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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN National Poll: Trump Leads GOP Pack By 33 Points; GOP Rivals Spar Before Super Tuesday; One-On-One With John Kasich; Rep. King Slams Trump for KKK Comments; One-On-One with Melania Trump; Hispanic Votes in Texas; US Navy Sea Awarded Medal of Honor. Aired 9- 10p ET
Aired February 29, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:16] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back at the top of the hour. 9:00 p.m. here in Washington where a full fledged grand old freak-out appears underway in some parts of the GOP, well, what might happen tomorrow if Donald Trump dominates Super Tuesday, what happens to Republican Party if he becomes the nominee. We got new polling that shows him leading his nearest rival by an eye-popping 35 percentage points. And new word from inside the party, the Trump winning it all could be in the words of some people, toxic. We begin with Trump campaign in CNN Sunlen Serfaty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the eve of Super Tuesday, a chaotic close to campaigning. Trump's raucous rally in Virginia interrupted by protesters.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Get them out of here, please. Get them out. Are you from Mexico? Are you from Mexico?
SERFATY: And a violent scuffle between secret service and a news photographer slammed to the ground after trying to get a shot of the chaos, all while Trump deals with his latest controversy. Refusing to disavow Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke and other white supremacists back in his campaign.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don't want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?
TRUMP: Well, just so you understand I don't know anything about David Duke, OK. I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists so I don't know.
SERFATY: Trump attempting some damage control tweeting a video from a previous press conference Friday when he did disavow Duke's support and pointing to that fact today.
TRUMP: Well, we looked at it and looked at the question, I disavowed David Duke, so I disavowed. All weekend long on Facebook, on Twitter and obviously it's never enough.
SERFATY: All this giving Marco Rubio another opening to pounce.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You say David Duke to me, I say racist. Immediately.
SERFATY: Rubio with his voice hoarse.
RUBIO: Trying to get my Barry White voice going here.
SERFATY: And Cruz both keeping up their all-out assault on Trump.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Where was Donald in the gang of eight. Not only was he nowhere to be found, Donald Trump was funding the gang of eight.
SERFATY: Meanwhile, despite pressure from some party elders to exit the race, John Kasich says even though he has no hope of winning any states tomorrow, he is staying put.
GOV. JOHN KASICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Marco Rubio is trailing in Florida by 17 points. You know what, why aren't they telling him to get out and get behind me. I have a better chance of winning in Ohio than he does in Florida.
SERFATY: A new CNN/ORC poll out today shows Trump with a commanding lead of the field nationally. Trump 33 points ahead of his closest rival, beating his four remaining opponents combined. Faced with this, the Republican Party establishment is now in full-on panic mode fearing that Trump is well on his way to becoming the likely GOP nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: CNN's Sunlen Serfaty joins us now. You've been with the Cruz campaign in Texas. How important is a win in Texas for that candidate?
SERFATY: Well, so crucial for Ted Cruz, Anderson. Widely seen as really a do or die state for his campaign. If he loses here in Texas, his home state, it would be widely seen not only as an embarrassment but really as a crushing blow with symbolic defeat. Also when you're talking about the all-important math here, when we're talking about delegates, that contributes a large part to the candidate's viability going forward. There are 155 delegates at stake here in Texas. The Cruz campaign has always made Texas really the cornerstone of how they will amass this treasure trove of delegates going forward. So that threatens to really cut into that if they don't perform well here tomorrow. They have invested a large part of this week, four out of the seven days here in their home state of Texas. Three events today. He is still going tonight. Ted Cruz has a rally in Houston later tonight. They certainly are putting up the pressure here in their hometown. Ted Cruz has -- says that he predicts a very good day for himself here in Texas, but of course, the stakes are sky high for him to make that happen. Anderson.
COOPER: Yeah. Sunlen Serfaty, Sunlen thanks very much.
Joining us now, the republican candidate who's been trying in nearly every way imaginable to position himself as the anti-Trump. Ohio Governor John Kasich, the state of Ohio both winner take all on the 15th of March.
KASICH: But I'm not doing it by, you know, throwing mud.
COOPER: Well, I mean, that's the thing. I mean -- right, you have been trying to set yourself apart in terms of how you are speaking, how you are talking to voters when you see those images of what's going on.
KASICH: That looked like something out of some other country fighting. But Anderson, I don't think that it should be Donald Trump by attacking him personal. I think it's a matter of telling people what your record is, what you have accomplished, who you are and what your vision is of the country.
[21:05:06] COOPER: So you don't think the rhetoric that Rubio has been using, which is getting him more covers, more play probably, you don't think that's actually translating?
KASICH: Well, it's not what I would do. I mean because I just think that -- look. You -- it's all about how you want to be in this -- in the business of politics. I would rather be positive about my ideas and my vision and look, we're getting great crowds. The problem is right what I have faced, Anderson over the years is that -- or, you know, in this race, is that people didn't pay attention to me until after New Hampshire. Let me tell you, when we head north and I win Ohio, it's going to be a whole new day. And I'm not going to do it by smearing anybody. I'm not going to do it by, I'm taking politics down and there's a lot of people watching. And when you see those videos and you see the scuffling and then hear the name-calling back and forth.
COOPER: Talk about [inaudible], makeup.
KASICH: Yeah, I mean, look I would rather not win than lower the bar. I would rather -- I've never run a campaign like that. I've run more campaigns than all of these people put together. I just don't resort to that. I think it's about vision. I think it's about hope. It's about unity. And I'm hanging in there.
COOPER: So, when you see there's a national poll where Donald Trump has, you know, a greater percentage than all of you combined, what does that tell you?
KASICH: Well, look first of all, we don't run a national election now. It's state by state. And when we head north to Michigan and Ohio, and we're going to see a game change. But, you know, at the same time, people are frustrated. I was in Chickpea, Massachusetts. And a guy sitting in there and he said, "Well, Trump tells it like it is." And if I had said to him, well let me tell you about his hands or his hair or whatever, the guy would have just blown me off. And I had time to talk to him about why his wages are not going up, what I've done to fix that both in Washington and Ohio. If I were to talk to him about his kids' future, I could win that voter. But you're not win if you are out there trashing him. And I don't want to do that anyway. Is not right for the country.
COOPER: But at the last GOP debate, I mean you were offer the chance that Trump said, you know, cut waste, fraud and abuse as a way to bring down the deficit. You were asked point blank, is that really...
KASICH: And I said it wasn't and I said how we would do it. And, you know, as a result of being positive, people are saying, you know, John Kasich is the only adult on the stage.
COOPER: For you what happens -- what, you got to win Ohio?
KASICH: Yes, I absolutely have to win Ohio. If I don't win Ohio, I'm out.
COOPER: You're out. OK. No doubt.
KASICH: Do you know, what I said I said, if I get smoked in New Hampshire, I would be out. Only finish second.
COOPER: Do you think if Ted Cruz doesn't get Texas, you should drop a thing in Rubio.
KASICH: I think it's very hard, Anderson to -- if you can't win your own home state then I don't know why you're in the race and that's for every candidate to decide. The people try to say, "Well, you should get out of the race." No, maybe they should get out of the race. I got a better chance, I don't know what Cruz is going to do on Ohio or in Texas tomorrow. But I know how I'm going to do in Ohio. I'm going to win it. And once we head north, it's again you move from Ohio, you get Pennsylvania, Illinois, these are places where I can do very well.
COOPER: We are hearing from some republicans, you know, establishment republicans whatever exactly that means these days, but who are now publicly saying, look I don't know what I would do if it's Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I'm not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I can't vote for Donald Trump. Do you worry about what happens to the GOP?
KASICH: Well, I'm worried about the GOP when we're not running a campaign based on ideas. I actually believe in politics. You get your energy from ideas. You unite people with ideas. If you are negative -- I'm not sure you can even win Ohio with that kind of a negative message. Because at some point, people are going to say, OK, I had -- I express myself but now we're picking a president of the United States.
COOPER: But if you're waiting to Ohio to get a...
KASICH: It was coming soon. Right around the corner.
COOPER: By then, a lot of delegates will already be decided. KASICH: Yeah. But not so many that I can't win the delegates I need to win.
COOPER: So you see -- if you win Ohio you see what then minds begin to shift?
KASICH: Oh, I'm going to get attention. I mean, people are going to continue to hear my message. We're getting huge crowds everywhere we go and we're getting enthusiastic people. And we have more people signing up and helping us with the fundraising. And the reason it's happening is because I think they want to see the bar raised and not lowered.
COOPER: Do you see a potential for a brokered convention?
KASICH: Well, I mean it could always happen. I just think that it will -- it is unlikely to happen. But if we're going to have a brokered convention, I can't think of a better place than Cleveland, Ohio.
COOPER: Governor Kasich, thank you.
KASICH: All right, Anderson. Thank you.
COOPER: Before bringing back the panel, I want to play bit of reaction from Republican U.S. Congressman Peter King when asked about how Donald Trump handling Jake Tapper's question over the weekend about Former KKK Leader David Duke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: The thought that anyone can even listen to a question about David Duke without immediately saying, he's a racist, he's a bigot, I want nothing to do with them. I want nothing to do with Ku Klux Klan. He said he didn't know who David Duke was, he didn't know what a white supremacist is. Absolutely a disgrace. What I'm saying this as a Catholic. I know that the Klan has gone after blacks and Jews and everyone else. As a Catholic, you know, I know all about what they did to Al Smith, what they've done to Catholics over the years. This is a vicious anti-american organization. And by him not denouncing it, first of all, it's a reflection on him. Either he's dumb or he's a liar, one of the other. And also what it does to the Republican Party, we get branded as a party of the Ku Klux Klan, we're going to get destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:10:16] COOPER: And with that, we're joined once again by our panelists, Gloria Borger, David Axelrod, Nia-Malika Henderson, Ana Navarro, Angela Rye, Kayleigh McEnany and Bakari Sellers.
Let's turn to our analysts and reporters first. I mean, does this KKK argument, to Peter King's point, I mean, does it continue? Does it actually -- because Rubio is using it now, you know, it's been in the news cycle for the last two days. JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: The republican establishment is already having this internal debate telling it's an external public debate, now most of it has been prodded by do we embrace this guy if he's our nominee or do we turn and run and there are some who argue, "Let's embrace him. Let's not let the party fracture. We want his voters even if we think he's nuts, even if we think he'll lose, even if we think he'll hurt us. Let's hug him. Lose the presidential election and try to keep his voters."
There are others who say turn and run. And the ones who say turn and run say every congressional candidate, every candidate for dog catcher as a republican in this country right now is going to be asked, "Hey what do you think of the KKK?" "Hey, will you disavow David Duke?" "Hey do you disavow Donald Trump?" And it just becomes this cycle that no matter what you're running for, when you see a reporter now if you're a republican, you're going to turn and go the other way because that's the question you're going to get.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I was talking to someone today who's involved with those senate campaign and he said to me, you know, if Donald Trump is a nominee, they're going to tell candidate [inaudible]. You run is you who you are. You don't have to explain anybody else and I think there's also some concern quite frankly about corporations, funding the convention for example, you know, will corporations anti-up for all those big ticket items that they usually pay for, its conventions, et cetera, et cetera. When you have these kinds of questions rumbling around, I mean, there are questions about what it does to the brand of the Republican Party which they've worked really hard to try and get in a good place.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anderson, the question of what happened there, what exactly happened there, let's stipulate that Mr. Trump says he had problems with his earpiece. But the fact is presidential campaigns as much as issues or anything else, there are a series of tests to see how people react to -- under pressure and this was a situation where he got asked a question and you can see him trying to make the calculation as to how to answer those question. I think it's a reflection of the fact that he's a very tactical candidate and he was trying to figure out what the math was on that and he got caught ...
AXELROD: ... in a bad moment. How many -- you know, that is symptomatic of a problem that can get repeated over and over again as you get more and more scrutiny and it will be interesting to see how he handles.
COOPER: I think Hugh Hewitt called it a disqualifying moment.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, he called it a disqualifying, Marco Rubio certainly did too and you know, they're obviously trying to [inaudible] that.
AXELROD: Because they're eager to disqualify him.
HENDERSON: They're eager to disqualify him.
BORGER: Mitt Romney did, yeah.
HENDERSON: You know, I mean I guess the thing is Trump is leading in all of these states in the south so the idea that somehow he needs this dog whistle to make the sale on Tuesday is a little odd. But he does have a way of trying to figure out what his audience wants to hear and he's also this candidate where, you know, there's something for everyone. So in this instance, it's like, well, if you like David Duke, then you like the fact that...
COOPER: But what doesn't make sense is he did disavow the guy two days before, so that's -- but that's another thing we should point out. Right.
HENDERSON: He didn't disavowed. He sort of playing both sides against the middle. He knows his audience. He was in Georgia today, you know, saying that I'm the messenger for you. I know how you feel. So, you know, we'll have to see. I also think at some point maybe this will be in the rearview mirror. We know how Donald Trump is. He kind of goes from, you know, controversy to controversy.
COOPER: But certainly when he's running against a democrat, you can already imagine the commercials that, you know, a Super PAC is going to be doing based on this and other comments and some of the things he's retweeted.
BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE MEMBER: I mean, what has he not given us. I mean, he's given us POWs, he's talked about Hispanic Americans, he's talked about the disabled, he's talked about journalists. I mean, now the KKK, I mean, Donald Trump has done everything but he's also gone against common wisdom. Is this going to hurt Donald Trump tomorrow? No. But this repeated onslaught, these controversies as we're calling them, I just call them just dangerous rhetoric that is devisiting (ph), not good for our country. Democrats are going to beat him across the head with this and two glorious point I believe, the people like Rob Portman, the people who have to win elections for the United States Senate to stay in the hands of republicans, they're in more danger with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket than anything else.
COOPER: Kayleigh, you disagree.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST AND COMMENTATOR: This has been an all-out effort to attack Donald Trump. You know, at first he was a conman, then he was a flipflopper, then he was a sexist, then he was a racist. There has been every effort to paint him as one of these labels.
COOPER: And none of it has stopped, you should point out.
SELLERS: But he's still may be a racist.
MCENANY: No, he's -- you're truly leaning to racism. (CROSSTALK)
SELLERS: I think that he sound a vain of bigotry and (inaudible) and he's playing in that vein because it's going to -- they vote as well.
[21:15:04] MCENANY: Bakari, I reject that. You really think that proclaiming support for the KKK is a viable viewpoint that would pick up a lot of votes in this country? No.
SELLERS: Why did he not disavow it?
MCENANY: Because his earpiece malfunctions.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: The earpiece malfunctions, they were -- and I said this earlier, there were seven things that he's going into where there's a wing of the Republican Party, at least folks that would vote republican, support that as a rhetoric.
RYE: But you know, what's offensive is the fact that there are people there that are racists and that want the confederate flag flying over state capitals that they were just taking down.
MCENANY: That is not the majority.
RYE: No, no, no. I'm not saying it's the majority, but here's the thing that I do want to say. In 2012, the GOP has to do an autopsy report because they have a problem reaching out to black and brown voters. Donald Trump and his rhetoric and the danger that exists with the words that he speaks and what he allows to happen in his face whether it's a black...
MCENANY: ...winning the black votes against Hillary Clinton.
COOPER: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Well, you believe Donald Trump will win the African American votes.
MCENANY: No, not [inaudible] 25 percent wins 25 percent of the African American votes. The only minority poll we have which came out in September shows him winning it.
COOPER: No, no, no. Nia.
HENDERSON: I mean, there's a more recent poll that came out, you know, two weeks ago that shows him with 12 percent hypothetical math.
MCENANY: Which has filled more than Romney.
HENDERSON: Well, it's more than Romney and it did spend...
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: But he's not running against an African American man.
MCENANY: But -- and that was before the KKK comes.
NAVARRO: The first African American press folks, you know, candidates who ran for president. But look, Donald Trump's earpiece, you know, unless you are one of his firm supporters, you realize it. The earpiece did not malfunction, his brain malfunctioned temporarily for that brief moment because he had disavowed David Duke.
COOPER: Well, it could have just been a bad interview, like the brain...
NAVARRO: He has a brain freeze.
NAVARRO: OK? It happens and I'm actually fine with people getting asked other republican candidates getting asked the question because until now, every single one has been solid in disavowing the KKK and disavowing David Duke.
KING: There's an easy out for Donald Trump here that is a win-win. He can beat up the media and say, look, I didn't hear the question, but let me look right into the camera, now today after the fact and say I didn't hear the question. I had a bad earpiece. Maybe I was tired. I'm not blaming anybody. But look, look straight into the camera and say "I disavowed David Duke, I disavowed white supremacy, I disavowed racist. If they're out there for me, I have nothing to do with it, I don't want their support." Boom, stop. And stop, and then look and say, stop asking me these questions.
SELLERS: But it's been more than 24 hours.
KING: He could do it -- if he wanted to do that, he could that.
COOPER: OK, you know, we're -- (inaudible) no one's going to listen. We're going to take a break and then we're going to continue our discussion one at a time. Also later more, my conversation with Melania Trump, I asked her what kind of First Lady she thinks she would make.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:21:28] COOPER: Picking up of the conversation we were having before the break on Donald Trump, David Duke, earpieces, brain freezes, potential brain freezes, political calculation, the African American vote, really all of it. Back with our panel, I'm not going to bother to introduce again because it's too long. Where were we? Besides everybody talking at once, right.
KING: Right, Super Monday, about to go into Super Tuesday.
KING: I mean if you look at the -- we're laughing because we're having a good conversation. It's an important conversation, and there are some disagreements. But if you just step back and look at the big picture, I mean by not that far after this time tomorrow night, 24 plus three or four hours, we could be looking at the inevitability of Donald Trump. Now people will still fight that, people will still argue against that. But he could win all 11 states tomorrow. More likely that Ted Cruz wins Texas and Donald Trump is favored in the other ten.
COOPER: Anyone who believes Donald trump will not be the republican nominee?
NAVARRO: I mean, yeah. I mean, I will call it a belief, wishful thinking, hope, prayer, hanging on for dear life.
COOPER: Where is the possibility that he does not become the nominee? What is that path? For who?
NAVARRO: You know, I think -- I don't know if it's going to be timely, but at some point there will be one person left versus Donald Trump.
KING: You sure about that?
NAVARRO: It'll be...
KING: That's the issue. That's the issue.
NAVARRO: We know they'll be battered. They'll be bruised. They'll probably be poverty stricken but there'll be one left. Will there be time enough to consolidate the anti-Trump vote, which is significant, and will that vote consolidate? Will the Cruz voters, will the Rubio voters, will the Kasich voters all turn into one? That's a question that needs to be answered. Who will be left standing is a question that needs to be answered, and will there be enough time to still be... HENDERSON: I mean, and you really like the Trump-Rubio matchup? I
mean it seems to me that Rubio...
NAVARRO: Me, I'll take the Trump versus anyone matchup. Give me one last person standing.
COOPER: But doesn't that theory sort of your unicorn theory, doesn't that...
NAVARRO: Pink flying unicorn.
COOPER: Yeah, sort of your -- from my pretty pony unicorn there. Doesn't that -- the idea is that if Cruz drops out, all those votes go to Rubio, which is not what's going to happen. You're going to have some of those Cruz votes going to Donald Trump.
NAVARRO: That's what I'm saying. That's one of the questions that needs to be answered is will votes all consolidate?
COOPER: OK, Gloria has another theory. Although you didn't raise your hand saying ...
BORGER: Second unicorn theory ...
BORGER: ... is that and there are two campaigns now talking about in which this is contested convention, which is that nobody gets out, I mean you just spoke with John Kasich. He is not going to get out. I mean, I don't think he's going to get out right away if his funders stay with him and they love him, he won't.
AXELROD: If he wins Ohio.
BORGER: If he wins Ohio. And he's backed by the state party in Ohio which is different for Marco Rubio in Florida. And if Cruz wins Texas, I don't think he's going to get out. So there are people I know it's a unicorn theory, here is...
AXELROD: No, no but here's my question. I think your unicorn lead to (inaudible) of the delay.
BORGER: Let me finish my unicorn theory. Wait, I want to finish..
BORGER: I want to finish my unicorn theory.
AXELROD: All right, go ahead. BORGER: Which is that you go to a convention, he doesn't get the records at number of delegates. You have a first ballot in which everyone is bound, and then the second ballot all hell break loose.
COOPER: This is like a double rainbow and a unicorn.
NAVARRO: And by the way, if the (inaudible) into blows (inaudible) on the...
AXELROD: Let's accept this unicorn theory for a second. What happens to a political party who takes its frontrunner who's won almost enough delegates to get nominated and you say to his supporters, we are throwing your votes out and we're going to substitute our judgment?
[21:25:08] SELLERS: Even but as a democrat, as a democrat, we just spent the first hour and 15 minutes talking about the frontrunner of the Republican Party and him avowing or disavowing the KKK. I mean, that is the level of political discourse that we're having in this country on the republican side and Marco Rubio who is a complete superstar winning democrat will tell you they really don't want to run against in November if they're being honest with themselves is being reduced to having the talk about hands and having to talk about who peed on who.
I mean, this is the conversation that we're having on the republican side so if it goes to the convention and all hell breaks loose, we'll...
COOPER: I was going to say for accuracy, I don't think anybody was actually peeing on anyone.
HENDERSON: And because Rubio changed tactics after the shellacking that he's likely going to get on Tuesday. Maybe he'll be cruising in some of these states. It looks likes he's doing OK in...
NAVARRO: Marco is turning this into a two-man race, right? The only thing we've been talking about, we rarely...
AXELROD: Except there's still five guys on the bout (ph).
NAVARRO: We rarely talk about Ted Cruz or John Kasich in the last few days. Marco has, you know, taken a page out of Donald Trump's book and said things that are really outrageous. I think it's a double- edged sword. On the one hand, yes, he's getting the media narrative. Yes, he's getting the attention, yes he's turning it into a two-man fight. On the other hand, he's turning off a lot of people. I think that emphasizes his youth (ph).
NAVARRO: I think that a lot of people are used to a very optimistic Marco Rubio who speaks in poetic prose ...
NAVARRO: ... about the exceptionalism of America and you know, hearing him talk about...
COOPER: Well Kayleigh raised a point earlier which I think is important when she emphasized and it goes to what Bakari was saying is that, you're saying -- Bakari was saying this KKK, we had this narrative, we had narrative in the media has and you know, those are opposed to Donald Trump have had it but Trump supporters, this is not a discussion it seems like they're having. They feel they know who this candidate is. They know what's in his heart, they know what's in his head and they know what's in -- what he, you know, hopes to do as president.
MCENANY: I think it's important to look at each of these elections we've had nearly 60, pushing 70 percent of the vote has gone to outsider candidates and I include Ted Cruz among that. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are the two candidates receiving very few endorsements which I think in this electoral cycle, with this temperature in the nation, that is a good thing because Rubio is consolidating the congressmen, he's consolidating the governors but it makes him look like a Washington insider in an election that's about being an outsider.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there. I want to thank our panel.
Just ahead, another item in addition to the David Duke story, white nationalist group making robocalls supporting Donald Trump saying among other things, the white race is dying out because we're afraid to be called racist. The Trump campaign says knows nothing about this group.
Up next, Drew Griffin investigates why they're referring their support behind Trump.
[21:31:54] COOPER: As we've been discussing, Donald Trump is getting support from all kinds of places, including white supremacist, former KKK grand wizard, David Duke who's supporting him, citing among other things Trump's stance on immigration. The anti-defamation league has called on Trump to condemn Duke and other racist groups support, something Trump failed to do when Jake Tapper asked him about it on the CNN "State of the Union" this weekend. Tapper pressed him on it three times each time Trump said he knew nothing about David Duke. Fast forward to the "Today Show" this morning, Trump took two different approaches. One saying he had disavowed Duke before, which in fact, he had at a press conference on Friday, and also years before as well, calling him a racist and a bigot. He also blamed his answers on a "lousy earpiece" on the Tapper show.
Now, as you saw in our last hour, I asked Donald Trump's wife, Melania about it when I spoke to her earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'm sure you know there was an interview he gave yesterday where Jake Tapper was asking him about David Duke, disavowing him, the KKK, and he didn't disavow. He had done it previously several days before and he's now put out a statement ...
MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: Well, he disavowed many times.
M. TRUMP: He disavowed press conference on Friday. So I don't know why media needs to ask him so many times because he disavowed.
COOPER: When you saw that interview, did you -- do you think that's going to be a problem?
M. TRUMP: I don't think so because they were asking him about the groups, and he said, "I don't know about the groups, what are you talking about the groups." So he disavowed, many, many times. So media just bringing up, bringing up all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So just to be clear, Donald Trump disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday. It does then raise questions why two days later he claims to not know who David Duke was. Was it a brain freeze? Was it a faulty earpiece? Was it something else? This is really up for you to decide. There's just all bringing new attention to another group of people who've coming out to support Donald Trump.
And CNN reported several weeks ago, robocalls from a white nationalist group started to flood early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont before their votes. Now the same group is expanding its robocalls to some Super Tuesday states.
The message? CNN'S Drew Griffin lets you listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This is the Super Tuesday message Trump's white nationalist supporters are making in their robocalls ahead of tomorrow's vote.
"The American National Super PAC makes this call to support Donald Trump. I am William Johnson, a farmer and white nationalist. The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called racist. I'm afraid to be called racist. Donald Trump is not a racist but Donald Trump is not afraid. Don't vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.''
The American National Super PAC is a confederation of white nationalists across the U.S. Jared Taylor is the online editor of Amran, the outlet of one of these groups called the American Renaissance.
JARED TAYLOR, AMERICAN RENAISSANCE EDITOR: Most white people would prefer to live in majority of white neighborhoods and send their children to majority of white schools. And deep in their bones, they are deeply disturbed by an immigration policy that is making the United States majority of non-white.
And so, when Donald Trump talks about sending out all the illegals, building a wall and a moratorium on Islamic immigration, that's very appealing to a lot of ordinary of white people.
[21:35:10] GRIFFIN: Taylor who says he is a white advocate, not a supremacist, thinks whites should live with whites, blacks should live with blacks.
TAYLOR: Why should we want more Muslims? Muslims have been a terrible problem for Europe. And here, they want to pray five times a day, stop the assembly line, they want foot baths for, before they go to prayer. They want women-only swimming pool hours. And some of them want to kill us. Why should anyone want more Muslims at the United States?
GRIFFIN: Many of the things that you are saying people would interpret as vile and racist.
TAYLOR: They can call -- they can call me all the names they like. But what I'm saying is natural, normal and healthy.
GRIFFIN: Do you think that Donald Trump wants your support?
TAYLOR: I don't know whether he wants it or not. I think he wants support from everyone, whether or not he would agree with me is an entirely other matter. Remember, it is I who am supporting Donald Trump, not Donald Trump who's supporting me.
GRIFFIN: Late this afternoon, the Trump campaign sent CNN this statement saying, "Mr. Trump nor the campaign have knowledge of this group or the calls being made. We immediately disavow all related activity." To be clear, the American National Super PAC says it has nothing to do with the official Trump campaign and has no communication with Donald Trump. Its white nationalist members just like Trump and are willing to support him whether the candidate welcomes them or not.
Just to button this up ...
TAYLOR: Yes. GRIFFIN: ... all those views that you hold ...
GRIFFIN: ... Donald Trump is your man?
TAYLOR: Well, he is the best man so far.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So this guy says he's the best candidate so far. What is he believe Donald Trump will do as president that he's so excited about?
GRIFFIN: First, this guy we interviewed complained about an earlier story saying, we misspoke about what he believes. He doesn't believe. We should get rid of Muslims. He just doesn't want any more Muslims. He wrote us a letter to tell us we should show that distinction to our viewers. So there you go.
What he believes Donald Trump will do is he will send away all illegal immigrants. He will build a wall on the border with Mexico. And he will stop all Islamic immigration, at least temporarily. That's why they are supporting him. That's why they say, Donald Trump is their man.
COOPER: And just to be clear, the Trump campaign has said, "Look, we don't know anything about this group. We completely disavow what they're saying." I mean, is this a big group? Are these groups big? Because I mean, any group can sort of glom onto a candidate to try to get publicity, to try to raise money and that very well may be what this group is trying to do.
GRIFFIN: And believe me, these groups are getting publicity that they would have never gotten just based on -- they live on their websites. We really don't know. They believe their group -- they claim their group's hundreds of thousands strong. We have no way of knowing that. They base that on how many people go to their websites.
The fact is we ...
COOPER: ...a ridiculous metric.
GRIFFIN: Of course. The fact is we could be dealing with a very, very small group of people who've collected enough money to put on these robocalls which is very cheap to do. But they are getting these robocalls out now, state after state after state. They are moving with this campaign.
COOPER: Disturbing calls to get, no doubt it. Drew Griffin, thanks very much.
Just ahead, a very different item more on my interview today with Melania Trump. I asked her about what kind of first lady she hopes to be if she gets to the White House. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. TRUMP: We are in 21st century. I will be me. I will be different than any other first ladies. I will -- I will help women. I will help children. They're our future. They need our guidance and help. And also I'm involved in many, many charities already. So I will choose one or two that are very dear to me, and work on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:42:53] COOPER: Now more of my one-on-one interview with Melania Trump. I sat down with her earlier today for a rare conversation in which she told me she doesn't always agree with everything her husband Donald Trump says but she lets him be him and he lets her be her.
In the second part of the interview, I asked her about what kind of first lady she hopes to be.
Take a look.
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COOPER: If your husband is elected president, I think you would be the second foreign-born first lady. I think John Quincy Adam's wife, it hasn't happened in a long time.
M. TRUMP: Yeah.
COOPER: John Quincy Adam's wife was born overseas. Yeah. Have you thought about what -- being a first lady? What it would mean?
M. TRUMP: We are in 21st century. I would be me. I will be different than any other first ladies. I will help women. I will help children. They're our future. They need our guidance and help. And also I'm involved in many, many charities already. So I will choose one or two that are very dear to me and work on that.
COOPER: When you say help women and children, do you have a sense of how? Or what way?
M. TRUMP: Well, I don't have -- I have little ideas I have, but let's see what happens. I take it day by day. We don't know what will happen and we will see. So then, we could talk.
COOPER: I saw the interview you did in 2000 when your husband was thinking about running with this Reform Party, you'd said you'd sort of be a traditional first lady. You named Betty Ford, Jacqueline Kennedy. Is that sort of the model you're still thinking of?
M. TRUMP: Well, they -- I see around that they compare me to Jackie Kennedy. It's an honor, but of course, we are in 21st century and I will be different.
And she had a great style and she did a lot of good stuff. But this is different time now. We have different problems that we need to take care of and we will focus on that.
COOPER: Being part of this campaign, he's running for president, is it a lot different than you thought it was going to be, or is it ...
[21:45:00] M. TRUMP: I didn't -- I take it day by day. I didn't think much about it and I support my husband 100 percent but I'm not on the campaign because we have a 9-year-old son there at home and I'm raising him. He needs the parent at home. I'm teaching him morals and values and preparing him for his life to be an adult.
COOPER: Are you worried about if you do get to the White House, the attention that that comes for your child?
M. TRUMP: We will deal with that I say as day by day and you know, he will be in good hands no matter what happens and attention is already from the first day that he was born, so we are used to that. We have a thick skin. We are smart, we are tough. And we can handle it.
COOPER: Do you speak -- I understand he knows Slovenia.
M. TRUMP: Slovenia, yes.
COOPER: Do you speak in Slovenia.
M. TRUMP: Yes, sometimes.
M. TRUMP: And he speaks with my parents.
COOPER: That's amazing.
M. TRUMP: Yes.
COOPER: But has -- does Mr. Trump any words?
M. TRUMP: Maybe few but I'm not this kind of wife that they say you need to learn.
COOPER: You didn't try to get him to learn.
M. TRUMP: No.
COOPER: Is there something in particular you're looking forward to about being in the White House? I mean, is there...
M. TRUMP: I take it day by day and enjoying life and this meaningful life and I think we need to bring America together. We need compassion, we need kindness we need jobs of course. That's my husband's job to do and he will do very well. He's a great leader, great communicator. He does along with people and great negotiator.
COOPER: Do you think this campaign is going to go on for a long time or do you think things are going to become pretty clear very soon?
M. TRUMP: Well tomorrow it's... COOPER: Super Tuesday.
M. TRUMP: It's Super Tuesday, so we will see what happens and we will see. He's working hard. He's connecting with the American people. He will work for them and we will see what happens, but you know, he's here to the end.
COOPER: Do you see yourself playing a larger role moving forward on the campaign trail or do you see yourself continuing as it has been?
M. TRUMP: Maybe a little bit more interviews, but as with traveling, I need to be a parent to my child and I'm with my husband traveling when I can. I was in Iowa, New Hampshire. I go for the debates. And when I can, I'm there.
COOPER: Any speech making in your future?
M. TRUMP: We don't know yet. Not thinking about that yet,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Melania Trump. Hispanics will be a key voting block in Texas tomorrow, Ted Cruz holding a late rally right now in Houston. He's one of two contenders in the race and that's a first. The question though, does that add up to an edge in the GOP, Randi Kaye talked about (inaudible) and some of what they say may surprise you, that's next.
[21:51:50] COOPER: Texas is one of the key battlegrounds tomorrow in the Republican race, there are 155 delegates at state, more than a quarter of eligible voters in Texas are Hispanic. They obviously keep voting block. And this year, for the first time, the Republican field includes two Hispanic candidates.
The question, how will that factor in, if at all, for Hispanic voters? Randi Kaye tonight takes a look.
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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Give me a show of hands, how important is it to you to have a Hispanic president, the first Hispanic president? Do you care? One of you? So, it's not really a big deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most qualified, I want the most qualified.
KAYE: The most qualified candidate to some in this group of Republican Hispanic voters is Donald Trump.
SARA LEGVOLD, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: My fellow Trumpsters are equally excited. We haven't been this excited about an election in a long time.
KAYE: On the eve of Super Tuesday, we gather these Hispanic voters at Southern Methodist University in the heart of Dallas, George W. Bush country turns out, not only do a handful of them like Trump, but they've hardly been offended by anything he said.
All, but two in our group support Trump's idea of building a wall at the southern border.
LAURA ESTRADE, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: OK. What a lot of people don't realize with the whole immigration issue is that if a person comes over to this country and they don't have the right documentations, it's against the law.
I don't understand why people don't get that.
RUBEN SALINAS, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: There's no such thing as open borders. If we have open borders, we don't have a country as Mr. Trump has said.
KAYE: Undecided voter, Alana Buenrostro, likes Kasich and Rubio. She's against Trump's wall.
ALANA BUENROSTRO, UNDECIDED VOTER: And I'm looking for a leader that will unite, will not use fiery rhetoric. I want someone who can bring us together as a nation. Build bridges, not walls.
KAYE: Florida Senator, Marco Rubio is popular among this group. Supporters think he would be strong against Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.
Delia Reyes also likes Rubio's immigration plan, which doesn't include mass deportation.
DELIA REYES, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: I can't imagine how they are going to take 11 million people. What's it going to do to the economy? I am sorry. But when you got to restaurants and you go everywhere, who's building houses? Who's serving the food?
KAYE: Only one voter here supports Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
JONATHAN SAENZ, TED CRUZ SUPPORTER: He's so strong on the issue of religious liberty, on the issues that I care someone as a Christian, on issues of pro-life.
KAYE: Duke Machado has crossed Cruz off his list because of his plan to deport illegal immigrants.
DUKE MACHADO, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: He would not be senator today if he were honest with Texas voters when he was running his campaign and told them that he wants to round them all up. If that's what his plan was, he would never have been elected.
KAYE: Chris Thrailkill doubts Cruz could get anything accomplished in Washington as president.
CHRIS THRAILKILL, MARCO RUBIO SUPPORTER: That he's made his name by burning every single bridge in Washington in terms of the senate and congress. He is the most disliked man in Washington.
KAYE: And if in the end, Donald Trump is the republican nominee, this Rubio supporter vows to skip the republican ticket.
You're saying you won't vote for Donald Trump if he's the nominee, absolutely not, why not?
[21:55:00] THRAILKILL: When you look at him in debates, he's a man who is very thin skinned, very emotional and in terms of being the commander-in-chief, being the guy who has the trigger on the nuclear weapons, I would rather have Hillary Clinton have those as my call than Donald Trump, frankly. I don't need, I mean ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh. Oh, wow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, Randi joins me now from Dallas.
Did you find anyone else in that group of republican voters who would not vote for Trump if he's the nominee, because they seem to react very sharply to him.
KAYE: Yeah, we did, Anderson. Two voters in all told us that they would absolutely not vote for Donald Trump if he is and be the republican nominee.
Another -- besides that guy you saw at the end of the piece, is a young woman who says that she believes that Donald Trump is a con artist, as Marco Rubio said, she also worries that he could make a mockery of the United States. So, she's considering either write-in candidate or maybe staying home on Election Day.
But there was also a great deal of support for Donald Trump. As you saw, one guy telling me today that not only is he voting for Donald Trump, but his father, the lifelong democrat, a lifelong union member is also voting for Donald Trump.
And I also think it's important to point out, Anderson, we did talk a lot about the immigration issue there. But for these voters, many other issues are going into their decisions as to who to vote for, jobs, religion, small government, which is what they're looking for, and freedom of religion, certainly, Anderson. So, a lot of decisions here.
COOPER: All right. Randi, thanks very much, we'll be right back.
COOPER: One final note before we go tonight, a moment at the White House, U.S. Navy Seal Edward Byers who helped rescue the American doctor held hostage in Afghanistan received the medal of honor today. He's humble about it, saying the honor really goes to a Seal Comrade who died in the 2012 raid who saved his life and many others.