Ronna McDaniel on Romney Senate run rumors, midterms

This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," January 16, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: And good evening from Washington. I'm Laura Ingraham, and this is "The Ingraham Angle." We have an unbelievable show for you tonight. Chock-full of an hour, but we will get through a bit. We have an unbelievable lineup of guests of course.

We got Monica Crowley, Juan Williams, Corey Lewandowski, they were all weigh in. We are using weigh in, isn't that fun? As the Democrats latest plan to derail the Trump train. Good luck with that.

We also have Marco Rubio's take on the brewing fight over a DACA compromise, and John Bolton is here with the dramatic details of a call between President Trump and President Xi of China. Could a confrontation be brewing?

And a Democrat whose known Donald Trump since the Nixon administration tells us why the president is no racist.

But we begin with liberal stunts versus conservative solutions. That's the topic of tonight's "Angle." Today was the day of histrionics and hyperbole on Capitol Hill as the DHS Secretary Kristin Nielsen was interrogated by senators on the Judiciary Committee.

If C-Span handed out best supporting actor awards, a gold statuette would surely go to New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.


SENATOR CORY BOOKER, D-N.J.: Why am I frankly seething with anger? The commander in chief, in an oval office meeting, referring to people from African countries and Haitians with the most violent vulgar language, both language festers your silence and your amnesia is complicity.

The fact pattern is clear of the threats in this country. I hurt. When Dick Durbin called me, I had tears of rage when I heard about this experience in that meeting. For you not to feel that hurt and that pain, and to dismiss some of the questions of my colleagues, that's unacceptable to me.


INGRAHAM: Tears of rage, that's actually bad acting. Give me a break. Did Senator Booker cry tears of rage when this story broke in his home state of New Jersey just a few months ago? When an illegal alien named Edgar Mendoza broke into a Trenton home and raped a 6-year-old little girl?

We looked and couldn't find a single comment by Senator Booker about this heinous crime of unspeakable cruelty. Does he not feel the hurt of the child's mother and father, a crime that should have never happened, because that man should have never been in this country, Senator.

His silence is unacceptable and complicit, at least to me. Booker is simply out testing campaign themes. It's patently obvious. Oprah had her moment at the Golden Globes, and he's not about to see that spotlight back quickly. No way.

Here he was back in 2010, joking around with Private Citizen Trump. Seems pretty happy to be sitting with a racist, doesn't he? Booker's stunt today was an attempt to reinforce the President Trump as a racist narrative.

We've been saying all week. For backup, five liberal commerce men and women are staging their own stunts, they are boycotting Trump's State of the Union speech. Now home -- what does that accomplish other than maybe giving them another free night to binge watch on Netflix?

Speaking of wasting time, the left-wing American press willingly lined up to do what they do best, play the Hallelujah chorus to the Democrats story line. For them, slandering the president beats reporting on his great economy any time. Facts be damned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, MSNBC: The president is a white supremacist.

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC: That is absolutely racism with steroids.

DON LEMON, CNN: The president of the United States is a racist.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN: We have a racist, a shameless racist, who has hijacked the Republican Party, who has hijacked the oval office.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: I would say, judging by his words, a racist.

A hard rain is going to fall on Donald Trump and the Republican soon to enable the sort of racism.


INGRAHAM: So tired. In a positively bizarre scene unfolded at the White House briefing today by the president's physician, members of the media actually think that a military doctor is part of the White House scheme to conceal the president's true mental condition from all of us.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN: There isn't anything that's part of the president's health record or his overall physical fitness or any medications that he's taking that you are not permitted to tell us, is there anything you're keeping from us for privacy reasons?


INGRAHAM: If anyone ever needed extensive cognitive screening, my goodness, what medications are you on Acosta? Now there were endless questions about Trump's diet, his workout, routine or lack thereof. Would you like to see that routine? His weight?

And one reporter asked the doctor for his waist measurements. You first, sweetheart. Then this afternoon, a member of NBC's investigative unit tweeted out this gem saying a lot of skepticism of over the idea that real Donald Trump weighs only 239 pounds. What he stepped on a scale in public to prove it?

He will do that when reporters and anchors agreed to public lie detector test during their broadcast or after their broadcast. As Trump's team is renegotiating NAFTA, bringing up our energy sector, smashing ISIS, cracking down on MS-13, all the rest, the Democrats and a gaggle of globalist never Trumper's, and of course, everybody in the media are making complete and total buffoons of themselves.

It's actually embarrassing no self-respect because of their phony politicized bluster on race, what will happen? I'll tell you what will happen. More Americans will end up tuning them out, and sadly in the process, tuning out real racism when it happens.

If Democrats really decide to put amnesty for illegal immigrants ahead of funding the government for American citizens, they will have blown yet another opportunity to be a party of solution instead of stunts.

Ronald Reagan once said that governments have a tendency not to solve problems, only to rearrange them. Eager to change that sad reality, the Trump administration is actually working to expand economic opportunity for all Americans and also solve complicated problems along the way.

I ask you this. What other president has stood up to China and its depth of American intellectual property and its myriad of unscrupulous trade practices, name one. What other president has begun to bring capital and manufacturing back to United States?

They all said it was impossible, right? Trump didn't believe them. What other president has insisted on immigration changes that will benefit working-class Americans? Instead of just benefiting the wealthy.

All of those rich people who want the cheap labor. He is doing this and enduring constant, nonstop, unfair nasty criticism. He is doing it for one simple reason, to improve the standard of living for the American people, people of all races, and at every economic level.

And while it is true that President Trump can sometimes step on his own good news, sometimes, of course, saying nothing is the best thing, and maybe he should abide by that once in a while.

He's actually trying to do what so many politicians have promised but could not deliver, a better, stronger, and yes, a more united America. My friends, I will take solutions over stunts any day of the week, and that's The Angle.

And let's get into all of this with our superb panel of guests in New York is Monica Crowley, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and Juan Williams. You see him at 5:00 p.m. every night as cohost of "The Five." And with me here in Washington is Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, author of the fabulous New York Times bestselling book, "Let Trump Be Trump."

OK, Juan, I want you to have the first crack at this. Where did I go wrong because I imagine you have a long list? Go ahead.

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST OF "THE FIVE": No, I mean, I think you are in a difficult position. You know, I love you, but I just think that it's hard to defend Trump. But you did a terrific job of trying on the racist front. It's hard for a guy who began his campaign, even before he was running as a birther, and then he's known to say that fine people are marching with white supremacist in Charlottesville.

And now this latest s-hole comment, it's just kind of hard. But I think you are making the case that, you know, there are a lot of good things happening, the press doesn't pay attention, so I listen to you. But on the race stuff, I think it's a little bit hard for you.

INGRAHAM: And Corey, you've known Trump for a while now. I've known him for about 14 or 15 years. My view here is if this guy was some secret racist, man, he did a really good job hiding in all those years. He's hanging out with Jesse Jackson, donated a building for him to put his rainbow push coalition in, the pictures of him with Al Sharpton. But we are supposed to believe now it's all out in the open that he's a secret race?

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, AUTHOR OF "LET TRUMP BE TRUMP": Don't forget Don King was campaigning with Ken Jade on the campaign trail, and I don't think Don King have ever accused Mr. Trump of being a racist. But the amazing thing is, right, people don't want to give Donald Trump the credit that he had seen in the election.

Don't forget it was just before the election that CNN Donald Trump will get less than 1 percent of the African-American votes, yet a higher percent of African-American votes in any candidates since 1996.

Look what he's done for the African-American community, lowest unemployment in African-American right now ever recorded. That's not racism, that's about being America first and putting everybody back to work. It's not a racist issue when you're putting people back to work and stopping illegal aliens from coming into the country and killing Americans.

INGRAHAM: Monica, here's a problem with the racism charge is once you say racist, it kind of shuts down dialogue and it kills goodwill. I wouldn't be up here you're doing what I'm doing every night if I thought Donald Trump was a racist. I take that charge very seriously, and I would not do it.

But for him to endure this day after day after day after day, regardless of any of the good things that are happening, to me says a lot more about the people accusing him than it does about what's in this man's heart.

MONICA CROWLEY, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Yes, and I think we make a mistake when we play according to the narrative that the media wants us to play on when they want us to play on their turf and they are defining all of the rules of the debate and conversation.

Donald Trump represents an existential threat to them in the media, the establishment on both sides of the aisle. Therefore, he has to be destroyed. So, the media is going down this long list to try and destroy him, and of course, nothing is working.

So, first, he was a Russian colluder and then he was mentally ill, and then he was a racist. Now they are down, Laura, to does the guy wear dentures? I mean, they are so desperate, they are like stalking him like psychopaths.

They are not covering him the way they are supposed to because they are trying everything. They are throwing the kitchen sink at him in order to try to work the narrative among the American people to see him in ways that they don't see him.

They see him as something bringing real results, concrete improvements to their actual lives, economically, politically, culturally, et cetera. They cannot stand it. And you know what, Laura, I think what drives the media so crazy, what makes them so furious, is that when he tweets and when he speaks, he's actually beating them at their own game, and they cannot stand it.

INGRAHAM: You know, he reminds me of the whole Road Runner and Wiley Coyote, one of my favorite cartoons. Wiley Coyote has that Acme TNT thing, he's going to blow him up and he's going to catch them on the cliff and he's going to get him around the corner. I'm good at voices, by the way.

Let's talk about Cory Booker, Juan. He's someone, though, I think people looked at for many years as a centrist Democrat. I've got to know him very casually years ago when people were tailing him as a new type of Democrat.

Today, he put on what I think was quite a performance in the interrogation of the DHS secretary. He conjured up all of the tears of rage, the "I'm so outraged, how could you say this," as if he never sat at a Senate hearing were a cabinet member actually defends the president of the United States.

He actually acted like this DHS secretary was complicit in marching with the KKK. I found a low point for him. I found that he had lost a lot of credibility with a lot of people.

WILLIAMS: Here's where I agree with you. I thought it was theatrical, but let me also state that I think as a U.S. senator, as a politician, I think it was incumbent upon him to say, hey, DHS Secretary, you were in the room, and somehow you can't remember. You say that it was bad language.

What that language did you hear? That's what Dick Durbin, the senator from Illinois who has said that the president said that. What bad language did you hear? She said this on Fox News Sunday. She couldn't answer. So, she clearly was defending the president.

INGRAHAM: So what? Why should a cabinet member have to reveal anything about a private conversation? I find this whole thing to be one big distraction.

WILLIAMS: Here you're going off the rails because who is the one who keeps changing the story, Laura? The White House. The White House did not deny that he'd said it initially pure then they come back, and the president said, oh, I didn't say it.

Then the White House said, well, maybe he said a different kind of profanity the point is, he is saying black people from Africa, from Haiti, brown people from El Salvador, we don't want them. We don't need people from these countries.

INGRAHAM: He did not say the people. He said the countries and describing them. Lindsey Graham described Mexico and Central America.

WILLIAMS: Laura, we are not letting countries and, we are letting in human beings who have talent and who have been admitted to this country, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, Catholics, and they have made America great.

INGRAHAM: When Obama used the similar language to describe a Middle Eastern country, does that make him racist? Does that make him insensitive?

WILLIAMS: No. He wasn't talking about people from those countries. Oh, I see.

INGRAHAM: He's describing a whole country.

WILLIAMS: You described a corrupt government. You should not talk about people that way.

INGRAHAM: Juan, you were discriminated against at NPR for your viewpoint. That was horrible what they did to you. They didn't treat you fairly. That was so unfair. It's a similar thing what's happening now. It's not viewpoint discrimination. It's discrimination in a way against the president's record of early success, still early, but early success and totally deviating from the truth of the fact.

We are getting to whether he's fat now, we haven't even gotten into that, Corey. The press at the White House today, does he really weigh 239? Get on a scale. I've seen it all now.

LEWANDOWSKI: Look, the outrage over every single thing that this president has done is so overblown. Now they're calling into question a medical doctor who also performed the same exact test on Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Now they are calling into question, are you giving us all the information? Does he really weigh that? Does he wear dentures? What else are you not telling us? This guy gets on television and says --

INGRAHAM: These people in the press room have gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs and they are crazy.

LEWANDOWSKI: They say Trump has amazing genes.

INGRAHAM: He's probably in better health that most of those people who sit on their dump all day or the exercise at a 90-minute spin class. I'm in good shape.

CROWLEY: You know what, Laura, JFK had all kind of serious illnesses. He was a walkie walking horror show of pills and injections. Barack Obama was a smoker. I never heard that or any kind of comments about kind of risk that would be to the president of the United States.

They are raising the bar for Donald Trump because they got to find some sort of cajole to destroy this man, and the fact that he is still standing upright, carrying out his duty as president and drinking his Diet Coke.

INGRAHAM: I think we should all have a bucket of chicken and a couple of Big Macs to celebrate that.

WILLIAMS: He likes Starburst so he can't have dentures.

INGRAHAM: Starburst will pull out your fillings. How was China doing? Let's focus on the Starburst. You guys are such a great panel. Thank you so much.

By the way, Mitt Romney in the Senate. We have a Romney coming up it really does like President Trump quite a bit. We will ask some very interesting questions about the potential Romney run from a relative. Don't go away.


INGRAHAM: Mitt Romney is considering a run for the Senate, raising the question, would he be more of an ally or an adversary of President Trump? Romney delivered a scathing speech during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling then Candidate Trump a phony and a fraud.

Our next guest knows both men pretty well, says Romney is no never Trumper, Ronna McDaniel is both Romney's niece and a chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Ronna, it's great to see you. Thanks for coming in tonight.


INGRAHAM: OK, so what's making the do? Number one question, my inside scoop.

MCDANIEL: I don't ask him what he's going to do, so I can come on shows and say I have no idea. I don't even ask my dad on that front. But I will say my advice to any Republican is, spend your time focusing on the Democrats. Look at Schumer, Pelosi, what they do if they were holding the reins of this country where our country would be today.

Focus on them, stop focusing on the Republicans. I always say, if you have a problem and your family, don't go on Jerry Springer. This president is doing a great job. We should be supporting him.

INGRAHAM: He did send out this tweet right after the s-hole comment controversy, he said, "The property of an aspiring immigrant's nation of origin is as irrelevant as their race. The sentiment attributed to POTUS is inconsistent with America's history and antithetical to American values. May our memory of Dr. King buoy our hope for unity, greatness and "charity for all." That was a dig at the president, Ronna.

MCDANIEL: Well, we've seen many different accounts come from this meeting. The president has said it's been totally misrepresented. I take the president's word at that.

INGRAHAM: So, you're taking the president over Uncle Mitt?

MCDANIEL: The president was in the meeting, so, yes, I take the president's word at what he said. He is representing himself and he's talking about better immigration, better borders, focusing on things that are going to help make this country safer and great again.

INGRAHAM: I keep thinking of the senators and congressmen who opposed Trump, who happened to be Republican, it hasn't worked out so well for them. Bannon is gone. Flake is on his way out. Corker was kind of in and out. He's gone. I don't see the play here. I'm going to be a never Trumper. OK? I guess. I don't even know where that gets you.

MCDANIEL: So, what are you going to be against? Lower unemployment, better jobs, a better economy. I mean, look at where our country a year into this Trump administration, we are humming, we are on the right track. This is the president everyone should be getting behind. I hope Democrats all hear the word and start putting this president as well.

INGRAHAM: Now, this is what Chuck Schumer, I know you are up watching the late show last night. This is what Schumer said to Colbert. Let's watch.


SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., MINORITY LEADER: He's not a racist. He is the least racist person you'd ever see. I have a challenge for Donald Trump. Actions speak louder than words. You want to begin, just begin that long road back to proving you are not racist, you're not bigoted, support the bipartisan compromise that three Republicans and three Democrats have put on the floor, everyone gave and get the DREAMers safety here in America.


INGRAHAM: By the way, Ronna, that's just the first step towards Trump's redemption. Give everything they want to the gang of six, and he will have teeny baby step towards not being a racist. Thanks, Chuck.

MCDANIEL: Well, I'm sure Chuck Schumer is the person the president is listening to right now. I say to Chuck Schumer, why don't you take some advice from yourself 20 years ago when you voted for a wall and said we needed to fix immigration and recognize we had a border issue? Maybe Chuck Schumer should go revisit his past self and support some of the things that the president is putting on the table that is going to make our country safer.

INGRAHAM: Now the Democrats keep saying, well, all these vacancies, retirements, Republicans getting wiped out in the House. They're going into the fold wish list here. The Republicans are toast. What's the real scoop do you think?

MCDANIEL: Well, the RNC raised record money. We know that the midterms are usually brutal. We've been ready for it. We had the best the data and ground game. We are ready to compete. We have an economy that's doing well. We have accomplishments to run on. We have a president that the leading the way.

I don't think it will be what the Democrats hoped, but I want our based energizer, so go ahead and worry and get out there, be engage, volunteer. We have a national day of training on Saturday on the first anniversary -- get out. You cannot rest. This is going to be important election. We will have to work as hard as we can.

INGRAHAM: You know I always ask you this, I want the comments most frequently made on the return envelopes when you ask for money. What do people do?

MCDANIEL: I got my homework done today like I should. We have had actual record low dollar fund-raising in January and the number one thing that people are saying on the phones and on the mail, we need to keep our majority in Congress because we need to support this president. It's not even us soliciting donations. We actually have people calling because they are so concerned. We are beating 2016, 2014, any other election year in small dollar donations.

INGRAHAM: They want the wall built. They don't just want to do amnesty.

MCDANIEL: They support this president and his agenda.

INGRAHAM: Ronna, great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

Straight ahead, Senator Marco Rubio worked with the Democrats back in 2013 on an immigration bill, and that blew up so what's changed? Rubio will tell us next.


INGRAHAM: Once again, it's crunch time on Capitol Hill as lawmakers debate the fate of DACA and look for a way to keep the government open past a Friday midnight deadline. Senator Marco Rubio joins us now from Capitol Hill to discuss those and a lot of other issues.

Thanks for joining us, Senator Rubio. Let's get right to. The topic of the day is this immigration impasse once again. And for our viewers out there, are you more attuned to the current Durbin-Graham version of the immigration bill? Or would it to be closer to the Republicans who are called the more hardline people like Tom Cotton or Senator Perdue?

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: I don't know the details of the Graham- Durbin proposal other than what's been expressed in the media. I haven't seen those details.

I can tell you what I believe in. I believe we do have to build a wall and improve our overall security, like at airports of entry and exit. I believe we should end the diversity lottery. I have been saying that for about five years. I believe that we should toward a merit based system of immigration. I believe that we should figure out a way, like the president has, to deal with the people that find themselves, or many of the people that find themselves now under a DACA designation.

And I think the big debate has been, how do you put that all together? And the way I view it is the president's number one priority is border security. The Democrats are insisting on DACA, and so in order to get it passed under this framework that we're in now, each side is going to have to get something.

But what else gets in there is what the debate has been about. So I support ending the diversity lottery. I think we should admit people to the United States based on what they're going to contribute to the United States, and that's why I've long called for a merit based system of immigration irrespective of what country you're coming from. It shouldn't be country based, it should be person based.

INGRAHAM: Absolutely. And senator, back in 2015, you gave us speech, or a back and forth with Hannity at CPAC. And you said I learned my lesson on immigration. And your point was that we have to have to do enforcement first before we can get to the other parts you said. That was obviously because of the gang of eight. That went down in flames. But the gang of eight, now it's a gang of six. You have Lindsey Graham out there, who today said we need different partners, willing partners in the White House. What of that? The White House is the White House. The president ran on the wall and enforcement, and he's willing to do DACA, too.

RUBIO: Just about anything we pass here, you are going to have to have him sign it. So that's the only partner at the end of the day that is going to matter is what the president will sign. And by the way, the lesson I referred to in 2015 was more than just border security first. It was with a step-by-step approach versus a comprehensive one in which would you try to do all these things together. You are only talking about five things and they can't put it together.

So that's why I have long believed you start with security first, that's something everybody should agree on. I don't know why anybody would argue that we shouldn't secure our border and enforce our immigration laws. And then you move into modernization which are things like making a merit based or getting rid of the diversity lottery, basically going to a person based immigration system as opposed to a country or family based one.

INGRAHAM: Right, but Senator, I'm sorry to interrupt, but aren't they doing -- they are doing amnesty at the same time. Not everybody, but they are doing 800,000 at the same time. So they're kind of doing a smaller version of what you guys tried to do in 2013, and that obviously didn't work out well. And the president is still willing to give in this circumstance.

RUBIO: That's the point. Everybody involved in this negotiation is saying we understand that we are going to deal with the DACA situation, but you have got to do a strong enforcement that is going to happen. And one of the differences between now and 2013 is you have someone at the White House that people trust is actually going to do it. That's a big dynamic shift from where we stood at this time in 2013 arguing about whether or not enforcement would even happen. Even if we passed a law people would argue that it wouldn't happen. So that's the difference.

INGRAHAM: Right. Are you for the aunts and uncles and all of that to come in?

RUBIO: No. So I think keeping the nuclear family is one thing. I think allowing people to claim their parents or other relatives is not something that I support. And to me that's part of moving away from the family based system and towards the merit-based system.

INGRAHAM: Let's talk about what Jeff Flake is saying tomorrow, another one of your colleagues. You have got a lot of charges. First Trump is a racist, which I assume you don't agree with. That's what Durbin is saying. You don't agree with that, right?

RUBIO: I've never seen him do or say anything in front of me that leads me to believe him. People have a right to have whatever opinion they want, but I certainly have never viewed him that way.

INGRAHAM: I don't know how you sit down in a room with someone one day and two days later say he is a racist. Now Jeff Flake is giving a speech tomorrow where he is comparing Trump's treatment of the press to Joseph Stalin. And of course Stalin, the great purge, 28 million to 60 deaths attributed to him. How do we get here, senator?

RUBIO: I don't agree with everything the president does. I bet you don't agree with everything the president does. But one of the things that is happening is exaggeration. Just like the president does things from time to time that I don't agree with or would have done differently, I think the reaction to it is often very exaggerated. I haven't heard him give the speech yet so we'll see what he says tomorrow, but I think there's any comparison not just between this president but any American public figure with Joseph Stalin. But again, I don't know that's what he's going to say speech. He hasn't given it yet.

INGRAHAM: Yes, well, he's teased it.

Let's talk about what you want to do to prevent foreign governments from interfering in American elections. You're teaming up with Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and what is your goal, and what do you intend to do?

RUBIO: So there's clearly a Russian element to it because there's no doubt the Russians tried to interfere in our election, by the way, in my view, not simply to favor a candidate. That may have been what they felt like at the end, but for much of it, it was just to sow discord.

But my bigger problem, we can only do what has happened in the past, looking back retroactively. But prospectively, the biggest threat to America's electoral system and, quite frankly, America at large is not Russia. It's China. China has basically infiltrated its way into all of our technologies across the supply chain. They make anything the Russians can do look like child's play, and that includes stealing secrets, that includes influencing individuals in American government through a lot of different things. And that includes potentially interfering in an election.

So I think the biggest thing moving forward is not the Russians. It's actually the Chinese. They are much larger with a lot more capability and a lot more money. And that's one of the things I thought about when getting involved in this legislation.

INGRAHAM: And any thoughts about this "New York Times" piece that came out tonight that the administration is going to be reviewing possible plans to expand our military response with nuclear weapons to potential cyber- attacks on water, communications, other essential services that would basically shut down the power grid, et cetera.

RUBIO: So I promise you there will be overreaction to that well, some of the same things I told you, exaggeration. You'll see headlines that say Trump wants nuclear attack because of hacking. But that's what not what this is about. By the way, this doctrine is actually not new. It's just been expanded and now of course been made public. The bigger thing about this is you talk about some of these attacks. We're talking about things that would knock planes out of the sky, kill patients in hospitals, wipe out millions of dollars from bank accounts, paralyze our electric grid. I'm talking about massive loss of life if the kinds of attacks that are being tried or anticipated here are the attacks that happen.

People need to know ahead of time, if you do this, we are not going to have a series of town hall meetings to talk about why did this happen. This is what the response is going to be. Countries know what the response is going to be if they launch a nuclear attack against us. They need to note what that response is going to be if they launch a life-threatening cyber or irregular attack. I think a lot of people countries that may not have a nuclear capability or may have a small nuclear capability have the ability to expand into our territory if we don't do a better job of protecting ourselves.

INGRAHAM: Senator Rubio, thanks so much for spending time with us tonight. Hope to see you soon.

RUBIO: Thanks.

INGRAHAM: And a phone call between President Trump and the Chinese president turns very tense over a still growing, whopping trade imbalance. The details when John Bolton joins us next.


INGRAHAM: Well, he promised in the campaign, and now President Trump is signaling it may be time to finally fight back against China. A phone call with the Chinese President Xi reportedly got very testy when the president called the growing trade deficit with that country unsustainable.

Let's get into that right now with FOX News contributor John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton, the October trade deficit with China was a record. I think it ended up being $48.7 billion. It can't be sustained otherwise we really can't get to where we need to be economically. Trump won't stand for it.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The Chinese are pursuing a mercantilist foreign policy of what's best for China. They do it under the rubric of free-trade and the World Trade Organization. It is not a free-trade organization.

What Trump has been saying repeatedly is when China violates its commitments, we are going to do something about it. And these violations go across the board. I well remember back in 2000 when people were talking about bringing China in, they said they will conform to international norms. They will be more liberal, more open and whatnot. It hasn't happened. We've been taking advantage of. And now Trump is saying it's time to stop.

INGRAHAM: The following people, Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, George W. Bush, all heralding this as some great new openness with China. China still has hundreds of thousands of reeducation camps, steal our intellectual property, ambitious around the world. They want to be the hegemon, and we'll see where that goes. There was a big meeting in Vancouver today, 20 nations to deal with North Korea, an issue that you care about a lot. China and Russia were not present, and the Chinese president very unhappy.

BOLTON: I've heard different things. I've heard they were not invited or they were invited and didn't come. But the point is, it's like having a meeting with the elephants in the room.

INGRAHAM: Fox in the henhouse, maybe.

BOLTON: This is feckless I think on part of the State Department. You're not going to chitchat or pressure North Korea into giving up nuclear weapons as a strategy. It's failed for 25 years, so what this meeting achieved is hard to see. That's being kind.

INGRAHAM: I know you are interested in this Rex Tillerson secretary of state, Nikki Haley, of course the U.N. ambassador, your old job. Who has more mojo now with Trump, Tillerson or Haley, and why?

BOLTON: I think the administration compromised on a decision about funding the U.N. agency that aids the Palestinians. This may sound like a numbers crunching budget dispute, but it goes really right to the heart of whether the administration will have a new policy in the Middle East or whether they are going to do the same things that have failed for the last 50 years. I think this is a critical debate. I wish we had more coverage of it, more debate about it in Congress. And it really is an effort by the Trump administration to turn that big aircraft carrier called the State Department around.

INGRAHAM: And giving money to the Palestinians Authority for humanitarian issues and so forth?

BOLTON: It's both money to the U.N. and the Palestinian Authority where Abbas is slamming the United States over the weekend and we turn around and give them $60 million. So it's hard to understand how you're going to make it clear --

INGRAHAM: The carrot, stick, we're going to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but we are still in engaged, and we still --

BOLTON: This is a reflection of an administration still mired in debate. But I think they're trying to do the right thing if they can overcome the bureaucratic opposition.

INGRAHAM: Just because you and I love to talk about how our friends at "The Wall Street Journal," and I have to go back to this on the trade issue for just a moment, because they had a big piece today about China and how we are going to escalate this into a big trade war. If it escalated far enough, a trade war could take down the entire global trading texture. That may be indeed Mr. Trump's goal. That's the "Journal" today in news story, Ambassador Bolton, not in a commentary.

BOLTON: That's not a new story. I'm a free-trader myself, but if people undertake obligations and then don't comply with them, it's critical that you bring them --

INGRAHAM: Are we a country or not?

BOLTON: Exactly. The State Department, the bureaucracy as a whole just cannot stand saying other countries are in violation of their agreements. It's time to say it more often.

INGRAHAM: Ambassador Bolton, great to see you.

And by the way, a Democrat who has known Donald Trump for almost half a century explains why everybody's getting it wrong about the president and race, up next.


INGRAHAM: Now a Democrat who has known Donald Trump for more than four decades exposes what the left is trying to do with their absurd charges of racism against the president. Andy Stein joins us from New York where he used to serve as city council president. Andy, it's great to see you. Donald Trump's a racist, that's all we hear from the left. Donald Trump's a racist. You've known him for 40 plus years. Tell us.

ANDREW STEIN, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATS FOR TRUMP: I've known him since 1973, Laura, and it's ridiculous. If it wasn't so serious it would be laughable. This guy doesn't have an ounce of racism in him. He judges people on the merits. On the first night he took over Mar-a-Lago, I think is 85, he said to me, it's crazy that they don't admit blacks in any of the fancy clubs in Palm Beach, and I'm going to change that. I think he sued the city of Palm Beach because of it.

In Haiti, there was a big storm in 1980. I raised a lot of medical supplies. I was borough president in Manhattan, and we were going to send them to Haiti, but we didn't have a plane. I called Donald Trump, one-two- three, he gave us a plane to take all the supplies over. The largest congregation in Queens, they needed money for some of the poor parishioners. I called a lot of liberal friends in Manhattan. They couldn't care less. And what happened was I called Donald Trump and right away he wrote a check.

Black unemployment is the lowest it's been since 1972 and Hispanic unemployment is the lowest it's been in 17 years. So this guy should get, the president should get a bigger black vote because he's done more for the African-Americans than any president in recent history, for sure.

INGRAHAM: I think, Andy, that's what they are really afraid of. And "The Atlantic" just had a piece out a couple days ago where they noted that in fact his approval rating among African-Americans has gone up since the election. Obviously he didn't get a lot of support. He got more than Mitt Romney did last time around, but he is improving. And I think that's the Democrats worst nightmare.

But the stories that you just told, those anecdotes that you've known him for so long, we all have stories like that. And it's outrageous that this narrative is allowed to be cooked into the media in the attempt to brainwash the American public. And Andrew, just as his friend, we only have about 15 seconds, final words.

STEIN: It's the old Democratic playbook, Laura, which is ridiculous, which is racism, sexism. In the meantime the president is providing real jobs for real people in the African-American community.

INGRAHAM: Fantastic, Andrew Stein on "The Laura Ingraham Show." And by the way, we have a story you might have forgotten about Senator Cory Booker who was slamming the DHS secretary today. Stay tuned.


INGRAHAM: Before we go, I want to get back to our old friend Cory Booker. Of course squeezing drama from every scene is a default for him. Remember that imaginary friend whom then Newark Mayor Booker reference repeatedly in his stump speeches dating back to the late '90s. Back in 2013 "National Review" recounted the bizarre item this way. T-Bone, the drug pusher who the mayor has said threatened his life at one turn and sobbed on his shoulder the next, is a figment of his imagination, even though Booker has talked about him in highly emotional terms and in great detail.

T-Bone? He was the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, not of Natchez, Mississippi. We are just messing with you, Senator Booker. We would love for you to come on down in the bureau, sit down with us. Consider it an open invitation. And by the way, what? Oh, T-Bone is watching and says hi. Hasn't talked to you for a while. Misses you.

That's it for us tonight. Ms. Shannon, take it away.

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