— — THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR ‘THIS WEEK’ ON May 29, 2016 and it will be updated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting right now on THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulous, Trump over the top.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We hate the 1,237, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he’s now facing massive new protests.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can he go from the most unpopular candidate in history to winning over voters and his party?
Trump’s campaign chairman is here live.
Hillary’s rough week. Clinton brushing off that scathing email report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It’s not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will voters feel the same?
Plus, it’s crunch time.
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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to win here in California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pressure is on. Clinton’s biggest Golden State backer, Senator Diane Feinstein, is right here.
And a powerful tribute to the fallen on this Memorial Day weekend.
From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK.
Here now, chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC HOST: Good morning and thank you for joining us on this Memorial Day weekend.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton started the week off by making history, setting a new low as the two most unpopular presidential frontrunners since the dawn of political polling. And by the end of the week, they appear to have actually made it worse. Both now facing real questions that cut to the core of their campaigns and whether they can unite their parties and the country this fall.
TRUMP: We got the nomination yesterday, right?
So we have the nomination. So we’re number one.
KARL (voice-over): It was the week Donald Trump went over the top, hitting the magic number of 1,237 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.
TRUMP: We’ve won the nomination big, by numbers that you can’t believe. We were supposed to be, in July, in Cleveland fighting for our lives.
KARL: But it didn’t exactly look like a victory lap. First, Trump continued to wage war on his own party, taking swipes at New Mexico’s popular Republican governor, Susana Martinez .
TRUMP: We have to get your governor to get going. She’s going to do a better job, OK?
TRUMP: Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.
KARL: Then, more reports of campaign turmoil at the party, including the abrupt ouster of his recently hired political director. And Trump once again failed to secure the endorsement of the most powerful Republican in Washington.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What I’m most concerned about is making sure that was actually have real party unity, not pretend party unity.
KARL: Finally, rampant protests outside his rallies brought out the police in full riot gear.
But it was Hillary Clinton who actually had the worst week. She was on the defensive against a scathing State Department inspector general’s report that says her email practices violated government policy.
CLINTON: The rules have been clarified since I left about the practice. Having said that, I have said many times, it was a mistake.
KARL: And despite being just 73 delegates away from clinching the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton still hasn’t put away Bernie Sanders in California, where the race is now statistically tied.
Meanwhile, Sanders has set his sights on Trump. The two challenging each other to a debate, where Trump bowed out.
SANDERS: And I say to Donald Trump, you’re a big macho guy. If you have any guts, come on down and last debate the issues.
KARL: And joining us now, the chairman and chief strategist of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort.
Mr. Manafort, thank you for joining us.
And your candidate has now clinched the nomination earlier than earlier than anybody expected and setting a record in the process.
PAUL MANAFORT, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much.
KARL: But I want to ask you, even as he’s done this this week, uh, Donald Trump went out and we saw he took a shot at Susana Martinez, criticizing her, even Mitt Romney , saying he choked like a dog, walks like a penguin, took a shot at Jeb Bush still.
Is — what — what is the strategy here?
Is any Republican who criticizes Trump or his policies going to be a — face this kind of fire?
MANAFORT: Yes, this has been completely blown out of proportion. I mean Governor Romney, uh, you know, is jealous of the fact that the first businessman to be nominated by the Republican Party with record numbers, uh, is Mr. Trump, and, uh, that a — with a chance of winning the — winning the White House.
Romney had a chance to win it. He lost it. He sees that Donald Trump has not only won then, he’s won it with record numbers in the primaries, uh, and he’s now leading in some of the polls already.
You know, the Governor Martinez thing, well, the focus was on the wrong thing. Now, Mr. Trump was talking about — as he does always when he goes anywhere, about the problems in government that aren’t working that aren’t helping the people. And he was talking about the welfare system and how it’s out of control in New Mexico. And just as he criticizes issues in Washington, when he’s in the states, he talks about things that need to be done to improve the situation for the voters and for the people, because that’s why he’s running for president.
The fact that it we are a Republican governor of New Mexico, was — is not the point. The point is that the system was broken. If it was a Democratic governor, had have been saying the same thing. He’s out there representing the interests and talking about what needs to be done and why, as president, he will change things and make people’s lives better. That’s what it’s all about.
Again, the media is trying to always find issues where there aren’t issues. They said he couldn’t, uh, he was not a serious candidate. They said he couldn’t achieve 30, 40, 50 percent. They said he couldn’t, uh, win the nomination on the first ballot. They said he wasn’t going to be able to win a general election, he wasn’t going to be able to unite the party.
All of these things are wrong. He’s proven them all wrong in record time.
MANAFORT: I mean we clinched the nomination the first week in June — in May.
KARL: So help me understand, though, what happened with this debate that sure looked like it was going to happen between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Here’s what Mr. Trump himself said earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to debate him so badly. I’d love to debate Bernie.
Bernie’s not going to win. But I’d debate him anyway, if they wanted to put up money for charity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Now suddenly we hear Donald Trump is unwilling to debate Bernie Sanders.
What’s going on?
Is he afraid of facing off with Bernie Sanders?
MANAFORT: He’s not afraid to face off with Bernie Sanders. He’s the Republican nominee now. The issue — the question should be, why is Hillary Clinton afraid to debate Hillary — Bernie Sanders?
She’s the one in the Democratic primary with him.
And the point that Mr. Trump was trying to make was the democratic system is rigged. It’s been rigged from the beginning, uh, for Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders, you know, has been winning primaries and losing delegates.
Now you’ve got California, a state where Clinton thought she was going to when I. The race has gotten very close. And Bernie Sanders wants to debate Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders should have that chance.
Mr. Trump was saying, you know, debates are important, he — you know, he would have debated Bernie Sanders if Bernie Sanders were the nominee…
KARL: But — but…
MANAFORT: Hillary Clinton should be debating him today.
KARL: But (INAUDIBLE) this is a flip-flop. I mean you heard the tape. He — he said over and over again that he wanted to debate Bernie Sanders and then suddenly it was no.
MANAFORT: And he does. But he…
MANAFORT: — but…
KARL: Nothing has changed.
MANAFORT: And he does, but he — well, what changed is he became the presumptive nominee — he became at actual nominee of the party between the time he said it and the time it happened.
But that’s not the point. The point is Hillary Clinton is the one who should be debating Senator Sanders. Hillary Clinton is the one who is in the Democratic primary. When the general election happens, when there’s a democratic nominee, Mr. Trump will debate whoever it is — emerges from the system.
KARL: OK. So let’s talk about the next big decision that Donald Trump has to make, a running mate.
Where are you in the process?
Has — has Mr. Trump started interviewing potential running mates yet?
MANAFORT: Uh, Mr. Trump has said that he wants a vice president who knows Washington, is about to deal with the Congress and could be viewed as somebody who could be president
Uh, he has identified a list of people. He’s talking about those list.
He said that it’s the qualification of the candidate that matter, not the gender and not the ethnicity. That doesn’t mean there aren’t women or — or Hispanics on the list. It means that he’s looking at the qualifications. And he started that process , and he’s announced that he would announce his candidate some time around the convention and we’re on track for that to happen.
KARL: Is he asking potential running mates as part of the vetting process to turn over their tax returns?
MANAFORT: The list of candidates that he will be considering will be fully vetted. The exact process, we’re not talking about.
KARL: Including tax returns?
MANAFORT: We’re not talking about the process. They will be fully vetted. And he’ll be comfortable with the selection as far as the American people is concerned.
KARL: OK. Now, you mentioned the issue of women and minorities. Of course, in an interview with Howard Fineman of Huffington Post this week, you said that Trump was unlikely to choose a woman or a minority, because in fact that would be viewed as pandering. What did you mean? How would choosing a woman or a minority be seen as pandering?
MANAFORT: No, no. There was another part to it, which I actually just said a minute ago. I said he was — Trump was looking at the qualifications of all the candidates and that he wouldn’t select someone only on the basis of gender or ethnicity. That’s not to say that — because that would be pandering.
But the qualifications, if a female is qualified, that’s totally different story. And there are many Republican women who are qualified, and several who might be on the list.
KARL: So, are you — Mr. Trump had said that he wanted somebody with Washington experience early on. Is that still where we are? Are we likely to see somebody who is either serving in congress or has served in congress?
MANAFORT: He said Washington experience, people who could work with the congress. And those are the credentials that he’s looking for.
KARL: OK. So, I want to ask you about something else kind of surprised a lot of people. In an interview with The Washington Post Donald Trump brought up the conspiracy theory that Vince Foster was murdered. Of course, he also brought up allegations that Bill Clinton had committed rape back in the 1990s. Are we going to be seeing more of this? Is this the kind of campaign he’s going to run?
MANAFORT: He didn’t say that Bill Clinton had — he was referencing a woman who said that. That had a relationship with Bill Clinton.
The point is, trouble follows the Clintons everywhere. People are frustrated with all of the drama around the Clinton family and the history of the Clinton family. And certainly, if they’re going to be back in the political milieu then their history is relevant to what the American people can expect.
The point is that Hillary Clinton is running for president as a team. She said she doesn’t even want to handle the economic responsibilities of the job, she wants her husband to do so. The most important job the president has other than defending the country, she doesn’t want to participate in.
You know, Trump has said, OK, if she’s going to put off the economic portfolio to her husband, then the whole family is up for discussion.
KARL: OK, one more question before you go. The New York Times reported that some on your campaign staff believe that the campaign headquarters there at Trump Tower has been bugged. What’s going on with that?
MANAFORT: I don’t know who said that. Certainly there are people probably would like to, because there’s a lot of good work going on there and we’ve been able to develop a campaign that is cohesive, that’s working together, and in a record time thanks to a great candidate who has got a vision and connected to the American people, put the campaign in a position to win the presidency.
And so we’re going to continue to move forward…
KARL: But do you believe your campaign headquarters has been bugged?
MANAFORT: Do I believe it? No, I don’t believe it. But I don’t know who said that.
KARL: All right. Paul Manafort, thank you for joining us.
MANAFORT: Thank you.
KARL: Now to the Democratic side where Hillary Clinton is trying to put away Bernie Sanders, and at the same time dealing with that scathing report from the State Department’s inspector general on her use of private email while she was secretary of state.
Joining us now is Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from the state of California and one of Hillary Clinton’s strongest supporters in congress.
Senator Feinstein, thank you for joining us.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
KARL: I’m going to ask you about that inspector general report. For more than a year, Secretary Clinton has said over and over again that she did not break the rules. But this report makes it clear that she never asked for permission for her private email arrangement, and that if she had, quote, “the State Department did not and would not approve her exclusive reliance on a personal email account to conduct department business.”
Has she been misleading the public on this for well over a year?
FEINSTEIN: No, I don’t think so. I think questions are asked and answers are sometimes taken out of context. Hillary Clinton broke no law. I read all 42 pages of the report. The conclusion of the report does not say that. What it says is that the department does not handle these electronic platform operations well and needs to do better.
Hillary, herself, has said, yes, I made a mistake. If I had a chance to do it over again, I’d do it differently.
I mean, what do people want? This goes on and on and on. We’re reaching the final stages of a primary. Hillary Clinton is going to win this primary. I say enough is enough. Let’s get to the major problems facing this nation.
KARL: But Mrs. Clinton has said — that it was widely known that she was using her personal email. But, if you look at this report, it says that when State Department staffers expressed concerns about the arrangement, their supervisor, quote, “instructed the staff never to speak of the secretary’s personal email system again.”
That sure sounds like somebody trying to hide something.
FEINSTEIN: Whoa, wait a second. I don’t believe she was trying to hide anything. I’ve known Hillary for a quarter of a century. Let me tell you what I do think, I think this is a woman who wants a little bit of a private life. She wants to be able to communicate with husband, with daughter, with friends, and not have somebody looking over her shoulder into her emails.
Having said that, it is what it is. And you know I don’t think we should make a federal case over it.
KARL: So, Bernie Sanders seems more willing to talk about this lately. Just the other day, he was asked about the possibility that Hillary Clinton could be indicted before the Democratic convention, and he had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: If, if — I’m not saying it is — but if something like that were to happen, would that impact the electorate? Of course it would. And would that be taken into consideration by the delegates? Of course it would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: So, he’s suggesting that if that were to happen, that would be something that could sway a lot of the super delegates I assume he’s suggesting to support him instead of Hillary Clinton.
FEINSTEIN: Well, I would say I profoundly disagree. I believe that she needs effectively 73 more delegates. She will have that after the election in New Jersey before the polls close in California.
KARL: So, you have a new poll in California that shows this race is a dead heat.
Hillary Clinton is even spending six figures on advertising in the Democratic primary. Is Bernie Sanders doing damage to Hillary Clinton, hurting her chances against Donald Trump by fighting this hard, this long?
KARL: Well, I — if Bernie — look, as has been said, Bernie — Senator Sanders — has the right to run no question. He ought to be able to read the signposts as well as anybody else. And if he did that he would know that it’s all but over.
So, the question comes, you know, why doesn’t he do those things, which bring all Democrats together so that we can have a convention that’s positive, not negative, so that we can have a platform that all this great wide, broad-based party can say, “This is my platform. I am proud of it.” And the Democrats together can march to victory in November.
I know the passion of a campaign; I know when you’re in it and you just keep go, go, go until the last hour is there. Well, the last hour is close by. It would be, I think, a very positive gesture for reconciliation if Senator Sanders were to consider putting his campaign in the very real perspective that it’s in and doing those things that can bring the party together.
KARL: So before you go, Donald Trump spent a lot of time in your state. He says that California will be up for grabs this year. Do you think that’s possible? Could California go to the Republicans for the first time since 1988?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I’d be prepared to bet on it, and I would bet that would not happen. There have been about 2 million new registrations. There are 7 million to 4 million Democrats to Republicans. So I don’t think that will happen.
KARL: All right, Senator Feinstein, thank you for joining us on this Memorial Day weekend.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much, Jonathan. And may I just say, California has lost a lot of our men and women in wars. And I just want to say from position of a senator from California how grateful I am for their ultimate sacrifice.
KARL: Thank you, Senator.
FEINSTEIN: Thank you.
KARL: Senator Feinstein notes we commemorate Memorial Day this weekend. Coming up later this hour, we’ll have a powerful tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our country.
Plus, the story of a reunion over 40 years in the making between some Vietnam vets and their long-lost translator.
But when we come back, back to politics. Will Donald Trump’s campaign promises survive the Cleveland convention? Stay with us.
KARL: THIS WEEK, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seemed on track to set yet another record as the two most unpopular presidential nominees in history. So who had the worst week? The roundtable weighs in next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: We have no choice. We have no choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: That was Donald Trump back in December offering what would become one of his core campaign proposals and one of several ideas that put him at odds with long-standing Republican Party policy. How does the party now square its core beliefs with Trump’s campaign promises?
Joining us now, the man who will be responsible for reconciling those differences, Senator John Barrasso, the chairman of the Republican Platform Committee at the convention this July. Senator Barrasso, thank you for joining us.
I want to begin right with that — what we heard on the Muslim ban. This was something that Donald Trump talked about over and over again, and yet I recall you standing there with Senator Mitch McConnell when he called that proposal something completely and totally inconsistent with American values.
Well, Trump has won. What — where does the party now stand on that Muslim ban?
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: You know, the platform is about the core values of our party. It’s who we are, it’s what we stand for, and I met with Donald Trump about it and he understands that the platform is very important to the Republican Party. It’s going to be a conservative platform that’s going to be positive, optimistic, looking to the future, focused on things like jobs, the economy, and national security. And what he was focused on with that ban is national security.
The platform is going to be focusing on growing the economy. We have too many Americans who are suffering the stagnant wages —
KARL: But —
BARRASSO: This 1 to 2 percent economic growth that we have here is — cannot be the new normal for America. So the platform is going to be something that all Republicans can be proud of and national security is going to be a big part of it.
KARL: But I asked you very directly where does the Republican Party now stand on the idea of imposing a temporary ban on Muslims coming into this country? Donald Trump won; 60 percent of Republican voters in exit polls agreed with him on that proposal. You called it un-American. Where does it stand now?
BARRASSO: Well, the platform committee will meet in Cleveland in July for a full week before the convention. It’s 112 members of the platform committee. And we’ve asked Donald Trump to allow the process to play out. He has agreed to do that. And I’ve asked him personally to embrace the platform and I believe he will. National security will be a big part of it.
KARL: OK, getting to the economy, another core issue here is the question of reforming Social Security and Medicare. That was a big part of the Republican platform four years ago. You have called Social Security and Medicare out of control entitlement programs, but look at what Donald Trump said about Republican proposals to reform Social Security and Medicare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They want to cut your Social Security. I’m not cutting your Social Security. I’m the only one. They want to cut the hell out of your Social Security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: So where does the Republican Party now stand on Social Security and Medicare reform?
BARRASSO: We want to protect and reform Social Security and Medicare so it is there for future generations. There are 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 today, so we need to deal with that in a way, and the way to grow the economy is to have actually more people working. I mean, that’s what you do. You get more taxpayers out there, more people working, more people contributing to the system, and these systems have served the American people very well over the years. People like them. They need to continue and be reformed and strengthened so they’re there for future generations. And I believe that will be part of the Republican platform coming out of the convention.
KARL: OK, I want to move, got several more of these, but we’re running out of time. Immigration, of course Donald Trump also talked about deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Where does the Republican Party stand on that issue right now?
BARRASSO: Well, I believe that immigration will be an important part of the platform. The delegates will decide at the convention exactly how to deal with this. We talk about border security and whether that’s a physical wall on top of an electronic wall on top of e-verify to protect —
KARL: But on deporting the undocumented?
BARRASSO: — people in the workplace —
KARL: But on —
BARRASSO: You know that 40 percent —
KARL: I’m talking about deporting those that are here illegally.
BARRASSO: The platform committee is going to meet on talking about all of these things, and there’s going to be agreements with Donald Trump, there’s going to be disagreements. The platform is the core values of the Republican Party and it will be reflected I believe in what we’re able to craft together. And, yes, we’re going to have to wait — work our way through the maze of the platform discussions, but the Democrats, they’re looking at having to work their way through a minefield, which could be explosive. We are much more united as a party than the Democrats are; they are deeply divided and I believe we’re going to come out of Cleveland united so we can win in November and get the country headed in the right direction.
Two out of three Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. It’s critical that we win in November. We cannot afford as a country another four years under Hillary Clinton like the last eight years under Barack Obama. We cannot afford a third Obama term.
KARL: All right, well, Senator Barrasso, you’re going to have your hands full in Cleveland. We look forward to watching it every step of the way.
Thank you for joining us and happy Memorial Day weekend.
BARRASSO: Well, thank you too and let us never forget those who’ve sacrificed their lives so we could be here today, free, in the United States of America.
OK, let’s bring in the powerhouse roundtable.
We have Bill Bennett, the former Education secretary and author of the new book, “Tried By Fire.” “USA Today’s” senior political reporter, Heidi Przybyla. Republican strategist Kevin Madden. And Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona.
Uh, so Kevin, let me start with you…
KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, great, start with me.
KARL: Thank you.
Where does the Republican Party actually stand and are Republican leaders, the people we have thought of as Republican leaders, really going to move in the direction of no entitlement reform, deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, banning Muslims?
MADDEN: Look, I think it’s — it’s pretty clear, uh, if you watch Donald Trump, he is not interested in ideas. He’s not interested in issues. What he’s interested in is big bold rhetoric and selling — selling Donald Trump to the American public.
And I think what you’re going to see is a lot of the folks who do care about issues, who care about the platform, I think more and more of that is going to be outsourced to people that — that care about it.
You know, Paul Ryan, Senator Barrasso, they’re going to be the ones that I think are shaping the agenda.
But Donald Trump is going to run separate from that. And I — the big question for Republicans, up and down the ballot, will be who has a bigger impact on a voter’s view of the Republican Party, those that are crafting the platform or Donald Trump?
That’s going to be a big challenge.
KARL: But —
KARL: — but, Bill, this is — these are not minor differences. And I didn’t — I didn’t even mention trade. I mean I could have gone through five more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well…
KARL: He really stands direct — in direct opposition to many — what have been core tenets of the Republican Party for years.
BILL BENNETT, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY, AUTHOR “TRIED BY FIRE”: Right. Well, we’ll see. I’ve talked to — there’s another meeting between Paul Ryan and, uh, Donald Trump. I’ve talked…
KARL: Yes, but is that endorsement going to happen?
BENNETT: I’ve talked to both of them. You know, I know Ryan well.
BENNETT: Yes, I think it will happen. But I don’t think it will happen at the level of those ideas. I think it will happen at the level of even deeper ides, you know, Article One of the “Constitution,” pro-life, other things.
But as Barrasso said, a lot of this will be hashed out and worked out at the convention.
By the way, I think our convention will be more peaceable than the — than the Philadelphia convention.
But remember what Donald Trump is. He’s not an idea guy, that’s right. He’s not a policy guy. But he’s a vessel for talking about America in ways that haven’t been talked about in 30 years.
If these things, these ways of expressing, uh, these ideas, were so bad, I don’t think he’d be running even when he was down about 20 or 30 points a few weeks ago.
KARL: Is he really running even, Heidi?
I mean we see the polls. We see it.
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, “USA TODAY”: Uh…
KARL: We see a margin — you know, a margin of error, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump…
PRYZBYLA: You know…
KARL: — general election match-up.
PRYZBYLA: I did an analysis of that…
KARL: — that’s a big deal.
PRYZBYLA: — this week…
PRYZBYLA: — by calling some of the top pollsters who did the recent horse race numbers. And what they say is what we’ve been hearing in terms of consolidation on the Republican side, yes, that’s happening. There’s a much greater percentage, by about 10 percentage points, of Republicans getting behind Donald Trump.
What’s not happening is that the Democrats are not consolidating.
And you look at these numbers, you see it’s whoa, 20 percent of, uh, Democrats, of Bernie’s voters may vote for Trump, wow! until you go back and you look at 2008…
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
CARDONA: — and you had a higher percentage of Democrats saying they’d vote for John McCain, because they were Hillary’s voters…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
CARDONA: — and they were angry.
So the Democrats just have not begun that healing process yet. And I think once the choice becomes clear, a lot of the times people will just revert to their natural…
KARL: All right, we’ll…
CARDONA: — partisan leanings.
KARL: — we’re — we’re going to — we’re going to get to some of the Democratic challenges.
But a — but a big display of that, uh, coming — of that kind of uniting of the Republican Party came in the person of Marco Rubio.
Just for a reminder, here’s what Marco Rubio said about Donald Trump during the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is a first class con artist. And he has no serious solutions to America’s problems. And a — and, in fact, I think it’s — many of his solutions are dangerous and reckless.
Well, I don’t think there’s anyone in the history of American politics that compares to the vulgarity of a Donald Trump candidacy…
RUBIO: — in the history of American politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: And now, this week, Marco Rubio is saying that he would be honored to speak on behalf of Donald Trump at the Republican Convention.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don’t think he did himself any favors politically or with his own image by saying those things, especially compared with all of the quotes that you just showed. And he has been lambasted on social media because of it.
But I think the Republican Party’s problem, going back to something that Kevin said — is that of course most people see that the standard bearer, the nominee of the Republican Party, is — was — represents the Republican Party.
So Donald Trump’s, you know, assertions about deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are here, the Muslim ban, the building the wall, all of insults toward women, that might have worked to get him the prim — the — the primary process, the nomination, he’s facing a very different electorate in the general election, where you actually need to get — you need addition. You need to get more Hispanics.
KARL: But — but — but I — I have to say…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where you need to get more women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean those divisions on the Republican side…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He’s not doing that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — are incredibly deep. You have the entire “Never Trump” movement, which, by the way, is looking more…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It still exists.
KARL: — and more lonely…
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — Mitt Romney interview with “The Wall Street Journal” said this about his position on all of this. “I wanted my grandkids to see that I simply couldn’t ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and a temperament unfit for the leader of the free world. Our first priority should be to stand with — by our principles and if those contradict the nominee’s principles, I’m (INAUDIBLE).”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KARL: But it’s getting lonely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look, I think Marco Rubio…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: — what he’s gone through is emblematic of what a lot of Republicans are going through. They had very strong feelings in the primary, but right now, I think they’re going through the process of trying to bring the party together.
Do not underestimate the ability for Hillary Clinton to unify the Republican Party. I think more and more it’s going to fall into two camps, those that feel like they want to get — they want to bring the party together in order to defeat Hillary Clinton and then, yes, you will have folks like Mitt Romney, who are conscientious objectors.
But I think Donald Trump’s challenge is to minimize that every day in some way down to a smaller — so that it won’t have an impact in the general election.
KARL: So I know you disagree with Romney and you’re on the Trump train right now…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he’s the nominee. I’ll support him. Yes.
KARL: Yes. But —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I disagreed with a lot of what he’s said, but sure.
KARL: But do you admire Romney’s stand or do you think it’s pathetic, like Newt Gingrich suggests?
BENNETT: I — I think it’s irrelevant at this point. I can say more, but I think it’s — but I think it’s irrelevant.
People have to look at the fact that Donald — that Donald Trump has moved from a certain place to another place. It may not be even, but he’s improved his standing.
I think Hillary will also be a — be a cause of, uh, be a cause of uniting. but look, we are a long way from a — from (INAUDIBLE) setting out these policies at the convention. We shall see.
They’re going to have trouble. They already have trouble.
Look, Trump’s — now Trump’s polls are not good. Hillary’s polls, for 25 years, have been going worse and worse and worse. The more people see, the worse it gets.
KARL: All right, we’ve got to take a break.
More with that on the roundtable coming up.
Plus, he’s been a television star for movies and television for just as long, Gary Sinise has been fighting for veterans. And on this Memorial Day Weekend, Gary Sinise joins me live.
KARL: A live look this morning as thousands of bikers prepare for the famous Rolling Thunder ride to honor American prisoners of war and those missing in action. We’ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Governor Jonathan, was it wrong for America to intervene in World War I, to have intervened in World War II?
GARY JOHNSON, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don’t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Am I worried? I’m scared to death. I’m not quite sure that Hillary Clinton can effectively compete against him. Now, I’m not saying that she can’t. I think there’s an excellent chance she can (inaudible). In fact, if I were bidding, I would say the likelihood if it is Clinton versus Trump, I would put my money on her.
But can she lose? Absolutely, she could lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: We’re back with the powerhouse roundtable. Bernie Sanders saying something that has Bill Bennett nodding his head.
Maria, you got to admit, this was a bad week for Hillary Clinton.
CARDONA: Well, certainly having that IG report was not fun. And that’s why I think she came out smartly to emphasize her apology, to emphasize that she knew that it had been a mistake, had she the opportunity to do it again, she wouldn’t do it.
But I also think it’s good to have context. What she did was something that others had done. The rules were nebulous at best. It doesn’t…
KARL: No other secretary of state had their own server at home and operated…
CARDONA: That’s correct.
KARL: I mean, this was a different…
CARDONA: That’s correct. And that’s why she apologized. But the bottom line is she turned over 55,000 emails, other secretaries did not. And at the end of the day, what she needs to continue to talk to the American people about is that there was nothing nefarious here. There was no ulterior motive. And I think when you look at what she has done in her 30 years of public life, focusing on making the American people’s lives better versus what she says, which is completely I think something that resonates with the American people a loose cannon who is unqualified who likes to tweet his way into news cycles without having any real proposals, and somebody who has only done one thing in his 30 years of life, which is to enrich himself, I think that’s a contrast that Hillary Clinton will win.
BENNETT: Look, the OIG report was crystal clear. It demolishes the two main talking points that Hillary Clinton has been promoting since this controversy was uncovered. The first was that it was allowed. The report clearly says it was against — that it was a violation of policy.
KARL: Maybe not the law, but policy.
BENNETT: Right. And the second was…
CARDONA: And others had done it.
BENNETT: …that there was no risk to national security. The report clearly says that there was a risk to national security, because of the procedures…
CARDONA: There was no proof that any of it was at risk.
BENNETT: Yet, the Clinton campaign continues to try to deflect. And then they — well, probably smartly, as far as the strategy, try and demonize everybody else.
But the American public still has a problem with Hillary Clinton on the issue of trustworthiness and honesty, because here she is trying to refute exact points that were laid out in the OIG report.
PRYZBYLA: Covering this as a journalist on both sides, here’s what I don’t understand in this cycle. Why is neither side capable — when confronted with actual evidence that you were wrong, to say that, to admit it. To say I was wrong.
CARDONA: Hillary did say that. She apologized.
PRYZBYLA: She said it was permitted, after we just got a report saying it was not permitted, she said it was permitted. And the same goes for Donald Trump. We’ve had actual video evidence of him saying things that come out to be completely wrong and neither one can say mea culpa, you know…
PRYZBYLA: …sometimes it’s refreshing. The American people find it refreshing to listen to politicians admit…
CARDONA: And that’s why she has focused on her apology. Donald Trump doesn’t know the meaning of the word apology.
PRYZBYLA: I’d put it on both of them.
MADDEN: Trump’s comments come day to day, they’re trivial, they’re evanescent. This is real. The State Department — I mean, the arguments get thinner and thinner. Dianne Feinstein earlier in this show said she just wanted a little privacy to talk to her family. She’s the secretary of state, she can’t do that a server, right, on her own private server conduct business as secretary of state and claim that kind of privacy.
Yeah, she released 31,000…
KARL: That was, by the way, a new explanation.
MADDEN: Yeah, no kidding, they changed. And they’re getting worse.
But she also buried about 30,000…
CARDONA: There was no proof that national security was at risk, and that’s why the FBI process is going on.
The FBI process is what is focused on national security.
KARL: And what will happen, by the way. We saw some extraordinary, Bernie Sanders actually talking to hypothetical if she gets indicted.
KARL: There’s got to be frustration in the Clinton campaign that the FBI has not wrapped up their investigation.
MADDEN: No kidding.
KARL: She will be interviewed by the FBI. Can they do that in the middle of a fall campaign?
MADDEN: They turned down interviews with the State Department, as you know. They wouldn’t appear for those.
CARDONA: Not for the FBI process, though.
PRYZBLYA: However, every indication that I have, given the bar in this case of evidence that would take, suggests that if anyone is indicted, which is very much in question, it’s not likely to be her. It’s likely to possibly be an aide.
And then you ask the question, well, which aide is that. Is it an aide who came over with her on to the campaign, in which case…
KARL: Are they frustrated this is taking so long? I mean…
CARDONA: She offered to be interviewed by the FBI months ago. And that’s why she is hoping — they are all hoping that this will be behind them and that nothing is going to come out.
MADDEN: Nothing she wants more than a free and open inquiry with the FBI.
KARL: With the FBI. She…
CARDONA: Focused on national security. That’s what’s important, not the IG report.
KARL: So, you would think with all of this. We talk about the obvious flaws with Trump, obvious negatives with Hillary Clinton, this could potentially the libertarian party’s moment. They have their convention going on. Gary Johnson, former Republican governor of New Mexico, hoping to have his running mate, the former Republican governor Bill Weld…
MADDEN: Too liberal.
KARL: …of Massachusetts.
MADDEN: Bill Weld is too damn liberal…
KARL: I want to play you something from the debate that they held just last night from Gary Johnson. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Governor Johnson, was it wrong for America to have intervened in World War I, to have intervened in World War II.
JOHNSON: I don’t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDEN: There was applause for it.
KARL: All right.
MADDEN: I don’t know?
KARL: I thought the debate over whether or not we should have gotten into World War II ended roughly on December 7, 1941.
MADDEN: Well, you’ve got to talk to President Obama in Japan. He’s not sure about it either, you know, about who was in the right and who was in the wrong.
KARL: But, I mean, this should be a moment for a third party, it could be a moment for the libertarians. But I mean, that was — also, I should say that Gary Johnson did say that he supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was then booed by the convention.
CARDONA: Can I just mention something about — you brought this up — the trust and honesty issue with Hillary Clinton. It is an important one. But as you know, and everyone who does campaigns, that is not a question that is asked in a vacuum where you get the answers that people think. Trust and honesty are as compared to what — as compared to who and to do what.
KARL: But actually honesty numbers are worse than Trump is.
CARDONA: But as compared to Trump? I think…
BENNETT: …serial prevaricator, yet when you ask people who they think about — what they think about Trump, what they like about him, they say he’s a truth teller, he tells it like it is.
PRYZBYLA: As a journalist, there’s some serious things that Donald Trump has said that they are not just…
PRYZBLYA: He says — for instance, he says he was against the Iraq War, there is no evidence of that other than a Howard Stern tape where he says, are you for the war. And he says, yeah, I guess.
MADDEN: Better to be boorish, as Trump is than boring as Hillary is. Let me quote Bill Maher, Hillary, we tried to make it easy for you. First time we put up a bad name, Barack Hussein Obama, second time a 70-year-old socialist senator from Vermont. What’s your problem, Hillary? That’s a good question.
CARDONA: She’s going to win, so we’ll see.
KARL: All right, next on this Veteran — Labor — Memorial Day weekend, brothers in arms reunite four decades later.
KARL: And there are thousands of bikers who have taken over downtown Washington, D.C., as they ride here every year to remember the captured and missing in Vietnam. And this morning, ABC’s Bob Woodruff shares are remarkable story of honor and commitment from that war.
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS: It was a dangerous war in Vietnam, a foreign land where American soldiers badly needed translators. From 1967 to 1971, Nguyen Hoang Minh was a combat interpreter for every SEAL team in the Mekong Delta.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those SEAL teams were the most effective combat steal teams in Vietnam, primarily because of Minh’s influence.
WOODRUFF: When the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, Minh disappeared. No word of him for over 40 years, assumed dead until patrol boat officer John Donovan found him in 2006.
JOHN DONOVAN, U.S. NAVY (RET): He looks at me and this big smile breaks out. That was the thing that identified him the most is he always had this big grin on his face.
WOODRUFF: This week in Vietnam, I got the chance to hear his remarkable story.
This is beautiful out here.
Minh spent almost two-and-a-half years in a prison camp.
NGUYEN HOANG MINH, FMR. NAVY SEAL INTERPRETER: When I was at the prisoner came, you know, I am — I have no food, no everything, you know.
WOODRUFF: But the SEALs who fought by his side built him a new house.
MINH: My bedroom. My bedroom.
WOODRUFF: They’re also giving him $300 a month for life.
What would your life be like if the SEALs did not find you?
MINH: I would be dead for a long time.
WOODRUFF: In 2013, they flew him to Florida to reunite with his platoon seen here in the documentary “A Bond Unbroken: The Why of Minh.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you’re getting old.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’re a hell of a man, I’ll tell you. God bless you.
WOODRUFF: Before the SEALs’ generosity, he was too poor to send his children to college. Now his granddaughter is a freshman at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science. Her dream, she told me, is to become a pharmacist.
Interpreters like Min are often the unsung heroes of war, but in Minh’s case, the SEALs will always remember his contribution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To our friendship!
WOODRUFF: For THIS WEEK, I’m Bob Woodruff, in Metoh (ph), Vietnam.
KARL: What a great story. Our thanks to Bob.
Joining us now, actor Gary Sinise. You will remember him most famously as Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump”. But you may not know is that for decades now Gary has been a tireless advocate for America’s veterans and he is serving this weekend as the honorary Grand Marshal of the National Labor — of the National Memorial Day Parade.
You’ve done this now for several years.
GARY SINISE, ACTOR: Yes, the parade now for — this will be I think tenth year in a row. And then there’s the National Memorial Day Concert, which is tonight, and —
KARL: You’ll be performing with the Lt. Dan Band.
SINISE: No, no, no — not the band. I’m a co-host with Joe Mantegna. It’s a wonderful, wonderful event.
KARL: So how did that role change your life? Lieutenant Dan.
SINISE: Well, I had been actively involved with veterans’ groups going back to the late ’70s and early ’80s, Vietnam veterans particularly because I have them in my family. And then in the ’90s I had the opportunity to audition for that part. I got the role, and that led me to working with our wounded through the Disabled American Veterans Organization. That —
KARL: You established the connection with — (INAUDIBLE) sort of, I mean, you’ve been working on this issue, but now you became —
SINISE: Well, yes. At that time, I didn’t know until after September 11, though, when we had this new generation of Lieutenant Dans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, that that role would continue to play a part in my life. I started walking into the hospitals and the young soldiers, Marines, would look at me and they’d be in the hospital bed and they would recognize me from the movie. And it would open up a conversation and I’d be able to talk to them about the story of Lieutenant Dan, which is a resilient story. He’s OK in the end and that’s what we want for all our — our wounded coming back from the war.
KARL: So we have a situation now where less than one half of one percent of the U.S. population is active duty military. How do you — are you worried that we lose a connection between those that are serving, sacrificing for our country, when so few are actually in that (INAUDIBLE)?
SINISE: Well, unfortunately, there is a disconnection. But — unless you have a personal connection to someone who’s a friend or a family member or something like that, you might be very disassociated with what our military does. But on the other hand, if you look back to the Vietnam Era when people really disconnected with the military and turned our back on our Vietnam veterans, a shameful period in our history. If you look in retrospect from then to now, it’s much, much better.
But we can always do more. I always say that we can never do enough for our veterans. We can always try to do more. That’s what we’re doing at my foundation, the Gary Sinise Foundation. We spread our wings across the country helping our wounded, helping our Gold Star families, trying to address the needs of those who have served and are currently serving, are first responders. I think if every community in this country, every neighborhood, every town, every city, reached out to the local veterans that are within those communities, and extended a hand and tried to fill some needs, we would have much less — we’d have a lesser problem with regards how we’re treating our veterans.
We can’t expect the government to do everything. They should always try to do —
KARL: What’s the bottom line on how our government’s doing?
SINISE: Well, there’s always the issues. There’s always the bureaucracy and the issues, and we hear a lot about that. And thankfully there are a lot of non-government organizations, foundations, like mine and many other good ones that are out there — Bob Woodruff Foundation. A lot of great non-government organizations have stepped up to try to fill the gaps.
KARL: All right, well, thank you for doing it. Gary Sinise, thank you for joining us.
SINISE: It’s my pleasure.
KARL: We’ll be right back after this from our ABC station.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The race for 2016 goes west. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders fighting for California and trying to tame Donald Trump.
Plus, a scary good time. Climb along with us to one spooky New York rooftop. This Week, watch “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT” with David Muir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: That’s all for us today. And on this Memorial Day weekend, we want to leave you with this story of Operation Honor Our Heroes, going on right now here on the National Mall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY ALICE HORRIGAN, GOLD STAR MOTHER: My name is Mary Alice Horrigan. I am a Gold Star Mother.
A Blue Star family sends their loved one off to war. But a Gold Star family never gets them back.
My son, Robert Mark Horrigan, was (INAUDIBLE) a year ago, and he would have gotten out of the military after serving 20 years that fall.
Our organization started because of Robert. We wanted people to see not just the facts but the face of the person who died. Some of them would come back and would be lawyers or doctors or maybe discover a cure for cancer or go to the moon. And they were cut down before they could do that.
And what we hope to do is just show them the human face of war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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