, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Paul Ryan and his ilk, their problem is they have become so disconnected from the people whom they are elected to represent.
BASH: Palin's running mate, John McCain says he won't go to the Republican convention, and Told CNN's Manu Raju, he is with Trump.
He is facing a tough Senate re-election bid in Arizona and has been careful not to anger Republican voters there.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: You have to listen to people that have chosen the nominee of our Republican Party. I don't -- I think it would be foolish to ignore them.
BASH: And that puts McCain at rare odds with his long time Political and Policy Soul Mate, Lindsey Graham.
Are you the one out of step here with your party?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: It could be. I would have supported all 16, except for the Donald. The Republican Party has been conned here and this guy is not a reliable conservative Republican.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dana, what more do we know about this meeting on Thursday between Senate GOP leaders and Trump?
BASH: Well, that's a new one. The Republicans in the Senate, the leadership starting, of course, with the top, a guy, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, they are going to have a meeting with Donald Trump.
My understanding is that aside from the obvious, trying to figure out how they can try to bridge this very, very big gap within the party is that they need to try to figure out who he is, because Donald Trump isn't a Washington player, he is not somebody who is very well known to them.
Most of these top leaders here in Washington know him mostly from television. So, first and foremost, they just want to try to get to know him and see what he is really like behind the scenes. Whereas in the past, you know, however, many nominees, it hasn't been that hard, because they've known them.
The other interesting development, Anderson, tonight is that our Deirdre Walsh on Capitol Hill confirmed a "Washington Post" report that the Trump campaign through Armstrong Williams is reaching out to Paul Ryan to try to get Ben Carson, a Trump emissary to meet with Ryan before the Trump meeting.
Now, this is the kind of thing that, you know, happens at the state department and before you have a meeting before a meeting so that the meeting goes well. The fact that it's happening within the Republican Party among the House speaker and the nominee is I think a bit telling.
COOPER: Yeah. Jolly (ph), indeed. Dana, thanks very much. Back with our panel. Also joining us, David Walker, former head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
David, let's start with you. How do you see this all playing out? I mean, this week and beyond?
DAVID WALKER, FORMER U.S. COMPTROLLER GENERAL: Well, it's a mess right now. And I hope that the general election campaign will be about the future in policy rather than about the past and personalities.
And it's clearly going to be very different. I think ultimately that, you know, Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump will reconcile.
COOPER: You think there was sooner rather than later?
WALKER: I think they'll reconcile. I mean, the fact is the Speaker has a role to play and oversee the convention and he has an obligation to support the Republican nominee whoever that is.
You know, it's the Republican voters that are deciding who the nominee is. I mean, quite frankly, I think the quote, unquote "establishment", hasn't come to realize that many voters view them as part of the problem. That's part of the solution.
[21:35:06] LEWIS: But, Paul Ryan also has responsibility as I would say, the inheritor of the Ronald Reagan-Jack Kemp weighing of the conservative movement.
LEWIS: And that wing is now living in exile. Maybe temporarily. And if Paul Ryan allows his brand of conservatism to be tarnished by Donald Trump, that will be a bad thing. So, maybe he can find a way to work together as Donald Trump. But he has to keep in mind how do we keep the Reagan-Kemp model from being co-opted.
COOPER: David, do you think some of Trump's comments recently about the economy prickly (ph) are do, you know, just printing more money out to what we call a reckless?
WALKER: Well, I think he hasn't thought through all of the issues yet frankly. And, I would imagine that he'll be doing more homework on this. For example, his comment about national debt. There's only two things in the U.S. constitution that are guaranteed.
Number one is debt of the United States and the second is Union Civil War Pensions. I think we paid those. My family was from Alabama. We weren't covered for some reason. But you don't have to worry about that. And frankly our interest rates are so low right now if rates go up you don't want to buy back what we have. But we do have to restructure. We are on an improve unsustainable path. We do need somebody who is willing to take that on and we do need to cut a deal.
COOPER: Doug, I mean just from an economic standpoint, there sometimes are watch this, say what does this matter. I mean the -- Donald Trump has ideas and can maybe he is unconventional. But, you know, he won.
DOUG HOLTZ-EAKIN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE: Yes, he won. I think that's something that everybody accepts. But, what they don't know, is what does the future hold for the policies that they are missing up.
You know, Paul Ryan has seven taskforces in the House, there to essentially put out a House platform for how the United States should be run. They want to know if Donald Trump is going to oppose that, is he going to undercut that, that is the Paul Ryan's vision for the future of America. So where does that fit in the Republican Party now as been led by Donald Trump. That's the issue that has to be resolved.
COOPER: Barry, William Bennett, it was a long time friend of Speaker Ryan, said that he thinks this meeting is going to be less about specific policy and more sort of broader issues about conservative principles limited government. Do you think that's true?
BENNETT: I think though it's a lot I get to know each other in a personal basis too. Because they don't know each other very well. So, I think this meeting will go well Thursday. COOPER: David, does it surprise you that Paul Ryan coming out so publicly on Jake Tapper show last week?
WALKER: Well, he's probably reconsidering that now. I mean the fact of the matter is they need to focus on policies, they needs to focus on priorities and principles at this point. I mean principles and priorities. And the fact is yes, they need to work together, but ultimately the Chief Executive of the United States which is the president of the United States, has to lead. And they have to work together to get things done. And frankly it's been awhile since we had that.
COOPER: Yeah. Doug, you?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: I think I wasn't surprised of that. But he has a personal commitment to the Jack Kemp Vision for America and the policies he is developing, and he has an obligation as the leader of Republicans in the House to make sure they retain their House majority. And he is not ready to check that box, he is not sure he can meet both those commitments.
COOPER: His also concerned politically about other race -- I mean congressional races, Senate races.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Oh, yeah. I mean there's been open discussion about whether the House is the fire line. You know, if the Senate goes and the White House goes, will the House be able to stand. And Republicans maintain control. Paul Ryan is going to investigate that very carefully before he says yes to anything.
COOPER: We got to take a quick break. How Evangelicals feel about Donald Trump, a simple question with a very complicated answer. Details ahead.
[21:42:28] COOPER: Well, Donald Trump has the supporter of a number of the evangelical leaders, and many self identified evangelical voters, not all Christians are on board, obviously. Now that Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, many church going evangelicals no longer have a force in the presidential race.
Southern Baptist Convention Ethicist, Russell Moore has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump who was recently in an op-ed column in "The New York Times" on Friday.
Early this morning, Donald Trump hit back on Twitter writing, "Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of the evangelicals and all the good they stand for, a nasty guy with no heart."
Polls show that Trump has more support among evangelicals who don't go to church regularly than those who do. Want to know how old this is playing out on November? It's a big question mark tonight.
Joining me now is David Brody, Chief Political Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network and Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics Commission.
Dr. Moore, first of all, welcome. I wanted to give you a chance to respond if you want to Donald Trump's tweet about you this morning.
DR. RUSSELL MOORE, PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ETHICS COMMISSION: Well, I thought it was great. It's one of the few things that I can agree with Donald Trump on. I am a nasty guy with no heart. We sing worse things about ourselves and our hymns on Sunday mornings where a wretch in need of God's grace.
And so, I agree with that. But, I think that's the reason why I need forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ. But, beyond that, I think we have some real issues with evangelical Christians, with both parties right now, and the direction on both parties are going.
COOPER: So, the position, Dr. Moore, that evangelicals find themselves. And again, it's silly to kind of use that term as sort of painting with the broad brush. But, I mean, how do they choose between Donald Trump and most likely, Hillary Clinton, you say many of them are horrified in your word?
MOORE: Yes. Horrified. And many of them are thinking through I hear all day long every day from evangelicals who were thinking through whether they're going to write in a candidate, but that they're going to vote for a third party, whether they're not going to vote in that election, whether they're going to try to come up with some lesser of two evils calculation in their voting. It's a real crisis for many evangelicals.
But, frankly, what I hear most of all from evangelicals is does this mean that America is under the judgment of God? That there are many Christians who are wondering, what does this mean for our country when we had a situation in which neither major party nominee for president of the United States is someone that they can respect, that they can point their children too.
You know, I'm the father of five sons. And when I look at this presidential candidate, the way that he talks about women, and the way that he treats sexuality and the way that he talks about basic moral principles, and I think I don't even want my children to watch this. I think that's the burden that is weighing on a lot of people of faith right now.
[21:45:14] COOPER: David, I mean, CNN has had exit or entrance polls measure and the preference of white evangelical voters 2016. So far this Primary season Trump won white evangelicals in 17 of those states, average 40 percent supporter all across all 26 states among evangelical voters Cruz 31 percent. So he is winning those voters as he is more than willing to point out?
DAVID BRODY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: Yeah, he is winning voters and Anderson, if you look closer at those CNN numbers as well. Look at weekly church goers. Donald Trump is pulling in about 40 percent, 40 percent of weekly church goers. Now, you know the narrative in mainstream media is that Donald Trump does well with those cultural Christians, you know, the ones that show up by Easter and Christmas. But indeed that actually is not just only the case. There is a lot more to it. Weekly church goers are a big part of Donald Trump's evangelical attraction. And that is the dirty little secret that a lot of folks in media don't want to talk about.
COOPER: It's interesting Dr. Moore in your op-ed which I read on Friday, I mean you really go take a look at the history of the church through the '60s -- through in the 50's, the '60s, the response to civil rights movement. Why is that important to look at given context of what's going on today in this race?
MOORE: Well, it is important because a lot of people and they think evangelicals think old, angry white people when in fact the evangelicalism is far broader than that. We're a multi-generational, multi-ethnic movement of people who believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And if you look at what happened in the 1960s, I talked about it in the op-ed, a church that I knew of that said nothing during the civil rights movement, when you had literally down the road from the church little girls being blown apart by terrorists in this country, and the church had nothing to say about issues of racial justice, and then later when the church tried to reach African-American people in that community, they found that the community didn't want to hear from them, and rightly so because they said when you had the opportunity to speak up, you said nothing.
I think we are in a similar moment right now when we see the kind of race baiting and the kind of misogyny. That we've seen all through this year. If you have evangelical Christians who are not willing to stand up and say the things that we have said about decency, justice, and morality, that applies to everyone. Not just to our political opponents. We don't have any credibility left for the future.
COOPER: David, did you hear that r debate?
BROODY: I hear some of that for sure. I mean I think that, you know, the bottom line is that Donald Trump has some work to do is that relates to mobilizing those Grassroots evangelical voters who are the ones on the ground doing the dirty work and I think there's any question, you know, interesting everybody talks about how candidates have to move to the center. I actually think Donald Trump probably needs to move a little bit more to the right. He is already pretty much in the center of things, if you will.
I think if he moves to the right and can start to mobilize some of those Grassroots evangelicals, he is going to need the help from pastors around the country and my reporting soon will indicate that will be exactly what is going to be happening.
Let me just say one thing quickly, Anderson. You know, it is interesting. Mitt Romney was not the social conservative candidate for evangelicals necessarily, and same thing with John McCain. So you know, folks to talk about Donald Trump. Look, evangelicals have been burned before. They're ready for something a bit different.
COOPER: We have to leave it there. David Broody, Dr. Russell Moore, good to have you on. Both of you, thank you very much. Coming up next, our breaking news, deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, and update from weather center next. And the latest on the fight against and out of control fire that extraordinarily 10 percent of the city in Canada. Look at those images. We'll be right back.
[21:52:22] COOPER: This breaking news tonight, at least two people have been killed by tornadoes hitting Southern Oklahoma and the severe weather is continuing into the night. Karen Maginnis is with us. Again, what's the latest Karen?
KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, we still have the watches which have been issued across portions of the Deep South. This is, typically, what is known as tornado alley. There you can see the impressive tornado. Now, they'll send out crews looking at the damage associated with this.
This was just to the South of Oklahoma City. A fantastic tornado for the most part, this is a fairly sparsely populated area. But they're saying there are plenty of power outages. We have 2,000 or 3,000 reports of power outages. But a number of homes had been destroyed across this region, estimates are between 5 and 10 homes destroyed.
There are still tornado watches out. But, now, they have shifted towards the east. So, areas around Little Rock just being one of the areas that could be affected by the strong to severe storms overnight. And across north central sections of Texas, this is where we have tornado warnings in effect.
That means that tornadoes have either been spotted or there have been reports or they had been indicated on Doppler radar. Well, as we go into the next 24 hours, Kansas City, St. Louis, Little Rock, Nashville, Memphis, Anderson, we're looking at those major cities that could see the potential for severe weather. Back to you.
COOPER: I usually term fantastic tornadoes. Is that something they call it because obviously, you know, it's not fantastic from a non- weather standpoint and honestly.
MAGINNIS: It's so fantastic because they were able to -- the storm spotters were able to see this, capture it on video. They could see the debris field associated with this. And they will probably make estimates as to what the Fujita scale. This was on an Enhanced Fujita. They'll say probably assess it as ef-3 or ef-4 most likely.
COOPER: Unbelievable, the pictures. Let's just hope everybody stays safe throughout the night. Karen, thanks so much.
The weather is starting to help the 700 firefighters who working night and day against a massive, out of control fire in Canada. Just to give some perspective on this, the fire is about 700 miles north of Helena, Montana.
The smoke has been detected as far away as Florida, can also be seen from space. The numbers -- I mean, they're simply devastating, 90,000 people evacuated, 400,000 acres burned, at least 2,400 structures destroyed.
The fire, zero percent contained right now. It's the pictures -- I'll show you just how bad it is. CNN's Dan Simon joins me now. Describe for us some of what you saw today, Dan.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey Anderson, I have covered a lot of wildfires. And this rags right out there was some of the worst devastation I've ever seen. The first neighborhood we went to is called Beacon Hill, sort of your typical middle class neighborhood, it has dozens, if not hundreds of homes.
[21:55:11] I didn't see a single one standing. I mean, it was unbelievable. Pretty much the same thing at the second neighborhood we went to. Homes, you know, burned down to their foundations, lots of twisted metal and wreckage and burned-out cars, things of that nature.
Another thing that sort of struck me as we were driving around the town was the landscape. Alberta is very pretty during this time of year and there are so many burned-out trees, and it's just everywhere. And it's going to take a long time for the lush greenery to come back and certain places, Anderson.
COOPER: And I mean, are residents -- are they still without shelter? What is it like for them?
SIMON: This is a terrible situation for residents. You are talking about nearly 90,000 people who have been forced to evacuate. And they're going to be out for weeks because right now, the city lacks essential services. There's no power, gas or clean water. And I spoke to a single mother of two children and she has cervical cancer. She is staying at a friend's cottage and look what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't know when we can go back and you don't know when you're going to see your kids again. It's tough. You just try to do the best you can.
Just try to stay positive and just tell them everything is going to be OK. But really, you don't know if everything is going to be OK. It's emotional for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON: Yeah, authorities say they know how she is feeling and they want to help her but they say they're not going to allow anybody back in until that area is safe, Anderson.
COOPER: Gosh, and it's still zero percent contained. Dan Simon, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you very much. We have more ahead.