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HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns Amid Private Jet Scandal; White House Launching Internal Review of Staff Private E-mail Use; Trump Speech on Tax Reform Plan. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired September 29, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: Obviously, there's only one person that can answer that question legitimately and that's Donald Trump. But I think that this world of hurt that Tom Price is in right now, is not going away any time soon. It seems to be getting worse, not better. He seems to be becoming a bigger problem for the president not one totally wrapped up and going away. In that sense, he's in pretty hot water here and Donald Trump could not have been clearer when asked specifically if he was going to fire him, his answer was, we'll see. That -- I mean, that means that there is sort of an open decision to be made about Tom Price that the president is intending to make after looking into this further and further, and he hasn't yet made that decision. We will see what it is when it comes down.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We'll see. Not something I would want someone to say about my future job prospects.
BOLDUAN: Tara, if it wasn't a problem, then the president wouldn't be unhappy about it, right? If it wasn't a problem, then Tom Price wouldn't have felt the need to pay a dollar back out of his own pocket. Right? I mean --
TARA PALMERI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. My sources inside the White House say Trump is furious over this, but the one saving grace for secretary Price right now is the fact that there's been so much turnover inside of the White House, that Trump doesn't want the appearance of another shakeup. That is why he's holding on to see if this will pass. Right now, that's all that's saving him. Trump is furious with him.
BOLDUAN: Julie, how does this end well for Price if he sticks around, if he survives? Does this impact his ability to lead a massive agency with a massive budget that he would need to be the steward of?
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Certainly, it's going to affect -- it's going to diminish his effectiveness and we're seeing, another factor that I think is working in Price's favor in short-term survival is what we know about President Trump he does like to publicly call out members of his administration for things he thinks they've done wrong. He doesn't love to fire people. What me a we may see is the ritual that he kind of enjoys of publicly humiliating and berating members of his team for doing something wrong but doesn't follow through with firing them. It's possible he will in this case but this can't be a comfortable period for Tom Price even if he doesn't get fired because we will see as these investigations go forward and people in the White House look at this and how big of a Price they are paying for what Tom Price has done, the president may want to cut the cord or publicly humiliate him a little longer.
BOLDUAN: And if he doesn't cut the cord, does the word "draining the swamp" mantra go out the window, David?
CHALIAN: Kate, I think this is the core of the problem, right. It is not just being mad about bad headlines. It is that this issue cuts to the very core of what Donald Trump presented himself as, as somebody that was going to come up, break up swampy washington that is about corny capitalism and not in the public's interest and change that. When you see your secretary living high on the hog, your cabinet secretary, and using taxpayer dollars to fly around privately when it's not necessary to do so this cuts against the very grain of what Donald Trump promised. So I think that is why it's such a precarious kind of problem for Tom Price. It's not just oh, you're causing me a tough P.R. problem for a few days of headlines. It's that this is not the image Donald Trump promised to present to the American people.
BOLDUAN: Also unique in this one, Tara, this one -- this is not a problem -- this is not a self-inflicted wound for Donald Trump. This was the problem created by Tom Price and the White House's defense, Donald Trump wasn't making these flights and Donald Trump, the White House, at least according to the White House, no say in this approval process for flights.
PALMERI: He's stuck actually being responsible for, you know, a hiring decision he made. He's had a lot of turnover in the past ten months. You see chief of staff leave, chief strategist spokesperson and at the end of the day, it's Donald Trump who decided to hire these people and he put his trust in them to serve the American people so now he's sort of stuck answering to his own hiring decisions. On "the apprentice" you could quickly fire someone if it doesn't work out but when you are president of the United States it becomes more complicated. I think Americans are going to be looking at him saying, we want to have a leader who is a good manager and a good hirer.
[11:34:56] BOLDUAN: Julie, on the private e-mail front, a couple things have come out that I want to get your take on. Sources now saying that following this revelation of Jared Kushner using private e-mail for government business, the White House is launching an internal review of private e-mail use by White House officials. Just before I came on air, we got this. That according to the White House official, "The White House has instructed staff to fully comply with the Presidential Records Act and brief staff on the need to preserve records."
Isn't that working in the White House 101, though?
HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: Yes. I mean, so this goes also back to the issue of the private jet use. There is an issue here for the White House of setting a culture, setting a tone of living up to the highest ethical standards and communicating to White House staff and the cabinet that listen, you to go -- bend over backwards go out of your way to avoid even the appearance of trying to get -- skirt these rules, get around these rules, special treatment, or have a special arrangement for yourself that wouldn't apply to other officials or other Americans in their day-to-day lives and that wasn't done in the White House. So as much as this president is having to answer for the actions of his staff and his cabinet officials and he hey not be involved in those decisions there's responsibility he bears and his senior staff bears for failing to communicate at the outset, these are really serious issues, we cannot be on the wrong side of this. And it's a particularly hard one for him because, obviously, you know, "lock her up," the mantra he sort of invited at his rallies about Hillary Clinton was about her use of a private e-mail server and her actions with regard to the same issue about trying to keep some communication private that she didn't want necessarily subject to public disclosure.
HIRSCHFELD DAVIS: That's two really difficult issues to contend with this far into a new White House operation.
BOLDUAN: Exactly right. You're only supposed to be using a government e-mail address for government use. Just saying. A news flash of the day.
Great to see you guys.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Coming up for us, we will keep our eye in washington. Very soon, Donald Trump will be taking to the microphone right there. He'll be pitching taxes, but as we always say, you never know. We'll be going there live to listen to the president making live remarks in just a moment.
[11:40:49] BOLDUAN: Donald Trump on the stage right now. He'll be speaking on taxes. And we shall see. He's speaking in washington at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in front of the National Association of Manufacturers. And he will be pitching his tax plan.
Shaking hands, hey, everybody, how is it going.
I'm going to stay with you until he takes the microphone.
Donald Trump will be talking about his tax plan. And see if he gives us more detail because, as we said, big on promises so far. A lot of folks still need a lot more detail on what is included in the president's long-promised tax reform plan.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: We'll see if we get more details today.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
Taking up a lot of television time, but that's OK.
Thank you all very much. It's great to be here with the National Association of Manufacturers.
And I especially want to thank your president, Jay Timmons, and your chairman, David Farr, along with all of the members of Congress that are here today. And they're working hard, I will tell you that.
I'd like to begin by sending our thoughts and prayers to the people of Puerto Rico, who have been struck by storms of historic and catastrophic severity. People have never seen anything like this.
We've undertaken a massive federal mobilization to assist Puerto Rico, including the presence of over 10,000 federal personnel, including 5,000 U.S. military and National Guard personnel, led by a very, very strong and talented three-star general.
All appropriate departments of our government, from Homeland Security to Defense, are engaged fully in the disaster. And the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this. This is an island surrounded by water -- big water, ocean water.
We're closely coordinated with the territorial and local governments, which are totally and unfortunately unable to handle this catastrophic crisis on their own. Just totally unable to.
The police and truck drivers are very substantially gone. They're taking care of their families and largely unable to get involved, largely unable to help. Therefore, we're forced to bring in truck drivers, security and many, many other personnel by the thousands. And we're bringing them onto the island as we speak.
We've never seen a situation like this.
The electrical grid and other infrastructure were already in very, very poor shape. They were at their life's end prior to the hurricanes. And now virtually everything has been wiped out and we will have to really start all over again. We're literally starting from scratch.
Ultimately the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort -- will end up being one of the biggest ever -- will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island.
We will not rest, however, until the people of Puerto Rico are safe. These are great people. We want them to be safe and sound and secure. And we will be there every day until that happens. Likewise we're working closely with the Virgin Islands on the disaster recovery. And that effort is going very, very well. Both governors, I have to tell you, of Puerto Rico and of the Virgin Islands, have been extremely good. They are working so hard.
But there's nothing left. It's been wiped out. The houses are largely flattened. The roads are washed away. There is no electricity. The plants are gone. They're gone. It's not like, "Let's send a crew in to fix them." You have to build brand new electric. Sewage system's wiped out. There's never been anything like this.
So there remains a lot of work to do and we will work with the folks that we're working with right now. They're trying very, very hard, I will tell you that. But nobody's ever seen anything like it.
We're here today at the National Association of Manufacturers to discuss our vision for America's economic revival and to celebrate the people whose vision and products stock our shelves, fill our homes and enrich our lives.
I want to express my special gratitude to the incredible workers on stage. Congratulations.
They are the ones -- and millions out there -- you know, they're not as good as you, but they're very good...
... but the millions out there whose dedication and drive makes this country run.
It's a great honor to be here with the men and women whose creations power our communities and protect our nation. We are all here today for the same reason: because we believe in that beautiful, beautiful phrase that hasn't been used so much in the last three decades, "Made in the USA."
It's a phrase that fills our hearts with pride, and they embody the skill, grit and drive of the American worker.
The single best tribute to our workers can be found in the unmatched quality and craftsmanship of the amazing products they bring from the blueprint to the storefront. "Made in the USA" is a global symbol of unrivaled excellence.
My administration is working every day to lift the burdens on our companies and on our workers, so that you can thrive, compete and grow. And at the very center of that plan is a giant, beautiful, massive -- the biggest ever in our country -- tax cut.
(APPLAUSE) For decades, the policy of Washington, D.C., on the subject of manufacturing was a policy best summarized in one word: surrender. They surrendered.
Under my administration, the era of economic surrender is over, and the rebirth of American industry is beginning. America is winning again and America is being respected again, and you see that happening all over. You see the five plants that were announced just recently -- auto plants. So many people are coming back into this country. They want to be back in. Other countries are bringing their companies, and sending their companies in. They all want to be back, and that's great for our worker.
On every front, in every way, on every policy, we are guided by the same economical goal: to keep jobs in America, to bring jobs to America, to create real prosperity for America, the country that we love.
That is why we have lifted the restrictions on American energy, ending the war on coal, approving the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access pipelines -- and I'll tell you something: I did that immediately, first couple of days, 48,000 jobs, and everybody's happy -- and reversing the EPA intrusion into your business and into your lives.
Instead, we are returning the EPA to its core mission: clean air and crystal clean water. That's what we want. We want clean air. We want clean water. We're fighting to create fair and reciprocal trade for American companies -- and the word "reciprocal" is so important -- lifting barriers to our exports, cracking down on countries that cheat, of which there are many, and ensuring a level playing field for our great American workers and our great American companies. Because when our workers have a level playing field, no one, absolutely no one, can beat us.
Right? Right? Right?
We've also taken historic action to protect our manufacturing and defense industrial base. My administration has ordered a first-ever complete review of the manufacturing, technology and supply chains we need to protect our country. We cannot have national security without economic security.
To further unleash American enterprise, we have taken unprecedented steps to remove job-killing regulations that sap the energy, creativity and dynamism from our country. We are cutting regulations at a pace that has never even been thought of before. Not even thought of.
This is a groundbreaking campaign and it involves every department and agency across our government. We are requiring every federal manager to systematically review and then remove the regulations that destroy your jobs, hamstring your companies and undermine your ability to compete. And we need some regulations but we don't need 35 regulations to take care of one item. We don't need to go through nine different agencies to get something taken off. We want beautiful, fast, efficient regulation that works.
Already, we are seeing the results of an economic policy that puts America first. Unemployment is at a 16-year low. Wages are rising. The stock market is soaring to record levels. The S&P hit a record high just this morning, as I was coming over. GDP growth hit over 3 percent last quarter; was just adjusted yesterday and is now at 3.1 percent, a number that hasn't been seen in a very, very long time, and a number that's way ahead of schedule.
And I believe we're doing better this month, but, unfortunately, having the hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida and Louisiana and obviously other locations, and especially where we are right now with the kind of money we're spending on Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, it's -- it's going to be a little bit of a hit. But we're doing extremely well even this quarter, despite the hurricanes.
Manufacturing confidence is at an all-time high. America is finally back on the right track. But our country and our economy cannot take off like they should unless we transform America's outdated, complex and extremely burdensome tax code. It is a burden on our country.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-family and pro-America.
Our current tax code punishes companies for doing business in the United States and encourages them to leave. And that's what's happened for so many years. And that's one of the reasons, probably the prime reason, that companies are leaving our country and firing all those people. They're not bringing the jobs with them, they're giving other countries those jobs; firing all of those great people.
That's stopping. It's already started to stop about nine months ago. But that's stopping and it's stopping right now.
We need a tax system that encourages companies to stay in America, grow in America and hire in America, right?
For several months, my administration has been working closely with Congress to develop a framework for tax reform that will deliver exactly that: more jobs, higher pay, and lower taxes for middle- income families and for American businesses of all sizes. And these are businesses that create jobs. We unveiled an incredible framework on Wednesday in Indiana, a great state. And I'd like to share with you four core principles of our plan.
First, we will cut taxes for everyday hardworking Americans, and we're going to cut them substantially.
Under this framework, the first $12,000 for a single individual, and the first $24,000 for a married couple, will be absolutely tax- free. No tax. We are nearly doubling the amount of income that is taxed at a rate of zero.
Above that amount, income will be taxed at three rates: 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.
We will also substantially increase the Child Tax Credit to save working families even more money, because we know the most important investment our country can make is in our children.
Our framework also provides relief to those who care for an older loved one through a $500 tax credit, something that everybody has been wanting so badly for so long.
By eliminating the tax breaks and special-interest loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy, our framework ensures that the benefits of tax reform go to the middle class, not the highest earners.
That's why we also have given Congress the flexibility to add an additional top rate on the very highest income earners, to provide even more tax relief for everyday working people.
Second, our framework will make the tax code more simple, fair and easy to understand. American families and businesses waste billions and billions of dollars and -- tens of billions of dollars on excruciating paperwork and compliance every single year. And it never ends. Under our framework, the vast majority of families will be able to file their taxes on a single sheet of paper. We're also repealing the unfair and complicated alternative minimum tax, or AMT. The AMT requires many people to calculate their taxes two different ways and pay the higher of the two amounts.
We are closing loopholes, reducing burdens and replacing confusion with total clarity.
As part of the simplification, we're also going to protect millions of family businesses by ending the crushing, horrible and unfair estate tax, known as the death tax.
That means, for those of you with small and family-owned businesses, your family won't have to sell the business in a fire sale just to pay a very, very high and unfair tax. Your families can continue to run your businesses with love and dedication in remembrance of you.
We will protect our manufacturers and our workers. And we will make taxes simple, easy and fair for all Americans. And it's about time.
We will cut taxes on American businesses to restore our competitive edge, and create more jobs and higher wages for the American worker.
The last major tax reform was passed more than 30 years ago, in 1986, with a large bipartisan majority. Just sounds so nice. Wouldn't that be nice? Come on. Look at -- we have -- we have so many right here. Let's go. Raise your hands, fellas, if you're (inaudible).