tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN February 28, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
special coverage of president trump's first address before congress. our coverage begins 8:00 p.m. eastern, one hour from now. right now our special coverage continues with "erin burnett outfront". "outfront" next, we are live in washington, d.c., with the breaking news tonight, president trump about to deliver a major address to congress and the american people, the biggest night of his presidency so far. plus, two arizona teens, their mother just deported on capitol hill tonight, they'll come face-to-face with trump what will their message be? and is trump passing the blame for the antiterror raid that killed a navy s.e.a.l.? let's go "outfront". good evening, i'm erin burnett. we are live in washington for a special edition of "outfront" tonight. the breaking news, president trump about to speak to the nation. it is a major moment for the president, the biggest night of his young presidency so far.
he must convince the nation of what he believes that he deserves an "a" grade for what he's accomplished so far, and that congress should back him on his plans for health care, immigration, and tax return. it is a night of pageantry and politics here in washington. the president will enter the house chamber making his way down the center aisle, shaking hands with members of congress, then taking the podium. and while democratic leaders have told their members to be respectful and take the high road, at least one new york congressman, elliot angle, who always saves himself an aisle seat to greet the president, he's done it for both parties, said this year no aisle seat and no handshake for president trump. aides are promising an optimistic speech this evening, the theme of the address, the renewal of the american spirit, but all eyes worldwide will be on capitol hill tonight. that speech begins just a short time from now. as we await the president, jim acosta is out front of the white house with details of what we expect to be in the speech. jim, the president is signaling
a drastic shift at least on one issue, immigration. what are you hearing? >> reporter: that's right, a very dramatic shift for president trump in this speech. we're expecting to hear from the president tonight in this speech in a joint session to congress. he will be calling for a compromised bill on immigration. we're hearing from sources familiar with the speech tonight. this is a huge shift, as you mention, erin, because during the campaign this was a candidate at the time who called for a deportation force, to round up the nation's 11 million or so undocumented immigrants. now we're told, and we can put this quote up on screen, that the president is now saying on the record the time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides. now what would this look like? we're told that the outlines of this immigration bill, according to sources, is that the president would support perhaps a path to citizenship for those dreamers, those undocumented children living in this country who were brought to the u.s. by
their parents, and that undocumented people in this country who have not run afoul of the law and are paying taxes could potentially be put on a pathway to legal status, but any way you slice it, erin, this is a very big reverse value for the president and one that we'll be watching closely tonight. >> and he's also, of course, going to be speaking about obamacare, which right now, at least on capitol hill, seems to be the top priority. he's going to keep a lot of what's in it, too. >> that seems to be the case at this point, erin. we're told and we looked at some bullet points on the president's speech tonight that was provided to us by a source that he will be saying to the country tonight that people with pre-existing conditions should have coverage under whatever they do in terms of repealing and replacing obamacare. the other big piece of news that we're hearing is that the president, and this is according to sources up on capitol hill, is moving towards the house republican proposal for repealing and replacing obamacare. that proposal, erin, keeps in place, would keep in place, that
measure that allows young adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health care plan, so there are popular items in obamacare that they are going to keep in place that the president is signaling a willingness to sign on to. one big exception, though, the individual mandate, that is on the chopping block, so not all of obamacare is staying. >> of course, that's what paid for all of those things, but okay, thank you very much, jim acosta. i want to go straight to manu raju out front on capitol hill. manu, here's the thing, the president is going to be speaking to the american people, people worldwide are going to be watching, but a big part of his speech is directed at his own party that he desperately needs to support him right now. >> that's right. actually trying to unite his party, which is divided over key issues. you mentioned obamacare, the plan to replace obamacare getting a lot of conservative opposition right now over a centerpiece of that replace plan, which would give refundable tax credits to people to purchase health insurance. folks on the right believe it's
another entitlement program and a growing number of house conservatives say they are going to vote against that plan. in addition, this talk about a compromised immigration bill is not going over particularly well with conservatives who want to move first on border security. in addition to that, erin, donald trump's early plans to increase defense spending and cut domestic spending in exchange also getting some pushback on both sides, defense hawks like john mccain want more money for the military, but some folks believe that cuts to the domestic agencies, including the top appropriator on the house, appropriations committee, those cuts could be much too far, so already some pushback within his own party coming as resistance on the left is intensifying. donald trump will have to get some sort of coalition and convince even his own party to go along with his plans. erin? >> which, of course, is why the stakes are so very high tonight. manu, thank you. out front tonight, jamie callon, former congressman jack kingston
from georgia, keith boykin, former clinton white house aide, alice stewart, former adviser for four presidential campaigns and ryan fallon, press secretary for hillary clinton's campaign all joining me right now. when you hear our reporters talk about the significance of tonight and what is at stake, not just the democrats issue that he has within his own party, how big of a night is tonight? >> you said it at the top. i think it's a very big night for him, certainly the biggest of his young presidency, as you said, and it's because there's so much opportunity for him tonight. there's an opportunity for him, and i'm fascinated to watch, to broaden out his appeal, or continue to rally his base. i don't know which he's going to end up doing tonight, but that's a big moment and it's also a big moment to take what has been a series of executive actions and comments to the press and actually lay out legislative priorities for the members of congress. basically say, this is what i expect on my desk to sign. this is how you're going to
measure me this year, whether or not i'm a successful president or not. >> within his own party there is such a split. certainly you see it on obamacare, but other areas, as well. you've been talking to republicans. what do they need to hear from him tonight? >> so, as important as specifics are that david mentioned, they are really concerned about tone. what donald trump is going to walk in, how will he handle himself? will he -- i can't tell you how many people use the expression "stay on message." if we had a dollar for every time we said that we thought he was going to pivot and be normal, we could all retire here today, but that's what they really want, some normalcy. >> some normalcy, congressman, but, you know, the president is coming out, we heard him today say he gets an "a" for what he's achieved so far. he's talked about things he is doing or has done, and he hasn't given the specifics that congress needs to actually pass legislation. let me just play for you what he said on a whole host of issues.
here he is. >> i will be the greatest jobs producer that god ever created, and i mean that. we will have a wall, it will be a great wall. health care is moving along nicely. it's being put into final forms and the new plan will be a great plan for the patients, going to be a competitive plan. the borders are stricter, tighter. we're doing a really good job. we will be substantially upgrading all of our military. bigger and better and stronger than ever before. we're going to be lowering taxes bigly. >> the tax cut is going to be major, simple, and the whole tax plan is wonderful. >> okay, are we going to see those sorts of superlatives, beautiful, wonderful, or are we getting specifics instead? >> i think he'll be more specific, but remember the state of the union, which this is not, he's not able to give a state of the union address because he hasn't been there long enough, so he can't really brag about
what he's done, but he does have a case to say i've done 23 executive orders, i've called on congress to move this and move that, i have repealed some of the regulatory overreaches of the previous administration. i think he's going to talk about that in general terms, but the great thing about standing in front of the u.s. congress is an opportunity to talk beyond them, talk to their constituents. i felt as somebody who sat in the chamber for over 20 of these speeches that we were props. the opportunity is to talk about the vision for the next six months and i think he can lay that out in terms of renewing the economy, getting america working again. >> he can do that, but he also needs to give them some specifics. >> sure. >> because the gop is split, they need to know where their president stands. what exactly is he going to put out there so they can decide if
they are going to back him or not. he has to give them that tonight. >> sure. there's a two prong approach for a speech like this, the force and the truce. the force is big picture, making sure you are optimistic, provide an optimistic vision. following through on the promises, they say they are promise keepers. he's going to remind people the promises he's made and what he's keeping and also he's draining the swamp. we need -- working with governors to make sure people don't fall through the cracks and we need now that he's mentioned comprehensive immigration, we need more details what he's going to do with immigration and those are the critical things. i think you have to do a great job at both in order for this to knock it out of the park. >> the congressman mentions i signed this many executive orders. he has already given us a taste of how he perceives himself right now. okay, he gave an interview and
here's what he said about the grade he should get right now. here he is. >> in terms of achievement, i think i'd give myself an "a," because i think i've done great things, but i don't think i've -- i and my people, i don't think we've explained it well enough to the american public. i think i get an "a" in terms of what i've done but in terms of messaging a "c" or "c-plus." >> how honest is that assessment? didn't give himself an "a" on messaging. >> i think he's getting ready to fire sean sicer with a "c" for messaging. the idea anybody would give themselves a grade after four weeks is kind of preposterous, but what he hasn't done is unify the country. what he hasn't done is been able to make a legislative agenda that actually sits. at this point president obama had already signed the stimulus bill, the american recovery act, and i think this president can't just execute and issue executive
orders and expect that to be his legacy. he can't do that, he's got conflict to deal with. >> house speaker nancy pelosi says democrats behave with dignity tonight. it's not a rally. half the people despise him, okay, and he knows that. it will be interesting to see how he plays that. but you have congresswoman maxine waters saying she's not going to show up, congressman engle is not going to bother to shake his hand. let me give you his reasoning for that. >> unfortunately, since january 20th, the new administration has shown no interest in working with the congress on both sides to tackle problems. that's why i've decided not to stand on the aisle of the house chamber to shake the president's hand during the joint session of congress has i've done in the past through democratic and republican administrations alike. >> is that dignity, is maxine waters not showing up dignity? >> at this point it behooves the
president to reach out. i'm going to be looking at usually in the early going, first few minutes of the speech as you're getting warmed up, easy courtesies you can extend throughout the aisle, special guests, people that can represent the best of our values, bring people together. you didn't see it in the president's inaugural address or last week at his cpac's speech. this is a president that feels much more comfortable campaigning than leading. i think he's going to need to break from that tonight. one thing i'll be looking for tonight is where is this infrastructure bill? put the democrats in a really tight spot. >> they can't not applaud infrastructure, right? >> democrats are under intense pressure to oppose donald trump at all costs. if he were to prioritize the infrastructure bill, it would put them on the hot seat, but right now he's made it easy for them. >> all right, all of you staying with me through this hour as we await the president arriving on capitol hill. next, excuse me, you're looking at live pictures of capitol hill as president trump prepares for
the first address of the joint session of congress and melania trump's guests tonight. who they are and the message the president is trying to send. plus, democratic congresswoman wearing white in a symbol of solidarity. i'll ask the highest ranking woman in congress whether she supports that. t. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer modern life deserves a moderit's sold out. don't fret, my friend. i masterpassed it! you can use it online and on your phone i masterpassed it. playing the hero: priceless don't just buy it. masterpass it.
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immigration. trump saying today that the time is right for immigration bill, as long as there's compromise on both sides, which is a big switch. senior administration official tells cnn that trump's vision would not include a path to citizenship, which will be a deal breaker, of course, for some on the left, but would allow those who haven't committed serious crimes to stay in the country legally, which would be a move for trump. special guests sitting with the first lady this evening, tom forman is out front, when you look at the list who they have there, it says something significant. what can you tell us about melania trump's guests? >> one of the things it says is he wants the people in this chamber to think about the potential danger of allowing people to stay in the country illegally, especially if they have a violent criminal record and that will be reflected with the people seated with his wife. for example, back in 2014 these two police officers, michael davis and danny oliver were both gunned down by a man authorities say were in the country illegally, had an extensive
criminal record, deported twice, yet managed to be here for this horrendous crime to appear. their widows will be in the box here, susan oliver and jessica davis. beyond that, in southern california several years ago there was a young man who was 17 years old, he was an excellent football player being recruited by various colleges, gunned down and killed just around the corner from his own house. again authorities say by a man who had trouble by the law in the country illegally, even in jail, yet managed to be here for his crime. his father, jamiel shaw sr., will also be in the box. erin? >> immigration a big one, tom, but there are other guests, and they are also making political statements for president trump tonight. >> yeah, there will be this young woman here. her name is megan crowelly. she was diagnosed when she was very young with a serious illness. her family was told she wouldn't live very long. her father founded a research company to come up with the treatment. it worked, now she's in college.
she's here to emphasize the trump administration's interest in medical research cutting back regulations that might interfere with that, in their opinion, and because this is national rare disease day, if you did not know that. beyond there there's this young woman, daneisha meriwether, who used a tax credit program in florida to better her education. she's here to underscore the trump administration's interest in vouchers, charter schools, school choice, one of the things many republicans in this chamber support. and lastly, you remember the huge fight that's been going on over justice antonin scalia. democrats were certain his passing meant they would fill his seat on the supreme court with a choice of president obama. republicans absolutely blocked it, now justice scalia's widow will be here as a reminder
donald trump has his own nominee forward now and they have work to do to get that nominee confirmed. >> all right, tom, thank you very much. my panel is back with me. congressman, let me start with you, because immigration is so crucial. he's saying he wants to compromise. compromise for him is saying i'm not going to deport everybody, but, obviously, we've had compromises that have failed before. what's he going to say tonight? >> i think the first step is, listen, democrats, republicans, independents, we all have to agree that immigration is a problem, that our national policy needs to be reworked. my predecessors have tried. i'm asking you as president of the united states to sit down at this table. starts out in kind of a call to unity, that would be a great first step, then he needs to say, listen, i've heard, i've heard the pushback here. i've tried to focus on the violent illegals, but i know there are a lot of people who got caught in the path. i want to work with you on it. i think if he says stuff like that, he can get people who will listen. but as soon as they get out of
there, each and every member will be smothered with microphones saying, what did you think? if they are in a position they think they have to agree or disagree, it's going to hurt his ability to move forward. >> it is, and here's the thing, to move forward he has to dramatically signal tonight, brian, that he's changed. he started a bit on dreamers, been more emotional on that, although we know his thoughts on that, bad dudes or criminals within the dreamers themselves. here's what he said on the campaign trail about immigration. >> you're going to have a deportation force and you're going to do it humanely. >> anyone who's entered the united states illegally is subject to deportation. >> how does he signal that that is not the donald trump who's going to speak tonight, what he's looking for isn't any of the above? >> well, this is donald trump's tactic, which is to give everyone whiplash and continue to keep people guessing about the nature of his true position. i think we know who the man is based on the statements during
the campaign. i'm highly suspicious of this. i'd love to be proven wrong. he can prove us wrong right away, right now i.c.e. with his blessing and with his approval is carrying out mass deportations on a scale that far exceeds under president obama, who did prioritize true criminals and people with terrorist connections. right now they are rounding up people in churches, a woman was taken two weeks ago in texas while she was getting a restraining order against her abusive boyfriend in a courthouse, so if he wants to introduce the prospect of suggesting he might be willing to give a path to legalization for these people, suspend the deportations right now. it wouldn't be fair in six months to say these people are eligible for legal status and right now he's rounding them up. >> jeff zeleny is reporting the tone tonight is going to be different, very different, they are saying the tone will be more optimistic and broad than onerous and dark, a contrast to what they believe the interpretation was, widely, of the inaugural address. they are saying --
>> they think that was a misinterpretation. >> at least they are acknowledging that was the interpretation here. but, you know, they are saying that and then they are saying he is poised to talk directly about the threats of violence at jewish cemeteries. that, obviously, would be a very significant thing. when you talk about their tone, what are they willing to say, if he does that, how significant? >> significant depending how he does it. we've seen him sort of go down a path here at various times he felt personally affronted when he addressed this topic in back-to-back press conferences, thought it was a personal affront to him and his victory, then he realized he should come out and say something and he did, then today he was talking to state attorneys general and it seemed confusing whether or not he thought some of this would be politically motivated to make other people look bad. if he speaks from his heart, denounces hatred, that's going to be clearly a good and unifying moment for him. >> one of the things that's
interesting to see, we've seen how passionate he can be when he says we're going to build a wall or everybody's going to go, and then maybe they can come out. there was no confusion about how passionate he felt about those things. i think the question now is, you know it when you see it. will he express himself on these divisive issues with the same pattern? >> and the people saying this, alice, the sources are saying the president may address this tonight, referring to the jewish cemeteries specifically and the suburban kansas shooting of the indian man, but there's always a possibility it doesn't make the final cut. >> people closest to him still do not know what he'll do when he's out there. >> right. i've spoken to people as of just a half hour ago and they are still putting the final touches on it. with regard to the overall optimism of it, i would venture to say i'm maybe -- congressman might be with me, i was the only one out there when he gave the inaugural address amongst the crowd. i wanted to get a feel for it.
they were inspired. they thought it was a positive speech, and i'm just saying that's the crowd he spoke to. they were inspired, they said that's the man i voted for and campaigned for. i'm encouraged because he's going to do everything he promised he would do. from that standpoint. and -- that being said, he did get a lot of criticism for those who were not in the crowd and didn't get that feeling. >> tonight, he has to not get angry and lash out at whatever shenanigans there are in the room, and the basic one is the way this situation is, which is half the people in the room don't stand up and clap, that's how it works. he can't let that get to him, or he'll ruin his opportunity. >> right, president obama had someone in the republican crowd yell "you lie" to him when he was delivering a speech to the joint session of congress. nothing likely to happen tonight, but this is a guy who's got to realize that he's not just speaking to his base and answering to what alice is saying. yes, he communicated well during the inauguration to his followers, but he's got to reach
the 300 million americans out there, not just the 60 million that voted for him. there are more who voted against him than for him, so it's time for him to reach out. next we're standing by for president trump on the biggest night of his presidency so far. obamacare a big part of the speech tonight. the clock is ticking on trump's ability to repeal and replace. can he get his party onboard? that's the big question. plus, two teens blame trump for their mother's deportation. tonight they are in the audience for trump's speech. we'll be right back. we're told to live large, but with princess cruises your most extraordinary moments happen when you feel small. when you're completely outnumbered, overshadowed, and outshined.
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but this is why that matters right now. if the president backs the house republican leadership plan, gets on the phone and makes it clear that this is the way he wants to move forward, they believe they'll have the green light for this pathway. if that doesn't occur, this could be a big problem. >> all right, phil mattingly, thank you. "outfront" now, the chair of the house republican conference, congressman of washington. thank you for your time tonight. the president says the gop is close to an official plan to replace obamacare. you're the leadership, how close, weeks, months, days? >> i think it's important to know we've been working on this for months, years, actually, and we've been working most recently very closely between the house and the senate, the administration, on a plan to repeal and replace obamacare. it's why we as republicans are really united and it is a top priority for us. obamacare has failed. it failed to deliver on the promises, despite well intentions, to -- ufrl, we're
seeing where the copays are going up, deductibles, premiums, and people are losing their choices. we believe we can do better, we must for americans. >> but you don't have a time frame? >> yes. we do. we've had a time frame, we've been on track to fulfilling that time frame. you're going to be seeing us moving the specific legislation through committee in an open, transparent way, starting next week, and we're going to keep it going. both in the house and the senate, and our goal is to have this done within a few weeks. >> okay, within a few weeks. that is a specific time table. now, you do have some within your own party, though, who are fighting you right now. house freedom caucus members are seeking out strongly against the plan you've been working on. they want a full repeal, period, mo brooks is among them. here's what a couple of them had to say. >> we need to simplify it to the best simplification, repeal
obamacare, let the states do what they wish. >> we have to do what the voters sent us here to do and that's to repeal it and replace it. >> what do you say to them? they say anything short of 100% repeal is a nonstarters. i know you, for example, want to keep some of the popular parts of obamacare, like allowing adult children to stay on their parents' plan. they are republicans you just heard. they say no. >> you know, last year we put a bill on the president's desk to repeal obamacare. it passed with all the republicans supporting it, the house and the senate, the president at that time, president obama, vetoed it. that is the base from which we are starting this year. that bill protected those up to age 26, it protected those with pre-existing conditions. we've always said that when the republicans offered an alternative back in 2009, when obamacare first passed the house, we had those provisions in our bill. so that is the base bill. we believe it's very important
that we are providing a smooth transition to this new system, and so we are putting as much of the -- >> i want to interrupt you though, because pre-existing conditions and adult children up to 26, those are core parts of obamacare. we can play semantics, but the truth is, you're keeping the core of obamacare. >> i think it's important to know those have always received bipartisan support, as i said, they were in the bill that we put on the president's desk last year that repealed obamacare. we included the pre-existing conditions. they were in the republican alternative the night that obamacare passed. they have always enjoyed bipartisan support. that has not been an issue. >> so the house speaker talking broadly about health care and beyond said, and i quote him, the president, though, has said again and again he will not cut medicare, he will not cut social security.
here he is taking paul ryan on directly. >> you know, paul wants to knock out social security, knock it down, way down, he wants to knock medicare way down. i'm not going to cut it and i'm not going to raise ages and do all the things they want to do. >> where do you stand, congresswoman, do you support your speaker or your president? >> you know, what i think is really what we need is budget reform, and because when you look at the way that we budget at the federal level, within the federal government, all the budget battles that we've had are only with one-third of the federal spending. we only look at the discretionary, because two-thirds of federal spending is mandatory, and i don't believe that is wise, i don't believe that is providing accountability for hard earned taxpayer dollars, so i think at the end of the day we need to look at budget reform so that congress exercising the power of the purse is actually looking at all the federal spending. right now we have a big portion of it that is off limits, and i don't believe that is providing
accountability or transparency to taxpayers. >> i notice, congresswoman, that you are wearing purple, and i say that because your democratic female colleagues, many are wearing white and one says for this reason, i quote her, to deny attempts by the trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century. do you support their decision tonight? >> you know, i think this is an important time for us to be coming together, and i'm looking forward to hearing president donald trump deliver a very hopeful, positive, unifying speech to this country. we need that. typically when a president is elected, you have that coming together as a country, which we haven't had, and i'm hopeful that people will listen to his message tonight, and that they'll be willing to come together, find the common ground, so that we can do the important work that the people expect us to do. >> all right, thank you very much, congresswoman, i appreciate your time tonight. >> thank you, erin. next, as we count you down to the moments of president
trump's first speech to a joint session of congress in tonight's audience there will be two arizona teens separated from their mother when she was deported to mexico. what will trump say to them? and trump may address the antiterror raid that killed a navy s.e.a.l. is he passing the blame to the generals tonight? ys buckles up.. comes to a complete stop... and looks both ways, no matter what. because esurance believes that's the kind of driver who deserves to save money on car insurance. in fact, safe drivers who switch from geico to esurance could save hundreds. so if you switch to esurance, saving is a pretty safe bet. auto and home insurance for the modern world. esurance. an allstate company. click or call. customer service!d. ma'am. this isn't a computer... wait. you're real? with discover card, you can talk to a real person in the u.s., like me, anytime. wow. this is a recording. really? no, i'm kidding. 100% u.s.-based customer service. here to help, not to sell.
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idea about a bill where undocumented immigrants who haven't committed serious crimes can stay in the u.s. legally. of course, the word "serious" is what this could come down to, but it could change the fate of the mother of two who was deported from arizona, making her the face of trump's immigration crackdown. tonight her children are going to be there, in the room, in the audience when trump speaks. paulo sandoval is "outfront." >> reporter: jackie and angel are packing light for their first trip to washington. it's the first plane ride of their young lives. tonight they'll sit in the house chamber on capitol hill, 2,300 miles from their phoenix home to face president donald trump, the man they blame for deporting their undocumented mother back to mexico. jackie and angel's father can't go further than airport security in phoenix, unlike his son and daughter who lack legal status in the u.s. and live with the constant fear of deportation. all he can do is offer his
blessing and the promise he'll be here when they return. guadalupe is the children's mother at the center of the controversy. we first met her in mexico earlier this month, just after immigration officials acted on a 2013 order to deport her. the 35 year old was arrested in 2008 and later pleaded guilty to making up a social security number on a job application. that's a nonviolent felony. nonetheless, immigration and custom officials detained her. she's now living in mexico while angel and jackie are in washington to confront the president. you're here now, in the shadow of the capitol. what's going through your mind before tonight? >> well, i'm pretty determined, you know? it's crazy realizing we came all the way from mesa and we're here, we're in the capital, and we're ready to see trump, see what he has to say. >> reporter: angel and jackie were invited to the president's address by arizona representative's rub
representative's, the face of families affected by donald trump's immigration policies. >> i feel determined to keep on fighting, not just for my family, but the other families behind us. >> reporter: president trump insists the focus of his executive orders on immigration are about security, but removal orders have now expanded. >> we're getting some very, very bad players out of this country, drug lords, gang members, heads of gangs, killers, murderers, we're getting them out. that's what we're focused on. the press isn't covering that, unfortunately. >> reporter: a senior administration official told reporters today the president wants an immigration bill that would not deport undocumented people who haven't committed any serious crimes. for now, jackie and angel know the reality of the u.s. government allowing their mother back into the u.s. soon are slim. today she remains south of the border celebrating a birthday without her kids. >> i want her to know that i
love her and that i miss her and happy birthday. >> reporter: she is still in mexico, she is by her mother's side, erin. i had a chance to speak to her husband yesterday. he tells me she will be watching president trump's speech tonight. as you can imagine, she will keep a close eye on the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of her children. the last time she saw them, erin, was two and a half weeks ago after she was deported to mexico. erin? >> thank you. next, president trump's first major address, as you can see, a beautiful night here in washington, a very warm night here in washington. i wonder if he'll bring that up. president trump may speak about the covert operations in yemen that killed a navy s.e.a.l. tonight will he pass the blame to the generals? and the thing trump cares about the most, his numbers. how does his approval rank among presidents after five weeks in office? john king is "outfront" with the magic wall. yes, sir, we need your password. the password that i use? yes, sir, your password. there's been another breach! sir!
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welcome to unlimited. what's in your wallet? breaking news, we're waiting for the president's first speech to a joint session of congress. he's going to be, obviously, on capitol hill speaking. this is a pivotal moment for the president. the most important moment of his presidency so far, and a chance to reset his relationships with voters after 40 days in office. we also now are just getting some excerpts of what the democrats will be saying in their rebuttal tonight, it will be kentucky governor steve bashir. i want to talk about that. we anticipate the president is going to talk about the raid in
yemen, national security. the democrats going to hit that head-on. here is from the excerpts that we have, what the kentucky governor will say, when the president attacks the loyalty and credibility of our intelligence agencies, court system, military, free press, and individual americans simply because he doesn't like what they'll say, he is eroding our democracy. and that's reckless. >> pretty strong words, and this is what we were talking about at the top about tone. here is the democrats picking on all the institutional disruption the president has been trying to accomplish since he's taken office and they are throwing down the gauntlet saying you're eroding our democracy. whether or not he embraces that kind of posture tonight or tries to address it, i think is one of the key things to watch tonight. this is all about the tone. >> he has an advantage. we're going to get excerpts from his speech, too, but he goes first. he can see this and adjust to it. >> the question is, someone who works with him for a long time once told me he picks fights
even when he's winning. what i'm curious about tonight is, does he know he's won, will he reach across the aisle, will he try to ignore some of this noise and stick to his tone? >> and we also are getting an excerpt here, first excerpt from what the president will say. brian, on immigration, he is going to say by finally enforcing immigration laws we'll raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions and make our communities safer for everyone. that is, if he is looking for a compromise, he's fully committed to his executive order to enforcing the laws on the books. >> it would be a welcome step if we saw him moderate immigration, however, the politics will be thorny for him. >> you're upset about deportations, is enforce laws on the books. hasn't been any law. >> if he tries to make a proposal out there, it's going to be running against a republican base he needs right now on health care reform and tax reform and they are not going to settle for anything
less than outright citizenship. i'm not sure who's going to be pleasing with this halfway proposal. >> that's one of the things he'll mention, new proposals that came out today, it has to be give and take. both sides have to come to the middle with regards to this, but as erin said, what he's asking for, he's asking tlem to enforce existing laws and i don't see what the problem is with that. this goes in line with what we heard him talk about in the budget plan, national security and public safety and he's going to be able to tie those in together why he's allocating money and it's all about national security. >> as we take a break, one more excerpt from the president coming out, tonight i'm also calling on this congress to repeal and replace obamacare. so there you have it, looking at live pictures of capitol hill as the president gets ready to deliver these words and so many more. we count you down, trump's approval ratings as he walks on to capitol hill tonight, though, are at historic lows. the nation will be watching. there is one bright spot, though, for trump tonight, and john king is at the magic wall.
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you're looking at live pictures of capitol hill, where president trump is about to give his first address to congress. members from both parties and, of course, people from across this nation all waiting to hear his message. it is a crucial moment in his new presidency, and it comes as he faces an approval rating well below 50%. john king is "outfront." john, how does that approval rating compare to past presidents at this time? >> erin, not so well is the quick answer when you look back at the most recent previous presidents. let's take a look, the past six presidents their approval rating on the night of their first address, president trump at 44%.
you can see looking across the board, lower than any of the past six presidents. ronald reagan was at 55%, george h.w. bush 51%, president obama at 59%, despite the big financial crisis back then, so the president, the numbers don't lie, remarkably, historically unpopular as he prepares to speak to the american people on this big night. now, obvious, that makes it more difficult, a, to convince democrats to come his way, and, b, to keep republicans on the fold on issues like health care and tax reform. this is a disadvantage for the president, something he hopes to improve on tonight with his speech to congress and the american people, but he does have one big thing working in his favor, the economy. look at the unemployment rate now, 4.8%. go back, remember when president obama first addressed the congress, the unemployment rate back then early 2009, 8.3%, on its way higher, past 10%. then over the last six years you've had a steady drop down.
this helps the president enormously. yes, he might personally be unpopular, but his policies are more popular than him. the president is betting on this getting better, not only the unemployment rate, but the growth rate. the president saying this morning the growth can come faster, more money comes into washington, the american people are more happy, and washington has more money for tax revenue, this a big advantage for the president. something else to keep in mind, who's he really talking to tonight? yes, the members of congress, the american people watching at home, but see the red, america? this is the house map from the 2016 election. these red districts, those are the people who sent donald trump to washington. his first priority is to keep his base. he knows he needs republican unity on health care, he needs republican unity on tax reform, on other big legislative battles like potentially immigration reform, even the money to build his wall. would he like to change some minds in blue america? of course, he would, but
priority number one, especially because of the republican majority, because of the differences in the house republican family, priority one for this president, keep his support in red america as high as possible to twist arms in the republican side and pass his agenda. erin? >> obviously, a lot he must accomplish tonight. john, thank you. our special coverage of president trump's address to congress continues now with anderson cooper. inside the white house right now, the president who promised to radically change washington is getting ready to head to the u.s. capitol to give one of the most important and challenging sales pitches of his career. i'm anderson cooper with this special edition of "ac 360." we are less than an hour away from president trump's first address to a joint session of congress. it's a high stakes opportunity to reframe his presidency after a chaotic start and approval ratings