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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Carrier Union Boss: No Regrets Calling Trump A Liar; Trump to Remain Exec. Proudcer of "Celebrity Apprentice"; Trump Speaking at "Thank You" Rally in Iowa. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 8, 2016 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:18] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.

Tonight, a true explorer's journey has come to a quiet end. John Glenn, iconic astronaut, the first American to orbit the earth, has died at the age of 95. We're going to have much more about his extraordinary later tonight.

Also new tonight, a sitting president of the United States will play a key role in a reality show and a payroll of the media company that covers him. Word tonight that Donald Trump plans to remain an executive producer of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice."

We begin right now in Des Moines, Iowa, where the president-elect is set to start speaking any moment, the latest stop on his self- described "Thank You" tour.

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is there. He joins us now.

Jeff, this is the third stop of this so-called "Thank You" tour. Is it -- do we expect the same talk that we have heard on the last two stops?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we do. This is more of a backwards looking speech, at least the previous two in Cincinnati and then earlier this week in North Carolina have been. Donald Trump, of course, revels in his victory. I expect him to talk about how he won Iowa by some ten percentage points, one of the biggest margins in the key battleground states.

But he also will be introducing someone, you know, quite familiar to Iowans, the state's longest serving governor, Terry Branstad. He's going to name him to be the ambassador to China here. Of course, a key piece of his foreign policy, his trade relationship. That is one part that's different here tonight.

And Mike Pence is also joining him for the first time, Anderson, making the case here to thank voters but also sort of pivot from the campaign to the realities of governing.

COOPER: And today, Trump announced his pick for labor secretary. What can you tell us about him?

ZELENY: Well, Anderson, we can tell you that this is a gentleman who is the CEO of Hardee's Restaurant and Carl's Jr.'s restaurant. It's a fast food chain across the country, a hamburger joint basically, has been in the private sector his entire life. So, in terms of labor secretary, it will be someone with the least government experience in recent memory.

This is someone who has opposed increasing cost of living salaries and the minimum wage. This is someone who has been strongly opposed to the Affordable Care Act and many other regulations in the Obama administration. Not surprisingly, this is a conservative pick. He was a top fund-raiser for this campaign.

He is also known for the advertisements he ran promoting his burgers. He often would show ads of the Super Bowl and other things of women in bikinis eating his hamburgers. He's unapologetic about that. He said that's how Americans want to see people eating hamburgers. So, that is one side of him.

Anderson, by in large, it is a pattern we've seen throughout his cabinet selections, someone who is A, strongly against some of the regulations that the department is designed to enact. So, you can expect almost certainly a confirmation here because Republicans, as we know, control the Senate. Democrats can do very little to stop him, although they were very critical of his announcement today -- Anderson.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And, Jeff, in terms of the format tonight, does Donald Trump come out first, does the governor -- does the governor come out and Mike Pence, do we know how to is supposed to play out?

ZELENY: Anderson, we're told that Terry Branstad will speak. He's the longest serving governor in the country, not just here in Iowa, and then Mike Pence will also talk and then Donald Trump. You can see the crowd behind me here gathering. Certainly, a big crowd for a post-campaign rally, but if this was in the heat of the campaign, this would be an average or smaller-sized crowd for Donald Trump.

But, Anderson, the question is when you talk to these voters, frankly, some of them have been, you know, watching with great interest what he has been doing terms of his appointments and things. We heard so much about draining the swamp. Some of these people being appointed to his cabinet don't fit that definition necessarily.

I also heard earlier this evening people chanting "lock her up, lock her up". That is something Donald Trump has not embraced. So, interesting watching the pivot here at his supporters see candidate Trump to President-elect Trump.

It is a difference. We will see him speaking with teleprompters as we have seen earlier this week in North Carolina and last week in Cincinnati. But we've seen a more restrained Donald Trump in this post-election phase. We'll see if he lives up to that tonight.

COOPER: We'll be bringing it to you in the first stop on this so- called "Thank You" tour, he did go off prompter sometimes. The second stop less so. We'll see about tonight. Jeff Zeleny -- Jeff, thanks very much. We'll be heading back there as

soon as the president-elect begins to speak.

COOPER: In the meantime, Indiana union leader Chuck Jones does not regret calling the president-elect a liar. Jones says he simply called him out for inflating the number of jobs being saved at Carrier. Trump attacked Jones on Twitter last night, writing, quote, "Chuck Jones, who's president of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers.

[20:05:05] No wonder companies flee country."

And "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana, spend more time working, less time talking. Reduce dues."

We're going to hear from Chuck Jones about that tweet coming up in just a moment.

First, Martin Savidge has been getting reaction today from Carrier. He joins us now.

What have people been saying there about the president-elect's tweets?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a really crazy, remarkable 28 hours for Chuck Jones. And for a lot of people here especially those associated with Carrier in the background, they see it as a really, you know, kind of lopsided David and Goliath battle here. You got the president-elect criticizing what is a relatively obscure president of a very small local here in Indianapolis.

But Chuck Jones doesn't own a smartphone. He's got a flip phone. So, he didn't even know that President-elect Trump had tweeted anything until his flip phone blew up and didn't know much about Twitter but he does now.

And the phone calls just keep rolling in today, an avalanche of them, and also flowers and gifts. And that gives you an idea that many people who are calling in certainly the ones I listened to were supporting Chuck Jones. They were saying, hey, thanks for standing up for the little guy here. There was even a janitor who called I think from Minneapolis.

So, there were also the famous people who called him. Bernie Sanders called him up and said, hey, again, thanks for standing up against Donald Trump. He said that Chuck Jones was not the most famous labor leader in all of America.

Danny Glover, the actor, posted a video in support of Chuck Jones.

But it's not all positive. There have been a number of threats that Jones says he's received. He laughed them off, but most folks would take them pretty seriously. People saying, we know where you work, we know what you drive, and do you know where your kids are?

Chuck Jones just simply says, I've negotiated union contracts for over 30 years, I've been threatened by the best. Trust me, these guys, he says, threatening him now are no match to those he's had in the past -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Martin Savidge -- Martin, thanks.

We're going to talk to Chuck Jones coming up later in this hour.

A lot to get to right now, though, with the panel as we await for Donald Trump to make remarks tonight.

With me tonight, CNN political commentator and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, CNN political analyst and "USA Today" columnist, Kristen Powers, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" presidential campaign correspondent Maggie Haberman, CNN political commentator and Trump supporter, Kayleigh McEnany, national MoveOn.org spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, and Berkeley professor of public policy and former labor secretary, Robert Reich.

Maggie, first of all, you know, we heard Donald Trump on the first stop of this tour go off prompter a fair amount. The second time, more kind of an orderly speech, kind of faster. What do you expect tonight?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Some version of those two things. Either he's going to go off prompter to some extent and will stay on prompter to some extent. We are seeing Donald Trump as president-elect act every bit as Donald Trump the candidate did.

This -- you know, frequently during the campaign as you know talked about the planned pivot or potential pivot or he was going to change his behavior. None of that has happened. That includes his tweets. His Twitter behavior has been pretty familiar to what we have seen before.

He is not interested in modulating or reining in his own behavior and he clearly has something that he wants to say. Again, we may see some change once he gets into the White House and he doesn't have access to his cell phone the same way, which some people anticipate is going to happen. But for now, I think that you are going to see somebody who has a certain vision, who does not see a problem as president-elect singling out specific individuals by name.

This is obviously very different doing that. It was pretty unusually to see somebody as a candidate doing it. It's very unusual to see a president-elect doing it. It is unusual to see almost everything we have seen with him so far. Some of this is probably going to go to his benefit, some of it isn't. But he's not bending to the job so far.

COOPER: Right.

Kirsten, what do you make of the idea that a settle president is going to continue to be executive producer of the "Celebrity Apprentice"?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's insane. I mean, I really think I tried to decide to pace myself in terms of outrage and I think that --

(CROSSTALK)

HABERMAN: Don't knock yourself out.

POWERS: No, really, I do feel -- it's not just this, it's the whole conflict of interest thing is really outrageous. And I almost feel like we've been numbed a little bit to just how outrageous it is --

COOPER: Why is it outrageous? I mean, it's a TV show. What's the conflict?

POWERS: Well, the fact -- because he's the president of the United States. He was elected for one job. And the one job he should be doing is taking care of business for the United States and not involving himself in other things.

I don't care whether it's, you know, "The Apprentice" or it's, you know, his business, there's a lot of conflicts of interest.

But I think the conflicts of interest, it's so outrageous when you think about what would have happened if Chelsea Clinton had been on the transition team and been working on the foundation, which is exactly what's happening with his children. They are still working for the company and they're on the transition team and now we're hearing that, you know, maybe he's going to hand it off to the children. I mean, this is really problematic.

COOPER: "The New York Times" now reporting his two adult sons --

POWERS: Right.

COOPER: Ivanka Trump is not.

[20:10:00] MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's the problem, Kirsten -- I agree with everything you said and there is nothing illegal about them doing it which is a problem, right? This is totally legal for Donald Trump to continue to be a producer, to make money through other ways, and there's always just been a precedent and a propriety where presidents believe themselves to be needing to keep up a certain sense of the grandeur of the office and eliminate --

COOPER: Are you saying "Celebrity Apprentice" is not grand?

HOOVER: Of course, I'm not saying that, Anderson.

Truly, though, what will have to happen here is Congress is going to have to pass a law or legislate in order for anything -- they probably won't do it until after.

But this is what happens with precedents, right? FDR breaks the two- term precedent of Washington. It doesn't get changed until Congress passes a law. There are some things in American history that are just done because of his precedent and respect for the office, and then they are changed because an individual believes himself to not necessarily need to live up to that precedent. And so, we have to legislate if it's going to be changed.

COOPER: Kayleigh, if President Trump starts tweeting about, hey, you should watch "The Apprentice" tonight or giving a speech and sort of talking about, hey, everybody should watch "Celebrity Apprentice," I mean, is that --

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think we will see him doing that. First of all --

COOPER: Really?

MCENANY: No, I don't think we will.

COOPER: OK.

MCENANY: This is an honorary position he's retaining. He has no editorial say in the show. He created the show alongside Mark Burnett. He was integral to it.

So, to say you should not take any money from the show going forward I think is outrageous, first of all. And second of all, the idea he's going to somehow feed NBC favors, I highly doubt. We've already seen the critical eye of the media and his critique of the media, including NBC. I don't think we have to worry about NBC or the mainstream media any sort of getting favors because he's collecting a check from NBC.

I think we need to give him a chance. This is an unprecedented situation. We have elected someone that has a $10 billion brand, a massive business. His kids are going to take control. Let's give him a chance.

We afforded Hillary Clinton that chance when we allowed her to keep the Clinton Foundation. She messed up her chance. Let's give Donald Trump the chance that we gave Hillary Clinton.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, MOVEON.ORG: We never gave -- no, that's not even true. Never gave Hillary Clinton --

MCENANY: It's true.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Let her respond.

JEAN-PIERRE: There was constant hammering of her on the Clinton Foundation, there was never given a break or given a chance. Not at all. That's not even true.

Look, I think -- I think what's so troubling about this is that we're hearing that Donald Trump's going to make this announcement on December 15th about how he's going to handle the conflict of interest. And then we get this story. It's like really, are you going to draw the line, the line in the sand here and want to be the executive producer of "The Apprentice"? It just doesn't make sense.

And give him a chance? OK. We were going to give him a chance to see what he says on December 15th and we get this story. So it's just a --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: We're going to continue this discussion. I also want to bring in Secretary Reich. But we've got to take a quick break and we also want to get the conversation in before Donald Trump begins to speak.

So, we'll take a short break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:16:42] COOPER: We are awaiting Vice President-elect Pence is now speaking. We're waiting to hear from Donald Trump in Des Moines, Iowa, at the third stop in his "Thank You" tour.

I want to continue with the panel as we wait for President-elect Trump. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is joining us as well.

Secretary Reich, first of all, what do you make, A, of Donald Trump wanting to, planning on continuing to be an executive producer of "Celebrity Apprentice" while president of the United States and also his pick of Andrew Puzder for labor secretary, a job you know very well?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, first of all, Anderson, here's a man Donald Trump campaigned as if he was going to be the voice of average working people. He said over and over again that he was going to represent the silenced worker of America.

Actually, what has happened, he's filled his administration with nominees who are millionaires, multimillionaires and billionaires and appointed the most anti-worker secretary of labor in modern history.

I have racked my brain today to try to find any modern labor secretary who was so obviously and adamantly against things such as the minimum wage or the time and a half overtime hours, the labor laws, basic labor laws, basic labor regulations. There's nobody. There was a fellow that Ronald Reagan briefly appointed named Ray Donovan who got in trouble with the law, had some legal problems, was very anti-labor but is nothing compared to this nominee.

And Donald Trump seems basically to be unfazed by the fact that he's filling all of these cabinet positions with people who dislike the very purpose of the department they are in. A secretary of education who hates public education. An attorney general who is against the Voting Rights Act. A, you know, a housing and urban development secretary who is against the fair housing laws.

I mean, what are we doing here? This is not just right wing, this is almost nihilistic.

COOPER: And does it make sense, his -- I mean, you raise a lot of concerns about his tweeting last night. Does it concern you the potential conflicts of interest on his business side and this whole notion of -- I mean, the latest example being, remaining executive producer on "Celebrity Apprentice."

REICH: I think the biggest problem with all these conflict of interests is not only that they might actually change his mind on particular policies that have a bearing upon the public interest, or at least warp his perspective, but they also reduce public confidence in the office of the presidency.

And that, I think, is the core issue here. He doesn't care about public confidence in the office of the presidency. He cares mostly, at least as he's shown himself, he cares about himself, about his power, about his dominance, about humiliating others and maintaining that dominance.

But the office of the presidency is a sacred trust and reducing public confidence in that office, making that office almost a vulgar, kind of a vulgar and demeaning position, is a long-term cost potentially to this country and this society.

[20:20:09] And, frankly, I don't think Donald Trump cares.

COOPER: Kayleigh, I mean, is this demeaning of the office of the president of the United States, to be an executive producer of a TV show?

MCENANY: No, not at all, because he's not an executive producer, per se, making decisions. He's receiving a paycheck because he was integral to the creation of a show.

COOPER: But he is getting an executive producer credit which is what he's always had.

MCENANY: He's getting the credit and he's getting a paycheck. He's not making decisions. He's going to have no role in what "The Apprentice" looks like and the final product looks like.

Look, when Secretary Clinton came in to be confirmed, there was a lot of worries about the Clinton Foundation, can she handle it? Promised there would be a line between the Clinton Foundation and secretary state. She blurred that line, couldn't handle the job.

Donald Trump may be the person who comes in who can handle the fact, yes, he might still have ownership here and there but not making the managerial day-to-day decisions in his business. If he's the one who can handle that, let's give him the same chance we gave to Secretary Clinton.

I just want to quickly say to Secretary Reich, I think that was really unfair the way you characterized the cabinet picks. Jeff Sessions is a great guy, not against the Voting Rights Act. He's very civil rights.

I think the pick today, Mr. Puzder, is a guy who his employees said he cares about the cashier the same way he cares about the business owners. I think it's really unfair to characterize him in that way, just because he believes in states raising the minimum raise whether than the federal minimum raise, he buys into the philosophy, the conservative philosophy when you raise the minimum wage, you hemorrhage jobs, just because he's conservative, it doesn't mean he's anti-worker.

COOPER: Secretary Reich?

REICH: I'm not saying he's anti-worker because he's conservative. I'm saying he's anti-worker because he's anti-worker. His entire -- you know, the Department of Labor came into his restaurants and found half of his restaurants had wage an hour violations that violated the laws of the United States. You think that's pro-worker?

MCENANY: I think it's pro-worker that he cares about the cashier the same way as he cares about the business owner. People have come out and said this man is someone who has treated me fairly --

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: Wait a minute, you think it's pro-worker to have a salary every year that is -- that his weekly paycheck, his weekly paycheck equals the average yearly paycheck of his workers and he's against a minimum wage increase? You think -- you think that is pro-worker? I'm sorry. I've never heard of that.

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: Now, you're making a classic socialism argument and I don't buy into socialism. I believe in democracy, I believe in capitalism, I believe just because someone at the top is making a lot of money, that doesn't mean we should demonize them for that reason.

REICH: Why should they -- why should they be secretary of labor when they are in charge of enforcing the labor laws and have a record of not even obeying the labor laws?

MCENANY: He should be secretary of labor because he believes in lessening regulation, he believes in lowering taxes, he believes in the philosophy that is going to make small business thrive, that is going to make it work at the top and is thus going to trickle down to the employees within that business. He buys into a philosophy -- very prosperous in the --

(CROSSTALK)

REICH: I'm sorry, when did we last have a secretary of labor who had the kind of non-labor, no working person experience and has been in an employer who has violated the labor laws? I'm sorry. I don't remember. Maybe you have a better memory.

MCENANY: When is the last time we had a secretary of labor who actually believes in conservative philosophy that is better for the worker in the long run?

We can adhere to this socialist idea you want apparently viewers to adhere to, this idea that demonize the people at the top. But that's not going make anyone better off at the end. At the end, the policies of Donald Trump and the policies that his pick supports are going to make life better for the average worker.

REICH: Well, we're going to find --

MCENANY: It worked in the 1980s. It's going to work again.

REICH: It did not work in the 1980s.

MCENANY: It did work in the 1980s.

REICH: Wages were flat. In the 1980s actually, the median wage started to flatten and decline in the 1980s and that was because we had a president who believed in supply side trickle-down economics and nothing trickled down.

MCENANY: And it worked because revenue doubled, by the way. We had the greatest GDP growth we've seen in a very long time. The greatest post-recession boom after World War II that we've ever had in history. It did work.

REICH: Nothing trickled down to typical workers.

COOPER: We're going to jump into the middle of this. Donald Trump is now being introduced on to stage. Let's listen in to his comments or actually we'll wait until at least he gets started.

We don't know if tonight will be, frankly, different in tone from what he has said. I mean, clearly, he's in a different state. He's going to personalize it probably to this state.

HABERMAN: I think he's going to personalize it to this state. I'm sure he'll talk about Terry Branstad, the governor of Iowa, who is just named his ambassador to China.

COOPER: He may, in fact, introduce him first in short remarks.

HABERMAN: That's right. I think you will have it be more structured toward Iowa. Iowa is a place where Trump has a tough relationship on the one hand, the caucuses he came in second, on the other hand, he won the state in the general election.

I think that Trump has a habit when he does several rallies in a day of tailoring his message to each state. I think you will see something like that tonight.

COOPER: And let's listen in.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: What a crowd.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

[20:25:05] What great people. Great people.

(CROWD CHANTING "USA, USA, USA")

I'm here today for one main reason. To say thank you to the great, great people of Iowa. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

You went out and pounded, and I mean pounded, the pavement. You organized your fellow citizens and propelled us to victories at a grassroots and every other level. We have a movement the likes of which this world has never seen before. Never seen before.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I also want to give a very special thanks to our veterans. A lot of veterans in this room. Thank you. Thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Service member, military families, unbelievable people.

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and a reminder of the countless Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this and our country.

America's men and women in uniform are the finest and bravest the world has ever known. And, by the way, folks, we are going to be building up our military.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

It will no longer be a depleted military, I promise.

So, to all serving in our military and to all veterans who wore the uniform before, I say to you now on behalf of a very, very grateful nation, thank you, thank you, thank you.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

We're in your debt and we will never, ever let you down. Never. We'll honor your service, your sacrifice.

And that really begins with defending and respecting our American flag.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I think you'll be liking some of the things we'll be putting forward in the not too distant future. Do you know what I mean? Yes? Do you know what I mean?

When Pearl Harbor was attacked, one man who immediately enlisted to defend his country was John Glenn. For the next seven decades, he devoted his life to serving the American people which he did from the cockpit of his bullet-riddled fighter jet, tough times. In the weightless silence of his "Mercury" space -- oh that's okay. That's okay.

We have to respect John Glenn. That's all right. I think they're actually on our side, they just don't know it yet. They will be soon.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

But John was also in the weightless silence of his "Mercury" spacecraft and later in the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Our nation mourns the passing of one of our great heroes.

He was a giant among men and a true American legend who inspired generations of explorers and dreamers and we will honor his legacy by continuing to push new frontiers in science, technology and space.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

In filling my cabinet, I'm looking for people who fully understand the meaning of service and who are committed to advancing the common good.

One such man who, by the way, our country has fallen in love with, is General James "Mad Dog" Mattis.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

He doesn't lose. He doesn't lose. We were together last night. He's a great guy. A general's general, they call him.

Earlier this week, I formally announced my plans to nominate him as your new secretary of defense.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I believe we're in the process of putting together one of the great cabinets that has ever been assembled in the history of our nation. Do you like it so far, everybody? I also want to take this opportunity to thank your great senators. Chuck Grassley, great guy. Really great guy. And a woman I've gotten to know very well. A tremendous woman. Phenomenal person. That's right, Jodi Ernst. They're going to be tremendous partners in the Senate. And they are right now in Washington D.C. working very hard on something that's very interesting. But they are tremendous, two tremendous people. They never wavered.

You know, we had some people, they would waiver. Right? Waiver. And as long as they came back some time prior to the vote, they're all right. But we don't like people that waiver. Right? Those who didn't waiver. I'll tell you who else didn't wave, are your governor did not waiver. I want to tell you that. He didn't waiver. Not even a little bit.

And soon I'm going to invite on to stage one of the newest editions to our administration, a man you know well. One of the most important relationships we must improve and we have to improve is our relationship with China. The nation of China is responsible for almost half of America's trade deficit. China is not a market economy. They got a lot of help. And that's why we designate them as being a "non market" economy. Big thing. They haven't played by the rules. And I know it's time that they're going to start. They're going start, they have got to.

We're all in this thing together, folks. We've got play by the rules, folks. You have the massive theft of intellectual property, putting unfair taxes on our companies. Not helping with the menace of North Korea like they should. And the at will and massive devaluation of their currency and product dumping. Other than that they've been wonderful. Right?

But I have to tell you, the man that is going to be coming up here very soon, every single time I've spoken, as I'm going onto the stage he'd say please Mr. Trump. See then he called me Mr. Trump. Now he can call me president-elect, now can you believe it? If it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be president-elect. But he always would say, Mr. Trump, Donald, don't say anything bad about China when you're in Iowa. OK. I said why. Because I have so in friends there. I like them and they like me. And we do well with China. We do well with China.

So when it came to thinking about the ambassador to China, right? I started thinking now wait a minute, this is big stuff. And I can't tell you how many people wanted that position. You know, it's not bad. You go over there. You live like a king, but he's not looking to live like a king. He and his beautiful wife came to my office the other day. They are looking to work on that relationship because he knows the people -- and the leaders in China for so many years. He knew your current leader years ago and he said he will be the ultimate leader when he was just a young guy. But you have a very special man.

And I just want to tell you officially, the man I have chosen as our ambassador to China is the man who knows China and likes China, better to like China if you are going to be over there, do we agree? And knows how to deliver results. And he will deliver results, just like he's been delivering results for 23 years for the great farmers and for the people of Iowa. He's been on six trade missions to China. And is highly respected. By all of the Chinese officials. He's also a native of Iowa. America's longest-serving governor in the history of our country, 23 years.

[20:35:09] Think of that. In the history -- you don't know what it is to be a governor for four years is tough. 23 years. And has done an incredible job. He's also become a great friend of mine. I am now honored to welcome to the stage our next ambassador to China, your governor -- and I can truly say your great governor, Terry Branstad.

Come up, Terry. This is a big room.

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD, (R) IOWA: Wow. President-elect Trump. Fellow Iowans. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of this state. And thanks to our great new president who's going to make America great again, I am very proud to serve America in this very important role. Thank you very much.

TRUMP: He's gonna do so great. With Terry on our side. I know we will succeed in bringing our jobs back. And I also know that China who's been so tough and so competitive. And frankly dealing with people that didn't get it. But I'll tell you what, we're going to have mutually respect. We're going to have mutual respect. And China is going to benefit and we're going to benefit and Terry is going to lead the way. So I just want to congratulate him. But to accomplish our goals we must reject the failed approaches of the past. Government must stop listening to the special interests and start delivering for the national interests. It's time to deliver for you the American people just like Iowa delivered for me. Boy, did you deliver. Boy, did you deliver. You know just to go into this --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to continue to monitor this speech see if there is anything actually that new he's talking about. He started to kind of echo the same things in a lot of these stops on his, what his calling a "Thank You Tour." This is his third tonight here in Des Moines, Iowa. We are back with the panel monitoring this. As I say we'll bring you anything new the president-elect actually says.

Maggie, I mean again, it's sort of what we expected. But, you know, we heard from the nominee from ambassador of China. It is interesting, I mean just as a showman, as a, you know, kind of rolling out each cabinet selection ridge as a kind of public spectacle. I mean it's interesting.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We've never seen anything like it. There's no question like that. And it certainly has been criticized for being a spectacle and that's only going with the celebrity apprentice executive producer credit that he's going retain. What he is doing is he is blocking out the sun with his rallies and it's the same thing we saw him do with the campaign.

He would hold these events, he would throw out a bunch of different ideas and a bunch of different comments and he would make news on, you know, seven different topics. And in the meantime he's showcasing people and suggesting to them this is for you and this is about the general public. It is overshadowing criticism about specific nominees. It is overshadowing criticism about his business ties. And this has been for him an effective strategy. I don't know that it is going to be sustainable once he becomes president. And actually has to take office. But for now it seems to be working for him.

COOPER: Secretary Reich, have you ever seen anything like this? In terms of this public roll out and presentation and to Maggie's point it's an interesting idea that is sort of blocking out the sun or blocking out criticism?

REICH: Anderson, I've never seen anything like it. Not only is it a kind of spectacle, not only it's a victory lap. But it's not really a thank you tour. It's a thank me tour. I mean it's all about Donald Trump.

[20:39:59] And even the phraseology he uses when he's off bit teleprompter, it's all about being almost still in the campaign. Some people wavered. Other people really didn't waiver. They were with me. Those people over there who are still against me, they will see the light, they'll come over to our side. I mean all of those references to the campaign era. The campaign is over. But he's still in a sense -- it's us versus them. It's me versus the people who are criticizing me. And we will probably see more of that because I -- and I think the Donald Trump personality itself is a personality about me versus them. Me versus my critics. And he'll use every opportunity whether it's rallies or the tweets. The tweets are not going stop. He's not going to change. This is the president-elect and this is the coming president of the United States.

COOPER: Kayleigh, is that how you see what Donald Trump is saying?

MCENANY: Not at all and it's interesting how you can have totally different perspective watching the same rally, because when I saw the last "Thank You" rally, I saw someone who talked about the inner cities and said how important it is that we lift up the community that's been ignored for far too long. He is reaching across the aisle. He's done so repeatedly. He's taking calls from President Obama. They speak on the phone for 45 minutes. He's taking opportunity to thank his voters.

Just because we never seen him before, doesn't mean that is bad. We can call it a spectacle, but if we want to call it a spectacle, let's also note that he is on pace or outpacing rather every other president in terms of the pace that which he's picking nominees. So he's getting this done, he's thanking his supporters and just because it is unprecedented doesn't mean it's bad.

COOPER: Karine, I mean for all that talk early on in the transition about chaos and the transition and in fighting the transition, I mean he now has a number of people in place and his closing in on finishing things.

JEAN-PIERRE: Look, this is so ridiculous. I mean, this is -- the bar is so incredibly low. What he's doing is spiking the ball. That's exactly what -- and unfortunately for us this is the new normal. There is nothing about these rallies that are presidential. It's insulting to the American people what he's doing. And also what it's the other --

COOPER: How do you say -- why insulting?

PIERRE: Because he's standing there and -- wait let me go back to the low bar. It is such a low bar because if folks are not chanting lock her up or build a wall then he's presidential. If he's sticking to the teleprompter then he's presidential. But everything about it is just upsetting. It's just incredible upsetting and why would you be spiking the ball. Why don't you do some national security briefings? You've had -- he has -- he had more meetings about his business dealings than actually sitting down and talking about the security of this country.

MCENANY: If he were speaking the ball wouldn't he have yelled that protester out of the room? And said he said, it's OK, it's OK. you know, let's get back to talking about glen (ph). Look, he's not spiking the ball. He is taking a presidential tone and just because he's thanking supporters doesn't mean he's dividing --

PIERRE: Here's the other thing, just -- I want to go back to the conversation about the cabinet picks. He's not unifying. Jeff Sessions decades ago was deemed too racist to be named federal job. Not only that, he was the one who said grabbing women by the genitalia is not sexual assault. That's -- those are the people that he's speaking. Also, if you look at the Department of Education, he's appointing someone who doesn't care about public education or public schools. He doesn't care about it. Also, environmental protection agency, he appointed someone who doesn't care about the environment.

MCENANY: Those are the over oversimplifications --

PIERRE: No, they're not over --

MCENANY: -- completely. Jeff Sessions is not a racist --

(CROSSTALK)

PIERRE: It's the facts.

COOPER: Let Kayleigh respond.

PIERRE: It's the facts, it is what -- we're dealing.

MCENANY: No, I know --

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Let Kayleigh respond. Let Kayleigh respond.

MCNENAY: OK, this is the tactic of the left. You -- every time it's got to be Trump is a racist. Now Bannon's a racist --

PIERRE: I didn't say Trump is a racist.

MCENANY: You know, is that always the first go --

(CROSSTALK)

MCENANY: He is a seating senator who's respected by --

(CROSSTALK)

PIERRE: I'm using facts Kayleigh, I'm using facts.

MCENANY: And the choice for Secretary of Education just because she's for school choice doesn't mean she's against public --

COOCPER: I think both positions are clear.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, look, here's the problem, right. So there are going to be philosophical differences. Right? And Democrats are going to do say that Betsy Devos the secretary doesn't go -- the Secretary of Education doesn't get -- his going to dislike public schools and hate public education, which is not true. I mean Betsy Devos cares a lot about kids in public schools. She just happens to think that there is a way of diversifying and creating a little bit of competition the public schools system. OK, so of course we're going to go to this type probabilistic rhetoric. The issue though I think, the challenges, the style is totally new. We've just never seen this stylistic thing in the president.

REICH: Listen this is not just --

HOOVER: And --

REICH: Can I just?

COOPER: Yes, Secretary Reich, go ahead.

REICH: This is not just style. I mean these cabinet appointments are the most right wing group of people. Whether you are talking about EPA or labor or HHS or treasury. We have not seen this degree of right wing.

HOOVER: What happens when you are left Republican --

COOPER: But Mr. Secretary, I mean Donald Trump won.

[20:44:58] REICH: I mean this is the point -- the point -- the point of it this is that if he really thinks that he is unifying the country by these cabinet appointments. If he thinks that he's unifying the country by doing these big, big rallies that essentially celebrate his win and thank Iowa for giving him a big margin this is not unifying. This is further dividing the country.

COOPER: Margaret you go ahead and we got to break.

HOOVER: I remember when Barack Obama won the presidency. He did have a moment, where he did look in the camera and he said well, we won. OK. I mean there is a bit of -- as a Republican, you know, there are going to be conservative picks and there are going to be centrist picks and you can't expected every pick that are Republican president is going to nominate is going to be a centrist pick that is palatable to the left wing of the Democrat Party. That's just as it totally untenable bar to start with.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break. We're going have more with the panel ahead. We're also going to talk more about Donald Trump staying on his executive producer of the "Celebrity Apprentice". And more of the cabinet picks, a lot more news ahead. We'll be right back.

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COOPER: We are continuing to monitor President-elect Donald Trump's speech in Des Moines, Iowa, as we said. Donald Trump will continue to serve as an executive producer on NBC's reality show, "Celebrity Apprentice".

[20:50:04] We learned that a short the time ago. CNN's Dylan Byers joins me now. It is pretty amazing that the president of United States, commander-in-chief of the Arm Forces, leader of the free world, the most powerful person probably on the planet will be the executive producer of "The Apprentice." Do we know much more of the details? DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA AND POLITICS: Yes. Well, that's absolutely right. It is unusual and it is unprecedented, like so many aspects of Donald Trump's campaign. But you know, as Kellyanne Conway said recently, if Donald Trump does it, it is presidential, because he did win and he is the president of the United States or president-elect.

What we know so far, about the deal, it's been confirmed by MGM as well as sources we have at NBC and the Trump campaign, that he will have an executive producer credit, because he will continue to have an ownership stake in this company, which he co-created with Mark Burnett. We have yet to receive any comment from Mark Burnett, but we do have a comment from the Trump campaign, Hope Hicks, Trump's spokesperson, says, Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett.

So he will continue to get a paycheck every time an episode airs. It's not clear how much he will be paid. Those payments will come from MGM, which owns and produces the show, not from NBC. But NBC will air the show and that raises a potential conflict of interest, because, of course, NBC also has NBC News, which will be covering Trump's presidency for the next four years.

COOPER: I mean, I guess, I'm trying to think of other presidents who might have received sort of -- you know, Ronald Reagan, I assume, received the residuals for films or appearances he had made prior to being president, while he was president. Where I guess I should say, I'm not sure if that's true or not. But I guess that would have been one -- the only equivalent that I can think of.

BYERS: Well, there's that and there's also the possibility, and again, I don't know, and we have to find out, that certain presidents received residuals for books they had written. I think what's really going on here --

COOPER: But which would have been the case with President Obama, if, in fact, that's what happened.

BYERS: Indeed, for multiple books. and you know, the question is here sort of the appearance of it, this idea of, if you are given the role of president of the United States, if you are given that sort of gust and extremely important position, should you also continue to have business interests elsewhere? I think of all the business interests that Donald Trump has, the relationship that he has with NBC is probably not the most significant. But there is this sort of question about what are President-elect Trump's priorities? How is he spending his time? How does he see his role as president of the United States? Is he a servant for the public, good? Or is he using this to sort of advance his own brand and his own business interests?

COOPER: Dylan Byers, Dylan thanks very much.

Joining me now is -- are two of our political analysts, David Gergen who's work with four former presidents, and David Gregory. David Gergen, first of all, on the whole sort of TV connection, what do you make of it? Because I mean, you could argue this is -- it may be unprecedented, but it's not illegal. And you know, this is what Donald Trump wants to do.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: In this case, Anderson, other presidents have received, as President Obama, you just pointed out, is receiving money from books he's done in the past. And so the money aspect of this is not a particularly disturbing. I do think there's a huge question of taste. And there's a huge question of what you lend your name to. That I would think that in most cases, I think most presidents would cut this off.

The much, much bigger question is going to be what he's going to do on December 15th about these massive economic interests that he has in his companies, and already, you know, the foreign diplomats are holding things in his hotels or lining things up. There has a distinct pay-to-play quality to this. Something he condemned in the Clintons. And I think he's going to be held to a similar standard before this is all over.

COOPER: You know, David Gregory, we were having this discussion right before the break, you know, about Secretary Reich was saying, you know, sort of these picks are unprecedented and his cabinet selections is very far for the right. But Margaret Hoover made the point and I've made the point as well, Donald Trump won. I mean it's not --

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

COOPER: -- unprecedented for, you know, a president from a different party that gets into power to want to put the people in place that he wants and that reflects his beliefs and the beliefs of those around him. And it's not as if Donald Trump didn't run with a lot of these issues in the forefront. It's not a surprise, what his positions are.

GREGORY: Yeah, I agree with the all the predicates in that question. And I think Secretary Reich, with respect, is making a highly ideological argument against Donald Trump and against his administration. What's surprising about his picks to me, is that someone who is so clearly non-ideological, Donald Trump, someone who has never been a conservative in his public life, is choosing people who are conservative, who are stalwart Republicans, and there is something of a theme with regard to the business picks, that they're strongly opposed to government regulation. And they're going to want to dial those back.

[20:55:14] He is at odds with himself. He's picking people who are at odds with some of his own positions. You take the minimum wage. So I think that's kind of striking. But, as Margaret made the reference, and the debate was the stimulus debate. And the stimulus plan that President Obama and his team passed to the Congress. And when there was resistance from Republicans, whether it was Nancy Pelosi, who was then speaker or the president, President Obama, who said, look, we won. Well, Donald Trump won and he's now building his government in his image.

COOPER: Right. David Gergen, another president said, you know, I've got political capital and I'm going to start spending.

GERGEN: Well, look, I think he's entitled to who he wants. But when he goes out to Iowa and said, we've got the best cabinet ever, that's not a point on which Americans agree. There's a new Pew poll out today, Anderson, that compares the approval rating for Trump's cabinet picks and his other selections so far, puts it at 40 percent approval. That's the lowest of any five presidents over the last, basically, 30 years.

So, it is, I don't think it's necessarily going over as well. But can just say one thing, Anderson. It does seem to me the news of the night in Iowa was this attack on China again. I don't know why he -- he is really picking a fight with the most important player we're going to have a relationship with over the course of his presidency. That is very, very unusual. Normally you settle these things quietly. I mean you have differences, we clearly have differences with China, but he goes out and give knocks China on the chin or -- yeah like he did tonight, that's going to deepen the hostility and animosity, and he cannot bully China into doing things. He's using threats against a lot of people. The Chinese won't take that way.

COOPER: Yeah.

GERGE: And so I'm -- I don't understand why he goes after and threatens people as a way to get things done.

COOPER: That comes on the heels, that was on the phone call with Taiwan, also which is also, you know, something we've been reporting on.

GERGEN: Yes.

COOPER: David Gergen, David Gregory, thanks.

Much more ahead in the next hour of "360." President-elect Trump taking his "Thank You Tour" to Iowa, time (ph) as David was just talking last week in the rally more, news ahead. We'll be right back.

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