CNN’s Chris Cuomo Grills Mike Pence On His Refusal To Condemn Trump’s Racist And Sexist Statements
Cuomo: “Now, Tacitly, You Are Accepting Those Positions Because You Won’t Speak Out Against Them”
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From the October 6 edition of CNN's New Day:
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CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Let me cut to the chase here, in terms of our political discussion. I've been reading the transcripts of your interviews, and I understand why you're getting frustrated with these questions about defending Donald Trump. But what I don't understand, Governor, is why don't you say, I don't agree with what Donald Trump has said about Muslims and about the Mexican judge? Because before you were his nominee, Governor, you said that. You said Trump is wrong about categorically saying Muslims can't get in the country. Why not just own your own truth on those situations?
GOV. MIKE PENCE: Well, first let me say that I'm very humbled by the fact that your poll and some people think I won the debate. I'll leave that to others. But I really do think that, whatever I was able to do the other night, that Donald Trump won the debate, that Donald Trump's vision to make America great again won the debate. And I couldn't be more honored to have been at that table, to be articulating his vision, and to be drawing the contrast with the campaign of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine that simply want to continue the policies that have weakened America's place in the world, set areas of the wider Middle East literally spinning apart, and has stifled the American economy in places like here in Pennsylvania. And so for me, I'm honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with him, and also honored to address those very same questions. I'm not -- I'm not frustrated at all about it, Chris. Donald Trump and I have been very, very clear about the issue of suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, or some of these other issues.
CUOMO: But Governor, that is a finessed position. We both know that where he started was saying there is a problem with Islam. That Muslims should be kept out of the country. You condemned those comments, and you did so strongly as the governor of Indiana when you were backing Ted Cruz. You said we can't say that. When he said what he said about Judge Curiel, not making it about the case but about his ethnicity, you condemned those comments. Why do you not condemn them now?
PENCE: Well because it's not Donald Trump's position now. Look you've known him for a long time, Chris. I haven't known him that long at all. But what you see in Donald Trump is a man who has built an extraordinary business. You found out in the last week he faced some really hard times 20 years ago and led an incredible comeback to build a business that's created tens of thousands of jobs and now is worth billions of dollars. But in Donald Trump you have someone that is -- is -- has been willing to speak his mind, he's spoken about the frustrations and the aspirations of the American people, and I'm proud to stand with him as he talks about ending illegal immigration once and for all, and doing it when he becomes president. I'm proud to stand with him when he says that we need to suspend immigration from countries and territories that have been compromised by terrorism. I understand why you want to play the oldies, you want to talk about the where the campaign began or what statements were made, but the American people are focused on the policies that Donald Trump is articulating every day across this country and I think it’s the reason why --
CUOMO: Right but it's also about the person --
PENCE: There's so much momentum in this movement and people are being drawn to that vision and for me to be able to share that vision, to share the choice at that table Tuesday night was one of the greatest honors of my life.
CUOMO: Except that, governor, there is the policy but there's also the person. And again, you know, you don't like handling directly these questions of what he said. You can't argue that he's changed his position. That's fine. He's different now than where he started on immigration. And that's for the voters to decide how they feel about that change. But what he has said about women, about Mexicans, about Muslims, matters and I know that you have said you don't share those positions. And now, tacitly, you are accepting those positions because you won't speak out against them. You understand that?