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INSIDE POLITICS

Ryan: Election "Puts More Pressure" On Passing Tax Reform; Falwell: D.C. Should "Annex" Northern Virginia; Trump Touts Accomplishments One Year After Election; Trump Tweets Despite Great Firewall Of China; Trump Jr. Slams Twitter's New Character Count. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 8, 2017 - 12:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[12:30:05] REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It doesn't change my reading of the current moment. It just emphasizes my reading of the current moment which is we have a promise to keep, we going to get on with keeping our promise. And one of the chief promises we made when we ran for office, all of us whether it's the President or Congress in 2016 was that we would do tax reform and tax cuts for families, for people.

If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: I can't think of a different answer. Republicans do think the most imperative thing for them to do is keep some of their promises to the American people. And here we are in November, the first year of all Republican Washington. They were supposed to repeal and replace Obamacare, they didn't and won't.

The President promised a big infrastructure package and never sent it to Capitol Hill. So tax cuts is their last best hope. But, and then I yield to the table, that was strikingly familiar to exactly what Nancy Pelosi said the morning after Bob McDonald won in 2009 where she said, we as Democrats need to do what we promised. They did pass health care -- they did in March, and they move pretty quickly, and in March they passed Obamacare and then they got pummeled.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Look -- and the analogy here could be that Republicans pass a big tax cut that, by the way, affects people in high tax states like California and New York and elsewhere negatively. There are Republicans in those states, there are Republican districts.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In New York state.

SHEAR: Right. And so, what if by passing tax cuts, you sort of heal your party kind of writ large but you open up and put in play dozens of Republican seats in these high taxed states who are basically going to -- the opponents of which are going to say you raised my taxes. BASH: Well, can I say one thing about that Breitbart headline. I mean, it was really catchy, that swamp creature, whatever they call. Swamp thing. Ed Gillespie said give me a break.

This time yesterday, Ed Gillespie was doing everything that the Breitbart wing of the Republican Party wanted him to do. Sanctuary cities and law and order and MS-13 and they were so happy that he was embracing Trumpism and then he lost and it's like who is that guy.

KING: Wait and you're saying like the President they support so much, they're transactional and they have a very short memory?

BASH: I'm saying that they are as political as the next guy. Yesterday --

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: And Bannon was praising him.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We haven't said this enough. Yesterday, Trumpism without Trump didn't sell.

HENDERSON: Right.

KING: Number one, and the question for Republicans is remember, when Obama wasn't on the ballot, in every election they got pummeled. The question is, will the same thing happen to Republicans without Trump on the ballot? To help you make your point, and I'm sure he did this because he knew you were going to say that.

You know, Matt Drudge, unlike Breitbart blaming candidates, Matt Drudge is saying Republicans need to be worried. He says next stop Alabama. There's a big Senate race down there. And he says Democrats are born again. That to me is a better reaction that we'd better learn the lessons here and we've going to study this.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, it's certainly a truer more sort of intellectually honest assessment than what you have from Trump, or what you have from people like Laura Ingraham. You wonder what this means now for Bannon, right, who said that he's going to primary -- everybody he's going to primary all the swamp things. You know, in --

KING: And Nancy Pelosi said this morning that she's praying deeply for that.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean -- yes. What does that do to his mission at this point? And you imagine people like we were talking to Barbara Comstock who's in Virginia, people like Martha McSally. Maybe she'll run for that open Senate seat but all of these Republicans should certainly be worried that this playbook because they were hopeful that this playbook of sort of Trumpism light married to a kind of Chamber of Commerce Republican would actually work and it didn't. Backfired hugely.

MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: So I talked to somebody on Monday at the White House about tax reform and the theme was -- the message was, look, everybody on Capitol Hill and in the White House sort realizes that we've got to pass something, that this is sort of -- there's political imperative here. I think obviously that imperative is even more striking now.

But if you look at compare where Republicans are now to where Democrats were in 2009, 2010, why did Republicans do very well in 2010? It was actually -- there was actually a substantive argument. They did pass, Democrats did passed health care. It was health care, cap and trade and stimulus. They passed two out of three of those. And that was the argument for Republicans going into 2010.

There's not a substantive argument here in part because Republicans haven't passed anything in Congress. The issue is always and always will be Trump. And when you're at 36 percent approval, it just washes out all of these other issues. It's all about Trump and that's a problem for Republicans.

KING: Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes -- and again, one of the things about yesterday in 2016, Donald Trump broke and bent every rule of American politics. What happened yesterday was the old rules apply. They have historically unpopular president, your party gets whacked.

Now, the Democrats can think we just got to put Mickey Mouse on the Donald Duck on the ballot and we will win in this environment. The question is to get all those House seats, to win in some of these tougher more Republican areas, they're going to have to plan on the economy. They're going to have to plan. It can't be just anti-Trump I think. We'll see what happens.

[12:35:01] Here's an interesting reaction. Jerry Falwell, the son of the former Moral Majority Leader and I know I think believe still the President of Liberty University. Here's his brilliant plan to help Republicans. "D.C. should annex Northern Virginia and return the governance of Virginia to Virginians. The founders intended D.C. to include all federal employees who are conflicted."

We used to talk about Congresswoman Barbara Comstock who lives just across the river and is in a district, that's going to very tough to hold. I'm going to guess she considers herself a Virginian. But it is interesting. I don't mean to be too snarky here, but I'm always interested when the day after an election, a man of God decides I guess some people are more equal than others because people in Northern Virginia --

BASH: Are swamp creatures.

HENDERSON: Yes.

BASH: Meaning that the accusation from Falwell and people like him is that because the population has exploded in Northern Virginia and Northern Virginia is part of the company town of D.C. that is all about the swamp, then that they're not real conservatives.

KING: That's a big part of the Northern Virginia economy. But that's overly simplistic. There are a lot of other jobs out there. And yes, they elected an African-American lieutenant governor and the first transgender candidate who ran against a guy who called himself Virginia's best homophobe, to the Virginia house and delegates. So I think there's a little bit more at play than that.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, there has always been this idea that there's -- and Sarah Palin talked about it like this is real America versus, you know, urban America or changing America really. And last night, you know, the changing America, the changing demographics in that state started to catch up with that state. I mean, it was something that I think was overstated in 2016 that changing America didn't necessarily show up.

But I think finally it did for Democrats. And, you know, Democrats going into this, I have talked with Democrats before this race. They didn't know it was going to be such a blowout. They were saying two to three points.

KING: It's the size.

HENDERSON: Yes. It's the size of it.

WARREN: And it's the margins, too. What's more important is how not just the Northern Virginia suburbs, those non-Virginia part that I happen to live in and I think that it is part of Virginia. I consider out myself a Virginian.

But it's the suburbs around Richmond, the suburbs in the tidewater region. But this to me is the bigger problem for Republicans. It's they're losing the suburbanites which are such a core part of their coalition. They're adding a lot of coal country types into their coalition, they've been doing that really since George w. Bush endorsed strip mining in 2000 in West Virginia. But if you can't hold the suburbanites, it's where everybody lives.

KING: You're already losing the urban areas. The suburbs are the next biggest pot of people. All right, if you loss the suburbs and the urban areas, simple math folks, simple math.

Up next, it's been one year since then-candidate Trump became President-elect. Yes, one year ago tonight. A lot has changed since this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time. And we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:42:24] KING: If Donald Trump holds on to Florida, if Donald Trump holds on to North Carolina, then these are the states that will decide the next president of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What a historic moment. We can now project the winner of the presidential race. CNN projects Donald Trump wins the presidency.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: That was a historic moment. And it was one year ago tonight that Donald Trump won the presidency. And I just love this, I'm sorry, despite what the President says, despite what he tweets, look at who then-candidate Trump and his team were watching, who they watch, when it matters most. That's election night. Every TV you can see there tune to CNN. Oh well.

Let's look a year later the President by the numbers here. Now, if you go back a lot of numbers, a lot of polling in the first year of Donald Trump. Here's one interesting big change. Right after the election, the American people were largely divided, 44 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable. A year later, nearly six in 10 Americans have an unfavorable view of their President. The President has historically low approval ratings. That's just the fact one year later.

United, divided. You heard him before the break talking about Hillary Clinton's service. He wanted to unite the country. Well, the American people is an open-minded. They were divided on that question right after the election. Now again, nearly six in 10 Americans say this President has divided the United States of America.

This scorecard is horrible for the President. If you look at these big qualities, is he honest? Is he a bad leader? Does he care about average Americans? Is he not level headed? Is he strong and intelligent? On every one of them, the President's heading in the wrong direction. 61 percent still say he's strong. But that's down 13 points from a year ago. 56 percent say he's intelligent, for example, down 18 points.

And look at this, 59 percent say he's a bad leader off the charts, up 21 points. These qualities for the President not good. We know the President tweets a lot. We just go back and took a score. 54 of his tweets have been about President Obama, 46 about Hillary Clinton. And 13, he's used one of his favorite hash tags, sad.

Last night, the President was in Asia but he couldn't resist reminding the people of South Korea about one year ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Since my election exactly one year ago today, I celebrate with you. Our stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. We are defeating ISIS. We are strengthening our judiciary including a brilliant Supreme Court justice, and on and on and on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Neil Gorsuch I'm sure his grateful. His name ID is now off the charts in South Korea. I don't blame the President. Year later, the President is overseas. I'm making fun. But of course, he wants to talk about a year ago. He did win a historic victory. We're learning a year later sometimes that the glow doesn't last very long, shall we say.

[12:45:09] It's hard to believe it was only a year ago that election night. So let's just talk about a couple of things. Number one, the President did say and you heard as we went to break, you know, I applaud Hillary Clinton for her service. I mean this sincerely. He said in that speech on election night he wanted to unify the country. If you look at the numbers, certainly, if you look at the reaction in Virginia election last night, the surge in voters in Charlottesville, that tells you people don't believe he has done that.

HENDERSON: Yes, and he has actively not done it, right? I mean, I think a lot of people would argue that he has actively tried to be divisive and seeing -- being divisive along cultural lines, along racial lines, along ethnic lines, along religious lines, almost seeing that as a strategy. I mean, you mentioned Charlottesville, going after NFL players, going after Jemele Hill feuding with a war widow -- I mean, wasn't helpful to this.

But, yes -- I mean, back then a year ago, people were very hopeful. He sounded very sincere. He talked about reaching out and bridging the divisions, healing the divides. But so far he hasn't done any of that. No expectation at this point that he will.

KING: Let's go back and listen a bit. Because I think it's important to sometimes go back and remember what a candidate says on election night. And you judge them as they go to their term in office. On that night he sounded very conciliatory about trying to bring the country together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division. Have to get together. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was very gracious actually.

BASH: Very.

KING: Very gracious. Now they brought some Democrats in on tax reform. We've seen episodes here and there. But the reaction to Charlottesville both sides on some other issues, at best a mixed message. And by the numbers, the American people certainly think he has, when he has to put stamp on the scale, it's more to divide than unite. SHEAR: And there's sort of two areas in which I think he has failed to live up to that sort of lofty ideal, right? One is policy and the other is tone. On policy, he didn't sort of take a middle of the road approach, right. Whether it's EPA and trying to gut the EPA or the regulatory approach to sort of reverse everything that Barack Obama did or its immigration policy which is much more -- I mean, those are all divisive issues that are at the heart of why the country is so split.

And on tone, I mean, I just think it's impossible to look at the tweets. I mean, various people have -- I think our paper did it too, we have sort of compiled all the tweets over the last year. I mean, they're just one after another as Nia said like going after every different kind of like little, you know, touch point, wedge in the country and sticking a --

KING: A lot of Republicans then after last night saying they hope last night will finally get that through to him. I wouldn't bet more than a dollar. What else do we think of a year later? He did get, as he mentioned in South Korea, a Supreme Court justice through. He's getting a lot of other federal justices through. That's a big deal.

WARREN: I think that is the thing that he can point to and certainly what, you know, I hear from Republican voters and people who wanted Trump to succeed say well at least there's Neil Gorsuch. And I think he has succeeded not just at the Supreme Court level but on the federal judge level, as well. He's been helped by a few things, institutionally.

Mitch McConnell keeping that seat open for a Republican president was huge. It wouldn't have happened without that. You also have an infrastructure so the conservative legal infrastructure that's there that has sort of inculcated a whole generation of conservative judges.

KING: And he accepted.

WARREN: And he accepted that. That's been a struggle for him, I think, on a big policy issue like Obamacare which the conservative movements not really figured out a way forward on health care.

KING: And not figured out a way foreign health care. I think one of the reasons he won understated reason during the primaries he used immigration. During the general election he used a lot of trade. But he also tapped people's frustration with anyone who has a title, including Secretary Hillary Clinton. Drain the swamp was part of get rid of the old, Democrats and Republicans.

BASH: I cannot tell you how many Trump voters I've talked to throughout the campaign at his rallies, who said -- that was the thing I heard more than anything else. He is different. He is not like them. We need somebody new in there. We need to shake it up. And I feel like my theme this hour is swamp but it was you know, get the swamp out of there. And that has not happened.

HENDERSON: Right. BASH: I mean, we have several examples, the most egregious of course is his HHS secretary now former HHS secretary who got fired for taking private jets to -- charging taxpayers lots and lots of money instead of just flying you know a commercial or, you know, trying to save money. That I would think, if I go back and talk to those Trump voters about is this what you had in mind, the answer is no. This is what I would expect from the people who are in the swamp.

KING: Former campaign aides trading on his name and making money in their firms and everything, they didn't write the swamp. They just replaced the alligators. Everybody sit up tight.

Up next, the bold move by the President as he takes on the Great Firewall of China.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:54:23] KING: President Trump landed in China about 12 hours ago. He's already tweeted three times despite the so-called Great Firewall of China. Here's one, "On behalf of FLOTUS, Melania and I thank you for an unforgettable afternoon and evening at the forbidden city in Beijing. We're looking forward to rejoining you tomorrow morning."

President also echoed his warning for North Korea. "NoKo has interpreted America's past restraint as weakness. This would be a fatal miscalculation. Do not underestimate us and do not try us." It's a controversial move impart because social media, like Facebook and Twitter are banned in China for domestic users. But in the words of a senior administration official of Air Force One, the President will tweet whatever he wants.

So let's just put up the first tweet there where he is thanking President Xi for the greeting. "On behalf of FLOTUS, Melania and I thank you." What makes this one jump out? It's 217 characters, 217.

[12:55:11] There we go. It's the new twitter. It's the new twitter. You can write an essay as opposed to a paragraph.

BASH: Something tells me though that if he tweeted something like President Xi, please release all the people you have in prison who -- and end all your human rights abuses, it would be harder for us to see those tweets.

SHEAR: And we might not --

HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: Yes.

WARREN: Absolutely. An idea that -- and all seriousness, I mean, this is the President tweeted something like congratulations on President Xi for his political victory. I mean, this is a silly (ph) repressive regime.

KING: How about @President Xi. I love this Twitter thing. Your people will, too. HENDERSON: Yes, yes.

WARREN: No. I mean, that would have to send a message.

(CROSSTALK)

HENDERSON: I mean, that would be a real message. We know that isn't this President. I mean, he's, you know, bffs with the leader of China there and he isn't one to sort of use the bully pulpit in highlighting human rights abuses more about the countries.

KING: I'm going to get everyone control on that. I just want to show you the New England Patriots have decided to take advantage of this new world. They're going to tweet out all of Tom Brady's wins. Oh wait, they ran out of space. Even with all those characters. They ran out of space. They say Twitter wants to add more characters.

The President's son, Don Jr. weighing in on this. How about a compromise he says. And you get everybody still going. That's right. Honestly, the Patriots.

Donald Trump Jr. says how about everyone gets one of these a day. One hundred-forty was an art form. Two hundred-eighty is everyone's chance to write their Gettysburg address that no one wants to actually read. Aha.

I would just say Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter he tweeted yesterday that Virginia voters should turn out today for Ed Gillespie. So there are a long lines in Republican areas today of course.

HENDERSON: He's going to pull it out today.

KING: What do we make?

BASH: Yes.

KING: No?

HENDERSON: What's that?

KING: New Twitter, are you going to write essays.

HENDERSON: No, no, no. I'm not really on Twitter very much. But the 280 seems like excessive.

WARREN: I try to keep under 140 even with the (INAUDIBLE). I limit myself.

SHEAR: I suspect we're going to still have those cliffhanger tweets from Donald Trump.

HENDERSON: Yes, dot, dot, dot, dot, dot.

SHEAR: And we'll have to continue to look for the next one.

KING: I used to -- you just have to write before I switched to this TV thing. Give it a try. Never mind.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here same time tomorrow. Wolf Blitzer up after a quick break. Have a good day.

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