Cassidy: Not sure Sen. Flake will be a no vote on tax reform

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 20, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And you're watching "Your World."

And just when you thought that the hermit kingdom couldn't be any more alienated in the human race, a sign today the administration was going to do its darndest to make sure it was even more ostracized.

By naming it a state sponsor of terror, that brings together the United States' most potent financial sources including, on top of those China is reportedly already using to get the North Koreans to bend and at least try to behave.

Well, good luck on the latter.

To Blake Burman at the White House on the timing of all of this right now.

Hey, Blake.


Yes, and the president, keep in mind, returned back from his trip, 12 days to the Indo-Pacific region, last week. We had been waiting to see whether or not he would make this announcement and when he might do it.

It was a show of strength, I guess you could say, that he chose to do it earlier today here at the White House with his full Cabinet by his side. President Trump announcing that he has put North Korea back on the state sponsor of terrorism list.

North Korea was put on the list first in 1988, taken off it some nine years ago in 2008, back on it again, as the president says he is putting them on. The president also announced during that Cabinet meeting that the Treasury Department tomorrow will have an additional sanction on North Korea, as he put it, that is -- quote -- "very large."

However, in a surprise appearance earlier today during the White House press briefing, the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, conceded that this designation, in part at least, is symbolic, due to the many months and many years of sanctions against North Korea.

Listen here to Tillerson from just a little while ago.


REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't want to suggest to you that the designation is suddenly going to put a whole new layer of sanctions on them, because, again, I think we already have North Korea so heavily sanctioned in so many ways with the U.N. resolutions that have been undertaken. But this will close a few additional loopholes off.


BURMAN: Now, Tillerson did say, Neil, that this designation could potentially or could disrupt third parties who do business with North Korea. That could be one of the other effects from it.

He didn't say what this very large sanction tomorrow might be. And you hit on it right off the top. It is to be determined. We will find out tomorrow if it has anything to do with China or Chinese entities -- Neil.

CAVUTO: Blake, thank you very much, my friend, Blake Burman at the White House.

To former Green Beret Ben Collins on all this.

Ben, obviously, this requires a world kind of working with us or at least rowing in the same direction. Will China?

BEN COLLINS, FORMER U.S. GREEN BERET: Well, Neil, what this does is actually take into account the fact that China has not done as much as it possibly could in terms of economically isolating North Korea.

So, part of the designation of being a state-sponsored terrorist is that we can also start then to target countries that do business in terms of defense weapons and military sales. But it also goes even further in terms of economic aid, and not just from the U.S., but it gives us the ability to veto certain, you know, loans that would come out from the World Bank or other organizations.

So, to me, this is actually going to be a big step in trying to cut off some of those countries that are still actually doing business with North Korea.

CAVUTO: You know, you always have to try to push North Korea to the point at which it is the country that says, enough, we can't deal with this.

But, for years, for decades, through administrations, Republican and Democratic alike, they have been able to nicely move on here. And I suspect that's because countries have been providing the muscle, the money and the manpower to give them and provide for them what they needed, whether that was China or, more cynically, Iran today.

How do you stop that?

COLLINS: Well, Neil, I mean, I think I think we're at a point where the world is finally waking up to the fact that this regime under this leader specifically for the last -- as you said, the last 20 years, they have gone from a one-kiloton bomb to something that is easily twice the size of Hiroshima.

And now they have the technology to put a missile into space. So, the danger is real. They have overflown Japan twice. The fact is, this is not just something that President Trump came up with. I mean, Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, thought about putting them back on the state sponsor of terrorism list.

But if you look at the actions of North Korea just in the very recent, this isn't just because of what they have been doing in terms of their nuclear program. This is very specific to the assassinations that North Korea has supported and driven and ordered in foreign territories, like Kim Jong-nam, who is the half-brother of the current regime Kim Jong Il -- of his, where they sent two women and they used V.X. nerve agent to assassinate his half- brother.


COLLINS: So, look, the actions in North Korea have put them in this situation going back all the way from 1988, when they were first put on the list, and then they were taken off in 2008 as a show of good faith, if they would submit to a deal. But nothing is working.

And the talk has not worked. So, we have to take more dramatic steps.

CAVUTO: Ben Collins, thank you very, very much, my friend. Good seeing you.

COLLINS: You too, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, timing might be everything here, but we're told that the heightened security in many U.S. cities has nothing to do with this latest crackdown on North Korea and everything to do with trying to keep Americans safe, for example, in New York City for the big parade and everything else as we get ready for the Christmas season, which will have an extra week with the timing of holidays.

Laura Ingle in Herald Square, New York City, with the latest.

Hey, Laura.


Well, shoppers are clearly already out in force. And so is the NYPD, especially when it comes to these really large events. And, of course, the Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is no exception.

In fact, it's one of our banner events here in the city of Manhattan, where we see so many people. And, today, we heard from police and city officials about just how intense security is going to be.

Over one million spectators are expected to line the parade route to see the floats, the gigantic balloons we have all come to know and love and all those performers. Each year, city officials talk about great security.

But after the deadly Halloween terrorist attack in Lower Manhattan which killed eight, today, the NYPD announced their security plans that be will noticeable. We will see those sand trucks, heavy weapons teams, canine units and aviation units all around the parade.

And, of course, there are always the undercover operations that we don't see.

New York City Mayor de Blasio says the city is ready.


BILL DE BLASIO, D-N.Y.: There will be a very strong presence of the NYPD, stronger than ever, in fact.

I want to emphasize -- this is the most important thing I will say -- there are no credible and specific threats against New York City at this time. There's no credible and specific threats against these events.

That being said, we will have a very forceful NYPD presence and we will be prepared for any eventuality.


INGLE: In the wake of recent violence across the country, other cities have announced they're beefing up security across shopping centers, tree- lighting ceremonies and other outdoors events.

In Pittsburgh, for instance, police there have replaced 35 cameras downtown to state-of-the-art high-def cameras. We have heard a lot of cities talking about what they're going to be doing, beefing up that security, putting mounted units and aviation units.

And, of course, as we see here in the fine city of New York City, if you see something, say something. And the mayor today even said there's never been a more important time for that motto to be one that we all live by -- bank to you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Laura, very, very much, Laura Ingle at Herald Square in New York City.

All right, we're getting word now the Justice Department could put or wants to put a kibosh on AT&T and that $85 billion merger with Time Warner. It's been held up now for, if you think about it, almost the better part of a year.

There's a certain number of reasons for this. CNN might be one of them, DirecTV and whether it's too big for its britches to be included in this deal, might be another. We're on it after this.


CAVUTO: All right, Republicans feel that this removal of the individual mandate might provide a little bit more money and wiggle room here.

Maine Senator Susan Collins says put that in there and she's all but a no vote.

Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy with us right now.

Senator, very good to have you. Thanks for taking the time.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY, R-LA.: Thank you.

CAVUTO: What do you make of this provision? The goal was to free up some monies, I guess, remove what is an onerous demand to make sure every American has health insurance coverage.

But Susan Collins is saying it's kind of complicating things. What do you think?

CASSIDY: I won't be surprised if she changes her mind.

The individual mandate doesn't work. Yesterday's New York Times, basically from CBO sources, is saying it only works about 7 percent of the time. They used to say millions would be uninsured if we repealed it. Now they're not saying that. That's number one.

Number two, it's a tax on low-income people. It's the poorest people who are paying this, 78 percent of them with an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000. So, not only does it not work. It taxes poor people. We should get rid of it.

CAVUTO: All right, that might prove a tough argument with...

CASSIDY: I'm not hearing anything.

CAVUTO: Oops. Can you hear us, Senator? No more?

All right, we have some audio issues with the senator here.

Again, on this provision that has caused such consternation, you can wiggle about $330 billion over 10 years. That's revenue if you take away that provision that they could provide to maybe provide lower taxes for various different brackets, as well as provide other benefits or maybe speed up the corporate tax cuts.

Remember, in the Senate plan, they're delayed a year. In the House plan, they're immediate. This is something that provides the cash to do that.

Now, the flip side is, a lot of Republican senators fear, like Senator Susan Collins, that it comes at a bad time and sort of revisits the third rail issue of controversies that Republicans would just as soon avoid, and it could raise taxes as a result.

I will try again, if we have Senator Cassidy.


CAVUTO: I think you're back, Senator. I apologize for those problems there.

But do you think that, if this provision goes, the Senate has some other provisions to avoid the tax cut for corporations being delayed a year or finding ways to lower other tax rates?

What are your thoughts on that?

CASSIDY: Well, first, first, let me speak about the individual mandate.


CASSIDY: The argument will be that it will increase premiums.

CBO said -- and I have an e-mail from them -- that it will raise premiums by 10 percent if you repeal the individual mandate.

But if we do the Alexander-Murray bill on the cost-sharing reduction payments, that will actually lower premiums by 25 percent. So we can net lower premiums if we concomitantly put forward the Alexander-Murray bill on cost-sharing reduction payments and lower the deficit.

So, I do think there's a way forward, even if Senator Collins is concerned about the individual mandate.

CAVUTO: What did you think, Senator, of the back and forth yet again between the president of the United States and your colleague Jeff Flake, where the president after hearing of comments that the senator made on open mic, said that, oh, he's going to be a no vote on tax cuts anyway?

What did you think of that?

CASSIDY: I'm not sure that Senator Flake will be a no vote on taxes.

Republicans are all about lowering the tax burden. We're all about lowering the tax burden on those Americans who are middle class. There's actually common ground between he and the president there. And we're all about economic growth.

So, I -- I -- I think that's where Senator Flake is. Clearly, he and the president don't like each other, maybe not personally, but at least in terms of policy.

On this, I think there's common ground. I would like to think that Senator Flake can get there.

CAVUTO: The fact that they these run-ins a lot, do a lot of your colleagues feel -- it's a pretty unique and presidential club you're all in, 100 men and women here -- that an attack on one is interpreted, maybe negatively, by others?


What is important is not ourselves. It is the American people. We have to come together so that this country moves forward. That's what I'm all about. And it's not Republican. It's not Democrat. It's not personal. It's about the American people.

This tax bill lowers the burden on middle-class Americans and it is a pro- growth agenda to increase wages, to give better benefits. We can all be about that. And that is our goal.

CAVUTO: Do you think it's still doable by Christmas?

CASSIDY: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Do you think it's doable before that December 12 special election in Alabama that could flip Democrats the way things are looking now?

CASSIDY: I do think it can be, because, again, we decrease the tax burden upon middle-class Americans. We get rid of the individual mandate, which doesn't work, that taxes lower-income Americans. And it's a pro-growth policy.

You put those three together, I think we get the votes we need.

CAVUTO: Senator, thanks for taking the time. I apologize for the audio issues there in the beginning.

CASSIDY: No problem.

CAVUTO: I'm going to blame someone else, but certainly not myself.


CAVUTO: All right, Senator, very good seeing you. Have a great Thanksgiving.

CASSIDY: You too, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

All right, well, the president still wants to make sure you have a tax cut for Christmas. There's only one thing getting in the way: his tweets.



TRUMP: We're going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas. Hopefully, that will be a great, big, beautiful Christmas present.

It will be up to the Republicans to come through for America. I think they will. I hope they will. It's up to the Senate.


CAVUTO: Perfect. That's the focus. That is what you want to do, Mr. President. That could be your clarion call and your signature issue and potential victory for the year, and by your first-year anniversary of your inauguration.

But are your tweets on everything from Jeff Flake to the latest NFL protests, sparring then with the dad of one of those UCLA players you helped get out of China, is all that getting in the way?

The Washington Examiner's Gabby Morrongiello. We have Liz Harrington of The Washington Free Beacon and The Hill's Judy Kurtz.

Judy, what do you think? that the president does have an agenda, that, whether you agree or disagree, is substantive, meaningful, but these tweets and disruptions are getting in the way.

JUDY KURTZ, THE HILL: Well, I'm going out on a big limb here, Neil, and say when you call a member of your own party flaky in terms of Senator Flake, it's probably not the best strategy when you're trying to win that lawmaker's vote on a key measure.

I think that the president here is maybe not acting in his best self- interests. Usually, presidents try to sweet talk, lay on the sugar. In this case, President Trump is engaging in a playground taunt.

CAVUTO: You know, I'm trying to think if there's some reverse psychology going on here, Liz, that goes beyond me and my limited brainpower, so I defer to all of yours, that this -- saying outright that he thinks that the senator is going to be a no vote anyway, so why should we waste our time -- I'm adding that paraphrase here -- but is that putting more pressure on Senator Flake?

ELIZABETH HARRINGTON, THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON: Well, I think he should have a lot of pressure on him, because this is one of the issues he ran on and tax cuts is something he supposedly supports.

But I think the question we need to ask when we're talking about the media and whether it's taking away the focus, if there wasn't a tweet to talk about, would the media be tweeting the agenda fairly, would they be covering it accurately?

I think the question is no. I think the answer to that is no. The media is biased against Trump. And even if they were talking about tax cuts, they would only be saying, well, this is just a break for the richest Americans, the most wealthy Americans.

CAVUTO: No, no, I think you're dead on. The media is not going to give him a fair shake. And it doesn't help matters any, no matter how the president tries to structure this tax cut or to say that the rich, the very rich, certainly are going to be paying more in some of these big states that have high taxes.

Doesn't matter. On that, I agree with you.

But, Gabby, here is where I will part. Why should the president even risk adding fuel to the fire?

GABBY MORRONGIELLO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, look, I think Liz makes an interesting point here.

And that is that, oftentimes, this president seems to create controversies in order to distract from what he feels he's not going to get fair coverage of. That's exactly what he did this morning when he sent out that tweet attacking the father of one of these UCLA basketball players.

We're not talking about tax reform right now.

CAVUTO: But even that doesn't make sense, Gabby. That doesn't even make sense, because the kids themselves did thank the president. And the father for whatever reasons -- you're getting in the sandbox with a guy you don't need to be in the sandbox with.

MORRONGIELLO: It doesn't matter if it makes sense in his eyes. It's what he wants the narrative to be about. And that's what we're talking about right now. We're not talking about tax reform.

CAVUTO: Oh no, I -- believe me, I -- no, no, you're absolutely right.

But that's what I think is going to be to his detriment, Judy. That distraction is going to get in the way.


CAVUTO: Well, Judy, play that out. How does this go if the president gets off-topic here?

KURTZ: Well, I think you're exactly right, Neil.

I think, in the case of the UCLA basketball player's father, in the case of calling out Marshawn Lynch and the NFL protests, I think it's a problem for Trump, in that he's seen as punching down. And that's not a position, when you're president of the United States, that you want to be in.

CAVUTO: But, you know, Elizabeth, I do understand what you're saying as well, this notion that, for one reason or another, the media will be pouncing on this tax cut. They already have.

They have already blamed senators for being all over the map and this being skewed to the rich, even though Republicans say they tried very hard to make sure the rich weren't part of this and then they would get Democratic votes to try to ensure that they could.

You're right. But I am wondering whether the president should be working with those within his own party to make sure that they're not co-opted away.

HARRINGTON: Of course he should.

But I think it's textbook Trump that he's not going to change. When -- what all of these people have in common, all these topics that he tweeted about just yesterday was that they all recently came out and said something against him.

Jeff Flake was caught on a hot mic criticizing him.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

HARRINGTON: So, he responds. That's what he does. He punches back.

And, look, if you like it or not, that's what he does. And I think he's proven that his instincts are usually pretty good on this, and he has a lot of people on his side. We have seen that with the NFL protests.

CAVUTO: Right.

HARRINGTON: We have seen that with Flake and the base. They don't like Senator Flake. That's why he was going to lose a primary.

CAVUTO: Gabby, now, is that Christmas music we're hearing at the White House there?


MORRONGIELLO: It is. It's a little distracting.


CAVUTO: So, this is their subliminal way of saying, God bless us all and everyone. We will get through this, right?

MORRONGIELLO: Yes. It's a little distracting.

I mean, look, at the end of the day, the president would much rather talk about the culture wars than talk about the ins and outs of tax policy.

But even when he is tweeting about tax policy, it can be distracting. If you go back and look at those 401(k) tweets earlier this winter, we saw some controversial tweets there. Are they going to change the 401(k)? Are they not going to do this?

And if you go back to health care, when he was saying that we need to repeal and replace simultaneously, and then a day later saying, no, let's repeal now and figure out a replacement later, I mean, sometimes, he contradicts himself even when he is talking about the policy that he's supposed to be talking about.

So I think that it's a double-edged sword here. And whatever the president is saying is going to create a distraction.

CAVUTO: All right, but I do thank you for doing your darndest to at least provide a little music for the season to de-intensify things.


CAVUTO: So, Gabby and Elizabeth and Judy, thank you all very, very much.

By the way, we told you earlier in this broadcast about the Justice Department now looking to challenge that merger between AT&T and Time Warner. And now we're seeing both stocks trading a little bit down in after-hours trading.

And now AT&T very confident a court will reject the U.S. Justice Department challenge. So, this is about to get nasty -- after this.


CAVUTO: In Mexico, no less, NFL player Marshawn Lynch wouldn't stand for the national anthem.

The country singer who has a very big problem with that -- here and only here after this.


CAVUTO: All right.

You got AT&T fighting in court to make sure it gets its way. The Department of Justice saying it's going to sue to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner. It is a mess.

FOX Business Network's Charlie Gasparino, also Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum Capital.

Charlie, where is this going to court?


And here's where it's really going, as I just reported on FOX Business, is that every major telecom executive that is looking to sell or buy something, including our own boss, Rupert Murdoch, is looking at this deal. And it's basically -- this is a sign that you have to stop everything now and see where the courts come out on this.

It's going to be very hard, for example, for us to sell our studios, Sky News, some of those TV assets to something like Comcast, because of the view they're taking on this deal, which most people thought was a slam dunk. It was a vertical merger. Not much competition internally.

Think of it this way. If Disney is going to buy our movie studios, they are going to control a big portion of the box office. That in and of itself is antitrust grounds. So, I'm telling you, everybody is looking at this and saying, whoa, where do we go next?


CAVUTO: Where is it going?

And there had been a lot of talk that FOX assets, including those you mentioned, could also be up for bidding.

GASPARINO: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Gary, does it change this view that -- and this has been one that has been sort of cynically harbored in the Justice Department -- that the White House is calling the shots here.

What do you think of that?

GARY KALTBAUM, KALTBAUM CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, if that's what's going down, it's not a good thing. It hurts how businesses feel. It potentially hurts markets.

The issue here is, this was announced I believe October of '16. So we're talking about 13 months already. And now you go to court. That is going to take quite a while. The costs and the time sometimes will scuttle things like this.


KALTBAUM: Now, the new guy that is running the show for the Antitrust Department initially was OK with this, but now all of a sudden somewhat against it. It's somewhat a little on the suspect side.

But there's going to be a lot of noise going forward in the next few months on this, because it's just -- more than just this.

GASPARINO: Neil, yes, this is going to be such a huge story.

And I'll tell you, not just from what it does for what we do with our assets, not we, but 21st Century does, what other players in telecom. Let's be real clear here. Trump railed against this merger during the campaign, then candidate Trump. He said it was too much concentration. It was a distribution arm of AT&T with CNN could screw consumers.

That's the argument he made, even though a lot of people think those are fallacious arguments. He made it. As we reported on FOX Business, he was talking about it. This is not long after the inaugural, that we should -- that they should scuttle this deal and they should have to spin off CNN to make this deal work, because he didn't like the concentration in assets.

And, by the way...

CAVUTO: It was the idea that spin off DirecTV.


GASPARINO: That, too. That, too.

CAVUTO: But that, as they stand now, something had to go.


CAVUTO: Do you think, Gary Kaltbaum, that is still likely?

KALTBAUM: I think the deal ultimately probably gets done, but lots of changes to be made. Both sides need to show a win.

So, I suspect they will spin off maybe a DirecTV. You have got to remember, they own the cable -- they would own cable channels and distributors.


KALTBAUM: That's a problem.

But, once again, this is important, because I can promise you there are a lot of boardrooms and a lot of people on phones right now discussing a lot of mergers and lots of buys, same -- you talked about what is happening with FOX also. This can change the playing field.

GASPARINO: It turned on its head what is antitrust. And I think that's where everybody is like freaking out, saying, we don't know where it is.


CAVUTO: But both stocks, Charlie, are down a little bit after-hours. That doesn't necessarily mean anything.


CAVUTO: But I'm wondering if it is going to cast a pall, to your point, at the outset on other mergers, because while they might have a good odds of being approved and done, you are going to be waiting a while.

GASPARINO: Right. And look at our stock hit session lows -- ours meaning 21st Century. I keep saying ours.

But 21st Century stock hit its sessions lows right when this came out. It's something that I was basically reporting in -- early on today that we were watching that.

CAVUTO: Session lows, but multiweek highs here, multimonth highs, yes.

GASPARINO: Yes. We're still not down to where we were before the first news broke about us shopping stuff.

CAVUTO: True enough.

GASPARINO: So, the markets are saying, wait a minute, let's see what happens.

But I'll tell you, suppose AT&T doesn't go through with this. Long fights with the government, even if you win, are brutal and costly. And, you know, I don't think they want to buy this without CNN.

And to be honest with you, I wonder if DirecTV is that big of a deal for the DOJ, that they're more worried about the content assets being associated with AT&T's distribution.

CAVUTO: I understand that.

But, Gary -- and I was getting into this with Charlie last week. It's not as if CNN, which is a viable entity, wouldn't be near and dear to anyone else. So it's not as if it was forced to be jettisoned from Time Warner that it could find other buyers.

So, I don't know if, cynically, you argue that the message from Donald Trump and the White House was kill this thing, that you kill CNN. That doesn't appear to be the case at all to me.

KALTBAUM: Look, not only CNN here, but CNN is gargantuan internationally.

Anybody would want to pick them up. My issue, I always complained for years under years under Obama a lot of deals got undone.

I think it was Staples or Office Depot, something like that. I think they were worried about a run on pens and pencils. So, I got worried there.

But I don't want to see a new administration come in and block businesses from doing business. Look, I do believe -- I don't want monopolies. I want businesses to be correct, but I don't want them getting in the way of progress and moving forward.

GASPARINO: I don't know who would buy them, though. It's -- if you can't do this deal...


CAVUTO: I don't know. There are a lot, all the obvious players, all the obvious players.


CAVUTO: You don't know. All right.

Let's see, guys. Thank you very, very much.

Meanwhile, President Trump slamming Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for sitting during the American national anthem in Mexico, standing during the Mexican one.

One country singer has a message for those players. I think I can repeat it -- after this.



NEAL MCCOY, MUSICIAN (singing): I will stand and place my hand upon my heart every time her anthem plays.

When I see somebody on TV take their stand on bended knee, well, whether it's on Astroturf or grass, I think of those whose freedom was not free, and I say, take a knee, my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).



CAVUTO: I think that world rhymes with pass.

Anyway, country artist Neal McCoy has amassed over four million Facebook views of his song slamming NFL players who are protesting the national anthem.

Neal McCoy joins us now via Skype.

Neil, thank you for coming.

MCCOY: Thank you, Neil. I appreciate you letting me be on here.

CAVUTO: What kind of response you have gotten? That's a pretty hefty response. But did you expect anything of that?

MCCOY: You know, no, not at all.

It was just a song a friend of mine, Dan Roberts, had wrote and got to me, because he knows that my loyalty -- I say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning on my Facebook page for almost two years now.

And a lady heard the song, heard him do his version of it, and told me, get in touch with Dan. He's got a song.

I reached out to him, and he sent it to me. I said, oh, man, I have got to do this.

CAVUTO: I was surprised someone hadn't come up with this sooner.


CAVUTO: Was it based on what you saw recently at games? Was there a trigger event? What?

MCCOY: You know, it triggered in me, Neil, probably about a year ago when Colin did it for the first time.

CAVUTO: Right.

MCCOY: And so it kind of sent me there. And I was curious too.

I was wondering why no one had -- I think it was kind of a subject matter that some people or most people wanted to stay away from, because now that I know that old adage of be careful what you wish for, that we're starting to get that. You could get hammered pretty hard from the other side and some terrible things can be said about you and your family that aren't true.

But it was one of those deals where I said I believe that he has the -- I know he has the right to do that. And people have the right to protest stuff. And my whole thing with it was just wrong time, wrong place. That's the deal I feel.

CAVUTO: What do you think of what this Oakland Raiders player did in Mexico for this Raiders game in which he sat during the national anthem, our national anthem, but stood for the Mexican one?

MCCOY: You know, I think that makes me even a little more upset than not standing for ours, because it's kind of almost putting it in your face.

Here you go, America. Here's where I am on you. I'm going to sit for ours, or I guess he may not even consider his. But I'm going to sit for this one, but I'm going to stand up for the Mexican pledge of allegiance -- or for the national anthem.

Obviously, he doesn't know what either one of them mean.

CAVUTO: You have heard the argument for doing what these players do, Neal, that that is just as much their American right, and that's what soldiers have fought and died for, for players like these to express themselves. Fewer are doing it anyway. So, what is the big deal?

You say?

MCCOY: Yes, I say it's a big deal. I say, for over 100 years now, I think 1913 is when the -- when it was declared our national anthem, United States of America national anthem.

And for 100 years, people have considered that a sacred moment, when you do put your hand over your heart and you honor the -- you either listen to the singing or the playing of the national anthem and you understand what it stands for, at least in my eyes. And it may not mean that to somebody else.

So, I say anybody that disrespects it, especially at that time, it just gets all over me.

CAVUTO: Do you think the president reheats the thing by mentioning it when he sees examples of this? Would it be best that he just step back, or is it good that he's involved?

MCCOY: You know, I think it's good.

I think our last president was pretty quick to jump into some things that he may should have stood back on. And so I don't know if President Trump has taken his lead from that, and that if you disagree with something or you agree with something, get on into it. I'm not sure about that.

But I like -- when I see President Trump -- and I'm not -- I don't agree with everything he does or says, but I like it when I -- I see him sometimes when the national anthem plays, and he's singing the words, and he is almost -- and he is almost patting his chest to even show more enthusiasm and how much it means to him when it plays. So, I love it.

CAVUTO: All right, Neal McCoy, you certainly got a reaction, no doubt. As you're speaking, I'm getting e-mail and texts here.


CAVUTO: So, thank you very, very much, Neal McCoy, country music sinner -- singer. Sinner. What did I say that for?


CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much.


CAVUTO: What did I do? That's not even a Freudian slip.

Thank you, Neal, very, very much.

All right, in the meantime, "Justice League," I don't know if you saw it, but it's considered disappointing because it made less than $100 million. And I think it made less than $100 million, you know why? Because it wasn't very humorous.

I will explain after this.


CAVUTO: All right, $95 million, $96 million, whatever it was, is not a shabby opening, but in this day and age, where a movie like "Justice League" cost I guess over $300 million to make, I don't know.

"In the Foxlight" host, senior vice president of marketing Michael Tammero, joining us.

What did you think, Michael? You saw it.



TAMMERO: I was sort of very critical of the first two, "Man of Steel" and "Batman vs. Superman," both very dark and joyless.

So I wasn't expecting a lot from this. Liked it a little bit more. But, still, $96 million is not what Warner Bros. was expecting. This movie cost over...

CAVUTO: Was this the worst of the D.C. comics?

TAMMERO: It came in at the worst for opening weekends, yes.

CAVUTO: Really?

TAMMERO: You know, it was $300 million it cost to make, 10 years in the making with all the -- this was the movie that everybody was sort of waiting for, the big buildup between "Wonder Woman" and "Man of Steel" and "Batman vs. Superman."

And this is not what they were hoping to get.

CAVUTO: You know what I noticed, Michael, is that there was some humor, but little humor.

Marvel flicks, of course, with a lot of humor.


CAVUTO: "Spider-Man," there was humor. And certainly "Guardians of the Galaxy," I'm a big fan of those two movies, lots of humor, very irreverent. Love the '70s music.

TAMMERO: Yes. Very different from what we're used to.

CAVUTO: Very different from what we're used to.

And this almost looks dated by comparison.

TAMMERO: Well, the thing that -- Zack Snyder sort of guided the first couple of these movies.

CAVUTO: Right.

TAMMERO: And he's has this sort of dark, joyless vision.

He had stepped away from this "Justice League," and they brought in Joss Whedon to sort of lighten up some of the moments. And there's sort of two movies going on here.

CAVUTO: Right.

TAMMERO: But the problem that Warner Bros. has had, compared to Disney, they need one person to sort of creatively direct the vision long-term for these movies.

You know, Kathleen Rice (sic) handles Star Wars. The vision is long-term. Kevin Feige handled the Marvel for Disney as well. They have a broad, long-term vision.

And you see the difference in these movies.

CAVUTO: Do you think we're superheroed out?

TAMMERO: You know, I am.

CAVUTO: Yes. Right?

TAMMERO: I am a little bit.

But "Wonder Woman" did fantastic. "Thor: Ragnarok" just did fantastic at the box office again, different from the first two.

CAVUTO: You had "Thor" with a lot of humor there.

TAMMERO: A lot of humor there.

I think it goes back to the show me something different, and tell me something I haven't heard before.

CAVUTO: But why -- riddle me this, because you're our own superhero here.


CAVUTO: Why are superheroes so tortured? Because I always...



CAVUTO: You're depressed. You're a superhero.

TAMMERO: What is going on?

CAVUTO: What is going on?

TAMMERO: "Dark Knight," lighten up.

CAVUTO: Right. Yes.

TAMMERO: It's like his codpiece is in a....


TAMMERO: ... or something.

CAVUTO: Not-so-"Dark Knight." Why do that do that, right?



There's something psychological going on there.

CAVUTO: But now would this hurt Marvel and its offerings, all these other offerings? Obviously, the end of this movie, they seemed to telegraph more of these to come.

Come on.

TAMMERO: I think it depends on the franchise.


TAMMERO: I think people now know what they're going to expect with D.C. and Warner Bros.

CAVUTO: Are each one of these characters going to spin off their own little movies coming up?

TAMMERO: They're all going to have their own movies.

And I think Warner Bros really it behooves them at this point to bring in someone different with a different vision to sort of handle this franchise with a little bit more care than they have treated it thus far.

CAVUTO: What did you think of Aquaman? Because I was thinking to myself, this is a stupid character. I thought stole the show. I loved the character.


TAMMERO: Finally something for me to look at.


TAMMERO: I know that's a little bit of a dicey thing in Hollywood these days, but I hear a lot of woman say, a lot of women are saying, finally.


CAVUTO: But in a very irreverent, kind of rough-around-the edges kind of, but not your typical superhero.

But they're going to add more, right? Can you ever envision the day where D.C., you know, combines with Marvel, we have like 10,000 super...

TAMMERO: And Star Wars. The ultimate mash-up.

CAVUTO: Right, all of them.

TAMMERO: In this media consolidation, who knows where it's going to go. Yes.


CAVUTO: By the way, I see the stupid promo for the next "Star Wars." And it's the same...


TAMMERO: Oh, stop, Neil.

CAVUTO: It's the same stupid...

TAMMERO: You're hating on "Star Wars" now. Yes, there are a few lightsabers.

CAVUTO: Stop it. Really? Is there -- it gets old after a while.


TAMMERO: No, it never gets old for "Star Wars" fans.

CAVUTO: What is this, Episode VIII, looking backwards, or....

TAMMERO: This is Episode IX, I think, or VIII. No, Episode VIII, Yes.

CAVUTO: So, enough. That's going to keep going on for decades.

TAMMERO: Decades, yes. As long as people like myself are there to go see the movies, it will continue, Neil.


CAVUTO: Any worries you have in the next one?

A lot of people are saying Ben Affleck getting long in the tooth for this role. What do you think?

TAMMERO: Look, the other point I should make is, the studios and publicists need to be a little bit braver in terms of the outlets they allowed to cover this.

We were not allowed to cover "Justice League."

CAVUTO: Really?

TAMMERO: Because on this -- on "Coast to Coast," I made a comment, they heard it, and they were not happy. They wouldn't admit that was the reason

CAVUTO: That's not going to fly.

TAMMERO: But we sell tickets. This network sells tickets.

CAVUTO: Yes, you do.

TAMMERO: And we have the research to back it up.

CAVUTO: You alienate Michael, that's a superhero you don't want to deal. He's just rough and nasty man. All right, forget that. All right.


CAVUTO: We will have more after this.


CAVUTO: A president angry at a dad for refusing to say thank you, and so angry at a U.S. senator that he all but says, screw you.

Forget about either comment not being presidential. At what point does the president see such remarks don't even border on being human?

So, what if LaVar Ball doesn't credit the president for getting his son and two other UCLA players out of a jam and likely jail after being charged with shoplifting in China? And so what if Senator Jeff Flake is caught off-mic saying the Republican Party would be toast if it stuck with the president and Roy Moore?

Is it me, or does the president look like he's punching down when these are the incidents that get him all riled up? Like, he is using a bazooka to respond to a peashooter.

Is it really necessary, especially, when in the case of the UCLA thing, all three players did thank the president for getting them home, including LaVar Ball son LiAngelo?

And in the case of Jeff Flake, did zing the president, yes, but saved his real fire for Roy Moore and the dangers he represents for the Republican Party.

No matter what you think of Senator Flake, does it justify the president's over-the-top reaction to Senator Flake, tweeting that he will be a no on tax cuts because his political career anyway is toast.


Keep tweeting stuff like that, Mr. President, and those tax cuts just could be toast. You might call him part of the swamp and not care about, but throwing mud at a U.S. senator doesn't make you any less swamp-like.

So, maybe you should care.

And wishing maybe you shouldn't have left those UCLA players in China because a dad wouldn't thank you makes me wonder whether this isn't about players or senators. This is about you and respect shown to you, and constant praise shown to you, and gratitude, bordering on groveling, shown to you.

As president of the United States, doesn't that already come with the territory? So, why are you calling for more real estate? You have got the real estate. You have got the White House. You have got all the advantage of being the most powerful human being on the planet, that you don't have to throttle any human being who offends you on the planet.

Let your achievements speak for themselves. Let your clear influence to get those players out of China speak for you, not a kid's dad, who just might be embarrassed, but that kid and his buddies, who already told the nation and you they were grateful.

Pick your fights, because neither of these seems worth the fuss.

You wanted a thank you. You got it. You wanted a reason to go after a senator you hate. You pounced on it. But last time I checked, you are the president of the United States. Why don't you act like it?

Good night.

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