Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Will Introduce His Wife's Speech Tonight; Source: Melania To Highlight Trump's Personal Side; McCaul: Reagan's City On A Hill "Now A City Under Siege"; Sheriff Calls Black Lives Matter Movement "Anarchy"; Cotton: We've Seen What Happens When U.S. "Leads From Behind"; CNN Talks With Gov. Chris Christie On Convention Floor. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 18, 2016 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:03] DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All of this stuff is being watched by much more likely by pace (ph) voters. But it becomes a much larger audience come 10:00.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We understand Melania Trump has been working for weeks practicing this, getting ready for tonight. This will be without a doubt not only the largest number of people she has spoken to at any one time but probably the most important speech she has ever given or public statement she has ever given.

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right, and this is a coming out for her in very much him for the way. What this does, we went through this with the Obama convention we through this with all ...

COOPER: Here's Antonio Sabato, Jr. let's listen in.

ANTONIO SABATO JR., SOAP ACTOR: I know I'm not your typical convention speaker. You might be wondering why I chose to speak. The truth is that I never considered myself very political or spoken out politically before. But my belief in this country and my faith in Jesus Christ have compelled me to speak now. That's right.

I'm concerned about our country's future. I'm concerned about my children's future. And I believe we need Donald Trump, who shares -- that's right, who shares my beliefs and my faith, to get our country back on track.

In the past eight years, failed policies have caused our country to deteriorate. Our rights have been trampled and our security, threatened. We are weaker by almost every measure. We are on the wrong path. It is clear even to someone who was not even born here. I came to the United States from Rome, Italy, in 1985. That's right.

I followed all the rules and finally became a naturalized citizen in 1996. That's right. Others who want to come to the U.S. to live and work should follow the same rules. That's right.

We are a nation of laws for reason. There should be no shortcuts for those who don't want to pay or wait. You know, my mother was born in a communist Prague, escaped the Czech Republic and met my dad in Italy. I know what socialism looks like. I don't want that for my children. Not at all. But that's the path, that is the path we're headed down with a leader we've had and the candidate he endorses.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton promote division. Don't be fooled. But Donald Trump is for unity. Donald Trump believes in one America with liberty and justice for all. Having secure borders, protecting our citizens, none of this is hateful. This is the responsibility of the government. That's right. And it's the right thing to do.

Donald Trump will get it done and put us back on the right track. People know this and that's why they have voted as they have. We can no longer afford to be silent. Our country needs Donald Trump to make us great again. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The actor, Antonio Sabato speaking very passionately about his support for Donald Trump. Inside this convention all, we are awaiting the stars of this opening night, Donald and Melania Trump, the Republican's choice for president is due to speak in the next hour and he will introduce his wife.

This is Donald Trump, so we expect he will have plenty more to say. Stand by for that. Melania Trump is taking a more high profile role in the campaign than she's had so far. As the headline speaker tonight, before the Trumps take the stage, Republicans are sharpening their focus on the theme of the night, America's Security.

We got Mike Pence, the Republican presumptive vice presidential nominee, there you see him right there, Mike Pence, the Indiana governor. He's in the hall right now. He's going to be speaking Wednesday night. We're standing by also by the way to hear from the New York City, Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He was the mayor during 9/11. He'll speak this hour.

[21:05:04] I want to go to Pamela Brown, she's up on the podium covering all of this for us. That's where all of the speakers walk right by you, Pam?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And while much of tonight has been about security so far and Hillary Clinton's failure as Secretary of State, we're told that Melania Trump's speech will be very different. Now it's going to have a different focus. It will be emotional in a different way than we have seen so far tonight, as you point out, she's been an enigma.

She's been really under the radar and this is seen as her big coming out, her big unveiling and she's expected to show a more personal side of her husband similar to what Ann Romney did at the last Republican Convention, as she's expected to talk about her husband as a family man, as a father, the relationship they have with the kids and also his charitable contributions, how he's been giving and how he's contributions haven't made in the public spotlight but that he has a big heart.

And also, the campaign told me that it's very important for her to be the headliner tonight and to be the first of Trump's family members to speak because the campaign feels like that she is an effective character witness, that she will help him bridge the gap with women and also it's a chance for her to have the American public feel comfortable with her as a potential first lady. Back to you Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Pamela, stand by. Sara Murray is in the hall as well. You have more on what we expect to hear tonight, Sara, what are you learning?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well that's right Wolf, (inaudible) that they are aware that people have a problem with Donald Trump's temperament and they're hoping to do something about that tonight with Melania Trump's speech. They know this is a problem that's particularly acute with women who are between the ages of 35 and 54.

But Melania Trump's speech tonight is a step toward fixing this. It's not the solution. The campaign says they're going to try to do more one-on-one interviews with Donald Trump, more town halls, more local news interviews, settings that can soften a candidate's edges. But the first step tonight is one they are taking very seriously and Melania Trump has been working with a speech writer, we're told by a Trump adviser, and she's been working on this speech for five to six weeks Wolf, really trying to hit the right tone to set up this convention and kick things off for the rest of the week. Back to you.

BLITZER: Yeah, she's a major, major attraction tonight. I want to go to Jim Acosta, he is also getting more information on what we can expect to hear tonight, what are you learning Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well of course Wolf, it's unusual to hear from Donald Trump tonight, to hear from the presumptive nominee but he is introducing his wife here within the hour, within the hour and a half, perhaps, from now.

And I'm told by a couple of sources inside the campaign that there are some mixed feelings about all of this. I talked to one adviser to the campaign who said now you hold on a second, this is Donald Trump's wife, of course it's natural for him to come out and introduce her. But we are told by a campaign adviser that Donald Trump is expected to do much more than just introduce his wife here to these delegates gathered here in Cleveland, and that is probably why I'm hearing from another source inside Trump world tonight Wolf, who is saying I just hope Donald Trump introduces Melania and gets off the stage Wolf. There are people inside the campaign who are concerned about a repeat of what we saw on Saturday. He was supposed to introduce Mike Pence, instead that introduction went on for 28 minutes. They are bracing for the impact of this introduction Wolf, that's expected to happen just a little while from now. Wolf?

BLITZER: So well pretty soon we'll be hearing from Donald Trump and Melania Trump. In the meantime, we're going to back to Anderson.

COOPER: Yeah Wolf, thanks very much. Up coming speakers that we're going to bring to you live of course, Congressman Mike McCaul, we're going to be hearing from Sheriff David Clarke, Congressman Sean Duffy and his wife Rachel. All of that of course then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator Sessions is going to be speaking to this crowd as well. All of that of course leading up to Melania Trump in the 10:00-11:00 hour, as well Indiana Governor Mike Pence is going to talking about or talk about as a possible vice presidential pick for Donald Trump, also Senator Joni Ernst.

It does seem like in this hour, David, the focus is kind of shifting more to illegal immigration and serve national security issues.

AXELROD: Yeah, no, what I think that what we see here is 8:00 to 10:00 are the base hours and I think they're making base arguments to a Republican base that will unify the Republican base. And I think 10:00 is about presenting a different face of Donald Trump to the larger audience that is going to a lot of voters who may not be inclined his way at this point.

COOPER: How important is that, I mean to Kayleigh, as a Trump supporter, how important do you think it is to show, is it possible to show a different side? Do you really think there are people in the American public who don't have a fully formed idea of who Donald Trump is?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I do, because we all know very well that Donald Trump is a successful businessman. He's built a $10 billion brand, but the one side we haven't seen of Donald Trump is Donald Trump, the father. We've seen very little of that. Donald Trump, the husband.

Tonight we're going to hear from Melania, we're going to see his wife, we're going to hear from his children who have worked, decided, who've helped him build his business. They're going to speak on behalf of their father tonight going through the week.

So yes, this is crucial that people realize Donald Trump the family man is as important as Donald Trump the businessman.

[21:10:05] S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But not only that, Donald Trump's children speak very well and speak very well of him. And they are incredibly impressive. Just to go back a beat though, I think what's remarkable about tonight so far is that it's been very boilerplate. I mean to talk about Benghazi, Hillary, this is all stage safe space for Republicans. I've not heard in, what I have been listening to, build a wall, ban the Muslims. I haven't heard the controversial Trump talking points being hammered out here. It's been very safe and cautious. And I'm wondering if we are seeing an intentional pivot. Of course, that could all explode at 10:00 when Donald Trump takes the stage, but I guess we'll find out then.

COOPER: Jeffrey, is that intentional, you think?

LORD: I don't know whether it's intentional or not. But I certainly think they are doing the right thing here. I mean absolutely, and appealing to people and being positive and upbeat. Donald Trump himself is a positive person. I know this will drive some of my Reagan friends crazy but I think he's Reaganesque in the sense that he can be very upbeat, very visionary, very forward-looking. And at these conventions, as I started to say earlier, like the Obama convention, these presidential nominees are putting their stamp on the party and the convention and presumably the presidency at some point. The presidency is a very personal office. It centers around the personality of the occupant. So this is the night to get all of these things out there, so that people get to seriously adjust to the idea of ...


COOPER: Van, do you see Donald Trump as Reaganesque in his optimism?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not as much so, and I feel that what's happening right now is the opposite of positive. What you're hearing in the background, they're talking about people who lost their lives because someone came into the country without papers and killed them. And this is becoming the center point of their argument about undocumented people in this country.

And I think taking that approach is very, very dangerous because what it does is it takes a whole group of people who statistics show commit fewer crimes to some the members, and associates them with their very worst element. That is the definition of bigotry. You do not want to do that and I'm shocked to see this happening behind us right now. I think for people across the country, if you are a Latino, if you're an immigrant, if you are somehow able to hear what's going on right now, I think you would be very, very disturbed by this. It's turning into what I can only call some kind of borderline hatefest against undocumented immigrants ...

COOPER: Kayleigh?

JONES: ... based on killings of a small -- by small number much people and that is wrong.

MCENANY: Van, with past over the last eight years as we've heard the term Benghazi, we've heard this term fast and furious, the gun-running thing that went horribly wrong and killed a U.S. border agent. We've heard these scandals and they have been marginalized by Democrats time and time again. And what is happening behind us right now in this first hour, is that Republicans are putting a human face on these scandals. We're hearing from the mother who lost her son in Benghazi. We're hearing from Brian Terry's parents who lost their hands at affordable gun-running scheme that (inaudible) ...


AXELROD: What can be more uplifting and positive than that?

MCENANY: No, but as long the side that (ph), you're also hearing a very positive (inaudible), what it means to be an American and love your country and sacrifice and fight for your ...


CUPP: And I think the comment the hatefest Van is ... AXELROD: Yeah, I think that's the worst (ph).

CUPP: ... is really overstating.

AXELROD: Over that.

CUPP: And I think -- I think everyone remembers Cindy Sheehan and how she was the spy Democrat Conventions and to get people elected and move on that organ (ph) quote saying I mean this is what happened, when mysterious issues are being discussed and debated. And when people are trying to convince voters to move in a certain direction. This has not been a hatefest.

AXELROD: No. no ...

CUPP: But you can buy Donald Trump standard.


COOPER: Jeffrey?

LORD: We get back to the basic point of this, no one has the right to come into this country or any other country illegally. If you do so in Mexico, they'll put you in jail.

JONES: That is a very good argument. It's an argument that does not require demonizing the whole community based on (inaudible). But what I will say is this. Up until now, up until just a moment ago, I was not saying borderline hatefest, but this is (inaudible).

COOPER: This is Congressman Mike McCaul, let's listen in.

REP. MIKE MCCAUL, (R-TX) HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: ... chairman of the homeland security committee. And I'm a fourth generation Texan. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas.

Let us remember tonight the Dallas and Louisiana police office who tragically lost their lives. America stands with my hometown and we will never forget. And to law enforcement officers across this nation, we are with you and we will always support you.

[21:15:07] Tonight, we heard powerful testimony from people who have been devastated by Obama's reckless immigration policies. Haven't we had enough? But now Hillary Clinton is promising more of the same. Open borders, executive amnesty and the surge of Syrian refugees. This is a dangerous liberal agenda and it's time for a change. It's time to take back our country and make America safe again.


We need to end sanctuary cities. Keep dangerous people out of our country and secure our borders once and for all. Our country's national security is at risk. President Reagan once reminded us that America was a shining city upon a hill, a beacon of hope to the world, but after eight years of weak leadership, n a hill is now a city under siege. Today, our allies no longer trust us. Our adversaries no longer fear us. And our enemies are plotting against us. This did not happen by accident. It happened by design. It is the work of Barack Obama and the architect of his failed foreign policy, Hillary Clinton.

For years, they presided over America's retreat and the consequence is clear leading from behind has led us into danger. When Hillary stopped talking about t war on terror, our enemies noticed. When she helped withdraw our forces from Iraq, creating a power vacuum, she paved the way for ISIS to rear its ugly head and our enemies noticed. When four Americans were murdered in Benghazi, burned, burned, she blames on a video and our enemies noticed. And when she stood on the sidelines while terror hot spots erupted across the globe, our enemies noticed.

We have all witnessed the recent attacks in Nice, Paris, Brussels and Istanbul. But now, we are in the cross hairs. Our own city streets have become the battleground. Fort Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Orlando. But instead of protecting Americans, the Obama administration turned a blind eye to the danger.

So let's cut through the suffocating political correctness. And call the threat what it really is. The enemy is radical Islam. These fanatics have radicalized a religion into a weapon targeting our way of life. President Reagan once asked are you better off than you were four years ago?

But tonight, let me ask you this question. Are you safer than you were eight years ago? No. Is our military stronger? Is America still respected? Over and over, Obama and Hillary apologized for America and allowed Jihadists to spread like wildfire. We cannot afford Hillary in the White House again.

[21:20:18] We need someone who can repair the damage she's done, take the fight to the enemy and put America first. That man is Donald Trump.

I'm proud to serve as a member of his national security team and I could tell you this. I can tell you this. Donald will never apologize for American greatness. He will promote it. It's time to unify as a party. It is time to unify as a party.

He will never bow down to our enemies. He will stand up to them. And Donald will never allow terrorists to gain ground against America. He will shake the ground they walk on.

My father was a bombardier in World War II and participated in the D- day invasion against the Nazis. His generation often defined as the greatness defeated fascism and communism, handing down a better and safer America to my generation.

Now, we are in a struggle against the forces of radical Islam and terror which must be defeated for our children and our grandchildren. A Trump administration will take on this fight and send a clear message to the Islamist terrorists. You may have fired the first shot but rest assured America will fire the last. Thank you. May God bless America. And God bless the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please welcome Milwaukee county Sheriff, David A. Clarke Jr.

DAVID CLARKE JR. MILWAUKEE COUNTY SHERIFF: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear, Blue Lives Matter in America.

[21:24:57] I stand before you tonight with a heavy heart as the law enforcement community prepares to bury three of Baton Rouge, Louisiana's finest but there is some good news out of Baltimore, Maryland, as Lieutenant Brian Rice was acquitted on all charges in the malicious prosecution of activist state's attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Now I want to talk to you about something important. Indeed, a concept that five law enforcement officers were murdered and nine more were wounded for earlier this month and for which three more were murdered two days ago in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and that is the importance of making America safe again.

You see, I believe that this noble mission is not just a requirement but a prerequisite for achieving this campaign's goal of making America great again. We simply cannot be great if we do not feel safe in our homes, on our streets and in our schools. I see this every day at street level, where many Americans increasingly have an uneasiness about the ability of their families to live safely in these troubling times. This transcends race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age and lifestyle.

If you don't believe it, a recent Gallup poll confirms it. In more than half of all Americans now worry a great deal about crime and violence, up consistently and dramatically from just a few years ago and for African-Americans, that number is 70 percent.

Sadly, for growing number of communities, the sense of safety that many of us once took for granted has been shattered. Americans don't always feel safe, no matter if they are working in a big city, living in a suburb or rural areas all around this great country. I often tell residents of Milwaukee in the city and towns that I that visit that safety is a shared endeavor. It starts with the willing acceptance of people to play by society's rules, a code, a code if you will where we collectively agree upon that ensure stability, fairness and respect. It is built on a foundation of trust in each other and in the people who administer and import societies rules which at its foundation is the rule of law.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote passionately about the interrelatedness of all communities and states and about our inescapable network of mutuality tying us in a single garment of destiny. He spoke of the basic morality of the rule of law provided that it is applied equally to both the wealthy and the impoverished, both men and women and yes, the majority and the minority.

What we witnessed in Ferguson, in Baltimore, in Baton Rouge, was a collapse of the social order. So many of the actions of the occupy movement and Black Lives Matter transcends peaceful protest and violates the code of conduct we rely on. I call it anarchy.

You see, American law enforcement officers understand that race is and has been a heated issue in our country, most appreciate the vital need for thoroughness and transparency in pursuit of the greater good in their actions and in their investigations. These are truths that are self-evident to me and which I practice, and they are the truths that Donald Trump understands and supports.

[21:30:10] Donald Trump is the steadfast leader our nation needs. He has spoken passionately to me of his belief in our American system of justice and he speaks to the values that are at the foundation of our social contract.

Throughout his campaign and over the many years before he has consistently and constantly raised his voice not only in defense of the character of the American police officer, but the need for all people to feel that they are being treated fairly and respectfully by law enforcement.

You see, Donald Trump understands that what can make our nation safe again is a recommitment to a system of justice in which no government official, not even those who have fought their way to the marveling grand halls of Washington, no private citizen, no elected official, even Hillary Clinton, and no group of people despite the fervor with which they press forward their grievances, can claim privilege above the law.

It cannot happen in the United States. The tradition of the primacy of the rule of law in America is strong. It is in those simple facts and in our acts we will move forward toward making America safe again. God bless you and may God continue to bless this United States of America.

BLITZER: Sheriff David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, elected, reelected several times since 2002. Don Lemon is with us right now. Don, you had a very heated exchange and interview with the sheriff last night. First, of all I want to get your reaction to what he just said.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I wasn't surprised that he came out and with the, you know, Blue Lives Matter in America immediately but I'm -- you know, sitting here, I wasn't sure how well received it was in this crowd.

It's a -- you know, I think that Scott Baio probably got more applause than he did but I mean he's a very respected, you know, member of law enforcement and very liked and very popular in this crowd, but nothing in his speech surprised me. I actually thought he would go further, Wolf.

BLITZER: And, last night in your interview, he said Black Lives Matter, he called them purveyors of hate and he blamed several of the police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge on what he called anti- police rhetoric sweeping the country. LEMON: Yes.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: But, he did criticize Black Lives Matter tonight but much more vaguely than last night.

LEMON: Oh, yes, he did. But, which was interesting to me, is because he somehow -- last night I tried to link me to Black Lives Matter. And if you watch CNN, if you have your information right, I think I have been more critical than Black Lives Matter and maybe than any other person on this network.

I don't know. I don't get to see the week -- every minute of the week. But -- and that's what we are supposed to do. I mean we're supposed to take people to task and to test their mental (ph) and that's we that are done with Black Lives Matter. But he seems to insinuate somehow that I as an African-American anchor was somehow supporting Black Lives Matter which is indeed not the case.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the substance of his speech though and if we could ...

LEMON: Well, he asked me. He asked me ...

TAPPER: I'm not criticizing you, but I'm interested to know what you think about what he was saying because he was selling a real law and order message and blaming groups like Black Lives Matter ...

LEMON: I'll get to that. Wolf, asked me about last night and so that's what I wanted, I wanted to comment on that and last night what he said and I'll get to your -- I'll answer your question.

But what he said was there's no statistic he said to me that proves that black people are treated differently by law enforcement than white.

And that is simply not true and so -- and that was I was trying to get from him. He was simply spewing platitudes and I wanted him to -- I wanted to get him to give me some facts.

The substance of his speech, Jake, I didn't -- I wasn't sure if there was any substance there. If you watch that Fox News, he says the same thing over and over and over, Black Lives Matter purveyors of hate, Black Lives Matter causes this.

I'm not sure Black Lives Matter there's a direct connection to hatred among police officers and violence among police officers. I don't see the direct that's all I wanted ...

WOLF: He did get a standing ovation when he was introduced tonight. Let me go back to Anderson, right now for more. Anderson.

COOPER: Wolf, thanks very much. I want to get our panel to take on it and I did think actually his Blue Lives Matter statement probably got one of the most rousing applause lines that did come up here at least at the way.

CUPP: Yeah. I'm not sure.

It's Don and we're sitting in a place where he couldn't hear, you know, as well as we could, but that I haven't heard applause tonight like I heard for Sheriff David Clarke.

[21:35:08] And he is a real hero to a lot of conservatives. And, I think, I heard a lot of substance in what he talks about. He talks about the primacy of law and order and following a society following the rules and no one being above the rules. That's a political statement, that's a cultural statement and I think it resonated huge in this room and will resonate huge with conservatives.

MCENANY: And, he talks about respect for our police officers. There has been an undeniable lack of respect for officers in this country. And, if you see that, that poor officer who died in Baton Rouge two days prior that, you know, in fact that he felt disrespected. So that's what he told, not only that a positive digit and he talks about Martin Luther King and being in an inescapable network of mutuality that's what David Clarke said and he's positive.

COOPER: Van Jones.

JONES: Yeah, and first of all. I think that it was a remarkable speech. I thought it was powerful and I thought that he was actually offering something that the country needs which is a sense of strength and order.

Here's where I thought he fell short. He did mention Dr. King, in the same speech he quotes, he keeps quotes, Dr. King, Dr. King says this, the negro can never be satisfied as long as he is the victim of the unspeakable force (ph) of police brutality. I think there is a problem here.

When he says no one should be above the law, he actually is speaking to the pain that some people feel that too many bad police see themselves as above the law.

In other words, we are talking past each other. This desire for order is a desire for lawful policing, that the police should obey the law too. And part of what is inciting people is not a chant here or placards there. It's a sense of all the good deal that you'd see, no police officer has yet gone to jail. And that is inciting as much as anything else. And so I think we've got to have a more powerful conversation. I will say this. He is actually I think a potential bridge.

COOPER: But Van Jones, very quickly, when, you know, when some speakers talk about a return to an America of the past, I'm wondering how that is her. I mean how white American hear that that how black American hears that because for many in black America, return to the past is not a halcyon past of where things were great.

JONES: It's really a big slip when you say make America great again, for some people again, is not a good time so.

COOPER: Coming up, Rudy Giuliani on threats to American security and his personal relationship with Donald Trump. Trump is in the building getting ready to make a very unusual debut at this convention to introduce his wife Melania. We'll be right back.


[21:41:38] BLITZER: Welcome back to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. We're still waiting for Donald Trump.

He is going to be speaking fairly soon. He'll introduce his wife, Melania Trump. Those will be the highlights of tonight. That's coming up.

Tom Cotton, the Senator from Arkansas, is coming up next. I mean, he's a very impressive guy, Jake. Tom Cotton went to Harvard undergraduate, Harvard law school, was a lawyer.

But then he joined the U.S. army, served in Iraq, became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now it's the youngest senator now serving in Washington.

TAPPER: That's right. Tutors I think one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. And I think he run for the Senate after just one term in the U.S. House.

He was mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee for Donald Trump, but didn't ultimately make the short lift -- the list. He's been on -- he's on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been a very, very vocal critic of President Obama's foreign policy.

BLITZER: He's been very, very outspoken on a whole range of national security issues that has really become his focus.

TAPPER: In fact, if our viewers remember during the period when so many Republican senators signed a letter condemning the Iran deal, he was one of the leaders of that movement really coming forward and saying that the Iran deal was a mistake in fact, as recently as this afternoon, he was criticizing the Iran deals saying that the Iranians were already violating it.

BLITZER: The House speaks presumably, Jake on this theme, "Make America Safe Again". Then on Rudy Giuliani, he used to call him America's mayor during 9/11, the former mayor of New York.

We're going to be hearing from him as well. And I suspect he is going to get into that same -- at that same issue.

TAPPER: We've heard a lot of law and order figures speaking. We just heard from the Milwaukee sheriff, Sheriff Clarke, talking about national and security issues and we've heard a lot of expressions of support for the police.

Sheriff Clarke starting his speech saying, "Blue Lives Matter". I imagine Rudy Giuliani, who was very proud on being proceed with being tough on crime and a supporter of the police. I imagine we're going to hear similar sentiments from him. BLITZER: And we'll be hearing later from Melania Trump. By the way, Tiffany Trump is sitting in the VIP. She is right there, Donald Trump's youngest daughter. She just graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

She is going to be speaking, her older sister will speak -- will be speaking, the two brothers will be speaking. Every night, they're going to have family members, Jake, speaking out about -- the kids speaking out about their dad.

TAPPER: You see Don Jr. right there on his iPhone which is one of his favorite activities. Knowing Don Jr. a little bit and you saw Tiffany not long ago. Tiffany, who just finished as you mentioned, at the University of Pennsylvania, the only child of Donald Trump's second marriage to Marla Maples.

BLITZER: Yes. We're going to be hearing from her. I think she's speaking tomorrow night. Ivanka will speak I believe Thursday night and she will introduce her dad. And the two brothers will speak as well I believe on Wednesday night.

So, the family will be well represented. And one of the things that Donald Trump is very proud of is his family. He's very proud of those children.

TAPPER: And they're playing huge, huge roles in the campaign in a way that I can't recall ...

BLITZER: All right. Hold on a second, because Tom Cotton, the senator from Arkansas is about to speak. I'm interested in hearing what he has to say.

[21:44:57] SEN. TOM COTTON, (R) ARKANSAS: Thank you. For eight years, we've seen what happens when America leads from behind, leading from behind. That's not what the army taught me. And to everyone who agrees that America ought to lead the way, I have a message to deliver and let me say it loud and clear. Hell is on the way.

Let me tell you a story about an Arkansas farm boy who became a soldier. When America was at war, he was away at school and then in a comfortable professional job exempt from service, but he sacrificed that comfort against the wishes of his family, against the wishes of his father, who himself had served. He volunteered for the army. He became an infantryman. That farm boy was my dad, Lim Cotton. He went to Vietnam in 1969.

35 years later, because of 9/11, I did the same. Against the wishes of my family, I gave up my legal career and I volunteered for the army, and I became an infantryman and I went to Iraq and Afghanistan.

My dad said he felt like God was punishing him for what he did to his dad, but God wasn't punishing him. God had called us to serve, just as he calls so many of you to serve as well.

My family isn't extraordinary. In fact, we're very ordinary. From the farms of Arkansas to the fire stations in New York, so many families could tell the same story. The defense of this country is always a family affair and these families shoulder more than their share of the task.

We don't fight because we hate our enemies but because we love our country. We love its freedom and we love that we as Americans are born equal and live free and that no one can boss us around or rule us without our consent. We know, we know these things are worth fighting for and dying for because they make life worth living for.

Our warriors and their families don't ask for much. We're blessed to serve and we're grateful for the generosity of our fellow citizens. But there are a few things we'd like. We'd like a commander-in-chief who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars.

We'd like a commander-in-chief who calls the enemy by its name, a commander-in-chief who draws red lines cautiously but enforces them ruthlessly. And it would be nice to have a commander-in-chief who can be trusted to handle classified information.

And we'd like politicians who treat our common events as the chief responsibility of the federal government, not just another government program. This isn't much to ask for, but eight years without it is more than enough and another four years is unthinkable.

So, let me quote the last Republican vice president about the consequences of the last time a Clinton was in the White House and let me say again, this time directly to our troops in a Trump/Pence Administration and with a Republican Congress, hell is on the way.

[21:50:14] Now, believe me, believe me. No man wants more war if he's seen the face of war. I've planned memorial services for fallen comrades in the mountains of Afghanistan. I've carried their flag- draped caskets of a plane. I've buried them at Arlington National Cemetery. But the wisdom of the ages affirms the counsel of our first president to be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

The purpose of our common defense, after all, is to protect the American people and preserve our independence so that we can enjoy the blessings of peace faith, freedom, family, prosperity.

My father and his father were willing to fight so that their children and grandchildren might live in peace. Sadly, that wasn't to be. But my generation is fighting, has fought, and will fight so that our children, my infant son, Gabriel, and the Christmas baby, my wife and I are expecting, might one day live in peace.

And for that cause, I speak tonight not only to Republicans, but to the millions of Independents and Democrats who share that dream and who wish to make America safe again. Thank you and God bless you.

BLITZER: Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran making the case for Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton. Now we're quickly going to go to Dana Bash. She's out there on the convention floor with a special guest, Chris Christie, Dana. DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much, Wolf. You see that I'm not the only one interested in speaking with Governor Chris Christie.


BASH: Thank you. We're live now. How are you?

CHRISTIE: I'm great.

BASH: So, how does it feel to be here, is it bittersweet?

CHRISTIE: Oh, God, no. Listen, I'm a kid from New Jersey who's in the front row at the Republican National Convention. You look I'm doing just fine Dana, you're from Jersey, you know what that's like.

BASH: I do know what that's like. But, obviously, this has kind of been an interesting week, and I think it's no secret that you were under consideration. Can you just describe what it's like to be here sitting here? You're basically in the front row watching. And obviously you're a delegate and you are still very much go to work to get Donald Trump elected, but it's kind of different than being on the ticket.

CHRISTIE: Well, sure, it's different. You know, the fact is that I feel really comfortable and confident with my role and always steady even before the vice presidential consideration.

And so, you know, I know it's Monday, so it's important for you guys to ask me all these questions, but by tomorrow the focus is going to be on exclusively on my role as chairman of the transition. Mike's role as the vice presidential nominee. And Donald's role as our presidential nominee in the race against Hillary Clinton and whoever she picks in the fall.

And so the way I'm going approaches this is the way I've always approach it which is my job is to help them get elected. But more importantly at this point for me is making sure this administration is ready for him to make decisions about the beginning on November 9th.

BASH: And you are going to have a very public role in doing that right here in the convention. You're going to give a speech. Tell us a little bit about what you hope to put across in that speech.

CHRISTIE: I hope to be charming tomorrow night, Dana.

BASH: Well.

CHRISTIE: Charming and absolutely disarming. Intelligent and witty. I hope to be all those things. Well, you can tell me tomorrow night if I achieved it or not.

BASH: What are you going to be discussing?

CHRISTIE: Oh, a heck, I want you to show up, Dana. I don't want you to go out to dinner during my speech. So, if you show up, that will make even more exciting. Bring Kelly, too. It's going to be a party.

BASH: Before I toss back to Wolf, I have to ask you, can you give of what you just said that you did talk to Donald Trump on Friday after he said that he was going to go with Mike Pence. Can you tell us a little bit about that conversation?

CHRISTIE: We had a conversation that is typical of our relationship for the last 14 years.

BASH: Which is?

CHRISTIE: Which means it was free wheeling and rollicking and private.

BASH: Thank you, Governor.

CHRISTIE: Thank you, guys.

BASH: Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Dana. Thank you very much. We're getting closer and closer to tonight's big moment. Donald Trump's entrance here at the Republican Convention setting the stage for his speech by his wife, Melania.

But first, we're going to hear from former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani.

[21:54:59] It's all coming up.


COOPER: And welcome back live to the Republican National Convention from Cleveland, Ohio. We're coming up to the 10:00 hour, the Primetime hour. Melania Trump, no doubt the highlight for many in this room in watching probably around the country to hear her making, perhaps, the -- well, without a doubt, the most important speech she has ever made and probably that's the largest public appearance on a public on a national stage that she has had so far. Donald Trump is actually going to be introducing his wife.

Also expecting just a couple minutes former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. The issues really focusing on right now a national security and it has moved to sort of the last -- in the several speeches sort of more conventional political speeches probably starting along with Tom Cotton.

LORD: Right, right. Tom Cotton, I've already gotten some e-mail people thinking, well now, there's a future president here. I mean, he's an outstanding guy with a record of Harvard Law School and there's a record in the army. He's a quite impressive guy.