April 19, 2019

Ann Coulter

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter discusses her early support of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign due to his hardline stance on immigration, her disappointment with how the Trump administration has handled immigration and border security, and why she is now saying the crisis at the border is “worse than it would ever be under any Democrat.”

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She’s the caustic conservative commentator who loved Trump the candidate….but now not so much. This week on Firing Line

JOY BEHAR ON CNN:  Do you think that people hate you?

COULTER:  NO.  NOT WHEN I HAVE SEVEN NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLERS.  NO, I’M VERY POPULAR

After decades of courting controversy , Ann Coulter found a new muse — Donald J Trump

TRUMP: They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime.

 his fiery immigration rhetoric that seemed to come directly from her

 COULTER:   There are cultures that are obviously deficient.  If they weren’t deficient, you wouldn’t be sitting in America interviewing me, I’d be sitting in Mexico.

 Now, she’s turned on the President over his inability to fulfill his campaign promises

COULTER: I promise you the country would be run much better if I had a veto over what Donald Trump could do.

BILL MAHER: You kinda do.

Some even think her ability to channel his base has him on notice

Don Lemon: Is Ann Coulter running the federal gov’t?

What does Ann Coulter say now? 

‘Firing Line’ with Margaret Hoover’ is made possible by… Corporate funding is provided by… …and by…

HOOVER: Ann Coulter welcome back the firing line. 

COULTER: Thank you. My, The host has changed. 

HOOVER: You have been a provocative conservative voice for more than two decades. You have recently made news because you have been both friend and foe of the president vis a vis immigration policy. 

COULTER: Right. (sounds really obnoxious)

HOOVER: And you have been a more articulate exponent of his ideas on immigration, in a way that I think people have underestimated. So I’d like to just take us back to 2015. Two weeks before Donald Trump launches his presidential campaign and your 11th book is published and it is entitled “Adios America the left’s plan to turn our country into a third world hellhole. “

COULTER: Yes. 

HOOVER: Why in that moment in time were you concerned about immigration policy?

COULTER:  Well I have been concerned about it for a while and I think the argument for for controlling immigration is something that all Americans ought to be able to agree with. I mean unless you are very very rich or you’re the Koch Brothers or a corporation, you know, dumping low wage workers on the country is good for you. They aren’t gonna move into your neighborhoods.

HOOVER: and you were hoping to influence the candidates. In fact in the back of the book you have you grade the candidates

COULTER: Yep

HOOVER: that you suspect are going to be running Jeb Bush Marco Rubio Chris Christie all the normal regular household names. And surprisingly Donald Trump does not appear 

COULTER: right, right

HOOVER: In the book. But, there was a moment.  Where the Trump campaign reaches out to you, right

COULTER:  Before the book came out right. 

HOOVER: OK. Walk me through what happened.

 COULTER: the night Romney lost 2012 I was so depressed I thought it was over. It’s over. They’re going to flood the country we will never be able to change it now. And so when I wrote Adios America I thought there was like a 10 percent chance of saving the country. I sent copies of it to Christie, Chris Christie, to Romney some of the Republicans I expected to run I posted-noted certain pages.Once Trump came along he saw me on the Jorge Ramos show which was just two weeks before the book came out and I’m on my way to the airport to fly up to New York and launch the book and I got an email from his people asking for an advance copy of the book and then he came out with a somewhat more, um, boisterous version of the book.  

 HOOVER: OK. So just a few weeks later there’s this famous moment President Trump comes down the golden escalator and he announces he’s going to run let’s listen 

TRUMP CLIP: when Mexico sends its people, they’re sending people, that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some I assume are good people. 

HOOVER: So what are you thinking when you hear that?

 COULTER: I thought wow I don’t think I would have put it that way but if he doesn’t back down that’s pretty good, it was two days later I was on the Bill Maher Show saying he was the most likely to win.

 HOOVER: It’s shocking to me that you mentioned that because I was just going to show a clip. Let’s roll it.

 MAHER CLIP: Which Republican candidate has the best chance of winning the general election? 

COULTER IN CLIP: Of the declared ones right now? Donald Trump.

 HOOVER: I mean people were laughing out loud. 

 COULTER: I was still waiting for Trump to back down because that’s what what tends to happen Republicans go out they meet I mean I go out I give lots of speeches out in America. Immigration is a huge issue. It’s not hitting Park Avenue it’s not hitting Nob Hill or Beverly Hills. It is hitting the suburbs of these places it is hitting America. Their hospitals their schools their jobs all of the drugs being brought in. I mean that is a serious issue. So I thought he was going to back down. And I would have preferred to have the same message being delivered by someone, by a more elegant politician. But if Trump is the only one who is going to give us the basket of issues we wanted to vote on and neither political party had been offering about all this time– by the way, Bernie Sanders was quite good on immigration. He had Trump’s position 

 HOOVER:  We’re going to get to the policies of immigration. But let me just ask a question because in the book you write. “Other countries are always welcome to adopt American ideals about equality before law and Anglo-Saxon morality. They don’t need to leave home to do that instead America is just bringing in a lot of rapists.” So a lot to unpack there but the president was using some language.

COULTER: Oh there’s a lot on the rape cultures of other societies and I mean it’s it’s it’s 100 percent true.  I’m not saying there’s something genetic here but these are cultures that are extremely misogynistic, honor based, that do not respect women or children, We can assimilate anyone to our culture. Anyone at all. But when you bring in such huge numbers at once you can’t assimilate them. They– they bring their cultures with them.

 HOOVER:  I I want to finish the chronology of your history with Trump. You go on to support him through the campaign. You introduce him at rallies. He says lovely things about you at rallies. [cross talk]

HOOVER:  Let’s let’s look at this little clip. 

COULTER/TRUMP MONTAGE CLIP: I love the idea of the Great Wall of Trump and maybe Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had to betray us once again. To pave the way. For presidents Donald Trump. God hasn’t given up on America yet.  Ann Coulter who wrote an excellent book by the way excellent book. She wrote an excellent book right. You know the name of her book. Adios America. You think she’s kidding she’s not kidding.

 HOOVER: There’s another quote- “My worship for him.” This is you of the president is like the people of North Korea worship Dear Leader blind loyalty. Once he gave that Mexican rapist speech I’ll walk all over glass for him. That’s basically it.” Essentially you all were aligned politically in terms of how you thought about the policy. Were you in a way an outside adviser to the campaign and then the presidency when he was elected when it came to immigration policy.  

 COULTER: I wouldn’t call myself that but–

HOOVER: Informally, though 

COULTER: He read the book. 

HOOVER: I think he read the book. 

COULTER: He I mean we talked occasionally 

 running the Trump campaign it was pretty much Trump, Corey Lewandowski and Hope Hicks 

HOOVER: right.

 COULTER: Jared Kushner was back in New York pretending not to be related to Trump until he’s about to lock up the nomination. And suddenly Ivanka and Jared move in and say OK it’s Corey or us. 

HOOVER: So the fast foward–

COULTER: The presidency is not what he campaigned on 

HOOVER: right.  So that’s that gets us to the point of how do you feel he’s doing now because you said the president is an idiot. You’ve called him the biggest wimp.  

COULTER: Yes. 

HOOVER: You don’t think it’s going so well. 

COULTER: No I mean I wish he’d read Adios America again and.  I mean look. We did trust him. I trusted him the Angel moms trusted him.

 HOOVER: You said you’d give a two time divorce  a one time pass.

 COULTER: That’s right. That’s right. Don’t expect it. It was the basket of issues if either– I loved when the Republican Party, the official Republican Party, came out against Trump. I mean all of them did over and over and over again. It really for the first time it crystallized for me and you know maybe I’m an idiot, other people have said this, I always thought there was a difference between a big difference between the Republican and the Democratic Party and suddenly on the crucial issues that matter to average Americans: trade their schools their jobs, the the drug issues, both parties are just responding to the donors. And it was never so clear as in that 2016 campaign. And Trump struck such a chord with the issues that he gets completely abandoned since being president.

HOOVER: how would you characterize the crisis at the border right now.

COULTER:Worse than it would be under Hillary. there have been

HOOVER: The dynamics at the border are worse than they would be under a democrat right now

 COULTER: Yes more illegal aliens pouring in than they would be under President Hillary Clinton definitely under President Bill Clinton. We know it you can go back to that time. Definitely under Obama.  There were surges under Obama but Obama knew, Uh Oh, I better do something about this. Not Trump. He just sends out a tweet saying I’m going to shut down the border and then goes but you just keep pouring in pouring in pouring in

HOOVER: So what’s he not doing that a Democrat would do. 

COULTER: I promise you this could not continue because a Democrat would know he would be dead in the water. He couldn’t just tweet something out and have everybody say yay. There are a lot of things that can be done. For one thing you put someone in charge of Department of Homeland Security who has the first idea what he is doing.  

HOOVER: wave a wand. What does a secure border look like.

 COULTER: Well for one thing you should build. I mean you can call it a wall a fence. We want what Israel has, it works beautifully. It sure works better than nothing. It was kind of a scam, this Flores settlement. 

HOOVER: Flores settlement for the sake of the viewers. Please tell us what it is.

 COULTER: you couldn’t you couldn’t hold minors who show up at the border. And the policy outcome of that is, coyotes, human smugglers, illegal immigrants even you know the hardworking ones who are going to be taking jobs they drag kids with them [heavy cross talk]

HOOVER: Communicate to people they want to bring up to arrive with children.

COULTER: some of them are their children, some of them aren’t.   But there is your there is your ticket to get in. 

HOOVER: So what should the Trump administration do to stop the asylum crisis 

COULTER: there are all kinds of things that can be done. Again build the wall [cross talk]

HOOVER: Can it be done executively–

COULTER: Build the wall.

HOOVER: or does it have to be done through legislative action?

 COULTER:  No no no no. What was, one of the things that was beautiful about the Trump campaign man that was a great campaign. If only, oh my gosh if only he governed 1 percent of the way he campaigned. What was so brilliant about the campaign and it answers your question [cross talk] 

HOOVER:  Was it pretended like there was no process. 

COULTER: There were, all of his major promises were things he did not need the Congress for.  So this nonsense he keeps tweeting out 

HOOVER: so have the Mexicans pay for the wall. 

COULTER: That was–

HOOVER: — was brilliant and he could have done that.

 COULTER: Of course, tax the remittances that Mexican both legal and illegal immigrants in America send back– I said a few weeks ago on the Bill Maher show It was 20 billion a year on it or not. Oh no no no, it turns out, 30 billion a year just to Mexico. If we put a 10 percent tax,

HOOVER: on remittances 

COULTER: and he can do that without Congress. How can he do that? Through the Treasury. the Treasury Department alone can put all kinds of requirements on banks.  They did it after 9/11 to stop terrorists funded

HOOVER:  how much though, honestly though, is the wall a metaphor for securing the border?  But given all the other dynamics right? 

COULTER: Yeah. 

HOOVER: that 63 percent of people overstay their visas at least that was the last few years that’s actually that’s a new number actually. [cross talk] That’s like that that’s the last number it’s the majority now it’s more than 50. 

COULTER: OK. Well basically everything you ever read in the newspaper about immigration is a lie.

 HOOVER: I did read all of your footnotes, as well,  but I did get updated statistics for this show

COULTER: But the reason – Oh wait could I answer the metaphor question. 

HOOVER: Yeah. 

COULTER: Yeah It is a metaphor for the wall. But in the sense that we also need to change the asylum rules. We do need to track visa overstayers.

HOOVER: thats a legislative fix.  Not something Donald Trump can do.

 COULTER: Immigration is the president’s responsibility. He can ban anybody who wants he can bring on redheads, he can ban short people, he can ban tall people we can buy ban short people as the Supreme Court found with his quote Muslim ban.  So most of things building the wall protecting the border. I mean everyone seems to accept that he can bomb innocent people in Syria without checking with Congress but he can’t protect our actual border.

 HOOVER:  So why do you think he’s doing what you think he should be doing? 

COULTER: I don’t know. You’d have to talk to a psychiatrist.

 HOOVER:  This is in your view political life or death for him. You think that if he doesn’t deliver for the strong base of the party that voted for him and that cares about these issues that he’ll suffer in 2020.

COULTER: Yes and frankly he deserves it. But on the other, hand looking at the Democratic candidates again 

HOOVER: What do you think about Bernie Sanders. If Bernie Sanders is for getting rid of low skilled workers reinforcing is to ensure higher wages–

COULTER: – And protecting the border. If he went back to his original position which is the pro blue collar position.  I mean it totally makes sense with him. If he went back to that position, I’d vote for him, I might work for him. I don’t care about the rest of the socialist stuff just, can we do something for ordinary Americans.

HOOVER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has connected climate change to the immigration crisis. She says because of climate change, there are droughts in Guatemala and caravans that ensue because there is no economic opportunity for people in their countries. What is your view of the new member of the House of Representatives who has garnered so much attention?

 COULTER:  conservatives just really —  They started going after her, creating the meme. It was as if she was the president and I said to a lot of them, she’s one member of Congress. We’ve got a lot of dumb congressmen get –. Can we focus on something a little more —

HOOVER: — You didn’t  want to elevate her or to –? 

COULTER: I just think it’s like shooting fish in the barrel — Republicans, you know, their minds tend to wander. Can we — we talk about something that matters?

HOOVER: Yeah, right. Well let me – let me ask you about the, um, sanctuary cities. he has recently tweeted that what we should do with all of the people who are at the border is actually just drop them and sanctuary cities and districts that uh uh Democrats uh oversee in order to give them the problem.

 COULTER: when Trump makes a promise such as, “I’m going to shut down the border.”   What’s the one thing we know wasn’t going to happen? Whatever Trump just promised. And so, when he promises he’s going to send illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, I mean, I don’t see anything outrageous about that 

HOOVER: He’s not going to do it because he says it and everything he says is a lie and that’s what you believe? Or do you believe that there are legal challenges to it –?

COULTER: No, of course he could do it. And he can start by hiring —

HOOVER: — Who should be the next  secretary?

COULTER: Well, Kris Kobach. I mean he is an elegant person. I really —

HOOVER: Will he have the same impediments that Kirstjen Nielson was up against?

 COULTER: No, no,  she didn’t — she wasn’t even trying. 

HOOVER: Kris Kobach was the Secretary of State of Kansas 

COULTER: Yes. And he also came up with self-deportation, which, you know, people may make fun of but that is a very humane way to deal with  — how are we going to get wages up for Americans?

And look, this isn’t anything ugly about them. A lot of illegal immigrants, probably the majority, are very hardworking, they’re really sweet people. But we have to take care of our own. That’s the issue. 

 HOOVER: Politically, one of the arguments you make about a restrictionist policy on immigration, actually it seems to me once you get through some of the outrageous things you say because this is one of things you do, you say things that are provocative that I think you probably know will offend people and are probably also intended to make them think. And–

 COULTER: I wouldn’t say I’m not trying to offend but I do want– 

HOOVER: But when you get to the politics of it, it seems to me that you actually what you actually want is people emigrating here to acculturate and to assimilate to American values.

COULTER: Yes

HOOVER:  And that you think that people can do that, but your political argument is that the left is enabling new waves of immigration since 1965 to not assimilate. 

COULTER: yes

HOOVER:. And that is actually what the problem is. 

COULTER: Yes they are doing . It’s like a–

HOOVER: Is that a fair characterization of–

COULTER: Yes, absolutely. It’s a triple whammy. One is take people in from as different cultures as we possibly can. The poorest the hardest cases in the world up until the 1965 Immigration Act and which really kicked in in 1970,  immigrants who came to America were on average more educated made more money bought more houses. Isn’t that what a sane country would do? We can take any immigrants we want any immigrants in the world, why don’t we take immigrants who are better than us? Let’s get our average up. So starting in 1970, not only are we taking the hardest cases but they also came to a country where we’re embarrassed about our own culture, it’s a hate crime to ask people to assimilate. So we’ve changed the country they’re coming to and we’re bringing in the hardest cases and we’re bringing in enormous numbers of them.

 HOOVER:  And, how do you explain that with these waves of immigration over the last 30 years unemployment is actually down, the economy has grown, and crime is down.

COULTER: no, that is not because we have more immigrants. I would also say we have different kinds of crimes. I’ll tell you there are certain crimes that have gone up quite a bit –  Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, Nigerian princes,

HOOVER: The rhetoric about the cultural reasons for restrictionism for an immigration restriction — paints all Mexicans with a broad brush stroke, right?

 COULTER: No, I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t say that at all. And — and I think there’s a reason so many legal Mexican immigrants supported Trump. Um It’s the numbers we’re bringing in. we can assimilate anyone to American culture, but not in the numbers we’re bringing in —

HOOVER: in lower numbers,  — in lower numbers. And that’s lower numbers of legal immigration. 

COULTER: Yes. Yes. 

HOOVER: Ok, then how else would you would you tweak the formulas in terms of low skilled workers, high skilled workers? 

COULTER: I would like more people competing with, um, lawyers, businessmen, senators, the Koch brothers, journalists, New York Times reporters, instead of competing with their landscapers, which is what we have now. Oh yeah. They love immigration as long as it’s not an immigrant competing with their kid to get into Harvard. With  immigration,They’re the ones who want all the cheap labor being brought in to just keep driving down wages of the poorest Americans. 

HOOVER: So I just have to ask you about George Borjas, right, who is a  well-known economist. He’s on the restrictionist side of immigration and his view about low skilled immigration is that ultimately it doesn’t actually affect in the long term any group negatively, not high skilled workers, low skilled workers, any socioeconomic group negatively, with the exception of high school dropouts and that that that that, while there are many high school dropouts who are first generation immigrants, even the — the effect of that negatively diminishes over time.

 COULTER:  Well, OK, just for fun, for an experiment. Let’s spend five years bringing in lots of immigrants to compete with the groups I just talked about and no immigrants competing with their landscapers or with, you know, people working retail. Let’s just see how it goes, you know, as long as it doesn’t affect anybody’s wages, let’s start bringing in people, the highest IQ people to compete with the children of the people writing for The New York Times and appearing on TV and living in fancy leafy, lily white suburbs, let’s just — because they say it’s not going to affect them. Let’s try it. I don’t care how many economists are going to tell me that somehow they’ve managed to repeal the laws of supply and demand. You — you — you have more of something, the price goes down. We have more workers only in the lower strata.

HOOVER: This isn’t the first time you’ve been pessimistic about the future of the country on Firing Line.  So in 1998, I’m going to share a clip from when you were on this program with William F. BuckleyJr. talking about your very first book that came out, which was called High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.

BUCKLEY CLIP 

BUCKLEY: So if it does simply absorb it and proceed, your conclusions are very dark about the prospects for the Republic. 

COULTER: Yes. 

BUCKLEY: Well that’s no good is it?  

COULTER: No it isn’t. There’s so many ways I think Clinton has harmed this country. But just to take one to move beyond the reprehensible acts, and that is lying to the American people and making it acceptable to lie. It’s sort of a basic principle but people really forget this. You really can’t have civilization if people just casually tell lies everyone knows that you can’t rely on someone’s word.

HOOVER:  So how is the lying different now?

COULTER: Um, well first of all. Part of what did happen was Clinton was impeached. I mean that was — he wasn’t removed from office. But the impeachment — that was before the impeachment — I think that means something. There was a standard.

HOOVER: I mean, you have called out the president for his lies.

 COULTER:  Actually, no, I think there are only two lies he’s told since he was president and I don’t — maybe he believes them. I mean it’s always something that isn’t– [cross talk]

HOOVER:  — lying about not delivering on his promises.

COULTER:  Um, well that’s one of the two lines I was going to give you. 

HOOVER: What was the other?

COULTER: One is him claiming Um, so he keeps claiming that, oh, we’ve already started the wall. Um, I mean at some point they replaced twenty-six miles. And the other lie was that bombing um innocents in Syria was in America’s national security interest.  But, you know, maybe he believed it. Maybe it wasn’t a lie, 

HOOVER: But there is — there are, like,  independent media organizations who altogether have come up with around nine thousand four hundred lies.

 COULTER: [No it really is when they’re talking about him saying, um, well, um, well wiretapping Trump Tower, for example.  Oh, it wasn’t wiretapping. OK. They were — whatever you want to call it they’re listening on certain phones. I’m sorry that’s strawberry, vanilla — 

HOOVER: — That’s another show. We’ll do that one next time.

All right.  So in 1998, you know, you have your debut on this program and really since then, that was — that was when your first book came out — you have been really a pioneer of outspoken conservative women with fiery rhetoric who are planting a flag And I think in the intervening years since 1998 the country has become divided, more divided culturally, politically and the real question is how do we get to a place where we solve our problems?

COULTER: I do think it’s gotten significantly worse  under Trump and I don’t think this is good for the country. someone like me would not be allowed on CNN or MSNBC, and — and it’s shocking to me. I mean people are — how little — I think it’s very hard to be a conservative and not know what liberals are saying. It’s very easy to be a liberal and not even know what the other side of the argument is.

HOOVER: But —

COULTER: I think the hatred for Trump — Look, yeah, I think Trump is going to have a very difficult time keeping his base together. As things stand right now. is he going to win re-election?  Yeah, probably, looking at the other — at what the Democrats are running. No if you’re going to be running on — I’m sorry –slavery reparations and  an open border, Zippy the Chimp is going to win.

 HOOVER: But the idea is there is — there is a profit motive behind polarization that has perpetuated itself. There’s a question about, you know, are we going to actually be able to be a self-governing nation? Trump the guy who is going to build the wall hasn’t built the wall. The Congress can’t pass or — it seems like the one issue that every presidency tries and can’t solve immigration reform —

COULTER: No, they don’t try. 

HOOVER: — Starting all the way back –. But these are real —

COULTER: That’s what was so — and for viewers who are thinking to themselves, um, OK, Miss Coulter, we knew Trump was a con man liar. Why did you write In Trump we Trust? He was the only one saying the things we wanted said and weirdly, the fact that he was, um, not the typical elegant politician, it made him more believable because we had been lied to so many times by traditional politicians. Maybe this is what we need, Then he gets to the White House and all he wants is for the New York Times and the fancy people to like him. So I don’t know he can come back. I wouldn’t harass him if I didn’t think there was a small chance, but I’ve gone from thinking 10 percent chance to save the country when I wrote Adios America, 90 percent chance to save the country the night Trump was elected president. Now I’m down to about 1 percent.

HOOVER: at this point, are you prepared to support the president again in 2020?

 COULTER: Look, I wouldn’t keep harassing him on Twitter and denouncing him if I didn’t think there was some hope 

HOOVER: He is listening to you it seems. There was that moment before the shutdown where  he was going in to have a negotiation, and then the media narrative out of it when he went to a government shutdown was, Ann Coulter has more influence over this president than elected members of the Senate and the House.

 COULTER: Well, I should. They’re not going to get him re-elected. Um….

HOOVER: Did the media get it right?

 COULTER:  No. I mean, I think — look, as a representative —

HOOVER: You, as a representative of Trump’s base —

COULTER: Yeah, I mean, I’m — yeah I’m part of the base, so is Matt Drudge, so is Rush Limbaugh — 

HOOVER: So what does he need to do to solidify the base for his re-election? I don’t —

COULTER: Build the wall. It’d be good if he really started it. Look, I happen to love his tweets, but the tweets aren’t action, we voted for results. We voted for a builder who promised a wall — a builder. We’ve always had, like, um,  a former vice president —

HOOVER: — So it’s just wall?

COULTER: — a general, a governor. We voted for a builder. We wanted a wall. And he’s — he just keeps talking, talking, talking. And then it never happens. 

 HOOVER:   On that note, Ann Coulter thank you for returning to Firing Line. 

COULTER: Thank you!

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