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President Trump's Failure to Denounce Anti-Semitic Attacks; American Wrestler in Mexico has Become a Superstar by Playing a Trump Fan in the Ring; Questions Being Raised by Some About the Price of Protecting The First Family. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired February 17, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:01:36] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The question the president just keeps dodging.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Anti-Semitic attacks on the rise across the country. One reporter after another asking President Trump to address them. So why doesn't he?
Also, with the Trump is traveling around the globe from Washington to New York to Florida to divide (ph), are the taxpayers paying bigger bill than ever before to protect the first family? And is the secret service stretch too thin?
Plus, this is the story you just have got to see. The American wrestler in Mexico has become a superstar by playing a Trump fan in the ring.
Let's get right to the presidential - President Trump at his failure so far to denounce anti-Semitic attacks. Here to discuss is Liz Berney, the director of special projects from Zionist organization of America and also attorney Alan Dershowitz was an author of "taking a stand, my life and the law."
Good evening to both of you. Thanks for coming on a Friday evening.
Alan, twice this week president was asked about a rise of anti- Semitism in this country. And both times he didn't answer the question. This was Wednesday. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since your election campaign and even after your victory, we have seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. And I wonder what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the United States and Israel and maybe around the world believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I just want to say we're very honored by the victory that we had, 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that right? There was no way to 221. Bu then they said there's no way to 270. And it is tremendous enthusiasm out there. As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you are going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And here was his answer yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been report have that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti- Semitic acts were threats to --
TRUMP: You see he said going to ask a very simple easy question. And it's not. It is not. Not simple. Not a fair question.
So here is the story goes. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you have ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. So he lied about, he was going to get up and ask a very straight simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something that I hate the charge. I find it repulsive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So why can't he, Alan, just give a better answer to what - it is pretty straightforward question I think.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. And he missed opportunity. Look. There's increasing anti-Semitism in this country coming from the old right, but also from the hard left on college campuses. This is a perfect opportunity for the president of the United States using his bully pulpit to come out against anti-Semitism on both extremes of the political spectrum.
Leaders of the Democratic Party also have an obligation to come against anti-Semitism on the hard left. People like Sanders and Warren and Keith Ellison have an obligation to condemn anti-Semitic statements and acts by those who support then.
The President has accepted the support of the alt-right and there are some in the alt-right who are anti-Semitic. So both as the president and as somebody who accepted the support of some who may have anti- Semitic tendencies. I take him at his word, he is not anti-Semite. But he has the obligation to condemn those who support him just like people on the Democratic Party have the obligation to condemn anti- Semitism.
[23:05:46] LEMON: And that wasn't the question. The question wasn't that whether he was an anti-Semite as whether what he thought of the rise of the anti-Semitism in the country and he sort of brought it around to himself.
But that said Liz, the reporter's name is Jake Turks and he told the "New York Times" that he spent an hour crafting that question and there was more to it than just the clip that we showed you. In the beginning he explicitly mentioned the fact that he is clearly doesn't think the president himself is anti-Semitic and knows that the president has Jewish family members His rabbi (INAUDIBLE) said this. Quote, he says, "it was a very disheartening moment for us to watch him be berated."
So the president called a report asking his first ever question at White House briefing a liar. That he asked him a very disrespectful question and he barked at him to sit down. He said shut up. How did you feel watching that?
LIZ BERNEY, DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS FROM ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA: Well, Jake Turks came on another network as you know last night. And --
LEMON: So he understood the frustration.
BERNEY: No. He understood that President Trump feels very hurt by the question and may have been defensive because of that. Because he is so, you know, for the Jewish state. Has so many friends in the Jewish community, has a Jewish daughter. You know, I mean, I go by what Mr. Turk said.
LEMON: I understand that. And he did say that. But I wonder how you felt watching that.
BERNEY: OK. Basically, you know, anti-Semitism and Jew hatred and this current manifestation of Jew hatred which is hatred of the Jewish state is a stain on humanity. So, of course, I want every opportunity to be taken. But this has been going on for the last eight years. There were so many opportunities that President Obama had. I mean, there were - you know, for instance, when you had the San Bernardino.
LEMON: I understand, but all due respect Liz, President Obama is no longer the president. I'm asking you - hold on. I'm asking you about this president and his response to a Jewish reporter who asked first question. How did you feel as American watching that of the President's behavior and response?
BERNEY: First of all, of course, I want him to take every opportunity to condemn anti-Semitism. But it's going on for eight years in a much more extreme way in the Obama administration.
LEMON: Liz, let's just say if it was bad in Obama administration, it sounds like you are saying well, two wrongs don't make a right. I'm just giving you - I'm not saying that President Obama was --
BERNEY: Just saying fundamental problem.
DERSHOWITZ: We have to stop making this a partisan issue.
LEMON: Thank you Alan. BERNEY: I'm not.
LEMON: No, you are. The Zionist organization of America supports Donald Trump. You have to unequivocally look into that camera and say he must condemn anti-Semitism. Just the way I'm looking into the camera and say must condemn anti-Semitism in a hard left.
BERNEY: First of all, we are not partisan organization. And in fact, we actually honored professor Dershowitz at our last annual dinner.
LEMON: I'm sure he is very appreciative. But what of his response saying this is not partisan issue and president had an opportunity to condemn anti-Semitism. Very simple answer.
BERNEY: OK. I agree that every opportunity should be taken to condemn the anti-Semitism. But to focus on Donald Trump, when this has been going -- where has everybody been for last eight years. Alan, where were you?
DERSHOWITZ: You know where I have been. I have been condemning --
LEMON: I'm on this show.
BERNEY: You were continually supporting Obama every time Obama listed all the countries that have been victims of terrorism and he left out Israel, where were you then.
LEMON: OK. Can we stop? The reason -- and Alan you were on this show and you said similar things even when President Obama was in office. So I have to give you that.
The reason it's coming up is because Donald Trump is now the president. He is carrying the ball. He is leader of the free world. President Barack Obama is not the president anymore. So no one is going to ask him and maybe people probably don't care what he has to say about this issue.
The reason why I am asking is because Jewish community centers in 27 states, one in the Canadian province received nearly 60 bomb threats in January and there are other instances of anti-Semitic activity happening. That's it is why coming up now.
[23:10:08] BERNEY: Let's look at the fundamental crisis of it. It is not that he didn't say something this week, and he should. Obviously he should. Every opportunity to say something about anti-Semitism should be taken. However, look at fundamental crisis are. You have Keith Ellison, you have at end of the Obama administration, you had several events that were catalysts --.
LEMON: So the answer is go back to an administration that is no longer --.
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: If Keith Ellison came on the show - hold on. If Keith Ellison was asked a question in a press conference and responded like that, I would be asking him or a surrogate of his the same questions on this show. He is not here to defend himself. I'm not asking about that. I'm asking you about President Donald Trump and the reporter in that room and why this president has responded the way he has about anti- Semitic, the rise of anti-Semitic activity in this country. Can we stick to President Donald Trump?
DERSHOWITZ: Can I ask a direct question? Do you have any suspicion at all that Donald Trump may be afraid to include Jews as victims of the holocaust and condemn anti-Semitism because he doesn't want to lose the support of the people on the alt-right?
BERNEY: Absolutely not. This is somebody who into the inauguration address stated that he would combat radical Islam. This is not the man who is afraid to say what needs to be said.
DERSHOWITZ: What about holocaust?
BERNEY: One of his promises in his campaign is to start investigations of what is going on in college campuses. And if you want to talk about that fundamental problems and fundamental crisis of anti-Semitism.
LEMON: That's all well and good, Liz. And when asked a direct question about the rise of anti-Semitism in this country, why won't he give a direct answer?
BERNEY: I think he just missed opportunity and as the reporter said, Turk said, the president --
BERNEY: Trump was very hurt by the question because he is so pro- Israel and so pro-Jewish.
LEMON: Alan, go ahead. I will give you the last word.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, I really think that you have to ask yourself is this Liz and organization she represents really nonpartisan or she here to make the case for Donald Trump?
I'm trying to be nonpartisan on this issue. I will condemn and criticize both parties if they refuse to stand up and condemn anti- Semitism. And I think the Zionist organization of America ought to do the same thing.
BERNEY: Alan, we are nonpartisan.
DERSHOWITZ: You don't sound nonpartisan, sorry.
BERNEY: Sorry. On the holocaust statement, we actually put out a press release on that saying that he should - that President Trump should have put - should have been discussing the six million Jews that were murdered in the holocaust. DERSHOWITZ: And you don't think it was deliberate that he left it out
because he didn't want to alienate people from the (INAUDIBLE)?
BERNEY: Absolutely not.
LEMON: I've got to go. Listen, you know, this is a very touchy subject and it is very passionate.
We appreciate you coming here Liz. And Alan as always, I appreciate you coming on the show. And this conversation will continue. Thank you both.
When we come right back, President Trump is back on the campaign trail but what is he campaigning for and what do independent voters think of his first month in office?
[23:16:54] LEMON: President Trump capping off his first full month in office what is being billed at working weekend at Mar-a-Largo and a campaign style rally tomorrow.
I want to bring in syndicated talk radio host John Fredericks and Joe Madison, the host of Sirius XM -- by the way this is one of my favorite segments on the show. Don't tell anybody.
JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM HOST: Thank you.
LEMON: So you guys are out there talking to the people. And so it is good to get, you know, you have your ear to the ground.
Joe, you first. President Trump is now been in the White House for a month. Quite a tumultuous month. What are your viewers saying or listeners saying about the administration so far?
MADISON: Yes, seems like three years. Well, I'm being somewhat facetious. But I can tell you this morning we talked about the fact that he was absolutely wrong about Elijah Cummings trying to avoid him. Two, I played the tape of the interview I did with Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the congressional black caucus who by the way had requested meeting and Trump people didn't get back with them. Number two, I had a caller who called in and said who talks about being the least racist?
You know, if I asked any of you right now, are you or are you not a racist, I don't think any one of you would say I'm the least racist. You either are or you aren't. And you don't judge racism by degrees. And that's pretty much what was going on. Look. This has been a terrible week for the Trump people. And you had Monday, I think it was labor secretary withdrawal, Flynn on Tuesday, Wednesday was the whole campaign staffer, Russia fiasco, then Thursday that off the hinge news conference that he loved.
LEMON: Which John loved I'm sure.
MADISON: Well, whatever. And the reality, that's what my listeners are talking about. But to be quite candid, you know -- and don't let me leave out asking a reporter, a 20 year veteran, April Ryan.
LEMON: To set up a meeting.
MADISON: To set up a meeting. First of all, she doesn't work for him --
MADISON: And finally why didn't you ask Alma Rosa? She is the one who works --
LEMON: That was shade there Joe. Alright, let's play the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda as well as --?
TRUMP: Am I going to include who?
RYAN: Are you going to include the congressional black caucus and the congressional --.
TRUMP: Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting?
RYAN: No, no, no. I'm just a reporter.
TRUMP: Are they friends of yours? No, set up the meeting.
RYAN: I know some of them.
TRUMP: Let's go set up the meeting. I would love to meet with the black caucus. I think it is great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: John, I want to get your -- what did you think of that moment John?
JOHN FREDERICKS, SYNDICATED RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: That particular moment, I'll address that in a minute. Let me say overall the press conference was probably the best press conference in the history of presidential press conferences ever.
[23:20:05] LEMON: It was very interesting, I give you that.
FREDERICKS: It was 70 minutes entertaining. I mean, is what, if you're a Trump supporter right now in the first here-and-a-half weeks, you are absolutely ecstatic, Don. I'm going to get to that in a minute. But it's like Christmas every day. Every day get up, there is a new present under the tree. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. He came there to be rain maker, the disrupter, the wave maker. He has taken a sledge hammer to Washington and he is putting it to the cabal and the elites, the people that --.
LEMON: OK. That's a great stuff. There is lots of great stuff. Now get to the critical part of it. And I don't mean negative when I say critical. But go on.
FREDERICKS: Well, let me get to that exchange. All right? First of all, everything that happens and we talk about doesn't have to revert back to racism or sexism. Donald Trump is a business executive. He finds solutions. When somebody comes to him with a problem, anybody ever been a senior executive like me in media, they say what's your solution.
LEMON: So that was the solution? So if it is that --
FREDERICKS: His solution is go set a meeting.
LEMON: So should we ignore the obvious or should we pretend the obvious is not happening?
FREDERICKS: I don't know what the obvious is, Don. Don, if he asked me if -- if I asked a question about let's say Virginia and he said look, you're friends with governor McCullough, he is a Democrat. You have my (INAUDIBLE). He is a friend of yours. Can you set a meeting up?
LEMON: So because she is black and it is a Congressional Black Caucus then she should know them and she should be able to set up a meeting with them because she is black and they are black.
FREDERICKS: Well, I don't think it has anything to do with black. She brought up the congressional black caucus.
LEMON: Then what is the connection?
MADISON: First of all --
LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Joe, hold on. So what is she - hold on. What if she had brought up a question about Russia? Can you say, well, if you want to set up meeting with and Putin, do you know Putin? Do you think he had that same reaction?
FREDERICKS: Well, if she did, and she could perhaps sets something up. That's fine. Look, Don, you know what? It is holier than thou aspect for this media.
LEMON: Joe, Joe, I think you are ignoring the obvious and you are not being honest. And if you don't understand that.
LEMON: The answer to Joe's question -- when Joe asked the question, are you racist, right, I think better answer is I don't think I'm racist but there's always room to check and there is always room to check myself and to try to figure it out. MADISON: No. I will ask John straight up. Let me ask as one talk
show host to another in the media, are you a racist?
MADISON: That's all he had to say. That's all - excuse me. That's exactly what the president of the United States should have said. Not I'm the least racist. We do not judge racism by degrees. That's number one. But number two, put race aside, April Ryan is a 20 year veteran of White House correspondents. You do not ask a journalist to set up a meeting with an equal partner of the United States government. You have your liaisons do that like every single administration has done. You put people on your staff to contact the chairman of the congressional black caucus and set up that meeting the official way.
LEMON: OK. Let him respond. OK, go ahead John. And you know, we don't mean to beat up on you. But I do think that you have a blind spot when it comes to this issue. I think that you are ignoring the obvious. But that's my opinion. Go ahead.
MADISON: What is the obvious? She is 20 year veteran and -- by the way.
LEMON: I mean, John. I'm sorry.
MADISON: When you said Joe.
LEMON: I'm sorry. I got the name wrong.
FREDERICKS: Look Don, you know - Don, look. I love you to death, right. You were one of the first people that took the Trump campaign seriously when nobody else did in national media. That's why I come on your show and I have tremendous amount of respect for you.
But what Donald Trump said in that, what President Trump said in that press conference was not racist at all. He simply said, hey, if you can help me solve this problem, let's go solve the problem.
LEMON: No one is saying it was racist. It's tone deaf. It is insensitive.
MADISON: I opened conservation with the fact that he lied on Elijah Cummings. I opened this conversation with the fact that he had a terrible week and I delineated everything. But what I said was, you do not ask a 20 year senior journalist, a legitimate journalist to set up a freaking meeting with the congressional black caucus or for that matter with anybody. She does not work for Donald Trump.
LEMON: OK. All right. Hold on Joe. Let John respond.
FREDERICKS: Joe, I respect what you're saying. I don't think it was racist and I will get back with this.
MADISON: I didn't say it -- who said it was racist?
[23:25:03] FREDERICKS: OK. That's settled. I don't think it was, Don. Every comment that's made is not racism or sexism.
MADISON: Who said it was?
LEMON: You guys get off it.
MADISON: Wait a minute.
LEMON: You're the only one saying it's racist.
MADISON: You are the only one that --. No one has said it.
LEMON: We are saying that the only connection between April Ryan and -- only connection that is obvious between April Ryan and congressional black caucus is their skin color. Now, is that racist or not? No one said that. Maybe a faux pa in some way, maybe he is insensitive, maybe he doesn't know what he doesn't know. Maybe someone around him should tell him. Maybe she doesn't know etiquette or protocol, maybe he doesn't have a director of black outreach who can make those phone calls. That would be an issue if he doesn't. Maybe he doesn't realize that as president of the United States he can pick up phone and call anyone.
So why would he ask a reporter who is a veteran to set up a meeting? It doesn't make sense to most people in the world.
MADISON: But I bet wouldn't ask Barbara Walters to set up a meeting with Putin.
FREDERICKS: Listen. He was trying to solve the problem. He is a senior level executive that's built a $10 billion company. When people come to him with a problem, his instinct is, go solve it. What's your solution? I will get back to me. If he came to me and said, hey John, can you set up a meeting with governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe who is a friend of yours who is a Democrat, I want to talk to about something. I sent two emails to set the meeting up. The only thing I would say is I want to be there and get an exclusive audio. I'm a journalist. I mean, I think you guys are blowing this way out of proportion.
LEMON: No. You are. We just asked a question. That's it. You are blowing it out of proportions. You're saying is racist or whatever. But anyway, listen, John. I have to go.
FREDERICKS: No because --
LEMON: I got to go. But I want to say this. I thank you for compliment that you gave me. And I did take - because I take it if someone says they are running for president, I take them seriously. And I see myself, I'm not perfect, as always fair and telling the truth. I think the president has a blind spot when it comes to those issues. I also think that Donald Trump had a very good chance of winning and that's why I put you on. So people may think otherwise, but I think I'm fair when it comes to those issues and I call him like I see him. Thank you all. Have a great weekend.
Just ahead a pro wrestler gets into a character as Trump supporter as he gets into the ring in Mexico. Now, he is the man Mexico fans love to hate. And just like the president, he knows the power of putting on a good show.
[23:31:32] LEMON: President Trump is not a popular man in Mexico, a country that loves the sport of professional wrestling. So one pro wrestler who happens to be American has created a character for the ring that wrestling fans love to hate.
CNN's Shasta Darlington reports from Mexico City.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In today's Mexico it's hard to dream up a more despised character for the Lucha Libre ring, a Donald Trump loving gringo who goes head-to-head with the country's national heroes. Sam Polinsky, a pro wrestler from Pittsburgh came up with the idea after moving to Mexico ten months ago.
SAM POLINSKY, PRO WRESTLER: You need to have the ultimate villain in order for people to buy into it and really believe. Right now there's no more ultimate villain than Donald Trump.
DARLINGTON: And so Sam (INAUDIBLE), the ladies bad guy was born. He says if he voted, it probably would have been for Trump.
POLINSKY: I'm not the biggest fan of Hillary Clinton.
DARLINGTON: But his character is just for show. Luch Libre is all about the bad guys. Mexicans love to hate them. The more vicious, the better. Thousands of fans pile into the arena in Mexico, looking for an escape.
Whether it's a good guy or bad guy he says, you can shout and get everything off your chest.
I come to release the stress of week of work says this man.
And he Trump loving gringo, this is great character to have fun with he says, totally worth with.
Fans are rarely disappointed by the wild acrobatics as good guys battle evil. String of over-the-top characters like snake-toting baddy and the mini blue gorilla.
When you're this close you can actually see the sweat flying through the air.
Sam Polinsky gets into character before each show with bleached locks and roll-on tan fuelling the anti-Trump fury at least in the arena.
POLINSKY: I leave the arena, the same people that were cursing at me and screaming at me want a picture with me or want an autograph.
DARLINGTON: But they still love to see him take a beating in the ring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
DARLINGTON: Shasta Darlington, CNN, Mexico City.
LEMON: I would like to go see that. And guess what, Sam Polinsky is here now also known as Sam Adonis. Thanks for coming on. How are you doing?
POLINSKY: I'm doing great, Don. Thanks for having me, buddy.
LEMON: Of course. You have a lot in common with President Trump because you both know it's all about putting on a great show. So how does it feel to step into that ring?
POLINSKY: I absolutely love it. I have been doing it for the last nine years. And right now the energy in Mexico is a lot hotter than I have seen it. So it is really cool being able to represent the United States, even though right now it's negative light. It's really good to give a good show to the Mexican people.
LEMON: But I'm sure you are very popular. And you know, because wrestling is all about putting on a character like that or character that people either love or love to hate. So tell us more -- I think it was brilliant for you to do it, by the way. Tell us more about your character and how you came up with it?
[23:35:08] POLINSKY: I actually been pretty much a ladies' man my entire character, almost a long lines of Rick Flare, you know, Jesse Ventura or something along that line. And it just seemed natural because of the history of pro wrestling, the villains have been very, very strong and you want to have a very bad foreign villain. It is almost the same as batman or superman or something like that. The stronger the villain, you know, the happier you are when the good guy vanquishes the villain.
So I was sitting in Mexico just thinking how can I make this work. You know, how can I make it a lot stronger, deeper than what it already is? So when he finally won the presidency, I actually decided, you know what, I'm going to come out with American flag with his face on it. And from the very first day the reaction was just outrageous. The people just, you know, they grabbed to it, they love it, they love to scream, they love to, you know, be angry about it. But most people really appreciate that it is in the value of professional wrestling. You know, they appreciate the value of a good bad guy.
LEMON: And we all know about, you know, build that wall and, you know, Mexico, when they send their - they don't send their best over their rapists and criminals and whatever. So as American who makes a living working in Mexico, how do you feel about some of the things that President Trump has said about Mexicans?
POLINSKY: Some of the things he said, that's his personal opinion or whether he said it for himself or some of the people he is representing, that is really not my, you know, cross to bear. I lived in Mexico, I learned a ton about the culture. I learned a ton about people. I absolutely love it. I feel there are so many racial stereotypes that not exactly true about Mexico and I don't think that is not necessarily just Donald Trump, I think it is, you know, America as a whole. You know, the way we paint this picture whether it is in cartoons or in movies, you know, the Mexican people are just like you and I, you know. And Mexico City is a lot different than what we see in our day-to-day lives here in America.
LEMON: So, your character is just a character. And it is not necessarily political just because as Donald Trump s not political. You are just - you are putting on a character that has caught on and people want to come out and see and be entertained by.
POLINSKY: I have been a purist of pro wrestling my entire life, you know. I love the old wrestling. I just, you know, I think good wrestling can be appreciated by the world. Right now it is not exactly cool and watch pro wrestling like it was in the '80s. But you know, you remember the iron sheikh, the (INAUDIBLE), you know, these foreign bad guys, these are a staple of what pro wrestling is.
LEMON: Well, maybe you can make wrestling great again. And if you haven't said that, you need to do that. You should say that you are making wrestling great again. Because you know the current President Donald Trump is no stranger to professional wrestling. He has his own bio page, right, on wwe.com and in 2013 he was inducted to the WWE in the hall of fame. Let's listen a little bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is a major honor. I have been honored by having the number one show on television. I have been honored by having many number one best sellers, true. And I recently got a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. And I consider this to be my greatest honor of all. I do. I really do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Was that just the other day? No. He never changes. That was less than one presidential election cycle ago by the way. But what do you think about President Trump and his connection to wrestling?
POLINSKY: I have the utmost respect for his connection to professional wrestling. I sympathize for it because I feel like he is almost embracing the role of a professional wrestling villain. He is who he wants to be. And whether you like it or not he is not going to change.
LEMON: Can we show this before you go? I just want to show this video. I don't mean to talk over you but this is him beating up Vince McMahon, the CEO of WWE. But anyway, in his real life he is called himself a counterpuncher and you like that? POLINSKY: I'm sure he is probably learned a lot about the theatrics
and the actual presentation of his whole political campaign based on what he learned from Vince McMahon in professional wrestling.
LEMON: Sam Polinsky, Sam Adonis. You said you are ladies' man. I would never would have known from the name Adonis, but --.
POLINSKY: I have a man bun. Check it out.
LEMON: I see that. No comment.
Thank you, sir. We appreciate you coming on.
Coming up, the president and his family traveling around the country and the world. But what is the price of protecting the first family?
[23:43:41] LEMON: President Trump in Mar-a-Largo tonight. His third weekend there in a row. The first lady joining him. But she, of course, is living in New York with their young son until the end of the school year. So there are special challenges to protecting this first family.
CNN's Tom Foreman has more -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Don. For a number of years now presidents have been moving around a good bit going from one event to the next and providing security for all of that has grown ever more complex. And this president is no exception.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The cost of the protecting the jet-setting first family could be epic. Starting with the president, vice president, their wives, confidants, children and grand kids, over 20 people from the get-go.
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: That's unprecedented. It is not unattainable to protect them all. It is just unprecedented.
FOREMAN: CNN security analyst Jonathan Wackrow says the equation is complicated by the Trump family working out of so many places. The White House, the Mar-a-Largo club in Florida, several private residences in and out of D.C. and Trump tower in New York which the first lady calls home.
Secret service director Joseph Clancy.
JOSEPH CLANCY, DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: And when I go into Trump tower, the restaurants are full. The Starbucks is full of people. So the challenges to allow those businesses to continue to operate but in a secure manner.
FOREMAN: In the works, permanently hiring out a whole floor for security operations. To give you a scene, that would be 13,000 square feet of prime New
York real estate at four year market value of $6 million, although the president could give his team a deal.
Another worry, most of Trump's children are grown and involved in business, meaning lots of travel. "Washington Post" put the secret service hotel bill for son's trip to South America at $102,000. And two sons opening a golf course in Dubai this weekend.
[23:45:32] CLANCY: I would say the most challenging trips for us are the foreign trips.
FOREMAN: Every time a president takes off up to 300 people go along. Teams for personal security, counterassault, intelligence, surveillance, emergency response, military support, transportation, communications, staffing and more. Price tag is hard to pin down but a government study down to three day trip by President Obama in 2013 cost taxpayers $3.6 million. So will the total security bill be tens of millions, hundreds?
WACKROW: It's hard to forecast what the cost will be.
FOREMAN: Other presidents have raised security challenges with their lifestyles and travel. Bill Clinton's vacation in Martha's Vineyard, George Bush's retreat to Texas, Barack Obama's holidays in Hawaii. And CNN has told just protecting vice president Biden's family took nearly 50 agents.
FOREMAN: So it is not like President Trump is doing anything wrong, it is just that his jet-setting lifestyle does involve an awful lot of security out there, maybe more than Barack Obama's did. Security forces say they are up to it, but it could cost a pretty penny -- Don.
LEMON: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.
You have heard the experts. There are special challenges to protecting this first family. When we come back, why some critics are concerned about the price tag.
[23:50:00] LEMON: Questions being raised by some about the price of protecting the first family.
Let's discus now. CNN political contributor Maria Cardona. Karine Jean-Pierre, the senior adviser at Moveon.org and CNN political commentators Paris Dennard and Andre Bauer.
Welcome back, panel.
Maria, you just heard Tom Foreman laid out between the first lady living in New York to weekends in Mar-a-Lago, the cost of protecting the first family could be epic. But that has always been the responsibility of the secret service. So is there anything different now?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there is a couple of things different here, Don. First of all, hypocrisy which is nothing new when it comes to the Trump administration. He is full of hypocrisy day in and day out. He not only lambasted President Obama time he would go on a trip saying that it was taxpayer money, how shameful it is, that he doesn't spend enough time at the White House, that is he is gulfing every weekend. And then to 2015, he gave an interview to "the Hill" where he said if he became president he would rarely leave Washington. Rarely leave the White House. So we now see that that that is absolutely not true.
The second thing I think that is a big issue especially for Trump and his family is the fact that he has four adult children that also need protection whenever they travel. That's fine. Like you said that is something that happens and it is what it is. We have to protect the first family, all of it, including the adult children. But when the adult children are out on business trips making deals, closing deals and making themselves rich while taxpayers are paying for it? That is a completely different thing.
LEMON: OK. Let me bring the other panelists in here because we have short time.
Andres, "the Washington Post" reports that the secret service hotel bill for Eric Trump's trip to South America last month was nearly $100,000. Both President Trump's grown children heading a golf course opening in Dubai this weekend. Any concern or anything to Trump family's personal business and lifestyle causing taxpayers a lot of dough?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know I'm a fiscal conservative. And so, yes, when I heard just a minute ago in your story that 300 people travel with the president. To me, no matter if it's a Republican or Democrat, that seems excessive to me. And somebody ought to be look into ways to save money.
I think that first family needs to be protected no matter who it is. And we can argue Bill Clinton bills the United States government to have secret service on his property which to me seems a little bit crazy, it's legal, but he is the only person to ever do it. But you can go through all of them up trips they took and maybe they shouldn't have taken some of these trips, but at the end of the day, we want the most powerful leader in the world protected. But can we do it in a more prudent and responsible way? Hopefully so. And hopefully somebody within this administration look at it and say here is where we can save some money because at the end of the day, the taxpayers are footing an extremely large bill.
LEMON: Yes. Karine, you said this is hypocrisy?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFFER: I do. I think it is complete hypocrisy like Maria was saying. He chastised President Obama for going on vacation, for golfing. And President Obama had less vacation days than his predecessor President George W. Bush. I think for me, the thing that bothers me the most about this is the
profiting off of the presidency. Mar-a-Lago, you know, they doubled their initiation fee to $200,000. And also, he actually never let go of ownership of his businesses. So his adult children are traveling, making money for the organization. So he is profiting off of this.
LEMON: I want to bring is Paris now. Sorry, if I cut you guys short, but I want to get it all in before we have to go.
Paris, what do you think?
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is fake news. This is not a news story.
LEMON: Tell me what about it is fake there.
DENNARD: I did not interrupt you all. Let me just tell you why. The president is not breaking any laws and he is not doing anything.
LEMON: OK. Paris, hold on. Let me ask you this. No, no, no. I'm going to let you finish. Do you actually know what the definition of fake news is?
DENNARD: What we are doing right now.
LEMON: No, OK. Well, then you are part of the fake news because you are on the network and you are part of --. Fake news is when you - hang on. Let me explain to people out there watching and knew what fake news is.
Fake new is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it's wrong. I don't know of anyone who has put out a story in the mainstream media that I can think of right now to intentionally deceive anyone. Now, people get things wrong. Sources sometimes come up empty, but no one that I know has put out anything to intentionally deceive someone.
This story that we are doing right now is not to intentionally deceive anyone. We are simply talking about the cost to keep a president safe. The secret service cost and what are the pros and the cons. As Andre said, and if there are ways that we could -- may be able to work on that to make it fiscally better for the American people.
There is nothing fake about that. Please stop it with the stupid talking point that it is a fake news story. If you don't want to participate in the stories on this network, then don't come on and participate. But don't call them fake because you don't agree with them. Go on.
DENNARD: Don, this is a fake news story in my opinion.
LEMON: OK, Paris.
Thank you very much, everyone. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend. Good night, all.