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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Delivers Foreign Policy Speech; Cruz Announces Carly Fiorina As Running Mate. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired April 27, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Any moment now, we're expecting Senator Ted Cruz to make what he is billing as a major announcement. We anticipate he will name former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to be his running mate, should he emerge from the convention as the Republican nominee.
A former Republican rival, Fiorina placed seventh in both Iowa and New Hampshire and won one delegate before dropping out of the presidential race in February. Fiorina backed Cruz in March and became a tireless surrogate for him.
With this announcement, Cruz is hoping to jump-start what critics say is his faltering campaign after a difficult night for all candidates not named Donald Trump on the Republican side. Trump's sweep of five states last night gave him a prohibitive lead in the delegate race and a boost in his goal of clinching the nomination before the convention.
He now needs less than 50 percent of the remaining Republican delegates to win the nomination. Cruz insists he will stay in the race all the way to the convention.
CNN correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is live for us in Indianapolis, where Cruz will step up to the microphone any moment.
Sunlen, set the scene for us.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Senator Cruz, as you said, will take the stage within a few minutes. And we are told that he will, himself, introduce Carly Fiorina, so really formally presenting him -- today as his vice presidential choice to the crowd of supporters gathered here.
It's very clear that the Cruz campaign is searching for any sort of reset button. And they are really hoping that this is it, potentially trying to fuel some energy and attention back to their campaign. There has been a well-coordinated strategy on the part of the Cruz campaign to generate buzz around this announcement, including from the senator himself. He started about seven hours ago basically making an announcement this morning that he had an announcement this evening. And that really set off speculation going forward, really sucking a lot of the energy away from Donald Trump, which is exactly what the Cruz campaign wants out of today -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.
We will come right back to you as soon as we see Senator Cruz about to speak.
Meanwhile, today, Donald Trump very much acting like the presumptive nominee, a title he bestowed upon himself last night, laying out some views on foreign policy in what he billed as a major address.
Sara Murray is live for us in Indianapolis as well, and that is where Trump will rally supporters in a couple of hours. I believe he will be joined by legendary Indiana University coach Bobby Knight.
Sara, Trump delivered a takedown of Obama's foreign policy today. What would he do differently as president?
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, that's right.
Donald Trump launched into a harsh takedown of President Obama's foreign policy and said that is the same as what we are going to see from Hillary Clinton and that it is a failed, incoherent policy. But Donald Trump didn't exactly say he would take a rigid approach to his views. Yesterday, he called for flexibility when it comes to approaching foreign policy.
And today he said you just shouldn't be too predictable about these things.
MURRAY (voice-over): Today, Donald Trump unleashing a blistering criticism of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and previewing fault lines that could shape the general election.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I challenge anyone to explain the strategic foreign policy vision of Obama-Clinton. It has been a complete and total disaster.
MURRAY: In his formal speech today in Washington, Trump called for an America-first approach to foreign policy.
TRUMP: My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security above all else. Has to be first.
MURRAY: Trump pledging that intervention won't be his first instinct and saying he will seek to improve relationships with countries like Russia.
TRUMP: We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China. MURRAY: Rather than delve deep into specifics, Trump says it's time
to stop broadcasting America's every move.
TRUMP: We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable.
MURRAY: After his five-state sweep on Tuesday, Trump is feeling more secure than ever in his front-runner status.
TRUMP: I consider myself the presumptive nominee.
MURRAY: To clinch the nomination, he needs roughly 49 percent of the remaining delegates to hit that magic 1,237. To date, he has won about 50.2 percent of the delegates. So, if he keeps up his current pace, the nomination should be within his grasp.
For Trump, it's a sign the strategy that got him this far is working.
TRUMP: You have a football team and you're winning and then you get to the Super Bowl, you don't change your quarterback, right? So I'm not changing.
MURRAY: And that general election fight could be brutal, as Trump tries out an even sharper tone against Clinton, questioning whether she has any credentials beyond her gender.
TRUMP: Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she would get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the woman's card.
MURRAY: But, for now, Trump still has to wrap up the primary and there is little sign his rivals are ready to step aside.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are flip sides of the same coin. Washington and New York wants this general election to be between two rich liberal New Yorkers who agree on virtually every issue.
MURRAY: Now, we saw Donald Trump in a more reserved setting in Washington earlier today delivering that speech using teleprompters.
But tonight in Indianapolis, I think we're going to see more of this classic Trump. This is an arena rally where thousands of people are expected. And, of course, one of the things we will be looking for is Donald Trump's reaction to a Ted Cruz/Carly Fiorina ticket -- Jake.
TAPPER: Sara Murray, thanks so much.
Joining me now to talk about Trump's foreign policy, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. He led the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama. Now he advises Donald Trump on foreign policy. That is an offer he has made to other candidates.
Sir, thanks so much for joining me today.
LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Thanks, Jake. Thanks for having me.
TAPPER: Appreciate it.
So, here is how Trump encapsulated his foreign policy approach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. We are getting out of the nation-building business and, instead, focusing on creating stability in the world. Our moments of greatest strength came when politics ended at the water's edge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, how is that different from isolation, the idea of America first? Because, obviously, that was a term first made popular years ago by Charles Lindbergh trying to keep the United States out of World War II.
FLYNN: Yes. Sure.
I don't think that Donald Trump looks at the world and America as we are going to isolate ourselves here. He's talking about a global -- his layout of his foreign policy speech today was really about how America will lead in the 21st century globally and how we have to relate with many other nations around the world.
Russia, China, he talked about. He has talked about a number of times about, you know, the various trade agreements that we have. He has talked about how he needs to you know -- how we need to sort of re- look our entire military structure and what we are doing with our military. Our military is actually at its weakest point in many, many decades, as he laid out today.
And I would also say that he specifically talked to things like radical Islam and also a couple of the models that exist, the NATO alliance as a model. He mentioned the Asia alliances as another model, that we have to re-look these models that were built in the 20th century and we have to focus on what these models need to look like in the 21st century.
So, these are very important aspects I think of an individual who definitely sees America's leadership role, and if we put America first economically, which I think is really super important, then the rest of the world can benefit from that.
TAPPER: What does he mean when he say we must as a nation be more unpredictable? What does that mean?
FLYNN: Yes. I think it really gets to all of the times when we have said we are going to do something and we didn't do it.
TAPPER: You mean the red line in Syria.
FLYNN: Well, yes, the red line in Syria. Why do we tell -- why do we say we are going to send 50 more troops or 250 troops? Why do we play cards and show our cards when it's totally unnecessary? And that is really from a military perspective, but there's also other economic cards, and there's diplomatic cards that we play.
And I have been very adamantly opposed personally against the nuclear deal with Iran.
FLYNN: And I think we played cards so publicly, and it gave away all of what we needed to be able to do for our country, and we did not benefit from that. We did not come out of that on a winning side, in my opinion.
TAPPER: Some people say that it's ironic that Trump would criticize the foreign policy of the United States for years as being incoherent, because some people find trouble finding coherence with his foreign policy.
And I have to say, I don't fully understand the contradiction that he seems to propose when it comes to going after ISIS even tougher than they are being pursued now, while also not getting involved in another war in the Middle East. That seems to be completely contradictory.
FLYNN: I think the coherence of what he stated and what has been different for probably the last -- at least the last 50 years is in one word, and that is winning.
We can no longer afford to venture in all of these overseas things that we do that we have done, Jake, since post-World War II, but also including World War II to a degree. We have to get America back on the track of winning.
TAPPER: So, if you send troops...
FLYNN: We have forgotten how to win overseas in wars and in many of these other things that we do.
TAPPER: It's almost like the Powell doctrine of...
FLYNN: I don't think it's like the Powell doctrine at all. In fact, I don't -- I don't think it's like the Powell doctrine.
TAPPER: OK. But when you send troops, win?
FLYNN: When you send -- when you do anything, win.
TAPPER: All right, General Flynn, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
FLYNN: Thanks a lot, Jake. Appreciate you having me.
TAPPER: We are just moments away from Ted Cruz announcing his pick for a running mate. Sources tell CNN he will announce that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate. We are going to that live just as soon as Cruz comes out.
Back after this quick break.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
Any moment now, we are expecting to see Senator Ted Cruz come out and speak to a crowd in Indianapolis, Indiana, the site of the next primary. Sources tell CNN he will announce that former Hewlett- Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will be his running mate.
CNN correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is at the Cruz event.
Sunlen, this is the second surprise move Cruz's campaign has made this week.
SERFATY: That's right, Jake.
This is the second Hail Mary pass from the Cruz campaign after making that alliance with John Kasich. Now this surprise announcement that he is coming out early and really pushing ahead and making his vice presidential pick.
And I do think that this certainly speaks to the moment that the Cruz campaign knows that they are in, the feeling within the Cruz campaign as where they are in this election and certainly their standing when you look at how they are doing against Donald Trump, you know, moving to make this announcement so early in a sense of a traditional timeline and the fact that they are well behind in delegates of Donald Trump and really have no -- at all no credible path to the nomination before a contested convention.
Moving to make this early announcement really speaks to the moment that they do feel that they are in, they need some injection of excitement, some injection of momentum. And they are moving forward to make that. Senator Cruz has really staked a lot on next Tuesday here in Indiana.
The fact that he is making this announcement here in Indianapolis, choosing his vice presidential pick, really is trying to have the short-term strategy, I would say, of getting a big boost of momentum before the Indiana primary on Tuesday.
The Cruz campaign has been very open about their strategy. They think this state is the state that they can stop Donald Trump. Of course, the big question is, what if that does not happen? Senator Cruz, of course, trying to project that he is moving forward, really trying to move forward with the messaging that we are still in it.
When he spoke last night on election night, I was really struck that it seemed so much of his message seemed to be directed at his supporters, saying you will hear people start to say Donald Trump is the nominee. Do not believe them, him basically saying, we are now still in it, still in it to win it.
A big part of Senator Cruz being on stage in just a few minutes with his running mate Carly Fiorina is intended to really send that message --Jake.
[16:15:00] TAPPER: That's right. And last night, we can't forget of course, Donald Trump went five for five and swept and the Cruz campaign attempted to bracket that with here is the second bracket, his announcement of a running mate. Let's listen to Senator Ted Cruz in Indianapolis, Indiana.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless the great state of Indiana!
Elections are about choices. The Republican Party faces a choice today. Indiana and America, I believe, want to unite behind a positive optimistic forward looking conservative campaign based on real policy solutions to the problems facing this country.
And the American people deserve a real choice in November. A choice that is not an echo. A meaningful distinction. If we come to November and the American people are given a choice between two big government liberals --
-- two Washington insiders in mesh in the corruption of Washington --
-- then we, as a Republican Party, will have failed the American people.
And I will tell you when you run for president, one of the most solemn choices you make is the choice of selecting a vice presidential candidate.
This is a choice that you are telling the American people, this is an individual who I trust and, even more importantly, this is an individual you can trust to lead this country no matter what might happen.
Any responsible candidate for president would have spent much time assessing possible candidates, thinking through the pros and cons, studying who these people are, praying about it, and examining the potential candidates.
And, you know, the characteristics that you look for in a vice president are, indeed, the very same characteristics you look for in a president.
First of all, knowledge. Do they know enough to do the job? Do they know where jobs come from? Do they understand why jobs are leaving America? Do they understand why manufacturing jobs are being driven overseas? Do they understand why Carrier has left Indiana and gone to Mexico? Do they understand what is happening in the economy?
And government, do they understand the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Are these words on a paper, or are these promises that protect our fundamental liberties?
And security, do they understand the threats facing us in the world, the threats that potentially endanger your children and mine? That's the first criterion you look to as knowledge. Does this person have the experience and knowledge to do the job?
Secondly, you look to judgment. Do they the judgment and wisdom to bear the mantle of a job whose responsibilities have grayed the hair of every person ever to hold that office? Do they think through decisions wisdom to bear the mantle of a job whose responsibilities have grayed the hair of every person ever to hold that office?
[16:20:00] Do they think through decisions in a ration impulsive way? Do they pop off the handle at whatever strikes them at any given moment? Or do they think through careful, measured? Do they assemble a team around them who are smarter than they are?
You know, there's an old adage in management that As hire As and Bs hire Cs.
If you see a leader who deliberately surrounds themselves with people who are not capable, who are not informed, who are not skilled, and who would never, ever stands up to that leader, it tells you that leader is not a leader, but, rather, someone not at all secure in who they are.
And the third thing you look to is character. Are they honest? Do they have core principles that come from their gut, are not a momentary dalliance announced today to be abandoned tomorrow, but do they know who they are when they look in the mirror? Is it based on whatever the media tells them that given day, whatever the fad is that given moment, whatever is trending on Twitter, or do they have a foundation?
An integral to character, how do they treat others? How do they treat others, especially those that they don't have to be nice to? You know, everyone knows how to kiss-up. Everyone can be nice to their boss. That is not a complicated skill.
But how do they treat the clerk at the convenience store? How do they treat the average man and woman? How do they treat the American citizen? How do they treat the vulnerable? That reveals everything you need to know about character.
After a great deal of time and thought, after a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States, that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee, Carly Fiorina.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Born in Texas, the very first thing I liked about her. Cara Carlton Fiorina, and known throughout the country simply by the name of Carly.
Is an extraordinary leader. She started working as a secretary in a small firm and she climbed the corporate ladder to become the CEO of the largest technology company in the world, and the first female CEO in history of a Fortune 20 company.
A graduate of Stanford and MIT, Carly is brilliant and capable and, yet, she experienced the hardscrabble world of being a woman professional in a business world that extracts a price.
[16:25:14] I say that as a son of a pioneering computer programmer, my mother, who started in the computer industry in the 1950s, I say that as the husband of my wife, Heidi Cruz, who spent two decades in the business world.
Over and over again, Carly has shattered glass ceilings.
But in addition to be a woman of extraordinary intelligence, she is also a woman of deep principle. She has served as the chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation, championing conservative principles on a national level.
She has studied the threats facing our national security, serving as chairman of the CIA's external advisory board, and if you look to the criteria I laid out let's start, number one, with knowledge. She knows from having spent a lifetime how to produce jobs, how to expand jobs, how to raise wages.
She knows firsthand that the key to economic growth is not government and more and more government. It is, rather, less and less government.
My opponent in this race Donald Trump --
-- like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, looks to every problem.
Carly knows firsthand from decade in the business world, running one of the 20 largest corporations in America, where jobs come from.
And she respects the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They are not.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
You know, if a candidate views the Bill of Rights as an occasional inconvenience, something to be talked about one day and ignored the next, if a candidate views religious liberty as something to be cast aside when it's inconvenience, if a candidate views the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is merely a suggestion, they don't have the grounding to be president.
Carly respects the constitution and the bill of rights and she understands the threats facing America. She understands this is a dangerous world and in naming her as my vice presidential nominee, I am also telling you that she is someone you can be confident in, if the occasion should arise to be commander in chief and keep this country safe.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We need a president who isn't neutral between Israel and the Palestinians.
We need a president who will not keep in place this Iran nuclear deal, but who will rip it to shred.
And the second criterion, judgment. You know, it was seven weeks ago today that Carly endorsed our campaign. When Carly initially endorsed, before that announcement, she and I sat down and talked at great length.
And one of the things that struck me in that conversation, she had, "I have a condition for endorsing you." I kind of sat back and said, all right, "What is that?" And she said, "I don't do anything halfway. If I endorse, I want to be all in. I want to be campaigning, I want to be working, I want to be doing everything I can to make the case to the American people."