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Reviewing the Trump Family Town Hall; Focusing on the New York Primary. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 12, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:05:05] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tomorrow night, Ted Cruz and his family. Until then. Thanks for watching. Time now for CNN TONIGHT and Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And breaking news, you just saw our town hall with Donald Trump and his family.
This is CNN TONIGHT special edition. I'm Don Lemon.
The New York primary are just days away. We're all getting ready for it. Did a surging Donald Trump win over voters tonight? That's a question and did he show his softer side by appearing alongside his family right here on CNN?
So, let's discuss now with my political dream team, Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator and a Trump supporter, CNN political analyst, David Gregory, host of the new podcast the David Gregory Show, and our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger here as well. We're color coordinated by the way tonight.
Matt Lewis, senior contributor to the Daily Caller, also color coordinated in purple, and CNN political commentator Donna Brazile. Next time, Donna, you'll get with the purple. And Kellyanne Conway, president of Keep the Promise One PAC, a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz.
Welcome to all of you. Thank you. That was very interesting, wasn't it?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It was.
LEMON: Gloria, what do you think, what was your impression of Donald Trump tonight?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the news coming out of this, first of all is it Donald said plainly that he doesn't believe that the republican establishment wants him to be the nominee, that the Republican Party wants him to be the nominee.
And that, you know, we've heard him say over and over again that the process is rigged, et cetera, but I don't think we've ever heard him say that he believes that the party, i.e., the RNC, et cetera, wants him to be the nominee.
LEMON: Let's listen to it then we'll discuss.
BORGER: Oh, you got it.
LEMON: Yes. We got it.
BORGER: Good for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You've been very critical, though of what happened in Colorado. I want to read out on some of the things you have said. You said the nominating system in Colorado is, quote, "rigged, disgusting and dirty," you called it a corrupt deal full of crooked shenanigans." Ted Cruz is saying you're just being a whiner. I mean, the bottom line is the rules are the rules. Didn't you just get played out on the ground?
D. TRUMP: No, I don't think so. Look, first of all, you know, I've watched Ted Cruz and I watched very strongly say, well, he's been winning. But, you know, I've won 22 states and he's won 10 and we're really way up on votes, you know, in terms of the voters, which to me, is very important but is never talked.
I'm millions of votes ahead of him and as you know I'm hundreds of delegates ahead of him. But the Colorado thing was very, have very unfair. And I thought Louisiana was very unfair. Louisiana, I won it easily.
COOPER: You won the popular vote, he got the more delegates.
D. TRUMP: I won the popular vote. And because of all this shenanigans that goes on. And the system...
COOPER: You call them shenanigans but those are the rules.
D. TRUMP: You know why there are rules. I know the rules very well but I know that it stacked against me by the establishment. I fully understand it. We had people out there and they weren't heard.
And then in fact, today, when it was announced, the numbers were announced they put out something on Twitter saying, we stopped Trump. Essentially we stop Trump. That was put up by the party in Colorado. The point is it was stacked us. Now, we've won our share...
COOPER: You could have had a better organization on the ground. A lot of the folks...
D. TRUMP: I don't know if it would have mattered because it was totally set in stone and that's the way it was. And you saw republicans that wanted to go and wanted to be Trump delegates and they're burning their card on the internet. There were some people that were fantastic...
COOPER: A lot of time, he had a lot of organization, going out, reaching out to people who wanted to be delegates to run in the process. I mean, it was a whole electoral process to get that.
D. TRUMP: But Anderson, we had delegates there. We had a lot of delegates and they were not heard because the Republican Party out there was 100 percent probably controlled by the RNC, which maybe doesn't like this happening because I'm a self-funder, I'm putting up my own money.
They don't like when I put up my own money because it means they don't have any control over me because I'm doing for the people. I'm doing for the people. And, you know, when you talk about winning, I've won most of it and I'm not complaining.
And frankly, there were a couple that I won that he's complaining about but I won, you know, I've been winning far more than anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Gloria, continue here, I think Anderson's question was very good. Was he just outplayed? What did you think of his answer?
BORGER: His answer was quite predictable to me. And I know Kayleigh would disagree with me on this. But I do think that when you enter a game or run for the presidency, you got to know the rules. And that I believe that Donald Trump on the ground lost.
And that these rules were changed back last August, the Cruz campaign knew what they were, people who run for the presidency need to know the rules. And, you know, complaining that they're unfair doesn't really work for you heading into a convention because you're either telling the delegates they're corrupt...
BORGER: and they got elected in a corrupt way. But what happens if you win by the way?
BORGER: If you win, is it an illegitimate process by which you've won?
LEMON: David, as we've watched Donald Trump, again, pressing the flash here and I'm meeting some of the people who were in the audience, what did you think of his answer? Was he just outplayed on the field? DAVID GREGORY, FORMER MEET THE PRESS MODERATOR: Well, yes. I mean, I
think he was. I think Gloria is right. But I think there is something else that's going on here.
[22:09:58] Donald Trump was not preparing for the machinery of a presidential run. This is the King Kong of politics. He wanted to climb the Empire State building and scream out to the country I'm running and so I will win because I am the greatest and I should be your president.
And you know what, it's been going pretty well. Until it hasn't gone that well. And now he's trying to catch up with some organization. And by the way, if he does well in his upcoming contest, he's going to get darn close and he might have the machinery in place to negotiate his way to win on the first ballot. And in the process what is he doing? He is playing to type.
He is going after the establishment. He is making Ted Cruz look like the ultimate D.C. insider, which he is not, and it's hilarious. And I think in the process he is really playing the tie, he is solidifying his base and doing two things at once. Calling out the RNC for being against him, but at the same time trying to negotiate some deals as well as he can to try to get delegates on his side before it's too late. He may pull it off.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We often have these discussions where we make it seem as is Donald Trump is somehow losing, when in fact he's ahead by more than 200 delegates, so we've not losing on the ground when he's added like 200 delegates.
LEMON: But he is complaining about the delegate's process, even though he is ahead.
MCENANY: And he should. And for Donald Trump this is bigger than just Donald Trump losing, he is whining, and all these false accusation that are made. He thinks the system is unfair when a million voters in Colorado don't get to vote. It's a bigger picture of...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there's a game being played here, too. There's also some gamesmanship being played.
LEMON: Stand by because I want to bring back in. You may know, just recognize this guy on the screen. Now it's Anderson Cooper, he moderated the town hall.
And, Anderson, my question to you last night was, I said, do you think -- great job by the way -- I said, do you think we're going to see a whole different Donald Trump with the entire Trump clan altogether on the stage. I think we kind of did. What do you think?
COOPER: You know, I think with any of the candidates with their family, I mean, we saw with John Kasich. You see kind of a different side of them. And obviously a lot of parts since we gear toward their family members and that's something was interested in. You know, we tried to start of the hour with tough questions for Trump
about his complaints on the whole delegate battle, particularly in Colorado, but really the audience seemed very interested in focusing on family members and getting their perspectives, the first time you really see them all together on the stage like this.
And look, these, you know, the Donald Trump children have spent a lot of time in the spotlight and are very experienced at communicating. And clearly I think, you know, I'm looking at Twitter reaction from Donald Trump supporters who certainly felt that they hit it out of the park in terms of their presentation tonight.
Obviously his critics will see it differently but I think for Trump supporters, you know, they feel the candidate came out very well tonight.
LEMON: In your questioning -- in his answer he had something very interesting to say about Bernie Sanders. Let's listen and then we'll discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I just want to read you what Cory Gardner, who's a republican Senator from Colorado said as he seems really annoyed at what you've been saying. He said essentially you're...
D. TRUMP: He's a member of the establishment.
COOPER: ... that you're insulting these candidates who ran who are just regular people.
D. TRUMP: No, I'm insulting the system. The system is not a good system.
COOPER: He said "How on earth are you going to defeat ISIS if you can't figure out the Colorado GOP convention?
D. TRUMP: We can figure it out but it's stacked against us. I mean, you can have people that are totally against you. How come my people went to their delegates, great delegates. They're all over the internet now burning up their republican card. How come my people went...
COOPER: So, how are they stacked against you?
D. TRUMP: Because the Republican Party in Colorado wanted Cruz or maybe they wanted somebody other than Trump. I don't think anybody really wants Cruz. Why would want him? There's no reason to want him.
But the Republican Party wanted someone other than Trump. And you know the funny thing, I am the only one that's going to beat Hillary Clinton, assuming she runs, assuming she gets out of her problem, which she probably will because that's a system that's bad, too.
I'll give you another example, though. But I'm no fan of Bernie Sanders, OK? I'm no fan at all. To me he's, you know, forget it. But every time I turn on, he's winning, he's winning. Every week after week he wins, he wins, he wins, he wins, and then I watch you and I watch all of the pundits and they say but he can't win.
You know why? It's stacked against him. It really is. It's stacked against him. In his case it's super delegates and in my case it's the obvious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, a definite comparison to himself and Bernie Sanders I guess as a populous. Bernie Sanders is not really an outsider but he is. So, you know, he's saying it's stacked against both of them.
COOPER: Yes. Although, I mean, he also later on said, you know, he doesn't actually have much evidence in terms of how the system is actually stacked against him. And he's saying the RNC, the state Republican Party didn't want him. But those are folks, you know, Senator Cruz spent a lot of time, a lot of organization, have field offices getting out people, putting up people to vote, putting up people to run as delegates.
And so, I do think, you know, there was an argument to be made that he was simply outmaneuvered on the ground, even if you don't agree with the system even if you don't believe it's the kind of system, that is the system. Those are the rules that are in place.
They've been in place for some eight months at the very least, these latest rules. And so, Donald Trump didn't seem to play the game as well as Senator Cruz did in the State of Colorado.
LEMON: I don't know if you can see behind you, Anderson, if he's still there because these candidates have grueling schedules. And he is still -- is he still in there talking to people and shaking hands?
[22:15:01] COOPER: He is.
COOPER: It's actually the first times in one of these town halls that I've actually heard people say in the midst of it, well, "you've actually convinced me tonight." You know, we often have, you know, people who were asking questions were undecided.
But we had I think two or maybe three people tonight who said that they came into this not sure but were actually made decisions over the course of the evening, which I thought was interesting. I'm not sure exactly what it says but I just thought it was interesting the first time in these town halls I've heard that.
LEMON: I think it's what it is, is that people really get to know a different side and it's not, you know, there aren't timers. OK, you're time is up and, you know, you need to respond to this. But, by the way, Donald Trump has left the room, left the building as you were speaking there, Anderson. Thank you, Anderson. Great job. See you soon.
COOPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: All right. Stick around, everybody. We've got much, much more to come on the reaction to the town hall with Donald Trump and his family tonight. Don't go anywhere.
LEMON: Donald Trump and his family taking questions from the voters tonight in CNN's town hall. And I want to check in now with our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash.
Dana, you were in the room tonight and towards the end. I just want to get your reaction on what the audience members thought of when Anderson asked him do you think you're going to get to that magic 1,237 number? And here was his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Do you really believe you're going to get to 1,237 or in your heart do you believe this is going to end up being an open convention?
D. TRUMP: I think I'll get to 1,237. I think we're, you know, we're going to do very well in New York. And as I said before, some of the states around that we're going to be in next.
[22:20:06] I think we should do really well in California. I think we'll get to the 1,237. Look, this has been an amazing process. And, you know, again, I said at the beginning, but I'll say it again, I'm spending my own money.
And I understand politicians. I understand what motivates them. The thing that motivates them are special interests and their lobbyists. And they won't do the right thing. The people that are really getting they hand them, they give them money. And by my not taking money from all of these special interests, I'm going to be able to do the right thing for the people.
They do so many deals and people think, oh, why are they so stupid. They're not stupid. They're doing it because they're told to do it by the people that give them money. That's why whether it's Ted Cruz or others, I mean, I will tell you, they're not going to do the right thing for the country. And it just is the way politics works and nobody knows the system better than I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Dana, he was confident. I wonder if was the room with him?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think a lot of people, I mean, it was obvious from the questions, a lot of people who came here were already either with him or going towards him that they wanted to kind of hear that final push from him and also from him family.
But I do think that we all have to be careful not to count out Donald Trump from getting that 1,237 before the convention. Is it hard? Is it difficult? Of course. But it is absolutely not impossible. You have the numbers up there right now.
And the fact that he hired Paul Manafort, it really does I think signal the kind of approach that he's taking to this. Because he has had a very lean, mean machine to this point and he's really followed his gut and he's followed his instincts. But now he recognizes that he needs more than that, that he needs to play the game.
And not just the game that he's used to playing, that he talked about, which is I'll write you a check, you make sure that you vote this way or that way. No, this is really, really granular in old style horse trading politics with delegates.
And it really isn't just something that he's not used to, it's something that maybe a generation isn't used to because it has been so long. And I do think that, again, just going back to your question, it is possible.
And I definitely think given what happened in Colorado, given what happened in Louisiana, his delegate convention chair, Paul Manafort has his work cut out for him, he's just catching up, but it is possible.
LEMON: All right. Dana Bash, thank you very much. Our chief political correspondent. I appreciate that. See you soon.
Back with me now my political dream team, Kayleigh McEnany, David Gregory, the author of "How's your Faith" and also the new podcast called the David Gregory Show. Also Gloria Borger, Matt Lewis, author of "Too Dumb to Fail," Donna Brazile, and Kellyanne Conway.
So, also in his favor tonight that he is surging in New York. Let's put this poll up. This is a new Quinnipiac poll, New York polled by Quinnipiac University. It shows Donald Trump 55 percent. That's a crushing lead. He's likely going to sweep the states, 95 delegates. That certainly does help him get to that 1237 if he's going to do it, right, Matt?
MATT LEWIS, "TOO DUMB TO FAIL" AUTHOR: Absolutely. But I think it's baked in the cake. When people, you know, when Cruz win Wisconsin people were always assuming that Trump wins New York, Trump probably wins New Jersey, maybe Kasich and Cruz can pick a few delegates, a few congressional districts.
But then Cruz has to win Indiana and Nebraska and it could go to, you know, it could go to California. Or it could go to the convention. And I actually think -- I actually think the number is 1,200. It's sort of like when you go to buy a car or buy something on TV, 1,999. You know, I think if he gets to 1,200, depriving him of it would be really, really unpalatable.
LEMON: What did you say? BRAZILE: Gerald Ford in 1976 when they had the contested convention was 20 short. Ronald Reagan at that time was about 103 delegates. So, I mean, can he get to -- can he get to Cleveland a few short? Yes.
But, as a former campaign manager, I was talking to his campaign manager back, I said, Corey, you know, you got to -- you got to do a little delegate maintenance, you got to identify them, you have to put them in a database, you got to know their birthday. You got to know what they like and just like, it's not about giving them rides on an airplane.
LEWIS: Yes. And testing up.
BRAZILE: It's just knowing who they are.
LEWIS: It's like cramming for the SATS. You can't decide to cram for the SATS the week before the election. And that's sort of the position they're in. Not quite as bad but...
LEMON: Yes. But you're also -- Kellyanne shaking your head when Dana said don't count Donald Trump out. You're saying, yes, don't because it definitely is possible.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: A lot of states to go. A lot of states to go. A momentum is a very powerful thing and I think Mr. Trump's number is so high in New York too because he's made a conscience decision to stay here. He can't just shift to California.
LEMON: But no one ever thought he was going to lose New York, right. He wants to win big. Yes.
CONWAY: That he wants to win at all. And he's planting himself here, though, Don. That is a different strategy. I think Wisconsin was a big blow in that. It was a double digit loss. He walks out. There was six delegates to Cruz' 30 delegates and it was retail politics in the state.
[22:25:03] And it was a place for Cruz was able to at least coalesce those five former opponents. Now we've been talking for a month on your show, I've been talking for a month about the value of data analytics, ground game, and having infrastructure...
LEMON: Now he's realizing that?
CONWAY: I don't know, he's not realizing it. Somebody should realize it. Smart people around him should realize it. He's saying the system is rigged. That's red meat though, for his base. If they so, they are being screwed by the system, yet again, that's how they got -- that's how he got them to...
MCENANY: But Kellyanne, for not knowing how to run the system, Ted Cruz, your candidate should have won in the southeast and he didn't win a single state. Donald Trump is beating him in the states by double. He's beating him in the delegate count by more than 200.
So, for someone who is so terrible at organizing this sound so bad in the process, he's doing pretty darn well when he's beating your candidate by double.
CONWAY: We're talking about conventions. And listen, Cleveland is going to be a convention, folks. So, if you can't perform at the Colorado convention, if you get shut out at the convention it doesn't portend well for the Cleveland convention.
LEMON: Go ahead, Gloria. Go ahead, Gloria.
BORGER: That's right. And people who go to conventions are party people. They are not primary voters who want to send the message to the Republican Party. They are the Republican Party. And they are people who have been elected...
LEMON: Party people who are part of the Republican Party, not people who like to party.
BORGER: They are party people who are devoted to the party. And the danger here for Donald Trump I think is denigrating their commitment to their party by calling the system corrupt. It's something I think that he's got to watch out for because if your...
LEMON: Is it must point that you got to know the people?
BORGER: If you're trying to attract -- you know, I went to Houston the other way, you can talk to Jim Baker about this who ran the '76 convention for Gerald Ford. He said you have to know everything about them. But you -- and you have to court them OK?
GREGORY: I feel Cruz in North Dakota a year ago leading delegates.
BORGER: You have to understand them. And calling them corrupt or the system corrupt is really not the way to do it, particularly if you're likely to win.
MCENANY: But he's moving the delegate's counts. He's winning the party leaders who said eliminating of the vote of the party...
LEMON: The part of the process.
GREGORY: But it also is a fact that the reason that the delegates are chosen the way they're chosen is two-fold. One is he's partially right, it is to keep outliers from actually getting the nomination. And the second thing is if you can't win on the first ballot, then it means it does become something of an open convention.
GREGORY: But there's a different data point here, Don, which I think why New York is important. There's the delegate math and we're talking about that a lot as we should. There's also the electorate. I mean, to your point where Cruz has underperformed is...
MCENANY: With the people, who should matter.
GREGORY: Right. With, you know, his base of Evangelicals in the south, that's where Trump over performed. But where Trump is really hurting now is can he grow his base of support beyond the more poorly educated, those without college degrees, white males, can he grow among women, can he grow among a diverse population in a state like New York at all.
That's where he wants to perform so well here. It's in part the sadism of these delegates who might waiver on the second or third ballot. Look, I actually can win; I can grow from where I've been. That's where he wants to demonstrate and that's what he was demonstrating early on. It's only in Wisconsin did Cruz show some game is that he could grow beyond what he's basically said.
BORGER: And you know, if Cruz gets below...
BRAZILE: He gets a lot of help.
GREGORY: Yes. He had the governor who is against Trump.
BORGER: That's right. But if Cruz gets below 20 percent here, if he get below 20 percent you get a big bagel, right? So, nothing.
LEWIS: A New York bagel.
CONWAY: That's a big challenge for John Kasich, though who has lived in New York. He was in New York more in the last two weeks than I did and we've been there.
BORGER: Exactly. If they get below 20 percent there...
LEMON: All right, guys. Stand by. More from our panel and more from the Trump family tonight here on CNN.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump answering questions at our town hall, just one week before the New York primary, 95 delegates up for grabs. Trump has a double digit lead in the poll. So, if he scores a big victory he could win all those delegates.
Back with me now my political dream team. I want to start with Gloria. Gloria, I want you to listen to him talking about V.P. pick -- V.P. picks tonight. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You gave an interview to USA Today, you talked about, you know, you're looking at possible vice presidential picks, you obviously you're not going to give out any names but you did say you would like -- you named Marco Rubio, you named John Kasich, you named Scott Walker.
TRUMP: And I said they're people I like.
TRUMP: Here's the problem, I've beaten them very, very harshly. I mean, Walker was supposed to win and, you know, right after I started on him he went back to Wisconsin, OK.
COOPER: And he endorsed Senator Cruz.
TRUMP: And doesn't -- of course he did. I didn't even ask him for an endorsement. How could I ask for him for an endorsement because I was the one that got him out. Jeb Bush the same thing. Marco, the same thing. I mean, I think they are nice to me but I can't imagine they like me too much.
COOPER: So, when you say you liked them, were you saying you like them as potential vice president...
TRUMP: I like them as people. I like them as people. Now, could they be involved in some form in the government? Yes, absolutely I think they could. I don't necessarily think for vice president.
COOPER: It's interesting because they are all sort of, you know, you can argue establishment-type candidates. Is that, whoever you would pick for vice president and we've talked about this before. Is that what you would look for, somebody with political experience on the ground in Washington, essentially a Washington player...
COOPER: ... who can help you with Congress?
COOPER: That without a doubt.
TRUMP: I'm a business guy, we're going to make great deals on trade, we're going to do -- it's right on wheel house, it's so easy for me. We're going to have a really strong military, we're going to rebuild our military, we're going to take care of health care.
I'm going to do so well with so many different things. But I do want, you don't need two like me. I want to have somebody that can deal with Congress, that gets along with Congress, that's a Washington person. COOPER: Can you name one?
TRUMP: I do -- I don't want to do that now. I think it's inappropriate. I just think it's the wrong time. I do have people in mind. I have a lot of people that, you know. Look, I've been dealing in politics all my life. I know most of these politician.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he said he's thinking about someone from the establishment, Ms. Borger. What do you think, are you surprised?
BORGER: Oh, my, God. Well, you know, he said it before. And I think, look, to Donald Trump's credit here, he's actually saying I need some balance, this is what I don't know. And it's sort of what like Barack Obama did when he went to Joe Biden and he went to somebody even in the Senate for a long time and felt that he needed someone...
LEMON: Foreign policy.
BORGER: ... with a foreign policy, you know, credentials, et cetera. So, I give Donald Trump a lot of credit for saying, look, I think I need somebody to play the inside game for me because I haven't played that inside game.
[22:35:05] Do I think any of the people he mentioned are real at this point? None maybe except for Scott Walker.
LEMON: Is that a Kasich though, or Scott Walker?
BORGER: I don't think Kasich would do it. I take Kasich to his word.
LEMON: I think Kasich, though, I mean, most people's money would be on someone like John Kasich.
BORGER: I don't, I would bet against it.
GREGORY: But anything is possible. All these people who claim to hate each other now, I mean, you know, they would certainly enter into the conversation if there was on the table.
I just think the thing with Trump that's amazing is that there's this inside game and there's this outside game. What did he say about being presidential and being nicer and using nicer language? Well, first I have to take two people out.
GREGORY: And then I can be presidential until I get to Hillary Clinton if she's nominated. And then I'm not going to be so presidential but then I can get nicer. In other words, he is just there is something so transparent about him which is like I'm in the game. I'm in the game, I'm going to torch these people, I'm going to say things that are nasty, I'm going to say things that are nasty, I'm going to talk to people the way I would never talk to my children or my wife and that's just the way it has to be in politics.
And here he is saying, this is the ultimate pragmatism. This is why conservatives worry about him. He's not ideological. There's no ideological purity to Donald Trump. He will make deals. And that's what he's saying by saying, look, I'm the ultimate anti-establishment guy but I know I need a D.C. insider.
LEMON: Who does he need? Someone like who?
MCENANY: He needs exactly what he said. A Washington insider who can navigate the system. Because at the end of the day you don't get things...
LEMON: Who would any one sign on to be like what Donald Trump he is?
MCENANY: Yes, definitely.
GREGORY: Well, we didn't think Governor Christie would sign on. I mean, Governor Christie...
MCENANY: Kellyanne, what his voters say...
CONWAY: Now he's going to go to the inside.
MCENANY: What would his voters say, his voters would say that they understand you can't shut down the government like Senator Cruz and get things done. You can't be an obstructionist. Because at the end of the day when you look at the Constitution you have to get Congress...
LEMON: I'm not so sure his voters wouldn't...
CONWAY: Definitely trying to stop Obamacare.
MCENANY: You can't be an obstructionist and get things done. You have t be able to make deals. I think Senator Cruz...
LEMON: Hang on, hang on. Let them finish. Go ahead.
GREGORY: But you can say that. He wants to deport 12 million people. There is no practical way to get that through the government.
MCENANY: Here's what you need to read. Here's what you should read "Art of the Deal." It's a deal at the end of the day.
LEMON: One at a time. Go ahead.
MCENANY: So, if there's things you need to compromise on, yes, one thing he's not compromising on is building the wall. That is going to happen. But you have to be able to compromise. That is what Washington have been missing. We have a president who has refused to coalesce with the other party, who refused to extend his arm to the other side.
GREGORY: And I don't disagree.
MCENANY: We have another example and -- hold on, let me finish really quick. We have another example, and Ted Cruz who was shut down the government. You don't get things done unless you make a deal. There has to be a bill, there has to be a signature by the president and Donald Trump is saying I'm going to...
LEMON: Does he know what happens when people dig under the wall? And they make a tunnel.
BORGER: Oh, yes.
LEMON: What happens when they do that which is how many people get over?
BRAZILE: I mean, we're talking about whether or not Donald Trump has a chance, a snowball chance, I mean, he's the leader, he's the front- runner, he has more votes, more delegates, does he have a path clearly, can he regain his momentum to win?
But this whole notion of picking an insider, a Washington insider, I mean, that's not an anti-message. That's off his narrative. He's against the establishment. He wants to change thing. So, I don't know if this is a good conversation for Donald Trump.
LEMON: David, finish your point.
GREGORY: Obama did do that. I mean, Obama had to go to a big time insider to shore up his weaknesses. And I agree with the general point you're making. I think where I disagree, in other words, about there has to be a compromise, there has to be a bill. I just think that there are certain things that he is standing for, that he'll fight that are nonstarters even in the course of compromise or a negotiation. I may be wrong but that's my sense that he is in some ways as tough on these things as Cruz has been.
LEMON: We've got to take a break. We've got to take a break.
BORGER: Obama didn't talk about it before.
LEMON: Hold your thoughts, Gloria. We'll get it. We'll get to all of that tonight. Much more, you can hear more from Donald Trump and his family and my panel of experts here in just a moment. Don't go away. [22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So, Donald Trump confident about his support but angry at what he calls a rigged system.
Back with me now my political dream team. I want you, guys, to listen to this because he is talking about -- Anderson questioned about the head of the party, Reince Priebus. And Reince Priebus talking about the rules and how this all work. So, let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Reince Priebus, head of the RNC tweeted yesterday. He said, quote, "The rules were set last year, nothing mysterious, nothing new, the rules have not changed, the rules are the same. Nothing different.
TRUMP: Anderson, they changed the rules a number of months ago. The people and...
COOPER: About eight months ago.
TRUMP: Well, that's not very long ago.
COOPER: But you had a lot of time to prepare a better organization.
TRUMP: Do you what they changed rules? Because they saw how I was doing and they didn't like it. The same thing in Florida. Now, I won Florida in a landslide, right? But they changed the rule so that the winner gets all. Because they thought Jeb Bush was going to win, he's the former governor, or Marco Rubio was going to win.
And then all of a sudden the first poll came out and Trump was leading by a lot. And they said, that are we going to do, what are we going to do? Because that was done so that I wouldn't get any delegates. Then I won in a landslide and I got all the delegates. For sometimes it works to my advantage. But Colorado is unfortunate because they disenfranchised the voters. They disenfranchised all of these voters...
COOPER: You're saying that you don't think the RNC wants you to get the nomination?
TRUMP: No, I don't so. I really don't. I mean...
COOPER: And you think they're activity working against you?
TRUMP: I don't know, I mean, I don't see it. It's not like I have 15 miles of proof. But certainly they shouldn't want to have a vote of the people of Colorado. The people of Colorado -- I would have won. I've won so many of the votes. I mean, the voting has been phenomenal.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: I think it was probably you don't think the RNC wants you to
get this nomination that really did not sit well with Reince Priebus. I'm just, you know, assuming that. Because he tweeted at 10.18 p.m. This was right after the town hall. He said "Nomination process known for a year plus beyond. It is the responsibility of the campaigns to understand it. Complaints now? Give us all a break." Has he never gone in like that?
BORGER: No. Look, I think -- I think he said the rules are the rules before, but I think he took this as a shot across the bow of the RNC, which it was. I mean, Trump complained directly about the RNC and Priebus running the RNC felt the need to come out and say, wait a minute, these are the rules and you don't complain about the rules when you win.
[22:45:03] LEWIS: You've been calling us the dream team. And I've been watching, every time I'm watching this people versus O.J. Simpson.
GREGORY: So, we learned the Johnnie Cochran technique is if you have the facts, if you don't have the facts, you know, what you do is you go against the system, you run against the system, right. So, like Reince Priebus and the RNC, they're the LAPD basically. Donald Trump is going to war against the system saying that it doesn't matter if he's going to be the best president. The system is rigged, the system is broken. I think it's indicative of a flawed campaign.
MCENANY: No, Matt.
CONWAY: It is, it is.
LEMON: But gets it one, though.
MCENANY: But, Don...
CONWAY: The republican nominee gets so much from the party, gets so much from the RNC. Its data, its data files, its money, its resources, it's ground game. And that is the establishment. Is he going to say no to that? I'm self-funding my campaign I don't want the RNC data files? I don't want millions of record...
LEMON: But isn't he doing just fine without the RNC right now?
CONWAY: But, Don, if you get to the contested convention and you attack the RNC you're attacking the party for us to show up its delegates.
LEWIS: To your point, Don, it's easier to make Donald Trump's argument, I think that, you know, it's a bumper sticker, the game is rigged, the fix is in. That's an easy argument -- I don't believe it. It's bogus, but the gloves don't fit you, you must acquit. It works.
MCENANY: Here's the problem with what you're saying, though. You're acting as if it's just Donald Trump saying this.
BRAZILE: I'm loving this.
MCENANY: Well, I would refer you to the exit polls in Wisconsin where the voters there who elected Cruz, it's in their interest to go to a contested convention, absolutely. I think everyone on this panel would agree the voters who elected Cruz those same voters in Wisconsin said by 54 percent, they said 54 percent, they want the person with the most delegates going into the convention to be the nominee. Likewise, a national Monmouth poll...
LEWIS: Yes, you know what?
LEMON: Let's put that up. Let's put that up.
LEWIS: They probably don't realize that there's also -- there's also an electoral college.
LEMON: With Senator Cruz at CNN poll, most republicans support Donald Trump at Donald Trump nomination, 66 percent, that's according to a CNN poll, 60 percent of republicans tell CNN that the nominee should be the candidate with the most delegates.
MCENANY: Well, exactly. So, the RNC needs to listen to their voters. When the voters are saying that they feel the rules are not fair. Everyone here on this panel that hear and says rules, rules, and rules. I want them first to look at the voters and tell them why the rules are fair. Explain to them. You can't say rules they've been...
LEWIS: OK. Why is it fair that we have an electoral college and that the popular vote doesn't elect the president? And that's not fair either.
MCENANY: Well, I have a great answer for that, Matt. Guess what, Matt. Electors can't be bribed. And by the way, in all of American history only 1507 times have they pledge electorate where (Inaudible) and voted the opposite way. In this election alone we will have more than 157 delegates...
CONWAY: Hey, Kayleigh, it's the law of the people. It's the reason that (Inaudible) shut out of Colorado all together is because the system was rigged or because nobody showed up to do the hard work?
MCENANY: What would happen in Colorado because the...
LEMON: OK. Hang on, hang on, hang on. Yes. But I want Gloria -- go ahead.
BRAZILE: As a member of the rules committee -- I'm a democrat.
BRAZILE: When you put together these rules, whether it's at the republican convention back in 2012, or throughout the process, you anticipate that those who are interested in running, they're in the room.
LEMON: We get to know...
BRAZILE: They understand what the process is. I mean, throughout our process, we have not just, you know, Hillary Clinton people, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley and others. So, the rules are written with the candidates in mind but also with the state parties. They're the ones who have a vested interest in making sure that the rules mirror the...
LEMON: And that's why you said the RNC doesn't decide the rules? Is that what you were saying?
BORGER: So, this isn't up to the RNC.
BORGER: This is up to the people who are on the rules committee who go to the convention.
BORGER: And Donald Trump will have a lot of representation on the rules committee given the fact that he has won an awful lot of votes. So, yes, Kayleigh, he will have that representation.
I agree -- and I understand the people when they say, look, it's only fair if you're winning, heading into the convention that you ought to get it.
BORGER: I think the margins matter, just like it mattered in 1976.
BORGER: There were -- there were small margins, they didn't really know going in what was going to happen and they had to have a ground game. Now, if Donald Trump is 50 votes short, he'll be able to get the nomination, there is no doubt about it. I mean, I think -- I think he would.
LEWIS: I think 1,200 looks a lot bigger than 1,199.
BORGER: But I think, I know to your point.
LEWIS: For some reason.
BORGER: But I also believe if he's 200 short and Cruz comes in second, that there's going to be a fight.
GREGORY: And that's the point. That's why the rules are set up the way that they're set up. He can still win in what he believes is a rigged system and my sense is he'll probably be happy still existing within that system. Even if you think he's unfair.
He is putting the machinery in place to try to prevail and he is a bit behind in terms of how things are...
LEMON: I got to take a break. We'll be right back.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Back now with my political dream team. All right, Matt Lewis.
LEWIS: No more on that.
LEMON: My political dream team.
LEWIS: All right.
LEMON: Here's what I want to know.
BORGER: You have too much time on your hands.
LEMON: Some big name republican names saying that they are going to -- they plan to skip the convention, like Jeb Bush like Kelly Ayotte or --
BORGER: I wouldn't go if I were Jeb either.
LEMON: So, what's going on here? Is there a revolt or what?
CONWAY: No speaking slots.
BORGER: Look, well, yes. It might be about speaking slots and what would your role be at the convention number one. Number two, if it's going to be chaotic and if you're up for, if you got a tight race and you're not sure where you're going to come down, you'd probably rather be anywhere else.
And so, I think a lot of them are hanging back of some or saying they're not going to go. But I think a lot of people particularly republicans running in blue states who might want to hang back and say let me just see how this look.
LEMON: Does it really behoove anyone or the party for a big player in the party not to show up at the convention?
GREGORY: Well, I think this is an important point, is that if you are Rob Portman in Ohio, if you're Kelly A. out in New Hampshire you have got to be tied in to a national party and to the nominee.
LEMON: Exactly. GREGORY: And the problem is if, you know, Trump is the nominee and let's say he's at 45 percent polling in Ohio, very difficult then for the incumbent Senator Portman to prevail on that race. You've got to be tied together. You can only keep your distance so long.
Kelly Ayotte stayed out of the New Hampshire primary. Maybe that was safe enough for her to do. Little tougher if he's the standard bearer.
LEMON: I want to -- before we go, I want to ask this, Matt. Do you think that Donald Trump helped himself tonight or did his family help him?
[22:55:03] LEWIS: Absolutely without a doubt. I mean, I think you know, all the candidates benefit from being with their families. The families are usually compelling and they soften them up and show a different side. But I think Trump more than anybody needs that. And frankly, his family is so compelling especially Melania and Ivanka. And he should get her on the trail every chance he gets. She's really compelling. Really likable.
GREGORY: She was really an effective advocate for her father. I mean, not only the love of her father but to speak up for him about, you know, how he's inspired her and her sisters and empowered them. That's pretty powerful testimony. But again, it's because she is how -- you know, just like a child we haven't seen her which is very good.
LEWIS: And there's also a sense of like if he can raise a daughter who is that sharp and charismatic and likable, you know, that says something about him that maybe we don't see as a candidate, that he's a good father.
GREGORY: I understand why he's an independent. There's a lot going on.
LEMON: I think one of the most interesting things he said tonight was every morning or his family did every morning when they walk out of the door that they can remember he said, don't do drugs and don't drink. And I think that is an important message for every...
CONWAY: And Ivanka said many that he met with eyebrows...
LEMON: Yes, now they appreciate it.
CONWAY: It's probably the first time in a year that Donald Trump has been on the stage with anyone where he wasn't the star. I think he really just enjoyed being a spectator for that portion and he enjoyed being in his family.
LEWIS: He sort of bee.
LEMON: With that said, we will be right back.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: New York primaries are just days away and the stakes couldn't be higher for both sides.
This is CNN TONIGHT.