Return to Transcripts main page
Melania Trump Delivers Plagiarized Speech; GOP Slams Clinton at Republican Convention. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 19, 2016 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MELANIA TRUMP, WIFE OF DONALD TRUMP: Donald is the only one that can deliver it.
[05:59:45] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We're going to win. We're going to win so big.
SCOTT BAIO, ACTOR: Is Donald Trump a messiah? No, he's just a man.
PATRICIA SMITH, MOTHER OF BENGHAZI VICTIM: I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock her up. That's right.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: There's no black America. There's just America!
SHERIFF DAVID DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEE COUNTY, WISCONSIN: I would like to make something very clear: blue lives matter in America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump will make America great again.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers of the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is 6 a.m. in the east. We're live in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention. Through the smoke with Queen playing "We Are the Champions."
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I know that's how you want to enter every NEW DAY, and I like it.
CUOMO: Every day. Every day.
Tough questions for Donald Trump's campaign this morning. This was supposed to be a home run, but now there does seem to have been an error on the field. Melania Trump gave a speech that was well- received, but now two passages appear be plagiarized from Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic convention. How big a deal will this be?
CAMEROTA: Well, Trump's campaign releasing a statement just hours ago, not providing much insight into how this happened, but we have this angle covered from every side. Let's begin with CNN's Phil Mattingly, live inside the Quicken Loans Arena.
Good morning, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
It was the premier event of the premiere night of Donald Trump's convention, Melania Trump, in primetime, expected to paint a picture of a husband that's compassionate, deeply personal side of Donald Trump. Instead, shortly after she finished, Trump campaign officials were scrambling. They are now facing a growing headache.
MATTINGLY (voice-over); The similarities are startling.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: You work hard for what you want in life.
M. TRUMP: That you work hard for what you want in life.
OBAMA: That your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do.
M. TRUMP: That your word is your bond, and you do what you say and keep your promise.
MATTINGLY: Melania Trump's big moment on the national stage overshadowed by an unexpected moment: Trump delivering a speech with plagiarized passages of Michelle Obama's speech from the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
OBAMA: We want our children and all children in this nation to know...
M. TRUMP: Because we want our children in this nation to know.
OBAMA: ... that the only limits to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.
M. TRUMP: ... that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
MATTINGLY: And that's not all.
OBAMA: That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.
M. TRUMP: That you treat people with respect.
OBAMA: Under a fire storm of criticism online, the Trump campaign issuing this statement overnight saying, quote, "Melania's team of writers took notes on her life's inspirations and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking," but the statement doesn't acknowledge the allegations of plagiarism, mention who helped Mrs. Trump write her speech or explain where those fragments came from.
In an interview shot before her big speech, Melania seems to take most of the credit for the content of her remarks.
M. TRUMP: I wrote it with as little help as possible.
OBAMA: Donald Trump's "Apprentice"-like entrance to introduce his wife on stage, yet another moment that has everyone talking about this unconventional convention.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): And Alisyn, it's important to note in the arena behind me last night the speech was very well-received, but it was different from what we expected.
If you look back just four years ago, Ann Romney gave a powerhouse speech of personal moments about her relationship with her husband, then GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Last night's speech from Melania Trump didn't include a lot of that: very general statements, her spin really on Donald Trump's stump speech. Add that to the fact that it appears she was plagiarizing from Michelle Obama, the wife of the president that is attacked so regularly on the campaign trail, and there are a lot of questions heading into day two of the convention -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: All right, we'll get some of those answers this morning when the Trump campaign reps come on. Phil, thank you.
Republicans uniting to try to take down Hillary Clinton, each of the speakers hitting the presumptive Democratic nominee hard last night, some even calling for her to be sent to jail.
CNN senior political reporter, Manu Raju, joins us with more. Hi, Manu.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Now, before Melania Trump's speech overshadowed everything in the campaign, there were some significant developments that happened earlier in the day. There was an effort by "never Trump" delegates to sort of disrupt those proceedings on the convention floor. Now that failed. And there was an effort, A very aggressive one to go after a common GOP enemy, Hillary Clinton.
GIULIANI: Hillary Clinton's experience is the basis for her campaign. Hillary Clinton's experience is exactly the reason she should not be president of the United States.
RAJU (voice-over): The Republican Party uniting on day one of the Cleveland convention behind one goal: taking down Hillary Clinton.
LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: If I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today. So, Crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now.
RAJU: At least three speakers explicitly calling for the presumptive Democratic nominee to be jailed for using a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state.
DARRYL GLENN (R), SENATE CANDIDATE FROM COLORADO: We all know she loves her pantsuits. But we should send her an e-mail and tell her that she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.
RAJU: Including the mother of Sean Smith, one of the Americans killed in the Benghazi attack.
SMITH: I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son. Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.
RAJU: One after another painting Clinton as someone who can't be trusted.
GIULIANI: Clinton and the Obama administration, for political reasons, lied about the purpose of the attacks, including Hillary Clinton lying directly to the families of the people who were killed, right to their face!
RAJU: GOP leaders, TV stars past and present, and rising stars of the Republican Party jumped at the chance to discredit Clinton.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: It would be nice to have a commander in chief who can be trusted to handle classified information.
RAJU: The opening night of the convention coming one day after a second deadly ambush on police in less than two weeks.
CLARKE: I would like to make something very clear: blue lives matter in America.
RAJU: With the nation on edge, the divide between police and the black community playing out on the convention floor.
GIULIANI: When they come to save your life, they don't ask if you're black or white. They just come to save you!
RAJU: Including former presidential candidate and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani who delivered a fiery speech on behalf of his long-term friend, Donald Trump.
GIULIANI: What happened to there's no black America, there's no white America, there is just America! What happened to it? Where'd it go? How has it flown away?
RAJU: Trump himself drawing attention away from his own convention by calling in for an interview on FOX News blaming Black Lives Matter for instigating the recent police killings.
D. TRUMP: When you're calling, "Death to police" and "Kill the police," essentially, which is what they said, that's a real problem, Bill. That's a real big problem. (END VIDEOTAPE)
RAJU: Now, later today expect more significant developments on the convention floor. There's actually going to be a vote to nominate Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for president, and those "never Trump" delegates may do something, some theatrical displays to force their objections, make those objections be publicly known.
And also some convention speakers tonight, including folks who have not exactly embraced Donald Trump, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, and also one man who was passed over as vice president, Chris Christie. We'll see what he says, Alisyn and Chris, about Mike Pence.
CUOMO: All right, Manu, convention is about two things, process and perception. How will the roll call go today with the nomination? How big a bounce will Trump get out of this convention?
Let's discuss. CNN political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein; CNN political commentator and political anchor of Time Warner Cable News, Errol Louis; and CNN political analyst and host of "The David Gregory Show" podcast, David Gregory.
OK. We got one question that must be dispensed with: Melania Trump, those lines -- it's not an allegation, which means a suggestion without proof. It is the same language in several instances as Michelle Obama used. How big a deal -- let's play it again so you can decide at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values...
M. TRUMP: From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values...
OBAMA: You work hard for what you want in life.
M. TRUMP: That you work hard for what you want in life.
OBAMA: That your word is your bond. That you do what you say you're going to do.
M. TRUMP: That your word is your bond. And you do what you say and keep your promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:10:11] CUOMO: Alisyn Camerota for the prosecution, Cuomo for the defense. What do you say, David Gregory?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I don't know that this is a lasting story but it's lasting long enough. We're talking about it this morning. Conventions are things that candidates can control. They can control what happens over these days when tens of millions of people are watching, and here you have a mistake.
She clearly cribbed from Michelle Obama's speech. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They can come out and admit that.
But Paul Manafort is going to be on this morning, and he's going to have to answer for that. So it got in the way of their message last night. These are highly choreographed affairs. This is not what they intended.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. A slight correction, I'm guessing she didn't crib from Michelle Obama's speech, in the sense of reading it and saying, "I want these passages."
BROWNSTEIN: It's really a reminder that Donald Trump is trying to do something extraordinary, which is build a national campaign on the fly. I mean, this is -- this is something they're hiring their staff. They're building their organization. They're putting together their infrastructure at a point at which this is usually well in place for the party nominee.
And this is the kind of mistake that you get into when you are building something, when you're already moving down the road at 60 miles an hour.
CAMEROTA: Errol, Jeffrey Lord, ardent Trump supporter, our contributor, and you know him well, last night on the air he said this is a big deal. This is not Benghazi, but, you know, they should have to answer for this. But she's first lady. She's running for first lady, if there is such a thing, not president. So how big of a deal is this?
GREGORY: That's fair enough from the prosecution. Cuomo now for the prosecution.
CAMEROTA: I changed.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It does feed into this impression that the Trump campaign, both because it's sort of maybe understaffed but also Trump himself as a candidate, not quite where you want him to be for somebody who, in something like 100 days, is going to be asked to be made the most powerful person in the world. The details like this are supposed to be taken care of.
Also, to the extent that Hillary Clinton has spent millions of dollars advertising that Trump University was a scam, that Trump mortgage was -- was a problem, that this guy has left vendors in the dust and left them high and dry, that he's not quite honest in his dealings, this kind of adds to that.
And to the extent that the campaign doesn't just come out and just resolve it. I mean, they put out sort of a word salad statement around midnight last night.
GREGORY: That was a problem. The polls showing the majority of voters think he is not qualified for the presidency. So to Ron's point, are they up for all of this? When you see mistakes like this, it makes you wonder.
CUOMO: The balancing factor on this will be it's just not that big a deal. She is the first lady. Things in politics...
GREGORY: It's not Benghazi. Nobody died. That's what the kids say.
CUOMO: Unfortunately, very low bar. But the -- the idea that things are unique in politics when it comes to rhetoric is also, I think, pushing the -- pushing the point a little bit, but you're right. We are talking about it. It's something the campaign has to explain. It's something they didn't handle well in the first instance.
Clinton knows how to accuse somebody of plagiarism. He did it to then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, when he cribbed from Deval Patrick. He did handle it the right way. Obama came out and said, "Deval Patrick is a friend of mine. He sent me the language, I used it. I'm OK." Deval Patrick said the same thing.
BROWNSTEIN: Before this, you'd have to rate the speech as kind of a mixed success in that it was very well-delivered, and I think she did very well, but it really, as pointed out in the report by Phil, it did not do what the speech about Mitt Romney did in 2008, 2012. There was not a lot of humanizing of Donald Trump. It was not that kind of a person.
If the goal of this week is to fill him out as a person, I'd say that was more of a missed opportunity than a seized opportunity.
CAMEROTA: So let's talk about some of the other speeches. I mean, calling for Hillary Clinton to go to jail when the FBI director had just come out and said, "You know, no charges need to be pressed here."
GREGORY: Well, the easiest way to unite the party, which is a huge goal this week, is to say Hillary Clinton as often as possible as an applause line, and she should go to prison, that she lied, she did all of those things. So it was kind of a cheap way to achieve that last night.
Ron and I were talking before. There was so much grievance and resentment and a kind of cataloging of what's wrong with America, what you should be afraid of, what you should be angry about, what is being taken from you, but not quite as much, maybe that Donald Trump gets it but not as much about what Donald Trump can actually do about it.
And I think that's -- you've got to come to these conventions and think about what questions do we have to answer for voters that are really concerns about your candidacy?
CUOMO: Well, you've got to get them feeling the right way and then you've got to get them thinking the right things.
LOUIS: They may be saving that for night three and night four.
CUOMO: We'll see how it goes. This is a big night, because they'll be talking about the economy. You know, I just came from Baton Rouge. The country is rubbed raw.
That was not clear last night in what came across in the convention. Unless what you would think that all that's happening in this country is that police officers are being victimized by citizens, which is certainly true, certainly true in Baton Rouge, but there's more to the story that was ignored last night. Strong move?
LOUIS: Well, look, you turn over a rock. I mean, that to me is what you see in Baton Rouge. And, you know, the PTSD of the killer that was involved, of the problems that were in that department that we saw this televised killing of a civilian just about a week ago. You look at all of the stuff, there is a lot of pain out there.
How you handle it -- one way to handle it is what we saw last night: rage, you know, anger, blame. The Democrats are going to have an opportunity to sort of recalibrate it.
And frankly, seeing the heartrending scene of Patricia Smith, and I think we'd all sort of allow a grieving mother to say whatever she wants, you know, but for the campaign to put her up front and center and to really sort of feed on those emotions, a very difficult kind of thing to do.
Democrats are doing something similar. They're going to have the mothers of the movement they call it, mothers who have lost sons to police violence over years. And that, too, is that raw nerve in America, and you've got to ask -- they've got to ask themselves, is this the right way to bring the country together?
CAMEROTA: Let's watch this moment from Pat Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who was killed in Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son. In an e-mail to her daughter shortly after the attack, Hillary Clinton blamed it on terrorism. She lied to me and then called me a liar.
If Hillary Clinton can't give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So Ron, in the room people were crying. They took cutaways of the audience.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, look, I think it's a good microcosm of the challenge. When it comes to security, it's not a hard lift at this point to convince Americans that the house is on fire. The harder task is convincing them that Donald Trump is a fireman, not an arsonist. Right?
So normally, you would say, as the out party, the more you convince them that things aren't going well or that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president, the more -- the stronger you will be. But that -- the core challenge they face is convincing people who are
oriented toward change that Donald Trump is an acceptable form of change. David alluded to the numbers. Sixty percent have consistently said that he is not qualified to be president.
If that number doesn't improve this week, that is the number that has to improve. If it's the same at the end of the week, no matter Hillary Clinton's negatives could be at 110 percent, and I would still say the week had not met its real goal.
GREGORY: But what I have is a real debate about Libya. Republicans want to go in and invade every country where ISIS is. The real debate about Benghazi was the policy in Libya to decapitate a country there and have the country devolve into chaos. That's a debate that should be happening, instead of this red meat for Clinton haters.
CUOMO: ... to the story of mismanagement of the situation, and that was clear on the floor last night.
CAMEROTA: Panel, thank you.
CUOMO: So, we're going to have a good opportunity for you on the show coming up. We have Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort. What was the plan last night? How does he feel it was executed? And how is he going to explain what happened with Melania Trump's speech coming up.
CAMEROTA: Republicans, as you heard, coming together over the common foe of Hillary Clinton, but will their relentless attacks on her help them in the polls? We'll discuss that, as well, after the break.
[06:22:04] CAMEROTA: The target of Republican attacks at the convention, clearly, Hillary Clinton. Speaker after speaker criticizing Hillary Clinton's past decisions and policies. Here's a sample.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted. Her judgment and character are not suited to be sitting in the most powerful office in the world.
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: No private servers in the basement...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And no lying.
DUFFY: Especially to the FBI.
GLENN: We all know she loves her pantsuits. Yes, you know what's coming. But we should send her an e-mail and tell her that she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMEROTA: Well, sometimes attacks work and sometimes they backfire. So let's discuss all of that with Anita McBride. She's the former chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush and former director of White House personnel; and Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator and Republican consultant. Ladies, great to have you here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: The rival candidate is always a target. There's nothing new about that at any convention. But the attacks on Hillary Clinton, calling for Hillary Clinton to go to jail, many of the speakers called for that. Was it over the top?
ANITA MCBRIDE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO LAURA BUSH: Well, I think, you know, let's remember just a week ago there was a controversy that swirled around the indictment or the indictment that many believed might have been coming.
CAMEROTA: The lack of indictment.
MCBRIDE: The lack of indictment, absolutely. And this is fair game for a convention, as you said. I mean, there's a real discomfort amongst this group that's there that justice was not carried out.
CAMEROTA: Margaret, you worked for Rudy Giuliani, and Rudy was particularly fired up last night.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. More than I've ever seen him.
CAMEROTA: For a second, just tell me what you thought of that last night.
HOOVER: Look, I mean, Rudy is not in the public eye as much anymore, and I think he's very eager to do his part. I mean, he's a very enthusiastic campaigner. He always has been. But what you saw last night was I think his first time on the stage in four years, and I think he was just trying to do a good job for the Trump campaign. You saw a very enthusiastic, at times what felt like a yelling presence. You know, it surprised me. It surprised a lot of us, people who have known him for a long time.
CAMEROTA: You knew him to be more measured.
HOOVER: Everybody knows strong, measured. But also, he has always been -- I mean, this is a man who loves opera. He is a very dramatic person.
MCBRIDE: He is Italian.
CAMEROTA: There were operatic moments. There was also this moment where he talked about Benghazi. There was a lot of talk about Benghazi last night.
MCBRIDE: Sure. CAMEROTA: And he represented what Hillary Clinton said in the way
that many believe was a misrepresentation. Let me play that moment for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Hillary Clinton's answer to Congress about the death of these four brave Americans because of her gross failures as secretary of state was, quote, "What difference at this point does it make?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[06:25:14] CAMEROTA: OK. She did not say what difference does their death make? That is not accurate. She did not say what difference does it make that they were killed?
She was talking about whether or not you call it a mob, whether or not you call it a video, whether or not you call it terrorism, what difference does it make? Let's talk about what happened and how to fix it. So was that off -- off-base?
HOOVER: I think every single person has seen ads cut and has seen that clip over and over and over again, and they know that that clip -- look, politics is perception. That clip came off as a pretty uncaring moment in Hillary Clinton's testimony saying what difference does it make, regardless of how you split hairs about what she was referring to.
I think the larger point here isn't -- is that Hillary Clinton is a very problematic candidate because over many, many years there have been many mischaracterizations by her of things that have passed before people. She did mischaracterize, and that's generous, the reason that those individuals died in Benghazi to their parents.
I mean, that is a really hard thing for anyone American to stomach. You want your leaders to be honest. You want them to tell the truth.
Now, Hillary Clinton would be a far more vulnerable candidate if weren't running against Donald Trump. I mean, that's the insanity of this convention here. I mean, you're seeing T-shirts of saying -- people saying, "Hillary should go to prison," which I actually think is a little bit over the top and is kind of this heated rhetoric that we don't like to see, especially against the backdrop of some of the violence that we've seen nationally.
But against what we see from the Trump campaign, you know, it almost sort of -- it's almost everything is fair game now.
CAMEROTA: It seems like it.
MCBRIDE: Well, the other point is -- and Margaret touched on this -- that the lying to the families. That that is something that has been portrayed, and you saw it in the mother of one of the victims of Benghazi. That was a very painful presentation and the audience, what I saw, scanned in the audience, too, people visibly, visibly moved. Can't underscore the personal feeling of this campaign. CAMEROTA: Absolutely.
MCBRIDE: It is getting very personal, and next week will be the same.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. And we'll have you both back then, Margaret and Anita. Thank you very much for being here with us this morning.
Well, Melania Trump's big moment in the national spotlight overshadowed by a plagiarism claim. How will Trump respond to that? We'll ask Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, live next.