never seen before. >> we very much need a cool-headed president. >> he's doing his best to convey exactly what's ot his mind. >> the rhetoric did certainly ramp up in a very unhelpful way, all avoidable. >> in response to two bombers flying over the north korean peninsula, north korea threatens to bomb guam. >> you can't be engaging in school boy rhetoric with north korea. this is absurd. >> you're talking about incomprehensible death and destruction. it would be apocalyptic. >> this is "new day" with chris cuomo and alisyn camerota. >> good morning, welcome to your "new day." chris is off this morning. bill we're joir joins me. up first, north korea threatening to attack the u.s. territory of guam, hope to one of america's air force bases in response to u.s. bombers flying over the korean peninsula. this comes after president trump's extraordinary warning to pyongyang vowing to unleash,
quote, fire and fury, end quote, if threats to the u.s. continue. >> fire, fury and power, the likes of which the world has never seen. lawmakers on both sides slamming the president's response, calling on mr. trump to be more measured as the crisis intensifies. it comes after u.s. intelligence assessment that north korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could theoretically fit inside its missiles. the tensions sparking talk of war, possibility of an arms race in the region. others saying cooler heads will prevail. we have the global resources of cnn covering every angle. we begin with will ripley who has been inside north korea more than a dozen times. he joins us from north korea. >> a couple of developments just breaking here within the last fu minutes. we have just received word from the chinese ministry of foreign affairs. the first response on the record to president trump's fire and fury remarks and north korea's threat to attack u.s. military
assets in guam, of course, china very concerned an accidental war could break out on the peninsula. they are reiterating what they said during other times of tension. they can calling for calm. let me read you the statement, i don't know if we've had time to make a graphic. the current situation is complex and sensitive. china calls on all relevant sides to uphold the broad direction of resolving the north korean nuclear issue through political means, avoid remarks and actions that could aggravate conflicts and escalate tensions. that message aimed both at president trump and also at north korea. north korea responding to the flyover on monday of two u.s. b-1 bombers. 30% of that island occupied by the u.s. military, thousands of troops there, north korea saying they could potentially hit it with their medium to lang-range
missiles. also a piece of breaking news out from north korea. they have released their longest held western prisoner, a canadian pastor who has been held there since early 2015. i interviewed him about a year and a half ago. hae had been serving a life sentence of hard labor. alisyn, i have to say, this may be an attempt by north korea to project their humanitarian side, their benevolence by allowing this prisoner to go free after 2 1/2 years. >> thank you very much for keeping us posted on what's happening there. meanwhile, president trump's unprecedented warning to north korea of unleashing, quote, fire and fury, the likes of which the world has never seen, unquote, has lawmakers from both parties slamming his rhetoric. cnn's joe johns is live in bridgewater, new jersey, near the president's golf resort. what's the statement coming from there today, joe?
>> reporter: alisyn, this fire and fury statement from the president is, at the very least, certainly surprisingly strong langua language, arguably some of the most incendiary language used by an american president in decades. it was followed up almost immediately by another threat from north korea. the president did not make clear whether he was talking about rhetorical threats which come from north korea all the time or more physical, tangible, military threats against the united states. it was also not clear whether the president has sat down and talked to his advisers about this language, or if he was speaking more off-the-cuff. listen. >> north korea best not make anymore threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never
seen. he has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. as i said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. >> reporter: the president's statement there quickly attracted bipartisan criticism from republican senator john mccain who said an american president needs to be willing, ready and able to act to back up his words. he said he wasn't sure president trump is willing to act, at least at this stage. this is also likely to complicate the efforts of secretary of state tillerson in the region. bill. >> joe johns, thank you very much. the mounting tensions between the u.s. and north korea prompting neighboring countries
to enable more weapons. this is daily life in seoul, but not words like this from the american president. what's the reaction so far? >> reporter: they're used to threats. there's real threats about a mistake that could lead to conflict. frankly, north korea doesn't need an intercontinental ballistic missile to stage an attack right here in the region if they feel threatened, if the wires get somehow crossed, and the implications could be truly dire. the city of seoul, the larger metropolitan area here has some 20 million people, just 35 miles away from the dmz, the heavily fortified border between south korea and north korea where north korea has its weapons lined up. again, they can attack the region at any time if they want to. they know they would face incredible repercussions. that's the only thing that would be holding them back. but given the heightened tension on the peninsula, heightened security concerns, we are hearing calls from the president of south korea for the country to up its defense capabilities
and capacity, similar sentiments echoed by lawmakers in japan. officials here are trying to lower the tension in the region. they haven't responded directly about the incendiary comments made by president trump, pointing the finger at pyongyang, calling for calm there and said north korea created the problem here. alisyn. if u.s. intelligence assessments are accurate, north korea is on a fast track to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power. the reclusive regime has purportedly produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit inside a missile capable of hitting the u.s. mainland. cnn's barbara starr has more on their advancing capabilities. barbara, this is happening faster than we had been warned. >> good morning, alisyn. the key words there are produced. they have produced some type of nuclear warhead device item, if you will. whether it has been tested, which is doubtful, and whether
it would actually be able to be put on a functioning missile launched and get to a target is still an open question. the question is how far along are they really, have they tested all this? as for a missile that would carry that warhead, we know they have tested intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the u.s., more enter mad range missiles that could hit guam. the big question is have they locked in all the advanced capabilities for targeting the missile and the warhead to a specific spot thousands of miles away? and could that missile and warhead survive the heat and pressure of re-entering the earth's atmosphere? these are key questions, key technical questions, of course. it all goes to what is the rhetoric versus the reality of the north korean program. alisyn? >> barbara, thank you very much for all of that from the pentagon. let's bring in our panel. we have cnn political analyst david gregory, counterterrorism
editor phil mudd. will ripley, for people just joining us, you had breaking news about the first chinese response to all this. tell us what they're saying. >> i'll read you the response once again. china, what they tend to do in situations like this, they stand in the middle and tell the united states to calm down, tell north korea to calm down. what they don't want to see is an accidental war break out on their doorstep. there's growing fear here this morning that this is exactly where this path is leading, not that either side necessarily wants a military conflict, but one action could lead to a chain reaction. the statement reads, quote, the current situation on the korean peninsula is complex and sensitive. china calls on all relevant sides to uphold the broad direction of resolving the north korean nuclear issue through political means, avoid remarks and actions that could aggravate
conflicts and escalate tensions. that aimed obviously at the effort to promote the issue r - through dialogue and negotiations. also that remark aimed at north korea as well. they've been putting out provocative rhetoric for years, threatening just this week to annihilate the united states, to retaliate if the united states tries to take out their supreme leader kim jong un. china is continuing to insist that they are not responsible for this. they place the blame for escalating tensions on the north koreans, but also the united states and south korea for their military exercises. >> david, let's talk about president trump's understanding of the region. on the campaign trail he alluded to the idea that japan should take care of this. after meeting with president xi, he said it's more complicated than that. he once called kim jong un a smart cookie. was he talking to his base from
bedminster, talking to his voters in the heartland, or do you think he had any sense of talking to the capitals in beijing and tokyo? >> i think in this case the president is making a calculation and is thinking about this strategically. whether it's wise, i think he is being strategic because he is conferring with top military and diplomatic advisers on this. there's been a process according to people i've talked to over the past months indicating there is a seriousness about this, to reach a diplomatic solution to all this. so i think in his mind he wants to meet kim's rhetoric with his own over-the-top rhetoric to send a message to china and to north korea that there is a new sheriff in town, that he's going to do things differently, that he's not just going to try to contain or try to negotiate with the north, but he might be crazy enough to call their bluff. i think there's something -- donald trump has made these comments in the past referring
to the mad man theory of foreign policy that president nixon deployed, to puersuade the nort that he might be unusual enough to do this. i think what worries people is to draw this kind of red line, you want to be much more opaque. at the end of the day, i think serious experts on this see some kind of negotiation that leads to a containment of the north, even though i'm sure trump looks at this and says i want to do something different than previous administrations have done that hasn't worked up until now. >> absolutely, david. in fact, his own tweets from 2013 say that very thing. before he was ever a candidate, donald trump was putting out tweets like this about president obama, what he thought was lack of forceful enough response to north korea. he said where is the president? it's time for him to come on tv and show strength against the repeated threats from north korea. so that's what he vowed to do even before he was ever
president, phil mudd. now he's doing it. you know, if what david just spelled out is that president trump wants to show that he, too, can be volatile, he, too, can be unpredictable, well,ist has gotten the attention of china, according to will ripley, because of the statement they just put out. >> i suppose, but it's a mistake. he's trying to project power. he's done that with the mexicans on building the fence, with the canadians on nafta, threatened the europeans by opening questions to our commitment to nato; now more threatening to the chinese. here is the problem. it's one of the most profound mistakes in any foreign policy decision, that is what we call the rational actor model. he's threatening because he knows we dwarf the north koreans military capability and economy. he's assuming they'll view this rationally, that they'll say any military engagement with the americans will be a huge mitts take and could eventually end
the regime in north korea. that's a mistake by president trump for the simple reason that you do not understand how the adversary will interpret your message. let me give you one different interpretati interpretation. the north korean leader says the president is serious and might consider toppling my regime? what does he do then? he lashes out to defend himself. as soon as you use language like this, alisyn, you threaten the prospect that the adversary interprets the language in ways you never anticipated. >> the mad man theory of leadership as referenced there, depended on henry kissinger playing good cop to nixon's bad cop. no secretary for east's affairs, no secretary of asian pacific affairs. but we do understand that rex tillerson, our secretary of state at the moment, on a surprise trip to guam had comments to say. he was flying from kuala lumpur to the pacific island, maybe
predicated by the president's comments to go calm that down. we'll play that sound when it becomes available. in the meantime, chris cillizza, how about that diplomatic effort? if in the art of the deal, in donald trump's world, when you open with fire and fury, where do you go from there? >> yeah. when you start at ten, it's hard to get louder. i'm with phil mudd in that i do think the danger here is that trump is 50% of this equation. he's not 100%, and during the campaign the big thing -- after the campaign was, see, you guys, the media, take trump seriously but not literally. his supporters take him literally but not seriously. sorry. the other way around. the point being, they know he just says stuff. he's not going to do it. build the wall, he's just talking. we like that he's willing to say
those things. we like that he starts up on ten, bill, not on two. it's a harder game when you're talking about foreign powers, particularly when you're talking about a rogue nation like north korea. bill is exactly right. we don't know how this is going to be interpreted in pyongyang. sure, if they look at our military might versus theirs, a rational decision would suggest they do not provoke in any way, shape or form. but when you have the president of the united states saying things like fire and fury, does kim jong un say, i take him seriously, but i don't take him literally. what if he takes him the other way around? that's always been the question with trump. what would this mean, taken out of the context of a campaign where he's saying things about this person or that person and put it in the context of world affairs, and then where are we? that's the question we're asking
today. >> the bigger question is not so much how north korea ultimately absorbed this message. it's how china does. china is a rational actor and china doesn't just think in terms of the next couple months but thinks in terms of years, in terms of a relationship with the united states. and the power dynamic in the far east, in that part of the world. so china can ultimately use its influence to try to calm things down. the other piece of this is you have to look at our recent history. phil has dealt with these issues directly. in the period of the iraq war, you have libya after the invasion of iraq give up its nuclear program. there was an intelligence assessment at the time that indicated iran had slowed down a little bit after the invasion of iraq, the projection of u.s. power. in the end, the administration under president obama negotiated with iran about its nuclear capability to try to push that down the road. with a regime like north korea
that has continued to advance, i still think we're looking at negotiation -- >> david, hold on one second. we do now have the sound coming from secretary of state rex tillerson. he's just arrived in guam. this is a surprise visit. he has just spoken about north korea. the tape appears to be freezing at the moment. i can tell you he has said that the president has issued strong words against north korea and that he said north korea does not seem to understand any diplomatic talk. we'll play that directly for you as soon as we have it. will ripley, it's interesting, secretary of state rex tillerson is really trying to thread a needle. what he has been saying is that he's been working on a peaceful pressure campaign. that was before the president's words. here he is now. >> the president said that north korea's threats against the
united states with fire and fury like the world has never seen. is this part of a diplomatic strategy, or did you find those remarks to be -- >> well, i think, you know, the u.s. and international community with respect to north korea has actually had a pretty good week. we had a unanimous u.n. security council resolution to strengthen sanctions against north korea with china and russia joining us in that vote. and then at asean, a lot of strong statements coming out of asean that i think reinforced, the global community has expressed its view that north korea really needs to stand down this program. i think in response to that the north korean's rhetoric has ratcheted up. i think what the president was doing is sending a strong message that kim jong un will
understand. i think the president wanted to be clear to the north korean regime that the u.s. has an unconditional ability to defend itself, will defend itself and its allies. i think it's important he deliver that message to avoid any mysticaling lags on their part. >> well, one of north korea's responses was to say it's going to direct -- that's where you're headed right now. would you consider rerouting? >> the north korea missile capability can point in many directions. guam is not the only place that could be under threat. no, i never considered rerouting the trip back. i do not believe that there is any imminent threat in my own view. >> do you think there's a longer-term threat specifically about guam, against the region in general? >> i hope not. again, what we're hopeful is this pressure campaign which the
entire world now has joined us in and with the engagement of china and russia, two of north korea's closest neighbors, that they can begin to persuade the regi regime, they need to reconsider the current pathway they're on, think about engaging in a dialogue in a different future. >> have china and russia been helpful to you at all in the last 24 hours? have you spoken to your counterparts? >> i haven't spoken to them since we left manila which was i guess about a day and a half ago. we had great discussions in manila about the situation. i know they were having talks as well with the representative from north korea. i think that is evidence that they have good open channels of communication to be able to talk to the regime in north korea. we hope they will be encouraging now to stand down their program, to abide by the u.n. security council resolutions which both
china and russia have voted for in the past. so i'm hopeful that they can use their influence, and i believe they do have influence with the regime to bring them to a point of dialogue, but with the right expectation of what that dialogue will entail. >> has anything happened in the last 24 hours to lead you to believe that we are leaning towards a military option perhaps more quickly than anticipated? >> nothing that i've seen, nothing that i know of would indicate that the situation has dramatically changed in the last 24 hours. >> do you have any immediate diplomatic plans to deescalate the situation that could have an impact within days instead of months or years? >> we have a very active, on going diplomatic effort. most of which is behind the scenes because that's where diplomacy is most effective. we have very open conversations and our telephone lines remain
open certainly to china and russia, as well as our allies. i think publicly we've been pretty clear in our statements directed at the north koreans as to what we would like to see happen and to make clear to them that we do not seek to be a threat to them. we have to respond to the serious threats they make towards us. >> there have been calls for you to launch a new diplomatic effort. do you feel a new strategy may be warranted? >> i do notment i think the strategy we're currently on is working, in fact. again, we have garnered widespread international support, obviously not just with the u.n. security council resolution, but globally countries are speaking out and expressing the same view as to what north korea should do, which is not be a threat to the stability of the region. i think, in fact, the pressure is starting to show. i think that's why the rhetoric coming out of pyongyang is beginning to become louder and
more threatening. whether we've got them backed into a corner or not is difficult to say. but diplomatically, you never like to have someone in a corner without a way for them to get out. >> and what is pyongyang's way out? >> talks, talks with the right expectation of what those talks will be about. >> do you have any advice for americans, should they be worried? >> i think americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric over the last few days. i think the president again, as commander-in-chief, he felt it necessary to issue a very strong statement directly to north korea. i think what the president is reaffirming, the united states has the capability to fully defend itself from any attack and defend our allies, and we will do so. the american people should sleep well at night. >> okay. that was a hopeful note to end on and very helpful to hear from
secretary of state rex tillerson who made a surprise visit to guam. we were hearing it for the first time along with you. he said a lot of i think attention-grabbing things, he explained president trump's rhetoric by saying the president had to use language to get kim jong un's attention because diplomatic statements are not getting it. >> he thinks ratcheting this up may get through. >> but he also just said americans can sleep well tonight because he doesn't think he sees any marked change in what's happened in terms of tension over the past 48 hours. he has a more sanguin approach. >> you heard darrell issa, john mccain very critical. thanks to our panel. let's bring in another man who
knows this region so well, bill richardson, former u.n. ambassador, former governor of new mexico and a man who has dealt with the north korean threat for most of his career. ambassador, good to see you. tell me how you reacted when you heard those words about fire and fury unlike the world has seen. >> well, my first thought was that the president should calm down, that that was overheated rhetoric, but it was matching the north korean rhetoric which they do all the time. the north koreans, every chance i've dealt with them, they have this kind of blustery rhetoric. i think what secretary tillerson was saying was we need to have a rational policy. he was calming people down after the president's remark. but what i see the gravest threat now is the intelligence assessment that a miniature warhead is capable of hitting
the united states with a missile. we don't know for certain. that report was very disturbing. i think we have to get our intelligence people to focus a lot more than they have in the past on this, but at the same time i think this is a chance for the president to be presidential, to calm the nation torques have a rational policy, to reach out to republicans and democrats on what we or going to do. let's not match the north koreans with their rhetoric. >> look, that seemed to be what secretary tillerson was just doing. he had the most calming words of any i think we've heard in the past 24 hours. but it's confusing, governor, because he said he doesn't think anything has dramatically changed in the past 48 hours. there's word that the north has produced this miniaturized nuclear warhead. that does sound as though we have moved -- this has been a major step function move from where we were 48 hours ago if
those intelligence assessments are correct. >> i do think this is the gravest situation i've seen in the peninsula, not maybe crisis proportions, but with that miniaturized war lhead observation, with the strong sanctions. this is going to bite north korea if china dozen force them. the north korean rhetoric is a bit over the top, even though they do this consistently, the fact that their foreign minister said it so visibly. i know that foreign minister. he's basically a moderate in the scheme of things in north korea. so it is a grave situation, but this is a time when i think the president needs to be presidential, that we need to develop a comprehensive policy, that we have to accelerate the development of that policy because of the decision on the nuclear warhead, that our intel people have detected. we want to calm fears in places
like guam and alaska and continental united states. look, we can overwhelm north korea. they're a smaller country, small economy. but i think the only way out is through a diplomatic solution. i think what secretary tillerson has said, let's have a dialogue with north korea, but you guys have to freeze your missile tests, i think that's a tensable proposal. now, the important thing, also, is that the rest of the administration, the pentagon, the national security adviser, u.n. ambassador, should follow tillerson's lead, should not come up with mixed messages, preemptive military strikes. >> you think there has been a mixed message between nikki haley and secretary tillerson? >> i do, and with the national security adviser, and especially now with the president. this fury statement, he should calm down.
he should be presidential. he should be careful. the north koreans don't think like we do. they don't react like we do. they're not tit for tat. look what they did today, released this canadian prisoner. maybe they're starting to be a little rational. you never know what they're going to do. don't expect them to act rationally. they're unpredictable. the best thing we need to do is -- >> finish your thought, please. >> i think the best thing we can do is announce a comprehensive policy. the president should perhaps address the nation about this imminent threat because there's just too much rhetoric, too much misunderstandings, and basically rally the country and rally people from around the world to this very grave threat. it's not a crisis yet. but blustery language back and forth, you don't draw red lines and then don't cross them. i think that's what the
president has done. >> bill richardson, thank you very much for your insight this morning. 202 days into this presidency, we have yet to see an address straight down the camera from the west wing, from the rose garden, whatever. if not now, when? >> anything is possible since breaking news continues to happen on our watch this morning. there's all sorts of developments we'll bring you up to speed on. >> coming up next, two military generals weigh in on north korea accelerating nuclear capabilities, and how the u.s. could respond if there's another aggression. stay with us, please.
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and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. just moments ago, secretary of state rex tillerson on the ground in guam saying the president sent a strong message to north korea, a message only kim jong un would understand. more importantly telling the country any threats to the u.s. would be met with fire and fury, the president's words. rex tillerson softening things saying the u.s. should sleep well. joining us, lieutenant general
mark hertling and author of "besieged" brigadier general anthony tata. you advised president trump on the campaign trail. what is his sense of the korean peninsula, china, all these players and what did you make of his words about raining down fire and fury yesterday? >> bill, i see the fire and fury comment as just another element of national power that this team is leveraging. you've got h.r. mcmaster, general kelly, general mattis. they all understand about leveraging elements of national power to achieve ends, ways and means of national security. i think the fire and fury comment was an informational piece of national power just as we've got military b-1 bombers flying across the peninsula using flexible deterrent options. we have the sanctions that were imposed, an economic element of national power. we use political and
geopolitical national power to achieve a unanimous vote on those sanctions. i think what you see here is an administration that really understands how to synchronize the elements of national power whereas the previous administration was particularly inept at doing so. so what we've got now is you've got 8,50 artillery tubes in north korea, 4,500 rocket launchers in north korea and they essentially are threatening seoul with conventional power while they build their nuclear power. what they've got right now is the ability to range to the middle of the united states. there's some indication that there are miniaturized nuclear warheads that they can put on these ballistic missiles they've been testing under the obama regime. president trump prefers to talk about america first and power as
opposed to president obama and frankly the clinton strategy of appeasement. we have to remember in 1994 president clinton struck the deal that would, quote, unquote, dismantle north korea's nuclear program, much the way obama struck a deal with iran to dismantle its nuclear program. we see where we are with north korea today. >> years of strategic patience as a strategy brings us to this day. general hertling, you had a be mused smile on your face. what are your thoughts about this idea? >> i don't see it quite the same way my good friend tony sees it. i think a strategic leader should look at many ways to control the operational tempo, to find a conversation not mixed with emotion to defuse issues as opposed to ramping them up. as soon as you start limiting your options by saying one thing as the strategic leader, you've
caused yourself a little bit of trouble. the current administration has achieved great things over the last seven to ten days in terms of diplomatic action and informational action. to have the leader of that administration using the bellicose language that a lot of the world sees in a very different way than many americans do, causes some challenges when you're talking about a strategic event with dire circumstances on the peninsula of korea. as we're focusing on this one area of the world, one of the jobs i had as a war planner in the pentagon many years ago was to say what's going on in the rest of the world. this is one of three or four major issues that the united states is involved in. if you put all your focus in one area where this was a conflict we've always known for the last several decades would consume america's strength and power, and to put all our focus on this one area when we have very many
other strategic challenges i think is a mistake. >> general tata, is there any form of military warning shot that could be sent here that would not put american or south korean lives in danger? and what happens if the chain of command disagrees with the president on the strike call? >> well, the president is the commander-in-chief. i think what you've got is a chain of command that will properly execute the commander-in-chief's orders. i go back to what my good friend mark was saying. i would rather go back in time and have fdr give a warning to japan not to attack pearl harbor than to make his famous date of infamy speech that he made. i think we're at brinks manship right now with north korea. the options are we have a range of flexible deterrent operations from operation full legal that used to be called team spirit
that we do on the korean peninsula, that involves tens of thousands of u.s. and republic of korea troops on the ground conducting military exercises. we've determined terminal high altitude air defense systems throughout the region that help knock down ballistic missiles. why do they want to go to a guam? that's where the b-1 bombers fly from. we have 6,000 u.s. military personnel there, a joint naval base, formerly andersen air force base there. north korea would love nothing better than to threaten that. that's why -- as a u.s. territory, that is probably most close to north korea that they can range and threaten. so, yes, there's a range of options, but none of them are good because you've got about 15 million people in seoul that are under conventional threat right now. >> generals tata and hertling, thank you for your time this morning.
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a new cnn national poll shows 73% of americans do not trust what they here from the white house. what does that mean for the president's fire and fury warning to north korea? >> president trump, of course, has a long history of puffery and bluster in the business world, but his pension for exaggeration may have crossed dangerous line. cnn's chief political analyst gloria borger looks at trump's dicy relationship with the truth. >> reporter: donald trump and the truth, a relationship that's
troubled, from phone calls that never happened. >> even the president of mexico called me. >> the conversations took place, they just simply didn't take plaps over a phone call. >> reporter: to the size of his victory. >> i guess it was the biggest electoral college win since ronald reagan. >> george h.w. bush, 426 when he won as president. >> reporter: to the evidence-free claim of who exactly voted in 2016. >> i've seen no evidence to that effect. i made that very, very clear. >> reporter: trump's unique take on accuracy goes back decades to the building and selling of trump tower where barbara rez managed the construction. >> he planted that princess di was looking for an apartment in trump tower. >> that didn't happen? >> no, but it made the papers. >> sure. so veracity wasn't a part of it. it was just getting the buzz out
there. >> yes. >> did you guys laugh at it? >> yeah. there was nothing so terrible about it. it was like of like puffing, it was like exaggerating. >> seems like sometimes that's not the case. >> reporter: tony schwartz, co-author of "the art of the deal" even invented a name for trump's strategy. >> i came up with this phrase, truthful hyperbole, which i called it an innocent form of exaggeration. now, i can call something i actually sold for $2 million, i can say $10 million and that becomes truthful hyperbole. the problem is there is no such thing as truthful hyperbole. the truth is the truth. hyperbole is a lie. they don't go together. >> reporter: in 1990 truthful hyperbole was on full display when disaster struck at trump's taj mahal in atlantic city. >> when the casino control commission went down there on
opening day to check out that all the things had been done, many things hadn't been done. they shut down a third of the slots. >> reporter: slots that were critical to the casino's success. >> the slots are the prime revenue producer of the casino. to shut down a third on opening day was humiliating and financially disastrous. >> something could go bad, like the opening of the taj, and he would say it's because we had so much business here that this happened, not that the systems broke down, not that we didn't know what we were doing, we had so much business it broke down. >> what about the slot machine thing where they were down for a while? >> the slots were so hot, again, nobody has seen people play that hard and that fast. every slot -- >> it blew out the slots? >> we had machines, they were virtually on fire. it was like a fuse or like a fire. >> donald is so wrapped up in hyperbole, that it's almost
constant lies, whether it's for the littlest things, if you had 2,000 people at an event, he would say there was 5,000 people at an event. >> reporter: behavior that might have been tolerated in the board room or during a private real estate deal, but not from the bully pulpit. >> you can see anything, anything, and people do, and we know as real estate people you always check what everybody says, you do your diligence. >> reporter: alan pomeranz represented the banks when trump was in financial trouble decades ago. >> it doesn't mean that people necessarily lie, but they sell. if you tell me something and i don't check it and i buy the real estate, it's my fault, not yours. i own it. it's mine. i don't think it works that way in the world. in the world everybody listens to what thement says. what the president says matters. >> and will to the best of my ability --
>> reporter: trump may have changed jobs, but not himself. >> there's no belief system. if it will work, i will say it. if it stops working, i'll say its opposite and i will not feel any compunction about not saying its opposite because i don't believe anything in the first place. >> reporter: it's all about telling the story he wants to tell. >> seeing from his perspective, doesn't make a distinction between what's true and what's false, his only distinction is what will work and what will not work. >> thank you very much everybody. >> if it happens to be true, okay, he'll live with that, that's fine. but there is no governor in his mind that says, oh, you know what? i'm really pissed off about somebody saying something like that, but i'm not going to lie in response to it. that doesn't exist inside his brain. it's just >> and what happens when he's challenged with facts? what does he do?
>> he has a genius perverse genius for turning any situation into something that is evidence of his brilliance, even if if it's not true. >> they didn't treat me nicely on that speech yesterday. >> reporter: the need for exaggeration to always be first and never be wrong is rooted in the need to be the best, says a biographer. >> the truth wasn't quite good enough. and i think this is an important thing to understand about donald and the trump way. and the trump way is to be impossibly superior, to always be winning, always be prevailing, and always be the best thing. >> reporter: even if the best thing turns out to be a lie. and as we all know, credibility is the coin of the realm for any president, especially one facing his first foreign policy crisis. back to you. >> our thanks to gloria borger
there. >> first president with no military or political experience. moments like these are the test of whether that makes sense. >> it sure is. we are seeing that in real time because north korea's nuclear threat is upon us. how are lawmakers reacting to what the north is saying, what do republicans think about the president's rhetoric. the head of the republican national committee is going to join us next. we send our kids out into the world, full of hope. and we don't want something like meningitis b
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president trump's fire and fury warning to north korea comes as an astounding 73% of americans say they do not trust information coming out of the white house. this is in the latest cnn poll. even among republicans, only half say they trust what they hear from the trump administration. joining us now, republican national committee chairwoman ra that romney mcdaniel. >> thanks for having me. >> start with all the breaking news today, including president trump's rhetoric about north korea. we've heard senator john mccain say he thinks that rhetoric is, at best, overheated, at worst, could be dangerous. what's the, party's take on this? >> i think you just heard from secretary tillerson the president is using rhetoric that will get the attention of kim jong-un, somebody who is clearly unstable, who is now making nuclear threats not just against the united states but against guam. this is a perilous situation and
i think president trump contrasts strongly against the stick your head in the sand policy of president obama who ignored this threat and now we are in a global situation where we have a potential nuclear threat in north korea and it is going to take strong rhetoric to let kim jong-un know the united states is serious. >> president trump's rhetoric also contrasts marketly from secretary of state rex tillerson's. what he has been saying is that he is trying to launch a peaceful pressure campaign to get the north talking. so president trump's rhetoric seems to be off message on that. >> i think president trump is exactly what -- doing exactly what we want the president to do. he is saying this is what the united states is going to do if you use nuclear weapons. this is a person in kim jong-un who tortures his people. he has now created icbms and miniature nuclear weapons. he is someone who we should take
very seriously. the obama administration clearly missed the global threat that north korea posed to the united states of america. we have diplomatic channels open. nikki haley went to the u.n. this past saturday and got unanimous support for sanctions, even from russia and china. now you have secretary tillerson working through back channels to try and de-escalate the situation but the president of the united states needs to be firm that we will act if kim jong-un uses nuclear weapons against the united states of america or our allies. >> does it cause you any concern that the new cnn polling that we just showed that 73% of americans say they can't trust the information or what they hear from the white house? >> you know, i'm not concerned about those polls because if polls were correct, donald trump wouldn't be president right now. i'm from michigan. the largest paper in michigan called the election for hillary clinton on election night. i'm traveling the country and i'm seeing what people are
saying and they support president trump. you look at the rnc fund-raising even. in small dollar contributions, we had 250,000 new small dollar donors between january and march. they aren't just supporting the president, they're rallying behind him. i think he has tremendous support among his base. it is a tough time right now when -- i think the media's been very unfair to the president. democrats are obstructing him at every level. he has every obstacle in front of him and he's still going out and fighting for the american people. a million new jobs. unemployment numbers at a record low. consumer confidence at a 16-year high. this is a president who's delivering on the things he promised to the american people. >> obviously there are exceptions to that, speaking of repealing and replacing obamacare. we just heard from majority leader mitch mcconnell saying that he thinks -- he said this in kentucky. he thinks that president trump has excessive expectations in
terms of a legislative agenda for what can be accomplished and how soon. is the president overly optimistic and not sort of on board with what congress thinks it can do? >> i think the president represents the american people and he's saying the status quo in washington is not getting it done for the american people. when you see premiums doubling, when you see deductibles so high on health care, when you see people suffering as insurers are pulling out of the marketplace, the president is saying we need to put our foot on the gas and keep working for the american people. i don't care what status quo washington does. it's time to make a change -- >> right, i understand. but of course you have to care what status quo washington does because they're congress. >> he's saying we can do better. we should do better. this isn't okay. i'm in michigan today. i run into people all the time saying when am i going to find relief. we spent you to washington, we want people to help us. our health care is failing.
our doctors -- we don't have our same doctors. we were promised we could keep our doctor and our plan. none of that happened. our premiums are so high. please help us. the president is going to keep pushing congress to act because he is representing american people. >> ronna romney mcdaniel, thank you very much for representing the republican side for us. >> thank you for having me. we're following a lot of breaking developments on the north korean threat so let's get right to it. north korea threaten is the u.s. territory of guam in response to two american bombers flying over the korean peninsula. >> it represents the greatest crisis undoubtedly since the cuban missile crisis. >> i think that -- u.s. officials have's s assessed nor korea has a miniature warhead. >> they will be met with fire and fury like the wld