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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Rubio Goes After Trump at Texas Rally; Rep. Chris Collins Talks Trump Campaign. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired February 26, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we are dealing with here, my friends, is a con artist. He is a con artist. First of all, he runs on this idea that he is fighting for the little guy. But he has spent his entire career sticking it to the little guy. His entire career. All right, every business that he has ever run that's gone bankrupt. This guy bankrupted a casino. How do you bankrupt a casino?
How do you bankrupt a casino? All right, but when all of these projects went bankrupt, you know the first people that didn't get paid, the electricians and subcontractors. Some went out of business because he didn't pay them. He says he's fighting for the little guy, what about the students that signed up for Trump University, a fake school. Some of them took out loans, told them go max your credit cards, $36,000, and at the end of the course, you got a paper certificate and a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump.
He says he is fighting for the little guy. But in Florida, my home state, right now, he is hiring workers from other countries because he claims no Americans will do those jobs. This is the guy that says he is fighting to protect the American worker in Florida. There are 300 people that said we'll take those jobs, Americans. He doesn't hire them. Instead, he brings in workers from abroad to do the jobs, and he goes on television saying, oh, we can't find qualified people to do that work. There are qualified people raising their hands saying we'll do that work.
We have a guy at that, last night, spent literally 30 seconds defending Planned Parenthood. He did it better than Harry Reid does it.
RUBIO: This is what is trying to take over the conservative movement. It is time to open our eyes and see what's happening here. For the first time in 36 years, if Donald Trump is elected, the conservative movement will be headed up by somebody who says when it comes to Israel and Palestine, he is not taking sides. I'm taking sides. I'm with Israel.
RUBIO: We had a guy yesterday saying on the stage, oh, if you don't support government take over of health care, then you're in favor of letting people die in the streets. I've heard that before in the Democratic debate from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
So it's time the charade is up. This a con job where he is going to Americans struggling, hurting, and implying I'm fighting for you because I am a tough guy. A tough guy? This guy inherited $200 million. He has never faced any struggle. He told a protester, I'm going to punch you in the face. Donald Trump has never punched anyone in the face.
The first guy to ask for Secret Service protection. He inherited $200 million. I said it last night. If he had not, right now, he would be selling watches in Times Square.
RUBIO: Or be doing one of those infomercials that teaches you how to flip properties.
We unmasked him last night. It's time for you to unmask him as well.
RUBIO: You all have friends, you all have friends thinking about voting for Donald Trump. Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.
RUBIO: All right, so you want to have a little fun?
RUBIO: All right, what is Donald Trump do when things go wrong? He takes to Twitter. I have him right here. Let' read some. You'll have fun.
RUBIO: All right, number one, here's the first one, "Lightweight Marco Rubio was working hard last night." This is true. "The problem is, he is a chocker. And once a chocker, always a choker." I guess that's what he meant to say. He spelled choker, C-H-O-C-K-E-R, chocker. He called me Mr. Meltdown. Let me tell you something, during one of the breaks, two of the breaks, he went backstage, he was having a meltdown. First, he had this little makeup thing applying, like, makeup around his mustache, because he had one of those sweat mustaches. He wanted a full-length mirror. Maybe to make sure his pants weren't wet. I don't know.
(LAUGHTER) Then I see him pacing back and forth, and then he is huddled in the corner talking to somebody, waiving his arm up and down and the person trying to calm him down. Any way, but I'm a chocker.
[11:05:12] All right, next tweet. "Leight weight chocker, Marco Rubio, looks like a little boy on stage, not presidential material." He meant to say lightweight, but he spelled it L-E-I-G-H T, so he got it wrong.
"Looks like a little boy on stage." It's not that I look like a little boy, it's not that I would be the youngest president but he would be the oldest president ever elected. So you start to worry.
All right, last one, "Wow, every poll said I won the debate last night." Now, this is him about himself, OK.
"Great honer." I think he meant to say "honor." I don't know how he got that wrong, because the "E" and "O" are nowhere near each other oh there on the keyboard.
That's what I'm thinking. So how do this guy three tweets misspell words so badly? I only reach two conclusions. Number one, that's how they spell those words at the Wharton School of Business where he went.
Or number two, just like Trump Tower, he must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.
All right, so guys, we have a con artist as the front-runner in the Republican Party. A guy, a guy who has made a career out of telling people lies so they come in and buy his product or whatever he does. You ever heard of Trump vodka. You have? Well, it isn't around any more. Or a Trump mattress, or Trump air, or Trump ice or Trump water. Those are all businesses that are gone, because they were disasters. Trump hot air, yeah.
So we cannot allow the conservative movement to be taken over by a con artist, because the stakes are too high. This country faces an election in which our very identity as a people is at stake. For over two centuries, this has been a special country, unique in the history of all mankind. That was never an accident. That happened because the people who came before us, made the right choices and incredible sacrifices. Now the time has come for this generation to do its part.
Here is what I want you to believe in, it's not a slogan, it's the truth. If we do what needs to be done right now in this election, we have a chance to make this nation greater and more prosperous and freer than it has ever been in its history. That's the opportunity before us.
RUBIO: But not if we stay on the road we're on right now. Not if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders wins this election. And they'll win if we do not when it comes to Donald Trump. Look, I had articles written about me that I had ten traffic attacks, or my wife had traffic attacks, because of a red light scam. That's another thing we should get rid of, the red light cameras.
RUBIO: I had a reporter go back and say, find that when I was 18 years old, a friends and I went to a park after I see some young kids, I'm against this, but I'm going to tell you what I did when I was 18. We went to drink beer in a park after hours at 18. I knew you would cheer that in Texas. You're cheering.
RUBIO: But this guy, Donald Trump, has a lawsuit against them for fraud. You don't hear anything. It's crickets, because they know -- if he is the nominee, we're going to have someone as the Republican nominee that defends Planned Parenthood, someone who defend defends single payer for healthcare, who won't take sides with Israel, and a dream for them. And number two, they know, as soon as he gets the nomination, they will shred him to pieces. They are looking for this. They're encouraging this to happen.
We cannot nominate someone who will get shredded to pieces. The consequences are, Bernie Sanders, a Socialist, or Hillary Clinton, someone who is unqualified to be commander-in-chief, who put classified information on her e-mail server, someone who lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi, and anyone who lies to the family of someone who lost their loved one in the service to our country, should never be the commander-in-chief of the United States of America.
RUBIO: We cannot lose this election. You nominate me, we will not lose this election. You nominate me, the only way you'll have a conservative, you will have a conservative that unites the Republican Party and brings us together after the circus act we've had to live with for nine months. You'll have someone that will grow this party, not by changing our principles. We're going to take our principles to people, who are living today the way I grew up. People who have lived paycheck to paycheck, like I've lived, that have had to borrow money to go to school, real schools, not fake universities, like people who -- people who are trying to raise their families from the 21st century and how hard it has become to instill in your family the right values, the right values they teach in our churches, instead of what they ram down our throats in popular culture. We're going to unite the conservative movement and we'll grow it and we'll win the election when we do.
[11:15:48] RUBIO: And then we have a lot of work to do, because we have a lot of damage to undo. First of all, elect me president, for the first time in eight years, you'll have a president that protects and defends and follows the Constitution of the United States of America.
RUBIO: On my first day in office, as soon as I walk into the Oval Office, I will repeal every single one of Barack Obama's unconstitutional executive orders.
RUBIO: You will have a president that defends your First Amendment right to live out the teachings of your faith. Not to just believe whatever you want but live them in every aspect in your life.
RUBIO: You will have a president that defends your Second Amendment right to protect yourself and your family.
RUBIO: You will have a president, once again, that believes that the federal government is supposed to be a limited one. That most of the answers in our society don't belong to government. They belong in our lives, in our homes and our families. The most important job I will ever have, the most important job you will ever have, is the job of a husband, wife, father, mother. That's where the real difference is made in America.
RUBIO: And if government has a role, it is probably at the state level, not at the federal level. You will have a president that follows and honors and believes in the 10th Amendment, which means power belongs to the people through the states, not at the federal government.
RUBIO: You will have a president that believes that the constitution is not a living and breathing document designed to mean whatever you want it to mean. If it means whatever you want it to mean, it means nothing. The Constitution is supposed to be applied as originally meant, which means when I'm president of the United States, I will appoint people to the Supreme Court like Justice Scalia, God rest his soul, who understood the Constitution is to be applied according to its original meaning.
RUBIO: There is a way to change the Constitution. It's not the court system. It's called Article V. I think there should be two changes to the Constitution, two additions. We need a balanced budget amendment. We need term limits on Congress and term limits on judges.
RUBIO: You elect me president, you'll have a president that believes in free enterprise again. Real, not corporatism. Not a system in which people who made all the money use their influence to get the laws they want, leaves them in power and leaves everybody out. Listen, my mother and father were not rich people. My father was a bartender at a hotel. My mother was a maid --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: John Berman, here with Kate, in New York. All we can say is, oh, my god.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is on.
BERMAN: It is on. After eight months of barely mentioning Donald Trump in his campaign, Donald Trump is the main focus now of Marco Rubio's campaign. Saw it in last night's CNN Republican debate. In Houston, you're looking at it right now. Marco Rubio at an event in Dallas, Texas, his first event since that debate where honestly everything changed. In the last few minutes, Marco Rubio suggested Donald Trump wet his pants last night. He called him a con artist, and flat-out called him old.
BOLDUAN: The charade is up. This is a con job. Friends do not let friends vote for a con artist. And then he went on, reading Donald Trump's tweet, mocking him, making fun of his spelling, among other things. Truly amazing to see the change in this campaign in the first minute taking it to Donald Trump.
A lot to discuss. Oh, and by the way, we just heard speaking of Twitter, we saw from Donald Trump on Twitter that he is teasing a very big announcement that he is going to have at his event coming up shortly. We're keeping an eye on that in Fort Worth, Texas.
Let's bring in veteran journalist and former moderator of "Meet the Press," David Gregory; Doug Heye, the communications director at the RNC, now a "Wall Street Journal" contributor; and CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter; and conservative columnist and commentator, Kayleigh McEnany, also a Donald Trump supporter.
Great to see you all. I can't talk, but there is a lot talk about.
David Gregory, what do you see in what you just heard from Marco Rubio?
[11:15:27] DAVID GREGORY, VETERAN JOURNALIST & FORMER MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Well, I mean, I have to say, look, I mean, I don't want to be prudish about this thing, but it's sad to see the level of discourse that we saw last night and seeing it in politics 2016, we have candidates reading insults off of Twitter and responding with their own ridicule and their own insults, but that's where we are. No question that Marco Rubio has found himself, and kind of found a new gear in his campaign to not only argue for himself, but to argue for the stakes in the campaign. Talked about electability in the fall, but really, make a d attack on Donald Trump. I think it's interesting, because we've seen attacks on Trump's temperament. We've seen attacks on ideology, but I think this is different now. I think those attacks, and they've come from Jeb Bush, Cruz, they haven't worked. Here is Rubio saying the guy is not for real. He is actually conning you. You think he'll stand up for the little guy. He'll stick it to the little guy. This is Rubio trying to speak to the Trump supporter, saying what you're in for here, what you're supporting, is a con job. You should take a look at this and get more serious. We don't know if it's going to work. We don't know if this is in time. But certainly a novel approach from Rubio who found a gear and he understands he has to do this in a sustained way. It can't be about one debate.
BERMAN: Kayleigh, you're a Trump supporter. Do you think any of these hits, any of these swings, punches being thrown by Marco Rubio again and again and again are they landing?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST & COMMENTATOR: I don't think that they're very viable attacks, really when you look behind them and look at what he is saying, he says Donald Trump is not for the little guy, when in facts, Donald Trump has employed thousands and thousands of people in this country. And has built a great business on the foundation of propping up and helping other people along the way. You look at the substance of his attacks, he is saying Donald Trump in 1979, hired a subcontractor who employed polish immigrants, polish illegal immigrants. If that's your best attack, I don't think you have much ground to stand on at all. I would also encourage Marco Rubio last night in the debate, I was disappointed, when he was questioning Donald Trump acumen, he didn't even have the ability to look him in the eye. He looked down at his papers, the audience, he would not look at him in the eye. If you're going to attack someone. Donald Trump does and Ted Cruz does when they attack people. Marco Rubio needs to do the same.
BOLDUAN: It seems very clear that Marco Rubio is trying to speak, not to Donald Trump, speak to the audience in making his case last night, as he is continuing trying to make the case right now.
Doug, you're no fan of Donald Trump, you've talked about the need for Republicans to make a sustained attack against Donald Trump.
DOUG HEYE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah.
BOLDUAN: Taking Donald Trump on in the Donald Trump way, this is very, very much what we're seeing here from Marco Rubio, is that the way to do it?
HEYE: Well, it certainly may be a way. Look, we've see limited criticism of Donald Trump in the past, a debate here and there. What's remarkable, he is following up on the speech with every little bit of fire that he has. He is connecting with an audience and connecting with certain things. The emperor doesn't have any clothes not just in the debate last night, obviously no stranger to CNN audiences asked Donald Trump about hiring illegal immigrants and his answer was about his hair. We know there is no substance, when you press him on issues, we see there is no substance. I would urge the Rubio campaign, I would urge Ted Cruz, keep on trucking with this. Keep pushing and pushing and pushing on Donald Trump, and we'll see there is nothing of substance behind it. Whether you're tacking him on his business past, record on lack of conservativism, a lot of material there and keep going.
BERMAN: You know, Amanda, some of the analysis I've seen, pretty smart analysis, not about landing blows, it's about throwing blows. The fight is an end in itself in this election. People want to see you standing up there and fighting. It may not be, you know, as seemingly as David Gregory would like it to be, but the reality of where we are in this campaign. And if that is the reality of where we are in this campaign, you know, where is Ted Cruz this morning? At this point, it looks like Marco Rubio and Donald Trump are going after each other. Does Cruz risk this slipping into a two person race?
[11:19:55] AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are kind of getting at the same thing. Ted Cruz is saying over and over again last night that Donald Trump is a deal maker, you can't trust. Marco Rubio is alleging that Donald Trump is a con artist. I want to give Marco Rubio his due. That was awesome what he just did in that presser. He has exposed Donald Trump for character that he is, and he speaks for a lot of conservatives, Republicans like me who don't want to see him take a hold of the Republican Party. He has already swept up a lot of the tea party movement, exposed them as frauds I think because they're not committed to the values that we thought they were committed to. He is touching on a lot of things that are very sensitive to us right now. And also, it's fun to watch. Finally, we have broken out of the mold, we're doing these talking points and don't connect with people. I think Rubio was loose. He was effective. And he got a lot of laughing. So this needs to keep going. There's really a lot to this con artist idea, he is a deal maker, and you can't trust him.
GREGORY: Can I just say --
BERMAN: Guys, stand by.
Hold on one second, David. We'll come back.
I do need to say, we're going to hear from Donald Trump. Donald Trump is holding a news conference. Donald Trump says he is about to make a big announcement. This will be Donald Trump's first chance to respond to that litany of attacks we just heard from Marco Rubio. That news conference coming up very shortly. We will take it live when it happens.
BOLDUAN: Also a lot to discuss looking forward to Super Tuesday and beyond. A lot of questions after this debate. Is Marco Rubio preparing now for a contested convention? Is Mitt Romney the Trump slayer the establishment has been waiting for?
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:25:27] RUBIO: Do you want to have a little fun?
RUBIO: All right, what does Donald when things go wrong? He takes to Twitter. I have them right here. Let's read some. You'll have fun.
RUBIO: All right, number one, here is the first one, "Leight weight Marco Rubio was working hard last night." This is true.
"The problem is he is a chocker. And once a chocker, always a choker," I guess that's what he meant to say. He spelled it C-H-O-C- H-E-R, chocker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Rubio went on to say maybe Donald Trump doesn't know how to spell, or a foreign worker doing Donald Trump's tweets right there. Just a small sample of an event still going on. Marco Rubio just lighting into Donald Trump. A relentless barrage of attacks on Donald Trump. You saw the beginning last night in the debate. Happening right now at this stage in Dallas, Texas.
Get this. Donald Trump just announced he is holding a news conference very soon. No doubt responding to this. He also says he has a big announcement to make.
BOLDUAN: Let's get the take now, from the first member to endorse Donald Trump, Republican Congressman Chris Collins, from New York.
Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.
BOLDUAN: I hope you had a chance to hear some, at least, of what Marco Rubio said.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS, (R), NEW YORK: I did.
BOLDUAN: He said the charade is up. Donald Trump is a con artist and he says to all of the folks in the audience, friends do not let friends vote for a con artist. $, it started last night and it definitely shows no signs of letting up, if you look at Marco Rubio today. What do you say to this?
COLLINS: Clearly, Donald Trump is the chief executive left standing. He is the chief executive, not a chief politician. We saw it last night. They're going to throw everything but the kitchen sink as his juggernaut at the end of Tuesday, they're responding to Donald Trump's message, make America great again, bring the jobs back from China, secure the border, stand firm against Vladimir Putin and the others, and the American public, you know, is responding to that. But the, you know, political establishment, they're going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Donald Trump and it's not going to work.
BERMAN: Is Donald Trump a con artist as Marco Rubio suggests, Congressman?
COLLINS: Donald Trump is a chief executive, not a chief politician. You're seeing the politicians react. But Donald Trump, as the chief in the room, that has experience doing that, he took it from all sides last night. He did just fine.
BOLDUAN: He did take it from all sides last night. You saw an attack coming from Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and some of the issues they took him on included his tax returns, the fact that Donald Trump now says that he is being audited, he cannot release his tax returns until those audits are wrapped up. Do you think Donald Trump should release the tax returns?
COLLINS: Kate, I'll go back to, this is another one of those red herrings, the establishment is going to throw this on. I can't speak to his tax returns or audits. That's not for my place. I can tell you --
BOLDUAN: Do you think people running for president should release their tax returns?
COLLINS: As Donald Trump said, at some point, he is going to do it, he is taking his lead from his attorneys. I'm not going to step into that, but again, it is a red herring. You're going to see this flying fast and furious from now through Super Tuesday, and until in Florida. But again, Donald Trump is effectively unstoppable now.
BERMAN: Effectively unstoppable. You say you think he is going to win, he is the chief executive. The question remains, anything you've heard over the last 24 hours, you know, you're new to the Donald Trump bandwagon, you only endorsed him two days ago. Before that, you were with Jeb Bush.
BERMAN: Is anything you've heard in the last day given you reason for concern, for pause, second thoughts?
COLLINS: No. There is nothing I've heard that makes me pause. What I've seen is desperation by the remaining candidates who realize that, come Super Tuesday, the show is all but over, and you're going to see and you heard Donald Trump say last night is he now realizes, he is going to be in a general election fight with Hillary Clinton. And I can assure you, the Republican are going to coalesce around the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, because our country, which is at a tipping point, Supreme Court justice, cannot survive four or eight years of a Hillary Clinton administration. So come Super Tuesday, and maybe we get into a couple of the other --