tv CNN Town Hall House Speaker Paul Ryan CNN August 21, 2017 10:00pm-11:40pm PDT
what i find very interesting is nick saying, sort of oh, we've already tried everything. there's a general on the ground there, nicholson, who doesn't believe that and who has a plan. the president's going to listen to him. i think you're seeing what's consistent from the campaign to what's going on now is the president has taken some time, he inherited the situation and he's now going to lay out his plan to be successful. it will be based on what the generals on the ground are telling him. it will show strength and it will show aggressiveness with our allies. i think that's a really important step for the country and for our success in afghanistan. >> general hurtling, he said nicholson had the support of masterson and mattis and others. in terms of those who are skeptical about why would anything be different now, if all the way back to 2002, there were special forces on the ground with kabul. i remember standing there
talking to him when they were training the afghan army. one criticism is we're trying to institute a u.s. military on the afghan army when the taliban are fighting a completely different war. they don't have training. they don't have this kind of -- all the weapons that the u.s. has been able to give the afghan army. yet they seem to be doing well on the battlefield. >> that's the point i was trying to make earlier, anderson. in 2008, when president obama came in, there were about 25,000 soldiers in afghanistan. during the surge, he upped that to about 90,000. and part of his election campaign was, yeah, i'm going to do the surge, but then i'm immediately going to pull them out. because the american people wanted to pull them out. in fact, we were, i think, personally, and i'm conflicted on this, we were attempting to train, much like we were in iraq, the entire society to make an army for security purposes. i think we're beyond that point.
that's why i think general nicholson's plan is to focus on the commandos to use them as the force against isis, the taliban if need be -- >> i'm sorry, general, the president's about to speak. let's listen. >> vice president pence, secretary of state tillerson, members of the cabinet, general dunford, deputy secretary shanahan, and colonel duggin. most especially, thank you to the men and women of fort myer, and every member of the united states military at home and abroad. we send our thoughts and prayers to the families of our brave sailors who were injured and
lost after a tragic collision at sea, as well as to those conducting the searcd recovery efforts. i am here tonight to lay out our path forward in afghanistan and south asia. but before i provide the details of our new strategy, i want to say a few words to the service members here with us tonight, to those watching from their posts, and to all americans listening at home. since the founding of our republic, our country has produced a special class of heroes whose selflessness, courage and resolve is unmatched in human history. american patriots from every generation have given their last breath on the battlefield for our nation, and for our freedom. through their lives, and though their lives were cut short, in
their deeds they achieved total immortality. by following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal, and to remain one nation, under god. the men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission, and one shared sense of purpose. they transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed and color to serve together and sacrifice together in absolutely perfect cohesion. that is because all service members are brothers and sisters.
they're all part of the same family. it's called the american family. they take the same oath, fight for the same flag, and live according to the same law. they're bound together by common purpose, mutual trust, and selfless devotion to our nation and to each other. the soldier understands what we as a nation too often forget, that a wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all. when one part of america hurts, we all hurt. and when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. love for america requires love for all of its people. when we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry
and no tolerance for hate. the young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. we cannot remain a force tor peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other. as we send our bravest to defeat our enemies overseas, and we will always win, let us find the courage to heal our divisions within. let us make a simple promise to the men and women we ask to fight in our name, that when they return home from battle, they will find a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that unite us together as one. thanks to the vigilance and skill of the american military,
and of our many allies throughout the world, horrors on the scale of september 11th, nobody can ever forget that, have not been repeated on our shores. and we must acknowledge the reality i'm here to talk about tonight, that nearly 16 years after september 11th attacks, after the extraordinary sacrifice of blood and treasure, the american people are weary of war without victory. nowhere is this more evident than with the war in afghanistan. the longest war in american history. 17 years. i share the american people's frustration.
i also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money, and most importantly lives, trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations. that is why shortly after my inauguration, i directed secretary of defense mattis, and my national security team, to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in afghanistan and south asia. my original instinct was to pull out, and historically, i like following my instincts. but all my life i've heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in
the oval office. in other words, when you're president of the united states. so i studied afghanistan in great detail, and from every conceivable angle. after many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last friday at camp david with my cabinet and generals to complete our strategy. i arrived at three fundamental conclusions about america's core interests in afghanistan. first, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives. the men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. they deserve the tools they
need, and the trust they have earned to fight and to win. second, the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from afghanistan. because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including isis and al qaeda, where they would instantly fill just as happened before september 11th. and as we know, in 2011, america hastily and miakenly withdrew from iraq.as result, our hard-won gains slipped back into the hands of
terrorist enemies. our soldiers watched as cities they had fought for and bled to liberate, and won, were occupied by a terrorist group called isis. the vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for isis to spread, to grow, recruit and launch attacks. we cannot repeat in afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in iraq. third and finally, i concluded that the security threats we face in afghanistan, and the broader region, are immense. today 20 u.s. designated foreign terrorist organizations are active in afghanistan and pakistan. the highest concentration in any region, anywhere in the world. for its part, pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of
chaos, violence, and terror. the threat is worse because pakistan and india are two nuclear armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. and that could happen. no one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in afghanistan, and south asia. but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions. when i became president, i was given a bad and very complex hand. but i fully knew what i was getting into. big and intricate problems. but one way or another, these problems will be solved. i'm a problem solver. and in the end, we will win. we must address the reality of the world as it exists right now, the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the
problems of today. and extremely predictable consequences of a hasty withdrawal. we need look no further than last week's vial, vicious attack in barcelona to understand that terror groups will stop at nothing to commit the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. you saw it for yourself. horrible. as i outlined in my speech in saudi arabia, three months ago, america and our partners are committed to stripping terrorists of their territory, cutting off their funding, and exposing the false allure of their evil ideology.
terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. they are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators, and that's right, losers. working alongside our allies, we will break their will, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing our borders, and yes, we will defeat them, and we will defeat them handily. in afghanistan and pakistan, america's interests are clear. we must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten america. and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists, and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter. but to prosecute this war, we will learn from history. as a result of our comprehensive
review, american strategy in afghanistan and south asia will change dramatically in the following ways. a core pillarfur new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. i've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the united states to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options. we will not talk about numbers of troops, or our plans for further military activities. conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. america's enemies must never know our plans, or believe they can wait us out. i will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will. another fundamental pillar of our new strategy is the integration of all instruments of american power. diplomatic, economic, and
military, toward a successful outcome. some day after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political sentiment that includes elements of the taliban in afghanistan, but nobody knows if or when that will ever happen. america will continue its support for the afghan government. and the afghan military as they field. the tal in the ultimately, it is up to the people of afghanistan to take ownership of their future, to govern their society, and to achieve an ever-lasting peace. we are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the afghan people how to live, or
how to govern their own complex society. we are not nation building again. we are killing terrorists. the next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with pakistan. we can no longer be silent about pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations. the taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in afghanistan. it has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. in the past, pakistan has been a valued partner. our militaries have worked together against common enemies. the pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. we recognize those contributions and those sacrifices.
but pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. we have been paying pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. but that will have to change. and that wilchange immediately. no partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target u.s. service members and officials. it is time for pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace. another critical part of the south asia strategy for america is to further develop its strategic partnership with india, the world's largest democracy, and a key security and economic partner of the united states. we appreciate india's important
contributions through stability in afghanistan, but india makes billions of dollars in trade with the united states, and we want them to have them help us more in afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. we are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in south asia, and the broader indo pacific region. my administration will make sure you, the brave defenders of the american people, will have the necessary tools and rules of engagement to make this strategy work. and work effectively, and work quickly. i've already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our war fighters that prevented the secretary of defense anr coanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.
micromanagement from washington, d.c., does not win battles. they're in the field, drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders, and front line soldiers, acting in realtime with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy. that's why we will also expand authority for american armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout afghanistan. these killers need to know they have nowhere to hide, that no place is beyond the reach of american might and american arms. retribution will be fast and powerful, as we lift restrictions and expand authorities in the field. we're already seeing dramatic results in the campaign to defeat isis.
including the liberation of mosul in iraq. since my inauguration, we have achieved record-breaking success in that regard. we will also maximize sanctions and other financial and law enforcement actions against these networks to eliminate their ability to export terror. when america commits its warriors to battle, we must ensure they have every weapon to apply swift, decisive, and overwhelming force. our troops will fight to win. we will fight to win. from now on, victory will have a clear definition. attacking our enemies, obliterating isis, crushing al qaeda, preventing the taliban from taking over afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against america before they emerge. we will ask our nato allies and global partners to support our
new strategy, with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own. we are confident they will. since taking office, i have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense. and they have done so. in this struggle, the heaviest burden will continue to be borne by the good people of afghanistan, and their courageous armed forces. as the prime minister of afghanistan has promised, we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. afghanistan is fighting to defend and secure their country against the same enemies who threaten us. the stronger the afghan security forces become, the less we will have to do. afghans will secure and build their own nation. and define their own future.
we want them to succeed. but we will no longer use american military might to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other countries in our own image. those days are now over. instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interes. we are not asking others to change their way of life, but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better and safer lives. this principled realism will guide our decisions moving forward. military power alone will not bring peace to afghanistan or stop the terrorist threats arising in that country. but strategically applied force aims to create the conditions
for a political process to achieve a lasting peace. america will work with the afghan government, as long as we see determination and progress. however, our commitment is not unlimited. and our support is not a blank check. the government of afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden. the american people expect to see real reforms, real progress, and real results. our patience is not unlimited. we will keep our eyes wide open in abiding by the oath i took on january 20th, i will remain steadfast in protecting american lives and american interests. in this effort, we wma common cause with any nation that chooses to stand and fight alongside us against this global
threat. terrorists take heed, america will never let up until you are dealt a lasting defeat. under my administration, many billions of dollars more is being spent on our military. and this includes vast amounts being spent on our nuclear arsenal and missile defense. in every generation we have faced down evil. and we have always prevailed. we prevailed because we know who we are, and what we are fighting for. not far from where we are gathered tonight, hundreds of thousands of america's greatest patriots lay in eternal rest at arlington national cemetery. there's more courage, sacrifice and love in those hallowed grounds than at any other spot on the face of the earth. many of those who have fought
and died in afghanistan enlisted in the months after september 11th, 2001. they volunteered for a simple reason. they loved america, and they were determined to protect her. now we must secure the cause for which they gave their lives. we must unite to defend america from its enemies abroad. we must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home. and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid. our actions, and in months to come, all of them will honor the sacrifice of every fallen hero, every family who lost a loved one, and every wounded warrior who shed their blood in defense of our great nation. with our resolve, we will ensure that your service, and that your
families will bring about the defeat of our enemies, and the arrival of peace. we will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls, and everlasting pride in each and every one of you. thank you. may god bless our military, and may god bless the united states of america. thank you very much. thank you. >> there you have it, president trump saying conditions on the ground not what he described as arbitrary timetables in afghanistan. laying out what he says is a new strategy for america's longest war.
a shift from time based approach to one based on conditions on the ground. he was critical of the past administration for announcing a departure date, when they had a significant surge of troops. he talked about changing how we deal with pakistan, saying we can't tolerate with safe haven saying we'll change immediately. cast keep paying them, meaning pakistan, if they are harboring terror groups. and they want india to help more in afghanistan. he says micromanagement from d.c. doesn't win battles. lift restrictions on commanders in the field. would not talk about any troop levels. though it did sound as if there may be a rise in the number of troops used as advisers for the afghan national forces. no numbers given by this president. defining victory as attacking enemies, crushing al qaeda, stopping the taliban, stopping terror attacks in the u.s. he went on to say that the u.s. military, he does not want the u.s. military to build democracies in our image, not
changing the afghans 'way of life. joining us, is jim sciutto and general hurtling. what jumps out to you as someone who spent a lot of time in the military? what did you make of what you heard? >> there were parts of it i wholeheartedly agree with, anderson. the primary factor when he said we were shifting from time based to conditions based. that's something that i think most of my colleagues, most military professionals would say we should have done in the past. it was one thing that stuck in many of our craws about saying we would reduce the number of forces at this time. all of us, i think, said that that would give the enemy an advantage. so that primarily, i gave that a big check mark. the integration of diplomatic military and economic means, i believe we've been doing that. at a significant rate. we did it initially in iraq, where the state department was
mirroring much of what the military was doing. and i think the same tng has been going on in afghanistan in an attpt to bring all of the elements of national power to bear. he said people of afghanistan should take charge of their own country. i don't think we had the capability to enforce that in the past. as i said before the speech, that might be something that could take place now because of the advances made by president ghani. i think that is the potential. it links to the next one he talked about in terms of killing terrorists. that to me was a signal of what we were talking about before, that the primary focus is going to be helping the afghan counterterrorism units, strike al qaeda, and the taliban. he did offer an olive branch, potentially in the future, to the taliban. the same thing we talked about. i partially agree with nick paton walsh on that. now is certainly not the time, the taliban has the advantage. but i think they'll see this
kind of a speech, potentially if it's backed with force, to be the start of a new offensive, if you will. but still, i've got to go back to these are all the whats of the speeches, the hows, and the priorities, and the meeting of the assumptions that are linked to any kind of strategic plan are not there. certainly president trump said in the past he's not going to advertise those. but that's where the meat of the issue is. what's going to happen in those areas. >> i want to bring in jim sciutto. you heard the president early on kind of going back to charlottesville without actually using the -- talking about charlottesville. but kind of phrasing it as when military service members who have the best ideals of america, when they return home, that they see the same sense of loyalty that they have experienced. >> the president's comments at the top of the speech tonight clearly referencing charlottesville, echoed what the service chiefs had been saying in recent days and weeks. >> it came out talking about the
values in each of the branches. >> exactly. right out of the gate saying no tolerance for hate. we want a country that's not at war with itself when those soldiers and service members come back. it's interesting for the president to take a page out of the serve chiefs' book as he tries to address this issue. he's aware there's disappointment in his response so far. >> the notion of the not -- the u.s. is not going to be engaged in nation building from now on. that's something he talked about during the campaign. george w. bush when he was running talked about not wanting to get involved in nation building. it's one thing to say that, a hard thing to resist. >> it is, no question. you can see him there speaking to his supporters who voted for him saying i'm fulfilling this promise in effect. but that's really been the direction of u.s. military involvement through multiple presidencies now, after the iraqi invasion. >> thanks. thanks for watching this special edition of 360. now a live town hall with house speaker paul ryan hosted by jake tapper.
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good evening. we're live in racine, wisconsin, for a cnn town hall with the speaker of the house, paul ryan. i'm jake tapper. we're about to get the speaker's first reaction to president trump's address. the announcement comes during a tumultuous time at home. we're in speaker ryan's congressional district. his constituents will have a chance to ask him estions about a rae of topics. please join me in welcoming the speaker of the house, paul ryan. [ cheers and applause ] >> hey, everybody! how are you doing? hey! how are you? welcome to racine. >> good to have you here. [ cheers and applause ]
>> hey, everybody. hey. how are you doing? >> so, we're going to get to the whole range of topics. but first of all, obviously president trump just gave a very important address. about afghanistan, and the way forward there. he didn't give any troop numbers, but we're told by senior administration officials it should be about 3,900 additional new troops. what's your opinion? >> i was briefed on it a couple of times. i'm actually pleased with the way he went about making this decision. it was described to me recently by one of our military planners that for the last 16 years, our comprehensive afghanistan strategy was six one-year strategies. so we have had a convoluted strategy with respect to afghanistan. i think it's high time we had a more comprehensive strategy.
there are a couple of points he made that i totally agree with. and not a timetable strategy. i think it telegraphs to our enemies to wait us out. we have to recognize the fact, and here's why it matters to us as americans. why this is in our national security interest. we cannot allow another safe haven for terrorists to materialize again. look at what was happening in mosul, in syria, with isis. we can't afford to allow that to happen again. that is why this matters to us. and i think we've learned some good lessons in mosul, in syria, lessons that are being applied right now. i think they're carrying over those lessons to afghanistan. what i heard tonight for the first time, i think i heard a new trump strategy, or doctrine so to speak. principled realism is how i think he described it. it's important when it comes to our blood and treasure and soldiers and our safety that we actually have a comprehensive doctrine that we apply.
i think he spent the last six months working on that. you heard a big flavor of it tonight. i've been to bagram, i've been to kandahar, i've been to helmand, to kabul, and i've seen what our soldiers, our sailors, airmen and marines do there. it is incredible. the sacrifice that they've given to us. 235 in wisconsin alone. i want to make sure that it is not for naught, that it is for a good reason, to secure peace and security for us here at home. >> while we're on the subject of honoring our brave service members, i do want to take a member to honor two of your constituents who served in afghanistan who are here this evening. if we could get a quick round of applause for staff sergeant joe davis, and sergeant blake buchanan. [ cheers and applause ]
>> thank you for your service. and the people listening at home, that applause is not just for these two fine gentlemen, but everybody who has served for america. you had a question for the speaker. >> yeah. the war in afghanistan has been going on for 17 years. still going strong. my deployment was in afghanistan in 2010. the whole year. but the important question is, i was looking for more of an end date and if so, what's the continuing plan for an actual end date? it would seem like we're going to be continuing for quite some time. >> where were you? what unit were you in? >> i was with the engineer unit. >> army? >> army. i did 12 years. >> were you in rc east?
>> i was in rc south. >> rc south? >> we actually moved -- the engineers were always out. we lived in a lot of places, moved around a lot. i was with the tactical unit out of denver, colorado. mostly kandahar area, housing madad. housing camps, we would build them up to livable, and move on to the next place that's not livable so them a would have a -- >> in the fobs. >> basically. >> the question -- thank you so much. the end date i think is on the minds of a lot of people. >> thank you for what you've done for us. you by going and risking your life, is making us more safe. on behalf of all of us here in wisconsin, thank you for what you've done for our country. [ applause ] >> in my travels there, i kept hearing the same thing. they have the time, we have the watches.
meaning they will wait us out. and if they believe that we have some end date, some timetable, then they will wait us out, and then they will come back and fill that vacuum with terror. and that is why i think it's important that we don't telegraph -- i think that was a strategic mistake the last president made. we shouldn't telegraph our timetable when we're leaving so we can actually make the purpose of being there. the purpose of being there is to make sure we don't have another 9/11. not to give al qaeda a safe haven to plan and get money and come and have a terrorist attack against us. so i think it's very important that we not do that. at the same time, like the president said, no blank check. you've got to make sure that we prosecute this to the end so we can bring reconciliation. i really think the end game here is that the ghani government, that's the president of -- dr. ghani, their government and the taliban ultimately reconcile. but i don't think the taliban will come to the table and reconcile in peace if they don't
think we are committed to seeing this through, if they think that they don't have a chance. that is what i think was important in the decision the president just made tonight. >> obviously the big news over the last nine or so days has been the horrific violence that we all saw in charlottesville. also president trump's reaction to it. including the comments he made this evening. you released a statement on facebook today saying, quote, there is no moral relatiism when it comes to neo-nazis, and we cannot allow the slightest ambiguity on such a fundamental question. eric kramer is a financial analyst. eric? >> hello, speaker ryan. you've come out and forcefully condemned racism, but you have not come out and -- i'm sorry. are you willing to come out and condemn trump's statement? such as bob corker? >> let me get into this. i was looking forward to this moment right here, that eric had this conversation with you.
first of all, the president and i spoke on monday morning about the need for moral clarity, about the need at this very difficult time in our country to have a morally clear message, to absolutely and singularly condemn this repulsive bigotry. he agreed with that. he did that later that day on monday. i thought his speech on monday was pitch perfect. then the next day, i think it was in new york on infrastructure press conference, in answer to a question, i think he made comments that were much more morally ambiguous, much more confusing. and i do think he could have done better. i think he needed to do better. i actually think what he did two days ago in commending the peaceful protests against the hate in boston was a good start. what i heard, 25 minutes ago, was exactly what a president
needs to say, what we needed to hear. so i do believe that he messed up in his comments on tuesday, when it sounded like a moral equivocation, or at the very least moral ambiguity. when we need extreme moral clarity. let me back up a second and make one or two other points. it should not be about the president. this is not about republicans or democrats. this shouldn't be about some voting congress, or some partisan issue. this is so much more important than that. this issue speaks to humanity. our country, our society, our culture. and so the point that i think is bigger than getting into a spat with other people, for whatever reason, it doesn't matter if you're republican or democrat, it doesn't matter if you're pro-life or pro-choice. it doesn't matter if you want to be drilling for oil or leave it in the ground or bigger government or smaller government. every single one of us needs to unify and stand up against this repulsive, repugnant, vial
bigotry. that is so important. [ applause ] and so that's the kind of unity and that's the kind of moral clarity that each and every one of us need to display, including the president. we heard that this evening. all of us have got to do more. what i worry about in this situation is we get numbed to this. that we sort of start to lose our sense of outrage against these white supremacists and these neo-nazis. that we see it over and over on tv and think, oh, that again. we've got to keep our moral outrage. we all have to stand up and speak out against this kind of bigotry so it is never normalized, so we don't give these people oxygen that they're looking for. they're the fringe. let's keep them at the fringe. that's why i think we have to have this moral clarity. i'm pleased with the things he just said tonight, to add
clarity to t confusion that i think he gave us on tuesday. >> ihi the iue that eric was expressing is the reluctance to criticize president trump for specifically saying things like, very fine people were marching in that rally that had swastikas, and anti-semitic signs. [ applause ] >> there were not very fine people in that rally. >> that's right. that's right. [ applause ] >> it wasn't morally ambiguous, it was morally wrong. >> yeah. [ applause ] >> let me just add to what you just said. i have a hard time believing, if you're standing in a crowd to protest something and you see, you know, all these anti-semitic slogans, and heil hitlers and swastikas, that you're not a good person. this is very clear.
i totally agree with that. that's why i think, yeah, it was not only morally ambiguous, it was equivocating. and that was wrong. that's why i think it was very, very important that he has since then cleared that up. i think it was important that he did that tonight. >> do you think he's done enough? >> i don't think any of us have done enough. i think we all have a lot more to do. we have a lot more to do in this area. to do to make sure these guys don't get normalized. >> the last time we did a town hall you told me backstage one of the great things of growing up in janesville, that it was a great community and you knew a whole bunch of people including the finegold family. one who grew up to be senator russ finegold. [ applause ] roughly a third of the audience. >> three generations actually. he and my dad were good friends. >> and you didn't agree with him on many things but he was a good
person. you might recognize his sister, rabbi dina finegold. >> hi, speaker ryan. given our shared upbringing, i'm sure that you are as shocked as i am at the brazen expressions, public expressions of white supremacy, and anti-semitism that our country has seen since the november election. and our synagogue in kin osha has had to have extra security hired and we've asked the police department to help us out, so people can feel comfortable coming to our synagogue to gather. so following up on what's been asked already, speaker ryan, as the leader of the congressional republicans, i'd like to ask you what concrete steps that you will take to hold the president accountable when his words and executive actions either implicitly or explicitly condone, if not champion racism, and xenophobia. for example, will you support the resolution for censure? [ applause ]
>> first of all, dina's mom and dad, sylvia and leon, were close friends of my mom and dad's. our families have known each other for a longlong time. we are family friends. i will not support that. that would be so counterproductive. if we descend this issue into some partisan hackfest, into some bickering against each other, and demean it down to some political food fight, what good does that do to unify this country? we want to unify this country against this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry. so i think that would be the absolute worst thing to do. what i said on tuesday and monday and what he said just a half hour ago, all of us have to do better. and more importantly, that right
there was sort of conflict of one party against another party. i think what we need to do is each of us drop our guard, start listening to each other and having a good civil dialogue with each other about how we can improve the dialogue in this country and make sure we can unify against this kind of vial, repugnant bigotry. look, this country is founded upon this beautiful american idea, the condition of our birth does not determine our right. this idea that a human being, someone is intrinsically more superior than another one is a repugnant idea and stands against what we stand for in this country. you don't have to be a republican or democrato believe that. you don't even have to be a reous person to believe that. that's who we are. the last thing i think we should do is descend into this fight against each other and call out bigotry when we see it and hear it and always standing up and
opposing it peacefully. >> if i can follow up on what she just told you. that your constituents are not necessarily, or at least don't feel safe necessarily going to synagogue in kinosha, because of a rise in hate ft white supremacy. it's been a problem for a long time but heightened in recent years. is a facebook post enough? >> no, i think all of us have a lot more to do on this. like i just said. but more importantly, i think the internet has given these guys fuel. i think the internet has given these people, who are fringe, oxygen. i think every single one of us have more to do to make sure we deny them this oxygen and fuel. whether there are laws that need to be passed to improve this, that may be the case. but things that disunite us, the things that divide us, so we can make sure we unify, this is beyond a bill in congress, a party.
it's beyond politics. this is our society, this is our culture, this is our values. and so that's the point, i'm saying if you're making it about people against the president, republicans against democrat, this bill or that bill, we are demeaning this issue, and we need to raise it to the point and confronting these fringe elements to the fringes and trying to deny them the oxygen they're getting where people are afraid to go to a synagogue. >> people who are applaudinghe president are these white supremacists and people who are cringing after his remarks like the ones in tuesday were the continue gants of that synagogue or the temple in your district, there was a horrific incident in 2010, doesn't it need to be -- is it not bigger than something that's partisan to say, people need to stand up and say, more
when the president does it. forget his party for a second, he's giving aid and comfort to people who are fans of losing discredited hateful ideologyst. >> the people who applaud at his remarks on tuesday was david duke -- >> yeah, liked he messed up on tuesday. he was right on monday and right just about an hour ago. >> when he was read g from a teleprompter he was right. >> i think he messed up on tuesday. let me say it this way, it is very very important that we need make this a partisan food fight, it is very important that we union vie in condemning this kind of violence and hatred. and to make this us against them, republicans against that is a big mistake for -ump
country and that will demean the value of this important issue. >> do you think as mitch mcconnell mitt ram -- mitt romney he said the president need to apologize -- >> i think he needed to do better and he did today. >> i want to bring in -- his father founded that temple and he was one of those killed during the attack. >> thank you. as you know a few weeks ago we commemorated the five year anniversary of the shooting in oak creek wisconsin. this was more of the deadliest hate attacks that this country has ever seen committed by the hands of the known filluated white supremacies. the shooter in this incident was not only a white supremacists but also an ex military, well
known to the pac, the adl and the fbi. dispute that he was able to legally pictu legally purchase a firearm arm six days before the incident. what my question is, is what are we doing to prevent and intervene and the growth of far -- far right ex tremism and white supremacy sympathizers? >> i say there's a couple thing. first of all, i remember meeting you at your dad's funeral and you have my condolences. i've bn working with your community to make sure the bigotry thauf experienced and your kmungt has experienced it. i was impressed in oak creek is how the community poured out its support. it was so forgiving, they just
called for healing and forgiveness and you set such a beautiful example five years ago as you do today. sam, linda and brian murphy, the two officers who stopped that shooting, who i know you know, they were heroic and stopped that shooting after these deaths, our heroes in oak creek, our police officers were the ones involved in that, i'd say two things. number one, we got to do a better job of making sure criminals don't get guns or that people worth suspected of terrorism like domestic terrorism don't get guns. like we saw yesterday, heather heyer was killed by an act of domestic terrorism, so this fits into that category. i think we have to do a better job of making sure terrorists do not get guns. we also have to make sure we protect our second amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.
we passed mental health reform last december. we wanted to make sure people who had mental problems were not getting guns. we want to make sure tho who ve mental problems't g guns. but we want to make sure we're keeping t keeping constitutional right to bear arms. >> our next question comes from tom saddler. >> thank you mr. speak r for being here tonight. as a grandfather i have a 3-year-old. our family tries to teach her love, understanding, tolerance and to stand up against bullying. knowing you're a devoted father yourself, how do you reconcile the words and actions of the current administration when talking to your children?
>> pretty vague question. do you want to be more specific about that? >> dupe to be more specific? >> in general, social media, bullying things of that nature. >> oh, you mean tweeting? okay i was trying to understand what you're coming from. i want this president to succeed, you know, why i want this president to succeed because i want this country to succeed. that's why i work closely with this president to make sure he succeeds so our country succeeds. we have a very important agenda we're trying to put in place to improve people's lives. to lift the economy, make it healthier. so, these are the things we're working on and those are the things my kids see me working on. now, when it comes to leading by example, we do this ourselves, and so we define ourselves by our own actions and are if control of our own actions. do i wish there'd less tweeting,
of course i do. i don't think that is going to change. i think the president feels -- le rightfully feels he's found a way to communicate people around the media and i think he's been successful at doing that. are there some of the tweets i prefer not to have seen, of course there are. but alt the end of the day that's how i control is my own actions. that's how i conduct myself and look mist in the mirror and kiss my kids at bet at night where we live in jamestown, wisconsin. we go to mass at the church i was baptized in that my kids go to school in, and so this is who we are and where we're from and we raise our kids well in this community. and so, i think it's really important that we lead by example, raise our children, teach them right from wrong and honestly, i tell my kids to turn off the t.v. and get off the internet. i think that's the most
important thing you'd probably do these days. that to me is what i'd do. >> i'm not sure how to take that turn off the t.v. applause. let's turn to the republican legislative agenda. i want to bring in kevin matthews who voted for you and president trump in 2016 because of your promises to repeal the affordable care act otherwise known as obamacare. kevin. >> thank you speaker. since obamacare was passed my family has been personally affected. we've had our premiums increased and now extremely high deductibles which is tough. the republicans including you and the president on this thing repealing it, replacing and repairing. early on you didn't hold a vote but then voted on something that doesn't seem to be palette tabl for the senate. i had high hopes since you're the speaker and my congress fall
representative. what happened? how have have you not bn suessful up to this point as a leader to get this done? >>s in house we did pass it in may. we ran on a specific agenda we call it a better way. obamacare is collapsing, it is collapsing under its own weigh. next year's projected 47% of all the counties in america. 1 and 2 counties in america are down one insured. this law is not working, it is a list of false promises. so that end, we crafted a plan, ran on a plan and then we passed that plan in may. as you may know, as you probably i'm sure know, for a bill to become a law the house has to pass the bill, then the senate has to pass the bill. then you have to bridge those differences and pass it to go in the law. the house has passed its bill, we're waiting for the senate to
pass theirs. who wasn't disappointed the sfaet failed to pass that vote by one yesterday. we all are. the reason they failed to
to do it -- the reason i'm disappointed because the status quo is not an option, obamacare is not working. you just described your agreement judgment and deductible increases. we got dozens of counties around america that has zero insurance left. doing nothing is not an option. the senate has to get back and keep at it. what i've been telling my friends in the senate, get back to work get a bill passed, we can't take no for an action. the house has done its job. let me say a few other thing, the house has passed over 300 bills since the presidency. if you want to learn about all we've done go to did you know
gop. in the house we passed a complete overall of curriculum education to close that gap to get people where they want to be. you probably didn't know we passed the dodd law because we're losing community banks in america. you probably didn't know we overhauled the entire veteran's administration to crack down on the fraud and the waste occurring with these waiting lists. you probably didn't know that we extended the biggest expansion from the gi bill in a decade. you may not have phoknown we ha there's so many things we've done in the house that people don't know about. yes, there are a lot of distractions out there. there's count down clocks, i think there was one for this town haul meeting. >> you don't want people to watch. >> there's hearing and all these
thing but people don't know all the work we've made good to keep our promises. you are my employer, i work for you, my job as your employee is when running for office is to tell you who i am, what i believe, what
are my values and principles and theolicies i work on. that's what i'm in the middle of executing right n in the house. like i said, go to did you know gop. you'll see all the bills. more bills have passed in the first six months under the trump administration in the house than under clinton, bush and obama. >> in terms of the senate's agenda, the budge director nick mull via any and president trump has said the senate shouldn't vote on anything until they figure out the repeal and replace for obamacare. do you agree with that? obviously there's the whole debt issue coming up.
do you agree they shouldn't vote on anything -- >> i don't think functionally that should do that because we have a lot of deadlines coming up. i do share nick's sentiment. we can't take nothing for an answer and we cannot allow the status quo in healthcare. healthcare costs are sky rocking k people are losing choices. the bill that we pass in the house is to lower premiums and give people more closures. t way i think that matters the most is we believe risk pools are effective. we had a high risk pool in wisconsin. when i talk about risk pools, we believe as government, federal government, state government we should fund the care of people with catastrophic illin's. so if you get cancer or hear disease you don't go broke paying for that healthcare. by having direct care and subsidies like we had in our risk pool in wisconsin, four
people with catastrophic illnesses you lower the prices for everybody else. 10% of the people in wisconsin risk pool -- 10% of the people wisconsin, the orr people in the individual market had much cheaper healthcare, more choices and lower premiums. that's what we're proposing to do. have funds for the catastrophic people with illnesses. if we say we'll directly support those, 8 to 10% of more than americans what had a catastrophic illnesses -- we got the best quarterer back in america selling us health insurance. so i think what we have offered, make sure we fulfill the objective we all want. affordability, accessibility and make sure people with
preexisting condition get good healthcare at an affordable rate without going broke. that is what we're trying to achieve. >> i have 30 follow uppis but ts is a town hall not an interview. the next question comes from katy who serves as secretary for the republican party. katy. >> hello, i think we can agree the u.s. tax code is complicated, burdensome and unfair to individuals and businesses alike. you recently vowed to tackle the tax code in twerch in overall. how are you working with the senate in the house to make sure what happens to the promises of obamacare bill doesn't happen to be promise of tack reform? >> this is one of the things we ran on in 2016, so we ran for this as our election, the house,
the senate and the white house and this is something we have to make good on. point number two, i believe it's going to be far easier for us to do tax reform than healthcare reform. one over the challenges we had with healthcare reform in the senate is we had to use the rules to write that bill. all the items we wanted to put in a healthcare reform bill we couldn't because of rules. we can't put those thing in the healthcare bills because of a set of rules, tax reform is different. the entire tax refund bill can go through one bill through the house and the senate. here's the other point i'd say, if we keep taxing our job creators, our businesses at much much higher tax rate, our foreign competitors taxpayers we're going to lose. i met with a father-son business
down in south central wisconsin, i don't want to tell their names because i don't want to get them grief, but they had electricity business. they make electrical parts for snap on and other companies, their biggest competitor is a company in canada. their tax rate their a corporation, small business, 35%. the canadian texas rate is 15%. eight out of ten businesses in america file their taxes as people, individuals. we all them llcs, their stop tax rate the 46%. canadians are 15%. the irish 12.5%. china 25. the average tax rate of businesses in the strarlzed world the 22.5%. and we are taxing american businesses 35 to almost 45%. that is a recipe for disaster. if they're profitable in making money overseas they can't bring
the money back because of the tax laws. the thermostat here is probably johnson control thermostat they're now an irish company. they're not an american company anymore. we're losing businesses left and right and there is the reason why we have to have fundamental tax reform. it's economic growth, faster wages and fairness. what we're proposing on the vj side is get rid of the loopholes, lower people's tax rates. and simplify it so much you can fill out your taxes on a postcard. you don't have to go to some accountant to try and do it all. we want tax to build for growth, races wages and keeps american business in america. so, that is one of the reasons why we're not getting the kind of take home pay we should be getting as people. we believe regulatory relief and tax cuts, tax reform is the
secret to getting faster economic growth. that is why we are committed to getting this done this year. getting it done there year, it h hasn't been done since the year i got my driver's license, 1986. it's time we fix this tax code and get ours in a business where it makes sense to stay american. >> the scene of the accidenext sister erika jordan. >> i'm from since gnaw what. wisconsin. good evening mr. speaker. i know that your catholic as am i, and it seems to me that most of the republicans in the congress are not willing to stand with the poor and working class as evidenced in the ren debatsz as healthcare and the anticipated tax reform.
so, i'd like to ask you how do you see yourself upholding the church's social teaching that has the idea that god is always on the side of the poor and dispossessed as should we be? >> spoken like a great dominican. >> sister, this may come as a surprise to you but i completely agree with you. where we may disagree on how to achieve that goal. we exercise judgment in practices or faith. for me -- for the poor that's key to the catholic faith. that means mobility, economic growth, equality of opportunity, that to me means working with this guy to make sure we can close the skills gap, to make
sure every person who want a career and job can get the benefits. we passed that bill in july. that means to me taking this 20th century poverty program that we have, we were in the 32nd year on the war on poverty, and our poverty rates are about the same as they were when we started this program on poverty 32 years ago. i think we need to change our approach on fighting poverty. instead of measuring success on how much money we spend or how many programs we create or how many people on those programs, let's measure success and poverty on outcomes. is it working. our people getting out of poverty. what i believe when you look at it that way, i have a commission that petty murry and i set up, we need to make sure we bring people in the work force. the poor are being marginalized and misaligned in many ways because a lot of programs we have, well-intended as they may
be are discourages and sent vising work. it's true. we were just talking about
it, we were just talking about tax reform and i was telling you about these successful small businesses in wisconsin. they got 44.6% tax rate, that's not the highest tax rate payer. aaron rodgers who deserves every salary is not the highest tax payer in this state, you know who it is, it's the single mom, getting 24 grand in benefits with two kids who will lose 80 cents on the dollar if she go and take a job. we have to fix that, by making sure we can customize these before the to help a person get to where she is to where she wants and needs to be. we have these benefits up in a certain way that fits her needs. the motto i'm talking about is
the -- for charities model. crystal ray paris have cafeterias that does an amazing job in spite of government doing wrap around visits for the poor to making sure they get to where they need to be. if government will help do that i think we can go a long way in fighting poverty. you just touched something i feel so strongly about that moves me so much. i think the government has made a lot of mistakes, well intends, lots of money but we are not solving the problem of poverty. and doing more of the same and funding the status quo will get us more the worst results we've been getting. we got to change our approach,focus on outcomes, focus on the person and always encourage work and make sure we can customize benefits to get people out of poverty, plus a stronger growing economy.
making sure we're not taxing companies overseas so they stay here. the fox con deal was a great example -- >> we're going to get to that. >> i can keep going but that's how i practice my faith, values and principals and trying to apply these principals to fighting poverty a lot better because the status quo hasn't been working and we can do a lot better. >> we'll be back with morecnn's town hall. what did you have in mind? i don't know. $4.95 per trade? uhhh and i was wondering if your brokerage offers some sort of guarantee? guarantee? where we can get our fees and commissions back if we're not happy. so can you offer me what schwab is offering? what's with all the questions? ask your broker if they're offering $4.95 online equity trades and a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
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and a new culture but around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable networkver. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. welcome back to cnn's town hall, we're here with house speaker paul ryan. mr.speaker just before the break you mentioned fox con, just to bring viewers up to speed, last week the president announced fox con will build a new factory right here in speaker ryan's district. you personal lobbied the president to help secure the plant which is expected to provide 3,000 jobs.
the next question comes about that plant from kyle moore, he's an engineer. >> you've touted the fox con deal as a fuj success for wisconsin, but for each job fox con creates wisconsin tax payers are going to be paying at least 20,000 for job each year. aren't we setting a precedent for large corporations to demand tax payer dollars to create job in our state? >> i make a distinction between federal and state government. as you know local governments compete with each other all time to be able to land job creation. this is no different than this. the reason i think this is an exceptional case, fox con because i see this as a game changer.
this is up to 13,000 jobs by the way, you said 3,000, it's up to 13,000 when it's done, 10,000 construction jobs. it brings an entire sector to wisconsin. that's the state government your talking about, i'm federal that's state. the state government that's contingent on these jobs being done in the first place. the reason why i think this is exceptional and such a game changer is it brings a new sector to wisconsin. scott walker calls it wis con valley. i say we'll be the industrial park for silicon valley. it's if our interest to get ahead of the curb on tomorrow's high skill high manufacturing jobs. more jobs are tied to wisconsin per capita than any other state. by making sure we're bringing this sector to wisconsin, which
will bring other jobs and other employers, we have high-skill high-tech jobs that is great for wisconsin's future. what i worry about is not just the skills gap, but i worry wisconsin manufacturing will not stay in the cutting edge, by getting fox con i think that will help us do that. that makes wisconsin a magnet for orr like kind of jobs. we've had a lot of young people getting educated here, growing up here and going for opportunities elsewhere. we want to keep our sons and daughters, kids and grand kids in wisconsin. i think bringing a sector like this to wisconsin is a long-term solution to making sure people can stay and have great jobs in wisconsin. 13,000 jobs and $10 billion over payroll ain't nothing to sneeze at. that's why i thinkt's an exceptional deal. it was going to go to another state if it didn't go to wisconsin and then there'd be no tax base whatsoever.
i'm glad it came to wisconsin. >> so president trump -- president trump recently declares the opioid crisis a national emergency in wis, the figures are tragic, the rates of opioid deaths have doubled over the last decade. the next question come from medical examiner michael pain. >> good evening mr. speaker. the use of medical services and law enforcement agencies have saved lives. would you support a bill by the u.s. government to subsidize a reduction of norican so we can put it in the hand of anyone suffering from opioid addictions and their families? >> let me take a look at that, it's something i haven't given a great deal of thought. we believe that this is a crises. we pasted the most comprehensive opioid legislation last
december. the recourses are coming out into our local communities. the legislative had convened a special set of the legislature based on the bill we passed in congress on the law in december to regulate this attack on drugs and opioid decisions. i have close friends at home whose lost their kids to opioid addiction. this is a serious emergency and epidemic. it's about gait away drugs, heroine, so i'd be happy to take a look at. if there's a bill you're thinking about in your mind write it down if you don't mind. >> we're goir going to take another quick break we'll be back with more. stay with us. going to take ano quick break we'll be back with more. stay with us. going to take anot quick break we'll be back with more. stay with us.
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creased with that country and they're warning of merciless strike with the u.s. we hear that all the time but in general this has been a period that has been fraught with attentions. the next question comes from arthur. >> good evening mr. speaker. threat from the government with north korea has become serious in recen weeks. the escalation and overall situation has become from the dialogue president trump and kim jong-un has used to intimidate each other and one up another. do you believe the president's dialogue suggests the use of full blown war with or without the use of war weapons is important for the president to do? >> i think, he backed down his war on guam. in my own view the president likes the unpredictable side of this. i think it's important kim onyou
think is called to the carpet when he does this. what's very concern g is he's getting faster development of these nuclear-type weapons. the last two tests were very successful tests. this is a serious threat, not just to the region but to the united states. so, i think with respect to korean policy, i think it's important that he realizes we're not going to take things lying down. we're serious and take this issue seriously. i think that is important that we convey that message. i think it's also important that our regional actors help us. i'm specifically talking about china. china needs to do a whole lot more to help us with this situation which is in their interest to do so. we also have to do a lot to beef up our defensive weapons. yes, vick brooks one of the best army general we have isur general in charge of u.s. korea command. i've been there met with them and spent a few days last week working on just this issue.
this is serious, the president foes it's serious, the options are not pretty options, but having north korea with nuke car tipped warheads that can strike the united states is not a good thing to have for this country. t not that they'll launch a missile to the united states, what i worry most about is that they'll sell one. i worry that they're going to proliferate, they're going to sell it to the highest bidder who's who is a terrorist. that's why it's a serious issue and this young man is an unstable person. >> our next question comes from an mt boil. >> how speaker ryan thank you so much for this opportunity. you touched a bit on this earlier and this is not about the bigotry and the racism that has no part at all in any politics but this is a little bit bipartisan question.
despite have been a republican president despite both the house and the senate, this court exist within the republican party. as you saw again in the aftermath of the charlottesville protest. we need a voice of reason to reunite or party. and speaker, ryan, you are in the position to be this voice. what are your plans to reunite the republican party and america as a whole? >> i look at this as speaker of the house and your employee, i don't think of myself honestly as republican first. i'm an american i am a conservator, that's the way i want to conserve these founding principles and improve people's lives. i think the answer to your question is perform. pass into law better ideas that actually improve people's lives and solve problems. this is why we're in the middle of rebuilding or military, this is why we overall the we rans administration so they get the care that they need when they need it, deserve and earned.
this is why we're doing deregulatory release. out of 20 years only one regulation was desented, we've done it 14 times this year. we're business performing to try and improve people's lives, to lift wages and incomes. that's why i think tax reform is critical. that's why i think making sure we move people from welfare to work is so critical, to restore upper ability and geet them off the sidelines into the work force. the point i'm trying to make is get thing done, improve people's lives, make a possible and vindicate yourself with the results. take our principles that built this country, liberty, freedom, free enterprise, equal of opportunity, upper mobile, apply those visuals of the day, we ran on this last year and now we're basically 4/6th of the way putting this agenda into the law out of house.
i wish i could see the senate are still the same. we got a ways to go. we got to get more work done. that's what is at the end of the day. it's not what i say it's what i do and how we perform and that's why we're focusing so much on getting this agenda through. there is a lot of zraks out there. we're focused on doing our work and committing to doing what we said we'd do and the results that come from that to me is how we lead by example. >> we're going to take another quick break we'll be back with more. ron! something's going on at schwab. oh really? thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. asur broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs.
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mr. speaker -- he joined the house gop conference on the phone today, what was that like for you, what was that like for your members? >> it was really very emotional for us. i've been seeing and talking with steve myself but most of members haven't had a chance to even hear his voice. he was out on a baseball field 7:30 in the morning practicing baseball for a charity game wen this guy opened fire and hit him through the hips. he's going to be okay but he's in a rehab hop now out of the intensive care union and he's got a long road ahead of him but he's going to be okay. his body's healing. our members were really really relieved just to hear his voice and hear him talk. he was talking about getting back to work and getting things done. >> how did he sound?
his strng. >> great. >> it sounded like him, normal? >> i've gone to see him a couple times, he's eating well. >> is he going to walk again? >> yeah but he's going to have to relearn how to do it. i won't go into details of the multiple operations he had. >> what was the like for the members of the republican party to hear from him? >> they were just elated to hear his voice. he sounded great and strong. he sounded like -- i call him see zero. but he sounded like steve zero. >> we wish him well. >> please keep him in your prayers. >> we want to thank house speaker paul ryan for joining us tonight. "cnn tonight" with don lemon starts right now.