Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Meets With Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu In The Oval Office; Will Trump Face Primary Challenge In 2020?. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired March 5, 2018 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:00] MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: --more liberal voters, but it may not do so well in general election.
JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: It's always the byproduct of an out party that it's energized by what they see as the radicalist as (inaudible) party and I'm certain that's now what President Trump and obviously it was the same with Obama on the right in 2010.
Then there is a bit of the Texas obsession on the left. But here's why I think the Democrats have a right to be excited about taxes this year. Not because of the statewide, I think that's still a rage, but there are a handful of seats in that state, namely Culberson and Pete Sessions, Dallas and Houston area, they are upscale suburban seats where Hillary, I don't want to broke even.
Those are the common place that they can win, but you're watching that spot and you hear a candidate basically vote Hillary Clinton there. We tried that before and look what happened, she was a birdie person. But this idea also just -- General Fast that the Washington bosses intervening in primaries is some how noble to this moment. Well, it's crazy. Have folks forgotten 2006? I mean, Rahm Emanuel pissed off half his party.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Half?
MARTIN: Okay, two-thirds, by playing in primaries and by trying to intervene. And you know what, it created some issues. It didn't matter, (inaudible), why? There was a larger backlash it was bigger than Rahm and his primaries that was a rejection of the in party that led to a blue wave.
MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: That's right and, you know, I think that you did have examples in 2010 of the Republicans who were so energized by the passion of the tea party that sometimes spilled over in unpredictable ways. There were some candidates nominated who couldn't win state wide general elections, people like Sharron Angle and Christine O'donnell, I think in a House rate that's much more about it overall.
KING: I'm sorry to interrupt. Let's get to the White House, the President and the Prime Minister.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: All right. How are you?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER of ISRAEL: There's no pressure.
TRUMP: No, very little, you get very little. They don't like covering us.
TRUMP: They like us.
Thank you very much. It's a great honor to have Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mrs. Netanyahu with us. They've been friends for a long time. We have, I would say, probably the best relationships right now with Israel that we ever had. I think we're as close now as maybe ever before.
Jerusalem was a wonderful thing, and I know it was very much appreciated in a big part of the world, not just in Israel, in a very big part. So that was a decision that I had to make. Many presidents were discussing whether or not to make that decision, and they promised it in their campaigns but they never were able to do what they should have done.
So I was able to do it, and I think it's something that's very much appreciated in Israel. But far beyond Israel, we are very close on trade deals. We are very, very close on military and terrorism, and all of the things that we have to work together on. So the relationship has never been better, and Mr. Prime Minister, Mrs. Netanyahu, it's a great honor to have you.
SARA NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER'S WIFE: Thank you
NETANYAHU: Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much
NETANYAHU: Thank you. Mr. President, Donald, Melania and Sarah, I want to thank you for your extraordinary friendship and hospitality. It's always a pleasure to see you both, but this is the first time we meet in Washington, America's capitol, after you declared, Mr. President, Jerusalem as Israel's capitol.
And this was a historic proclamation followed by your bold decision to move the embassy by our upcoming National Independence day. I want to tell you that the Jewish people have a long memory. So we remember the proclamation of the great king, Cyrus, The Great, Persian king, 2,500 years ago. He proclaimed that the Jewish exiles in Babylon can come back and rebuild our temple in Jerusalem. We remember 100 years ago Lord Balfour who issued the Balfour proclamation that recognize the rights of the Jewish people in our ancestral homeland.
We remember 70 years ago, President Harry S. Truman was the first leader to recognize the Jewish state. And we remember that a few weeks ago President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Mr. President, this will be remembered by our people throughout the ages. And as you just said others talked about it. You did it. So I want to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel.
And I also want to -- I look forward to our discussions on both challenges and opportunity. If I had to say, what is our greatest challenge in the Middle East to both our countries, to our Arab neighbors, it's encapsulated in one word. Iran.
Iran has not given up its nuclear ambitions. It has came out of this nuclear deal emboldened, enriched. It's practicing aggression everywhere, including on our own borders. And I think we have to stop this country, the chance, death to Israel, death to America. Iran must be stopped. That is our common challenge.
[12:35:12] The second is seeking, because of that challenge, to exploit the opportunity for peace because the Arabs have never been closer to Israel. Israel has never been closer to the Arabs, and we seek also to brought in than peace to the Palestinians. So I look forward to those discussions, but I want to just iterate -- reiterate what you just said.
Mr. President, I've been here for nearly four decades with talking seeking to build the American-Israel alliance. Under your leadership, it's never been stronger. And the people of Israel see your position on Jerusalem, they see your position on Iran, they see your magnificent defense of Israel and truth in the United Nations. And I, the Prime Minister, see something that U.S. President see but others can't see, sort of the extent of our intelligence and other cooperation in matters that are vital for the security of both our people.
And, Mr. President, I just want to say thank you for your leadership and thank you for your tremendous friendship.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you, my honor.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. I may. I may.
TRUMP: They have started, as you know, construction, and I may. We will be talking about that and other things.
I may. I may. We're looking at it. We'll have it built very quickly. A lot of people wouldn't be doing it quickly like that we're going to have built very quickly and very inexpensively. They put an order in front of my desk last week for a billion dollars. I said, a billion? What's that for? We're going to build an embassy. I said, we're not going to spend a billion dollars. And we're actually doing it for about $250,000. Check that out. Now, it's temporary, but it will be very nice. $250,000 versus a billion dollars, is that good?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
(INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: We're looking at coming if I can, I will. But I'll be there again Israel is very special to me. Special country, special people, and I look forward to being there, and I'm very proud of that decision.
TRUMP: We're going to see. We're working on it very hard. And we'd like to -- look it would be a great achievement, and even from a humanitarian standpoint what better if we could make peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And I can tell you, we're working very hard at doing that and I think we have a very good chance.
And the biggest difficulty anybody said, you look over 25 years, nobody could get past, number one, Jerusalem. They couldn't get past it. We've taken it off the table. So this gives us a real opportunity to peace.
We'll see how it works out. The Palestinians, I think, are wanting to come back to the table very badly. If they don't, we don't have peace. We don't have peace. If they don't, you don't have peace and that's a possibility also. I'm not saying it's going to happen.
Everybody said this is the hardest deal to make of any deal. Whenever you have a hard deal like in business, you say, oh, this is almost as bad as Israel and the Palestinians. You use it like as an example. This is the hardest deal.
This is years and years of opposition and, frankly, hatred and a lot of things involved in this deal beyond the land. And I will tell you that if we could do peace between Israel and the Palestinians, that would be a great thing for the world, it would be a great thing for this country, and for everybody. So we're working very hard on it. We have a shot at doing it.
Thank you all very much. I appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: No, we're not backing down. Mexico is -- we've had a very bad deal with Mexico, a very bad deal with Canada. It's called NAFTA. Our factories have left our country or our jobs have left our country. For many years NAFTA has been a disaster. We are renegotiating NAFTA as I said I would, and if we don't make a deal, I'll terminate NAFTA. But if I do make a deal which is fair to the workers and to the American people, that would be, I would imagine, one of the points that we'll negotiate, there will be tariffs on steel for Canada and for Mexico. So we'll see what happens.
But right now 100 percent, but it could be a part of NAFTA, and understand I just got a call from the people who are right now in Mexico City negotiating NAFTA. Mexico and really Canada want to talk about it. But if they aren't going to make a fair NAFTA deal, we're just going to leave it this way. [12:39:55] People have to understand, our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it's friend or enemy, everybody. China, Russia. And take people that we think are wonderful, the European Union. We can't do business in there. They don't allow it. They have trade barriers that are worse than tariffs. They also have tariffs, by the way, but they have trade barriers far worse than tariffs.
And if they want to do something, we'll just tax their cars that they send in here like water. So we may have friends, but remember this. We lost, over the last number of years, $800 billion a year. Not a half a million dollars, not 12 cents, we lost $800 billion a year on trade. Not going to happen. We got to get it back.
And, of course, the biggest problem is China. We lost $500 billion. How previous presidents allowed that to happen is disgraceful, but we're going to take care of it. Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. I don't think you have a trade war. I don't think so. I don't think you're going to have a trade war now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to comment about the --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. Thank you all.
NETANYAHU: I will later, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone.
TRUMP: Thank you all. Thank you.
KING: President Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office along with their spouses, a very important show of support from the president of the United States to the embattled Israeli Prime Minister at the moment. Let's talk about what we just heard there and start where the President ended on trade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KING: Saying I don't think we're going to have a trade war. I'm hoping maybe Canada and Mexico will speed up the NAFTA renegotiation and deal with this aluminum/steel tariff issue there and take it off the table, but he also said, no, I'm not backing down.
MARTIN: Rest in peace. The 2018 trade war appears to have been, but killed them, perhaps. It just goes to show like you have to go on whatever the last thing he said right. Because over the weekend he's tweeting about trade wars are good, we can win this one, now we're not going to have a trade war. And I don't know how you, Julie--
JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Look, again, you have to go with what he's saying. He's saying he's not going to back that.
MARTIN: Most recently. PACE: Most recently. He's not going to back down. There is a lot of
pressure behind the scenes from lawmakers, from his own advisers, from people in the union to try to get him to avoid doing what he has avoid doing which is putting something on paper. At this way, it is just -- it is a talking point and no policy.
RAJU: He's clearly leaving himself a way out by suggesting it could be wrapped in the NAFTA negotiations.
KING: That's some legal role there. Let's take a break. We just talked trade. When we come back we'll talk about the president's Oval Office meeting with the prime minister of Israel, including his I'd like to go to Israel when they dedicate the new U.S Embassy. We'll be right back.
[12:47:12] KING: Welcome back. Let's talk more about moments ago. These pictures you see right there on the right, President Trump in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel. When talking about issues most important to the prime minister, the prime minister saying Iran must be stopped, saying it is emboldened and enriched by the Iran nuclear deal put in place during the Obama administration.
President Trump so far has stayed in that deal. And they're also talking about the idea will or will not, the president of the United States travel to Israel when the temporary new U.S. Embassy, they're building a temporary version as they build a larger version, is dedicated in Jerusalem and in the coming months, the President said I'd like to go, but he didn't commit.
BALL: Well and, you know, we were talking previously about on the trade issue about all of the things that Trump has blustered about. And then actually step back from the brink of doing under heavy pressure from advisers who are part of the establishment who warned him that it would be disruptive. The Iran deal is one of those and it's very much like the trade issue. Where he said he was going to do it, he promised to do it very explicitly. He can't do it up to the edge of doing it, he said he was going to do it as president, and then he took an action that stopped short of that.
And so I think the people who are pressuring him on trade are thinking, even with the Iran deal where he did make this very explicit promise and took a step toward eliminating it, he never followed through and that's because this is a man who doesn't like to make a final decision that might make some people angry at him and is easily distracted and put on to other things.
RAJU: He continues to talk glowingly about the prospect of a Mideast peace deal, as we discussed earlier. They're really nowhere he just -- they're really nowhere on there and I said, "There is a very good chance that something may happen. I mean I don't know how he can make that assertion when there is at the moment there isn't a very good chance".
PACE: Literally the Palestinians are not talking to the White House. They are a big flare if they're going to have to release his deal.
KING: And the relations with the Palestinians were frayed, anyway. When the president announced the decisions of moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, that was the last drop of the Palestinians because that is traditionally been a final status issue. That's supposed to be negotiated between the two parties, and the point, Molly, made this during the break, but the president of the United States put his thumb on the scale.
PACE: And actually the embassy issue is another one of these potential half measures. Yes, there is a temporary embassy that's going to open in May, but there are a lot of people who are involved in this issue at the state department who believe that this -- we will never see a full, large-scale U.S. Embassy open in Jerusalem.
MARTIN: Like a lot of things, like the trade war, you know, but a real fast though, usually these meetings are so carefully choreographed. I'm actually surprised the Israelis didn't have some certainty on whether he was going to commit to going to the opening on May or not because -- and Trump in passion he said well, we'll see I'd like to, but we'll see about it.
It's kind of a push back at Bibi actually because I had it like, you know, not be able to say that we're going to be there. Wouldn't they ask that in advance?
KING: Sometimes though the President knows we intend that he wants to save it for the next episode.
[12:49:56] KING: He weight to that.
But next for a moment, just forget about the midterms. It's less than two years to Iowa, New Hampshire. Will President Trump face a primary challenge, on this top critic says. "You'll be surprised."
KING: Welcome back. A little fun here, stating to Jeff Flake throwing a match on the inevitable discussion over whether President Trump should face a primary challenge in 2020. The Arizona Republican who is not running for another Senate term this year made his opinion very clear over the week and when he also -- we also heard from one of those potential challengers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I do think the president will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think there will be an independent challenge.
GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH, (R) OHIO: I'm going to be out of being governor here soon. I hear applause in the background. I'll be out -- I don't know what I'm going to do, but all options are on the table, both for me in my private, my professional life, but I want to keep a voice because I think it's important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[12:55:02] KING: So.
MARTIN: Stopped running in 2016.
MARTIN: He won one state, lost everything else and chaperoning and he's still basically running now, you know, on TV all the time. What's fascinating though is that both states Ohio and Arizona, Kasich and Flake haven't disappeared from the party. They are shunned.
They aren't talked about by party leaders. It's remarkable how you're brushed out and what does that tell us? This is Trump's party now.
MARTIN: But the vast majority of people have come around the establishment to accept him. Could that change in 20 for us?
KING: If you're Trump at 30 something percent approval rating, don't you want an independent to run?
PACE: Sure, absolutely.
PACE: Look to vote. I mean it is yes on Kasich and Flake, that's a very good point. It is remarkable though that we're even having this conversation about Republican potentially primary in the sitting president. And having not something --
RAJU: I agree completely but getting a viable primary tells against him will be very difficult.
BALL: The question is, is there a constituency for this among primary voters? There is absolutely a constituency among operatives and consultants and strategists and sitting elected officials and you're all kinds of rumblings about this kind of thing and reporter.
KING: But not much evidence among this--
BALL: Is there a constituency among this?
KING: A great point. We'll keep on top of that we can go all time. Thanks for joining us tonight on "INSIDE POLITICS." Wolf starts after a quick break. Have a great day.