Donald Trump breaks with Republicans on trade policies

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 29, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Why would the Chamber, and I have nothing against the Chamber, don't know them too well, but I have nothing -- why would they complain when all I'm saying is this, that if China doesn't make this horrendous deal that we have with them, which is sort of a non-deal. It's only a one-way, one-sided deal. I want to renegotiate a deal. They're against it. They're saying, how can Donald do that, and how can he jeopardize free trade? Then they say we're going to lose a trade war? We're always losing the trade war, folks. We lost the trade. We're getting killed.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Donald Trump today talking about the Chamber of Commerce and their reaction to his positions and comments on trade. Just yesterday the chamber issuing a statement, "Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has promised to make America great again. Does a recession sound great to you? Do 7 million lost jobs sound like winning? No, probably not. And yet that's exactly where our country would be headed under Trump's trade policies according to analysis released last week." Now, remember, this is the Republican presumptive nominee. It's hard to believe with that statement from the Chamber of Commerce.

Here's the new polls that we had out tonight, the first poll head to head, now Hillary Clinton you see taking a six-point lead and how it's changed really since the last couple of months. If you add the split, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, you have Donald Trump leading with independents. That's significant in a number of different states he's campaigning in. And if you add the libertarian Gary Johnson to the mix, it changes the dynamics a little bit, Clinton's lead is down to five. Johnson at 10 percent, and, remember, 15 percent is the threshold to get into the general election debate.

Let's bring in our expanded panel tonight: Jason Riley, columnist with The Wall Street Journal; Amy Walter, national for The Cook Political Report; Mercedes Schlapp, columnist for The Washington Times, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

OK, Amy, first, the poll numbers. What we're seeing here, and it kind of matches a trend that we've seen over the past couple of days.

AMY WALTER, COOK POLITICAL REPORT: The trend has not been too good for Donald Trump, in part, because this last, what has it been, two, three weeks, the entire month of June has been a referendum on Donald Trump. And that's not good for Donald Trump's numbers.

And the other thing that you can see clearly here is -- there's a bit of good news for him. It's that for people who say they're very interested in this race, the race tightens up. So there's an enthusiasm for Donald Trump that's not there for Hillary Clinton, or at least not as strongly. But other than that --

BAIER: That's FOX poll nine, by the way, interested voters.

WALTER: That's the only bit of good news. But at the end of the day, this is the challenge, and we've talked about this from the very beginning, the challenge for Donald Trump is make thing race a referendum on Hillary Clinton, on the Obama administration, not letting it be a race about him.

BAIER: Mercedes, if you or somebody who is following Trump, you like Trump, isn't that interested voters poll kind of heartening after the couple of weeks that you've watched and the media play out?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Exactly. What we would say is that the last month has been very difficult for Donald Trump between his Hispanic judge comments to his response to the Orlando massacre, and to Hillary Clinton's point of being on the offense and really attacking Donald Trump. You would actually think that Hillary Clinton's numbers would be better than what we're seeing right now. And she has a full-blown campaign in place, and you're talking about Donald Trump who has a skeleton campaign, who is building a new brain trust in the last two weeks.

BAIER: That's also an issue.

SCHLAPP: Absolutely. But you would think the poll numbers would be even worse for Donald Trump. So I think that when you look at the numbers for independents, it looks good for Donald Trump. However, when it comes to the GOP unity, the mere fact that those numbers have dropped from 82 percent of Republicans supporting Donald Trump down to 74 percent, that is one of his biggest issues. He needs to assure that he's able to maintain and build his base and get the Republicans to back him up. And that's has been I think one of the primary issues for Donald Trump.

BAIER: Jason, one of the things we saw yesterday with this speech, he was talking about the TPP here, just take a listen.




BAIER: And he wasn't frozen. Silence really wasn't what we were seeing yesterday. But basically what he said was this, quote, "The Transpacific Partnership is another disaster done, pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just continuing rape our country. That's what it is, it's a harsh word, but it's a rape of our country."

What is interesting to see is a Republican nominee going this way on trade, which is clearly playing in some states, Pennsylvania, Michigan, some of those affected states, but it is riling up and splitting a Republican Party.

JASON RILEY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes, yes. And it's not -- he's saying things, using words like "rape" to describe allies to the U.S., like Australia. It's not a good thing.

But Trump's economic protectionism is no real surprise. We've known for a long time that he's much closer to Bernie Sanders and Ralph Nader and the AFL-CIO than he is to Ronald Reagan and free market conservatives when it comes to trade. He thinks this sort of populism will play well in your Michigans, in your Ohios, in your Pennsylvanias.

But, Bret, we did not become the richest country, America, by isolating ourselves economically. In fact it's just the opposite what we've done.
We've opened our borders to the movement of goods and services and people, and it's made us one of the wealthiest nations ever. And I think Trump knows this intuitively, which is why his clothing line is manufacturing in China and why he hires workers from Mexico for his resorts here in the U.S.
He knows it adds efficiency. It has made him more wealthy and prosperous and it has done the same thing for this country. I think he knows it but he thinks that there's a political angle here to pretend otherwise.

BAIER: You mentioned Australia. The Australian ambassador to the U.S. Joe Hockey tweeted out, "4 July marks 98 years of Australia and USA fighting side by side in battle. Any talk of rape by Australia in TPP with USA is offensive and dead wrong." There's been reaction, obviously, Charles, to all of this, but on the bigger political picture, is Trump seeing something that everyone else is not?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What he saw for the Republican primaries is that the traditional ideology -- free trade, more reasonable, more open border, was something that everybody else was supporting, and he saw a real opening and he won the nomination essentially on that message.
The question is, how will it play in the country?

I think what's most interesting is the fact that if the Republicans are now abandoning free trade, for the first time ever in our memory we're having a presidential campaign where neither side is for free trade, which I think bodes really badly for our allies abroad, the Australians, the Canadians, the Mexicans. Imagine the Mexicans looking at the cancellation of NAFTA and the effect it would have on them. They're looking at a race where both parties is now turning against free trade. They always assumed the United States would be the one country that would rise above the most narrow economic nationalism and save the idea of free trade. That's not going to be true come January, 2017. And that will change the whole international landscape.

BAIER: We're going to talk, Amy, about Hillary Clinton's troubles on this issue in the next panel, and she's had a couple of interesting things happen over the past couple of weeks. But sticking on Trump for a second, the fundraising and structure that Mercedes talked about --

WALTER: It's a real problem. And it's a real problem in this, which is if you're going to try to drive a message about Hillary Clinton, even about this bad week that we all talked about, you have to be able to do that in part by putting campaign ads up or at least getting that message out.

And there's something called information flow. It's what voters tell pollsters they're getting. Are you seeing good or bad things about this person? At this point in 2012, they were getting about an equal amount between Romney and Obama, both equally negative. Today, Donald Trump's negatives are minus 35 to Hillary Clinton which are minus 11. So in other words, all the information flow that voters are getting right now is negative on Trump, not as negative on Hillary Clinton.

BAIER: His supporters would say that's the mainstream media.

WALTER: It's going to continue. A lot of it is driven by the fact that her campaign and her allies have ads on the air driving this message.

BAIER: Last thing. I want to play this, and I think it's the unfrozen Trump, today on polls and money to this very question.


TRUMP: They said, Donald Trump's numbers -- first of all, I don't know why I need so much money. I go around, I make speeches, I talk to reporters. I don't even need commercials if you want to know the truth.

When I was in the primaries, everyone said you can't do that in New Hampshire. You can't do that. You have to go and meet little groups. I think if they ever saw me sitting in their living room, they would lose total respect for me. I got Trump in my living room, this is weird.



BAIER: I mean, Mercedes, Trump in the living room.

SCHLAPP: Hillary Clinton cannot make us laugh, and we sit around listening to Donald Trump, and he really brings humor to the political system.

BAIER: Is he right? Can he run a primary in a general election?

SCHLAPP: A general election is very different than a primary election. I would like to say, thought, a conventional campaign is not going to work.
We're seeing this with Hillary Clinton where she's throwing millions of dollars in. We're not seeing her poll numbers necessarily sway voters. He has an opportunity to have an unconventional campaign, but, however, he needs to raise the money. And that is what he's doing. And I do believe in speaking to campaign officials with Trump that they are going in the right direction in terms of fundraising and ensuring the right people are in place in the important battleground states.

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