Outlines Vision for First 100 Days in Office. Aired 7-7:30a ET - Part 1>
BERMAN: -- loose cannon, she means Trump. This is Bernie Sanders sayings he will stay in the race until the last vote is cast. We're six months out now until November's election day, but the general election battles already under way.
[07:00:12] Let's begin our coverage with Phil Mattingly, live this morning in Columbus, Ohio.
Good morning, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
Donald Trump's ability to best a historically large and, by all accounts, talented Republican field has left many Republicans stunned. As one told me last night in a text message, "I'm numb." But it is now the reality. And that reality means Donald Trump needs to do a lot of things and a lot of things fast. Top on the list, a vice- presidential pick, fundraising, donors and trying to figure out how to ensure that the party wins on the whole in November.
TRUMP: I'm even surprised by it.
MATTINGLY: Donald Trump's elevation to presumptive nominee of the Republican Party happened suddenly, even for Donald Trump.
TRUMP: I thought that I'd be going longer.
MATTINGLY: His ascent now has conservatives scrambling, deciding whether to back a billionaire unabashedly vocal about his disdain for the party.
TRUMP: The Republican system is rigged, but much more -- in a much more sophisticated way.
MATTINGLY: Both former presidents Bush have made it clear they will not support Trump. According to close aides, Bush 41 is, quote, "retired from politics, and his son does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign."
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Trump is looking ahead and hitting his clearest target, the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, falsely accusing her of being the first to speculate on Obama's citizenship. TRUMP: You know who started it? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first? Hillary Clinton. She's the one that started it. She brought it up years before it was brought up by me. And, you know, so she can talk.
Look, here's a person under investigation by the FBI. She's only going to get the nomination because of some rigged deal, and frankly, maybe she won't even be able to run.
MATTINGLY: The new standard bearer of the Republican Party outlining some of his potential policies, taking a cue from Bernie Sanders, asked if he'll raise the minimum wage.
TRUMP: I'm actually looking at that, because I'm very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on, but what I'm really looking to do is get people great jobs so they make much more money than that. So they make much more money than -- more money than the $15.
Now if you start playing around too much with the lower level -- the lower level number, you're not going to be coming...
MATTINGLY: And vowing to implement his ban of all Muslims from entering the U.S.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You're sticking with this temporary ban?
TRUMP: Until we figure out what's going on. We have to be very tough. We have to be very vigilant, yes.
MATTINGLY: Trump now focused on potential running mates.
TRUMP: I'm starting to think about it very soon and will be vetting them.
MATTINGLY: In a possible push to unify the GOP, namechecked the previous rivals who have since supported him.
TRUMP: You know, I'm going to set up a committee, and I'll meet with Ben Carson on the committee. I meet with Chris Christie on the committee. I've had a good relationship with John. I've gotten along with him well. But John will -- whether he's vice president or not, I think he'll be very, very helpful with Ohio.
MATTINGLY: John Kasich has always said there is zero chance that he would be Trump's V.P. His future is still left unknown.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone. And as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith that the Lord will show me the way forward.
MATTINGLY: And John, all eyes here in Columbus will be on John Kasich, not just about a potential V.P. nod, but also about his support for Donald Trump in general. He's grown sharply critical of Trump and the campaign Trump's run over the last couple of months, how he will try and resolve those issues over the next few weeks will be very interesting to watch.
It's something all top Republican officials are starting to deal with right now. Many yesterday coming out publicly, making the calculation that they will support the party's nominee; but from top officials to donors to grass roots, everybody trying to figure out what to do now. Donald Trump is the nominee. Where does the party go from here and how do you unify to beat the Democrats in November -- John.
BERMAN: John Kasich's body language will be really interesting to read. Phil Mattingly in Columbus, thanks so much.
Hillary Clinton warns that the country that it cannot risk a Donald Trump presidency. That's not all the former secretary of state had to say to CNN's Anderson Cooper. CNN's Chris Frates is live in Washington with more of that interview -- Chris.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John.
That's right. Hillary Clinton wasted no time hitting the freshly minted presumptive GOP nominee, slamming Donald Trump in an exclusive interview with our own Anderson Cooper.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he is a loose cannon. And loose cannons tend to misfire.
FRATES (voice-over): Hillary Clinton says she's ready to take on Donald Trump in the general election, brushing off his "Crooked Hillary" moniker and repeatedly calling him a loose cannon.
CLINTON: I've seen the presidency up close, from two different perspectives. And I think I know what it takes. And I don't think we can take a risk on a loose cannon like Donald Trump running the country.
[07:05:07] You know, Donald Trump has said that it's OK for other countries to get nuclear weapons. I think that's just downright dangerous.
FRATES: But elsewhere, Clinton is treading more lightly, declining to say whether she agrees with this tweet from Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying Trump, quote, "built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia."
CLINTON: I think Elizabeth Warren is really smart.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You agree with all that?
CLINTON: I think that anybody who's listened to him and how he's talked, certainly can draw that.
COOPER: Do you think he's a racist? CLINTON: I'm going to let people judge for themselves.
FRATES: Clinton also seems unfazed by Trump's more personal barbs.
COOPER: He's made references to your -- to your marriage, to your husband. Are you prepared?
CLINTON: He's not the first one, Anderson. I just can't -- I can't say this often enough. He wants to go back to the playbook of the 1990s. If he wants to follow in the footsteps of those who have tried to knock me down and take me out of the political arena, I'm more than happy to have him do that.
COOPER: You're ready for that?
CLINTON: Oh, please. I mean, look, this is -- this is to me a classic case of a blustering, bullying guy who -- who has knocked out of the way all of the Republicans, because they were just dumbfounded.
FRATES: And fresh off his primary victory over Clinton, Bernie Sanders is also criticizing Trump's abrasive campaign tactics at his rally last night.
SANDERS: I know that there is a lot of nervousness around this country that Donald Trump may become president. Ain't going to happen!
The American people will never elect a candidate who insults people every single day in incredibly ugly ways.
FRATES: Now Sanders didn't mention Clinton at all in his speech last night. But it remains to be seen if this kinder, gentler approach will continue. Remember, it's mathematically impossible for Sanders to win enough delegates in all these remaining contests to clinch the nomination, but the Vermont senator has vowed to take this fight all the way to the convention, hoping to convince enough super delegates to switch sides and hand him the nomination.
Alison, back to you.
CAMEROTA: OK, Chris. Thanks so much for all of that. So let's discuss this with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. She's a Republican from North Carolina who has endorsed Donald Trump.
Good morning, Congresswoman.
REP. RENEE ELLMERS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Good morning. Good to be with you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Great to have you. So now that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, it's our job to look at his statements and his plans more closely.
Yesterday, he sat down with our Wolf Blitzer, and he talked about some of his plans, one of which was the minimum wage, and whether or not it should be raised. And Donald Trump yesterday said something different than what he had said in November during one of the debates. So let me play both of those statements for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Taxes too high, wages too high. We're not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You can't live on $7.25.
No, and I'm actually looking at that, because I'm very different from most Republicans. I mean, you have to have something that you can live on.
TRUMP: Open to raising the minimum wage? Open to doing something with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: OK, so Congresswoman, which one is it? Is he open to raising the minimum wage or are wages too high, as he said?
ELLMERS: Well, you know, I think he hit it exactly the way he is coming across and thinking about it. He's talking about the fact that he's looking at it.
I don't think there's anything that's unreasonable about that. I think that most of us, those of us who are Republican and conservative, and we believe that a strong work force is going to grow and that we want to help individuals to move up that ladder of success no matter what. And when you have an entry-wage job, that's exactly what it is. But, let's face it. There's a lot of discussion about this across the country, and I think it's fair to say that it's on the table.
CAMEROTA: Sure, but most conservatives don't believe in raising the minimum wage. They think that that would actually kill jobs, because employers may not be able to pay the higher wage. So when you hear him say that he's open to it, do you support that?
ELLMERS: I'm not -- I'm not opposed to that. I think -- I think this is a fresh way of looking at all of this. You know, I'm a Republican, and I do believe that when -- when we're talking about creating jobs, we have to be careful about setting minimum wages.
Now, but that doesn't mean that I'm the correct person in the room. I think that's what Donald Trump is trying to say here. He wants to bring the conversation to the table.
CAMEROTA: But does he support it or not? I mean, I think that it's fair for voters to hear how their possible president really feels. Do you think that Donald Trump supports raising the minimum wage or not?
ELLMERS: Well, I mean, he said it himself. I'm not balking at this. I can't say that he does or that he doesn't. He basically said he was open to that discussion.
[07:10:05] I think it's fair to say that he would like to hear from all parties, all concerned, and let's -- let's move forward with a plan of action for the country. It can't be just black and white.
And I think, unfortunately, many times that's how this discussion has panned out between Republicans and Democrats. Let's all come together and solve the problems. That's what Donald Trump is. He is a problem-solver. He is successful, and he understands that you have to bring different opinions to the table. And even if you don't agree with them yourself.
CAMEROTA: So as you know, voters say that they're most concerned about jobs. What Donald Trump said yesterday to Wolf Blitzer is "What I'd do is bring our jobs back." But again he's light on details. How will he bring jobs back?
ELLMERS: Well, I think he hits on the major points when he's talking about creating jobs and growing the economy, which you have pointed out is the No. 1 issue. You know, leaving the Indiana polls there earlier in the week.
That was the No. 1 issue. Let's create an environment of growth. We haven't had that for eight years. We've had a stagnant economy. Wages are flat. I think that's why we're having the discussion about wages.
But what we need to do is we need significant tax reform. We need to make America the place that other businesses who had left want to come back. We have to grow manufacturing. We have to grow every sector of industry in this country. We have to have a fair trade system that empowers America to trade with our global partners; not decrease our amount of control in the situation, but increase our amount of control.
Let's do the things that are necessary to grow jobs in America and be bold about it.
CAMEROTA: So you've heard Donald Trump say plans that you're comfortable with and that voters should be comfortable with in terms of bringing companies back: for instance, lowering taxes for those companies? How would he lure companies back?
ELLMERS: Well, what I can tell you on that -- on that issue is, you know, we need -- we need a broad and bold tax reform system. We've been talking about it for a long time, but unfortunately, as Republicans, we haven't had the courage to actually put it in place.
But when we're talking about taxes, let's remember, we're not just talking about corporate taxes. We're talking about personal income tax. We're talking about small business tax. We're talking about corporate tax. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the global -- in the global economy. We've got to decrease that so that we are globally competitive again.
CAMEROTA: Senator Ben Sasse put an open letter last night at around midnight on Facebook, saying that he hears so many Republicans who are still disgruntled and dissatisfied about Donald Trump being their choice, and he suggests -- I'll just read a short portion of this -- "I think most Americans can still be for limited government again, if they were given a winsome candidate who wanted Washington to focus on a small number of really important urgent things. I think there is room, an appetite for such a candidate."
He means a third-party candidate. Do you think there's a chance that a third-party candidate will emerge?
ELLMERS: I think the answer there really goes to the American people. And the excitement that Donald Trump has brought to this presidential campaign over these months. You know, coming into a race with -- with 16 other opponents and now being the one going forward.
The excitement, the numbers, that have come out for Donald Trump. We have thousands more individuals who are voting now that haven't voted in the past or have felt that either party has left them behind. That's where the question is.
If someone thinks that there's a path forward, I think it's a pretty poor choice, because I think Donald Trump is really the one that most people are going to put their support behind. And I just think it would be a failed effort. I think what we have to do is unify behind our Republican nominee and do everything we can to take down Hillary Clinton in November.
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, thanks so much.
ELLMERS: Good to be with you.
CAMEROTA: Let's go over to John.
BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Alisyn.
The State Department says a 48-hour ceasefire is now in the effect in the Syrian city of Aleppo. This was negotiated by the U.S. and Russia. U.S. officials say the violence has decreased, but not ended. Most of Aleppo is under the Syrian government's control, but extremists and opposition forces still control parts of the city.
CAMEROTA: President Obama visiting Flint, Michigan, and sipping the city's water as he urges parents to let their children get tested for lead poisoning. The president challenging the city to use the water crisis as an opportunity to rebuild.
Later this hour, we will speak with the eight-year-old who wrote the letter to president, to the president, and she is being credited with bringing him to Flint. Look at that hug. So what was it like for her to have him visit and hug her like that? We'll hear from her directly.
BERMAN: That is quite a hug.
All right. What do Donald Trump and Captain America have in common? They're apparently the same person. You'll see what I mean in today's "Late Night Laughs."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, hello.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC'S "THE LATE SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON": Congratulations. You just reached Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald, Donald, you called me.
FALLON: Doesn't matter. Did you see the news? I'm now the Republican president. And come November, I'm going to be voted Captain America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Congratulations on Indiana.
FALLON: Thank you.
I love Indiana. The birthplace of Indiana Jones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to admit, it was a big win.
FALLON: It was a big win. And when I'm in in charge, America's going to start winning. And winning bigly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you just say "bigly"?
FALLON: That's right. Bigly. And I'm going to be the bestest, most fantasticist president ever. It's going to be huuggge-ical.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hugeical. I can't believe it. You actually could be the next president.
FALLON: Believe it. Because now that Ted Cruz dropped out, there's only one man standing in my way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean John Kasich?
FALLON: No, Hillary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, mike drop.
FALLON: Speaking of mike drop, I watched your speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. It was hilarious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I watched your speech on foreign policy, and the feeling is mutual, buddy.
FALLON: Thank you for praising me. I totally deserve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's so good. They're both -- they both do pretty impeccable impressions there. The Obama is great also.
BERMAN: Six months. Six months until election day in November. We've got a lot more of that coming.
CAMEROTA: That's great.
Well, the presidential election picture in November now becoming clearer. Trump's assent so far has been unprecedented, it is historic. Are the Clinton campaign and the Democrats, are they underestimating Trump? We'll talk about that.
[07:20:50] BERMAN: Cruz out, Kasich out, Donald Trump the last Republican standing. The Republicans' new standard bearer in all likelihood will face off against Hillary Clinton this fall. So what can we expect this fall?
Joining us now, CNN political commentator Van Jones; and the editor of "The Weekly Standard," Bill Kristol.
Bill, my first question about the fall is will we see someone in addition to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump running this fall? Ben Sasse, you know, overnight on Facebook made a passionate plea for a third-party candidate to emerge. I know you are quite supportive of this, Mr. Kristol.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I am, and I hope that Ben Sasse decides to pick up the mantle himself. I think it would be fantastic to have a young, intelligent, conservative, but very independent-minded and willing to work across the aisle senator on the stage with two elderly Americans, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who really are fighting the battles.
KRISTOL: Well, I mean, I'm in my early 60s. They're a little older than I am. They get Social Security. Ben Sasse is in his 40s. Think of the generation contrast. I think Sasse is so much more thoughtful than either of them. I think he could -- I think someone like Sasse running would start off behind. There would be a lot of hurdles to get over. It's doable, though. And if he could get into the debates in September and October, I think he could actually win.
BERMAN: Senator Sasse in his letter makes clear, he's not going to be the guy.
KRISTOL: I wouldn't say -- I would say he makes it that clear. There are others, many others that could go a little bit older and senior with Tom Coburn or something, but yes.
CAMEROTA: But Bill, if it didn't work for John Kasich, why would it work for somebody else now?
KRISTOL: Well, Trump beat -- John Kasich was a flawed candidate. Trump did very well in the Republican primary. The Republican primary is different from a general election.
And look, I mean, some of us can't accept a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. We think the country can do better. I think some Republicans, even those who are a little bit tempted by Trump, may come to their senses over the next few months. They haven't so far, and I've been wrong in thinking they will.
But look, Trump is still -- how has Trump gotten so far, 42 percent or something like that of the Republican primary vote. He's getting less than half of a party that represents half the country. That is not so formidable.
And Hillary Clinton hasn't exactly been formidable. She just lost to Bernie Sanders in Indiana, I mean, which is not a state that she should have that much trouble in. So that both Clinton and Trump are weaker than people think right now, and there is really room for an independent candidate.
CAMEROTA: What do you think of that theory, Van?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, I can understand the heartburn that serious conservatives, principled conservatives are experiencing because of, frankly, nobody can figure out what Donald Trump believes inside of the same interview.
You just heard a representative saying that he might be flip-flopping on minimum wage, but even she's not sure. And she apparently thinks that Donald Trump is trying to be a talk-show host, convening conversations as opposed to making laws. She goes, well, he's not going to deal with black and white. That's exactly what laws are. They're in black a white.
And so, you have a candidate, even when he's trying to appear presidential, seems like maybe what a third grader might think a president would do or say but doesn't have any good answers.
So on the other -- on the other side, though, as much concern as there is for the conservatives that he might lose, and he might hurt the Republican Party, my concern is that he might win and hurt the country. Because I think Democrats are taking him way too lightly.
I just don't think Democrats understand that there is a weighed building for change, and change of any kind, of any stripe. At this point, I think Kermit the Frog could run.
CAMEROTA: And in fact, you've said that you think Donald Trump, quote, "will probably win the presidency." So what should Democrat -- if you think they're not taking him seriously, I mean, what's the prescription? What should they be doing, do you think?
JONES: Well, a couple things. First of all, the hammer blow will fall the hardest from Trump in the Rust Belt, where Democrats have tended to be able to take things for granted. Michigan, Pennsylvania, even Wisconsin. Places that have had Republican governors either now or in the recent past. They have a lot of economic pain.
The winners in globalization are people like many of the folks watching this show. We get a chance to go to Wal-Mart. We don't pay very much. We don't even think about it. So the winners are diffuse and ungrateful. But the losers in globalization, who lost the jobs because of NAFTA are concentrated and a they're angry, and they're in the Rust Belt.
If Donald Trump goes there, he can pick up votes. Democrats need to be in the Rust Belt right now, trying to shore up African-American and working-class white votes, pointing out that if you have a CEO president like Trump, you get like a CEO governor like you got in Michigan that gave you Flint.
[07:25:22] If you don't make those arguments, if you just lay back and think demographics are going to save you and gaffes (ph) are going to save you, you will be washed out to sea like all the Republicans have been so far.
BERMAN: So Van, maybe Donald Trump can win some Rust Belt Democrats. The question is will he lose some Beltway conservatives, say, like editors of conservative magazines, like Bill Kristol?
Bill, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask, because there's been some confusion over the last several days, right? You've been "never Trump" for a while. Then you said on -- you know, in an interview, "Well, maybe never -- I should never..."
KRISTOL: No, no. No, no, no.
BERMAN: Never Trump. Are you going to vote for Donald Trump? Will you vote for Donald Trump, yes or no?
KRISTOL: No, I've always been "never Trump." I joked around on the radio. This will teach me to joke around on radio and TV. I was just musing on "never" and the meaning of "never." Never say never, but that was a mistake. I am "never Trump." I couldn't vote for Trump.
I can't vote for Hillary Clinton either, honestly. Which is why I'd like to see an independent candidate.
I think Van is right. It's a very unpredictable election. Maybe some Democrats are underestimating Trump. There are a heck of a lot more Rust Belt workers than there are Beltway conservative pundits. Let me stipulate that.
So I'm not saying that I have any power to do anything here, but -- but -- there are real republicans. And what I've within struck by in the last 24, 35 hours, the number of people I talked to who themselves have heard from lots and lots of people, including people they don't know personally, who I don't know personally, e-mailing "The Weekly Standard." They see me on CNN, and they sort of find out where I work and they find the general address, but "The Weekly Standard" on e- mail. And they say, "Please, we can do better. We can do better than Donald Trump."
BERMAN: Well, Bill, the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump. I mean, it's not like this was a fluke or he got in on a technicality. He got in after winning all these states and beating 16 other people.
KRISTOL: That's true. Great parties make mistakes, and they need to be saved from their mistakes in exceptional circumstances. And I hope we can save the Republican Party and save things.
I think after six months of Trump at convention, at debates, if he becomes the face of the Republican Party and the only face of the Republican Party, even if he loses, which I expect him to do, it's a real crisis for the Republican Party.
BERMAN: Even if Van...
KRISTOL: I do not think it's easy for the Republican Party to move beyond Donald Trump after he is the Republican Party for six months, which is why it's so important that someone else step forward.
CAMEROTA: Hey, Van, we only have 30 seconds left. I'll give you the final word.
JONES: Well, I just think it's important for people -- it's not just random, the party of either Republicans or Democrats or independents. The concern is real. These are very serious times. You need very serious people.